Hanon’s celebrated exercises are essential material for developing cognitive ability, recognizing relationships between intervals and patterns derived from all the standard permutations possible within a C major scale. As such they provide an excellent foundation for technical agility and confidence in the standard repertoire, particularly if they are transposed in all 24 keys and practised until flawlessly fluent at fast tempos. However, Hanon is not especially useful for developing comfort, fluency and ease in music that employs a non-tonal idiom. When dealing with ‘atonal’ music, all kinds of fingering, notational and confidence issues can surface. The uninitiated may feel as though they have to start again from square one in order to cope with demanding passagework written in octatonic, whole tone, dodecaphonic or modal scales.
Enter Tonino Miano from New York with an extraordinary, encyclopaedic solution in two tome-like volumes of incredible detail, bringing a calm and comprehensive approach to every pianist’s non-tonal woes. Miano is a zealot: an obsessive perfectionist. His two volumes are an exhaustive, comprehensive and extraordinary labour of love. One gets the impression that work on these exercises must have taken precedence over everything else in Miano’s life for years; but pianists should be grateful for that. There is no question that he has produced something of stellar and unique value.
The first book of exercises runs to 308 pages and dozens upon dozens of exercises. Finger patterns are presented that look like Hanon with wrong notes, or at least Hanon based around tritones, major sevenths and other dissonances. Like Alfred Cortot’s famous "Rational Principle of Piano Technique", Miano’s book include a transferable table of motions at the start, showing ways in which an exercise can be varied from its ‘primary form’ via convergent, divergent motions in both upward and downward parallel motion, as well as outward and inward contrary motion. An appendix presents further permutations beyond the four given for each section.
The second volume features more extended and sophisticated studies, including a closing ‘dodecaphonic’ section in which patterns look like Schmitt five-finger exercises with lots of dissonances are subjected to retrograde, inversion and retrograde inversion permutations!
Without exception, all of Miano’s exercises are innovative and fascinating. A few of them can be heard on YouTube in recordings that sound attractive and memorable. I’m sure they would bring enormous benefits in terms of building confidence and facility after systematic, regular practice.
Love it. Great inspirational studies!
I recently received your Non-Tonal Technical Studies Volume I and I’m happy to say that I love it and if there were any technical book that I would have wished for, this is it.
David W. Harewood
Piano/Voice instructor at Long Ridge Music Center
Owner-Operator Mindful Music Instruction Studio
Miano's Studies map a vast terrain of uncharted keyboard territory. The composers of the 20th century forged these trails. Miano's Studies now catalog them systematically across two volumes. This is Hanon and Coker for the 21st century. The exercises drill non-tonal structures in myriad permutations of seemingly endless fascination. The piano keyboard looks now both familiar and wondrously new. Miano's Studies are much more than finger drills. They excite your mind and stimulate your vision of what it means to master the piano keyboard.
The relevance and scale of Tonino Miano's Non-Tonal Technical Studies assure a place for it on the music racks of you and your students, on the shelf of the piano reference library, and in the history of piano pedagogy.
Pianist, Curator and Producer
Read the entire review at http://www.tangentshores.com/blog/review-non-tonal-technical-studies-by-tonino-miano
I have found Non-Tonal Technical Studies for Piano to be a challenging and inspiring work. As both a jazz pianist and composer, I find that working through the exercises in the book to be beneficial to increasing my technical facility as well as being a resource for creative musical thought.
Assistant Professor of Composition
Glenn Korff School of Music
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Beyond the importance of the development of technical skills, something that Miano’s work performs admirably, this book allows us to find a musical soul where it is usually very difficult to find. In this sense the author's work goes beyond the technical aspect of teaching and offers a strong compositional message between the lines that is conditio sine qua non for an approach to non-tonal harmony.
Giuseppe Perna for http://ettoregarzia.blogspot.it/2015/08/i-non-tonal-technical-studies-di-tonino.html
I must say that I find this method revolutionary. It is changing in some ways my predominantly classical standpoint, scrambling my technical assumptions, and enriching my vocabulary of both melodic and harmonic nature. The two volumes (Vol.I basic, and Vol.II advanced) are a maze of aural possibilities that in my opinion stimulates also ones compositional or improvisational creativity. Vol. I has a very dynamic structure where every exercise is subject to a series of variations. This makes sure that it’s very clear what you need to do and it makes memorization a less daunting task than one would think. The studies here are mainly designed to give a chance to familiarize with intervallic combinations relevant to non-tonal music. Vol. II is a kaleidoscopic array of technical challenges and a microcosm of non-tonal relationships that is more complex and more difficult to assimilate but where the reward is a deeper understanding of musical language and, at least for me; the opening of a window into a fascinating new world. I recommend this book to all those that believe that music can be reinvented.
The vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of Non-Tonal Studies are excellent books. There is a great number of exercices bringing new ideas to creative musicians.
Sensational... these exercises are a revelation! I find my fingers and mind exploring a cornucopia of patterns that break from the traditional tonal mold...invigorating! Miano has created here a work of great significance not only for students of non-tonal music, but for any modern pianist. Highly recommended!