You are on page 1of 49

PREFACE

Some years ago a New York newspaper questioned well-known pianists and artist-
teachers as to their attitude toward the teaching of technique: Did they believe there should
be no separate study of technical exercises except for practice of various problems met in the
pieces to be performed? Or did they prefer well-planned study of basic exercises - scales,
solid and broken chords, arpeggios, trills, double notes, octaves? Nearly all were in favor
of the latter.
Great teachers of the past not only believed in the benefits to be gained from the
practice of exercises; many of them also wrote exercises dealing with difficult problems of
tone, touch, dynamics, rhythm, velocity. Think of the hundreds of technical works by
Cramer, Czerny, Moscheles, Thalberg, Liszt, Tausig, Leschetizky, Philipp, Joseffy, Busoni,
to mention just a few who come to my mind.
These writers treated of almost every conceivable problem in the music of their time.
Why am I presuming to add more to this great volume of technical literature? Because with
new sound in twentieth-century music new problems have arisen. It is to train students’ ears
as well as their hands for these new sounds that I have devised this book of exercises.
Regardless of the sounds produced, technical development remains the gaining of
finger and right- and left-hand independence, facility and dynamic control.
The practice suggestions and special exercises I am offering have helped my students
accomplish these aims.

But I wish to emphasize that technique should always serve a musical purpose and must
be guided by the intellect.
I can do no better than to quote my revered master Ferruccio Busoni:

A technique which is perfect in itself and by itself, we find in so many well


built automatic pianos. Nevertheless, a great pianist has to be first of all
an excellent technician. But technique, which is basically only one part
of the art of a pianist, does not reside only in the fingers and wrists, or in
strength and endurance. The greatest technique resides in the brain.

The exercises in this book should be practiced with contrasting dynamics and touches:
forte and piano, legato and staccato. Each key should be played with precise attack and
release. While the attack should be firm, however, there should be no stiff or cramped
motions, and the entire playing apparatus should remain flexible.
I have devoted considerable space to symmetrical inversion - an exact mirroring by
one hand of the fingering and black- and white-key patterns of the other hand. In my long
career of teaching I have found this to be the most effective means for truly equal
development of the hands.

Rudolf Ganz