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Paperback | Out of Print | 171 pp. | 6 x 9 in | January 1993 | ISBN: 9780262691611
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Ways of the Hand

The Organization of Improvised Conduct


This is David Sudnow's classic account of how his hands learned to improvise jazz on the piano.

David Sudnow is the author of Passing On and editor of Studies in Social Interaction. Since writing this book, he has developed a piano training method based on its insights.

About the Author

David Sudnow is the author of Passing On, on the sociology of medical care; Talk's Body, on language and music; and Pilgrim in the Micro World, on the nature of the body-computer interface. Over the past two decades, he has developed a widely used piano teaching method on the basis of experiences first described in this book.


“With astonishing descriptive precision, the author compels the reader to think and feet along with him as his fingers progress toward intimacy with the keyboard. 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


“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 know-how and to a foundation of a method for learning more.”
Hubert L. Dreyfus, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley