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foreigner that seems to have understood the force of our words, and the more extravagant the poet, the more potent the musician appears in his art. In Italy, the twin sisters Harmony and Melody are not equally esteemed. The grace and beauty of the youngest has always charmed the Italians; while the elder, Harmony, has ever been preferred by the Germans. Indeed, it is those mysterious evolutions which are wrought in the theatre of harmony, that best accord with their dark conceptions. Weber has eminently distinguished himself in this way. His powers of modulation have carried him into unexplored paths, and greatly extended the boundaries of science. The sudden changes of his harmony have given his compositions a cameleonlike character, which is ever shifting its hues. No sooner are we gratified by a rich mixture of sounds, upon which the ear could dwell with satisfaction, than it is gone, and followed by a change equally full of delusion and delight. In the operas of Der Frieschütz and Oberon, it is these master-strokes of harmony, mingling with the passionate tones of the voice, that so powerfully move us, and render his music the most dramatic of any in our language. His melodies are but thinly scattered; but like the oases in the desart, we feel refreshed whenever they occur. What a beautiful motivo is that in the overture; and how thoroughly English is the huntsman's chorus these will last as long as our language remains.
UNDER this term may be included those short expressions of melody which seldom exceed two bars in length, and which the ear is enabled to comprehend as a simple musical idea. These, when connected together, form what may be called a musical sentence, which is exemplified in the following quotation of the drinking song in Don Giovanni :
In this strain it is very evident that the ideas are joined every two bars. It is this perceptible division of the musical thoughts which renders tunes more intelligible to common ears, than music of a more elaborate cast. In attaching words to melodies, it is important that the sense should finish with the musical phrase, or the greatest absurdities are liable to take place. A slight instance of this kind exists in Handel's celebrated song in the Messiah, I know that my Redeemer liveth,' in which a single idea is cut in two, and placed under separate musical expressions; thus,
Here the insignificant pronoun my, is placed upon the most emphatic note in the strain; but the sense is incomplete till the following is added :
Had the sense of the line divided something in the following manner, the disagreement between the phraseology of the words and music would not have ensued.
I know, my
God, My Re - deem - er liveth.
In psalmody, where succeeding verses are sung to the same tune, the most absurd effects are constantly occurring. Poets, who write sacred verses, knowing nothing of the nature of musical phraseology, and not dividing the lines properly, often produce the most ludicrous effects, where they intend to be very pious, as will be perceived in the following line, 'Just like a poor polluted worm,' when sung to the following notes.
But the most profane instance I ever heard was the concluding line, Jesus and our sal-vation, sung to the same tune.
Every practitioner in the art must have noticed the various complexions, so to speak, by which different keys are characterized. By key, we mean any system of notes which regards a certain tone in the musical scale* as its base or centre, to which
* By the musical scale is meant those intervals or distances, according to which sounds are arranged, as marked out by the twelve semitones. Each of these is capable of further division almost to infinity: it is possible to tune a hundred strings, or more, in regular ascent of pitch, between C and C#, so as to be perceptibly different to the ear. When all these gradations of sound are mingled together, we hear only a confused noise ; when they are made to follow each other at harmonic distance, melody is produced.
all adjacent harmonies gravitate or tend. In the fifteenth century, music was generally written in the key of F, and its relative, D minor. This order of sounds was first adopted, probably on account of its being the most familiar to the ear, as it will be seen that the cries of animals, the buzzing of insects, the roar of storms, the murmurs of the brook, and some of the grandest sounds of the natural world, are to be referred to this harmony, and may be denominated the key of nature. As science improved, other notes were taken as the centres of systems, by which other keys were formed, and we have now not less than twenty-four keys, both major and minor. We shall endeavor to characterise some of them. F. (This key is rich, mild, sober, and con
Its relative, possesses the same qualities, but of a
heavier and darker cast: more doleminor, ful, solemn, and grand.
Bold, vigorous, and commanding; suit
ed to the expression of war and en
terprise. A minor. (Plaintive, but not feeble. G. (Gay and sprightly; being the medium
key, is adapted to the greatest range
of subjects. E minor. ( Persuasive, soft, and tender.