The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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Note I.—For § 2, Chapter II., page 11, It is so very easy not to "listen" properly; but instead, merely to hear. In the latter case, the only result can be, that we simply hear that which our automatic centres happen to play ; whereas, by listening—outwardly and inwardly, we shall perhaps succeed in " doing" that which our inner ear directs.
Our eyes can give us a similar difference of experience; for we may look at a page, a picture, or a scene, and fancy we " see" ; and yet all the while, we are not even trying to perceive. A fact we shall immediately discover, if we try to reproduce that page, picture, or scene !
It is the same, if we wish to communicate an idea. Unless we ourselves definitely try to see that thought, we shall certainly be unable to communi­cate it.
We can neither paint, draw, nor write successfully, unless we have an inner picture we wish to fulfil through the implement in our hands.
In fact, a keen—but unconscious—analysis of the thing that is to appear, has all the while to precede the " doing." To the extent that such analysis is efficient, to that extent only can the Artist "see" or " feel," as he puts it,— he himself being naturally unaware of his own mental processes. To com­municate the thing seen, he must have the power of execution ; he must have the knowledge and experience that will unconsciously guide him to choose the exact combinations of colours and shapes, that will render his Conceptions —facts of the Imagination—into physical Actuality.
It is customary to quiz a novice, experimenting with a gun, and to assert, that having aimed most carefully, he after all closes his eyes before pulling the trigger !
It is however no exaggeration to assert that ninety-nine out of every hun­dred Piano students act analogously at their instrument! Even if they do go so far as to think of the actual key they mean to deal with, yet, when it comes to the act of depressing it—the very process itself of using it to excite sound, then they end, after all, by making an un-Aimed muscular effort,—with their Ears perfectly shut, so far as attention is concerned I In playing, it is the pro­pulsion of the key during its short descent, that has to be " aimed" ; merely to reach the right key, and to get it down " somehow," does not constitute a musi­cally-directed sound.
The mistake arises, from not perceiving that each musical sound must be as much the outcome of the musical Will, as must be the lines constituting a drawing, or piece of penmanship. Non-perception of the fact that a Sownd is a mere unit, meaningless by itself, arises from the fact, that a musical sound
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