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THE PHONOGRAPHIC METHOD                        27
tense at minuter exactitude a tone sequence of any complexity from a single hearing. In particular, all direct study of musical forms unfa­miliar to the observer must proceed as it has proceeded, by a process of the correction of an original notation by repeated hearings of the music noted. This process does not result in a record of the facts of any one or any number of the performances tributary to it; but is a record of the observer's idea of what the performers of certain observed sequences of tone would have performed had their execution perfectly corresponded to their intention, or (perhaps) had their intention not wandered also from a certain norm. In a word, a notation made by ear from repeated hearings does not report observations, but presents a theory of observations.
The present notations have also been taken down from repeated per­formances ; and, moreover, from performances of a mechanism, and not of musicians. But this mechanism is an apparatus by which, as it is claimed, many musical performances can be given which shall not perceptibly differ, except perhaps in tone quality, either among them­selves or from an original performance having another source to which the instrument shall have been exposed. Admitting this claim, such performances are for the most important purposes of purely musical observation recurrences of their original, and records made from them are records of facts of observation which this has presented. Such notations as are given herewith might accordingly be described as the record of conclusions from many observations of one and the same set of facts. This set of facts being any sequence of audible event to which the instrument may have been exposed, the phonograph thus makes pos­sible a hitherto unheard-of thing, the detailed study of an individual performance of music. It opens a field of investigation, that of the actual events of which music consists, which has hitherto been accessi­ble to observation in only a very limited way, — while a performance lasts, and in so far as it can afterward be recalled in memory. The study of performance is created, it may be said, as a branch of the exacter investigation of the art of music, through the invention of the phonograph ; always provided that phonographic reproductions may be
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III