Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/598

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In the fields of music, literature and art do we find the psychological attitude greatly influenced by geographical environment. Music's origin must be looked for in natural causes. The elements of all music exist around us, in the sighing of leaves, the gentle monotone of the winds, not less that in the roar of the ocean or the impressive tones of thunder. Earlier peoples imitated these sounds. And, where climatic conditions were good for the throat, singing qualities were developed. Where external conditions were not good for the throat there was a greater amount of inventing rude and noisy instruments. Brinkton says: "The use of noisy instruments recalled the voices of pealing thunder, the mad rushing waters and the wailing of the winds." Early music went hand in hand with the dance, which was, in turn, largely developed in warm climates and on fertile soils. The Esquimaux savage does not sing and dance as the tropical ones, nor does singing come from the people of the frozen tundra save of the poorest sort. Most Hebrew music was strangely harsh; many of their instruments, tabret, buggag, cymbal, pipe, shawn, chiefly wind and percussion instruments, meant noise with piercing effects. For, unsettled "dwellers in tents" as they were, this rough element was unavoidable, for, in moving about they came into contact with the rough elements of nature—storms, sea, winds. The Hebrews who were not "dwellers in tents" had, on the other hand, beautiful music—divine gratitude to Jehovah. The Romans had no music, because they were enormously successful commercially, because of their geography, and war and conquest were their first considerations. Something of the same is true of America to-day. Too anxious to utilize to the fullest extent her geographical wealth, she borrows music; chiefly from the negro. Folksongs, one of the truest types of music emanate from the geographically determined life of peoples. All nations had their songs to the soil, to the flock, to the soldiers' march through plain and mountain, had songs of the fisherman, the sower, the reaper. No doubt Russian music owes much of its melancholy and plaintiveness to the great mournful steppes. Why did the violin develop in Italy? Because it, of all instruments, resembles the human voice which was revealed to the Italians. The great German musical names, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Handel, Bach, come from southern Germany and were influenced by the singers of Italy.

Art, with civilization, seems to have arisen in the three great river basins of the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, where the people had plenty of comfort and time to satisfy their desire for beauty. The amount of coarse, hard, massive rock available no doubt influenced the colossal architecture of Egypt. Chaldæa is a stoneless country, therefore its arts depended upon the nature of the clays. They, the Chaldæans, invented the potter's wheel—the beginning of a great field of art and industry—ceramics. Art of two dimensions, so to speak, painting, tapestry and