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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Thank you for sharing your story of the effort and time you put into writing a novel. I found it inspiring and encouraging. It is probably true that all of us have greatness within us. It's just harder and takes longer for some to reap what they sow. Perhaps the biggest stumbling block is believing that one "can't".
One part of ‘genius’ that hasn’t been brought up is the ability to ‘fully concentrate/focus’ at the task for hour’s & hour’s & hour’s. This is much more difficult them most folks imagine. Playing competitive golf and shooting at the national/international level, staying focused is....not easy. Tiger was being interviewed and the guy said, ‘you have to admit that your supremely gifted to play golf’. His response was illuminating: ‘Maybe, but you guys have never given me credit for hitting over a million golf balls.’
Ubu, everything I ever heard or read about Mozart said his composing was almost like taking dictation. Perhaps this is a very romanticized version of the truth. He had to have worked very hard, but I disagree that anyone can achieve his level through hard work. Their has to be some innate talent there. I'm not saying that I am correct in my opinion. Recent research has found that we are capable of much more than we think, and our limits may be in proportion to the beliefs instilled in us from an early age.
On the taking dictation aspect -- When I improvise, I also "take dictation" from my mind's ear on what to do, and hear in advance what I'm going to play, at least some of the time. It's not as special as you might think. It comes naturally after a few years of trying to compose/improvise. I think I started doing it more naturally after 2-3 years. You need to listen a lot to internalize the style. Doing it as well as Mozart may be a gift, but many people can do this with some experience.
It's like shakespeare and the theatre, he's basically just rambling alot of the time, and wrote a bunch of sex stuff. Then the audience takes over and the echo chamber effect arbitrarily brings one artist ahead of the rest.
We also have to be very careful of art critics and historians because they're parasitic in nature, by echoing that the subjects of their writing are gods, they elevate their own work by leeching on that fame which may just be sets of random events.
And the other side of THIS is that this is pure cynical BS. There was a reason for the popularity of Shakespeare and it wasn't that he rambled. It was that people appreciated his work and got something out of it. Same goes for Mozart. Art criticism can have its problems, but being PR hacks is not one of them.
"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." - Gertrude Stein
"People make a mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over."
I think that is about the formation of the basis for his art. The actual writing of music was a later result of that work.
He once said that he wrote music as easily as a sow urinates. To me, that means his experience of writing music was that it just rather mindlessly came out. But I don't know the context of his comment - he may well have wanted it to have a particular effect on some specific person or group.
This talent myth is just a myth, to 99% at least. What you need is passion. Some people just love to do certain things, so they do it a lot. They don't spare themselves any effort to improve. After a while, when their diligence starts to pay off, others say "ooh, what a talent, I could NEVER do that myself!"
I think you are just re-labeling "talent" as "passion", for whatever reason.
And no, most people at age three can't wander over to a piano and reproduce a tune they just heard, no matter how hard they try. But there are innumerable cases of talented people who did just that or something very similar. And they weren't old enough to have put in a lot of hard work to achieve that ability.
I haven't got time to compare the symphonies (and how could anything compare to Mozart's #40?), but I love, love, love the F-sharp minor sonata by Clementi. I think it's an amazingly modern composition for the time, much more a 'romantic' piece than most of its contemporaries. The second movement is almost Chopin-like. Having said that, I don't think Horowitz plays the first movement con espressione at all. I would like it a bit slower and, well, with more expression.
But I also love love love Mozart's A-minor sonata. So there's that.
For me, most great composers were larger than life. I can't begin to understand how Mozart was able to write all that he wrote in his short life. 27 piano concertos, 8 or 10 opera's, 40+ symphonies, sonatas, chamber music ... I mean, How?? I have a manuscript copy of the Rondo 511, and there's literally not one correction in the writing. I truly believe he composed in his head and only had to write it down. Which is how Brahms did it as well, by the way. He went for a walk, came back, and wrote down a new piece.
It's been a very long time since I read it, but as I recall, Paul Hindemith's book The Craft of Musical Composition recommended that composers have a composition complete in their heads in every detail before writing it down. He seemed to think that was within the capability of anybody who wanted to compose music.
Richard Strauss stated that composition was 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration, he must have known his business.
DolceSfogato - Or maybe it was Thomas Edison who stated that success was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration?
Or are you saying that Richard Strauss was a plant ("transpiration")?
That's alright though, we all get a quote mixed up every now and then...even if it's in 3 different spots throughout a single quote : )
Last edited by Stormbringer; 04/27/2103:49 PM.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Working on Alfred's Adult AIO Book 2 1970's: Took piano lessons. 2021: This old man is giving it a 2nd go. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Feel The Power>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"This talent myth is just a myth, to 99% at least" No it's not. Some people can play pieces at the age of 5 that others can't learn in 10 years. And not just because they practice more. If you believe that you only need talent and no hard work to be successful, yes, I believe that's a myth. I have taught piano to children and it's easy to spot the difference in talent.
The sheer volume of works Mozart produced in his very short life are nothing short of remarkable. I'm sure he worked hard, but he had some special genius that allowed him to pour our masterpieces at such a pace.
I don't believe every composer is at his level - he may be truly unique. But there exists much beautiful music that is the product of inspiration. How much perspiration went into its creation is a mystery.
I dont believe much in the concept of Genius. Most great composers were primarily solid crafstman with years of training under the belt, relying on years of musical evolution. Mozart or Bach used generic patterns which were known and used by many other composers in their respective generation or before. The main difference is a superior talent in creativity and reusing skillfully patterns. There are many great composers and i doubt in any sort of ranking between them.
I dont believe much in the concept of Genius. Most great composers were primarily solid crafstman with years of training under the belt, relying on years of musical evolution. Mozart or Bach used generic patterns which were known and used by many other composers in their respective generation or before. The main difference is a superior talent in creativity and reusing skillfully patterns.
The difference between genius and excellent craftsmanship can be difficult to pin down, but it's obvious when you hear it.
For instance, Mozart's music is superficially not much different to any of his Classical contemporaries, rarely pushing the envelope in any one aspect, hardly even innovative. One could easily write a computer program that would 'compose' music that sounds Mozartian, and indeed might easily fool even a musicologist. (And it must be admitted that Mozart has composed some 'light' music, e.g. in his Serenades, that though pleasant, isn't very distinctive and instantly forgettable.)
Yet the bulk of his music, even the ones he wrote in a hurry, is tinged with his genius to a greater or lesser degree, though it often defies analysis as to why. It could be something tiny like a single chromatic inflection in an otherwise straightforward diatonic melody (e.g. in K466 - II & K467 - II); or a hint of a cloud or darkening of mood in otherwise sunny music (often without going into the minor); or a turn of a phrase that makes one wonder whether the music is what it seems on the surface; or a slight elongation of the melodic line with just a few extra notes that makes one catch one's breath, because it seems so logical, yet unexpected and even disturbing. Or the use of supporting instruments (especially woodwind). Or, very occasionally, a harmonic twist that tugs at one's heartstrings without us knowing exactly why (because no 'rules' were broken, and surely anyone could have done the same......but on-one else could).
Just picking a very simple aria which came to my mind (made up of part of the notes of a major scale, indeed do-re-mi), which shows a few aspects of what I've pointed out:
The harmony (as well as melody) that Mozart used there is so straightforward that after I heard it for the first time, I could later go to the piano and play the whole aria - yet no-one but Mozart could have composed it. No wonder Mozart is such an inspiration to (as well as so loved by) so many other composers who came after him, who see in his music how it's possible to make so much emotional depth out of such simplicity.
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."