Excerpt from Community Music: Suggestions for Developing Community Singing, Choruses, Orchestras and Other Forms of Community Music
Leaving aside other aspects, let us examine for. A moment the case of music. The war gave our mute, songless people a voice. The singing of war songs, popular songs, folk songsand stately hymns became amazingly general. The musicians of the country, filled with the spirit of' patriotism, gave not only of themselves, their money and their talents, but also what in many cases was hardest of all - apparently abandoned their standards of taste and acquiesced in the use of music which but a short time before had received their severest criticism. But with the cessation of the war many of them have said: Let us now return to sanity and good taste. Dur ing the war we let down the bars in the singing of popular music; it has served its purpose of unifying and fortifying us. But that necessity is past and we must immediately re turn to our pre-war standards. Let us hasten to put up the barriers so that we may keep out this motley horde of cheap songs which threaten to engulf us and to destroy all good music.
N 0 one who cares for music; no one who cares for the wel fare of our country - and the ideals of the two are closely related - can turn a deaf ear to such statements. Such a sin cere point of view deserves careful consideration. Shall the leaders of America, the thoughtful men and women who help form opinion, place a ban upon popular music and trumpet the call to use only the finer things - the folk song and the Chorale, the opera and oratorio masterpieces? If it were pos sible to institute such a crusade, would it be wise? Would it bring about the results desired?
There are many sides to this question. Song during the war period was by no means a musical phenomenon alone. In many cases the musical. Element was very slight. The com munity sing of war times has done very little in the way of musical development if we are to consider technical musi cal results only. As far as musical taste is concerned most people have not progressed far beyond the standards with which they started. Candor, however, compels us to admit that if it be progress to go from nothing to something, the great groups of people who sang for the first time in their lives during this great popular singing movement represent a decided advance. Thousands of boys from the farm and the city, the hosts of men in business and social clubs, the numberless girls in industrial establishments, and the many women in philanthropic groups who through sings were stirred into their first enthusiastic, whole-hearted singing, represent no negligible factor. Whatever may be said of their musical development. War singing undoubtedly did much with themfrom a social point of View. Are these people ready for a large leap in musical development? Are they ready to relin quish what they now know and like and plunge into the finer but unknown material? Are they ready to abandon entirely the social aspect which controlled during-the-war singing, and to insist upon musical considerations only? This is but one aspect, but it suggests the type of consideration which must be borne in mind when one is-tempted to solve with a single formula the problem of what should follow the community singing activities.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.comshow more