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Books devoted to one piece

Posted By: Animisha

Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 04:06 PM

Yesterday a good friend of mine told me that there is a book with specific exercises for Für Elise. Does any of you know of other books like that - that is, books with specific exercises for a specific piece?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 04:22 PM

Alfred Cortot composed studies for Chopin Études Op. 10 and for Op. 25. He possibly composed other studies too. There are also more contemporary studies on specific pieces such as these two studies for learning Chopin Étude Op. 10 No. 2.

Since études are studies, I guess these are studies for studies. I find this notion amusing and wonder if there are studies for studies for studies? Maybe someone should create studies for these studies (above) laugh
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 05:11 PM

It's amazing the ingenuity of humans to make money from writing books that teach you how to read another book.

And I thought "Piano for Dummies" was a silly title.......
Posted By: Animisha

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 05:18 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
writing books that teach you how to read another book

No, I think you misunderstood bennevis. I don't mean a book teaching me how to read another book - I mean books very specifically dedicated to teach me how to play a certain piece!
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 05:51 PM

Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by bennevis
writing books that teach you how to read another book

I don't mean a book teaching me how to read another book - I mean books very specifically dedicated to teach me how to play a certain piece!

That's exactly the analogy I was making.

To enable one to read a book, one learns the language and vocabulary in as much complexity as the book uses, and then (perhaps with the help of a dictionary) read that book - as slowly as necessary to digest the words properly.

To play Für Elise, one learns the language (musical notation) and the skills required to tackle it. Just like vocabulary: finger control for simple arpeggios and scales and chords and repeated notes, pedaling skills for straightforward legato pedaling etc.

Doing 'specific exercises' for each of those separately out of another book? An easy money spinner by the author, hoping to entice those with inadequate skills to tackle the piece into believing that those 'exercises' will be a quick fix.......(- any pianist with decent skills will be able to conceive of such 'exercises').
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 05:52 PM

Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by bennevis
writing books that teach you how to read another book

No, I think you misunderstood bennevis. I don't mean a book teaching me how to read another book - I mean books very specifically dedicated to teach me how to play a certain piece!

One and the same.

It would be nice to have specific didactic books on pieces, and that’s why we do the study groups here. There is one for the Tchaikovsky Seasons (October), one for the Chopin Nocturne in C#min, one for the Clements Sonatina, one for Autumn leaves and others.

Feel free to start one - is there a specific piece you’d like to learn?
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 06:05 PM

Originally Posted by Animisha
Yesterday a good friend of mine told me that there is a book with specific exercises for Für Elise. Does any of you know of other books like that - that is, books with specific exercises for a specific piece?


While it's not a book for a specific piece, the next best thing - or even better, perhaps - is Eleanor Bailie's The Pianist's Repertoire, Chopin: A Graded Practical Guide. London, Kahn & Averill, 1998. (with reprints in 2000 and 2005).

Almost the entirety of Chopin's oeuvre is discussed in this book, piece by piece, from the standpoint of technical challenges, possible solutions to master some of those challenges and interpretive suggestions. Many discussions are accompanied by examples from the score. For many of the more complex pieces, Bailie devotes three, four, five pages of detailed analysis and technical suggestions. Even the afore-mentioned C-sharp minor posthumous Nocturne gets a full four pages for example. While not everyone will agree with everything that Bailie writes, this book, in my opinion, is well worth continued study and on-going reference.

Regards,
Posted By: Animisha

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 06:08 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
It would be nice to have specific didactic books on pieces, and that’s why we do the study groups here.
Feel free to start one - is there a specific piece you’d like to learn?

A study group is really good (and so are video tutorials) but the Für Elise book has 25 exercises to give the student both theoretical and technical skills, in order to be able to perform this piece, and that appeals to me very much. And it is something a study group cannot really give.
No, there is not a specific piece I had in mind. I just don't feel like playing Für Elise, but I thought if there are more of these kinds of books, I might chose a piece and practise it in this way - a piece that without such exercises would be too difficult for me. It would be a really nice to work like this, just for a change.
Posted By: malkin

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 06:15 PM

If I wrote down what my teacher tells me when I am working on a piece, I would have such a book for every piece I study.
Posted By: agraffe

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 06:28 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
It's amazing the ingenuity of humans to make money from writing books that teach you how to read another book.


Slightly and briefly OT: Has anyone else read, and loved, How To Read a Book by Adler and van Doren?
Posted By: apassionata

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 06:37 PM

James Rhodes wrote on how to play Bach prelude in C From WTC.

https://crosseyedpianist.com/2016/09/29/how-to-play-the-piano-by-james-rhodes/
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 07:21 PM

Originally Posted by agraffe
Originally Posted by bennevis
It's amazing the ingenuity of humans to make money from writing books that teach you how to read another book.


Slightly and briefly OT: Has anyone else read, and loved, How To Read a Book by Adler and van Doren?

Yes! 3hearts

What a wonderful book! After I read this book, I read all of À la recherche du temps perdu - all 3000 pages. Adler's was an amazing book. I wish they had made us read this book before our mandatory freshman expository writing class in college. I might have saved 100+ hours on my essays just by using his structured-interpretive-critical method on our assigned books!

So far, I've read about 30 of the books on his reading list, but only about 15 of those were after I read Adler's book, include Proust.

If you want to discuss agraffe, send me a PM! smile
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 07:25 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
It's amazing the ingenuity of humans to make money from writing books that teach you how to read another book.

And I thought "Piano for Dummies" was a silly title.......

So you think Alfred Cortot was silly in creating studies for Chopin's "studies?" Or perhaps the word is "ingenious?" wink
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 07:32 PM

Originally Posted by Animisha
No, there is not a specific piece I had in mind. I just don't feel like playing Für Elise, but I thought if there are more of these kinds of books, I might chose a piece and practise it in this way - a piece that without such exercises would be too difficult for me. It would be a really nice to work like this, just for a change.

There are a number of other such books. Besides ones mentioned BruceD, appassionata, and I, above, there is this book, also with 25 studies on:

Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 07:38 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

So you think Alfred Cortot was silly in creating studies for Chopin's "studies?" Or perhaps the word is "ingenious?" wink

Yes - in fact, some of his studies to prepare one for Chopin's studies are harder than the studies his studies are meant to prepare you for.

If you get my drift smirk .

Hmmm, that gives me an idea - how about I write a book on 50 studies to prepare the student to play Für Elise and Rondo alla turca (two pieces for the price of one - a bargain whistle), which are harder than those pieces.

Then I can sit back and rake in the royalties and stop working, so that I can write more studies to prepare the student to play Clair de lune, Minuet in G (by any composer - how's that for value?), The Entertainer, Maple Leaf etc, etc, etc. Should be enough royalties to keep me fed for a lifetime......... grin
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 09:39 PM

So far , I thought Für Elise was itself a preparation piece that was intermediary for more complex ones... I just wonder what sort of exercices are in this book as to me the piece is essentially based on arpeggios, some chords, a chromatic scale and that's about it; all fairly standard components, so what would be so specific that it would need a dedicated practice book ?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 09:55 PM

Originally Posted by Sidokar
So far , I thought Für Elise was itself a preparation piece that was intermediary for more complex ones... I just wonder what sort of exercices are in this book as to me the piece is essentially based on arpeggios, some chords, a chromatic scale and that's about it; all fairly standard components, so what would be so specific that it would need a dedicated practice book ?

That's an anti-étude view of learning piano which is that pieces of real music prepare you for progressively more difficult pieces of real music. But there is also a pro-étude point of view of learning piano that says there is some use that can be made of exercises and studies, whether these are Czerny, Bergmueller, Edna Mae Burnam, Chopin or Liszt études. In the latter view, many beginners method books like mine, have a separate section in every unit for little studies that help with the learning of repertoire in that unit. Whether it is practicing fingers 4 & 5, practicing playing thirds smoothly, or something else.

A book of studies for Für Elise is no different. Obviously those in the bennevis and Sidokar camp (not picking on you two - you represent what I think is a completely legitimate point of view on "studies") would say these are useless, just play real music to prepare for more real music, but there can be different pedagogical points of view on this. The bottom line is many pianists and teachers both play and teach études. I don't think it is something to minimize if a piano student thinks they need some additional help or a teacher thinks some étude could be useful in underscoring some technique.

For example, there is an étude which stresses downbeats and rhythm in 3/8 time. Whether such an étude is useful at all will depend on the individual. I'm sure there are people who are naturally rhythmical who won't need anything of the kind.
Posted By: petebfrance

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 10:15 PM

I have to admit to being torn between thinking 'what a nice, helpful idea' writing a book on how to play Für Elise and thinking of it as cynical opportunism because so many beginners want to play it. Tricky. When I 'taught myself' painting I found that there was an immense amount of 'how to paint' material on sale - learners are notorious in that field for seeking the 'magic formula' that will transform them into 'artists' and unsurprisingly there are plenty of folk around willing and eager to relieve them of their money - rather like those sellers of patent medicines that cropped up in old western films. Some of the material is good, some - well, you can imagine.
I did once 'help' an adult new to the piano to learn to play Für Elise, much against my will (I'm not qualified to do anything of the kind) but I weakened in the end and they made a good job of it. I think that was more due to the person's innate intelligence and feeling for music than my prompting. Didn't really do any exercises, though, that I can remember (it was a long time ago, feels like another existence now) - it seems like quite a nice exercise in itself.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 10:19 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

That's an anti-étude view of learning piano which is that pieces of real music prepare you for progressively more difficult pieces of real music. But there is also a pro-étude point of view of learning piano that says there is some use that can be made of exercises and studies, whether these are Czerny, Bergmueller, Edna Mae Burnam, Chopin or Liszt études. In the latter view, many beginners method books like mine, have a separate section in every unit for little studies that help with the learning of repertoire in that unit.

Actually, I think you misunderstand me, and probably Sidokar too.

I believe etudes have a place - after all, I play Chopin and Liszt etudes (which are of course much more than mere studies to develop technique). What I object to is so-called studies to 'prepare' the student for something like Für Elise, which has no unusual corners to negotiate, and is one of the many examples of intermediate pieces which anyone who has acquired the right skill set for that level, and learnt (classical) piano properly should have no difficulty in learning it, without having to learn something off-the-wall or technical which he hasn't tackled before in his previous learning.

What do I mean by that? Something like Rondo alla turca, which has broken octaves as well as octaves which many students learning it will not have encountered before, and may well need to learn - and practice - a new technique to play it. Or Scarlatti's Kk141, which is fairly easy if it wasn't for its repeated notes - again, a student may need studies to develop that specific technique.

Anyone writing a book of studies to prepare a student to play a piece like Für Elise is basically out to make money - as I said earlier, any halfway decent pianist (not necessarily a teacher) can invent convincing "exercises" for it.

Quote
A book of studies for Für Elise is no different.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 10:51 PM

Some - and I emphasize "some" - of the Cortot preliminary exercises for the eventual playing of the Chopin Etudes are over-the-top, over-kill and technically more demanding than the Etudes for which these exercises claim to prepare the pianist. I suppose one could say that if you can master Cortot's exercises, then Chopin's Etudes are a piece of cake, every one of them. Some of the Cortot exercises may be useful. It's up to the pianist to choose which of them might be so. Has anyone ever calculated how much time and effort would go into preparing every one of the Cortot exercises, some of which, although brief, are to be played "in every key."

I agree with bennevis that a book of exercises to prepare the student pianist to play "Für Elise" is superfluous in the extreme. The student who is at a level where s/he is "ready" to play "Für Elise" is already able to play broken chords, Alberti bass and arpeggios without having to spend money on a publication that purports to teach what should already be known.

A cash-grab aimed at the gullible, I guess.

Regards,
Posted By: malkin

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 10:53 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
...Anyone writing a book of studies to prepare a student to play a piece like Für Elise is basically out to make money - as I said earlier, any halfway decent pianist (not necessarily a teacher) can invent convincing "exercises" for it.

Give over!!
Even your beloved John Thompson and your young and inexperienced teachers from long ago and far away and the exam system that you recall so fondly made money on your piano instruction and the materials that you learned from. Did they not?
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:04 PM

Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by bennevis
...Anyone writing a book of studies to prepare a student to play a piece like Für Elise is basically out to make money - as I said earlier, any halfway decent pianist (not necessarily a teacher) can invent convincing "exercises" for it.

Give over!!
Even your beloved John Thompson and your young and inexperienced teachers from long ago and far away and the exam system that you recall so fondly made money on your piano instruction and the materials that you learned from. Did they not?

John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course is well-conceived and teaches the basics of piano playing properly (with the help of a teacher, of course), as did my four teachers. Without them, I would have remained an ignoramus. My teachers fully deserved what they were paid, and more.

Whereas that Für Elise book I referenced is nothing more than a cynical money-making venture that any half decent pianist could write.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:07 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
Anyone writing a book of studies to prepare a student to play a piece like Für Elise is basically out to make money - as I said earlier, any halfway decent pianist (not necessarily a teacher) can invent convincing "exercises" for it.

Why would you think that these studies are not being created by a half decent teacher? Let's take four examples from the book that is mentioned:

Quote
Study 10: The dotted sixteenth rhythm is used to "push" the pickup figure into the first note of the next measure. In order to play this rhythm correctly, you must be able to subdivide and feel the last sixteenth note of the measure. Study no. 10 prepares the student for this dotted rhythm by first introducing the pickup without the dotted sixteenth. Beethoven not only introduced the dotted rhythm with the 32nd, but he also used it as reinforcement for the appoggiatura in the next measure where the fast 32nd note is repeated and resolved. The best solution to play this repeated note is to change fingers on the same note, shifting to a new hand position to resolve the appoggiatura. This solution is shown at the end of this study. Pay attention to dynamics and articulation. Make sure to play all the slurs as written.

...

Study 12: At the end of the B section, Beethoven modulates to C major, and writes some runs in C major, doubling the meter feel to a 32nd note groove. Before playing the runs, he first uses 2nd notes in alternating octaves, creating a tremolo effect, and at the same time, does not shift entirely into a 32nd note feel since the compound line created is still changing every 16th note. Study no. 12 prepares the shifting from the 16th notes to the 32nd notes using tremolo appearance as an aid. Pay attention to dynamics and articulation. Make sure to play all the slurs as written.

...

Study 13: At the end of the C section, the quasi cadenza is based on 16th triplets arpeggios and a chromatic scale. Study no. 13 will resolve the counting and technical difficulties by increasing the amount of 16th note triplets one at a time. The left hand is playing a simple pattern using 3 eighth notes. Carefully match those three-eighth notes with the triplets on the right hand without changing the tempo. Pay attention to dynamics and articulation. Make sure to play all the slurs as written.

....

Study 17: In this short study, you will play and analyze elements from the Bagatelle, and a variation of the element is introduced. The main theme starts with an anacrusis which is one bar plus an eighth note long. So the downbeat for the song is actually on measure two, not counting the pickup measure. The anacrusis is built around the 5th degree of the key of A minor. A lower neighboring tone is used as a repeated pattern to drive the repetition of the 5th degree until it resolves to the one (i or 1 or A). The variation has the same length as the original anacrusis, and also moves around the same 5th degree, but is alternating between an upper neighboring tone (F) and a lower neighboring tone as the drive for the repetition of the 5th degree. The resolution has also been altered in shape and target (target note is now the 3rd degree of the i).

...


Now I contrast this with studies from my method book (near end of the book):

Quote
In early church music, there was a system of scales called modes, built on different arrangements of half steps and whole steps. In widest use today are the Ionian (our major scale) and the Aeolian (our minor scale). Four modes are still used quite frequently in folk music and in compositions by 20th century composers. They are:
DORIAN
LYDIAN
PHRYGIAN
MIXOLYDIAN
Like major and minor scales, each of the modes can be transposed by following the pattern of whole steps and half steps. Here are two examples of music written in modal style. Study 62 is in the Dorian mode. Study 63 is in the Lydian mode.


My point is that I fail to see how former group of studies is any less competent or more useless than the latter group of studies.

In the pro-étude view of learning piano, beginners do studies to focus them on certain techniques or to make them aware of certain things in the music (note that the first of my method book's studies in the quote above is numbered 62 - there are 61 before this point). None of the 4 things in the 4 example studies given for the bagatelle is something that beginners should know or understand just by looking at the score. Having it explained can be very enlightening and add something to the music being played. Otherwise why is it that when any new ABF forum study group forms, there is an analysis of the piece as one of the first orders of business?

Perhaps you've been advanced pianists so long you've forgotten what it was like to be a beginner? We can't just do things ourselves without help or explanations/discussions. 13 months and 1 week ago, I was puzzling out spaces and lines on the page, and if you asked me about "dorian mode," I probably would have said it refers to the capitals on a Greek architectural column laugh 'appoggiatura' would have been a meaningless multi-syllabic word. I'm doing better now, but mainly through books, practice, and teacher. Saying that one should put a score in front of one and play it is not particularly useful - although that is often what one just does because there is no other way. But when there is indeed something that can offer guidance and add to the appreciation of what is being played, then why is that a "scam?"

Originally Posted by bennevis
Whereas that Für Elise book I referenced is nothing more than a cynical money-making venture that any half decent pianist could write.

Cynical. If so, then you should write one and teach beginners about anacrusis and quasi cadenzas and all manner of enlightening things. As beginners, we want to be enlightened and staring at a score can be enlightening, but having it explained to a beginner can be even more enlightening!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:24 PM

Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by bennevis
...Anyone writing a book of studies to prepare a student to play a piece like Für Elise is basically out to make money - as I said earlier, any halfway decent pianist (not necessarily a teacher) can invent convincing "exercises" for it.

Give over!!
Even your beloved John Thompson and your young and inexperienced teachers from long ago and far away and the exam system that you recall so fondly made money on your piano instruction and the materials that you learned from. Did they not?

thumb grin
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:25 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


Now I contrast this with studies from my method book (near end of the book):

Quote
In early church music, there was a system of scales called modes, built on different arrangements of half steps and whole steps. In widest use today are the Ionian (our major scale) and the Aeolian (our minor scale). Four modes are still used quite frequently in folk music and in compositions by 20th century composers. They are:
DORIAN
LYDIAN
PHRYGIAN
MIXOLYDIAN
Like major and minor scales, each of the modes can be transposed by following the pattern of whole steps and half steps. Here are two examples of music written in modal style. Study 62 is in the Dorian mode. Study 63 is in the Lydian mode.

What is the relevance of all that to learning Für Elise?


Quote
In the pro-étude view of learning piano, beginners do studies to focus them on certain techniques or to make them aware of certain things in the music (note that the first of my method book's studies in the quote above is numbered 62 - there are 61 before this point). None of the 4 things in the 4 example studies given for the bagatelle is something that beginners should know or understand just by looking at the score. Having it explained can be very enlightening and add something to the music being played. Otherwise why is it that when any new study group forms, there is an analysis of the piece?

You keep misunderstanding what I - and BruceD - is getting at.

Für Elise is not a piece for beginners.

Quote
Perhaps you've been advanced pianists so long you've forgotten what it was like to be a beginner?

No, in fact, I do remember what it's like. I also kept diaries of much of my early years learning the piano, which I've kept to this day - my piano lessons were one of the highlights of my childhood.

What I remember very well was that none of my teachers over-burdened me with superfluous stuff. I was learning to play the piano, not learning to be a musicologist. (It never ceases to amaze me the amount of 'book' stuff some people here think is necessary to their piano playing.)

Like for instance, why would they teach me Dorian and Lydian mode when none of my pieces used them? The same as why would they teach me to beat time in 5/4 when I wasn't learning any piece in 5/4?
Posted By: keystring

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:36 PM

A different take. I looked up who wrote the book. He is a film composer. No teaching background whatsoever.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:38 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


Now I contrast this with studies from my method book (near end of the book):

Quote
In early church music, there was a system of scales called modes, built on different arrangements of half steps and whole steps. In widest use today are the Ionian (our major scale) and the Aeolian (our minor scale). Four modes are still used quite frequently in folk music and in compositions by 20th century composers. They are:
DORIAN
LYDIAN
PHRYGIAN
MIXOLYDIAN
Like major and minor scales, each of the modes can be transposed by following the pattern of whole steps and half steps. Here are two examples of music written in modal style. Study 62 is in the Dorian mode. Study 63 is in the Lydian mode.

What is the relevance of all that to learning Für Elise?

My point is not about Für Elise, but with studies being used to support learning by piano students. I just pointed out, you later confirmed that in a general sense, studies on Dorian and Lydian modes could be considered as useful/useless for piano students as studies on pushing the pickup figure into another measure. I think these studies are no worse than the ones in my method book. In fact, they are a lot better explained and justified. Often, the studies in my method book have no more than a one line explanation/justification so that the student doesn't feel they are entirely disconnected from the repertoire they are learning.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Quote
In the pro-étude view of learning piano, beginners do studies to focus them on certain techniques or to make them aware of certain things in the music (note that the first of my method book's studies in the quote above is numbered 62 - there are 61 before this point). None of the 4 things in the 4 example studies given for the bagatelle is something that beginners should know or understand just by looking at the score. Having it explained can be very enlightening and add something to the music being played. Otherwise why is it that when any new study group forms, there is an analysis of the piece?

You keep misunderstanding what I - and BruceD - is getting at.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Für Elise is not a piece for beginners.

A distinction without a difference, unless you are trying to point out that big boys and girls don't do studies at all any more. And that was the point I made earlier. Some people might think that studies/etudes/exercises aren't useful (whether at all, or beyond a certain point) but there are other differing opinions.

Originally Posted by bennevis
What I remember very well was that none of my teachers over-burdened me with superfluous stuff. I was learning to play the piano, not learning to be a musicologist. (It never ceases to amaze me the amount of 'book' stuff some people here think is necessary to their piano playing.)

Like for instance, why would they teach me Dorian and Lydian mode when none of my pieces used them? The same as why would they teach me to beat time in 5/4 when I wasn't learning any piece in 5/4?

Well, you could be quoting that great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes: smile
Quote
“I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

- Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (1887)
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:42 PM

Originally Posted by keystring
A different take. I looked up who wrote the book. He is a film composer. No teaching background whatsoever.

Yes, he is a pianist who graduated from Berklee. I assumed he learned a few things at Berklee.
Posted By: keystring

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/24/19 11:49 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
Like for instance, why would they teach me Dorian and Lydian mode when none of my pieces used them? The same as why would they teach me to beat time in 5/4 when I wasn't learning any piece in 5/4?

True, though I'd like to offer up the following anecdote.

When I was studying violin I had a "study buddy" in another country in Europe, studying viola. By pure chance both of us were given the Saint Saens Swan to play by our respective teachers. We'd share recordings, videos, and experiences. Both of us, independently, kept playing one line of music with one wrong note, and we tried to come up with tricks to remember the right one, because something made each of us want to play a different note. Years later I asked my present teacher, "Hey, how about analyzing Swan?" since we do analysis, and I got curious about my pieces from my past music world. That "tricky" line of music was built on a secondary dominant. Thus you'll have a non-diatonic note. (For example, in C major, V/V is D, which has an F#, not diatonic to C major). It was that note which threw us. I'm not arguing for a book, but I do think getting some amount of theory makes a difference.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:06 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Originally Posted by bennevis
What I remember very well was that none of my teachers over-burdened me with superfluous stuff. I was learning to play the piano, not learning to be a musicologist. (It never ceases to amaze me the amount of 'book' stuff some people here think is necessary to their piano playing.)

Like for instance, why would they teach me Dorian and Lydian mode when none of my pieces used them? The same as why would they teach me to beat time in 5/4 when I wasn't learning any piece in 5/4?

Well, you could be quoting that great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes: smile
Quote
“I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

- Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (1887)

Thank you.

Sherlock is my hero, along with Hercule.

They used their grey cells in logical fashion, discarding the superfluous (but seemingly plausible) clues and getting straight to the heart of the matter, to solve their cases. And they never lost sight of the basics.......like who stood to gain from someone's death grin.

In the same way, my teachers taught in a logical manner of progression. At Grade 1 (after one year), I had to be able to (sight-)read and play simple music in simple keys (no more than one accidental) - including their scales and broken chords, HS -, recognize and beat time to music in simple duple, triple and quadruple time, and recognize simple intervals. And of course, I was also learning the basic theory applicable to what I was playing. Because I was learning and playing music which made use of all those, so everything I learnt was logical and everything was used on a regular basis.

More stuff got added little by little, as I started learning more and more complex pieces, and developed more technical skills over the years. But the basics that I learnt were still being used, and reinforced at every stage.

I never felt I was being overwhelmed by what I was having to learn, or the skills I had to master, at every step of the way.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:06 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

That's an anti-étude view of learning piano which is that pieces of real music prepare you for progressively more difficult pieces of real music. But there is also a pro-étude point of view of learning piano that says there is some use that can be made of exercises and studies, whether these are Czerny, Bergmueller, Edna Mae Burnam, Chopin or Liszt études ....

A book of studies for Für Elise is no different. Obviously those in the bennevis and Sidokar camp (not picking on you two - you represent what I think is a completely legitimate point of view on "studies") would say these are useless, just play real music to prepare for more real music, but there can be different pedagogical points of view on this ....

For example, .....


Hi Tyrone, I did not know that I was in any particular camp, so thank you to help me finally realize who I am... That said I do believe Etudes are usefull to practice particular skills. And like Bennevis said many etudes are also great music so you have the benefits of both. I wasn't opening a discussion on the theoretical benefits of doing only real music or etudes+music (there is probably already more than a thread on that). Now all of this is not that relevant for beginners as the difference between music and exercices is not significant before you reach a certain level. I think everybody that learnt classic piano has done exercises and studies (scales and arpeggios being one obvious examples) so all of this is just a matter of degree rather than a black and white type discussion.

For this thread, My comment is simply a pragmatic one. I am quite aligned with what bennevis said. Für Elise is already an intermediary level piece in particular when playing the middle section with the repeated notes. I have read your extract and I still do not see what is the benefits of these "specially designed" studies. Für Elise is composed of quite standard components so one should not need anything special other than learning to play arpeggios, chords, trills, repeated notes and a chromatic scale.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:09 AM

Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
Like for instance, why would they teach me Dorian and Lydian mode when none of my pieces used them? The same as why would they teach me to beat time in 5/4 when I wasn't learning any piece in 5/4?

True, though I'd like to offer up the following anecdote.

When I was studying violin I had a "study buddy" in another country in Europe, studying viola. By pure chance both of us were given the Saint Saens Swan to play by our respective teachers. We'd share recordings, videos, and experiences. Both of us, independently, kept playing one line of music with one wrong note, and we tried to come up with tricks to remember the right one, because something made each of us want to play a different note. Years later I asked my present teacher, "Hey, how about analyzing Swan?" since we do analysis, and I got curious about my pieces from my past music world. That "tricky" line of music was built on a secondary dominant. Thus you'll have a non-diatonic note. (For example, in C major, V/V is D, which has an F#, not diatonic to C major). It was that note which threw us. I'm not arguing for a book, but I do think getting some amount of theory makes a difference.

I know what you are talking about. I've had pieces which were difficult for me to play because they didn't make sense to me - they harmonies seemed wrong, and other stuff like that. It was like something inside of me resisted learning them because I didn't understand them. I didn't know if I was even playing them correctly because I couldn't imagine how they properly should sound or what the different parts should do. I still don't know a lot of music theory, but if I did, I just think it would have been easier.

And by the way, these that I've struggled with that I mentioned are 20th cent. composers - Tcherepnin and Bartok in particular. It just shows me that probably even though I am reading music, there is still a "playing by ear" component of the learning. And if my ear doesn't understand the piece, then the entire house ends up being built crooked.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:22 AM

A member of PW, Philip A. Johnston has written and published many of these type of books:

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Cho...mp;qid=1553473341&s=books&sr=1-6

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Burgm%C3%BCller-Ballade-op-100/dp/1925443000/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=The+Bootcamp+Edition&qid=1553473400&s=books&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-J-S...mp;qid=1553473231&s=books&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Sch...mp;qid=1553473269&s=books&sr=1-2

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Tch...mp;qid=1553473295&s=books&sr=1-4

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:25 AM

Originally Posted by Sidokar
Hi Tyrone, I did not know that I was in any particular camp, so thank you to help me finally realize who I am...

Oh sorry, I shouldn't have used that term at all although I qualified it. I was just referring to those who believe that études are not so useful vs those that believe they are. But actually now, both of you have clarified it isn't that you don't believe they aren't useful, it's that you don't believe they are useful for learning this particular piece.

Originally Posted by Sidokar
That said I do believe Etudes are usefull to practice particular skills. And like Bennevis said many etudes are also great music so you have the benefits of both. I wasn't opening a discussion on the theoretical benefits of doing only real music or etudes+music (there is probably already more than a thread on that). Now all of this is not that relevant for beginners as the difference between music and exercices is not significant before you reach a certain level. I think everybody that learnt classic piano has done exercises and studies (scales and arpeggios being one obvious examples) so all of this is just a matter of degree rather than a black and white type discussion.

Thanks for clarifying your point. I understand the point that both you and benevis are making. I don't agree, but as I elaborate on below, I only have a peg leg to stand on wink

Originally Posted by Sidokar
For this thread, My comment is simply a pragmatic one. I am quite aligned with what bennevis said. Für Elise is already an intermediary level piece in particular when playing the middle section with the repeated notes. I have read your extract and I still do not see what is the benefits of these "specially designed" studies. Für Elise is composed of quite standard components so one should not need anything special other than learning to play arpeggios, chords, trills, repeated notes and a chromatic scale.

Thank you for looking at those 4 examples. So let me back track. I don't know if they are useful in general, I find the descriptions useful as they explain things about this piece that I did not know, and short of taking more advanced courses, I would probably not find out were they not explained to me.

In this way, I find it enlightening and as useful as I find Richard's analysis of study pieces, which I find fascinating and useful and I hope he keeps it up! thumb

Also, if I were to play this piece, I feel like it does indeed help me to understand certain things. For example, one of the studies I did not extract was one on the pedal point and the importance of the pedal point in this being after the tonic and not on the note. This was justified by some music theoretical explanation of what Beethoven was trying to achieve. Now I know myself that I am quite sloppy at pedaling. I always pedal and change on the note. And having it explained how important it is for this piece that the pedaling be done correctly, I think would be useful from an interpretive perspective.

The bits from these 4 that I did extract also seem to add some interpretive depth. Again, I could be totally imagining this - I can only point out so many times that the whole of my piano experience is 13 months+1 week, and many of you have two, three or four times this amount in years of experience, so I am not trying to be didactic here - I wouldn't have a leg to stand on. (well, maybe a peg leg!) I only am trying to convey my own opinions about this stuff, how I reason about this stuff, and what I am finding useful or think (!) I find useful. laugh

It maybe as you say that conventional piano pedagogy doesn't find studies for intermediate pieces to be generally useful. Who am I to argue otherwise? So let me drop a big caveat on everything I said in this thread so far, that I only am referring to my own views in this matter, and clearly cannot speak for others... (And once again, sorry to have categorized you, wrongly as it turns out!)
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:37 AM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
A member of PW, Philip A. Johnston has written and published many of these type of books:

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Cho...mp;qid=1553473341&s=books&sr=1-6

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Burgm%C3%BCller-Ballade-op-100/dp/1925443000/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=The+Bootcamp+Edition&qid=1553473400&s=books&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-J-S...mp;qid=1553473231&s=books&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Sch...mp;qid=1553473269&s=books&sr=1-2

https://www.amazon.com/Bootcamp-Tch...mp;qid=1553473295&s=books&sr=1-4


I have some of Johnston's books. In fact, one of the above. They are useful to practice a piece with. But the ones I have don't have in them studies, per se. For example, they try to teach people to play parts of pieces in different rhythms, articulations, tempi, etc. But what these books that I have of his don't do is focus on any difficult spots. For example, if there is a very fast 32nd note section or a chromatic scale section, I haven't seen any special attention on something like that, in the book. The books break the pieces up into chunks but as far as I've seen so far, each chunk is treated in the same manner as any other chunk.

I think the basic assumption in the book is that you are playing a grade level piece, you have all the skills and techniques you need for the piece, including any interpretive skills and knowledge, and now the book will show you how to practice it so you can play it at performance tempo and not make errors during your recital/exam.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:42 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


Now I contrast this with studies from my method book (near end of the book):

[quote]In early church music, there was a system of scales called modes, built on different arrangements of half steps and whole steps. In widest use today are the Ionian (our major scale) and the Aeolian (our minor scale). Four modes are still used quite frequently in folk music and in compositions by 20th century composers. They are:
DORIAN
LYDIAN
PHRYGIAN
MIXOLYDIAN
Like major and minor scales, each of the modes can be transposed by following the pattern of whole steps and half steps. Here are two examples of music written in modal style. Study 62 is in the Dorian mode. Study 63 is in the Lydian mode.



That is an interesting extract. I do not quite understand the link with the discussion in the thread, but this is typically a good example of a text that can be quite misleading and from what I understand of it completely false or at a minimum poorly written thus inducing wrong conclusions. The subject being rather technical and complex, I think no one cares too much and it is of little use (probably even none) when it comes to playing Chopin. I am not sure what you could do with this content, inaccurate in addition of being vague.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 12:52 AM

Originally Posted by Sidokar
That is an interesting extract. I do not quite understand the link with the discussion in the thread, but this is typically a good example of a text that can be quite misleading and from what I understand of it completely false or at a minimum poorly written thus inducing wrong conclusions. The subject being rather technical and complex,

Yes, as I pointed out to bennevis, I only used this example to say that the studies for the bagatelle were no worse, and maybe even better, than the studies (for something else) in my method book, and that it is very conventional in piano pedagogy to use studies. My method book has 65 studies whose point it is to teach techniques to use in the repertoire also in this book.

But I see this argument was unnecessary as neither of you were saying that studies aren't useful or that the specific studies for the bagatelle were bad, but I believe (correct me if I am wrong again) you are just saying that those 25 studies are "unnecessary," regardless of their quality or lack of it.

Originally Posted by Sidokar
I think no one cares too much and it is of little use (probably even none) when it comes to playing Chopin. I am not sure what you could do with this content, inaccurate in addition of being vague.

Well, Chopin is far beyond the scope of the method book this example comes from! smile
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/25/19 11:47 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Hi Tyrone, I did not know that I was in any particular camp, so thank you to help me finally realize who I am...

Oh sorry, I shouldn't have used that term at all although I qualified it. I was just referring to those who believe that études are not so useful vs those that believe they are. But actually now, both of you have clarified it isn't that you don't believe they aren't useful, it's that you don't believe they are useful for learning this particular piece.

In this way, I find it enlightening and as useful as I find Richard's analysis of study pieces, which I find fascinating and useful and I hope he keeps it up! thumb

Also, if I were to play this piece, I feel like it does indeed help me to understand certain things. For example, one of the studies I did not extract was one on the pedal point and the importance of the pedal point in this being after the tonic and not on the note. This was justified by some music theoretical explanation of what Beethoven was trying to achieve. Now I know myself that I am quite sloppy at pedaling. I always pedal and change on the note. And having it explained how important it is for this piece that the pedaling be done correctly, I think would be useful from an interpretive perspective.

It maybe as you say that conventional piano pedagogy doesn't find studies for intermediate pieces to be generally useful.


Tyrone, on my response, I was just gently teasing you ! so no issue whatsoever. : smile:
For sure I see that you want to sort of look into the engine to understand the inner workings. It can be motivated by the purpose of composing or simply by sheer interest and personal education. Its all a matter of how far you need to go until it becomes superfluous from the point of view of piano playing.To fix an issue in the engine does not require to have a PHD in mechanical physics and usually those who do have a PHD do not know how to fix a broken engine (at least their PHD does not help them do that).
My view is that to interpret a piece of music you do not need to be a music expert but it does imply you have a pretty good knowledge of the style of the piece and the composer in question so you can make your own choices as to how you want to play it. For example many people use Bach inventions essentially as training materials but have little clue as to how it is supposed to be played (sometimes they dont even know what the ornamental signs are) so they go to You Tube and mimic Glen Gould or whatever other musician they like. I believe if you reach a certain level, piano playing should also include music learning, the different styles, how baroque is different from classic, what is the difference between Schumann sonatas and Beethoven's, ....... I guess thats part of the journey so you can become an educated musician and not just a key hammering machine. But that's just my view .....

To illustrate, I was having a thread on Haendel recently. So here are 2 versions of the same piece, the well know Sarabande. The first one is based on the urtext score on the piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72TRvxjSnYo

The second one is on harpsichord with a typical baroque ornamentation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVR...6EpqgLvqCCQBEQPPDI&index=54&t=0s
Posted By: John305

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/26/19 01:08 AM

Wow the wheels really fell off of this post. Getting back to Animisha’s question, how about these.

from Mystery to Mastery vol 1

From Mystery to Mastery vol 2
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/26/19 01:31 AM

Originally Posted by John305
Wow the wheels really fell off of this post.

LOL. Clearly the topic of études targeted at specific pieces instead of études targeted at general development of pianism, engenders some strong feelings in some people! smile

Originally Posted by John305
Getting back to Animisha’s question, how about these.

from Mystery to Mastery vol 1

From Mystery to Mastery vol 2

Thanks! I just ordered both of them. Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield has a number of books focused on technique, musicality and artistry, include a series of three books of Burgmuller, Czerny, and Hanon exercises which she curated around certain areas of technique and musicality - I'm working on exercises from this theory in my own piano lessons.

From wandering around from your two links, I see she has specialized books on two pieces in particular also:

Since I have some of her books, I was a little interested in learning more about Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield and found this video:

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/26/19 01:58 AM

Originally Posted by BruceD
While it's not a book for a specific piece, the next best thing - or even better, perhaps - is Eleanor Bailie's The Pianist's Repertoire, Chopin: A Graded Practical Guide. London, Kahn & Averill, 1998. (with reprints in 2000 and 2005).

Thanks! I found that Eleanor Bailie also has done the same with the Haydn piano repertoire.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: Books devoted to one piece - 03/26/19 07:59 AM

I have been absent from my own thread, because I was put off by comments that I experienced as contemptuous. Expressions like dummies and out to make money, as if it is stupid of me to be interested in this.

Just to explain a bit. I play easy pieces, because my video teacher thinks it is necessary to learn technique playing something that is easy - and I agree with her thinking. However, sometimes I feel a longing for something more difficult, and a book with exercises appeals to me, to help me practise a piece that might be too difficult for me otherwise - and that is way beyond what I am playing right now.

So thank you those of you who provided good suggestions!

Originally Posted by John305
Wow the wheels really fell off of this post. Getting back to Animisha’s question, how about these.

from Mystery to Mastery vol 1

From Mystery to Mastery vol 2


John, this was a great suggestion! And, following the name of the first author, I found these:

Nocturne in E-flat

Moonlight sonata

Golliwog's cakewalk
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