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as a subordinate but still divine revelation ; but inasmuch as the process of music is necessarily from within to without, as the very depth of its source requires it to pass through so much of this earth before it reaches the surface of our perceptions, music is of all others that art which is more especially placed at the mercy of mankind. The painter, when he has completed his picture, rests from his labour-it requires nothing further at his hands. It stands there in silent independence, needing nothing but the light of heaven to convey it to the organ by which it is admitted to the mind. But the offspring of the musician is born dumb-it reaches no ear but his own, and that a mental one--it has to appeal to others to give it voice and being.

voice and being. Men and women, subject to all the caprices and corruptions of their kind—and those of the mere material musician are among the meanest in the world-wood and wire, and brass and catgut, liable to every variation of the atmosphere, are indispensable to its very existence ; and thus the composer and his composition are separated by a medium which too often reflects dishonour, though unfairly so, on the art itself. As Guido, in the prologue to his Antiphonarium, bitterly says of those who for centuries were the only instruments of music, namely singers,

Musicorum et Cantorum
Magna est distantia :
Isti dicunt--illi sciunt,
Quæ componit Musica :
Nam qui facit quod non sapit,
Definitur Bestia.

It is a strange thing, the subtle form and condition of music. When the composer has conceived it in his mind, the music itself is not there;- when he has committed it to paper, it is still not there ;when he has called together his orchestra and choristers from the north and the south, it is therebut gone again when they disperse. It has always, as it were, to put on mortality afresh. It is ever being born anew, but to die away and leave only dead notes and dumb instruments behind. No wonder that there should have been men of shallow reasoning powers or defective musical feelings, who in the fugitiveness of the form have seen only the frivolity of the thing, and tried to throw contempt upon it accordingly. But in truth such critics have hit upon the highest argument in favour of the art; for how deep, on the contrary, must be the foundations of that pleasure which has so precarious a form of outward expression ;-how intensely must that enjoyment be interwoven with the Godlike elements of our being, in which mere outward sense has so fleeting a share! The very limitation of its material resources is the greatest proof of its spiritual powers. We feel its influence to be so heavenly, that, were it not for the grossness of our natures, we should take it in not by the small channel of the ear alone, but by every pore of our frames. What is the medium of communication when compared with the effect on our minds? It is as if we were mysteriously linked with some spirit from the other world, which can only put itself en rapport with us, as long as we are here, through a slight and evanescent vibration of the air, yet even that all-sufficent to show the intensity of the sympathy.

“Whence art thou—from what causes dost thou spring,

Oh Music! thou divine, mysterious thing ?”

We ask the question in vain, as we must ever do when we would follow paths which lose themselves in the depths of our being. We only know, and only can know of music, that its science is an instinct of our nature—its subjects the emotions of our hearts—that at every step we advance in its fundamental laws we are but deciphering what is written within us, not transcribing anything from without. We know that the law which requires that after three whole notes a half-note must succeed is part of ourselves—a necessity in our being—one of the signs that distinguish man from the brute, but which we shall never account for till we are able to account for all things.

As to the hackneyed doctrine that derives the origin of music from the outward sounds of nature, none but poets could have conceived it, or lovers be justified in repeating it. Granting even that the singing of birds, the rippling of brooks, the murmuring of winds, might have suggested some ideas in the gradual development of the art, all history, as well as the evidence of common sense, proves that they gave no help whatsoever at the commencement. The savage has never been inspired by them: his music, when he has any, is a mere noise, not deducible by any stretch of the imagination from such sounds of nature. The national melodies of various countries give no evidence of any influence from without. A collection of native airs from different parts of the world will help us to no theory as to whether they have been composed in valleys or on plains, by resounding sea-shores or by roaring waterfalls. There is nothing in the music itself which tells of the natural sounds most common in the desolate steppes of Russia, the woody sierras of Spain, or the rocky glens of Scotland. What analogy there exists is solely with the inward character of the people themselves, and that too profound to be theorised upon. If we search the works of the earliest composers, we find not the slightest evidence of their having been inspired by any outward agencies. Not till the art stood upon its own independent foundations does it appear that any musician ever thought of turning such natural sounds to account: and—though with Beethoven's exquisite Pastoral Symphony ringing in our ears, with its plaintive clarionet cuckoo to contradict our words--we should say that no compositions could be of a high class in which such sounds were conspicuous.

The connexion between sound and numbers is a fact which at once invests music with the highest dignity. It is like adding to the superstructure of a delicate flower the roots of an oak of the forest. Far from being a frivolous art, meant only for the pastime of the senses in hours of idleness, it would seem to be of that importance to mankind that we are expressly furnished with a double means of testing its truth. The simple instinct of a correct ear and the closest calculations of a mathematical head give the same verdict. Science proves what the ear detects-the ear ratifies what science asserts -instinct and demonstration coalesce as they do with no other art:---for though the same species of identity exists between the rules of perspective and the intuition of a correct eye, yet the science in this instance is neither so profound nor the instinct so acute. The mere fact that music and mathematics should be allied is a kind of phenomenon. One can hardly believe how Euclid and Jenny Lind should have any common bond of union; but deep in the secret caverns of the mind the materials from which both are supplied mingle in one common source, and the paths which have conducted a Galileo, a Kepler, and a Herschel to the profoundest abstractions the human mind is capable of, have started from the sweet portals of musical sound.

But the natural history of music is full of wonders. Wherever we look into its inherent elements we are met by signs of precautionary care. It is as if the Giver of all good gifts had presided over the construction of this one with especial love, fencing it round with every possible natural security for its safe development, and planting it among those in, stincts we have least power to pervert.


sense of time is alone a marvellous guarantee-a conscience which no other art possesses in the same measurethe order which is music's first law--the pulse which


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