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Two English ladies, for the purpose of exploring new territory in Europe, visited all the points of interest in the Slavonic provinces of Turkey-in-Europe, and lay their report before the world in some seven hundred simply written pages. * It is the record of remarkable perseverance, endurance, courage. Far beyond the reach of intelligent representatives of any civilized nation, without any of the modern conveniences of travel, commonly on horseback, sometimes on foot, through rain and snow, through threats of brigands and opposition from bigoted sectarians, they held the even tenor of their way, as a general would lead a triumphant army, allowing nobody to be mulcted for their benefit, distributing books to the Christian schools, disclosing a terrible amount of opposition, yet inspiring hope amongst a people nearly given over to despair.
As Turkey itself bleeds at every pore from misgovernment, from the rapacity of officials, the severity of taxation, and the brutality of the populace, a distant province could not fail to suffer more. And details of unavenged outrage are continually given by these ladies; showing that the Christian population of Slavonia suffer quite as badly now as before the Christian Powers interfered to secure certain inestimable privileges for the unwilling subjects of the Sublime Porte.
Immense deference was shown to these courageous women, in the idea that one of them was the Queen of England in disguise ; even the habitual insults of Mussulmen, feeling themselves above law, ceased for the time; but the general expression was, that French energy was a better refuge from Turkish oppression than the interference of any other Power.: “ The French consul stands by the rayahs whenever there is an opportunity, on the principle that their spirit is only to be raised by letting them see that the Turk has at last found some Christians before whom he, too, must bow.” The Roman-Catholic cemetery at Prizren was open to Mussulman insult, because of the absence of a wall. The Austrian consul dared not make any movement in its behalf; but the representative of France, finding that his order for the necessary repairs was not obeyed, went with the bishop to the spot, and laid the first stones with his own hand.
The general view of the country given by these ladies is, that it is suffering the last extremity of oppression; that nothing but foreign intervention can give it relief; that the only alternative is the abandonment of their native land by those who find not even their lives respected under the brutal despotism of the worst government ever known in Europe. Patience fails one at hearing it proposed to apply any palliatives to so advanced and complicated a disease. The experience of the American colonists at Jaffa is forcing upon our people sounder views than are generally held in Europe. A tyranny which is only known through the outrages it inflicts, deserves to disappear from the face of Europe.
* The Turks, the Greeks, and the Slavons. By G. M. MACKENZIR and A. P. IRBY. London: Bell & Dalby, 1867.
F. W. H.
The little volume * by Madam Seiler, which Dr. Furness has admirably translated, is valuable as an attempt “to bring into harmony things which have always been treated separately, — the Science and the Art of Singing.” Madam Seiler, who has taken up her residence in this country, and has already won a high position as a practical teacher of singing, studied at Heidelberg with the celebrated Helmholtz (whose great work, “ Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen," is the recognized authority on the physiology of the voice), and has pursued her own investigations with the laryngoscope even farther than her teacher. The testimonials to her rare scientific attainments from eminent German savans, are sufficient proof of her fitness to write the work which she now gives to the public.
After an Introduction, in which the rise, development, and decline of Vocal Music are briefly sketched, Madam Seiler discusses, first, the “Physiological View of Singing.” The chief feature of this chapter is a wholly new classification of tones into the three Registers, called, in the order of the ascending scale, Chest Register, Falsetto Register (each containing two series of tones, produced by different movements of the vocal cartilages and ligaments), and Head Register (this last having but one series of tones). A knowledge of these registers, which Madam Seiler obtained by long and careful study of the voice, by the aid of the laryngoscope, and a further knowledge of the exact places in the scale where the transitions from one register to another occur, the author regards as essential to a correct method of vocal instruction. In the next chapter, the “Physi
The Voice in Singing. Translated from the German of Emma SEILER, by a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia : J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1868.
cal View” of the Voice is considered, and the various properties of tone discussed. Madam Seiler states very clearly, though concisely, the results of the investigations which Helmholtz has made, and which we notice have been adopted by Professor Tyndall, in his recently published lectures on 66 Sound.”
The concluding chapter of Madam Seiler's work is given to an interesting and suggestive discussion of the “ Æsthetics” of vocal culture.
Our principal criticism of the book before us relates to the undue importance which appears to be assigned to a knowledge of the mechanism of the voice. For the purposes of vocal culture, the ear is a better instrument for examining the voice than the laryngoscope. The results obtained by a correct listening to the “ voice in action may be reduced to as exact science as those results which correct observation has ascertained ; and with this advantage in their favor, that their application to vocal culture can be easily made and readily taught. A knowledge of anatomy is, no doubt, of some use to the dancing-master; but an eye, quick to detect both the faults and the beauties of motion, is far more serviceable. The tones of the singer are addressed to the ear, as the movements of the dancer to the eye ; and he is the best teacher of the voice (other things being equal) who can best interpret to the singer the quality of the tones which he makes. The defects of the common methods of vocal instruction arise, not so much from ignorance of anatomy, as from inability to translate the language of tones so that the pupil may know by his own ear what purity, strength, and accuracy really are. A knowledge of the proper focus of vibrations of the tones is, we believe, vastly more important, both in elocution and in singing, than the most thorough acquaintance with the action of cartilages and ligaments in the larynx.
We cannot enter into further illustration or defence of this point; but we feel sure that these investigations of Madam Seiler into the physiology of the voice need to be supplemented by other and equally scientific investigations into the quality of tones as recognized by the ear, - a kind of investigation which demands more thorough study, and a more careful listening to what Nature reveals, than most teachers of vocal culture have given it.
We take our leave of Madam Seiler's book, hoping it will stimu
* M. Auguste Laugel has also popularized these researches of Helmholtz, in a recent work published at Paris, entitled “La Voix, l'Oreille, et la Musique."
late intelligent discussion and inquiry among all who are interested in the culture of the voice, whether“ professors" or amateurs, pupils or teachers. That a work so suggestive, and written so completely in the spirit of that scientific method which is now revolutionizing all art, should have appeared in this country, may be regarded as the sign and promise of the rise, at no distant day, of a true musical science in America.
H. G: 8.
It was always a marvel to those who knew Dr. Bethune, the most genial, cheerful, free-hearted, and affectionate of men, - that he could hold so strongly to the sternest type of the Calvinistic faith; could preach with such vigor the doctrines of election, damnation, the utter ruin of man, and the strange remedy of substituted suffering. Calvinism seemed wholly out of place in such a soul. In conversation with Dr. Bethune, you could not think of his orthodoxy. His private spirit was wholly liberal; and, in spite of his creed, his heart warmed toward all liberal things and liberal men. Never was the 66 Dordrechtian theology," as he used to call it, so easily put off by the preacher in his personal intercourse. And even in his preaching it was not very offensive. You saw that it was in the education, rather than in the nature, of the man; and that filial reverence, rather than natural bias, fastened him to the creed of his father. His biography tells how hard a struggle the revivalists had in bringing him to the confession of the orthodox scheme.
Dr. Van Nest - his friend, and some time colleague has written about him as eulogist rather than as critic,* and shows us scarcely a flaw in the perfect character of his subject after conversion; though he was passionate, headstrong, and self-willed enough before. Some abatement must be made from this admiring estimate ; and the term "saint” is not precisely that which we should prefer to apply to one so fond of literary dinners, fishing excursions, and magazine-writing. Dr. Bethune was not a saint of the Catholic or the Calvinist pattern, nor did he always restrain his wrath or mortify his appetites. He was fond of the world and of its good things,- of a pipe and a social glass, of classic letters, of wit and banter; and not indifferent to the world's praise. In the matter of reforms, he usually took the 5 conservative" side; and his hatred of abolitionists was exemplary. But if we judge saintliness by sincerity, honesty, a noble scorn of all fraud and meanness, then he had that grace in eminent measure. He was a man to win the love, and the respect too, of all who came to know him, no matter what their sect or party. He had the soul of a poet and the heart of a friend, in spite of his political and theological prejudices. There was nothing very winning in his coarse features, his almost gross frame, or his ungainly movement; yet his voice had a charm, and his earnestness a fascination, which none could resist. He was a man of mark anywhere; and, but for the narrow range in which his theology kept him, would have been a man of power. He always worked in bonds, even when he seemed to be free. This was the impression which intercourse with him gave, - and this is the impression which his biography leaves, - of a true man in a false position. With this reservation, the life of Dr. Bethune is a delightful book.
* Memoir of Rev. George W. Bethune, D.D. By Rev. A. R. VAN NEST, D.D. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1867. 12mo, pp. 446.
C. H. B.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS.
On the Credibility of the Scriptures; a Recast, with enlarged views, of a former Work on the subject, together with a copious Analysis of the Religious System promulgated during the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian Dispensations, and of Human Developments under them. By J. H. McCulloh, M.D. Baltimore: James S. Waters & Son. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 402, 414. (This is the work of an aged layman, and deserves to be studied with interest and respect. With an independent and somewhat rationalizing habit of mind, it combines the old-fashioned conscientious textual method of investigation, with results leading to a qualified Unitarianism in creed, and an extreme and honest radicalism as respects the popular institutions and dispensations of religion. Its critical expositions are worthless, as proceeding on no basis of scientific scholarship; but as the fruit of patient labor, mental sincerity, and practical good sense, it is worthy of a respectful hearing.)
American Edition of Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. Revised and edited by Professor H. B. Hackett, with the co-operation of Ezra Abbot. New York: Hurd & Houghton. Part VIII. pp. 785–896. Eupolemus-Gennesaret. (Closing the first volume, and containing the Prefaces and other explanatory matter.)
The Roman-Catholic Church and Free Thought. A Controversy between Archbishop Purcell, and Thomas Vickers, Minister of the Free Congregational Church of Cincinnati. Together with an Appendix, containing the Encyclical Letter and Syllabus of Pope Pius IX., dated Dec. 8, 1864, in the original Latin, with a faithful Translation. 8vo. pp. 143.