MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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special reference to works for piano and orchestra may not be without value. In studying Concertos and similar works in which the piano-part supplies but a fragmentary and incomplete idea of the whole, after the technical difficulties have been to some extent mastered, a clear, general idea of each movement should be obtained. This may be secured, either by having the tuttis, or passages for the orchestra alone, supplied on a second piano, or if such is unavailable, by the soloist himself filling up the intervals between the solos on his own instrument. Eventually, when memorizing the work as a whole, the tune of the tuttis should be carefully learnt, so that the soloist can in time rehearse the concerto in its entirety by playing merely the solo portions, and when these cease, mentally rehearsing the orchestral portions in their correct tempo, until the solo instrument re-enters. To possess a detailed idea of the complete work, and the relationship which the piano-part bears to the orchestral-part throughout, as well as the ability to supply on the piano some general idea of the orchestral tuttis, is the minimum of knowledge which could produce an intelligent interpretation.
109. Rehearsing from Memory.—After having successfully mem­orized a piece, the frequent rehearsal of it tends to make our impression of it more permanent, although the student must carefully guard against any looseness of rhythm or carelessness ot phrasing which may possibly result if such rehearsals invariably take place without reference to the book. One eminent teacher recommends his pupils never to play a piece more than two or three times from memory without returning to the book, to see that they are not departing from its instructions, and also when rehearsing to have the printed copy near them, so that in the event of any momentary failure of memory, or any uncertainty as to the exact version of a passage, they can instantly refer to it, and by so doing impress it more deeply upon the memory. Such advice cannot be too highly valued or too carefully followed by the average pianist.
no. Mental Rehearsal.—Quite distinct from the method of rehearsing a piece at the piano is the method of mentally rehearsing it, that is, of thinking it carefully through away from the instrument. To do this successfully requires not merely a greater degree of concentration but a reliance on forms of memory other than Muscular memory, which, when rehearsing at the instrument we may unconsciously rely upon to an extent that is unsafe unless other forms are able to rigorously control it. Passages which resemble one another as wholes but differ in details, as Ex. n, or which begin alike but lead in different directions, as Ex. 22, are only absolutely secure if they can be accurately rehearsed away from the instrument.
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