The plan of arrangement used in this book has in view a combination of the recitation and lecture systems, and affords an opportunity for teachers to apply the best principles of both. The paragraph headings should be thoroughly fixed in mind and close attention should be given to the words in heavy type and Italics that occur in the body of a paragraph; together they form a convenient outline for the lesson. The questions at the end of each lesson are to be used to test the pupils’ mastery of the lesson material; all available works of reference should be consulted for fuller information than the limited space of one book will admit of, each member of the class preparing one or more abstracts to be read before the class. The review outlines and suggestions are to be used in the same way, special attention being given to written answers such as would be required in an examination.
With a view of furnishing the reader a considerable amount of material on the growth of music as an art, biographical sketches have been made short, especially since so many excellent works of that description are available at a small price. Emphasis has been laid on the work of the men who developed music, on the influences which shaped their careers and the permanent value of their contributions to music. A clear knowledge of how music reached its present state is not to be had by studying books, biographical and critical; the works of the composers must be examined, played and sung, compared, analyzed as to methods of construction (Form) and expression (Melody, Harmony and Rhythm), so that the student may appreciate the change from simple, elementary processes to the free, polyphonic style found in the complex modern piano and orchestral scores. Reference is made to representative compositions by classical and modern composers, which are part of the average teaching repertoire. The works of the earlier composers are not, however, readily accessible, although good examples of the style of the 16th and 17th centuries are in the cheap editions of Peters, Litolff, Augener, Breitkopf and Härtel, and Ricordi.
The plan of this book provides for two lessons a week for thirty weeks. This will occupy a school year and allow time for quizzes, reviews and examinations. If more time is available, the work may be divided into four, five or six terms and stress laid on the study of representative compositions, the preparation of short papers on the suggested topics, adding, as a feature to interest friends and music lovers generally, public programs including music.
Musical clubs will find in this book material for several years’ programs, special attention having been given to the lessons on modern composers and their music, the suggestions as to class-work applying with equal force to the study classes of clubs. The individual reader should follow out the suggested historical and biographical parallels which help so strongly to fix in the mind the periods in which composers lived.
Lessons III to VI were prepared by Dr. H. A. Clarke, of the University of Pennsylvania; Lessons VIII to XIV by Mr. Arthur L. Judson, of Denison University; Lessons XV and XVI by Mr. Preston Ware Orem, Mus. Bac., of Philadelphia; Lessons XVII to XIX, XXI to XXIII, XXXVII to XL by Mr. Frederic S. Law, of Philadelphia; Lessons XXV to XXXIII by Mr. Clarence G. Hamilton, A. M., of Wellesley College; Lessons XLI to XLVIII by Mr. Edward Burlingame Hill, A. B., of Boston; Lessons L to LVI by Mr. Arthur Elson, of Boston.
W. J. B.
November 1, 1905.
September 1, 1906.
Purpose of the Study of the History of Music. — The purpose of the study of the history of music is to trace the development of the many phases which make up modern music which we cannot but regard as a great social force, an intellectual, an uplifting force. If we consider it from the material side, it is one of magnitude; we need but think of the money invested in buildings, opera houses, schools, concert halls, publishing plants, factories, the sums spent on musical instruments, instruction, concerts, opera, etc., to recognize the commercial side. When we think of the great army of persons whose livelihood is conditioned upon musical work, upon the great audiences that support musical enterprises, we recognize the magnitude of music in a social sense, and that it offers a large field for study. These conditions, interesting as they are, represent only phases of musical work, not Music itself, and serve to show the place which Music occupies in the life of today. Our investigation is, then, a consideration of the origin and development of Music, and the means by which it took shape.
The Place of Intellect in Music. — When we think of Music we have in mind an organization of musical sounds into something definite, something by design, not by chance, the product of the working of the human mind with musical sounds and their effects upon the human sensibilities. So long as man accepted the various phenomena of musical sounds as isolated facts, there could be no art. But when he began to use them to minister to his pleasure and to study them and their effects, he began to form an art of music. The story of music is the record of a series of attempts on the part of man to make artistic use of the material which the ear accepts as capable of affording pleasure and as useful in expressing the innermost feelings. The raw material of music consists of the sounds considered musical, the human voice, various musical instruments and the use of this material in such ways as to affect the human sensibilities; that is, to make an impression upon the hearer which shall coincide with that of the original maker of the music who gives to his feelings expression in music. We find in music, as in other branches, that man tries to reduce phenomena to order and to definite form. The mass of musical material is vague, incoherent, disorganized. Man seeks to devise ways to use it intelligibly, and to promote esthetic pleasure. If musical sounds are to be combined simultaneously or successively, this combination should be in accordance with design, not haphazard, just as the builder of the house or the temple puts together his material according to a regular plan. Those who have been leaders in the Art of Music have labored in two ways: to extend the limits of expression in music, and to find the means to contain that expression. At one period stress is laid on making music expressive, at another on the medium for conveying expression to others, the latter being comprehended in the term Form. In connection with this statement, the student will do well to remember that every period of great intellectual activity, social or political, reacted upon music and the other arts; to illustrate, we need but refer to the formal, even artificial character of the music of the period preceding the French Revolution and the freedom and vigor imparted by the spirit of Romanticism which followed in the wake of that great political movement, a difference strikingly illustrated in the music of Haydn and Beethoven, Clementi and Schumann. There is also a constant action and reaction of the various racial streams of power such as the Aryan on the Semitic, East upon the West, Latin upon the Teuton, Folk-music upon the Scholastic.
The Principles in Music. — The leading principles in music are: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Color or Tone Quality, and in the execution of works of music, Dynamic Contrast, an essential factor in Expression. For ages after the birth of Music, Rhythm and Melody were the only real elements, Rhythm being first recognized. The potency of Rhythm, strong and irresistible in the early days of the race and with primitive man, is still acknowledged. Music that lacks a clearly-defined rhythm does not move the masses. Witness martial music, the dance airs and the “popular song.” All primitive languages were characterized by concise, figurative and picturesque qualities; they easily changed from the ordinary into the lofty and the impassioned. Intonation and changing inflection had much to do with meaning, as is the case with the Chinese language of today. Historians ascribe the origin of Melody to this principle of vocal expression. For years prior to the Christian Era, and long after, Rhythm and Melody were the only accepted elements of Music, and the art remained in a low grade of development. It was not until Harmony appeared, clear and unmistakable, that Music was able to claim a position equal to that accorded to the sister-arts, Poetry, Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. These principles, Rhythm, Melody and Harmony, became, when couched in the forms of expression adopted by the great masters, what we call Modern Music, and the story is one of a development from extreme simplicity to the complexity illustrated in modern orchestral scores.
Means of Expression. — One more phase must be mentioned here, the means used to present to others the thoughts or feelings of the composer, that is, the human voice and its artistic use, instruments of various kinds, their primitive forms and gradual development, their use singly and in combination with other instruments. This phase is peculiarly associated with modern music; for it was not until the art had freed itself from the fetters imposed by vocal music, that absolute music, availing itself of perfected instruments, came into its own. From that time development was unprecedentedly rapid.
What is to be Brought Forward. — The history of Music is, then, a recital of facts bearing upon the development of modern music and we shall lay stress on such facts as show a permanent impress and a solid contribution to progress in one or more of the lines marked out: Form, Expression, Melody, Rhythm, Harmony and Instrumental Color. In the study of a composer, the facts essential to the history of music are critical rather than biographical; not a life chronicle so much as a clear statement of what he specially contributed to forward the art. To gain an educational value, the facts of the history of music are to be studied so as to glean from them their significance, and an understanding of the causes and conditions which made them possible; then we go on to discern the consequences to which they in turn gave rise. No man works for himself and out of himself. He builds upon what others have done, and he builds for others. The student should discern the lesson in the past, and receive guidance for the future.