There can be no question that major chords more fully express the grandeur, power, and brilliancy of music than do the minor chords. But I feel sure that when minor chords are used to portray the beauty and perfection of life, the composer who uses them with this object in view, will not find them lacking. Too often, however, they are used to depict man's unreal emotional nature. Let it once be understood that man does not and cannot create music any more than he can create energy, that music is universal and lives in eternity. But man may discover it, and through knowledge give it form or embody it. Between the inner rhythm and the outer harmony, there comes the melody which may be said to partake, in a way, of both inner and outer. The melody is the mystical language in the mind of the composer, but it is to be made more tangible, in a way, to the listener through the use of harmony. Back of the melody is the feeling which gives it all its colour; later the harmony gives it form.
No matter how impressive, or beautiful musical ideas may be, something of their value will be lost unless they contain symmetry, beauty, and elegance of form. Perhaps no one ever realised the perfection of outer form to the degree that Mozart did; and it may well be that in our present-day life, with all its unrest and discord, we are unable to appreciate Mozart's music at its real worth. In the striving after something new, we have let go of the old ideals and old forms of beauty and have not as yet been able to grasp new and higher ones. In the radical tendency of the age, we forget that beauty and truth are eternal, and too often in discarding what we deem to be the old things in life, the partial and the incomplete things, we also discard much that is just as necessary to the life of to-day as it was necessary when it first took form in life. Nothing that is good, beautiful, or true can ever be lost. The incomplete must make way for the coming of that which is whole and complete. At the present time, there is much that passes current as music that has no real place in the musical world whatever; counterfeit music without rhythm, melody, or harmony. And to make the matter even worse, if that were possible, such music is associated with words lacking in all true poetic expression. This is not only true as regards the. secular songs of the day, but it is equally true of religious music. It comes from the effort of people who have neither developed the poetical nor musical instinct, people who have no knowledge of music or poetry, but who try to pattern after or copy what others have done in a far better way. Such music and poetry can do no more than awaken the most superficial thoughts and emotions. The producers of it, not only stand in the light of their own development, but do harm to others. Civilisation that bows down before such false gods is not worthy of the name. God's most beautiful gift to His children should not be desecrated by ignoble, mercenary motives, solely to attain ambitious ends. I would rather encourage than discourage the one who would seek to become a musical composer even if such a one could not become great in his profession; because in the very effort he makes to compose, he is enriching his own life. No one can compose music without benefiting his own nature, without getting a more beautiful outlook on life, if he is honest in his efforts and tries to do the very best he is capable of doing. The composer may only hope to give beautiful and soul-satisfying music when he draws it from the depths of his highest consciousness. No matter how much he may study the works of other composers, no matter to what degree he may have developed form, he must have the musical consciousness in order to make music. The imitator or the plagiarist can never produce music worthy of the name. He stands in the same relation to a real composer that an iron or a brazen bell does to a silver or a golden one; and yet the world is full of people who are so unattuned, so discordant in mind that they prefer that which is hardly the semblance of music or poetic beauty to that which is both real and beautiful! Sudermann has said: "The greatest and highest thing one possesses in the world is his life's melody - a certain strain that ever vibrates, that his soul forever sings, waking or dreaming, loudly or softly, internally or externally. Others may say his temperament or his character is so and so. He only smiles, for he knows his melody and he knows it alone." What each person needs is to find his own melody, and not only to find it, but to let it sing hour by hour in his every-day life. Through doing this, he will find that he is making progress, that his melody is bringing to him not only the real satisfaction of his present life, but is preparing the way for a still higher life.
Haydn was once asked which he liked the better of his two oratorios, the "Seasons" or the "Creation."
He said the "Creation," because in the "Creation" angels speak, and their talk is of God. The great Handel completed the score of the "Messiah" in fourteen days. Speaking to someone of the "Hallelujah Chorus," he said: "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the feet of God Himself." It is said of him, also, that his tears mingled with the ink as he penned the notes. Said Helmholtz: "Just as in the rolling ocean, the movement, rhythmically repeated, and yet ever-varying, rivets our attention and hurries us along. But whereas in the sea blind physical forces alone are at work, and hence the final impression on the spectator's mind is nothing but solitude - in a musical work of art the movement follows the outflow of the artist's own emotions. Now gently gliding, now gracefully leaping, now violently stirred, penetrated, or laboriously contending with the natural expression of passion, the stream of sound, in primitive vivacity, bears over into the hearer's soul unima-gined moods which the artist has overheard from his own, and finally raises up to that repose of everlasting beauty of which God has allowed but few of His elect favourites to be the heralds."