Eva Savelsberg posted a very interesting document showing different hand size measurements for 5%, 50%, and 95% of men and women:
As she said, it's in German, but it's relatively easy to figure out. The hand measurements are on pages 12-14.
I found this to be very interesting because I'd never seen such detailed measurements of so many different aspects of hand size. I thought it would be worthwhile to continue this discussion here since hand size does come up so often when discussing technical challenges on the violin.
Here's what I had to say in the other thread:
I always thought I had dainty fingers, and now I know--I'm basically at the 40-60% for women in almost every measurement except for finger width, which is more like 25%. And yet, I can play just fine, although tenths are near my limit (12ths are out). I do have some trouble getting double stops in very high positions due to fingers at about the 25% of women, but it's possible to learn to mash one's fingers down a little differently when high up doing double stops to compensate.
What this tells me, combined with my own experience, is that almost every man and almost every woman have hands adequate to playing the violin. You may need to work on finger strength more at first to compensate for short fingers, but once you get the strength you can play anything.
However, I wonder if hand size should be taken into account for children when you move them up to a larger instrument--if hands are on the smaller side then one might want to let them grow a little more into the next size before switching than arm length alone would indicate. Probably waiting until more than the 5% grown woman size at least, although waiting even longer could have some benefit (say 25%) instead of constantly straining while playing a larger instrument.Tweet
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