The Realm of Duke

Thinking Fingers and Lilypond

Recently I've been teaching out of this book called Thinking Fingers by Guy Maier. Its a piano technique book that focuses on short, easily memorized, but challenging exercises. Its effective in prepping the student for a more rigorous technical study such as Dohnanyi.

If you search around the web you'll find that a lot of people love this book. You'll also find that its been out of print for ages, and a copy sells for 60-80 bucks on ebay. Anyways, I decided I would start notating this stuff out using an open source software called Lilypond. It is kind of like a programming language but more in line with CSS or some markup languages. It can do lots of amazing things but even just the basic music engraving comes out beautiful. Check it out.. Look how similar Lilypond engraved the music compared to the original from 1949!

Download the PDF here

file file

file file

Here's the Lilypond source in case you're interested.

\version "2.18.2"

\header {
title = "Five Finger Exercises—Hands Singly Only"
composer = ""
tagline = "derek.howa@gmail.com"
}


global = {
\key c \major
\time 500/4
}


right = \relative c'' {
\global
% Music follows here.
\repeat volta 2 { c16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 1 } }_5^1_\markup {\lower #5 { \halign#1.25 \smaller "Count" } }_\markup {\lower#5 {\smaller 1} } d_4^2 c d } c_\markup {\lower#5 {\smaller "up!"}}-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 2 } }_4^2_\markup {\lower #5 {\smaller 1} } e_3^3 d e  } d_\markup {\lower#5 {\smaller "up!"}}-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 3 } }_3^3_\markup {\lower #5 {\smaller 1} } f_2^4 e f  } e_\markup {\lower#5 {\smaller "up!"}}-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 4 } }_2^4_\markup {\lower #5 {\smaller 1} } g_1^5 f g  } f_\markup {\lower#5 {\smaller "up!"}}-.-> r r8 \bar "||"

\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 5 } }_4^2 c_5 d c  } d-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 6 } }_3^3 d e d  } e-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 7 } }_2^4 e f e  } f-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { g16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 8 } }_1^5 f g f  } g-.-> r r8 \bar "||"

\repeat volta 2 { c,16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 9 } }_5^1 d e d  } c-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 10 } }_4^2 e f e  } d-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 11 } }_3^3 f g f  } e-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 12 } }_3^3 d c d  } e-.-> r r8 \bar "||"

\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 13 } }_4^2 e d e  } f-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { g16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 14 } }_5^1 f e f  } g-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 2/3 { d8^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 15 } }_4^2 e c }  } d16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 2/3 { e8^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 16 } }_3^3 f d }  } e16-.-> r r8 \bar "||"

\repeat volta 2 { \times 2/3 { f8^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 17 } }_2^4 g e }  } f16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 2/3 { d8^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 18 } }_4^2 c e }  } d16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 2/3 { e8^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 19 } }_3^3 d f }  } e16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 2/3 { f8^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 20 } }_2^4 e g }  } f16-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \break 

\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 21 } }_4^2 c d e  } d-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 22 } }_3^3 d e f  } e-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 23 } }_2^4 e f g  } f-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 24 } }_4^2 e d c  } d-.-> r r8 \bar "||"

\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 25 } }_3^3 f e d  } e-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 26 } }_2^4 g f e  } f-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { c16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 27 } }_5^1 d e f e d }  } c16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 28 } }_4^2 e f g f e }  } d16-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \pageBreak

\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 29 } }_3^3 f g f e d }  } e16-.-> r r8
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 30 } }_2^4 g f e d e }  } f16-.-> r r8
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { g16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 31 } }_1^5 f e d e f }  } g16-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 32 } }_4^2 c d e f e }  } d16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 33 } }_3^3 d e f g f }  } e16-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 34 } }_2^4 e d c d e }  } f16-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { c16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 35 } }_5^1 ( d_4^2 e f ) g ( f e d )  } c-.-> r r8 r4 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 36 } }_4^2 ( e_3^3 f g ) f ( e d c )  } d-.-> r r8 r4 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 37 } }_3^3 ( f g f ) e ( d c d )  } e-.-> r r8 r4 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 38 } }_2^4 ( g f e ) d ( c d e )  } f-.-> r r8 r4 
\repeat volta 2 { g16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 39 } }_1^5 ( f e d ) c ( d e f )  } g-.-> r r8 r4
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 40 } }_2^4 ( e d c ) d ( e f g )  } f-.-> r r8 r4 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 41 } }_3^3 ( d c d ) e ( f g f )  } e-.-> r r8 r4 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 42 } }_4^2 ( c d e ) f ( g f e )  } d-.-> r r8 r4 
\repeat volta 2 { c16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 43 } }_5^1 d_4^2 c_3^3 e_2^4  } c-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 44 } }_4^2 e_3^3 d_4^2 f_2^4  } d-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 45 } }_3^3 f_4^2 e_3^3 g_5^1  } e-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 46 } }_4^2 c_5^1 e_3^3 c_5^1 f_2^4 c_5^1 g'_1^5 c,_5^1 f_2^4 c_5^1 e_3^3 c_5^1  } d-.-> r r8 r2 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { g16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 47 } }_1^5 f g e  } g-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 48 } }_2^4 e f d  } f-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { e16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 49 } }_3^3 d e c  } e-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 50 } }_2^4 g_1^5 e_3^3 g_1^5 d_4^2 g_1^5 c,_5^1 g'_1^5 d_4^2 g_1^5 e_3^3 g_1^5  } f-.-> r r8 r2 
\repeat volta 2 { c16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 51 } }_5^1 e_3^3 d_4^2 f_2^4  } c-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { d16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 52 } }_4^2 f_2^4 e g  } d-.-> r r8 \bar "||" \break

\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { c16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 53 } }_5^1 e_3^3 d f e g }  } c,-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { g'16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 54 } }_1^5 e_3^3 f_2^4 d_4^2  } g-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { f16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 55 } }_2^4 d_4^2 e c  } f-.-> r r8 
\repeat volta 2 { \times 4/6 { g16^\markup { \raise #3 { \halign #0 \larger 56 } }_1^5 e_3^3 f d e c }  } g'-.-> r r8 \bar "||"


}

left = \relative c' {
\global
% Music follows here.

}
\markup{
  \fill-line {
\column {
  \hspace #0
  \wordwrap-lines{ "     Practice each exercise very slowly, each hand seperately four times; then rapidly in impulses of (1) (2) (3) " 
  }
  \wordwrap-lines{ "(4) (8)." 
  }
  \hspace #0
  \wordwrap-lines { "     Play left hand two octaves lower. Count aloud."
  }
  \hspace #0
}
}
    }
\score {
  \new PianoStaff \with {
instrumentName = ""
  } <<
\new Staff = "right" \with {
   \remove Time_signature_engraver
  midiInstrument = "acoustic grand"
} \right

>>
\layout { 
indent = 0
 }
 \midi {
\tempo 4=100
}
}    

I had to use a few hacks to get things to line up but the amount of effort it took to get it to look nice was pretty small. I'm sure you could refactor some of this... possibly write some Scheme to generate some of these exercises. Let me know if you have any ideas.