“These books should be a part of every pianist’s library”
— Frederic Chiu
— International Piano Magazine, July 2018
— Richie Beirach
Why this book?
The XX century was a time of great transformation. From politics, to science, to technology, to the many aspects of cultural life, this period was marked by an unprecedented level of unrest, generating a flurry of activity that left a mark in every aspect of living for generations to follow. In the West, the music world was not exempt from the far reaching implications of these great many changes, and immediately it began to witness their effect; for instance in the general movement away from tonal to non-tonal music.
Think of how the work of composers such as Debussy, Bartok, then Schoenberg, Webern, and more recently Messiaen, Ligeti, or Cecil Taylor's contribution to modern jazz, has stretched the boundaries of what is "acceptable", and how it has also changed our auditory, cultural, and imaginative landscape. Indeed their contribution has been such that every student of Western music across frontiers is bound to be challenged by their work sooner or later. But this leap into the world of non-tonal music is often made without some sense of awareness of the language at hand. And while it can be relatively difficult to assimilate the vocabulary, the grammar, and the syntax of modern music, it is also easy to see that the steps taken to address the issue have not matched the effort behind the profusion of support material available for pre-modern literature; particularly the technical literature.
Various methods of technical nature have come to support tonal idioms in a variety of ways, and they contribute in creating a net of connections where the physical aspect of piano playing extends to, and penetrates, its cognitive dimension. Where the hand shaped around a major triad (a simple example) carries within, by virtue of its repetitive association with a series of potential connections, the function of that chord in the context in which it is played. But what if our harmonic terrain wasn't just populated by major or minor chords? What if a pianist wished to better support a technique around non-tonal idioms? And how are we to give shape to a methodology of non-tonal technique?
This book is the answer to these questions.
“A mighty work”
— Massimiliano Damerini
Look inside NTTS (free PDF downloads)
“An important step toward true mastery”
— David Ludwig
About the author
Italian born pianist Tonino Miano began very early as a self-taught musician. He then went on to pursuing academic studies as well as deepening his interest in modern music and improvisation. He holds degrees in Music from the V. Bellini Conservatory of Caltanissetta and the University of Bologna (Italy), and in Physics from the City College of New York. He has extensive performance experience and has released numerous recordings as a leader and co-leader, some of which have earned international acclaim. In 2007 he founded his own record label Impressus Records, and was later the co-curator of a New York monthly series dedicated to modern/improvisational music called the Avant Post.
His work on Non-Tonal Technical Studies for piano started in 1996 as a personal project. As a modern improvising pianist he looked for ways to improve his own technique and expand his vocabulary using non-tonal idioms as opposed to implementing a traditional methodology. The lack of technical support material for modern piano literature (*) propelled him to broaden the scope of the project beyond the limit of personal need, making NTTS the only comprehensive educational method of non-tonal technique for piano written to date.
He is currently living and teaching in New York.
This is the home of Non-Tonal Technical Studies, the only method of its kind for the contemporary pianist across genres. Here you can know more about this new and exciting collection, understand why it came about, take a peek inside, watch videos, and learn how it can aid your daily practice.
NTTS presents a multitude of new patterns (plus hundreds of derived combinations) with the most wide ranging set of technical objectives. Become familiar with Polychords, Clusters, Pointillistic style, Twelve Tone Series and more. Experience a new way of conceiving and hearing relationships between sounds, challenge your coordination ability, engage your mind (other than your fingers) to work in ways no other book of technique has yet explored. Keep reading and understand why this book is an invaluable resource to add to your music library, and one that you'll find useful and stimulating for years to come!
by Tonino Miano
— Stephen Hough
“A truly excellent laboratory”
— Antonio Pompa-Baldi
What is NTTS?
NTTS is a collection of organized repeatable patterns meant for daily practice presented in two volumes. Its aim is to support a basic understanding of non-tonal relationships and meet the technical demands of modern and contemporary piano literature. It is not a book for beginners, but rather for intermediate to advanced musicians. It builds upon an already acquired technique (the ability to proficiently articulate notes), and molds it around non-tonal idioms. These idioms are presented as patterns and developed within one of the following frameworks: Chromatic, Whole Tone, Octatonic, and Dodecaphonic. Each of these four units contains studies of varying, and generally progressive difficulty, ranging from monophonic (with a melodic pattern played in unison by both hands), to polyphonic (with a four parts-like distribution for example), to a sometimes more rhapsodic style (similar to the "etude" form). The patterns are then transposed within the prescribed range and according to the "grid" peculiar to the chosen framework.
— Matthew Shipp
The first volume is divided into three units: Chromatic, Whole Tone, and Octatonic Studies, and presents short and long-fingers monophonic patterns within a fixed intervallic framework limited to two technical settings: that of a "collected" hand and that of a "stretched hand". Here the pattern will be articulated up and down a prescribed range always maintaining the same extension and without crossing the thumb. The approach is a schematic one and should facilitate the process of acquiring familiarity with the non-tonal terrain in question before tackling the more challenging studies of the second volume. A section on Dyads (groups of two notes) is also part of each unit.
The second volume contains, in addition to the aforementioned units, a fourth one on Dodecaphonic Studies, and it will explore a much wider range of technical issues. Therefore it is strongly recommended that the musician acquires sufficient mastery of the material presented in the first volume before tackling the much more demanding studies offered in volume two. Non-tonal music has introduced a range of new technical challenges previously absent from piano literature and that transcend the mere intervallic make up of the language. Extreme syncopated behavior, broken or erratic melodic movement, pointillism, clusters, odd time signatures or the rapid succession of different time signatures are a few examples. Part of our aim in the second volume is to become familiar with these challenges by offering studies that specifically target them. All of the studies in volume two will be accompanied by a commentary regarding the type of technical issue they address, their structural content and sometimes strategies to an easier understanding and performance. Particular attention has been given to providing extensive fingering coverage as it will facilitate the work in assimilating the studies, and a list of keywords for each study will give an idea of what type of work it’ll be.
These studies are challenging, it couldn't be otherwise considering the purpose for which they are designed. But if you're a serious musician and you like a challenge you're in the right place. Whether to enrich your personal array of technical tools or to expand your students' awareness of modern language you'll find this book a powerful and refreshing approach to the art of daily practice.
“A truly precious guide”
— Ciro Longobardi
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