MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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of his attention. Thus it will be seen that the frequent repetition which is required in order to acquire the power of playing passages, which are relatively speaking, difficult, inevitably forces into employment the muscular memory to a larger extent than would be the case if greater powers of execution were posessed. On the other hand, if to play the correct notes of a passage presents no difficulty, but it presents one in securing the correct gradation and varieties of tone, then our attention would be chiefly directed to listening and criticising the succession of notes and the tone of such, and although the movements would be repeated, and thus to some extent memorized, yet because they present little or no difficulty and consequently receive a smaller amount of attention, the muscular memory would be less secure than the musical one.
64.   The special difficulty which a passage presents to a student will be that to the overcoming of which he will direct the greater part of his attention, and the organ of sense chiefly appealed to will be as it •were forced into employment to a greater extent than other powers, and the passage will tend to be most securely memorized by this form of memory. The influence in the selection of special forms which is exerted by the method of study, varies therefore, it will be seen, accord­ing to the difficulties presented by the piece, and we shall have to look still deeper into the matter if any fundamental principle of selection is to be discovered.
65.   We have now considered the influence exerted by the music itself, and by the method of studying it; but beyond bringing into prominence the fact that the special nature of music and the necessary conditions of its performance favour the employment of certain powers rather than others, we have discovered no data from which it would be possible to deduce a principle or law admitting of general application, as to the relative extent to which the. various forms of memory are employed. We will therefore turn our attention to the Third source of influence arising out of the Peculiarities of the Individual engaged in memorizing, for it is clear that if a principle does exist, his personal endowments should supply us with the data from which it must be discovered.
66.   Here two distinct aspects claim our attention. The first is the relatively different degrees of retentive power possessed by the various senses employed, as exhibited in the average individual. Thus the eye possesses the greatest power, the ear a lower power, and the muscular memory a power much lower still, while our power of intellectual memory would correspond to our power of general retentiveness. The other aspect of the individual which we have to note is the possession of superior or inferior natural gifts, such as a peculiarly sensitive ear, or eye, or a delicate muscular sense. Beyond recognizing the twofold aspect in which the powers of the individual may be regarded, it will not be necessary to discuss them otherwise than collectively, and with this object we shall therefore turn our attention for a moment from a consideration of the single faculty of memory, and glance at the com­plete group of powers or faculties, as exhibited by the individual, and the influence which these may have in directing his tastes and pursuits.
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