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Piano for dummies - Blake N.

Blake N. Piano for dummies - IDG, 1996. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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Part VII
The Part of Tens
The 5th Wave
By Rich Tennan
In this part...
lothing tough about this part at all. Part VII is the # W light reading part of this book. You can read up on some legendary performers, find things to do after you finish this book (like reading it again!), and receive my complimentary (actually, you paid for them) Teacher-Tracking Tips.
Whatever you do, find a cozy spot to sit back and relax while you read this part. Get away from the hum of your keyboard or the dust on your piano for awhile. You deserve it; you’ve been working (playing!) way too hard.
Chapter 18
Ten Types of Performers and Their Recordings
In This Chapter
p Performers who define musical styles
p Great performances preserved in great recordings
• ••••••••••••♦••♦»••»•»»•»«»»«I»1»«#*#»«»**«»*»#«»»
^^rsonally, I don’t like to categorize music. Regardless of the category,
V you like a song, or the performer of that song, simply because you like it — not because of what style or genre it fits into. Put simply, you don’t need a cowboy hat to enjoy a Garth Brooks CD. But visit any record store, supermarket, or even your own sock drawer, and you realize that categorization is an unavoidable part of life. So, please allow me to introduce you to some legendary keyboardists and their recordings, separated for you by ... category.
Old Masters
Many of the composers of classical music were also keyboard players — some of them better known for their playing ability than the music they wrote. Whether they used a piano, harpsichord, or pipe organ, these old masters managed to find a set of black and white keys to suit their styles.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Regarded by many as the forefather of Western music — not to mention that he was the actual father of many musicians — this German musician (1685-1750) learned to play the violin under the tutelage of his father. After his parents died, Bach moved in with his big brother, who taught him to play
270 Part VII: The Part of Tens
the organ. At the age of 18, Bach got a job as a church organist. This job didn’t last long — the church said he improvised too much. He took a job at another church in Weimar, where he had to compose a new piece for the choir and organ every month. Thankfully, this church did not discourage his improvisations, thus giving the world the masterpieces it now knows and loves.
Ludu/ig (/an Beethoven
One of the greatest composers that ever lived, German-born Beethoven (1770-1827) was also a great pianist. His piano-playing and original piano pieces were in high demand throughout his career. Unlike many other composers, he became a celebrity during his lifetime. He would change the rules and shock the public, but people still lined up to buy his next piano sonata. Although Beethoven was opposed to naming his sonatas, his publisher insisted that he do so. Names like “Moonlight” and “Appassionata” sold sheet music by the bundle.
Tragically, Beethoven began to lose his hearing as he got older. He would often lay his ear on the piano lid as he played, just to feel the vibrations of the strings. By the end of his life he was completely deaf, unable to hear the crowds cheering. And, oh, how they did cheer!
Franz Liszt
This Hungarian pianist’s father taught him piano and began to exploit his talents when he was only 9. Young Liszt (1811-1886) toured constantly and never even took the time to receive a formal education.
A reputation for theatrical and awe-inspiring concerts produced a huge demand for his music and an enormous fan club (not to mention a nice-sized ego). He’s rumored to have once played so hard he broke a piano string. “Lisztomania” became a cultural phenomenon, and although no Liszt action figures survive, he did leave the world a bizarre relic: A plaster cast of his hands was made upon his death.
Sergei Rachmaninoff
This Russian-born musician enjoyed huge success as a composer, conductor, and solo pianist. He also had huge hands. Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) built his own solo repertoire, writing intricate, very difficult compositions.
Chapter 18: Ten Types of Performers and Their Recordings
Shine on, if you can
Countless piano pieces have been called too difficult to play. Perhaps the most infamous of these is Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. As portrayed in the Oscar-winning film Shine, this piece (and an overbearing father) was said to be the catalyst for Australian pianist David Helfgott's complete collapse and subsequent mental disorder.
As the story goes, Helfgott practiced the piece incessantly, even when a keyboard was not close by (like in the shower). He not only
mastered its difficult passages but memorized them! Although the old adage says "practice makes perfect," the moral of this story is that too much practice makes problems — Helfgott was so consumed by the piece that he had a complete nervous breakdown.
Later in life, afterthe success of the biographical movie, Helfgott commenced a worldwide tour, but his once extraordinary talents had been severely damaged.
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