Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/237

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225
MUSICAL SENSATIONS.

in the terrestrial atmosphere, and Captain Abney has found by his new photometric method that absorption due to hydrocarbons takes place somewhere between the solar and terrestrial atmosphere; in order to test this interesting result still further, he has lately taken his apparatus to the top of the Riffel with a view of diminishing the amount of terrestrial atmospheric air between it and the sun, and intends to bring a paper on this subject before Section A. Stellar space filled with such matter as hydrocarbon and aqueous vapor would establish a material continuity between the sun and his planets, and between the innumerable solar systems of which the universe is composed. If chemical action and reaction can further be admitted, we may be able to trace certain conditions of thermal dependence and maintenance, in which we may recognize principles of high perfection, applicable also to comparatively humble purposes of human life.

 

We shall thus find that, in the great workshop of Nature, there are no lines of demarkation to be drawn between the most exalted speculation and commonplace practice, and that all knowledge must lead up to one great result, that of an intelligent recognition of the Creator through his works. So, then, we members of the British Association and fellow-workers in every branch of science may exhort one another in the words of the American bard who has so lately departed from anions: us

"Let us then be up and doing,

 With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,

 Learn to labor and to wait."
 
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MUSICAL SENSATIONS.
By M. HÉRICOURT.

IT is common, in defining music, to compare it with some other art, painting, for instance, and say it is to the ear what that is to the eye; that it is the representation of the ideal by a means especially adapted to the organ to which it is addressed, or by the combination of sounds. Is that all that it is? Do we not forget, when we simply put it on a par with other arts, the exceptional part it plays in the life of men? The universal adaptation of music to all degrees of civilization, the peculiar charm of which it is the source, and the extraordinary power it exercises, are so many reasons for believing that it is connected with our organization by a more intimate tie than that which binds other arts to it, and that it is the manifestation of a more general faculty. When Fetis wrote, in 1837, the idea prevailed that music originated in the imitation of the songs of birds. He