Quite notoriously, many singers entirely fail to make their words intelligible to the listener, and in the majority of cases this is due to insufficient stressing of the consonants. Vowel tones carry, while consonants do not. If we want to shout to anyone we call out "Hi" or "Hey": never by any chance do we try to reach them with a "P-p-p-p-p" or a "T-t-t-t-t," and for precisely this reason. If, therefore, a singer wishes his words to carry to the end of the hall he must needs exaggerate his consonants to allow for this loss in transit: the vowels will look after themselves. Then, although the balance of the words as they are uttered may be a trifle distorted, they will nevertheless reach the hearers in due proportion. Comfort in listening is greatly increased when this sense-perception is clear and unambiguous, and the brain-recognition is easy by reason of a certain familiarity. When the sense-perception is blurred, as in faulty diction, extra work is thrown on to the brain: listening then becomes a strain, and the brain is fatigued with supplying the details which it supposes the singer to have intended. The listener has, as it were, to put in his consonants for him, to dot his "i's" and cross his "t's."
Some singers distort their vowel sounds almost beyond recognition, and many pupils seem to be definitely taught to adopt the habit. Then "and" becomes "awnd," and the various words take on new disguises after the reputed Oxford model of "He that hath yaws to yaw, let him yaw." Singing is but glorified speech, it is not a thing apart, neither is there one language of the speaker and another of the vocalist. This distortion may be due to affectation or to ignorance, but in either case we could well do without it. In cases where the actual production of the voice is mechanically stiff, rigid, and therefore distorted, it is not likely that we can secure a free and flexible musical elocution. We do occasionally meet singers whose diction is delightful to hear because of its absolute freedom and complete naturalness, but these only serve to heighten by their excellence the shortcomings of the many.
Consideration of the manner in which the words are put forth leads us to the matter of the words themselves. It is difficult to find even a modicum of meaning, to say nothing of spirit, in much of the verse that achieves musical setting to-day. A critic in a London Daily some time back inquired if all our native poets were paralysed, the query being suggested by an examination of a representative batch of songs. But the poet is hardly to blame for the present state of affairs. In the wedding of words and music, the usual routine is for the author of the lyric to submit his effort to the composer for his consideration. The composer will neither select nor waste his time in setting the better class of verse because, as he says, the publishers will not look at it. The publishers will not print and issue it because, so they say, the public will not purchase it. The public might very well retort that they get precious little chance to listen to it, since royalty ballads come first: nor to come in contact with it, for the ordinary dealer does not stock it. There, then, is the vicious circle quite complete. But the poets are not paralysed, they are merely inarticulate by reason of this commercialisation of Art. At the best of times the average lyric author has a difficult and somewhat heart-breaking task to dispose of his wares, and we need not further harrow his artistic soul by suggestions of literary impotence.
It must, however, be admitted that on the whole there is an extraordinary poverty and bareness of idea and inspiration in the general run of songs: neither Nature nor Love are themes that can ever be finally exhausted while human nature remains as it is, but the treatment can be so stereotyped that it eventually wears threadbare. It is possible to become thoroughly weary of roses and gardens, and gardens of roses, gardens without roses, and gardens where we hope there will be roses. It is such a pity, too, that there are so few rhymes to "love." Yet even in dissatisfaction there exists the element of progress: if we are bored with the present style we shall demand something better, and the demand will create the supply. But to swing from bareness and boredom to the other extreme of abstruseness and complexity is no remedy: in these latter qualities there exists no special compensating virtue. Listening to a song as it is sung is very different to reading the verse at leisure. The sense of the song must be caught as it flies, the verse can be read and re-read if necessary, until its meaning be clear. It is no progress, therefore, to worship the turgid and obscure, whether in words or music, or both. We may pretend that we appreciate things because we cannot understand them, but that is only a concession to convention and a convenient way of smothering artistic conscience.
Of late an outcry has arisen, on the part of wise men in exalted station, about "beastly tunes," but surely if a tune can attain sufficient popularity to earn the picturesque adjectives of the academic, there must be some element in it which has escaped the attention of its detractors. The Southern Syncopated Orchestra, which played for some lengthy period in London a little while back, showed that popular music might yet be extremely clever and artistic in scope and performance. There were high-brow musicians who would not even go to listen to such, but preferred to condemn it unheard: the loss was emphatically that of the high-brows. Humour abounded in this little band of performers on such a strange array of instruments, and it appeared as if the players enjoyed their work no less, at any rate, than their audience. Yet their programme was full of "tunes." Is any tune in itself "beastly"? Or is it that the brain-recognition, to which we have alluded, decks out the tune in sordid or sweet trappings according to its own nature? We certainly know that in other directions we are apt to see things according to the colour of our own mental vision.
These tunes, however, that have become so popular, have the three essentials of music strongly marked: they have decided rhythm, attractive melody, and harmony at times quite good. Are we to try and attract the multitude to music by muddling up or emasculating rhythm, or by eschewing melody and banishing anything that intrigues the ear, and by supplying an harmonic scheme that awakens no brain-recognition and cannot in consequence be understood? Well, the conventional suburbanite may gush over such indeterminate and invertebrate music, saying, "Yes, isn't it just too lovely," but the rough and tumble individuals who make up most of the world will plump for the "tune" every time. Give him what he wants, and then induce him to want something better, but avoid the mistake of trying to turn him into a musical vegetarian while his meat-eating appetite has no liking for the diet.
The incongruity of some of the songs we hear sung is truly appalling: we find a charming maid, love for whom might honour any man yet born, singing "Less than the dust,... even less am I," and so on. Lies, all lies, even though she lie melodically with charm and with apparent conviction. We have passionate love-songs sung by guileless individuals who would be inexpressibly shocked if you explained to them the meaning of the sentiment to which they had been giving utterance. There are operatic scenas, dealing with abduction and all sorts of uncomfortable situations, and again youngsters declaim of their somewhat indecorous emotions with gusto and—let us hope—a sublime insensibility of all that they imply. They are warbling words to music, but they are not singing, for the meaning is not there. The fault, of course, lies in the traditional idea that all aspiring vocalists must learn certain things, just as that all pianists should go through a corresponding round of instrumental compositions. Why should they? Many of these classical examples that we accept as the right things to sing or play are hopelessly antiquated and out of date: they would not stand a chance as new compositions to-day. Antiquity itself is only a recommendation if we are collectors of curios. The literature of Art is far too comprehensive for anyone to study it all, we can but touch a fragment of the whole: why, then, should that fragment be determined by tradition and custom alone? Will anybody's clothes fit me: am I not likely to secure a better fit by being measured for my own? And why should not the same consideration apply to my mental outfit? It is the same desperate fear of originality and initiative, coupled with a certain unwillingness to take individual responsibility: it is the "ditto" idea again, and yet a writer has said "imitation is suicide." Let music be studied historically and in its development, by all means, this indeed is necessary: but to spend hours and hours learning to play or sing something just because "everybody does it" is the sheerest waste of time, unless the music so played or sung still bears a living message for the performer.
Protest might also be registered against the unadulterated rubbish that is put forward as a translation when a song or operatic excerpt of foreign origin is rendered in English. Of grand opera even the Daily Telegraph is moved to say that "the translations are in most cases literary nightmares." Mere baldness might be excused, and even doggerel overlooked, but one has only to turn to almost any of the current standard translations of foreign songs to see that the matter is worse than this. To expect a student to get up and participate in this verbal foolishness and ineptitude, by endeavouring to express as genuine the balderdash that poses as sentiment and sense, is an insult to his or her intelligence.
Finally there remains the "graveyard" school of composition. Here we have the author or composer, or both of them, seeing the world much worse than it is, and think that they do Art a service by putting their realistic conceptions on permanent record. We would join issue with all the various methods—song, literature, drama, and painting—of giving the unpleasant a wider and more effective publicity. The suggestive nature of all of these negative things cannot be overlooked, and should not be underestimated. The Biblical advice is to the point: "Whatsoever things are true, lovely, and of good report: think on these." The graveyard and realistic schools reverse this sage precept, saying, in effect, "Whatsoever things are nasty, unwholesome, and disagreeable—make the most of them: they will always appeal to a certain section whose minds are correspondingly unpleasant." We prefer the "pure joy" gospel, as being nearer the truth: for spirit is ever pointing the vision upward to what we may become, instead of allowing it to grovel around in the very unpleasant circumstances in which some people are liable to find themselves. The outward vision is transient, the inner vision can build eternal realities. "Are we to beg and cringe and hang on the outer edge of life,—we who should walk grandly? Is it for man to tremble and quake—man who in his spiritual capacity becomes the interpreter of God's message,—the focus of Divine Light?"
[Note 19: Kirkham Davis, "Where dwells the Soul Serene."]
MUSIC AND EDUCATION
"Music is not only a source of noble pleasure—everyone admits that, at any rate in theory—it is a form of intellectual and spiritual training with which we really cannot afford to dispense"
Sir Henry Hadow
We may agree that education consists in the bringing of the latent possibilities of the individual into action, and one of the most important parts in the process of education is played by memory. The fact that memory places on record our first impression of a thing is the reason why we are able to recognise it on the second occasion: otherwise we should have to make its acquaintance afresh every time. It is memory again which enables us to retain the mental pattern of an action we have once performed, and so to do it the more easily a second time, and on subsequent occasions. Thus we see that everything we express, whether in word, thought, or deed, leaves its mark within us: this impress is, as it were, a brick in our life's edifice, and it has added something to that disposition of mind which constitutes our character.
Mental growth is thus profoundly influenced by the things we express, for whatever we express forthwith becomes part of ourselves. Anything, therefore, that teaches us to express the fine, the noble, or the beautiful, leaves the self by the fact of that expression with the impress of that fineness, nobility, or beauty henceforth in the character. We do not mean that by the utterance of a praiseworthy sentiment a man at once grows estimable, but we do mean that the sentiment according to its intrinsic value and worth has become an element in his make-up. We observe every day in the contrary direction that giving vent to continual complaint soon makes a person grow sour-minded: and incidentally it also makes him grow sour-visaged. It is frequently possible to tell a man's philosophy from his countenance. Those whose efforts are devoted to preaching a violent discontent seem to run to type, acquiring a discontented kind of countenance to match their views. Equally so a person whose outlook is more balanced, and whose character is gentler, will gradually inscribe a finer type of characteristic both in mind and body. The case is very much the same with Art. Those to whom Art stands for beauty and love must necessarily be building themselves of their thoughts, and so be tending towards their ideal. Thus so far as music becomes the expression of spirit and love, so far its influence upon the individual is permanent and progressive in these directions.
Apparent exceptions will at once spring to mind, and we may ask why musicians as a class do not stand out specifically as more spiritual than their fellows. There are many reasons. Not all musicians pursue their calling with insight and understanding: mere perfunctory performance has the effect of influencing in the direction of the commonplace and the casual, and music is never the sole influence at work, and not always the chief. The character is the result, on balance, of ALL the forces that have played their part, just as the annual balance on profit and loss account represents the net result of all the transactions that have taken place. Unless the spiritual forces at work in an individual's life outweigh the material, the net result will still be on the side of the latter, even though he may have had music in his soul.
When we look at the adolescent of to-day, particularly the town-bred youth of from sixteen to twenty years, we may well ask what opportunity he gets for the expression of any theme of beauty, or for any impression of the like. The mind has a kind of breathing motion, as have the lungs: it takes in, stores up and assimilates, and then expresses. Education must allow for both processes. But our youthful friend has left school, and is probably engaged in some more or less strenuous work which brings him into the closest contact with grown men. From these he derives most of his inspiration: much of it is highly coloured, and some of it is certainly degrading. He does not read, and so knows nothing of the inspiration of literature, and the past is to him a closed book. He comes across nothing artistic, and he hears no concerts. He never goes to church, and you can see him by the thousand loafing about in any large town on a Sunday. "The modern townsman... has forgotten the habits and sentiments of the village from which his forefathers came. An unnatural and unhealthy mode of life, cut off from the sweet and humanising influences of nature, has produced an unnatural and unhealthy mentality, to which we shall find no parallels in the past. Its chief characteristic is profound secularity or materialism. The typical town artisan has no religion and no superstitions: he has no ideals beyond the visible and tangible world of the senses."
[Note 20: W. R. Inge.]
There is, however, one thing that our young friend does: he sings. We see him, in company with three or four of his fellows, marching along the street singing the latest music-hall ditty, with all the approved music-hall inflections and mannerisms. Sometimes the group will be accompanied by one of their companions on a mouth organ, and occasionally they will attain to the dignity of two-, or even three-part singing. Now and again we find them "throwing back" to the days of Hucbald the Fleming, and running their harmony in a kind of diaphony a fifth below the melody. But they sing because they like to sing. The idea naturally suggests itself that if more firms and works would assist in making provision for brass bands, string orchestras, and choral societies among their employees, the music would prove to be a humanising agency of the greatest value. Especially would this be the case if some of the higher officials of the firm, not even excluding the directors, would join on a footing of musical equality with the rest. The aloofness of class is a potent cause of misunderstanding, but Art knows nothing of social distinctions. If we knew more of each other we should probably fight a good deal less, and it is just here that the power of music might be used in healing fashion.
On one occasion in a suburban district, outside a branch of the Y.W.C.A. on a Sunday evening, we stopped to listen to some excellent part-singing, and we could not help thinking what an educative influence it would surely prove in the lives of the music-makers. We could wish that such opportunities were more generally available. The provision of Municipal facilities, which would cost very little, would probably be a most sound investment. But everything would in such case hinge upon the conductor: mere perfunctory work at the husk of music would quickly damn any such scheme. In addition it would do definite harm by creating a permanent distaste for music in the minds of those who first were attracted. Something has, of course, been done in the way of providing organ recitals and so on, but we are here suggesting that the working classes should be provided with the chance of being their own music-makers. The use of a room, a fee to the conductor, and possibly a small grant towards the cost of music would be all that was necessary, but who can tell what might be the result in harmony and good feeling?
Folk dances, and the singing of old folk tunes, as taught in the elementary schools, are of great value. There is a grace and poetry of movement about some of the children thus taught, which is engaging in the extreme. Nor can this be without its reflex action upon the mind of the child. When taught to move easily and to express fluently in pose and gesture, the child will have acquired some tendency towards a corresponding facility of expression in other directions. According to the songs chosen the singing itself provides outlet for the emotions, and stimulates imaginative play. The prosaic life and surroundings of the slum child are sufficiently deadening, and the new mental pictures thus given are in the nature of windows opening on new vistas of life. They suggest views that could come to the child mind in perhaps no other way. The finer type of patriotism can be encouraged by such songs as Parry's "England" (John o' Gaunt's Verse), and the more spiritual element by the same composer's "Jerusalem" (words by Blake); while as an example of the imaginative scene we might mention Dr. Wood's "The Knight's Tomb." Regarding the simpler type of song, we recall the case of an Inspector of Music in Schools who was moved, almost to tears, by the rendering of "Will ye no come back?" by a class of children who had been taught by a truly inspired instructress. A dull teacher, and there are too many, does frequently damp and quench the fires that should be fanned; and the personal element is an enormous factor in the situation.
The mental and intellectual value of music should by no means be overlooked. The mental alertness developed by sight-reading is of much importance. Some children are slow thinkers, and react lethargically: as a class, country children are mentally much slower than town-bred youngsters. A city child quickly has to learn to look after himself, and to make his own decisions on the spur of the moment, and consequently his mental processes are more fluent than those of the bumpkin type. But anything that can be done to accelerate this reaction time is so much added to the efficiency of the individual. Sight-reading, we believe, possesses a special value in this direction. Singing at sight is also a means of developing the co-ordination of the various faculties. There are numbers of people who know things ought to be done, and yet fail to do them. In the case of sight-singing, the mental picture has to be immediately translated into action, it is the essence of the proceeding. The child is thus developing not only the mental faculties, but is also acquiring increased power of regulation and co-ordination, through the training of the faculties of the cerebellum.
It is now becoming generally recognised that the interest of the young in music may be expressed in intellectual and emotional enjoyment, and not only instrumentally and vocally. In other words we realise that good listeners and appreciative understanders of music are, in their way, as essential as executants. "Shocking as it may seem, hundreds of children 'learn music' for the length of their school life and never hear a masterpiece, and indeed, hear no music at all except such as their own untrained musical sense and half-trained fingers can compass." In increasing measure the teaching of music appreciation is coming into vogue, and as an aid to this the piano-player and gramophone are demonstrating their value. The slogan of the musical advance guard is "a gramophone in every school." Teachers who are competent to give first-class expositions of the classics in schools are naturally few and far between, and it would be impossible for even the first-class, with the best will in the world, to cover a range in any way commensurate with that which can be reached mechanically. Therefore the mechanical piano-player with a constant change of rolls, and the gramophone with its ever-increasing list of records, are adjuncts to education which are at present only in the stage of small beginnings. They possess drawbacks and disadvantages, of course, but these are far outweighed by the many solid points that tell in their favour.
[Note 21: Percy Scholes. "Everyman and his Music."]
The standard of musical accomplishment to be found in the various schools is of very wide range. In the elementary schools there is a certain uniformity of scheme, if not of achievement. But in the Public Schools, and in the preparatory schools which act as feeders to them, there is no uniformity of scheme, and the range of achievement is from a very great deal to just nothing at all. Too much depends upon the individual outlook of the Headmaster. If he be musical, then the music prospers: but if he be not interested in the subject, then the music languishes accordingly. This is not rational. Either music has its value as an educational subject, in which case it ought to be in the curriculum independent of the vagaries of the Headmaster for the time being; or else it has no educational value, and should never be there. Whims in such a matter are out of place: but they are nevertheless too often a deciding factor. In many schools music is frankly regarded as a nuisance, a sort of frilling that is inappropriate to the rigid texture of education. It touches the emotions, and the Public School man has a horror of being even so much as suspected of having emotions.
The average net result is that music has been tolerated rather than encouraged, and most often the boy who elects to study music has to do so at the expense of his playtime. Class singing is sometimes taken in the regular school hours, but more often not. The consequence is that it is frequently regarded as a grind and a bore: an attitude scarcely conducive to any appreciation of its inner significance. Again, the influence of the Music Master is of extraordinary importance: his subject is identified in the boy mind with himself, and if the master be not respected for his own personality, then the music suffers in precisely that degree. A fine influence can be trusted to make itself felt in every circumstance, though perhaps battles may have to be fought before victory is achieved, and if the musician has grasped the fundamentals of his Art, and realises that it is not so much himself as the spirit that works through him, then the work that he can do both for music and for his little musicians is beyond all price.
In one Public School with which we were closely acquainted the standard of music was extremely high. The "Head" had his own ideas, which occasionally came out in unexpected guise. For example, every Sunday morning there was a choir-practice before Chapel for the non-singers. This, of course, is a contradiction in terms, but an effective procedure in reality. All the boys who were not in the choir had to attend a practice for the musical part of the service, while the choir had the privilege of a free time. There was no grievance about this, and it was taken simply as a matter of routine. Further, in addition to the usual Shields that were won and kept for the year by the various competing "Houses," for cricket, football, sports, cross-country running, etc., there was a "House-singing Shield." This was competed for by the various houses, each of which had to put up an S.A.T.B. (four-part) choir. The competition consisted in the singing; of a compulsory glee, chosen by the authorities some months in advance, and a voluntary part-song selected by the competing choir. Both were to be sung without accompaniment. If the house-master happened to be musical he generally undertook the training of the choir: but if he were not, then a head boy took it on. The standard achieved was, as a rule, remarkably good. At the time of which we speak there were five competing houses in a school of some two hundred boys, and this means that in the school there were five complete four-part choirs capable of singing an unaccompanied part-song. Practically every boy belonged to one or other of the choirs, for marks were added to the total in proportion as the number of boys singing rose, as compared with the total number in the house.
We cite this case from our own experience in order to show what has actually been accomplished in the way of fostering the love of music in one Public School. We are aware that this standard would appear entirely visionary to the authorities of some other schools: there are some to whom the idea of one choir singing in two parts seems more than is practicable. But when music is recognised as an integral part of education, as it used to be in Greece, then we may look forward to a different standard indeed. We may also recognise that unless education itself pays some attention to the emotional and feeling side of life, it is leaving neglected an element which has no little to do with national stability and sanity, since these can only be grounded upon the manifestation of spirit in love and service.
THE ARTISTIC TEMPERAMENT
"Conventions mean very little to the artist, because conventionality arises either from mental laziness or fear of what others will say and think. Moreover the true genius must ever have the capacity to feel deeper love and emotions than the man in the street"
We frequently hear the "artistic temperament" referred to in ordinary conversation as if it were some kind of a vice, a mental aberration or a disease: and it is certainly doubtful whether those who so casually discuss the subject have any clear idea as to what constitutes this particular equipment. That no great work of artistic merit can be accomplished in its absence is more or less tacitly agreed, but it may be interesting to consider in what this essential basis of artistic success consists.
We have before pointed out that the function of an interpreter is to act as a link between the spiritual and the material: he is the prophet to reveal the otherwise hidden message. The interpreter is the artist, and the artist is the interpreter. The ability to come into contact with the finer things, tangible or intangible, is simply a capacity of response finer than normal. A trained sense-perception is more acute than a non-trained: and quite apart from training there are very wide divergences in the innate range of activity of the various senses. Again, keen interest and attention tend to make a particular sense more alert, and even to extend the boundaries of its response. A man who is particularly interested in some maiden's voice or footstep will be able to make correct distinctions which simply do not exist for anyone less actively interested in that particular lady. Concentration enables any sense to become more acute. This increased acuteness naturally gives its possessor the power to receive impressions which would otherwise escape record. In the sense of not being usual, this acute sensitiveness of the artist is thus an abnormality: but it is only a variation in the direction of progress, for the whole story of the evolutionary climb up life's ladder is one of ever-increasing sensibility and response. The artistic temperament is thus, in essence, a phase of evolution somewhat in advance of its day.
Any departure from the normal, even though it be in the forward direction and carrying with it certain privileges, yet entails its disadvantages. The man who breaks out is generally made to pay pretty dearly for his temerity: but, if there were none to advance and thus break out, civilisation itself would stagnate and there could be no progress. The artist, the dreamer, the visionary, the poet, the genius, these all are the advance guard of humanity. As such they frequently receive the pioneers' scanty reward, but their eyes are scarcely fixed upon mundane munificence, already their scale of values is a spiritual one. But it is just these delicate, sensitive folk, susceptible to the gossamer impulses that would never even ruffle the surface of the average man's mind, who are open to the urge of spirit and responsive to its "drive." So they answer to the helm and steer out into the unknown, while the more sleek, comfortable, and well-fed do not so much as guess that there has been any impulse at all. "H'm," say the corpulent, "why can't they leave well alone and be comfortable?" But it is no part of the great plan that the wheels of progress should ever slow down, it is much more to the point that they should be made to turn more quickly. Spirit is the force behind evolution, the force that makes the acorn unfold into the oak, and it is the urge of spirit which compels man to unfold his own divinity.
The artistic temperament, then, is the super-sensitive, and by this very virtue it creates its own difficulties. The artist is too responsive, too widely responsive unless he knows how to safeguard himself. Nature herself in her thousand moods plays upon the sensitive mind: she moulds it with her beauties, leads it out into the open with the call of the wild, or terrifies it with the grandeur of her anger. The artist replies to the appeal of beauty, but is seared with the degradation of ugliness or the sordid. He is thrilled with love, and wounded to the core by hatred. He responds to praise, but is depressed by sneers to a degree which the ordinary man is unable to comprehend. Thus his daily life is pierced with a thousand exquisite emotions to which your well-fed plebeian is stranger indeed. He lives on more exalted heights and yet sinks to inconceivably greater depths. Life truly consists more in our wealth of impression than in the length of our days, and therefore the artist lives at greater intensity, and consequently with a greater nervous wear and tear.
This sensitiveness is more easily moved to tears, since it is in essence more feminine than masculine, being more a matter of the heart than the head: but because of this element of the feminine it partakes more of the magnetic temperament than the electric. It possesses to a greater degree the capacity for holding on. Thus the sensitive artist, for the sake of his ideal, will peg away at the forlorn hope, and, sustained by the spirit, may bring off the thousand-to-one chance. He has the capacity to endure to the end, while the man without this "drive" will weigh things up, eventually playing for safety and, incidentally, comfort. Our friend of the artistic temperament will be acutely sympathetic, and thus an easy prey for the importunate: he may even give everything away and so have nothing for himself. The world will furnish him with countless opportunities both of great joy and bitter grief, so the readings of the temperament-chart of the artist will be apt to resemble the variations of a barometer when changeable weather is about. Genius is thus as a rule variable to the verge of the irrational.
Erratic as it may seem to the ordinary person, the vision of the artist is often inherently near the truth. His sensitiveness enables him to see this "more of truth," even if it becloud his vision occasionally with mundane perversions. He possesses his own standards, and when these conflict with the conventional it is convention that must be sacrificed. Thus the conventional mind brands the artistic temperament as immoral. But morality is not absolute, it is conventional and relative: we do not, as once, punish the sheep-stealer with the gallows nor the heretic with red-hot irons, for our standards have changed with the years. So also do they vary with our locality: what is right in this place is wrong over the border. The vision of the artist sees beyond the formularies to the substance, and so he is prepared to brave criticism for his stand upon what he knows to be true.
Love and beauty call to him with other meaning than they bear to the prosaic and self-satisfied, and so he answers to the call of affection when perhaps it would have been better for his peace of mind that caution and prudence should have held sway. But again it is an open question whether the man who follows the gleam, with inspiration to beckon him, does not come nearer to the truth than the man of calculating caution who sums up and weighs. Sometimes crabbed age awakes to the realisation that the cocksure aim of youth is on occasion nearer to the mark than the aim directed by cold intellect, plotted out on a diagram, and worked out correct to three places of decimals. It is perfectly possible for the cautious and orthodox pedestrian to spend so much time and effort in dodging the dangers of life's path, and in endeavouring to keep off the grass, that he makes no solid progress. On the other hand, the artistic temperament lives in the world and is not entitled to follow its own laws where those conflict with the interests of others. The mere possession of this type of temperament involves its Bohemian owner in many difficulties which do not beset the path of those who fit into the routine of life as they find it. Certainly it is advisable for the artist to temper his ways with discretion, for genius is altogether too apt to make a meteoric blaze and end up in a fizzle.
The possessor of the artistic temperament is frequently deemed unreliable and capricious, and to a certain extent this is true. It is the sensitiveness first to one impact and then another, the susceptibility to the manifold forces that play upon the individual, which turn him now in the one direction and then in the other. He is lured and led by this, and then by that. Yet at times he is capable of the greatest concentration: immersed in his subject he may even forget the outer world and omit to eat his dinner, or perhaps like the philosopher he may eat it twice.
It is, however, quite possible to cultivate some of the advantages of this temperament and to restrict the disadvantages. It is not necessary, for example, that anyone should be at the mercy of every transient impulse: this involves an enormous waste of energy, as would the voyage of a ship which should suffer itself to be blown hither and thither by every passing breeze. We only respond to that to which we are mentally attuned, and our minds pick up out of the welter of errant thought only those which correspond to the note we sing. This, then, suggests that by attuning the mind to certain things we automatically throw it out of tune with conflicting ideas. The successful artist, as a rule, is one who has learnt to render himself oblivious to distractions, and so is enabled to concentrate his attention solely on the work in hand. The artist who will be permanently unsuccessful is the one whose enthusiasms attract him first to one thing and then another, never allowing him to remain absorbed by the one thing long enough to bring it to a satisfactory issue. Auto-suggestion applied to this point of inculcating response to certain things, and immunity from the influence of others, is an easy and extremely practical help.
One characteristic of genius is an extreme fertility in making mental associations. A central object comes into mind, and immediately the mind of the genius, by contrast, comparison, analogy, inference, and imagination, weaves around it a wealth of possibility: the dull-witted man sees the same, but his mind travels no farther than the actual vision. The quick mind supplies the apt repartee, while the dullard thinks of the appropriate reply next morning—if at all. The disadvantage of the latter mind is that it does not work easily, the danger of the former is that it may work too easily and get out of control. Where the central control does not suffice to keep a strong hand upon this easy-running mental machinery, it may quickly merge into eccentricity and possibly into madness. The insane show this same tendency to rapid, but irrelevant, association which lands them in incoherency: they make, or indulge in, associations which no normal person would allow. A genius is only a genius while the necessary selection and control over these associations is retained, when this is lost the genius passes into that insanity to which it is so closely associated. The same conditions and remarks apply to the artistic temperament, which itself is a mark of possible genius.
The artistic impulse is essentially creative, and in this it demonstrates its relationship to the question of sex. It is well recognised that many of the inspirations of genius in the various forms of Art have come at a time when the artist was in the throes of the gentle passion. This "love neurosis," as the cold specialist dubs it, is in essence a condition of exaltation, and therefore of exceptional sensitiveness. Need we wonder, then, that our artist-friend makes perhaps more frequent excursions than the humdrum individual into the realms of amorous exuberance? By nature he is more susceptible to the influence of the finer emotions, and he will find a thousand graces in the curve of an arm or the turn of an ankle, where, were you to appraise such in cold blood, there might be after all little enough to rave about.
It seems probable that the inspiration of the opposite sex in the artistic direction lies more in this mood of exaltation than in any specific influence. In the exalted condition there is the greater capacity of response to inspiration from outside ourselves, and also from within. Under all circumstances we are being played upon by the waves of the sea of thoughts in which we daily live, and therefore inspiration from this outside source is somewhat of a commonplace. But under certain conditions one can undoubtedly be inspired by one's own greater (subconscious) mind, which contains as treasure all the lore of its own experience, and probably a good deal more beside.
However, the artistic temperament, with all that may be said for or against it, is a gift of the high gods, and while it does not of necessity imply a greater degree of spirituality and spiritual impulse than the normal, it does at any rate make this possible. The conditions are provided for finer work than is open to the majority, but so long as man has a measure of free will he is able to turn the use of his gifts upward or down. The freedom of the artist may of course degenerate into license, and the spiritual impulse may be turned to perverted ends. There is a distinct difference between the truly spiritual and what may be termed the psychic: there are hidden powers and latent possibilities which the specially sensitive are beginning to unfold. But the danger is exactly on a par with that which up-to-date chemists and scientists foresee in the physical world. There are tons of energy, we are told, locked up in the atom of the physical world, and the scientist prays that mankind may not find the secret of unlocking that power until his moral sense is developed to such a degree as to prevent his using it for destructive ends. It is comparatively easy to stimulate the psychic side of our natures, but unless these powers be tuned by an accompanying spirituality to a high note, unexpected and even undesirable results may follow. The artist has taken a step forward in the exploration of a new realm, and new discoveries—even though he does not fully comprehend their import—are falling to his lot. The safeguard of the pioneer lies in his recognition of the spiritual nature of his quest: if he realises that he is making contact with a new realm of thought and idea, then he will rate his calling high, and not run unnecessary risk by pursuing it in any unworthy or selfish aim.
"We understand but little of music. The greatest masterpiece is but a signpost to that infinite realm of harmony, in which music is for ever included, and to the joy which awaits in its eternal unfoldment"
F. L. Rawson
The point has been raised in discussion—"Is there such a thing as pure music?" The question involved is whether music must necessarily convey any emotional message, or whether it may just be a concourse of sweet sounds signifying nothing. There are those who are prepared to lend support to the proposition on either side: but, inasmuch as the whole object of these pages has been to emphasise the spiritual message of music, our viewpoint would naturally lead us to take up a position in conflict with that of the "pure music" school.
The difficulty in all discussion, and particularly in such as this, consists in the fact of our own individual uniqueness. Little as we may realise it, our standards of judgment and criticism are purely individual and infinitely variable. Two people see a thing: put scientifically, the result of this is that each experiences a stimulation of the optic nerve. Apart from any differences arising from the varying powers of concentration and observation, the stimulus will be the same. But the next step in the process of seeing is the translation of this nerve-stimulus by the brain into a visual image: this can only be done by the awakening of a brain-picture which is already there—in short, by recognition. As the pictures already existing in the mind are compiled by the experience of the individual, and as no two sets of experiences can possibly be identical in all respects, it follows that the visual image awakened is a purely personal and unique one. The thing seen is variable according to the individual. It is impossible for us to observe alike even when we are concerned with concrete objects: still more is it impossible when we deal with abstract subjects such as Art and Beauty. Hence arises the fundamental difficulty of discussion.
In the world of affairs we have arrived at certain understandings or conventional views which we generally accept, and upon this basis we proceed to argue as if our facts were facts—which which they are not. We agree to regard a certain "colour" as red, although as a matter of fact it is neither a colour, nor is it red. Colour is merely the reflection of certain light rays transmitted by ether waves: our red object reflects the red rays of the spectrum, having absorbed all the others. But in the absence of light our object is no longer red, and colour does not exist. Had we generally agreed to call this colour blue, then it would be blue instead of red. The basis of any argument about colour must be some sort of convention of this kind to form a common meeting ground. The difficulty in discussion about music is that such a conventional basis of agreement does not exist.
Music may thus convey a message to one person and not to another: it may be "pure music" carrying no emotion to this man, and yet it may convey something peculiarly definite, to the mind of the other. The message is not a thing of which we can logically argue "either it is, or it is not": both statements may be true. Sound exists in the form of vibration, but if I am deaf I cannot hear it: it has no existence—FOR ME. The problem thus centres itself largely in the mind of the individual rather than in the question whether there is or is not a message and a meaning. Not only music, but the whole world is brimming over with messages and meanings which our dull senses cannot appreciate. The folk who populate this globe are largely dead. They answer to such a limited range of interests and sensations that they cannot in any real sense be said to be "alive."
The message of music may be a very gossamer thing, it may be far too tenuous to be expressed in words, though possibly it might be conveyed eloquently enough in some of the sister Arts, in dancing, posture, gesture, or in facial expression. "Pour not out words where there is a musician," says the writer in Ecclesiasticus. The message may scarcely be a thought, or emotion, or even an idea: it may simply be a mood. Words so often become our masters instead of our servants, and we are apt to think that if a thing cannot be reduced to a verbal formula it is an airy nothing, a figment of the imagination. So it may be, but it is none the less real. We have thought of ourselves as material individuals for so long that it is difficult for us to use other than material standards in our estimate of immaterial things: hence our confusion. We can feel a thousand things far too delicate to explain or express, joys too exquisite to voice, doubts too tenuous to utter, and griefs too heavy to be borne: we could not put them on paper, nor submit to be cross-examined as to their reality and substance, but there they are, and not all the argument in the world could impugn their reality to us. What is the most emotional of all the Arts? Music. No art has a deeper power of penetration, no other can render shades of feeling so delicate."
[Note 22: Ribot. "Psychology of the Emotions."]
Let us take a concrete example: the change from the major to the minor mode carries with it a change of sentiment. We feel that, quite noticeably, the minor mood is one of sadness and resignation as compared with the major of brightness and activity. It may be advanced that this is merely a matter of association in the mind, that we have been long accustomed to relate grief and melancholy and sadness with minor keys, and that therefore the one idea very naturally brings up the other. The argument is logical, and cannot be summarily dismissed. But when we reflect that this contrast of activity and resignation, as typified by the major and minor modes, also corresponds to the fundamental relation of the sexes, the active and the receptive, the "doing" and "being," we may question whether association is sufficient as an explanation. The major and minor modes may thus be themselves but expressions of some deeper spiritual relationship embodied in the nature of things.
Without giving rise to any definite emotion, and in the absence of any specific programme, it is thus quite possible for music to suggest a mood or to induce an atmosphere. Surely this is, in effect, the conveyance of a message and a meaning, even though both be inarticulate. Such influences may call to like moods or atmospheres within ourselves and bring them into expression: by being made thus explicit instead of remaining latent they gain added strength, and are recorded in ourselves by memory. Thus even the mood suggested by the music of the moment may be a lasting item in our soul's growth. Art in all its variety of noble forms is ever beckoning to the best in us, to the sense of the beautiful and to the unformulated ideal: it is the spirit clothed in form calling to the spirit not yet expressed, bidding it build beauty. "This building of man's true world—the living world of truth and beauty—is the function of Art. Man is true, where he feels his infinity, where he is divine, and the divine is the creator in him. Therefore with the attainment of his truth he creates." This call to spirit is the old allegory of the sleeping beauty waiting to be awakened to her royal rank by the kiss of the seeking prince: it is the same truth as expressed in the Bible—"We love Him because He first loved us."
[Note 23: Rabindranath Tagore. "What is Art?"]
It is not music alone that thus seeks to arouse our latent divinity and to stimulate the tenuous virtues which expression alone can make robust. When rhythm without calls to the rhythm within, it answers because it must. "Dancing is symbolical, it means something, it expresses a feeling, a state of mind." The grace of the dancer may very well stir something in mind that ordinarily receives but little awakening. With the changes in the rhythm of the dance, and the gestures that vary in consonance, the echo within sings to a new tune. Perhaps we find ourselves tapping the rhythm with our feet or our fingers, or it may be that we find the very expression on our own face is altering to match that upon the countenance of the dancer. The skilful speaker also can arouse almost any emotion he pleases in the minds of his audience. He may one moment have them laughing, and then the next, as if by magic touch, he may bring them to sober mood or even to sorrow. Music no less surely does the same through the agency of rhythm, melody, and harmonic texture. There may be no words in the music or the dance, but the emotion is nevertheless conveyed. Moreover, each idea in mind has its own associations, and when once the central idea is implanted it forthwith proceeds to clothe itself in these associations, decking itself out according to the native colour of the mind.
[Note 24: Ribot. "Psychology of the Emotions."]
We find it impossible to conceive that anything which may be termed music is devoid of significance, though there are certainly gradations and degrees of import. It may well be that music, like so many other things in nature, has a three-fold aspect corresponding to our own make-up as body, soul, and spirit. The outer form, the composition and actual structure, represents the "body" of music: that part which is visible even to the unobservant eye and audible to the indiscriminating ear. This is a matter of notes and tones quite apart from any real meaning or value. Such would be an academic exercise, or a technically correct but unconvincing ballad. It might possibly make some appeal to the intellect by by virtue of the "exhibition of balance and symmetry, the definiteness of plan and design, the vitality and proportion of organic growth," but this would not suffice to place it in the category of music displaying the "soul" element.
[Note 25: Hadow. "Studies in Modern Music."]
This second and higher "soul" significance shows itself in the emotional appeal of the music, in the feelings it provokes and the mood it engenders. Here sound speaks in parables with an outer story and an inner meaning. The non-musical person hears sounds, but the musical mind hears sense. Whether the tidings be of sweetness, affection, or delight, of strength, vigour, or energy, of sorrow or regret, there is all the difference in the world between the outward comprehension and the inner interpretation. The formal part of the music is the frame, but the emotion supplies the picture within.
Yet this is not all. There is still the significance which the picture is intended to convey, the spirit, the very heart of it. This constitutes the inspiration and "if this inner reality (Spirit) does not exist in a work it ceases to be a work of art at all: it becomes an example of beautiful handiwork—fine craftsmanship, perhaps—but not art."
[Note 26: Newlandsmith. "The Temple of Art."]
It is only in the spirit that the real meaning of true music is to be found, minor and partial revelations may be met and enjoyed at the lower stages, and at their level these may satisfy the aspirations of those who cannot take the higher seats at the musical feast. It is impossible that this spiritual message should be comprehended except by those who have in some measure unfolded their own spiritual perceptions. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. The Bible has its literal and verbal message, appropriate in degree to those whose intellectual accomplishment rises no further than an ordinary story: but there is an inner meaning which the more advanced can appreciate. There is yet an esoteric meaning, a holy of holies, into which only the initiated and instructed can penetrate, and this only those whose spiritual vision is unfolded can discern. "Only those in whom the spirit is evolved can understand the spiritual meaning." But each stage has its gospel, though that of the higher stages is incomprehensible to those in the lower. So in all true music there are meanings within meanings, and nothing is meaningless. "Pure" music perhaps conveys the innermost meaning of all, for "shades of colour, like shades of sound, are of a much subtler nature, (and) cause much subtler vibrations of the spirit than can ever be given by words."
[Note 27: Besant. "Esoteric Christianity."]
[Note 28: Kandinsky, quoted in "Eurythmics." (Dalcroze.)]
In this three-fold aspect of music, then, we may perhaps find the key as to whether music must necessarily imply anything or not. There are the outer courts of the Temple of Art, where the meaning and expression is adapted to those who may foregather only there, but there are the inner courts where "more of truth" is to be found by those who have ears to hear. But in the inmost chamber we may discern in the greatest masterpieces in music that "something beside, some divine element of life by which they are animated and inspired." All true music has true meaning, but this must correspond at each stage with the power and grade of discrimination and appraisement possible for the individual. We are wise in our generation if we refrain from disparaging what we do not understand; it is easy to reflect upon ourselves in such disparagement. Conversely, if there be no meaning, surely there is no music, and we need waste no time in endeavouring to find a message and a meaning in that composition wherein the composer himself could find none to put.
[Note 29: Hadow. "Studies in Modern Music."]
THE PURPOSE OF ART
"But God has a few of us whom he whispers in the ear: The rest may reason and welcome: 'tis we musicians know"
There are in essence but two creeds in the world, the one a materialistic belief, and the other some degree or phase of a spiritual conception. Every degree of density is to be found in the material view, and every grade of refinement exists in the spiritual vision: by imperceptible gradations they may shade from one into the other, but the two extremes are material and spiritual. The latter view will tend to result in unselfishness, in altruism and a keen desire to leave one's own little corner of the world better for having lived in it. The material idea must almost of necessity lead up to a selfish course of conduct, where the personal interests are put foremost, and the sole object is to "get" as much as possible, as opposed to the spiritual philosophy which would advocate "giving."
The old wise-heads who carved "MAN—KNOW THYSELF" over the entrance to the Temple at Delphi knew what they were talking about, for it is largely owing to the fact that man knows so little of himself—and generally knows that little wrong—that his philosophy has taken such a perverted turn. The world, and more especially our western world, is hopelessly material in its outlook, and we would suggest that it is because the average man thinks of himself as his material body that his philosophy follows along the same lines. When a man identifies himself with his body, and has only a pious hope of having a spirit which will come into action when he dies, or perhaps a very long time after he is dead, then naturally his chief concern is with the body of which, at any rate, he has definite assurance. So he looks after the body, seeks comfort and luxury for it, and strives for the necessary money with which to gratify its whims. This means that he must get money the best way he can, but he must get it: if it has to be at the expense of others—well, so much the worse for them. If it has to be fought for, then naturally the stronger wins: the "survival of the fittest" he will say. Thus, quite logically, from the primary misconception a superstructure of error is raised. As each body has diverse whims, the pursuit of these must lead to the widest range and conflict of aims, and thus materialism results in disorder, cross-purposes and confusion. On all sides this diversity of aim, with its corresponding confusion, is visible both in individuals and in nations to-day.
But as soon as a man realises that he is primarily a spirit, having a body as an instrument through which to play, his point of view is entirely altered. The pursuit of mere physical enjoyment and luxury is recognised as having an enervating and blunting effect upon the finer spiritual faculties: it puts the instrument out of tune and spoils its tone. Money is seen as somewhat of a snare and a delusion, when valued for its own sake. The object of life is recognised as spiritual growth, and in that growth happiness is found. Quite notoriously it is sought in vain in mere selfish pursuits. This spiritual growth can only be attained by the practice of the law of love, manifesting itself in unselfish service in the interests of others. The effect of this spiritual conception is to eliminate diversity of aim, and to lead back to the simplicity and unity of a single purpose—that of spiritual evolution.
The body, we know, has come up the long ladder of evolution, and it still retains in its build many traces of the climb. There are muddy patches in the instincts and passions, and encumbrances and impedimenta in both mind and body, as part of our heritage. But spirit has come DOWN. As Wordsworth expresses it—"trailing clouds of glory do we come from God." All religions claim for us an immortality, and it is difficult for us to conceive an existence finite at one end and infinite at the other: so if we are to claim our immortality of spirit we should surely recognise our present spirituality which ensures that immortality. However this may be, we may at any rate agree that body comes UP and spirit comes DOWN, and they consort here together for a few decades: then the body undoubtedly returns as dust to dust, and "the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes). But there would be no evolution and no fulfilment of purpose if the spirit were not to return a richer and more developed spirit by reason of its sojourn in the flesh: there would be stagnation, just a simple ineffectual turning round and round, as of a screw that had stripped its thread.
The battle royal is the fight for mastery as between body and spirit: evolution proceeds apace when spirit takes command and bids the body minister to its progress, but evolution halts when the body clogs the spirit. Then Nature, our taskmaster, punishes us, ever choosing that way which is entirely appropriate and induced by the fault itself: this is the purpose and the cause of our pecks of trouble. The battle has to be fought—and won—by each of us: the only effect of temporary surrender is indefinite delay. The battle has still to be fought again with added difficulties later on. "The popular-class composer nowadays is not infrequently a thoroughly competent and well-read musician who, if he chose, could write really solid and substantial music." So the frankly commercial musician who writes for the market has surrendered in one skirmish of spirit. Very possibly he gains the desired pieces of silver, but they are dearly paid for at the expense of his own artistic soul. Also in the long run the surrender is futile, for he MUST evolve: and if he has slipped down, then so much further has he again to climb.
[Note 30: Article in "John o' London's Weekly."]
The antagonist of Materialism in the world-contest is Spirit, and the organising and marshalling of the spiritual forces has been the province of religion in general. But religion has itself been too much apart from the things of everyday, it has lived in a compartment of its own, labelled "Sundays only." As a consequence its influence has failed to permeate the world of affairs, and both religion and the world have suffered direly as a result. When religion ceases to carry any weight with the individual, his balance necessarily sways toward the material: and when religious teaching practically ceases to have any vitality in the education of the nation, it follows that the outlook must turn more and more in the direction of selfishness, force, and mere worldly affluence. This may be a tolerably comfortable method of extinction, but it is no way of progressive life. Music allies itself with the forces at work on the spiritual side, and thus comes to the battle in support of religion.
Music exists as a permanent witness to the reality of the intangible, and to the power and pre-eminence of qualities which no money can purchase and which Time is powerless to destroy. The so-called solid things disintegrate, the vogue of one year spells oblivion in the next, but the power of music to stir the pulse, to awaken the emotions and to uplift the spirit, has remained through all the yesterdays, and will do so—we may anticipate—through all the to-morrows. It is an ally and co-witness with religion for immaterial and spiritual ends. Another ally, in the guise of science, is also coming fast in support. Science has already overstepped the bounds of the material in many quarters: its trend is ever in the direction of the invisible, where there is another range of values and qualities, and where no scales weigh and no footrules measure. It is now engaged in discovering the unseen causes which underlie the objective effects we notice in the physical world. Presently, there can be but little doubt, we shall find the three, Religion, Science, and Music (or rather, Art in general) ranged side by side for the ultimate destruction of the purely material and mechanistic theories of life: and when these are finally overthrown, with them will also topple the doctrines, founded thereon, of self-seeking and strife.
Our own spirit-nature is our truest guide to the discernment of the spirit universal. There is but one life and one spirit, though the degrees of its manifestation are wide as the poles asunder: just as in our own body there are specialised cells for high tasks and for lowly, yet the same life pervades them all. There is a wild robin redbreast who always comes when I dig my garden, to eat the grubs that the spade turns up. He is not in the least afraid, and he often answers when I whistle to him: he is a little cousin of mine. His life is in no essentials different to my own life, except that I have the advantage of him in being able to express so much more of the same spirit. Divinity and spirit (are not the terms synonymous?) are in all, behind all, and in ever-increasing degree before all. Our own answering to love and the appeal of beauty is simply the echo of like to like; the spirit within replies to the call of spirit without. For this reason Music is a universal language, and Art can know no boundaries.
To explore the beauties of Art and Music is to add those beauties, by expression and the power of memory, to the self. Thus we may grow more beautiful, just as surely as by thinking ever in terms of pounds, shillings, and pence, we grow more sordid and mercenary. It is a perfectly commonsense process. Furthermore, the appreciation of beauty and of artistic expression develops our power of keener appreciation. Evolution in music cannot stop, for spirit is behind it: and the spirit within must eventually find its way back to the universal source from which it came, just as water must find its own level. The present status of everything that we observe to-day is purely temporary: we are looking at one picture of a cosmic cinema film that stretches on to infinity. Just because we see only one static picture of a process which truly never stops moving, so we get a view of life that contains much of delusion. We have heard a Doctor of Music state in public his opinion that the age of the composition of musical masterpieces was for ever passed: so will others say that the age of inspiration and prophecy has also departed. These good people are mistaking the outer form which is transient, for the inner principle which is spirit and eternal. They have lost their bearings. Music must go on from development to development, and just as soon as it proves itself incapable of further development and expression along certain lines, the spirit within will rend the husk that can no longer contain it and will blossom forth in some new and more expansive guise. As with our own bodies, the outworn garb will be laid aside, and the spirit will find a finer form.
"Like Scriabin, Scott looks to Music as a means to carry further the spiritual evolution of the race, and believes that it has occult properties of which only a few enlightened people are aware." There can be no doubt that this survival-value of Music lies in its power to assist spiritual unfoldment and progress, and if the serious practice of music involves a certain discipline of plain living and high thinking, are not these themselves adjuncts to a progressive evolution? Where the adequate interpretation of music involves a certain abnegation and unselfishness in the case of a soloist, and a large measure of team-play and co-operation in the case of concerted work, are not these again elements in inculcating an attitude that transcends self? Does not the simple appreciation of music tend to unlock the doors of imagination and set it free in regions far removed from the gross? And are not all these so many aids to higher ends?
[Note 31: Eaglefield Hull. "Cyril Scott."]
If the inspiration that is in music and works through it serves to awaken us to the fact that the world of spirit is very close at all times, and that our knowledge of it and our communion therewith is solely limited by our capacity of fine response, it will have done something of incalculable value. If it arouses in us the desire to fit ourselves by aspiration and a high resolve to achieve that delicacy of sensitiveness whereby we ourselves may catch some of the spirit's tenuous message, it will have served to put us in touch with eternal influences. It should certainly assist in breaking down any leanings towards a gospel of materialism with all its naked selfishness, and in so doing "Art is calling us the 'children of the immortal,' and proclaiming our right to dwell in the heavenly worlds."
[Note 32: Rabindranath Tagore. "Personality."]