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pecially concerning the derivatives, the prefixes, and affixes, and the government of nouns and verbs, than in most of the other Italian grammars put together.
We will transcribe here, as a philological curiosity, illustrative of the great etymological affinity between Italian and Latin, the following lines, quoted by Gamba, and addressed to Venice by a citizen of that republic before its fall, and which read equally in both languages. It is of course a constrained composition, and serves merely to show the possibility of the thing:
Te saluto, alma Dea, Dea generosa,
O gloria nostra, o Veneta Regina !
Tu benigna ; tu salva, ama, conserva. There is also the following well-known invocation to the Virgin Mary, the lines of which, besides the words being in both languages, retain the poetical measure in both:
In mare irato, in subita procella,
Invoco te, nostra benigna Stella. The English scholar will find out in studying Italian, that the syntax of the latter approaches that of the English more than the French does, and that many Italian works can be better translated into English than into French, and vice versa, from the English into Italian. Professor Rossetti, of the King's College, justly observes, that between the French and the Italian there is a mere etymological affinity; while between the Italian and the English there is the more inportant analogy, that of construction ; and that while the French student can easily understand the meaning of most Italian words, the English will, with greater facility, seize the meaning of Italian sentences and periods. There is also a greater sympathy between the literature of the two latter countries ; both have distinct languages for prose and for poetry; the same roundness of periods prevails in both ; both are capable of a great variety of phraseology, and the English comes much nearer to the Italian than the French in its susceptibility of inversion. We would therefore advise English pupils to study Italian by means of their own language in preference to adopting the medium of the French, which, in many cases, will prove to them a hinderance rather than a help.
ON LEARNING SINGING.
BY MR. BARWELL.
(From the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. XVIII.)
SINGING is an aequirement which perhaps gives more general pleasure than any other accomplishment, since it affords gratification even to those who are ignorant of the art, and does not, like instrumental music, require a practical audience in order to be appreciated, nor, like painting, a particular education in order to perceive its beauties. The love of sweet sounds seems a part of our nature; and these, when connected with poetry, address themselves to the understanding and to the sensibility, as well as to the ear.
Musie, and vocal musie especially, forms a valuable addition to domestie enjoyments, and as a female accomplishment deserves cultivation upon this ground, as well as upon the principle that women should possess as many rational resources as possible both for their own happiness and that of those who look to them for solace and amusement. While we urge the expediency, and in some sort the necessity, of acquiring the art of singing, we must allow, that it already often engrosses a large portion of female education, to the exclusion of many more important attainments; and we regret to add, that, after much application of time and labour, the result is frequently either entire failure, or at least partial disappointment--for which we account in the following manner.
Singing is properly regarded as a part of female education; yet the necessary organic formation is not generally considered in the outset, neither is the end proposed precisely ascertained, nor the best means of attaining it determined. Parents wish their children to be musicians, and yet it often happens that they are themselves entirely ignorant of the real meaning of the term, and unable to decide what constitutes excellence in the art, or how that excellence may be obtained. On the other hand, many persons of uncultivated ears and indifferent education imagine that singing is a gift of nature, and requires no training; but this is a mistake. In the art of speaking, defects are to be overcome, and particular kinds of excellence acquired by a proper training : so is it with singing; both arts alike require discipline.
It has been often said, that nothing is worth learning that is not worth learning well. This maxim applies to music equally with other things; and for this reason we would endeavour to show how an acquirement which contributes so largely to individual and general happiness may be best attained, and with the least expenditure of time. We shall here contine ourselves to singing, the highest branch of the art, which more completely calls into exercise the sensibilities of the performer than any other branch of music. We do not propose to treat of professional education, and we are also speaking of female instruction only, though most of our remarks are generally applicable.
We presume that the pupil has some knowledge of music; that she plays the piano-forte as well as is usually judged necessary to accompany herself, and understands musical terms. It is first necessary to ascertain whether the voice and the ear promise any results, and when parents are not themselves qualified to
determine this point, they must consult disinterested and competent judges. The cultivation of a feeble voice requires time and labour on the part of the pupil, and probably the result will be only mediocrity.
In determining the natural capabilities, there are two points to be examined, first, whether there is any power of imitation, since it is evident that all singing must be resolved into an imitation by the voice of sounds heard by the ear. If the pupil is totally incapable of repeating the sounds of an instrument, or another voice, all attempts to learn singing are hopeless.
Secondly, presuming the imitation to be made, it must be next ascertained whether the notes be strictly in tune, and if they be not, whether the imperfection arise from a density of hearing, or from weakness in the voice itself; and also (which a few trials will decide) whether the natural defect in formation is likely to be overcome by practice. It must however be borne in mind, that the few natural notes in the human voice are those used in speaking, and that the high and low tones have mostly to be made. The capabilities for acquiring these are of course greater in some than in others.
If these points be determined unfavourably, we conclude that no rational person would contend against nature in a matter which does not concern the moral welfare of the pupil; and that, where organic capability does not exist, the attempt to learn will not be made.
Those who do not possess the qualities which are essential to a singer have other sources of gratification, which, when judiciously cultivated, will be productive of equal pleasure. We would therefore earnestly recommend persons who are not so gifted to waste no time on a pursuit the failure in which will inevitably