The “Artistic Image” Concept Applied to a Fugue at the Early Stage of Piano Practice: An Observational Study

Luís Cláudio Barros, Any Raquel Carvalho, Diego Borges


This article presents the results of an investigation on the concept of “artistic image of a musical composition” proposed by Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964) at the initial stage of learning a fugue by J.S. Bach. The data was gathered during the first practice session of six undergraduate piano majors learning a fugue, all from two public universities in southern Brazil. The concepts proposed by Neuhaus served as a parameter for an observational study of the students’ behavior and the technical-musical activities undertaken during their practice. The aim was to verify if the concept of artistic image had been used during practice and, if so, how it was established. We also examined the study strategies that helped comprehend the musical content, guiding the learning process and organization of practice. The results should assist in increasing our knowledge of the processes involving piano practice and the strategies linked to the concept of artistic image, stressing empirical observation as an important tool to validate theoretical concepts.


Heinrich Neuhaus; artistic image; piano practicing.

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