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The Authoritative Work On American Music
by [?]

Let us turn to the somewhat more extensive biography of W. T. Mullin on Page 4 (his photograph faces this page). Almost in the first line the author rewards our attention: “To him may be applied the simplest and grandest eulogy Shakespeare ever pronounced: ‘He was a man.'” We are also informed that he was born of a cultured family, that his inherited nobility of character has been carefully fostered by a thorough education, and told that one finds in him the unusual combination of genius wedded to sound common sense and practical business capacity. His family moved to Colorado, Texas, while he was still a lad and here his musical talent began to display itself. “The inventive faculties of the small boy, and the innate harmony of the musician, combined to improvise a crude instrument which emitted the notes of the scale. Successful at drawing forth a concord of sweet sounds, he continued to experiment upon everything which would emit musical vibrations. (Even the pigs, I take it, did not escape.) He consequently discovered the laws of vibrating chords before he had mastered the intricacies of the multiplication table. Yet strange as it may seem, his musical education was neglected. A four months’ course in piano instruction was interrupted and then resumed for two months more. Upon this meagre foundation rested his subsequent phenomenal progress.” I pause to point out to the astonished and breathless reader that even Mozart and Schubert, infant prodigies that they were, received more training than this.

I continue to quote: “At the age of thirteen he joined The Colorado (Texas) Cornet Band as a charter member. The youngest member of the band, he soon outstripped his comrades by virtue of his superior natural ability. His position was that of second tenor. Wearying of the monotony of playing, he determined to venture on solo work. The boy felt the impetus of restless power and the following incident illustrates his remarkable originality. Taking the piano score of a favourite melody he transposed it within the compass of the second tenor. This feat evoked admiring applause because of his extreme youth and untrained abilities. The band-master remarked that elderly and experienced heads could hardly have accomplished this.

“From boyhood to manhood he has remained with the Colorado (Texas) band as one of its most efficient members, composing in his leisure moments, marches, ragtimes, waltzes, song and dance schottisches, etc. Of his many meritorious compositions only one has so far been given to the public:– The West Texas Fair March, composed for and dedicated to the management of the West Texas Fair and Round-up. This institution holds its annual meetings at Abilene, Texas. There the march was played for the first time at their October, 1899, meet with great success, and again at their September, 1900, meet by the Stockman band of Colorado, Texas, which has furnished music for the West Texas Fair during their 1899 and 1900 meetings. Mr. Mullin’s position in the Stockman band is that of euphonium soloist. He is a proficient performer upon all band instruments from cornet to tuba, including slide trombone, his favourites being the baritone and the trombone.

“He plays many stringed instruments, as well as the piano and organ. He is the proud possessor of a genuine Stradivarius violin–a family heirloom–which he naturally prizes beyond the intrinsic value. The feat of playing on several instruments at once presents no difficulty to him.

“This briefly sketches Mr. Mullin’s life, character and ability as a musician. His accompanying photograph reveals his superb physique. Personally he possesses charming, agreeable manners and Chesterfieldan courteousness, which vastly contributes to his popularity. Sincere devotion to his art has been rewarded by that elevating nobility of soul, which alone can penetrate the blue expanse of space and revel in the music of the spheres.”

What more is there to say? I can only assure the reader that Mullin stands unique among all musicians, creative and interpretative, in being able to play the organ, many stringed instruments, and all the instruments in a brass band (several of them simultaneously; it would be interesting to know which and how) after studying the piano for six months. I sincerely hope that the mistake he made in withholding all his compositions, save one, from the public, has been rectified.