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A Dictionary for the Modern Pianist

Stephen Siek

A Dictionary for the Modern Pianist combines nearly four hundred entries covering classical and popular pianists, noted teachers, terminology germane to the piano’s construction, and major manufacturers—both familiar firms and outstanding, independent builders who have risen to the forefront in recent years. Speaking to the needs of the modern performer, it also includes entries on jazz and pop artists, digital pianos, and period instruments.

As a resource for professionals and students,
A Dictionary for the Modern Pianist is also accessible to more general readers, as all of its topics are presented in clear, readable expositions. Drawing on the most recent research of numerous specialists, author Stephen Siek emphasizes the piano's uniquely rich heritage, giving pianists a renewed appreciation for the famous artists and teachers who have shaped their art. Transcending simple alphabetical definitions, the dictionary’s careful attention both to legacy and detail make it an invaluable addition to any pianist’s library.

Titles in the
Dictionaries for the Modern Musician series offer novice and advanced musicians key information on the field of study and performance of a major instrument or instrument class. Unlike other encyclopedic works, contributions to this series focus primarily on the knowledge required by the contemporary musical student or performer. From quick definitions of confusing terms to in-depth overviews of history and tradition, the dictionaries are ideal references for students, professionals, and music lovers of all kinds.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 302Size: 8 3/4 x 11 3/8
978-0-8108-8879-1 • Hardback • November 2016 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-8108-8880-7 • eBook • November 2016 • $89.99 • (£60.00)
Stephen Siek is a pianist, musicologist, and piano historian. He is former professor of music at Wittenberg University and is author of England's Piano Sage: The Life and Teachings of Tobias Matthay (2011).
Pitch Chart
A Few Words About Recordings
The Dictionary
Appendix ADictionary Entries Listed by Category
Appendix B A Brief Overview of the Acoustic Piano’s Action for the Performer
Appendix CHistorical Pianos and their Relationship to the Standard Repertoire
by Edmund Michael Frederick
Appendix DDigital Pianos in the Modern Pianist’s World by S. David Berry
Appendix EThe Player Piano and the Reproducing Piano by Robert J. Berkman
On matters pianistic [Siek] knows whereof he speaks, and his Dictionary, apart from being scholarly and elegantly-written, is far more than a bald Wikipedian recitation of facts: it is a hymn of love to the piano, joining other classic volumes on the subject such as Harold Schonberg's The Great Pianists and David Dubal's The Art of the Piano....It's the kind of book that the 10 minutes you intended to spend in its company will stretch to 30 before you realise it. All of this is superbly handled, a goldmine of information to the connoisseur and newcomer alike.... If Siek has a hidden agenda, it is surely to stimulate, inspire, intrigue, and, yes, entertain those who take little heed of his subject's hinterland, historical legacy, recordings and great names of the past.
International Piano Magazine

A Dictionary for the Modern Pianist is a well-produced book. The binding is strong and the quality of the paper is excellent. The text is laid out in double columns on each page. The font is readable in all cases. There are several musical examples as well as a few in-text tables and photographs. Naturally, there will be a demand for this book in university and music-college libraries as well as many county and city reference libraries around the world…. There are three main areas where this book is essential reading. Firstly, reviewers, critics, historians or performers wishing for an immediate ‘heads up’ on a pianist or pianistic matter will turn to this book as an entry point as it is specifically designed for pianists and those interested in the subject. Secondly, Siek has presented more detail about the pianists’ style and technique than standard dictionary entries. And thirdly, it is a fascinating book to ‘dip into’ just like the above-mentioned Percy Scholes Oxford Companion to Music. There is always so much to learn. I believe that Stephen Siek has provided a wide-ranging and reliable coverage of many facets of the pianistic art.
MusicWeb International

There has not been a new pianist dictionary for more than thirty years—at least not in English…
This dictionary is unlike previous ones—it does not attempt to list and give details of every pianist of note, as previous efforts have attempted (and failed). It does contain biographical articles on a selection of the most important pianists of interest to our time and use. Of course it is just one man’s idea of what that selection should contain, as any similar book is. Luckily Siek’s choice turns out to be that of an informed and wise man… Siek understands that pianists don’t exist without pianos, and knowledge and understanding of the history and construction of pianos is equally vital. There are even articles on specific parts of pianos, such as agraffes and capo d’astro bars, something sorely needed in a book like this, for pianists and piano students are more ignorant of their own instrument than any other musicians… Siek has thought long and hard about our field and the results of his broad scope and much-considered understanding are much in evidence in the volume…This book as a physical object is appealing and handsome, beautifully designed and laid out… I highly recommend it.
Gregor Benko, cofounder of the International Piano Archives and recipient of the Medal of the American Liszt Society