Craft Of Piano Playing

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The Craft of Piano Playing presents a new, comprehensive and highly original approach to piano technique with a fascinating series of exercises designed to help the reader put this approach into practice. Alan Fraser has combined his extensive concert and pedagogical experience, his long-standing collaboration with the virtuoso Kemal Gekich, and his professional training in Feldenkrais Method to create this innovative technique. Using numerous musical examples and sketches he shows how many common movement habits at the keyboard can be counterproductive, and provides a new way of manipulating the skeletal frame of the hand to produce astonishing sonic results from the instrument. This book suggests that in the light of new insights into the physics of human movement, a further development of piano technique is now possible, and that improved physical ability can free musical individuality to express itself more fully. The series of movement exercises presented activates the physical functions necessary to the pianist, helping both students who need remedial work in basic strength at the keyboard, and those who seek a new dimension of musical understanding and a new path for the development of pianist skills - thus synthesizing musical and physical issues. This approach can also serve as an effective antidote to debilitating performance anxiety, increasing one's emotional security by improving the physical and musical basis for it. By filling in a missing link between intention and physical execution, this book truly aims to advance the "craft of piano playing." Visit Alan Fraser's web site at

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Editorial Reviews

American Music Teacher
...there are topics in this text not really addressed elsewhere. It would make a good 'alternative' pedagogy text for courses about piano technique and a thought-provoking read for the advanced pianist.
— Michael I. Goode
Journal Of The ISSTIP
This study is the result of years of searching and thinking about piano performance and pedagogy; Fraser brings to it his astoundingly profound knowledge of body movement and structure, acquired through his training as a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, and his study of Eastern martial arts such as T'ai chi, in addition to extensive experience as a concert performer and pedagogue...Fraser challenges many common pedagogical beliefs and ideas of movement, with detailed discussions of such areas as arm weight and the role of the arm, legato playing and natural finger shape among others. Although this study is devoted primarily to the physical aspect of playing the piano...fascinating insights and ideas are also provided into the middleground and background, namely rhythm and phrasing, and the emotional content of music.
— Manus Carey
Classical Music
There are many useful ideas here, not just in the technical exercises, but also in the shorter sections on communication and interpretation.
Piano Magazine
The most detailed and intensive study of the subject since Otto Ortmann's seminal work, The Physiological Mechanics of Pianoforte Technique (1929).
— Daniel Stearns
Journal Of The European Piano Teachers' Association [UK]
All serious piano students should acquire this book, which is well-devised, carefully structured, and always laced with humour on this very serious topic…...
— Nadia Lasserson
Fraser fills his book with interesting observations, procedures, and thought-provoking personal concepts. Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810845916
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Canadian pianist Alan Fraser is Professor of Piano and Feldenkrais Method at the Art Academy of the University of Novi Sad, Serbia.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Illustrations Chapter 2 Musical Examples Chapter 3 Applications Chapter 4 Acknowledgments Part 5 SECTION I — THE FOREGROUND: PIANISTIC PROBLEMS IN MUSICAL CRAFT Chapter 6 Part I — Getting Started Chapter 7 Part II — General principles of Movement at the Piano Chapter 8 Part III — Hand Strength and Function A: Perfecting Legato Chapter 9 Part IV — Hand Strength and Function B: The Special Role of the Thumb and Its Relationship to the Forefinger Chapter 10 Part V — Hand Strength and Function C: Octaves to Synthesize Hand and Arm Function Chapter 11 Part VI — Hand Strength and Function D: Maximal Articulation of the Fingers Chapter 12 Part VII — Above the Hand: The Role of the Wrist and Arm in Legato Chapter 13 Part VIII — Rotation Chapter 14 Part IX — Natural Finger Shape Chapter 15 Part X — Some Other Touch Strategies and Combinations Part 16 SECTION II — THE MIDDLEGROUND: SOME GENERAL ASPECTS OF MUSICAL CRAFT Chapter 17 Part XI — Rhythm Chapter 18 Part XII — Phrasing Chapter 19 Part XIII — Orchestration Part 20 SECTION III — THE BACKGROUND: TELL A STORY Chapter 21 Part XIV — Emotional Content Chapter 22 Part XV — A Few Last Thoughts Chapter 23 Appendixes Chapter 24 Bibliography Chapter 25 Index Chapter 26 About the Author

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