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TEE MUSIGALTIMES. APRIL19 1866.
261

THE MUSICAI. TIMES, shouldhave been acquaintedwith thirds and triads


in ancient times, for the cuckoo sings the first and
3nX ixngWg(g;IassCrxIarv the blackbirdthe second: here are their songs, as we
usually find theln in books, although I cannot say
APRIL 1, 1866. that amongstthe trees we often hear them, either in
time or tune, accordingto this llotation.
THE HISTORY OF MUSICAL NOTATION. Cuckoo.
SS_ _ a Q
BY HENRYC. LUNN.
1 has ever seemed to me that the true aim of
S z r-m- 11r f-t: . r -n
Blackbird.
musical study-whether pursuedas a professionor as
an accomplishmenshould be the cultivation of the WS c ; . JK ; -r=t-f *-2-; * r tl
mind beyond the merepractical demonstrationof our
faculty, so that the halld or the voice shall be but the Very pretty is the idea that we derived our music
exponent of what lies deeply in the heart. Every from the birds, from the wind sighing through the
step, therefore, in our knowledge of the art is so reeds, fromthe babbling brooks; but this is poetry-
much gain to the artist; and in tracing its history not history. Read our earliest records, and the
and progressfrom the earliest times1we obtain not truth forees itself upon us, that not only did the
only a clear insight ;nto the real foundatiorlof our ancients never attempt to imitate the sounds of
aodern music, but we are taught to respect the nature, but that they shut nature out as an imperti-
exertionsof those who, in an age strenuouslyopposed nent intruder,and reducedtheir music to a series of
to all Lnnovation,zealouslybattled with the world's matheinaticalcalculations. To this, however,I shall
prejudice, and manfully worked in the cause of an presently more particularlyallude.
art which, but for them, might have struggled for We have no record to prove that the Phoenicialls
years in the darkIlesswith which it was surrounded. or Hebrews had any method of lloting music, nor,
The subject I have selected the history of musi- indeed, do we iluagine that any music worth noting
cal noRation-is one which I have heard many per- existed amongst thern; although, so strangely do
sons pronounce ;' dry." Now, if I were to confine authors disagree upon this- as, indeed, upon most
myself to simply showing, by referenceto innumera- other points of musical history-that it is confidently
ble musty and worm-eaten books, how a certain affirmedby Fossivs that the five-line staff was used,
umber of marks became7in the course of time, a as we use it, by the ancient Egyptians. To the
certain numberof other n:larks7 there might be sorne Greeks,however, we seem naturallyto look for the
truth in the verdict; but history teaches us to blend germ of our modernnotation; for it is here that we
c&useand efEectin such equal proportionsthat no read of seales, modes, systems-even our words
fact can be fixed in the mind without the events dietonic and c7wrom.tic;and it is amongst their
which led to this fact almost insensibly creeping in authors that we never tire of hunting for remnants
with it. Thus the history of coins seems " dry ," of a music which is stated to have produced effects
but attempt to study the subject, and you will find such as even the strains of our own Handel can
that it is, in fact, a history of civilization, the coins scarcelyequal. Alas, how profitlessis the research!
being the llwoveablediagrams representingtstep by UnhesitatinffllyI say that we have no positive know-
step, the progressand developmento£ nations. The ledge of what the Greekmusic wasX and I would go
history of writing seems "dry ;" but subject it to forther and state that, if we had there is every rea-
the salne test, andyou will discover that, as thought son to believe that we shouldbe struck with wonder
advances, the desire to perpetuate that ffiought to that such aJmere bald successionof soundsshould be
future generations forces man to express his ideas dignifiedwith the name of music at all. With the
first, by ctlmbroushieroglyphics, and1through that Greekseverythingwas calculation. They ectlculated
rude form, to arrive graduallyat that perfect system for instance, that the octave, fourth, and fifth were
which 110Wexists throughout the civilized world. consonances,and rejected the third and sixth as dis-
'Ihese "dry" sllbjects, therefore, become instinct sonances. VVhetherthey really liked the successions
with vitality as soon as they are touched by the of fifths and fourths appears somewhat doubtful-
historian's walld for they show the struggles of for they were very much disposed evelltually to em-
intellect from the earliest ages to add its store to the ploy only the octave but they calculatedthat they
xvorld'sriches in a form so durablethat it shall last were right; and as it was llot thought worthy of a
for ages after the body has passed away for ever. true Grecianto fall back uponhis naturalsensations
If all this be true, then, of the subjects we have he felt bound to be exeruciated in the sacredcause
llamed, how interestin to the student of music must of l:lathematics.
be the history of musical notation. Here we see It appears to me, in considerin the subject of
that the simple soulldsutteredby infant society-too Greek music, that we Inust hesitate to take foI
puerile perhaps,to be worth preserving-a.re lost to granted any stated fact! unless that fact can be
us for ever: but when sounddevelopedilltO a science authenticatedby an existing record which shall be
and music became a recognizedpower, the ;ngenuity the actllalwork of a Greekhandof the period. His-
of man was exerted to express this language by in- torians agree because one carefully copies from
telligible signs * and from this time musical notation another; but when we desire to know not the
takes its place in history. effect,
for that is sMiciently vollched for - but the
I do not intend to frightenrnyreadersby attempt- reason of the egWect
oftheir music, we find ourselves
ing to discover the origin of music. AVe haarea wofully at a loss. Even the miserable fragments
right to believe that it commencedwith the existence preserved to us throw not the faintest ray of light
of man vlponthe earth. AVehave a voice, and we upon the matter. Dr. Burney seezxlsto have pored
singt for very joy this is music. The birds do the over these hieroglyphies with the zeal of a real
same; we do not zanitctte them: had we dorleSO? we enthusiastin the cause; but without in the slightest
262 TEE MUSICALTIMES.- APRIL1, 1866.

degree deciphering the riddle. He says that he consideredrank heresy to admit it; for lllUSiC was
" tried the seriesof soundsin every key, and in every nursedby mathematicians;and if a Grecianearreally
almerthat the feet of the verses would allow; and did detect that this system of fourthswas contradicted
as it, has been the opinion of some that the Greek by nature herself, the possessor vf it was probably
scale and music should be readHebrew-wise,he even wise enough to hold his tongue. Be this as it may,
invertedthe order of notes, but without being able there can be little doubtthat the most ancientmusical
to reduce thele to the least grace or elegance." In instrurnentof the Greekswas a lyre; and we have
fact, he emphaticallysays, " I do not at all under- every reason to believe that it had four strings
stand the Greek music) and I neveryet nlet algbody although this fact, earen,is constantly disputed. I
who did.' am disposed,however, to think that, as their rnusic
Where then are we to turn for any actual speci- was regulated by their instruments,and not their
en of the so-called music of the Greeks? The instrumentsby their rnusic as we moderns are in-
Choruses,which formed an important part of their clined to do-the single tetrac7ordon the four strings
dramas, no doubt produced a powerful efiect upon of their lyre originatedtheir system, and that other
the audience; but in what manner they were aided tetrclchords were added as the strings of their lyre
by music remains still a mystery. A large body of increasedin number.
voices rnerelyregulated by that feeling for rhythm The musical characters of the Greeks were
which was the life and soul of Greek poetry, may merely the letters of their alphabet; but these were
have created all the effect about which their poets so distorted, inverted and abbreviated that it was
have rhapsodized. The united soices of a turbulent often almost impossible to recognize them. Of
Illob thirsting for vengeance, have a fearful inten- the idea of ascentand descentthey conveyed not the
sity: the cry of fire from a crowd m the stillness °f slightest notion; and indeed so thoroughly did each
nigrht,thrills through every nerve; and Gluck, the tone exist independentlyof its neighbours that we
composer?relates that the most painfully sublitne m.ayreadily imagine how little our modern notion of
chorushe ever heard was from a hungry multitude a ladderof soundswas at all necessary. The names
in the street? during a time of famule, uttering the of the several notes in their great scale of sounds
simple cry of "bread bread!' were enough to frighten any student: for instance,
With every respect for the alllount of illtellect the note at the hottoznof the scale although never
brollght to bear upon almost every subJectin ancient used in the tetrachord rwascalled Proslambanomerzos
Greece, I am almost mclmed to belleve, thereforeXwhich means literally "taken to begin with," and
that music, such as modern nations understandperhaps after giving this as a specimen,I ruay be
the word, was then perfectly unknown. Our at- excusedfrom naming the others. WVith this cumbrous
tempts to reduce their few remnantsof music to our methodof noting a few simple sounds,it is very easy
present notation are utterly £utile, since we do not to imagine that every alterationmust be in the right
even know the sounds produced by the strings of direction; for as it cou]d not very well be more com-
their lyres; or mdeed, what was really meant by plicated, a greater simplicity gradually-but very
any of the 1620 signs which they had to represent gradually crept in. Before I quit this part of my
their notes. It may be said that we can refer to subject, it will perhapslnake it clearerto my readers
allthoritieson the subJect; but where 1Sthe historian if they see the tetrachordsof the Greekswritten in
that can go to the source of Greek music, and g*e our present notation.
us facts from his own positiveknowledge? Hawkills
Burney, Fetis} all are authorities* but in how many Diatonic. Chromatic. Enharmonic.
instances have they based their information either 2
upon hearsay1 or upon the writings of those who
ol 4 ol r
F 11 J$tJ I " lxa3 rJ iv
s
0

have preceded them; and in how many instances It is necessaryhere to say that the Greeks had no
have they unravelled a Greek mystery according to method of denoting the durationof the sound by the
their own fashion, without one tangible fact to characterused to express the pitch the measureand
assist them? In poring over these works we are feet of the verse beingthe sole guide to the singer.
collstantly remindedof Washington Irvin's theories It will be foreign to my purpose to dwell upon the
of cosmogony,in Knickerbocker's" History of New meaning of the words Dorian, Phrygial:lX Lydiarl,as
York," where he says that many persons supposed applied to their severallnodesn and I will content
that the earth rested upon the back of a huge tor- myself, therefore, by merely saying that we have
toise; but not being able to discover, after lnuch every right to believe that they were merely so many
research,what the tortoise rested upon, the whole variationsof a mznorscale, and that our q7zajor scale,
theory fell to the ground for warlt of a proper as we understalldit, was entirely ullknown to them.
foundation. Many remnants of the (;reek musical terms are,
I have dwelt thus at length upon the history of however, familiar to modern ears; but it must be
Greek music because it is essential to understand carefully remembered that these terms are by no
that, although we are tolerablyacquaintedwith their means llOW used to express the same ideas. l'he
method of notation, we have very little- if any-letter Gzzmqna, placed at the commencementof the
eridence of what actual sounds were represented. scale, no doubt was the origin of our word Ga7nutt
In the first place, we know that the system of tetra- but they attached, as we have already seen, very
chords-or system of a fourth-ruled all others; for differentideas from our own to the words daatonic,
even their whole scale (as we are accustomedto call chromatic,and enharmo7?ic.iEteferringto the three
it) of eighteen notes was dividedinto five tetrachords.tetrachords,of which an examplehas been just given
I will show presently how this system of a fourth is it will be perceivedthat the only place where a note
usually rendered in our present notation. It may, lies between twowholetonesis in the first one, marked
however, here be explainedthat two of these tetra- Diatonic,the word diatone having reference to the
chords joined together, will form what we call a note D, and thus naming the tetrachord. The terre
" diatollic scale " thus: C D E F-G, A, BeC; CJtromatic (frole Chrona, colouz) I believe to have
but if the Greeks kllew this alsoS it was certainly originated with the coloured strings of the lyre,
T1IE 3;IUSICAIX r1'1X3£S.-APRIL 1, 1866. JtjB

which lnarkedthe half tonelike the black keys of{ Although we are now in the fourth century of the
our pianofortesand organs; but eventually it came] Christian era, it will be seen that we have not yet
to be used for the tetrachordwhere no diatonewasNthe slightest approach,not only to a staff,but to any
found, and no interval smaller than a semitonebmethod of determining the ascent or descent of
occurred. Enharmonic,proceeding by the diesis orrsounds. In Kieswetter's History of Music we are
quarter-tone(to expresswhich I have teen compeiled1told that before the introductionof lines, the sounds
to use an arbitrarycharacter),namedthe third tetra-*intendedby the Composer were so uncertainthat, (<s
chord,which containedthis peculiarity; and although John Cotton describesthem, " the samemarkswhich
I cannot say that this opinion, founded upon a con-"Master Trudo used to sing as thirds, were sung as
sultation of various authors7is certain to be theSfourths by Master Albinus; alld Master Salomo, in
correct one, I believe it to be at least as good an[ anotherplace, even assertsthe fifths to be the notes
explanationof these terms as can be advancedafter meant; so that at last there were as many methods
n

a lapse of so many centuries. of singing as teachers of the art." As it may be


The conquestof Greecetakes us to Rome £or our interestingto see an example of this notation, I have
musical history; but here we perceive little reforinr copied a few notes from a specimen which Padre
in the notation of nlusical sounds. That they cul-. Martini has representedin his " History of Music ;"
tivated music is an historical fact; but it is ex- *and clever7 indeed7must be the singer whe could
tremely probablethat as they imitated the Greeksink accurately translate these hieroglyphics into actual
the irlstitution of public musical and poetical con-*sounds.
tests, they also ilnitatedthem in the music itself. In
the sixtieth year after Christ, we are told, S5ero
establishedquinquennialexercisesin poetry?oratory
and music; three years after this he exhibited him-
tslt tloW [audate deum
self at the Theatre of Waples,as a public singer, andL As a slight guide to the significationof these ap-
afterwardsappearedon a stage in Greece. We next5 parentlymeaninglessmarks,it lnaybe mentionedthat
hear of him at the Olylnpic games, where, by cor- the pitch of the sound was indicatedby its position,
rupting his judges, he carriedoff the prize of music and the rising or falling of the voice (relatlvely with
from professional musicians. The means taken by the precedinfflnote) by its shape. The immenss3
this tyrannical vocalist to ensure applause from his >difficulty of distinguishing definitely the intended
audiencewould appearsomewhat strange to modern sound was to a certain extent remediedduring the
concert-goers; for Suetonius,in his life of VespasianXninth and tenth centuries, by drawing a line parallel
afterwards Emperor, tells us how that personage with the words of the test, above and below which
"often greatly provoked the anger of Nero by the words were inserted. Afterwardsa still greater
escaping from the theatre during the time of per- improvementwas effectedby bringing two lines into
formance; however,fearing the consequencesof the i use7one red and the other yellow, " which served,"
oSence, he returned, in order to make atonement; as Kieswetter says " at the same time as the F and
when, unfortunately, falling asleep while the Em- C keys: between these two lines, in the iVerstice
peror was singingXonly the most earnest intercession*higher or lower, according to the eye, the notes
of his friends, raen of the highest rank, appeasedthe lying between F and C namely, G, A, B, were
imperialwrath, and saved his life." inserted."
The music of the early Christians, who at firsti All these systems, ingeniousas they are, appearso
took the art under their especial protection, now inaccurateto us that little wonder can be created at
claims our notice; for it was with these earnest and the diflerence of opinion ex:istingbetween Mater
sincere followers of a faith destined eventually to i Trudo, AlasterAlbinus, and Master Salomoas to the
link mankindwith his Creator, that music, d*ested notes really sntendedto be sung. It has been shownS
of its earthly, material clothing, seemed to be born however, by the invention of the red and yellow
again, in truth and purity, as an aid to the heavenly lines, that some notion of the staff had alreadyarisen
mission of establishing Christianity on the face of in the lninds of the most intelligent thinkers on the
the earth. That scholars-rather than musicians- subject; and from this time it will be seen that the
should still be found, who would insist upon lookiIlg foundationof our present notation was slowlyXbut
back to Greece as the fountairt-headof music as of securely,laid, althoughimportantimprovemerlts have
all the other artstand sciences, may be reasonably been effected as Inusic gradually shook itself free
e2rpected. Hence, again, came those terrible calcu- from the trammels with which it had been so long
lations which had alreadyset a barrier against the surroullded.
possibility of appealing to our natural feelings for (To beCOtltilM.)
so many hundredsof years; and hence, again, poor
ignorantman was inforlued that fourths, fifths, and CRYSTAL PALACE.
octaves were perfect consonances; and that, unplea- THE Saturdaycollcertsat this establishment contillueto offerthe
most tempting programmes to the lovers of good music and indeed
sant as they were to his ear, he must use any others the constant habit of performing absoluteiynecessary
at his peril. The great point of dispute, however to enrureanythinglike decisiontintogether-80
a band-has raised the orchestra
was now the scale, andin the laEer part of the fourth under the able management of Herr Manns, into an importance
which the direetors of the Cry#talPalace could scarcelyhave con
century, St. Arnbrose,Bishop of Milan, chose four templated. Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony, and Schumalm's
successionsof tones, which, as will be perce*ed by thoughtful and dramatic overture to Manfred have been per-
the following illustration, difered only from each formed, and thoroughlyenjoyed by the audience; and Miss Agnes
Zimmermannlately played Beethoven'sPianoforte Concertoin C
other irl the situation of the senlitones. minor (with a eadence of her own composition)so thoroughlywell
as to elicit the most enthusiastic applause. Mr. Sullivan's new
D E F GA B CD Symphonyhas been an interesting feature at these concerts,and
seems to have achieved a success which we trust may have a healthy
-EFGABCDE effect upon the yolmg composer. At our concerts in the metropolis
we hope to have an opportunityof shortly hearing this work, for
-F GA B CD E F there call be no doubt that the puerilities of Keniltoorthhave (in
spite of ill-advised laudation) disappointedmany who began to
GA B CD E F G believe in the coxnposerof the TempeJt music.