The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

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INTRODUCTORY.
37
"PIANO-TALENT"
Note IV.—For§§ 3 and 5, Chapter V., pages 32 and 34. Here once again, is a point where natural endowment differs widely. Those who, with­out effort, unconsciously give Attention with full purpose, possess indeed " talent" in the most important respect of all :—
For talent itself, in its most general sense—that exhibition of a strong bias toward some particular pursuit, may be defined, from its results, as sim­ply : ability to learn with ease.
Now our ability to learn anything, directly depends on the power of our Memory—its impressionability, and its retentiveness ; and memorizing again directly depends on the degree of Attention we can provide. Hence, it is, that Power of Attention, or ability to acquire this, is synonymous with : good memory, ease in learning, and in a word "Talent."
A few words of Summary, may prevent misapprehension with regard to the question of Pianoforte '' talent: "—
Special phases of endowment are needed in addition to general Musicality.
These are : a good "piano-voice"—the possession of a sufficiently ample muscular endowment, combined with Ease in mental-muscular discrimination ; a good "Ear," not only for Time, but also particularly for the discernment of subtle distinctions in tone-quantity, and above all, in tone-Quality ; " Brains" to enable Attention to be given, combined with a personal bias toward giving the particular form of Attention demanded in playing.
These particular endowments are nevertheless not very far-reaching, unless there be besides, a general endowment musically. Musical imaginativeness is required, both emotionally and intellectually. Without that, nothing vivid can be done, however excellent the other, the special, phases of Talent.
Moreover, even such endowments do not constitute a player. To succeed as an Artist, we need besides all that, PERSISTENCE. That depends on character, on our real love for the Art, and whether we possess Health sound enough to stand the necessary close application.
For eventually, as Rubinstein once said to us Royal Academy Students: " real Hard Work is the only road to success."
"AS TO SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS AND NERVOUSNESS"
Note V.—For §7, Chapter V., page 36. This dread horror kills many a possible player. Perhaps the following advice may help to eradicate the nervousness resulting from self-consciousness. Try to realise, that when your audience is really listening, that at that moment they cannot really be conscious of you at all; for their attention is then given to Music alone, just as yours should be.
Bven if a thousand people are looking at the same spot that you are look­ing at, that fact will not render you self-conscious, nor " nervous." No, even if they are shouting at the same object that you are shouting at, nor will that do so. Hence, in performing, try to realise, that the audience is not listening to you, but is listening to the same Music that you are listening for ; i.e.: that Observation is being directed to the same spot, by yourself and your audience.
It is your duty to " look," with your ears, at a certain spot in Music at a definite time ; realise that your listener is looking at that same musical-spot, and that moment you cease being aware that he is listening to You, personally.
Moreover, once you feel that that listener's attention is directed to the same musical Point that yours is, it will intensify your attention to it, and you will see the music more vividly than in the practise-room !
It is impossible for the listener to concern himself with you personally, if he is listening to the sounds provided by your fingers in obedience to your musical wish i and vice versa: if the listener is aware of you. then he cannot
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