The Language of Music
A painter hangs his or her finished picture on a wall, and everyone can see it. A composer writes a work, but no one can hear it until it is performed. Professional singers and players have great responsibilities, for the composer is utterly dependent on them. A student of music needs as long and as arduous a training to become a performer as a medical student needs to become a doctor. Most training is concerned with technique, for musicians have to have the muscular proficiency of an athlete or a ballet dancer. Singers practice breathing every day, as their vocal chords would be inadequate without controlled muscular support. String players practice moving the fingers of the left hand up and down, while drawing the bow to and fro with the right arm — two entirely different movements.
Singers and instrumentalists have to be able to get every note perfectly in tune. Pianists are spared this particular anxiety, for the notes are already there, waiting for them, and it is the piano tuner’s responsibility to tune the instrument for them. But they have their own difficulties: the hammers that hit the strings have to be coaxed not to sound like percussion, and each overlapping tone has to sound clear.
This problem of getting clear texture is one that confronts student conductors: they have to learn to know every note of the music and how it should sound, and they have to aim at controlling these sounds with fanatical but selfless authority.
Technique is of no use unless it is combined with musical knowledge and understanding. Great artists are those who are so thoroughly at home in the language of music that they can enjoy performing works written in any century.
画家将已完成的作品挂在墙上，每个人都可以观赏到。 作曲家写完了一部作品，得由演奏者将其演奏出来，其他人才能得以欣赏。因为作曲家是如此完全地依赖于职业歌手和职业演奏者，所以职业歌手和职业演奏者肩上的担子可谓不轻。 一名学音乐的学生要想成为一名演奏者，需要经受长期的、严格的训练，就象一名医科的学生要成为一名医生一样。 绝大多数的训练是技巧性的。 音乐家们控制肌肉的熟练程度，必须达到与运动员或巴蕾舞演员相当的水平。 歌手们每天都练习吊嗓子，因为如果不能有效地控制肌肉的话，他们的声带将不能满足演唱的要求。 弦乐器的演奏者练习的则是在左手的手指上下滑动的同时，用右手前后拉动琴弓–两个截然不同的动作。
歌手和乐器演奏者必须使所有的音符完全相同协调。 钢琴家们则不用操这份心，因为每个音符都已在那里等待着他们了。 给钢琴调音是调音师的职责。 但调音师们也有他们的难处： 他们必须耐心地调理敲击琴弦的音锤，不能让音锤发出的声音象是打击乐器，而且每个交叠的音都必须要清晰。