MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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MUSICAL MEMORY.                                                    I I
muscles which control our hand and fingers, but also, as a result of the frequent repetition of the same series of movements, to enable our muscular sense eventually to memorize those series of movements which are most frequently employed in piano playing, the perfect and instinctive performance of which is the foundation of all good technique. These trains and successions of movements are, as it were, stored up, in order that they may be ready for use when required, and employed with the least possible effort, or even without conscious effort, and they represent the foundation upon which still more difficult and complicated movements are built. In studying, therefore, the technique of new pieces, the difficulties we have to overcome are the adaptation of previously acquired successions of movements to new figures, and the acquisition of new series.
21.   From this it will be seen how very largely the cultivation and exercise of the muscular memory enters into the study of piano playing, and it is only to those who possess a delicate muscular sense, that any high degree of proficiency therein is possible. The power of producing beautiful tone and its many varieties which characterize expressive and finished playing depends, after the possession of a fine ear, entirely upon the possession of a delicate muscular sense, which has been trained until it is under complete control. By the natural possession of such, many are able to acquire in a few months a control in tone-production which others are unable to acquire in a lifetime; and in the muscular sense as in other senses, where a special delicacy of discrimination of movement exists, a special retentiveness for such will be found to co-exist.
22.   It is impossible to say how far piano music can be memorized simply by the aid of muscular memory, as the movements must always be associated with some other forms of sensation, such as touch, sound, and generally sight, all of which greatly assist in linking the movements together; but few will deny that in performing music from memory, especially that of a rapid and brilliant nature, the assistance which can be supplied by this form of memory is invaluable and almost unlimited in extent. In our present consideration of muscular memory, we shall, however, always regard it as a supplementary form with which other forms of memory are working simultaneously, and which exercise over it a certain amount of control and guidance; and we shall limit our attention to a consideration of those forms of passage which we consider specially secure when memorized by the sense under discussion, without in any way denying the possibility of memorizing other passages by this same power.
23.   Passages suitable to be Memorized by Muscular Memory. —It must be obvious that the general style of passages most readily and securely memorized by means of muscular memory, or as it is often yet less correctly called "Finger-memory," will be such as require rapid and precise finger movements, and especially what may be termed " brilliant" passages, that is, extended passages founded on scales and arpeggios, and requiring for their performance a strong, clear touch. It is not infrequently the case, that after learning to play a piece composed of difficult passages of this class, with which are
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