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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 1882)
Stucl soys, "But few chunu'tors can endure the slogo light
of Action without a little louge." If Longfellow hud given
us in Hiawatha nn accurato picture of an lnillmi maiden,
of tho idealized Hiawatha with her beautiful and tender
love, wo would have heen repelled instead of charmed.
What constitutes this chum? Certainly not its literal
truth There cannot bo tru:h, else there cannot bo beauty.
Yet we cannot admit that beauty should be sacrificed on
the alter of truth.
The magic of the artist consists in winning the heart
out of things, in Uniting tho essential qualities, and in nc
complishiug more fiom tho abstract study of things than
by tho immitation of nature. Nature furnishes the mate
rial, but when the artists her with rigid literalism, and
falls to use h genius and power of creating beauty of
thought and conception, which Qnables him to finish what
nature begins, his work will lack that emotional power
which is incompatible w i tit nature.
It is design, originality and expression of some princi
ple idea, which please and move. Work which docs not
please is not art, nor can it live unless it bo beautiful. "It
may teach a moral as some other didactic lesson,but that
should be only incidental." Every worK must be moral,
else it cannot be beautiful, but when it has for Its object
to teach morals it ceases to be art.
We respect facts, reverence morals, and acknowledge
the importance of the useful ; but each and all of them
arc fatal to, and far from the intent of beauty.
For so long as the artist is bound down by literal truth
his artistic faculties arc fettered, and he cannot give ex.
prcssion to his genius or power. As has been said, "Art
only begins with liberty of the artist as the flight only
begins with the liberty of the birds.''
TONIO SOL FA.
The movement that Is now In progress, as herein set
forth, is revolutionary in the best sense of that word. Like
nil true reforms it is constructive in its character, and not
destructive. But, being unconventional in its method, it
is opposed by ninny of the musical profession, just ns the
discoveries of Hnrvy and Jcnner were oppossed by the
regular physicians of their day. Tho movement must
therefore be largely popular and unprofessional here as it
was in the early history of England. It has already won
the favor and support of tho most eminent musicians of
that country, as it is doing here. In the meantime all
Christian workers, philanthropists nnd educators can do
valuable service for a great cause by giving It their sympn.
thy and cooperation.
The present method of musical instruction, judged from
their result upon tho masses otitic people, must be regard
id as a practical failure. Not one person in fifty, on the
avernge, can rend music. Of those who can read music
tolerably well (the ready, sure renders arc so few that they
must be considered as individuals, and not as a class) not
one in ten has any intelligent knowledge of the subject.
The great majority of singers know nothing whatever of
harmony. They cannot write down the music they hear;
they cannot analyze or parse the simplest composition.
This is so true that probably the first thought of nearly
very render of this paragraph will be one of surprise that
ordinary people should be expected to understand harmo
ny, to write down what they hear, or to analyze a musical
That tho masses can be thus musically educated, is, In
deed, a revelation. But It is a revelation that has been
made. It is a possibility that has been fully demonstrated
The Tonic Sol fa system Is a new method of teaching
music which accomplishes all that. It makes sure sight
readers, and loads tho ordinary elementary student to the.
same kind of musical intelligence that lias heretofore been
thought possible only for those who possess cxtraordl
nary musical talent. Children In public schools where
this system is taught understand the fundamental princi
ples of harmony. They can write down melodies nsthoy
hear them, ar-d analyze the music they slug.
This system originated in England about thirty years
ago. It has gradually grown to perfection there, and now
awaits only adoption in this country. It was the b jllelof
tho founder of this system, Kcv. John Curwcn, that It
would prove peculiarly adapted to the genius of tho
American people, and experience has fully confirmed his
opinion, It has been brought especially into notice hero
within the past two years, and tho American Tonic Sol-fa
Association was formed only one year ago. Yet, at this
annual meeting of that organization, last July, there were
reported over one hundred teachers and forty thousand
students of tho system in the United States.
The above Association takes this method of making an
earnest avrncal to the religious and educational prcs3 of
the country for aid and co-operation in this grand move
ment. The managers feel justified in makiug this appeal,
for the following reasons:
1. The movement has been, in all its past history,
largely philanthropic in character. It first originated as
a help to tho poor and ignorant, and has ever since been
an invaluable aid to the Ragged School, the Band of
Hope, the Young Men's Christian Association, and other
institutions for the elevation of humanity.
2. It commends itself, uniformly, to nil who make a
trial of it. No other method has ever been received with
such unanimity as this. If any arc found objecting to it
they arc, without exception, those who have not made a
trial of it.
2. Although so perfectly adapted to the elementary
study of music, yet the system does not stop there. It
lels on by easy and delightful stages to the highest work
of nrt. Hence, the Tonic Sol fa catalogue of publications
embraces Oratorios, Masses, English nnd German Glees
in fact, all the vocul works of the Great Masters.
No words need be written in commendation of a system
which thus opens the world of music to mankind. It
must be classed as one of tho extraordinary movements of
this extraoidinary age. It is not strange that an era
which gives us the steam engine, the photograph, the tel
egraph, should clear away thr mysteries of music, nnd
crable the people to read it as they read the English lan
guage. This system is simply a method for miking ten persons
musical where one is musical now. Beginning with the
kindergarten and primary schools, it leads the pupils step
13' step into as thorough and intelligent a knowledge and
use of the language of music as they now obtain of their
native tongue. Although this statement seems extrava
gant in view of the meagre results of the present method,
the testimony is corroborated by every one of the five
thousand teachers of the method in Great Britiuu (iuclud.
ing Dr. Stainar, the eminent organist of St, Paul's Caihe
dral, and many others musicians of equal standing), and
all Amcuican teachers who have fully tested tho question.
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