A Handbook of Piano Playing
by Eric Hope (9781406766479)

A Handbook of Piano Playing
Eric Hope
Release Date: 01 March 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 72
Category: History & Criticism
ISBN: 9781406766479
ISBN-10: 140676647X

Text extracted from opening pages of book: THE STUDENT'S MUSIC LIBRARY A HANDBOOK OF PIANO PLAYING ERIC HOPE LONDON: DENNIS DOBSON CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 7 I WHAT IS MEANT BY' TECHNIQUE'? 9 II THE THREE PHASES IN PLAYING A NOTE ( 1) THE PREPARATION 12 III THE THREE PHASES IN PLAYING A NOTE ( 2) THE DESCENT OF THE KEY 20 IV THE THREE PHASES IN PLAYING A NOTE ( 3) THE HOLDING AND RELEASE OF THE KEY 25 V TOUCH CONSIDERED AS A WHOLE I WITH SOME OBSERVATIONS ON TONE QUALITY 29 VI PEDALLING 40 VII PRACTISING 51 VTH SOME HINTS ON INTERPRETATION 59 IX PERFORMANCE 68 63033 3 To my teacher, KATHLEEN ARNOLD, in gratitude and admiration INTRODUCTION THE PIANIST'S LIFE is one of constant adventure. To Ms hand lie invitations extended to him by countless composers invitations to visit, perhaps, the gay and languorous Spain of Isaac Albeniz and Manuel de Falla; to enter elegant Parisian salons with Chopin or to join him in the patriotic fervour of a polonaise; to go with Liszt to Hungary, Italy or Switzerland; or a somewhat more esoteric experience to journey with Beethoven among those dark realms of the mind and spirit to which his later sonatas give access. The immense repertoire of piano music offers every pianist far more than he can hope to accept during the course of a lifetime. In the following pages we shall consider how best we may avail ourselves of these fascinating possibilities and, trans lating the hieroglyphs of notation into sound by means of musicianship, creative imagination and technique, realise most completely for ourselves and for our listeners the delights of music. My warmest thanks are due to my Mends Nina Pearson, B. Mus., Lecturer in Music hi the University of Birmingham, and Peter Richards for their invaluable help and advice in the preparation of this book. EJL WHAT IS MEANT BY' TECHNIQUE'? WHEN GRAPPLING OVER a period of years with the complex problems of piano playing it is only too easy to lose sight of our aims and the means by which they may be achieved a state of affairs partly due, no doubt, to the fact that in learning to play a musical instrument intellectual, emotional and physical factors are involved to an unusual degree. Although it is ultimately impossible to separate them into water-tight compartments, it may be helpful at certain stages of our work to consider independently these three types of activity. It is the intellectual side the' thinking' as opposed to the' feeling' and' doing' that is so often neglected. Piano students must be persuaded of the value of indeed, the necessity for clear thinking in connection with their practising and playing. But, be it noted, clear thinking This, rightly directed, will lead to precise, controlled physical action, and, guided by a positive and firmly held musical aim, to certainty in performance. Let us try to look at piano playing afresh and reduce it to its simplest terms. What, from a physical point of view, must we do in order to play the piano? Two things: we must move the keys, and we must move the pedals. That is all And the countless theories of touch, of arm weight, forearm rotation, high wrist, low wrist bent finger, flat finger, curvilinear arm movements and so on almost ad infinitum are intended to help us to do the first of these things: to move the keys. The second, the use of the pedals, has not been the subject of so much analysis; it is perhaps surprising that theoristshave not more fully brought their ingenuity also to bear on this. Let us leave aside the problems of pedalling and confine 9 A HANDBOOK OF PIANO PLAYING ourselves, for the present, to the work to be done by the fingers, hands and arms. There are only four ways in which we can fail to play correctly indeed, perfectly from a physical point of view. Firstly, we may play' wrong notes'. In other words, we may move a key ( or keys) other than those which, at any given moment, we intend to move. This is the most obvious form of error, and one from which even the greatest pi

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