MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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capricious nature, what is left must form the basis upon which any ultimate principle of selection, if such exists, must rest. With this object in view we will proceed to consider each possible source of influence separately.
61.   Our First condition referring to the Nature of the Music to be memorized, includes not only a recognition of the peculiar character of Music as organised sounds, but also of such other special features thereof as may be brought into prominence when it is played upon a keyboard instrument like the piano, and may therefore in performance be brought into contact with other forms of memory such as Muscular Memory. Music addresses its universal appeal to the ear, while the moulding of its materials appeals to the intellect of the music­ally educated. Any ultimate principle of selection must therefore first and foremost be consistent when applied to facts which refer to the very essence and nature of music. Again, when music is considered with reference to performance on the piano, complete control over certain parts of the muscular organism is a vital condition of success. Another fact therefore which our ultimate principle must recognize is the in-dispensible conditions of musical performance. Both of these are too obviously fundamental to need further discussion.
62.   Besides these two sources of influence, our first condition will also include the influence which may be the result of the special form which various passages assume. Certain passages, when brought into connection with the keyboard, may on account of its peculiarities be more readily memorized by one form than another. At the same time, however, there are many passages which are suitable to be memorized by several forms—such as Ex. 6, which appeals equally to the musical, visual, or muscular memory—and any final principle should give us some indication of the one special form which will be chiefly relied upon in such instances. We may therefore regard the influence derived from the particular form of passages as of an accidental nature, and which may be dismissed from further consideration.
63.   We will now pass to our Second possible source of influence— the Method employed in Studying a Piece. Here two cases offer themselves for consideration. First, the memorization of pieces which lie within the student's executive powers. In these cases he repeats the whole or portions simply that he may impress them upon his memory, and the various forms of memory employed would have equal opportunity to assist in the task of memorizing. Their suitability to the task and the relative superiority of them in the individual would probably determine the extent of their employment. Our Second case would be the memorization of pieces which are beyotid the student's executive powers, and which he learns to play and memorize simultaneously. In studying such, he often, in the first instance, concentrates his attention chiefly on acquiring and perfecting the necessary finger movements, and by frequent repetition of such, in order to secure absolute certainty of performance, probably memorizes large portions of the piece by muscular memory, the mere repetition of the movements required bringing that form into employment. Beyond noting that his tone was clear and firm such would not engage much
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