Music: An Art and a Language

By Walter Raymond Spalding | Go to book overview

Music: an Art and a Language

CHAPTER 1
PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

IN approaching the study of any subject we may fairly expect that this subject shall be defined, although some one has ironically remarked that every definition is a misfortune. Music-lovers, however, will rejoice that their favorite art is spared such a misfortune, for it can not be defined. We know the factors of which music is constituted, rhythm and sound; and we can trace the historic steps by which methods of presentation and of style have been so perfected that by means of this two-fold material the emotions and aspirations of human beings may be expressed and permanently recorded. We realize, and with our inborn equipment can appreciate, the moving power of music; but to define, in the usual sense of the term definition, what music really is, will be forever impossible. The fact indeed that music -- like love, electricity and other elemental forces -- cannot be defined is its special glory. It is a peculiar, mysterious power;1 quite in a class by itself, although with certain aspects which it shares with the other arts. The writings of all the great poets, such as Milton, Shakespeare, Browning and Whitman, abound in eloquent tributes to the power and influence of music, but it is noticeable that no one attempts to define it. The mystery of music must be approached with reverence and music must be loved for itself with perfect sincerity.

Some insight, however, may be gained into the nature of music by a clear recognition of what it is not, and by a comparison with the more definite and familiar arts. Music consists of the intangible and elusive factors of rhythm and sound; in this way differing fundamentally from the concrete static arts such as architecture, sculpture and painting. Furthermore, instrumental music, i.e., music freed from a dependence on words, is not an exact language like prose and poetry.

____________________
1
For suggestive comments on this point see the essays Harmonie et Melodie by Saint-Saëns, Chapters I and II.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Music: An Art and a Language
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 342

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.