The development of piano technique in England c. 1790-1810

Rowland, David (2017). The development of piano technique in England c. 1790-1810. In: Zur Entwicklung des Klavierspiels von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach bis Clara Schumann (Philipsen, Christian; Lustig, Monika and Omonsky, Ute eds.), Michaelsteiner Konferenzberichte, Wissner Verlag, Kloster Michaelstein, Augsburg, Michaelstein, pp. 237–249.


The chapter examines the distinctiveness of piano music written for English pianos in the period by composers such as Clementi, Cramer, Dussek, Field and Steibelt in a period which is arguably the most critical in the development of a distinctively piano idiom. Features that are discussed include: the increasing dependence on the sustaining pedal and the consequences for left-hand technique; the relationship between the upper register of English grands and ornamental writing for the right hand; the use of the piano's extended compass; the suitability of the English action for techniques such as Steibelt's tremolando style. Three contextual factors frame the discussion: the particular characteristics of pianos made in London; the displacement of the harpsichord in favour of the piano; and the preferences of the market for certain textures and types of piece.

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