Musical Lineage

As readers of this blog will be aware, my music tastes have been altered slightly in the last 6 months, what with my rediscovery of how much I enjoyed classical music. Yesterday, while spending time on the internet, I discovered this fascinating piano teacher family tree. You can take a look here to contextualize this post.

I’m enjoying this classical music wave so much that I genuinely hope that the love affair I have going on continues for a long while. However, in the fear that perhaps it won’t, I’m consuming a fair amount of it while I definitively know that I enjoy it. Seeing this piano teacher family tree type diagram was quite astonishing.

When I started going for lessons again, in January, I learned about Hanon and Czerny. I’m yet to procure my copy of their exercises, but my teacher told me about their prominence, and how much their exercises help develop finger independence and strength, and how long they’ve been in use for. It surprised me that I had not learned about them earlier, given how many piano lessons I had gone to. I spent a large amount of time reading about these composers and their techniques, and I was floored by how they conceptualized all of these drills. It’s pretty easy to think about, but to sit and notate, and see demonstrable results – and start a school of thought based on pure technique is quite something, and a feat I found worthy of admiration.

This graphic sort of put their influence into perspective. Particularly Czerny. There are so many influential, incredible concert pianists and composers who have been taught by him or by his pupils – and in the same school of thought, no doubt. I sat on my piano in the evening after that, and at the moment, I’m learning Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata again, and it blew my mind that Beethoven taught Czerny who then taught so many people.

It shows you the whole “six degrees of separation” theory in action. There is a minute possibility that my own entry into the world of the instrument is perhaps 14 or 15 degrees down from Czerny, given his influence. If that is so, no matter where the influence comes from, perhaps I can channel that spirit into me the next time I have music flowing through my fingers.


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