"The mental imagery involved with pianistic tactilia is not related to the striking of individual keys but rather to the rites of passage between notes" (Glenn Gould)

Polyphonic Playing

"Mastering the sound is the first and most important task for the pianist, because the sound is the essential subject in music; being involved in its continuosly perfecting and refining, we are raising the music to a higher level."


Piano polyphony can be best explained through this concise statement made by one of the most important exponent of the great Russian piano school. This tradition, which consists of the connection between Alkan, Chopin, Liszt, further to Blumenfeld, Feinberg, Horowitz, Cherkassky, was marked by the polyphonic playing.

It was not a matter of a pure piano technique as a simple instrument for the pianist to show his motoric virtuosity, as it should rather be the searching for the beauty of the tone. In fact a composer's work can be given a new musical birth by producing different colours of sound and developing the polyphonic-motivic structure.

Polyphonic playing does not mean a superficial and limited keyboard virtuosiy. Polyphonic playing covers an extensive piano technique which permits the pianist to achieve a very close relationship to the piano.

Piano teachers of the 19th and part of the 20th century encouraged their pupils to transcend the monochromatic and percussive nature of the piano by developing a symphonic-pianistic way of thinking and being able to bring out the sound of other instruments of the orchestra.

Polyphonic playing:

  • transparent contrapunctal structure
  • transparent sound in the nuance scale
  • expansion of the dynamic spectrum
  • efficient and effortless piano technique
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