top of page

Successes and failures in the history of music

What kind of a dancer is who can not do a split? What kind of a pianist is who can not extend his/her hand enough. In booth cases a world closes for you. (You are now one step away from the solution). Many people thought about this truth in the History. If you examine the descriptions of the famous musicians below you can find some similarity. Webbing tissues between their fingers are different to the average. The firs two pianist Chopin and Liszt had a very different personality and composed different type of music, but they started their career as prodigy and as virtuous, and their hands are similar in the aspect of webbing tissues. The third Paganini was the most famous virtuous in his time. He was the only who had has the incredible hand-flexibility since his birth. The fourth is Robert Schumann. He would liked to follow Paganini also. But he injured under not clear circumstances.

But the successes point out that, the possibilities of the human body are unlimited. With persistent work the hand can be changed and formed. So you can find bellow some successful and unsuccessful experiments of hand stretching.

Frederic Chopin

Every piano player knows and loves Chopin as an artist and as a poet of music. His art binds to the piano and he knows everything about the piano.

He was one of the greatest pianist in his time, with unbelievable dexterity and skill. How can it be if we know he had very small hands?  

In Maurice Hinson’s Chopin book we can read the following: "Stephen Heller spoke of Chopin’s slim hands-how they would >>suddenly expand and cover a third of the keyboard. It was like the opening of the mouth of the serpent about swallow a rabit whole.<< Most witnesses agree that Chopin could stretch tenths with ease and that his hands were extremely supple. According to Adolf Gutmann (1819-82) one of Chopin students, Chopin’s whole body was extraordinarily flexible.

I have a plaster reproduction of Chopin’s left hand. It slender and much narrower across the palm than my hand, which is of average size. The fingers are comparatively long, yet the entire hand is smaller than many women’s. It is impossible to describe how flexible it appears. I cannot detect any >>webbing<< between the fingers of the plaster reproduction. The most extraordinary feature of the hand is the wide spaces between the fingers, especially between the second and third fingers and even more so between the fourth and fifth fingers

Where come this incredible flexibility of his hand. One of the reasons is Chopin slept with wine corks in between his fingers, which is very uncomfortable, furthermore can cause neuropathic damage and pain.

Ferenc (Franz) Liszt

Ferenc Liszt (1811-1886) Hungarian pianist, composer and, as characterized by his contemporaries, a virtuoso magician and prophet. His musical talents were conjugated with remarkable appearancea and personal charm, which almost mesmerized people. He loved the technical difficulties. Most people credited (and are crediting now) his virtuosity to the structure of his hands. Many replicas were made about his hands still in his life. One of them is now in the Liszt Museum in Weimar. The cast of the fingers - admittedly slim - were not at all considered to be extremely long ones. The only thing that is different between Liszt's hand and a normal hand is the lack of the connective tissues between the fingers. This is probably explained by the fact that it does not cause a problem to span the larger intervals.

Liszt had long and narrow hands and fingers that were famous for their connecting tissues starting absolutely below the base of the fingers, therefore making his hand like the "opposite of a webbed feet" to quote Edward Dannreuther's descriptive wording. His fingertips were not pointed, but they were dull, provided maximum contact with surface of the keys. These were specifically beneficial properties. 

As it is well known, Liszt's virtuosity took a new turn after he had heard Paganini at a concert.

Niccolo Paganini

He was one of the greatest virtuosos ever, and clearly the most famous virtuoso at his time. He was credited to have received his capabilities from the devil. Today we can call this devil on his name. What was the thing that helped him - apart from his first-class talent - to become one of today's most famous musicians, and to break the previous limits of virtuosity? A rare and serious disease shaped over his body that is called Marfan syndrome. (Presumably, it's complications were the cause of his recurring illnesses and his death in his early years).

There are some remained reports about his hands:   His fingers were not especially long, but amazingly flexible.  (Thanks to the connective tissue degeneration caused by Marfan).

Robert Schumann

Everybody was inspired by the playing of Paganini, but nobody went so far to become someone like the devil's violinist as Robert Schumann. As it is well known, the great composer had to turn to composing because of his hand injury.

Many theories are known about his injury, but all of these stories have one thing in common: His own special practices caused the injury of his hand. The reasons can be different. The sources are consistent in one thing: He had many different diseases, both psychological and physical. A study in the subject suggests that his injury can be a side-effect of these or the side-effect of some medical procedure.

Other sources, including sources from his lifetime, suggest that he used some mechanical device to acquire better abilities, like the chiroplast on the picture above. Or another possibility is that he tied back his little finger for practicing.

A very detailed study suggests that the cause of his irreversible hand-injury was the sepsis caused by the bad hygienic condition of his own surgery which was carried out by Schumann on his own hand to cut the webbing between his fingers.

If we collect the facts:

Schumann would have liked to reach better skills in his piano playing.

His illnesses hindered him on his playing.

He didn't shrink from radical (medical) procedures.

Many mechanical devices were constructed to musicians without the adequate medical knowledge at this time. They look like an old torturing device, and were absolutely not safe.   

We don't know the exact details of this event of his life, but we know the result. This catastrophic example is a lesson for every musician to choose the safe way. Your future could depend on your good decision. 

You can ask now why we have written about injuries and diseases if we would like to sell you a hand stretcher device. The answer is very simple: There is a safe option now.

Now you can choose a product of the modern times and the modern science. We use materials which didn't exist 100 years ago. Moreover, some of the materials aren't older than two decades. We use the knowledge of the modern medicine. We developed our product with a hand specialist and we tested our product with success.

The result is a safe, effective and elegant glove, which can solve a 200-year-old need.

bottom of page