MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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MUSICAL MEMORY.                                           33
58.   In the previous chapters we have considered the various forms of memory by which we are able to memorize piano music for performance, as well as the passages most suited to each form, and the reason of such suitability; and the most casual reader must have noticed, that there are very few passages which cannot be memorized by several different forms of memory. It was seen that the various forms do not exercise them­selves over separate provinces having clearly defined boundaries, but rather, that there was one common ground over which, with certain limitations, all had a right of way, and which it was possible for all to traverse at the same moment, though perhaps not with equal facility.
59.   While admitting this we must, however, never lose sight of the fact that Music appeals primarily to our sense of hearing, and that the pre-eminent characteristic of a musician should be the possession of a trained and sensitive ear and a corresponding memory for musical sounds. In memory-playing, the memory of the ear therefore is the form which one might naturally expect to bear the greatest amount of responsibility. Yet there are many good musicians and other capable executants, who are unable to trust their unaided ear to remember all the details of a long and complicated composition; while we believe that some who play piano music from memory, hardly rely upon their ear at all to supply information with respect to the notes. Therefore, although our investigation into the forms of memory employed is completed, we are still confronted with this not unimportant nor uninteresting question,— What influences the selection and employment of the other forms of memory which help us to complete the task that is beyond the unaided power of the ear to accomplish ? Is there any Intellectual law which controls such selection, or is it purely the result of circumstances of an accidental and capricious nature ?
To a brief discussion of this problem we shall now address ourselves, and endeavour to place before our readers some conclusions which we have come to on this subject and which to us seem neither unreasonable nor unsatisfactory. If they supply but "the feeblest light, or even so much as a more precise recognition of the darkness which is the first step to attainment of light," we believe they will not be unwelcome.
60.   In playing piano music from memory the selection and employ­ment of some special forms of memory in preference to other possible forms can only be due to the influence of one or more of the following conditions. First, The nature of the music itself. Second, The method of study employed. Third, The peculiarities of the individual memor­izing. These three conditions cover the whole ground, and if we can eliminate from them all the circumstances which are of a varying and
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