Music and its Lovers  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

{{Template}} Music and its Lovers (1932) is a book by Vernon Lee.

Full text

MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

AH EMPIRICAL STUDY 0#. MOTIONAL AND

fif&CJINATIVE RESPONSES TO MUSIC


VERNQN LEE S LITT.D-


NEW YORK E. P, DUTTON AND CO,, INC*


lit U.'&.A,' 1933


^Ell rigkis

PRINTBD IN ORBAT BRITAIN BY UNWIN BROTHERS LTD,, WOK11<J


DEDICATION AND THANKSGIVING

This book based upon their answers to my Questionnaires I

dedicate, after more than twenty years, to all my Answerers,

known or unknown to me, living and, alas, also dead. But

quite specially to the memory of

BESSIE AND ISABELLA FORD OF ADEL


And now that the book is actually going to the Printer's let me also congratulate myself very gratefully that the same admirable collaborator, Irene Cooper Willis, to whom I owe so much help in the early stages of this work, should be able and willing to edit and pass it through the press when finished.


CONTENTS

PREFACE: AIMS AND METHODS 13

PART I

"LISTENERS" AND "HEARERS"

CHAPTER PACE

I, VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE 23

ii. WHAT is "LISTENING"? 35


III. THE EMOTION OF MUSIC,

iv, * 'COMPLICATIONS'* AND "ENTANGLEMENTS" 59

v. "ANCESTORS OF EMOTION" 66

VI. EMOTION OF MUSIC VERSUS EMOTIONAL MUSIC 86 is

VII. AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION: "HIGHER PLANES" 97

VIII, ACTIVE AND PASSIVE ATTENTION. A PSYCHOLOGICAL P.S. 107^

IX, EPILOGUE TO "LISTENERS" 115


PART II

EMOTIONAL RESPONSES

I. THE POWERS OF SOUND- 123

II. CECILIA AND "CECILIANS" 135

in. "AMBIENCE" 141

iv. CHAOS: THE UNINTELLIGIBLE AND THE OVERHEARD. 150

V. INTERMITTENCE AND EVOCATION. CASE OF DONNA TEODORA 158

VI. MUSICAL MEMORY, A PSYCHOLOGICAL P.S. TO DONNA TEODORA. 167

VII. AFFECTIVE MEMORY. RIBOT'S HYPOTHESIS . 1 73

VIII. REFERENCE TO HUMAN PERSONALITY. 1 92


io MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

CHAPTER PAGE

EX. PARTICIPATION, INTENSIFICATION, "PASS MORT AND PASSE"

VIVANT." ELSA AND "THE VIOLINIST 3 ' 202

x. "EVOCATION OF PAST AND FUTURE" ; HERR WOLFRAM ; "AMIE

DE GABRIELLE"; MME. LOUISE; YOUNG PEOPLE (FRANCES) 2:7

XI. INTRODUCTION TO "DIONYSIACS." THE CUP OF COMUS 228

xii. "DIONYSIACS": FRANZ; PROFESSOR PAUL; MASTER HUGUES;

P.S. ON NIETZSCHE 240


PART III

IMAGINATIVE RESPONSES

i. INTERPRETATION: MUSIC AS A LANGUAGE 259

n. LAPSES IN "LISTENING" AND "THINKING OF OTHER THINGS" 273

III. STIMULATION OF THOUGHT: POETS, NOVELISTS AND PHILO

SOPHERS 28 J

IV. INTERPRETATION AS METAPHOR! CASE OF SPIRIDION 20*

v. MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION: "THE MICROCOSM RESPONDING

TO THE MACROCOSM"; THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 298

VI. THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 308

VII. THE POWER OF WORDS 325

VIII. INTERPRETATION BY EQUIVALENCE 340

DC. SUGGESTION BY MOVEMENT: FRAU MARIA AND BELLA 350

X. INTERPRETATION BY "AS IF . ..." 359

XI. INTERPRETATION AS ALLEGORY. PICTURES SUGGESTED BY

MUSIC 3(^3

XII. INTERPRETATION AS DRAMA. CASE OF LADY VENETIA 383


PART IV

HAS MUSIC A "MEANING"?

(COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS)

SOME RESULTS OF COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS


CONTENTS ii

PART V

THE COMPOSER'S PHENOMENON

CHAPTER PAGE

I. TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC 445

II. DIVIDED ATTENTION 456

III. AESTHETIC INTEGRATION. A COMPARISON WITH OTHER ARTS 468

iv. SYNTHESIS; SOME EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN 478

PART VI

HOW MUSIC COMES INTO OUR LIVES

I. THE STATE OF AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION 489

II. MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 492

in. BETTINA: A DUOLOGUE ON MOZART AND BEETHOVEN 510

IV. BEING ATTUNED TO .... 517

PART VII

f 'E GUSTIBUS . . .

I. SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 5^7

II. ** . . . NQN EST DISPVTANDUM" 543

PART VIII

"BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL"

i. "BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL" 551

II. SOME ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS 554

III. EXCITEMENT AS A VITAL NEED 558

rv. MUSIC VERSUS WORDS 559

ENGLISH QUESTIONNAIRE 563

INDEX 569


PREFACE AIMS AND METHODS

I

THIS BOOK, which, after so many years of working at it (and dropping it), has at last got finished, is neither for Musicians nor for Musical Critics, though dealing with both. Not even for such intelligent Amateurs as have contributed so largely to it. It can teach no one whether any particular music happens to be good or bad; still less how to make music which shall be good rather than bad. It tries to understand why the self-same music will, perhaps must, seem good, i,e, worth having, to some people, and bad, i.e. not worth having, to others ; the uselessness of disputing of tastes, the interest of explaining them. It describes the various kinds of response, emotional and imaginative (and even musical), to music; and attempts to account for these being thus various.

It is, of course, a book on aesthetics, but aesthetics as a branch of psychology ; I might almost add, aesthetics as an introduction, a Vorschule to psychology. Because aesthetic preferences, particularly musical preferences, lead their student back to a good many underlying psychological facts and principles; and lead onward to none of those practical, moral, pedagogic applications which beset other branches of psychology. Aesthetics cannot help remaining what latter- day psychologists turn up their noses at, the study not of behaviour, but of feelings and thoughts in themselves; in fact, of just such responses as this book studies when they arise, individual and general, in the innocent seclusion of music, safe beyond good or evil,

The usefulness of psychology in all its branches is, to my mind, less in direct application to this or that practical


14 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

question, than in a certain way of thinking about human affairs, and a sceptical interest in what underlies them and, underlying, must affect their results. Psychology, studied for its own sake, might foster a habit of removing the labels with which individual self-assertion and social convenience have furnished our various commandments; labels which may, but as often do not, set forth the real ingredients (wholesome or poisonous) of the mixture which (like the label patriotism a few years ago, or love of God in remoter times and places) they encourage us to swallow without tasting. In short, venturing slightly to alter Mr. MacDougalPs famous title, psychology might be a study, not of Behaviour, but of Motives. And, returning to aesthetics, that study may afford if not a knowledge, at least a suspicion, of something deeper down than motives, what the French call mobiles: tendencies, habits of feeling and thinking; the not (in Freudian sense) unconscious, but unsuspected, modes of retaining, renewing, cud-chewing, of one's emotions; the modes of connecting, synthetising, or camouflaging one's perceptions, whereof the answers to my musical Question- naires have shown me the existence in my neighbours and in myself. About both of whom, directly and indirectly, I seem to have learned a good deal in the years of thinking over the information collected in this book. So that the varieties of emotional and imaginative response to music have served as a small nosce teipsum by showing me the likes and dislikes of other people free (thanks to music's blessed "yonside of good and evil") from the allurements and dis tinctions of praise and blame. Those I mean praise and blame will be only the more efficacious, methinks, if con fined to what concerns the welfare of other folk, the health of one's own body and soul ; in short, confined to Behaviour in its everyday meaning, leaving to psychology, and quite especially to such aesthetics as mine, the study of the various Emotional and Imaginative Responses in dreams where Taste, or rather Tastes, rule by the divine right of Individual


AIMS AND^METHODS 15

constitution, and must not be disputed ; although, we may pick up some useful, even morally applicable knowledge, by unbiassed study of their lineage and domination.


II

The data contained in this book, except such as I have found among my own diary notes, have been collected by asking for other people's experience in answer to the num bered queries of a Questionnaire. This Questionnaire was not always the same. The very first was undertaken merely to test M. Ribot's theory on the relation of music to what he called Affective Memory, as the Reader will find when he gets to the chapter on that subject. Nor were the queries given in the same wording or order. But the information asked for and elicited was on the same points, only a few additions being made in successive versions, and a few questions being subsequently discarded as cumbering and confusing the subject. Of these versions of my Question- ' naire there were three principal: the shorter, in English and French, was circulated in typescript among and by my friends and acquaintances; the longest and most elaborate was also translated into German and printed in the %eit- schrift fur Aesthetik in 1907, thus reaching a wider public and one more attracted by similar enquiries. The shorter Questionnaire I occasionally read to the persons willing (in some cases not very willing) to submit to these interroga tions ; and in these cases I learned to exert a rather tedbus self-restraint in refusing to enter into discussions with my Versuchpersonen, and especially to give them any kind of lead how to answer; while on two occasions when I further defined my questions I was rewarded by a certain amount of unexpected detail. The great majority of answers were, however, given in writing, and very often (especially in the case of the German Questionnaire published in the


i6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

schriftfur Aesthetik] by totally unknown, though never anony mous, Answerers. There were one or two Answerers whose names I did not know because their answers reached me indirectly. A few others are cited as anonymous because the names were mislaid in the process of classification. The documents, very few so jejune as to be discarded, amounted to nearly one hundred and fifty. These were analysed by my fellow-worker, Irene Cooper Willis, and myself accord ing to a system we gradually evolved and improved during the years (before the War) of our working together; a system which classified the substance of the answers on the main questions, supplemented by quotations and catch words illustrating the various Answerers' individualities. By 19143 our joint work had advanced so far that when the War interrupted it, I found myself with a long intro ductory memorandum which I published almost verbatim in the North American Review for 1917 and now reproduce as the first chapter of this book.

When the War was over I returned to Italy with my original documents, i.e. the answers to the various Ques tionnaires increased and complicated by commentaries and extracts, but with the thread of connection broken and lost, the more so that my fellow-worker had no longer leisure to continue the work. To it I therefore returned alone and frequently interrupted by other literary jobs.

I found, on beginning, that I lost my way, often literally and materially, among these multifarious documents of all shapes and sizes, let alone their being in three languages (with an occasional Italian addition) ; and what was worse, that I had to re-establish the (by this time) forgotten con nection of the numbered answers with the numbered queries of my various Questionnaires, which most of the Answerers did not repeat. I therefore worked through all the material afresh, making fresh extracts for my own assistance* Among other things, and besides extracting and tabulating the various data and their individual sources, I worked through


AIMS AND METHODS 17

all the documents accepted as valid, to the number of over one hundred and twenty, and wrote out for my own use a sort of analytico-synthetic description of each Answerer from the musical and emotional point of view, and without consciously availing myself of any knowledge derived from other sources. Thus I have at last come to possess a gallery of dramatis personae with whom I often feel very intimate, and whose personalities have sometimes awakened feelings of friendship or the reverse. Moreover, in making these analyses, I found myself involved in silent discussions with my Answerers and even more frequently with myself.

For the result of this kind of work, spread over ten years, has been the gradual addition of a number of problems and their possible solutions, of which I had no conception when starting my inquiries. Indeed, my views on several points have been greatly modified, and my whole conception of the part played by music in people's life has been widened and even revolutionised.

To the Questionnaire I also added, when occasion favoured, what I call the "Collective Experiment." This had the object, or at least has had the result, of reviving some of the generalisations derived from the answers to the Questionnaire, by showing the underlying concordances in the descriptions of the same piece of music simultaneously given by several Answerers ; also it has shown the changes brought about in their impressions when people try to put them into words.

Such have been the processes by which I have extracted the information from the material often very generously and intelligently furnished in the answers. How to present that information in a synthetic shape has been a long and difficult job, full of revokes, but in the course of which I, at all events, have obtained a clear (even if mistaken) view of the subject.


I8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS


III

After giving which account of how this book has come into existence, I scarcely owe any further apology to its (improbable) Reader for its sins of omission and commis sion, especially the latter, but, having apologised (or not) to that Improbable Reader, I require to answer a criticism sure to be made by those whom that selfsame a priori criti cism will prevent from ever reading this book; that they can give no weight to Questionnaires and less even to introspection of any kind, For such are not the ways of real knowledge, they say.

Such criticism could be disposed of by a quotation (and my work on Questionnaires has given me a habit of quoting other people!) from Mr. Bertrand Russell's Analysis of Mind, p. 224: "Introspection is liable to falsification in accordance with preconceived theory. . . . We should need to correct its errors by taking care to collect the simultaneous evidence of people with the most divergent expectations"

Well ! the evidence of over a hundred Answerers with nothing in common save very varying love of music and very varying willingness to answer a Questionnaire, cannot fail to be divergent; and the nature of this divergence, no less than whatever common psychological facts may exist despite it, and convergence are exactly what my Question naires have tried to study. Then, as regards the falsification of these Answers "in accordance with preconceived theory" : that also my Questionnaires have shown up under the heading of the "meanings" and "messages" attributed to music. Indeed, my book is very considerably a study of just such a priorisms as vitiate direct evidence ; for instance as regards what I have ventured to call "The Imaginary Composer." But most of all is this book of mine a study of what Mr. Russell calls "divergent expectations."

For in the case of individual responses to music, expec*


AIMS AND METHODS 19

tations are half or nearly half, or the whole of the battle. Since such expectations must be derived either from the individual's previous experience, to which they therefore testify; or else be derived from a theory (whose validity is one of the phenomena under discussion) about which examination of other Answerers allows us to guess why it has been accepted by that particular individual; let alone that the comparison of various theories and various ex pectations may give a clue to, or at least ask a question about, why that theory and that expectation should ever have arisen. A theory is, after all, what somebody thinks; an expectation what somebody feels; and what people think and feel, and the more "divergent 95 they are, the more instructive, is just .what psychology is concerned with. The existence of these theories and expectations, the ones reproducing the others in circles of possible fallacy, has itself to be accounted for j and the explanation comes into psychological aesthetics. Thus, the theory that music has human expression and awakens human (as distinguished from merely musical) emotion, is held by some Answerers and denied by others; a good half expect such human expression and emotional stimulation, while the other half are doubtful or utterly sceptical about either phenomenon. We want to know why there is this divergence. Similarly, the theory and expectation that music conveys a message, has a meaning, might be explained either by such being truly the case or by habitual analogy with language: the question then arises 5 why is no such message or meaning expected from architecture, and no human emotion con nected with visual pattern, "ornament" or geometric shapes in art? Again why should "Listeners" as such, i.e. people giving complete attention to music, manifest such a parti pris against human expression being discoverable in music, ^hile composers and performers never doubt of it? And why should "Hearers," i.e. people whose attention is inter mittent and diffluent, believe and expect that music can


20 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

tell them about a lot of things, themselves, composers, dramatis personae, and even the Cosmos?

What are, and wherefore, these divergent theories and expectations? That is precisely what I have asked, without letting them know, of the hundred odd Answerers to my Questionnaires.

January 1930


PART I "LISTENERS" AND "HEARERS"


CHAPTER I VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE

"Aix ART," wrote Pater, summarising Hegel, "tends to the nature of music. 53 This saying had long haunted me; and with it the suspicion that knowledge of the nature of music would afford the best clue to the aesthetics of other arts less simple in their tasks and less seemingly intimate in their processes. Now what is the nature of music? To one who deals with aesthetics not as part of a priori philosophy, but as a branch of empirical psychology, the nature of music, like the nature of anything else we can discuss with any profit, is merely another way of saying : its actions and reactions as they can be discerned and foretold by us. From this point of view the nature of music would be most profitably studied not so much by analysing and comparing various works of art, for that would acquaint us only with the evolu tion of various styles and the influence of individual masters, as by examining the effects of music in general on its audience. Since, from the psychologist's point of view, an art is not the material collection of objectively existing pictures, statues, poems or musical compositions, but the summing up of a set of spiritual processes taking place in the mind of the artist and in the mind of him who receives the artist's gift. Or rather, the work of art is the junction between the activities of the artist and those of the beholder or hearer. Indeed, musical aesthetics ought to be the clue to the study of all other branches of art, first and foremost because the evanescence of music's material makes it more evident that the work of art really is the special group of responses which it is susceptible of awakening in the mind of its audience, including the composer himself, who men tally hears his own work in the process of building it up and taking stock of its whole and its parts.


24 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

The enquiry what music is, therefore resolves itself, for those thinking like myself, into an enquiry as to what music does in the mind of the hearer; or, more correctly, of what the mind of the hearer does in response to the music which he hears. But the "mind of the hearer" is not an individual entity ; it is only a convenient average of the phenomena common to all or most minds of all hearers under examina tion. And the first result of such examination is to reveal that these hearers' minds, although similar in one or two main points which oblige us to classify them as hearers of music, are in other respects dissimilar, indeed so dissimilar that We are obliged to consider them as belonging to opposed classes. Therefore, before being able to say how music acts upon mankind as a whole, we have to enquire how music acts upon different categories of human beings ; which, as already remarked, is another way of saying how the minds of various categories or types of hearers act in response to the music they hear. Ever since Galton and Charcot, empirical psychology has dealt more or less scientifically with certain types whose names at least, the visual, the auditory, the motor, the verbal type and their cross-breeds, have become familiar to most readers. But it is not this classification I have applied to our subject. For although it becomes apparent that the visualising and the verbal endowment may produce special responses to music: and although we may suspect that the motor type, that enigma and deusex machina of experimental psychology, may be at the bottom of other kinds of responses, yet the phenomena we are studying are of a far less elementary nature than those deter mining such classifications, and the method of tackling them is not that of the artificially simplified experiments of the psy chological laboratory ; but, on the contrary, a method starting from the extremely complex data furnished by everyday ex perience and thence working its way by comparison and analysis to the simpler, more intelligible, facts underlying these first-hand, and often puzzling, facts of experience.


VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE 25

Starting from such everyday experience, we are imme diately obliged to notice that there are persons in whose ' life music, means a great deal, others in whose life it means less, and others in whose life it means nothing worth reckon ing. These last-named people we will, for the moment, leave out of our enquiry, although subsequent sifting of this rejected material may lead, even in these musical nullities, to discoveries shedding light on the modes of being of persons in whose life music does mean something.

This convenient, though slovenly, form of words affords a short-cut into our field of study ; and more particularly into the method, whose technical details would demand a separate essay, by which I have endeavoured to deal with it. For in the successive Questionnaires, written and verbal interrogations, by means of which I have tapped the musical experiences of nearly a hundred and fifty subjects, there has recurred a query which has always received two appa rently irreconcilable sets of answers. This query, altered as has been its actual wording (in English, French and Ger man, besides successive versions) and implied (though cunningly inexplicit) in many other questions presented to my subjects, can be summarised as follows: When music interests you at all, has it got for you a meaning which seems beyond itself, a message? or does it remain just music? And here before dealing with these conflicting answers, I must explain that such enquiries have to steer between opposite dangers : they can avoid the Scylla of suggesting an answer, in so far worthless, which the interrogated subject would not have otherwise come by, only by running into the Charybdis of being answered by a person who does not really understand what is being asked. And of all the whirl pools of cross purposes, over whose darkness the present enquirers have strained their psychological eyesight, none is so baffling as the one of which meaning is in itself the obscure, the perpetually shifting, centre. However, by dint of indefatigable watching round that maelstrom, fishing for


2 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

any broken items found whirling in its obscurity, my eyes and those of my fellow-investigator have been able to discern the cause of its baffling but (as afterward became apparent) quite regular eddies. As already remarked, the word "meaning" is one whose own meaning is apt to vary. And it was by following up its two chief meanings in the present connection that we were able to make our first working classification of the persons who had been good enough to answer my Questionnaires. One of these two meanings of "meaning" is embodied in my previous sen tence: "persons in whose life music means a great deal," which is only another way of saying "persons in whose life music occupies much attention"; for "meaning" is here used as a measure of importance, and importance, when we are dealing with mental life, means importance for the attention, or as we call it, interest. I would beg my readers to bear in mind this connection between "meaning" as here employed and "attention"; for musical attention is going to be one of the chief items of our enquiry.

But "meaning" can also be taken as roughly implying a message, as in my query: "Does music seem to you to have a message, a meaning beyond itself? And half the persons interrogated did answer precisely that undoubtedly music had a meaning beyond itself; many adding that if it had not it would constitute only sensual enjoyment, and be unworthy of their consideration ; some of them moreover indignantly taking in this sense my words about music remaining just music. That for these persons music did not remain just music, but became the bearer of messages-, was further made certain by a good deal of often unexpectedly explicit or eloquent writing which attempted to describe the nature of that message, to describe the things it dealt with and the more or less transcendental spheres whence that message of music seemed to come.

So far for one-half of the Answerers. The other either explicitly denied or disregarded the existence of such a


VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE 27

message ; insisted that music had not necessarily any mean ing beyond itself, and far from taking the words "remains just music" as derogatory to the art or to themselves, they answered either in the selfsame words or by some paraphrase, that when they cared for music it remained just music. And, in the same way that the believers in "meaning" as "message" often gave details about the contents of that message, so, on the other hand, the subjects denying the existence of a message frequently made it quite clear that for them the meaning of music was in the music itself, adding that, when really interested in music, they could think of nothing but the music.

Now this latter answer, repeated as it was in every form of words, suggests a possibility if not of reconciling two diametrically opposed views concerning the nature of music, at all events of understanding what such an opposi tion implies and depends on. For distributed throughout the Questionnaires in such a manner as to prevent their being interpreted into a theory which might impair the spon taneity of the answers, was a whole set of questions bearing upon the nature of that alleged message, of that meaning beyond itself, which music might assume for its hearers: In listening or remembering music, especially music unac companied by words or suggestive title, did the Answerers see anything, landscapes, people, moving pictures or drama tic scenes, in their mind's eye? Did the music strike them as expressing the emotions or life-history of the composer or performer, or their own? Or else was such emotional ex pression merely recognised as existing in the music without being referred to any particular persons? The affirmative answers, covering sometimes several pages, showed that according to individual cases the "message" was principally of one of these kinds, visual or emotional, abstract or per sonal, but with many alterations and overlappings. But fragmentary, fluctuating, and elusive as it was oftenest described as being, and only in rare cases defining itself as


a8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

a coherent series of pictures, as a dramatic sequence or intelligible story , the message was nevertheless always a message, inasmuch as it appeared to be an addition made to the hearer's previous thoughts by the hearing of that music ; and an addition due to that music and ceasing with its cessation. Now comes an important point : while half of the interrogated subjects declared that such a meaning or message constituted a large part of music's attraction, some persons actually admitting that they went to hear music for the sake of the images, emotions, trains of thought with which it enriched them, the other half of the Answerers by no means denied the existence of a meaning in music, often indeed remarking that without such a meaning it would be mere sound: but they furthermore claimed that such meaning resided inseparably in the music itself: and added that whenever they found music completely satisfying, any other meaning, anything like visual images or emotional suggestions, was excluded or reduced to utter unimportance. Indeed, this class by a great majority answered that so far as emotion was concerned, music awakened in them an emotion sui generis, occasionally shot with human joy or sadness, but on the whole analogous to the exaltation and tenderness and sense of sublimity awakened by the beautiful in other arts or in nature, but not to be compared with the feelings resulting from the vicissitudes of real life. It was nearly always persons answering in this sense who explicitly acquiesced in the fact that music could remain, in no derogatory sense but quite the reverse, just music.

I must here interrupt our comparison of these two main classes of answers, those which affirmed music to have a message, and those which acquiesced in its remaining just music, and explain that a large part of our Questionnaires consisted in queries attempting to classify the Answerers themselves. To what extent were they musical? This ques tion, like all the main ones of our enquiry, was not left to the direct decision of the subjects interrogated, most of


VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE 2 g

whom would have been incapable and perhaps unwilling to write themselves down as more or less musical than average mankind about whose precise endowment they would probably feel ignorant. Conformably therefore to the rest of my method, the Questionnaire contained sets of queries which, taken together, constituted an objective criterion of the degree of musical endowment and cultiva tion : queries dealing principally with memory for musical sequences (melody) and especially for musical combinations (harmony and orchestral timbre) along with the capacity and habit of taking stock (analysis) of the tone-relations constituting the music they were hearing; finally, the capacity for finding accompaniments and for extempor ising, these being a proof either of special musical endow ment or of special musical cultivation. By this means it became possible to ascertain how far the conflicting answers about music having a message or remaining just music correspond with the musical status, if I may be allowed this expression, of the individuals by whom they were furnished. Two other sets of queries dealt respectively with memory of and interest in visible objects, and with interest in the drama; but especially with such tenacity of emotional memory as enable painful past associations to spoil oppor tunities of present happiness ; all of which queries were intended to obtain some insight into the imaginative and emotional dispositions of each Answerer. For my whole enquiry had started with the working hypothesis that the tendency to attribute to music an emotional message (i.e. the expression of the emotional vicissitudes either of the Answerer or of the composer or of some third person) might be due to the greater predominance of emotional interest in the Answerer's usual inner life. This hypothesis speedily broke down: some people were obviously very emotional who yet persisted in answering that music had no message for them ; others utterly rejected the just music alternative without revealing any particular emotional bias, or, for


3 o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

that matter, any particular development of visual imagina tion either. Still less was it possible to connect musical endowment and cultivation with the presence or the lack of any specially emotional disposition. But while this first, and insufficiently complex, view of the problem utterly broke down, the sifting of the evidence which led to its rejection left us quite unexpectedly in presence of what has, I think, proved a real clue to the matter.

For although there seemed no direct relation between the degree of emotional disposition and the question whether music had or had not a message, a meaning beyond itself, this question showed itself in an obvious relation to what I have called the musical status of the Answerers. The more musical Answerers were also those who repudiated the message, who insisted that music had a meaning in itself, in fact, that it remained for them "just music." A certain number of highly musical Answerers not only declared this to be the case with themselves, but foretold that we should find it so with every other sufficiently musical hearer. Their own experience was that the maximum interest and maxi mum pleasure connected with music can leave no room for anything else. And this answer led to the framing of queries bearing upon musical attention ; queries which elicited some very unexpected information. For the distinctly musical Answerers proved to be those who admitted without hesita tion that their musical attention was liable to fluctuations and lapses. They were continually catching themselves thinking of something else while hearing music. They com plained of their own inattention and divagation. But and this is the important point in the evidence these lapses were regarded by them as irrelevancies and interruptions: the music was going on, but their attention was not following it. On the other hand, the less musical Answerers, those pre cisely who found in music a meaning beyond itself, seemed comparatively unaware of such lapses or interruptions. From some of their answers one might have gathered that


VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE 31

rather unmusical people could sit through two hours of a concert with unflagging enjoyment; but further sets of queries revealed that although unbroken by boredom, rest lessness or the conscious intrusion of irrelevant matters, that enjoyment was not confined to the music. When asked whether the music suggested anything, they abounded in accounts of inner visions, trains of thought and all manner of emotional dramas, sometimes most detailed and exten sive, which filled their minds while, as they averred, they were listening to the music; indeed some of which, they did not hesitate to admit, constituted the chief attraction of music.

Putting their statement opposite that of the more musical Answerers, namely, that musical appreciation left room for nothing else, and that although musical attention could and did frequently lapse, it could never be simultaneously divided between the heard music and anything else, the conclusion became obvious that there existed two different modes of responding to music, each of which was claimed to be the only one by those in whom it was habitual. One may be called listening to music; the other hearing, with lapses into merely overhearing it. Listening implied the most active attention moving along every detail of composition and performance, taking in all the relations of sequences and combinations of sounds as regards pitch, intervals, modulations, rhythms and intensities, holding them in the memory and coordinating them in a series of complex wholes, similar (this was an occasional illustration) to that constituted by all the parts, large and small, of a piece of architecture ; and these architecturally coordinated groups of sound-relations, i.e. these audible shapes made up of intervals, rhythms, harmonies and accents, themselves con stituted the meaning of music to this class of listeners ; the meaning in the sense not of a message different from what ever conveyed it, but in the sense of an interest, an impor tance, residing in the music and inseparable from it.


32 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

This is what we gather about that which I have called listening to music. Hearing music, as it is revealed by our Answerers, is not simply a lesser degree of the same mental activity, but one whose comparative poverty from the musical side is eked out and compensated by other elements. The answers to our Questionnaires show that even the least attentive "Hearers'* have moments, whose frequency and duration depend both on general musical habits and on the familiarity with the particular piece or style of music, of active listening; for they constantly allude to their ability to follow or grasp, as they express it, the whole or only part of what they happen to hear. But instead of constituting the bulk of their musical experience (in such a way that any other thought is recognised as irrelevant) these moments of concentrated and active attention to the musical shapes are like islands continually washed over by a shallow tide of other thoughts: memories, associations, suggestions, visual images and emotional states, ebbing and flowing round the more or less clearly emergent musical perceptions, in such a way that each participates of the quality of the other, till they coalesce, forming a homogeneous and special contem plative condition, into whose blend of musical and non- musical thoughts there enters nothing which the "Hearer" can recognise as inattention, for which, on the contrary, the concentrated musical "Listener" recognises the lapses and divagations whereof he complains. Moreover, in this kind of hearing the music there really seem fewer intrusions from everyday life. Musical phrases, non-musical images and emotions are all welded into the same musical day-dream, and the trains of thought are necessarily harmonious with the music, for if they were conflicting, the music (which is heard though not always listened to) would either drive them away or (as in the lapses of the more musically atten tive) cease to play any part. For these intermittently and imperfectly perceived sequences and combinations of sound do play a very important part in these day-dreams. By their


VARIETIES OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE 33

constancy, regularity and difference from anything else, they make and enclose a kind of inner ambience in which these reveries live their segregated and harmonious life. It must be remembered that while the eye (to which psycho logy adds the motor sense) is unceasingly building up a spatial world which is the scene of our everyday existence, the usual dealings of the ear are with intermittent and heterogeneous impressions, so that only music can surround us with a continuous and homogeneous world of sound, a world foreign to what we call real life, and therefore ex cluding from its magic enclosure all real life's concerns, save when they have been stripped of all reality, accidents and urgencies, and been transfigured by a bath, if not of oblivion, at least of harmonious contemplation.

The above summing up of the evidence of those Answerers who admitted that they did not always follow or grasp, i.e. actively listen to, the music they were hearing, and who alleged that for them music has a message a meaning beyond itself has taken us much further into the question of the nature of music than is warranted by the limits of this introduction. A detailed examination of the answers to my Questionnaires will follow up these first indications, and first and foremost deal with the other category of Answerers, those whose attention is engrossed by the music, and who allege that for them music remains just music.

But at the bottom of all these varieties of musical experi ence, and of the many subdivisions and crosses thereof, lies the question of musical attention. And the first fruits of my Questionnaires have therefore been the establishing of a distinction between listening to music and merely hearing it ; between a response to music such as implies intellectual and aesthetic activity of a very intense, bracing and ele vating kind; and a response to music consisting largely of emotional and imaginative day-dreams, purified from per sonal and practical preoccupations and full of refreshing visions and salutary sentimental satisfactions. These are the

c


34 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

two ways of impersonal, contemplative happiness in which music can benefit mankind. And they explain the two kinds of "meaning" which are ascribed to music and which music can have in our lives.

The following study of the data elicited by my Question naires shows furthermore how these two main modes of responding to music overlay and enrich one another ; it may even suggest how the desire for music as something to be listened to has gradually evolved out of a primitive need for music as something to stir inert, or release pent-up, emotions and to induce such day-dreams as restore and quicken the soul.


CHAPTER II WHAT IS "LISTENING"?

THE FIRST half of the following enquiry into Varieties of musical experience is going to deal only with the people I have called "Listeners " because it is only after becoming acquainted with their comparatively simple and uniform character that we can do justice to the far more various, more complicated and in many ways more interesting musical experience of those whom it is convenient to con sider as mere "Hearers."

So, what is Listening?

Intending, as I do, to pass from what is simpler and more obvious to what is less so, and whenever possible to define or at least illustrate my meaning in the words of Answerers to my Questionnaires, I will set out with the words of a very well-known critic and writer on music : "If the music sometimes suggests a train of thought, I promptly abandon it to follow the music." So far so good; he has told us that ' 'listening" is following, not what the music may suggest, but the music itself.

My second quotation is from the answers of an excep tionally musicianly and introspective amateur who will become familiar to the Reader by the appellation of Mon sieur Ernest.

"Unless," he tells us, "one follows every note and feels its rela tion with the others, one is not listening to the music" Thus follow ing is being aware of every note. But mark the condition "feels its relation (rapport) with the others." Since therefore "listening," or following, is here defined as feeling the relations, let us enquire what are or can be these relations between the simple notes of a piece of music, foretelling the evident corollary that the piece of music is the sum total, or rather the result, of these various relations.


36 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

The first of these various kinds of relations (rapports) which we "feel" to exist between the heard notes, is (as the verb "following" implies) their relation as a sequence : one note follows the other, and many follow it, in a given order, what comes before not necessarily being the same as what comes after ; an order being sometimes reversible and some times not. As everyday life consists of sequences of all kinds, those visible or audible to other perceptions, or the more complex and immaterial ones called facts and thoughts, we are apt to take sequences for granted as just existing ; over looking that however much the sequence may happen to be an objective reality independent of ourselves, awareness of it depends upon certain activities of our own : we remember what has preceded and, to some extent, expect what is going to follow; above all, we discriminate between the same impression just going on and other or similar impres sions following; for unless, for instance, the notes were perceived as separate they would not be in the relation of sequence ; they would be one note.

Therefore the very simplest relation in which notes or beads on a string or words in a sentence can be recognised as existing, the relation of being separate and consecutive, implies on our part a perception of diversity and sameness, which we could not have if each single sensation did not leave that trace by which it is recognised and related to its similar or to its dissimilar successor. Hence, we should not be aware of sequence unless we had some kind of memory. Tautologically, we could not follow the notes unless we were aware that there were separate notes to follow.

Now, except we happen to be listening to a drum, what we are following is not a sequence of the same note repeated at various intervals of time and with varying impacts. In the case of anything like a phrase or melody, the past and present notes (and moreover the future, the expected notes) we are thus connecting into a sequence are not identical in pitch; they are not what we call the same, meaning the


WHAT IS "LISTENING"? 37

precisely similar note. They are discriminated as different notes, higher or lower as well as louder or less loud. There fore what we carry on from one to the other is their various pitch., and what is more, their relative pitch. 1

Here we have another kind of relation, between the successive notes; and this relation is at the base of all music and all following of music : we feel the difference in pitch between the single notes. We discriminate them as higher and lower, as different in pitch, moreover with a definite difference, a greater or lesser distance in pitch from one another. 2 Here we have another kind of relation between the notes recognised as a sequence: their relation in pitch, the span or interval between their height or low- ness ; and our feeling of this relation in pitch is the sine qua non of all following of music, whether the notes be

  • "Pitch relationship," Max Meyer: "Attributes of the Sensations/*

Psych. Review, March 1904, p. 99.

"Musical effects depend on the Hearer's paying attention to the pitches. Our congenital ability in this respect differs individually. There are some individuals however who are not normally affected by musical relationship in spite of a maxi mum practice and efort to pay attention to whatever there may be in their auditive consciousness. For the individuals mentioned, auditory sensations possess only three attributes: duration, intensity and quality; and to this class belong probably those rare cases reported in psychological literature, of individuals who could sing a given tune in the keys in which they had heard it but not in any other key.^ They sang by a memory for qualify not by a memory for pitch. Melodic relationships are the relations (on a certain undoubtedly psychological basis) of the pitches of the auditory sensations "

  • Ribot: "Le Probl&me de la Pense'e sans Images," Rev. Phil, Juillet

1913.

" . . . il rfy a pas seulement des donnles sensorielles ou leurs representations^ mais aussi quelque chose qui rfest qu'un aspect trls fractionnaire, un abstrait qui strt d comparer, ily a un tertium quid qui est la conscience d'un rapport Objective- ment> si Fmpeut appliquer ce terme a un itat de conscience de cette esplce, vide de tout contenu propre, Le rapport semble avoir pour substratum des mouvements ou des representations motrices. jf'ai soutenu ailleurs ('Evolution des Idles Gtnhales; Chap. 10) cette opinion en rrfappuyant surtout sur Us donntes du langage. Plus rlcemment Washburn a tmis une opinion analogue; il attribue^au rapport une nature Kiwsthtsique 'qui le rend indecomposable et inanaly sable. y

Quoi qtfil en soit, cette forme de Vactiviti intellectuelle est la seule qui syn- thttise et unifa dts qu'on s'tteve au-dessus de V association pure et simple"


3 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

successive and constitute melody, or simultaneous and con stitute harmony.

These relations, as M. Ernest puts it, we must feel. We must know them as feeling, which is quite different from knowing them by name. To know intervals between notes, indeed to know single notes by name, are matters of the special education necessary to read or to write music, but as unnecessary for "listening," for following music, as it is unnecessary to know the names and degrees of various kinds of angles in order to feel the relative shape of those angles.

Now these relations of pitch, these felt intervals, i.e. stretches or spans between the notes, are felt to connect those notes with one another, for by realising that distance apart we hold its two ends together in our mind. For with out memory of the foregoing note, and a greater or lesser degree of expectation of the following one, there is no realisation that these consecutive notes form a group ; there is no feeling of the relations of the notes. And, as M. Ernest has told us, "listening" implies feeling not only all the notes, but "all their relations."

This means that music is felt as having not only movement in time, quicker or slower, more or less regular, but move ment as passage from lower to higher or vice versa, move ment implying varying distance and direction in something which may be called tone-space, and which, whether or not our feelings of upward and downward, nearer or further, are ultimately referable to the sensations in the parts (throat, chest, mouth, etc.) implicated in the direct production of musical sounds by human beings, is recognised by many Answerers as an analogically correct description of what their intuitions seem to tell them about the relations which musical sounds bear to one another, and the motions, closer or further apart, in which the "Listener" feels them to be engaged. For to our musical intuitions, whatever their origin, pitch means place, interval means distance apart; and the progress of a sequence of different notes means


WHAT IS "LISTENING"? 39

direction: up or down, back or forwards. Nay more, some Answerers explicitly add that harmony, i.e. simultaneous existence of notes, implies something comparable to cubic existence, as opposed to the existence of merely consecutive notes in what feels like two-dimensional space ; or as one of them says, "while harmony has cubic existence, melody flows on the flat. 5 '

In whatever terms., by whatever (and however imperfect) analogies we try to describe these intuitions or feelings, they must be accepted as the elements of all "listening" to music, indeed, psychologically speaking, as the elements of all the complex structure by which music compares with the arts addressing the eye.

This analogical assumption of a musical space, in the sense of a whereabouts for musical notes to move and group themselves, is especially important when we get to another set of relations which, as M. Ernest has told us, require to be taken in as existing between notes if there is to be any true act of "listening" to music. For besides the feeling of upward and downward, and the feeling of the intervals separating notes from one another, without which the "Listener" could not feel himself to be following a simple melodic sequence "on the flat," the modern "Listener," accustomed as he is to the music of a given (rather recent) historical period, will have an additional intuition (though he may be unable to put it into technical terms) that those intervals, those spans, or distances-apart, refer to a natural arrangement of reduplication by what are called octaves and to an habitual subdivision of such octaves by tones and semitones. As a matter of habit, not necessarily of teaching, he will feel as if certain notes, or rather notes at certain intervals, are more or less tolerable, intolerable or altogether satisfactory when produced no longer in sequence, but simultaneously. Certain notes will (or would, for it is largely a habit) require to be brought together only after some preliminary preparation, and require to be resolved, as the


40 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

expression goes, into some other and more agreeable com bination. Whether as a result of such habits of simultaneous combinations of notes (habits which appear very variable and subject to evolution) or from some so far not very explicable sense of relationship in vibration-rates of single or merely consecutive notes, this much is certain that the more or less modern "Listener 53 will have a feeling that certain notes are in more or less intimate relations even in mere sequences, calling for or repelling one another accord ing to something more essential than those general distances apart, since the most distant apart in our scales feels like the same note merely higher or lower. Thus, always according to the scales he habitually hears in use, the more or less modern "Listener" will recognise in feeling (though the names may remain utterly unknown to him) the existence of a tonic or initial note of a scale, of a dominant or initial note of the scale nearest akin (containing the greatest number of notes in common) to it. Moreover the facts that the sharpening of a particular note turns the fourth of one scale into the seventh of another, and that the creation of this new leading-note marks the passage from the first scale into its nearest of kin, cause the notes standing in these particular relations to be more especially fixed in memory and more especially looked out for in the course of musical sequences. In this manner, and, let me repeat it, without any recognition by names, does the complex and mysterious faculty called the Ear, perceive and foretell the movement of intervals within one scale and from that to another sym metrically constituted scale and back again, let alone sundry passing vagaries expected or unexpected.

But this sequence of notes is not merely connected by the place of each note in its scale-system and by the interval, ascending or descending, between it and its predecessors and successors. The sequence is not merely in what ought, long since, to have been recognised as, and what I shall always call, musical space, implying as it does difference of


WHAT IS "LISTENING"? 41

distance and of direction. The succession is also (and I must refer back to the drum) a succession in time, divisible by time intervals ; the recurrence of the remembered and expected sound being, like all other movement in time, further characterised by a stronger and a less strong move ment, by an on and an off*, a more or less noticeable beat. The regular recurrences of the strong and the weak beats constitute what is meant by a rhythm; they are originally perceived by the faculties presiding over muscular adjust ments or motion, and they have been handed on to what is called the Ear, because such recurrences of sounds are connected with the rhythm, the on and off, the strong and weak beats of our attention in listening, and often with the rhythmic response of our limbs.

Here, therefore, we have got to another relation between notes, namely their relation not merely in the sound-space made up of pitch, but also in time, a relation in the alterna tion of strong and weak impact which exists equally where, instead of a sequence of different notes, we get the repetition of the same note as on the drum, or indeed with no percep tible note at all, as when a rhythm is beaten silently with the hand or the foot.

Now, in the case of music, this system of time-relations is applied to a system of tone-relations ; the movement from a higher to a lower note, or of a dominant to a tonic or vice versa, inevitably coincides with a division, a beat, of the rhythm. Melody is not a matter merely of intervals of pitch (or as I want to call it intervals and direction in tone- space) ; it is also a matter of incidence in time and impact; melodic sequence is compounded of a what or which notes, complicated by a when and (meaning strong or weak beats) a how. Here, therefore, in the very simplest succession of notes which can be musically followed, we have already got a cross-connection, a new relationship for our attention to lay hold of: besides the tonal relation and the rhythm relation, we get the interplay of the two, the effect of the


42 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

one on the other, which is what is meant by melody; or, in vulgar parlance, a TUNE, which we not only hear but re member, not only listen to, but as a result of listening, are able partially to rehearse in our mind and often to reproduce with our voice, lips or whatever instrument we happen to

play upon.

So far we have been following the two kinds of relations and the resultant interplay, in the case of sequences of single notes, notes moving in Indian file. But in the music we moderns are accustomed to, notes though existing primarily as sequences (since many quite musical "Lis teners" can revive in memory every detail of melody, without recalling anything more), yet exist (or take place!) also simultaneously. There may be several notes going on at the same time, and sharing the same rhythmic relation, sharing the same longs and shorts and strongs and weaks in time. This simultaneity, this sharing, constitutes yet another and most important relationship : the relationship marked by the two quite new, sui generis and exceedingly impressive facts of harmony and dissonance. Here therefore we have something more to attend to, to remember and to expect ! To attend to. For although simultaneous sounds, and their strange antithetic, or polar, possibility of harmony and dissonance, can affect our nerves without any active atten tion, soothing or harrowing our passive feeling like mere volumes of sound or the "quality" (due to undiscriminated overtones) or Timbre of instruments; although harmony and dissonance produce the same kind of nervous alterations as mere scents, contacts and temperatures without any activity of "following," yet the special relation between simul taneous sounds is likewise subject to active expectation. There can be as much activity of attention in discriminating the intervals between notes which are simultaneous as between notes which are merely consecutive, indeed the activity of attention is probably greater, because, as our vocal apparatus allows us to imitate only one note at a


WHAT IS "LISTENING"? 43

time, we are not helped by the automatic mimicry which helps many of us to recollect, because we are actually re peating, a melody which we have heard. And as a result and proof of the foregoing, it is a historical fact that the employment of harmonies as distinguished from mere melodies is a further and far more recent development of music and of musical perception. And the answers to my Questionnaire make it evident that the discernment of such harmonic relations is a test of greater musical endowment in the individual c 'Hearer/ ' or, at all events, of greater musical training.

And here again this new kind of relationship between notes constitutes a cross with the two elements, pitch- interval and rhythmic incidence, which combine to form melody, and this new cross-relationship greatly increases the complexity and the attention which it demands. For, according to whatever system of scale (or mode) the "Lis tener" is accustomed to, the dissonant combinations of tones are referred to preceding consonant combinations and awaken the expectation of their return; the more so that this drama of expectation and fulfilment is enormously increased by the addition of the factors of pain and relief, owing to the difficulty of tolerating dissonant combinations taken by themselves. From this peculiarity, distinguishing simultaneous combinations from mere sequences, the former are less free in their succession than would be sequences of single notes ; they insist on a more or less rigorous system of preparation and resolution, that is^ to say upon the edge of the present dissonant combination being taken off by gradual passage, and especially by the suggestion of a coming consonance. And here we get a yet further complexity of relations, namely that of the precise incidence of such harmonic preparation and resolution in the rhythmical framework belonging to the mere sequence of notes. Let alone that the habit of remembering and foreseeing the usual movement of simultaneous notes reacts


44 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

on the appreciation of consecutive intervals, which, even when constituting a mere sequence, undoubtedly borrow a new significance, a new intensity, from our habit of hearing those intervals also as part of chords, with the preparation and resolution to which chords, i.e. simultaneous notes, have accustomed us. From such cross-combinations of the various elements of music, and the play of expectation and fulfilment, of effort and relief which accompany them, we get at last to the multitudinous complexities of counter point, where each voice or instrument is continually weaving secondary, i.e. simultaneous, patterns as its thread crosses and is crossed by, the other voices or instruments ; woofs of sound in which the untrained attention finds difficulty in disentangling even a single sequence from the multifold of simultaneous sounds, harmonies and rhythms; while, if I may believe an eminent conductor, specially of Bach, even highly trained attention finds it difficult to follow more than a small proportion of that complicated simultaneity of notes.

But, without dealing with such complexities as these, we must not forget to mention a simpler activity of musical attention, namely the activity of noticing and remembering the resemblances and differences in the presentation of approximately similar patterns of notes, without whose comparison, and the expectation and fulfilment connected therewith, we should not get the impression of a piece of music being a coordinated whole, instead of a selection of disconnected fragments.

Since, quite as much as the arts addressed to the eye, music deals in proportion, symmetry and all the subtleties connected with them. Music, as several Answerers have put it, is to the attentive "Listener" a structure ; and a structure we must add, which has to be grasped and memorised while passing by, instead of staying conveniently still for our leisurely examination, like the creations of the painter or the architect. "Listening" is taking stock of something which


WHAT IS "LISTENING"? 45

is moving and changing, and in so far it is accompanied in him who listens by a sense of high and complex activity which, since his attention is absorbed in the music, he adds to the music's characteristics rather than recognises as his own. Moreover all these notes we have connected together in their various and coordinated relations, or rather all this interplay of musical relations we have thus perceived and coordinated, undergo a final unification in the listening mind : that unified entity is the piece of music itself and as a whole, whose consummate perception intuitively, that is without a special act of analysis, blots out the awareness of the various and variously unified perceptive activities with out which we should not be aware of its existence. And, just as it takes a misprint, a grammatical solecism or an un familiar expression to recall a reader from the images and feelings evoked by a page of literature, and make him conscious that he is translating words into their dictionary meaning and correlating their syntactical positions, so also, short of his attention being similarly called to "the notes and their relations" by some difficulty in following them, the "Listener" is usually too engrossed in such or such a piece of music -to be aware of his own activities. But as the music is frequently unfamiliar, the "Listener" knows that when it is, he may have to make an effort to go on following. So we find that the thorough-paced "Listener" is aware not only that he is usually engrossed in the music to the exclu sion of everything else, but that his doing so implies that he is giving his attention to it, and that this absorption in the music may be the reward of applying more and more atten tion and resisting the lazy temptation to yield to other thoughts.

There is therefore, on the part of thorough-paced "Lis teners," a frequent sense that such following of all the notes and all their relations is by no means universal. And without 'endorsing M. Ernest's pessimistic dictum that "very, very few people do it," we find that such listening is claimed as a


4 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

highly intellectual occupation, an eminent critic going so ,far as to add that "a habitual attendant at concerts will be a more intelligent, alert person than one who cares nothing about it " This generalisation may be answered with a sceptical reference to the frequent stupidity of other kinds of intellectual specialists, and a suggestion (borne out by our examination of those who are not thorough-paced "Lis teners") that such thorough-paced "listening" may exclude a good deal of visual, dramatic and imaginative activity. But we may accept the more modest insistence of a very well- known amateur, Leo, who speaks of the need of "sitting up to music, not lounging, 55 which "sitting up" is presumably what is elsewhere expressed by another musician as "work ing one's brain hard to thoroughly grasp some difficult and complicated piece." The amount of attention and interest put into such "sitting up to music" is further expressed by a well-known writer on music, Edward, who says: "7 have not attention free enough to translate the music into emotional terms," and by another very accomplished amateur, Leonard : <c The music is something one watches, it has its own action and business. I become entirely absorbed . . . the music is too much music." Indeed, the absorption cannot always be kept up without intermission: thus an American Musician says : "I follow the melodic and harmonic motions with the keenest interest, motions not through space but through dissonance to consonance, weak beat to strong. . . . I listen with the utmost concentration, breathless, for a while; then the reaction comes and I hear only a confused mass of sound until renewed nervous tone or some especially interesting linea ment makes attention focus afresh." Similarly a well-known Critic : "7 can only say that when I listen to music I want to think of nothing else, and when I am working at anything else, I could not listen to music . . . when the attention has wandered through fatigue or distraction, music sometimes suggests (an idea) but I promptly abandon it in order to follow the music" Another trained musi cian, Adela, puts the same evidence in another and reversed form and tells us that she occasionally "lets the music accom-


WHAT IS "LISTENING"? 47

party her mood, a delicious experience in its way but not vivifying in the same way that listening acts when following the composer's idea musically, thereby satisfying every capacity of the soul" and adds that such listening as this is impossible when she is "in a slack condition," which is what the previously quoted Answerer Leo described as "lounging," instead of "sitting up/' to music.

I have already remarked on the highly significant fact that true "Listeners," persons who habitually "sit up to music," arc thoroughly aware as in the immediately fore going quotation, that they are occasionally unable to do more than "lounge," whereas mere "Hearers," presumably "lounging" most of the time, i.e. "letting the music accom pany their mood" instead of "following the thought of the composer," rarely admit that they have lapses of attention and days of diminished receptiveness such as these "Lis teners" almost invariably complain of. This especial dif ference between "Hearers" and "Listeners" must never be lost sight of, for upon it, and upon the conditions of "letting the music accompany their mood" instead of "following the thought of the composer" depend some of the most interesting and hitherto mysterious problems of musical psychology.

I shall return to that in its proper place. For the time being my endeavour has been to describe the activities implied in "listening to music," and to show, by some quotations, that "Listeners" are often aware that such listening or "following the composer's thought" demands active attention akin to that of other intellectual pursuits, indeed so active as to be incompatible with states of slack ness, and also liable to intermittence when the listening is kept up too long or when the music is of too complicated or unfamiliar a kind.

This demand for active attention, this intellectual quality, in music is indeed anything but a recommendation to some of our Answerers. "Intellectual" is an adjective frequently


48 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

applied to Bach by persons who do not much like him. Thus one Answerer, though by no means unmusical, being asked what composers she prefers answers : Par raison, Bach; par amour, Schumann"; which rather shamefaced admission is expressed by an answer from one of the class of "Hearers" with epigrammatic boldness in a formula which we shall find extremely useful, viz. "Intellectual music is DUTY music, not LOVE music"


CHAPTER III THE EMOTION OF MUSIC

I

IF THAT particular Answerer meant by * intellectual music" such as requires sustained and active attention 3 then he was generalising (as we are all apt to generalise) from his sole experience in adding that it was "duty music." The fol lowing quotations will show, I think, that to many, perhaps to most, of the class of true, that is, attentive, "Listeners," music thus calling on their intellectual activities is an object of "love 33 and love of a very high-flown and occasionally rapturous kind.

I. (KARL). "/ am carried along by it, my mood changes; I have fleeting thoughts of the beauty of melody and harmony; I feel elation and complete absorption. Music which is great or fine has the power of chasing away fatigue or unpleasant ideas."

II. ("AMERICAN MUSICIAN"). "Music excites and intensifies my emotional condition. . . . / remember once hearing the Schubert C Minor symphony when I was in the midst of an emotional and spiritual crisis . . . carrying away an ineffable sense of the Tightness and order of the world. . . . Music has often brought tears, and there is a sort of involuntary shiver that I seldom get from any thing else. , . . ALL good music is apt to give it to me. ... I am outwardly calm, but, as I have said, it is attended by the keenest inner excitement or exaltation, a sort of sharpening to a point of

  • fce whole emotional, intellectual and spiritual consciousness. After,

good music I am mentally tired but perfectly happy"

III. (MARNA). "A strong emotion: of pleasure: a strong massive emotion similar to that of any great effect . in nature or art; an emotion of refreshment and amplifying."

IV. (BRUN). "La musique est un assemblage de sons. La

D


5 o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

musique me RAVIT. Quand je suis pris par la musique je perds connaissance de ce qui se passe en moi"

V. (CLARE). "Music can change my mood, its effict often lasting for a long time. After a Haydn or Mozart Symphony I have felt as refreshed as by a day in the country."

VI. (FERNANDE). "Sorte de levitation interieure, etc. Joie d tire prise par la musique . . .fusion de mon etre dans la musique

VIL (LuciEN). "Plaisir special, contemplation active. Montee vers des regions inconnues> etc"

VIII. (MARY L.). "Sometimes^ usually in following such defi nite form (as a Sack fugue], the chief feeling is the mere heightening and triumphal effect of pleasure"

IX. (ISABELLA). " . . . that Mozart Quintet Joachim used to play; one would almost scream . . . (but] the rapture is always lucid, it isn't delirious. One is a nicer person after music."

X. (BESSIE), "Music gets rid of dreariness one may have felt before. , . . One can't contain oneself at such a beautiful little bit. ...It makes one less of a beast; it is a great backer-up"

XL (LEO). "Exhilaration and (then) exhaustion

XIL (MARCEL). "Joie, exhaussement du ton vital . . ."

XIII. (GASK). "It seems to open the gates of Heaven . . * it often comes as a 'vox Dei. 9 5>

y

XIV. (BETTINA). "Music with pattern and melody affects me to tears."

XV. (PAUL P.). "Trop ernotionne pour etre & m$me analyst* de te que la musique pent contenir d* elements . . . autres qtfun assemblage de sonorites, de phrases etc. qui mettent toute ma sen- sibilite dans un Hat de beatitude"

XVI. ("BOULEVARD MALESHERBES"). "4 special profound emotion which would make me realise the existence of the soul if / had no other reasons for believing in it, * . * according to the decree of beauty > music awakens admiration, joy, enthusiasm; lifts me above myself and almost brings tears"


THE EMOTION OF MUSIC 51


II

I will interrupt my quotations at this first mention of a "special emotion" ascribed to music. For this question requires further analysis and evidence ; indeed a large part of my whole enquiry turned upon the existence and nature of what, in my Questionnaires, I had called an "Emotion of Music." That the conditions which music is able to awaken in real "Listeners 55 can be rightly summed up as an emotion is, I think, evident in the quotations already given, indeed four of the sixteen mention some of the bodily manifestations of what is meant by the word "emotion/' and six mention an alteration of the previous mood; others "exaltation," raising of the "vital tone." Moreover one of my Answerers and one whom we shall meet again as a typically attentive "Listener," Benjamin, thus settles the question as regards himself: "If by 'Emotion' be meant that which gives our experience body and glow., I should say that the relation between these things and my pleasure in patterns of tone was direct"

Thus, in answering our first question, Benjamin carries the subject a step further : he tells us that musical pleasure is of the nature of emotion; more than this, he attributes such pleasure, hence such emotion, directly to "patterns of tone," So far, so good. The question therefore develops as follows : Granted that there is such an emotion, is this particular Answerer justified in regarding it as due to the music? And if to the music, to what he called the "patterns of tone"? Is he right in implying that the emotion which he experiences is what the "Boulevard Malesherbes" Answerer in the sixteenth of the foregoing quotations called % a "special emotion"? Is he borne out by any degree of consensus of his fellow Answerers on the point of whether they recognise the existence of what my Questionnaires had called an "Emotion of Music"?


52 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Let us hear some of these opinions. Later, in the light of further evidence, we can discuss to what extent they are justified in believing in an "Emotion of Music," and with what limitations these words may be accepted as repre senting a fact.

Ill

MINA. Recognises sui generis emotion.

THE VIOLINIST. The Emotion of Music as she understands it "takes you . , . outside yourself "

M. ANDR (novelist). (Query: Emotion of Music?). "Tou- jours et pas d'autre. La seule musique est la musique pure."

MARCEL. "Yes, musical emotion especially with Bach and Mozart; more mixed, with Beethoven"

PAUL P. "Demotion produite par un chef-d'osuvre m$me sans paroles est uniquement musicale"

LEO. "An 'emotion of music J but not always exclusively so"

EDWARD. "The great works I know well always produce the same effect upon me; they have a dejinite emotional identity^ but this emotion is always a musical one . . . just music."

LEWIS. "The greatest masterpieces generally awaken, along with the characteristically musical emotion. ..."

M. PAULHAN (quoted by Ribot). "D'abord Vtmotion musi- cale specifique, c'est-d-dire, une sorte de vie suptrieure se substituant en nous a la noire. ..."

MATHILDE. "Je ne peux definir mon sentiment que par Vadjectif musicale"

BESSIE. "I am aware of a distinctly musical emotion"

FRANCES. "Quite certainly an emotion of music. . . . / think there is an emotion of merely musical quality"

EGISTO. "Emotion of music? It always remains that"

LUCIEN. "Less a human emotion than a special pleasure peculiar to music"

TREV&S. Music brings him an emotion impossible to define except by the word "musical." . . . "Le plus grand bonheur"

PROFESSOR B. " . . . emotion musicale proprement dite . . .


THE EMOTION OF MUSIC 53

/' emotion musicale pure c'estsurtout Haydn, Mozart . . . Mozart musicalite pure> que caracterise par ravissement Vetat mental produit

cheZ moi."

H. G. S. "The most powerful feeling exerted in me by music is a sense of exaltation and delight. True music produces that sense of exaltation, nothing more"

BENJAMIN. ".Nothing but pure joy"


IV

In order to make sure of the meaning of Emotion of Music > I added the query whether It was sui generis, meaning thereby * 'specifically musical" This led, or misled, some Answerers into supposing that my question meant, was their musical enjoyment different from other kinds of aesthetic enjoyment, some answering "yes," others "no," a question irrelevant at present, but which I shall take up later. But the majority understood sui generis as I had meant it, and those who did so added that either (a) it was always thus sui generis or purely musical, or (V) that it was sometimes interwoven with something else.

Here are some examples of the answers.

HELEN M, "An Emotion sui generis which does not unite or fuse with each other impressions or associated images"

AMIGO D'EGISTO. "Tes 9 sui generis. A message or meaning? I dorft even understand. , . ."

FIRST CRITIC. "Sui generis? Yes: one prelude of Bach may seem to me just exquisite pattern . . . (some music strikes me as woven out of human experience} ."

LINDSAY. "An emotion not to be confused with anything else but interwoven with human"

V

Not satisfied about the intelligibility of my queries con cerning an "Emotion of Music" as sui generis, I had hit on


54 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

the device of asking whether to that particular Answerer, music remained "just music." This was the seed of much misunderstanding, but the kind of misunderstanding which, in these matters, often suggests further enquiries and even brings one into the presence of varieties of experience hitherto unexpected, indeed of more knowledge than can always be extracted from answers based upon correct under standing of one's queries.

Among the mere misunderstandings I may mention that of Professor B. who thought "just music 55 meant inferior music, "banal music." Here, and in similar cases, the rest of his answers revealed his real opinion, for had he not spoken of Mozart as "musicalite pure/' not seeing that "just music" implied precisely that?

But most of my Answerers understood the relation be tween "just music" and sui generis, and passed from one to the other.

GREGORY. "I feel an emotion of music which has no meaning other than 'just music? "

CARLO. "The emotion of music, specific. Music remaining 'just music? It absorbs me, because I am supremely auditory"

BARBARA. "Music seems to have a musical emotional stimula tion, difficult to think of in terms of ordinary experience. . . . It always remains music. . . . It brings a sui generis emotion. Absolutely complete happiness"

LEWIS. "Some music seems 'just music' Mozart would be such pure music"

"THIRD CRITIC." "The more music remains 'just music* the more eloquent is its message beyond itself"

ISABELLA. "Good music is the sort that remains just music. Bad music . . . well! you eat it, sleep it, it mixes up in your life, nasty thing."

EMILY R, "/ can regard it as 'just music* with intense interest and enjoyment (e.g. Bach, Brahms}."

BESSIE. "It remains 'just music* in the sense of one's not thinking of a lot of meanings"


A SUI GENERIS EMOTION 55

LINDSAY. " 'Just music* is the music which generally gives (me) most pleasure. . . . 'Just music' only when familiar. 9 '

LUCIEN. "It remains 'just music' with no other signification than what I add to if

DR. R. "Sui generis. 'Just music.' "

PROFESSOR D. "Je demande simplement a la musique de vivre musicalement a cdte ou en dehors de I' existence habituelle. . . . La musique exprime pour moi des sentiments musicaux sans denomi nation precise. ..."

I have mentioned one or two cases, where the unusual and perhaps misleading form of words "remains just music" was taken to mean jingle or babble and in so far caused scandal. Also cases where sui generis, intended to signify "not otherwise describable," was taken to refer to whatever differentiates musical from other kinds of aesthetic emotion, the Answerers usually negating any such difference and asserting the similarity of all kinds of aesthetic emotion. And these misunderstandings, these negations, are on the part of precisely those Answerers whose further remarks proved them to belong to the "just music" or "sui generis" category which, misunderstanding the words, they had refused to admit. I will wind up with the most remarkable case of such a misunderstanding and consequent denial on the part of a person (Spencer) with whom "just music" or "sui generis emotion" is evidently a frequent experience. "/ cannot think of (any] such music." And this Answerer adds the generalisation "I think this answer applies to all Listeners.' 9

Putting aside such verbal misconceptions, the quotations I have given will, I trust, have enabled the Reader to admit the existence of a "sui generis" musical emotion; otherwise expressed, an emotion produced by music which remains "just music."

Whether or not there is an "Emotion of Music," sui generis and connected with music which remains "just music," this question is submitted to a further test, viz.


56 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

whether such alleged musical emotion is or is not com plicated with (hence possibly referable to) an admixture of suggestions, associations and especially of the recognition of an emotion which is human, i.e. such as occurs in real life apart from music. Incidentally some of the above quota tions (Helen M. and Barbara) have answered this in the negative. Let me add one or two more direct denials of the "musical emotion" as being in any way complicated by such "human" emotion.

MARCEL. "Dans le premier cas settlement" (viz. attentive listening) "ftprouve une emotion musicale. Sui generis? Oui, r emotion est specifiquement musicale, mais non pas, je le sais, comme celle qui a regu une education technique .... Autrefois . . . fignorais qu'ily eut un plaisir purement musical"

BETTINA. "When in the vein, (music] excludes all thoughts" (Query: Associations?) "None at all. It remains 'just music* sui generis (emotion)"

LEONARD. "Music is something I watch; it has its own action and business. Pattern terms and dynamic ones are appropriate. Vague exaltation. Intensely absorbed" (Query: Suggestions? Associations?) "JV0; music is too much music"

MME. LOUISE. "Never, never do I think of music in terms of human emotion. It gives an impression of something vague and large. It DEPERSONALISES me. Certainly changes my emotional condition in the aesthetic sense. It gives me specific musical emotion. It is a language, but it speaks only of itself ."

ANONYMOUS. "I do not think of music in terms of human emotion. The emotion is very similar to that experienced when enjoying any beauty. It can be compared with the pleasure produced by landscapes, pictures."

MARNA. "Music is all round one; it is something one looks at, essentially a structure. It may seem to say something to you, but the message doesrit exist."

The probable nature of the "Emotion of Music" is per haps best expressed by Watson, who answers "The Sense of great beauty is so to speak an emotion of itself"


A SUI GENERIS EMOTION 57

The recognition of the aesthetic character of musical emotion, its similarity to the emotion due to visible beauty, is implicit in some answers already quoted, e.g. in Anony mous.

The following two answers lay stress upon the very exclusive nature of this aesthetic character of musical emotion.

EMANUEL. "Le cdte esthltique m'apparait trop maintenant pour que je me puisse laisser alter d une Emotion autre que Demotion esthetique musicals, Emotion toujours tonifiante quoique exaltante"

COLONEL DICK. "It is 'just music' The emotion is like that of beautiful landscape, sculpture, etc. I should consider I was doing an injustice to music if I sought to associate it with all sorts of other feelings"

We have seen in previous quotations that the beauty in question is referred to by Karl as "of melody and harmony," by Brun as "a combination of sounds (un assemblage de sons)"; by Paul P. as "un assemblage de sonorites, de phrases, etc.," by Benjamin as "patterns of tone." I am glad that it happens to be a very accomplished, musician, Karl, extremely conversant with the harmonic side of music, who says "beauty of melody seems independent of emotional quality. One doesn't think of the latter."

I am glad, moreover, because this introduction of "beauty of melody" enables me to close my examination of what attentive "Listeners" say about "musical emotion" with a singularly plain-spoken and clinching answer. Asked whether he recognised in music a "message" or a "mean ing" "C. F. J." answers : "JVbw. The TUNE."

The tune. A very homely way of alluding to that com bination of relations in pitch with relations in time and in stress, which, under the name of melody, is usually admitted to be the principal part of a composer's thought, and the first and foremost element which our musical attention is called upon to follow.

The tune. I want my Reader to treasure up this crassly


58 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

worded answer, because, much further on in our Enquiry, we shall meet again with that selfsame word "tune," but in a disparaging sense, and opposed to what appears to be, to many who are not "Listeners" but "Hearers," the attrac tive side, indeed the essential of what they call Music.


CHAPTER IV "COMPLICATIONS" AND "ENTANGLEMENTS"

AMONG THE answers which recognise the existence of a specific, a sui generis musical emotion, there is one I have purposely kept separate and held back. It is from a pro fessor of natural science, accustomed, perhaps, to find things in general rather less simple than the rest of us. For to his emphatic "yes" he has added the following rider. "IF 9 (i.e. the specific "Emotion of Music 33 ) "conceivably only appears to be suck owing to complications." I wish he had explained what he meant by that saying; and it is useless asking, for even if he is alive, he has no doubt forgotten during the twenty years which have intervened since he wrote those suggestive and cryptic words. But since, whatever may have been behind them in his mind, those words happen to sum up a meaning to which I myself, though in a very special sense, am much inclined, I will adopt them at their face value, merely as a formula for taking our enquiry a little further. And I will interpret and illustrate their possible meaning, or rather set some of my Answerers to inter preting and illustrating, without their being aware of so doing.

I will begin with an answer which, had it not proved more useful as a first link in a new chain of evidence, would have been an additional affirmative to the query about the existence of a specific musical emotion in the attentive "Listener. 53 LEWIS: "The greatest masterpieces generally awaken, along with the characteristically musical emotion, a non-musical and purely human emotion the character of which cannot be defined' 9

This answer was given by a very much to be lamented young pianist and composer of remarkable promise ; and it leads me to forestall what we shall notice later in this enquiry, namely that performers and composers insist on


60 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

a non-musical emotion accompanying and "complicating"

the specific emotion of music, far oftener than is the case

with very musical and attentive "Listeners 55 who are only

"Listeners."

But among these we shall find evidence, puzzling even to themselves, of "complications/ 5 or as one of them tentatively puts it, "entanglements" with an emotion of a more or less "purely human character." To show this I shall reinstate portions of answers which I had removed when I wanted quotations merely to show the existence (so far without "complications" and "entanglements") of a specific musical emotion. And before doing that, and so adding new evidence, let me point out and emphasise passages which have already been quoted because I was unable thus to excise them for the greater clearness of our first enquiry.

Thus "First Critic" admits the existence of a sui generis emotion of music, adding, however, that while this is some times the case, other music strikes him as "woven out of human experience" Then BESSIE. "It (the musical emotion) may be shot with human emotion, but it's distinctly the other"

LINDSAY. "The emotion (produced by music) is an emotion not to be compared with anything else . . . but interwoven with human."

LUCIEN. "Music remains 'just music* with no other meaning than that which I add to if (remark the proviso, we shall frequently return to it). "The emotion is less a human emotion than a special pleasure peculiar to music; a 'sublimation de moi* ** (That also should be noted for future use.)

Another of my previously quoted Answerers, the very musical amateur (Barbara) who had said that "music seems to have a musical emotion difficult to think of in terms of ordinary experience. It brings a sui generis emotion. It always remains music this same Answerer, on being pressed, admitted that there is in music a "sort of counterpart of human emotion but on a totally different plane; a completely different world of experience for the interpreting of which language is inappropriate (although one


"COMPLICATIONS" AND "ENTANGLEMENTS" 61

has only one set of words for several fields of emotion. (Music has) an enormous variety of expression, infinite in range but always in a domain of its own" And she went so far as to say "When ever, as in Beethoven, there is a certain amount of autobiography mixed up, it puts one out"

Again, another very musical amateur (Isabella), after answering "A meaning beyond itself? But it is itself. . . . No, it couldrtt be told in any other way; thafs why ifs music. . . . I should say it does remain just music. . . . Music is just itself. Music is music, something quite different from other things, music wouldn't be music if it could be translated into something else. . . . Good music is the sort which remains 'just music? Bad music . . . well, you eat it, sleep it, it mixes up in jour life; nasty thing, you can't get rid of it." \

Yet, after saying this, the same Answerer admits "Music is a kind of gesture. If you put it that way" (whether, e.g. move ments in a Beethoven Sonata seem objectively to represent different moods) "yes, they do. . . . Tes, and in the Fugues and Preludes some are gay and some are not. . . . The musical emotion is streaked with sadness or cheerfulness. It is specific but interwoven." And Isabella saves the situation with "It isn't very often that life gives such emotions as e.g. a Mozart piece; the emotion given by a pool in the High Alps with flowers in it. Perhaps ifs different in degree. Anyhow, it isn't the same thing."

ERIN says: "I suppose there must be a sui generis emotion awakened by music, and yet it would seem to be inextricably bound up with life' s previous writing on us."

GORDON says: "Things in life do not translate into music. Musi.c seems outside life . . . (but] of course it has a meaning. To say it remains 'just music' is silly."

Again, Andr6, the famous novelist, whom we have found asserting with such emphasis that "A part de rares exceptions, la seule musique est la musique pure," adds a postscript to the effect that having thought over the question again, he is not sure that he would not say the reverse of what he has said.


6 2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Such cavalier treatment is, however, unique among my Answerers. Rather there frequently occurs an appearance of bewilderment among those "Listeners" who, having testified to the all-important existence of a specific musical emotion, find themselves, when answering subsequent ques tions, faced by the recognition of this not being all. And it is not unusual for them, like Lewis, the pianist-composer I have quoted above, to take refuge in the difficulty of defin ing the human emotion which they may recognise alongside of the Emotion of Music. Thus Lucien, that typically musical "Listener" who happens also to be a well-known writer on general aesthetics, had answered "I follow the musical thought and my impression remains a musical one" but found it neces sary to add "except in certain cases where there may occur a superposition of emotion, a confluence with and increase of present (i.e. musical?) delight by the addition of pain, sadness (la douleur] or vice-versa." And winds up "Tout cela est bien difficile d rendre exactement!"

How difficult would be painfully obvious if fear of puzzling the Reader at too early a stage of our enquiry did not make me put off quoting the elaborate, subtle but self-contra dictory statements of that M. Ernest to whom I owe my definition of musical listening, and whose name will recur as one of the most important, though the most baffling, of my Answerers.

I shall therefore be forgiven if, faced with the difficulty inherent in this subject of "complications" or entanglements of the emotion of music with human feeling, I copy out an answer given not to my Questionnaire but to a previous (1904) and more rudimentary enquiry made by the late M. Ribot, and published by him in his Logique des Sentiments. I This statement is by M. F. Paulhan, certainly one of the ablest of living psychologists. And I am the more justified in stealing it because, the oftener I read it over, the more I recognise that it alone has successfully analysed the elc- 1 Paris, Alcan, 1905.


"ENTANGLEMENTS" WITH HUMAN FEELING 63

ments of this complication and described at what point of musical experience this entanglement with human emotion is apt to occur. Indeed, so completely has M, Paulhan forestalled many of the conclusions I have myself deduced from the answers to my Questionnaires, that his statement might be put as an c 'argument 3 ' at the head of all these chapters.

Paulhan, quoted in Ribot's Logique des Sentiments, p. 145 : "En rtfexaminant de mon mieux, void ce que je trouve: D'abord demotion esthttique, musicale, specifique, c* est-a-dire um sorte de me superieure se substituant en nous a la ndtre, une excitation assez forte sans forme precise et accompagnee de quelques phenomenes physiques . . . d cotl de cela j'eprouve aussi des sentiments qui restent asset abstraits. Us sont parfois si vagues ou si generaux que fai de la peine d les distinguer; mais Us me semblent fare des abstraits idealises de mes sentiments dominants ou de ceux que faimerais d wir dominer. Parfois aussi je puis sentir particuliere- ment excite tel ou tel sentiment special et concret qui tient momen- tanement ou d'une mantire durable une place assez, considerable dans ma vie actuelle: des images plus ou moins nettes, peuvent fare ewquees conslcutivement, mais leur role me parait en general peu

important.

"Un autre etat est provoque par des morceaux que fai mal Routes, ttant un peu fatigue pour Us suivre ou les connaissant moins. Id demotion sptiifique s'affaiblit; la vie wn settlement humaine, mais personnelle, domine. Je me laisse aller & des pre occupations actuelles; puis par moments il me revient des souvenirs d'autrefois accompagnes d'impressions asset vives et damages visuelles qui me rapportent d uri temps passe"

After this piece but my only one ! of stolen property, let me put before the Reader a bona fide answer to my Questionnaire, that of one of my most typical "Listeners," namely Barbara. I quote it in extenso because besides showing an obvious (and I fear wilful) refusal to admit the nature, almost the existence, of any emotion s^ve the "specific" or sui generis Emotion of Music, it also gives extraordinarily


64 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

suggestive glimpses of the nature and modus operandi of that specifically musical emotion, as habitually experienced by a highly attentive and passionately appreciative amateur, who has taken part in a great deal of music and heard a great deal more. "/ do not think of music in terms of human emotion. I can only say that music always gives me joy nothing but pure joy just as likely before beautiful architecture or after a splendid novel. Music occupies a world of its own. 1 It has no human emotional existence. It takes me out of myself."

Barbara continues that what she would describe as being moved by music is that there is a sort of counterpart to human emotion: gloom, splendour, etc., but on a totally different plane. It is as completely different a world of experience as one might get if one lived in water. She thinks, broadly speaking, that it never affects her humanly. It gives absolute complete happiness. . . . She doubts even as to recognition of character; she seems to think that we interpret differences of strictly musical characters into differences of human-emotional character; that when we say "tender" we are translating into an inappro priate language. There is enormous variety of impression or expression in music, infinite range, but always in a domain of its own. That is the highest achievement : not to express any given thing, but to create that other world sui generis. It always remains music. Query the special musical emotion tipped or shot with human emotion? Answer: "Not in the very least. . . . The action is of the notes themselves. It always seems to create a pattern. . . . Tour mind is led a dance obedient to a power beyond itself. . . . Quite a different plane from real life; no moral or immoral effects" Query: Can she believe there may be (moral or immoral effects) on other people?* Answer: "Yes, but that's because they are unmusical (people}. Music and words seem to have nothing in the world to do with

1 Another thoroughly musicianly amateur, Leonard, puts this into his mathematician's language : "Music seems to intersect the plane of emotion, but is not coincident with it."


"ENTANGLEMENTS" WITH HUMAN FEELING 65

each other" She doesn't admit there can be incongruity between words and music. "Music has absolutely no human power" (i.e. in her case). "It's sui generis. If it (ever} stirs humanly it's for some side issue" Query: (Then) as mere notes music has no human effect or character? For instance the Moonlight Sonata? Answer: "Not any. There are musical effects which have a stimulative / don't know how to express it power: e.g. the 'lift 9 in Brahms' music, the grip he has seems due to the great stretch. . . . That gives him enormous power of gripping. But that isn't human emotion." Query: Can you recognise no specific dramatic quality in, say, Gliick; find him sad, even if you took the music without knowing the words or sub ject? Answer: "Surely not."

She adds that "you must distinguish from music the effects of rhythm like, e.g. a drum, and the timbre of instruments, harps, bagpipes, etc., which can give the human physical emotion. But that is not music. Music is written on paper; it is what can lead you a dance; ifs the intervals, etc. And those are intellectual not sensor ial things"


CHAPTER V "ANCESTORS OF EMOTION 55

THE READER may have noticed that several Answerers have evaded that difficult and paradoxical question of how the emotion of music stands to the human emotion with which it is occasionally "streaked, veined, complicated or en tangled," by referring to a plane of existence., a "calm and serene" region, in which, as eloquently expressed by Lucien "La tumulte des passions ne gronde que pour y trouver Vapaise- ment" 1 I hope to show that this alleged "higher plane" and its purification of human feelings are genuine and intelligible psychological facts, and indeed among the most important ones of all aesthetics. But before proceeding to that, we must deal with another, but obscurer and odder reality of our mental life. For, after all, is it not an odd, an unexpected and wellnigh inexplicable fact that human passions should have found their way into anything so remote and different from them as "Tunes/' as "Notes and the relations between Notes"? And this is none the easier to understand if we bear in mind the conviction of certain "Listeners" that what exists in the realm of music is not really human emotion, but only, as Barbara called it, a "counterpart thereof."

I will begin with the evidence concerning musical ex pression of human emotion, together with his attempted explanation thereof, given by the highly accomplished amateur musician and scarcely less competent amateur psychologist to whom I owe my initial definition of such

  • "II s'agit moins dans mon cos, en gfafral, d'une tmotion de la vie, ou mgrnc

d'une signification au dela, que d'un plaisir special, propre a la musique; plaisir tres tleve, d'ailleurs, sorte d'ftat de contemplation active, impossible a analyser, queje definirais en gros comme me sublimation de moi, un alUgement de l*$tre, une monUe vers des regions inconnues, calmes et sereines, oil la tumulte des passions ne gronde que pour y trouver Fapaisement."


MUSICAL EMOTION A COUNTERPART 67

real "listening" as he himself practises. M. Ernest expresses no doubts, like those of Barbara about the identity of these emotions or, as he calls them etats emotifs, produced by music with the similar emotions produced in real life. The only distinction he makes concerns the manner in which music can produce them. Thus there is music which he calls representative , or objectifying and of which he says : "Elle engendre des etats afectifs, mais par association cTidees, en ivoquant la representation de Causes etranghes a la musique. II ne s'agit pas ici settlement de la musique a programme . . . ou grossi&rement imitative de bruits et de rhythmes connus. 1 Je choisis d dessein des exemples OIL F element representatif est beaucoup . . . plus difficilement saisissable. A propos des premieres mesures de sa symphonie en ut mineur, Beethoven disait: 'Jest le Destin quifrappe d ma parted N'est-ce pas la un effet d'objectivation musicale que peut-$tre Beethoven a&centuait un peu? Beethoven rfavait pas donne de nom d une de ses Senates pour piano, Op. 53, et quelque editeur Vaura baptiste ^VAurore^ Le nom rfetait pas si btite, car il est reste. Dans le motif principal de ValUgro de cette Sonate une sorte de tremulation, d' ondulakions qui se succ&dent dans le sens hori zontal PEUVENT ( je ne dis pas DOIVENT) susciter vaguement Videe de longues bandes colories^ de leglres trainees dans le del, entre lesquelles falatent parfois des irradiations, des jets de lumilre. Un motif incident de cet allegro (Mi si sol si si mi sol fa Re si Re fa la sol etc.] degage une impression de purete, de fluiditi, de fraicheur, quasi matinales. Je ne dis pas du tout que Beethoven ait songi d Vaurore, mais ne sommes-nous pas loin, tout de mtime, de Vart formel souvent trls expressif mais depourvu de toute intention descriptive, de tant de compositions de Bach? . . - II ne me semble pas impossible mme dans un morceau de peu d'ttendu de discerner ces trois elements: musique formelle, musique imitative" (he quotes twelve bars of St. Saens' La Lyre et la Harpe, and says) "Je trouve d'abord une beautt d'ordre formel

1 Like the teeth-chattering of Leporello or the scream of Donna Elvira when she meets the Commander's Statue on the staircase. Usually called "Waldstein."


68 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

dans la pedale Mib remnant periodiquement attaquie a fvecermete, etc. etc. de manure d executer une sorte d* oscillation harmonique que nous devons comprendre pour enjouir. II me semble d'autre part que ces quelques mesures ne sont pas depourvues d'une couleur expressive, que je definirais par un sentiment de farte, d'apotheose d* expansion, d* ascension dans des espaces plus vastes.

Ce rfest pas tout a fait un etat a/ectif proprement dit, c*est un peu plus qu'une sensation purement physique. . . . Enfin les sons executes par la partie intermddiaire (triolets, etc.] n'ont-ils pas un caractere imitatif, en reproduisant le rythme et le mouvement milo- dique d'appels de trompette . . .formes sonores . . . qui y par V usage, ont pris pour nous un accent viril et solennel?"

Far more important is M. Ernest's treatment of what he regards as a wholly different kind of music, to which he confines the adjective "expressive and which awakens in him "des etats afectifs sans aucune espice ^association ou Winter- position, sans aucune Ibauche mentale fun aspect de la nature ou fun drame humain objective dans des circonstances particulUres" Of such emotional effects which music attains thus directly, he gives the following examples: (i) "Adagio sostenuto de la Sonate de Beethoven, Op. 106: apaisement, recueillement, rkig- nation, mais avec un reste d> oppression et de douleur; acte de foi et d* elevation; bonte, douceur, mais sentiment d'isolement en dehors et au-dessus de la Joule humaine. (II est inevitable que les expressions que femploie eveittent Videe de causes et de circonstances non- musicales; mais, je rfai pas d*autre procede pour caracUriser des etats affectifs auxquels je me refere dans r Adagio.} Les sons notis sur les trois premiers temps, etpenser au geste grave et religieux que Von serait oblige de faire si on voulait les mimer. (2) Piice intitulee 'Eusebius* dans le 'Carnavar de Schumann, Op. 9: Tendresse, trouble et langueur, desir caressant non sans quelquefond de tristesse; quelque chose comme un amour naissant dans une dme d* enfant ou d* adolescent. Id particulierement la precision du langage depasse forcement celle du sentiment" (He means that, as before remarked, our way of speaking of a piece of music goes beyond it either as adding to or merely precising its intrinsic


MUSICAL EMOTION A COUNTERPART 69

nature.) "D'autres personnes, interrogees, pourraient partir ffun theme imaginatif different, mais je crois que si elles aiment cette pike et si elles la connaissent bien, a quelques legeres nuances pres elles la sentiront comme moi.

Que veut-on dire quand on dit qu'un artiste joue avec un sentiment juste? N*exprime~t-on pas qu'il se rapprouve du sentiment qui a inspire le compositeur?"

Here I must interrupt M. Ernest to forestall a later chapter examining to what extent we have a right to take for granted that the composer has felt the same as we feel. But accepting that alleged fact for granted, as most of us do, let us attend to M. Ernest's explanation of it and of the general phenomenon of music expressing human feel ings :"Je suppose" he says, "que V agent physique (les ondu- lations sonores) agit dors par des variations de hauteur, d'intensiti, de distribution rythmique, en modifiant le regime de nos fonctions organiques dans le SENS D'UNE ATTITUDE, D'UN GESTE, D'UNE MIMIQUE CORRESPONDANT d certains sentiments"

And he illustrates his meaning by referring to that same Beethoven Adagio, Op. 106, about which he bids us remark "les sons noUs sur les trois premiers temps, et penser au geste grave et religieux que Von serait oblige defaire si on voulait les mimer"

II

Whether originally excogitated by M. Ernest, or merely adopted and adapted by him, the above notion that be tween the movement of certain musical phrases and the gesture made (or attitude taken up) in certain real human emotions, there exists a resemblance sufficient for the one to recall the other, this explanation of musical expression falls in with the theories of "Inner Mimicry" 1 which play

' Innere Nachahmung, cf. Karl Groos, Der aesthetische Genus, Giessen, 1903. Also Vernon Lee and C. Anstruther Thomson, Beauty and Ugliness, John Lane, 1912.


7 o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

so great a part in current psychological aesthetics. And like those theories applied to other arts, this explanation of musical expressiveness leads, I feel sure, in a right direction, but similarly this application of "Inner Mimicry 55 to music treats the problem as far simpler than it is. Thus M. Ernest overlooks an objection which, as objections often do, may prove an important clue in the question. For he treats the emotion set up by, say, that Beethoven Adagio as the same emotion which the resigned, strong, sad man would express in a given gesture : what that man would feel in real life. Moreover, what M. Ernest feels when he listens to that Adagio is supposed to be the same emotion which Beethoven felt ; one might almost imagine that an identical, not merely a similar emotion was handed on from the composer to the listener. Now several of our Answerers imply, and some distinctly assert, that in their experience this is not the case. We find that both Adela and Grizel speak of emotions in the abstract. 1 M. Paulhan speaks of "des sentiments asset abstraits, . . . des abstraits idealises" And it is evidently the recognition of some such abstract and idealised nature which makes Barbara roundly assert that what music deals in is not human emotion but "a counterpart thereof on a totally different plane "

And the distinction thus set up between such an abstract (or counterpart of) emotion and an emotion as it exists in real life., is implicit in the hesitation shown by most Answerers when queried as to whether music can have a

1 ADELA says : "/ seldom think of the Composer or of any third person, nor is the music an expression of my own feelings. It merely suggests to me emotions in the abstract. 39 "AMERICAN MUSICIAN" says: Some music seems to have especial later expression, but (if this is not a contradiction in terms} in a universal rather than a personal or concrete way . . . pure impersonal emotion" GRIZEL says: "I rarely think of music in terms of composer's human emotion) more often in terms of an impersonal human emotion^ the 'strivings of all who strive,* 'the grief of all who suffer? the 'triumph of all success* " PROFESSOR PAUL says:

  • Wor does it awaken precise human feelings. Only vague feelings, rather of the

quality of increased courage or tragicalness > nothing precise."


"ANCESTORS OF EMOTION" 71

moral or immoral effect. 1 An abstraction, and that "counter part of human emotion on a totally different plane" can only be what others call an abstraction is remarkably like a Ghost. (I shall, I hope, show that it is the ghost of num berless concretes.) Like the Ghost in Hamlet it can talk about action ; but it cannot itself act (morally or the reverse) ; it can only haunt.

Ill

I have introduced this metaphor about abstractions, be cause it prepares us for the view on musical expression of human emotion left us by another exceptionally self-analys ing and theoretical Answerer, who, after shedding much light on the psychology of the visual arts, may help us to penetrate a little further into the obscure and paradoxical subject of musical expressiveness. *

There is no need, alas, to put a feigned or abbreviated name to this set of answers, whose importance, indeed, should be greatly increased by the signature of "C. A. T."

Asked whether she recognised any human emotion as interwoven with music she summed up : "Music is not inter woven with (one's) feelings as a human being. The feeling com municated to me by music is rather the ANCESTOR of those feelings.' 9 She had given the details of this opinion as follows :

"What music does in my case., in so far as I can keep the process in view, is to play upon the foundations of the emotions, i.e. suppose- all one's emotions, while still just below the threshold of conscious ness, to be reached by some power; they would not have quite the definite shape they have when they reach the point at which we are conscious of them, but they would have all their energy already at full steam. Well! I think the power in question is Music, and it calls up embryo emotions, for instance, I don't say that music calls

1 See pp. 64, 65.

3 Beauty and Ugliness, by Vernon Lee and C. Anstruther Thomson,

John Lane, 1912. Art and Man, by C. Anstruther Thomson, John Lane,

1924.


72 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

up a feeling of triumph such as Wellington may ham felt at Waterloo; but it calls up a feeling which has the same movement which his feeling must have had. Similarly, a little baby nestling in its mother's arms produces, I imagine, a feeling of tenderness which one doesn't get from music in the same actual form; but certain passages of suspension 1 and swinging between two notes give one the feeling of the verb of tenderness. If I may use so clumsy an expression. . . . It isn't interwoven with my feelings as a human being. It is the Ancestor rather, of those feelings."

In order to understand the above answer and appreciate how it stands, both to M. Ernest's "gesture" and to Bar bara's "counterpart on a totally different plane/' we must examine "C. A. T.'s" three metaphorical illustrations and find out to what they unite in pointing.

This is the more requisite lest a misunderstanding should attend the slovenly introduction of the word "embryo" ("it calls up embryo emotions"}, which at first glance seems an absurd contradiction to that dictum about Ancestors. But what she meant by that unfortunately chosen word "embryo" was merely something which, as she goes on to tell us about "the emotions called up by music," has "not got quite the definite shape" ; in fact "embryonic" is here equivalent to "rudimentary," "indefinite." This is shown to be her meaning by her immediately going on : "/ don't say that music calls up a feeling of triumph such as Wellington may have felt. . . . It calls up a feeling which has the same move ment which his feeling must have had."

It is therefore a quality of movement which she has previously spoken of as "the foundations of the emotions." And it is these "foundations," these fundamental, i.e. speci fic qualities of the movement common to the human emotion and what Barbara calles its musical "counterpart," which

1 The word "suspension" is not used in the technical musical sense, as, for instance, in Mr. E. Newman's very interesting book on Beethoven. "C. A. T." was more than usually ignorant of all musical terminology. Her meaning here is made clear by the word "swinging,"


"ANCESTORS OF EMOTION" 73

music "plays 55 upon, calling up emotions (embryonic in the sense of "rudimentary") which "may have the full energy, 1 but not quite the definite shape" of the human emotions which they resemble. Thus, a look, a feeling of triumph evoked by music would be at once like and unlike the par ticular feeling of triumph experienced by Wellington, if for no other reason than that the feeling would in one case belong to a human being and in the other to so different a thing as a piece of music, a pattern of notes !

That such is "C. A. T.'s" meaning is evident from her added remark that "a little baby nestling in its mother's arms produces . . . a feeling of tenderness which one doesn't get from music in the same actual form; but certain passages of suspension and swinging between two notes give one the feeling of the verb of tenderness "

The "verb of tenderness !" Does that not seem a para phrase for the "gesture of tenderness"? And up to this point is not "C. A. T." merely repeating, in more picturesque language, M. Ernest's explanation of how certain music comes to express certain human emotions, referring us, as he does, to a gesture, an attitude "une mimique" corresponding to that Beethoven Adagio?

Before entering into the difference between their two views and showing how much deeper "C. A. T.Y 5 "Ancestor

1 The definite shape of an emotion is very much a matter of the con comitants, what it arises from and leads to, in fact, what M. Ernest excuses himself for necessarily introducing in his verbal description. It is also, and more specifically, the train of bodily symptoms accompany ing and perhaps underlying it; it is also the feeling-tone, whether bracing or depressing, pleasant or unpleasant, etc. The "definite shape" (what we recognise it by) of an emotion is a complex and a very obscure one. Moreover, I doubt whether, if put to it, "C. A. T." would have maintained that such musically-elicited emotion has the/w// energy; which, once more, is a complicated and obscure question, the energy being largely due to and considerably measured by, just those con comitants which are not the emotion itself. Once more, I am sure by "shape" she meant the complex of concomitants, and by "energy" the specific movement, the swiftness, slowness, decision, etc., and the "feeling-tone" pleasant, unpleasant.


74 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

of those feelings 55 can carry us into this mysterious and con fused matter, it may be well to remind the Reader of the distinction made by M. Ernest between music which repre sents and music which directly expresses. Of representative music M. Ernest had told us that it "awakens emotional con- ditions but by means of associated ideas evoking the (mental) representation of factors (*des causes') foreign to music" a pro cedure exemplified by Beethoven's "Fate knocking at the door" and the less imitative suggestion of dawn effects in the piano sonata. It is evident that the music which "C. A. T." connects with Wellington's feeling of triumph and again that in which she recognises the same "verb of tenderness" as in the mother and nestling baby, is not of this "representative" sort. Indeed about this second example she explicitly refers that expression of tenderness to certain passages "of suspension and swinging between the notes." While as to Wellington and his triumph, I think she would have at once admitted that to be expressed by some musical phrase which, as M. Ernest claims for the "resignation" theme in Beethoven's Op. 106, answers to the gesture one would make in miming that state of feeling. So far, I repeat, it would seem as if "C. A. T," were merely endorsing M. Ernest's view that musical sounds, by their variations and combinations in pitch, intensity and rhythmic arrange ment, can act upon our "organic functions" (presumably what is technically lumped together as Coenesthesia) in the same manner as ("dans le sens de") an attitude, a gesture, a "mimique" corresponding to certain feelings. Or, to para phrase in less academic language than M. Ernest's, music can make us feel as if we were making a gesture of triumph, or (to use "C. A. T.'s" other example) as if we were making a gesture of fondling or being fondled. I want the Reader to take heed that in thus apparently paraphrasing M. Ernest, I have slipped in some words not in his sentence, namely "make us feel as if we were making" that appropriate gesture, taking up that attitude.


"ANCESTORS OF EMOTION" 75

And this addition of mine explains, not indeed why that particular pattern of notes should do the trick, but why, since it (somehow!) contrives to "make us feel as if we were making" the expressive gesture, it also makes us feel the emotion of which that gesture is the usual expression. It is this about our "feeling as if we made" that movement which brings us to CC C. A. T.'s" assertion about the move ment which is common to the music and to the emotion, common to certain patterns of notes and to the feelings of triumph or tenderness.

But "C. A. T." tells us something which, so far from being implied, does not enter into the aesthetic philosophy of M. Ernest, whom we shall now leave behind, not without much gratitude for his having helped us so far on our road. She tells us that this movement common to the music, and to the emotion, is what she calls the foundation of the latter; and, more suggestively and also accurately, the "Ancestor" of the emotion. Not, pray remark, the human emotion itself, about which Barbara had said that it could not enter into music, what does enter being "only its counterpart." For in "C. A. T.'s" view, the musical phrase and the emotion it expresses are sprung, not the one from the other, but both of them from that common element of a given "movement" which "C. A. T." therefore calls by the picturesque and enigmatic name of "Ancestor." This she makes less picturesque but clearer by referring to it, in her example of the mother and child, as the "verb of ten derness." She calls the common "Ancestor" a Verb. And I, with less picturesqueness and more pedantic precision, should like to add : the Infinitive of a verb. Since that is a difference (among several) between emotion when expressed by music and emotion as we know and think of it in reality. In real experience a verb can exist only in the past, present, future or some compound tense; it can exist, moreover, only governed by a nominative, a singular or a plural, a he, she, it, I, thou, we, you, they. But in the case of music, the


7 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

triumph or the tenderness may be at any moment of the world's history (or, if preferred, at no particular moment thereof) ; and the triumph, for instance, is equally expressed whether we refer it to a victor whose victories have been forgotten since ages, or to a victor yet unborn, 1 And as to the tenderness between mother and child, why that mother and her baby will never cease to fondle one another ; neither can we say that the music is expressing the tenderness of one mother towards her baby, or of all the mothers and babies who have ever felt such tenderness or will ever feel it. Nay, even if those clustering notes and their "tenderness" should suggest a picture, vague or definite, visual or verbal, of a mother and child, that is added by us from the rest of our experience of life; it is not given by the music which tells us nothing about mothers and babies, but merely (and it is surely enough) that there can exist in the human soul (since it is awakened in ours) a feeling of tenderness, a verb in the infinitive of just such a manner of cherishing and caressing.

IV

What manner of thing is such an Infinitive of a verb, or rather its underlying movement, that we should recognise it, re spond to it, in so unlikely an embodiment as musical phrases, i.e. musical intervals and rhythms in given rela tions? Recognising it, as M. Ernest has already pointed out, without the interposition of ideas of things ; recognise not necessarily by its name, but directly, in virtue of some mysterious action on or in ourselves? What is this which "C. A. T. 3) calls the Ancestor of an Emotion?

The hundred and fifty, more or less, answers to my Questionnaire afford no reply to this query, which was not put because it would not have been understood by most of the persons who could give information on other points.

1 The, no doubt very obscure, recognition of something like this, underlies Keats' Grecian Urn.


"ANCESTORS OF EMOTION" 77

Barbara with her "counterparts of human emotion" ; M. Ernest with his elaborate explanation of various kinds of "expressiveness 55 ; even "C. A. T." with her "Ancestors of Emotion/' lead us no further along the road of that mystery. Only there remains one Answerer, whose dictated answers have surprised me by being docketed "Myself/ 3 who would like to make some suggestions for such Readers as may be interested in the psychology of music, which implies interest in psychology, not only in that of music,

Indeed, as I shall explain further on, it was the suggestion of a Psychologist, and evidently a Psychologist, though very eminent, of but little direct musical experience, which led to my asking my neighbours the few questions of my earliest, rudimentary Questionnaire. So I shall now allow myself to come forward not in my character of a very poorly equipped yet thorough-paced "Listener," but as a student of such mental science as can bear upon aesthetic experience ; and in this capacity to state as follows :

Partly through the influence, however insufficient, of the late M. Ribot, there has been a tendency among psycho logists, especially French, to suspect the existence of a kind of memory registering emotional (affective) conditions as such, i.e. apart from their causes, registering affective move ments apart from any mental picture of the limbs (or other parts) concerned. With such memory of emotional states (although we have already come very near it) I shall deal only when I come to analysing the body of evidence which my Questionnaires have accumulated under the heading of Affective Memory. But my study of visual aesthetics 1 has long since brought certain probabilities to my mind. And these hypotheses have, it seems to me, been justified by the following passages in the work of one of the most eminent recent authorities on the functions of the Brain, my friend Dr. Sir Henry Head.

1 Beauty and Ugliness, by Vernon Lee and C. Anstruther Thomson, John Lane, 1912.


7 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

In his "Conception of Nervous and Mental Energy' 5 (British Journal of Psychology, General Section, Vol. XIV, Part 9, October 1923), he speaks of "psychological disposi tions" which are the result of antecedent changes in posture, which "psychological dispositions" he calls "schemata oi movement and posture/' telling us that "the only constant and continuous record of our movements in space exists in the con dition of these Schemata. For innumerable changes in posture occur which are not represented in consciousness, and were it not for these physiological dispositionswe have called 'Schemata' Greek ('schema/ ybrm/ 'appearance' whence German Schemen, 'spectre,' 'ghosf), unless postural impulses continuously modified these unconscious activities in consonance with every change in bodily attitude, we might will a movement that was impossible owing to the situation of the limb. This is evident in every case of ataxy."

Of these Schemata, which I venture to call, under cor rection, psychological residues or traces of changes in posture. Dr. Head tells us elsewhere (Studies in Neurology, II, p. 605), that they are or are equivalent to (memory) 1 images of movements, for he says "the standard resulting from previous postures and movements . . . cannot be a visual image (because] some such persons (i.e. persons deficient in all visual images] may possess true movement images" That is to say, "the assumption (i.e. taking up] of an imagined posture may be accompanied by representations of movement equivalent to the pictures of those (persons] who visualise strongly" (p. 606). "It is to the existence of these schemata that we owe the power of projecting our recog nitions of postures, and movement and localising beyond the limits of our own bodies" If I may translate the above quotation into other, less technical words. Dr. Head's experience with patients in whom such faculties are impaired, has shown that normal human beings possess images of movement and posture which are the deposit, the ever-changing result

1 In psychologists 5 language the word "image" always implies " memory image/' whether conscious or not, in opposition to present percep tions.


SCHEMATA OF MOVEMENT 79

(what Semon 1 called the Engram) left by our changes of posture, in the same manner that visual images are the deposit of our visual perceptions : furthermore, that these two kinds of memory images, those of movement and posture on the one hand and those of visible objects on the other are independent of each other. To the non-psychological Reader's initial difficulty of realising that there exists (under the common and misleading term "image") something in memory which is not visible, something not answering to the ordinary notion of an image, there is thus added the new difficulty of realising that, besides images of things seen ("visual images") and images of things heard ("auditory images") there exists another usually unsuspected class of "image," or shall we say memory, namely of the movements we have made and the postures we have assumed. Nay more : that while such images of movement usually enter consciousness under cover of visual sensations, yet it is to "the existence of these schemata that we owe the power of projecting our recognition of posture, movement and locality beyond the limits of our own bodies"

The above passages from the works of Sir H. Head have confirmed my belief in the existence underlying all aesthetic phenomena of Schemata (as he would call them) of move ment left behind by those present sensations of movement which have informed us at the actual moment of the various modes of our movements, such as fast, slow, soft, rough, etc., including the greater or lesser energy with which those movements are made. And it is such Schemata, such ghosts of past movement, which, evoked by our auditory sensations, inform us not indeed of the movement of sounds in time, for those are dealt with by our sense of present pace and rhythm^ but rather of musical spans (which we call intervals), musical directions, upwards and downwards (towards and away from) attractions we call harmonies and discords, in

1 Richard Semon: Die mnemische Empfindungen (English translation, Mnemc Psychology, with Introduction by Vernon Lee).


8o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

fact imaginary movements mapping out a metaphorical space which we feel to exist as the sound-space. And it is the existence in our own mind of such Schemata of movement and movement's various modes which accounts for our sense of the stresses and strains, the suspensions and reso lutions, the modes of activity of musical sounds, even inde pendently of that distribution in time which we refer to as pace and rhythm.

Now these movement-Schemata have, in the first in stance, presided over our active responses to our ever changing moods and emotions; they are familiar to us as part of our own attitude, gesture, our own various expres sions. For what we are aware of as an emotional, an affective condition in ourselves, as when we feel cheerful, or sad, angry or loving, etc., consists for more than half, in a con fused but dominating sense of our movements and postures, actual or potential. And since these two go thus closely linked through the present reality of our life, it is inevitable that their latent ghosts, those Schemata of modalities of movement, and the memory of past moods and affections will together haunt us in the realm of imagination. Such I believe is the psychological fact underlying "C. A. TVs" somewhat fanciful saying that music and human emotions have a common Ancestor: an ancestor who is also, let me add, a descendant of many other common ancestors, namely what Sir H. Head has taught me to call a Schema, which is Greek and German for ghost or spectre ; and once more, let me repeat, is the infinitive of a verb without present, past or future, without an 7" or a C W or an "&" or a


. ..

Looking at such Schemata in their musical embodiments, they can be described, so far as description is possible, as goings up and goings down, liftings, pressures and resistance ; nay more elementary even, movements of reaching out and retraction, coalescence and extrusion, integration and dis integration, and those primordial movements of mere attrac-


RESPONSES TO SCHEMATIC MOVEMENTS 81

tion and repulsion which certain biologists, going beyond even Jennings 3 protozoa, study under the name of tropisms.

Schematic movements, which though one may suspect them to be older than brain or sex, birth or death, are nevertheless discernible in the most modern of arts, and in the most recently developed sides of that art, harmony and modulation being even more obviously their outcome than melody and rhythm, discernible in Browning's: "Those suspensions, those solutions . . . those commiserating sevenths" and that "dominant's persistence" in which we seem to hear the Voice of Doom. And outside Music it is these specific modes of motion, these schematic movements, which we recognise in animate and imagine in inanimate nature but (and this is perhaps the clue to the whole question of ex pression of feeling) which we know at first hand only each one of us in ourselves, that is to say not through our ears and eyes, but through those mysterious sensibilities which regulate, register and sometimes (though only sometimes) report to consciousness the tone of our muscles, the output of the application of our energy (Sherrington) . These ultimate basic abstractions and schematisms of motion thus directly known only in ourselves, are sometimes enhancing, some times depressing to our vital spirits, and being the inner most core of our activities, they are, therefore, interesting and fascinating wherever we sample them intuitively by an innermost, even if faintest, response of our own I do not know whether to say soul or body. And nowhere do we thus feel their presence and respond to it more un failingly than in those sounding entities, creations of Man without models in nature, so utterly different from all else and so entirely made for our passionate delectation, those musical patterns, combinations of rhythms and intervals, harmonies, modulations and whatever Abt Vogler's Temple they are built up into. Even persons as little trained in musical analysis as the unworthy writer of this treatise could, with a little attention, put a finger on at least some

F


82 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

of the individual combinations of intervals and rhythms (Browning's "commiserating sevenths/ 3 "sixths diminished sigh on sigh"), of notes going up and down, leaping and lingering, of preparations and resolutions of harmonically derived modulations, in which that schematic movement, that "Ancestor of Emotion" is working upon us.

Furthermore, I feel certain that the method of altering one by one the constituent and, so to speak, efficacious, elements, the method applied by "C. A. T." to the lines and angles of visual art (e.g. in her wonderful analysis of antique vase-patterns) * and by myself to the grammatical elements., the tenses and prepositions especially, of a sen tence, would leave no doubt as to the schematic movements, the " Ancestors of Emotion" existing in all music and music's consequent power of presenting us with * 'counter parts 3 ' of human emotion, but as Barbara says, "on a totally different," because a musical, an aesthetic plane. 2

As to Schemata, considered as physiological dispositions or potential activities ready to direct automatically our changes of posture and the modes of carrying them through,

1 Art and Man y by C. Anstruther Thomson, John Lane, 1924.

  • NOTE i. The very accomplished musician, whom I call Benjamin,

gives an instance in point: "The end of 'mit deinen blauen Auger? sounds submissive as written^ but loses this character when we substitute a C sharp for the C of the antepenultimate harmony" He has just remarked: "Each third, owing to its nearness in span to the other brings up the memory of it and recalls by association the greater or less muscular movement concerned in their production and suggests also the emotional condition which would prompt this . . . movement" And Benjamin applies this further to the question of human expression in music : "It seems a priori likely that . . . a psychical condition would be apt to attract by association such special forms of emotion as have an imaginative basis possessing the same general outlines as the pattern of tones." I shall revert to this when I come to "The Composer's Phenomenon" (Part V of this book).

NOTE 2. Besides the "gesture" we ought to consider what Wundt calls the Schematische Verlauf, i.e. the various, exciting or depressing modalities of these "affects," and compare their curves with the curves which could be given of the Schematische Verlauf of pieces of * 'ex pressive" music. This could surely be undertaken in a psycho-physio logical laboratory.


SCHEMATA OF MOVEMENT 83

having made use of the notion thereof, I must leave its verification to physiological psychologists like the one from whom I have borrowed it very humbly and gratefully. But with regard to the other half of this spectral pair (I am apt to think of them stealing mysteriously along, the hand of the one on the shoulder of the other, like the two genii of the marble group at Madrid) but with regard to the memory of affective conditions I will at once forestall the fact that much of my present enquiry has borne upon just it; also, when we are further advanced in this study, the Reader shall see how my Questionnaires have established its existence, and shown something of its nature and its results.

P,S. FOR PSYCHOLOGISTS

SCHEMATA OF MOVEMENT versus INNER MIMICRY

For what do I require to postulate Schemata of Movement or of modes of movement? Why Schemata? Answer: to explain the idea of movement, the thinking as against the doing of it.

Let me think out my notion, which has possibly got tangled.

Take M. Ernest's emotion awakened by the ups and downs, stresses, rhythms, etc., embodied in musical phrases, but already familiar as the ups and downs, stresses and rhythms consti tuting the expression of certain emotions. According to M. Ernest, the association of the two would suffice to awaken those emotions. This notion becomes more adequate if, starting from M. Ernest's admission that we should have to assume certain' postures, etc., if we tried to mime those musical phrases, we added to his mere "associational" recognition something which 66 C. A. T." would certainly have added, viz. inner mimicry.

The explanation would now become that taking stock of the ups and downs, etc., of the musical phrase involves some gesture of similar ups and downs, etc., on our part; and that this miming gesture, being identical with what we should make when feeling that emotion, sets up the emotion.

Is this explanation not sufficient?

Yes, if putting our body in a given posture invariably set up the emotion of which that posture is the habitual expression ; without the interposition of the thought of that posture. There


8 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

is evidence that hypnotic patients get into the appropriate emotion (or at least express it) when put passively into a given attitude. I haven't other data on the subject. But it may be that doing, i.e. miming the gesture invariably sets up the associated emotion, and that the cases where it does not are explicable by the presence of contrary emotional states. Which would mean that being actively employed in (however invisible, ^ however inner) mimicry of one sort we are unable to execute mimicry oi an opposite sort. And indeed such inhibition by a previous activity would, especially if we accept that an "idea ' is an in hibited action, explain the many cases when, as Coleridge puts it, we "know, not feel" how sad, or how gay, etc., a piece of music is, that is to say, know without its making us any sadder or any gayer. Indeed, when we bear in mind that aesthetic pleasure is ... well, pleasurable and life-enhancing, the marvel is rather that it should leave the door open for any such admix ture of dreary states as M. Ernest attributes to those Beethoven Adagios. (About which my own experience is, on the contrary, that the sense of the dreadful sadness of, say, the Cavatina of Op. 132, rather inhibits my aesthetic pleasure in what I recognise but do not feel to be beautiful) -all of which leads to the corollary that, as in the case of Virginia Woolf J s Mr. Ramsay in The Light house there are people with whom realisation of their own emo tions qua their own, in fact self-pity, is itself so pleasurable that they actually prefer aesthetic effects which enhance, and resent and avoid other which break in upon, that dismal form of enjoyment. In all these questions we should remember that mere change, mere disruption of a present state, mere forced adaptation to something different, may be massively disagree able.

It would therefore seem that, if the awareness of depression and elation implies the awareness of incipient attitude or gesture of a corresponding kind, we ought either to feel as a consequence of inner mimicry, or, if the inner mimicry be inhibited, we ought to know without feeling that a given musical phrase merely is so and so, i.e. would make us feel if it did make us feel. Now the fact is that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, in real life even more than in the extremely simplified phenomena of Art, we do know but don't feel The fact of prevision and avoidance surely proves that we are perpetually knowing what we might feel without actually feeling, or feeling as fully as we should if that knowing had not prevented it: we put aside the book which we know will be painful, break off the conversation if the subject


POSTSCRIPT FOR PSYCHOLOGISTS 85

becomes disagreeable. In the face of these facts it seems neces sary to bring in the element of mere knowing. This knowing is what I can only call the "idea" of a given kind of feeling, the "idea" of our usual reaction (avoidance or attraction) to it. And this "idea," this "knowing" is either a schema or the result of a schema. Since therefore we cannot deny the schema, the thought of a given emotion, I return to my contention as against "C. A. T." (in Beauty and Ugliness) 1 that there need not always be any (however inner) miming of a gesture, but there must be the thinking of that gesture. Thus the schema of a gesture or attitude can, according to circumstances, according to con comitant facilitations or inhibitions, produce either (A) the actual making of that gesture, i.e. displacing our limbs to that extent ; or (B) the inner mimicry, without any such actual external change, but with a train of affective associations, i.e. of affective Schemata, so that we do not take up the attitude of the melan choly person, but we feel the melancholy j or (C) neither outer performance (change of posture) nor inner mimicry, nor (perhaps for that reason) any evocation of appropriate affective Schemata, but simply the "idea" of that attitude of gesture, I know not whether invariably accompanied by either a visual image or a verbal image thereof.

This would justify my identifying "C. A. T.'s" "Ancestor of Emotion" with such a schema of motion : common ancestor of real acts and of actual emotion and of the mere "idea" thereof. And this would account for the schema or "memory image" or En- gram of an emotional gesture sometimes arousing the emotion itself, to the extent of my consequent avoidance of those Beethoven Adagios, and the sometimes arousing merely the "idea" of, the it is, which logicians, owing to its verbal form, rather absurdly call a "judgment."

So far as I can think out this question, which is much too complicated with all manner of possible facilitations and inhibi tions, moreover made tenfold more difficult by the perpetual chassez-croisez between the psychic and physiological plane, the presence of a schema is shown by the existence of the mere "idea," as distinguished from mimicry, of a movement. And I accept "C. A. T.'s" name for it, "Ancestor," but adding, potential "Ancestor" just because it is itself an actual descendant, like the germ which carries on a particular form of life in virtue of having itself received it.

1 Beauty and Ugliness, by Vernon Lee and C* Anstruther Thomson, John Lane, 1912.


CHAPTER VI

EMOTION OF MUSIC VERSUS EMOTIONAL MUSIC


IT MAY be that "C. A. T.V hypothesis about "Ancestors of Emotion/' supplemented by Dr. Head's Schemata, have taken the Reader a little beyond his present depth in psychology, although I trust that before the end of this book I shall have gradually accustomed him to swim quite freely in such subterranean waters. But for the present, continuing our enquiry about music and emotion as well as musical emotion, we must dispose of a suspicion naturally arising in the Reader's mind that these two are one and the same thing. And to do this we need not plunge again into the depths of Schemata, etc. (nor read the preceding "P.S. for Psychologists") but look about us on the familiar surface of the question as mapped out in M. Ernest's some what conventional statement. That statement, quite accep table as far as it goes (and as far as it goes, consonant with "C. A. T.'s" and my own views about "Ancestors " and Schemata) is to the effect that the movement embodied in a musical phrase movement in pitch as well as in rhythm may coincide with the movement of our muscles normally expressive of a state of human feeling, may coincide to the extent of setting up, by some kind of inner mimicry 1 or other wise, that particular state of human feeling in the hearer. So far, so good. But M. Ernest has put us on the track of a further question, and, in one of his very suggestive fits of self-contradiction, has emphasised that new question in a

1 Karl Groos's Imere Nachahmung, concerning which see Beauty and Ugliness s byVernon Lee and C. Anstruther Thomson, John Lane, 1912.


EMOTION OF MUSIC 87

violent and valuable way. After assuring us that, according to him, Beethoven put "all his joys and sorrows into his music" M. Ernest, on another occasion and with delightful incon sequence, suddenly burst out "Why should music awaken just the emotions which happen to be those familiar in human life and for which we therefore have names?"

Why indeed, I might answer, except because M. Ernest himself likes to think that Beethoven "put all his joys and sorrows into his music" and makes him, M. Ernest, feel them at secondhand?

But although self-contradictory and at the same time conventional (for that is the conventional view about Beethoven) M. Ernest is at bottom consistent whenever he draws upon his own experience. For, as the Reader may (or may not) remember, besides his two classes of (A) repre sentative music which evokes emotion by imitating sounds we already know ; and (B) music he calls expressive, which evokes emotion in some direct manner implying a common movement (like "C. A. T.V "Ancestors") and possible mimicry, M. Ernest has left room for a third category of music able to set up in himself emotional states other than those with which we are familiar as human beings. This kind of music he exemplifies by "contrapuntal composi tions and those in the style of the organ. 5 ' And the emo tional states which they set up are not definable as "tender ness, hope, pride, abandon, etc., not those which, occurring in human life, we happen to have names for" Nevertheless, in default of names he attempts description of these effects : "by their rhythms, modulations and repetition and development of themes (these compositions) awaken a kind of interest analogous, but infinitely superior to that of an admirably arranged display of fire works which appeals to and satisfies the play-instinct" Moreover, the rapid intellectual processes involved (in taking stock of these arrangements) are accompanied in him by a "certaine emotion (dont le d&veloppement rapide s'accompagne d'une emotion]" "Such a composition" he adds, "elicits in myself a kind of objective


88 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

idea (une idle en quelque sorte exterieure], a judgment of strength, elegance, abandon,' 1 ingenuity referred to the work"*

Here I must interrupt M. Ernest to remind the Reader that when a work of art is appealing to a connoisseur or critic, there is apt to arise a feeling of pleased admiration at the excellence or rarity of the work, the slightness, unex pectedness of the means employed,, and the genius, at least the Maestria, of the Artist; just as at the other end of the aesthetic ladder there may arise in the heart of the ignora mus an emotion of amazement, almost a sense of the super natural, at the hugeness of Michelangelo's Prophets and Sibyls, the life-likeness of Landseer's mastiff or the incredible number of notes and overpowering complexity of sound of a fugue by Bach. But this secondary, this ancillary emotion, nay even the mere characteristic emotion of warm admira tion and gratitude I sometimes discover in myself, are not essential and inevitable ingredients in all aesthetic emotion ; indeed, in my own case, they are usually in abeyance when the work is affecting me as the supreme miracle whereof art is capable: when the picture, even more the building or piece of music is such that I cannot conceive it as ever having been made, in contradistinction to its perfect un alterable being just what it is (Vasari's "non murato ma vera- mente nato"}. Having interrupted M. Ernest to remind the Reader of these facts, let me point out that "force, elegance, abandon" are all modes of being of which we have experience. Their output by ourselves and their recognition in others are fraught with a special feeling, as is the case with all modes

i M. Ernest uses the word "abandon" in two apparently opposite senses. Noel et ChapsaPs Dictionary defines "abandon": "oublI6 de soi, resignation & la volonte* de quelqu'un, confiance entire, n6gligence aimable dans le style, dans les manures, dans le maintien."

  • The same thing is said by Lucien: "Mais toute musique ne revient pas

dans mon souvenir, avec I* accent d'une Emotion humaine, si nous prenons ce mot demotion en sens fort, comme fathe'tique, douloureuse, etc. Telle musique n'e'veil- lera en moi qu'un sentiment de grdce, de vie facile et heureuse, ou me laissera sous le charme d* une pens fa ingtnieuse . . . ."


EMOTION OF MUSIC 89

of being ; moreover, where art is concerned, with a feeling heightened by aesthetic sympathy (or, if you prefer, aesthetic mimicry) which may mean participation. In short, strength, grace, abandon awaken in the beholder or hearer just some of those emotional conditions of which M. Ernest told us that though music evoked them "we had no names for them because they were not noticeable in human life."

M. Ernest's telling us that these characteristics can con stitute something, "en quelque sorte exterieure" (which I translate objective] means that he does not refer any of this to his own person (or a person made in his image like his "Beethoven") ; and such externalising or objectifying (projecting outwards) is part of all complete aesthetic absorption, as we shall see when we deal with Contemplation, and shall recognise negatively when we come to reference to oneself which is one of the lapses in aesthetic attention.

Now what M. Ernest calls a c 'judgment' ' is in reality an emotional state of just such an impersonal, such an objec tifying kind, as is proved by his remarkable postscript: "J'ai eprouve qu'apres une composition qui presente ces qualites A un degre eminent, il rfest pas bon d'entendre sans intervalle certaines senates p.e. de Beethoven dont la valeur est d'un tout autre ordre"

What does that mean? Surely that whereas the Beethoven composition had the human expression which M. Ernest describes with evident deep sympathy, these other com positions "of quite another order/' contrapuntal or "in the organ style" (which may mean, by his other divinity, Bach) are able, by dint of their character of mere force, grace, abandon and similar qualities not exclusively human, to give M. Ernest an emotion he has never alluded to, perhaps because it has no name in our vocabulary, but which is nevertheless of supreme value. And is not this just what so many other "Listeners" have preferred so unquestion- ingly to any human emotion which music might give? 1

  • Cf. answers on p. 54 et seq.


go MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

II

So we are back again at the "Emotion of Music/' the emotion sui generis, when music remains "just music/ 5 before any "complications" or "entanglements/ 3 "streak- ings and veinings" with human emotion dawned upon, or were remembered by our puzzled Answerers,

M. Ernest's reference to "power/' "grace/' abandon" awakening in him an emotional response wherein he recog nised no human characteristic but which he nevertheless frequently preferred to a more human one 1 this paradoxical remark of his is going to open a new track, as paradoxes should, in our, alas, labyrinthine enquiries. I wish, there fore, that the Reader should bear it in mind, and be pre pared for its reappearance.

But first I must deal with the temptation which may beset the Reader as it has often beset myself, to regard the special emotion unintentionally admitted by M. Ernest, this "Emotion of Music," as a composite, a fusion, of some of those human emotions with which often rather reluc tantly, certain of my thorough-paced "Listeners" have admitted that "Emotion of Music" to be "veined" or "streaked."

Now what has made me a prey to this particular explana tory temptation has been more than the mere "veining" and "streaking" admitted by those Answerers. There has been recognition of a fact which, though perpetually obtruded upon myself, has not been explicitly noticed by others. I have therefore to speak for, and of, myself in this matter. Although myself essentially a "Listener" and nothing but a "Listener," for I am utterly bored after a very few moments of mere "hearing," I am distinctly susceptible to the presence of human emotion in music, and am always aware in each case of its particular human

1 M. Paulhan also speaks of the aesthetic musical emotion as "specific," See p. 63.


HUMAN EMOTION IN MUSIC 9*

character as well as of its attraction or repulsion for myself. Being so constituted, I have become acutely aware that certain kinds of music, consisting like Mozart's chamber and symphonic compositions and a good deal (especially earlier and latest) of Beethoven's, present frequent and rapid alternations of phrases, and in so far alternations also of what I call "human expression." Of this the Mozartian rondo form, as in the last movement of the C minor string Quintet, is an extreme example, with its alternation of intense sadness (as of the bugles at sunset in a foreign town "lo di cKhan detto ai dolci amid addio") with a dancing light- heartedness which at last is no longer light-hearted but frenzied. Should the Reader not agree to my account of the alternating expression contained in this particular piece, he will only confirm my belief that the human expressiveness is to some extent an individual matter, depending upon what I can only call "being tuned to" one style or even one master, the various expressions being to some extent subject to such initial "tuning" or selective responsiveness: the gloom of Beethoven becoming gloomier (even disagreeably gloomier) to persons "tuned" to Mozart ; and the poignancy these feel in Mozart being unperceived by Listeners of predominantly Beethovenist complexion. 1 This fact I have long been familiar with, although it seems to escape most writers on music. And it has been in hopes of ascertaining how much in these appreciations is individual and how much general, that I attempted such collective (and com parative) experiments as will be set forth in a subsequent chapter. In the present connection, it suffices to say that they showed a preponderance of consensus (often camou flaged in metaphorical and dramatic forms) about the expressive character of given musical phrases ; but showed also that an alternation or combination of various kinds of phrase baffled all description of the piece as a whole or

  • The reader may substantiate this assertion by turning at once to one

of the last chapters, "De Gustibus"


92 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

resulted in the application to that whole piece of emotional adjectives applicable to only one of its parts. 1 Or again resulted in the confused summing up of successive human emotions, neutralising one another in the general pleasur- ableness of listening, and calling it the "Emotion of Music. 55 My own experience and my collective experiments led me to attach particular importance to the second of these two results, i.e. the frequent difficulty of verbally specifying what a piece of music expresses. Is it not probable, I said to myself, that this blending or confusion which I can thus recognise occasionally on a large and coarse scale, might be revealed on a scale incomparably minute if I could apply a sufficiently powerful analytical lens to music and our responses to music? And might not that mysterious "Emo tion of Music" turn out to be just such a mosaic of barely distinguishable (or indistinguishable) human emotions, in the same way that the general effect of a highly complex poem like Browning's Toccata of Galufpi is the sum total of its many and varied incidents and metaphors ?* This ex planation must be remarkably plausible to have returned so often to my mind. So lest it should tempt any of my Readers, indeed, perhaps tempt myself again, let me show why it is, and must be erroneous. And for the time being, let the Reader accept me as the only Answerer, as well as the sole asker of this question.

1 We shall see how this latter process accounts for some of the pictorial illustrations of music, e.g. those of the Answerer I have called Pictrix. a A highly musically cultivated Answerer (Philip), who is indepen dently pursuing researches not unlike my own, speaks of the immediate effect of music as "based on a synthesis of innumerable affective and conative elements . . . it contains a great deal that is affective, partaking of a mixture of intense sadness and joy simultaneously, i.e. what is commonly termed mysticism"; cf. also Anonymous : "It is the complex rlsumi of all the mysterious and unanalysable elements which constitute the beauty of all works of art"


EMOTION OF MUSIC 93

III

The first reasons against regarding the "Emotion of Music 55 as a mosaic of dovetailing, overlapping, telescoping emotions of the human kind, each doubtless altering its neighbour like juxtaposed colours, is that the movements embodied in music are by no means all of them "Ancestors of Emotion," if by emotion we mean those which (according to M. Ernest's formula) occur in the vicissitudes of human life and are therefore provided with human appellations such as joy, grief, hope, fear, etc. Or rather: if there enter into music, and account for its human expressiveness, "Ancestors of Emotion," these Ancestors (like all ancestors, themselves descendants) are also ancestors of something else besides human emotions; namely mere movements as such, and with all movement, various modalities. The movements (I must return to the word and the notion), the true Schematic movements, embodied in music's patterns are what has been deposited in our memory, bred into our automatism, by all the changes of posture which Mankind has ever made, and along with them the various modes in which they can be executed: swift, slow, lightly, ponderously, with all degrees of effort or facility, of stress or slur. In fact, as I said before, those ancestors are the infinitive of verbs along with their adverbs. The mere marks on a sheet of music- paper will show even the ignoramus incapable of trans lating them into sounds, that these signs denote motion upwards, downwards, slow or quiet; and that the motion is across spaces which are some of them narrow and some of them wide ; and that the steps of the movements require all degrees of time, that the motion may proceed by rapid leaps and bounds or drag or pause (in the very same bar) as if it had come to a stop. And what we see in this page of music (whether or not we be able to translate it into sounds) is the counterpart of the movements and modes of move ment; it is something like their charts, their graphic tracks,


94 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

which are perceptible to the ear when those written notes

are turned into played or sung ones.

Now such varieties of movements and modes of move ment (verbs and adverbs) thus embodied in music, thus prescribed in the score, are as "C. A. T." told us, "An cestors of human emotion" when they happen to occur in such manner as to coincide with (as M, Ernest said) the attitude, the bearing, the gesture which result from such emotions, moods as are occasioned by the vicissitudes of our life as human beings. But such a coincidence is only occasional. And when there is no such coincidence with our emotional attitudes and gestures there is no suggestion, no evocation of those feelings for which, as M. Ernest says, we happen to have names. The ancestors may be ancestors (and descendants) merely of movements with which we are intimately familiar because we are making them all the time ourselves, because we recognise them in other creatures and attribute them (speaking of mechanical movements, of attraction, repulsion, etc) to inanimates. Now the various verbs and adverbs, so to speak, of such mere varieties of motion are extremely interesting to us human beings ; they are probably the most dominant items, except pleasure and discomfort, which can enter our consciousness from within ; and they are more interesting and invariable than the sensations from without which may call them forth in us. Mere movements and the general states (coenesthesia) con nected therewith are life-enhancing and agreeable, or devitalising and disagreeable in our actual experience, hence agreeable or disagreeable, hence above all, inter esting to watch or think about. And under no conditions, at least to persons musically endowed, are such modes of movement brought so distinctly before our mind or so delightfully to our senses, as in the act of listening to, fol lowing a piece of music, taking in, as that "Listener" said, "the notes and all their relations," not in pace and stress only, but in tonal kinship and neighbourhood. So, while


EMOTION OF MUSIC 95

the suggestion of human emotional conditions is a question of coincidence by no means inevitable and constant, the suggestion of modes of movement merely as such takes up more than half of musical attention; it is essential and perpetual and intensified by all the other appeals (har mony, timbre, sonority), immensely enhanced by pace and rhythm, which, setting up actual or incipient muscular mimicry, are probably music's strongest bodily appeal. But even when the movements incorporated in musical phrases happen to coincide with those of our human experi ence, and happen to be combined in such a manner as to enhance rather than neutralise one another, even in the most monotonous and dreary Adagio, their total effect will be contradicted and corrected by the emotion of pleasure at something beautiful, the "triumphant effect" as one Answerer calls it "of beauty." 1 For music is music. That is why the psychological lens, however supernaturally power ful, would not reveal it to be a mosaic of human emotions nor even a juxtaposition of Leitmotivs, each standing for a human personality or a human episode. Music, however strong its human suggestion may happen to be, is artistic pattern and acts as a unity. Its constituent elements, how ever dominant, however overpowering one of them may be, are not independent and juxtaposed, but are combined in such a manner, in such mutual action and reaction, that what we perceive is something new, unprecedented and sui generis: "not a fourth sound but a star."

And since I have quoted those verses of Browning's which are, methinks, the least inadequate literary description of the miraculous creativeness of music, let me quote him

  • BESSIE: "One could never say that one piece of music was a symbol of one

definite emotion. The 'Moonlight Sonata' may even seem a little thin and poor from having a single emotion ...lean only say that the musical emotion is shot with human emotion" J9

LEWIS says "the very fact of musical enjoyment 93 puts him in "another mood.^ BENJAMIN says "the musical interest gets between" him and "human partici pation."


96 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

again, but this time to say that we must not take even his descriptions literally; all "sevenths" are not "commisera ting" like those in his Toccata of Galuppi, still less are all dominants "persistent," symbols per se of determined will or of relentless fate. Sevenths, dominants, intervals, modula tions, rhythms of all kinds are details whose effect depends upon other details, upon what has come before and what will come after, and upon the whole into which the already known and the unexpected is forming in our mind. And if, in virtue of this play of recollection and expectation, one might call this (as indeed I have called it) a drama, then it is a drama whose dramatis personae are musical notes acting and reacting in musical relations, a drama whose episodes and whose plot are musical. In fact it is, for those who take in its wholeness, so much music, with music's specific (just because so complex and so novel) appeal. Nay, not music merely, but this or that piece of music with its individual character and individual fascination.

In saying "for those who take in its wholeness," I have, of course, returned to my initial differentiation between "Listeners" and "Hearers." I have moreover approached the most cogent reason for refusing to regard the "Emotion of Music" as a composite of the human emotions which music can evoke. Since the "Emotion of Music," as testified to by "Listeners," implies, requires, and calls forth an essentially different, a special psychic attitude in those who are feeling it. Namely the attitude, the state of Contemplation, or at all events of aesthetic contemplation.

The following chapter will give evidence that the "Emo tion of Music," the emotion sui generis or of "just music," really does exist, as said by Barbara (who apparently knows no otfier) "on a totally different plane."


CHAPTER VII

AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION ("HIGHER PLANES")

As ALREADY remarked in introducing the question of those human emotions which some Answerers allege, while others deny, to be discernible in music, this question is frequently disposed of by the assertion that music "is on a different plane"; "on a totally different plane." The formula is rein forced by that intransigent "Listener" and nothing but "Listener," Barbara, who adds that the emotion dealt in by music is not human emotion but only "its counterpart" (cf. "C. A. TVs" "Ancestors") "on a totally different plane."

In the opinion of nearly all "Listeners" and even a majority of the "Hearers" who touch on this point, the different plane is also a higher plane. 1 Even when the word "higher" does not occur, the idea is implied in the trans cendental, mystical, often downright religious character of "Meaning" or "Message" which so many Answerers, though more frequently "Hearers" than "Listeners," attribute to music. And it is only just less evident in the continual insistence of nearly all "Listeners" and a large proportion of "Hearers," that for them music acts as a liberation of the spirit, a refreshment, a purification, a renovation, a spiritual bath, a journey into tremendous and mysterious

1 Nowadays, but by no means in the past. Even the eighteenth century, whose music was so far less emotional and so far less sensorially developed than ours, is haunted by the notion that music can and does stimulate the lower passions and thus constitutes a moral danger. Perhaps this notion was taken over, without further analysis, from classical anti quity, which was still regarded as omniscient. All this has changed. My query on the point in the majority of cases, is answered negatively, even with reference to Wagner, the alleged immoral tendency of whose music is usually set down by musical Answerers as peculiar to neurasthenics or to the unmusical. And even with this proviso is usually admitted by "Hearers" rather than "Listeners."


9 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

regions, or more modestly, something akin to a day in the country. And some of these Answerers would doubtless concur in the words of one of them, that music often seems a vox Dei. 1 -

1 LUCIEN : "// s'agit moins dans mon cos, en gtnlral, d'une Emotion de la vie, on m$me d'une signification au deld, que d'un plaisir special, propre d la musique, plaisir ires deve, d'ailleurs, sorte d'jtat de contemplation active, impossible d analyser, queje dlfinirais en gros comme une sublimation de moi, un allegement de I'Stre, une monte'e vers des regions inconnues, calmes et sereines, oil le tumulte des passions ne gronde que pour y trouver Vapaisement; avec Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, au plus haut degre"

BESSIE: "Music makes me feel much bigger. One can't contain oneself. It makes me twice everything. It seems to open doors. It*s tiring in the sense that it makes everything more interesting. It's moral in the sense that it makes one less of a beast. It's a great backer~up."

COUNTESS SOPHIE: Music "permanently raises the spirits and gives confi dence that the general trend of events is towards good. . . . It evokes images inter mittently people and their fate, wars, grand events, crowds. It touches chiefly on moral questions and emotions. It seems to enclose all things and bring them in connection with each other" She always has the distinct impression of a moral influence reaching down "from a higher, happier sphere." The "best" of her being is "vivified."

WATSON: " . . . (it may] actually reveal some quicK\glance into things outside our ordinary mortal ken. Rossetti in his sonnet the 'Monobhord' had an inkling of this. . . . / have a notion that some music may at moments bring a part of our subconscious self into light and so express the inexpressible."

K,S. : "Music is life; the life of the inner world's 'indescribable glimpses' of cosmic grandeur, vastness and beauty."

ANONYMOUS : "Music uplifts. It implies and covers everything I know of in life if one can have one's inner eyes opened by grace to see and the ears of one's soul opened.' 3

GASK : "Music nearly always cheers and soothes. It seems to open the gates of Heaven. It seems to belong to all that is deepest and greatest in the universe. Often it comes as a 'vox Dei. 9 "

ROWLEY: "Life seems more spiritual, and material things of less account. I find it raises the mind to a higher plane. It leads our thoughts to higher and wider planes"

ADELA: "The highest draws me up into an atmosphere above time, place and circumstance, and all the smallnesses of life," etc.

"AMERICAN MUSICIAN": "The pure impersonal emotion of a cosmic quality which music brings takes me to a plane of perfection seldom realised in ordinary life but touched in great moments. My enjoyment is attended by the keenest inward exaltation, a sort of sharpening to a point of the whole emotional, intellectual and spiritual consciousness. The emotion seems to be akin to the general emotion that


"HIGHER PLANES'* 99

But before asking why this "plane" should be so con stantly described as "higher/ 5 we require to understand why music should be regarded as on a plane different from that of ordinary human experience ; indeed, why this talk of a "plane"? This use of the word "plane," although due to the same tendency to think of everything in our most familiar terms of seeing and doing, is a metaphor not entirely unlike that which has furnished a musical space for notes to move in and wherein to establish their relations. For the "different," the "higher," plane thus mentioned by our Answerers is not objective : what enters into it is not something we see or hear, but something we feel. This which enters, is indeed the feeling portion of our own nature; and if music is described as being on that "plane," it is because under music's influence we have found our selves in a spiritual condition unlike that of our ordinary life. The manner in which the "entering" into these "re gions" is governed by the pronoun / or we, leaves no doubt that what is meant is some change in our own feelings induced by the music; a change which, however difficult to describe save in mystical paraphrases, and however impossible as yet to define in our imperfect psychological language, is a question of direct intuition: we know it because we experience it; and we know also that it is fraught not with strangeness only, but with importance. This different, to which is usually added "higher," plane on to which we are introduced by music, is really of great importance, being not only a psychological reality, by which

may be aroused by beauty in any of the arts, or in nature, or in heroic and sublime human action."

EMILIA: "Music vivifies the spiritual centres"

MINNA: "My enjoyment is of the nature of happiness lifting me out of my surroundings."

FERNANDE: " Music gives serenity, relief from cares; calms and equilibrises. . , . Deprives me of a sense of physical existence; I have a feeling of 'Invitation int&ieure.' "

ISABELLA: It isn't very often that life gives such emotion as for instance a Mozart piece Music sets one right with the juorld, sets one in perspective ."


ioo MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

I mean an undeniable phenomenon of our inner life, but one of the real manners in which our inner life is carried on.

For it is the plane of Contemplation. Of which, in default of such scientific studies as are at present barely beginning, I can only say that it is such a combination or interplay of our perceptions, our memories and our emotions as is different from, indeed opposed to, their combination and interplay in practical life.

But Contemplation, and especially aesthetic, and more especially musical, Contemplation must not by a false analogy with certain phases of mystical experience be thought of as anything like a trance, a deliquescence of the intellect: 1 there is no being "blinded by excess of light," no excess of light turning into darkness. The contemplation I am dealing with is to the highest degree lucid ; and if the field of intellectual vision is closed on several sides, this is because the inner relations constituting the contemplated object let us quote M. Ernest and say "the notes and all their relations" which make up the piece of music are engrossing attention. They are withdrawing attention from the dif- fluence, the continual change, in our environment and continual adjustments of our activities thereunto, which constitutes ordinary life and its necessary practice. Since in ordinary life, we are perpetually on the move, living into the next moment, flying from the present into the future, aiming and avoiding ; and of the many present impressions offered us by outer things, the many past impressions stored up by our memory, noticing, picking up, only those required by our own adjustments, by our behaviour, without which adjustments we should perish. But supposing we have made all the necessary adjustments, attended to just as much or just as little, as is required for our survival, supposing our

1 Except possibly with purely passive "Hearers," those I shall call "Cecilians," under the overwhelming influence of the mainly sen- sorial elements of music, for even the "Dionysiacs" seem, in my chief examples (Professor Paul and "Master Hugues") to be "Listeners." And it is only with "Listeners" that I am so far dealing.


AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION 101

intellect and our feelings and recollections have worked in this practical order for this purpose, there will, or may, if our energies are undiminished, happen a certain reversal of these processes ; or rather a re-setting of our human faculties in a different manner : we no longer adjust, we no longer perceive what has to be adjusted, and we no longer aim or avoid : we just become aware, and more and more aware. We step off the everyday movement from past to future, only to step on a movement of more and more full ness and clearness, so to speak, of the present. . . . We are as active as ever, indeed could activity of mind and feeling be measured, perhaps more active, but it is with an activity which produces only similar activity, perception which heightens perception, feeling which increases feeling. The outer world remains unaltered, only the inner world, that which it may be convenient to call the soul, has grown. This is the mysterious, but in no way mystical, process, the other possible gearing of our spiritual life, the process of our spiritual mechanism (the mechanism inferred but not seen) renewing itself, which is what I mean by Contemplation. And which, whatever guesses future psychology may make concerning its precise nature, 1 is alluded to by my Answerers, and by many other witnesses scattered throughout literature, when they speak of music transporting them on to "another plane of existence."

Now the ordinary plane of existence is felt by many persons, and especially by those constitutionally capable of contemplative activities, as often demanding an effort which leads to another effort or else as a treadmill of routine. Not 'to speak of these unceasing adjustments to things and to neighbours being very frequently accompanied by disappointment, hurry, and all manner of dull or acute pain, and the particular weariness which denies all meaning

1 "Especially, perhaps, in relation to the memory-schemata and those Einstellungen or preparatory attitudes which are beginning to be studied by psychologists.


102 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

in life. These dangers are naturally absent in the state of contemplation, hence the sense of having entered into a spiritual asylum, a region where the world's troubles cease to pursue. Not its troubles only, but, as many Answerers indirectly testify, the world's trivialities, Browning's "end less talk of maids and men such men!" and the mean nesses which our perpetual adaptation to the world's de mands and its threats involves us in. Besides, in many cases, there are excluded from the regions of contemplation all those feelings of envy and uncharitableness, all those lusts of the flesh or of dominion, which, however much real existence inspires them, are theoretically discouraged by sound morality as base or unclean. It seems likely, moreover, that while so much of our individual and social life seems silly or cruel, all contemplative activity which concentrates attention upon what is not ourself nor subservient or detri mental to ourself (or that other self our neighbour) but upon the qualities and relations of some otherness is such as our moral judgment selects and fosters, or at all events, like loving "not wisely but too well," sympathetically con dones. These exclusions and inclusions result in the plane of contemplation being felt to be a sanctuary, a region of purification as well as of peacefulness. A good deal of what we have recognised as unworthy of that superior ego of ours is stripped away, and, owing to what Karl Groos calls the "mind's monarchical constitution," 1 it is not only discarded, but replaced in our consciousness by such "other emotions" as, according to an Answerer I have called Watson, are "naturally allied to the emotion of great beauty" ; a psychological fact expressed in M. Paulhan's description of these dis cernible human emotions being, if not always dominating in his own life, at least as such as "je voudrais voir dominer"

Indeed it may be more than a coincidence which made the Greeks regard their God of sunlight and of poetry as the divinity who cured the body and (even in the naif 1 Karl Groos, Der aesthetische Genus, Giessen, 1902.


AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION 103

manner depicted on the vase, of Orestes being purified by Apollo) also the mind from pollution.

I have tried to identify the "different plane/' the higher regions, spoken of by my Answerers with the contemplative activity or rather the contemplative interplay of our activi ties. That contemplation (which, to my thinking, can exist as soon as attention is freed from the adjustments of person ality and fixed upon abstract or at least impersonal rela tions) can be connected with religion, art, philosophy, science and even so humble a kind of experience as I have symbolised as the Genius Loci. Let us consider a few reasons why, at all events in modern times and in the case of those who are more "Listeners" than "Hearers," music should seem a field of contemplative activities which is felt to be particularly segregated from ordinary life, and describes as a "totally different plane," a higher, a mysterious, indeed as one Answerer, "The Violinist," calls it, a "tremendous" region. 1

That the plane of music should be particularly different and in a way more separate from ordinary experience is natural when we remember that music has no prototype in nature, and nothing to be recognised (as with painting or sculpture) as an objective "original" ; the very notes and their relations being, so to speak, an invention, and an extremely recent invention, of mankind. Indeed, there is a pleasant or tremendous irony to be found in the fact that just that art which is so utterly and completely the work of man, should be the one most habitually regarded as a vox Dei; so true it is, that mankind's own mind and feeling are mankind's most sublime object of contemplation ! 1 Let me also recall the answer of Herbert: "It seems to me that music is the chief, as it is the most universal form of the aesthetic emotion" and that of Watson, going deeper into the subject "The sense of great beauty is, so to speak, an emotion of itself and allied often to the other emotions." See also extracts from Answers in footnote to Chapter VII, p. 98, and following reference in answer of "Boulevard Malesherbes" to "a special profound emotion which would make me realise the existence of the soul if I had no other reason for believing in it," Chapter III, p. 50.


104 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

But musical contemplation is a (I will not say the] con templation par excellence for another reason,, namely that greater length and steadiness and concentration of attention are required to "get the hang 53 of a piece of music than to perceive, and even carry away the memory-image of a visible object. 1 Whereas a picture or an aspect of "nature" remain and can be returned to, their images often being made up of separate superposed acts of seeing, a piece of music goes on, and if you do not follow it, you are apt to find and sometimes even not to find that (as one of the best inattentive Answerers, Flora, puts it) you have slipped several bars, which although some "Hearers 55 are not aware of a loss, is considered by "Listeners 55 as the unfor tunate effect of fatigue or lack of familiarity. * Neither is this the whole of the group of reasons placing music on "a totally different plane." Music is not only, as our dealings with "Listeners 55 might have seemed to imply, a combined sequence of notes and their relations, requiring to be followed with a concentrated special kind of active attention. Music has another possibility; it can appeal, enclose, overwhelm the passive "Hearer" without any act of attention. And although this power of Music as pace, volume and clang, imposing themselves willy-nilly on the senses and the "nerves," cannot be discussed till we can do justice to it in a section on the Powers of Sound, yet it is necessary to mention it in this place because even the most concentrated "Listener 55 is in the grip of these powers. Also, because the sense of music being not only listened to but imposing itself by its sensorial appeal, undoubtedly conspires to give musical contemplation its character of being on a different plane.

But if I recollect my previous Chapters (and I confess to having written and re-written till I scarcely remember my way) I think that I entered on this question of contempla-

1 Kiilpe's Wiirzburg Experiments, see Beauty and Ugliness, by Vernon Lee and C. Anstruther Thomson, p. 148. * See Chapter II, p. 46.


THE PLANE OF CONTEMPLATION 105

tion because the bare fact of contemplation, any kind of contemplation, in freeing and renovating us after the pains and fusses of practical life, this essential virtue of contem plation as such, must be added to everything else in order to understand the "Emotion of Music, 35 the "greatest happiness," which true "Listeners" can get from music without human admixture or "meaning" or "message," and, in the words of my Questionnaires, as "just music. 9 '

The truest words about music seem (at times at least) the initial ones of Schubert's Du Holde Kunst, which, with their divine notes, I find quoted at the top of R. Rolland's Fin du Voyage.

But is this not an illusion of music's prestige? Is it only music, only art and poetry, only (let me add) religion, which acts thus consolingly because it affords the sanctuary of contemplation? May not the same invocation be ad dressed to every impersonal interest engrossing one's mind. Even to dry scientific questions so long as they are not treated polemically, even to the very enquiries we are at present engaged upon, even, may I say, to this Question naire and what it represents? It takes no Kunst, no music, not even the superhuman powers invoked by Wordsworth or Shelley, to release and purify, to give back one's strength and make one feel free and entire, no longer cabined and cramped into a wretched corner of one's own here and now, maimed and soiled by its contacts. The main difference, I have long suspected, is not between aesthetic, poetic, and other kinds of contemplation ; rather between contemplation as such and the feelings of struggle and pursuit, the feeling of how else describe it? of one's person as the active centre of all things. Other kinds of contemplation can restore and purify and trace our energies. But what we call the beautiful, and especially music, meets us half-way. That Du Holde Kunst takes us by the hand and leads us to the sanctuary, to the hortus inclusus which we might never attain unaided. Nor is this to be wondered at : for we may be very


io6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

weak and our small powers worn by life's adjustments and repressions, while that which meets us thus half-way is, after all, the power of individual genius and the overflow of the stored genius of great races.

I trust that the foregoing, theoretical examination may have, familiarised the Reader with the psychological fact thatf musical attention tends to the condition of contempla- tion,\thus accounting for the belief in music existing on a "totally different" or "higher" plane than that of what we call our real life and real feelings. For much of the following will be a study of the ways in which such musical contem plation is interfered with, often impoverished and sometimes immensely enriched, by mental and emotional habits belonging to our non-contemplative life, our life on the plane, shall we say, of behaviour and everything connected therewith. Many persons will deprecate, almost resent as profanation, any attempt to explain why we feel music as something mysteriously above us. To these I would answer that, if that feeling is genuine, it will not vanish in the face of explanations. Nay rather, that round our little heap of whys and wherefores, often so prosaic, so trifling at first sight, there will close and brood once more the sense of the im measurable, inexplicable greatness and wonder of this Art which we can measure only against the everyday life of ourselves who seek to explain it.


CHAPTER VIII ACTIVE AND PASSIVE ATTENTION

A PSYCHOLOGICAL P.S.

THE READER who is versed in psychology (and I am writing mainly for that very rare creature) and the still rarer Reader whom this book desires to introduce to psycho logical aesthetics, should not be satisfied with the Chapter in which I have endeavoured to enumerate the various processes evidently involved in that following "the notes and all their relations" which M. Ernest regards as the sine qua non of real listening to music.

Underneath these obvious, perhaps too obvious facts, there is a set of other ones less evident, less generally ad mitted, indeed involved in considerable darkness, but which out of their puzzling and sometimes paradoxical obscurity, give rise to certain distinctions necessary to master before we can pass on from the comparatively simple and uniform phenomena of thorough-paced "Listeners" (or more cor rectly thorough-paced "Listening") to the complex mani festations associated with mere "Hearing" of music.

First and most essential is the difference which can be summed up by saying that whereas "listening" to music is eminently active, "hearing" (or what I shall continue to call "hearing") music is, in so far as merely hearing, com paratively passive. The quotations in Chapter II have shown that "Listeners" are frequently aware of this dis tinction, and are aware that "sitting up to music" involves greater activity than what Leo called "lounging," indeed, that such activity may fail on occasion or be intermittent with the result of "hearing only a confused mass of sound." They are able to tell us the difference between listening in the sense of attending much and that other condition, which


io8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

I have called "mere hearing/' in the sense of attending little, with the result of dropping sequences, divagating or day-dreaming. The references to feeling, "braced" in the one case (the "sitting up to music' 5 ) and "slack" in the other, show, moreover, that some of these Answerers add a more important distinction, even if vague and inexplicit, between "Listening" as something active and "Hearing" ("lounging to music," "being played upon by music"' as something passive.

And with this confirmation (summed up in Lucien's "etat de contemplation active") by our Answerers, I can leave them and the more superficial phenomena ; and dive down to what I accept as the best working hypothesis for psycho logical aesthetics, namely Wundt's division of all attention ("apperception") into "passive" and "active"; 1 both of these being convenient classifications rather than actually existing concrete realities. In other words, and whatever may have been the belief of Wundt himself in framing this distinction, I am applying it to our varieties of Musical Experience only as meaning on the one hand, "attention which is more active than passive" and, on the other, "attention which is more passive than active." But although I think it probable that the active and the passive conditions usually alternate or even coexist, even as I am convinced that there is usually some degree of "listening" in all "hear ing" of music and a necessary substratum of mere "hearing" in all "listening," yet it seems to me we must recognise an essential difference between two sorts of attention, in order to appreciate their different results; just as I shall show that very different effects are ascribed to music by the Answerers who can be classified as "Hearers" from the

1 Wundt, Physiologische Psychologic, Vol. Ill, 5th Edition, 1903.: "Die active (Aufmerksamkeit) ist daher im allgemeinen eine durch die Gesamtlage des Bewusstseins vorbereitet; die passive ist in der Regel eine unvorbereitete." Wundt further explains that active attention (his "Apperception") is accompanied by what he calls a "feeling of acti vity" ("Th&igfaitsgeftihl"). (English edition: G. Allen & Unwin, Ltd.)


ACTIVE AND PASSIVE ATTENTION 109

effects of which we have already been told by Answerers of the category of "Listeners." "Passive" and "active" must not for an instant be regarded as equivalent to the distinc tion (of which, more anon) between "unconscious" and "conscious." Passive attention can involve quite as much "awareness" as does active ; the difference is an item, what Wundt calls feeling of activity (Thatigkeitsgefuhl} which is added to that awareness, and which tells us, besides the quality and effects of whatever has offered itself to our attention, that we are going out to it, giving ourselves to, instead of being simply laid hold of by, whatever that perceived quality or effect may be. While such "active 55 awareness is essential to all "listening," to all "following" the pattern of the notes or "the thought of the composer," merely "passive" awareness is, as we shall see, at the bottom of all the power of musical sound as such, both upon what is spoken of as "the nerves" and upon our emotions and imagination: we are aware (often acutely or overwhelm ingly aware) of changes from silence to sound, from one quality of musical sound, or one pace of musical sound, to another, in the same way that we are aware of changes of temperature or of degree of light : as when we are plunged into a warm bath, met by a blast of cool air, or when we pass from the street into the dark enclosure of a Church ; we are aware of a change which is often felt as a change in us : something is being done to us, as distinguished from some thing being done by us; and unless what is done to us sets up a change in our own behaviour we feel ourselves to be passive, done to, not doing. Of course, physiological psychology teaches that, whenever we are conscious there is inevitably a reaction on the part of our bodily and cerebral organism, an activity of some sort; but this activity, physiological, mechanical, chemical as it may be, is one of which we are not aware as such, while we are aware of the something the scent, temperature, contact, etc., which we have been made to feel. Made to feel, been passive to. We are, in such


IIO MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

cases,- the grammatical "accusative 55 while the "nomina tive" of the making is the set of stimulations which we call an effect on our skin (a blow, pressure, a change in tempera ture) or on our eye or our ear. Our conscious self is passive moreover in more than the grammatical sense ; passive in the etymological sense of passion, endurance or suffering, for we are aware that what is being done to us is, to how ever slight a degree, pleasant and unpleasant, aware that, besides acquainting us with some external change, it is making us feel differently from how we felt before. This is eminently the case in hearing : we are aware not only of the sounds, but very often aware also that they have somehow, and for better or worse, changed our condition; most decidedly they have done something; soothed or irritated, overwhelmed or elated us. So much, roughly speaking, for the passive kind of attention which we shall call "hearing" ; it is attention which has been laid hold of from without and something done to it and to us. 1

It is no easy matter thus to describe the difference be tween such passive and active kinds of attention (or per ception Wundt's "apperception 9 ') ; because real experience does not tally with such distinctions : there is always, in real experience, something besides whatever we happen to be pointing out. Taking the description with this proviso, I must repeat that in the case of "listening," our attention is not merely being acted upon, it is acting. We are doing some thing: discriminating and correlating those various rela tions of the musical notes among themselves in the sense of relative pitch, and relative stress; we are (sometimes only after frequent efforts of attention) making out that the piece to which we are listening is so and so, that its phrases are proceeding in a particular way and building themselves up into a definitely moving pattern. But by one of the most paradoxical psychological facts, although, or apparently

i We shall find Answerers describing themselves as "played upon" rather than "played to," see p. 136.


ACTIVE AND PASSIVE ATTENTION in

just because all these activities are our own, the intense activity of our attention is so concentrated that instead of being aware of the various processes by which we have taken stock of these changing relations in pitch and in stress, as we might be if engaged in introspection, those activities of discrimination and correlation are not per ceived as going on in ourselves but are merged into what we are attending to, i.e. become the character, the quiddity of the particular piece of music, and thus until some of our activities begin to flag, and instead of the piece of music so clearly moving outside us, we notice a sense of difficulty or fatigue in ourselves. For one might say, if inclined to moral ising allegories, that (active attention is the most altruistic of all things, and that egoism begins with our incapacity for keeping it up.llndeed, I can imagine that at some distant stage of human development, the moralist will recommend us to think rather in terms of "it is 55 than in those of "I am." i

Before closing this chapter on the psychology of "Hearing" and "Listening," in which I have tried to identify the first as a case of Wundt's passive, and the second of his active, attention, I had better forestall a possible misconception.

Although I agree with Wundt that active attention is often accompanied by what he calls "a feeling of activity," and am quite ready for the recent view explaining such a "feeling of activity" by conditions of our motor or muscular system not unlike those originating the movements of our limbs, yet I want to insist that these processes and connec tions of processes may become conscious only in their absolutely transformed results, themselves remaining on the physiological plane.

I am glad to find corroboration in Prof. C. A. Strong's

1 See p. 199 ("Evocation of Past and Future") for egoism revealed in certain kinds of musical emotion and evocation, e.g. "Amie de Gabrielle." See also in Part II, Chapter II, the answer : "le moi qui inUresse davantage"


ii2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

opinion 1 that we do not normally cognise the acts consti tuting our cognitions, but only the datum or cognised what ever it may happen to be. And I am gladder still to be confirmed by Sir H. Head's clinical observations showing that the elementary discriminations, connections and eliminations implied in what we call mental life are repre sented in direct consciousness by their quite complex and dissimilar results, and can be inferred only by the absence or modification of those results in consequence of various cerebral and neural lesions. *

And now having glanced at the psychological or perhaps physiologico-psychical mysteries underlying the differences between "Hearing" and "Listening," we may go on to learn what can be told by "Hearers" and "Listeners" about their own experience, and, as before, deal with the informa tion conveyed by "Listeners" before turning to the tangle or kaleidoscope of assertions offered by "Hearers."

1 C. A. Strong, Origin of Consciousness) p. 36 : "Givenness or Conscious ness is not itself given." Professor Strong has reformulated this as: "In being conscious of anything we are not conscious of our consciousness."

  • The same applies to affective conditions: cf. Cellerier: "La Vie

affective secondaire," Revue Philosophique, November-December, 1927.


"CHANT INTfiRIEUR" A FOOTNOTE TO PSYCHOLOGICAL P.S.

To keep these contentions as clear as may be in the mind even of the psychological reader, I must relegate to a footnote a glimpse at possibilities even more obscure than the facts dealt with in the last. It concerns what the French call Chant InUrieur, about which I am unable to find the special studies which it deserves, and about which I am sorry not to have asked direct questions in my Questionnaires. For mistaken reasons which it is useless to go into, I had however asked point-blank whether my Answerers were aware of such sensations in the vocal and con nected parts as I have frequently observed in myself. To this I received some answers in the affirmative; moreover (and per haps more important) several answers from highly musical persons have spontaneously alluded to their habit of precisely such Chant IntSrieur, or, as some of them express it, habit of solfier inUrieurement. Whether or not accompanied by localised sensations, such a Chant Interieur evidently implies awareness of a performance on one's own part. Judging by myself, such an inner performance is constantly taking place whenever I am remem bering music, as is a daily occurrence, being haunted by music I already know. 1 Whether any such silent performance accom-

1 Du Manner's Peter Ibbetson, p, 94, refers to : "A kind of melodic malady, a singular obsession to which I am subject and which I will call unconscious musical cerebration. I am never without some tune running in my head, never for a moment, not that I am always aware of it; existence would be insupportable if I were. What part of my brain sings it, or rather in what part of my brain it sings itself, I cannot imagine: now it is one tune, now another; now a song without words, now with; sometimes it is near the surface, so to speak, and I am vaguely conscious of it as I read or work or talk or think; sometimes, to make sure it is there, I have to dive for it deep into myself, and I never fail to find it after a while and bring it up to the top. . . . Sometimes it intrudes itself so persistently as to become a nuisance, and the only way to get rid of it is to whistle or sing myself. . . I may be mentally reciting some beloved lyric . . . and the while, between the lines, this fiend of a sub-cerebral vocalist, like a wandering minstrel in a distant sphere, insists on singing. But this, at least, I will say for this never-still small voice of mine; its intonation is always perfect; it keeps ideal time and its quality, though rather thin and nasal and quite peculiar, is not unsympathetic. . . . But whose this small voice was I did not find out till many years later, FOR IT WAS NOT

MINE."

H


ii4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

panics the actual hearing of externally and existing music has defied my powers of self observation. Only I know (and some thing similar has been confirmed to me by others) that in the case of recognising music I seem very often to forestall the notes which are coming by such silent singing of them, with or without (for my attention, usually absorbed by what I am thus fore stalling, is removed from my own self), sensations in the vocal parts.

What is the nature of such a Chant Interieur? And is there a corresponding act of hearing or somehow becoming aware of this silent rehearsal? And in what relation does such silent per formance and inner hearing, hearing which, in most musical Answerers and even in some who are not very musical, is a hearing of harmonies, i.e. of something which these personal vocal parts could not produce? Is it implied in the act is it the act of following music? Is Wundt's Thdtigkeitsgefuhl wholly or partly due to such actual, though silent, performance on our part? What is the true nature of true listening; and still more mysterious, the nature of remembering or imagining music? Perhaps even if the analyses of clinical cases, where localised cerebral lesions accompanied disturbances of such a Chant Intirieur, eventually discover the underlying or concomitant physiological facts, perhaps even so the Chant InUrieur and its relation to perception, to memory and imagination of music, might remain mysterious. Be this as it may, let me suggest to psychologists that the nature of "listening," of active "following" of music, seems a riddle and a riddle beset by obscure paradox.


CHAPTER IX EPILOGUE TO "LISTENERS"


BEFORE PASSING on to the far more varied and complex phenomena connected with "hearing" as opposed to "listening," it is well to remind ourselves that the musical emotion described in the foregoing pages, the "just music" emotion about which "Listeners" unwillingly admit "com plications," "entanglements," "veinings" and "streakings" with more human feelings, this in short sui generis, musical emotion is dependent upon undivided attention.

This is implicit throughout most of the foregoing testi mony, sometimes even in a negative form, as when we are told that "the notes seem busy on their own account only when the music is what the programme calls 'intellectual music.' " It is explitictly remarked upon by several Answerers. Thus Prof. Marcel tells us that he experiences a musical emotion only when listening attentively, while, as I shall complete, only further on in our examinations, Bettina says "/ know sui generis (musical emotion). I believe it is always connected with attention and interest, the music being of a very high quality, but . . . less apt to awaken my human and physical emotions"

I will add the words of yet another Answerer, although I have reason to suspect her of having reinforced her own experience by applying to music the ultra-aesthetic theories of a school of painters. She finds music "bracing, cheering, delighting even when a sad intent can be recognised. Emotion becomes personal only when attention fags"

II

The Answerers whom I have grouped together, however roughly as "Listeners," are those in whom, although they


ii6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

admit to lapsing frequently into (sometimes never emerging from) the conditions of mere "hearing," the condition of attentive listening is preponderant and with it the domina tion of an all-satisfying and exclusive "Emotion of Music." Preponderant even if by no means unintermittent, for like most classifications this one is not water-tight, and just as all "Hearers" presumably do a certain amount of "listen ing," so most certainly all "Listeners" are occasionally unable (perhaps even unwilling) to do more than "hear" music. And similarly all or nearly all "Listeners" who deny recognition of, or participation in "human emotion" as a factor in their musical experience, can, we shall see, be brought to admit by the method of collective experiment, and when their attention is artificially set upon spotting "expressiveness," that such human expression is often to be discerned. But the distinctive feature of such "Listeners" is that they do not habitually recognise human emotion as essential to, or even merely "veining" or "streaking," the emotion they receive from music, and that they do not think of human emotion as what distinguishes one given piece of music from another, still less as what differentiates the completest musical interest and the finest music. Nay, they are apt to be keenly and contemptuously aware that the human emotional element is shared with utterly in ferior music and makes an appeal which they often resent as "cheap," what one of them expresses as "slopping over." Whether and in what degree "Listeners" (and still more "Hearers") recognise and respond to an affective (emotional) power of music is one of the chief subjects of my enquiry. And it has naturally led up to the underlying and more difficult question how music, i.e. patterns of successive and simultaneous notes, 1 comes by such capacity for suggesting and occasionally evoking (eliciting) the kind of feelings and moods produced by the vicissitudes and conditions of

1 This temporary definition applicable only to ' 'Listeners, " will be enlarged in the next chapter under the heading "The Powers of Sound."


EMOTION OF MUSIC 117

human life. Since that is what is implied by the "expressive ness" of music. Which question of "expressiveness" is gauged, confirmed or denied by asking whether a given piece of music (cf. M. Ernest and my Collective Experi ments) does or does not "express" any emotion or mood (in psychological language "affect"), definable as "human," e.g. joy, sorrow, resignation, anxiety, etc.

We have found that, in the case of absorbed "Listeners," such recognition is by no means always forthcoming, is often an afterthought; indeed, is apparently prevented by interest in the music itself. Nay, that the human emotion discoverable in a given piece of music is frequently hidden from the "Listener" by an affective condition sui generis, always absorbing and sometimes overwhelming. In other words the human emotion (or mood) even when ultimately discernible, is lost in what these "Listeners" know as an "Emotion of Music," an emotion due to music in general and to this or that piece of music in particular, an emotion of which we are repeatedly told that it is not given by the vicissitudes and conditions of real life.

Thus there has arisen the question what are the ingre dients of the "Emotion of Music," why should sequences and combinations of notes, unaided by words or titles, moreover unaided by association with the gestures appro priate to human emotion, why should "just music" be able to awaken and keep up an emotion sui generis sufficient to throw into the shade or neutralise an emotion of the human sort; even to cause indignant denial (Barbara) of real human emotion in connection with music?

This question I have done my best to answer by pointing out that the modes of motion embodied in all musical pattern are interesting, apart from their happening to coincide with and suggest the attitudes and gestures ex pressive of our feelings as human beings; movements merely as such which call forth our response because they belong to all our active life, all our striving, doing, resisting and to all


ii8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

the activities we attribute to animate creatures and even (since we can think in no other terms) to inanimate objects. It is these movements which we realise when we take in those relations between the various notes constituting a musical pattern or phrase, those ups and downs, attractions and repulsions, hastenings and delayings, etc., whose drama of activities constitutes the piece of music we are following, a drama which is so intricate, so intimate and so exciting as to make us forget the emotions which arise in the relations of mere human beings with one another.

The admissions about human emotions recognisable (how ever reluctantly) as "streaking" or "veining," as "compli cating" the emotion of music are not the only ones we have noticed on the part of our "Listeners." Frequently enough, the same persons who have denied anything beyond a purely musical interest, may be caught alluding to some thing like the presence in the music thus sufficient in itself, of something like a revelation, an oracle of transcendent, nay transcendental importance, and only the more so for the impossibility of translating it into intelligible terms.

This second self-contradiction in the testimony of "Lis teners" is, I think, explained by their sense of music existing on a higher plane ; the plane (as I have attempted to show) of contemplation, which as a psychological fact, excludes the familiar concerns of life, especially those seeming base, trivial or temporary, while it includes all "ideal" interests as consonant with aesthetic emotion ("allied to the sense of great beauty") and conducive to a state of consummate unalloyed happiness ; also because we hold "ideals" before us, making them objects of contemplation.

But while receiving, or rather expecting to receive, such transcendental messages when they have entered into this higher plane, these "tremendous regions" thus opened by music, the undivided musical attention of "Listeners" leaves them no leisure for questioning or questing into the nature of these transcendingly important messages, still less


EMOTION OF MUSIC 119

to translate them into words or visions, as we shall find to be the case with mere "Hearers." In short, it appears that both such "streakings and veinings" with human emotion and such vague expectations of superhuman messages are allowed no separate importance by the overmastering attention to the music, and thus, in the case of these "Lis teners" are absorbed and integrated in the "special" what I call the sui generis emotion produced by the music ; for them there is no reference to personal interests and emotions (these are excluded from that "higher plane" of contemplative activity) nor any interpretations which would imply a lapse in musical attention.

It is in the name of these "Listeners" that we have found the French novelist confessing his utter inability to define the emotion set up by music "except by the word musical" ; the Second Critic, further, asserting that "music is never so eloquent, etc."; and that other "Listener" answering that what interests and satisfies him is "the music." And now that we are, for the time being, taking leave of "Lis teners" and of what may have seemed their rather one sided and uninteresting mentality, and before finding com pensation for their dullness in the variety and oddity to be observed in the thoughts and feeling of "Hearers," let me repeat (not for the last time) that these classifications of mine are by no means water-tight; that all "Listeners," by their own confession, frequently relapse into the condition of mere "Hearers," and even of shockingly divagating "Hearers" ; while, with a very few exceptions, about which I feel doubtful, all "Hearers" are, to a greater or lesser extent, occasionally "Listeners." And that the value of this distinction lies in its making us understand that there are two chief manners of reacting to music, one in which music is the object of consummate interest and enjoyment, the other in which music is the starting point or accompaniment of a good many other interests and enjoyments.


PART II EMOTIONAL RESPONSES


CHAPTER I THE POWERS OF SOUND


IN THE foregoing chapters, I have frequently defined music as "patterns of successive and simultaneous notes."

This definition is far from covering the whole subject; Music is such a pattern only to those who can recognise it for such, and that depends upon the degree of attention and, also, of familiarity, for we do not recognise what we do not already, to some extent, know and even expect. There is evidence that to even the most accomplished musicians, the most attentive "Listeners," music of a very unfamiliar sort appears, at the first hearing, a chaos, out of which order and shape emerge on familiarity. And it is conceivable that to some "Hearers" the chaos may remain, more or less relieved with fragments of recognised pattern. Now the curious thing is that this which is not perceived as "patterns of successive and simultaneous notes," this ce chaos" yet remains "music" to those who hear it; perhaps the only sort of music of which some of them have, or care to have, experience. And what is more, that for them it has powers as great as any exerted over "Listeners" by their most thoroughly appreciated "patterns of successive and simul taneous notes" powers even greater at times, for to them respond just those human affections and individual memories and fancies which thorough and absorbed "listening" seems tp exclude or keep in the background.

That music can thus be and I believe it must originally always have been anything but such "patterns of suc cessive and simultaneous notes," indeed much more like that "chaos" we shall find described as sometimes preceding understanding on the part of "Listeners" and yet be music,


i2 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

is due to the fact that music embodies elements more powerful than itself; elements which are neutralised, tamed, sublimated in combination, and which resume their full, their primordial character and power when freed from order and pattern.

These general remarks introduce us to a part of my subject which I label in my mind "The Powers of Sound."


II


TONE-QUALITY AND VOLUME

Among the various elements making up this "Power of Sound" to which all of us, "Listeners" as much as "Hearers," are passively subjected, one of the most obvious is Timbre, what is best called by its German denomination Torifarbe, which I should like to call Clang, and which depends upon the overtones normally perceived only in combination. Most of my Readers will remember having been moved, their whole mood occasionally altered, by the mere "clang" quality of notes irrespective entirely of the melody those notes went to make up. Myself, for one, can be saddened, almost harrowed by the tones, in themselves perfectly juste, of an accordion, let alone of the old-fashioned barrel organ, also by certain rustic, somewhat nasal falsetto voices, similarly rich in overtones (also not quite in tune !) which occasionally rise in Italian fields. Such tone-quality could, in my youth, bring the tears very near my eyes, or could occasion (even at my present age) that uneasy sensation apparently about the diaphragm, which betokens sadness. We all know, indeed musical history has recorded, voices whose mere single notes were "pathetic." And the power for pathos of harps and reed-wind instruments (think of the horns in the yth Symphony!) has been exploited by all composers. Moreover, the nature of simultaneous musical


THE POWERS OF SOUND 125

sounds of chords, is very frequently perceived not as har monic relations with their inherent-modulatory tendencies, but as something just as unanalysed as the Timbre of single notes. 1

Thus the attraction (or the reverse) of tone-quality, whether it be the tone-quality of a single note of a single instrument, or the tone-quality of a chord whose con stituents have almost sunk to the condition of undiscrimi nated overtones, is something parallel in music to the fascination or repulsiveness of mere unharmonised colours in our visual experience. Such qualities may be correctly called sensorial: and the current description thereof as sensuous or even sensual, shows that most people recognise that the enjoyment of each note or colour taken singly is of the same sort, passive, usually transient and leaving few or imperfect memory-images, as that of a taste or a smell ; and like tastes and smells, tone-quality and colour-quality are less often called "beautiful 53 or "ugly" than "pleasant," "delicious" 2 or "horrible." Of an even more obviously sensorial nature is the quality of sound volume, or sonority; 3

1 Confirmed by E. J. Dent, Terpander, p. 92 : "From the point of view of acoustics, it is impossible to draw any clear distinction between what is perceived as a 'tone-colour 9 and what is perceived as a 'chord.' "

To this I would myself add, conformably to my remarks in Part I, Chapter II, p. 43, that of course the distinction is a mental one; a chord is perceived (when perceived, as a chord) to contain pushes towards resolution and to have originated from other chords : a chord is a bundle of modulating strains in the most literal sense ; it has future, or past, directions of change implicit in itself.

2 Lucien, a writer on aesthetics, says of Wagner: "La qualite 1 particuliere de son orchestre consists a produire une sorte de caresse sur la peau, molle et pro- longle, une caresse physique qui reste d'abord dilicieuse quoique en se prolongeant elleftnisse par provoquer une sorte de malaise."

3 In analysing the different manners in which music can affect him, M. Ernest speaks of "sonority's prolongees, longtemps reptiees> qui sont comme une couleur ttaUe; ou qui ont un valeur hypnotique de suggestion. Beethoven use fort souvent de sonorites prolongees: rappelez-vous de la transition qui succede au scherzo de la symphonic en ut mineur? C'est un murmure lointain et grandissant, mena$ant, coupS de frdmissements. C'est presque un bruit de la nature." (Other examples given, Berlioz and Saint-Saens.) With this M. Ernest


I2 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

we can often feel its resonance echoing through our bodies ; and I shall presently deal with an important (but very little noticed) characteristic of the "Powers of Sound," especially as volume, namely that of giving the impression that we are in, surrounded by, them. Moreover, timbre and sonority have not merely sensorial and emotional appeals which require no discrimination of relations, no active attention on our part, imposing themselves willy-nilly; they have, moreover, the special nature and prestige of being musical Unlike colour and light-and-shade, timbre has no prototype in nature save in the notes of a few birds and batrachians ; while the sonority of some natural sounds, thunder, wind, waters, is unlike its nearest musical imitation, inasmuch as not made up of tones but of noises. It is this fact of being arti ficial which differentiates the sound qualities appertaining to music ; since even the singing voice, such as we know it, is a man-made instrument, perhaps fashioned in imitation of instruments constructed of wood and strings. This fact of being artificial made on purpose, implies (except in instru ments intended, like motor-car hooters, to strike terror) being made to be agreeable, a selection to suit our wishes. And it is this purposive selection which differentiates contrasts the "beautfd'ordreformel" of a "pedal" of Bach's "des accords dont I'qffinitj harmonique s'tloigne d'abord, puis s'en rapproche." The latter evi dently require active perception, the discrimination of relations between the notes, in fact harmonic following. My friend, Mr. E. J. Dent, has kindly answered a query of mine about the historical position of the kind of "sonorities" described by M. Ernest as "presque un bruit de la nature." "/ suppose," writes Mr. Dent, "sonority, as you call it, must have played its part from the very beginning of music, as with the drums and gongs of primitive peoples; and Monteverde's tremolo is a conspicuous classic example. . . . As you say, Mozart is almost entirely free of it ... but it appears often . . , in Beethoven's sonatas and in some of the symphonies. I suppose the important dis tinction is between music in which the composer wants you to hear every single note and recognise it, and the music (such as Liszt's) in which the composer wants you not to distinguish the notes but to hear them as a roar and a rumble or a shimmering mist. Even in the most romantic things of Mozart, such as the statue scene in 'Don Giovanni' . . . I feel that he wants us to hear every note dearly."

I trust Mr. Dent may some day develop these important notions in book form, and meanwhile forgive me quoting from a private letter.


THE POWERS OF SOUND 127

musical sounds from other sounds, and gives them not only a special attractiveness but constitutes what I have alluded to as a "prestige." By which I mean that musical sound- quality and sound-volume belong to a realm separate from ordinary life and from surrounding "nature" ; they there fore appeal as something unfamiliar yet desirable, some thing in so far wonderful ; something indeed which since it is not a natural product yet answers to no practical purpose, rather supernatural, mysterious and vaguely godlike. Think of the quality of certain voices, of a single perfect note of a flute, an oboe or a 'cello, heard suddenly ! It seems to come from a well ! a higher plane. And think of the effect of the first, quite unanalysed, chords of a great organ as we enter a church. But of that more anon !


Ill


RHYTHM AND PAGE

So much for one half of what I want the Reader to think of as the Power (or rather Powers !) of Musical Sound. We must now consider another such power, and a greater one, a power not (like timbre and sonority) specifically musical, indeed fraught with the imperatives of all manner of associa tions of motion. I mean Rhythm to which I would add Pace.

It may have seemed odd that this should be a chief item in Barbara's very lucid enumeration of what, according to her, accounts for some of music's human-emotional effects, but which, as she emphatically puts it, "is not music." 1

But, at first sight, Rhythm does not seem on all fours with timbre and sonority, the sensorial deliciousness or sensorial impact of musical sound apart from musical

1 BARBARA: "Tou must distinguish from music the effects of rhythm like, e.g. drums; and the timbre of instruments, harps, bagpipes (which) can give the human physical emotion. BUT THAT ISN'T MUSIC. Music is written on paper; it is ... the intervals, etc. Bub those are intellectual, not sensual (sensorial) things*"


is8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

pattern. Tone-quality and tone-volume, just like colour and light or darkness, are readily recognised as sensorial, some people would say, sensuous or sensual, elements of music, and of the kind we submit to passively without an act of attention. Instead of which, rhythm (and pace) implies movement; movement implies activity, and is in so far presumably connected with that schematic motion which we have recognised as one of music's intellectual factors, i.e. requiring an output of attention. Moreover, rhythm very obviously enters into, often predominates over, those patterns of notes whose relations we follow. All that is obvious. But those patterns consist also and essentially of intervals and tonal relations, which the rhythm accentuates but does not create ; in fact, musical patterns (or phrases) embody not merely movements in time, but above all move ments in pitch, with its relationships and imperatives ; what we recognise as intervals, tonalities, and, as a consequence, modulations.

Now without such movement in pitch, rhythm is indeed not music (any more than colour or light or darkness is a picture) but merely an element of music like timbre or sonority; like them a factor, though no doubt one more integral, nay, more indispensable. To appreciate this we must get beyond or behind the appearance of rhythm im plying activity. It does so undoubtedly, but the kind of activity is the very opposite to the activity necessary to follow the relations of notes and intervals, the modulations of musical phrases. That activity is of our mind : we follow the pattern of notes with the activity of attention. Whereas we follow a rhythm with our limbs ; and after the first go off, with our limbs only, for its arrangement of longs and shorts, strongs and weaks, when divorced from relations in pitch, induces a repetitive and automatic process requiring no attention save when it changes. 1 We march, trot, balance,

1 There remains the paradoxical mystery of inner imitation in the process by which we learn by heart. It does not seem to be conscious, yet it can


RHYTHM AND PACE 129

dance to a rhythm, but we do not follow it in the musical sense; since musical following is the active realisation of various, varied and complex relations in pitch as well as in time. I have frequently compared it to following a drama. It may also be compared with an exploration, but an explo ration of, as well as of what already is there, what is going to be there. Following music means following what is not only complex, but changing and developing, hence demand ing perpetually shifting attention. Instead of calling forth such mental activity, rhythm as such (i.e. divorced from pitch-intervals) appeals primarily to the body, with an imperative only the greater for its being or speedily be coming, automatic; an imperative to which we are passive. 1 Indeed I am tempted to add that we are never more passive than when thus constrained to move our limbs and even to move from one position to another by this compulsion of rhythm and pace :* do we not all of us know the difficulty of walking while a waltz is being played, the next to im possibility of walking at a different step from the beat of a drum? And since I have mentioned the Drum, of all the least musical (since it ignores all difference, all interval, all movement in pitch) and the most compelling, let me quote a marvellous passage of illustration of the power of sound, taken from the novelist who, among all our contemporaries has the most intimate intuition of the bodily responses of his dramatis personae (D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent, p. 356). "'The two drums were speeding up, beating against one another with the peculiar uneven savage rhythm which at first seems no rhythm, and then seems to contain a summons, almost sinister in its power, acting on the helpless blood direct"

scarcely be automatic. I am tempted to postulate attention without awareness! Cf. note p. 113, on Chant Interieur.

1 Cf. M. Paulhan (in Ribot) : "Une sorte de vie sup&rieure se substituant en nous d la ndtre" (see p. 63).

  • The emotional power of pace as such was shown me by a well-known

composer in altering the mere pace, thereby turning, e.g. a rather ribald street song into a solemn march.

I


130 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

IV

PROTOPATHIC FUNCTIONS

"Acting on the helpless blood direct."

Nothing I might add to Mr. Lawrence's words could make it clearer, to my mind at least, wherein lies the fundamental difference between "listening" and mere "hearing,, 35 between the primordial powers and primitive functions of musical sound and, on the other hand, the highly complex and very lately evolved claims and rewards of what such "Listeners" as Barbara call "Music."

"Acting on the helpless blood direct." I am underlining two words in this splendid passage : "helpless" and "direct," for they can carry us many steps further in our enquiry.

But, having begged the Reader to lay hold of them, we must return to my original distinction between "Hearing" and "Listening," and to my use of Wundt's division of attention into Passive and Active. 1 But the subsequent quotations from so many Answerers together with my analysis thereof have carried us much further into our subject, And now Mr. Lawrence's Drums "acting on the helpless blood direct" have brought us to a point where we must leave Wundt behind and his nowadays rather con tested generalisations and turn again to a more recent experimental psychologist, who is perhaps only the more reliable in this reference that he happens to be himself deficient in that musical experience which he has so greatly helped me to deal with.

In his studies in Neurology,* Sir Henry Head has distin-

1 Seep. 1 08.

a Studies in Neurology <> by Henry Head, MJD*, KRJS., 1920, After doing me the honour of reading the present chapter and not without demur ring a little at my use of prvtopaihic and tpicritic in a subject so very far from his own, my kind friend. Sir Henry Head, writes me as follows : With regard to the quotation from D. H* Lawrence en the reaction to rhythm, I


PROTOPATHIC FUNCTIONS 131

guished, as a result both of experiment and of clinical observation, two different, you might almost say two rival, functions of the brain, which referring to their apparent localisation, he has called respectively thalamic and cortical^ while, with regard to their respective share in our mental life, he has given there to the secondary names of protopathic and epicritic.

So far as I understand Sir Henry Head, the protopathic (or I might roughly translate it "primordial-affective' 9 ) activity includes the emotional and practical responses of conscious mind to such impressions from the outer world as fall under the alternative heading pleasant and complaisant, and which set up movements expressive of attraction or repulsion ; and this no matter through which of the senses these impressions are conveyed, and with no interest (if one may apply such language) in those impressions beyond the emotional and practical reactions they have set up. So much for the Protopathic function, which has been localised in the thamalic portions of the brain because of its being disturbed when those portions have been injured*

Now for the rival, though also cooperating, function similarly localised in the critical part of the brain, and which, as denoted in the name of Epicritic is a secondary function discriminating, and discriminatingly registering, the impressions from the outer world conveyed by our senses. This epicritic activity deals in, and with, the what and the how of our sensations in themselves and, so to speak, for their own sake, irrespective of their effect on our feelings and on our practical reactions. In short, the epicritic activity deals with just what the protopathic neglects, and vice versa, so the two, while always competing for primacy, are also like other opposed tendencies, combining in a result neither could achieve by itself.

think there is no doubt that he is correct in his view that the response is somatic (bodily) rather than directly sensory, in its main features. But I do not like the use of the word 'blood.' What he really means is that the response acts upon the circulatory system, heart-vessels, etc"


I32 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Here I desire It to be well understood that only some future neurologist, who should also be versed in a more advanced musical psychology than mine, will be able to decide to what extent, if at all, this differentiation, this dualism, of our cerebral functions is at the bottom of, or merely coincident with, a singularly parallel dualism in musical experience as shown by my Question naire.

But in whatever way that may eventually turn out, my own concern is with the great use which this analogy of the two orders of facts has been in my understanding of the musical side of the comparison. And, just as I have em ployed Wundt's (even if possibly nowadays superseded) distinction between passive and active attention for the purpose of illustrating the difference (as by me so repeatedly stated) between "hearing" and "listening" ; so I shall now beg the Reader to hold on to Sir H. Head's distinction between the Protopathic and the Epicritic brain-and-mind functions, because this distinction happens to answer to an equally opposed though equally cooperating dualism which runs through the musical experience revealed by my Answerers.

"Acting on the helpless blood direct"

Now that I have reminded the Reader of the distinction between passive and active attention, and added thereunto that, as Sir H. Head has shown, there exists a similar dis tinction between the mental (indeed cerebral) functions which respectively deal with pleasure and displeasure and with the discrimination of objective qualities, I can go on to some examples of the direct action which Mr. Lawrence ascribed to his terrible Aztec Drums.

Not indeed always literally action on the Blood, though that is certainly implied in such frequently mentioned symptoms as cold hands, shudders, tingling, pins and needles, let alone the effects of a "glass of wine" or "Alpine heights." But indisputably, action on the bodily whole,


PASSIVE ATTENTION AND PROTOPATHIC FUNCTIONS 133

nerves, viscera, etc., for which "blood" may be taken as a literary symbol. 1

But the importance of these admissions, as of those words of Mr. Lawrence's, under which I have grouped them, con sists not so much in the alleged symptoms being bodily, as in their being passive. We are told not merely that those Aztec Drums acted direct on the blood, but that the blood, and whatever bodily life "blood 55 represents, was helpless. In the language of psychology, these phenomena, besides connecting with Wundfs definition of Passive Attention, also come under the rubric of Sir H. Head's Protopathic Functions. Otherwise stated: the response to, let us say, the Timbre and sonority (Tonfarbe and volume), above all to the rhythm (and pace) of those two "sinister" Drums, is not of the nature of recognition, discrimination, objective per ception of those sounds, as what and how ; it is the direct response of the Hearer's "helpless blood" ; it is awareness not so much of what is being heard, as of what is being in flicted on the person who is hearing: it is an emotional response.

As in the case of those Drums, the effect is direct. And whether the persons admitting to such symptoms are "Listeners" who to that extent or at that moment, happen to be likewise "Hearers" ; or whether these violently moved bodily excited Answerers are merely or mainly "Hearers," that which is stirring their "helpless blood" is not the

  • The very sensitive and observant Answerer whom we shall later

meet under the nom de questionnaire Spiridion affords the following interesting suggestion, which probably answers to the facts, at least of his individual case :

"/ believe that the regularity of the rhythm or the continual suspension of resolu tion, the attention straining for the next chord or note, satisfied and yet kept astrain, sets up a kind of nervous tension akin to that produced by various clinical methods of inducing hypnotic sleep, such as staring at a bright light, the operator's eyes, and so forth. When this effect is once induced, any suggestion strikes with afar greater emotional intensity than during a normal condition of mind. If I am in a mood of nervous depression, music often produces an emotional catharsis in the Aristotelian sense, the effect of which may last for several days."


134 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

pattern constituted by the consecutive or simultaneous relations of notes. What is at work is not the intellectual epicritic function of taking stock of something which is apart from oneself: these physical reactions belong to the protopathic function concerned with what is being done to us,

Of such effects as these it was that Barbara sweepingly remarked: "That isn't music. Music is the intervals, etc."

Perhaps indeed it is not music though constituting so large and important a part thereof. It is something more primordial ; something out of which I believe that Music in Barbara's sense has disengaged itself only by half, and is forever sinking back into. It is what, for lack of a better name, I have called the Powers of Sound.


CHAPTER II CECILIA AND "CECILIANS"

BY AN amusing and most convenient irony of coincidence, it is this selfsame thing which another and equally repre sentative and intelligent Answerer happens to call "Music."

Now the name of this second and even more heaven-sent Answerer is Cecilia, with the result that I have got to think ing of her particular attitude to what she and Barbara respectively and conflictingly call Music, moreover, of all the other persons whose answers tally with hers as "Cecil- ians." And Cecilia has been a most signal godsend (though I have not lacked for godsends !) in my enquiries, because her astonishing, paradoxical pronouncements have helped me to detect and follow up similar attitudes and responses, and similar takings for granted, among less downright, less thorough-paced, above all, less lucidly self-expressed "Hearers." For having taken stock of Cecilia, we shall recognise that there are "Cecilians" innumerable, "Cecil- ians" of various degrees of Cecilianity. Indeed, it turns out that while many persons think they are "listening" they are merely or mainly "hearing," so also most of the people who admit that they care for what Barbara had expressly told us was not music, are under the unsuspecting belief that this which they care for is, and is precisely, Music,

So let us get a clear notion of Cecilia herself. She has had no musical education, and has none of the natural aptitude revealed by being able to improvise or to find accompani ments. So far she might be set down as utterly unmusical, But and herein she is important because typical of a class although thus unmusical, she is extraordinarily sensitive to music : "Sometimes music is more than I can stand." If it goes on long her hands grow cold, she gets pins and needles and becomes breathless. "One doesn't think whether it is pleasant or


136 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

not . . . one doesn't think of oneself. The pleasure seems to be in ceasing to be conscious of oneself except that she has "the feeling of being played upon" This is the state she says that she likes to be put into.

And into such a state she can be put only by what she calls Music, but "never by Tunes"

Asked (for the questions were read to her) what she meant by this unusual division into Music and Tunes, she gave as examples of "Music" : "great orchestras, organs, and even" (spirit, I might exclaim, of D. H. Lawrence!) "Drums." And in opposition to these, Cecilia placed "Tunes." "Tunes are something you can whistle or sing" "Tunes" she might or might not be pleased to listen to, and, she adds, "Tunes" require listening to. But "Tunes" rather start her off "thinking of something else."

Thus Cecilia's answers assert a crudely marked dualism : "Music" and "Tunes." The two are described as opposed in nature and effect, and quite especially incompatible in her attitude towards each. "Tunes," although she admits they may sometimes be worth attending to, do not often get her attention, since they are apt to start her off on to other thoughts. She leaves no doubts that "Tunes" are a very poor affair compared with "Music," That requires no attending to 3 since it gives the "feeling of one's being played upon"

I have emphasised that sentence of Cecilia's about the feeling of being played upon because the idea recurs in the answers (written and as voluminous as Cecilia's dictated ones are brief) of Mona, whom I may call my second-best "Cecilian" : of if you prefer, my more complex, or more self-analysed, but equally typical "Cecilian." Cecilia's "being played upon," in the case of Mona, turns into "It's being played not at, but in me," which calls forth an addition: "feeling almost part of the music" herself. Mona does not indeed differentiate between "Music" (such music as seems played on her) and "Tunes/' though these requiring, Cecilia says,


CECILIA AND "CECILIANS" 13?

to be attended to, presumably answer to such music as would be played at, but not in, Mona. And a good deal of Mona's evidence makes it evident that she has little or no memory for "Tunes/' 1 which Cecilia had defined as some thing you can sing or whistle, implying recollection. This connects with Mona's admission that she cannot follow, has no "consecutive attention" ; and with the obvious fact that it is what she calls the sounds "delicious sounds" which appeal to her. Furthermore, what might be called Cecilia's chief theme of "being played upon" is, in the case of Mona, not merely paraphrased as "played not at but on" it is developed into "feeling almost part of the music oneself and though she does not mention Cecilia's bodily symptoms of pins and needles, cold, etc., and never suggests that "Music" may become at times "more than one can stand," her answers show that such music as she cares for has effects similar to those of temperature and atmosphere. Further more, Mona makes it evident that, like Cecilia, she is passive towards music, for she can always be altered by music. She goes into a concert "tired and . . . becomes cheerful Music can get the better of mental depression and can relieve bodily pain if not too strong and if not in the head" In her case "JVb non-receptivity unless very ill or very harassed." Why? because (this is no longer Mona, it is the Author answering) she is passive, and passiveness, though not responsive in the way of giving attention, passiveness is, ipso facto receptive ; it feels, though it does not follow.

And passiveness is unfailingly receptive: "/ may resist" Mona tells us, "but I am in it."

Taking what is common to Cecilia and Mona, and adding the characteristics of sundry other "Cecilians" or quasi- "Cecilians," what I want to point out is that, at all events in their "Cecilian" moments they are: (i) essentially "Hearers" not "Listeners" ; (2) that their attention is essen- i We shall find (p. 160) that what I may call the super-" Cecilian"-- Teodora is entirely without such memory.


133 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

tially passive ("played on") ; (3) that they are under the sway of the Power (or Powers !) of Sound ; and (4) that their condition when thus, if I may use the words, under music, is protopathic, inasmuch as highly emotional but undiscriminative ; and either accompanied by crass bodily symptoms or by emotional memories and associations. 1

It is very significant that so down-right and emotional a "Hearer" as Mona (my second-best "Cecilian") should confess her incapacity for consecutive listening, although she spends many hours quite happily at concerts. For, of course, musical patterns, the part of music which is listened to and followed, are consecutive, even the chords (except when experienced merely as tone-quality like the timbre of a simple note) depending on our perception of the keys, the modes, and our remembering their preparation and expecting their resolution in other chords. So that lack of consecutive listening, implies lack of active perception of the musical pattern, of the composer's invention. But move ment and change as such can be perceived without being discriminated, without being followed, perceived passively or nearly passively. We can be aware that waves are moving and changing without being aware of how, in what patterns they are doing so. Mona compares some of her musical experience to looking on at a cricket match without knowing what the game is about. This means that she is aware of music (like the game) going on, consisting in movements and changes, but without feeling what those movements and changes arise from and tend towards, without, in fact, experiencing that drama of recollection, expectation and fulfilment which is so large a part of the "Emotion of Music." But, unlike the cricket match to someone unable to follow the game, there remains enough to delight her senses and fascinate her passive attention: the deliciousness or

1 Mona, however, has no images suggested by music, nor does she refer the emotion to herself or other persons nor recognise in music a "message" or a "meaning."


CECILIA AND "CECILIANS" 139

tremendousness of timbre and volume of sound; the rhythm and pace, which are perhaps felt all the more intimately for not being distributed in tonal relation; there remains all the vague, massive, undiscriminating continuity in that cir cumambient music, all so astonishingly different from any thing in ordinary experience, so cut off from everything else, so leading to nothing, in short, so fraught with the sense of seclusion and peace, the sense of the "other plane/ 5 the plane of contemplation.

We shall recognise, I think, that musical contemplation, although essential to an Emotion of Music, can exist without any approach to such an Emotion of M us ic : that there is a state of musical contemplation which is entirely deficient in the active attention of "taking stock of relations, and follow ing the pattern," in fact, is purely passive and yet has all the marks, the pervasive unifying emotion, the detachment from ordinary life ; and perhaps even more than in cases of Emotion of Music, the rapture, which belong to contem plative states.

Now such "Cecilian" contemplation (which we can watch in the face of so many concert-goers) while segregated (and this is one of its charms) from the kind of thought which constitutes ordinary inattention (intrusive thoughts of sublunary concerns so frequently admitted by bona fide "Listeners") is yet open to emotional reminiscences, visual imagery, all kinds of reverie and romancing such as is excluded by active following of a piece of music. But, as I have already indicated in my first differentiation between "Listeners" and "Hearers," when such divagations are admitted in a state of passive contemplation, they become integrated into the music, as Yvonne expresses it, "font corps avec la musique" and are never recognised as lapses from musical attention, just because (to put it crudely) there happens to be no active and steady musical attention to lapse from.

The music is reduced to the delicious, lulling or stirring


HO MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

or overwhelming vagueness of undiscriminated Powers of Sound. It is, like Mona's cricket match for a person ignorant of the game,, on the whole unintelligible. And what remains intelligible in connection therewith, are the images, reminis cences, by dreams which it has allowed or evoked.


CHAPTER III "AMBIENCE"

I

THERE is yet another manner in which musical sound as such can influence our spirit through the senses and nerves (Lawrence's "helpless blood/' Dr. Head's protopathic side) direct, and without the necessary intervention of the dis criminating and relating intellect. There is another Power of Sound without which music could act only discontinu ous^ in detached and sporadic instants upon the contents of our mind. For Music, or more correctly musical timbre, sonority., rhythm, pace, can select among, determine, re duce to homogeneous unity our trains of thought and states of feeling because it can enclose them and segregating them from every intrusion, force them back upon themselves. Such an enclosing and segregating effect of music is at the bottom of two-thirds of what will be shown as our various Answerers' emotional and imaginative responses, of the moods induced, the memories and associative equivalences evoked, the various references elicited in them by music. And this phenomenon is so essential a part of musical psychology, and so envelops the rest of it, that it has, to the best of my belief, been taken for granted without benefit ^of inventory, and never observed in its simpler and daily manifestations, although taken for granted in all the asser tions (cf. evidence on "higher planes") to the effect that music is, or can be a medium for our thoughts and feelings our psychic self, to exist in. A medium, in the sense of the French Milieu or of the Latinised Italian word Ambmte; and which since our own word Environment conveys the idea of surrounding but not of containing, I shall allow myself, by turning the adjective Ambient into a corresponding noun,


i 4 2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

to call, once for all, an Ambience. I commit this neologism the less guiltily because it connects on with the talk of "higher planes/ 3 of music being a "place of asylum/' a retreat, almost a sanatorium; an Ambience because music does occasionally seem to surround us.

It seems to, since to a greater or lesser extent according to its volume, it actually does surround us : first, because the waves of sound are spreading out and are taken in by us without any convergence like that of two eyes, but, on the contrary, by two organs facing opposite directions, doors to the north and doors to the south, with the two halves of our head well between, especially the front half which we feel as ourself because it is our balcony on to the world. And secondly, because sounds are not dependent upon a volun tary opening or shutting like that of our eyes, still less on a focussing, a special adjustment for their perception, but just are there independent of us, unless, like Odysseus, in his adventure with the Sirens, we mechanically exclude, when we cannot stop them. But while sound is thus independent of our volition whenever it is present, sound has likewise a special appeal because it is not always there or at least not always there for our perception. What might be sounds if we happened to hear them ("the sound of the grass grow ing*'), nine times out often are not heard at all; and as soon as habitual they cease to be heard. So, while only our sleep passes in blindness, the greater part of our waking life passes in silence. And it is this habitual silence which must account for much of the power of sound ; moreover, it is this habitual silence which makes us feel, whenever it is replaced by sufficiently voluminous sound, that such sound is an element gathering round us, or else an element we have gone into, one we are in, and an element which surrounds us.

This is, I believe, the effect of sound so long as we do not especially attend to it. Once we do attend, once we try to locate its source, discriminate its quality (was that thunder


"AMBIENCE" I43

or a train? could those sounds be the guns across the chan nel?) it necessarily ceases to be an Ambience. And this is the important part of the business it ceases of course to be an Ambience when it is followed, when "relations" in pitch and time are noticed,, memorised, demttes, built up into . . . well ! music : music not in Cecilia's unusual use of the word.

For the whole gist of this chapter is intended to be that whenever music becomes or rather remains, an Ambience, music is to that extent, precisely what Cecilia called MUSIC as opposed to TUNES.

I have underlined "remains" because Ambience may be a preliminary stage, when genuine "Listeners 35 have not yet been able to comprehend, to follow, the notes in their relations, a preliminary "hearing" before "listening" set in. A number of really musicianly Answerers of the "just music" type bear witness that "difficult," or merely unfamiliar music, will seem "chaotic" until they have learned their way about it. Indeed the very word "Ambience" occurs without any prompting (since it did not occur in the Ques tionnaire) in the answer of a very musically cultivated Mme. Miriam, who writes: "La musique me produit Feffet d'une AMBIANCE vague, (Tun milieu sonore, settlement quand je Ventends pour la premiere fois." While I myself can bear witness that often I was going to say always ! it has happened to me to sit through a first hearing (I have mentioned Brahms' Requiem) without making out anything except that I was immersed and drowning in those floods of wonderful sounds, which nevertheless, by dint of repetition, took shape in my mind as one of the clearest, most detailed, possessions of my musical memory. This is surely within the experience, almost the daily experience of such lis teners as do not shrink from these chaotic impressions of unfamiliar compositions and styles ; and it is a wonderful experience. Little by little (occasionally only in memory) something seems to dawn : vistas of melody and harmony vacillate fitfully into sight, the light and the darkness divide,


144 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

and the primeval chaos of what is passively heard rolls up as a mist till the whole orderly structure shines forth like some hill- top temple of Apollo under Apollo's forthcoming beams. And indeed, the Apollinian in music is that which is listened to and understood, not merely, as I suspect to be often the case of Nietzsche's Dionysiac music, only heard and felt.

I want to repeat that, although my personal (and very insufficient) experience does not afford any testimony to this point, yet it seems to me likely that the full-fledged "Listener" will retain some of that passive impression, let alone that many a composer even of the Classic type will play for that very impression. 1 So that/ the lucid joy of fol lowing and grasping, of becoming one with beautiful move ments in pitch and time and with interwoven harmonic relations, all the highly active play of musical attention with its expectation, suspense and fulfilment, may be embedded, even if only in remembrance or expectation, even at the piano or silently reading the score, in some of the massive and enveloping delight and excitement of the passive hearing of music A

And I do not doubt that it is the recollection of the moments when his whole organism has been thus "played upon" by the mere powers of musical sound which, even as his steady and lucid attention to musical patterns has sub limated the shivers and thrills, the knot in the throat and the tears in the eyes, makes the thorough-paced "Listener" believe that music (thus enclosing him in inexplicable rapture) must exist on a plane of existence more exalted

1 M. Ernest has a remark to that effect: "Beethoven use fort souvent des sonoritts prolongees, longtemps reptiles qui sont comme une couleur Italle ou qui ont une valeur hypnotique de suggestion (la transition qui succede au scherzo de la symphonie en ut mineur\ c'est comme un mouvement lointain et grandissant, menaganty coupl de frtmissements et qui aboutit a I 1 explosion triomphale dujinale. C'est presque un bruit de la nature"

Notice the "valeur hypnotique de suggestion" attributed by M. Ernest to similar passages.


"AMBIENCE" 145

than that of any personal joys and sorrows and more mysterious and ecstatic than the plane of any other art.

II

Those remarks refer to "Listeners.' 5 We shall presently get back to "Hearers 33 and to what an extraordinary "Hearer," Donna Teodora, will tell us about music being for such as herself when not merely an intermittence, then an accompani ment. For it is to explain that fact of music accompanying what she calls evocations that I have introduced this so far neglected question of music especially in the "Cecilian" sense of "Music" acting as "un milieu sonore, une vague ambiance" An Ambience which though called by this name by only that single one among my Answerers, is recognised in its effects in a number of other quotations, which could be easily capped from novels, poems and other sources outside my Questionnaire. 1 But the best introduction to this curious and important question, and more particularly to my own diary notes concerning it, consists in the words of an Answerer, Lindsay, one of those "Listeners" who revert, occasionally, to being a "Hearer" : Query: Does music ever seem something one is in? Something which surrounds one? "Tes. But how much less often, less completely than architecture!" This comparison with architecture is the clue through the whole matter, for the diary extracts I am going to put before the Reader will show that it is such a comparison which has made me understand the nature of music as an ambience.

First, however, let me answer the obvious objection that architecture does really enclose us, since we really are be tween four walls and a roof. But what we are dealing with is not such enclosure of our body : in matters of feeling and

1 COUNTESS JULIE : "Music seems to enclose all things and bring them into connection with each other. I think therein lies the chief power to give assurance . . . that all is well."

K


146 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

imagination, the state of our body matters (this we recog nised with regard to sound-waves surrounding our bodily ears), only in so far as a state of our body results in a state of our mind. So that if architecture, according to Lindsay, acts as an Ambience, i.e. what is felt as an enclosing medium, this is not because we are enclosed in its bricks and mortar, but because architecture encloses space and light, and because when we pass into that enclosed space and light, we feel that we also are enclosed therein, that we are no longer free in the open space and light of the outer world. Architecture and music have therefore the common pro perty of putting us inside of a sensorial whole different from that we ordinarily live in ; and, in so far, both architecture and music give us a very peculiar feeling of being in an unusual element, and moreover, shut into that unusualness which is space and light in the one case, and sound in the other. Indeed it is probably this similarity as well as that of neither of these two arts imitating what we see or hear in real life, which makes architecture and music (as Hegel and others already pointed out) enigmatically akin, although the one uses the most ponderous and enduring materials and the other the most impalpable and evanescent ones, for the Abt Vogler's spiritual edifice of their raising. And it is this correspondence which will make it easier to grasp the phenomenon of Ambience in both these arts, and the quite analogous conditions of passive and active attention in our response to both; what in the case of music we have called "hearing," and in that of architecture we may call "seeing" ; and similarly what in music has become "listening," and with architecture, "looking." And the interest of the diary extract I am going to insert is that it deals with a simul taneous experience of architectural and musical Ambience, and with a gradual change from mere "seeing" and mere "hearing" to "looking" and "listening" on the part of a particular individual, namely myself.

It will, however, familiarise the Reader with this question


"AMBIENCE" I47

of Ambience if I begin by quoting another note from my diary, dealing directly only with architecture (April 30, 1920).

"Yesterday I crossed through the Duomo (Cathedral of Florence}. Although, or perhaps because, outside it was bright, the place seemed very dark, only the higher tiers of glass noticeable and jewel- bright. I had instantly a very great sense of what I might call immersion: an utter change of mode of being into as different an element as water or the change from complete silence to voluminous sound. This effect lasts but a very short time, leaving indifference unless one is inclined for exploration of form"*

The second extract from my diaries shows what happens when that ' 'exploration of form" has succeeded to the feeling of enclosure or immersion in an Ambience.

"Yesterday afternoon I went into the Abbey at Poets' Corner, towards the end of the service. (I had] ajine example of how both archi* tecture and music can affect one massively as by immersion in another element. It is a massive change, a momentary re-birth: the sounds (of an organ] the half lights, the height 5 etc., change one's condition toto caelo like going into the open air from a cellar (much more!} or being plunged into a bath. The effect is great and delightful. One sees passively and hears passively and is perfectly happy (and often deeply moved}. After a few minutes (or seconds?} one begins to 'look' and to 'listen,' and the state is broken, the charm gone or a quite different one takes its place. One stands up to the sounds and the sights, instead of being plunged into them. And since, as in the Abbey on this special occasion, the sounds and sights may not pass

1 It may be interesting to the Reader to read the end of this note which is of more general application: "/ am persuaded that such changes in one's whole condition (on which depend most of the effects labelled sublime) are passive aesthetic experiences, often preceding and preparing the active responses both to architecture and music, for instance, the introductory chords of a symphony. There seems nothing quite analogous in painting, except light and shade (Tintoret, Rembrandt?) and actual size as in the figures on the Sixtine ceiling. And this (lack of passive impressions) perhaps accounts for painting (unless sensorially attractive by colour) being comparatively fatiguing, and requiring interest in the subject represented, to keep up or renew our attention"


I4 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

muster 1 or at least happen not to be up to the greatness of one's previous experience, once they are actively listened to or actively looked at, the spell is broken and one is bored."

I have copied out these two diary notes because, even if most of my Answerers might never have experienced this simultaneous influence of enclosure IN architecture and BY music, yet the comparison between the two in my own case, indeed their simultaneity in the Westminster Abbey memor andum, afford the best description at my disposal of the Power of Sound on apassive "Hearer/ 5 evenif that "Hearer"^ happen to be merely a "Listener" in a passive moment. Since (let me repeat) no individual is always and entirely a "^Lis tener," or even always and entirely a "Hearer/' "Listening" and "Hearing" are names for active and passive attention; they differ as a more or less. But this study deals with just such more or less, and with the various differences which arise out of the preponderance of either passive or active attention, which is at the bottom of the attitude towards music of the Habitual "Hearer" and the Habitual "Lis tener."

Ill

In this Westminster Abbey experience of mine, that first passive impression of the sound of the organ simultaneous with that of the size and enclosure of the building, that enormous, overwhelming impression lasted only a very short time. My habits as an inveterate (however imperfect) "Listener," and my analogous habit of looking at instead of merely seeing, claimed their active employment; and as a result of their activity, I found myself disappointed with the pattern of the music just as I was disappointed by the architectural details when I became aware of them as a consequence. I felt bored and went away; and should have

i Let the Reader write me down an ass in architectural matters, but not break the sequence of my facts by disputing my remarks about the Abbey. This is personal psychology, not aesthetic criticism.


"AMBIENCE" AND THE "HEARER 9 * 149

gone away in the spirit, taken refuge in totally different subjects of thought, if I had been unable to get away in the body. But then I happen to be a "Listener" and nothing but a "Listener."

It is different (and herein lies the interest of the whole matter) with the "Hearer." He does not want to listen or to have anything to listen to. He does not grow impatient of passiveness because he is by nature musically passive and likes being "played upon." He goes on hearing whatever there may be to be heard, because he rarely does much more. He stays, so to speak, in the Abbey, as mere "Hearers" will sit happily through hours of concerts. And according as he is individually sensitive to quality and volume of sound, to rhythm and pace as such, he will continue immersed in that passive enjoyment which may perhaps be the greatest, indeed almost the only great enjoyment he ever receives directly from music. Please take notice of that word directly. For we are going to see that although the "Hearer" is musically passive, his fancies and affections may be only the more, and the more unusually, active. Buoying him up, stimulating and soothing ; moreover shutting him off from the ceaseless pursuing and being pursued of real life, music enables him to witness, nay enact, imaginary dreams, to re-live the past, foretaste the future; see visions, roam in day-dreams ; moreover, music may sting and lash his per chance dulled sensibilities, intoxicate him in "Dionysiac" pleasures, spiced, as Nietzsche says ("Stachel der Unlust") or drugged, with pain.

It is this phenomenon I have called Ambience which we shall find alluded to by one of my most important Answerers (p. 163) when Donna Teodora describes Music as an Accompaniment. For an accompaniment is that which helps us to attend to something more interesting than itself. And Emilia will add that although she misses out whole bars in contemplating her visions, those visions come to an end when the music stops.


CHAPTER IV

CHAOS: THE UNINTELLIGIBLE AND THE OVERHEARD


MEANWHILE LET me recall to the Reader that M. Paulhan, long before the framing of my Questionnaires, had dealt with such "complications," nay self-contradictions, as are rather unwillingly admitted by many of my Answerers in regard to musical expressiveness, by testifying that he him self was familiar both with a purely and specifically musical emotion and also with a state in which "personal" emotions and even reminiscences are apt to play a part. Moreover, M. Paulhan accounted for this different kind of response to music, by telling us that in his own case the purely musical emotion was replaced by, or "entangled" with, a more human one, either when his attention flagged through fatigue, or when the music happened not to be completely followed, or not yet completely followed owing to its un~ familiarity. This distinction made by M. Paulhan, in answer to M. Ribot's enquiry, has been confirmed more or less explicitly by several Answerers to my Questionnaire. 1

Similar answers show that besides the "specifically musical emotion" accompanying attentive listening, i.e. discrimina tion of the relations of the notes, music can produce another kind of emotional response which depends contrariwise upon an absence or diminution of such active following of the notes. There is, as many people admit, music which acts "on the nerves" or "feelings," directly, massively,

  • "AMERICAN MUSICIAN" : "I listen with the utmost concentration, breathless

for a while, then the reaction comes and I hear only a confused mass of sound until renewed nervous tone or some especially interesting lineament makes attention focus afresh."


THE POWERS OF SOUND 151

imperatively, without active participation on our part, indeed fraught with a sense, as some Answerers put it, of "being played upon." Which may be summed up by saying that music can master us when we are unable to master it, indeed almost in inverse proportion.

This fact brings us straight into the heart of one of music's primordial mysteries. And into the presence of some of music's essential and dominating elements, whose inten tional omission in the foregoing chapters may have dis quieted my Reader like that legendary performance of Hamlet with the part of Hamlet left out. Those elements, that whole side, of music, is what I have called the "Powers of Sound." And that, it seems to me, is the primordial and universal, though sometimes receding and often counter acted and almost neutralised factor in musical psychology. So much so that its previous omission in my (purposely simplified) differentiation between "Listeners" and "Hearers" and my no less considered account of the "higher plane" of musical contemplation, may have left the Reader, as it has left myself, with somewhat of the impression of playing on a dumb piano. For when all is said and done, music is, first and foremost, a question of Sound. Music is not merely something we watch and follow. Even for the most thorough-paced "Listener" it is something which impinges upon, lays hold of, and, as we shall see further on, very frequently (that is half the explanation of the "Dif ferent Plane") encloses us.

A good deal has been written in attempted explanation of the physiological and the mental modus operandi of musical sounds upon our nerves, our affections and our imagina tion. Of such more or less scientific literature I have read but a small portion, and that has left me with the doubt whether either experimental psychology, or cognate neuro logy, and least of all current aesthetics, can as yet furnish adequate data or hypothesis on this subject.

Restricting myself to the information obtained from my


I52 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Questionnaires (and from my self-observation connected therewith) my business is not with any such fundamental queries, but only to show that my Answerers ("Listeners" as much as "Hearers"), testify to this "Power of Sound" play ing an enormous, sometimes an overwhelming part in their musical experience.

In the case of "Listeners" so long as they are "listening" and not lapsing, through fatigue or unfamiliarity, into passive "hearing" or even overhearing, in "Listeners" qua "Listeners," these effects of mere musical sound (soothing, exhilarating, oppressing, enclosing) are usually merged with the impression produced by the musical pattern of which such musical sound is the material or the vehicle.

But I think that even in the most attentive "Listeners," a good deal of what they describe as the power of music to influence their mood, must when we take it in connection with what happens with "Hearers" (who are not concen trating on "the notes and all their relations") be set down to the "Power of Sound," however much the nature of melodic and harmonic intervals, of that "musical gesture," in fact all that requires "listening," may share in such emotional effects. For our subject indeed perhaps every subject if adequately treated is highly complex, so that clear sharp distinctions are apt to disregard the interplay of factors in all concrete realities. It is therefore no real con tradiction to attribute to the various powers of mere pas sively heard musical sound, rather than to the interest and charm of musical pattern, the bodily symptoms, 1 tears, "glow," etc., whatever there may be of ecstatic and even orgiastic in the effects which music can have on "Listeners" as well as on "Hearers/ 5

1 Thus Bessie, after saying that music gets rid of "dreariness by its mere beauty and interest" and that "the listening wipes out the previous mood," admits to having "bodily symptoms, cold down one's back, knot in the throat, alteration in the breathing," and doesn't know "whether that's the emotion expressed by the music or the mere interest . . . anyhow, one can't sleep after it. . . . It vivifies, makes one twice everything. It's tiring, but does not at all reduce one to pulp "


MUSIC AS A CHAOS 153


II

As I have forestalled in describing Music when it is an Ambience, there can also be, and too often is. Music as what some Answerers describe as a Chaos. By which is meant not a cacophonous welter, but an undiscriminated mass or flux of notes, shapeless and meaningless to the mind though not unnecessarily disagreeable to the ear. Besides my own experience, there is that of many Answerers far more musical than myself, to the effect of frequent inability to follow a piece of music. This may happen when compre hension flags from fatigue: "then," says the American Musician, " . . . / hear only a confused mass of sound until re newed nervous tone, etc.," cf. also Paulhan (under Complications, p. 63). The same inability is, on the contrary, occurring as a preliminary to understanding the music, when the particular piece is still unfamiliar, a state of things described by Mathilde, one of my most gifted and highly trained (and also most thorough-paced) "Listeners" : "Lorsque la musique n'est pas encore nettement intelligible a la premiere audition, taut qu'elle est toujours un Chaos" And it is spoken of by the very intelligent musical student Frances who concurs with the American Musician that this inability to follow comes "when one is less fresh, less keen, also with blurred modern music with much filling-in parts" However, instead of Mathilde's perfectly descriptive word Chaos, Frances uses "synthesis." And the same terminology is applied to this condition by another very accomplished and (like Mathilde) intransigent "Listener," Mme. Louise, who reports that the first hearing of Wagner "appalled" her, due to a "malaise from being unable to analyse" After a year or so she grew able to listen "synthetically" and she realised that Wagner must be listened to "like the sea or the wind, 'synthetically.' " Here we have Mme. Louise applying the word "synthetic" to what I prefer to call, because of the connotation of activity and


  • 54 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

lucidity with "synthesis" in other realms, simply "hearing/ 5 while I use "listening" to designate what she calls analysing (e.g. "si c'est du Mozart impossible de ne pas analyser"} where there need be nothing so deliberate as analysis but merely following, or in plain parlance "making the thing out." Now, on what may seem a mere verbal difference, hangs the distinction, which is essential, between Ambience and Chaos. Both imply insufficient following of what the music, to put it plainly, is about ; insufficient discrimination of the rela tions of the notes, and consequently the phrases to each other. Both imply therefore something vague and confused. But whereas, thanks to the magical "Powers of Sound," Ambience is a successful, even if unintentional, mystery and miracle, eking out or enhancing by its emotional and imaginative stimulation, the musical enjoyment of all those for whom music is never sufficient in itself, never "just music," Chaos (or to put it plainly) music when as yet or when already unintelligible through unfamiliarity or fatigue, has nothing to recommend it : it is not magic but nonsense. Thus while the enchantments (and their evocations) of Ambience, appeal even more to "Hearers" than to "Lis teners" and constitute the paradise (sometimes the Haschisch Paradise) of "Cecilians," of Nietzschian "Dionysiacs," Chaos, with its abortive efforts at following, would seem a purgatorial stage reserved for "Listeners." 1 Indeed, con sidering its lack of all aesthetic value, I should not have reverted to it at all, except for a suspicion that, however aesthetically worthless in itself, Chaos might indirectly teach us something about Ambience, whose despised bastard brother it may be described as being, the two taking a family like ness from being, both of them, the offspring of musical non-comprehension. The features shared by such mysteri ously magnificent experiences as those described in my

1 And in certain kinds of deafness, involving so-called distortion of tones and intervals, a most undeserved torture overtaking their declining years.


MUSIC AS A CHAOS 155

Westminster Abbey note and this distressful abortion we have called Chaos, is that both seem to appeal more than does lucid listening, to the emotion and imagination of the "Hearers." At least the possibility of this being the case arose in my mind on reading some remarks dropped inci dentally by one or two Answerers about this state of musical non-comprehension to which Mathilde had given the name of Chaos. For after mentioning it as a preliminary stage due to unfamiliarity : "lorsque la musique n'est pas nettement intel ligible d la premiere audition" she had added that "music in this condition (or stage) of imperfect comprehension" had "UNE PUISSANCE EMOTIVE PLUS FORTE." Here the greater emo tional appeal was connected with a preliminary chaos due to unfamiliarity with a particular piece of music. On the other hand, M, Paulhan 1 (in his answer to Ribot) spoke of an analogous awaking of emotions and emotional thought as due to flagging attention and consequent vagueness of musical perceptions. Here were two consummate "Lis teners" both confessing to heightened emotional sensitive ness when in a stage of not yet or no longer perfectly following the music. There seems something similar in the condition of 'overhearing," when music, either from distance or some interrupting circumstance, is heard only by snatches, instead of in the consecutive and sustained manner of perfect listening. About such "overhearing" I find a couple of sentences in my own answer to one of my Questionnaires, dictated ten years before my Westminster Abbey note on Ambience: "Fragmentarily heard, unexpected music is apt to give me much more intense pleasure. , . . Music heard fragmentarily or for a very short time seems to put me into what I call a passive state ... a change of emotional and even bodily condition accompanied by decided bodily symptoms and an odd feeling of heightened imagination and cerebral activity . . . this overpowering imaginative and emotional stimulation has always vanished when I have had time to listen to the music and make out

  • Paulhan in Ribot, Logique des Sentiments, p, 145.


156 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

what it was. I could imagine Wagner making a tremendous impres sion on me if I could hear it by snatches, say through opening and shutting a door. My experience with fragmentarily heard music enables me to understand to some extent the kind of nervous and sensual emotion plus imaginative excitement which music seems to produce on some hearers. . . . I suppose that is a sort of prolongation of what I am aware of in case of fragments"

This extract from my own answer refers evidently both to Ambience and to "overhearing," which I had not yet learned to distinguish from Chaos. It shows all the more that there is an effect which is common to these different states, namely that passive, flagging, intermittent or abortive attention can stimulate or liberate emotional and imagina tive sensitiveness, raising (or lowering) usually intransigent "Listeners" to the level of "Hearers." This suspicion made me add a special query to my next Questionnaire, viz. : Did fragmentarily heard or overheard music, coeteris paribus, constitute a greater human-emotional appeal, as I had often experienced in my own case? To this Isabella, Minna and one or two other thorough-paced "Listeners," including of course, Mathilde, whose remarks on Chaos had set the whole question going, answered "yes" ; while Mme. Louise mentioned the tremendous emotional effect of a litany heard at a distance. And although most of my Answerers had not observed themselves one way or the other, I got an unexpected confirmation from "W. G.," who said (as will be quoted in a different connection) that although nothing similar happens when he is "thoroughly enjoying the music which is being played" yet he "can quite understand other people deriving greater pleasure from merely overhearing it, owing to its stimulation of thought" These scanty scraps of (perhaps far fetched?) evidence thus set end to end with the ingenuity of a believer, will not amount to any such proof as I hope to have laid before the Reader in other parts of this book. But this patchwork hypothesis about Chaos, Ambience and Overhearing, may serve like some archaeologist's map and


CHAOS, AMBIENCE AND OVERHEARING 157

elevation, to mark the lines where we have to dig, and to persuade the Reader that there may really be something worth excavating in this boggy and weedy field of musical psychology, with its solid basis of common human habits of feeling and thinking. The Reader's justifiable cepticism will, I trust, lessen, when he recognises some of the insuffi cient landmarks of that hypothetical ground-plan no longer pieced together out of a few scattered answers, but as solid, consistent portions of one complete individual document, which my greatest good fortune allows me to display to him above the signature of "Donna Teodora."


CHAPTER V INTERMITTENCE AND EVOCATION

"Music is an Evocation" ;

"It is a matter of Intermittence."

DONNA TEODORA


THE CASE of the lady I have called "Donna Teodora" is probably the most important in my collection of Answerers, both as regards the fullness of details and their convergence into a logical, or rather an organic, whole. It is certainly the one which has taught me most, taught me almost to see the whole of my subject.

Besides this, however, Donna Teodora has the unique value of being an Answerer extraordinarily interested in psychological questions, yet entirely free from all theoretical bias, so that while the case accidentally possesses almost the clearness and cogency of an artificially arranged experi ment, it is exhibited with intense interest in the mere facts without any drawing of conclusions or application to general themes. As a result of all which, this set of answers has unintentionally become a ready-to-hand, but far from rough- and-ready, summary of one side of my subject. Last and not least, this amazingly clear, accurate and coherent self- analysis happens to be that of a typically exclusive "Hearer," and a "Hearer" professedly deficient in just the faculty which that very deficiency enables us to recognise as essential to being, on the contrary, a "Listener."

Let me preface what is little more than a rearranged transcript of her answers by giving some account of her musical status. Donna Teodora can play the piano fairly and reads at sight without hesitation at the instrument. She has had musical teaching : and what is more important, the


DONNA TEODORA 159

example and influence of an unusually musical friend. She knows a good deal of music, and even more about music, and has had much opportunity of hearing it. She is pas sionately susceptible to some music, even to music she calls classical, and is attracted (for a reason I have at last suc ceeded in guessing) even by counterpoint. In fact, compared with most people of her nation, and compared with a good many "Hearers" as distinguished from "Listeners/ 5 Donna Teodora is decidedly musical. Nevertheless, as already forestated, she is deficient to an unique degree among my Answerers in what, I imagine is frequently spoken of as "an Ear, 5 ' and which is indeed scarcely less requisite for listening than the ear of the body, being in many respects the ear of the mind. What she hears if I may replace her lapidary Latinisms with homely English' goes in at one ear and comes out at the other. She is without musical memory. Thus, she tells us, she recognises a melody for one already heard only by "emotional points de repere" some sort of inventory or chart of its successive kinds of expression. Also, she identifies pieces by applying to their structure some thing like literary criticism, "intuitive analogy of style. 55 In fact, having, as she says, "a sense of style/ 5 she "understands music by a kind of transfer of judgments from other fields, like those of literature or logic" But she cannot "understand music 5> directly, and for what it is, by the ordinary process of remembering what we have heard. Since she tells us in so many words that "she never does remember music. 55 In short, this rather musically well equipped, and in all other respects quite unusually intelligent amateur, is devoid of musical memory.


II

Donna Teodora at first answers merely: that she cannot sing or whistle or otherwise externalise a memory; then


i6o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

that she has no chant interieur or silent rehearsal thereof; that her difficulty in remembering melodies amounts to "ninety- nine impossibilities in a hundred" ; that, as I have already pointed out, whenever she recognises a melody as one already known, it is through points de repere, such as variations in emotional expression of which she has, so to speak, made a note. Then, however, these circumspect negative statements are suddenly summed up, in answer to a subsequent query which begins "in listening to or remem bering, etc. 55 in an impatient: "/ never do remember music" : A sweeping denial, which may be accepted (to use her phrase) as ninety-nine-hundredths correct, the remaining hun dredth, however, never becoming manifest in her answers.

After this, she gives us, directly or by inference, a very complete piece of musical self-portraiture. Music, for her, does not survive after it is objectively past. Well ! what does it do when it is part of the present, for music is very far from being a negative item in Donna Teodora's life?

"Brief moments " she tells us, "of absorption. Or rather what happens is that I run ojf (corro subito) to emotional reviviscence and visual evocations. . . . It is a case of intermittent attention. In me there is an immediate release of vitality which leaves the music behind although derived from it" (si sprigiona subito unavitalita in me che si stacca dalla musica pur derivandone) . Here we must ask what is it in the music which rouses, as she puts it releases, that vitality? Not surely those "relations between the notes" constituting its pattern, not that melody which she is incapable of recalling. Nothing to be compared with a logical nexus, for she goes out of her way to say that while she finds such a nexus in a book or a play, there is nothing analogous in music. Moreover, as she tells us that it is solely by emotional points de repere that she recognises already familiar music, it is pretty clear that what absorbs her "for brief moments" before she runs off "subito" to her evoca tions, and what then "releases her vitality" cannot be the pattern of that music which she never recollects afterwards.


DONNA TEODORA 161

This being the case, and her total lack of musical memory pointing (as I think it does) to a corresponding lack of musical pattern-perception or "following/ 9 her "brief moments of absorption 55 must be of the passive ("Cecilian") kind; and what she is (however briefly!) absorbed in must belong to what I have described as the Power, or one might say, the Realm, of mere musical Sound. And this she confirms by repeating that although the "evocations and reviviscences" are undoubtedly set going by the music, the music itself which she has quickly run off from to such associated emo tions and visions "remains in the field of sensation." Now it is to this "field of sensation/ 5 which I prefer to call the "Realm of the Powers of Sound" (what Cecilia calls "music" as opposed to "tunes," and what Barbara says is not music at all) that the answers of other "Hearers" have led us to attribute just such effects as Donna Teodora specifies. For has she not spoken of music "releasing a (kind of) vitality" ; and does she not then add that, whether or not led away to evocations, etc., music tends to intoxication (tende all'ebbrezza)"? Significantly enough among these various, and to some persons intoxicating, elements of music (which, as Barbara says, are not in themselves music) there is only one distinctly specified by Donna Teodora. To rhythm 1 she is especially sensitive, telling us that she can revive the rhythm of a tarantella sufficiently to see the dancers in her mind, but without any sound. Which absence of sound in her rhythmic evocation is, I fancy, connected with her lack of musical memory, for it is rhythm, as she remarks, without sound : i.e. the motor schemata which constitute the rhythm as such remain after the accompanying sounds have vanished from her mind, and these soundless motor schemata trans-

1 I suspect also volume, since her lack of memory must surely preclude her from following the parts of a fugue; and as she declares that she likes fugues, what she likes is presumably the multiplicity, the shower of notes acting as volume and timbre much in the same way as those passages of sonorities in which, as M. Ernest says, the single notes are not distinguished. "Cest presque un bruit de la nature' 9

L


1 62 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

late into visual imagery. So Donna Teodora's case with its rhythmic memory entirely divorced from the memory for tonal relations gives us a perfect example of a person for whom music must consist in a continuum of present auditory stimulations unconnected (she has said there is no nexus] except by their rhythm: an extreme case of what Cecilia calls "music" as opposed to "tunes."

However, the importance of Donna Teodora's case does not end in this : she tells us with great psychological accuracy and insistence, what Cecilia never does mention, though all other "Cecilian" "Hearers" do, namely that alongside of the perception of this rhythmic flux of musical sound, there is another process going on in her mind: viz. what the music has evoked. Moreover, while from other "Hearers" we learn only incidentally that such "evocations" are apt to withdraw attention from the music itself (e.g. Emilia and Pictrix 1 ) Donna Teodora insists on making us understand that in her own case such "evocation" (her favourite word) takes the place of the music, constituting "a lapse in musical attention." There is always an intermittence. What she calls her musical attention, must, I think, and despite her de scription of it as "following an action," be of the passive sort, the "action" in question being less the moving pattern of notes than, I venture to think, her own strongly rhythmical reaction to an Ambience or Chaos of fluctuating timbres and sonorities of the "Cecilian" kind. I have long been puzzled by her use of the word "action" as applied to what she hears; but I now feel sure that this "action" is not the moving and closely interconnected (remember she has found no nexus in music !) pattern of intervals, accents and phrases, but the varying impact on herself of the rhyth mical sound-masses : rather its action on her than her active following of it. And of this action of the music she tells us "the action is less important than the Evocation" ("Pevoca- Zione e piii forte deWazione").

1 See pp. 360, 365.


"MUSIC IS AN EVOCATION" 163

Moreover, about this all-important "Evocation" (she has started her description with the phrase "music is an evoca tion") she wishes it to be well understood that it is not a transformation of the music ; that there is no fusion between what the music sets her seeing, feeling and thinking, and the music itself. "Not a fusion, but an alongside (un accanto}" she explains at some length, adding that other people are apt to mistake this side-by-sideness (accanto] of music and what it evokes for a transformation 1 of the one into the other.

Such is Donna Teodora's way of disposing of the queries about music having a message, a meaning beyond itself. She brushes them aside and sets up a dualism of her own : viz. : Music does the evoking while itself remaining in the "field of sensation 35 and "lacking internal nexus"; once the evocation is begun there comes an intermittence of atten tion, attention being transferred to the things evoked.*

These evocations are for her the chief interest and they must not be confused with the music. The intermittences may, however, be brief; presumably there may be some kind of overlapping, for after several assertions that "la musica e un evocazione" Donna Teodora lets fall her final remark: "La musica e un accompagnamento" Whence it is probable that she is aware of the music going on outside the focus of attention and sustaining (as an accompaniment sustains a melody) that focalised "evocation." Nay more : (at least other cases lead to this conclusion) even preventing the mind from leaving those "evocations" for a return to, say, everyday thoughts.

Be this as it may, and I shall take up this point when we are further advanced, I want the Reader to accept Donna Teodora's extraordinarily lucid explanation of her own musical experience as opening-up another side of the ques tion of "thinking of other things"; and as presumably

Yvonne speaks of"pens/es quifont corps avec la musique." DONNA TEODORA : "Hearing a quartet I might think of a landscape, but the moment of thinking of the landscape would be a lapse in musical attention


164 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

applying, mutatis mutandis, to a great many "Hearers." Indeed, I wish the Reader would master her evidence and her commentary, for it might save him and me a good deal of tedious abstract statements of hows and whys which can be understood more simply by realising the part played by music in this particular musical-unmusical Hearer's imagi native and emotional life. At all events let the Reader remember Teodora's statements: "Music is an Evocation." "It is a matter of Intermittence" "Music is an accompaniment"

Donna Teodora said and repeated that the "evocations" of music constituted "intermittences" in the musical atten tion. Her psychological acumen made her understand (and understand that others had not understood !) that attention to music and evocation were, as she puts it, "side by side," i.e. near together, but separate; the music and what had

een evoked by it in those "intermittences" did not fuse. This was doubtless the case with her unusually self-conscious mind since she said so, and since she may have had moments of active listening, indeed since her lack of musical memory may have obliged her to a holding on, almost to efforts of comprehension; these moments would probably be very brief and almost immediately succeeded by a lapse into "evocation," into one of her "intermittences."

But after all her insistence on "intermittences," Donna Teodora suddenly seems to change her course and declares, without further explanation that "music is an accompani ment"

This was not a mere contradiction. It was, I think, the recognition of a further complexity of her subject. And had she continued to think about this matter, her fine powers of analysis might have brought her to recognise that although "evocations" or, as some other Answerers call them, "allied, not alien thoughts," "thoughts suggested by the music," do usually remain "alongside," denizens, so to speak, of "inter mittences," they can also fuse with the music itself.

This, as the Reader may guess (but Donna Teodora did


"EVOCATIONS" AND "INTERMITTENCES" 165

not know) is due to the difference of the two kinds of atten tion, the passive and the active, which music can be met by. Active musical attention is bent upon following the notes; and every suggestion, every "evocation" however "allied, not alien 33 constitutes ("American Musician 33 ) a lapse, afterwards recognised as such. Passive musical atten tion is, so to speak, "doing nothing for the music, 55 it is simply submitting to it ; and so long as the music goes on, it may be thus passively submitted to, and other thoughts may occupy the centre of the stage without any real lapse or any real intermittence, because in the case of passive hearing there is nothing to lapse from. Of course, for pur poses of exposition, I have had to introduce quotations showing that thoughts, however cognate, however "allied" to the music, however much "evoked 35 (Donna Teodora's favourite word !) by the music, often results in several bars, whole passages, being missed out, as the dreamer discovers when something suddenly jerks attention back to the music perhaps the appearance of a familiar phrase, or a new rhythm or an unexpected sonority so that he discovers that he has been forgetting the music, as, e.g. Emilia says she forgets it during her visions, only remembering it when it stops. But when the music resumes, the "Hearers 5 " thoughts do not go off at a tangent ; they continue on that "higher plane 55 of aesthetic contemplation, without dropping into questions of latchkeys, etc. ; the "Hearer 55 may con tinue living the world of reminiscences and day-dreams, continue being enclosed from irrelevance and interruption. For music does not merely stimulate the passive "Hearer 55 : it encloses him and his thoughts in a magic circle.

That it can so enclose I tried to show in my Chapter on Ambience (p. 141). When, on the contrary, we are so consti tuted that music forces us either to follow or to leave it alone (freeing us to remember latchkeys, etc.) then it does not enclose and become vaguely consubstantial with our thoughts, our reminiscences and evocations. It does not


1 66 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

include ourselves; but rises opposite to the contemplating mind, separate and superior, a work of art "just music." That we found to be the experience, comparatively simple and unvaried, of our "Listeners."

Donna Teodora knows of nothing similar. And it is because she has experience of all music's effect except listening and remembering, that her typical case can pre pare us for most of the varieties and complexities of response both as emotion and interpretation, which we are going to find in her fellow-"Hearers."


CHAPTER VI

MUSICAL MEMORY

(A PSYCHOLOGICAL POSTSCRIPT TO "DONNA TEODORA")

IN INTRODUCING Donna Teodora, I hinted that the analysis of her answers had taught me more of my subject than that of any others. That subject, from its novelty and obscurity, is hopelessly beset by hypotheses, much as I have tried to keep them at bay or put the Reader on his guard against them. I am therefore putting into quarantine, isolating in a dubitative zone marked "for psychologists only," what is in my eyes the most interesting suggestion derived from Donna Teodora. More especially from the juxtaposition of her four summings-up ; and most especially from the manner in which the three first items, which could be paralleled among other Answerers, is crowned by her absolutely unique piece of information : "/ never do remember music." Crowned by, or as it seems to me, based upon. And for the hundredth time suggesting the question in my mind : what is the essential, so to speak, the functional and generic, difference between "Listeners" and "Hearers"?

In other words : what is lacking, when music, to him who hears it, does not get, or has not yet got, beyond being an Ambience or a Chaos? When there is, instead of lucid dis crimination of music's patterns and architecture, only an obscure submission (sometimes rapturous, as in Ambience, sometimes baffling or boring, as in Chaos), the tyrannous "Powers of Sound"?

In one of my very first Chapters, I have settled the question superficially and borne out by numerous direct witnesses, with the word "attention." And, by going deeper for Readers versed in psychology, I have brought in Wundt's very serviceable (even if only provisional) distinction


168 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

between passive and active attention, both adjectives being confirmed by the descriptions given by various Answerers of their own experience when either "listening" or merely "hearing." So far, so good ; but what does musical attention itself depend upon?

Believing as I do that, as foreshadowed by Richard Semon, most if not all psychic processes may be reducible to the mnemic functions of receiving, combining and re* viving impressions, I am greatly tempted to identify the kind of attention which "Listeners" have and "Hearers" have not, with musical memory. Or, more correctly, to suspect that the more or less of musical attention is due to the more or less of musical memory. "/ never do remember music" says Donna Teodora.

We commonly talk of musical memory as being the faculty of "recalling" a piece of music no longer present to the senses, the piece of music in question varying from a snatch of melody to that nine-part Miserere which the boy Mozart is said to have been able to carry home in his head after a single hearing.

That, in whatever degree, is musical memory as we allude to it in common parlance. But, psychologically regarded, memory consists in the countless and separately unnoticed minute acts of retention and reviviscence which are the constituent elements of those obvious and, so to speak, wholesale phenomena. Elements, however, which are not separate, but whose very importance in mental life consists in their interdependence and interplay, in the supreme fact of modifying the other, the fact (established by Richard Semon in his great work Mneme] that for part of the duration of its being actually stimulated, every sensation is accom panied by the continued existence (the after resonance) of one or more previous sensations which are no longer being stimulated from without. This overlapping, inter-permeat ing, transforming one another as if by chemical osmosis, this fading away and reviving, this minute, unnoticed,


MUSICAL MEMORY 169

elemental, one might call it perhaps atomic memory, is what underlies all our mental life. Through it our sensations, instead of dying out one by one, unite and live on trans formed into what transcends them, perceptions, shapes; the Reader may designate as he likes what he experiences as his own mental life.

In the case of Music, it is such retention and reviviscence, which refers the note we are now hearing to the note already heard and raises expectation of the note we are going to hear; it is in short MEMORY which links single sound-sen sations into a system of intervals and modes and metres, into those "relations of the notes," relations of sequence or of (actual or virtual) coexistence, the perception of whose manifold possibilities is implied in all following a piece, in what I have detailed under the rubric "Listening."

Thus Memory, considered as all these interlocked elemen tary Mnemic processes of retention and reviviscence, is the builder-up of all our edifices of significance, 1 and in so far the builder-up of sound-sensations into perceptions of tonal relations, and these in their turn, united with the other relations called rhythm, into melodic patterns (phrases) and sequences and simultaneous combinations of phrases, which, like little Mozart's recollection of Allegri's Miserere, it is possible to rehearse in the silent sessions of the mind.

For this reason, but possibly biassed by Semon's con ception of the Mnemic function in mental life, I believe we should find that what makes the difference between the passively perceived Ambience 2 of "Hearers," and the actively- followed patterns of notes of "Listeners," would be found to be the greater or lesser functioning of musical memory.

Whether such elementary musical memory as described above, such, so to speak, primary mnemic activity in the

1 See my preface to the English translation of Semen's Mnemic Psychology (Mnemische Empfindungeri).

  • Donna Teodora says that she never thinks of music in terms of pattern;

that it always remains "n the field of sensation" And another "Hearer," Margery, denies up and down to music.


170 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

realm of musical sound, can be measured by the degree of the musical memory of common parlance, i.e. the capa city for recollecting pieces, or fragments, of music, I cannot affirm or deny. The attempt, it seems to me, would be like measuring the microscopic, nay invisible, with a draper's yard measure. Nay worse : it would be measuring the merely potential by the actual, when all experience tells us of unexpected mutual corroboration or neutralisation, of a complex effect depending as often upon a minus as on a plus, and of apparent inhibitions being really due to diver sion of elements, attractions elsewhere. Nevertheless as the very complex activity, the "musical memory" which my Questionnaire enquires into, asking "Can you recollect, etc., etc.?" must depend upon the more elemental (call it mnemic] memory which establishes the simple relations of notes (intervals, modes, etc.), obvious deficiency in the one affords justifiable suspicion of some lack of the other. For instance, it would seem odd if a person incapable of spotting an alteration in a tune or a chord should carry home that nine-part Miserere \

Experiments and statistical observations could and should be made on the subject, although I have never been able to make any myself, and have been unable, with no specialist libraries within reach, even to follow the progress of such enquiries (if any) since the War.

Indeed, as shown by my having relegated these remarks to a postscript, I have hesitated to discuss musical memory and its nature, for I do not know what musical memory is, other than "remembering music." I know it less even than what is the nature, the essential modus operandi of any other kind of memory, because "remembering music" in many individuals is complicated by what the French call a Chant Interieur, with or without localised sensations. Whence do we get a Chant Interieur, a silent melodic rehear sal? Does it arise inevitably, coincidentally, in the act,


MUSICAL MEMORY 171

perhaps as the very activity, of listening? Do we merely feel it as something we are doing? Or do we silently hear this silent performance? How does it stand in relation to memory of sound-quality and sound-combinations, revivi- scence of pitch, harmony, timbre, in fact pure auditory memory which some people have and others have not?

And finally, even apart from this complicating factor of the Chant Interieur, where, so to speak, does musical memory, nay any memory, reside, in the past or the present? Is what has happened happening all over again only in some less privileged, more competitive, more shadowy and more abbreviated way, like a ghost which takes up no room and can superpose itself to substances which do? Quasi-meta physical questions, by which philosophers delighting in the transcendental, might be led to "is there really a Past? Is there really a Present? And which is really contained in the other?"

I have hesitated to include this discussion on musical memory for another reason, the purely constructive, literary, hesitation about bringing into close quarters Musical Memory which could be left out without loss to my main subject and Affective Memory, which could not; hesitation for fear the Reader should get confused between the two, which are really quite different matters. But thinking over this possible confusion between two subjects labelled "Memory" if treated within a few score of pages, it has seemed that to run the risk might secure an advantage. It may oblige the Reader, or at least myself to make out clearly which is which, what the two have in common (viz. mnemic storage and reviviscence) which may be a useful preliminary before embarking upon the obscure and difficult, but for my purpose indispensable, subject of Affective (or Emotional] Memory. Since here again we shall be dealing with some thing which is obscure because it is underlying, elementary hence unfamiliar: not "memory," in the everyday sense of recollecting this, that, or the other, but memory


172 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

considered as the retention and reviviscence of impressions of what becomes the past as it survives into the present. In fact Mneme, which Semon called the principle of con servation, and he might have added the principle of new creation in the processes of psychic, if not of vital, change. 1

1 Semon himself, like Ewald Hering and our Samuel Butler, identified heredity with memory or mneme, a view apparently untenable in the light of recent, or at least fashionable, biological research. I have tried to separate the psychological application from the (discarded) bio logical one in my preface to the English translation of Semon's Mnemische Empfindungen, re-named Mnemic Psychology.


CHAPTER VII AFFECTIVE MEMORY: RIBOT'S HYPOTHESIS


COMMENTING ON Donna Teodora's inability to recall the music she hears, I pointed out how such a deficiency of memory must jeopardise that "following of the notes and all their relations" which constitutes attentive listening. But besides this obvious function. Memory enters into music in two other, and far more mysterious ways. One of these I have dealt with in the preceding chapters and tried to show how repeated experience of our own changes of pos ture and modes of motion would deposit in our (however unconscious and automatic) memory abstractions. Schemata, of movement and gesture which could be embodied in musical patterns and could in those patterns suggest, repre sent or awaken the particular movements and gestures whence those abstractions (Schemata] have originated in the course of countless forgotten experiences.

I am recapitulating this question of the movement Schemata because I require to make it clear to the Reader that the function of memory which we are now going to examine is separate though cognate : separate though cog nate as are two streams arising on the same watershed. We are now going to enquire into the influence of past experience upon musical responsiveness, but in the more direct, the less hidden manner, of consciously reviving at the present moment human emotions which we are aware of having experienced in the Past.

In short, my Questionnaires, concerning varieties of indi vidual response to music, have brought us into the thick of the dispute about whether there is or not, such a thing as Emotional, or more technically and correctly, Affective Memory.


174 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Even the Reader least versed in psychology knows that ever since the classifications (however rough and ready) of Galton and Charcot, Memory has ceased to be the one and indivisible faculty which could be expected in every field if it was found in one. So far from this, memory is attached to every mental, and possibly to every bodily, activity. So that a person deficient in one kind of memory, may have enough and to spare of other kinds: Donna Teodora, for instance, can remember, visualise, a landscape while hearing a quartet of which, in its turn, not a single musical phrase remains in her recollection; while her memory for mere rhythm, exciting her visual memory, can evoke in her mind's eye a dance whose distinctly seen motions are, she tells us, "without any sound." And, coming to the subject of the present Chapters, it is evident that Donna Teodora possesses to an unusual degree the memory for emotions, moods, feelings, or let me call them technically affects 9 even that she is often unable to remember clearly the accom panying circumstances, while remembering the resulting affect. "The emotional state is revived as something detached (from those circumstances] as if it had not happened in the past." 1 And queried: "Not as something (so to speak) historical? 5 ' She answers "Never" A tenacity of affective memory is proved by her inability to overcome painful associations.

So that Donna Teodora, only the more that she is so extraordinarily lacking in the specific musical memory which nearly all Answerers possess in varying degrees might be taken as a witness to the existence of a specific Affective Memory. Which would imply that there exists, however individually varying in extent, a hidden reservoir of emotions, feelings and moods (affects), which have soaked into or flooded the individual soul in its past ; affects which may trickle through almost unnoticed, or gush out sud denly like subterranean waters, under the pressure of music, 1 "Come cosa staccata, come non fosse actaduta net passato."


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 175

even if only the more bodily appeal of what I have called the "Power of Sound."

And now, for the illustration of these general pheno mena, and of the special ones of personal and impersonal reference of such musically evoked affects, and the culminat ing phenomenon of the "Dionysiac," we must go back to my Questionnaire. This time, however, to the queries (headed "apart from music 55 ) into the individual possession of the faculty and habit, sometimes the faculty without the habit, of reviving feelings whose cause has ceased to operate, the faculty of living them over again more or less vividly, but always "re-living" in contradistinction from the mere know ing "in a historical way" that one had had a given feeling under given circumstances. The documents leave no doubt that while some of the Answerers possess such Affective Memory i , others of them do not, at least appreciably ; more over that there are degrees in both cases. I wish to em phasise the word "appreciably," because in all this enquiry, we are dealing with what the Answerer is aware of, without touching upon the hypothesis which lies outside (though it underlies) the present subject, the hypothesis according to which the whole web of consciousness rests upon an unconscious, a "physiological" warp of mnemic preference and aversion.

Be this as it may, it seemed to me that psychologically untrained Answerers could not be trusted in such state ments, so I added to these direct queries a test suggested to me by the case of a relative of my own, who for years refused to take a favourite drive, because a dog of hers had been run over along that road and she could not overcome the horror she had then experienced* To my general queries upon Affective Memory I added the following detailed interrogations :

A. Have you at all, much or little, the power and habit of living over again the emotions of your past life as dis tinguished from


1 76 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

B. knowing in a historical way that at a given moment you have had an emotion describable as so and so, and as distinguished from

C. remembering the circumstances and places connected with past emotion without feeling the emotion itself?

Whenever we are told that the pleasant impressions sub sequently given by a particular locality suffice to overcome the remembrance of disagreeable events originally con nected with it, we may fairly conclude that Affective Memory is, to say the least of it, not dominant. Contrariwise, when ever the association with a painful past is sufficient to spoil, to "poison," the return to, sometimes the best thought of, places in themselves agreeable to the Answerer, we may take it that Affective Memory plays a very real part.

II

Let me head the evidence concerning Affective Memory with the answer of the greatest authority on Memory-phenomena, the late Richard Semon, who, answering my Questionnaire, was not content with saying "/ have memoire affective. In my opinion everyone has it, even if he does not know if 9 but added "for what is it save memoire affective when everyone avoids places where he has experienced disagreeable or painful things?" which latter assertion, negatived by many Answerers (one even enjoying her visits to places where she has been unhappy) shows that even the greatest specialist may not suspect that everyone is not necessarily like himself; and incidentally, justifies my study of individual varieties and my employ ment even of a clumsy Questionnaire. I have moreover underlined Semon's assertion because it tallies with the very test I had devised to separate actual reviviscence of past feelings from mere historical recollection of having had such feelings on a remembered occasion; my test, in fact as to whether we are dealing with a Passe Vivant or a Passe Mort.


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 177

Some Answerers know both kinds. Some are familiar with actual reviviscence (Passe Vivant] of past feelings when there is no objective renewal, but only recollection of the cir cumstance originally producing it; others are more given to what I had called "mere historical" knowledge of having had a given occasion, which answers to Passe Mort.

M. ERNEST. Cannot imagine not having "memoire affec tive. 53 Says he can reproduce it (emotional memory) at will, e.g. the feelings of vertigo in high places. Query: But those are sensations, not emotions? Answer: "Well, do you suppose my wife carit re-live the agony she felt when anxious for her son's life? The memory of painful emotions spoils the places where one had them."

DONNA TEODORA. Cannot overcome painful associations. She lives over again the emotions without always being aware of the sequences of the events. She revives an emotional state as something separate ("Come cosa staccata, come non fosse accaduto nel passato. Niente storico. . . .")

DR. URSUS. Revived feelings, not mere half remembrances of feelings, play a large part in him and have high intensity.

DR. (PHIL.) '7 do not think I have actual emotion over again muck, even if able to remember very minutely the attendant circum stances"

SPIRIDION. "Not historical . . . a bad memory unless emotional interest is aroused."

"BOULEVARD MALESHERBES." "Au contraire, les emotions anciennes restent vivaces en moi, avec le cortege des realites qui les accompagnerent et qui les soutiennent"

L. "Live over? Emphatically yes; vivid experience seems almost never to lose in emotional acuteness when recalled"

"LYRIC POET." "Je suis une dme a e'chos. . . ."

FRANZ. C 7 don't think I can ever recall facts without disturbing some of the emotion attached to them."

PROFESSOR PAUL. "The saying that Time cures all wounds scarcely holds good of me. Even remembering joy and sadness of childhood, whose causes I now recognise as trifling, can make me

M


178 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

joyful or sad. What matters is not the circumstances but the quality of feeling ('das Tonangebende') ."

BESSIE. "JV0, it doesn't become anything historical. Places can become hateful by association."

MME. LOUISE. Not historical

ISABELLA. "Certain things I never think of unless I can help it because the whole emotion is over again. . . . Places become hateful."

RUTH. Her "Memoire affective" overpowering.

MME. MIRIAM. "Je retrouve presque entier le souvenir des evenements qui m'ont fortement emue avec le sentiment qui m'agi- tait. . . ."

"THE VIOLINIST." Has "enormously 53 the power of living over again the events of her past life.

"C. A. T." "Rather vivid memory of past feeling. I get over painful impressions very slowly. . . . I seem to live over again emotions of the past as distinguished from remembering them. I don't think I do remember them (past emotions) unless they are reinforced by the stream of revived feeling. . . . Of course scenes of strong emotion do remain in one's mind more than everyday life, but the scenes which have remained strongest in my consciousness have not been those of (human) emotion but of a sense 0/bien-etre in which I seem to have stumbled for a short time into a state of harmony; once out driving one spring evening in the Pyrenees, once at Tangier watching the camels coming in; once under the cupola of the Duomo . . . / understood . . . the Faust moment (stay, thou artfair}."

This answer of "C. A. T, V although diametrically con trary to my own evidence, for my affective memory is mainly historical, and I forget rather than remember strong emotions, confirms my personal experiences of an automatic selection taking place in one's affective memories. Such selection is, in my case chiefly temperamental ; it can also be deliberate, as is shown by the following instances, which prove the existence of affective memory by the avoidance not (as Dr. Semon believed) of places likely to


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 179

revive painful ones, but of the painful recollections them selves. Thus Isabella, queried "then you have the power of suppressing them when painful? 5 ' answers "Ton have to. I don't let them be there. Also Adela: '7 have the power and habit of living over again most vividly the emotions of my past life . . . emotions of joy or pleasure are more vivid than those of sorrow or pain." Magdalen can "absolutely live backwards pleasurable emotion. Of course painful ones, one doesn't revive; reviviscence being in one's power. But places can become hateful" And, similarly, Lizzie, asked whether she revives past emotions, says : "If I wish, to a very acute degree, but do not consider it desirable to let it do so without control." Finally > Elsa says: C 7 can switch on any emotion I have gone through very vividly if I like to "

III

Having weighed the above evidence and found that it warranted the assumption that there is some degree of Affective Memory in some, at least, of my Answerers, let me return to our need for such an hypothesis of "affective memory" in order to account for the familiar, but none the less queer, fact that human affects emotions, moods, feelings should have got "entangled," as Bessie puts it, with anything so remote from human vicissitudes as music, especially musical phrases. We found M. Ernest, one of the most musical and philosophical of my Answerers, explain ing this riddle by the resemblance between certain rhyth mical and tonal movements and the attitudes, gestures and intonations with which we and our neighbours are aware of expressing our affects. This current explanation thus adopted by M. Ernest was made much deeper, but also less easy to grasp, by "C. A. T.V entirely novel addition: viz. that the movements embodied in musical patterns and those other, somehow similar, movements expressive of human moods or emotions, are not derived the one from the other, but arise from common primordial elements,


i8o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

which she called "Ancestors of Emotion/ 5 and which I compared with the infinitive of verbs.

But how account for such " Ancestors of Emotion 55 ? We can find an explanation (which., though less superficial, would agree with M. Ernest's) in the hypothesis that our modes of movement, e.g. their pace, direction, rhythmic incidence, and varying ease or effort must leave behind them reviviscible traces analogous to Sir Henry Head's Schemata of posture resulting from all previous adjustments of our limbs in changing position. Here we should have the equivalent of the infinitive of a verb, to which I have reduced "C. A. T.Y 3 "Ancestors of Emotion," and her "verb of ten derness" and "verb of triumph." But we must go further still : we must suppose that what we call human affects and can recognise embodied in musical phrases, are analogous to verbs, and that such human affects (answering no doubt to expressive movements of our limbs as well as to con ditions of our innermost organism) can, similarly, leave behind them reviviscible traces, which traces, by analogy with Dr. Head's postural schemata, I shall henceforth call Affective Schemata.

Now this amounts to the admission of Affective Memory, It is the theory broached by my master on psychology, the late Th. Ribot, when he declared that no less than such perceptions as are furnished by sight and hearing, our emotions, moods, feelings, left memory-images in our mind, which could be revived like all other mnemic traces, on the return of only a minimum of whatever had originally left them behind.

To which M. Th. Ribot added that the irrefragable proof of the existence of such a ^ memoir e affective" stared you in the face in the fact that music expressed human affects, and that we recognised these human affects when thus musically expressed.


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 181

IV

This hypothesis of M. Ribot 5 s was the obverse of the one I put forward and shall cling to : For I am going to explain the musical expression of human feelings by our possessing (or being possessed by!) Affective Memory, while M. Ribot sought to prove the existence of Affective Memory by our recognising a human expression in music. Now other psychologists were by no means ready to accept this Affective Memory as a genuine psychic phenomenon. What M. Ribot claimed as the reviviscence of a former emotional condition, they explained away as a new emotion started by the memory-images., these admitted to be bonafide ones, of persons and places connected with a historically regis tered, but dead and buried emotion. The contention, I have since recognised, cannot be settled by a crude yes or no ; and with the complications of the subject my following chapters, analysing the evidence of my Answerers, are going to deal because it is part of my study of individual respon siveness to music.

But some thirty years ago, not yet made sceptical by my own subsequent investigations, it seemed as if that dispute could easily be settled; and I set out to settle it. For if there really existed an Affective Memory, and if it resulted in music expressing human affects, why then there should be a concordance between people's capacity for reviving past emotional conditions and their susceptibility to the emotional expressiveness of music, Accordingly I framed and circulated a first Questionnaire bearing solely on this point and confidently tabulated and analysed the answers.

The Reader who has mastered the facts and deductions of my previous chapters, the intelligent Reader knowing so much more than I then did, or for that matter M. Ribot either, will see at a glance that nothing could come of this enquiry : for it implied that susceptibility to the expressive ness of music (neither M. Ribot nor I had remembered


1 82 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

music's impressiveness as exemplified in Mr. Lawrence's Aztec drums) depended solely on the possession of that Affective Memory which it was intended to gauge, while ignoring completely the other factor of variation, namely the interest in the music itself. This interest in the music itself had apparently been identified by M. Ribot (misled by aestheticians and critics) with interest in the human emotion which he seems to have regarded as constituting the material (corresponding to colour, light and shade) of which the musician built up his works. And what I guessed from the failure of that first enquiry, taken together with my own experience as what I now call a "Listener," was that this interest in the music itself might be sufficient to neutralise the possible appeal to human emotion, relegate it to the condition of "streakings and veinings" in a sui generis musical emotion, or again weld it so indissolubly with that musical emotion as to make the expression an indistinguishable quality of the music itself.

What, however, came out of that first abortive Ques tionnaire, and more and more out of the successive ones framed to test this inverse relation between interest in (attention to) the music and susceptibility to the music's alleged human expressiveness, was a body of direct evidence to the existence of true affective memory on the part of a large number of my Answerers; and, what was more, of affective memory, sufficiently strong to require checking in daily life, being possessed by Answerers who regarded the human expression of music as unimportant, sometimes non-existent, at most "streaking or veining" musical emo tion, or even (Paulhan) coming into notice only with the lapsing of musical attention. Moreover the accumulation of my material and the growth of my mastery of its evidence, has resulted in my conviction that Affective Memory is indeed at the bottom of the human-expressiveness of music (as I believe Affective Memory to be at the bottom of all conscious life), but also that Affective Memory can enter into our relation


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 183

with music, as with every other human relation, in several and essentially different forms.

The following chapters will set forth what I have learned from my Questionnaire about the difference difference in mode of arising and in mode of acting between Affective Memory which has become abstract, and Affective Memory which has remained personal.


V

Among my Answerers, some (the "just music" "Listeners") had recognised in music no human emotion at all, or only difficult to detect, mere "streaking and veinings," Others, on the contrary, not only recognised such human emotion but participated therein, not only participated but referred it to themselves. A number referred that human emotion to what my Questionnaire had called "a third person," although the third person varied, according to cases, from the composer, say the melancholy Beethoven, or concrete personages of a play (Cherubino or Tristan), to what Spiridion called "Creatures of superhuman stature" and even metaphysical entities. A very different class seemed to sug gest something like Barbara's "counterpart of human emotion on a totally different plane 9 ' or even "C. A. TVs" "Ancestors of Emotion," and endorsed though they did not use the same form of words, by Grizel's "the strivings of all who strive, the grief of all who suffer, the triumph of all success." All of which class of Answerers, 1 both "Listeners" and

1 M. PAULHAN: "Sentiments vagues qui restent abstraits . . . si v agues ou si gineraux quefai de lapeine a les distinguer; mais Us me semblent tire des abstraits idtalisis de mes sentiments dominants ou de ceux qui? aimer ais a voir dominer"

" AMERICAN MUSICIAN": "expression but . . . in a universal rather than a personal or concrete way . , . pure impersonal emotion"

ADELA: "It merely suggests to me emotions in the abstract"

GRIZEL: . . . "an impersonal human emotion; . . . The strivings of all who strive. . . . The grief of all who suffer. . , . The triumph of all success"

PROFESSOR PAUL: . . . "not precise feelings. Only vague feelings . . ."

[Footnote continued on next page


1 84 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

"Hearers/ 5 attributed to the emotions which they recog nised in music the implied (if not actually mentioned) character of being abstract. And one or two of these trans lated "abstract" into "impersonal." Which definition will greatly help us when we are a little further advanced.


Footnote continued from previous page]

BOB (Poet and Dramatist) : "Exceedingly human passions and emotions in a very intense and pure form ."

SPIRIDION: "Vague phrases such as the whole earth groaning and travailing"; 6 ( the joys and sorrows of humanity . ' '

LADY VENETIA : Query : Does she refer that emotion to herself or to the composer, etc? "To no one; it is just humanfeeling as such, joy, grief, etc." She doesn't think of Tristan or Isolde or anyone. "It is just Love, not of a monsieur and madame but love as such."

"FRENCH CRITIC": . . . "Without sharp reference to the emotional condi tions of ordinary life. More a condition of general excitement with subordinate grades of sadness or of joy."

PROFESSOR ROLLO : "No feelings with precise denomination; I only notice the general line of joy or sorrow"

TORRE: "Qualche cosa di piu vasto di una emozione e di piu grandioso di un drama; essenzialmente qualche cosa di piu originario delle altre arti."

HERBERT: "Not any one's personal feelings. An echo of the infinite"

SPIRIDION: "Of course, since I understand these emotions, they must be, in a sense, my own feelings, but they are not attached to any definitive memory"

BESSIE : Not in the sense of persons ; never thinks of persons, but there may be "some entanglement of human feeling."

"FIRST CRITIC" : "Mozart's music lives in a purified world of its own, a kind of distillation from the actual world."

FERNANDE : "Profound and disinterested emotion, human but superior to the circumstances of life."

"VIOLINIST" : "Human emotion in the largest sense" . . . without applica tion to her own feelings.

GRACE: "Generally I feel it as expressing impersonal emotions belonging to the whole of mankind, occasionally the expression of one's own feelings, but only as part of the whole."

"AMERICAN ESSAYIST" : "Music seems something altogether apart from any ONE human being. It's rather the inner meaning of things, the inexpressible side of emotions as if it came from deeps on which individuals were but passing bubbles. I don't care a pin about the composer's feelings or my own or anyone's, in listening to music. The personalities spoken of (i.e. the personalities of the notes) are things altogether apart from any human personalities"

YVONNE DER. : "Plus irreal que les donnees de la vie ordinaire des aspirations."

ANONYMOUS: "Music does not express human emotions . . . at least chiefly universal ideas"


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 185

enabling us to take up position towards the entirely oppo site class which refers the emotion of music to Juliette's "Moi qui inter esse davantage" Having ear-marked these two diametrically opposed categories of Answerers, let me return to those who, without going so far as the word "impersonal" use or imply the word "abstract. 55

For it is important that we recognise such "being abstract" as the state in which memory of 'affects most commonly occurs, which accounts for some of the uncertainty (see p. 177) regarding its very existence. Moreover and this is more important for our subject it is to such an abstract con dition that Affective Memory normally tends, forced there unto by its own especial nature, which is of course wholly subjective and individual, and the very functions it sub serves in life, without which it would probably not have survived in the competition which life imposes upon psycho logical potentialities. Since Affective Memory, i.e. the capacity possessed by human beings of retaining and reviving traces of past emotions or feelings, subserves the life of the in dividual by avoidance of pain and attraction by pleasure, and it also subserves the higher, the social life, by turning into sympathy. And both of these functions, the common no less than the rarer, depend upon affective experiences breaking up the unity of each separate happening, stripping the concomitants of each separate occasion and, by repe tition of what is common to several occasions, retaining only what is generally applicable ; preference and aversion, sympathy in our dealings with fellow creatures, and such general applicability depends upon abstraction (free ideas). So much for its biological and sociological utilities, and (if we may still believe in such things !) for its value for selective evolution.

But apart from this and solely by its own essential nature, Affective Memory must tend to such an abstract condition. Because it is memory not of things outside and independent of ourselves, but of our own innermost individual fluctua-


1 86 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

tions, taking place in the obscurity of our physiological existence, and subject to such strict incompatibility as makes it impossible to feel hot and cold in the same instant of psychologically conscious time ; a law of incompatibility of contradictory affective states, without which our reactions would be in a welter, and feelings and emotions, preferences and aversions, cease to be the regulating factor of our life. Such is the nature of present affective states, and therefore to a greater extent even that of the memory-traces they can leave behind them, memory-traces which must compete for entrance into consciousness not among themselves only but with the vividness and urgency of our present feelings. All this conduces to the memory of past affective states being so faint, so vague, so bafflingly different from the memory left by our perceptions of the outer, the objective, world. For automatic self-preservation has gathered together these objective perceptions into the varying yet roughly repetitive experience which we call "things." "Things" have to be attended to ; moreover, believed to exist, and believed to act, at moments when they are not there for us to attend to. Hence the complex yet standardised memory-images they leave in us; our perceptions of previous occasions, into the hard-and-fast thusness, the quiddity of "things" Instead of which our subjective conditions, our motor responses, have no importance for self-preservation save when con nected with these objective "things" Their memory-images lurk in the obscure potentiality of Dr. Head's "postural Schemata" when the adjustment of our limbs to the world outside is not starting them into notice. And how much less concrete, how much more transient, must not be our affective responses, blurred also or effaced by their own incompatibilities, pleasure cancelling pain, sadness wiping out elation? Affective responses which, in proportion to their domination while present, last so brief a time compared with the too, too solid world of perceived "things" outside us ; feelings, emotions, moods so unclutchable and evanes-


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 187

cent that, in the opinion of many persons, they can leave no trace beyond their name.

So that while accepting, on the contrary, M. Ribot's notion of an Affective Memory, we should expect that the reviviscible and revived traces of past affections should dwindle and fade and elude our search. Moreover that they should tend to shuffle off the mortal coil of occasion : locality, person, all concrete whos, wheres and whens, and sink (or rise?) to the status of infinitives of verbs, to the con dition of being, as so many Answerers describe them, Abstract.* But perhaps just because so unencumbered, able to pass into improbable regions and unite in unaccountable marriages. Such, for instance, as this union of theirs with the patterns and powers of Music.

i A famous novelist, whom I have called "The Baroness," having told us that "after a certain time everything (seems) to have been done by a third person" accounted for this depersonalisation of past emotions by adding "if there has been too much between"

Franz, the psychologist who is also a musician, who said: "/ don't think I can ever recall facts without disturbing some of the emotion attached to them" made an additional statement: "The emotion so called is often 9 as it were, desiccated, an echo of itself. . . . Certain painful experiences of the past may have their emotion called up at say one-third strength by associations acci dentally encountered"

The same metaphor occurs in the answer "Je suis une time a Ichos" That is the answer of a lyric poet; and I suspect that such an "echo," i.e. something not the original impression, is alluded to by the com poser Ortando, who after denying all Affective Memory in himself, says that his compositions embody not "r impression mime . . . mais sa repro duction . , . photographique" I need scarcely suggest (what I shall develop in a later chapter) that an emotional memory which is not avoided, but (as with Mme. Miriam's pleasant revisiting of the scene of originally painful emotions) fostered, is likely to be stabilised by such permitted or encouraged repetition, but that the very repetition with its inevitable admixture of varying present feelings tends to transform the revived emotion into something different: emotion often compounded of sorrow and pleasure which is the speciality of poetry and music to awaken: a hybrid, not "desiccated" (like a horrid mummy) but trans figured in glory.


1 88 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

VI

Should any Reader try to test my knowledge by asking what precisely I conceive this Affective Memory to be, and where to reside, I must unblushingly declare that I have no notion, and advise him to turn for all such information to the latest psychological and physiological authorities. From these he may cull various and variously conflicting definitions and hypotheses concerning the nature of memory not only affective but of all kinds, together with an assort ment of aliases, "Images," "Dispositions," "Schemata" best of all Semon's "Engrams" for what I have called by the rough-and-ready name of reviviscible traces, all of which appellations (including my own) may, likely enough, be setting us on the wrong analogical roads (e.g. the word "Image") and preventing our ever getting a glimpse of what Memory is or at least where she (since the Greeks made her the mother of the Muses) resides. Not having attained to such, however doubtful knowledge, it is better I should state that under the word Memory (affective or other) I mean merely to gather together a number of obvious or inferable happenings in the human soul (and, doubtless, the human body) ; in short, I mean to indicate that old-fashioned and useful unreality, a faculty. Indeed to Readers not yet satisfied, I may answer that in my opinion (justified by the schoolmen's and Moliere's Virtus Dormitiva) Memory is the faculty of remembering. But behold! these unwonted attempts have, I fear, brought me close to a pitfall. And I must withdraw myself and the Reader from the dangerous ambiguity of that word "remembering," and explain. that a great many persons answer my queries to the effect that they do remember having had past feelings, emotions, moods, and can even describe what they were like in appropriate words (a process for which my Ques tionnaire suggested the adjective "historical") but that they do not, or very rarely, or imperfectly, actually revive


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 189

those past feelings, emotions and moods. In other words these persons though knowing how (and always in these cases when, where and why) they had felt on certain occasions much as if someone else had told them or they had read it in a history book, have not felt the whatever-it-was feeling over again. They remembered but did not re-live : they had no affective memories. Above all, there was nothing abstract in the case, any more than in the description of how Achilles wept for Patroklus or Mr. Pickwick fell asleep in the wheel barrow.

Having cleared away the results of that ambiguous verb "to remember/ 3 but having probably failed to make all this queer business of Affective Memory at all plain to the Reader, it may be as well to help him by an illustration of what I mean by that genuine Affective Memory of the abstract, or as some Answerers call it, the "impersonal," 1 sort. An example only the better for not being taken from that esoteric subject of musical expression, but from what we have all of us experienced in the course of our lives.


VII


"Sunt Lacrymae Rerum"

The nature of such quite impersonal affective memory was brought home to myself some twenty years ago, at the Piraeus, watching the farewells from my steamer. For as I watched those last hand-claspings and embraces, and the more final adieux with waved hat or handkerchief, while our boat slipped away from her moorings I felt a pang less sharp, indeed, but in a way greater, than I should

1 Cf. Paulhan in Ribot. Along with "Vernation esthetique musicale sped- fique . . . d cdte de cela fefrouve aussi des sentiments qui restent assex abstraits. Us sont parfois si vagues ou si gtniraux quej'ai de la peine d les distinguer, mais Us me semblent $tre des abstraits idealises de mes sentiments dominants., ou de ceux quefaimerais d voir dominer"


igo MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

have felt had I myself been saying a long farewell. A pang less acute, in the sense of the acuter pain of a burn or a wrenched limb ; but wider, more radiating, richer in mean ing. The pang we all feel when we read Dante's "Era gia Vora" ; the pang himself felt in thinking of the twilight hour "che volge il disio." And as I leant upon the bulwark of the steamer, watching the wharves and the harbour-boats recede and dwindle till the last waving handkerchief had vanished, I suddenly recognised the nature of the emotion which I had just experienced. It was not the feeling of those parted parents or lovers, nor the feeling of any real parting in my own life. It was akin to that, but different, with the difference between the contemplated and the enacted; and I was aware, even at the time that what I felt at that moment (and have never forgotten) was the essence of all the partings I had ever shared in or witnessed.

In a previous chapter of the present section I have spoken of something comparable with a subterranean reservoir of our own past emotional experiences, uniting in a store of filtered rills of feeling, whence may gush forth or well up in steady drops, a participation in joys and sorrows, sad nesses and elations which are not ours, and may not even now be present in others ; which may be entirely imaginary, existing only in some story or poem. On such occasions it seems as if we had left our own self behind us ; and so we have, because the self from which alone we can ever need such deliverance, is the self of our wants and cares, and that self exists only in the present, is of the present's very substance. Similarly, we may seem to be living in, or, as German philosophers put it, living ourselves into> the life of other creatures. But, in reality, what we are living in, what has invaded and ousted our personality is our own residual and composite and averaged experience, deeper but also, since thus detached, higher; our experience sub specie aeter- nitatis. The solemn and serene Past, not as it ever really


AFFECTIVE MEMORY 19 1

was (for when it was, it was not the Past!), has delivered us from the thin, stinging Present, and united us to our neighbours who are, in truth, our own potentialities re grouped in our mind ; united us to mankind which is itself but an abstraction, and would have no grip on us unless we had felt into that disembodied idea the pulsing of our own former experience.

I am not sure whether the feeling I had that time at the Piraeus was what is called sympathy by Moral Philosophers. What I do know for a certainty is that it is this I am made to feel by some slow movements of Mozart's quartets and pianoforte sonatas. And also by (what to me seem) certain poignantly pathetic passages in the Magic Flute. Once more : Sunt lacrymae rerum.


CHAPTER VIII REFERENCE TO HUMAN PERSONALITY


GIVEN THAT Music, in Donna Teodora's phrase, is to some people, to those whom I call "Hearers," an Accompaniment, the question arises what does it accompany and why just that?

What Music is thus described as accompanying, are not (we already know) the irrelevancies confessed to by "Lis teners 55 as haunting their lapses of musical attention; Flora's typical Latchkey and so forth, thoughts which lead away from "the notes and all their relations, 35 and evidently do not arise from the music. We are no longer dealing with "Listeners' 5 and their irrelevancies; and Teodora's "music is an accompaniment" means something totally different. That sentence of Teodora's must be brought into connection with her other one: "music is an evocation" Together they mean that music accompanies what music has evoked. The "evocations, 55 according to Teodora, run parallel to (along side) the music, but she adds that to most people (and this is borne out by other Answerers) they seem fused, merged, with the music, and we shall find them described as part and parcel thereof, its very essence, in fact music's meaning. These "evocations 55 arise out of the music ("allied, not alien thoughts" we shall later find them called) ; the enveloping, the "accompanying 55 music protects them from life's irre levancies ; and they are so dependent on it that, as Emilia informs us about her pictorial visions, when the music stops they also come to an end. That music, especially music in the "Cecilian 55 sense of not being followed as patterns of notes but submitted to as powers of sound that music can fill the mind of the "Hearer 5 ' with such "evocations, 55 we


"MUSIC IS AN EVOCATION" 193

have heard from numbers of Answerers besides Teodora ; also there is the manifold confirmation of literature on the subject. Indeed, in default of such direct testimony, we might be sure of something of the kind, since we know (see p. 129) that music acts on the nerves and emotions (D. H. Lawrence's "helpless blood"), and does so in pro portion as such effects are not held in check by the activities of listening. Also that (see p. 71) as music embodies move ments common to it and to speech and gesture, its patterns can suggest such emotions as those movements ordinarily express. And if further confirmation were wanted that music can stimulate and facilitate trains of thought, imagination and what is called intellectual creation, a later Chapter will display a number of persons of letters employing music, or testifying to its efficacy, for this purpose. We can there fore accept without more ado that when it meets the right sort of mind, viz. that of a "Hearer," or of a "Listener" temporarily reduced to mere "hearing," music can be, as Teodora puts it, an "evocation" and an accompaniment to its own evocations.

II

This book is a study not of music, about which I have no competence, but of emotional and imaginative responses to music. That is why. I have just made the proviso, if music meets the right sort of mind, laying stress rather on the sort of mind than on the sort of music, however much both are involved. Since, if the mind be that of a thorough-paced "Listener," or of one who is usually a "Hearer" at a moment of being a "Listener," we have seen that there will be no "evocations," or at most only the "streakings" and "vein- ings" as "complicate" such a "Listener's" absorption in what he calls "just music."

But now, having set aside these "Listeners," and accepted Donna Teodora's formula "music is an evocation; music is an accompaniment" as applicable to her fellow-"Hearers," we

N


I94 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

are faced by a further question which is the main subject of the present Chapter : What is the nature of the evocations which music can produce and accompany in the mind of a "Hearer"? a question we shall study by examining how and why these evocations vary in individual cases and in different categories of Answerers. This book, let me repeat, is a study of the various possible responses to music. Now a response implies that there is someone responding. In the case of "Listeners," as Lucien says, the response is purely musical, "des sentiments musicaux" it is the realisation of the particular piece of music and the special joy which it awakens. In the case of "Hearers" there is, instead, or in addition, a response which is, as Teodora says, "along side 35 of the music, accompanied by the music but not identical with it, an "evocation" of something which is not the music. Now what does "evocation" mean? Not creation ex nihilo, but the calling forth or calling up of a something already there potentially, however much that something may be transformed, sublimated (cf. "Higher Planes") by the spells calling it forth. In fact, the nature of what music can evoke depends, as much as on the character of the music, upon the contents and habits of the mind of the "Hearer."

"What one recognises in music" says an Answerer, Maya, who is essentially a "Hearer," "is what interests one most in other connections"

III

What interested this particular Answerer and what she thought of most in connection with music, happened to be pictures and statues and architecture. We shall meet other Answerers ("Madonna" and Frau Maria) for whom music evokes visions of beautiful or fanciful landscapes; one Answerer, Emilia, already mentioned, sees pictorial com positions extraordinarily like her own works; another, Pictrix, sees pictures which she need only copy while the


"MUSIC IS AN EVOCATION" 195

music goes on. There are many to whom music suggests, like literature, something partaking of a visual image and a verbal description in all stages of fusion or confusion. As we shall see in great detail when we get to the poet I have called Spiridion, music will suggest the doings of "Creatures of superhuman Stature." To some "Hearers" a piece of music suggests a country and its appropriate costumes. Or represents the "Message of the Nineteenth Century" 1 or the character of modern 3 (and slightly deca dent) Latins ; Even a philosophical idea is conveyed by the music of C. Franck.s The Cosmos in glimpses, even mystic union therewithal, occurs pretty frequently; while a Browningian optimism "all's right with the world" is music's message to more orthodox minds. Finally the bio graphy of a composer and in one case even Beethoven's "ugly but expressive countenance" may haunt some Answerers.

These Evocations, however, are of the nature of what may be called objective visions, allegories ; they come under the head of the meaning or message which music is said to convey. They are imaginative and even intellectual, and I shall deal with them under the heading Interpretation. And however much "streaked and veined with," indeed born of, human emotion, they pass beyond it to images and ideas. Whereas the "evocations" which are going to occupy us in the next Chapters are evocations, less in the mind than, so to speak, in the heart of the "Hearer" ; feelings, moods, emotions, called up by music.

IV

In my preceding Chapter I have sought to focus the Reader's attention upon Affective Memory of the abstract kind because it accounts for the human emotion which one half of my Answerers take for granted in music. Also

  • Minna. a Yvonne. 3 Anonymous.


I 9 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

because, as I said before, for several deductive reasons and on the face of a good deal of evidence, it seems probable that all Affective Memory tends to this abstract status. But in connection with music we shall also meet Affective Memory of a different kind or at all events in a different stage. One which is not at all abstract ; often extremely concrete, above all essentially personal; an Affective Memory which, so far from shedding individual hows, wheres and whens, may manifest itself surrounded by all the pomp and colour of individually experienced circumstance. Thus, when for lack of absorbing interest in the "notes and all their relations" "Hearers" are left free, as Bessie scornfully says she is NOT, to "think about a lot of things," we find that among that lot of things thought of, there is, first and foremost, them selves. And also other persons, who resemble themselves in ... well ! the essential peculiarity of being persons.

Thus we come to what might be called personal reference, a reference which practical life and also lack of other interests, has made exorbitantly dominant in all our thoughts and conversation.

And thus we find that the particular musical expression which would have been treated by a thorough-paced "Lis tener" as a characteristic, an inherent quality, of a par ticular piece of music (the sadness of a given adagio or the cheerfulness of a given allegro] will in the present case be referred, i.e. attributed to either :

(A) the composer, (B) some other third person, real, imaginary or even allegorical, or (C) to what I shall call the "First Person Singular," videlicet the Answerer himself or herself, of which Juliette tells us (see p. 199) "plutot cela, parce que le Moi qui interesse davantage." Of these three different (human) references thus enumerated in my Questionnaire, (A) and (B) must be put off till we have done with the emotional references of music and got to the interpretation of music as "Meaning" or "Messsage" or "Vision." Our present business is only with (C). And it is in this mode


HUMAN OR PERSONAL REFERENCE 197

of referring the expression of music to that First Person Singular that we shall find examples and proofs of that Affective Memory which is not impersonal but eminently personal. Moreover it is in connection with this "First Personal" reference, with this attribution of the music's expression to one's own self and one's own circumstances, that we shall see Affective Memory tending no longer to more and more abstraction, but, on the contrary, to reminiscence and autobiography; Affective Memory which, so far from shedding the whens, wheres and hows, evokes them as in their individual concreteness out of the Answerer's real (or be lieved to be real) Past. This kind we are now dealing with is not such as might be compared to the Infinitive, timeless, impersonal, of a Verb. Here, on the contrary, we get all the tenses and all the flexions, nominative, accusative, possessive, etc., all the adjectives and prepositions requisite for telling a story. Indeed a story, their own (even if thinly disguised or only in the world where "wishes are horses") is what we shall find this class of "Hearers" listening to in that music whose own reality, "the notes and all their relations" may, as Donna Teodora says, turn into something intermittent or into an accompaniment.

V

Human moods, feelings, emotions, evoked or merely sug gested, by music are enquired after in all my Questionnaires in several sets of queries ; for instance (shorter Question naire) :

Q,. "While listening to, or remembering music without words or suggestive title, are you apt to think of it as ex pressing human emotion either (A) as if the composer (or performer) were telling you his own inner drama or (B) as if he were telling you the inner drama of some third person, vague or otherwise or (C) as if the music were somehow the expression of your own feeling?"


198 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

When put to what I call thorough-paced "Listeners/ 5 this query produced Answers already dealt with in Chap ters III and IV of Part I, and typically summed up by my arch-"Listener," Barbara. 1

Those Answerers do not refer the expressive character of music, even when they admit it, to anyone or anything, but regard it as an inherent quality of the music. Therefore these Answerers do not come under this heading of human reference. Or perhaps it might be said of them that they refer the notes, since they feel them as related, to one another, and in the specific musical relations called pace, rhythm, accent, intervals, tonalities, harmonies and phrases i.e. as constituting musical shape or pattern. Let me repeat and re-repeat, these thorough-paced, perhaps only theoreti cally existing, "Listeners," are not the object of our present enquiry; in the sense in which I shall employ the word, there is no human reference to be studied in their case. And a study of "reference" thus exemplified in musical ex perience seems to me to shed cross lights upon much which has nothing to do with music, for instance religious and even philosophical beliefs. Since reference is one of the primary factors of all mental activity, without which without a predicate to a subject without a (however un- formulated) connection casual or merely copulative, without a "therefore," a "since" or a mere "also" or merest "and" mental activity would be in a welter or come to a standstill. Moreover, this act of referring one item of thought to another is, nine times out of ten (the recognition thereof is the chief merit of Freudianism) controlled by habits, especially by likes and dislikes, that is to say by subjective determinants in the individual; by something appertaining not to what is thought about, but to the person who is thinking.

This law of reference, as one might call it but for dis inclination to be emphatic, is ingenuously summed up by one of our "Hearers" (Maya) who remarks, in a manner

  • See pp. 54, 64.


HUMAN OR PERSONAL REFERENCE 199

wholly innocent of psychological generalisation: "What one recognises in music is what interests one most in other connections"

Stated with this simplicity it sounds a truism scarcely worth stating at all. Yet to how much does it not apply ! So that if we lay firm hold of it in its hard-and-fast bare ness, it may serve to disentangle a good many mysteries of both the individual and the race, such as are often embalmed with mummifying compounds, preservative of past habits and institutions though not always agreeable to living instincts and reason, psychological items for which Psycho-Analysis has misappropriated and mystically ex ploited the honest general term of complex.

Returning to music and to Maya's too simple generalisa tion, we shall find that, in the case of those people who are not absorbed in "the notes and all their relations" other wise called "just music" what "interests 55 these "Hearers' 5 "most in other connections 55 is often the human, the personal element; what grammarians call the first or third person, singular or plural. Furthermore we shall have occasion to remember the answer made by Juliette, 1 who, being queried whether she usually referred the expression of a piece of music to the Composer, to (imaginary) third persons or to herself, decided in favour of the latter : "Plutot cela.parce que le Moi qui interesse davantage"

VI

Allowing myself only a glance at the modest self-com placency (putting the Composer first, but oneself in that distinguished company, of those who agree with a certain Organist that "the chief fascination of music is when one feels that in expressing the feelings of the Composer, music also expresses one's own"} let me come on to two examples of a straight forward interest in their own feelings, a dignified taking for

1 Juliette is a performer, and as such, belongs to a class of highly musical persons who, as we shall see (p. 445), are not mere "Listeners. 5 '


200 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

granted that "le Moi qui interesse davantage" is what they should think about whenever, like Jessica, they hear sweet music.* The two Answerers are of different nationality and un known to one another; but, quite accidentally, form pen dants (heraldic supporters) to my theory; both women, both well-known novelists, both once musical but no longer so ; so that I may complete their symmetry by giving them symmetrical titles. Of these two, "The Countess 55 says she likes music best when it "reminds her of some of her own emotions" and "The Baroness" says : "/ should have thought it always stirred in me something intensely personal, something I ALREADY KNEW, intensified." The Baroness's "intensely per sonal" is, you perceive, the more explicit form of the Countess's laconic "my own emotions." The First Person Singular governs (in grammarian's jargon) both cases. What, however, I want the Reader to remark even more are the words I have emphasised in both these answers : the Coun tess's laconic "remind" and the Baroness's "something / already knew" Since it seems to me (subject to correction) that these two answers, the Countess's quite undeniably and the Baroness's extremely probably, point to their re ferring the expression of the music not merely to their own personality but to their own most personal possession, their Past. And this illustrates my contention that when Affective Memory does not tend to abstraction by shedding all con notations of who., when and where, it tends, on the contrary, to personal reminiscence, to evocation of one's own (never of other people's of course) past; a contention we shall see justified by examples in a subsequent chapter.

1 Let me insist that I am not dealing at present with those who would endorse the rather brutal saying of Anonymous that "the interest is in direct proportion to the music's appeal to the emotions and nerves.' 9 Answerers like this one belong rather to the class of "Cecilians" (when they are not, as we shall see, "Dionysiacs") and the emotion they allude to is chiefly that one of "being played upon/' something like that of Mr. Lawrence's Aztec Drums, There is nothing so brutal as that in what I call first personal reference.


REFERENCE TO THE PAST 201

Connecting on with the question of Affective Memory, I should like before leaving the Countess and the Baroness to ask the Reader and myself why these two women, and why these other witnesses, should be thus partial to the Past? The Reader may answer "because they are perhaps honi soit qui mal y pense! old enough to have one." And indeed I have at least one example of an Answerer too young for such a piece of personal property, whose personal reference of musical expression seems rather, is rather, to the future ... at least to such experiences (desired and dreaded at once) which young people are still looking forward to.

But apart from this I think there may be a reason why First Personal Reference should be so often connected with these persons' Past. That reason may be that our past feelings (however little transmuted into abstract "sym pathy" or musical emotion) possess (like everything past) a quality similar to what Mr. Edward Bullough recognises in all art and calls "distance," something decorous, at least decent, something which no longer worries and vexes, some thing, in fact, dead and therefore immortal, which permits it to reside within music's unearthly circle, on music's higher plane of aesthetic contemplation.

The Past allows you to be self-centred (I believe the recent word, and an awkward one, is "autistic") and sen timental, indeed most poetry is both ; and even about the most arrantly personal reminiscences there is something which precludes their seeming vulgar to other folk, and secures their seeming dignified to ourselves. Anyhow it is plain that indulging in reminiscences, even of heartrending matters, must have something which recommends it to those thus indulging at the call of music. Whereas, it would seem that another kind of person, in whom music merely intensifies present emotional conditions, often finds such present reference of musical expression rather painful. But these distinctions must be left to other Chapters dealing with Participation and Intensification.


CHAPTER IX


PARTICIPATION, INTENSIFICATION, "PASSE MORT AND PASS VIVANT"

ELSA AND "THE VIOLINIST"


THE QUESTION whether an Answerer participated in a given emotion or merely recognised that emotion as belonging to the music, this question of Participation versus Recog nition, was made needlessly confused by an initial blunder in the drawing up of my Questionnaires. It is not, however, from mere humility that I am calling attention to this fact but that the clearing-up of the confusion due to my sloven liness has incidentally brought into evidence some important yet unnoticed aspects of the subject. So that the Reader's forbearance in watching both the making of this mistake and then the gradual riddance of it, may be rewarded by a further insight into the various emotional responses to music, and by even some shrewd guesses about the First Person Singular and its ways.

The blunder was due to my being too much bent on establishing the difference between the merely aesthetic interest of "Listeners" and the human-emotional interest of a class of "Hearers." It consisted in bunching under a single heading queries which thereby appeared as alter native to one another, whereas they have turned out to be in less simple relationship.

The cross-questioning was as follows :

(A) Does music put you into emotional conditions (or moods) different from the one you happen to be in? Or

(B) Does it merely intensify already existing moods?

(C) Do you merely recognise, without participating, that music represents varieties of human emotion and mood?


PARTICIPATION, INTENSIFICATION 203

Which of these ways of responding to music is the most common in your case? and can you give any reasons (dif ference of composer, or of your own condition) which account for such different responses?

What I wanted to know was whether the Answerer merely recognised that a given piece of music had (i.e. might be described as having) a given emotional character, e.g. was sad or cheerful, or whether hearing that piece of music made him feel sad or cheerful when he had not been so before? This fairly simple query, clearly worded as "do you merely recognise without participation that music represents varieties of human emotion and mood?" was the real sub ject under examination and ought therefore to have been put first and foremost. Instead of that, and from a mistaken hope of additional clearness, it was put after the queries (intended to be supplementary to it) whether the Answerer's already existing mood could be altered or whether that mood was merely intensified by the emotion which was not merely recognised as characterising the music, but actually participated in when hearing that music. As a result of this strategical blunder, the majority of Answerers did not notice the main question of Participation versus Recognition and concentrated their efforts on what had been really intended as a subsidiary query, whether music altered their mood, or merely intensified it. The Answerers whose attention was caught by the question about Alteration, especially if they happened to be either "Listeners" or "Cecilians," assumed that "alteration" must mean alteration for the better, aesthetic exaltation, the triumphant effect of musical joy, i and they merely added, without intending it, further evidence to that already given under "Emotion of Music,"

  • "C. A. T." (Albert Hall Concert) : "And I came out into a raging snow

storm feeling twice as alive as when I went in. In fact I found myself walking past the other people as if they .had only one leg."

MARCEL: "Hausscment du ton vital' 9

PROFESSOR B.: "J* caracterise par ravissement IVtat mental prodmt


moi.


204 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

"Higher Planes" and likewise "Powers of Sound/ 5 to the effect that music can call forth responses which are emotional and independent of any of the human element which we have discussed under Affective Memory. There was no addi tional information gained by this misunderstanding of my question.

Quite otherwise with the other misunderstanding. Quite new ground was unexpectedly broken by the Answerers who took up the query whether music merely intensified an already existing mood or emotion. In their eyes Alteration did not mean exaltation in the sense of making one happier, raising one to a higher plane. Alteration meant changing the Answerer's human-emotional condition ; acting like the singer in Alexander's Feast.*

And such calling forth of moods and emotions different from the existing ones, these Answerers very logically re garded as the reverse of merely intensifying. Now this unexpected development of the question Alteration versus Intensification (or vice versa) has enormously enlarged and deepened the question Participation versus Recognition. And therefore discussion of it must precede, indeed almost super sede the latter question.


II

Recognition that a given piece of music has a certain expression is the reverse of Participation. Both imply that we possess experience of some similar feeling and (even if

1 BOB : "Music generally substitutes new moods and emotions: if the emotion is tragic or tender, it seems that my mood becomes tragic or tender." (This is recog nition producing a sort of sympathetic imitation.)

LEWIS : "It is not that the music expressed one' 's own feelings, but that the feelings or mood which the music expresses awaken these very feelings in oneself. Music never intensifies existing feelings, it either awakens feelings which I haven't got or merely represents them." CONDRIER: "II m' arrive d'entrer dans un concert tres gai et d'en sortir lugubre. Cela change complement le milieu intime. La musique fait plus qu 9 accentuer."


PARTICIPATION VERSUS RECOGNITION 205

unbeknownst) memory thereof. But in Recognition such Affective Memory has become, if not as Franz puts it, "desic cated," at least abstract, and at all events divorced, if only by the presence of musical interest and delight, from our own personality, from the First Person Singular. Partici pation, on the contrary, means that the Moi qui interesse davantage is itself becoming sad or merry ; and this is the case even when that Moi is camouflaged into some third person (Composer, Hero or Heroine) who happens to be occupying our thoughts and comes to embody our feelings. In which case, putting the cart before the horse, we say that we are sharing in the feeling of that third person into whom, or more correctly, into the idea of whom, we have projected it. Participation can never be impersonal; it implies, even when the emotion is attributed to some other person, that the emotion is now existing in oneself. Whether or not thus projected or shared (cf. the many Answers about sharing the Composer's emotion), Participation, as will be shown in Elsa's and the "Violinist's" case, seems to imply that an emotion, recognised in the particular music, can domi nate only if met by a similar emotion already existing ; in fact Participation is intensification of a present mood, or, at all events, awakening of a mood which is dormant but ready to be awakened. Where, on the contrary, there is mere Recognition that a piece of music expresses a given emotion which is not shared by ourselves but remains as one of the music's characteristics, Affective Memory has reached the abstract stage in which it is separated from our own experience and will be projected into the music which is absorbing the "Listener's" attention. The music, and (once in a way!) not the Moi, is " qui interesse davan tage." This discussion of Recognition, Participation and, further on, of Intensification, has led us back to what I regard as a general, though insufficiently recognised, prin ciple of psychology, namely that the normal course of feeling, when unvented in action, is to disappear from


ao6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

awareness ; and to sink down and deposit itself in the heaped up and filtered sea-bottom of Abstract Memory, whence it can arise either as sympathy with the real circumstances of other folk, or as that emotional Empathy (Einfuhlung) which makes us recognise the feelings suggested by musical phrases. To which I would now add my conviction that such "personal reminiscences" as we shall find some of our "Hearers" habitually evoking by music, are due to a check ing of that normal and beneficent process of psychic erosion and reconstruction, so that in their case what might have been the clarified, the de-personalised legacy of the past may remain as a barren reiteration of personal feeling.

I am quite reconciled (I trust the Reader likewise) to having had to clear away the confusion left by my ill- expressed queries, because it has brought us back to affirm ing the existence of the "Emotion of (just) Music" into which there enters, alongside of the more obvious and universal obedience to the Powers of Sound, the subtler, often un expected appeal of such abstract affective memory as united what I watched at the Piraeus to certain passages of Mozart.

And now, having (oh so respectfully) removed from our way, as under a golden canopy and in a golden ostensorium 3 the proof of this greatest of Music's miracles, we can now go back to those new crossways where two incomparable Answerers, namely Elsa and "The Violinist" have made me understand two very real alternative kinds of the human- emotional response to music. These are Recognition of emotion as existing apart from oneself, and Participation in an emotion as belonging to oneself. Which will lead us to the distinction made by one Answerer, Fernande, be tween Passe Mort and Passe Vivant, and eventually to the horrible crux how much Affective Memory is, as some philo sophers insist, not memory of the Past, but awareness of the Present.


ELSA AND "THE VIOLINIST 19 207

III

Elsa is a most accomplished professional singer. Neverthe less she belongs to a group of three performers who, instead of the mentality common to performers (and which we shall study along with that of composers), display that of the most thorough-paced,, the most "just music 33 "Listeners/' 1 and it is after repeating the thorough-paced "Listener's 33 refusal to find any human expression in music, that she makes the statement which (as already hinted) points to a new development of our subject. For to that denial she adds the rider : "unless I am very full of some emotion which obtrudes itself in everything. At such moments, music does seem to mean more"' (i.e. than "just music"}. "But that (namely the more] one brings oneself and does not find in the music." And, as if to leave no doubt about her meaning she adds that "the really interesting emotions are not in music at all, but in life"

Now this rather hard-and-fast opinion of Elsa's is con firmed by another professional musician, whom I shall call "The Violinist' 3 ; and who belongs to that same exceptional group of performers who answer not as such, but as thorough paced "Listeners. 3 '* And "The Violinist's" corroboration is all the more probant in that she has none of Elsa's perhaps rather paradoxical decisiveness, but arrives at the same conclusion only after a good deal of thinking the question backwards and forwards in the course of verbal cross- questioning. Indeed, she makes a false start (which she has to revoke), by answering that she thinks of music in terms of human emotion in the very largest sense, for this human emotion is immediately explained away as an emotion (the "Emotion of Music 33 as she understands it) which takes you into a region outside yourself, "an emotion without any per sonal application to one's own feelings" When this happens,

1 It is only as a "Listener," not as a singer of very modern songs, that Elsa can have acquired her dominant preference for Bach.

  • The third being Lewis, a pianist and composer.


208 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

"then it certainly seems to have a message beyond itself; for when I am translated into that tremendous region,, music seems more than 'just music* " And, cross-questioned about that last remark, she admits this "more than 'just music' feeling isn't really more than a specifically musical emotion"; and she clinches the matter by asking "what could there be besides?"

Questioned whether there might not be a more abstract emotion, recognised but not referred to herself, say of grief, etc., "The Violinist" evades or misunderstands this ques tion, and answers: "That would depend on the moment. If I were particularly unhappy . . . if I happened to be under the influence of a strong personal emotion, the music might express my emotion" And she sums up by saying: "To say that when I am not already in an emotional condition, music gives me only a specifically musical emotion is as near as I can get" But after these hesi tations, natural to a very conscientious Answerer dealing with a subject so full of yeses and noes, she gives a decisive illustration: "Beethoven Op. 3 was made intolerable a few days ago because it expressed the extreme melancholy in which I already was. . . . Under other circumstances I heard the same piece with nothing but admiration and delight"

This is what Elsa would call "bringing the emotional ex pression, not finding it" when one happens to be "very full of some emotion which obtrudes itself on everything."

These two pieces of evidence, the one so hard and fast the other so conscientiously hesitating, confirm each other entirely, and on two points. The first is that same denial of the expression of human emotion which we found in all the "Listeners" quoted in pp. 52-7, and which was con tinued when those same "Listeners" had to admit, later on, "streakings and veinings" and "entanglements" with human emotion.

It seems that, in the cases of Elsa and "The Violinist," as with those previously quoted thorough-paced "Listeners," the sui generis "Emotion of Music" prevents the recognition of any other emotion which may be expressed in the music


ELSA AND "THE VIOLINIST" 209

or integrates it with itself, because this sui generis ("The Violinist" calls it "specifically musical") emotion is not only a very satisfying and dominant emotion, but because it is essentially contemplative (remember "The Violinist's" "tremendous regions"), impersonal and objective, hence where it exists in fullest force (as is the case with thorough paced "Listeners") it is impervious to personal feeling and yields to it only fitfully ("streakings and veinings") or under what Elsa calls an obtrusion of present emotion extending to everything else. In short the answers of Elsa and "The Violinist" confirm what I have had to say about music's power of altering our mood for the better. It is this I have ventured to call music's greatest miracle, which has kept Elsa's and "The Violinist's" personal affections at bay. 1

1 I have already quoted "The Violinist" in the chapter "Higher Planes" (p. 103). Perhaps I had better take this opportunity of giving her evidence in extenso.

In verbal cross-questioning, "The Violinist," who admits sui generis emotion, but insists that music seems more than "just music," inas much as "the highest music translates me into what I think is a higher emotion without any personal application. Well! When Pm in that tremendous region it seems more than 'just music.' " Query: Does music ever express your own emotion? Answer: "Tes, but only when emotionally prepared . . . the emotion has to pre-exist."

Query: There could be abstract emotion of grief, etc., not referring to yourself? Answer: "It would depend on the moment. If I were particularly un happy then music would have that message. But it depends on condition at moment. Query: You seem to imply that when you are not in an emotional con dition, the emotion is a specifically musical one? Answer: "Tes, that's as near to it as I can get." Query: But while you are in this specifically musical emotion (which is) not personal, does the music have a char acter, grave, cheerful, etc.? Answer: {t Tes. The other day, listening to Beethoven Op. 3, / happened to be in a peculiarly unhappy frame of mind and could scarcely bear to hear it because it was the expression of my own state of mind. When it was over I felt mentally exhausted." Query: If there hadn't been that previous frame of mind? Answer: "I should have listened without that emotion, and mere enormous delight in hearing. . . . The bigger the music the less I should think of it as emotion of third person" (Apparently she never refers the emotion to composer.)


2io MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS


IV

That much we might have guessed; indeed it only con firmed what we already knew.

But the evidence of Elsa and that of "The Violinist/' so entirely independent and so oddly opposite in manner, coincide completely upon another point, and that, as already forestated, belongs to our new subject of Affective Memory and brings it a step forward. This point, brought home to me first by Elsa, is that an already present per sonal emotion ("obtruding in everything else") produces a participation in, and a reference to oneself, of the human emotion expressed in music which, but for this, would not be participated in and barely, perhaps, noticed at all.

With Elsa and "The Violinist" this, we have seen, has been due to their engrossment in what "The Violinist" calls the "specifically musical emotion." Other Answerers, being predominantly or exclusively "Hearers," are unaware of the very existence of such a specifically musical emotion : but they do know the difference between merely recognising that a given piece of music expresses a given emotion and themselves participating in that emotion. And the difference, we shall see, is made by the pre-existence of an emotional condition of the same sort.

This is summed up by an anonymous Answerer :

"Although music always seems to express human emotion^ it (i.e. attribution of the emotion to oneself) depends upon my mood." 1 This is developed with more discrimination by another anonymous "Hearer" who says: "/ am musically very unintelligent and uncritical, and so probably swayed by the mood or surroundings. . . . / think it depends upon my mood,

1 To bring this into greater relief, let me set opposite to it the answer of a very well-known musical critic "I feel that the composer is expressing something and my delight comes from the process of following him, partly from the quality of his thought and the total creation he achieves in the work . . . congruence with my existing emotional condition does not enter into the question."


RECOGNITION OR PARTICIPATION 211

whether the emotion seems that of the composer or a third person or my own"

My own mood. But a mood is not necessarily momentary; it may, without being permanent in the sense of a per manence of affective excitement, be habitual, such as the individual is more or less prone to, either from constitution or, as is shewn by several examples, from training which cultivates some moods (say the sentimental in the romantic period or the self-assertive in some post-war countries) or represses them. In short there is often something which the Answerer regards as particularly "my mood," to the ex clusion of other moods which are alien or hostile. Here is an example how such alien or hostile modes of feeling can be recognised as expressed in given pieces of music, but so far from being participated in, may arouse aversion or contempt for the music in question. The Answerer is one of the least musical of my "Hearers," 1 and at the same time one with the strongest likes and dislikes, also apart from music. "7 can recognise that music REPRESENTS varieties of human emotion and (i.e. but) the music wouldn't touch me in consequence. This abstract recognition without participation doesn't often happen. Ifs (i.e. it happens) when music represents an ATTITUDE I HAVE NO SYMPATHY WITH, alien to my nature and sex. The music that appeals most to me is the rebellious sort. Ifs because Pm a Socialist! I recognise in music some definite emotions pertaining to a crowd, the uproar, the surge, the growl I have heard in crowds at suffrage meetings" And, no doubt she feels in herself, whenever she recognises it in music, the emotion with which she once faced an anti-suffrage crowd, since she tells us that when she does participate in the music's ex pression "my emotion is often accompanied by bodily sensations; if if s defiant, my head goes up.' 9

1 "I don't recognise any sui generis emotion of music"


212 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

V

This rebellious young Suffragette's "head goes up" or did go up when she was still a rebellious young Suffragette in diebus illis. And this act of mimicry, and more than merely inner mimicry, brings home to us the existence of such latent, such habitual emotional conditions and their way of deciding whether an Answerer is going merely to "re cognise certain feelings as represented by music 55 or is going to participate, to appropriate them to himself or herself. Moreover, as I shall insist further along (and as we shall see 1 in my Suffragette's dislike of Brahms because his music expresses masculine self-satisfaction) how such latent, habi tual, often individually traditional, moods can exert a selection in one's musical preference, and go far to account for the different demands embodied in De Gustibus. Latent and habitual moods, and occasionally remaining merely potential, very likely because, as with Elsa and "The Violinist" and pretty well all my thorough-paced "Lis teners" the "Emotion of Music," what Barbara calls its "greatest happiness" may, in its serene manner, shut the door to personal participation. This is evidently what hap pened when the thorough-paced "Listeners," after denying human expression to music, are puzzled by having to admit "complications" and "streakings and veinings" of human expression in their sui generis emotion of music. And with out even requiring such complete predominance of musical interest and pleasure, the mere fluctuations in the Answerer's affective conditions will account for those who answer my queries about Participation versus Recognition with a "Tes and no, sometimes one and sometimes the other 39 Among whom I find my own dictated answer, supplemented at various times by observation of myself. The following is from the summary, similar to that I made for all my other Answerers,

1 In chapter "Some Preferences Classified," p. 531.


RECOGNITION OR PARTICIPATION 213

of my answers to the Questionnaires : Answer : "Intensifica tion usually of whatever emotion there may be. Indeed^ the emotional quality of music seems to reveal itself in proportion to there being something in myself (already) corresponding to it" This was dictated in 1912 or 1913. "But (writing in 1926) fourteen additional years, and the War, and many personal losses have greatly diminished my liability to such moods or emotional states, so that human expression in music seems to make its appearance more independently. Tet I am not sure! For the sense of parting and possible loss (and what I call) 'clinging' seems always latently at hand. Hence perhaps the domination (over me] of the Mozart C major quartet slow movement." P.S. February 1927. "I (now] think that this expressiveness which seems to come more independently (as in the case of that C major quartet Andante] does lay hold of me when I am not consciously in that mood. Also it has become so to speak TRADITIONAL to me in connection with that and other Mozart slow movements or phrases (e.g. the end of the Andante of the piano sonata in C major, end of the ist string quartet slow movement (in G major) and, oddly enough, the last bars, which are NOT slow, of the clarinet quintet}. Tet the emotional impression I have and (what is more!} EXPECT TO HAVE, is of a sudden alteration in my mood, which was different beforehand. Such an alteration in my human-emotional condition may also come from something I might read or even be told of or witness (cf. the Piraeus note}; and it is not the same thing as Elsa's and c The Violinist's' intensification by the music of a mood which was already conscious. It is (in my case} evocation of something LATENT close at hand, habitual or easily fallen into."

VI

Having thus introduced myself as corpus vile I may make some further vivisections which would not be allowed or allowable on other persons.

This selection among musical expressions by the kind of mood habitual to the "Hearer 53 is, I believe, as often as


2I4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

not, merely negative. In a perhaps exaggerated and voulu degree we have seen it in that rebellious young Suffragette's attitude to music which she recognised as alien, and espe cially the music of Brahms. But I can vouch for something of the kind in rny own case. For, in the face of general opinion, I cannot believe that certain of Beethoven's slow movements are lacking in aesthetic musical beauty; so that it seems likely that the musical attraction of that (univer sally admired) musical beauty must be overcome by my constitutional aversion to what I call "dismals." Although (perhaps because !) myself as much subject to them as my neighbours, they are intensely resented in myself like cer tain bodily ailments and incapacities. And I am ashamed to add that, so far from eliciting in me the proper response of pity, the exhibition of such dismals in other people, however justified, affects me as ill-bred when it does not produce a recoil as from something dangerous and infec tious (e.g. some Beethoven passages which are beautiful but "heart-breaking"). In all these cases, both the Mozart- pathos and the Beethoven-' 'dismals" are not always merely recognised as existing ; they very often awaken an emotional response : I feel that I am attracted in the one case, and that I resent in the other.

The individual predilections and aversions in my chapter "Some Preferences Classified," show, it seems to me, that those who listen to or hear music must be attuned to different expressions inherent therein ; tuned like strings set in vibration by appropriate noises, to this or the other kind of mood or emotion. This each individual will single out as the expression of a particular piece or Master. Thus we find M. Ernest going at once for the noble, melancholy, resigned in Beethoven; Romain Holland (in his little biography) for the heroic- pulling-oneself-out (with what arpeggio splashings !) of the slough of Despond; "C. A. T." laying hold of the musical expression of Triumph and of Protective Tenderness; and, as we are going to see, Bettina's frequent recognition in


RECOGNITION OR PARTICIPATION 215

Beethoven of a mood with the untranslatable German name of Hingabe, illustrated by wishing to give away one's last pair of shoes (having previously given away one's heart). And going back to myself, my (to many people perhaps unintelligible !) assimilation of certain Mozart slow move ments with that sentimental episode at the Piraeus.

Thinking all of which over, I begin to suspect that when ever music., without the supreme assistance of the sung or written word, brings about something more than mere recognition there being an expression of so-and-so, what my young Suffragette calls recognition that the music represents a given mood or emotion, then there is always an emotion, or mood, of an appropriate kind, either actually present "ob truding in everything" as with Elsa and "The Violinist/' or else latent, habitual, temperamental, traditional, and ready to come into activity at the music's suggestion. 1 So that, as Elsa tells us of herself, Participation is always In tensification. "One brings it oneself, one does not find it"

And should some critics fall to cavilling that this merely comes to telling us what we have all known all along, viz. that music appeals emotionally rather to people who are already emotional than to people who are not, I am greatly obliged for this summing up and for this signal confirmation of my views.

VII

Another objection is less likely to be put to me, but has insisted on being answered in my own mind :

If the foregoing is true, why bring in that contentious Affective Memory?

1 By Sigismund this (musically induced) emotion is compared with that produced by "a moving speech . . . a lament, a hopeless heart-receding cry. 39 And as the last quoted "Hearer" informs us that ever since child hood he has been "very fond of music with a melancholy expression and nos talgic folk-songs" we can set down his musically induced dismals as due in some manner to a melancholy cast of mind.


2i6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Firstly and simply, because, without such Affective Memory, I find it impossible to account for recognising an emotion as expressed, "represented" by music or any other means ; no less than it would be impossible to account for recog nising the appearance of visible things except by the visual memory-images which we know we have. The difference between the two cases is precisely in our distinctly knowing that we remember the appearance of things which are not present, whereas we are not sure that we ever remember an affect,, a mood, an emotion unless there is something to remind us of it. Thence the difficulty of our subject, and the incredulity with which M. Ribot's theories were met; thence also his (rather desperate) recourse to musical ex pression as a proof; thence also my need of his hypothesis to explain musical expression, whether actually participated in or merely recognised.


CHAPTER X "EVOCATION OF PAST AND FUTURE 55

HERR WOLFRAM; "AMIE DE GABRIELLE"; MME. LOUISE; YOUNG PEOPLE (FRANCES)

I

THROUGHOUT THE answers of those "Hearers 55 who are liable to what we recognise as lapses in "listening 55 and who also claim the faculty of re-living their past affective condi tions, there are signs that such re-living of past moods and emotions plays a large part in what occupies those (mostly unacknowledged) lapses in "listening. 55 Besides this, it appears that there are projections of the ego and its emotions into an imaginary future, such as may be the equivalent of reminiscences of the past for people too young to possess much of the latter, but who are only the more able, as described by a young pianist, Lewis, who had left off this habit, "to enjoy sentimental self-centred brooding to the accom paniment of music"

But this description hits off equally well the bouts of reminiscence of older Answerers. And have we not met the very words "the accompaniment of music 5 ' in Donna Teodora's account of the "evocations 55 habitually taking place in the cc intermittences 55 of her musical attention?

The following statement by a well-known writer on art and literature displays such a habit of musically induced or sustained re-living of the past connected with an unusual development of Affective Memory in other connections also. To the query concerning Affective Memory as such, Herr Wolfram answers: "/ re-live past feelings so strongly that they can lead me to positive absurdities; I am indeed able to suppress painful impressions but they easily return to life in moments of weakness (depression?). Localities can be rendered antipathetic by


2i8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

disagreeable remembrances; similarly, places associated with beauti ful and good remembrances become sacred ever after" As regards music, he is self-educated, very inattentive, given to diva gating, a "literary" type but extremely susceptible to the 'Towers of Sound"; indeed we shall meet him in a subse quent Chapter as an example of the "Cecilian" who is almost a full-fledged "Dionysiac." Having distinguished between the purely musical but quite superficial interest inspired in him by the "Classics" (including the earlier Beethoven) and the totally different effects (whereof more anon), indeed the intoxication, produced by more modern music, including the later Beethoven, Chopin and Wagner, he turns to his habit of day-dreams. "There is a quite definite mood which is always returning. (In it) I find it inconceivable, ridiculous that I should be sitting in a Northern Country and leading a hard-working bourgeois existence. My former joyous life is lived over again, its remembrances accompanied by strong feelings (mit starken Afekte bei der Erinnerung}. Once more I am the fantastical student in Vienna and Geneva looking forward to life as a sequel of marvellous adventures. Once more I live with little cash but endless pluck in a Quartier Latin garret; and I feel in every way ready for the greatest, most daring things. This state of mind will continue for an entire evening, and I often continue such phantasticating deep into the night, in order to get its full flavour and to store up its creative power"

Herr Wolfram's references to music and its bodily reac tions show that such "phantasticating" reminiscences have been set up by music even if the music has not gone on at the moment. For they are not mentioned in answer to queries on Affective Memory (which occur in a different part of the Questionnaire), but brought into connection with his account of certain kinds of music, whose other effects we shall deal with when the same Answerer reappears as a semi- "Dionysiac" and as the type of "literary" "Hearer" to whom music furnishes not reminiscences only, but also "inspirations."

Meanwhile let me forestall, as proof of the musical origin


HERR WOLFRAM 219

of these bents of reminiscent day-dreams, what Herr Wolfram tells us (after noting the exact contrary about "Classical" music) about his manner of listening (or rather "hearing") during the "tremendous intoxication" (gewaltige Rausch) he speaks of as produced by more modern music : "7 rarely follow the notes" he says, "but my brain works tremendously, so that most of my own ideas (i.e. for literary work) have come while at the opera."

II

Having given these pleasantly boyish confessions of Herr Wolfram's as a sample of what that other (and very dif ferent) young man Lewis had condemned as "self-centred sentimental broodings to the accompaniment of music," I must lead the Reader back to the symmetrical statements (p. 200) of the two women novelists to the effect that music expresses something personal which they have already experienced, 1 and repeat the conclusion I drew therefrom concerning the part played in such very usual cases by affective memory as against musical interest. It has been my good fortune to obtain two very circumstantial accounts of two other cases which are alike in being almost abnormally extreme and at the same time absolutely opposed; both dealing with the interaction of first-personal reference and musical interest.

I will begin with the Answerer who shall be called, from the name of the friend who forwarded her answers "Amie de Gabrielle" For an amateur she is highly musically developed. Besides being constantly haunted by melodies (what she describes as being "victim resignee des themes musicaux"} she has memory for timbre and chords ; moreover, since that is sometimes (rightly or wrongly) claimed by quite unmusical

"THE COUNTESS": Likes music best "when it reminds me of some of my own emotions."

"THE BARONESS" : "I should ham thought it always stirred in me something intensely personal, something I already knew, intensified."


220 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

persons she can easily give herself the retrospective enjoy ment (i.e. "puisfacilement me donner lajouissance retrospective"} of a harmonic fragment. Musical enjoyment is complete only when she has "a sufficiently clear acquaintance with a piece." This is a frequent proviso with true "Listeners", who require familiarity whereas "Hearers" seem equally impressed ("C. A. T.," for instance) by music which they have never heard before and whose very name they do not notice. But note the reason she gives for requiring such familiarity: "sufficiently clear acquaintance (connaissance assez claire} in order to jit it into such or such conditions by which I was moved in the past (pour pouvoir ? adapter a tel etat qui m'affecta dans le passe}" After which it is scarcely necessary to quote her answer to another query: "U association d'un etat afectif a Demotion d*une oeuvre musicale sans titre ni paroles est un pheno- mene frequent " But this "etat affectif" "m' est plus souvent per sonnel; parfois je Yattribue au compositeur. . . . Je le considers (alors} comme nous etant communs" For the rest, "U audition musicale rfest point evocatrice . . . damages ayant une existence independents" but "ce rfest qu* exceptionnellement que la musique demeure pour moi de la musique. . . ." We shall see why. Here is what she says under the heading of Memoire Affective: "Mon passe s'evoque avec facilite et une intensite . . . (aussi grande} que le jour de Vevenement" And such evocation is evidently a habit, indeed, an habitual indulgence, for "ce m' est une satis faction tres grande que de revivre a neuf; et ces retours frequents sur moi-mgme conservent toute leur force a mes sympathies . . . et a mes haines" In plain English, the love and the hatred she has once felt are kept alive by such "frequent returns upon herself."

Upon herself. This is the first person singular in all its force and purity, since she has been careful to tell us that on the occasions when the musically expressed "etat afectif" is attributed to the composer, she considers it as common to him and to herself. And to herself. There seems to be fre quently, almost habitually, going on in this person, a revival


"AMIE DE GABRIELLE" 221

of her past feelings which is, she tells us, enjoyable ; her loves re-loved and (characteristically!) her hates re-hated, so that her past is kept ever fresh and alive. Into this self- centred affective monologue music enters (as mentioned in my first quotation) only when sufficiently familiar "pour pouvoir I' adapter a tel etat qui m'affecta dans le passe" It does not, therefore, evoke anything having "an independent exis tence." So, in this self-centred obsession (or indulgence?) of affective reminiscence it is no wonder that despite her un common musical memory "ce rfest qu' ' exceptionnellement que la musique demeure pour moi de la musique" I have kept back the second half of that last sentence in order to give it due weight. For such an exceptional occurrence of more musical interest, such an abeyance of "first personal reference," "// me faut etre dans un etat normal d'equilibre et ne pas subir Pin- fluence prealable d'un etat affectif"

I have emphasised this final quotation, because it tallies with Elsa's and "The Violinist's 53 statements that they do not participate in a given emotion expressed by a piece of music unless they are previously in that same emotional state. Moreover, I have also drawn attention to it for a more important reason : since surely this lady's account of her keeping up the freshness of her past loves and hates by constant revival of feelings whose objective causes have long ceased to exist, and this final sentence about its being exceptional for her to be in an "etat normal d*equilibre" and uninfluenced by some emotional condition; surely all this points to the validity of one of the objections of Ribot's Memoire Affective : namely that in the alleged cases thereof we are dealing with a present, a new emotion, not with a past one. May it not be, one wonders, a shadowy reality issuing from unnoticed recesses of the inner life, rather than a faint and fluttering and pathetic spectre, not a ghost at all, but a living being, renewing itself vampire-wise, from its hostess's heart's blood, and kept alive by such daily oblations? That, however, is a question beyond me and


2 QQ MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

beyond our present-day knowledge, a question of the physiological psychology (not, for heaven's sake the psycho analysis !) of the future. Meanwhile, since this suspicion has come to me in the course of my musical studies, let me repeat, taking it for whatever it is worth, my growing belief (already suggested by my illustration of the farewell at the Piraeus) that the genuine Affective Memory, though doubtless at the bottom of such reviviscence of the past, has in all likelihood a very different character : it is memory and cannot possibly be mistaken for present experience. Since, as Semon has shown, one of the essentials of memory is that each of its items alters with every reviviscence, because at each reviviscence it finds itself in company with other, however similar, items which together form an Engram group. Also because each such memory-group means memory of previous memories and this tends to perpetual renovation but also alteration and generalisation. Hence, in the eyes of the moralist and one can't help moralising a little in the course of examining so many "human documents' 3 as my Questionnaire has brought into my portfolios and boxes the justification of Affective Memory is that like other kinds of past experience it does NOT remain concrete and individual (and egotistic !) but is clarified into something applicable to other cases, to the present and the future ; above all, becomes sublimated as sympathy, making us understand the not-oneself, and sublimated, no doubt, still further, into those "Ancestors of Emotion" which called forth by the magic of music, give our otherwise clogged and fretted souls, the refreshment, the renewal, nay the new lease of life, of aesthetic contemplation.

Ill

In symmetrical contrast to the case of Amie de Gabrielle is that of Mme, Louise. And, so to speak, a double contrast: for I took down this excellent amateur's two statements at


MME. LOUISE 223

an interval of two or three years, during which the tragic loss of a beloved child had entirely altered her attitude to music, affording an extraordinary proof by reversal (as an addition sum is proved by subtraction) of the manner in which an emotionally excitable temperament can be ori ginally neutralised by thorough-paced musical attention and purely musical pleasure, to the exclusion of personal references of any kind and of all evocation of "images and dramas." And this despite her having undoubted memoire affective "pas historiquement mais d'une fafon tres vivante" Moreover, although she spoke of the power of sound in an almost "Cecilian" way: "La musique surexcite plutot qtfelle rfapaise" adding 'Tebranlement nerveux canst par le son est tou- jours considerable. Les orgues (cf. my note on Ambience} et les ensembles de voixfont un efet incroyable" But having said that music "rf est pas un calmant . . . (for) quandje dis 'oh que Jest beau!' fa ne peut pas Stre line chose rassurante," she insists that the ebranlement, the nervous or emotional response, the change of mood is always "dans le sens esthetique"

Here was, if ever, a case of a high degree of Affective Memory ("never historical") and of an almost "Cecilian" sensitiveness of the "Powers of Sound," held in check by the intensity of musical attention and aesthetic exaltation.

Remembering what she had dictated in those happier times, she afterwards wished to tell me of the change which had come over her musical experience since the tragic loss of her son (this was before the War) three years before. And the following is the note which I took down with her permission and added to her earlier answers to my Ques tionnaire: "Since that sudden event my whole inner life has, in a manner, changed; all joy has departed, all interest in everything of my own; and what is more, I have come to hate the very thought of any happiness for myself. I have got along only by hating all joy And now for the change with regard to music: "It has become impossible for me to listen to music or even to open my music cupboard" But never making or hearing any music, she has


224 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

become subject to musical obsessions at night when half asleep. She hears all the music she has ever heard and much she had utterly forgotten ; complete performances lasting for hours. And evidently most distressing, as other victims thereof tell me that such musical obsessions often are. This, however, is far from all, at least as connected with my Questionnaire. For Madame Louise remembered having told me, previous to that shattering tragedy, that (in her normal days) music had never been accompanied by, nor suggested any kind of visual imagery or any drama. "Jamais la musique rfevoque des personnages ou des histoires" Now, on the contrary, these musical obsessions during half somnolence are accompanied by visions and scenes ; visions of move ments suggested by a phrase or phrases. She gave as example (even drawing a diagram) a vision accompanying the opening of the Andante of the Pathetique. The first four notes were women holding and raising and lowering a strained drapery. When the phrase rose, the drapery rose at an angle and was held up at intervals by the figures. Query: Is it like a ballet or pantomima suggested by the music? Answer: "Yes, exactly." Nor is even this all. The visions and gestures bring with them acute human emotions corresponding to the music, such as she never had in her normal days, the whole being very painful.

Query: Do you feel the beauty of the music? Answer: "The quality of beauty has utterly disappeared. All music is equally hideous and hateful All aesthetic sense utterly abolished" This was dictated in 1910. Mme. Louise took the War greatly to heart, and on its end became deeply interested in M. R. Holland's pacifist movement. I never learned whether or not she recovered her former love of music. She is now dead ; and even had she not volunteered the above informa tion for what she regarded as its psychological interest, I feel now no indiscretion using it in extenso, for in this strange and harrowing case, I would have my Reader note how the abolition, as she expresses it, of all aesthetic sense, coin-


EVOCATION OF THE FUTURE 225

ciding with the morbid and painful development of musical memory, lets loose not only the emotional, but the sug gestive, the evocative (cf. Donna Teodora) power of music which had hitherto been non-existent in her, or rather had been held in check by her musical interest. So that this catastrophe and its emotional upsetting of her life reduced this fine and quite eminently "Apollinian" * musician, with her now morbid over-development of musical memory to the level of a musically deficient Donna Teodora, for whom music is essentially an evocation of, and accompaniment to visions and dramas.

IV

Besides evocations of the Past, Music, like some Hallowe'en or St. Agnes' Eve incantation, can also evoke a longed-for future. This, I imagine (for alas! I am too old either to remember my own salad days or pry without intrusiveness into those of others) is the case with young folk and it was no doubt of such prophetic revelations, that Lewis was speaking, when he described himself as formerly having indulged in "sentimental self-centred brooding to the accompani ment of music" For while a lengthy journey through life seems to enrich us reverend seniors with overmuch personal luggage of the kind, leaving, moreover, much of the wool (it often does seem woolly!) hanging on wayside bushes. Youth needs to eke out an insufficient stock of memories, by spinning them backwards-forwards into an emotional self-centred web of might-bes. Which, by the way, is an additional reason for thinking that affective memory of the sort which instead of sinking into the residual abstractions used up as sympathy, can really revive the intensity and flavour of past feelings, a reason I repeat for thinking that such capacity for what Fernande calls un passe vivant, may depend upon a hair-trigger readiness for present

  • See p. 235.

p


226 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

emotions, which are what are really being revived when people say they are reviving their past ones.

However that may be and it is perhaps an unanswerable problem I think that young people use music for the kind of day-dream special to youth, enlarging the future because they have so little past, just as we elders unroll our past because the future is shrinking in our hands. It may not be solely a growth of musical attention which accounts for Lewis having left off and got to despise that musical day dreaming.

Once more "however that may be " (and that is the

key-note of my speculations) there are indications that young people find in music cordials as comforting to their (often sadly shivering) ego as any of the egoistic reminis cences in which older persons seek a little warmth : namely revelations of what life may have in store in the way of fine frenzies and hair-breadth heroisms; revelations indeed of life's very nature and the mysterious stuff their own souls are made of. "Music," says Frances, "has above everything a quality of revealing yourself and things outside (yourself] . Depths and heights I never dreamed of are revealed"

For such finer sort of young people (why do novelists not go more into this question?) the craving for experience we are all told about, is surely not so much the crude curiosity of the child smelling at every bottle and putting every leaf and berry into its mouth, as the wish for a greater self, for the maturity of their own budding powers. This is surely the bargain which youth would make with Mephistopheles ; old Faust's arrangement about a satisfying moment, occurring, methinks, rather when maturity has come and been found unsatisfying.

And what could be better able than Music, Music with its imperative "Hark; I will tell you a mystery" and its (to some minds at least !) obvious lack of anything much to tell ; what better able than this great Oracular Art, to satisfy human wishes by the irrefragable revelation of a vast, all-


EVOCATION OF THE FUTURE 227

encompassing, overwhelming future within oneself rather than by the re-evocation of elderly persons' after all rather cut-and-dried little Past?

And now having put before the Reader most of the evidence I have collected and of the hypotheses I have framed concerning M. Ribot's theory about the connection of Music with Affective Memory, let me pass on to the supreme illustration of how musical appreciation can be mysteriously married to the affective element and its underlying present demands. We will end off our enquiry into the emotional side of individual responsiveness to music, with some cases of what has received from Nietzsche the appellation of "Dionysiac."


CHAPTER XI

INTRODUCTION TO "DIONYSIACS"

THE CUP OF COMUS

I

OUR "LISTENERS" have made us familiar with their "Emo tion of Music," however much occasionally such "just music" may be "streaked," "veined" or "complicated" with human feeling. On the other hand, the discussion especially of the answers given by Elsa and "The Violinist," of whether music makes us participate in a human emotion or merely recognise its character, has shown us how human, indeed personal, emotion may influence musical respon siveness and be influenced thereby. I have even shown reason to believe that it may be the "just music" habit of thorough-paced "Listeners," i.e. their active following of the "notes in all their relations," which is freeing them from the passive subjection (with consequent "evocation") to those "Powers of Sound" which might otherwise domi nate their highly developed musical sensitiveness, and which is thereby substituting for what we have learned to know under "Affective Responses," a more or less undivided "Emotion of Music."

To deal with the baffling question of the "Dionysiac" side of Music and of musical responsiveness, we must bear all this in mind. But above everything we must remember what we learned from the Answerers I have called "Cecil- ians," about their being played upon, not played to, by music, particularly such music as their arch-type Cecilia (even certain "Listeners" in "Cecilian" moments) typified by military bands, orchestral effects, great organs 1 and even drums ; that is to say by the "Powers of Sound" ; timbre

1 We shall find Master Hugues caring for organ fugues and counter point as "accumulated sonority."


INTRODUCTION TO "DIONYSIACS" 229

also of certain human voices and solo instruments, volume rhythm and pace, when passively submitted to. From this evidence we have seen that such a "Cecilian" impression of being played upon, in some manner indescribable and sometimes (as in Ambience) irresistible, is often quite as impersonal as its opposite the "Emotion of (just) Music" professed by thorough-paced "Listeners."

And thus approaching the "Dionysiac" problem leads me to postulate the existence of what I must call "undif- ferentiated emotion/' i.e. emotion which, however it may enter into or be claimed by this or that affective condition, including the "Emotion of Music," has to be regarded as emotion merely as such. We must remember the difficulty experienced by "Listeners" 1 in trying to put a name to the human emotion they found "streaking 35 and "veining" music, a difficulty often ending in a denial of its existence. Thus, queried whether music can put him into a state of emotion, Dr. Calabrese, musically very sensitive though uneducated, bursts out: "Emotion? Tes, per Bacco! But WHICH emotion?"

And a similar meaning may underlie M. Ernest's indig nant "Why should music just express the emotions we happen to think of in connection with human life?"

Not perhaps with human life in the sense of life's various vicissitudes and predicaments, since (even when over whelming) "undifferentiated emotion" as such does not discharge itself directly in behaviour or action towards persons or things. But emotion connected with life in its widest meaning, and arising, most likely, in life's obscurest depths. Since such undifferentiated emotion belongs to what Dr. Head has called the protopathic, the undiscrimi- nating, the massively responsive, "all or nothing" half (or rather nine-tenths !) of our cerebral and nervous activities, those underlying, primordial and shared with the humblest creatures, older perhaps than sex, coeval with sensitiveness and animal motion, and as such entering into all our

  • See pp. 59-65-


230 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

recognised and labelled strivings and emotions, called by their names and itself nameless. Indeed, becoming manifest, disengaged from personal reference and behaviouristic rationalisation, perhaps only in mystical and aesthetic exaltations, which I find significantly coupled together in the answers of "The Lyric Poet," who describes her musical experience as like a religious ecstasy. 1

What an "undifferentiated emotion" is like we no doubt most of us know by our own experience though we cannot easily describe. Its signalement would have to be made up of hints contained in my Chapters "Higher Planes" and "Ambience," and the lists of bodily symptoms agreeable or not furnished by my "Cecilians," by emotional "Hearers," like Spiridion, and even by thorough-paced "Listeners," like Adela and Bettina in their "Cecilian" moments.

Current literature attempts its portrayal (e.g. Mary Borden's Flamingo and Maurice Baring's Tinker's Leave) but, limiting myself to answers to my Questionnaire, I have luckily found a full-length description of such "undifferen tiated emotion" by an American essayist, an Answerer so musically undiscriminating as to mass all Beethoven's styles (and all his various tempi] into one.* Here is the passage: "/ love all Beethoven. Not like anything I know except the passionate pulsing of one's own blood in sorrow, anger > love and all tremendous exaltations, when something deep down seems to break into a sort of subliminal uprush and carry away the barriers of one's individuality

My first impression and the Reader's doubtless also on reading this fine description, was of something like those places in Wagner's orchestra music when all the familiar instruments are fused, each losing its identity, into a gigantic and miraculous instrument such as no one has heard before.

1 She continues "or like one's feeling under an anaesthetic" but I shall come

to this when dealing with the "Dionysiac" comparison of music with

narcotics.

a Though even musical critics sometimes do this, which is absurd

unless by "Beethoven" they mean only "what distinguishes Beethoven"

from, say, Mozart.


UNDIFFERENTIATED EMOTION 231

But when, to quote from itself, the uprush of this metaphor has ceased delightfully to overwhelm me, whatever psycho logy I have learned protests against the notion that emo tional conditions and their concomitant physiological ones so different and even contradictory as sorrow, anger, and love, could possibly, like those Wagnerian harps, fiddles, wind instruments, fuse into a new emotion. For emotion means incipient or inhibited action, and the actions or attitudes of sorrow and anger are incompatible at the self same moment. And if not at the selfsame moment, what can we imagine as remaining from them save a general, emotional excitement, after the churning up by such various passions, possibly also (inhibitions having been weakened) a hair-trigger readiness for new emotions, such as we recognise in some of our neighbours and may be, at mo ments, in ourselves. That is what I have alluded to as the general emotionalness which would lay one open to sudden reviviscence of affective memories, breaking, under the stress of music, the condition of affective indifference in which we recognise "but we do not participate. 35 And this Answerer's "tremendous exaltations," her "something deep down," her "subliminal uprush," belong exactly to what might be left behind by any of those ruptures of affective neutrality of which she enumerates sorrow, anger and love; those passions which Beethoven (i.e. what she thought of as particularly Beethoven) had aroused in her. Indeed, what is the "pulsing of our blood" but a symptom of all the various passions, of "the great exaltations" as she calls them? And it is all this, "pulsings," "uprush," "great exaltations," what I call "undifferentiated emotion," from which, as the shepherd pursued by Pan, we have seen some of our Answerers shrinking and flying.

My, however amateurish, belief in the existence and (what Dr. Head would call) protopathic nature of such undiffer entiated emotion has been strengthened by literature very different from (though not irrelevant to) the answers to my


232 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Questionnaire. First by a remark of M. Etienne Rabaut to the effect that before there can be, in living organisms, any movement having a direction or orientation, there must be a motor condition or motor capacity as such.

Having been set thinking by this apparent biological analogy, I fell upon the following passage in a psycho- physiological treatise by Dr. G. Dumas, "Introduction a P etude de Pexpression des Emotions" (Rev. PM., July XXVI), where he says that (expressive) "reactions qui nous sont connues particulierement par I* observation clinique, tels que le rire et le pleur spasmodiques, sont des fails de decharge bien plus que des expressions localises et adaptees." Surely this implies something more primordial than any specific emotion, something underlying all emotion and which stands to sorrow, joy, anger, and love very much as the mere contractions and relaxations of tissue, of organic matter, stand to the definite movements and gestures of higher creatures.

Nay, does not music produce just such fails de decharge which are in themselves expressions of nothing save general states of excitement ("exaltation") or depression, however much they be appropriated as substratum by the definite emotions known to us in human life?

Now whether the "undifferentiated emotion" communi cated to that American essayist by "all Beethoven" be less of the nature of a Wagnerian fusion of all known human emotions, or more of the nature of such primordial, basal fails de decharge underlying all emotion; or whether both explanations may be requisite to complete each other, be this as it may be, we shall meet such "undifferentiated emotion" 1 dominating in the sometimes highly musical Answerers recognisable as "Dionysiacs" and we have met it already in the usually unmusical persons I have called "Cecilians."

1 There is a "cart before the horse" testimony to the existence of an undifferentiated emotion when Gregory says: "My emotions vent them selves in music no matter what its expression. 99


READINESS FOR AFFECTIVE EXCITEMENT 233 II

Now what is it which that "subliminal uprush" of undif- ferentiated emotion breaks through and breaks down? Simply, I think, the condition of affective indifference or neutrality in which most of us pass most of our life ; the "even tenor/ 5 pleasant or boring as may be, without which we should be unable to adapt to human society or adjust to objective interests: affective neutrality moreover which, from the point of view of this book, gives free play for abstract sympathy, and the recognition (in music and elsewhere) of the Lacrymae Rerum of those Piraeus adieux; free play also for those activities of aesthetic contemplation ("following the notes and all their relations") which result in the specific "Emotion of Music."

Such, as already remarked, should be the normal human condition, in which life might be a fairly steady alternation of successful tasks and modest pleasures remembered and looked forward to ; life replenished by an occasional con templative interlude. But normal though it should be, it is by no means (apart even from adverse circumstances) the only way of living. Rather, as the example of "Amie de Gabrielle" has shown us, there are persons who are not habitually in what that Answerer calls a state of "equilibre suffisant" for mere aesthetic contemplation and impersonal musical emotion.

We need not seek for more cases of such evident in- validism, still less examine medical observations on indi viduals whose whole life alternates between objectively unmotived elation and depression, though it may not be amiss to remember the existence of such pathological cases, culminating in what French doctors call Folie circulaire.

Observation of our neighbours, indeed of ourselves, has familiarised all of us with individual cases or momentary conditions where hopeful or despondent views are taken without sufficient reason, and where the personality either


2 3 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

expands beyond its real powers or shrinks even less justi fiably into an over-sensitive self. All of which daily observable differences explain why various "Hearers" (indeed, certain "Listeners" no less) single out various expressions in music and are attracted and repelled by them. That point we have already touched upon. What I require to discuss at this turn of our subject, is rather that permanent readiness and need for affective excitement at such which is, of course, the opposite pole to the neutral condition seemingly normal in most lives. Since such a chronic state of, or readiness for, "undifferentiated emotion" is what distinguishes the persons I have called "Diony siacs" (beginning with their archetype, prophet and dis coverer, Nietzsche) from mere "Cecilians" whose pleasure consists in being "played upon" by music, but who, for aught I know, may be otherwise (and would be if more musically endowed) just as habitually neutral as the rest of us. Those whom I call "Dionysiacs" or partial "Diony siacs" ma y on the contrary be extremely musical, and as such able to "sit up to music," 1 but such sitting up to music bores them and what they want is, like the commonest inattentive "Cecilians," to be "played upon," indeed "over whelmed." These people are in a chronic state of emotional readiness, often of emotional hunger. Often there seems an actual hyperaesthesia of emotionalism as such, which re veals itself very frequently (indeed invariably when they are literary) in "all-or-nothing" expressions of opinion and irresponsibly rapid changes and self-contradiction, dispro portionate, "PeHon upon Ossa" and paradoxical statements, in fact a "fine frenzy" traditional with poets but here extended to all manner of persons; 3 and which, whether

i See p. 46.

  • In cases like De Quincey's and Edgar Poe there may be a vicious

circle of cause and effect : the innate "protopathic" temperament lead ing to the use of intoxicants, or narcotics ; and the use of these increasing the constitutional dislike of, the incapacity for, sobriety of vision and statement.


READINESS FOR AFFECTIVE EXCITEMENT 235

displayed in specially gifted, or in vulgarly vicious indi viduals, makes them regard that neutral and sober normal condition as boring, intolerable and despicable. This (if I may apply Dr. Head's word) protopathic overdevelopment, is sometimes spoken of as belonging to Genius, probably because Genius (and especially drunken and disorderly Genius) is more frequently laid on the spiritual dissecting table than is the case with nonentities. But judging by the number of Toms, Dicks and Harrys addicted to alcohol and drugs, to dangerous, risky, cruel or sexually exciting, sports and spectacles, this temperamental alternation between natural boredom and artificial excitement is just as common among the poor in spirit and (alas!) the poor in purse. Similarly it is sometimes spoken of as a stigma of modern degeneracy, and to this also history and ethnology, let alone hagiography, give the lie, showing that in the lives of our (not very remote) forebears, in the lives of savages and even of saints and apostles there are such alternations between brief moments of excitement and long periods of dullness with far too little of that beneficent neutral con dition in which many of my Readers and myself carry on their fairly happy and decently useful existence.

Ill

I had of course borrowed the name of "Dionysiac" from Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy, accepting his definition to the extent of asking my Answerers whether their musical enjoy ment was "Apollinian" or "Dionysiac," and for better understanding of this query, I defined "Apollonian" as "calm, lucid serene, bracing," and "Dionysiac" as "excited, overwhelming, spiced with pain, exhausting."

Now that "spiced with pain" was my way of summing up Nietzsche's doctrine that the "Dionysiac" state is marked by a primordial taking pleasure in pain; such being, accord ing to him, the common origin of music and of the tragic


236 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Myth, both of which "play with the Stachel der Unlusf 9 * (sting or stab of pain).

None of my Answerers could, I imagine, have demurred to some such element of painfulness existing in drama; but, to my surprise, while many (even a few "Listeners") ad mitted a preference for music which was "exciting and overwhelming," and some roundly declared they didn't want the "calm, lucid, serene, bracing, Apollinian" sort of music, not one would have anything to do with the expres sion "spiced with pain." The nearest approach was Cecilia herself when remarking that One could sometimes scarcely bear it when it went on too long":, but that would surely have answered to my adjective "exhausting," not to Nietzsche's primordial "pleasure in painfulness." Nor was there, in the often voluminous answers, even an allusion to the presence in music of dissonance and even cacophony, which doubtless suggested Nietzsche's notion that music, like tragedy, played with pain. To real "Listeners," dissonances must be mainly a step in the whole complex play of musical rela tions, not something consciously dwelt upon and branding itself on consciousness like, say, the misery of Lear or Gretchen; and as to cacophony, that, judging by savage and some modern music, is, for "Cecilians" and such-like, one of the natural resources of the "Powers of Sound" and their overwhelming appeal. Be this last as it may, of my nearly one hundred and fifty Answerers, not one agreed, and several went out of their way to disagree, in attributing painfulness (even if only a spice !) to the "Dionysiac" kind of musical enjoyment, which a good number of them joy fully accepted and others repudiated. Nor was this repudia tion on the score of "painfulness." In that (before quoted) novelist's answers "The Dionysiac? That's what I want so par ticularly to avoid" the reason for avoidance given was: "It lays hold of me and shakes me to the foundations" This "laying hold and shaking to the foundations" is, I

  • Cf. a favourite expression of D. H. Lawrence, "black emotion."


THE CUP OF COMUS 237

have come to recognise, the real characteristic of the "Dionysiac" condition, at least in music. It is what some individuals, like the one just quoted, resent and dread, and others court, nay, require. What it does has been expressed in verse which tells more of music's nature than all my Questionnaire's answers and commentaries, it "robs one of oneself."

IV

THE CUP OF COMUS

"... I have oft heard My mother Circe with the Sirens three Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs, Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul And lap it in Elysium . . . Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense And in sweet madness robbed it of itself. But such a sacred and homefelt delight, Such sober certainty of waking bliss I never heard till now. ..."

ComuSy v. 253.

That, even though worded with a virginal reticence suited rather to Milton's highbred adolescent actors (and young Milton himself!) than to the Wizard-demon who speaks it, is the best account I can offer of the musical "Dionysiac" and the musical "Apollinian" as they exist, not in Nietzsche's unhappy self and theories, but in the prosaic Answers to my Questionnaire.

We have got thoroughly perhaps too thoroughly familiar with the "sober certainty of waking bliss" given by music to "Listeners" who are nearly always of the "Apol- linian" religion. The opposite effect desired by those other Answerers, mainly "Cecilians" "with a difference," and which, rather than Nietzsche's spice of painfulness, seems the distinguishing element of the "Dionysiac" in music, can be summed up, however badly, as Intoxication.


2 3 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Intoxication, as "a glass of wine/' or "mountain air/' as the "body and glow/' as in Benjamin's quasi-paraphrase, in very modern language, of Milton's verses. Intoxication, as that American essayist's "pulsing of one's own blood . . . when something deep down seems to break into a sort of subliminal uprush"; Intoxication which that novelist, "the Baroness/' dreaded because "it lays hold of one and shakes one to the foundations" \ Intoxication, in the symptoms enunciated by Cecilia and all "Cecilians"; 1 perhaps (and this is the nearest approach to Nietzsche's Stachel der Unlust) in Mr. Lawrence's sinister drums "acting on the helpless blood direct."

But also Intoxication in its technical and medical sense, as when M. Ernest remarks "Some people take music as a nar cotic" and (as we shall find in the next chapter but one), Professor Paul repeating that same word and he a physio logist "narcotic." "Madness" (more or less sweet!) but always "robbing them of themselves/' that is what Comus, in his respectable musical garb, offers in his cup. Now, neat or diluted, that cup of Comus's is what a good many of us human beings desire. Perhaps, I would add, require. Since such seems the lesson of life and the evidence of my Questionnaire since I believe that among the primordial needs of the living, at all events the human, creature, needs far simpler than the complexes called instincts, there is, alongside of the need for replenishment and for expenditure and for repose, a nefed for excitement as such; a need ministered to, in ways ever more complicated, by just those complex "instincts" which behaviouristic psychology treats as elemental. The human creature as we know him, so often imperfectly organised, or jammed into unsuitable conditions, suffers intolerably from insufficiency of life and

' Cf. FRANZ : "It goes over me like a flood. It is perhaps a kind of intoxication.' 9 PROFESSOR PAUL: "What I want is ecstasy. . . . Thus music, like strong

narcotics . . . ." MASTER HUGUES: "... electrified for hours afterwards. . . . Glass of wine,

climbing mountains. , . . Rapturous , sometimes shattering."


INTOXICATION 239

self; monotonous tedium, dullness and the theological and Dantesque vice of accidia ; and seeks relief in excitement, no matter what excitement, in intoxication, sexual, com bative, acquisitive, self-sacrificing or "sadistic," intellectual, religious, aesthetic, enabling him to scrape along through his days, to be ready for the next meal, the next job, the next pleasure or pain, the next unavoidable re-adjustment and effort ; excitement breaking through the humdrum ; the unusual giving a new lease of strength to go on with the usual. Now for the fairly comfortable and secure modern, at least pre-war, man, the modern man whose business is largely cerebral and whose diversions are usually hemmed in by social taboos, the remedies for such a sense of clogging dullness are, of course, in sport and games of chance, and for the finer or feebler type, disliking risk, destruction and competition, the remedy is the cup (or nip) of intoxication mixed, made palatable and innocuous by literature and art. Against our essential boredom, the sovereign restora tive might be, of course, the cult of Apollo, "lucid, serene and bracing." But that, the benefit thus to be got from certain books, localities, works of art and pieces of music, requires an initial outlay, an available capital of attention, interest and of the habit of such happiness. And that again, some people have not got, for one of a score of reasons, whereof several are temperamental and none, necessarily, in the least dishonourable.

And for these laggards, these (like poor boastful, suffering Nietzsche) psychic invalids, reduced perhaps to invalidism by the very civilisation by which we are made comfortable, or even by the possession of overstrung faculties which help us not to be mere dunces, for these there is the "Dionysiac," the cup of Comus, filled with Emerson's "Wine and dreams."


CHAPTER XII

"DIONYSIACS"

FRANZ; PROFESSOR PAUL; MASTER HUGUES; P.S. ON NIETZSCHE


FRANZ

ALL THIS talk about Comus and Circe, likewise the mbre disorderly, or at least orgiastic, reputation of the Wine-God, may have led the Reader to expect thrilling, perhaps scandalous, examples of such "Dionysiacs." Let me warn him at once that he had better look for them in literature, which is the appropriate stage for such people's (genuine or faked) self-exhibition. Music offers them no such spectacles. And least of all would such interesting "Listeners" and "Hearers" be likely to answer my Questionnaires. So let the Reader be prepared to find that my three "Dionysiacs" are of the mildest, most respectable sort. Indeed, the first is not at all full-fledged; and the third is perhaps just a very little bit of a fake. So that the study of them is of interest merely as affording a few uncertain glimpses (indeed sur mises) of what the thorough-paced musical "Dionysiac" (if he exist at all) must be.

I will begin by the least conspicuous case of the three, namely a highly trained musician whose musicality, be sides being complicated by literary and critical activities, appears to suffer from an inherent imperfection on the side of memory, so that his "Dionysiac" character may result from a minus of musical memory as well as from a plus of affective memory.

Contrary to what we learn of all other highly trained musicians, Franz tells us that he cannot turn on in memory long fragments ; he can analyse the sound of written music but cannot get at the beauty of music from the printed


FRANZ 241

page ("I don't like listening to a new work with a score in my hand., because though it is interesting I miss almost all the aesthetic import of the work"). The lack of auditory memory ("for all practical purposes I have no musical memory" 1 ) which is proved by the above-mentioned lack of auditory imagination (i.e. hearing the written score) connects him, by however long an in terval, with Donna Teodora, and suggests, what I have pointed out in her case, namely a lack of interest in intervals (which depend upon memory) and, at all events of sequences or patterns of sound, what Cecilia calls "Tunes."

And such indifference to the melodic relations of notes considered at intervals, seems borne out by the extreme importance given by Franz to mere rhythm, which appears to stand out in his mind separate from those intervals with which it combines to make remembered phrases. His further remark, "I believe that rhythm has an obscure effect on conduct" carries us curiously in the direction of D. H. Lawrence's Aztec Drums. And, taken along with the deficient auditory memory and imagination (as shown by inability to get much good out of the score) leads to the probability that he is, more than his training would warrant, dependent for musical enjoyment upon the actually present impact and combinations of sound. In fact, that his musical attention is more passive (one might say "Cecilian") than active. And this is confirmed by what he tells us of his pre ferences. He does not care for chamber music; and (most exceptional among musicianly Answerers) says "Opera seems to me a higher though a less perfected form" In Mozart, but only apparently in the operas, he recognises a "certain deliciousness" On the whole, he says, "I prefer Beethoven though he often bores me. Still I feel he is great, and there are things, e.g. the Qth Sym phony, which rouse my highest enthusiasm"; also Franz's appre ciation of Bach is worded in a curious way : "Bach in his time exercised compulsion on me." The "compulsion," he adds, "causing me to cut an important engagement" Yet the mere

  • Cf. Donna Teodora, pp. 158-66.

a


242 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

choice of the word "compulsion/' especially as he sneers at "spotting second themes, etc." suggests that what attracted him in Bach were the composer's harmonies and sonorities, that quality of Ambience which reminds one that Bach often thought in terms of the organ and great masses of voices. At least such an interpretation of Bach's power of com pulsion on this Answerer squares with what we are told of his enjoyment of Wagner. For after that significant attribu tion of compulsion even to Bach, he says of Wagner, "He goes over one like a flood" and again, C 7 can't stand up against Wagner. It is perhaps a kind of intoxication" It is not even necessary to refer to the list of bodily emotions which he seems to regard as proof of musical pleasure. Nor need I remind the Reader that we have settled on Intoxication as marking the "Dionysiac." Indeed, the use of that word might in this case be fortuitous. What is certainly not for tuitous is the fact that Franz cannot stand up against the music he really cares for, that such music goes over him "like a food." That is not merely "Dionysiac;' it is the "Cecilian" underlying all the "Dionysiac" ; and even when occurring temporarily among "Listeners," it marks a lapse, however brief and slight, from the active attention of following, and in its stead a passive surrender to the "Powers of Sound." Of the total lapse of such activity of following, Franz gives several proofs : how, during chamber music, he will work out practical and literary schemes ; and even more significant, how, in order to "get the nearest things I can find to a pure emotion of music sui generis," he has recourse to his own "amateur ish" performance, and to "making my own musical phrasing" which seems to imply that he can actually follow music only when he himself is making it. In fact, it would appear as if this highly trained musician did comparatively little real "listening" ; that his enjoyment of music is mainly passive. What prevents his suspecting this passiveness is partly his very developed critical and historical interest, although he correctly distinguishes that from musical enjoy-


FRANZ 243

ment. But the chief reason for his failure to recognise this passive condition when he does enjoy music, is that he is intensely aware of making a response to the music which compels, which goes over him like a flood ; a response some times amounting to a "tingling all over the body beginning in the trunk and running down the legs and taking thirty seconds to spread through me" ; a response even if not so violently physical, at least of a human-emotional kind, and which he seems proud of making to what he calls "the composer's emotion." Franz is aware that at such moments his own "sympathetic imagination" is "conditioned by the composer's emotion as though the composer were telling something of his own past experiences or . . . revealing a universal emotion" and this double response, the bodily and the sympathetic imaginative, not only prevents his being aware of his lack of active musical response to the "notes and all their relations," but prevents his compre hending such musical attention with its attendant dramas and delights, on the part of other people. Like most "Hearers," he thinks he is a "Listener," and cannot con ceive any other kind of listening except as an "intellectual interest in the logical, nay > the mathematical, side of music" ; so that "spotting a second theme" appears to him a "barren pastime" rather than following the thought of the com poser ; for Franz identifies the composer's meaning with his "experience of life," whereof the pattern of notes would be a mere quasi-verbal vehicle.

If now we ask, and the question belongs to the chief subject of this study, how it comes about that, as is also the case with our other two typical "Dionysiacs," so much of a musician as Franz is not more of a "Listener," and re pudiates the "Listeners' " enjoyment of "just music," we shall find, I think, several converging causes. There is, in the first place, Franz's defective musical memory, shown in his incapacity to retain considerable portions of what he has heard, and his incapacity to imagine the "aesthetic effect" when reading the score. For this would, if I am correct,


244 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

preclude much interest in the consecutive relation of notes, the pattern of phrases (note that his sense of phrasing depends on his own performance) and the general develop- ment of a piece, with the play of expectation and fulfilment underlying the excitement of true "listening." And this deficiency in one half of musical experience, namely the active one, would naturally increase the importance of the passive half, of rhythm to which he attributes "an obscure effect on conduct" and those combinations of sound, har monies, sonorities, timbres, which can be compared with a "flood going over one." But this rather one-sided interest in music, is compensated in Franz by an interest in the verbal, the occasional literary and stage-play accompaniments, an interest decidedly rare among "Listeners." As mentioned, he is wellnigh unique among my Answerers in describing opera as the highest (at least potentially) musical form; 1 he acknowledges the use of words in starting his musical emotion ; and, queried whether the events and emotions of his life tend to translate themselves (as we shall find with many musicians) into music, his own or merely remem bered, he answers "they get much more into words either spoken in conversation or written perhaps years later" And it seems likely that this competing importance of what can be spoken or written, setting up associations which distract the attention from musical following, throws him back more than ever upon that passive "hearing" (or over-hearing) which (as we learned from Donna Teodora) furnishes an "accom paniment" to various kinds of "evocations." And about "evocations" of the past, Franz says: "/ don't think I can ever recall facts without disturbing some of the emotion attached to them." I have already quoted the obiter dictum of one of the most "just music" Answerers, to the effect that music alone cannot produce "Dionysiac" states without the assistance of

1 Also note his saying that he "saw" part of the Ring, which suggests that the bodily thrills resulting were not due solely to what he heard, but also to the visible drama.


PROFESSOR PAUL 245

words. This decision seems to me extremely doubtful in the face of phenomena, typified by D. H. Lawrence's Aztec Drums, and those, moreover, described under Ambience ; so that that ultra-musician was probably thinking of what to him was music, when he said that, and never guessed the existence of what Cecilia called by the same name. The case of Franz undoubtedly shows that the "Dionysiac 33 pheno menon may be furthered by a literary type of imagination such as is undeniably in Nietzsche himself, who writes as if all music were opera.

But my two other cases of self-admitted "Dionysiacs' 3 show no such literary admixture. In them Nietzsche's Stachel der Unlust seems indeed lacking. But they fulfil com pletely the chief condition of the "Dionysiac 33 as compassed solely by music: they get, they insist upon, Intoxication. Not necessarily in the everyday sense of intoxication through alcohol, though they both mention the "glass of wine 33 which seems de rigueur in "Cecilian 33 conditions. There is subtler intoxication than that: "Some people" is the over- disdainful remark of M. Ernest (he of "the notes and all their relations 33 ) "some people take music like narcotics" And the word "narcotics 3 ' 1 returns in the answers of Professor Paul, who, being an eminent physiologist, was using it in no metaphorical sense, moreover in no derogatory spirit.

II

PROFESSOR PAUL

And so we come to Professor Paul. He was trained at a Conservatorium in harmony, counterpoint, etc., but gave up music as a profession to take up biology. As a result, he has got rusty in reading the score, but his memory and imagination for harmonies, timbres and orchestral colour have remained, so that when he reads a pianoforte com-

  • "THE LYRIC POET" : " , . . like one's feeling under an anaesthetic"


246 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

position he translates it mentally for orchestra. And even now, whenever he cares for a piece of music, he can turn on long passages in his mind. Moreover, as we shall later find to be characteristic of composers., events and sights translate themselves into music of his own composing. Indeed he cannot walk about without composing music. To the queries concerned with attention, he answers: "/ am absolutely obliged to follow the music; and if busy in some other way, to break off what I am doing in order to listen" Nevertheless, he suffers "only too often from aridity, i.e. incapacity of taking pleasure in music?' But "Wagner and Bruckner are so supreme as to overcome all such indispositions"

The mention of these composers suggests that, like Franz and, as we shall see, Master Hugues, he is preeminently susceptible to combinations of timbre and rhythm and effects of sonority. Yet he mentions among his predilections the Matthew Passion, the Zauberflote, and among Beethoven's symphonies, the yth. After which enumeration, one is puzzled by his declaration "Music is for me a Dionysiac art" ; and, when presented with the "Apollinian" formula, he exclaims "Serenity? lucidity, etc.? None of all that for me! What I want is ecstasy, although not necessarily shattering or spiced with pain" Moreover, he repudiates interest in "just music" and repeats in several forms of words that for him music is "always the expression of human emotion" If, as he says, he is nothing but "Dionysiac," this cannot be referred, as in one case (Wolfram's) to his not being a "Listener," since he says he always follows ; nor, as with Franz (and, as we shall see, Master Hugues), partly to his being a "Cecilian," passively surrendering to the "Powers of Sound." So, remembering what we learned from "Amie de Gabrielle" whose musical capacity was overwhelmed by her affectiveness, we turn to Professor Paul's answers under the heading of Emotional Memory.

And there, sure enough, we read"/ can evoke my past emotions, sad or cheerful, with such vividness that the saying *time


PROFESSOR PAUL 247

has a cure for every wound' does not hold good of me. Even the joys and sorrows of childhood, whose causes now seem trifling^ can make me joyful and sad over again."

This, however, does not seem to Imply on the part of this busy young scientific discoverer, whose mind is overflowing with interests, any habitual living in or on the past, like that of the elderly and invalidish "Amie de Gabrielle" when she enjoys music. And many of the most thorough-paced "Apollinian" "Listeners" have admitted to power of evoking past feelings not inferior to his. But here comes a significant rider on the part of Professor Paul : "What matters to me are not the circumstances which produced a past mood (state of feeling) , it is the particular quality of the mood (das Tonangebende] ." "The particular quality of the mood" that, that usually so evanescent something on which turns the whole question of Affective Memory and its presumable connection with Dr. Head's protopathic conditions, that, which is the mood, is what he naturally revives and what to him matters.

But other Answerers might say, indeed sometimes have said, much the same. So we must ransack Professor Paul's very exhaustive answer to find further clues to his "Diony- siac" nature, so unexpected in such a "Listener, 55 and a "Listener" who picks out as examples of predilection, not only the Matthew Passion (which after all has choral sonorities enough to produce a sort of Ambience, though scarcely in one so musicianly) but the %auberflote. The clues are slight, but they converge. First of all, let me reinstate the omitted end of the sentence about certain composers, chiefly of course Wagner, overcoming his occasional states of musical "arid ity." Their music, he says, acts "like strong narcotics," and as Professor Paul is a physiologist, he is presumably using the word "narcotics" in no mere vague literary way: "narcotics" even more than wine give the "Dionysiac" intoxication, they "in pleasing slumber lull the sense or in sweet madness rob it of itself," as Milton puts it with puri tanic mildness. And such "narcotics" cannot be dispensed


248 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

with, for Professor Paul says that his state of aesthetic non- receptivity or over-receptivity may last for months, holding good not only for music but "for beauties of nature and other kinds of art." Note that he says "or over-receptivity" ; that, presumably, is when music can give ecstasy, even if shattering; it is that over-receptivity which marks him for a "Dionysiac." This musical excitement "transforms itself, as after-effect, into general psychic energy, not often into sexual feelings, but scientific ardour or, contrariwise, disgust with scientific work" These extreme fluctuations remind one of what Dr. Head and Dr. Rivers have called the "all-or-nothing" reactions of the protopathic, as distinguished from the discriminating brain functions. Moreover, in Professor Paul, these violent fluctuations of mood seem always to take place round an unchangeable, self-sufficing centre : the sense of himself.

Let me show the Reader how I get to this : the approach is gradual but, I think, very sure. Professor Paul has answered the query about "just music" by saying "music never awakens feelings describable as merely musical, but always feelings which, however vague, lie beyond music" But do not imagine this to be the usual reference to the composer's feelings, for Professor Paul says : "/ very rarely have the impression that the composer intends to say anything in the music." Why? Because Professor Paul's emotion varies at different hearings, which implies that it varies with his mood, and is his emotion, not anyone else's ; for the rest, the emotion is of vague quality, either courage for life (Lebensmut) or tragicalness, which are the two poles of his own fluctuations, corresponding with his ardour or disgust for work. To the query whether he ever recognises (in music) the expression of a mood without himself participating in it, he answers : "7 deny this (possi bility) : only bad music can have so superficial an action" Excluding all thought of the composer, he suddenly says that his emo tional participation is "always with the music itself" and we expect that, being so musicianly, so absorbed a "Listener," he is on the point either of an unconscious admission that


PROFESSOR PAUL 249

there is a musical emotion, or of an unconscious denial that "music always expresses something beyond itself." But the apparent contradiction is resolved as soon as he is faced with the query : Does music ever seem to be the expression of your own feeling, your own drama? For he then replies: "Tes, that is precisely what I meant" And to leave no manner of doubt concerning that "something beyond itself which music always seems to express/' he adds: "Whatever associa tions (enumerated in the query) may have arisen, they nearly always vanish into the background and, if by chance they reappear, it isfugitively and as things which don't matter to me. What remains is only the music to which I am listening (the music] as MY real life, MY OWN sorrow, MY memory, MY drama"

And, as if to show us the psychological process involved in all this he adds : "In the same way one refers everything in novels to oneself, putting oneself in the place of the heroes and the sympathetic dramatis personae"

Thus in the case of Professor Paul we see the highest musical attention neutralised by intense affectiveness of what is called the "circular" type, or rather of the kind whose reactions are protopathic, "all-or-nothing/ 5 excluding all objective reference. Moreover, this using of music for emotional excitement, its employment as "a strong nar cotic/ 3 such as can overcome indifference and replenish energy, all culminate in a rapturous identification of the music with "MY OWN sorrow, MY memory, MY drama, MY real life."

Would it not seem that the height of "Dionysiac" ecstasy may be just such mystic union, nay fusion, of the priest with the Divinity, the divine with the human?

"And if there were a God/ 3 said the arch-"Dionysiac" Nietzsche, "could one endure not to be a God oneself?"


250 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

III

MASTER HUGUES

The Reader may recollect that I have called attention to Franz's contemptuous identification of the purely musical emotion of our thorough-paced "Listeners" with mere technical interest. A similar misunderstanding is frequent enough among the less musicianly of our "Hearers/ 5 and may be attributed not only to their readings in the musical literature of current journalism but, much more to their own ignorance of musical terminology and consequent inability to recognise, because they cannot name, and even conceive the relations constituting musical pattern. But when we came to professional musicians like Franz, we had to look elsewhere to explain this confusion between "just music" and "just technique." And in the case of Franz the explanation seemed to lie, first in decided literary tendencies and even more in a deficient musical memory, both keeping this well-trained musician almost at the stage of the "Cecil- ians," excessively subject to the overwhelming bodily emo tions accompanying passive surrender to the "Powers of Sound." To which might be added an undoubted emotional bias, shown by the inability to remember facts without "stirring some of the emotions attached." All this made Franz into a type of the more imaginative, as well as the more musical "Cecilian" whom one might call a proto- "Dionysiac."

The case of Professor Paul explains itself: he is as excitable and unbalanced, especially as self-centred, as he is musical. Professor Paul's "Dionysiac" symptoms do not seem limited to music of a decidedly "Cecilian" character, since he names the Matthew Passion and (stranger still!) the Magic Flute among his predilections; what he rejects with contempt is not this or that music (Franz, on the contrary, is bored by the music of Beethoven) but the "Apollinian" effects thereof:


MASTER HUGUES 251

the braced serenity, lucidity, etc. Consonantly with this naif self-engrossment, he recognises not any particular music, but himself as representing the "Dionysiac."

But when we get to the third of our typical, self-admitted "Dionysiacs," we are again confronted by that identifica tion of "just music" with "just technique," not to say "just boredom"; nay, with Cecilia's distinction between mere "tunes" and real "music," but transferred from the crassest ignorance to the highest level of musicianliness. Indeed, the Protestant organist, whom I shall call Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha, is more completely a musician than Franz, since "when reading the score" he hears all the harmonies and timbres, and is able, for a pastime, just to "turn on a symphony" in his head. Moreover, he is entirely without either Franz's or even Professor Paul's preference for opera : words are of no interest to him and he prefers Wagner in the concert room. Also, unlike Franz, but to the same absolute degree as Professor Paul, his musical attention is inevitable and complete: he never thinks of anything else. Despite all this Master Hugues believes he has never experi enced any "Apollinian" effects, i.e. serenity, lucidity, music putting order into one's feelings. He declares himself to be "purely Dionysiac." And as to "people to whom music remains mere music," he declares that "they must be innerly deaf"

But he implies that there is plenty of music, at least of musical compositions to suit such inner deafness. For while he admits that there may be an interest in musical pattern it is "the interest of watching the fascinating devices into which a gifted person can arrange sticks." And this he calls "intellectual interest." Neither can he be alluding merely to counter point ; it is a case, evidently of the classics, for he says : "Mozart is over-rated" ; and Haydn "exasperates" him "like the ticking of a clock" ; he does not mention Bach, but says that he cares for "organ fugues" as "accumulated sonority" and the same applies to Palestrina, who becomes "worthless on the piano."


252 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

This going out of his way (the Questionnaire giving no cue) to mention "accumulated sonority" and "sound effects" and his acceptance of my suggestion that music seems cir cumambient, moreover his predilections being with the nineteenth-century development of orchestral and piano forte "effects," all points to one reason why this protestant Organist, has, perhaps only the more for having to play fugues and accompany chorals in "Saxe-Gotha," become so unmixed a type of "Dionysiac." Are not his disparaging remarks about Mozart, his comparison of poor melodious Haydn with the exasperating tick of a clock, merely more critical versions of Cecilia's distinction between "tunes" and real "music"? Despite his musical attentiveness and musical memory he is, temperamentally, a throw-back to the "Cecilian," surrendering utterly to the "Powers of Sound." Of such a surrender he enumerates all the bodily symptoms : cold and hot down the back, tears, etc. Consonantly with this, music can utterly change his mood : he will often go to a concert tired out and return "electrified for hours afterwards The effect of music upon him is compared with "sunshine in winter," "climbing mountains," and, of course, that "glass of wine." His enjoyment is "rapturous, sometimes shattering"

"Music," he says, "does not represent emotion; it gives it" And as a sample of such emotion as music can give, he adds (cf. Professor Paul's "rarely sexual") that "I have felt music put me into such a state that if a beautiful woman came into the room I should want to throw my arms round her"

Other answers of his to the Questionnaire reveal Master Hugues as indeed unusually emotional (at least for a middle- aged Protestant organist!) and liking to be considered so. For instance, he is "dreadfully shaken" by certain plays; he is "frightened" of the tragic passages "which I know to be at hand, but I enjoy them nevertheless" In so many moods he says he "likes being harrowed." (Behold at last the Stachel der Unlust of Nietzsche's "Dionysiac.") From all of which I


MASTER HUGUES 253

conclude that the "vivid emotional memory" which he claims is not of"Amie de Gabriellis" ruminating, reminiscent type. Rather, it is such general and hair-trigger emotional readiness which partly justifies the notion that affective reviviscence is really a fresh output, not a stored-up residue, of emotion; in fact, proneness to what I call "undiflferen- tiated emotion" and Dr. Dumas treats as a mere "fait de decharge"

Despite all this, there continues lurking in my mind a suspicion that Master Hugues may really, as remarked, be "talking big" about his own feelings, and deriving a pleasure superadded to their reality, from his description thereof; especially from such a launching out (for an organist, who is almost a clergyman!) as the remark about music making him want to throw his arms round a beautiful woman if she happened to come into the room. Of course, I feel sure that she never did come into the room! Indeed, I allow myself to wonder (quite seriously) whether, had he lived less strictly confined to that evangelical organ loft, obliged to accompany Chorals twice every Sunday, had Master Hugues been transplanted, let us say, from "Saxe-Gotha" to Paris or Vienna, he might not have grown a less orgiastic votary of the musical Dionysus.

In fact, passing beyond all such personalities, there arises the question whether in certain cases the human emotions derivable from music, especially from "music" in Cecilia's sense as opposed to "tunes" (like the clock-tickings of Haydn) may not be, as well as for the residue of feelings experienced in real life, the vent for feelings otherwise repressed or else more sluggish than is wholesome. I cannot help thinking that primitive peoples with their "Aztec Drums," their War-Dances, their frantic religious orgies or revivals, must have led a comparatively dull life between whiles. Indeed the more I think of it (how I regret not having inserted a query : Do you find life boring?) the more it seems likely that the original function of music may have


2 54 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

been (and still perhaps remains among insufEcieii-ly vital ised people) just such "Dionysiac" breaking up of laassive, stagnant dullness. And that it has taken much time,, and cost many sets-back, before the emergence of the "Ajol- linian" art which requires a steady output of attention aad a flow of memory Schemata left behind by varied and dis criminating activities.

IV

P.S. ON NIETZSCHE

That is one, historically the chief, and as regards individuals no doubt the commonest, function of the "Dionysiac." But since all this section was started by that formula of Nietz sche's, and since I am afraid of having shown myself somewhat prudishly "Apollinian" in my likings and judg ments, I should like to end by saying that I know that the "Dionysiac" may have another use. I mean the opposite, the rarer, function (which we who do not need it must approach only the more respectfully) accounting for much religious "consolation," and which is, I think, the psycho logical reality hidden beneath the old formula of Catharsis. There exist people one fears to think, so condemned to cruel excitement or to constant suffering, so brought up since childhood on the lap of De Quincy's terrible goddess Levana, that their excitement is allayed, their suffering relieved, only by being brought to a head, and purged away only by deliberate increase : tragic victims for whom tragedy is not an accident, or episode in life, but the very stuff life is made of. Nietzsche was clearly of this sort. The Stachel der Unlust he required in art was what French doctors call a derivative, like what we instinctively seek in biting on a tooth which aches or scratching an inflamed place. In the same way that Nietzsche found a remedy for his congenital dissatisfactions (that recurrent spiritual nausea, "Ekel" of his) and for his accumulating bodily miseries and affective


P.S. ON NIETZSCHE 255

disappointments, only in his Amor Fati, that atheistic in version of the religious acquiescence in God's will, so also was the deliberate emphasising of everything tragic in life at large what made Nietzsche's own life endurable. His "yes" to the inevitable cruelty of things had the value of a "no/ 5 a supreme defiance, bringing one's choice to override the sense of martyrdom. Indeed may it not be the secret, unconscious, recipe for all successfully endured martyrdom? And, since it is the fate of great and unhappy men to be stripped and flayed on the table of spiritual anatomists, I venture to supplement the discreet answers to my Ques tionnaire with the example of Nietzsche. I think it was the daily personal (and for him necessary) practice of this Amor Fati, this constant saying "Evil be thou my Good" which found expression in Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy and his view of the "Dionysiac" function of music, however he apostatised from it through disgust at Bayreuth and an invalid's pleasure in burning his former idols.

And herewith I bring to a close the part of my enquiry dealing with the enriching and impoverishment of purely musical interest and enjoyment by that personally emo tional half of human nature which is least indiscreetly enquired into under the heading of Affective Memory.


PART 111 IMAGINATIVE RESPONSES


CHAPTER I INTERPRETATION: MUSIC AS A LANGUAGE


IN THE preceding chapters headed Affective Phenomena, I have tried to show the connection between music and what people feel, even more with what people have felt. For if, besides its own intrinsic benefits to those who follow it with active attention, music, especially "Cecilian" music, can serve to stir and drain the sluggish pools of human feeling, it can also, so far as "Hearers" are concerned, liberate and give wings to their imagination, so often wedged like Ariel in the "cloven pine," crushed by the monotony of real surroundings,

We are now going to study how "hearing" music, and even to some extent "listening" to music can be compli cated by what people think, including what they imagine (i.e. see in their mind's eye) and give a name to ; in fact, the phenomena of Interpretation.

The empirical enquiry into Interpretation starts from a query repeated, with little variation, in all my successive Questionnaires, as follows :

Does Music (always without words or suggestive title) :

(A) Seem to have a meaning, a message, something beyond itself? or

(B) Does it seem to remain just music with no suggestion or meaning beyond itself?

(C) Is it sometimes the one, and sometimes the other? If so, please specify the composers who produce such different ways of responding to music.

A group of answers to this query were to the effect that though music was indeed a language, it was a language untranslatable into any other; and that although it had a


2 6o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

meaning, it was impossible to say clearly what that meaning might be. Among "Hearers/ 5 the meaning was sometimes said to be "psychic" (Elijah was declared to be full of "psychic" meanings), "spiritual/ 5 "cosmic/ 5 etc.; and many "Hearers" would, had they known or remembered it, doubtless have jumped at William James's pronouncement that like certain gibberish he quoted from Mme. Blavatsky, music carried "an ontological message."

None of which assertions I intend to deny. Only to examine, in the light of my Questionnaire and also of half a lifetime of thinking over the subject, to what degree, and especially in what way, all these assertions about language and no language, meaning and no meaning, message and no message (under which I include William James's ontological one) may be lumped together and analytically squeezed until there trickles forth a meaning of quite another sort, a meaning translatable into common words, to wit, into my own.

But to return to the benefits derived from music by certain individuals of torpid or occasionally over-fervent imagination; or we might call it reasoning power. For Interpretation is, after all, the chief business of what we call Reason or Common Sense when the interpretation turns out to be consonant with facts, or, as we say, to hold water. It is called "imagination" when, although sometimes in contact with facts, such interpretation does not move steadily alongside of them, but disdaining such pedestrian motion, flies off from the jumping board of an analogy or a partial resemblance, and rises on unsteady pinions into the regions of might-have-been ; whence it returns with a diaphanous load of verbal nonsense, but having enormously refreshed the poor Ariel thus liberated, if only for a few moments, from the constraint of too, too solid daily concerns.


MUSIC AS A LANGUAGE 261

II

First of all we must tackle the question of music being a language which is not a language ; for thereby hangs much of the paradoxical business of a meaning which is not a meaning, without some clearing up of which we cannot get on to Interpretation as explaining what we shall later find described as thoughts "not alien to the music/' thoughts "inspired by the music/* in short, to the most conspicuous manner in which music can give the rein, or if you prefer, lend wings, to imagination. First, let us have the opinion of some quite undoubted "Listeners," the kind which accept a specific emotion of music and are unwilling to admit en tanglements and complications with human feelings.

Isabella answers that "music tells you something that can't be told in any other way . . . it wouldrft be music if it could be trans lated into something else" The last part of this sentence con tains the Leitmotiv running through all these "Listeners' " answers : Thus Adela says : "The highest and best music seems to have a message beyond itself perhaps, and certainly beyond words" and this leads us to the answer of a most accomplished Italian historian of music, whose studies deal mainly with the formal evolution of classical music, but who, neverthe less, writes : "Music is certainly a language of that which has no words and which . . . one cannot translate into words. . . . True music has always some vague quality of what is referred to as 'mean ing* or 'message* ** ; and he adds a sentence I have already quoted as proof of the belief in the "higher plane" of music, viz. : "Music is the revelation of the purest intuitions of the spirit"

Another professional musician says : "Music has a message sometimes clear, sometimes fragmentary. It seems to take up the thread where words let it go. Its domain is the region beyond them** And a famous psychologist, Richard, passionately fond of music, though with a strong strain of human emotion, says : "Music generally awakens in me a sui generis impression. Music


2 6 2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

speaks its own language and I at least find it quite impossible to translate this into words."

Now this happens to be only partially true, true to the extent that you cannot describe in non-technical words the difference between a Mozart and a Beethoven Allegro ; false inasmuch as being required to name a Beethoven com position which is cheerful, nobody will by any chance suggest the Arietta in Sonata, Op. 3. In fact you can, however roughly (but much less roughly than is the case with visible patterns) label music ; and what you write on the label is precisely a word. We require to distinguish what kind of words ; in grammatical parlance, what parts of speech. You cannot translate music (except the most gross imitation of "natural sounds 35 ) into nouns ; not into adjectives implying visible qualities, except size, which though mediated by sight, is originally a quality perceived through the tactile or motor sense. Again, you cannot translate music into certain categories of verbs, not into the separate tenses of verbs. But although a musical phrase cannot be translated into past, present or future, it can (as we have seen in dealing with Schemata] be translated into the infinitive of a number of verbs expressive of movement, action, gesture and feeling what "C. A. T." exemplified in her "verb of tenderness" by which was meant a timeless, tenseless infinitive, e.g. "to cling," "to embrace." And as regards adverbs, why half the directions given by composers, from the Italian Allegro, which means "cheerful," "brisk," to Bach's quaint Saxon "serioso" and Beethoven's Viennese "molto di espressione" are adverbs, words signifying modes of moving or feeling. Of course, having no nouns, and (let me repeat it!) no tenses, no prepositions or conjunctions, music cannot tell us about things and connections in time, space or the causal relations of things; music, having specific shapes and sequences, has its own set of relations existing nowhere else. Hence, although M. Ernest is correct in saying that music's meaning (for we are coining on to meaning which is no


MUSIC AS A LANGUAGE 263

meaning) is "fragmentary" ; he is wrong in calling it "abor tive." And there is a similar confusion of truth and error in his other dictum, developing the inevitable "untranslat- ableness" of music into "music might be defined as the language of the soul in the sense that it treats of vague states such as sadness or joy, etc Now the cause of the sadness or the joy will indeed be vague if left to music's capacities of translation, or rather that cause will not be vague, it will be entirely omitted; we shall know, not vaguely but just nothing about it. But the sadness, say, of any of Beethoven's slow move ments (the Cavatina, Quartet 13, the Arietta, Op. 3, the slow movement in the Trio, Op. 97, etc.) is not only not vague, it is more definite, more unquestionably brought home to us than it could be by all the words in all the dictionaries. And exactly the same applies to joy, even if we take a long com position by Mozart or Haydn, in which there may also occur passages of a sad or wistful character ; but the cheerful ness, the sadness and the wistfulness, even when fused into mere musical excitement, are not, taken in themselves, at all vague. Now I have enlarged on this point not (or not only) from a natural pleasure in showing my Answerers to be silly. They are not silly. And the discussion whether music is, or to what extent, untranslatable, has been entered upon to show the vagueness (for in this there is vagueness with a vengeance!) and confusion inevitable in this whole business, this habit, of interpretation, and the manner in which, finding the familiar ways of thought and language blocked, my Answerers, especially the "Hearers," have, in their instinctive search for "meaning," bestridden every available analogy and spurred their imagination be yond the Flaming Bounds of sense and nonsense. In fact, ridden, and enjoyed the ride, into regions usually set apart for Poets and Mystics.

I have said, as so often before, especially the "Hearers," because (again as so perpetually insisted) "Hearers," in their lapses of attention, in their passive surrender to the


264 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

"Powers of Sound," in their vague acceptance of music as "an accompaniment," an Ambience, have plenty of leisure for such imaginative excursions ; whereas "Listeners" are far too busy, and also far too happy (Barbara's "greatest possible happiness") in following the "notes and all their relations" to be able to think of anything else (except when their thoughts suddenly tumble into questions of latchkeys andsuch-like).

Ill

Having thus dealt with the language which is not a language, we get to the meaning which is not a meaning, the message which is not a message and to a series of interpretations which are mis interpretations, because they leave out of count an essential item, namely the Interpreter, i.e. ourself.

Everyday experience, or in plain words, the habit of walking about, has taught us that the converging lines of the landscape answer to the structure and position of our optical apparatus, not to the lie of the land. No similar daily experience has made us distinguish what is contributed by ourselves and what belongs to the music we are hearing, or, for that matter, to a lot of other entities or things to which we attribute our own ways of being. Music, we recognise, is fraught with feeling; and leaving out ourself who feels it as we leave out our eye in perceiving the lines of a landscape, we attribute the feeling to the music ; or, if we cannot go the length of supposing that the notes them selves are feeling anything, we imagine (in the lazy, non committal manner of so much of our myth-making) that there is behind that music someone who has, or who had, that feeling which, as a sole certainty, is in ourselves. So the feeling supplemented with everything needed to give it likelihood outside ourselves, becomes a Message: the message of that someone, composer, or other person, whom we place behind the music. And a good many Answers, with which we shall deal further along, do take for granted


MUSIC AS A "MESSAGE" 265

that a composer, or sometimes a vague personification called a "People" or a "Century," actually has had a certain thought and has employed a musical composition to com municate that thought to us. How far this belief may, occasionally, tally with facts we shall consider when we deal with real composers. Just at present I want to point out what is at the bottom of the belief that music has, or rather must have, because we receive it as such, a message, something to impart and from someone (or something) not ourself.

There is, however, another reason for this belief in a message ; even a message which, being about nothing trans latable into words, is necessarily a message which isn't a message, conveyed in a language which isn't a language; indeed, allowing myself to borrow William James's very serviceable description, even an "ontological message." 1 For if I am correct about the word "ontological" (and I have sought correctness in the Century Dictionary)* no word could be more appropriate (as William James points out) to the "message" and "meaning" of music (which might per haps be taken as the humble archetype of more exalted Entities) inasmuch as that "message" or "meaning" does seem to answer to Hegel's requisite of possessing nothing but the abstract peculiarity of Being? to which definition

' W. James, Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 421: "These words (of Mme. Blavatsky) if they do not awaken laughter as you receive them, probably stir chords (sic) within you which music and language touch in common. Music gives ontological messages which non-musical criticism is unable to contradict though it may laugh at our foolishness in minding them.**

  • Century Dictionary: "Ontology is a discourse of Being in general, and

the various or most universal modes or affections : not only whatsoever is but whatsoever can be."

3 I find myself answering the Meaning or Message query as follows : "Very rarely. I admit that the impressiveness of music, its filling and fulfilling quality may suggest that it is an answer to unexpressed questions but, of course, on the same principle as Whitman's saying that all these questions ('the terrible doubt of appearances') are answered when he holds the hand of the beloved"


2 66 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

that other metaphysician (Watts) quoted by the Century Dictionary, adds "the various or most universal modes or affections/ 5 which is the pattest summing up of all my weary disquisition on "Infinitives of verbs' 5 and "Abstract emotional memory." And is it not about "most universal affections" that I am even now still talking? For, besides affections of a more specific kind, to wit, joy, sorrow, etc., music happens to arouse an "affection" or a state of feeling of about as universal a kind as we can safely postulate outside the domain of metaphysical Being. This universal and quite amazingly abstract feeling is that awakened by someone saying "Hark!" "Attend!" "Behold!" or striking the attitude suitable to such words. Now this, more than by any person whatsoever, is perpetually being done by music; sometimes, no doubt, from malice prepense by a bonafide composer (vide Gluck's admirably managed eigh teenth-century oracles), but far oftener quite accidentally and incidentally as a result of music's essential peculiarity, namely that its patterns move along in time instead of sitting still (like those of the patient visual arts) on the self same spot of space, which temporal peculiarity demands a constant output of attention, precisely what is so exciting to "Listeners" and what forbids their divagations. Also and incidentally to its perpetual recalling what has gone by and forestalling what is coming after, its references backwards- forwards of accents, intervals, and modulations, music deals in expectation, suspense, preparation and surprise. Thus, more than happens with other arts, and a great deal more than happens in real life, music has (when vulgar) the trick of nudging and buttonholing, when dramatic, of behaving like the Ancient Mariner to the Wedding Guest ; and, when even most reserved and noble, of saying "Attend !" "Hark !" to which, even with discreetist use of its "Powers of Sound" (and God knows how much more when it lets these loose !) it frequently adds, like St, Paul, "I will tell you a mystery." Now in doing all this, music is playing upon its rposj


MUSIC AS A "MESSAGE" 267

always-to-hand although rather primitive, instruments, to wit: Ourselves. It is calling not on those rare human emo tions or schematic movements stored up, "desiccated" as that psychological musician, Franz, 1 says, in our memory, but upon habits of wholesale response of body and mind to the contingencies of real life. First and foremost, the response of expectancy as such, no matter who expects or what is ex pected : an unusual sudden sound or touch, or effect of light or darkness, and the horse prepares a shy, the dog a point, the lover a blush. And similarly the saint or philosopher ready for the Stigmata or (like Michelangelo's Isaiah) for the Voice, each of these creatures, according to its kind, responds to that sudden call which says: "Attend!" Each, according to its kind, falls into readiness for the great, the desired or dreaded manifestation. Thus real life has bred into living creatures the ready response to such sudden calls ; and bred into mankind the habit of interpreting them into the nature, or at least the name, of what is coming.

But music is outside real life and alien to real life's eventu alities. In the case of music, that which is coming is just more music, or else just silence. Nothing else is going to happen or going to be revealed. But we have been prepared, strung up ; music's imperative gesture has bid us be ready to come into the presence, or within earshot, or to receive the visitation, of something vitally important and more than usually great. For music, just because it cannot tell us about things (hence its being an untranslatable language) but only about feelings or rather (as Elsa said) states, can tell us more than words about the quantitative, even more than the qualitative (joyful, sorrowful, etc.) character thereof. Music's gesture has made us ready not for a mere sight or mere contact, but for a moreness, for something greater, sweeter, or more terrible than usual. And the inability of those above-quoted Answerers to say what music's "mean ing," music's "message" is about, is due, I believe, to the

i Seep. 187.


2 68 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

simple fact that music has no "meaning," no "message," beyond its mere affirmation of given feelings, states or move ments. And that which we take for a "message 35 or a "mean ing" is our own sense of expectancy and preparedness, such as in real life would herald the coming, the nearness of Something or Someone, but in the present case heralds only a final chord or a da capo. It is our readiness to respond which has given music its status of oracle or of initiating high priest.

What the Oracle has said, into what we have been initiated does not go beyond the assertion of feelings translatable (for they are eminently translatable) into a score of well- known words: joy, sorrow, dread, relief, resignation, etc. But above all, into an assertion of its own importance and surpassingness, its being more, and incomparable and adorable. And with this minimum translation genuine "Listeners 53 appear to be satisfied. Rapt in what one of them, Barbara, has called "the greatest happiness," all we have been detailing is incorporated into the shimmering marvel of the "Emotion of Music." They are often con vinced (and the conviction is psychologically justified) that they have been lifted on to a "higher plane" ; and if they are habitually religious or addicted to philosophy, this "plane" will be invested with sublimity and mystery, of what William James calls "ontological" messages. But, as usual, these "Listeners" are too busy and too happy to enquire into these sublime secrets, or to recognise what it is to be "ontological" It is all beyond words. And the less talked about (even, alas, to oblige the maker of a Question naire!) the better. 1

1 More pleasing than William James' "ontological message" is the answer of the poet Troves (an extreme case of the "just music" type) to the effect that words are too precise, "UfaudraU rtpondre au moyen de pressions de mains ou de baisers."


MUSIC AS A LANGUAGE 269

IV

But those other Answerers who are not thus absorbed in following "the notes and all their relations/ 3 those in whom emotion is less the aesthetic delight due to such following than the massive, sometimes disquieting effect of the 'Towers of Sound/ 3 rhythm and sonority with its magical circle of Ambience ; those "Hearers," just when and to what extent they are "Hearers," are able and willing to do what Bessie scorned, namely: "be thinking of a lot of meanings"; and "meanings," for them, are not merely impressions, as Isabella says, "going to their vitals, their bones." For them music is not a language untranslatable into words, nay, since words are the medium of exchange whereby mankind barters its memories and perceptions, these words may themselves be translated (as we shall see further on) into sights and actions, things, places, people, and events, until these "meanings" be reinvested with all those nouns and adjectives, those zvhos, wheres, whens and whats which music cannot furnish. For such "Hearers" there is no limit to interpretation. By them music's "infinitive of the verb" (or at least of certain kinds of verb) is conjugated in every tense, past, present and future, all linked as in speech into causes, effects, circumstances and origins, till the "meaning" attri buted to music becomes the counterpart of whatever "interests most" 1 in life's real flux. The sorrow or joy communicated by the music may turn into a sorrowing or joyous person or event. "C. A. T.'s" "verb of tenderness" becomes for others a lover or a mother, and in some cases an Iseult or a Mary with definite features and gestures. That "Attend!" "Hark!" "Behold!" which is music's fre quent, intense appeal leading up only to more music and more impersonal suggestions of feeling and motion, that promised "message" is transformed by them into a given

  • Cf. Maria, p. 351.


2?0 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

one And Rossetti's and Cardinal Newman's questions "What is this-and whence?"' are answered to just the extent required by him who asks and answers. Whereas "Listeners," when "listening" (not when preparing, maybe, essays or newspaper criticisms') neither answer nor ask questions. Those Answerers whose personal reminiscences are immediately made to flow by music's emotional tapping, and those other Answerers surrendering utterly to the intoxication and narcotics of the "Powers of Sound," these two classes of "Hearers," who sometimes happen to be (like our three typical "Dionysiacs") also "Listeners" do not ask such questions. Or, if ever they should ask, the answer is forestaUed: the "meaning" of music concerns themselves; the "message" of music is from their God of wine and dreams. There is no room or leisure for interpretation, not because, as with mere "Listeners," the music is all-absorbing, but because their own memories, or their own present rap tures, are all-engrossing, or overwhelming. That is why I had to deal with them with "Amie de Gabrielle" on the one hand and Professor Paul on the others before coming on to Interpretation and music's (often no doubt beneficent) setting of the imagination in motion. For imagination, and even the humblest kind of interpretation such as forms part of daily life, is centrifugal, deals with the not-ourself ; and however much it has its starting-point in the self and the self's stirrings, it leaves that central self, namely those stirrings, behind as it weaves to and fro the image of a real or unreal world outside us,

And all the following study of "Hearers" will attempt to show how they interpret music's emotional suggestions,

  • Rossetti's The Monochord, "Oh what is this that knows the road I came?"

Cardinal Newman: "Tet is it possible that . . . notes so rich and jet so

simple . . . so various yet so majestic should be mere sound which is gone and perished? They are the outpourings of Eternal Harmony . . . they are echoes from owr home. . . ."

  • Or, as we shall see, writing their impressions during Collective Ex

periments, as see pp. 404, 408. 3 See pp. 219, 245.


MUSIC AS A LANGUAGE 271

foremost among which are its "Attend!" and "Hark!"; and how in the day-dreams or pictorial visions cloistered by music when acting as an Ambience., they eke out those "un translatable" suggestions, till the music itself may become, as described by Donna Teodora, 1 a little more than sup porting accompaniment to the pageants and dramas, the invisible operas, it has begotten on their imagination.


PSYCHOLOGICAL PARENTHESIS

Speaking, as I have already done, but shall still have to do at much greater length, of the part played in such interpretation of music by words, it is necessary to make a parenthetical proviso; that that verbal connecting link (let alone nouns, adjectives and tenses of verbs, all the words which music lacks) can turn music's solely motor, emotional and quantitative suggestions into complete mean ing translatable into speech. I do not intend to imply that the Answerer engaged in such interpretation is employing any such elements of language in the silence of his mind. Little is, so far, known of the manner in which mental representations shape themselves, or wherein they consist in different individuals; but enough to suggest that there may be great diversity. Nay, more, judging by my self- observation, such mental representations are probably variously compounded on different occasions in the self same individual. For instance my conscious trains of thought may be differently composed sequences, with different over lapping and emphases, of verbal expressions and purely visual images (fainter, steadier or richer mental pictures), strung together (and sometimes not strung at all !) by what I distinctly recognise (or dimly infer) to be an incipient gesture or movement, or a muscular adjustment or visceral

  • See p. 163.


272 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

sensation (e.g. sensations of bien-fare, malaise, disgust, etc.) often quite impossible to localise. But besides, beyond such obvious thoughts, i.e. such conscious sequences of various kinds of images, the interpretations we are considering may, I believe, come to the surface, that is to say, become con scious only on occasion, and especially when enquired about. And I would warn the Reader that when I speak of "verbal expressions" or "visual images" I really mean only some thing so far merely inferred which can give rise to, but is not yet necessarily either. While entirely disbelieving in the Freudian subconscious, I believe that consciousness is and must be more intermittent than we take it to be, in fact seems a continuum merely because we do not perceive, or make allowance for its gaps. So that while speaking of "ideas, 35 "associations," "memory images" and "logical nexus" implied in the interpretations under discussion, I should be prepared to find that what we call by these names, is of a wholly different nature, indeed such as neurologists infer from their observation of the mental lapses and illusions attendant on bodily diseases and lesions and which they infer as processes on the physiological plane, neural and cerebral phenomena with no necessary resemblance or parallelism to the verbal forms by which we describe their results or accompaniments' in conscious ness.

And thus, returning to our subject of Interpretation, I believe that the connection of "message" and "meaning" with expectant emotion and (I can only call it) a sense of something important, may be as purely automatic as might be the gesture and facial expression accompanying such expectant emotion.


CHAPTER II

LAPSES IN "LISTENING 33 AND "THINKING OF OTHER THINGS 3 '


IN THE very first chapter, I began this study of ' 'Hearers' 5 and "Listeners" by pointing out a very remarkable dif ference which led to the Answerers to my Questionnaire being separated into these two classes.

In answer to the particular queries bearing on the sub ject of this chapter, those I have called "Listeners" con fessed to frequent lapses of musical attention as a matter of course, while "Hearers 53 seemed by no means always aware of such lapses. 1 "Listeners 33 invariably admitted that when they were fatigued or unfamiliar with the particular music their thoughts would stray to other things. And these other things were most often not only irrelevant but com monplace, of the sort symbolised by Flora's wondering about her latchkey. "Hearers, 33 on the other hand, usually denied such irrelevant interruptions. And their attitude is well summed up in the following indignant answer, "What ARE other thoughts? If I wanted to think of other things I should not go to hear music" So far, so good. What that first chapter intended to bring home to my Reader was the fundamental distinction between "Listeners 33 and "Hearers/ 3 namely that while there are persons who, in proportion to their usual attention to music, are well aware that such complete attention is liable to lapses, there are other persons, usually less musical, who are so little accustomed to sustained and undivided attention to music that they do not recognise when their thoughts are straying. In fact I wanted to familiarise the Reader with the psychological fact that there are two sorts of musical attention : the active and steadily

  • See pp. 31,32.

S


274 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

absorbed, intermittences of which are recognised as such; and, on the other hand, the fluctuating kind, which is not aware of fluctuations because they are habitual.

Having dealt at perhaps more than sufficient length with the first class of Answerers and their undivided attention, we must go on to the musical attention which is fluctuating, and show the nature of its fluctuations from the evidence of Answerers who are not even always aware of them. Such people are often musically half educated, and there is in their answers very little regret for even the most obvious lack of musical cultivation. They are apt to speak of what ever sides of musical interest they themselves do not share as "critical" or even "technical, 95 as something extraneous and on the whole rather contemptible, never guessing that what they lack is not knowledge of, but attention to music. And reading their answers, I am struck by their tone of satisfaction, almost of superiority : they are evidently per suaded that they are getting everything which music can give. Nay, perhaps getting more than most people.

Now although, indeed just because, these "Hearers" are getting (if my views are correct) as much as music can give and gives to "Listeners," I think it quite likely that they are getting something else, and perhaps more. They are getting more because no absorption in the music the "just music" is inhibiting the full play of their feelings and their thoughts.

As regards their feelings, it seems very likely, that the mere "Power of Sound" allows people of the "Cecilian" type, say Cecilia herself and Mona, an amount, a depth and warmth of mood or emotion, greater than a mere "Listener" like myself has ever experienced ; for the bodily symptoms, the semi-intoxicated raptures of the "Dionysiac" state, are, even when shared by real "Listeners" and mingled with the joy of mere "listening," evidently due to the "Powers of Sound." And so far from losing anything, the ordinary "Hearers" may possibly gain by the absence of


LAPSES IN "LISTENING" 275

lucid attention to musical patterns to "the notes and all their relations" which make these up. Cecilia at all events would not thank you for an admixture of "tunes which you follow"; nor would Mona invariably find refreshment in a concert if she had been following the music. The sound of Ysaye's fiddle would scarcely act "like a day in the country" if she were listening to all he was playing and finding some of it boring.

So much for one reason why inattentive "Hearers" may believe themselves to be getting all that music can give. The other reason for it is inattention itself. I hope to show that during their unnoticed lapses in "listening," and in virtue of their various divagations, these "Hearers" (or "Listeners" sunk to the state of "Hearers") can give them selves what is forbidden by attentive "listening" ; for in stead of imprisoning, music can liberate and give wings to their memories and imagination.

Let me return to the indignant Answerer who would not have gone to where music was being played "if I wanted to think of other things." Of course not, if the other things had been like that latchkey mentioned by Flora. But Flora, who admits to habitual inattention, instances that latchkey as an example of the kind of thought which is not suggested by the music. And as to Grizel, 1 she continues her repudiation of "other thoughts" by asking "Other thoughts? What ARE other thoughts? What I might think about would be thoughts suggested by the music" Adela, who has told us of her alternating state of attention to the music, says that music excludes all other thoughts except those which are "connected with the music"

Lizzie has a rather superior attitude. "/ think of other things if I wish, but of things suggested by music, allied to it, not alien things ever" (Not the latchkey!) "Allied, not alien"; this is made more explicit in the sense of suggestion by one of the least musical of my Answerers, Violet T., who says

  • Musically educated, somewhat of a composer.


27 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

that when she likes it, music excludes all thoughts except

the ones brought by the music.

Minnie, who has repudiated ever "thinking of other things," says "Music suggested all the things enumerated" (i.e. suggested images, memories and stories).

Spencer (musically trained) claims that her attention is always undivided, but admits that "the suggested images and memories may start me on other trains of thought and so cause me to miss the music." That this should happen is explained by her taking for granted that "music is always suggestive and always calls up a picture, though the picture may be so impressionist as to baffle description"

Arthur S., who improvises a great deal, also repudiates ee other thoughts" "except suggested images so intimately con nected as to become part of the music."

Yvonne, a very literary young French woman (who ex plains preference for Faure by his being "litteraire et Latin"} admits to thinking of other things "quand la musique m'ennuie" and calls these "pensees d'd cote" When she likes the music "je pense a la musique et les pensees font corps avec la musique." These pensees thus integrated or grown into the music are the same as Arthur's "suggested images so intimately connected . . . as to become part of the music" And these two answers make us understand what Lizzie means by thoughts allied to, not alien to the music, what Grizel means by denying "other thoughts" while taking for granted "thoughts sug gested by the music." And we have seen that such sugges tion of, shall we say, "allied" thoughts is admitted by the above Answerers, although the majority of thorough-paced "Listeners" have answered all queries about suggestions, images, etc., with a strong "no"

After this, there is nothing surprising in Felice (amateur composer) taking for granted that "Us soucis, les souvenirs, Us drames entrent pour beaucoup dans le plaisir (musical) et redoubknt demotion, soit musicale, soit sentimentale"

Similarly, Priscilla, having said that music never excludes


THINKING OF OTHER THINGS" 277

other thoughts, remarks "that is the charm of it" and Amy, half musical, admits that "part of my enjoyment is due to sug gested feelings and emotions" Sheila says the same in almost the same words ; Gask describes herself as "floated away in a kind of dream while listening" and Spiridion, with whom we shall deal later on, speaks of "giving myself up, exclusive of all exterior perception, to a dreamy kind of thought"

These kind of thoughts are evidently not alien to the music in the same way the derogatory way as the thought of Flora's latchkey. They are thoughts which are regarded (by those who have them) as legitimate, even meritorious, because they arise out of the music, however far they may, occasionally, leave the music in the lurch; not alien to the music, indeed felt (I wish I dared employ the Americanism "sensed") to be about the music, descriptive of the nature, the quality, the quiddity of the music; thoughts asserting what that particular music is doing, nay even what it is in a manner which seems as essential (and a deal easier to put into words) as anything needing to be described in terms of modulation, rhythm, intervals and so forth. Since these thoughts about music are, as I queried in my Ques tionnaire and as my Answerers almost unanimously res ponded even if negatively, concerned with the "meaning" of the music, and its "message" to the particular Answerer. Sometimes the "not alien" means connected with the music in the sense of comparison between various performances of the same piece, such as must evidently occur with habitual concert-goers or shall I add? listener s-in\ or else it may mean reflections about the styles of various epochs, their filiations and how, according to Taine or to Croce, these styles may express the civilisation in which they have arisen.

Before ending these pages of evidence, let me add that of "C. A. T.," who, as was to be expected, has analysed and discriminated this matter far better than anyone else : "If one is really listening, one doesn't remember other things. The musics own way of being is too exigeant. But if one's attention


27 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

wanders, then one remembers quantities of things in a drifting sort of way > not as one remembers them under ordinary conditions"

Let me call the Reader's attention to two sentences. "When one is really listening" there is no suggestion of "allied" thoughts, because what "C. A. T." calls the music's "ways of being" are felt as too unlike anything else, too sui generis, and these "ways of being" of the music are too exacting to admit of any such alliance. This is merely "C. A. T.V ' confirmation of what we have gathered from the answers of thorough-paced "Listeners," those who con fessed to utterly irrelevant lapses of attention, but not to having "allied thoughts."

On the other hand, "C. A. TVs" second remark points out what we did not yet know (or think of) about what happens when "one's attention wanders" from the music and the music's "ways of being." "One remembers quantities of things" she says, "but in a drifting sort of way, not as one remembers them under ordinary conditions" This means that one does think out what can have become of the latchkey. One does not follow up the for and against of plans and pro jects, nor, as is frequent with myself, one does not review one's yesterday and to-morrow or think out the chronology of one's past years; one's thoughts "drift"; one "dreams," as so many Answerers put it. "Not as one remembers them under ordinary conditions" no, because one is not under ordinary conditions; one is not only day-dreaming, but day-dreaming to music. It is the music which alters the conditions, for, as I am anxious to impress on the Reader, "Hearers" continue "hearing" though they have ceased "listening," and their thoughts and feelings, so far from being inhibited, are brought into harmony with the effects of that imperfectly listened to, but sensorially perhaps only the more impressive, music.

This explains why the "other things" thought of by "Hearers" are of a different sort from the other things, often resented as trivial, even unworthy, always regretted


"THINKING OF OTHER THINGS" 279

as sheer waste of what music might be giving, which lay hold of "Listeners" in moments of fatigue or baffled atten tion. With "Hearers," the "other thoughts" are., on the contrary, welcome, as welcome as the music whereof they seem an inspiration, a part. They are thoughts congruous with the magical influence of the "Powers of Sound," which banish the ordinary concerns of life and life's everyday feelings, and invest everything with their own marvellous quality and proportions, their utter satisfactoriness.

Since, no less than "Listeners," "Hearers" would seem to be transported on to, enclosed within, those "higher planes."

And, as I have already said, such a "higher plane," like every other unified and dominant state of feeling, exerts its own selection; admitting only what is congruous with, corroborating of, itself, such, for instance, as those emotions haunting the lapses of M. Paulhan's musical attention and which "although not habitually dominant, are such that one would like them to dominate" ; a selection, so to speak, by consonance, which automatically excludes whatever might break in or jar upon that state of perfection.

Such are the "dreams" of which we shall hear more from our "Hearers": visions of superhuman creatures, of Elysian loveliness and cosmic grandeur; visions also of longings fulfilled in a vague future or a past no less imaginary and interesting. Such things are wafted into their mind when (forgive me repeating the formula) "under music." But not thoughts of "latchkeys," of "whether to take the tram," and such "bothers" as humiliate the inattention of "Lis


teners."


Of this kind, and indulged in deliberately as a relief from other thoughts, must be those "divagations" of which we are told by M. Daniel, whose thoughts are usually concen trated on his work, and who says "Je me sers de la musique pour divaguer"

I have been labouring to establish a fact brought to light


2 8o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

by my Questionnaires: namely, that although only "Lis teners" (even my most insufficient self) are deserving of the great music they alone are able to follow, "Hearers" are no wise excluded from music. Other gifts, dreams and dramas and high, unlikely passions; indeed that were it otherwise music would never have been born, still less have grown into the art whose specific "ways of being" exact the consummate attention and bring "the greatest" (and sui generis) "happiness" of "Listeners."


CHAPTER III

STIMULATION OF THOUGHT: POETS NOVELISTS, AND PHILOSOPHERS

"I cannot ever attend much to music; it awakens thought."

DR. RUDOLF

I

THERE is further evidence of what takes place during those lapses of "listening/ 5 besides what preceding Answerers have told us about the thoughts which are "allied," not "alien' 5 to the music, the thoughts which, as Yvonne puts it so suggestively, "font corps avec la musique" For such "allied" thoughts, often presenting themselves as the "meaning," the "message" which stands in the same relation to "the notes and all their relations" as the meaning of a spoken or written sentence stands to its component words, these allied thoughts may develop to the extent of leaving the allied music in the lurch. Several Answerers have told us so quite explicitly and unblushingly, as Spencer, a particularly self-observant Answerer puts it, that music is so constantly suggestive that "these images may . . . cause her to miss the music." And the "Third Critic," professionally obliged as he is to hear a great deal of music in which he cannot muster up any interest, says that although nothing of this kind happens when he is thoroughly enjoying the music which is being played, yet he can quite understand other people deriving greater pleasure from merely "over hearing it," owing to its stimulation of thought. And this juxtaposition of "overhearing" (which is Donna Teodora's music as an accompaniment) with "stimulation of thought" leads to what I regard as the supreme proof, or else the reductio ad absurdum, of "meanings," "messages," and those allied, not alien thoughts "quifont corps avec la musique"


2 8s> MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

namely to music being regarded as a professional aid by persons requiring to have their flow of thought artificially stimulated.

Before marshalling their evidence (alas, far more plen tiful than on some of music's more essential characters) it is necessary to mention that among queries on Attention and Divagation, my Questionnaires asked whether music was apt to disturb or to facilitate trains of thought. As might be expected, all thorough-paced "Listeners/ 3 headed by Isabella and my (however imperfectly musical) self, answered that to them music was an impediment, an in terruption, to thought. Putting these "Listeners" aside, as irrelevant to the present discussion, and reserving the seem ing paradox of Composers versus Performers for future examination, we will begin with the evidence of Phyllis, a very promising young novelist, since lost to literature in a convent :

"Hearing music generally stimulates not my thoughts but my imagination. It does not do this invariably, and when it does, it takes me unawares just when I believe I am thinking of nothing but the music. I have no control over the images, situations, relations between characters, etc., that it calls up. These or the music cause a sort of sentimental excitement which acts independently of my will and WHICH PROVES CURIOUSLY USEFUL. Even if the images have nothing to do with what I happen to be writing, nevertheless a general stimulus results which acts upon what I am doing. Very modern music such as Strauss rarely has this effect on me" Being queried by letter after writing the above, this Answerer adds C 7 very often find I have been thinking of other things, but not to THE EXCLUSION OF THE MUSIC (italics V. L.) if I like it." Query: Do such thoughts enter into your musical pleasure? Answer: "Yes, certainly, largely She likes writing while music is going on: "/ sort of listen because I become familiar" Query: Is this during gaps in listening? Answer; "/ can't say. I don't think so. One is conscious of it (the music) as one is conscious of things in the room. Music practically always


STIMULATION OF THOUGHT 283

stimulates except when boring or if a piece is badly played, or when people stumble or practise the same bars over again" Another "English novelist/ 5 E. B., answers : "I find in my case that while music disturbs it also facilitates trains of thought . . . just as a steamer by its screw disturbs the water and facilitates its passage. This is not so much the case in the question of trains of thought because whereas Chopin, Bqch and Schumann produce a kind of EFFERVESCENCE, a stirred activity, in the thought-centres, I find that Wagner and Brahms effect not so much a stirring of activity as a tendency to restlessness, and Brahms a faculty of intense visualisation. . . . Perhaps to a lesser degree Schubert would trans form the merely sensuous impressions into that solidity and precision of outline which precedes the actual transference of the idea on to paper so as to convey its mental tangibility to the Reader. This being the case I conclude that the stronger the appeal to the con structive mind as opposed to the merely imaginative vision or the fluidity of first impressions, the less the intangible facility referred to above tends to approximate to the general clearness of outlined thought"

Confessing my inability to do justice to this Answerer's distinctions, I will merely point out that what he is telling us is that music is somehow helpful in his literary work. "Curiously useful," as the previous Answerer had found it. This seems frequently the case with writers; I say fre quently rather than always, because the present writer is completely denied this source of inspiration and facilitation to thought; so in this matter I can only enumerate those more fortunate than myself. "To the Poet, 9 says the widow and biographer of a very distinguished one, "to the Poet, music is the great mood-way to suggestion. His own rhythmic expression works much more easily because of the rhythm of music, even if dissimilar" No such obvious explanation is to hand in my other instances, which are those of prose writers, some of whose music-begotten work is in no way poetical.

For instance a popular German novelist testifies that "it often happens that there comes during music a scene in a novel which I had long been looking for" And yet another novelist, "The


284 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Countess," whom we have met already in the Chapter on Ref erence to Human Personality, I says : "Music often gives me ideas for books or rather sensations (i.e. in the French sense "feelings") I should like to describe in young people, e.g. being in love, etc. (Music is) of enormous help in writing high-flown passages, INCREAS ING INSPIRATION, Listening to music wakens CREATIVE POWER." I have underlined these last sentences because, rather than furnishing definite items (as claimed by previous Answerers) the help some persons derive from music seems of this more general kind. Thus no less an Answerer than the prototype of all my "Cecilians," namely Cecilia in person, tells us that "when I want to write I go to hear any noisy music just to stimulate my mind." "Noisy" music, the Reader must remem ber, great Organs, symphonies, even drums, were Cecilia's choice as opposed to "tunes." But I suspect that it is just such "music" in the "Cecilian" sense which has most power to give what the Psychologist Ursus calls a "genial quality" (genialisiren is his verb) to thoughts. Indeed, he adds : "Some times during long symphonies I have worked out the scheme for a book . . . and my ideas take a richer imaginative form without conscious effort"

This tallies with the evidence of another German and writer on art, Wolfram, in what he has already told us about the creative heightening of all spiritual functions by the potent intoxication produced by modern music. ("I follow the notes only rarely but my brain acts tremendously; most of my ideas . . . come during operas"} Similarly, Spiridion "has worked out a scheme for a book, not setting myself the task" but "letting it (music) suggest ideas. It gives a higher emotional value to any suggestion, etc., thus filed out and quickened."

These three last pieces of evidence are from Answerers who, whatever they may say to the contrary, are decided "Dionysiacs." And Professor Paul, my arch-"Dionysiac," says: "All kinds of work are helped by music which I like"; although, as he has told us that music always obliges him 1 See p. 200.


STIMULATION OF THOUGHT 285

to follow, it seems probable that this imaginative stimulation does not take place while thus listening, but is an after effect; a suspicion borne out by his saying: "The musical energy transforms into general psychic energy ardour for work, or hatred of it."

But the "Dionysiac," or semi- or proto-"Dionysiac," kind of afflatus thus summed up by Professor Paul, and evidently present in minor degree (the "Dionysiac" "glass of wine" much watered down) in my first Answerers' "sentimental excitement" and "increased inspiration," seems by no means always necessary to explain the usefulness of music to men of letters and philosophers ; even I hasten to parenthesise to amateurs of philosophy, since "L. L." tells us of "a philo sophical principle which came to me suddenly and visibly during a piece by Cesar Franck, making me wonder whether it was what Franck had meant to convey" A bona fide French philosopher, although denying all suggested images, memories and stories, and almost fulfilling the requisites of a thorough-paced "Listener," admitted that "certains genres de musique" (and unexpectedly he mentions Mendelssohn!) "me portent a la reverie. C'est quelquefois pendant Vaudition de certains morceaux que se sont presentes a moi des sujets, des idees, des H>ES MRES."

Given this Answerer's professional eminence, it would ill befit me to speculate on these philosophical ideas (and idees meres too !) thus evoked by the music of Mendelssohn. But the two previously quoted Answerers, Ursus and Spiridion, have gone out of their way to belittle these joint-creations of music and thinking-of-something else. After describing how "/ let myself go, when tired, to the great enjoyment of a flow of associations GENIALISIRT (i.e. given a smack of genius) by the music" Ursus thinks it honest to add "that many thoughts which arise during music seem far from brilliant and beautiful subsequently, when the music has come to an end" And Spiridion bears this out, saying that "the ideas and suggestions given by the music, sometimes turn out to lack originality and intellectual distinction"; so that "the heightened


286 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

emotional tone has filled out a comparatively conventional idea"* Such illusion and subsequent disappointment Spiridion compares with the effects of hypnotism. However that may be, of which I am not competent to speak, they are un commonly like what happens in dreams, and to my own occasional experience of having written down at night in a semi-somnolent state, things which have not invariably turned out as well as Kubla Khan. What all this literary testimony seems to point to is : that music when not "lis tened" to, i.e. when not followed, when "overheard" as that Critic puts it, when, in short, acting as it does with "Cecilians," is liable to be met halfway by a quality of "thought" which, however much stimulated, facilitated and given the momentary appearance of being creative, even, as the Germans say, genial., is very similar in quality to the "thought" of dreams and day-dreams: unbraced, diffluent, lapsing, just like the musical attention, or inattention, with which it is sharing the "procreant cradle" of the "Hearer's" mind. 1

1 In a passage quoted concerning his bouts of reminiscent Schwdrmerei after an opera-night. Wolfram informs us that he "prolongs such states in order to use up the creative force." Daniel, after saying "Je me sers de la musique pour divaguer," adds ; ft je pense frequemment a V ordonnance de mon travail; la musique lui donne des formes ideales" Felice also mentions music's effect on

  • ' the creative instinct."

Dr. Rudolf, Austrian philosophical writer, met by chance, tells me that he works best when music is going on. No Questionnaire used. I extract the following items :

I. Not all music has this action. Piano playing utterly prevents writing and drives him wild if he attempts to write when going on. His wife plays some special kind of harmonium to him during his writing. He prefers old Italian religious music. Query: Palestrina? Answer: "No, rather earlier, mediaeval, also, Troubadour, etc., music" He seems also to like some seventeenth-century music for the purpose, mentions Monteverde. Query: Do you mean by religious, slow? Answer: "Not necessarily, there are some Backs which are quick, but they have a religious character. Not Beethoven or anything modern"

II. This musical performance has the effect of making literary com position much easier. Query: Like walking? A motor influence? Answer: "No> something muck more. The music acts as a wall against all the thoughts that might interrupt; it gives me a milieu suitable to my thoughts, takes me out of


STIMULATION OF THOUGHT 287

II

Without hazarding judgment upon the ulterior value of the "creations 35 of this musically stimulated creativeness (for that, after all, depends upon other characteristics besides musical inattention and excitability) , it seems to me that the quality I have just attributed to such "facilitated thought" is pointed to by further pieces of evidence. Marcel, for instance, being asked the questions about attention, answers: "Quand je Vecoute peu ou point, elle (la musique) favorise la pensee; dans le cos contraire, elle entrave" Torre says : "Music helps thinking, manual work and even the contemplation of visual art. But distracts me in writing, especially when I have to collect my ideas and search for their clear expression" While


a reality which interferes with them" Query: Have your MSS. written during music fewer erasures? Answer: "Yes, indeed when I write during music scarcely any erasures or hesitations" Query: It is a verbal stimulant? Answer: "Much more than that. It puts one and keeps one in the path of certain modes of thinking, certain figures" Query: What do you mean by figures? People? Do you see them? Answer: "Yes, sometimes, but particularly I feel their characteristic modes." Query: Is there anything visual about it? Do you see things with the mind's eye? Answer: "Certainly. The stimulation is also visual. I see landscapes, people, scenes." Query: Dramas? Answer: "No, I am not a dramatist. Rather epic occurrences. I see and I feel"

III. Query: Does this music not distract you in the sense of making you wish to follow it? Answer: "Not at all. I don't follow it. I could not use for my purpose music which obliged me to follow, for instance, strongly rhythmical

music"

IV. Query: How is your musical attention when you hear music (you say you like it) apart from your work? Do you attend consecutively? Answer: "Not at all. I cannot ever attend much to music; it always awakens thoughts"

V Query: Can you, when you listen to music, analyse chords? Answer: "Oh, no, nothing of the sort. I am not at all musical"

VI. Query: Have you musical memory? Answer: "Very little"

Dr. Rudolf says something in the course of the conversation leading me to think that he imagines the composer to have ideas somewhat similar to those that come to him. When I say that musicians think of the music itself, he answers, "Yes, it is certain that they also think centri- fugally of it." ("& der Peripherie denken")

No trace of pose or affectation.


2 88 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Holger Danske says : "Hearing music does not disturb work; on the contrary it is a great stimulant. I can write but not read Now writing, once started, can and does become (there is plenty of evidence besides my own on this subject) so en grossing as to appear automatic and "unconscious" ; so that like Archimedes' calculations, nothing can "disturb" it. But reading (unless as slovenly as musical "hearing 55 ) does require a certain consecutiveness in following somebody else's thoughts ; and the same applies to Torre's efforts to collect his own thoughts and give them clearer expression, for here, as in reading, it is a case of outwardly directed attention, often of voluntary self-criticism.

Now this bears out what I have already said about the thought (or thinking) so greatly stimulated and facilitated by music, being, as Spiridion tells us "a certain dreamy kind of thought" ; such as can without impediments or mesalliance be married to a dreamy enjoyment of "overheard' 3 music. And music when "overheard" either, as one Answerer puts it, from being at a little distance, or as others have told us from being unfamiliar, still in the "chaotic" stage, in short, music acting if not as an Ambience, 1 at all events as an undifferentiated combination (a "flood 5 ') of the various "Powers of Sound"; music when not "listened" to but "heard/ 3 does certainly, if my Answerers can be trusted, exert a far greater influence on the feelings and the "nerves." In fact, as we know from "Dionysiacs" and semi-"Diony- siacs," it acts like "mountain air," "a glass of wine," and "narcotics," in fact like Wolfram's "strong intoxication." All of which other stimulants no doubt make people a great deal more creative than they were, indeed perhaps than the results show them ever to be.

1 ANONYMOUS : "7 can very well work while overhearing music; especially if it is a little far away. Then music seems one among the many familiar sounds which are always going on around one which we are barely conscious of, for the greater part of the time because we are absorbed in work"


STIMULATION OF THOUGHT 289


III

That rather cynical Answerer, the self-styled Homme Sensuel Moyen (the one we shall hear describing Mozart's Cherubino as "the Young Male Adolescent") sums up these matters in one of his unexpected fits of scepticism : "You can work at anything while the ear is being caressed by sweet music." I must interrupt him; the music is sometimes not at all sweet, and so far from being caressed; the ear is being overpowered, but, resumes V Homme Sensuel Moyen: "you don't really listen to it"

Now, being, however imperfectly and unworthily, a "Listener" and nothing but a "Listener," I cannot prevent myself from feeling that this is very regrettable, for much of the greatest genius of the last few centuries, has gone into the making of music, and made that music its direct creation. So that in the face of some of Mozart's Quartets, and Beethoven's works, and certain of the Preludes and Fugues (even if all other music were as utterly lost as the frescoes of Polygnotus), I cannot help thinking that all their literary creativeness was not worth what these creative people, novelists, poets, philosophers might have listened to if they had listened instead of just creating.

As to the "dreamy kind of thoughts," the images, visions, dramas, reminiscences "Je me sers de la musique pour divaguer: c'est quelquefois une forme dejouissance" of persons not creative or not at that moment, but just getting out of music, "heard" or "overheard, 33 an addition to life's perhaps scanty supply of interest and happiness, I have repeated (and shall repeat) that this older, humbler, less independent function of music may long have been, and continue to be, the more universal. That, and the modes of such divagating interest and enjoy ment, the modus operandi or genesis of all these "meanings" and "messages" is of course the subject of this section on Interpretation. And all I had intended to do in the present

T


ago MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Chapter (but the evidence was too much for me) was to prove by this professional testimony, that music can really stimulate and facilitate thought which is not recognised as irrelevant (like the latchkeys, etc., of humiliated "Lis teners"), but, on the contrary, regarded by those who profit by it as the crowning glory of the art, and perhaps the true raison d'etre of the Great Composers.


CHAPTER IV

INTERPRETATION AS METAPHOR. CASE OF SPIRIDION


AND, HAVING reminded the Reader of Donna Teodora's generalisations about lapses in listening which she called "intermittences, 55 we have cleared the ground for the study of the various kinds of Interpretation, the various uncon scious devices whereby music receives a "meaning" and a "message."

I shall now interrupt my general statement and frag mentary quotations to give a summary of all the answers of a musically very sensitive Man of Letters, because they afford concrete illustrations of various points dealt with in the previous chapters. I do this even more willingly because of the admirable clearness and fullness of these answers ; they go considerably beyond the mere queries of the Ques tionnaire, and converge into a full-length and life-like portrait of the kind of "Hearer 55 whose musical interest and enjoyment are enlarged, even if they are confused, by highly emotional yet quite impersonal habits of interpre tation.

This Answerer, whom I shall call Spiridion, has had little musical education and that little has lapsed; but he has a natural incipient analysis of what he hears, since he can "sometimes distinguish component notes of a chord" And his musical memory (let the Reader compare the case of Franz) I is such that he is not only "haunted to a distracting degree by music after a concert" but can "turn on long fragments (including their timbre) when I have heard them several times" Moreover, he admits to composing music of his own, though "only

1 See p. 240,


292 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

on board ship or in the train.'" Music attracts, indeed compels his attention: "It disturbs if I want to think upon a definite mundane theme. I hate music when I wish to do other things." In the terminology with which I have tried to familiarise the Reader, Spiridion is a case of "higher plane," and even more of Ambience. For he adds : "Music hurts me unless I let it have its way, either listening carefully or " and the Reader must mark this alternative "letting it suggest ideas."

First, let us see what Spiridion, making much the same distinction as Wolfram does, between the response to classic and to modern music, says about the occasions when he is compelled to "listen carefully." ^ Tes" he answers, "/ think music does often produce an emotion sui generis. . . , Bach, e.g. very seldom influences me emotionally by suggesting ideas other than admiration and delight at his perfection of form. I usually listen to him with my whole attention, not thinking or dreaming or 'drift- ing' as I do with later composers. He (Bach) does not illustrate for me or emphasise or deepen or suggest emotions. . . . I may say with conviction that the older music . . . suggests form to my mind just as a beautiful statue does. It may make a sort of mould in my mind and produce the desire to write a poem to fit that mould. The emotion is too vague to define" (he has admitted it to be an "emotion sui generis") ; "when one regards it, it is gone." That is to say, Spiridion cannot turn it into words, although he may be desirous and even able to write something making the same sort of aesthetic impression (what he calls the "mould" left in his mind by the sense of its beauty). "The older music" he goes on, "has FORM and the later CONTENT. 'Form? cools and soothes, as sculpture does. The 'content' of the later music suggests mystical and tragic emotions and so imposes itself on me" "Imposes itself" in the sense not of forcing him to listen and follow the "form" ; but in the sense of "immensely facilitating a certain dreamy kind of thought." (Here I must interrupt to bid the Reader remember all we have learnt about passive attention, moreover, both M. Ernest's and Professor Paul's comparison of the "Cecilian-Dionysiac"


CASE OF SPIRIDION 293

state, which is of course passive, with that under narcotics.) For Spiridion continues : "In fact, it acts as one would expect a hypnotising influence to act. It gives a higher emotional value to any suggestion in the mind at the time" (cf. Maya's "One thinks of what interests one most in other connections") "with the result that a train of thought or an image is filled out and quickened, PROVIDED (my capitals) you let the music have its way with you and the suggestion be 'in tone* with the music" In accordance with the above, he answers the query whether his enjoy ment is partly of suggested ideas, "Tes, often" and adds that while his mind is thus active "furnishing suggestions" and "emotional images 35 which the music can "fill out" and "quicken," his attention to the music is, on the other hand, passive. "I give myself up to it entirely to the exclusion of all exterior perception. I then DRIFT (capitals his) upon its waves. I sometimes even get a physical illusion of being rolled and swung. . . . If people interrupt me . . . it brings me to myself with some thing of a nervous shock. . . . If I hear music when I am with other people whom I have to consider. . . . I usually listen to the music, criticise it and the performer, analyse it and my own feelings about it. When I am alone and the music is very fine it sometimes seems almost to stifle me. There have been moments when, for the very intensity of my enjoyment, I have felt I cannot control myself" (cf. Master Hugues and his "beautiful woman"), "and (I have to) think of something else to break the spell, I have to get away from it because its beauty 'pierces* as it were" (That word "pierces" is familiar to some of us from the writings of mystics. And, indeed, there is much in common between the "Dionysiac" rapture and that of religions nearer our own.) But Spiridion differs from the typical "Dionysiac" (Professor Paul), by the essential fact that in the midst of his rapture he thinks, he imagines, he is drifting on a sea not only of sounds, but of suggestions, what he calls "con tents," which thorough-going "Dionysiacs" do not seem to attribute to music. Similarly, again distinguishing him from Franz, Master Hugues and Professor Paul, we find


294 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

that enormous as is his music-induced emotion, it never seems to remain personal. Nay, contradicting the views of our four true "Dionysiacs" (including Wolfram) Spiridion says quite explicitly that "emotionalism is not to be encouraged for its own sake" ; and deprecates the fact that "music for most people is an emotional stimulant" This deprecation of personal emotion is probably what makes him say: "On the whole I prefer the Apollinian, a lyrical inspiration, Bach, Beethoven, the older composers in chamber music"', although he admits that this (i.e. the "Dionysiac") is valuable at times of depression "for its catharsis Tschaikowskfs Pathetique sym phony, Wagner, Strauss" And adds "Apollinian is the better, pertaining to the bright God of intellectual beauty" (with whom, as we have seen, the "Dionysiacs" will have no truck!). Yet further along, under the query whether music can have a moral or immoral influence, or is "yonside of good and evil," he answers : "Certainly on the side of the Gods, whether they be good or evil" and gives as reason: "For in me, at any rate, music stimulates emotional belief in them" That he should regard such emotional belief in the Gods "whether they be good or evil" as belonging to the "Apollinian" state is, perhaps explicable by his saying that Wagner "is tragic and the others lyrical" And here that word "lyrical" as opposed to "tragic" connects on, I think, not merely by the verbal coincidence lyrical-lyre-Apollo with "Apollinian," but rather because Spiridion regards the "deeper and larger emotions created by Wagner, and the tragic catharsis attributed to them," as essential to the "Dionysiac," while poetical inter pretation constitutes, to his highly literary mind, the "lyri cal," that which, being intellectual belongs to "the bright God of intellectual beauty." In fact I think that Spiridion, although so emotional, has escaped being thoroughly "Dionysiac," chiefly because in him, emotion easily trans forms into imagination. A transformation which, with his usual singular perspicacity, he had previously described as "music immensely facilitating a certain dreamy kind of thought


CASE OF SPIRIDION 295

. . . giving a higher emotional value to any suggestion in the mind at the time, with the result that a train of thought or an image is filled out and quickened provided you let the music have its way with you and the suggestion be 'in tone' with the music" All of which can be summed up: he is rather suspicious (sets things right by emphasising catharsis) of musical intoxica tion; what he wants and gets, and calls "elevating and purifying" is "musical dreaming. 39

This is, I think, what he opposes to "external sympathy," presumably sympathy with circumstances, and calls "direct intuition." He goes on: "Music is for me the expression of the emotions of mystical symbolic Beings because I feel that the Sufferer or Rejoicer is in myself and yet more than myself." And further on, under the heading "Message," "Meaning": "When I think of it as expressing emotion, Music seems to express the Emotions of some being of tragic stature, not a mere Man. Of course, since I understand these emotions, they must be, in a sense, my own feelings, but they are not attached to any definite memory." Queried about Affective Memory, he had, however, said "Not historical: I have a bad memory unless emotional interest is aroused" And he confesses to "a certain nostalgia in re-living one's past, even when the memories are of happiness . . . but it's a melancholy habit of thought (i.e. re-living one's past) of which I hope some day to cure myself."

All of which shows, I think, that his strong and dominant emotional memories never reach the stage of complete abstraction, but, on the other hand, instead of concen trating around himself and his past, are depersonalised, and projected elsewhere by his imagination; so that (re suming the quotation) "Music for me usually expresses mystical emotion, the joy or sorrow of great Powers unembodied in any actual form. One has no exact impression, but vague phrases such as 'the whole Earth groaning and travailing together' 'the joys and sorrow of Humanity,' or of natural Powers, e.g. the wind, or of vague Teutonic Deities, express the 'ideas' I get from music. I hear the cry of the Outcasts (who they may be I haven't a clear notion]


296 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

of souls unborn or 'lost,* of the 'spirits wandering about in desolate places seeking rest and finding none' and so forth"

The Reader will probably object that such ideas as these, occupying, even in verbal expression an incomparably small fraction of time, may flash across the mind of the most attentive "Listener/' which instantly gets back to its "lis tening." This may sometimes be the case, though I have not noticed it in myself, nor seen it noticed by others, although an idea, an image, is incredibly brief and a piece of music often incredibly long. Even admitting this, the question becomes which of the two, the idea and image or the piece of music, seems more important to the in dividual. Now Spiridion has admitted that music "immensely facilitates a certain dreamy kind of thought " i.e. something much more than a flash of "allied ideas" : "indeed I often let the music" (he means his divagation!) "have its way" in "letting it suggest ideas" and that although he finds the suggestion of words is de trop, he makes an exception for the Bible, the Dream of Gerontius, and one or two passages of Wagner "where the semi-philosopher 9 s mystical thought adds power " More over "in long symphonies, I have worked out some scheme for a book or poem, not setting myself the task, but as the thought comes up into my mind letting it carry me on and work itself to a con clusion; my tale tells itself or my image takes a richer imaginative form without any conscious effort on my part. Sometimes this is useful to me; sometimes I find when I recall the mental process, that it lacks originality and intellectual distinction because the heightened emotional tone (i.e. given by the music) has filled and made interesting to me a comparatively conventional idea or image which has no interest when this musical stimulus is removed"

So we may safely repeat that although such professional inspiration may not be an everyday matter, but may take place only when a symphony is long, yet the fact of Spiridion telling us that this does happen, without treating it as a divagation, proves that to him music (see above)


INTERPRETATION AS METAPHOR 297

may drop to being, as Teodora says, "an accompaniment" ; and that what adds to Spiridion's enjoyment is more or less continuous or sporadic dreaming interpretation.

II

In all cases of such Interpretation as the above, which is, more than anything, an enlarging and ramifying of meta phors and similes, the Reader will remark how (to speak metaphorically in my turn !) we are always moving in the dignified enchantment of the "Higher Plane." But though we may smile, nay sometimes wish to laugh, at the things which some of these Answerers say, and especially the words in which they say them, that merely shows that the plane of aesthetic contemplation is unfamiliar to men and women more accustomed to the hustle of daily life and its often vulgar ways of thinking. And their awkward attempts at expression are merely additional evidence of the sovereign value of music, viz. that creating a world, a life, cut off from the ordinary one, and far more harmonious, it im poses upon whatever we recognise as belonging to the feelings of everyday life a change ; not a sea but a music- change, into something rich and strange.

Shifting my own metaphor, it may happen that those issuing from that "Higher Plane" shine with a light some what unsuited to their features and their apparel. But something of the sort must have happened after every transcending initiation: to those homeward-bound from Eleusis or the Grail-temple, nay, who knows, to those descending from Mount Tabor.


CHAPTER V


MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION: "THE MICRO COSM RESPONDING TO THE MACROCOSM 53 ? THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


I HAVE given the evidence of Spiridion, and in a way his intellectual self-portrait, full-length not only because of the richness of his emotional and imaginative interpretation of music, but also and chiefly, because of his knowing that it is an interpretation. With a detachment and clearness distinguishing the creative artist from the visionary, he^is able to stand aside from the visions evoked by the music, recognising that they are added by himself to the music; but that the music is greater than all interpretations. And similarly, he says that although the emotions and moods attributed to that music are reaUy his own (else he would not recognise them), yet he never "refers" or appropriates that emotional expression to his own person, like naively egotistic Answerers for whom that music expresses, as Juliette puts it, their "Moi parce que cela interesse davantage" Indeed, Spiridion's superiority consists in his being less interested in himself: he thinks of himself only as inter preting individually and often gratuitously this manifold greatness called Music; and as responding to it with his own individual being. There is in Spiridion's case no illusion of participating, of sharing anything with the music. Nay, in proportion to his awareness that he himself is such as to be whirled and overwhelmed and transfigured in "Diony- siac" rapture, does he know that the art itself is aloof from such individual coincidences, knows that it is "Apollinian," and detached from his human interpretations. I have tried, unsuccessfully, since language is inadequate


MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION 299

for such subjects, to sum up the attitude of Spiridion, to show how, with so much of emotion and vision, he is nevertheless not a mystic, where music is concerned; and have done this to bring out, by contrast, the mystical attitude of sundry other Answerers.

II

We have seen beginnings thereof, and I trust, understood some of its causes, in the Chapter called Higher Planes. And further developments in dealing with "Dionysiacs 53 and with those half-, those proto- c 'Dionysiacs 5 ' I have called "Ceci- lians." Religious habits, the hostility to art inherent in all Puritanism, no less than monotheism's jealous exclusion, have made it difficult to refer the superhuman powers of art to the divine objects of Christian worship, as to Apollo, or Dionysus; at most has it been possible for the more tremendous aspects of "Nature 33 to be associated by such writers as Wordsworth, with a "Spirit of the Universe. 33 But such latter-day tendencies growing with the decline of dogmatic religion, have helped the votaries of music by turning their attention also to the universe. With the result, of which we have already seen one or two instances, of introducing the word "cosmic. 53 No one can deny that the affairs and qualities of the Universe, of the Cosmos, are a great deal bigger than those of man ; also more powerful and not to be argued with; furthermore difficult and ex hausting to take in with the mind and even the senses. It is difficult to enumerate starry heavens or the grains of sea sand or the drops of the ocean ; the bare thought of them, as Faust remarked to the Earth Spirit, makes one feel so great, but also so exceedingly small. Now it happens that it is also difficult to disentangle at first hearing a good deal of music; to count and follow, shall we say, the multi tudinous notes (or even the parts) of counterpoint ; to get a clear notion of orchestral combinations or even of the


300 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

rapidly unrolled "sonorities," arpeggios, scales, etc,, of more modern composers. A good many persons, at the moment of enjoying music, cannot even make out whether what they hear is a single voice or a chord, even be certain whether the intervals are ascending or descending. And in these cases, as in our relations with the Universe, much the commonest way of meeting this doubt is not to entertain it and just to be in the Ambience. Which Ambience I refer the Reader back to the quotations in the Chapter so-called (p. 141) and several others is much less like a solid and stolid piece of architecture (my Westminster Abbey) than like, well ! the Universe itself with its terrific forces, winds, waters, etc., overwhelming, submerging, at the least, flood ing our passive selves as it rolls along. The Cosmos gets the better of our puny mind, deafens, dazzles, blinds, more over those of its own obscure forces which we carry mys teriously inside us, elates, and can also transport, and intoxicate. Which is precisely what to so many "Hearers' 5 (and "Listeners" when only "hearing 35 ) is being done by music ; as my Reader must know by this time.

It is this similarity in the attitude of so many towards that obscure (though blinding) Universe and that obscure though blinding, and frequently also deafening, thing, Music, which, in default of invoking the heavenly hosts or heathen divinities, makes certain Answerers snatch at the word "Cosmic." Snatch, as they would snatch a glimpse, which is all any of us do, of the Cosmos ; and as much as many are satisfied with doing, of the mysterious works of the Composer. Furthermore, there is that queer "Dionysiac" possibility, the fact that some music can overwhelm some "Hearers" ; and what is more stir, churn up, the inner seas of their being, open the invisible flood-gates and trouble their welling-up or stagnant pools. All of which, to a rational being, requires explanation, at least when it is over and you remember. And here it is that if I may employ so trivial but apposite a mode of speech the notion of


MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION 301

the Universe comes in handy, and in fact several Answerers, even the highly religious, "Apollinian" Clare, bring in that word "cosmic." Similarly, and also with reference to "Higher Planes," to a half musical and wholly wool-gathering Comtesse Sophie, music brings the knowledge of ineffable cosmic harmonies like those hymned by Goethe's Archangels, and, at the same time the naive assurance of Pippa's birthday morning, that God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world. Her gentle and simple rapture is innocent of anything "Dionysiac." Now rather than such angelic "Higher Planes," it is the "Dionysiac" realms, especially the turbid underworlds within each human creature, which call for "cosmic" in terpretations of music, of the gushings and floodings of its "Powers of Sound." And, of course, above all, Wagner's and that element of sex to which, on account of his Venus- berg music, he is frequently supposed to appeal. Indeed, but for Wagner, the very word "sex" would probably not have occurred in any of the answers to my Questionnaires, any more than it occurs (unless my memory deceives me) in Nietzsche's description of the "Dionysiac." Thanks, how ever, to Wagner, to his Venusberg and to what that "just music" "Listener" Leo alluded to as the "Benches at Bay- reuth," that particular ingredient of Comus's cup is occa sionally adverted to; and (unnoticed no doubt because taken for granted by Continentals), has to be remarked upon, condemned (as pornography 1 ) or justified by British Answerers barely emerged (for my Questionnaires were circulated before the War) from Victorian purity, and un sullied by Freudian discussions. One of these Answerers, a composer of love-songs, has indeed, the boldness to say that Wagner treats only of what is natural and wholesome. But this is an exception, and "K. S.," while demurring to the adjective "Dionysiac," perhaps as suggestive of intem-

1 An anonymous Answerer says that, with Wagner, music becomes pornographic.


302 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

perate habits, says that Wagner's music is concerned not with the physical aspect of sex passion, but with its spiritual aspect and its working significance in the great life of the Universe.

Ill

So here we come to the Cosmos and its use in interpreting the hidden "meaning" and "message" of music. And with the Cosmos we come also to its most conspicuous votary among all my Answerers. The Cosmos, I hasten to repeat, lest the Reader erroneously imagine that I allude to the goddess who seduced Tannhauser; the Cosmos as wor shipped by "Dionysiacs," though with the strictest pro priety and the most transcendental dogma. Indeed, this Answerer should have gone into the Chapter on "Diony siacs," if she had not proved too invaluably illustrative of mystical Interpretation. Also, perhaps, because of a certain philosophical calmness and stolid mental poise, incompat ible with one's (perhaps mistaken) ideas of Dionysus. Although, of course, Dionysus is after all a nature-God, thereby allied to the Cosmos, and it is as into the sanctuary of the Cosmos, nay, of the Macrocosm, that we are admitted into the presence of Wagner by this Initiate. But first let me summarise what she tells us she is a woman Doctor of Philosophy of many universities about her musical aptitudes and preferences. She is not very musically gifted or musically trained, but extremely sensitive to certain kinds of music. Not to the "classics," with the one excep tion, probably owing to his multitudinous and unceasing flow of sound, of Bach; Mozart being negligible, while Beethoven's piano sonatas are "positively disliked." Beet hoven's symphonies, etc., are, however, enjoyed because of "an extreme preference" for orchestral music ; and the works of Schumann, Chopin and Liszt, even if for the piano, are similarly preferred, no doubt in virtue of their sometimes far-fetched or harrowing harmonies and com-


THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 303

pelling rhythm, also in the case of Liszt at all events, their almost more than orchestral sonorities. And, consonantly with these likings and dislikings, all pointing to the pre dominance of the "Towers of Sound," this Answerer rejects in so many words what the Questionnaire describes as the calm and serene, the "Apollinian" qualities ; she wants music to be "exciting and overwhelming" In fact, if we add that she tells us that music (when she likes it) forces her to listen, but with a tendency to "thoughts caught up into it 55 ; also her having no experience of an "Emotion of Music" as such or of music ever remaining "just music/ 5 we get a by no means uncommon variety of what I have called the "Cecilian" "Hearer." The music which excites and over whelms, which "carries her away," is, I venture to think "Music" in Cecilia's acceptance of the word, as distin guished from "Tunes." The Doctor of Philosophy is evi dently a "Cecilian"; and, one is prepared to find, also a "Dionysiac."

Not, however, admittedly. Anything but! For, no less than the contrary appellation of "Apollinian," she has turned down the "Dionysiac" in her answer to the query dealing with these two adjectives. She has no use for any such superficial mythological dualism. Wagner's music (for she disclaims all interest in his words, Leitmotivs and plays) represents for her something far deeper and more universal. This she prepares us for by an account of her response to it.

"/ am aware" she begins, "that some say that the worst part of them is aroused" etc., and she goes on : "This is the very opposite of Wagnefs effect on me though it arouses my emotions intensely. . . , It takes me away from myself as a particular being with individual wishes and desires. I may go into a concert or opera house, where Wagner's music is to be given, tired, worried, irri table, pessimistic with a feeling that life is not worth living . . . and come out soothed, strong, ready for work, optimistic, with my own little worries seeming too trivial. . . . / am enlarged, freed


304 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

as it were from the particular and the temporal, and feel expanded and grown. The effect is that I lose myself, but not my head, so to speak."

So far, this sounds very like what thorough-paced "Lis teners' 5 tell us about the "Higher Plane" on to which they are transported by their absolute attentiveness to "the notes and all their relations." Is it possible that our Doctor of Philosophy is, without guessing it, just such another? Can this be the selfsame "Emotion of Music" whereof she repudiates any knowledge, the "Apollinian" emotion, whose calmness and serenity she has especially told us she doesn't care for? It is not. She will have none of all that ; she really does want (as she already said) music to be exciting and overwhelming. And as to Wagner's music: "it arouses my emotions intensely, but always . . ." (I pause in my quotation to give the Reader time to repent, as I do, of any suspicion of this Answerer being a "Dionysiac") "but always in a cosmic way" "/ believe" she goes on, "/ believe he reveals cosmic emotion and that he does actually render the great cosmic energies, creative or otherwise, with less 'relativity,' as it were, than they are rendered for us by any other medium, outside religion in some of its more mystical forms"

Spiridion also, the Reader may remember, spoke of music seeming to him the expression of mystical, symbolic "Beings of tragic stature," of "vague Teutonic Deities," of "Natural Powers." But these are, to use his words, always "thought of," they are evidently seen with the mind's eye, imaginary third persons whom he contemplates as outside himself, but with whom he never comes into, however spiritual, contact. How different, despite superficial resemblances, is the case of the present Answerer? It is evident that music does not evoke any such objective visions or dreams, since she denies its ever suggesting "memories, stories or images." Her "cos mic energies, creative or otherwise," have therefore no history and no visible presence. Indeed, "images and stories" would surely belong to some sort of "relativity," and she


"THE MICROCOSM RESPONDING TO THE MACROCOSM" 305

expressly tells us that the peculiarity of Wagner's music is just that it suggests the extreme minimum of "relativity" "as little of relativity as is conveyed by the more mystical kinds of religion." She is thoroughly aware (as she is of Wagner's alleged immoral effects on other persons) that this immu nity from "relativity" is not the quality of all music (pre sumably of Beethoven's piano sonatas which she positively dislikes) ; or rather that to "some" it may represent a variety of human emotions and moods. "But for me" she says, "music expresses much more cosmic than human emotion. It is not expressing a third person's drama. It is the universe. It is the expression of my own feelings in intimate relation with the Cosmos, the microcosm responding to the macrocosm, to use philo sophic language"

And, so great is her habit of such "cosmic" responsive ness originally elicited by Wagner, that Wagner himself is not always required to set up this "intimate relation" with the Cosmos ; for "unless the music be quite trivial, it carries me far beyond human emotion . . . even a love-song is not a mere love- song to me. It carries me much further; and even dance-music of quite an ordinary kind suggests a sort of world rhythm. Thus I can even experience a certain pleasure in hearing a mere street piano"

After that, one quite understands that though her "emo tions are intimately stirred" by Wagner's music, she comes out from hearing it not only optimistic but clear-headed and "ready for work."

Did not Goethe's Three Archangels testify to a similar tonic effect resulting from their intimate acquaintance with what "to use philosophic language" is the Cosmos: "der Anblick gibt den Engeln Stdrke"?

IV

But even thus fortified, those Archangels kept to their attitude of respectful, one might almost say, sycophantish

u


306 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

spectators of that "world rhythm" which the Doctor of Philosophy could discern even in "dance music of quite an ordinary kind." They never so much as hinted that, as Wagner's music has since made feasible, the Microcosm might come into "intimate relation 3 ' with the Macrocosm. Of such transcendental intimacies I do not feel competent to speak; and scarcely venture to quote the horrid remark of another Answerer, the furiously anti-Wagnerian 'cello- player, Swayne. Yet it seems likely that, rather than to the vulgar "Dionysiac" talk about glasses of wine, narcotics, anaesthetics, and even Master Hugues throwing his arms round a beautiful woman, it is to such marriages of true minds with the Cosmos that this decidedly coarse piece of criticism is applied. For having stated that after Wagner's music one feels "like after a debauch," "The 'Cellist" adds significantly: "People are deeply deceived; they are having what I believe to be entirely physical sensations"

V

To which, having recovered my psychologist's equanimity I venture to answer; Well, what if they are deceived in the manner you suggest? Such sublimations of what is not really sublime may be all to the good. Take the case of those famous Byzantine cenobites spoken of by Gibbon; if they insisted on spending some of their time not at concerts, but contemplating their own navel, wasn't it just as well that while so engaged, their eye of the spirit should have seen the Uncreated Light that shone on Tabor?

Indeed, in view of all I have told the Reader (and shall tell in the following Chapters) about the various possible meetings, not indeed always between Microcosm and Macrocosm, but between the things people are apt to think about, the feelings they are prone to experience, and the music "the notes and all their relations" which they are "listening" to, or, more frequently, only "hearing," it ought


MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION 307

to be evident that such interpretations must be as various as the interpreters.

Also, such interpretations must be of a corresponding variety in moral and aesthetic value ; although of course the essentially unrealistic nature of music is likely to keep such interpretations on what is often, and correctly, described as a "higher plane." And going back to the Doctor of Philosophy's quite justified (albeit a trifle par- tisanish Wagnerian) comparison between music's mystical intuitions and those afforded by religion, I should like to suggest (under correction by metaphysicians and divines!) that the comparison is entirely to the advantage of music. For whereas religion usually sets out with the assurance that it is telling us about facts and real existences, music (herein more honest than the self-hoaxing arts which copy appearances) caters simply for the heart's desire. And so it teaches no fallacies and tells no lies, but just allows us to attribute to its patterns of notes a lot of "meanings" and "messages" and "personal references," thereby indulg ing our natural instincts of interpretation, without anyone being a jot the worse.


CHAPTER VI THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER


AMONG THE various suggested items which that Doctor of Philosophy repudiated ever thinking about during music thus keeping a clear and un-relative space for the quasi- religious intimacies of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm there were mentioned, you will have remarked, "memories, images, stories and third persons"; and among the third persons, with especial emphasis of denial, "The Composer."

Now with the majority of "Hearers," particularly this Philosopher's fellow-"Cecilians," "the Composer" is just what they do think about most frequently; whenever, at all events, the thoughts set going by heard (or overheard!) music are not directed to their own feelings and reminis cences, in fact to that Mot which, as Juliette remarked, ^ inter esse davantage"

It was before passing on to such "First Personal Refer ence" that I gave a few instances of how the less self-centred (may we say?) of our Answerers placed their own feelings tinder the protection (or vice versa] of the feelings attributed to "the Composer," e.g. one Answerer says: "The chief fas cination of music is when one feels that expressing the feelings of the composer y it also expresses one's own feelings" A putting of the cart before the horse as happens so constantly in har- nessings of Pegasus to one's own personal vehicle ! Such answers should suffice to show that in asking whether the music set them thinking about "the Composer" (who was mentioned as an alternative to other "third persons"), 1 I

1 The question was : "While listening to, or remembering, music with out words or suggestive title, are you apt to think of it as expressing human emotion either (A) as if the composer (or performer) were


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 309

was not alluding to critical remarks and comparisons as: "How like Handel!" or "Isn't that almost a forestalling of Chopin?/ 5 etc., which, along with even more technical details, may presumably flash across the mind of even the most absorbed "Listeners," indeed perhaps most often where much previous attentive "listening" has stored the mind with notions of styles, and epochs, and even samples of both. And indeed very few, if any of my Answerers imagined that to be what I was asking about. "The Composer" whom they understood me to be asking about, and whom they admitted thinking of during music, was not the abstract representation of a musical style, but a human being, a "third person," taking part, for instance, in the kind of duet or interchange of feelings, like the ones just quoted, A person. Even a visible person, as when that German Psychologist said that, during Beethoven's music he "would be haunted by the ugly but expressive face of the Master" (such, no doubt, as scowls among the flourishes on sonata-covers, and even on the ebony facades of German cottage-pianos).

Moreover, people habitually unmusical, by which I mean that they do not habitually either think music in the sense of mental repetition, nor think of music in the sense of remarking, analysing and comparing notes and combina tions thereof, such habitually unmusical people (especially if "Cecilians") are especially apt to refer their admiration, i.e. their pleasurable, interested or nervous responses, to the influence of a personality, as in Margery's case to Chopin, and, in the case of others to Beethoven. This they do just as others, or themselves in other connections, refer their aesthetic states, their "higher planes" to "Nature" or "God." And they do so because their thoughts habitually deal in personalities and personal relations and qualities per taining to such, as "strong," "sincere," "kind," "natural" ;

telling you his own inner drama, (B) as if he were telling you the inner drama of some third person, vague or otherwise, (C) as if the music were somehow the expression of your own feelings?"


3 io MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

and thinking of these human qualities leads to thinking of human possessors thereof; or when it is a case of oneself feeling elevated or purified, to thinking of elevating and purifying super-human personalities or personifications like God ("it seems a vox Dei") or Nature. After all it is a matter of association, and what is association except a kind of classification, a collecting of partial similarities of effect, analogies; which analogies are largely of our reactions. Margery finds that after certain music she cannot discuss trivialities or enjoy family jokes any more than after hours on the moors; and, not being accustomed to keep "moors' 5 and "music 5 ' as separate as some other persons, say myself (perhaps because "moors" mean visual and respiratory- olfactive engram-complexes, while "music" means auditory and perhaps vocal or muscular engram-complexes), the piece of music becomes for them the expression of pleasure in a certain kind of outdoor impression ; how much more when words, "Wenlock edge," "Berkshire Downs," "Kennst da das Land?" come to mediate !


II

In what manner, apart from such visual evocations "the Composer" emerges from the otherwise self-centred emo tions and divagations of "Hearers" to whom, as to Donna Teodora, music is an "evocation," we may realise from the following instances.

The first is a lady identifiable only by her living in the Boulevard Malesherbes; and is the more interesting that she is, or ought to be, rather a "Listener" than a "Hearer." For although she re-lives past feelings "jusqtfd la joie ou d la sou/ranee" such human affectiveness is evidently swamped by the intense emotion of "joy, enthusiasm, uplift," given her by music; a special emotion, she calls it, "sufficient to make me believe in the existence of a soul" The origin of such


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 311

an emotion cannot, she feels, be in herself; it has to be sought for in something outside, and greater, in a "tertium quid" And for this highly musicianly but very personally, affective Answerer, the tertium quid is not, as for Barbara, Bessie, Isabella and the majority of other "Listeners/' the music itself, but the person who composed it. Thus her intense human emotions (certified for us by her extreme Affective Memory) unite with that musical emotion of "joy, enthusiasm and uplift," and become "the intention of the Composer" ; indeed, in a vague way, "the Composer" him self. Mental life, we should recollect, is inevitably full of such cross-effects, such inhibitions, such vicarious actions, such symbolic substitutes, quite apart from those discovered by Freudians. And this is the cas.e because even on the physiological plane, the Brain, as well as the Mind, has its logic, just as it evidently has its quite unconscious classi fications ; for is not logical order, such as we know it, the result of repeated regularity of connection? And thus "the Composer" is the personification of the music which has brought this lady so much joy, enthusiasm, "uplift" ; and she believes in that "Composer" for the same reason that her musical happiness and exaltation would suffice to make her "believe in the existence of a soul." "The Composer" she believes in is of the same nature as the Soul she believes in ; a symbolic outcome of the admiration and adoration which she feels, a token of the purification, the breaking-up of the too, too solid and bulky and suffering ego. Into this mystic oblation of the "Listener's" delight to a mythical Composer, nay even into that more ordinary and some times snobbish sharing of one's emotion with such a Com poser, there may enter moreover some of that divine essence of past and clarified feeling which I have described as empathy. And indeed, as I have already hinted, the refer ence to a third person of the feelings produced in one by music, may be the earliest appearance of undeniable bona fide Affective Memory in this field of musical expression, the


3 i2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

contrary readiness to refer the latter solely to one's own blessed self leading to the suspicion (whence frequent denial of all Affective Memory] that what music stirs up in these egos is in reality an ever-lurking present emotional con dition, not a remembered past one.

That, in all this participation with a "Composer/ 5 there lurks a spice of self-complacency, is very likely. Where's the harm? One is, no doubt, rather better than one's usual self, let alone one's neighbours in those moments of sharing the superhuman sorrows of a superhuman imaginary Beethoven or Michelangelo made up in the image of his works. And how much pleasanter than the admission of sundry religious mystics that except for the company of the Deity, they would feel out in the cold, is not this intercourse of the Lady of Boulevard Malesherbes with the transfigured Composer, as she is borne aloft by the loveliness of melo dies, by the magical storms of the "Powers of Sound!"

Which brings me back to one of the main arguments of this book, namely that musical contemplation holds at arm's length all the hurrying, often the trampling, interests of passing life. And, more needful even, heals the bruises and reduces the swollenness of the first person singular.

The unsuspecting Interpretation, the personification of the music and its effects into a "Composer," takes a step forward in the remarks of a highly musical and rather critical Answerer "K. S.," who "thinks of music as though the composer were revealing his thoughts and feelings resulting from some drama" I interrupt the quotation to call attention to the words by which "the Composer" is now completely detached from the "Hearer" or "Listener's" feelings wherein we saw him still cocooned, an embryonic vagueness, in the answers of the Lady of Boulevard Malesherbes. Completely detached from that "Hearer" or "Listener," because his "the Composer's" "thoughts and feelings" have now got a cause in his again "the Composer's" Past; a cause which is even described as a "drama," that is to say, some-


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 313

thing outside, and which, however much sympathised with, is not himself.

Hecuba may doubtless interest and move us, but we are thoroughly well aware that Hecuba is nought to us. "K. S." enlarges on this notion of a drama, incidentally suggesting its origin: "There is frequently (in music] a sense of HAPPEN INGS" which is conveyed by "almost all interpreters of music that really hold me." The thorough-paced "Listeners" of the "just music" type would also have had such "a sense of happenings," but would have felt them as happenings of the notes, "the notes and all their relations." And perhaps because she approximates to that "just music" type, "K. S." adds that the "happening" in the sense of drama "does not seem of primary importance" To this very musicianly Answerer, the "happenings" of the music itself are at bottom more interesting than "the Composer" and his drama into which she has transformed them.


Ill

At this point, the Reader will probably do what good manners forbid, but a wish to get understood should rather encourage ; he will interrupt, and as follows : "From your way of speaking one might imagine there was no Composer in all this business ; that he was, at most, a Brocken-Shadow cast by the notes. Now the Composer happens to be a reality, he has lived, and what is more, it is he who has composed that piece of music, that pattern of notes which your 'just music' people watch in such absorbed (and one might think meritorious !) ignorance of anything beyond it, in dull obliviousness of the fact that until that particular man came along and invented that pattern of notes, that pattern of notes, those particular 'relations' you are always insisting upon, that tune, those harmonies, that Op. so-and- so did not exist; and if that particular man had not come along, those good, unimaginative c jmt music 5 Answerers


3 i 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

would have had nothing to be absorbed in, or would have been absorbed in an Op. something else by some other man. So, since it came out of that Composer, we ought surely to regard that music as part and parcel of that Com poser, as for the rest every sane person does. And it is silly to talk or seem to talk, as if the 'Composer' (and pray why in inverted commas?) were a phantom made up in moments of inattention by the 'Listener' or 'Hearer' out of dream stuff, furnished partly by the notes and partly by his own emotional memory."

Thus the impatient Reader, with whose interruption I agree so entirely that I have written it for him. Let me briefly answer that the inverted commas were meant to distinguish the Composer enclosed within their bounds and residing solely in the mind of my Answerers, from the other Composer, the one who actually composed the music, the Composer existing (or having existed) in the larger and more complicated world of facts, where he was begotten, as far as his music goes, of a whole line of other composers, tailing off into unremembered centuries. That (may I call him?) real Composer, the one without inverted commas, and not residing in the mind of my Answerers, I shall try to catch a glimpse of further along. But my present business is not with any Real Composer. My business is with the other end, with the other half of the process by which mind turns material sound-waves into music; moreover turns music (as I am showing you) into a good many relevant and irrelevant thoughts. So, in these present Chapters which deal with the recipient "Listener" or "Hearer," I am con cerned with the "Composer 53 only as he exists in the mind of that "Listener" or "Hearer," that is to say a "Composer" made up in varying proportions of biographical matter and of the "notes and their relations" ; and for the rest of the emotional and interpreting poetical, logical, anything you like habits of those "Hearers" and "Listeners." The "Composer" I am dealing with is if I may wrest back


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 315

an indispensable psychological word disgracefully misappro priated by the Freudians a mental Complex.

IV

The speechless indignation (which I have put into good English) of that Reader of mine is due to certain aesthetic dogmas already alluded to. These are so habitually incul cated, and so confirmed by "Intuitions" like those of Words worth on a cognate subject, that, without hoping to shake them, all I can do is to show how they must have arisen and were bound to arise like other a priorisms and super stitions. First of all because the technical terminology of music, besides being crabbed, is to most persons not only undescriptive but unfamiliar. Even c 'Listeners, 3 * who while they are listening think the music itself, "the notes and all their relations," can be adding now and then some technical label to that direct thinking of the music, even such "Lis teners," when they think about music, when they try to describe it to others, are thrown back upon the terminology most familiar to us all, viz. that of human affairs. And that language brings its connotations and implications : the music is no longer thought as music.

When we come to Answerers who are (like "C. A. T.") musically illiterate or unaccustomed to handle technical terms; especially when we come to Answerers who habi tually succumb to music as a rather chaotic continuum of timbre, sonorities and rhythm, as an Ambience or (in the case of Donna Teodora) as an evocative "accompaniment" of their own day-dreams, when we come to "Cecilians" or Answerers in a "Cecilian" condition, the "Composer" does really personify the music, and the music (especially Cecilia's kind of music) becomes his quite personal voice, sometimes informing us of his quite personal affairs. In this way, Mona, and even the far more musical Emilia, talk, and presum ably think, of the "Composer." While Margery so com-


3 i6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

pletely identifies the Composer with the music that she justifies her musical preferences by personal and moral reasons. 1

Being made to feel as they do feel (the "Powers of Sound" especially aiding!), such "Hearers" cannot be satisfied with out a "Composer" to whom to attribute all that beauty and wonder, as in theological language, "attributes" of divinity. Where the "meaning" of music is not appropriated to the self-centred "Hearer," where it does not turn into his or her personal reminiscences, all the "evocation" and revelations coagulate round some other personality (even like Spiridion's "Natural Powers" or "vague Teutonic Deities" or, more simply, the dramatis personae of operas, or the Doctor of Philosophy's depersonalised Macrocosm). And when there are no words pointing to some Tristan, Walkiire, or even some "young male adolescent," Cherubino, there is "the Composer." As I have said so often, the thoughts of these "Hearers" (and even of some "Listeners"), inter mittent, diffluent, yet enclosed in the musical Ambience, play between what is the music (the music's quiddity] and what is not the music, their own remembrances, visual images and associations, weaving in that to-and-fro all manner of metaphors. Most of these shimmer and vanish. But some of them, especially those presided over in more logical minds, by something like Herr Ursus's vision of the "ugly but expressive" head of Beethoven, solidifying by repeated verbal expression, are stabilised into articles of aesthetic faith, axioms handed on from writer to writer. In fact they are expounded, propounded, discussed and built upon like other dogmas, in what is called musical criticism. And always, guarding their sanctity against all incredulity, there is (don't we all see it?) that plaster bust of Beethoven.

Moreover, they are defended by quasi-theological argu-

1 MARGERY : "/ have intense sympathy with the composer ( Tchaikowsky) at the time; later a touch of contempt for his lack of reserve and I feel also that he has been smashed through his inability to get outside himself"


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 317

merit, appeals to Reason in the style of Paley. "It seems reasonable" begins an anonymous Answerer, offering evi dence when he had been asked only for experience, "// seems reasonable that every work of art is intensely subjective, in that its Creator (the musician in this case) explains his mood, his drama in musical modes. The recipient re-creates this (to him) objective explanation of a mood, a drama. This is only possible where it is a question of the highest mode of expression, Bach, Beethoven, where art has a 'tale to tell.' . . ."

"It seems reasonable." Yes, this musical theologian's reasoning may be all right; but how about the premises, the assumptions which are strung together by that "in that" and "only possible," and framed by that "it seems reason able"?'

V

I have already quoted Frances, a gifted and very sensitive young musical student, who spoke of music's supreme power of revealing yourself and things outside, "heights and depths otherwise unsuspected." That answer of hers ended with the remark: "That is natural: I am suddenly brought in contact with a personality, a force, like Beethoven. Think what that means"

It is for dealing with such utterances as this that I feel, more than ever, the need of restoring to its original meaning the excellent general term "Complex," unwarrantably appropriated by the Freudians to the (even if sanitary !) service of their "Unconscious."

So I beg the Reader to regard that word as cleansed and restored to the original meaning in which it was employed first (I think) by Wundt and then, very especially, by

  • Taking that "it is reasonable" as premise for further "reasonable**

beliefs, we get to a well-known musical historian, Torre, saying : "If it i* true that a listener re-creates the artist's state of mind, it is more natural that a work of art created under suggestions of an immoral nature contains in itself such forms of aesthetic excitement which can evoke in the listener by force of sympathy immoral impulses analogous to those experienced by the artist"


3I 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Semon : namely a running together of present perceptions, memory-images, feelings, habits and all possible psycho logical factors in various degrees of combination. The word "fusion" begs the question of the degree of combination whose components need not be fused at all, but co-exist quite separately recognisable and exchangeable. And as to the word "confusion," anglice, "a muddle," which might be applied to the prioristic lucubrations of my musical Paley, I do not recognise in Frances's answer any of those solecisms for which primers of logic have preserved such jolly mediaeval names ; there is no bar of any kind, indeed no pretence at ratiocination about it. What that quotation conveys is that Frances is aware of coming into the presence of something much greater and more wonderful than usual, and of being laid hold of by it. All of which is so much psychological reality. And this novel emotion, Faust's "Ich fuhle mich so klein, so gross" becomes the dominating and selective element of just such a "Complex" as I have de fined, attracting into it all images and ideas which can enhance, rejecting all which might jeopardise, the con gruous emotional and imaginative whole, which in its turn grows and transfigures itself through this continued selection by congruity.

"Complexes" in this (the original undefiled) sense of the term, form part of all our thought, however much they are kept in order by the logic of realities. Nay more, they form a large part of our best, our safest and most innocent, happiness : for what remains of a landscape, a picture, a poem, a beloved creature, nay a passing effect of cloud and sunlight, a whiff of hayfields, a tingle of mountain snow, if we shear away its halo of enhancing associations? But above all "Complexes" of this kind are the essential stuff of all literature, especially of all poetry ; how could it be otherwise since every noun and adjective and verb is in itself a minute complex of fluctuating, shimmering suggestion?


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 3*9

And this seems the place to protest or confess that the poetic evocation, the "Complexes" haunting the mind of so many "Hearers" (think of Spiridion for instance) , ought perhaps to be regarded not as disrespectful to music, but rather as one of music's great boons, and the greater only for being given to shall we say the least deserving. After all, the only objection against "allied thoughts 33 and even "evocations" is that they interfere with getting all that music can really give to those who can, or could, get it. Now those who indulge in them are, in all probability, unable to get that complete musical happiness ; indeed they are such as may even be helped by "evocations" and "allied thoughts" to get any musical enjoyment at all.

In the totally different case of Frances, and the same may be said of the Lady of Boulevard Malesherbes, this domi nating, permeating thought of the "Composer" is not in the least irrelevant to the music, like, e.g. the thoughts of the Doctor of Philosophy about Macrocosm and Microcosm, or Margery's views of Tchaikowsky's moral feebleness. Still less like Ursus's vision of Beethoven's "ugly but expressive face." Rather Frances's thought of the Composer, summed up in her "/ am suddenly brought in contact with a personality, a force, like Beethoven. Think what that mans!" is (only my own idea is itself a complex and difficult to put in logical form) the verbal expression of her tremendous musical emotion. That emotion sets going all her notions of great ness and all her own capacity for gratitude: and even as a divinity is made up, nine-tenths of it, of the hopes or the fears of its votaries, so here "the Composer" is made up of the loveliness and majesty of his music and of the irresistible impulse to thank for them.

"Think what that means!" exclaims our young Musician; and what she stammers is a paraphrase of Faust's "Ich fuhle ndch so klein, so gross"


320 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS


VI

I want to put on record (as the experience of an individual as much dominated by aesthetic emotion as Frances, but less youthfully personal than that delightful Answerer) that there is no foundation in fact for Mr. MacDougalPs view that admiration (which he distinguishes from wonder] implies a Creator of some sort, even if masked as "Nature." I do not agree. Aesthetic admiration is due to a kind of assimi lation of the visible or musical shape with ourselves ; which as the technical term Empathy (Einftihlung), however im perfectly implies, is akin to Sympathy inasmuch as both arise from residual feeling, or memory schemata*, with the difference that in the aesthetic phenomenon no human agent is implied. Except in the case of what the French call snobbisme, when I prepare an admiring response only after knowing by whom the work of art may be (whether a genuine or a pseudo-Botticelli!) except in such cases of snobbisme, my admiration for an artist is the result of previous admiration for the work, not vice versa.

Such alleged constant admiration of a "Creator" goes with Mr. MacDougalTs whole Behaviouristic Psychology, for that implies predominant concern with personal rela tions and personal proceedings, hence preoccupation with "moral and immoral." Such of us as are so non-social or at least unsociable as to get absorbed in aesthetic contem plation when it is vouchsafed us, such of us who are satis fied, nay overfilled with "the notes and all their relations" or the shapes and colours of visual art or the rarer but complex impersonal appeals of a play or poem, will, very likely, long for a second hearing, a repeated sight or read ing, another occasion for the union of our spirit with these wonderful things. But we do not necessarily want to shake hands with the "Creator" thereof, nor even think twice of him, let alone want to put up commemorative tablets as


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 321

in Italy, to local genius, or read about his amours or his quarrels.

And yet ! And yet ! Hero worship of this kind may stir up feelings of greatness and beauty such as are perhaps not always given by great and beautiful works of art. There is a backstairs to the aesthetic "higher plane"; and the emotions thus obtained may be as genuine as those given by the pictures of the "Prince of Wales's smile" to people who will never see it except in the Daily Mirror.

VII

The hero-worship of genius is one of our inevitable, per haps even desirable, delusions. We transfer to the artist the quality of his own work, on the false analogy of the whole and the part. We jump to the notion that the man able to give us a great work must have been greater and more beautiful still. In reality the artist, or the thinker, does not stand to his work as the whole to the part; indeed nothing is rarer than that the Man should satisfy our natural long ings for more of a good thing, possess reserve stocks of that more of the divine essence with which he has slaked our spiritual thirst or whetted our spiritual hunger. For, in the first place, what we call his work and identify fancifully with his flesh and blood, is only partly his, and his only in a small part. His individual genius, the special brand of his temperament, are superadded to an incalculable joint work of generations of predecessors, each of whom has added his own personal share and thus effected a greater or smaller change in the traditional heritage. Thought or form has come to each successive thinker or artist at such a stage, with such a character, such possibilities and impossibilities as to select from that individual's mass of potentiality this and not that. The great abstract reality, Art or Thought, has forced the artist or the thinker to feel, to shape, to think in one way and no other. And what we call his work,

x


322 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

what our short-sightedness takes for a part of him, is indeed a part, but only of that portion of him which can fit into, fuse with, be accepted by, the joint work of the Past and the Present.

Thus it comes about that the harmony, lucidity, the beauty transcendent and the peace beyond all understand ing, of the thinker's or artist's creation (so we style it) is, in proportion to its satisfying perfection, only a small part of his soul, or rather the sample of but a fragment, a streak, thereof. Hence it is useless to seek in the man for the artistic qualities of his art. Rather we should recognise that what we call the man, his actions, views, words, his outer life, represents much more and much less than the modes of feeling and of activity which can enter into his thinking and his artistic making. Moreover, the work of art especially sets up a certain greatness and harmony in the responsive beholder or hearer; it is, inasmuch as art, great and har monious.

But the poor human being whom we call the Master, is no more harmonious or great than you or I : only, just as the work of art allows us to be great and harmonious in the brief act of perceiving it, so the art itself has allowed him to be in the longer period, the conception and incuba tion, which we term creation.

This we none of us can or will understand. And even if we could, I doubt whether any force of reason or ex perience could break us of the habit (existing in all human relations) of expecting more when we have received much, and of looking on the artist as if he were a creating god instead of only an initiated ministrant in whose smallest and most hidden soul-part, as in the consecrated elements, -the great impersonal miracle of making beauty, can take place.

Moreover and this is a sad chapter for our inordinate human cravings the lovely and immortal elements of the soul of the artist may be accompanied by base, or at least deciduous, things in that of the man; indeed it may even


THE IMAGINARY COMPOSER 323

seek fuel in base human activities of his ; or by a process of exhaustion, leave human scoriae of baseness. It is not often that a creature is rich enough to pay his ordinary debts to life and to his neighbours, as well as add his incre ment to the inheritance of the centuries. We forget that a thinker, an artist, responds to claims besides those which fall upon the rest of us ; that he has, besides the integrity, purity, unselfishness and honour of the ordinary human being, the need for exercising similar virtues in the domain of his thinking or making. He must give good measure, exercise self-criticism, grow habits of continence and courage in matters which do not exist for the rest of us ; practise virtues besides the domestic and civic ones. And occasion ally these latter go by the board : he is a bad husband or father, a reckless debtor, an unfaithful steward, an envious, megalo-maniac rival, a debauched and disorderly person in household or state ; yet, through it all, he will be prac tising an orderliness, a loyalty and liberality in other walks such as the rest of us have no need for. And, as already hinted, he may even turn to base means, base love, baser rivalry, or whatever stands for alcohol or narcotics in his particular case, in order to stimulate or to renew that odd over-soul of his, that superadded power of giving what the generality can only receive.

Remembering this, we ought rather to be astonished and a little abashed perhaps, on seeing how many decent and kind and citizenly men there have been among philosophers and artists. Indeed it suggests that strength is apt to be connected with strength, and decency with beauty. But the revelations of memoirs and letters ought to make us un willing (instead of anxious !) to know more of that which is not the greatness of great men. It were more consonant with our own dignity and cleanness that we should shrink from intruding into the human workshop, in a corner of whose (far from swept and garnished) enclosure are being made the additions to beauty, lucidity and harmony among


3 2 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

heaven knows what common refuse of human feelings: envy, vaingloriousness, let alone the sensual and imagina tive indulgences and returnings to the dog's vomit. That workshop, the artist's soul, is no fit place either for our reverent love or for our irreverent prying : our business is with the achieved work, the joint work of that individual soul and all the centuries of his forerunners. But then, are so many other human souls, those in which no master- thoughts or master-works are made, but instead merely everyday duties and decencies kept up, are many quite everyday human souls 5 workshops into whose litter and noise, and, alas, smoke and stenches, it would be safe to venture?

VIII

In closing these chapters of the section " Interpretation 55 which treat particularly of the "Composer," let me remind my perhaps horrified Reader that this book is not a study of what Music is, but deals with what Music can (what ever the intention of those who have made it) set going in the affections and imaginations of the very various types of persons who "listen" to or merely "hear" it.

And, reminding my Reader that I began by asking whether my Answerers thought during music about them selves or about third persons, imaginary or otherwise among whom I placed the Composer, I think I had better put at the head of these particular Chapters of the general subject of Interpretation of Music, the words "The Imaginary Composer."


CHAPTER VII THE POWER OF WORDS


IT WOULD have been impossible for (may I call them) musical Divines and musical Believers to have established such a body of doctrine, let alone enjoyed so much in the way of visions and revelations, without the help of a Power as great as that of musical Sound ; the one which Scripture, with more psychological insight than historical accuracy, puts at the beginning of things : the Word. This remark may seem inappropriate in view of all my Questionnaires ex plicitly limiting enquiries to the effects of music "without words or suggestive titles/ 3 But the habitual influence of words is shown nowhere more clearly than in the frequent disregard of this proviso. Answerers evidently overlooking that the music they spoke about often had words and that these might account for what they ascribed to the music.

Thus, Mona remarks upon the "weak will" of Wagner's Wotan, adding "This is in the music, and struck me when I heard it in German" ; but quite ignoring that the German words were translated for her by the acting, indeed by the action, of the whole play. And similarly, though less flagrantly, Adela tells us (and a parallel remark is made by Valeria about the Meistersinger) that she is always aware of the "conflict of Good and Evil" (and that the Good triumphs !) "in the Tannhduser overture" which, although purely orches tral, is attached, by its title if nothing else, to the typical story of precisely such a conflict. While an otherwise very perspicacious Answerer describing himself, in Taine's famous phrase, as PHomme Sensuel Moyen, expatiates upon Mozart's embodiment of "the Young Male Adolescent" in his Cheru- bino music, quite overlooking the fact that if both Mozart


326 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

and himself thought simultaneously of such a person it was because a Young Male Adolescent was a chief item in the words Mozart was setting to music and which the Homme Sensuel Moyen was hearing along with that music.

My individual experience, as expressed in a note made nearly thirty years ago, had summed itself up as "complete attention to music excludes on my part all metaphorical activity, unless the suggestive power of words have been superadded." 1 And it was my knowledge of this personal fact which made me open a section in my Questionnaire * querying about the difference, if any, which words may make to the emotional and imaginative effects of music. I was then thinking, and the questions and answers were in accordance, only of words as sung texts or as titles. On both these points there was much individual difference, but rather among "Hearers" than among "Listeners, 35 most of whom, inasmuch as of the c just music" type, disregarded, or thought they disregarded, words and titles because they denied ever having the thoughts to which words and titles could give rise.

But jejune as this particular enquiry usually proved (apt to degenerate theories into mere conflicting views about the status of songs versus instrumental music) certain other queries brought forth some remarks which testified in directly to the suggestive power of words. At least three very intelligent Answerers spoke of the suggestions arising when

1 Cf. "U Homme Sensuel Moyen": "Words have the merit of informing you with precision what the composer is driving at"

ANONYMOUS FRENCHWOMAN: "Dans d'autres cos elle (la musique) me paraU exprimer le sujet indique par le texts; mais fai besoin du texte pour lui attribuer son tangage."

2 Query: When there are words accompanying music do they:

(A) Seem of any importance in the general effect on you?

(B) Can they put a finishing touch to the effect of the music, or vice

versa, if incongruous, disturb it, or

(C) Are they a negligible item in your musical interest and emotion? Does opera seem to you a higher or lower form of art than symphony

or chamber music?


THE POWER OF WORDS 327

they described music retrospectively. Thus, Violet H., after a "Collective Experiment/ 5 says "visualisation comes only in describing" ; and an Anonymous Answerer says "Music doesn't evoke visual images at the time, but in retrospect. . . . It would be in describing that I might think of as crowds what I felt as hurry and conflict; (describe) as processions, armies, what I felt as dignity, energy, peace, resignation"

Oddly enough, the above-quoted Homme Sensuel Mqyen clinches this question by saying: "The imagery used in de scribing music to a third person is a more or less conscious imposture"

The "imposture" (exemplified in his own description of the Cherubino music as embodying the "Young Male Adolescent") is not practised solely or principally where a third person is involved. One may be describing to oneself, and (consciously) also hoaxing oneself. But upon this point, the inevitable lack of awareness on the part of people not specially interested in these matters has made me fall back in the following pages rather on my own notes than on Answers to my Questionnaires ; and fall back upon myself, as an example of what words and titles can do to a "just music 55 "Listener," for an example of the fact (which must surely be less uncommon than my "Listeners"' lead one to believe) that words and titles can turn "just music" into music plus personal reference and visual and other associa tions. This is illustrated negatively in a note which I have already quoted under Personal Reference: "I do not know that even in extremely personal moods I have ever referred to myself (the expression recognised in) music which had not words or a title" While as to music which had either or both, I am always aware, or can become aware on examination, that it is the words (including the title) which emphasise, sometimes reveal, the emotional power of the music or set up the visual associations, sometimes the actual inner visions, which accompany it. Indeed, without rny having a single other feature in common with Mona, who, you may recollect, is my second-best "Cecilian," I can apply to myself her


3 s8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

remark about titles, extending it, of course, to sung words : "Ifs that you build upon. A title is the clue to the music. One would be rather at sea without it." At sea, in her case, on an ocean of more or less chaotic, magnificent and delightful musical sounds, but in my own, as a "Listener" in the exactly opposite condition of absorbed following of what of all things is the least vague and diffluent, the moving archi tecture, shape turning into shape, of notes and phrases. Superadded, if I may use so seemingly inappropriate a metaphor, to that musical structure, the words seem in my case to bring a second, a secondary, something which is to the music rather in the same relation as is colour when super- added to a linear design, adhering to, enhancing it, deepen ing it at points, but never preventing that linear and spatial pattern of notes from being the real object of my attention; adding to the music something like an emotional climate ; reversing, one might say, what happens in the case of mere "Hearers" like Mona, where it is the vaguely apprehended, the ambient music adding to the familiar and definite mean ing of the words. So much for the emotion with which (always in my own case and sometimes very personally) words seem to charge the notes as solids can be charged with some steeping perfume, until music and words become one and indivisible like a flower and its scent, or a seen landscape and its quality of air and temperature. But as regards the visual associations (I am still speaking of my own sole experience) it is rather as if, inside that architecture of music, solid though moving, there arose with the words a rather unsubstantial vision, through whose fluctuating and elusive veil those musical columns and arches and archi traves and domes continued to build themselves up unim peded. Or else, as in the case of that phrase of Handel's to the words (which I think of from old habit, rather in Ger man than English), "Behold the Lamb of God," an inner vision of a kind of Ravenna mosaic which is like a coloured illustration and vanishes as the music goes on. But whether


THE POWER OF WORDS 329

in either case, whether of such emotional consubstantiality as with some of Schubert's, all Schumann's songs and many Volkslieder, or in such more separate superimposition as when a mental vision associates itself with a pattern of notes whether in either of these cases it is the words which add to the music or the music which adds to the words, I am unable to tell ; or while it is easy to separate the design of a picture from its colouring even in one's remembrance, and thus judge of their comparative importance to one's feelings, once a vision has become associated with a musical phrase (as with "Behold the Lamb of God") there it remains for all time ; while only the experience of other settings or of frequent reading of a poem merely with the eye, seems to divorce words and music in my thoughts, when it comes to "Uber die Gipfeln" or "Krone des Lebens" (in Schubert's setting of Goethe's Rastlose Liebe). But perhaps in the case of the words of a song, the singing of them oneself (or re hearsing them silently to oneself) may account for this complete union of things which keep each its own appeal.

Another matter is the extraordinary reciprocal importance which I (at all events) find in single words or detached sentences embedded, so to speak, in music: again, for instance, that "Behold the Lamb of God." In that case it is evidently the arresting and solemn musical phrase which gives it, for me, the quality of a revelation and the power of evoking a vision, while having in itself no religious associa tion. And similarly with words like Tranm, Liebe, Morte, Addio, etc., heard (or at least remembered) isolated in a song ; or scraps of liturgy : Lux Perpetua, or even Magnificat or Requiem aeternam though here again I am not certain ; for think of the weight of meaning which those single words or fragmentary sentences have carried through our lives and through the centuries! And here I venture to suggest- always as a matter of individual experience that one reason why music can apparently add such tremendous power to isolated words is precisely that music does, so


330 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

often, isolate them. And that we are so accustomed to con sider words as parts of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, as joint-exponents of a whole more or less logically exhibited meaning, that we are apt to overlook the enormous wealth of suggestion and of emotion which, while it is often diluted or if you prefer, overlaid, in a sentence or a page, suddenly grips you when music wafts or hurls it at you in its isolated power. Most of my Answerers, not being cross-questioned, have entirely overlooked this question as it stood, even too suggestively, in my longer Questionnaire. But I have been able to compare experiences about such single words with a fellow-writer, verbally most sensitive, and enormously more musical than myself, although (for reasons which will appear in the chapters on "Makers of Music") belonging to a mixed category of "Hearer-Listener."

II

Besides confirming my own experience of the way in which isolated words may, so to speak, drive home, indeed some times direct, the emotional meaning of music, the same Answerer, who might have been a distinguished composer had she not become a writer, has furnished me with some examples of another way in which words may influence the process of interpretation. Interpretation no longer as a mere making sure of what music makes us feel, but interpretation on the far bigger scale of enabling music to make us see with our mind's eye. For a large part of such interpretation con sists in visual images and, when these become continuous, mental visions. And Bettina's examples of such images or vision accompanying certain music, will, I think, show, if compared with my own similar experience, that they are connected with the presence, sometimes the unnoticed presence, of words or of such information as has been got through words. Here is Bettina's note :

"Pieces which evoke definite representations are: e.g. Wagner's


THE POWER OF WORDS 331

Waldwebenin the Ring, and the Moonlight Sonata, both of which have titles; also minuets and rondos of Haydn and Mozart and a few even of Beethoven's, which bring before my eyes the backwards and forwards of graceful Watteau figures" (But the lacking title is replaced by the knowledge that such dances originated at the time of what she calls "Watteau figures"). Returning to the Moonlight Sonata she then says: "The notes have grown so completely into the title that I find it quite impossible to say whether y without them., the same harmonies, etc., would give me so vivid a picture of a stream gliding under moonlight. Similarly with Wagner* s Waldweben: it gives me a plenitude of enjoyment of nature such as I have felt equally soothing and intoxicating only in a beechwood lightly stirred by the wind. Similarly the charm and peace of the woods in two bars of Schubert's Uber alle Gipfeln."

Let us compare these experiences of Bettina's, where the visual "representations" (and they are the only ones men tioned by her) are evidently due to associated facts (the Watteau dancers of minuets) or to explicit words, with my own experiences. These also are mediated by words. For instance, two sea-scapes which I used to see in my mind's eye when playing over or merely thinking of, respectively a chorus in Gluck's Elena e Paride and Mozart's Idomeneo. In both cases there were words suggesting the scene; in the Gluck opera the chorus accompanied an embarkation; in Idomeneo the chorus actually sang "placido e il mare." More over, in both cases there was a cross-association with Dante's "tremolar della marina" with its visual imagery, and also with a verse to the same effect, but which I cannot (or could not) clearly remember, in Boiardo. Sometimes the visual image may be itself in temporary abeyance, but have rleft some of its charm behind: thus with the (pseudo?) Mozart lullaby "Schlafe mein Prin&hen" a certain graceful Fragonard vision associated therewith may be, as at this present instant, beyond recall, yet have enriched my pleasure in the lovely little theme, which in itself would never have suggested anything visual, the Fragonard imagery being


332 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

obviously due to the words "Prinzchen" "Luna" and the very eighteenth-century reference to the amorous lady's- maid : "JVwr in der %ofe Gemach" etc.

Ill

Speaking of the impression made by single words or by fragments of sentences has brought me to the real heart of the question how words can influence the interpretation of the music as "meaning/ 5 "meaning" not in the sense of musical shape.

It is the business of words to suggest meanings. They can also mediate between items in our mind, between memory, images of various kinds, between things felt and things seen leading from the one to the other in our ordinary trains of thought, and probably even more in states of contemplation like all aesthetic ones. Besides the words whose presence or rather passage we realise, the words which we speak or hear spoken in our mind, there is, at least in individuals whom I myself resemble, a subterranean, an immediately subsoil network of verbalisms, which mark the dumb blind connections of our motor schemata with half unnoticed but intensely acutely felt prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs ; and leading to, bringing to the surface, oases, so to speak, of recognisable visual images. Such processes of verbal mediation are to a great extent unconscious, or more cor rectly speaking, unnoticed, in themselves, because (in aesthetic contemplations as well as in real life) our attention is focussed rather on total effects than on their factors; unnoticed also because we rarely do notice anything unless either self-interest or another person points it out. Whether there are such verbal processes (or something corresponding thereunto) which really are unconscious, i.e. existing only on the physiological plane, is a question for my friend Sir H. Head and his disciples, some of whose discoveries relating to aphasia suggest to me that there may be cerebral


THE POWER OF WORDS 333

processes abutting only now and then in words. However this question may eventually shape itself for physiological psychologists, I think there must be great individual and also momentary differences in the same person, in the degrees and especially the occasions of being conscious of how we do things. Experience of my own modes of literary work, and much that has been written on this point, shows me that a writer is sometimes, or indeed continually, using words automatically in the course of composition, stringing them together, and what is more, selecting them with as little awareness of doing so as when we adjust our bodily movements in some familiar exercise. This being so we may surely suppose that at other moments also we and everyone else may be employing words without knowing it in the fabrication, so to say, of our habitual thoughts, of our meanings; and quite especially of such "meanings" as we attribute to music. Indeed, I cannot help suspecting that what I had queried about under the heading "Or a third person, vague or otherwise, 53 depends in great part at least, upon this unnoticed power of the unspoken word. For our social habit of constant dealings with other human creatures has, I believe, produced a verbal tendency to personification, to thinking in terms of personality where none is involved. This leads to what more self-analytical Answerers, especially more musical ones, would recognise as abstract emotions being camouflaged in visual images, Spiridion's "spirits wandering about in desolate places" and "outcasts who they may be I haven't a clear notion" or being, as we have already seen, referred to the more or less imaginary "Composer." Here again as with visual images, it is a question of what comes in process of describing the (verbally indescribable) music. Only instead of the spoken or written words of conversation or a "Collective Experi ment" we are in presence of the unspoken, unrecognised word with which we help to memorise, to keep hold of our fleeting impressions. Besides, words, spoken or unspoken,


334 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

are themselves the great evocative mediators of emotions and visions : They enlarge., they can also transfigure, subli- mate.f The words "Cosmos/ 3 "Universe," "Microcosm" and "Macrocosm" were who knows? perhaps as potent spells,

as even Wagner's music. N ;

/

IV

It is this unnoticed, subterranean action of words, I believe, which enables music to be interpreted into something more complicated even than the pictures it seems to suggest. 1 Words not officially connected with the music, not existing as libretto or title or programme, but rather given by our selves as names of our own emotional states ; words in their turn evoking visual images, but acting at the same time as connecting links, perhaps as representations of hidden con nective schemata, and thus turning music's merely sensorial and emotional suggestions into a story, an allegory ; turning into something like the following strange characterisation of Beethoven's music :

The Answerer, Selma begins with the usual references to Beethoven's personal character. She feels in him "the inex haustible compassionate lovingness of a proud and aristocratic nature, which does not jit into the world; the compassionate tender ness of a very rich heart endlessly giving itself as a great tree gives its shade to way-worn travellers" All this is what we have heard dozens of times, and the studies of other Answerers, the analysis of how musical suggestion works, makes it easy to understand. Music such as Beethoven's can set up in the "Hearer" (and even in the "Listener") impressions of sad ness, resigned or overwhelming, of pride, rebellion and tenderness, let alone the impression of all varieties of cheer fulness, which are nearly always left out of account.

Also of lavish abundance., in comparison with Mozart's refusal to dwell upon pathetic phrases and the reticent 1 See cases of Emilia, p. 360 and Kctrix, p. 365.


THE POWER OF WORDS 335

suddenness of his endings. All these impressions conveyed by Beethoven's music, impressions which are of course incipient emotions in ourselves, are externalised by Inter pretation and made up, with the aid of congruous bio graphical knowledge, into a "Composer/ 3 of whom we think habitually as just such a person as Selma describes. All this is plain and can be understood without recourse to my hypothesis of the action of unspoken and unsuspected words in mediating between affective impressions really given by music and images of various kinds, especially visual; words, in short, as furnishing the frame-work of the meaning attributed to music. So far, so good. But once we get to this particular Answerer's development of the Beethoven theme, her interpretation of his music is such as to have long baffled my own capacity for interpreting her interpretation. For after her comparison of Beethoven's "very rich heart" with a "great tree which gives its shade to way-worn travel lers," she goes on thus: "There is a Swedish story about the death of a horse, in reading which I exclaimed to myself:' That is Beethoven.' There came into my mind especially the beginning of the C major Sonata and one of the Fidelia overtures. This pursuing and pulsating of fear > pain pursuing the unfortunate animal nearer and nearer, pain catching it by the mane in order to drag it into itself: now pain has caught it! Then the horse goes to bits and its dying eyes look for the first time with consciousness into thejiery ball of the setting sun. Liberation! Liberation! Like the two trumpet blares at the end of the Overture, when the Deliverers approach and the Captives are brought back to the light of the mn"

At the first reading, nay, throughout the process of translating this page into English, it was indeed a case of being baffled, and even of being a trifle horrified. How could Beethoven's music, how could any music suggest this frightful picture of the broken-down horse "pursued by pain"?

After cudgelling my brains for some time, I concluded that what really happened in that Answerer's mind was


33 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

something like this. She is, evidently, of that perhaps deeper and more helpful pitifulness which so far from turning away from that description, as the present writer would have done, is laid hold of by her own horror and pity, fascinated thereby (like the Swedish writer, no doubt) into deeper and deeper realisation of the hideous situation. In fact, she is overwhelmed by pity for the miserable horse whose suffer ings she realises as her own. And it is this overwhelming pity which elicits that at first incomprehensible exclama tion "That is Beethoven!" Beethoven because, as we learned in Selma's introductory remarks, his music gives impressions, emotions, of pitifulness, generosity and helpfulness (the "great tree giving its shade to the way-worn travellers") beyond that of any other music. But not only that : great ness, depth, lavishness : the more and always more as well as the intensity and soul-shaking quality of his music. Beethoven must feel, as she does, that overwhelming pity. But why does she not stop at that point? Why does she proceed to paraphrase the horrible description of the dying horse "pursued by pain 55 ? What has that to do with Beet hoven? This much: she has in her mind passages of Beethoven which do suggest pulsating pursuit, and pursuit not indeed by pain (I doubt whether any music could do that) but by impending . . . well ! impending tremendous something! And then because Beethoven's music expresses very frequently a sudden heavenly peace following on such tragic turmoil and pursuit : a liberation ! Liberation ! that is the word which holds together the whole second part of this extraordinary description, when "the horse goes to bits and its dying eyes look for the first time with consciousness into the fiery ball of the setting sun" And now the word does not remain un spoken : it is written, almost shouted as Selma writes it, not once but twice : "Liberation ! Liberation !" And the libera tion is her own liberation, by the death of the horse, from the intolerable depths of pity into which those descriptions had sucked her horror-fascinated soul. Nor does the matter end


THE POWER OF WORDS 337

there : for "then the horse goes to bits and its dying eyes look for the first time with consciousness into the fiery ball of the setting sun" One's first thought is that she has now left Beethoven's music far behind and is merely paraphrasing the Swedish story. This is not the case. For her cry "Liberation! Libera tion!" is immediately followed by the words "like the two trumpet blares at the end of the overture, when the Deliverers ap proach and the Captives are brought back to the light of the sun."

Now Fidelio, the drama Fidelio, of which this is the over ture, does deal with the agonising pursuit of the virtuous couple by the blood-curdling dangers of the prison ; it ends with the triumphant release of the prisoners ; and one of the most moving points of the drama is where the other prisoners are given their airing and salute the rays of that briefly seen sun. We therefore get : overwhelming pity attri buted to Beethoven (partly from the emotions awakened by his particular music, partly no doubt from vague recollec tions of things Beethoven said) and partly inspired in this Answerer by the story of the horse : "pursuit by pain," analogous to musical passages expressive of something like hurry, fear, a beating heart, corresponding to the agonised pursuit by dangers besetting the personages of Beethoven's opera, and no doubt something in the Answerer's own breast sympathetically produced. Liberation ! : that of the unhappy horse by death, of the Fidelio prisoners and, by no means least, of the Answerer herself released by the horse's death from her intolerable pity for its agonies. Sun- splendour: the setting sun in the story, the sun saluted in the Prisoners' chorus, and the "blare of trumpets" which is the auditory equivalent of the "sun's fiery ball." All this welded together, transfigured by the glory of the sunset and the glory of Beethoven's music, which between them wipe out the unendurable thoughts of the horse's sufferings, or turn those sufferings (as happens also in so much religious consolation) merely into a necessary but immediately for gotten preparation for compensating glory.


S3 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Such is my explanation in the style of the Golden Bough, of what seems at first sight an unintelligible juxtaposition or fusion, a "complex" of incongruous ideas. Unlike other (ethnological or psycho-analytic) expounders of such com plexes, I do not pretend that I have described the real working of this Answerer's mind. The connections, the starting points may have escaped my scrutiny, been hope lessly hidden, different from those given in my attempted explanation. Only two things are, I think, certain : Selma's "Fantasia on the character of Beethoven with introduction of the theme of the Dying Horse" is largely dependent on verbal ideas; and it is carried upon a fluctuating * sequence of emotions and emotional memories due to the music.


V '

There is one more fallacious result of our often unsuspected, always under-estimated, slavery to words.

As we are perpetually using words spoken or unspoken till they have become a kind of vital circulating fluid in which our thoughts are always steeping; and since words are evidently used to convey a meaning to others, we naturally take for granted that whatever else appeals to our soul is also being employed to bear us a message. Not only impressive natural phenomena, thunder, the rainbow and whirlwind, were among Jove's or Jehovah's messengers. Nowadays that we no longer expect communications from the Powers Above, everything which stirs our feelings or awakens our curiosity, everything beautiful, delightful, or terrible, or merely large and unintelligible like the fall of nations and the vicissitudes of civilisation, must have a message, must be wanting to tell us something beyond the fact that they are just what they are ; wanting to impart a meaning, even if we never really understand it, and impart it, of course, to us. Thus because there happen to exist things which really have a meaning, really bear a message,


THE POWER OF WORDS 339

indeed, would otherwise never have come to exist at all, because words would be worthless and void but for what they convey, other things which exist, and are quite inter esting or impressive enough in themselves, are also sus pected of an intention to tell us something not about them selves, but rather about us: whence the "meaning," the "message" of Music.


CHAPTER VIII INTERPRETATION BY EQUIVALENCE

I

THE POWER of words can explain a good deal, among other things the creation of what I have ventured to label the "Imaginary Composer." But that Power of Words itself requires explaining. So, let us ask ourselves what words are and what they do.

Words are means of transfer and connection. They are a medium of exchange, legal tender, because they stand for something else. The something else, as such of us know who notice what our own thoughts are made of, consists to a greater or lesser extent, of visual images, however brief, blurred, sketchy, or reduced to merest diagrams. And visual images, as we shall study later on, when they are more than mere unnoticed items in the "allied thoughts" accompanying music, can grow into mental visions, mental moving-pictures, evoked by the music which in some cases they can even replace, crowd out of the attention, so that the "Hearer 53 (Emilia) wakes up to the fact of having missed some of the music.

That is plain sailing, but besides visual images, words stand for something far less easy to notice and horribly difficult to describe; indeed, as we have found in dealing with "Ancestors of Emotion" almost impossible to speak about at all, perhaps because words rarely exist save in company with distinctly noticed visual and verbal items : indeed, I always hesitate what to call them, though their technical names are several: motor images, kinaesthetic images, motor schemata.

Their presence is, we have seen, all-important in explain ing the expressive character of music ; they set up emotions


INTERPRETATION BY EQUIVALENCE 341

because they enter into all emotion. But they also translate themselves either into visual images or into words: and their presence is revealed in the metaphors by which music is described. Particularly, of course, in metaphors which do not necessarily contain visual images, but are couched in verbs and adverbs of movement as such. We can study this best in the answers of "C. A. T." where I have been struck by the recurrent metaphors referring to the experience of a rider, swimmer and diver, also of sailing.

Comparing my own experience, I find myself perpetually speaking of familiar music, and even thinking of it at the time of playing as well as hearing it, in terms of motions which in my case is not (as with "C, A. T. 55 ) so much my own (rushing swiftly, lagging, etc.) as motion objectified (felt into) things, with consequent indistinct visions thereof; for instance, some of Beethoven's first movements in quar tets suggest the movement of wind in the sails of ships, the breasting of waves, the run of breakers, the rush forward of the Victory of Samothrace ; and this objectifying in seen things I explain by my lack of experience of games and consequently of just what gave "C. A. T." such a pre ponderant habit of direct unvisualised images of rapid and complex emotion. What direct motor images music stirs up in me are more obviously connected with the music itself: e.g. with possible singing of passages written for instruments ; the motion implied in wide intervals, also taking or letting out the breath, sometimes producing a sort of bodily vocal pleasure.

And this leads to the remark that such, usually not verbally expressed, motor memories or (if you prefer) imaginations, account in my opinion for a great part of our pleasure in melody.

I take this opportunity of repeating that such specific pleasure in various motor adjustments is, though theoreti cally overlooked, practically taken for granted in every bodily exercise, even such comparatively passive exercise as


342 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

being whirled along in a car. Moreover, which is more to my present point, that they leave behind them schemata, memory-images fraught with enormous pleasure. And, if I may judge by myself, their being thus pleasurable is a pre sumable reason for their being stored in memory and frequently, therefore, easily, revived, whenever art or literature, and especially music, calls them up. For the movement-schemata associated with displeasure, e.g. of the rolling and pitching of ships or of mountain giddiness, are probably discouraged just because they are unpleasant, and cannot therefore be readily revived apart from their appro priate objective causes, although their latent existence is shown by the sense of (hideous !) recognition produced by the premonitory symptoms of sea-sickness or the anguish of high places. It is this lack of familiarity due to avoidance, this shadowy, imperfectly realised quality of unpleasant motor and sensorial images, which accounts for their entering so little into art and virtually not at all into music. We do not want them and have done nothing to facilitate their return. And it is the same reason, reversed, which accounts for the pleasant motor images (schemata] (those giving attractiveness to merely witnessed or described games) entering so largely into art, and especially music, as to constitute, so to speak, its psychological skeleton. Indeed, in the same way as the sensorial images of pleasant texture, or even of smell, taste and temperature so do these motor- schemata become integrated with our visual perceptions, and they may become an imaginative, nay, a bodily response to the pictorial representation of motion (from Pollaiolo's Wrestlers 1 - to Degas's Jockeys) occasionally overshadowing those other and more disembodied motion-schemata which account for our sense of the abstract movement of lines.

As regards music, such agreeable motion-schemata (or schemata of agreeable motion !) are thus closely integrated into the auditory perceptions of musical relations as interval 1 Cf, B, Berenson's Tuscan Painters.


INTERPRETATION BY EQUIVALENCE 343

and tonality, because musical pattern is something really moving and calling forth a literal act of following, so that they usually become indistinguishable from the totality of a musical pattern, and are often revealed only in the equiva lents and metaphors, laid hold of by verbal description Thence "C. A. T.'s" allusions to riding, driving, sailing, swimming and all her other familiar bodily exercises.

It would however be a mistake, and one fruitful of further error, to imagine that in this and similar interpretations of musical impressions we were dealing merely with transla tion of the less into the more familiar. The mind turns to the easy, but even more to the desirable. These translations of musical impressions into terms of bodily exercises, are, like other people's visual imagery (e.g. Abt Vogler's "meteor suns/ 3 "balls of blaze" and his lit-up cupola) the sign of the most cherished and most desired states usually produced in the particular individual by what is not music, and which the power of music releases and gives back to life. Music has evidently this power of evoking, of resuscitating whatever the individual experience deals in most plentifully because it prefers it. In many persons there are affective conditions, human passions and personal or dramatic reminiscences, as we have seen in the sections on affective phenomena. In other persons, like "C. A. T." that which is nearer akin perhaps to the central experience of music as pattern, are these schemata of the plenitude of motion as given by familiar bodily exercises. And, returning to the example of Browning (of all our poets the one most interested in music as such) we come to visual equivalences, perceived perhaps through the mediation of such motor impressions. I have thus fore stalled what may possibly be an erroneous notion due to my own limited experience, namely that the visual imagery, nay, the visions, which music can produce in some "Hearers" either as integral accompaniment or as mere divagations are mediated either directly by motion-schemata or at second hand by words which stand for them, instead of being the


344 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

direct outcome of musical impressions in minds presumably

rich in visual images.

Trying to understand how the latter process, viz.^ the direct, the unmediated, interpretations of music into visual images could conceivably come about, I at present see two (only two) possible hypotheses. First, that of ordinary association in time, such as connects the various sensorial or affective or whatsoever other items belonging to different fields, which happen to have impressed us simultaneously. Thus I remember how in my adolescence I at one time connected one of Schubert's Moments Musicaux with the Crusade against the Albigenses, because I was reading about the latter while someone next door was playing the former: this is a case of mere juxtaposition in time, although even here I perceive a motor equivalence, acting at least selectively for something prancing and trumpeting in this music was not unsuitable to the idea of knights riding forth and I doubt whether I should have connected with that Albigensian war the first page of the Moonlight Sonata had it been played during my reading : the connection would have lapsed ; and I suspect that a similar element of congruity might be discovered in a good many associations which appear mere accidental simultaneous ones. Similarly with the curious vision of a Roman church which arose in my mind while listening to some Palestrina-ish music at Leip zig: 1 a Roman basilica may have some intrinsic congruity (though I fail to recognise it) with the particular style of

  • My experience at the Bach Festival, 1904: "The afternoon in the Thomas-

Kirche (Leipzig) was better, although the hideousness of the church, the unreli- gious bearing of the people, etc., irritated and prejudiced me. But I was vividly impressed and attentive. Shutting my eyes, I found quite spontaneously I had a vision of being in a Roman church, I think S. Paolo Fuori: shimmering marbles, and a great gold and silver priest 9 s cope moving rhythmically before me. It was the Palestrina-ish chorus by Hassler which took me completely, and, I think, produced this vision. That wave-like sea of voices, in which parts ebbed up and down, seemed to surround me, to BE me, to be such a great and important part of my past; i.e. childish and adolescent recollections of Sixtine Chapel performances. The complementary vision of the Roman church satisfied and held me."


INTERPRETATION BY EQUIVALENCE 345

Palestrina and his school. What Is certain in this case is that my earliest and most frequently repeated impressions both of that kind of church and that kind of music were got simultaneously during my childhood in Rome. However, the Reader can find in his or her own experience quite enough examples of the same kind, so I need not go on about such associations by simultaneity.

II

Passing on to the other kind of associations, those by simi larity, it is as well to say, though it sounds obvious, that all association implies something which does the associating, i.e. something in common. In the examples just quoted, the common element is easily found : it is the moment in time, for the two orders of impression were received together. Association by similarity is a less easy matter, for what constitutes similarity? It may be so complete as to constitute what some philosophers (I think mistakenly) call identity; or it may be almost microscopically partial. In this matter of association between musical effects and visual images, the element in common may indeed be small and therefore difficult to discern, and the more difficult that it resides not in objective and measurable qualities, but in the most uncharted of all Nature's realms, the individual mind, wherein a similar or at least an equivalent effect is pro duced. We have all read about scarlet and the trumpet, sometimes with the additional anecdotic interest of the resemblance having been proclaimed by a congenially blind man immediately after being operated upon. And in the example referred to of Beethoven and the Dying Horse we have seen precisely the same association: sunset- splendour and the trumpets of Fidelia. The well-established but no means properly studied fact of what is called in French audition coloree shows that some individuals do associate colour with musical sound; though the associa-


346 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

tion, besides not being the same for different individuals, is rarely described so as to know for certain whether the colour is seen in the mind's eye or merely thought of ver bally. The latter would bring us back, of course, to the mediating function of words. But, apart from this psycho logical idiosyncrasy, we all recognise warm and cold colours, for which I am told there are medical theories connecting them with different states of our circulation. 1 Be the reason what it may, there is evident consensus as to which class of colours are warm and which are cold. And the hot or cold can only be a reference to our own sensa tions ; a hot colour, like a hot anything, is what makes us feel hot, or warm or thereabouts, and vice versa, a cool colour is what cools, refreshes, or chills us. I have purposely brought in the word refreshes, because I imagine that such thermic equivalence may be complicated with an equi valence of affective conditions : the greeny blue of a wall will always be a cold colour, but, according as we ourselves are already hot or cold, it may be described as "refreshing 53 or "chilling to the bone. 59 I have gone into this detail be cause I think that certain otherwise unaccountable associa tions between music and visual images, to the extent, as we shall see, of the one evoking the other, may be explicable by such sensorial equivalences more or less complicated by affective ones, along with which latter we ought to class other "bodily" reactions of ours which happen to be the same to auditory and to colour sensations, e.g. soothing, shattering, blinding, and so forth. Whence we get to juxta position and combinations : colours can not only draw out each other's pleasantness, they can multiply it by consti tuting a harmony, i.e. something which affects our visual faculties like a harmony in music, or vice versa ; and which, in both fields of perception may, according to the individual

1 While other hypotheses explain them as themselves due to association, sun, fire., being red or yellow; ice, water, air, blue or green. This has been studied by Professor Bullough of Cambridge.


SENSORIAL EQUIVALENCES 347

percipient, be accompanied by a feeling Le. a faint emo tionof either "natural/ 5 "wholesome" and "delightful" ; or "insipid/ 5 "banal/ 5 "boring. 5 * In the case of discordant colour and tone juxtapositions and "passages/ 3 they may affect individuals as either hideous, exasperating, shattering, or as attractively piquant and (in the "Dionysiac 55 sense) exciting, nay intoxicating. I think it is sensorial equivalences, with such affective accompaniments as these, which are at the bottom of one of Pictrix's pronouncements (see p. 365), "With Beethoven it is purple and blue and grey; and Brahms is black. Ravel, silver and gold and lemon and light speckles, like a Sisley or a Sidaner or Pissarro" Indeed it seems probable that what predominates in this equivalence is less the actual sensorial equivalence than the affective accompaniment: for she adds : "/ hear the colour more than I see it" ; and the association of a very modern music like RavePs with both Pissarro and Le Sidaner, suggests that the common charac teristic may be less in the tone and the colour in themselves than in the modernity.

I ought to have added to the sensorial equivalence, though more fraught with imaginative complication, those of heavy or light connected with deep or high notes, and with notes of greater volume and perhaps richness in over tones : we cannot well imagine (even the soprano-enslaved eighteenth century could not!) a High Priest, a Wise Zarastro or an Oracle singing the fa in altissimo. And Mr. D. H. Lawrence's ubiquitous adjective "dark" often com bined with a suggestion ofmaleness and cruelty could scarcely be applied to an anthem sung by choir boys.

Passing on to equivalences in which the affective element is greater than the merely sensorial, there is equivalence due, it seems,, in what I can only call overfoweringness in both the auditory and the visual field. By which I mean that what we hear or see exceeds our normal power and endurance of perception, quite apart even from actual volume of sound which tends to deafen. Such disproportion


348 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

between the thing heard or seen and the capacity of the beholder or listener produces what our fathers called the "sublime" as opposed to the "beautiful." The multitudin- ousness of Bach's uninterrupted outpourings, with never a comma to take breath on, forces some of us to much the same reverential acquiescence as the sight of the uncountable starry heavens ; and it seems to me that his (so frequently insisted upon) "cosmic 53 (not Christian-religious) quality may be due, besides those endless notes and inexhaustible modulations, to certain sudden changes of tonality, which affect some of us as an unexpected enlargement of visible space, as when the moon shouldering through clouds, reveals ever so much depth of sky beyond.

And here I am making interpretations like my Answerers ; with the difference that the visual description has not, in my case, accompanied the hearing of Bach's music but come afterwards, and with generalised recollected impres sions rather than distinct memory of this or that passage ; the visual equivalence, when it has flashed across my mind at the time of listening, being nearly always swept away while still rudimentary by the act of listening itself, to develop (or not) later perhaps when the actual musical impression has ceased. Which piece of self-observation ought to lead, if it had not a better place after the case of Pictrix has been dealt with, to the query: when, at what moment, do the Answerers who claim to recognise a "mean ing" or "message," do this recognising? Is it while the music is going on, or after it has stopped? That may give the most accurate distinction between "Hearers" and "Listeners." 1 For since music (with all due respect!) is long, often far too long for average sustained attention;

1 For instance, I claim to be a "Listener," not because I have no irrelevant thoughts, but because music never suggests allied ones ("mean ings") except occasionally when it is over. I can think of only three exceptions : the Roman basilica described above, the Schubert-War of the Albigenses, and a brief vision of the interior of St. Mark's while listening to Bach's Magnificat (the word probably helping to mediate).


INTERPRETATION BY EQUIVALENCE 349

while thought, especially visual thought (judging by myself) though often very distinct, is in extremely rapid flashes. So that there ought to be plenty of time to return to the music, the "just music," after the sudden recognition: "This is like so and so." Unless, indeed, the bare possibility of recog nising such meanings implies a willingness to continue thinking about them, a possibility of leaving the music behind or turning it into a mere "accompaniment," as Donna Teodora has described herself as doing.


CHAPTER IX

SUGGESTION BY MOVEMENT

FRAU MARIA AND BELLA

I

IN MY catalogue of those "associations" by equivalences, which are at the bottom of Interpretation when it is not verbal and perhaps even when it is, there seems an impor tant omission. Namely, an omission of the direct equivalence between music and motion, which is more important than all the others and very likely conditions them, since motion and its modes seem to pervade all that we call thought. This indeed is why I have almost left it out when enumer ating such equivalences as those in temperature, colour, etc. : for the equivalences with motion underlie all aesthetic phenomena and most obviously the phenomena of music. In the Chapter "Ancestors of Emotion" we have seen that music's suggestion of human emotions and moods is expli cable by its embodying the essentials of those gestures, attitudes and movements, whereby such human moods and emotions are expressed by ourselves and by others. Passing beyond, or rather beneath such "human expressiveness" we have found that musical pattern is aesthetically attractive because the musical intervals and tonal relations which (combined with accent and rhythm) go to constitute that pattern, embody the far more abstract motion-schemata, the ups and downs, the yieldings and resistances, the expan sions and contractions, the ease and the effort, the varying outputs of our energy which are felt as the modes of all our conscious activities. Both of which cognate, but by no means identical, orders of facts, result in the equivalences between music and motion not remaining sufficiently iso lated to determine the kind of interpretation (occasional,


SUGGESTION BY MOVEMENT 351

sporadic) we have been dealing with. These single motion- schemata are swallowed up in wholesale emotional sugges tion, and, more permanently, are lost sight of in the interest of mere musical pattern, the "notes and all their relations," in fact "the music itself." Such are the underlying, the hidden, and to most of my Readers, no doubt, the un believable, connections between music and movement.

But there are connections nearer the surface and which we all know : first, that music is movement, that its execution implies movements (to some persons perhaps the mere recollection of music also implies silent muscular adjust ment) ; and secondly, that music has the power of setting up movements in us, of making us march and dance, move our limbs in imitation of its movements. Now it is this not at all mysterious, not at all underground or "unconscious," connection between what music seems to be doing and what it can make us do, it is music's power (or that of music's elements, rhythm and pace) to make us march and dance and bow and stand at attention, which accounts, I suspect, for some of its interpretations into visual impressions. In this case, the medium of exchange between the metaphors, the images, nay the visions, is not, or need not be, the word ; it may be the direct impulse to march or dance, or merely to mark the rhythm with our hand and foot.

II

Something of this sort must account for the very curious phenomena recorded by a quite exceptionally circumstantial Answerer, whom I shall call Frau Maria.

Frau Maria is a well-known Swiss novelist and art-critic, whom I trained to self-observation when I was myself working at visual aesthetics; and this is how she begins: "Listening to a piece of pure music y without title or program- suggestion, namely a symphony by Glazonow^ I had the inner vision of an unknown landscape^ a wild northern bay" (The northern


352 MUSIC AND ITS CLOVERS

name of the composer may have served to suggest the northernness of this landscape ; and so far such a mental picture is merely of the kind described by several "Hearers" and with which our Collective Experiments, when we come to them, will make us very familiar.) But now comes some thing different and more complicated: "Against this back ground and as upon a stage, moving to the music, I beheld the strangest apparitions, kaleidoscopically, in strong and alternating motion both on the ground, in the water and in the air; it made me think of Piero di Cosimo's Perseus (in the Uffizi) : crowds of people dressed in red, also white horses, but also terrifying mytho logical beasts, things out of a fairy-story, in the air." And then the landscape itself began to move: "/ saw waves, storm- tossed trees, and, all of a sudden, a huge, threatening mountain appeared in the background. All these sights gave vivid colour- sensations with changing contrasts between glowing colours and dull greys" During the same concert there followed Schubert's C major Symphony, whereupon the (imagined) landscape was instantly transformed : she saw "a wide sunny plain with dim horizon, against which, in similar fashion, all manner of things appeared and disappeared. The colour-impressions were now even stronger, and belonged to the highest part of the colour-scale (e.g. Veronese's). I remember especially a vivid Alpengliihen (after-glow). The melodies have escaped my memory, but the pictures have re mained" On another occasion, during the Overture to Meyerbeer's Huguenots she had "a perfectly clear impression of a dull and ugly architectural ornament, consisting largely of regularly recurring, disagreeably obvious verticals" Another time, listen ing to Richard Strauss* sixteen-part hymn, she had "the lively impression of being in a tremendous, a madly, Gothic cathe dral, 1 whose architecture was in constant movement as if all the carrying members, pillars, etc., and all the statuettes were perpetually

1 Frau Maria has often expressed her distaste for the extremely pointed and florid German Gothic with which she is familiar. In a letter she mentions that after a course of such (not romanesque) cathedrals she wanted to be "smoothed out" by Mozartian music.


FRAU MARIA 353

changing shape. Despite all this the total impression it gave was not at all disquieting" For further elucidation Frau Maria resorts to diagrams : "/ can represent the whole process (i.e. of her visions during music) as follows: Suppose the main line of this design (of a tendril vine) to be the music, then the ivy leaves would be the images growing out of it; and the zigzag line beneath and separate would be the accompanying thoughts. Or, better still: Sup pose a palmette pattern; the fronds would be the images growing out of the music, the zigzags underneath would be the accompanying thoughts. It depends upon the kind of music and also on my disposi tion at the moment and my enjoyment whether the wavy line repre senting the music is fully or only partially realised. Also whether the associations (i.e. images) represented by the palmette fronds are of a corresponding and pleasing kind, or more or less sporadic and unsuitable. Moreover, whether the allied thoughts which do not originate in the music (i.e. irrelevancies) remain outside the con scious pattern or interrupt it"

The above details make it obvious that these "images" or rather "visions," do not arise in lapses of musical attention. And Frau Maria, whose self-observation is as careful as it is detailed, expressedly differentiates them in her diagrams from the irrelevant thoughts, "Nebengedanken" represented diagrammatically by zigzags which, "in unfavourable cases" may collide with, and reduce to nonsense the unified pattern representing the music and "the images growing out of it." But these visual images not only grow out of the music : they move and alter and continue to form a whole with it ; their presence is part of its enjoyment, they strengthen, deepen it by their addition. They engrave themselves in memory along with the music, and with its emotional effect; and, what is more, it may happen that the recollection of these visible illustrations arises before that of the music itself.

"Thus when I think of Beethoven's Qtfi Symphony, I first see a dark and moving mass of waters and little white waves springing out of it, and only then (i.e. after seeing in memory) do I hear (in memory) the first bars with their full orchestral depth and timbre"


354 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

So far, therefore, from constituting lapses or divagations, Frau Maria's visions seem to be integrated with the music as completely as are the words of a familiar song. It is a case of integration like that of memory-images belonging to what Semon calls different sensorial fields, as when we hear the voice and see the face of a remembered person. Only that, like the music which gives rise to them, these visions are without prototypes in reality : Frau Maria is inventing the landscape which she sees almost as Beethoven invented the opening bars of the gth Symphony.

Ill

It is evident that such visions or moving pictures sometimes accompanying Frau Maria's hearing of music are by no means unlike what we most of us experience while dreaming. To explain them by this resemblance would be convenient but futile, for despite (indeed, on account of!) the enormous attention recently bestowed upon dreams, we seem to know nothing about their real proximate modes of arising, since study has concentrated on the subject of the dream, entirely neglecting the dream's modus operand^ i.e. the manner of its presentation, as distinguished from what the dreamer described it as "being about. 39 Indeed, in this case as in many others, I suspect that the study of aesthetic phenomena could help, rather than be helped by, the study of other psychological fields, for the simple reason that aesthetic phenomena, isolated as they are (on their "higher plane") from the behaviouristic instincts, ideas and activities of ordinary life, are already to some degree objects of con templation, artificially simplified and slowed down by artistic methods ; in fact, almost ready for observation and even for experiment. So in suggesting some slight (and quite insufficient) explanation of the visions evoked in Frau Maria and others while they are hearing music, I believe I may be contributing something to the theory of how instead of why


SUGGESTION BY MOVEMENT 355

(which I leave to Freudians) our dreams arise. That is to say by what associated processes we can suppose their con stituent images to be started and connected. In fact, return ing to what I wrote about the action of words unnoticed words and unnoticed action as setting up affective and visual equivalences, whatever process of mediation, of exchange, of equivalents, may be underlying some of Frau Maria's "visions, 35 as it may be the explanation of some of the answers of my collective experiments, Selma's "Dying Horse" and "Beethoven's Head" association, I do not think the "Power of Words 53 is a sufficient explanation. Still less, of course, such direct association of real events as accounts for my vision of a Roman Basilica during that Palestrina-ish motet in the Thomas-Kirche of Leipzig. There are, I have tried to show, other modes of association, or as I have called them, mediums of exchange. Chief among these is the equivalence of the particular degree of either. Is not the explanation of that "tiresome," "obvious," architectural ornament which arose in Frau Maria's inner eye to be found, partly at least, in the music of Meyerbeer appealing to her and her generation as "obvious," "mechanical" and "tiresome"?

And this leads us to another kind of equivalent reaction which probably mediates between musical impressions and the images and visions they can elicit in certain "Hearers." Namely, the direct equivalence, or rather the absolute resemblance, of the muscular (motor) innervations set up by certain musical rhythms and musical patterns, i.e. patterns of intervals and accents, and the motor innerva tions accompanying visual representations of movement, and even (if my visual aesthetics are correct) accompanying the active perception of visible shapes 1 independent of whether or not they "represent" movements. Now Frau Maria is preeminently a motorisch type. She tells us that while, as a child, she could not help dancing to every kind 1 Cf. Beauty and Ugliness^ by Vernon Lee and C. Anstruther Thomson.


35 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

of music, she even now feels her muscles put into some sort of sympathetic excitement impelling her to hand-and-foot movement, 1 and in a later set of answers she mentions "dancing all music mentally." Moreover, her "visions" are always of moving things, indeed cinematographic. That such a reactive equivalence is at the bottom of such visions on the part of Frau Maria is borne out by the case of another "Hearer," who is even more motorisch but a good deal less aesthetic. This Answerer, Bella, tells us that though un musical she is never without a haunting tune ("all wheels and machinery have one") which she feels "even in my toes and in my jaws; I chew it when eating And she describes how, during a certain quartet she had a vision of "a fat old cook chopping and pounding and stirring and Jlying from one dish to another . . . the whole kitchen was there" Now Bella insists that during music she never has irrelevant thoughts : her vision of the bustling cook and Frau Maria's vision of the Piero di Cosimo phan tasmagoria, do not, in these Answerers' opinions prevent their hearing the music ; on the contrary, they accompany it. In Bella's case the admission about her feeling haunting melodies "with my toes and jaws," makes it evident that there is some motion in the music which, setting up mus cular reactions of the "chopping, pounding and stirring" order evoke, the vision of the cook doing just these things in her kitchen. In other words, Bella is miming the rhythm, accents, gestures (ascending and descending wide or narrow intervals) of the music. And this I presume to be the case also with Frau Maria, who dances "all music mentally."

Both these Answerers, thus asserting that they always follow the music, are following it not auditorily (with the "ear") but more or less automatically with their own inaudible muscular movements.

That tunes have a way of thus performing themselves

1 Cf. Such a case in Baerwald's Psychologie der Vorstellungstypen Motor- ischen mid Musickalischen Anlage, Gesellschaft fur Psychologisch Forschung, Heft 18-20, IV Sammlung, Leipzig, Earth, 1916.


SUGGESTION BY MOVEMENT 357

automatically, seems proved by my own frequently verified experience of discovering such an inner performance of a tune going on, 1 without any awareness of when it began. Now this tune thus silently performing itself "in my mind/' whatever mind may be, and which I seem to hear though without any sound-quality or harmonies, this phrase of melody is nearly always repetitive, the same bars over and over again. If this happens with Bella and Frau Maria, it seems conceivable either that they listen to a real musical performance going on outside them while occasionally catching hold of the rhythm of one or two phrases of their inner performance, which goes on repeating itself while the objective music is doing something else. Or, far more prob ably (since I am not sure that different rhythms, iniier and outer, can be perceived at the same moment) these extremely mimetic or motorisch individuals may automatically extract from the objective performance the elements they can easily mimic (with their toes or jaws, as Bella puts it) muscularly, viz. the rhythm, tempo and certain accentuated intervals, so that such a motorisch skeleton may become the starting- point or unifying principle of a "vision" containing similar elements. With the more developed, indeed, habitually ex ploited visions of Pictrix (which we are coming to), that Answerer admits that once she sees her picture or begins to draw what the music "represents," she stops listening. And Emilia also tells us that she becomes so engrossed in her visions that she sometimes forgets all about the music which has started them. In short, I might suggest that intensely mimetic individuals, like Maria and Bella, are in reality following both the music which is going on outside and the

  • I do not mean to suggest that if I become aware of a tune at, say,

bar 10, the previous bars have been performing themselves without my knowing it. On the contrary, what I discover going on is often a frag ment (like a quotation) the previous part of which I may be unable to recall. What I mean is that there is a sudden awareness of that par ticular fragment "going on/' with an added notion that it has perhaps been going on unbeknownst, or unnoticed for a little while before.


358 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

motor processes which that music has set up in themselves and which, in virtue of equivalences of rhythm, pace and gesture, have evoked visual images and even visible per formances. All of which rests on my assumption, which I commend to the Reader's verification, that the motorisch or muscular following and miming of music is automatic, i.e. unconscious, though abutting, like other "unconscious," i.e. merely physiological, activities, in conscious associations of images and emotions. This mere inner mimicry of rhythm might even produce massive conditions of feeling, of the "Cecilian" or Aztec Drums kind, even without the addition of sonority and clang, and that sound Ambience which is perhaps indispensable for "Dionysiac" intoxication or nar cotisation. 1

Should this explanation of the genesis of such visions turn out correct (and I think it must be in Bella's case), it would lead to the suspicion that Frau Maria is not really listening as thoroughly as she imagines when miming the rhythm, and the conspicuous entries of certain themes, the gesture and gait of certain phrases. In other words, it seems doubtful whether during those visions, which are by no means con stant occurrences, she is really perceiving the full relation ship of the notes, the interval-and-harmony sequences and their interplay of such expectation and fulfilment as goes on in the absorbed musician and which some of the rest of us, like myself, occasionally feel to be happening whenever we are listening absorbedly,

1 Such intoxication can apparently be produced without sound effects if I understand the case of the whirling dervishes.


CHAPTER X INTERPRETATION BY "AS IF ... ."

I

THESE EQUIVALENCES, these means of exchange between the impressions produced directly by music, including its human-emotional suggestions, and the images (often them selves suggested by words) from other fields of perception, especially the visual one, are often referred to as a vague combination called the "meaning" the "message" of which "Hearers" are aware, but which, as so many have assured us, cannot usually be translated into words. When one of the elements of this fluctuating mass becomes predominant and this is the case especially with visual images and with schemata of movements we get something of the nature of a metaphor, or even of a set comparison. Such figurative language, where the seen thing (or the movement) is quite subordinate and fleeting compared with the musical im pression, sometimes reveals itself by the convenient use of words like as if. For instance : in this description by Isabella, speaking of the Waldstein finale : "You feel as if awaking again to vigour and blue skies. The sky seems very blue and you almost float along with joy." The as if and the almost show that this is not a description of anything seen in the mind's eye or happening in imagination : it is an account of what Isabella feels when she listens to that music, the rest is so much illustration to make you and perhaps herself understand.

But the words "as if" are sometimes left out. They may be left out entirely even in the mind of the Answerer, and then the picture only remains. The metaphorical process can turn into allegory and result in a vision : a something seen in the mind's eye with the affective elements whence it


360 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

proceeded sunk to a secondary character, and the visual images may be so distinct in spatial arrangement, mass, line and colour that they can be transferred on to canvas or into a sketch book. The sketch book is coming into use when we deal with Pictrix and her "pictures suggested by music. 53

In the case of Emilia, whose work is of the dimension of mural decoration, the "kind of vision," the "evoked image" had to be carried home in the mind and only occasionally copied into an already objectively existing work; at least she tells us she has "painted a picture from such an evoked image" The "kind of vision," like her own objectively existing works, which were allegories somewhat in the style of G. F. Watts, is "always figures." A symphony "produces vast processions great spaces with different heights one looks into, movements of crowds in different heights, possibly single figures"

About all this Emilia tells us that "music she cares for always translates itself into visual images" At a concert she sometimes watches for what may come. She has painted a picture from such an evoked image. Then she forgets the music. She hears it "as progressive sounds, then it seems to open out into a kind of vision" and, emphasising the information that then she forgets the music, she adds "sometimes I scarcely hear the music for absorption in such things; but if it stopped, the whole thing would end" Evidently the "progressive sounds" though not listened to, are perceived in an unfocussed manner, and while she is concentrated on her visions, it is the only half-perceived "progressive sounds" which, like a harmonic accompaniment (remember Donna Teodora's "music as an accompaniment") keeps "opening out into a kind of vision"

Emilia besides being a decidedly talented painter, has also remarkable gifts of poetical expression ; and I shall quote from some of her schedules during a Collective Experi ment to show what sort of emotions and images music stirs in her mind, and what verbal allegories may be the equi valent of the visual representation which music evokes to


INTERPRETATION BY "AS IF . . ." 361

the extent of making her forget it. But I must forestall what the Reader will realise when we come to the Collective Experiments themselves, viz. that the nature of such experi mentation while music is actually going on, is to force the Answerer to a degree of introspection and especially of either verbal or visual translation which does not answer (save in quality as distinguished from amount) to what takes place in natural and unbiassed listening. Thus, speak ing of the Waldstein, Emilia writes : "Relief after some soul- tragedy; but it is a sort of sad relief because the remembrance of the spiritual earthquake has altered life." And again : "Beethoven does not call up to me visions of Night Or such. But he calls up the things of which Night or such (sic) are the symbols. HE WALKS AMONG THE DEEP INVISIBLES." I have written this in capitals because it is in itself a visible symbol and a magnificent one, suggesting to me as I read it some frescoed figure of the Creator walking in His garden, such as Emilia would like to paint, but only Michelangelo or a Primitive (am I thinking of Paolo Uccello?) could paint.

I may add that Emilia remarks significantly: "The pleasure in listening to the sounds musically is also so great that (it) also distracts" In other words, the music, actually going on, and followed, is distracting from well! Emilia's divaga tions !

II

In a previous chapter I stated that I myself do not have "allied thoughts," only dreadfully irrelevant ones, while music is actually going on. The following note (May 23, 1928) shows the nature of the "allied" thoughts which may come to me when remembering, i.e. thinking of music.

"Still under the purely musical impression of that Beet hoven quartet, Op. 131, I had been strumming to myself. Thence my thoughts went to the opening of the gth Sym phony. That is Ambience with a vengeance ! A sort of visible Ambience : space, dark, stormy colour, certainly cosmic.


362 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Thence (my thoughts went) to imperfect quotations from Faust: something about the Earth rolling with Donner-Klang. Thence the thought of the great variety of revelations (that word imposes itself spontaneously) which a poem like Faust can bring: all its Wagner-emotional and philosophic sug gestions which I can separate if I choose like the leaves of an artichoke, but which also affect me as a whole impression. That is what can be given to me only by words, especially verse. And to me music, with few exceptions (like the gth) remains 'just music/ e.g. each of those divine numbers of that I4th quartet (Op. 131) existing for me as a divine action sui generis, a moving architecture of sounds which follow and which is more than sufficient to exclude all else. But evidently on some others, say Spiridion and perhaps occasionally Margery, 1 certain music acts as, say, Faust acts on me : it reveals, draws out, latent thoughts, images, emo tions, it is felt as a power,"

1 This seems based on what Margery tells me of her taste for the un solved, i.e. "I welcome the unsolved every time. People take me for religious. . . . / dislike detail in art, music, literature. Suggestion brings a clearer image. I prefer to leave many things vague and inarticulate"


CHAPTER XI INTERPRETATION AS ALLEGORY

PICTURES SUGGESTED BY Music

I To the Editor o/The Times

Sir, I have read with interest your account of Miss Juliet William's exhibition of pictures suggested by music. The follow ing facts may interest your readers. This extraordinary gift of translating from the realm of sounds into pictorial imagery has been practised for about twenty-six years by Miss Pamela Colman Smith, now at the Lizard, Cornwall. The lady is an artist of distinction, and whilst the music is actually being played gives a brush drawing of what she sees. We have tested her on many occasions with new and unknown music, and have been surprised at the beauty of her drawings, at their wealth and originality, and above all at the accuracy of the delineation of the music and its title. Her hand works feverishly whilst the music lasts. When the music ceases either abruptly or because the theme is ended, the brush falls from her hand, as she sees no more. It is to her as if the sun had suddenly been totally obscured as she watched some landscape. It seems almost as if she sees sound; so rapid is the translation, and so strangely vivid and varied the impression. I had intended to secure all the data for a paper in one of the psychological journals for the point is of great moment to the psychologist but time failed me. Yours, etc.,

JOHN G. VANCE, M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D.

The above letter appeared in The Times within the last few years; I cannot give the date because it was not on the cutting as it came to my hands. Its writer especially men tions that lack of time has prevented his securing all the data for a paper, in a psychological journal, and appears to have given up the plan. This being the case I have felt at liberty, despite the lapse of time, to use such data which


3 6 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

had been furnished me before the War turned my thoughts away from such subjects, provided always that the lady in question should still be willing that I do so. The data, or as I should call them, the documents, are exceptionally voluminous, consisting in detailed answers to my Ques tionnaire, to elaborate cross-questioning about those answers carried out by my directions by my then collaborator; to all of which the lady I was going to call Pictrix had added a set of sketches exemplifying her methods and which are still before me. All this material I have once more been allowed to make use of, with a generosity only second to that which originally furnished it.

The attention already called by that writer in The Times (and doubtless others) to a case, as he puts it, "of great moment to the psychologist" and the unusual fullness of the data so generously afforded me, make it incumbent on me to devote a separate chapter to this case of "translation from the realm of sounds into that of pictorial imagery" as it is aptly entitled by Dr. Vance.

This will, I think, be the more worth the Readers' atten tion that the case of Pictrix has exercised my best analytical efforts, both upon the written answers and the pictorial illustrations, teaching many things I had not clearly under stood before. So that it makes a full-length study of "Inter pretation by as if"

II

I will begin by giving verbatim my summary of Pictrix' s answers to the Questionnaire, quoting her own words when suggestive or perplexing, and adding my own occasional comments (in brackets) upon some of her answers. This will enable the Reader to build up the case as it has built itself up in rny mind, or perhaps differently : and incidentally it will afford a first-rate example of the method by which I have arrived at the views already set forth (or to be set forth) in these studies.


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 365


"PICTRIX"


Q. I. "No musical training."

Q,. II. "Made up tunes and improvised when small. Could per haps find accompaniments" Sing or whistle fragments? "Tes" (Some musical endowment.)

Q. III. "Can remember melodies, harmonies, timbre, combina tions. Can turn on long fragments, e.g. Eroica Symphony" (Re markable musical memory.)

Q,. IV. "Can often distinguish parts and constituent notes" This seems denied under Q,. IV E "each in a definite place," etc. (Perhaps misapprehension of sound colour.} Also under Q,. IV C she says : "It is an undertone, a figure on the top of the ground and the harmonies are like seeds growing below a something not visible" (Evidently no notion of harmonies as groups of perceived notes.) She goes off on the colour tack. "With Beethoven (if) is purple and blue and grey, and Brahms is black. Ravel, silver and gold, lemon and light speckles like a Sisley or a Sidaner or Pissarro." And adds in answer to misunderstood Q. IV E (definite place, etc.) "JVb, / hear the colour more than I see it." (There is a translation into visual terms : she takes the query's words " Combination of notes each as in a definite place among its companions like people moving together, etc." literally as something visual, since she denies not the fact of grouping of notes but of the result being seen, saying "No, I hear the colour more than I see it." N.B. What then of the purple and blue and grey, etc., does she not see them? Is it a metaphor, an equivalence? In view of this possibility let me note that the ultra-modern Ravel is compared with a very modern painter, as if a mediation through modernity. What colour quality has Le Sidaner in common with Pissarro or Sisley?)

Q. V, Human Emotion.

A. "/ get hold of things sometimes from the performer that he does not mean to convey or give away personal things quite apart


366 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

from the music. This is when the performer is not interpreting the Music (sic) ; his own thoughts are uppermost"

B. Inner drama of some third person? "Tes, Beethoven always"

Q,.VI. A. Alteration? "fts."

B. Intensification? "JVb, nothing to do with it; absolutely different world."

C. Merely recognition without participation? "jVb, except Wagner when he interrupts and gets in the way of things. Black clouds and red lightnings, chaos, hell, every awful thing you can think of" (Visual equivalence !)

D. Difference of Composer? "Nothing to do with me. Some times affected by surroundings and people near." (Extremely objective, no personal reference.)

Q. VIL Sui g^ra emotion of music?

A. Memory, message, something beyond itself? "Oh, yes>"

B. Just music? "JVb, depends on composer. Things I hear the first time are often more definite than things I know well" (This is important in view of other Answerers finding that a first hearing, instead of more, is apt to be less definite, some times tending to a chaotic impression. It seems to show that Pictrix is greatly influenced by such a general impression, an Ambience, "music" in the "Ceciliaa" sense of sonority, timbre and rhythm as opposed to "tunes" which you follow; and that when she says on the next page that "by Sack's per fection of form you get much easier to the thing behind it" the thing behind it is the allegorical significance which she embodies in her drawings, and that this "thing behind it" is got at by the emotional and imaginative impression given by such a (not yet familiar) first hearing, i.e. by the "Cecilian" Ambience ; the more definite does not, I think, apply to the musical pattern which cannot be more definite on first hearing, but to this "thing behind it," i.e. the suggestion for a drawing.

Musical status summarised : Natural endowment, especi-


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 367

ally memory, mixed up with visual equivalence or accom paniments. No musical analysis.

Q. VII (continued). "By Back's perfection of form you get through much easier to the thing that is behind it. Schumann is much more fantastic." ("Perfection of form" seems to mean to her something easy to penetrate as expression. If, as I think, she meant to say than not and, and connect Beethoven with Schumann as less comprehensible, this "more fantastic" may mean the greater variety and complexity, sudden changes which do not occur in Bach, Of course. Bach does not alternate or interweave expressions like Beethoven ; to this is added "Beethoven generally with reference to a third person" probably the "meaning.")

List of preferences and why. Notice she says Bach is "august, tops of mountains and fresh air" Notice, "In Mozart the lines always come stringy and rather hard" Also she says, "/ don't like the crashing of the orchestra" (in Beethoven), but she likes "his solidity, like mountains, satisfactory"

Q. VIII. Chopin? "No, I put him at the bottom and Liszt stamp on him! Wagner . , . my hair rises with rage. Many experi ments have been tried to deceive me, but I always know Wagner and am physiologically ill"

Q. IX. Moral or immoral? "Chopin and Wagner chiefly, a material effect. Some of Rossetttfs pictures and Swinburne's poems affect me in the same way" Wagner? "All Hell, thank you. The soft gentle parts as much as the loud, Nothing to do with the volume of sound"

Q. X. A. Does music disturb? "JVb."

B. Facilitates trains of thought? "Two different things^ they don't connect. In hearing music I lose sight of material things. I can sit and sew whilst hearing Brahms and Strauss and some of Lube and Scarlatti, but Bach, Ravel, Debussy, I simply must draw, it is so exciting."

Q. XL A. Have you been thinking of other things? "JVb only trains of thought growing out of the music but not necessarily the drawing I happen to be doing"


3 68 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

B. Does it exclude all other thoughts? "Yes, vide A"

C. "No; not memories and not story, more abstract, more an idea or a representation of a drama or tragedy or comedy or procession"

Q. XII. Ever non-receptivity? "Depends on the performer. Music that I like has a good physical and mental effect"

Q. XIII. Words have an effect? "None. Nothing to do with the music. That's why I dislike songs except folk and opera more than I can say. I heard some old French folk-songs in Paris and without knowing the language I got the exact meaning of the words and period of costume." (She isn't verbal or she would know French.) "Words disturb. I get the right meaning without any words at all?* Opera? "The lowest form

Q,. XIV. Affective Memory?

A. "JVb."

B. In a historical way? "Yes"

C. Circumstances and places without feeling the emotion? "Yes."

Q,. XV. A. Ever haunted by music? "Only by folk-songs sometimes" (But cf. what she has said under Q,. Ill: "Can remember melodies, harmonies, timbre, etc. Can turn on long fragments, e.g. Beethoven and the Eroica Symphony.")

B. Do the events and impressions . . . things you see or feel, translate themselves into music? "In looking at some (Chinese} pictures, I am creating music like an orchestra, so definite that if I had the power of conveying it, I could compose" (But returning to Query B., whether things and things and events translate themselves into music, she answers "JVb, Music is more important to me than Life" I summarised these Answers to the Questionnaire as: Impersonal, un- affective, very un-verbal, direct equivalence of visual auditory; striving after "meaning" in the sense of drama, of costume, etc. Resents sensuous appeal in Rossetti, Wagner, Swinburne.)


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 369

III

Before summarising Pictrix's even more interesting answers to the verbal cross-questions which were put to her at my suggestion, I will endeavour to describe very accurately and objectively the drawings, presumably copies, since they are in water colour and she always speaks of using a pencil at concerts.

They begin with a set of four (sepia) headed Beethoven C Minor Symphony 1907. Of these the first shows a very tall erect figure, full face ; I thought first a man in wide trousers and blouse, but more likely meant for a woman in scanty very straight-falling garments ; He (or she) standing very bolt upright, full face, one foot well forward, the other at right angle, very thoroughly supporting. One arm (doubt ful whether or not holding anything) hanging loose along the side ; the other arm extended upwards so as to touch one of the door posts (?) above height of head. The figure is stand ing in an open doorway, which frames in middle distance towers and walls, very four-square. Everything is extremely vertical and rectangular ; no curves.

II. Figure full length full face occupying foreground, heavily draped but erect and rigid like that of previous drawing. Also as in that, a square opening; but this time instead of framing the figure it is in the middle distance, hence suggestive rather of a town gate, through which appear, very high and far up, what might be couple of square towers. Between the figure and the gate, at some distance but well inside the gate, a lot of figures apparently in profile and marching with erect lances. The place and the figure seem intended for the same at different distances from each other. In the second sketch the figure in its looser drapery, and slightly thrown back head (featureless as in No. i) has a look of desperation and clenched fists, (things like dumb-bells hanging loose).

Ill (marked 3 by the artist). The rectangular door or

AA


37 o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

city gate gone ; only, in the back-ground something like a tower, with what look like huge flames rising out of it; also semi-circular swirls, clouds, smoke? Against all this, not quite in the middle, a draped figure in profile, back- blown hair, straight hanging draperies, blowing into a (coach horn) trump extended at right angles, figure extremely erect; except for those swirls, everything vertical and horizontal. My first impression was that it might mean a blare of trumpets breaking up darkness, perhaps the initial phrase of the ist movement of the symphony. On second thoughts, I think it represents a burning town (connected with the marching figures of No. 2) and a blast of victory.

IV. An empty space suggesting sky with diagonal clouds; against this (but not high up) full face, like a crucifix, a draped figure, arms extended perhaps along unseen arms of a cross? but there is no visible top to the cross if it is a cross, and the partly hooded head (indications of sphinx-like features) is erect; heavy draperies hanging from both wrists filling (as in a tabernacle) the space between arms of the cross and body, High above the head a circle as of stars starting from each wrist.

This ends the set of sketches referring to the Beethoven C minor symphony. Having described these four sketches as far as possible in visual terms, the question arises what have they in common with Beethoven's symphony in C minor? What do they represent which might be suggested by whatever that symphony (we are not told which of its very different movements) may seem to express? The two with a figure standing as on a stage in the middle facing the spectator, are evidently variants : a door or window in which the figure stands becomes in the other a gate at some distance back. And in the second the intervening space is traversed on one side only, by a procession with erect lances, in a semi-circtilar line roughly abutting (as com-


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 371

position) at the chief figure's feet they are, I think, in tended to be going towards the gate-way, which allows one to see, distant, what I take to be a couple of towers similar to those behind the doorway, framing figure in No. i. The literary impression of both designs is a stage effect of an isolated figure coming, very quickly, to announce something to us a herald*, not a figure looking out or watching. (But there is no "I tell you a Mystery" for there is no suggestion of coming out of darkness).

This literary theme seems repeated in the third drawing, where the figure is presented entirely in profile, with no door, gate or other frame, only swirls of things like flames rising out of what looks like a burning tower on the right, behind the figure. The idea of the herald is carried out with variation by the trumpet into which the profile figure is blowing. The moral impression is altered, first by the absence of framing, secondly, by the profile attitude, by which the figure is no longer bringing a message to us but blowing an alarm to a different world; also the trumpet entirely re moves the idea of saying something, and the burning tower suggests calamity. One might say: the announcement of War. (War suggested, but only as preparation, by the pro cession of the lances in No. 2.)

In No. 4 the composition of i and 2 seems reverted to, full-face figure coming forward, but no stage : no town or human accessory, the thing is happening in the skies which evidently surround the crucified-looking figure standing in vague chaos with an aureole of what may be stars. The impression is supernatural to a high degree and, so to speak, Cosmic. But there is no longer any element of announcement. The fact of crucifixion shows : "et consummatum est" These four drawings are all of 1907, but in 1927 one might interpret them as the dramatic gradual announcement of coming calamity, crescendo till the full hopeless crucifixion (or hope/M/? There is a look of clouds opening, of dawn in the sky).


372 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Trying to connect these drawings with that symphony I put aside the second movement which is in three time and very cantabile, not lending itself to anything rigid and rectangular like those four drawings; and I restrict my search for equivalences to the first movement. That might be described as all verticals and right angles; those end lessly repeated in symmetrical groups of threes are inter rupted only very far along by a brief cantabile theme breaking that rigidity. The main theme has no oblique connections, no movements of leaning or yearning, and the lines of the drawings have the same rather jejune, or, if you prefer, relentless, decision. But as that first movement is allegro, the arrangement of the notes is apt to turn into a vague ham mering, which is perhaps what Beethoven meant with his "Fate knocking at the door." And I cannot but suspect that those words of Beethoven's have added their suggestion to that of the music. Restricting ourselves to the first move ment of the symphony, I do recognise that these four drawings have an equivalent "meaning," only the music does not warrant the evident development of the meaning from one drawing to the other; that development is, I think, only in the drawings, one leading to the other, which corresponds with Pictrix's telling us that the "meaning" may be given in the first bars, and is not influenced by what follows. What is that meaning? Had they been made after 1914, instead of in 1907, I should suggest: No. i. Pierrot, a modern pantaloon, advances and prologises. No. 2, Preparation for War. No. 3. The Trump of War in full blast, towns and cities burning. No. 4. The Crucifixion and (promised) redemption of Mankind. But though I can read this meaning into the four drawings, I fail to discover it in Beethoven's Symphony in C minor which they are supposed to illustrate.

The Reader must bear in mind that this is the opinion of the nee plus ultra of unimaginative "just music," "Listeners," viz. myself. In justification of Pictrix's allegories, let me


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 373

append the following verbal interpretation of the C minor Symphony kindly made for my benefit by a very accom plished musician belonging to what we shall later identify (P* 445) as t -^ ie performing type represented by Lady Venetia. Nesta says : "Beethoven C minor Symphony. It seems to me to be charged with emotion from beginning to end., one of the most incan descent compositions in musical art. It affects me as directly as an electric current and never loses that effect after often repeated hearings. I cannot say that I see any definite mental picture during its perform ance, but I do feel that I am living through an intense emotional experience. I feel in the first movement that a human being, or a soul, whatever you like to call it, is suddenly confronted by some tremendous threat, 'Fate knocking at the doof; and perhaps the im pression is partly due to the unexpectedness of the opening, with no introduction and only the main theme hurled at one like a blow in the first bars. It is the relentless reiteration of the theme during the development and climax which gives me the feeling of someone over come by an elemental force against which resistance is almost impos sible. This feeling is in the theme itself, for the whole movement is built upon very simple lines both rhythmically and harmonically. It is the sheer weight and power of it that overwhelms one; and if any pictorial image suggests itself, it is that of a towering mountain; but I do not really see it, I only feel it. There is one moment when a gleam of hope shines out, in the second theme, but all through the movement the struggle goes on, between ( Fate knocking at the door* and the human being which cannot resist but has not yet learned to accept.

The second movement brings rest and light, a lull in the storm and a break in the clouds, but not that perfect serenity, that sense of complete and secure peace that there is, for instance, in the Arietta of (piano sonata], Op. m.In the Andante of the Symphony the lull is temporary and though the air is bright and full of the scent of flowers, there is still a feeling of yearning, even of apprehension, for the battle is not yet won. The third movement brings back the menace of the first, but it is far more mysterious, not nearly so concrete. A cloud comes down hiding the sun and strange figures come and go,


374 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

and there is much suffering but the threatening power weakens and weakens until it sinks to nothing and the whole thing seems to pause. Then with the rush of a great wind the clouds are scattered and in a burst comes the triumphant clamour of the finale which always says to me 'and all the Sons of God shouted together f or j of (I quote from memory, therefore probably wrong). The whole last movement is a gigantic song of victory and the episode in the middle^ where the Scherzo is recalled, only serves to make the joy brighter and more triumphant, as the themes swing along to the apparently endless chord of C major of the magnificent Coda. Taken as a whole, the $th Symphony seems to me to make a greater impression of power than perhaps any other composition; it is so tremendously living all through and there is not one moment when it flags or lessens its hold on me"

In copying this out, I feel less and less able to connect this fine description of a succession of dramatic emotions with Pictrix's four drawings marked "Beethoven Symph. C minor"; nor does the inclusion of the successive movements {Andante and Finale) which I had excluded in my com parison, at all facilitate my comprehension. For although Drawing No. 4 (the Crucifixion and glory) may be con nected with the above description of the release and triumph in the Finale, yet the sameness and the extreme verticalness of drawings i and 2 can refer only to the ist movement, so that if the third drawing, i.e. the rigid profile figure blow ing a trumpet with a burning town in the background, is intended to represent that Finale of mysterious threat and ultimate victory, we must suppose that Pictrix has simply skipped the wonderfully lovely and expressive intermediate Andante, for there is nothing in Nesta's verbal description of it which suggests that trumpet-blowing figure of Pictrix's to my mind. But, as already remarked, my mind is domi nated on the one hand by the music as such, and, on the other, by the lines and masses of the drawings.

Besides this set marked "Beethoven Symph. C minor" and an elaborate black-and-white of two draped ladies


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 375

gliding silently, but which has no indication of its musical origin, Pictrix has very generously sent me two others very different from those just described.

The first is a sketch in rose-coloured sepia, marked "Bach, 19 1 1." This is, to my mind, pictorially far better than the Beethoven set, slight, clean, and decidedly charming. Empty background, with a sun setting (?) among slight clouds in topmost corner. Almost in the middle, in profile a charming tall lady looking intently at a burning candle held in both hands and which is smoking. In the right-hand corner (and under that setting sun) two lit candles on a level with her feet. Whole impression agreeable, spacious, quiet, meaning might be something like Portia's "So shines a good deed in a naughty world." But which Bach can have sug gested something so empty and un-complete? Pictrix has said in her answers "Bach is angels and tops of mountains and fresh air 55 ; so this may symbolise this feeling of freedom and purity.

Chopin Waltz (?)

Oblique composition with several separate planes. Right- hand corner, close to the frame, Death, skull-head (very well given) under a slouch hat, playing on a drum, half* length full face. Opposite corner empty. Left-hand middle- distance, a lady in voluminous skirts and a man in striped hose and cloak are dancing round ; at least, the lady appears to be presenting back view, whereas the man's feet are turned towards the spectator and his arm, raised, and slightly-bent head suggest profile; they are dancing, the man turning his partner. Behind, or above, them is an avenue (or flight of steps) with big trees leading to a many- windowed, high-towered castle which takes up the middle of highest part of page. Other castles appear behind trees in top left-hand corner. In the right-hand middle space, on a rather higher level than the Dancing Couple, is a black space with two, perhaps three, quite small and distant figures gesticulating towards a semi-circle of dots, stars (?)


376 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

in the sky, making me think both of Sargent's Spanish Dancers by Star-light and a Giottesque Annunciation to the Shepherds. It must be of this sketch that she says, "In the first version it was a castle. The figure group has the same form as the castle." Meaning? Evidently Death with his drum is giving the rhythm to the Dancers. As the other figures are very far off and gesticulating towards stars, perhaps the idea is some sort of redemption when Death shall stop his drumming.

IV

And now, having described the four Beethoven drawings and the Bach and Chopin ones, I will quote in extenso what this Artist tells us of the methods, or the circumstances to which, if not these particular pictures at least her pictures in general, are owed.

I. "The first one or two drawings of the evening are never any good. I have to get into the mood for drawing. Generally speaking the picture comes very much quicker (sooner?} with adagio than with a quick movement"

II. "With the second movement of the Pathetique, the picture comes almost at the first bar. With the first movement, it does not come till about half-way through"

III. "The picture does sometimes outlive the passage. More generally however it stops. . . . When in a mood for drawing I draw more spontaneously and when the drawing is finished the impression goes off quicker. The fact of having finished the drawing relieves me of the impression"

"A point which it is most necessary to emphasise is this: that these pictures are 'phrase pictures' and are in no sense the pictures produced in my mind by the whole piece or by the whole movement. They are pictures suggested by particular phrases of the music. And though naturally the time taken in drawing them is longer than the period of the playing of the phrase to which the picture refers and may extend over the period of playing the whole movement, I am not


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 377

influenced by the rest of the movement except in so far as the rest of the movement contains variations and implications of that phrase, which variations and implications suggest further details for the picture. I reject instinctively other pictorial suggestions from the rest of the movement while I am drawing the phrase picture. I may get three or four or more pictures during a single movement . . . and if my hand could reproduce instantaneously what I see, so that the time of drawing the phrase picture corresponds with the period of playing that phrase, I should perhaps get as many pictures as there are phrases in the movement. They would be less detailed since obviously I could not work into all of them the impressions of detail which come from variations of the phrases throughout the movement"

(Then how about the picture which comes during the fast bar let me believe she means bars of the Pathetique? Was that un-de tailed? Or did she wait without drawing till the phrase recurred and gave her more details?)

"/ keep time with my brush to the music very often, and I think the lines of my drawing vary according to the technique of the com poser. The question as to whether I draw while the music is going on is answered by this answer. The picture is drawn absolutely at the moment the music is going on. . . "

" The drawing reproduces an inner vision. The details come out as if being developed on a photographic plate. Sometimes my hand upon the paper works quicker than my inner vision and I have to wait. When however I see the picture as an idea it doesrft develop" (Queried as to "idea/ 5 she says that by "idea" she means "a definite story" as opposed to the symbolism of the other visions.)

" The drawing represents the picture in its final state. It is the actual reproduction of what I see as I see it. What seems shadow is often merely an attempt to emphasise colour. Change might follow from another interpretation" (by performer?) "of the same piece or from another mood in me" (Her only answer, if any, to my query "Is it part of the vision that a Pierrot should be seen full-face and not in profile? That a tree or building be in the third plane or on the left-hand corner?")


378 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

In answer to the query whether, instead of an inner vision, the drawing arises under the artist's hand and be comes manifest only through her own work, she says: 'When I first began to draw, the drawing was much more the result of subconscious feeling than it is now. Sometimes I used actually not to be aware of the picture until the drawing had begun to take shape on the paper. But the subconscious feeling never persisted throughout. With regard to detail in the drawings now, this is often subcon scious"

Queried about composition and lines of drawing, Pictrix says : "Supposing I had sworn never to draw anything like a cliff or a Pierrot, the picture would take the same form. I have two pictures of a Chopin^ one drawn two years after the other. In the second the castle which is in the fast is changed into figures. . . . The figure group has the same form as the castle"

This last quotation, particularly if one adds her remark that "with Mozart the lines are apt to come out stringy" shows that there is between the inspiring music and the inspired drawing some correspondence of form such as I have tried to discover between the very rectangular com position of her Beethoven sketches and the particular musical shape (to which I refer the Reader) of the rather hammered out symmetrical phrases of the first movement of that Symphony in C minor. All this, however, Pictrix would probably put down as "subconscious" and it very probably is unformulated (which is often all that "subconscious" means) as compared with what she calls her "inner vision' 9 which does not seem to be a mental picture, since "the details come out as if being developed on a photographic plate. Some times my hand upon the paper works quicker than my inner vision and I ham to wait"

Wait for what? If the "inner vision" was cinematographic like Frau Maria's moving pictures of the Piero di Cosimo kind, or like the figures seen by Madame Louise after music had become only a painful obsession, the thing waited for would be the passing aspect calling for a snapshot. But this


PICTURES SUGGESTED BY MUSIC 379

seems incompatible with details coming out "as if being developed on a photographic plate "

So that, after considerable putting two and two together, I am unable to form any clear notion of the modus operandi of Pictrix's drawing in answer to music. Something may be learned from her list of favourite painters : "Goya excites me enormously " (presumably Goya of the fantastic etchings). "So does Blake, as do some of the pre-Raphaelites Gustave Moreau also. Callot has more exciting qualities than any other I know. He stimulates me mentally" This enumeration of highly imagina tive artists does suggest that what attracts her is the literary side of painting the "subject/ 5 the "idea" which she explains as equivalent to "a definite story as opposed to the symbolism of the other visions"

"Ideas" and "symbolism." That is what the art of Pictrix, if I may judge by the examples put before me, strikes me as being. I do not think that Pictrix's "inner visions" are of the same order as my own "inner vision," meaning a picture in the mind's eye, of that Roman basilica which I saw men tally while listening to Palestrina-like motets at Leipzig. Hers are allegories like G. F. Watts' Death and Love, his Mammon or his Minotaur, with the difference that while these were suggested to him by what he read or what he was told) those of Pictrix were suggested by music at the moment of hearing it. They are, I think, symbolical representations, in visible shapes, of the emotional effect of the music, or of as much or little of the music as she can listen to while putting them on paper. It is the idea or symbolism which is suggested by the music, partly by such expression as can be rendered in words, partly in those actual shapes which she calls the subconscious details of her drawings.

What dominates and produces the drawings is, so far as I can understand, what other Answerers would call the "meaning" of the music. That is what she alludes to as the "something behind it" which, rather oddly, she finds easier to get at with Bach than with Schumann ; the "some-


3 8o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

thing" being, I suppose, a more homogeneous expression in the one case than in the other, because Bach, complicated as he is musically, does not deal (like, say, Beethoven) in conflicting expressions in the same piece. It is this "meaning" of the music, as distinguished from the music itself which is frequently left behind which she translates into visible objects rather than into visual shapes. The connection is allegory, metaphor, equivalence of an emotional (though a thoroughly impersonal) kind, for Meaning is a translation and can itself be translated. If Hoffmann's "Kapellmeister Kreisler," when the fall of the snuffers disabled his piano, had drawn instead of speaking, his improvisations, we might have got such allegorical drawings. And vice versa, if we had prevented Pictrix from drawing, and endowed her with the verbal eloquence of her fellow-allegorist, Emilia, we might have got, with someone at the piano as in my Collective Ex periments, spoken rhapsodies like Kapellmeister Kreisler's.

Pictrix, in her answers, used the expression phrase-pictures. The doubt arises whether she sees the picture at all before she draws it; there is no suggestion of the picture existing in her mind's eye before she draws it, or rather she insists that her drawing is automatic. And the word "phrase-picture" probably means merely that, as she tells us, once she has begun drawing she ceases attending to the music till the recurrence of the phrase which set her going.

In fact, the interpretations of which Pictrix gives us the nee plus ultra (but the Collective Experiments are going to show various partial examples) may be summed up as emo tional, high-flown, vividly pictorial ideas, metaphors, similes and allegories, the thinking of which, whether embodied in pictures or merely in words, undoubtedly adds to the importance of the music in the fragments which are being noticed, but also results, as we learn both from Emilia and from Pictrix herself, in a good deal of the music not being listened to.


INTERPRETATION AS ALLEGORY 381


V

And here I would insert a postscript, though of more general psychological importance than the discussion which it ends. Taking into consideration and the analysis of Pictrix's visions is one long confirmation thereof that visual images^ seem to arise not directly from music so much as from unspoken, perhaps unnoticed words linking up musical effects (which are mainly emotional) with visible things and occurrences, it seems likely that the obscurity, the mystery, nay mysticism, besetting so much of our notions about music, may be due in great part to the lack of interplay between explicit verbal and visual interpretation. Or to this interplay being cut short (save in the case of divagations like those of Pictrix and of Emilia) by the aesthetic interest or the sensorial appeal of the music itself, so that there remain only vaguely blocked in images like Spiridion's (see p. 295)3 tailing off into emotion-charged cloudiness, or else isolated flashes, visions of green fields vanishing into nothing. Music, if at all listened to, music even if listened to fitfully as by "Hearers, 35 has a way of cutting short other, even if "allied 33 thoughts, except when they become (as already remarked) "evocations" like Donna Teodora's, that is to say, thorough-paced divagations to a musical accompani ment.

In a different sense from that of my semi-"Dionysiac" Franz, "Music has a way of its own." And that way of its own is so extraordinarily unlike the ways of ordinary thought and experience, that unless it is united to a conse cutive text or to a visible stage performance, it obliges us to some attempt at musical following. Or else, when that does not come off, it leaves the odd indescribable conditions resulting from Ambience,, from different thoughts, or per petual repetitions, conditions which are by no means unlike those of religious mysticism. Thus the hopeless obscurity


382 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

besetting much musical "criticism" would be due to the fact of our mental operations being normally carried on in visual images and in the verbal terms which are, so to speak, legal tender for them.

Is it fanciful and due to some idiosyncrasy of my own (and yet I am but an indifferent visualiser compared with some of my neighbours) to believe that our eye is nine-tenths of our mind? 1 And that we either grope in intellectual darkness or, like Gray's Milton, are "blinded through excess of light" whenever we cannot fall back upon visual memory- images to think with? Is that what is meant when we say "I cannot imagine" not merely "I cannot visualise" or, as the French put it, "figure to myself"?

1 Spengler has some such notion as this in his Decline of the West.


CHAPTER XII INTERPRETATION AS DRAMA

CASE OF LADY VENETIA

BEFORE CLOSING these generalisations on Interpretation and passing to the concrete evidence contained in such Collec tive Experiments as I have been able to make, it may interest the Reader to see a document which bears directly on this subject but is different from all the others I have made use of. For instead of an answer to my Questionnaires or a deliberate statement like those of the Collective Experi ments, it consists in notes of my talks with an extremely gifted musician, who declared herself utterly unable, let alone unwilling, to submit to any such interrogations. In fact it is, so to speak, contraband information, accumulated through two or three years in the course of conversation, and crowned by the verbatim note, taken unnoticed while my friend was at the piano and was accompanying her playing with a spoken interpretation.

In order that the Reader may duly appreciate all this smuggled evidence and compare it more easily with the foregoing studies and also with their continuation in the next chapters, I must give a notion of Lady Venetians musical status and her views upon music, leaving to those who have had the joy of knowing her either in reality or in fiction, the pleasant task of framing it all in her siren personality.

Although only an amateur and less trained than several others among my Answerers, this lady is a full-fledged musician, and, what I require to emphasise very particu larly, is by temperament essentially a performer. Bit by bit, I have been able, all unbeknownst, to get her answers to the queries establishing the musicality and various other charac teristics of my Answerers, filling in by my personal know-


3&4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

ledge. Thus Lady Venetia is an excellent pianist, though a wandering life (and an impatient mind eagerly interested in every other subject) has stood in the way of complete technical accomplishment; for the rest, she can read, accompany if need be, improvise as well as most profes sionals ; she has had a band which she has taught and con ducted; moreover, she has heard all the music there has been to hear. She has harmonic analysis naturally; and although she complains of imperfect memory, especially with her fingers, she can turn on mentally whole perform ances with which she is familiar; and whatever she thus remembers is always a whole, harmonies and timbre com plete. Like many musicians, she doesn't really care for visual art, and her love of "nature" is never pictorial. Neither does she show much instinct for words. On the other hand, she has great dramatic instinct and sense of gesture and move ment: acting what she talks about; also she is a splendid natural mimic. In Galtonian jargon I should describe her as "non-visual, non-verbal; but to the highest degree auditory- motor." And although I was never able to enquire directly on the point of Affective Memory, she is certainly very emo tional, not at all in the first personal, but eminently in the sympathetic and dramatic manner. Asked whether music could put her into emotional states, she answered "Of course." After Tristan, she remains speechless and broken. Query: Apart from the play, the story? Answer: "Quite apart; and Mr. H. . . . was much surprised at my state, because he was taken up with the play and the story."

Furthermore (and I beg the Reader to note these facts for use later on) Lady Venetia is always haunted by music "there is always music going on in me." Asked whether things connect with and turn into music in her mind, she answers "Always." And on another occasion, adds, spontaneously, that she is never without music and that "everything is thought of as music, for instance, when taking the dogs for a walk, I measure their distance ahead by a musical interval."


INTERPRETATION AS DRAMA 385

As regards the main questions of my enquiry (though, as already said, these questions were slipped incidentally into conversations extending over days and even during visits in successive years) Lady Venetia expressed herself absolutely and unhesitatingly certain of the human-emotional character of music. Query: Might the emotion not be that of interest and pleasure in the music? Answer (repeatedly and unhesi tatingly) : "JVb, there is emotion besides that musical one. There is also a human emotion" This she illustrates by adding: "If I look at a beautiful sunset I get an emotion of its beauty; well! must., gives me that emotion, but also something which the sunset doesn't give: a human emotion" Query: Does she refer that emotion to herself or to the composer or to other people? Answer: "To no one: it is just human feeling as such, joy, grief, etc"* E.g. in Tristan, she doesn't think of Tristan or Isolde or anyone else. It is just Love, love not of a Monsieur and a Madame, but Love as such. She involves this "Love" in a sort of pantheistic mysticism, being a great reader of comparative mythology, oriental philosophy, etc. The greatest music, she says, gives human emotion but of the kind the whole universe feels, not of individual human beings ; you can't catch and pin it down. There is an inferior sort of music, e.g. Gounod's Faust and Carmen, which seems to limit emo tions to human beings. But the greatest is always above that. (I think she means above expression of individual emotion.) Despite her having said that the greatest music was above the expression of individual human beings, the following fragments of Lady Venetia's conversation deal entirely with such individual human beings; indeed, pre cisely with two works, Faust and Carmen, which she had described as of an inferior sort for that very reason. And for several days the secret entries in my diary record her illus trating her contention "that unless one felt the human emotions one would perform like a block" only in spoken commentaries, or fragments of just those operas which she has recently

  • The same is said by Grizel, who also belongs to the composer type.

BB


386 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

heard and goes on playing by heart over and over again. She explains the situation as she goes along, commenting, taking the points of view of the various characters, as follows: "Now Jose gets to bore her." "Now Margaret, of course, doesn't understand what it is all about, 55 etc. And her face and movements accompany the words. She even gets up and dances a waltz to excuse passages in Faust which are "vulgar but suitable," and dances also, to illustrate the difference, a bit of Carmen. And she sings, at aU hours of the day, Don Jose's last phrase which has lately been running in her head. fc l am struck/ 5 runs a note of mine, "by the resemblance between Lady Venetia's way of expounding the human side of the music with that of a well-known composer when at the piano."

But, the Reader may say, all these are reminiscences of what your Lady Venetia has seen on the stage; it is all about people and situations existing in librettos ; it is all based upon words, and does not really illustrate her asser tion that music as music can have a human significance. Of course it does not, though as composers often deal with words, it suggests by an inverse process, how in the^ com poser's mind the words may generate the music. But^in the course of other earlier notes, I find that she admits "of course" that musical phrases as such have a kind of human gesture ; and she is always making use of such gesture when she talks of musical pattern, as well as of words descriptive of moods and actions. And soon after that entry in my note-book comes the following (of course camouflaged) Query: Do you think music has this emotional quality apart from words or story? Answer: "Of course; in fact, the greatest music is instrumental" Query: Would you say that music was "streaked and veined with emotion?" Answer: "Yes. It is difficult to define, it may be vague, but it is there. It is utterly absurd not to recognise a definite human emotion in the slow movement of the Eroica"

Speaking of Chopin (and she is going to say a good deal


CASE OF LADY VENETIA 387

about him) she mentions his "intimacy," and, comparing him with Beethoven, she says : "Chopin is inferior; that mixture of intimacy is an inferiority." Query: Do you find it in Wagner? Answer: "Oh, yes, even too much" And continuing about Beethoven, she denies such intimacy in him: "He is far broader." Query: More musical? Answer (rather impatiently) : "Wider, higher, about the things of nature, not human life

Having thus pieced together Lady Venetia's views about music, let me present the Reader with her soliloquy at the piano while playing just such an "intimate 53 Chopin.

It was (such is my note written at the time) the third of three Chopin Nocturnes. "During the first two, admirably played, she made no remarks, her face expressing only energy and concentration." The last of the three, she accompanied by a commentary quite as full as that she had made on Carmen or Faust. At the end, and before repeating the long passages, she said it was "so extraordinarily intimate, so like life that one couldn't play it before (many] other people. It's the questions which come all through life, questions sometimes beautiful, sometimes obscure. It's so intimate as to be almost indecent."

In her remaining commentary scattered at long intervals (while she played) she used the words he and they and it alternately; but the whole formed a sort of drama: "Ifs youth. Doesn't understand anything really. Mere frivolity (scale passages] . He is dreadfully bothered/ Can't get at it. It's a question. Here's the answer, mere superficial stuff. It isn't that! Then another answer: beautiful, beautiful things, but it isn't what he wanted. Then another answer is tried. He wants HIS theme (sic) . They keep on giving him other ones; quite kind, you know, and beautiful things, but not what HE wants. Then they tell him that they'll give him the right thing: Calmness. But that isn't it either. It's what is at the bottom of all life, a trying to understand, to get what one wants and being bothered and puzzled."

During these words, which I am trying to take down quite faithfully, her face and the movement of her head are


3 88 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

wonderfully expressive. She says repeatedly: "At least thafs my interpretation; perhaps other people would feel differently

In copying out this soliloquy of Lady Venetia's, which I took down unobserved as she sat at the piano, I am struck with its resemblance to that masterpiece of musical Romantik, the improvisation which Hoffmann puts into the mouth of his mad Kapellmeister Kreisler after the snuffers have fallen into the piano and snapped the principal strings, so that he can no longer play, and has to speak. The resemblance, but also the difference. And the two, especially the difference, can illustrate my views as to how much music as such is able to express without the aid of language ; and, on the other hand, how much, in all the Interpretations we have been passing under review, is due to language and the other non-musical associations which language mediates and brings with it. For language, even when it is used instead of music by an imaginary lunatic composer, brings its procession of visual images, let alone the (however slack) logical sequence which make the Kreisler improvisation a coherent prose poem : the drama of Kreisler himself pursued by a skulking skeleton enemy, carried in triumph by a Saturnalian Dionysos, in both of whom he recognises Mad ness, who tramples his garden. This is the scene as Hoffmann describes it :

"Kreisler put on his little red skull-cap and his Chinese dressing-gown, and sat down to the piano, while a trusty friend extinguished all the lights, so that the room remained in utter darkness. Then, with the muffling pedal down Kreisler struck the full chord of A flat major, and spoke :

'What is it that murmurs so strangely, *so sweetly, around me? Invisible wings seem to be heaving up and down. I am swimming in perfume-laden air. But the perfume shines forth in flaming, mysteriously linked circles. Lovely spirits are moving their golden pinions in ineffably splendid sounds and harmonies/

Chord of A flat minor (mezzo forte). 'Ah, they are bearing


INTERPRETATION AS DRAMA 389

me off into the land of eternal desire, but even as they carry me, pain awakes in my heart, and tries to escape, tearing my bosoni with violence.'

Chord of E major (third] , forte. 'They have given me a splendid crown, but that which sparkles and lightens in its diamonds are the thousand tears which I shed ; and in the gold shine the flames which are devouring me. Valour and power, strength and faith, for him who is called on to reign in the kingdom of spirits.'


B major (accentuate}. c What a gay life in field and woodland in the sweet springtide ! All the flutes and pipes, which have lain frozen to death in dusty corners throughout the winter, have now awakened and remembered their best beloved melodies, which they trill cheerfully like the birds in the air. 5

B major with the diminished seventh (smanioso) . C A warm west wind comes sullenly complaining, like some mysterious secret, through the wood, and wherever it brushes past, the fir trees murmur, the beeches murmur to each other: "Wherefore has our friend grown so sad? 5 ' '

E flat major (forte). 'Follow him, follow him! His dress is green like the dark wood sweet sounds of horns are his sighing words. Hearest him murmuring behind the bushes? Hearest thou the sound? The sound of horns, full of delight and sadness? 'Tis he ! up and meet him.'

D third, fourth, sixth chord (piano). 'Life plays its mocking game in all manner of fashions. Wherefore desire? Wherefore hope? Wherefore demand?'

C major (third) chord (fortissimo). c Let us rather dance over the open graves in wild rejoicing. Let us shout for joy, those beneath cannot hear it. Hurrah, hurrah! Dance and jollity ; the devil is riding in with drums and trumpets.'

C minor chords (j/f. in rapid succession). 'Knowest thou him not? Knowest thou him not? See, he stretches forth his burning claw to my heart ! He masks himself in all sorts of


39 o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

absurd grimaces as a free huntsman, as a concert director, tapeworm doctor, ricco mercante ; he pitches snuffers into the strings to prevent my playing! Kreisler, Kreisler, shake thyself up ! Seest thou it hiding, the pale ghost with the red burning eyes, stretching out its clawy, bony hand from beneath its torn mantle shaking the crown of straw on its smooth bald skull? It is Madness! Johannes, be brave! Mad, mad, witch-revelry of life, wherefore shakest thou me so in thy whirling dance? Can I not escape? Is there no grain of dust in the universe on which, diminished to a fly, I can save myself from thee, horrible torturing phantom? Desist, Desist ! I will behave. My manners shall be the very best. Honi soit qui maly pense. Only let me believe the devil to be a galantuomo! I curse song and music ; I lick thy feet like the drunken Caliban ; free me only from my torments ! Ai* ! Ai ! abominable one ! Thou hast trodden down all my flowers: not a blade of grass still greens in the terrible desert

Dead! Dead! Dead!

It is all seen, terrifically seen, as well as felt. Whereas Lady Venetians commentary never goes beyond the affec tive suggestions of the music she is playing : she never gets beyond those gestures and attitudes, those infinitives of verbs of which M. Ernest and "C. A. TV' told us; she sums up the successive expressions of the musical phrases in abstractions like "mere frivolity" (scale passages), "a question" "the answer," ce a theme" "other themes," "Calmness," "youth," "Life" ; and a few indications of situation and feeling "dreadfully bothered," "can't get at it," "not what he wants"; "quite kind but . . .," "that isn't it either"; "try ing to understand and being bothered and puzzled" ; all of which are referred to anonymous "he," "they" and "it." Never a word showing us any of them, never a word telling us where or why : nothing so to say, but music's ever shifting how of feeling, attitude, gesture and movement. A drama, but one without colour or substance ; the drama, indeed, of


CASE OF LADY VENETIA 391

those spectral entities whom music evokes, the abstractions of past actions and feelings, attenuated ghosts transfigured into musical shapes.

"Does music ever make you think of things?" I one day asked Lady Venetia. To which she answered very decisively "jVb." What Lady Venetia meant by "things" was evi dently whatever requires adjectives and nouns, visible and ponderable items of experience, not states of mind and phases of life like what she had been describing.

And for that reason Lady Venetia' s commentary on the Chopin Nocturne illustrates how far and no further the unaided suggestions of music can go. And so, fittingly, may close this section on "Interpretation."


ENVOY TO INTERPRETATION

The better to link on to the subjects we shall come to when we have emerged from the (rather yawning) gulf of Collec tive Experiments, let me forestall an objection which ought to arise in the Reader's mind :

How comes it that such a musician as Lady Venetia is so much at variance with our other musicianly "Listeners" and their "just music," etc.? Why does Lady Venetia insist that music is essentially human expression? Why does Lady Venetia interpret every phrase of that Nocturne as part of a human drama, however disembodied its actors? In fact why, being so very musical, does she not answer as if she were a "Listener"?

Because Lady Venetia is not a mere "Listener" like Bessie or Isabella or Barbara. She is a performer. She interprets because she is not merely listening to, enjoying, other people's music, but is making even if only re-making music of her own. Her interpretation of that Nocturne is what is being elicited by her own playing of it.


PART IV

HAS MUSIC A "MEANING"? (COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS)


SOME RESULTS OF COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS

I

BESIDES THE employment of Questionnaires for eliciting the personal experience of a number of more or less musical individuals, I have practised another mode of obtaining information on the subject of whether or not music has a meaning beyond itself. This method is that of collective experimentation. A number of hearers tell what passes in their minds during the performance of a given piece of music, writing while the music is going on but not com municating their remarks to one another, each schedule being closed and handed to the person conducting the experiment, by whom the contents are subsequently ex tracted and the convergences and divergences tabulated under the heading of the particular hearers and the par ticular piece of music. In this manner we obtain not the opinion, that is to say the generalised experience, of in dividual Answerers to my Questionnaire, but its comple ment and corrective, namely the individual experience elicited at the moment and vouched for by individual Answerers.

I shall begin my extracts and analyses from these Col lective Experiments, my search for concordances and diver gences in the impressions produced by the same music on different hearers, by my own answers relating to Mozart's C minor pianoforte fantasia. I do so because the accident of hearing it twice within the same few days during Col lective Experiments at Muirhouse near Edinburgh, allowed me the opportunity of myself listening to the same music in two different manners, the first time quite naturally and the second with the deliberate attempt at making a kind of inventory of the suggested emotion; both of which man ners of attending are exemplified in the schedules of the


39 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

other Answerers. And this difference in manner of attending, which is thus made obvious in my own two answers, is of the greatest importance in examining whether or not music has or has not a meaning beyond its own purely musical one.

Listening to that Mozart C minor pianoforte fantasia in what I call a natural, i.e. spontaneous manner, the following is what I wrote :

"Excitement of expectant attention and critical com parison with another performer. (Then) the dramatic quality takes effect. I know the thing very well. The move ments play themselves off in me. The thing has very strong emotional character, yet I am much at a loss how to define it, when I try to say anything beyond 'dramatic, 5 'earnest, 3 'expectant with faintly complaining (is it complaining?) interludes. 3 I find in reality I am thinking the phrases rather than anything about them, especially the progressions in the bass/'

I have italicised "thinking the phrases" because it seems to be my spontaneous reaction to most music which I care for. And I want to compare this spontaneous reaction with my analysis of the same piece when placed under a micro scopic attention entirely focussed on its expressive qualities, which a deliberate effort enables me to enumerate as follows :

(1) Stern and apprehensive.

(2) Sad and passionate (usually played faster). Nothing visual no people.

(3) Apprehensive. Hurry, insisting Atmospheres charged with anxiety and drama.

(4) Resolve and hesitation; almost a dialogue "You must." "Must I?"

(5) Elysian sadness. Happy souls.

(6) Lyric (usually played much quicker).

(7) Return of apprehensiveness.

(8) Agitation, scurry, catastrophe. Scurrying people ask ing questions. (Suggested by Mozart's Tito.}


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 397

(9) Energy and then agitation,

(10) Rather Elysian, mixed with sternness and resolve. Now let us take the remarks on this same Mozart Fan tasia made by the other participants in this experiment.

LINDSAY says :

"I ploy it myself, so I find it very difficult not to devote my entire attention to listening to how it's being played. Absolutely no visual images. Sense of great repose follows the upliftingness of the first half-dozen bars. Attention wandering at end. Can get it again at the last moment. The joyous rush makes me very happy."

FRANCES says :

"/ am reminded at first of an orchestra, 'cellos and basses playing. Mysteriously deep sorrow.

The number of instruments increases. The music becomes less sad some sunshine appears new lighter thoughts, a sudden break- ing in of resolute chords. The music to me is strongly emotional and strongly personal. I am made to think of the composer. Reflective, sad as he starts, and suddenly wakes out of his dream and resolves on action.

An introspective lull, then action again"

VIOLET says :

"Am in anxious humour. I shall want to say too much. Feel as if day were breaking and mists rolling away and that I must push on to brighter happier things, from the darkness of night. SEE gradually mountain peaks, golden sunshine and have a sense of attainment. Then a world of life around me, things to do and over come. The music delights me, the chords seem to echo in me and the running passages by themselves inside my ribs. Now the thing REMINDS me of theatre and gestures, and of people's sorrow I am looking at but not joining in in their lives.

The music again begins to become the only thing I can record chords also again go home inside me. (I think the opening bars must in some way remind me of Berlioz's Faust.}"

ALICE says :

"These single notes arrest attention, then the very poignant pathetic phrase pierces one's heart. After that the liquid running


398 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

movement seems to spread balm over it and the rich chords following bring about almost a sensation of pleasure: then a sweet, rather luscious relapsing into great sadness lightened after a little by delicate fanciful sounds deepening into deeper fuller emotions almost tremulous after that I felt rather disturbed. Almost irritated by the change into something quicker and rippling; and hailed with relief the sort of return to the calmer richer pathos of beginning and the delicate fanciful notes following. Visualised glades and dancing fairies and all the woodland things indulging in an almost Bacchanalian dance confusion, moonlight and night.

II

My own minute and ultra-artificial inventory not only analyses automatically the effects I had summed up as a "very strong emotional character which I am at a loss how to define" so long as I was listening spontaneously and "thinking the phrases rather than anything about them." It also gives a clue to the otherwise less obvious concor dances in the schedules of my fellow-listeners. Thus it is easy to identify my "atmosphere charged with anxiety and drama" ; "agitation, scurry, catastrophe, and hesitation," almost a dialogue "You must." "Must I?" with Violet's "a world of life around me, things to do and overcome," her "reminds me of the theatre and gestures of persons I am looking at but not joining in their lives" ; and with Alice's "After that I felt disturbed and . . . hailed with relief," etc. It is of interest to compare with my explicit denial "no people," while I recognise the expression as "sad, stern, apprehensive, passionate," Violet's being re minded "of the theatre and gestures of persons," and Alice's vision of "indulging in an almost Bacchanalian dance."

Let me also notice that while I insist on "sternness, apprehension, resolve, hesitation, catastrophe," which is presumably what Frances alludes to as "deep sorrow strongly emotional and strongly personal resolve and


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 399

action/ 3 Lindsay, after absorption in purely musical com parisons "How it is being played" speaks only of: "The upliftingness of the first half-dozen bars and the joyous rush (which) makes me very happy," this effect being presum ably what I have called "lyric"; while Alice's "sweet, rather luscious relapsing into great sadness" (without any reference to sternness or resolve) is probably what I meant by "Elysian sadness 55 and "Rather Elysian mixed with sternness and resolve. 53

This comparison with my "microscopic 35 inventory shows a great concurrence in the various Answerers' reactions to this piece. At the same time it shows the difference in their various individual attitudes at the moment. Thus, Lindsay tells us that she plays it herself so finds it very difficult not to devote her entire attention to how it is being played, while Violet says that she is in an anxious humour, and will want to say too much, and is reminded in some bars of Berlioz's Faust \ and Frances, a professional student of music, gives one or two musical details, while Alice, as is usual with her, shows great emotional sensitiveness, which, also as usual, translates itself into visualisation or visual adjectives : "glades, 33 "dancing fairies, 33 "moonlight," "Bac chanalian dance. 35

It is this preliminary difference in attitude which accounts for some of the divergences, individual Answerers catching hold of different suggestions in the same piece of music, while overlooking equally important (and perhaps equally really perceived) points. Indeed I am convinced that what people describe as the "expression/ 3 the "message" or "meaning 33 of a piece of music, may answer merely to some prominent peculiarity which happens to be caught hold of, and committed verbally to memory, other effects being forgotten because they are not thus verbally identified and dwelt upon ; as is the case with Pictrix who says that when she has begun to draw a "musical picture/ 3 she does not continue to attend to the music.


400 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

For what we recollect is considerably a matter of verbal, sometimes of almost fortuitous, verbal selection, even very seemingly spontaneous and self-sufficing visual memories being often started off by the word under which they have been pigeon-holed. So that what people tell us that a piece of music means is to some extent fortuitous, and any con cordance with the account given by their fellow-listeners is therefore only the greater proof that the music in ques tion does produce emotional effects or visual suggestions which are equivalent; in short, that the music has got a character of its own, although that character is differently selected and translated by various "Hearers" and "Lis teners" at various moments. While upon this subject let me return to what I have called the psychology of "As if."

In another set of similar Collective Experiments, those made at Adel Grange, one of the Answerers, Isabella, who was very imaginative but scrupulously accurate, furnished examples in her schedule on the Adagio and Finale of Beet hoven's Waldstein Sonata, her As if becoming even more explicit in its other form of like, viz. : "like the night when it closes on you and rests your eyes. The finale comes like a triumphal burst of sunshine . . . the sky seems very blue and you almost float along with joy." This "with joy" shows the effective origin of the As if, indeed this affective origin is explicit in the additional "you feel as if awaking again to vigour and blue skies."

In the Muirhouse Collective Experiments, re a Brahms Rhapsody, we find Alice using an explicit As if, and also in connection with an "I felt " viz.: "I felt as if I was driving in a four-in-hand," then "as if I was quite young and galloping across endless downs." This As if is a trans lation of an emotional response, for it is preceded by "took me a long time to get into any sort of feeling" ; and it tails off "sadness succeeded and lassitude . . . then some emotion crept in, rather pleasing melancholy sensation rising into something more active, but very vague till the galloping


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 401

movement returned." And in the same set of experiments we get Violet, an unusually many-sided, perhaps because unusually attentive Answerer, furnishing unasked an im portant distinction between such As ifs and true visual associations, with her : "I feel as if day were breaking and mists rolling away and I must push on to brighter, happier things," all of which is a metaphorical account of her emotional response to the music; and, on the other hand her "(I) see" (italicised) "gradually mountain-peaks, golden sunshine," from which she doubles back to having "a sense of attainment" (mountain-peaks = attainment).

Such oscillation, indeed such fusion, between emotional conditions and visual imagery are, of course, essential parts of all literary, especially all poetic processes. And they are, no doubt, frequently effectuated by a conscious, a delibe rate or a merely implied As if or It is like, based upon an explicit or implicit "I feel." Indeed, these Collective Experiments, though directed to musical phenomena, might shed considerable light upon the processes by which writers manipulate the mind of readers, and the manner in which individual readers respond.

In the case of music, this process of As if, like all meta phorical and more or less visualising activity, is in reality an irrelevance : it does not, as with literature, help to create the work of art in the responsive mind ; rather it prevents full appreciation of a work of art already created by the musician. For whereas words (except when acting as the rudimentary kind of music called verse] build their struc tures, however vague and shifting, out of material already stored in the reader's memory, musical sounds can be, and are, combined into structures no less definite than those of architecture, and such that all their constituent shapes "the notes and all their relations" require, as all thorough paced "Listeners" tell us, to be duly perceived and com bined in attention, and when thus duly reconstructed in the activity of "following," can give that sui generis inde-

cc


402 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

scribable and all-sufficing "greatest happiness/ 3 which, as some of the Questionnaire answers have put it, can only be called the "Emotion of Music."

These general remarks will, I think, be sufficient to suggest what is at the bottom both of the concordances and the divergences in individual responses to the same piece, or at all events of what individuals deem sufficiently important for them to mention.

We will continue to point out these concordances and divergences as they appear in connection with various com posers, and having begun with Mozart, we will go on with him, but with Answerers, except myself, other than those of the previously reported Collective Experiment.

Of the Answerers (at Adel Grange, near Leeds) two, the sisters Bessie and Isabella, were among the exceptionally musical "Listeners" who answered my Questionnaire in the sui generis, "Emotion of Music 53 sense. Another Answerer, Herbert, was a decided "Listener" averring that "the form, the form alone, is eloquent/ 5 but apt to temper this view with references to ethical merits; finally Emilia was a highly gifted painter and quasi-dramatist : it was she who said: "We will forget the Gorgon's head. 33 And it is for the speedier introduction of the "Gorgon's head" that I allow myself to reverse the order of the movements of the Mozart Sonata in A minor, and begin with its Presto :

Of this, ISABELLA says :

"Full of tragedy and then a sudden relief but Mozart is too searching and full of wonder to me, especially this movement, to be quite described"

HERBERT says :

"Again I am impressed by the truthfulness and sincerity of the same beautiful nature, and the sense that the form, the form alone, is eloquent"

(Slow movement of the same Sonata.) "The deeper, more earnest, feel of the same nature, controlled and restrained by beauty of form?*


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 403

EMILIA says :

"We WILL forget the Gorgon's head, but no, we never can. Well then, we will go on and on and,, in so going on, we will trample down fear"

BESSIE says :

"It pierces one musically by the large tragicness of it"

VERNON says :

"Too beautiful even to have to think what it expresses. It just is. / can, however, distinguish urgency, tragic agitation, a certain eighteenth-century well-bred simplicity, and then suddenly an im pression of the skies opening, exquisite, pastoral; then it pulls up into a kind of reserved and voulu politeness, then tragic agitation. Total effect quite wonderful. All one can say (besides beautiful, interesting, energetic, tender) is 'lyric* "

Let us analyse and compare these schedules.

Of the five listeners, three use the word "tragic" or "tragedy."

BESSIE. "The large tragicness of it."

ISABELLA. "Full of tragedy."

VERNON. "Tragic agitation."

While Emilia speaks of a "Gorgon's head" ("we will forget the Gorgon's head, but no, we never can") the "Gorgon's head" being evidently connected with the "tragedy." She dramatises the situation, continuing: "Well then, we will go on and on, and in so going trample down fear." There is nothing in the three others corresponding with the "trampling" nor with the element of determina tion of the "we will go on and on," unless it is Vernon's "urgency." But it rather seems as if Emilia had merely developed the dramatic situation and left the musical ex pression behind, especially as she entirely overlooks Isa bella's element of "sudden relief," which corresponds with Vernon's "suddenly an impression of the skies opening." Perhaps having started on an active dramatisation, this element of "relief" is expressed in the forgetting "the Gor gon's head," although she goes on "but no, we never can."


4 04 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Emilia takes the musical expression as a mere starting-point for a literary creation of her own, and makes no attempt to return to the music or describe it. This starting off on her own explains the processes leading to her occasional musical "visions" suggesting pictures.

Three "Listeners" concur in a purely aesthetic account.

Isabella says: "too searching and full of wonder to be quite described"; Bessie: "It pierces me musically 55 ; and Vernon: "too beautiful even to think what it expresses it just is. . . . Total effect quite wonderful. All one can say (besides beautiful, interesting, energetic, tender) is 'lyric.' " Vernon, however, mentions "a certain eighteenth-century well-bred simplicity . . . reserved, voulu politeness exquisite, pastoral."

This unwillingness to depart from Isabella's musical "wonder" and Bessie's "piercing quality" culminates in Herbert's "the form, the form alone, is eloquent." But his reference to the "truthfulness and sincerity of the (Mozart's) beautiful nature" is his attempt at development, in feeble contrast to Emilia's spontaneous dashing off to her own dramatic creation. I must mention that Emilia, besides being a symbolical painter, was a writer and reciter of dramatic monologues.

After this analysis, we can take the movements of that Mozart A minor Sonata in their natural order, beginning with the opening Allegro.

ISABELLA says :

"JVb distinct outside emotion. I was entirely thinking of the various positions of the air in combination with the other parts.

Extreme cheerfulness and delicacy, and a happy sense of com pleteness, as if no more is required to be said the world complete and round."

EMILIA says :

"Sudden determination. A person determined to get through it alt: 9


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 405

HERBERT says :

"The frank, sincere, spontaneous, untroubled gaiety of a fine character."

VERNON says :

"Agitation, something rather tragic impending, heroic energy and determination. Passages of comparatively light heart-break, not anguish"

Of the four Answerers, Isabella was entirely thinking of the musical details, but felt "extreme cheerfulness and delicacy, and a happy sense of completeness/' and illus trated this with an As if, such as she had given us in a previous connection,, "As if no more is required to be said the world complete and round" ; this is probably not a true visual image, but a verbal illustration.

Emilia, the Answerer who had dramatised her impres sions ("We will forget the Gorgon's head," etc.) at first mentioned "endless determination" (probably allied to Isabella's "sense of completeness") which she immediately personified and dramatised as follows : "A person determined to get through it all."

Herbert, who had shown some tendency to notice moral qualities in other pieces of music, turned Isabella's "happy sense of completeness," etc., and Emilia's "person deter mined to get through it all" into "the frank, sincere, spon taneous, untroubled gaiety of a fine character." This is appreciation in personal and moralising terms, but not a dramatisation nor even a personification.

Vernon did not get beyond expressiveness without any kind of references or development : "agitation, something rather tragic impending, heroic energy," etc. This does not go beyond the music itself.

Then comes the middle, or slow movement.

Here we find Isabella saying : "Such intense happiness at the extraordinary, as well as the searching, beauty of the whole thing, harmonies and all, that it is like trying to describe one's soul Can't do it."


4 o6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Then EMILIA: "Relief after some soul tragedy, but it is a sort of sad relief because the remembrance of the spiritual earthquake, so to speak, has altered life and a sort of spiritual reasoning runs on through it of arguing against the late terror."

Then VERNON: "It seems to me, first, that I interrupt all musical pleasure in attempting to follow its expression. Secondly, this expression is fluctuating and varies almost from passage to passage. The initial part has what I can only call the Mozart vague poignancy and pathos. Then there is agitation, even a degree of threatening perhaps. Also light and graceful passages. Often a distinct bracing up, reserve, refusing to surrender to emotion. The whole utterly indefinable."

Finally BESSIE : "Even more pathetic and beautiful wonderful musically"

Thus, of the four Answerers, three are chiefly aware of the beauty. Bessie's "beautiful wonderful musically/ 5 Isa bella's "such intense happiness at the extraordinary, as well as the searching, beauty of the whole thing, harmonies and all, that it is like trying to describe one's soul Can't do it." Vernon almost echoes this last remark: "It seems to me that I interrupt all musical pleasure in attempting to follow its expression," but does make the attempt saying "this expression is fluctuating and varies almost from pas sage to passage. The initial part has what I can only call the Mozart vague poignancy and pathos." This poignancy and pathos is what Isabella calls the "searching beauty," and Bessie describes as "even more pathetic." But while Bessie stops at "wonderful musically" and Isabella com pares the attempt with "trying to describe one's soul," Vernon goes on "then there is agitation, even a degree of threatening perhaps ; also light and graceful passages. Often a distinct bracing up, reserve, refusing to surrender to emotion." But Vernon, like Isabella, ends off "the whole utterly undefinable." However, in all this concurrence, there is the fundamental difference of attitude, Isabella being, subjective, "like trying to describe one's soul," while Vernon


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 407

remains firmly objective, never departing from the analysis of the piece.

This reference to her own soul or to "life," implying something inner (hence her adjective "intimate") will appear in two subsequent answers of Isabella on two Beethoven fragments, Waldstein and Op. 10, 3. It is a distinguishing feature of her answers.

In Emilia, the reference to human affairs already lurking in Isabella becomes complete, with the difference of being dramatically objectified : she gives a little consecutive drama- argument : "Relief after some soul-tragedy, but it is a sort of sad relief," which she feels bound, as a dramatist or narrator would be, to explain : "because the remembrance of the spiritual earthquake, so to speak, has altered life and a sort of spiritual reasoning runs on through it, arguing against the late terror." The "spiritual earthquake" is Ver- non's "agitation, even a degree of threatening perhaps." The "sad sort of relief" is Vernon's "vague poignancy and pathos." The "spiritual reasoning as of arguing against the late terror" is Vernon's "often a distinct bracing up, reserve, refusing to surrender to emotion." Note that while Vernon, describing the music, stresses the "fluctuation and varying almost from passage to passage," Emilia puts the things into temporal narrative sequence with a "because," and "against," and a. past tense, a reference to something previous "the remembrance of the spiritual earthquake has altered life." Thus Emilia does not describe either the music like Vernon nor her own reactions to it like Isabella, but goes to what is presumably her own past experience for a dramatic equivalent to it. She comes very near to that which I have called elsewhere "reminiscence," while the more musical Isabella keeps to an "intimate" present.

Keeping to the same Answerers, we will go on to Beet hoven, with whom we expect a greater appeal to the emotions and to the metaphorical and visualising activities. The piece is the Waldstein Sonata, Op. 53, Adagio and Finale,


4 o8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

and the Answerers are led off by an additional Answerer, whose schedule is anonymous.

This person says :

"Conveys no definite impression to me outside pure musical enjoy ment of a high kind. The music is, of course, tragic in character with a serene nobility which overcomes the sadness"

BESSIE says :

"Musically I love it. A great questioning How will it be? How will it all be? It comes a little sad, a little joyful grows more and more crowded, sadder, larger wonderful, great and splendid"

HERBERT says :

"A sense of mystery, afterwards resolved into quiet content and serenity, undisturbed by any currents of trouble or anxiety flowing beneath it"

ISABELLA says :

"-4 deep calm and peace, but dark like velvet. Very gentle, and most infinitely soothing and refreshing, like the night when it closes on you and rests your eyes. The finale comes like a triumphant burst of sunshine and life you feel as if awaking again to vigour and blue skies. The sky seems very blue and you almost float along with

jy"

VERNON says of the Adagio :

"Difficult to say more than subdued and languid, vaguely sad and monotonous to end."

Of the Rondo:

"Sort of fine weather larks singing impression, then a kind of sylvan Waldhorn business (perhaps because of Waldstein?) then Kermesse with gigantic stampede"

These schedules contain the following concordances and divergences :

Bessie's "great questioning How will it be? How will it all be?" (the notion of questioning recurs in Bessie's schedule on Beethoven, Op. 10, 3: possibly a personal attitude, uncertainty having been perhaps her kind of tragedy), coin cides with Herbert's "sense of mystery, trouble or anxiety


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 409

flowing beneath," only Herbert, as usual, sums It up as an objective mental situation.

There is no questioning element in Anonymous, to whom the Sonata "conveys no definite impression outside pure musical enjoyment of a high kind," adding "the music is, of course, tragic in character, with a serene nobility which overcomes the sadness." This is evidently a summing up of the whole piece, since we are told that the "serene nobility" gets the better of the "sadness."

Bessie, on the other hand, takes it as a sequence, but stops short of the "overcoming" : "It comes a little sad, a little joyful grows more and more crowded, sadder, larger"; and she ends off with "wonderful, great and splendid."

Isabella finds no "questioning" : on the contrary "a deep calm and peace, but dark like velvet, very gentle and most infinitely soothing and refreshing, like the night when it closes on you and rests your eyes," and she separates the two acts and insists on the Finale coming "like a triumphant burst of sunshine and life you feel as if awaking again to vigour and blue skies. The sky seems very blue and you almost float along with joy." This insistence on the Finale recurs with Vernon, and concords "Rondo: sort of fine weather larks singing; then a kind of sylvan Waldhorn (per haps because of Waldstiin?}"

Evidently the various Answerers have snatched at dif ferent moments in the piece, Bessie's attention becoming purely musical when she has done with the "questioning," the "a little sad, a little joyful" part; Herbert summing up the whole in a moralist's formula; Isabella symbolising her own feelings quasi-visually with her "blue sky." Only Vernon notices the "Kermesse with gigantic stampede," un less this is alluded to in Bessie's "great and splendid," which would otherwise be a purely musical judgment.

On the whole, there is perfect concordance regarding emotional character, with divergence as to what is indivi dually noticed, and a note of aversion, perhaps, in Vernon's


410 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

"difficult to say more" (of the slow movement) "than subdued and languid, vaguely sad and monotonous."

We now come to the slow movement of Beethoven's D major Sonata, Op. 10, 3. And we will begin with Emilia's schedule because it contains much of what is said by the other Answerers, with the addition of her usual splendid rhetoric and some if I may say so mystical farrago :

"One must again refuse to define as in other music because Beethoven does not call up to me visions of Might or such but he calls up the things of which Night and such are the symbols. He walks among the deep invisibles. For this reason one can some times also, if tired, listen as it were musically, because the real consideration of him brings one into too strenuous spiritualities. His chords have an extraordinary power of sounding the spiritual depths. 1 It is a mistake to endeavour to put Beethoven into words. The chords are in too intimate connection with soul fibres to bear analysis. The colour is so rich and subtle it helps to distract the word-mind, The pleasure in listening to the sounds musically is also so great, that also distracts. I should refuse to translate this into words. It is like speaking of the deep abysmal Things which can never be translated into sensuous words."

Then the Anonymous Answerer :

C 7 can only say that it seems to treat of the highest, human issues in the grandest manner and with exalting emotional effect."

Then Bessie, similarly reduced to quasi-speechless- ness:

"/ cannot put in any words the feeling of this music it seems one great solemn expression of everything questioning, answering and enduring"

Isabella is only a little less speechless :

"Very tragic and very stirring so much so that one cannot put it down into words. There seem to be some rays of comfort, but the end is tremendously tragic but it is not tragedy I can put into words, it seems too intimate, like life itself"

1 Cf. the American Essayist's account of Beethoven, in Introduction to "Dionysiacs," p. 230.


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 4

Herbert, as usual, is respectful but explicit :

"The solemnity of deep tragic sorrow in a spirit almost broken by despair, yet illumined by furtive gleams of hope and fighting on with noble endurance: but the deep grief is always there and all but conquers"

Vernon is thoroughly explicit, but (I am ashamed to say) quite insufficiently respectful :

"A series of shading of the same quality of gloom., rather tene- breux, i.e. Byronic, attitude, to my mind rather lacking in reserve, no attempt to hide it or mitigate it. What touches me most is the brief interlude with a very vocal cantabile cadence, which is a little off the gloom and is poignant, which none of the rest is to me."

However, the most obvious concordance is between Emilia's very fine "he calls up the things of which Night is the symbol" and Vernon's horribly crass "shadings of the same quality of gloom."

This "gloom" becomes Isabella's "very tragic but with some rays of comfort," and Herbert's "solemnity of deep tragic sorrow . . . yet illumined by furtive gleams of hope," Emilia's "Night" being the visualisation of this moral dark ness and its "gleams." So far perfect concordance; and, in the two last, a double concordance in "gleams." Herbert de velops the theme in his usual human-ethic way: "tragic sorrow in a spirit almost broken by despair yet illumined by further gleams of hope and fighting on with noble en durance : but the deep gulf is always there and all but conquers."

These "developments," which I have emphasised in Her bert's answer concord with the Anonymous Answerer's "I can only say that it seems to treat of the highest human issues in the grandest manner and with exalting emotional effect," and this less-developed, more subjective ("exalting emotional effect") shrinks into something even more sub jective and less humanly objectified in Bessie's "I cannot put in any words the feeling of this music. It seems one great solemn expression of everything, questioning, answer ing and enduring."


4i2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Bessie has added the "question and answer" element, left out the "hope," also substituted "enduring" for Herbert's "fighting" and "all but conquering." Isabella takes up the "too intimate" used by Emilia: "It is not tragedy I can put into words, it seems too intimate, like life itself," which points to the overwhelming subjective feeling of sorrow. Only Vernon writes differently and in a spirit of recog nition of the expression but slight aversion to its manifes tation: "A rather tembreux, i.e. Byronic, attitude, to my mind rather lacking in reserve, no attempt to hide it or mitigate it." And this is shown to be connected with lack of musical satisfaction in the piece by her postscript : "What touches one most is the brief interlude with a very vocal cantabile and cadence, which is a little off the gloom and is poignant, which none of the rest is to me."

Perfect concordance throughout: "gloom," "tragedy" and "sorrow," which three (Bessie, Isabella and Emilia) make their own intimate feeling; Herbert and Anonymous contemplate with sympathetic reverence; and Vernon re cognises with a slight aversion.

Finally, let me point out that two thorough-paced "Lis teners," Bessie and Isabella, both say they cannot put their feeling into words ("it is too intimate"), while Emilia, after saying much the same, goes on to lots of words, and very fine words, about "Night," "deep invisibles" and "spiritual depths." Herbert and the Anonymous Answerer, also both "Listeners," are, however, objectively human in their re marks, and Vernon is more so in that derogatory adjective "tenebreux, i.e. Byronic."

Returning to the Muirhouse Collective Experiments, of which we have seen some results on a Mozart Fantasia, I will now give some on Chopin.

This composer affords greater concordances and diver gences, having apparently a more individual appeal than the two "Classics." This is already evident in his treatment by the Adel Answerers who were remarkably concordant


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 413

about Mozart and Beethoven; so that before going on to Muirhouse, I may as well give some specimens of these Adel divergences about Chopin.

For instance, speaking of that composer's Scherzo in C sharp minor, while Herbert characterises it as "music of an excitable., passionate., overwrought kind, marked by a kind of strange religiosity, the whole combined into an odd, weird species of charm" Isabella calls it "rather common-place; a great deal of emotion which seems not warranted: a little common, almost vulgar" and Vernon even goes so far as to say: "Heavy blusterousness extreme monotony and occasional solemnity, coming after clatter and yapping of constantly recurring descending scales. Except a sort of faux brutal violence and rather theatrical solemnity, I can find no character except a physical one. It suggests, not a drama, but possibly some watery catastrophe rather badly repre sented. Analysis quite easy because no musical interest." And Bessie adds : "Chopin is so difficult to me. Generally this one leaves me cold, though I feel it is agitating, with a calmer note combining"

However, Herbert's "strange religiosity" recurs (though quite without what he calls "odd, weird charm") in Isa bella's "kind of dramatic religiousness . . . unreal and a little common, almost vulgar"; and is evidently alluded to in Vernon's "rather theatrical solemnity." But this, on the other hand, becomes for the highly dramatic and visualising Emilia (she who said "We will forget the Gorgon's head") "figures dancing in terror in the dark, under huge, awesome trees. Some great Power compels them to it by the heavy chords"

Another Chopin Nocturne in G major comes off no better at the hands of these very "Mozart-Beethoven" Answerers.

Thus HERBERT says :

"The emotion seems to me quite sincere though not very deep. It is tender and delicate, almost dainty. It gives aesthetic pleasure of what may be called the second order"

ISABELLA says :

"Very sweet, rather heavily so, and unreal. The disturbance in


414 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

it and the sometimes rather superficial quality stand to demoralise the listener. There seems so little in the piece except what is con ventional"

BESSIE says :

"This is always a little wearisome to me because I can't enter into it, though it feels to me very complete. It is charming in a way I can't understand"

VERNON says :

"Banal beginning; wistfulness; romantical passionateness, not at all convincing. A sort of made-up romance, false water, false boats, false sentiment; musically not without charm"

But the imaginative Emilia translates the "charm" into "blue sky came out of somewhere," adding, without any transition, "And there was a great crowd of them, but no one would say it and no one would get on," a dramatisation which I have italicised as very characteristic.

Chopin gets the same grudging treatment from one of this group of Answerers (Vernon), on another occasion:

"Purling, perhaps slightly sad, or gently pensive at beginning. Then emphatic and rather theatrical. Then again impression of purling as of water with a rather meaningless reiteration of bass. The second theme of the theatrical rocking-horse sort. Utterly un interesting."

After these discrepant judgments, we go on to the Muir- house experiments on four Chopin Preludes. First Prelude. Vernon (the only Answerer of the Adel set) says, much as at Adel:

"Languid and monotonous, drowsy (but I am drowsy) slightly lyric burst. Dies away vaguely, not much interest."

ALICE says :

"So beautiful that it seemed almost impossible to get out of the exquisite sensation of enjoyment. So piercingly sad, resigned and courageous and always so rich and lovely"

LINDSAY says :

"A sensation as of reclining on soft, fleecy clouds, too languorous to make any exertion. Then a feeling of trying to screw oneself


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 4.15

to do something, but failing in the attempt and relapsing into laziness once more."

VIOLET says :

"Great loveliness, but rather luxurious sadness,, and memories of delicious times past. The music is a little affected now and then, but very harmonious."

Here we get the following concordances :

Vernon's "languid and monotonous" "drowsy" "dies away vaguely."

Lindsay's "Reclining on soft, fleecy clouds" "too lan guorous to make exertion" "relapsing into laziness."

Violet's "rather luxurious sadness and memories of delicious times."

Other and different phrases are evidently alluded to by Alice: "so piercingly sad, resigned and courageous"; Lind say : "then a feeling of trying to screw oneself to do some thing and failing in the attempt." Alice's "courageous" is Lindsay's "trying to screw oneself to do something." Alice's "resigned" is Lindsay's "failing in the attempt."

Chopin Prelude 2.

VIOLET says :

- "Suddenly visualise stone winding staircase and some one walking up to a very agitating interview; sadness waits there"

VERNON says :

"Better musically. But monotonous and drowsily sweet. Some kind of Gluck reminiscences make one think it (wrongly) Elysian. Am half asleep"

ALICE says :

"Similar feelings as at the first, but less of poignant anguish and more of resignation"

LINDSAY says :

"Similar feeling to No. i"

Here we get a certain, though imperfect, concordance between Violet's "very agitating interview; sadness waits there," and Alice's "less of poignant anguish and more of resignation." Moreover, out of four Answerers, three


4i6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

concur in harking back to the impressions of the previous piece. Two actually say "similar feeling 55 to No. i. The divergence is in Violet's visualisation of the winding stair case and Vernon's "Gluck reminiscences."

Chopin Prelude 3.

LINDSAY says :

"JVb distinct impression of No. 3. Everything rather blurred and muddly"

ALICE says :

"Tumults, upheavals and rapid movements without adequate cause or result"

VERNON says :

"Relief at quick, noisy movement. Thought of thunder. Decidedly enjoyable rumblings."

VIOLET says :

"Musical drama but cart describe it."

Concordance between Alice's "tumults, upheavals and rapid movements without adequate cause or result/' and Violet's "musical drama but can't describe it," and Ver non's "quick, noisy movement; thought of thunder. Decidedly enjoyable rumblings." With "can't describe it" and "with out adequate cause or result," compare Lindsay's "every thing rather blurred and muddly."

Chopin Prelude No. 4.

LINDSAY says :

"A tremendous feeling of grandeur and dignity } as of the strains of some great organ in a huge building. Very solemn and impressive"

VIOLET says :

"Wonderfully poignant chords, intensely emotional and bracing in the martyr sense. Know it very well"

ALICE says :

"Most satisfactory and satisfying after No. 3. Felt much strengthened and very grateful to the composer"

VERNON says :

"Visualisation of a Bocklinish picture which I have never .seen. Attention tvanders. I like, but am not taken by it"


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 417

Here we find a concurrence between Lindsay's "tremen dous feeling of grandeur and dignity/ 3 "very solemn and impressive 5 ' and Violet's "intensely emotional in the martyr sense." Also the semi-religious suggestion of Alice's "felt much strengthened and very grateful to the composer/ 3 with Lindsay's "as of the strains of some great organ in a huge building/' becomes clear in Violet's "wonderfully poignant chords" and her "martyr sense." Divergence in Vernon's "visualisation of a Bocklinish picture."

Ill

Before giving my most recent (and doubtless last) Col lective Experiment, and then passing on to the generalisa tions to be drawn from all this kind of evidence, let me give some answers on two more romantic, or at least, more modern-spirited composers, Liszt and Brahms, for they seem to show that while the sui generis musical emotion, as in the Adel notes on Mozart, checks interpretation and conduces to a concordance of deeply-felt preference ; here there results variety of personal interpretation, if not divergence, from what I have called elsewhere the "Powers of Sound/' 1 which play a greater and greater part almost from the end of the eighteenth century onwards. These answers seem to show, moreover, that when music fails to be sufficient in itself or when it is imperfectly grasped or antipathetic to the in dividual Answerer, this absence of the sui generis delight in music, tends to let loose metaphorical processes and personal references : there is an output of verbal suggestions or of visualisations and of such implied comparisons as we make use of in other matters to express personal liking and especially personal dislike. Thus about a composition of Liszt's (unfortunately un-

1 I.e. Volume, timbre and rhythm affecting nerves, muscles and emo tions, without much discriminative perception and coordination of intervals, modulation, harmony and accent*

DD


4I 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

specified) one Answerer gives a series of purely musical appreciations: "Near the beginning, three or four chords pleased me enormously, rather a nice bit in the middle, tailed off again at the end" but having summed up "Don't care much for it" adds the following comparison: "Very monotonous and noisy as of someone banging the poker and tongs together" A similarly musical appreciation (or condemnation) "poor not interesting, very poor sentimental waltz sentimental trash trash!" contains the following non-musical items : "For a moment I visualise some sort of amphitheatre. . . . Noisy thunder and lightning senseless storm . . . thoughts divagate. I see an old Park / think of bells"

Whereas a third Answerer plunges at once after "Did not grasp this" into visualisations: "A dancer (solo}; a crowd of other performers who clap and stamp at given intervals. . . . (Some one] passes the hat round. (They) disperse. Now comes the senti mental singer with chorus" and ends up "Music Hall" This comparison which is an abbreviated As if or Reminds me of, is evidently the starting-point for the whole dramatising visualisation which is itself quite analogous to Emilia's poetical paraphrases and music pictures of other Answerers, with the difference that the latter Answerers give such substitutes for musical impression in the case of music which they do not regard as "trash," indeed whose pro duction of such surrogates in their minds is regarded by them as a proof of its greatness.

Compare with these unfavourable appreciations of that Liszt piece the following three notes on a Brahms Rhapsody beginning with this one which testifies to some difficulty in following or grasping the musical meaning: "A thousand thoughts seethed through my head, but it was all too incoherent to write about. Decided feeling of pleasure, delight in the rhythm and music" which delight in the music evidently overcomes the "thousand thoughts/ 5 making them "incoherent" and "seething"; very much as another Answerer, Emilia, told us that the beauty of the music interfered with her grasping its meaning*


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 419

The next note on the same Brahms Rhapsody is far more musically appreciative. There is no visualisation and no metaphor of any kind ; the As if refers to emotional quali ties which, however much referred to human beings, are nevertheless intrinsic to the music, which is characterised as "very intimate, human and persuasive." And conse quently the As if remains emotional : "It seems as if the composer were passing through phases of intimacy, misunderstanding, illumination, courage, persistence and, in the end, acquiescence to some not very splendid solution or perhaps a very seemingly splendid solution to a not very important problem." In fact, this Answerer, whose attentive descriptive paraphrase reveals a "Listener, 5 * is furnishing that particular piece of music with a set of words, whereas Emilia furnishes a piece of music with an elaborate illustrated cover showing one single suggestion.

The third note on the Brahms Rhapsody is without any As ifs. We are told what the music is and does : "rippling treble steady bass the melody bounding" also that the music is "full of brightness as well as a sort of almost solemn stateliness" ; and we are told the Answerer's reactions to the music: "7 like this very much; it is dainty and one is finely tuned up to receive it." Compare with this literal and objective account of the music and its listener, the following answer, where the same piece and the same effects in and of it are draped though not disguised by a highly emotional and highly personal Answerer: "Singing birds in a bright exhilarating morning when one awakes full of life and anticipations of pleasure; thoughts . . . tinged with sadness follow. Then a rushing feeling of hope and joy followed by sweet peaceful pleasure; and the music again resumes its exhilarating nature and sweeps one away with it; but one returns to the sweet sadness for a moment or so, but will not have much of it, and goes back to delicate joys and singing of birds and happiness, and then into peace and rest with a fullness of content and a burst of passionate gratitude"

What the previous Answerer, about whose identity I am not certain, calls "dainty brightness," becomes to the second


420 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

one, Alice, the personal experience of a "bright exhilarating morning/* with "anticipations of pleasure" which are turned into "singing of birds" ; "almost solemn stateliness" attri buted by the one Answerer to the music is, if I may coin the expression, personalised by Alice as "thoughts tinged with sadness," and similarly the "melody which comes bounding" becomes human in Alice's "rushing feeling of hope." In fact, what the Anonymous Answerer speaks of as the character and proceedings of the music, is trans formed by Alice into a purely human little drama, knowing nothing about "melody" or a "treble" or a "steady bass," indeed such that only the heading "A Brahms Rhapsody" is there to tell us that it was produced by a musical com position. On the other hand, while Alice employs the vague pronoun "one" as protagonist of what is obviously her own little human drama, the Anonymous Answerer says quite simply "I like this very much," and excellently defines the reciprocity of music and listener by the additional remark "one is finely tuned up to receive it." This intensely musical response, so clearly realised for what it is, becomes some thing very personal in Alice, viz : "a burst of passionate gratitude."

Gratitude expressed by the music, or gratitude for the music? Both, no doubt. But it is this very human Alice who, speaking of a Chopin prelude, had told us she is "much strengthened and gratefiil to the composer." An obiter dictum which sheds light upon the process by which the character of the music is (probably gratuitously) identified with the character of its composer; so that while Tchaikowsky's Symphony is regarded by one Answerer as evidence of "a rather feeble ego-centred personality," Beethoven is uni versally written about not as he is shown in his letters and his Heiligenstadt Testament, but as if he were speaking in the Arietta, the Cavatina, nay, in the chorus (plus the words which are Schiller's) of the gth Symphony,

The latest and last of my Collective Experiments the


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 421

one made in Florence in June, 1926, seemed at the first glance less instructive than its predecessors, partly because the pieces performed were either too familiar or too utterly unfamiliar to some of the party, and (as this implies) this party was made up of persons far too widely apart in musical development. But in the course of careful analysis, it became evident to me that this hotch-potch of answers, this scratch assembly of Answerers, their degrees of fami liarity with the music varying from an "I always" to utterly baffled inattention, may represent a wide average of that personal experience which is embodied in the world's general view of music, and represent also that general view's decided worthlessness, or at all events utter per- functoriness, although the habit (which runs through all our lives) of finding something when we really haven't anything, to say, does nevertheless result in a good deal of what crystallises as "opinion" and "judgment." However, though I suspect some of the visualisations to be due to this need of finding something to say, yet the something actually said, even if it might never have occurred spon taneously, does reveal an association of thoughts, an equiva lence of impressions, which is natural and intelligible. In other words, though the "meaning" might never otherwise have been attributed to the music, yet the "meaning" attributed by these various people has an unmistakable core of similarity. For instance, unexpected as it appears at first to find a Bach Prelude and Fugue (No. 13) thought of in connection with a "Fragonard picture, some gracefully- reclining woman preparing to deep in bushes and grass; fairies and gnomes passing by to look at her" ; and almost incompre hensible when we get to three further additional charac terisations of the same piece, the four descriptions turn out to have common elements which make their reference to that music less puzzling. "Blue sea rippled by fresh wind, very pure and full of life deeper and more intense blue" Same piece "Beautiful lace-work. Vague . . . horsemen galloping under trees


422 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

patches of sunshine, lace-work of the tms""a meadowful of flowers and children playing and calling to each other" "a very faint thought (not vision) of fan-flirting and minauderie." The "blue rippled sea/ 9 etc., and the "lace-work of the trees 55 evidently refer to the same item of feeling as the "meadowful of flowers and the playing children" ; the "gaiety 55 turning to slight frivolity corresponds with "fan-flirting and minauderie" and this decided eighteenth-century association develops to the utmost in the "Fragonard picture. 35 The visualisation however different its objects, is obviously suggested by the same emotional recognition, although to some Answerers there is "gaiety and serenity," to others "gaiety" plus a certain eighteenth-century frivolity ("fan-flirting"). So that, on the whole, these four answers, at first sight rather in congruous both with Bach and each other, are more to the purpose than the pronouncement of another Answerer who, refusing to ascribe anything to these two particular pieces guards herself behind the general statement about Bach's music "raising your spirit to elevated spheres 5 ' which the other answers show not to have been the case on this occasion.

I will now give the complete set of answers, written as usual during performance and absolutely independently, by my Florence Answerers about the Beethoven Trio, Op. 97, 1 the slow movement of the Mozart String Quartet in C major, and a Chopin Nocturne.

The Beethoven Trio consists of four distinct movements.

Concerning the ist movement :

BERTA B. says point-blank :

"Can't get the hang. But I like the room to listen to music in"

H. H. says :

c< My childhood in London when I constantly heard old Joachim play this. Constructive order and regulated life with interlude of relaxation and lighter thought. The mingling of various threads of

1 Four-hand piano arrangement, only a couple of pages of each move ment. * . .


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 423

life, gay and sweetly sad, into one definite pattern governed by individual will"

K. VON H. says :

"Cannot help thinking I heard it played by Buonamici and played it myself. Cannot help analysing (i.e. musically}. Serene, calm, resulting from a beautiful pure soul, serene despite moral sufferings. When you know much about the personality who created such music, you cannot help feeling it through every note. I forget everything else in the world and about me, and feel all the depth, sadness and mirth of the music. I feel, I do not think"

ELENA K. says :

"Old memories turn up, having heard it when I was very young. Vague longing for isolation in a sunny jield. 'Jean-Christophe.' 1 / wonder what opus it is"

E. DE R. says :

"Procession stately and slow."

BONA G. says :

"Acting (i.e. private theatricals] when a child and my friends at that age. Buonamici" (the pianist mentioned by K. von H. as having played this trio) "and his lessons to a little girl friend; the room and his laugh. Going to that same friend early in the morning; her prettiness. Going out together to sketch in Boboli Gardens. Hot June days"

N. DE R. says :

"Always gives me the impression of something noble, calm, a great achievement undertaken by someone, with the strength to carry it through. It is something already achieved"

V. P. says :

"Energy launching out, wind in the sails. Thm * thunders and lightnings'; then 'Jolly Bears dancing* with a few bars of un accountable Sehnsucht a la Mozart. End: mystery. Dominant impression: purely musical except the 'launching out* the dance and the (Mozartiari) Sehnsucht"

FLAVIA F. says :

"Joyousness, poplars. Joy of movement^ renovation, light- 1 Well-known musical novel by Remain Rolland.


424 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

heartedness. Dawning human doubts, but in simple and pastoral souls. Crocuses, green, green, green."

NERI F. says :

"Having only just arrived I find a difficulty in freeing my self from the impressions of the surrounding country and of the room; impressions of peacefulness, country and delightful isolation. The impression is much intensified by the music, diffusing a sense of peace, a trifle sad, but pleasing because full of intensity and sin cerity."

Beethoven Op. 97, 2nd Movement, Scherzo.

BERTA B. says :

"Nothing."

H. H. says :

"Game of Rounders. First energetic and then slackening from fatigue"

ELENA K. says :

"Fresh healthy joy. Rondes d'enfants. 1 Cherry trees in blossom. Le doux cercle familial resonnant de musique. Le bonheur avant Pamour"

MARGARET C. says :

"Same feeling as previous movement, i.e. makes me cheerful to think Beethoven was so joyous and how happy he must have been inside of himself "*

E. DE R. says :

"Dancers cross the road and impede"

BONA G. says :

"Nothing.^

N. DE R. says :

"A dance in which everyone is happy. Single figures come out and join together"

V. P. says :

"Just cheerful^ beautiful, musical intricacy"

1 Note the recurrent idea of youthfulness.

a It is surely possible that this Answerer may have confused the two movements, writing during or after the 2nd movement, while appa rently describing the first. Notice something similar with E. de R., who refers the "dancers'* to the procession.


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 425

FLAVIA F. says :

"Duet between a man and a woman; question and answer. Mutual understanding. Happiness. Hurrah! but always in a pas toral sense"

NERI F. says :

"Greater intensity and sense of life than in the first movement, but always the same sort of ideas"

Beethoven Op. 97, 3rd Movement, Andante.

BONA G. says :

  • Lovely and restful"

H. H. says:

"Sea and moon. The sensation that at last one has reached an atmosphere where the dust and dirt of life cannot touch one. Great buildings and simple churches y where calm is materialised as the result of ordered mind"

K. VON H. says :

"Old remembrances of musical enjoyment. 'Emotioned* by its simplicity and deep feeling. It makes you feel better and somewhat sad."

ELENA K. says :

"Problemes de Fame. Contemplation. High solitary mountains. Religio us feelings. ' '

MARGARET C. says :

"Deep below the surface^ comfort and resignation"

E. DE R. says :

"Chorale booms from the organ through the open doors of the church"

BERTA B. says :

"An avenue of cypresses. Funeral and litanies. Most beautiful chords. Infinite nostalgia and sadness. A picture^ but can't remember by whom"

N. DE R. says :

"A solemn thanksgiving in a church such as Chartres. I hear it in my mind first of all as an organ piece. An impression of many people all united in one idea and a great sense of vastness"


426 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

V. P. says :

"Intensely sad, almost harrowing, with bodily symptom (thereof). The second appearance of the tune is almost more heartbreaking"

FLAVIA F. says :

"Fir-forest. Cathedral. Feeling of elevation and hope. Clouds at sunset. Crowned monarch purple, gold oak-tree. A deep lake.

NERI F. says :

"Greater solemnity. It makes one think confusedly about many essential things, cheerful and sad, but all beautiful. It leaves a vague desire" (nostalgia in Italian text) "to do one's best in every way, with a feeling of faith in its being of some use."

Beethoven, Op. 97. Last Movement.

BONA G. says :

"Nothing."

BERTA B. says :

"Sounds which say nothing to me"

H. H. says :

"Nothing at all"

K. VON H. says :

"People dancing in the country, very gay; some teasing coming in"

ELENA K. says :

"Fanfares joyeux, beaux costumes, soleil"

MARGARET C. says :

"Return to earth and joy"

E. DE R. says :

"Again the dancers"

N. DE R. says :

"The last movement to me begins in a sarcastic vein which goes on until it finally gives way to a mood of exuberant life and good humour."

V. P. says :

"At first not clear to me. Then extreme lightness. Rather a Gassenhauer" (German street song) "rather vulgar"

FLAVIA F. says :

"Happiness^ Nature. Sun(shine). Have done with care and sad ness!"


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 427

NERI F. says :

"Young people (not children] , numerous and merry, playing together. Fishermen singing while drawing in FULL nets. Joy."

The Andante of the Mozart C major Quartet (the one with the famous "cacophonous" introduction) proved almost too unfamiliar and too difficult for experimentation. However, the attempts made are some of them extremely interesting. But not the first two, where K. von H. says : "Mozart makes one think of better times. I can't help thinking of an old gentleman whose ideals were Mozart and Bramante, and of my uncle who hated Mozart. I love him rather as one loves a baby, . . ." but adds: "This piece arouses feelings of tenderness and of sadness which are scarcely Mozartian" Nor Elena K.'s "A slow pro cession. I try not to compare in my mind Mozart and Beethoven. Rather long, a little monotonous. Must be fine played by strings"

N. DE R. says :

"Gives me just the particular musical pleasure of Mozart, with a note of poignancy and sadness"

The less musical Answerers give some metaphorical description of this, no doubt, far too difficult piece :

H. ELsays:

" A Franz Hals type of black-gowned lady reviewing her life and seeing it pass by in PROCESSION." (Stress mine.) "A life that has not had many great or stirring events, yet has had its moments of sustained effort and of some stress. THE BASS PART SUGGESTS TO ME A DEEP ANCHORAGE of character in religion which has pervaded the life" (Stress mine.)

FLAVIA F. says :

"Leisure, ease, dignity, grace vast halls, shining pavements. . . , Beauty, nobility, but alien from our spirit. . . . A vista of columns and beautiful trees. I understand that in it a strong and beautiful humanity is expressing itself, but I can't succeed in understanding it. Peace, calm, nobility, serenity, as a result of maturity. But towards the end, I understand it better; comfort, conviction, faith"

Flavia's interesting attempt to grasp, and final half- grasping (at the pianissimo stretta of the movement) corre-


42 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

spends with Margaret C.'s "effort to force the mind from insistent sadness. Victory of peace and memories of the past," which is evidently symbolised in H. H.'s "black-gowned lady reviewing her lifer These Answerers probably ex perience a sense of harmonic difficulty and intricacy of parts, together with the compulsion of the repetitive rhyth mical figure; hence H. H. is particularly impressed by the bass part (which is prominent in an almost contrapuntal manner) and interprets as a "deep anchorage of character in religion" what is really the harmonic anchorage of the pedal towards the end. And it is no doubt this pedal, indeed the whole repetitive stretta, pianissimo to the sudden end with which Flavia associates "comfort, conviction, faith." There is a remarkable concordance in this sense of half-under stood, sustained effort, of something deep, solemn, veiled, all of which seems called forth by nothing in the least suggestive of human attitudes or intonations.

A Chopin Nocturne gave a result very different from the succis d'estime of that Mozart Quartet. BERTA B. says :

"The joy of hearing it once more! The melody says 'never, never again!' . . . 'Mai piit, mat piii* The enjoyment of notes which speak the same language as I do. Serene, melancholy. Recollections of when I was eighteen. 'Mai piu, mai piii* Of all things this is the one I should most have wished to know how to sing. Bocklin (picture) , dark green water, quiet and silence"

FLAVIA F. says :

"Green and silver. Dark shadows, pleasing but a trifle sugary (dolciastro). / see. a rather conventionalised Venice. Fluid, soft. Through the too great wealth of effects there penetrates sincere feeling"

NERI F. says :

"Indefinable enjoyment, bodily and spiritual; an emotion with impressions of colour and wide spaces, green and sky-blue; songs, waters; infinite harmoniousness without deeper feelings; love in young people; vague but intense emotion"


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 429

K. VON H. says :

"Having no imagination, this suggests no images to me, but various feelings of passion, longing, tenderness, deep love, impatience, etc."

ELENA K. says :

"Flowing water, a stream and green fields, the sweet harmonic resolution (la douce solution) which keeps recurring; appease ment"

H. H. says :

"A perfect Nirvana where every moment of bliss is appreciated and where the moments of struggle . . . serve but to accentuate the restfulness and bliss"

MARGARET C. says :

"Touth and long-lost dear friends; longing and rebellion"

E. DE R. says:

"Barcarolle. Fisher-folk singing as they pull in their nets"

N. DE R. says :

"Is always to me first, water rippling round a boat; then the song of the boatmen taken up by other boats; then just the sea, rippling again; then the song dies away in the distance in the sunset "^

V. P. says :

"Am tired, can't attend, except to the sad theme which catches me, but no heart-breaking as with the Beethoven Trio slow move ment."

BONA G. says :

"An old Russian woman dressed in man's clothes playing Chopin in her study. Listeners squatting round. Her white hair and black velvet. A boat rocking in the moonlight"

This Chopin Nocturne brings into relief an important question which had not been put forward, namely the effect of familiarity in enriching suggestion. For it is obvious that these people knew this piece, some welcomed it as an old favourite, whereas probably only two Answerers had any

1 These two Answerers may have exchanged remarks about this piece on previous hearings.


43 o MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

previous knowledge of the Mozart C major Quartet, and the others' efforts at understanding probably added to its intricate., repetitive and sombre objective quality.

In the case of the Chopin Nocturne there seems to have been no difficulty either in listening or in finding something to say, except with V. P., who was tired and rather hostile to Chopin., and whose capacity for being impressed had perhaps been overtaxed by the tragic quality of the Beet hoven Trio and the (to this Answerer) passionately musical enjoyment of the Mozart Quartet.

With the Chopin Nocturne the concordance was very complete, either as emotional quality: Margaret C.'s "youth and long-lost dear friends/ 3 K. von H.'s "Nirvana where the moments of struggle serve to accentuate the restfulness and bliss." Margaret C.'s additional "rebellion" corresponds to H. H.'s "struggle 55 and K. von H.'s "impatience/ 3 which Elena K. overlooks, fastening upon "appeasement/ 3 while Berta B. plunges into personal regrets and melancholy.

This taking up of different but connected characteristics is probably a sign that certain phrases of the music have caught the individual Answerer and set up a train of thought which hides the other characteristics.

The two most musical of the Answerers, N. de R. and K. von H., attempt a continuous account, or inventory. The least musical and most apparently emotional, Berta B., really speaks only of her own feelings, e.g. her desire to sing the melody.

This concordance on the emotional side is paralleled by a concordance in the visual suggestions :

Berta B.'s "Bocklin picture, dark green water" ; Flavia F.'s "Green and silver, dark shadows"; Neri F.'s "Colour and wide spaces, green and sky blue"; Elena K.'s "Flowing water, a stream in green fields"; E. de R. 9 s "Fisherfolk pulling nets"; N. de R.'s "Water rippling round a boat." And about these visual suggestions, I ought to add that having cross-questioned the three first-named Answerers,


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 431

members of the same family, whether they meant only "it was like" or "it made me think of," they answered, after consultation together, that these were (what psychologists would call) true visual images, things seen in their mind's eye.

Another kind of visual interpretation is given by Bona G/s (a painter) "Old Russian woman dressed in man's clothes playing Chopin in her study," etc. The detail, e.g. "Listeners squatting round. Her white hair and black velvet" shows that this must be a true mental picture. But if differs from the others by not having any emotional correspondence at the bottom of it, indeed any emotional quality discernible. It is probably similar to much literary visualisation, a developing succession of verbal suggestions : Chopin Slav Russian, Chopin George Sand Woman in man's clothes Bohemian party lack of furniture listeners squatting on the floor.

The visual imagery so frequent in these experiments bears out what I have previously had occasion to remark on, the often unsuspected part which such imagery plays in the habitual thinking of a great many persons, helping out and being itself helped out by modes of thought of another, mainly a verbal, kind. From the special point of view of these studies of mine, this goes far to explain the nature and origin of those more or less vague "meanings" and "messages" which music is frequently supposed, and indeed expected, to convey. More important still is the evidence of this visual imagery in my Collective Experiments on a point I am anxious to establish, viz. that such "meanings" can always be traced back to movements actually incor porated in the music and to their allied muscular sensations ; weight, resistance, span (distance apart). Or else to the moods and emotions which, always thanks to movement (but movement indirectly as gesture, attitude and all our audible manifestations of feeling) music incorporates in its structures, calls, commands, hesitations, cries, sobs,


43 2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

etc. To which may be added another, though far rarer, source of "meaning," namely when the degree of harmonic certainty (as in that pedal in the Mozart C major Quartet) or harmonic uncertainty (as in the first bars of the gth Symphony), and perhaps the multiplicity of simultaneous parts requiring rapid attention, as with Bach, set up mental conditions fraught with specific feelings, which in their turn set up by analogy ideas such as anchorage in faith, or primaeval "Chaos and old Night," or that multitudi- nousness in Bach which has often suggested to my mind the Heavenly Hosts of Tintoretto's Paradise.

But, whichever the particular class of such suggestive- ness, the "meaning" ascribed to the music, and the visual image (except when suggested by the mere name, not the notes, like Bona G.'s vision of the old Russian woman playing Chopin), are shown by the Collective Experiments as originating in something which the music makes us feel, or makes us feel as if we were doing. The "making us feel as if we were doing" is, of course, exemplified when the music is a dance ; the Answerer feels a verb and adverb of dancing (lightly or heavily) and adds a nominative "fairies/ 3 "bears," "rondes d'enfants" or merely "dancers." And when the dance is recognised as obsolete, we are apt to get "powder and patches" or "far-away memories," or even, as in an earlier set of experiments a "Victorian lady at a square dance." This earlier set of experiments affords one or two extremely apt examples of such "meanings." Thus, about a Bach passe-pied, Irene answers : "At the beginning I thought of mice running one after another behind the wainscot, also an ant-heap" and explains why in the next sentence : "Great nimbleness and busy-ness" Whether the mice and the ant-heap were seen in the mind's eye or merely thought of in words does not matter: what is certain is that Bach's notes made Irene feel nimble and busy, and no wonder !

The same Bach passe-pied made the next Answerer think of, nay "visualise," "a dark, black-haired, thin Irish fiddler


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 433

dancing on a damp day . . . near an Irish country fair " Here Bach's music is left a good long way off.

But if people are not much interested in the music, and are interested in their Irish reminiscences, why not? Surely one of the blessings of music (as of all art, which exists after all, not to teach what is true nor to inculcate what is good) is that it enables various kinds of hearers to do what makes them a little less dull and less self-engrossed ; if not to live a while in the modes of greatness and beauty, at all events to feel their own feelings, realise their own reminiscences, enact their own little poems or romance, see their own visions, even if only of Irish fiddlers dancing on a damp day, which, for all we know, may stir that individual heart just in the way it most needs to be stirred at that moment. It is no doubt a pity that writers on music, in stead of twitching us by the sleeve with a "now just listen to the next five bars/ 3 or "to this multitudinous piece of counterpoint," or to the "dying fall" of this cadence ; or, most efficaciously, merely "listen to this" ; it is a pity that musical literature should, I venture to say, give us literary substitutes or surrogates, and, so to speak, talk of Irish fiddlers (or gods or God) and leave Bach and his passe-pied behind. But even when given, instead of another Answerer's plain "Beethoven, Op. /<?, which I play by heart: one of his loveliest, tenderest" would you grudge a private person the pleasure it must have been to visualise the following little romantic landscape? "Moonlight in a pool of eucalyptus. (There) arrives one who is thinking out some plot or story. Stops thinking and looks at landscape still haunted by his idea. He walks away in a calmer mood slowly looking over the moonlit sea, on which he sees a tiny boat nearing speedily (with] jiskermen*" Still less, concoctions of visual imagery (the cherry-trees) sentimental reminiscence, drama and even a spice of moralising,, such as we get from K. von H. in my Florence experiments ; and which, if put into poetic form, would make a very nice little poem. Indeed, I am beginning to suspect that one of music's

EE


434 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

great benefactions is that it turns minor people into minor poets, or, at all events, into librettists.

I have been speaking mainly of visual suggestions and how they arise. But this concoction of literary substitutes for music takes place equally on the lines of mere dramatic or narrative irrelevance. We have seen (p. 416) how Alice, though addicted to visualisation, is always on the alert for anything which can be turned into a he, or she, or they. This becomes a more insidious tendency to moralising valuations in Herbert's approbation of Mozart's personality as a man, and in almost everyone else's admiring con dolences with Beethoven's (in real life, by no means) silently supported misfortunes. Similarly among the schedules not given in this chapter, there is one by a well-known novelist who has united the separate items of an inventory of ex pressions like mine on that Mozart Fantasia (p, 396) in such a way as to form a coherent psychological episode. Such a scenario for a kind of Henry James story, is given as the "meaning" of that selfsame Bach passe-pied which had suggested to other Answerers the mice in the wainscot and the fiddler dancing on a damp day, and is summed up as "self-conscious fancy becoming at last self-forgetful" ; the same Answerer adding to the "thoughtless happiness" dis cerned in a certain Beethoven violin sonata, the curious annotation: "Probably not self -conscious, merely spontaneous expression of momentary feeling "

Applying which explanation to this Answerer's own psychological ampliations, we will take leave of the mental processes which furnish music with so much "meaning' 3 and so many "messages" : processes of setting up visual equivalents, verbal associations or dramatic interpretations, and which seem to be part of what Emilia (she of "We will forget the Gorgon's head") very aptly designates as the "Word-Mind."

But far more essential to our subject, is what the Col lective Experiments bring forward as evidence of the


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 435

relation of music to the human and personal element in those who hear it.

In many experiments, most markedly in those at Adel, we get the spontaneous,, unhesitating, recognition of human- emotional (as distinguished from an aesthetic) expression and effects from Answerers who, in reply to the Question naire, had disclaimed or deprecated everything save "just musical" interest and such emotion as results from mere musifcal beauty. Thus about Beethoven, Op. 10, No. 3, Adagio, Bessie says: "Very tragic and very stirring so much so that one cannot put it down into words. There seem to be some rays of comfort, but the end is tremendously tragic, but it isn't a tragedy which I can put into words, it seems so intimate and like life itself." Again Bessie, on the same music : "/ cannot put in any words the feeling of this music. It seems one great solemn expression of everything questioning, answering and enduring." Bessie, re Waldstein Adagio and Allegro : "A great questioning How will it be? How will it all be? It comes a little sad, a little joyful, grows more and more crowded. Sadder larger, won derful and great and splendid"

Note how the aesthetic attitude invariably gets the upper hand in Bessie. Also Isabella, re the same Adagio: "A deep calm and peace, but dark, southern, like velvet. Very gentle and most infinitely soothing and refreshing, like the night when it doses on you and rests your eyes. Thejinale comes like a triumphal burst of sunshine and life. Toufeel as if awakening again to vigour and blue skies. The sky seems very blue, and you almost float along withjqy"

Even these few quotations show sufficiently that "Lis teners" who have answered general queries in the "just music" sense are really quite sensitive to the emotional quality when they are encouraged to attend to it. In normal musical "listening," such sensitiveness to emotional quality is no doubt secondary ; but the Collective Experiment with its direct query about specific expressiveness of this or that piece of music makes such awareness of emotional quality


436 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

primary. What helps also is the resort to verbal explanation with its poverty of musical terms and its wealth of emotional connotations.

Thus I am led to the final summary of what seems es tablished by these Collective Experiments as well as by the answers to the Questionnaire; indeed to the main subject of all these studies. For just as the Questionnaire had been previously, the Collective Experiments were undertaken, not merely from curiosity concerning the effects of music on different individuals, the " varieties of musical expe rience." They were, above all, an attempt to answer a far more general question. This question hitherto involved in the immemorial controversies which started from systematic a priorisms or from unsuspecting but dogmatic assertion of one's own likes and dislikes, is the question of the Expres siveness of Music : Does or can music express human feel ings? Does it awaken in the "Hearer" moods and emotions recognisable as similar to those he may have experienced in real life, but which were not present on this occasion before they were called forth by the music?

Or contrariwise, and in the words of a typical "Listener" and believer in an "Emotion of Music," does music exist on a "totally different," that is to say, a merely aesthetic, plane?

Among the Answerers to the Questionnaire, even those I have distinguished as "Listeners," the majority took the first alternative for granted, as indeed most writers on the subject had taught them to do: music expressed human feelings, nay, such expression was music's especial and (compared with the arts addressing the eye) music's dis tinctive business.

This popular, immemorial, though not undisputed, view is implicit, if not put in so many wofds, in most of the answers to the Collective Experiments; indeed a drawback of such experiments was that they seemed to take for granted the human expression of the music which was being enquired into*


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 437

On the other hand, the Collective Experiments, taking the individual unawares and laying hold of this concrete, single experience, brought up certain kinds of evidence which was not explicit, though occasionally implicit, in the general statements elicited by the Questionnaire; and this evidence adds greatly to the comprehension of the subject, although it may at first sight make it more difficult to decide between a yes and a no.

The first item of such evidence, to which indeed these Collective Experiments were especially directed, concerned first the amount of concordance and of divergence in what the various Answerers said about the same piece of music, its character, its emotional (if any) effect on themselves, and the suggestions, especially visual, which it brought forth. And, secondly, what was far more important, the nature of both concordance and divergence, and the manner in which apparent divergence was often an individual way of stating, or of masking, a concordance. At the first glance the concordances often seemed merely negative. Thus, there are no examples of one Answerer's characterisation of a given piece of music being the absolute reverse, the nega tion, of that given by another, except in the matter of personal preference; I mean that music described by the Answerer as gay, was never described by another as sad, although to one Answerer the gaiety might be delightful cheerfulness, to another frivolity, or clownish heartlessness to a third. Similarly, what awakened in one reverent sym pathy with noble sorrow, might awaken another's distaste for what he called "dismals" and even a suspicion of Byronic pose. Such personal liking or aversion for the particular human character in the music being evidently due to the Answerer's attitude towards such characteristics when met with in real life, proving their recognition in the music rather than casting doubt upon it. And here, having pointed out that the answers were always negatively concordant, in so far that the only sharp contrast was between the An-


438 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

swerer's preference for certain characteristics, but not be tween the characteristics, thus liked or disliked, I have come to the divergences manifested in the answers. These diver gences were therefore between the Answerers, their temper, their ways of reacting to the environment, the nature of their perceptions and memory-images; briefly their more or less visualising, verbal, personal, sympathetic, dramatic, emotional habit of mind ; also their tendency to be literal and stick to the point, or to indulge in metaphor and diva gation. Above all- but of this more anon these divergences making the various schedules so oddly dissimilar at a first glance, were due to differences in the musical interest, attention and enjoyment in various Answerers. So, starting from the negative fact that there were no absolute, no polar differences, no utter incompatibility between the human character attributed by various Answerers to the same music and adding to this, the positive fact that all divergences in the estimation of this character were referable to the "Hearer" or "Listener's" individual personality, I think we must conclude that the Collective Experiments favour the view that music can, even if not invariably, suggest something recognised as human feeling, mood or emotion, and of a kind which, however difficult sometimes to define, is the same for various Answerers.

The evidence in favour of such power of expressing human feeling goes much further. My analyses and comparisons of the schedules, bring the conviction that the sometimes curiously dissimilar things which different Answerers find to say at the same moment about the selfsame piece of music, the personal reminiscences, emotional dramas, or visual descriptions which that piece of music has awakened in their various minds, possess a common something, and that when it is not a mere imitative resemblance with sounds and movements ("the dancing fiddler" and "the ant-heap") existing independent of music, this generative nucleus of the various pronouncements, is a common


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 439

emotion, feeling, or mood produced, mutatis mutandis., in the Answerers.

So far, my Collective Experiments, however imperfectly carried on, seem to me to prove that music has such power of expression as is so frequently claimed for it. They show that music can and often does, convey a "meaning," a "message" beyond itself. But they show, even more clearly and undeniably, that the nature (the what it is about) of the "meaning/ 5 the contents of the "message" even when coinciding with the ascertained one (as by words or title) of the composer, is added by the "Hearer" or the "Listener."

This is not the place to repeat any of the hypotheses, the guesses, put forward in my previous section in explana tion of the psychological modus operandi of this nucleus of human expressiveness giving birth to such different "mean ings" and "messages" in the mind of our Answerers. Indeed, even the attempt seems premature in the present state of psychology. Only I should wish to point out that inasmuch as these Collective Experiments have shown that the in dividual developments and interpretations are due to "what interests most in other connections," as remarked by an Answerer to the Questionnaire, the birds, lawns, hills, rivers, people, house-parties, gallops, which the various Answerers are apt to think about apart from the music, this further fact justifies by analogy my acceptance of M. Ribot's theory that the human expressiveness of music is due to the exis tence of an "Affective Memory" In other words that while the individual divergences in our Answerers obviously result from individual recollections of things seen and thought about, the common core of potential expressiveness points to the storage and potential revival of the feelings, moods and emotions, which have been experienced.

It is on purpose that I have brought in this qualifying word "potential." For one of the important results of the Collective Experiments, bearing out the evidence of my Questionnaires, is that this core of human expressiveness


440 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

in itself and apart from its particular interpretations em bodied in the individual schedules, and however much its essential quality ("sad," "gay," "anxious," "resolute") is the same to various individuals, has a merely potential existence. For certain individuals it does not exist, that is to say, it is not necessarily and constantly recognised by all those who took part in my experiments any more than by all those who answered my Questionnaire. Not always and not invariably.

Popular musical aesthetics, especially as professed by philosophers, would suggest that the bare expressiveness of music, let alone its "meaning" or "message," naturaUy does not exist for people who might be described as "music- deaf," as deficient in the mental, though not the bodily ear. But the Collective Experiments show the exact con trary to be the case. The human expressive qualities of music may remain potential just for those Answerers whom the Questionnaire has classified as "Listeners" : the people who are less music-deaf than their neighbours, for whom music is not a transient physical, nervous phenomenon, but a spiritual one existing in the mind long after the material appeal to the bodily ear has ceased; those who follow "the notes and all their relations"; moreover, bear those notes and their relations in their mind, and are satisfied therewith. In these "Listeners" every extraneous suggestion, every metaphorical allusion, every visual analogy, may have been missed.

Thus in the Muirhouse experiments, we have found Lindsay saying: "/ wanted to visualise , . . but what comes after is the delighted following of the notes, the tracing of their pattern" while conversely in the Adel schedules, Emilia speaks of the "beautiful colour" of Beethoven as an im pediment to thought: "It helps to distract the word-mind" And again at Muirhouse I find that an Answerer adds: "The greater and closer the attention" (i.e. to the music) "the less I visualise" which another Answerer puts in naiver


COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENTS 441

words, making (as with Emilia) the music into an actual cause of inattention: "The beautiful sound-combinations and intervals made me forget to attend"

Forget to attend to something the music might have suggested if the music had not taken up all the attention ; forget to attend to what might be called a "meaning" or "message." For in this forgetfulness of everything else, in this utter absorption in the music ("the notes and all their relations") in this perfect plenitude of musical bliss ("the greatest happiness"), even the potential human expression fails to be discriminated, the potential appeal to human feelings becomes an indistinguishable ingredient in the unique wholeness of the "Emotion of Music." "Such things," as Bessie says, "cannot be put into words." But the reason why they cannot is that they have been put into notes, that to these "Listeners" they are swallowed up in the music and cannot be discriminated from its beauty and greatness.

Briefly, these Collective Experiments and those whose schedules I have not quoted from, bear out the testimony obtained by my other method of enquiry, that of the Ques tionnaire. They tell us that music can have a "meaning," a "message," which varies according to what is otherwise in the mind of the Answerer. Moreover, that music has potential human expressions, which are realised or not according to the degree of absorption in following the music as such.


PART V THE COMPOSER'S PHENOMENON


CHAPTER I TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC


A FACT we came upon in dealing with Lady Venetia is going to confront us in the answers of those persons whom (massing together Performers with Composers) I allow my self to call "Makers of Music/ 5 and it is, I think, the very fact of themselves making the music which prevents their answering in the same sense as mere thorough-paced "Lis teners/ 5 among whom their high musical status should place them. For, as we have noticed with Lady Venetia, these "Makers of Music" (with, I think, two hesitating exceptions, Elsa and the Violinist) believe that music is the expression of human emotion, and in so far has a "meaning," a "message 55 beyond itself.

This leads to the suspicion that the activity of "making music, 55 either in performance or in composition, though entirely removed from divagating, inattention and passive "hearing, 55 must in some way differ from mere absorbed "listening. 35

In what can it differ? Perhaps we may find the clue by returning to Lady Venetia.

I want to remind the Reader how, quite disconnected with her interpretation of a certain Chopin Nocturne which she described as a drama simultaneously with playing it, Lady Venetia had occasion to tell me that she was never without music going on in her head; moreover, that with her, everything turned into music, giving the instance that when taking the dogs for a walk she naturally measured their distance ahead by a musical interval. 1

It was in connection with casually elicited information 1 This interval probably represents her way of calling to them*


446 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

such as this that I framed a couple of queries in my latest Questionnaire (summing up what had been asked in over complicated form in a previous one) .

Q,. XV. A. Are you often or always, haunted by music, either of your own inventing or remembered? (State which.)

Q,. XV. B. Do the events and impressions of your life, things you see or feel, translate themselves into music, either composed by yourself or remembered? (State which.)

All, or nearly all "Listeners 53 and a number of "Hearers" (those who were intermittent "Listeners 35 ) answered that they were often (like myself) haunted by music; in most cases remembered music, only in some cases music of their own making. Among these latter a certain number also answered that the impressions of their life, the things they saw or felt, translated themselves into music. These, who answered both questions, as to whether they were haunted by music, and as to translation into music, were very rarely, if ever, 1 thorough-paced "Listeners, 55 answering on the "just music 55 lines; they were, on the contrary, musicianly per sons who believed in what may be summed up as "meaning" or "message. 55 Moreover, they were "Makers of Music. 55 Not only, however, Composers and Performers, but also people who practised, or indulged in, improvisation for their own pleasure.

Now it is among these, very variously gifted, sometimes doubtless, musically quite inferior, improvising amateurs that one can watch in its most obvious, undisguised shape, free from self-criticism and deliberate intrusion, watch it self-complacent, often secret and always nakedly unabashed, this particular phenomenon of translating into music. For instance, in the case of Arthur, a man of letters spending much time over his piano, his improvising "brings his emotion and his music in contact, 55 with the not infrequent

1 The only exception I can find being Isabella, who answers "Music sometimes comes up as natural response to certain situations" She is highly literary and affords some instances of As if.


TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC 447

addition that "his household can always tell his mood by what he plays. 33 Indeed, this habit of improvising, or rather its alleged inherent translation of other things into music, accounts for certain apparent anomalies which had tempted me to open a category between "Listeners 35 and "Hearers," namely, of Answerers who, while absorbedly attentive to the music, nevertheless believed that it contained a "meaning" or "message"; persons whose apparently perfect "listening" somehow allowed them to interpret what they were listening to into feelings and images, even reminiscences, dramas and metaphors such as can be clearly conveyed only by words. Conspicuous among such anomalous Answerers was the lady who furnished the extraordinarily complicated inter pretation of Beethoven 3 s music into the story of a horse liberated from misery by death, or (if one prefers), of that story of the dying horse into certain music of Beethoven's. 1 This lady, while a most attentive and appreciative "Lis tener, " was above all an improviser of quite unusual origi nality and formal perfection, spending more time in making her own music than in hearing that of others. She doubtless thought that Beethoven's music had a meaning beyond music, because her own music habitually arose out of her thoughts and feelings.

But returning to Lady Venetia, I think one can under stand why she and her fellow-Performers have the same views about "meaning 33 and "message" as the imperfect composers who only improvise and the highly perfected improvisers who also compose. They are all of them making music, not listening to it. Or rather, they are listening to music which they themselves are making, which is in them selves, and likely to be companioned by whatever other feelings and impressions in any degree may be congruous with it. And, by an inevitable action and reaction, the music which they are in process of making, stirs up, as it goes along, whatever may be congruous in their mind. 1 See p. 335'


448 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

So that Lady Venetia's verbal commentary on that Noc turne, seems to me the putting into words of the feelings inspired by the musical phrases under the actual stress of making them, and what she is putting into words is the emotional equivalent of the longs and shorts, tying and breakings off and leanings towards, the louds and softs, which the musical phrases insist upon her making of them. The whole comes to form a little spectral drama, which she is not witnessing but acting. This acting in one's person rather than witnessing is something very different from the "lis tening" of "Listeners," because great as may be the inner activity of following music, it cannot be as great and domi nant as the externalised activity of actually making it, as it is made by the Performer, the Improviser and the Com poser.

Trying to realise what the difference may be, I compare it to that which we writers know between writing a page of one's own and reading, in however engrossed a manner, a page of someone else's. In the case of the "Listener" and of the Reader, there are two, two however close, and separ able and at moments lapsing into total separateness ; in the case of the Writer, and the Composer, the Performer, in short, the "Maker of Music," there comes to be one in divisible and wellnigh continuous thread. And it is this more complete and more consecutive identification of the individual with the music which explains (so far as I can understand) the phenomenon of Translation differentiating all "Makers of Music." They can afford "to think of a lot of things" (which Bessie the thorough-paced "Listener" could not) without ever losing the thread, because the thread, the close twisted and shimmering thread of many strands, is being spun, like the spider's web, put of their own self. TTiey, as opposed to those mere absorbed "Lis teners," can and do believe in music having "meanings" and "messages," nay, what is more, "meanings" and "mes sages" they themselves are putting into it.


TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC 449


II

In the eyes of the "Makers of Music/ 5 full-fledged or rudi mentary Composers, or Composers at second-hand like Performers, music is full of metaphors, allegories, pictures ; it is crammed with meaning beyond itself. As completely as to the most divagating "Hearer," music for them carries a "message." Only, and herein lies the key to the paradox, it is not a "message" to, it is a "message" from them. They are not trying, as "Hearers" do, to fathom the sense of the oracle : they are pronouncing oracles themselves ; and they know what those mysterious communications are about.

Hence each of them, from Beethoven to Reynaldo Hahn, is prepared to believe that music must be saying something. When the music is that of other folk, what it says may in the individual case, be denied all right to be said, be trumpery, sham, immoral, vile. But something music is saying, even if such as no one should be allowed to say. They know this because they know that their own music (let alone its other merits) is saying what they have to tell about Life and Things and Themselves (just what "Lis teners" disbelieve that it does or can tell). All this happens because Composers, and probably, in proportion to their "interpretative" genius, also Performers, have music in their thoughts pretty well constantly, not as exceptional interludes like other people, so that everything of a non- practical kind (on the plane of contemplation) gets thought of along with, and hence in, music. They translate other folks' music into sights, thoughts or emotions because they are habitually translating what they themselves see or feel or think, into music.

This question of Translation, not of music into other things (as with the "allied" divagations of "Hearers"), but of other things into music is one which, as soon as I sus pected its existence, I labelled in my own mind "The

FF


450 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Composer's Phenomenon"; and sought to investigate in those specially framed queries. Such evidence as their usual abhorrence of psychological enquiries allowed me to collect is indeed scanty, but in no case negative. It shows, in the first place, that full-fledged composers are, in this matter of Translation mere glorified improvisers. Furthermore, that they cannot conceive a doubt that music has a "mean ing" and a "message/ 3 their own "meaning" or "message," and so consequently with other composers. And, what is far more important because it explains all the foregoing, they admit not only the habit of such Translation, but the fact that their mind is always full of music, invented or remembered, readily to be associated with other (and it seems to an incredulous "Listener") quite irrelevant mat ters. So that the "Composer's Phenomenon" may be merely the magnification of what Lady Venetia told me about measuring the distance between herself and her dogs in a musical interval, instead of yards or feet.

EVIDENCE

PRISGILLA, C. (a Performer). "Translation? Mostly by re- membered music"

ANDRE DE V. (Poet). "Obsession constante . . . souvent je pense et sens en musique, pensees et sentiments ne se traduisant pas par le moyen des mots., comme si je pensais dans une langue autre que la mienne. . . ."

"Baerwald" says that when something has called forth a "lebhafte Stimmung," he may feel the need to improvise. He is surprised at his own divagations ; also he finds music makes his thoughts "genial."

Gregory is haunted by remembered music especially in moments of mental or moral strain.

MYSELF. "When in high spirits, e.g. on a walk., certain tunes may come into my head and perform themselves inaudibly (but only) as an expression of high spirits. Apart from that> I dorft think I


TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC 451

have ever, even when young, referred wordless music to myself. I constantly have fragments of tunes in my head, but they never seem in any connection with my mood at the time: NO Translation"

MATHILDE. "Les choses de la vie ne se traduisent pas en musique"

WATSON. "Feelings often suggest music, e.g. a melancholy theme of Tchaikowsky haunted me for days after the death of a friend"

KENNETH (Pianist and Composer). "Composers probably believe themselves to be expressing the words they are setting"

ORLANDO (very distinguished Composer and Conductor) makes a curious addition, which also implies the transforma tion of emotion into a kind of abstract memory. He says "Ce rtest pas Vimpression elle-meme qui agit, mais la reproduction pour ainsi dire photographique. . . . Pour qtfelles (les impressions] se transmuent en musique ilfaut que je les revive par la pensee.

Du Bois (Composer) confirms this in a rather inverse manner: " . , . par habitude d' avoir plus de tristesse que de joie, V habitude aussi ffecrire de la musique sombre, entretient en moi la memoire affective"

III

To this, alas, meagre set-out of real Composer's evidence, I shall add an example of how music, not invented by one self but remembered, can be evoked by visual and literary impressions. I find in my Greek diary of December 1908, that I was haunted, while at Delphi, by the thought, and a certain amount of the music, of Gluck. In this case there was mediation through words, and what one might call verbalised facts, for I was walking among the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo, and Gluck's Alceste takes place in the temple of that god; moreover another, less-known opera of Gluck's, Elena e Paride contains a hymn to Apollo, music and words of which haunted me on that occasion, and which I kept deliberately rehearsing in my mind, as a fit musical completion of the visual and poetical impressions given me by those surroundings. I am, the Reader will


45 2 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

admit, doing full justice to the probability that this musical evocation was due to the power of words, "Delphi/ 3 "Temple," "Apollo," etc. But it seemed at the moment that the Choruses and pantomimas of Alceste and that hymn to Apollo, had the precise quality of the rocks and ruins of Delphi and its Apollinian associations. And even the most sceptical after-reflections cannot shake my sense of the one having been the proper musical expression of the other; and moreover, my conviction that the finest music of Mozart, of Bach or Beethoven would not have served the same purpose. So I make use of this experience of my eminently unmusical and eminently verbal-visual self to show how one should conceive seen and felt things "The events and impressions of one's life" as my Questionnaire puts it, calling forth appropriate music in the mind of Composers, particularly if helped by what I have called the subterranean action of words (see p. 332).

IV

Such a coalescence, integration, or fusion of non-musical impressions and feelings with whatever musical patterns may be haunting or arising in the mind, such Translation as this which I have docketed for my own use "The Com poser's Phenomenon,' 5 because it is the only explanation I can see (though very willing to accept other ones !) of the expressive and suggestive character undeniably existing in a good deal of music, let alone of the titles which composers are so ready to put to their wordless compositions.

The Reader will have remarked that such a process of Translation, of which I have adduced the above evidence, seems correlated (as if it were the other end of the stick), with that process of Interpretation which we have studied in its chief varieties. And in the case of Lady Venetia and other mere Performers (not Composers or Improvisers), I have suggested probable interaction of the two : the Per-


TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC 453

former's phrasing being turn-about the cause and the effect of the Performer's notion of a non-musical situation or drama.

The recognition of this concordance between Translation and Interpretation may make the Reader jump to the conclusion that what the "Hearer" interprets as the "mean ing" of a particular piece of music, must be the "meaning" which the composer translated, consciously or inadvertently, into that piece of music. In fact, the symmetrical relation between Translation and Interpretation leads to the sup position that they deal with the selfsame contents, and that there really must have been in the Composer's mind the "meaning/' the "message/ 5 the images suggested to the mind of the "Hearer."

Now, even should this prove to be the true state of affairs, it is not what my studies have led me to believe ; and it is not what the Reader of my foregoing chapters ought to believe either. As, however, I do not expect him to be as deeply impressed as myself with my facts and arguments, I shall briefly recapitulate a few of the principal of these. First, I hope to have shown that the existence of a "meaning" or "message" is denied by the most attentive and appreciative "Listeners" ; and that belief in it is largely due to a false analogy between language with its definite, conventionally fixed and deliberately exhibited significations, and music with the extremely limited and vague suggestiveness ob tained to a very small extent (as pointed out by M. Ernest) from direct imitation of non-musical sounds and for the rest either to its incorporation of schemata of human movement ("C. A. T.'s" "Ancestors of emotion" and my "infinitives of verbs") or again to the elemental powers of rhythm, volume, timbre, for awakening affective conditions and sensorial equivalences. Thus what the composer can do in the way of Translation is little and vague, much less and much less definite than he probably imagines in the act of translating, when the feelings and impressions and the


454 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

music are together dominating his consciousness. Then, as regards the interpretations themselves: these, including along with "meaning" and "message" all other references to the "Hearer's" feelings and situation, can, in all that exceeds those limited suggestions just enumerated, be brought back to the fact mentioned by that typical "Hearer, 35 Maia, namely: that the thoughts suggested by music are those which one has most in other connections. In short, that nine-tenths of Interpretation belong to the Interpreter, not to what is being interpreted. And here also we must add the cogency of one's own activity, which turns thought into belief and wellnigh (as Pragmatism asserts) into bona fide existence.

All of which limitations both to Translation and to Inter pretation are summed up, or rather evaded in the remark so frequently made (not without self-complacency) by my Answerers, to the effect that music is a language and cul minate in the triumphant paradox that "the more music remains 'just music,' the more eloquent is its message beyond itself 3 (p. 54). To which, I would add that what ever such mystical relation between music and words, there is one which critics seem always to overlook when they describe the "meanings" and "messages" intended by the Composer and recognised by the "Hearer." Namely that, when the idea in the mind of the "Hearer" really coincides with the idea in the mind of the Composer, as in the case of the "Homme Sensuel Moyen" recognising the "Young Male Adolescent" in the Cherubino music, or of myself actually visualising a temple in moonlight in connection with Faure's "Za lune se Urn sur le temple quifut" we shall find that the two minds at the two ends of the stick, have been brought into connection, tuned to one another, by words.


TRANSLATION INTO MUSIC 455


V

Before ending these notes upon what I have allowed myself to call "The Composer's Phenomenon/' I want to guard against their being mistaken for a presumptuous attempt at a "psychology of the Real Composer.' 5 These very slight studies are confined to the question of this activity of 'Trans lation" ; moreover, Translation only in so far as its existence differentiates Composers (and also Performers) from the mere "Listeners" exclusively absorbed in the music. How such translation into music of the impressions received from what they feel and see has come to exist, and how it works, in persons thus specially gifted for composition and per formance ; how, moreover, it may coincide with individual personality or be dependent on prevailing styles and tradi tions, all this is entirely beyond my competence. So that I can only urge those who happen to be more competent (and especially, alas, younger 1) than myself to apply them selves to these riddles, amongst which I feel especially attracted by the occasional coincidence between certain historically verifiable traits of the composer's character as a human being and certain verifiable (or merely alleged) emotional suggestions of his music.

For the rest I take this opportunity to say that so far from presuming on any explanation of the truly sublime mystery of musical composition, I am convinced that the wonder and value of musical genius does not reside in any transla tion of other things into music, in any suggestion of "mean ing" or "message," but, as we who are mere "Listeners" feel, in the self-sufficing and all-satisfying beauty of the musical patterns "the notes and all their relations," the music itself and just itself: that miraculous human creation without a prototype in nature or in man.


CHAPTER II DIVIDED ATTENTION

I

THROUGHOUT MY previous chapters I have gone on the plan of first presenting the simpler aspects of our subject, and only gradually adding the complicating factors. Thus I have written as if divided attention must always be divaga tion, either "allied thoughts" or utter irrelevancies, some thing distinguishing "Hearers" from "Listeners." I have treated musical attention as one and indivisible, so that "meanings," "messages," "human references," "affective participation" and "personal reminiscences," "evocations," "mental pictures," "allegorical comparisons" and every thing treated by me as "Interpretation" were always ques tions of greater or lesser lapses from "listening."

This generalisation (so far as there can be any generalisa tion on such obscure intricacies) is true with regard to "Listeners." And also, in a lesser and less ascertainable extent, to "Hearers." Since "Listeners" are (in my classi fication, if not in reality) those who assure us that they think of the music and nothing else, while "Hearers" have dropped into categories of those predominantly affective to whom music brings emotional suggestions, personal refer ence and affective reminiscences ; and, on the other hand, of those who might, for lack of a better word, be termed imaginative (sometimes logically speculative) to whom music brings (or they bring to music) "allied thoughts," interpretations of its "meaning" or "message" and even mental visions. Such as I have been able to show them, "Listeners" are those who listen and think of the music or rather think the music. While "Hearers" are those who, during lapses of listening, or when music sinks to being a


DIVIDED ATTENTION 457

mere accompaniment, think of or even mentally see some thing besides the music, yet in some way allied to it. Now this, true so far, is not the whole truth of the matter : there are other possibilities, rarer but equally important; possi bilities far less easy to follow up, and which, in the course of trying to map out this unexplored region of aesthetic psychology, I have become aware of (as of bye-lanes seen suddenly while whirling along high roads) when it is too late to re-shape my whole chart. Such a possibility is exem plified by Frau Maria's visions. I have tried to account for them, on the hypothesis of mediated interpretation and as due to the fact that a motor process, especially when it becomes an obsession as with much rhythm, can go on auto matically, unobserved in itself, but eliciting cognate ideas; so that Frau Maria's inner miming of the music's move ments, her unconscious dancing or marching or gesticu lating to it, would stir up appropriate cinematographic visions in a mind chock full, as hers is, of visual images. '

Whether or not this explanation is adequate or even to the point, the real importance of Frau Maria's experience, making it far more suggestive than what we learn of Emilia's and Pictrix's visions, lies in what she goes on to say about her divided attention during these musically inspired mental pictures. More especially her recognition of a similar divided attention in her other mental operations.

We have seen how Frau Maria distinguishes totally (as her reference to diagrams shows) between Nebengedtwkm y "diva gations, 55 lapses of attention, irrelevancies and those images and visions arising from (as she assures us) and uniting with the audible pattern of the music which she says she listens to. And this combination between actual auditory and

i Sir H. Head, a remarkable "visualiser," assures me that his visuali sations (either remembered or imagined) are always cinematographic, i.e. he sees in his mind consecutive and connected movements. Others, like myself, see only separate pictures, posed and usually strictly perspec tive, and following on each other with a gap between.


45 8 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

imaginary visual shapes, or rather the fact of her attending equally to both, she explains by what she regards as funda mentally characteristic of her individual mental life : viz. that she has always more than a single thread of perception and thought. After careful self-examination, she says that she recognises that in everyday life she is never without two or three threads of thought. For instance, while giving an extempore lecture, she finds herself taking stock of the audience, and fits her own voice and manner to their ex pression. Although entirely absorbed in the words she is improvising, she continues seeing the audience, notices their various oddities, sees the lecture hall and herself as if she were someone else, notices her own behaviour and notices what the others are thinking of it. Meanwhile association and memory play into it (i.e. her observations, as distinguished from her lecture) and afterwards she finds she has noticed and lived through several whole series of things, although she has not dropped a stitch of her words and thoughts.

This "Doppebpurigkeif 9 is never completely lost during her artistic enjoyment. The secondary things shrink, coalesce into a kind of shadow, which in the moments of enjoyment (italics sic) is no longer noticed, but can be brought into consciousness afterwards. The same applies to music. For this reason she cannot affirm that during listening she has thought of nothing else. These "deviations" are not really interruptions of the chief (central) activity, but accompany ing phenomena. "This" she adds, "seems part of my mental constitution"

II

Those really able (which I am not) to investigate the psycho logical modus operandi of musical composition, may have to plunge into one of the deepest and darkest abysses of aesthe tic, indeed, perhaps of all psychology : that of divided yet synthetic attention. And even I, though professedly dealing with "Hearers" and "Listeners/ 5 must at least skirt this


DIVIDED ATTENTION 459

question. First in my rather hopeless attempt to understand the nature of "Listening." Secondly, and more profitably, in pointing out how, "listening" or no "listening," musical appreciation may sometimes be furthered rather than jeopardised by several fields of non-musical interest, pro vided always they be susceptible of being integrated to gether. Whence the occurrence and utility of hybrids be tween two or more arts, opera, oratorio, ritual music, indeed all music with words.

At the end of one of my previous chapters on Interpreta tion, there is a sentence which, although my own, is worth repeating, namely : "unless the music is left behind." That happened, we have their express word for it, with both Emilia's and Pictrix's "pictures." 1 But in the case of Frau Maria, to whom we must now return, the music is NOT left behind. She goes on attending to the music, since it is the music, as she tells us, which, step by step, gives rise to and connects the cinematographic sequence of her mental vision. How these visions may be produced I have sug gested in a foregoing chapter on movement as a factor of Interpretation, where I have compared them with those of another highly motorisch and also visualising Answerer, Bella.

However that may be, I am now returning to Frau Maria's case for another reason, namely her explanation of these visions which accompany the music pari passu, by a habit of mental Mehrspurigkeit, anglice, habit of thinking along several lines simultaneously : in other words, divided atten tion. Which idiosyncrasy she exemplifies in her watching the faces of her audience while she is absorbed in impro vising a lecture. Now what Frau Maria thus takes for an individual peculiarity, is, I am convinced, a common characteristic of attention, without which attention might surely remain barren.

Since what is comparison save division between two objects

  • See pp. 360, 377.


460 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

of attention? And how could attention produce anything which was not already there, produce "not a fourth sound but a star/' except by bringing together two perceptions, two mental items? And how could there be such a syn thesis except there had been a division of attention?

And here I am already at Synthetic, or Integrating attention, before having shown quite clearly what I mean by divided. First let me say that all divided attention is by no means synthetic. Mine is not when my listening to a piece of music (even frequently my stumbling through it at the piano) is accompanied by an uninterrupted sequence of thoughts about, say, my summer plans, my finances or my wardrobe, which taking off but little from my musical attentiveness, run parallel to the perception of the music, without ever coming in contact, because, I suppose, none of these items have the requisite affinity with the "notes and their relations." Similarly with Frau Maria's Mehrspurig- keit as exemplified in what happens when she is improvising a lecture. All that is division of attention and nothing more. But supposing Frau Maria's watching of her audience's expression suddenly suggests that she must say something different, make a different appeal, perhaps, sentimental or humorous, to these people ; there is now no longer a mere parallelism in her divided attention : there is coalescence, fusion, integration, there is what I call synthesis. Something new has resulted, it is the case of Browning's strange "Not a fourth sound but a star."

Ill

It is no use asking me I am myself waiting, have been waiting for ages to be told what is the nature either of divided or synthetic attention of any sort.

Ought we to symbolise the synthetic kind as a fusion, something like a chemical compound or a mechanical juxtaposition? A rapid sequence like that which turns a


DIVIDED ATTENTION 461

swiftly whirled light into a luminous circle, or something like a plait or web of separate strands so close that, short of a microscope, they must seem one? Or again, like the balls kept up by Hazlitf s Indian jugglers? Perhaps all these different things on different occasions even in the same individual, and doubtless with very varying preponderance of one or the other kind in various individuals? Some per sons, as the present Writer knows, tending to the parallelism I have described whenever attention is long-drawn-out (e.g. reading at the piano without the stimulation of much pleasure) while, in other and more spontaneous occupa tions, the same persons' attention will tend to constant running to and fro, spotting and picking up balls to the right and the left, or perhaps running and questing in circles like a dog on a walk, but somehow always getting on in a main direction. Which latter kind of divided attention I venture to suppose (being a writer myself) may be charac teristically literary : compare with it the focussed measuring attention and outward-turned eye of the Painter, the rather veiled throbbing attention of the Singer, following his notes in the air or the mind, as you may see either of them de picted in good portraiture, Sargent's, for instance; compare with the alacritous literary attention the horrid stare on to the ground of Rodin's (surely pseudo!) Penseur, or the navel-gazing of the rapt mystic, both of which latter are reputed to be sublime kinds, but make the present writer thank Heaven for being only a writer !

IV

Now let us return to Composers and Performers, or rather "Performers and Composers," for it is in the performing side that we see, however rudimentary, the essential fact of Translation into music, and it is such Translation which differentiates them both from equally musical "Listeners." These musicians who translate other things into music are


462 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

evidently cases of divided and synthetic attention. These "Makers of Music" are both helping to make the Star men tioned by Browning ; even if the Star be comparable to the sun of a planetary system, when the synthesis is, let us say, Beethoven's ; or only to a whirligig of crumpled paper at the end of a stick, such as you buy on the kerb and a baby flourishes about in its pram; a Star giving innocent satis faction to allegorising "Hearers," and sometimes hawked about by musical critics. Whatever the value of that Star, it is a case of what people call artistic creation, meaning the production of what was not there before ; and that implies divided attention and synthesis. And the question arises why is there nothing of the sort, no Translation, in the case of the thorough-paced, absorbed "just music" "Listeners"? Why are they not creating? (Since "creating" is the inappro priate but conventional word.)

V

Well, "Listeners" are already completely taken up in attending, both analytically and synthetically. But their analysis, their discrimination and going from item to item, and their synthesis are purely musical. That "following the music" is such an activity can be realised when an un familiar piece of music at first appears (as so many "Lis teners" testify) as shapeless, chaotic; and what makes it emerge from that chaotic condition is a gradual synthesis : notes, intervals, harmonies coalesce ; they show themselves as belonging to one another, either attracting or repelling, preparing, retarding, resolving, they unite into the intelli gible wholes called phrases. And phrases themselves (some times after knocking about disjointedly in one's memory) gradually or suddenly coalesce in a unified, purposeful order, until we know the piece, until the drama of remem brance, expectation and fulfilment becomes complete and can be evoked in our silent thoughts.


DIVIDED ATTENTION 4^3

The realisation of such a drama with all its separate incidents and with the varying but concentrated musical emotions tensions, relaxations, soarings, plungings, etc. (cf. Abt Vcgler) is a great, often a slow, work of divided and integrating attention. And it is their being absorbed therein which prevents "Listeners" having "allied" thoughts of other things; such thoughts (and they readily admit to having them 1 ) being felt as interruptions, or in my own case, parallel trains of entirely alien thoughts, alien and irreducible to any common factor.

Perhaps my Reader may still suspect that such thorough paced "Listeners" are simply people deficient in human feelings or devoid of imagination. Let me repeat that other queries and private knowledge show that Bessie and Isa bella were conspicuously affective and, if anything, required to curb Affective Memory; that Barbara has the visualising habit of a trained draughtsman together with an unusual sensitiveness for literature ; and as to myself, well, my pro fession as a writer shows that if I do not find "meanings 35 and "messages" in music, I find them in nearly everything else.

I used to think, and still think to a lesser degree, that emotion realised as such (and gauged by the queries on Affective Memory) was what withdraws attention from "the notes and all their relations." I now recognise that it is rather the other way round : attention to the notes and all I have described just now as their relations and their drama, is what inhibits the perception of the affective qualities which a given piece of music may possess ; qualities

  • Something of the sort has been pointed out in my Gallery-diaries (in

Beauty and Ugliness), namely, that on days of aesthetic "aridity/ 5 when one has been incapable of taking genuine aesthetic pleasure in pictures or statues as visible shapes, there is, in my case at least, a tendency to notice resemblances to real people or literary suggestions. This would coincide with the fact that aesthetically untrained persons are apt to be engrossed in what a work of art represents, while over-trained indivi duals can stomach martyrdoms or "gallantries" without wincing.


464 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

which the "Listener" recognises either when musical atten tion is relaxed, 1 or when put to it in Collective Experiments.

Thus the evidence of M. Paulhan and ofM. Ernest, and my own experience, show that with "Listeners" the human- emotional character of a piece may not be noticed so long as musical attention is at its freshest: this human- emotional character, which may be ascertained later, is integrated, coordinated into a musical whole which can be described in no words save "Quartet or Sonata or Prelude in such or such a key, or Opus No. so and so."

On the contrary, Composers and Performers do recognise it, no doubt because they are not following someone else's music ; and because they have, both of them, the dominant sense of their own activity which goes with invention and performance, and which probably brings their affective and imaginative sides into play as part of themselves; they are asserting themselves in the act of invention, or re-invention, while "Listeners" are forgetting themselves in the absorp tion of understanding.

Briefly, the condition of the concentrated "Listener" is, I am beginning to suspect, artificial. But so is our music. Like it the "Listener" is a highly evolved product of specialisa tion, of selection. And in proceeding away from the "Lis tener" (as I have done throughout this book) to the "Hearer," to the "Cecilians," "Dionysiacs," the seers of musical visions and painters of musical allegories, I have been returning to the primordial chaos, with its direct appeal to the emotions, its mediated stimulation to the imagination. These the "Listener" excludes; while the Composer and Performer integrate them into their creation.

1 See "Collective Experiments," p. 416.


SYNTHETIC ATTENTION 465

VI THE UNIFYING FACTOR

However, after protesting (and renewing the protest) that I could not tell the nature of synthetic attention, there is one thing about it which the answers to my Questionnaire do suggest. Namely that such synthesis is brought about, or in the case of more fortuitous association in time, held together, by the domination of a third element. This if the Reader is not sick of Browning's convenient metaphor concerning the " third sound" required to make not a "fourth sound but a Star" we know in ordinary life as an aim, an intention, a habit, a desire. In aesthetic matters, which are thereby lifted out of ordinary life, what plays this part is a general attitude (German : Einstellung) of a parti cular contemplative kind. But besides such a general aesthetic attitude, examination of the interpretations placed upon Music by our Answerers, has revealed a further unifying factor, an element dominating the two elements thus united. And I believe that at least in aesthetic matters (which imply congruity of impressions such as the mind can rest upon) this unifying element is of the nature of emotion, of feeling, even (as with Frau Maria's visions) of motor conditions as such. No doubt because we are in capable of feeling contradictory emotions and of executing contrary movements at one and the same (if I may so call it) psychological moment; and in aesthetic contemplation the psychological moment is necessarily much longer, and the need for congruity much greater, since contemplation delivers us from the adjustment and pursuit besetting practical life. This unifying element has escaped notice because it is in ourselves, not in the object of perception, and orthodox aesthetics, bent mainly on that perceived object (what is called a "work of art"), regard our condition

GG


466 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

as a mere reaction to that perceived object. A reaction it undoubtedly is; but a reaction implies an activity; and while our reaction depends for one half on the perceived object say the picture or landscape or musical phrase or arrangement of words it is determined, for its other half, by what is in, is part of, ourselves ; states or habits of feeling as we have seen abundantly in the case of "Hearers." I have gone into this detail because, especially in these days of reaction against the James-Lange hypothesis and of Behaviourism, there is a tendency to leave the invisible factor hidden in ourselves almost entirely out of count.

Now, returning to such synthetic attention as aesthetics must deal with, I believe that here (and probably in larger psychological fields) it is our invisible factors, emotional, or merely motor-kinaesthetic, and, of course, our mnemic habits, which operate the synthesis between impressions past and present, often from different sensorial fields, visual, tactile, auditory, etc., and selecting among possibilities, accepting, rejecting, reinforcing, alternating, which weld them into a homogeneous whole. Now a homogeneous whole is necessary in all contemplative states, because these exclude the consecutive readjustments, the revokes, of practical reality.

This need for unity and congruity, often at the price of impoverished impressions, has been illustrated in some of my individual cases under Interpretation ; and even more in the Collective Experiments where a single suggestion is so often developed to the exclusion of the other ones which the music could have furnished. Nor do I doubt that we should find that unifying emotional factor if we knew more and not from third-hand anecdotes, about the impressions which Composers translate into their music.

As to the thorough-paced "Listeners," their attention is unified by the complicated homogeneousness of the music to which they are listening, to the extent of incipient "meanings" and "messages" being so frequently lost sight


SYNTHETIC ATTENTION 46?

of, entirely fused by the emotional factor which can be described as "musical happiness." Hence, as so repeatedly remarked, these "Listeners' " divided attention, when it occurs, is usually recognised as downright irrelevancy.


CHAPTER III AESTHETIC INTEGRATION

A COMPARISON WITH OTHER ARTS


DIVIDED AND synthetic attention is so normal in the arts which, as the phrase goes, represent really existing things and appearances, that painting and sculpture are usually spoken of by the laity, and even critics, and thought of by artists themselves, as if their excellence and progress could be measured by their reproduction of things and aspects already furnished by nature. This view of "representative" (or "imitative") art is doubtless due in artists themselves (e.g. all Vasari's encomiums bear upon fidelity to nature) to the difficulty of such imitation of existing realities, which, no sooner has one of their visible characteristics been copied by sculptor and painter, but they reveal some other : texture after structure, light and shade and atmospheric effects after perspective; and endless procession of values in the most literal sense, since it is according to them that the artist is valued by himself and his peers. But in the beholder the notion of painting and sculpture as primarily represen tation comes from a simpler cause : viz. resemblance between the work of art and its "original." The picture or statue is or at all events is meant for such and such a scene, object or person. And, if I may go upon my own self- observation, the query and answer "What is it?" "It is so and so" ("Dieu ou cuvette" as Theophile Gautier says), the recognition of the thing represented, constitute the first process in the beholder's mind, a process of questioning or questing which, in successfully constructed works of art, brings with it automatically the exploration and apprecia tion of that work's shape ; in a manner without parallel in


A COMPARISOJN WITH OTHER ARTS 469

music, where comprehension of the pattern, the tune and the harmonies, is not preceded by the query "What does this express?" Anyhow, with sculpture and painting, there is division of attention and synthesis of attention between the visible shape and the whatever it represents ; and the syn thesis is almost as absolute as in dealings with reality, where, of course, the qualitative how of visible shape is, save in aesthetic contemplation, subordinate to the what of practical interest in reality. From which thorough-going synthesis there naturally results that painting and sculpture are unfailingly subjected to such interpretation as music allows, sporadically and vaguely. So that, in describing a picture, that picture almost invariably undergoes (even at the hands of the greatest critics) a Pygmalion's metamor phosis into flesh and blood, feeling and movement; our attention (carrying its object !) goes on to what the figures must have been doing the moment before and to what they would be doing the moment after, both of which moments would inevitably re-arrange and disarrange the lines and masses of the visible shape, thereby unmaking the picture. Painting and sculpture are therefore double arts, or arts with a double appeal, sometimes as my Gallery-diaries have shown me, a daily varying appeal, there being days when one is blind to the aesthetic quality of a picture or statue but quick at perceiving resemblances to real people and things and quick also at making out (or making up !) the dramatic or poetical suggestions, which, owing to language's incapacity for direct description of visible shapes, is of course, what literature does and what written criticism inevitably reverts to. And perhaps legitimately, for, al though it may be possible to heighten the appreciation and enjoyment of the beauty there really is in a statue or picture, yet a picture or statue does and ever will, lend itself to interpretation, to the exact extent to which it has borrowed some of its shapes from reality ; and self-preservation has taught us to be ceaselessly interpreting, attending to the


470 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

queries "What are you? What can you do to me? What could I do with you?"

Thus painting and sculpture inasmuch as representative arts, imply a perpetual division and (a very varying) syn thesis of attention: painters and sculptors have nothing analogous to absorbed "Listeners," unless we regard as such the draughtsman who copies the lines and planes and colours of an already existing work of art, and is thereby employed in much the same unified manner as the "Lis tener" who, as a matter of fact, is learning and with luck reproducing in his memory what may be called the lines and masses and colours of a piece of music.

Hence I do not think that, with the best (or worst !) will in the world, "listening" to music, nay, even merely "hear ing" it, is likely to become a thoroughly coordinated double process like that of looking at a picture or statue and think ing its subject. The nearest approach to anything of the kind is when music is helped out by, or helps out, words.

At least, that is so judging by my personal experience, since my Answerers do not afford much interesting or reliable information on this point ; some of them, like Mona, hastily repudiating words while admitting that titles give a necessary clue to the meaning of music.

II

In my longer Questionnaire (the one originally published in the eitschriftjur Aesthetik and answered mainly by patient and scientific Teutons) I had tried to elicit detailed infor mation on this integration of words with music, asking :

Q. XVII. Do words affect you very much in connection with music? Do they seem (A) to fuse with it or (B) to remain separate and independent? (C) Do songs in lan guages you do not know affect you in the same way as those of which you understand the meaning? (D) Does incongruity between words and music disturb your enjoy-


MATING OF WORDS WITH MUSIC 471

ment? In framing these queries, intended to tap the experi ence of others, I was unintentionally giving away my own. And it is to my own experience that we must for the moment return. And I will sum it up by saying that just as the visible shapes in painting and sculpture coalesce and fuse with what these shapes represent because the two constantly coexist in all experience, so can words and music coalesce and fuse when, and in the measure that we habitually hear them together. It is because together they are remembered, together inwardly repeated ; and unless this constant may I say marriage? is disrupted by the occasional presence of another partner, another tune to the words, or other words to the tune, they become one flesh and one spirit. By which I mean that the words and the tune get to stand to each as the expression, the intensification, the dominant quality of the other. Which is a delusion of habit, since other tunes or other words will, in the experience of a person not habi tuated to that particular marriage, seem just as fitting and natural. Moreover, as already hinted, this union can often be broken or else impeded from the outset, by the bare presence of another possible partner. Such, at all events, is my own experience, valuable, because more than many of my Answerers, I seem constitutionally addicted to such marriages not of true minds, but of casually mated words and tunes. Thus, quite lately, reading over a selection of Goethe's lyrics, I found many of them saturated with, redolent of the music to which (unbeknownst, alas, to the poet) Schubert had set them, to the point that I could not read them without silently singing that music. Similarly with certain verses of Verlaine's and Swinburne's, which I have often heard and always to the same music. But note the difference! words like "Requiem aeternam" or "Stabat Mater" which I have heard in various settings, remain separate in my mind from any music, remain quite easy to read without a vestige of a note, remain in fact just words, with at most a certain solemnity which may be due to what


472 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

was common to various settings, though as the settings may vary from Palestrina to Rossini, it seems more reasonable to explain it by accompanying visual images and the fact of the words being liturgical. This shows, I think, not only the action of simultaneity in producing what I have called synthetic-division of attention, but also that, whenever such aesthetic integration is complete, there has to be (or arises) a common emotional element, something making us say "this tune is the perfect expression of these words." Instead of which, apparently for lack of such a common emotional element so frequently given by words, I find that the tunes, which are almost always playing themselves in my memory, are entirely without reference to my other thoughts, and, what is more, entirely disconnected with the images of places by which I am almost equally haunted. This is a point of sufficient importance to warrant some repetition of already mentioned experience, as well as addition of a new instance. The Reader will recollect, I hope, the mental vision, its duration and completeness in my experience, of a Roman basilica which accompanied my hearing of some school-of-Palestrina music in the utterly dissimilar Thomas Kirche at Leipzig. 1 Now although a common emotional factor may have reinforced mere simultaneity because that first impression of Palestrina music and Roman basilicas was made in a very sensitive stage of my childhood, yet I have since heard so many similar motets in other archi tecture and seen Roman basilicas to every possible jigging accompaniment, that the evocation at Leipzig has remained a detached (somehow?) accidental experience. It seems to have been a mere juxtaposition of two impressions con nected only by having been simultaneous; without the creation of such new aesthetic values as I have symbolised by Browning's "not a fourth sound but a star." And I have recalled it to the Reader merely for comparison with another double impression of music and architecture, which

1 s ^ p. 344-


ORGAN AT ST. MAURICE 473

(as remarked at the moment when I recorded it in my note book) was a case of just such integration as can take place between the words and the tune of a song; so much so that it may have suggested the subject of the present chapter. The note is dated October 5, 1922, and headed "Organ at St. Maurice en Valais" : "A dark and venerable Romanesque church, whose darkness seems full of every kind of dim idolatrous splendour and tawdriness. Full also of the sound of a very fine organ. Such music as this unites with the architecture, the dark masses and spaces, into one integral whole, as other music unites with words."

Of course (and that is my point) this note (written before I had any of the ideas I am now using it to illustrate) is literature. By which I mean that the impressions received in that church and from that organ are, indeed were from the very first synthetised not only by their emotional congruity but also by their instantaneous translation into a verbal whole, something comparable (merits apart) to a tiny poem or essay ; whereas the Roman Basilica-cum-Palestrina-motet experience called forth nothing beyond the barest memoran dum of an unusual circumstance.

Now it is my, contention that literature, whenever it is an art, is precisely the art of creating, or perhaps rather, using up, just such integration of otherwise different impression by the welding or smelting power of homogeneous feeling. In my section on Ambience 1 (and this St. Maurice organ was precisely acting as musical Ambience, musical sound heard but not listened to) I have remarked (elsewhere also!) upon images and visions connected by emotional values which, in those who don't (as Wordsworth unpoetically puts it) "lack the accomplishment of verse/ 5 may give rise to bona fide poetry. And having given in that St. Maurice note an example of my own literary integration of emotionally congruous impressions from different fields of perception, I want to come to certain Answerers who without, or with

1 See p. 141.


474 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

only unformulated, literary admixture, do create for them selves synthetic wholes of much the same type, although these wholes, instead of being set down on paper or so much as out into words, vanish as soon as they have come, or even (I think) come only as unsatisfied desires.


Ill

I have docketed the very detailed and intelligent answers of Mile. Helene de D. : "highly literary type; integrative, not unlike myself." This likeness between us and at the same time the points of extreme dissimilarity, will serve to illus trate my immediately previous section, and also a good many other generalisations in previous parts of these sections.

I do not know whether Mile. Helene has ever written anything more ambitious than the admirably expressed letter answering my Questionnaire ; however that may be, she possesses what underlies the literary type as illustrated by my St. Maurice note, viz. divided, rapidly oscillating and integrating attention.

She and I are also alike in lack of musical training, while possessing what is, I think, a factor or concomitant of "listening," namely that form of melodic reviviscence called in French "Chant Interieur" enabling us, once we know a piece of music, to forestall the coming note and as Mile. Helene expresses it (technically incorrectly) "instinctively decomposing phrases and awaiting the conclusion with anxiety," held in suspense "avec la mSme angoisse, selon que la solution est pressentie, heureuse ou triste"

"Pressentie" This means that going along with the musical phrases, following them mentally (and possibly with the silent bodily accompaniment which seems to constitute much, if not all, Chant Interieur), she feels very keenly what I have so often insisted upon as the drama of the notes,


MLLE. HfiLfcNE 475

sequences of intervals and harmonies, incidence of rhythm ; the drama of purely musical expectation and fulfilment.

And this vivid interest in "the notes and all their rela tions" added to her integrative attention, which in its oscillations is for ever questing after similar values, results in her describing music less often in terms of emotional signi ficance (although she admits excessive Affective Memory), than their equivalence with visual pattern: e.g. "a structure of combined harmonies, lines, suggesting to my mind meanderings, lengths, curves, hachures; the harmonies are for me masses, giving the sense of solidity, compactness like architecture"

To these positive indications of true * 'listening" we must add a negative corroboration. Mile. Helene shows no trace of anything "Cecilian," of being sensitive to the impact of the unanalysed "Powers of Sound"; no trace of being enclosed by a musical Ambience. She is evidently never inside the music, still less "played upon" by it; the music is essen tially something outside her, watched, and followed. In short, she is a born "Listener."

But she is something else besides. Hers is a case of music stimulating other activities; and primarily other sensi bilities. She is one of the very few "Listeners" (myself another) who admit that ugliness of surroundings interfere with musical enjoyment ; that (which is frequently the case with "Hearers") they would rather have less good music in a fine church than better music in a concert room. But this integrative tendency which in my own case is limited (as in the St. Maurice note) to music acting as an Ambience, with Mile. Helene develops into divided attention while listening, and in fact is a hybrid form of enjoyment of which I am myself totally incapable : e.g. "Ce qui riemeut leplus c'est la lecture tfune page touchante, quelle que soit sa valeur litteraire, lorsque fentends de la musique, Deja comme enfant lire pendant qtfune personne jouait du piano representait pour moi le supreme bonheur." (Let me parenthesise personally, by way of eluci dating, that I cannot read at all while music is going on,


476 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

but can enjoy vague music, music in the Ambience condition, while seeing and thinking a place ; I can enjoy vocal scales and arpeggi, while looking at pictures or books; I have taken a strong, diffuse pleasure in the tuning of a piano while lazily enjoying the beauty of a house and the details of a garden. But I cannot read or write when music is going on, except during definite lapses of auditory attention. In fact, my nature as a "Listener" refuses such synthesis: music attended to is accompanied only by parallel and absorbing, heterogeneous, irrelevant (unaesthetic) trains of thought. And when music as an Ambience allows of visual accompaniments, there always supervenes a distinctly literary mood and often a literary formulation as with that organ at St. Maurice. This may be connected with my lack of the evidently enjoyable experience of reverie, day dreaming, and also with my finding diffluent thought a bore, like protracted music when perceived as an Ambience. Anyhow, something constitutional confines my aesthetic enjoyment to two separate categories, viz. actually followed and remembered music on the one hand, and on the other, such visual syntheses (exemplified by my Genius Loci essays) dominated by a kind of activity and emotion which belong to words and their concatenations and transformations of equivalences.

Having said all this about myself, I part company as an Answerer from Mile. Helene. But only to accompany her somewhat further in my character of a student of varieties of musical experience. For the musical experience which, having thus dropped me along the way, Mile. Helene now proceeds to describe, illustrates a good deal of poetic and emotional, truly aesthetic, but mixed musical enjoyment, in which not only "heard," but even "listened to" music mingles with other things. A complex enjoyment which, even when not employed as a stimulus to literary produc tion, may be said to constitute a sort of inner, secret and solitary art of the Answerer's own.


MLLE HfiLENE 477

Constitute it, indeed, as already hinted, sometimes only in the imagination, as a longing, so that such transforma tions and fusions very likely never take place in reality, but rather (like so much aesthetic enjoyment, and all literary) in the sphere of evocation, and with memory-images for material. Thus she writes and I will not spoil her charming French by translation, "J'ai souvent le regret que la musique ne surgisse pas a certains moments ou elk embellirait et completerait Vetat oil Von se trouve; ou s'adapterait aux impressions a la cam- pagne y le soirpar un beau clair de lune d'ete, on voudrait passionne- ment entendre du Schumann, un violon, une voix defemme, tfimporte quoi qui serait, en harmonie [avec] et resumerait . . . Vetat d'dme an pay sage ^ qui en serait V expression parfaite. Tandis qifil fautfaire un effort pour aller s'enfermer dans une salle de concert pour entendre ce mSme 'Lied' de Schumann qui ne vous fait pas le meme plaisir parce qu'il tfest pas adapte an milieu." And again, speaking of the preludes in the darkened Bayreuth theatre, she says (bearing out my remark that longing is often a factor in aesthetic, especially in poetic, pleasure) "On ne wit rien, et la musique vous penetre; on se croirait dans un autre monde, deja dans le parvis d'un paradis, si cette musique ne vous faisait pas souffrir comme toutes les choses belles par un desir d'infini, de plenitude, de perfection

In reality, I should say from the essentially aesthetic longing for more, also for one's own intenser appreciation, the "verweile, dock du hist so schon" Above all, perhaps, from the little pang accompanying memory and due, I believe, to the pale spectral and uncertain nature of memory- images which haunt but elude our grasp. So that when Mile. H&ene answers that her enjoyment of music is "plutdt dionysiaque" I, having learned to know the genuine thorough paced "Dionysiac" of Professor Paul and Master Hugues or indeed the (so to speak) proto-"Dionysiac" of Cecilia and the American essayist, should correct the statement into "plut6t litteraire"


CHAPTER IV SYNTHESIS

SOME EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN


THE ANSWER of a highly aesthetic but not at all musicianly "Archaeologist" (preference for Elgar is all he tells us of his own musical qualifications) carries us further along the lines of Mile. H61ene's experience. Nay, the very word "synthetic/ 3 wherewith my Reader must now be fairly bored, figures in one of this Answerer's pronouncements. And only the more interestingly because he gives it with a different connotation from mine; thus: "Russian opera is the greatest art I know because it is, of all the arts, the synthetic experi ence of a living people ," and goes on to explain : "A madrigal or a metope may be an object of beauty ', but it is no longer an object of art. . . . Art is synthetic"; and he clears up the meaning of "synthetic" by adding: "Mass music, for example, interests me, but little unless in celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and in this, architecture and sculpture, vestments, etc., play an equal part"

The "synthesis" thus made by this Answerer a sine qua non of Art, is therefore not my "synthesis" of variously originated impressions and memories in a single individual mind. It is a concrete, indeed material, combination of objectively existing items, so much music, such or such architecture, words, vestments, etceteras, combined, perhaps even calcu lated, to produce a certain effect. In fact, although he tells us that "music sends me back into the heart of my own story," this Answerer employs music, along with vestments and etceteras, as stage properties for an emotional, but very bonafide and concrete pageant. That is what he means by art requiring to be synthetic. And this meaning explains why opera, and especially Russian opera, being the "syn-


SOME EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN 479

thetic experience of a living people/ 5 which must mean such a pageant arranged by a whole contemporary nation, is the greatest art this Answerer knows.


II

Such enthroning of opera is almost unique among the answers to my Questionnaires, the only similar valuation being on the part of an essentially literary (though musically trained) musical critic, moreover almost exclusively addicted to Wagner, and who characteristically uses the word seeing rather than hearing with regard to the Ring. 1 And even he speaks of opera as only potentially superior art. As to my other Answerers, one fully expects that such a hybrid "art" as opera should meet only the disdain of "Listeners." What rather surprises is that the majority of "Hearers" are no less ready to put down opera as an inferior category, and one they care for much less than wordless instrumental music, even Wagner being preferred by many in the Concert room. This latter preference, the more curious because many of those Answerers leave no doubt that Wagner's music is connected in their minds with what happens on the stage, or at least in the libretto, leads me to a consoling suspicion that, in these people's sublimating recollection, the dreadful sights of the (at least pre-war) Bayreuth stage may have faded away and only the magnificence of the music remain.

Be this as it may, the consensus of my Answerers is that opera is a poor thing or worse.

And I am quite of their opinion. But merely, so far as I am concerned, because although a "Listener," I am not sufficiently musical to enjoy music when accompanied by sights which affect me as prosaic or downright ugly; at best incomparably inferior to the scenery and personages and action furnished by my imagination ; inferior no less to the real surroundings (like that church of St. Maurice, let alone

1 Franz, see p. 244.


480 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

St. Mark's or my Roman basilica towards nightfall) which sometimes unite with inferior or only overheard (cf. Am bience] music into a synthetic whole putting all Russian operas to shame. And having thus expressed my aversion to opera, because it is nearly always rather dreadful to look at, let me now astonish the Reader by adding that, in my opinion and in my experience, opera is nevertheless an invaluable invention. For besides having contributed enormously to the general evolution of music 1 and to the inspiration of composers taken individually, it still brings music closer to many "Hearers" or rather brings and keeps the attention of many "Hearers" within reach of the music. Since in psychological matters, as in the politics of, at all events, continental countries, hostility is forestalled by integration : you give the prominent opposition member a seat in your cabinet. So with opera : it is of the nature, shall we say, of Coalition Government, one might add, of an Union Sacree. . . .

For its scenic display and dramatic business and the occasional attractiveness of a great actor or lovely prima donna should, theoretically, withdraw attention from music and are therefore doubtless resented by inexhaustibly thorough-paced "Listeners"; yet all these additions may like words, revive flagging musical attention, forestall strain as well as divagation; in fact, keep the "Hearer" within the magic circle of the music's unifying interest.

In prefacing this opinion I mentioned that it was, also on my part, a matter of experience. And as the subject was not within the scope of my Questionnaires, I shall, as usual when this happens, use myself as sole Answerer, inviting any Reader whose experience is probably contradictory, to offer himself also as corpus vile for future psychological self- dissection.

1 Cf. my (very crude) early book Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy.


SOME EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN 481


III

The following notes, written after a musical festival at Leipzig in 1904, begin with referring to my self-observation on visual attention, and I had better preface them with a few words on that subject.

The Reader may remember what I said, in dealing with the subject of pictures and statues, about the division and the synthesis of attention, oscillating between the visible pattern actually presented to the eye and the thought of what that pattern represents. The gallery-diaries which I kept very accurately during several years, show that, so far as I am concerned, the usual (and probably normal) manner of taking cognisance of a picture or statue for the first time, was by asking oneself (or identifying at once) what it represented. While with an already familiar work of art, the best way to overcome any initial incapacity for enjoying or even thoroughly seeing it, was to ask oneself questions about the significance of the thing represented, let alone speculating upon the character of the individual artist and his time. After which I would usually find myself becoming spontaneously appreciative of the mere visible shapes, and oftener than not, forgetting all the rest in enjoy ment thereof. Such a division and synthesis (or rapid oscillation) between visible aspect and represented object, I explained, as the Reader may remember, by the practical habit of ascertaining what the things we see are and how we may be served or damaged by their real attributes. To which I added that as musical patterns imitated nothing (save in Handel's and Haydn's occasional imitations and those in the Pastoral Symphony) and suggested only rather vague feelings, such a complete synthesis could come about only between sung music and words. And now for my personal notes :

HH


482 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS


IV

The first is headed Integration of diverse impressions 53 and is as follows :

"I connect this (Bach-Festival) experience with my former observations of simultaneous diversity upon atten tion (in the arts addressing themselves to the eye). It is, I think, less a matter of added stimulation (i.e. to attention), though there may be something of that kind, than of inhibited distraction, divagation, simply by the whole atten tion being called upon from various fields which in this way coalesce into a unity. Divagation is the wandering at random of idle energies : employ them and it ceases. This Bach (Festival) music, I mean these less well-known (and probably less excellent) compositions which were given, have indeed the highest degree of musical complexity, but while thus making immense demands on the musical attention appeal but little to any other. There is, apart from certain joyful bursts, no specifically human emotion in these notes, and the words, where one can follow them, are, to me at least, futile or mawkish.

In striking contrast to this Bach experience is that of the three operas I was at during those same days at Leipzig : things so different as Figaro, Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, and Cavalleria, to which I may add two acts of the Meistersingtr at Munich immediately after. The action on the stage, the mere appearance and movements, however banal, of the personages, held the attention, prevented it from wandering. I certainly heard every note of ' Figaro i and I was immediately delighted and absorbed by the Hum- perdinck, which I did not know at all; only in this (i.e. Humperdinck) my attention to the action, at least to the voice part carrying the words, gradually got the upper hand of attention to the music, which became, in the most literal sense, an accompaniment. The same, to a greater extent


SOME EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN 483

even, was the case in the Meistersinger : the whole seemed to sum itself up in attention to the faces and action and to the imperfectly heard words. But, throughout those two acts of the Meistersinger, I experienced no mental weariness. I am sorry to say I carry away no musical recollection of the Humperdinck, Of Cavalleria and Meistersinger a little more, but on examination these impressions reduce themselves mainly to visual ones and summings up of the action."

Perhaps these experiences of opera on my own part may shed some light on the enjoyment of such "Hearers" as admit to an admixture of visual and dramatic associations. Indeed, it is conceivable that what they are enjoying is an operatic performance set up in their mind and accompanied by music. The following self-observation connects on to this subject, and with a great deal I have previously dealt with in "Hearers." It is dated January 18, 1910, and is headed "Action of Music not followed but in conjunction with the Stage" :

"The other day at Puccini's Vie de Boheme, I verified that I could not, on a first hearing, follow even this (I believe) easy music ; and that I had only a general idea that it was so and so, rather than an impression of its real shape. Also that my attention was mainly engaged with the stage , and that, whatever associations there were, were generated by the stage, not the music. My attention to the stage was intensified by not hearing a single word and not 'knowing the play' ; it was like an interesting dumb show with vaguely suggestive music. Certainly the music helped to interpret the dumb show, for in one point it was the music which made me understand that the hero was not sick of the heroine ; also a little his face and gesture.

Another thing: I noticed as I have done before, that with me the human emotion is not the result of any illusion, but of the idea which that intended illusion awakens. It was the idea of Mimi's death, and of the Poet's farewell which gave me an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, much more


4 8 4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

acute probably than the reality would have done, because in the reality one is often taken away (by practical adapta tion) from that (emotional) idea. The music, so far from diminishing the efficacy of that idea, as it undoubtedly diminished, nay, destroyed, illusion, increased the idea, because it acted in the same sense, being solemn and sad; also because, by attracting another side of my attention, it prevented my being distraite"

V

These various samples of my individual experience lead to the following note, which I copy from my commonplace books, rather than attempt a paraphrase : I doubt whether listening to music, if at all complicated, is likely to become part of a coordinated complex like that consti tuted by the visual aesthetic perception of a picture r statue with the thought of that picture's or statue's subject. The dif ference may depend upon the visible work of art remaining there and our repeating the self-same acts of visual perception and allied visual empathy, so as to enclose, to integrate, every other interest in their sameness. Whereas the audible work of art is moving and changing; and the act of musical perception (in cluding its play of expectation and reference to past and future), is in so far never quite the same. If I look at the Olympia Apollo, and think of Apollo as a god, of Apollo as Sun, as Poetry, and also think of Delphi and bay trees, etc., all of which enter into my complex or notion Apollo, it is a great help to find before my eyes the same figure, the same lines, and masses. But if, while I am listening to the prelude of the 2nd part of the Christmas music, I think of the gospel narratives, of various pictures of the Nativity, of Christmas trees, etc., etc., there is a considerable chance of my letting a certain number of bars go by, not indeed unnoticed (as we shall see anon !) but inadequately noticed. In other words, there is a probability of such lapses, such lacunae as the more musically-attentive Answerers acknowledge suffering from, while the less musical are aware of lacunae only when they think of irrelevant matters, and often claim that their thoughts during music are part of the music itself, immanent therein, in short music's "message."


SOME EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN 4^5

We have also to bear in mind that musical experience is one which is both sui generis and highly artificial; since outside music, we have no occasion for setting our attention to exact and unintermittent following of sounds qua sounds, as distin guished from the cognising of sequences of sounds as symbols, i.e. words, which are instantly transmuted into imagery, into sequences, of a wholly different kind. This is the case with music ; instead of which I think that, unless we are blind, our whole lives are made up of visual acts enclosing appropriate thoughts. Indeed, all manual work, and all sports, are a constant education to the forming of complexes within the circle, large or small, of repetitive visual attention and the thoughts it sets up.

VI

Like the evidence (at least the valuable evidence) given by other persons, the above notes, and the generalisations from them, are purely individual. And the Reader must regard them as telling him, not about the nature of an abstract Art of Music and of an abstract Human Mind (or Soul), but about the reactions to music of an individual Answerer, whose (very lowly) musical status and even whose classification among "Hearers" or "Listeners" I leave to the Reader. But however I may be pigeonholed, I think these notes of my own experience shed some addi tional light upon the answers in my earliest sections of thorough-paced "Listeners," and their apparent incapacity for Interpretation and for synthesis of musical with non- musical impressions. I cannot repeat too often that with such "Listeners" the items of thought (and first of mere perception) are musical notes, the relations are rhythmic, melodic, harmonic; moreover, to some extent, relations to those mysterious "Ancestors of emotion" or movement schemata. And the whole process of thorough-paced "listen ing" to music is nothing but such sequence of integrations, a shifting of notes into new relations as intervals, accents, sonorities, and more or less vague expressions to the exclu sion (and no wonder, considering that the very elements of


4 86 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

music are artificial and of incredibly recent date think of our scale, barely three centuries old and are moving away instead of sitting still like lines and colours) in such thorough "listening" of everything else. Since integration of course implies selection, rejection; implies that the mind makes wholes out of some fragments by refusing to admit other ones, just as, in order to hear the full musical tone of a fiddle or a piano, our selective ear must shut itself to the scrape of the bow and the clatter of the keys.

But this self-observation of mine may also show, even if only negatively, that, somewhat in the same manner as it is usual for the mind to play between what a picture repre sents (realising the coolness of grass, the purity of air) and the shapes and colours which do the representing, it is possible for the mind to hold on to the musical patterns and yet to realise those integrated images and emotions which, as Yvonne said, "font corps avec la musique" Moreover, that the combination of music with ritual or drama, as it pre sumably was the primordial matrix of the art, still helps the insufficiently musical to keep, as already said, within reach of music's specific effects, instead of wandering off to other thoughts or (which I confess is my temptation) wandering away altogether. Which is not, of course, the way of viewing either Russian opera or Bayreuth of those who, like the "Archaeologist" quoted above, think that "synthetic" i.e. coalition or hybrid art, instead of being a primordial, an embryonic condition, is the highest level of artistic evolu tion.

But as, so far at least, there is probably a great majority of fairly musical persons who are and must be "Hearers" and of whom that "Archaeologist" is only an extreme and verbally theorising representative, I am inclined to think that it is by operas, operas in the privacy of their own minds as well as on the public stage, that music enters, and will long enter, into men and women's lives.


PART VI

HOW MUSIC COMES INTO OUR LIVES


CHAPTER I THE STATE OF AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION

IN MY Programme for this book I had included a chapter entitled "How does music come into our lives?" which would have followed upon my sections about opera and similar hybrid categories.

But when I think out this query, what have the Question naires, and the hundred odd documents they elicited, what has the whole of this book, been unless an answer to it? Indeed, the answer has grown so long and so detailed that I fear that, for the Reader, it may be no answer at all.

So let me sum it up if not for him, at least for myself: Music comes into our lives in more ways than is usually supposed, because there are several sorts of lives and several how can one put it grammatically? several sorts of us.

Before, briefly reviewing some of these various sorts of us, and showing by their individual preferences, which music, which composers at least, enter or do not enter into their musical life, I will inflict on the Reader two notes of my own, which he may skip, for they are of a very general kind, and, the first especially, repeat things I have already had occasion to say. The first concerns the way in which music can appeal to our attention and keep hold of it, as distinguished from visual art.

"No one," it says, "except Mendelssohn or Butler's Mr. Pontifex Senior ever sat in the Tribuna of the Florence Gallery for a full hour of rapt contemplation. Yet we are all expected to do as much at a concert, listening to a single composition, sometimes (as at that Leipzig Bach Festival) of a remarkably monotonous and intricate kind. Whereas the fervent contemplation of those early Victorians in the Tribuna could draw refreshment from a score or more of the most utterly dissimilar masterpieces. In view of the


4 go MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

length, steadiness and exclusiveness of musical attention (where it truly exists) I cannot but suspect its being of a very recent evolution, due in part to centuries and centuries of full-fledged attention to literary and philosophical sub jects. My own case shows how easily musical attentiveness can be lost from disuse or fail ever to be solidly established." (Remember M. Ernest's "very, very few Listeners.") "Per haps one kind of divagation, viz. cognate suggestions, during music may be a rudimentary equivalent of normal literary attention. For attention to literature surely implies openness to suggestions, evocation of past experience ; in fact, is all reading not romancing when it is not discussing? Is it not building up (or digging out !) something of our own, however much along the lines and under the orders of the Writer? Now attention to music is attention to something given by the composer (and performer) and all the building has been done by them. And do not what I call integrative 'Listeners' reveal literary habits?"

II

The, second of these notes, more general still and more speculative, raises the question of the origin of aesthetic contemplation. It suggests the possibility that such aesthetic contemplation so far from being originally produced by art of any sort, may be in reality a state which must have existed before all art, and which all art (taking it for granted) has deliberately or unwittingly set about appealing to, reinforcing, keeping up and isolating. Shall we say a spontaneous and sporadic kind of aesthetic contemplation, of "higher plane"? The note runs :

"I am beginning to suspect that enthusiastic love of the beauties of 'Nature 5 and of the 'beautiful in Art 3 even in specified words of art, can exist apart from any real per ception of these things, any real seeing or hearing, yet be perfectly genuine, i.e. imply the presence, in these indivi-


THE STATE OF AESTHETIC CONTEMPLATION 491

duals, of bonafide aesthetic emotion. The crucial test is the fact that there can be strong aesthetic emotion aroused by the use of certain adjectives, without, in my own case, though I am rather a visualiser, those adjectives 'beautiful/ 'wonderful/ 'splendid/ etc,, having evoked any definite images. What is evoked is a certain response to very different appeals. I often fancy that the thought of food and drink and perhaps the reality of it, may stimulate genuine aesthetic emotion in those to whom food and drink and other creature- comforts, are not matters of course ; indeed, I should like to believe this in view of Christmas dinners, etc., and of the gluttonous descriptions, not of Rabelais only and De Coster's Eulenspiegel, but of, let us say, Zola?s Venire de Paris, all of which have their undoubted poetry, although only nauseat ing to my well-fed and dyspeptic self. All this, and the observation of sundry of my aesthetically rapturous fellow- creatures, leads me to suspect that the aesthetic emotion may be an internal condition, by which I mean a state of brain, nerves, muscles and viscera, independent of peri pheral stimulation (sights, sounds) and even of memory- images left by sights and sounds. It seems conceivable that so far from perception having begotten (in the race) this aesthetic emotion, this may have pre-existed and taken possession of the perceptive functions, to the extent of these becoming its habitual leverage. There is no sufficient reason why, e.g. sight, should be sufficient to produce such aesthetic states without their previous existence. For instance, in the case of E. F., certain tones of voice, brightening and opening out of eyes, evident heightening of the vitality in speaking of what she considers virtuous, heroic, etc., have, to say the least, a basic element in common with aesthetic emotion, which is proved by the aesthetic adjectives she applies. And is not all admiration (which is quite separate from astonish ment) a contemplative state, a 'higher plane 3 ?"


CHAPTER II MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE


MY COLLECTIVE Experiments have shown the concordance of affective suggestion which may be discerned when the attention of a group of Answerers is, so to speak, artificially concentrated ; also in what, similarly concordant, metaphors, similes and "visions" such affective suggestions may become manifest in different individuals. All of which illustrates my chapters on Emotional Suggestion and other Interpreta tion, the "meaning" and "message 53 variously attached to music, and moreover mainly by "Hearers."

I shall now give a few specimens of what I myself, to whom all the above enumerated "interpretations," "mean ings" and "messages" are completely foreign, am able occasionally to discern about the nature of the emotion suggested by wordless music which appeals very deeply to me.

"Appeals." But to what? To my affections, meaning my emotions and moods? Or only to my affection, that is to say to my preference, mysterious, perhaps inexplicably hidden in my bodily constitution and in my mental habits, what Semon calls engram-complexes left by my otherwise unregis tered past?

The value of the following notes consists in their raising, rather than solving, this question of the nature of the appeal ; in their leaving that question open and even admitting that the answer to it, if a truthful one, may fluctuate from day to day according to my dominant condition no less than to the varying accuracy of my self-observation of that act described by Bergson as "se pencher sur soi-m3me."

I shall begin by some early notes on the subject, because


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 493

they will show how my self-observations gradually evolve the ideas tested by the answers to my Questionnaire. Like wise how this self-observation, almost in proportion to its increased accuracy, began to admit variation in my own experience.

II

March 18, 1922.

Yesterday, playing (after some years) Mozart's G minor Quintet with four hands with E. W., I had one of the rather rare experiences of complete musical absorption and (despite bunglings) enjoyment. I really did not think of much except the music, though that I did is proved by my having at the time been struck with the fact, and saying to myself "Am I in the least interested in the expression? No, only in the play of notes, rhythms and intervals." Also I did remember Bettina's description of her state of mind and remarked to myself that I had no such feelings or thoughts in connection with that piece. So even in this highly unified, highly exclusive, experience, there were flashes of something else. I presume many people would deny that this was "something else," because the thoughts were about that piece of music. But I was aware that they constituted an interruption to thinking the music, and that thinking the music happened to take place to a (for me) most unusual and satisfying degree. I remember even trying to spot ex pression, and, oddly, could not, had not the time, to dis entangle any. Only, as the second theme came along, I felt what I call the Mozartian semi-pathetic tenderness, and said to myself "This is my Mozart-quality." Also I noticed, but not in that finale, "Here's Mozart's foreboding agitation as in the Sonata Fantasia." Of course, people might say that my attention was so engrossed because of my own attempts at rapid playing. But usually my, such as it is, rapid playing produces an odd automatism, making me listen badly to what I am playing fairly well, and allowing,


494 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS


even exciting, me to think of every most

More and more my observation (or experience) of my own attention, not only to music, shows it to bp incredibly touch and go ; I mean that it seems almost simultaneously busy with utterly separate subjects. My "Hearers" appear to be unaware of such rapid excursions. Their divagations are evidently unified by something which they call the music, but which may possibly be a definite and long- enduring emotional state set up by the music. Of course, if music acts on these people in the same way as bodily con ditions (high or low spirits) or grey or bright weather acts on me, it becomes intelligible why a very homogeneous and stable emotional condition may be set up, and act (like the emotional states set up in me by bodily or atmospheric conditions) as a selective and unifying factor. Perhaps all the more so if they are not actively following, but merely submitting to, or being in, the music, very much as I may submit to, be in, a fine or a rainy day. Much might be learned by examining how one responds to "Nature." Music, to the mere "Hearer," is mainly an Ambience with interspersed noticed items (shapes), just as, during a walk, the "scenery" is an Ambience interspersed with acts of looking which result in visual memories (such, for instance, as so often haunt me). The difference seems at first that in one case we are missing part of the notes (or rather of the rela tions between the notes, which is musical shape) ; but equally we are in the second case missing ninety-nine hun- dredths of the visual possibilities while enjoying "Nature." The real difference is that the Composer has tried to make us miss none of his notes, while the "Spirit of the Universe" has shown no concern as to what we notice or don't notice in his landscape gardening !

It would similarly be instructive could we know (which I fear we can't) how anyone of us reads, say, a novel or a poem. It is the verbal construction which is really occupying us intuitively though, oddly enough, not in the foreground,


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 495

rather we are directing our mental movements by half- perceived details of syntax, just as we direct our steps by half-noticed details when walking on rough ground; but with clear vision (perhaps emotionally coloured or mmmically integrating vision) only of the evocations which play the same important part as the "views" which we snatch while thus walking and adjusting our steps.

Query : Whether the moments of storing up either visual images or melodic memories are the moments which some persons consider as the chief business, while other people regard the emotional condition and its train of relevancies (not irrelevancies) as the principal part of a musical experi ence? Of course our memory itself makes a pigeonholing selection ; but all one can find out of such matters is just by consulting pigeonholes !

However, the very nature of such a selection represents individual values, indicates previous experience and pre pares for future similarities.

Of course in the case of musicianly persons, there is imme diately set up a mood or emotion ("just music") of specific enjoyment or rather of very active happiness, active like playing a game or grasping an idea. And this (largely habitual and expected) mood accompanies the whole per formance, and by its present dominance excludes dis crepant associations, and possibly favours congruous and enhancing ones, according to the degree of musical pre occupation or of (say!) day-dreaming or literary habit of the individual. (N.B. I have never had day-dreams, since my extreme youth; and my literary habit always falls into abeyance in the case of music.) But to return to what is evidently a mood of active happiness ("contemplation active" Lucien calls it) which will suggest, according to individual dispositions, personal tenderness or cosmic uplift. It will interpret some rhythmic-and-interval-relations into "self- giving" (not "surrender," that is passion and may be sexual), "clinging to the Faust moment," "aspiring towards Good or


496 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

God or liberation from all constraint (in the good sense, since the dominant mood is ac/tive, i e orderly happiness") So much for the Listener JWhy is the Hearer more often Dionysiac, or at least! highly emotional Probably because of his pleasure not be$ng of the a^* v^e kind i e not the pleasure of actively perceivecf objective facts viz the musical rhythm and interval relations In the Hearer there seems a tendency to a welter but welter of the surging sort something corresponding to the gusts of impulse in a dominating emotion The point I have hitherto not seen clearly enough but brought home to me by (re reading) the answers of Mona and Margery is that music evidently gives quite as much enjoyment to Hearers, even the least attentive as to Listeners It is a massive or over alhsh enjoyment of what they call beauty of the sounds but which they persist m describing as sensuous and devoid of meaning Indeed I cannot doubt that such people habitually get more enjoyment from the Powers of Sound than e g myself perhaps just because I cannot in the long run (i e after one or two minutes or even seconds) enjoy sounds and harmonies otherwise than in connection be cause in my case the Ambience impression is so brief and because probably for that reason, no emotional condition is set up dominant enough to make my divagations relevant and connected My connections are the connections of (and in) the piece of music and when I don t get those I think of totally disconnected things The Hearer s connections are probably connections with his mood which is originally set up (or rather evoked) by the music and doubtless kept up by it

An interesting enquiry would be whether Hearers don t require music with considerable stability of expressive character^ i e of potential effect on their moods May not the frequent complaint about Mozart and even the earlier Beethoven being emotionally thin be due (as well as to lack of sonorities and lack of repeated and naked rhythms) to


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 497

this music having a variety of successive themes and of allures which prevents any definite emotional attitude, let alone any emotional wallowing?


Ill

February, 1907.

Listening to music to-day, what I call merely musical emotion seems to be produced by music which has emotion without anything suggesting human expression (action, gesture). But it is constantly tinged, tipped, veined with such human suggestiveness. This for the older music and the earlier Beethoven. A Brahms (violin) sonata seemed rather human emotion woven into non-human, i.e. into mere emotion of no definite (human) character.

The indefiniteness of this musical emotion from the (human) expressive side, is due, I think, to musical emotion being extremely composite, and hence having either a very complex averaged quality, in which a definite character is not easily discerned.


IV


An experience occasioning a query. Last night some Brahms Volkslieder accompanied (or occasioned?) a very strong return of old personal feelings, unnoticed save by myself, but with the practical result of suppressing a letter I had meant to post. To-day some of those tunes are per petually haunting. And while they haunt, that feeling also returns, as if it were the tunes, but with its full personal embodiment, i.e. reference. Is the recurrence and duration of the tunes due to that of the feeling? I can scarcely believe that, for there has been nothing to revive it (indeed re flections in the opposite sense) except the haunting recurrence of those tunes, so that I almost think the tunes (perpetually

ii


498 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

repeating themselves in my head automatically) must be keeping up the feeling. This leads me to note that (in my life) more than once a piece of music has become not associated with (that is quite different) a given person, but becomes that person's symbol ; I should almost say come to stand for that person almost like the name.

This would explain the affective power of singers and pianists, which I have occasionally felt. There is an identifi cation affectively of a person with a piece of music. But on one occasion at least the music thus identified (though the identification did not last and has not recurred) was not performed by the person for whom it stood, but merely in the house (and presence) thereof and at a moment when that personality impressed me less by far than what the music (it was Schubert's Rosamunde, with emotional associations, per haps largely in its words, dating from a period of acute mourning in my first youth) seemed to reveal. There is in these cases, I suspect, more activity in the music than in the feeling and the music does the Verkldrung. Except, of course, when the individual has been much associated with music, as in the present case and in other experiences of mine.

Curiously enough, one of the persons to whom I owe most intense musical pleasure, never has got in the least associated with it, still less got symbolised by it. Whereas quite mediocre performers have had this effect at times. (P.S. Perhaps in those cases I felt, or imagined, something in their person ality or appearance which was analogous to something in the music, passion, tenderness, pathos, mystery; whereas I cannot conceive any one less like music than that particular Singer, I mean calling forth feelings in me or seeming to manifest feelings, except extreme vivacity, in the least like those called forth or expressed by music or indeed anything having an aesthetic value. Certainly music can make an evanescent halo round, nay, become consubstantial with, one's emotional idea of, a human creature.)


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 499

V

January ', 1927

Playing, at the piano, over the slow movement of Beet hoven's First Quartet, which (that slow movement only!) is one of those expressive pieces of his which I feel "I never want to hear again," I become aware that it is not the expression primarily which I dislike, but the notes. Musically it seems to bore me, and this musical boredom (I wish it would change or come to an end, which it doesn't) is trans lated in my mind into "dreary," "dismal." Though stop ! If the tempo were brisk and the bass didn't go on marking time, it might bore me, but perhaps (try the experiment !) not seem so dismal. And I may add that a great many fugues bore me, without seeming in the least dismal, quite the reverse. It would seem as if the adjective "dismal" applied to that Adagio were really a piece of verbal anthro pomorphism, perhaps with a connecting idea (or image) of a person, limp yet heavy-moving, dragging along and calling attention to himself, which person would be a dreary, dismal one. Note the "calling attention" I often feel (but it may be my reaction merely against so much talk in glorification of Beethoven's sorrowfulness) that Beethoven is determined you should know how dreadfully sorrowful he is; and such an attitude on his part is dis pleasing to me just as grief which veils itself or shows respect for the world's happiness, is always attractive, that brushing away of tears and even turning on one's heel which I seem to recognise so constantly in Mozart.

P.S. Writing this a year later, I want to add that hearing again especially hearing in memory the first movement of Piano Concerto 4 Op, 58 (G major) I have been associating it (also, though less, fragments of Trio Op. 97, and perhaps vague other things) with the thought of Michelangelo, which I could not associate with Mozart. When I ask,


5 oo MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

myself which Michelangelo, I think I mean him of certain figures like the inspired Isaiah, an inspired Sibyl, the Creator in Parting of Light and Darkness, and the Nudes of the ceiling, and also Madonna of Medici tombs and the Deposition in the Duomo even perhaps the Cupid as having a quality of "superhuman greatness," the "ichjtihle mich so klein, so gross" also of certain mountain and cloud effects, the passion of storms and skies, not the pathos of sunsets and distant hills as with Mozart. But, and this is what I want to add, though I often dislike Michelangelo, e.g. the whole, to me, brawny, brutal, theatrical, academic Last Judgment, and though quite differently, the loutish, dull Bacchus, the dull David and Christ, yet I don't dislike Michelangelo for being dismal, and calling attention to his sorrow. There seems in his lines and masses something opposed to such expression, and even his Captives are at the opposite pole from the Beethoven Cavatina, Op. 130, the various Adagios, and perhaps least, because of his violent drama and final cry of anguish, that brief slow movement of Concerto Op. 58. I am now, of course, comparing memory-images of both men's works ; and to a certain extent, registered reactions of my own to each.

Whatever the worth or not of such comparisons, they show that to me there is distinct human expression in Beethoven and Michelangelo; at least a distinct human reaction on my part. Is this at all of the same kind?


VI

January, 1926.

This question of the Human Element is far more compli cated than one is apt to think ; and I seem to be perpetually eluding it.

Examining myself, I distinctly recognise the attractive ness of that Psychopompos (Conductor of the Souls to Hades, an adjective applied to Hermes) quality in Mozart. In the


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 50 x

end of the C major Quartet Andante, I don't know whether this "pathos" is not what dominates my impressions ; cer tainly I cannot overlook it. And it seems to be this "Fare well" quality (what I sometimes call "poignancy"} in the last bars of that Cantabile of one of the C major pianoforte Sonatas which gives it its value, its beauty, for me. Or does its beauty as such suddenly become intensified to poignancy? Since much of that slow movement is, to me rather indif ferent, e.g. the opening bars till the ascent of a plain octave. (I am passing those bars over in memory.) No, I am not sure that ascent (a twice repeated octave) is in the least (humanly) pathetic. What it certainly is, is musically poignant. But whether that means "pathetic" I cannot decide. I ought to go over very carefully what I habitually think of as "pathetic" and what as "poignant," trying to find out whether these two qualities are at all the same. (I ought to examine what I have known ever since my youth, that certain landscapes affect me nostalgically at the moment of seeing them, give a pang of regret, sadness.)

Thus: Mozart's first Quartet (G major) Adagio (slow movement), where, as in the piano Sonata just mentioned, the opening theme strikes me as a little poor (I should tell a "Listener" "Wait ! It's coming! This isn't it yet!"), but towards the end of that Cantabile (G major Quartet) I am distinctly moved. Cela rrfempoigne. (Where the treble and bass imitate each other in that ascending scale and the treble breaks, showers into a cadenza.) But this emotion is lyric, exclamatory, I am not sure whether there is human emotion (at most a love-invocation, perhaps like Baude laire's "J. range, a Vidole immortelle, salut en immortalite"} or merely that nostalgic clutching (or desire to penetrate further) which is so strong in my sense of the beauty of landscape and occasionally (not often) of sculpture. However such an enquiry might turn out, I suspect that what people feel in this way is, somehow largely a matter of what they feel (think) their feeling to be. This sounds idiotic ! What I


502 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

mean is perhaps, either that (A) they are so absorbed in the beauty-emotion (pleasure, admiration, etc.) that there is no room for (my) nostalgic pathos, or else (B) the pathos and nostalgia entail motor phenomena or engram-complexes thereof which do not arise in everyone or in every case, or else (C) there are people whose delight is constitutionally spiced with this poignancy and among them, myself. There may be other temperaments with whom aesthetic delight is always mixed with gaiety, i.e. a tendency to dance. With these, the pathetic passages or those which are pathetic to me (my tendency would be to clasp, to exclaim "Verweile nur du hist so schon") are not felt as pathetic. On the other hand, I can testify that to me what others describe (e.g. Turner about the Cavatina in Beethoven Quartet 13, Op. 130) as the deep quality in Beethoven is what / call "dismal, 55 "hopeless," in the short Adagios of the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto even "distressful"; and something which either mars the beauty or my response to it, or perhaps would not be there if the beauty were greater, which would imply that my aesthetic enjoyment, so far from being increased, is diminished by my very dominant recognition of that particular human character and ray resentful par ticipation.

VII

1926. (A Beethoven slow movement)

Thinking the matter over, the musical form does not affect me as boring in itself; I mean that the boringness is felt as an expression of a boring mode of being, almost of a boring personality. Now the lovingness, sadness, whatever it is (and these are not correct adjectives) of my beloved Mozart passages are felt on the contrary as the loveableness of the music. I love these notes and all their ways. There isn't the faintest notion of a personality, although, of course, if a personality could awaken in me anything of the same kind, I should love that personality, be in love with it, wish


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 503

to follow it to the ends of the Earth. Only personalities of such musical beauty don't exist in my experience.

But the fact of the personal element (the thought: "This man is indulging in Weltschmerz") coming up when I am not musically fascinated and not coming up when I am, connects on to the fact that whereas I do not spontaneously (only perhaps as a literary trick) think of landscapes or architecture in personal terms, I do think in such personal terms when a mountain or a church, etc., displeases me. Visual art may suggest such adjectives as : "petty," "mean," "trifling/ 5 "vulgar," "pretentious," "poseur," etc., just as these same adjectives arise in my mind (and also "mawkish," "sentimental," etc.) in connection with music which I rather dislike. From which I gather that, so far as myself is concerned, the personal quality comes in only when aesthetic satisfaction lapses.

VIII

December, 1906.

Yesterday evening I listened with great attention and pleasure (not playing myself) to Beethoven's Quartet in F minor. Op. 95, on the piano. I was aware all through it of an objective expression of moods in very rapid succession and close relation, so that each tempo (probably partly because of its tempo, i.e. pace) and mainly from the recur rence of these interplays of mood, had what one would call a general character: one tempo decidedly, violently pas sionate, full of haltings, hesitations and sudden resolves and broken-off gestures, stormy and intermittent and ominous another (the last movement) of heavenly, poignant buoyancy and clearness.

But, listening as I did, very attentively, this character, this mood belonged, could be referred, only to the notes. The notes broke off and brooded, resolved and flung aside ; the notes hesitated and decided ; the notes, finally, jubilated


504 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

and were too happy for it to last; the notes were impara- dised.

Never once did all this minute and coordinated drama suggest any other actors besides those notes: no human being, no me, no thou, no he; nothing visible or thinkable except the notes themselves. And if I participated in this emotion, it was, most distinctly, as the confidant of those notes, the witness of their wonderful ways.

And thinking of all this I find that certain things of Bach, when I listen to them attentively, do not in the least suggest multitudinous movement of anything save notes. If I think of, say, swirls of figures, as in Tintoretto's Paradise, it is the result, mainly, of my attempt to put the experience of the multitudinous rejoicing notes into terms of something else, to compare them with some other experience in order to describe it or to remember. But it is not an interpretation of the music; it is a comparison illustrative of the effect on me of the music.

Thus I come into agreement, but with my own explana tion thereof, with Ribot's idea that music deals with abstract emotion. Only this abstract emotion is concrete movement, concrete gesture, span, rhythm, sequence, impact and direction : concrete because it is (resident) in the notes.

IX

January 30, 1926. (Beethoven Op. 97.)

These two evenings I have been strumming to myself the slow movement in Beethoven's piano Trio, Op. 97. I had quite forgotten ever having played or heard it, and the first movement I had remembered as part of a Concerto. But I remembered, recognised this second (slow movement) as soon as I began it. A very beautiful motif, but sad, hor ribly sad, which fact I also remembered at once. This sadness seemed to sink into me and become strongest when I stopped playing. At the first go off the impression was


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 505

rather "beautiful and sad." Then the beauty took a back seat and the sadness increased, and, as remarked, it is sadder in my silent rehearsal, as if the actual sounds (or perhaps my activity in playing) mitigate it. The same happened both nights (but perhaps there is a tendency to repetition of a state when it is under observation). And on both occasions (which for the above reason ought perhaps to count as only one occasion) it was a case of making me sad. Most distinctly made me sad, limp, dejected, and vague causes for sadness seemed to well up in my mind, solitude, age, etc. I was distinctly verstimmt and I resented the sadness at the moment and after. I could almost perceive, discrimi nate, two things, (A) the, in a way bodily, change in myself, as if my attitude had been changed, for on both occasions I was musically alacritous, rather desirous of exploring that music, and (B) the welling-up of melancholy thoughts, from (I suppose!) the underground reservoir of one's memoire


aflec

This sort of music, and rather less so another beautiful Andante in a Sonata, I think, by Brahms, so far from attract ing me, like Mozart's or some of Schubert's sad passages is distinctly avoided by me. I do not wish to hear, play or remember it, and I do not !


X

How my impressions vary, or is it my power of self-observa tion? Last week I wrote (in my diary) that certain passages of the Beethoven Quartet, Op. 131 were "merely lovely without expressiveness." Yesterday (third time of playing it over) I find that the rather Mozartian Andante which so far had merely filled (but really filled) me with a sense of loveli ness, has a slight sadness, Wehmuth (Hermes, Conductor of Souls) of the Mozartian kind. Moreover, this expression seemed to become noticeable first when the melody of that Andante began to haunt me, which it has done constantly


506 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

now for twenty-four hours. Every silent rehearsal seems to deposit a tiny sadness. This would suggest that familiarity and especially self-rehearsal may free the attention other wise absorbed by the more aesthetic quality of the musical patterns, so that your "just music" "Listener" may be an inhibited affective subject. And this would connect with M. Paulhan's remark that the expression of a piece of music becomes noticeable with diminished musical attention (cf. p. 63).

Is our affectiveness always lying in wait? Is it part of a passive side released by diminished attention? Might one say in pseudo-Schopenhauer terminology that the "Wille" of the Ego is habitually repressed by the objective "Vorstel- lung" of the Otherness? And might this be the truth at the bottom of the old and fallacious moralist's notion of Reason restraining Passion?

XI

November, 1923. (Mozart Andante, C major Quartet).

By what mechanism does a certain phrase of Mozart come to have affinity with, to corroborate and unite with, a particular emotion of mine, sometimes at the moment of the emotion existing for other causes, more often merely when the music awakens that emotion or the name thereof? The emotion of loving, clinging and parting? Is it that this phrase gives me extreme, almost over-poignant pleasure (i.e. I suppose I mean such as can't be dwelt on or can't last?}, while there is something in the movement, the gesture of intervals and rhythm (probably also harmonic links and progressions) which suggests clinging and departing, "no more/ 3 etc. ; some movement like a farewell? But what is that? Perhaps the way figures look at each other in the Orpheus and Eurydice antique relief (and I don't know to what extent the particular expression of that relief, gone over and over by myself in connection with Virgil and


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 507

Gluck, may not be largely suggested originally by a descrip tion by Charles Blanc which I read and re-read, aged 16). And yet, looking at that relief there on my fireplace, the expression seems greatly due to the way the heads are inclined towards each other and the implication of the hands and draperies; in short, a matter of lines. The nearest approach in words seems "Eyes, look your last 35 ; (Shakes peare's next line, "Arms, take your last embrace," is far too violent) or perhaps "Hands, take your last clasp." But on the whole the suggestion of that music is rather that of the addenlramento, the penetration merely of the glance, which seems to cling and enter to a depth much greater than any possible grasping.

N.B. There has been no original biographic coincidence with this piece; rather the other way; i.e. the coincidence has been created after recognition of this particular expres sion, by my more than once playing it with M.E.M.P. as a piece d* adieu. But this emotional quality of the phrase (end of second theme of slow movement of C major Quartet, especially actual last half-page) had been recognised (the emotion more or less revived) on first getting to know (reading to myself at piano) the phrase in totally unaffective circumstances.

In this piece I find not indeed a "message," but to me a "meaning," i.e. something beside the aesthetic quality, although I do not expect (though I suspect) that "meaning" to exist for others, and by no means attribute it to the com poser. And here, again, is it not the aesthetic quality, largely my love for those notes and reluctance to let them come to an end?

XII

March 12, 1907. "Those Commiserating Sevenths . . . ."

But would they have struck Browning as "commiserating" if they had been differently placed in a different composi-


508 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

tion? To understand the effect of any musical pattern we must add to the specific character of its component elements the combination thereof, the interplay of their various forces. A certain formula of upward tension and downward pressure (and even that is interaction !) may, as Lipps said about the Doric column, affect us as free and buoyant. But freedom and buoyancy thus produced do not amount to the impression of the simplest artistic shape. Neither does the upward leap of the major sixth nor the relief of the passage from minor to major amount to the impression of the simplest fragment of music. It is the reciprocal intensifi cation, neutralisation, the compensating effects of the com bined elements which affect us : it is the birth out of them of something beyond themselves.

I think I have been led to suspect this by my literary analyses : the quality of an individual writer's style cannot be explained by the kind of words employed, nor even by their proportions, but only by the precise relations of the variously efficacious parts of speech which reinforce and negate each other. It is this coordination which produces the special aesthetic emotion, its being mysteriously har monious, its inscrutable sui generis nature, as opposed to the easily classified character of the mere aesthetic elements. Red is a stimulating colour, and blue a cool and quiet one ; but it is not the redness and blueness which will account for the complex effects of Veronese's or Turner's colour or even of a particoloured rag. It is only when some special element dominates, e.g. the ogee, the flattened arch, the "dimin ished" intervals or broken rhythms, that we can point to a definite character; which is never, after all, the character of the aesthetically satisfactory, but merely of a particular kind of aesthetic satisfactoriness.

Why I am a "just music" "Listener."

People in whom recollected melodies play themselves shall we say mentally, but the expression Chant Interieur


MYSELF AS CORPUS VILE 509

seems nearer the truth people like myself, are less likely to think of music in terms of human emotion, because for us every melody remains individual and one lacking an exact equivalent. At least that is my own experience. How much more should this be the case where, as with Barbara, with Bessie and Isabella, the memorised melody brings with it a clear inner reviviscence of its accompanying harmonies and timbres! We are bound to be "Listeners" and to believe in "just music" ! Yes. But something besides the music may go on, may play itself over and over again, in memory: the massive emotion, the bodily and imagina tive symptoms and concomitants, which the music has set radiating, in wider and fainter circles, through a whole personality. And when that happens the most heaven-born "Listener" may cease being a mere "Listener," may become a "Dionysiac," or, with luck, a Composer.


CHAPTER III

BETTINA: A DUOLOGUE ON MOZART AND BEETHOVEN


LET us turn from my own musical confessions to the only other complete set of musical introspections which I have been able to obtain as distinguished from the mere answers, however abundant, to a Questionnaire. These notes, written like my own, at various moments and as the spirit moved her, are from the friend I have called Bettina. A certain tendency to the interpretation of music into other terms must perhaps be discounted in one who is a poet and novelist; also a degree of what I have called 'Translation or the Composer's phenomenon. 39 For Bettina/ before be coming a well-known writer, had been in the constant habit of expressing her moods in extempore playing. Not indeed like so many Answerers to my Questionnaire who have confessed to such musical self-indulgence : Bettina has un usual technical, as well as intuitive knowledge of music ; some of her improvisations might stand the test of being written down, and everything she says about music shows a highly developed sense of form. She is in so far an atten tive, indeed often a critical, "Listener/ 5 keenly enjoying the lucid foUowing of musical intricacies, which she com pares to the pleasure of becoming acquainted with new localities, foUowing paths in woods, etc. At such moments she is thoroughly aware of the mi generis emotion of music.

BETTINA writes :

"Some composers and some pieces of music produce in me the sui

' I ought to mention that there are various indications, especially the negative one of not often having tunes performing themselves in her head, of her belonging rather to the auditory than to the motor type


BETTINA 511

generis emotion which is, I believe) always connected with attention and interest, with music of a very high quality, but less apt to awaken my human and physical (bodily) emotion. . . . Bach and Wagner who interest me enormously seldom awaken my human emotions - . . e.g. at the end of BacKs St. Matthew I see in my mind that there are people bewailing a dead son . . . but it does not start my own tears as sometimes a few bars in a Beethoven Allegretto or (Haydtfs) St. Antony theme, or the E major tude of Chopin. . . . However, the Bach fugues on the organ give me an impression of great energetic masses and have a very invigorating quality" And she adds, referring both to Bach and to the more intricate parts of Beethoven: "I know enough of harmony to follow the themes and the fugued passages technically through their labyrinths, and admire their sequences. But I immediately let myself be swallowed up by the sea of sound"

I have quoted these two sentences because they show Bettina's almost "Cecilian" susceptibility to the "Powers of Sound/ 3 but in her case always mixed with distinctly human emotion, as when she speaks of a "most enveloping" (cf. Ambience, p. 141) "and yet most intimate feeling of en thusiasm, oblivion of one's own affairs, almost slight drunkenness as if one 3 s blood was growing warmer and one*s mind more generous. Also, in some cases a feeling of tenderness and longing; or of con centrated resignation, of feeling safe as if on a mountain"

(That this is in response to the appeal of the "Powers of Sound/ 5 of rhythm, sonority and timbre, is proved by her referring such effects to "Symphonic work Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart but most of all to a good military band"}

And, after those remarks in which she correctly connects the sui generis emotion with attention and interest, she goes on about "# very different quality of music apt to awaken my human and bodily emotions. By which (latter) I mean a particular thrill in the spine and a feeling as if one were ready to do great things, and as if some one were carrying, supporting one" And again, describing what happens when the music is thus "carrying, supporting one/' she says: "Feelings and vague


512 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

thoughts and memories flit through my mind> never anything dis tinct On the whole it is more a bodily feeling, a warm glow; but also readiness to give away my last pair of shoes : and at the same time admiration of the beauty of the music" For in this marvel lous mixture, which is perhaps the nee plus ultra of real musical experience such as my classifications have, alas, prevented the Reader seeing, in this rapture of Bettina's, with its "admiration of the beauty of the music/ 5 there is a great deal besides "Cecilian" "being played upon" or "Dionysiac" "overwhelming/ 3 since she continues "Then I am aware only of a very blissful feeling as if somehow or other there were friends present whose language I understood. This state of feeling may continue for some time after getting home" (from a concert) "although little by little the dust of life gets the better of it."

Again I must interrupt Bettina's very unmethodical in trospection, to guard against the suspicion that there is in this the kind of personal affective reference which we have found in one (at least) of our Answerer's saying of Wagner's music that it means the "Passion of Love." Her "consum mate states/' as she calls them, which she feels as "life's highest fulfilment" seem of a far more generalised affective- ness, something like that sublimated and abstract love- emotion which (if I understand him) Mr. Turner 1 asso ciates with Beethoven. The human emotion welling up in Bettina is not merely an impulse of self-surrender, but a satisfied longing for sympathy, for "friends" around her whose language she understands. Nor are these "friends" primarily fellow-creatures, for she says of her musical emotions : "/ have felt in the same sort of way when quite alone in high mountains. I was not seeing the surrounding scenery in any detail I was only feeling that at every step I seemed to get lighter, that unworthy things vanished, dropped off below one; and that I should have liked very much to be very good and fit into it all"

So here we are, in company with a far more experienced ' In his Orpheus, "To-day and To-morrow" series.


BETTINA 513

and explicit guide, back at those "Higher Planes/ 3 the "tremendous regions" of aesthetic contemplation, of abstract emotion, whereof our "just music" Answerers had stam- meringly revealed the existence.


II

I have given so much space to these introspections of my friend Bettina's, after giving even more (and less pardon ably) to my own, partly as an introduction to an equally ample comparison of what both of us felt about our two greatest musical Divinities.

Because what each of us found to say respectively about Mozart and Beethoven seems explicable by what we had said about our individual attitude towards music, including certain traits of character which may be guessed at, as underlying, however dimly, these aesthetic preferences on each of our parts.

So the consideration thereof is the logical introduction to the lists of individual preferences which I have compiled from the answers to my Questionnaires. And the whole of this work of comparison, while helping us to understand the various ways in which music can enter human life, will justify my heading the next part of this book with the old saw: "DeGustibus. . . ."

Ill

So here is what Bettina says about Mozart and Beethoven, with myself occasionally indulging in parenthetical asides for the Reader's better recollection of what he had heard of my feelings on the subject.

Bettina loquitur; "Mozart is much more superhuman in his serious parts, he never lets the reins go, or rather needs no reins; he is impersonal like one who already knows exactly how everything will end." (V. L. "Odd! I find him often so full of appre-

KK


5 i4 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

hensiveness") "He hovers over the waters, Beethovtn fights with the waves. Beethoven's music, owing to this human element, has a considerable effect on rather unmusical, or at least musically uneducated, people. And of course just the 'romantic' passages. I think, however, they can only awaken feelings of self-sacrifice and goodness, particularly in people who feel music rather emotionally. . . . There is more sympathy in Beethoven than in Mozart" (V. L. "This should be tested. In me those 'romantic' passages awaken only gloom, dismals and aversion to slight pose/') Bettina continues : "But in the works of both there are over lapping effects, where Beethoven is very aloof. And in many initial sonata phases, which are less lyric, more dramatic, or very quiet, he merely mirrors himself in his own beauty, and there are, on the contrary, passages where Mozdrt becomes very personal, but more rarely. For instance, a passage in a Quartet with variations which he is said to have written in the night when his first child was born after his wife had nearly died, there is a passage which almost hurts with its personal jubilation. 1 Beethoven has also got this un earthly (iiberirdisch) quality, i.e. of jubilation, especially in last movements of later Quartets; but with Beethoven it seems the superterrestrial joy of a spirit which has previously traversed so much that was earthly. Whereas Mozart is unearthly like the larks in the Campagna."

This, so to speak, critical duet between my friend Bettina and myself, is a good illustration of M. Paulhan's remark that, once our attention goes to the expressive side of music we are apt to find in it "les qnalites que nous aimerions trouver en nous-memes" Or, may I add, perhaps, find in others in their relations towards us?


1 Bettina showed me the passage : it is in the Finale of the G minor Quintet. And to me there is nothing in its "jubilation" which in the least suggests such a tragic origin, except its being preceded by a quite separate Adagio of a distinctly Beethovenish complexion. Probably this was in Bettina's mind.


DUOLOGUE ON MOZART AND BEETHOVEN 515

IV

It was, presumably, of Beethoven, rather than of Mozart, that Bettina was thinking when she wrote, answering a query about suggestion of stories, dramas and also reminis cences; "These are side issues. Music which really lays hold of me, stirs and soothes, does not evoke. What it does is sometimes deeper and vaguer, I don't know what to call it , . . a longing for self -surrender, for an oblation of myself which would not be self -sacrifice, but the highest fulfilment of life"

"If music be the food of love/ 3 one feels inclined to quote Shakespeare's Duke, "play on," But there is playing and playing; and we should not quite understand individual preferences (of which such a long list anon!) and not under stand Bettina 3 s in particular if we forgot what she has told us of her susceptibility to the "Powers of Sound," if she had not let slip those words, common to the least musical ^Cecilians" and the most musical "Dionysiacs/ 3 about warmth, glow and "something almost like drunkenness 55 ; and if she had not told us that the greatest effects of music were Symphonic, but most of all even "a good military band." Before closing this comparison of a comparison^ i.e. of Bettina's and my own preferences respectively for Beethoven and Mozart, I want to quote the suggestion of one of my most musically developed and philosophical Answerers about just such massive emotional appeals of "the music which really lays hold of" Bettina. The more so because Benjamin, the Answerer in question, is one of the most uncompromising believers in the sui generis "pleasure in pattern of tones," and at the same time uses the same words "body" and "glow" with which Bettina has made us familiar in these introspections.

"It seems likely" he writes, "that such a condition as gives 'body* and 'glow' would . , . attract into itself by association such special forms of emotion as have the same general outlines as the pattern of tones" This extremely suggestive remark, applied


5 i6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

to what we know of Bettina, would translate into the fact that the bodily and emotional appeal of "the music which really lays hold of" her would enormously enhance her sensitiveness to the other (the "just music") sides of music; moreover, it would increase her responsiveness to the "special forms of emotion as have the same general outlines as the pattern of tones." So that her finding Mozart "rather disembodied" would mean that she misses in him the en hancement, the corroborating "body" and "glow" of that appeal through the "Powers of Sound" which, while already acknowledged in Bach's organ music, 1 reappears (however differently) even in Beethoven's pianoforte music. And the divergence between her and my own preference (very closely similar as regards melodic and harmonic, "patterns of tones") about Beethoven and Mozart would be due to the fact that what to her is this musically enhancing and corroborating quality by the "Powers of Sound," acts upon me merely as an Ambience, impressive at first, but, unless helped out by visual or literary associations (cf. my Organ at St. Maurice) very speedily boring.

This explanation would apply, I am inclined to think, to a good many divergences in musical taste, besides those between Bettina's finding Mozart "rather disembodied" and my confessing that some of Beethoven's tremendous effects leave me indifferent and unable to follow.

1 Remember her saying of Bach; "I immediately let myself be swallowed up by the sea of sound."


CHAPTER IV BEING ATTUNED TO ...

I

BETTINA'S INTROSPECTIONS, compared with my own, suggest that part of our likings and dislikings are due to something besides musical preference, and even such sensitiveness (or lack thereof) to the mere ("Cecilian") "Powers of Sound. 35 It would seem as if "Listeners" and "Hearers' 5 are apt to respond, like a vibrating string, to some particular affective character to which they are individually attuned, indeed tuned. Besides Bettina's responsiveness to every musical sug gestion of passionate enthusiasm and self-surrender, and my own sensitiveness to that particular Mozartian pathos, we have come across several other instances of the same sort. There is "C. A. T." singling out, even in her most abstract illustrations, two alternating expressions ; the exul tation of achievement (Wellington after Waterloo) and the tenderness of protective strength (the mother with the "little baby"). There is M. Ernest harping on the (sombre) resig nation of Beethoven. And among our "Hearers" there is Spiridion's constant interpretation of musical emotion in terms of a vague poetical mysticism which seem to tally with his confession that he sometimes imagines himself to have written, under musical inspiration, masterpieces which proved not to be such when re-read in less exalted moments. The last-named instance raises a query which my Ques tionnaire did not attempt to resolve, that of the relation of aesthetic creation with the behaviour of artists as human beings; all of which mysteries are probably rooted far below the visible level either of art or of behaviour. None of that is within my (very superficial) competence. What is, is the recognition of the kind of attunement we have been


518 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

dealing with. And it belongs to my subject not only by its obvious bearing on our coming question of "De Gustibus" but also in as far as explaining why thorough-paced "Lis teners" are so often unable to detect any specified human expression in music. As I have previously insisted, such persons are far from devoid of human feelings, indeed frequently possess (or are possessed by) a degree of Affective Memory which requires, if anything, restraining ; and it is, as I have dinned into the Reader, their concentrated atten* tion to the music which (unlike the case of Performers and Composers) is something outside themselves, making them deaf to the music's possible human-emotional character. For this character to be seized, or at all events isolated, in their awareness, there must, I imagine, be such attuned* ness as we have been dealing with. But, judging by nay own case, whenever the literary habit has (as in my collective and essentially literary experimentation) caught certain human expressions on the hook of an adjective, and thus dragged them into lucid awareness, the fact of being attuned, favourably or unfavourably, may influence, however un beknownst, the conscious musical preferences of which they become part. Even I, as my self-analyses show, am often at a loss whether it is the particular "farewell" quality of certain Mozart passages which heightens the poignancy of their musical loveliness, or whether it is the musical loveliness (in some cases the highly vocal loveliness) which makes me cling to them and feel sorrow at their fleeting ness ; probably there is habitual action and reaction of the two. But if in the place of myself, thoroughly aware of being attuned to this kind of lacrymae rerum in other matters, aesthetic or not, you take, let us say an octogenarian, Professor B., who has probably never thought of the Praxi- telian Hermes, tke Conductor of Souls in connection with the last bars of the little pianoforte Sonata (C major)s Cantabilt, nor the G major Quartet slow movement, nor certain pages of the Zwberflote; a psychologist who may have fiercely


BEING ATTUNED TO ... 5 i 9

opposed the Memoire Affective theory well 1 even if this old gentleman happens to be tuned in the same way as myself (not Bettina, who finds Mozart * 'disembodied 53 ) the selective vibration of his affective string will not be singled out, nor given a name; the Mozart-pathos will be added uncata- logued to the other uncatalogued elements of musical love liness merged in the "Emotion of Music"; and all this psychologist can tell us about his feelings may be "Mozart me ravit"

II

Such, I conceive, are the hidden modes in which our being attuned, in fact the modes of Affective Memory, complicate and select the musical preferences of those for whom music remains, on the whole, perhaps always, "just music."

But the majority of "Hearers" are, on the contrary, apt (like that young suffragette*) to be thoroughly aware of their affective dislikings outside the aesthetic plane. To use M, Paulhan's words, they recognise the feelings which they usually have or would like to have. But no less the feelings they dislike (as I am aware of disliking "dismals" even in Beethoven) most in others. Hence, especially if they are unable to follow the music, and if the music does not happen to "play upon them 5 * by any "Powers of Sound," they may express their contempt for sentimentality, by comparing a certain Adagio to a suburban garden with washing hung out in the moonlight; let alone by connecting Mozart solely with minuets, and minuets evidently with Dresden china.

On the other hand, as in the case of that Answerer who discovered a pornographic element in Wagner, there may arise a shame-faced liking or a prudish indignation in connection with music. For human beings are capable of many more emotions than they enjoy having, also of some emotion which they can't enjoy without such a sense of remorse or infra dig. : interfering with aesthetic contempla-

1 See p. an.


5QO MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

tion; though the example of literature makes me suspect that there are individuals, if not classes, whose aesthetic enjoyment does not come off without just such a sense of paltering with the forbidden or overcoming the detestable. However that may be, and I doubt whether music without the addition of words affords much occasion, it seems obvious that there are people who, in all the arts, require strong, sthenic emotions, and others who avoid either "bracing" or "shattering" effects. Also it is certain that the world contains (we have seen instances under "Interpretation") people who require a sense of superiority over their neighbours, the feeling of sitting at the right hand of God (or of the Cosmos) ; and this may take the aesthetic form of preference for the Sublime. And what about those others who, in real life, cannot be happy without self- immolation? Let alone those already abnormal ones who, like Nietzsche himself, require (which I am glad none of my Answerers admit to) the "Stachel der Unlust" the spice, the tang, the prick, the stab, of pain to restore their sen sibility.

As a result of such being attuned, or tuned, to this emotion or that, the music which remains "just music" may perhaps sometimes be merely the music whose emotional appeal the "Listener" or "Hearer" does not, or will not, respond to. And for the same reason, when "overwhelm ing" effects are what the soul longs for, we may find a self-complacent "Dionysiac" comparing what for him is music without any emotional appeal, to ingenious patterns made of sticks, and the ticking of clocks. 1

Ill

Such concordances between the disembodied Homo Aestheti- cus and the real Man or Woman who, as Dante says, lives and wears clothes, would be well worth studying, however

  • Seep. 251.


BEING ATTUNED TO ... 521

much beyond my studies. They might perhaps lead to understanding how individual temperament (similarly underlying visible character and behaviour) enters as one factor into every work of art, differentiating its otherwise traditional shapes with its essential modes of being, its vigour, its steadfastness or volatile fantasticality, its slug gish self-repetition or that marvellous brief breaking off only to burst into a new breath; whatever makes one artist's work poise circling like a hawk or trail like a slug : Mozart or Wagner, Stendhal or Proust.

And of course such concordances, if properly (not anec- dotically) ascertained, might settle the part played in musical emotion by what M. Ribot called Affective Memory, and which itself is, after all, much the same as stored up and potential character.

Moreover, and not least, they might show the moral value of music in furthering emotional states (a Beethoven symphony instead of war propaganda) which the indi vidual, and even at some moments the collectivity, may happen to require; doing so not by representation and imitation as on the stage or in literature, with their possible base personal references, but as a secondary phenomenon, an individual resonance, superadded to the essential and transcendent activities of aesthetic contemplation and exal tation.

IV

But after all, the Reader will possibly object, the whole history of music shows that people can also be attuned (or not attuned) by the chance of circumstances, by accidentally contracted habit. Also there is Fashion.

Exactly. And we must bear this constantly in mind, dis counting it in all our analyses and classifications. Neither is Fashion sufficient explanation, if under Fashion we in clude only the instinct of the herd, the impulse to imitate and conform; nor even the attraction of novelty and all


5 22 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

that goes with it. It means, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that you have to accept what is offered* aud that it may be no less difficult to get attuned to your grand father's favourite Cavatina and Notturnos and the Malibran- Grisi-Mario opera, than to go about dressed like young Disraeli; since music, far more even than literature, is pre-eminently a warehouse production, and only the more so now for the "reach-me-downs" provided by gramo phones, pianolas and other mechanical facilitations,

Be this as it may, and whatever the future of the art may be, this also is unquestionable: that what people will like depends in some measure on what they expect, although in matters of artistic pleasure, what they expect will depend also on what they already like* Being artificial, all art differs from casual reality by embodying a certain amount of definitiveness, coordination, intention* Every style, every school, accustoms us to different kinds of such deliberate artificiality over which young people strut and chortle and old ones shake palsied heads; "La muma era b$n altra Gosa ai tempi mief* as sings Don Bartolo, though, by the way, have any of my Readers heard Rossini's masterpiece? Indeed, every single work of art tells us what kind of impressions it wants to give us and what kind of attitude it asks us to take up. When our expectation, which means our inner preparation, is baffled, let alone frustrated, we feel "let down," even irritated, disgusted. Thus, while ' I enjoy the intoning of a priest in a service without any (what / call) music, I may find it intolerably out of tune if my attention has been musically engaged by, for instance, pre-^ ludes on the orgaa. Similarly, many people are actively annoyed by the recitative secco of old Italian opera, whereas I prefer it a thousand times to lapses into speech as in Fidelia.

Therefore, iu taking stock of some of my Answerers* preferences, the Reader must remember that if one person calls Beethoven conventional (even compares the Moonlight


BEING ATTUNED TO ... 523

Sonata to a suburban garden hung round with washing) that person has shown intense responsiveness to Wagner, Chopin, Liszt and Tchaikowsky. Another Answerer's find ing a lack of "human experience" in Mozart, may similarly come from his heart, his imagination, being fixed on the Titanic or the 1820 romantic sides of Beethoven.

It is not merely that we do not enjoy what we do not expect; it is also that we usually detest what runs counter to our habits sometimes merely our definitions of enjoy ment.

And now for the final and possibly oddest result of my enquiries, under the heading "De Gustibus" namely the list of bare preferences which I have compiled out of the Answers to my Questionnaires.


PART VII "DE GUSTIBUS . . ."


CHAPTER I SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED

"It may not be personally sympathetic to one, One may stand quite alien to it. That explains the great parties for and against."

GEISLER (Schubert Pianist)


AI'DA (prefers), "Schumann et Fatrfe plus conformes a la neurasthenic contemporanee."

ANNIE L. H. "Beethoven has a sort of Raphaelesque quality. Bach and Mozart (sic) have a pre-Raphaelite rough imperfection that is so very fine."

ATHOS (Ex-maitre de Chapelle). "La musique de Bach est des^nervante, celle de Chopin . . . souverainement 6nervante. 95

CLEMENGE C. "Mozart first; Beethoven, later period; Bach next."

DR. PHILOSOPHY. "Wagner appeals most . . . unless Tchaikowsky."

Miss EDGE. "Bach and Beethoven first, then Mozart and Wagner; last of all, Chopin. 5 *

MAGNUS. "Liszt and St.-Saens. Versatile men of the world, concealing learning . . . through contempt of professional pedantry."

MARGERY. "The composers who affect me as being genuine in this way" (i.e. express genuine knowledge of human emotion) "are Chopin, Schumann, Wagner of course, Tchaikowsky, Dvorak and Russian music. There is also the expression of nature emotion, i.e. the emotions coining from natural, not personal, phenomena; these are expressed by all Slavs and also Wagner, Brahms, Grieg, Schubert. Then also there is expression, but only of love, in * ' Cavalleria* But I think Wagner, Chopin and some Slavs' music expresses love far more than any Italian music."


528 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

NESTA. "Bach first, then Beethoven, last period, Mozart, Chopin; but it is impossible to separate these last three.' '

PHILIP. ". . . I am referring only to the greatest music

Even a Bach prelude, especially the ones in major keys, are tainted with the non-musical representational effect, the fugues, particularly the episodical portions of the ones in minor keys . . . can arouse this unallayed aesthetic experience most easily. A few of Beethoven's middle period works do, and most of his later quartets and pianoforte sonatas. Mozart and Brahms at times reach this level, but on the whole I have to go ... to the sixteenth, seventeenth and twentieth century ... for it : Gibbons, Byrd, Purcell, Han del, Bach . . . Gossens, Delius, late Stravinsky, Ravel and possibly Debussy. This music I call absolute, which gives me the absolute experience and the effect is based mainly, not entirely, on formal qualities ... it has an extraordinary meaning, but not in any sense a message. Bach easily top. Beethoven next in so far as he is like Bach."

PICTRIX. "No, I put Chopin at the bottom 95 (moral or immoral?). "Chopin and Wagner chiefly, a material effect. Some of Rossetti's pictures and Swinburne's poems affect me in the same way."

URSUS. "Bach, of whom I probably understand only half, gives me a cool, almost intellectual, pleasure. Beethoven, for whom I had a kind of religious veneration already in my childhood, strikes me as the absolute highest that man kind has produced; I should put Brahms and Schumann next.

The world of feeling of Wagner, Grieg, Strauss, Tschai- kowsky, seems to me quite different from that of the classics ; it can interest me and please me considerably, but never lay hold of me so deeply and transform me as the Classics have done. I consider Tchaikowsky Wagner's equal."


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 529

II

BACH

ELSA. "I have an overwhelming preference for Bach."

M. ERNEST. "A person who doesn't feel this" (a Bach Chorale) ("including its interweaving of parts) simply doesn't feel music."

"FIRST CRITIC." "One prelude of Bach may seem to me just exquisite pattern, and another prelude, say the famous E flat minor, is charged with emotion, poetic emotion, let us call it."

MAGNUS. "The music of Bach, the wordless part of it ... reminds me of a newly scrubbed floor and of a plain domes tic interior painfully clean. His Passion music, the Protestant Chorale and the fugal elaboration bear no devotional character, do not breathe the spirit of worship as does the music of Palestrina or Gounod or as does so much Anglican sacred music."

PICTRIX. "Bach is august, tops of mountains and fresh air."

RUTH. "Bach I can listen to and not grow weary. He makes me feel quiet and sunny."

Ill

BEETHOVEN

BOB. "I like many of Beethoven's early works, but not as a rule so much as his middle and late ones." EMILIA. "He walks among the deep Invisibles." M. ERNEST. Condemns all Beethoven until the gth Sym phony and the last Quartets and Sonatas. Believes that Beethoven has expressed "toutes ses tristesses, toute sa grandeur," etc., in exactly the same way in which he (M. Ernest) feels them in that music.

LL


530 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

G. "In absolute music what the Composer has thought doesn't matter. The ideal of absolute Music is Beethoven, although he has also done Ton-Malerei (music-pictures). 55

HOMME SENSUEL MOYEN. "Beethoven never smiles to me. 55

L. LL. "High spiritual, almost Cosmic development. 55

MAGNUS. "I dislike much of Beethoven as much as Chopin did. 55

MARGERY. "I have a familiar knowledge of the Moonlight Sonata (three movements), Appassionata and Waldstein . . . there are many pieces by Beethoven which I recall as soon as they are commenced. ... It (his music) has never once gripped me either by emotion or beauty. I have heard Moonlight and Appassionata probably twenty or thirty times each; a Symphony (don 5 t remember key) three times in fairly quick succession. 55

(Adds on further querying three years later) "Beethoven seems to work without personal experience or sympathy, like a girl of seventeen who is making up the emotion and who lacks the emotional imagination which makes the thing genuine. He seems second-hand and the Moonlight sonata a little suburban garden with washing hanging in the moonlight. 55

MONA. "There is never anything evil in Beethoven, but he is sometimes thin and dull, arid in meaning and emotion just playing along."

ORLANDO. "Beethoven est un genie egoiste et son celebre amour de 1'humanite' 5 (gth symphony) "le puise encore dans la contemplation de son propre malheur. 35

PIGTRIX. "Beethoven's solidity, like mountains; satis factory. 55

VIOLET T. "Beethoven? Some of Beethoven's pieces I understand and don't like; others are quite beyond me. My mind goes off to other things. I used to like the Moon light Sonata at 14 or 15; now I don't. It seems to me so limited and sentimental in a sort of lovers under moonlight, suburban fashion; not like Chopin. A storm in a teacup. 55


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 531

IV

BRAHMS

SUFFRAGETTE. "A certain Brahms always represents the lust of life ; not brute. But I don't feel it, have no sympathy, and the piece couldn't touch me in consequence, chiefly because it isn't my mode of pride of life. I wouldn't be like that for worlds ; it's rather body-conceit. It couldn't possibly be a woman's conceit. Some pieces strike one as a woman's or a man's soul, according to player. I think I can dis tinguish in music secondary sex attributes."

V

CHOPIN

L, LL. ". . . although I'm not prepared to live without my Chopin. 5 '

MARGERY. "Oh yes, I am familiar with most of his ; I play the 'Welte Mignotf perpetually. I still recognise his experience of very great sorrow, and so it is brought home to me. Sorrow or romance or joy or anything which is in the world-human drama; just the drama of any particular individual known or unknown."

MARNA. "I have no use for Chopin."

MONA. "With Chopin, because more emotional, my atten tion never wanders."

PHILIP. "A year ago I despised all Chopin; I have fre quently tried to appreciate him; ... the greatest piano composer . . . but he invariably repulses me with his sen timental vulgarity."

"THIRD CRITIC." "One of the greatest of all Masters."


532 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

VI

MOZART

ALICE F. DE V. "Je suis plus pres de son coeur."

BETTINA. "Mozart has to my mind a more ghost-like quality, less of the flesh, than Haydn and Beethoven, despite his infinite loveableness. Of all composers he surely has the lightest hand, he never underlines, and for that very reason he subdues us."

DR. PHILOSOPHY. "Mozart touches me comparatively little, especially his piano music."

DORA. "When I hear Mozart, I feel fresh and young myself."

M. ERNEST. "Mozart: elegance and subtlety of orches tration, much done with small means. But temperamentally distasteful, only critically interesting."

"FIRST CRITTC." "Wonderfully beautiful at times, though not rich in the deepest human experience. His music lives in a purified world of its own, a kind of distillation from the actual world."

L. LL. "Mozart represents to me grace and finish, the light intrigue of a highly civilised society."

MARGERY. "Mozart is the 'minuet type 3 of music which makes me drop into the Past as a spectator. Such music has also much personal identity; one sits in this room and there's another self watching music played a hundred years ago. It's like walking into a house retaining the atmosphere of past time, like the Trianon. It's the uncanny feeling like a Ghost, for one isn't living in that time, the music evokes it."

MASTER HUGUES. "Mozart is overrated."

ORLANDO. "Mozart demeure suspendu entre ciel et terre."

PIGTRIX. "In Mozart the lines" (i.e. of her drawings) "always come stringy and hard."

PROFESSOR B. "Mozart: ravissement."


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 533

RUTH. "Mozart is my special composer, upon whose charm I can always reckon ; he pulls me into a world which I can understand and in which I feel at home and happy. 3 ' TUBETTE. "Mozart : musique par excellence." WATSON. "Mozart: beauty and serenity, a thing apart from human passion, desires and failings."

VII

WAGNER

ALICE P. "No doubt about moral or immoral effects ; cer tainly with Wagner."

ALLEN. "Can understand the query" (re moral or immoral) "in regard to Wagner. ... I should say he stands apart. But to me he is rather irritating."

ANONYMOUS. "Wagner has utterly debased music by his mode of mere translation, Program Musik, but he has the golden gift of invention, of melody. ... It is, however, perhaps the first time in the annals of music that we can trace the 'moral* or 'immoral.' In Wagner we have the first traces of pornographic art. The greatest art cannot and does not touch sexuality or morality in the wider sense."

ANONYMOUS (Unmusical Frenchwoman). "La musique de Wagner me parait plus puissante qu'une autre pour exprimer la vie."

ATHOS (Ex-maitre de Chapelle). "Wagner n'est pas un musicien pur, il a besoin de paroles. . . . Ce qui est admirable chez lui c'est le metier."

BARBARA. "I hate Wagner."

"THE BARONESS." "A development on very exaggerated, broadened, deepened lines of Mendelssohn in a perpetual condition of adultery with treacle."

BESSIE. "I think Wagnerists must bring it with them."

BETTINA. "Wagner touches me still less than Bach, indeed ... I watched with amazement at Bayreuth the people


534 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

utterly gone to pieces like old sofa-cushions after the repre sentation, while I, though breathless with musical interest (especially as to the orchestra) remained, well, not cold, for my musical enthusiasm was raised, but humanly quite untouched."

BOB. "I admire Wagner greatly ... in his mature works he is 'as wonderful an orchestral writer as Beethoven. The emotional effect of his music may be what is called more physical ... as with the Grail Music, which has a curious effect somewhere inside me, perhaps in my diaphragm. But I think too much can be made of that, and such things occur with so-called pure music too. I find his average emotional intensity (when played as concert music) . . . lower than Beethoven's or Brahms's or even Mozart's and other purely symphonic writers."

C. F. J. "I admire his music and dislike the whole busi ness and the man."

COLONEL DICK. "Wagner does seem to stand apart, but only in his wonderful orchestration and the boldness and novelty of his harmonies. He does not suggest anything particular. I fancy Wagner tried to inflame his audience with appropriate feeling in some of his music, but unless my attention had been directed to it by someone else I should never have discovered it myself."

CONDRIER. "Tristan, entendu pour la premiere fois, me rendit absolument fou, et je me trouvai k deux heures du matin a la Butte Montmartre sans savoir comment.

Wagner ne fait pas categoric a part. II a evoque des sentiments nouveaux en degre mais pas en qualite."

"THE COUNTESS." "I could fancy that to young people music (not Wagner's particularly) would augment the feeling of love or dispose favourably to it. I could perfectly weU believe that Wagner's music could have this effect in some people."

DR. R. "Wagner est inconcevable pour moi autant que musique pure. Mais sa musique ne differe pas plus des


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 535

autres que celles-ci differentes entre elles . . , Wagner est un createur de beaute qui ne peut inspirer que des pensees nobles. 33

DOROTHY. "I should leave a Wagner opera unsatisfied and asking 'Why?' He does produce in me an effect that none of the others do ... most unsatisfactory, want of restraint, restlessness and reaching to no final conclusion, with the exception of the Meistersinger"

DUPIN (composer). Does not regard Wagner as apart. Music in general acts : "En bien sur le cceur, en mal sur les sens. C'est ma conviction, mais pas plus pour Wagner que pour Mozart."

EGISTO. "Wagner stands apart in his intentions. . . . His music produces the same effects, but of an inferior quality."

ELSA. "The first Composer to appeal openly to the emotions, etc. But a good deal of conventional talk about his being immoral."

EMILY R. Thinks Wagner is more likely to be immoral because "he makes a more direct appeal to the senses."

EMMANUEL P. "Sa musique ne sert que de contexture a son drame. Je le mets absolument en dehors . . . il demande un effort de dissociation d'autant plus fort que les effets sont tres courts et en meme temps tres prepares."

M. ERNEST. "Wagner is merely a great musician like another. It is only idiots who attribute moral or immoral powers to him. Wagner, c'est la vie. At most Parsifal has some hypnotic effect. 3 ' (M. Ernest took two years to under stand Tristan.}

FELIX P. "Impression musicale purement esthetique."

FERNANDE. Certain passages of Wagner have given her a feeling of "fusion de mon etre dans la musique."

"FIRST CRITIC." "Wagner, for me, is the only man with a sense of the world commensurate with that of Bach or Brahms and an equal range of expression."

FLORA. "I could do without Wagner better than without others."


53 6 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Miss FLORENCE. "It would be indiscreet to watch faces at Bayreuth."

G. "For many people this working up of emotions is unhealthy; when one takes in the great construction and takes the music as a work of art, then it is different, the effect grossartig. But for inferior natures or such who don't appreciate, it's quite different. Wagner has powers (with his climaxes and tone-colour) over emotion. 55

GARDNER. "No. Wagner does not stand apart. The dif ferent emotion he produces by bringing in the drama. Extraordinary lack of musical power about some of his music. Wagner 5 s music is so emotional, concerns itself so with the conditions of life that it lies within the province of good and evil."

GERALD P. "Wagner carries suggestions ; the old Masters


never."


GRACE. "Wagner gets people into an emotional frame of mind which might be elevating or the reverse. 5 '

GREGORY. "Wagner no longer stands apart. The surprise of the senses . . . has passed off with familiarity."

GRIZEL. "Even if I could imagine his music disassociated from title and characters, it would be more emotional than that of any composer save Strauss. . . . Strong effect on character and actions. ... A sensual listener would suffer from increased sensuality, but though this element pre dominates in his work, there is plenty of noble inspiration to be found there. 55

H. H. "Wagner seems to stand quite apart from all other composers and to my mind is the final expression of emotion in music. Especially his erotic music must make a great appeal. 5 '

H. W. "Wagner stands absolutely by himself. Most stupendous of all emotionally. Especially earthly emo tion. 55

KARL. Thinks of good and evil with regard to Wagner "because Wagner is only beginning to be musically under-


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 537

stood, and his music is generally associated with words or scenes or characters."

K. S. (very musical as a "Listener"). "I know of no music which I could conceive to have an immoral effect on anyone's character. Most certainly not Wagner's. To me Wagner's music is life, the life of the inner world. One simple chromatic progression in the Walkure is generally described as 'erotic' ; but it is not the physical aspect of the sex-passion."

LEO. "The benches in the walks at Beyreuth! He has a rotten effect on the unmusical"

LEONARD. "Extremely irritating. Wagner is too slow for reality. . . . The wasting of a genius in some things he wrote, ignoble plots, etc."

LEWIS. "Wagner's ethical influence is more direct . . , he intensifies passions, good or bad indifferently."

LINDSAY. "Wagner makes you rapturous when you enjoy, but it doesn't last."

L. LL. "Wagner's effects . . . are made up for by the nobility of his works in their entirety. His influence in certain passages ... is perhaps distinctly physical."

LOLA W. "Wagner m'a rendue malade d'enthousiasme par son Parsifal"

MME. LOUISE. "The first hearing of Wagner appalled me; a malaise from being unable to analyse" (i.e. follow) "in listening. After a year or so I became able to listen synthetically without hearing the separate parts . . . and I realised that he must be listened to like the sea or the wind."

LUCIEN. "Non, Wagner n'occupe pas une place a part, ni ne tient un rang superieur a celui des maitres qui 1'ont precede. II a systematise des precedes musicaux employes discretement avant lui, il a perfectionne la famille des instruments en cuivre, il a enriche 1'orchestre et a su lui donner a la fois une plenitude et une douceur remarquable . , . mais je ne vois pas qu'il soit reserve de produire des


538 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

effets demotion plus grands, plus purs, que ses illustres devanciers. La part etant faite aux idees tres belles qui se trouvent dans ses oeuvres, j'estime que la qualite particuliere de son orchestre conslste a produire une sorte de caresse sur la peau, molle et prolongee, une caresse physique qui etonne et reste d'abord delicieuse, tant que, en se prolon- geant, elle finisse par inquieter and provoquer une sorte de malaise."

M. A. "Wagner has a considerably exciting influence on the nervous system; I agree with an eminent Prelate in Rome that Wagner's music is likely to arouse the worst and not the best in one, that is, in some of his work."

MAGNUS. "I prefer Wagner's plots, staging and librettos to his music."

MARCEL D. "J 3 ai meme cru voir qu'il produisait plus que personne une dissolution de la volonte, un besoin maladif d'excitation."

MARIA SEM. "The love-scenes in Tristan have no parallel in all music. I can conceive that in suitably disposed hearers a fury of love (Liebesraserez) might break loose after having been held in check."

MARY L. "Tannhauser makes me repent of all the sins I have not committed, which, from the story is, I presume, the intended emotion."

NESTA. "Wagner? Tristan stands by itself as one long emotional strain. The Ring, too, but apart from certain passages such as opening of Rheingold or of Walkure, more boredom than anything else."

ORLANDO. "Wagner influe du mauvais cote sur des malades et des femmes. Encore une fois Wagner est le plus grand musicien de ce monde."

PIGTRIX. "Wagner? . . . My hair rises with rage. Many experiments have been tried to deceive me, but I always know and am physiologically ill."

PHILIP. "Wagner is much lower and very much com plicated by associations with words and scenes ; as absolute


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 539

music he is well below Mozart for me ... but if I was very tired I should probably prefer a Wagner concert (if taken solely from Tristan, Parsifal and Sing) to a Mozart one, though I should get less Value' out of it. I sympathise with those who get special emotional effects from Wagner."

POET'S WIFE. "Wagner is expressive of acutely modern and elemental side of life. I think of good and evil with regard to Wagner more than with anyone else, because of the influence coming through his own temperament."

PRISGILLA. "Most natural things seem (in Wagner) sym bols of pure love, most uplifting."

PROFESSOR B. "C'est une emotion moins pure, peut etre plus trouble parfois, mais & laquelle il est impossible de resister. Wagner peut avoir dans certains cas une action plutot enervante."

PROFESSOR PAUL. "Wagner is merely quantitatively more effective. There are composers who . . . almost make me cry; Wagner never does."

RICHARD. "Wagner has this peculiarity, that in the pas sionate parts his music ceases to be a language of its own, and becomes for me the direct expression of the passion of Love."

ROSITA. "Distinct vibrating response. I can't explain how, being musically ignorant."

ROWLEY (unmusical, highly affective). ". . . the first Act of Parsifal affected me to hysterical tears."

RUTH. "Wagner I dislike profoundly, his noise overwhelms me ; I want to run away and hide."

"SECOND CRITIC." "Wagner seems to make the good and evil sides of life more vivid than anyone else and to set them fairly before us ... the emotional state in which all sympathetic hearers find themselves at the close of some of his scenes is one in which the soul is more open than usual to suggestion from good or evil influence or to both at once. He plays on one's emotions more directly than anyone else, but it is in great part due to the factors that lie in his


540 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

composite art. Certainly the emotions he calls up are not as ennobling as those of the other great people."

SPENCER C. "Wagner may do harm to the young, the musically uneducated. 55

SWAYNE ('cellist). "I rather resent music that is written to stir up physical emotion. ... I resent the chromatic passages in Tristan . . . devised to give one goose-flesh up one 5 s back. ... As if I had had a debauch. I often think that people are deeply deceived by this music, and when they are having what I believe to be entirely physical sensations.' 5

"THIRD CRITIC." "Certainly one who has moved and stirred me beyond all other. Unapproachable expression and emotional power. Tristan unhealthy or morbid."

TORRE. "II caso Wagner e un caso tipico, pitt tipico (ancora) quello Strauss. Infatto le persone pervertite . . . cederano indistintamente la musica di Strauss per questa qualita eccitante."

URSUS. "Tristan is symptomatic of an unhealthy, decadent and less pure state of feeling. I have become converted to Wagner after previous (probably ethical) opposition. 55

VALERIA. "I certainly think that Wagner appeals tre mendously and in rather a physical way to human passions . . . but I certainly don't think Wagner's music is ever evil. It rouses strong and perfectly natural human passions in Tristan, but it rouses just as strong and poignant ecstasy, devotion, generosity, patriotism (the Meistersinger] ."

VIOLET H. "I think Wagner is so physical that it's scarcely decent to talk about."

WATSON. "Stands apart. His music seems to me pervaded with a sense of sexual passion, extreme sensualism at times. The atmosphere of his music is intoxicating, not the faintly perfumed atmosphere of Chopin ; but almost drugged with fragrance that mounts to one's brain like fumes."

(N.B. Watson is musically quite untrained and unable to analyse in the least.)


SOME PREFERENCES CLASSIFIED 541

P.S. tO WAGNER

MAIA. My first feeling, in listening to Parsifal was one of extreme exhaustion mental and physical, followed by a strange sense of revelation and of calm the feeling was emotional in a sense only in making me realise more clearly the workings of my own mental condition not in the sense of increasing the depth and strength of my own feeling, but in producing this strange unlooked-for calm a calm of understanding not of indifference.

I had been through a very severe mental strain I feared myself and what the future might mean to me. I could not see the future or any future. I was living only from day to day, combating as best I could the powers that be but never sure of myself this drama had an immensely steadying effect on me. I was given an opportunity of realising my part in life through the tragedy unfolded to me. I felt that life was so that these things were the real things that came into life and had to be treated with all fortitude, and had to be held down.

I was taken out of my isolated condition, and brought face to face with the sufferings of others as shown in the drama this made me conscious of my own position, and I felt there had been too much Ego in my Cosmos.

I had been unbalanced, and I was helped to find my balance again my head had toppled forward, and wanted readjusting since then I have felt more able to readjust it. I cannot give the reason for these feelings because they are so associated with much that was prominent in my life at that time I only know that they brought me much help.

I was perhaps in an abnormal condition, and was there fore swayed abnormally. Wagner's music possesses a special personal interpretation to me, quite apart from the usual interpretation it is full of pathos to me and yet of en couragement.


542 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Even now I always associate the music with my first impression, and it always calms and never excites me. It never drags me down but draws me upwards.

I have in hearing it a feeling of expansion of breathing higher up, such as I know to be the one I feel in entering a large Church, and especially in entering the Duomo in Florence. I have never studied the music I know nothing about it but the first time I heard it I seemed to under stand its language. I hear it often now especially the Parsifal music I can recall passages almost at will, es pecially when I am looking at anything beautiful which attracts me always it appeals to the best part of me, as all that is of beauty does so appeal.

I am intensely aware of movement in Music movement meaning something of which I am always conscious. I never see anything still nor do I myself ever feel still. I feel the movement that surrounds one in life, the sway and the swing of things the delicacy of balance, and the contending forces at play this feeling coming into every thing both in nature and art turns all life into a kind of rhythm one could almost imagine that sound had some thing to do with the evolution of all living objects. To me stillness does not mean quiet quiet is the perfectly equili brated movement stillness on the contrary can become a horror of silence while quiet presupposes harmony of movement, and harmony of sound.

I do not know why I feel this quiet restfulness in listening to parts of Parsifal unless I involuntarily invest the music with certain qualities that my own feeling demands.


CHAPTER II ". . . NON EST DISPUTANDUM"


THESE LISTS of musical likings and dislikings, compiled from my Answerers 5 separate Dossiers should bear out my con tention that what I may call the central aesthetic pheno mena is a combination into which enter two equally necessary factors : the individual work of art and the indi vidual mind (of "Listener," "Hearer/ 3 Beholder, Reader) which perceives it. This individual perceiving mind is different, having different capacities, habits, expectations and needs; it is therefore bound to respond to different appeals potential in the work of art, as my analysis of various Answerers should have shown. Hence frequent differences and even glaring contradictions in the responses to one and the same style or composer : to begin with, the main difference between "Listeners" and "Hearers," be tween Answerers who are concentrated on the music for itself, and Answerers who add other interests from their individual emotional and imaginative stores. So much for the difference of taste. But there are also and to a far greater extent, similarities. The individual "Listener" or "Hearer" is, after all, a human being with a mental and bodily constitution far more like than unlike that of his fellows. Also, having been subjected to the same influences, he has come to share their habits and expectations. His aesthetic sensibilities, even his primary musical perceptions (e.g. what, according to country and century, he perceives as consonant and dissonant, as one scale-sequence or two independent modes) have been educated by the music he has habitually heard, for if an art is influenced by its audience, that audience has been moulded by the art.


544 MUSIC AND ITS LOVERS

Moreover, his individual responses have been accentuated, positively or negatively, by those of his entourage, as one can see in the case of members of the same family (Bessie and Isabella) or even of a group of people frequently hearing the same performers or using the same gramophone records. All of which influences in common tend to narrow down the types into which preferences are gathered by the, so to speak, innate musical or emotional or imaginative consti tution of the Answerers; and to account for the great similarity within each class of Answerer.

Such are the conclusions to be drawn from the com parison of the preferences registered in my lists, but also from my analyses of individual Answerers and what they reveal of those individual Answerers 5 mental and emo tional habits, with regard to music and also to other matters. In short^ from a study, which is all this book sets out to be, of emotional and imaginative responses t