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" I say silver sound, because Musicians sound for silver,

Romeo and Juliet.
Mr North,

laws upon which it is naturally foundthe ce

Were you ever at a Concert? If ed. To come however to the point. you ever were, the lines of your ex Music may be briefly defined to be pressive physiognomy must have been the Poetry of Sound. It seems to be

" worth the marking." As you ob- agreed on all hands, that its province dei served the nimble bows of the musi- and end is to express poetically, by i lancer cians dance, and quiver, and bound, means of inarticulate sound, certain et de upon the tortured strings—the con- passions and feelings incident to huas howe ceit of the player--the affectation of the man nature. This is involved both lakes amateur--the nonchalance and lassi- in the practice and phraseology of all

tude of the fashionable lounger--the musical people. From the earliest de men with pale stone faces, looking half times, the lover has interested his

asleep, like busts—the ladies atten- mistress, and the general excited his tive by starts, and then, ever and troops, by means of music and song ;

anon, relapsing into chit-chat; until and composers have, from time immede vainly trusting for impunity to the morial, affixed to their compositions, Odse noise of tutti,” in some pitiless words and expressions of direction,

overture, they are at once betrayed, by which imply that the pieces to be some sudden pause of a bar, which the played either have, or pretend to have, composer (God knows why-he can some connexion with the feelings of not tell himself) has interposed at so the auditor. We have as many mar

inconvenient a juncture. As you ga- ginal hints as in a German tragedy, sche zed upon all these things, Mr North, and much to the same purpose, and Car I suspect your countenance must have generally quite as much needed. Now the lo discovered some distinguishing signs of if a tune is to be amoroso, 0; flurking scepticism as to the merits of " maestoso,” or

“ agitato," or "pas. so strange a scene. Do not be alarm- torale,"or" spiritoso,"—in plain Enged-the matter is between ourselves. lish, if musical sound is to express

Far be it from me to attempt to se sentiment or passion, it can only do let you duce you into putting your imprimatur so in one of these two ways. Either

upon any set of unfashionableopinions. the notes singly, or in some known That is not your way-still one can- combinations, must, as words are, be

not help thinking, that had doubts understood to be arbitrary signs of the inger and difficulties not been sticking like a things to be expressed by them ;-or stremora to the bottom of your under- else they must express passions and

standing, you would ere this have put feelings by copying so nearly, that forth an unanswerable exposition of the likeness may be recognized, those the sublimities of modern music.- sounds which nature has appropriated You must own it is strange, that the to the expression of those passions and admirers and cultivators of modern feelings. The first of these modes* science have not invented any thing has never, I believe, been contended like a consistent theory of musical for. Arbitrary significations have inexpression-nay, that the vague ideas deed been attempted, by fanciful indiof most writers on music, with relation viduals, to be affixed to the peculiarito its expression, embody the very ties of the tones of different musical principles, which in their full extent instruments; but these fancies have are most inimical to modern practice. not been generally received. To the Nor will it be less odd, if musical rea notes or divisions of notes of the musoners, as well as composers, have just sical scale, however, meanings of this admitted into their works meaning sort have been never attributed. Crotenough to shew their abuse of those chets and quavers have never been in

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* Vide Musical Queries, &c. Vol. V. pp. 399, 556, 694.

3 X

Vol. XI.

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Harmony is, or ought to be, the file haste

vested with the powers of letters ; nei- rises and falls of passion must do.- Irmar, ther have they been made to stand for Thus we have storm-pieces for the helyre whole words, like the characters of the piano-forte, in which the lower keys bodde Chinese alphabet It should seem are rumbled into a sort of thunder, deshala then, that if melody is expressive at and the

higher tipped” to resemble de riten all, it must be so by imitation--and drops of rain or hail. We have sbrill tresh 16 by imitation of that which is sufficient. fac-similes of the whistling of birds, then ly familiar to the minds of men in ge- and battles, in which the great-drun dowed neral, to render likely a general re- is thumped for cannon, and the kettle the pl cognition of the resemblance. That drum rattled in the manner of the IT peculiar intonations of voice, in the galloping of horses; but to what do al det mes expression of certain passions and feel all these peculiarities amount ? Why, ried to it ings, are common not only to whole to a proof that a piano-torte can rum- je teme nations, but, with some varieties, to ble something like distant thunder, veterpan mankind in general, is a fact that ex- and “ drip, drip,” as Mr Coleridge tebly

. perience teaches. It is observable too, would say, like " water-drops :” that was ih that of all others the people whose lan- an octave-flute is not very unlike the the over guage has least variety of natural in- whistle of a bird, and the percussion tonation, have been least successful in of a double-drum nearly as bad as the able to music, -I mean the French. The tones report of a culverin.” They delias well as the looks of love, jealousy, neate no passion, nor can they excite li se anger, revenge, joy, or despair, need any, excepting indirectly, and by only to be exhibited by the

actor, to chance. The cariosity they gratify is be at once felt and known. Tones, in trifling, and it can only be once grati-ho thre fact, are of as great consequence as fied. One reason certainly, why com-of fo words, in as much as by varying them; positions of this sort must please a a sentence of praise may be turned in- certain class of hearers, is their artful to one of irony, love into ridicule, and complicated mechanisin,– but where and rage into humour. It is by a re more of this by and by. ference, then, to these well-known intonations of passion, that the meaning handmaid of melody. It cannot be of a combination of musical sounds is denied, however, that it includes in it- en base to be ascertained. But the imitation self the power of pleasureable excitea e te the is not a servile one. The musician, ment. For proof of the existence of like the poet, is to preserve a rhyth- this excitement, we may appeal to heat mical regularity; he is to conform to facts. The sound of an #olian harp, borse certain laws and limitations; and, for instance, is pleasing merely from above all, to impart a poetical height the chords. The order in which they ening to his euphonic delineations, are produced is the work of chance without overstepping the modesty of The excitement would seem to be dinature. He is to marry the poetical rect, and to act strongly upon the to the natural in sound, neither divid nerves as a stimulus. Indeed, sounds ing the substance nor confounding the produced simultaneously, for the most persons; a delicate task, and one which part, act strongly upon the nerves exalts the original musician into a poet. The excitement caused by discords, He is a bard who expresses himself in however, is disagreeable, and with some musical instead of articulate sounds ; persons so violently efficient as to inand, to read his compositions, we must duce that nervous affection, called learn to sing or play, or else have them “ teeth on edge." In Mozart, when a read to us by those who can.

child, it produced convulsions. That It is this poetical imitation of the chord and discord are only varieties of natural tones of passion, which is the nervous vibration, seems pretty evi. origin and essence of musical expres- dent in the fact, that those who are sion. Other imitations have indeed incapable of pleasure from the one, are been introduced into modern compo- also nearly, in a like degree, insensible sition; but they do not deserve the of pain from the other. The excitaname of expression, and are of a na- tion from harmony, has di kewise, in ture totally dissimilar. They, in fact, some instances, been known to have depend, for the most part, upon the brought on fainting and stupor, with peculiar tone of the instrument em- persons of an irritable temperainent

. ployed, and not upon abstract resem- From all this, it appears to follow blance, as the poetical imitation of the then, that the pleasure arising from

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mare, for the most part, men deficient in sions save that of devotion were forthat it inclus cited by expressive melody, and who cessarily simple; and where all pasof of the exceto imagination ; and lastly, Those who bidden, melody naturally became eiad of an end says Rousseau, rather rare. In this last, probably both. e order in resa Geneva, I must own that my limited and the phrenzy for complete barthe work of the observation, as far as it goes, strongly mony, which to this hour is only sub_uus Indeed.com changes in the world of music are of to say, Rousseau's second class, became, Ineous/r, birth natural occurrence: nor is it easy to from their numbers, and from the end Ty upon the map conceive how they could have been less variety of whjeh the description " To Meant to ence it could be called) of music was and cathedrals, was immediately turn

that these diedand , plaec other. The se prove this branch of his art. Indeed, posed whet is called " national me."

of passion est de harmony, be it as intense as it will, is the improved arrangement of harmostorin-pieces iet a bodily rather than a mental pleasure. nies, and of the passion for that arwhich the helm It is a dram taken by the ear, only rangement, which had then been to a set of them the exhilaration is transient like that spread, chiefly by the ministers of re

tippod" to rest of the nitrous oxide. It does not act ligion, over all Europe. Yet so little hail" We bied through the intellect, but goes direct have the minds of the poets, who conhe whistling als ly to the nervous system. We must ceived those melodies, condescended which the great be allowed, therefore, to conclude, to invest themselves in the trammels cannot

, and the best that the pleasure of harmony is infe- of science, that of those exquisite reIn the med rior in its nature to that of melody; mains, there are few which do not orses; but to rest and that melody ought not to be sa- violate some of the rules of composiarities about h crified to it, nor put beneath it, as hastion, and scarcely any which, without

long been the case. The invention of injury to the melody, admit of a molike distant that counterpoint has so far been the bane derately full or scientific accompanirip,

" as Mr Cart of melody. The mathematical has ment. Be this, however, as it may, water-drop': over-run the poetical. The mechani- it is clear enough that the number of is not very relia cal has overlaid the intellectual. Nor the individuals who lived either by rd, and the person is this to be wondered at. The thing the composition or performance of m neatly list is capable both of explanation

and ex- those airs, could not have been great,

and in all likelihood was small. The It is asserted somewhere by Rous- whole of the known music about that ' indiredes

, at stau, no mean judge of such matters, period would, perhaps, not equal in ariosity tej pri that the musical world may be divid- bulk the thousandth part of the comcan only be ena red into three classes, Those who are position of the last

ten years; and in certainly

, will capable of feeling the intellectual part probably not one of the composers was Theater, isteri something of a poetical temperament, rishable melodies as would fill a mo

very correct ear for harmony; dern folio second page. The religious and by

-Those who have an ear for harmony, music of the ages prior to the inven-
unite these two qualifications a class, thet monotonous or unimpassioned ; at
judgment of the celebrated citizen of In this state of things
inclines metoconcur. Now, if this idea siding, effected a radical and total
be founded in truth, the consequent change. A new order of men, that is
materially different.

of music they cultivated is susceptiBefore the discovery of counterpoint ble, the Lords of the Ascendant. The and of the present accurate system of power of employing a multiplicity of

, the science if scilimited to the composition and repeti- ed to account. The church was omtion of a few simple airs. The har- nipotent; and the “ Maestro di Camonies

, when harinony was attempt- pella” was only another name for the composer or performer possessed pressive but simple airs of the obscure little means and less inclination to im- bards, who in all countries have com

” airs be as modern as some contend, avalanche of motets, canons, masses, the indifference of the bards who come requiems, anthems, hymns, psalms, Josed them, to harmonious accompa- and choruses. To these were quick niment, is almost incredible. They ly added fugues, symphonies, sonamust of necessity have been aware of tas, duetts, quartetts, quintetts, and alt

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Still as the knowledge of harmonies celebrated operatic songs now known, and compe noise on the piano.” But this is com- should be both neglected and deprailer

She me Ahas been called been pushed to a great extreme. Few

E It is a mistake to persons of a certain rank were then to that this complication of har- be found who could not play, and with

has been a taste gradually ac- superior execution, on at least one in. quired. It was a phrenzy sudden and strument; and, where nature permitirresistible, both from its novelty and ted, take a part in vocal compositions ; from the real effects it is capable of the awkward and forced coinplexities in dve az producing. Those with the truest of which, certainly did not tend to feeling of musical expression were na- diminish their difficulty, however they turally more or less captivated, like might detract from their real merit

. others, by the excitement of harmo- This fever of harmonies had subsided nious accompaniment. Those whose in England, until the establishment of feelings were in the ear alone, rushed the Italian opera, and the celebrity of the Los forward to claim pre-eminence for Handel, in some sort revived it

. The speed o the elaborate and injurious additions quarrels of the furious partisans of hay die which excited with such effect their Faustina and Cuzzoni, and the homage de to any grosser sensations. Science too was paid to Nicolini, and afterwards to Fa-med okie formally enlisted in the service; and rinelli, are strong symptoms of what mathematicians, with neither ear nor is called the revival of music in Engelanes feeling, eagerly caught at consequence land. A great step, however, was gainin a department where they had never ed. Throughout the musical world, alberate dreamed of shining. The elegantly- melody, forgotten and despised so long, than turned sentiment of Heinsius, “ Har. began again to be attended to. Code moniæ pater est numerus," was carried relli and others are known to have al. Thi to its full extent. Some of the won- been so far sensible of the excellence use the derfully elaborate movements of the of some of the old airs, both of their the ban early harmonists shew the extremes own and of other countries, as to have to which this mania carried thein. made them the ground-work of many and does Doubtless these harmonies were crude of their sonatas. From about this peo and harsh, and often barbarous, and riod, the national melodies of Italy, of slapen later science has done much in sweet- Scotland, and of Ireland, may, it is ening their discordant chords, and re- said, be traced in the compositions of fiving their awkward modulations, the best masters. Some of the most poidbe da has extended, it is undeniable that have the same origin. And if a single harmonious composition has, upon the instance may suffice, I may mention, partieb whole, been simplified. Hasse, Vinci, that the far-famed “Nel cor piu” is and Sebastian Bach, and then Handel, taken, almost note for note, from an began to improve and polish the meo old Sicilian ballad. The success of the lody so neglected by their predeces. opera was an acknowledgment that sors ; and, as Dr Burney expresses it, songs are essentially dramatic; and it to " thin the accompaniments” that, is confessed, in words at least, that, to like untrimmed underwood, choked the finished musician, feeling and exup and smothered what they were pression are as necessary as science. meant to adorn.

If such be a tolerably correct sketch We have heard many complaints of of the progress of this art; and it, as the inodern rage for musical accom- the course of events has seemed to inplishment. Men of more refined taste dicate, the hypothesis of Rousseau be have joined Mr Cobbett in vitupera- founded in truth, a key is afforded to ting that indiscriminating thirst for the explanation of the many anonissound, which would send honest farm- lies which music, in its modern pracers' daughters “ to make a villainous tice, presents. That nataral melody paratively nothing to the extent to ved, appears to have been inevitable. which musical education was carried Tbe difficulties against which it has during the reigns of Elizabeth and to struggle, are immoveable and overJames. The class through which it powering. It is a most unequal com was possible to extend it was, of course, Aict, to set Mr Coleridge's blind at that period much smaller than at boy,” with his “pipe of sycamore, present. But where it did form any be bis “ notes as strangely moving" part of education, and it did so of that as they will, agaiust the craslı ot a of every gentleman, it secms to have whole orchestra. Espressive inclody

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must ever be in danger of being over- Pharaoh's plagues, they follow us into whelmed by mere harmony; and they our very chambers. The difficulty of who essay to rescue herfrom the depths original composition is thus increased

of thorough bass, must, like Hotspur, a hundred-fold, and the most deterE dare

mined cultivator of simple, expressive

melody, will find himself, at every “ To dive unto the bottom of a sea

step, sliding into some of the innuWhere fathom-line did never touch the merable artificial turns or modulations ground,

with which constant custom has inAnd pluck up drown'd melody by the delibly impressed his imagination. locks."

Should a composer of expressive airs, It is a question, whether one air, du- in a style similar to that of the old ring the last hundred years, has been melodies, exist at this moment, he composed by a professed musician, would be denied the very name of with any direct and intentional refer- musician. He would be hooted at by ence to any principle in nature, upon pine out of ten, and for three or four which musical expression can be found- different reasons. He would be told ed. Strong as the assertion may seem, that his music required no execution; the chances are, that he who embraces he would hear it called simple stuff music as a profession, and goes through that a child might play or sing; he an elaborate musical education, is less would be twitted with monotony of likely than other men to produce a key ; he would be reproached with not naturally expressive combination of concluding upon the key-note, and sound. This is no paradox, whatever with a score of other offences against may be thought of it. The fact is, rules of which he and nature knew that the harmonists have exterminated nothing. He would be accused, as the inelodists, as the great missal every musician who has dared to verge thrush does the common mavis. The towards simplicity has been, of want race of bards, half

poets half musicians, of science. This was the fate of Pichas disappeared, because it is next to cini, of Pleyell, and of Shield. The impossible that such a being should constant craving for variety and for coutinue to exist; nor, if he could, difficulty-the superior extent of the would he dare to bring forward one ori- class of those who are affected by harginal composition. Ranking amongst mony only—and the consequent multhe profounder studies, constituting tiplicity of its professor's publications, a lucrative branch of trade, and giving exhibitions, and gains, must probably employment to thousands, harmony always give scientific music a preponmust go nigh to overturn melody, by derance. He only can be celebrated, its very weight and momentum, if by whoeither distinguishes himself in elanothing else. It is all-pervading. Now, borate composition, or in the performwho does not know how difficult it is ance of almost impossibilities of vocal for the greatest poetical genius to free or instrumental execution. himself, in any considerable degree, That no alteration can take place in of those common-places and idioms the present state of music, it would be which long custom, and eternal repe- presumption to say. That, since the tition of versifiers, have made a habit invention of counterpoint, it has alalmost as inevitable as a natural ten- tered materially, though slowly, candency. In music this is ten times not be doubted. The advances, too, worse. The common-place “ musical towards natural expression, however phrases," as they are styled, which faint or sophisticated, are sueh as prove have spread themselves everywhere some recognizance of that principle of through the medium of the volumi- poetical imitation which seems to be nous and endless compositions of sci- ibe foundation of musical expression. ence, have of necessity become almost That much of modern practice is toa part of the nature of every one who tally inconsistent, and at direct variance is possessed of a musical ear. They with that principle, is true. It may be fly abroad

. “ upon the wings of the difficult to imagine how it has happenwind," like the feathered seeds of the ed that, admitting so nzuch, the whole thistle or dandelion. There is no avoid- lias not followed but the fact is so. ing thein. We hear them by day and

If we look over a collection of inoby night; in the theatre, in the strect, dorn inusic, we shall find, that, in the in the church, in the bull-room. Like inanagement of ihe time, the principle

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