Artistic Piano Playing as Taught by Ludwig Deppe Together with Practical Advice on Questions of Technique

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Olympian Publishing Company, 1903 - Piano - 109 pages

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This book is EXCELLENT. It makes sense, and unifies disparate elements of the playing process, such as the needs for elegant movement, effortlessness, concentration on musical tone. Granted it was written over a hundred years ago; but the instrument of the piano has not changed, and his advice can be taken with a pinch of salt here and there. Having read probably 100 books on piano playing, I think Deppe's is the best. It is much more digestable than Mathay. It appears to follow in a cogent line from Bach through Chopin - little phrases crop up in each of them, such as the importance of the light hand, brought to the right place so that the finger can drop effortlessly.
I tired of the digital version of this book, so eventually I opted to buy a printed copy from amazon. Amusingly, the front cover is quite inept, giving the title in capitals as:

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Page 9 - ... knows what he is doing while he acts aright, but of what is wrong we are always conscious. Whoever works with symbols only is a pedant, a hypocrite, or a bungler. There are many such, and they like to be together. Their babbling detains the scholar: their obstinate mediocrity vexes even the best. The instruction which the true artist gives us opens the mind : for, where words fail him, deeds speak. The true scholar learns from the known to unfold the unknown, and approaches more and more to being...
Page 9 - ... or a lack of constructive ingenuity; no amount of instruction will remedy the defect. Nevertheless, some practical result may be expected from a familiarity with the principles of style. The endeavour to conform to laws may tell, though slowly. And if in no other way, yet, as facilitating revision, a knowledge of the thing to be achieved—a clear idea of what constitutes a beauty, and what a blemish—cannot fail to be of service.
Page 23 - ... due command of the feet having been obtained, those twistings of the trunk and gyrations of the arms, previously used to maintain the balance, are found needless. The body is allowed to follow without control the impulse given to it; the arms to swing where they will ; and it is clearly felt that the graceful way of performing any evolution is the way that costs least effort.
Page 53 - ... by a voice of sufficient power and range to give the characteristic passages without much exertion. This is, no doubt, the secret of the loss of effect so often produced by the transposition of a song from one key to another. The effect is thus seen to depend not merely on the actual sounds, but also in part on the nature of the action which produces the sounds.
Page 35 - Don't you remember my telling you that Liszt has an inconceivable lightness, swiftness and smoothness of execution? When Deppe was explaining this to me, I suddenly remembered that when he was playing scales or passages, his fingers seemed to lie across the keys in a slanting sort of way, and to execute these rapid passages almost without any perceptible motion.
Page 11 - Palace as the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace...
Page 12 - Whatever may be the differences of opinion as to the value of the new ' school,' it must be acknowledged on all sides that a novelist enjoys an immense advantage in being a contributor to an illustrated magazine, which is ready not only to publish his works, but to issue elaborate articles on their merits — accompanied, as we have said, by that most affecting...
Page 12 - ... How far Vogler followed upon this metaphysical ground we do not know; but the thoroughly practical Weber half-unconsciously shared the same attitude a generation later. Indeed, something he once wrote to a friend who had enjoyed Vogler's instruction sounds much like one of the tatter's didacticisms: "Art has no Fatherland; and all that is beautiful ought to be prized by us, no matter what clime or region has produced it.
Page 58 - perfection in any physical exercise involves not only familiarity with the necessary movements, but, in an equal degree, the elimination of all that are aimless and superfluous.
Page 19 - Uebunj, and you will read that "perfection in any physical exercise involves not only familiarity with the necessary movements, but, in an equal degree, the elimination of all that are aimless and superfluous.

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