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Piano Technique - Glossary

Introduction: explanations and clarifications

How to play the piano easier...
Who has never been up against technical or computer science instructions where the authors have used different terms to describe the same functions or elements? We find the same occurrence in the theory of piano technique even though in this case it has nothing to do with negligence, but rather a lack of knowledge concerning the works of other authors. Cz.Sielużycki (►Bibliography) adds to one of his subtitles - “Rotating movement of the arm («wing» movement)” - the following comment: “integral spindle movement of the arms (Spindelbewegung) according to Gát and, probably, (underlined by me, AW) the oblique movement of the arm according to Ching.”* The presence of “probably” indicates that Sielużycki himself was not certain of the exact terms.
*Czesław Sielużycki - “The pianist’s hand” p. 168, Polish Music Edition, Cracow, 1982 (in Polish only)

As the object of this site is to ease the understanding of the problems broached here, I use common pianistic language and the terms of my favorite authors, H.Neuhaus (►Bibliography), and more rarely nonetheless, Cz.Sielużycki. I start from the principle that replacing correct terms with new ones doesn’t make much sense.

For this same reason, in the chapter “The hand” I introduced for example the term “metacarpal ossicle” and thus I kept Neuhaus’ original Russian vocabulary.

In this small glossary I list several terms whose comprehension can be a bit ambiguous, thus not really obvious. Given that they are frequently related one to the other, I have placed them in the menu on the right side of the page in a logical fashion, rather than alphabetically.


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