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Etude in D Flat Un Sospiro

 

Music is the Universal Language
A very special way to communicate feelings and emotions.

Of all the languages in the world, music is the most cosmopolitan, all at once it is the most subjective and the most personal. It is a language understood by all people, because it expresses something in common for everyone. It may be the simple melody of a folk tune or the stirring sound of a symphony it is our innermost feeling of sensibility that responds immediately. We are carried away on magical wings through the whole scale of human emotions. The language of music is the mirror of our soul, an expression of the inexpressible. Free from the limitations of speech, it applies directly to the feeling. More than any other form of expression it embraces the whole feeling of sentiment, passion, and sensibility, and therefore its evolution is a part of the history of human culture in general, rather than that of any particular race or creed.

The history of music reveals great charm - it is full of life, the topic intimately connected to the miraculous sources of the human spirit. It has been found that the heroes of history also knew how to combat, suffer, and die their ideals, and that their influence upon the evolution of mankind plays an important part in general history; an often more important part than that of gunpowder plots and courtly intrigues. The development of history in intellectual life and progress is free from racial or national hatred, and the goal is universal peace.

Just as other languages were progressively elaborated, the language of music developed only gradually in form and expression. To trace this development in its growth is not only interesting but is of importance for the understanding and the true valuation of musical production of different times. Should one not be satisfied with the explanation that "Music is a gift of the Gods," then the history of music will help him to unveil the great mysteries of human emotion, to appreciate the eternal laws of beauty, and there fore to understand the foundations of art and aesthetic value in general.

Subjective appreciation of music can depend on it "absolute" beauty. But even then, the more it belongs to earlier historic periods, the more it loses a great part of its effect on our modem harmonic feelings. There are countless thousands of people who no longer have contact with the music of Mozart, because their ears are so filled with the sounds of modern harmony. The treasures of music full of wonderfully pure, dignified, wholesome beauty means nothing to them now, because they consider this music "obsolete!" On the other hand, music students of today are the best patrons of our libraries. They are better informed on current events, finance, etc. Learning quicker to make their way in life.

Here is where the value of historical knowledge appears. To appreciate a Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, or Mozart as a product of their times means simply to love them as we love the companions of our childhood, our youth. They are like the gentle old people with good manners and clear thoughts with whom just to sit and talk with is a pleasure. We sometimes find it difficult to meet them on their own ground - somehow our harmonic feelings have changed, now we are used to stronger effects; but this is by no means an excuse for becoming ignorant or indifferent to the achievements of their musical culture. Just to sit and listen to them in our nervous over strained time is a relaxation, an unsurpassed relaxation at the command of everyone who has a piano in his home and enjoy playing it.

When you play a piano, it's like reciting from the keys a poem, it enables you to translate a thought, to inspire noble conceptions, to open all of the hidden springs of memory and all that tends to reach the soul, and to touch the heart of your listeners and to yourself.

Looking back on a past filled with such pleasurable moments, there is no doubt that they were hard earned, but well worth searching out. If only one could live them over again... but then these pleasures of the past both personal and antique, can only be passed on to our children for rediscovery, and that is the way it should be.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Value of historical knowledge in the appreciation of music.
By Frederick G. Schiller
The Etude Magazine May 1915



 
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