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February 2012

Let's tickle the ivories

by David Dubal

On the joys of playing the piano.

There is an old proverb that goes “Play the piano daily and stay sane.” For me, the main word of this proverb is daily. Playing the piano daily means inevitable accomplishment, and, without a sense of accomplishment, life is an impoverished journey.

Machines have taken us away from our hands. In his last days, Rachmaninoff continually practiced a composition he never performed. One of his last statements was: “Farewell, my dear hands.” Today, we are starved for a deep contact with our hands. The poet Edward Dahlberg felt “our hands are already very stupid and morose. What can we do with them? What do we do with them?” Let’s get back to our hands—they are craving good work. At one time, the terms “handmade” and “handcrafted” meant a great deal. In schools, the young are no longer taught to write in script. Handwriti ...

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David Dubal is an American pianist, teacher, author, broadcaster and painter.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 February 2012, on page 17

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

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