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drown the treble, unless the discord be very odious; and so hideth a small imperfection. For we see, that in one of the lower strings of a lute, there soundeth not the sound of the treble, nor any mixt sound, but only the sound of the base.
110. We have no music of quarter-notes; and it may be they are not capable of harmony: for we see the half-notes themselves do but interpose sometimes. Nevertheless we have some slides or relishes of the voice or strings, as it were continued without notes, from one tone to another, rising or falling, which are delightful.
111. THE causes of that which is pleasing or ingrate to the hearing, may receive light by that which is pleasing or ingrate to the sight. There be two things pleasing to the sight, leaving pictures and shapes aside, which are but secondary.objects; and please or displease but in memory; these two are colours and order. The pleasing of colour symbolizeth with the pleasing of any single tone to the ear; but the pleasing of order doth symbolize with harmony. And therefore we see in garden-knots, and the frets of houses, and all equal and well answering figures, as globes, pyramids, cones, cylinders, etc. how they please; whereas unequal figures are but deformities. And both these pleasures, that of the eye, and that of the ear, are but the effects of equality, good proportion, or correspondence: so that, out of question, equality and correspondence are the causes of harmony. But to find the proportion of that correspondence, is more abstruse; whereof notwithstanding we shall speak somewhat, when we handle tones, in the general enquiry of sounds.
112. TONES are not so apt altogether to procure sleep as some other sounds; as the wind, the purling of water, humming of bees, a sweet voice of one that readeth, etc. The cause whereof is, for that tones, because they are equal and slide not, do more strike and erect the sense than the other. And overmuch attention hindereth sleep.
113. There be in music certain figures or tropes,
almost agreeing with the figures of rhetoric, and with the affections of the mind, and other senses. First, the division and quavering, which please so much in music, have an agreement with the glittering of light; as the moon-beams playing upon a wave. Again, the falling from a discord to a concord, which maketh great sweetness in music, hath an agreement with the affections, which are reintegrated to the better, after some dislikes; it agreeth also with the taste, which is soon glutted with that which is sweet alone. The sliding from the close or cadence, hath an agreement with the figure in rhetoric, which they call præter expectatum; for there is a pleasure even in being deceived. The reports, and fuges, have an agreement with the figures in rhetoric, of repetition and traduction. The triplas, and changing of times, have an agreement with the changes of motions; as when galliard time, and measure time, are in the medley of one dance.
114. IT hath been anciently held and observed, that the sense of hearing, and the kinds of music, have most operation upon manners; as, to encourage men, and make them warlike; to make them soft and effeminate; to make them grave; to make them light; to make them gentle and inclined to pity, etc. The cause is, for that the sense of hearing striketh the spirits more immediately than the other senses; and more incorporeally than the smelling; for the sight, taste, and feeling, have their organs not of so present and immediate access to the spirits, as the hearing hath. And as for the smelling, which indeed worketh also immediately upon the spirits, and is forcible while the object remaineth, it is with a communication of the breath or vapour of the object odorate; but harmony entering easily, and mingling not at all, and coming with a manifest motion, doth by custom of often affecting the spirits, and putting them into one kind of posture, alter not a little the nature of the spirits, even when the object is removed, And therefore we see, that tunes and airs, even in their own nature, have in themselves some affinity
with the affections; as there be merry tunes, doleful tunes, solemn tunes; tunes inclining mens minds to pity; warlike tunes, etc. So as it is no marvel if they alter the spirits, considering that tunes have a predisposition to the motion of the spirits in themselves. But yet it hath been noted, that though this variety of tunes doth dispose the spirits to variety of passions, conform unto them, yet generally music feedeth that disposition of the spirits, which it findeth. We see also, that several airs and tunes do please several nations and persons, according to the sympathy they have with their spirits.
Experiments in consort touching sounds; and first touching the nullity and entity of sounds.
PERSPECTIVE hath been with some diligence enquired; and so hath the nature of sounds, in some sort, as far as concerneth music: but the nature of sounds in general hath been superficially observed. It is one of the subtilest pieces of nature. And besides,
I practise, as I do advise; which is, after long enquiry of things immersed in matter, to interpose some subject which is immateriate, or less materiate; such as this of sounds; to the end, that the intellect may be rectified, and become not partial.
115. It is first to be considered, what great motions there are in nature, which pass without sound or noise. The heavens turn about in a most rapid motion, without noise to us perceived; though in some dreams they have been said to make an excellent music. So the motions of the comets, and fiery meteors, as stella cadens, etc. yield no noise. And if it be thought, that it is the greatness of distance from us, whereby the sound cannot be heard; we see that lightnings and coruscations, which are near at hand, yield no sound neither: and yet in all these, there is a percussion and division of the air. The winds in the upper region, which move the clouds above, which we call the rack, and are not perceived below, pass without noise. The lower winds in a plain, except they be strong, make no noise; but amongst trees,
the noise of such winds will be perceived. And the winds, generally, when they make a noise, do ever make it unequally, rising and falling, and sometimes, when they are vehement, trembling at the height of their blast. Rain or hail falling, though vehemently, yieldeth no noise in passing through the air, till it fall upon the ground, water, houses, or the like. Water in a river, though a swift stream, is not heard in the channel, but runneth in silence, if it be of any depth; but the very stream upon shallows, of gravel, or pebble, will be heard. And waters, when they beat upon the shore, or are straitned, as in the falls of bridges, or are dashed against themselves, by winds, give a roaring noise. Any piece of timber, or hard body, being thrust forwards by another body contiguous, without knocking, giveth no noise. And so bodies in weighing one upon another, though the upper body press the lower body down, make no noise. So the motion in the minute parts of any solid body, which is the principal cause of violent motion, though unobserved, passeth without sound; for that sound that is heard sometimes is produced only by the breaking of the air; and not by the impulsion of the parts. So it is manifest, that where the anterior body giveth way, as fast as the posterior cometh on, it maketh no noise, be the motion never so great or swift.
116. AIR open, and at large, maketh no noise, except it be sharply percussed; as in the sound of a string, where air is percussed by a hard and stiff body, and with a sharp loose: for if the string be not strained, it maketh no noise. But where the air is pent and straitned, there breath or other blowing, which carry but a gentle percussion, suffice to create sound; as in pipes and wind-instruments. But then you must note, that in recorders, which go with a gentle breath, the concave of the pipe, were it not for the fipple that straitneth the air, much more than the simple concave, would yield no sound. For as for other wind-instruments, they require a forcible breath; as trumpets, cornets, hunters horns, etc. which ap
peareth by the blown cheeks of him that windeth them. Organs also are blown with a strong wind by the bellows. And note again, that some kind of windinstruments are blown at a small hole in the side, which straitneth the breath at the first entrance; the rather, in respect of their traverse and stop above the hole, which performeth the fipples part; as it is seen in flutes and fifes, which will not give sound by a blast at the end, as recorders, etc. do. Likewise in all whistling, you contract the mouth; and to make it more sharp, men sometimes use their finger. But in open air, if you throw a stone or a dart, they give no sound; no more do bullets, except they happen to be a little hollowed in the casting; which hollowness penneth the air: nor yet arrows, except they be ruffled in their feathers, which likewise penneth the air. As for small whistles or shepherds oaten pipes, they give a sound because of their extreme slenderness, whereby the air is more pent than in a wider pipe. Again, the voices of men and living creatures pass through the throat, which penneth the breath. As for the Jews-harp, it is a sharp percussion; and, besides, hath the advantage of penning the air in the mouth.
117. SOLID bodies, if they be very softly percussed, give no sound; as when a man treadeth very softly upon boards. So chests or doors in fair weather, when they open easily, give no sound. And cartwheels squeak not when they are liquored.
118. The flame of tapers or candles, though it be a swift motion and breaketh the air, yet passeth without sound. Air in ovens, though, no doubt, it doth, as it were, boil and dilate itself, and is repercussed; yet it is without noise.
119. FLAME percussed by air giveth a noise; as in blowing of the fire by bellows; greater than if the bellows should blow upon the air itself. And so likewise flame percussing the air strongly, as when flame suddenly taketh and openeth, giveth a noise; so great flames, while the one impelleth the other, give a bellowing sound.
120. THERE is a conceit runneth abroad, that there