Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Piano Playing and Therapy, continued

At the same time that I know I cannot imitate someone walking, it occurs to me that I did ultimately learn how to play the piano by imitating two great pianists' hands, drawn to careful observation in each case by their highly individual sound.

What made this imitating possible?

My guess is that in each instance I was completely engaged in the sound on a note-by-note level.  It was as if I entered the hand via the sound and that immersion worked on my hands from within myself, changing my hand position, increasing my hand extension, improving my fingering--all significant factors in playing.

One was Artur Rubinstein with whose hands I have nothing in common: his were large, mine are small.  The other was Miecyszlaw Horszowski, whose combination of finger with foot made an irresistible legato.

The sound existed as if free of interpretation.  I neither agreed nor disagreed with it.  I was completely caught up in it with no possible distraction.  In a way, the sound purified the exchange.