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Facilitating Progress Towards Performance Through Alfred Cortot Studies

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The purpose of this research is to study how the Alfred Cortot studies can be applied to the process of pianistic practicing, and specific technique issues. The sets of exercises which have been chosen to focus on are from the Alfred Cortot study edition of Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 10 and Op. 25. The technique itself 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 certain principles.

This research is divided into four chapters. The first chapter commences with background information about the teaching edition of Chopin’s Etudes by Alfred Cortot. As an exemplary pianist and teacher, Cortot’s 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 technique in two sets of Chopin’s Etudes, the second chapter will provide readers with a brief biography of Alfred Cortot himself. 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 his approach and the practical applications for musicians and pianists.

After examining Cortot’s study edition of the Chopin Etudes and establishing the value the technique for pianists, in the next two chapters it is applied the core ideas of the practical aspect to pianistic practicing of the individual Chopin Etudes through Alfred Cortot’s preparatory exercises. Chapter 3 focuses on particularly Op. 10 Etudes. Chapter 4 focuses on Op. 25 Etudes. It is hoped that the results of this research study will be beneficial for pianists, and facilitate progress in learning Chopin’s Etudes by applying principles produced by Alfred Cortot.