The Study of Music.
It has been often said that one of the black spots on colonial life is the taste shown for expensive amusements, cv ; rather excitements. The hugely dispropor- | tionate frequency of public-houses to the number of the population ; the fact that every little community has its racing club , the interest taken in and money exchanged over, any trial of running speed, or other physical qualification, find in any contest on the result of which money can be staked ; the rush that takes place to any light and even trashy entertainment, ./lien those of a higher class are neglected —all these are pointed to as showing the extravagance of colonials. We are not going to say that this colony is not innocent of the charges laid against it in the above category, nor are we going to defend it for being to a great extent guilty ; but we contend that those who make these charges should first ascertain that older countries are more pure, or with an equal amount of money in the hands of the Toms, Dicks, and Harrys of the people, they would not, with the better opportunities at command, be more spendenrift and more vicious. We do not deny the colonial’s fondness for amusement, nor his acquired taste for the excitement that a spice of mild gambling gives. But we contend that little is done by the leaders of our social life to counteract the effects or remove the cause of this incipient depravity by a more attractive substitute. In the larger towns, it is true, there have been healthy institutions started with a view to raising the tone of the mass, and creating a higher taste amongst them, and to a certain extent these have been successful, as indeed every good thing must to a certain extent be successful in exercising a good influence. But in small towns like our ow n it is remarkable that, almost nothing don ; by the better thinking of ourcicize..to show a nobler example to their fellowtawnsmen
We have no wish to attack the advocates of manly healthful sport, nor the promoters of innocent amusement of any kind, but we would like to point out how much one of the most fruitful sources of human enjoyment is neglected. We do not point to the colony as a whole in doing so. but to our own town in particular. Wo refer to the study and practice of veal and in** "amenta! music. There : is no a human being wholly insensible to the charms of music, and we have met but few who did not very much enjoy a well sung song, or well played piece of music. But it has often been to us a matter of surprise that men and women, full ot j natural melody, and possessing remarkably good voices, do not put themselves to some little trouble to master the rudiments of the theory of music so that they could take a useful pan in the production, as it ought to be produced, not only of the music of the great masters but of the simpler and more directly heartappealing strains of our ballad lore and hymnals. Take for instance any ordinary music hall song that for a time takes the mass by the ear; not one in a hundred of the untaught voices who sing it as they have caught it from the ecliDOS of the concert room, renders it, as regards either tune or time, as the score of the composer has it. The same with Sankey’a hymns, and the music of the churches. Just look the choirs of our churches at this moment, and see how poorly they are found in members. If we were a musical community, as in these days of sol-fa sight singing we might in a few months easily he, every congregation would be iff, itself, and the the choir proper would be fifc to fellow townsmen with the most vansj|6d treasures of the world s minstrelsy. write in the hope that parents will take the hint, and look, as we look, upon music as a great source of real enjoyment as a study properly followed that will holdits own against the many counter attractions of an inferior character that are so apt to lead young people away from the paths of rectitude. We note with pleasure that the sol-fa class recently instituted in the town by Mr Savage is making good progress, and we do hope that it will be so taken advantage of as to leave the impress of its work upon not only the congregational singing of every church in the district, but in a very short time upon the whole musical taste of the community. Without a practical knowledge of music, though sweet sounds are undoubtedly delightful, the real enjoyment as it is w o found in the legacies that the masters . have left us, is a sealed book.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 21, 13 November 1879
The Study of Music. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 21, 13 November 1879
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