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The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano Spiral-bound – Dec 1 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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  • The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano
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  • Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences: Complete Book
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  • Hanon - Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises - Complete: Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books; 1 edition (Dec 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879307277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879307271
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 2.9 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Carl Humphries is a pianist, composer, and music journalist. He studied piano and composition in London, Turin, and Berlin, and has performed at some of the most prestigious classical and jazz venues in the UK. His workshops and lecture/recitals are in demand at music academies and university music departments throughout Europe and in the US.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Spiral-bound
Thank you, Carl Humphries, for this book. I have used similar techniques in teaching my students over the last 20 years. I have been trying to write this book for about 3 years, but find myself too damn busy teaching lessons and performing. This book includes everything, from the basics to the most advanced. AND, it doesn't ignore the 20th century. What I mean is that so much great music was made in jazz, rock and latin music in the past 100 years and I find that the local "Ivory Tower" (the BYU piano department) tends to either ignore it or pooh-pooh it.
Also, Humphries shows how these recent styles are related to their influences, including "classical" composers like Debussy and Schoenberg, without making the styles seem like lesser entities of their "legit" ancestors. Now I can start giving my students this book, instead of continuing to promise them that I'll get my book done--and then not delivering for God knows how many years.
My critiques of this book are that I wish there had been more emphasis on ear training, application of jazz voicings and structures and improvisation. There is a CD included, which I love, of all the written material in the text. But while Mr. Humphries does write that ear training is vital, there is little in the text to work with. I have my own approach to this, so it's okay, but I'd love to see it in his book because not only was it the original way to communicate music, it is also the more effective. Don't get me wrong; I am into the whole sight reading thing, but it is so limited in conveying emotion and "feel" that you can get from learning music by ear.
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Format: Spiral-bound
This really is the best of the few decent books in this category - and one of only a small handful that don't treat you like an idiot. Concomitantly, if you ARE in idiot, this book won't work for you. As other reviewers have noted, the pace is definitely fast compared to the 'graded' lesson books commonly used by piano teachers. But using the CD, and practicing every exercise until you truly understand it - you WILL go far, and fast, with this one. I've carefully checked every other "teach yourself piano" title I've seen in the local stores, and even bought and returned a few. This one, however, is a keeper. By the end of the book, you'll be playing some fairly impressive classical pieces (more than enough to impress your friends - unless they're experienced pianists!). Along the way, you get a very nice background in piano history (great photos an illustrations!), and you'll gain a good, solid understanding of reading music. (hm - except for all those british musical terms. Feh. Luckily, American-style is included as well.)
Generally, you really, really should try to get a teacher. But if you just can't afford it, this book is the next best thing. Combine it with a few videos/DVDs (like the "Van Cliburn competition" - YES!, or even buy "The Pianist" or "Shine" right here on Amazon) so you can get an idea of how pianists hold and move their hands. (not that you'll move like these people for a long while!).
There is a crazy typographical error in my edition of the book, where an entire paragraph is repeated! This is only a little sad, because the space could have been put to use for more of the author's great information. It's not enough to drop my rating! The binding (at least in my edition) is spiral - a VERY SMART move, as it sits nicely on the music desk.
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Format: Spiral-bound
Very nicely done! Print quality is outstanding. Spiral bound, it's perfectly sized to fit the note holder on my keyboard. Music exercises are well selected to gradually increase their complexity as you move along.
In a nutshell: if you're a piano newbie like me (I have played guitar since I was 13) and unless you can get a very good personal teacher (and I hope you know already that just because someone can play a piano does't mean they can teach you how to play, trust me on that one) this is the second best thing that can happen to you. Get this book - you won't regret it.
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By A Customer on March 27 2004
Format: Spiral-bound
I found this book by browsing Amazon.com and bought it based on other people's recommendations. I just received my copy and am totally thrilled with it! It is a visually stunning book and beautifully written. I am so happy to have found this book; it is very likely I would never have heard of it otherwise. Many of the pieces are beyond my playing level at this point, but it is a wonderful inspiration to me and gives me a great incentive to push forward with my studies. The accompanying CD is awesome; the pieces are played by the author and provide needed listening experience -- a very important feature missing in other books of this type.
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Format: Spiral-bound
Although this book is designed to be a complete keyboard coarse, it is so densely packed with information and moves so fast from one subject to the next, that it would not make a good self-study guide for someone who knows absolutely nothing about playing the piano. The information is all there, but in a no nonsense fashion, not in a more user-friendly, take the time to really make sure anyone can grasp the concepts that are commonly found in beginner courses with much more modest goals. That said, as a comprehensive reference to playing styles, techniques and methology it is unsurpassed. Anyone with a basic grasp of piano playing, will find it most useful. Are you trying to play some Bach or Mozart but can't remember or never knew how to play a trill or mordant? This book will not only show you all of the various ornaments and explain not only how to play them, but offer many examples of what is in stylistic keeping for a given time period for a piece of that tempo. If that is not cool enough, it also explains the reasons for why it was used and relates it to later developments not in that style of music but in current styles of music, so you have a basis of information to make your artistic choices. Want to know how romantic music such as Debusey is traditional pedaled; this book will show you and explain what you are trying to acomplish soundwise. Maybe you studied classical music for year and now want to play a bit of bluegrass or jazz, this book will teach you about that too. Or maybe you want to just pick up some pop sheet music and be able to improvise a bit of additional accompanent, because what is provided sounds so empty. The answers are in this book too.Read more ›
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