MELODY AND APPRECIATION
THE average non-musical auditor is generally ready enough to enjoy a tune; but when classical music is given, he does not enter into the spirit of the occasion. A taste for good music comes largely from listening to it; so that even the non-musician should be patient with the classics, and not condemn them all at once. Time will teach him that Mark Twain's remark about Wagner is of general scope, and that classical music, as well as Wagner's, is not as bad as it sounds.
The elements entering into musical appreciation are first of all a perception of pitch. This would seem to be something common to every one; yet it is not necessarily so. Even among great intellects there is sometimes a lack of the simplest musical comprehension; and such men as Tennyson and Charles Lamb were tone-deaf.
Granting an appreciation of tone, the three chief elements found in music are rhythm, melody, and harmony.
The first of these, rhythm, is present in a marked degree in the so-called popular music. The prevalence of rag-time, with its varying accent and emphasis, testifies to a widespread appreciation of rhythm.
One of the chief defects of popular music, in comparison with classical, is its extreme simplicity. It appeals to the cultivated musician much as a problem in arithmetic would appeal to the student of quaternions. The rhythm of almost all popular music is absurdly simple. It does not follow that good music must necessarily have a complex rhythm; but the simplicity of the popular song, even allowing for the rag-time variations, is the simplicity of weakness and ignorance, not that of true art. If a composer uses straightforward effects, he does so because they suit his theme; as, for example, in Dvořák "Humoreske." But the popular composer (?) plods ahead in total ignorance of anything better, and produces works like the college-song atrocity known as "Mrs. Cragin's Daughter."
One of the chief points that the student must note, and try to