The middle set of piano exercises by Hanon is described as "transcendent".

'Transcendent Exercises for Preparing the Fingers for the Virtuoso Exercises.
Practise the exercises in Part II, like those in Part I, with the metronome at 60; similarly practise all the following piano exercises where the tempo is not indicated, and gradually'...

Franz Liszt wrote "Transcendental Etudes". Having grown up in the era of Transcendental Meditation I find this an unusual use of the word. Does anybody know what they intended by it?

  • The Liszt might be better translated as "transcendent" (see en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/transcendent 1.1) to match the French title: "Études d'exécution transcendante''). Hanon wasn't a piano teacher but a marketing guy, so in his case it didn't matter what the word meant so long as you bought the product!
    – user19146
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


The German wikipedia offers the explanation, that Liszt used this term as an ironic reaction to a statement by Fétis, that Liszt could be considered as eminent representative of a school, which came to an end, but without founding a new school [my translation].

Considering, that Latin transcendere simply means to leave one thing and move to another, its meaning is not so exclusive as the word sounds and could be simply replaced by something like exceeding (which would also easily be applied to the difficulty).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.