Essays Before a Sonata, by Charles Ives:
How far is anyone justified, be he an authority or a layman, in expressing or trying to express in terms of music (in sounds, if you like) the value of anything, material, moral, intellectual, or spiritual, which is usually expressed in terms other than music? How far afield can music go and keep honest as well as reasonable or artistic? Is it a matter limited only by the composer's power of expressing what lies in his subjective or objective consciousness? Or is it limited by any limitations of the composer? Can a tune literally represent a stonewall with vines on it or with nothing on it, though it (the tune) be made by a genius whose power of objective contemplation is in the highest state of development? Can it be done by anything short of an act of mesmerism on the part of the composer or an act of kindness on the part of the listener? Does the extreme materializing of music appeal strongly to anyone except to those without a sense of humoror rather with a sense of humor?or, except, possibly to those who might excuse it, as Herbert Spencer might by the theory that the sensational element (the sensations we hear so much about in experimental psychology) is the true pleasurable phenomenon in music and that the mind should not be allowed to interfere? Does the success of program music depend more upon the program than upon the music? If it does, what is the use of the music, if it does not, what is the use of the program? Does not its appeal depend to a great extent on the listener's willingness to accept the theory that music is the language of the emotions and ONLY that? Or inversely does not this theory tend to limit music to programs?a limitation as bad for music itselffor its wholesome progress,as a diet of program music is bad for the listener's ability to digest anything beyond the sensuous (or physical-emotional). To a great extent this depends on what is meant by emotion or on the assumption that the word as used above refers more to the EXPRESSION, of, rather than to a meaning in a deeper sensewhich may be a feeling influenced by some experience perhaps of a spiritual nature in the expression of which the intellect has some part. "The nearer we get to the mere expression of emotion," says Professor Sturt in his "Philosophy of Art and Personality," "as in the antics of boys who have been promised a holiday, the further we get away from art."
ps soulflunking deathrats: