Here you are the GOLDEN RULE, detected under the surface of Chopin's and Neuhaus' writings.
How dares thy harsh
rude tongue sound this so pleasing news?
I. Creating the music
according to the Chopin's and Neuhaus' points of view, means:
"The expression of
particular artistic Idea completed by a certain combination of the
II. Both these Masters firmly
advised to let sounds live...
That is why:
Firstly, as I think, in playing the piano we should consider the use
of Vision of the each one sound as the basic source of an
image" created in the pianist's Fantasy by his/hers anticipative hearing could give the definite support to the entire process. This
commanding device will factually work as nearly infinite source of energy,
but under one, the very clear condition yet: it must truly be vivid, active
and dynamic not motionless and static. Only in this case it could fulfill
the real sounds with emotional colors and give them the power 'to fly'...
● Attention, 1: the greater musical talents complete
this 'procedure' just instinctively; they really do not have to think about
such kind of mental/emotional act, they are used to accomplish nearly
reflexively already from the most earliest periods of theirs piano studies.
Do we may speak about musical and/or instrumental instinct? I am
profoundly assured, yes! Moreover, we even should to. In any case, the
ability to think musically and, consequently, the ability to
complete any kind of musical creation on instrument via internal
anticipative [also creative] hearing, but not via deliberating about
notes, keys, names of sounds and/or about hands is the most basic feature
differentiating musical talent from the musically poorly gifted human
Maybe, thoroughly theoretical kind of thinking for all them, who are
strongly gifted in music, is as necessary as aural device for the rabbits.
Unfortunately, to us all who are not so greatly talented, such internal
[creative] musical sounds' forecast, being the essentially valuable
skill, commonly becomes yet the most difficult element in the way toward the
professionally competent piano playing.
● Attention, 2: what in the piano training is
deprived of its emotional and sound-creating imaginary base, automatically
becomes mechanical and, consequently, possess nothing common to the art of
playing the piano. Purely mental and/or mechanical analyze of the process
of creating the music and the forthcoming performance built on such
a soil, would generate as deficient quasi-artistic event, as deficient are
these plants, which are grown being deprived of the solar warmth and light
or children, who are brought up being separated from theirs own parents
and grandparents' love.
The very interesting phenomenon related to this matter is that one:
lack of the purely mental and/or mechanical analyze of the process of creating
the music on the piano puts the actually negative signs on the
forthcoming performance in remarkably smaller
extend than would
cause the lack of vivid emotionality, creative internal hearing and
● Attention, 3: only long-standing experience in work
with both, outstandingly gifted and outstandingly poorly talented students
authorizes me to form the conclusions of that kind I have written down in
the paragraphs above. On the other hand, let you understand me well: I do
not think, really, I am delivering "the absolute truth".
I have personally experienced enough many times indeed, the Life is always
ready to surprise us, and especially then, when we become convinced we have
recognized its Laws until the last end.
Frankly said, I do not believe, any human being may rightfully
declare, he/she factually knows in which order all the
mental/emotional/and the bodily structures and mechanisms are co-operating
within the mind & body entirety belonging to any Greater MUSIC Master. Who knows, perhaps the both kinds of these factors, mental
and the bodily ones exist herein like anions and cations in the
electrolyte. Yes, I know very well, analogies do not explain too much...
Some Masters are still to a certain extent "acidic",
when the others represent rather "base-like"
nature. Of course, this analogy, as any other one, depicts the problem
truly roughly, indeed. In fact, all the events one could meet up on the
Earth, are of so specific character that we truly have no right to conclude
WHAT factually have determined theirs character and a course, and of WHAT
KIND were the factors that finally decided the real shape of this or that
Let you believe, I really do not like to find any kind of the "philosopher's stone".
On the other hand, I strongly believe in possibility to find out and/or
establish some basic directives, which would be able to offer the music
teachers worldwide much more firm fundamental pedagogic support than it has
been known before.
F. Chaliapin let you listen to the voice of The Artist! It really teaches a lot!
Let you be patient, please, watching this video-clip! The Master's voice
will appear just after about 5 minutes.
If the pianist does not like to put the piano sing
expressively, maybe he should start to look for another profession... I do
not like to say, all the singers factually sing many of them just try to
form their voices, and this is exactly the same kind of work, several piano
schools are proposing to the pianists; I mean, technique-building separated
from the musical thought-building. The results have then the same quality
and commonly produce the very similar results: pains in muscles and
bitterness in the soul.
III. Chopin said, "In this unlimited sounds' entirety we have to find a Zone,
which vibrations could be controlled [by our ears] with the greatest ease."
The possibly high quality of
anticipative INTERNAL hearing ought to be understood as the first and most
important thing in the professional piano schooling. Even serious manual
difficulties could be improved via mental energies focused on searching for
the proper sounds' dynamic and coloristic volume. This happens because the
action of that kind RATIONALIZES the usage of energy, generally. It means,
the adequate aural self-control definitely rationalizes the output of
physical power in playing the piano. Though, such Zone we are actually speaking
about, cannot be detected if anticipative INTERNAL hearing would not be
able to create the PATTERNS the pianist could compare with the factually created
! Attention: Vladimir Horowitz said:
a. "For strength, imagine
the fingers singing."
b. "Strength comes from playing musically."
! The Golden Question: do you agree, the most
powerful factor, which actually decides when and what we are
choosing at last, is the particular feature of instinct, strongly rooted in
the individual, very specific kind of moral, sensual and in the area of
Arts purely aesthetical ground?
! You, Dear Visitor, can answer as you
like, but my Golden Answer looks as follows alike:
- Yes, I definitely agree! And, that is why any sort of the mechanically-oriented
instrumental schooling should be seen as the almost rootless formula,
which, focusing the students' attention on very secondary elements of the
matter, definitively isolates them from possibility of positive approaching
toward the essence of the matter.
At this point we finally must
give the proper name to the entire thing:
- individual will to find, recognize, re-create and express the
REAL VALUES we feel, we have discovered under and inside of all the
structural features of any musical OPUS. is a core of the
cores, we are debating about on all the numerous pages of this Web
How to help the student to
increase this Will, perhaps, is the most decisive factor in the
professional piano schooling, generally. In my opinion, going toward this
goal: waking up the artistic sensitivity and creativity of us alone and
of our students is the unique 'Golden Way' that would guarantee both the
quality and the permanence of progress in our Art as well, as would yield
the relatively high level of satisfaction from the style we live and
IV. Prof. Neuhaus said: "Technique cannot be created in a vacuum, just as you cannot
create a form devoid of any content."
The guiding position of the artistic Fantasy
ought to be taken into serious consideration in the piano schooling
worldwide. This postulate must have reference to the each one sound,
motive, phrase and, as well to the musical Form in its entirety.
V. Our "playing mechanism"
is built from not only fingers and hands, from wrists, elbows and
That is why:
● Beyond doubts, Chopin's and Liszt's
famous opinion, "the fingers activate the hand", should be
understood as follows: fingers are and must be seen the most active
elements of the hand. The fingers yet, being deprived of the enough clever
help given by upper parts of the hand, actually would not be able to
complete all the necessary work by themselves only...!
● All other parts of the hand must work as
elements of the great virtual bow, giving fingers the real protection
against keyboard's resistant force and directing them into the side each
one particular phrase is going on. If these other parts of the hand would
only be hold being just loose or even "very free", they
might factually cause many troubles yet, overloading the fingers and
wrists. The next erroneous solution is a will to uncontrolled usage of
upper parts of the hands INSTEAD of using the fingers' naturally big
The spinning surface of the potter's wheel is The
Guarantee of possibility the pot or the amphora could get the beautiful
shape; when the wheel will STOP.... the
work would not already be possible.
The Move is the most basic attribute of Living,
generally. Therefore, the vivid musical thought is a virtual base [and the
Guarantee] FOR the artistic character of being of the sounds' produced by
the pianist; the lifelessness of the musical thought reflects in the
character of the made sound. Completely.
NO ONE physical action could factually be
completed being separated from the specific kind of the MENTAL and WHY
NOT from the strictly instinctive DECISION CREATING PROCESS. Subsequently, it should finally become clear, only
mental ability to originate the PROPER and ENOUGH quickly made "decision", makes possible
that the Playing will develop and go ahead without any serious obstacles
As it had formerly been said, the primary vision of the sound,
generated in and by the pianist's fantasy, must actively support each one
really produced sound in its full length, giving it energy and forming its
character according to specific features of the pianists' personal artistic
image of actually realized musical Form.
Please, let you have a look at this quotation now; it would inform
you, how the real pianist-virtuoso describes hers own way of interpreting
of this topic:
...what I have noticed over the years is that my
interpretations are more directed and more potent -- Partly because I am clearer in what I
want to convey, but also because I feel so much more comfortable
on stage and that allows me greater flexibility -- and I can really take
a trip with the composer.
Clicking on the links below you will get an opportunity to listen to
the Three Etudes of Chopin, composed for the Methode des Methodes
& Fιtis in 1839, and to the Hungarian Dance F Major (arranged for the two
hands by Brahms himself), played by Ms Penneys. In my opinion one would
find herein the definite noblesse and harmony, definite sound culture,
definite clearness of musical thinking, absolute technical sovereignty
shortly said, nearly non plus ultra...
Ms Rebecca Penneys is a Steinway
Here you are the links, Welcome!
VI. As it had been told clear enough in the § V, our "playing mechanism"
is not built only from the fingers and hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders!
Of course, fingers and hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders do exist in our bodies,
and therefore [ ! ] the pianists should perfectly well know, how to deal
with all these elements when they begin to play the piano...
Searching for the solutions related to piano-mechanical side of
playing, one could find very many bits of truly priceless information
regarding this subject in the texts written by Prof. Neuhaus. As I hope,
you would not
believe, Neuhaus had taught Richter how he should move his fingers and
hands, and THAT IS WHY his piano technique was in so good condition just
from very early stages of his career. Considering the fabulous piano
technique of Emil Gilels, one might enough profoundly be assured, too it
was NOT Neuhaus, who showed him, how to brilliantly perform even the most
difficult figurations, arpeggios, double tones and octaves... Such thinking
would truly be childish, even bizarre... Only they, who have never seen and
heard the real greater instrumental talent in the action, could believe
that such kind of technique is obtainable just for all! And, that the full
success in the matter depends only on quantum of the time one would be able
to sacrifice to just THIS, but not THAT kind of practicing, naturally
proposed by THIS, but not THAT method, indeed!
us from so deep "innocence"...!..
On the other hand, watching HOW the real talents are doing their job
surely is greatly instructive. My conclusions based on such observations
could be found, essentially, on all the pages of this Web Site.
In my opinion, the both Masters [Chopin and Neuhaus] presented
clearly different approach toward the aesthetical side of music making on
the piano. Richter as a pianist could be
understood as a sample of the artistic features being very, very close to the
Neuhaus' piano Ideal. Ignacy Friedman, partially Josef Hofmann (besides: both represented the
typical Polish middle class and have been born in Cracow; Friedman studied
in Vienna under Leszetycki; Hofmann played for Anton Rubinstein in Berlin)
and partially Vladimir
Horowitz represented more or less the Chopin-like style of playing the piano
as well, as the next famous, former Neuhaus' student Emil Gilels.
But now, openly said, after listening
to the recordings made by Ms Penneys, I experienced something like an
illumination: yes, THIS is THAT STYLE HE perhaps might like to accept
as the accurate one...! That is why the photo of Her is being placed on
The link to the recording done by
Chaliapin could be found here for the exactly same reason. This is the
demonstrative material for comparisons in a scope of the expression; Chopin
cannot stand the dull neutrality in the art; Chaliapin is going very near
to the border, which cannot be crossed, but to which from the other hand
it is necessary to aspire.
What we are looking for, is the harmony
in expression, the sincerity and clarity in musical thinking, the genuinely
logical construction of Form. These all virtues, based on sincerely warm
humanity, additionally spiced by truly healthy herb of an intelligent humor
yes, in my opinion this is how the Chopin's Piano Idea should be
understood and put into practice. Honestly said and historically thinking,
this Chopin's Ideal has been fully achieved only by the one and sole
pianist in the History it was Leopold Godowsky, who considered himself an
affiliate of the Polish piano tradition. His classical mind (means: harmonically
built, like the Chopin's own, besides) and extremely great piano talent
featured as well with the purely instrumental skills, as with deeper
predilection to melodic and polyphonic approach to performed and composed
music, truly sharp feeling of humor and the strong will to see and define
all the things as they factually look alike, are making him the factual
heir of the Chopin's Crown. This is not the purely accidental event, Neuhaus, who studied the piano in his class in Vienna, based his teaching
so firmly on the Chopin's Method...
I know very well, we could speak quite a long time about THIS theme,
at the last end yet, we will experience something like a feeling of incompleteness
and imperfection related to all, what had been formerly told. Without a
doubt, knowing this all quite well, I still decided, I shall finish this
paper at this point! Thank you very much for your patience and interest
toward better understanding of the very basic elements of Piano Art! Wanting to get some more bits
of information related to teaching the piano developed after the Chopin's
and Neuhaus' systems, let you feel free to ask about any kind of problem
you might actually be interested in! Thank you very much again!