MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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PART I. —•*«—
i. General and Special Memory.—The faculty of memory is one of our great primary intellectual powers, and every conscious act, and the large majority of unconscious ones, are the result of the past or present exercise of it. If it were possible for a child to be born absolutely without a memory, it could only become a helpless imbecile, and its life would be a total blank, a darkness to which the darkness of the simply blind would be as brilliant sunshine. Every sane person possesses the power of retention or memory, although individuals exhibit strongly marked differences in the degree to which they possess it. Beyond, however, the difference in the degree of general retentiveness which individuals display, an aptitude for retaining some particular class of impression is often a noticeable feature. Thus, one will be most susceptible to sensations of colour, another to those of form, another to those of sound, and so on; and even with sensations belonging to one class, such as auditory ones, we find that a special power of retention of musical tones does not necessarily carry with it an equal power of retention of articulate sounds as is required in learning to speak a foreign language. From this we see that the faculty of memory is not a simple power, but one which is divisible into as many compartments as there are kinds of impression. These compartments are all more or less independent, and may, and often do, exhibit wide differences both in their original retentive capacity and their subsequent development.
2.   Special Memory.—The first step towards the retention of sense-impressions is the accurate perception of them. This depends on the fineness or sensibility of the organ employed; and as a general rule we find that the retentive power of an individual for any special class of impression varies directly with the discriminative power of the organ which responds to the particular form of excitement created by the corresponding class of sensation.
3.   Let us consider this question for a moment with reference to two of our most valuable organs of sense. The possessor of an eye peculiarly
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