Dryden wrote A Song for St. Cecilia ‘s Day to memorialise November 22as the twenty-four hours dedicated to the Roman virgin and frequenter saint of music — Saint Cecilia. The juncture was twofold, for it was non merely a musical jubilation filled with gaiety and fear but besides, as Earl Miner and Vinton Dearing province, it “ reflects the new societal character of music every bit good as poesy ” ( 460 ) . Furthermore, Dryden ‘s 1687 ode does incarnate a new societal alteration in music as it relates to poetry. In fact, Dryden ‘s vocal was different from his precursors ‘ odes since he fused two philosophies of musical theory: The musical humanitarianism of the Renaissance comprised the musica mundana and humana, jointly known as “ bad ” music in add-on to the Restoration construct of “ affectional ” or music rhythmus. Possibly, the best manner to understand these two theories, as Dryden incorporates them into his work, is to elaborate upon ( every bit briefly as possible ) his position of music and its affects on poesy as written word.
The impression that poets considered themselves as instrumentalists was non a discovery during the Renaissance and Restoration epoch. Furthermore, as David Wykes points out, both were synonymous or considered “ a stock analogy that. . . could be used automatically ” ( 151 ) . An underlining deduction existed between Donne ‘s and Dryden ‘s coevals that conventional analogies were sufficient at labeling a individual ‘s business, yet a job rested beneath the labeling, and that was apparent in the positions of humanists of Donne ‘s epoch, who saw the Fieldss of poesy and music as two independent humanistic disciplines. Dryden, however, did portion certain musical humanists ‘ beliefs, particularly in the philosophy of independent music, in which his coevalss, much as his predecessors, upheld that music did non hold any important virtue in and of itself, but instead is validated by the emotional effects produced in its audience ( 151 ) .
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D.T. Mace farther expands on this musical philosophy by claiming that both the seventeenth and 18th centuries viewed music as an artistic “ war between word and tone ” every bit good as “ between articulate and inarticulate sound ” ( 258 ) . If music was unflattering to the multitudes as a solo look of art, so it surely did non derive much empathy from poets and critics, particularly one time Italian opera, a signifier Dryden experimented in before composing his Cecilia ode, emerged on the English scene. Meanwhile, the major ailment approximately opera as a legitimate art carried beyond the war between words and sounds because it was seen as a genre that “ represented the victory of harmoniousness ( music ) over sense ( the spoken play ) ” ( 258 ) . This impression that music could non efficaciously reassign that of the senses was the normative sentiment between Dryden and the Restoration critics[ 3 ]. Dr. John Wallis[ 4 ]voiced that music should pretermit the “ mindless polyphonic music of several voices in harmoniousness and subordinate itself to poetry ” ( qtd in Wykes 152 ) while John Dennis ‘ claimed that “ [ m ] usic may be made profitable every bit good as delightful, if it is low-level to some baronial art, and subservient to ground ” ( 454 ) .[ 5 ]
Dryden agreed with his coevalss ‘ sentiments about opera and music. This is obvious in The Foreword of his operatic work Albion and Albanius, where his detest for opera surfaces. He believes that independent music zaps the emotional energy out of poesy: “ The nature of an opera denies the frequent usage of. . . poetical decorations ; for vocal music, though it frequently admits a highness of sound, yet ever exacts an harmonious sugariness. . . ” ( Dryden, The Preface 271 ) . He farther states his ain trouble in conforming his poetries to music, which foreshadows Louis Grabu ‘s failed effort to convey Dryden ‘s words through music: “ [ T ] he necessity of dual rimes, and ordination of the words and Numberss for the sugariness of the voice, are the chief flexible joints on which an opera must travel. . . . I have hence no demand to do alibis for beastliness of idea in many topographic points ” ( 277 ) . Dryden farther defines the function between poet and composer, or, as James E. Phillips references, “ the kernel of seventeenth-century theory sing the relationship of poesy and music ” ( 21 ) :
. . . as if I had non served out my clip in poesy, but was bound ‘prentice to some jingle rhymester, who makes vocals to melodies, and sings them for a support. ‘T is true, I have non been frequently put to this plodding ; but where I have, the words will sufficiently demo that I was so a slave to the composing, which I will ne’er be once more. ‘T is my portion to invent, and the instrumentalist ‘s to humor that innovation. ( 277 )
Dryden ‘s bold statement at the terminal of the quotation mark expresses his purpose to explicate that poets and instrumentalists every bit good as their aesthetic ideals could work every bit one every bit long as the poet has a dominant function in the creative activity. In fact, Dryden touches on this impression as a new musical philosophy while making Albion, as The Preface references, “ [ T ] he main secret is the pick of words, ” non simply the “ elegancy of look, but properness of sound, to be varied harmonizing to the topic. . . . which was decently called rhythmus by the ancients ” ( 277 ) . Now, Dryden ‘s run for music rhythmus stems from analyzing Isaac Vossius ‘ De poemathum canta et viribus rhythmi, a musical thesis. Had Dryden used a more dominant application of it in his Albion, he could hold achieved higher congratulationss than those received from the Grabu induced production, which was by and large panned by critics. Indeed, Vossius ‘ argued that both poet and musician played a important function in that each must back up each other ‘s abilities if music were to keep any permanent significance where music “ initate [ s ] in its beat ” or the “ gestures, ” as Vossius describes, “ the passions and fondnesss produced in the head ” ( 262 ) . In other words, the poet should utilize his cognition of classical poesy – its “ rhythmical devices ” and “ metres ” – to elicit emotion in poetry while the musician compliments the poet ‘s words by using a “ monodic, ” non “ polyphonic ” line of music ( a individual line alternatively of a multiple musical line ) to show balance in emotions and thoughts ( 265 ) . Dryden ‘s Cecilia Ode absolutely blends the humanitarianism of old with a music philosophy of new that non merely vividly communicates the thoughts and religion that the power of music have but besides conveys a sense of optimism that lifts emotions towards a heavenly note when the earthly note reaches a plane of two-dimensionality.
Dryden ‘s Song for St. Cecilia ‘s Day is a lyrical verse form whose temporal sequence allows its readers and hearers to non merely see a new societal alteration between music and poesy, between “ bad music ” and musica rhythmus, but besides allows them to see a musical flight that is round in nature between the two domains of heavenly harmoniousness and secular passions. If Dryden ‘s function were to ‘invent ‘ poetries for a musician to ‘humour, ‘ so the sporadic stanzas and inconsistent rime strategies play a strategic function throughout the ode. Furthermore, these poetic structural elements help demo music ‘s initial map, as Dryden nowadayss in his Creation stanza ( stanza one ) as “ bad music, ” and that is as the cosmopolitan theory of harmoniousness: [ T ] he aural image of all that is good and perfect in the existence and in adult male ” ( Miner 460 ) .
From harmoniousness, from heav’nly harmoniousness,
This cosmopolitan frame began.
When nature underneath a pile
Of clashing atoms lay,
And could non heave her caput,
The melodious voice was heard from high,
‘Arise ye more than dead. ‘
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their Stationss leap,
And music ‘s power obey. ( 1-10 )
In these initial lines, Dryden adapts the spiritual narration of the six yearss of creative activity, which he would hold known from analyzing Biblical and hexemeral literature of his clip, every bit good as blending philosophical and scientific idea ( Platonism and Epicureanism ) . In fact, Dryden ‘s impression of both Epicurus and Lucretius helps piece the material existence from the lawless and “ discordant sea of pre-existence ” to an being where music ‘s definite order, through the “ melodious voice ” of our first instrumentalist and Godhead – God, stirs the Epicurean atoms ( the four elements of life and four elements of medieval physiology – earth/ “ cold, ” fire/ “ hot, ” water/ “ moist, ” and air/ “ dry ” ) to their disposed locations on an elevated musical graduated table ( Clifford Ames 619 ) . However, harmoniousness ‘s regulating authorization of order is non complete with merely its cosmic creative activity but instead in God ‘s ideal Concord, the “ octave meter, ” as John Hollander asserts, stopping points in the Creation of Man ( 153 ) :
From harmoniousness, from heav’nly harmoniousness
This cosmopolitan frame began ;
From harmoniousness to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason shuting full in adult male. ( 11-15 )