It is generally found to be the case that musicians are very sensitive, that they respond either to good or to evil influences more quickly than do most people, and perhaps this is one reason why people are more lenient in their judgment of them. They say: "Oh! it is the musical or poetical temperament," and that is explanation enough; as though the musical or poetical temperament should be one means of leading people astray. Granting that the sensitive temperament is necessary, it does not follow that it need be a source of weakness: in fact, when this temperament is fully understood by its possessor, it becomes one of the greatest elements, not only for self-protection, but for the development of all that is highest and best in life. It is only that too often the sensitive temperament is appealed to by the false and superficial emotions, which the unclean mind of the composer has put into his music. We should understand that a principle which can produce the greatest good, may when prostituted to an evil end or purpose, produce the greatest evil. I would not, for a single moment, think of saying that the varying kinds of music that we have at the present, could be made to serve any high or holy end; but I do think that there could be selected no end of music already written that would supply the needed stimulus for a truly religious life, and if our musicians and singers were engaged in singing and playing such music, we should not only have better mentally and morally balanced lives, but be more spiritually enlightened as well.
When the public demands the highest and best of music, it will find that composers, singers, and instrumental musicians are ready to give it. When, too, the great composer comes to understand that he is a prophet sent of God to help impart God's message to man, then he will try to compose in a way worthy of his high office. He will not be swayed by earthly consideration, so that at one time his music is prostituted to ignoble ends and purposes, while at another time, through the inner melody of his life, his music carries with it something of the breath of heaven; perhaps something that the angels of God have already sung. The composer attuned to universal consciousness heard and caught the strain; and because of this, he was able to impart through his written music something of that spirit that he had felt, something of the melody he had heard before he was able to give it form. Too many of the great composers have had to live under such conditions as made it next to impossible for them to become imbued with the deepest and highest consciousness, a consciousness they might have realised in greater fulness if it had not been for all their worries and anxieties concerning their daily lives. When we think of such a man as Schubert, of how much he gave to the beauty of the musical world and how little he received for it in a material way, the only wonder is, that song could sing through his life with such a wonder of tenderness, and such sweetness of love and beauty. The world owes a debt of gratitude to Schubert that it can never repay, and what I write of him is equally true of many composers who have lived in the last three hundred years, composers who have been hindered and hampered on every side, without sufficient to supply their daily needs, yet who, in spite of all, have produced music that has, perhaps, done more to make the world a better place to live in than any other one factor in life. When people read Wagner's autobiography, they say he was an extremely selfish man in that he wanted others to furnish him with home and food, and the necessary things of life; but suppose that we look at the matter in this way: even if that had been done, humanity would still be the debtor to Wagner because he gave ten thousand times more to the world than the world ever gave to him. He was conscious of having a message, his one and greatest desire was to give that message. Anything that hampered or interfered with the giving of it, caused him a degree of impatience and irritation of mind. People may say that he received money from his operas and this should have proved sufficient compensation for his work. We know that it was nothing of the kind; that for years he was in debt; and how he wrote the wonderful things that he did, considering all the disadvantage he laboured under, is really a marvel. No great composer should ever have to barter for the product of his genius or even to think how his daily needs are to be supplied. He is more essential to state and nation than the greatest general of the army, or the greatest statesman of the nation. He is the high priest who is in more direct relation with Cosmic Consciousness and has a greater message to give to the world than any other living man. At the present time, we have our great monuments for the great warriors who worked death and destruction on earth, while we reserve our little monuments for the great composers who have brought light out of darkness and who were God's chosen instruments to show man how to establish His Kingdom on earth.
I believe that there is a direct correspondence between rhythm, melody, and harmony - the trinity in music - and religion, philosophy and science - the trinity that goes to form consciousness in man.
Rhythm corresponds to feeling. We "feel after all that is highest and best." The Bible speaks of man "Feeling after God"; and Jesus, speaking of God, said: "God is Love." Love is a state of feeling. Love in the life of man responds to love in the Universal Life. This is what might be called religion in the first degree.
Melody is sound in rhythmic motion. It gives an expression of rhythm through ideals. Again, philosophy in the life of man is an attempt, through the written or spoken word, to give expression to inner feeling, to try to define that which seems almost indefinable.
Harmony in music is the relation that one chord bears to another; so that all music may have harmony of form. In the same way, science is an externalised demonstration of what man has thought and felt. His inner feeling and vision becoming actualised in his outer world. Religion is, therefore, first of all, a state of feeling, then thinking, and lastly one of expression. To sum up, when man lives a life of law and order the first expression will be rhythm - feeling - the intermediate state will be idealistic melody, and later this rhythm and melody will take form through right action. This, then, should constitute the real religion of life.