ANYONE who wishes to strengthen, refine, and develop his appreciation of the varied beauties of music will naturally begin his study with folksongs. In the sincerity and spontaneity of these songs there is something profoundly refreshing, especially to a taste jaded by luxury as much of our musical taste is: so that we turn to them as instinctively as lovers of literary expression, for instance, have always in sophisticated periods turned to the ballads and songs of the people. And as we find ourselves drawing new strength from their musical genuineness, so we purify our taste by contact with their child-like simplicity and artlessness. Too much of our "advanced" music is professional in spirit. Preoccupied with the means of execution, brought by virtuosos and by mechanical instruments to an inhuman perfection, it forgets the end which alone justifies all these means -- the expression of feeling. It is as empty as it is elaborate. The ideal of folksong is just the opposite: it tries to express as much as possible in the simplest, easiest, and most natural way.