On Bach and Scales: Passion or Purpose?

The Quote

“One does not play Bach without having done scales. But neither does one play a scale merely for the sake of the scale.”

-Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

The Question

Is this quote about purpose, or about passion?

If it’s about purpose, I think Weil is saying both that art cannot be created without practice, and that the practice itself deepens the art.

If it’s about passion, I think Weil is saying that we must love all aspects of our work, including the grand performance and the solitary toiling.

Or is it about both purpose and passion? I can’t decide. But I love the complexity of this quote.

What do you think?

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