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Preface to " The Act of Touch."
Ability to understand and feel Music, and ability to communicate such perceptions to others by means of an instrument, are two totally distinct accomplishments. They have often been confused, owing to the fact, that it is impossible to achieve a really satisfactory musical performance without their happy combination.
To become pianoforte players, we must learn Music, and must acquire Taste, but we can only succeed in expressing what we feel, musically, by means of the physical act of key-depression. In short, the purely physical act of playing
consists solely of an act of Touch,—an act of Tone-production. All the gradations of Agility (fieetness of finger), Duration (staccato and legato), as well as all the contrasts of Tone-inflection depend solely and directly on the nature of this act; and it is therefore upon our expertness in the Art of Touch that the whole superstructure of Pianoforte-playing rests. The Art of Touch may indeed be concisely defined as : command over the Means of Expression.
This Art thus forms the very Foundation (the Elements or Rudiments) of Pianoforte-playing; and it can no more be a " gift" (as so often supposed) than is the art of articulate Speech itself ; for it can be acquired by every person of average intelligence. Its precise place in the scheme of Piano-
forte Education need not here be further dilated upon, since