A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger
by Thomas P. Lewis

Selected Chapters


Table of Contents to Source Guide
1. Biographical/Artistic Vignettes
4. Program Notes

4. PROGRAM NOTES, continued




Grainger (Dec. 2, 1929): "TO CONDUCTORS and to those forming, or in charge of, amateur orchestras, high school, college and music school orchestra and chamber-music bodies.

"ELASTIC SCORING. My 'elastic scoring' grows naturally out of two roots:

1. That my music tells its story mainly by means of intervals and the liveliness of the part-writing, rather than by means of tone-color, and is therefore well fitted to be played by almost any small, large or medium-sized combination of instruments, provided a proper balance of tone is kept.

2. That I wish to play my part in the radical experimentation with orchestral and chamber-music blends that seems bound to happen as a result of the ever wider spreading democratization of all forms of music.

"As long as a really satisfactory balance of tone is preserved (so that the voices that make up the musical texture are clearly heard, one against the other, in the intended proportions) I do not care whether one of my 'elastically scored' pieces is p layed by 4 or 40 or 400 players, or any number in between; whether trumpet parts are played on trumpets or soprano saxophones, French horn parts played on French horns or E flat altos or alto saxophones, trombone parts played on trombones or tenor saxopho nes or C Melody saxophones; whether string parts are played by the instruments prescribed or by mandolins, mandolas, ukeleles, guitars, banjos, balalačkas, etc.; whether harmonium parts are played on harmoniums (reed-organs) or pipe-organs; whether wood-w ind instruments take part or whether a harmonium (reed-organ) or 2nd piano part is substituted for them. I do not even care whether the players are skilful or unskilful, as long as they play well enough to sound the right intervals and keep the afore-said tonal balance--and as long as they play badly enough to still enjoy playing ('Where no pleasure is, there is no profit taken'--Shakespeare).

"This 'elastic scoring' is naturally fitted to musical conditions in small and out-of-the-way communities and to the needs of amateur orchestras and school, high school, college and music school orchestras everywhere, in that it can accommodate almost any combination of players on almost any instruments. It is intended to encourage music-lovers of all kinds to play together in groups, large or small, and to promote a more hospitable attitude towards inexperienced music-makers. It is intended to play i ts part in weaning music students away from too much ueseless, goalless, soulless, selfish, inartistic soloistic technical study, intended to coax them into happier, richer musical fields--for music should be essentially an art of self-forgetful, soul- expanding communistic cooperation in harmony and many-voicedness.

"ORCHESTRAL EXPERIMENTATION. In our age orchestras and orchestral conditions are changing. In a few years an otherwise-put-together orchestra may replace the conventional 'symphony orchestra'. Rather than such a mere replacement of an old mediu m by a new I, personally, would prefer to see several different kinds of orchestra (includ[ing]d a revised, better balanced, more delicately toned 'symphony' orchestra) thriving side by side in friendly rivalry; none of them final as to make-up and with n o hard-and-fast boundaries between them.

"We might well look upon the present time as one well suited to bold experimentation with orchestral and chamber-music sound-blends. Let us encourage all music-lovers, particularly those in their teens, to enter orchestras and other msuic bodies forme d partly with the aim of trying new combinations of instruments. In such try-outs let us use copiously all instruments that young people like best--easy-to-play, characteristically-toned instruments such as saxophone, piano, harmonium (reed-organ), cel esta, dulcitone, xylo-phone, wooden marimba, glockenspiel, metal marimba, staff bells (shaped like church bells or locomotive bells, having a very metallic, piercing tone), guitar, ukelele, banjo, mandolin, etc.

"Let us not snub budding music-lovers because they have chosen instruments unwritten for in 'classical' music! Let us not banish thousands and hundreds of thousands of musically-inclined young people from the boon of orchestral experience simply becau se their taste runs to instruments (charming instruments, too) which did not happen to have been invented or perfect in Europe a hundred years ago and therefore did not come to form a part of the conveiontal 'symphony orchestra' as it grew up! Let us reme mber that at the time of the crystallization of the symphony orchestra most of our most perfect modern instruments (such as the saxophone, the sarrusophone, the harmonium, the modern piano, the modern pipe-organ, the celesta, the dulcitone, the ukelele, the marimbas) did not exist, or were not known in Europe! That, in most cases, sufficiently explains their absence from older symphony orchestrations. But it does not justify their absence from present and future orchestras! [Grainger's mention of particular instruments seems almost beside the point. Presumably he would also have encouraged the use of such "popular" but essentially non-orchestral instruments as the balalaika, guitar, rock or jazz percussion--and, perhaps, given broader license to the harp (Irish or full) than is customarily done--even though none of these instruments (or their components) are necessarily newly invented. Or, he might have said yes to the harpsichord, and brought in the mouth organ, pan-pipe, or rhythm base which is formed by drawing a string from an upturned wash-tub, and playing on it with a bow. His point does seem merely to welcome "participation", to the extent that the thing will play at all (and of course one wonders what he might have ma de of modern electronic devices). In a sense composers such as Mahler too seem to have entered sympathetically into this spirit, that is, by attempting to include if you will every sort of instrument within a given symphony, or other work; while--to take another track--composers such as Hindemith and George Walker have taken special care to write music for as many different types of instruments as they possibly could, which again is a sort of musical inclusivity. Finally, mention might be made of the famous "Kodály method", which as I understand it encourages universal musical literacy--especially through choral or communal singing. (Ed.)]

"What we need in our composers and in our leaders of musical thought is an attitude like Bach's. He seems to have been willing enough to experiment with all the instruments known to him and to arrange and rearrange all kinds of works for all sorts of combinations of those instruments. It is easy to guess what liberal use he would have made of the marvelous instruments of to-day.

"Let us rid ourselves of esthetic snobbery, priggishness and prejudice when orchestra-building! Let us take full advantage of the great richness of lovely new instruments, using them together with the lovely old instruments sanctioned by 'classical' u sage where it proves effective to do so. Let us build better-balanced, clearer-toned, more varied-colored orchestras than ever before. [One writer (Paul Bekker, in The Orchestra) has traced the development of various classical musical forms to the historical development (i.e. expanding) of orchestral forces, proposing that with the "exhaustion" of possibilities, so to speak, by early 20th-century symphonists, the forms themselves ceased to evolve into anything significantly new. (Ed .)] Above all, let us press into orchestral playing as many young music-lovers as possible. Whether they are to become layment or professionals, they need some experience of musical team-work before they can become practical musicians, real musicians sensing the inner soul of their art.

"In addition to getting to know some of the world's best music the budding musician needs the inspiration of hearing a grand cooperation of myriad sounds surging around him, to which he joins his own individualistic voice. This is the special expe rience of music, without which mere lonely practising to acquire soloistic skill must always remain esthetically barren and unsatisfying.

"ORCHESTRAL USE OF KEYBOARD-PLAYERS. Let us use in our orchestras the vast mass of keyboard players (pianists, organists, etc.) that preponderate everywhere in our musical life. Pianists--with their alarming lack of rhythmic neatness, their inability to follow a codnuctor's beat, their inability to listen while they play--are in more need of some kind of musical team-work (to offset their all too soloistic study activities) trhan almost any other class of musicians. use pianists 'massed', in smaller or larger groups, in experimental and study orchestras, letting them play on small, light, cheap, easily-moved upright pianos (where grand pianos are not easily available) and on harmoniums (reed-organs). These instruments are readily found an d handled anywhere--in village or city; only laziness prompts a contrary belief! It is my personal experience, in many lands, that serviceable harmoniums (reed-organs) can be found in every community--by advertising in the newspapers, if not otherwi se. By this latter means a really good instrument can sometimes be picked up, second-hand, for as low a figure as five dollars. In selecting a harmonium (reed-organ) for orchestral use, be sure that it carries continuous 8 foot, 16 foot and 4 foot stops t hroughout its full range.

"Harmonium (reed-organ) playing gives to piano students the legato-ear and legato-fingers they otherwise usually so sadly lack. Moreover, massed harmoniums (reed-organs) add a glowing, clinging resonance to the orchestral tone, while massed pianos (th e more the mellower) provide brilliance, rythmic snap and clearness of chord-sound. In determining how many pianos and harmoniums (reed-organs) should be used in a given orchestra we must really use our ears, our sense of balance: It is absurd to use only one piano, only one harmonium, in a large orchestra (having 16 first violins, for instance), when common sense listening tells us at once that three or six or eight pianos, and the same number of harmoniums, would be required to keep the proper tonal balance in such a big tone-body!

"If I were forced to choose one instrument only for chamber-music--forced to discard all other instruments than the one chosen--I would choose the harmonium (reed-organ) without hesitation; for it seems to me the most sensitively and intimately expressive of all instruments. Its gusty, swelling emotionality resembles so closely the tides of feeling of the human heart. No other chord-giving instrument is so capable of extreme and exquisitely controlled pianissimo. It is unique as a refinin g musical influence, for it tempts the player to tonal subtleties of gradation as does no other instrument. Both in chamber-music and in the orchestra it provides the ideal background to the individualistic voices of the woodwinds. For all these reasons, let us spread the use of this glorious little instrument to ever wider fields.

"ABUSES IN THE PERCUSSION SECTION. One of the stupidist of stupid abuses in the orchestra is the unwarrantable habit of ignoring the composer's intention with regard to percussion instruments. Conductors who would think twice before they left o ut 2 horns or a harp called for in a given score think nothing of essaying with 2 percussion players a work needing 4 or 8 percussion players--think nothing of leaving out important passages in glockenspiel, celesta or tubular chimes. I ask myself: Has my orchestral 'Shepherd's Hey' ever been performed with the full complement of intended percussion players? If not, then this piece--despite thousands of performances--has never been completely played or heard! This indifference to percussio n instruments is the more absurd in the case of amateur and student orchestras; as instruments such as cymbals, bass drum, glockenspiel, xylophone, tubular chimes, dulcitone and celesta are almost the easiest of all instruments to play without special tra ining and are specially well suited to 'breaking in' players to orchestral routine, counting rests, following the beat, etc.

"'TUNEFUL PERCUSSION' INSTRUMENTS. And what are we to think of the lack of vision, lack of innate musicality, shown by 'high-brow' composers and conductors in their neglect of the exquite 'tuneful percussion' instruments invented and perfected in America and elsewhere during the last 30 or 40 years--metal and wooden marimbas, staff bells, vibraphones, nabimbas, dulcitone, etc.? Yet these same 'classicists'--who probably consider these mellow and delicate-toned instruments too 'low-brow' t o be admitted into the holy precincts of the symphony orchestra--endure without protest the everlasting thumping of kettle-drums (which with brutal monotony wipes out all chord-clearness) in the Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven orchestrations! The truth is that most 'high-brows' are much more 'low-brow' than they themselves suspect!

"In this connection it is interesting to note that it is only the most harsh-toned tuneful-percussion instruments (glockenspiel, xylphone, tubular chimes) that have found a place in the symphony orchestra thus far. Can it be that the symphony orchestr a prizes stridence of tone only in such instruments? If not, why has no place been found for the mellow-toned marimba (the continuation downards of the glockenspiel) and the gentle-toned wooden marimba (the continuation downwards of the xylophone)? Perhaps because their quality of tone is too refined to be heard amidst the harsh sound-jumble of the symphony orchestra? If so, it is high time that we revised our symphony orchestrations in the direction of a delicay and refinment that can accommodate the subtler creations of modern instrument-building geniuses such as Deagan and others.

"To use, orchestrally, a glockenspiel without a metal marimba, a xylophone without a wooden marimba, is just as absurd and incomplete as it would be to use piccolo without flute, violins without lower strings, the two top octaves of the piano without the lower octaves. Let us get rid of this barbarism as soon as we can!

"Young people love such colorful, easy-to-play instruments as staff-bells, marimbas, dulcitone, etc. Let us use such tuneful-percussion enthusiasts `with both hands': Every orchestra should sport at least 20 such players; 2 on 1 glockenspiel, 4 on 1 m etal marimba, 2 on 1 xylophone, 4 on 1 wooden marimba, 4 or more on 1 staff bells, 2 on 1 tubular chimes, 1 on celesta, 1 on dulcitone. (If the metal and wooden marimbas could be used in twos, threes, fours or fives it would be still better.) Apart from t he luscious sounds thus produced--think how many 'low-brow' beginners would be enticed into a knowledge of, and a love for, 'high-brow' music by such means? Salvation Army Booth objected to the devil having all the good tunes. I object to jazz and vaud eville having all the best instruments! Let us find a place in high-brow music for the gentler instruments--ukelele, guitar, harmonium, saxophone, sarrusophone, marimbas, etc. There is no reason why the symphony orchestra should be given over exclusively to loud and strident sounds.

"Why do so many of our high-brow composers, our virtuoso conductors, our 'leaders of musical thought' lag so very far behind commercial instrument-makers, jazz-musicians and vaudeville artists in musical imagination, refinement and vision? Beca use they are ignorant or lazy: They do not know the wonderful world of tone created by American and other musical instrument-makers or they cannot be bothered adapting it to their own fields. Such ignorance and laziness are dangerous. The public ear, trained to the orchestration refinements of Paul Whiteman, Grofé, jazz and vaudeville music, may get tired of the dullness and coarseness of the sound of the conventional symphony orchestra: It may move on, gently but irresistibly, to better things. [Grainger's mention of Whiteman (who premiered the Rhapsody in Blue, in 1924) and of Grofé (who orchestrated Gershwin's work) does not date the present essay, I shouldn't think, since the comment could be made with equal appropriateness vis à vis the "refinements" of popular music of our own day--especially, perhaps, with respect to certain rhythms and timbres of ballad and other quieter types, but also perhaps with respect to the specially "modern" sounds of more agitated popular band and stage or theater music generally. Grainger seems to be arguing on behalf of a living rather than a museum or otherwise fossilized type of music, from both the composing and the playing points of view--the relevance of which, surely, is timeless. Incidentally it seems a shame that the composer of the once-popular Grand Canyon Suite (Ferde Grofé--or, more formally, Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofé) has no entry of his own in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, although he is cited as an "arranger" in the entry for Paul Whiteman. (Ed.)]

"ON THE ORCHESTRAL USE OF SAXOPHONES. If the saxophone (the crowning achievement of Adolphe Sax, that outstanding genius among wind-instrument creators and perfectors) is not the loveliest of all wind-instruments it certainly is one of t he loveliest--human, voice-like, heart revealing. It has been used in symphonic music by Bizet, Vincent D'Indy, Richard Strauss and others with lovely results. It has been used in jazz orchestras with excellent effect. Yet it has not yet [1929] been ta ken up into the symphony orchestra. Why not? What are we waiting for? Apart from its glorious orchestral possibilities as a saxophone, it is a most useful substitute for trumpet, French horn, bassoon--even for trombone.

"The average amateur, school and music school orchestra usually holds artistically unsatisfying rehearsals because of gaping holes in its wood-wind and brass sections. These missing melodies, missing chords, lessen the musical benefits of such rehears als to those taking part in them. Those in charge of such orchestras should make every effort never to rehearse with incomplete texture (with important voices left out). Texture and balance are, musically speaking, much more important than tone-color!

"The complete wood-wind parts should always be arranged (an excellent task for the more musical members of the orchestra to tackle) for harmonium (reed-organ) or pipe-organ and played on those instruments if one or more wood-wind players are absent at rehearsal or concert.

"All the brass instruments can be replaced or supported by saxophones--always for study rehearsals and often with effect for concerts also. Generally more than one saxophone will be needed to replace each brass instrument with correct balance.

"Let it be admitted that there are many passages originally written for French horn that sound better on that instrument than they do on E flat alto or alto saxophone. On the other hand, there are other passages, also originally written for French horn, that happen to sound as well, or better, on E flat alto or alto saxophone as they do on French horn. Let us experiment widely with all such cases, using E flat altos and alto saxophones on French horn parts until we have substituted experience for prejudice. [This portion of Grainger's essay, on the "Orchestral Use of Saxophones", also reproduced in The Grainger Society Journal VII/2 (Fall 1985), 30. (Ed.)]

"HOW TO ACHIEVE TONAL BALANCE IN STRING SECTIONS. In the symphony orchestra of to-day the clearness of the part-writing, the richness of the lower voices of the harmony and the balance of tone are all sacrificed to a cloying, over-sensuous over -weight of violin tone. I know of no good reason for using more violins to a part than violas or 'cellos to a part: I have yet to discover that the higher members of an instrumental family have more difficulty in making themselves heard than the lower mem bers. In performing such a work as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (for 3 violins, 3 violas, 3 'cellos, 'violone e continuo') with single strings one soon finds that the violas and `cellos have some difficulty in holding their own, in tonal promi nence, with the violins. The top-heaviness of the string section of the symphony orchestra was natural at a time when the melody most floated on the top of the musical texture like oil on water--at a time when harmonic expressiveness and subtle many-vo icedness were not greatly valued. But our musical tastes are richer, more many-sided, today than they were at the time of the up-growing of the symphony orchestra and we now need properly balanced string sections that can do justice to the best many-voice d music of all periods, be it Purcell and Bach or Vaughan Williams and Cyril Scott. Our conductors are too apt to lag behind public taste and the taste of our best composers; our conductors are wedded too closely to the banal simplicities of the 18 th and 19th centuries; they are too ignorant of the depper, grander music of the 17th and 20th centuries.

"String orchestra and conductors should feed their musical souls on Purcell's sublimely beautiful Three-, four- and five-part Fantasias for Strings, recently edited by Peter Warlock and Andé Mangeot (Curwen edition). This volume should be to st ring-quartet players and to string orchestras what Bach's Well-tempered Clavier is to pianists.

"There is no reason why conductors should put up with such bad tonal balance (top-heaviness) as exists in the string sections of most amateur, school and study orchestras. Suppose your string section consists of 34 violins, 2 violas, 3 'cellos and 1 b ass; you can still achieve perfect tonal balance, if you want to. Transcribe the viola part for third violin, either transposing up one octive such notes as lie below the violin range or leaving them out entirely where it seems more desirable to do so. (I t is a good musical exercise for orchestral players, especially music students, to transpose and copy their own parts. Being able to read music is not enough; every musician should aim at writing music as freely as he writes his own language.)

"Then divide up your violins as follows:

1st violins, 12 players

2nd violins, 12 players

3rd violins (substitute for violas), 10 players 12 players on viola part.

Violas, 2 players

"Arrange the 'cello and double-bass parts for piano and have this piano part played on about 3 or 4 pianos--also on harmoniums, if available. By such means the tonal balance is preserved, though the tone-color is, of course, distorted. But tonal ba lance is vastly more important than tone-color in most worth-while music. (In this connection consult the 3 viola parts transcribed for 4th, 5th and 6th violins, the 'cello and double-bass parts transcribed for piano 2 in my edition of Bach's Brandenb urg Concerto No. 3; also my edition for strings of Scarlatti's The Quiet Brook; both published by G. Schirmer, Inc.)

"LET OUR ORCHESTRAS GROW NATURALLY. The symphony orchestra uses many strings because string players abounded at the time of its formation. That was a good reason. Let us, in forming the orchestras of the present and the future, try using large numbers of the instruments that abound most to-day: The mere fact that they abound (that they are widely liked and therefore draw many beginners into musical habits) should be recommendation enough. If these instruments, under ample experimentation, prove orchestrally ineffective in massed usage, let us then discard such usage. But do not let us discard any instrument or usage of it without a fair trial."

Ed. note: If taken to an extreme this last recommendation of Grainger's would amount--I suppose--to approving using flutes instead of high strings in, say, a Brahms symphony. And yet it does seem to be his point to un-crust one's habits generally, in the making of music. As an aesthetician he was, to say the least, unusual, causing performers and listeners alike to rethink what they are doing. I expect he would have approved of Stokowski's Bach (or Ravel's Mussorgsky) transcriptions, Beecham' s Love in Bath (on themes from Handel), Leppard's "realizations" of Monteverdi and Cavalli, and argued for considerable latitude on matters having to do with producing an "authentic" or musically "correct" performance of sta ndard (or any other) works: one expects that, overall, he would have put considerations of taste, effectiveness, and the players' and auditors' delight in a given composition ahead of any dogged adherence to "tradition" or "custom" only for its own sake (and I suspect he would have raised an eyebrow over anyone's insistence that he or she had been absolutely "faithful" to a given composer's intentions). At the same time, a curious sort of fidelity to original models is assum ed in Grainger's thinking, after all. In "dishing-up" or otherwise arranging or adapting folk-materials, for example, he would take great care to suggest the sounds of dancing feet (for dance songs)--or a given singer's personality, or place of origin--or, a literal sense of the words. Equally he clearly convinced composers such as Grieg that his performances were "authentic" enough--i.e. in at least some sense "true" to the composer's intentions. We may ask how this appar ent contradiction may be resolved? My own suggestion is that, just as Picasso (for example) knew very well how to draw the human figure with fidelity and exactitude, before experimenting with those famous "distortions" of his, so Grainger t oo insists on a thorough and sympathetic acquaintance with the original, before one embarks on some exploratory interpretative account of one's own. In sum he does not argue on behalf of license, anarchy, or irresponsibility--quite to the contra ry--but, on behalf of putting (one's own) life (vitality) into the doing of music, which is not the same thing at all. He seems also to recommend acquiring a thorough understanding of one's chosen instrument, before attempting various important effects which may not be indicated in a given score... in order to achieve, that is, a "truer" sense of the work in question, after all.


Ed. note: The following material served as Grainger's introduction to his edition of H. Balfour Gardiner's Prelude (De Profundis)--the whole being published by G. Schirmer in 1923 as a Guide to Virtuosity. The text not on ly reflects Grainger's views as a teacher but--however indirectly--suggests aspects of his own compositional and performing philosophy.

"MUSICALITY BEFORE PIANISM. Students should always aim at keeping their general musical knowledge well in advance of their mere pianism. To develop the former they should daily devote some time to transposing (playing the pieces they know in al l keys--the best way of attaining an actual working knowledge of harmony), to sight-reading at the piano (not only compositions for the piano but also piano scores of the greatest musical works, such as the Bach Passions, Wagner music-drama, Del ius nature-music, Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky symphonies, Debussy and Richard Strauss tone-poems, Stravinsky ballets, etc.) and to ensemble-playing with other students (duets at one or two pianos and ensemble work with other instruments and with voi ces). Students should also make a point of reading writings upon music by the great composers (such as Schumann's and Wagner's writings on musical subjects, Cyril Scott's Philosophy of Modernism, etc.) rather than too many books about mere piano te chnic. There is no better method for piano students to develop both musical and pianistic knowledge, taste and sense of style than by listening repeatedly to good player-piano and gramophone recordings by great pianists; especially is it enlightening to c ompare different recordings of the same composition by different virtuosi. This branch of training should be especially cultivated by students who are not in a position continually to witness performances 'in the flesh' by the best artists, and by music schools not situated in the great music centers.

"PHRASING. The melodic habits of instrumental music largely reflect the physical conditions of vocal music. The human voice grows in intensity of quality (quite apart from increase of volume) as its scale ascends and the majority of inst ruments (for instance, stringed instruments, woodwinds, brasses, etc.) resemble the voice in this respect. It is only natural that most melodies designed for the voice or these comparatively voice-like instruments should generally have their climax-notes (points of intensity) on high notes, and that there should be a drooping of intensity as the melodic line sinks to lower pitch-altitudes. Unlike the voice, the piano (in common with the organ, the harmonium, the harp, etc.) shows no increase in intens ity of quality (apart from increase in volume) as its scale ascends. Yet most music written for the piano relfects in its melodic instincts the basic condition of vocal music; i.e., its melodies mostly demand an impression of growing intensity as they ascend in pitch, an impression of climax-intensity on their highest notes. These impressions we convey on the piano primarily by means of crescendi as phrases rise, diminuendi as phrases sink. A further means of emphasizing melodic climax-notes is by very short holds


on the tops of phrases--hardly long enough to be consciously perceived by any but experienced ears, yet just long enough to confer a certain added emphasis and importance to the climax-notes on which they occur. Sometimes the presence of such a tiny hold on the climax-note of a melodic phrase will permit the climax-note to be played with less tone-strength than would otherwise be advisable; often an advantage in music of a delicate character, in pp passages, etc.

"Then, again, a 'soft climax' may be combined with a tiny hold; in which case the melody increases in volume towards the climax-note, but the climax-note itself is played suddenly softer than the preceding and ensuing melody notes and acquires its cli max-impression solely through being slightly dwelt upon.

"A careful study of the playing of the finest pianists will reveal the fact that a large proportion of the small rubati employed by them in music of an expressive melodic nature is consciously or unconsciously introduced in order to invest high melody notes with climax feeling without undue increase of volume, or to make accented climax-notes seem less harsh. Holds and rubati serving both these purposes will be found in both the gentler and most vigorous sections of [the Gardiner] Prelude and are typical of the phrasing-habits used by all sensitive concert-artists. Additional, hardly perceptible rubati, tiny holds on the high notes of phrases, small swells


and judicious 'soft climaxes' may be introduced by experienced players in numberless places not indicated [in a given score].

"TONE-STRENGTH CONTRASTS. Much is said and written about 'tone-quality', 'beauty of tone', 'individuality of touch' and the like on the piano, but I am convinced that none of these things exist--are not possible to the mechanism of the instr ument. I assert that a given note played upon a given piano at the same degree of tone-strength by a hundred different players employing a hundred different 'touches' will always necessarily have the same 'tone-quality'. I feel sure that all those things that are carelessly or ignorantly described as contrasts of tone-quality are, in reality, always contrasts of tone-quantity; i.e. contrasts in sound-strength between successive notes in melodies, phrases and passages, or between simultaneous ly played notes (the latter called 'simultaneous tone-strength differentiation').

"Therefore, I strongly advise students to cease wasting their time practising for 'beauty of tone', 'tone-quality', etc., and urge them to concentrate their efforts upon control of contrasts of tone-quantity; for it is through this latter means that most musical expressiveness has its being on the piano and most impressions of musical structure are made manifest in performance. It does not matter in the least what way the student holds his fingers, hands, wrist and arm, what kind of 'touch' or 'method' he uses (or thinks he uses), whether he plays 'relaxed' or 'tense', PROVIDED he control a variety of dynamics (louds and softs) that range from the most violent fff to the most whispered ppp. Students should concentrate on musical results (the actual sounds produced in playing) rather than upon the pianistic methods employed. Wherever certain modes of holding fingers, arm and hand are prescribed in this edition [of Gardiner's Prelude] they are merely recomm ended because experience has shown them to be practical and easy; they are never supposed to be 'the only way'. The same results can often be attained in several different ways. The important thing is to know which results to strive for, and in this conne ction students should remember that all truly great performers possess the power to exaggerate and a range of extreme contrasts. On the other hand the mark of mediocrity is the tendency to underdo--to play louds too softly, softs too loud ly, fast speeds too slowly, slow speeds too quickly, etc.

"While most students are absolutely incapable of playing a violently loud chord that is equally fff in all its component notes, the capacity to do so is a sure sign of a technically well-equipped pianist. What is called 'thumping' or 'harshness of tone` is due, generally, to the unequal and uncontrolled distribution of tone-strengths in loud chords (the outer fingers are generally too loud for the inner fingers), NOT to the extreme loudness of the whole chord.

"The simplest way to attain an extreme and controlled fff is to bring the hand down with as quick as possible an arm action from a height of six or more (preferably more) inches; fingers, hand and wrist being held as rigid as possible. It is ea sy enough to get the required strength from the arm, provided the arm is raised amply between blows; what is difficult is to get the fingers to translate that strength to the keys, to carry the strength of the arm-blow intact to the keys. On ly extreme rigidity of the fingers, hand and wrist makes this possible. None would wish to drive a nail with a hammer-head, or hammer-shaft made of soft rubber! Why, then, do they hope to be able to play extremely loud chords with 'relaxed' wrist, hand an d fingers? Has anyone ever seen a practical pianist actually play fff chords with 'relaxed action'?

"Extreme fff is more difficult to attain and control than extreme ppp, though both extremes are far too rare and should be ardently cultivated. In order to acquire an extreme ppp try to play single notes, slowly, that are so soft as to be hardly audible. Do not be discouraged if some of these extremely soft notes do not sound at all; that is a good sign, showing that you are really attempting extreme softness. On the other hand it is a bad sign if all the notes invar iabley sound ppp in practice; it means that you are not attempt to play soft enough. When wooing extreme ppp you must 'flirt with silence'. The piano is one of the few musical instruments that can produce a barely audible, extreme ppp tone without impairing the purity of its pitch or without loss of the characteristic tone-color of the instrument. Particularly it is true of extremely soft, low bass notes. Pianists should exploit this beautiful possibility of their instrument to the full.

"SIMULTANEOUS TONE-STRENGTH DIFFERENTIATION. Skill in playing louder and softer notes at the same time, in the same hand, is one of the most valuable developments of modern piano technic, and is equally necessary to the proper rendition of the classics and of the moderns; especially imperative when performing Bach Fugues. Fortunately it is the easiest branch of pianism to acquire quickly.

"While simultaneous tone-strength differentiation can be achieved in different ways the following method of its study is recommended to students because of its simplicity: It is a fact that a fully depressed key will always give a louder note than a p artially depressed key, provided both keys are struck with the same force. Therefore, when simultaneously playing louder and softer notes in one hand, fully depress the keys of louder notes but only partially depress the keys of softer notes, holding fing ers, hand and wrist stiff and unyielding (thus striking all the keys involved with similarity of force) and descending from a height of at least two inches above the keys with a brisk arm action. In order to carry out this plan the fingers that play loude r notes must, of course, be slightly more extended (must protrude further downwards towards the keys) than the fingers playing softer notes; these latter fingers (playing softer notes) should be comparatively withdrawn, held higher away from the keys. In other words, the position of the fingers must correspond exactly to the relative positions of the fully depressed and partially depressed keys; the fingers playing louder notes corresponding to the fully depressed keys, the fingers playing softer notes co rresponding to the partially depressed keys.

"When first beginning to practice simultaneous tone-strength differentation (by means of the study shown below) hold the fingers that are going to play the softer notes so high that they only just touch the tops of their keys, without depressing them (hence these notes will be silent), while the louder notes are sounded at full strength, their keys fully depressed. Then (while continuing to practise the study shown below) very gradually lower the fingers that are going to play the softer notes, so tha t the keys of these notes are first very slightly depressed (sounding pp), then very slightly more depressed (sound p, mp, etc.)--meanwhile the louder notes continue at full strength, their keys fully depressed.

"The following diagram [Exam. 26A--below] gives the position of fingers to silent, softer and louder notes.

"The positions for the intermediate tone-strengths may easily be imagined.

"The following study [Exam. 26B--below] should be practised by each hand separately, at slow speed, raising the hand before each chord and holding the damper pedal down during the entire study.

"All kinds of chords and octaves, involving all kinds of positions on the white and black keys, should be practised along these lines.

"When practising the above study it is essential that fingers, hand and wrist are held absolutely rigid, that a quick arm action is used and that the hand is raised from 2 to 10 inches before each chord is struck. If the fingers are not rigid those fi ngers supposed only partially to depress the keys of the softer notes will 'follow through', depressing their keys more than they should, with the result that these should-be softer notes will be sounded too loudly and the whole object of the study defeat ed.

"DAMPER (right side) PEDAL. The kind of damper pedalling mainly required throughout [Gardiner's] Prelude is that known as 'legato-pedalling', in which the damper pedal binds one chord or note to another; the pedal being changed just as (not before!) each chord or note (requiring change of damper pedal) is played and held down until the next indication of damper-pedal-change. As this provides a complete legato effect to the ear if properly executed, and makes lega to playing by the fingers unnecessary in most cases, the hands and fingers may (in such cases) be freely raised between notes and chords, thereby making simultaneous tone-strength differentiation and other tonal contrasts much easier to control. In legato-pedalling all pedal changes must be made as quickly as possible and exactly at the prescribed moment. In order to promote speed and exactitude of damper-pedal-change, scales may be practised in the following manner [see Mus. Exam. 26C--facin g page].

"SUSTAINING (middle) PEDAL. The office of the sustaining pedal is to prolong the resonance of certain selected notes independently of the subsequent activities of the hands and the damper pedal. This is accomplished as follows: The keys of the notes that are to be prolonged by the sustaining pedal must be pressed down (sounded or silently) before the sustaining pedal is taken and held down while the sustaining pedal is depressed by the left foot. These keys may then be rele ased by the hands without the resonance of their notes being impaired as long as the sustaining pedal is held down--for the sustaining pedal, as long as it is depressed, will hold the dampers of these notes away from the strings of these notes. While t he resonance of these selected notes is prolonged by the sustaining pedal in this manner the hands are free to play staccato, legato, or otherwise at will, and the damper pedal may be changed as often as desired (quite independently of the sustaini ng pedal). The sustaining pedal acts as a clarifying and refining influence upon piano playing, making unnecessary (and inexcusable) many blurred pedalled passages formerly condoned and raising considerably our whole pianistic standard of harmonic cleanli ness. The sustaining pedal is almost as necessary to modern pianism as is the damper pedal, and no pianist can pretend to be properly equipped who has not mastered the technic of this pedal, the joint use of all three pedals and their interplay with each other.

"The following are the most important points to keep in mind when begining to use the sustaining pedal.

"1. The damper pedal must always be completely raised before the sustaining pedal is pressed down.

"2. The keys of the notes to be sustained by the sustaining pedal (and only such keys) must always be held down before and during the pressing down of the sustaining pedal.

"3. The sustaining pedal must be kept fully depressed until the release sign * [see study below] is reached.

"Both the sustaining pedal and the soft (left side) pedal must be worked by the left foot. Where these two pedals are employed simultaneously the left foot must be slewed round so that the toe of the foot faces the damper pedal and the heel of the foo t faces away from the player, to his left. The toe of the left foot presses down the sustaining pedal while the ball of the left foot presses down the soft pedal. The player must be freely able to take and release the soft pedal while holding the sustaini ng pedal, to take and release the sustaining pedal while holding the soft pedal. Players with small feet, new to this problem, are apt to think it an impossibility, but experience shows that all sizes of feet can master this double-pedal-technic with suff icient practice. It is an absolute necessity to modern pianism. The following left-foot study [see Exam. 26D--preceding page] should be mastered before the problems it contains are met with in actual playing.

"SOFT (left side) PEDAL (una corda). As the soft pedal on modern pianos no longer carries with it any characteristic tone-quality (as it did on ancient pianos) and has, therefore, ceased to be a 'special effect', it may be freely used wherever soft effects are desired; the more so when playing upon large-toned pianos."


Bankhead, Major James M. Liner notes for recording The United States Air Force Band Digital Masterworks, U.S. Department of Defense (1988).

Banks, Wing Commander Eric [British 1]. Liner notes for recording British Music for Concert Band, EMI Angel AE-34477 (1984).

Banks, Wing Commander Eric [British 2]. Liner notes for recording British Music for Concert Band, Album 2, EMI Angel AE-34500 (1986).

Bird, John [Adni]. Liner notes for recording Piano Music of Percy Grainger, EMI HQS 1363 (1976).

Bird, John [Grainger]. Percy Grainger, Elek Books Ltd., 1976 (cloth); Faber and Faber Ltd., 1982 (paper).

Bird, John [Rambles]. Liner notes for recording Percy Grainger: Free Rambles, Room-Music Tit-Bits and..., RCA Red Seal RL 25198 (1979).

Bird, John [Shore]. Liner notes for recording Grainger on the Shore: Orchestral Music by Percy Grainger, EMI ASD 3651 (1979).

Bishop, John. Liner notes for recording Bridge/ Grainger/Bax: Music for Cello and Piano, Pearl Pavilion SHE 571 (1982).

Bruce, Neely. Program notes for March 1, 1986 concert of Neely Bruce & Christopher Oldfather, duo-pianists, Delius Grainger Musicale, Calvary United Methodist Church, Danville, Virginia.

Chislett, W.A. Liner notes for recording Sir Adrian Boult Conducts Marches, Lyrita SRCS.71 (1978).

Cross, Burnett. "Grainger Free Music Machine", Recorded Sound: Journal of the British Institute of Recorded Sound, Nos. 45-46 (January-April 1972), 17-21.

Dorum, Eileen. Percy Grainger: The Man Behind the Music, Pro/Am Music Resources Inc., 1990.

"Education Record Reference Library 23" [ERRL 23]. Liner notes for Franco Colombo/Belwin-Mills recording BP 123 (1969).

Epstein, Selma [Epstein 1]. Liner notes for recording Selma Epstein Plays Percy Grainger, Vol. 1, Richardson RRS-12 (1980).

Feinstein, Michael. Liner notes for recording Gershwin, EMI Angel DS-38130 (1984).

Fennell, Frederick [Cleveland]. Liner notes for recording Frederick Fennell: The Cleveland Symphonic Winds--Arnaud/Vaughan Williams/Grainger, Telarc DG-10050 (1980).

Fennell, Frederick [Country Gardens]. Liner notes for recording Country Gardens and Other Favorites by Percy Grainger, Mercury Wing SRW 18060/MGW 14060.

Foreman, Lewis. Liner notes for recording More Lyrita Pops, Lyrita Recorded Edition SRCS.99 (1985).

Grainger, Percy [1949]. Program notes for Hill-Song No. 1. Reprinted in The Grainger [Society] Journal, I/2 (December 1978), 14-23.

Gruender, David E. Program notes for October 1988 concerts of the Albany (New York) Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Simon conductor, Albany, New York.

Hopkins, John [Australian]. "Percy Grainger (1882-1961)", Australian Composition in the Twentieth Century, ed. by Frank Callaway & David Tunley (Melbourne/Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 23-24.

Hopkins, John [Orchestral 1]. Liner notes for recording The Orchestral Works of Percy Grainger, Volume 1, EMI Australia World Record Club WRC-S/5257 (1973).

Hopkins, John [Orchestral 2]. Liner notes for recording To a Nordic Princess: The Orchestral Works of Percy Grainger, Volume 2, EMI Australia OASD-7606 (1978).

Hopkins, John [Orchestral 3]. Liner notes for recording The Orchestral Works of Percy Grainger, Volume 3, EMI Australia OASD-7607 (1980).

Hopkins, John [Orchestral 4]. Liner notes for recording The Orchestral Works of Percy Grainger, Volume 4, EMI Australia OASD-7608 (1980).

Hopkins, John [Orchestral 5]. Liner notes for recording Percy Grainger: Orchestral Works Volume 5, EMI Australia OASD-430000 (1984).

Howard, Leslie [GSJ IV/1]. "The Two-Piano Version of Lincolnshire Posy: Some Observations and Amendments", The Grainger [Society] Journal, IV/1 (October 1981), 11-15.

Howard, Leslie [Piano 1]. Liner notes for recording Musicians of Australia, Volume 15: Percy Grainger, Piano Music for Two Hands, Volume 1, Australian Broadcasting Commission/World Record Club WRC R-03433 (1976). Also released as EMI Aust ralia HQS-1402 (1978).

Hudson, Frank. Liner notes for recording Over the Hills and Far Away: The Music of Percy Aldridge Grainger, University of Illinois Band Series Nos. 74 (24089) and 75 (24090).

Kreines, Joseph [GSJ IV/2]. "An Annotated Guide to the Wind Band Music of Percy Grainger", The Grainger [Society] Journal, IV/2 (February 1982), 9-18.

Kreines, Joseph [GSJ V/1]. "Marching Song of Democracy--A Neglected Masterpiece", The Grainger [Society] Journal, V/1 (December 1982), 21-25.

Kreines, Joseph [Two Grainger Melodies]. Two Grainger Melodies: Six Dukes Went A-Fishin' [and] Early One Morning transcribed for band by Joseph Kreines. Full conductor score. Oskaloosa IA: C. L. Barnhouse Company, 1988.

Kreines, Joseph [Unknown]. Liner notes for recording The "Unknown" Grainger, Golden Crest CRDG-4216 (1982).

Lloyd, Steven. Liner notes for recording Music of Percy Aldridge Grainger (1862-1961), Koch International Classics CD 3-700302 (1990).

Morgan, Carolyn. Liner notes for recording Duets by American Composers, Musical Heritage Society MHS 4725H (1983).

Ould, Barry Peter [BL]. Editorial notes for A Bridal Lullaby, Bardic Edition (Aylesbury, England, 1989); Ludwig Music (Cleveland, 1989).

Ould, Barry Peter [GSJ VI/2]. "Dalvisa (Swedish Folk-Song)", The Grainger [Society] Journal, VI/2 (August 1984), 32.

Ould, Barry Peter [GSJ VII/2]. "La Bernardina", The Grainger Society Journal, VII/2 (Fall 1985), 26-29.

Ould, Barry Peter [GSJ IX/1]. "La Bel'Aronde", The Grainger [Society] Journal, IX/1 (Autumn 1987), 2.

Passy, Charles. "Getting into Trouble", Keyboard Classics, IX/1 (January-February 1989), 8.

Perna, Dana [Chicago]. Program notes for January 4-6 & 9, 1990 concerts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Perna, Dana [Michigan]. Liner notes for recording To the Fore!: Percy Grainger's Great Symphonic Band Music, Delos Records CD DE 3101 (1990).

Pickard, John [Piano 1-4]. Liner notes for recordings Percy Grainger "Dished Up for Piano": Complete Piano Music, Volumes 1-4, Nimbus Records CD NI 5220, 5232, 5244, 5255 (1990).

Slattery, Thomas C. Percy Grainger: The Inveterate Innovator, The Instrumentalist Co., 1974.

Smith, Joseph [Grieg/Grainger]. Liner notes for recording Edvard Grieg/Percy Grainger Piano Music, Musical Heritage Society MHS 912134Z (1988). Material also used as program notes for April 20, 1988 concert of Joseph Smith, pianist, Alice Tully Hall, New York.

Smith, Joseph [Keyboard Classics]. "Grainger's `The Nightingale' and `The Two Sisters'<|>", Keyboard Classics IX/1 (January/February 1989), 44-46.

Stang, Rolf. Program notes for October 5, 1979 concert "A Memorial Tribute to Ella Grainger", featuring Celeste Holm, Sylvia Floyd, Ralph Stang, Eero Richmond, Judith Nietzsche and David Jenkins, The Liederkranz Foundation, New York.

Stanhope, David [Piano 2]. Liner notes for recording Percy Grainger Piano Settings--Volume 2: Two Pianos, Four Hands, Australian Broadcasting Commission/World Record Club WRC R-06332 (1978).

Stanhope, David [Piano 3]. Liner notes for recording Percy Grainger Piano Settings, Volume 3, Australian Broadcasting Commission/World Record Club WRC R-06333 (1978).

Stevenson, Ronald [BL]. Editorial notes for A Bridal Lullaby, Bardic Edition (Aylesbury, England, 1989); Ludwig Music (Cleveland, 1989).

Stevenson, Ronald [Dahomey]. Preface to his edition of In Dahomey: Cakewalk Smasher for piano solo, Henmar Press / C. F. Peters Corp., 1987.

Stevenson, Ronald [SS]. Liner notes for recording Percy Grainger: Salute to Scotland, Altarus Records AIR-2-9040 (1985).

Tall, David. Liner notes for recording Delius Partsongs/Grainger Folksongs for Chorus; Songs from "The Jungle Book", Conifer CFC-162/CDCF-162 (1988).

Tall, David [GSL IV/2]. "Six Dukes Went a-Fishin'", The Grainger [Society] Journal, IV/2 (February 1982), 28-32.

Tall, David [Part-Songs]. Introduction to Percy Grainger: Four Part-Songs (London: Thames Publishing, 1982), 2-3.

Tall, David [Songs]. Notes for Percy Grainger: 13 Folksongs [for] Solo Voice and Piano, intr. by Sir Peter Pears (London: Thames Publishing, 1981).

Tan, Margaret Hee-Leng. "Free Music of Percy Grainger", Recorded Sound (Journal of the British Institute of Recorded Sound), Nos. 45-46 (January-April 1972), 21-38.

Walker, Robert. Liner notes for recording English Folk Songs Arranged by Grainger, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Prelude PMS 1502 (1976).

Westbrook, James. Liner notes for recording Faeroe Island: Music of Percy Grainger, Varese Sarabande VCDM 1000.50 (1981).

Wierman, Cheryl J. Program notes for February 19, 1985 concert of the Ohio State University Concert Band, Craig J. Kirchhoff conductor, Carnegie Hall, New York.