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THE NATIONAL MUSIC OF SCOTLAND.

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THE NATIONAL MUSIC OF SCOTLAND. The Scottish nation has in every age been famed for its poetry and music. The poems of Ossian, written at a period when Scotland had hardly assumed the garb of civilisation, bear testimony to the con- spicuous part she has played in the cultivation of the muse, and her poets, more than those of any other country, embody in their works the leading cha- racteristics of their nationality. In her music, Scot- land fills a no less honoured place than in her poetry. Of the precise state of national music in Scotland, history affords no information prior to the fifteenth century. The artless simplicity and emotional feel- ing which characterise several of the older airs would lead to the conclusion that they must have been the product of a very remote age before any musical instrument was introduced beyond that of the shepherd's pipe, with its plain diatonic scale of full tones, and before the application of any rules of com- position such as now prevail. It has been conjectured by some writers that several of the Scottish airs were composed by James 1. of Scotland, though there is no positive evidence to lead to such a conclusion. It has been frequently asserted that the Scotch owe many of their melodies to Rizzio but we think a little inquiry will show that this is nothing more than a vulgar conjecture. Rizzio was by birth an Italian, and is said to have received his education in France. He came to Scotland as a lutenist to the court, and remained only three years. For more than a century and a half after his death there is no hint that Rizzio ever composed any music in any style. Granting that Rizzio was a first-rate musician—of which there is no historical evidence—it is extremely improbable that any one single Scottish air was invented or composed by the unfortunate Rizzio. In examining the melodies of Scot- land we are struck by the almost com- plete absence of semitones, and the general elimination from the scale of two of its notes. These peculiarities are not to be looked upon as the result of ignorance or barbarity, but are conformable to the principles of composition which prevailed in Scotland in the re- mote period at which these airs were produced. The common majorscale, as now used, was unknown in Scotland until a; comparatively recent date. The difficulty of producing the fourth of the scale in proper tune and of fingering the seventh in quick passages was admitted and it is not improbable that this may have acted as a deterrent against the use of these notes in the construction of the popular airs. It is evident at least that the limited scale of the national instrument, had considerable effect in deter- mining the style of music in general use.-CaBscll's Family Magazine.

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