Title page for ETD etd-10192010-151247

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Wu, Li-Fang
Author's Email Address fannie.729@gmail.com
URN etd-10192010-151247
Title The Alfred Cortot Study Edition of Chopin's Etudes & How the Alexander Technique Can Facilitate Progress towards Performance through His Suggested Exercises
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sioles, Gregory W Committee Chair
Delony, Willis Lane Committee Member
Grimes, Jan Committee Member
Gurt, Michael Committee Member
Bowman, Michael S Dean's Representative
  • Alexander Technique
  • Alfred Cortot
  • Chopin Etudes
Date of Defense 2010-10-06
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this research paper is to study how the Alexander Technique can be applied to the process of pianistic practicing, and specific technique issues. The sets of exercises I choose to focus on are from the Alfred Cortot study edition of Chopinís Etudes, op. 10 and op. 25. The Alexander Technique is a method of releasing unnecessary muscular tension when performing every action, including motions in piano playing. Therefore, the preparatory exercises suggested by Alfred Cortot in his study editions can be more effectively executed by applying the Alexander Technique principles.

This research paper is divided into four chapters. The first chapter commences with background information about the teaching edition of Chopinís Etudes by Alfred Cortot. As an exemplary pianist and teacher, Cortotís contribution to the development of piano technique was and remains of landmark significance. It is valuable and important to examine how his systematic methods can lead pianists to conquer technical problems and refine their performance.

Before focusing on the Alexander Technique in two sets of Chopinís Etudes, the second chapter will provide readers with a brief biography of Frederick Matthias Alexander, founder of the Alexander Technique. The chapter will then go on to reveal how he established the Technique and shaped it into a complete curriculum whose goal is to re-educate the way in which physical aspects of human life are experienced. Finally, this chapter examines the main principles of the Alexander Technique and its applications for musicians and pianists.

After examining Cortotís study edition of the Chopin Etudes and establishing the value of the Alexander Technique for pianists, in the next two chapters I apply core ideas of the Technique to pianistic practicing of the individual Chopin Etudes through Alfred Cortotís preparatory exercises. Chapter 3 focuses on Op. 10 Etudes. Chapter 4 focuses on Op. 25. It is hoped that the results of this research study will be beneficial for pianists, and facilitate progress in learning Chopinís Etudes by applying principles of the Alexander Technique.

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