from: Busoni, Ferruccio, "Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music,"
G. Schirmer, Inc., ca. 1911, reprinted in Three Classics in The Aesthetic
of Music, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1962, pp93- 95]
there is no apparent reason for giving up the semitones for the sake of
this new system. By retaining, for each whole tone, a semitone, we obtain
a second series of whole tones lying a semitone higher than the original
series. Then, by dividing this second series of whole tones into third-tones,
each third- tone in the lower series will be matched by a semitone in
the higher series.
Thus we have really arrived at a system of whole tones divided into sixths
of a tone; and we may be sure that even sixth- tones will sometime be
adopted into musical speech. But the tonal system above sketched must
first of all train the hearing to thirds of a tone, without giving up
To summarize: We may set up either two series of third-tones, with an
interval of a semitone between the series; or, the usual semitonic series
thrice repeated at the interval of one-third of a tone.
Merely for the sake of distinction, let us call the first tone C, and
the next third-tones C# and Db; the first semitone (small) c, and its
following thirds c# and db; . . . .
preliminary expedient for notation might be, to draw six lines for the
staff, using the lines for the whole tones and the spaces for the semitones;
then indicating the third-tones by sharps and flats . . . .
question of notation seems to me subordinate. On the other hand, the question
is important and imperious, how and on what these tones are to be produced.
Fortunately, while busied with this essay, I received from America direct
and authentic intelligence which solves the problem in a simple manner.
I refer to an invention by Dr. Thaddeus Cahill. ["New Music for an
Old World," Dr. Thaddeus Cahill's Dynamophone, an extraordinary electrical
invention for producing scientifically perfect music. Article in McClure's
Magazine for July, 1906, by Ray Stannard Baker. . . .] He has constructed
a comprehensive apparatus which makes it possible to transform an electric
current into a fixed and mathematically exact number of vibrations. As
pitch depends on the number of vibrations, and the apparatus may be "set"
on any number desired, the infinite gradation of the octave may be accomplished
by merely moving a lever corresponding to the pointer of a quadrant.
Only a long and careful series of experiments, and a continued training
of the ear, can render this unfamiliar material approachable and plastic
for the coming generation, and for Art.
And what a vista of fair hopes and dreamlike fancies is thus opened for
them both! Who has not dreamt that he could float on air? and firmly believed
his dream to be reality?--Let us take thought, how music may be restored
to its primitive, natural essence; let us free it from architectonic,
acoustic and esthetic dogmas; let it be pure invention and sentiment,
in harmonies, in forms, in tone-colors (for invention and sentiment are
not the perogative of melody alone); let it follow the line of the rainbow
and vie with the clouds in breaking sunbeams; let Music be naught else
than Nature mirrored by and reflected from the human breast; for it is
sounding air and floats above and beyond the air; within Man himself as
universally and absolutely as in Creation entire; for it can gather together
and disperse without losing in intensity.