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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/23

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THE ORIGIN OF MUSIC.

Thus, then, it is implied that the true germs of music stand toward developed music as the acorn to the oak. Now suppose we ask—How many traits of the oak are to be found in the acorn? Next to none. And then suppose we ask—How many traits of music are to be found in the tones of emotional speech? Very many. Yet while Mr. Gurney thinks that music had its origin in something which might have been as unlike it as the acorn is unlike the oak, he rejects the theory that it had its origin in something as much like it as the cadences of emotional speech; and he does this because there are sundry differences between the characters of speech-cadences and the characters of music. In the one case he tacitly assumes a great unlikeness between germ and product; while in the other case he objects because germ and product are not in all respects similar!

I may end by pointing out how extremely improbable, a priori, is Mr. Gurney's conception. He admits, as perforce he must, that emotional speech has various traits in common with recitative and song relatively greater resonance, relatively greater loudness, more marked divergences from medium tones, the use of the extremes of pitch in signifying the extremes of feeling, and so on. But, denying that the one is derived from the others, he implies that these kindred groups of traits have had independent origins. Two sets of peculiarities in the use of the voice which show various kinships, have nothing to do with one another! I think it merely requires to put the proposition in this shape to see how incredible it is.

 

Sundry objections to the views contained in the essay on "The Origin and Function of Music," have arisen from misconception of its scope. An endeavor to explain the origin of music, has been dealt with as though it were a theory of music in its entirety. An hypothesis concerning the rudiments has been rejected because it did not account for everything contained in the developed product. To preclude this misapprehension for the future, and to show how much more is comprehended in a theory of music than I professed to deal with, let me enumerate the several components of musical effect. They may properly be divided into sensational, perceptional, and emotional.

That the sensational pleasure is distinguishable from the other pleasures which music yields, will not be questioned. A sweet sound is agreeable in itself, when heard out of relation to other sounds. Tones of various timbres, too, are severally appreciated as having their special beauties. Of further elements in the sensational pleasure have to be named those which result from certain congruities between notes and immediately succeeding notes. This pleasure, like the primary pleasure which fine quality yields,