Merciful

We talked about music. “The ear is merciful”, she said. “It hears what is meant, and not what is actually played.” The woman who said this was a piano teacher. She had taught pupils for decades and had thought about how ear and brain process the music. “The ear is merciful”, I repeated. “How do you mean that?” She said: “When we hear music as an audience, then we blot out the mistakes. We hear what is meant. What arrives in our consciousness is the complete melody. The artists and teachers pay attention to the mistakes, but the audience hears the music.”

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