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THE NEW SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Author(s): Edward Sobolewski


Source: The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 2, No. 3 (1868), pp. 171-176
Published by: Penn State University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25665652
Accessed: 09-02-2017 10:56 UTC

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The New School of Music. 171
disorder?namely, of the Universality and stractions brings them, in and for them
Individuality, of the Also and the One, of selves, together. The "sound common
the mentioned essentiality which connect sense" is their prey, and they drive it
ed with a necessary unessentiality, and of around in their whirling circle. While
an Unessential which is nevertheless ne it (the Understanding) endeavors to give
cessary ? to bring these thoughts together them truth through the fact that it now
and thus to cancel them, the understand takes their untruths upon itself, and then
ing strives mightily against this, and en calls the deception an 44 appearance of the
deavors to hold them asunder by using unreliable things," and separates the essen
the u In-so-far" as a prop, and by taking tial from what is necessary to it, but never
"different points of view," or by referring theless unessential-and preserves the
one thought to itself [the understanding] in former as their truth against the latter; it
order to retain the other separate and as does not retain their truth for them, but it
the true one. But the nature of these ab does give itself the untruth.

THE NEW SCHOOL OF MUSIC.


By Edward Sobolewski.

Palaeophil's letters,* criticising music, would answer, '.Because tne nignest part
and dated June 30, 1759, contained the fol cannot do so.' If he should venture to ask
lowing lamentation: any reason for this rule, the teacher would
44 For some time past Music has been silence him with answering, 'It is unbecom
flooded with heterodox writings, thereby ing in any young man to ask such impudent
causing the same to become corrupt. If you
questions!' "
are so much interested in the welfare of this We now smile at such angry eruptions a
art as I am, you will gladly aid me with all century old, and yet we cannot boast of hav
your power in maintaining its purity. ing greatly advanced.
44 Let us chastise these desperate writers, The race of Philistines has not diminished
who molest us with their new-fangled no in spite of harmonious King David and his
tions, and sow a spirit of opposition and in adherents.* New beings, years and trou
dependence in the heads of the young gene bles, with their usual suit of jealousy and
ration, contrasting with our adopted mode hate, as Byron has it, proceeded from the
of teaching music. ark of Noah. The Muses have grown old
44 Ask your honest Amisalos, if, in his and quarrelsome since they tore Thamyris'
early years, men knew anything of trills sight from him.
and turns. If a flourish was desired, it was Many exist who cannot boast of one fa
produced by executing a mordente on the vored look from their muse, and thus more
second-last note of any piece; and such as than ever are blind to the growing power
were unable to execute this flourish, simply which ever creates and lives.
let it alone. Many teachers of our day answer the
44 At his glorious time no distinction ex question of a pupil, why the seventh resolves
isted between E flat and D sharp, neither low and the second high; these answers can
were number, place, or chords of musical in be found in thousands of musical books;
tervals decided upon. Attention was paid Yet that which is not contained in these
only to the useful and necessary parts of the books is scoffed at and abhorred fcy men
art, and the possibility of executing twenty wearing the dress of the nineteenth centu
tones or chords more, troubled no one. ry, but in every other respect dried and
4i If the pupil dared to ask the teacher, withered.
4 Why, in the chord of the tritone, the low This decline from life and youth must not
est part must be resolved,' the teacher * R. Schumann and his Contributors to the
* Berlin by BirnstieL New Music, a paper read at Leipsic.

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172 The New School of Music.
be understood to be synonymous with age in at the beginning nor ending of any compo
years. Age in music is of no consideration. sition in the first and last chord.
Music, of all fine arts, is followed by many Prietorius, in his " Organography," tells
young in years, yet old and withered in feel us that all the old masters did not consider
ing and conception, and, vice versa, many of thirds and sixths as concords, but as dis
old age, who still glow with the energy and cords; "Therefore," he says, "shall no man
fire of youth in all their musical creations. be so presuming and imagine himself so
Voltaire's expression, 44 Un vieux poete, wise as to think he understandsv this better
un vieil amant, un vieux chanteur, et un than Ptolemaus, Bcetius, Euclides, and other
vieux cheval, ne valent rien," is as seldom eminent musici."
true as its author. Goethe confutes this Palestrina was the first who disregarded
saying in these words: this accustomed rule, and it is but natural
" The strength of youth, my friend, will tower
that he suffered in the beginning.
When angry foes to battle chime, Gluck, Mozart and Beethoven had to fight
When with fond, overwhelming power similar battles, yet many a long established
Sweet maids their arms around thee twine, rule and for^n died with them, many instru
When far the wreaths of honor wink
ments were emancipated and permitted to
To test thy speed and youthful spright,
appear in the orchestra, and to the orches
When 'mid the starry night we driuk
And revel in the waltz's delight: tra-score was granted the privilege of being
Yet from the harp's melodious strings enlarged a few staves. This music produced
To call the soft, enchanting power good effect and consequently was accepted.
Needs not the years of Youth!"
Could genius always depend upon itself,
Hayden composed his "Creation" and Han if genius were always in the right, it would
del his "Israel in Egypt" when past sixty. be needless for us to try and penetrate the
As little do we intend to defend those mysterious darkness floating around all cre
who call themselves disciples of future ation, but simply say: "Do not compose if
music, many of whom consider themselves you are void of genius; yet if you are en
martyrs of the new school, because they dowed with the same, write your inspira
tions!" Yet no man will deny genius to
know nothing, and do not try or even wish
to know anything of the same. They re Schumann or Wagner, in spite of which we
mind me of those who, in order to post have heard much just censure regarding
their " Manfred " and "Faustus" Overtures.
pone their bankruptcy as long as possible,
harangued, in 1759 of blessed memory, Considering all this, it would be but prop
about the decay of the arts. A work like er to study the solution of this difficult
Lohengrin, by R. Wagner, excites from such problem.
men a sarcastic smile, and exclamations of
"Acoustic experiments!" Such are Haupt> " Music, by the use of tones, gives form
mann's words. Where may his own com to what toe feel."?Close reasoning regard
ing the life of feeling in man leads many to
position, "And let us, e'en while trials
frown.," be properly classed? the daring question: "Is man possessed of
a soul within his body, immortality encased
Let us return to our theme; let us say in mortal frame; or is the power of life con
what our object is. " We desire nothing more tained in the body the soul of the same and
than what Socrates desired over two thousand does it perish with it?"
years ago, namely, 4 To explain nature by the Be this as it may, it is a matter of impos
laws of reason.'" This shall be our supreme sibility to separate the mental powers from
law in spite of the opposition of all who pre the physical in the feeling of man; be this
fer interest to reason, and whose number is mental feeling excited to activity by an
not small amongst the disciples of music. invisible power or by immediate earthly
In referring to the past history of the art, causes and influences, the physical will al
wre find but too often that what was con ways be found to act in unison with the
demned in one year was commended in the same. Marx says, "To hear is the first germ
next. Only one illustration, which to-day of music;" I say, "To feel." If this feeling
is universally admitted as very extraordi is powerful, it will flow like a magnetic fluid
nary: throughout the whole nervous system, and
Previous to Orlando Tasso's time, the naturally escape through the throat in a joy
'Jiird of the common chord wras neither used ous or complaining form, high or low, the

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The New School of Music. 173
tones coming in contact with pulsation.? even this secondary feeling will cease to
Such is the first germ of music. communicate itself to those whose vocal
The creation of form is governed by the organs are deficient, or where a certain
degree of nervous excitement existing. peculiar construction for the reception of
Pulsation will establish a certain order, tones does not exist; for there are many
time; and the elevation or depression of feel possessed of a quick ear, and yet unable to
ing, continuing until fiv.illy exhausted, will conceive a distinction of sound between high
in itself form a higher rhythm. and low tones, and who consequently are in
All this will be naturally and correctly capable of appreciating feeling transformed
produced, for nature never fails; and only into notes.
when the physical construction is imperfect Perfect construction of the vocal organs,
or diseased will the shaping of the f eling sensitiveness of the nervous system regard
thereof into form, act injuriously upon the ing tones, and the inexplicable organ of mu
body. Not even a lunatic is void of this feel sical ideas, compose Genius. If one of these
ing; some musical idea may enter his brain, be not in a state of perfection, the produc
yet it will lack consistency. The so-called tion will show the defect.
Pot-pourris differ from the compositions of Yet many imperfections can be overcome
to some degree. As the strength of muscle
a lunatic in this respect only, that the inten
is increased by exercise of the same, so may
tion to appear lunatic is plainly discernible.
We have involuntarily made use of the the more delicate parts of our system be
word " Idea." It has become naturalized in strengthened and polished in the same man
music, and expresses about the same as ner. Fugues and Contrapoint are gymnas
thought, theme, or sujet. We would even tic exercises for the composer, yet this alone
prefer it to the three latter, as there is some will not enable him,
thing superlatively real and primitive con " With little wit and glorious might,
veyed in its meaning, which cannot be as To swing his soul heyond all height."

positively expressed in the word "thought," No; yet, properly practised, such exercises
and still less in the words " theme" or "stir will strengthen the mind, regulate the vibra
jet." An Idea is something unexplainable; tions of feeling, and hasten Phantasy, with
like the sudden flashing of a meteor in the out engulfing it in misty depths. '
blue and serene ether, sending its brilliant We do not consider Fugues as the most
sparks through all spheres with a velocity elevated form possible of attainment. Han
almost beyond conception; an idea occurs, del has written complete Oratorios without
lives, and is expressed in word, tone, or including a single Fugue; yetifr wrould have
picture, animating its possessor. been impossible for him to compose these
The formation of ideas into tones excites Oratorios if Fugues had not been within his
in listeners to the same, a feeling similar to power.
that in its author. We say similar only, for, We may safely say that there never exist
as the feeling is excited by means of the ed a real master of the art, who did not, at
vocal organs, it is but secondary in its effect, some time during his musical career, wholly
whereas the composer received the same in abandon himself to the thematic surround
its full, primary, and intense force?even as ings of the Fugue. Accepting genius in a
an effusion of his own soul. composer (as the voice in a vocalist) as nine
We described "Idea" as something unex ty-nine parts of the requisite requirements,
plainable, yet we entertain the opinion that we may consider for the hundredth part
some organic matter relative to the same "Dexterity in the adaptation of Fugues!"
must exist in our mental construction. Ma The Fugue principally strengthens the
ny men are capable of feeling only what has Logic of tone-language, which is required.
been already felt, and are entirely unable to It would be absurd to place a double contra
invent, although well and thoroughly versed point in an eighth, ninth, tenth, or to employ
in all forms and rules appertaining to music. a reversed or retrograding imitation merely
Such men are either minus this organ, or for the sake of contrapoint or imitation; all
possessed of one of but imperfect develop must be naturally created, and not manu
ment. They have but the inferior organ, factured.
the ear, through which channel they are Aristotle says: "Whenever you create,
enabled to receive similar impressions, follow nature; in it no disconnected ingre
secondary only in force and effect. Yet dients occur, as in many Tragedies. A seed,
12

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174 The New School of Music.
received by the womb of the earth, lives, your compositions will be formless!" But
germinates, grows in the light of the sun, the former retorted, " The life of feeling
producing blossoms and fruit in accordance becomes shape, and every shape is possessed of
with its nature." Thus it is with Ideas;? form." This form, no matter of what na
they likewise must expand according to their ture, is good, so long as all parts retain a
nature, although they may receive a pecu harmonious relation to each other.
liar coloring through some peculiarity of the Thus the supreme law of music may be
individual, as plants are influenced by soil designated by the word " Harmony." Con
and climate. sequently, every combination of tones is
Fugue and Rondo are the Basis of the en correct if they retain a harmonious relation
tire old sjT8tem of form.?The compositions in their construction; be this based on the
were either a thematic work, or a mere com ory or not, it is all the same. To this day,
pilation of two or three dilferent melodies, many combinations of tones in Bach's works
appearing at intervals in different keys, by cannot be explained by theoretical laws, al
the repeating, displacing, imitating or trans though our feeling tells us that these combi
posing of parts more or less prolonged. nations are good, and consequently correct.
Hayden, Mozart and Beethoven often com For this reason no pupil should be chained
bined both forms in their compositions. to the laws of form in the moment of con
In favor of the first form it might be said, ception.
that it retains the same character, weight, Kirnberger, Weber, Marx, and others, ac
and motion of time, throughout. The second cording to the old school, insist upon a cer
is made interesting merely by an interesting tain progressive succession of chords. The
theme. It was principally favored by such new school studies the succession of chords
composers as Maria Von Weber, Meyerbeer, on a larger scale; it examines into the na
and the entire host of Italian and French ture of tones and guides them, as a zephyr
composers of the first half of the nine guides the tones of an ^Eolian harp, by deeper
teenth century; especially for their instru laws than those adopted by dry Theoretics.
mental compositions. These deeper laws the young composer
The Rondo-form also furnished the type must try to explore.
for all Airs, Duos, Trios, Finales, etc. Un In my Debates on Music* I have explained
til of late no composer could entirely cast off" thirty-three progressive movements of the
this straight-jacket; as poets cut the same in seventh chord in the Dominant; there are
this fashion, or were forced to do so in order still more existing, although Theory per
to justify musical critics. mits but two, at the farthest three. The
The disciples of Schumann and the prin same may be said of other combinations of
cipal founders of the new school now ask: tones.
"Why do you not emancipate all poets and Harmonies of disagreeable effect, such as
yourselves? Must the poet be ever forced pure fifths, are of course forbidden; such
to form his creations into such shape that mistakes are ranked in the same category
the composer may adapt his two or three with improper execution, and what school
themes to the same? Or must we never would defend such?
dare to compose an Opera, the poetical part
"The laws of Modulation are Elevating and
of which prevents us from giving it this
Rondo-form? Or, if the Libretto is too at Depressing."?The repugnance of the old
tractive, shall we twist, repeat, expand and school to diverging into distant keys is fre
contort every word into every variety of quently but a feeling of aversion to lawless
shape, in order to obtain the old musical ness. Very distant Diversions are often
form, to such a degree, that if the poet much milder in effect than nearer keys; it is
should hear his words after undergoing this principally the eye, and not the ear, which
transformation, he would feel inclined to is confused by many sharps and flats. The
wish composer and all to the regions where periods of a musical part, the musical parts
Orpheus once was?" of a scene, and the various scenes of an Op
era or Oratorio, must all remain in harmo
" We will emancipate poets and ourselves,"
nious relation to each other.
exclaimed the disciples of Schumann, and
One or more chords of the Dissonants are
consequently they condemned all forms
appertaining to this old theory. To this followed by one of the Consonante (the lull
the Conservatives answered, "If you do so, * Bremen, Kranz & Co., Pubk

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The New School of Music. 175
after a storm); thus music is rising and sink mean, "7see you," or "I see you," or 441
ing. This elevation and depression is incited see you"? What human being, endowed
to motion, melody is the inciting power. with common sense, will deny that the
Tone, chord, modulation, rhythm and in composer who makes use of these words is
strumentation are merely external means. obliged to express their proper sense in his
In our day they are nearly all fully explain
music?
ed, thus enabling one thoroughly conversant 1 do not wish to be misunderstood. The
with the laws of theory to create a large and words must remain the dry akd withered
extensive work, looking very much like a grains, which, when touched by music,
composition, although properly but a com send forth their fragrant odor. Although
pilation of forms. the composer is obliged to follow the decla
No art can boast of so many means to de mation in his music, yet he has not only to
ceive as music! A poet may be ever so lav speak, but also to sing. Music must be far
ish with beautiful words, yet, unless they richer in tones to return wholly all varia
tions of the sound of words: this richness
can be understood, he will be censured and
scoffed at. Yet in music it is different. We was probably peculiar to the old Greek mu
often hear tones entirely unsuited to the sic, which possessed many more notes of
words they are intended to express, and different value (several thousand) than our
music.
but few will notice it. Yes, many even
say, 44 What do I care for words or rhyme! 44 We must be satisfied with our Scale."?
If I have but proper chords void of fifths and This is not intended to mean: 44 You have
eighths, a proper rhythm, and the whole the privilege of placing the short or almost
composition of an effect that may be produ silent syllables on more prolonged or higher
ced by vocal and instrumental combination, notes than the accentuated syllables;" as M.
no more is needed! v. Weber in his Air of Max, 44 Eyes so
gloomy." He gives to the syllable
"Of what use, then, are words f"?If music
44 gloom-" two-eighths and to 44-y" four
breathes the feeling that words express, it
eighths, and not only the high but even
would be better to compose instrumental
the accentuated note of the Syncope. Here
music only, placing the words to be ex again it is Harmony, which must correspond
pressed, as a preface to the same.?Lizt, in word and tone.
in his symphonic poems, as also sometimes
The same law governs Instrumentation.
Mendelssohn and Schumann, employed this
As much as I would prefer nothing but
mode of prefacing the music with the words. beautiful Italian violins in an orchestra, so
The old-fashioned, with a glance of con much I would exclude every brass or wood
tempt, call this Programme-music; yet, mild
instrument not possessed of a certain noblesse
ly judged, many of their own Cantatas,
of sound. It must not be imagined that In
Operas, and Oratorios, are nothing but mere strumentation may be learned. We may
Programme-music I For instance: Haupt learn the character and technical construc
mann, the fir3t teacher on Composition at
tion of the various instruments, yet the
the Conservatory of Music at Leipsic, re
adaptation of the same, the Instrumentation,
peats the words 44 And though I roam this
is again a matter of Genius. It must har
gloomy vale" three times in succession,
monize with the feeling to be expressed.
then follow four interluding measures, and
finally the main clause, 441 fear no misfor 44 What, then, is the secret of the new school?"
tune!" What else is this but Programme ?That the disciples of the same must possess
music? The same effect might be obtained more knowledge than those of the old. They
by placing the words to be expressed in are not only required to possess the most ex
the hands of the audience, while the per tended knowledge of the expansion of voice
formers execute solfeggios on the vowels A and modulation combined with the same,
orE. but also great dexterity in contrapoint
If words are sung, it is likewise necessary works, knowledge of voice and instrument,
that they be understood; yet this is impos and finally a thorough understanding and
sible if the words are not properly accentu perception of the language chosen for their
ated, or too widely separated, which leads vocal music; above all, they must possess
to the same end. Let us take this sentence genius. Although the disciples of Schu
for illustration: 441 see you." Does this mann, the principal founders of this new

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176 Introduction to Philoscphy.
school, may be said to differ in many points, fere comrr.e le vol des oiseaux";? yet all
44 il est impossible que tous les esprits pren lift their souls nearer to heaven, ai:d wor
nent la m?me direction; leur marche dif ship immortal Harmony !

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY.
CHAPTER X. Experience is always engaged in discov
the universal* ering resemblances. What is common to
Those who know of no otherdifferentuniversal
objects is funded, and the piceess
called generalization. The common or gen
than that obtained by abstracting differen
eral element is looked upon as more or less
ces, and seizing the common marks of ob
accidental or eontir gent ; perhaps e\en re
jects, have no philosophical conception of
garded as subjective,
the universal. It is to be regretled thatand in a mere reflection,
made by the spectator.
the English language the world "general,"
which is the best word for the Words stai d for the
purpose, hascommon elements,
and, the differences being abstracted, of
sunk into a synonym of "common," and has
course it follows that the gereral coi (opts
a merely discursive use. From its root, gen,
for which words stand correspond to noth
wre could expect a suggestiveness in it of the
ing real, but are merely figments of the
creative significance of the "universal." In
mind, and
such words as genius, generous
are eitherwe
genial,
arbitrary or the pro
duet of mental laws.
have the meanii g referred to, and general
Such, in substance, is the view of those
was used by the spirit of our language
who true
(Sprach-Geist) to express the
never rise aboveof
idea in
the stages of sense
that which is "all-common" and reflection.
and atBut thereflection arises a
side which
same time the creative essence. In results
German finally in overtlm wii g
this view;?it
we have Algetnein and Gattung to is the dynamic view, wherein
express
all is treated as
the two meanings.
THE RELATIVE.
In this chapter we hope to make clear
howr the common and creativeIfhave the
we seize same
the particular, and demand of
root, and to show in what sense the
it what it isUniver
that gives it distinctness or sep
sal or Generic majr be said aration
to befrom
the others,
only we are at once engaged
true existence. in noting its complication with other par
ticulars. We find that what constitutes it a
the particular.
particular individual is to be stated as a se
Seize upon the world of reality as itries
offers
of defects and potentialities which mani
itself and it breaks up into an infinite
fest con
themselves as we pursue our investiga
course of individuals,?side by side in space
tion. (See Chap. VIII., i.) Through these
and succeeding each other in "time. lacks or wants or deficiencies it is related to
Each
one seems to be peculiar and distinct andfrom
dependent upon an outlying sphere of
all the rest, and it is as impossible for us to
existence, which needs to be added to it to
find any two objects exactly alike as it was it. The particular, in short, ex
complete
for the ladies of the Court at which hibits
Leibnitz its whole series of phases as a tend
resided, to find any two leaves of the forest
ency to lose its distinguishing characteristics
exactly alike, though they searched with
in attaining to a completer realization of the
care. If we look upon each object entire
as abso compass of its existence. That which
lutely determined, fixed in its being,isand at is so far forth affected with a mor
partial
the same time attribute to it independent
tal malady, and the wholeness of its univer
validity and real existence,?this sality
is the is the healthy (whole-some) state
"common sense" view, and is held by which it needs.
those
who are most opposed to idealism.The Over
particular can only be seized by tran
scending it. Its own existence, too, is a
against the particular it holds the common
or general. self-transcending, for it has its propertiee

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