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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/393

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THE RELATION OF MUSIC TO MENTAL PROGRESS.

timent of universal brotherhood. "Nun danket alle Gott," which won the battle of Leuthen, during the late Franco-German War, proved its influence over the people to be unimpaired.

Music and literature thence went hand in hand down to the school of the Romanticists, in which the middle ages became the ideal, and appeals were made to the national pride of the German. Then Wagner produced art-works that are similarly founded on national myths, and are more ambitious in scope and intention, as well as in musical and dramatic structure, than any works of his predecessors. Let us now take a broader historic but a narrower musical survey.

The Church accepted the musical teachings of Pythagoras and the astronomical theory of Ptolemy; and thus, for some unknown reason, progress was retarded. When the world accepted what the Church rejected, progress began in both sciences. For Ptolemy had demonstrated a new "section of the canon" by which our modern major scale was scientifically determined, and justified, and which made our harmony possible.

The invention of counterpoint in the north of England in mediƦval times, and the subsequent practice of canonic forms of imitation, led to the general treatment of music on scientific methods by composers, however it obtained among the populace. In China we find music among: the uneducated classes as unlike that of the musical mandarins as can well be imagined.

Subsequently, the discovery of harmony in nature opened a new realm to the musician. It was a revelation. It provided him with a scale of sounds analogous to that of color in the spectrum, and he soon determined the proportions mathematically. Hence a new science arose within the art of music, by which the composer no longer proceeded by a kind of "rule of thumb," but with a perfect knowledge of the ratios of speeds of vibrations, at which sounds would combine to form chords, as chemists after John Dalton learned to make new compounds unerringly.

The musician followed up the soft whisperings of Nature, until he found that each tone was attended by myriads of other tones as truly as attendant planets, asteroids, etc., surround a primary sun.

Heretofore music was made to conform to certain laws of proportion when viewed horizontally on the paper, but now it was made to conform to another series of laws, when regarded horizontally; the art of fugue was seen to be one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind, and the great universities in England instituted examinations for degrees in music, making the projection of an eight-parted fugue or canon in silence the supreme test of the mental prowess of each candidate.

It is thought that the opera was intended to be a resuscitation of the Greek drama, in which all was to be elevated and made musical. The music, however} differed but little from the prevailing style. It