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#1456853 - 06/15/10 12:59 AM Medtner and Alkan Repertoire
Enfant Terrible Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/07/10
Posts: 19
Loc: California, USA
Is there any good competition repertoire from these two composers? Like between 6-10 minutes in length, technically astounding but not too difficult, etc. Something that can compete with Liszt et al?

(By "not too difficult" I mean... you know... I can play most of Chopin's Ballades and Scherzi... but I'm not Hamelin-level)

I mean I love these two composers, but I'm not going to by any means take on a piece like the Sonata Romantica or the Concerto for Solo Piano!

Thanks in advance for the suggestions. smile


Edited by Enfant Terrible (06/15/10 01:01 AM)
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#1456858 - 06/15/10 01:28 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Enfant Terrible]
jeffreyjones Offline
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Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2230
Loc: San Jose, CA
From Alkan, you could try Le Tambour bat aux champs, a rather bitter anti-war piece.. for Medtner, I absolutely love the Theme and Variations Op. 55, one of the few pieces of his I still can listen to any time, even though I'm pretty tired of his mawkish style in general.

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#1456885 - 06/15/10 03:59 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Enfant Terrible]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Enfant Terrible
technically astounding but not too difficult, etc.



Hahaha. Sorry, that made me laugh.
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#1456936 - 06/15/10 08:08 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: stores]
Mattardo Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 1306
I think Busoni played some Alkan in his concerts - perhaps you could find out what worked for him in public?

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#1456938 - 06/15/10 08:23 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Mattardo]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I don't know much Medtner... But for Alkan, you could do one of the Scherzi from Op. 16; Scherzo Focoso Op. 34 (it is NOT impossible or near impossible... do NOT listen to what people on Youtube say! I practiced it for maybe three weeks and was able to comfortably play about half of it accurately!); from Op. 35 Nos. 3, 9, 11, or 12 (I wouldn't use 7); from Op. 39 Nos. 2, 4 (Symphony 1st movement); a couple movements from the Sonatine Op. 61.

If you're really up to the challenge, try one of the Trois Morceaux Op. 15 (preferrably Aime-moi, No. 1).

Mattardo, Busoni played En Rythm Molossique (39/2) and Alkan's cadenza to the first movement of Beethoven's 3rd concerto. The cadenza was interesting, but personally I wouldn't play it if I were performing it with an orchestra. (Well, maybe in 2013... but that's it!)

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#1456943 - 06/15/10 08:30 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Orange Soda King]
Mattardo Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 1306
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsWqoBLzIG0
The etude sounds interesting, I'll have to find an actual pianist recording at some point, for this recording is only a digital version - midi maybe?
That should turn some heads...

Thanks, King - I knew there would be someone here who kept a list of Busoni Alkan pieces next to their monitor! smile That's weird.. >:)

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#1456952 - 06/15/10 09:01 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Mattardo]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Bernard Ringeissen made an AWESOME recording of En Rythme Molossique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31cFnuyr5N0. Gibbon's is good too, but it sounds like he was playing to a metronome the whole time and I don't think his tone color is quite as varied in that recording as it is in Ringeissen's here.

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#1456984 - 06/15/10 10:38 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: jeffreyjones]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
From Alkan, you could try Le Tambour bat aux champs, a rather bitter anti-war piece...

Did Alkan intend it as an anti-war piece? Lewenthal, writing in the atmosphere of the late '60's, seems to think so. But I always thought anti-war sentiment didn't really jell and reach any type of critical mass until the 20th century, following the horrors of the Great War.
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#1456989 - 06/15/10 10:43 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Orange Soda King]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King

Busoni played En Rythm Molossique (39/2) and Alkan's cadenza to the first movement of Beethoven's 3rd concerto.

Ronald Smith writes that Bartok most likely heard Busoni play Alkan's Allegro Barbaro in Berlin.

It certainly makes intuitive sense...
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#1457007 - 06/15/10 11:05 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: argerichfan]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Oh wow. I've never heard that, but I've read that Bartok most likely knew of Alkan's Allegro Barbaro before writing his own.

Halfway off topic: I wonder why that piece is one of Alkan's most known. There are PLENTY of Op. 35's that are much better (although No. 5 is easily the most entertaining). Is it because of Jack Gibbons' video on Youtube? Gibbons said on his Facebook page not too long ago that when he first uploaded that video, he said it was just for a bit of fun and humor, and he would have never guessed that it would have gotten that many views, comments, and stirred up so much discussion. Hehe.

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#1457041 - 06/15/10 11:59 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Orange Soda King]
Mostly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
I play a lot of Medtner. It tends to be much harder than it sounds, and I don't think of them as competition or show-off pieces...

The sonata Tragica (the last piece of Op. 39) is relatively easy and runs at a little less than 10 minutes. It's also not too hard on the listener, though they might fall asleep if you don't make the lyrical part interesting. And since you seem "Hamelin sponsored", I definitly advise against his rendition of that piece, which is really waaaaaay too fast and blurred in my opinion.

There are also plenty of fairy tale with good lenght and varying difficulty ; I'm not really sure if any are "technically astounding though". There is one in Csharp that isn't too hard and sounds pretty cool, Op. 35 n°4.
There's also one that has a few passages like the sonata Romantica, and that amply quotes the Dies Irae, but I can't remember which one it is ; it's pretty tough to play though, and underwhelming for audiences I guess.

I'd put Medtner closer in its "type of difficulty" to Bach than to Liszt ; to me that also means they are both very fun to play because there is SO much going on.
Medtner is also very lyrical and poetic, though it's strangely not obvious at first listens.

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#1457079 - 06/15/10 12:38 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: argerichfan]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2230
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
From Alkan, you could try Le Tambour bat aux champs, a rather bitter anti-war piece...

Did Alkan intend it as an anti-war piece? Lewenthal, writing in the atmosphere of the late '60's, seems to think so. But I always thought anti-war sentiment didn't really jell and reach any type of critical mass until the 20th century, following the horrors of the Great War.


Hard to say. It's just one of the many Esquisses, so really who knows, but the content seems quite prescient of what would happen in the World Wars..

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#1457158 - 06/15/10 02:20 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: jeffreyjones]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2055
Loc: Canada
Try the famous Skaza in B flat minor op.20 no.1 by Medtner

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Qez1WB4hQ

I've looked through it....difficult, but if you can do those big Chopin works, this should be fine...


If you want technically astounding but not that technically difficult....you have to look towards Liszt who makes stuff look tremendously hard, but is actually nice on the hands/arms.
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#1457232 - 06/15/10 05:15 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: jeffreyjones]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7429
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
From Alkan, you could try Le Tambour bat aux champs, a rather bitter anti-war piece...

Did Alkan intend it as an anti-war piece? Lewenthal, writing in the atmosphere of the late '60's, seems to think so. But I always thought anti-war sentiment didn't really jell and reach any type of critical mass until the 20th century, following the horrors of the Great War.


Hard to say. It's just one of the many Esquisses, so really who knows, but the content seems quite prescient of what would happen in the World Wars..


Although it is subtitled "esquisse", it isn't one of "the" Esquisses (that is, the group of sketches published under that name as op. 63). It is linked with another "military" piece in op. 50 called "Capriccio alla soltadesca" which has a fairly satirical flavor, to my ear. I can see that Alkan might have had the folly of war and militarism in mind when he wrote them.

Alkan also wrote another military send-up called "Musique Militaire" that actually is one of "the" Esquisses; it is number thirty-five. It seems to be making a joke about military music, doing some amusingly daft variants on a deliberately inane tune.

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#1457243 - 06/15/10 05:31 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: wr]
Enfant Terrible Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/07/10
Posts: 19
Loc: California, USA
Thanks for the suggestions! Most of the major competitions in the world cannot get away from their Beethoven-Chopin-Liszt mindset and these composers tend to get a bit mundane when you have 10 performers playing the g minor ballade and another 10 playing Liszt paraphrases. Even Bach is not very well accepted - and though I would love to play him, I think it would be very cool to try Medtner or Alkan and see my results in public.

Quick Question-

Does anyone know how difficult the Sonata Reminiscenza is? I'm willing to go for 15 minutes and sneak in something like the Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin as my second piece. It was the first piece by Medtner I loved and probably Medtner's most well-known and accessible composition.


Edited by Enfant Terrible (06/15/10 05:33 PM)
_________________________
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#1457247 - 06/15/10 05:40 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Enfant Terrible]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2230
Loc: San Jose, CA
The Sonata Reminiscenza is pretty light when it comes to technical demands, probably the easiest of all his sonatas.

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#1457256 - 06/15/10 05:54 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Enfant Terrible]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I have not competed with Alkan yet, but I have made public performances with the G Major Etude, and almost all the people I played it for said it was their favorite piece out of my program (Beethoven Sonata in F Op 10 No 2, Chopin Ballade 2, Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin mvmts. 3-6, and the Alkan Etude).

I think competing with nonstandard repertoire only works if you can really play the piece well. But then again, you should be able to play everything really well, right? ha


Edited by Orange Soda King (06/15/10 05:54 PM)

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#1457267 - 06/15/10 06:17 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Orange Soda King]
Enfant Terrible Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/07/10
Posts: 19
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
I think competing with nonstandard repertoire only works if you can really play the piece well. But then again, you should be able to play everything really well, right? ha


Oh quite the contrary! I was forbidden to play the Waldstein/Appassionata for that very reason.


Edited by Enfant Terrible (06/15/10 06:18 PM)
_________________________
“My mother had to explain that one couldn't compose a Liszt rhapsody because it was a piece of music that Liszt himself had composed.” ~Sergei Prokofiev

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#1457752 - 06/16/10 05:14 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Enfant Terrible]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2594
Loc: Netherlands
Alkan: Any op.35/op.15/16/1st movement of the sonata, very
good piece!/Chant op.38-1 very, very good piece!!
Medtner: Danza Festiva/Primavera/Sonata op.11-3, so beautiful!
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Chopin op.28/20/31/39/54

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#1457919 - 06/16/10 09:09 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: dolce sfogato]
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1815
Loc: Connecticut
Check out Medtner's lovely Mood Pictures, Op.1 No.1 Prologue:Andante cantabile, played by Geoffrey Tozer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEnXwRrE27c

Score:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Medtner,_Nikolai_Karlovich

It's one of my very favorite Medtner pieces.


As for a non-standard rep sonata, I highly recommend Josef Rheinberger's Piano Sonata No.3 in E flat, Op.135:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Rheinberger,_Josef_Gabriel

It's certainly among the finest of the post-Beethoven sonatas.

The piece seems to be filled with joy.

And does any piece contain a finer Beethoven Scherzo?


Mel
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#1457941 - 06/16/10 10:36 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: dolce sfogato]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
Alkan: Any op.35/op.15/16/1st movement of the sonata, very
good piece!/Chant op.38-1 very, very good piece!!


Alright! Support for the Op. 35's. I've heard some criticism from Alkan fans on the 35's, but I really like them as technical studies. The 1st movement of the Sonata would be good, but wouldn't the second be a little more substantial? Oh well, either would work fine. Personally, although I really like the Sonata, I have a hard time getting my head around it sometimes... It may be an Alkan masterpiece, but it's sort of out there for me.

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#1458328 - 06/17/10 04:09 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Orange Soda King]
Enfant Terrible Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/07/10
Posts: 19
Loc: California, USA
So I've gone with Medtner... whom my piano teacher, I just found out, loves to death. After some thinking, we've narrowed it down to two pieces - (1) the second Dithyramb (Op. 10 No. 2) and (2) the Op. 20 Fairy Tales, performed as a set (both the B flat minor and B minor "Campanella"). What do you all think is the better option?


Here are the links by the way:

(1) Dithyramb, Op. 10 No. 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjM5oNkUNms

(2) 2 Fairy Tales, Op. 20:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Qez1WB4hQ (No. 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTe39NC3ocQ (No. 2)


Edited by Enfant Terrible (06/17/10 04:15 PM)
_________________________
“My mother had to explain that one couldn't compose a Liszt rhapsody because it was a piece of music that Liszt himself had composed.” ~Sergei Prokofiev

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#1458410 - 06/17/10 06:11 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Enfant Terrible]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2230
Loc: San Jose, CA
That Dithyramb is a heck of a piece, but it sounds a bit self-absorbed to my ears. I like the simplicity of the Fairy Tales.

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#1458872 - 06/18/10 01:17 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Orange Soda King]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4491
Loc: in the past
edit - oops messed up the composers.

Medtner - how about the C minor concerto??


Edited by AngelinaPogorelich (06/18/10 01:18 PM)
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#1459083 - 06/18/10 08:16 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: Pogorelich.]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2594
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
edit - oops messed up the composers.

Medtner - how about the C minor concerto??
fantastic piece, ranks among the Rach.s, the cadenza in the 1st mov. is splendid, too few recordings, I have my fav.s, still alive, who is yours?
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Chopin op.28/20/31/39/54

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#1459143 - 06/18/10 10:22 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: dolce sfogato]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2230
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
edit - oops messed up the composers.

Medtner - how about the C minor concerto??
fantastic piece, ranks among the Rach.s, the cadenza in the 1st mov. is splendid, too few recordings, I have my fav.s, still alive, who is yours?


Shatskes/Svetlanov for me - it's coupled with Svetlanov's Sonata-Reminiscenza which is equally great. Melodiya import only, unfortunately, and an expensive one.

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#1459157 - 06/18/10 11:28 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: jeffreyjones]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7429
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
edit - oops messed up the composers.

Medtner - how about the C minor concerto??
fantastic piece, ranks among the Rach.s, the cadenza in the 1st mov. is splendid, too few recordings, I have my fav.s, still alive, who is yours?


Shatskes/Svetlanov for me - it's coupled with Svetlanov's Sonata-Reminiscenza which is equally great. Melodiya import only, unfortunately, and an expensive one.


Yes, that is a great one.

www.medtner.org.uk has a free download of Medtner himself playing it, along with some other very interesting recordings.

I just found out at that same site that the complete sonatas are being recorded for Naxos by Paul Stewart. I never would have believed we would have so many Medtner recordings, had you told me several decades ago.

Also, I discovered this rarity on YouTube (actually, once anything is on YouTube, I guess it can't be called a rarity anymore) - a video of Richter playing the Sonata Reminiscenza (thanks, Truecrypt!). It's really a shame Richter didn't do more Medtner - I think this sonata is the only Medtner solo work he played.


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#1459198 - 06/19/10 01:44 AM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
fantastic piece, ranks among the Rach.s, the cadenza in the 1st mov. is splendid, too few recordings, I have my fav.s, still alive, who is yours?

Love the Medtner 1st I suppose, though with due respect, I don't feel that some of the more extravagant technical challenges are honestly justified by musical considerations. It sometimes appears that those technical hurdles are there for their own sake. (Particularly when heavy orchestration covers the piano anyway.)

Maybe I am missing something, but in Rachmaninov 2, I never get that sense. There is not a wasted note.

I have the Tozer recordings of the concertos and Hamelin in the sonatas. I've followed them all with score, no reason to believe that they aren't making a good case for this music.

And yet... and yet... whilst I'm constantly in awe of the sheer skill of Medtner's piano writing (and so much of it is embarrassingly difficult!), there's always that lingering suspicion that as a composer he didn't have that much to say. His lack of true inspiration hides behind the complexities.
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#1459471 - 06/19/10 07:47 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: argerichfan]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2594
Loc: Netherlands
this could develop into a new thread, but I think some of Medtner's works are amongst the finest 20th century pianopieces ever written. I would like to promote his sonata's op.11/3, op.22, op.25/2 and the Reminiscenza of course, some Skadzky, the 2nd improvisation and all the works called 'Forgotten Melodies', what a vision he had...
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Chopin op.28/20/31/39/54

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#1459489 - 06/19/10 08:26 PM Re: Medtner and Alkan Repertoire [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
this could develop into a new thread, but I think some of Medtner's works are amongst the finest 20th century pianopieces ever written.

Good on you for that my mate. I have put my time in with Medtner, all the concertos, all the sonatas with score. I've tried and tried.

I never cease to be amazed at the technical complexities -Medtner's music is awesomely written!- but ultimately it's just that. Medtner lacks that creative 'spark' which makes Rachmaninov so dear to us.

Maybe one day I'll have it sorted out. But not now.
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