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The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
#2892300 09/20/19 11:02 AM
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Hi, does anyone know some old or recent methods / compositions / performers focusing on the mirror symmetry (mirror axis D) of the keyboard? Thank you for your contributions!

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2892456 09/20/19 08:01 PM
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Hi, Ameron! And welcome to Piano World! Two composers I can think of that were fascinated by symmetry were Bela Bartok and Vincent Persichetti. In Mikrokosmos 6, Bartok explores symmetrical thinking in several of the pieces. Persichetti wrote an entire Sonata, called the "Mirror Sonata", based rigorously on symmetrical movement from varying pitch centers. Also, I just recently recorded the Sonata #1 by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, many passages of which very clearly use symmetrical relationships.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Tim Adrianson #2892597 09/21/19 08:55 AM
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Thank you for providing these informations! I got aware of this phenomenon by the „9th Etude Inversion“ (Polyphonic Notebook / 25 Polyphonic Preludes, op. 50) composed by the Russian composer Rodion Schtschedrin (*1923), who was close with Dmitri Schostakowitsch. It's kind of strange that the possibilities of playing mirror symmetrically seem to be unexplored so far.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2892750 09/21/19 03:17 PM
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I don't know if you mean music in which every note in the right hand is exactly "mirrored" simultaneously by corresponding notes in the left, but in terms of explorations of symmetry I don't think you can get much more symmetric than say, the canons from Bach's Musical Offering or the "mirror fugues" from the Art of Fugue. In fact, just about anything by Bach is in part an exploration of symmetry. As for exact "mirroring", I can't think of much.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2894708 09/27/19 05:27 AM
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Thank you very much for your answer! I was thinking of mirror symmetric music where both hands use the same type of keyboard key (black/white) at the same time while playing in contrary motion, meaning that the interval structure and the performers haptical sensations on the keyboard are the same on both sides of the body. In the meantime i have read a book on Vincent Persichetti; there is mentioned a textbook regarding mirror symmetrical exercises by Bernhard Ziehn (1845–1912), but unfortunately i couldn't find it online.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2894869 09/27/19 02:37 PM
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Maybe they're already familiar to you, but Ernst Bacon has some paragraphs on mirror-form practising and its benefits in his book, Notes on the Piano.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

https://understanding-piano-technique.com/ocportal
Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2894984 09/27/19 10:59 PM
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I think Marc-André Hamelin said he practised using mirror symmetry. I believe he did this with etudes that weren't written this way.

Last edited by johnstaf; 09/27/19 10:59 PM.
Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Scordatura #2895199 09/28/19 01:31 PM
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Thank you – i did'nt know the book of Ernst Bacon.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
johnstaf #2895206 09/28/19 01:43 PM
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I found out, that jazz pianst Chick Corea also augmented his pianistic skills using the mirror symmetry of the keyboard.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no9UErT-m-k.
He mentions mirror symmetrical excercises by Florestano Rossomandi (1857–1933) but i don't know the name of the studies, i guess it was an italian textbook. Perhaps someone who reads this post can provide some information.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2910006 11/09/19 01:12 PM
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I finally found a lot of useful information regarding the mirror symmetry of the keyboard on this website: https://victoralcantara.de/en/buecher

Last edited by Ameron; 11/09/19 01:13 PM.
Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2910012 11/09/19 01:40 PM
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I always think Chick Corea looks like Beethoven in those videos.

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2913041 11/17/19 08:33 AM
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It seems that a younger generation of jazz pianists is also aware of the phenomenon of the mirror symmetry of the keyboard. Jesus Molina, one of the rising stars of contemporary jazz, sometimes publishes videos on Youtube, instagram and shows his playing in contrary motion:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2U45stp5wQ/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce1Q08nhic0

Here someone has transcribed the youtube exercise:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6Bit2PSoPk

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2926087 12/23/19 02:01 PM
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Another accomplished jazz pianist who uses mirror-symmetrical piano playing is Jeremy Siskind.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh8uJrzw6M8

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2956592 03/12/20 09:31 AM
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Argentinean pianist and USA-based Pablo Ablanedo published a book with short mirror-symmetrical exercises for beginners in 2015:
https://www.pabloablanedo.com/new-page-2

Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2956638 03/12/20 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ameron
Argentinean pianist and USA-based Pablo Ablanedo published a book with short mirror-symmetrical exercises for beginners in 2015:
https://www.pabloablanedo.com/new-page-2


$16.00 at mDeck and $899.99 at Amazon!

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Re: The Mirror Symmetry of the Keyboard
Ameron #2956777 03/12/20 11:43 PM
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Besides the sonata mentioned earlier, Vincent Persichetti also published three other works totally composed in mirror writing. They are the Little Mirror Book, the Reflective Keyboard Studies for Piano, and the Mirror Etudes. The Little Mirror Book is a set of five pieces of no particular difficulty. The Reflective Keyboard Studies for Piano are for more advanced players, and are very short (two or three lines of music, repeated once). I've found them interesting, challenging, and useful. Although Persichetti supplied tempo marking, metronome markings, dynamics, and articulations, he says they are just suggestions and the pianist should change them to suit their needs. The Mirror Etudes are difficult, full-fledged concert etudes.

Persichetti's classic textbook, 20th Century Harmony , has a section on mirror writing. My copy is packed away at the moment - I'm not sure how much of that section is about strict mirror writing for piano using D or G# as the "fulcrum".


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