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irregularity; that it would be very ftant reproaches againt their bad difficult to make the force of the taste, and by hearing real mufe in notes and syllables agree ; that the a language more favourable to it, measure would be obliged to be they would at length endeavour to perpetually changed, and that the make their own resemble is : in verses never could be set to an ex. doing which, however, they would act and flowing measure ; that even only depriveit of its real character
, in the measured airs, the move. and the listle accordance it might ments would be all unnatural and have with the language for which void of precision ; that if to this it was contructed. If they should defect be added ever so little delay thus endeavour to unnaturalize in time, the very idea of its ine their finging, they would render it quality would be entirely loft beth harsh, rough, and almoft unutierin the singer and the auditor ; and able : if they contented themselves that, in fine, the measure not be- with ornamenting it with anyother ing perceived, nor its returns equal, than soch accompaniments as were it could be subject only to the cas peculiarly adapted to it, theywould price of the musician, who might only betray its infipidity by an inhurry or retard it as he pleased : fo evitable contraft : they would de. that it would be impossible to keep prive their music of the only beau. up a concert without fomebody to fy it was susceptible of, in taking mark the time to all, according to from all its parts that uniformity the fancy or convenience of some of character by which it was conleader.
Atituted ; and hy accuftoming their Hence it is that fingers contract ears to disdain the finging only to such an habit of altering the time, liften to the symphony, they would that they frequently do it designed in time reduce the voices only to ly even in those pieces, where the a mere accompaniment of ebe 36composer has happily rendered it companiments. perceprible. To mark the time Thus we fee by whad means the would be thought a fault in com. music of such a nation would be pofition, and to follow it would be divided into vocal and instrumenanother in the talie of finging ; tal; and thus we see how by giving thus defects would pass for beau. each different characters to the two ties, and beauties for defects : er. fpecies of it, they make a montors would be established as rules; strous compound of them when and to compose music to the taste united. of the nation, it would be necessa. The symphony' would keeptime; Ty to apply carefully to those things and the singing would suffes no rewhich would difplease every other 'ftraint ; so that the fingers and the people in the world.
iymphonists in the orchestra would Thus, whatever art might be be perpetually at variance, and
fed to hide the defects of such putting one another outa : This music, it would be imposible it uncertainty, and the mixture of mould be pleafing to any other the two characters, would introears than those of the natives of duce in the manner of accompani. the country where it fhould be in ment, such a tamenefs and inlipivogue. By dint of suffering con. dity that the symphonists would : get such a habit, that they would with as ill success as it was absurd.
not be able even to execute the best ly premeditated. music with spirit and energy. In On a contrary fuppofition to the playing that like their own, they foregoing, I might easily deduce would totally enervate it; they all the qualities of a real music, would play the soft strong, and the formed to move, to imitate, to ftrong foft, nor would they know please, and to convey to the heart one of the varieties of these two the most delicate impreffions of terms. As to the others rinforzando, harmony: but as this would lead drice*, risoluto, con gusto, Spiritoso, me too far from my present subject, Mtenuto, con brio, they would have and particularly from our generally no words for them in their lan. received notions of things; I shall guage, and that of expreffion would confine myself to a few obfervations be totally void of meaning. They on the Italian music ; which may would sabfticute a number of tri- enable us to form a better judge Aing, cold, and flovenly ornaments,
ment of our own. in the place of the masterly stroke If it be asked what langoage will of the bow: and however numerous admit of the best grammar, 1 an. their orchestra, it would have no swer that of the people who reason effect, or none but what was very beft; and if it be asked what nation disagreeable. As the execution should have the best mufic, I should would be always flaggish, and the anfwer that whose language is beft fymphonists are ever more folici. adapted to music. This is what I tous to play finely, than to play in have already established, and shall time, they would be bardly ever have farther occafion to confirm it together; they would never be able during the course of this letter. to give an exact and just note, nor Now, if there be in Europe a lan. to execute any thing in that cha. guage adapted to music, it is cer. racter. Foreigners would be almoft tainly the Italian ; for that lan. all of them aftonished to find an guage is soft, fonorous, harmoniorchestra, boafted of as the first in ous, and more accented than any Europe, hardly worthy to play at other; which four qualities are a booth in a fairt. It would be precisely those which are most pronaturally expected that such mufi. per for singing, cians should get an aversion to that The Italians pretend, that our music which thus disgraced their [the French) melody is flat and own; and that, adding ill will to void of tune; all other nations also bad tafte, they would put in exe. unanimously confirm their judgcution the delign of decrying it, ment in this particulart. On ous
There is not, perhaps, four French fymphonists in Paris who know the dif. ference between piano and dolce ; and indeed it would be unnecessary for them so to do; for which of them would be capable of executing it?
+ Not that there are not some very good violin-players in the ochestra at the opera :
: on the contrary, they are almost all such, taken separately, and when chiey do not pre tend to play in concert.
| There was a time, says my lord Shaftesbury, when the custom of speaking French had brought French music also into fashion among us (the English). But
Part, we accuse theirs of being ca. of ir, at least, with regard to me, pricious and barbarous*, I had lody to which alone the whole much rather believe that one or dilpute is in a manner reducible, the other were mistaken, than be I took some of the most celebrat. reduced to the neceflity of saying, ed airs in both kinds of music; that, in a country
, where arts and and divesting the one of its trills sciences in general are arrived to an and perpetual cadences; the other high degree of perfection, that of of the under notes, which the commusic is as yet unknown.
poser does not take the trouble to The least partial among us write, but leaves to the judgment of contented themselves with saying, the fingert. Isolfa'd them exactly that, both the Italian and French by note, without any ornament, music were good, in their kind, and without adding any thing to the and in their own language : but, sense or connexion of the phrase, besides that other nations did not I will not tell you the effea which subscribe to this comparison, it fill the result of this comparison had on remained to determine which of my own mind, because I ought to the two languages was the best a. exhibit my reasons, and not 10 dapted to music in itself. This is a impose my authority, I will only question which was much agitated give you an account of the method in France, but will never be so I took to determine, so that, if elsewhere; a question which can you think it a good one, you may only be decided by an ear that is take the same to convince your. perfectly neuter, and which, of self. I must caution you, howeret
, course, becomes daily more diffi- that this experiment requires more cult of solution in the only country precautions than may at first apwhere the object of it can be pro- pear neceffary. blematical. I haye made some ex. The first and moft difficult of all, periments on this subject, which is to be impartial and equitable in every one may repeat aller me, and your choice and judgment. The which appear to serve as a solution second is, that in order to make the Italian, exibiting fomething more agreeable to nature, prefently disguited us with the other, and made us perceive it to be as heavy, Aat, and infipid, as
* It seems these reproaches are much less violent fince the Italian music hash been heard among us. Thus it is that this admirable music need only these itself what it is, to justify ittelf againlt every thing that is advanced againk it.
+ Many persons condemn the total exclusion which the connoiffeuss in meute give, without hesitation, to the French music. Thefe conciliating modecator would have no exclu(ve taste, just as if the love of what is good mult neceffarily work fome regard for what is bad.
This method was very much in favour of the French music for the urdhr notes in the Italian are no less effential to the melody, than thofe #hich tre written down. The point is less what is written, than what ought to be fung; and indeed this manner of writing notes ought to pass for at kind of abbreviation, the taste, but are by no means tssential to the melody, they are a kind of palat, which serves to hide its deformity, without removing it, and which setves only to render it the more ridiculous to the ears of good judges...... Je suce this
it is in fact.
this experiment, it is necessary for important part of the melody, you to be equally acquainted with which is expression; so that all that both styles; otherwise that which can be determined, is, whether the Thould happen to be most familiar, modulation be good, and the tone would perpetually present itself to natural and beautiful. All this the mind, to the prejudice of the lhews how dificult it is to take other. Nor is this fecond condition sufficient precautions again't pre less difficult than the first: for a. possessions, and how far reafort is mong those who are acquainted necessary to qualify us to judge with both kinds of music, there is properly in matters of tafte. no hesitation of choice? and it is I made another trial, which re. easy to perceive by the ridiculous quires less precaution, and will yet arguments of those who write a. appear probably more decisive. i gainst the Italian music, how little gave to some Italian musicians the knowledge they have of that, or fineft airs of Lulli, and to fome indeed the art in general,
French ones the sele&t airs of Leo Add to this, that it is very effen. and Pergolese, and I remarked, tial to proceed in exact time ; but that though the latter were very I foresee that this caution, though far from entering into the true tafte fuperfluous in any other country, of these pieces, they were fenfible this omifion alone neceffarily car.
cat nevertheless of their melody, and
made out of them, in their manner, ries with it, an incompetency of agreeable and cunetul pallages. But judgment.
the Italians folfa'd our most pa. Taking all these precautions, thet ic airs, without discovering the character of each kind of music either passage or tune : they found cannot fail of declaring itself; no music at all in them, but faw when it would be difficult not tó only a succession of notes placed clothe the passages with those ideas without choice or design ; they which agree with them; and in. sung them indeed exactly as you deed not to add, at least mentally, would read Arabic words' written chose turos and ornaments,' which in French characters*, may be refused them in singing. My third experiment was this : We should not reft the matter, also, I had an opportunity of seeing at upon a fingle experiment; for one Venice, an Armenian, a man of air may please more than another, understanding, who had never bewithoutdetermining the preference fore heard any mufic; and to whom of the kind of music; nor is it were exhibited in the same concert, without a great number of trials a French piece, which began with that a reasonable judgment is to be these words, formed... Besides, in taking away the words, we take away the moft Temple facre, Tejour tranquille :
Our musicians, pretend to deduce a great advantage from this difference. We can execute the Italian mufic, lay they, with their usual Italians cannot execute ours; therefore our music is better than anity, and the Ho not see that they ought to deduce a consequence directly contrary and say,
han theirs, They • Therefore the Italians have a melody and we have none.
and an air of Galuppi's, which be- I must confess that so many fads gins thus;
made me doubt of the existence of
French melody; and raised a rolVoi che languite senza speranza. picion that it was only a kind of
modulated full chorus, that had 2. Both the one and the other were nothing in it agreeable of itself; fung; very indifferently for á pleasing only by the help of certain Frenchman, and badly for an Ita. adventitious and arbitrary ornalian, by a man accustomed solely to ments, and to such only as were French mufic, and at that time an pre pofseffed in its favour. For we enthufialt for Remeau. I observed find that our music is hardly supporte that my Armenian, during the able even to our own ears, when French long, expressed much more it is executed by indifferent voices, surprise than pleasure ; but every who cannot make the most of it, body took notice that his counte. It requires a Fel and a Jelioite to nance and eyes brightened up, and fing French music: but every voice that he was instantly affected with is good for the Italian; because the the very firft notes of the Italian. beauties of the latter are in the He appeared indeed enchanted, and music itself, whereas those of the gave himself up entirely to the im- French, if it has any, depend all preffions of the music; the fimple on the abilities of the finger* founds, for he understood hardly ... There are three things which to any thing of the language, giving me appear to concur in the perfece him an evident delight. From that tion of Italian melody. The firft time he would never listen to a is the fweetness of the language, French air.
which, making all its inflections But without going a broad for ex. easy, leaves the genius of the mo. amples, have we not many persons Gician at liberty to make a inore among ourselves : who being ac- exquiste choice, to give a greater quainted only with our own operas, variety to his combinations ; and really conceived they had no man. allign to every actor a particular ner of taste for finging, and were turn, so that each may have his undeceived only by the Italian in. own peculiar manner to distinguisha terludes. They imagined they did him from the rest. not love music, for the
very reason Tlie second is the boldness of the that proved they liked only that modulations, which, although less which was really such.
servilely prepared than ours, are * It is an error to imagine that the Italian singers have, in general, less voice than the French : on the contrary, it is necessary that they should have stronger Jungs, and be more harmonious, to make themselves heard throughout the spacious theatres of Italy, without stopping to inanage the voice, as the Italian mufic requires. The French long requires the utmost effect of the lungs, and the whole extent of the voice. Stronger, louder, cry' our singing-matters, seni førth the sounds, open the nouth, give out all your voice, On the other hand, the Italian matters" fay, softer, force nothing, sing easy; let your notes be foft and flowing ; 'refcive the loud exertions for those rare occasions when it is neceffary to strike and amaze. Now, it appears to ine, that if people must make themselves heard, those have the-ftrongelt voice, who can do it without being under the necessity of screaming.