Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/369

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


always with the same result. With the natural harmonies the songs when played on the piano sound much more natural to the Indian than when played without chords.

In the light of all this experience I feel justified in stating once more, and most emphatically, the conclusion at which I have arrived, namely, that when savage man makes music spon- taneously he obeys the universal law of all activity and follows the line of least resistance, and that in every instance this line is found to be a chord line, a harmonic line. Folk-melody, so far as now appears, is always and everywhere harmonic melody, however dim the perception of harmonic relations, and however untrained and inexperienced as regards music the untaught sav- age may be.

The first harmonies to be displayed are naturally the simplest — those of the tonic and its chord. The more complex relations are gradually evolved as a result of the growth of experience. But in every stage of its development, the harmonic sense is the shaping and determining factor in the production of folk-melody.

The evidence of the essential unity of all music, from the most primitive to the most advanced, is cumulative. The Navaho howls his song to the war gods directly along the line of the major chord ; Beethoven makes the first theme of his great "Eroica" symphony out of precisely the same material. The Tigua makes his " Dance of the Wheel " out of a major chord and its relative minor; Wagner makes Lohengrin sing "Mem Heber schwan " to a melody composed of exactly the same ingre- dients. In short, there is only one kind of music in the world. But there are vast differences between the stages of development represented by the savage and by the modern musician; and there are also ethnological differences resulting from the physical and mental peculiarities of the races; yet, essentially and funda- mentally, music is precisely the same phenomenon for the savage as it is for the most advanced representative of modern culture.

�� �