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The study of the piano is now-a-days so general, and good pianists are so numerous, that mediocrity on this instrument is no longer endured. In consequence, one must study the piano eight or ten years before venturing to perform a piece of any difficulty, even at a gathering of amateurs. Now, how few persons are in a position to devote so many years to this study! It often happens, therefore, that for want of sufficient practice the playing is uneven and incorrect. The left hand gives out in passages of slight difficulty; the fourth and fifth fingers are almost useless for lack of special exercises for these fingers, which are always weaker than the rest; and when passages in octaves, in tremolo or trills occur, they are usually executed only by dint of exertion and fatigue, so that the performance is very incorrect and wholly wanting in expression.
For several years we have labored to overcome this state of affairs, making it our aim to unite in one work special exercises which render possible a complete course of pianistic study in far less time.
To attain this end, it sufficed to find the solution of the following problem :
If all five fingers of the hand were absolutely equally well trained, they would be ready to execute anything written for the instrument, and the only question remaining would be that of fingering, which could be readily solved.
We have found the solution of this problem in our work «The Virtuoso-Pianist, in 60 Exercises,» etc. In this volume will be found the exercises necessary for the acquirement of agility, independence, strength and perfect evenness in the fingers, as well as suppleness of the wrists – all indispensable qualities for fine execution; furthermore, these exercises are calculated to render the left hand equally skilful with the right. Excepting a few exercises, to be found in several methods, the entire book is our personal work.
These piano exercises are interesting, and do not fatigue the student like the generality of five-finger exercises, which are so dry that one requires the perseverance of a true artist to summon up courage to study them.
These piano exercises are written in such a manner that, after having read them a few times, they can be played in quite a rapid movement; they thus become excellent practice for the fingers, and one loses no time in studying them. If desired, any of these finger exercises may be played on several pianos simultaneously, rousing a spirit of emulation among the students, and habituating them to ensemble-playing.
All descriptions of difficulties will be met with. The exercises are so arranged, that in each successive number the fingers are rested from the fatigue caused by the one preceding. The result of this combination is, that all mechanical difficulties are executed without effort or weariness; and, after such practice, the fingers attain to astonishing facility of execution.
This work is intended for all piano-pupils. It may be taken up after the pupil has studied about a year. As for more advanced students, they will study it in a very short time, and will thereafter never experience the stiffness which may have been previously felt in fingers or wrists; this will render them capable of surmonting the principal mechanical difficulties.
Pianists and teachers who cannot find time for sufficient practice to keep up their playing, need only to play these exercises a few hours in order to regain all the dexterity of their fingers.
This entire volume can be played through in an hour; and if, after it has been thoroughly mastered, it be repeated daily for a time, difficulties will disappear as if by enchantment, and that beautiful, clear, clean, pearling execution will have been acquired which is the secret of distinguished artists.
Finally, we offer this work as giving the key to all mechanical difficulties. We therefore consider that we are rendering a real service to young pianists, to teachers, and to the directors of boarding-schools, in proposing their adoption of our work, «The Virtuoso Pianist.»
Piano method introduction translated from the French by Dr. Theodore Baker.
Charles Louis Hanon
The Virtuoso Pianist