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of Paul Sarpi,
Pascal, and Fenelon, or that of Hooker, Leighton, and Jeremy Taylor, he expired in the faith of him whom they all served and acknowledged as their master. Religious feeling had accompanied him through life, and it sustained him in death. Adopting (without any superstitious feeling,) the language of the church in which he was educated, we would say, REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
Remarks on what Mr. J. B. Logier calls his New System of
Musical Education; with a Sequel, written and translated from the German, by A. F. C. Kollmann, Organist of his Majesty's German Chapel, St. James's. Second Edition,
with Additions.-London, 1824. ENGLAND is said to be the only country in which quackery flourishes. Whether, however, our claim to this honour be exclusive or not, it cannot be denied that, in our “sea-girt isle,” that meritorious class of persons, usually termed empirics, do thrive prodigiously. Adventurer after adventurer
his contributions upon the unsuspecting credulity of John Bull, and furnishes additional evidence to the truth of the maxim, “ that no one need ever want gold in his pocket who carries plenty of brass in his face.”
It is now about nine years since the public attention was invited, by every artifice of puffing; to a new system of musical instruction, propounded in Dublin by a Mr. Logier, which was to supersede all established methods of teaching, and to produce accomplished musicians in an incredibly short space of time. Independent of the extravagance of his pretensions, the shyness of the author of the system in submitting it to the investigation of those best qualified to form an opinion of its merits, was calculated to excite some degree of suspicion as to its soundness. But there are always persons good-natured enough to give full credit to every professional promise, whether the artist engage to teach music in six weeks, or to jump into a quart bottle. There were not, therefore, wanting those who were quite satisfied that the system was a wonderful system, and Mr. Logier a wonderful man.
Logerian academies were established in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and other places. For a time they flourished, and' (whatever they might do for the pupils) answered the purposes of the teachers. The subject naturally engendered a controversy which was conducted on both sides with some
VOL. II. PART II.
warmth, and on one with no inconsiderable asperity. A committee of professors in London, composed principally of the members of the Philharmonic Society, at length published a pamphlet, * which gave the death-blow to the boasted system. It has lingered, indeed, from the year 1818 to the present time, but in a state of pitiable weakness, and it may now be considered as in the last stage of decay. In this hopeless condition, it might be quietly left to breathe its last in peace; but the pamphlet before us recals attention to that which was almost forgotten; and, as it is just possible that there may yet be a few individuals who are ignorant that the Logierian system has failed of performing any one of its mighty promises, and has long since been abandoned by a considerable proportion of the teachers who adopted it, we shall devote a small part of our journal to the subject.
It seenis that Mr. Logier, discovering that the “ game was up" in Great Britain, has been endeavouring to introduce his system into Germany; and the “Remarks” of Mr. Kollmann originally appeared in a musical journal published at Leipsic, being designed by their author to guard his countrymen against the pretensions of a system of which the inefficacy and ah. surdity had been clearly evinced in this country. We do not, however, apprehend that the Germans are in any great danger of being deceived by the pompous professions of the system.” In Germany, music is not only universally practised as an art, but is pretty generally studied as a science; and where this is the case, the System” may be safely left to its fate.
Mr. Logier's plan of 'instruction comprehended two things: the practice of the piano-forte, and a knowledge of practical harmony. To accomplish the first of these objects, he employed certain machinery, which was infallibly to secure à good position of the hand. This wonderful combination of wood and brass received, (by the advice, we presume, of some learned friend,) the imposing name of Chiroplast. We extract from the pamphlet before us a description of it:
" The first part, or Gamut Board, is an oblong board, which contains on one side all the diatonic, and on the other all the chromatic and enbarmonic notes, of a modern keyed instrument, so written, ibat when placed over the keys, fronting the performer, each note with its name, will be exactly over its corresponding key."
“ The second part of the Chiroplast, or the Position Frame, consists of two parallel rails, extending from one extremity of the keys to the other, between which the hands are to pass nearly as far as the wrists; and which are so regulated as to prevent any perpendicular motion of the hand, though sufficiently wide to allow a free horizontal movement when required."
* An Exposition of the Musical System of Mr. Logier, with Strictures on his Chiroplast.-London, 1818.
“ The said third part of the Chiroplast, consists of two FingerGuides; namely, two moveable brass-plates with five divisions, through which the thumb and four fingers are introduced. These divisions correspond perpendicularly with the keys of the instrument, and may be moved to any situation by means of the brass rod, on which they are made to slide. They can be fixed for each hand over any five keys in succession; and the divisions of those plates consist of thin pieces of brass, like small pieces of cards, which run in equal lines with the keys.”
"The fourth part of the Chiroplast, mentioned at 30, are two Wrist Guides; which consist of a brass wire, attached to each Finger Guide, with its regulator ; the use of which is to preserve proper position of the wrist, and to prevent its being inclined outwards." ;
The Gamut Board, the first part of this.goodly machinery, is obviously not new. It is, in principle, nothing more than is to be found in all the common instruction-books; and it does not require much discussion to settle his claims to inventive genius, who first does upon wood that which has often been done upon paper : but it happens unfortunately that the second part of the Chiroplast has as little claim to originality as the first ; for Mr. Di Monti of Glasgow saw the same thing in use nearly half a century ago. Now Mr. Logier asserts, in his introduction to the Chiroplast, that " a method of assisting the learner to accomplish the end proposed by means of mechanical contrivance has never been hitherto attempted.” It has been attempted repeatedly, and has been as often rejected, because it has invariably failed.
Mr. Logier affirms, that all the force used in striking the keys must proceed from the finger alone;" “and that any additional force or motion they may receive from the hand or arm must be detrimental.” We were surprized to find that Mr. Kollmann questions this ; and we cannot hesitate a moment in declaring that Mr. Logier is indisputably right. Our quarrel in this part of the business is not with his principle, but with his means of carrying it into practice. We hold it to be a settled point, that, in performing on the pianoforte, “all the force used in striking the key must proceed from the finger alone.”
The misfortune however is, that the Chiroplast does not ensure this desirable end. Mr. Logier has said, that “ the tree is known by its fruit,” and that he is willing to submit
his system to this test. Now, his system does not produce a proper method of touching the piano-forte. His pupils, in their celebrated exhibition before the members of the Phil. harmonic Society, seemed quite unconscious that any such rule existed as that which we have quoted from their tutor; for they constantly moved not merely their elbows, but their arms, even from the shoulder, whenever a chord was struck, or any thing like force required. *
The finger-guides, which constitute the third part of the Chiroplast, seem to be utterly useless for any purpose, except to increase the intricacy and expence of the instrument. The fingers of the pupil are fixed in a frame over five keys, and, to strike some one of these five keys, they are confined. We will not ask how does Mr. Logier expect his pupils thus to acquire graceful and correct fingering ; but how, by strumming upon five keys, does he expect them to acquire the art of fingering at all ?' The hand, manacled in the finger-guides, cannot remove from the keys to which it is screwed,--the fingers cannot pass over the thumb; and, consequently, the pupil, thus confined, cannot perform even an easy lesson. But the guides have no tendency to produce a good position of the fingers even upon the five keys to which they are restricted. It is most important, both to grace and effect, that the fingers of the performer should be bent till they all become equal. Now, in the guides, the learners may stretch out their fingers at their heart's desire; and it has been generally observed, by those who have had an opportunity of observing Mr. Logier's pupils, that their fingers were far too straight. The wrist-guides are just as useful as the finger-guides
. In spite of the “brass wire" and its regulator," the hands, when fettered by the wrist-guides, may be turned into improper positions, and it may be affirmed of all Mr. Logier's machinery, that those parts of it which are not mischievous are ineffective, and those which are not ineffective are mischievous.
All mechanical contrivances applied to musical instruments, for the purpose of facilitating execution, have failed. If the pupils could even be brought to perform tolerably with the help of Mr. Logier's elaborate machinery, what is to become of them when it is all removed, and they have neither principle nor previous practice to guide them. There is another objection to the Logerian mechanism, which we had almost forgotten to mention. If the master were able and willing to regulate the action of the pupil, he cannot, because the hand of the latter is concealed from sight by the surrounding ma
Exposition of the Musical System of Mr. Logier, p. 33.
chinery. We take our leave of the Chiroplast in the words of the respectable committee of professors already mentioned, "The Chiroplast compresses the hand, or it does not. If it do not compress the hand, it can give no form to it, and is therefore of no utility; if itido compress the hand, it must impede and injure the action of the fingers, and is therefore highly prejudicial.”
Another part of “the System” consists in teaching pianoforte playing in classes. The bare mention of this is quite enough. The piano-forte is an instrument of very considerable difficulty; and a power of correct and brilliant execution is not to be acquired without sedulous application on the part of the pupil, and unremitting attention on that of the teacher. How much of the latter is bestowed upon each scholar by a master who teaches twenty at once, may be readily conceived. It is evidently impossible for him to have his eye upon more than one at a time. The rest of the class, therefore, will be left at perfect liberty to act as ignorance, or idleness, or awkwardness, or caprice, may suggest.
Provided the proper notes are struck, all will be well; and even for this, the teacher has no security; for his ear (should he happen to have one) will be nearly as useless to him as his eye. The noise of those who are correct, will, in a great degree, cover the noise of those who are incorrect; and, even if the professor should by chance have a misgiving that all is not right, it will be next to impossible, amid the chaotic din of ten or a dozen piano-fortes, to detect the offender; which, if practicable, would be of little use, as the individual performer who is
wrong, cannot be stopped without stopping all the rest who are right. Again, if the system could enable its disciples to play correctly, this is the utmost to which it could pretend. It never could communicate those delicacies of execution which constitute the beauty and spirit of performance, the light and shade arising from the various gradations of piano and forte; the contrasts of staccato and legato, &c. &c. The acquisition of these requires the assiduous care of an able teacher, anxiously bestowed upon one pupil only at a time. This steamengine system of teaching can at best only qualify its scholars to hammer through the notes with cold mechanical correctness, alike destitute of taste, brilliancy, and expression. But what must be thought of the theoretical knowledge or practical experience, the judgment, the musical feeling, the ears, of the man who could project a concert of piano-fortes ?
one who knows any thing of music at all, knows that it is utterly impossible to bring a number of piano-fortes into a perfect correspondence of tone with each other; and farther, that if by any supernatural agency this could be attained, no