Imágenes de páginas

We find no difficulty in reconciling the judgment enough to perceive that not low opinion which we entertain of the every random combination, even of congreat mass of American music, with the cords, is agreeable to the ear; but not lavourable reception which has been given possessing science enough to leave the it in many parts of this country. It is beaten track and yet keep within the an observation of Dr. Burney that infe- bounds of legitimate composition, unacrior music commonly gratifies even the quainted with the laws which regulate most susceptible ear, so long as that the progression of the fundamental bass, which is superior is unknown. The the admission of discords, and the intro-, teachers of sacred music in this country duction of modulations, they have athave to a great extent been interested in tempted little more than to patch togethgiving circulation to American composi- er shreds of common place harmony. In tions; and they have been admired, at particular, we look in vain, in this species Jeast in many country congregations, of music, for those modulations to rebecause they have constituted the on- lated keys, which in the hands of the ly music known. But to those who European masters, are among the finest have had access to the works of the sources of variety and effect. The unigreat German, Italian, and Eaglish har- formity of rhythm, in these productions is, monists, the indigenous productions to if possible, still more tiresome than that which they might once have listened of their harmony. The effect of a musiwith interest, will rarely fail to become cal piece so much depends on its rythtasteless, if not positively disgusting. mical structure, that one may be a serThey will feel the want of variety, of vile imitation of another, and yet they originality, and science in these produc- may have scarcely two notes in comtions. It is notorious that the great ma- mon. This tedious sameness of strucjority of those who have been most eager ture all our readers who are much conto appear before the public in the charac- versant with American music, must have ter of composers, have scarcely known sensibly felt. It will be sufficient for our what was meant by musical science, or purpose to recall their attention to one suspected that they needed any qualifica- model of a psalm tune, according to tions except a genius for music, and a which hundreds have been composed, knowledge of the difference between and according to which any one, who concords and discords.* We do not de- possesses tolerable imitative powers, can ny that uncultivated genius can invent a turn off as many more as he pleases. The melodious air; but we do deny that two first lines are set in simple harmony, mere . genius can superadd to that air and must contain at least four consecucorrect and original harmony. The latter tive crotchets each. At the beginning of requires the combined aid of genius and the third line, the bass (or air) gallops off art; and, it is in this particular that our in crotchets,—at every fourth step, American composers (we speak with a another part sets out in pursuit; and affew exceptions) have been deplorably ter both words and music have been redeficient. They not unfrequently violate duced to a complete chaos, the bass be· the most obvious rules ; but we do not gins to loiter in minims and semibreves complain of them so much for this, as for for the rest to come up, and the parts are their utter want of variety and originality. generally so fortunate as to come out The habit of reading and hearing music together. We by no means intend to has given them an acquaintance with decry the species of composition known some of the most common harmonica) by the name of Fugue : it has been the combinations, and to these their compo- subject of some of the happiest efforts, sitions are confined. They have had even of a Bach and a Handel. But we are

t ired of this endless reiteration of fugue * Lest we should be suspected of doing injus- upon fugue, all cast in the same mould; speak for themselves. An individual well known and we confess we are somewhat startin this country as a publisher and composer of led by the mere sight of a triangle of music, has devoted a bead of the introduction 10 one of his publications, to“ Composition.” After to throw the book aside even before we

rests on a page of music, and feel inclined having enunerated, in two sentences, and discords, he adds : " Some discords are al- have waited to ascertain the author. lowed in composition, where the notes are short, We think we perceive decisive indicaand followed by perfect chords. Fitihs and tions that the public taste, in regard to eights are not allowed to move together, ascend- sacred music, is undergoing a progressive ing or descending. Excer' just these

, the best rules improvement,—in the increased popujoined with a good judgment and sprightly ima: larity and more extensive diffusion of gination."

ancient, solid psalmody,--in the recent Yon, 11.-No. v.


publication of many of the most admired lish language.* Some idea of its extent foreign productions--and in the exis- may be formed from an enumeration of tence of a few composers among our- the successive subjects of which it treats: selves, whose works constitute, in a good these are, the scale-musical intervals degree, an exception to the foregoing re- the use of intervals in harmony and marks. If none have displayed a pro- melody-chords in general—the triad found acquaintance with principles, some and its inversions—the chord of the 7th, have shown at least a familiarity with the and its inversions-accidental chordsbest models of composition; and with- the signatures of thorough bass-caout servilely copying, have produced dences—modulation--time-rhythm-imitations of those models which are by single counterpoint--double counterno means contemptible. Among the point-imitation-variation-fancy-the means of perfecting a reformation which ancient ecclesiastical modes. Each of has so happily begun, we know of none these forms the subject of a distinct chapwhich promises so much success as the ter, and is treated with copiousness and diffusion of the best treatises on the theory ability, although with a minuteness of and practice of counterpoint. They may subdivision which is rather suited to the be expected to operate, both by extend- taste of a German than of an English ing the means of writing music in a cor- reader. rect and scientific style, and by repress- In his classification of chords, Mr. Kolling the crude attempts at harmony which mann follows the system of Kirnberger, have been so long imposed on the public. which makes the triad and cord of the 7th We trust that no one will hereafter ven- essential chords, and regards all others as ture to appear in the character of a musi- accidental, and reducible either to sus. cal writer till he can at least determine pension, anticipation, or transition. The the fundamental note of a harmony, and distinction of chords into essential and figure a thorough bass. It is not till late- accidental is an important advantage in ly that even any elementary work on the German over the French system, in musical composition has been accessible point of simplicity; and Mr. Kollmann has in this country. The Massachusetts com- clearly evinced its great practical supepiler, indeed, has been for some years in riority, in regard to the mode to which the hands of the public; but in the point it leads, of figuring accidental chords in of view to which we refer, it is to the thorough bass. The least satisfactory last degree immethodical and defective; part of this system, as it appears to us, and besides, is written in so obscure, not regards the chord of the diminished 7th. to say barbarous English, (the compiler This very important chord is considered was a German,) that few, we imagine, by Kollmann as only a suspension of the have ever considered the principles it 6th in the first inversion of the dominant contains worth the labour of decyphering. (or as he terms it, essential) seventh. To The Encyclopedia, published in Phila- this account of the diminished 7th, there delphia in 1798, contains entire the trea- appear to be two conclusive objections: zise of D'Alembert on this subject, which it is generally used without preparation, is valuable, as comprising the best and it is not resolved on the same base. account extant of the theory of Ra- In both these respects, it wants the apmeau ; but in a practical point of view, propriate, character of the discords of is quite insufficient for the purposes of suspension. These circumstances induce the contrapuntist. In addition to this, us, with Callcott, to divide so far from the size and expense of the work which the nomenclature of Kerberger as to adcontains it, must have prevented its be- mit a class of discords by addition, incluing generally known. The first publica- ding, both the 7th and the 9th on the tion on this subject which has been cir- dominant, from the latter of which the culated to any extent in this country, is chord in question is divided. We see the Musical Grammar of Dr. Calcott, re- no good reason, however, to follow Callprinted in Boston, 1810. This unites cott in making the 6th on the subdomiconciseness with judicious arrangement, nant, a third discord of addition, in disand a good degree of perspicuity; and as tinction fro the 7th. It appears to us, far as it goes, is extremely valuable. To notwithstanding all that Rameau has said - the foregoing we can now add, what is on the double emploi of this chord, to he worth more than all the rest, the Essay merely the first inversion of the ordinary of Kollmann. This work originally ap- 7th on the supertonic. -peared in London, in 1796, and had at that time the character of being the most complete treatise of the kind in the Eng

* See Monthly Review, vol. 21, p. 27.

In the chapter on Cadences, this term objection to retaining the 4th, whereas will be found taken in an unusual lati- Callcott, with a few exceptions, forbids tude, to denote any two successive chords, its insertion. which,to use Kollmann's expression,“ pro- His precept, p. 176, that “the bass duce a satisfaction to the ear, or a close must never come over the tenor," seems of the harmony,” although they cannot expressed in too rigorous language. This properly stand at the conclusion of a liberty is certainly often taken, even piece, or even of a period, or section. In by the best composers, and it appears to cases like the present, where agreement us, in some instances, not only to have no in technical divisions is more important unpleasant effect, but to produce an agreethan logical accuracy, we are sorry to able variety: find different authors so entirely at va- Other minor inaccuracies, as well as riance. For instance, Kollmann admits discrepancies in the language of Mr. several combinations under the head of Kollmann and that of other authors, perfect cadences, which Callcott does might be pointed out. We have been led not rank among cadences at all. Koll- to notice the above, not for the sake of mann includes medial under the head of depreciating the work—which would not perfect cadences ; but gives a meaning to only be injustice to an author who has in the term entirely different from that general treated his subjects so fully and adopted by Callcott. The medial ca- ably, but ingratitude in those who, like dences of Callcott are the inverted per- ourselves, are not ashamed to confess our fect cadences of Kollmann. The false obligations to him for enlarging their own cadence of Callcott is one of the species views—but rather for the sake of enhancof Kollmann's interrupted cadence. In ing its value to the student, by apprizing short, there is scarcely a particular in him that he is not to expect perfect uniwhich the language of these two writers formity in the different works on musical coincides. By Rousseau the term ca- science, and saving him the trouble and dence is used in a sense totally different perplexity of attempting to reconcile from that adopted by either. On the them. subject of rhythm, there is a similar, While we give nearly unqualified comalthough less discrepancy, between the mendation to Mr. Kollmann's views of language of Kollmann and that of the practical harmony, we must warn the other writers we have consulted.

reader not to place too implicit confidence In a number of instances, in the course in those parts of his work which involve of the work before us, the principle of the principles of harmonics, on the subomission is resorted to, for the explana- ject of musical ratios. Mr. K. as might be tion of an anomaly in harmonical progres- expected from his profession, is much sion. We much doubt whether the in- more profoundly versed in the rules of tervening chord, supposed by our author counterpoint than in the mathematical to be understood, is ever supplied by the structure of the scale. His views of the mind, or whether this is the ground on theory of harmonics appear to be chiefly which the progression is tolerated. Mu- derived from the imperfect scale of the sic has its anomalies, as well as language ; organ, and other tempered instruments. and a frank avowal of it will give more The scale of nature he considers as “a satisfaction to the unbiassed inquirer than gradual succession of sounds which naso refined and improbable a mode of re- ture produces from a string when divided ducing them to general principles. into equal parts according to arithmetical

In chap. III. p. 37, on the use of in- (he means harmonical) progression :" that tervals in melody and harmony, Koll- is, when, when 3, 5, 4, Ž, &c. of the mann allows, in two parts, the use of two string are successively taken. However consecutive major 3ds. This progression true it may be that this scale “ contains is forbidden by Dr. Burney, and, if we every interval in its greatest perfection to may put any confidence in the decision the fundamental note, yet when it is conof our own ear, with the utmost pro- sidered that these intervals must in pracpriety.

tice be reduced, by taking their octaves In treating of the inversions of the do- below, to the compass of the human voice, minant 7th, he requires the bass, in the and that the harmony of the upper notes sd inversion, to descend diatonically, with each other is as important as with without exception; while Callcott allows the fundamental, it will be evident that in some instances, the bass to descend á

too many of its consonances are false to 4th, and another part to take the resolu- admit of its having any practical use. tion. On the other hand, in treating of The chord of the major 6th on C, for exthe ed inversion of the 7th, b'e makes no ample, is denoted in this scale by the ratio ?

,, and the major 3d on F, by 15,

Il, both

tones is formed, the value of which can which are gross discords, instead of and be readily determined with mathematif, their true ratios. The artificial flats cal precision. In keyed instruments, if and sharps of this scale are wholly false, tempered unequally, as they generally both with each other, and with the notes are, the want of a complete series of enof the diatonic scale. So far therefore harmonic degrees is sensibly felt in exefrom “not answering all the purposes of cuting music on several of the keys. To modern composition," which our author this muistuetness in Mr. Kollmann's acconcedes, we have no hesitation in saying count of the scales may be traced several that the scale in question cannot be made things in subsequent parts of his work, to answer any one practical purpose. The which will create misaj prehension, unless scale of sounds which is far better entitled und -rstood with some liaitation. It is to be considered " the scale of nature," not true for instance, as is stated p. 81. is that in which the seven intervals of the that the chord of the diminished 7th octave are so adjusted as to produce the with the octave of the bass added, difewest false concords possible. This, as vides the octave into four equal minor has been shown by Dr. Smith, in bis 3ds, except in a tempered scale which Harmonics, requires no musical primes annihilates the distinction between diatoexcept 2, 3 and 5; and divides the octave nic and chromatic semitones. The upreckoned from C upwards, into a major per interval, instead of being a minor tone, a minor tone, a diatonic semitone, a third, is an extreme sharp second. In Major, a minor, and a major tone, and a the circle of keys introduced p. 133, it is second diatonic semitone. This is the not true, except in the sense just stated, scale in which music is executed by voices that the key of 6 flats coincides with that and perfect instruments; and from this of 6 sharps. As it is not the author's obevery tempered scale ought to be reckon- ject, however, to teach harmonics, we ed. Instead of noticing this scale, Mr. will remark no farther on that which is Kollmann makes an immediate transition not essentially connected with his design, from what he terms the scale of nature to and which would not have detained us the scale " in its improved state,” to which so long, had we not been desirous of prehe allows but 12 chromatic degrees in the venting misapprehension in those who octave. The most perfect tempered scale, may not have access to profound treatises however, as well as that of the voice and on the mathematical theory of musical perfect instruments, contains much more sounds. than 12 degrees to the octave, when all The style of this work is far from posthe chromatic sounds are inserted. As the sessing the uniform neatness and perspidiatonic is considerably larger than either cuity which are

so much needed in of the chromatic semitones, the chroma- treating of a subject somewhat abstruse: tic scale ascending by sharps is very dif- on the contrary, in consequence of the ferent from the scale of the same name

author's partial acquaintance with the descending by fats ; and the tempered English language, it is often obscure and scale in its most perfect state contains unclassical.

We think the American distinct sounds for the sharps and flats. editor would not have transgressed his It is true that the temperament of the province, had he ventured on some verkeyed instruments in common use is car- bal corrections of the work. We do not ried so far as to obliterate this distinction, insist on the propriety of his attempting and to leave but 12 degrees to the octave; to translate it all into pure English; but he but much finer harmony is produced by might have supplied nominatives to some the instruments constituted by Dr. Smith, destitute verbs, and corrected various other Dr. Loeschman, Mr. Hawkes and others, grammatical inaccurracies which now which preserve the distinction between deform its pages, we presume without in the two chromatic scales.-By thus con- justice to the author, certainly with adfining the degrees of the chromatic octaveto 12, Mr. Kollmann is obliged to rep- cal errors of the present edition are inexo

vantage to his readers. The typographiresent the modern enharmonic scale as cusably frequent, particularly in the erimaginary, and as only having a nominal amples, where they will be most pera existence in consequence of the different plexing to the inexperienced reader. modes of writing the same degree, as the But we trust that no one who is desisharp of one note, or the flat of the one rous to familiarize himself with the princinext above it. But in perfect instruments ples of musical composition, will be de the enharmonic

scale has a real existence. ferred either by typographical mistakes, If the chromatic scales ascending and de

or an occasional instance of bad English, scending be united, a scale of quarter from giving this valuable work a thorougla

perusah. To read it, merely, will be of only by combining the study of principles little service. It ought to be taken up with an intimate knowledge of such exwith the spirit which we bring to the in- amples of successful composition as are vestigation of profound science. Those afforded by the great masters of England who are desirous of pushing their theore- and the continent, that the candidate for tical knowledge into practice, ought to musical fame can attain his object, and accompany the perusal of such works as our country be rescued from the reproach this with the study of the best models of of owing nearly all the classical music, composition. Dry precepts are as insuf- which is known and performed in it, to ficient to form a great composer, as a

the genius of foreigners.

X. great painter, or a great statuary. It is

Art. 5. The Young Man of Honour's Vade-Necum ; being a salutary Treatise on
Duelling ; togelher wilh the Annals of Chivalry, the Ordeal Trial, and Judicial
Combat from the earliest times. By Abraham Bosquett, Esq. London. C. Chap-
ple. 12mo. pp. 108.
T THIS is a very crude, common place pected friend of ours, in a conversation

tract, ethical, political, and historical, which we had with him not long since in upon the theory and practice of duelling. regard to the wonderful number of beWith whatever contempt and detestation nevolent and beneficial associations which we may look upon this relic of barbarism have grown up in our day-missionary -the custom of deciding personal qrar- societies, bible societies, peace societies, rels by the “appeal of arms"-we cannot sunday-school societies, soup societies, bring ourselves, whilst it has any advo- fuel societies, and numerous other similar cates among the brave, the polite, and the institutions to promote the spiritual and intelligent, to view it with unconcern. temporal welfare of the poor ;-banking The needlessness, the folly, the turpitude, companies, insurance companies, turnof resorting to this measure have been pike companies, manufacturing compaso often and so eloquently descanted up- nies, and other oppressive combinaon, that it were hopeless to attempt the tions for the aggrandizement of the richsuggestion of any new motive to dissuade and the multiform conspiracies among from it; and indeed they have been so the various classes of tradesmen for irrefragably demonstrated, that further the furtherance of their divers crafts— remonstrance should seem unnecessary. it was intimated, we repeat hy our worBut it is not always the conviction of the thy friend, on taking a review of this understanding that determines the will. formidable array, which seems to have There are those, who in their calm and fortified with suficient muniments the fasting hours, will readily admit the ab- rights and interests of every other desstract inexpediency of permitting, even cription of citizens, that it was high time upon the most serious occasions, mem- a society were organized for the protecbers of the same civilized community, to tion of honest men. Could this hint be settle their disputes by deadly combats acted upon there is no calculating the that in their choleric and after-dinner good effects that might result from it; moods, will jeopardize their own lives for we do not doubt that there are honest and the life of a fellow-creature and a men enough in the community, could fellow citizen to revenge the most tri- they be brought to act in concert, to form fling insult which their jealousy had mis- a counterpoise against intriguers, and to apprehended, or which their arrogance exercise a salutary control over publie had provoked. Duelling must not only sentiment. The misfortune is, that scatbe proved to be unwise, unlawful, and re- tered as they are through every condipugnant to religion and humanity-it tion of life, and having only general oh. must be made disreputable and unfash- jects in common, they have never yet ionable, to render it infrequent. It is in thought of forming themselves into a vain that the penal code promulges its confederacy. interdiction, in vain that the cathedral Among the many advantages which denounces its anathemas, in vain that might be derived from the formation of conscience interposes its warnings against such a league among “good men and this nefarious practice, whilst fashion ap- true," would be the abolition of duelling. proves, and the world endures it. It would not be necessary under the ex

It was intimated by a learned and res- istence of such a federation, for a man of

« AnteriorContinuar »