Did Alicia De Larrocha and Vladimir Ashkenazy really have ‘small hands’?

While Alicia De Larrocha and Vladimir Ashkenazy had hand spans smaller than those of many (mostly male) concert pianists, they were much larger than those of a big majority of adult women! https://www.aliciadelarrocha.com/en/content/her-hands

They could both just reach a 10th in their youth, which means their maximum hand span between thumb and fifth finger must have been at least 8.5 inches (21.6 cm). This is more than half an inch (1.2 cm) bigger than a woman with an ‘average’ span for their gender. Only about 12% of women can play a 10th – many struggle to reach a 9th.

Despite this, Alicia wanted Steinway to make her a keyboard with narrower keys, like they did for Josef Hofmann early last century, but this request was not granted. Ashkenazy now deals with arthritis in his hands. https://www.playbill.com/article/vladimir-ashkenazy-says-he-is-giving-up-piano?fbclid=IwAR3pQ0zQXAZ54xnBwqYybZOpwxWNqqo_AqMdD32RTN9QB-Y08CR7rzgzxi

For more information on pianists’ hand spans: Pianists’ hand spans vary greatly!

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