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The pedagogical legacy of Vicente Scaramuzza: The relationship between anatomy of the hand, tone production, and musical goals

Marcelo Lian, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The Italian pianist and pedagogue Vicente Scaramuzza has become one of the most prominent musical figures in Argentina. His students achieved international recognition and his school of piano playing is still being passed on by his former students. My piano teacher in Buenos Aires, Nilda Somma, studied for fourteen years under his supervision, and shared with me his annotations, fingerings, and re-distributions (it is important to point out that decades ago, redistributing notes between both hands in certain passages was not a controversial practice). Among Vicente Scaramuzza's most renowned students are Martha Argerich, Bruno Gelber, Enrique Barenboim (who later taught his son Daniel), Nilda Somma, Antonio de Raco, Sylvia Kersenbaum, Daniel Rivera, Daniel Levy, and Cristina Viñas. Only one book has been published about Vicente Scaramuzza's approach to piano technique and tone production. Enseñanzas de un gran Maestro, written by his former student Maria Rosa Oubiña de Castro, provides detailed explanations and illustrations of his unique approach. During lessons, Vicente Scaramuzza would circle a problematic passage and then, in a separate notebook write a full explanation of the necessary steps to solve the issue. My former piano teacher, Nilda Somma, kept her notebooks with Scaramuzza's annotations, in addition to scores with fingerings and re-distributions. A closer examination of these invaluable materials will help shed light on the musical intelligence and technical mastery of Scaramuzza. The most distinctive characteristic of his school of piano playing is the strong connection between awareness of the anatomy of the hand, re-distributions, tone production, and musical goals.

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Recommended Citation

Lian, Marcelo, "The pedagogical legacy of Vicente Scaramuzza: The relationship between anatomy of the hand, tone production, and musical goals" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3604627.