Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/370

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organs did not reach their present high development through practice in music.

Among the objections that may be brought up against this theory, the most real is that founded on the existence of persons without musical sense; who can hear ordinary sounds and intonations as well as musically gifted persons, but who can not define musical intervals, can not take up a melody and repeat it, and can not analyze harmonies. If their organs of hearing are as well developed as those of musicians, that would seem to be evidence that the musical sense is something else than ordinary hearing, and supplementary to it. But it has not been demonstrated that the hearing of unmusical persons is as well developed as that of musicians, and I regard it as highly improbable. Although we have no accurate data on the subject, the facts we have do not sustain the proposition. The idea of unmusicality is a relative one. Mozart had so wonderful a recollection of tone-pitches that he could detect a difference of a quarter of a tone between a violin he was playing and one which he had played on two days before. Other men, whom we regard as men of high musical talent, have only the weakest, or no memory at all, for absolute tone-pitches. They can not tell whether a piece is played in A, C, or F, but are satisfied if the tone-intervals within the piece are properly represented. Defects of this kind are corollaries of want of practice, and result to a large extent from the considerable part which the piano fills in musical teaching. The sense of players on the violin—an instrument on which minute intervals of tone can be produced—is much clearer and more delicate than that of players on the piano. The various degrees of defect in musical sense seem to me to depend on a more or less imperfect structure of the organs of hearing. Defects and aberrations appear in all parts of the body, and must be particularly apt to overtake an organ which, like the ear of man, is now no longer of the importance for maintaining the species which it must have been several thousand years ago when man was still in a state of nature. Or there may be defects in the brain-centers that receive the nervous impressions, or in the connections between the brain and nerves. Light is cast upon these instances through the accounts of cases of aphasia and musical impotency, in which, through injury to a small spot in the brain, the faculty of appreciating or producing music is partly or wholly removed, usually in connection with disorders of speech. Besides the older observations of Kussmaul, Kast, Knoblauch, and Oppenheim have made interesting contributions on this difficult and complicated subject.

Have we a right to suppose that the musical gifts of the primitive man were the same as we have to-day? Can we imagine that men were born in the earliest ages who might have furnished a