—By Ernest Moss
INCE war restricts newspaper space, this series of articles on the making of music must be brought to an end.
For the sake of those readers who may still he able to dip into the sciences which lie behind the beauty of music, and which, being understood, make it shine more gloriously, I will briefly indicate the paths they should follow.
First I am convinced that no man can perceive the wonderful organic unity which lies behind the rules-ofthumb of harmony and counterpoint (rules which have been formulated, bear in mind, after their instinctive use by Musicians) unless he has first mastered the acoustic laws " which help to explain them.
I HAVE tried to keep the science of
sound, as it bears on music, as much in the foreground as possible. But I have the feeling that many readers must have thought these discussions remote from at elementary understanding of music, and not worth the concentration of thought they involved.
To such readers (if by any chance they are still glancing this way) I will say this: that he who approaches the intricacies of harmony and counterpoint, notation and form, instrumental technique and systems of tuning, with the mentality of an artist, will never be able to make anything of them except as a maze of rules and regulations which the budding composer is generally set to learn by heart.
But he who approaches them with the mentality of a scientist in acoustics will see these dead rules spring to life, and also see these separate subjects as all part of an organic unity. Moreover, he will be able to work out for himself the explanation of many things which the writers of musical text books never mention, and are probably quite ignorant of.
T HERE is one great principle to bear I in mind. That is that music is not, as Shakespeare put it, the " concord of
away to the irate parents when the vicar turns out to be an impostor. Parents rush to Scotland, and Margaret MacGM and Duncan Sim see to it that their respectable, medieval boardinghouse is truly respected.
The tale is an old one; the tunes are new, and Billy Mayerl and his girls certainly make them swing. sweet sounds," except in the most general sense. The music of Shakespeare's time is full of the most artfully contrived dissonances.
If the aim of musie were to produce the most perfect consonances the most perfect music would consist of an octave (most perfect concord) indefinitely prolonged. An obvious absurdity.
No. The niost delightful pleasure is that which follows a conscious escape from incipient agony. If there is no danger of war, who can sufficiently relish the blessedness of peace! It is in the contriving of evil in order to escape it that music attains sublimity. Sanctity conies through suffering, and God permits evil, in. order -to work out the eternal designs. Music, in another sphere, imitates the divine scheme.
THE general scheme of " classical " music is to start with concord, to ruffle with discord, and to bring sweet relief (in musical terminology, " resolu
tion with more concord, and so on indefinitely until the final repose in consonance. No better scheme I . ever been devised, and no man was so skilled at bringing discordant suspense just to breaking point, but not beyond, as Mozart.
If this principle is remembered and applied to the science of sound as it relates to music, music and its theoretical background, however intricate in detail and bristling with formulae, will assume an outline of majestic simplicity; just as all the corollarie to a Euclidean theorem are unified by the theorem itself, and as all the theorems are unified by the axioms on which they are based. Such an approach to music will involve hard thinking. But it will be worth it.