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#3159139 09/24/21 07:59 AM
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Hey ya'll.

I was looking for a HUGE book with intermediate to advanced classical music (anything classical or romantic era preferably) for piano so that I can sight-read a piece, or a chunk of a piece, every single day. To give you an idea of my level, I can sight-read Chopin waltzes and Beethoven sonatas quite comfortably, but Rachmaninoff preludes and most etudes give me a hard time (though they're not ideal for sight-reading anyway lol). Just need lots of sight-reading material. I wouldn't mind a big jazz book to sight-read as well, but I already have the real "The Real Book".

Thanks very much in advance!
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I used to have this book, and it seems to fit your need. Apparently there are other books in the series, too.

https://www.halleonard.com/product/14025513/piano-pieces-for-children

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Thanks cygnusdei, but that is far too easy haha!

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Try this one, which contains a lot of rarities, therefore great for sight-reading:
https://www.amazon.com/Classics-Moderns-Intermediate-Grade-Millions/dp/0825640377

This one contains some more advanced pieces, and also probably has some you've already played (think Für Elise....):
https://www.amazon.com/Everybodys-Favorite-Piano-Pieces-Solo/dp/0825620023

But.....why not just buy volumes of F.Couperin (Pièces de clavecin), Rameau (keyboard suites), Handel (keyboard suites), Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert sonatas & variations (& Schubert's Moments musicaux and Impromptus), Chopin mazurkas, Mendelssohn's Lieder ohne Worte, Brahms's Op.10, 76, 116-119, Fauré's Barcarolles & Nocturnes, Grieg's Lyric Pieces etc and just have a go? I used to do that when I was a teenaged student (though being cash-strapped - as in having no pocket money - I borrowed them, and lots more, from my school music library) when I was much less advanced than you are now.

And I became very familiar with the styles of several composers by sight-reading through so much of their stuff (as well as picking out choice morsels to learn properly, for myself).


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Bennevis has some good advice. An old book that helped me with learning to sightread past classical was a Carl Fischer book - it's enormous! Masterpieces of Piano Music. Now mind you...this is a reprint of an older book, and most of the "Masterpieces" in this book are anything BUT! However, if you want an enormous book of sight-reading material then this one is very good. https://www.amazon.com/Carl-Fischer-Masterpieces-Piano-Music/dp/B0007QKRB4 I'm sure some of your older posters may remember this volume as well.
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Is sight-reading part of most people's routines? I did plenty of that as a boy, I got good at it, and then I set it aside. I wonder what might be therapeutic about it for people who are satisfied with both their playing skills and sight-reading skills.

If I could sight-read Beethoven sonatas, I don't think I would spend an iota of my time on advancing my sight-reading skills. In terms of practical benefit, what would be the purpose?

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Instead of looking for one huge book, I think it makes more sense to get several books with music that appeals to you. Playing through music by lesser composers or pieces that don't appeal to one is not the best way to sight read because it takes a lot of the enjoyment out of it. Something like a collection of books like the ones bennevis suggested makes more sense to me.

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Originally Posted by michael wazowski
Thanks cygnusdei, but that is far too easy haha!
Lol ... sorry, I guess I don't quite get what you mean by 'sight reading'. When someone says sight reading the thing that comes to my mind is sight reading exam - where you are allowed some time to read through a piece, then given one chance to play it as best as you can, then you are graded on it.

But in terms of reading (i.e. playing through) music just for pure enjoyment, knowing that you're not going to perform it - I used to enjoy playing the orchestra/piano reduction part of concertos or solo piano arrangements of symphonies. But that was when I could just check out a score from the library anytime, and I wouldn't call it sight reading.


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Originally Posted by Mattardo
Bennevis has some good advice. An old book that helped me with learning to sightread past classical was a Carl Fischer book - it's enormous! Masterpieces of Piano Music. Now mind you...this is a reprint of an older book, and most of the "Masterpieces" in this book are anything BUT! However, if you want an enormous book of sight-reading material then this one is very good. https://www.amazon.com/Carl-Fischer-Masterpieces-Piano-Music/dp/B0007QKRB4 I'm sure some of your older posters may remember this volume as well.
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The list of composers in this volume's description points more towards composers of orchestral music than those of piano music. (R. and J. Strauss, Sullivan, von Suppe, Bizet, Thomas, Verdi, Boccherini, etc.) Are these compositions really "Masterpieces of Piano Music" or is it music that has been arranged for piano?

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
But in terms of reading (i.e. playing through) music just for pure enjoyment, knowing that you're not going to perform it - I used to enjoy playing the orchestra/piano reduction part of concertos or solo piano arrangements of symphonies. But that was when I could just check out a score from the library anytime, and I wouldn't call it sight reading.
Sight-reading is basically playing a piece of music from a score you've never seen before for the first time - no matter how well or how badly. It doesn't matter if you've heard the music before either.

I have volumes of Beethoven/Liszt symphonies, Schubert/Liszt Lieder, Wagner/Liszt as well as piano transcriptions of Tchaikovsky ballets and Symphonies Nos. 4 - 6. I've heard all the music before in their original guise, but I still enjoy sight-reading through the piano arrangements - as badly as I like (or don't like whistle). But I've already sight-read through all of it over the years, so every time I play them now, I'm just reading from the score.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Mattardo
Bennevis has some good advice. An old book that helped me with learning to sightread past classical was a Carl Fischer book - it's enormous! Masterpieces of Piano Music. Now mind you...this is a reprint of an older book, and most of the "Masterpieces" in this book are anything BUT! However, if you want an enormous book of sight-reading material then this one is very good. https://www.amazon.com/Carl-Fischer-Masterpieces-Piano-Music/dp/B0007QKRB4 I'm sure some of your older posters may remember this volume as well.
[Linked Image]

The list of composers in this volume's description points more towards composers of orchestral music than those of piano music. (R. and J. Strauss, Sullivan, von Suppe, Bizet, Thomas, Verdi, Boccherini, etc.) Are these compositions really "Masterpieces of Piano Music" or is it music that has been arranged for piano?

Regards,

Oh there is quite a bit of orchestral reductions in this book - the edition is named badly for us moderns, but the title does fit the time in which it was originally printed: 1918. I assume that back then radio or records were not a huge thing yet, so the only way most people were going to be able to listen to classical music at home was with the piano. This book merely collected a ton of disparate works - many from composers we consider great nowadays, and many from composers who I consider schmaltzy and in bad taste. Thus, I assume the title was applicable in a general sense, though I find it difficult to believe that many of these works were ever considered masterpieces.

My piano teacher from my teens absolutely hated this book, but it had been my great uncle's dead sisters book and it brought him joy when I played from it. It eventually fell apart from age, and then was replaced with a reprint. But I spent many hours just playing from the book for my Uncle, and it gave me a large headstart on my ability to sightread music (in addition to learning to sightread by playing from a Theodore Presser collection of Sonatinas and a few Sonatas). It was also a good companion to bring along for virtually any sort of place where one needed a pianist - the styles varied so much for any occasion that it was pretty rare that one could not find something to play from it. But my piano teacher was a bit like Josef Hoffman: she abhored certain types of music which she called tasteless and actively discouraged me from playing a lot of it lol!

So as dubious as the quality of much of it is - I put it out there as an edition of music that has so many different pieces from so many disparate styles that it would be impossible NOT to improve one's sightreading! It's actually broken up into different sections by theme, time period, style, etc. so you may see many orchestral composers in one section, for example. Heck it's like over 500 pages of music.

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Originally Posted by Mattardo
Oh there is quite a bit of orchestral reductions in this book - the edition is named badly for us moderns, but the title does fit the time in which it was originally printed: 1918. I assume that back then radio or records were not a huge thing yet, so the only way most people were going to be able to listen to classical music at home was with the piano. This book merely collected a ton of disparate works - many from composers we consider great nowadays, and many from composers who I consider schmaltzy and in bad taste. Thus, I assume the title was applicable in a general sense, though I find it difficult to believe that many of these works were ever considered masterpieces.

My piano teacher from my teens absolutely hated this book, but it had been my great uncle's dead sisters book and it brought him joy when I played from it. It eventually fell apart from age, and then was replaced with a reprint. But I spent many hours just playing from the book for my Uncle, and it gave me a large headstart on my ability to sightread music
I suspect that many of the pieces in that book are similar to the very cheap sheet music from various publishers like 'Regina' (long since defunct) that I used to buy from the sales bins in my local music shop when I was a kid.

There was everything from "Silent Worship" and "A Maiden's Prayer" to Prelude in C# minor (by you-know-who) to Revolutionary Study. Therefore a mixture of easy arranged/deranged and (often difficult) originals, all printed on very cheap, thin paper. But if you were cash-strapped and the only pocket money you had was what might buy you a few cheap candies a week (like me), you could save all that money and buy one cheap sheet music a fortnight from the sales box, where everything was half-price. Which was how I accumulated all the sheet music I still have (now all yellow and fraying, but still readable), why I still have all my own teeth whistle, and how I managed to 'learn' the Rach and Chopin at a time when I couldn't actually play them properly...... grin


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Who cares if it is an orchestral arrangement for piano?
It is 500 pages of varied music to try.

I have had good luck with using an ebay search ‘ bulk piano music’. It is not always fruitful, but there are occasional great finds at really cheap prices.


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Obviously IMSLP has tons.
I think lots of early pianists gets to that point somewhere taking lessons that they spend too much time looking at the keys and playing something assigned to them from memory. If get in trouble playing for teacher some fear looking at the music afraid of making a mistake. Then note reading can get rusty.

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Wow. How other people spend their time is none of anybody else's business, but I'm still trying to figure out the reason and purpose of sight-reading practice when one can 'quite comfortably' sight-read Beethoven sonatas.

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Assuming that sight reading is indeed a skill that can be developed progressively, one such use would be - if ever you would be giving a master class, at least you won't embarrass yourself by not being able to read the music the student is playing.

True story: years ago I had a masterclass with (uh-oh, name drop alert! ha ) Jean-Yves Thibaudet. He said he had never played the Franck piece that I prepared, but when it was his turn to demonstrate at the piano, he sight-read/played the first 2 pages perfectly! That left an impression on me.


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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
Assuming that sight reading is indeed a skill that can be developed progressively, one such use would be - if ever you would be giving a master class, at least you won't embarrass yourself by not being able to read the music the student is playing.

True story: years ago I had a masterclass with (uh-oh, name drop alert! ha ) Jean-Yves Thibaudet. He said he had never played the Franck piece that I prepared, but when it was his turn to demonstrate at the piano, he sight-read/played the first 2 pages perfectly! That left an impression on me.

Yep, that makes sense. And I thought of another use in the time since I posted: wanting to be the best possible chamber musician. Now that's something I would love to do with other amateur musicians with more portable musical instruments. smile

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It highly unlikely the OP will be giving master classes. I didn't get the impression he was a professional.

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Originally Posted by parapiano
Wow. How other people spend their time is none of anybody else's business, but I'm still trying to figure out the reason and purpose of sight-reading practice when one can 'quite comfortably' sight-read Beethoven sonatas.
I wouldn't call it "sight-reading practice" - my term is having fun playing stuff whistle - but I'd just play anything I fancy, with anyone who would be prepared to sight-read stuff with me.

Which was precisely what I did when I was a student: I sight-read through piano duets with a willing victim, er, I mean, accomplice (and who wouldn't want to have a go at Dolly Suite and Petite Suite, let alone Schubert's F minor Fantasia?), and Mozart and Beethoven violin sonatas with another willing friend. (We even had a go at Franck.) If I could have found a clarinettist and oboist, I'd sight-read Brahms and Schumann with them too.

It's all about enjoying music, not about practicing sight-reading......though that happens to happen too smirk .


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I really do understand now, and my question wasn't really thought through after all.

When I was a boy I delighted in sight-reading anything I could find, and over the years I got out of touch with that happy pastime. Maybe I still would be interested in an opportunity to explore the unfamiliar if it weren't for the ease of watching YouTube vids that show the score throughout.

Of course, I don't get around to doing even that as often as I tell myself I 'should'. It's a matter of prioritizing limited time, and my piano time is given over mostly to working on technical issues in repertoire. But hey, that's what I like and I'm only making music for myself.

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