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Questions & Answers.

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M. A.—Saint-Saëns symphonic poems to which you refer deal with mythological subjects. “Phaëton” has obtained permission to drive the chariot of his father, the Sun, through the skies. His untrained hands cannot control the steeds. Jupiter strikes him with thunderbolts and he falls. “La Jeunesse d’ Hercule” describes the legend of Hercules, who, starting in life, saw two paths, pleasure and duty, open to him. He chooses the path of duty and follows it out despite the seductions of nymphs and bacchantes. “Rouet d’ Omphale” depicts the classic tale of Hercules at the feet of Omphale as a pretext for illustrating the triumph of weakness over strength. Any work on mythology will give you fuller details than our space permits.

K.S. B—The term “concert pitch” is too vague to be clearly understood without attaching to it the number of vibrations of “A” or “C” per second at a temperature of 65 degrees.

By “international pitch” is meant A=435 vibrations or C=522.

By “concert pitch” is meant a variety of pitches varying from 522 to 546 (and even higher) for C.

There is a most decided tendency toward the use of the international pitch as the best for all purposes. Every season sees it adopted by more and more of the large orchestras and the leading piano manufacturers and pipe-organ builders.

Mozart wrote to a pitch of C=508, which would make the high “G’s” in the Gloria of the Twelfth Mass equivalent to a note about half way between F and F sharp at C=546—an immense relief to the average chorus. Handel, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert all wrote for C=498 to 515; so when we sing their music at the high concert pitch, we actually transpose it from a minor to a major second higher than the pitch the composers intended it to be sung at. The movement toward a low pitch is, therefore, a step in the right direction.

Your piano will sound best at the pitch for which it was designed when built. What that is can be ascertained only by writing the manufacturer.

If you wish to have it at international pitch it will do it no serious harm and you much good.

D. O — A passage having both legato and staccato signs, should be played with what is known as the portamento touch. This requires that the notes be separated but not slurred together, and at the same time not cut off so short as to sound staccato. It is a sort of compromise between the two first-named touches.

R. A. S.—1. Calvé was born in France in 1866.

2. For a description of the Janko keyboard write to Decker Bros., New York, and for a description of the Bayreuth theater write to Novello, Ewer & Co., also in New York.

3. Master Hubermann was born in 1883 and is, therefore, fourteen years old. He is certainly a genius.

4. The following is a list of some of the most prominent living violinists: Joachim, Halir, Walther, Sarasate, Sauret, Thomson, Ysaye. As to saying which of these is best, however, would be merely a matter of opinion.

5. The same might be said of contralto singers. Sanderson, Schärnack, Niessen, Standigl, Joachim might be mentioned as being prominent before the public.

A. H. M.—1. The following is a list of studies for the development of the trill, arranged progressively. Krause, op. 2; Gurlitt, op. 142; Baumfelder, op. 241; Loeschhorn, op. 165; Cramer, bk. I, No. 11; bk. II, No. 25; Czerny, op. 740, Nos. 22, 34, 48; Clementi, Gradus, Nos. 22, 32, 38; Chopin, op. 25, No. 6.

2. For octave playing use Kullak or Mason, Köhler or Döring octave studies. All are good.

3. Germer’s “Practische Unterichtsstoffe” is a good work to use for sight reading.

W. B. A.—The better class of organists do not play the lower octave of pedals in hymn tunes, because it brings the bass tones too far from those of the manuals for blending, and, too, the ear soon tires of the lowest tones of an organ.

G. U. W.—Interludes are not used now as much as formerly. They break the sentiment and disconnect the effect of both the words and the tune. There is no need of them. No, do not use the 16 feet tones of the pedal in accompanying a solo or quartette, except rarely in bringing out a brilliant climax. The low pedal tones cover solo voices so that it is difficult to hear them. Wait at the end of your hymn tunes, when the congregation is singing, the length of one measure only, or the rhythm will be lost and this will make them sing slower and slower.

R. H. D.—Your choir will enunciate clearly if you will pay attention to sustaining the longer tones on a clear vowel sound uncolored with the adjacent consonants, and if you will impress them with the sense and full meaning of the words, provided the singers want to have the congregation understand the words. When singers have a message to sing, and give it out with a desire to help their congregation to a better life, they will enunciate clearly. Consonants must be crisp, and the singers must think more of the sense of the words than of the effect of the music as such.

T. I. G.—The occasional “startling loudness of the bass” is due to your having out the sub-bass stop of your reed organ and then playing the bass just as written. When this stop is out you should transpose your bass to within the octave of sub-bass reeds. This will require your left hand to play most of the bass an octave lower than it is written, and that your right hand shall play three parts. You may need to give this stop special practice.

L. A. W.—Try Chaminade’s “Scarf Dance,” and her “Flatterer.” Also “Confession,” by Schütt;” Chaconne,” by Durand; “Idilio,” by Lack; “Polish Dance,” by Scharwenka; “Polka Boheme,” by Rubinstein; “Melody,” by Hewitt; “Serenata in D,” by Moszkowski; “Album Leaves,” Schumann, and “Polonaise in D,” by Schumann. These pieces will be sure to please and are about what you ask for.

For vocal music studies try Concone’s “Fifty Lessons” for her. The fragment of Bach represents one of the three parts as being played while the two other parts are represented by rests. Part music gives rests for each part that happens to be silent.

M. K. J.—Send to some leading conservatory for their list of studies as used for their courses in graduation. In them you will find studies graded and classified as considered best by that conservatory.

 

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