Resonant Thoughts: Richard Sennett’s “The Craftsman” (2009)


“As a performer, at my fingertips I experience error—error that I will seek to correct. I have a standard for what should be, but my truthfulness resides in the simple recognition that I make mistakes…I have to be willing to commit error, to play wrong notes, in order eventually to get them right.”

“If the cook, like a carpenter, holds the cleaver or hammer down after striking a blow, it works against the tool’s rebound. Strain will occur all along the forearm. For physiological reasons that are still not well understood, the ability to withdraw force in the microsecond after it is applied also makes the gesture itself more precise; one’s aim improves. So in playing the piano, where the ability to release a key is an integral motion with pressing it down, finger pressure must cease at the moment of contact for the fingers to move easily and swiftly to other keys.”

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