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GENERAL RULES FOR PLAYING
THE SERAPHINE OR MELODEON. 9
and endeavor to fix them in his memory; as it is not by play ing over a few times what was easy at first sight, that he can make progress, and preserve unity in the execution of a piece.
Before acquiring a certain degree of excellence on an instrument, the pupil should not indulge in playing from memory ; but, eventually, this may be done with advantage.
To render a piece of music comprehensive to the hearers, the player must comprehend it himself, seize upon its character, feel the melodies of the author, and give them adequate expression. But the performer must not believe, as some do, that expression means passionate and languid playing; or that the eyes, the elbows, and the whole body, should, necessarily, sustain a part in the execution; for there is nothing more tiresome and ridiculous than this constant desire of infusing sentiment into a piece.
To play with expression, is to give each passage its true character; and as this character can be, by turns, light, sombre, animated, tranquil, uniform, lively and pleasing, and sometimes even harsh and crude, the execution should reflect intelligibly these different shades. For the sake of contrast, the composer, introducing a sweet and tender air, may preface it with harsh chords and wild passages. To heighten the effect of a brilliant idea, he may enclose it in a simple and naked framework; misconceptions on the part of the player in rendering such examples, may destroy the greatest beauties, and renders them entirely unintelligible.
A piece new to the pupil should be studied in a moderate movement, so that he can observe strictly the beats, and the various accidental signs and marks of articulation; as, the staccato, legato, forte, piano, rinforzando, diminuendo, etc.
In order to obtain perfect equality and unity in passages demanding the use of both hands, it is necessary to exercise them often separately, the left hand especially, which is the weakest.
Young players imagine they increase their progress, in choosing pieces beyond their ability; but they are grossly deceived ; for thus it is that, in a short time, good habits, previously acquired, are lost, the execution is rendered weak and uncertain, and, finally, all idea of correct playing is lost. Let them always choose pieces according to their abilities; mistrust fashionable music, where difficulties are heaped together with puerile affectation; and believe that excellence is alone attained by persevering and well-directed study.
The pupil, should not, however, practice timidly, and, for the purpose of greater certainty, phrase by phrase. I recommend freedom in study as well as in playing, and condemn practising a composition by piecemeal.
This last rule has, nevertheless, many exceptions, which must be observed. For example, the easiest pieces often present some particular difficulties, either of fingering or time. These passages the pupil should study with the greatest care,