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“ immerge it in the ocean, and it will stand !" Can the mind, says the inquirer into the fine arts, have directly a view of the proportion that the time of a femibreve has to that of a demisemiquaver? No, She may as well have a view of eternity !'
Mr. Robertson next proceeds to the · Theory of anci, ent mufic:' a subject of much disquisition and controversy amongst the learned and philosophical musicians, and which, after all their labours, still remains in a state of darkness and uncertainty. To enter into a minute detail of this part of the volume, would be disagreeable to the generality of our readers, we shal therefore only slightly trace the route of our author, referring the few amateurs to the work itself for more particular information. The ancients, we are told, exprefied the science of tune by the terin harmonica, that word referring entirely to the scale of music, and to melody, and not to the modern sense of the word harmony. What had a reference to the scale was in general denominated mufca harmonica; what referred to melody obtained the appellation of melopoeia. Time in ancient music was called rythmus, and included metrum: and hence sprung the doctrines of the musica rythmica and musica metrica. The several scales of tune were known among the ancients by the name of genera, of which there were properly three, the diatonum,
the chroma, and the harmonia or enharmonium. The various · arrangement of the notes in the three genera, produced
twelve modes or species; seven perfect, viz. the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Hypolydian, Hypophry. gian, and Hypodorian ; and five artificial, or femitone modes, viz. the Ionian, Æolian, Hyperionian, Hypoæolian, and Hypoionian.
In the explanation of this abftrufe subject the author haş differed, as was to be expected, in many things from those who have gone over the same ground before him ; there is however a itriking coincidence, which he has acknowledged, between his opinions and thofe of Sir Francis Hawkins Eyles Styles, as appears by a paper published many years ago in the transactions of the Royal Society. +
The melopoeia, or composition of the ancients, is involved in the same obscurity with their musica harmonica. A few scraps of poetry with the musical characters annexed, have escaped from the wreck of ages ; þut so inconsiderable, that from them no certain opinion can be established. Our
* Vol. 51.
author however repeats what has beeen already fail upon this subject. In this part of the volume, Mr. Robertson discusses the much agitated question, whether the ancients were acquainted with harmony, or music in parts ? Having given several reasons for believing, that they were only acquainted with melody, he maintains, that no one who knows the object of ancient music can suppose that the Greeks and Romans would have pra&tised harmony, even had they been in pofsession of the theory. The object was resdever, to teach, to train the mind; to give it knowledge; to inspire temperate and falutary feelings ; to roufe, to correet, and to reclaim. The ancients,' therefore, says he, would not have chused to be acquainted with music in parts,' Mr. Keeble, on the contrary, from a laborious investigation of the Grecian harmonica, lately published, draws an opposite conclufion : " It is almost impoflible," says he, " to enupo merate all the advantages with respect to musical informa- tion and a profound knowledge of harmony, contained in the * Grecian harmonica.” p. 204. " Who can decide, when doctors disagree?".
Our readers must themfelves examine what is said of tinie in ancient music, or the musica rythmica and musica metrica; as the subject does not adinit of any abstract that could come within the bounds which we must not exceed. We cannot, however, help saying, that the effects of rythmus seem to be exaggerated, and muft agree with the ingenious Dr. Burney,
that Ariftides Quintilianus is, at least on this subject, an enthusiast : and our author's personification of rythmus may perhaps lead others to accuse him of something similar.
Rythmus,' we are told, was not in their eyes a dry abitract piece of artithmetic; but a human being, walking in the theatre. They saw his body and his limbs ; marked his various gait; now stalking in pomp; now tripping in play; now moving heavily along, in grief, and pain, and inelaucholy. He hummed, in the mean while, a fong , the fecondary part. Such an accusation may not be disagreeable to Mr. Robertson as he has faid, that without enthusiasm there can be no fine art. This maxim, well understood, we are willing to allow ; but he must remember, there are certain boundaries, beyond which enthufafm cannot go without entering the precincts of madness, or of folly.
On the theory of ancient music, our author has bestowed much labour and ingenuity ; but, from the nature of the subject, from the want of a stable foundation whereon to build, and from the wide field allowed to conjecture, the System is vulnerable in many parts. In concluding this
chapter, Mr. Robertson has given to the philosopher he has introduced, the most unphilosophical of all wishes. We mult premise, that not to understand a subject is called by Mr. Robertson being, with regard to that subject, in a state of darkness. He then says, · The philosopher often wading in this darkness, wishes for the light of error, when he cannot arrive at the light of truth.'. What philosopher, who deserves the name, ever expressed such a with Metaphorical darkness has ever been considered as synonimous with error: it was reserved for pļilosophers in the eighteenth century to discover the illuminations of error: the hardness of softness, or the whiteness of blackness could not be more astonishing discovery.
Chapter III. is entitled, “ Speculations in Music.' Here the author maintains, that the octave of every note is a modification of that note, and in no case the same with it,' and ridicules nrasicians for limiting the degrees to the number seven, on the false supposition that all octaves are the same, He also laughs at the farciful coincidence that has been dilcovered between the musical number seven, and the seven prismatic colours; and concludes with saying, What, after all, if it be found, were this the place, that there are more than seven colours in a fun-ray ?' He then enquires into the principle of musical sentiment, and concludes, that it is founded . partly upon numbers, and partly upon the ear.' The svitems of Raineau and Tartini next pass in review, and they are discovered to be 'the illustration of a rule, in ftead of the demonstration of a principle.' He himfell attempts to go a little farther, but is loft in the immensity of the subject, and leaves it the more willinglv, that (as, or because) little advantage is to be derived from it; for bodies are only imperfectly elastic, and the ear is only an imperfect organ of hearing.' The chapter concludes with an account of Mr. Maxwell's Essay on Tune; the great object of which is to supercede temperament, by attaining to perfect tune. This essay he mentions with approbation, though he has little hope that the principle will be followed by the musical world.
(To be continued.)
ART. II. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of
Nations, By Adam Smith, LL. D. and F. R. s. of London and Edinburgh; one of the Commillioners of his Majesty's Customs in Scotland; and formerly Professor of moral Philofophy in the University of Glasgow. In three volumes. 8vo. 11. 1's.' Third
Edition, with Auditions. London, Strahan and Cadell. 1784. I T is not consistent with the design of our literary journal
to enter into the detail of a work which has, so long fince, received the approbation of the public; and which must infallibly secure to its ingenious author an increasing Teputation, among all competent judges of the true interests and policy of nations. It is rather incumbent upon us to confine our observations Itrictly to the improvements in this pētavo edition, which, under the name of additions and corrections, have been published vseparately, for the accommodation of the purchasers of the two former editions in quarto. -This attention in Dr. Smith, is highly commendable ; and we haften to the grateful office of laying before our readers a specimen of those valuable additions, with which this octayo edition of The Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, is enriched.
Our author having justly arraigned the syftem of restraint and monopoly, which, to the disgrace of modern policy, has so long predominated in the commercial arrangement of the European nations, illuftrates, with great ability, the advantages of opposite maxims, and thus traces the consequences which would arise from the observance of such maxims, in the commerce between France and England
“If tho!ė two countries,' says Dr.Smith, 'were to consider their real intereft, without either mercantile jealousy or national animosity, the commerce of France might be more advantageous to Great Britain than that of any other country, and for the same reason that of Great Britain to France.
France is the nearest neighbour to Great Britain. In the trade between the southern coast of England, and the northern and N. W. coasts of France, the returns might be expected, in the fame manner as in the inland trade, four, five, or fix times in the year. The capital, therefore, employed in this trade, could.in each of the two countries, keep in motion four, five, or fix times the quantity of industry, and afford employment and subsistence to four, five, or fix times the number of people, which an equal capital could do in the greater part of the other branches of foreign trade. Between the parts of France and Great Britain most remote froin one another, the returns might be expected, at least, once in the year, and even this trade would so far be at least equally advantageous as the greater part of the other
branches of our foreign European trade. It would be, at least, three times more advantageous than the boasted trade with our North American colonies, in which the returns were seldom made in less than three years, frequently not in less than fouror five years. France, besides, is supposed to contain twenty-four millions
of inhabitants. Our North American colonies were never supposed to contain more than three millions : and France is a much richer country than North America ; though, on account of the more unequal distribution of riches, there is much more poverty and beg: gary in the one country than in the other. France, therefore, couid afford a market at least eight times more extensive, and, on account of the superior frequency of the returns, four and twenty times more advantageous; than that which our North-American colonies ever afforded. The trade of Great Britain would be just as advantageous to France, and, in proportion to the wealth, population, and proximity of the respective countries, would have the faine furiority over that which France carries on with her own colonies.--Such is the very great difference between that trade ishich the wif. dom of both nations has thought proper to discourage, and that which it has favoured the most.
" But the very cirmustances which would have rendered an open and free commerce between the two countries to advantageous to both, have occafioned the principal obitructions to that commerce. Being neighbours, they are necessarily enemies, and the wealth and power of each becomes, upon that account, more formidable to the other ; and what would increase the advantage of national friendship, serves only to inflame the violence of national animosity. They are both rich and industrious nations; and the merchants and manufacturers of each, dread the competition of the iķill and activity of those of the other. Mercantile jealousy is excited, and both infames, and is itself inflamed, by the violence of national animofity : and the traders of both countries have announced, with all the pailionate confidence of interested falfhood, the certain ruin of each, in consequence of that unfavourable balance of trade, which, they pretend, would be the infallible effect of an unrestrained commerce with the other.”
At a time when peace is happily re-established in both hemifpheres, and mankind have leisure to contemplate their relative situations in the calm lights of philofophy, there is, perhaps, reason to expect that such cultivated nations as France and England will be the first to instruct the world at large by their example, in the advantages of a more enlightened fo.icy; that they will measure their interests on a less contracted scale, and rise superior, in all commercial ftipulations, to those national prejudices which, to the detriment of both countries, have been cherished for ages. It is greatly to be wished, that the treaty of commerce, which is now negociating at Paris, by Mr. Craufurd, may be digested and matured on Dr. Smith's principles, in the cabinets of London and Versailles. But if national antipathies must prove an eternal bar to such re. gulations between nations, who, by a folecism in language, have been denominated natural enemies, it is surely not romantic to expect that the happier arrangements of trade will speedily commence, where no such antipathies fubfift; and especially between nations, who till of late, have regarded