An Introduction to the Study of National Music: Comprising Researches into Popular Songs, Traditions, and Customs

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9781501005176: An Introduction to the Study of National Music: Comprising Researches into Popular Songs, Traditions, and Customs
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IN this interesting volume Herr Carl Engel, to whom the public was already indebted for a treatise on "the Music of the Most Ancient Nations," has given us some preliminary results of an industrious and intelligent search into the subject of national music. Much curious and significant detail has been gathered together in the volume, of the detailed contents of which it is impossible to give an adequate notion in the compass of a short notice; the conclusions which this detail points to are perhaps even still more interesting. It comes out, for instance, unmistakably, though we cannot say it is brought out clearly (Herr Engel's power of generalisation being somewhat small), that scales, the bare material of music, are almost infinitely various, and therefore entirely arbitrary. Tonalities of which the degrees proceed by halves of what we call tones, are in common use in many of the less known countries; some savage nations sing in successions of quarter tones; in other countries, again, pitch moves by intervals equal to about one-third of the European whole-tone. The result of Herr Engel's book is, in fact, to prove the existence of a number of totally differing musical languages, each intelligible and beautiful to those with whom it is indigenous, and each unmeaning, if not repulsive, to those whose ears have been accustomed to a different one. To an Arab musician, a pianoforte tuned to the European musical scale is "very much out of tune," and "jumps;" the Chinese can find "no soul" in European music, and the European reciprocates the feeling in both cases. An Englishman who, after months of patient practice, has learned to intone what appear to him the unearthly quarter-tone intervals of the New Zealand Maories, is rewarded at length—just as he begins to be able to make noises which would frighten a dog in London—by the naive compliment from his teachers that they will now "soon make a singer of him." It would seem, from all this, that the raw material of art-work in sound is entirely arbitrary; and that, whatever succession of intervals be adopted as a scale, the human ear accepts them, and finds pleasure in art-work based upon them.

We cannot follow Herr Engel when he recommends to European musical composers the use of a variety of tonalities in their works; there may be special points of excellence and beauty in other than the European scales, but for a composer to incorporate into a symphony passages founded upon these scales, could have no possible result but confusion. It would mean nothing either to European, Asiatic, or Chinaman. As well might we recommend an author to use hero a little Greek, and there a little Arabic, because, for the expression of some thoughts, Greek or Arabic might possess a peculiarly powerful idiom.

One of the most curious reflections which seem to us to grow out of the truth which Herr Engel's book brings into prominence, is the possibility, granting an almost infinite variety of musical scales, of the singing of birds being something far more closely related to human speech, as regards ita capacity for communicating various and definite ideas, than we are accustomed to suppose. No bird, so far as is known, sings in the established European scale; even the cuckoo's two notes being, according to that scale, "out of tune." But the songs of birds, the musical passages, so to speak, which they perform, are of great variety; and if we assume the possibility of the constituent parts of the performance having a meaning, there must be the materials of a possible "language of birds," whether it exist actually or not. The musical "scale" of a nation being, as we have seen, simply the form in which sound has happened to crystallise in that particular region, another branch of inquiry is suggested, though but dimly, by Mr. Engel; what it is, namely, which governs the form of crystallisation of musical sounds.…

The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review, Volume 222

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Carl Engel
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Description du livre Createspace, United States, 2014. Paperback. État : New. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. IN this interesting volume Herr Carl Engel, to whom the public was already indebted for a treatise on the Music of the Most Ancient Nations, has given us some preliminary results of an industrious and intelligent search into the subject of national music. Much curious and significant detail has been gathered together in the volume, of the detailed contents of which it is impossible to give an adequate notion in the compass of a short notice; the conclusions which this detail points to are perhaps even still more interesting. It comes out, for instance, unmistakably, though we cannot say it is brought out clearly (Herr Engel s power of generalisation being somewhat small), that scales, the bare material of music, are almost infinitely various, and therefore entirely arbitrary. Tonalities of which the degrees proceed by halves of what we call tones, are in common use in many of the less known countries; some savage nations sing in successions of quarter tones; in other countries, again, pitch moves by intervals equal to about one-third of the European whole-tone. The result of Herr Engel s book is, in fact, to prove the existence of a number of totally differing musical languages, each intelligible and beautiful to those with whom it is indigenous, and each unmeaning, if not repulsive, to those whose ears have been accustomed to a different one. To an Arab musician, a pianoforte tuned to the European musical scale is very much out of tune, and jumps; the Chinese can find no soul in European music, and the European reciprocates the feeling in both cases. An Englishman who, after months of patient practice, has learned to intone what appear to him the unearthly quarter-tone intervals of the New Zealand Maories, is rewarded at length-just as he begins to be able to make noises which would frighten a dog in London-by the naive compliment from his teachers that they will now soon make a singer of him. It would seem, from all this, that the raw material of art-work in sound is entirely arbitrary; and that, whatever succession of intervals be adopted as a scale, the human ear accepts them, and finds pleasure in art-work based upon them. We cannot follow Herr Engel when he recommends to European musical composers the use of a variety of tonalities in their works; there may be special points of excellence and beauty in other than the European scales, but for a composer to incorporate into a symphony passages founded upon these scales, could have no possible result but confusion. It would mean nothing either to European, Asiatic, or Chinaman. As well might we recommend an author to use hero a little Greek, and there a little Arabic, because, for the expression of some thoughts, Greek or Arabic might possess a peculiarly powerful idiom. One of the most curious reflections which seem to us to grow out of the truth which Herr Engel s book brings into prominence, is the possibility, granting an almost infinite variety of musical scales, of the singing of birds being something far more closely related to human speech, as regards ita capacity for communicating various and definite ideas, than we are accustomed to suppose. No bird, so far as is known, sings in the established European scale; even the cuckoo s two notes being, according to that scale, out of tune. But the songs of birds, the musical passages, so to speak, which they perform, are of great variety; and if we assume the possibility of the constituent parts of the performance having a meaning, there must be the materials of a possible language of birds, whether it exist actually or not. The musical scale of a nation being, as we have seen, simply the form in which sound has happened to crystallise in that particular region, another branch of inquiry is suggested, though but dimly, by Mr. Engel; what it is, namely, which governs the form of crystallisation of musical sounds. - The Gentleman s Magazine and Historical Revie. N° de réf. du libraire APC9781501005176

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Carl Engel
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ISBN 10 : 1501005170 ISBN 13 : 9781501005176
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Description du livre Createspace, United States, 2014. Paperback. État : New. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.IN this interesting volume Herr Carl Engel, to whom the public was already indebted for a treatise on the Music of the Most Ancient Nations, has given us some preliminary results of an industrious and intelligent search into the subject of national music. Much curious and significant detail has been gathered together in the volume, of the detailed contents of which it is impossible to give an adequate notion in the compass of a short notice; the conclusions which this detail points to are perhaps even still more interesting. It comes out, for instance, unmistakably, though we cannot say it is brought out clearly (Herr Engel s power of generalisation being somewhat small), that scales, the bare material of music, are almost infinitely various, and therefore entirely arbitrary. Tonalities of which the degrees proceed by halves of what we call tones, are in common use in many of the less known countries; some savage nations sing in successions of quarter tones; in other countries, again, pitch moves by intervals equal to about one-third of the European whole-tone. The result of Herr Engel s book is, in fact, to prove the existence of a number of totally differing musical languages, each intelligible and beautiful to those with whom it is indigenous, and each unmeaning, if not repulsive, to those whose ears have been accustomed to a different one. To an Arab musician, a pianoforte tuned to the European musical scale is very much out of tune, and jumps; the Chinese can find no soul in European music, and the European reciprocates the feeling in both cases. An Englishman who, after months of patient practice, has learned to intone what appear to him the unearthly quarter-tone intervals of the New Zealand Maories, is rewarded at length-just as he begins to be able to make noises which would frighten a dog in London-by the naive compliment from his teachers that they will now soon make a singer of him. It would seem, from all this, that the raw material of art-work in sound is entirely arbitrary; and that, whatever succession of intervals be adopted as a scale, the human ear accepts them, and finds pleasure in art-work based upon them. We cannot follow Herr Engel when he recommends to European musical composers the use of a variety of tonalities in their works; there may be special points of excellence and beauty in other than the European scales, but for a composer to incorporate into a symphony passages founded upon these scales, could have no possible result but confusion. It would mean nothing either to European, Asiatic, or Chinaman. As well might we recommend an author to use hero a little Greek, and there a little Arabic, because, for the expression of some thoughts, Greek or Arabic might possess a peculiarly powerful idiom. One of the most curious reflections which seem to us to grow out of the truth which Herr Engel s book brings into prominence, is the possibility, granting an almost infinite variety of musical scales, of the singing of birds being something far more closely related to human speech, as regards ita capacity for communicating various and definite ideas, than we are accustomed to suppose. No bird, so far as is known, sings in the established European scale; even the cuckoo s two notes being, according to that scale, out of tune. But the songs of birds, the musical passages, so to speak, which they perform, are of great variety; and if we assume the possibility of the constituent parts of the performance having a meaning, there must be the materials of a possible language of birds, whether it exist actually or not. The musical scale of a nation being, as we have seen, simply the form in which sound has happened to crystallise in that particular region, another branch of inquiry is suggested, though but dimly, by Mr. Engel; what it is, namely, which governs the form of crystallisation of musical sounds. - The Gentleman s Magazine and Historical Review. N° de réf. du libraire APC9781501005176

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