IN approaching the section in which I shall explain the main features of the individual compositions, I feel how eloquent the mute baton of the conductor is in comparison with the inadequate resources of musical terminology. Music is the youngest of the sister arts; words are too definite and incisive in dealing with this tender child. Furthermore, there is no book which gives us authoritative criteria for judging music. We have no volume like Lessing's Laokoon to point out the border lines between music and the other arts. And so, whenever we talk about music, we are restricted to metaphors, comparisons, figures, and concepts borrowed from other realms.
This paucity of terms should, of course, not serve as a pretext for the use of cheap, hackneyed circumlocutions which are rather apt to efface the true picture. Some writers have given pseudopsychological explanations the air of scientific methods and have elevated the metaphor to the rank of actual definition in the attempt to explain expression in music. One of the analysts of Bruckner's Te Deum has tried to make us believe that ascending scales mean "hope, struggle, and yearning"; descending scales, "fear, resentment, and resignation"; the organ point, "courage and perseverance."
Things are especially bad in the symphonic field, where the fiction of a "hero" eternally recurs. This idea, introduced into music by Beethoven's Eroica, seems to have fixed itself firmly in analysts' minds. Sometimes the composer himself becomes the hero. He is then credited with drawing a portrait of himself in his symphony. Again and again Bee