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This mammoth article contains the largest New England counterattack against Dvorak's ideas concerning the future of American music. It includes interviews with eight separate composers or influential Boston musicians.
What is it that these musicians most object to in Dvorak's view?
"American Music. Dr. Antonin Dvorak Expresses Some Radical Opinions," Boston Herald (May 28, 1893).
His Advocacy of "Negro Melodies" as Regarded by Local Musicians--Varied Views Upon the Subiect--Interesting Ideas About the "Folk Songs" of This Country.
In a recent interview in regard to the opinions he has formed regarding a national school of musical composition in this country, Dr. Antonin Dvorak, the Bohemian composer, who has been put at the head of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, and has given the music of this country especial study during his residence here, is quoted as expressing himself as follows: "I am now satisfied that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called the negro melodies. This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States. When I first came here last year I was impressed with this idea, and it has developed into a settled conviction. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are American. I would like to trace out the individual authorship of the negro melodies, for it would throw a great deal of light upon the question I am most deeply interested in at present. "These are the folk songs of America, and your composers must turn to them. All of the great musicians have borrowed from the songs of the common people. Beethoven's most charming scherzo is based upon what might now be considered a skillfully handled negro melody. I have myself gone to the simple, half forgotten tunes of the Bohemian peasants for hints in my most serious work. Only in this way can a musician express the true sentiment of his people. He gets into touch with the common humanity of his country.
"In the negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music. They are pathetic, tender, passionate, melancholy, solemn, religious, bold, merry, gay, or what you will. It is music that suits itself to any mood or purpose. There is nothing in the whole range of composition that cannot be supplied with themes from this source. The American musician understands these tunes and they move sentiment in him. They appeal to his imagination because of their associations. "When I was in England one of the ablest musical critics in London complained to me that there was no distinctively English school of music, nothing that appealed particularly to the British mind and heart. I replied to him that the composers of England had turned their backs upon the fine melodies of Ireland and Scotland, instead of making them the essence of an English school. It is a great pity that English musicians have not profited out of this rich store. Somehow, the old Irish and Scotch ballads have not seized upon or appealed to them. "I hope it will not be so in this country, and I intend to do all in my power to call attention to this splendid treasure of melody which you have.
"Among my pupils in the National Conservatory of Music I have discovered strong talents. There is one young man upon whom I am building strong expectations. His compositions are based upon negro melodies, and I have encouraged him in this direction. The other members of the composition class seem to think that it is not in good taste to get ideas from the old plantation songs, but they are wrong, and I have tried to impress upon their minds the fact that the greatest composers have not considered it beneath their dignity to go to the humble folk songs for motifs. "I did not come to America to interpret Beethoven or Wagner for the public. That is not my work, and I would not waste any time on it. I came to discover what young Americans had in them and to help them to express it. When the negro minstrels are here again I intend to take my young composers with me and have them comment on the melodies." And saying so, Dvorak sat down at his piano and ran his fingers lightly over the keys. It was his favorite pupil's adaptation of a southern melody.
Varied Opinions Regarding Dvorak's Views Ably Expressed. The prominence which Dr. Dvorak occupies in the musical world today, and the pronounced position taken in this interview regarding the value of the so-called "negro melodies," appeared to justify a request to representative Boston musicians for an expression of their opinion of the theories advanced by the great Bohemian composer. This request was very generally complied with, absence from the city unfortunately preventing a response from a few men whose opinions would have been of great value. Without passing upon the relative merits of the various opinions expressed, it may be well to call attention to the fact that equally competent men hold opposite views in this as well as on other matters of a musical character upon which the professional critic is expected to express himself or herself in a way to give satisfaction on all sides. It may aid those unfamiliar with the standing of those who have commented upon Dr. Dvorak's opinions to make a more definite estimate of the value of these expressions, if an explanatory statement is made regarding the position of the writers in the musical world.
Prof. John K. Paine is at the head of the musical department of Harvard University; Bernhard Listemann was for years concert master of the Symphony orchestra and holds a well recognized position as an orchestral conductor; B. J. Lang is the conductor of the Cecilia and Apollo clubs, and as a musician and pianist takes first rank in local musical circles; Mr. E. N. Catlin, director of the Tremont Theatre orchestra, has probably had, as an arranger of orchestral and vocal compositions, as widely varied opportunities to become acquainted with the music of the southern plantations as any man of his time; Mr. George L. Osgood, the old-time organizer and conductor of the Boylston and Singers' club, has had remarkable educational opportunities in his earlier years abroad, and has always been a thorough and devoted student of all the higher forms of composition; Mr. George E. Whiting is the organist at the Immaculate Conception Church, a composer of great prominence and well acquainted with all forms of composition; Mr. J. B. Claus was for over 20 years bandmaster in the English army, and has more recently been the instructor in the orchestral classes of the New England Conservatory, as well as a leading arranger of all classes of composition for military band use; Mr. Napier Lothian, now conductor of the Boston Theatre orchestra, has in his busy life been acquainted with every class of vocal and orchestral composition, and can speak with an especial amount of intelligence upon such a topic as is suggested by Dr. Dvorak's interview; Mrs. H. H. A. Beach is the composer of the mass brought out by the Handel and Haydn Society [a popular amateur chorus] last year, and has taken a prominent place among American composers in her songs and piano pieces; Mr. George W. Chadwick is among the few American composers who have gained recognition on both sides of the Atlantic, his symphonies and other large works having gained him recognition as a representative musician of his day.
FROM PROF. JOHN K. PAINE.
If Dr. Dvorak has been correctly reported, he greatly overestimates the influence that national melodies and folk-songs have exercised on the higher forms of musical art. In the case of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and other German masters, the old folk-songs have been used to a limited extent as motives; but movements founded on such themes are exceptional in comparison with the immense amount of entirely original thematic material that constitutes the bulk of their music. For instance, how much of folk-song melody is there in Bach's great organ toccatas and fugues, Handel's "Messiah," Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony," Mendelssohn's "Elijah," Wagner's "Lohengrin," Berlioz's "Romeo and Juliet"; in short, the vast majority of the works of the composers of different nationalities? But even if it be granted that musical style is formed to some extent on popular melodies, the time is past when composers are to be classed according to geographical limits.
It is not a question of nationality, but individuality, and individuality of style is not the result of limitation--whether of folk-songs, negro melodies, the tunes of the heathen Chine[s]e or Digger Indians, but of personal character and inborn originality. During the present century musical art has overstepped all national limits; it is no longer a mere question of Italian, German, French, English, Slavonic or American music, but of world music. Except in opera and church music, the prominent composers of the present day belong to this universal or cosmopolitan school of music, although most of them may express here and there certain characteristics of style, due in part to the influence of airs and dances of their respective countries. The music of Chopin, Grieg and Dvorak, for instance, is distinguished for strong local coloring; on the other hand, the works of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Liszt, Rubinstein and others are far less national than individual and universal in character and style.
Dr. Dvorak is probably unacquainted with what has already been accomplished in the higher forms of music by composers in America. In my estimation, it is a preposterous idea to say that in future American music will rest upon such an alien foundation as the melodies of a yet largely undeveloped race. No doubt some use may be made of the negro melodies as themes for musical compositions just as popular airs of any country may thus be used and [even perhaps?], no doubt, symphonic poems, cantatas, operas, etc., will be composed on American musical subjects. But, as our civilization is a fusion of various European nationalities, so American music more than any other should be all-embracing and universal. American composers have not as rich a foundation for development of a national style or school of music as older countries, if we look at the subject only from restricted national point of view. Dr. Dvorak is not the only one who holds this narrow view about the future of American musical art, but it is incomprensible to me how any thoroughly cultivated musician or musical critic can have such limited and erroneous views of the true functions of American composers. It is more than probable that Dr. Dvorak's true ideas on subject have not been fully expressed nor correctly reported; chance it may have been mere pleasantry on his part.
JOHN K. PAINE.
FROM GEORGE E. WHITING.
To the Editor of the Herald: I should be likely, in any event, to agree with the views expressed by Dr. Dvorak with regard to the desirability of making use of negro melodies for the foundation of American compositions but, more than eight years ago in a paper read before the American Music Teachers' National Association I advocated the same thing: that is, that, failing to find anything in the shape of American folk songs the native composer would do well to avail himself of these negro melodies for hint of local color. The subject, however, has a wider application than the one under discussion. Supposing, for instance, that a composer (American or not) wishes to illustrate, say, a Spanish subject? In that case he would endeavor to make use of the people's songs of Spain in order to obtain the appropriate coloring, and would be likely to proceed in the other countries. In this connection it is a somewhat singular fact that Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Wagner have neither of them made only the slightest use of the folk-songs of Germany their works! This, it seems to me, ought to encourage composers of this country.
GEO. E. WHITING.
FROM J. B. CLAUS. To the Editor of the Herald: Mr. Dvorak must be excused for the mistake he makes, because he must naturally think the "Negro" is the original American instead of the imported slave, and if they sung any other melodies than those composed by white men, it must have been music from Africa. Quaint as those songs may be, it is a poor fountain from which the young American composer could sip his inspirations. The idea is altogether so absurd that you will receive scouting remarks from many who can handle the subject better than I can, and I give you these few lines simply as my quota of private opinion.
J. B. CLAUS.
FROM B. J. LANG.
To the Editor of the Herald: Replying to yours asking for my views regarding the enclosed "interview" with Dr. Dvorak, I have to say that the interviewer seems to have well represented Dr. Dvorak's interesting attitude toward the music and the musicians of this country. Dvorak is thoroughly in earnest, a man of the people, a devoted student of Bach and of Beethoven, and at the same a composer who has much to say himself which is musically new and inspiring. If by "negro melodies" he means--and I presume he does--such songs as "Nobody Knows the Trouble," "Go Down, Moses," "Roll Jordan," "Zion's Children," etc., etc., I agree with him that "they are pathetic, tender," etc., etc., and that there are many of them well fitted to supply themes for large and serious works; but when he says that "the American musician understands these tunes, they appeal to his imagination because of their associations," etc., I am inclined to disagree with him. The American musician often knows little or nothing of these peculiar melodies, and often has been musically nurtured in much the same manner as a Frankfort or Leipzig musician. If he knows anything of American music, that is to say from the soil, it is either of a sort of psalmody, of which old "Coronation" is a fine example, or of a class of songs of which "Old Folks at Home" may be a proper type.
It does not seem natural for a white man to write a symphony, using real plantation melodies for his subjects or theme, and to claim that his work is in consequence something distinctly American. It surely would be American, but its germs were not born of "white folks." I wish that Dr. Dvorak would write something himself, using themes from these plantation songs. Such an act would set an example for our American composers, which, if followed, might beget for the dark race of our southern states and its history, what Liszt was for the Hungarian, Chopin for the Pole and Dvorak himself has been for the Bohemian. That American composers are swiftly and surely coming to the front I feel absolutely sure. If they have new things to say, whatever their source, let us be content.
B. J. LANG.
FROM E. N. CATLIN.
To the Editor of the Herald: It gives me pleasure to indorse [endorse] the ideas advanced by Antonin Dvorak. I have long felt that Americans have not appreciated the beauty and originality of our native melodies. We possess a mine of folk-song, such as few, if any nation have, and it would be well if our composers should employ those themes in writing their works. In this way we should develop a really American school of music, and find our public would gladly encourage the movement. As it is the treatment of a simple melody which evinces true musicianship, why should not our composers select such airs, instead of going abroad for their ideas?
E. N. CATLIN
FROM GEORGE L. OSGOOD.
To the Editor of the Herald: The opinion of Dr. Dvorak, that the future music of this country must be founded upon negro melodies, is indeed a most interesting one. Folk-songs play a part in the history of music whose importance cannot be overestimated. A few years ago, in some historical concerts of mine, I treated this subject at length, giving musical illustrations of the same. Many of the folk-songs of Germany, both text and music, sprang from nobody knows where. They were not only sung at home and in the streets, but were taken as themes for compositions of every description. Psalmody is especially indebted to simple folk-songs for many of its favorite melodies. So great was their popularity, they were even employed as themes for church masses, which were named often after the title of the song itself. There exist many masses by masters of repute bearing such titles as "La Village Jalois," "Es soilt ein Magdlein holen Wein," "Adieu, mes Amours," and the like. Though Martin Luther banished them from his book, they found their way back, and not only remain to the present day in German chorals, but many of them have been absorbed into our own church music. An amusing title is that to a book of psalmody published by Pastor Vespasium (1571): "Some of the best old songs, altered for the church, which have retained not only their melodies, but the most of them their words also." Many of these were lively dance songs, and extremely popular. As to the manner of singing such in church we read further on: "The singer must be very careful both in singing and playing, to observe a very slow tempo, and especially in those songs which are written in rapid notes or in triplets." The folk-song is naive, pathetic, tells of love for God, or oftener of human love, is full of emotion--in short, is a genuine expression from great Nature herself. The folk-song, springing from the heart of the people, was adopted in a more developed form into the church, and became later the germ of greater compositions. By a simple process of musical evolution the Volkslied [folk song] developed into the Kunstlied [art song], or German song. The folksong is the spontaneous expression of what the heart feels. In its structure it follows no laws. It is rather an instinctive production, and if it seems to follow the rules of composition, it is rather accidental than with purpose, perhaps because it is the only form the song can take. The Kunstlied, on the other hand, makes a sharper distinction of the material into its parts. It gives them an artistic symmetry, and bears in itself the consciousness of technique which the natural folksong does not imply.
From Sebastian Bach, through his son Emanuel, to Haydn, to Mozart, to Beethoven, and so to Schubert, to Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Franz runs the line which brings past and present together. The naivete of the folksong and the polyphony of Bach combined to make Robert Franz. Often I have heard my dear old master Robert Franz make use of these words: "No national music is possible without study of the national folk-song." Beethoven often expressed the same idea. In its relation to the development of the greater forms of instrumental music the folk song is of most suggestive importance. The principle of the effect of tonic and dominant, natural to the folk-song, established as a rule in the Kunstlied, was adopted into instrumental music by Sebastian Bach, and became the foundation of pure instrumental phrase, which has developed into the various branches of instrumental style. Haydn was the first to win great success in this new field, and was the forerunner of Mozart and Beethoven. Not only the sonata but the great orchestral symphony has been built upon the principle of the folk-song as a foundation. Thus, the first chief motive is built upon the tonic--the second in major, upon the dominant or the relative minor. The adagio of the modern symphony seems to be the scenic development of the instrumental bed. In Haydn and Mozart, besides the tonic and dominant effect we find often the contrast of major with minor, another folk-song feature.
The intimacy of the folk- song and modern instrumental music opens up a large field of musical speculation. But it is exceedingly interesting to note to what simple first principles our modern instrumental classic music returns. Therefore, in making the statement that the development of a national school of American music depends upon the study of our negro melodies and their application to musical composition, Dvorak follows logically in the same path pursued by all his illustrious predecessors. I would qualify his assertion that to negro melodies alone must we look for our source of inspiration. Many of the so-called negro melodies were written by native song composers. "Way Down Upon the Swanee River," if I mistake not, was composed by Stephen Foster, the author of many well known popular melodies, and there is a very large number of other popular melodies purely American. Many of these and the war songs have a distinctly national character. They are pathetic, humorous, stirring, and of a peculiarly marked rhythmical character, essentially American.
GEORGE L. OSGOOD.
FROM NAPIER LOTHIAN.
To the Editor of the Herald: In response to your request for my views regarding Mr. Dvorak's suggestions for an American school of music, I must begin by saying that I do not understand what Mr. Dvorak means by negro melodies. If he means the songs that are sung by the negro minstrel companies, they are for the most part parlor ballads and comic songs from the London music halls, and I doubt if they can be called the folk-songs of America. If he means the plantation melodies as sung by the negroes South, there is certainly originality in them, but they are very much alike, and I am afraid if they were adopted as the foundation of a school of composition, there would be just as much sameness as is found in Hungarian, Bohemian, Russian and other schools formed on native folk-songs. We have no folk-songs in the sense that European nations have them. Then, too, it seems to me that when a composer has anything to say in music he will say it independent of any consideration, folk-songs, native or otherwise. A national school of composition cannot, as I think, be made. It is born. There is nothing to prevent our composers from using either the plantation melodies or the so-called negro melodies as themes for their works, but that such a course will form a national school I doubt. Mr. Dvorak is probably unaware of the sources whence are derived the songs sung by the minstrel companies, and he credits us with more folk-songs than we deserve. It is true that "Old Dog Tray," "Old Folks at Home," "Old Virginny" and hundreds of other songs that negro minstrels have sung are very popular, but they are not essentially American. They are simple, pretty tunes. But I presume that, like Mercutio's wound, they will serve. NAPIER LOTHIAN.
FROM G. W. CHADWICK.
I am not sufficiently familiar with the real negro melodies to be able to offer any opinion on the subject. Such negro melodies as I have heard, however, I should be sorry to see become the basis of an American school of musical composition.
G. W. CHADWICK.
FROM MRS. H. H. A. BEACH.
To the Editor of the Herald: In view of the great success attained by Dr. Dvorak in his treatment of the Sclavonic [sic] folk-songs, it is, perhaps, only natural that he should be strongly inclined to suggest the use of the folk-songs of other nations, as a source from which their composers should draw inspiration for musical composition. He advises our young writers to employ the negro melodies because "they are American," "the folk-songs of America." Without the slightest desire to question the beauty of the negro melodies of which he speaks so highly, or to disparage them on account of their source, I cannot help feeling justified in the belief that they are not fully typical of our country. The African population of the United States is far too small for its songs to be considered "American." It represents only one factor in the composition of our nation. Moreover, it is not native American. Were we to consult the native folk-songs of the continent, it would have to be those of the Indians or the Esquimaux [Eskimos], several of whose curious songs (?) are given in publications of the Smithsonian Institute. The Africans are no more native than the Italians, Swedes or Russians.
Dr. Dvorak says: "The American musician understands these tunes and they move sentiment in him. They appeal to his imagination because of their associations." This might be true of a musician born and brought up in the South, surrounded by negro life, hearing from babyhood their songs in the fields as well as in the homes of the people. But to those of the North and West there can be little, if any, "association" connected with negro melodies. In fact, excepting to those especially interested in folk-lore, only very few of the real negro melodies are even known. The songs with which we are familiar have been written by Stephen C. Foster and other song- composers of our own race, of whom (as well as of the genuine negro songs) interesting articles by Mr. Francis H. Jenks are published in Grove's dictionary. We of the North should be far more likely to be influenced by old English, Scotch or Irish songs inherited with our literature from our ancestors, than by the songs of a portion of our people who were kept for so long in bondage, and whose musical utterances were deeply rooted in the heart-breaking griefs attendant upon their condition. It seems to me that, in order to make the best use of folk-songs of any nation as material for musical composition, the writer should be one of the people whose songs he chooses, or at least brought up among them. Of Grieg, for instance, it has been said by Edward Dannreuther that "Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Volkslieder [folk songs] and dances absorbed his fancy more than the study of any great composer's works." "His compositions are marked with the stamp of a particular nationality more clearly than that of any man, except perhaps Chopin." Is not this because Grieg is a Norwegian, and, by early surroundings as well as by inheritance, has assimilated the spirit of the northern folk-music and made it his own?
Dr. Dvorak himself has used the songs of the Sclavonic races with a brilliancy and effectiveness that we all know and admire; he is a Bohemian. If a negro, the possessor of talent for musical composition, should perfect himself in its expression, then we might have the melodies which are his folk-songs employed with fullest sympathy, for he would be working with the inherited feelings of his race. Of truly American songs, I think that any fair minded person will agree with me that the war songs and ballads of the North and South of any one of its component nationalities could possibly do, whether African, German or Chinese. It is true that certain of the great composers have drawn from national sources, though more sparingly than is generally supposed. Sir George Grove says regarding Beethoven, "How far he employed Volkslieder [folk songs] and other tunes not invented by himself is not known. Certain melodies in the Eroica, Pastoral and No. 7 symphonies are said to have been thus employed, but at present it is mere assertion." In the first and second of the three string quartets, written at the request of Prince Rasoumowsky, he has introduced a Russian folk song. As for Chopin, who is popularly supposed to have borrowed extensively from the Polish songs, Niecks says (Life of Chopin, vol. 2, page 215), "The remarks on Polish folk-music lead us naturally to the question of Chopin's indebtedness to it, which while in one respect it cannot be too highly rated, is yet in another respect generally overrated. The opinion that every peculiarity which distinguishes his music from that of other masters is to be put to the account of his nationality, and may be traced in Polish folk-music, is erroneous.
But, on the other hand, it is emphatically true that this same folk- music was to him a potent inspirer and trainer. Generally speaking, however, Chopin has more of the spirit than of the form of Polish folk-music. The only two classes of his compositions where we find also something of the form are his mazurkas and polonaises, and what is noteworthy, more in the former, the dance of the people, than in the latter, the dance of the aristocracy. In Chopin's mazurkas we meet not only with many of the most characteristic rhythms, but also with many equally melodic and harmonic traits of the chief of all Polish dances. On page 218: " . . . he adopted only some of the striking popularities of the national music, and added to them others which were individual. These individual characteristics--those audacities of rhythm, melody and harmony (in progressions and modulations, as well as in single chords) may, however, be said to have been fathered by the national ones. As to the predominating chromaticism of his style, it is not to be found in Polish folk music, although slight rudiments are discoverable . . . Indeed, as I have already said, it is rather the national spirit than the form which manifests itself in Chopin's music." On page 219 of the same volume Liszt says of Chopin: "He neither applied himself nor exerted himself to write Polish music; it is possible that he would have been astonished to hear himself called a Polish musician.
Nevertheless he was a national musician par excellence . . . . He summed up in his imagination, he represented in his talent, a poetic feeling inherent in his nation, and diffused them among all his contemporaries. Like all true national poets, Chopin sang without a fixed design, without a preconceived choice, what inspiration spontaneously dictated to him; it is thus that there arose in his music, without solicitation, without effort, the most idealized form of the emotions which had animated his childhood, checkered his adolescence and embellished his youth." Mr. Jenks says of Stephen C. Foster (after giving the titles of his songs, "Massa's in the Cold Ground," "Swanee Riber," "My Old Kentucky Home," etc.): "It will be seen that some of the titles betray the influence of the African race in the country near the Fosters' home, and it has even been said that he was indebted for some of his themes to the untutored plantation negroes. But it is more probable that the negro dialect was adopted in order to meet the demands of the market which happened to [be] open to him--the entertainment of minstrels of the Christy type."
These melodies have been sung for so long in cheap entertainments and so vulgarized by "variations" for all instruments that any serious use of them would seem impossible. If Dr. Dvorak hears any of the minstrel companies of the present time, he will be sadly disappointed in his wish to hear the real negro melodies, for they are seldom, if ever, sung by them now. The selections are mostly from the popular street songs of the day, English or American, or perhaps some exceedingly sentimental drawing-room ballads. Should he have an opportunity of hearing the singers of the Fisk or Hampton institutes, he might be so fortunate as to find a few genuine old songs on the programme, intermingled with "Annie Laurie" and other Scotch or English ballads. That the negro melodies may be of influence in an indirect, suggestive way, "a potent inspirer and trainer," to our composers, is possible. They are of great beauty and variety, and it is easy to see how their quaint rhythms and curious devices of melody would interest a master like Dr. Dvorak. Of how much development, used as themes for symphonies or other works in strict classical form, they are capable, can only be decided by time and experience in the hands of native and other composers. Whatever success may accrue by their employment cannot be justly claimed as American, but should be impartially laid at the feet of a people whose sufferings and sorrows gave them birth. Musical students will be interested in knowing that Saint-Saens has already used negro melodies in his work, "Africa," for piano and orchestra, coloring the barbaric rhythms and unusual scales with the instrumentation for which he is famous. [MRS.] H. H. A. BEACH.
FROM BERNARD LISTEMANN.
To the Editor of the Herald: It strikes me that Dr. Dvorak, in his admiration and enthusiasm for the negro melody, oversteps the boundaries when he says that the future development and growth of the specific American music will depend on the adoption of this melody. No doubt that a clever application of those melodies, as well as of some Indian melodies, perhaps, would have a beneficial influence on composers of limited talent, in so far as their compositions very likely would gain in color, variety and originality, but then this new departure in music would apply mostly to minor features in composition, and certainly would be out of proportion to the prominence which Dr. Dvorak gives it. Why should the necessity arise for the creation of a specific American school at all, so long as the really gifted composers are so few, and the nation as a musical people has to learn so much yet before it justly may aspire to a school of its own? Very likely, if the cult of the negro melody were fostered as industriously as Dr. Dvorak hopes, the minor talent would overflood the country with its sober interpretation of this so easily acquired new musical element, and finally the reaction of public sentiment would have to set things right again. It will do for a man of Dvorak's genius to create delightful pictures of his nation's folk-songs, and perhaps it may be true also what Dr. Dvorak says of Beethoven's most charming scherzo(?) that it is a skilfully handled negro melody, though most people look at Beethoven's scherzi as something far nobler.
But then it needs to be shown by Dvorak himself what there can be done with the negro melody, and if he succeeds in giving it the romantic charm which makes his works of a similar character so delightful, and of which class of music he is such an absolute master, then we may set all doubts at rest. I confess that I, for one, am fully gratified with the intellectual and technical mastership as documented by our foremost American composers in their principal works, and I cannot readily believe that the composer of "Hamlet," or of the "Spring Symphonie," or of the "Columbia Ode," should turn to the negro melody as the only salvation for further musical progress.