Friday, January 31, 2014

Books on Piano, Part 1: Josef Lhevinne's "Basic Principles of Pianoforte Playing"; Introductory Series by Payman Akhlaghi (2014)

Books on Piano: Part 1
Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing
(1924; Dover 1972)
Author: Josef Lhevinne
An Original Introductory Series by Payman Akhlaghi

(*) First published at on January 31st, 2014, under Books on Piano: Part 1....

I'll start this series by introducing one of the most succinct and insightful books on the art of piano that I know of, Joseph Lhevinne's 1924 "The Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing". Republished in 1972 with a foreword by his wife and colleague, Rosina Lhevinne, it has remained as relevant as ever to understand some of the fundamentals of a healthy, musical, and beautiful technique. Written by a legendary virtuoso (see H C Schonberg's "Great Pianists"), it's a no nonsense summary of hands-on advice for making progress in this art, sound in theory, practical in approach. Don't let the little size of the book or its simple language fool you. This is a rare record of a first-rate pianist's mind and practices expressed in most clear terms.

My Favorite Highlights
- The fundamental elements of a beautiful tone:
* Flesh of the fingertip as a soft mallet;
* The relaxed wrist as a shock-absorber;
* Playing the key "on the fly".
- Approach to practicing scales.
- Advice on the choice of tempo.
- Emphasis on developing a sophisticated sense of rhythm.
- Emphasis on accuracy and Ear training.
- Biographic memories of Anton Rubinstein among others.

"Music is painted upon a canvas of silence. Mozart used to say, "Silence is the greatest effect in music." The student, however, does not realize the great artistic value of silence. The virtuoso whose existence depends upon moving great audiences by musical values knows that rests are of vital importance. Very often the effect of the rest is even greater than that of the note. It serves to attract and to prepare the mind. Rests have powerful dramatic effect."

-- © 2014, Payman Akhalghi. All rights reserved.

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist and piano teacher based in Los Angeles. His repertoire covers Classical music, as well as Persian (Iranian) Music, Pop Music, and Film Music. For information on the lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Encino, Brentwood, etc. please call: 310-208-2927. Thank you.

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