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Nonfiction Piano Books

Posted By: cmb13

Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 04:47 PM

I was wondering if anyone can recommend interesting nonfiction books on pianos / pianists / history. Any recommendations, any types of music including classical / romantic etc, jazz, blues or whatever. I'm just enjoying soaking up this venture and I do enjoy reading so might pick up a few if anything interesting pops up!

With permission from the moderators, I have edited my original post to create this list of suggestions from contributors to the thread. I have not included summaries for most of them, to keep the list visually manageable, but they can be found in the original posts below. I have included the recommending member for reference. I may periodically update again as needed. Thank you for the suggestions and enjoy!


Update 1/17/19
The Russian Piano School by Christopher Barnes (chopin r us)
Gerig Famous Pianists and Their Technique (chopin r us)
The Great Pianists by Harold Schonberg (Morodiene)
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank great read about pianos and Paris France (Rocket88)
Chopin in Paris a biography of the master. (Rocket 88)
Blues People by LeRoi Jones (Agraffe)
The Pianist's Problems by William Newman (David Farley)
Grand Obsession by Perri Knize (Stubbie)
Note by Note by Tricia Tunstall (Stubbie)
A Natural History of the Piano: the Instrument, the Music, the Musicians--from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between by Stuart Isacoff (Stubbie)
Piano Notes by Charles Rosen (bennevis)
After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance by Kenneth Hamilton (bennevis)
Jeremy Siepmann's The Piano by Jeremy Siepmann ...coffee table book (bennevis)
Piano" by David Crombie's ....coffee table book (bennevis)
A Soprano On Her Head (dogperson)
The Perfect Wrong Note (dogperson)
Evenings with Horowitz (dogperson)
Play It Again by Alan Rusbridger, who with limited piano skills took it upon himself to learn Chopin's 1st Ballade in one year. - a mix of piano and politics from an engaging writer. (PianogrlNW)
Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand (agraffe)
Piano Roles: A New History of the Piano (agraffe)
The Piano Book (agraffe)
Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer (agraffe)
Playing the Piano for Pleasure (agraffe)
Principles of Piano Practice (agraffe)
First, Learn to Practice (agraffe)
Chopin a Graded Practical Guide by Eleanor Bailie (outo)
Chopin Pianist and Teacher by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger (outo)
Chopin's Letters by Dover Publications (outo)
The Cambridge Companion to Chopin ed. by Jim Samson (outo)
Composers on Music ed. by Josiah Fisk (outo)
Off The Record by Peres Da Costa (outo)
18th Century Keyboard Music ed. by Robert L Marshall (outo)
19th century Piano Music ed. by R.Larry Todd (outo)
20th Century PIano Music by David Burge (outo)
Practicing Perfection by Chaffin by Imreh, Crawford (outo)
The Secret Life of Musical Notation by Roberto Poli (outo)
The Art of Piano by David Dubai (outo)
A Natural History of the Piano by Stuart Isacoff (outo)
Cesar Franck His Life and Times by R.J.Stove (outo)
Eric Satie: Music, Art and Literature ed. by Caroline Potter (outo)
The Composer-Pianists Hamelin and the Eight by Robert Rimm (outo)
The Untold Story of Adele aus der Ohe by LaWayne Leno (outo)
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli as I knew him by Lidia Kozubek (outo)
Playing the Piano for pleasure by Charles Cook (outo)
Nicolas Medtner by Barrie Martyn (outo)
Pianistic Problems by William S.Newman (outo)
The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser (outo)
Piano Notes by Charles Rosen (outo)
Mastering Piano Technique by Seymour Fink (outo)
What Every Pianists Needs to Know About The Body (outo)
Adaptive Strategies for Small Handed Pianists by Lora Wreal and Brenda Wristen (outo)
The Pianists Guide to Pedalling by Joseph Banowetz (outo)
The Pianists Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature (A must have to adult beginners who like to choose their own pieces) (outo)
Guide to Pianist's Repertoire by Maurice Hinson (recommended only if you love to explore repertoire whether you can play it or not) (outo)
Samuel Feinberg: Pianism as Art (in Finnish) (outo)
Discussions with Horowitz by David Dubal (in Finnish) (outo)
The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich (in Finnish) (outo)
Memoiries of Ashkenazy (in Finnish) (outo)
Rubinstein's self biography (in Finnish) (outo)
Chopin by Andre Gide (in Finnish) (outo)
Domenico Scarlatti by Ralph Kirkpatrick (outo)
The Keyboard Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti by W.Dean Sutcliffe (outo)
Domenico Scarlatti Master of Music by Malcom Boyd (outo)
Keyboard Music Before 1700 ed. by Alexander Silbiger (outo)
Francois Couperin and the French Classical Tradition by Wilfrid Mellers (outo)
Chopin's Piano by Paul Kildea (Tyrone Slothrop, Syblille)
Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times by Alan Walker (Sybille)
A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano by Katie Hafner (John 305)
Debussy: A Painter in Sound by Stephen Walsh (Stubbie)
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford.(Stubbie)
The Perfect Wrong Note by W. Westney (Stubbie)
Great Pianists On Piano Playing (Monkeeys)
Chang fundamentals book (Monkeeys)
Moscow Nights:The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War by Nigel Cliff (dumka1)
The Great Pianists on Piano Playing (NobleHouse)
Posted By: chopin_r_us

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 05:09 PM

One of the very best I know is The Russian Piano School translated and edited by Christopher Barnes. Also there's Gerig Famous Pianists and Their Technique.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 05:19 PM

"The Great Pianists" by Harold Schonberg is a good book. His writing style is very easy to read, and it's fun to learn about some of these very colorful people of history.
Posted By: rocket88

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 05:25 PM

"The Piano Shop on the West Bank"...one of the best, a great read about pianos and Paris France.

Also "Chopin in Paris" a biography of the master.
Posted By: agraffe

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 06:26 PM

Look into _Blues People_ by LeRoi Jones, a comprehensive treatment of blues as a uniquely American art form.
Posted By: Alexander Borro

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 06:40 PM

Originally Posted by rocket88
"The Piano Shop on the West Bank"...one of the best, a great read about pianos and Paris France.

Also "Chopin in Paris" a biography of the master.

+1
I loved that book "The Piano Shop on the West Bank" , picked it up in the second hand book shop for pretty much nothing last year, I only saw it by accident while browsing. Once I started on it I couldn't put it down. A great read indeed thumb

Posted By: David Farley

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 06:42 PM

I found "The Pianist's Problems" by William Newman to be a good read when I was relearning.

https://www.amazon.com/Pianists-Problems-William-Newman/dp/0306802694

And anything by Alfred Brendel (he has several books).
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 07:51 PM

Grand Obsession, by Perri Knize

Note by Note by, Tricia Tunstall

A Natural History of the Piano: the Instrument, the Music, the Musicians--from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between, by Stuart Isacoff
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/11/17 07:53 PM

Charles Rosen's Piano Notes is a great read, no matter what your level. Just bear in mind that he is quite upfront about his opinions. His description of his scale technique, for instance, might raise a few eyebrows. grin

And let me plug a favourite volume, the Scottish pianist professor Kenneth Hamilton's After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance which is suffused by his dry wit as well as his penetrating insights throughout. Read about how pianists came to perform the way we are accustomed to now, sideways on (so we can see their flashing fingers) and entirely from memory (so we can admire said memory......), as well as how performance practices have changed in almost every aspect.

A couple of excellent coffee table books: Jeremy Siepmann's The Piano which covers the history of "the world's most popular musical instrument" and its proponents, with the emphasis on classical music. And David Crombie's Piano is even more 'coffee table' in that you can dip in and out to admire beautiful instruments (old & new), see their insides and working mechanisms, and read about the development of the world's most popular musical instrument......

N.B. Both the latter might be out of print, but are worth seeking out.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 08:55 AM

Two current suggestions I've just read:
A Soprano On Her Head
and
The Perfect Wrong Note
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 10:34 AM

Thank you ..... sound like great suggestions. Maybe I'll hit Barnes and Nobles this weekend. (I know, so 1990s). If anyone is interested, I can compile a list of these recommended reads and edit the first post of the thread.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 10:45 AM

Sure a list would be great......
I also enjoyed 'Evenings with Horowitz'.
yes, I read a lot about music--- but I purchase almost everything used.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 01:03 PM

Originally Posted by dogperson
Two current suggestions I've just read:
A Soprano On Her Head
and
The Perfect Wrong Note
Yes! Was going to recommend these as well. Excellent books about the psychological issues with playing an instrument and performing, and the latter has some great ideas on good practice methods.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 01:37 PM

OK I'll work on that list when I get a break at work...
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 02:01 PM

Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by dogperson
Two current suggestions I've just read:
A Soprano On Her Head
and
The Perfect Wrong Note
Yes! Was going to recommend these as well. Excellent books about the psychological issues with playing an instrument and performing, and the latter has some great ideas on good practice methods.


If I remember (?) you had recommended these previously, which is why I read them. smirk If it was someone else, I'll give you credit, anyway.
The 'Soprano On Her Head' I have read only in small doses, and I will re-read it - otherwise, I would need to find a psychiatrist. 'Judges'? Not me, I thought....until I really did think about it later. ... and up the 'judges' popped cry
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 02:49 PM

EDIT: Updated List At The Top Of The Page
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 03:35 PM

"Play It Again" by Alan Rusbridger, who with limited piano skills took it upon himself to learn Chopin's 1st Ballade in one year. At the same time, Rusbridger was an editor with the Guardian investigating WikiLeaks. A lively read with mix of piano and politics from an engaging writer.
Posted By: agraffe

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 07:17 PM

More books:

Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand by Edwin M. Good (probably best obtained used, since a new paperback runs $27 on Amazon.com)

Piano Roles: A New History of the Piano by James Parakilas

The Piano Book by Larry Fine (not just for prospective buyers of a piano!) Also see the semiannual Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer also by Larry Fine et al.

Books on technique:
Playing the Piano for Pleasure by Charles Cooke
Principles of Piano Practice by Chuan C. Chang
First, Learn to Practice by Tom Heany
Posted By: Chrispy

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 05/12/17 07:39 PM

"A Natural History of the Piano: the Instrument, the Music, the Musicians--from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between" by Stuart Isacoff (Stubbie)

I found this at the library and am reading it right now, about half way through. It's an interesting read and has a lot of fun color stories about various famous pianists and quirky piano stories. It's also gotten me to listen to some pianists I'd never heard of but who are fantastic (like Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum, never been a jazz fan but these guys got my attention)!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 06/01/17 03:11 PM

Bringing to the top with updated list on the first post. Thank you!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 06/19/17 04:36 PM

Just left Barnes and Nobles - they have none of these in stock. Will have to order online.
Posted By: LarryShone

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 06/20/17 06:30 PM

Try joining bookmooch.com, you might find some on there and theyre free.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 06/21/17 11:15 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Just left Barnes and Nobles - they have none of these in stock. Will have to order online.


If you don't mind used books, even ex/ library books, you can purchase most of these online for under five dollars including shipping I now have a large music book library, but all of them fit the category of used and cheap
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 01:50 PM

Having completed the entire "Song of Fire and Ice" series, which took more or less six months, I'm finally going to get serious about piano reading. Just ordered the two recommended by Rocket88, as these seem most appealing to me. "The Piano on the Left Bank" and "Chopin in Paris". As Dogperson suggested, I'm getting them used, hardcover, on Amazon.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 01:54 PM

Anyone have anything to add to the list?

I love Liszts smile
Posted By: outo

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 04:12 PM

Well...I love both books and lists so this was a good oppprtunity to organize my piano related library smile

There may be ones that you already listed above and some of mine are in Finnish but may also be available in English. I excluded those that I am sure are not. Many are not light reading, but I love to read stuff that makes my head spin...some may also be a little controversial but reading is supposed to make you think yourself, right?

Chopin a Graded Practical Guide by Eleanor Bailie
Chopin Pianist and Teacher by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger
Chopin's Letters by Dover Publications
The Cambridge Companion to Chopin ed. by Jim Samson

Composers on Music ed. by Josiah Fisk
Off The Record by Peres Da Costa
18th Century Keyboard Music ed. by Robert L Marshall
19th century Piano Music ed. by R.Larry Todd
20th Century PIano Music by David Burge
Practicing Perfection by Chaffin, Imreh, Crawford
The Secret Life of Musical Notation by Roberto Poli
The Art of Piano by David Dubai
A Natural History of the Piano by Stuart Isacoff
Cesar Franck His Life and Times by R.J.Stove
Eric Satie: Music, Art and Literature ed. by Caroline Potter
The Composer-Pianists Hamelin and the Eight by Robert Rimm
The Untold Story of Adele aus der Ohe by LaWayne Leno
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli as I knew him by Lidia Kozubek
Playing the Piano for pleasure by Charles Cook
Nicolas Medtner by Barrie Martyn

Pianistic Problems by William S.Newman
The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser
Piano Notes by Charles Rosen
Mastering Piano Technique by Seymour Fink
What Every Pianists Needs to Know About The Body
Adaptive Strategies for Small Handed Pianists by Lora Wreal and Brenda Wristen
The Pianists Guide to Pedalling by Joseph Banowetz

The Pianists Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature (A must have to adult beginners who like to choose their own pieces)
Guide to Pianist's Repertoire by Maurice Hinson (recommended only if you love to explore repertoire whether you can play it or not)

Samuel Feinberg: Pianism as Art (in Finnish)
Discussions with Horowitz by David Dubal (in Finnish)
The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich (in Finnish)
Memoiries of Ashkenazy (in Finnish)
Rubinstein's self biography (in Finnish)
Chopin by Andre Gide (in Finnish)

I love Baroque Keyboard music, so I'll add these even if not from the era of the modern piano:
Domenico Scarlatti by Ralph Kirkpatrick
The Keyboard Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti by W.Dean Sutcliffe
Domenico Scarlatti Master of Music by Malcom Boyd
Keyboard Music Before 1700 ed. by Alexander Silbiger
Francois Couperin and the French Classical Tradition by Wilfrid Mellers
Posted By: Sibylle

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 04:31 PM

Oooh thanks for resurrecting this thread, I'm taking notes like crazy here!

If I may add my own Chopin to-reads:

"Chopin's Piano" by Paul Kildea, as suggested by Tyrone Slothrop
"Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times" by Alan Walker

My personal recommendation for anyone who can read German, although it's not about the piano, would be the German soprano Frieda Hempel's autobiography, "Mein Leben dem Gesang". Wonderful book, written with much wit and humour and such a great document especially of the pre-WWI era.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 04:38 PM

Great contributions. I'll try to update the first post when time and motivation coincide, but Outo, that's a lot of updating!
Posted By: tangleweeds

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 04:57 PM

Could I suggest using Bold or the traditional Underline for titles? The list becomes a pretty formidable Wall of Text.

If you don’t have the time, I would be happy to do the formatting after you update the list, and send it to you by whatever means preserves the formatting BBCode instead of executing it.

ETA: this is the kind of rote mechanical task I find soothing.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 04:59 PM

OMG! I dare not look at this thread due to my obsessive collecting (especially books)! crazy Is there any way to block a thread on this forum that isn't healthy for my mental sanity? whome
Posted By: John305

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 05:18 PM

A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano by Katie Hafner
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 05:54 PM

Originally Posted by tangleweeds
Could I suggest using Bold or the traditional Underline for titles? The list becomes a pretty formidable Wall of Text.

If you don’t have the time, I would be happy to do the formatting after you update the list, and send it to you by whatever means preserves the formatting BBCode instead of executing it.

ETA: this is the kind of rote mechanical task I find soothing.


Feel free! Just quote the very first post, make the revisions, add on any others from today such as John, Outo, Sybille's, and then I will edit the first post with the revisions.Might want to eliminate the quotation marks then while you're at it.

Have fun!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 05:56 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
OMG! I dare not look at this thread due to my obsessive collecting (especially books)! crazy Is there any way to block a thread on this forum that isn't healthy for my mental sanity? whome


Sorry....you're just going to have to exert some will power! Just Say No!
Posted By: Sibylle

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 06:35 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
OMG! I dare not look at this thread due to my obsessive collecting (especially books)! crazy Is there any way to block a thread on this forum that isn't healthy for my mental sanity? whome


Sorry....you're just going to have to exert some will power! Just Say No!

And then buy them anyway. grin

#nothelping #sorrynotsorry
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 06:56 PM

On my Christmas list this year (and duly received) were Debussy: A Painter in Sound by Stephen Walsh and Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford. I've started the Debussy book, but not the Beethoven (at nearly a thousand pages).

I bought The Perfect Wrong Note by W. Westney a while back and I didn't get very far into it. I guess I need to give it another shot.
Posted By: outo

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 07:22 PM

Originally Posted by Sibylle
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
OMG! I dare not look at this thread due to my obsessive collecting (especially books)! crazy Is there any way to block a thread on this forum that isn't healthy for my mental sanity? whome


Sorry....you're just going to have to exert some will power! Just Say No!

And then buy them anyway. grin


This is what I do...I borrow interesting non fiction books from the library if possible. I read for a while and realize it's something I will want to return to in the future. Take the book back to the library and buy one for myself...

Lately I have borrowed mostly fiction books..it's a lot cheaper smile
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/14/19 08:19 PM

Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Sibylle
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
OMG! I dare not look at this thread due to my obsessive collecting (especially books)! crazy Is there any way to block a thread on this forum that isn't healthy for my mental sanity? whome


Sorry....you're just going to have to exert some will power! Just Say No!

And then buy them anyway. grin


This is what I do...I borrow interesting non fiction books from the library if possible. I read for a while and realize it's something I will want to return to in the future. Take the book back to the library and buy one for myself...

Lately I have borrowed mostly fiction books..it's a lot cheaper smile


And you can borrow online now. Jealous of NYC folks - they have the entire NY public library system - virtually anything. My small library doesn't have much.
Posted By: outo

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 06:19 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13


And you can borrow online now. Jealous of NYC folks - they have the entire NY public library system - virtually anything. My small library doesn't have much.


We also have a wonderful library system in my area: You can reserve any book (or record) from any of the libraries free of charge online and then just pick it up and return to the one close to you. And I happen to live about 300 meters from one smile
This is public libraries though. If I want something really rare, I'd have to go to the local conservatory.

I can also borrow many e-books but I prefer paper ones, because I already accumulate a lot of screen time at work.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 08:04 AM

Originally Posted by outo
I can also borrow many e-books but I prefer paper ones,

These days, my sense is that much of the borrow from libraries, at least in my area, is of e-books and not paper books. But I could be wrong. From the libraries around her, you can even borrow e-books without going to the library with a special app.

Originally Posted by outo
because I already accumulate a lot of screen time at work.

I used to read e-books on my iPad. But the screen was an eye-strain since I read so much (often about 1 book per day). So I bought a Kindle with a backlight (I had one years ago, but it got old and out-of-date). The pages for me, just like reading from a paper book. And my Kindle houses my personal library of over a thousand e-books, not including those I borrow from the library.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 11:10 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I used to read e-books on my iPad. But the screen was an eye-strain since I read so much (often about 1 book per day). So I bought a Kindle with a backlight (I had one years ago, but it got old and out-of-date). The pages for me, just like reading from a paper book. And my Kindle houses my personal library of over a thousand e-books, not including those I borrow from the library.


You read a book per day? And play piano and visit multiple forums?? How do you possibly have so much time? Retired?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 05:22 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
You read a book per day? And play piano and visit multiple forums?? How do you possibly have so much time?

Well, I read very quickly. I haven't measured myself recently, but I used to be around 1600wpm. One of the things that I think children are best able to learn, besides losing one's foreign accent wink is learning to read more quickly. I entirely blame my current reading speed on a box of SRA cards my teacher had for which we would get little rewards, including gold stars and stickers if we could reach ever higher colors (does anyone else educated in the US in the 70's remember these things? - each card had on the front a passage of a certain reading difficulty and on the back a list of reading comprehension question. You had to read the front side given the time limit and try to answer the back side - 80% correct on back would get us a gold star sticker on the wall chart next to our name and a few such would progress us to the next color up in the box):
[Linked Image]
and also a rivalry between myself and a classmate named David to each be higher than the other in the color of our cards. Due to the rivalry, we both finished the entire box by the end of the year - which today I know was a reading speed around 1000 wpm or so. That and a few more incidents where I had to force myself to read fast (one was that our public library didn't allow children back then to check out books from the "adult" section, so one had to read the entire book in one sitting "racing the clock" against when dad would come and get me from the library wink ).

Don't think all this speeding reading is put to good use with piano books or weighty works of literature, though! Most of my reading consumption is taken up with sci-fi/fantasy cruft and other pulp wink Alas... whome

Originally Posted by cmb13
Retired?

I wish! LOL laugh But maybe if I ever accomplish a decent performance of my goal piece, I will retire in celebration! grin
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 05:39 PM

1600 WPM????? That's about 27 wps. Incredible. And comprehend it all? What a gift. I never learned to speed read; seems like a nice skill to have.
Posted By: John305

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 05:45 PM

Being able to read that fast sounds cool but then again I wouldn’t want to blaze through a good book in a couple of hours, I like to savor a good read.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/15/19 05:49 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
1600 WPM????? That's about 27 wps. Incredible. And comprehend it all? What a gift. I never learned to speed read; seems like a nice skill to have.

Well, as I said, that was a while back when I last tested (probably close to 20 yrs ago) and it was sort of under ideal circumstances with material that is not that meaty (for example, most SAT, GRE, etc. reading passages are meaty), and probably achieved a comprehension of 80%. However, personally, I think reading w/ under a 90+% comprehension is a loss, so I usually read slower. If I were to guess, my typical reading speed for even non-meaty material (say a scifi/fantasy novel not written by Gene Wolfe wink ) is down around 1200, and lower for meaty. I find the difference between 1200 and 1600 to be pretty steep and it goes vertical entirely above 1600 smile. I don't believe speed reading for adults exists. It's sort of BS once you are over 15-16 yo. There are some tricks, and I don't think they can be learned and made automatic as an adult. For example, I read most of a line at one time since shifting your focus and refocusing takes time. I do this automatically now. If for some strange reason, I had to relearn to refocus constantly, I don't think I could retrain myself at my age - I might be able to do it for a bit refocusing multiple times on a line, but the moment I'd forget, I'd go right back to focusing only once or twice on a given line, depending on its length. I seriously doubt a refocuser could similarly learn to not refocus. Those are the things which kids have a huge advantage over adults. Someone should come up with a manual of things for kids to learn which will be a heck of a lot harder when they are adults. Reading should go on that list. (And of course piano! grin )
Posted By: tangleweeds

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/16/19 03:27 PM

We had SRA and I would have loved them, but our teacher only let us do one per day, which kind of defeated the purpose.

Last summer when I was so ill, I appear to have had a small stroke as a result of a severe allergic reaction to MRI dye (we can’t confirm that, as we now know I’m violently allergic to MRI dye). Afterward lost my ability to read; even trying to speak complex ideas gave me small seizures..

Thanks to brain plasticity I’ve almost completely recovered, but for months afterward, reading was very difficult and not enjoyable, torturous for a confirmed bibliophile like myself. But last month I randomly ran across a good deal on speed reading software, which has helped me regain not only my ability to read, but subsequently a lot of my reading speed as well.

Just offered as anecdotal evidence that adults still have brain plasticity around reading.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/16/19 04:12 PM

Originally Posted by tangleweeds
We had SRA and I would have loved them, but our teacher only let us do one per day, which kind of defeated the purpose.

Yeah that sort of sucks. I loved those SRA things. But back in the 70's, no such thing as Internet so I couldn't have gotten my parents to go on Amazon.com and buy more of this stuff.

My teacher was very progressive for her time. I don't know if she was following the SRA instructions or just made things up on the fly, but she let us do more then one as long as we got all the reading comprehension questions on the back of the card correct. If we got one wrong, we had to stop. If we made had too few answers right (maybe it was more than one time, can't remember), we were sent back to the previous level/color. If we did well on a few cards, we got to go to the next level. That combined with the gold start stickers on the wall chart with our names was 70's-era gamification! grin

Originally Posted by tangleweeds
Last summer when I was so ill, I appear to have had a small stroke as a result of a severe allergic reaction to MRI dye (we can’t confirm that, as we now know I’m violently allergic to MRI dye). Afterward lost my ability to read; even trying to speak complex ideas gave me small seizures..

Thanks to brain plasticity I’ve almost completely recovered, but for months afterward, reading was very difficult and not enjoyable, torturous for a confirmed bibliophile like myself. But last month I randomly ran across a good deal on speed reading software, which has helped me regain not only my ability to read, but subsequently a lot of my reading speed as well.

Just offered as anecdotal evidence that adults still have brain plasticity around reading.

Wow! That is a very encouraging story and I am glad to hear you are doing much better now. And now you need to avoid all dyed items as if it were peanut butter (re: people w/ peanut allergies)!

I just didn't think there was that much plasticity to learn things that require your body to respond automatically and it is good to hear I am mistaken.
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/16/19 04:14 PM

We had SRA when I was in school. The last name of the teacher for the class was Sogge, so we called it Sogge's Reading Academy. That's about as much as I remember of it. laugh
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/16/19 05:55 PM

Originally Posted by tangleweeds
We had SRA and I would have loved them, but our teacher only let us do one per day, which kind of defeated the purpose.

Last summer when I was so ill, I appear to have had a small stroke as a result of a severe allergic reaction to MRI dye (we can’t confirm that, as we now know I’m violently allergic to MRI dye). Afterward lost my ability to read; even trying to speak complex ideas gave me small seizures..

Thanks to brain plasticity I’ve almost completely recovered, but for months afterward, reading was very difficult and not enjoyable, torturous for a confirmed bibliophile like myself. But last month I randomly ran across a good deal on speed reading software, which has helped me regain not only my ability to read, but subsequently a lot of my reading speed as well.

Just offered as anecdotal evidence that adults still have brain plasticity around reading.


That's really amazing to hear about your recovery. I'll bet to some degree a reduction in swelling at the site of the injury accounted for your recovery, as much as plasticity. Just a conjecture.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/17/19 04:07 PM

We had an early version of SRA in my parochial school fifth grade class, way back around 1963-4. I hadn't thought about it until these references, but it was the first thing that really made learning fun for me.
Posted By: dobro

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/17/19 10:25 PM

I just finished Great Pianists On Piano Playing which is about 100 yrs old and im in the middle of the Chang fundamentals book. Interesting reads.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/17/19 11:34 PM

I enjoyed this one quite a bit:

Moscow Nights:
The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War

by Nigel Cliff
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 12:13 AM

Originally Posted by monkeeys
I just finished Great Pianists On Piano Playing which is about 100 yrs old and im in the middle of the Chang fundamentals book. Interesting reads.


I have the Great Pianists on Piano Playing and really enjoyed it!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 02:44 AM

Full list updated with titles in Italics 1/17/19
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 02:57 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Full list updated with titles in Italics 1/17/19

Wow. Magic. How are you able to update a post from more than 10 mins ago?
Posted By: K300

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 04:44 AM

I didn't see Men, Women, and Pianos: a social history.

It's a big book, but Loesser's writing (for a history) is quirky and fun. https://www.amazon.com/Men-Women-Pi...sr=8-1&keywords=men+women+and+pianos
Posted By: tangleweeds

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 05:47 AM

Originally Posted by dumka1
I enjoyed this one quite a bit:

Moscow Nights:
The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War

by Nigel Cliff

I just realized I had that on Kindle, and got totally sucked in. Very enjoyable writing, and a great glimpse into the Cold War era.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 10:55 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
Full list updated with titles in Italics 1/17/19

Wow. Magic. How are you able to update a post from more than 10 mins ago?



Permission from the moderators for that post in particular.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 01:42 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
Full list updated with titles in Italics 1/17/19

Wow. Magic. How are you able to update a post from more than 10 mins ago?

Permission from the moderators for that post in particular.

Yep. Magic. wink
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 02:07 PM

Originally Posted by tangleweeds
Originally Posted by dumka1
I enjoyed this one quite a bit:

Moscow Nights:
The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War

by Nigel Cliff

I just realized I had that on Kindle, and got totally sucked in. Very enjoyable writing, and a great glimpse into the Cold War era.

Yes, I couldn't put it down (although I found the style a bit overdramatic at times).
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/18/19 09:34 PM

Originally Posted by dumka1
Originally Posted by tangleweeds
Originally Posted by dumka1
I enjoyed this one quite a bit:

Moscow Nights:
The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War

by Nigel Cliff

I just realized I had that on Kindle, and got totally sucked in. Very enjoyable writing, and a great glimpse into the Cold War era.

Yes, I couldn't put it down (although I found the style a bit overdramatic at times).


I also enjoyed the book and got a copy for my teacher, who is from Russia and was trained there.
Posted By: Medved1

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/19/19 08:40 PM

My favorites are already on the list, but I did want to say that "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" was the book that brought me back to piano after 35 years of sort of fussing about, but not really committing. Even though the author had been more advanced (far more advanced) than I was before quitting as a teenager, his description of why and how he came back to music pretty much said it all for me. "If he can do it, maybe I can too."
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/19/19 09:18 PM

Originally Posted by Medved1
My favorites are already on the list, but I did want to say that "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" was the book that brought me back to piano after 35 years of sort of fussing about, but not really committing. Even though the author had been more advanced (far more advanced) than I was before quitting as a teenager, his description of why and how he came back to music pretty much said it all for me. "If he can do it, maybe I can too."

That was an interesting book for sure.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/19/19 11:01 PM

Oh, I loved that book, great story!
Posted By: Lakeviewsteve

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 01/21/19 12:52 AM

MedVed: Thank you so much. I just bought the iBook for my iPad after reading it's excellent free 37 page preview.....

Steve
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/05/19 04:55 AM

New book that will release in October: Girls at the Piano. Amazon.com blurb:
Quote
Virginia Lloyd spent much of her childhood and adolescence learning and playing the piano and thought she would make a career as a pianist. When that didn't happen, she spent a long time wondering about those years of study: had they been wasted? What was their purpose? This intriguing memoir explores those questions and investigates the mystery of the author's very musical and deeply unhappy grandmother Alice, and how their lives—both at and away from the piano—intersected and diverged. Girls at the Piano also explores the changing relationship between women and the piano over the course of the instrument's history, taking us from the salons of 18th-century Europe to an amateur jazz workshop in Manhattan in the early 21st century. Funny, tender, and fascinating, Girls at the Piano is an elegant and multi-layered meditation on identity, ambition and doubt, and on how learning the piano had a profound effect on two women worlds and generations apart. It is essential reading for music lovers everywhere, and for anyone who has undertaken their own voyage around a piano.


New book already out: Play piano as if you perform brain surgery: 2nd edition. Amazon.com blurb:
Quote
"Play piano as if you perform brain surgery" is dedicated to ambitious students, teachers and masters seeking to further advance their artistic skills towards perfection either in regards to piano playing or brain surgery. The author is a Duke Professor of neurosurgery and advanced pianist, who is presenting a new analysis of piano playing from a neuro-anatomical and physiological perspective. The many parallels between playing piano and neurosurgery are what inspired the creation of this book. The ideas presented aim to help eager students of neurosurgery and the piano, piano teachers and concert pianists alike to become aware of their own physical "play apparatus". The author Erik Hauck is taking the reader on a journey through his/her own body. Through heightened awareness, pianists as well as surgeons will be able to identify and overcome physical and mental blocks, possibly so far limiting their full potential, even if they are already far advanced in their careers. So what is the secret to the ideal or virtuous piano technique? Is it in the wrist, or is it that you need to have practiced more than 10.000 hours early in life? Is it the elbow? Is it imagination of sound and music, or just finger play? Is it speed? Is it in your well-trained ear? Naturally, the secret to a perfect piano technique lies in the mindful orchestration, rhythmical coordination and skilled balance of all the moving parts in us, to create an effortless and pearling play, the kind of play that everybody recognizes as ideal. This ideal piano playing feels like meditating deeply to where nothing can shake your inner calm and focus. Ideal playing just happens as you imagine it. You are one with it in the very moment. All obstacles between you and the music down to it is physical creation through the keys have been eliminated. No tight or rigid spots hinder, tether or slow you down. Identifying and removing those obstacles to literally set you free, is what this book is about – to make you a much better pianist, or neurosurgeon if you happen to be in that profession, or person in general.Instead of struggling, you will enjoy challenges, which become simply play. That is why it is called “piano playing” after all. Naturally, this experience is truly “transcendental”, to borrow the term from List’s infamous etudes – the musical inspiration to write this book. Together with the author, you develop a detailed checklist that holds all key elements to the ideal piano play. Mastering the "self-check" in a fraction of a second, even while performing, you will be able to ensure that your play or surgical technique flows freely, unrestrained by any physical or mental blocks. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to it, enjoy, experiment and find out for yourself!
Posted By: LarryK

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/05/19 08:06 AM

If you can read books on difficult subjects, I recommend:

Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music by James Rhodes

As a child, James sufferered horrible sexual abuse. The after effects of this abuse, physical and mental, are described in the book. Each chapter is titled with one of James’s favorite piano pieces. It is fair to say that music helped save James from suicide. This book showed me the incredible power that music has to provide solace. Against all odds, James now tours as a concert pianist, where he works to break down the stereotypical way classical concerts are presented.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/07/19 03:32 PM

I recently finished The Piano Shop on The Left Bank, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It was a nice story, intertwined with details of life in Paris and a spattering of information on piano construction, formulated in an interesting way. The quote in my sig if the last line of that novel! Highly recommend.

Chopin In Paris, so far, is slower.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/07/19 07:20 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
I recently finished The Piano Shop on The Left Bank, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It was a nice story, intertwined with details of life in Paris and a spattering of information on piano construction, formulated in an interesting way. The quote in my sig if the last line of that novel! Highly recommend.

Chopin In Paris, so far, is slower.


I really enjoyed reading The Piano Shop on The Left Bank. It was a fun, interesting read!
Posted By: agraffe

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/07/19 07:52 PM

I love The Piano Shop on the Left Bank; I've read it seven times, and it inspired a trip to Paris in 2001 to look for, though I did not find, Luc, Mathilde and Thad. I know of course that I would not have recognized them, nor they me, but who can fault me for the search based on a beloved book?

When life gives you a lemonwood Gaveau, find a place to put it!
Posted By: agraffe

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/23/19 07:27 PM

I also enjoy children's literature; two exceptional piano-themed nonfiction books for children are Strange Mr. Satie by M.T. Anderson and Petra Mathews, and The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Christofori & the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch and Marjorie Priceman. They are very short, scholarly yet accessible, and thoroughly delighful. They would make great gifts for young relatives and friends who may have a budding piano passion, themselves.
Posted By: Pianoperformance

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/25/19 01:12 AM

Reading the recommended The Piano shop on the left bank...LOVE IT. thanks for a great recommendation.
Posted By: Terry Michael

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/25/19 03:10 AM

Has anyone else read Jonathan Biss’ “A Pianist Under the Influence”?

It’s about a Concert Pianists obsession with Robert Schumann. It’s, a bit odd but I LOVED it.
Posted By: WiseBuff

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/25/19 09:18 AM

Agraffe, I also imagined the Piano Shop on the Left Bank when I was in Paris last August. I felt a bit like I'd been there before after reading the book. Would love to find another good read like that one.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/25/19 10:06 AM

I wonder in which Arrondissement the book took place? (Grammar lol)
Posted By: agraffe

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/25/19 02:48 PM

WiseBuff, I have not, in the 19 years since it was first published, found another book quite like The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, so I find myself rereading it, thankful that I forget so much of it in between readings. It is like stepping into that world every time! cmb13, there may be clues in the text as to the identity of the Arrondissement where the action takes place, though I have not been able to deduce it. You might write to Carhart through the publisher; some authors enjoy hearing from readers, and some do not.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/25/19 02:51 PM

Originally Posted by agraffe
WiseBuff, I have not, in the 19 years since it was first published, found another book quite like The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, so I find myself rereading it, thankful that I forget so much of it in between readings. It is like stepping into that world every time! cmb13, there may be clues in the text as to the identity of the Arrondissement where the action takes place, though I have not been able to deduce it. You might write to Carhart through the publisher; some authors enjoy hearing from readers, and some do not.

I've read that this is based on real life and Carhart just changed the names. So it may very well be the arrondissement that Carhart himself has been living in for a long time since in the book, the shop was in the quartier he lives in.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/26/19 11:24 AM

Just adding a non-fiction book discussed in another PW thread, for future reference: Pianists at Play.
Posted By: spartan928

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/27/19 02:06 AM

This was a fascinating read;

Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand
James Barron
Posted By: spartan928

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/27/19 02:19 AM

And I just started this;

Practicing Perfection: Memory and Piano Performance
Chaffin, Imreh & Crawford
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Nonfiction Piano Books - 04/27/19 11:07 PM

Will add these when I have a few minutes!

Chopin In Paris is rather slow. Interesting topic (could have been at least) but way to detailed, I’m not sure I’m going to finish it. It’s a little boring.
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