英日対訳:パーシー・A・グレンジャー The Impress of Personality in Unwritten Music (1915) 第5回(全6回)

The Impress of Personality in Unwritten Music 

Percy Grainger  

The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Jul., 1915), pp. 416-435  

(22 pages) 




The Musical Quarterly(季刊誌「音楽」)1915年7月号掲載寄稿 





Modern geniuses and primitive music unite in teaching us the charm of "wrong notes that sound right." Indeed, Frederick Delius has aptly referred to the wave of discord that is at present sweeping over the world of civilized music as "the wrong note craze." The innovations of such pioneers as Debussy, Ravel, Strauss, Schinberg, Stravinsky, Cyril Scott and Ornstein open up the possibility of modern musicians being capable of combining the communal improvisation of South Sea Islanders with the harmonic consciousness of our written art-music. 









Realizing this, I set out, some three years ago, to embody some of the experience I had gleaned from familiarity with the primitive polyphony of the Rarotongan part-songs in a composition entitled "Random Round," which was planned for a few voices, guitars and mandolins, to which could be added (if available) mandola, piano, xylophone, celesta, glockenspiel, resonaphone or marimbaphone, strings and wind instruments. It consisted of sections (A, B, C, etc.), each of which was again divided into as many as 10 to 20 variants (Al, A2, etc.), some quiet, some noisy, some simple, some complex; each bar of each variant being composed in such a manner that it would form some sort of a harmonic whole when performed together with any bar of any or all of the other variants of the same section.  



The guitars formed the background for all the rest, and as soon as they got going with section A any or all of the other players and singers could fall in, when and how they pleased, with any of their variants of section A, provided their beats corresponded to those of the guitars. For instance, one voice might be heard singing the second measure of its A3 while another voice was engaged on the seventh measure of its A9. Before section B was to begin, a Javanese gong would be beaten, whereupon the same sort of canonical intermingling of the different variants of B would be undertaken that had just occured with the A variants; and so on with C, D, etc., to the end.  



It will be seen that a fairly large range of personal choice was allowed to every one taking part, and that the effectiveness of the whole thing would depend primarily on the natural sense for contrasts of form, color and dynamics displayed by the various performers, and their judgment in entering and leaving the general ensemble at suitable moments.  



Thus one player, by intruding carelessly and noisily at a moment when all the rest were playing softly, would wreck that particular effect, though, on the other hand, such an act, if undertaken intentionally in order to provide dynamic variety, might be very welcome. Last summer in London some fifteen of us experimented with this "Random Round," and the results obtained were very instructive to me personally. Several of those taking part quickly developed the power of merging themselves into the artistic whole, and whereas at the outset the monotonous babel produced somewhat "resembled a day at the Dog's Home, Battersea" (as a leading critic once described Albeniz' marvelous and touching piano piece "Jerez" when I first introduced it to London audiences some years ago), after a little practice together the whole thing took on form, color and clarity, and sounded harmonious enough, though a frequent swash of passing discords was noticeable also.  



Excerpt from a March for Piano and Orchestra by Percy Grainger 



I look forward to some day presenting to English and American audiences a performance of this blend of modern harmonic tendencies with experiences drawn from the improvised polyphony of primitive music, although, of course, my piece represents only the veriest beginnings of what may ultimately be evolved in the realms of concerted improvisation.  



In the meantime I cannot refrain from giving a tiny example of the sort of combinations that resulted from the individualistic use on the part of the various performers of the somewhat elastic material I had provided them with, remarking, however, that the effect of the actual performance was far warmer and less harsh than it appears on paper, largely owing to the transparent quality of the plucked sounds of the guitars, mandolins and mandolas, and the illusive and "non-adhesive" tone of the brighter percussion instruments. (See facsimile.) 








When we consider how meagre the generally available records of unwritten music are, it is surprising that it should have already exerted so noticeable an influence upon contemporaneous composers.  



Experience of primitive music is not in any way thrust upon the budding musician. When I was a boy in Frankfort my teacher wanted me to enter for (I think it was) the Mendelssohn Prize for piano playing, and I remember asking him: "If I should win, would they let me study Chinese music in China with the money?" And his reply: "No, they don't give prizes to idiots." No doubt many a young musician is feeling to-day what I felt then -a longing to escape from the inefficiencies of theoretic teaching and to know something about the myriad musics of the various races, and to be able to track some of the creative impulses to their sources. But he will not find much exhaustive material accessible. For instance, though it may be already widely appreciated how much such delicious pieces as Debussy's "Pagodes" and "Reflets dans l'eau" (and indeed, the whole modern French school) owe to some acquaintance with Javanese music yet we still have to journey to the Dutch Indies if we wish to hear the "gamalan." 









But I believe the time will soon be ripe for the formation of a world-wide International Musical Society for the purpose of making all the world's music known to all the world by means of imported performances, phonograph and gramophone records and adequate notations. Quite small but representative troupes of peasant and native musicians, dancers, etc., could be set in motion on "world tours" to perform in the subscription concerts of such a society in the art-centres of all lands. One program might consist of Norwegian fiddling, pipe-playing, cattle-calls, peasant dances and ballad singing, another of various types of African drumming, marimba and zanze playing, choral songs and war dances, and yet another evening filled out with the teeming varieties of modes of singing and playing upon plucked string instruments indigenous to British India; and so on, until music-lovers everywhere could form some accurate conception of the as yet but dimly guessed multitudinous beauties of the world's contemporaneous total output of music. 








Quite apart from the pleasure and veneration such exotic arts inspire purely for their own sake, those of us who are genuinely convinced that many of the greatest modern composers (by no means all, however-not Schinberg or Strauss or Faure, for instance) owe much to their contact with one kind or other of unwritten music, must, if we wish to behave with any generosity toward the future, face the fact that coming generations will not enjoy a first-hand experience of primitive music such as those amongst us can still obtain who are gifted with means, leisure, or fighting enthusiasm. Let us therefore not neglect to provide composers and students to come with the best second-hand material we can. Fortunes might be spent, and well spent, in having good gramophone and phonograph records taken of music from everywhere, and in having the contents of these records noted down by brilliant yet painstaking musicians; men capable of responding to unexpected novelties and eager to seize upon and preserve in their full strangeness and otherness just those elements that have least in common with our own music. We see on all hands the victorious on-march of our ruthless Western civilization (so destructively intolerant in its colonial phase) and the distressing spectacle of the gentle but complex native arts wilting before its irresistible simplicity.  



Everywhere men and women whose forebears were untaught individualistic musicians are inevitably finding their own expression (or not finding any at all) along the more precise and sometimes narrow paths of the written art. Soon, or comparatively soon, folk-music on Southern plantations, or in Scandinavia, Great Britain, Russia and Spain will be as dead as it already is in Holland and Germany, and many native races will have exchanged their song-lit "savage" modes of living for the (musically speaking) comparatively silent early stages of "commercial prosperity" or commercial want. Against that day-which, however, we may confidently expect to find compensatingly more gloriously rich in art-music than any previous age-let us make noble efforts to preserve, for the affectionate gaze of future eclectics, above all adequate printed records of what now still remains of a phase of music which, in the nature of things, can never be reborn again, and which comes down to us so fragrant with the sweet impress of the personality of many millions of unknown departed artists, men and women.