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Percy Grainger „The Impress of Personality in Unwritten Music”

originally published in „The Musical Quarterly” , Vol. 1, No. 3 (Jul., 1915) pdf

Grainger / The International Percy Grainger Society / The Percy Grainger Society / Grainger Studies

With regard to music, our modem Western civilization produces, broadly speaking, two main types of educated men. On the one hand the professional musician or leisured amateur-enthusiast who spends the bulk of his waking hours making music, and on the other hand all those many millions of men and women whose lives are far too over- worked and arduous, or too completely immersed in the ambitions and labyrinths of our material civilization, to be able to devote any reason able proportion of their time to music or artistic expression of any kind at all. How different from either of these types is the bulk of uneducated and „uncivilized” humanity of every race and color, with whom natural musical expression may be said to be a universal, highly prized habit that seldom, if ever, degenerates into the drudgery of a mere means of livelihood. […]

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 perfor- mances, phonograph and gramophone records and adequate notations. Quite small but representative troupes of peasant and native musi- cians, dancers, etc., could be set in motion on „world tours” to per- form 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. …

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