88 A Musical Family. By Blum, Edgar C.

Although the commanding influence of music has long been recognized, yet the path of musicians is to-day by no means free from thorns. The musical family in our picture is at times subjected to severe criticism. It is not their fault, they try to please all. Some keys of their instruments are made to play, for the delectation of lovers of music, while others emit no sound, - a concession to the opposing faction; and this division is made with a commendable impartiality. Criticism does not deter them; their ancestors, playing the identical instruments, encountered the same opposition.

It is true these objections are not always unfounded. It is perhaps but reasonable to limit a performance to one composition at a time, and that one to be played by all the artists. Again, one of the players should be empowered to make a selection for all. This plan, faithfully executed, will remove all uncertainty as to the production rendered. The claim that a musical instrument should be recognizable by its sound, independently of its shape, is not without some force. And discords should not, as a class, be favored. But the errors indicated, when they occur, are not intentional, and all reasonable efforts are made to rectify them. The places of notes, almost as soon as their omission is discovered, are supplied by other notes, designed to subserve the composer’s purpose,

In this family, we see a fair distribution of labor. The babe provides the vocal, the older children supply the instrumental music, while the mother wields the baton, - particularly useful at rehearsals.

The sirens who sought, with music, to lure Ulysses to his doom, did not utilize the instruments employed by this family, and their efforts were a conspicuous failure.

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