This book charts the piano's accession from musical curiosity to cultural icon, examining the instrument itself in its various guises as well as the music written for it. Both the piano and piano music were very much the product of the intellectual, cultural and social environments of the period and both were subject to many influences, directly and indirectly. These included character (individualism), the vernacular ('folk/popular') and creativity (improvisation), all of which are discussed generally and with respect to the music itself.
Derek Carew surveys the most important pianistic genres of the period (variations, rondos, and so on), showing how these changed from their received forms into vehicles of Romantic expressiveness. The piano is also looked at in its role as an accompanying instrument. The Mechanical Muse will be of interest to anyone who loves the piano or the period, from the non-specialist to the music postgraduate.
• Contents: Preface; Introduction. Part I Instruments: History and background; Action and technique; Stringing; Sound modification; Versatility; The piano's sound. Part II Influences: Character 1: background; Character 2: emotionalism; Character 3: personification; Character 4: the past; Character 5: other topics; Received forms 1: the minuet (and scherzo); Received forms 2: the rondo; Received forms 3: the solo sonata; Received forms 4: variations; Received forms 5a: the concerto 1, background & presentation of material; Received forms 5b: the concerto 2, the solo; Received forms 5c: the concerto 3, other movements; Vernacular 1: general; Vernacular 2: inclusion; Vernacular 3: regional styles; Improvisation 1: general; Improvisation 2: types. Part III Integration: Accompaniment 1a: chamber music 1, classical; Accompaniment 1b: chamber music 2, romantic; Accompaniment 2a: song 1; Accompaniment 2b: song 2; Accompaniment 3: piano duet & duo; Didacticism and dissemination; The dance; Select bibliography; Index.