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#3070637 01/17/21 07:47 PM
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I very much enjoyed Playing the Piano for Pleasure by Charles Cooke.

Not so much as a guide to improvement but more as a discussion of piano.

I find my piano to be a quite solitary pursuit, and my lifestyle and circumstances do
not look like they will allow that to change for quite some time. So this book was like
a friend a I had to talk about piano.

Can anybody recommend another book that may fit my needs?

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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

The Perfect Wrong Note- Westney
A Soprano On Her Head


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
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I'm only a beginner and not intermediate level like yourself, but I think this book is quite remarkable:

https://fundamentals-of-piano-practice.readthedocs.io/

There many different versions/editions of this book of varying quality (because it is open source) but I believe this one is a decent render and it basically seems like a rewrite of the original source material.

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Originally Posted by navindra
I'm only a beginner and not intermediate level like yourself, but I think this book is quite remarkable:

https://fundamentals-of-piano-practice.readthedocs.io/

There many different versions/editions of this book of varying quality (because it is open source) but I believe this one is a decent render and it basically seems like a rewrite of the original source material.


I would not recommend this book as the author is neither a pianist nor a teacher.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
....this book was like
a friend a I had to talk about piano....

Yes, it really is!!

Great way to describe it!

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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
Can anybody recommend another book that may fit my needs?
Charles Rosen has written a small conversational book, full of advice & anecdotes called "Piano Notes".

And Stephen Hough has collected the essays he wrote for a newspaper into a somewhat bigger tome called "Rough Ideas - Reflections on Music and more", published in 2019. Everything from "Don't listen to recordings" to "Is he musical?" Many insights as well as some provocative ideas.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Charles Rosen ... "Piano Notes". Stephen Hough ... "Rough Ideas - Reflections on Music ..

Good books!

In a similar same vein ...
---
Pianists on Playing: Interviews with Twelve Concert Pianists
Linda J. Noyle

The Pianist's Problems
William S. Newman

Arrau on Music and Performance
Joseph Horowitz


For a stroll into the past ...
---
Johann Strauss - Father and Son - A Century of Light Music
H. Jacob

Franz Liszt Biography (3 gigantic volumes)
Alan Walker

The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna
John Suchet


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
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Thank you everyone for taking the time to make some great recommendations. Will be getting my hands one of these recommendations later today!

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I was about to suggest With Your Own Two Hands by Seymour Bernstein but it appears that it's out of print with exorbitant prices for it. But it is a wonderful and very inspiring book.

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Own-Two-Hands-Self-Discovery/dp/0692603654/

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Originally Posted by toyboy
I was about to suggest With Your Own Two Hands by Seymour Bernstein but it appears that it's out of print with exorbitant prices for it. But it is a wonderful and very inspiring book.

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Own-Two-Hands-Self-Discovery/dp/0692603654/

My old teacher!
Or maybe I can say, my "again" teacher, since we had a lesson last week....

I don't think it's out of print!
In any event, it seems to be available at this website for $40; don't know if that's what you meant by exorbitant?
Indeed I would have thought and hoped it would be available for less, but that's not awful.
Manduca Music Publications

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by navindra
I'm only a beginner and not intermediate level like yourself, but I think this book is quite remarkable:

https://fundamentals-of-piano-practice.readthedocs.io/

There many different versions/editions of this book of varying quality (because it is open source) but I believe this one is a decent render and it basically seems like a rewrite of the original source material.


I would not recommend this book as the author is neither a pianist nor a teacher.
Exactly.

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May I suggest "The Art of Piano Playing" by Heinrich Neuhaus. (He taught Lupu, Gilels, Richter.)

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by navindra
I'm only a beginner and not intermediate level like yourself, but I think this book is quite remarkable:

https://fundamentals-of-piano-practice.readthedocs.io/

There many different versions/editions of this book of varying quality (because it is open source) but I believe this one is a decent render and it basically seems like a rewrite of the original source material.


I would not recommend this book as the author is neither a pianist nor a teacher.
Exactly.

This about the author's perspective should be enough to turn you away from this publication:

This is the best book ever written [my emphasis] on how to practice at the piano! Most books list what skills are needed (scales, arpeggios, trills, etc.), but not how to acquire them.


This about the author isn't encouraging either:
Born in Taiwan, 1938; lived in Japan, 1945-1958; started piano lessons in 1949, then received a BS degree from RPI, Troy, NY (1962), and Ph. D. in Physics from Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (1967), USA. Worked as analytical research scientist, 1967-1998, mostly with the Bell Telephone companies in NJ. This book originated from my observations on the methods of Mlle. Yvonne Combe, who taught our two daughters. While writing it, I discovered that piano pedagogy had never been researched, documented, and analyzed properly; therefore, this book is my attempt at correcting that deficiency. Although this book is the best teaching aid available now, this book demonstrates that it is not a finished product: it is just a beginning.


Regards,

Last edited by BruceD; 01/18/21 11:38 AM.

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You might enjoy 'Positive Piano: History's Greatest Pianists on How to Succeed Wildly in Life,' by Charles Blanchard. It contains an amazing collection of wisdom gleaned from hundred of old books, articles, letters and diaries in which history's must successful pianists and composers reveal how they did it.


Good music has no expiration date.
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I mustn't forget to mention an entertaining book about how concert pianists used to be much, much more than mere conduits of the composers - they were showmen (women tended not to be showmen) and huge personalities as well as entertainers with strong opinions on how music should be played: their way or the highway.

Kenneth Hamilton's "After the Golden Age - Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance" showed how notions of Urtext and faithfulness to the score would have led to lots of head-scratching during that period (and it wasn't because head lice was very prevalent then wink ).
As Dr. Hamilton - who is also a concert pianist - writes in the section "The Letter of Which Score?" about how much things have changed these days: One result has been a profusion of laudably "clean" texts, but with ludicrously impractical fingering uselessly added to it by editors whose academic skills are far more advanced than their executive.

So, be educated as well as entertained (with that dry Scottish wit which I know well) by this book...... thumb


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I loved that book! My piano tech loved it too.


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Play it Again - by Alan Rusbridger.

The story interweaves the Guardian's publishing of the WikiLeaks dump while the editor/author is preparing/learning Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in g minor for performance at the yearly piano camp he attends. Highly recommend.

Cheers!

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A great piano book, is the biography of Alice Herz - Sommer by Caroline Stoessinger. It is the story of a concert pianist who survived the concentration camps because of her piano playing. She was a true inspiration and lived to be over 100. I read an article about her in The NY Times and had to get the book and am so glad I did.


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Click on the FAQ for this forum. The second thread that appears is an extensive one with "Piano Books" as the subject.

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Something just for fun during our housebound times:

Music-Study in Germany by Amy Fay.

Fay, an American, lived in Germany from 1869 to 1875 studying piano with the likes of Tausig, Kullak, and Listz. She wrote letters to friends in America and collected them into this volume. She is a really good writer, chatty and opinionated, and a lot of fun. The book talks at some length about her famous teachers, especially Liszt, but she also writes extensively about German culture, the sights she sees, the many concerts she attends (she loves Clara Schumann and Joachim), opinions about Wagner (to her a breathtaking composer of questionable morals), the Franco-Prussian war (the French are barbarians in her opinion), etc. Highly recommended. The book is a Dover edition, available through the publisher, or, as I did, bought second-hand on Amazon.


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