On Piano Playing

On Piano Playing

Motion, Sound, and Expression

Book - 1981
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ON PIANO PLAYING begins with a revealing introduction to the fundamental relationships among motions and emotions, the keyboard itself and the human performing mechanism - the physical equipment that is used to make music. Here Sandor explains the role each plays in performance, pointing out typical mistakes and misconceptions that get in the way of virtually every pianist. He then discusses the basic technical patterns: free fall, scales and arpeggios, rotation, staccato, and thrust. Aided by carefully designed exercises, he shows how to execute physical movements to build muscle tone, sharpen coordination, and increase strength and flexibility. The exercises are based on common-sense principles of anatomy and physiology. Sandor next applies these patterns to the classic repertoire, showing how to play the exposition of Beethoven's WALDSTEIN sonata, for example. The emphasis in this section is on simplicity of motion and movement, and on ways to integrate motions to optimal effect - how to identify the technical patterns of a score and put them in the service of musical interpretation. No pianist, Sandor demonstrates, need suffer fatigue or exhaustion from playing a difficult piece. He shows that strength alone is not enough; the ability to use different muscles of the upper arm - is essential if practice is to be something more than a mechanical warming-up exercise. Special attention is given to problems of interpretation and performance as well: pedalling, variants, the development of precise musical diction and a singing piano tone, and much more. And he explores the common psychological challenges of public performance as well. Complete with line drawings, photographs, and many musical examples, ON PIANO PLAYING provides the means for mastering the complexities and intricacies of good musicianship. It offers an accessible, intriguing, and effective program for developing the fundamental skills that are the building blocks of good music-making.
Publisher: New York : Schirmer Books, c1981.
ISBN: 9780028722801
Characteristics: xii, 240 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.


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