Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Huckleberry, Alan

First Committee Member

Tsachor, Uriel

Second Committee Member

Lecuona, Réne

Third Committee Member

Arnone, Anthony

Fourth Committee Member

Platte, Nathan


The high finger piano technique is an approach to playing the piano which focuses on training the fingers to have extreme independence. The fingers are required to function in the extreme ranges of motion, lifting high before each strike of the key. This is an outdated technique from nineteenth century Europe, where the Lebert-Stark high finger school successfully promoted this technique in European conservatories. It was introduced to China at the beginning of the twentieth century, shortly after pianos began to be imported. From that point forward, this technique became the standard for Chinese pianists. Meanwhile, the high finger technique was abandoned by most pianists in the West in the twentieth century. Instead, the modern piano technique, which focuses on anatomical and scientific analysis, became the mainstream.

In order to establish China’s place in the history of piano playing and technique, I will provide a brief overview of the history and how China developed from it. I will demonstrate evidence for why the high finger school became popular and why it persisted throughout the twentieth century. Finally, I will discuss current trends in Chinese piano pedagogy and provide a guide for how the future development of a healthy, informed technique might look.


China, History, Piano, Technique


vi, 78 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-78).


Copyright © 2018 Mo Xu

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