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Leigh Hunt On the Piano.

A pianoforte is a most agreeable object. It is a piece of furniture with a soul in it, ready to wake at a touch, and charm us with invisible beauty. Open or shut, it is pleasant to look at; but open it looks best, smiling at us with its ivory, like the mouth of a sweet singer. The keys of a pianoforte are, of themselves, an agreeable spectacle—an elegance not sufficiently prized for their aspect, because they are so common, but well worth regarding even in that respect. It is one of the advantages of this instrument to the learner that there is no discord to go through in getting at a tone. Tone is ready-made. The finger touches the key, and there is music at once. Another and greater advantage is that it contains a whole concert within itself, for you may play with all your fingers, and then every one performs the part of a separate instrument.

True, it will not compare with a real concert with the rising winds of an orchestra; but in no single instrument except the organ can you have such a combination of sounds, and the organ itself cannot do for you what the pianoforte does. There are superfine ears that profess not to be able to endure a pianoforte after a concert; others that always find it to be out of tune, and more who veil their insensibility to music in general by protesting against “everlasting tinkles,” and school-girl affectation or sullenness. It is not a pleasure which a man would select to be obliged to witness affectation of any sort, much less sullenness or any other absurdity. With respect to pianofortes not perfectly in tune, it is a curious fact in the history of sounds, that no instrument is ever perfectly in tune. Even the heavenly charmer, music, being partly of earth as well as of heaven, partakes the common imperfection of things sublunary. It is, therefore, possible to have senses too fine for it if we are to be always sensible to this imperfection; to

“Die of an air in achromatic pain;”

and if we are to be thus sensible, who is to judge at what nice point of imperfection the disgust is to begin, where no disgust is felt by the general ear? As to those who, notwithstanding their pretended love of music at other times, are so ready to talk of “jingling” and ” tinkling,” whenever they hear a pianoforte, or a poor girl at her lesson, they have really no love of music whatsoever; and only proclaim as much to those who understand them. They are among the wiseacres who are always proving their spleen at the expense of their wit.

 

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