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Music among the early Christians

Introduction of Music with Christianity into Britain

The Troubadours and Minstrels

Music of the Fifteenth Century

Thomas of Erceldoune

Chaucer

Origin of the King's Band

Music in the Reign of Elizabeth

Continental Music in the Sixteenth Century
Celebrated Musicians and Composers

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PHILOSOPHY OF SOUND.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

ALTHOUGH the art of playing on musical instruments has become so general, in this country, that the education of a female is esteemed imperfect if she be not a tolerable performer, the science of music seldom becomes an object of study. There are many persons who, from constant practice, are able to make the meanest and least perfect instruments "discourse most eloquent music," and yet cannot account for the production of a single sound, much less for the spiritstirring harmony. When we consider the great interest which has been felt by all classes of society, during the last few years, in philosophical researches, we cannot attribute this ignorance of the philosophy of sound and the principles of music to any distaste for such inquiries. An effort has been made to inculcate the necessity of studying the styles of the more celebrated composers, and a better taste has been thus already created. An equal amount of importance will soon, we think, be attributed to the science; a know

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ledge of music should be based upon its philosophical principles; and in those instances where the teacher has failed to adopt this system, the want of a sufficient guide would probably be urged as the only reason for a course which every one would deprecate. So far as our knowledge extends, there is not a single work in the language which pretends to teach the doctrine of sound in connexion with the principles of music, in a manner calculated to assist the student. If this book should not be so extensive or perfect as many persons may wish, it will, we hope, do much to remove those difficulties which have so long prevented the study of the subjects it attempts to explain.

The time that is judiciously expended in acquiring the art of playing upon musical instruments, and in studying the principles of harmony, is by no means ill spent. There are many persons who affect to despise both the art and the science, and speak of them as pursuits only suited to inferior minds. It sometimes happens, that from an inordinate regard for the personal gratification derived from music, the mind is left uncultivated, and the ear is the only organ of communication; and that becomes so limited in its use as to convey those impressions calculated to please with far more facility than those which instruct.

There have been in this and in other countries many justly celebrated musical performers who have had scarcely any claim upon the attentions of polite, not to say educated, society, except for their skill in giving sound to a wild imagination. It is said of one of the greatest literary characters of this country, that he was once importuned by a young nobleman to listen to his performance on the flute. The

THE ABUSE OF MUSIC.

youth played well, and expected praise; but received a rebuke for the waste of much time that ought to have been devoted to the improvement of his own mind, and in the service of his country. This has sometimes been used as an argument against the study of music as an art; but it was not the intention of the moralist to object to the study in all cases as a useless expenditure of time, but a misappropriation of skill in one instance. We do not hesitate to say, that we can perceive no difference between the fame of a man who is nothing more than a skilful musician and one who is an expeditious conjuror; and we should prefer that of an ingenious blacksmith to either. But when we consider the proud honour of the musical composer, ranked in all ages with the poet, we discover that music is more than an art; it demands the aid of the imagination as well as the fingers.

How vast and unbounded are the pleasures derived from music! All the passions are under its control. Now it wakens the latent courage in the breast of the soldier; and now administers to the pensive sorrow of the weeping mother; at one moment it inspires the soul with sublime and hallowed awe, and at the next gives life to unbounded mirth. It is suited to stimulate the feeling of devotion, and to increase the boisterous pleasures of a village harvest-home. We listen with equal delight, but with different sensibilities, to the rich and overpowering strains of the organ, and the soft luxuriant tone of the flute. In all its variety of intensity, time, and style, it pleases; for it is harmony still, and leads the mind a willing captive to its power.

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