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Topic: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....  (Read 5622 times)

Offline kawai_cs

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flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
on: June 08, 2015, 11:15:52 PM
I read: the majority of the pianists who qualified themselves to participate in International Chopin Competition 2015  (ICC 2015) in October come from the Far East.
I read: the president of the ICC 2015 said in an interview she was pleased with the flawless technique, virtuosity and musicality of the pianists from Far East who took part in preliminary round.
I read: in China they go thru the entire Czerny syllabus ending with op 740.
I think: dexterity, velocity comes from intense practice. One does not gain technique by reading Chang and thinking about making the right movements but by repeating the right movements, imprinting them. That is what Czerny's etudes offer. One does not cover all the aspects of technique efficiently by playing random pieces one likes. Czerny isolates the technical problems and thus they can be drilled with high focus. Isn't that something?
Went to Amazon and ordered 299 and 740 ;D
I played a lot of Czerny at music school but it was ages before. Actually those 740 etudes are really NICE!! Some of them resemble Chopin etudes very much.
Any one else fond of op 740? ;D
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline iansinclair

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 01:26:36 AM
IMHO... flawless technique is all very fine, and everyone should aspire to it.  I certainly haven't reached it yet!

But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.
Ian

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 01:39:00 AM
IMHO... flawless technique is all very fine, and everyone should aspire to it.  I certainly haven't reached it yet!

But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.

Of course. But the first one does not stand in contradiction to the latter ;)

I am anticipating I will break my hands on some of the 50 etudes. No 36 totally resembles something by Chopin, I cannot recall right now ...
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline j_menz

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 02:55:01 AM
Since you are expecting Czerny exercises to give you great technical ability, I don't see why you would expect the more difficult of them to be any less demanding then a Chopin etude. Czerny's actual music is certainly no easier than Chopin's, and his exercises, if nothing else, would at least be directed towards enabling you to play that.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline michael_sayers

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 06:32:46 AM
There was a time when many pianists studied the Op. 299 in all keys for each exercise.


Mvh,
Michael

Offline stevensk

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 08:31:10 AM

But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.

-Miserable technique without soul is worse   (and more common)

Offline visitor

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 09:39:48 AM
Best cream rises to the top

Numbers game really.  With so many people by percentage total students pushing towards those comps dwArfs other countries in totals ( ie Maths works out like the analogy you have 1% of 1 million and 2% of 250000, the 1% of 1 mil is way more)

In a county and region w so many. Even the strictest if selection processes will produce a larger pool if highly qualified and naturally but otherwise unusually gifted students.  Run those that are not weeded out through etudes etc and likely makes them even better

The opposite is also almost equally likely true.  That is ,  at that selection level, it is probable they would excel despite having to play x number of exercises by y composer.

We see this in professional sports. There are highly gifted natural  athletes that will be better than many others who do  train and practice much more. Doesn't matter how hard you train a donkey, it won't run like a thoroughbred (horse), even a horse that is not put through same conditioning

It is highly probable that at that level , you would see the same pianists on thy stage and performing to
that extent even without czerny.  The weeding out process early on almost assures us of that.

Throw in lots of smart training and they thrive even more.

There are even arguments that the same etudes that can benefit pianists that gifted may not do any good or even have deleterious effect on those without similar natural aptitude or sufficient  previous training

It's no very politically correct and certainly goes against the rosey colored view of " you can do anything you want if you apply yourself". But it's just not true

Nature doesn't give everyone a gun. Those with guns don't All get the same gun.
Those w the same gun don't all get the same number of bullets or type of bullet(s)
And those with all things being equal will no necessarily be taught or trained to fire said gun the same

Add to mix that if you weed out 99+% of the ones that do not cut it , then in a part of the  world that values piano and that level of mastery ]w a pool of students orders Of magnitude more than other counties and you see the domination the Asian kids are displaying.  Try are absolutely whopping everyone's butts

Offline j_menz

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #7 on: June 09, 2015, 10:36:14 AM
Nature doesn't give everyone a gun. Those with guns don't All get the same gun.
Those w the same gun don't all get the same number of bullets or type of bullet(s)

Y'alls murricanness is showing.

 ;D
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline visitor

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #8 on: June 09, 2015, 11:08:16 AM
Y'alls murricanness is showing.

 ;D
I led w dairy
That progression was inevitable  ;)

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #9 on: June 09, 2015, 10:19:44 PM
Since you are expecting Czerny exercises to give you great technical ability, I don't see why you would expect the more difficult of them to be any less demanding then a Chopin etude. Czerny's actual music is certainly no easier than Chopin's, and his exercises, if nothing else, would at least be directed towards enabling you to play that.
J_menz, you are certainly right, I too see the more advanced ones of op 740 as equal in difficulty grade to Chopin etudes. That is why I also ordered op 299 ;) Listening to op 740 I realized that, even though I played a lot of Czerny back at music school, I only played 3 of 740 opus.
Yes, I do expect technical improvement thanks to playing thru as many Czerny etudes as I like as I would expect it with playing any other regular studies highly focused on different aspects of technique and structured gradually.
 I have an issue with building up speed now. Somehow I can't remember having this problem before I stopped playing, 15 years ago ::) Anyways, since it is a gradual study course to build up technique and I do not have a teacher it does seem convenient way for me to be somehow guided in my efforts.


We see this in professional sports. There are highly gifted natural  athletes that will be better than many others who do  train and practice much more. Doesn't matter how hard you train a donkey, it won't run like a thoroughbred (horse), even a horse that is not put through same conditioning

It is highly probable that at that level , you would see the same pianists on thy stage and performing to
that extent even without czerny.  


Visitor, I think that comparison to sports works only partly. Running is a natural activity, anyone can run. Playing the piano must be learned and practiced carefully and this process takes several years, even with prodigys. Aimi Kobayashi or Tiffany Poon or any other extremely talented child did not start playing Prokofiev's piano concertos, Chopin Ballades or any other demanding repertoire once they were seated at the keyboard. They went thru systematic training which everybody actually needs to play the piano well. It may have been Czerny, I guess.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline quantum

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #10 on: June 10, 2015, 12:27:23 AM
But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.

Very well put!

IMO, one should understand the reasons behind acquiring the ideal of flawless technique.  Technique can be a drug, when you have acquired it you can get high on it and not want for anything else.  
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline briansaddleback

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #11 on: June 15, 2015, 07:35:04 PM
IMHO... flawless technique is all very fine, and everyone should aspire to it.  I certainly haven't reached it yet!

But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.
why is there always someone who comments in this fashion after some mention or conversation of technique? Or a viewing of some pianists competing showcasing good technique?

My hats off to those who have great technique. They play well and I can only wish to get to their technical level. And I feel they have lots of soul and emotion in the way they play as well.
Work in progress:

Rondo Alla Turca

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #12 on: June 15, 2015, 07:46:39 PM
I think they just want to cheer themselves up by denying the fundamental value of technique to artistry. The truth is actually - there is no artistry without decent technique.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline stevensk

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #13 on: June 15, 2015, 08:52:26 PM
I think they just want to cheer themselves up by denying the fundamental value of technique to artistry. The truth is actually - there is no artistry without decent technique.

Very well put!

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 11:27:02 PM
I think they just want to cheer themselves up by denying the fundamental value of technique to artistry. The truth is actually - there is no artistry without decent technique.
1)  Every art form has its own individual technique, however, the modern conservatory approach to playing the piano is obsessed with it, in my opinion.

2) I spent decades playing useless exercises, scales, broken chords, et al., before I discovered Thomas Mark.  He is a former Taubman Coach (and a Certified Alexander Technique Coach) who teaches that the normal human body has more than the ability to "play the notes" (my words).

3)  What he leaves out in his pedagogical approach is the specific that there are no muscles in the fingers of the human hand.  The piano is played with the muscles of the lower forearm, through the articulation of the fingers, which are supported by the strength of their associated ligaments and tendons.  Therefore, regular whole body strength training is essential to the playing of the piano, in my opinion.

True, there are "Interossei" muscles below the knuckles which allow the hand to twist from side to side which "may" facilitate trill performance, if properly developed.

4)  What I learned about the Chinese having the ability to play with all of this facility happened on New Year's Eve when I saw Lang Lang play the Tchaikovsky, live on television.  Right in the middle of his performance he lifted up his left hand, shook it, and visibly winced in pain.

To review, Lang Lang mashes chords in his left hand on a regular basis.  This is something which not a single one of you (even his supporters) has been taught to do.  The bottom line is that this beats up the ulnar nerve.

Therefore, am I suggesting that these so-called Chinese master technicians are being injected with Prednisone to medicate their abuse of their hands?   Yes, I am, just like the East Germans cheated their way to many an a Olympic Gold Medal.

Accordingly, Czerny exercises, mostly taught for a solid wood sound board (with no cast iron enforcements) is the answer to all of our technical problems?  "Lucy, I don thin so."

The human body, and it associated hand, has the same musculoskeletal structure for all!

Offline outin

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #15 on: June 17, 2015, 05:57:13 AM
1)  Every art form has its own individual technique, however, the modern conservatory approach to playing the piano is obsessed with it, in my opinion.

I assume you don't really mean what you wrote above? That's like saying there's only one painting technique?



The human body, and it associated hand, has the same musculoskeletal structure for all!

Of course it doesn't. Anatomy text books will describe the "norm" or average structures, but variation between individuals in real life is great and many kinds of anomalies exist. Even the way tendons are attached in the hand differ, which must have direct consequences to usable playing techniques.

Offline iansinclair

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #16 on: June 18, 2015, 02:58:50 AM


Quote from: iansinclair on June 09, 2015, 01:26:36 AM
IMHO... flawless technique is all very fine, and everyone should aspire to it.  I certainly haven't reached it yet!

But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.

Quote from Briansaddleback:
why is there always someone who comments in this fashion after some mention or conversation of technique? Or a viewing of some pianists competing showcasing good technique?

My hats off to those who have great technique. They play well and I can only wish to get to their technical level. And I feel they have lots of soul and emotion in the way they play as well.
   
I think they just want to cheer themselves up by denying the fundamental value of technique to artistry. The truth is actually - there is no artistry without decent technique.

My friends -- I do not wish to deny -- or even suggest -- that there is no artistry without decent technique.  That wouldn't occur to me.  On the other hand -- I do wish to suggest, perhaps more strongly after reading these two quotes -- that there is absolutely no artistry without soul, and in a lifetime of conducting and concertizing I have heard too many young and not so young pianists (and other young and not so young musicians) playing with brilliant technique and absolutely no understanding of the music whatsoever.

Execution A, Artistry F.

Please endeavour to have both!
Ian

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #17 on: June 18, 2015, 01:42:31 PM


Execution A, Artistry F.

Please endeavour to have both!

Yes, we do indeed. And this thread is about the first.
Beyond that, e.g. Czerny op 740 etudes are beautiful pieces. Once one is able to play them (they are difficult) they can show the players artistry. Apart from that, artistry is not WHAT you play, but HOW.

Louispodesta, if one cannot play Czerny applying Taubman approach then Tubman approach is really missing something.

I assume you don't really mean what you wrote above? That's like saying there's only one painting technique?

Louispodesta, I agree with Outin in this point.  You seem to think that the methodology you are using is teaching the only possible, correct way of playing. Well, many teachers and methodologies teach what are the principles of Taubman teachings, that is playing taking into consideration the physiology of human body. It is nothing new really. Taubman approach simply names those things clear and makes it look like if she invented them.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #18 on: June 18, 2015, 09:04:15 PM
Y'alls murricanness is showing.

 ;D

My national pride has never been greater  ;D

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #19 on: June 18, 2015, 10:53:11 PM
Yes, we do indeed. And this thread is about the first.
Beyond that, e.g. Czerny op 740 etudes are beautiful pieces. Once one is able to play them (they are difficult) they can show the players artistry. Apart from that, artistry is not WHAT you play, but HOW.

Louispodesta, if one cannot play Czerny applying Taubman approach then Tubman approach is really missing something.

Louispodesta, I agree with Outin in this point.  You seem to think that the methodology you are using is teaching the only possible, correct way of playing. Well, many teachers and methodologies teach what are the principles of Taubman teachings, that is playing taking into consideration the physiology of human body. It is nothing new really. Taubman approach simply names those things clear and makes it look like if she invented them.
1)  In his memoir, Earl Wild, who had a gargantuan technique (who I used to call every year on his birthday, late in his life) stated that, by an large, traditional technique exercises, including scales, arpeggios, and the like, are pointless.  However, he did state that certain the Czerny exercises can have a major benefit.

2)  The difference between Thomas Mark and the rest of the Taubman alumni is that HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!!  When one sits down for a coaching session with this man for the first time,  after a few minutes you just sit their quietly in absolute wonderment as to how well he has put it all together in terms of piano technique.

Accordingly, the point of my original response is that Thomas Mark, myself, and the late Earl Wild put forth that there is no traditional Russian/Chinese magic bullet to achieving facility at the piano.  And, that is in sharp contrast to the way I was originally taught along with all of the others who continue to cow-tow to the traditional conservatory approach to gaining a solid piano technique.

Offline anamnesis

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #20 on: June 18, 2015, 11:11:25 PM
1)  In his memoir, Earl Wild, who had a gargantuan technique (who I used to call every year on his birthday, late in his life) stated that, by an large, traditional technique exercises, including scales, arpeggios, and the like, are pointless.  However, he did state that certain the Czerny exercises can have a major benefit.

2)  The difference between Thomas Mark and the rest of the Taubman alumni is that HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!!  When one sits down for a coaching session with this man for the first time,  after a few minutes you just sit their quietly in absolute wonderment as to how well he has put it all together in terms of piano technique.

Accordingly, the point of my original response is that Thomas Mark, myself, and the late Earl Wild put forth that there is no traditional Russian/Chinese magic bullet to achieving facility at the piano.  And, that is in sharp contrast to the way I was originally taught along with all of the others who continue to cow-tow to the traditional conservatory approach to gaining a solid piano technique.

At least according to this article, there is no magic bullet to Russian pedagogy.  It's a combination of attrition of those who  make the cut and simply hard work toward developing fluency is basic musicianship at a young age that in the US is often ignored until the post-secondary level. 

Quote
The foundation of music education is laid down long before an aspiring student sets foot in a conservatoire. At its core is a network of specialist music schools all over the territory of the former Soviet Union. The syllabus at these schools is uniform whether you are studying in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev, or Yerevan. One normally enters such a school around the age of seven and, if the young musician is lucky to survive the tough competition, remains there for 11 years. Out of the 27 pupils enrolled in my first year, only four original pupils reached the final semester. Alongside normal academic subjects, there are obligatory subjects such as music theory, analysis, harmony, solfeggio (sol-fa), rhythm and music literature, as well as regular instrumental classes. That in itself is not so unique – children study these subjects in the West as well – it’s the rigour with which we were made to study these disciplines that is different.

I still remember a rhythm class when I was eight years old. One of the exercises was to listen to a tune in 3/4 time played by the accompanist, sing the melodic line in unison, while tapping the rhythm with your feet and conducting in 3/4 time with one hand and in 4/4 time twice as slowly with the other.

In the solfeggio class, amongst other tasks, we were made to write down quite complex dictations in one, two, three and four parts within 10-15 minutes, listen to and recognise chains of intervals played at high speed, analyse and recognise after one hearing long harmonic progressions, and conduct and sing at sight and in real tempo Bach’s and Shostakovich’s fugues. The class was divided into several groups according to our vocal range. I still vividly remember singing at a rather vigorous pace Shostakovich’s Fugue No 3 in G major in this manner. Swingle Singers, move over!

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/features/focus/the-agony-and-the-ecstasy-my-musical-training-in-soviet-russia

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #21 on: June 18, 2015, 11:26:42 PM
"At least according to this article, there is no magic bullet to Russian pedagogy.  It's a combination of attrition of those who  make the cut and simply hard work toward developing fluency is basic musicianship at a young age that in the US is often ignored until the post-secondary level."

At a very young age, taught by example from my father, all I did was play stupid exercises (which I pointlessly continued to do into my 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's)!

No, sir, it is not "hard work,"  which makes the difference.  It is instead a proper kinesiology approach to having the human body efficiently play this instrument. That is what a certified Alexander Technique Coach by the name of Thomas Mark teaches.

If it was left up to hard work, with great teachers along the way, I would have attained my goals decades ago.  As it is, with my recent psoriatic arthritis flare-up (which was preceded by my accidental right thumb dislocation), I would not be finishing up my memorizing of the Debussy Fantasy and the 1st Movement of the Rach 2nd.

Go figure, for someone who will next month be 64!

Offline anamnesis

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #22 on: June 18, 2015, 11:41:22 PM
"At least according to this article, there is no magic bullet to Russian pedagogy.  It's a combination of attrition of those who  make the cut and simply hard work toward developing fluency is basic musicianship at a young age that in the US is often ignored until the post-secondary level."

At a very young age, taught by example from my father, all I did was play stupid exercises (which I pointlessly continued to do into my 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's)!

No, sir, it is not "hard work,"  which makes the difference.  It is instead a proper kinesiology approach to having the human body efficiently play this instrument. That is what a certified Alexander Technique Coach by the name of Thomas Mark teaches.

If it was left up to hard work, with great teachers along the way, I would have attained my goals decades ago.  As it is, with my recent psoriatic arthritis flare-up (which was preceded by my accidental right thumb dislocation), I would not be finishing up my memorizing of the Debussy Fantasy and the 1st Movement of the Rach 2nd.

Go figure, for someone who will next month be 64!


It's not always about physical issues.  The article was talking about musicianship skills, not technical exercises. 

Offline faa2010

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #23 on: June 19, 2015, 08:50:42 AM
You know, you are right, and in some way I both admire and feel jealous about how they have a flawless technique which I wish I can have in this moment.

Nevertheless, we don't have to forget the feeling and interpretation part.

Hard working and good study habits are important, as well as expressing oneself.

I consider that Russians can manage the balance in both technique and interpretation.

I need to look more of the videos where the competitors are, so I can see if the people of Far East can both combine technique and interpretation. Until now, just a Polish and a South Korean have captivated me with their interpretations.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #24 on: June 19, 2015, 10:26:48 PM
It's not always about physical issues.  The article was talking about musicianship skills, not technical exercises. 
No the original post was not.  What the OP has done is to summarize/fuse an original article with the OP's opinion relating to technique and its supposedly related musicality. It is in no way, in my opinion, is the same thing.

The post should read:

1)  I read: the majority of the pianists who qualified themselves to participate in International Chopin Competition 2015  (ICC 2015) in October come from the Far East.
I read: the president of the ICC 2015 said in an interview she was pleased with the flawless technique, virtuosity and musicality of the pianists from Far East who took part in preliminary round.
I read: in China they go thru the entire Czerny syllabus ending with op 740.

and then

2)  I think: dexterity, velocity comes from intense practice. One does not gain technique by reading Chang and thinking about making the right movements but by repeating the right movements, imprinting them. That is what Czerny's etudes offer. One does not cover all the aspects of technique efficiently by playing random pieces one likes. Czerny isolates the technical problems and thus they can be drilled with high focus. Isn't that something?
Went to Amazon and ordered 299 and 740 Grin
I played a lot of Czerny at music school but it was ages before. Actually those 740 etudes are really NICE!! Some of them resemble Chopin etudes very much.
Any one else fond of op 740?

Offline michael_sayers

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #25 on: June 20, 2015, 09:40:06 AM
Hi Louis,

I am fond of the Op. 740 and think it is artistically above Op. 299 and Op. 365.


Mvh,
Michael

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #26 on: June 20, 2015, 10:33:51 PM
Hi Louis,

I am fond of the Op. 740 and think it is artistically above Op. 299 and Op. 365.


Mvh,
Michael
Thank you for your comment, but everyone keeps missing my original point, which is:

1)  These exercises were written for pure wooden sound board pianofortes which in no way have the same keyboard resistance of a modern grand, and

2)  Why does one have to go through this routine at all?  Accordingly, I will share with you something I wrote to in a private message having to do with speed practice.

It has to do with the concept of direct keyboard tactile touch at an extremely slow tempo and then morphing this into a Rachmaninoff-like speed tempo.  My major teacher, the late Robert Weaver, taught the first part of this to all of his students.

First, you sit very quietly at the keyboard, and that includes your breathing and whole body relaxation.  This is important because you are building positive muscle memory from the ground up.

Next, you play a five finger scale in each hand, with super soft staccato.  This is done by striking the key from its surface (just the way Egon Petri taught Earl Wild!).

Then, you get it where you can do this with both hands, depending on your own individual level of dexterity.  So, when you can do this with no forced effort, you can move on to the speed practice.

From this point on, you view every technical section as a scale cluster, broken chord section, or an arpeggiated section.  This is played up or down, hands separately or hands together.

You then play a particular section of the piece in question as fast as you can, utilizing your pre-disposed soft, surface quick staccato tactile sense that you gained from the first section of this discourse.  Accordingly, you alternate between full arm weight and no arm weight.

I use the term Rachmaninoff-like technique because this is what he taught his students.

Or, you can waste your time playing exercises, all of which Rachmaninoff did before he came up with this regimen (which was probably taught to him at Conservatory).

Offline keypeg

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #27 on: June 21, 2015, 12:49:47 AM
Louis, that sounds interesting and it also makes sense.

Offline michael_sayers

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #28 on: June 21, 2015, 08:41:22 AM
Thank you for your comment, but everyone keeps missing my original point, which is:

1)  These exercises were written for pure wooden sound board pianofortes which in no way have the same keyboard resistance of a modern grand, and

2)  Why does one have to go through this routine at all?  Accordingly, I will share with you something I wrote to in a private message having to do with speed practice.

It has to do with the concept of direct keyboard tactile touch at an extremely slow tempo and then morphing this into a Rachmaninoff-like speed tempo.  My major teacher, the late Robert Weaver, taught the first part of this to all of his students.

First, you sit very quietly at the keyboard, and that includes your breathing and whole body relaxation.  This is important because you are building positive muscle memory from the ground up.

Next, you play a five finger scale in each hand, with super soft staccato.  This is done by striking the key from its surface (just the way Egon Petri taught Earl Wild!).

Then, you get it where you can do this with both hands, depending on your own individual level of dexterity.  So, when you can do this with no forced effort, you can move on to the speed practice.

From this point on, you view every technical section as a scale cluster, broken chord section, or an arpeggiated section.  This is played up or down, hands separately or hands together.

You then play a particular section of the piece in question as fast as you can, utilizing your pre-disposed soft, surface quick staccato tactile sense that you gained from the first section of this discourse.  Accordingly, you alternate between full arm weight and no arm weight.

I use the term Rachmaninoff-like technique because this is what he taught his students.

Or, you can waste your time playing exercises, all of which Rachmaninoff did before he came up with this regimen (which was probably taught to him at Conservatory).

Hi Louis,

Thanks for the very interesting and informative post!


Mvh,
Michael

Offline xxhottie88xx

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #29 on: June 25, 2015, 08:04:59 PM
IMHO... flawless technique is all very fine, and everyone should aspire to it.  I certainly haven't reached it yet!

But... flawless technique without soul is absolutely worthless.

I apologize on behalf of all the Chinese pianists for their lack of soul. It seemed like their physical practice did not bring their music closer to your soul. Now because I care about my potential audience, would you teach me a Chinese Canadian pianist on how to have a soul so my music can be more worthy to you? Please give me clear and direct instructions. Is it about the God I worship? Be it Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary or Buddha? Is it about the book I read from? Be it bible, dao de jing or Chinese communist propaganda. Is it hormone related? Is it money related? If I tell you, I found out an artist named Hitler has so much passion and charm, does it mean he has a soul and it's easier for him to convey emotions to you? Is the soul only approachable from the physical world, aroused by physical stimulations? Please enlighten me.

Offline visitor

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #30 on: June 25, 2015, 08:27:20 PM
@^xxh....
or you can do what I did. Just eat the yolks of an eagle's egg.  It gives me soul. It's the nutrients. It's the power.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #31 on: June 25, 2015, 10:24:46 PM
I apologize on behalf of all the Chinese pianists for their lack of soul. It seemed like their physical practice did not bring their music closer to your soul. Now because I care about my potential audience, would you teach me a Chinese Canadian pianist on how to have a soul so my music can be more worthy to you? Please give me clear and direct instructions. Is it about the God I worship? Be it Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary or Buddha? Is it about the book I read from? Be it bible, dao de jing or Chinese communist propaganda. Is it hormone related? Is it money related? If I tell you, I found out an artist named Hitler has so much passion and charm, does it mean he has a soul and it's easier for him to convey emotions to you? Is the soul only approachable from the physical world, aroused by physical stimulations? Please enlighten me.
The statement is often made that the Chinese, and I have friends who are Tawainese, make a a huge deal about the art of copying.  Some of them consider it to be a fine art in terms of vases and small sculpture.

So, when I listen to Lang Lang in solo performance, I hear six or seven different pianists performing.  Piece number one is patterned after a particular recording, and then so on.

That is not individual voice pianism.  No one plays the piano the way I do, and I have endured over 50 years of pain and suffering (some of which continue to do this day) to manifest my particular art form.

Please park your reverse Xenophobia (as I am also a philosopher) and instead spend your energies learning how to paint, dance, and act dramatically.  That is how (to answer your question) you get there, with your own individualized personal development!

 - and, not with some formulized Czerny like Study.

Offline xxhottie88xx

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #32 on: June 25, 2015, 11:45:26 PM
The statement is often made that the Chinese, and I have friends who are Tawainese, make a a huge deal about the art of copying.  Some of them consider it to be a fine art in terms of vases and small sculpture.

So, when I listen to Lang Lang in solo performance, I hear six or seven different pianists performing.  Piece number one is patterned after a particular recording, and then so on.

That is not individual voice pianism.  No one plays the piano the way I do, and I have endured over 50 years of pain and suffering (some of which continue to do this day) to manifest my particular art form.

Please park your reverse Xenophobia (as I am also a philosopher) and instead spend your energies learning how to paint, dance, and act dramatically.  That is how (to answer your question) you get there, with your own individualized personal development!

 - and, not with some formulized Czerny like Study.

Are you afraid/mad/angry/upset that after they copied piano they will also copy genes? loll ...

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #33 on: June 26, 2015, 10:08:57 PM
Are you afraid/mad/angry/upset that after they copied piano they will also copy genes? loll ...
Like I said, "reverse Xenophobia."  Please stick to the post's premise of playing the piano.

And, for the record there are many Chinese scientists/ sports specialists trying to do what you suggest, which is not to copy genes, but to instead enhance a gene pool.   We, occidentals are not totally clueless.

Offline xxhottie88xx

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #34 on: June 29, 2015, 08:54:09 PM
Like I said, "reverse Xenophobia."  Please stick to the post's premise of playing the piano.

And, for the record there are many Chinese scientists/ sports specialists trying to do what you suggest, which is not to copy genes, but to instead enhance a gene pool.   We, occidentals are not totally clueless.
So since this mix is now inevitable in this generation, can't you open up your soul and try to accept?

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #35 on: June 29, 2015, 10:32:52 PM
So since this mix is now inevitable in this generation, can't you open up your soul and try to accept?
Here is the drill!  And, I am not the only one who visits this website who has been asked to worship at the altar of the Russian/Chinese/Ukranian, et al new piano wonder.

We are not, as directly inferred by the OP, asked to admire a Chinese pianist, instead we are not supposed to even remotely consider their superior approach to piano pedagogy as anything but superior to ours.

For the record, when a local pianist of my city was admitted to the freshman piano class at Juilliard, he was the only American citizen admitted that year.  Do you really think that people do not pay attention to the fact that everyone else with a "Student Visa" was admitted over 330 million Americans?   Who do you think, through their tax system of tax exempt college foundations, subsidizes that school?

Acceptance?  Acceptance has to do with a specific set of facts, and that does not mean if you play Czerny as most of the Chinese students do, that you are in any way shape manner or form a superior student to anyone else on this planet.

Offline xxhottie88xx

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #36 on: June 29, 2015, 11:51:08 PM
Here is the drill!  And, I am not the only one who visits this website who has been asked to worship at the altar of the Russian/Chinese/Ukranian, et al new piano wonder.

We are not, as directly inferred by the OP, asked to admire a Chinese pianist, instead we are not supposed to even remotely consider their superior approach to piano pedagogy as anything but superior to ours.

For the record, when a local pianist of my city was admitted to the freshman piano class at Juilliard, he was the only American citizen admitted that year.  Do you really think that people do not pay attention to the fact that everyone else with a "Student Visa" was admitted over 330 million Americans?   Who do you think, through their tax system of tax exempt college foundations, subsidizes that school?

Acceptance?  Acceptance has to do with a specific set of facts, and that does not mean if you play Czerny as most of the Chinese students do, that you are in any way shape manner or form a superior student to anyone else on this planet.

I'm not saying we should worship their artistry, I'm saying based on the fact that we all know we are now not superior to them(or me) in an art that we(or you) have invented, if someone is beating us(or you) at our(or your) own game, I suggest we(yes, as in we, all of us) adapt some of their approach to art. Chinese culture (Russians too) focus on the training of discipline at a young age, therefore they practice piano, a western instrument just like they practice kung fu, they spend endless hours on those soulless etudes invented by someone completely lack of soul exactly because they need to build the "foundation" of the soul (Qi). Then they learn the rest of the superficial things, the presentation, or in your words, the "dramatic expression".

Yes, Chinese did something stupid by doing tests on embryos, but those are Chinese embryos, their own kind. What's the difference between them and Marie Curie who died 150 years ago because she was exposed in X Ray for too long just to add two extra elements to the periodic table? Is Marie Curie stupid? No, scientific discovery and understanding come with the sacrifice of human life. It's inevitable.

Also the Chinese idea of "individual" and "collective" is a bit different, just look at how they eat, they put all the food on the table and everyone shares the dish where in the west everyone gets their own dish. I've typed this long to plead to you to simply acknowledge these cultural differences and open up your soul, you could find a new world, because you're lucky you already mastered piano.

Offline outin

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #37 on: June 30, 2015, 04:31:04 AM
Here is the drill!  And, I am not the only one who visits this website who has been asked to worship at the altar of the Russian/.../Ukranian, et al new piano wonder.


New? I thought that area has been producing great pianists for over a century now...

Offline xxhottie88xx

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #38 on: June 30, 2015, 06:45:20 AM
New? I thought that area has been producing great pianists for over a century now...

When the west meets the east, impressionism was born with the little bit of knowledge that French obtained from the Japanese.

When the east meets the west, it was due to colonization that people felt a survival threat so they had to learn a western instrument.

Trust me, as the only country that did not sign on the Traite de Versailles in Paris, Chinese are the ones that care the most about peace and harmony. If tomorrow USA destroys all the bombs, all the Chinese will go back to learn Erhu and Guzheng, though they might acknowledge piano and violin do sound better, but they're the last people in the world that wanted to touch "other instruments from other civilisations".

Offline outin

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #39 on: June 30, 2015, 07:43:42 AM
When the west meets the east, impressionism was born with the little bit of knowledge that French obtained from the Japanese.

When the east meets the west, it was due to colonization that people felt a survival threat so they had to learn a western instrument.

Trust me, as the only country that did not sign on the Traite de Versailles in Paris, Chinese are the ones that care the most about peace and harmony. If tomorrow USA destroys all the bombs, all the Chinese will go back to learn Erhu and Guzheng, though they might acknowledge piano and violin do sound better, but they're the last people in the world that wanted to touch "other instruments from other civilisations".


Now you got me totally lost...How does that relate to what I wrote about Russia/Ukraine?

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #40 on: July 01, 2015, 11:03:06 PM
I'm not saying we should worship their artistry, I'm saying based on the fact that we all know we are now not superior to them(or me) in an art that we(or you) have invented, if someone is beating us(or you) at our(or your) own game, I suggest we(yes, as in we, all of us) adapt some of their approach to art. Chinese culture (Russians too) focus on the training of discipline at a young age, therefore they practice piano, a western instrument just like they practice kung fu, they spend endless hours on those soulless etudes invented by someone completely lack of soul exactly because they need to build the "foundation" of the soul (Qi). Then they learn the rest of the superficial things, the presentation, or in your words, the "dramatic expression".

Yes, Chinese did something stupid by doing tests on embryos, but those are Chinese embryos, their own kind. What's the difference between them and Marie Curie who died 150 years ago because she was exposed in X Ray for too long just to add two extra elements to the periodic table? Is Marie Curie stupid? No, scientific discovery and understanding come with the sacrifice of human life.
Testing on embryos?  The factual statement is that if the Ultrasound shows a female fetus, and then if there is already one female in the family, then the pregnancy is terminated.  And, that is done approximately 100 million times a year!

Your soul?  Since I was old enough to understand, I was taught that my essence, as a Roman Catholic, was my "immortal" soul.

It has nothing to do with an "approach to art."

Offline falala

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #41 on: July 05, 2015, 10:29:48 AM
Very well put!

IMO, one should understand the reasons behind acquiring the ideal of flawless technique.  Technique can be a drug, when you have acquired it you can get high on it and not want for anything else.  

LOL. Yeah - most of us who don't actually HAVE a world-class technique like using words like this to justify it to ourselves.

Offline falala

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #42 on: July 05, 2015, 10:30:52 AM
I think: dexterity, velocity comes from intense practice. One does not gain technique by reading Chang and thinking about making the right movements but by repeating the right movements, imprinting them.

Agreed, and I think that's really often overlooked.

Offline xxhottie88xx

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #43 on: July 08, 2015, 08:18:12 PM
Here is the drill!  And, I am not the only one who visits this website who has been asked to worship at the altar of the Russian/Chinese/Ukranian, et al new piano wonder.

We are not, as directly inferred by the OP, asked to admire a Chinese pianist, instead we are not supposed to even remotely consider their superior approach to piano pedagogy as anything but superior to ours.

For the record, when a local pianist of my city was admitted to the freshman piano class at Juilliard, he was the only American citizen admitted that year.  Do you really think that people do not pay attention to the fact that everyone else with a "Student Visa" was admitted over 330 million Americans?   Who do you think, through their tax system of tax exempt college foundations, subsidizes that school?

Acceptance?  Acceptance has to do with a specific set of facts, and that does not mean if you play Czerny as most of the Chinese students do, that you are in any way shape manner or form a superior student to anyone else on this planet.

 I'm asking you to stop being so ego centric and open up your soul. Any Artist should first be a human, then practice art. And to do that it requires discipline (Qi) first. This is eastern thinking. You can argue the soul of music is different from the soul of Kung fu, or the soul of somebody who have been coding 40 years to earn enough coding expertise to build the pianostreet website for all of us. Though there're differences, I believe kindness is common. It's all about helping people. Since you have to consider yourself superior because you're white and your white ancestors have invented European classical music, why don't you use your privileges to help the others less privileged (according to u) And improve their lifes? By telling them their music have no soul is a huge damage to those poor unfortunate souls. It makes you a bad person don't do that again.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: flawless technique, Chinese pianists, Czerny....
Reply #44 on: July 08, 2015, 10:21:30 PM
I am going to keep this short and to the point, as follows:

1)  I am not white, and I have never been, the particulars of which are none of your business.  Suffice it to say, I have experienced racism every day of my 63 year old life!

2)  This post is supposed to be about the opinions raised regarding the blind devotional practice of a certain teacher's (Karl Cerny) practice methodology.

In the future, is you so desire, please reply by private message.  And, as a classically trained pianist/philosopher, whose work has been formally reviewed by the Royal Institute of Philosophy at Cambridge, I do not need any lectures on the subject of what constitutes a "soul."

Good day, and good luck to you.

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