MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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stretch of the hand, nor the position of the finger required in order to strike accurately notes separated by an interval of several notes. But, as the habit of looking at the keyboard, if too freely indulged in, is a bar to progress in sight reading, the teacher must be careful not to allow the keyboard to monopolize more attention than is absolutely necessary to secure accurate movements, and to gradually reduce the attention in this direction, as the hand and fingers become more secure in their movements, and more completely tinder voluntary control. The tendency of beginners to play their pieces largely by the aid of visual memory, that is, by remembering the order of the notes on the keyboard, is the greatest possible hindrance in sight-reading, but when considerable advancement in execution and sight-reading has been made, this question of visual memory, loses its importance as hindering progress, and we may find this form one which we shall employ but to a very limited extent.
38. A method for accurately estimating the amount of assistance which tjiis, or any other form of memory may contribute to the complex act of memorizing, is as far as possible to consider such in isolation, and apart from its combination and co-operation with other forms of memory. For this purpose let us take a dumb keyboard, and try to memorize some passage of single notes and of moderate length, not by means of the printed music, but by seeing some other person play it upon this keyboard. In this case, assuming that a knowledge of Harmony does not exist, we have a task which exercises merely our power of remembering the order of the notes upon the keyboard by the aid of visual memory. We are appealing to the eye, and therefore the regular distribution of colour (black and white), and the repetition of a figure or pattern, will represent the simplest exercises for this form of memory. Thus, scale passages, grand arpeggios and all other passages based upon the recurrence of some established pattern, are easily retained. Ex. 15 illustrates this:—
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