Six foot six Sergei
Rachmaninoff’s hands were huge,
With enormous span.
Do not ask “Can you
Reach a tenth?” Ask “Can you reach
The listener’s heart?”
I was doing some research on Rachmaninoff because there’s going to be a free online concert this weekend (June 9, 2019). Anytime you start looking, you’re going to come across at least one article on Rachmaninoff’s hands.
Basically, the guy had huge mitts.
And I was going to write about comparative hand sizes of famous musicians, and flexibility, and speed, and blah, blah, blah. It’s all been written before.
And I didn’t want even one of you to say, “well, I have small hands, that’s never going to work, so why bother.” Or stiff hands, or slow hands, or whatever.
Nonsense. Whatever you love to do, go for it! You don’t have to be Rachmaninoff, or Rembrandt, or Robert Frost. Or whoever. Enjoy what you can do. And you might surprise yourself if you keep at it.
If you don’t play an instrument and love music, you don’t have to be a specialist to share the music and help someone to hear what you hear and enjoy.
Here is a video of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12, performed by Wael Farouk. Dr. Farouk, director of piano studies at Carthage College and a faculty member of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, was told that he would never be able to be a concert pianist because of shortened ligaments in his hands. He has performed all of Rachmaninoff’s solo piano works.
Image attribution: Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1936 or earlier, photographer unknown, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARachmaninoff_plyaing_Steinway_grand_piano.jpg.