Leaps in LH

  • Find the closest connection between two positions. Usually we measure the distance between two positions by the outer notes of each position. But if we measure the distance by the inner notes, the leap seems less far. In this excerpt, for example, the distance between the inner notes in the first measure is only a fifth, compared to two octaves plus a third between the outer notes. In the second measure, there is a repeated note between the top note of the octave and the bottom note of the chord.
Find the closest connection
  • Follow the thumb. When the left hand jumps back and forth from bass to chord, as in waltzes, follow the top notes of the chords with your ear. This makes it easier to hear the connection (voice-leading) from one chord to the next. In the preceding example, these top notes are only a step apart (B – A – B). Singing this line, or bringing out the thumbs slightly, helps the ear to follow the voice-leading more easily. In this way, the ear guides the hands.
  • Use the imaginary octave. When jumping from a single bass note upward to a chord, imagine adding the note an octave higher to the bass note. This gives you a closer tactile connection to the chord. In this example, the imaginary thumb gives you a third between the inner notes of the first bar, and a repeated note in the second.
Use the imaginary octave.
  • Use good fingering. When leaping from a single bass note upward to a chord, use the pinky on the bass note, and if possible avoid the pinky in the chord. That way, the pinky is left free to “seek out” the bass note with the fingertip. See the two excerpts above for examples.
  • Move harmoniously from position to position. Sometimes, in an effort to get to the next position quickly, we jerk the hand rapidly from side to side. However, it is actually easier to gauge the distance between two positions accurately if you move a little slower. Staying on each note or chord a bit longer also helps us to feel the keyboard better.

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