You are on page 1of 19


Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
After winning the International Geneva Competition at age 16, Viennese pianist Friedrich
Gulda (1930-2000) was exposed for the first time to American jazz music on a visit to New
York in 1950. Fascinated by its rhythms and harmonies, this event marked the beginning of a
lifelong passion to break barriers between the classical and jazz idioms and combine the two
genres. Although Gulda met great success as a crossover pianist, his piano compositions
failed to receive the attention deserved. This lecture recital will examine Guldas
contribution to crossover piano pedagogy, Play Piano Play 10 bungsstcke fr Yuko.
When I was a boy, my father always advised me to expand my musical horizons. Aside from
my weekly classical piano lessons, he encouraged me to take up various instruments and read
from lead sheets (him being a classical-turned-pop pianist himself). The Los Angeles County
High School for the Arts provided the opportunities I needed to take this a step further. I
continued my classical training but additionally participated in everything from singing in
various ensembles, to playing in the percussion ensemble, to conducting the symphony
orchestra, to accompanying Josh Groban (who was one year ahead of me) as he sung the lead
role in the schools production of Fiddler on the Roof. I was at an age where everything
interested me and, much to my fathers delight, I took full advantage of the schools awardwinning jazz program and joined the lab band and finishes courses in jazz theory.

Singing in the gospel and jazz choirs and playing piano in the lab band changed the way I
thought and felt about music. Although I admit that I never became a real jazz musician, I
was fascinated and completely absorbed in the groove and freedom of the music that I spent
a lot of time practicing scales (blues, pentatonic, octatonic and the like) and memorizing
chord changes to standards. Being constantly exposed to this music brought a certain
relaxation and confidence to my playing which shined when I played classical music as well.

In order to pursue my studies in classical piano further, I reluctantly gave up jazz activities, as
I found it near impossible to practice and excel in both idioms. However, as a student a few
years later at the Vienna Conservatory, I was required to take a jazz improvisation class
taught by Roland Batik and was introduced for the first time to the set Play Piano Play by
Friedrich Gulda. I knew of Gulda as a classical musician but not of his life and resounding
success as a jazz pianist. Batik, who had studied with Gulda and was himself famous for
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 1 of 19

fusing jazz and classical music in his compositions and recital programs, encouraged us to get
to know these pieces and I found these the perfect blend between freedom and discipline a
chance not only to play in the jazz style, but also create and learn. Creativity became almost
as important as technique itself and it was attractive to me that the performer played an
important role in formulating spontaneously the structure of some pieces through
improvisation. Unlike the works of other jazz-styled composers such as George Gershwin,
Morton Gould and Nikolai Kapustin, Guldas set not only requires moments of
improvisation, but encourages interpretational liberties such as added embellishments notes
ingales (and gales) and improvised accompaniment. This paper will follow several of
Guldas exercises from Play Piano Play and offer an analysis into their technical and creative

Friedrich Gulda was one of the most successful, albeit controversial, crossover jazz-classical
musicians ever. He performed with the likes of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Joe
Zawinul, but was internationally known as a brilliant pianist of impeccable technique. His
sensitive and intellectual interpretations of the classical masters, from Bach to Debussy, has
earned him a distinguished reputation and a position in Deccas Great Pianists of the
Twentieth Century series.

Gulda was a free and eccentric spirit who caused controversy among the Viennese and
concert-going public for his unorthodox practices. Among these was the life-long attempt to
break barriers between classical and jazz idioms by freely incorporating both genres in his
concerts. He became bored and disillusioned with the concert circle and turned to more
eccentric projects. Possessing a large amount of repertoire, Gulda often changed programs
last minute to maintain the sense of improvisation. He would also improvise at length, not
always to the delight of audience members. He caused an uproar in by canceling his summer
master class at the Salzburg Mozarteum in order to make an appearance at New Yorks
Birdland Jazz Club and rejected standard concert attire, appearing naked with his girlfriend
for a rendition of Schumann songs on the recorder (Blom, 2001).

In 1969, the Vienna Academy of Music awarded Gulda the prestigious Beethoven Ring,
which he rejected in protest to what he regarded as a constricting educational system. This
was only one of many more difficulties between Gulda and Vienna. Music critics with openly
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 2 of 19

hostile towards his experimental work, and he created more tension in the 80s when he failed
to show up for scheduled concerts.
The introduction to Guldas documentary, So What?! offers, in his own words, the essence of
his life (2007):
Many people consider my very existence a scandal. Its scandalous when someone
constantly does things that ordinarily shouldnt be done. You dont play Mozart or
Beethoven and go to a jazz club two hours later. I dont lead a normal life. There are
some things that I just dont do although everyone else does. Anyone who thinks and
lives as I do is a constant scandal. And when certain events make that obvious, then
its obvious, thats all. Basically my whole life is a scandal.
Gulda once said (2007), To be somebody important in Austria you first have to be dead. So
in 1999, he pulled one of the most memorable scandals in history and sent a fax from Zurich
Airport announcing his death, only to have a resurrection party a few days later.

Friedrich Gulda was born on 16 May 1930 in Vienna to Friedrich Johann and Marie Aloysia
Gulda, both teachers. He began piano lessons at age 7 with Felix Pazofsky at the Wiener
Volkskonservatorium where he studied until 1942. In 1939, he composed his first piece,
Allegretto fuer Klavier and the next year, composed two scherzi for piano.

Gulda entered the Reichshochschule fuer Music Wien in 1942, where he studied piano with
Bruno Seidlhofer and theory with Joseph Marx. His first public performance took place in the
Brahms-saal on 20 December 1944. On June 24, 1944, Gulda performed with the Viennese
Symphony Orchestra in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein.
His first experience with jazz was over enemy radio broadcasts from Britain that his father
listened to in Vienna during the war; influences of which one can hear in his Klavierstueck of

Also in 1946, Gulda controversially won the International Competition in Geneva against
Belgian pianist Lode Backx. This led to concert engagements around the world, as well as his
debut solo recital in the Grosse Musikvereinssaal on 10 December.
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 3 of 19

Gulda composed the Mass in B Major in 1947 as his final piece for Professor Marx. Between
1948 and 1949, Gulda went on to perform more than 60 concerts across Europe and South

The turning point in his life was a visit to New York. On 11 October 1950, Gulda made his
Carnegie Hall debut. After the concert, he received his first impressions of live jazz when he
visited the infamous Birdland Jazz Club in New York. He became more involved with jazz
after an subsequent encounter with trumpeter Dizzie Gillespie following a performance with
the Chicago Symphony in 1951. Gulda did not believe societys rule that people belonged to
certain groups, artistically and socially. That one is either a classical or jazz musician. So he
crossed over deliberately.
In 1955, Gulda opened Fattys Saloon, which became the focal point of the Viennese jazz
scene and one of Europes largest jazz establishments. This same year, he made the first
recordings of his own jazz compositions and arrangements. In 1956, only a few years after
his first run-in with jazz, Gulda played his first gig at the Birdland Club in New York,
followed by an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Guldas crossover generated bad
reviews at first in 1956, however since the worlds remained separated, it didnt hurt his

Gulda continued, through 1960, to give classical concerts. However, many pieces such as the
Prokofiev 7


Sonata and Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition disappeared from his


Through the early 1960, Gulda incorporated more jazz into his concerts. Some pieces
composed during this time were the 3 jazz pieces (A Wild One, Awakening, and Tehran),
Music for 3 Soloists and Band and Music for Piano and Band. He even played baritone
saxophone for the first time during a jazz-workshop-concert, and would perform half-classic,
half-jazz concerts with a trio. Gulda acknowledged that at first, he was nothing at jazz. He
recalled having to work long and hard and, although the right people started to notice him,
they still not take him seriously.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 4 of 19

In 1964, Gulda composed his Prelude and Fugue for solo piano and founded the EurojazzOrchester, a jazz trio and a big band. He initiated the Viennese International Competition for
Modern Jazz in 1966, followed by the International Music Forum in Ossiachersee, with the
theme, Improvisation in Music Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

1970 and 1971 saw a number of premieres including the exercises cycle Play Piano Play
which were his handbook on teaching classically-trained musicians how to swing, and
perhaps his most famous piece for piano, the Variations on Light My Fire.

Gulda entered an era where the border between normality and madness seemed most unclear.
He drastically cut back playing classical altogether for a while and turned his attention to
free music. Free music had one rule: To refuse to acknowledge any rules at all. People did
have problems with his free music, as there were many empty hall and financial setbacks
(Gulda, 2007).

Towards the late 70s, Gulda programmed more and more classical music, but often had no
fixed program to show elements of improvisation and spontaneity. His goal was ultimately to
keep options open as to what to play and how to play it until last minute in order for the
audience to encounter the artistic experience of hearing Gulda. Despite this revival of
classical music, he still did not adhere to the unwritten rules of concert etiquette, using
amplified sound and lighting effects.

In the years prior to his death, Gulda held dance parties and raves with DJ Pippi and the
Paradise Band and Girls, and played regular techno sessions with the Liverpool DJ Vertigo
(Blom, 2000).
One of Guldas wishes was to die on Mozarts birthday, so, on 27 January 2000, Friedrich
Gulda died of a heart attack at the ago of 69.
Published by Papageno in 1971, Play Piano Play are a set of ten exercises dedicated to his
second wife, Yuko, which are intended for students who desire to develop mastery of the
piano, as well as develop the essential qualities soak up the fundamentals of modern piano
style (Gulda, preface).
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 5 of 19

The ten exercises for piano are, as the original sub-title indicates, practice pieces based on the
most valuable lessons Gulda himself learned: simple blues, rhythm, ballad, stride, the feel for
the walking bass, some pop rhythms and Latin-American elements, as well as the basic
stimuli to develop the ability to improvise. Gulda designed these series of etudes to serve a
dual purpose: first as preparatory pieces intended to help [classical] pianists achieve one of
the steps within what Gulda called the long road to freedom, and secondly as pieces to bring
fun (spass machen) to the performer through practicing and audience through listening
(Gulda, preface). One can ultimately look at these pieces and regard them as a handbook in
providing classically trained performers with the means to learn how to swing, and in
teaching them how jazz inflections differ from classical music (Hamelin, 2).

From the preface of the first published edition, Gulda advises one the performing and
teaching of Play Piano Play (1971):

Should one perform this as a complete cycle, the order should remain the same/be
adhered to. Should one select a few of their favorites, the choice of the order is up to
the performer. They are also suitable as single encore pieces. The pedagogical purpose
however would be fulfilled best when one practices in the following order: 9, 1, 5, 4,
2, 8, 6, 10, 3, 7. The further the student progresses, the more improvisatory
modifications are permitted and hoped-for, certainly required. One can realize Piece 9
without improvisational know how as complete, but this does not work for piece
7. There, improvisational know how is needed! The student will be led by the
hand to an extent: The goal is, that out of an academic key-pusher, a true musician
will come forth. If he becomes this one, not only will he have success by the
performance of these pieces, but also to be appropriately prepared to master of the
more difficult works in the present book (1971, Preface).

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 6 of 19

IX. Allegro, dolce

This first exercise in Guldas progression addresses mainly rhythm and hand coordination.
Although written in 3/4, the perpetual-mobile accompaniment figure is notated in 6/8. The
only exception to this is when the harmonies change from E minor to B minor in m. 52 and
116. The main rhythmic scheme of the right hand melody is the Latin-American sesquialtera.
With similar rhythmic features to a hemiola, their differences lie in the historical and cultural
usage. The hemiola is a European rhythmical device in which three units of duple meter are
notated as if they were two units of triple meter. Historically, the hemiola rhythm was used
only as a momentary intrusion in works Western European art music. The sesquialtera is of
Spanish origin, however was probably derived from the Arabic rhythm called saraband
and eventually found itself integrated into the dances of Latin America. Its characteristic
feature is the alternation or superposition of duple and triple time within groups of six
quavers (de Pedro, 35). Examples of this rhythm are found in the final movement of
Ginasteras Piano Sonata, Op. 22 and Bernsteins America from West Side Story. Because
of this mix-metered rhythm, a strong emphasis on the first beat is desired.
The piece is in binary form with a simple harmonic structure (following a short 4- bar
introduction) of: B minor for 32 bars, E minor for 16 bars, B minor again 16 bars and repeat.
The melody, however, starts in B pentatonic and later uses hints of the dorian mode when
Technical difficulties include maintaining a balanced and relaxed hand to execute the
repeated notes in the left hand thumb and right hand pinky, as the accompaniment figure
switches hands. This requires a great deal of stamina as this moves at a high rate of speed.
Because of the changing rhythmic feel, concentration is required as the melody and
accompaniment switch hands. The melody is harmonized throughout the piece in parallel 3note and 4-note chords, reminiscent to a brass or saxophone section, but also to
harmonization techniques used by Bartok, Ginastera, and Debussy, to name a few. A flexible
wrist action is needed to successfully execute the 2-note slurs as well as the short, articulated
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 7 of 19

I. Moderato

Exercises No. 1 already explores a number of jazz elements; namely the swing rhythm (or
what Gulda notates as notes ingales), a walking bass line, free and notated ornamentation,
harmony and voicing, and a taste of a short, virtuosic (albeit notated) improvisation.

This exercise is structured in ternary form, AABA, with the 16-bar A sections being a 4-voice
fugue in G major, and the contrasting B section being freer and improvisatory-like with a
walking bass line moving through ii-V-I progressions in Bb, A and finally G.

From this point on in the cycle, notes ingales becomes an important feature. Although Gulda
does not make any attempt to teach or explain the exact execution of notes ingales, he does
refer to it in the preface as the jazzy, French style (Gulda, preface). Referred in modern jazz
terminology as a swung note, it is interesting to observe that Gulda referred to the Baroque
practice of playing consecutive eighth-notes unequally in an exercise which begins with a
fugue. Though notated as equal time values, eighth notes in jazz are performed with unequal
value and are commonly triplet-based therefore alternating between long and short as

Swinging, however, is not just about rhythm, but articulation as well and although Gulda has
not left us any literal explanation, we can find a practical explanation in a later work. Gulda
used the subject of this fugue in the first of his Sechs Etueden fuer Chor, Keyboards, Drums
and Percussion. In this piece, he notates the subject in 12/8 time, thus writing out the swing
rhythm. The syllables he used, common in scat (or vocal) solos, reflect the articulation of
each note and gives us, as performers, insight into swing playing.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 8 of 19

By following this example, we see that in accordance with jazz style, the first note being on
the off-beat is accented. Du, Di and Dl refer to shortening of note values, and that an
articulation is implied on the syncopated Da, therefore making the last Di of the first
measure almost staccato-like.

In his recording of this exercise, Gulda freely ornaments the fugue subject in the repetition of
A, and its eventual return. Among the devices he uses are r falls (or short glissandi), turns,
scoops and note repetitions that slightly modify the rhythm.

The B section is made of two contrasting parts. The first eight bars features a walking bass
line accompanying a melody using thirds and sixths. Here, Gulda notates dotted eighthsixteenth, known as Hard swing, to make the upbeats faster, almost appoggiatura-like. The
bass line must be played legato, but each note must be articulated to recall the sound of a
plucked string.
At m. 25, the walking bass stops on a downbeat accent calling attention a four-bar run,
which is a rapid descending, or ascending, usually right-hand passage on the piano in the
form of a continuous scale, or a scale with variations (Brotman). Like in many jazz runs,
patterns are dependent on chromatic passing tones and suspensions. This makes the patterns
unusual and, at times, uncomfortable. The left hand offers an initial insight into jazz
harmonization as the suspended F#7 chord is at first without a bass note.

Technical difficulties of this exercise include the interpretation of notes ingales, voicing and
division between hands usually associated in playing polyphonic music, fingering in nontraditional patterns.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 9 of 19

II. Alla Marcia, risoluto

Exercises No. 2 is very reminiscent of a piece for jazz band because of its solo versus tutti
implications. It is the first piece in pedagogical order to require improvisation, though only in
small sections over a single harmony. With a tonal center of F, one can choose to utilize the F
blues scale The improvised sections are organized in what jazz musicians call stop
choruses, which is a designated solo section where the rhythm section (or tutti) play on the
first beat of each measure. In the case of this piece, the tutti occurs on the fourth (upbeat) and
first beats (Flamme, 265-66).

The piece begins with a twelve-bar theme (A) is based on several contrasting motivic
materials. The first 2-bar motive (x), in F-dorian, is marked forte. In four voices, the tenor
and soprano state the highly syncopated theme in parallel octaves with the other two voices
filling out the harmonies. Interesting is the notated rhythm, as the first beat orally appears to
be an anacrusis. This motive is in the middle register of the piano. Contrasting to this is the
second motivic group (y), in F major marked piano, where 5 chords (with beginning
appoggiatura) move in parallel motion in a higher register. The third motive (z) in m. 9 is a
boogie-woogie swing in the dominant of F major.

The B section is comprised of two stop choruses of eight bars each introduced by a short
walking bass. The tutti stops are always the sub-dominant and tonic, which allows the
performer to improvise in short segments. Gulda has written out his own improvisation in a
third system for the right hand as a recommendation to help the student understand the
language. Among his suggestions are harmonies in fourths, triplets, chromatic grace-notes,
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 10 of 19

fast note repetitions, syncopations, ornaments and swing eighths. Following these choruses is
a short, 3-bar interlude that recalls the boogie- woogie motive z of the opening.

Section C is an 8-bar episode that briefly features a variation on stride piano technique, which
is a style of piano playing that alternates the left hand between bass (on the first and third
beats) and a chord (on second and fourth beats). Also present are block chords in semiparallel motion (that is the outer voices move in parallel motion) and unison figures in both

Sections A, B and C are repeated. A is written lightly ornamented and with short fills to be
played under the long, sustained notes of x. This time the tutti in the stop chorus is in a higher
register, implying a bass solo. Again, Gulda writes out a recommended path: the first chorus
with short, single-voiced, swinging figures then in parallel octaves.

Section C is re-written in full octave chords in the right hand, and an accompaniment where a
reach of a minor 10


is necessary. A virtuosic descending arpeggio followed by ascending

octaves interrupts the parallel chords. A is then brought back again in its entirety with further
developed fills in y. The coda in m. 105 is an expansion and re-voicing of motive y and ends
pianissimo in a plagal cadence.

VIII. Tempo giusto e risoluto

Another exercise in ABA (ternary) form and featuring 3-part fugal writing, Exercise No. 8
explores the jazz-rock idiom, heavily built on tonic and dominant harmonies. Flamme finds
three contrasting elements which Gulda unifies in the first 16 bars: 8 bars of polyphonic
writing, a 4-bar chords passage and a 4-bar bass ostinato on E with A major and E major
chords (Flamme, 271-72). The use of the slide (grace note) is more prominent and, together
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 11 of 19

with the bass ostinato, become stylistic tools for improvisation in Section B.

Section A begins with a short but articulated fugal subject that uses straight rhythms with a
rock-pop drive. The exposition follows quite strictly that of a Baroque fugue, with the Dux
and Comes in E minor and B minor, respectively. The polyphonic writing is abandoned after
the exposition for blocked chords in a typical rock rhythm cadencing in E minor, then E
major. The four bar vamp in E major at the end of Section A is resolved to A major at its

Section B is an 8-bar chorus based four, 2-bar riffs in E minor and B minor that can be
expanded. Gulda writes his own improvisation as a model, but also gives the footnote,
The more advanced student would know how to expand and shape [Section B]. (Gulda,
35). This is the first time that Gulda gives the freedom to expand a whole section. The Gsharp/G-natural and D-sharp/D-natural relationships imply use of an E Blues and B Blues
scale. Unlike Exercise No. 2, the amount of improvising at a given time is expanded to an 8bar chorus instead of small motives in between stops, and use of two scales is required.

There are several new techniques that Gulda introduces in Section B. The first of which is the
use of the sostenuto pedal to hold the low E throughout this section. Side- slipping in the
accompaniment allows for chromatic movement implying tonic and dominant harmonic
changes. E minor is notated as G-sharp, D and G-natural. B minor is notated as A, D-sharp
and G. Gulda here is exploring extensions as G, used as a common tone, is both the third of E
minor, and thirteenth scale degree of B minor.

Technical difficulties are the execution of heavily syncopated rhythms, voicing and division
between hands usually associated in playing polyphonic music, double and rapid grace-notes,
fast register changes, use of sostenuto pedal and improvisation using E and B Blues scales.

VI. Presto possible

One of the more technically difficult and fast-paced pieces, Exercises No. 6 makes full use of
the double-escape action of the piano with rapid, repeated notes that are reminiscent of
Prokofievs Toccata or Debussys La serenade interrompue (Ex. 1), which Gulda is known to












AA`BA``BA```BA`BC. There are two main structural components, the aforementioned rapid10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 12 of 19

note section, which changes tonal centers to F minor and G minor upon its returns (A), and an
improvisation sections over a two-bar, fast stride piano riff on a i-II-V-I progression (B). This
section remains in C minor.

1) Debussy: La serenade interrompue

The main theme (A) starts with a strong, accented downbeat of unison Cs in both hands,
followed by rapid middle Cs played by alternating hands. This one-line melody reaches to the
flat fifth and eight scale degrees before making a gradual descent , briefly visiting tones from
the G Blues scale (D-flat, B-natural and B-flat), before being repeated again. In the repetition
of A, octaves dominate the right hand melody, while the left hand continues with single

Section B is also 12 bars, but divided into 4 groups of 2 bars each. The first of which are in
the tonic, C minor, then two beats of D7 (II) and two beats of G7 (V). Gulda again notates an
improvisation for the first appearance of B, but expects the performer to improvise upon the
subsequent two returns. In his improvisation, Gulda utilizes the C Blues scale and puts
emphasis on the flat-fifth scale degree of C minor, which is F- sharp/G-flat.

The coda continues in eight bars of stride piano technique before quoting the opening theme a
final time, both hands in octaves. A final C blues scale in descending unison octaves brings
the piece to an exciting close.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 13 of 19

Despite the rapid tempo, one must continue to feel the notes ingales. In fact, Gulda advises
to practice notes ingales diligently and slowly. Although notes ingales is nearly impossible
to do in such a rapid tempo, practicing as such will lighten the touch on the left hand, making
the alternation between hands less difficult.
X. Allegro pesante

Exercise No. 10 is the culmination and unification of the all the technical and creative
demands made of the student from the previous exercises covered. Notes ingales dominate
the piece rhythmically, and offbeat accents, which anticipate the harmony of the subsequent
bar, are prevalent (called rhythmic and harmonic anticipation) (Creighton, 2009).

The theme, in unison octaves, is presented in three phrases of four bars each. The melody, in
common time, is distinctly in bebop style, as each phrase ends prematurely on the second half
of the fourth beat and explore upper extensions of the harmony (flat-13, flat-9, sharp-4). In
this case, Gulda uses the diminished-fifth/augmented-fourth as the truanced ending first
descending, then ascending as the first phrase is repeated in inversion. The theme is repeated
in the next chorus in octaves in the right hand, with a majority step-wise counterpoint (also in
octaves) in the left. It must be ensured that careful attention to the release of short notes be

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 14 of 19

The compositional style of the subsequent choruses (groups of 12 bars) follow the structure
of the theme in which textures and different jazz idioms are changed every four bars. The
first four bars of the next chorus (starting at m. 25) feature solo versus tutti writing (in this
case duo versus tutti as the solo line is notated in unison octaves) similar to Exercise No. 2.
The next four bars are a solo piano (notated) improvisation with syncopated accompaniment
mainly using dominant seventh chords followed by four bars of a bass solo.

The next chorus (12 bars) makes more technical demands of the performer. It begins with a
transposed version of the previous bass solo, but in double thirds for the right hand. The right
hand then accompanies the rising triplet figures in the bass. This figure is a series of writtenout mordents, and can also be seen in the twentieth variation of Beethovens C minor
Variations, WoO 80. The final four bars are augmented chord arpeggios over a dominant (V)
pedal tone.

2a) Gulda: Exercise No. 10

2b) Beethoven: Variations in C minor, WoO

The next two choruses are blues choruses in C Major. The first of which has a written-out
improvisation and walking bass line, the second of which only has chord changes. Gulda
permits the performer to expand and modify the blues chorus, taking as many repeats as
necessary. Gulda requests a similar accompaniment in the second chorus and leaves the
walking bass line up to the performer. In taking more choruses, further accompaniment
techniques suggested are Garner-style chords , stride piano and comping .
The coda features a final statement of the first seven notes, but in rotating octaves after the C
pickup . The first two notes are notated in semi-quavers with a minim duration, then the last
four notes (F-C-B-D) in crotchet duration. This technique recalls the first movement of
Schuberts Sonata in A minor, D. 784.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 15 of 19

3a) Gulda: Exercise No. 10

3b) Schubert: Sonata in A minor, D. 784 (I.)

Among the technical difficulties are playing melodic octaves, rhythmic precision, execution
of double turns for stylistic purposes, rapid virtuosic passagework in both hands, double
thirds, C Blues improvisation with walking bass, use of sostenuto pedal, and rotating octaves.

Just as Bach wrote out his improvisations and ornaments as a pedagogical tool for his
students to learn the style, the exercises in Guldas Play Piano Play serve the same purpose.
To learn style jazz style.

Pieces of the cycle not discusses but worth mentioning here are No. 5, which is a walking
bass etude, and No. 7, the last of the pedagogical cycle. No. 7 is a ballad in which only the
melody is notated, giving the performer freedom to improvise from the chord charts. This
ability, perhaps the highest skill in improvisation, requires utmost skill in chord voicing, lead
sheet reading and fill playing.

As highlighted above, Play Piano Play, when learned in the pedagogical cycle combines the
technical discipline of notated classical music and the creativity and freedom of jazz idioms.
This system will give a player the tools necessary in both improvisation skills and technical
mastery to allow one to tackle further, more complex compositions of Gulda (Gulda, 1971,
Preface). Among Guldas other pieces for piano include the famous Variations on the song

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 16 of 19

Light my Fire, composed in 1971, the year of Jim Morrisons death, a 3-movement Sonatine
(Entre, Ballad, Shuffle) and the Piano V ariations.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 17 of 19

Blom, Philip. (2000, February 1). Friedrich Gulda: Gifted pianist on a musical journey from
the classics to jazz. The Guardian. Retrieved from
Brunner, Gerhard and Martin Elste. "Gulda, Friedrich." In Grove Music Online. Oxford
Music Online,
sic/12018 (accessed March 13, 2011).
James, Burnett and Jeffrey Dean . "Jazz." In The Oxford Companion to Music, edited by
Alison Latham. Oxford Music Online, /e3532
(accessed March 13, 2011).
Cosse, Peter. (1998). Liner notes to Great Pianists of the 20 Century: Friedrich Gulda I
[CD]. Translated by Mary Whitthall. USA. Philips.
Cosse, Peter. (1999). Liner notes to Great Pianists of the 20 Century: Friedrich Gulda II
[CD]. Translated by Mary Whitthall. Netherlands. Philips.
Creighton, Randall. (2009). A man of two worlds: classical and jazz influences in Nikolai
Kapustins Twenty Four Preludes, Op. 53. Doctor of Musical Arts dissertation, the University
of Arizona, Retrieved from
de Pedro, Jovanni. (2008). Search for Identity: Musical History of Argentina and Stylistic
Influences in the Piano Works of Alberto Ginastera until 1952. Master of Music dissertation,
Trinity College of Music.
Flamme, Friedrich. (2006). Der Pianist und Komponist Friedrich Gulda: Studien zu
Repertoire und Kompositorischem Schaffen. Goettingen: Cuvillier Verlag.
Gulda, Friedrich. (1971). Play Piano Play (Klavier-Kompositionen). Austria. Papageno.
Hamelin, Marc-Andre. (2008). In a State of Jazz [CD] UK. Hyperion Records LTD.
Kraus, Gottfried. (2004). Liner notes to Friedrich Gulda/ Beethoven, Bach [CD]. Translated
by J & M Berridge. France. Andante.
Kraus, Gottfried. (2005). Liner notes to Friedrich Gulda, piano [CD]. Translated by Charles
Johnston. France. Andante.
Siepmann, Jeremy. (2005). Liner notes to Friedrich Gulda: Decca Beethoven Recordings
1950-1958 [CD]. UK. Decca Music Group Limited.
So What?! Friedrich Gulda: A Portrait. 2007 [DVD] Directed by Benedict Mirow and
Fridemann Leipold. Germany: Deutsche Grammophon GMBH. (Narrated by Friedrich Gulda
and Ulrich Mhe)
10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 18 of 19

About the Author:

Filipino-American pianist Jovanni-Rey de Pedro holds degrees from the Konservatorium
der Stadt Wien (Austria) and Trinity College of Music (England). He has performed in
venues in Asia, North America and Europe, and is a laureate of numerous international
competitions. Jovanni has served on the teaching staff at City University London, the New
Ross Chamber Music Festival (Ireland) and Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (USA), and has
presented at conferences for the College Music Society, Music Teachers National Association
and World Piano Conference. Currently, Jovanni holds a teaching assistantship at the
University of Michigan where he is a doctoral candidate in Piano Pedagogy and Performance.

10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Proceedings

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro
Page 19 of 19