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Performer Guides: Piano

Use this guide to find resources for music performance, including LC call number browsing ranges for repertoire, books, and journals..

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Finding Repertoire for the Piano:

If you're looking for new repertoire to perform, it is often helpful to browse the Music Library's scores. The following call number ranges are for piano music; individual works within these numbers are arranged alphabetically by composer or arranger:

  • M20-M32, Music for piano alone
  • M23, Sonatas
  • M24, Suites
  • M27, Variations
  • M32.8-M39, Arrangements for piano
  • M200-M204, Piano, 4 hands
  • M207-M213, Arrangements for 4-hand piano
  • M214-M216, 2-piano music
  • M1010, Piano with orchestra (full score)
  • M1011, Piano with orchestra (2-piano reduction)

Etudes, excerpts, and instructional materials are classified in the MT range and are available in the same location as books about music (MLs):

  • MT220, General works.
  • MT222, Systems and methods
  • MT225, Studies and exercises, General methods
  • MT226-MT239, Special Techniques

Digital Score Apps:

The Wilson Music Library provides Blair students, faculty, and staff with free access to nkoda and Henle through our subscription. Follow the instructions below to start using these popular apps today.

Selected Books on the Piano and Pianists:

Purple cover of Piano Music for One Hand with printed musical examples in the background in black and title in white.

Piano Music for One Hand

"Bravo to Edel on his excellent presentation of the subject!... highly recommended... " --ARBA 96 "... filled with information for pianists with injured hands and for players and teachers seeking unusual repertoire or ways of developing left-hand technique." --Clavier "Thanks to Edel for cataloging this largely unknown area of piano repertoire and to Indiana University Press for publishing this most welcomed book." --American Music Teacher A descriptive catalog of solos, chamber works, and concertos with piano parts written for one hand, including nearly 1,000 solo compositions for the left hand. Publication data, length, level of difficulty, style, and often brief biographical information about the composer are provided for each piece.

Black cover of For the Parlor and the Concert Stage with a black and white piano keyboard running along the left side.

For the Parlor and the Concert Stage: A Guide to Recent Collections of American Piano Music from the Classic and Romantic Eras

Invites pianists - from beginners to concert artists as well as teachers - to reconsider the virtues of the often dismissed body of American keyboard music dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in light of its availability in various published collections.

Cover of Guide to the Pianists Repertoire with a color photograph of a piano keyboard serving as the background.

Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire, Fourth Edition

Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire continues to be the go-to source for piano performers, teachers, and students. Newly updated and expanded with over 250 new composers, this incomparable resource expertly guides readers to solo piano literature. What did a given composer write? What interesting work have I never heard of? How difficult is it? What are its special musical features? How can I reach the publisher? It's all here. Featuring information for more than 2,000 composers, the fourth edition includes enhanced indexes. The new "Hinson" will be an indispensable guide for many years to come.

Pale yellow cover of The Piano in Chamber Ensemble with a gray scale photograph of a piano keyboard.

The Piano in Chamber Ensemble: An Annotated Guide, 2nd ed.

The Piano in Chamber Ensemble describes more than 3,200 compositions, from duos to octets, by more than 1,600 composers. It is divided into sections according to the number of instruments involved, then subdivided according to the actual scoring. Keyboard, string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players and their teachers will find a wealth of chamber works from all periods.

Bright purple cover of The Pianist's Guide to Transcriptions with blue and white text.

The Pianist's Guide to Transcriptions, Arrangements, and Paraphrases

Maurice Hinson has selected, from the myriads of transcriptions now in existence, more than 2,000 such works of real musical worth. The Pianist's Guide to Transcriptions, Arrangements, and Paraphrases describes pieces for solo piano, duet, and two pianos, as well as outstanding transcriptions for one hand. Most of them are written for piano(s) alone, but a considerable number are scored for piano(s) and a small instrumental ensemble or a full orchestra. Thanks to the organization of this volume, the user can see at a glance the various transcriptions that have been made of a particular composition (say, a Schubert song) and also become aware of the breadth of a particular transcriber's output (as in the case of the prodigiously prolific Liszt). 

Hunter green cover of the Cambridge Guide to the Piano with text in gold.

The Cambridge Companion to the Piano

This collection of specially commissioned essays offers an accessible introduction to the history of the piano, performance styles, and its vast repertoire. Part 1 reviews the evolution of the piano, from its earliest forms up to the most recent developments, including the acoustics of the instrument. Part 2 explores the varied repertory in its social and stylistic contexts, including contemporary music, with a final chapter on jazz, blues and ragtime. The Companion also contains a glossary of important terms and will be a valuable source for the piano performer, student and enthusiast.

Black cover of A Natural History of the Piano wit text inside the outline of a piano viewed from above.

A Natural History of the Piano

A beautifully illustrated, totally engrossing celebration of the piano, and the composers and performers who have made it their own.   With honed sensitivity and unquestioned expertise, Stuart Isacoff--pianist, critic, teacher, and author of Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization--unfolds the ongoing history and evolution of the piano and all its myriad wonders: how its very sound provides the basis for emotional expression and individual style, and why it has so powerfully entertained generation upon generation of listeners. He illuminates the groundbreaking music of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, and Debussy. He analyzes the breathtaking techniques of Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Arthur Rubinstein, and Van Cliburn, and he gives musicians including Alfred Brendel, Murray Perahia, Menahem Pressler, and Vladimir Horowitz the opportunity to discuss their approaches. Isacoff delineates how classical music and jazz influenced each other as the uniquely American art form progressed from ragtime, novelty, stride, boogie, bebop, and beyond, through Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Cecil Taylor, and Bill Charlap.   

White cover of Bartolomeo Cristofori and the Invention of the Piano with a color photograph of a very early version of a keyboard instrument.

Bartolomeo Cristofori and the Invention of the Piano

This is the first comprehensive study of the life and work of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the Paduan-born harpsichord maker and contemporary of Antonio Stradivari, who is credited with having invented the pianoforte around the year 1700 while working in the Medici court in Florence. Through thorough analysis of documents preserved in the State Archive of Florence, Pollens has reconstructed, in unprecedented technical detail, Cristofori's working life between his arrival in Florence in 1688 and his death in 1732. This book will be of interest to pianists, historians of the piano, musicologists, museum curators and conservators, as well as keyboard instrument makers, restorers, and tuners.

Lavender cover of The Eighteenth-Century Fortepiano Grand with musical score examples and a picture of a pianoforte in the background.

The Eighteenth-Century Fortepiano Grand and Its Patrons

In the late 17th century, Italian musician and inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori developed a new musical instrument--his cembalo che fa il piano e forte, which allowed keyboard players flexible dynamic gradation. This innovation, which came to be known as the hammer-harpsichord or fortepiano grand, was slow to catch on in musical circles. However, as renowned piano historian Eva Badura-Skoda demonstrates, the instrument inspired new keyboard techniques and performance practices and was eagerly adopted by virtuosos of the age, including Scarlatti, J. S. Bach, Clementi, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Presenting a rich array of archival evidence, Badura-Skoda traces the construction and use of the fortepiano grand across the musical cultures of 18th-century Europe, providing a valuable resource for music historians, organologists, and performers.

Cover of Stravinsky's Piano with a colorful abstract painting reminiscent of Picasso.

Stravinsky's Piano: Genesis of a Musical Language

Stravinsky's reinvention in the early 1920s, as both neoclassical composer and concert-pianist, is here placed at the centre of a fundamental reconsideration of his whole output - viewed from the unprecedented perspective of his relationship with the piano. Graham Griffiths assesses Stravinsky's musical upbringing in St Petersburg with emphasis on his education at the hands of two extraordinary teachers whom he later either ignored or denounced: Leokadiya Kashperova, for piano and Rimsky-Korsakov, for instrumentation. Their message, Griffiths argues, enabled Stravinsky to formulate from that intensely Russian experience an internationalist brand of neoclassicism founded upon the premises of objectivity and craft. Drawing directly on the composer's manuscripts, Griffiths addresses Stravinsky's lifelong fascination with counterpoint and with pianism's constructive processes. 

Sepia cover of Off the Record with a sepia photograph of a composer at the piano.

Off the Record: Performing Practices in Romantic Piano Playing

Off the Record is a revealing exploration of piano performing practices of the high Romantic era. Author and well-known keyboard player Neal Peres Da Costa bases his investigation on a range of early sound recordings (acoustic, piano roll and electric) that capture a generation of highly-esteemed pianists trained as far back as the mid-nineteenth-century. Placing general practices of late nineteenth-century piano performance alongside evidence of the stylistic idiosyncrasies of legendary pianists such as Carl Reinecke (1824-1910), Theodor Leschetizky (1830-1915), Camille Saint-Saëns (1838-1921) and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), he examines prevalent techniques of the time--dislocation, unnotated arpeggiation, rhythmic alteration, tempo fluctuation--and unfolds the background and lineage of significant performer/pedagogues. Throughout, Peres Da Costa demonstrates that these early recordings do not simply capture the idiosyncrasies of aging musicians as has been commonly asserted, but in fact represent a range of established expressive practices of a lost age.

Cover of At The Piano with background image of the inside of a keyboard with a piano on a concert stage superimposed in the middle.

At the Piano: Interviews with 21st Century Pianists

In At the Piano: Interviews with 21st-Century Pianists, Caroline Benser explores the kaleidoscopic world of twenty-first-century pianism through a series of extended interviews with eight major pianists: Leif Ove Andsnes, Jonathan Biss, Simone Dinnerstein, Marc-Andr Hamelin, Stephen Hough, Steven Osborne, Yevgeny Sudbin, and Yuja Wang. The pianists represented here are not only a virtuosos on their instrument, renowned for their renditions of classic works by Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Debussy, and Bart k, they are also dedicated to advancing pianism, commissioning and performing works by living composers as well as revisiting and re-exploring musical possibilities neglected by their predecessors. Interviewees talk with Benser about such matters as their first experiences at the piano, the critical role played by their earliest teachers, the literature they play, the instruments they prefer, the meaning of musicianship to them, and the joys and difficulties of a professional career doing what they love.

Cover of Natural Fingering with pictures of floating black and white keys against a cream, white, and blue background.

Natural Fingering: A Topographical Approach to Pianism

Though incomplete at the time of his death in 1849, Chopin's Projet de methode was nonetheless revolutionary in many respects. But with his Fundamental Pattern, Chopin announced the recognition, if not discovery, of the keyboard's extraordinary topographical symmetry and postulated a core formulation for a new "pianistic" pedagogy. More than a hundred years later the now-legendary Heinrich Neuhaus would passionately plead for this pedagogy and a pianism rooted in it. Natural Fingering explores this remarkable symmetry, significantly as it sheds light on fingering matters for the now vast catalogue of repertoire. It also examines the revolutionary impact of equal temperament on compositional key choice as well as the liberating influence of Charles Eschmann-Dumur's unique discoveries regarding symmetrical inversion. Author Jon Verbalis develops principles for a topographically-based fingering strategy that reflect a surprising compatibility of this fixed symmetrical organization with the most efficient biokinetic capabilities of the pianist's playing mechanism. He addresses previously neglected or overlooked technical aspects of pianism as they relate to movement in keyboard space generally as well as fingering specifically. Symmetrical fingerings for all the fundamental forms are presented in innovative, instructive format.  

Cover of Playing Beyond the Notes with abstract images of piano players and keys in the background.

Playing Beyond the Notes: A Pianist's Guide to Musical Interpretation

Playing Beyond the Notes: A Pianist's Guide to Musical Interpretation demystifies the complex concepts of musical interpretation in Western tonal piano music by boiling it down to basic principles in an accessible writing style. Author and veteran piano instructor Deborah Rambo Sinn tackles a different interpretive principle, explaining clearly, for example, how to play effective ornaments and rubatos. As a whole, the book helps pianists understand concrete ways to apply interpretive concepts to their own playing and gives teachers practical ways to teach interpretation to their students. The book is illustrated with over 200 repertoire excerpts and supplemented by a companion website with over 100 audio recordings. Playing Beyond the Notes is essential reading for all performing pianists, independent piano teachers, and piano pedagogy students.

Blue cover of Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas with text in white and dark blue.

Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas: A Handbook for Performers

The thirty-two Piano Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven form one of the most important segments of piano literature. In this accessible, compact, and comprehensive guidebook, renowned performer and pedagogue Stewart Gordon presents the pianist with historical insights and practical instructional tools for interpreting the pieces. In the opening chapters of Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas, Gordon illuminates the essential historical context behind common performance problems, discussing Beethoven's own pianos and how they relate to compositional style and demands in the pieces, and addressing textual issues, performance practices, and nuances of the composer's manuscript inscriptions. In outlining patterns of structure, sonority, keyboard technique, and emotional meaning evident across Beethoven's compositional development, Gordon provides important background and technical information key to understanding his works in context. Part II of the book presents each sonata in an outline-chart format, giving the student and teacher ready access to essential information, interpretive choices, and technical challenges in the individual works, measure by measure, all in one handy reference source.

White cover of Duet Repertoire with image of a grand piano at full staff and text in red.

Piano Duet Repertoire, Second Edition

Since the 1981 publication of the first edition, Cameron McGraw's Piano Duet Repertoire has been a trusted guide for duet performers. This second edition, edited and substantially expanded by Christopher and Katherine Fisher, brings the volume into the 21st century, adding over 500 new or updated composer entries and nearly 1,000 new work entries to the volume, a testament to the renewed interest in piano duet playing. Entries are arranged alphabetically by composer and include both pedagogical and concert repertoire. The annotations and the grade-level indications provide piano teachers a wealth of instructional guidance. The book also contains updated appendices listing collections and duet works with voice and other instruments. This new edition features a title index and a list of composers by nationality, making it a convenient and indispensable resource.

The Art of Ballet Accompaniment: A Comprehensive Guide

The Art of Ballet Accompaniment: A Comprehensive Guide addresses every imaginable topic and challenge that a ballet accompanist--whether a novice or a more experienced practitioner--might encounter. More than just a facile anthology of accessible music, this inclusive guide details all aspects of playing for ballet, including a complete manual for editing piano literature to accompany ballet technique classes. Author Gerald R. Lishka encourages ballet accompanists to be imaginative, creative, independent artists who can also communicate effectively with dance instructors. In addition, he clarifies the necessary balance between the use of existing musical scores and the art of improvisation. Featuring a new foreword by Kyra Nichols, an expanded section on Lishka's personal philosophy, an updated section on barre from Alison Hennessey, and over 100 music examples, The Art of Ballet Accompaniment offers invaluable advice for all levels of pianists and accompanists.

A Performer's Guide to the Piano Music of Samuel Adler

This comprehensive study of the piano music of award-winning American composer Samuel Adler will interest pianists, teachers, and anyone interested in the musical art of our day.American composer Samuel Adler has composed a huge and multi-faceted body of works ranging from symphonies, concertos, and oratorios to solos for every standard Western instrument, to a rich trove of vocal and choral music, to pieces for students. Among them, encompassing his compositional life of some seventy years, is an array of works for the piano: three concertos; fifteen solo pieces and sets of pieces; a sonata for two pianos; and four volumes of music for beginning and intermediate players. Bradford Gowen writes about each of these works with the knowledge of one who has studied, performed, and recorded Adler's piano music and has previously written about it. He begins with an overview of stylistic and pianistic traits found throughout these pieces and then examines each work chronologically according to genre, in a two-part format. The first part is an essay on the work's style, emotional content, and unique features, which at the same time places the work in the context of other music by Adler and by additional composers from the present and past eras. The second part, informal and practical, is directed to a pianist interested in getting to know this music. As a "lesson" on the piece, it offers specific suggestions for practicing and interpretation and many solutions to technical challenges. 

The Piano: A History in 100 Pieces

A fascinating history of the piano explored through 100 pieces chosen by one of the UK's most renowned concert pianists   "Tomes . . . casts her net widely, taking in chamber music and concertos, knotty avant-garde masterworks and (most welcome) jazz."--Richard Fairman, Financial Times.  An astonishingly versatile instrument, the piano allows just two hands to play music of great complexity and subtlety. For more than two hundred years, it has brought solo and collaborative music into homes and concert halls and has inspired composers in every musical genre--from classical to jazz and light music.   Charting the development of the piano from the late eighteenth century to the present day, pianist and writer Susan Tomes takes the reader with her on a personal journey through 100 pieces including solo works, chamber music, concertos, and jazz. Her choices include composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Gershwin, and Philip Glass. Looking at this history from a modern performer's perspective, she acknowledges neglected women composers and players including Fanny Mendelssohn, Maria Szymanowska, Clara Schumann, and Amy Beach.

Becoming Clara Schumann: Performance Strategies and Aesthetics in the Culture of the Musical Canon

Well before she married Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann was already an internationally renowned pianist, and she concertized extensively for several decades after her husband's death. Despite being tied professionally to Robert, Clara forged her own career and played an important role in forming what we now recognize as the culture of classical music. Becoming Clara Schumann guides readers through her entire career, including performance, composition, edits to her husband's music, and teaching. Alexander Stefaniak brings together the full run of Schumann's concert programs, detailed accounts of her performances and reception, and other previously unexplored primary source material to illuminate how she positioned herself within larger currents in concert life and musical aesthetics. He reveals that she was an accomplished strategist, having played roughly 1,300 concerts across western and central Europe over the course of her six-decade career, and she shaped the canonization of her husband's music. Extraordinary for her time, Schumann earned success and prestige by crafting her own playing style, selecting and composing her own concerts, and acting as her own manager. 

A History of Stringed Keyboard Instruments

This book explores the history of keyboard instruments from their fourteenth-century origins to the development of the modern piano. It reveals the principles of their design and describes structural and mechanical developments through the medieval and renaissance periods and eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries, as well as the early music revival. Stewart Pollens identifies and describes the types of keyboard instruments played by major composers and virtuosi through the ages and provides the reader with detailed instructions on their regulating, stringing, tuning and voicing drawn from historical sources.

Morton Feldman's Piano and String Quartet: Analysis, Aesthetics, and Experience of a 20th Century Masterpiece

Morton Feldman viewed Piano and String Quartet as his capstone work-the culminating example of the aesthetic that Feldman spent his life seeking. Written in 1985, the year before Feldman's death, this single movement, roughly eighty-minute composition was heralded by Steve Reich as "the most beautiful work [of Feldman's] I know." Ray Fields presents a detailed analysis of the complete piece and examines the elements that contribute to its formal and expressive design. He discusses the sonic experience of the music itself and provides insights into Feldman's aesthetic influences. The book also includes basic biographical information about Feldman; descriptions of the music of his early, middle, and late periods; and an overview of analyses of other Feldman works. In examining this beloved piece, the book addresses the question: what was everything Feldman wanted in his music? Also included are interviews with Kronos Quartet's David Harrington about the origins of Piano and String Quartet and crucial information from pianist Aki Takahashi about performing the work.

Piano Journals:

The Wilson Music Library subscribes to a number of music journals, including those published by the major professional organizations for various instruments. Reading journals in your area of study is part of being a professional musician - you can learn about major performers and repertoire, new works, festivals, scholarships, and more. Some of these journals are issued only in print (current issues can be found on the browsing periodicals shelving near the book stacks), but many are available online. Click on a title for access information.

The Piano Magazine: Clavier Companion    Keyboard