Excerpt from "Being Musical" -Repertoire- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is a basic factor representing BREADTH, the opposite of narrowness or monomania. In Musica instrumentalis I would like to speak of three kinds of breadth. I. The ability to play just about every note on your instrument. Your hands cannot be too small. For example, a pianist needs to be able to strike the highest and lowest keys simultaneously. Child prodigies cannot do this, nor handicapped people. An obvious exception is Paul Wittgenstein, for whom both Ravel and Prokofiev wrote piano concertos for the left hand. II. The ability to play in different styles, at least from Bach to Bartók. Saying about a musician: "Everything he plays sounds like Beethoven" is not a compliment but points to a lack of stylistic breadth. III. The ability to strike different emotions in one and the same piece. To go from poetic calmness to wild passion in no time, with minimal take-off run. Just as you need to be able to play piano pianissimo (ppp) after forte fortissimo (fff), or a very high note after a very low one, you also need to be mobile on your emotional keyboard. This is a talent that the instrumental musician shares with the actor. So a musician needs to be broad, not narrow. (I realise that this is in part dictated by the current state of the music world. Every musician has his temperament, his fortes (and also his pianos, so to say). Formerly an opera singer could tour with very limited repertoire. He only sang what he knew best. In those times his profession was closer to the profession of the cirkus artist.)    He has to know himself as a musician: know which strings his instrument has and hasn't, which styles he can play well and less well, which emotions he can express easily and with more difficulty.    Most of this, and so much else, are taken for granted in music.    So, what can we learn from the musicians basic relationship to his instrument? What are the consequences for Musica humana?    First of all, a violinist must know that his instrument has four strings. The guitar has six, the piano eighty-eight. How many strings do I have as a human being? When a violin string is "out of tune", the musician adjusts it immediately. Do we adjust our out-of-tune strings, or even notice them?    A string is a tone that is often played. Transposing this to our inner life, a thought only once thought, an emotion only once felt, is not a string.    One can picture oneselve as a large keyboard with broken and missing keys. Standardisation is impossible; no two people have identical keyboards. Nevertheless, each of us stand in a certain relation to the Ideal Keyboard We Could Be. Usually we do not know ourselves as we know our violins and pianos. We do not know our repertoire, which keys we possess and which we are missing. We don't know when we are out of tune. We also lack a standard, the 440 Hz of human normality. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tuning © Ladislaus Horatius