Page:Psychology and preaching.djvu/270

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


252 PSYCHOLOGY A"ND PREACHING

which " draws out " the specious present [i.e., the span of consciousness] slightly beyond the normal length produces a sombre effect. A still longer unit which is divided between two not long spans of consciousness, gives an effect which is solemn but not sad." 1 But in all songs there are ideas which are organized with appropriate emotions into definite sentiments, and which greatly contribute to the emotional effect when the music is suitable. There is, therefore, no surer and easier way to develop mental contagion than to have a gathering of people join in singing. But for this purpose much depends upon the character of the music and the ideas of the song. The rhythm of the music must correspond to the rhythm of the simpler feelings, and the ideas must be correspondingly simple. " In music of the so- called intellectual sort there is no regular relation between the musical unit and the span of consciousness ; the unity here is intentionally ideational and does not appeal to the average hearer." 2 In such music the emphasis is placed upon the intellectual processes of appreciation, and this tends to prevent complete fusion. Who has not observed the difference between the hymns and tunes used in Sunday Schools and evangelistic meetings, on the one hand, and those used in "regular churches services," on the other? In a word, to be most effective in producing fusion the sing ing must be such as strongly stimulates those elements of our mental life which we have in common with our fellow men rather than those elements in which we are most highly differentiated. Since children and youths are undeveloped men and women, they represent that which is most generic in human nature; and that is the reason why songs of the same general type are best adapted to use in the Sunday School, in evangelistic meetings and in all gatherings where a high degree of mental unity is sought for. It is hardly possible to overestimate the value of our patriotic songs, our ballads which are expressions of the more universal sen- 1 Dunlap, " A System of Psychology/ p. 312. 2 Ibid., p. 313.

�� �