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Assessing Perception and Attitude of Pianists toward Ergonomically Scaled Piano Keyboards [ESPK]: Raising Awareness about ESPK and Evaluating Changes of Attitude through an Educational Survey

Description: As epidemiologic research demonstrates health concerns for hand problems among pianists, scientists are measuring historic piano keyboards and realizing that much of the piano literature was composed for and played on pianos with smaller keys compared to what is used on the modern piano. Having to play this literature on a larger keyboard is especially difficult for small-handed piano students and professionals. Fortunately, smaller keyboards are now available for use with standard pianos - and research shows that this ergonomic adjustment does reduce piano-related hand pain for small-handed musicians. Major universities are now offering this option to students, but only a few music schools possess these keyboards and not many people know about them. There are no known research studies to address people's awareness and attitude toward ergonomically scaled piano keyboards (ESPKs). The purpose of this study was to assess perception and attitude toward ESPKs and help to raise its awareness. To examine pianists' perception, two surveys was composed. First one was conducted on UNT campus in which ESPKs are available for their students, and the second survey was carried out on schools of music in the United States. The results reveal that substantial number of people already know about the existence of ESPKs, but they are not totally aware specific information about ESPKs. Subjects who are aware of ESPKs report significantly higher positive attitude compared to those have not known about ESPKs. Results from this study may have implications for health education initiatives within NASM schools of music.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Son, You Joo
Partner: UNT Libraries

John Ireland's Piano Sonata (1918-1920) and the Influence of Johannes Brahms

Description: John Ireland is one of the most important British composers of the twentieth century. Many scholars believe the works of his early period were deeply influenced by Brahms. After graduating from the Royal College of Music, Ireland went on to develop a much more individual musical language, with influence from contemporary French composers. However, the young composer found himself confronted with the challenge of finding a new and personal style without turning wholly to impressionism or to chromaticism. In Ireland's Piano Sonata, Ireland adopted several of Brahms' compositional techniques. This piano sonata is an excellent example of one of Ireland's mature works that still demonstrates Brahms' influence.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Su, I-Shan Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ross Lee Finney's 32 Piano Games and Stephen Chatman's Amusements: A Comparison of Two Pedagogical Approaches to Contemporary Musical Elements and Techniques

Description: Piano instructors often have to work as a bridge connecting music from the past and the future. From a pedagogical viewpoint, contemporary works should be considered just as important as those in the standard repertoire. Yet, most piano instructors are skewed towards modern music and their teaching materials are focused on eighteenth and nineteenth century repertoire. It is essential for them to introduce various kinds of music from different periods and cultures in order to fully develop a student's musicianship. The purpose of this study is to compare two modern works that are designed mainly for pedagogical purposes: 32 Piano Games by Ross Lee Finney (1906-1997) and Amusements by Stephen Chatman (b. 1950). These compositions are intended for beginner and intermediate students and incorporate a number of contemporary elements and techniques. This study can help instructors and students understand how these elements are being used and the ways they have evolved over time. Most importantly, this dissertation can provide teachers with a distinct methodology that enables them to present modern pieces to beginning level students in a more approachable fashion, further providing theoretical and technical assets that will allow them to play advanced contemporary music in the future.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Kim, Sooyun
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analytical Perspective of the Developing Aesthetic Concepts in Sergey Prokofiev's "Choses en soi," Op. 45

Description: The purpose of this study is to analyze the compositional techniques in Choses en soi op.45, by Sergey Prokofiev, and to explore the new aesthetic concepts he claimed to include in this composition. Through the examination of the compositional elements and discussion of its salient characteristics.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Liu, Tzu-Yi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Building an Effective Piano Technique while Avoiding Injury: A Comparison of the Exercises in Alfred Cortot's "Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique" and Carl Tausig's "Daily Studies for the Pianoforte"

Description: It is the teacher's responsibility to guide students in building an effective and injury-free piano technique. Improper technique, poor training and bad posture at the instrument all may cause problems such as lack of muscle control, weakness, or tension in the hands. Many teachers are interested in finding information about specific exercises dealing with finger strengthening, stretching, and warm-up strategies, as well as guidelines for safe practicing. It is therefore important for both teachers and students to understand how to build a technique from the earliest years of instruction. Carl Tausig (1841-1871) and Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) both contributed to the development of piano technique by writing books that include a significant number of exercises and excerpts. Their books incorporate detailed instructions on how to play each exercise effectively and without fatigue. Subsequently, Heinrich Ehrlich (1822-1899) collected and systematically arranged Tausig's notes, complementing them with detailed information on how to play Tausig's exercises without causing injury. This dissertation compares and contrasts the exercises found in Alfred Cortot's book, Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique, and Carl Tausig's book, Daily Studies for the Pianoforte. The latter is based on the practical guidebook, How to Practise on the Piano: Reflections and Suggestions, written by Heinrich Ehrlich. Included in this study are references to the performing arts medical literature dealing with pianists' injuries. By comparing two different historical piano methods and considering their effectiveness in light of modern medical performance research, this dissertation aims to help teachers to determine which methods might be better for students to build a solid piano technique without injuring themselves.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Woo, Lae Hyung
Partner: UNT Libraries

The First Movement of Piano Sonata in B-flat Minor by Julius Reubke: a Comparison of Three Editions From the Performer’s Point of View

Description: The objective of this dissertation is to review the discrepancies between the first edition, Stradal’s edition and Marzocchi’s edition of Reubke’s piano sonata, providing assistance for performers by clarifying inconsistencies between the three editions. Information in reference to major aspects such as fingerings, pedaling, phrasing, tempo markings is presented. Examples of discrepancies found throughout the first movement are discussed in Chapter 3. Detailed assessment of these discrepancies, accompanied by the author’s comments are listed in the comprehensive comparison table in Appendix A. Additionally, directions are given in cases of presumptive errors, and discrepancies are addressed with possible variant solutions. In conclusion, the relative merit of the three editions is assessed in Chapter 4.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Pátkai, Imre
Partner: UNT Libraries

Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Idea of the “Modern”: Developing Variation in the Piano Concerto in C Sharp, Opus 17

Description: This study examines the Piano Concerto in C sharp, Op.17 (1923), by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), in light of developing variation, techniques that transform motivic ideas and create musical continuity in this work. The troublesome reception history of Korngold’s piano concerto derives from its complex musical features, which have created difficulties in understanding and evaluating this piece. Consequently, critics and scholars often label the highly sophisticated yet tonal musical language in this piece a residue of Romanticism from the nineteenth century. In this document, in contrast, examination of motivic development and connections in Korngold’s piano concerto reveals thematic and structural coherence in light of Korngold’s idea of modernity. This study provides a historical and technical survey of developing variation and discusses Korngold’s implementation of these techniques in his early compositions and the piano concerto. By doing so, this study recognizes the progressive aspect in Korngold’s music.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Huang, Shu-Yuan
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Instructional Approach to Introducing Twentieth-century Piano Music to Piano Students From Beginning to Advanced Levels: a Graded Repertoire for Mastering the Challenges Posed by Logan Skelton’s Civil War Variations

Description: Beginning and intermediate piano students typically study the repertoire of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This pedagogical approach leaves them underprepared to approach compositions written since the latter part of the twentieth-century which are significantly different in terms of harmony, rhythm, meter, and compositional procedure. Therefore, a step-by-step method is necessary to prepare a student for the challenges of learning twentieth and twenty-first century piano music. Civil War Variations (1988), by Logan Skelton, is an excellent example of a piece that presents a number of challenges characteristically found in late twentieth-century piano music. The twenty-five variations that comprise the work incorporate a series of twentieth-century musical techniques, namely complex rhythms, extreme dissonance, frequent metric changes, dissonant counterpoint, the inclusion of blues scales and rhythms, and new notations. The purpose of this study is to identify the technical, musical, structural and notational challenges posed by a work such as Logan Skelton’s Civil War Variations; examination of this piece will lead to suggestions regarding repertoire that a teacher may assign to beginning, intermediate, and advanced students in order to prepare them logically and in a step-by-step fashion to cope with and meet the challenges posed by this and other compositions having similar characteristics.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, Dajeong
Partner: UNT Libraries