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Editorial Notes

Poor timists need to exaggarate (sic) the accents in whatever they are studying. When learning a piece, all accents and points of emphasis need to be particularly overpowered. But this does not imply piano pounding. The correct way to accent is to play the unaccented parts of a measure softly.
“When you make music without time,
You will find mortar without lime.”
Never perform for another a piece that has difficulties which cause hesitation in private. The mere fact that there are difficulties makes the performer nervous, and when in this state one makes needless mistakes. These bring mortification with increasing nervousness, and ultimate failure. There is no one thing that needs to be reiterated and drilled into the mind of a student more than passage practice. Every difficulty must be conquered when first met, by a slow, accurate, and painstaking practice. The special difficulty of a run is in its fingering. Just what notes are to be played are readily learned. The difficulties require some painstaking in their solution, but nine-tenths of the practice of the other passages is for the sake of drilling the fingering into the hand. When the piece has no longer technical difficulties, and the phrasing has been clearly developed, each phrase having its proper climax, and one phrase is tastefully balanced with another, it is safe to play before others.
Why is it that in our daily newspapers, and the weeklies of the better class, monthly journals and magazines, outside of our profession, music finds so small a place? Art matters are extensively reviewed. The lives of artists and descriptions of their pictures are given a large amount of space, while among the readers of such magazines there can be but a small per cent, who are especially interested, because only a wealthy few of cultivated taste, and those who appreciate higher art and have time to visit the city art galleries, take any special interest in this subject; whereas, from the lodging-room of the poor mechanic to the brown-stone mansion, there may be found musical instruments, ranging from the mouth-organ and jews’-harp to the most expensive piano and pipe organ. Now-a-days almost every young lady plays, and now that music is so commonly taught in our public schools, all the children sing. Whatever the children do attracts the parents’ interest, and it would seem that no one subject could be mentioned in our daily, weekly and monthly journals that would engage the interest of so many people as music. They would not only do great good for the advancement of our art, improving the Sunday-school and church music, and lending their interest to the establishment of amateur orchestras and chorus societies, but they would furnish a department of their periodicals that would be eagerly read by almost all their subscribers.
There is no doubt but that in the minds of the middle aged and older people of our country there remains much of the olden time prejudice against musical art and its votaries. It used to be said, when a man was good for nothing else they made a music teacher or fiddler of him, and that idea still clings to the minds of a lamentably large portion, even, of educated people. But a new order of things is fast sweeping away that unfounded and unreasonable prejudice.
The August number will be especially attractive. Mr. Finck, perhaps the leading musical critic of our country, contributes an article entitled “Shall I Compose?” E. Sherwood Vining writes a practical article upon “The Cultivation of the Imagination,” showing how to interest young pupils. On other pages we present several articles of sprightly, lively reading, more adapted to the summer months.
One of our editors gives a timely article entitled
“Success,” appealing practically to the interest of teachers.” “Short Sentences from Beethoven’s Literary Writings,” compiled by W. F. Gates, are paragraphs well showing Beethoven to be not only a composer, but a deep thinker upon all musical subjects.
“Arrah, but the gossoon knows how to lave ‘is finger down an the roight kay,” said an Irish woman when a young man sat down at the instrument and dashed off a few noisy chords and sweeping runs; the same prelude, by the way, that he has played for the last seven years.
Not infrequently we meet amateurs who have a noisy, showy way of putting a prelude to whatever they are going to play. This same genus is very much given to improvisation. A few bizarre chords interspersed with some dashing runs, a short bit of melody here, a few staccato notes there, seems to make up their whole stock of ideas. If such aspire to play the organ, they entirely ignore the grand creations of the masters of that instrument, and regale their long-suffering congregation with full chords on the tonic, dominant and sub-dominant, and a few well-worn chromatic alterations; the whole plentifully interspersed with “hand-organ” runs. Perhaps they never analyze their own feelings, but any musician would say of such performances, that the player was trying to hide his own ignorance by the noisy display he made, and cover the poverty of his invention by his striking chords and showy runs. He reminds one of the cuttlefish, who is too cowardly to give battle, and so stirs up an inky and murky cloud in the water, and thus blinding the enemy makes good his escape. Or of the ingenious fable, from Æsop, of the gnat sitting on the axle of a flying chariot, complacently saying to himself, ” What a dust I am kicking up.”
This style of amateur scratches his name on the keyboards and writes it in all the books; if he should own a diamond, he certainly gets his illustrious name on all the window-panes, so great is his thirst for immortality, so determined is he that his name shall ever be before an admiring public.
A pianist of this class once had the audacity to call upon Liszt. As was his custom before receiving new pupils, the master invited him to play. Our friend sat at the instrument before Liszt and a room full of pupils—many of whom have since become famous—and dashed into his prelude of chords and runs. Liszt, who was a master of sarcasm, turned to the assembled pupils and remarked, “He plays almost as well as some pianoforte tuners.”

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