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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/12

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

according to the kind of excitement; whereas Mr. Darwin argues that music arises from those sounds which the male makes during the excitements of courtship, that they are consciously made to charm the female, and that from the resulting combinations of sounds arise not love-music only but music in general. That certain tones of voice and cadences having some likeness of nature are spontaneously used to express grief, others to express joy, others to express affection, and others to express triumph or martial ardor, is undeniable. According to the view I have set forth, the whole body of these vocal manifestations of emotion form the root of music. According to Mr. Darwin's view, the sounds which are prompted by the amatory feeling only, having originated musical utterance, there are derived from these all the other varieties of musical utterance which aim to express other kinds of feeling. This roundabout derivation has, I think, less probability than the direct derivation.

This antithesis and its implications will perhaps be more clearly understood on looking at the facts under their nervo-muscular aspect. Mr. Darwin recognizes the truth of the doctrine with which the foregoing essay sets out, that feeling discharges itself in action: saying of the air-breathing vertebrata that—

"When the primeval members of this class were strongly excited and their muscles violently contracted, purposeless sounds would almost certainly have been produced; and these, if they proved in any way serviceable, might readily have been modified or intensified by the preservation of properly adapted variations." (The Descent of Man, vol. ii, p. 331.)

But though this passage recognizes the general relation between feelings and those muscular contractions which cause sounds, it does so inadequately; since it ignores, on the one hand, those loudest sounds which accompany intense sensations—the shrieks and groans of bodily agony; while, on the other hand, it ignores those multitudinous sounds not produced "under the excitement of love, rage, and jealousy," but which accompany ordinary amounts of feelings, various in their kinds. And it is because he does not bear in mind how large a proportion of vocal noises are caused by other excitements, that Mr. Darwin thinks "a strong case can be made out, that the vocal organs were primarily used and perfected in relation to the propagation of the species" (p. 330).

Certainly the animals around us yield but few facts countenancing his view. The cooing of pigeons may, indeed, be named in its support; and it may be contended that caterwauling furnishes evidence; though I doubt whether the sounds are made by the male to charm the female. But the howling of dogs has no relation to sexual excitements; nor has their barking, which is used to express emotion of almost any kind. Pigs grunt some-