Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.95
  • Save: $1.81 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Ways of the Hand has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: FREE SHIPPING w/AMAZON PRIME!
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $1.53
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Ways of the Hand Paperback – January 8, 1993


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$16.14
$16.14 $9.53
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

The Salish Sea by Audrey DeLella Benedict
The Salish Sea by Audrey DeLella Benedict
Check out the newest book by Audrey DeLella Benedict. Learn more | See Similar titles
$16.14 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 171 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (January 8, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262691612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262691611
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sudnow is a trained ethnographer and social psychologist who gave up teaching in his fields to study piano and write exclusively about music. In 1978, he published the first edition of this work, a skill-development classic that documents how he taught himself to play jazz piano. The premise of that edition, as well as this update, is that the author's hands, apart from his conscious direction, learned to improvise jazz: "I sing with my fingers, so to speak, and only so to speak, for there's a new being, my body, and it is this being (here too, so to speak) that sings." This new version represents Sudnow's attempt to reach a broader, less academic audience with his findings. Although it features less scholarly diction, the text is still painstakingly detailed, which will limit the book's appeal. For academic and larger public libraries. Cleo Pappas, Lisle Lib. Dist., IL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"With astonishing descriptive precision, the author compels the reader to think and feet along with him as his fingers progress toward intimacy with the key-board. This is at once a work of minutely detailed phenomenology and a virtuoso performance of language in action." Psychology Today



"A dazzling and deeply probing study of the relationship between human consciousness and behavior. " Jack Kroll Newsweek



"A dazzling and deeply probing study of the relationship between human consciousness and behavior. " Jack Kroll, Newsweek



"Original and detailed phenomenology of the sort that philosophers such as Husserl and Merleau-Ponty promised but seldom carried out. [Sudnow's] minute observations are astounding. This book is a great contribution to our understanding of embodied knowhow and to a foundation of a method for learning more." Hubert L. Dreyfus, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Romann M. Weber on May 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It speaks volumes that David Sudnow found it necessary to completely rewrite his treatise on his experience learning jazz improvisation at the piano. According to Sudnow's introduction, upon reading it again not even he, the author, could penetrate the cloudy, turgid prose that cluttered his first edition to get any meaning out of it (although the author did not quite admit as much). However, Mr. Sudnow has blown away the first edition's clouds only to replace them with a thick fog in a tome just as impenetrable as the original.

Occasional moments of clarity notwithstanding, Sudnow's book reads like a manual of how to convolute language beyond its capacity to render meaning. That this occurs in a book about music--arguably the most emotionally expressive of the arts--makes Sudnow's literary idiosyncrasies unforgivable. Expecting enlightenment, the hapless reader instead encounters turbid gems like this: "A rapidly paced entry into a way thus known could take it with a sure availability for a numerical articulational commitment, and with no prefigured digit counting. Its paceable availability, here and now, afforded securely paced entries whose soundfully targeted particular places would now be found in course, doing improvisation." It's English--well, most of it; he invents a word here and there--but totally meaningless, and far from insightful.

Examples like the one above paint every page, and only morbid curiosity can keep the pages turning. Let me save you some money: One piece of decent advice is mentioned in the book twice, and it does not originate with Mr. Sudnow. Namely, sing while you improvise. It will increase your sensitivity to what you are playing, and will connect you more intimately with the piano. Sing while you play, and listen to your idols. Have faith in yourself to find your own insights, and let Mr. Sudnow wander in the fog.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book. It is fascinating because it may actually be saying something interesting. Then again, it may not.
The primary problem with this book is that Mr. Sudnow may play the piano well, but he cannot write. I have actually used parts of this book to demonstrate why writing in the passive voice often obscures one's meaning and is hell on readers. Choose almost any page from the book, and you will find most of the sentences have a passive construction. Adding to the constantly convoluted sentence structure is a goofy vocabulary that obscures rather than elucidates.
This may be the most poorly written book I have ever read. I frequently read old books about wretchedly parched things and suffer reams of rotten student and doctoral prose, but I have never encountered anything as difficult to read as this book. What is sad is that a high school level writer could immediately identify Sudnow's flaws and describe how to correct them -- they are obvious, easily fixed, and unforgivable in a published volume.
On the plus side, Sudnow appears to be saying some things that may be interesting about improvisation and coordination. And he is definitely thinking about them, which in itself is interesting.
Would that he had had even a mediocre writing class at some point is his life or an editor.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Epstein on January 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Several of the reviewers here have expressed the opinion that Sudnow's prose is indecipherable. However, it is not true that it is meaningless. I was a former student of Sudnow's who worked closely with him on the book as a junior collaborator, and can tell of the struggle he engaged in to find a form of expression adequate to its subject. Sudnow attempted to create a language that would faithfully describe the real way in which improvised action takes place, and improvised knowledge exists as something that occurs in course rather than in stasis, a type of active understanding that had never been adequately described. Sudnow's work takes place in a tradition of phenomenological sociology known as Ethnomethodology, a fairly arcane academic discipline that attempts to describe the details of how interaction takes place from a descriptive and subjective standpoint, rather than an objective report from outside. The truth is that this book was not designed for a general audience, and probably couldn't be. Sudnow is a genuine philosopher, one who had spent years immersed in his meditations on the nature of reality from a philosophical and sociological perspective, and there is no way that he would have been able to return to ordinary language to engage with his subject. Those who want to go to the trouble of acquiring the necessary background to receive a vision of reality and the nature of action that is unique and piercing will find their efforts well rewarded. For the rest, it is like reading Finnegan's Wake. You can enjoy some of the music and poetry, meditate on the meaning of a sentence and find out what it involves through your own investigation, or leave it alone.Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By jnickelson@mindspring.com on October 30, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I rated this a 5 because I think that the average reader may find the text impenetrable at best, and a "put-on" at worst. On the other hand, if you have met David Sudnow as I have, you may just smile and think--"That's Sudnow all right!" This book is really one inspection into human learning processes--something into which Sudnow has excellent insights. The author was a late blooming wannabe jazz pianist who thought that some mental alchemy could create jazz "artistry". Well, he comes about as close as one can using all his formidable intellectual resources. But as in every endeavor, one cannot become a "natural" through analysis or study. You either got or you don't! Nonetheless, Sudnow creates an excitement in the discovery of why and how the hand can be the agent that delivers the creativity of any artist. Sudnow's pedantry may be a sly put on. Even so, he is a true believer and even today hunts the grail.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Ways of the Hand
This item: Ways of the Hand
Price: $16.14
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com