Newsletter July 2010
Need a Good Dictionary?
By Sarah Jett
Recently, a student of mine joked with me about how so many of her recent piano books were edited by Maurice Hinson. She and I both thought it was pretty funny that he seemed to be the grand daddy of music editing these days. I shared with her my experience in seeing him teach for a short while when I was attending an MTNA meeting in Ohio with a college professor of mine. Even back then, I felt like I was witnessing a celebrity. I knew Hinson’s editing work had been quite prolific and I had great respect for someone who I knew had vast experience and knowledge of musical history. While I was at this MTNA meeting, one book stood out to me as a really great resource for piano teachers and students alike. It is The Pianist’s Dictionary written by the one and only, Maurice Hinson.
This book is not just your average music dictionary, but one that is truly for the pianist. Many words in the dictionary come with alternative meanings. For instance, a certain word might mean something to one composer, but if another composer used the term in a different way, Hinson covers that detail too. I have found his explanations to be precise and very helpful.
My students know my Pianist’s Dictionary as my favorite dictionary and whenever we don’t understand something in our music, we always take a minute to pull out the Pianist’s Dictionary and look it up. We have found that many times Hinson uses descriptive words that we might not have thought about or that help us understand the true feelings we need to produce in our music.