If the book shall only succeed in arousing in some minds an interest or a curiosity that shall set them to the study of American music (as I have studied it, with infinite pleasure), then this fine white paper and this beautiful black ink will not have been wasted.
The youthfulness of our school of music can be emphasized further by a simple statement that, with the exception of a few names like Lowell Mason, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Stephen A. Emery (a graceful writer as well as a theorist), and George F. Bristow, practically every American composer of even the faintest importance is now living.
The influences that finally made American music are chiefly German. Almost all of our composers have studied in Germany, or from teachers trained there; very few of them turning aside to Paris, and almost none to Italy. The prominent teachers, too, that have come from abroad have been trained in the German school, whatever their nationality. The growth of a national school has been necessarily slow, therefore, for its necessary and complete submission to German influences.
It has been further delayed by the meagre native encouragement to effort of the better sort. The populace has been largely indifferent,--the inertia of all large bodies would explain