Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/371

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven, or have acquired even the average musical skill of our day? I do not believe it; for something else is needed for the comprehension of our present higher music than the musical apparatus of our ear and brain-center, and more than the musical instruction that can be given in one person's lifetime—a refined, impressionable, cultivated soul.

The auditory center of the brain often spoken of is not simply theoretical, but is defined with fair certainty. If, in a dog or an ape, a particular spot in the temporal fold of the cerebrum is destroyed on both sides, the animal will be made deaf, although his ear-organs have not been disturbed. The animal's general health is not impaired; it continues to live, but it ceases to hear. Noises passing through its hearing apparatus still excite nervous vibrations, and these are still transmitted to the brain; but the organ is lacking there which should convert them into tone-perceptions and bring them to consciousness. The animal is "soul-deaf." If, again, we were able to remove all the other parts of the cerebellum and leave the hearing centers untouched, the mechanical process of the production of tone impressions would still go on, but the animal or the man would hear nothing, because there would be nothing left in his brain to make him conscious of the tone-impressions. With the rest of the cerebellum was taken away the intellect, with all its side-faculties of feeling, fancy, selfconsciousness, etc. The "soul" is wanting, and without it the finest musical notes, brought to place in the hearing center, make no impression.

I have brought forward this hypothetical case to show that the way in which music is comprehended depends not only on the auditory centers, but as much on that which lies behind them, which takes up the tone-images formed by them and gives them reality—the "soul." If there is no "soul," as in the supposed case, then the tone-images are not perceived; if a highly developed, tuneful, and thoughtful human soul is present, then the confluent and contrasted voices of a polyphone music are perceived as a charming musical structure, a rich art-picture, the single parts of which stand in perceptible connection; going out from one another, running back into one another, the individual tone-pictures shape themselves by ever new variations into ever new and interesting combinations. But if there is only the relatively lowly organized brain of an animal, a parrot, for instance, then the spiritual power of the complicated tone-picture will not prevail, and only a possibly pleasant confusion of sounds is perceived. The parrot will never be able to follow the course of a piece of music, because he lacks the necessary degree of intelligence, but will only be able to repeat snatches of it, with no comprehension of the connection of the parts. Hence we conclude that affections