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of natural imitation has been, upon rule is there for the distribution of the whole, adhered to. As in nature, light and shade over a surface where grief expresses itself slowly, and joy no intelligible form, no natural picture rapidlys so in modern compositions, is delineated. We may indeed "mare as well as in the old airs, the vivaces ble” such a surface; but if the lights are played quickly, and the affetuosos were shadowed and the shadows lightmore slowly. As in nature, we find ened—if the f's were turned into that passion hurries particular words pps, and the pps into .ffs, what difand tones, although the general effect ference could' it make?
It is easy is plaintive and slow, so in the old pa- to give emphasis to that which is thetic airs we find that semiquavers to destitute of meaning, just as a boy thie extent of two or four at once, are reading Latin“ nonsense-verses” at generally and judiciously used. In mo- school, applies to them the same indern music, the same principle seems tonations that he is taught to give to to be decideilly admitted ; but push- a line of Virgil. This is only a triek, ed by a love of novelty and of execu- however, to make that look something tion to an excess which, far o'erstep- like sense, which in reality is devoid ping the modesty of nature, of course of it, and if the emphasis were retotally mars the effect originally in- versed, it would do just as well. The tended. To the exaggerations of the most glaring instance, perhaps, of the stage may be traced many of the cor- united use and abuse of imitation in ruptions of musical expression; and it modern scientific musical expression, seems to be probable, that the intro. is the “shake.” The shake is in readuction of long hurried hubbubs of lity a poetical heightening of that trepassages into airs essentially slow, has mulous effect of the voice which is albeen much encouraged by theatrical ways produced, especially at the close performances. Be this as it may, it of a sentence where the tone begins to would be an easy matter to point out drop, by intense feeling. In accorda score or two of scientific adagios and ance with this law, in all music the largos which a person, unable to read shake is introduced towards the close music, and not having the real notes of a passage, which usually descends. as written, and the divisions of the The natural shake is any thing but bars in his mind's eye, would never that which musicians call a perfect discover to be in essentially slow time. shake. It is a tremulous imperfect The only effect of such composition vibration, and not a violent and disa upon unlearned hearers, is to surprise tinct oscillation between two tones, and confound them. As to touching which is a matter of most difficult vothe finer feelings, the thing is out of cal acquirement. In nature it rarely the question ; indeed, the cvident in- occupies more time than would be re tention of the composer is to take ad- quired for a crotchet in a commoirvantage of the slowness of the tiine, in time Andante movement. In modern order to exhibit his own skill and compositions, however, it is no unua that of the performer, in running sual thing for it to occupy a wholes's through divisions and sub-divisions. bar of four crotchets nay, two suca In the management of piano and forte bars—and upon exaggerations like: the same principle of imitation may be these composers pride themselves. traced, however faintly. All natural So thoroughly forgotten are the na“ discourses” of passion are alterna- tural reasons upon which these montions of softness swelling into loud- strosities have been originally built, ness, and loudness dying into softness, that in treatises on musical composia as the gusts of feeling rise and fall. tion they are not even attempted to be In expressive pathetic airs the imita- accounted for. The reader may look tion is accordingly true to nature. in vain for any intellectual explana- ! But in modern compositions, especially tion of the origin of piano and of forte, of the “ lengthy sort,” though the or of shakes or trills, or rétarelations, practice reinain, and in full force or pauses. He is taught by experience the reason for it is gone. Ask a mu- to expect the occurrence of such things sician why such a fortè and such a in certain places, and after passages piano are marked, and he only answers of a certain description--but why, he you with some vague and indefinite is not told and he need not enquire. appeal to taste or to precedent. He In the well-known book of Avison, calls it “light and shude;" but what the foundation of musical expression
is hardly once attempted to be evolved, Eating up the farm
and for the detection of the very prin- Blythe and merry, sciple on which the treatise professes As a little country las.
to hinge, we are referred to nature? Then he replies ——“ Hear the no--but to the scores of Geminiani, As he trudges thro' the grounds,
out zounds! 1
Cresceinbini and Corelli! Mr Ralph in Yonder beast has broke my mounds ;
his pamphlet does nearly the same If the parish has no pounds, =
thing. Dr Burney at times seems to Kill, and give him to the hounds. recognize the origin of expression in then Da Capo, both join in repeating
melody in the imitation of nature, the last stanza ; and this tacked to a i but generally contradicts himself in the next page, floundering between
tolerable tune will serve you for a couple the effects of inelody and harmony;
of months—you observe.” In the same sometimes speaking of them as disa spirit of ridicule Sir Richard Steele tinet things, and sometimes confound-makes Trim, in his comedy of the ing them together. Both in the Funeral, sing Campley's Cheque for practice and theory of vocal and in three hundred pounds ; repeating, strumental performers, the same iga
“ hundred-hundred-hundred-benorance, or peglect, of any resort to ter reason than can be given for most
cause there are three huudred;" a bet... nature for the explanation of melodious meaning, is exhibited. Seienrepetitions in music. With indiffera tific singing and playing constantly
ence to expression bad taste necessarily degenerate into a display of trickery. of musical people, we shall everywhere
comes in. If we criticise the practice We are called to attend to exhibitions of the voice and hand, which have as which always are the result of a want
'find that vagueness and inconsistency little reference to natural intonation as the twirls of a high French ballet of reference to first principles. Thus have to graceful motion. Of the in- a celebrated vocalist of the day, in difference of most professional singers « the Bewildered Maid,” gives the
that marvellously mawkish ballad, to the meaning of the airs they sing, word, “ battle,” with a furious actheir indifference to the quality of the words is a stubborn evidence. They though the passage in which it occurs
cent-“ in King Cambyses' vein," alwill as soon attach doggrel trash to a favourite tune as the effusions of is one of melancholy and quiet narraour best poets. A glaring
instance of tive. I have heard a person of reputed this is the stuff which Mr Braham musical refinement laud the setting of and others are content to tack to the
the words, “ follow, follow,” in the melody of Robin Adair, although the
well-known Mermaid's song, “ bebest song-writers which this country cause the notes seemed to follow each or perhaps any other ever produced other”—a brilliant musical illustration Burns and Moorehave written beau- of oratorical action, so ingeniously aptiful and appropriate
songs to this very plied to that famous line, air. Foote, in his Commissary, has “ The long-long-round of ten readmirably ridiculed this piece of ill volving--years." taste. Hear Dr Catgut's account of Nay, I have been told, on inquiring the approved mode of writing a comic why a forle was to be followed by a opera : “ Last week, in a ramble to piuno in the repetition of the two dotDulwich, I made these rhymes into a ted crotchets in “ Fly not yet," that duet for a new comic opera I have it was an echo! In Bombet's Lives of upon the stocks. Mind--for I look Haydn and Mozart, some notable speupon the words as a model for that cimens of musical criticism occur. The kind of writing."
best, perhaps, is the chuckling self-saFirst she" There to see the sluggish tisfied way in which he favours us ass,
with the edifying anecdote of Mozart's Thro' the meadows as we pass,
composing the admired overture to ill intamani
In his account of the performances at Westminster Abbey, in commemoration of | Handel, he talks of the sublimity of effect produced by the multitude of voices and in| struments, as if it were something peculiar to the music; forgetting that this kind of
sublimity is common to all loud sounds, whether arising from shouting, from thunder, from the firing of cannon, the waves of the sea, or Don Quixote's fulling mills.
Don Juan wise trunk and sleepy. for listening; and curlosity was the He absolutely lugs himself on the passion to be gratified. We go to hear idet of having discovered, in the lead- the human voice do what it never did ing castage, a striking resemblance to before, for the same reason that we go the half-yawn half-snore which the to see human legs and arms do what nodding composer might be supposed they never did before. We admire to emit at intervals. Now, what, in the him who runs highest upon the muname of common-sense, has this to do sical scale, upon precisely the same with Don Juan? or in what way could principle that we applaud the Indian it be a suitable overture to the exploits jugglers twirling their balls, or Mr of that fiery hero, or, indeed, to those Ireland leaping over a pole thirty feet of any body else, unless the celebrated high. journal of Drunken Barnaby be dra- The observation may be fanciful; matized and brought upon the stage. but it is an odd fact, that musicians,
If we inquire into the particulars of in the modern acceptation of the term, the admiration expressed for airs and have failed in securing that respect songs in general, we continually dis- and hold upon the imagination which cover either that the difficulty and the obscurer bards seem to have entrick of the execution, or the general joyed. Shakespeare never brings them smoothness and harmony of the ac- upon the stage but to ridicule them, companiments, are the sole grounds. and "a fiddler, a minikin-scraper, á They are taken for the excitement ra- pum-pum!" are no unusual epithets ther than for the meaning-pretty with the older diramatists. It is remuch as the Indian convert is said to markable, too, that of those to whom have taken the sacrament, wishing “it nature has allotted a share of sensibihad been brandy." Songs are often lity above the common portion of mansaid to be good, when well sung ; a kind, very many have been known to qualification of praise which seenis to prefer simple airs to more scientific mean, that the difficulty of getting compositions. Accustomed to delight through them is the real induce- in and to analyse the fluctuations and ment for hearing any one make the ate combinations of the passions, they have tempt. With an expressive air, if the been delighted, above all others, with singer can give the meaning, it is natural, and at the same time poetical nearly sufficient. In music, as in every intonation. Burns was so ;-0 is thing else, even an involuntary exhi- Moore;-0 was Madam de Stael;bition of skill which draws attention so was Jackson of Exeter,-at once from the subject to the performer, is author, painter, and musician. This disadvantageous. In modern singing, last, indeed, drew upon him the wrath however, this rule is reversed. Every of the musical reviewers of his day, convenient pause is occupied by a ca- who accused him of attempting, in his dence, which is neither more nor less Treatise, to include all good composithan a barefaced display of the talents tions in the class of mere “ Elegies," of the performer. In the midst of the as they styled pathetic airs. Buona. most pathetic appeal we are to break parte had similar predilections; and ciťand listen to the melodious vaulting was reproached by the irritable Cheruof Madame or Signor. It is just as if bini, with having no other idea of a AIr Kean were to fill up the intervals serious opera, than its being a succesof his bye-play in tragedy by leaping sion of grave andante movements. through the back-scene, because he The Emperor, no doubt, was rather can play Harlequin as well as Othello. too domineering a critic. After tellNow all this goes to prove, that the ing the unfortunate composer, that gratification of what is often called his most elaborate complications of musical taste, is, at bottom, that of semiquavers “had no meaning," he mere curiosity; but it remains to be used to take the liberty of striking his shown why curiosity is to be confound- pen through them, and insisting upon al with a feeling of the effects of mu- sense, sic. Would they who flocked to hear
a hard Catalani sing Rode's violin variations, “ And hapless situation for a Bard. have felt the same pleasure in hear- It was perhaps too much for human ing them played upon a barrel-organ,or nature in any shape ;-but had Naupon the violin even of Rode himself? poleon never played the tyrant else Certainly not. It was the difficulty of where, the world would have bad mo the attempt, then, that was the motive great reason to complain. In pur
suance of this train of reasoning, it is moderately judici observable, that the greatest compo- respond, in their sers have been men who, in general with the modulations talent and intellectual qualifications, sort of “ gamut of the were below mediocrity ;-the conver- expressive and as edifying ad te of sation of Mozart was common-place; Garrick, might be thus gone through -Haydn was an ordinary man ;-and The examples might be thus classed : Handel so decidedly dull, that even Despairing grief ;"Woes my heart Dr Burney, his admirer and eulogist, that we should sunder.”—(Allan Ramis constrained to admit it.
say.) Grief with revenge ;As appeals to experiment, however ging and bright."-(Moore.). Pasdistant, are always better than mere sionate affection ;--- Here's a health argument, a few musical notes, in ex- to ane I loe dear."—(Burns.) Roplanation, are added. They may as- mantic affection;" Will ye gae to sist in affording some idea of the man- the Indies ?"-(Burns.) Solemn rener in which the natural intonations gret ;-" The Harp that once," and of the voice are the foundation of ex- ** Oh! breathe not his name.”pression in airs. The rises and falls (Moore.) Contemplative passsion ;of the voice, in plainly reading the an- My Love is like the red red Rose.” nexed fragments of songs, were noted -(Burns.) Melancholy wildness ;as nearly as possible from the piano- “Silent, oh! Moyle.”—(Moore.) The forte. They are placed below the dif- mixt serious and playful ;-" Bard s ferent airs, in order to shew how far, Legacy.”—(Moore.) Romantic sociand in what manner, they correspond ality. .“ Auld lang syne.”—(Burns.) with them. They will, of course, be Poetical joviality; -“ Pass round the found to be less abrupt and marked. cup.”-(Moure.) The obstacle to exThe voice naturally rises and subsides tending this experiment to an indefiby semitones, unless under the influ- nite length, is the difficulty of finding ence of excitement, or violently exert- poetry precisely adapted to the musied, when it frequently goes up an oc- cal expression of the time to which it tave at once. To make comparison is affixed ;-a proof of the extreme demore easy, they are written an octave licacy of what is vulgarly considered above the reader's natural pitch. If to be one of the lowest and easiest dethe best songs of Ramsay, Burns, and partments of poetry--the art of songMoore, be tried by this test, they will, writing. I am, &c. I believe, be found, when read by a
Go where glo- ry waits thee, But, while fame e- lates thee, Oh! still
remember me. Other arms may press thee, Dearer friends ca-ress thee,
All the joys that bless thee Sweeter far may be; But when friends are
nearest, And when joys are dearest, Oh! then remember me.
O ye may gang, my bon-nie lass, -as aft as ye ha'e met me,
Where i-ther scenes and i - ther tongues may gar ye soon for - get me.
I ha'e na lived sae lang in June, but I can thole De-cem-ber;
So din-na think my heart shall break, howe'er it may re-mem- ber.
Fly not yet, 'tis just the hour When Pleasure, like the midnight flow'r
That scorns the eye of vul-gar light, Be-gins to bloom for sons of sight,
And maids that love the moon. Oh, stay! oh, stay! Joy so seldom weaves
a chain Like this to-night, that, oh! 'tis pain To break its links so soon.