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In presenting this book to the amateur song writers and composers of America the aim has been to treat the various subjects and chapters in a form that is comprehensible and easily understood by all. Technical and foreign terms have been avoided as far as possible, and wherever it has been necessary to make use of them an explanation in plain English follows.
It must also be clearly understood that there is no intention of conveying the impression that in this short treatise on the subject of popular song-writing will be found any secret formula for the creation of talent and genius in this particular line of work. Talent and genius, often latent in some persons, are never acquired. They are the gifts of Nature, and unless she has bestowed them in greater or less degree upon the individual, the purpose of this book in seeking to open the way and make the path clear, will avail nothing. The remarks, rules and suggestions offered herein are the fruits of many years of practical experience, and are those which have been closely observed by all the great song writers and composers.
The word "popular," as used in this treatise in reference to songs, has been employed to expressly designate the various classes of songs which are written, published and sung, whistled and hummed by the great American "unmusical" public, as distinguished from the more highly cultivated musical class which often decries and scoffs at the tantalizing and ear-haunting melodies that are heard from ocean to ocean in every shape and form. Argument in favor of their merit is undoubtedly proven beyond question by their enormous sale; and many a sad and weary heart has been made glad In the strains of these "popular" song*.