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What Music Is!

An excerpt from the beginning of Chapter I: MUSIC is the method by which we use sounds for producing emotion, and may be conveniently divided into Dramatic, Classical, Lyrical, and Ecclesiastical Music. In dramatic music all the sounds used need not have a fixed relationship to each other. In classical, lyrical and ecclesiastical music the sounds should all have this fixed relationship. Sounds are produced by bowing, or blowing, or percussion; the latter is usually excluded from ecclesiastical music. Dramatic music depends more on colour than on form, Classical music more on form than colour: but both reach to the expression of the highest extreme of emotion. Lyrical music uses both colour and form, but keeps more in the middle range of emotion. Ecclesiastical music possesses forms of its own, and traverses a narrow field of immensely powerful emotion while it uses little colour, or rather it combines every colour used, with one strongly prevailing tint. It is at once apparent that dramatic music affords the widest choice of means to arouse emotion, and ecclesiastical music the narrowest; but compensation is secured by the fact that whereas in dramatic music some effects are common, or trivial, or comic; in ecclesiastical music all are dignified. These four styles combine with, and overlap each other, in an endless variety of proportion and extent, and this variety has increased in direct ratio with the quantity of emotional effect introduced into sound groupings. As music both expresses and arouses emotion, it is evident that the more composers invent sound groupings expressing emotions, the more emotions they' are likely to arouse, and the more complex the emotion desired in the listener by the composer, the more complex the sound groupings will become. Complexity may, however, be carried sg far as to become unintelligible, but as that which is unintelligible is useless, it is undesirable, and men will never continue to seek that which is useless to them or their species, but will discard it. It will probably be generally conceded that the greatest potentiality in music is beauty, and that its principal objective is pleasure. Beauty being that elegance of shapely fitness that pleases the artistic instinct, and Pleasure being that feeling of gain and satisfaction, either sensory or intelligent, which all enjoy in some degree, but in very various quantity. Differences in appreciation of the two kinds of pleasure depend upon the relative proportions of the sensory and the intelligent in each person. The pleasures of the intellect are unknown to one man; the pleasures of the senses unloved by another. It is only natural then that we find two parties among musical people; those who hold that the highest office of music is to provide for the pleasure of the greatest number, and those who maintain that the pleasure of the cultivated few is the "summum bonum." The first give the palm to simple sensory pleasure; the second exalt intelligent pleasure. The first require little knowledge but much love. They resemble those who look out upon some lovely scene in Nature, when the ever-varying fresh lights of morning chase each other over the pearly grey of the soft still sea, flecked here and there into light ripples by the first whispers of the waking breeze, which presently begins to stir the dew-spangled foliage into diamond showers, and the quiet flowers into tender coloured, tremulous smiles and swaying laughter, as the white, thin veils of morning mist fold and unfold, half-revealing numberless beauties, which one by one woo the sight, and draw into a delightful dreamland of simple, healthy sensory enjoyment....
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