In reading a collection of essays by W.B. Yeats, I came across this passage:
A girl has been playing on the guitar. She is pretty, and if I didn’t listen to her I could have watched her, and if I didn’t watch her I could have listened. Her voice, the movements of her body, the expression of her face, all said the same thing. A player of a different temper and body would have made all different, and might have been delightful in some other way. A movement not of music only but of life came to its perfection. I was delighted and I did not know why until I thought, ‘That is the way my people, the people I see in the mind’s eye, play music, and I like it because it is all personal, as personal as Villon’s poetry.’ The little instrument is quite light, and the player can move freely and express a joy that is not of the fingers and the mind only but of the whole being; and all the while her movements call up into the mind, so erect and natural she is, whatever is most beautiful in her daily life. Nearly all the old instruments were like that, even the organ was once a little instrument, and when it grew big our wise forefathers gave it to God in the cathedrals, where it befits him to be everything. But if you sit at the piano, it is the piano, the mechanism, that is the important thing, and nothing of you means anything but your fingers and your intellect.
-W.B Yeats, Essays, p.332
Ha! Try telling a piano player that. Your playing is all just fingers and intellect and mechanism? Yeats may have been a great poet, but it’s clear he didn’t rub shoulders with many musicians or attended the concert hall often. He would have been cured of these silly statements in short order. The fact that the first thing he notices about the guitar playing is that the performer is a pretty girl… that is telling. By these standards, perhaps he would have enjoyed some booty-shaking on MTV more than a night at the symphony.