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shades and color. The graces are the finishing touches, which, if not freely and naturally employed, are the greatest blots on the picture. So too has it been justly observed, that, in the best 'performers, there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Where a great degree of excellence cannot be attained, correctness is to be aimed at; the correctness of time, if no other. But how often has one to endure the miserable attempts of half formed and vain performers, to give even correctly the mere notes placed before them. The great fault is not always in the teacher, though it is still too often that pupils are intrusted to the training of those, of whom there is no lack, who have discovered that more money can be made by teaching music than by beating the base drum or jingling the triangle in the orchestra.
If the multiplication of musical publications in our vicinity is to be taken as evidence of the increasing attention which is given to the divine art, then are we fast becoming a musical people. But we are not sure that it is not an evidence of the contrary ; that it does not arise from the injudicious manner in which music is allowed to be generally taught, and the severish impatience for display and novelty. We are wanting in that patience and perseverance, which can alone insure success in music. The noble simplicity of the great masters is too often despised and neglected for the fantastic, wild, and frothy novelties, that have nothing to recommend them but their difficulties.
True, indeed, the number of our performers is large, and the manufacture of Piano Fortes is carried to great perfection with us. There are probably few manufactories which can produce better instruments than those from the hands of Chickering. The manufacturers of instruments and of performers are alike hard pushed; while the instrument is building, the pupil must be taught. Woe to the reputation and pocket of the teacher, if the pupil be not ready to astonish the friends assembled to pass judgment on both instrument and performer, as soon as the former has received its last coat of varnish.
We cannot condemn teachers, composers, or compilers for suiting their labors to the knowledge, taste, and judgment of their employers, and to the capacities of their pupils. As long as the first are compelled to resort to rapid, imperfect teaching, our most accomplished instructers will aim at imparting little more than mechanical dexterity of voice and finger. Until parents can be made to understand, that music does not consist in execution alone, and that a Catalani or a Beethoven cannot be manufactured in “ a quarter,” we fear we shall have little cause to boast of our progress in musical taste.
Music seems to be the only science or art, in which we are contented with even less than mediocrity. The ability of performing a tune or a waltz, at the end of six weeks, can alone satisfy too many parents that the child is getting their money's worth ; and at the end of another six weeks, Miss is sufficiently accomplished to be exhibited to admiring friends and inflict torture upon others. The master is dismissed; he is no longer needed; and the pupil devotes her morning hour to “practice," begins soon to babble of Rossini and Herz, and at the expiration of six months is a musical prodigy. With unwearied industry, mechanical skill is acquired ; and she rises in the estimation of her (so styled) musical admirers, just in proportion to the facility obtained of performing in half an hour, what would have required from the composer just double the time. This excellent music, too, is, nine times out of ten, elicited from an instrument of such uncommon perfection, that it is always quoted as not having been tuned for some six or eight months. We have been often struck with the delicacy of the compliment bestowed on some really good and tasteful performer, who has been called to join or lead in a trio or quartette, at one of these uncommon instruments. The more it is out of tune, the greater the compliment, no doubt; thus affording greater opportunity to the artist to display his own talent, and remedy all mechanical imperfections.
One of the pleasant occurrences, at what are styled sometimes musical parties, we are indebted for to the prevailing system of teaching and learning ; we allude to the attempt of accomplished performers to comply with a request to join in a duett on one of these rare instruments, and with one of these rare musicians. It is not for such prodigies to be cramped and cribbed by the tyranny of time or tune; off they go, and gone too is the reputation of their companion, who is trammelled by certain awkward hieroglyphics often arrayed at the very commencement of his or her task.
We do not believe that, of all the piano fortes in this our musical commonwealth, aye, even in the head-quarters of musical taste, as we have heard a certain city termed, more than one in every hundred is kept in decent condition ; and yet both vocal and instrumental performers, of real science and skill, are continually urged to sit down to them. We much fear, that noise is often mistaken for music; that Auber is becoming more popular than Bellini; that drums and trumpets are a richer regale to the Yankee ear, than the most delicate and touching melodies.
In regard to vocal music, we have to contend with other obstacles to improvement. We rarely have an opportunity of listening to a really first-rate singer. The study of all the musical
works that were ever written, the most assiduous practice, and the most thorough instruction of the best masters, cannot give that peculiar style, feeling, expression, and taste, which are to be caught from the performances of a Malibran, a Grisi, or a Caradori. New beauties are not only brought out, but blemishes are made obvious, that the hour's lesson of the master cannot make sensible. Our fair performers, too, are not less liable to be dazzled by the glitter of bad examples; and to be induced to copy what is beyond their reach, or to affect expression where it is not felt. The shrug of the shoulder and the elevation of the eye-brow are natural to an Italian, but, when imitated by us, become grimace and affectation. We are too apt to be carried away by a stentorian voice, or the agility of running up and down scales, and to consider every singer from Paris or London as a model.
The attainment of a good style in singing will be greatly facilitated by the study of the various publications, which have from time to time appeared under the sanction of Messrs. Mason and Webb; and we think the public are under great obligations to them for the judicious efforts they have made to improve our musical taste. We cannot but think, that, if they were allowed sufficient time, they would educate performers of a high order of excellence. Their present work is calculated for beginners, and contains many pleasing melodies arranged for two and three voices, with accompaniments not difficult of execution. We only regret, that the work has been published in so expensive a form, as will we fear much impede its introduction into families and schools. It would have been more acceptable, had it been printed as a second part of the “ Odeon,” and of uniform size. We trust that the compilers will continue their labors, and ere long give us a more elaborate work for performers of more advanced standing
10. - 1. An Address delivered before the Literary Societies of
the University of Vermont, August 2, 1837, by George
Burlington. Hiram Johnson & Co.
D. D., President of the University of Nashville. Nash
ville. S. Nye & Co. 12mo. pp. 38.
Cliosophic Societies of the College of New Jersey, Sep-
4. Inaugural Address delivered June 21st, 1837, by the
Rev. WILLIAM M. WIGHTMAN, A. M., Professor of
mond. James G. Walker. 8vo. pp. 10.
Professional Teacher. By SAMUEL Eells. Cincinnati.
8vo. pp. 24. 6. Valedictory Address delivered December 6th, 1837, at
the Close of the Seventh Collegiate Year of the University of the State of Alabama, by Alva Woods, President of the University. Tuscaloosa. Marmaduke J. Slade.
8vo. pp. 52. 7. An Address delivered before the Philoclean and Peithe
sophian Societies of Rutgers College, July 18th, 1837. By Daniel D. BARNARD. Albany. Hoffmann & White.
8vo. pp. 46. 8. The Introductory Discourse, and the Lectures delivered
before the Annerican Institute of Instruction, at Worcester, Mass., August, 1837. Boston. James Munroe & Co. 8vo. pp. 262.
The American Institute of Instruction has done much good, both directly and indirectly. Its meetings have been attended by teachers from every part of the country, who have been thus brought into contact and acquaintance with each other. No class of men need more the influence of social ties and professional sympathies than teachers; no class of men are more exposed to the narrowing consequences of solitary life and unsympathizing action; and it was a wise forecast and a sagacious perception of the real wants of teachers, that led to the formation of this Institute.
The volumes which have been annually published are another good result of this combination of scattered talents. They give convincing proof that a vast amount of ability and learning is engaged in the business of educating the young; and, what perhaps may appear strange to one who has not reflected much upon the subject, that a professional enthusiasm as ardent, and at least as disinterested, as that of any other professional body in existence, animates the hearts of teachers, in the midst of their always exhausting and often thankless toils.
In these volumes are many specimens of correct writing and clear thinking, - excellent models of composition. It would be unreasonable to expect this of all. Many teachers have hobbies which they take great delight in riding, sometimes with little judgment, and to the annoyance of others, who have perOL. XLVI. No. 99.
haps hobbies of their own. Some of them, too, are not content to express themselves in a straight-forward manner, but think it necessary, in a lecture before the Institute, to adorn their thoughts in a sort of sunday dress, spangled all over with quotations from the poets. In the volume for last year are one or two specimens of this false taste; but not enough to diminish the value of the book, which is one that every teacher ought to have in his library.
But the indirect influences of the Institute have already begun to be beneficially felt, in the decided steps now taking towards a thorough reform of our common school system. The general attention, moreover, which has been drawn, for the lasi two or three years, to the subject of education, all over the United States, is unquestionably owing, in a great measure, to the action of this Society. If but a tythe of the promises held out by this national movement upon the most momentous of subjects, be fulfilled, the American Institute of Instruction will be entitled 10 a livelier gratitude than it is likely to enjoy.
A convincing proof of the intellectual activity now awakened on this subject, lies in the vast number of discourses, pamphlets, inaugural addresses, &c. &c., which the press is daily pouring out, and which the public ought to read. They come from every point of the compass, “thick as leaves in Valombrosa." Mr. Lindsley's discourse, of which we have given the title above, is lively and pointed, like all his writings. - Mr. Southard's is copious, and if too long, abounds in just thoughts. It is the work of an accomplished hand; an able statesman, and a good scholar; but there is a want of terseness and definite conception, and an occasional want of critical discrimination, not at all surprising in one who has only given a cursory attention to the subject matter on which he speaks. Thus when he asserts the wonderful uniformity of style in the sacred writers, he asserts a thing which any competent critic would have shown him, in a moment, does not exist. Belonging to different ages, the genius of these writers exbibits also a great variety. What historical styles could well be more different, than those of Moses and Ezra ? How marked the contrast between Isaiah and Malachi!- Mr. Wightman's Inaugural Address, on English literature, is well written, but runs occasionally into the superfine. — Mr. Eells has put a great deal of valuable thought into his discourse on the “moral dignity of the office of teacher”; but he, too, soars higher than the occasion warrants, into the regions of the grand and the beautiful. — President Woods's Valedictory Address is occupied with the discussion of two topics, – the preservation of the purity of the English language, and of the purity of