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Songbook Review: New Age Hanon
Behdad Bahrami
Cover image of the songbook New Age Hanon by Behdad Bahrami
New Age Hanon
Behdad Bahrami
2019 / Behdad Bahrami
15 pages / 3 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pianist/composer Behdad Bahrami has created three versions of what he calls “New Age Hanon.” Each version contains five exercises that flow together as one and are much more melodic and musical than the standard Hanon exercises. Each version is a little different, becoming somewhat more difficult in the left hand by Version 3. Each version is about 4 1/2 pages, so they are a good workout, but not daunting. To make these exercises even more fun, Bahrami has created downloadable backing tracks at seven different tempi that range from 60 beats per minute to 120. These tracks have a strong rhythm that will make them appealing for all ages and many different musical style preferences - not just new age. Right now, the downloads for the scores and the backing tracks are free (please see the links to the left of this review). What a great way to get your fingers, wrists and arms warmed up and strengthened!

There is one important difference in these exercises from the traditional Hanon exercises - they do not move up and down the piano keyboard in succession. They do move around the keyboard, but the movement is more like chord changes (I-IV-V) than scales. The fingering is given for each exercise, making the changes easy to spot once you get rolling.

Behdad has also created a video for the exercises that is available on YouTube. Fun to watch and very helpful, as it shows his hands in action! It is entertaining as well as educational.

I found a few minor problem areas when I was playing the exercises that Behdad said he will fix. In the meantime, here are a few things to watch out for:

Version 1: M51-53 has some incorrect notes on the left hand, and M37, 63 and 66 have 10th chords that are hard for many people to reach. Those can be rolled or shortened to an octave.

Version 2: M63 and 66 have tenth chords that can be rolled or shortened.

Version 3: The fingering for the first exercise (measure 1) should be 4 5 1 2 instead or 4 5 2 3. It also has tenth chords in M63 and 66.

Other than those small things, these exercises are a refreshing change from regular old Hanon!
March 4, 2020