Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/802

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ON MELODY IN SPEECH.
By F. WEBER.

THERE is an infinite variety of interesting and pleasing sounds in Nature's music around us, that may be noted by an attentive ear; these sounds are mostly melodious and harmonious, or in some harmonious connection, and form exact intervals and chords.

The wind in passing over houses, over trees, in gardens, fields, and forests, produces beautiful sounds of every variety, swelling from the softest to the loudest in majestic grandeur. On a stormy morning in town I heard the wind sing this melody over the roof of the house:

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \relative a' { \cadenzaOn a4\< b c\! d\> c a\! f'2\> e4 d c\! \bar "|" e c8 a d4 c \bar "|" c2\> a4\! \bar "|" a2\> fis4 \bar "|" a4\< d2\! c4\> b bes a\! \bar "|" } }

and on a similar night at Boulogne I copied the following passage that was wailing through the house in beautiful crescendo and decrescendo, and in many repetitions:

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \relative g' { \cadenzaOn g4\< b <b d> <d f>1\! <c e>4 <b d> <g c>\> b <b d> <a c>\! } }

Thunder strikes us with awe by its deep, rolling tones; a storm or gale[1] on land or on the ocean sends forth fierce and sublime sounds, rushing from the lowest to the highest pitch; the stately flow of a great river sings an everlasting deep organ-point, while the lively brook sings melodiously, and modulates like human speech.

The suspended wires of an electric telegraph, when vibrated by a strong wind, produce touching and wailing sounds and chords over a whole country, like so many Æolian harps of sweet and sad sounds that may, from solemn strains and most perfect ideal harmonies, rise in an indescribable and inimitable crescendo, higher and higher, to moans and discords, and with the abating wind return to harmony.

All the animals on land, quadrupeds and bipeds, have their characteristic voices and calls in distinct intervals. Of our domestic animals the cow gives a perfect fifth and octave or tenth:

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \clef bass { \cadenzaOn \set melismaBusyProperties = #'() c2( g4 c'8) \bar "||" c2( g4 e'8) \bar "|" } \addlyrics { M -- o -- o. M -- o -- o. } }

  1. A gale in old Saxon and English means also a song, and with the bold sea-kings of old may also have had this meaning—a song on the ocean. Gale in Danish means to "crow": Hanen galer, the cock crows. Other relatives, the English to call and the German Kehle, throat, the organ of song.