Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/643

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��Enough has now been said to show how thoroughly and with what diversity of talent the Song has been cultivated in Germany as a branch of pure art. The torch has passed from artist to artist; and if the reverent devotion with which it is still tended by German students of music be an earnest and augury of what is to come, it is not too much to hope that the radiance of the flame may be as bright in the future as it has been in the past.

The following works contain the best informa- tion on the history of the Song in Germany.

'Das musikalische Lied in geschichtlicher Entwicke- IUUR ' ; Dr. K. C. Schneider. (3 vols.)

' Geschichte des deutschen Liedes im xviii Jahrhun- dert ' ; Krnst O. Lindner.

' Geschichte des deutschen Liedes ' ; August Reiss- mann.

'Das deutsche Lied in seiner historischen Entwicke- lung' ; August Reissmann.

' Die Hausmusik in Deutschland im IGten, 17ten, and 18ten Jahrhundert ' ; Becker.

( Unsere volksthumliche Lieder'; Hoffmann von Fal- lersleben.

' Altdeutsches Liederbuch aus dem 12 bis zum 17 Jahr- hundert ' ; Franz M. Bohme.

' Der evangelische Kirchengesang ' ; Karl von Winter- feld.

'Robert Franz und das deutsche Volkslied'; August Saran.

The collections of Volkslieder are too numerous to name. But the reader will find at pp. 769-805 of B6hme's ' Altdeutsches Liederbuch' an ample catalogue with an- notations, entitled

' Quellen fur das deutsche Volkslied und seine Weisen in alter und neuer Zeit.'

f Bohme includes both MS. and printed collections.)

In conclusion, a few general reflections may be added to the foregoing historical sketch. Vocal music is probably the eldest branch of the art ; but from the number of ancient dance-songs still extant, and from the fact that dance-songs pre- ponderate in the music of nations whose musical culture remains in a primitive stage, it is reason- able to conclude that vocal music was at first a mere accessory of the dance. Choral singing at religious and other festivals was also a practice of very remote antiquity. Recitations by bards commemorative of the exploits of heroes were a further and distinct development of vocal music. But the Song proper had no existence anterior to the Troubadours ; their graceful lyrics and appro- priate rhythmical tunes were its earliest form.

In the sections of this article which relate to France and Germany, attention has been called to the reciprocal influences upon one another of church music and secular music; but it should be noticed that the influence of the former was not of unmixed advantage to the latter. The scientific development of the Song was doubtless advanced by the church composers, but their poly- phonic style injured it in other respects. Such peculiarities of that style as constant repetitions of the same words, and breaking up the verse into fragmentary syllables, could only disfigure the true Song, which requires an even adjustment of words and music, without any sacrifice of one to the other.

The Opera, on the other hand, was of immense benefit to the Song by establishing the monodic system, and thus teaching composers to attend to the meaning of the words they set, with a

�� ��view to its reproduction in the music. But it would be superfluous to dwell again on the value of that 'expressive monodia ' which was intro- duced by Caccini in Italy, by Lawes in England, and by Albert in Germany. [MONODIA, vol. ii. 354-]

The reader will also have observed the neces- sary dependence of the Song upon poetry. Until the poet supplies lyrics of adequate power and beauty of form, the skill of the composer alone cannot develope the full capacities of the Song. When however poets and composers of the first rank have worked together in mutual sympathy and admiration, as did the German poets and composers of Goethe's age, the Song has quickly mounted to the loftiest heights of art. Again, poets and composers are alike the children of their times, and vividly reflect the dominant emotions of the hour and the scene in which they live. History colours every branch of Art, and none more so than the Song, for it is the first and simplest mode of giving expression to strong feeling. Men naturally sing of that of which their heads and hearts are full ; and thus there is a close correspondence between great historic events and the multitude of songs to which they almost invariably give birth. From wars have issued songs of victory, and other mar- tial odes ; from keen political struggles, songs or satire ; from religious reformations, majestic hymns and chorales ; and from revolutions, impassioned songs of liberty.

Time alone can produce men of genius and breathe the inspiration of great events ; but even with these reservations, there is ample scope for the improvement of the Song in our own country by talent and conscientious study. In wealth of splendid poetry England has no superior ; and it is singular that her great poets have not left deeper marks upon the Song in music. No effect, for instance, was produced on it by the group of fine poets to which Byron and Shelley belonged, comparable with the effect which the lyrics of Goethe and his contemporaries had upon it in Germany. Some would explain the anomaly by the deficient culture of English musicians at most periods of our history. Others might justly point to the irregular accentuations of English verse as presenting special difficulties to the composer. But no single circumstance has been more in- jurious to English Song than our extravagant and long-cherished preference for the Italian opera. Of that indifference to the meaning of words, in which it trained the English public, enough has been said already and need not be repeated here. Happily now there is a change for the better, and English composers are at last alive to the importance of the words.

No branch of music has been so freely handled by inferior and unpractised composers as the Song. It certainly does not require. so accurate a knowledge of formal principles as other kinds of music; and thus seems to invite the inex- perienced hand. But in truth it demands, and is worthy of the most serious study. The simple 'guitar accompaniments' of other days no

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