An accompanist should never be too assertive. At the same time, especially with nervous or uncertain soloists, some “lead” or encouragement is often required. An experienced musician will know exactly what to do. In the case of amateur accompanists, however, the following hints may be useful. If the “attack” of a singer is clear and decisive, and every nuance of expression and rate of performance are carefully observed, it is the duty of the accompanist to “keep with,” rather than anticipate, the solo part.
In all cases the faculty of “looking ahead” must be cultivated. Even eminent singers occasionally take liberties with the music they interpret. Sometimes pauses are overlooked, or, working up to a climax, the speed is accelerated, although no indication that this should be done appears in the notation. Under such circumstances, a good accompanist will accommodate himself, or herself, in such a way, to the solo performer, that no sense of “dragging” or want of agreement is conveyed. In this way the playing of accompaniments really implies that the individuality of the accompanist must be subservient to the soloist. This is, however, only as it should be; otherwise the fitting in of parts—the background of the picture—is incongruous.—Dr. Annie W. Patterson in “Chats with Music Lovers.”
Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. Although the spirit be not master of that which it created through music, yet it is blessed in this recreation, which, like every creation of art, is mightier than the artist.—Beethoven.
Etude Magazine. August, 1909