Piano reduction

As a piano reduction is defined as the piano version of an orchestral score, such as an opera, an oratorio, but a symphony, a concerto, a spectacle of music or a ballet. Practical significance gets the piano reduction especially in the accompaniment of vocal soloists in choir rehearsals and samples for staged performances of opera and ballet, in which the use of an orchestra does not make sense and not financially feasible.


The Piano evolved since the basso continuo was not more common than chordal framework for musical ensembles, ie since the mid-18th century. Piano Scores with its own systems for the vocal parts are occupied since the 1770s. The piano reduction of the orchestral work was the most important way to be able to with the piece at any time to deal with the availability of recording technology alongside other working ( for example, for piano duet, string quartet, piano trio or ensemble music ). So the piano score for Mozart's Don Giovanni in Vienna was released two weeks after the Vienna premiere of the opera 1788. Return to playback the instrumentation tried the piano scores since the 19th century. Specific playing techniques of the piano score as octave doublings and tremolos have also vice versa affects the manner set of original piano compositions.

Technical facilities in the note printing and dissemination of house music from around 1830 led to high volumes. With the increasing complexity of sentence structure since the late 19th century piano scores were problematic because they hardly could adequately reflect the orchestral texture and were difficult to play. Many composers have created yourself piano scores or piano versions of their works, such as Richard Wagner for Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg, Johannes Brahms A German Requiem, Max Reger for The 100th Psalm or Max Bruch for his violin concertos.

In rare cases, Piano Reductions were also fully or partially, or even for two pianos four hands set when the musical structure is very complicated. For instance, contains the piano score of Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck some four-hand sections, while The Miraculous Mandarin Bela Bartok ballet admits a piano score, which is continuous set for two pianos. The reduced performance of operas with two pianos has long been common.

Since the 20th century the importance of the piano excerpts took on new works from: The light music and jazz often preferred a reduction in the piano part on chord symbols, and the " serious music " reached the contrary, a complexity that could be reduced less and less on the piano sound. - Piano reductions are still indispensable for the rehearsal of operas, masses, oratorios and other vocal works.

Production and peculiarities

The piano -oriented notation of an orchestral set on two staves poses specific problems. Some peculiarities of the orchestral sound can be played on the piano only approximately - like chords that extend over several octaves, long sustained or swelling sounds, percussion sounds without precise pitch or the difference between arco and pizzicato at the stringed instruments.

Traditional artifices to implement orchestral sounds in piano scores are about Alberti basses for repetierte string chords, " glasses Bass " for tremolos or drum vertebrae and short arpeggio chords for strings pizzicato.

When attempting to implement their complete text of the score, the piano reduction is unclear and in larger orchestras or complex sentence structures barely playable. If the note text reduced in favor of playability, it is, strictly speaking, an interpretation, since some features highlighted and others have to be neglected. In more modern piano reductions are notable secondary voices that would overload the piano, sometimes indicated by cues.


Concert performance, rehearsal and house music

In the 19th century there were piano paraphrases for concert use, which were nothing more than complicated piano scores. Soloist concert performances of piano arrangements there are hardly any. Piano scores are now used mainly for rehearsals. The practice, which provided for the piano score especially for professional rehearsal (but counting on its sale to music lovers ), must be distinguished from the numerous duet facilities for making music at home by amateurs who play in the reception history of a hardly be underestimated and their popularity decreased only with the general distribution of records in the early 20th century. For house music, there were also numerous vocal scores of solo concertos and symphonies.

Especially in the choral music, there are still performances with piano instead of orchestra. Directly related to the piano score is the organ score, in which an orchestral part is set up for the organ; this is mainly used for performances in worship. The cast choir and organ has evolved into an independent form.

Choreography and Staging

The piano reduction is an important source for the ballet music of the late 18th and throughout the 19th century. Many ballets were reproduced in a piano reduction. This then served either as a template for house music where you wanted " simultaneously hear " according to the operas and ballets. On the other hand, they served as a template for rehearsals of ballets and were then labeled with " répétiteur " ( accompanist ). Often these répétiteur - piano scores contain entries for the choreography and are thus a major source.

In the opera vocal scores are also used as a director's book to the attention of the Assistant Director in the technical stage performances or actions are recorded in sync with the musical flow. Similarly, the prompters work with the piano score. - Also for the translation of opera texts or to plan a Director piano scores are preferred to orchestral scores, because the song texts are readable and you have to scroll less frequently.

Piano Directorate

Another variant of the piano reduction is the piano Directorate voice. In the entertainment music of the 19-20 Century (salon orchestra) the practice of basso on led, so formed a rhythmic and chordal basis to ensure the cohesion of the often heterogeneous Orchestra and the seated at the piano, orchestra leader -oriented instead of a score on the progress of the song and the stakes. This type of advertised piano score is in the 20th century into a Akkordbezifferung for keyboard.

In the field of operetta were lying on the conductor's podium mostly piano scores instead of scores. For the Viennese operettas of the "Silver Age" this is still to a large extent today. The orchestral scores were not initially printed for fear of illegal copies and is adapted the piano scores for directing. Only since about the 1990s, more and more are available to conductor's operettas. However, well-crafted piano reductions of this genre contain the necessary information for conducting, although this tradition is now canceled.

Piano sketch

In the opposite direction of an extension from the piano to the orchestra set to take the piano sketches that were made by many composers to prepare. In the score being played piano sketches are found in Italian operas for the voices of the Banda, have been arranged only at the venue for the local brass band. - An intermediate level between the piano sketch and score the short score.

Also for the division of labor in production of music may be the piano sketch of importance: For the production of film music in the studio system ( as in Max Steiner) the music was first made ​​in the form of a piano sketch or a short score and then orchestrated by specialists.