Vorn One person found this helpful. Of the nine exercises Cortot outlined, I would like to consider numbers five and six in greater detail. This is symptomatic of how, despite his sometimes dubious dealings during the Occupation, Cortot has generally exegcises accepted by the French on friendly terms. Anyone expected to hold up their arms for three or four hours would be justified in complaining of being tortured. IMSLP does not assume any sort of legal responsibility or liability for the consequences of downloading files that are not in the public domain in your country.

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Quote from: ramseytheii on July 04, , PM I think it is an unfair assessment of Cortot; although the wrong notes, although the suspicious blurrings, he was still able to create unparalleled poetic effects and use piano sonority to the utmost, and that has to be included in any assessment of technique. The ability to keep consistent control of various timbres and separate voices I would say that this technical mastery is unsurpassed precisely because it serves the poetic purpose Cortot was truly the poet of the piano, and even with all the mistakes, I still regard his recordings of the Etudes as the ultimate ones.

His musicality was indeed unsurpassed. Which shows that you can get amazing sound even with less than efficient body motions. Another example is Glenn Gould - it is unbelievable he could play so beautifully with such awkward posture and movements. What happens next is that students blown away - and rightly so - by the sound of such amazing musicians, decide that the sound is a consequence of their quirks. They start to believe that you can only play Bach porperly at the piano if you sit on the floor with your nose level to the keyboard.

And when they find out that Cortot actually wrote a book on technique, they must have it and they must practise it since for sure therein lies the secret. Leon Fleisher was another pianist with one of the most amazing sounds ever.

By the way, Brendel himself had to abandon concertising for a while due to crippling back pain, and anyone who watches his posture will understand why. I maintain that Brendel could still play with his great musicality with a good posture. Being all hunched over the piano is not necessary.

Or at least that any student looking up to these pianists as role models should look at the sound they are producing, not at the way they are producing it, because this amazing sound is being produced in spite of all their inapropriate techniques. Quote Elsewhere you have defined technique as, "a way to do things. For me the ultimate test of technique is easiness.

When something becomes easy, then the technique to accomplish it has been mastered. It is possible to play scales fast and pearly passing the thumb under, but it will feel difficult, no matter how much one practises it, and if one day goes without practising it, the fast scale will fall apart. It will feel easy, it will feel natural, and it will not need to be practised ever again: the body will just happily fall into its motion pattern automatically.

Of course, to get to this stage may require many hours of practice - mostly to understand the complex motion. Although the four basic components are the same for everyone, their integration is not. Each student will have a composition of these four motions that will be ideally suited for his physicality. Even with a knowledgeable teacher it may take months for a student to figure out his optimum motion, his optimum technique. Then he will need to ingrain this pattern and this ingraining again may take a while - if the student has done extensive thumb under practice in the past then it will take a long while.

Then again certain students hit on the right combination straightaway. I certainly had my share of students who could not play a scale fast, and after being shown the thumb over approach, were able to ripple through the keyboard after 20 minutes instruction.

And after that, they never had to practise it again. Whenever they found a scale fragment in a piece they would just naturally play through it because the motions were the best ones, and therefore the unconscious had selected them for permanent storage So, if one hits on the right technique it will not need to be practised in itself.

Playing will take care of that. The act of typing properly will take care of it. He said he could play it well. Then a fellow pianist, showed him a way to move. He spent a few minutes trying it out, and to his amazement all the difficulty of the etude melted away.

He suddenly could play it at ease, at great speed and no mistakes. He did not even need to truly practise the technique he was shown. It was so appropriate that the moment he tried it was incorporated. Many times it may be necessary to practise a piece not because the technique is gone, but simply because we forgot the piece.

A pianist who for one reason or the other neglects a piece for ten years, may not be able to just sit at the piano and play it flawlessly then again, maybe he can. But the reason will not be that technique deserted him, but rather that he forgot how the piece went - assuming he had the appropriate technique to start with.

On the other hand a pianist who finds himself in the uncomfortbale position of knowing his piece back to front, and yet from day to day keeps making blunders in spite of several hours of practice, is either using an inappropriate technique and insisting on using it, or has not yet figured out how to play the piece. I like to address each piece as a complete new piece that will need its proper specifc technique.

But of course similarities abound. Once you have learned how to play an Alberti Bass on your first Attwood Sonatina, you will be able to use this knowledge on any Alberti bass you come accross.

Still, decisions regarding fingering and motion may need to be made specially between different composers using the same figuration e. Again, the more diverse music one plays, the more such fine tuning becomes subconscious. There is no way this can happen with abstract exercises that is, exercises without musical context , quite simply because the aim of the technique must of necessity be defined by the musical context.

I have shown elsewhere how even a simple pattern as a scale must have his fingering modified from the fingering one uses for a scale per se to the scale used as a melodic fragment. I have also shown how the same scale played in two successive bars in the same piece must have different fingerings each time it is played if the musical context is to be served.

There is no exercise that will prepare for that. Logged The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. Hunter Thompson.


Rational Principles of Piano Technique (Cortot, Alfred)

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Exercises and Studies for Pianists



Category:Cortot, Alfred


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