Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? This book contains an array of information about piano technique with text and exercises from the celebrated French pianist, Alfred Cortot. Contents: 1. Foreword by Cortot 2. Plan for the study of the exercises 3.
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The Myth of Perfection was first published in February of Music played perfectly would actually be boring and predictable — what makes performance interesting is the human element, and what makes it electrifying is the element of risk when the performer is pushing the boundaries of what is possible or imaginable and might even teeter over the edge here and there. To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.
No live performance can ever truly be note-perfect, and no single interpretation can ever be the one true realisation of the musical possibilities of particular piece. I would even go as far as to say it what makes me love his recordings all the more — they show greatness and fallibility at the same time. Perfectionism has been defined in psychology as: A personality disposition characterized by an individual striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical […].
He later relented and produced fingered editions in total. It is summer time, and rather than present my usual type of post, I am planning something a little different for the next few weeks. Kinderszenen, op. Despite the title of the work they were not intended for children, although children may of course play them! By way of an introduction, I can do no better than invite you to listen to Murray Perahia discussing the pieces and illustrating them at the piano.
And now […]. It is summer time in the UK, and because I have a couple of recitals to play I need to do some practising of my own. So, rather than write my normal posts for the next two or three weeks, I decided I would share with you clips of some of my favourite pianists. I first heard Cortot when I was a teenager and remember being rooted to the spot as I listened to his Chopin.
I was blown away by the beauty of his sound, his incredible sense of timing and the magic that came across in everything he did. These helped me enormously, as did the poetic running commentary that illuminated the music. Some critics go on about the number of wrong notes in his recordings, but these do not matter one bit. Our modern-day obsession with perfection did not exist at the time, and recordings had to be done in one take. Cortot was a very busy musician, in addition to his performing career he was an educator and an editor.
He simply did not have that much time to practise. It seems some piano teachers firmly believe in assigning them, whereas others are dead against them. Some take the middle path and may use them and studies by other composers when necessary.
When discussing this controversial subject, I feel there are certain things that need to be clarified. The exercises themselves would look simplistic on paper and actually cannot really be taught from the printed page.
Proper realisation of them relies on demonstration […]. A reader contacted me asking if I could offer some practice suggestions for this etude, so here are a few thoughts. It is so important to keep in mind that while each etude by Chopin is a study in a particular aspect of piano technique, it is also a tone poem.
Cortot has this to say about the poetic meaning of this etude, as he sees it: It is said…that Chopin composed this Study, as well as Study No. If the legend can certainly add nothing to the intrinsic beauty of these two compositions, it lends them however a particularly pathetic significance. Wounded national pride, grief most sacred, generous outburst of revolt explain perfectly the sublime ardour that sweeps through these pages.
Keeping the meaning of the music in mind while we study the technical difficulties is for me paramount. Search through and you will find the pdfs to the full English translations.
Cortot realised the importance of diagnosing the technical problem and came up with an array of exercises that focus […]. Given the exposure of the piece, it is easy to forget that it presents formidable challenges for all who choose to play it, amateur and professional alike.
I thought I would offer some occasional suggestions for practice, starting with a small section that seems to trip a lot of players up. The filigree passagework of the RH is only going to work if the LH can provide a buoyant, rhythmical underpinning — think of the RH as the dancer and the LH as the orchestra.
Make sure you can play the LH by itself fluently, up to speed and beautifully shaped. Listen to the second slurred crotchet, making sure it is softer than the first; enjoy the dissonance between the A flat and the A natural in the second beat. When I was on the selection committee for the 11th Unisa International Piano Competition, we listened to two solid days of audio recordings, one after the other.
There are viral performance on YouTube of young pianists playing their exam pieces. Judging by the number of hits and likes they receive, they are all destined to be the next Horowitz. I wonder if the wow factor has anything to do with the antics they have been taught to do, such as swaying around and flailing their bodies across the keyboard?
This may look impressive to the layman, but I would invite you to experience such a performance in two ways. Mute the sound and just watch. Now for the acid test, replay the clip but turn the screen off and just listen. Doing this experiment, I have been struck by the disparity between the way the playing has been packaged to look and the actual quality in terms of skill — musical comprehension and technique.
In my adjudication work I notice constantly how excessive physical mannerisms detract from the quality of the playing. It is often the most musically intense who seem to need to do this. In their desire to be expressive, their bodies contort as a substitute for the real thing — having a sound in their head and calling on the body to produce the sound in the most natural and economical […]. There are pieces that contain passages of technical difficulty that require special attention, a type of practising over and above the routine use of the other practice tools.
We might need to find creative ways to solve these problems by getting into the habit of making our own exercises based on the material from the piece. These exercises might explore different facets of the difficulty by creating extended or slightly varied versions.
This tends to make the passage harder or even more challenging than the original, so that when we go back to the original, we understand it better and it just feels easier. If we approach it from one direction, it will run off in another. Therefore, we need a multi-pronged strategy involving very many different approaches to practising. Inventing exercises can be challenging at first, but once we get into the habit it is amazing how creative we can become at dreaming these up as we practise.
My scores are littered with my own exercises, and I return to these when I go back to a particular piece, sometimes coming up with a different or better solution. If you explore any one of the study editions of Alfred Cortot, you will find many ideas for such practice exercises.
For me, it was Cortot who primed the pump. Featuring a comprehensive library of lessons, articles and resources, the Practising the Piano Online Academy is the ultimate online resource for pianists, teachers and anyone seeking to master the piano. More info. Visit site. Read More. Keep Calm and Carry On Practising When I was on the selection committee for the 11th Unisa International Piano Competition, we listened to two solid days of audio recordings, one after the other. Inventing Exercises from Pieces There are pieces that contain passages of technical difficulty that require special attention, a type of practising over and above the routine use of the other practice tools.
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Rational Principles of Piano Technique (Cortot, Alfred)
Home Help Search. Cortot's rational principles of technique Read times. Member Posts: Cortot was a superb pianist, of unsurpassing musicality. Yet he had a very faulty technique.
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. It is the teacher's responsibility to guide students in building an effective and injury-free piano technique. Improper technique, poor training and bad posture at the instrument all may cause problems such as lack of muscle control, weakness, or tension in the hands. Many teachers are interested in finding information about specific exercises dealing with finger strengthening, stretching, and warm-up strategies, as well as guidelines for safe practicing. Save to Library. Create Alert.