MUSIC RATIONALISES sound, but a more momentous rationalising of sound is seen in language. Language is one of the most useful of things, yet the greater part of it still remains (what it must all have been in the beginning) useless and without ulterior significance. The musical side of language is its primary and elementary side. Man is endowed with vocal organs so plastic as to emit a great variety of delicately varied sounds; and by good fortune his ear has a parallel sensibility, so that much vocal expression can be registered and confronted by auditory feeling. It has been said that man's pre-eminence in nature is due to his possessing hands; his modest participation in the ideal world may similarly be due to his possessing tongue and ear. For when he finds shouting and vague moaning after a while fatiguing, he can draw a new pleasure from uttering all sorts of labial, dental, and guttural sounds. Their rhythms and oppositions can entertain him, and he can begin to use his lingual gamut to designate the whole range of his perceptions and passions.
Here we touch upon one of the great crises in creation. As nutrition at first established itself in the face of waste, and reproduction in the face of death, so representation was able, by help of vocal symbols, to confront that dispersion inherent in experience, which is something in itself ephemeral. Merely to associate one thing with another brings little gain; and merely to have added a vocal designation to fleeting things--a designation which of course would have been taken for a part of their essence--would in itself have encumbered phenomena without rendering them in any way more