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Are my hands big enough for my keyboard?

Let Linda Explain

Can you play an octave?  Does it feel comfortable?

Playing an octave is a critical piano skill.  If octaves are unreachable or even uncomfortable, your playing will suffer.

To play octaves with comfort, you generally need to reach a tenth on the piano.  If your hand, stretched to its limit, can reach a tenth, you will be able to play octaves with a RELAXED hand.

Playing with a relaxed hand gives you maximum musical expression at the keyboard.  An octave on our narrow keys feels like a seventh on the standard piano.  Go play some octaves and sevenths.  If your seventh feels much more relaxed than your octave, you need narrow keys!

When your octaves are comfortable, you will be able to play more complex 4-note chords--and your music will sound fantastic!

To play a tenth on the standard piano, a handspan (distance from thumb to smallest finger) of roughly 8.5 inches is needed.  Very few women have hands this big --  only about 13%.  For men, about 25% have a handspan under 8.5 inches and probably need narrow keys, too.

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This hand's span is 7.75 inches or 19.5 cm.  To measure your hand, stretch as far as possible.  Measure from outside of thumb to outside of fifth finger.

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This same hand can reach a ninth (not tenth) on the standard piano keyboard size.

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An octave can be played, but the hand is under strain.  It is hard to show in a picture but your hand can feel it.

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On narrow keys the hand can reach a tenth.  The hand may be under strain with the tenth, but it will be relaxed playing an octave.

Hand Span and Performance on the Standard Piano Keyboard

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Find more information about hand size and piano performance at

If your hand span is less than 8.5 inches, you need narrower keys to excel at the keyboard. We want to provide you with the keyboard that lets you play at your best.

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