Improved technical ease with a wide range of pianistic skills is the most obvious benefit of reduced size keyboards. This is noted by pianists with hands that are very small right through to those with hand spans up to and beyond the ‘average’ for females. Even males with hand spans up to the male ‘average’ notice significant benefits for ‘stretchy’ repertoire.
‘I thus began the great discovery of what it feels like to play the piano with larger hands. It was like an epiphany. All the touches and techniques in piano studies – and I stress ALL of them – were made easier by a factor of a hundred. ‘
Christopher Donison, Executive Artistic Director, Music by the Sea, and co-inventor of DS keyboards, British Columbia, Canada, 1998, p. 42.
A fundamental reason for the greater ease of playing relates to figures being more ‘under the hand’, necessitating far less hand movement.
‘The technical approach on the smaller keyboard involves smaller, more refined movements and less use of throwing, pivoting, rotating and generally ‘flying about’.
Dr. Carol Leone, Chair of Keyboard Studies, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA, 2003.
A small handed pianist will notice technical improvement, greater ease and the possibility of increased speed. This relates not only to the most obvious tasks, like being able to reach chords that were previously not possible, but also as a result of:-
- fingers being closer to the keys and wrists not having to strain in a high position to reach a greater span.
- hand position changes being reduced and marked fingering suddenly making sense.
- rolled chords and pedalling to mask notes not held manually being reduced or eliminated.
- leaps and wide spread arpeggio-type figures feeling much more secure.
- chords and octave passages lying much more ‘under the hand’, which is more compact and less stretched.