18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, August 20, 1913: Worked more than usual at my music this afternoon. A cousin of Ma’s came, so then I didn’t practice any more.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Yeah, Grandma! I’m glad you’re working hard while practicing the piano. It’s hard work to learn to play the piano when you start lessons at age 18. Hang in there!
I continue to be fascinated by a column called “Piano Questions Answered by Josef Hofmann” that appeared periodically in Ladies Home Journal a hundred years ago. Here’s another question.
A Pianist Should Not Study the Violin
I have heard that the study of the violin interferes with the touch of a good pianist? Is this so? J.P.F.
There are two reasons why no one can play the piano and violin equally well. The violinist strives to harden his fingertips in order to make his tone definite, while the soul of a sensitive and refined piano touch lies in the softness of the fingertips. The ear is another factor in the matter, for the acoustic pictures peculiar to the two instruments are so thoroughly different from each other that the ear must get accustomed to the tone quality of the piano to produce the best results by exploring its possibilities. The technic, literature and tone quality of the two instruments are too different to admit of a mastery of both, though the piano is not nearly so harmful to the violin as the violin is to the piano.
Ladies Home Journal (May 1, 1911)
If you missed it, you may also enjoy a previous post that contained a couple more questions and answers from the piano column in old Ladies Home Journals.