Mechanics, Musicality, Technique-a Tripartite Analysis

Here technique, there musicality-an ancient comparison which is senseless and has done great damage to the perfection of playing. There should be a three-part division: mechanism, musicality, and technique, which when used musically is the mechanism.

It is the mechanism alone that is necessary-for the juggler, sharpshooter, or maker of fine instruments; on the other hand a "musical" person-because of his musicality, his knowledge about the music, or his love for music-is still not necessarily an artist.

There are many amateurs who have more sensitivity to music than some artists. There are nonprofessional people who are experts in the field of music. I knew a French general who had the most amazing knowledge of Bach.

If there is no fitting definition for talent, there is also none for an artist. I believe that an artist is a person who has an inexplicable longing for music, who has a knowledge of the music, combined with mastery of the mechanics of his instrument. Each of these components consists of a combination of innumerable items. In the case of music, come the different styles. In the case of man, there is temperament, education, dependence on physical conditions (which only to a certain extent coalesce in the same person, resulting in better or worse players), and even a predilection for specific periods within music.

A person with extroverted, that is, uninhibited temperament will not be able to render well the great passion of Mozart, his most daring ideas, his wit, longing, heroism, and beauty in as representatively idiomatic or compelling manner as might have been possible in Mozart's time. On the other hand he may be a born interpreter of Tschaikovsky.

Much nonsense is expounded because art has been misplaced in the spheres, as if nothing solid or craftsmanlike exists. How wrong this is. The great composers and interpreters were scornful of this view of art. Even a Beethoven had, even as his first works had already come out, continued studying counterpoint, and I myself have seen a manuscript of Beethoven's in which he had written counterpoint studies; and at the end he says, if I remember correctly: it could be done correctly another way as well. Leopold Mozart in his Violinschule scolds the musicians who use the word "artist" loosely, yet cannot even keep time.



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