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122 National Music of the World.
that, provided the tune has a certain piquancy, let it be ' common as a barber's chair'—to quote the author of 'Philip von Artevelde'—so that it only has a burden, no matter with what jargon, to which people can march, or make a noise in time, it is satisfying and delightful.
The pungency which the vocalist can sting into his words, the crispness of rhythm, are of greater consequence than beauty of voice or originality of melody.
I need only touch very slightly upon the admirable piquancy of the Comic Opera music of France, because the fact is as well confessed as was the supremacy of their cookery in the days before that great and serious art began to wane; and because I wish to dwell on the section of French tunes to which my characteristics apply in their faintest manifestation : I mean certain modern frank ditties of wine and war, of political satire or popular tumult.
Here, however, though the frankness is largely to be noted, the words are allowed to get the better of the music, and to impose on it certain peculiarities of rhythm.
I could fill a chapter, and perhaps not without bringing out some forgotten points, were I to attempt to enter on the times which spited Madame du Barn