MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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MUSICAL MEMORY.                                               391
forthwith go to the piano to discover its beauties. If our task has been the harmonization of a melody, or any similar exercise which leaves the selection of chords to the pupil, it is curious how rarely a progression which could in any sense be described as beautiful is discoverable. We do not think we are overstating the case when we say that no student discovered what a special gift he possessed for introducing the greatest number of ugly harmonic progressions in the smallest number of bars, until he began to harmonize melodies. The student we do not condemn, but we do not acquit either the method by which he is taught, the teacher who employs the method, or the examiner who connives at its employment by examining harmony students entirely by paper, work, and who thereby tends to encourage a radically wrong perception of the subject. The solution of this-problem is the clear memorization of the sound of every chord as it is introduced for study, and before any but a very general idea of its treatment is given; and to prove this has been done effectually by the ability to write chords and short progressions of such from dictation ;. as, however, we believe the cure really lies in the hands of musical examiners, we have reserved our final words on this subject until Chapter XII.
75.  The Performance of Piano Music from Memory.—Hitherto-we have considered the necessity of the cultivation of musical memory quite apart from its connection with performance, we will now endeavour to show the necessity, or at least the advisability, of the cultivation of it (and also of the other forms employed) from the point of view of the executant who is desirous of becoming a fully equipped musician.
76.   At the present time all the greatest executants play without the book, and many who are not great, in this respect follow in the train of those they fain would rival, and we cannot but think that every one who is looking forward to public performance, must recognize the fact that memory-playing is no unimportant condition in helping to secure success. But putting aside all thoughts of public performance, simply as a form of mental training, we think all fairly advanced piano students should be taught to play to some extent without the book. Before we teach school boys to recite Shakespeare, we do not inquire whether they are intended for the "Lyceum," or the House of Commons, or for public reciting and speaking of any kind. Their learning to recite from memory is amongst other things a means of training their memory for continued and sustained effort, and as such is a valuable intellectual exercise. If musical education means, not merely gaining a certain facility in performing upon one, or more musical instruments, and a knowledge of Harmony and Counterpoint sufficient to create in us a holy horror of "fifths," and "tritones," but in its true sense embraces a harmonious training and development of all the physical, intellectual and emotional powers employed by the musician, then we see no reason for omitting a course of memory training for sustained effort from the education of the piano student. The neglect with which this power is treated in musical education often leads students to assert that they have no memory for musical performance. The majority of individuals possess the various powers of" memory in some degree, but whether they know how to train them, and to exercise
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