Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

transmission, technique…
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Lee
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Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

Message par Lee »

Bonjour,

La nouvelle société Tonebase m'a proposé comme inédite 10 Essentials of Piano Playing écrit par Rachmaninoff. J'étais obligée de leur donner mon mail pour avoir le PDF, ce que je conseille quand même pour les photos et la mise en forme qui est plus jolie que ce j'ai copié en bas. Comme ce forum est privé je pense que ce n'est pas un problème ? On pourra ensuite en discuter si ça vous dit...Hanon et encore Hanon... :roll: et il aime beaucoup les études de Henselt. :houhou:
Je ne mets pas en PDF, parce ce n'était pas possible, trop lourd.

10 ESSENTIALS OF
PIANO PLAYING
BY SERGEI RACHMANINOFF

In 1910 The Etude magazine published an interview with
Sergei Rachmaninoff, who had recently been named
Supervisor General of the Imperial Conservatories of Russia.
In it, the eminent composer and pianist was prompted to
articulate his views on the ten most important attributes of
artistic piano playing and elaborate on each at length.
The task presented a challenge to Rachmaninoff, who writes
about the "seemingly impossible task [of defining] the number
of attributes of really excellent pianoforte playing."
"One can never tell in print what can be communicated by the
living teacher," he says, but he still used the opportunity to
offer us "food for thought" as he reflected on what artistry is at
the piano.
Kept busy with his composing and performing careers,
Rachmaninoff was not known for his teaching. The following
remarks are one of his only recorded statements on the craft
of piano playing.

10 ESSENTIALS OF PIANO PLAYING
BY SERGEI RACHMANINOFF

1 . . . Forming the proper conception of the piece
2 . . . Technical proficiency
3 . . . Proper phrasing
4 . . . Regulating the tempo
5 . . . Character in playing
6 . . . The significance of the pedal
7 . . . The danger of convention
8 . . . Real musical understanding
9 . . . Playing to educate the public
10 . . . The vital spark

FORMING THE PROPER
CONCEPTION OF THE PIECE
ESSENTIAL #1

IN UNDERTAKING THE STUDY OF A NEW COMPOSITION IT IS HIGHLY
IMPORTANT TO GAIN A CONCEPTION OF THE WORK AS A WHOLE.
One must comprehend the main
design of the composer.
.
Naturally, there are technical difficulties which must
be worked out, measure by measure, but unless the
student can form some idea of the work in its larger
proportions his finished performance may resemble
a kind of musical patchwork.

Behind every composition is the architectural plan of the composer. The
student should endeavor, first of all, to discover this plan, and then he should
build in the manner in which the composer would have had him build.

Doubtless the best way is to hear it performed by some pianist whose
authority as an interpreter cannot be questioned. However, many students
are so situated that this course is impossible. It is also often quite impossible
for the teacher, who is busy teaching from morning to night, to give a
rendering of the work that would be absolutely perfect in all of its details.

FORMING THE PROPER
CONCEPTION OF THE PIECE
ESSENTIAL #1

YOU ASK ME, “HOW CAN THE STUDENT FORM THE PROPER CONCEPTION
OF THE WORK AS A WHOLE?"

However, one can gain something from
the teacher who can, by his genius, give
the pupil an idea of the artistic demands
of the piece.

If the student has the advantage of
hearing neither the virtuoso nor the
teacher he need not despair, if he has
talent. Talent! Ah, that is the great thing
in all musical work. If he has talent he
will see with the eyes of talent—that
wonderful force which penetrates all
artistic mysteries and reveals the truths
as nothing else possibly can.

Then he grasps, as if by intuition, the composer’s intentions in writing the
work, and, like the true interpreter, communicates these thoughts to his
audience in their proper form.

TECHNICAL
PROFICIENCY
ESSENTIAL #2

It goes without saying, that technical proficiency should be one of the first
acquisitions of the student who would become a fine pianist. It is impossible
to conceive of fine playing that is not marked by clean, fluent, distinct, elastic
technic. The technical ability of the performer should be of such a nature that
it can be applied immediately to all the artistic demands of the composition
to be interpreted.

Of course, there may be individual passages which require some special
technical study, but, generally speaking, technic is worthless unless the
hands and the mind of the player are so trained that they can encompass the
principal difficulties found in modern compositions.

TECHNICAL
PROFICIENCY
ESSENTIAL #2

TECHNIC, HOWEVER, IS AT FIRST MADE A MATTER OF PARAMOUNT
IMPORTANCE. ALL STUDENTS MUST BECOME TECHNICALLY PROFICIENT.

NONE ARE EXCUSED.

In the music schools of Russia great
stress is laid upon technic. Possibly this
may be one of the reasons why some of
the Russian pianists have been so
favorably received in recent years.

The work in the leading Russian
conservatories is almost entirely under
supervision of the Imperial Musical
Society. The system is elastic in that,
although all students are obliged to go
through the same course, special
attention is given to individual cases.

It may be interesting for readers to know something of the general plan
followed in the Imperial music schools of Russia.

TECHNICAL
PROFICIENCY
ESSENTIAL #2

All of the studies are in the key of “C.” They include scales, arpeggios, and
other forms of exercises in special technical designs.

At the end of the fifth year an examination takes place. This examination is
twofold. The pupil is examined first for proficiency in technic, and later for
proficiency in artistic playing—pieces, studies, etc. However, if the pupil fails
to pass the technical examination he is not permitted to go ahead. He knows
the exercises in the book of studies by Hanon so well that he knows each
study by number, and the examiner may ask him, for instance, to play study
17, or 28, or 32, etc.

The student at once sits at the keyboard and plays. Although the original
studies are all in the key of “C,” he may be requested to play them in any
other key. He has studied them so thoroughly that he should be able to play
them in any key desired.

The course is nine years in duration.
During the first five years the student
gets most of his technical instruction
from a book of studies by Hanon, which
is used very extensively in the
conservatories. In fact, this is practically
the only book of strictly technical
studies employed. THE MOSCOW CONSERVATORY, C. 1901

TECHNICAL
PROFICIENCY
ESSENTIAL #2

A metronomic test is also applied. The
student knows that he will be expected
to play the studies at certain rates of
speed. The examiner states the speed
and the metronome is started.

The pupil is required, for instance, to
play the E flat major scale with the
metronome at 120, eight notes to the
beat. If he is successful in doing this, he
is marked accordingly and other tests
are given.

Personally, I believe this matter of insisting upon a thorough technical
knowledge is a very vital one.

The mere ability to play a few pieces does not constitute musical proficiency.
It is like those music boxes which possess only a few tunes. The student’s
technical grasp should be all-embracing.

Later the student is given advanced technical exercises, like those of Tausig.
Czerny is also very deservedly popular. Less is heard of the studies of

TECHNICAL
PROFICIENCY
ESSENTIAL #2

THE MERE ABILITY TO PLAY A FEW PIECES DOES NOT
CONSTITUTE MUSICAL PROFICIENCY.

Henselt, however, notwithstanding his long service in Russia. Henselt’s
studies are so beautiful that they should rather be classed with pieces like
the studies of Chopin.

PROPER
PHRASING
ESSENTIAL #3

An artistic interpretation is not possible if the student does not know the
laws underlying the very important subject of phrasing.

Unfortunately many editions of good music are found wanting in proper
phrase markings. Some of the phrase signs are erroneously applied.
Consequently the only safe way is for the student to make a special study of
this important branch of musical art.

In the olden days phrase signs were little
used. Bach used them very sparingly. It
was not necessary to mark them in
those times, for every musician who
counted himself a musician could
determine the phrases as he played.

But a knowledge of the means of
defining phrases in a composition is by
no means all-sufficient. Skill in executing
the phrases is quite as important.

The real musical feeling must exist in the
mind of the composer or all the
knowledge of correct phrasing he may
possess will be worthless.

REGULATING
THE TEMPO
ESSENTIAL #4

IF A FINE MUSICAL FEELING, OR SENSITIVENESS, MUST CONTROL THE
EXECUTION OF THE PHRASES, THE REGULATION OF THE TEMPO DEMANDS
A KIND OF MUSICAL ABILITY NO LESS EXACTING.

Although in most cases the tempo of
a given composition is now indicated
by means of the metronomic
markings, the judgment of the player
must also be brought frequently into
requisition. He cannot follow the
tempo marks blindly, although it is
usually unsafe for him to stray very
far from these all-important musical
sign-posts.

The metronome itself must not be
used “with closed eyes,” as we
should say it in Russia. The player
must use discretion. I do not
approve of continual practice with
the metronome. The metronome is
designed to set the time, and if not
abused is a very faithful servant.
However, it should only be used for
this purpose.

The most mechanical playing
imaginable can proceed from those
who make themselves slaves to this
little musical clock, which was never
intended to stand like a ruler over
every minute of the student’s
practice time.

CHARACTER
IN PLAYING
ESSENTIAL #5

Too few students realize that there
is continual and marvelous
opportunity for contrast in playing.
Every piece is a piece unto itself. It
should, therefore, have its own
peculiar interpretation.

There are performers whose playing
seems alike. It is like meals served in
some hotels. Everything brought to
the table has the same taste.

Of course, a successful performer
must have a strong individuality, and
all of his interpretations must bear
the mark of this individuality, but at
the same time he should seek
variety constantly. A Chopin Ballade
must have a different interpretation
from, a Scarlatti Capriccio. There is
really very little in common
between a Beethoven Sonata and a
Liszt Rhapsody.

SIGNIFICANCE
OF THE PEDAL
ESSENTIAL #6

THE PEDAL HAS BEEN CALLED THE SOUL OF THE PIANO.

I never realized what this meant until
I heard Anton Rubinstein, whose
playing seemed so marvelous to me
that it beggars description. His
mastery of the pedal was nothing
short of phenomenal. In the last
movement of the B-flat minor sonata
of Chopin he produced pedal effects
that can never be described, but for
any one who remembers them they
will always be treasured as one of
the greatest of musical joys.

The pedal is the study of a lifetime.
It is the most difficult branch of
higher pianoforte study. Of course,
one may make rules for its use, and
the student should carefully study all
these rules, but, at the same time,
these rules may often be skillfully
broken in order to produce some
very charming effects.

The rules represent a few known
principles that are within the grasp
of our musical intelligence. They
may be compared with the planet
upon which we live, and about
which we know so much.

Beyond the rules, however, is the
great universe—the celestial system
which only the telescopic artistic

SIGNIFICANCE
OF THE PEDAL
ESSENTIAL #6

sight of the great musician can penetrate. This, Rubinstein, and some others,
have done, bringing to our mundane vision undreamt-of beauties which they
alone could perceive.

THE DANGER
OF CONVENTION
ESSENTIAL #7

While we must respect the traditions of the past, which for the most part are
very intangible to us because they are only to be found in books, we must,
nevertheless, not be bound down by convention.

ICONOCLASM IS THE LAW OF ARTISTIC PROGRESS.

It is infinitely better to create than to imitate. All great composers and
performers have built upon the ruins of conventions that they themselves
have destroyed. Before we can create, however, it is well to make ourselves
familiar with the best that has preceded us.

NIKOLAI ZVEREV (CENTER) AND HIS PUPILS AT THE MOSCOW CONSERVATORY, INCLUDING
ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (SECOND FROM LEFT) AND RACHMANINOFF (FOURTH FROM RIGHT).

THE DANGER
OF CONVENTION
ESSENTIAL #7

This applies not only to composition, but
to pianoforte playing as well. The master
pianists, Rubinstein and Liszt, were both
marvelously broad in the scope of their
knowledge. They knew the literature of
the pianoforte in all its possible
branches. They made themselves
familiar with every possible phase of
musical advancement.

This is the reason for their gigantic
musical prominence.
Their greatness was not the hollow shell of acquired technic. THEY KNEW.

Oh, for more students in these days with the genuine thirst for real musical
knowledge, and not merely with the desire to make a superficial exhibition at
the keyboard!

FRANZ LISZT (1811 - 1886)

REAL MUSICAL
UNDERSTANDING
ESSENTIAL #8

I am told that some teachers lay a great deal of stress upon the necessity
for the pupil learning the source of the composer’s inspiration.

This is interesting, of course, and may help to stimulate a dull imagination.
However, I am convinced that it would be far better for the student to
depend more upon his real musical understanding. It is a mistake to suppose
that the knowledge of the fact that Schubert was inspired by a certain poem,
or that Chopin was inspired by a certain legend, could ever make up for a
lack of the real essentials leading to good pianoforte playing.

The student must see, first of all, the
main points of musical relationship in a
composition. He must understand what
it is that gives the work unity, cohesion,
force, or grace, and must know how to
bring out these elements.

There is a tendency with some teachers
to magnify the importance of auxiliary
studies and minimize the importance of
essentials.

This course is wrong, and must lead to
erroneous results.

THE VITAL
SPARK
ESSENTIAL #10

IT EXISTS ONLY FOR THE MOMENT, AND CANNOT BE EXPLAINED.
In all good pianoforte playing there is a vital spark
that seems to make each interpretation of a
masterpiece into a living thing.

It exists only for the moment, and cannot be
explained.

For instance, two pianists of equal technical ability
may play the same composition. With one the
playing is dull, lifeless and sapless, with the other
there is something that is indescribably wonderful.

His playing seem fairly to quiver with life. It commands interest and inspires
the audience.

When the composition was originally written the composer was
unquestionably inspired; when the performer finds the same joy that the
composer found at the moment the composition came into existence, then
something new and different enters his playing.


THE VITAL
SPARK
ESSENTIAL #10

It seems to be stimulated and invigorated in a manner altogether marvelous.
The audience realizes this instantly, and will even sometimes forgive
technical imperfections if the performance is inspired.
Rubinstein was technically marvelous,
and yet he admitted making mistakes.
Nevertheless, for every possible mistake
he may have made, he gave, in return,
ideas and musical tone pictures that
would have made up for a million
mistakes.

When Rubinstein was over-exact his
playing lost something of its wonderful
charm. I remember that upon one
occasion he was playing Balakirev's
Islamei at a concert. Something
distracted his attention and he
apparently forgot the composition
entirely; but he kept on improvising in
the style of the piece, and after about
four minutes the remainder of the
composition came back to him and he
played it to the end correctly.

This annoyed him greatly and he
played the next number upon the
program with the greatest
exactness, but, strange to say, it lost
the wonderful charm of the
interpretation of the piece in which
his memory had failed him.

Rubinstein was really incomparable,
even more so perhaps because he
was full of human impulse and his
playing very far removed from
mechanical perfection.

While, of course, the student must
play the notes, and all of the notes,
in the manner and in the time in
which the composer intended that
they should be played, his efforts
should by no means stop with notes.

Every individual note in a
composition is important, but there
is something quite as important as
the notes, and that is the soul.

After all, the vital spark is the soul.

The soul is the source of that higher
expression in music which cannot be
represented in dynamic marks. The
soul feels the need for crescendos
and diminuendos intuitively. The
mere matter of the duration of a
pause upon a note depends upon its
significance, and the soul of the
artist dictates to him just how long
such a pause should be held.

IF THE STUDENT RESORTS TO MECHANICAL RULES AND DEPENDS UPON
THEM ABSOLUTELY, HIS PLAYING WILL BE SOULLESS.

Fine playing requires much deep thought away from the keyboard. The
student should not feel that when the notes have been played his task in
done. It is, in fact, only begun.

He must make the piece a part of himself. Every note must awaken in him a
kind of musical consciousness of his real artistic mission.

Olivier
Pianaute
Messages : 31
Enregistré le : lundi 24 juin 2019 18:54

Re: Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

Message par Olivier »

Merci beaucoup, j'avais cliqué sur un lien promotionnel promettant ce pdf, que je n'ai jamais réussi à télécharger ! Je lis ça tout à l'heure

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Hémiole
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Messages : 532
Enregistré le : lundi 1 juil 2019 21:08

Re: Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

Message par Hémiole »

Merci ! J'ai pu télécharger le pdf sur le site Tonebase.
Mais bon, pour moi c'est à titre purement informatif, ça me dépasse...
"Les arts sont le plus sûr moyen de se dérober au monde ; ils sont aussi le plus sûr moyen de s'unir avec lui."
Franz Liszt

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Lee
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Re: Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

Message par Lee »

Mais non, Marie-Hélène, ce n'est pas possible que ça te dépasse. Peut-être que l'anglais te donne cette impression ou bien son chapitre extrème sur la technique qui effectivement est des années lumières de ce que nous voudrions faire, mais le reste je trouvais "accessible" à appliquer. Tant que dans mon ignorance je n'ai pas beaucoup râté ou malcompris. :houhou:

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Hémiole
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Enregistré le : lundi 1 juil 2019 21:08

Re: Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

Message par Hémiole »

Lee a écrit : lundi 2 sept 2019 10:50 Mais non, Marie-Hélène, ce n'est pas possible que ça dépasse. Peut-être que l'anglais te donne cette impression ou bien son chapitre extrème sur la technique qui effectivement est des années lumières de ce que nous voudrions faire, mais le reste je trouvais "accessible" à appliquer. Tant que dans mon ignorance je n'ai pas beaucoup râté ou malcompris. :houhou:
Oui voilà comme j'ai commencé par le début, le chapitre sur la technique ne me concernant pas, j'ai arrêté là...
"Les arts sont le plus sûr moyen de se dérober au monde ; ils sont aussi le plus sûr moyen de s'unir avec lui."
Franz Liszt

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pascalg
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Re: Les 10 conseils essentiels par Rachmaninoff

Message par pascalg »

excellent!
merci beaucoup du partage
pascalg

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