Saturday, November 18, 2006

Schumann "Musical Rules at Home and in Life"

Well, today I went to Half Price Books. I came home with some good gems.
(1) Recording of Bach: St. Matthew Passion
(2) Sarah Groves Songbook [For Linds]
(3) Album Fur Die Jugend Kinderszenen, Robert Schumann [For Piano]

I'm not an excellent pianist, but I have been practicing more and more and I was really excited to get this. Anyhow, there is a section at the back of the book called "Musical Rules at Home and in Life". I thought I'd list a few for your reading pleasure:)
"Do not be frightened by words like Theory, Thoroughbass, Counterpoint etc. They can be your friends if you approach them in a friendly manner. [Mrs. Schneider...are you reading this:)]"

"Never play an instrument which needs tuning. [Guilty:)]"

"Make efforts, even if your voice is not a good one, to sing at sight without the help of the instrument; in this way the sharpness of your hearing will continually improve. If you have a beautiful voice, waste no opportunity to have it trained, and treat it as the finest gift Heaven can bestow on you! [Ummm... I think salvation is the finest gift, but I get what he means.]"

"Children are not made into healthy people by eating sweets, cakes and icing. Spiritual food, like food for the body, must be plain and wholesome. The latter has been amply provided by the Great Masters; keep to it. [I think music was definitely an idol for this man. He's right about the spiritul food, but wrong that "music" is the spiritual food!]"

"A lot can be learned from singers, but do not believe everything they tell you. [The same goes for pianists and composers, no?]"

"There are many people in the world. Be modest, there is nothing you can invent or think of that has not already been invented or thought of by somebody else. If you do think of something original, regard it as a gift from above to be shared with others. [Amen.]"

"Learn early on to read the old clefs. Otherwise many treasures of the past will be withheld from you. [This is why I hope my kids someday can learn Greek and Latin and maybe a few other languages:)]"

"If Heaven has given you a vivid imagination, then you will often spend solitary hours sitting at the piano as if in a trance seeking the harmonies to express your innermost feelings. The more mysteriously you feel yourself drawn as it were into a magic circle, the more elusive seems the world of harmony. These are the happiest hours of youth. But beware of over-indulging a talent that may lead you to waste time and energy on phantoms of the imagination. The mastery of form, the ability to clearly formulate thoughts, can be acquired only through the fixed symbols of notation. Therefore write more, and dream less."

"The moral laws are also those of Art. [If only "artists" followed this advice!]"

"From a pound of iron worth a few pennies can be made many thousand watch-springs, which are worth hundreds of thousands. Put to good use the pound that God has given you."

"Only if the form is first clear to you will the spirit then reveal itself. [I'm thinking the spirit is the aesthetic nature of a piece...not like a soul or the Holy Spirit.]"

[Schumann, Robert Album Fur Die Jugend Kinderszenen Fur Klavier Konemann Music Budapest, 1993 pp. 91-93]

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