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song,* in which perhaps the infant voice is blended, is the most natural, and often the most fruitful lesson. A march of the most simple melody, and merely drum rhythm, which the boy and his father perform together, round about in their apartment, inspires more delight and feeling of measure, than many a half-year's instruction. If by great good fortune the tender ear of childhood should be indulged with the delicious enchantment of an opera, the few enraptured hours thus spent may cast a broad and glowing beam of sunshine to the latest days of life. For such an initiation we could wish every child to enjoy the dear old, but ever fresh and young Zauberfote, that child's fairy-play, which Mozart has immortalized with the power of prolonging and reproducing during all our lives the earliest and most innocent blossoms of youthful delight. In this play, congenial childhood enters with the sweetest self-devotion into the wondrous and inconceivable passions of maturer age, and is carried away at last to the perception of the truth, to the dreaded dagger; but with such guileless purity, such forgetfulness of self, that the star-flaming queen can scarcely be reproached when she rises delicately, and without effort, in melting harmonies, from the midst of her sufferings. On the other hand, we would withhold from the young sensations, the old and revived operas of mere show and exaggerated effect; and more especially those prosaic representations of ordinary life, in which the music sinks with its subject into mere triviality and nothingness. In like manner we would spare our young pupils the infliction of chamber or social music, which in general they do not understand; and lastly, we recommend moderation in quantity. The first opera once,the full organ in the church, when empty,-seldom warlike music, and still more rarely, a concert. These are important moments in the young and impressible existence, and must be of extraordinary occurrence. Moreover, we would petition for the liberty for all children to play freely after their own fashion, on the pianoforte; to invent, and search, and lose themselves as they please, so long as they do not injure the instrument. This ad libitum playing is mostly prohibited, particularly if the days of instruction have begun. The child is told to employ itself more usefully, in finger exercises or written compositions. But how shall the individual musical feelings, or the yet feeble inventive imaginings, be fostered and educated to self-power and trustfulness, if the only, and at this age indispensable means of cultivation be withheld? We are delighted to hear of the infant Mozart, who, in the third year of his short life, sought to arrange sounds in musical combination; and at the same time, we forbid the like practice to our own children, or disturb their often burning dreams of harmony with our shortsighted and self-sufficient worldly prudence.
We wish to say another word in these nursery details, concerning speech. It might almost be
* We take this opportunity of recommending, for the above object, the collection of German Popular Songs, by Erk and Irmer, which we have already mentioned at page 34, in note. It contains a rich treaeure of natural, refreshing, and joyous song.
maintained, that we, in Germany, have more men who write, than speak well; so hollow and uncertain, so feeble and oppressively restrained does our magnificent, copious, and universally appropriate language appear in speech, while its perfections have only obtained for it the calumnies of undistinguishing foreigners, and the neglect of our own countrymen, who have mistaken, disfigured, and corrupted it. How seldom do we hear any one among us speak openly and freely from the chest! How rare is the pure, full sound of the vowels, or the clear distinctness of the manifold characteristic varieties of the consonants! When do we hear modulation of the voice in speaking? and rarer still, any attempt of raising or depressing the intonation, without the most abrupt helplessness? Much of this defective condition of our speech is probably owing to the rarity with us, of public speaking, and other restricting circumstances; but we doubt not that early education, and want of attention in after life, are, at least, equally culpable, in not removing these disadvantages, whose baneful influence indeed does not affect music alone.
Thus much we have thought it necessary to say, touching the fostering and development of the musical faculties before and with the commencement of musical instruction. More definite and minute particulars must be had from the teacher.
How often-we ask again-do we hear teachers complain of the want of disposition in their pupils, and how rarely is any serious exertion made to develope and strengthen this disposition? How seldom are the means anxiously and assiduously sought for, to strengthen the weak, and supply the deficient! Is, then, the object of musical instruction merely to enable the pupil to play a certain number of compositions,-to acquire an amount of mechanical cleverness, and a quick perception of visible signs? All this can be mastered by the understanding and corporeal aptitude alone, without any deeper participation in the soul; but it is also fruitless in the mind and disposition, and without life in artistic feeling. He, however, who is not satisfied with that empty and ineffective advantage, but thirsts for the really operative benefit of artistic cultivation, must seek it nowhere but in the fountain and domain of all art—in the artistic feeling,—and in the natural disposition from or to which everything is developed
Here a fundamental principle presses forward, which might seem too evidently correct to require mentioning, if it were not so often violated in practice. We ought never to place anything before the scholar-no composition whatsoever, which he is not capable of completely understanding. Works of deep meaning, much combination, or even merely great extent, require a certain maturity and settled formation of the mind for their performance, if they are to be presented with feeling and judgment, and not simply with mechanical dexterity. It would be thought ridiculous to give the works of Dante or Shakspeare to children, or even the easy extravagant fictions of Ariosto, and yet we require them to play
Bach's fugues, and Beethoven's deepest works, or richly figurated concerted compositions; and we give grand opera scenes to beginners, who might delight both themselves and us in a simple natural song. Unfortunately, this process, with a little cleverness and mechanical diligence, cannot easily fail of producing an ostensible effect; and thus parents and scholars are deluded with the outward appearance of having made some progress of a great step forward having been achieved; whereas, in reality, only one thing has been done, that is, nature has been paralysed and placed out of the reach of sympathy.
OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FEELING OF
It is in this matter that the complaints of want of perception chiefly originate. This defect is, indeed, often formally instilled into the scholar. The feeling of measure and sensation of rhythm-we repeat it,―are innate in every human being gifted with understanding, but, like every other faculty, in different gradations; and they are certainly not so far elaborated by nature, as to enable their possessors to distinguish and perform the manifold and artistically combined rhythms of our compositions. Let us examine one of the easiest sonatas of Mozart, Haydn, or Beethoven, or one of the airs of Spontini, Weber, or Rossini: what a number of digressing and artistically entangled rhythms! How the parts of bars are divided into quavers,-sometimes into semiquavers or triplets, with dots,-or joined together by binds and syncopations; what a variety of accentuations must occur in such a composition! Everyone who has but a proximate idea of this rhythmic multiplicity, must perceive at once, that without much care and education, the natural feeling of measure could not suffice for the performance of such productions. But this is just what the generality of teachers concern themselves the least about. If they pursue any regular plan in the instruction of the scholar, the compositions follow each other, almost exclusively, in the ratio of the dexterity they require in their execution. The entangled rhythm remains uncomprehended; and it is considered sufficient, if the measure, that is, the equableness of motion, be forcibly preserved by the perpetual counting of the master, accompanied by the pupil, and by incessant beating time in extraordinary and ridiculous attitudes. By these means, however, the feeling of measure, the finer rhythmic sense, and the insight into the nature of rhythm, cannot assuredly be inspired and developed. With every new composition, this misery of counting, beating, and stamping begins afresh, until a mechanical habit of equality is formed, instead of a living feeling for equal and uniform measure and its expression. It is unfortunately too true, that most musicians are content with the sense and capacity for mechanical equality of measure,for the cold inanimate beat; and consider the rich and living rhythmical feeling as superfluous.
How easy is it, on the other hand, to an enlightened teacher, particularly in the beginning, to elucidate the various forms of rhythm by a me
thodical arrangement in respect of simplicity and increasing complicity or mixture! Marches for the boys, dances for the girls-four-hand playing upon the pianoforte, or playing with other instruments, making the accentuation perceptible from the beginning repetition of purposely accented playingin case of necessity, marching or exercising arranged motions by the pupil, to the playing of the master, or of another pupil under the eye of the master; all these expedients,-preceded, of course, by a perfectly clear explanation and analysis of the rhythm, and many small helps and incidents arising from the instruction itself, and which cannot now be named, -are the most appropriate means of cultivating the feeling of measure.*
DEVELOPMENT OF THE FEELING OF Tone.
Students of the pianoforte are in a still worse position with regard to the development of the sense of tone. Here elementary teachers imagine they have accomplished everything, if the scholar can play correctly the note before him. Whether he have a living perception of what he plays, or whether this excite any emotion or consciousness in him, is not thought worthy of consideration.
With better intentions, however, many teachers fail in their means. We will not again mention, that in respect of this faculty also, the choice of a profession must depend upon the capacity of the scholar; but proceed at once to the first means of awakening the perception of tone; to those means indeed, which, on false fundamental principles, are generally avoided or thrown aside.
The first practice is the exertion of our own faculties diligently, in seeking and inventing successions of tones.
In beginning the pianoforte (or any other instruments admitting similar exercises), the first lessons generally consist of a string of finger exercises, which are repeated in all the scales. On this occasion, we advise that no exercise be written for some time, but that the scholar imitate them from the teacher, and thus immediately imprint them on his
* It is only against excess in counting-against incessant and deafening counting aloud, and that insufferable beating time-that we wish to inveigh. These cannot be altogether dispensed with, particularly in the beginning. When their employment becomes necessary, the word used must be uttered sharply, whereby the feeling of measure is kept lively and attentive. A drawling utterance occasions indecision and uncertainty; impatient loudness deafens; and stamping the time disturbs the holding-on. A short loudly whispered "One! two!" of the teacher at the proper time, a gentle and punctual tap with the finger on the reading desk or on the arm of the pupil, governs the measure more surely, and excites the feeling of measure more intimately, than the unseemly grimaces by which many a leader endeavours to display his zeal. In distributions or divisions not easy to apprehend, and two-part order (for example, in the solution of crotchets into quavers, seniquavers, &c.), instead of "One!" two! we may count "Firstly! second!" in which the word may indicate the part of a bar, and each syllable a member thereof. If the phrase should change at once into three-part distribution, the Firstly! second! must be changed again into One! two! three! &c. In quick movements, half or even whole bars only are counted. The playing of difficult passages an octave higher by the master with the pupil, is very inspiring; and also counting parts only of bars in quick passages, and smaller members in slow passages. When the scholar has acquired some certainty, it is particularly desirable that he be led to omit the counting in easy passages, and resume it on the recurrence of passages of importance. In general, the scholar should be induced to relinquish external aid so soon as his apprehension and practice will allow it.
Mälzel's Metronome is a useful assistant to enable the pianoforte student to preserve equable measure in his exercises. It ought not, however, to be placed upon the instrument on which he is playing, because its regularity might be disturbed by the devious energy of his execution, as differently going clocks will assimilate in their movements if placed upon the same board.
memory. Only when the exercises become so numerous, that we might apprehend they would be forgotten, would we allow them to be written, and then in brief, the major in the scale of C major, and the minor in the scale of A minor. Then the scholar must seek out the same exercises in all the other scales by the aid of his ear alone. In like manner, when an exercise has been given to the pupil in chords, he must seek it out also on every degree and semitone; during which performance, the utmost assistance we could allow from the teacher, would be, the exclamation of “ False!" whenever an error were committed. Only when the scholar has attained a certain proficiency, may he be told how the scales and tones are to be named, and he may then be allowed to write them out. It is very desirable, also, to induce the pupil to perform the scales and chords with his voice.
A second means of producing a lively impression of tone, is to play and sing from memory. The dread expressed by most parents and teachers, of playing by heart or from ear, must appear ridiculous to all persons who are well informed in matters of teaching and education in general; since, in all other objects of mental cultivation, the employment and strengthening of the memory is so seriously and authoritatively insisted on. The only ground of objection is, that the beginner, not looking at the notes, is liable to play incorrectly, that he will gradually forget his exercises, and never be able to play with certainty from notes. Against these evils, Against these evils, there are very sure remedies close at hand. Shou'd this incorrectness be apprehended, only give the scholar such long and so many compositions at once, that it will be impossible for him to learn them by rote. Occupy him early with four-hand or accompanied compositions, which are difficult to learn by heart, since no single part contains them entirely. In fine, do not allow everything to be so learned; and in what is permitted, insist upon the most rigid fidelity to the notes, and on the slighest deviation in this respect, let the notes be resumed. In an extreme case, an unfinished composition can be given to a scholar who seizes by heart with extraordinary rapidity; and different parts of the composition can be filled up, altered, and corrected continually, so that the attention of the scholar must be constantly engaged in detecting the changes. There is no doubt, indeed, that an intelligent and attentive teacher will always find means to prevent the abuse of a faculty so agreeable and pregnant with such innumerable advantages to the player, and so manifestly precious to a composer. The highest freedom, power, and feeling in performance, or in conducting, are not to be attained while we are chained to the notes; and how composition and improvisation are to be carried to any perfection without a sure memory, is not easy to be imagined.
Learning to play and sing by heart, not only strengthens the feeling of tone, inasmuch as it necessitates the imprinting of single relations of tones, and the recalling of them according to such impression, but it enables us, also, to imagine whole compositions, with all their combinations present to our
minds. Here we may add a third means, which is peculiarly adapted to quicken the attention, to excite the watchfulness of the scholar, to accustom him every moment to instant and enlarged apprehension and decision, without which no deep penetration can be effected in art or in artistic works. means is, frequent playing and singing at sight, especially four-handed or with accompaniment, and, indeed at once, in the absolute time (tempo), or nearly so, required in the composition. The teacher in this case must make the pupil understand, that it is absolutely necessary for the success of this procedure, that the composition should be played throughout without omission, interruption, or remission in time, to the end; that no reflection, no repetition, no looking back for errors, is permitted; but on the contrary, that the eye must constantly press forwards, and the performance must instantly and inevitably follow the eye. This alone must be required of the scholar, and must unrelentingly be insisted on by the teacher, and be more particularly and unfailingly observed in practice, if the latter should play with his scholar. On the other hand, the scholar must be comforted with the reflection that under such circumstances, he is not answerable for single failures, omissions, &c. The first attempts at this practice are often, indeed, wretched performances quite laughable even, to those who do not consider how many qualifications must work herein together for the best possible effect to be produced. Usually, however, a vast improvement is manifested with unexpected rapidity, if the teacher begins and proceeds with judgment.
Of course, together with the above exercises, other compositions are most carefully studied, and are considered the chief materials of instruction. the playing at sight, easier compositions are selected; and when they have been used for this object, they may be carefully studied. Then the disadvantages arising possibly from sight playing, that is, overrapidity and inexactness, &c., may be corrected.
In fine, may we never, indeed, willingly suppress that most fruitful means of animating and exalting the musical sense, invention; but with joy and hope, on all occasions, most tenderly foster and encourage it, whether it be exerted in writing or at the instrument. How often is the young pupil reproved by teachers and parents, if he allows himself to try and try, and seek out his fancies on the piano! How often-we have already deplored it-is he told that that is useless dreaming, and that a finger exercise is much more improving! How often are his first attempts at writing thrown away with contempt, and his want of talent, or the widely different profession for which he is destined, urged upon him, in order to withdraw him from such nonsensical fancies and vain exertions. To a highly-gifted individual, such insults are simply discouraging. To a less gifted person, they are too often destructive. Let no man be enticed into the profession of a composer. He who does not feel interiorly an irresistible calling to that course of life, has no security for its success. But let not the highest and most prolific form in which musical sense and power can be worked out
and perfected, be disturbed. We are all exercised from childhood upwards, in classical employment, even in versification. Are we, therefore, all educated to be authors or, perhaps, poets? By no means. But there is no more powerful means of developing the mind, and making it master of its organ-speech, than the elaboration of its own thoughts and imaginings. How much more important, then, must such a means be in music, for which we have no such enormous preparatory formation, than in thinking and writing, for which our whole life has been a school, by our incessant thought and speech, from the earliest age.
FIFTH SECTION.-OBJECTS OF MUSICAL
What is to be learned, and which is the proper time for each kind of instruction? These questions, of the utmost importance in their minutest particulars, demand the gravest and most searching consideration from parents and teachers when they have determined to dedicate a child to musical education. To professors of music, these questions must always be of the highest interest. In order to point out, at least, the most important periods, we will take a cursory view of all the relationships and circumstances of musical employment, whether as a profession or otherwise.
We must, in the first place, clear away a deep and widely diffused prejudice. On the question being asked, What ought to be learned in music? it is usual, particularly among teachers, to make a distinction between those persons who make music a profession, and those who cultivate it merely for pleasure and general humanizing education; between future professional men and mere amateurs. The former, according to the judgment of the teachers, ought to be fundamentally-the latter, however, only superficially, or less fundamentally instructed. This distinction is one of the most erroneous and destructive that ever crept into discipline. That education alone is beneficially fruitful which is most perfectly grounded; and, what is more, it is the easiest, and consumes the least time. In order to be convinced of the truth of these assertions, it is only necessary to have a right understanding of the nature of this fundamental knowledge; not of the false pedantry which assumes its name (and is as useless to the professional man as to the amateur), but of the study absolutely necessary for the comprehension of the real nature of the science, of the close connection of all that is essential, and of the constant and rational development of one form or figure from another, so that the preceding form necessarily leads on the succeeding, and the succeeding form is always prepared and facilitated by the preceding. Between the instruction of the artist and of the amateur there is only this difference-that the latter may discontinue his pursuit of the science earlier than the former, at any point or position of artistic power he may choose to fix; whereas the artist is necessarily obliged to dedicate himself entirely, once and for ever, to the art of his election.
Now to return to our own proper question-What
is to be learned, and which is the right time for each study? SONG.
We have already said that if possible every one should learn music: we now pronounce our opinion more specially, that every one, if possible, should learn singing. Song is man's own true peculiar music. The voice is our own peculiar connate instrument—it is much more-it is the living sympathetic organ of our souls. Whatever moves within us, whatever sensation or emotion we feel, becomes immediately embodied and perceptible in our voice; and so, indeed, the voice and song, as we may observe in the earliest infancy, are our first poetry and the most faithful companions of our feelings, until the "shrill pipe of tremulous age." If, as in song, properly so called, music and speech be lovingly united, and the words be those of a true poet, then is consummated the most intimate union of mind and soul, of understanding and feeling-that combined unity, in which the whole power of the human being is exhibited, and exerts upon the singer and the hearer that wonderful might of song, which by infant nations was considered, not quite untruly, as supernatural; and whose softened, and therefore, perhaps, more beneficent influence, now contributes to social elevation and moral improvement.
Song is the most appropriate treasure of the solitary, and it is at the same time the most stringent and forcible bond of companionship, even from the jovial or the sentimental popular catch of the booth, to the sublime creations of genius resounding from congregated artistic thousands assembled by one common impulse in the solemn cathedral. Devotion in our churches becomes more edifying; our popular festivals and days of enjoyment become more mannerly and animated; our social meetings more lively and intellectually joyful; our whole life, in short, becomes more elevated and cheerful by the spread of the love of song and of the power of singing among the greatest possible number of individuals. And these individuals will feel themselves more intimately connected with society, more largely participating in its benefits, of more worth in it and gaining more by it, when they unite their voices in the social harmony of their friends.
To the musician, but more especially to the composer, song is an almost irreplaceable and indispensable means of calling forth and seizing the most delicate, tender, and deepest strains of feeling from our inmost sensations. No instrument can be a substitute for song, the immediate creation of our own soul in our own breast; we can have no deeper impression of the relations of sound, of the power of melody; we cannot work more effectively upon our own souls and upon those of our hearers than by heartfelt song.
Every friend of music, therefore, should sing; and every musician, who has a tolerable voice, should be a master of song in every branch. Song should, also, in the order of time, be our first musical exercise. This should begin in the earliest childhood, in the third to the fifth year, if it be not possible earlier,
but not in the form of instruction. The song of the mother which allures imitation, the joyful circle of children playing together, is the first natural singing school, where, without notes or masters, simply according to hearing and fancy, the fibres of the soul are first freely excited and set in vibration. Instruction in music, properly so called, should not in general begin until the second step of life's ladder, between the seventh and fourteenth years.
By far the greatest number of individuals have sufficient qualifications of voice for singing, and to justify their pursuit of the art with reasonable hope of success. Indeed, very considerable and valuable vocal faculties are much more common than is generally imagined. There is certainly less deficiency of natural gifts than of persons observant and talented enough to discover, to foster, and to cultivate them. In the meantime, if indeed every one have not disposition and means (and good fortune) to become of some consequence as a singer, let us consider that even with an inconsiderable voice, much of the most touching and joy-inspiring capabilities may be attained, if feeling, artistic cultivation, and a vivid conception speak through a medium but slenderly endowed. Why should any one be dissatisfied if small means and trouble have made him capable of touching our hearts with a joyful or tender song; or have enabled him to participate skilfully in the choral assemblies of his fellow citizens. Whether it may be advisable to proceed farther in singing and the cultivation of the voice, must be decided by the circumstances and inclinations of each individual. From composers, conductors, and higher masters, a complete knowledge of everything belonging to singing is to be absolutely demanded, and also practical execution thereof; unless, indeed, organic defect should render it to them impossible. A composer who does not expressly study singing, and practise it as far as possible, will scarcely be able to write for the voice; he will with difficulty acquire the more delicate musical declamation; he will never become entire master of the life-like conducting of the voice, which is something far different from mere correctness.
PLAYING ON THE PIANO.
After singing, the command of the pianoforte is our most essential qualification, and among us is so considered. The piano is the only instrument, excepting the scarcely accessible organ, on which melody and harmony, and the rich web of combined and simultaneous voices or parts, can be produced with accuracy and almost unlimited magnificence of effect. It is also highly adapted to accompanying song, and to conducting. From these advantages it has happened, that for this single instrument more masterpieces have been written, since the time of Seb. Bach up to Beethoven, than for all other instruments put together. Most songs have been composed with accompaniment for that instrument-organ parts can be transferred without any change-and whatever quartet and orchestral music found favour with the public, was immediately presented to pianoforte players in the form of
arrangements, &c. Therefore, no branch of practice can promise so rich a harvest as piano playing; and it must be acknowledged, that, without so abundant a field, any extended acquaintance with our musical literature would be scarcely possible to the world in general. To the composer this instrument is nearly indispensable, partly on the foregoing grounds, and partly because no other is so appropriate, both for exercising and exciting his own imagination and for proving the effect of many-part compositions. It is equally important to the conductor and to the singing master. Even its defects are advantages to musical education, and particularly to the composer. The pianoforte is greatly inferior to bowed and wind instruments in inward feeling and power of tone or quality of sound, in the power of sustaining a tone in equality of force, in crescendo or in diminuendo, in melting two or more tones into each other, and in gliding imperceptibly from the one to the other, all which so admirably succeeds on bowed instruments. The piano does not fully satisfy the ear its performance, compared to that of bowed and wind instruments, is in a manner colourless, and its effect, in comparison with the resplendence of an orchestra, is as a drawing to a painting. But exactly on this account the piano moves more powerfully the creative faculty of both player and hearer; for it requires their assistance to complete and colour, to give full significance to that which is but spiritually indicated. Thus imagination fosters the new idea, and penetrates there with to our hearts; while other instruments immediately seize, and move, and satisfy the senses, and by their means attack the feelings more powerfully, perhaps, in a sensuous direction, but not so fruitfully in the soul. This is probably the chief reason why the piano has become the especial instrument for spiritually musical education, and particularly for composition; since other instruments easily overcome their votaries, whom they seduce into their own instrumental peculiarities, and create a one-sided mannerism in their productions.
For the earliest instruction, also, the piano has the advantage (good tuning being supposed) of presenting to the pupil correct tones, and a clear insight into the tonic system by the key-board.
But just from this point arises the important quality of the instrument, which may be perilous to all the real advantages derived from it, unless it be sedulously counteracted; and this, we must confess, is at present but little thought of-nay, indeed, that dangerous quality is speculated on, and an entirely false system of education is built on it for outward show, through whose apparent advantages even the true artistic education is represented in a false light, as ignorant and baneful. Since the pianoforte has its fixed tones provided, it is easier to play upon this instrument than upon any other, without any internal feeling of correctness of tone, or even without hearing, and to arrive at a certain degree of mechanical dexterity. How often do we meet ready piano players, who, from want of a cultivated feeling of tone, are incapable of singing