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Title: The piano study from 1800 to 1850 : style and technique in didactic virtuoso piano music from Cramer to Liszt
Author: Finlow, Simon Robert
ISNI:       0000 0000 6549 5586
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1986
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The first piano studies or etudes were composed at the beginning of the 19th century. By 1850, hundreds of collections of studies had been published. The repertory includes works by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and the lesser-known Cramer, Clementi, Berger, Moscheles, HelIer, Alkan and Henselt. All of these composed studies which have both practical value and musical interest. The development of the Study up to 1850 divides into two phases. In studies by Cramer and other composers up to the mid-1830s, instrumentally derived figurations were generally cast in simple, abstract forms. In this period there is a need to distinguish between "studies" -- works of discrete musical substance -- and "exercises" -- repetitive or open-ended mechanical formulas in which the musical interest is at best incidental and always insubstantial. Later studies increasingly evince programmatic material, longer, more complex designs, and a consequent erosion of didactic function. These are generically termed "concert studies" and frequently display new virtuoso techniques and pianistic effects. They also contain evidence of broad stylistic shifts, changing audience tastes, and improvements to the mechanism and structure of the instrument. Moscheles's studies span the transition between the two phases. Those of Chopin and Liszt epitomize the best elements of each respective phase. A typical feature of 19th-century studies is that their finished characteristics imply a creative interaction between musical style and performance technique. Analysis shows that the mutual stimulus operating between these two phenomena on various levels could condition many aspects of style and expression in the resulting music. Thematic and harmonic processes were those most clearly affected. Other significant results involved the manner in which technical difficulty was used to create dynamic tension, the musical functions of keyboard bravura, and the nature of the relationship between expressive content and virtuoso rhetoric. The positive effects of these interactions can be perceived with transparent clarity in Chopin's two outstanding collections, opp. 10 and 25.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Literature