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Books About Music

Instrumental

This list provides an overview of books related to instruments: their history, manufacture, and use, including perfromance techniques, harmonics, instrumental timbre, and the development of various instrument groups.

We welcome feedback, suggestions, additions, and corrections to this information.


General | Strings | Winds | Brass | Keyboard

General

The History of Musical Instruments
The History of Musical Instruments. Curt Sachs. W.W. Norton. 2006. ISBN 0393020681 (hardcover), 0486452654 (paperback).
Written by one of the world's most distinguished musicologists, this was the first comprehensive history of musical instruments. It traces their evolution from prehistoric to modern times, combining scholarship with insight in a remarkable fusion of music, anthropology, and the fine arts. Read the Classical Net Review of this book.

Musical Instruments: History, Technology and Performance of Instruments of Western Music
Musical Instruments: History, Technology and Performance of Instruments of Western Music. Donald Murray Campbell, Clive Alan Greated, Arnold Myers. Oxford University Press. 2006. ISBN 0198165048 (hardcover), 019921185X (paperback).
Musical Instruments presents the first comprehensive survey to explain how Western musical instruments work, how they developed historically, how they are manufactured, and how they are used to make music. A full glossary and index also contain definitions of technical terms and notes on instruments not included in the text, making this the essential reference for everyone researching and working with musical instruments and performance.

Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Diagram Group. Facts on File. 2001. ISBN 0871963205 (hardcover), 0806998474 (paperback).
Using a completely visual approach, this ultimate reference has over 4,000 drawings showcasing the evolution of instruments – and music – from primitive whistles to electric guitars (complete with fuzz box and pedal). Exquisite illustrations accompany each entry, with painstaking detail and attention to structure, function, and decoration. Most extraordinary is the range of instruments included: orchestral, popular, classical, ancient, and folk. Classed by family groups, they are cross-referenced with material on geographical distribution and historical periods. Plus scores, diagrams of correct playing techniques, major figures, and other fascinating information provided by over forty researchers, writers, and illustrators, in cooperation with 200 scholars from 20 countries.

Musical Instruments Through the Ages. Anthony Baines, editor. Walker & Co. 1976. ISBN 0802704697
Descriptions of the historical development of musical instruments with information on ancient performance practice.

The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments
The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments. Anthony C. Baines. Oxford University Press. 1992. ISBN 0193113341
Descriptions of a wide variety of Western and non-Western musical instruments with information on playing techniques, harmonics, instrumental timbre, acoustics, pitch, and historical development. From panpipes, to the agogo bell, to the tuba, musical instruments have formed an integral part of the cultures of the world. Their range and diversity – including the simplest of spoons as well as the complex pressure systems of a pipe organ – have inspired the skill and genius of maker, composer, and player.

Musical Instruments: An Illustrated History. Alexander Buchner. Crown. 1973. ISBN 0517501503
This is a beautiful, oversized "coffeetable" book with illustrations from works of art, and photographs of historical instruments.

The New Langwill Index. William Waterhouse. Tony Bingham. 1993. ISBN 0946113041 (hardcover).
This book contains information not available in any other book. With the help of many researchers, Waterhouse has collected biographical data for surely every significant maker and manufacturer in Western Europe, and the United States. No illustrations of instruments are provided. But in 518 pages, this book is essential for anyone seriously researching wind instruments (brass, and wood) from the middle ages to 1950.

String Instruments

Also see Biography page for non-technical memoirs, autobiography, etc.

Violin Playing As I Teach It
Violin Playing As I Teach It. Leopold Auer. Dover Publications, Inc. New York.1980. Unabridged republication of Lippincott 1921 edition. ISBN 0486239179
Leopold Auer was one of the most famous performers and pedagogues of his time. He was the teacher of Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz and Efrem Zimbalist. This short book covers many important topics from the general "how to" to the specific and more advanced.

An Encyclopedia of the Violin. Introduction by Eugène Ysaÿe. Alberto Bachmann, Translated by Frederick H. Martens, Edited by Albert E. Wier. DaCapo Press, 1975, 1991. ISBN 0306800047 (paperback).
Covers everything about the violin from its construction to it's literature, photographs and identification of members of the most popular string quartets of the late 19th and early 20th century, glossary of chamber music terms, and a biographical dictionary of violinists.

The Art of the Violin. Pierre Marie François de Sales Baillot. Ed. and Translated by Louise Goldberg, Forward by Zvi Zeitlin. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois. 1991. ISBN 0810107538
Exhaustive treatment of violin technique. Fascinating to compare with other treatises by Leopold Mozart, Geminiani, and later ones by Flesch and Galamian. Excellent musical examples, notes, and index.

Casals and the Art of Interpretation. David Blum. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1977. ISBN 0520040325
Careful and loving attention paid to discussions with Casals and memories of rehearsals and lessons observed. Book is rich with the type of questions musicians would like to have asked this respected musician. Excellent musical examples.

The History of Violin Playing from its origins to 1761 and its Relationship to the Violin and Violin Music
The History of Violin Playing from its origins to 1761 and its Relationship to the Violin and Violin Music. David D. Boyden. Oxford University Press/Clarendon Press. 1990. ISBN 0198161832 (paperback).
This volume presents a comprehensive history of violin performance against the background of the violin's evolution and the music written for it. Boyden focuses on the techniques of violin playing in centuries past, and discusses such practical questions as the development of bowing disciplines, the performance of staccato, the use of vibrato, the meaning of performing directions, the notation and performance of double stops, the rules of scordatura playing, and the sound of the violin in early times.

The Art of Violin Playing - Book One
The Art of Violin Playing - Book One: Technique in General Applied Technique, Carl Flesch, translated by Frederick H. Martens. Foreward by Anne-Sophie Mutter. Carl Fischer. 1924, 2000. ISBN 0825828228
The Art of Violin Playing - Book Two: Artistic Realization and Instruction, Carl Flesch, translated by Frederick H. Martens. Carl Fischer. 1930. ISBN 0825801364
Everything you always wanted to know about bowing, fingering, practicing and preparation for the highest level of proficiency. Geared toward the teacher and the serious student, upper level. A bible of violin technique. Book One was recently reprinted; Book Two is unfortunately out of print. Find it in libraries.

Principles of Violin Playing & Teaching. Ivan Galamian. Shar Products Company. 1999. ISBN 0962141631
If you are a serious violin student, you should not be without it. It is simply one of the best, most clearly written books on modern violin technique.

The Art of Playing on the Violin, 1751. Francesco Geminiani. Oxford University Press. 1952. ISBN 0193222000
Historical treatise by one of the greatest vioinists of the 18th century.

Compleat Violinist - Thoughts, Exercises, Reflections of an Itinerant Violinist. Yehudi Menuhin, Edited by Christopher Hope. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1986. ISBN 0671612948
This book, like many other technical books by this prolific author, is geared to the young intermediate student. Stretching exercises (much better covered in "Six Lessons") and brief comments on composers and the life of a professional violinist. Not one of Menuhin's best books.

Six Lessons with Yehudi Menuhin. Yehuid Menuhin. W.W. Norton, New York and London. paperback edition 1981. ISBN 039300080X
The preparatory exercises are a form of Yoga, and aim at reducing harmful tensions. The other lessons discuss the physical movements of the violinist. Good illustrative sketches.

Violin & Viola. Yehudi Menuhin and William Primrose with Denis Stevens. Schirmer. 1976. ISBN 0028714105
The binding of this paperback is terrible. Pages are thick and easily detached. Good basic information about the instruments and basic beginning technique. Part of a projected series on instruments. Recommended for parents of young students.

Treatise on the fundamental Principles of Violin Playing. Leopold Mozart, Translated by E. Knocker. Oxford University Press. London. First ed. 1948. Fifth ed. 1972. ISBN 0193185024
This is the classic historical method-book for the violin. It is written with clarity and provides a rich supply of exercises and musical illustrations. It gives insight to the violin playing of the period.

Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century. Henry Roth. California Classics Books. 1997. ISBN 1879395150 (paperback).
An opinionated but analytical and insightful history of the violin over the past two centuries, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of both the instrument and the performers. 396 pages.

Great Violinists in Performance: Critical Evaluations of over 100 20th-Century Virtuosi. Henry Roth. Panjandrum Books. Los Angeles. 1987. ISBN 0915572850
Interesting reflections by an astute observer. Roth is a violinist, teacher and writer. See his collaborative work, the multi-volume "The Way They Play" with Samuel Applebaum for more technical discussions.

Great Masters of the Violin from Corelli and Vivaldi to Stern, Zukerman and Perlman. Boris Schwarz. Simon and Schuster. New York. 1983. ISBN 0671225987
Historical approach to the 'schools' of violin playing and the most famous performers, teachers, compositions and writings of each period. Highly recommended. Non-technical. Big book full of fascinating detail, excellent index, complete notes and bibliography.

Violin Technique and Performance practice in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries. Robin Stowell. Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs series. Cambridge University Press. 1985 (Pb ed.1990) ISBN 0521397448
Title is self-explanatory. Good scholarly work, clearly written, highly recommended for performers interested in period playing.

Szigeti on the Violin. Joseph Szigeti. Dover. 1979 ISBN 048623763X
"There is no substitute for perfect intonation". In this little book, one of the most respected violinists shares his opinions on the trivia of violin playing; the little details that come together to contribute to perfect performance. The wit and lively writing style make this book a pleasure to read and re-read.

The Glory of the Violin. Joseph Wechsberg. Viking Press, New York. 1972/73. ISBN 0670342661
This book is all about the violin as art object, collector's joy, treasure. It discusses the most famous instruments, the business of collecting, and then branches into stories about virtuosi and chamber music. The most important part of the book is the popular discussion of violin makers.

Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers. William Henley, with Woodcock, Cyril (Editors). Amati. 1973. ISBN 0685795705 (hardcover).

Becoming an Orchestral Musician: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals
Becoming an Orchestral Musician: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals. Richard Davis. Giles de la Mare. 2004. ISBN 1900357232 (paperback).
Becoming an Orchestral Musician covers such crucial topics as music colleges versus universities; auditioning; the secrets of ensemble playing and intonation; conductors; the orchestra; performing philosophies; and strategies for success. The matter of how to explore and adapt one's musical psyche, the pitfalls of a career in music, and the highs and lows of performing are also discussed, and the history, mythology, and science of music-making. Invaluable reading for all practicing and aspiring orchestral musicians as well as parents of budding instrumentalists. Richard Davis is Principal Flute of the BBC Philharmonic and Senior Lecturer and orchestral coach at the Royal Northern College of Music.

With the Artists. Samuel and Sada Applebaum. John Markert and Co. 1955.
This book was the start of the fourteen volume series "The Way they Play" mentioned below. The Applebaums interviewed famous string players and teachers about their technique and philosophy. These interviews are fascinating to string players and non string players alike.
Violinists interviewed: Mischa Elman, Zino Francescatti, Joseph Fuchs, Carroll Glenn, Jascha Heifetz, louis Kaufman, Fritz Kreisler, Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein, Erica Morini, Ruggiero Ricci, Albert Spalding, Tossy Spivakovsky, Isaac Stern, Joseph Szigeti, Patrica Travers, Efrem Zimbalist. Violists: Milton Katims, and William Primrose. Cellists: Maurice Eisenberg, Edmund Kurtz, Gregor Piatigorsky, Leonard Rose, Joseph Schuster. Concertmasters: John Corigliano, Alexander Hilsberg, Mischa Mischakoff. Teachers: Samuel Applebaum, Harold Berkley, D.C. Dounis, Ivan Galamian, Arved Kurtz, Louis Persinger, Paul Stassevitch.


The Way they Play by Samuel and Sada Applebaum, Henry Roth, Mark Zilberquit, and Theo Saye. Paganiniana Press

The Way they Play, Book 1
Volume 1. 1972. ISBN 0876664370
Violinists interviewed: Elman, Francescatti, J. Fuchs, Glenn, Heifetz, Kaufman, Kreisler, Menuhin, Milstein, Morini, Ricci, A. Schneider, Spalding, Spivakovsky, Szigeti, Zimbalist. Doctor, Katims, Primrose, Tertis. Casals, Cole, Eisenberg, Piatigorsky, Rose. Rafael Bronstein, Galamian, Gingold, Persinger. Photographs, Musical notation. Technical and general discussions.
Volume 2. 1973. ISBN 0517502100
Violinists interviewed: Lim Kek Tjiang, Leonid Kogan, Benno Rabinoff, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Jaime Laredo, Toshiya Eto, Arnold Steinhardt, Pinchas Zukerman, Michael Tree, Itzak perlman, John Dalley, Lillian Fuchs, Walter Trampler, János Starker, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pierre Fournier, David Soyer, (Bassists) Lucas Drew, Gary Karr, Homer R. Mensch. Photographs included.
Volume 3. 1975. ISBN 0876664478
Violinists interviewed: Eugene Fodor, Henryk Szeryng, Mischa Mischakoff, Raphael Hillyer, Raya garbousova, Michael Rabin, The Fifth International Tchaikovsky Violin Competition, Arnold Gingrich, Laszlo Varga, Margaret Pardee, Dorothy DeLay, Bertram Turetzky, Aaron Rosand. Photographs included.
The Way they Play, Book 4
Volume 4. 1975. ISBN 0876664486
Violinists interviewed: David Oistrakh, Emanuel Vardi, Gabor Rejto, Henri Temianka, Manhattan Trio, Sergiu Luca, Stanley Bednar, David Lloyd Kreeger, Jack Benny.
Volume 5. 1978. ISBN 0876664494
Violinists interviewed: Erick Friedman, Viktor Tretyakov, Christine Walevska, Sidney Harth, Vladimir Spivakov, Ruggiero Ricci, Jascha Heifetz, Murray Grodner, Igor Oistrakh. Note: this volume and the ones after it include musical analysis, fingerings and bowings from personal scores of leading artists.
Volume 6. 1978. ISBN 0876666152
Violinists interviewed: Jacques Francais, Stuart Sankey, Felix Galimir, Wanda Wilkomirska, Zino Francescatti, Max Aronoff, the Moennigs (violin makers), Elmar Oliveira.
Volume 7. 1980. ISBN 0876666195
Violinists interviewed: Oscar Shumsky, Zara Nelsova, William Lincer, Barry Green, Fredell Lack, Franco Gulli.
Volume 8. 1980. ISBN 0876666225
Violinists interviewed: Salvatore Accardo, Daniel Shafran, Nina Beilina, Sol Greitzer, Nathaniel Rosen, Yoshio Unno, Daniel Heifetz. Cumulative Index.
The Way they Play, Book 9
Volume 9. 1981. ISBN 0876665865
Violinists interviewed: Tatyana Grindenko, Ilya Grubert, Isaac Stern, Paul Tobias, David Walter and the violinmaker, Peresson.
Volume 10. 1981. ISBN 0876665954
Violinists interviewed: Leslie Parnas, Victor Pikaisen, Vadim Brodsky, Joseph Silverstein, Tibor Varga, Ladislav Cerny.
Volume 11. 1983. ISBN 087666799X
Violinists interviewed: Desmond Bradley, Ilona Feher, Mihaela Martin, Victoria Mullova, Norman Carol.
Volume 12. 1983. ISBN 0876667981
Violinists interviewed: Pavel Kogan, Antonio Meneses, Konstanty Kulka, Rodion Azarkhin.
Volume 13. 1984. ISBN 0866220097
Violinists interviewed: Schlomo Mintz, Dr. Lev Ginsburg, Grigory Zhislin, Yo-Yo Ma, Alexander Muradov.
Volume 14. 1986. ISBN 0866220100
Violinists interviewed: Kyung Wha Chung, Miriam Fried, Zakhar Bron, Oleg Krysa, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Dmitry Tziganov.

Classical Guitar Making: A Modern Approach to Traditional Design
Classical Guitar Making: A Modern Approach to Traditional Design. Gerald, J. Bakus. Sterling. 2006. ISBN 1402720602 (hardcover).
With this richly illustrated manual, well-known luthier and guitarist John Bogdanovich shows exactly how to build that first, beautiful guitar, using traditional, time-tested methods. All that's required are basic woodworking techniques and a minimally equipped shop. Bogdanovich discusses the anatomy of the guitar, sound, choosing an instrument, selecting woods, templates and molds, and preparation. In more than 300 pages of text, he painstakingly lays out the details of construction, from assembling the neck and sides to installing the fingerboard and bridge.

The Spanish Guitar. Gerald, J. Bakus. Gothic press. 1977. ISBN 9998348064 (hardcover).
Full title of book is The Spanish Guitar: A Comprehensive Reference to the Classical and Flamenco Guitar. This book lists works, composers, performers with a full bibliography and index.

Guitars: Music, History, Construction and Players from Renaissance to Rock
Guitars: Music, History, Construction and Players from Renaissance to Rock. Tom Evans, Mary Anne Evans. Facts on File. ISBN 044822240X (paperback).

Guitar and Vihuela: An Annotated Bibliography. Meredith McCutcheon. Pendragon Press. 1985. ISBN 0918728282 (hardcover).
Exhaustive survey of literature broken down into nationalities, countries, types of instruments, periods. Covers form, tablature, compositions, theory, and performers. There are interviews, iconography, construction design, disctionary of luthiers, construction manual and more.

The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method - Volume 1: Guitar Technique
The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method - Volume 1: Guitar Technique. Christopher Parkening, Jack Marshall, David Brandon. Hal Leonard. 1997. ISBN 0793585201 (paperback).
This premier method for the beginning classical guitarist, by one of the world's pre-eminent virtuosos and the recognized heir to the legacy of Andres Segovia, is now completely revised and updated! Guitarists will learn basic classical technique by playing over 50 beautiful classical pieces, 26 exercises and 14 duets, and through numerous photos and illustrations. The method covers: rudiments of classical technique, note reading and music theory, selection and care of guitars, and strategies for effective practicing.
The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method - Volume 2: Guitar Technique. Christopher Parkening, Jack Marshall, David Brandon. Hal Leonard. 1998. ISBN 079358521X (paperback).
An outstanding source for the technique and repertoire of the classical guitar, this book continues where Vol. 1 leaves off. It teaches: all notes in the upper position; tone production; advanced techniques such as tremolo, harmonics, vibrato, pizzicato and slurs; practice tips; stylistic interpretation; and more. The first half of the book deals primarily with technique, while the second half of the book applies the technique with repertoire pieces. As a special bonus, this book includes 32 previously unpublished Parkening edition pieces by composers including Dowland, Bach, Scarlatti, Sor, Tarregá and others, plus three guitar duets.

Wind Instruments

Woodwind Instruments and Their History
Woodwind Instruments and Their History. Anthony Baines. Dover Publications. 1991. ISBN 0571046282 (hardcover), 0486268853 (paperback).
A history of woodwinds combined with detailed descriptions and photographs of the various instrujments in use today. Foreword by Sir Adrian Boult. 34 Halftone illustrations, 41 line drawings, 25 musical examples and 16 fingering charts. 384 pp.

The Flute
The Flute (Yale Musical Instrument Series). Ardal Powell. Yale University Press. 2003. ISBN 0300093411 (hardcover), 0300094981 (paperback).
This authoritative book tells the story of the flute in the musical life of Europe and North America from the twelfth century to the present day. It discusses the evolution of the instrument, the revolutions in playing style and repertoire, the lives of flute players and makers, and the uses of the instrument within various types of music. The volume will delight both those who play the flute and those who love its music.

The Oboe
The Oboe (Yale Musical Instrument Series). Geoffrey Burgess & Bruce Haynes. Yale University Press. 2004. ISBN 0300093179 (hardcover), 0300100531 (paperback).
The oboe, including its earlier forms the shawm and the hautboy, is an instrument with a long and rich history. In this book two distinguished oboist-musicologists trace that history from its beginnings to the 21st century, discussing how and why the oboe evolved, what music was written for it, and which players were prominent. The authors begin by describing the oboe's prehistory and subsequent development out of the shawm in the mid-17th century. They then examine later stages of the instrument, from the classical hautboy to the transition to a keyed oboe and eventually the Conservatoire-system oboe. The authors consider the instrument's place in Romantic and Modernist music and analyse traditional and avant-garde developments after World War II. Noting the oboe's appearance in paintings and other iconography, as well as in distinctive musical contexts, they examine what this reveals about the instrument's social function in different eras. Throughout the text they discuss the great performers, from the pioneers of the 17th century to the travelling virtuosi of the 18th, the masters of the Romantic period and the legends of the 20th century such as Gillet, Goossens, Tabuteau and Holliger. With illustrations, technical appendices, and a discography, this comprehensive volume should be of use to woodwind students and performers.

The Clarinet
The Clarinet (Yale Musical Instrument Series). Eric Hoeprich. Yale University Press. 2008. ISBN 0300102828 (hardcover).
The clarinet has a long and rich history as a solo, orchestral, and chamber musical instrument. In this broad-ranging account Eric Hoeprich, a performer, teacher, and expert on historical clarinets, explores its development, repertoire, and performance history. Looking at the antecedents of the clarinet, as well as such related instruments as the chalumeau, basset horn, alto clarinet, and bass clarinet, Hoeprich explains the use and development of the instrument in the Baroque age. The period from the late 1700s to Beethoven's early years is shown to have fostered ever wider distribution and use of the instrument, and a repertoire of increasing richness. The first half of the nineteenth century, a golden age for the clarinet, brought innovation in construction and great virtuosity in performance, while the following century and a half produced a surge in new works from many composers. The author also devotes a chapter to the role of the clarinet in bands, folk music, and jazz.

On Playing the Flute. Johann Joachim Quantz, translated by Edward R. Reilly. Schirmer Books. 1985. ISBN 0028701607 (paperback).
This is one of the most famous instruction books of the Baroque era. Written in 1752. Not only a flute method book. Discusses phrasing, ornamentation, stage deportment, performance practice and related subjects important for the complete musician. Includes musical examples.

A Handbook of Literature for the Flute. James J. Pellerite. ZALO. 1978. ISBN 0931200695 (paperback).
Compilation of graded method materials for solos and ensembles for flutes. Extensive annotations. Highly recommended for flute teachers.

Flãute Littâerature. Bernard Pierreuse. Editions Jobert et Editions Musicales Transatlantiques. 1982. ISBN 2903933006 (hardcover), 2858940002 (paperback).
General catalog of published and unpublished works for flute. Also lists works originally for recorder but successfully edited for flute. Materials are classified by intrumental groupings, opus number, date of composition and more. Good cross index. No annotations.

Brass Instruments

Brass Instruments: Their History and Development
Brass Instruments: Their History and Development. Anthony Baines. Dover Publications. 1993. ISBN 0486275744 (paperback).
Survey of the evolution of trumpets, trombones, French horns, tubas and other brass wind instrument. Detailed coverage of uses, playing techniques and technical innovations from pre-Roman times to the present. The subject is laid out chronologically, with illustrations of instruments, and related musical examples. The book is especially complete for European instrument history, and the development of valves. 140 Illustrations. 320 pp. Also printed by Faber as ISBN 057111573.

A Complete Guide to Brass: Instruments and Techniques
A Complete Guide to Brass: Instruments and Techniques. Scott Whitener. Wadsworth Publishing. 1997. ISBN 0028645979 (paperback).
Now in its second edition, provides the pedagogical, historical, acoustical, and technical material necessary for the successful instruction of brass. Chapters discuss the historical development of individual brass instruments and focus on technique, including guidance for teachers of brass instruments and a complete method for brass playing. Individual instrument chapters include lists of recommended study material and reference sources. Reflecting the latest research, this new edition discusses tone production and includes a revised and expanded discussion of mouthpiece design. It also features new material on teaching brass instruments to beginners and includes an updated discography, bibliography, and list of sources for instruments and music. Featuring numerous musical examples and exercises. Scott Whitener is associate professor of music at Rutgers University, where he received his doctorate in education. Spiral-bound. 380 pages.

Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind. Brian Frederikson. WindSong Press, Limited. 1996. ISBN 0965248909 (hardcover).
The ultimate book for not only tubists but all wind players.

The Art of French Horn Playing. Philip Farkas. Warner Brothers / Summy-Birchard. 1956. ISBN 0874870216 (paperback).
The standard text on Horn.

Keyboard Instruments

Piano Technique: Tone, Touch, Phrasing and Dynamics
Piano Technique: Tone, Touch, Phrasing and Dynamics. Lillie H. Philipp. Dover Publications. 1982. ISBN 0486242722 (paperback).
Noted pianist and teacher's guide to sound piano technique, tone production, fingering, pedaling, chords, sightreading, more. 90 pp.

The Leschetizky Method. Malwine Breé, with Arthur Elson (translation). Dover Publications. 1997. ISBN 0486295966 (paperback).
The subtitle: A Guide to Fine and Correct Piano Playing. Illustrated with music examples and photos of hand position. 96 pp.

Abby Whiteside on Piano Playing : Indispensables of Piano Playing & Mastering the Chopin Études and Other Essays
Abby Whiteside on Piano Playing : Indispensables of Piano Playing & Mastering the Chopin Études and Other Essays. Abby Whiteside, with Joseph Prostakoff & Sophia Rosoff (Editors). Amadeus Press. 1997. ISBN 1574670204 (hardcover), 1574670263 (paperback).
Two of piano pedagogue Abby Whiteside's most influential essays, "Indispensables of Piano Playing," from 1955, and "Mastering the Chopin Études," from 1969, are reprinted in this volume, along with several shorter pieces. Whiteside's iconoclastic but firmly held beliefs are still provocative: "the pianist cannot control tone quality," "the importance of a prescribed fingering is practically nil," and "time spent on scales is not used to best advantage" are among them. But Whiteside backs up her ideas persuasively, and even pianists who cannot agree with her all the way will likely find themselves altering aspects of their techniques.

Piano Technique. Walter Gieseking, with Leimer, Karl (trans.). Dover Publications. 1932. ISBN 0486228673 (paperback).
Two books bound together: The Shortest Way to Pianistic Perfection, and Rhythmics, Dynamics, Pedal and Other Problems of Piano Playing. 140 pp.

English Keyboard Music Before the Nineteenth Century
English Keyboard Music Before the Nineteenth Century. John Caldwell. Dover Publications. 1985. ISBN 0486248518 (paperback).
English keyboard art from Robertsbridge Codex (c 1325) to John Field. Illuminating coverage of organ, harpsichord, piano-forte, other keyboard instruments; works of Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Tomkins, others. Bibliography. 352pp. (From Dover Catalog).

Five Centuries of Keyboard Music. John Gillespie. Dover Publications. 1972. ISBN 048622855X (paperback).
Discussion of 350 composers and their works for harpsichord and piano. 116 musical examples. 463pp.

Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, with trans. / edited William J. Mitchell. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1949 (1753 Part One, 1787 Part One Rev., 1797 Part Two). ISBN 0393097151 (hardcover).
The True Art is a "classic" of musical literature in the true sense of the word. It is essential to any player of eighteenth century keyboard music.

The Art of the Piano: Its Performers, Literature, and Recordings. David Dubal. Harcourt Brace & Company. 1995 (1989). ISBN 0156000199 (paperback).
"For all those interested in the piano, this book will provide great insight and knowledge. It must be read by everyone who loves the instrument." - Vladimir Horowitz.

Reflections from the Keyboard: The World of the Concert Pianist. David Dubal. Schirmer Books. 1997. ISBN 0028647769 (paperback).
Music / Classical / Piano Reflections from the Keyboard, 2nd Edition, is a thoroughly revised, updated edition of David Dubal's classic collection of interviews with famous pianists first published by Simon & Schuster in 1984. This collection includes all of today's leading lights, such as Claudio Arrau, Emmanuel Ax, Alfred Brendel, Misha Dichter, Ruth Laredo, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, and Andre Watts, along with many luminaries no longer with us including Glenn Gould and Vladimir Horowitz. In all of his interviews, Dubal discusses with each pianist matters of technique, performance, and interpretation, showing a deep understanding of the pianist's profession. This long-out-of print classic work is considered by many to be one of the best ever done on the piano, and an eager new generation of pianists and followers of Dubal's work will undoubtedly greet it warmly.

Piano Pieces. Russell Sherman. North Point Press. 1997. ISBN 0374232067 (paperback).
An extremely perceptive, witty, and certainly well informed collection of thoughts pertaining to the joys of the piano, its music,and the endeavor of teaching its art to others.

Music Sounded Out: Essays, Lectures, Interviews, Afterthoughts. Alfred Brendel. Farrar Strauss and Giroux, New York. 1990. ISBN 0374216517
Well written, thoughtful essays. Especially interesting is the essay with illustrative musical examples, of the last Schubert piano sonatas.

The Glenn Gould Reader. Glenn Gould, Edited by Tim Page. Knopf, 1984. ISBN 0394540670
Contains the essay "So You Want To Write A Fugue" and numerous articles, record-jacket and concert notes. Witty, often cranky and outrageous, always fascinating.

Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves. Elyse Mach. Dover Publications. 1991. ISBN 0486266958
Unabridged republication of Great Pianists Speak For Themselves, Volumes 1 and 2, Dodd, Mead and Company. Famous artists reflect on their musical education, careers, and philosophy. Interviews with Arrau, Ashkenazy, Brendel, Browning, Larrocha, Dichter, Firkušný, Gould, Horowitz, Janis, Kraus, Tureck, Watts. Second Part: Badura-Skoda, Bolet, Egorov, Fialkowska, Fleisher, Gilels, Hough, Kocsis, Ohlsson, Ousset, Perahia, Pogorelich.

The Great Pianists from Mozart to the Present. Harold C. Schoenberg. Simon and Schuster. Revised and updated, Fireside Press. 1987. ISBN 0671638378
"Chopin got his rubato with his milk. It was a Polish characteristic, and he transported it into everything he played" (p. 143). "Leschetizky said 'to make a pupil play three notes on the piano expressively and with variety of touch, that is my method.'" (p.278).

Men, Women & Pianos, a Social History. Arthur Loesser. Dover 1991. ISBN 0486265439
A three hundred and fifty year history of this marvelous machine. Fine entertaining writing, complete index.

Piano Playing with Piano Questions Answered. Josef Hofmann, 1914. Dover Publications, 1976. ISBN 0486233626
In Baker's Dictionary, Hofmann the piano virtuoso is described as a "marvel". He was regarded as one of the greatest pianists of the time. This little book has a chapter on Hofmann's lessons with Anton Rubenstein. OOP but may be found in libraries or second-hand shops.

The Piano Teacher's Sourcebook. Maurice Hinson. Indiana University Press. 1994. ISBN 0253208858 (paperback).
Full title, The Piano Teacher's Sourcebook, an Annotated Bibliography related to Piano and Piano Music. This book is treasure for anyone interested in piano pedagogy. In addition to very helpful annotations, there are exellent indices to authors and composers, and helpful categories.

Landowska on Music. collected, edited and translated by Denise Restout assisted by Robert Hawkins. Stein and Day. 1981. ISBN 0812812336
Restout was first Landowska's pupil, then secretary, assistant and companion. A collection of writings on music history, harpsichord, performing practice and interpretation with some biographical information. Good index.

Piano Tuning: A simple and Accurate Method for Amateurs. Jerry Cree Fischer. Dover Publications. 1979. ISBN 0486232670 (paperback).
Simple repairs, raising dropped notes, tuning by easy method of flattened fifths. No previous skills needed. Four illustrations. 201 pages.

Pianos and Their Makers. Alfred Dolge. Dover Publications. 1972. ISBN 0486228568 (paperback).
Full history of piano technology, earliest models to 1910. Types, makers, components, mechanisms, musical aspects. 300 illustrations. 581pp.

88 Keys: The Making of a Steinway Piano. Miles Chapin, with Rodica Prato, illustrator. Clarkson Potter. 1997. ISBN 0517703564 (hardcover).
A beautifully written and helpfully illustrated book that describes all you'd ever want to know about the making a piano. Written by a scion of the Steinway family (and the son of the Schuyler Chapin, formerly of the Metropolitan Opera). It includes a glossary of technical terms.

Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840. Donald H. Boalch, with Mould, Charles, ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1995. ISBN 019318429X (hardcover).
Lists many makers with full descriptions of instruments, dates, registers, histories, and ownership and brief biographies of makers. The Index of terms in several languages is by Andrew Roth.

Theory and Practice in Piano Construction. William B. White. Dover Publications. 1975. ISBN 0486231399 (paperback).
How piano operates and is constructed. How to tune piano, adjust action, make simple repairs. 19 illustrations.

The Art of Organ Building. George Ashdown Audsley. Dover Publications. 1989/1990. ISBN Volume 1: 0486213145 & Volume 2: 0486213153 (paperback).
Fullest repository on organ building and history in English language. Includes outline of organ history, external design and decoration, internal arrangement and mechanical systems, acoustics and theories of sound-production in organ pipes, tonal structure and appointment, compound stops of the organ, more. Complete with illustrations, tables and specifications.

Æolian-Skinner Remembered. Charles Callahan. Randall M. Egan, Minneapolis, MN. 1996. ISBN 0965285006 (hardcover).
A must for lovers of the pipe organ. 538 pages, including many photos, stoplists and specifications of important instruments. Critically acclaimed in America and Europe, as was Callahan's earlier volume, The American Classic Organ.

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