Fragments from the Last Note-book


Dr. Gauntlett's widow has lately lent me for perusal his last note-book, and I feel sure that the extracts from it, which I give verbatim, with her permission, will create interest.

"All theory must be founded on one great fact—harmony; for harmony is the chief beauty of two or more sounds heard together. There may be figure, schemata, and all other niceties of succession and combination; but if no harmony, the music is not beautiful. It is dim, dull, and disagreeable."

"Harmony must be looked at in two ways at least: first, up the score from bottom to top—the perpendicular view; second, along the score from side to side—the horizontal view. Then as to its periods or pulsations—its to and fro, its flow and ebb. This brings us to rhythm and measure. At the bottom of these lie what is called stress or accentemission and remission—strong and weak: of these the bar in modern music is an outward and visible sign of certain facts which ought to be in the music, but which, if not in the music, the presence of the bar is of no avail. The bar cannot give stress or accent. 'Wherever there is time, there must be accent;'* but the tick of a clock has no accent. Hullah (or Chorley) should have said life." "The semitone makes music. What operation has it upon the accent or to and fro? It creates the call, it supplies the answer." [This point, I believe, Dr. Gauntlett never alluded to with me, and I have feared that making no difference between tones and semitones might be considered a difficulty with regard to the scheme. In the working of the natural laws of harmony, they must all equally be employed.—F. J. H.] "Art (grand and true) does not depend upon the teaching of facts. The head is of less importance than the heart. Unless the tone of feeling, the habit and disposition, be well fixed, nothing enduring can come out of the misdirected artist."

"Teaching in song, teaching one another in song and grace—a double teaching."

"Beauty in art is not sensual or intellectual; truth, heart-feeling."

"Teach music on some principle. Without a confession of Christianity, this music is mere discipline."

"Teach for some purpose—application, worship; not for pleasure's sake, recreation."

"Church music teaches church doctrine."

"Music worship—habitual exercise of—one of the great occupations of the next life."

Dr. Gauntlett was looking forward to the honour of meeting His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at the Mansion House, on February 22nd, 1876, regarding the formation of a new English College of Music, and the following notes were evidently the germ of what was passing in his mind on the views which he hoped to express. The reform and elevation of sacred music had been his life-long aim, and he was hoping, under royal sanction, to attain a wider hearing for his opinions. Providence interrupted this plan by his sudden removal from the world the day before the meeting.

"The authorities in the City are interesting themselves in the welfare of the new Musical School at South Kensington. Music is not simply a science, nor is it simply an art; it must be taught on some principle, for some definite purpose." "It must be taught as it was taught in the

*See Hullah's Psalter.

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Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Wednesday April 7, 2021 05:52:41 MDT by Dale Pond.