April 2012 MTNA e-Journal

The Experience Of Playing Reduced-size Piano Keyboards
By Rhonda Boyle
Reduced-size piano keyboards are gradually becoming popular with many small-handed pianists in North America but are little known elsewhere in the world. They are also gaining favor among teachers and are the focus of research at a number of American universities. This paper describes the results of a survey of 22 adult pianists who play smaller keyboards regularly. It details the wide range of benefits perceived by these pianists, including relief from pain, greater technical ease, musical improvements, the expansion of accessible repertoire and greater enjoyment overall. When the results of this small survey are put into the context of statistical data on hand spans among the general piano-playing population in relation to the demands of the piano repertoire, and the demonstrated link between small hands and performance-related pain and injury, the problems associated with the long-standing “one size fits all” approach become apparent. [Read More]


Invention And Illusion: The Piano Music Of György Ligeti
By Deanna Moore
The late György Ligeti (d. 2006), famously known for his atmospheric music borrowed for 2001: A Space Odyssey and his experimental Poème Symphonique for 100 Metronomes, wrote works for piano of intriguing compositional design and poetic mastery at various levels of technical difficulty. Ligeti’s piano works include piano solos, duets, duos and one concerto. The purpose of this study is to survey the works according to style development, to level the literature according to the Magrath system and to examine the compositional designs of and extra-musical influences on Ligeti. The works Ligeti composed during his time in Hungary are of intermediate level and include duets and solos. After his escape to Austria, Ligeti began to experiment with the free use of 12 tones, compositional rules that dictated the creative process and illusory techniques. As a result, his works for piano became more challenging physically and analytically, but they possess a poetic mastery that firmly establishes his piano works in today’s performance repertoire. [Read More]