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"brilliancy" of the passage to which I have | Reeves, has been made in two choral and alluded by an elevation of pitch, it might instrumental concerts, under the direction not have occurred to him to write it a sem- of Mr. Joseph Barnby. No musician who itone or even a tone higher? Evidence is was present at the first of these can have not wanting to show that he was acquainted failed to have been struck by the excellent with the keys of E flat and E natural, and timbre or quality, especially of the soprano also that the instrumentalists of his time and tenor voices, as well as by a certain air could play in them. He knew better; and of ease characterizing the delivery of all would not have risked a passage which the vocalists, principal or other. This was could never be sung otherwise than harshly, less apparent later in the performance than rarely otherwise than out of tune. at the beginning; not because the ear got used to it, but because, as the temperature rose, so did the pitch with it; and so will it always, till our public rooms are better ventilated. By the end of the first part of the concert it was somewhat higher than that recommended by the Society of Arts; by the end of the second part, much higher. This rise was no doubt accelerated by the organ, which, being elevated some ten feet above the highest part of the orchestra, luxuriated in a temperature as many degrees higher, and therefore inevitably kept the lead, in sharpness, of all its brother instruments. Nor are these all the disadvantages under which Mr. Barnby's experiment has been tried. The wind-instruments such of them as were new-were already adapted to the new state of things. Not so the stringed instruments all of them old. A sudden declension of pitch must for them be attended always with some loss of sonority. Instruments of this class will not, at a moment's notice, adapt themselves to a pitch other than that to which they have been long-used -or mis-used.* They are animal, as well as vegetable, and resent unaccustomed treatment-new strings, or relaxed tension of old, and being made to vibrate otherwise than of yore. But these and other shortcomings notwithstanding, Mr. Barnby's experiment was quite successful enough to justify perseverance in it, with a little modification of his modus operandi. I venture to think that in his choice of a pitch he has made a mistake; that the French "Diapason Normal" is still too high; and that he would have done better to have adopted what is known as the "Theoretical Pitch" (of C at 512 vibrations per second). Could the pitch throughout any given performance be by any contrivance maintained, the little difference between the two would be of slight practical importance; but an ascent of nearly a semitone in the course of a concert being not at all an uncommon circumstance, it is advisable to
At one of the earliest meetings of the committee on Uniform Musical Pitch, appointed by the Society of Arts, the following resolution was passed unanimously:"That as the basis of any recommendation of a definite pitch, the capabilities and convenience of the human voice in singing the compositions of the great vocal writers, should be the first consideration." This resolution was passed nearly ten years ago, "unanimously," by a body deeply interested in the subject, and certainly competent to discuss it in all its bearings. They subsequently recommended the adoption of a certain pitch lower than that obtaining then, and a fortiori, now. Why was it not generally adopted? Or, why was little or nothing done in the matter? Why were things allowed to go on pretty much as before?
Partly, no doubt, because the necessity for any change has not even yet been unanimously admitted; but chiefly on account of the very great cost of making it. The particular pitch recommended by the Society of Arts (C at 528 vibrations per second), which had already been adopted by a Congress of Musicians at Stuttgard, in 1834, was, not without protest, adopted by the Society, as a compromise. It was thought by some to be too high, too near to the present pitch, to afford the relief sought in a new one. They did not oppose its recommendation, however, because they believed and the belief was shared by many practical instrumentalists - that existing instruments (wind-instruments mostly) could in most cases be adapted to it with comparatively little cost. Experience seems to have justified the protest, as it has certainly not confirmed the belief; seeing that the first attempt that has been made to realize the intentions of the Society has been in excess of what their committee recommended, and that the attempt has been carried out, not by the alteration of old instruments, but by the purchase of new ones, adapted to the French " 'Diapason Normal" of 1859, which gives C at 522 vibrations per second. This attempt, doubtless connected with the protest of Mr. Sims
An eminent double-bass player whom I ques tioned between the parts of the performance about the change, said, "I am afraid every moment lest my sound-post should fall," a catastrophe which would inevitably have been followed by the entire collapse of his instrument.
start from as low a number of vibrations as may not be positively inconvenient.
The theoretical pitch is so called on account of its having been assumed by almost every writer on acoustical science as the true and natural one; originally, no doubt, because of the simplicity of the numbers by which it expresses the vibrations due to the The general adoption of the theoretical successive octaves of the lowest audible or any other uniform pitch-for uniformity sound, these numbers being all "powers is hardly less to be desired than depression of two," - 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, and so on. - may still be postponed for a time. The Whatever attraction the simplicity of this difficulties attending it are very great, and series might have for a theorist, it could not it is useless to ignore them; but they are, be expected to have any for practical musi- however, great, not insuperable. They cians, unless the numbers themselves repre- are difficulties of detail only, or, to put the sented notes apt for musical practice; in matter in its simplest aspect, difficulties of other words, a pitch at which " the compo-pounds, shillings, and pence. How are the sitions of the great vocal writers" might be expenses of change to be met? How is an executed effectively with due regard to orchestral performer - generally the worst "the capabilities and convenience of the paid of all living artists- to replace a human voice."* A pitch may be too low costly instrument, often all but his only as well as too high; and if it could be shown property? It must be borne in mind too that the adoption of any pitch, however that this is no case for bit-by-bit reform, philosophical, put the average vocalist to a The pitch must be lowered, much or little, disadvantage in executing the compositions at once; and it is clear that, when the time of the great vocal writers, it would be a for doing this arrives, a vast number of exsufficient reason for rejecting it at once. isting instruments will have to submit to But we have seen already supposing the considerable modification, and many will opinion of one of the greatest of those great be rendered altogether useless. Even modwriters to be worthy of attention that the ification will be costly; sacrifice, of course, adoption of a pitch even lower somewhat much more so. than that of 512 vibrations per second could not entail any such inconvenience; seeing that it is certainly higher than the pitch in England in Handel's time, and a little higher even than the highest in Europe a few years after his death-that of St. Petersburg, which in 1771 was A 417 equal to C 500. It is higher, too, than the Parisian pitch of 1788, i.e., three years only before the death of Mozart; and but a few vibrations lower than the Viennese pitch, in 1834, - when Schubert had been dead six years, Beethoven seven, Weber eight, and Hayden twenty-five; when Schumann had attained the age of twenty-four, Mendelssohn twenty-six, Meyerbeer forty-two, and Spohr fifty-one. Finally, it is but a few vibrations (practically inappreciably) lower than the pitch-if the unanimous testimony of innumerable tuning-forks is worth anything- which regulated the Philharmonic Society of London from 1812 to 1842, at whose concerts many of the best works of Mendelssohn had been performed, before the last of these years, under his direction. His brilliant career, as is well known, was prematurely closed only a few
years after, in 1847. It is not too much to say that our last great oratorio, Elijah, was composed with reference to a pitch nearly identical with the theoretical, and, indeed, that all the great composers of the first half of this century were educated at, or at about, it.
"The voice," said one of the greatest singers and best practical musicians of the age, Madame Goldschmidt-Lind, at one of the meetings of the Society of Arts-"The voice is the pitch."
But we have all of us seen greater difficulties than these tided over. Let it be shown that this is no mere personal question -no matter of convenience to particular performers, great or small, old or young
but, on the contrary, a question affecting the pleasure, and as Handel would have said, "improvement," of all who love music, and as a consequence feel kindly towards its practitioners, and somehow or other, sooner or later the sooner the better — it will be carried. Where there's a will there's a way. JOHN HULLAH.
From The Spectator, 27 March. THE DETHRONEMENT OF THE FUR KINGS.
THERE is power left somewhere in this Constitution of ours, though it is occasionally hard to know where to find it. It is very difficult sometimes to get a very little thing done well, but then it is not much more difficult to get an immense thing done admirably. The machine is so big that it takes endless fuel to put it in motion at all; but once in motion, it can do almost any kind of work. If we have to march a regiment of cavalry from London to Hounslow we generally make some mess, leave the
attractive force, and colonies are tumbling into it as little planets would into the sun, if the sun's attractive force were suddenly quintupled. Newfoundland is yielding, British Columbia is drifting, and last and
men without rations, or disable half the horses, or commit some betise of that kind; but if we have to reconquer India, we reconquer it with very little more apparent effort. A hundred or so convicts in New Zealand, or a few thousand Kaffirs in South most important of all, the Hudson's Bay Africa, seem to tax all our energies; but Territory, the largest on the continent, is an effort not a bit more exhaustive des- fast floating towards the centre of gravity troys a dozen armies supported by a conti- at Ottawa. Yet a few months, or it may be nent in rebellion, or plucks down an Afri- a few weeks, and a dependent Parliament, can King from his throne near the Moun--strangest of constitutional phenomena, tains of the Moon. More has been said and may be ruling a territory in which the more trouble taken about the Thames mother country would not make a province, Embankment than about the Indian a country greater in size, in population, in Railway System, and the Government revenue, and, for aught man knows, it may which is bothered by garotters strikes be in resources, than the United States down pirates almost by volition. At this when they commenced the career that has moment, the Colonial Office, supposed to be led them to the top of the world. the weakest among all our Departments, The process by which this last obstacle which gets puzzled with any little intercol- has been removed is an amusing illustration onial squabble about tariffs, looks solemn of the methods by which British politicians when a Legislative Council at the Antipodes pursue their ends. It was, to speak shortly, quarrels with a Legislative Assembly about a State necessity that the Hudson's Bay a money bill, and is fretted to death by the Territory should be added to the Dominion, perversities of a silly African Bishop, is that the stomach of British America should silently and quietly completing one of the be placed under the control of the brain. biggest enterprises ever undertaken by The Dominion hungered after it, to begin statesmen, building up across the Atlantic a with, and our policy was to feed the DominFederal Republic strong enough to hold its ion even to satiety. The United States' own among the nations of the world, with a people were threatening it, and to loosen territory second in area only to that of their talons when once fleshed is as difficult Russia, with an army based on conscription, and dangerous as to loosen our claws. and a marine surpassing that of many first- Above all, it was necessary to a plan which class powers. Nobody chatters about it, involves the security of the whole Empire, scarcely any outsider looks at it, nobody and it may be of the whole world, the cresings pæans over it; but steadily as a tree, ation of a Second State on the American silently as the Temple of Solomon, the Continent. There were no inhabitants to Canadian Dominion rises into the air. object, no enemies to be subdued, no grand Whoever hit upon that word for the New feats of diplomacy to be achieved, there was State, with its curious suggestion and yet only a little known and not very powerful avoidance alike of royalty and republican- Company, seated in Fenchurch Street, to be ism, so large in its significance and yet so got out of the way. A body of utterly unfree from pomp, had a genius for words. known shareholders, changing from day to The attempt at first seemed hopeless, but day, and politically quite insignificant, posthe British Government had made up its sessed or said they possessed sovereign and mind, and quietly, carefully, without fuss or property rights over four hundred millions proclamation, it availed itself of its own of square miles of the earth's surface, with apparent disadvantages, of the shadow right of shutting anybody out whom they thrown by its terrible neighbour, of British might please. A Stuart ignorant of geoCanadian overbearingness, of French Can-graphy had signed a document he never adian suspiciousness, of Nova Scotian 'cute-read for the benefit of somebody who sold ness, of New Brunswicker avarice, and of it again, and so the purchasers became Newfoundland poverty, coerced here, and monarchs among men. The claim was so cajoled there, and bribed when nothing else ludicrously big that it killed itself, as a claim would do, till difficulties seemed to dis- to the air would; but to the last minute of appear, and the Dominion stood up not his life the ablest man the Company ever only a State, but a great one, with a strong secured, the late Mr. Edwin Ellice, never political pulse, and a government which would say clearly what he thought, or his dare hang, and a good, healthy instinct of constituents thought, or he thought they Imperialism, shown in the usual way of an thought the precise extent of their claim. insatiable lust for land. So great is the There were men among them down to Wednew creation, that it is exerting already an nesday last who believed themselves en
titled to sell the Territory in full property | £300,000 in cash is not too much, or the and sovereignty to the United States as shares would not have fallen on 'Change, Napoleon sold Louisiana, or Spain Florida; the lands conceded at once are small, only and the most moderate of thein, - moder- 50,000 acres in all, and we fancy keen ate, sensible, "warm" citizens, like Mr. American "pre-emptors "would be sorry Bonar, -evidently thought that they were to give two-pence an acre for the future entitled to treat with the British Govern- rights of reservation. If Canada does not ment on strictly equal terms, and talked grow they will not be worth anything, and about "vested rights" as if the Territory if Canada does, who is to enforce them? had been an acre in St. Pancras. A conti- Suppose Canada conquered or independent nental government met in such a plan by in ten years, how much will Fenchurch such pretensions would have quietly de- Street get? At the same time, the terms clared that the matter was political, that considered as compensation to common subordinate sovereignty was a relic of bad shareholders are not unjust, for though the times, and wherever its flag flew it ruled shares had previously been inflated by hopes directly and for all purposes. The British and ideas, they have fallen very little, the Government, however, is milder in its pro- Company retains its hunting grounds, and cesses. It first of all, through successive if the animals are killed off by those pests Secretaries of State, whittled away the of the hunters, human beings, the price of claim to ultimate sovereignty, arguing that furs will rise in proportion, furs, like gems, the King could not grant it, or the Com- being worn mainly as evidence of wealth, pany receive it, and what it had received and there are new markets rising every day could be taken away, like the similar at their very doors. The shareholders are sovereignty of the East India Company, by selling their real properties at a fair if Act of Parliament; then it forbade, through moderate price, and as for their dream Lord Granville and by a mere incidental properties, they are in this logical dilemma. remark in a letter, the sale of the Territory Either their rights are real or unreal, If to the Union: and then it offered a quiet the latter, they are trying to impose on the ultimatum. The Territory for political Government; if the former, they are sovreasons must go to Canada. The Company ereigns, and like sovereigns must accept the could have its trade as at present, certain results of revolution. Their rights to sov"blocks," i. e., scattered properties round ereignty are, at all events, not better than and about its stations, to the extent in all of those of the East India Company, which 50,000 acres, £300,000 down, and one- disappeared in a day, and their rights of twentieth of all the land to be settled territory are pretty much the same within the next fifty years, but it must those of the Indians they supplanted. formally surrender all its assumed sovereign | If the matter is to be settled on "legiand territorial rights. If it does not, inti- timate" princples, or with reference to mates Lord Granville, in his sweetest man- anything but the general welfare of the ner, we shall with the greatest reluctance, world, the rightful owners of the Hudbut still immediately take them. That is son's Bay Territory are the Hudson's Bay the meaning of his very carefully worded Company's despised Indian hunters. Reremarks about the necessity of legislation to membering that and the reluctance of the avert a political danger, and is to be read Canadians to respect their monopoly, and by the light of the Indian Act of 1858, the difficulty of restraining American squatwhich deprived a Company of a Continent ters, and the impossibility of a British without a sixpence of compensation. The Government tolerating the existing absence Government of Great Britain is mildness of law in the territory any longer, and the itself in its methods, but when it comes to determination of everybody to make the surrendering an imperial policy, alienating Dominion a defensible state, we should rea splendid colony, and risking a war with commend the shareholders to accept the the United States because a few Londoners terms as good-temperedly as they can. If think they ought to be sovereigns of terri- not, the Crown will cede its rights to the tories they cannot use, and which in their Legislature of Ottawa, Canadian lawyers hands are worth nothing, its real action is will interpret those rights, and the Comsure to be firm. The terms, we admit, are pany will find that their entire income will by no means "liberal," and we do not not be equal to the costs of their perpetual wonder at all that people who think they lawsuits. The Crown, be it remembered, are selling a Continent hardly deem them- pays no costs. selves presumptuous in asking for more.
From The Spectator, 27 March. DEBATE ON THE IRISH CHURCH QUESTION.
ror of connecting a Christian Church at all with the inheritance of violence and conquest, his contempt for the preference evinced for men of birth and culture as preachers of the Gospel in a Church of which it was once said that "not many noble, not many mighty are called," and his profound and vivid feeling that the application of the endowments to the support of the insane, the halt, and the blind, in a country where all the more refined charities are neglected on the ground of poverty, is an infinitely more Christian application of them than their application to any controversial purpose, or to any sectarian monopoly in a land cursed by religious animosities. That it was Christian in the highest sense to strip away every sign of Protestant conquest, and to substitute a beneficence which knows no creed for any species of dogmatic partiality, he evidently felt to the bottom of his heart, and engraved that feeling by the most glowing language on the somewhat obtuse perceptions of the House of Commons.
Mr. Gladstone's final reply, more even than the great and marvellous speech in which he moved the first reading of the Bill, and which was necessarily taken up with administrative detail, laid open his heart about the root of Irish disaffection. He shrinks from all conclusions which involve "an indictment against a nation "as malign, impossible, and absurd. If the Irish are ungovernable by us, it is because the crimes or blunders of our Government have revolted them, not because they are intrinsically ungovernable. To assume that all the fault is in the people and all the reason in the Government is, as Mr. Gladstone holds, to suppose what is not only against all the laws of probability, but still more against that religious instinct which assumes that all true national life tends to stimulate the nobler qualities, and to restrain the ignoble qualities, common to those who make up the nation. Mr. Gladstone asserted the moral right of the nation to predominance over any of its parts, in answer to Sir Roundell Palmer, with a force which showed how deeply he had realized the authority of national sentiment; and he asserted the moral right of the Irish section of the United Kingdom to be governed so as to make it clear that its life is not antagonistic, but supplementary to that of England and Scotland, against Mr. Gathorne Hardy, with a force which showed how deeply he had realized that we must still be recklessly alienating Irish national sentiment in order to be hated as we are. magnificent close of his speech, in which
MR. BRIGHT answered Sir S. Northcote in a speech which we should as soon think of analyzing as of analyzing a grand lyric. The smelted earnestness which is the basis of his oratory was never so conspicuous, and as he closed his superb peroration with the assertion that the disposal of the surplus realized his highest ideal of Christianity, and with the expression of his confidence that the Supreme would bless a measure founded on the "justice and mercy which are the attributes of His eternal reign," members held their breath with admiration For the first and last time in the debate a speaker sat down amidst ringing cheers from both sides.
Mr. Gladstone did not rise to reply till a quarter-past one, but when he did, rose with as much fire as if he had not been listening closely to seven or eight hours of the most wearisome debate. We have spoken of the substance of his speech elsewhere. The peroration, which, owing to the late hour, was badly reported, was exceedingly striking. It was for the interest of all, he said, that the Irish Establishment should not be kept in a prolonged agony. "As that clock's hand moves rapidly towards the dawn, so are rapidly flowing out the years, the months, the days that remain to the existence of the Irish Established Church." We were not now, as some speakers had said, just opening this question. It was opened and greatly advanced in the last Parliament, pushed on before the new constituencies, forwarded a great stage when the triumphant results of the elections became known, brought on towards the end when the late Government gave up office and chose a less responsible position from which to carry on a more desultory warfare. "Another blow," he concluded, "will now be struck in the same good cause, and I will not intercept it one single moment more."
Mr. Bright never enters into his opponent's state of mind, — scarcely even knows what the process means. But no speaker in the House is so successful in giving a true picture of deep personal feeling in relation to political questions, partly because few really feel so deeply about them, partly because still fewer have the art of painting what they feel so finely. Mr. Bright did get the House to realize adequately his hor