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mon, or my Lady Style patronize that school of landscape art whose paintings make Dame Nature look pale and sickly, as if the sun of seven millenniums had bleached out all the strength of her resplendent colors; and the obedient public promptly taboos every work of art which gives to Nature her full chromatic glory. Stockbroker Wantwit, with fine perception, appreciates all this, and determines to have Nature painted as she is seen, not in washed-out colors, but in full, strong tones, and he patronizes, accordingly, that clique of artists whose hobby is to undercolor Nature, – to see her with a squint which robs her of all her brilliancy. These painters think truth and grandeur are obtained in this manner; and, if skies painted with white, gray, and vermilion, and herbage with greens made from black and chrome yellow, are grander than the pure tones of nature, they doubtless are right. This fashion-whim of art has also its followers, and their name is legion. The public is at fault for demanding works without artistic merit, — for giving its patronage to artists who cannot, or do not, execute good productions. Complain to the theatrical manager that his pieces are trashy effusions, perverting the public taste, and he will tell you that the public demands them, and will have nothing better, and that to improve his programme would be to close his theatre. A similar tale is that of the magazine editor; he also must cater to the public taste or stop his presses ; and so it runs throughout all literature and all art; and so this condition, -since society cannot climb heavenward by a descent however slow, — will continue to grow worse until its cause is traced home and annihilated.
The present decadence of art, then, is chiefly the result of perverted taste on the part of the general public, and it may not be impossible to find a reason for this perversion, which, although world-wide, is most strongly felt in this country. It is only the wealthy of any country who are able to purchase artistic master-pieces. It follows naturally then, that the aim of the artist will be to hit the taste of this wealth, while that of the general public, bound up in fashion, will be to imitate it. Wealth then, for good or for evil, controls the art masters, and, through their works by the aid of fashion, the general taste of the public, except in those rare cases, where, by some play of fortune, the artist or his work becomes famous or notorious without its aid.
With this fact in mind, the guaging of the artistic taste of the wealthy class becomes a matter of the greatest importance. It has been said regarding this country, that it is but three generations from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves. In these days of stock gambling, and its concomitant rapid accumulation and dissipation of wealth, the acts of donning and doffing the coat are often accomplished in less than a single generation. By a clever invention, a happy forecast of the market, or a shrewd manipulation of stocks, riches may be accumulated in a few hours.
This is in reality a“ fast age,” and it is to this hurry and turmoil that we must trace the art decline. The great knots of wealth in the American social web of to-day, although perpetually being tied and untied, are, for the most part, the possessions of those who, but a few years since, were in the humblest walks of life, where, by the very necessity of obtaining bread they were deprived of the time and means essential to arriving at any fair degree of culture. Suddenly they became rich, and desired palatial residences adorned with works of art. In the theatre this class of people would applaud the rant of the drama : in the picture-gallery they applaud
and purchase the “ ranting" canvas: in the concert-hall they will have, for the most part, only a faulty arpreciation of melody: in the sculptor's studio they will select a statue for its size and attitude, or for the sentiment it is said to express. Bearing, grace, symmetry, and expression will not be likely to influence their choice. Having riches, this class will become a fashion authority, aud be imitated : perhaps some member thereof may also desire to lead in literature. If so, he may write an article for publication, and request his editor to draw on him for whatever he considers a fair charge for the space it occupies. These articles, paid for as if advertisements, are read by an innocent public that considers them editorial purchases rather than sales. The vender is on the wrong side of the transaction, that is all. To the class of people who obtain their riches hastily, there are, of course, some exceptions in the way of men who grind long and patiently at the commercial machine. The attention of such mer has run solely in the mercantile channel, till the only pictures that move thein are greenbacks, and the only music that enchants them, the ring of true gold. To them the super-material is chimerical, the vision of an ill-balanced mind. As well might they be beggars, so far as culture is concerned. They cannot, of course, appreciate an art masterpiece; and, if they patronize art at all, they will be most attracted by inferior productions expressive only of the material world in which they exclusively live. These are the men who are perpetually «rying to the artistic aspirant, in the language of Skrooge, “ You'd better do some’at useful.” To them, and their parasites, art is an intangible, sentimental nothing, rather than the great educator of mankind, the corrector of morals, the path to heaven through the portal of beauty.
In America then, the art of to-day is suffering a decline because the wealth which alone can buy, is not vested in the hands of culture which alone can properly select. This erects false models of perfection, and the wealth does not remain stationary long enough for education to eradicate these false conceptions. In foreign countries, where art is at a higher level, it will be seen that these fluctuations of wealth, while they exist in a degree sufficient to account for the decline which foreign art has sustained, are by no means as general as in America. In England, for example, owing to the law governing the inheritance of property, a fortune may be kept together for centuries, giving its possessor and his heirs every opportunity for culture, and an intelligent patronage of the arts.
He would justly be accounted a poor physician who, after diagnosing his patient's case, left him to perish without further effort to save him. To suggest, however, a remedy for the evils I have mentioned, is no easy task, yet it will be seen that anything which will make the critic more capable and more honest; which will relieve the artist from the necessity of prostituting his genius in the execution of pot-boilers”; which will establish in the public mind a just estimate of the value of art, and teach the people to know art when they see it; which will prevent fashion from multiplying worthless or mediocre works ; which will enable the public caterers, literary or dramatic, to place before their patrons a wholesome diet, in short, anything which will revive our diseased arts, and quicken them to a healthy vigor, will be a boon to mankind, and a blow in the cause in which souls are involved.
We need an association of artists, honest and capable, who shall judge artistic works by their merit, and make their judgment known.
society might make itself a bulwark against which mocking fashion, and ignorant poor taste should dash themselves to pieces. Fashion is a thing of the moment, art a thing of eternity.
“All passes, — Art alone
The Coin, Tiberius." There is no reason why the aspirant for histrionic honors should not pass an examination,as well as the would-be minister or lawyer. The great thing to be striven for is to educate the public till it shall slough off this absurd notion that art is not real, and the opinion that its votaries are idlers, and awake to the realization that art is one of the most tangible and real things of existence. Every genuine work of art,” says a great author, " has as much reason for being as the earth and the sun.” Art is the record of God in man, and a master-piece of painting is religion on canvas. Let the world learn that the tinkle of its coin, the tickets on its goods, and its trade words are not the open sesame to the great beyond. • The contemplation,” says Emerson, of a great work of art draws us into a state of mind which may be called religious. It conspires with all exalted sentiments. Without the great arts which speak to the sense of beauty, a man seems to me a poor, naked, shivering creature.”
The mariner to guide,
And heavy rolls the tide ;
My guiding light within,
Are tempting me to sin.
That come so unawares
That weave so many snares,
Our steps how often stray,
To keep the narrow way.
Thou hast on us bestowed,
Along life's rugged road,
That pure and holy light,
EDGAR C. POORE.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON THE “SOUND-ARTICLES.”
BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF VIDYA - NYAIKA.
A NUMBER of questions have been asked, both orally and by correspondence, regarding certain points in the articles upon sound, and regarding the ultimate practical application of these principles. "In the July EsoTERIC you say something to the effect that in 1859 the concert-pitch of middle "A” was placed at 437.5 vibrations per second ; and that since that time the pitch has been gradually rising. Is this correct?
Is this correct? I have supposed that the later concert-pitch was about one-third of a tone lower than the old: I have not mentioned this before, because I thought you must be right, and I now think I must have misconceived your meaning. K.”
Upon the authority of an article in a recent popular encyclopedia, I was induced to make an examination of certain statistics regarding this point, because its truth or falsity very materially affected the method of the application of the laws of sound to the needs of moral culture. The general law that the upper limit of human hearing is gradually rising, and that the human heart is gradually becoming more and more susceptible to the influence of the higher notes, and the higher harmonies of these notes, is in nowise affected by the truth or falsity of this statement, for this gradual rise is accompanied by fluctuations above and below the medial line of ascent. And any one period of several hundred years may be in either one of the two phases. In Pietro Blasero's “ Theory of Sound, and its Relation to Music," the statement is made that in Paris, in A. D. 1700 “A-5” (“A” of the fifth octave) registered 405 oscillations per second; at a later period it was 425; in 1855 it was 440; in 1857 it was 448; and later measurements show it to be several oscillations higher.
In 1859 the International Commission established - A-5” to be 437.5 oscillations per second; and its use is compulsory in all the musical establishments in France, and a standard fork has been deposited in the archives of the Conservatory of Music. Each country had a standard fork which represented its concert-pitch, and this was a source of much annoyance, which led to the appointment of the French commission. 437.5 double vibrations per second corresponds to the note “ La” in the treble stave.
In England the Society of Arts appointed a committee for a like purpose, and they settled upon 528 for the “C” of the treble stave; and this standard is exactly the same as that adopted in Stuttgart in 1834 which makes 440 for “ A.” In making measurement of pitches, there has not been sufficient attention given to the effect of temperature ; for a tuning fork which makes 437.5 oscillations per second during the cold of winter, will be apt to make from 20 to 50 less in the summer : each degree centigrade lowers the pitch of a fork .05643569 of its entire number of oscillations.
In Atkinson's edition of Ganot's Physics I find the statement, “ It has been for some years remarked that, not only has the pitch of the tuningfork been getting higher in the large theaters of Europe, but also that it is not the same in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, etc.” This attempt to settle the matter by legislation is amusing to one who knows the laws of musical development; as well attempt to legislate a standard of artistic taste for the various degrees of human development. In the best American instruments middle “C” has generally about 270 oscillations per second, – that is, “double-oscillations," to allow for the
French way of saying it; in German instruments it has 264; while the French legal standard is 261.
Interesting facts relating to this subject may be found in Helmholtz’ * Ton-Empfindungen," and a close study of the subject, apart from authorities, will soon convince anyone of the fact that the capacity of the ear to recognize the higher tones is developing in the human species.
THE TRUE METHOD OF ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE. In learning a subject we naturally follow the order in which the human race has learned the same subject. It is, I believe, to Mr. Herbert Spencer that we owe the demonstration of the educational law that the best order in which to learn a subject is the order in which the race, as a whole learned it. To make this law universally true, it must be modified to suit the conditions of different orders of development. But to illustrate the present subject, it will suffice to call attention to the fact that, in learning a new subject, we are apt to find those parts most difficult which the human race learned last in the natural order of its progress; and that when we find ourselves slowly acquiring new knowledge or power, the order of that acquisition will generally be the order in which that knowledge has accumulated.
Now there are no exceptions to the fact that a musical novice fails to hear and appreciate all those higher notes which he can hear after several years practice; and, if this practice leads to an appreciation of the higher pitches, will not this power soon become the inheritance of the children of those who practise? The longer we listen to music for the emotional effect which it may have upon us, the more will we feel the influence of those more delicate shades of the higher harmonics which we at first either do not hear, or do not appreciate ; and, if this individual development is possible, and is at present going on all around us, will it not in time effect a gradual rise in the limits of the ears of the race?
The fact that the lower races have not such an extended scope of hearing as the higher ones; and the fact that their music is much simpler, and less dependent upon the timbre and tone-quality of their instruments, also proves the law. The fact is, we should not only endeavor to extend the limits of the hearing, but to extend our knowledge of the influence of the higher harmonics upon ourselves. This is one of the laws by which the musical, evolutionary development of the pupil is estimated, and by which his or her proper culture is regulated. Thus, the leader of the musical department of the Art-Course will, in applying the musical methods of culture to the G..... R departments, be required to estimate the grade of musical development of each pupil before establishing the individual curriculum for that pupil ; and to do this he must have access to the tables of the "cycles of musical growth,” and to the other characteristics; and then he will never attempt to train a pupil beyond his natural powers; but will confine his work to the development of those natural powers, and will thus always succeed in doing the pupil good.
One cannot long entertain the finer and higher shades of emotion without becoming better, and more symp:thetic; and to know the only order in which this can be accomplished is the function of the laws relating to the gradual rise in the capacity of the ear to appreciate the higher pitches and harmonics. Not only must the ear be able to hear these notes, but the heart must be educated to feel their natural influence; and, by constant