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Music A Language, An Art And And A Science
Infinitely less precise than the most rudimentary of languages with regard to the subject treated, on the other hand, it possesses an intensity of expression and power of communicating emotion to which no spoken language can attain, however perfect it may be.
Amateur And Artist
Whether it is a question. of acquiring the talent of an artist or an amateur, that is only one of degree, for in taking as an example the special career of a lyric artist who has to be both singer and actor, really one does not know precisely where to place the barrier that separates the professional artist from him who gives his time to music for his own pleasure.
Natural Aptitudes
This very naturally leads me to point out the too frequent fault that, from the point of view of aptitude, consists in regarding the child as a sort of continuation of ourselves, and determining his career in accordance with that which we should like to have embraced and which we regret that we did not follow.
Musical Talent In Young Children
The child (I am not speaking of an infant, but of a child of from four to six years, and perhaps older), manifests an evident pleasure in listening to music. He walks up to the piano. He loves to hear singing. He asks not to be sent to bed in the evening when there is music. That is a good sign already.
Proper Age To Begin The Study Of Music
The age at which it is expedient to begin the ele-. mentary musical instruction is essentially variable, and cannot be fixed precisely. It cannot be the same for everybody, and remains subordinate to various considerations, the principal only of which I can think of enumerating here.
Proper Length Of Time For Daily Study
Solfeggio, properly speaking, consists of singing whilst naming the notes and beating the time. It is thus that we learn to read in all the keys with equal facility, an indispensable matter for those who wish to carry their studies very far, especially in the field of composition.
Great Men On Music
Very often, at this age, the little pupil becomes enamoured of a certain instrument, listens to it with more pleasure than to any other, likes to look at it and to touch it, and to try to make it speak.
Conducting Studies Methodically And Logically
To gain this result, the great point is always to conduct the studies methodically and logically in the normal order that agrees with the first branch that we think advisable to adopt ; in a word, don't put the cart before the horse.
Proper Age To Begin Study Of An Instrument
Although realizing that I hold a contrary opinion to the greater number of teachers of special instruments, I shall never advise allowing a child, that is not to be exhibited as a phenomenon at shows and circuses, to study any musical instrument whatever before the age of six at the earliest.
Tone, Rhythm And Time
Whatever instrument is concerned, we may say with the greatest certainty that from the instant the first elementary knowledge is acquired, what should dominate throughout the remainder of the studies is the earnest effort to create a beautiful timbre, and constantly to improve it.
Qualifications Of A Teacher
With regard to. this finishing master, whether he be young or old, a man or a woman, of a character more or less pleasing, that is a matter of absolute indifference, provided he is a great artist as well as a virtuoso of the first order.
The Piano
Of all instruments, the one the study of which can be undertaken with advantage the earliest, is most certainly the PIANO.
The Harmonium
The study of the harmonium may be a good approach to that of the Grand Organ.
The Organ
If, on the contrary, it is a question of playing the Grand Organ in a Catholic church, the studies of Fugue, Composition, Improvisation, Plain-Song and Liturgy must be added, as we have said above, and it then becomes a very complex science.
The Strings
To understand thoroughly the -difficulty attached to the study of Stringed Instruments played with the Bow, their action must be taken into account; for it is as complicated in reality as it is simple in appearance. In this each hand has an absolutely distinct employment, which is not the case in any other class of instruments.
The Violin
The VIOLIN is, perhaps, the most difficult of all instruments to play very well. At first, the study is ungrateful and irritating to the nerves ; but this does not last very long ; and the learner soon gains a little power ; it is when he attempts to go beyond this and attain real virtuosity that courageous and persistent efforts, entailing a fatigue that may sometimes be-come almost painful, are often necessary.
The Viola
Every violinist who would like to play the VIOLA can learn it very easily in a few months, without any need of a professor. He has the same experience as that of the child who has begun on a little instrument, and afterwards takes up a violin of the normal size.
The Violoncello
By reason of its compass and its several registers, the violoncello is the only instrument that demands the knowledge of three clefs : the treble, tenor and bass (G, C in alt. and F).
The Double Bass
To play the DOUBLE-BASS, it is better to be big and strong, and to have robust hands and fingers that will stretch easily. However, there are double-bass players of medium height who prove that the choice of their large instrument was justified.
The Harp
Formerly very numerous, the family of instruments of plucked strings is to-day reduced exclusively to one individual, the HARP, which was formerly, even during the best period and even while it was still very imperfect, its most beautiful representative.
The Wood Wind
There is less reason for us to enlarge upon Wood-Wind Instruments, the study of which in fact is easier, except when we wish to attain exceptional virtuosity in them, in which case it offers as much difficulty as any others.
The Flute
The natural qualifications that are especially favourable to the practice of the flute are : rather thin lips, regular teeth, sound lungs and supple and delicate fingers.
The Oboe
The study of the Oboe is very difficult; the instrument is full of pitfalls for the pupil, and the latter must exercise great perseverance in order to acquire an execution that is clean, and to attain a certain ability.
The Clarinet
The CLARINET may be begun without imprudence at a little earlier age, about ten, if the child is strongly constituted ; sooner than this, the respiration is not sufficiently long.
The Brass - Horn, Trumpet, Cornet And Trombone
All the brass instruments, with the exception of the cornet, present themselves under two types : the simple type that emits merely a few tones, though of great beauty ; and the chromatic type, which can sound all the notes contained in its compass, but with a less pure and less characteristic quality of tone.
The Horn
There are therefore two kinds of Horns, the Cor d'harmonie, or French horn, and the valve horn, of more recent invention, which is tending more and more to supplant the old one in the orchestra.
The Trumpet
The TRUMPET is like the horn ; the same name includes two instruments : the simple Trumpet and the Trumpette pistons or chromatic trumpet.
The Cornet
At the age of twelve, one can put the CORNET PISTONS in the hands of a child, if, however, he has not a weak constitution ; in the contrary case it would be better to wait, for up to the age of twenty at least, it will be quite time enough.
The Trombone
One of the most beautiful and powerful voices in the modern orchestra is the TROMBONE. Admirable in expressing strong and noble sentiments, it becomes simply ridiculous when it is meanly reduced to marking time, or reinforcing the bass in dance music, which proves the nobility of its character.
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