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By Alan Hersh

This ebook explores the area of the classical pianist and piano professor, deconstructing many well-known phrases that describe this setting. established upon the author's adventure as a live performance artist and school professor, this publication resonates with either prior and present scholars of the piano in addition to song enthusiasts.

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Extra resources for A Pianist's Dictionary: Reflections on a Life

Sample text

To create that illusion of “singing tone”—the perfect legato—which is the ideal of most pianists, the damper pedal must play a significant role. Not coincidentally, the piano as an evolving technology reached the high point of its expressive popularity about the same time as the problems of the pedal apparatus and the acoustical resonance of the mechanism were resolved. “Singing – tone” and “orchestral resonance” as we understand them today are possible only because of the damper pedal. Why, then, the reluctance on the part of many pianists to embrace the damper pedal and all it can do for piano music.

Some are able to recognize and react to them almost instantaneously. Others take much longer. In conversation and interview, some great pianists speak openly of their ability to SIGHT-READ; others feel deficient about their reading skills. In my opinion, I don’t think there is any real correlation between skill and success as a pianist and the ability to read an unfamiliar score at sight. Certainly, a high level of pianistic skill and training improves sight-reading, but I believe that score reading is a different order of thinking from learning and performing a score.

The piano teacher will try to find some compromise between what the teacher is accustomed to teaching and what the student wants to study. Sometimes this is not possible, and in these circumstances, there is an inevitable falling out. Many piano lessons include studies in music theory. Some teachers also teach the physicality of piano playing–technique. Most teachers also have some kind of performance opportunity as a periodic outcome of study. These include the semi-annual RECITAL, usually in a rented church or school hall; the PERFORMANCE CLASS for other students or parents; the MASTER CLASS with commentary by an invited expert; and the ultimate terror, the COMPETITION, either for a gold cup or other trophy or occasionally, for a cash prize and an opportunity for fame and fortune.

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