Excerpted from my article (AA's concept):
Originally Posted by perkeleellinen
Fine art printing really begins with a negative correctly exposed for the subject/scene. To paraphrase Ansel Adams' famous musical analogy - the negative is the score, the print is the performance. It will be difficult or impossible to ever work a fine print from a poorly exposed negative (in darkroom vernacular, to make it sing). If the notes are there, it will be possible to achieve your unique artistic interpretation (i.e., visualization)...
Adams' (who Sexton worked with) quote, I believe, regarding the most important tool in his darkroom.
Originally Posted by CPorter
It all seems to go back to AA, which is why I cannot recommend highly enough The Negative & The Print for learning basic B/W darkroom technique.