Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Psychology of Music 
weak auditory imagery tends to fall into activities in which his 
visual imagery is a distinct asset, as in graphic and plastic arts. 
A study of the role of imagery in the minds of composers, as 
shown in their letters and autobiographies, throws much light on 
this situation. As evidence of this type of testimony, we may 
select certain expressions from the writings of Schumann, Mozart, 
Berlioz, and Wagner, taken as representative because of their 
unquestioned standing as composers. It should be borne in mind 
that at the time these composers wrote, the term mental images 
was not in current use. In fact, Galton’s famous work on this 
subject had not yet reached their ears except possibly in the 
case of Wagner. They were, therefore, compelled to account for 
their experience in various descriptive forms based upon their 
immediate experience and couched in improvised terminology. In 
order to identify some of these terms, they are italicized in the 
following quotations from the gleanings made by Agnew,95 
R. Schumann 
From Music and Musicians, translated by F. R. Ritter. Second Series. 
London: William Reeves. 
“For two long hours this motif rang in my ears” (p. 239). 
“He who has once heard Henselt can never forget his playing; these pieces 
still haunt my memory like the recollection of a parterre of flowers” (p. 236). 
“Though the inner musical hearing is the finer one, the spirit of realization has 
its rights; the clear, living tone has its peculiar effects” (p. 177). 
“In the pauses of the pianoforte part I am nearly always able to imagine the 
filling out of the other instruments” (p. 180). 
“I have sung the work over as finely as possible in imagination” (p. 450). 
“What the mere fingers create is nothing but mechanism; but that which you 
have listened to when it resounded within your own bosom will find its echo in the 
hearts of others” (p. 283). 
“The creative imagination of a musician is something very different, and 
though a picture, an idea may float before him, he is only then happy in his 
labor when this idea comes to him clothed in lovely melodies, and borne by the 
same invisible hands that bore the ‘golden bucket,’ spoken of somewhere by 
Goethe” (p. 60). 
“We advise him not to write at his instrument, but to endeavor rather to 
bring his forms from within than to draw them from without” (p. 500). 
From Music and Musicians. First Series. As above. 
“I turned over the leaves vacantly; the veiled enjoyment of music which one 
does not hear has something magical in it” (p. 4). 
“They will be understood by those who can rejoice in music without the 
pianoforte—those whose inward singing almost breaks their hearts” (p. 263).


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