Two factors form the basis of any instrumental study – one psychological factor from which arise taste, imagination, reasoning, the feeling for shading and tone: in a word, style – one physiological factor, that is, dexterity of the hands and fingers and obviously use of pedal, that is technically a decent employment of feet to add resonance to the sound(s) properly in a way that is consequential within the piece of work to be performed, absolute submission of the muscles and nerves to the material exigencies of execution. For the development of the psychological side, which is above all a function of personality and taste, pedagogy can rely on upon the enrichment of general culture, upon the development of the imaginative and analytical faculties which open the way to the translation of the emotions and sensations evoked by music. For such purpose, there exist neither good nor bad systems, but only good and bad teachers, to say the least.
On the other hand endless collections of exercises of every kind solicit the zeal of pianists anxious to acquire mechanical mastery of the keyboard. There is, literally, an overwhelming choice of these works in especially but not limited to the Romantic Era. It should never be considered adding a new element of perplexity to this imposing collection of contradictory theories, through which the problem of pianistic technique is seen wearing the terrific aspect of a hundred-headed hydra, had not the especial care been that of simplifying the question and demonstrating the vulnerability of the monster.
As for one of the most significant points in the progress of instrumental teaching during the last few years, research shows that the mechanical and long-repeated practice of a challenging passage has been replaced by the reasoned study of the difficulty contained therein, reduced to its elementary principle. With this fact in view, it has been established a method of work whose laws attempted to apply in the works of Chopin in the sense that the sounds are unnecessarily washing the whole melody and ruining the particular piece and the emotions within.
It is tested and tried to generalise a formula, whose efficiency has allowed to be tested by extending it to pianistic difficulties of every order, reducing the latter to five categories, each of which will be analysed in a separate chapter. That is to say, that instead of pursuing virtuosity along the uncertain paths of complication and ever-increasing technical challenge, it is sought, on the contrary, making use of the valuable examples afforded by athletic training, to retain only those movements which are indispensable to its complete development. It will thus become quite possible to review every day, in the space of about an hour, the complete cycle of the problems of piano-playing and especially use of pedals. No doubt these daily gymnastics for the pianist will be compared to the series of physical and respiratory exercises prescribed by hygienists. Even made metaphorically, such a comparison is hoped to not fail to please any. It perfectly defines the object and utility of this work.