Kazrashakar Fingerings and annotations in the scores of pupils. Sep 14, David rated it it was amazing Shelves: Contents Technique and style. Books by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger. Imagine you are eating a fabulous meal at a restaurant, but your plate vanishes without warning after you have eaten just a quarter of it. Best book on Chopin. Francesca Guatteri rated it really liked it Jun 03, Refresh and try again.
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Regarding the amount of students of Chopin, it is difficult to have a precise number. Let him remain one! In addition it was not considered easy to approach him: Chopin was surrounded, adulated and protected by a small entourage of enthusiastic friends who defended him from unwelcome visitors or second-rate admirers.
Access to him was difficult; as he himself told Stephen Heller, one had to make several attempts before one could succeed in meeting. Chopin regarded the latter as the best preparation for his own works. Several students of Chopin claimed that Chopin neither taught pieces by Liszt nor Schumann. Mikuli recalled studying works by Schumann but did not specify the pieces. He considered it mechanical, unintelligent and useless labor.
He insisted upon complete concentration, alertness, and attentiveness as the utmost requirements for good practicing. He was never tired of incalculating that such technical exercises are not merely mechanical, but claim the intelligence and entire will-power of the pupil; and, consequently, that a twenty-fold or forty-fold repetition still the lauded Arcanum of so many schools does no good whatever- not to mention the kind of practicing advocated by Kalkbrenner, during which one may also occupy oneself with reading!
Many futile methods have been tried to teach pupils to play the piano, methods which have no bearing on the study of the instrument. They are analogous to teaching someone to walk on his hands in order that he may go for a stroll.
As a result of this, people have forgotten how to walk properly and know very little about walking on their hands either. They are unable to play music in the real sense, and the difficulties they practice have nothing to do with the works of the great masters. These difficulties are theoretical- a new kind of acrobatics. I am not dealing with ingenious theories, however valuable these may be, but go straight to the root of the matter.
And then the fourth, the weakest one, the Siamese twin of the third, bound to it by a common ligament, and which people insist on trying to separate from the third-which is impossible, and, fortunately, unnecessary.
As many different sounds as there are fingers. He considered that these scales follow the natural, comfortable position of the hand, due to the fact that the longer second, third, and fourth fingers would be playing on the black keys. Other primary requisites of achieving a beautiful touch taught by Chopin were a proper hand position and a correct seating.
The long fingers will be found to be on the black keys with the short fingers on the white. In order to obtain equality of leverage, the fingers on the black keys must be kept in line. The same applies to the fingers on the white keys. The resultant move will be found to follow the natural formation of the hand. The hand should remain supple and the wrist and forearm round themselves into a curve making for ease of movement that would be unobtainable if the fingers were outstretched.
During lessons he used to work out meticulously with his students. On the contrary, good finger was a matter of finding the most comfortable succession of fingers, best suited both to the form of the hand and to conveying the musical discourse. So it was precisely by breaking many a Classical rule that Chopin opened new horizons with his revolutionary way of fingering.
The fingers could then elaborate over a bass not which could be held on the pedal without dwindling too rapidly. Like a great lady, mindful of her reputation, it will not dally with the first comer But, once it consents and yields, it performs real wonders, like a practical lover In addition, he believed that the student, regardless of level, should control degrees of dynamics without pedal first.
He remarked: When asked to put in marks of expression [Chopin] put them in carelessly, never playing his pieces as the appeared in printing, and marking a pedal at the beginning of each bar without paying the least attention to the sense of music Even though Chopin often played to his students, to demonstrate an idea or purpose, he did not want them to become his imitator.
He wrote to his student Delfina: Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow. And everyone may admire it for a different reason; one will enjoy the fact that the crystal has been artfully carved, another will like the red color, still another the green, while the fourth will admire the purple.
And he who put his soul into the crystal is like one who has poured wine into it. As for myself, you know, I seldom play a thing twice in the same way.
You realize that the cause is in the disposition. People sometimes tell me reproachfully that I have been playing better, e. In order to discourage him from doing this Chopin would play a different interpretation at each time. How often I had seen him rise from the sofa where he was listening and take his place at the piano, in order to demonstrate — he feels it — the work that I would play for him — badly — that is to say in a completely different expression, though having worked on it a great deal!
The lesson was finished because I did not wish to forget the feeling that I heard religiously. The following lesson, almost satisfied with the imitative style that I worked on this piece, I played it.
Only my tears answered to this demonstration which did not at all resemble the first time. The discouragement affected me completely. Chopin loved simplicity in interpretation. But with all the warmth of his peculiarly ardent temperament, his playing was always within bounds, chaste, polished and at times even severely reserved!
After having conquered all difficulties, after having played a huge quantity of notes, it is simplicity that emerges with all its charm as the final seal of art.
You must use your wrists much the same way a singer breathes in playing a melodic line. This can be demonstrated by way of Mikuli, who described the manner in which Chopin demonstrated phrasing at one of his lessons: On phrasing, and on style in general, he gave his pupils invaluable and highly suggestive hints and instructions, assuring himself, however, that they were understood by playing not only single passages, but whole pieces, over and over again, and this with a scrupulous care, an enthusiasm, such as none of his auditors in the concert-hall ever had an opportunity to witness The pseudo-musician shows in a similar way, by his wrong phrasing, that music is not his mother-tongue, but something foreign and incomprehensible to him, and must, like the aforesaid speaker, quite renounce the idea of making any effect upon his hearers by his delivery In the shading he insisted on a real and carefully graduated crescendo and decrescendo.
However, phrase elongation sometimes became tedious. He also taught his pupils to mark the beginning and endings of a musical idea or phrase, i. And it is just in this respect that people make such terrible mistakes in the execution of his works.
Mikuli wrote that: He treated the various styles of touch very thoroughly, more specifically the full-toned legato. He knew the function of each ornament regarding respect to rhythm, melody, and harmony.
He constantly advised his students to study singing and to listen to the great singers and Italian operas. Consequently they would understand ornamentation and appreciate its beauty. Mikuli wrote: For paired notes and chords [Chopin] exacted strictly simultaneous striking of the notes, an arpeggio being permitted only where marked by the composer himself; in the trill, which he generally commenced on the auxiliary, he required perfect evenness rather than great rapidity, the closing turn to be played easily and without haste.
For the turn grupetto 74 and appoggiatura he recommended the great Italian singers as models. When [the trill] is preceded by a little note identical to the principle note , it does not mean that the note must be played twice; it only means that the trill must commence on the same note, and not on the upper auxiliary as usual.
Chopin : pianist and teacher as seen by his pupils
Chopin - Pianist and Teacher : As Seen by His Pupils (1988, Paperback)