Read Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist by Charles Rosen Online


Among the world's instruments, the piano stands out as the most versatile, powerful, and misunderstood -- even by those who have spent much of their lives learning to play. In Piano Notes, a finalist for a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award, Charles Rosen, one of the world's most talented pianists, distills a lifetime of wisdom and lore into an unforgettable tour of tAmong the world's instruments, the piano stands out as the most versatile, powerful, and misunderstood -- even by those who have spent much of their lives learning to play. In Piano Notes, a finalist for a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award, Charles Rosen, one of the world's most talented pianists, distills a lifetime of wisdom and lore into an unforgettable tour of the hidden world of piano playing. You'll read about how a note is produced, why a chord can move us, why the piano -- "hero and villain" of tonality -- has shaped the course of Western music, and why it is growing obsolete. Rosen explains what it means that Beethoven composed in his head whereas Mozart would never dream of doing so, why there are no fortissimos in the works of Ravel, and why a piano player's acrobatics have an important dramatic effect but nothing more. Ending on a contemplative note, Piano Notes offers an elegant argument that piano music "is not just sound or even significant sound" but a mechanical, physical, and fetishistic experience that faces new challenges in an era of recorded music. Rosen ponders whether piano playing will ever again be the same, and his insights astonish....

Title : Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743243124
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist Reviews

  • Chris
    2019-04-30 17:20

    The late Charles Rosen, who died in 2012 aged 85, is remembered as both pianist and writer, and Piano Notes is in large part a personal response to the art and pleasure of keyboard playing. I found this a wonderful book, full of enthusiasm, experience, expertise, knowledge and humour, and it helps that this reviewer largely shares the writer’s philosophy (though, sadly, not the experience, expertise and knowledge). The first couple of chapters are a little hard going, even for someone like me with an admittedly meagre piano background, but the remainder of the book flows easily and is greatly enjoyable for both pianists and the general reader. An abiding notion that I associate with this book is Rosen’s assertion that an assiduous pianist can sight-read their way through most of the solo classical repertoire in just a few years. Though I did wonder how feasible this is I of course bow to his professional opinion; after all he has recorded much of that repertoire, from Bach to Schoenberg and from Brahms to Stravinsky and Boulez. Above all I love the sense of continuity of tradition reaching back to his teachers and beyond that to Liszt, and I rejoice that I’ve had lessons with someone who had lessons with him. This is a book that I may find I have to re-read every so often to get the most out of it.

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-05-07 18:27

    Do "many pianists" really play the opening left-hand note and chord of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata with two hands, because the leap is so great? Rosen says many do. I have small hands, and I've never really had a problem playing it with one hand. Daniel Barenboim has tiny, fat hands, and he doesn't really have a problem. Rosen's musings (this book is based on a lecture given at the New York Public Library, and subsequently printed in the New York Review of Books) were moderately interesting. I did enjoy his chapter on "Conservatories and Contests." Rosen served on the jury at one of the Leeds piano competitions along with the famed Nadia Boulanger. When Mlle. Boulanger became bored by a performer, "she would compose canons. On a large piece of paper she had brought with her, she would rule several five-line staffs, and begin to invent some elaborate counterpoint."Rosen tells the brief story of Stefan de Groote (he misspells it de Groot), a South African pianist voted out early in one of the Leeds competitions; he went on to win the Van Cliburn competition later that year. Rosen informs us that de Groot(e) would have "made a brilliant career but killed himself a few short years later while flying a plane." Actually no, he didn't. He was seriously injured piloting a plane in 1985, recovered, and died from AIDS in 1989.

  • Carol
    2019-05-24 18:27

    Rosen writes this book about playing the piano from a much more personal perspective than he did The Classical Style. He's less the musicologist here and more the musician reflecting on his experiences and offering up his thoughts. He discusses not just his own playing experiences, but also the piano's role in music history, place in culture, etc. However, Rosen does focus on the professional experience (concerts, recording, pedagogy), rather than the amateur or student experience. I found his discussions of the ways in which the purely physical aspects of the instrument and the playing techniques affect the music and how it is experienced (by both the listener and the performer) the most interesting parts of the book. Also, the view of music history through the lens of the piano was very illuminating. Unfortunately, Rosen is occasionally curmudgeonly about the future of the piano and piano music.

  • Jack
    2019-05-05 12:35

    A must-read for any pianist (and certainly worthwhile for any musician)! Rosen walks the fine line between insight and accessibility nearly perfectly. The chapters are largely distinct from each other--he'll talk about piano technique and performance practice then jump to the impact of recording technology and off to historical versus modern interpretations, repertoire, etc. They don't really flow, but that's a marginal distraction in comparison to the remarkable ideas he lays out before the reader. He's a man of strong opinions, though, and he's certainly persuasive, but if you disagree, you might find yourself disagreeing with equal strength. Regardless, it's thought-provoking, and certainly has had an effect on how I approach the instrument.

  • Sebastian
    2019-05-05 15:44

    I liked music my entire life. I got to love making music only a few years ago. So I am very new to the realm of music theory and in general any elaborate thoughts about music. I had never thought possible this level of sophistication in the musical world, I was a science guy and therefore ignorant about anything about music but hearing it. This kind of book opens a whole new universe to me. And I am sure, that I will come back many times to this book as my understanding of music and the piano in particular will, hopefully, grow.A book not at all for a beginner. But a dilletante like me, in the best meaning of the word, will appreciate its many levels of invaluable information.

  • Joshua
    2019-05-25 12:45

    Some interesting parts for the lay person (me), but definitely could have enjoyed more if I knew more about music or composers.

  • Thomas Feng
    2019-05-09 20:25

    if you went out for drinks with Charles Rosen and recorded and transcribed everything that came out of his mouth, you would have this book.some of the anecdotes are of questionable legitimacy (as some have noted before – Stefan de Groote did not die in a plane crash, and Boulez didn't write the 2nd sonata at 20), casting doubt on many of the others, no matter how delightful, that are littered throughout the book. that aside they are usually of illustrative/discursive purpose anyway and his arguments are compelling enough on their own, if a little dogmatic.a fun read, to be sure; I do love the way Rosen writes, with such sharp wit and deep insight. but this really felt like trivia compared to something like The Classical Style.

  • Patrick Johns
    2019-05-04 13:28

    Very good. Lots of fascinating anecdotes about pianists past. I particularly liked the sections on performing and studio recording. Also a great survey of how composers over the years have influenced piano technique. Perhaps a little long-winded in places. I like the bit where he recalls having to quickly learn a Milton Babbitt 12-tone composition for a concert. He spent 4 hours practising a 3 minute piece, then when he started to practise again the following day it was as if he has never seen the piece before. I know that feeling well!

  • Joan
    2019-05-25 17:25

    I want to make it clear I didn't finish this book because it is way too sophisticated for my level of music knowledge. The book seems well written as far as I could follow it. He expressed some interesting concepts before starting to get just way over my head. It would be like trying to learn calculus when one has just begun Algebra I. Maybe someday I'll be knowledgable enough to follow what the author was saying. It sounded quite interesting!

  • Aaron
    2019-04-27 19:30

    So far... much better as far as piano books go than the Menahem Pressler Bio - better written and more relevant. But spends a lot of time on interpretation and his philosophy - including how he feels about conservatories and competitions - some of which is not relevant unless you are an aspiring pianist. Since I'm an amateur, the best thing I get out of it is a sense of freedom in terms of interpretation, and a good list of repertory I should know.

  • Seth McGaw
    2019-05-21 12:41

    Neither too conservative nor too flighty about the idea of musical interpretation, this would be the very first book I'd recommend to someone just picking up the instrument. Simply put, the best approach I've seen in prose that deals with both the history of the piano and the physical act of pianism in itself. Yummy stuff.

  • Tom Richards
    2019-05-09 15:32

    Bought this on a whim from Britten's concert hall in Suffolk and was very pleasantly surprised. A fascinating insight into the world of a concert pianist and a glimpse at some of the tricks of the trade. Particularly good as a spur to action though, I found myself digging into my cd drawer to listen to the pieces he was talking about.

  • Oliver
    2019-05-22 12:22

    I read this short book during a period of my life when I was enthralled by the rich history of piano music and played through several selections every single day. Even though I dug Rosen's quips about his own experiences tickling the ivories, this work comes off as a collections of self-indulgent anecdotes that are neither well researched nor very well written.

  • Lcitera
    2019-04-30 16:43

    An interesting book with much to offer. Practice tips such as sight read all of the Schubert and Beethoven piano sonatas. Tips on competitions and recording. Esoteric, but a quick read packed with insight.

  • pianogal
    2019-05-22 14:42

    I learned two things from this book: 1) what the middle peddle does and 2) this author is conceited. I've only kinda heard of him, but i'm not completely versed in American pianists, but still.This book did not grab me, and if I were you, I'd skip it.

  • Kath
    2019-05-13 14:23

    An informative and at times witty book demonstrating the formidable intellect of Charles Rosen. I confess it lost me at times and I also felt my lack of detailed knowledge as a piano teacher but it was well worth reading.

  • Vaselina
    2019-05-06 12:20

    My teacher recomended this book to me when I was preparing for an exam, and I found it incredibly helpful. It got me really interested in the deeper aspects of piano playing, and I found the section about competitions particularly helpful. A wonderful guide I go back to often.

  • John Montgomery
    2019-05-14 15:33

    Very articulate and intelligent - just a little dry. A good read.

  • Alex Boon
    2019-05-06 14:43

    Very interesting read. There was plenty in here I hadn't even considered as a student pianist myself there's lots to learn in here.

  • Elentarri
    2019-05-25 12:34

    An interesting, semi-autobiographical collection of musings on piano playing and the world of the pianist from Charles Rosen.

  • Dmitry
    2019-05-12 15:26

    An excellent expose of the world of music we don't know: the recording, the instruments, the tuning (and the tuners). Very interesting.

  • Erik Empson
    2019-05-24 14:39

    Interesting insight into the world of a concert pianist but dull overall. Better off listening to it.

  • Menorah
    2019-05-07 12:21

    Such a wealth of information for am amateur like me. I enjoyed playing the excerpts from various piano scores. Now I am gathering the complete scores and adding them to my repertoire.

  • Jessica
    2019-04-28 12:50

    This is a great read for piano lovers. There are many anecdotes particular to Rosen's experience, but I enjoyed it.

  • Roddy
    2019-05-24 15:33

    Essential reading for piano lovers. Heavy going in places though and the postlude was like a rich, stodgy pudding squeezed in at the end of a meal. I could have done without it!