26 DECEMBER 1914, Page 16


[To TER EDITOR OP Ths "ErioTArom.-1 SIR,—Yon have prominently urged the emotional influences of the pomp and ceremony of war as an aid to recruiting. May I point out that the psychology of music has been very indifferently appreciated hitherto in the campaign for recruits? The Central Recruiting Office and the Department which controls it should long before this have been parading the by- streets of every large town with military music, processions, and pageants, as has been suggested and carried out in suit- able places by the Sheriff of Surrey. It is a fact that in these side-streets there are still scores of young and able- bodied men waiting to respond to the call to arms, but who only need the proper amount of emotional stirring to join the ranks.

In music, which is an art based upon a rhythmic succession of sounds, there is a direct stimulus of the most intellectual as well as emotional potency. The mechanism of life may also be described as a rhythmic succession of responsive reactions. All the vital functions are carried out in a periodic activity followed by rest; the heart's work, respiration, digestion, and assimilation are all a combined and complex mechanism of periodic action and reaction. Anabolism, or the building up of cells, is followed by katabolism, or their reduction through activity. The physiology and psychology of the neurons of the central nervous system follow precisely the same scheme of action and reaction; and music, being a form of recurring stimulus, has, by its action upon them, a special power to reach every pulsation of feeling, to suggest intellectual delight, and to enlarge the emotional life. Unem- barrassed by metaphysical speculations, music may be said to stir up deep currents of emotion, to awaken ideas of the tragic, and to exercise a mysterious spell upon the mind. Everybody knows from experience—allowance being made (as foreshadowed by Sir Bampfylde Fuller in the Times of Novem- ber 11th) for individual and subjective differences—the peculiar delight and power of musical effects, which range from the tender whisper of joy and sorrow to the passionate flood of fury and rage; witness, for example, the effects upon individuals- and crowds of different nationalities of the " Marseillaise," " Brahanconne," " Carmagnole," and of "John Brown."

It is not only words sung that excite emotion, but the mode of union of melodic and harmonic forms. The martial stirring and splendour of "The Men of Harlech," of "Rule, Britannia," of the "March of the Cameron Men," or the

"Soldiers' Chorns" from Faust are unattainable through words alone; although the clear apprehension of words sung may and does help to intensify the sentiment of martial music. "The Last Rose of Summer" and "Kathleen llavourneen" are examples of vocal stimuli, as moving to the Irish as are "Robin Adair" and "Auld Lang Syne" to the Scot, or " Hen Wlad fy Nhadau " and "Home, Sweet Home," to the Welsh or English. The power of the " halls" in former years to stir -up patriotic sentiment by vocal music—" We don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, if we do," &c.—earned for them the dis- tinction of being the best recruiting agencies as well as safe repositories for Imperial and loyal convictions.

The influence of music over the roughest and even the most desperate characters in our streets is fully recognized by religious and social agencies such as the Salvation Army and the Church Army, which provide harmonies for the most diverse as well as for the deepest emotional cravings of the human heart. No appeal of the Church militant is so powerful an invitation to raise the Christian flag as is "Onward, Christian Soldiers," to refresh the stricken and weary as is the "Pil- grims of the Night," to rally round a great objective as is the hymn " Jerusalem the Golden," or to bless the happy day as is the chorus "Hail, Thou Ever Blessed Morn." The revivals of Sankey and Moody and of Torrey and Alexander testified fully to the immense value of melodious music.

Further, it may be pointed out that an appeal by the aid of music is made through the most intellectual as well as the most highly evolutionized and the most important of the senses—viz., the sense of hearing, which is more informing and more educative than any of the other senses of man. It is through this sense that speech has become possible, and it is through the sense of hearing that all the accumu- lated traditions of the past have become available for present use and future progress.

Those whose vocation is the care of the mind realize how much they owe to the therapeutic agency of music in the restoration of diseased mental states ; how by its rhythmical force, power, melodic phases, and harmonic character, hope and courage may be raised, despondency thwarted, and healthy mental action stimulated and maintained. It is imperative to repeat public appeals for the use of music as a necessary supplement in the urgent call for "more men, and yet more men."—I am, Sir, &c., Claybury. ROBERT ARMSTRONG-JONES, M.D.