A Pianist's Dictionary: Reflections on a Life by Alan Hersh

By Alan Hersh

This ebook explores the area of the classical pianist and piano professor, deconstructing many accepted phrases that describe this atmosphere. dependent upon the author's event as a live performance artist and faculty professor, this publication resonates with either earlier and present scholars of the piano in addition to song fans.

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More than one sixty minute lesson a week is unusual. Individual lessons are a luxury for the student and a hardship for the teacher. Because of economic reality, a teacher who is earning his or her livelihood from piano lessons usually has to teach many individual lessons to be viable. I once had a student who taught seventy-five half-hour lessons weekly. Since most piano students in the United States take lessons primarily Lesson 33 after school and on Saturdays, this teacher was cramming lessons into every available time slot.

Similarly, tempo indications such as FAST or MODERATELY are so vague as to offer great latitude to the reader of the score. Performance conventions are probably as important in this regard as the actual written directions. Few pianists would play the opening bars of Beethoven’s MOONLIGHT SONATA at a fast tempo and loud dynamic. It would simply be beyond the performance conventions that have been established over a period of almost two hundred years. But performance conventions are a different issue than reading the tempo and dynamic directions as they are marked on the page.

Horowitz, a composer himself, had the greatest admiration for Tatum, not only as a pianist, but as one of the greatest jazz improvisers, a seemingly endless source of dazzling pianistic imagination and ingenuity. It’s not enough to have the desire in our heart: it also has to be in our head. The word IMPROVISATION is somewhat misleading. ” While Tatum’s dazzling piano improvisations were extemporized, improvisation is anything but unprepared. Great improvisers are actually composers. They spend countless hours working on melodic and harmonic patterns, developing riffs and gestures in many keys and in many permutations.

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