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Music from the North.                   135
magnificent compositions, with his crude orchestra, in his two Dead Marches—those, I mean, from ' Saul' and 'Samson.' The first of these is in C major (which used to be called the 'wanton key'), and the second is in D major. I cannot fancy the simple and noble pathos of these exceeded.
I may draw another illustration from such works of greater length as operas, where many keys are used in succession and alternation. Now hearing, as we have done so much of late, that the diapason during the past century has been raised half a tone, it would follow, that had keys much in­trinsic value beyond that of the player's or singer's convenience, bright must have become dark, and vice versa.
In all these preferences, I repeat, personality is mixed up largely. I remember hearing six ingenious musicians laving their heads together to agree that no grave music had been ever written in the key of G major. The pleasant flow of their concord was interrupted by a seventh speaker, who quietly cited 1 See the Conquering Hero comes,' and the chorus from the 'Messiah,' 'For unto us a Child is born,' not to speak of Haydn's 'God preserve the Em­peror '

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III