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Click to enlargeHanon - Junior Hanon (Small) [Alfred Publishing Co.]

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Charles-Louis Hanon (1819-1900) was a French musician and teacher who strived to create ways to improve his students'technique. His exercises and piano studies are recognized worldwide for their pedagogical benefits. Junior Hanon is based on his The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises (Books 1, 2 and 3), one of the most widely used piano technique books ever written. This unique edition includes the complete Book 1 and excerpts from Books 2 and 3, arranged in a simplified and condensed format.

Because Hanon's studies are so important, editors Allan Small and Morton Manus have compiled this crucial edition with younger students in mind: the exercises are cut in half, hands are placed two octaves apart and eighth notes are substituted for the original sixteenths. Alfred's Junior Hanon now makes Hanon's work accessible to most students and enables pianists to achieve a fine technique.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is considered to be one of the most important French artists of the 20th century. After retiring to a small French village in 1943, he created his series of 20 color stencils in gouache entitled Jazz. The one chosen for this cover, The Codomas, plate XI, was published in 1947 and is an abstract representation of the arabesques of trapeze artists in midair (notice the net under the trapeze). It was chosen for this cover because, as the technical prowess of a trapeze artist requires training and exercise. so does the piano student. Matisse's fluid, colorful work continues to influence many great artists, much like Hanon's technique books continue to influence generations of great pianists.

The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises by Charles-Louis Hanon is probably the most popular technique book ever written. However, while easily learned, Hanon's original exercises 1-20 are sometimes too strenuous and more lengthy than may be practical for the beginning student. Yet the editors felt that by retaining the essence of the work, arranged in a simplified and condensed format, these exercises could then be made accessible to young and beginning students. They have done just that by altering the original exercises 1 20 as follows:

  • Eighth notes are substituted for the original sixteenth notes, making the studies appear less difficult.
  • By cutting the exercises in half, the student is less likely to become bored.
  • For ease in playing, the hands have been placed two octaves apart.

Likewise, exercises 39-60 in The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises have much to offer but are a formidable lot to master. Once again, by extracting the essence of Hanon in the same young and beginning students. Included in this latter section are studies in:

  • all major and minor (harmonic) scales and arpeggios
  • chromatic scales in parallel and contrary motion
  • repeated notes in groups of three and four
  • exercises for the trill and thirds
  • broken-octave scales in all keys

Finally, the last page is devoted to the circle of fifths, which is always useful.

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