There are many people who have .little, if any, appreciation of music, who look upon it as something tiresome, and they often say that it bores them to distraction. Such people may often be highly developed intellectually, but it cannot be said of them that they have much knowledge of the inner life; neither can they have entered, to any marked degree, into the pleasures of the outer life, because music does enter into and enrich all the varying phases of life, and the one who has rounded out on any plane from the physical up must have entered into the joys and sorrows of life as conveyed through the medium of music. It is only the one who lives the partial life who is able, to a degree, to appreciate some things while overlooking others. The fuller life is able to enter into and get good from everything. Whatever we know ourselves to be deficient in, that is the one thing we should try to cultivate. Life can only be understood in a whole and complete way through knowing it and living it. We may say that we can profit to a degree by the experience of others, but, after all, it is only the one who has lived who really knows.
In the healing by music most people consider that because music appeals in a far greater degree to one's emotions than to one's thought or reason, it is only going to awaken, at best, man's sensual nature and for that reason it would be detrimental rather than helpful to one's moral and physical well-being; they also give many illustrations of composers, vocal and instrumental musicians, who not only had much physical illness, but in many cases seemed to show lack of all moral perception, people who lived their sense nature to its full, and they attribute such results very largely to music. Granting their assertions to be true, we should have to reach the conclusion that music was an unwholesome luxury, something to be overcome and put away, much as did our Puritan forefathers, even as some few religious bodies of the present time continue to exclude all except vocal music and bring even that to within narrow limits. I do not, however, accept their position as true in any but a very partial way. Usually musicians, whether they be writers, players, or singers of music are exceedingly sensitive, otherwise they would not be musicians. The ear must be quick to respond to sound, and if one's feelings are reached through this avenue more acutely than through some of the other senses, then we can well see that the emotional nature is not only awakened but produces a far greater effect upon the musician than upon people who are not musical. We should know, however, that back of sense and back of mind there is still something else in man to be appealed to. Man is a spiritual being, a soul which can feel all the higher harmonies of life, and the right kind of music may be made the means of appealing to all this inner sense. If music can be made the instant means of awakening man's superficial, emotional nature, surely it can produce as great results in the awakening of man's spiritual nature. After all, it will be found that, while music can be prostituted to vicious ends and purposes wherein all moral sense is lost, yet it can be put to the highest ends and purposes to bring about mental, moral, and physical regeneration. It can be made to preach far greater sermons to man than he has ever heard through the spoken word; it can be made to reveal the real secrets of the heart which the spoken word too often only conceals. Men and women cannot lift up their voices in a great anthem of praise to the Creator without receiving benefit through the doing of it, and whatever benefits soul or mind must of a necessity benefit the body. Furthermore, people fail to perceive that whatever is received by them through music is not a temporary possession, but one that lives on subconsciously in the mind awaiting at any time to be recalled into consciousness, for while consciously listening to music, such conscious thought and feeling become established as a state of subconsciousness wherein it is recalled over and over again to the conscious mind, reproducing somewhat of the effect upon it that it originally produced. Therefore the value of music is far greater than if its effect were only momentary.
In relation to the practical side, it will be found that the part which the different keys play in music will have to be thoroughly studied in any system of musical healing. We might say, in a general way, that the major keys are representative of the positive forces of life, and that the minor keys have to do with the more negative conditions. The very highest in life, the joy, the hope, the love, the faith can be best portrayed through the use of the major keys; and we find that composers use the minor keys to express much that is sad, morbid, gloomy, hopeless, and emotional. Not but that the minor keys may be made to lend themselves to better things, but they are far more readily adapted to express man's superficial, negative life than are the major keys. There are many beautiful compositions in the minor keys which produce a sense of rest and peace, and which, under certain conditions, would prove exceedingly helpful when absolute rest and peace are required, but it can be said of a truth that there is very little written in the minor keys that inspires to courage, to strength, or to action. I have heard it said that if a body of people had to listen to several successive pieces of music written in the minor key, that no matter how beautiful the music might be, before it was finished numbers of people would be found yawning, showing that while it has the power of relaxing, it has little, if any, invigorating or life-giving power.
The music of the minor keys undoubtedly serves to relate the listener to the consciousness of the past. It continually brings up from the subconscious what some term memories, such memories as can only be recalled through the suggestion of things kindred or similar to them. The subconscious mind of man is a great storehouse for superstitions - superstitions that have been acquired from the very earliest of times. It is a repository also for the mysterious, the morbid, and all kinds of unwholesome sentimentalities. Written into it, too, is something of the physical and the mental slavery of people of by-gone ages. There is no kind of music written in the major key that can awaken these past memories to the same degree that music written in the minor keys can do. The minor keys awaken the morbid, the gloomy, the sorrowful, the sad, and from the subconscious mind there come trooping up all the old ghosts of a dead past. The minor keys, however, may be used to give a great deal that is better to life than they usually do. But the composer, if he is under the spell of grief or sorrow, nineteen times out of twenty will resort to the minor key, in order to give expression to it. The minor keys are still largely used to give expression to the darkness of the night, while the major keys find their true expression in the light of the day. The former are made to depict the sorrows, and the latter the joys of life. Minor keys deal with the partial and the incomplete; the major keys make for wholeness and completeness. The nations of the earth that are in bondage, the people of the earth who are suffering wrongs, all write their music in the minor key because it conveys the emotional, despondent, and depressed state of feeling better than could be done with the major keys. He, then, who would heal sickness with music must exercise the greatest care in selecting any music written in the minor key, because of its reactionary effects upon the subconscious mind in the calling up of all kinds of disturbing thoughts and emotions. Every key in music may be said to have its own characteristic expression, but the characteristic of sadness may be said to run through all the minor keys. The minor keys at best may express romance, beauty, sentiment, and kindness, but rarely anything of the greatness or the grandeur of life.