Peer-reviewed epidemiological and clinical research on pianists using the conventional keyboard shows a link between small hand spans and pain and injury.
Recent studies in the US which compare performance and health outcomes for pianists using keyboards of different sizes support this evidence. A pianist moving to narrower keys is, in effect, getting ‘larger hands’.
Female pianists run a much greater risk – approximately 50% higher – of pain and injury than males. Some studies have found that 70-80% of female pianists are affected by playing-related pain or injury at some stage during their lives.
Children and teenagers have also been found to suffer from pain and injury related to piano playing. Piano teachers have a duty of care in this regard – a mismatch between hand size and the repertoire taught can be a factor.