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wind blowing into broken reeds as they stood up stiffly in some low marsh-land or river may have suggested the first rude Panpipe, of which the flute would be a later modification. Dried sea-weed, stretched on rocks or shells, may possibly have been the primitive Æolian lyre, from whence came the harp and guitar. The clapping of hands, or the knocking of two bits of stick together, may have suggested the numerous drum tribe, from whence would come, in due time, every variety of percussion instrument. It is true, when we think of a percussion instrument like the grand piano-forte as derived from knocking two bits of sticks together, or an Erard harp as descended from sea-weed fibres stretched on rocks, or the Crystal Palace organ as having originally come from a few rotten reeds blown upon by the fitful wind, the missing links seem innummerable, but a musical Darwin would make very light of the difficulty ; and, indeed, the difference between Nature's musical instruments and the latest attempts of man in a similar direction is not nearly so great as the difference between that early Ascidian from which the progenitors of man are said to be descended and the highest, not to say the lowest, representative of man with which we are acquainted.
We need hardly have recourse to the Egyptian or Assyrian monuments to prove the immense antiquity of wind instruments. In one of the tombs at Poictiers, Dr. Cannes, of Paris, and M. Lartet have discovered an undoubted flute, belonging, in all appearance, to the later stone period, and at all events pre-historic. M. Fétis, in his History of Music,' gives an exact representation of it. It is made out of a bit of stag's horn, and lay surrounded by flint arrowheads and other stone implements. Another excellent flute, of reindeer's bone, four holes, and a blowpipe-incontestably a flute and nothing but a flute-was found by M. Lartet in a cave, amongst the bones of extinct races of animals.
Nearly three thousand years before the Christian era the first Emperor of China, Fo-hi, is said to have invented the stringed instrument called kin, which consists of a strip of wood, over which silken cords are stretched. The kin is laid on a table, and played like the modern cither, with the fingers of both hands: its sound was held in China to calm the passions and inspire the mind with virtuous sentiments.
Percussion instruments, such as drums, sonorous bits of wood or metal struck with hammers, are the most universal of all instruments. The shock produced by them upon the rude nervous system is found most useful in promoting a kind of frenzied ardour for battle; nor is it less favourable to the paroxysms of ascetic devotion common amongst uncultured races. Most
pagan gods are supposed to be delighted with the noise produced by yelling, clapping, and banging gongs about; and amongst savage tribes, sacrifices and religious ceremonies are usually accompanied by percussion instruments of every description. Most savages are deeply alive to the charms of accentuated rhythm, expressed by a hammering on drums. The tribes of Central Africa have a habit of stringing half-a-dozen drums between two poles, and strumming six at a time, whilst an ebony enthusiast stands opposite this demoniac orchestra to mark the rhythm.
It is impossible to say when stringed instruments played with bows were first invented. Some such instrument has been known in India from time immemorial; it is also to be found amongst many savage tribes, and, although apparently unknown to the Greeks, or rejected by them as too barbarous, some kind of bowed instrument appears, from a very early period, to have been known to the Northern races of Europe.
Now, regarding as we do all the above methods of howling, blowing, twanging, and hammering—in other words, all deliberate attempts to express emotion through sound, as so many rough elements of music-we may fairly affirm that the art of producing musical sounds is the most ancient and universal of all the arts. It is the most ancient, because, according to Mr. Darwin, it is a quality common to the animal creation as well as to the earliest races of mankind; and it is the most universal, because we can find no race, ancient or modern, which has been entirely without it.
Hitherto we have spoken of all kinds of sound as musical; but it would be more correct to say that most of the sounds found in nature, or used by savages, are the mere rough materials out of which musical notes have to be manufactured. It is true that any noise acts, in some way or other, upon
the tions by setting the auditory nerves in vibration ; but for the purposes of musical art we must select only those kinds of sound, those forms of vibration, which possess certain properties of pitch, intensity, and quality.
First, then, what constitutes Pitch ? When we speak of the pitch of a note, we mean that the sonorous body or instrument from which it comes is vibrating so many times a second. These vibratory movements are communicated to the air, and the air communicates them, through the elastic pressure of its waves, to the complex system of fibres stretched upon the drum of the ear, which collects them for transmission, through a winding labyrinth, to the auditory nerve, from which they are passed on to the brain. But the perceptive powers of the human
ear are limited.
No sound can be heard if the vibrations are too slow, or less than four or five (or, according to M. Savart, six or seven) to the second ; or too quick, that is to say, more than 67,000 to the second. Shrill sounds of 30,000 are very unpleasant; but cats and other animals, whose ears are in some respects more highly organised than ours, can hear many sounds inaudible to human beings. As to pitch, then, the limits of musical sound will be within about six octaves.
Secondly, what constitutes INTENSITY? As pitch is regulated by the number, so intensity is regulated by the force of the vibrations. This force is communicated to the air, and the air-waves produce, in proportion to their force, a greater or less degree of tension in the membrane of the tympanum. A very feeble sound is not sufficient to make the tympanum vibrate at all, and a very violent one- :-such as the explosion of a cannon-sometimes cracks it; and thus it is no mere metaphor to speak of the drum of the ear being broken. The intensity of musical sound will, therefore, be found to lie in the mean between the too feeble and the too forcible.
Thirdly, what constitutes Quality? The quality or timbre of a sound, i. e., the quality which makes the difference between the same note played on a flute or on a violin, depends neither upon the force nor on the rapidity of the vibrations in the instrumentin the air—in the ear. Upon what, then, does this all-important attribute of sound depend? We must try and imagine a vibrating body, such as the back of a violin or the tube of a diapason, to consist (as is actually the case) of a vast number of lines distributed in a vast number of different layers of matter. All bodies are composed of such countless different molecules, arranged in layers and packed in different degrees of density. When we set our board, violin, or organ-pipe in vibration, these molecules begin to move; some vibrate feebly, some strongly, whilst certain others remain at rest. By strewing sand on the back of a violin whilst in vibration, or affixing a pencil to an organ-pipe, the form of the vibrations representing the disturbance of the molecules may in either case be obtained in lines. These lines then indicate the different arrangement of the molecules of matter in violin, wood, or organ-pipe, which yield a different order of molecular vibration, and transmit to the air differently formed waves, and consequently a different stroke and quality of sound to the ear.
We have now refined our rough element of sound by determining its pitch, its intensity, and pointing to the existence of various qualities or timbres; but we have yet to distinguish properly between musical sound and Noise.
M. Beauquier gives the following explanation of the difference between noise and musical sound.
A true note, or musical sound, contains in itself a third, a fifth, and an octave. In addition to the fundamental note, a cultivated ear will be able, under certain experimental conditions, to recognise these other three, like faint musical emanations. These three are called the fundamental harmonics of a note, and every sound is thus complex, just as white light is complex, containing within itself what may be called the three harmonical colours, blue, red, and yellow. Now, when the ear receives one distinct sound, and the accessory harmonics are at the same time of very faint intensity and very high in pitch, then we have a pure or clear musical sound called a note; but when the accessory or harmonical sounds are so loud, confused, and so near to the fundamental note that we have difficulty in separating between
nd the note itself, then we have the negation of musical sound--that is to say, noise. The Chinese gong is an admirable example of unmusical sound, or noise, and a well-tuned kettledrum is almost as good an example of a true musical note.
But when we have thus manufactured our materials we have not arranged them. We have got the threads, but we have not woven them into any fabric—we have not invented any pattern-we have not given them any form—we have not created any work of
We might as well give a man a bundle of coloured threads, and expect him without machine or instruction to produce an Indian shawl, as give him musical notes without teaching him the secret of the scale, or of symmetrical arrangement, and expect him to produce melody and harmony. We are still a long way off from what we call music.
Now before we enter upon any further account of the rise and progress of the musical art, the question naturally arises, What claims has it upon our attention? What wants does it meet? Why is it worth studying ?
We might point to the fact that people nowadays spend much time and money upon music. But why do they do so ? Because it gives them very keen enjoyment. Why does it give them enjoyment? what is the enjoyment worth? Is it pleasure and nothing more, or is it pleasure and something besides? What right have we to speak of Beethoven in the same breath with Goethe? In what sense is the musical composer a teacher or an intellectual and moral benefactor ? All such questions, and many more like them, which are asked more frequently than they are answered, may be summed up in a single sentence,What is the dignity of the musical art? To this question we hope to give some definite reply.
Speaking generally, all the arts may be said to have arisen out of a certain instinct, which impels us to make an appeal to the senses, by expressing our thoughts and emotions in some external form. When a man is haunted by the beauty of the outer world, when he has been for a time purely receptive, watching the light upon summer fields or through netted branches, or at evening the floods of liquid fire that come rolling towards him upon the bosom of the sea, at last before his closed eyes in the dreams of the night there arises within him the vision of an earth, and sky, and sea even more fair than these; and seizing his palette and canvas in the morning, he endeavours to fix the impalpable images which have almost pained his heart with their oppressive loveliness. Who can look at some of Turner's pictures, and see there the sunshine of sunshine and the gloom of gloom,' without feeling that the picture stands for the deliverance of a soul's burden? It is its own justification. No one asks first why it gives us joy, or why it is so good ; that questioning may come afterwards and may have to be answered, but our uppermost thoughts are such as these :-), too, have had such visions, but never till now have they lived and move before me; henceforth their life is doubled because revealed; their beauty is painless because possessed : now that I have prisoned this fleeting memory, it is mine for ever-KTņqua és ået. In freeing his own soul the painter, the orator, the poet has freed mine; I shall not suffer in this direction from the void and the agony of the unattained, for it is there worked out for me and for all men to rejoice in and to love.' Therefore the great justification of all art is simply this—that all life tends to outward expression, and becomes rich in proportion to the degree and perfection with which it is mastered inwardly and realised outwardly.
It is evident that the artistic instinct is involved in the constitution of our nature, and only waits for the peculiar times and seasons favourable to each of its several developments. Hence in all sorts of ages and countries we find traces of the arts, but only in certain countries and at certain epochs the full development of any. The seed of a political system, of a religious creed, or of a new art, may lie long in the fallow ground of history, waiting for the mysterious and happy combination of circumstances necessary to its special development. By and by this nation will be ready for such a government; and that form of government, which may have tried in vain to spring up before, will then rise. Such has been the history of representative government in England. By and by a nation will feel the need of a new intellectual form for its religion; and