World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Charles-Louis Hanon


Charles-Louis Hanon

Charles-Louis Hanon.

Charles-Louis Hanon (2 July 1819 – 19 March 1900) was a French piano pedagogue and composer. He is best known for his work The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises, which has become the most widely used set of exercises in modern piano teaching.[1] He was born in Renescure, France in 1819, and died in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1900.[2]


  • Biography 1
  • The Virtuoso Pianist 2
  • Other works and derivatives 3
  • See also 4
  • Additional information 5
    • Sources 5.1
    • References 5.2
  • External links 6


Charles-Louis Hanon was born in northern France in the village of Renescure on July 2, 1819. Trained as an organist by a local teacher, it is not known if he received more advanced musical education. At age 27, he moved a short distance east from Renescure to Boulogne-sur-Mer where he lived with his brother François who was also a musician.

Music was never the exclusive focus of Hanon’s life: he was also a devout Roman Catholic, a Third Order Franciscan and a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Given his spirituality, Boulogne-sur-Mer may have been an ideal choice for a home: in addition to its fine churches, the city also contained numerous religious schools and charitable organizations.

It is known from an 1869 article that Hanon was involved with a monastic order called “Les Frères Ignorantins,” also known as “Brothers of the Christian Schools.” Founded in the 17th-century by Saint John Baptist de la Salle, the schools run by the order provide free instruction to poor children. One such school was established in Boulogne-sur-Mer in approximately 1815 by Léon de Chanlaire and Father Benoit Agathon Haffreingue, free music instruction was offered there by 1830.(1)

It may have been for the school and its pupils that Hanon later wrote his Système nouveau.

The Virtuoso Pianist

Piano students all over the world know of Hanon’s famous training exercises. Both Sergei Rachmaninoff and Josef Lhévinne claimed Hanon to be the secret of why the Russian piano school delivered an explosion of virtuosi in their time, for the Hanon exercises have been obligatory for a long time throughout Russian conservatories; there were special examinations at which one had to know all exercises by heart, to be played in all tonalities at high speed.

Although most respected pedagogues and pianists acknowledge the value of Hanon's exercises, they have their detractors. Some critics have questioned the merits of the independent finger technique which the exercises seek to cultivate, with some pedagogues, such as Abby Whiteside, considering them to be actively harmful.

It has been a recent trend for music schools to hold a Hanon Marathon, in which the exercises are played competitively, the Church Street School for Music and Art being the first to have coined the term and held the event.

Other works and derivatives

Hanon also wrote 50 instructional pieces, Méthode Élémentaire de Piano, and a collection of 50 Ecclesiastical Chants.

Charles Nunzio wrote Hanon for Accordion,[3] a two-volume set of exercises for piano accordion based on a similar philosophy, which has recently been reissued in an updated edition.

A Hanon for guitar and bass have also been written.[4]

See also

Additional information


  • Josef Lhévinne - Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing
  • James Francis Cooke - Great pianists on piano playing (chapter - Rachmaninov)


  1. ^ Espie Estrella. "Profile of Charles-Louis Hanon". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  2. ^ The Free Library. "Charles-Louis Hanon's life and works". Music Teachers National Association, Inc. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Landers, Jay. "Charles Nunzio". Accordion Usa. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Wolfe, Paul. "Bass Hanon Volume 1". How To Play Bass. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 

External links

  • The Hanon exercises at
  • "Hanon in 60 Seconds" at
  • Free scores by Charles-Louis Hanon at the International Music Score Library Project
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.