Dr. Charles Brodie Patterson, in "The Rhythm Of Life" rightly emphasizes the importance of music in the educational scheme; the Greeks long ago taught the world the indispensability of music to culture. But rhythmic effects are produced not by sound alone; color also has its harmonies. "Color is sound made visible, and sound is color made audible." The regenerating, re-invigorating, therapeutic action of visible and audible harmonics on the human system is enlarged upon with enthusiasm by Dr. Patterson. The score of chapters treat of music as a compelling power, the dance, music and color tones, color tonics, music and character, cosmic consciousness, musical therapeutics, and other related themes, all presented with the persuasive charm that comes from earnestness and conviction on the writer's part.
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The Rhythm Of Life
Charles Brodie Patterson
The Rhythm Of Life
Chapter I. Introduction
Chapter Ii. Music Of Other Climes
Chapter Iii. Energy – Motion - Vibration
Chapter Iv. Music And Colour Tones
Chapter V. Colour Values
Chapter Vi.Music-A Compelling Power
Chapter Vii.Joy- Rhythm-The Dance
Chapter Viii.Nature And Art In Singing
Chapter Ix.Colour Tonics
Chapter X.Keynote To Health Harmony
Chapter Xi.From Out The Past
Chapter Xii.Cosmic Consciousness
Chapter Xiii.Prophets Of The Invisible
Chapter Xiv.Life's Love Melody
Chapter Xv.Music, Beauty-Religion
Chapter Xvi.Music And Character
Chapter Xvii.Music And Education
Chapter Xviii.A Refining Influence
Chapter Xix.Musical Therapeutics
Chapter Xx.Alive To Colour And Music
Chapter Xxi.Eye Hath Not Seen
The Rhythm Of Life,C. B. Patterson
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
Cover Design: © James Steidl - Fotolia.com
DEAR DR. CHARLES BRODIE PATTERSON
THIS is a work for which I have long waited. I find here a fundamental examination of spiritual and physical laws relating to the rhythmic and vibratory forces that rule in the human sphere of thought and feeling.
At a time when so much work is done, having mere impressionism as a basis, it is a source of joy to know that you have put into this book the product of years of patient observation and searching analysis, and I feel certain that it will stand the test of time.
In Chapter III, under the title "Energy-Motion-Vibration, " you go to the foundation of the subject of vibration, and in "Music and Colour Tones" you show their relation, and write with absorbing interest.
My first experience with the therapeutical power of music was in Paris at a time when the subject was not even discussed; but not until I went to live in London did I put the subject to a practical test. A friend of mine, the late Miss Clara Barton, who was for a long time President of the Red Cross Association of America, being dangerously ill, I was strongly impressed to try what musical improvisation would do in her case; a piano was moved into her apartment, and there every day I improvised for about one hour. The experiment proved successful, and in a comparatively short time Miss Barton was able to leave her bed. The cure proved permanent. I could relate many instances of a similar nature among my friends in Florence, Berlin, and other cities.
For years I meditated the writing of such a book as you have now brought out, and I can say without any reserve that you have expressed my views and judgments all along the different lines of thought herein set forth. I shall now refer my friends to this work, for I do not think in our time a better can be written by anyone here or abroad.
There are chapters such as "Colour Tonics, " "Cosmic Consciousness, " and "Musical Therapeutics, " that go to the fundamental basis of the subject, and you have put into concise terms what many would only render more recondite and mysterious. The laws you enunciate are as old as time, but the large vision presented to the mind of the reader, the harmonious arrangement and the lucid definitions make the work authoritative and original. Every chapter deals with some phase of life-rhythm, some aspect of sound waves, some manifestation of colour-tone to which every human being is more or less intimately related.
The book is a key to the rhythm of life. Students of the new therapeutics, artists, musicians, singers and public speakers will study it as a text book.
Very sincerely yours, FRANCIS GRIERSON.
NEW YORK, March 15, 1915.
FOR many years I have been haunted by an idea that would not remain at rest in my mind, but kept ever and ever recurring; therefore, I have sought in this book to voice the thoughts which have so long been my companions, giving expression to them, as best I can, through the written word.
It is more than a quarter of a century ago that I began to dream dreams of music and colour that should prove a universal panacea for anxious and fearful minds, for sick and diseased bodies; a panacea that should dispel sorrow and doubt, that should bring rest and peace to mind, and health and strength to body. I felt then, as I feel now, that a new spring-time should come to the world when a greater love of music and colour should enter into the life of man. So the text of this book is to bring light out of darkness, to bring health out of disease, and to bring joy out of pain; to proclaim, as it were, a new gospel of health, happiness, and beauty, to help to bring into our lives the new song of life that will surely come when we have prepared the way for its coming.
There is a necessary preparation before one may receive this new gospel. One must first be willing to lay aside biased and prejudiced thought, and earnestly desire truth solely for its own sake. Lord Bacon said, "No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth." In the study of truth we often have to lay aside preconceived thoughts and ideas in order to make the mind receptive to a new or a still greater truth. Many times have I wished that someone would write a book on music and colour for the healing and beautifying of mind and body, but as yet no one has seen fit to do so. Therefore I can refrain no longer, and simply have to obey the behest of something in my own consciousness that will not let me rest until I begin and finish this book.
I know that I am only a pioneer, or perhaps the voice of one crying in the wilderness; nevertheless, I am absolutely certain that a day will come in the far or near future, I know not which, when music and colour will exert a thousandfold more influence upon human life than they do at present. And if I can have some little part in bringing into the world a recognition of other values in music and colour than those we have heretofore known, I am satisfied.
This book is not intended to show the definite way that one should take, but rather to suggest the possibilities that will reward the earnest seeker who devotes time and thought to carrying on a still more thorough investigation of the subject.
I know that in any new departure one must run the gauntlet of true, as well as superficial criticism, but I am in no way deterred by this, knowing that whatever may be true in the book will survive false criticism, and whatever there may be of dross will sooner or later perish. Thought lives in the mind in order to be expressed, to take form as the written or the spoken word. I leave my written word to the critic and lay reader alike, as an expression of my own thought and feeling, hoping that it will bring some spiritual, mental, or physical uplift that will prove to be for the highest good of all. And if I call out a deeper emotion or a higher aspiration that will make for a greater love of music and colour and their fuller expression in life, I shall rest thoroughly content, feeling that this book will have proved of some benefit to my fellowmen, and so have fulfilled the dearest wish of the author.
THE present time is one of transition. The dogmatism that has pervaded all schools of thought, whether religious or philosophical, scientific or artistic, is passing away before the coming of a new order, a new order that is an expanding as well as a modifying factor, a new order that has come to fulfil, but not to destroy anything that is in any way vital to life. On the surface it may appear that this new order is highly destructive. It is destructive in that everything that is found to be useless, and everything that has clouded or obscured man's mental vision is gradually being relegated to the past.
The nineteenth century was an era of dense materialism. It was, strictly speaking, a utilitarian age, an age in which man's physical organism played a much greater part than his soul. Materialistic thought entered into everything. Religion, literature, and art were all made the exponents of man's sense, or physical nature. The crudest kind of literalism entered into everything. Countries like England, which for many centuries had given expression to much that was beautiful and artistic, seemed, long before the Victorian age, to lose, in a marked way, a true sense of art and beauty. It is only necessary to look at the architecture, the statuary, and most of the paintings of that particular period, to perceive how little of the artistic and beautiful was to be found there. Only a few master minds, poets, and painters, held aloft the banner of idealism and beauty. Rank materialism ruled on every side. Materialism, scepticism and doubt have ever been and ever will be destructive of all true art.
The last twenty-five years of the nineteenth century mark the beginning of a change, not only in Europe, but in America as well. Since then, this change has been gradually going on, affecting almost everything in life; but while the old is rapidly passing, it is, as yet, only the spring-time of the new, when ideals have not yet taken definite form, so that the whole world today may be said to be filled with unrest and expectation. Great composers and poets, who are the true interpreters of human life, have been among the first to herald the new order. But the sphere of music and poetry is just as much filled with unrest and transition as is any other condition of the world's life. In the music of today there is the search after something that has not yet been attained, which is evidenced by the increased use of chromatics, changes of modulation, and hitherto unheard of departures in time and rhythm.
Quite a number of modern composers have introduced chromatics into their music in what would seem to be an excessive way. But it is very doubtful whether they have added anything of real beauty or charm to it by so doing. It seems to me rather to point to a desire for something that has not been fully expressed in music, a something that will be expressed in a better way, possibly, without the undue use of chromatics. Certainly there is very little of the higher and sweeter thought of life expressed through their use. More frequently chromatics are used to express sorrow or anger, or, I might say, the stress of man's superficial nature. Too often the effect is to take from, rather than add to, the beauty or the strength of music. There is in its use too much of what I might call unreal sentiment, and more or less of gloomy foreboding, and the mysterious elements of life. Its present use may be indicative of the unrest and warfare that prevails throughout the civilised world. To me it would seem as though the composer were striving after effects through the excessive use of chromatics in his music just as much as many people in other departments of life are striving after effects that have little value or true relation to real expression. Within the last few years many Russian composers have come to the fore, and they have put into their music the unrest of the great Russian nation, the pathos of the slavery of its people, and something of a desire, too, for greater freedom. Much of their music is written in the minor keys. It lacks that triumphant sound that comes to the composers who write for a free and enlightened people. The music is wonderful as an expression of human feeling, but in its undertone you find the sadness and the struggle of life. Even when there is an effort -made to produce music of a bright or an inspiring nature, you are sure to find some strain that is tinged with the sadness or the unrest of a great nation in bondage.
At present, in France, there has come into vogue what, by many, is considered a new school of music, of which Debussy may be said to be the founder, or chief representative. Whether this is to become the foundation of something new in music that will become permanent, it is yet too early to say. It may be that it will act on music in the way that the impressionists' painting has acted to change, to enlarge, or to beautify the old art. While one may get from it a certain kind of intellectual and psychic stimulus, still it does not seem to be, as yet, of a full, soul-satisfying nature. I might add that the effect of Debussy's music on myself is not altogether satisfactory. I seem to be carried up into the clouds, and left suspended between heaven and earth, yet my head never emerges into the open blue. However, it is only through innovations in every department of life that the best of everything is at last fully realised.
Within recent years considerable discussion has arisen as to whether music may, or may not, prove beneficial in the healing of the sick. It is useless for any one to deny the fact that music exerts a decided influence upon one's mind and feelings, and there can no longer be any question that both thought and feeling produce a marked action upon man's physical body. Among many people there exists a decided difference of opinion as regards the value of music. The music lover, while not associating it with the renewing of the strength of his body, nevertheless feels it essential to his mental and spiritual welfare. Many others who might consider themselves of a more practical turn of mind look upon music solely as a luxury, and regard the people engaged in its production, i.E. , composers, singers, and instrumental musicians, as mere dilettanti, men and women who are engaged, at best, in a work that never makes for any practical or real good in life. There are some people in the world who seemingly lack the faculty of ever getting beyond concrete expression. What they call common sense seems to shut out all idealistic vision. They are held in bondage to the earth and the things of the earth by their sense nature. They are the people who let well enough alone, and who never make progress save in material accumulations. What they possess, what they eat, and what they drink, form their chief pleasures in life. But if the music lover is right in believing that his soul and mind are both uplifted and benefited by listening to music, he must take one step farther and see the practical value that accrues also to the physical organism. When he is able to do this, music will no longer need its defenders, because, if music can be made of value in the healing of the sick, and the overcoming of mental and physical pain, then the most so-called practical man will seek its aid as ardently as the lover of music.
"Nine sisters, beautiful in form and face,
Came from their convent on the shining heights
Of Pierus, the mountain of delights,
To dwell among the people at its base.
Then seemed the world to change.
All time and space, Splendor of cloudless days and starry nights,
And men and manners, and all sounds and sights,
Had a new meaning, a diviner grace.
Proud were these sisters, but were not too proud
To teach in schools of little country towns
Science and song, and all the arts that please;
So that while housewives span, and farmers ploughed,
Their comely daughters, clad in homespun gowns,
Learned the sweet songs of the Pierides. "
"Therefore the poet Did feign that
Orpheus drew trees, stones and floods;
Since naught so stalkish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature. "
EVERY country has its own music which has ever kept pace with its greatest human development. I might put that in a stronger way by saying that the music sets the pace, that it was, and is, the real leader of civilisation, and that the growth of a nation can best be determined by its music. While the music of the present time seems to be very largely the product of the last few hundred years, without question its real beginning had its root in a remote past, for music is the very oldest of all the arts. It may be said of music that it is the very foundation on which all the other arts are builded. We might go still farther and say that music is the soul of all art ; that music, in its highest and best sense, comes closer to the divine in man than does anything else in life ; that in its last analysis, it is a revelation of God to man. Music is, as it were, the link between divinity and humanity. The truly great composer is the most divinely inspired of all the world's prophets, and through his music he reaches far greater audiences and preaches far more wonderful sermons than the most eloquent preachers on earth have ever done.
Recent discoveries made in Egypt go to show that the ancient Egyptians possessed a wonderful knowledge of music. It is believed that they had more kinds of musical instruments in their orchestras than we possess at the present time; and it is said also that they had instruments to give a full and complete expression to the sounds of nature; such as the warring of the elements, the flowing of the brooks, the soughing of the wind, and various other nature sounds; while in our orchestras we have instruments which can, to a degree, be made to produce such effects, yet they were not expressly designed for that purpose, as many of the instruments of Egypt apparently were. There are some writers who go back to the legendary continent of Atlantis, and write of the music that antedated even that of Egypt; but such writing, at best, is only speculative, since there is no authentic evidence concerning it. But of the music of the ancient civilisation of Egypt there is an ever-unfolding evidence showing the wonderful progress that music had made in that country practically before the dawn of the greater part of the world's civilisation. Maspero and other great Egyptologists have shown beyond all question that in an ancient past, a civilisation existed in Egypt that was one of the most wonderful the world has ever known. And largely through Egyptian influence there followed another great civilisation, greater than any that has appeared on the face of the earth since that time, namely, the civilisation of ancient Greece. Greece, in her use of music, followed along lines similar to those of Egypt. Many of her musical instruments were like those of Egypt, and historically there can be very little question that the Grecians drew much of their fundamental musical knowledge from Egypt.
The ancient Greeks were without doubt one of the most highly developed and civilised nations that have ever inhabited the earth. They were great in every department of human endeavour. Great in literature and art, great in commerce and war, great in everything that pertained to mental or physical development. Practically all the civilised nations of the earth since their time have been influenced in a marked way by ancient Greek thought and art. Many things that have come to us in the present as new, research would show to be only a revival of the Greek thought of bygone ages ; for ancient Greece has furnished the intellectual, ethical, and artistic fundamental basis of all that is best in the civilised thought of the present. Just as, in another way, the Jewish civilisation has transmitted to us its religious thought and feeling. Undoubtedly Greece influenced the other nations in a musical way, although we have no written music of that early time. Still, all through Greek literature, we find not only reference to the purposes for which music was used, but also a full knowledge of the wonderful power that could be exercised through its use. Greek tradition makes Orpheus their greatest representative of both vocal and instrumental music. We are told that this almost god possessed the power to draw the rocks and trees from their places, and even to arrest the rivers in their courses by the influence of his wonderful voice and lyre. The Greeks looked upon him as one of the greatest pioneers of civilisation. Pindar writes of him as the "Father of Song. " We are told, too, that Orpheus was closely associated with the mystical, ceremonial side of religion. He was said also to have taught mankind the use of medicine ; and when we read of the many cures effected by the Greeks through the use of music, we may well understand that he gave to music a prominent part in the healing of the sick. One of the legends told is that Orpheus and Amphion drew the wild beasts after them, made the trees and stones dance to the time of their harps, and brought them together in such a manner as to form a regular wall and enclose a great city. An English writer who lived somewhat over a hundred years ago wrote: "Stripped of the fable, this story, according to general interpretation, signifies that they subdued the savage disposition of a barbarous people who lived in caves, woods, and deserts, and by representing to them in their songs, the advantages of society, persuaded them to build cities and form a community. " If this be true, we see the foundation of a real community of interests is to be established through the use of music.
Aristoxenus, an early Greek critic of prosody, distinguished the elements out of which rhythm is composed as: the spoken word, the time of music in song, and the bodily motion. And he defined rhythm so produced as an arrangement of the time periods. The art of the early Greek poets was devoted to a harmonious combination of language, instrument, and gesture, the whole three uniting to form perfect rhythm. Ages ago it was known that rhythm could be put into everything we do with the greatest advantage, so that no matter what work one may be engaged in, the rhythmic way of doing it is the easiest as well as the most graceful.
Pythagoras, who lived some six hundred and fifty years before Christ, and is considered one of the greatest of early mathematicians, believed that the universe was created by music. It is said he taught that not the ear, but mathematics, should be the guide in music. He was apparently one of the first Greeks to teach the music of the spheres, and had a scale in which the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn corresponded to the notes E, F, G, A, B, C, and D, of which the Sun formed the middle or the controlling note; thus we can see that the music of 2500 years ago was, in one sense, derived from the heavens, and that heavenly bodies were used as symbols of musical sounds. Unquestionably Greece laid the foundation of her civilisation in music, and the other Muses constituted different degrees of the one great fundamental note that ruled through all from first to last.
It is music that comes through man's ear in sound, and it is music that comes through man's eye in colour. Musical sound vibration and musical colour vibration underlie all nature, and give beauty to all life. Take music and colour out of the world and we have a dead world, a world without a soul. The nation that is devoid of the musical sense, so that it neither creates nor loves music, has lost its soul. And the individual who has not awakened to a love of music and colour has not yet found his soul. We feel music and colour far more than we see or hear them. The greatest beauty of sound or colour is a revelation to the soul of man rather than something derived through his sense nature. Greece was a great nation so long as she continued to use the divine principles of rhythm, melody, and harmony in everything she felt, thought, and did. From the time she began to lose these principles, there came a decline. But the spirit which once animated the Greek people did not die; it lives on, and will continue to live on until there shall come a civilisation even greater than that of the Greeks. As Jesus was a prophecy of what man must become, so Greece was a prophecy of what the whole world shall yet become.
When we write of the music of the past, let us remember that music is without beginning or ending, that it lives in the heart of the Infinite, that the demand can never exceed the supply. Moreover, the world can have the music it desires if it is willing to seek it. But the things that heart and mind desire are not brought into being without an effort on the part of those desiring them. We must bring of what we have to bear on that which we desire to have; for everything we receive, there must be something in the nature of an equivalent given. We can have what heart and mind desire, when we use heart and mind and bodily effort to get it. It was Plato who said: "The soul which has seen the most of truth shall come to the birth as a philosopher, or artist, or musician, or lover. " It is through seeing the most of truth and expressing all that we are able to see that there comes the new birth, the new zeal, the new knowledge. Love music for the love of music; love beauty for the love of beauty, and music and beauty will become redoubled, as it were, in your life. If we are going to secure from life all that is highest and best, then we must bring to life all that is highest and best. We cannot barter the unlovely for the lovely, or the unwholesome for that which is wholesome, the discordant for the harmonious. No, it is like that attracts like. Give all the melody that is in your life to the world, and a still greater melody will flow back into it. Give to the world the best, and give only the best, then shall you receive the best.
With the decline of music in Greece, there was a long period when the progress of music seemed to have come to an end. The world came under the thraldom of the Roman Empire, and the Muses, save in the most external way, failed to prove of interest to the people. With the coming of materialism into any country, the death-knell of beauty is sounded. The Roman Empire was noted for its building of wonderful roads, and the carrying on of great wars; but it paid little attention to all that goes to make life truly great or beautiful. True it is that, under some of the emperors of Rome, art flourished more than it did under others. With the advent of Christianity as the national religion of the Roman Empire, it might be thought that the Christian Gospel of peace and goodwill would have brought with it something of the true music of life; but there is little evidence that the change from Roman barbarism to Christian civilisation wrought any marked change in the art of the day. Undoubtedly all the persecutions and the curtailments of the religious rights of the early Christians had much to do with keeping them from expressing themselves through music. There were doubtless many other reasons besides this. The majority of them were made up of the poorer classes and it is doubtful whether, even under ordinary circumstances, they would have been able to have expressed themselves through music. It was during the fourth century A. D. That Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, made the first real effort to produce Church music, and he seems to have met with considerable success ; later, Pope Gregory the Great carried on still further the work begun by Ambrose. But comparatively little of what might be called good music was produced until the middle or end of the fourteenth century. From that time on the growth of music is a continuous one, and Italy takes a very prominent part; not only did she lay a new foundation of musical art, but she has continued on through the centuries without any break in her career, so that I think it may truthfully be said that the knowledge and love of music possessed by the Italians has not been exceeded by the people of any other nation in modern times.
Palestrina, born 1528, may be said to be the first great master of Italian music. Certainly he was the greatest master of the pure old choral style. He accomplished far more during his life than any other previous composer had done, for he wrote many masses, hymns, madrigals, and a large variety of other works. Palestrina represents, in his music, the perfection, the flower, and the fruit of all that had gone before his time. We might say that not only does he sum up all that was highest and best that was before his time, but that he opened the way for, and gave a new impetus to, music. He resembles the painter, Fra Angelico, in the reverence, the love, and the devotion that he put into his religious music. After Palestrina comes Henry Purcell, of England, who probably influenced England more, in a musical way, than any one single English composer has ever done. In his music he had the faculty of exciting practically any kind of emotion through what might be called his magical modes of expression. So that he stands with the great minds of England, and it is doubtful if any of the songs of the present will appeal to the English ear or sympathies to the same degree as do the delightful, as well as beautiful, old songs of Purcell. After Purcell follows Johann Sebastian Bach, a very giant among composers. From his time forward Germany takes rank with Italy as one of the two greatest music-producing countries of the world. Bach may be called the real father of German music, not that the Germans had not produced beautiful music before his time, but he laid music on an enduring foundation, and he, more than any one else, embodies what a musical writer calls the whole essence of the German nature. He was not only a composer of the highest order, but was a great organist as well. He wrote for the instrumental musician, unlike Handel, who was born near the same time and who wrote chiefly for the voice. Bach stands supreme as the most intellectual composer of all modern times. He carries perfection and variety of form to such a degree, that it is questionable whether all the great composers who came after him did not profit more through the study of his music than from that of any other composer. Some day the world at large will probably realise how much it is indebted to Bach for laying the art foundations of modern music and making it possible for those who followed him to profit by what he had accomplished.
After Bach there came a succession of bright stars in the musical firmament. The great Handel, writer of the "Messiah" and other wonderful oratorios, influenced England in a musical way as no other composer has ever been able to do; and England owes a debt of gratitude to him that can never be fully repaid. After Handel we have Haydn, whose greatest work, "The Creation" is filled with religious fervour. The Italians called him the "god of instrumental music, " and compared his "sacred and splendid music" to the "sun in the Temple of Harmony. " What Handel did for the development of the singing voice, and Haydn for the progress of instrumental music, Gluck did for the unfolding of the opera. Gluck was to the opera of his day what Wagner is to the opera of our day. But among all composers of great music, there is one who stands unique, as being in the closest communion with the very soul of music itself, born a composer and a musician, the divine Mozart. Though his life on earth was a brief one, he composed in those few years not only a greater quantity of music than any other musician before or since, but also produced greater varieties of rhythm and harmony than had been known up to his time. He gave to the world in his early years what other great masters of music frequently have accomplished only after years of mature experience. Mozart was like a meteor, flashing across the heavens, lighting up everything in its path. If ever music was inspired, this music was.
The lover of music cannot help being impressed, in listening to the first few bars of Mozart's most beautiful music, with the idea that the composer knew the end of his composition from the beginning. It would seem that almost before he took a pen to write down a single note the whole composition was already written in his mind; and, when he had finished his work, it was the perfected production of the master who did not need to rewrite or in any material way change the music which flowed spontaneously from his soul. I do not think that it is fair to compare Bach with Haydn, Mozart with Beethoven, Gluck with Wagner, or Schubert with Mendelssohn. Each one of these great masters was great in his own way. Each had his message for the world. Why should we try to exalt one at the expense of another any more than we should try to attribute more glory to one star than to another? Each star is beautiful in its own way. Each star has an originality all its own. It is not by making comparisons that we shall establish the truth, but rather by giving to each one due credit for all that he has done. I do not think that we can compare Mozart with any of the other great composers. There may have been others who have done their work quite as well as he did, but when we consider what he accomplished in a few short years, we are filled with wonder at the versatility he displayed to such a marked extent, and at the great amount of his musical productions. Mozart, in the musical world, for the amount of work that he was able to do, is what Rubens was in the world of painting. Both seem to have done far more than could be expected from any one single life. It is not necessary to comment on his productions, for all lovers of music know what he has done. The one comment to make is, that we cannot have too much of the kind of music that Mozart composed.
Just a little later comes Beethoven, another of the great tone prophets of music. His influence on the music world has been of the most lasting order. There is a strength and a beauty and, at times, a wonderful simplicity in his music ; doubtless in the ages to come, Beethoven will rank as one of the greatest composers of all times.
After Beethoven came Schubert, who sang nature's sun songs while finding life very difficult to live, and who was, nevertheless, able to impart to the world more of the joy and gladness of life, more of the simplicity and beauty of it, than almost any other composer who ever lived.
Mendelssohn, too, had something akin to Schubert, although his music might come under the head of a more classical order. Schubert's music seemed to gush spontaneously from his mind; to him the spirit was more than the form, but Mendelssohn was as particular of beauty of form in music as Tennyson was of beauty of form in verse.
Coming down to our own period, one man stands pre-eminent as one of the greatest masters of all time in musical composition Richard Wagner. He was a star of the first magnitude, and his music, notwithstanding the attention it has already received, is not yet appreciated at its true value because it is not yet fully understood. Neither Wagner nor his music is more than partially comprehended at present. The world needs perspective. In the years to come the man and his music will both take a higher place than has yet been accorded them. A man who writes such music cannot be considered an ordinary man; what we might term his weakness, may in a larger light be considered his strength. In a letter he writes to Mathilde Wesendonck he says: "Nothing catches my eyes, the objects, the scenes to which my eyes are attracted, or might be attracted, might be the greatest in the world, but do not amuse me, and are indifferent to me. My eyes now only serve me to distinguish day from night, light from darkness. It is really a death of the external world to me, and of me to it. I see only internal images, which try to realise themselves by sounds. " Elsewhere in another letter from Paris in 1861 he says: "There ought to be in us an internal sense which becomes clear and active where all the other senses, directed outward, sleep and dream. It is precisely when I no longer see or hear anything distinctly that this sense is most active and is a producer of calm; I can give it no other term. Is this calm the same as the plastic calm? I do not know; all I do know is that it acts from within to without; through it I feel myself to be the centre of the world. " The people who have read his autobiography and find in it what they call his supreme selfishness, should take into consideration the fact that Wagner knew that he had more to give to the world than the world could possibly give to him. The message and the giving of that message was the one great purpose of his life. Anything which in any way interfered with it and held him back in the giving of it, was resented by him. He was a man labouring for the good of humanity, and yet humanity put all manner of obstacles in the way of his accomplishing that good. I believe he was as all unconscious of what people call his selfishness, as he was unconscious, at times, of everything but light and darkness in the outer world ; the real Wagner was so intensely subjective that his outer life was the incident rather than the reality. But the one dominant thing in his life was to do the work that he felt himself inspired to do; his inner senses were all so acute that, at times, it would almost seem that Wagner not only listened to but had caught something of the music of the spheres. Critics make a great mistake when they say, as many of them do, that Wagner's music is essentially sensuous. In reality it is nothing of the kind. Wagner in the Ring, in "Tannhauser, " and "The Flying Dutchman, " tries to bring out in a faithful way things that have their rise in the elemental and then work up through stress and storm to the higher planes of being. In the doing of this, if he is to prove faithful to his trust, he must be true to all the different phases of life that he encounters. Wagner impresses me much as the painter Turner does. Turner used, in his painting, dark colours to lay, as it were, the foundation of his work; then he passes up through one colour and degree of colour after another, until he reaches the light. So Wagner, in his work, faithfully exemplifies each stage in the development of life, from the elemental to the purified soul, from the earth to the heaven, from darkness to light.
Music has had a glorious past, but the greatest music is yet to come. With the full realisation on the part of the great composer that he has consciously attuned himself to the Source of all music, there will come the heavenly melodies and harmonies of which the earth has as yet only begun to dream ; but dreams do come true, and when the hearts and minds of men desire still more beautiful and wonderful music than that which they have as yet received, then, because of such demand, will come the supply. Said Cardinal Newman: "There are but seven notes in the scale; make them fourteen, yet what a slender outfit for so vast an enterprise ! What science brings so much out of so little? Out of what poor elements does some great master in it create his new world! Shall we say that all this exuberant inventiveness is a mere ingenuity or trick of art, like some game of fashion of the day, without reality, without meaning? . . . Is it possible that that inexhaustible evolution and disposition of notes, so rich yet so simple, so intricate yet so regulated, so various yet so majestic, should be a mere sound, which is gone and perishes? Can it be that those mysterious stirrings of the heart, and keen emotions, and strange yearnings after we know not what, and awful impressions from we know not whence, should be wrought in us by what is unsubstantial, and comes and goes, and begins and ends in itself? It is not so; it cannot be. No; they have escaped from some higher sphere; they are the outpourings of eternal harmony in the medium of created sound ; they are echoes from our Home ; they are the voices of Angels, or the Magnificat of Saints, or the living laws of Divine Governance, or the Divine Attributes; something are they besides themselves, which we cannot compass, which we cannot utter, though mortal man, and one perhaps not otherwise distinguished above his fellows, has the gift of eliciting them. "
Cardinal Newman's tribute to music is not an overestimated one, as many may perhaps think, but an expression of his inmost feelings, the expression of one who was a true lover of music. I doubt very much whether any devoted lover of music by the spoken or written word can give any full or complete expression to the wonderful influence music exerts upon his life, or to the added meaning it gives to all his experiences. How often we find thoughts and words inadequate when we try to give expression to our deepest feelings! The fact is that we seem almost to lose something of the real value when we try to interpret what we feel through the written page or the spoken word. Just as I suppose the painter must feel when he sees new wonders of beauty and colour in nature, and tries to depict them on his canvas, and finds that his pigment colours are in no way adequate to express the beauty of colour he is able to see. The whole object of life is this effort that we are constantly making to articulate the inarticulate; to express what seems inexpressible; to reveal, as it were, all the inner mysteries of being. To a degree we succeed, but in a greater degree we seem to fail. Only little by little does life render up her secrets, and then only to the seeker. But to him who continues the search will come the sure reward, because there is nothing hidden but that shall be revealed, and revelation will follow revelation. One height gained will show still greater heights to be attained. There is no final; there is no ultimate. Progress is eternal.
"Oh, thou beautiful
And unimaginable ether! and
Ye multiplying masses of increased
And still increasing lights!
What are ye?
What Is this blue wilderness of interminable
Air, where ye roll along as I have seen
The leaves along the limpid streams of Eden?"
"First the flaming red
Sprang void forth; the tawny orange next,
And next delicious yellow; by whose side
Fell the kind beams of all-refreshing green.
Then the pure blue that swells autumnal skies,
Ethereal played; and then, of sadder hue
Emerged the deeper indigo (as when
The heavy-skirted evening droops with frost),
While the last gleamings of refracted light
Died in the fainting violet away. "
MAN is living in a universe of ceaseless vibration, but is conscious physically of such vibration only in a minute way. He is affected through his sense of hearing by something over ten octaves of sound vibration, and through his sense of sight by one octave of light and colour vibration. There are countless billions of vibratory waves of electricity, heat, light, and colour, etc. , that apparently make no impression whatever upon either his senses or his physical body. Billions of vibratory waves are constantly passing through his body, yet he is all unconscious of what is taking place. With his mind he may determine mathematically the number of these vibratory waves, but apparently he is only slightly attuned to them and feels comparatively little of their action in his physical life. Vibration on every plane of being differs in degree but not in kind; no matter whether we call it molecular, atomic, or spiritual. All three may differ in degree, but not in kind. It is the same vibration from the highest spiritual plane of being to the lowest plane of form. All vibration is the result of energy in motion. Energy in rhythmic, vibratory motion has produced every form in the universe ; and energy in discordant motion is destructive of all form. Different degrees of vibration affect us in various ways and degrees. Eighteen hundred volts of electricity will destroy human life, while two million volts passing through the body of man seem to produce no harmful effect.
In the act of hearing, somewhere between twenty-five and forty per second of molecular vibratory waves marks the beginning of the average man's power to hear; and somewhere between thirty and forty thousand waves per second marks the end where the limit of hearing is reached. It is to be noted, however, that some people are more delicately attuned to both sound and colour vibration than others. They begin to hear at a lower rate of vibration and continue to hear the higher sounds, and see more wonder of colour long after others have ceased to sense them. There is no question that the great painter sees far more colour in the varying hues, tints, and shades that he uses than the person who is not in sympathetic relation to them; or, I might say, than the one who is not so highly attuned to them. Some writer has said, that "colour is sound made visible and that sound is colour made audible. " Just as musical sounds differ in sound, pitch, and quality, so do colours differ in three respects hue, tint, and shade; although sound is the result of molecular vibration while colour is the result either of atomic or electron vibration. The scientific theory of molecular vibration is that it is not the air which is moved, but the molecules in the atmosphere that any vibratory body causes them to vibrate in the same manner. Perhaps a bell will illustrate the meaning: when the gong of a bell strikes, there is a vibration set up which disturbs all the molecules in the bell; these, in turn, produce a vibration of those outside, and these, in turn, impinge upon other molecules farther away from the bell, and thus vibratory waves are set up, which undoubtedly extend far beyond the power of the ear to hear them. The vibratory waves set up in the bell radiate, as do the rays of the sun, in every possible direction. Each molecule communicates the impulse it has received to the next, and, having done this, returns to its normal state of repose. With electricity, heat, and light, the same process takes place, but in different degrees. A molecule is an aggregation of atoms. Until recently the belief has been that the atom was the smallest conceivable particle of substance in the universe; that the whole visible universe was a grand aggregation of atoms. With the discovery of radium there came a deeper unfolding of the secrets of life, and the electron took its place as underlying the atom, and man went one step farther toward unravelling the mysteries of life. It is to be noticed in all such steps, however, that the tendency of science is from the visible toward the invisible. Energy in motion produces all vibration, but we do not know what causes the energy or what sets it in motion. All atomic or electron vibration is set up by the activities of the sun, but of the causes lying back of these activities we know comparatively nothing. We know that electricity, heat, and light are the result of energy in motion, and we believe that this energy produces atomic waves, and that the different degrees of these set up among the atoms produce the phenomena of all three and the different degrees of length and velocity of these waves produce the three different phases of the phenomena of electricity, heat, and light. Doubtless, we shall yet come to know that besides molecular and atomic, there is also electron vibration; but what the latter vibration may produce no man can as yet definitely say. We know so little about the whole subject of vibration and the various phenomena produced by it, and there is so much yet to be known, that the deeper we go into the matter the more wonderful does it all become. Vibration, from first to last, is a unity of motion and must be considered as such, although in its manifestation it becomes a trinity of molecular, atomic, and electron vibration producing varying degrees of wave lengths and differing in velocity of movement. There is so much to be observed in common between sound waves and colour waves that eventually it will become a thoroughly accepted scientific belief that there is a continuation by varying octaves from the lowest to the highest sound, and from that on, from the first colour red to the last one of bright violet. It will consequently be found that the vibration continued beyond the bright violet (when man has become attuned to a higher rate of vibration) will disclose itself as the beginning of a new octave of colour, and that man's hearing will also be able to translate into music the higher sounds which, as yet, have not become musical to his ear; still further octaves of sound will be added to his hearing, and further octaves of colour to his seeing.
There is a very close analogy between sound and light. For instance, both possess the same properties of being refracted. We say certain surfaces absorb so much light and reflect so much back. It is exactly the same with sound; a smooth or polished wall or ceiling will reflect a part of the sound back again, while curtains, carpets, etc. , will have a tendency to absorb to a greater or lesser degree, according to their varying surfaces. While every tone travels through the air with equal rapidity, each tone has its own length. Exactly the same is true concerning colour vibration. A sounding-board in a piano, the woodwork in a violin, the roof of the mouth, and the resonant head chambers used in voice production, all act to give increased volume in sound production, but do not change the wave length or cause greater velocity of movement. Resonance, however, means greater volume of sound, and because of increased volume there will be increased molecular vibration in the atmosphere.
Man's physical senses bring him into the closest relationship with his outer environment. His five senses may be summed up as differentiations of one sense, namely, that of touch. Touch, in the first degree, brings man into the closest relation to material things. Next we find that various things coming in touch with the palate act on the sense of taste. Again, by the way in which different perfumes and odours come in touch with the olfactory nerve, the sense of smell is made evident. In a still greater degree, by the way that atmospheric vibration comes in touch with the tympanum or drum of the ear, the sense of hearing is affected, and the last or most remote degree of touch is the way that colour or light vibration comes in touch with the optic nerve of the eye. It must therefore be evident that four of the senses viz. , taste, smell, hearing, and seeing are only different degrees of the one vital sense we call touch; but it is with the sense of hearing and seeing that we have most to do in this book. There are two peculiarities that I should like to make clear concerning the sense of sight and the sense of hearing. The eye receives pictures from without, and, as a general thing, the pictures it receives affect man's mind far more than they do his feelings. Sight is the sense of touch that is farthest removed from man, and his life is usually not nearly as much disturbed by what he sees as by what he hears. In other words, seeing is more of a mental process than any one or all of the other senses. Hearing, however, seems to be more of a process of feeling. Let me illustrate it in this way: we might see a building burning at a distance without our feelings being affected to any marked degree by it. But if we were close to it and could hear the cries of distress coming from those unable to escape, not only would our minds be quickened, but all our feelings would be aroused. With the aid of our eyes we take in pictures of objective life. With the aid of our ears we come in touch with man's more subjective life. Objective life tends to awaken man's mental faculties, causing him to think and to reason; but it does not necessarily stir his deepest feelings. People who have lost their hearing and who no longer hear the harmonies of sound, usually become irritable, while people who have lost the power to see and yet have retained their hearing, are usually both gentle and kind in their natures. I do not mean to say that there are not exceptions to this rule, because one may have lost the outer hearing and have kept the sense of the inner, and have all the sweetness and gentleness that is to be found among the blind. We might mention as an illustration of this inner hearing that Beethoven, while of a somewhat irritable temperament, which was not improved by the loss of hearing, nevertheless was able to. Hear with his inner ear, and produced more of his beautiful and remarkable music after he had practically lost the use of his outer hearing. Dr. Nicholas Saunderson, who lived in the early part of the last century, although blind, was one of the most celebrated mathematicians of his time, and he said: "Persons who are deprived of sight are generally blessed with a fine ear. Hence, perhaps it arises that music is a favourite study with the blind. " "The doctor was a singular instance of this delicacy of ear. He could readily distinguish to the fifth part of a note, and by his performance on the flute, which he had learned as an amusement in his younger years, discovered a genius for music that would probably have appeared as wonderful as his excellence in mathematics, had he cultivated the art with equal application. " In the development, then, of the mind and body, through the use of music and colour, one must take into account how colour affects the mind, and how hearing affects the emotions; and it will be through the union of both that the greatest development will come both to mind and body.
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