Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/30

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When we desire to classify the fine arts, we find well demarcated groups from the standpoint of the properties of matter in the order in which these properties logically appear, from the simple to the most complex. We have, first, music; second, graphic art; third, drama; fourth, romance; fifth, poetry. That this is the logical order will appear when the subject is more thoroughly presented.


Music is the most fundamental of the fine arts in that it more fully expresses the emotions than any of the others, while it is but a feeble method of expressing the intellections. This characteristic is well known, and music has been called the art of expressing the emotions. It further appears that few persons ever learn to read the intellectual character of music when it is made by others or even when made by themselves. I do not mean that they fail to read the staff in which music is written, but I do mean that they fail to read the argument or story of the musical composition, but rest satisfied with the emotional effects produced. Very few persons read music as an intellectual art, and there are but few critics of the art who survey these intellectual elements. Indeed, the intellectual thread of a musical composition is very slender, and much of it in the folk song of the world is unconsciously developed, like the meaning of words in folk speech. It is a growth by minute increments found to be beautiful in experience.

Rhythm—Music has its germ in the dance, for it begins with the effort to control the rhythm of the lilting folk. Rhythm, therefore, is the first structural element of music, but new elements are added from time to time in the history of man as he proceeds along the way of life from wildwood time to the higher civilization in representative time—a time long indeed.

Melody—Passing from the hunter stage to the shepherd stage we find that a new element is added to music; then melody ap-