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Title: How to Listen to Music, 7th ed. - Hints and Suggestions to Untaught Lovers of the Art
Author: Krehbiel, Henry Edward, 1854-1923
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_Author of "Studies in the Wagnerian Drama," "Notes on the Cultivation
of Choral Music," "The Philharmonic Society of New York," etc._





       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


The author is beholden to the Messrs. Harper & Brothers for permission
to use a small portion of the material in Chapter I., the greater part
of Chapter IV., and the Plates which were printed originally in one of
their publications; also to the publishers of "The Looker-On" for the
privilege of reprinting a portion of an essay written for them
entitled "Singers, Then and Now."


[Sidenote: CHAP. I.]


Purpose and scope of this book--Not written for professional
musicians, but for untaught lovers of the art--neither for careless
seekers after diversion unless they be willing to accept a higher
conception of what "entertainment" means--The capacity properly to
listen to music as a touchstone of musical talent--It is rarely found
in popular concert-rooms--Travellers who do not see and listeners who
do not hear--Music is of all the arts that which is practised most and
thought about least--Popular ignorance of the art caused by the lack
of an object for comparison--How simple terms are confounded by
literary men--Blunders by Tennyson, Lamb, Coleridge, Mrs. Harriet
Beecher Stowe, F. Hopkinson Smith, Brander Matthews, and others--A
warning against pedants and rhapsodists.                      _Page 3_

[Sidenote: CHAP. II.]

_Recognition of Musical Elements_

The dual nature of music--Sense-perception, fancy, and
imagination--Recognition of Design as Form in its primary stages--The
crude materials of music--The co-ordination of tones--Rudimentary
analysis of Form--Comparison, as in other arts, not
possible--Recognition of the fundamental elements--Melody, Harmony,
and Rhythm--The value of memory--The need of an
intermediary--Familiar music best liked--Interrelation of the
elements--Repetition the fundamental principle of Form--Motives,
Phrases, and Periods--A Creole folk-tune analyzed--Repetition at the
base of poetic forms--Refrain and Parallelism--Key-relationship as a
bond of union--Symphonic unity illustrated in examples from
Beethoven--The C minor symphony and "Appassionata" sonata--The
Concerto in G major--The Seventh and Ninth symphonies.       _Page 15_

[Sidenote: CHAP. III.]

_The Content and Kinds of Music_

How far it is necessary for the listener to go into musical
philosophy--Intelligent hearing not conditioned upon it--Man's
individual relationship to the art--Musicians proceed on the theory
that feelings are the content of music--The search for pictures and
stories condemned--How composers hear and judge--Definitions of the
capacity of music by Wagner, Hauptmann, and Mendelssohn--An utterance
by Herbert Spencer--Music as a language--Absolute music and Programme
music--The content of all true art works--Chamber music--Meaning and
origin of the term--Haydn the servant of a Prince--The characteristics
of Chamber music--Pure thought, lofty imagination, and deep
learning--Its chastity--Sympathy between performers and listeners
essential to its enjoyment--A correct definition of Programme
music--Programme music defended--The value of titles and
superscriptions--Judgment upon it must, however, go to the music, not
the commentary--Subjects that are unfit for music--Kinds of Programme
music--Imitative music--How the music of birds has been utilized--The
cuckoo of nature and Beethoven's cuckoo--Cock and hen in a seventeenth
century composition--Rameau's pullet--The German quail--Music that is
descriptive by suggestion--External and internal attributes--Fancy and
Imagination--Harmony and the major and minor mode--Association of
ideas--Movement delineated--Handel's frogs--Water in the "Hebrides"
overture and "Ocean" symphony--Height and depth illustrated by acute
and grave tones--Beethoven's illustration of distance--His rule
enforced--Classical and Romantic music--Genesis of the terms--What
they mean in literature--Archbishop Trench on classical books--The
author's definitions of both terms in music--Classicism as the
conservative principle, Romanticism as the progressive, regenerative,
and creative--A contest which stimulates life.               _Page 36_

[Sidenote: CHAP. IV.]

_The Modern Orchestra_

Importance of the instrumental band--Some things that can be learned
by its study--The orchestral choirs--Disposition of the players--Model
bands compared--Development of instrumental music--The extent of an
orchestra's register--The Strings: Violin, Viola, Violoncello, and
Double-bass--Effects produced by changes in manipulation--The
wood-winds: Flute, Oboe, English horn, Bassoon, Clarinet--The Brass:
French Horn, Trumpet and Cornet, Trombone, Tuba--The Drums--The
Conductor--Rise of the modern interpreter--The need of him--His
methods--Scores and Score-reading.                           _Page 71_

[Sidenote: CHAP. V.]

_At an Orchestral Concert_

"Classical" and "Popular" as generally conceived--Symphony Orchestras
and Military bands--The higher forms in music as exemplified at a
classical concert--Symphonies, Overtures, Symphonic Poems, Concertos,
etc.--A Symphony not a union of unrelated parts--History of the
name--The Sonata form and cyclical compositions--The bond of union
between the divisions of a Symphony--Material and spiritual links--The
first movement and the sonata form--"Exposition, illustration, and
repetition"--The subjects and their treatment--Keys and nomenclature
of the Symphony--The _Adagio_ or second movement--The _Scherzo_ and
its relation to the Minuet--The Finale and the Rondo form--The latter
illustrated in outline by a poem--Modifications of the symphonic form
by Beethoven, Schumann, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint-Saëns and
Dvorák--Augmentation of the forces--Symphonies with voices--The
Symphonic Poem--Its three characteristics--Concertos and Cadenzas--M.
Ysaye's opinion of the latter--Designations in Chamber music--The
Overture and its descendants--Smaller forms: Serenades, Fantasias,
Rhapsodies, Variations, Operatic Excerpts.                  _Page 122_

[Sidenote: CHAP. VI.]

_At a Pianoforte Recital_

The Popularity of Pianoforte music exemplified in M. Paderewski's
recitals--The instrument--A universal medium of music study--Its
defects and merits contrasted--Not a perfect melody instrument--Value
of the percussive element--Technique; the false and the true estimate
of its value--Pianoforte literature as illustrated in recitals--Its
division, for the purposes of this study, into four periods: Classic,
Classic-romantic, Romantic, and Bravura--Precursors of the
Pianoforte--The Clavichord and Harpsichord, and the music composed for
them--Peculiarities of Bach's style--His Romanticism--Scarlatti's
Sonatas--The Suite and its constituents--Allemande, Courante,
Sarabande, Gigue, Minuet, and Gavotte--The technique of the
period--How Bach and Handel played--Beethoven and the Sonata--Mozart
and Beethoven as pianists--The Romantic composers--Schumann and Chopin
and the forms used by them--Schumann and Jean Paul--Chopin's Preludes,
Études, Nocturnes, Ballades, Polonaises, Mazurkas, Krakowiak--The
technique of the Romantic period--"Idiomatic" pianoforte
music--Development of the instrument--The Pedal and its use--Liszt and
his Hungarian Rhapsodies.                                   _Page 154_

[Sidenote: CHAP. VII.]

_At the Opera_

Instability of popular taste in respect of operas--Our lists seldom
extend back of the present century--The people of to-day as
indifferent as those of two centuries ago to the language used--Use
and abuse of foreign languages--The Opera defended as an art-form--Its
origin in the Greek tragedies--Why music is the language of emotion--A
scientific explanation--Herbert Spencer's laws--Efforts of Florentine
scholars to revive the classic tragedy result in the invention of the
lyric drama--The various kinds of Opera: _Opera seria_, _Opera buffa_,
_Opera semiseria_, French _grand Opéra_, and _Opéra
comique_--Operettas and musical farces--Romantic Opera--A popular
conception of German opera--A return to the old terminology led by
Wagner--The recitative: Its nature, aims, and capacities--The change
from speech to song--The arioso style, the accompanied recitative and
the aria--Music and dramatic action--Emancipation from set forms--The
orchestra--The decay of singing--Feats of the masters of the Roman
school and La Bastardella--Degeneracy of the Opera of their
day--Singers who have been heard in New York--Two generations of
singers compared--Grisi, Jenny Lind, Sontag, La Grange, Piccolomini,
Adelina Patti, Nilsson, Sembrich, Lucca, Gerster, Lehmann, Melba,
Eames, Calvé, Mario, Jean and Edouard de Reszke--Wagner and his
works--Operas and lyric dramas--Wagner's return to the principles of
the Florentine reformers--Interdependence of elements in a lyric
drama--Forms and the endless melody--The Typical Phrases: How they
should be studied.                                          _Page 202_

[Sidenote: CHAP. VIII.]

_Choirs and Choral Music_

Value of chorus singing in musical culture--Schumann's advice to
students--Choristers and instrumentalists--Amateurs and
professionals--Oratorio and _Männergesang_--The choirs of Handel and
Bach--Glee Unions, Male Clubs, and Women's Choirs--Boys' voices not
adapted to modern music--Mixed choirs--American Origin of amateur
singing societies--Priority over Germany--The size of choirs--Large
numbers not essential--How choirs are divided--Antiphonal
effects--Excellence in choir singing--Precision, intonation,
expression, balance of tone, enunciation, pronunciation,
declamation--The cause of monotony in Oratorio performances--_A
capella_ music--Genesis of modern hymnology--Influence of Luther and
the Germans--Use of popular melodies by composers--The
chorale--Preservation of the severe style of writing in choral
music--Palestrina and Bach--A study of their styles--Latin and
Teuton--Church and individual--Motets and Church Cantatas--The
Passions--The Oratorio--Sacred opera and Cantata--Epic and
Drama--Characteristic and descriptive music--The Mass: Its
secularization and musical development--The dramatic tendency
illustrated in Beethoven and Berlioz.                       _Page 253_

[Sidenote: CHAP. IX.]

_Musician, Critic and Public_

Criticism justified--Relationship between Musician, Critic and
Public--To end the conflict between them would result in
stagnation--How the Critic might escape--The Musician prefers to
appeal to the public rather than to the Critic--Why this is
so--Ignorance as a safeguard against and promoter of
conservatism--Wagner and Haydn--The Critic as the enemy of the
charlatan--Temptations to which he is exposed--Value of popular
approbation--Schumann's aphorisms--The Public neither bad judges nor
good critics--The Critic's duty is to guide popular
judgment--Fickleness of the people's opinions--Taste and judgment not
a birthright--The necessity of antecedent study--The Critic's
responsibility--Not always that toward the Musician which the latter
thinks--How the newspaper can work for good--Must the Critic be a
Musician?--Pedants and Rhapsodists--Demonstrable facts in
criticism--The folly and viciousness of foolish rhapsody--The Rev. Mr.
Haweis cited--Ernst's violin--Intelligent rhapsody approved--Dr. John
Brown on Beethoven--The Critic's duty.                      _Page 297_

       *       *       *       *       *


REITER).--XII. THE CONDUCTOR'S SCORE.                       _Page 325_

INDEX                                                       _Page 351_

How to Listen to Music



[Sidenote: _The book's appeal._]

This book has a purpose, which is as simple as it is plain; and an
unpretentious scope. It does not aim to edify either the musical
professor or the musical scholar. It comes into the presence of the
musical student with all becoming modesty. Its business is with those
who love music and present themselves for its gracious ministrations
in Concert-Room and Opera House, but have not studied it as professors
and scholars are supposed to study. It is not for the careless unless
they be willing to inquire whether it might not be well to yield the
common conception of entertainment in favor of the higher enjoyment
which springs from serious contemplation of beautiful things; but if
they are willing so to inquire, they shall be accounted the class
that the author is most anxious to reach. The reasons which prompted
its writing and the laying out of its plan will presently appear. For
the frankness of his disclosure the author might be willing to
apologize were his reverence for music less and his consideration for
popular affectations more; but because he is convinced that a love for
music carries with it that which, so it be but awakened, shall
speedily grow into an honest desire to know more about the beloved
object, he is willing to seem unamiable to the amateur while arguing
the need of even so mild a stimulant as his book, and ingenuous,
mayhap even childish, to the professional musician while trying to
point a way in which better appreciation may be sought.

[Sidenote: _Talent in listening._]

The capacity properly to listen to music is better proof of musical
talent in the listener than skill to play upon an instrument or
ability to sing acceptably when unaccompanied by that capacity. It
makes more for that gentleness and refinement of emotion, thought, and
action which, in the highest sense of the term, it is the province of
music to promote. And it is a much rarer accomplishment. I cannot
conceive anything more pitiful than the spectacle of men and women
perched on a fair observation point exclaiming rapturously at the
loveliness of mead and valley, their eyes melting involuntarily in
tenderness at the sight of moss-carpeted slopes and rocks and peaceful
wood, or dilating in reverent wonder at mountain magnificence, and
then learning from their exclamations that, as a matter of fact, they
are unable to distinguish between rock and tree, field and forest,
earth and sky; between the dark-browns of the storm-scarred rock, the
greens of the foliage, and the blues of the sky.

[Sidenote: _Ill equipped listeners._]

Yet in the realm of another sense, in the contemplation of beauties
more ethereal and evanescent than those of nature, such is the
experience which in my capacity as a writer for newspapers I have made
for many years. A party of people blind to form and color cannot be
said to be well equipped for a Swiss journey, though loaded down with
alpenstocks and Baedekers; yet the spectacle of such a party on the
top of the Rigi is no more pitiful and anomalous than that presented
by the majority of the hearers in our concert-rooms. They are there to
adventure a journey into a realm whose beauties do not disclose
themselves to the senses alone, but whose perception requires a
co-operation of all the finer faculties; yet of this they seem to know
nothing, and even of that sense to which the first appeal is made it
may be said with profound truth that "hearing they hear not, neither
do they understand."

[Sidenote: _Popular ignorance of music._]

Of all the arts, music is practised most and thought about least. Why
this should be the case may be explained on several grounds. A sweet
mystery enshrouds the nature of music. Its material part is subtle and
elusive. To master it on its technical side alone costs a vast
expenditure of time, patience, and industry. But since it is, in one
manifestation or another, the most popular of the arts, and one the
enjoyment of which is conditioned in a peculiar degree on love, it
remains passing strange that the indifference touching its nature and
elements, and the character of the phenomena which produce it, or are
produced by it, is so general. I do not recall that anybody has ever
tried to ground this popular ignorance touching an art of which, by
right of birth, everybody is a critic. The unamiable nature of the
task, of which I am keenly conscious, has probably been a bar to such
an undertaking. But a frank diagnosis must precede the discovery of a
cure for every disease, and I have undertaken to point out a way in
which this grievous ailment in the social body may at least be

[Sidenote: _Paucity of intelligent comment._]

[Sidenote: _Want of a model._]

It is not an exaggeration to say that one might listen for a lifetime
to the polite conversation of our drawing-rooms (and I do not mean by
this to refer to the United States alone) without hearing a symphony
talked about in terms indicative of more than the most superficial
knowledge of the outward form, that is, the dimensions and apparatus,
of such a composition. No other art provides an exact analogy for this
phenomenon. Everybody can say something containing a degree of
appositeness about a poem, novel, painting, statue, or building. If he
can do no more he can go as far as Landseer's rural critic who
objected to one of the artist's paintings on the ground that not one
of the three pigs eating from a trough had a foot in it. It is the
absence of the standard of judgment employed in this criticism which
makes significant talk about music so difficult. Nature failed to
provide a model for this ethereal art. There is nothing in the natural
world with which the simple man may compare it.

[Sidenote: _Simple terms confounded._]

It is not alone a knowledge of the constituent factors of a symphony,
or the difference between a sonata and a suite, a march and a mazurka,
that is rare. Unless you chance to be listening to the conversation of
musicians (in which term I wish to include amateurs who are what the
word amateur implies, and whose knowledge stands in some respectable
relation to their love), you will find, so frequently that I have not
the heart to attempt an estimate of the proportion, that the most
common words in the terminology of the art are misapplied. Such
familiar things as harmony and melody, time and tune, are continually
confounded. Let us call a distinguished witness into the box; the
instance is not new, but it will serve. What does Tennyson mean when
he says:

    "All night have the roses heard
      The flute, violin, bassoon;
    All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd
      To the dancers dancing in tune?"

[Sidenote: _Tune and time._]

Unless the dancers who wearied Maud were provided with even a more
extraordinary instrumental outfit than the Old Lady of Banbury Cross,
how could they have danced "in tune?"

[Sidenote: _Blunders of poets and essayists._]

Musical study of a sort being almost as general as study of the "three
Rs," it must be said that the gross forms of ignorance are utterly
inexcusable. But if this is obvious, it is even more obvious that
there is something radically wrong with the prevalent systems of
musical instruction. It is because of a plentiful lack of knowledge
that so much that is written on music is without meaning, and that
the most foolish kind of rhapsody, so it show a collocation of fine
words, is permitted to masquerade as musical criticism and even
analysis. People like to read about music, and the books of a certain
English clergyman have had a sale of stupendous magnitude
notwithstanding they are full of absurdities. The clergyman has a
multitudinous companionship, moreover, among novelists, essayists, and
poets whose safety lies in more or less fantastic generalization when
they come to talk about music. How they flounder when they come to
detail! It was Charles Lamb who said, in his "Chapter on Ears," that
in voices he could not distinguish a soprano from a tenor, and could
only contrive to guess at the thorough-bass from its being
"supereminently harsh and disagreeable;" yet dear old Elia may be
forgiven, since his confounding the bass voice with a system of
musical short-hand is so delightful a proof of the ignorance he was

[Sidenote: _Literary realism and musical terminology._]

But what shall the troubled critics say to Tennyson's orchestra
consisting of a flute, violin, and bassoon? Or to Coleridge's "_loud_
bassoon," which made the wedding-guest to beat his breast? Or to Mrs.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's pianist who played "with an airy and bird-like
touch?" Or to our own clever painter-novelist who, in "Snubbin'
through Jersey," has Brushes bring out his violoncello and play "the
symphonies of Beethoven" to entertain his fellow canal-boat
passengers? The tendency toward realism, or "veritism," as it is
called, has brought out a rich crop of blunders. It will not do to
have a character in a story simply sing or play something; we must
have the names of composers and compositions. The genial gentleman who
enriched musical literature with arrangements of Beethoven's
symphonies for violoncello without accompaniment has since
supplemented this feat by creating a German fiddler who, when he
thinks himself unnoticed, plays a sonata for violin and contralto
voice; Professor Brander Matthews permits one of his heroines to sing
Schumann's "Warum?" and one of his heroes plays "The Moonlight
Concerto;" one of Ouida's romantic creatures spends hours at an organ
"playing the grand old masses of Mendelssohn;" in "Moths" the tenor
never wearies of singing certain "exquisite airs of Palestrina," which
recalls the fact that an indignant correspondent of a St. Louis
newspaper, protesting against the Teutonism and heaviness of an
orchestra conductor's programmes, demanded some of the "lighter" works
of "Berlioz and Palestrina."

[Sidenote: _A popular need._]

Alas! these things and the many others equally amusing which Mr. G.
Sutherland Edwards long ago catalogued in an essay on "The Literary
Maltreatment of Music" are but evidences that even cultured folk have
not yet learned to talk correctly about the art which is practised
most widely. There is a greater need than pianoforte teachers and
singing teachers, and that is a numerous company of writers and
talkers who shall teach the people how to listen to music so that it
shall not pass through their heads like a vast tonal phantasmagoria,
but provide the varied and noble delights contemplated by the

[Sidenote: _A warning against writers._]

[Sidenote: _Pedants and rhapsodists._]

Ungracious as it might appear, it may yet not be amiss, therefore, at
the very outset of an inquiry into the proper way in which to listen
to music, to utter a warning against much that is written on the art.
As a rule it will be found that writers on music are divided into two
classes, and that neither of these classes can do much good. Too often
they are either pedants or rhapsodists. This division is wholly
natural. Music has many sides and is a science as well as an art. Its
scientific side is that on which the pedant generally approaches it.
He is concerned with forms and rules, with externals, to the
forgetting of that which is inexpressibly nobler and higher. But the
pedants are not harmful, because they are not interesting; strictly
speaking, they do not write for the public at all, but only for their
professional colleagues. The harmful men are the foolish rhapsodists
who take advantage of the fact that the language of music is
indeterminate and evanescent to talk about the art in such a way as to
present themselves as persons of exquisite sensibilities rather than
to direct attention to the real nature and beauty of music itself. To
them I shall recur in a later chapter devoted to musical criticism,
and haply point out the difference between good and bad critics and
commentators from the view-point of popular need and popular


_Recognition of Musical Elements_

[Sidenote: _The nature of music._]

Music is dual in its nature; it is material as well as spiritual. Its
material side we apprehend through the sense of hearing, and
comprehend through the intellect; its spiritual side reaches us
through the fancy (or imagination, so it be music of the highest
class), and the emotional part of us. If the scope and capacity of the
art, and the evolutionary processes which its history discloses (a
record of which is preserved in its nomenclature), are to be
understood, it is essential that this duality be kept in view. There
is something so potent and elemental in the appeal which music makes
that it is possible to derive pleasure from even an unwilling hearing
or a hearing unaccompanied by effort at analysis; but real
appreciation of its beauty, which means recognition of the qualities
which put it in the realm of art, is conditioned upon intelligent
hearing. The higher the intelligence, the keener will be the
enjoyment, if the former be directed to the spiritual side as well as
the material.

[Sidenote: _Necessity of intelligent hearing._]

So far as music is merely agreeably co-ordinated sounds, it may be
reduced to mathematics and its practice to handicraft. But recognition
of design is a condition precedent to the awakening of the fancy or
the imagination, and to achieve such recognition there must be
intelligent hearing in the first instance. For the purposes of this
study, design may be held to be Form in its primary stages, the
recognition of which is possible to every listener who is fond of
music; it is not necessary that he be learned in the science. He need
only be willing to let an intellectual process, which will bring its
own reward, accompany the physical process of hearing.

[Sidenote: _Tones and musical material._]

Without discrimination it is impossible to recognize even the crude
materials of music, for the first step is already a co-ordination of
those materials. A tone becomes musical material only by association
with another tone. We might hear it alone, study its quality, and
determine its degree of acuteness or gravity (its pitch, as musicians
say), but it can never become music so long as it remains isolated.
When we recognize that it bears certain relationships with other tones
in respect of time or tune (to use simple terms), it has become for us
musical material. We do not need to philosophize about the nature of
those relationships, but we must recognize their existence.

[Sidenote: _The beginnings of Form._]

Thus much we might hear if we were to let music go through our heads
like water through a sieve. Yet the step from that degree of
discrimination to a rudimentary analysis of Form is exceedingly short,
and requires little more than a willingness to concentrate the
attention and exercise the memory. Everyone is willing to do that much
while looking at a picture. Who would look at a painting and rest
satisfied with the impression made upon the sense of sight by the
colors merely? No one, surely. Yet so soon as we look, so as to
discriminate between the outlines, to observe the relationship of
figure to figure, we are indulging in intellectual exercise. If this
be a condition precedent to the enjoyment of a picture (and it plainly
is), how much more so is it in the case of music, which is intangible
and evanescent, which cannot pause a moment for our contemplation
without ceasing to be?

[Sidenote: _Comparison with a model not possible._]

There is another reason why we must exercise intelligence in
listening, to which I have already alluded in the first chapter. Our
appreciation of beauty in the plastic arts is helped by the
circumstance that the critical activity is largely a matter of
comparison. Is the picture or the statue a good copy of the object
sought to be represented? Such comparison fails us utterly in music,
which copies nothing that is tangibly present in the external world.

[Sidenote: _What degree of knowledge is necessary?_]

[Sidenote: _The Elements._]

[Sidenote: _Value of memory._]

It is then necessary to associate the intellect with sense perception
in listening to music. How far is it essential that the intellectual
process shall go? This book being for the untrained, the question
might be put thus: With how little knowledge of the science can an
intelligent listener get along? We are concerned only with his
enjoyment of music or, better, with an effort to increase it without
asking him to become a musician. If he is fond of the art it is more
than likely that the capacity to discriminate sufficiently to
recognize the elements out of which music is made has come to him
intuitively. Does he recognize that musical tones are related to each
other in respect of time and pitch? Then it shall not be difficult for
him to recognize the three elements on which music rests--Melody,
Harmony, and Rhythm. Can he recognize them with sufficient
distinctness to seize upon their manifestations while music is
sounding? Then memory shall come to the aid of discrimination, and he
shall be able to appreciate enough of design to point the way to a
true and lofty appreciation of the beautiful in music. The value of
memory is for obvious reasons very great in musical enjoyment. The
picture remains upon the wall, the book upon the library shelf. If we
have failed to grasp a detail at the first glance or reading, we need
but turn again to the picture or open the book anew. We may see the
picture in a changed light, or read the poem in a different mood, but
the outlines, colors, ideas are fixed for frequent and patient
perusal. Music goes out of existence with every performance, and must
be recreated at every hearing.

[Sidenote: _An intermediary necessary._]

Not only that, but in the case of all, so far as some forms are
concerned, and of all who are not practitioners in others, it is
necessary that there shall be an intermediary between the composer and
the listener. The written or printed notes are not music; they are
only signs which indicate to the performer what to do to call tones
into existence such as the composer had combined into an art-work in
his mind. The broadly trained musician can read the symbols; they stir
his imagination, and he hears the music in his imagination as the
composer heard it. But the untaught music-lover alone can get nothing
from the printed page; he must needs wait till some one else shall
again waken for him the

    "Sound of a voice that is still."

[Sidenote: _The value of memory._]

This is one of the drawbacks which are bound up in the nature of
music; but it has ample compensation in the unusual pleasure which
memory brings. In the case of the best music, familiarity breeds
ever-growing admiration. New compositions are slowly received; they
make their way to popular appreciation only by repeated performances;
the people like best the songs as well as the symphonies which they
know. The quicker, therefore, that we are in recognizing the melodic,
harmonic, and rhythmic contents of a new composition, and the more apt
our memory in seizing upon them for the operation of the fancy, the
greater shall be our pleasure.

[Sidenote: _Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm._]

[Sidenote: _Comprehensiveness of Melody._]

In simple phrase Melody is a well-ordered series of tones heard
successively; Harmony, a well-ordered series heard simultaneously;
Rhythm, a symmetrical grouping of tonal time units vitalized by
accent. The life-blood of music is Melody, and a complete conception
of the term embodies within itself the essence of both its companions.
A succession of tones without harmonic regulation is not a perfect
element in music; neither is a succession of tones which have harmonic
regulation but are void of rhythm. The beauty and expressiveness,
especially the emotionality, of a musical composition depend upon the
harmonies which either accompany the melody in the form of chords (a
group of melodic intervals sounded simultaneously), or are latent in
the melody itself (harmonic intervals sounded successively). Melody is
Harmony analyzed; Harmony is Melody synthetized.

[Sidenote: _Repetition._]

[Sidenote: _A melody analyzed._]

The fundamental principle of Form is repetition of melodies, which are
to music what ideas are to poetry. Melodies themselves are made by
repetition of smaller fractions called motives (a term borrowed from
the fine arts), phrases, and periods, which derive their individuality
from their rhythmical or intervallic characteristics. Melodies are
not all of the simple kind which the musically illiterate, or the
musically ill-trained, recognize as "tunes," but they all have a
symmetrical organization. The dissection of a simple folk-tune may
serve to make this plain and also indicate to the untrained how a
single feature may be taken as a mark of identification and a
holding-point for the memory. Here is the melody of a Creole song
called sometimes _Pov' piti Lolotte_, sometimes _Pov' piti Momzelle
Zizi_, in the patois of Louisiana and Martinique:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Motives, phrases, and periods._]

It will be as apparent to the eye of one who cannot read music as it
will to his ear when he hears this melody played, that it is built up
of two groups of notes only. These groups are marked off by the heavy
lines across the staff called bars, whose purpose it is to indicate
rhythmical subdivisions in music. The second, third, fifth, sixth, and
seventh of these groups are repetitions merely of the first group,
which is the germ of the melody, but on different degrees of the
scale; the fourth and eighth groups are identical and are an appendage
hitched to the first group for the purpose of bringing it to a close,
supplying a resting-point craved by man's innate sense of symmetry.
Musicians call such groups cadences. A musical analyst would call each
group a motive, and say that each successive two groups, beginning
with the first, constitute a phrase, each two phrases a period, and
the two periods a melody. We have therefore in this innocent Creole
tune eight motives, four phrases, and two periods; yet its material is
summed up in two groups, one of seven notes, one of five, which only
need to be identified and remembered to enable a listener to recognize
something of the design of a composer if he were to put the melody to
the highest purposes that melody can be put in the art of musical

[Sidenote: _Repetition in music._]

Repetition is the constructive principle which was employed by the
folk-musician in creating this melody; and repetition is the
fundamental principle in all musical construction. It will suffice for
many merely to be reminded of this to appreciate the fact that while
the exercise of memory is a most necessary activity in listening to
music, it lies in music to make that exercise easy. There is
repetition of motives, phrases, and periods in melody; repetition of
melodies in parts; and repetition of parts in the wholes of the larger

[Sidenote: _Repetition in poetry._]

The beginnings of poetic forms are also found in repetition; in
primitive poetry it is exemplified in the refrain or burden, in the
highly developed poetry of the Hebrews in parallelism. The Psalmist

    "O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath,
    Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure."

[Sidenote: _Key relationship._]

Here is a period of two members, the latter repeating the thought of
the former. A musical analyst might find in it an admirable analogue
for the first period of a simple melody. He would divide it into four
motives: "Rebuke me not | in thy wrath | neither chasten me | in thy
hot displeasure," and point out as intimate a relationship between
them as exists in the Creole tune. The bond of union between the
motives of the melody as well as that in the poetry illustrates a
principle of beauty which is the most important element in musical
design after repetition, which is its necessary vehicle. It is because
this principle guides the repetition of the tone-groups that together
they form a melody that is perfect, satisfying, and reposeful. It is
the principle of key-relationship, to discuss which fully would carry
me farther into musical science than I am permitted to go. Let this
suffice: A harmony is latent in each group, and the sequence of groups
is such a sequence as the experience of ages has demonstrated to be
most agreeable to the ear.

[Sidenote: _The rhythmical stamp._]

[Sidenote: _The principle of Unity._]

In the case of the Creole melody the listener is helped to a quick
appreciation of its form by the distinct physiognomy which rhythm has
stamped upon it; and it is by noting such a characteristic that the
memory can best be aided in its work of identification. It is not
necessary for a listener to follow all the processes of a composer in
order to enjoy his music, but if he cultivates the habit of following
the principal themes through a work of the higher class he will not
only enjoy the pleasures of memory but will frequently get a glimpse
into the composer's purposes which will stimulate his imagination and
mightily increase his enjoyment. There is nothing can guide him more
surely to a recognition of the principle of unity, which makes a
symphony to be an organic whole instead of a group of pieces which are
only externally related. The greatest exemplar of this principle is
Beethoven; and his music is the best in which to study it for the
reason that he so frequently employs material signs for the spiritual
bond. So forcibly has this been impressed upon me at times that I am
almost willing to believe that a keen analytical student of his music
might arrange his greater works into groups of such as were in process
of composition at the same time without reference to his personal
history. Take the principal theme of the C minor Symphony for example:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _A rhythmical motive pursued._]

This simple, but marvellously pregnant, motive is not only the kernel
of the first movement, it is the fundamental thought of the whole
symphony. We hear its persistent beat in the scherzo as well:

[Music illustration]

and also in the last movement:

[Music illustration]

More than this, we find the motive haunting the first movement of the
pianoforte sonata in F minor, op. 57, known as the "Sonata
Appassionata," now gloomily, almost morosely, proclamative in the
bass, now interrogative in the treble:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Relationships in Beethoven's works._]

[Sidenote: _The C minor Symphony and "Appassionata" sonata._]

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's G major Concerto._]

Schindler relates that when once he asked Beethoven to tell him what
the F minor and the D minor (Op. 31, No. 2) sonatas meant, he received
for an answer only the enigmatical remark: "Read Shakespeare's
'Tempest.'" Many a student and commentator has since read the
"Tempest" in the hope of finding a clew to the emotional contents
which Beethoven believed to be in the two works, so singularly
associated, only to find himself baffled. It is a fancy, which rests
perhaps too much on outward things, but still one full of suggestion,
that had Beethoven said: "Hear my C minor Symphony," he would have
given a better starting-point to the imagination of those who are
seeking to know what the F minor sonata means. Most obviously it means
music, but it means music that is an expression of one of those
psychological struggles which Beethoven felt called upon more and more
to delineate as he was more and more shut out from the companionship
of the external world. Such struggles are in the truest sense of the
word tempests. The motive, which, according to the story, Beethoven
himself said indicates, in the symphony, the rappings of Fate at the
door of human existence, is common to two works which are also related
in their spiritual contents. Singularly enough, too, in both cases the
struggle which is begun in the first movement and continued in the
third, is interrupted by a period of calm reassuring, soul-fortifying
aspiration, which in the symphony as well as in the sonata takes the
form of a theme with variations. Here, then, the recognition of a
simple rhythmical figure has helped us to an appreciation of the
spiritual unity of the parts of a symphony, and provided a commentary
on the poetical contents of a sonata. But the lesson is not yet
exhausted. Again do we find the rhythm coloring the first movement of
the pianoforte concerto in G major:

[Music illustration]

Symphony, concerto, and sonata, as the sketch-books of the master
show, were in process of creation at the same time.

[Sidenote: _His Seventh Symphony._]

Thus far we have been helped in identifying a melody and studying
relationships by the rhythmical structure of a single motive. The
demonstration might be extended on the same line into Beethoven's
symphony in A major, in which the external sign of the poetical idea
which underlies the whole work is also rhythmic--so markedly so that
Wagner characterized it most happily and truthfully when he said that
it was "the apotheosis of the dance." Here it is the dactyl, [dactyl
symbol], which in one variation, or another, clings to us almost as
persistently as in Hood's "Bridge of Sighs:"

    "One more unfortunate
      Weary of breath,
    Rashly importunate,
      Gone to her death."

[Sidenote: _Use of a dactylic figure._]

We hear it lightly tripping in the first movement:

[Music illustration] and [Music illustration];

gentle, sedate, tender, measured, through its combination with a
spondee in the second:

[Music illustration];

cheerily, merrily, jocosely happy in the Scherzo:

[Music illustration];

hymn-like in the Trio:

[Music illustration]

and wildly bacchanalian when subjected to trochaic abbreviation in the

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Intervallic characteristics._]

Intervallic characteristics may place the badge of relationship upon
melodies as distinctly as rhythmic. There is no more perfect
illustration of this than that afforded by Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Speaking of the subject of its finale, Sir George Grove says:

     "And note--while listening to the simple tune itself, before
     the variations begin--how _very_ simple it is; the plain
     diatonic scale, not a single chromatic interval, and out of
     fifty-six notes only three not consecutive."[A]

[Sidenote: _The melodies in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony._]

Earlier in the same work, while combating a statement by Lenz that the
resemblance between the second subject of the first movement and the
choral melody is a "thematic reference of the most striking
importance, vindicating the unity of the entire work, and placing the
whole in a perfectly new light," Sir George says:

     "It is, however, very remarkable that so many of the
     melodies in the Symphony should consist of consecutive
     notes, and that in no less than four of them the notes
     should run up a portion of the scale and down
     again--apparently pointing to a consistent condition of
     Beethoven's mind throughout this work."

[Sidenote: _Melodic likenesses._]

Like Goethe, Beethoven secreted many a mystery in his masterpiece, but
he did not juggle idly with tones, or select the themes of his
symphonies at hap-hazard; he would be open to the charge, however, if
the resemblances which I have pointed out in the Fifth and Seventh
Symphonies, and those disclosed by the following melodies from his
Ninth, should turn out through some incomprehensible revelation to be
mere coincidences:

From the first movement:

[Music illustration]

From the second:

[Music illustration]

The choral melody:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Design and Form._]

From a recognition of the beginnings of design, to which
identification of the composer's thematic material and its simpler
relationships will lead, to so much knowledge of Form as will enable
the reader to understand the later chapters in this book, is but a


[A] "Beethoven and His Nine Symphonies," p. 374.


_The Content and Kinds of Music_

[Sidenote: _Metaphysics to be avoided herein._]

Bearing in mind the purpose of this book, I shall not ask the reader
to accompany me far afield in the region of æsthetic philosophy or
musical metaphysics. A short excursion is all that is necessary to
make plain what is meant by such terms as Absolute music, Programme
music, Classical, Romantic, and Chamber music and the like, which not
only confront us continually in discussion, but stand for things which
we must know if we would read programmes understandingly and
appreciate the various phases in which music presents itself to us. It
is interesting and valuable to know why an art-work stirs up
pleasurable feelings within us, and to speculate upon its relations to
the intellect and the emotions; but the circumstance that
philosophers have never agreed, and probably never will agree, on
these points, so far as the art of music is concerned, alone suffices
to remove them from the field of this discussion.

[Sidenote: _Personal equation in judgment._]

Intelligent listening is not conditioned upon such knowledge. Even
when the study is begun, the questions whether or not music has a
content beyond itself, where that content is to be sought, and how
defined, will be decided in each case by the student for himself, on
grounds which may be said to be as much in his nature as they are in
the argument. The attitude of man toward the art is an individual one,
and in some of its aspects defies explanation.

[Sidenote: _A musical fluid._]

The amount and kind of pleasure which music gives him are frequently
as much beyond his understanding and control as they are beyond the
understanding and control of the man who sits beside him. They are
consequences of just that particular combination of material and
spiritual elements, just that blending of muscular, nervous, and
cerebral tissues, which make him what he is, which segregate him as
an individual from the mass of humanity. We speak of persons as
susceptible or insusceptible to music as we speak of good and poor
conductors of electricity; and the analogy implied here is
particularly apt and striking. If we were still using the scientific
terms of a few decades ago I should say that a musical fluid might yet
be discovered and its laws correlated with those of heat, light, and
electricity. Like them, when reduced to its lowest terms, music is a
form of motion, and it should not be difficult on this analogy to
construct a theory which would account for the physical phenomena
which accompany the hearing of music in some persons, such as the
recession of blood from the face, or an equally sudden suffusion of
the same veins, a contraction of the scalp accompanied by chilliness
or a prickling sensation, or that roughness of the skin called
goose-flesh, "flesh moved by an idea, flesh horripilated by a

[Sidenote: _Origin of musical elements._]

[Sidenote: _Feelings and counterpoint._]

It has been denied that feelings are the content of music, or that it
is the mission of music to give expression to feelings; but the
scientific fact remains that the fundamental elements of vocal
music--pitch, quality, and dynamic intensity--are the results of
feelings working upon the vocal organs; and even if Mr. Herbert
Spencer's theory be rejected, it is too late now to deny that music is
conceived by its creators as a language of the emotions and so applied
by them. The German philosopher Herbarth sought to reduce the question
to an absurdity by expressing surprise that musicians should still
believe that feelings could be "the proximate cause of the rules of
simple and double counterpoint;" but Dr. Stainer found a sufficient
answer by accepting the proposition as put, and directing attention to
the fact that the feelings of men having first decided what was
pleasurable in polyphony, and the rules of counterpoint having
afterward been drawn from specimens of pleasurable polyphony, it was
entirely correct to say that feelings are the proximate cause of the
laws of counterpoint.

[Sidenote: _How composers hear music._]

It is because so many of us have been taught by poets and romancers to
think that there is a picture of some kind, or a story in every piece
of music, and find ourselves unable to agree upon the picture or the
story in any given case, that confusion is so prevalent among the
musical laity. Composers seldom find difficulty in understanding each
other. They listen for beauty, and if they find it they look for the
causes which have produced it, and in apprehending beauty and
recognizing means and cause they unvolitionally rise to the plane
whence a view of the composer's purposes is clear. Having grasped the
mood of a composition and found that it is being sustained or varied
in a manner accordant with their conceptions of beauty, they occupy
themselves with another kind of differentiation altogether than the
misled disciples of the musical rhapsodists who overlook the general
design and miss the grand proclamation in their search for petty
suggestions for pictures and stories among the details of the
composition. Let musicians testify for us. In his romance, "Ein
Glücklicher Abend," Wagner says:

[Sidenote: _Wagner's axiom._]

     "That which music expresses is eternal and ideal. It does
     not give voice to the passion, the love, the longing of this
     or the other individual, under these or the other
     circumstances, but to passion, love, longing itself."

Moritz Hauptmann says:

[Sidenote: _Hauptmann's._]

     "The same music will admit of the most varied verbal
     expositions, and of not one of them can it be correctly said
     that it is exhaustive, the right one, and contains the whole
     significance of the music. This significance is contained
     most definitely in the music itself. It is not music that is
     ambiguous; it says the same thing to everybody; it speaks to
     mankind and gives voice only to human feelings. Ambiguity
     only then makes its appearance when each person attempts to
     formulate in his manner the emotional impression which he
     has received, when he attempts to fix and hold the ethereal
     essence of music, to utter the unutterable."

[Sidenote: _Mendelssohn's._]

[Sidenote: _The "Songs without Words."_]

Mendelssohn inculcated the same lesson in a letter which he wrote to a
young poet who had given titles to a number of the composer's "Songs
Without Words," and incorporated what he conceived to be their
sentiments in a set of poems. He sent his work to Mendelssohn with the
request that the composer inform the writer whether or not he had
succeeded in catching the meaning of the music. He desired the
information because "music's capacity for expression is so vague and
indeterminate." Mendelssohn replied:

     "You give the various numbers of the book such titles as 'I
     Think of Thee,' 'Melancholy,' 'The Praise of God,' 'A Merry
     Hunt.' I can scarcely say whether I thought of these or
     other things while composing the music. Another might find
     'I Think of Thee' where you find 'Melancholy,' and a real
     huntsman might consider 'A Merry Hunt' a veritable 'Praise
     of God.' But this is not because, as you think, music is
     vague. On the contrary, I believe that musical expression is
     altogether too definite, that it reaches regions and dwells
     in them whither words cannot follow it and must necessarily
     go lame when they make the attempt as you would have them

[Sidenote: _The tonal language._]

[Sidenote: _Herbert Spencer's definition._]

[Sidenote: _Natural expression._]

[Sidenote: _Absolute music._]

If I were to try to say why musicians, great musicians, speak thus of
their art, my explanation would be that they have developed, farther
than the rest of mankind have been able to develop it, a language of
tones, which, had it been so willed, might have been developed so as
to fill the place now occupied by articulate speech. Herbert Spencer,
though speaking purely as a scientific investigator, not at all as an
artist, defined music as "a language of feelings which may ultimately
enable men vividly and completely to impress on each other the
emotions they experience from moment to moment." We rely upon speech
to do this now, but ever and anon when, in a moment of emotional
exaltation, we are deserted by the articulate word we revert to the
emotional cry which antedates speech, and find that that cry is
universally understood because it is universally felt. More than
speech, if its primitive element of emotionality be omitted, more than
the primitive language of gesture, music is a natural mode of
expression. All three forms have attained their present stage of
development through conventions. Articulate speech has led in the
development; gesture once occupied a high plane (in the pantomimic
dance of the ancients) but has now retrograded; music, supreme at the
outset, then neglected, is but now pushing forward into the place
which its nature entitles it to occupy. When we conceive of an
art-work composed of such elements, and foregoing the adventitious
helps which may accrue to it from conventional idioms based on
association of ideas, we have before us the concept of Absolute music,
whose content, like that of every noble artistic composition, be it of
tones or forms or colors or thoughts expressed in words, is that high
ideal of goodness, truthfulness, and beauty for which all lofty
imaginations strive. Such artworks are the instrumental compositions
in the classic forms; such, too, may be said to be the high type of
idealized "Programme" music, which, like the "Pastoral" symphony of
Beethoven, is designed to awaken emotions like those awakened by the
contemplation of things, but does not attempt to depict the things
themselves. Having mentioned Programme music I must, of course, try to
tell what it is; but the exposition must be preceded by an explanation
of a kind of music which, because of its chastity, is set down as the
finest form of absolute music. This is Chamber music.

[Sidenote: _Chamber music._]

[Sidenote: _History of the term._]

[Sidenote: _Haydn a servant._]

In a broad sense, but one not employed in modern definition, Chamber
music is all music not designed for performance in the church or
theatre. (Out-of-door music cannot be considered among these artistic
forms of aristocratic descent.) Once, and indeed at the time of its
invention, the term meant music designed especially for the
delectation of the most eminent patrons of the art--the kings and
nobles whose love for it gave it maintenance and encouragement. This
is implied by the term itself, which has the same etymology wherever
the form of music is cultivated. In Italian it is _Musica da Camera_;
in French, _Musique de Chambre_; in German, _Kammermusik_. All the
terms have a common root. The Greek [Greek: kamara] signified an arch,
a vaulted room, or a covered wagon. In the time of the Frankish kings
the word was applied to the room in the royal palace in which the
monarch's private property was kept, and in which he looked after his
private affairs. When royalty took up the cultivation of music it was
as a private, not as a court, function, and the concerts given for
the entertainment of the royal family took place in the king's
chamber, or private room. The musicians were nothing more nor less
than servants in the royal household. This relationship endured into
the present century. Haydn was a _Hausofficier_ of Prince Esterhazy.
As vice-chapelmaster he had to appear every morning in the Prince's
ante-room to receive orders concerning the dinner-music and other
entertainments of the day, and in the certificate of appointment his
conduct is regulated with a particularity which we, who remember him
and reverence his genius but have forgotten his master, think
humiliating in the extreme.

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's Chamber music._]

Out of this cultivation of music in the private chamber grew the
characteristics of Chamber music, which we must consider if we would
enjoy it ourselves and understand the great reverence which the great
masters of music have always felt for it. Beethoven was the first
great democrat among musicians. He would have none of the shackles
which his predecessors wore, and compelled aristocracy of birth to bow
to aristocracy of genius. But such was his reverence for the style of
music which had grown up in the chambers of the great that he devoted
the last three years of his life almost exclusively to its
composition; the peroration of his proclamation to mankind consists of
his last quartets--the holiest of holy things to the Chamber musicians
of to-day.

[Sidenote: _The characteristics of Chamber music._]

Chamber music represents pure thought, lofty imagination, and deep
learning. These attributes are encouraged by the idea of privacy which
is inseparable from the form. Composers find it the finest field for
the display of their talents because their own skill in creating is to
be paired with trained skill in hearing. Its representative pieces are
written for strings alone--trios, quartets, and quintets. With the
strings are sometimes associated a pianoforte, or one or more of the
solo wind instruments--oboe, clarinet, or French horn; and as a rule
the compositions adhere to classical lines (see Chapter V.). Of
necessity the modesty of the apparatus compels it to forego nearly
all the adventitious helps with which other forms of composition gain
public approval. In the delineative arts Chamber music shows analogy
with correct drawing and good composition, the absence of which cannot
be atoned for by the most gorgeous coloring. In no other style is
sympathy between performers and listeners so necessary, and for that
reason Chamber music should always be heard in a small room with
performers and listeners joined in angelic wedlock. Communities in
which it flourishes under such conditions are musical.

[Sidenote: _Programme music._]

[Sidenote: _The value of superscriptions._]

[Sidenote: _The rule of judgment._]

Properly speaking, the term Programme music ought to be applied only
to instrumental compositions which make a frank effort to depict
scenes, incidents, or emotional processes to which the composer
himself gives the clew either by means of a descriptive title or a
verbal motto. It is unfortunate that the term has come to be loosely
used. In a high sense the purest and best music in the world is
programmatic, its programme being, as I have said, that "high ideal of
goodness, truthfulness, and beauty" which is the content of all true
art. But the origin of the term was vulgar, and the most contemptible
piece of tonal imitation now claims kinship in the popular mind with
the exquisitely poetical creations of Schumann and the "Pastoral"
symphony of Beethoven; and so it is become necessary to defend it in
the case of noble compositions. A programme is not necessarily, as
Ambros asserts, a certificate of poverty and an admission on the part
of the composer that his art has got beyond its natural bounds.
Whether it be merely a suggestive title, as in the case of some of the
compositions of Beethoven, Schumann, and Mendelssohn, or an extended
commentary, as in the symphonic poems of Liszt and the symphonies of
Berlioz and Raff, the programme has a distinct value to the composer
as well as the hearer. It can make the perceptive sense more
impressible to the influence of the music; it can quicken the fancy,
and fire the imagination; it can prevent a gross misconception of the
intentions of a composer and the character of his composition.
Nevertheless, in determining the artistic value of the work, the
question goes not to the ingenuity of the programme or the clearness
with which its suggestions have been carried out, but to the beauty of
the music itself irrespective of the verbal commentary accompanying
it. This rule must be maintained in order to prevent a degradation of
the object of musical expression. The vile, the ugly, the painful are
not fit subjects for music; music renounces, contravenes, negatives
itself when it attempts their delineation.

A classification of Programme music might be made on these lines:

[Sidenote: _Kinds of Programme music._]

I. Descriptive pieces which rest on imitation or suggestion of natural

II. Pieces whose contents are purely musical, but the mood of which is
suggested by a poetical title.

III. Pieces in which the influence which determined their form and
development is indicated not only by a title but also by a motto which
is relied upon to mark out a train of thought for the listener which
will bring his fancy into union with that of the composer. The motto
may be verbal or pictorial.

IV. Symphonies or other composite works which have a title to indicate
their general character, supplemented by explanatory superscriptions
for each portion.

[Sidenote: _Imitation of natural sounds._]

[Sidenote: _The nightingale._]

[Sidenote: _The cat._]

[Sidenote: _The cuckoo._]

The first of these divisions rests upon the employment of the lowest
form of conventional musical idiom. The material which the natural
world provides for imitation by the musician is exceedingly scant.
Unless we descend to mere noise, as in the descriptions of storms and
battles (the shrieking of the wind, the crashing of thunder, and the
roar of artillery--invaluable aids to the cheap descriptive writer),
we have little else than the calls of a few birds. Nearly thirty years
ago Wilhelm Tappert wrote an essay which he called "Zooplastik in
Tönen." He ransacked the musical literature of centuries, but in all
his examples the only animals the voices of which are unmistakable are
four fowls--the cuckoo, quail (that is the German bird, not the
American, which has a different call), the cock, and the hen. He has
many descriptive sounds which suggest other birds and beasts, but only
by association of idea; separated from title or text they suggest
merely what they are--musical phrases. A reiteration of the rhythmical
figure called the "Scotch snap," breaking gradually into a trill, is
the common symbol of the nightingale's song, but it is not a copy of
that song; three or four tones descending chromatically are given as
the cat's mew, but they are made to be such only by placing the
syllables _Mi-au_ (taken from the vocabulary of the German cat) under
them. Instances of this kind might be called characterization, or
description by suggestion, and some of the best composers have made
use of them, as will appear in these pages presently. The list being
so small, and the lesson taught so large, it may be well to give a few
striking instances of absolutely imitative music. The first bird to
collaborate with a composer seems to have been the cuckoo, whose notes

[Music illustration: Cuck-oo!]

had sounded in many a folk-song ere Beethoven thought of enlisting the
little solo performer in his "Pastoral" symphony. It is to be borne in
mind, however, as a fact having some bearing on the artistic value of
Programme music, that Beethoven's cuckoo changes his note to please
the musician, and, instead of singing a minor third, he sings a major
third thus:

[Music illustration: Cuck-oo!]

[Sidenote: _Cock and hen._]

As long ago as 1688 Jacob Walter wrote a musical piece entitled
"Gallina et Gallo," in which the hen was delineated in this theme:

[Music illustration: _Gallina._]

while the cock had the upper voice in the following example, his clear
challenge sounding above the cackling of his mate:

[Music illustration: _Gallo._]

The most effective use yet made of the song of the hen, however, is in
"La Poule," one of Rameau's "Pièces de Clavecin," printed in 1736, a
delightful composition with this subject:

[Music illustration: Co co co co co co co dai, etc.]

[Sidenote: _The quail._]

The quail's song is merely a monotonic rhythmical figure to which
German fancy has fitted words of pious admonition:

[Music illustration: Fürch-te Gott! Lo-be Gott!]

[Sidenote: _Conventional idioms._]

[Sidenote: _Association of ideas._]

[Sidenote: _Fancy and imagination._]

[Sidenote: _Harmony and emotionality._]

The paucity of examples in this department is a demonstration of the
statement made elsewhere that nature does not provide music with
models for imitation as it does painting and sculpture. The fact that,
nevertheless, we have come to recognize a large number of idioms based
on association of ideas stands the composer in good stead whenever he
ventures into the domain of delineative or descriptive music, and this
he can do without becoming crudely imitative. Repeated experiences
have taught us to recognize resemblances between sequences or
combinations of tones and things or ideas, and on these analogies,
even though they be purely conventional (that is agreed upon, as we
have agreed that a nod of the head shall convey assent, a shake of the
head dissent, and a shrug of the shoulders doubt or indifference), the
composers have built up a voluminous vocabulary of idioms which need
only to be helped out by a suggestion to the mind to be eloquently
illustrative. "Sometimes hearing a melody or harmony arouses an
emotion like that aroused by the contemplation of a thing. Minor
harmonies, slow movements, dark tonal colorings, combine directly to
put a musically susceptible person in a mood congenial to thoughts of
sorrow and death; and, inversely, the experience of sorrow, or the
contemplation of death, creates affinity for minor harmonies, slow
movements, and dark tonal colorings. Or we recognize attributes in
music possessed also by things, and we consort the music and the
things, external attributes bringing descriptive music into play,
which excites the fancy, internal attributes calling for an exercise
of the loftier faculty, imagination, to discern their meaning."[B] The
latter kind is delineative music of the higher order, the kind that I
have called idealized programme music, for it is the imagination
which, as Ruskin has said, "sees the heart and inner nature and makes
them felt, but is often obscure, mysterious, and interrupted in its
giving out of outer detail," which is "a seer in the prophetic sense,
calling the things that are not as though they were, and forever
delighting to dwell on that which is not tangibly present." In this
kind of music, harmony, the real seat of emotionality in music, is an
eloquent factor, and, indeed, there is no greater mystery in the art,
which is full of mystery, than the fact that the lowering of the
second tone in the chord, which is the starting-point of harmony,
should change an expression of satisfaction, energetic action, or
jubilation into an accent of pain or sorrow. The major mode is "to
do," the minor, "to suffer:"

[Sidenote: _Major and minor._]

[Music illustration: Hur-rah! A-las!]

[Sidenote: _Music and movement._]

How near a large number of suggestions, which are based wholly upon
experience or association of ideas, lie to the popular fancy, might be
illustrated by scores of examples. Thoughts of religious functions
arise in us the moment we hear the trombones intone a solemn phrase in
full harmony; an oboe melody in sixth-eighth time over a drone bass
brings up a pastoral picture of a shepherd playing upon his pipe;
trumpets and drums suggest war, and so on. The delineation of
movement is easier to the musician than it is to the poet. Handel, who
has conveyed the sensation of a "darkness which might be felt," in a
chorus of his "Israel in Egypt," by means which appeal solely to the
imagination stirred by feelings, has in the same work pictured the
plague of frogs with a frank _naïveté_ which almost upsets our
seriousness of demeanor, by suggesting the characteristic movement of
the creatures in the instrumental accompaniment to the arioso, "Their
land brought forth frogs," which begins thus:

[Sidenote: _Handel's frogs._]

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _The movement of water._]

We find the gentle flux and reflux of water as if it were lapping a
rocky shore in the exquisite figure out of which Mendelssohn
constructed his "Hebrides" overture:

[Music illustration]

and in fancy we ride on mighty surges when we listen to the principal
subject of Rubinstein's "Ocean" symphony:

[Music illustration]

In none of these instances can the composer be said to be imitative.
Music cannot copy water, but it can do what water does, and so suggest

[Sidenote: _High and low._]

Some of the most common devices of composers are based on conceptions
that are wholly arbitrary. A musical tone cannot have position in
space such as is indicated by high or low, yet so familiar is the
association of acuteness of pitch with height, and gravity of pitch
with depth, that composers continually delineate high things with
acute tones and low things with grave tones, as witness Handel in one
of the choruses of "The Messiah:"

[Music illustration: Glo-ry to God in the high-est, and peace on

[Sidenote: _Ascent, descent, and distance delineated._]

Similarly, too, does Beethoven describe the ascent into heaven and the
descent into hell in the Credo of his mass in D. Beethoven's music,
indeed, is full of tone-painting, and because it exemplifies a double
device I make room for one more illustration. It is from the cantata
"Becalmed at Sea, and a Prosperous Voyage," and in it the composer
pictures the immensity of the sea by a sudden, extraordinary spreading
out of his harmonies, which is musical, and dwelling a long time on
the word "distance" (_Weite_) which is rhetorical:

[Music illustration: In der un-ge-heu-'ren Wei-te.]

[Sidenote: _Bald imitation bad art._]

[Sidenote: _Vocal music and delineation._]

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's canon._]

The extent to which tone-painting is justified is a question which
might profitably concern us; but such a discussion as it deserves
would far exceed the limits set for this book, and must be foregone.
It cannot be too forcibly urged, however, as an aid to the listener,
that efforts at musical cartooning have never been made by true
composers, and that in the degree that music attempts simply to copy
external things it falls in the scale of artistic truthfulness and
value. Vocal music tolerates more of the descriptive element than
instrumental because it is a mixed art; in it the purpose of music is
to illustrate the poetry and, by intensifying the appeal to the fancy,
to warm the emotions. Every piece of vocal music, moreover, carries
its explanatory programme in its words. Still more tolerable and even
righteous is it in the opera where it is but one of several factors
which labor together to make up the sum of dramatic representation.
But it must ever remain valueless unless it be idealized. Mendelssohn,
desiring to put _Bully Bottom_ into the overture to "A Midsummer
Night's Dream," did not hesitate to use tones which suggest the bray
of a donkey, yet the effect, like Handel's frogs and flies in
"Israel," is one of absolute musical value. The canon which ought
continually to be before the mind of the listener is that which
Beethoven laid down with most painstaking care when he wrote the
"Pastoral" symphony. Desiring to inform the listeners what were the
images which inspired the various movements (in order, of course, that
they might the better enter into the work by recalling them), he gave
each part a superscription thus:

[Sidenote: _The "Pastoral" symphony._]

     I. "The agreeable and cheerful sensations awakened by
     arrival in the country."

     II. "Scene by the brook."

     III. "A merrymaking of the country folk."

     IV. "Thunder-storm."

     V. "Shepherds' song--feelings of charity combined with
     gratitude to the Deity after the storm."

In the title itself he included an admonitory explanation which should
have everlasting validity: "Pastoral Symphony; more expression of
feeling than painting." How seriously he thought on the subject we
know from his sketch-books, in which occur a number of notes, some of
which were evidently hints for superscriptions, some records of his
convictions on the subject of descriptive music. The notes are
reprinted in Nottebohm's "Zweite Beethoveniana," but I borrow Sir
George Grove's translation:

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's notes on descriptive music._]

     "The hearers should be allowed to discover the situations."

     "Sinfonia caracteristica, or a recollection of country

     "All painting in instrumental music, if pushed too far, is a

     "Sinfonia pastorella. Anyone who has an idea of country life
     can make out for himself the intentions of the author
     without many titles."

     "People will not require titles to recognize the general
     intention to be more a matter of feeling than of painting in

     "Pastoral symphony: No picture, but something in which the
     emotions are expressed which are aroused in men by the
     pleasure of the country (or), in which some feelings of
     country life are set forth."[C]

As to the relation of programme to music Schumann laid down an
admirable maxim when he said that while good music was not harmed by a
descriptive title it was a bad indication if a composition needed one.

[Sidenote: _Classic and Romantic._]

There are, among all the terms used in music, no words of vaguer
meaning than Classic and Romantic. The idea which they convey most
widely in conjunction is that of antithesis. When the Romantic School
of composers is discussed it is almost universally presented as
something opposed in character to the Classical School. There is
little harm in this if we but bear in mind that all the terms which
have come into use to describe different phases of musical development
are entirely artificial and arbitrary--that they do not stand for
anything absolute, but only serve as platforms of observation. If the
terms had a fixed meaning we ought to be able, since they have
established themselves in the language of history and criticism, to
describe unambiguously and define clearly the boundary which separates
them. This, however, is impossible. Each generation, nay, each
decade, fixes the meaning of the words for itself and decides what
works shall go into each category. It ought to be possible to discover
a principle, a touchstone, which shall emancipate us from the
mischievous and misleading notions that have so long prompted men to
make the partitions between the schools out of dates and names.

[Sidenote: _Trench's definition of "classical."_]

The terms were borrowed from literary criticism; but even there, in
the words of Archbishop Trench, "they either say nothing at all or say
something erroneous." Classical has more to defend it than Romantic,
because it has greater antiquity and, in one sense, has been used with
less arbitrariness.

     "The term," says Trench, "is drawn from the political
     economy of Rome. Such a man was rated as to his income in
     the third class, such another in the fourth, and so on, and
     he who was in the highest was emphatically said to be of the
     class, _classicus_, a class man, without adding the number
     as in that case superfluous; while all others were _infra
     classem_. Hence by an obvious analogy the best authors were
     rated as _classici_, or men of the highest class; just as in
     English we say 'men of rank' absolutely for men who are in
     the highest ranks of the State."

Thus Trench, and his historical definition, explains why in music also
there is something more than a lurking suggestion of excellence in the
conception of "classical;" but that fact does not put away the quarrel
which we feel exists between Classic and Romantic.

[Sidenote: _Romantic in literature._]

[Sidenote: _Schumann and Jean Paul._]

[Sidenote: _Weber's operas._]

[Sidenote: _Mendelssohn._]

As applied to literature Romantic was an adjective affected by certain
poets, first in Germany, then in France, who wished to introduce a
style of thought and expression different from that of those who
followed old models. Intrinsically, of course, the term does not imply
any such opposition but only bears witness to the source from which
the poets drew their inspiration. This was the imaginative literature
of the Middle Ages, the fantastical stories of chivalry and knighthood
written in the Romance, or Romanic languages, such as Italian,
Spanish, and Provençal. The principal elements of these stories were
the marvellous and the supernatural. The composers whose names first
spring into our minds when we think of the Romantic School are men
like Mendelssohn and Schumann, who drew much of their inspiration from
the young writers of their time who were making war on stilted
rhetoric and conventionalism of phrase. Schumann touches hands with
the Romantic poets in their strivings in two directions. His artistic
conduct, especially in his early years, is inexplicable if Jean Paul
be omitted from the equation. His music rebels against the formalism
which had held despotic sway over the art, and also seeks to disclose
the beauty which lies buried in the world of mystery in and around us,
and give expression to the multitude of emotions to which unyielding
formalism had refused adequate utterance. This, I think, is the chief
element of Romanticism. Another has more of an external nature and
genesis, and this we find in the works of such composers as Von Weber,
who is Romantic chiefly in his operas, because of the supernaturalism
and chivalry in their stories, and Mendelssohn, who, while distinctly
Romantic in many of his strivings, was yet so great a master of form,
and so attached to it, that the Romantic side of him was not fully

[Sidenote: _A definition of "Classical" in music._]

[Sidenote: _The creative and conservative principles._]

[Sidenote: _Musical laws of necessity progressive._]

[Sidenote: _Bach and Romanticism._]

[Sidenote: _Creation and conservation._]

If I were to attempt a definition it would be this: Classical
composers are those of the first rank (to this extent we yield to the
ancient Roman conception) who have developed music to the highest
pitch of perfection on its formal side and, in obedience to generally
accepted laws, preferring æsthetic beauty, pure and simple, over
emotional content, or, at any rate, refusing to sacrifice form to
characteristic expression. Romantic composers are those who have
sought their ideals in other regions and striven to give expression to
them irrespective of the restrictions and limitations of form and the
conventions of law--composers with whom, in brief, content outweighs
manner. This definition presents Classicism as the regulative and
conservative principle in the history of the art, and Romanticism as
the progressive, regenerative, and creative principle. It is easy to
see how the notion of contest between them grew up, and the only harm
which can come from such a notion will ensue only if we shut our eyes
to the fact that it is a contest between two elements whose very
opposition stimulates life, and whose union, perfect, peaceful,
mutually supplemental, is found in every really great art-work. No law
which fixes, and hence limits, form, can remain valid forever. Its end
is served when it enforces itself long enough to keep lawlessness in
check till the test of time has determined what is sound, sweet, and
wholesome in the innovations which are always crowding eagerly into
every creative activity in art and science. In art it is ever true, as
_Faust_ concludes, that "In the beginning was the deed." The laws of
composition are the products of compositions; and, being such, they
cannot remain unalterable so long as the impulse freshly to create
remains. All great men are ahead of their time, and in all great
music, no matter when written, you shall find instances of profounder
meaning and deeper or newer feeling than marked the generality of
contemporary compositions. So Bach frequently floods his formal
utterances with Romantic feeling, and the face of Beethoven, serving
at the altar in the temple of Beauty, is transfigured for us by divine
light. The principles of creation and conservation move onward
together, and what is Romantic to-day becomes Classic to-morrow.
Romanticism is fluid Classicism. It is the emotional stimulus
informing Romanticism which calls music into life, but no sooner is it
born, free, untrammelled, nature's child, than the regulative
principle places shackles upon it; but it is enslaved only that it may
become and remain art.


[B] "Studies in the Wagnerian Drama," p. 22.

[C] "Beethoven and His Nine Symphonies," by George Grove, C.B., 2d
ed., p. 191.


_The Modern Orchestra_

[Sidenote: _The orchestra as an instrument._]

[Sidenote: _What may be heard from a band._]

The most eloquent, potent, and capable instrument of music in the
world is the modern orchestra. It is the instrument whose employment
by the classical composers and the geniuses of the Romantic School in
the middle of our century marks the high tide of the musical art. It
is an instrument, moreover, which is never played upon without giving
a great object-lesson in musical analysis, without inviting the eye to
help the ear to discern the cause of the sounds which ravish our
senses and stir up pleasurable emotions. Yet the popular knowledge of
its constituent parts, of the individual value and mission of the
factors which go to make up its sum, is scarcely greater than the
popular knowledge of the structure of a symphony or sonata. All this
is the more deplorable since at least a rudimentary knowledge of these
things might easily be gained, and in gaining it the student would
find a unique intellectual enjoyment, and have his ears unconsciously
opened to a thousand beauties in the music never perceived before. He
would learn, for instance, to distinguish the characteristic timbre of
each of the instruments in the band; and after that to the delight
found in what may be called the primary colors he would add that which
comes from analyzing the vast number of tints which are the products
of combination. Noting the capacity of the various instruments and the
manner in which they are employed, he would get glimpses into the
mental workshop of the composer. He would discover that there are
conventional means of expression in his art analogous to those in the
other arts; and collating his methods with the effects produced, he
would learn something of the creative artist's purposes. He would find
that while his merely sensuous enjoyment would be left unimpaired, and
the emotional excitement which is a legitimate fruit of musical
performance unchecked, these pleasures would have others consorted
with them. His intellectual faculties would be agreeably excited, and
he would enjoy the pleasures of memory, which are exemplified in music
more delightfully and more frequently than in any other art, because
of the rôle which repetition of parts plays in musical composition.

[Sidenote: _Familiar instruments._]

[Sidenote: _The instrumental choirs._]

The argument is as valid in the study of musical forms as in the study
of the orchestra, but it is the latter that is our particular business
in this chapter. Everybody listening to an orchestral concert
recognizes the physical forms of the violins, flutes, cornets, and big
drum; but even of these familiar instruments the voices are not always
recognized. As for the rest of the harmonious fraternity, few give
heed to them, even while enjoying the music which they produce; yet
with a few words of direction anybody can study the instruments of the
band at an orchestral concert. Let him first recognize the fact that
to the mind of a composer an orchestra always presents itself as a
combination of four groups of instruments--choirs, let us call them,
with unwilling apology to the lexicographers. These choirs are: first,
the viols of four sorts--violins, violas, violoncellos, and
double-basses, spoken of collectively as the "string quartet;" second,
the wind instruments of wood (the "wood-winds" in the musician's
jargon)--flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons; third, the wind
instruments of brass (the "brass")--trumpets, horns, trombones, and
bass tuba. In all of these subdivisions there are numerous variations
which need not detain us now. A further subdivision might be made in
each with reference to the harmony voices (showing an analogy with the
four voices of a vocal choir--soprano, contralto, tenor, and bass);
but to go into this might make the exposition confusing. The fourth
"choir" (here the apology to the lexicographers must be repeated with
much humility and earnestness) consists of the instruments of
percussion--the kettle-drums, big drum, cymbals, triangle, bell chime,
etc. (sometimes spoken of collectively in the United States as "the


[Sidenote: _How orchestras are seated._]

[Sidenote: _Plan of the New York Philharmonic._]

The disposition of these instruments in our orchestras is largely a
matter of individual taste and judgment in the conductor, though the
general rule is exemplified in the plan given herewith, showing how
Mr. Anton Seidl has arranged the desks for the concerts of the
Philharmonic Society of New York. Mr. Theodore Thomas's arrangement
differed very little from that of Mr. Seidl, the most noticeable
difference being that he placed the viola-players beside the second
violinists, where Mr. Seidl has the violoncellists. Mr. Seidl's
purpose in making the change was to gain an increase in sonority for
the viola part, the position to the right of the stage (the left of
the audience) enabling the viola-players to hold their instruments
with the F-holes toward the listeners instead of away from them. The
relative positions of the harmonious battalions, as a rule, are as
shown in the diagram. In the foreground, the violins, violas, and
'cellos; in the middle distance, the wood-winds; in the background,
the brass and the battery; the double-basses flanking the whole body.
This distribution of forces is dictated by considerations of sonority,
the most assertive instruments--the brass and drums--being placed
farthest from the hearers, and the instruments of the viol tribe,
which are the real backbone of the band and make their effect by a
massing of voices in each part, having the place of honor and greatest
advantage. Of course it is understood that I am speaking of a concert
orchestra. In the case of theatrical or operatic bands the arrangement
of the forces is dependent largely upon the exigencies of space.

[Sidenote: _Solo instruments._]

Outside the strings the instruments are treated by composers as solo
instruments, a single flute, oboe, clarinet, or other wind instrument
sometimes doing the same work in the development of the composition as
the entire body of first violins. As a rule, the wood-winds are used
in pairs, the purpose of this being either to fill the harmony when
what I may call the principal thought of the composition is consigned
to a particular choir, or to strengthen a voice by permitting two
instruments to play in unison.

[Sidenote: _Groupings for harmony effects._]

[Sidenote: _Wagner's instrumental characterization._]

[Sidenote: _An instrumental language._]

Each choir, except the percussion instruments, is capable of playing
in full harmony; and this effect is frequently used by composers. In
"Lohengrin," which for that reason affords to the amateur an admirable
opportunity for orchestral study, Wagner resorts to this device in
some instances for the sake of dramatic characterization. _Elsa_, a
dreamy, melancholy maiden, crushed under the weight of wrongful
accusation, and sustained only by the vision of a seraphic champion
sent by Heaven to espouse her cause, is accompanied on her entrance
and sustained all through her scene of trial by the dulcet tones of
the wood-winds, the oboe most often carrying the melody. _Lohengrin's_
superterrestrial character as a Knight of the Holy Grail is prefigured
in the harmonies which seem to stream from the violins, and in the
prelude tell of the bringing of the sacred vessel of Christ's passion
to Monsalvat; but in his chivalric character he is greeted by the
militant trumpets in a strain of brilliant puissance and rhythmic
energy. Composers have studied the voices of the instruments so long
and well, and have noted the kind of melodies and harmonies in which
the voices are most effective, that they have formulated what might
almost be called an instrumental language. Though the effective
capacity of each instrument is restricted not only by its mechanics,
but also by the quality of its tones--a melody conceived for one
instrument sometimes becoming utterly inexpressive and unbeautiful by
transferrence to another--the range of effects is extended almost to
infinity by means of combination, or, as a painter might say, by
mixing the colors. The art of writing effectively for instruments in
combination is the art of instrumentation or orchestration, in which
Berlioz and Wagner were Past Grand Masters.

[Sidenote: _Number of instruments._]

The number of instruments of each kind in an orchestra may also be
said to depend measurably upon the music, or the use to which the band
is to be put. Neither in instruments nor in numbers is there absolute
identity between a dramatic and a symphonic orchestra. The apparatus
of the former is generally much more varied and complex, because of
the vast development of variety in dramatic expression stimulated by

[Sidenote: _Symphony and dramatic orchestras._]

The modern symphony, especially the symphonic poem, shows the
influence of this dramatic tendency, but not in the same degree. A
comparison between model bands in each department will disclose what
is called the normal orchestral organization. For the comparison (see
page 82), I select the bands of the first Wagner Festival held in
Bayreuth in 1876, the Philharmonic Society of New York, the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

[Sidenote: _Instruments rarely used._]

Instruments like the corno di bassetto, bass trumpet, tenor tuba,
contra-bass tuba, and contra-bass trombone are so seldom called for in
the music played by concert orchestras that they have no place in
their regular lists. They are employed when needed, however, and the
horns and other instruments are multiplied when desirable effects are
to be obtained by such means.

[Sidenote: _Orchestras compared._]

                               New York
Instruments      Bayreuth.   Philharmonic.   Boston.  Chicago.

First violins        16            18          16        16
Second violins       16            18          14        16
Violas               12            14          10        10
Violoncellos         12            14           8        10
Double-basses         8            14           8         9
Flutes                3             3           3         3
Oboes                 3             3           2         3
English horn          1             1           1         1
Clarinets             3             3           3         3
Basset-horn           1             0           0         0
Bassoons              3             3           3         3
Trumpets or cornets   3             3           4         4
Horns                 8             4           4         4
Trombones             3             3           3         3
Bass trumpet          1             0           0         1
Tenor tubas           2             0           2         4
Bass tubas            2             1           2         1
Contra-bass tuba      1             0           1         0
Contra-bass trombone  1             0           0         1
Tympani (pairs)       2             2           2         2
Bass drum             1             1           1         1
Cymbals (pairs)       1             1           1         1
Harps                 6             1           1         2

[Sidenote: _The string quartet._]

[Sidenote: _Old laws against instrumentalists._]

[Sidenote: _Early instrumentation._]

[Sidenote: _Handel's orchestra._]

The string quartet, it will be seen, makes up nearly three-fourths of
a well-balanced orchestra. It is the only choir which has numerous
representation of its constituent units. This was not always so, but
is the fruit of development in the art of instrumentation which is the
newest department in music. Vocal music had reached its highest point
before instrumental music made a beginning as an art. The former was
the pampered child of the Church, the latter was long an outlaw. As
late as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries instrumentalists were
vagabonds in law, like strolling players. They had none of the rights
of citizenship; the religious sacraments were denied them; their
children were not permitted to inherit property or learn an honourable
trade; and after death the property for which they had toiled
escheated to the crown. After the instruments had achieved the
privilege of artistic utterance, they were for a long time mere
slavish imitators of the human voice. Bach treated them with an
insight into their possibilities which was far in advance of his time,
for which reason he is the most modern composer of the first half of
the eighteenth century; but even in Handel's case the rule was to
treat them chiefly as supports for the voices. He multiplied them just
as he did the voices in his choruses, consorting a choir of oboes and
bassoons, and another of trumpets of almost equal numbers with his

[Sidenote: _The modern band._]

The so-called purists in England talk a great deal about restoring
Handel's orchestra in performances of his oratorios, utterly unmindful
of the fact that to our ears, accustomed to the myriad-hued orchestra
of to-day, the effect would seem opaque, heavy, unbalanced, and
without charm were a band of oboes to play in unison with the violins,
another of bassoons to double the 'cellos, and half a dozen trumpets
to come flaring and crashing into the musical mass at intervals. Gluck
in the opera, and Haydn and Mozart in the symphony, first disclosed
the charm of the modern orchestra with the wind instruments
apportioned to the strings so as to obtain the multitude of tonal
tints which we admire to-day. On the lines which they marked out the
progress has been exceedingly rapid and far-reaching.

[Sidenote: _Capacity of the orchestra._]

[Sidenote: _The extremes of range._]

In the hands of the latter-day Romantic composers, and with the help
of the instrument-makers, who have marvellously increased the capacity
of the wind instruments, and remedied the deficiencies which
embarrassed the Classical writers, the orchestra has developed into an
instrument such as never entered the mind of the wildest dreamer of
the last century. Its range of expression is almost infinite. It can
strike like a thunder-bolt, or murmur like a zephyr. Its voices are
multitudinous. Its register is coextensive in theory with that of the
modern pianoforte, reaching from the space immediately below the sixth
added line under the bass staff to the ninth added line above the
treble staff. These two extremes, which belong respectively to the
bass tuba and piccolo flute, are not at the command of every player,
but they are within the capacity of the instruments, and mark the
orchestra's boundaries in respect of pitch. The gravest note is almost
as deep as any in which the ordinary human ear can detect pitch, and
the acutest reaches the same extremity in the opposite direction.

[Sidenote: _The viols._]

[Sidenote: _The violin._]

With all the changes that have come over the orchestra in the course
of the last two hundred years, the string quartet has remained its
chief factor. Its voice cannot grow monotonous or cloying, for,
besides its innate qualities, it commands a more varied manner of
expression than all the other instruments combined. The viol, which
term I shall use generically to indicate all the instruments of the
quartet, is the only instrument in the band, except the harp, that can
play harmony as well as melody. Its range is the most extensive; it is
more responsive to changes in manipulation; it is endowed more richly
than any other instrument with varieties of timbre; it has an
incomparable facility of execution, and answers more quickly and more
eloquently than any of its companions to the feelings of the player. A
great advantage which the viol possesses over wind instruments is
that, not being dependent on the breath of the player, there is
practically no limit to its ability to sustain tones. It is because
of this long list of good qualities that it is relied on to provide
the staff of life to instrumental music. The strings as commonly used
show four members of the viol family, distinguished among themselves
by their size, and the quality in the changes of tone which grows out
of the differences in size. The violins (Appendix, Plate I.) are the
smallest members of the family. Historically they are the culmination
of a development toward diminutiveness, for in their early days viols
were larger than they are now. When the violin of to-day entered the
orchestra (in the score of Monteverde's opera "Orfeo") it was
specifically described as a "little French violin." Its voice, Berlioz
says, is the "true female voice of the orchestra." Generally the
violin part of an orchestral score is two-voiced, but the two groups
may be split into a great number. In one passage in "Tristan und
Isolde" Wagner divides his first and second violins into sixteen
groups. Such divisions, especially in the higher regions, are
productive of entrancing effects.

[Sidenote: _Violin effects._]

[Sidenote: _Pizzicato._]

[Sidenote: _"Col legno dall'arco."_]

[Sidenote: _Harmonics._]

[Sidenote: _Vibrato._]

[Sidenote: _"Con sordino."_]

The halo of sound which streams from the beginning and end of the
"Lohengrin" prelude is produced by this device. High and close
harmonies from divided violins always sound ethereal. Besides their
native tone quality (that resulting from a string stretched over a
sounding shell set to vibrating by friction), the violins have a
number of modified qualities resulting from changes in manipulation.
Sometimes the strings are plucked (_pizzicato_), when the result is a
short tone something like that of a banjo with the metallic clang
omitted; very dainty effects can thus be produced, and though it
always seems like a degradation of the instrument so pre-eminently
suited to a broad singing style, no less significant a symphonist than
Tschaikowsky has written a Scherzo in which the violins are played
_pizzicato_ throughout the movement. Ballet composers frequently
resort to the piquant effect, but in the larger and more serious forms
of composition, the device is sparingly used. Differences in quality
and expressiveness of tone are also produced by varied methods of
applying the bow to the strings: with stronger or lighter pressure;
near the bridge, which renders the tone hard and brilliant, and over
the end of the finger-board, which softens it; in a continuous manner
(_legato_), or detached (_staccato_). Weird effects in dramatic music
are sometimes produced by striking the strings with the wood of the
bow, Wagner resorting to this means to delineate the wicked glee of
his dwarf _Mime_, and Meyerbeer to heighten the uncanniness of
_Nelusko's_ wild song in the third act of "L'Africaine." Another class
of effects results from the manner in which the strings are "stopped"
by the fingers of the left hand. When they are not pressed firmly
against the finger-board but touched lightly at certain places called
nodes by the acousticians, so that the segments below the finger are
permitted to vibrate along with the upper portion, those peculiar
tones of a flute-like quality called harmonics or flageolet tones are
produced. These are oftener heard in dramatic music than in
symphonies; but Berlioz, desiring to put Shakespeare's description of
Queen Mab,

    "Her wagon-spokes made of long spinner's legs;
    The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
    The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
    The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams--"

into music in his dramatic symphony, "Romeo and Juliet," achieved a
marvellously filmy effect by dividing his violins, and permitting some
of them to play harmonics. Yet so little was his ingenious purpose
suspected when he first brought the symphony forward in Paris, that
one of the critics spoke contemptuously of this effect as sounding
"like an ill-greased syringe." A quivering motion imparted to the
fingers of the left hand in stopping the strings produces a
tremulousness of tone akin to the _vibrato_ of a singer; and, like the
vocal _vibrato_, when not carried to excess, this effect is a potent
expression of sentimental feeling. But it is much abused by solo
players. Another modification of tone is caused by placing a tiny
instrument called a sordino, or mute, upon the bridge. This clamps
the bridge, makes it heavier, and checks the vibrations, so that the
tone is muted or muffled, and at times sounds mysterious.

[Sidenote: _Pizzicato on the basses._]

[Sidenote: _Tremolo._]

These devices, though as a rule they have their maximum of
effectiveness in the violins, are possible also on the violas,
violoncellos, and double-basses, which, as I have already intimated,
are but violins of a larger growth. The _pizzicato_ is, indeed,
oftenest heard from the double-basses, where it has a much greater
eloquence than on the violins. In music of a sombre cast, the short,
deep tones given out by the plucked strings of the contra-bass
sometimes have the awfulness of gigantic heart-throbs. The difficulty
of producing the other effects grows with the increase of difficulty
in handling the instruments, this being due to the growing thickness
of the strings and the wideness of the points at which they must be
stopped. One effect peculiar to them all--the most used of all
effects, indeed, in dramatic music--is the _tremolo_, produced by
dividing a tone into many quickly reiterated short tones by a rapid
motion of the bow. This device came into use with one of the earliest
pieces of dramatic music. It is two centuries old, and was first used
to help in the musical delineation of a combat. With scarcely an
exception, the varied means which I have described can be detected by
those to whom they are not already familiar by watching the players
while listening to the music.

[Sidenote: _The viola._]

The viola is next in size to the violin, and is tuned at the interval
of a fifth lower. Its highest string is A, which is the second string
of the violin, and its lowest C. Its tone, which sometimes contains a
comical suggestion of a boy's voice in mutation, is lacking in
incisiveness and brilliancy, but for this it compensates by a
wonderful richness and filling quality, and a pathetic and inimitable
mournfulness in melancholy music. It blends beautifully with the
violoncello, and is often made to double that instrument's part for
the sake of color effect--as, to cite a familiar instance, in the
principal subject of the Andante in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

[Sidenote: _The violoncello._]

[Sidenote: _Violoncello effects._]

The strings of the violoncello (Plate II.) are tuned like those of
the viola, but an octave lower. It is the knee-fiddle (_viola da
gamba_) of the last century, as the viola is the arm-fiddle (_viola da
braccio_), and got its old name from the position in which it is held
by the player. The 'cello's voice is a bass--it might be called the
barytone of the choir--and in the olden time of simple writing, little
else was done with it than to double the bass part one octave higher.
But modern composers, appreciating its marvellous capacity for
expression, which is next to that of the violin, have treated it with
great freedom and independence as a solo instrument. Its tone is full
of voluptuous languor. It is the sighing lover of the instrumental
company, and can speak the language of tender passion more feelingly
than any of its fellows. The ravishing effect of a multiplication of
its voice is tellingly exemplified in the opening of the overture to
"William Tell," which is written for five solo 'celli, though it is
oftenest heard in an arrangement which gives two of the middle parts
to violas. When Beethoven wished to produce the emotional impression
of a peacefully rippling brook in his "Pastoral" symphony, he gave a
murmuring figure to the divided violoncellos, and Wagner uses the
passionate accents of four of these instruments playing in harmony to
support _Siegmund_ when he is pouring out the ecstasy of his love in
the first act of "Die Walküre." In the love scene of Berlioz's "Romeo
and Juliet" symphony it is the violoncello which personifies the
lover, and holds converse with the modest oboe.

[Sidenote: _The double-bass._]

The patriarchal double-bass is known to all, and also its mission of
providing the foundation for the harmonic structure of orchestral
music. It sounds an octave lower than the music written for it, being
what is called a transposing instrument of sixteen-foot tone. Solos
are seldom written for this instrument in orchestral music, though
Beethoven, with his daring recitatives in the Ninth Symphony, makes it
a mediator between the instrumental and vocal forces. Dragonetti and
Bottesini, two Italians, the latter of whom is still alive, won great
fame as solo players on the unwieldy instrument. The latter uses a
small bass viol, and strings it with harp strings; but Dragonetti
played a full double-bass, on which he could execute the most
difficult passages written for the violoncello.

[Sidenote: _The wood-winds._]

Since the instruments of the wood-wind choir are frequently used in
solos, their acquaintance can easily be made by an observing amateur.
To this division of the orchestra belong the gentle accents in the
instrumental language. Violent expression is not its province, and
generally when the band is discoursing in heroic style or giving voice
to brave or angry emotion the wood-winds are either silent or are used
to give weight to the body of tone rather than color. Each of the
instruments has a strongly characteristic voice, which adapts itself
best to a certain style of music; but by use of different registers
and by combinations among them, or with the instruments of the other
choirs, a wide range of expression within the limits suggested has
been won for the wood-winds.

[Sidenote: _The flute._]

[Sidenote: _The piccolo flute._]

[Sidenote: _Janizary music._]

[Sidenote: _The story of the flute._]

The flute, which requires no description, is, for instance, an
essentially soulless instrument; but its marvellous agility and the
effectiveness with which its tones can be blended with others make it
one of the most useful instruments in the band. Its native character,
heard in the compositions written for it as a solo instrument, has
prevented it from being looked upon with dignity. As a rule,
brilliancy is all that is expected from it. It is a sort of _soprano
leggiero_ with a small range of superficial feelings. It can
sentimentalize, and, as Dryden says, be "soft, complaining," but when
we hear it pour forth a veritable ecstasy of jubilation, as it does in
the dramatic climax of Beethoven's overture "Leonore No. 3," we marvel
at the transformation effected by the composer. Advantage has also
been taken of the difference between its high and low tones, and now
in some romantic music, as in Raff's "Lenore" symphony, or the prayer
of _Agathe_ in "Der Freischütz," the hollowness of the low tones
produces a mysterious effect that is exceedingly striking. Still the
fact remains that the native voice of the instrument, though sweet,
is expressionless compared with that of the oboe or clarinet. Modern
composers sometimes write for three flutes; but in the older writers,
when a third flute is used, it is generally an octave flute, or
piccolo flute (Plate III.)--a tiny instrument whose aggressiveness of
voice is out of all proportion to its diminutiveness of body. This is
the instrument which shrieks and whistles when the band is playing at
storm-making, to imitate the noise of the wind. It sounds an octave
higher than is indicated by the notes in its part, and so is what is
called a transposing instrument of four-foot tone. It revels in
military music, which is proper, for it is an own cousin to the
ear-piercing fife, which annually makes up for its long silence in the
noisy days before political elections. When you hear a composition in
march time, with bass and snare drum, cymbals and triangle, such as
the Germans call "Turkish" or "Janizary" music, you may be sure to
hear also the piccolo flute. The flute is doubtless one of the oldest
instruments in the world. The primitive cave-dwellers made flutes of
the leg-bones of birds and other animals, an origin of which a record
is preserved in the Latin name _tibia_. The first wooden flutes were
doubtless the Pandean pipes, in which the tone was produced by blowing
across the open ends of hollow reeds. The present method, already
known to the ancient Egyptians, of closing the upper end, and creating
the tone by blowing across a hole cut in the side, is only a
modification of the method pursued, according to classic tradition, by
Pan when he breathed out his dejection at the loss of the nymph
Syrinx, by blowing across the tuneful reeds which were that nymph in
her metamorphosed state.

[Sidenote: _Reed instruments._]

[Sidenote: _Double reeds._]

The flute or pipe of the Greeks and Romans was only distantly related
to the true flute, but was the ancestor of its orchestral companions,
the oboe and clarinet. These instruments are sounded by being blown in
at the end, and the tone is created by vibrating reeds, whereas in the
flute it is the result of the impinging of the air on the edge of the
hole called the embouchure, and the consequent stirring of the column
of air in the flue of the instrument. The reeds are thin slips or
blades of cane. The size and bore of the instruments and the
difference between these reeds are the causes of the differences in
tone quality between these relatives. The oboe or hautboy, English
horn, and the bassoon have what are called double reeds. Two narrow
blades of cane are fitted closely together, and fastened with silk on
a small metal tube extending from the upper end of the instrument in
the case of the oboe and English horn, from the side in the case of
the bassoon. The reeds are pinched more or less tightly between the
lips, and are set to vibrating by the breath.

[Sidenote: _The oboe._]

[Sidenote: _The English horn._]

The oboe (Plate IV.) is naturally associated with music of a pastoral
character. It is pre-eminently a melody instrument, and though its
voice comes forth shrinkingly, its uniqueness of tone makes it easily
heard. It is a most lovable instrument. "Candor, artless grace, soft
joy, or the grief of a fragile being suits the oboe's accents," says
Berlioz. The peculiarity of its mouth-piece gives its tone a reedy or
vibrating quality totally unlike the clarinet's. Its natural alto is
the English horn (Plate V.), which is an oboe of larger growth, with
curved tube for convenience of manipulation. The tone of the English
horn is fuller, nobler, and is very attractive in melancholy or dreamy
music. There are few players on the English horn in this country, and
it might be set down as a rule that outside of New York, Boston, and
Chicago, the English horn parts are played by the oboe in America. No
melody displays the true character of the English horn better than the
_Ranz des Vaches_ in the overture to Rossini's "William Tell"--that
lovely Alpine song which the flute embroiders with exquisite ornament.
One of the noblest utterances of the oboe is the melody of the funeral
march in Beethoven's "Heroic" symphony, in which its tenderness has
beautiful play. It is sometimes used effectively in imitative music.
In Haydn's "Seasons," and also in that grotesque tone poem by
Saint-Saëns, the "Danse Macabre," it gives the cock crow. It is the
timid oboe that sounds the A for the orchestra to tune by.

[Sidenote: _The bassoon._]

[Sidenote: _An orchestral humorist._]

[Sidenote: _Supernatural effects._]

The grave voice of the oboe is heard from the bassoon (Plate VI.),
where, without becoming assertive, it gains a quality entirely unknown
to the oboe and English horn. It is this quality that makes the
bassoon the humorist _par excellence_ of the orchestra. It is a reedy
bass, very apt to recall to those who have had a country education the
squalling tone of the homely instrument which the farmer's boy
fashions out of the stems of the pumpkin-vine. The humor of the
bassoon is an unconscious humor, and results from the use made of its
abysmally solemn voice. This solemnity in quality is paired with
astonishing flexibility of utterance, so that its gambols are always
grotesque. Brahms permits the bassoon to intone the _Fuchslied_ of the
German students in his "Academic" overture. Beethoven achieves a
decidedly comical effect by a stubborn reiteration of key-note, fifth,
and octave by the bassoon under a rustic dance intoned by the oboe in
the scherzo of his "Pastoral" symphony; and nearly every modern
composer has taken advantage of the instrument's grotesqueness.
Mendelssohn introduces the clowns in his "Midsummer-Night's-Dream"
music by a droll dance for two bassoons over a sustained bass note
from the violoncellos; but when Meyerbeer wanted a very different
effect, a ghastly one indeed, in the scene of the resuscitation of the
nuns in his "Robert le Diable," he got it by taking two bassoons as
solo instruments and using their weak middle tones, which, Berlioz
says, have "a pale, cold, cadaverous sound." Singularly enough, Handel
resorted to a similar device in his "Saul," to accompany the vision of
the Witch of Endor.

[Sidenote: _The double bassoon._]

In all these cases a great deal depends upon the relation between the
character of the melody and the nature of the instrument to which it
is set. A swelling martial fanfare may be made absurd by changing it
from trumpets to a weak-voiced wood-wind. It is only the string
quartet that speaks all the musical languages of passion and emotion.
The double-bassoon is so large an instrument that it has to be bent on
itself to bring it under the control of the player. It sounds an
octave lower than the written notes. It is not brought often into the
orchestra, but speaks very much to the purpose in Brahms's beautiful
variations on a theme by Haydn, and the glorious finale of Beethoven's
Fifth Symphony.

[Sidenote: _The clarinet._]

[Sidenote: _The bass clarinet._]

The clarinet (Plate VII.) is the most eloquent member of the wood-wind
choir, and, except some of its own modifications or the modifications
of the oboe and bassoon, the latest arrival in the harmonious company.
It is only a little more than a century old. It has the widest range
of expression of the wood-winds, and its chief structural difference
is in its mouth-piece. It has a single flat reed, which is much wider
than that of the oboe or bassoon, and is fastened by a metallic band
and screw to the flattened side of the mouth-piece, whose other side
is cut down, chisel shape, for convenience. Its voice is rich, mellow,
less reedy, and much fuller and more limpid than the voice of the
oboe, which Berlioz tries to describe by analogy as "sweet-sour." It
is very flexible, too, and has a range of over three and a half
octaves. Its high tones are sometimes shrieky, however, and the full
beauty of the instrument is only disclosed when it sings in the middle
register. Every symphony and overture contains passages for the
clarinet which serve to display its characteristics. Clarinets are
made of different sizes for different keys, the smallest being that in
E-flat, with an unpleasantly piercing tone, whose use is confined to
military bands. There is also an alto clarinet and a bass clarinet
(Plate VIII.). The bell of the latter instrument is bent upward, pipe
fashion, and its voice is peculiarly impressive and noble. It is a
favorite solo instrument in Liszt's symphonic poems.

[Sidenote: _Lips and reeds._]

[Sidenote: _The brass instruments._]

[Sidenote: _Improvements in brass instruments._]

[Sidenote: _Valves and slides._]

The fundamental principle of the instruments last described is the
production of tone by vibrating reeds. In the instruments of the brass
choir, the duty of the reeds is performed by the lips of the player.
Variety of tone in respect of quality is produced by variations in
size, shape, and modifications in parts like the bell and mouth-piece.
The _forte_ of the orchestra receives the bulk of its puissance from
the brass instruments, which, nevertheless, can give voice to an
extensive gamut of sentiments and feelings. There is nothing more
cheery and jocund than the flourishes of the horns, but also nothing
more mild and soothing than the songs which sometimes they sing. There
is nothing more solemn and religious than the harmony of the
trombones, while "the trumpet's loud clangor" is the very voice of a
war-like spirit. All of these instruments have undergone important
changes within the last few score years. The classical composers,
almost down to our own time, were restricted in the use of them
because they were merely natural tubes, and their notes were limited
to the notes which inflexible tubes can produce. Within this century,
however, they have all been transformed from imperfect diatonic
instruments to perfect chromatic instruments; that is to say, every
brass instrument which is in use now can give out all the semitones
within its compass. This has been accomplished through the agency of
valves, by means of which differing lengths of the sonorous tube are
brought within the command of the players. In the case of the
trombones an exceedingly venerable means of accomplishing the same end
is applied. The tube is in part made double, one part sliding over the
other. By moving his arm, the player lengthens or shortens the tube,
and thus changing the key of the instrument, acquires all the tones
which can be obtained from so many tubes of different lengths. The
mouth-pieces of the trumpet, trombone, and tuba are cup-shaped, and
larger than the mouth-piece of the horn, which is little else than a
flare of the slender tube, sufficiently wide to receive enough of the
player's lips to form the embouchure, or human reed, as it might here
be named.

[Sidenote: _The French horn._]

[Sidenote: _Manipulation of the French horn._]

The French horn (Plate IX.), as it is called in the orchestra, is the
sweetest and mellowest of all the wind instruments. In Beethoven's
time it was but little else than the old hunting-horn, which, for the
convenience of the mounted hunter, was arranged in spiral
convolutions that it might be slipped over the head and carried
resting on one shoulder and under the opposite arm. The Germans still
call it the _Waldhorn_, _i.e._, "forest horn;" the old French name was
_cor de chasse_, the Italian _corno di caccia_. In this instrument
formerly the tones which were not the natural resonances of the
harmonic division of the tube were helped out by partly closing the
bell with the right hand, it having been discovered accidentally that
by putting the hand into the lower end of the tube--the flaring part
called the bell--the pitch of a tone was raised. Players still make
use of this method for convenience, and sometimes because a composer
wishes to employ the slightly muffled effect of these tones; but since
valves have been added to the instrument, it is possible to play a
chromatic scale in what are called the unstopped or open tones.

[Sidenote: _Kinds of horns._]

[Sidenote: _The trumpet._]

[Sidenote: _The cornet._]

Formerly it was necessary to use horns of different pitch, and
composers still respect this tradition, and designate the key of the
horns which they wish to have employed; but so skilful have the
players become that, as a rule, they use horns whose fundamental tone
is F for all keys, and achieve the old purpose by simply transposing
the music as they read it. If these most graceful instruments were
straightened out they would be seventeen feet long. The convolutions
of the horn and the many turns of the trumpet are all the fruit of
necessity; they could not be manipulated to produce the tones that are
asked of them if they were not bent and curved. The trumpet, when its
tube is lengthened by the addition of crooks for its lowest key, is
eight feet long; the tuba, sixteen. In most orchestras (in all of
those in the United States, in fact, except the Boston and Chicago
Orchestras and the Symphony Society of New York) the word trumpet is
merely a euphemism for cornet, the familiar leading instrument of the
brass band, which, while it falls short of the trumpet in the quality
of its tone, in the upper registers especially, is a more easily
manipulated instrument than the trumpet, and is preferable in the
lower tones.

[Sidenote: _The trombone._]

Mendelssohn is quoted as saying that the trombones (Plate X.) "are too
sacred to use often." They have, indeed, a majesty and nobility all
their own, and the lowest use to which they can be put is to furnish a
flaring and noisy harmony in an orchestral _tutti_. They are
marvellously expressive instruments, and without a peer in the whole
instrumental company when a solemn and spiritually uplifting effect is
to be attained. They can also be made to sound menacing and
lugubrious, devout and mocking, pompously heroic, majestic, and lofty.
They are often the heralds of the orchestra, and make sonorous

[Sidenote: _Trombone effects._]

[Sidenote: _The tuba._]

The classic composers always seemed to approach the trombones with
marked respect, but nowadays it requires a very big blue pencil in the
hands of a very uncompromising conservatory professor to prevent a
student engaged on his _Opus 1_ from keeping his trombones going half
the time at least. It is an old story how Mozart keeps the instruments
silent through three-fourths of his immortal "Don Giovanni," so that
they may enter with overwhelming impressiveness along with the
ghostly visitor of the concluding scene. As a rule, there are three
trombones in the modern orchestra--two tenors and a bass. Formerly
there were four kinds, bearing the names of the voices to which they
were supposed to be nearest in tone-quality and compass--soprano,
alto, tenor, and bass. Full four-part harmony is now performed by the
three trombones and the tuba (Plate XI.). The latter instrument,
which, despite its gigantic size, is exceedingly tractable can "roar
you as gently as any sucking dove." Far-away and strangely mysterious
tones are got out of the brass instruments, chiefly the cornet and
horn, by almost wholly closing the bell.

[Sidenote: _Instruments of percussion._]

[Sidenote: _The xylophone._]

[Sidenote: _Kettle-drums._]

[Sidenote: _Pfund's tuning device._]

[Sidenote: _Pitch of the drums._]

[Sidenote: _Qualifications of a drummer._]

The percussion apparatus of the modern orchestra includes a multitude
of instruments scarcely deserving of description. Several varieties of
drums, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, steel bars (_Glockenspiel_),
gongs, bells, and many other things which we are now inclined to look
upon as toys, rather than as musical instruments, are brought into
play for reasons more or less fantastic. Saint-Saëns has even utilized
the barbarous xylophone, whose proper place is the variety hall, in
his "Danse Macabre." There his purpose was a fantastic one, and the
effect is capital. The pictorial conceit at the bottom of the poem
which the music illustrates is Death, as a skeleton, seated on a
tombstone, playing the viol, and gleefully cracking his bony heels
against the marble. To produce this effect, the composer uses the
xylophone with capital results. But of all the ordinary instruments of
percussion, the only one that is really musical and deserving of
comment is the kettle-drum. This instrument is more musical than the
others because it has pitch. Its voice is not mere noise, but musical
noise. Kettle-drums, or tympani, are generally used in pairs, though
the vast multiplication of effects by modern composers has resulted
also in the extension of this department of the band. It is seldom
that more than two pairs are used, a good player with a quick ear
being able to accomplish all that Wagner asks of six drums by his
deftness in changing the pitch of the instruments. This work of tuning
is still performed generally in what seems a rudimentary way, though a
German drum-builder named Pfund invented a contrivance by which the
player, by simply pressing on a balanced pedal and watching an
indicator affixed to the side of the drums, can change the pitch to
any desired semitone within the range of an octave.

The tympani are hemispherical brass or copper vessels, kettles in
short, covered with vellum heads. The pitch of the instrument depends
on the tension of the head, which is applied generally by key-screws
working through the iron ring which holds the vellum. There is a
difference in the size of the drums to place at the command of the
player the octave from F in the first space below the bass staff to F
on the fourth line of the same staff. Formerly the purpose of the
drums was simply to give emphasis, and they were then uniformly tuned
to the key-note and fifth of the key in which a composition was set.
Now they are tuned in many ways, not only to allow for the frequent
change of keys, but also so that they may be used as harmony
instruments. Berlioz did more to develop the drums than any composer
who has ever lived, though Beethoven already manifested appreciation
of their independent musical value. In the last movement of his Eighth
Symphony and the scherzo of his Ninth, he tunes them in octaves, his
purpose in the latter case being to give the opening figure, an octave
leap, of the scherzo melody to the drums solo. The most extravagant
use ever made of the drums, however, was by Berlioz in his "Messe des
Morts," where he called in eight pairs of drums and ten players to
help him to paint his tonal picture of the terrors of the last
judgment. The post of drummer is one of the most difficult to fill in
a symphonic orchestra. He is required to have not only a perfect sense
of time and rhythm, but also a keen sense of pitch, for often the
composer asks him to change the pitch of one or both of his drums in
the space of a very few seconds. He must then be able to shut all
other sounds out of his mind, and bring his drums into a new key while
the orchestra is playing--an extremely nice task.

[Sidenote: _The bass drum._]

The development of modern orchestral music has given dignity also to
the bass drum, which, though definite pitch is denied to it, is now
manipulated in a variety of ways productive of striking effects. Rolls
are played on it with the sticks of the kettle-drums, and it has been
emancipated measurably from the cymbals, which in vulgar brass-band
music are its inseparable companions.

[Sidenote: _The conductor._]

[Sidenote: _Time-beaters and interpreters._]

[Sidenote: _The conductor a necessity._]

In the full sense of the term the orchestral conductor is a product of
the latter half of the present century. Of course, ever since
concerted music began, there has been a musical leader of some kind.
Mural paintings and carvings fashioned in Egypt long before Apollo
sang his magic song and

    "Ilion, like a mist, rose into towers,"

show the conductor standing before his band beating time by clapping
his hands; and if we are to credit what we have been told about Hebrew
music, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, when they stood before their
multitudinous choirs in the temple at Jerusalem, promoted synchronism
in the performance by stamping upon the floor with lead-shodden feet.
Before the era which developed what I might call "star" conductors,
these leaders were but captains of tens and captains of hundreds who
accomplished all that was expected of them if they made the performers
keep musical step together. They were time-beaters merely--human
metronomes. The modern conductor is, in a sense not dreamed of a
century ago, a mediator between the composer and the audience. He is a
virtuoso who plays upon men instead of a key-board, upon a hundred
instruments instead of one. Music differs from her sister arts in many
respects, but in none more than in her dependence on the intermediary
who stands between her and the people for whose sake she exists. It is
this intermediary who wakens her into life.

    "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter,"

is a pretty bit of hyperbole which involves a contradiction in terms.
An unheard melody is no melody at all, and as soon as we have music in
which a number of singers or instrumentalists are employed, the taste,
feeling, and judgment of an individual are essential to its
intelligent and effective publication. In the gentle days of the long
ago, when suavity and loveliness of utterance and a recognition of
formal symmetry were the "be-all and end-all" of the art, a
time-beater sufficed to this end; but now the contents of music are
greater, the vessel has been wondrously widened, the language is
become curiously complex and ingenious, and no composer of to-day can
write down universally intelligible signs for all that he wishes to
say. Someone must grasp the whole, expound it to the individual
factors which make up the performing sum and provide what is called an
interpretation to the public.

[Sidenote: _"Star" conductors._]

That someone, of course, is the conductor, and considering the
progress that music is continually making it is not at all to be
wondered at that he has become a person of stupendous power in the
culture of to-day. The one singularity is that he should be so rare.
This rarity has had its natural consequence, and the conductor who can
conduct, in contradistinction to the conductor who can only beat time,
is now a "star." At present we see him going from place to place in
Europe giving concerts in which he figures as the principal
attraction. The critics discuss his "readings" just as they do the
performances of great pianists and singers. A hundred blowers of
brass, scrapers of strings, and tootlers on windy wood, labor beneath
him transmuting the composer's mysterious symbols into living sound,
and when it is all over we frequently find that it seems all to have
been done for the greater glory of the conductor instead of the glory
of art. That, however, is a digression which it is not necessary to

[Sidenote: _Mistaken popular notions._]

[Sidenote: _What the conductor does._]

[Sidenote: _Rests and cues._]

Questions and remarks have frequently been addressed to me indicative
of the fact that there is a widespread popular conviction that the
mission of a conductor is chiefly ornamental at an orchestral
concert. That is a sad misconception, and grows out of the old notion
that a conductor is only a time-beater. Assuming that the men of the
band have played sufficiently together, it is thought that eventually
they might keep time without the help of the conductor. It is true
that the greater part of the conductor's work is done at rehearsal, at
which he enforces upon his men his wishes concerning the speed of the
music, expression, and the balance of tone between the different
instruments. But all the injunctions given at rehearsal by word of
mouth are reiterated by means of a system of signs and signals during
the concert performance. Time and rhythm are indicated by the
movements of the bâton, the former by the speed of the beats, the
latter by the direction, the tones upon which the principal stress is
to fall being indicated by the down-beat of the bâton. The amplitude
of the movements also serves to indicate the conductor's wishes
concerning dynamic variations, while the left hand is ordinarily used
in pantomimic gestures to control individual players or groups.
Glances and a play of facial expression also assist in the guidance of
the instrumental body. Every musician is expected to count the rests
which occur in his part, but when they are of long duration (and
sometimes they amount to a hundred measures or more) it is customary
for the conductor to indicate the entrance of an instrument by a
glance at the player. From this mere outline of the communications
which pass between the conductor and his band it will be seen how
indispensable he is if music is to have a consistent and vital

[Sidenote: _Personal magnetism._]

The layman will perhaps also be enabled, by observing the actions of a
conductor with a little understanding of their purposes, to appreciate
what critics mean when they speak of the "magnetism" of a leader. He
will understand that among other things it means the aptitude or
capacity for creating a sympathetic relationship between himself and
his men which enables him the better by various devices, some
arbitrary, some technical and conventional, to imbue them with his
thoughts and feelings relative to a composition, and through them to
body them forth to the audience.

[Sidenote: _The score._]

[Sidenote: _Its arrangement._]

[Sidenote: _Score reading._]

What it is that the conductor has to guide him while giving his mute
commands to his forces may be seen in the reproduction, in the
Appendix, of a page from an orchestral score (Plate XII). A score, it
will be observed, is a reproduction of all the parts of a composition
as they lie upon the desks of the players. The ordering of these parts
in the score has not always been as now, but the plan which has the
widest and longest approval is that illustrated in our example. The
wood-winds are grouped together on the uppermost six staves, the brass
in the middle with the tympani separating the horns and trumpets from
the trombones, the strings on the lowermost five staves. The example
has been chosen because it shows all the instruments of the band
employed at once (it is the famous opening _tutti_ of the triumphal
march of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony), and is easy of comprehension by
musical amateurs for the reason that none of the parts requires
transposition except it be an octave up in the case of the piccolo,
an instrument of four-foot tone, and an octave down in the case of the
double-basses, which are of sixteen-foot tone. All the other parts are
to be read as printed, proper attention being given to the alto and
tenor clefs used in the parts of the trombones and violas. The ability
to "read score" is one of the most essential attributes of a
conductor, who, if he have the proper training, can bring all the
parts together and reproduce them on the pianoforte, transposing those
which do not sound as written and reading the different clefs at sight
as he goes along.


_At an Orchestral Concert_

[Sidenote: _Classical and Popular._]

[Sidenote: _Orchestras and military bands._]

In popular phrase all high-class music is "classical," and all
concerts at which such music is played are "classical concerts." Here
the word is conceived as the antithesis of "popular," which term is
used to designate the ordinary music of the street and music-hall.
Elsewhere I have discussed the true meaning of the word and shown its
relation to "romantic" in the terminology of musical critics and
historians. No harm is done by using both "classical" and "popular" in
their common significations, so far as they convey a difference in
character between concerts. The highest popular conception of a
classical concert is one in which a complete orchestra performs
symphonies and extended compositions in allied forms, such as
overtures, symphonic poems, and concertos. Change the composition of
the instrumental body, by omitting the strings and augmenting the reed
and brass choirs, and you have a military band which is best employed
in the open air, and whose programmes are generally made up of
compositions in the simpler and more easily comprehended
forms--dances, marches, fantasias on popular airs, arrangements of
operatic excerpts and the like. These, then, are popular concerts in
the broadest sense, though it is proper enough to apply the term also
to concerts given by a symphonic band when the programme is light in
character and aims at more careless diversion than should be sought at
a "classical" concert. The latter term, again, is commended to use by
the fact that as a rule the music performed at such a concert
exemplifies the higher forms in the art, classicism in music being
defined as that principle which seeks expression in beauty of form, in
a symmetrical ordering of parts and logical sequence, "preferring
æsthetic beauty, pure and simple, over emotional content," as I have
said in Chapter III.

[Sidenote: _The Symphony._]

[Sidenote: _Mistaken ideas about the form._]

As the highest type of instrumental music, we take the Symphony. Very
rarely indeed is a concert given by an organization like the New York
and London Philharmonic Societies, or the Boston and Chicago
Orchestras, at which the place of honor in the scheme of pieces is not
given to a symphony. Such a concert is for that reason also spoken of
popularly as a "Symphony concert," and no confusion would necessarily
result from the use of the term even if it so chanced that there was
no symphony on the programme. What idea the word symphony conveys to
the musically illiterate it would be difficult to tell. I have known a
professional writer on musical subjects to express the opinion that a
symphony was nothing else than four unrelated compositions for
orchestra arranged in a certain sequence for the sake of an agreeable
contrast of moods and tempos. It is scarcely necessary to say that the
writer in question had a very poor opinion of the Symphony as an
Art-form, and believed that it had outlived its usefulness and should
be relegated to the limbo of Archaic Things. If he, however, trained
in musical history and familiar with musical literature, could see
only four unrelated pieces of music in a symphony by Beethoven, we
need not marvel that hazy notions touching the nature of the form are
prevalent among the untaught public, and that people can be met in
concert-rooms to whom such words as "Symphony in C minor," and the
printed designations of the different portions of the work--the
"movements," as musicians call them--are utterly bewildering.

[Sidenote: _History of the term._]

[Sidenote: _Changes in meaning._]

[Sidenote: _Handel's "Pastoral Symphony."_]

The word symphony has itself a singularly variegated history. Like
many another term in music it was borrowed by the modern world from
the ancient Greek. To those who coined it, however, it had a much
narrower meaning than to us who use it, with only a conventional
change in transliteration, now. By [Greek: symphônia] the Greeks
simply expressed the concept of agreement, or consonance. Applied to
music it meant first such intervals as unisons; then the notion was
extended to include consonant harmonies, such as the fifth, fourth,
and octave. The study of the ancient theoreticians led the musicians
of the Middle Ages to apply the word to harmony in general. Then in
some inexplicable fashion it came to stand as a generic term for
instrumental compositions such as toccatas, sonatas, etc. Its name was
given to one of the precursors of the pianoforte, and in Germany in
the sixteenth century the word _Symphoney_ came to mean a town band.
In the last century and the beginning of this the term was used to
designate an instrumental introduction to a composition for voices,
such as a song or chorus, as also an instrumental piece introduced in
a choral work. The form, that is the extent and structure of the
composition, had nothing to do with the designation, as we see from
the Italian shepherds' tune which Handel set for strings in "The
Messiah;" he called it simply _pifa_, but his publishers called it a
"Pastoral symphony," and as such we still know it. It was about the
middle of the eighteenth century that the present signification
became crystallized in the word, and since the symphonies of Haydn, in
which the form first reached perfection, are still to be heard in our
concert-rooms, it may be said that all the masterpieces of symphonic
literature are current.

[Sidenote: _The allied forms._]

[Sidenote: _Sonata form._]

[Sidenote: _Symphony, sonata, and concerto._]

I have already hinted at the fact that there is an intimate
relationship between the compositions usually heard at a classical
concert. Symphonies, symphonic poems, concertos for solo instruments
and orchestra, as well as the various forms of chamber music, such as
trios, quartets, and quintets for strings, or pianoforte and strings,
are but different expressions of the idea which is best summed up in
the word sonata. What musicians call the "sonata form" lies at the
bottom of them all--even those which seem to consist of a single
piece, like the symphonic poem and overture. Provided it follow, not
of necessity slavishly, but in its general structure, a certain scheme
which was slowly developed by the geniuses who became the law-givers
of the art, a composite or cyclical composition (that is, one
composed of a number of parts, or movements) is, as the case may be, a
symphony, concerto, or sonata. It is a sonata if it be written for a
solo instrument like the pianoforte or organ, or for one like the
violin or clarinet, with pianoforte accompaniment. If the
accompaniment be written for orchestra, it is called a concerto. A
sonata written for an orchestra is a symphony. The nature of the
interpreting medium naturally determines the exposition of the form,
but all the essential attributes can be learned from a study of the
symphony, which because of the dignity and eloquence of its apparatus
admits of a wider scope than its allies, and must be accepted as the
highest type, not merely of the sonata, but of the instrumental art.
It will be necessary presently to point out the more important
modifications which compositions of this character have undergone in
the development of music, but the ends of clearness will be best
subserved if the study be conducted on fundamental lines.

[Sidenote: _What a symphony is._]

[Sidenote: _The bond of unity between the parts._]

The symphony then, as a rule, is a composition for orchestra made up
of four parts, or movements, which are not only related to each other
by a bond of sympathy established by the keys chosen but also by their
emotional contents. Without this higher bond the unity of the work
would be merely mechanical, like the unity accomplished by sameness of
key in the old-fashioned suite. (See Chapter VI.) The bond of
key-relationship, though no longer so obvious as once it was, is yet
readily discovered by a musician; the spiritual bond is more elusive,
and presents itself for recognition to the imagination and the
feelings of the listener. Nevertheless, it is an element in every
truly great symphony, and I have already indicated how it may
sometimes become patent to the ear alone, so it be intelligently
employed, and enjoy the co-operation of memory.

[Sidenote: _The first movement._]

[Sidenote: _Exposition of subjects._]

[Sidenote: _Repetition of the first subdivision._]

It is the first movement of a symphony which embodies the structural
scheme called the "sonata form." It has a triple division, and Mr.
Edward Dannreuther has aptly defined it as "the triune symmetry of
exposition, illustration, and repetition." In the first division the
composer introduces the melodies which he has chosen to be the
thematic material of the movement, and to fix the character of the
entire work; he presents it for identification. The themes are two,
and their exposition generally exemplifies the principle of
key-relationship, which was the basis of my analysis of a simple folk
tune in Chapter II. In the case of the best symphonists the principal
and second subjects disclose a contrast, not violent but yet distinct,
in mood or character. If the first is rhythmically energetic and
assertive--masculine, let me say--the second will be more sedate, more
gentle in utterance--feminine. After the two subjects have been
introduced along with some subsidiary phrases and passages which the
composer uses to bind them together and modulate from one key into
another, the entire division is repeated. That is the rule, but it is
now as often "honored in the breach" as in the observance, some
conductors not even hesitating to ignore the repeat marks in
Beethoven's scores.

[Sidenote: _The free fantasia or "working-out" portion._]

[Sidenote: _Repetition._]

The second division is now taken up. In it the composer exploits his
learning and fancy in developing his thematic material. He is now
entirely free to send it through long chains of keys, to vary the
harmonies, rhythms, and instrumentation, to take a single pregnant
motive and work it out with all the ingenuity he can muster; to force
it up "steep-up spouts" of passion and let it whirl in the surge, or
plunge it into "steep-down gulfs of liquid fire," and consume its own
heart. Technically this part is called the "free fantasia" in English,
and the _Durchführung_--"working out"--in German. I mention the terms
because they sometimes occur in criticisms and analyses. It is in this
division that the genius of a composer has fullest play, and there is
no greater pleasure, no more delightful excitement, for the
symphony-lover than to follow the luminous fancy of Beethoven through
his free fantasias. The third division is devoted to a repetition,
with modifications, of the first division and the addition of a close.

[Sidenote: _Introductions._]

[Sidenote: _Keys and Titles._]

First movements are quick and energetic, and frequently full of
dramatic fire. In them the psychological story is begun which is to
be developed in the remaining chapters of the work--its sorrows,
hopes, prayers, or communings in the slow movement; its madness or
merriment in the scherzo; its outcome, triumphant or tragic, in the
finale. Sometimes the first movement is preceded by a slow
introduction, intended to prepare the mind of the listener for the
proclamation which shall come with the _Allegro_. The key of the
principal subject is set down as the key of the symphony, and unless
the composer gives his work a special title for the purpose of
providing a hint as to its poetical contents ("Eroica," "Pastoral,"
"Faust," "In the Forest," "Lenore," "Pathétique," etc.), or to
characterize its style ("Scotch," "Italian," "Irish," "Welsh,"
"Scandinavian," "From the New World"), it is known only by its key, or
the number of the work (_opus_) in the composer's list. Therefore we
have Mozart's Symphony "in G minor," Beethoven's "in A major,"
Schumann's "in C," Brahms's "in F," and so on.

[Sidenote: _The second movement._]

[Sidenote: _Variations._]

The second movement in the symphonic scheme is the slow movement.
Musicians frequently call it the Adagio, for convenience, though the
tempi of slow movements ranges from extremely slow (_Largo_) to the
border line of fast, as in the case of the Allegretto of the Seventh
Symphony of Beethoven. The mood of the slow movement is frequently
sombre, and its instrumental coloring dark; but it may also be
consolatory, contemplative, restful, religiously uplifting. The
writing is preferably in a broadly sustained style, the effect being
that of an exalted hymn, and this has led to a predilection for a
theme and variations as the mould in which to cast the movement. The
slow movements of Beethoven's Fifth and Ninth Symphonies are made up
of variations.

[Sidenote: _The Scherzo._]

[Sidenote: _Genesis of the Scherzo._]

[Sidenote: _The Trio._]

The Scherzo is, as the term implies, the playful, jocose movement of a
symphony, but in the case of sublime geniuses like Beethoven and
Schumann, who blend profound melancholy with wild humor, the
playfulness is sometimes of a kind which invites us to thoughtfulness
instead of merriment. This is true also of some Russian composers,
whose scherzos have the desperate gayety which speaks from the music
of a sad people whose merrymaking is not a spontaneous expression of
exuberant spirits but a striving after self-forgetfulness. The Scherzo
is the successor of the Minuet, whose rhythm and form served the
composers down to Beethoven. It was he who substituted the Scherzo,
which retains the chief formal characteristics of the courtly old
dance in being in triple time and having a second part called the
Trio. With the change there came an increase in speed, but it ought to
be remembered that the symphonic minuet was quicker than the dance of
the same name. A tendency toward exaggeration, which is patent among
modern conductors, is threatening to rob the symphonic minuet of the
vivacity which gave it its place in the scheme of the symphony. The
entrance of the Trio is marked by the introduction of a new idea (a
second minuet) which is more sententious than the first part, and
sometimes in another key, the commonest change being from minor to

[Sidenote: _The Finale._]

[Sidenote: _Rondo form._]

The final movement, technically the Finale, is another piece of large
dimensions in which the psychological drama which plays through the
four acts of the symphony is brought to a conclusion. Once the purpose
of the Finale was but to bring the symphony to a merry end, but as the
expressive capacity of music has been widened, and mere play with
æsthetic forms has given place to attempts to convey sentiments and
feelings, the purposes of the last movement have been greatly extended
and varied. As a rule the form chosen for the Finale is that called
the Rondo. Borrowed from an artificial verse-form (the French
_Rondeau_), this species of composition illustrates the peculiarity of
that form in the reiteration of a strophe ever and anon after a new
theme or episode has been exploited. In modern society verse, which
has grown out of an ambition to imitate the ingenious form invented by
mediæval poets, we have the Triolet, which may be said to be a rondeau
in miniature. I choose one of Mr. H.C. Bunner's dainty creations to
illustrate the musical refrain characteristic of the rondo form
because of its compactness. Here it is:

[Sidenote: _A Rondo pattern in poetry._]

    "A pitcher of mignonette
      In a tenement's highest casement:
    Queer sort of a flower-pot--yet
      That pitcher of mignonette
    Is a garden in heaven set,
      To the little sick child in the basement--
    The pitcher of mignonette,
      In the tenement's highest casement."

[Sidenote: _Other forms for the Finale._]

If now the first two lines of this poem, which compose its refrain, be
permitted to stand as the principal theme of a musical piece, we have
in Mr. Bunner's triolet a rondo _in nuce_. There is in it a threefold
exposition of the theme alternating with episodic matter. Another form
for the finale is that of the first movement (the Sonata form), and
still another, the theme and variations. Beethoven chose the latter
for his "Eroica," and the choral close of his Ninth, Dvorák, for his
symphony in G major, and Brahms for his in E minor.

[Sidenote: _Organic Unities._]

[Sidenote: _How enforced._]

[Sidenote: _Berlioz's "idée fixe."_]

[Sidenote: _Recapitulation of themes._]

I am attempting nothing more than a characterization of the symphony,
and the forms with which I associated it at the outset, which shall
help the untrained listener to comprehend them as unities despite the
fact that to the careless hearer they present themselves as groups of
pieces each one of which is complete in itself and has no connection
with its fellows. The desire of composers to have their symphonies
accepted as unities instead of compages of unrelated pieces has led to
the adoption of various devices designed to force the bond of union
upon the attention of the hearer. Thus Beethoven in his symphony in C
minor not only connects the third and fourth movements but also
introduces a reminiscence of the former into the midst of the latter;
Berlioz in his "Symphonie Fantastique," which is written to what may
be called a dramatic scheme, makes use of a melody which he calls
"_l'idée fixe_," and has it recur in each of the four movements as an
episode. This, however, is frankly a symphony with programme, and
ought not to be treated as a modification of the pure form. Dvorák in
his symphony entitled "From the New World," in which he has striven to
give expression to the American spirit, quotes the first period of his
principal subject in all the subsequent movements, and then
sententiously recapitulates the principal themes of the first, second,
and third movements in the finale; and this without a sign of the
dramatic purpose confessed by Berlioz.

[Sidenote: _Introduction of voices._]

[Sidenote: _Abolition of pauses._]

In the last movement of his Ninth Symphony Beethoven calls voices to
the aid of his instruments. It was a daring innovation, as it seemed
to disrupt the form, and we know from the story of the work how long
he hunted for the connecting link, which finally he found in the
instrumental recitative. Having hit upon the device, he summons each
of the preceding movements, which are purely instrumental, into the
presence of his augmented forces and dismisses it as inadequate to the
proclamation which the symphony was to make. The double-basses and
solo barytone are the spokesmen for the tuneful host. He thus achieves
the end of connecting the Allegro, Scherzo, and Adagio with each
other, and all with the Finale, and at the same time points out what
it is that he wishes us to recognize as the inspiration of the whole;
but here, again, the means appear to be somewhat extraneous.
Schumann's example, however, in abolishing the pauses between the
movements of the symphony in D minor, and having melodic material
common to all the movements, is a plea for appreciation which cannot
be misunderstood. Before Schumann Mendelssohn intended that his
"Scotch" symphony should be performed without pauses between the
movements, but his wishes have been ignored by the conductors, I fancy
because he having neglected to knit the movements together by
community of ideas, they can see no valid reason for the abolition of
the conventional resting-places.

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's "choral" symphony followed._]

Beethoven's augmentation of the symphonic forces by employing voices
has been followed by Berlioz in his "Romeo and Juliet," which, though
called a "dramatic symphony," is a mixture of symphony, cantata, and
opera; Mendelssohn in his "Hymn of Praise" (which is also a composite
work and has a composite title--"Symphony Cantata"), and Liszt in his
"Faust" symphony, in the finale of which we meet a solo tenor and
chorus of men's voices who sing Goethe's _Chorus mysticus_.

[Sidenote: _Increase in the number of movements._]

A number of other experiments have been made, the effectiveness of
which has been conceded in individual instances, but which have failed
permanently to affect the symphonic form. Schumann has two trios in
his symphony in B-flat, and his E-flat, the so-called "Rhenish," has
five movements instead of four, there being two slow movements, one in
moderate tempo (_Nicht schnell_), and the other in slow (_Feierlich_).
In this symphony, also, Schumann exercises the license which has been
recognized since Beethoven's time, of changing the places in the
scheme of the second and third movements, giving the second place to
the jocose division instead of the slow. Beethoven's "Pastoral" has
also five movements, unless one chooses to take the storm which
interrupts the "Merry-making of the Country Folk" as standing toward
the last movement as an introduction, as, indeed, it does in the
composer's idyllic scheme. Certain it is, Sir George Grove to the
contrary notwithstanding, that the sense of a disturbance of the
symphonic plan is not so vivid at a performance of the "Pastoral" as
at one of Schumann's "Rhenish," in which either the third movement or
the so-called "Cathedral Scene" is most distinctly an interloper.

[Sidenote: _Further extension of boundaries._]

[Sidenote: _Saint-Saëns's C minor symphony._]

Usually it is deference to the demands of a "programme" that
influences composers in extending the formal boundaries of a symphony,
and when this is done the result is frequently a work which can only
be called a symphony by courtesy. M. Saint-Saëns, however, attempted
an original excursion in his symphony in C minor, without any
discoverable, or at least confessed, programmatic idea. He laid the
work out in two grand divisions, so as to have but one pause.
Nevertheless in each division we can recognize, though as through a
haze, the outlines of the familiar symphonic movements. In the first
part, buried under a sequence of time designations like this:
_Adagio_--_Allegro moderato_--_Poco adagio_, we discover the customary
first and second movements, the former preceded by a slow
introduction; in the second division we find this arrangement:
_Allegro moderato_--_Presto_--_Maestoso_--_Allegro_, this multiplicity
of terms affording only a sort of disguise for the regulation scherzo
and finale, with a cropping out of reminiscences from the first part
which have the obvious purpose to impress upon the hearer that the
symphony is an organic whole. M. Saint-Saëns has also introduced the
organ and a pianoforte with two players into the instrumental

[Sidenote: _The Symphonic Poem._]

[Sidenote: _Its characteristics._]

Three characteristics may be said to distinguish the Symphonic Poem,
which in the view of the extremists who follow the lead of Liszt is
the logical outcome of the symphony and the only expression of its
æsthetic principles consonant with modern thought and feeling.
_First_, it is programmatic--that is, it is based upon a poetical
idea, a sequence of incidents, or of soul-states, to which a clew is
given either by the title or a motto; _second_, it is compacted in
form to a single movement, though as a rule the changing phases
delineated in the separate movements of the symphony are also to be
found in the divisions of the work marked by changes in tempo, key,
and character; _third_, the work generally has a principal subject of
such plasticity that the composer can body forth a varied content by
presenting it in a number of transformations.

[Sidenote: _Liszt's first pianoforte concerto._]

The last two characteristics Liszt has carried over into his
pianoforte concerto in E-flat. This has four distinct movements (viz.:
I. _Allegro maestoso_; II. _Quasi adagio_; III. _Allegretto vivace,
scherzando_; IV. _Allegro marziale animato_), but they are fused into
a continuous whole, throughout which the principal thought of the
work, the stupendously energetic phrase which the orchestra proclaims
at the outset, is presented in various forms to make it express a
great variety of moods and yet give unity to the concerto. "Thus, by
means of this metamorphosis," says Mr. Edward Dannreuther, "the
poetic unity of the whole musical tissue is made apparent, spite of
very great diversity of details; and Coleridge's attempt at a
definition of poetic unity--unity in multiety--is carried out to the

[Sidenote: _Other cyclical forms._]

[Sidenote: _Pianoforte and orchestra._]

It will readily be understood that the other cyclical compositions
which I have associated with a classic concert, that is, compositions
belonging to the category of chamber music (see Chapter III.), and
concertos for solo instruments with orchestral accompaniment, while
conforming to the scheme which I have outlined, all have individual
characteristics conditioned on the expressive capacity of the
apparatus. The modern pianoforte is capable of asserting itself
against a full orchestra, and concertos have been written for it in
which it is treated as an orchestral integer rather than a solo
instrument. In the older conception, the orchestra, though it
frequently assumed the privilege of introducing the subject-matter,
played a subordinate part to the solo instrument in its development.
In violin as well as pianoforte concertos special opportunity is
given to the player to exploit his skill and display the solo
instrument free from structural restrictions in the cadenza introduced
shortly before the close of the first, last, or both movements.

[Sidenote: _Cadenzas._]

[Sidenote: _Improvisations by the player._]

[Sidenote: _M. Ysaye's opinion of Cadenzas._]

Cadenzas are a relic of a time when the art of improvisation was more
generally practised than it is now, and when performers were conceded
to have rights beyond the printed page. Solely for their display, it
became customary for composers to indicate by a hold ([fermata
symbol]) a place where the performer might indulge in a flourish of
his own. There is a tradition that Mozart once remarked: "Wherever I
smear that thing," indicating a hold, "you can do what you please;"
the rule is, however, that the only privilege which the cadenza opens
to the player is that of improvising on material drawn from the
subjects already developed, and since, also as a rule, composers are
generally more eloquent in the treatment of their own ideas than
performers, it is seldom that a cadenza contributes to the enjoyment
afforded by a work, except to the lovers of technique for technique's
sake. I never knew an artist to make a more sensible remark than did
M. Ysaye, when on the eve of a memorably beautiful performance of
Beethoven's violin concerto, he said: "If I were permitted to consult
my own wishes I would put my violin under my arm when I reach the
_fermate_ and say: 'Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the cadenza.
It is presumptuous in any musician to think that he can have anything
to say after Beethoven has finished. With your permission we will
consider my cadenza played.'" That Beethoven may himself have had a
thought of the same nature is a fair inference from the circumstance
that he refused to leave the cadenza in his E-flat pianoforte concerto
to the mercy of the virtuosos but wrote it himself.

[Sidenote: _Concertos._]

[Sidenote: _Chamber music._]

Concertos for pianoforte or violin are usually written in three
movements, of which the first and last follow the symphonic model in
respect of elaboration and form, and the second is a brief movement
in slow or moderate time, which has the character of an intermezzo. As
to the nomenclature of chamber music, it is to be noted that unless
connected with a qualifying word or phrase, "Quartet" means a string
quartet. When a pianoforte is consorted with strings the work is
spoken of as a Pianoforte Trio, Quartet, or Quintet, as the case may

[Sidenote: _The Overture._]

[Sidenote: _Pot-pourris._]

The form of the overture is that of the first movement of the sonata,
or symphony, omitting the repetition of the first subdivision. Since
the original purpose, which gave the overture its name (_Ouverture_ =
aperture, opening), was to introduce a drama, either spoken or
lyrical, an oratorio, or other choral composition, it became customary
for the composers to choose the subjects of the piece from the
climacteric moments of the music used in the drama. When done without
regard to the rules of construction (as is the case with practically
all operetta overtures and Rossini's) the result is not an overture at
all, but a _pot-pourri_, a hotch-potch of jingles. The present
beautiful form, in which Beethoven and other composers have shown
that it is possible to epitomize an entire drama, took the place of an
arbitrary scheme which was wholly aimless, so far as the compositions
to which they were attached were concerned.

[Sidenote: _Old styles of overtures._]

[Sidenote: _The Prelude._]

[Sidenote: _Gluck's principle._]

[Sidenote: _Descriptive titles._]

The earliest fixed form of the overture is preserved to the current
lists of to-day by the compositions of Bach and Handel. It is that
established by Lully, and is tripartite in form, consisting of a rapid
movement, generally a fugue, preceded and followed by a slow movement
which is grave and stately in its tread. In its latest phase the
overture has yielded up its name in favor of Prelude (German,
_Vorspiel_), Introduction, or Symphonic Prologue. The finest of these,
without borrowing their themes from the works which they introduce,
but using new matter entirely, seek to fulfil the aim which Gluck set
for himself, when, in the preface to "Alceste," he wrote: "I imagined
that the overture ought to prepare the audience for the action of the
piece, and serve as a kind of argument to it." Concert overtures are
compositions designed by the composers to stand as independent pieces
instead of for performance in connection with a drama, opera, or
oratorio. When, as is frequently the case, the composer, nevertheless,
gives them a descriptive title ("Hebrides," "Sakuntala"), their
poetical contents are to be sought in the associations aroused by the
title. Thus, in the instances cited, "Hebrides" suggests that the
overture was designed by Mendelssohn to reflect the mood awakened in
him by a visit to the Hebrides, more particularly to Fingal's Cave
(wherefore the overture is called the "Fingal's Cave" overture in
Germany)--"Sakuntala" invites to a study of Kalidasa's drama of that
name as the repository of the sentiments which Goldmark undertook to
express in his music.

[Sidenote: _Serenades._]

[Sidenote: _The Serenade in Shakespeare._]

A form which is variously employed, for solo instruments, small
combinations, and full orchestra (though seldom with the complete
modern apparatus), is the Serenade. Historically, it is a contemporary
of the old suites and the first symphonies, and like them it consists
of a group of short pieces, so arranged as to form an agreeable
contrast with each other, and yet convey a sense of organic unity.
The character of the various parts and their order grew out of the
purpose for which the serenade was originated, which was that
indicated by the name. In the last century, and earlier, it was no
uncommon thing for a lover to bring the tribute of a musical
performance to his mistress, and it was not always a "woful ballad"
sung to her eyebrow. Frequently musicians were hired, and the tribute
took the form of a nocturnal concert. In Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen
of Verona," _Proteus_, prompting _Thurio_ what to do to win _Silvia's_
love, says:

    "Visit by night your lady's chamber window
    With some sweet concert: to their instruments
    Tune a deploring dump; the night's dread silence
    Will well become such sweet complaining grievance."

[Sidenote: _Out-of-doors music._]

[Sidenote: _Old forms._]

[Sidenote: _The "Dump."_]

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's Serenade, op. 8._]

It was for such purposes that the serenade was invented as an
instrumental form. Since they were to play out of doors, _Sir
Thurio's_ musicians would have used wind instruments instead of
viols, and the oldest serenades are composed for oboes and bassoons.
Clarinets and horns were subsequently added, and for such bands Mozart
wrote serenades, some of which so closely approach the symphony that
they have been published as symphonies. A serenade in the olden time
opened very properly with a march, to the strains of which we may
imagine the musicians approaching the lady's chamber window. Then came
a minuet to prepare her ear for the "deploring dump" which followed,
the "dump" of Shakespeare's day, like the "dumka" of ours (with which
I am tempted to associate it etymologically), being a mournful piece
of music most happily characterized by the poet as a "sweet
complaining grievance." Then followed another piece in merry tempo and
rhythm, then a second _adagio_, and the entertainment ended with an
_allegro_, generally in march rhythm, to which we fancy the musicians
departing. The order is exemplified in Beethoven's serenade for
violin, viola, and violoncello, op. 8, which runs thus: _March_;
_Adagio_; _Minuet_; _Adagio_ with episodic _Scherzo_; _Polacca_;
_Andante_ (variations), the opening march repeated.

[Sidenote: _The Orchestral Suite._]

[Sidenote: _Ballet music._]

The Suite has come back into favor as an orchestral piece, but the
term no longer has the fixed significance which once it had. It is now
applied to almost any group of short pieces, pleasantly contrasted in
rhythm, tempo, and mood, each complete in itself yet disclosing an
æsthetic relationship with its fellows. Sometimes old dance forms are
used, and sometimes new, such as the polonaise and the waltz. The
ballet music, which fills so welcome a place in popular programmes,
may be looked upon as such a suite, and the rhythm of the music and
the orchestral coloring in them are frequently those peculiar to the
dances of the countries in which the story of the opera or drama for
which the music was written plays. The ballets therefore afford an
excellent opportunity for the study of local color. Thus the ballet
music from Massenet's "Cid" is Spanish, from Rubinstein's "Feramors"
Oriental, from "Aïda" Egyptian--Oriental rhythms and colorings being
those most easily copied by composers.

[Sidenote: _Operatic excerpts._]

[Sidenote: _Gluck and Vestris._]

The other operatic excerpts common to concerts of both classes are
either between-acts music, fantasias on operatic airs, or, in the case
of Wagner's contributions, portions of his dramas which are so
predominantly instrumental that it has been found feasible to
incorporate the vocal part with the orchestral. In ballet music from
the operas of the last century, some of which has been preserved to
the modern concert-room, local color must not be sought. Gluck's
Greeks, like Shakespeare's, danced to the rhythms of the seventeenth
century. Vestris, whom the people of his time called "The god of the
dance," once complained to Gluck that his "Iphigénie en Aulide" did
not end with a chaconne, as was the rule. "A chaconne!" cried Gluck;
"when did the Greeks ever dance a chaconne?" "Didn't they? Didn't
they?" answered Vestris; "so much the worse for the Greeks." There
ensued a quarrel. Gluck became incensed, withdrew the opera which was
about to be produced, and would have left Paris had not Marie
Antoinette come to the rescue. But Vestris got his chaconne.


_At a Pianoforte Recital_

[Sidenote: _Mr. Paderewski's concerts._]

No clearer illustration of the magical power which lies in music, no
more convincing proof of the puissant fascination which a musical
artist can exert, no greater demonstration of the capabilities of an
instrument of music can be imagined than was afforded by the
pianoforte recitals which Mr. Paderewski gave in the United States
during the season of 1895-96. More than threescore times in the course
of five months, in the principal cities of this country, did this
wonderful man seat himself in the presence of audiences, whose numbers
ran into the thousands, and were limited only by the seating capacity
of the rooms in which they gathered, and hold them spellbound from two
to three hours by the eloquence of his playing. Each time the people
came in a gladsome frame of mind, stimulated by the recollection of
previous delights or eager expectation. Each time they sat listening
to the music as if it were an evangel on which hung everlasting
things. Each time there was the same growth in enthusiasm which began
in decorous applause and ended in cheers and shouts as the artist came
back after the performance of a herculean task, and added piece after
piece to a programme which had been laid down on generous lines from
the beginning. The careless saw the spectacle with simple amazement,
but for the judicious it had a wondrous interest.

[Sidenote: _Pianoforte recitals._]

[Sidenote: _The pianoforte's underlying principles._]

I am not now concerned with Mr. Paderewski beyond invoking his aid in
bringing into court a form of entertainment which, in his hands, has
proved to be more attractive to the multitude than symphony, oratorio,
and even opera. What a world of speculation and curious inquiry does
such a recital invite one into, beginning with the instrument which
was the medium of communication between the artist and his hearers!
To follow the progressive development of the mechanical principles
underlying the pianoforte, one would be obliged to begin beyond the
veil which separates history from tradition, for the first of them
finds its earliest exemplification in the bow twanged by the primitive
savage. Since a recognition of these principles may help to an
understanding of the art of pianoforte playing, I enumerate them now.
They are:

1. A stretched string as a medium of tone production.

2. A key-board as an agency for manipulating the strings.

3. A blow as the means of exciting the strings to vibratory action, by
which the tone is produced.

[Sidenote: _Their Genesis._]

[Sidenote: _Significance of the pianoforte._]

Many interesting glimpses of the human mind and heart might we have in
the course of the promenade through the ancient, mediæval, and modern
worlds which would be necessary to disclose the origin and growth of
these three principles, but these we must forego, since we are to
study the music of the instrument, not its history. Let the knowledge
suffice that the fundamental principle of the pianoforte is as old as
music itself, and that scientific learning, inventive ingenuity, and
mechanical skill, tributary always to the genius of the art, have
worked together for centuries to apply this principle, until the
instrument which embodies it in its highest potency is become a
veritable microcosm of music. It is the visible sign of culture in
every gentle household; the indispensable companion of the composer
and teacher; the intermediary between all the various branches of
music. Into the study of the orchestral conductor it brings a
translation of all the multitudinous voices of the band; to the
choir-master it represents the chorus of singers in the church-loft or
on the concert-platform; with its aid the opera director fills his
imagination with the people, passions, and pageantry of the lyric
drama long before the singers have received their parts, or the
costumer, stage manager, and scene-painter have begun their work. It
is the only medium through which the musician in his study can
commune with the whole world of music and all its heroes; and though
it may fail to inspire somewhat of that sympathetic nearness which one
feels toward the violin as it nestles under the chin and throbs
synchronously with the player's emotions, or those wind instruments
into which the player breathes his own breath as the breath of life,
it surpasses all its rivals, save the organ, in its capacity for
publishing the grand harmonies of the masters, for uttering their
"sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies."

[Sidenote: _Defects of the pianoforte._]

[Sidenote: _Lack of sustaining power._]

This is one side of the picture and serves to show why the pianoforte
is the most universal, useful, and necessary of all musical
instruments. The other side shows its deficiencies, which must also be
known if one is to appreciate rightly the many things he is called
upon to note while listening intelligently to pianoforte music.
Despite all the skill, learning, and ingenuity which have been spent
on its perfection, the pianoforte can be made only feebly to
approximate that sustained style of musical utterance which is the
soul of melody, and finds its loftiest exemplification in singing. To
give out a melody perfectly, presupposes the capacity to sustain tones
without loss in power or quality, to bind them together at will, and
sometimes to intensify their dynamic or expressive force while they
sound. The tone of the pianoforte, being produced by a blow, begins to
die the moment it is created. The history of the instrument's
mechanism, and also of its technical manipulation, is the history of
an effort to reduce this shortcoming to a minimum. It has always
conditioned the character of the music composed for the instrument,
and if we were not in danger of being led into too wide an excursion,
it would be profitable to trace the parallelism which is disclosed by
the mechanical evolution of the instrument, and the technical and
spiritual evolution of the music composed for it. A few points will be
touched upon presently, when the intellectual activity invited by a
recital is brought under consideration.

[Sidenote: _The percussive element._]

[Sidenote: _Melody with drum-beats._]

[Sidenote: _Rhythmical accentuation._]

[Sidenote: _A universal substitute._]

It is to be noted, further, that by a beautiful application of the
doctrine of compensations, the factor which limits the capacity of
the pianoforte as a melody instrument endows it with a merit which no
other instrument has in the same degree, except the instruments of
percussion, which, despite their usefulness, stand on the border line
between savage and civilized music. It is from its relationship to the
drum that the pianoforte derives a peculiarity quite unique in the
melodic and harmonic family. Rhythm is, after all, the starting-point
of music. More than melody, more than harmony, it stirs the blood of
the savage, and since the most vital forces within man are those which
date back to his primitive state, so the sense of rhythm is the most
universal of the musical senses among even the most cultured of
peoples to-day. By themselves the drums, triangles, and cymbals of an
orchestra represent music but one remove from noise; but everybody
knows how marvellously they can be utilized to glorify a climax. Now,
in a very refined degree, every melody on the pianoforte, be it played
as delicately as it may, is a melody with drum-beats. Manufacturers
have done much toward eliminating the thump of the hammers against the
strings, and familiarity with the tone of the instrument has closed
our ears against it to a great extent as something intrusive, but the
blow which excites the string to vibration, and thus generates sound,
is yet a vital factor in determining the character of pianoforte
music. The recurrent pulsations, now energetic, incisive, resolute,
now gentle and caressing, infuse life into the melody, and by
emphasizing its rhythmical structure (without unduly exaggerating it),
present the form of the melody in much sharper outline than is
possible on any other instrument, and much more than one would expect
in view of the evanescent character of the pianoforte's tone. It is
this quality, combined with the mechanism which places all the
gradations of tone, from loudest to softest, at the easy and
instantaneous command of the player, which, I fancy, makes the
pianoforte, in an astonishing degree, a substitute for all the other
instruments. Each instrument in the orchestra has an idiom, which
sounds incomprehensible when uttered by some other of its fellows, but
they can all be translated, with more or less success, into the
language of the pianoforte--not the quality of the tone, though even
that can be suggested, but the character of the phrase. The pianoforte
can sentimentalize like the flute, make a martial proclamation like
the trumpet, intone a prayer like the churchly trombone.

[Sidenote: _The instrument's mechanism._]

[Sidenote: _Tone formation and production._]

In the intricacy of its mechanism the pianoforte stands next to the
organ. The farther removed from direct utterance we are the more
difficult is it to speak the true language of music. The violin player
and the singer, and in a less degree the performers upon some of the
wind instruments, are obliged to form the musical tone--which, in the
case of the pianist, is latent in the instrument, ready to present
itself in two of its attributes in answer to a simple pressure upon
the key. The most unmusical person in the world can learn to produce a
series of tones from a pianoforte which shall be as exact in pitch and
as varied in dynamic force as can Mr. Paderewski. He cannot combine
them so ingeniously nor imbue them with feeling, but in the simple
matter of producing the tone with the attributes mentioned, he is on a
level with the greatest virtuoso. Very different is the case of the
musician who must exercise a distinctly musical gift in the simple
evocation of the materials of music, like the violinist and singer,
who both form and produce the tone. For them compensation flows from
the circumstance that the tone thus formed and produced is naturally
instinct with emotional life in a degree that the pianoforte tone
knows nothing of.

[Sidenote: _Technical manipulation._]

[Sidenote: _Touch and emotionality._]

In one respect, it may be said that the mechanics of pianoforte
playing represent a low plane of artistic activity, a fact which ought
always to be remembered whenever the temptation is felt greatly to
exalt the technique of the art; but it must also be borne in mind that
the mechanical nature of simple tone production in pianoforte playing
raises the value of the emotional quality which, nevertheless, stands
at the command of the player. The emotional potency of the tone must
come from the manner in which the blow is given to the string.
Recognition of this fact has stimulated reflection, and this in turn
has discovered methods by which temperament and emotionality may be
made to express themselves as freely, convincingly, and spontaneously
in pianoforte as in violin playing. If this were not so it would be
impossible to explain the difference in the charm exerted by different
virtuosi, for it has frequently happened that the best-equipped
mechanician and the most intellectual player has been judged inferior
as an artist to another whose gifts were of the soul rather than of
the brains and fingers.

[Sidenote: _The technical cult._]

[Sidenote: _A low form of art._]

The feats accomplished by a pianoforte virtuoso in the mechanical
department are of so extraordinary a nature that there need be small
wonder at the wide prevalence of a distinctly technical cult. All who
know the real nature and mission of music must condemn such a cult. It
is a sign of a want of true appreciation to admire technique for
technique's sake. It is a mistaking of the outward shell for the
kernel, a means for the end. There are still many players who aim to
secure this admiration, either because they are deficient in real
musical feeling, or because they believe themselves surer of winning
applause by thus appealing to the lowest form of appreciation. In the
early part of the century they would have been handicapped by the
instrument which lent itself to delicacy, clearness, and gracefulness
of expression, but had little power. Now the pianoforte has become a
thing of rigid steel, enduring tons of strain from its strings, and
having a voice like the roar of many waters; to keep pace with it
players have become athletes with

        "Thews of Anakim
    And pulses of a Titan's heart."

[Sidenote: _Technical skill a matter of course._]

They care no more for the "murmurs made to bless," unless it be
occasionally for the sake of contrast, but seek to astound, amaze,
bewilder, and confound with feats of skill and endurance. That with
their devotion to the purely mechanical side of the art they are
threatening to destroy pianoforte playing gives them no pause
whatever. The era which they illustrate and adorn is the technical era
which was, is, and ever shall be, the era of decay in artistic
production. For the judicious technique alone, be it never so
marvellous, cannot serve to-day. Its possession is accepted as a
condition precedent in the case of everyone who ventures to appear
upon the concert-platform. He must be a wonder, indeed, who can
disturb our critical equilibrium by mere digital feats. We want
strength and velocity of finger to be coupled with strength, velocity,
and penetration of thought. We want no halting or lisping in the
proclamation of what the composer has said, but we want the contents
of his thought, not the hollow shell, no matter how distinctly its
outlines be drawn.

[Sidenote: _The plan of study in this chapter._]

[Sidenote: _A typical scheme of pieces._]

The factors which present themselves for consideration at a pianoforte
recital--mechanical, intellectual, and emotional--can be most
intelligently and profitably studied along with the development of the
instrument and its music. All branches of the study are invited by
the typical recital programme. The essentially romantic trend of Mr.
Paderewski's nature makes his excursions into the classical field few
and short; and it is only when a pianist undertakes to emulate
Rubinstein in his historical recitals that the entire pre-Beethoven
vista is opened up. It will suffice for the purposes of this
discussion to imagine a programme containing pieces by Bach, D.
Scarlatti, Handel, and Mozart in one group; a sonata by Beethoven;
some of the shorter pieces of Schumann and Chopin, and one of the
transcriptions or rhapsodies of Liszt.

[Sidenote: _Periods in pianoforte music._]

Such a scheme falls naturally into four divisions, plainly
differentiated from each other in respect of the style of composition
and the manner of performance, both determined by the nature of the
instrument employed and the status of the musical idea. Simply for the
sake of convenience let the period represented by the first group be
called the classic; the second the classic-romantic; the third the
romantic, and the last the bravura. I beg the reader, however, not to
extend these designations beyond the boundaries of the present study;
they have been chosen arbitrarily, and confusion might result if the
attempt were made to apply them to any particular concert scheme. I
have chosen the composers because of their broadly representative
capacity. And they must stand for a numerous _epigonoi_ whose names
make up our concert lists: say, Couperin, Rameau, and Haydn in the
first group; Schubert in the second; Mendelssohn and Rubinstein in the
third. It would not be respectful to the memory of Liszt were I to
give him the associates with whom in my opinion he stands; that matter
may be held in abeyance.

[Sidenote: _Predecessors of the pianoforte._]

[Sidenote: _The Clavichord._]

[Sidenote: _"Bebung."_]

The instruments for which the first group of writers down to Haydn and
Mozart wrote, were the immediate precursors of the pianoforte--the
clavichord, spinet, or virginal, and harpsichord. The last was the
concert instrument, and stood in the same relationship to the others
that the grand pianoforte of to-day stands to the upright and square.
The clavichord was generally the medium for the composer's private
communings with his muse, because of its superiority over its fellows
in expressive power; but it gave forth only a tiny tinkle and was
incapable of stirring effects beyond those which sprang from pure
emotionality. The tone was produced by a blow against the string,
delivered by a bit of brass set in the farther end of the key. The
action was that of a direct lever, and the bit of brass, which was
called the tangent, also acted as a bridge and measured off the
segment of string whose vibration produced the desired tone. It was
therefore necessary to keep the key pressed down so long as it was
desired that the tone should sound, a fact which must be kept in mind
if one would understand the shortcomings as well as the advantages of
the instrument compared with the spinet or harpsichord. It also
furnishes one explanation of the greater lyricism of Bach's music
compared with that of his contemporaries. By gently rocking the hand
while the key was down, a tremulous motion could be communicated to
the string, which not only prolonged the tone appreciably but gave it
an expressive effect somewhat analogous to the vibrato of a violinist.
The Germans called this effect _Bebung_, the French _Balancement_, and
it was indicated by a row of dots under a short slur written over the
note. It is to the special fondness which Bach felt for the clavichord
that we owe, to a great extent, the cantabile style of his music, its
many-voicedness and its high emotionality.

[Sidenote: _Quilled instruments._]

[Sidenote: _Tone of the harpsichord and spinet._]

[Sidenote: _Bach's "Music of the future."_]

The spinet, virginal, and harpsichord were quilled instruments, the
tone of which was produced by snapping the strings by means of plectra
made of quill, or some other flexible substance, set in the upper end
of a bit of wood called the jack, which rested on the farther end of
the key and moved through a slot in the sounding-board. When the key
was pressed down, the jack moved upward past the string which was
caught and twanged by the plectrum. The blow of the clavichord tangent
could be graduated like that of the pianoforte hammer, but the quills
of the other instruments always plucked the strings with the same
force, so that mechanical devices, such as a swell-box, similar in
principle to that of the organ, coupling in octaves, doubling the
strings, etc., had to be resorted to for variety of dynamic effects.
The character of tone thus produced determined the character of the
music composed for these instruments to a great extent. The brevity of
the sound made sustained melodies ineffective, and encouraged the use
of a great variety of embellishments and the spreading out of
harmonies in the form of arpeggios. It is obvious enough that Bach,
being one of those monumental geniuses that cast their prescient
vision far into the future, refused to be bound by such mechanical
limitations. Though he wrote _Clavier_, he thought organ, which was
his true interpretative medium, and so it happens that the greatest
sonority and the broadest style that have been developed in the
pianoforte do not exhaust the contents of such a composition as the
"Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue."

[Sidenote: _Scarlatti's sonatas._]

The earliest music written for these instruments--music which does
not enter into this study--was but one remove from vocal music. It
came through compositions written for the organ. Of Scarlatti's music
the pieces most familiar are a Capriccio and Pastorale which Tausig
rewrote for the pianoforte. They were called sonatas by their
composer, but are not sonatas in the modern sense. Sonata means
"sound-piece," and when the term came into music it signified only
that the composition to which it was applied was written for
instruments instead of voices. Scarlatti did a great deal to develop
the technique of the harpsichord and the style of composing for it.
His sonatas consist each of a single movement only, but in their
structure they foreshadow the modern sonata form in having two
contrasted themes, which are presented in a fixed key-relationship.
They are frequently full of grace and animation, but are as purely
objective, formal, and soulless in their content as the other
instrumental compositions of the epoch to which they belong.

[Sidenote: _The suite._]

[Sidenote: _Its history and form._]

[Sidenote: _The bond between the movements._]

The most significant of the compositions of this period are the
Suites, which because they make up so large a percentage of _Clavier_
literature (using the term to cover the pianoforte and its
predecessors), and because they pointed the way to the distinguishing
form of the subsequent period, the sonata, are deserving of more
extended consideration. The suite is a set of pieces in the same key,
but contrasted in character, based upon certain admired dance-forms.
Originally it was a set of dances and nothing more, but in the hands
of the composers the dances underwent many modifications, some of them
to the obvious detriment of their national or other distinguishing
characteristics. The suite came into fashion about the middle of the
seventeenth century and was also called _Sonata da Camera_ and
_Balletto_ in Italy, and, later, _Partita_ in France. In its
fundamental form it embraced four movements: I. Allemande. II.
Courante. III. Sarabande. IV. Gigue. To these four were sometimes
added other dances--the Gavotte, Passepied, Branle, Minuet, Bourrée,
etc.--but the rule was that they should be introduced between the
Sarabande and the Gigue. Sometimes also the set was introduced by a
Prelude or an Overture. Identity of key was the only external tie
between the various members of the suite, but the composers sought to
establish an artistic unity by elaborating the sentiments for which
the dance-forms seemed to offer a vehicle, and presenting them in
agreeable contrast, besides enriching the primitive structure with new
material. The suites of Bach and Handel are the high-water mark in
this style of composition, but it would be difficult to find the
original characteristics of the dances in their settings. It must
suffice us briefly to indicate the characteristics of the principal

[Sidenote: _The Allemande._]

The Allemande, as its name indicates, was a dance of supposedly German
origin. For that reason the German composers, when it came to them
from France, where the suite had its origin, treated it with great
partiality. It is in moderate tempo, common time, and made up of two
periods of eight measures, both of which are repeated. It begins with
an upbeat, and its metre, to use the terms of prosody, is iambic. The
following specimen from Mersenne's "Harmonie Universelle," 1636, well
displays its characteristics:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Iambics in music and poetry._]

Robert Burns's familiar iambics,

    "Ye flowery banks o' bonnie Doon,
      How can ye bloom sae fair?
    How can ye chant, ye little birds,
      And I sae fu' o' care!"

might serve to keep the rhythmical characteristics of the Allemande in
mind were it not for the arbitrary changes made by the composers
already hinted at. As it is, we frequently find the stately movement
of the old dance broken up into elaborate, but always quietly
flowing, ornamentation, as indicated in the following excerpt from the
third of Bach's English suites:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _The Courante._]

The Courante, or Corrente ("Teach lavoltas high and swift corantos,"
says Shakespeare), is a French dance which was extremely popular in
the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries--a polite dance,
like the minuet. It was in triple time, and its movement was bright
and brisk, a merry energy being imparted to the measure by the
prevailing figure, a dotted quarter-note, an eighth, and a quarter in
a measure, as illustrated in the following excerpt also from Mersenne:

[Music illustration]

The suite composers varied the movement greatly, however, and the
Italian Corrente consists chiefly of rapid running passages.

[Sidenote: _The Sarabande._]

The Sarabande was also in triple time, but its movement was slow and
stately. In Spain, whence it was derived, it was sung to the
accompaniment of castanets, a fact which in itself suffices to
indicate that it was originally of a lively character, and took on its
solemnity in the hands of the later composers. Handel found the
Sarabande a peculiarly admirable vehicle for his inspirations, and one
of the finest examples extant figures in the triumphal music of his
"Almira," composed in 1704:

[Sidenote: _A Sarabande by Handel._]

[Music illustration]

Seven years after the production of "Almira," Handel recurred to this
beautiful instrumental piece, and out of it constructed the exquisite
lament beginning "_Lascia ch'io pianga_" in his opera "Rinaldo."

[Sidenote: _The Gigue._]

[Sidenote: _The Minuet._]

[Sidenote: _The Gavotte._]

Great Britain's contribution to the Suite was the final Gigue, which
is our jolly and familiar friend the jig, and in all probability is
Keltic in origin. It is, as everybody knows, a rollicking measure in
6-8, 12-8, or 4-4 time, with twelve triplet quavers in a measure, and
needs no description. It remained a favorite with composers until far
into the eighteenth century. Shakespeare proclaims its exuberant
lustiness when he makes _Sir Toby Belch_ protest that had he _Sir
Andrew's_ gifts his "very walk should be a jig." Of the other dances
incorporated into the suite, two are deserving of special mention
because of their influence on the music of to-day--the Minuet, which
is the parent of the symphonic scherzo, and the Gavotte, whose
fascinating movement is frequently heard in latter-day operettas. The
Minuet is a French dance, and came from Poitou. Louis XIV. danced it
to Lully's music for the first time at Versailles in 1653, and it soon
became the most popular of court and society dances, holding its own
down to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was long called
the Queen of Dances, and there is no one who has grieved to see the
departure of gallantry and grace from our ball-rooms but will wish to
see Her Gracious Majesty restored to her throne. The music of the
minuet is in 3-4 time, and of stately movement. The Gavotte is a
lively dance-measure in common time, beginning, as a rule, on the
third beat. Its origin has been traced to the mountain people of the
Dauphiné called Gavots--whence its name.

[Sidenote: _Technique of the Clavier players._]

[Sidenote: _Change in technique._]

The transferrence of this music to the modern pianoforte has effected
a vast change in the manner of its performance. In the period under
consideration emotionality, which is considered the loftiest attribute
of pianoforte playing to-day, was lacking, except in the case of such
masters of the clavichord as the great Bach and his son, Carl Philipp
Emanuel, who inherited his father's preference for that instrument
over the harpsichord and pianoforte. Tastefulness in the giving out of
the melody, distinctness of enunciation, correctness of phrasing,
nimbleness and lightness of finger, summed up practically all that
there was in virtuosoship. Intellectuality and digital skill were the
essential factors. Beauty of tone through which feeling and
temperament speak now was the product of the maker of the instrument,
except again in the case of the clavichord, in which it may have been
largely the creation of the player. It is, therefore, not surprising
that the first revolution in technique of which we hear was
accomplished by Bach, who, the better to bring out the characteristics
of his polyphonic style, made use of the thumb, till then considered
almost a useless member of the hand in playing, and bent his fingers,
so that their movements might be more unconstrained.

[Sidenote: _Bach's touch._]

[Sidenote: _Handel's playing._]

[Sidenote: _Scarlatti's style._]

Of the varieties of touch, which play such a rôle in pianoforte
pedagogics to-day, nothing was known. Only on the clavichord was a
blow delivered directly against the string, and, as has already been
said, only on that instrument was the dynamic shading regulated by the
touch. Practically, the same touch was used on the organ and the
stringed instruments with key-board. When we find written praise of
the old players it always goes to the fluency and lightness of their
fingering. Handel was greatly esteemed as a harpsichord player, and
seems to have invented a position of the hand like Bach's, or to have
copied it from that master. Forkel tells us the movement of Bach's
fingers was so slight as to be scarcely noticeable; the position of
his hands remained unchanged throughout, and the rest of his body
motionless. Speaking of Handel's harpsichord playing, Burney says that
his fingers "seemed to grow to the keys. They were so curved and
compact when he played that no motion, and scarcely the fingers
themselves, could be discovered." Scarlatti's significance lies
chiefly in an extension of the technique of his time so as to give
greater individuality to the instrument. He indulged freely in
brilliant passages and figures which sometimes call for a crossing of
the hands, also in leaps of over an octave, repetition of a note by
different fingers, broken chords in contrary motion, and other devices
which prefigure modern pianoforte music.

[Sidenote: _The sonata._]

That Scarlatti also pointed the way to the modern sonata, I have
already said. The history of the sonata, as the term is now
understood, ends with Beethoven. Many sonatas have been written since
the last one of that great master, but not a word has been added to
his proclamation. He stands, therefore, as a perfect exemplar of the
second period in the scheme which we have adopted for the study of
pianoforte music and playing. In a general way a sonata may be
described as a composition of four movements, contrasted in mood,
tempo, sentiment, and character, but connected by that spiritual bond
of which mention was made in our study of the symphony. In short, a
sonata is a symphony for a solo instrument.

[Sidenote: _Haydn._]

When it came into being it was little else than a convenient formula
for the expression of musical beauty. Haydn, who perfected it on its
formal side, left it that and nothing more. Mozart poured the vessel
full of beauty, but Beethoven breathed the breath of a new life into
it. An old writer tells us of Haydn that he was wont to say that the
whole art of composing consisted in taking up a subject and pursuing
it. Having invented his theme, he would begin by choosing the keys
through which he wished to make it pass.

     "His exquisite feeling gave him a perfect knowledge of the
     greater or less degree of effect which one chord produces
     in succeeding another, and he afterward imagined a little
     romance which might furnish him with sentiments and colors."

[Sidenote: _Beethoven._]

[Sidenote: _Mozart's manner of playing._]

Beethoven began with the sentiment and worked from it outwardly,
modifying the form when it became necessary to do so, in order to
obtain complete and perfect utterance. He made spirit rise superior to
matter. This must be borne in mind when comparing the technique of the
previous period with that of which I have made Beethoven the
representative. In the little that we are privileged to read of
Mozart's style of playing, we see only a reflex of the players who
went before him, saving as it was permeated by the warmth which went
out from his own genial personality. His manipulation of the keys had
the quietness and smoothness that were praised in Bach and Handel.

     "Delicacy and taste," says Kullak, "with his lifting of the
     entire technique to the spiritual aspiration of the idea,
     elevate him as a virtuoso to a height unanimously conceded
     by the public, by connoisseurs, and by artists capable of
     judging. Clementi declared that he had never heard any one
     play so soulfully and charmfully as Mozart; Dittersdorf
     finds art and taste combined in his playing; Haydn
     asseverated with tears that Mozart's playing he could never
     forget, for it touched the heart. His staccato is said to
     have possessed a peculiarly brilliant charm."

[Sidenote: _Clementi._]

[Sidenote: _Beethoven as a pianist._]

The period of C.P.E. Bach, Haydn, and Mozart is that in which the
pianoforte gradually replaced its predecessors, and the first real
pianist was Mozart's contemporary and rival, Muzio Clementi. His chief
significance lies in his influence as a technician, for he opened the
way to the modern style of play with its greater sonority and capacity
for expression. Under him passage playing became an entirely new
thing; deftness, lightness, and fluency were replaced by stupendous
virtuosoship, which rested, nevertheless, on a full and solid tone. He
is said to have been able to trill in octaves with one hand. He was
necessary for the adequate interpretation of Beethoven, whose music is
likely to be best understood by those who know that he, too, was a
superb pianoforte player, fully up to the requirements which his last
sonatas make upon technical skill as well as intellectual and
emotional gifts.

[Sidenote: _Beethoven's technique._]

[Sidenote: _Expression supreme._]

Czerny, who was a pupil of Beethoven, has preserved a fuller account
of that great composer's art as a player than we have of any of his
predecessors. He describes his technique as tremendous, better than
that of any virtuoso of his day. He was remarkably deft in connecting
the full chords, in which he delighted, without the use of the pedal.
His manner at the instrument was composed and quiet. He sat erect,
without movement of the upper body, and only when his deafness
compelled him to do so, in order to hear his own music, did he
contract a habit of leaning forward. With an evident appreciation of
the necessities of old-time music he had a great admiration for clean
fingering, especially in fugue playing, and he objected to the use of
Cramer's studies in the instruction of his nephew by Czerny because
they led to what he called a "sticky" style of play, and failed to
bring out crisp staccatos and a light touch. But it was upon
expression that he insisted most of all when he taught.

[Sidenote: _Music and emotion._]

More than anyone else it was Beethoven who brought music back to the
purpose which it had in its first rude state, when it sprang
unvolitionally from the heart and lips of primitive man. It became
again a vehicle for the feelings. As such it was accepted by the
romantic composers to whom he belongs as father, seer, and prophet,
quite as intimately as he belongs to the classicists by reason of his
adherence to form as an essential in music. To his contemporaries he
appears as an image-breaker, but to the clearer vision of to-day he
stands an unshakable barrier to lawless iconoclasm. Says Sir George
Grove, quoting Mr. Edward Dannreuther, in the passages within the
inverted commas:

[Sidenote: _Beethoven a Romanticist._]

     "That he was no wild radical altering for the mere pleasure
     of alteration, or in the mere search for originality, is
     evident from the length of time during which he abstained
     from publishing, or even composing works of pretension, and
     from the likeness which his early works possess to those of
     his predecessors. He began naturally with the forms which
     were in use in his days, and his alteration of them grew
     very gradually with the necessities of his expression. The
     form of the sonata is 'the transparent veil through which
     Beethoven seems to have looked at all music.' And the good
     points of that form he retained to the last--the 'triune
     symmetry of exposition, illustration, and repetition,' which
     that admirable method allowed and enforced--but he permitted
     himself a much greater liberty than his predecessors had
     done in the relationship of the keys of the different
     movements, and parts of movements, and in the proportion of
     the clauses and sections with which he built them up. In
     other words, he was less bound by the forms and musical
     rules, and more swayed by the thought which he had to
     express, and the directions which that thought took in his

[Sidenote: _Schumann and Chopin._]

It is scarcely to be wondered at that when men like Schumann and
Chopin felt the full force of the new evangel which Beethoven had
preached, they proceeded to carry the formal side of poetic
expression, its vehicle, into regions unthought of before their time.
The few old forms had now to give way to a large variety. In their
work they proceeded from points that were far apart--Schumann's was
literary, Chopin's political. In one respect the lists of their pieces
which appear most frequently on recital programmes seem to hark back
to the suites of two centuries ago--they are sets of short
compositions grouped, either by the composer (as is the case with
Schumann) or by the performer (as is the case with Chopin in the hands
of Mr. Paderewski). Such fantastic musical miniatures as Schumann's
"Carnaval" and "Papillons" are eminently characteristic of the
composer's intellectual and emotional nature, which in his university
days had fallen under the spell of literary romanticism.

[Sidenote: _Jean Paul's influence._]

[Sidenote: _Schumann's inspirations._]

While ostensibly studying jurisprudence at Heidelberg, Schumann
devoted seven hours a day to the pianoforte and several to Jean Paul.
It was this writer who moulded not only Schumann's literary style in
his early years, but also gave the bent which his creative activity in
music took at the outset. To say little, but vaguely hint at much, was
the rule which he adopted; to remain sententious in expression, but
give the freest and most daring flight to his imagination, and spurn
the conventional limitations set by rule and custom, his ambition.
Such fanciful and symbolical titles as "Flower, Fruit, and Thorn
Pieces," "Titan," etc., which Jean Paul adopted for his singular
mixtures of tale, rhapsody, philosophy, and satire, were bound to find
an imitator in so ardent an apostle as young Schumann, and, therefore,
we have such compositions as "Papillons," "Carnaval," "Kreisleriana,"
"Phantasiestücke," and the rest. Almost always, it may be said, the
pieces which make them up were composed under the poetical and
emotional impulses derived from literature, then grouped and named. To
understand their poetic contents this must be known.

[Sidenote: _Chopin's music._]

[Sidenote: _Preludes._]

Chopin's fancy, on the other hand, found stimulation in the charm
which, for him, lay in the tone of the pianoforte itself (to which he
added a new loveliness by his manner of writing), as well as in the
rhythms of the popular dances of his country. These dances he not only
beautified as the old suite writers beautified their forms, but he
utilized them as vessels which he filled with feeling, not all of
which need be accepted as healthy, though much of it is. As to his
titles, "Preludes" is purely an arbitrary designation for
compositions which are equally indefinite in form and character;
Niecks compares them very aptly to a portfolio full of drawings "in
all stages of advancement--finished and unfinished, complete and
incomplete compositions, sketches and mere memoranda, all mixed
indiscriminately together." So, too, they appeared to Schumann: "They
are sketches, commencements of studies, or, if you will, ruins, single
eagle-wings, all strangely mixed together." Nevertheless some of them
are marvellous soul-pictures.

[Sidenote: _Études._]

[Sidenote: _Nocturnes._]

The "Études" are studies intended to develop the technique of the
pianoforte in the line of the composer's discoveries, his method of
playing extended arpeggios, contrasted rhythms, progressions in thirds
and octaves, etc., but still they breathe poetry and sometimes
passion. Nocturne is an arbitrary, but expressive, title for a short
composition of a dreamy, contemplative, or even elegiac, character. In
many of his nocturnes Chopin is the adored sentimentalist of
boarding-school misses. There is poppy in them and seductive poison
for which Niecks sensibly prescribes Bach and Beethoven as antidotes.
The term ballad has been greatly abused in literature, and in music is
intrinsically unmeaning. Chopin's four Ballades have one feature in
common--they are written in triple time; and they are among his finest

[Sidenote: _The Polonaise._]

Chopin's dances are conventionalized, and do not all speak the idiom
of the people who created their forms, but their original
characteristics ought to be known. The Polonaise was the stately dance
of the Polish nobility, more a march or procession than a dance, full
of gravity and courtliness, with an imposing and majestic rhythm in
triple time that tends to emphasize the second beat of the measure,
frequently syncopating it and accentuating the second half of the
first beat:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _The Mazurka._]

National color comes out more clearly in his Mazurkas. Unlike the
Polonaise this was the dance of the common people, and even as
conventionalized and poetically refined by Chopin there is still in
the Mazurka some of the rude vigor which lies in its propulsive

[Music illustration] or [Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _The Krakowiak._]

The Krakowiak (French _Cracovienne_, Mr. Paderewski has a fascinating
specimen in his "Humoresques de Concert," op. 14) is a popular dance
indigenous to the district of Cracow, whence its name. Its rhythmical
elements are these:

[Music illustration] and [Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Idiomatic music._]

[Sidenote: _Content higher than idiom._]

In the music of this period there is noticeable a careful attention on
the part of the composers to the peculiarities of the pianoforte. No
music, save perhaps that of Liszt, is so idiomatic. Frequently in
Beethoven the content of the music seems too great for the medium of
expression; we feel that the thought would have had better expression
had the master used the orchestra instead of the pianoforte. We may
well pause a moment to observe the development of the instrument and
its technique from then till now, but as condemnation has already been
pronounced against excessive admiration of technique for technique's
sake, so now I would first utter a warning against our appreciation of
the newer charm. "Idiomatic of the pianoforte" is a good enough phrase
and a useful, indeed, but there is danger that if abused it may bring
something like discredit to the instrument. It would be a pity if
music, which contains the loftiest attributes of artistic beauty,
should fail of appreciation simply because it had been observed that
the pianoforte is not the most convenient, appropriate, or effective
vehicle for its publication--a pity for the pianoforte, for therein
would lie an exemplification of its imperfection. So, too, it would be
a pity if the opinion should gain ground that music which had been
clearly designed to meet the nature of the instrument was for that
reason good pianoforte music, _i.e._, "idiomatic" music, irrespective
of its content.

[Sidenote: _Development of the pianoforte._]

In Beethoven's day the pianoforte was still a feeble instrument
compared with the grand of to-day. Its capacities were but beginning
to be appreciated. Beethoven had to seek and invent effects which now
are known to every amateur. The instrument which the English
manufacturer Broadwood presented to him in 1817 had a compass of six
octaves, and was a whole octave wider in range than Mozart's
pianoforte. In 1793 Clementi extended the key-board to five and a half
octaves; six and a half octaves were reached in 1811, and seven in
1851. Since 1851 three notes have been added without material
improvement to the instrument. This extension of compass, however, is
far from being the most important improvement since the classic
period. The growth in power, sonority, and tonal brilliancy has been
much more marked, and of it Liszt made striking use.

[Sidenote: _The Pedals._]

[Sidenote: _Shifting pedal._]

[Sidenote: _Damper pedal._]

Very significant, too, in their relation to the development of the
music, were the invention and improvement of the pedals. The shifting
pedal was invented by a Viennese maker named Stein, who first applied
it to an instrument which he named "Saiten-harmonika." Before then
soft effects were obtained by interposing a bit of felt between the
hammers and the strings, as may still be seen in old square
pianofortes. The shifting pedal, or soft pedal as it is popularly
called, moves the key-board and action so that the hammer strikes only
one or two of the unison strings, leaving the other to vibrate
sympathetically. Beethoven was the first to appreciate the
possibilities of this effect (see the slow movement of his concerto in
G major and his last sonatas), but after him came Schumann and Chopin,
and brought pedal manipulation to perfection, especially that of the
damper pedal. This is popularly called the loud pedal, and the
vulgarest use to which it can be put is to multiply the volume of
tone. It was Chopin who showed its capacity for sustaining a melody
and enriching the color effects by releasing the strings from the
dampers and utilizing the ethereal sounds which rise from the strings
when they vibrate sympathetically.

[Sidenote: _Liszt._]

[Sidenote: _A dual character._]

It is no part of my purpose to indulge in criticism of composers, but
something of the kind is made unavoidable by the position assigned to
Liszt in our pianoforte recitals. He is relied upon to provide a
scintillant close. The pianists, then, even those who are his
professed admirers, are responsible if he is set down in our scheme as
the exemplar of the technical cult. Technique having its unquestioned
value, we are bound to admire the marvellous gifts which enabled Liszt
practically to sum up all the possibilities of pianoforte mechanism in
its present stage of construction, but we need not look with unalloyed
gratitude upon his influence as a composer. There were, I fear, two
sides to Liszt's artistic character as well as his moral. I believe he
had in him a touch of charlatanism as well as a magnificent amount of
artistic sincerity--just as he blended a laxity of moral ideas with a
profound religious mysticism. It would have been strange indeed,
growing up as he did in the whited sepulchre of Parisian salon life,
if he had not accustomed himself to sacrifice a little of the soul of
art for the sake of vainglory, and a little of its poetry and feeling
to make display of those dazzling digital feats which he invented.
But, be it said to his honor, he never played mountebank tricks in the
presence of the masters whom he revered. It was when he approached the
music of Beethoven that he sank all thought of self and rose to a
peerless height as an interpreting artist.

[Sidenote: _Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies._]

[Sidenote: _Gypsies and Magyars._]

Liszt's place as a composer of original music has not yet been
determined, but as a transcriber of the music of others the givers of
pianoforte recitals keep him always before us. The showy Hungarian
Rhapsodies with which the majority of pianoforte recitals end are,
however, more than mere transcriptions. They are constructed out of
the folk-songs of the Magyars, and in their treatment the composer has
frequently reproduced the characteristic performances which they
receive at the hands of the Gypsies from whom he learned them. This
fact and the belief to which Liszt gave currency in his book "Des
Bohémiens et de leur musique en Hongrie" have given rise to the
almost universal belief that the Magyar melodies are of Gypsy origin.
This belief is erroneous. The Gypsies have for centuries been the
musical practitioners of Hungary, but they are not the composers of
the music of the Magyars, though they have put a marked impress not
only on the melodies, but also on popular taste. The Hungarian
folk-songs are a perfect reflex of the national character of the
Magyars, and some have been traced back centuries in their literature.
Though their most marked melodic peculiarity, the frequent use of a
minor scale containing one or even two superfluous seconds, as thus:

[Sidenote: _Magyar scales._]

[Music illustration]

may be said to belong to Oriental music as a whole (and the Magyars
are Orientals), the songs have a rhythmical peculiarity which is a
direct product of the Magyar language. This peculiarity consists of a
figure in which the emphasis is shifted from the strong to the weak
part by making the first take only a fraction of the time of the
second, thus:

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _The Scotch snap._]

[Sidenote: _Gypsy epics._]

In Scottish music this rhythm also plays a prominent part, but there
it falls into the beginning of a measure, whereas in Hungarian it
forms the middle or end. The result is an effect of syncopation which
is peculiarly forceful. There is an indubitable Oriental relic in the
profuse embellishments which the Gypsies weave around the Hungarian
melodies when playing them; but the fact that they thrust the same
embellishments upon Spanish and Russian music, in fact upon all the
music which they play, indicates plainly enough that the impulse to do
so is native to them, and has nothing to do with the national taste of
the countries for which they provide music. Liszt's confessed purpose
in writing the Hungarian Rhapsodies was to create what he called
"Gypsy epics." He had gathered a large number of the melodies without
a definite purpose, and was pondering what to do with them, when it
occurred to him that

     "These fragmentary, scattered melodies were the wandering,
     floating, nebulous part of a great whole, that they fully
     answered the conditions for the production of an harmonious
     unity which would comprehend the very flower of their
     essential properties, their most unique beauties," and
     "might be united in one homogeneous body, a complete work,
     its divisions to be so arranged that each song would form at
     once a whole and a part, which might be severed from the
     rest and be examined and enjoyed by and for itself; but
     which would, none the less, belong to the whole through the
     close affinity of subject matter, the similarity of its
     inner nature and unity in development."[D]

[Sidenote: _The Czardas._]

The basis of Liszt's Rhapsodies being thus distinctively national, he
has in a manner imitated in their character and tempo the dual
character of the Hungarian national dance, the Czardas, which consists
of two movements, a _Lassu_, or slow movement, followed by a _Friss_.
These alternate at the will of the dancer, who gives a sign to the
band when he wishes to change from one to the other.


[D] Weitzmann, "Geschichte des Clavierspiels," p. 197.


_At the Opera_

[Sidenote: _Instability of taste._]

[Sidenote: _The age of operas._]

Popular taste in respect of the opera is curiously unstable. It is
surprising that the canons of judgment touching it have such feeble
and fleeting authority in view of the popularity of the art-form and
the despotic hold which it has had on fashion for two centuries. No
form of popular entertainment is acclaimed so enthusiastically as a
new opera by an admired composer; none forgotten so quickly. For the
spoken drama we go back to Shakespeare in the vernacular, and, on
occasions, we revive the masterpieces of the Attic poets who
flourished more than two millenniums ago; but for opera we are bounded
by less than a century, unless occasional performances of Gluck's
"Orfeo" and Mozart's "Figaro," "Don Giovanni," and "Magic Flute" be
counted as submissions to popular demand, which, unhappily, we know
they are not. There is no one who has attended the opera for
twenty-five years who might not bewail the loss of operas from the
current list which appealed to his younger fancy as works of real
loveliness. In the season of 1895-96 the audiences at the Metropolitan
Opera House in New York heard twenty-six different operas. The oldest
were Gluck's "Orfeo" and Beethoven's "Fidelio," which had a single
experimental representation each. After them in seniority came
Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," which is sixty-one years old, and
has overpassed the average age of "immortal" operas by from ten to
twenty years, assuming Dr. Hanslick's calculation to be correct.

[Sidenote: _Decimation of the operatic list._]

[Sidenote: _Dependence on singers._]

The composers who wrote operas for the generation that witnessed
Adelina Patti's _début_ at the Academy of Music, in New York, were
Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, and Meyerbeer. Thanks to his progressive
genius, Verdi is still alive on the stage, though nine-tenths of the
operas which made his fame and fortune have already sunk into
oblivion; Meyerbeer, too, is still a more or less potent factor with
his "Huguenots," which, like "Lucia," has endured from ten to twenty
years longer than the average "immortal;" but the continued existence
of Bellini and Donizetti seems to be as closely bound up with that of
two or three singers as was Meleager's life with the burning billet
which his mother snatched from the flames. So far as the people of
London and New York are concerned whether or not they shall hear
Donizetti more, rests with Mesdames Patti and Melba, for Donizetti
spells "Lucia;" Bellini pleads piteously in "Sonnambula," but only
Madame Nevada will play the mediator between him and our stiff-necked

[Sidenote: _An unstable art-form._]

[Sidenote: _Carelessness of the public._]

[Sidenote: _Addison's criticism._]

[Sidenote: _Indifference to the words._]

Opera is a mixed art-form and has ever been, and perhaps must ever be,
in a state of flux, subject to the changes of taste in music, the
drama, singing, acting, and even politics and morals; but in one
particular the public has shown no change for a century and a half,
and it is not quite clear why this has not given greater fixity to
popular appreciation. The people of to-day are as blithely
indifferent to the fact that their operas are all presented in a
foreign tongue as they were two centuries ago in England. The
influence of Wagner has done much to stimulate a serious attitude
toward the lyric drama, but this is seldom found outside of the
audiences in attendance on German representations. The devotees of the
Latin exotic, whether it blend French or Italian (or both, as is the
rule in New York and London) with its melodic perfume, enjoy the music
and ignore the words with the same nonchalance that Addison made merry
over. Addison proves to have been a poor prophet. The
great-grandchildren of his contemporaries are not at all curious to
know "why their forefathers used to sit together like an audience of
foreigners in their own country, and to hear whole plays acted before
them in a tongue which they did not understand." What their
great-grandparents did was also done by their grandparents and their
parents, and may be done by their children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren after them, unless Englishmen and Americans shall
take to heart the lessons which Wagner essayed to teach his own
people. For the present, though we have abolished many absurdities
which grew out of a conception of opera that was based upon the
simple, sensuous delight which singing gave, the charm of music is
still supreme, and we can sit out an opera without giving a thought to
the words uttered by the singers. The popular attitude is fairly
represented by that of Boileau, when he went to hear "Atys" and
requested the box-keeper to put him in a place where he could hear
Lully's music, which he loved, but not Quinault's words, which he

[Sidenote: _Past and present._]

It is interesting to note that in this respect the condition of
affairs in London in the early part of the eighteenth century, which
seemed so monstrously diverting to Addison, was like that in Hamburg
in the latter part of the seventeenth, and in New York at the end of
the nineteenth. There were three years in London when Italian and
English were mixed in the operatic representations.

     "The king or hero of the play generally spoke in Italian and
     his slaves answered him in English; the lover frequently
     made his court and gained the heart of his princess in a
     language which she did not understand."

[Sidenote: _Polyglot opera._]

At length, says Addison, the audience got tired of understanding half
the opera, "and to ease themselves entirely of the fatigue of
thinking, so ordered it that the whole opera was performed in an
unknown tongue."

[Sidenote: _Perversions of texts._]

There is this difference, however, between New York and London and
Hamburg at the period referred to: while the operatic ragout was
compounded of Italian and English in London, Italian and German in
Hamburg, the ingredients here are Italian, French, and German, with no
admixture of the vernacular. Strictly speaking, our case is more
desperate than that of our foreign predecessors, for the development
of the lyric drama has lifted its verbal and dramatic elements into a
position not dreamed of two hundred years ago. We might endure with
equanimity to hear the chorus sing

[Sidenote: _"Robert le Diable."_]

    "_La soupe aux choux se fait dans la marmite,
    Dans la marmite on fait la soupe aux choux_"

at the beginning of "Robert le Diable," as tradition says used to be
done in Paris, but we surely ought to rise in rebellion when the
chorus of guards change their muttered comments on Pizarro's furious
aria in "Fidelio" from

[Sidenote: _"Fidelio."_]

    _"Er spricht von Tod und Wunde!"_


    _"Er spricht vom todten Hunde!"_

as is a prevalent custom among the irreverent choristers of Germany.

Addison confesses that he was often afraid when seeing the Italian
performers "chattering in the vehemence of action," that they were
calling the audience names and abusing them among themselves. I do not
know how to measure the morals and manners of our Italian singers
against those of Addison's time, but I do know that many of the things
which they say before our very faces for their own diversion are not
complimentary to our intelligence. I hope I have a proper respect for
Mr. Gilbert's "bashful young potato," but I do not think it right
while we are sympathizing with the gentle passion of _Siebel_ to have
his representative bring an offering of flowers and, looking us full
in the face, sing:

    _"Le patate d'amor,
    O cari fior!"_

[Sidenote: _"Faust."_]

[Sidenote: _Porpora's "Credo."_]

It isn't respectful, and it enables the cynics of to-day to say, with
the poetasters and fiddlers of Addison's day, that nothing is capable
of being well set to music that is not nonsense. Operatic words were
once merely stalking-horses for tunes, but that day is past. We used
to smile at Brignoli's "_Ah si! ah si! ah si!_" which did service for
any text in high passages; but if a composer should, for the
accommodation of his music, change the wording of the creed into
"_Credo, non credo, non credo in unum Deum_," as Porpora once did, we
should all cry out for his excommunication.

As an art-form the opera has frequently been criticised as an
absurdity, and it is doubtless owing to such a conviction that many
people are equally indifferent to the language employed and the
sentiments embodied in the words. Even so serious a writer as George
Hogarth does not hesitate in his "Memoirs of the Opera" to defend this
careless attitude.

[Sidenote: _Are words unessential?_]

     "The words of an air are of small importance to the
     comprehension of the business of the piece," he says; "they
     merely express a sentiment, a reflection, a feeling; it is
     quite enough if their general import is known, and this may
     most frequently be gathered from the situation, aided by the
     character and expression of the music."

[Sidenote: _"Il Trovatore."_]

I, myself, have known an ardent lover of music who resolutely refused
to look into a libretto because, being of a lively and imaginative
temperament, she preferred to construct her own plots and put her own
words in the mouths of the singers. Though a constant attendant on the
opera, she never knew what "Il Trovatore" was about, which, perhaps,
is not so surprising after all. Doubtless the play which she had
fashioned in her own mind was more comprehensible than Verdi's medley
of burnt children and asthmatic dance rhythms. Madame de Staël went so
far as to condemn the German composers because they "follow too
closely the sense of the words," whereas the Italians, "who are truly
the musicians of nature, make the air and the words conform to each
other only in a general way."

[Sidenote: _The opera defended as an art-form._]

[Sidenote: _The classic tragedy._]

Now the present generation has witnessed a revolution in operatic
ideas which has lifted the poetical elements upon a plane not dreamed
of when opera was merely a concert in costume, and it is no longer
tolerable that it be set down as an absurdity. On the contrary, I
believe that, looked at in the light thrown upon it by the history of
the drama and the origin of music, the opera is completely justified
as an art-form, and, in its best estate, is an entirely reasonable and
highly effective entertainment. No mean place, surely, should be given
in the estimation of the judicious to an art-form which aims in an
equal degree to charm the senses, stimulate the emotions, and persuade
the reason. This, the opera, or, perhaps I would better say the lyric
drama, can be made to do as efficiently as the Greek tragedy did it,
so far as the differences between the civilizations of ancient Hellas
and the nineteenth century will permit. The Greek tragedy was the
original opera, a fact which literary study would alone have made
plain even if it were not clearly of record that it was an effort to
restore the ancient plays in their integrity that gave rise to the
Italian opera three centuries ago.

[Sidenote: _Genesis of the Greek plays._]

Every school-boy knows now that the Hellenic plays were simply the
final evolution of the dances with which the people of Hellas
celebrated their religious festivals. At the rustic Bacchic feasts of
the early Greeks they sang hymns in honor of the wine-god, and danced
on goat-skins filled with wine. He who held his footing best on the
treacherous surface carried home the wine as a reward. They contended
in athletic games and songs for a goat, and from this circumstance
scholars have surmised we have the word tragedy, which means
"goat-song." The choric songs and dances grew in variety and beauty.
Finally, somebody (tradition preserves the name of Thespis as the man)
conceived the idea of introducing a simple dialogue between the
strophes of the choric song. Generally this dialogue took the form of
a recital of some story concerning the god whose festival was
celebrating. Then when the dithyrambic song returned, it would either
continue the narrative or comment on its ethical features.

[Sidenote: _Mimicry and dress._]

The merry-makers, or worshippers, as one chooses to look upon them,
manifested their enthusiasm by imitating the appearance as well as the
actions of the god and his votaries. They smeared themselves with
wine-lees, colored their bodies black and red, put on masks, covered
themselves with the skins of beasts, enacted the parts of nymphs,
fauns, and satyrs, those creatures of primitive fancy, half men and
half goats, who were the representatives of natural sensuality
untrammelled by conventionality.

[Sidenote: _Melodrama._]

Next, somebody (Archilocus) sought to heighten the effect of the story
or the dialogue by consorting it with instrumental music; and thus we
find the germ of what musicians--not newspaper writers--call
melodrama, in the very early stages of the drama's development.
Gradually these simple rustic entertainments were taken in hand by the
poets who drew on the legendary stores of the people for subjects,
branching out from the doings of gods to the doings of god-like men,
the popular heroes, and developed out of them the masterpieces of
dramatic poetry which are still studied with amazement, admiration,
and love.

[Sidenote: _Factors in ancient tragedy._]

The dramatic factors which have been mustered in this outline are

1. The choric dance and song with a religious purpose.

2. Recitation and dialogue.

3. Characterization by means of imitative gestures--pantomime, that
is--and dress.

4. Instrumental music to accompany the song and also the action.

[Sidenote: _Operatic elements._]

[Sidenote: _Words and music united._]

All these have been retained in the modern opera, which may be said to
differ chiefly from its ancient model in the more important and more
independent part which music plays in it. It will appear later in our
study that the importance and independence achieved by one of the
elements consorted in a work by nature composite, led the way to a
revolution having for its object a restoration of something like the
ancient drama. In this ancient drama and its precursor, the
dithyrambic song and dance, is found a union of words and music which
scientific investigation proves to be not only entirely natural but
inevitable. In a general way most people are in the habit of speaking
of music as the language of the emotions. The elements which enter
into vocal music (of necessity the earliest form of music) are
unvolitional products which we must conceive as co-existent with the
beginnings of human life. Do they then antedate articulate speech? Did
man sing before he spoke? I shall not quarrel with anybody who chooses
so to put it.

[Sidenote: _Physiology of singing._]

Think a moment about the mechanism of vocal music. Something occurs to
stir up your emotional nature--a great joy, a great sorrow, a great
fear; instantly, involuntarily, in spite of your efforts to prevent
it, maybe, muscular actions set in which proclaim the emotion which
fills you. The muscles and organs of the chest, throat, and mouth
contract or relax in obedience to the emotion. You utter a cry, and
according to the state of feeling which you are in, that cry has
pitch, quality (_timbre_ the singing teachers call it), and dynamic
intensity. You attempt to speak, and no matter what the words you
utter, the emotional drama playing on the stage of your heart is

[Sidenote: _Herbert Spencer's laws._]

The man of science observes the phenomenon and formulates its laws,
saying, for instance, as Herbert Spencer has said: "All feelings are
muscular stimuli;" and, "Variations of voice are the physiological
results of variations of feeling." It was the recognition of this
extraordinary intimacy between the voice and the emotions which
brought music all the world over into the service of religion, and
provided the phenomenon, which we may still observe if we be but
minded to do so, that mere tones have sometimes the sanctity of words,
and must as little be changed as ancient hymns and prayers.

[Sidenote: _Invention of Italian opera._]

[Sidenote: _Musical declamation._]

The end of the sixteenth century saw a coterie of scholars,
art-lovers, and amateur musicians in Florence who desired to
re-establish the relationship which they knew had once existed between
music and the drama. The revival of learning had made the classic
tragedy dear to their hearts. They knew that in the olden time
tragedy, of which the words only have come down to us, had been
musical throughout. In their efforts to bring about an intimacy
between dramatic poetry and music they found that nothing could be
done with the polite music of their time. It was the period of highest
development in ecclesiastical music, and the climax of artificiality.
The professional musicians to whom they turned scorned their theories
and would not help them; so they fell back on their own resources.
They cut the Gordian knot and invented a new style of music, which
they fancied was like that used by the ancients in their stage-plays.
They abolished polyphony, or contrapuntal music, in everything except
their choruses, and created a sort of musical declamation, using
variations of pitch and harmonies built up on a simple bass to give
emotional life to their words. In choosing their tones they were
guided by observation of the vocal inflections produced in speech
under stress of feeling, showing thus a recognition of the law which
Herbert Spencer formulated two hundred and fifty years later.

[Sidenote: _The music of the Florentine reformers._]

[Sidenote: _The solo style, harmony, and declamation._]

[Sidenote: _Fluent recitatives._]

The music which these men produced and admired sounds to us monotonous
in the extreme, for what little melody there is in it is in the
choruses, which they failed to emancipate from the ecclesiastical art,
and which for that reason were as stiff and inelastic as the music
which in their controversies with the musicians they condemned with
vigor. Yet within their invention there lay an entirely new world of
music. Out of it came the solo style, a song with instrumental
accompaniment of a kind unknown to the church composers. Out of it,
too, came harmony as an independent factor in music instead of an
accident of the simultaneous flow of melodies; and out of it came
declamation, which drew its life from the text. The recitatives which
they wrote had the fluency of spoken words and were not retarded by
melodic forms. The new style did not accomplish what its creators
hoped for, but it gave birth to Italian opera and emancipated music in
a large measure from the formalism that dominated it so long as it
belonged exclusively to the composers for the church.

[Sidenote: _Predecessors of Wagner._]

[Sidenote: _Old operatic distinctions._]

[Sidenote: _Opera buffa._]

[Sidenote: _Opera seria._]

[Sidenote: _Recitative._]

Detailed study of the progress of opera from the first efforts of the
Florentines to Wagner's dramas would carry us too far afield to serve
the purposes of this book. My aim is to fix the attitude proper, or at
least useful, to the opera audience of to-day. The excursion into
history which I have made has but the purpose to give the art-form a
reputable standing in court, and to explain the motives which prompted
the revolution accomplished by Wagner. As to the elements which
compose an opera, only those need particular attention which are
illustrated in the current repertory. Unlike the opera audiences of
two centuries ago, we are not required to distinguish carefully
between the various styles of opera in order to understand why the
composer adopted a particular manner, and certain fixed forms in each.
The old distinctions between _Opera seria_, _Opera buffa_, and _Opera
semiseria_ perplex us no more. Only because of the perversion of the
time-honored Italian epithet _buffa_ by the French mongrel _Opéra
bouffe_ is it necessary to explain that the classic _Opera buffa_ was
a polite comedy, whose musical integument did not of necessity differ
from that of _Opera seria_ except in this--that the dialogue was
carried on in "dry" recitative (_recitativo secco_, or _parlante_) in
the former, and a more measured declamation with orchestral
accompaniment (_recitativo stromentato_) in the latter. So far as
subject-matter was concerned the classic distinction between tragedy
and comedy served. The dry recitative was supported by chords played
by a double-bass and harpsichord or pianoforte. In London, at a later
period, for reasons of doubtful validity, these chords came to be
played on a double-bass and violoncello, as we occasionally hear them

[Sidenote: _Opera semiseria._]

[Sidenote: _"Don Giovanni."_]

Shakespeare has taught us to accept an infusion of the comic element
in plays of a serious cast, but Shakespeare was an innovator, a
Romanticist, and, measured by old standards, his dramas are irregular.
The Italians, who followed classic models, for a reason amply
explained by the genesis of the art-form, rigorously excluded comedy
from serious operas, except as _intermezzi_, until they hit upon a
third classification, which they called _Opera semiseria_, in which a
serious subject was enlivened with comic episodes. Our dramatic tastes
being grounded in Shakespeare, we should be inclined to put down "Don
Giovanni" as a musical tragedy; or, haunted by the Italian
terminology, as _Opera semiseria_; but Mozart calls it _Opera buffa_,
more in deference to the librettist's work, I fancy, than his own,
for, as I have suggested elsewhere,[E] the musician's imagination in
the fire of composition went far beyond the conventional fancy of the
librettist in the finale of that most wonderful work.

[Sidenote: _An Opera buffa._]

[Sidenote: _French Grand Opéra._]

[Sidenote: _Opéra comique._]

[Sidenote: _"Mignon."_]

[Sidenote: _"Faust."_]

It is well to remember that "Don Giovanni" is an _Opera buffa_ when
watching the buffooneries of _Leporello_, for that alone justifies
them. The French have _Grand Opéra_, in which everything is sung to
orchestra accompaniment, there being neither spoken dialogue nor dry
recitative, and _Opéra comique_, in which the dialogue is spoken. The
latter corresponds with the honorable German term _Singspiel_, and one
will not go far astray if he associate both terms with the English
operas of Wallace and Balfe, save that the French and Germans have
generally been more deft in bridging over the chasm between speech and
song than their British rivals. _Opéra comique_ has another
characteristic, its _dénouement_ must be happy. Formerly the _Théatre
national de l'Opéra-Comique_ in Paris was devoted exclusively to
_Opéra comique_ as thus defined (it has since abolished the
distinction and _Grand Opéra_ may be heard there now), and, therefore,
when Ambroise Thomas brought forward his "Mignon," Goethe's story was
found to be changed so that _Mignon_ recovered and was married to
_Wilhelm Meister_ at the end. The Germans are seldom pleased with the
transformations which their literary masterpieces are forced to
undergo at the hands of French librettists. They still refuse to call
Gounod's "Faust" by that name; if you wish to hear it in Germany you
must go to the theatre when "Margarethe" is performed. Naturally they
fell indignantly afoul of "Mignon," and to placate them we have a
second finale, a _dénouement allemand_, provided by the authors, in
which _Mignon_ dies as she ought.

[Sidenote: _Grosse Oper._]

[Sidenote: _Comic opera and operetta._]

[Sidenote: _Opéra bouffe._]

[Sidenote: _Romantic operas._]

Of course the _Grosse Oper_ of the Germans is the French _Grand Opéra_
and the English grand opera--but all the English terms are ambiguous,
and everything that is done in Covent Garden in London or the
Metropolitan Opera House in New York is set down as "grand opera,"
just as the vilest imitations of the French _vaudevilles_ or English
farces with music are called "comic operas." In its best estate, say
in the delightful works of Gilbert and Sullivan, what is designated as
comic opera ought to be called operetta, which is a piece in which the
forms of grand opera are imitated, or travestied, the dialogue is
spoken, and the purpose of the play is to satirize a popular folly.
Only in method, agencies, and scope does such an operetta (the
examples of Gilbert and Sullivan are in mind) differ from comedy in
its best conception, as a dramatic composition which aims to "chastise
manners with a smile" ("_Ridendo castigat mores_"). Its present
degeneracy, as illustrated in the _Opéra bouffe_ of the French and the
concoctions of the would-be imitators of Gilbert and Sullivan,
exemplifies little else than a pursuit far into the depths of the
method suggested by a friend to one of Lully's imitators who had
expressed a fear that a ballet written, but not yet performed, would
fail. "You must lengthen the dances and shorten the ladies' skirts,"
he said. The Germans make another distinction based on the subject
chosen for the story. Spohr's "Jessonda," Weber's "Freischütz,"
"Oberon," and "Euryanthe," Marschner's "Vampyr," "Templer und Jüdin,"
and "Hans Heiling" are "Romantic" operas. The significance of this
classification in operatic literature may be learned from an effort
which I have made in another chapter to discuss the terms Classic and
Romantic as applied to music. Briefly stated, the operas mentioned are
put in a class by themselves (and their imitations with them) because
their plots were drawn from the romantic legends of the Middle Ages,
in which the institutions of chivalry, fairy lore, and supernaturalism
play a large part.

[Sidenote: _Modern designations._]

[Sidenote: _German opera and Wagner._]

These distinctions we meet in reading about music. As I have
intimated, we do not concern ourselves much with them now. In New York
and London the people speak of Italian, English, and German opera,
referring generally to the language employed in the performance. But
there is also in the use of the terms an underlying recognition of
differences in ideals of performance. As all operas sung in the
regular seasons at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera House are
popularly spoken of as Italian operas, so German opera popularly means
Wagner's lyric dramas, in the first instance, and a style of
performance which grew out of Wagner's influence in the second. As
compared with Italian opera, in which the principal singers are all
and the _ensemble_ nothing, it means, mayhap, inferior vocalists but
better actors in the principal parts, a superior orchestra and chorus,
and a more conscientious effort on the part of conductor, stage
manager, and artists, from first to last, to lift the general effect
above the conventional level which has prevailed for centuries in the
Italian opera houses.

[Sidenote: _Wagner's "Musikdrama."_]

[Sidenote: _Modern Italian terminology._]

In terminology, as well as in artistic aim, Wagner's lyric dramas
round out a cycle that began with the works of the Florentine
reformers of the sixteenth century. Wagner called his later operas
_Musikdramen_, wherefore he was soundly abused and ridiculed by his
critics. When the Italian opera first appeared it was called _Dramma
per musica_, or _Melodramma_, or _Tragedia per musica_, all of which
terms stand in Italian for the conception that _Musikdrama_ stands for
in German. The new thing had been in existence for half a century, and
was already on the road to the degraded level on which we shall find
it when we come to the subject of operatic singing, before it came to
be called _Opera in musica_, of which "opera" is an abbreviation. Now
it is to be observed that the composers of all countries, having been
taught to believe that the dramatic contents of an opera have some
significance, are abandoning the vague term "opera" and following
Wagner in his adoption of the principles underlying the original
terminology. Verdi called his "Aïda" an _Opera in quattro atti_, but
his "Otello" he designated a lyric drama (_Dramma lirico_), his
"Falstaff" a lyric comedy (_Commedia lirica_), and his example is
followed by the younger Italian composers, such as Mascagni,
Leoncavallo, and Puccini.

[Sidenote: _Recitative._]

In the majority of the operas of the current list the vocal element
illustrates an amalgamation of the archaic recitative and aria. The
dry form of recitative is met with now only in a few of the operas
which date back to the last century or the early years of the present.
"Le Nozze di Figaro," "Don Giovanni," and "Il Barbiere di Siviglia"
are the most familiar works in which it is employed, and in the
second of these it is used only by the bearers of the comedy element.
The dissolute _Don_ chatters glibly in it with _Zerlina_, but when
_Donna Anna_ and _Don Ottavio_ converse, it is in the _recitativo

[Sidenote: _The object of recitative._]

[Sidenote: _Defects of the recitative._]

[Sidenote: _What it can do._]

In both forms recitative is the vehicle for promoting the action of
the play, preparing its incidents, and paving the way for the
situations and emotional states which are exploited, promulgated, and
dwelt upon in the set music pieces. Its purpose is to maintain the
play in an artificial atmosphere, so that the transition from dialogue
to song may not be so abrupt as to disturb the mood of the listener.
Of all the factors in an opera, the dry recitative is the most
monotonous. It is not music, but speech about to break into music.
Unless one is familiar with Italian and desirous of following the
conversation, which we have been often told is not necessary to the
enjoyment of an opera, its everlasting use of stereotyped falls and
intervallic turns, coupled with the strumming of arpeggioed cadences
on the pianoforte (or worse, double-bass and violoncello), makes it
insufferably wearisome to the listener. Its expression is
fleeting--only for the moment. It lacks the sustained tones and
structural symmetry essential to melody, and therefore it cannot
sustain a mood. It makes efficient use of only one of the fundamental
factors of vocal music--variety of pitch--and that in a rudimentary
way. It is specifically a product of the Italian language, and best
adapted to comedy in that language. Spoken with the vivacity native to
it in the drama, dry recitative is an impossibility in English. It is
only in the more measured and sober gait proper to oratorio that we
can listen to it in the vernacular without thought of incongruity. Yet
it may be made most admirably to preserve the characteristics of
conversation, and even illustrate Spencer's theory of the origin of
music. Witness the following brief example from "Don Giovanni," in
which the vivacity of the master is admirably contrasted with the
lumpishness of his servant:

[Sidenote: _An example from Mozart._]

[Music illustration: _Sempre sotto voce._

_Le-po-rel-lo, o-ve sei?     Son qui per_
Le-po-rel-lo, where are you? I'm here and

                                D.G.      LEP.
_dis-gra-zi-a!    e  vo-i?      Son qui.  Chi è_
more's the pit-y! and you, Sir? Here too. Who's

_mor-to,     voi, o il vec-chio? Che do-_
been killed, you or the old one? What a

_man-da da bes-tia!    il vec-chio. Bra-vo!_
ques-tion, you boo-by! the old one. Bra-vo!]

[Sidenote: _Its characteristics._]

Of course it is left to the intelligence and taste of the singers to
bring out the effects in a recitative, but in this specimen it ought
to be noted how sluggishly the disgruntled _Leporello_ replies to the
brisk question of _Don Giovanni_, how correct is the rhetorical pause
in "you, or the old one?" and the greater sobriety which comes over
the manner of the _Don_ as he thinks of the murder just committed, and
replies, "the old one."

[Sidenote: _Recitative of some sort necessary._]

[Sidenote: _The speaking voice in opera._]

I am strongly inclined to the belief that in one form or the other,
preferably the accompanied, recitative is a necessary integer in the
operatic sum. That it is possible to accustom one's self to the change
alternately from speech to song we know from the experiences made with
German, French, and English operas, but these were not true lyric
dramas, but dramas with incidental music. To be a real lyric drama an
opera ought to be musical throughout, the voice being maintained from
beginning to end on an exalted plane. The tendency to drop into the
speaking voice for the sake of dramatic effect shown by some tragic
singers does not seem to me commendable. Wagner relates with
enthusiasm how Madame Schroeder-Devrient in "Fidelio" was wont to give
supreme emphasis to the phrase immediately preceding the trumpet
signal in the dungeon scene ("Another step, and you are _dead_!") by
speaking the last word "with an awful accent of despair." He then

     "The indescribable effect of this manifested itself to all
     like an agonizing plunge from one sphere into another, and
     its sublimity consisted in this, that with lightning
     quickness a glimpse was given to us of the nature of both
     spheres, of which one was the ideal, the other the real."

[Sidenote: _Wagner and Schroeder-Devrient._]

I have heard a similar effect produced by Herr Niemann and Madame
Lehmann, but could not convince myself that it was not an extremely
venturesome experiment. Madame Schroeder-Devrient saw the beginning of
the modern methods of dramatic expression, and it is easy to believe
that a sudden change like that so well defined by Wagner, made with
her sweeping voice and accompanied by her plastic and powerful acting,
was really thrilling; but, I fancy, nevertheless, that only Beethoven
and the intensity of feeling which pervades the scene saved the
audience from a disturbing sense of the incongruity of the

[Sidenote: _Early forms._]

[Sidenote: _The dialogue of the Florentines._]

The development which has taken place in the recitative has not only
assisted in elevating opera to the dignity of a lyric drama by saving
us from alternate contemplation of the two spheres of ideality and
reality, but has also made the factor itself an eloquent vehicle of
dramatic expression. Save that it had to forego the help of the
instruments beyond a mere harmonic support, the _stilo
rappresentativo_, or _musica parlante_, as the Florentines called
their musical dialogue, approached the sustained recitative which we
hear in the oratorio and grand opera more closely than it did the
_recitative secco_. Ever and anon, already in the earliest works (the
"Eurydice" of Rinuccini as composed by both Peri and Caccini) there
are passages which sound like rudimentary melodies, but are charged
with vital dramatic expression. Note the following phrase from
_Orpheus's_ monologue on being left in the infernal regions by
_Venus_, from Peri's opera, performed A.D. 1600, in honor of the
marriage of Maria de' Medici to Henry IV. of France:

[Sidenote: _An example from Peri._]

[Music illustration:

    _E voi, deh per pie-tà, del mio mar-ti-re
    Che nel mi-se-ro cor di-mo-ra e-ter-no,
    La-cri-ma-te al mio pian-to om-bre d'in-fer-no!_]

[Sidenote: _Development of the arioso._]

[Sidenote: _The aria supplanted._]

[Sidenote: _Music and action._]

Out of this style there grew within a decade something very near the
arioso, and for all the purposes of our argument we may accept the
melodic devices by which Wagner carries on the dialogue of his operas
as an uncircumscribed arioso superimposed upon a foundation of
orchestral harmony; for example, _Lohengrin's_ address to the swan,
_Elsa's_ account of her dream. The greater melodiousness of the
_recitativo stromentato_, and the aid of the orchestra when it began
to assert itself as a factor of independent value, soon enabled this
form of musical conversation to become a reflector of the changing
moods and passions of the play, and thus the value of the aria,
whether considered as a solo, or in its composite form as duet, trio,
quartet, or _ensemble_, was lessened. The growth of the accompanied
recitative naturally brought with it emancipation from the tyranny of
the classical aria. Wagner's reform had nothing to do with that
emancipation, which had been accomplished before him, but went, as we
shall see presently, to a liberation of the composers from all the
formal dams which had clogged the united flow of action and music. We
should, however, even while admiring the achievements of modern
composers in blending these elements (and I know of no more striking
illustration than the scene of the fat knight's discomfiture in
_Ford's_ house in Verdi's "Falstaff") bear in mind that while we may
dream of perfect union between words and music, it is not always
possible that action and music shall go hand in hand. Let me repeat
what once I wrote in a review of Cornelius's opera, "Der Barbier von

[Sidenote: _How music can replace incident._]

     "After all, of the constituents of an opera, action, at
     least that form of it usually called incident, is most
     easily spared. Progress in feeling, development of the
     emotional element, is indeed essential to variety of musical
     utterance, but nevertheless all great operas have
     demonstrated that music is more potent and eloquent when
     proclaiming an emotional state than while seeking to depict
     progress toward such a state. Even in the dramas of Wagner
     the culminating musical moments are predominantly lyrical,
     as witness the love-duet in 'Tristan,' the close of 'Das
     Rheingold,' _Siegmund's_ song, the love-duet, and _Wotan's_
     farewell in 'Die Walküre,' the forest scene and final duet
     in 'Siegfried,' and the death of _Siegfried_ in 'Die
     Götterdämmerung.' It is in the nature of music that this
     should be so. For the drama which plays on the stage of the
     heart, music is a more truthful language than speech; but it
     can stimulate movement and prepare the mind for an incident
     better than it can accompany movement and incident. Yet
     music that has a high degree of emotional expressiveness, by
     diverting attention from externals to the play of passion
     within the breasts of the persons can sometimes make us
     forget the paucity of incident in a play. 'Tristan und
     Isolde' is a case in point. Practically, its outward action
     is summed up in each of its three acts by the same words:
     Preparation for a meeting of the ill-starred lovers; the
     meeting. What is outside of this is mere detail; yet the
     effect of the tragedy upon a listener is that of a play
     surcharged with pregnant occurrence. It is the subtle
     alchemy of music that transmutes the psychological action of
     the tragedy into dramatic incident."

[Sidenote: _Set forms not to be condemned._]

[Sidenote: _Wagner's influence._]

[Sidenote: _His orchestra._]

[Sidenote: _Vocal feats._]

For those who hold such a view with me it will be impossible to
condemn pieces of set forms in the lyric drama. Wagner still
represents his art-work alone, but in the influence which he exerted
upon contemporaneous composers in Italy and France, as well as
Germany, he is quite as significant a figure as he is as the creator
of the _Musikdrama_. The operas which are most popular in our Italian
and French repertories are those which benefited by the liberation
from formalism and the exaltation of the dramatic idea which he
preached and exemplified--such works as Gounod's "Faust," Verdi's
"Aïda" and "Otello," and Bizet's "Carmen." With that emancipation
there came, as was inevitable, new conceptions of the province of
dramatic singing as well as new convictions touching the mission of
the orchestra. The instruments in Wagner's latter-day works are quite
as much as the singing actors the expositors of the dramatic idea, and
in the works of the other men whom I have mentioned they speak a
language which a century ago was known only to the orchestras of Gluck
and Mozart with their comparatively limited, yet eloquent, vocabulary.
Coupled with praise for the wonderful art of Mesdames Patti and Melba
(and I am glad to have lived in their generation, though they do not
represent my ideal in dramatic singing), we are accustomed to hear
lamentations over the decay of singing. I have intoned such jeremiads
myself, and I do not believe that music is suffering from a greater
want to-day than that of a more thorough training for singers. I
marvel when I read that Senesino sang cadences of fifty seconds'
duration; that Ferri with a single breath could trill upon each note
of two octaves, ascending and descending, and that La Bastardella's
art was equal to a perfect performance (perfect in the conception of
her day) of a flourish like this:

[Sidenote: _La Bastardella's flourish._]

[Music illustration]

[Sidenote: _Character of the opera a century and a half ago._]

[Sidenote: _Music and dramatic expression._]

I marvel, I say, at the skill, the gifts, and the training which could
accomplish such feats, but I would not have them back again if they
were to be employed in the old service. When Senesino, Farinelli,
Sassarelli, Ferri, and their tribe dominated the stage, it strutted
with sexless Agamemnons and Cæsars. Telemachus, Darius, Nero, Cato,
Alexander, Scipio, and Hannibal ran around on the boards as
languishing lovers, clad in humiliating disguises, singing woful arias
to their mistress's eyebrows--arias full of trills and scales and
florid ornaments, but void of feeling as a problem in Euclid. Thanks
very largely to German influences, the opera is returning to its
original purposes. Music is again become a means of dramatic
expression, and the singers who appeal to us most powerfully are those
who are best able to make song subserve that purpose, and who to that
end give to dramatic truthfulness, to effective elocution, and to
action the attention which mere voice and beautiful utterance received
in the period which is called the Golden Age of singing, but which was
the Leaden Age of the lyric drama.

[Sidenote: _Singers heard in New York._]

For seventy years the people of New York, scarcely less favored than
those of London, have heard nearly all the great singers of Europe.
Let me talk about some of them, for I am trying to establish some
ground on which my readers may stand when they try to form an estimate
of the singing which they are privileged to hear in the opera houses
of to-day. Madame Malibran was a member of the first Italian company
that ever sang here. Madame Cinti-Damoreau came in 1844, Bosio in
1849, Jenny Lind in 1850, Sontag in 1853, Grisi in 1854, La Grange in
1855, Frezzolini in 1857, Piccolomini in 1858, Nilsson in 1870, Lucca
in 1872, Titiens in 1876, Gerster in 1878, and Sembrich in 1883. I
omit the singers of the German opera as belonging to a different
category. Adelina Patti was always with us until she made her European
début in 1861, and remained abroad twenty years. Of the men who were
the artistic associates of these _prime donne_, mention may be made of
Mario, Benedetti, Corsi, Salvi, Ronconi, Formes, Brignoli, Amadeo,
Coletti, and Campanini, none of whom, excepting Mario, was of
first-class importance compared with the women singers.

[Sidenote: _Grisi._]

[Sidenote: _Jenny Lind._]

[Sidenote: _Lilli Lehmann._]

Nearly all of these singers, even those still living and remembered by
the younger generation of to-day, exploited their gifts in the operas
of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, the early Verdi, and Meyerbeer. Grisi
was acclaimed a great dramatic singer, and it is told of her that once
in "Norma" she frightened the tenor who sang the part of _Pollio_ by
the fury of her acting. But measured by the standards of to-day, say
that set by Calvé's _Carmen_, it must have been a simple age that
could be impressed by the tragic power of anyone acting the part of
Bellini's Druidical priestess. The surmise is strengthened by the
circumstance that Madame Grisi created a sensation in "Il Trovatore"
by showing signs of agitation in the tower scene, walking about the
stage during _Manrico's_ "_Ah! che la morte ognora_," as if she would
fain discover the part of the castle where her lover was imprisoned.
The chief charm of Jenny Lind in the memory of the older generation is
the pathos with which she sang simple songs. Mendelssohn esteemed her
greatly as a woman and artist, but he is quoted as once remarking to
Chorley: "I cannot think why she always prefers to be in a bad
theatre." Moscheles, recording his impressions of her in Meyerbeer's
"Camp of Silesia" (now "L'Étoile du Nord"), reached the climax of his
praise in the words: "Her song with the two concertante flutes is
perhaps the most incredible feat in the way of bravura singing that
can possibly be heard." She was credited, too, with fine powers as an
actress; and that she possessed them can easily be believed, for few
of the singers whom I have mentioned had so early and intimate an
association with the theatre as she. Her repugnance to it in later
life she attributed to a prejudice inherited from her mother. A vastly
different heritage is disclosed by Madame Lehmann's devotion to the
drama, a devotion almost akin to religion. I have known her to go into
the scene-room of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and search
for mimic stumps and rocks with which to fit out a scene in
"Siegfried," in which she was not even to appear. That, like her
super-human work at rehearsals, was "for the good of the cause," as
she expressed it.

[Sidenote: _Sontag._]

Most amiable are the memories that cluster around the name of Sontag,
whose career came to a grievous close by her sudden death in Mexico in
1854. She was a German, and the early part of her artistic life was
influenced by German ideals, but it is said that only in the music of
Mozart and Weber, which aroused in her strong national emotion, did
she sing dramatically. For the rest she used her light voice, which
had an extraordinary range, brilliancy, and flexibility, very much as
Patti and Melba use their voices to-day--in mere unfeeling vocal

     "She had an extensive soprano voice," says Hogarth; "not
     remarkable for power, but clear, brilliant, and singularly
     flexible; a quality which seems to have led her (unlike most
     German singers in general) to cultivate the most florid
     style, and even to follow the bad example set by Catalani,
     of seeking to convert her voice into an instrument, and to
     astonish the public by executing the violin variations on
     Rode's air and other things of that stamp."

[Sidenote: _La Grange._]

[Sidenote: _Piccolomini._]

[Sidenote: _Adelina Patti._]

[Sidenote: _Gerster._]

[Sidenote: _Lucca and Nilsson._]

[Sidenote: _Sembrich._]

Madame La Grange had a voice of wide compass, which enabled her to
sing contralto rôles as well as soprano, but I have never heard her
dramatic powers praised. As for Piccolomini, read of her where you
will, you shall find that she was "charming." She was lovely to look
upon, and her acting in soubrette parts was fascinating. Until Melba
came Patti was for thirty years peerless as a mere vocalist. She
belongs, as did Piccolomini and Sontag, to the comic _genre_; so did
Sembrich and Gerster, the latter of whom never knew it. I well
remember how indignant she became on one occasion, in her first
American season, at a criticism which I wrote of her _Amina_ in "La
Sonnambula," a performance which remains among my loveliest and most
fragrant recollections. I had made use of Catalani's remark concerning
Sontag: "_Son genre est petit, mais elle est unique dans son genre_,"
and applied it to her style. She almost flew into a passion. "_Mon
genre est grand!_" said she, over and over again, while Dr. Gardini,
her husband, tried to pacify her. "Come to see my _Marguerite_ next
season." Now, Gounod's _Marguerite_ does not quite belong to the
heroic rôles, though we can all remember how Lucca thrilled us by her
intensity of action as well as of song, and how Madame Nilsson sent
the blood out of our cheeks, though she did stride through the opera
like a combination of the _grande dame_ and Ary Scheffer's spirituelle
pictures; but such as it is, Madame Gerster achieved a success of
interest only, and that because of her strivings for originality.
Sembrich and Gerster, when they were first heard in New York, had as
much execution as Melba or Nilsson; but their voices had less
emotional power than that of the latter, and less beauty than that of
the former--beauty of the kind that might be called classic, since it
is in no way dependent on feeling.

[Sidenote: _Melba and Eames._]

[Sidenote: _Calvé._]

[Sidenote: _Dramatic singers._]

[Sidenote: _Jean de Reszke._]

[Sidenote: _Edouard de Reszke and Plançon._]

Patti, Lucca, Nilsson, and Gerster sang in the operas in which Melba
and Eames sing to-day, and though the standard of judgment has been
changed in the last twenty-five years by the growth of German ideals,
I can find no growth of potency in the performances of the
representative women of Italian and French opera, except in the case
of Madame Calvé. For the development of dramatic ideals we must look
to the singers of German affiliations or antecedents, Mesdames
Materna, Lehmann, Sucher, and Nordica. As for the men of yesterday and
to-day, no lover, I am sure, of the real lyric drama would give the
declamatory warmth and gracefulness of pose and action which mark the
performances of M. Jean de Reszke for a hundred of the high notes of
Mario (for one of which, we are told, he was wont to reserve his
powers all evening), were they never so lovely. Neither does the
fine, resonant, equable voice of Edouard de Reszke or the finished
style of Plançon leave us with curious longings touching the voices
and manners of Lablache and Formes. Other times, other manners, in
music as in everything else. The great singers of to-day are those who
appeal to the taste of to-day, and that taste differs, as the clothes
which we wear differ, from the style in vogue in the days of our

[Sidenote: _Wagner's operas._]

[Sidenote: _Wagner's lyric dramas._]

[Sidenote: _His theories._]

[Sidenote: _The mission of music._]

[Sidenote: _Distinctions abolished._]

[Sidenote: _The typical phrases._]

[Sidenote: _Characteristics of some motives._]

A great deal of confusion has crept into the public mind concerning
Wagner and his works by the failure to differentiate between his
earlier and later creations. No injustice is done the composer by
looking upon his "Flying Dutchman," "Tannhäuser," and "Lohengrin" as
operas. We find the dramatic element lifted into noble prominence in
"Tannhäuser," and admirable freedom in the handling of the musical
factors in "Lohengrin," but they must, nevertheless, be listened to as
one would listen to the operas of Weber, Marschner, or Meyerbeer.
They are, in fact, much nearer to the conventional operatic type than
to the works which came after them, and were called _Musikdramen_.
"Music drama" is an awkward phrase, and I have taken the liberty of
substituting "lyric drama" for it, and as such I shall designate
"Tristan und Isolde," "Die Meistersinger," "Der Ring des Nibelungen,"
and "Parsifal." In these works Wagner exemplified his reformatory
ideas and accomplished a regeneration of the lyric drama, as we found
it embodied in principle in the Greek tragedy and the _Dramma per
musica_ of the Florentine scholars. Wagner's starting-point is, that
in the opera music had usurped a place which did not belong to it.[G]
It was designed to be a means and had become an end. In the drama he
found a combination of poetry, music, pantomime, and scenery, and he
held that these factors ought to co-operate on a basis of mutual
dependence, the inspiration of all being dramatic expression. Music,
therefore, ought to be subordinate to the text in which the dramatic
idea is expressed, and simply serve to raise it to a higher power by
giving it greater emotional life. So, also, it ought to vivify
pantomime and accompany the stage pictures. In order that it might do
all this, it had to be relieved of the shackles of formalism; only
thus could it move with the same freedom as the other elements
consorted with it in the drama. Therefore, the distinctions between
recitative and aria were abolished, and an "endless melody" took the
place of both. An exalted form of speech is borne along on a flood of
orchestral music, which, quite as much as song, action, and scenery
concerns itself with the exposition of the drama. That it may do this
the agencies, spiritual as well as material, which are instrumental in
the development of the play, are identified with certain melodic
phrases, out of which the musical fabric is woven. These phrases are
the much mooted, much misunderstood "leading motives"--typical phrases
I call them. Wagner has tried to make them reflect the character or
nature of the agencies with which he has associated them, and
therefore we find the giants in the Niblung tetralogy symbolized in
heavy, slowly moving, cumbersome phrases; the dwarfs have two phrases,
one suggesting their occupation as smiths, by its hammering rhythm,
and the other their intellectual habits, by its suggestion of brooding
contemplativeness. I cannot go through the catalogue of the typical
phrases which enter into the musical structure of the works which I
have called lyric dramas as contra-distinguished from operas. They
should, of course, be known to the student of Wagner, for thereby will
he be helped to understand the poet-composer's purposes, but I would
fain repeat the warning which I uttered twice in my "Studies in the
Wagnerian Drama:"

[Sidenote: _The phrases should be studied._]

     "It cannot be too forcibly urged that if we confine our
     study of Wagner to the forms and names of the phrases out of
     which he constructs his musical fabric, we shall, at the
     last, have enriched our minds with a thematic catalogue
     and--nothing else. We shall remain guiltless of knowledge
     unless we learn something of the nature of those phrases by
     noting the attributes which lend them propriety and fitness,
     and can recognize, measurably at least, the reasons for
     their introduction and development. Those attributes give
     character and mood to the music constructed out of the
     phrases. If we are able to feel the mood, we need not care
     how the phrases which produce it have been labelled. If we
     do not feel the mood, we may memorize the whole thematic
     catalogue of Wolzogen and have our labor for our pains. It
     would be better to know nothing about the phrases, and
     content one's self with simple sensuous enjoyment than to
     spend one's time answering the baldest of all the riddles of
     Wagner's orchestra--'What am I playing now?'

[Sidenote: _The question of effectiveness._]

     "The ultimate question concerning the correctness or
     effectiveness of Wagner's system of composition must, of
     course, be answered along with the question: 'Does the
     composition, as a whole, touch the emotions, quicken the
     fancy, fire the imagination?' If it does these things, we
     may, to a great extent, if we wish, get along without the
     intellectual processes of reflection and comparison which
     are conditioned upon a recognition of the themes and their
     uses. But if we put aside this intellectual activity, we
     shall deprive ourselves, among other things, of the
     pleasures which it is the province of memory to give; and
     the exercise of memory is called for by music much more
     urgently than by any other art, because of its volatile
     nature and the rôle which repetition plays in it."


[E] "But no real student can have studied the score deeply, or
listened discriminatingly to a good performance, without discovering
that there is a tremendous chasm between the conventional aims of the
Italian poet in the book of the opera and the work which emerged from
the composer's profound imagination. Da Ponte contemplated a _dramma
giocoso_; Mozart humored him until his imagination came within the
shadow cast before by the catastrophe, and then he transformed the
poet's comedy into a tragedy of crushing power. The climax of Da
Ponte's ideal is reached in a picture of the dissolute _Don_ wrestling
in idle desperation with a host of spectacular devils, and finally
disappearing through a trap, while fire bursts out on all sides, the
thunders roll, and _Leporello_ gazes on the scene, crouched in a comic
attitude of terror, under the table. Such a picture satisfied the
tastes of the public of his time, and that public found nothing
incongruous in a return to the scene immediately afterward of all the
characters save the reprobate, who had gone to his reward, to hear a
description of the catastrophe from the buffoon under the table, and
platitudinously to moralize that the perfidious wretch, having been
stored away safely in the realm of Pluto and Proserpine, nothing
remained for them to do except to raise their voices in the words of
the "old song,"

    _"Questo è il fin di chi fa mal:
    E dei perfidi la morte
    Alla vita è sempre ugual."_

"New York Musical Season, 1889-90."

[F] "Review of the New York Musical Season, 1889-90," p. 75.

[G] See "Studies in the Wagnerian Drama," chapter I.


_Choirs and Choral Music_

[Sidenote: _Choirs a touchstone of culture._]

[Sidenote: _The value of choir singing._]

No one would go far astray who should estimate the extent and
sincerity of a community's musical culture by the number of its chorus
singers. Some years ago it was said that over three hundred cities and
towns in Germany contained singing societies and orchestras devoted to
the cultivation of choral music. In the United States, where there are
comparatively a small number of instrumental musicians, there has been
a wonderful development of singing societies within the last
generation, and it is to this fact largely that the notable growth in
the country's knowledge and appreciation of high-class music is due.
No amount of mere hearing and study can compare in influence with
participation in musical performance. Music is an art which rests on
love. It is beautiful sound vitalized by feeling, and it can only be
grasped fully through man's emotional nature. There is no quicker or
surer way to get to the heart of a composition than by performing it,
and since participation in chorus singing is of necessity unselfish
and creative of sympathy, there is no better medium of musical culture
than membership in a choir. It was because he realized this that
Schumann gave the advice to all students of music: "Sing diligently in
choirs; especially the middle voices, for this will make you musical."

[Sidenote: _Singing societies and orchestras._]

[Sidenote: _Neither numbers nor wealth necessary._]

There is no community so small or so ill-conditioned that it cannot
maintain a singing society. Before a city can give sustenance to even
a small body of instrumentalists it must be large enough and rich
enough to maintain a theatre from which those instrumentalists can
derive their support. There can be no dependence upon amateurs, for
people do not study the oboe, bassoon, trombone, or double-bass for
amusement. Amateur violinists and amateur flautists there are in
plenty, but not amateur clarinetists and French-horn players; but if
the love for music exists in a community, a dozen families shall
suffice to maintain a choral club. Large numbers are therefore not
essential; neither is wealth. Some of the largest and finest choirs in
the world flourish among the Welsh miners in the United States and
Wales, fostered by a native love for the art and the national
institution called Eisteddfod.

[Sidenote: _Lines of choral culture in the United States._]

The lines on which choral culture has proceeded in the United States
are two, of which the more valuable, from an artistic point of view,
is that of the oratorio, which went out from New England. The other
originated in the German cultivation of the _Männergesang_, the
importance of which is felt more in the extent of the culture,
prompted as it is largely by social considerations, than in the music
sung, which is of necessity of a lower grade than that composed for
mixed voices. It is chiefly in the impulse which German _Männergesang_
carried into all the corners of the land, and especially the impetus
which the festivals of the German singers gave to the sections in
which they have been held for half a century, that this form of
culture is interesting.

[Sidenote: _Church and oratorio._]

[Sidenote: _Secular choirs._]

The cultivation of oratorio music sprang naturally from the Church,
and though it is now chiefly in the hands of secular societies, the
biblical origin of the vast majority of the texts used in the works
which are performed, and more especially the regular performances of
Handel's "Messiah" in the Christmastide, have left the notion, more or
less distinct, in the public mind, that oratorios are religious
functions. Nevertheless (or perhaps because of this fact) the most
successful choral concerts in the United States are those given by
oratorio societies. The cultivation of choral music which is secular
in character is chiefly in the hands of small organizations, whose
concerts are of a semi-private nature and are enjoyed by the associate
members and invited guests. This circumstance is deserving of notice
as a characteristic feature of choral music in America, though it has
no particular bearing upon this study, which must concern itself with
choral organizations, choral music, and choral performances in

[Sidenote: _Amateur choirs originated in the United States._]

[Sidenote: _The size of old choirs._]

Organizations of the kind in view differ from instrumental in being
composed of amateurs; and amateur choir-singing is no older anywhere
than in the United States. Two centuries ago and more the singing of
catches and glees was a common amusement among the gentler classes in
England, but the performances of the larger forms of choral music were
in the hands of professional choristers who were connected with
churches, theatres, schools, and other public institutions. Naturally,
then, the choral bodies were small. Choirs of hundreds and thousands,
such as take part in the festivals of to-day, are a product of a later

[Sidenote: _Handel's choirs._]

     "When Bach and Handel wrote their Passions, Church Cantatas,
     and Oratorios, they could only dream of such majestic
     performances as those works receive now; and it is one of
     the miracles of art that they should have written in so
     masterly a manner for forces that they could never hope to
     control. Who would think, when listening to the 'Hallelujah'
     of 'The Messiah,' or the great double choruses of 'Israel in
     Egypt,' in which the voice of the composer is 'as the voice
     of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and
     as the voice of many thunderings, saying, "Alleluia, for the
     Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!"' that these colossal
     compositions were never heard by Handel from any chorus
     larger than the most modest of our church choirs? At the
     last performance of 'The Messiah' at which Handel was
     advertised to appear (it was for the benefit of his favorite
     charity, the Foundling Hospital, on May 3, 1759--he died
     before the time, however), the singers, including
     principals, numbered twenty-three, while the
     instrumentalists numbered thirty-three. At the first great
     Handel Commemoration, in Westminster Abbey, in 1784, the
     choir numbered two hundred and seventy-five, the band two
     hundred and fifty; and this was the most numerous force ever
     gathered together for a single performance in England up to
     that time.

[Sidenote: _Choirs a century ago._]

[Sidenote: _Bach's choir._]

     "In 1791 the Commemoration was celebrated by a choir of five
     hundred and a band of three hundred and seventy-five. In
     May, 1786, Johann Adam Hiller, one of Bach's successors as
     cantor of the St. Thomas School in Leipsic, directed what
     was termed a _Massenaufführung_ of 'The Messiah,' in the
     Domkirche, in Berlin. His 'masses' consisted of one hundred
     and eighteen singers and one hundred and eighty-six
     instrumentalists. In Handel's operas, and sometimes even in
     his oratorios, the _tutti_ meant, in his time, little more
     than a union of all the solo singers; and even Bach's
     Passion music and church cantatas, which seem as much
     designed for numbers as the double choruses of 'Israel,'
     were rendered in the St. Thomas Church by a ludicrously
     small choir. Of this fact a record is preserved in the
     archives of Leipsic. In August, 1730, Bach submitted to the
     authorities a plan for a church choir of the pupils in his
     care. In this plan his singers numbered twelve, there being
     one principal and two ripienists in each voice; with
     characteristic modesty he barely suggests a preference for
     sixteen. The circumstance that in the same document he asked
     for at least eighteen instrumentalists (two more if flutes
     were used), taken in connection with the figures given
     relative to the 'Messiah' performances, gives an insight
     into the relations between the vocal and the instrumental
     parts of a choral performance in those days."[H]

[Sidenote: _Proportion of voices and instruments._]

This relation has been more than reversed since then, the orchestras
at modern oratorio performances seldom being one-fifth as large as the
choir. This difference, however, is due largely to the changed
character of modern music, that of to-day treating the instruments as
independent agents of expression instead of using them chiefly to
support the voices and add sonority to the tonal mass, as was done by
Handel and most of the composers of his day.

[Sidenote: _Glee unions and male choirs._]

I omit from consideration the Glee Unions of England, and the
quartets, which correspond to them, in this country. They are not
cultivators of choral music, and the music which they sing is an
insignificant factor in culture. The male choirs, too, need not detain
us long, since it may be said without injustice that their mission is
more social than artistic. In these choirs the subdivision into parts
is, as a rule, into two tenor voices, first and second, and two bass,
first and second. In the glee unions, the effect of whose singing is
fairly well imitated by the college clubs of the United States
(pitiful things, indeed, from an artistic point of view), there is a
survival of an old element in the male alto singing above the melody
voice, generally in a painful falsetto. This abomination is unknown to
the German part-songs for men's voices, which are written normally,
but are in the long run monotonous in color for want of the variety in
timbre and register which the female voices contribute in a mixed

[Sidenote: _Women's choirs._]

There are choirs also composed exclusively of women, but they are
even more unsatisfactory than the male choirs, for the reason that the
absence of the bass voice leaves their harmony without sufficient
foundation. Generally, music for these choirs is written for three
parts, two sopranos and contralto, with the result that it hovers,
suspended like Mahomet's coffin, between heaven and earth. When a
fourth part is added it is a second contralto, which is generally
carried down to the tones that are hollow and unnatural.

[Sidenote: _Boys' choirs._]

The substitution of boys for women in Episcopal Church choirs has
grown extensively within the last ten years in the United States, very
much to the promotion of æsthetic sentimentality in the congregations,
but without improving the character of worship-music. Boys' voices are
practically limitless in an upward direction, and are naturally clear
and penetrating. Ravishing effects can be produced with them, but it
is false art to use passionless voices in music conceived for the
mature and emotional voices of adults; and very little of the old
English Cathedral music, written for choirs of boys and men, is
preserved in the service lists to-day.

[Sidenote: _Mixed choirs._]

The only satisfactory choirs are the mixed choirs of men and women.
Upon them has devolved the cultivation of artistic choral music in our
public concert-rooms. As we know such choirs now, they are of
comparatively recent origin, and it is a singular commentary upon the
way in which musical history is written, that the fact should have so
long been overlooked that the credit of organizing the first belongs
to the United States. A little reflection will show this fact, which
seems somewhat startling at first blush, to be entirely natural. Large
singing societies are of necessity made up of amateurs, and the want
of professional musicians in America compelled the people to enlist
amateurs at a time when in Europe choral activity rested on the
church, theatre, and institute choristers, who were practically

[Sidenote: _Origin of amateur singing societies._]

[Sidenote: _The German record._]

[Sidenote: _American priority._]

[Sidenote: _The American record._]

As the hitherto accepted record stands, the first amateur singing
society was the Singakademie of Berlin, which Carl Friedrich Fasch,
accompanist to the royal flautist, Frederick the Great, called into
existence in 1791. A few dates will show how slow the other cities of
musical Germany were in following Berlin's example. In 1818 there were
only ten amateur choirs in all Germany. Leipsic organized one in 1800,
Stettin in 1800, Münster in 1804, Dresden in 1807, Potsdam in 1814,
Bremen in 1815, Chemnitz in 1817, Schwäbisch-Hall in 1817, and
Innsbruck in 1818. The Berlin Singakademie is still in existence, but
so also is the Stoughton Musical Society in Stoughton, Mass., which
was founded on November 7, 1786. Mr. Charles C. Perkins, historian of
the Handel and Haydn Society, whose foundation was coincident with the
sixth society in Germany (Bremen, 1815), enumerates the following
predecessors of that venerable organization: the Stoughton Musical
Society, 1786; Independent Musical Society, "established at Boston in
the same year, which gave a concert at King's Chapel in 1788, and took
part there in commemorating the death of Washington (December 14,
1799) on his first succeeding birthday;" the Franklin, 1804; the
Salem, 1806; Massachusetts Musical, 1807; Lock Hospital, 1812, and the
Norfolk Musical, the date of whose foundation is not given by Mr.

[Sidenote: _Choirs in the West._]

When the Bremen Singakademie was organized there were already choirs
in the United States as far west as Cincinnati. In that city they were
merely church choirs at first, but within a few years they had
combined into a large body and were giving concerts at which some of
the choruses of Handel and Haydn were sung. That their performances,
as well as those of the New England societies, were cruder than those
of their European rivals may well be believed, but with this I have
nothing to do. I am simply seeking to establish the priority of the
United States in amateur choral culture. The number of American cities
in which oratorios are performed annually is now about fifty.

[Sidenote: _The size of choirs._]

[Sidenote: _Large numbers not essential._]

[Sidenote: _How "divisions" used to be sung._]

In size mixed choirs ordinarily range from forty voices to five
hundred. It were well if it were understood by choristers as well as
the public that numbers merely are not a sign of merit in a singing
society. So the concert-room be not too large, a choir of sixty
well-trained voices is large enough to perform almost everything in
choral literature with good effect, and the majority of the best
compositions will sound better under such circumstances than in large
rooms with large choirs. Especially is this true of the music of the
Middle Ages, written for voices without instrumental accompaniment, of
which I shall have something to say when the discussion reaches choral
programmes. There is music, it is true, like much of Handel's, the
impressiveness of which is greatly enhanced by masses, but it is not
extensive enough to justify the sacrifice of correctness and finish in
the performance to mere volume. The use of large choirs has had the
effect of developing the skilfulness of amateur singers in an
astonishing degree, but there is, nevertheless, a point where
weightiness of tone becomes an obstacle to finished execution. When
Mozart remodelled Handel's "Messiah" he was careful to indicate that
the florid passages ("divisions" they used to be called in England)
should be sung by the solo voices alone, but nowadays choirs of five
hundred voices attack such choruses as "For unto us a Child is Born,"
without the slightest hesitation, even if they sometimes make a
mournful mess of the "divisions."

[Sidenote: _The division of choirs._]

[Sidenote: _Five-part music._]

[Sidenote: _Eight part._]

[Sidenote: _Antiphonal music._]

[Sidenote: _Bach's "St. Matthew Passion."_]

The normal division of a mixed choir is into four parts or
voices--soprano, contralto, tenor, and bass; but composers sometimes
write for more parts, and the choir is subdivided to correspond. The
custom of writing for five, six, eight, ten, and even more voices was
more common in the Middle Ages, the palmy days of the _a capella_
(_i.e._, for the chapel, unaccompanied) style than it is now, and, as
a rule, a division into more than four voices is not needed outside of
the societies which cultivate this old music, such as the Musical Art
Society in New York, the Bach Choir in London, and the Domchor in
Berlin. In music for five parts, one of the upper voices, soprano or
tenor, is generally doubled; for six, the ordinary distribution is
into two sopranos, two contraltos, tenor, and bass. When eight voices
are reached a distinction is made according as there are to be eight
real parts (_a otto voci reali_), or two choruses of the four normal
parts each (_a otto voci in due cori reali_). In the first instance
the arrangement commonly is three sopranos, two contraltos, two
tenors, and one bass. One of the most beautiful uses of the double
choir is to produce antiphonal effects, choir answering to choir, both
occasionally uniting in the climaxes. How stirring this effect can be
made may be observed in some of Bach's compositions, especially those
in which he makes the division of the choir subserve a dramatic
purpose, as in the first chorus of "The Passion according to St.
Matthew," where the two choirs, one representing _Daughters of Zion_,
the other _Believers_, interrogate and answer each other thus:

 I. "Come, ye daughters, weep for anguish;
    See Him!
II. "Whom?
 I. "The Son of Man.
    See Him!
II. "How?
 I. "So like a lamb.
    See it!
II. "What?
 I. "His love untold.
II. "Look where?
 I. "Our guilt behold."

[Sidenote: _Antiphony in a motet._]

Another most striking instance is in the same master's motet, "Sing ye
to the Lord," which is written for two choirs of four parts each. (In
the example from the "St. Matthew Passion" there is a third choir of
soprano voices which sings a chorale while the dramatic choirs are
conversing.) In the motet the first choir begins a fugue, in the midst
of which the second choir is heard shouting jubilantly, "Sing ye! Sing
ye! Sing ye!" Then the choirs change rôles, the first delivering the
injunction, the second singing the fugue. In modern music, composers
frequently consort a quartet of solo voices, soprano, contralto,
tenor, and bass, with a four-part chorus, and thus achieve fine
effects of contrast in dynamics and color, as well as antiphonal.

[Sidenote: _Excellence in choral singing._]

[Sidenote: _Community of action._]

[Sidenote: _Individualism._]

[Sidenote: _Dynamics._]

[Sidenote: _Beauty of tone._]

[Sidenote: _Contralto voices._]

The question is near: What constitutes excellence in a choral
performance? To answer: The same qualities that constitute excellence
in an orchestral performance, will scarcely suffice, except as a
generalization. A higher degree of harmonious action is exacted of a
body of singers than of a body of instrumentalists. Many of the parts
in a symphony are played by a single instrument. Community of voice
belongs only to each of the five bodies of string-players. In a chorus
there are from twelve to one hundred and fifty voices, or even more,
united in each part. This demands the effacement of individuality in a
chorus, upon the assertion of which, in a band, under the judicious
guidance of the conductor, many of the effects of color and expression
depend. Each group in a choir must strive for homogeneity of voice
quality; each singer must sink the _ego_ in the aggregation, yet
employ it in its highest potency so far as the mastery of the technics
of singing is concerned. In cultivating precision of attack (_i.e._,
promptness in beginning a tone and leaving it off), purity of
intonation (_i.e._, accuracy or justness of pitch--"singing in tune"
according to the popular phrase), clearness of enunciation, and
careful attention to all the dynamic gradations of tone, from very
soft up to very loud, and all shades of expression between, in the
development of that gradual augmentation of tone called _crescendo_,
and the gradual diminution called _diminuendo_, the highest order of
individual skill is exacted from every chorister; for upon individual
perfection in these things depends the collective effect which it is
the purpose of the conductor to achieve. Sensuous beauty of tone, even
in large aggregations, is also dependent to a great degree upon
careful and proper emission of voice by each individual, and it is
because the contralto part in most choral music, being a middle part,
lies so easily in the voices of the singers that the contralto
contingent in American choirs, especially, so often attracts attention
by the charm of its tone. Contralto voices are seldom forced into the
regions which compel so great a physical strain that beauty and
character must be sacrificed to mere accomplishment of utterance, as
is frequently the case with the soprano part.

[Sidenote: _Selfishness fatal to success._]

[Sidenote: _Tonal balance._]

Yet back of all this exercise of individual skill there must be a
spirit of self-sacrifice which can only exist in effective potency if
prompted by universal sympathy and love for the art. A selfish
chorister is not a chorister, though possessed of the voice of a Melba
or Mario. Balance between the parts, not only in the fundamental
constitution of the choir but also in all stages of a performance, is
also a matter of the highest consideration. In urban communities,
especially, it is difficult to secure perfect tonal symmetry--the rule
is a poverty in tenor voices--but those who go to hear choral concerts
are entitled to hear a well-balanced choir, and the presence of an
army of sopranos will not condone a squad of tenors. Again, I say,
better a well-balanced small choir than an ill-balanced large one.

[Sidenote: _Declamation._]

[Sidenote: _Expression._]

[Sidenote: _The choruses in "The Messiah."_]

[Sidenote: _Variety of declamation in Handel's oratorio._]

I have not enumerated all the elements which enter into a meritorious
performance, nor shall I discuss them all; only in passing do I wish
to direct attention to one which shines by its absence in the choral
performances not only of America but also of Great Britain and
Germany. Proper pronunciation of the texts is an obvious requirement;
so ought also to be declamation. There is no reason why characteristic
expression, by which I mean expression which goes to the genius of the
melodic phrase when it springs from the verbal, should be ignored,
simply because it may be difficult of attainment from large bodies of
singers. There is so much monotony in oratorio concerts because all
oratorios and all parts of any single oratorio are sung alike. Only
when the "Hallelujah" is sung in "The Messiah" at the gracious
Christmastide is an exaltation above the dull level of the routine
performances noticeable, and then it is communicated to the singers by
the act of the listeners in rising to their feet. Now, despite the
structural sameness in the choruses of "The Messiah," they have a
great variety of content, and if the characteristic physiognomy of
each could but be disclosed, the grand old work, which seems hackneyed
to so many, would acquire amazing freshness, eloquence, and power.
Then should we be privileged to note that there is ample variety in
the voice of the old master, of whom a greater than he said that when
he wished, he could strike like a thunderbolt. Then should we hear the
tones of amazed adoration in

[Music illustration: Be-hold the Lamb of God!]

of cruel scorn in

[Music illustration: He trust-ed in God that would de-li-ver Him, let
him de-li-ver him if he de-light in him.]

of boastfulness and conscious strength in

[Music illustration: Let us break their bonds a-sun-der.]

and learn to admire as we ought to admire the declamatory strength
and truthfulness so common in Handel's choruses.

[Sidenote: _Mediæval music._]

[Sidenote: _Madrigals._]

There is very little cultivation of choral music of the early
ecclesiastical type, and that little is limited to the Church and a
few choirs specially organized for its performance, like those that I
have mentioned. This music is so foreign to the conceptions of the
ordinary amateur, and exacts so much skill in the singing of the
intervals, lacking the prop of modern tonality as it does, that it is
seldom that an amateur body can be found equal to its performance.
Moreover, it is nearly all of a solemn type. Its composers were
churchmen, and when it was written nearly all that there was of
artistic music was in the service of the Church. The secular music of
the time consisted chiefly in Madrigals, which differed from
ecclesiastical music only in their texts, they being generally erotic
in sentiment. The choristers of to-day, no less than the public, find
it difficult to appreciate them, because they are not melodic in the
sense that most music is nowadays. In them the melody is not the
privileged possession of the soprano voice. All the voices stand on
an equal footing, and the composition consists of a weaving together,
according to scientific rules, of a number of voices--counterpoint as
it is called.

[Sidenote: _Homophonic hymns._]

[Sidenote: _Calvin's restrictive influence._]

Our hymn-tunes are homophonic, based upon a melody sung by one voice,
for which the other voices provide the harmony. This style of music
came into the Church through the German Reformation. Though Calvin was
a lover of music he restricted its practice among his followers to
unisonal psalmody, that is, to certain tunes adapted to the versified
psalms sung without accompaniment of harmony voices. On the adoption
of the Genevan psalter he gave the strictest injunction that neither
its text nor its melodies were to be altered.

     "Those songs and melodies," said he, "which are composed for
     the mere pleasure of the ear, and all they call ornamental
     music, and songs for four parts, do not behoove the majesty
     of the Church, and cannot fail greatly to displease God."

[Sidenote: _Luther and the German Church._]

Under the influence of the German reformers music was in a very
different case. Luther was not only an amateur musician, he was also
an ardent lover of scientific music. Josquin des Pres, a contemporary
of Columbus, was his greatest admiration; nevertheless, he was anxious
from the beginning of his work of Church establishment to have the
music of the German Church German in spirit and style. In 1525 he

[Sidenote: _A German mass._]

     "I should like to have a German mass, and I am indeed at
     work on one; but I am anxious that it shall be truly German
     in manner. I have no objection to a translated Latin text
     and Latin notes; but they are neither proper nor just (_aber
     es lautet nicht artig noch rechtschaffen_); text and notes,
     accent, melodies, and demeanor must come from our mother
     tongue and voice, else will it all be but a mimicry, like
     that of the apes."

[Sidenote: _Secular tunes used._]

[Sidenote: _Congregational singing._]

In the Church music of the time, composed, as I have described, by a
scientific interweaving of voices, the composers had got into the
habit of utilizing secular melodies as the foundation on which to
build their contrapuntal structures. I have no doubt that it was the
spirit which speaks out of Luther's words which brought it to pass
that in Germany contrapuntal music with popular melodies as
foundations developed into the chorale, in which the melody and not
the counterpoint was the essential thing. With the Lutheran Church
came congregational singing; with congregational singing the need of a
new style of composition, which should not only make the participation
of the people in the singing possible, but should also stimulate them
to sing by freeing the familiar melodies (the melodies of folk-songs)
from the elaborate and ingenious, but soulless, counterpoint which
fettered them.

[Sidenote: _Counterpoint._]

[Sidenote: _The first congregational hymns._]

The Flemish masters, who were the musical law-givers, had been using
secular tunes for over a century, but only as stalking-horses for
counterpoint; and when the Germans began to use their tunes, they,
too, buried them beyond recognition in the contrapuntal mass. The
people were invited to sing paraphrases of the psalms to familiar
tunes, it is true, but the choir's polyphony went far to stifle the
spirit of the melody. Soon the free spirit which I have repeatedly
referred to as Romanticism, and which was powerfully encouraged by
the Reformation, prompted a style of composition in which the admired
melody was lifted into relief. This could not be done until the new
style of writing invented by the creators of the opera (see Chapter
VII.) came in, but as early as 1568 Dr. Lucas Ostrander published
fifty hymns and psalms with music so arranged "that the congregation
may join in singing them." This, then, is in outline the story of the
beginning of modern hymnology, and it is recalled to the patrons of
choral concerts whenever in Bach's "Passion Music" or in Mendelssohn's
"St. Paul" the choir sings one of the marvellous old hymns of the
German Church.

[Sidenote: _The Church and conservatism._]

[Sidenote: _Harmony and emotion._]

Choral music being bound up with the Church, it has naturally
participated in the conservatism characteristic of the Church. The
severe old style has survived in the choral compositions of to-day,
while instrumental music has grown to be almost a new thing within the
century which is just closing. It is the severe style established by
Bach, however, not that of Palestrina. In the Church compositions
prior to Palestrina the emotional power of harmony was but little
understood. The harmonies, indeed, were the accidents of the
interweaving of melodies. Palestrina was among the first to feel the
uplifting effect which might result from a simple sequence of pure
consonant harmonies, and the three chords which open his famous
"Stabat Mater"

[Sidenote: _Palestrina's "Stabat Mater."_]

[Sidenote: _Characteristics of his music._]

[Music illustration: Sta-bat ma-ter]

are a sign of his style as distinct in its way as the devices by means
of which Wagner stamps his individuality on his phrases. His melodies,
too, compared with the artificial _motivi_ of his predecessors, are
distinguished by grace, beauty, and expressiveness, while his command
of ætherial effects, due to the manner in which the voices are
combined, is absolutely without parallel from his day to this. Of the
mystery of pure beauty he enjoyed a wonderful revelation, and has
handed it down to us in such works as the "Stabat Mater," "Missa Papæ
Marcelli," and the "Improperia."

[Sidenote: _Palestrina's music not dramatic._]

[Sidenote: _A churchman._]

[Sidenote: _Effect of the Reformation._]

This music must not be listened to with the notion in mind of dramatic
expression such as we almost instinctively feel to-day. Palestrina
does not seek to proclaim the varying sentiment which underlies his
texts. That leads to individual interpretation and is foreign to the
habits of churchmen in the old conception, when the individual was
completely resolved in the organization. He aimed to exalt the mystery
of the service, not to bring it down to popular comprehension and make
it a personal utterance. For such a design in music we must wait until
after the Reformation, when the ancient mysticism began to fall back
before the demands of reason, when the idea of the sole and sufficient
mediation of the Church lost some of its power in the face of the
growing conviction of intimate personal relationship between man and
his creator. Now idealism had to yield some of its dominion to
realism, and a more rugged art grew up in place of that which had
been so wonderfully sublimated by mysticism.

[Sidenote: _The source of beauty in Palestrina's music._]

It is in Bach, who came a century after Palestrina, that we find the
most eloquent musical proclamation of the new régime, and it is in no
sense disrespectful to the great German master if we feel that the
change in ideals was accompanied with a loss in sensuous charm, or
pure æsthetic beauty. Effect has had to yield to idea. It is in the
flow of the voices, the color effects which result from combination
and registers, the clarity of the harmonies, the reposefulness coming
from conscious ease of utterance, the loveliness of each individual
part, and the spiritual exaltation of the whole that the æsthetic
mystery of Palestrina's music lies.

[Sidenote: _Bach._]

Like Palestrina, Bach is the culmination of the musical practice of
his time, but, unlike Palestrina, he is also the starting-point of a
new development. With Bach the old contrapuntal art, now not vocal
merely but instrumental also and mixed, reaches its climax, and the
tendency sets in which leads to the highly complex and dramatic art of
to-day. Palestrina's art is Roman; the spirit of restfulness, of
celestial calm, of supernatural revelation and supernal beauty broods
over it. Bach's is Gothic--rugged, massive, upward striving, human. In
Palestrina's music the voice that speaks is the voice of angels; in
Bach's it is the voice of men.

[Sidenote: _Bach a German Protestant._]

[Sidenote: _Church and individual._]

[Sidenote: _Ingenuousness of feeling._]

Bach is the publisher of the truest, tenderest, deepest, and most
individual religious feeling. His music is peculiarly a hymning of the
religious sentiment of Protestant Germany, where salvation is to be
wrought out with fear and trembling by each individual through faith
and works rather than the agency of even a divinely constituted
Church. It reflects, with rare fidelity and clearness, the essential
qualities of the German people--their warm sympathy, profound
compassion, fervent love, and sturdy faith. As the Church fell into
the background and the individual came to the fore, religious music
took on the dramatic character which we find in the "Passion Music" of
Bach. Here the sufferings and death of the Saviour, none the less an
ineffable mystery, are depicted as the most poignant experience of
each individual believer, and with an ingenuousness that must forever
provoke the wonder of those who are unable to enter into the German
nature. The worshippers do not hesitate to say: "My Jesus,
good-night!" as they gather in fancy around His tomb and invoke sweet
rest for His weary limbs. The difference between such a proclamation
and the calm voice of the Church should be borne in mind when
comparing the music of Palestrina with that of Bach; also the vast
strides made by music during the intervening century.

[Sidenote: _The motet._]

Of Bach's music we have in the repertories of our best choral
societies a number of motets, church cantatas, a setting of the
"Magnificat," and the great mass in B minor. The term Motet lacks
somewhat of definiteness of the usage of composers. Originally it
seems likely that it was a secular composition which the Netherland
composers enlisted in the service of the Church by adapting it to
Biblical and other religious texts. Then it was always unaccompanied.
In the later Protestant motets the chorale came to play a great part;
the various stanzas of a hymn were given different settings, the
foundation of each being the hymn tune. These were interspersed with
independent pieces, based on Biblical words.

[Sidenote: _Church cantatas._]

The Church Cantatas (_Kirchencantaten_) are larger services with
orchestral accompaniment, which were written to conform to the various
religious festivals and Sundays of the year; each has for a
fundamental subject the theme which is proper to the day. Again, a
chorale provides the musical foundation. Words and melody are
retained, but between the stanzas occur recitatives and metrical airs,
or ariosos, for solo voices in the nature of commentaries or
reflections on the sentiment of the hymn or the gospel lesson for the

[Sidenote: _The "Passions."_]

[Sidenote: _Origin of the "Passions."_]

[Sidenote: _Early Holy Week services._]

The "Passions" are still more extended, and were written for use in
the Reformed Church in Holy Week. As an art-form they are unique,
combining a number of elements and having all the apparatus of an
oratorio plus the congregation, which took part in the performance by
singing the hymns dispersed through the work. The service (for as a
service, rather than as an oratorio, it must be treated) roots in the
Miracle plays and Mysteries of the Middle Ages, but its origin is even
more remote, going back to the custom followed by the primitive
Christians of making the reading of the story of the Passion a special
service for Holy Week. In the Eastern Church it was introduced in a
simple dramatic form as early as the fourth century A.D., the
treatment being somewhat like the ancient tragedies, the text being
intoned or chanted. In the Western Church, until the sixteenth
century, the Passion was read in a way which gave the service one
element which is found in Bach's works in an amplified form. Three
deacons were employed, one to read (or rather chant to Gregorian
melodies) the words of Christ, another to deliver the narrative in the
words of the Evangelist, and a third to give the utterances and
exclamations of the Apostles and people. This was the _Cantus
Passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christe_ of the Church, and had so strong
a hold upon the tastes of the people that it was preserved by Luther
in the Reformed Church.

[Sidenote: _The service amplified._]

[Sidenote: _Bach's settings._]

Under this influence it was speedily amplified. The successive steps
of the progress are not clear, but the choir seems to have first
succeeded to the part formerly sung by the third deacon, and in some
churches the whole Passion was sung antiphonally by two choirs. In the
seventeenth century the introduction of recitatives and arias,
distributed among singers who represented the personages of sacred
history, increased the dramatic element of the service which reached
its climax in the "St. Matthew" setting by Bach. The chorales are
supposed to have been introduced about 1704. Bach's "Passions" are the
last that figure in musical history. That "according to St. John" is
performed occasionally in Germany, but it yields the palm of
excellence to that "according to St. Matthew," which had its first
performance on Good Friday, 1729, in Leipsic. It is in two parts,
which were formerly separated by the sermon, and employs two choirs,
each with its own orchestra, solo singers in all the classes of
voices, and a harpsichord to accompany all the recitatives, except
those of _Jesus_, which are distinguished by being accompanied by the
orchestral strings.

[Sidenote: _Oratorios._]

[Sidenote: _Sacred operas._]

In the nature of things passions, oratorios, and their secular
cousins, cantatas, imply scenes and actions, and therefore have a
remote kinship with the lyric drama. The literary analogy which they
suggest is the epic poem as contra-distinguished from the drama. While
the drama presents incident, the oratorio relates, expounds, and
celebrates, presenting it to the fancy through the ear instead of
representing it to the eye. A great deal of looseness has crept into
this department of music as into every other, and the various forms
have been approaching each other until in some cases it is become
difficult to say which term, opera or oratorio, ought to be applied.
Rubinstein's "sacred operas" are oratorios profusely interspersed with
stage directions, many of which are impossible of scenic realization.
Their whole purpose is to work upon the imagination of the listeners
and thus open gate-ways for the music. Ever since its composition,
Saint-Saëns's "Samson and Delilah" has held a place in both theatre
and concert-room. Liszt's "St. Elizabeth" has been found more
effective when provided with pictorial accessories than without. The
greater part of "Elijah" might be presented in dramatic form.

[Sidenote: _Influence of the Church plays._]

[Sidenote: _Origin of the oratorio._]

[Sidenote: _The choral element extended._]

[Sidenote: _Narrative and descriptive choruses._]

[Sidenote: _Dramatization._]

Confusing and anomalous as these things are, they find their
explanation in the circumstance that the oratorio never quite freed
itself from the influence of the people's Church plays in which it had
its beginning. As a distinct art-form it began in a mixture of
artistic entertainment and religious worship provided in the early
part of the sixteenth century by Filippo Neri (now a saint) for those
who came for pious instruction to his oratory (whence the name). The
purpose of these entertainments being religious, the subjects were
Biblical, and though the musical progress from the beginning was along
the line of the lyric drama, contemporaneous in origin with it, the
music naturally developed into broader forms on the choral side,
because music had to make up for the lack of pantomime, costumes, and
scenery. Hence we have not only the preponderance of choruses in the
oratorio over recitative, arias, duets, trios, and so forth, but also
the adherence in the choral part to the old manner of writing which
made the expansion of the choruses possible. Where the choruses left
the field of pure reflection and became narrative, as in "Israel in
Egypt," or assumed a dramatic character, as in the "Elijah," the
composer found in them vehicles for descriptive and characteristic
music, and so local color came into use. Characterization of the solo
parts followed as a matter of course, an early illustration being
found in the manner in which Bach lifted the words of Christ into
prominence by surrounding them with the radiant halo which streams
from the violin accompaniment. In consequence the singer to whom was
assigned the task of singing the part of _Jesus_ presented himself to
the fancy of the listeners as a representative of the historical
personage--as the Christ of the drama.

[Sidenote: _The chorus in opera and oratorio._]

The growth of the instrumental art here came admirably into play, and
so it came to pass that opera and oratorio now have their musical
elements of expression in common, and differ only in their application
of them--opera foregoing the choral element to a great extent as being
a hindrance to action, and oratorio elevating it to make good the
absence of scenery and action. While oratorios are biblical and
legendary, cantatas deal with secular subjects and, in the form of
dramatic ballads, find a delightful field in the world of romance and

[Sidenote: _The Mass._]

[Sidenote: _Secularization of the Mass._]

Transferred from the Church to the concert-room, and considered as an
art-form instead of the eucharistic office, the Mass has always made a
strong appeal to composers, and half a dozen masterpieces of missal
composition hold places in the concert lists of the singing societies.
Notable among these are the Requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, and Verdi,
and the Solemn Mass in D by Beethoven. These works represent at one
and the same time the climax of accomplishment in the musical
treatment and the secularization of the missal text. They are the
natural outcome of the expansion of the office by the introduction of
the orchestra into the Church, the departure from the _a capella_
style of writing, which could not be consorted with the orchestra, and
the growth of a desire to enhance the pomp of great occasions in the
Church by the production of masses specially composed for them. Under
such circumstances the devotional purpose of the mass was lost in the
artistic, and composers gave free reign to their powers, for which
they found an ample stimulus in the missal text.

[Sidenote: _Sentimental masses._]

[Sidenote: _Mozart and the Mass._]

[Sidenote: _The masses for the dead._]

[Sidenote: _Gossec's Requiem._]

The first effect, and the one which largely justifies the adherents of
the old ecclesiastical style in their crusade against the Catholic
Church music of to-day, was to make the masses sentimental and
operatic. So little regard was had for the sentiment of the words, so
little respect for the solemnity of the sacrament, that more than a
century ago Mozart (whose masses are far from being models of
religious expression) could say to Cantor Doles of a _Gloria_ which
the latter showed him, "_S'ist ja alles nix_," and immediately sing
the music to "_Hol's der Geier, das geht flink!_" which words, he
said, went better. The liberty begotten by this license, though it
tended to ruin the mass, considered strictly as a liturgical service,
developed it musically. The masses for the dead were among the
earliest to feel the spirit of the time, for in the sequence, _Dies
iræ_, they contained the dramatic element which the solemn mass
lacked. The _Kyrie_, _Credo_, _Gloria_, _Sanctus_, and _Agnus Dei_ are
purely lyrical, and though the evolutionary movement ended in
Beethoven conceiving certain portions (notably the _Agnus Dei_) in a
dramatic sense, it was but natural that so far as tradition fixed the
disposition and formal style of the various parts, it should not be
disturbed. At an early date the composers began to put forth their
powers of description in the _Dies iræ_, however, and there is extant
in a French mass an amusing example of the length to which
tone-painting in this music was carried by them. Gossec wrote a
Requiem on the death of Mirabeau which became famous. The words,
_Quantus tremor est futurus_, he set so that on each syllable there
were repetitions, _staccato_, of a single tone, thus:

[Music illustration: Quan-tus tre---mor, tre-- etc.]

This absurd stuttering Gossec designed to picture the terror inspired
by the coming of the Judge at the last trumpet.

[Sidenote: _The orchestra in the Mass._]

[Sidenote: _Beethoven and Berlioz._]

The development of instrumentation placed a factor in the hands of
these writers which they were not slow to utilize, especially in
writing music for the _Dies iræ_, and how effectively Mozart used the
orchestra in his Requiem it is not necessary to state. It is a safe
assumption that Beethoven's Mass in D was largely instrumental in
inspiring Berlioz to set the Requiem as he did. With Beethoven the
dramatic idea is the controlling one, and so it is with Berlioz.
Beethoven, while showing a reverence for the formulas of the Church,
and respecting the tradition which gave the _Kyrie_ a triple division
and made fugue movements out of the phrases "_Cum sancto spiritu in
gloria Dei patris--Amen_," "_Et vitam venturi_," and "_Osanna in
excelsis_," nevertheless gave his composition a scope which placed it
beyond the apparatus of the Church, and filled it with a spirit that
spurns the limitations of any creed of less breadth and universality
than the grand Theism which affectionate communion with nature had
taught him.

[Sidenote: _Berlioz's Requiem._]

[Sidenote: _Dramatic effects in Haydn's masses._]

[Sidenote: _Berlioz's orchestra._]

Berlioz, less religious, less reverential, but equally fired by the
solemnity and majesty of the matter given into his hands, wrote a work
in which he placed his highest conception of the awfulness of the
Last Judgment and the emotions which are awakened by its
contemplation. In respect of the instrumentation he showed a far
greater audacity than Beethoven displayed even in the much-mooted
trumpets and drums of the _Agnus Dei_, where he introduces the sounds
of war to heighten the intensity of the prayer for peace, "_Dona nobis
pacem_." This is talked about in the books as a bold innovation. It
seems to have escaped notice that the idea had occurred to Haydn
twenty-four years before and been realized by him. In 1796 Haydn wrote
a mass, "In Tempore Belli," the French army being at the time in
Steyermark. He set the words, "_Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi_,"
to an accompaniment of drums, "as if the enemy were already heard
coming in the distance." He went farther than this in a Mass in D
minor, when he accompanied the _Benedictus_ with fanfares of trumpets.
But all such timid ventures in the use of instruments in the mass sink
into utter insignificance when compared with Berlioz's apparatus in
the _Tuba mirum_ of his Requiem, which supplements the ordinary
symphonic orchestra, some of its instruments already doubled, with
four brass bands of eight or ten instruments each, sixteen extra
drums, and a tam-tam.


[H] "Notes on the Cultivation of Choral Music," by H.E. Krehbiel, p.


_Musician, Critic, and Public_

[Sidenote: _The newspapers and the public._]

I have been told that there are many people who read the newspapers on
the day after they have attended a concert or operatic representation
for the purpose of finding out whether or not the performance gave
them proper or sufficient enjoyment. It would not be becoming in me to
inquire too curiously into the truth of such a statement, and in view
of a denunciation spoken in the introductory chapter of this book, I
am not sure that it is not a piece of arrogance, or impudence, on my
part to undertake in any way to justify any critical writing on the
subject of music. Certain it is that some men who write about music
for the newspapers believe, or affect to believe, that criticism is
worthless, and I shall not escape the charge of inconsistency, if,
after I have condemned the blunders of literary men, who are laymen in
music, and separated the majority of professional writers on the art
into pedants and rhapsodists, I nevertheless venture to discuss the
nature and value of musical criticism. Yet, surely, there must be a
right and wrong in this as in every other thing, and just as surely
the present structure of society, which rests on the newspaper,
invites attention to the existing relationship between musician,
critic, and public as an important element in the question How to
Listen to Music.

[Sidenote: _Relationship between musician, critic, and public._]

[Sidenote: _The need and value of conflict._]

As a condition precedent to the discussion of this new element in the
case, I lay down the proposition that the relationship between the
three factors enumerated is so intimate and so strict that the world
over they rise and fall together; which means that where the people
dwell who have reached the highest plane of excellence, there also are
to be found the highest types of the musician and critic; and that in
the degree in which the three factors, which united make up the sum
of musical activity, labor harmoniously, conscientiously, and
unselfishly, each striving to fulfil its mission, they advance music
and further themselves, each bearing off an equal share of the good
derived from the common effort. I have set the factors down in the
order which they ordinarily occupy in popular discussion and which
symbolizes their proper attitude toward each other and the highest
potency of their collaboration. In this collaboration, as in so many
others, it is conflict that brings life. Only by a surrender of their
functions, one to the other, could the three apparently dissonant yet
essentially harmonious factors be brought into a state of complacency;
but such complacency would mean stagnation. If the published judgment
on compositions and performances could always be that of the
exploiting musicians, that class, at least, would read the newspapers
with fewer heart-burnings; if the critics had a common mind and it
were followed in concert-room and opera-house, they, as well as the
musicians, would have need of fewer words of displacency and more of
approbation; if, finally, it were to be brought to pass that for the
public nothing but amiable diversion should flow simultaneously from
platform, stage, and press, then for the public would the millennium
be come. A religious philosopher can transmute Adam's fall into a
blessing, and we can recognize the wisdom of that dispensation which
put enmity between the seed of Jubal, who was the "father of all such
as handle the harp and pipe," and the seed of Saul, who, I take it, is
the first critic of record (and a vigorous one, too, for he
accentuated his unfavorable opinion of a harper's harping with a
javelin thrust).

[Sidenote: _The critic an Ishmaelite._]

[Sidenote: _The critic not to be pitied._]

[Sidenote: _How he might extricate himself._]

[Sidenote: _The public like to be flattered._]

We are bound to recognize that between the three factors there is,
ever was, and ever shall be _in sæcula sæculorum_ an irrepressible
conflict, and that in the nature of things the middle factor is the
Ishmaelite whose hand is raised against everybody and against whom
everybody's hand is raised. The complacency of the musician and the
indifference, not to say ignorance, of the public ordinarily combine
to make them allies, and the critic is, therefore, placed between two
millstones, where he is vigorously rasped on both sides, and whence,
being angular and hard of outer shell, he frequently requites the
treatment received with complete and energetic reciprocity. Is he
therefore to be pitied? Not a bit; for in this position he is
performing one of the most significant and useful of his functions,
and disclosing one of his most precious virtues. While musician and
public must perforce remain in the positions in which they have been
placed with relation to each other it must be apparent at half a
glance that it would be the simplest matter in the world for the
critic to extricate himself from his predicament. He would only need
to take his cue from the public, measuring his commendation by the
intensity of their applause, his dispraise by their signs of
displeasure, and all would be well with him. We all know this to be
true, that people like to read that which flatters them by echoing
their own thoughts. The more delightfully it is put by the writer the
more the reader is pleased, for has he not had the same idea? Are they
not his? Is not their appearance in a public print proof of the
shrewdness and soundness of his judgment? Ruskin knows this foible in
human nature and condemns it. You may read in "Sesame and Lilies:"

     "Very ready we are to say of a book, 'How good this
     is--that's exactly what I think!' But the right feeling is,
     'How strange that is! I never thought of that before, and
     yet I see it is true; or if I do not now, I hope I shall,
     some day.' But whether thus submissively or not, at least be
     sure that you go at the author to get at his meaning, not to
     find yours. Judge it afterward if you think yourself
     qualified to do so, but ascertain it first."

[Sidenote: _The critic generally outspoken._]

As a rule, however, the critic is not guilty of the wrong of speaking
out the thought of others, but publishes what there is of his own
mind, and this I laud in him as a virtue, which is praiseworthy in the
degree that it springs from loftiness of aim, depth of knowledge, and
sincerity and unselfishness of purpose.

[Sidenote: _Musician and Public._]

[Sidenote: _The office of ignorance._]

[Sidenote: _Popularity of Wagner's music not a sign of intelligent

Let us look a little into the views which our factors do and those
which they ought to entertain of each other. The utterances of
musicians have long ago made it plain that as between the critic and
the public the greater measure of their respect and deference is given
to the public. The critic is bound to recognize this as entirely
natural; his right of protest does not accrue until he can show that
the deference is ignoble and injurious to good art. It is to the
public that the musician appeals for the substantial signs of what is
called success. This appeal to the jury instead of the judge is as
characteristic of the conscientious composer who is sincerely
convinced that he was sent into the world to widen the boundaries of
art, as it is of the mere time-server who aims only at tickling the
popular ear. The reason is obvious to a little close thinking:
Ignorance is at once a safeguard against and a promoter of
conservatism. This sounds like a paradox, but the rapid growth of
Wagner's music in the admiration of the people of the United States
might correctly be cited as a proof that the statement is true. Music
like the concert fragments from Wagner's lyric dramas is accepted
with promptitude and delight, because its elements are those which
appeal most directly and forcibly to our sense-perception and those
primitive tastes which are the most readily gratified by strong
outlines and vivid colors. Their vigorous rhythms, wealth of color,
and sonority would make these fragments far more impressive to a
savage than the suave beauty of a symphony by Haydn; yet do we not all
know that while whole-hearted, intelligent enjoyment of a Haydn
symphony is conditioned upon a considerable degree of culture, an
equally whole-hearted, intelligent appreciation of Wagner's music
presupposes a much wider range of sympathy, a much more extended view
of the capabilities of musical expression, a much keener discernment,
and a much profounder susceptibility to the effects of harmonic
progressions? And is the conclusion not inevitable, therefore, that on
the whole the ready acceptance of Wagner's music by a people is
evidence that they are not sufficiently cultured to feel the force of
that conservatism which made the triumph of Wagner consequent on many
years of agitation in musical Germany?

[Sidenote: _"Ahead of one's time."_]

In one case the appeal is elemental; in the other spiritual. He who
wishes to be in advance of his time does wisely in going to the people
instead of the critics, just as the old fogy does whose music belongs
to the time when sensuous charm summed up its essence. There is a good
deal of ambiguity about the stereotyped phrase "ahead of one's time."
Rightly apprehended, great geniuses do live for the future rather than
the present, but where the public have the vastness of appetite and
scantness of taste peculiar to the ostrich, there it is impossible for
a composer to be ahead of his time. It is only where the public are
advanced to the stage of intelligent discrimination that a Ninth
Symphony and a Nibelung Tetralogy are accepted slowly.

[Sidenote: _The charlatan._]

[Sidenote: _Influencing the critics._]

Why the charlatan should profess to despise the critic and to pay
homage only to the public scarcely needs an explanation. It is the
critic who stands between him and the public he would victimize. Much
of the disaffection between the concert-giver and the
concert-reviewer arises from the unwillingness of the latter to enlist
in a conspiracy to deceive and defraud the public. There is no need of
mincing phrases here. The critics of the newspaper press are besieged
daily with requests for notices of a complimentary character touching
persons who have no honest standing in art. They are fawned on,
truckled to, cajoled, subjected to the most seductive influences,
sometimes bribed with woman's smiles or manager's money--and why? To
win their influence in favor of good art, think you? No; to feed
vanity and greed. When a critic is found of sufficient self-respect
and character to resist all appeals and to be proof against all
temptations, who is quicker than the musician to cite against his
opinion the applause of the public over whose gullibility and
ignorance, perchance, he made merry with the critic while trying to
purchase his independence and honor?

[Sidenote: _The public an elemental force._]

[Sidenote: _Critic and public._]

[Sidenote: _Schumann and popular approval._]

It is only when musicians divide the question touching the rights and
merits of public and critic that they seem able to put a correct
estimate upon the value of popular approval. At the last the best of
them are willing, with Ferdinand Hiller, to look upon the public as an
elemental power like the weather, which must be taken as it chances to
come. With modern society resting upon the newspaper they might be
willing to view the critic in the same light; but this they will not
do so long as they adhere to the notion that criticism belongs of
right to the professional musician, and will eventually be handed over
to him. As for the critic, he may recognize the naturalness and
reasonableness of a final resort for judgment to the factor for whose
sake art is (_i.e._, the public), but he is not bound to admit its
unfailing righteousness. Upon him, so he be worthy of his office,
weighs the duty of first determining whether the appeal is taken from
a lofty purpose or a low one, and whether or not the favored tribunal
is worthy to try the case. Those who show a willingness to accept low
ideals cannot exact high ones. The influence of their applause is a
thousand-fold more injurious to art than the strictures of the most
acrid critic. A musician of Schumann's mental and moral stature could
recognize this and make it the basis of some of his most forcible

     "'It pleased,' or 'It did not please,' say the people; as if
     there were no higher purpose than to please the people."

     "The most difficult thing in the world to endure is the
     applause of fools!"

[Sidenote: _Depreciation of the critic._]

[Sidenote: _Value of public opinion._]

The belief professed by many musicians--professed, not really
held--that the public can do no wrong, unquestionably grows out of a
depreciation of the critic rather than an appreciation of the critical
acumen of the masses. This depreciation is due more to the concrete
work of the critic (which is only too often deserving of condemnation)
than to a denial of the good offices of criticism. This much should be
said for the musician, who is more liable to be misunderstood and more
powerless against misrepresentation than any other artist. A line
should be drawn between mere expression of opinion and criticism. It
has been recognized for ages--you may find it plainly set forth in
Quintilian and Cicero--that in the long run the public are neither bad
judges nor good critics. The distinction suggests a thought about the
difference in value between a popular and a critical judgment. The
former is, in the nature of things, ill considered and fleeting. It is
the product of a momentary gratification or disappointment. In a much
greater degree than a judgment based on principle and precedent, such
as a critic's ought to be, it is a judgment swayed by that variable
thing called fashion--"_Qual piùm' al vento._"

[Sidenote: _Duties of the critic._]

[Sidenote: _The musician's duty toward the critic._]

But if this be so we ought plainly to understand the duties and
obligations of the critic; perhaps it is because there is much
misapprehension on this point that critics' writings have fallen under
their own condemnation. I conceive that the first, if not the sole,
office of the critic should be to guide public judgment. It is not for
him to instruct the musician in his art. If this were always borne in
mind by writers for the press it might help to soften the asperity
felt by the musician toward the critic; and possibly the musician
might then be persuaded to perform his first office toward the critic,
which is to hold up his hands while he labors to steady and dignify
public opinion. No true artist would give up years of honorable esteem
to be the object for a moment of feverish idolatry. The public are
fickle. "The garlands they twine," says Schumann, "they always pull to
pieces again to offer them in another form to the next comer who
chances to know how to amuse them better." Are such garlands worth the
sacrifice of artistic honor? If it were possible for the critic to
withhold them and offer instead a modest sprig of enduring bay, would
not the musician be his debtor?

[Sidenote: _The critic should steady public judgment._]

[Sidenote: _Taste and judgment must be achieved._]

Another thought. Conceding that the people are the elemental power
that Hiller says they are, who shall save them from the changeableness
and instability which they show with relation to music and her
votaries? Who shall bid the restless waves be still? We, in America,
are a new people, a vast hotch-potch of varied and contradictory
elements. We are engaged in conquering a continent; employed in a mad
scramble for material things; we give feverish hours to win the
comfort for our bodies that we take only seconds to enjoy; the moments
which we steal from our labors we give grudgingly to relaxation, and
that this relaxation may come quickly we ask that the agents which
produce it shall appeal violently to the faculties which are most
easily reached. Under these circumstances whence are to come the
intellectual poise, the refined taste, the quick and sure power of
analysis which must precede a correct estimate of the value of a
composition or its performance?

     "A taste or judgment," said Shaftesbury, "does not come
     ready formed with us into this world. Whatever principles or
     materials of this kind we may possibly bring with us, a
     legitimate and just taste can neither be begotten, made,
     conceived, or produced without the antecedent labor and
     pains of criticism."

[Sidenote: _Comparative qualifications of critic and public._]

Grant that this antecedent criticism is the province of the critic and
that he approaches even remotely a fulfilment of his mission in this
regard, and who shall venture to question the value and the need of
criticism to the promotion of public opinion? In this work the critic
has a great advantage over the musician. The musician appeals to the
public with volatile and elusive sounds. When he gets past the
tympanum of the ear he works upon the emotions and the fancy. The
public have no time to let him do more; for the rest they are willing
to refer him to the critic, whose business it is continually to hear
music for the purpose of forming opinions about it and expressing
them. The critic has both the time and the obligation to analyze the
reasons why and the extent to which the faculties are stirred into
activity. Is it not plain, therefore, that the critic ought to be
better able to distinguish the good from the bad, the true from the
false, the sound from the meretricious, than the unindividualized
multitude, who are already satisfied when they have felt the ticklings
of pleasure?

[Sidenote: _The critic's responsibilities._]

[Sidenote: _Toward the musician._]

[Sidenote: _Position and power of the newspaper._]

But when we place so great a mission as the education of public taste
before the critic, we saddle him with a vast responsibility which is
quite evenly divided between the musician and the public. The
responsibility toward the musician is not that which we are accustomed
to hear harped on by the aggrieved ones on the day after a concert. It
is toward the musician only as a representative of art, and his just
claims can have nothing of selfishness in them. The abnormal
sensitiveness of the musician to criticism, though it may excite his
commiseration and even honest pity, should never count with the critic
in the performance of a plain duty. This sensitiveness is the product
of a low state in music as well as criticism, and in the face of
improvement in the two fields it will either disappear or fall under a
killing condemnation. The power of the press will here work for good.
The newspaper now fills the place in the musician's economy which a
century ago was filled in Europe by the courts and nobility. Its
support, indirect as well as direct, replaces the patronage which
erstwhile came from these powerful ones. The evils which flow from the
changed conditions are different in extent but not in kind from the
old. Too frequently for the good of art that support is purchased by
the same crookings of "the pregnant hinges of the knee" that were once
the price of royal or noble condescension. If the tone of the press at
times becomes arrogant, it is from the same causes that raised the
voices and curled the lips of the petty dukes and princes, to flatter
whose vanity great artists used to labor.

[Sidenote: _The musician should help to elevate the standard of

[Sidenote: _A critic must not necessarily be a musician._]

[Sidenote: _Pedantry not wanted._]

The musician knows as well as anyone how impossible it is to escape
the press, and it is, therefore, his plain duty to seek to raise the
standard of its utterances by conceding the rights of the critic and
encouraging honesty, fearlessness, impartiality, intelligence, and
sympathy wherever he finds them. To this end he must cast away many
antiquated and foolish prejudices. He must learn to confess with
Wagner, the arch-enemy of criticism, that "blame is much more useful
to the artist than praise," and that "the musician who goes to
destruction because he is faulted, deserves destruction." He must stop
the contention that only a musician is entitled to criticise a
musician, and without abating one jot of his requirements as to
knowledge, sympathy, liberality, broad-mindedness, candor, and
incorruptibility on the part of the critic, he must quit the foolish
claim that to pronounce upon the excellence of a ragout one must be
able to cook it; if he will not go farther he must, at least, go with
the elder D'Israeli to the extent of saying that "the talent of
judgment may exist separately from the power of execution." One need
not be a composer, but one must be able to feel with a composer before
he can discuss his productions as they ought to be discussed. Not all
the writers for the press are able to do this; many depend upon
effrontery and a copious use of technical phrases to carry them
through. The musician, alas! encourages this method whenever he gets a
chance; nine times out of ten, when an opportunity to review a
composition falls to him, he approaches it on its technical side. Yet
music is of all the arts in the world the last that a mere pedant
should discuss.

But if not a mere pedant, then neither a mere sentimentalist.

[Sidenote: _Intelligence versus emotionalism._]

     "If I had to choose between the merits of two classes of
     hearers, one of whom had an intelligent appreciation of
     music without feeling emotion; the other an emotional
     feeling without an intelligent analysis, I should
     unhesitatingly decide in favor of the intelligent
     non-emotionalist. And for these reasons: The verdict of the
     intelligent non-emotionalist would be valuable as far as it
     goes, but that of the untrained emotionalist is not of the
     smallest value; his blame and his praise are equally
     unfounded and empty."

[Sidenote: _Personal equation._]

[Sidenote: _Exact criticism._]

So writes Dr. Stainer, and it is his emotionalist against whom I
uttered a warning in the introductory chapter of this book, when I
called him a rhapsodist and described his motive to be primarily a
desire to present himself as a person of unusually exquisite
sensibilities. Frequently the rhapsodic style is adopted to conceal a
want of knowledge, and, I fancy, sometimes also because ill-equipped
critics have persuaded themselves that criticism being worthless, what
the public need to read is a fantastic account of how music affects
them. Now, it is true that what is chiefly valuable in criticism is
what a man qualified to think and feel tells us he did think and feel
under the inspiration of a performance; but when carried too far, or
restricted too much, this conception of a critic's province lifts
personal equation into dangerous prominence in the critical activity,
and depreciates the elements of criticism, which are not matters of
opinion or taste at all, but questions of fact, as exactly
demonstrable as a problem in mathematics. In musical performance these
elements belong to the technics of the art. Granted that the critic
has a correct ear, a thing which he must have if he aspire to be a
critic at all, and the possession of which is as easily proved as that
of a dollar-bill in his pocket, the questions of justness of
intonation in a singer or instrumentalist, balance of tone in an
orchestra, correctness of phrasing, and many other things, are mere
determinations of fact; the faculties which recognize their existence
or discover their absence might exist in a person who is not "moved by
concord of sweet sounds" at all, and whose taste is of the lowest
type. It was the acoustician Euler, I believe, who said that he could
construct a sonata according to the laws of mathematics--figure one
out, that is.

[Sidenote: _The Rhapsodists._]

[Sidenote: _An English exemplar._]

Because music is in its nature such a mystery, because so little of
its philosophy, so little of its science is popularly known, there has
grown up the tribe of rhapsodical writers whose influence is most
pernicious. I have a case in mind at which I have already hinted in
this book--that of a certain English gentleman who has gained
considerable eminence because of the loveliness of the subject on
which he writes and his deftness in putting words together. On many
points he is qualified to speak, and on these he generally speaks
entertainingly. He frequently blunders in details, but it is only when
he writes in the manner exemplified in the following excerpt from his
book called "My Musical Memories," that he does mischief. The reverend
gentleman, talking about violins, has reached one that once belonged
to Ernst. This, he says, he sees occasionally, but he never hears it
more except

[Sidenote: _Ernst's violin._]

     "In the night ... under the stars, when the moon is low and
     I see the dark ridges of the clover hills, and rabbits and
     hares, black against the paler sky, pausing to feed or
     crouching to listen to the voices of the night....

     "By the sea, when the cold mists rise, and hollow murmurs,
     like the low wail of lost spirits, rush along the beach....

     "In some still valley in the South, in midsummer. The
     slate-colored moth on the rock flashes suddenly into crimson
     and takes wing; the bright lizard darts timorously, and the
     singing of the grasshopper--"

[Sidenote: _Mischievous writing._]

[Sidenote: _Musical sensibility and sanity._]

Well, the reader, if he has a liking for such things, may himself go
on for quantity. This is intended, I fancy, for poetical hyperbole,
but as a matter of fact it is something else, and worse. Mr. Haweis
does not hear Ernst's violin under any such improbable conditions; if
he thinks he does he is a proper subject for medical inquiry. Neither
does his effort at fine writing help us to appreciate the tone of the
instrument. He did not intend that it should, but he probably did
intend to make the reader marvel at the exquisite sensibility of his
soul to music. This is mischievous, for it tends to make the
injudicious think that they are lacking in musical appreciation,
unless they, too, can see visions and hear voices and dream fantastic
dreams when music is sounding. When such writing is popular it is
difficult to make men and women believe that they may be just as
susceptible to the influence of music as the child Mozart was to the
sound of a trumpet, yet listen to it without once feeling the need of
taking leave of their senses or wandering away from sanity. Moreover,
when Mr. Haweis says that he sees but does not hear Ernst's violin
more, he speaks most undeserved dispraise of one of the best violin
players alive, for Ernst's violin now belongs to and is played by Lady
Hallé--she that was Madame Norman-Neruda.

[Sidenote: _A place for rhapsody._]

[Sidenote: _Intelligent rhapsody._]

Is there, then, no place for rhapsodic writing in musical criticism?
Yes, decidedly. It may, indeed, at times be the best, because the
truest, writing. One would convey but a sorry idea of a composition
were he to confine himself to a technical description of it--the
number of its measures, its intervals, modulations, speed, and rhythm.
Such a description would only be comprehensible to the trained
musician, and to him would picture the body merely, not the soul. One
might as well hope to tell of the beauty of a statue by reciting its
dimensions. But knowledge as well as sympathy must speak out of the
words, so that they may realize Schumann's lovely conception when he
said that the best criticism is that which leaves after it an
impression on the reader like that which the music made on the hearer.
Read Dr. John Brown's account of one of Hallé's recitals, reprinted
from "The Scotsman," in the collection of essays entitled "Spare
Hours," if you would see how aptly a sweetly sane mind and a warm
heart can rhapsodize without the help of technical knowledge:

[Sidenote: _Dr. Brown and Beethoven._]

     "Beethoven (Dr. Brown is speaking of the Sonata in D, op.
     10, No. 3) begins with a trouble, a wandering and groping in
     the dark, a strange emergence of order out of chaos, a wild,
     rich confusion and misrule. Wilful and passionate, often
     harsh, and, as it were, thick with gloom; then comes, as if
     'it stole upon the air,' the burden of the theme, the still,
     sad music--_Largo e mesto_--so human, so sorrowful, and yet
     the sorrow overcome, not by gladness but by something
     better, like the sea, after a dark night of tempest, falling
     asleep in the young light of morning, and 'whispering how
     meek and gentle it can be.' This likeness to the sea, its
     immensity, its uncertainty, its wild, strong glory and play,
     its peace, its solitude, its unsearchableness, its
     prevailing sadness, comes more into our minds with this
     great and deep master's works than any other."

That is Beethoven.

[Sidenote: _Apollo and the critic--a fable._]

[Sidenote: _The critic's duty to admire._]

[Sidenote: _A mediator between musician and public._]

[Sidenote: _Essential virtues._]

Once upon a time--it is an ancient fable--a critic picked out all the
faults of a great poet and presented them to Apollo. The god received
the gift graciously and set a bag of wheat before the critic with the
command that he separate the chaff from the kernels. The critic did
the work with alacrity, and turning to Apollo for his reward, received
the chaff. Nothing could show us more appositely than this what
criticism should not be. A critic's duty is to separate excellence
from defect, as Dr. Crotch says; to admire as well as to find fault.
In the proportion that defects are apparent he should increase his
efforts to discover beauties. Much flows out of this conception of his
duty. Holding it the critic will bring besides all needful knowledge a
fulness of love into his work. "Where sympathy is lacking, correct
judgment is also lacking," said Mendelssohn. The critic should be the
mediator between the musician and the public. For all new works he
should do what the symphonists of the Liszt school attempt to do by
means of programmes; he should excite curiosity, arouse interest, and
pave the way to popular comprehension. But for the old he should not
fail to encourage reverence and admiration. To do both these things he
must know his duty to the past, the present, and the future, and
adjust each duty to the other. Such adjustment is only possible if he
knows the music of the past and present, and is quick to perceive the
bent and outcome of novel strivings. He should be catholic in taste,
outspoken in judgment, unalterable in allegiance to his ideals,
unswervable in integrity.


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[Illustration: PLATE XII



Absolute music, 36

Academy of Music, New York, 203

Adagio, in symphony, 133

Addison, 205, 206, 208

Allegro, in symphony, 132

Allemande, 173, 174

Alto clarinet, 104

Alto, male, 260

Amadeo, 241

Ambros, August Wilhelm, 49

Antiphony, 267

Archilochus, 213

Aria, 235

Arioso, 235

Asaph, 115

Bach, C.P.E., 180, 185

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 69, 83, 148, 167, 169, 170, 171, 174, 176,
  180, 181, 184, 192, 257, 259, 267, 268, 278, 281, 282, 283, 286,
  287, 289;
  his music, 281 _et seq._;
  his technique as player, 180, 181, 184;
  his choirs, 257, 259;
  compared with Palestrina, 278;
  "Magnificat," 283;
  Mass in B minor, 283;
  Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, 171;
  Suites, 174, 176;
  "St. Matthew Passion," 267, 278, 282, 286, 289;
  Motet, "Sing ye to the Lord," 268;
  "St. John Passion," 286

_Balancement_, 170

Balfe, 223

Ballade, 192

Ballet music, 152

_Balletto_, 173

Bass clarinet, 104

Bass trumpet, 81, 82

Basset horn, 82

Bassoon, 74, 82, 99, 101 _et seq._

Bastardella, La, 239

Bayreuth Festival orchestra, 81, 82

_Bebung_, 169, 170

Beethoven, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 44, 46, 47, 49, 53, 60,
  62, 63, 70, 92, 94, 101, 102, 103, 106, 113, 120, 125, 131, 132,
  133, 136, 137, 138, 140, 141, 146, 147, 151, 167, 182, 184, 186,
  187, 193, 195, 196, 203, 208, 232, 292, 321, 322;
  likenesses in his melodies, 33, 34;
  unity in his works, 27, 28, 29;
  his chamber music, 47;
  his sonatas, 182;
  his democracy, 46;
  not always idiomatic, 193;
  his pianoforte, 195;
  his pedal effects, 196;
  missal compositions, 292, 294;
  his overtures, 147;
  his free fantasias, 131;
  his technique as a player, 186;
  "Eroica" symphony, 100, 132, 136;
  Fifth symphony, 28, 29, 30, 31, 92, 103, 120, 125, 133;
  "Pastoral" symphony, 44, 49, 53, 62, 63, 94, 102, 132, 140, 141;
  Seventh symphony, 31, 32, 132, 133;
  Eighth symphony, 113;
  Ninth symphony, 33, 34, 35, 94, 133, 136, 138, 305;
  Sonata, op. 10, No. 3, 321;
  Sonata, op. 31, No. 2, 29;
  Sonata "Appassionata," 29, 30, 31;
  Pianoforte concerto in G, 31;
  Pianoforte concerto in E-flat, 146;
  Violin concerto, 146;
  "Becalmed at Sea," 60;
  "Fidelio," 203, 208, 232;
  Mass in D, 60, 292, 294;
  Serenade, op. 8, 151

Bell chime, 74

Bellini, 203, 204, 242, 245;
  "La Sonnambula," 204, 245;
  "Norma," 242

Benedetti, 242

Berlin _Singakademie_, 262

Berlioz, 49, 80, 87, 89, 90, 94, 100, 102, 104, 113, 137, 138, 139,
  294, 295;
  "_L'idée fixe_," 137;
  "Symphonie Fantastique," 137;
  "Romeo and Juliet," 90, 94, 139;
  Requiem, 113, 294, 295

Bizet, "Carmen," 238, 242

Boileau, 206

Bosio, 241

Boston Symphony Orchestra, 81, 82, 108

Bottesini, 94

Bourrée, 173

Brahms's "Academic overture," 101

Branle, 173

Brass instruments, 74, 104 _et seq._

Brignoli, 209, 242

Broadwood's pianoforte, 195

Brown, Dr. John, 321

_Bully Bottom_ in music, 61

Bunner, H.C., 136

Burns's "Ye flowery banks," 175

Caccini, "Eurydice," 234

Cadences, 23

Cadenzas, 145

Calvé, Emma, 242, 247

Calvin and music, 275

Campanini, 242

Cantatas, 290

Cat's mew in music, 52

Catalani, 245, 246

Chaconne, 153

Chamber music, 36, 44 _et seq._, 144

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 81, 82, 108

Choirs, 253 _et seq._;
  size of, 257 _et seq._, 264, 271;
  men's, 255, 260;
  boys', 261;
  women's, 261;
  mixed, 262, 264;
  division of, 260, 266;
  growth of, in Germany, 262;
  history of, in America, 263;
  in Cincinnati, 264;
  contralto voices in, 270

Choirs, orchestral, 74

Chopin, 167, 188, 190, 191, 192, 196;
  his romanticism, 188;
  Preludes, 190;
  Études, 191;
  Nocturnes, 191;
  Ballades, 192;
  Polonaises, 192;
  Mazurkas, 192;
  his pedal effects, 196

Choral music, 253 _et seq._;
  antiphonal, 267;
  mediæval, 274;
  Calvin on, 275;
  Luther's influence on, 276;
  congregational, 277;
  secular tunes in, 276, 277;
  Romanticism, influence on, 277;
  preponderance in oratorio, 289;
  dramatic and descriptive, 289

Chorley, H.F., on Jenny Lind's singing, 243

Church cantatas, 284

Cicero, 309

Cincinnati, choirs in, 264

Cinti-Damoreau, 241

Clarinet, 47, 74, 78, 82, 103 _et seq._, 151

Classical concerts, 122 _et seq._

Classical music, 36, 64, 122 _et seq._

Clavichord, 168, 181

_Clavier_, 171, 173

Clementi, 185, 195

Cock, song of the, 51, 53, 54

Coleridge, 11, 144

Coletti, 242

Comic opera, 224

Composers, how they hear music, 40

Concerto, 128, 144 _et seq._

Conductor, 114 _et seq._

Content of music, 36 _et seq._

Contra-bass trombone, 81, 82

Contra-bass tuba, 81, 82

Co-ordination of tones, 17

Coranto, Corrente, 173, 176

Cornelius, "Barbier von Bagdad," 236

Cornet, 73, 82, 108

Corno di bassetto, 81, 82

Corsi, 242

Couperin, 168

Courante, 173, 176

Covent Garden Theatre, London, 224, 226

Cowen, "Welsh" and "Scandinavian" symphonies, 132

Cracovienne, 193

Creole tune analyzed, 23, 24

Critics and criticism, 13, 297 _et seq._

Crotch, Dr., 322

Cuckoo, 51, 52, 53

Cymbals, 74, 82

Czardas, 201

Czerny, 186

Dactylic metre, 31

Dance, the ancient, 43, 212

Dannreuther, Edward, 129, 144, 187

Depth, musical delineation of, 59, 60

De Reszke, Edouard, 248

De Reszke, Jean, 247

Descriptive music, 51 _et seq._

Design and form, 16

De Staël, Madame, 210

D'Israeli, 315

Distance, musical delineation of, 60

Dithyramb, 212, 213

"Divisions," 265

Doles, Cantor, 292

Donizetti, 203, 204, 242;
  "Lucia," 203, 204

Double-bass, 74, 78, 82, 94

Double-bassoon, 103

Dragonetti, 94

Dramatic ballads, 290

Dramatic orchestras, 81, 82

_Dramma per musica_, 227, 249

Drummers, 113

Drums, 73, 74, 82, 110 _et seq._

Duality of music, 15

"Dump" and _Dumka_, 151

_Durchführung_, 131

Dvorák, symphonies, "From the New World," 132, 138;
  in G major, 136

Eames, Emma, 247

Edwards, G. Sutherland, 12

Elements of music, 15, 19

Emotionality in music, 43

English horn, 82, 99, 100

English opera, 223

Ernst's violin, 320

Esterhazy, Prince, 46

Euler, acoustician, 317

Expression, words of, 43

Familiar music best liked, 21

Fancy, 15, 16, 58

Farinelli, 240

Fasch, C.F., 262

Feelings, their relation to music, 38 _et seq._, 215, 216

Ferri, 239, 240

Finale, symphonic, 135

First movement in symphony, 131

Flageolet tones, 89

Florentine inventors of the opera, 217, 227, 234, 249

Flute, 73, 74, 78, 82, 95 _et seq._

Form, 16, 17, 22, 35

Formes, 242, 248

Frederick the Great, 263

Free Fantasia, 131

French horn, 47, 106 _et seq._

Frezzolini, 242

_Friss_, 201

Frogs, musical delineation of, 58, 62

"Gallina et Gallo," 53

Gavotte, 173, 179

German opera, 226

Gerster, Etelka, 242, 245

Gesture, 43

Gigue, 173, 174, 178

Gilbert, W.S., 208, 224

Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas, 224

_Glockenspiel_, 110

Gluck, 84, 148, 153, 202, 203, 238;
  his dancers, 153;
  his orchestra, 238;
  "Alceste," 148;
  "Iphigénie en Aulide," 153;
  "Orfeo," 202, 203

Goethe, 34, 140, 223

Goldmark, "Sakuntala" overture, 149

Gong, 110

Gossec, Requiem, 293

Gounod, "Faust," 209, 224, 238, 246

_Grand Opéra_, 223, 224

Greek Tragedy, 211 _et seq._

Grisi, 241, 242

_Grosse Oper_, 224

Grove, Sir George, 33, 63, 141, 187

Gypsy music, 198 _et seq._

Hallé, Lady, 320

Hamburg, opera in, 206, 207

Handel, 58, 60, 62, 83, 102, 126, 148, 174, 177, 178, 181, 182, 184,
  256, 257, 258, 259, 265, 272;
  his orchestra, 84;
  his suites, 174;
  his overtures, 148;
  his technique as a player, 181, 182, 184;
  his choirs, 257;
  Commemoration, 258;
  his _tutti_, 258;
  "Messiah," 60, 126, 256, 257, 265, 272;
  "Saul," 102;
  "Almira," 177;
  "Rinaldo," 178;
  "Israel in Egypt," 58, 62, 257, 259, 289;
  "_Lascia ch'io pianga_," 178

Hanslick, Dr. Eduard, 203

Harmonics, on violin, 89

Harmony, 19, 21, 22, 218

Harp, 82

Harpsichord, 168, 170

Hauptmann, M., 41

Hautboy, 99

Haweis, the Rev. Mr., 318 _et seq._

Haydn, 46, 84, 100, 127, 168, 183, 295;
  his manner of composing, 183;
  dramatic effects in his masses, 295;
  "Seasons," 100

Hebrew music, 114;
  poetry, 25

Height, musical delineation of, 59, 60

Heman, 115

Hen, song of, in music, 52, 53, 54

Herbarth, philosopher, 39

Hiller, Ferdinand, 307, 310

Hiller, Johann Adam, 258

Hogarth, Geo., "Memoirs of the Opera," 210, 245

Horn, 82, 105, 106 _et seq._, 151

Hungarian music, 198 _et seq._

Hymn-tunes, history of, 275

Iambics, 175

"_Idée fixe_," Berlioz's, 137

Identification of themes, 35

Idiomatic pianoforte music, 193, 194

Idioms, musical, 44, 51, 55

Imagination, 15, 16, 58

Imitation of natural sounds, 51

Individual attitude of man toward music, 37

Instrumental musicians, former legal status of, 83

Instrumentation, 71 _et seq._;
  in the mass, 293 _et seq._

Intelligent hearing, 16, 18, 37

Intermediary necessary, 20

_Intermezzi_, 221

Interrelation of musical elements, 22

Janizary music, 97

Jean Paul, 67, 189, 190

Jeduthun, 115

Jig, 179

Judgment, 311

Kalidasa, 149

Kettle-drums, 111 _et seq._

Key relationship, 26, 129

Kinds of music, 36 _et seq._

_Kirchencantaten_, 284

Krakowiak, 193

Kullak, 184

Lablache, 248

La Grange, 241, 245

Lamb, Charles, 10

Language of tones, 42, 43

_Lassu_, 201

Laws, musical, mutability of, 69

Lehmann, Lilli, 233, 244, 247

Lenz, 33

Leoncavallo, 228

Lind, Jenny, 241, 243

Liszt, 132, 140, 142, 143, 167, 168, 193, 197, 198, 228;
  his music, 168, 193, 197;
  his transcriptions, 167;
  his rhapsodies, 167, 198;
  his symphonic poems, 142;
  "Faust" symphony, 132, 140;
  Concerto in E-flat, 143;
  "St. Elizabeth," 288

Literary blunders concerning music, 9, 10, 11, 12

Local color, 152, 153

London opera, 206, 207, 226

Louis XIV., 179

Lucca, Pauline, 242, 246, 247

Lully, his overtures, 148;
  minuet, 179;
  "Atys," 206

Luther, Martin, 276

Lyric drama, 231, 234, 237, 251

Madrigal, 274

Magyar music, 198 _et seq._

Major mode, 57

Male alto, 260

Male chorus, 255, 260

Malibran, 241

_Männergesang_, 255, 260

Marie Antoinette, 153

Mario, 242, 247, 271

Marschner, "Hans Heiling," 225;
  "Templer und Jüdin," 225;
  "Vampyr," 225;
  his operas, 248

Mascagni, 228

Mass, the, 290 _et seq._

Massenet, "Le Cid," 152

Materials of music, 16

Materna, Amalia, 247

Matthews, Brander, 11

Mazurka, 192

Melba, Nellie, 204, 238, 245, 247, 271

Melody, 19, 21, 22, 24

Memory, 19, 21, 73

Mendelssohn, 41, 42, 49, 59, 61, 67, 102, 109, 132, 139, 140, 149,
  168, 243, 278, 288, 289, 322;
  on the content of music, 41, 42;
  his Romanticism, 67;
  on the use of the trombones, 109;
  opinion of Jenny Lind, 243;
  "Songs without Words," 41;
  "Hebrides" overture, 59, 149;
  "Midsummer Night's Dream," 61, 102;
  "Scotch" symphony, 132, 139;
  "Italian" symphony, 132;
  "Hymn of Praise," 140;
  "St. Paul," 278;
  "Elijah," 288, 289

Mersenne, "Harmonie universelle," 175, 176

Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 203, 224, 226, 244

Meyerbeer, 89, 102, 203, 204, 208, 242, 243, 244;
  "L'Africaine," 89;
  "Robert le Diable," 102, 208, 244;
  "Huguenots," 204;
  "L'Étoile du Nord," 243

Military bands, 123

Minor mode, 57

Minuet, 134, 151, 173, 179

Mirabeau, 293

Model, none in nature for music, 8, 180

Monteverde, "Orfeo," 87

Moscheles, on Jenny Lind's singing, 243

Motet, 283

Motives, 22, 24

Mozart, 84, 109, 132, 145, 151, 168, 183, 184, 195, 202, 203, 221,
  224, 228, 230, 238, 244, 265, 292;
  his pianoforte technique, 184;
  on Doles's mass, 292;
  his orchestra, 238;
  his edition of Handel's "Messiah," 265;
  on cadenzas, 145;
  his pianoforte, 195;
  his serenades, 151;
  "Don Giovanni," 109, 202, 221, 222, 228, 230;
  "Magic Flute," 203;
  G-minor symphony, 132;
  "Figaro," 202, 228

_Musica parlante_, 234

Musical instruction, deficiencies in, 9

Musician, Critic, and Public, 297

_Musikdrama_, 227, 238, 249

Neri, Filippo, 288

Nevada, Emma, 204

Newspaper, the modern, 297, 298, 313

New York Opera, 206, 226, 241

Niecks, Frederick, 192

Niemann, Albert, 233

Nightingale, in music, 52

Nilsson, Christine, 242, 246, 247

Nordica, Lillian, 247

Norman-Neruda, Madame, 320

Notes not music, 20

Nottebohm, "Beethoveniana," 63

Oboe, 47, 74, 78, 82, 84, 98 _et seq._

Opera, descriptive music in, 61;
  history of, 202 _et seq._;
  language of, 205;
  polyglot performances of, 207 _et seq._;
  their texts perverted, 207 _et seq._;
  words of, 209, 210;
  elements in, 214;
  invention of, 216 _et seq._;
  varieties of, 220 _et seq._;
  comic elements in, 221;
  action and incident in, 236;
  singing in, 239;
  singers compared, 241 _et seq._

_Opéra bouffe_, 220, 221, 225

_Opera buffa_, 220

_Opéra comique_, 223

_Opéra, Grand_, 223

_Opera in musica_, 228

_Opera semiseria_, 221

_Opera seria_, 220

_Opus_, 132

Oratorio, 256, 287 _et seq._

Orchestra, 71 _et seq._

Ostrander, Dr. Lucas, 278

"Ouida," 12

Overture, 147 _et seq._, 174

Paderewski, his recitals, 154 _et seq._;
  his Romanticism, 167;
  "Krakowiak," 193

Painful, the, not fit subject for music, 50

Palestrina and Bach, 278 _et seq._;
  his music, 279 _et seq._;
  "Stabat Mater," 279, 280;
  "Improperia," 280;
  "Missa Papæ Marcelli," 280

Pandean pipes, 98

Pantomime, 43

Parallelism, 25

Passepied, 173

"Passions," 284 _et seq._

Patti, Adelina, 203, 204, 238, 242, 245, 247

Pedals, pianoforte, 195, 196

Pedants, 13, 315

Percussion instruments, 110 _et seq._

Peri, "Eurydice," 234

Periods, musical, 22, 24

Perkins, C.C., 263

Pfund, his drums, 112

Philharmonic Society of New York, 76, 77, 81, 82

Phrases, musical, 22, 24

Physical effects of music, 38

Pianoforte, history and description of, 154 _et seq._;
  its music, 154 _et seq._, 166 _et seq._;
  concertos, 144;
  trios, 147

Piccolo flute, 85, 97

Piccolomini, 242, 245

Pictures in music, 40

_Pifa_, Handel's, 126

_Pizzicato_, 88, 91

Plançon, 248

Polonaise, 192

Polyphony and feelings, 39

Popular concerts, 122

Porpora, 209

"_Pov' piti Momzelle Zizi_," 23

Preludes, 148, 174

Programme music, 36, 44, 48 _et seq._, 64, 142

Puccini, 228

Quail, call of, in music, 51, 54

Quartet, 147

Quilled instruments, 170

Quinault, "Atys," 206

Quintet, 147

Quintillian, 309

Raff, 49, 96, 132;
  "Lenore" symphony, 96, 132;
  "Im Walde" symphony, 132

Rameau, 168

Recitative, 219, 220, 228 _et seq._

Reed instruments, 98 _et seq._

Reformation, its influence on music, 275, 278, 280

Refrain, 25

Register of the orchestra, 85

Repetition, 22, 25

Rhapsodists among writers, 13, 315 _et seq._

Rhythm, 19, 21, 26, 160

"_Ridendo castigat mores_," 225

Rinuccini, "Eurydice," 234

Romantic music, 36, 64 _et seq._, 71, 277

Romantic opera, 225

Ronconi, 242

Rondeau and Rondo, 135

Rossini, 147, 228, 242;
  his overtures, 147;
  "Il Barbiere," 228;
  "William Tell," 93, 100

Rubinstein, 59, 152, 167, 168, 287;
  his historical recitals, 167;
  his sacred operas, 287;
  "Ocean" symphony, 59;
  "Feramors," 152

Ruskin, John, 302

Russian composers, 134

Sacred Operas, 287

Saint-Saëns, "Danse Macabre," 101, 111;
  symphony in C minor, 141;
  "Samson and Delilah," 288

Salvi, 242

Sarabande, 173, 174, 177

Sassarelli, 240

Scarlatti, D., 167, 172, 182;
  his technique, 172;
  "Capriccio" and "Pastorale," 172

Scheffer, Ary, 246

Scherzo, 133, 179

Schröder-Devrient, 232

Schubert, 168

Schumann, 49, 64, 132, 133, 139, 140, 141, 167, 188, 189, 190, 196,
  254, 308, 310;
  his Romanticism, 188;
  and Jean Paul, 189;
  his pedal effects, 196;
  on popular judgment, 308, 310;
  symphony in C, 132;
  symphony in D minor, 139;
  symphony in B-flat, 140;
  "Rhenish" symphony, 140, 141;
  "Carnaval," 189, 190;
  "Papillons," 189, 190;
  "Kreisleriana," 190;
  "Phantasiestücke," 190

Score, 120

"Scotch snap," 52, 200

Second movement in symphony, 133

Seidl, Anton, 77

Sembrich, Marcella, 242, 245

Senesino, 239, 240

Sense-perception, 18

Serenade, 149 _et seq._

Shaftesbury, Lord, 311

Shakespeare, his dances, 153, 179;
  his dramas, 202;
  a Romanticist, 221;
  "Two Gentlemen of Verona," 150;
  Queen Mab, 90

Singing, physiology of, 215, 218;
  operatic, 239;
  choral, 268

Singing Societies, 253 _et seq._

_Singspiel_, 223

Smith, F. Hopkinson, 11

_Sonata da Camera_, 173

Sonata, 127, 182, 183

Sonata form, 127 _et seq._

Sontag, 241, 244, 245, 246

Sordino, 90

Space, music has no place in, 59

Speech and music, 43

Spencer, Herbert, 39, 43, 216, 218, 230

Spinet, 168, 170

Spohr, "Jessonda," 225

Stainer, Dr., 39, 316

Stein, pianoforte maker, 196

_Stilo rappresentativo_, 234

Stories, in music, 40

Strings, orchestral, 74, 82, 86 _et seq._, 102

Sucher, Rosa, 247

Suite, 129, 152, 173 _et seq._

Symphonic poem, 142

Symphonic prologue, 148

Symphony, 124 _et seq._, 183

Syrinx, 98

Talent in listening, 4

Tambourine, 110

Tappert, "Zooplastik in Tönen," 51

Taste, 311

Technique, 163 _et seq._

Tennyson, 9

Terminology, musical, 8

_Théatre nationale de l'Opéra-Comique_, 223

Thespis, 212

Thomas, "Mignon," 223

_Tibia_, 98

Titiens, 242

Tonal language, 42, 43

Tones, co-ordination of, 17

Touch, 163 _et seq._

_Tragedia per musica_, 227

Tremolo, 91

Trench, Archbishop, 65, 66

Triangle, 74, 110

Trio, 134

Triolet, 136

Trombone, 82, 105, 106, 109 _et seq._

Trumpet, 105, 108

Tschaikowsky, 88, 132;
  "Symphonie Pathétique," 132

Tuba, 82, 85, 106, 108

"Turkish" music, 97

Tympani, 82, 111 _et seq._

Ugly, the, not fit for music, 50

United States, first to have amateur singing societies, 257, 262;
  spread of choral music in, 263

Unity in the symphony, 27, 137

Vaudevilles, 224

Verdi, 152, 203, 210, 228, 236, 238, 242, 243;
  "Aïda," 152, 228, 238;
  "Il Trovatore," 210, 243;
  "Otello," 228, 238;
  "Falstaff," 228, 236;
  Requiem, 290

Vestris, 153

Vibrato, 90

Vile, the, unfit for music, 50

Viola, 74, 77, 82, 92, 93

_Viole da braccio_, 93

_Viole da gamba_, 93

Violin, 73, 74, 77, 82, 86 _et seq._, 144, 162

Violin concertos, 145

Violoncello, 74, 77, 82, 92, 93, 94

Virginal, 168, 170

Vocal music, 61, 215

_Vorspiel_, 148

Wagner, 41, 79, 80, 81, 88, 89, 94, 111, 205, 206, 219, 226, 227, 232,
  235, 237, 238, 244, 248, 249, 250, 251, 303, 305, 314;
  on the content of music, 41;
  his instrumentation, 80, 111;
  his dramas, 219, 226, 227, 248;
  _Musikdrama_, 227, 249;
  his dialogue, 235;
  his orchestra, 238, 250;
  his operas, 248;
  his theories, 249;
  endless melody, 250;
  typical phrases, 250;
  "leading motives," 250;
  popularity of his music, 303;
  on criticism, 314;
  "Flying Dutchman," 248;
  "Tannhäuser," 248;
  "Lohengrin," 79, 88, 235, 248;
  "Die Meistersinger," 249;
  "Tristan und Isolde," 87, 237, 249;
  "Rheingold," 237;
  "Die Walküre," 94, 237;
  "Siegfried," 237, 244;
  "Die Götterdämmerung," 237;
  "Ring of the Nibelung," 249, 251, 305;
  "Parsifal," 249

_Waldhorn,_ 107

Wallace, W.V., 223

Walter, Jacob, 53

Water, musical delineation of, 58, 59

Weber, 67, 96, 244, 248;
  his Romanticism, 67;
  "Der Freischütz," 96, 225;
  "Oberon," 225;
  "Euryanthe," 225

Weitzmann, "Geschichte des Clavierspiels," 201

Welsh choirs, 255

Wood-wind instruments, 74, 77, 78, 95

Xylophone, 111

Ysaye, on Cadenzas, 146


THE LETTERS OF FRANZ LISZT. Edited and collected by LA MARA.
With portraits. Crown 8vo, 2 vols., $6.00.

RICHARD WAGNER'S LETTERS to his Dresden Friends--Theodore Uhlig,
Wilhelm Fischer, and Ferdinand Heine. Translated by J.S. SHEDLOCK.
Crown 8vo, $3.50.

JENNY LIND THE ARTIST, 1820-1851. Memoir of Madame Jenny
Lind-Goldschmidt. Her Art Life and Dramatic Career, from original
documents, etc. By CANON H.S. HOLLAND and W.S. ROCKSTRO. With
illustrations, 12mo, $2.50.

WAGNER AND HIS WORKS. The Story of his Life, with Critical Comments.
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12mo, $4.00.


A CONCISE HISTORY OF MUSIC, from the Commencement of the Christian Era
to the present time. By H.G.B. HUNT. With numerous tables.
12mo, $1.00.

and Notes on Music. Translated by the HON. W. HUTCHINSON.
With portrait. 8vo, $3.00.

12mo, each, $1.00.

THE STUDENT'S HELMHOLTZ. Musical Acoustics, or the Phenomena of Sound.
By JOHN BROADHOUSE. With musical illustrations and examples.
12mo, $3.00.

JR. Critical editor, W.F. APTHORP. Popular edition. Large octavo, 3
vols., $15.00 net.



THE WAGNER STORY BOOK. Firelight Tales of the Great Music-Dramas. By
W.H. FROST. Illustrated. 12mo, $1.50.

MASTERS OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. 4 vols., 12mo. Illustrated. Each,
$1.75. Masters of English Music, by Charles Willeby; Masters of French
Music, by Arthur Hervey; Masters of German Music, by J.A.
Fuller-Maitland; Masters of Italian Music, by R.A. Streatfield.

$1.75 net.

THE STORY OF BRITISH MUSIC, from the Earliest Times to the Tudor
Period. By F.J. CROWEST. Illustrated. 8vo, $3.50.

THE HISTORY OF MUSIC, from the Earliest Times to the Time of the
Troubadours. By J.F. ROWBOTHAM. 12mo, $2.50.

THE LEGENDS OF THE WAGNER DRAMA. Studies in Mythology and Romance. By
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_A Descriptive List of Musical Books (112 pages) sent upon

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