Title page for ETD etd-09212010-182229

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Scriba, Gisela Waldtraut
Email gisela@scriba.co.za
URN etd-09212010-182229
Document Title The piano duet as teaching medium : an overview and selective syllabus for the beginner pianist
Degree MMus
Department Music
Advisor Name Title
Prof W van Wyk Co-Supervisor
Dr C Panebianco-Warrens Supervisor
  • four-hand playing
  • duet syllabus
  • collaborative artist
  • collaborative performance
  • piano teaching
  • beginner duet
  • ensemble
  • historical overview of duets
  • piano duet repertoire
  • piano duet
  • syllabus for piano duet
  • grading system for piano duets
Date 2010-09-03
Availability unrestricted

Duet playing should form an integral part of the development of all young pianists. Personal development, reduction of performance anxiety and skills such as listening, rhythmic stability and sight-reading are but a few components that can be improved through duet playing. Piano playing is mostly a lonely activity and one of the best ways to counteract this isolation is to become involved in collaborative musicianship through duet playing.

The piano duet has an extended history, beginning in the Pre-Baroque and reaching its pinnacle during the Romantic period. After dwindling interest in the early twentieth century, renewed attention has recently been given internationally to duet playing and composition, resulting in large numbers of new duet publications.

It is a matter of concern that duet playing is sadly neglected in the tuition of many beginners. This may be due to factors such as lack of knowledge of duet repertoire, difficulty in obtaining such repertoire and problems with incorporating still another aspect in the piano lesson. To provide some guidelines for the teacher, practical considerations such as partner compatibility, leadership, repertoire and publication choice, memorising, page turning and the preparation process have been investigated. Technical aspects are dealt with because adjustments are needed during duet playing compared to solo playing. These include seating, the position of the arms and hands, fingering, dynamic variety, balance, timing and the use of pedal.

A factor contributing to the neglect of incorporating duet playing in teaching seems to be the difficulty in sourcing appropriate repertoire. Duet publications generally offer only limited guidelines concerning grading whereas duet repertoire lists include mostly advanced compositions using undefined grading over a broad spectrum. Beginner repertoire is seldom referred to in duet repertoire lists, which complicates the process of finding appropriate beginner repertoire. The fact that sheet music suppliers only have a limited variety of duet publications available exacerbates the problem.

The researcher has endeavoured to find a solution for this problem by devising a selective syllabus of beginner duets. Because no relevant grading system is available, such a system had to be devised. The publications of six well-known piano beginner methods were analysed to establish the basic sequence in which musical concepts are introduced to the beginner pianist. Following these guidelines a grading system of eight levels has been developed. A search for duet repertoire has been undertaken by scrutinising a piano curriculum, various piano duet examination syllabi as well as the researcherís duet collection, and by investigating the availability of repertoire in libraries, sheet music suppliers and on the Internet.

Subsequently suitable duets were played and graded. The outcome of this dissertation is a suggested graded duet syllabus for the beginner pianist. A compact disc of selected piano duets performed by the author and a partner is included.

© 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Scriba, GW 2010, The piano duet as teaching medium : an overview and selective syllabus for the beginner pianist, MMus dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09212010-182229/ >


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