Young and Matured Henry Cowell with his music note.
 
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Henry Cowell: Mind over Music

often ragged and always ill-fitting; his hair hid his ears and straggled down to his shoulders; his face and shoulders twitched occasionally with choreic spasms.

Everybody considered Henry queer, not to say freakish. If employed to weed a lawn he was likely to forget what he was doing while trying to compose and whistle a tune. His janitor work was hardly more successful. Henry had shown promising ability with the violin at the age of five years, but his chorea had put an end to his musical practice. Neither violin nor piano was touched again until he was about 15 years of age. His musical talent, however, survived all the vicissitudes of poverty and illness.

At this point Term an tells about the gradual upturn in Cowell's situation: virtual disappearance of chorea symptoms; acquisition of a $60 second-hand upright piano; introduction to Charles Seeger (then head of the music department at the Univer- sity of California, Berkeley) and other musicians who helped him in several ways; a brief first visit to New York in 1916-17; increasing praise from musicians who came to know him. Then Terman repeats his comments on Henry's precocious knowledge of California flora and his bent for botanical science, which Henry might have made his life work had lack of formal education not kept him out of univer- sities. He summarizes:

One of the most noticeable things about Henry has always been his independence of judgment. His opinions on all kinds of matters are quite pronounced, and he expresses them without regard for other people's feelings. By many acquaintances he is considered rude and ill-mannered. This does him injustice; he is merely naively honest, due both to his temperament and to the influence of his early training.

It remains to be seen whether Henry will become one of the famous musical composers of his day. Several musical critics of note hope for this outcome. If he attains fame as a musician, his biographer is almost certain to describe his musical genius as natural and inevitable, and to ignore the scientist that he might have been.

It is curious that Terman seems to view music and science as two poles a world apart, anticipating Lord Snow's famous "two cultures" of 1959. The psychologist Howard Gardner, in his recent Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (New York: Basic Books, 1983), joins those who have expressed dissatisfaction with the "humanities vs. science" dichotomy and who question the value of the IQ system except when dealing with a relatively homogeneous group of subjects. Gardner posits seven "relatively autonomous human intellectual competences" and discusses the likenesses and differences among them. He explores in one direction the biological and hereditary contributions to each type of intelligence; in the other he considers the cultural-environmental factors. In view of Terman's remarks about Cowell and the way people regarded him, it is interesting to look at Cowell in terms of Gard-
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Henry Cowell: Mind over Music