Russian Piano Music for Children Written from 1878 to 1917
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It is recognized today that children who receive music education benefit from practicing musical pieces designed for children's musical training. This realization first emerged closer to the eighteenth century. Before that time, children were viewed merely as undeveloped adults, so not much thought was given to children's special needs. In this work, I will discuss significant differences in psychology and technical abilities between children and adults and implications that these differences have on children's musical education. Equipped with a modern view of child development, I will take a closer look at several cycles written specifically for children, paying particular attention to Russian music. Russian music for children emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, well after Schumman's Album for the Young was published. Pyotr Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer who wrote artistic pieces exclusively for children, and Tchaikovsky's Children's Album is considered to be the first example of Russian music written for such an audience. Although the composer modeled his Children's Album after Schumann, Tchaikovsky developed many unique techniques that we will highlight in this thesis. Many of these techniques were widely used by Tchaikovsky's followers, so it is important to give these techniques a thorough examination. In this thesis, I will examine works of some of Tchaikovsky's followers, who wrote children's music before the 1917 Soviet Revolution. I will appraise how their styles were influenced by Tchaikovsky, discussing their roles in the development of Russian children's music. Arensky, who was the first to follow Tchaikovsky's path, was famous for his piano four-hand cycles, which had many orchestral sonorities and effects. Gedike and Maykapar created a new genre in Russian music - children's concert pieces. Glière was the first to create poetical depictions of nature in children's piano literature. I will finish with an examination of Stravinsky's first two cycles written for children, the two four-hand suites written during his "Russian Period."
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