MUSICAL MEMORY - online book

A System To Cultivate The Musical Memory For Musicians.

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hindrance to the study of Music for the love of Music itself; it has kindled in us an ambition to become successful candidates or gold and silver medalists, rather than artists and musicians: and it has made us prone to glory in the number and rarity of our alphabetical distinctions rather than that we are apostles of Joy, and high priests of the Beautiful in the glorious Temple of Musical Art
113.   It is not our province to discuss the question of Examinations as a whole, but it was necessary to point out that musical education is practically controlled at the present time by examinations, to show that any weak points in the prevailing scheme of education, could be most effectively and completely remedied by modifying our scheme of examination accordingly.
114.  The Necessity of Ear Tests in All Harmony Examinations. —As we stated in a previous chapter, if there is one specially weak spot in our general scheme of musical education, it is in providing insufficient direct ear-training, or in imperfectly cultivating our memory for musical sounds. We drew attention to the fact that all real progress in Harmony and kindred studies is impossible where such is neglected to any great extent. Considering this, it seems to us little short of fabulous that in recent years, examiners, eminent and experienced, having stood on plat­forms of associations and examining colleges, and in diploma-distributing and other speeches, having delivered themselves of these same sentiments, having emphasised the importance of ear-training, having asserted that by its neglect other studies suffer, and because it is neglected, harmony students, unable to hear mentally what they write down, manufacture progressions, unsurpassed and unsurpassable in ugliness and absurdity, examiners having stated all this, and thus correctly diagnosed the case, there stop short and fail to take the one step which shall remedy this evil, or to apply the one cure which shall deliver us from the effects of this rampant disease.
115.   We must admit that to us the remedy seems as simple as it is obvious. // consists in compelling students to memorize the sound of intervals, chords, and progressions, and to associate such with their correct signs in musical notation, and to prove that this has been done effectually by their ability to write them down from dictation ; a test in which of some kind should be included in every examination scheme. We should be wanting in any sense of justice if we here failed to acknowledge the work in this direction done by several examining institutions.* But in the examinations for the diplomas most sought after by professional musicians, we have failed to discover that any dictation tests exist, and yet it is with respect to these higher examinations that complaints of badly harmonized melodies and such like are frequently heard.
116.   As a general rule Harmony examinations consist entirely of paper work, yet when we ask students to write harmonic progressions
* We here refer to the Tonic Sol-fa College Examinations, and in more recent years and to a limited extent by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, whilst the examinations of the recently established Incorporated Staff Sight Singing College show an advance in this direction of which at present it is impossible to estimate the influence. We are also glad to note that in future, a*simple ear-test will be included in the " Practical" Local Examin­ations held by Trinity College, London.
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