« AnteriorContinuar »
need." Men have seen the commercial value of the rushing mountain streams, and millions have been made available for coal mines. There is scarcely an acre of ground in all that vast region but has been appraised for its commercial value. But nobody has ever taken stock of the three million men and women and appraised their value as citizens in America.
4. Nearly 200 were denied the privilege of earning an education when I was at Lincoln Memorial University last Fall. I saw women in black bonnets pleading in vain for a chance for their children. Four hours I sat in the dean's office reading letters-in halting words inexpressively appealing, strangely pathetic, and yet in every one there gleamed a bright, shining hope. Dean Ford said: "It's easier to say 'No' by letter. It's hardest when they 'just come.' Yes, many 'just come.' They stream in by train, horseback, many on foot after long, hard journeys, many hatless, and nearly all in overalls and jumpers."
The school at Cumberland Gap should hold for all Americans a peculiarly sacred interest because it is said to be the only living memorial to Lincoln. Moreover, the school is a definite effort to carry out Lincoln's expressed wish. General O. O. Howard, who commanded the Union troops at Cumberland Gap, was conferring with President Lincoln over the campaign of 1863. The President put his finger on the map where Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee join, and told the General that the people around Cumberland Gap were loyal to the flag and could be trusted. He said: "These are my own people. If I live through this terrible struggle I will go back and help them." A few months later General Howard found all the President had told him was true. These simple mountain folk fed his soldiers, clothed them with their homespun, and even took off their
shoes in winter to give them to the soldiers who had none.
5. Cumberland Gap is a strategic point because it is the only juncture where the mountain folk of eastern Tennessee, southeastern Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia can meet. Long before Daniel Boone's day it was the mountain gate through which passed both the Indians and the buffalo. There in the early days were held the great political barbecues where Calhoun, Clay, and Jackson came that the people might see them and hear them expound the progressive policies of their time. It was here Clay made one of his greatest speeches, and it is said that he stopped suddenly in his speech, looked off into the distance at the towering mountains, and said, "I can hear the tramp of coming millions to these mountains."
These millions of persons never came-but millions of dollars did come. British capitalists, appreciating the inexpressible beauty of the spot, invested great sums in The Four Seasons Hotel for luxury-loving and idle guests. The story of the failure of the project is a familiar one. To the group of buildings taken over from the Four Seasons Hotel Company others have been added from time to time, notably a modern boys' dormitory erected by the Tennessee Daughters of the American Revolution. The institution owns a valuable tract of land, and great plans recently made, if consummated, will place Lincoln Memorial University where it deserves to be-among the great living memorials of a great nation.
We have got to stop thinking of these people in terms of feuds and moonshine. The younger generation has seen the light of better things, and we have got to give them a chance. No boy or girl of the mountains should have the door of opportunity shut in his or her face, no tired mountain mother should have to plead in vain for her children.
The Enjoyment of Music
Condensed from The Outlook (Jan. 10)
What is Good Singing?
1. Don't judge singing by loud tones and high notes.
2. Noises that sometimes pass as singing.
3. Diction as necessary in song as in speech.
4. Equality of the voice throughout the scale.
5. Putting expression into song.
UDGING by the applause given
J performers at the Metropolitan
Opera House, one would think that the essentials of good singing are loudness of tone and the ability to sing high notes. Of course a singer should be able to give the full volume of voice when that is necessary, but power is the least important of all vocal qualities. It is possible to become even a famous opera singer without possessing a big voice. Mme. Sembrich did not have one. The works of the old masters down to Mozart were not heavily scored. It was in the early part of the last century that the "big tone habit" began to prevail. With it the rage for high notes also came. Albert Niemann was once asked why he never delivered any ringing high notes— which was true enough because Wagner does not ask his tenors for anything above A. Niemann replied, "I can sing a high B flat that will put the gas out, but that's not art." In these days one may observe voice after voice going to pieces by fatally forcing it in search of big tones and high tones.
2. At the opera one hears a vast amount of ugly tones, sometimes shrieking, sometimes growling, some
times almost barking. It is claimed that dramatic utterance demands these things. The fact that the orchestra never requires barks on the trombone, quacks on the clarinet, or squeals on the violin does not occur to those who make this plea; nor is there anything on the printed score to indicate the delivery of anything but musical tones. The truth is that the good singer produces only musical tones. Bad tone obtrudes upon the hearer a disturbing element; it distracts his attention from the musical thought to the voice. A voice is an instrument of expression that should not draw our attention away from the music to itself either by a parade of skill or by deficiency in natural beauty.
3. Good singing falls short of the demands of true art if it does not give a clear delivery of the text. The words must go hand in hand with the beautiful tone without marring it. Therefore together with tone and quality we need "diction," that is, the perfect pronunciation of the vowels, perfect articulation of the consonants, and textual phraseology, or word phrasing, which shall bring out fully the sense of the words and at the same time not mar the symmetry of the musical phrase. It is impossible to recognize a word if the vowels are changed. It is impossible always to produce beautiful tones if the singer cannot sing all the vowels easily at any position in his scale. The early Italian masters insisted on correct pronounciation. But later, carelessness began to be habitual, and hence we find Tosi in his book on singing, complaining that some "artists" sang so that one could not tell whether they said "bella" or "ballo," "more" or "mare." Clar
ence Whitehill delights his hearers by perfect diction in German as well as in French, Italian, and English. Caruso was a master of diction. Bonci is another. The only way you can escape understanding everything he says is to go out of the concert hall.
In the smooth delivery of lines of text good phrasing is needed. It must primarily be musical, but the sense of the text must be preserved unless the composer has made the musical phrase so that this is impossible, and in that case he must bear the censure. Good phrasing calls for breath control, which many singers lack. This rests upon a perfect command of all the muscles employed in inhalation and exhalation. To be able to control the column of air in the throat as delicately as a master pianist controls his fingers is to have solved the vital secret of singing. A singer whose song is a prolonged shout will never stir any deep emotions.
4. Equality throughout the scale is essential in a beautiful voice. clarinet does not at any time sound like an oboe. It is unmistakably clarinet in tone from the bottom to the top of its scale. The English horn, the contralto of the oboe, does not merely extend the scale downwards; it has its own characteristic quality. It is not a lowered soprano, but a genuine contralto. A voice should be all one voice. Sophia Scalchi, famous contralto of forty years ago, rejoiced in the possession of four distinct registers or qualities of tone. Her celebrity was gained by other excellences which triumphed over the defects in her scale. Mme. Melba, on the other hand, had a perfectly equalized voice. Its scale was like that of a fine piano.
5. Flexibility means the power of the voice to increase or diminish its force easily and through a hundred different degrees. This power is the very essence of expression. It is the twin sister of emphasis in readIt enlivens the rythm of sing
ing by enabling the artist to impart to it an endless variety of accent. Also it is one of the requisites most neglected, especially at the opera, where the singing as a rule is very soft and very loud, mostly the latter. How Sembrich used to thrill us with the last few measures of "Der Nussbaum," which she murmured in the most delicately accented manner. She had acquired a perfect flexibility of voice.
The true definition of good singing makes it the art of interpreting text by the musical tones of the human voice. The necessity for interpretation is too often forgotten. However, it is conceded that in good singing there must be beautiful quality of tones, similarity of quality throughout the range of the voice, flawless smoothness of delivery, flexibility, and power. Moreover, the song should surround and enwrap the hearer in an atmosphere of pure human influence. This atmosphere is alive with the vibrations of a living human instrument, acting in the highest union with human intelligence, emotion, and spiritual aspiration. It is the living element in singing, its enfolding of the hearer in the actual product of the body and soul of the musician, that raises this art above all other music in the potency of its influence on the listener.
When a singer has to choose between an effective tone and enunciation, he always votes for tone. He can hardly be blamed for this, because the vast majority of the public is with him. The public at times acquires vitiated taste in regard to beauty. Most people listen to a voice as if it were an instrument playing a tune to which there were no words. That is why I call down blessings on the heads of such singers as John McCormick, Reinald Werrenrath, George Hamlin, Frieda Hempel, and other symmetrically equipped artists. They travel through the world carrying an understanding of beautiful songs to people hungry for beauty.
The Art of Courtship
Condensed from Harper's Magazine
(Continued from the January Digest)
Mr. George here writes in a vein which will no doubt be enjoyed by every reader.
NE serious error awaits all lovers and even married lovers: triumphing over past or present rivals. His present rivals the lover should always ignore; why should he advertise them? In general, it is also unadvisable to refer to past rivals, even to dead ones. Dead rivals are sometimes dangerous, because they have become ideals. The main reason, however, for not running down a rival, even if he be drunken or faithless, is not so much that one enlists on the side of him one attacks the natural sympathy of the beloved for the underdog; the main reason is that to depreciate a previous lover reflects on her good taste. After all, she once did distinguish him. Thus, one may always sympathize with her misfortunes, but never blame him who brought them about.
Moreover, it is difficult to attack a rival unless one boasts of one's own excellences, and boasting needs some management. A certain
amount of boasting is desirable in a declared lover. He must not exaggerate this, but he must at least feign a good opinion of himself, which will be accepted by a woman favorably inclined to him; this will enhance in her mind the romantic value of her lover, the greatness of her prize. Probably, the best form of boasting consists in mock-modesty, because
anything a human being says to another excites contradiction; contradiction is our way of asserting our personality. Thus, the mock-modest lover will generally cause the beloved to argue on his side. To do this she must discover substantial arguments, and if he attracts her, she will. In the same order of ideas as boasting lies, of course, the tactful and delicate exhibition of the lover's social, political, financial, or artistic power. This needs care. It is wrong to say: "The boss wanted to see me, but I didn't go. I showed him the man I was." This is shocking. Better say: "The boss wanted to see me. But I had an appointment with you." Greatness. and slavery to a woman: what a tribute! The status of a lover should be shown indirectly, and should not be concealed, let the romantic novelist praise as he likes the silent, modest man. The silent, modest man never cut any ice if anybody else happened to rush in with an ax. It is important that the beloved should recognize the status of the lover, so as to give her a pleasant dream of her future by the side of one so important.
Most lovers feel a horrid impulse to reveal to each other everything they have ever done or heard. This does not always matter, for the other party does not listen very carefully, and sits gasping as a captured fish, waiting for a chance to replace his dull confidences by her exciting ones. In general, it seems that the lover will do well to reveal a few trifles, not too recent, which can compare with the great love
that holds him now. The beloved then feels that she is different, and we all want to be different. Also it does no harm to reveal a past great love, provided it is old enough. The advantage is that, while people generally believe that one cannot love truly twice, they generally believe that one can love them all the same; the fact of having loved fully shows that one is capable of loving. However, something should be held back, fairly only; this increases insecurity and fans desire. A woman should feel safe of her lover, practically safe, but there is a certain spice in knowing that there is a hundredth chance.
The lover should also avoid habits. We all fall into habits; they enable one to get more into one's life, but they seldom allow one to get as much out. The tendency of a lover is to visit his beloved soon business hours, to administer a preliminary kiss, and to offer some amusement for the morrow. Delightful for a week; very nice for a month; then, dull. The lover should recognize that most women lead dull lives and that he must provide the delightful unexpected. His visits should be irregular; if he arrives suddenly, she is charmed; if he does not come when expected, she misses him a little. If he varies his suggestions, he ceases to be "Dick-whotakes-me-to-the-theater," and be
For thousands of years the poets have told us to arouse the jealousy of the charmer; there is sense to this, though we must today deal with a type of woman more intelligent and clean-minded than the beautiful, selfish, revengeful, animal idiots represented by Shakespeare, Tennyson, Homer, Dante, etc. Women did not have a pyschology until the seventeenth century. They were just animals. So it was easy to arouse the feelings of jealousy. Today, we must count with a prouder genera
tion, with women who are less overcome when distinguished by a man. They love best in a state of safety, and often a creature ceases to love when it ceases to believe that it is loved. In courtship romanticism is best; the awakening of jealousy should not be risked unless for the melting of an emotional iceberg.
Of gifts, which are essential in courtship, I would say two things, the second being very English. One is that they should be varied, just as pleasures should be varied. Two pounds of chocolates every Tuesday afternoon punctually is very nice, but it cloys. Occasionally substitute peppermints. The second suggestion is: don't overdo it. Excessive gifts create an unfortunate precedent in the married state; also, fulfillment feeds desire in these things, and he who begins in silver may end in platinum. Lastly, frequent gifts blunt surprise; gifts are made rare mainly by their rarity.
The tendency of many men is to keep their work out of their courtship. They say: "Oh, my darling, I would not spoil your beautiful pure mind with the grimy cares, etc." Don't be nervous. Women aren't so lily-like as all that and, if
they are attracted, your cares cease to be grimy. They become romantic. The woman who falls in love with a motorcar builder will be as interested in motor cars as she would have been in law cases if she had favored an attorney. Indeed, a woman generally loves man's work until it interferes with his affections. She unwillingly accepts exclusion from his work. If he is hers, his work is hers. Indeed, a lover will do no harm by occasionally sacrificing his beloved to his work. The beloved of one who went away to keep a business appointment said: "I hate you for going, and I should have hated you if you had broken a business engagement on my account." The art of courtship even demands that the lover should ask his beloved to do him small services, to fetch or carry. This because self-sacrific enhances self-esteem. It is notorious that martyrs are vain.
The lover must always obtain a little more than the beloved seems willing to give him. If the hand is offered, the cheek should be captured; however, much this may seem to annoy, it increases in the beloved a pleasant sense of male dominance. "These men," she says, "they will be men. Outrageous creatures. But can one do without them?"