Pianist to Pianist

A collection of pianistic, pedagogical, methodical, musical, artistic, and cultural contemplations, concepts, observations, and concerns, from pianist to pianist, pedagogue to pedagogue, musician to musician and from a curious and critical observer.

Fancy name for part of a methodology specifically designed to train and improve musical performance memory; for the aspiring international concert pianist and recording artist as well as for the myrmidons of the musical world.

As we know from the study of memory, it is the development of a retrieval structure that enables access to a large amount of data. While motivated amateurs and young padawans can remember a shuffled deck of cards in under 2 minutes and the number π at no less than 2000, confirmed world records in memorizing a shuffled deck of (52) cards lies at 21.9 seconds for speed - statistically about 2.35 cards per second, a card every 0.42 seconds, and in memorizing the number π at 67,890 digits for volume - Mr. Chao took one year to memorize Pi and was going for 90,000 when he made one mistake at number 67,890, which conspicuously happens to be a straight.

The quintessential lesson from the perspective of e.g. piano pedagogy is the realization that the heroic feat is based on a learned and relentlessly trained ability: Mnemonics. Not talent (which doesn't hurt), nor genius, nor by genetic inheritance, nor inexplicable mystery, nor magic; not dipping in dragon blood or the river Styx, nor by a kiss of the gods, nor by the assistance of a Six~winged Seraphim replacing the heart of the prophet with illuminating fire. The special ability of wielding mnemonics is a spectacularly and progressively developed skill, a "technique", and mastering it takes 10 years, 10,000 hours. Just like mastering the special ability "to play the piano" really, really, really well.

Some of the most commonly used eurocentric mnemonic systems are the memory palace (method of loki), the major (formalized number/letter association), and the P.A.O. (Person-Action-Object, or dominic) systems. Champions and Savants in the field advance their own unique systems based on the same principles, often without formulated realization: essentially artificial, as in trained, Synesthesia cultivated by repetition with purpose, also known as deliberate practice (K.A. Ericsson). Ten thousand hours. These traditional mnemonic concepts form the basis of what is emerging as the "Chiron M. Method"©, a method of musical performance memory training.

Core Concepts of the CMM: 

Your content on stage is not identical with its container, the performance itself. The objective quality of your performance is important but the audience's perception of your performance is vastly dependent on your own concept of yourself, and initially almost independent of what you perceive...

Slurs in the piano score may have three different meanings:

1) The tie-over slur
To connect notes over the bar line, as well as subdivision within the bar.

2) Phrasing
The phrasing slur comes from the voice: when do I breathe, how long is the phrase or sentence, what belongs in one narrative unit. The singer's voice doesn't need instruction for articulation, because the words contain implicit articulation. The composer only writes phrasing slurs in non vocal music when it is absolute necessary and in addition, elaboration, or sometimes even contradiction to the prevalent and general reading of the score at the time.

3) Articulation
The articulation slur comes from the violin: when do I change or interrupt bow direction, how long is the group or word, what belongs in one kinesthetic (movement) unit. The composer only writes articulation slurs when it is absolute necessary and in addition, elaboration, or sometimes even contradiction to the prevalent and general reading of the score at the time.

In an extended US concert tour, Anton Rubinstein performed 215 recitals during the period of about 250 days in 1872. He expressed, that "it ended in me despising art, myself, and humanity." He was under strict contract to perform according to a schedule made by an...