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A Resource: Books focusing on piano playing

Discussion in 'Technique' started by Rachfan, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Below if a list of books in chronological order compiled from my own collection pertaining to piano playing and how to improve one’s pianism. I hope this list becomes a useful resource. I believe that a fine teacher is most helpful to students; however book learning can also be helpful at times. I arranged the list to be chronological using the dates of first or only printings. Subsequent reprintings are included too. I've done this only to raise awareness. I will not be selling any of my collection. Often times some of these books are available at book stores and libraries.

    Rachfan

    "The Principles of Expression in Pianoforte Playing", Adolph F. Christiani, Harper & Brothers, 1885 and reprinted by Da Capo, NY, 1974.

    "A compilation of Guide to the Proper Use of the Pianoforte Pedals with Examples out of the Historical Concerts of Anton Rubinstein, Bosworth & Co., Leipzig, 1897; and Possibilities of Tone Color by Artistic Use of Pedals: The Mechanism and Action of the Pedals of the Piano by Teresa Carreno, The John Church Company, NY, 1919; now titled "The Art of Piano Pedaling: Two Classic Guides", Dover Publications, Inc., 2003

    "Leschetizky Method", Malwine Bree, G. Schimrer, NY, 1902; reprinted by Scholarly Press, 1971

    "Piano Playing with Piano Questions Answered", Josef Hofmann, Theodore Presser Co., 1920; reprinted by Dover, 1976

    "The Principles of Pianoforte Practice", James Friskin, H. W. Gray Co., NY 1921; reprinted circa 1960

    "How to Play the Piano", Mark Hambourg, Theodore Presser Company, 1922

    "Basic Principles in PianoForte Playing", Josef Lhevinne, Dover Publications, Inc., NY, 1924; reprinted by Dover Publications Inc. in 1972

    "Music At Your Fingertips", Ruth Slenczynska, Da Capo Paperback, 1925; reprinted in 1976

    "Touch Expression in Piano Playing", Clarence G. Hamilton, Oliver Ditson Co., Boston 1927; reprinted by Dover in 2012

    "Piano Technique", Walter Gieseking and Karl Leimer, Theodore Presser Company, 1932; reprinted by Dover in 1972

    "Playing the Piano for Pleasure", Charles Cooke, Greenwood Press, Publishers, West Point, CT, 1941; reprinted twice more that same year; reprinted in 1970

    "Keys to the Keyboard", Andor Foldes, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1948; two reprints that same year

    "Abby Whiteside on Piano Playing", Abby Whiteside, Scribner’s Sons, 1955

    "Notes on the Piano", Ernest Bacon, Dover Publications, Inc., 1963; reprinted in 2011

    "The Art of Pedaling", Heinrich Gebhard, Franco Colombo, Inc., NY, 1963; reprinted by Dover, NY, 2012

    "The Art of Piano Playing, a scientific approach", George Kochevitsky, Summy-Birchard Music, Princeton, NJ, 1967

    "Piano Technique–Tone, Touch, Phrasing and Dynamics", Lillie H. Philipp, Dover Publications, Inc., NY 1969; reprinted in 1982

    "The Pianist’s Problems", William S. Newman, Da Capo Press, NY, 1974; reprinted by Da Capo in 1984

    "The Pianist’s Talent", Harold Taylor, Stanmore Press, Ltd., 1979

    "The Technique of Piano Playing", Jozsef Gat, Collet’s Publishers Ltd, London and Wellingborough, 5th edition, 1980

    "With Your Own Two Hands", Seymour Bernstein, G. Schirmer, NY, 1981

    "Touch & Tone—A Manual of Precepts and Routines", Louis L. Schroeder, Tonal Arts Press, Wavwatosa, WI, 1981

    "On Piano Playing", Gyorgy Sandor, Schirmer Books, New York, 1981

    "The Vengerova System of Piano Playing", Robert D. Schick, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Penn. and London, 1982

    "The Pianist’s Guide to Pedaling", Joseph Banowetz, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1985

    "The Pianist’s Spectrum", Ozan Marsh, Longwood Academic, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, 1987

    "The Art of Piano Playing", Heinrich Neuhaus, Barrie & Jenkins Ltd, 1973; reprinted by Longwood Academic, Wolfboro, NH, 1989

    "Mastering Piano Technique: A Guide for Students, Teachers, and Performers", Seymour Fink, Amadeus Press, 1992

    "Pianism", Aiko Onishe, Anima Press, 1996

    "Piano Pieces", Russell Sherman, North Point Press, NY, 1997

    "Notes from the Piano Bench", Boris Berman, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2000

    "The Art of Performance", Heinrich Schenker, Oxford University Press, 2000

    "Piano Notes", Charles Rosen, Free Press, NY, London, Toronto, Sydney, 2002

    "The Craft of Piano Playing", Alan Fraser, Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2003

    "The Perfect Wrong Note", William Westney, Amadeus Press, 2003

    "Mastering the Art of Performance", Stewart Gordon, Oxford University Press, 2006

    "Improve Your Piano Playing", Dr. John Meffen, Allworth Press, NY, 2007

    "The Russian School", Christopher Barnes (translator) Kahn & Averill, London, 2007

    "Piano Practice and Performance", Barry & Linda Wehrli, Wehrili Publications, Valley Village, CA, 2007

    "Playing Beyond the Notes", Deborah Rambo Sinn, Oxford University Press, NY, 2013

    "Piano – The Spirit of Technique and Interpretation", Rosa Antonelli, self-published, 2013

    "Piano Technique Demystified", Neil Stannard, Create Space, 2014
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  2. echoyjeff222

    echoyjeff222 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Rach, thanks for the resources. Do you know of any that are good specifically for Bach? I'm about to start playing the French Suite No. 5 by Bach. Anything on history, technique, etc.?
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi echoyjeff,

    Most of my sources pertain to the Romantic Age (which was preceded by the Classical Era), and more specifically the Late Romantics who followed the Romantic Age. As for J. S. Bach, you can go first to Wikipedia which is free. Probably the best sources here at Piano Society playing Baroque music would be able to advise you better than I, as I very rarely play Bach.

    David
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi echoyfeff,

    Here are some general things to do in playing Bach:

    Hold notes for their full time values.
    Lighten the touch when playing episodes.
    Use pedal sparingly and judiciously.
    Create "terraced dynamics".
    Use rubato but nowhere near the amount encountered in Romantic Age pieces.
    Use your best judgment on setting tempo.
    Work toward precision but musicality too.

    Some thoughts on ornaments:

    If the piece is a dance form, look up the form which likely presents a distinguishing rhythm.
    Ornaments were used to extend tone sounds but are not truly essential on piano where any tone can be sustained using the damper pedal -- but impossible on a harpsichord.
    If an ornament is too difficult on piano, leave it out.
    If two optional versions of an ornament are offered, choose the simpler one.
    First note of each ornament must fall on the beat.

    Learn about voicing, strettos, sequence, questions/answers, etc.

    Touches: Learn differences in legato, non-legato, staccato, and portato.


    If you do not own a music dictionary, be sure to get one! You'll encounter terms throughout your piano studies, so you cannot get along without a music dictionary!

    I use "Elson's Pocket Music Dictionary" by Louis C. Elson, Oliver Ditson Company, originally printed by Theodore Presser Company in 1909. And the price is only $3.95 lasted I looked. It will last you for a lifetime.

    Two other music dictionaries are "Alfred's Pocket Dictionary of Music." The price printed on the cover is $7.50.

    And, Maurice Hinson's, "The Pianist's Dictionary", printed in 2004.

    With a music dictionary you can usually and quickly get answers .

    I hope this helps.

    David
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, more direction on Bach, scroll farther down here.

    David
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  6. echoyjeff222

    echoyjeff222 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh wow, thanks! I'll keep that in mind -- learning the French Suite no. 5 right now!
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi echoyjeff

    Glad to be able to help with the general expectations in playing Bach.

    If I may ask, are you a student enrolled at a conservatory or piano department at a university? Or do you study privately with a piano teacher or artist-teacher?

    Just wondering.

    Oops... I found your bio on the Artists page. Very good! Thanks.

    David
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016

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