An examination of the keyboard technique of Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Scriabin and Prokofiev
|Hays, Jonathan K.
|Master's Project (M.Mu.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2016
|In this research paper, I will explore the keyboard technique of each composer presented in my recital: J.S. Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Frederic Chopin, Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Prokofiev. I hope to elucidate the physical approach used by each composer, and show in turn how that same approach influenced the music of each composer by analyzing the pieces performed in my recital. To understand the distinct technique of the composers, it is important to know some context. The instrument each composer wrote for necessarily influenced their technique and resulting composition. However, the instrument cannot explain every facet of technique, and it becomes necessary to understand the underlying aesthetics of technique. Moving chronologically from Bach to Prokofiev, a general trend of expansion in the use of the hand and arm will be seen throughout. Keyboards became louder and heavier in touch and the hand faced greater reaches in every generation. The technique of Bach and Haydn was largely focused on compact and relaxed hands with distinct finger movements, while Scriabin and Prokofiev at the other end require sweeping gestures that occupy the entire arm. However, it would be too easy to present this progression as a story that technique is only getting better and better, implying that the older composers were inferior to the later. That is simply false. Instead, extended study of each composer shows that many technical principles are universal. The baroque keyboardists were likely playing with more weight than popularly imagined and one cannot play Scriabin with mittens on the hands.
|An examination of the keyboard technique of Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Scriabin and Prokofiev