Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Psychology of Music 
been released any more than it can influence the flight of the ball 
after it has been thrown off. Therefore, no amount of waggling, 
vibrating, rocking, or caressing of the key after it has once hit 
bottom can modify the action upon the string. The only way in 
which the key can further affect the string is by a new stroke of the 
hammer. This can easily be verified by manipulating a key near its 
bed and looking at the action of the hammer. 
Probably the only exception to this statement is the rare or 
doubtful possibility that a partial release of the escapement mecha¬ 
nism may reengage the hammer stem so that the hammer may 
again be thrown against the string and a partial damping may 
result. However, even if physically possible, this is merely a stunt 
and is not attempted by artists under normal conditions of playing. 
Yet this fallacy plays a role in musical circles in at least three 
important respects. First, whenever this stunt is affected, the 
observable finger action serves as a suggestion which produces the 
desired result in the form of an illusion of hearing. Such normal 
illusions have a very great influence upon musical hearing. Second, 
in ignorance or defiance of the physical limitations, teachers often 
attempt to train pupils in the supposed art of this type of finesse. 
And third, theorists, who oppose the limitation of touch to intensity 
control, frequently fall back upon this phenomenon to sustain 
their claims. However, all well-informed musicians recognize that 
this feature is not important in their artistic playing. Therefore, 
we may ignore it in the discussion of the real factors in musical 
3. The pianist can produce indirectly a great variety of tone 
qualities, but only by his control of the intensity of the tone. Hav¬ 
ing imparted a given velocity to the hammer, the pianist is entirely 
at the mercy of the instrument for the determination of qualitative 
changes taking place in the tone, except for manipulation of the 
dampers. The piano is so constructed that it can produce a vast 
series of tone qualities, each one a function of the intensity of 
the tone. Each instrument has its own relatively fixed character¬ 
istic in this respect. In general, the louder the tone, the richer it will 
be in quality. 
If we represent a series of intensities by the letters a, b, c, d, etc., 
and the corresponding degrees of richness and other characteristics 
of the quality by the symbols a', b', c', d', etc., then whenever a 
tone of intensity a is sounded, a quality a' is produced; intensity b


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