We cannot gain experience by being brought into contact with the experiences of others, nor can we know music by reading about it. Only by taking it into our hearts and homes, by admitting it to our intimate companionship, can we approach a knowledge of the art that has enriched so many lives, even though it has never yet completely fulfilled its function. At the same time, every music lover is helped to new ideas, inspired to fresh efforts, by suggestions and statements from those who have themselves had deep experiences in their search for the inner sanctuary of the Temple of Art.
Musicians have been too much inclined to treat their art as something to be exclusively appropriated by a favored class of men and women, and are themselves greatly to blame for its mistaken isolation. True, music has its privileged class. To this belongs the mind of creative genius that can formulate in tones the universal passions, the eternal verities of the soul. In it may also be numbered those gifted beings whose interpretative powers peculiarly adapt them to spread abroad the utterances of genius. Precisely in the same way religion has its prophets and its ministers. Music, as well as religion, is meant for everyone, and the business of its ministers and teachers is to convey to all the message of its prophets.
The nineteenth century was the period of achievement. There is every reason to believe that the twentieth century will be the period of still nobler achievement, beyond all in the realm of the spirit. Then will music find its most splendid opportunity, and in our own free soil it will yield its richest fruitage. Amid the favorable conditions of liberty it will flourish to the utmost, and will come to afford blessed relief from the pressure of materialism. During the era we are entering no unworthy teacher will be permitted to trifle with the unfolding musical instincts of childhood. The study of music will take an honored place in the curriculum of every school, academy, college and university, as an essential factor in culture. Then music among us will come to reflect our deepest, truest consciousness, the American world-view.
It is with a desire to stimulate thought and incite to action that the present volume has been prepared for every music lover. The essays contained in it have not previously appeared in print. They are composed to a large extent of materials used by the author in her lectures and informal talks on music and its history. That her readers may be led to seek further acquaintance with the divine art is her earnest wish.
Many thanks are due L. C. Page & Company, of Boston, for kind permission to use the portrait of Corelli, from their “Famous Violinists,” by Henry C. Lahee.
Aubertine Woodward Moore.