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Chopin sonata #2 Opus 35:

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Look at the left hand: Db from small octave and F from 1-st octave. Neither I, nor anybody of my acquaintances can stretch the hand so far.

My idea was to replace F 1-t octave to F small octave. But this is a hack of course. How do professionals play it? It can't be made for the people with huge hands only.

  • Have you checked against other sources? Possibly it's a typo and should be an F in the bass – JETM May 30 at 18:19
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    You'd be surprised how many people's hands span a 10th. For example, transcriptions by ear of Tom Brier's solo piano works consistently have 10ths in them. – Dekkadeci May 30 at 23:35
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    Rachmaninoff has entered the chat. – user45266 May 30 at 23:36
  • @Dekkadeci I made a mistake: it's not D, but Db, so it's not 10th, but 11th. And even worse as it includes additional stretching from a black key to white. Sorry, forgot about the key signature. My hand stretches 10th. – user4035 May 31 at 2:35
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    @user4035 - The upper note is an F, so that span is still a 10th (a major 10th, to be precise). – Dekkadeci May 31 at 4:53
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This does not seem to be a typo, as evidenced by a clear D♭ in the bass on page 14 of the autograph manuscript:

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On page 14 of Kullak's "instructive edition" found here, the editor suggests fingering the chord 5–3–1 and rolling the chord to get all three pitches:

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    This is the answer. Many romantic composer notate chords that most people cannot reach, and the answer is to either simplify or roll them. – Kilian Foth May 31 at 6:54
  • Yes, roll it. It is sonorous and emphasizes the crescendo even more. – noumenal Jun 1 at 10:33
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I won't talk about if it's transcribed correctly or not, because I don't know the piece...

However, the part you've mentioned is actually 'only' a 10th.

There are a lot of people who can reach a 10th in certain key signatures, me included:

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This 10th for example is very easy for me to reach, in the key of C I could even get it up to an 11th:

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If you can't reach a 10th, just roll the chord/notes from low to high. There are people with small hands who can't even reach an octave. They also just roll the chords. Of course in this situation the sustain pedal might be helpful to not lose the lower notes after you rolled them ;)

If done properly it still sounds good, just a bit different.

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    Sorry, it's not D, but Db. I fixed the question. I can reach 10 as you did between white keys, but not black Db - white F. – user4035 May 31 at 2:37
  • I concur with the roll – noumenal Jun 1 at 10:31
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It is probably a typo. But if it isn't (which I doubt) then you might have to flick your wrist, basically rolling the chord (though its not marked and wouldn't make sense in the context of the song). Its a fun technique to practice, especially when you nail the notes, but difficult in the beginning. Check out Chopin - Etude Op. 10 No. 5, which has a lot of those. Liszt also has some huge rolled arpeggios in his La Campanella.

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    It's not a typo, it's in the autograph manuscript – PiedPiper May 30 at 22:04

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