MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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35.   The power of memory possessed by the eye may be employed to assist the pianist in two quite different ways. It may retain the image of the printed book, or it may retain the image of the notes upon the keyboard. On the other hand its assistance can be wholly dispensed with, as is proved by the number of blind pianists, some of no mean ability.
36.   Retention of a Mental Picture of the Printed Page.— How far it is possible to retain by this form of memory an accurate mental picture of a page, or of many different pages of printed music, with all their elaborate and complicated details, will depend upon the special memory for Forms which an individual may possess, but we cannot conceive the task of memorizing by this method the music of modern composers, with all its wealth of detail, to be otherwise than a laborious one, and one which the pianist of average ability will be likely to employ to any very great extent. It is true we can often recall the general outline of a piece, and perhaps some of its more prominent details, by associating them with their position on the different pages; but the pianist with an ordinary memory for printed symbols will probably not remember much more than this by this form cf memory. When a piece is thoroughly memorized, it is by no means impossible or •even particularly difficult to revive it mentally in its printed form, but this may be done largely by the aid of other forms of memory, and our Visual memory may render little vital assistance. As a general rule those who possess this particular form of memory in a high degree, will •soon discover the fact and make use of their possession. Those who do not will find that for musical purposes the cultivation of other forms is more remunerative.
37.   Retention of a Mental Picture of the Progression on the Keyboard.—In addition to its power of retaining the symbols of musical notation, the Visual memory can also retain the order of the progression of the notes on the keyboard. In the earliest stages of pianoforte playing, the beginner learns to name the different notes correctly by recognising their position in relation to the grouping of the black notes. When this stage is passed he has to associate them with their position on the stave, and to play exercises of simple progressions from printed music. Here, two difficulties confront him, first—that of translating the musical notation on to the keyboard, and secord—that of making correct finger movements. Until he has had considerable practice, he cannot, without looking, judge the requisite
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