The Pianist s Dictionary, Second Edition
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The Pianist's Dictionary, Second Edition


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161 pages

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The Pianist's Dictionary is a handy and practical reference dictionary aimed specifically at pianists, teachers, students, and concertgoers. Prepared by Maurice Hinson and Wesley Roberts, this revised and expanded edition is a compendium of information gleaned from a combined century of piano teaching. Users will find helpful and clear definitions of musical and pianistic terms, performance directions, composers, pianists, famous piano pieces, and piano makers. The authors' succinct entries make The Pianist's Dictionary the perfect reference for compiling program and liner notes, studying scores, and learning and teaching the instrument.

Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition

List of Abbreviations

The Entries




Publié par
Date de parution 03 mars 2020
Nombre de lectures 7
EAN13 9780253047342
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0042€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Pianist s

Second Edition
Pianist s

Second Edition
Maurice Hinson and Wesley Roberts
Assisted by Sida Hodoroab -Roberts
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2020 by Margaret Hume Hinson and Wesley Roberts
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-04731-1 (hdbk)
ISBN 978-0-253-04732-8 (pbk)
ISBN 978-0-253-04735-9 (web PDF)
1 2 3 4 5 25 24 23 22 21 20
In Memoriam
Maurice Hinson

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
List of Abbreviations
T HE TASK OF TODAY S LEXICOGRAPHER IS A DAUNTING one when considered in light of the sheer abundance of information available. Nowhere else is this more true than for pianism, a domain now in its fifth century. Early piano builders could have never imagined the developments in manufacturing, piano literature, performance, and audience enthusiasm that have emerged in the centuries since that time. The piano s humble beginnings, emancipating from the action of the clavichord and embodying the form of the harpsichord, opened new doors of musical expression that have inspired composers, performers, and audiences throughout the ages, as they continue to do today.
This second edition of The Pianist s Dictionary follows the trajectory established in the first edition. Its aim is to provide the reader with a general reference guide to musical terms, selected compositions, composers, performers, treatises, and manufacturers of the piano. No one book could possibly contain all there is to be said, and readers are asked to be understanding if a favorite composer or performer does not appear.
This book is the first in Maurice Hinson s immense series on the piano to be published since his passing. It was my privilege to study piano with Hinson in the late 1970s at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and to serve as his student assistant. These were the early days in his editorship of the Journal of the American Liszt Society . Hinson would occasionally send me to the library to search for details related to Liszt, and occasionally I managed to find information that had eluded him. I imagine this was one of the reasons he entrusted me as coauthor of a new edition of The Piano in Chamber Ensemble (2006), the first in what has become a series of collaborations. Hinson was always interested in promoting music in the United States: readers of his works will notice a stronger emphasis on American composers and their music than is often found in other writings on piano literature. This approach was instilled in him early on and manifested itself in a series of three lecture-recitals he toured with early in his career tracing the development of the piano and piano literature in America. That it spilled over into his many publications should be no surprise.
Assisting me in the preparation of this volume has been my wife, Sida, whose linguistic skill in several European languages aided me on many occasions. For her assistance I am most grateful. Readers will find that some foreign terms may be translated in multiple ways. I have taken every precaution to interpret these in a musical context. Any errors herein are my responsibility. I am also thankful for the assistance of my colleague James W. Moore, who digitized musical illustrations, and to Kay Alston, librarian, and her staff at Campbellsville University s Montgomery Library for providing materials in the preparation of this edition.

December 2018
Wesley Roberts
Campbellsville, Kentucky
T HIS MUSIC DICTIONARY AIMS TO ASSIST THE PIANIST in all aspects of his or her art. It is a practical guide that covers definitions of terms, performance directions, names of well-known piano pieces, nicknames of pieces, forms, and styles, plus brief biographies of leading pianists, composers of piano music, and piano manufacturers as well as parts of the piano (action, soundboard, etc.) and neglected repertoire the author feels is important. I have also included the names of some college and university faculty members who are outstanding teachers, performers, or both, or who have made some unusual contributions to the piano world by their writing or editing. It is impossible to include some of the most interesting instructions from composers: Satie suggested the pianist should play like a nightingale with a toothache ; Messiaen urged the performer to sound like someone sharpening a scythe.
To be sure, there is more to interpretation than just recognizing the terms. The pianist has to know that allegro means a style as much as a tempo and that a Brahms grazioso is quite different from a Mozart grazioso. This dictionary aims to help with the other part of the meaning besides speed and tempo.
How many times has a pianist worked so diligently on a passage or piece only to realize there was a term or direction present all along that would have steered him or her in the right direction if only they had been properly understood? These words cannot be ignored, for they help bring a score to life.
I owe special thanks to Dr. Charles Timbrell for his assistance with death dates and students of listed pianists, and to Suzie Collins and Linda Durkin for typing the manuscript.
I have tried to keep the language as simple as possible as relates to the topic. The information contained covers the subject from around 1700 (the beginning of the history of the piano) to the present day. This is information I have worked with while teaching piano for almost sixty years.

Maurice Hinson
Louisville, Kentucky
Ludwig van Beethoven
Johannes Brahms
Circa; approximately
Fryderyk (Fr d ric) Chopin
Curtis Institute of Music
Claude Debussy
Exempli gratia (Latin); for example
Joseph Haydn
J. S. Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
The Juilliard School
K chel (for Mozart) or Kirkpatrick (for Scarlatti)
Left hand
Franz Liszt
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University
Right hand
Searle catalog
United States
Work without opus
Pianist s

Second Edition
A (It.), (Fr.). At, in, to.
deux (Fr.). For two (as a duet).
deux mains (Fr.). For two hands.
l aise (Fr.). Comfortable; in a relaxed manner.
la mani re de (Fr.). In the style of.
la mesure (Fr.). A tempo; in strict time.
peine (Fr.). Slightly, scarcely.
A piacere (It.). At pleasure, as desired. The pianist is to use his or her discretion as regards the rhythmic or dynamic nuance; play freely.
quatre mains (Fr.). For four hands.
A tempo (It.). In the original speed, resume the original tempo after having made some deviation from it.
temps (Fr.). In time.
un temps (Fr.). In one beat.
volont (Fr.). At will, leisurely.
Ab Irato (In a Rage). Franz Liszt, S. 143, 1852. This piece first appeared in 1842 as Morceau du salon. It was expanded and reappeared in 1852 with the new suggestive title. It is an effective octave and chord study in a mainly violent mood.
ABA. Analysis term used to describe sections of a piece: A = first section, followed by contrasting section B , followed by repeat (sometimes modified) of A section.
Abegg Variations. Robert Schumann, Op. 1, 1829-30. A set of variations on a theme based on the notes A-B -E-G-G and dedicated to his friend Meta Abegg.
Aber (Ger.). But.
Abgesto en (Ger.). Staccato, detached.
Abram, Jacques (1915-98). American pianist and teacher, he began performing in public at the age of six and studied at Curtis with David Saperton and Juilliard with Ernest Hutcheson. He performed literature from Johann Sebastian Bach through B la Bart k and gave the American premi re of Benjamin Britten s Piano Concerto. He taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the University of South Florida in Tampa. His course Issues in Music in Tampa was immensely popular and usually closed out each semester with over two hundred students from across campus.
Abridged Sonata Form/Modified Sonata Form. A form based on sonata form but not containing a development section.
Absolute music. Music without any attempt to relate to anything else. The opposite of programmatic music. Examples would include sonatas, trios, and quartets.
Abstufungen (Ger.). Nuances.
Accarezzevole (It.). Caressingly.
Accelerando, Accel (It.), Acc lerer (Fr.). Increasing the speed, accelerating, becoming faster.
Accent. A stress or emphasis indicated by a sign. Other types of accents are used by composers, in particular the sign, which generally represents greater punctuation.
Acciaccatura (It.). A type of grace note indicated by a small note with its stem crossed through. It is a crushed note, to be played a split second before the principal note and released at once.
Accidental. An indication to adjust a pitch in relation to its appearance earlier in a measure or to adjust the pitch differently from the key signature. Accidentals are indicated by signs for natural , sharp , and flat .
Accompaniment. Musical background for a principal part or parts.
Accus (Fr.). With emphasis.
Action. Mechanism of the piano that causes a string to sound when a key is depressed, especially, though not limited to, the movement of the hammers.
Ad libitum (Lat.). At will, freely.
Adagietto (It.). Slightly faster than adagio , of which term it is the diminutive.
Adagio (It.). At ease, leisurely; slowly with great expression. To play an adagio well, enter into a calm and almost melancholy mood (Quantz 1966, p. 163).
Adagio non troppo (It.). Slow, but not too slow.
Adagissimo (It.). Extremely slow.
Adams, John (b. 1947). American composer of minimalistic tendencies known for large-scale compositions. His small output for piano includes China Gates and Phrygian Gates .
L adieu valse (Farewell Waltz). Fryderyk Chopin, Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 69, No. 1, 1835. Composed as a farewell present to Maria Wodz nska on the breakup of their romantic relationship.
Adieux, l absence et le retour, Les (Fr.) (The Farewell, Absence, and Return), Das Lebewohl, Abwesenheit und Wiedersehn (Ger.). Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 81a. Title given by Beethoven s publisher to this Sonate caract ristique , dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph, who had to leave Vienna when it was under attack by the French. Beethoven wrote Lebewohl (farewell) over the opening phrase, and he referred to it as the Lebewohl Sonata.
Aeolian Harp tude. Fryderyk Chopin, tude in A-Flat Major, Op. 25, No. 1, 1836. Perhaps this title came from a remark made by Robert Schumann comparing Chopin s playing to an Aeolian harp, a stringed instrument that when placed outside or in a window makes vague, eerie harmonies when the wind blows through it. Chopin is supposed to have referred to this study as the Shepherd Boy tude. See Shepherd Boy tude.
A rien (Fr.). Light, airy.
Affabile (It.). Affable, pleasing, politely, pleasantly, gentle.
Affettuoso (It.). Affectionately, with feeling or tender feeling, warm, emotional.
Affretando (It.). Hurrying, increasing the speed, pushing on.
Agevole (It.). Easy, relaxed, smooth, comfortable, facile.
Agitato (It.). Excited, agitated, hurriedly, at a slightly faster tempo.
Agit (Fr.). Agitated, restless.
Agosti, Guido (1901-89). Italian pianist renowned for concerts throughout Europe. He taught in Venice and Rome and made editions of works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Fryderyk Chopin.
Agrandissement asym trique (Fr.). Asymmetrical enlargement. A technique used by Olivier Messiaen to expand a motive or phrase by lowering the lowest pitch and raising the highest pitch a half-step upon successive repetitions.
Agr mens, Agr ments (Fr.). Grace notes, in particular the small ornaments found in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French music.
Aigre (Fr.). Harsh, shrill.
Aigu (Fr.). Sharp, acute.
Aimable (Fr.). Kindly, pleasant, nice.
Aimard, Pierre-Laurent (b. 1957). French pianist who studied with Yvonne Loriod, he has had a special interest in music since World War II. Among his repertoire are pieces by Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Gy rgy Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Elliott Carter, as well as J. S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. The winner of the Olivier Messiaen Competition in 1973, he has appeared in solo and with major orchestras throughout Europe and the United States.
Air. A tune, a simple melody, sometimes in the style of a folksong. In suites of the Baroque and Classical eras, the air was an optional piece, in general as opposed to the dance-based pieces in the suite. J. S. Bach used the term for the fourth movement in his French Suite No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 813, and the fifth movement in his French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815.
Air with variations. See theme and variations.
Airplane Sonata. George Antheil, Sonata No. 2, 1922. Sonata in two movements, its rhythms are aggressive and motoristic but also sometimes reminiscent of ragtime. It is characterized by clusters and strident harmonies and is deliberately noisy; material is repeated either wholly or in fragments.
Ais (Fr.). Easy.
Ais ment (Fr.). Unhurried, with ease.
Al, Alla (It.). To the, at the, in the (manner, style, etc.).
Al fine (It.). To the end (go).
Al niente (It.). Dying away to nothing, gradually fading away.
Al segno (It.). To the sign: locate the sign in the score and play from there.
Alb niz, Isaac (1860 - 1909). Spanish composer and pianist, he studied with Franz Liszt. Alb niz composed over two hundred piano pieces with strong rhythmic Spanish features, including Iberia , a cycle of twelve pieces, and the popular Tango in D.
D Albert, Eugen (1864 - 1932). German composer, born in Glasgow, Scotland. A student of Franz Liszt and highly regarded as a piano virtuoso and composer, d Albert s piano works include two piano concertos, a sonata, a suite, and miscellaneous piano pieces. He also edited piano music. One of d Albert s six wives was the Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carre o.
Alberti bass. An accompaniment figure, located mainly in the left hand. It gets its name from Domenico Alberti (1710-40), who used it frequently. A good example is found in the first movement of the Mozart Sonata in C Major, K. 545.

Alborada (Sp.). Music at dawn, a morning song. Maurice Ravel s Alborada del gracioso (The Fool s Dawn Song) from his Miroirs is best known.
Albrechtsberger, Johann Georg (1736-1809). Austrian composer who gave Beethoven lessons in composition. He wrote 278 keyboard works.
Albright, William (1944-98). American composer and pianist known for a sense of humor in his music. Composed rags with a late-twentieth-century flavor, Three Original Rags being best known.
Albumblatt (Ger.). Album leaf: a title used for short character pieces, mainly for piano, by nineteenth-century composers.
Alcun, Alcuna (It.). Some, a little.
Alegria (Sp.). Mirth, merriment, gaiety, joy.
Alhambra Suite No. 1. Isaac Alb niz, 1897. This suite contains only one movement ( La Vega ) and was left unfinished. It is based on impressions of Grenada and contains colorful native rhythms and melodies.
Alkan, Charles Henri Valentin (real name Morhange) (1813-88). French composer, pianist, and teacher, he wrote mainly for the piano, especially studies and character pieces, many of a virtuosic level comparable to his contemporaries Fryderyk Chopin and Franz Liszt. His best works display technical challenges and musical imagination. He was killed when a bookcase fell on him.
Alla breve (It.). In a concise manner, indicated by the sign , which means two beats to a measure instead of four; also called cut time.
Alla marcia (It.). In march style.
Alla tedesca (It.). In the style of a German dance.
Alla turca (It.). In the Turkish style. See the last movement of Mozart s Sonata in A Major, K. 331.
Alla zingarese (It.). In a gypsy style.
Allant (Fr.). Stirring, going, moving.
Allargando (It.). Broadening, enlarging, getting slower and having a more dignified style, sometimes with a simultaneous crescendo .
All grement (Fr.). Gaily, merrily, fast, briskly.
Allegretto (It.). Light and cheerful but not as fast as allegro .
Allegrezza (It.). Joyous, cheerfulness.
Allegrissimo (It.). Very fast.
Allegro (It.). Cheerful, merry, happy, upbeat, quick, lively, brisk, swift, good humored; a rather fast speed. Allegrissimo : extremely fast and lively.
Allegro barbaro (It.). Pieces by Charles-Valentin Alkan and B la Bart k that contain plenty of vigor and storm and stress.
Allegro di molto, Allegro molto (It.). Very fast.
Allegro non tanto (It.). Fast, but not too fast.
Allemande (Fr.). 1. A French word meaning German . 2. A German dance in meter, somewhat like the L ndler. Often used as the first movement in Baroque suites, for example, in J. S. Bach s French Suites. It makes frequent use of an upbeat at the opening, is written in meter, and is rather cheerful and sprightly.
Allm hlich (Ger.). Gradually, little by little.
Alquanto (It.). Somewhat, a little, rather.
Amabile (It.). Graceful, tender, sweet, gentle.
Amada, Kenneth B. (1931 - 2015). American pianist who devoted most of his career to teaching at the University of Iowa. He studied with Moritz Rosenthal, Isidor Philipp, Eduard Steuermann, and Constance Keene and made seven international concert tours, playing in every country in Europe. He won prizes in several competitions, including the Leventritt, Queen Elisabeth, and Harriet Cohen.
American Ballads. Roy Harris, 1946. Five settings of American folk tunes, something of American equals to B la Bart k s folksong arrangements. Includes Streets of Laredo , Wayfaring Stranger , The Bird , Black Is the Color of My True Love s Hair , and Cod Liver Ile.
Amoroso (It.). Tenderly, lovingly.
Amoureusement (Fr.). With passion, romantically.
Amplitude (Fr.). Greatness; full sound.
Anacrusis. Unstressed upbeat note(s) preceding the first strong beat of a measure; pickup.
Ancora (It.). Again, once more, still, yet. See encore .
Anda, G za (1921-76). Hungarian-born, Swiss pianist, he studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest with Ernst von Dohn nyi, Jean Weiner, and Zolt n Kod ly. He began appearing as a soloist with orchestras in his early twenties and quickly gained an international reputation. As an indication of his skill, he mastered a large repertoire, one that was reflected not only in performances but also in recordings, the latter including the complete Mozart piano concertos and B la Bart k s three piano concertos. Conductor Wilhelm Furtw ngler called him a troubadour of the keyboard.
Andante (It.). Steadily moving (walking), literally going. The steady quality is more appropriate to the eighteenth century. Not slow or fast: in between.
Andante favori (Favorite Andante). Ludwig van Beethoven, WoO 57, 1803-04. Composed by Beethoven as a slow movement for the Waldstein Sonata, Op. 53. After a friend suggested the movement was too long for the sonata, Beethoven withdrew it and composed a shorter one. Beethoven used the Andante alone, and it was published as Andante favori.
Andante spianato (It.). 1. Flowing and smooth. 2. The title of Fryderyk Chopin s Op. 22 for piano and orchestra (1834). Linked by Chopin to the Polonaise in E-Flat Major; the whole work appeared as Grand polonaise brillante pr c d e d un Andante spianato .
Andantino (It.). In the eighteenth century, a little slower than andante ; in the nineteenth century, a little faster than andante .
Anglaise (Fr.). English dance, in the English style. This word has been used for many types of dances: hornpipe, country dance, cossaise . They are usually strongly accented. See Johann Sebastian Bach s French Suite No. 3, BWV 814.
Angoiss (Fr.). Anguish, distressed, anguished.
Angosciosamente (It.). Distressingly.
Anima (It.). Soul. Con anime : wholeheartedly.
Animando (It.), Animant (Fr.). Becoming lively, animated.
Animato (It.), Anim (Fr.). Animated, lively; to be performed in a rather quick tempo.
Animez (Fr.). More lively (slightly).
Ann es de p lerinage (Years of Pilgrimage/Travel). Franz Liszt. Three collections of piano music. The first (1835-52), an extensive revision of his Album d un voyageur , is entitled Suisse (Swiss), S. 160; the second (1838-49) Italie (Italy, with a three-piece supplement entitled Venezia e Napoli [Venice and Naples]), S. 161 and 162; and the third (1867-77) is untitled, S. 163. Descriptive titles reflecting Liszt s travels are used with many of the pieces.
A oranza (Longing for Home). Enrique Granados, 1888-90. From Seis piezas sobre cantos populares espa oles (Six Pieces on Spanish Folk Songs). This set, like many of his earlier works, is a picture postcard in sound.
Antheil, George (1900-59). American composer and pianist. Known for flamboyant performances and as a composer of machine music, of which his Airplane Sonata is most famous.
Apaiser (Fr.). To sooth, calm, appease.
Aper us d sagr ables (Unpleasant Perceptions). Erik Satie, 1912. For piano duet. 1. Pastorale , 2. Choral , 3. Fugue .
Appassionato (It.). Impassioned, in a passionate intense style. Sonata appassionata is the title given to Beethoven s Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57, 1805, by the publisher Cranz in the four-handed arrangement published in 1838. The sonata (in its original solo form) is usually called the Appassionata .
Appena (It.). Scarcely, very little, hardly.
Appoggiatura (It.). A leaning note that appears as a small note having been approached by a skip that resolves by a step to the main note. In music of the Baroque and Classical periods, it is played as an accented dissonance on the beat. After ca. 1815, it is normally played slightly before the beat.
Appuie sur la cl (Fr.). Press on the key.
pre (Fr.). Harsh, violent.
Arabeske (Ger.), Arabesque (Fr.). 1. An ornate figuration; a curved, flowing line derived from Moorish art and architecture. 2. In music, a piece that uses a decorative design of florid material. Robert Schumann, Edward MacDowell, and Claude Debussy, among others, used this word as titles for piano pieces.
Argerich, Martha (b. 1941). Argentinean pianist, she studied with Friedrich Gulda, Nikita Magaloff, and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. She won the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965 and has enjoyed a distinguished international career performing around the world.
Aria (It.). Air, song, tune, songlike piece. Used as titles for piano pieces by Alfredo Casella, George Frideric Handel, Peter Mennin, Selim Palmgren, and Domenico Scarlatti, among others.
Aria with Variations in the Italian Manner. Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 989, 1709. Aria with ten contrasting variations. This early set and the Goldberg Variations are Bach s only two separate sets of stringed keyboard variations.
Ariadne musica . Johann Kaspar Ferdinand Fischer, 1702. A collection of twenty preludes and fugues for keyboard in as many keys to demonstrate the possibilities of Well-Temperament tuning.
Arietta (It.). Little aria or song. Used as the title of small pieces by Muzio Clementi, Edvard Grieg, Johann Pachelbel, and Francis Poulenc, among others.
Arioso (It.). A melodious short piece in singing style. This title is used for pieces by Arthur Honegger, Meyer Kupferman, and George Rochberg, among others. Beethoven used it in his Sonata in A-Flat Major, Op. 110, in the slow movement, indicated Arioso dolente (in the style of a sad song) to distinguish it from the preceding recitativo (recitative).
Armonioso (It.). Harmonious. When Fryderyk Chopin and Franz Liszt use this term it means to use full pedal (all the way down) in the section so marked.
Arpeggio (It.), Arp ge (Fr.). To roll or spread chords in harping motion, playing pitches individually in fast succession, in ascending and/or descending motion.
Arpeggio Study. Fryderyk Chopin, tude in E-Flat Major, Op. 10, No. 11, 1829. This study is often referred to by this title because of the continual use of arpeggiated (rolled) chords.
Arrangement. The adaptation of a work from one medium to another. J. S. Bach was very active in arranging his own works and those of other composers. Franz Liszt arranged his Concerto Path tique , S. 258, from his solo piano piece Grosses Konzertsolo , S. 176. Arrangements have come from some of our greatest composers.
Arrau, Claudio (1903 - 91). Chilean pianist, he studied in Berlin with Franz Liszt s student Martin Krause and won several international prizes. Arrau was known for broad, poetic readings of the major repertoire. He settled in the United States in 1941.
Arr t (Fr.). Stop; pause.
Art of Fugue, The (Die Kunst der Fuge) . Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 1080, incomplete upon his death, was a study in fugues and canons. For unspecified instrumentation though often played at the piano.
Articuler (Fr.). To play clearly, distinctly, with precision.
Ashkenazy, Vladimir (b. 1936). Russian-born, American pianist, he studied with Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory. He won first prize at the Brussels Competition in 1956, and in 1962 he was first-prize winner with John Ogdon of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Vladimir Ashkenazy has played worldwide as an outstanding all-around interpreter.
Aspramente (It.). Harshly.
Assai (It.), Assez (Fr.). Very, rather, fairly.
Assez lent (Fr.). Rather slowly.
Atonality. The absence of tonality, no tonal center or harmonic system is used.
Attacca (It.), Attaquez (Fr.), Attaquez de suite (Fr.). Go on immediately, continue from one movement (section) to the next without pause.
Attendez (Fr.). Wait, pause.
Au loin (Fr.). Far away, in the distance.
Au m me tempo (Fr.). At the same tempo.
Au moins (Fr.). At least.
Au mouvement (Fr.), Au temps (Fr.). A tempo.
Au signe (Fr.). To the sign.
Aubade (Fr.). Morning music, dawn; the same as alborado . Used for titles of piano pieces by Peter Fricker, Richard Franco Goldman, Anton Rubinstein, and Erik Satie, among others.
Aufbrausend (Ger.). Volatile, irascible.
Augmenter (Fr.). To increase, crescendo.
Aus (Ger.). Out of, from.
Ausdruck (Ger.). Expression.
Ausdrucksvoll (Ger.). Expressive.
Ausgehalten (Ger.). Sostenuto, sustained.
Aussi (Fr.). Also, as.
Australian Forest Pictures. Roy Agnew (1891-1944). Six colorful character pieces.
Auszug (Ger.). Extract, abridgement; arrangement.
Avant (Fr.). Before.
Avant-bras ( touches noires ) (Fr.). Forearm (black keys).
Avant-derni res pens es (Next-to-Last Thoughts). Erik Satie, 1915. 1. Idylle , 2. Aubade , 3. M ditation .
Avant-garde (Fr.). New, cutting-edge ideas or techniques not yet commonly known and/or accepted.
Avec (Fr.). With.
Avec col re (Fr.). Angrily.
Avec humour (Fr.). With good humor, witty.
Avvivando (It.). Becoming enlivened.
Ax, Emanuel (b. 1949). American pianist, born in Poland. Recipient of numerous prizes, including first place in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, he proceeded to form a successful career as soloist artist and collaborator, occasionally giving two piano concerts with his wife Yoko Nozaki.
Azulejos (Mosaics or Tiles). Isaac Alb niz, 1909. The only piece in this intended set of short pieces is a Prelude , completed by Enrique Granados.
Babbitt, Milton (1916 - 2011). American composer and important teacher who expanded the serial technique by using mathematical applications to rhythm, form, and so on. For piano: Partitions , Playing for Time , Post-Partitions , Reflections (for piano and tape), Semisimple Variations , Tableaux , and Three Compositions for Piano .
Baby grand. The smallest playing grand piano.
Bacchanale. John Cage, 1938. Cage s earliest work for prepared piano. Composed for a dance by Syvilla Fort.
B-A-C-H. The letters of the name Bach correspond to the notes B -A-C-B in German. (The note B is called H in German.) They have been used as a musical motive in J. S. Bach s The Art of the Fugue and in works by Ferruccio Busoni, Franz Liszt, Max Reger, Robert Schumann, and Anton Webern, among others.
Bach, Anna Magdalena (1701 - 60). The second wife of J. S. Bach, who compiled the Anna Magdalena Books of 1722 and 1725 for her musical education.
Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714 - 88). Born in Weimar, Germany, he was the fifth child of his famous father, J. S. Bach. He was court musician to Frederick the Great of Prussia for 27 years, then became sacred music director in Hamburg. He composed more than two hundred sonatas and concertos plus an outstanding treatise on keyboard playing: Versuch ber die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Playing the Keyboard, 1753).
Bach, Johann Christian (1735 - 82). Born in Leipzig, Germany, he was the youngest son of J. S. Bach. His career took him to Italy and London, and he came to be known as the London Bach. He composed mainly opera but also close to forty concertos and a number of piano sonatas. J. C. Bach was a major influence on Mozart. He wrote a piano method for the Naples Conservatory with Francesco Pasquale Ricci entitled M thode ou recueil de connaissances l mentaires pour le forte-piano ou clavecin (Method or Collection of Elementary Studies for the Fortepiano or Harpsichord, 1786). Ricci wrote the text, and Bach provided the one hundred pieces. His compositional style adopted principles of the new style Galant, a forerunner to Classicism.
Bach, Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732 - 95). Born in Leipzig, Germany, known as the B ckeburg Bach (since he was active at the B ckeburg court). This ninth son of J. S. Bach wrote fifteen solo sonatas and smaller works for the keyboard. His style combines German and Italian elements with a compositional technique characteristic of both Baroque and Classical styles.
Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685 - 1750). Perhaps the greatest composer who ever lived, he was organist in a number of small German towns, performing additional duties at the courts of Weimar and C then before his appointment as kantor (organist and choirmaster) at the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig. Bach composed a large amount of music for solo keyboard, including Two- and Three-Part Inventions, English and French Suites, Partitas, the Italian Concerto, Overture in the French Manner, Duets, the Goldberg Variations, Toccatas, Little Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, and numerous independent pieces. He also composed concertos with and without accompaniment. He was an accomplished performer and improviser.
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann (1710 - 84). Born in Weimar, Germany, the oldest son of J. S. Bach. Renowned as an organist, he composed in the newer empfindsamkeit (sensitive) style while retaining contrapuntal techniques in his works. He wrote numerous sonatas, polonaises, fugues, and fantasias for solo keyboard.
Bachauer, Gina (1913-76). Greek-born pianist who settled in London following studies at the Athens Conservatory and the cole Normale in Paris, the latter with Alfred Cortot. She also studied with Sergei Rachmaninoff and toured extensively. The Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition was founded in her honor in 1976 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Bachianas brasileiras. Heitor Villa-Lobos. Nine suites combining Brazilian folk music with Bachian techniques. No. 3 (1938) is for piano and orchestra, and No. 4 (1930-36) is for solo piano.
Backhaus, Wilhelm (1884 - 1969). German pianist, he studied with Eugen d Albert in Frankfurt. He won the 1905 Rubinstein Prize and soon established an international reputation. He was one of the greatest interpreters of Beethoven, Brahms, and Chopin. Backhaus recorded most of the Classical and Romantic piano repertoire.
Bacon, Katherine (1896 - 1982). English pianist and teacher, she made many tours of the United States and Canada. In 1927, she gave recitals in New York of all thirty-two Beethoven sonatas. In 1928, she gave a Schubert series with ten sonatas and other works. She appeared with many orchestras and was a member of the Juilliard School faculty from 1940 until her death.
Badinage (Fr.). Childlike playfulness, lightness; pleasantry. Badinerie is an eighteenth-century term indicating a playful or coy movement.
Badura-Skoda, Paul (1927-2019). Austrian pianist, teacher, and author, he studied at the Vienna Conservatory and with Edwin Fischer. He toured extensively and was well known through his many recordings. Although mainly identifying with Mozart, he also performed many contemporary works. He wrote Interpreting Mozart on the Keyboard and Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard , plus many articles.
Bagatelle (Fr.). Trifle, a short unpretentious piece; sketch. Beethoven composed three sets of Bagatelles: opp. 33, 119, and 126.
Bagatelle ohne Tonart (Bagatelle without Tonality). Franz Liszt, S. 216a, 1885. Liszt selected this title since the solo piano piece constantly modulates toward a key that never materializes.
Balakirev, Mily (1837 - 1910). Russian composer, pianist, and teacher, he was the leader of the group of Russian nationalist composers known as The Five. His piano works include the virtuosic Oriental fantasy Islamey , plus mazurkas, nocturnes, scherzos, waltzes, and two piano concertos.
Baldwin Piano Company. Leading American piano manufacturer founded in 1862 by Dwight Hamilton Baldwin (1821-99) in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ballade (Fr.). A composition that suggests a story. Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, Grieg, and others have written ballades for piano. Chopin s ballades are thought to have been inspired by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz.
Bamboula. Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Op. 2, probably 1844-45. A picturesque dance featuring the stamping of African American slaves mixed with the delicate arabesques of Chopin. It is a brilliant rondo on Sweet Potatoes, a Creole folk song.
Banjo, The. Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Op. 15, 1855. The composer s most famous piano piece, showing the influence of Stephen Foster (1826-64) with the imitation of a banjo.
Banowetz, Joseph (b. 1935). American pianist, author, and teacher, he was trained at Juilliard and the Vienna Academy of Music (First Prize). He has toured worldwide for many years and has made more than twenty-five recordings. Banowetz is one of the last exponents of the great Romantic keyboard tradition. He is also author of the widely known book The Pianist s Guide to Pedaling , published in four languages. He has taught at the University of North Texas for many years.
Banshee, The. Henry Cowell, 1925. The piece is played entirely on the strings inside the grand piano.
Barber, Samuel (1910 - 81). American composer, his accessible idiom is based on a lyrical, neoclassical style. He used a broad spectrum of color in writing for both solo instruments and for orchestra. His piano works include the Ballade (composed for the 1977 Van Cliburn Competition as the commissioned piece), Excursions , Love Song, Nocturne , Souvenirs (originally for piano duet, solo version by the composer), piano sonata, chamber music with piano, and a concerto for piano and orchestra.
Barcarolle (Fr.). From barca (It.), meaning boat. A composition usually in swaying time, imitating the boat songs of the Venetian gondoliers. B la Bart k, Fryderyk Chopin, Gabriel Faur (who wrote thirteen), Felix Mendelssohn, and Sergei Rachmaninoff, among others, have composed barcarolles.
Barenboim, Daniel (b. 1942). Argentinean pianist and conductor, he studied with Nadia Boulanger and Edwin Fischer. He was a child prodigy who went on to enjoy an international career. He was married to the cellist Jacqueline du Pr (1945-87).
Baroque. The term Baroque is used to designate a historical period and style in music, art, and architecture that covered roughly the years 1600 to 1750. Many musical forms involving the keyboard came into being during this time: fugue, concerto, suite, variations, toccata, passacaglia, chaconne, rondo, da capo form (ABA), and solo sonata. Keyboard composers active during this time included J. S. Bach, Fran ois Couperin, George Frideric Handel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Domenico Scarlatti.
Barr, Jean (b. 1942). American pianist and teacher, she studied with Gwendolyn Koldofsky at the University of Southern California. She was the first person in the United States to earn a doctoral degree in accompanying. Barr has performed worldwide and has appeared in concert with many distinguished artists. She teaches at the Eastman School of Music, where she has served for over two decades. Barr plays the full range of chamber music with astonishing attention to detail and beauty in all she does.
Bart k, B la (1881 - 1945). Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pianist, and teacher, he is one of the half-dozen major composers of the twentieth century. Bart k was greatly influenced by the folk music of Central Europe, whose music he collected and often arranged or paraphrased into his works. He wrote three piano concertos, Bagatelles , Burlesques , many pieces based on folk songs, six volumes of progressive piano pieces entitled Mikrokosmos , and a sonata in addition to suites. His Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (1937) and Contrasts for piano, violin, and clarinet (1938), were landmark works. His second wife, Ditta P sztory-Bart k (1903-82), was also a pianist and appeared together with him in performances of his works for two pianos.
Basso continuo (It.). Continuous bass. This is a shorthand guide to the harmonic background of a keyboard piece. Bass notes were written with numbers above or beneath indicating the correct chords to be added. It was widely used during the Baroque period.
Battle of Manassas, The. Blind Tom (Thomas Green Bethune). A musical description of the famous battle(s) in Virginia that took place during the American Civil War. It uses patriotic tunes of the period.
Bauer, Harold (1873 - 1951). English pianist. He started out to be a violinist, but composer and pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski advised him to switch to piano. He had an international career and settled in the United States during World War I, where he exerted a strong influence on the musical life of that country. Maurice Ravel dedicated his Ondine to Bauer, and he later gave the first performance of Ravel s Concerto in G. He also edited music for Schirmer.
Bax, Arnold (1883 - 1953). English composer who wrote prolifically for the piano. His style always showed great facility and a Romantic temperament. A love of the great Irish poets and Celtic folklore plus an early visit to Russia proved to be major influences. Piano works included numerous character pieces and four piano sonatas. For piano and orchestra: Concertante (for piano left-hand and orchestra), Morning Song , Symphonic Variations . For two pianos: The Devil That Tempted St. Anthony , Hardanger , Moy Mell , The Poisoned Fountain , Red Autumn , and a sonata.
Beach, Amy Marcy (1867 - 1944). The most famous American woman composer, she was an outstanding pianist and made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1885. Her solo piano works include the Ballad , Five Improvisations , Four Sketches , Hermit Thrush at Eve , Morceaux caract ristiques , Scottish Legend , Variations on a Balkan Theme , and numerous other pieces, plus a piano concerto and much chamber music involving the piano.
Bearbeitet (Ger.). Worked over, arranged.
Bearbeitung (Ger.). Arrangement.
Bebung (Ger.). 1. A stroking. 2. A vibration used on the clavichord that gives a wavering of the true pitch where the finger repeatedly depresses the key without releasing it. Beethoven used this technique in the Adagio introduction to the last movement of his Sonata in A-Flat Major, Op. 110.
Bechstein. German piano manufacturer founded by Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Bechstein (1826-1900) in Berlin in 1856.
Bee s Wedding. Felix Mendelssohn, Op. 67, No. 4, in C Major, one of the Songs without Words . Nickname given to this piece without the composer s authorization. Also known as Spinning Song.
Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770 - 1827). One of the most important composers of all time, his piano works occupy a unique place in piano literature and demand the attention of both the teacher and the serious student. He worked in Vienna as a pianist and a composer, gradually becoming deaf starting in the late 1790s and completely deaf by ca. 1817. His compositional technique evolved from late Classicism to early Romanticism through a daring approach to musical expression and is represented through three periods of development. His thirty-two sonatas for the piano have been called the New Testament of piano literature. In addition, he composed sonatinas, dances, rondos, bagatelles, many other single pieces, and twenty-two sets of variations, especially the large set entitled Diabelli Variations , chamber music with piano, and five piano concertos.
Beide Pedale (Ger.). Both pedals.
Belebend (Ger.). Animate, become more lively, quicken.
Bells of Moscow, The. Sergei Rachmaninoff, Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2. An editor introduced this title, unbeknownst to the composer. The piece seems to create the impression of bells with their overtones.
Belt, Philip (1927 - 2015). American fortepiano maker, he made successful reproductions of Dulcken, Stein, and Walter fortepianos. During the 1970s his replicas of various fortepianos added to the interest and knowledge of Classical keyboard performance practice in the United States.
Bem ligado (Port.). Very connected.
Ben, Bene (It.), Bien (Fr.). Well, thoroughly, clearly, forcibly.
Ben marcato (It.). Well marked, played in an accented manner.
Berceuse (Fr.). Lullaby, cradle song. Johannes Brahms, Ferruccio Busoni, Fr d ric Chopin, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faur , Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Edvard Grieg, Franz Liszt, and Robert Schumann, among others, have used this title for piano pieces.
Berceuse h ro que (Heroic Lullaby). Claude Debussy, 1914. This solo piano piece was written as a tribute to King Albert of Belgium and his soldiers during World War I. The Belgian national melody La braban onne is quoted briefly. Distant bugle calls add atmosphere.
Bergamasque (Fr.). A lively peasant dance from Bergamo, Italy. The word was used by Debussy in the title of his Suite bergamasque (1890).
Berman, Lazar (1930 - 2005). Russian pianist who as a child prodigy gave his recital debut at the age of four. Taught by his mother, beginning at age two, followed by Samary Savshinsky and Alekandr Goldenweiser, Berman s concerto debut was at the age of ten with the Moscow Symphony performing Mozart s Concerto No. 25. He was best known for performances of Liszt and the Russian masters, and he liked to play stunts for encores, such as the finale of Chopin s Sonata No. 3 with crossed hands. Emil Gilels described him as the phenomenon of the musical world. Berman was barred from international travel for many years by the Soviet Union; however, he eventually settled in Italy, where he became a citizen.
Bernstein, Leonard (1918 - 90). American composer, conductor, and pianist, his style was a mix of Broadway popular music and Mahler s chromaticism. The Sixth Van Cliburn International Competition (1981) commissioned Bernstein s largest work for piano: Touches: Chorale, Eight Variations and Coda . He wrote numerous pieces for the piano called Anniversaries , each dedicated to a famous friend.
Bernstein, Seymour (b. 1927). American pianist, composer, teacher, he studied with Alexander Brailowsky and Clifford Curzon. He has received numerous awards and has concertized in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, receiving accolades for his technical brilliance and interpretive skills. He has written a very popular book, With Your Own Two Hands , and has made instructional and performance videos.
B roff, Michel (b. 1950). French pianist and conductor. Studied piano at the Paris Conservatoire with Yvonne Loriod, receiving the Premier Prix at the age of sixteen, and has become a leading performer of the works of Olivier Messiaen. He has recorded the works of numerous composers from J. S. Bach through the mid-twentieth century.
Bestimmt (Ger.). With energy, decisively; prominent.
Betont (Ger.). Accented, stressed.
Bewegt (Ger.). Moved (with motion); agitated or animated; fast moving.
Biblical Sonatas. Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722), 1700. These six sonatas (all based on scripture from the Old Testament) are among the most famous examples of Baroque keyboard program music.
Bien articul (Fr.). Clearly defined.
Bien lent (Fr.). Very slow.
Bien li de p dale (Fr.). Thoroughly connected (legato) pedaling.
Bien lier le th me (Fr.). Fully connect the melody line.
Bien mod r (Fr.). Clearly moderate.
Bien rhythm (Fr.). With rhythmic emphasis.
Bilson, Malcolm (b. 1935). American pianist and fortepianist, he studied at Bard College and the University of Illinois. He has taught at Cornell University since 1968. Bilson was one of the first to make a persuasive case for using the fortepiano in the performance of Viennese Classical keyboard music. He has received high praise for recording many keyboard works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Binary form. Two-part form, AB, meaning the musical material is different in each part; often each part is repeated. It may also just mean music in two parts.
Bis (Lat.). 1. Twice, used to indicate a passage to be repeated. 2. Shouted by an audience to request an encore.
Bisbigliando (It.). Whispering, murmuring. Used when a delicate effect is required.
Bitonality. The use of two tonal (or key) centers simultaneously.
Bittend (Ger.). Pleading, beseeching.
Black Key tude. Fryderyk Chopin, tude in G-Flat Major, Op. 10, No. 5, 1830. The right hand plays mainly black keys. Chopin authorized the name in a letter to Julian Fontana dated April 23, 1839.
Black Mass, The. Alexander Scriabin, Sonata No. 9, Op. 68, 1913. One of Scriabin s friends, Alexei Podgaetsky, gave the sonata this nickname. A diabolical element present with the theme develops more evilly : as the performance notation reads, a sweetness gradually becoming more and more caressing and poisonous. Perhaps this is the reason for subtitling it the Black Mass, the perversions of the sacred mass being associated with worship of the devil (Berkowitz 1975, p. 14).
Blind octaves. A piano technique where the hands alternate playing octaves in a unique way whereby the thumbs combine to create a scale, arpeggio, trill, or the like, alternating notes that are doubled at the octave above or below.

Bloch, Joseph (1917 - 2009). American pianist, he studied with Mollie Margolies and Rudolf Ganz in Chicago and Olga Samaroff in New York. His Town Hall debut took place in 1950, after which he concertized in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He made recordings and taught piano literature at Juilliard for five decades. He featured the music of Charles-Valentin Alkan on many of his programs.
Blues. A slow, melancholy jazz song, often lamenting an unhappy love affair. The music is usually in a major key and uses the flattened third and seventh (the blue notes). Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Maurice Ravel, and Alexandre Tansman, among others, used characteristics of the blues in some of their piano compositions.
Blumenst ck (Ger.). 1. Flower piece. 2. Solo piano piece by Robert Schumann, Op. 19, 1839.
Bl thner. German firm of piano manufacturer founded by Julius Bl thner (1824-1910) in Leipzig in 1853.
Bolcom, William (b. 1938). Eclectic American composer of piano literature from rags to serialism. Has written two books of tudes, The Garden of Eden , Three Ghost Rags , bagatelles, and so on. He and his wife, Joan Morris (mezzo-soprano), have often given duet performances.
Bolero (Sp.). Spanish dance in triple meter. Alfredo Casella, Fryderyk Chopin, Michael Glinka, and Carlos Surinach, among others, have composed boleros for the piano. Ravel s Bol ro for orchestra is perhaps the most famous example.
Bolet, Jorge (1914 - 90). Cuban-born American pianist who studied with David Saperton at the Curtis Institute. He toured worldwide and was an outstanding interpreter of Liszt and the nineteenth-century repertoire. He was the pianist in the film Song without End , based on the life of Liszt.
Boogie-woogie. A type of fast jazz piano playing primarily for dancing that was popular from the late 1920s through the 1940s. It was characterized by split (broken) octaves in the repeated bass line.
Borge, Victor (1909-2000). Danish-born American pianist of humor. His programs were filled with jokes and tricks designed to entertain audiences. And yet, he was a skilled pianist with ability not always apparent.
B sendorfer. Viennese piano manufacturing firm founded by Ignaz B sendorfer (1796-1859) in 1828.
Boulanger, Nadia (1887 - 1979). French conductor, pianist, and teacher, she attracted leading musicians from throughout the world who came to study with her. She also lectured and conducted worldwide. Her American students included Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Walter Piston.
Boulez, Pierre (1925 - 2016). French composer, conductor, and teacher, he studied composition with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire. Boulez s importance and originality has been as an avant-garde composer in the latter half of the twentieth century. He composed three piano sonatas and Douze notations for solo piano as well as Structures for two pianos.
Bourr e (Fr.). A lively French dance in duple time beginning with a quarter note upbeat. In the Baroque period it was one of the optional dances used in keyboard suites. Charles-Valentin Alkan, Emmanuel Chabrier, Fryderyk Chopin, Francis Poulenc, and Albert Roussel, among others, composed bourr es for piano.
Brahms, Johannes (1833 - 97). German composer and pianist whose works extended to the end of the nineteenth century. His music reflects the seriousness of his North German home (Hamburg) as well as the sensuous charm of Vienna, his home from 1863 until his death. The piano was his choice of instrument for his earliest works-the three sonatas and the scherzo-and his penultimate works, the groups of short character pieces of Opp. 116-19, which include ballades, capriccios, intermezzos, and rhapsodies. He also composed seven sets of variations plus numerous pieces of chamber music that include the piano and two piano concertos.
Brahms Piano Method. See Fifty-One Exercises; bungen.
Branle (Fr.), Brawl (Eng.). A dance of French origin for couples usually in duple meter. There are various spellings of this term.
Bravura (It.). Skill, bravery, courage. Bravura playing requires great skill, displaying virtuosic technique in difficult, showy passages.
Breit (Ger.). Broadly; sometimes the equivalent of Largo .
Breitkopf H rtel. German music publishers probably established in 1719 by the printer Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf (1695-1777). Gottfried Christoph H rtel (1763-1827) joined the Breitkopf firm in 1795. In 1796 he bought the firm and took over the publishing house, becoming known as Breitkopf H rtel. The firm is well known for its complete and excellent editions.
Brendel, Alfred (b. 1931). Austrian pianist, born in what was then Czechoslovakia, he studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and with Edwin Fischer. He is regarded as one of the great pianists in the second half of the twentieth century. Brendel is famous for interpreting the Viennese classics, especially Beethoven. He has recorded most of Beethoven s piano music twice.
Bridge. A connecting (transitional) passage, frequently involving a change in key, that links together two important sections of a large-scale work.
Brillant (Fr.), Brillante (It.). Brilliant, bright, sparkling.
Brinkman, Joseph (1901 - 60). American pianist and teacher, he studied at the American Conservatory of Music and was a faculty member of this institution. He taught at the University of Michigan from 1930 to 1960, where he was instrumental in bringing Schnabel to teach from 1940 to 1945, with whom he studied and assisted in teaching. He gave the European premier of Leo Sowerby s Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1937.
Brio (It.). Vigor, spirit, fire.
Broadwood. Founded in London in 1728 by John Broadwood to make harpsichords, the company began making pianos in 1773. Upon the persuasion of Jan Ladislav Dussek, Broadwood expanded its piano keyboard from five to five and a half octaves in 1791 and to six octaves in 1794. Beethoven enjoyed the Broadwood piano sent to him by the piano maker.
Brouillards (Fog). Claude Debussy, Pr ludes , Book 2, No. 1, 1913. Atmospheric figuration accompanies a vague melodic line.
Brown Index. Maurice J. E. Brown s 1960 index of the works of Fryderyk Chopin in chronological order. Commonly referred to as the BI number.
Browning, John (1933 - 2003). American pianist, he studied privately with Rosina Lh vinne as a youngster and later with her at Juilliard and with Lee Pattison in Los Angeles. He received numerous national and international awards and established an international career. He gave the world premi re of Samuel Barber s Piano Concerto in 1962 and played it hundreds of times.
Brubeck, David (1920-2012). American pianist and composer who was among the first to incorporate jazz into classical music concepts. His works range from easy to difficult and include a sonata, suite, nocturnes, and numerous descriptive character pieces, the latter represented by They All Sang Yankee Doodle .
Bruins, Theo (1929-1993). Dutch composer and pianist, he studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Jaap Spaanderman and later with Yves Nat in Paris. He received the Harriet Cohen Medal and concertized throughout the Americas, Europe, and in Indonesia. Noted for performances of contemporary Dutch works, he taught at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Among his compositions are Six pieces br ves and a sonata for solo piano, Syncope for harpsichord, and a concerto for piano and orchestra.
Brusco (It.), Brusque (Fr.), Bruyant (Fr.). Boisterous, loud, rough, harsh, rude.
Bruy res (Heather). Claude Debussy, Pr ludes , Book 2, No. 5, 1913. This idyllic landscape may be regarded as a companion piece to the Girl with the Flaxen Hair, Book 1, No. 8.
B ckeburg Bach. See Bach, Johann Christoph Friedrich.
Bucquet, Marie-Fran oise (1937-2018). French pianist and pedagogue known for her performances of twentieth-century piano literature. She recorded the complete piano works of Schoenberg and gave first performances of works by Iannis Xenakis, Sylvano Bussotti, and Betsy Jolas. She was also a collaborative artist, performing with the Gram-Trio, which she founded to perform the trios of Haydn, and with her husband, the Argentine baritone Jorge Chamin , with whom she recorded songs by Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000). Bucquet taught at the Paris Conservatoire (1986-2018) and gave numerous master classes throughout Europe and in the United States and Japan.
Bull, John (1562 - 1628). English composer and outstanding keyboard performer, some of his works require immense finger dexterity. Bull was organist of the Chapel Royal and the first professor of music at Gresham College, London (1596-1607). Some of his keyboard pieces are contained in the collection Parthenia (1611). Others appeared in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book .
B low, Hans von (1830 - 1894). German conductor and pianist, he studied piano with Friedrich Wieck and Franz Liszt and conducting with Richard Wagner. He was well known for his interpretations of Beethoven and specialized in playing enormous programs, such as the last five piano sonatas of Beethoven. His edition of the Beethoven sonatas is thought to represent the way Liszt taught these works.
Burge, David (1930 - 2013). American pianist and teacher, famous for his performances of twentieth-century piano music, including first performances of many American works. He taught at the University of Colorado and the Eastman School of Music and wrote the book Twentieth-Century Piano Music .
Burgm ller, Johann Friedrich (1806 - 74). German composer, he wrote mainly light salon music as well as some useful studies for the pianist.
Burla, Burlesca (It.), Burlesque (Fr.). Jocular, in joking style. A burlesca is found in J. S. Bach s Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827. The style is also used in extended compositions in a playful mood, such as Richard Strauss s Burleske for piano and orchestra, Op. 16. Other composers of burlesques include B la Bart k, Ernst von Dohn nyi, Edward MacDowell, Olivier Messiaen, Ned Rorem, and Alexandre Tansman.
Busoni, Ferruccio (1866 - 1924). Born in Italy and educated in Germany, he was always pulled between these two traditions. He was one of the greatest and most creative pianists of all time. Busoni composed many works for the piano, including a five-movement concerto that requires a male choir, Fantasia contrappuntistica (Contrapuntal Fantasia, inspired by Bach), Indianisches tagebuch (Indian Diary), 7 Elegies , six sonatinas, and many transcriptions of works by other composers.
Butterfly tude. Fryderyk Chopin, tude in G-Flat Major, Op. 25, No. 9, 1832-34. This imaginative title, which came from a publisher, seems appropriate since the piece is fluttery and light, perhaps suggesting the whirr of a butterfly.
Butterfly pedaling. See vibrato .
BWV. Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Index to Bach s Works). Numbering system for the works of Johann Sebastian Bach taken from Wolfgang Schmieder s Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von Johann Sebastian Bach (1950).
Byrd, William (1543 - 1623). English composer, this Father of Musicke had more influence than any other composer on the development of English music. More than 120 pieces of his keyboard music for the virginal survive in collections such as My Ladye Nevells Booke , Parthenia , and the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book .
Cadenza (It.). A brilliant passage introduced near the end of a composition or movement, either improvised by the performer or written by the composer or editor. Allusion to previously used themes is the norm. Sometimes cadenzas can be very short and may be used at any point in solo works, usually improvised by the pianist. This practice took place from the Baroque era through the nineteenth century.
Cage, John (1912 - 92). American composer, he was occupied for some time with the prepared piano, which he created in 1938, where various objects are placed between the strings to obtain unusual sound effects. He assimilated elements of the twelve-tone school and was influenced by Oriental philosophy. Toward the end of his life his interest in the aleatoric or random element was supreme. Piano works: Musical Changes (which uses the Chinese book of numbers I Ching ), Music for Amplified Toy Pianos , Music for Piano 4-19 , Sonatas and Interludes , Winter Music , 32 tudes australes , and 4' 33'' . The latter is a work for unspecified instrumentation but usually performed at the piano where the pianist does not make any music ; the only music is the sounds in the performing space and audience.
Cakewalk. A dance that began among American plantation slaves in the 1840s that involved parodying their white owners manners and fancy dancing. The cakewalk was associated with ragtime and appealed to Europeans. Debussy s Golliwogg s Cakewalk is a well-known example of this American influence.
Calando (It.). Becoming quieter (softer) was the meaning in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century the term generally involved becoming quieter and a gradual decrease (getting slower) in tempo; dying away.
Calando nel tempo (It.). Decreasing in respect to the tempo. In Mozart s works calando normally meant only becoming quieter (softer).
Calcando (It.). Hurrying the time, accelerando.
Calma, Calmato (It.). Tranquil, calm, quieted.
Calmant, en se (Fr.). Subsiding, becoming calm.
Calore (It.). Warmth, passion.
Caloroso (It.). Warm, passionately, animated; hot.
Camilleri, Charles (1931-2009). Maltese composer with prolific output for piano. Composed studies, dances, sonatinas, sonatas, and numerous descriptive pieces.
Camminando (It.). Strolling, at a moderate pace.
Campanella, La (The Little Bells). Franz Liszt, No. 3 of the Paganini tudes, 1838. Well-known piece by Liszt in which the sound of little bells is imitated. It is based on the finale ( Rondo alla campanella ) of Niccol Paganini s Violin Concerto in B Minor.
Canarie (Fr.). A seventeenth-century French dance that originated in the Canary Islands, written in or time and employing dotted rhythms. It is somewhat related to the gigue and characterized by jumping and foot stamping.
Canin, Martin (b. 1930). American pianist, he studied at Juilliard with Rosina Lh vinne and Olga Samaroff. He has toured in the United States and Europe and is an expert chamber musician as well as soloist. His performances display a polished technique, great attention to structure, and beautiful sound.
Canon. The strictest form of counterpoint where two or more voices present the same melody in overlapping succession.
Canope (Canopic Urn). Claude Debussy, Pr ludes , Book 2, No. 10, 1913. The title refers to an Egyptian burial urn. The piece is mysterious and atmospheric, with a subtle evocation of Middle Eastern music using slow chords and a haunting melody.
Cantabile (It.). In a singing style; play in a melodious and graceful manner; smoothly.
Cantilena (It.). 1. Play in a smooth, flowing style. 2. A songlike melody.
Canzona (It.). An instrumental form among the precursors of the sonata , in contrasting sections. J. S. Bach, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Johann Froberger, and George Frideric Handel, among others, wrote canzonas . The term is used by later composers such as Franz Liszt, Nicholas Medtner, and Peter Mennin to refer to pieces of a songlike character.
Capriccio (It.), Caprice (Fr., Eng.). Whim, caprice, fancy. In piano music a piece in free form, of a light or whimsical character. J. S. Bach, Johannes Brahms, Anton n Dvo k, Gabriel Faur , Felix Mendelssohn, Francis Poulenc, and Sergei Prokofiev, among others, composed pieces with this title. Igor Stravinsky wrote a piano concerto entitled Capriccio (1929).
Capriccio on Five Notes. Lee Hoiby (1926-2011). The commissioned piece for the 1962 Van Cliburn Piano Competition.
Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother. Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 992, 1704. Bach s only (known) example of programmatic keyboard music. Written in six sections with programmatic titles, it was composed to mark the departure of his brother Johann Jakob as oboist in the Swedish service.
Capriccioso (It.). Capricious, whimsical, fancifully; at the player s whim, in a playful style.
Caressant (Fr.). Cuddly.
Caresse dans e (Danced Caress). Alexander Scriabin, Op. 57, No. 2, 1907. A delicate, lilting waltz, in a suggestive mood, this piece needs a sensuous and sensitive performance. One of the very best of Scriabin s smaller works.
Carnaval (Carnival). Robert Schumann, Op. 9, 1834-35. A variegated suite of twenty-one character pieces, subtitled Little Scenes on Four Notes. Most of the pieces are variations on the four notes A-E -C-B (ASCH in German) or alternatively A -C-B, musical letters in Schumann s name. Asch was the name of a Bohemian town where Schumann s girlfriend Ernestine von Fricken lived.
Carnaval de Pesth (Carnival in Pest). Franz Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 9, S. 244-9, 1848. This piece has been so nicknamed because of the festive character of the music.
Carnaval des animaux (Carnival of the Animals). Camille Saint-Sa ns, 1886. This grand zoological fantasy, originally intended as a musical joke for family and friends and not published until after his death, is composed for two pianos and chamber orchestra. Each descriptive movement is named for an animal: swan, lion, fish, and even pianists!
Carre o, Teresa (1853 - 1917). Venezuelan pianist, she was taught by her father and studied with Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Anton Rubinstein. She was called the Valkyrie of the Piano because of her virtuoso technique. One of her four husbands was the pianist Eugen d Albert.
Carter, Elliott (1908-2012). American composer, he was hailed as America s great musical poet by Andrew Porter. He received numerous awards for his compositions and was a pioneering force in metrical modulation. His works tend to delight in complexity and challenge even the most ardent of listeners. Among the piano works are a sonata, Night Fantasies , 90 + , Two Diversions , Retrouvailles , and Cat naires , the latter a one-voice whirlwind of perpetual motion. He also wrote numerous chamber works with piano and a piano concerto.
Casadesus, Robert (1899 - 1972). French pianist, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire and lived in the United States from 1940 to 1946. He was especially respected for his interpretations of Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Ravel, and Scarlatti. His wife Gaby (1901-99) and son Jean (1927-72) were also pianists.
Cass, Richard (1931 - 2010). American pianist, he studied with Wendell Keeney at Furman University and with Nadia Boulanger and Alfred Cortot in Paris. He won important contests and concertized extensively in the United States and Europe. He taught at the University of North Texas and the University of Missouri, Kansas City (Conservatory of Music).
Catalogue d oiseaux (Catalog of Birds). Olivier Messiaen, 1956-58. Thirteen pieces in seven books, each based on bird calls. Seventy-seven birds are represented and identified in five languages. A unique set, unprecedented in the history of music. A full performance requires nearly four hours.
Cath drale engloutie, La (The Sunken Cathedral). Claude Debussy, Pr ludes , Book 1, No. 10, 1910. A vision in sound of the legendary submerged Cathedral of Ys off the coast of Brittany.
Cat s Fugue. Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata in G Minor, K. 30, 1738. Nickname for a fugue in this sonata whose subject suggests a cat walking over the keyboard.
Cedendo (Sp.). Yield; get slower, ritard .
C dez (Fr.). Yield, slow down.
Celeramente (It.). Rapidly.
Celere (It.). Quick, rapid, swift.
Celestial Railroad, The. Charles Ives, 1924. This fantasy for piano was arranged by Ives from the second movement of his Symphony No. 4.
Cembalo (It.). Harpsichord, abbreviation of clavicembalo .
Ce qu a vu le vent d ouest (What the West Wind Saw). Claude Debussy, Pr ludes , Book 1, No. 7, 1910. A brilliant Lisztian showpiece, it takes its title from a Hans Christian Andersen story.
Chabrier, Emmanuel (1841 - 94). French composer who wrote music that has a certain uninhibited quality and is easily accessible. All of his compositions are vigorous, unpretentious, expressive, and pianistic. His music is a bridge between Camille Saint-Sa ns and Impressionism. Some of his better-known works include Bourr e fantasque (Fantastic Bourr e), Espa a (Spain), Habanera , and Dix pi ces pittoresques (Ten Picturesque Pieces).
Chaconne (Fr.), Ciacona (It.). A graceful Baroque form of composition in triple meter with a continuous set of variations over a ground bass ( basso ostinato ) of eight measures. Beethoven s C Minor Variations for piano (WoO 80) are in the form of a chaconne . Louis Couperin, Girolamo Frescobaldi, George Frideric Handel, Carl Nielsen, Henry Purcell, Halsey Stevens, and Stefan Wolpe, among others, have composed chaconnes for keyboard.
Chamber music. The concept of chamber music has evolved over the ages and has had different meanings at different times in the history of Western music. In general, nowadays it is considered as music written for a small group to be played in a home (domestic) or in a small hall, for two to eight performers, one instrument or voice on each part. The piano in chamber music involves an enormous repertoire: duets, trios, quartets, and so on, to octets. Haydn and Mozart were the first two composers to establish a true chamber music style involving the piano.
Chantant (Fr.). Melodious, singing.
Chapitres tourn s en tous sens (Chapters Turned Every Which Way). Erik Satie, 1913. Celle qui parle trop (The Woman Who Talks Too Much), Le porteur parle trop (The Bearer of Large Stones), Regrets des enferm s (Jonas et Latude) (Regrets of the Immured Men [Jonah and Latude (a historical prisoner in the Bastille)]). Written in barless notation.
Character piece. A term used for a large repertoire of small nineteenth-century pieces. They often are programmatic or express a definite mood and are usually short. Examples include bagatelles, impromptus, intermezzi, musical moments, preludes, rhapsodies, and songs without words. Robert Schumann constructed cycles of small character pieces as seen in his Carnaval , Davidsb ndlertanze , Kreisleriana , and Papillons .
Chasins, Abram (1903-87). American composer, educator, pianist, and writer, he studied at Juilliard with Ernest Hutcheson and Rubin Goldmark, and at Curtis with Josef Hofmann. He toured as a concert pianist for two decades giving solo and orchestral performances throughout the Americas and in Europe, and later two-piano concerts with his wife Constance Keene (1921-2005). His compositions included numerous works for solo piano, notably Three Chinese Pieces and 24 Preludes , two pianos, and two concertos for piano and orchestra. Among his writings are the books Speaking of Pianists and The Van Cliburn Legend .
Chaud (Fr.). Warm, passionate.
Cherkassky, Shura (1911 - 95). Russian pianist, he studied with Josef Hofmann and was renowned for his interpretation of nineteenth- and mainstream twentieth-century works, but he also included music of Alban Berg, Leonard Bernstein, Olivier Messiaen, and Karlheinz Stockhausen on his programs in his later years.
Chester: Variations for Piano. William Schuman. The commissioned piece for the 1989 Van Cliburn Piano Competition.
Chiaramente (It.). Clearly, distinctly.
Chiaro, Chiara (It.), Clair (Fr.). Clear, bright, unconfused.
Chibarezza (It.). Clarity, distinctness.
Chickering. American firm of piano makers founded by Jonas Chickering (1798-1853) in Boston in 1823. They made some of the finest pianos during the nineteenth century.
Children s Corner. Claude Debussy, 1908. Six-movement suite written for his three-year-old daughter, Chouchou (Little Cabbage): Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum , Jimbo s Lullaby , Serenade for the Doll , The Snow Is Dancing , The Little Shepherd , and Golliwogg s Cakewalk .
China Gates. John Adams, 1977. An early work by the composer using Minimalism and evolving patterns into a spellbinding sonority.
Chopin, Fryderyk (Fr d ric) (1810 - 49). Polish composer and pianist, he settled in Paris. Chopin s highly original writing made a unique contribution to piano literature and paved the way for an expanded pianistic technique. He composed more than two hundred works, mostly for solo piano, including four ballades, twenty-seven tudes, four impromptus, fifty-seven mazurkas, twenty-one nocturnes, twenty-six preludes, ten polonaises, three rondos, four scherzos, and three sonatas, among various other pieces. He also composed a sonata for piano and cello and two concertos.

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