Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/463

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SCOTISH MUSIC.

Keel. ' Clydeside Lasses. 1

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

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��This tune is an example of the mingled 2nd and 3rd positions of the pentatonic series in the key of I). That is, mixed phrases, now in A now in G. Much of this old dance music was constructed on the scale of the Bagpipe, which may be re- garded as two pentatonic scales placed together,

GAB DE G ABCJ EF* A

which are in fact the second and third positions of the pentatonic series in the key of D major. [See p. 444.]

There is reason to fear that the art of singing

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��Scotish songs in their native purity is being rapidly lost; nor is this to be wondered at. The spread of musical education, together with the general use of the piano in all classes of households, must of necessity interfere with the old style of singing Scotish songs in their original and native simplicity. When sung with a piano accompani- ment their peculiar charm is in great measure lost ; indeed a Scotish song properly rendered is now to be heard only in the rural districts, where on a winter's evening servants and milkmaids sit round the farmer's 'ingle' and 'lilt' in the genuine old traditional style. If Scotish song has suffered at home from the operation of such changes, it can hardly be said to have bene- fited from the attention it has received in other quarters. Both executants and composers have been attracted by its peculiar qualities, and have sought to bend it to their purposes, or to illustrate it by their genius ; in both cases with question- able success. Many great artists have attempted to sing aright some of the finest Scotish airs, but generally without success, at least to Scotish audiences. The really great public exponents of Scotish song were Wilson and Templeton (tenors), both Scotchmen. Though neither was a thoroughly educated musician, both in their youth, without much knowledge of music, learnt by tradition the real art of singing our national airs. Catherine Hayes, so famou s for her rendering of Irish airs, comes next as an interpreter of the simple melodies of Scotland. Clara Novello studied to good purpose several of the Jacobite songs ; and other exceptionally gifted and cul- tured artists have been known to rouse their au- diences into enthusiasm, though in most cases the result was only a succes d'estime. The at- tempts of the most illustrous composers to write accompaniments to our national songs have fared no better. And it need not excite much surprise to find that here, as in many similar ill-advised enterprises, the greater the genius, so misapplied, the more signal the failure. Beethoven was employed to write arrangements of Scotish airs, and although all his arrangements bear the impress of his genius, he has too often missed the senti- ment of the simple melodies. The versions of the airs sent him must have been wretchedly bad, and they seem to have imbued him with the idea that the 'Scotch snap' was the chief feature in the music. He has introduced this ' snap ' in such profusion, even when quite foreign to the air, that the result is at times somewhat comical. Haydn also wrote symphonies and accompani- ments to many Scotish airs, and though he suc- ceeded better than his great pupil, still in his case the result, with few exceptions, is not a great success. Weber, Hummel, Pleyel, and Kozeluch were still less happy in their endeavours to illustrate Scotish airs. In later years many musicians have followed the same task. Of the many volumes published we distinctly give the preference to Macfarren's 'Select Scotish Songs'; and yet, admirable as are often Macfarren's settings, it is difficult to get rid of a feeling of elaboration in listening to them.

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