III. Of the Stringed Instruments. The Violin and the
Viola (or Tenor). The Violoncello. The Double Bass. The
Guitar. The Harp.
IV. Of the Wind Instruments. Means for facilitating
the practice and dietary rules for players on wind instru-
The Flageolet and the Czakan. The Flute. The
Oboe and the English Horn. The Clarionet and the Basset
Horn. The Bassoon and the Contra-Fagotto. The Horn.
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. IOQ
The Trumpet. The Trombone. The Serpent. General
dietary and medical rules for those who cultivate music. Of
the disturbances and injuries to the nervous system through
disadvantageous influences by the practice of music. Care
and treatment of particular diseased parts and structures.
Of the chest and the lungs. The especial attention and care
required by the organs of the voice. Of the diseases to
which the mouth is subjected. The Teeth. The Lips. Of
the Fingers. The Eyes and the Face. Prescriptions for
some of the medicaments alluded to in the preceding
The author is of opinion that the practice of music may
be in many ways injurious to bodily health. However, he
remarks, that since music is capable of expressing, emotions
which cannot be expressed by words or pictures, it relieves
the heart of anything which is oppressive and distressing,.
and thus through the mind generally acts beneficially
upon the body. He asserts that music has healed many a
sufferer whose life was embittered by the fetters of melan-
cholia, or the tortures of hypochondria. To persons suffering
from indigestion and its harassing effects, he recommends a
daily practice on some instrument which requires a rather
fatiguing exertion of the body; such as the organ, on which
hands and feet are occupied. His remarks on singing are
judicious ; but many of them would naturally suggest them-
selves to any thinking musician- No doubt, moderation in
eating and drinking is recommendable, and the singer has to
take care not to catch a cold ; but it may be useful to him to
be told by a medical man what kind of food is most con-
ducive to the preservation of his voice, and how he can best
protect himself against the injurious effects of sudden
changes from heat and cold, to which professional singers
are often exposed.
Pianoforte playing our medical adviser considers rather
hurtful to health. The exertion of the hands and arms, while
the position of the body remains nearly immovable, causes a
stronger flow of blood to the chest than is natural. The
pressure of the points of the fingers, where the nerves are
especially sensitive, is apt to be injurious- to- the nervous
110 MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
system. This is still more the case in practising on instru-
ments on which the strings are pressed down with the points
of the fingers, as for instance on the violin ; and also, though
in a less degree, on instruments the strings of which are
twanged with the fingers, as they are on the harp. The
practice, however, causes the skin at the finger-ends to
harden, and the touch becomes consequently less sensitive.
Decidedly hurtful to the nerves is the sensation produced
by the friction of the moistened fingers in playing the
glass-harmonica and similar instruments. Among the
wind instruments blown by being placed to the mouth,
those which require a sudden and prolonged retardation
of the breath, or a forcible compression of the air in
the lungs, are especially liable, by constant practice, to
prove injurious to health. The author has much to say
on this subject, and he particularly warns against too con-
tinuous playing on the oboe, trumpet, horn, trombone, and
serpent. As regards the clarionet, its practice, he says, is
likely to be injurious on account of the quantity of air which
it requires. The player is often compelled to take a deeper
inspiration than is natural, and constantly to pay regard to
being provided with a supply of air compressed in his lungs.
Furthermore, considering that musical performances very
frequently take place in artificial light, the eye-sight of the
musician is apt to be disadvantageously affected. In this
respect also the playing on some instruments is more in-
jurious than on others. The Double Bass player, for
instance, is compelled, from the size of his instrument, to
have the musical notation placed at a greater distance before
him than is naturally convenient for his sight, which renders
it necessary for him to exert his eyes in an extraordinary
degree. Thus much from Sundelin's ' Medical Adviser,' to
which the following remarks may be added.
The musical instruments used by our forefathers, two or
three centuries ago, were softer and more soothing in quality
of sound than our present ones ; at any rate, this was the
case with the stringed instruments, and the wind instru-
ments of the flute kind. Certain wind instruments of the
trumpet kind had a very harsh sound ; but these were
MUSIC AND MEDICINE. Ill
intended especially to be played in the open air. Of the
stringed instruments principally favoured in family circles
such as the lute, cither, clavichord, virginal, harpsichord,
etc., almost all possessed a less exciting quality of sound
than our present substitutes for them. The same was
the case with the music composed for the instruments ; it
did not possess the passionate modulations which charac-
terize much of our music of the present day. It was,
therefore, evidently more conducive to social comfort, and
consequently to health, than is our modern music, notwith-
standing the progress which has been made in the cultivation
of the art. Martin Luther said to an old hypochondriac
schoolmaster who complained to him of his miserable
feelings : " Take to the Clavichord !" Everyone acquainted
with the character of the clavichord will probably admit
that Luther's advice was judicious. The soft and unpre-
tending sound of the clavichord is so expressive that the
instrument may be said to respond to the sufferer as a
sympathizing friend ; while its successor, the loud and
brilliant pianoforte, is apt to convey the impression of being
cold and heartless, unless it is touched by a master-hand.
Thus also the " trembling lute," and some other antiquated
instruments appear to be remarkably suitable for consoling
and calming the anxious heart.
The glass-harmonica is evidently hurtful to the health of
the performer. We have seen that Sundelin attributes its
injurious effect to the friction of the fingers upon the bowls,
which revolve on a spindle. But it is a well -ascertained
fact that the fascinating sound of this instrument exercises
a distressing influence also upon persons who do not play it,
but who often listen to it. Likewise, certain wind instru-
ments of a so-called reedy quality of sound, as, for instance,
the harmonium, are probably injurious rather than beneficial
to the health of the players. Sounds of this nature are
generally very pleasant when heard for a short time, but
soon become harassing. They might be compared with
confectionery, a little of which may be very palatable and
innocuous, but which if made a meal of would probably
113 MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
The effect of music upon animals is a subject for investi-
gation so closely connected with an inquiry into the
influence of music upon the human body, that some notice
of it must not be omitted here. The investigation requires
far more discernment than would appear at a first glance.
Many of the anecdotes recorded respecting the effect of
music upon animals are not properly authenticated ;
or rather, they are misrepresentations of facts not clearly
understood by the observers. Nor is it surprising that this
should be the case, considering how difficult it is to appre-
ciate rightly the mental capacities even of our domestic
animals, which we have constant opportunity of watching.
Nothing is more common, even with intelligent observers,
than to attribute to a dog certain motives for certain actions,
which may possibly be the real motives, but which may also
only appear to be the real ones. Acute and thoroughly
unbiassed investigators, such as was for instance Gilbert
White of Selborne, about a hundred years ago, are rare.
At all events, many of the anecdotes given in works on
Natural History, as illustrating the power of music upon
animals, have evidently been copied by one author from
another without any one of them having taken the trouble
to ascertain by careful observation whether they are well
founded. With quadrupeds it is probably generally more
the rhythmical effect of the music than the tones which
pleases them ; while birds appear to be pleased by the tones
rather than by the rhythm. All this requires more exact
investigation than it has hitherto received; and surely it
deserves the consideration of a Darwin.
In conclusion, attention may be drawn to a curious fact
which is perhaps more interesting to musical antiquarians
than to medical men. It is well known that the barbers in
England, about three centuries ago, generally had some
musical instruments in their shops for the amusement of
their customers. In Germany it is still not unusual to meet
with a musical barber. In former times the barbers were
also surgeons and physicians to some extent. It would be
MUSIC AND MEDICINE.
interesting to trace the origin of their habit of cultivating
the art of music. It is probably of high antiquity. May it
not date from a remote period in which the physicians of
European nations resorted to music and incantations like
the medicine-men of uncivilized tribes of whom an account
has been given in the beginning of this essay ?
POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL
THE intelligent reader need hardly be reminded that an
insight into the peculiar notions respecting the beauty and
power of music current among different nations may be of
valuable assistance in the study of national music, inasmuch
as it tends to throw light upon questions which appear
obscure and inexplicable.
The following popular stories, like those which have
previously been given in this work, are told exactly as they
are heard from the mouth of the people. It is necessary
that this should be mentioned by way of introduction
to the stories, because the degree of interest which they
may possess depends almost entirely upon the faithfulness
with which they are recorded. For the same reason it
must be stated that, although additions have been carefully
avoided, it is otherwise with omissions, since it appeared
desirable to abridge several of the stories by excluding pas-
sages which do not touch upon the subject of music. Should
the reader find among the stories an old acquaintance with a
somewhat different face than is familiar to him, he will, it is
hoped, bear in mind that, just as there are varieties of a
popular tune to be found in different districts of a country,
so there are also different readings of a popular tale. Even
the degree of education attained by the narrator, his personal
character, and his peculiar views, will tend in some measure
to modify the features of a story, although nothing extraneous
may have been admitted into the incidents recorded.
POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS.
THE ROYAL MUSIC -MASTER.
The modern Greeks have a long story, said to have been
derived from Asia Minor, the substance of which is as
A mighty king in a distant land had a son who was an
excellent flute player, but a bashful youth, and a woman-
hater. The king, considering it all-important that his
dynasty should be preserved, sends the young prince in a
ship to a foreign court, to find, if possible, among the
princesses a wife to his liking. The ship is wrecked, and all
on board are drowned except the prince, who is thrown by
the waves upon the shore of a beautiful island. Having
dried himself, he meets a poor fisherman, with whom he
changes clothes. Hiding his luxuriant hair under a bladder-
cap, he sets out to the residence of the king of the island,
into whose service he is taken by the master of the horse as
a stable-boy. His chief occupation now is to fetch water for
the horses from a spring in the garden of the palace. In the
evening, when he is alone in the garden, he plays upon his
llute so enchantingly that even the nightingales become
silent in admiration. The King's daughter hears him, comes
down into the garden, and, with the consent of her father,
makes him her music-master. When he perceives that she
really loves him, he loves her too, discloses to her that he is
a King's son, and soon makes her his queen in his own
THE HANDSOME MINSTREL.
The following story is told in Germany :
A handsome minstrel plays under a window of the King's
palace upon a golden instrument. His music is so alluring
that the King, yielding to the entreaties of his daughter,
* ' Griechische und Albanische Marcher, gesammelt von J. G. v.
Hahn.' Leipzig, 1864; Vol. I., p. 273.
Il6 POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS.
invites the handsome minstrel to come up to him in his
palace. The King's daughter soon learns to play on the
instrument, and longs to possess a similar one. All the
goldsmiths of the kingdom are applied to ; but not one of
them is able to construct such an artistic work. Thereupon
the King's daughter becomes greatly dejected ; and when
the handsome minstrel learns the cause of her sadness he
tells her that if she will marry him she shall have the golden
instrument. But she rejects the offer with scorn.
Some days afterwards the handsome minstrel appears
again under the window, playing on an instrument still more
precious, and producing sounds most ravishing. The King's
daughter is enchanted beyond measure ; but the goldsmiths
of the kingdom are still less capable of constructing such a
wonderful work of art.
Then the handsome minstrel offers to give her both
instruments if she will marry him. She cannot resist, and
says, " Yes !" After the celebration of the wedding the
handsome minstrel conducts his bride to his house, deep in
the forest. The house is so small and poor, that the King's
daughter, when she sees it, is overwhelmed with pride and
remorse, and faints away. When she recovers she finds
herself lying on a magnificent bed, and the handsome
minstrel is a King.
THE DAISY LADY.
Among the Fairy Tales of the Hindus we meet with a
story entitled ' Brave Seventee Bai,' which seems to contain
the original key-note of the German ' Trusty Ferdinand.' *
Seventee Bai (i.e. " The Daisy Lady ") is the daughter of a
Rajah. Bent upon roving about in the world, she assumes
the dress and manners of a youth. Her rambles lead her
into the garden of a beautiful enchantress whose name is
Hera Bai (i.e. " The Diamond's Daughter.") This beautiful
enchantress is described as being a child of the Great Cobra,
* See above, Vol. I.,, p. 84.
POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS. 117
a serpent which plays an important part in many of the
Hindu traditions. Here are to be found some striking
coincidences between the superstitions respecting serpents
popular among the country people in Germany and in
Well, Hera Bai, the beautiful enchantress, falls in love
with Seventee Bai, who successfully maintains her disguise
as a youth, but who cannot be prevailed upon to remain in the
garden, averring that an important mission must be accom-
plished before the marriage takes place. The enchantress,
finding persuasion unavailing, gives Seventee Bai a small
golden flute. " Take this flute," she says; " whenever you
wish to see me, or are in need of my aid, go into the jungle
and play upon it, and before the sound ceases I will be
there ; but do not play it in the towns, nor yet amid a
crowd." Seventee Bai puts the golden flute into the folds
of her dress and proceeds on her wanderings. Sometime
afterwards, when she is in need of assistance, she goes into
the jungle, draws out of her dress the golden flute and plays.
The beautiful enchantress appears, swinging in a silver tree,
just as she appeared in the garden.
Again, on another occasion the beautiful lady imme-
diately comes at the sound of the flute, inquiring, "Husband,
what can I do for you ?"*
In the Scandinavian Fairy Tales, collected by Asbjornsen
and Moe, we have a story entitled ' East o' the Sun and
West o' the Moon/ in which a young country lass is taken
into the cave of a shaggy White Bear, who afterwards turns
out to be a lovely prince. When the White Bear has carried
the lass to his home, which gleams with silver and gold, he
gives her a silver bell and politely tells her that whenever
she wants anything she has only to ring the bell, and her
wishes shall be at once fulfilled. t
* 'Old Deccan Days; or Hindu Fairy Legends, current in Southern
India, collected from oral tradition by M. Frere., London, 1868;
) ' Popular Tales from the Norse, translated by G. W. Dasent.'
Edinburgh, 1859 ; p. 27.
Il8 POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS.
How effectively the magic flute and magic bells have
been introduced into Mozart's opera ' II Flauto Magico ' is
well known to lovers of good music, or, which is the same,
to admirers of Mozart.
THE INVISIBLE FLUTE-PLAYER.
A strange story is told by the peasants in Holstein of an
invisible flute-player, who is said to have haunted, about fifty
years ago, a farm-house situated near the river Elbe. Some
of the children of the farmer who owned the house are still
The mysterious affair commenced in a cabbage garden
behind the house. There the people often heard flute-play-
ing, but no one could make out whence it came. Gradually
the invisible flutist intruded into the house. More and more
frequently he came, until at last he took up his abode in the
house altogether. Sometimes he played his flute in the
sitting-room ; sometimes in one of the bedrooms ; at other
times in the cellar, or in the garret. Occasionally also he
paid a visit to a neighbouring house. The people on the
farm became quite used to him ; and when the children, or
the servant lads and lasses, were disposed to enjoy a little
dancing, they would just name a certain tune, or sing a bar
or two of it, and ask him to play it ; and directly they heard
the desired tune. When the milkmaid was occupied in the
dairy, she sometimes took an apple in her hand, for fun, and
said : " Now, my boy, play me a nice air, and thou shalt
have an apple ! " In a moment the apple vanished out of her
hand, and the music commenced.
In the course of time, however, the invisible flutist
became very intrusive, and at last he proved quite a nuis-
ance. One night he would amuse himself by breaking all
the windows in the house; another night he had his gambols
in the kitchen, turning everything topsy-turvy ; and at mid-
day, when the family had sat down to dinner, it sometimes
happened that the large dish of stew before them, from
which all were eating, was emptied in an instant by invisible
POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS.
hands. They would then jump up and run about the room,
beating the air with their spoons. When they thought they
had at last driven the fellow into a corner of the room,
suddenly they heard him spitefully playing his flute in
In short, the annoyance became quite unbearable. There
was no peace in the house. The farmer everywhere ex-
pressed the wish that he could find somebody who had the
power to expel the invisible flute-player; he did not mind
the expense. At last there came a clever man from the
neighbouring town, who offered to settle the matter ; he only
wanted to know beforehand whether he should show and
banish the flutist in his real figure, or in the figure of a
The farmer said : " I would rather not see him at all !
Here are ten Thalers ; all I want is to get rid of him, and to
have peace in my own house."
By means of queer rhymes, and smoke, the clever man
from town actually succeeded in driving out the troublesome
guest, and no mysterious flute-playing has been heard since
on the farm.*
THE BANISHED MUSICIAN.
At the bottom of the lake called "Das Langholter Meer,"
in the vicinity of the river Weser, south of Bremen, lives,
according to popular tradition, a skilful musician who was
banished there by a Pastor; but, the reason why he was
banished to this place, and indeed, why he was banished
at all, is not exactly known.
One day, in the winter, when the lake was all frozen
over, two young lads happened to be keeping sheep in the
neighbourhood ; and when they saw the smooth ice, the
tallest said to the other : " Come, let us not stand shivering
here ; let us go on the lake, and the musician shall play
* ' Sagen,Marchen und Liederder Herzogthiimer Schleswig, Holstein
und Lauenburg,' von Karl Miillenhoff ; Kiel, 1845 ; p. 336.
120 POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS.
Having said this, he went to the ice ; his companion
followed him, and they amused themselves for a while with
sliding. It then occurred to them again that there was a
musician at the bottom of the lake, and they called out in
high glee : " If thou art still there below, old fellow, just
strike up a tune, and we will dance to it."
But, how terrified they were when suddenly there arose
from the bottom of the lake music such as they never had
heard in all their life. It was the most ravishing music in
the world ! Of course, they thought no longer of dancing,
but left the lake as quickly as they could slide.*
According to a tradition current in Northern Germany,
especially near Holland, the Walriderske is a kind of a
witch. Assuming the figure of some rough-haired animal,
she visits the sleeper in the night, and presses herself upon
his chest so as to prevent his moving any part of his body,
scarcely permitting him to breathe. She creeps up to
the sleeper from below, gradually crawling over his whole
body. First he feels a pressure on his feet ; then on his
stomach ; and at last on his chest. Meanwhile the tortured
victim is unable to move even a finger. All he can do is to
sigh and groan in almost intolerable anguish.
The apparition sometimes resembles a poodle, sometimes
a cat, and at other times a strange-looking unknown beast
particularly repulsive. Its colour is most commonly black ;
there are, however, also brown, and even white ones. Not
unfrequently the sleeper feels the pressure without seeing
the figure. In short, this unwelcome visitor is as bad as the
worst nightmare, if not worse.
But, occasionally the Walriderske appears in the shape
of a beautiful girl, and sings more charmingly than can be
described. Indeed, from the oldest traditions still extant
* ' Aberglaube und Sagen aus dem Herzogthum Oldenburg, heraus-
gegeben von Strackerjan ;' Oldenburg, 1867 ; Vol. I., p. 190.
POPULAR STORIES WITH MUSICAL TRADITIONS. 121
may be gathered that the Walriderskes ought to be regarded
as superhuman beings ; for, although they occasionally
appear in human shape, and are in many ways like human
beings, they live subject to other laws, and are endued with
powers other than ours. It admits of no doubt that in the
traditions respecting them much is to be found which has
been derived from the pagan mythology of our ancestors
relating to the Walkiiren, who rode or sailed in the clouds.
The Walriderskes are frequently described as floating
through the air and singing most sweetly. In Ostfriesland,
England is the home assigned to these charming singers.
They come from far over the sea to seek their sacrifice.
Their boat is a sieve, such as the peasants in Ostfriesland
use for straining milk, and which is called Tdhmse. Their
oars are human shoulder-blades.
A peasant of Barssel once, while on a moonlight night
he was mowing his corn, towards midnight, became tired
and threw himself down under a sheaf to sleep. He had not
lain long when he heard at a distance a melodious song,
which gradually came nearer and nearer until it was above
the field where he lay. He looked up and saw sailing in the
air a Walriderske who had come over from England. She
descended, hid her Tdhmse and oars under a sheaf, and went
away in the direction towards BarsseL The peasant lost no
time in appropriating to himself the things which the Wal-
riderske had hidden. Towards morning she returned; and
when she missed her Tdhmse and oars, she began to sing so
dolefully that the peasant felt sorry for her, and gave her
back the things.
In the following night, when curiosity led him to go
again to the place where this had happened, he found there,
to his surprise, a large piece of the finest linen, evidently a