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Fryderyk Chopin’s art of piano fingering in context: Towards historically involved performance of the Etudes

Aijón Bruno, David 2023. Fryderyk Chopin’s art of piano fingering in context: Towards historically involved performance of the Etudes. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The first part of this thesis reframes Chopin’s art of piano fingering through the lens of the neglected (yet all too often reviled) pedagogical repertoire of the early nineteenth century. In doing so, it readdresses some largely unquestioned truisms regarding Chopin’s own approach to finger choice, as well as issues of influence, originality and innovation. This line of inquiry ultimately uncovers a need to rekindle research on Clementi’s and Hummel’s fingering practices—Chopin’s pianistic models after all. These pedagogues’ didactic music offers today’s players not just another indirect means for study of Chopin’s approach to piano technique and performance, but direct access to a rich repository of techniques of expression in themselves which, absent fingering indications, we would probably never know existed. Extended case studies then draw on the Chopin Etudes as the best possible illustration of these issues, using the many currently available primary sources: autograph manuscripts, manuscript copies, early editions, and student annotated scores. These case studies do not, however, provide any sort of ‘performance guide’ to the Etudes (much less of a prescriptive bent), but focus rather on the phenomenology of the original fingerings in context. That is, they explore interrelationships between musical composition (or improvisation), the gestural by products of finger choice, and the player’s own expressive intent. The aesthetic stance taken throughout is that any congruent use of these historical fingerings arises to a very high degree from the player’s own individual rhetorical disposition and involvement, all of which should help override aprioristic (or Werktreue) ideas of performance outcome. Such an historically involved approach should thus provide alternatives to those pianists wishing to engage in historicist yet also highly personal performance of Chopin’s music.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Acceptance
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Funders: Erasmus, Cardiff University School of Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 April 2024
Date of Acceptance: 2023
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2024 15:24

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