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various orders a sarcastic irony not unworthy to be compared with Pascal's. And if in his stately solemnity Taylor sometimes indulges in overmuch amplification, he shows himself nevertheless, upon occasion, a master of terse, vigorous, vernacular phraseology. His controversial treatises are not written in the florid style of his sermons; in truth, nothing is more remarkable than the instinctive tact with which he adapts the style to the subject, though, no doubt, his strain is always pitched in a key somewhat too high for modern ears. Nor does his exuberant fancy preclude the exercise of remarkable keenness and subtlety. Mr. Hallam thought that Taylor could never have made a great lawyer. We are by no means of his opinion. The author of the Ductor Dubitantium' might surely have been a great equity, lawyer ; and both his excellencies and his defects fitted him for the profession of an advocate. For he is always rather rhetorician than philosopher; he does not reason up to his conclusions; he takes à proposition and defends it by ingenious arguments; and he shows great skill in discovering and attacking the weak points in his opponent's case. When we add to these qualifications his power of getting up' a subject and of finding apt language and ready illustration, we surely have before us the very ideal of a successful candidate for the highest honours of the bar. But we believe that a genuine vocation brought Taylor into the ranks of the priesthood; he could not have borne to waste his splendid powers on fines and recoveries, or in making the worse appear the better reason ; his arguments may sometimes be rather specious than sound, but they are always employed in favour of what he believed to be just, and true, and noble.
His great defect is a certain want of masculine firmness and vigour; his intellect and fancy are dominant over his will. Hence, we sometimes desiderate a greater force of rough moral indignation; he disapproves rather than condemns; he rather shows the ugliness of evil than dashes it from him as a twining monster; perhaps he hardly knew it nearly enough to be really moved to loathe its deformity. Where Milton would thunder and South would spurn, Taylor deprecates. But, apart from this cardinal defect, how noble is his character! He is unstained, so far as we know, by any suspicion of intrigue or meanness; his personal sweetness and attractiveness seem to have been as manifest as Shakspeare's; we can well imagine the gentler spirits of a disturbed time joyfully adopting him as a 'ghostly father. As long, probably, as Englishmen retain a taste for elevated thought, pure aspiration, and quaint imagery clothed in rich and ornate diction, so long will Jeremy Taylor retain his high place in our literature.
ART. V.-1. Die Lehre der Tonempfindungen als physiologische
Grundlage für die Theorie der Musik. Von H. Helmholtz, Professor der Physiologie an der Universität zu Heidelberg.
Brunswick, 1865. 2. Histoire générale de la Musique. Tomes I. II. Par F. J.
Fétis. Paris, 1869. 3. Philosophie de la Musique. Par Charles Beauquier. Paris, 1866. 4. History of Modern Music. By John Hullah. London, 1862. 5. A Course of Lectures on the Transition Period of Musical
History. By John Hullah. 1865. ONEITHER the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing
N musical notes are faculties of the least direct use to man in reference to his ordinary habits of life.' So says Mr. Darwin ;* and yet, a little further on, we read :- I conclude that musical notes and rhythm were first acquired by the male or female progenitor of mankind for the sake of charming the opposite sex.' We may leave the reader to reconcile these two ingenious statements, the last of which seems to be in contradiction to the first. To
charm the opposite sex' is surely now, as it has ever been, one of the most ' ordinary habits' of man, and we ought to admit that if the capacity of producing musical notes’ is calculated to help him in this arduous undertaking, then this ó capacity' is of some *direct use' to him. That music has a great many other uses, it is our object on the present occasion to prove: meanwhile, we have quoted the above statements, not because they appear to be in one respect contradictory, but because in them we have the latest scientific testimony concerning the uselessness and the usefulness of music.
The origin of Vocal music has been the subject of much conjecture. Whether we think, with Mr. Darwin, that music was developed from cadences used to charm the opposite sex and expressive of strong emotion ; or, with Mr. Herbert Spencer, that music was developed from the cadences of emotional speech — whether speech preceded music, or music preceded speech-is of little importance to our present inquiry ; in either case, the Singing Art would have to be traced to one and the same root, viz. the vocal expression of emotion through sound. The famous hairy creature with a tail and pointed ears may have been the first distinguished vocalist, for aught we know-at all events, we are not in a position to dispute the fact.
The origin of Instrumental music is not far to seek. We need hardly quarrel with the mythic account. Very likely, the
* “Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 333. Vol. 131.–No. 261.
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-bi, is said to have invented the stringed instrument called hin, 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 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 emotions 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 Vines 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.