Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to Cross Hands

The crossing hand piano technique is explained in detail in this video

In this video, Robert tackles how to approach cross hands passages, with practical examples taken from Beethoven's famous Pathetique Sonata.

Released on May 7, 2014

Share |
Post a Comment   |   Video problems? Contact Us!
DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.
Post a comment, question or special request:
You may: Login as a Member  or  

Otherwise, fill the form below to post your comment:
Add your name below:

Add your email below: (to receive replies, will not be displayed or shared)

For verification purposes, please enter the word MUSIC in the field below

Comments, Questions, Requests:

Grace on January 20, 2016 @2:13 pm PST
Hi Robert! I love watching your videos - always so helpful! I wondered if it's possible to ask you a question about this section of the Pathetique (but not about crossing hands)? Basically, I'm very confused about how exactly to fit the mordents in. I've been trying to play them so that they start on the beat, but I think that I'm not fast enough at them because they are sounding a lot like triplets when at speed. Do you have any advice for how to practice them/get them on time? Thanks for any help!! Grace
Robert - host, on January 20, 2016 @5:32 pm PST
There are many ways of approaching ornamentation. Vladimir Horowitz played the mordents on the beat and very quickly. Others play the the mordents just before the beat. Many people play the mordents as triplets.

Ultimately the most important things about any ornamentation is to play the notes musically. Your concern should be negotiating the mordents to sound pleasing and that you can play them reliably.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on January 21, 2016 @3:19 pm PST
Grace, I second what Robert says about ornamentation. You may find useful the following PDF file we setup a while ago about ornamentation symbols:

I hope that can help with the interpretation of the most common ornamentation signs.
christopher Slevin * VSM MEMBER * on May 7, 2014 @10:12 am PST
Interesting but how does one know when crossing hands is called for?
Musical ignoramus.
Robert - host, on May 7, 2014 @12:59 pm PST
Fortunately composers arrange the notes on the staves to indicate which hand plays. Sometimes it's necessary to use symbols: m.s.(left) and m.d.(right)
Carol on May 7, 2014 @7:50 am PST
Thank you. I am "not there" yet, but your videos help me keep on trying.
Karen Clouser * VSM MEMBER * on May 7, 2014 @7:07 am PST
I really enjoy your lessons. Thank you. I play, just for my own enjoyment, at a semi advanced level. (the later Beethoven sonatas, etc). However, working them up concert tempo takes me a long time. My question is: Is a piece considered "learned" if it is played at a slower tempo than what is heard in concert? Thank you again.
Robert - host, on May 7, 2014 @10:26 am PST
A piece is learned if it is memorized. If someone asked you your name and you had to look at your license to tell them your name, have you learned your name - probably not! The same is true of a piece of music.

As for knowing a piece but not being able to play it up to tempo, it's important to study repertoire you can get up to tempo eventually. If you have pieces in your repertoire that you cannot get up to speed, you should consider other pieces you can get up to tempo. While you may have learned the piece, you will not be able to play a satisfying performance of the work if you can't get it within the zone of an appropriate tempo.
Questions? Problems? Contact Us.