The Etude
Name the Composer . Etude Magazine Covers . Etude Magazine Ads & Images . Selected Etude Magazine Stories . About . Donate .


Questions and Answers.

[Our subscribers are invited to send in questions for this department. Please write them on one side of the paper only, and not with other things on the same sheet. In Every Case the Writer’s Full Address must be Given, or the questions will receive no attention. In no case will the writer’s name be printed to the questions in The Etude. Questions that have no general interest will not receive attention.]

D. T. S.—When sitting down to play a reed organ, first draw one stop at a time to find them out. Their names are meaningless. Find those which are in unison with the voice and that complete the keyboard or scale. Next, those that are an octave higher than the voice, being sure of the completed scale over the entire keyboard. There are in nearly all reed organs many stops which bring on bat a part of the power of the reeds that they control, and others which bring on their full power. When the stops are out that bring on the full power, the former have no effect whatever. The Sub-Bass is but one octave, from C to C,—the lowest octave of the instrument. When using it the basses have to be all brought within that octave by transposition, the right hand filling out the full harmony. That is, in playing hymn tunes, the right hand plays the treble, alto, and tenor, while the left hand plays down in the sub-bass octave all of the bass notes. This is all exhaustively explained and illustrated in Landon’s Reed Organ Method. His second volume of reed organ studies also gives several special examples in the method of playing hymn tunes with and without the sub-bass stops. In this book of studies all of the difficulties of hymn tune playing are explained and illustrated, and that in a manner which makes it as valuable to the pianist as to the organist.

Y. J. A.—Do not break the time to draw out or push in stops. Often you can play all of the notes with one hand, or you can drop out some while you draw the stops. But when the changes come at the end of a movement more time can be taken for stop drawing. Nearly all organs have a knee-stop that brings on all of the stops, or rather, all of the reeds; learn to manage this skilfully. Never change a stop except at an accent, and do not break in on a beat half way, but at the end or beginning only, or better, at the instant of moving from one key to the next.

M. A.—The correct name for the “stick” which conductors use to beat time with is “baton.” Different directors use different movements in beating time. However, the generally accepted movements are as follows: For two beats in a measure, down, up. For three down, left, up For four, down, left, right, up. For six, two short movements down, one left, two right, and one up.

Barcarolle, literally means a boat song. a piece bearing this title is of a quiet nature and is generally pervaded by a rocking motion in the bass parts, suggestive of the rocking of a boat on the waves.

Hongroise is a French word and means Hungarian. A piece in Hungarian style.

Sylphide has no musical meaning. It is simply a title used to describe the general characteristics of a piece. Sylphide is a French word meaning a sylph or fairy. A piece bearing that name would be light, graceful, and delicate in its style.

F. W.—Tone and color both originate in vibratory movement. The sound waves beat upon the drum of the ear and are thence conducted to the nerves connecting with the brain, where they produce the sensation of tone. The light waves pass through the lenses of the eye, and are carried by the optic nerve to the brain, causing the sensation of color. There is a great difference between tones and colors, both in the comparative rate of vibrations and in the size of the waves. The lowest tone we can hear is caused by about 30 vibrations to the second, while the shrill upper sounds have several thousands to the second. The lowest tone waves may be 30 feet in length, from which higher tone waves range up to less than an inch. But the interval from lowest to highest is small compared with the distance from the highest tone to the lowest color. Between these two there is the vast interval of over 30 octaves. There must be 450,000,000,000,000 vibrations in a second before the eye can distinguish the deepest red, and the waves are so small that 50,000 of them are contained in a single inch of space.

If we compare the vibrations and waves of the tone scale and the spectrum we find a pretty close agreement between them. In an octave of tones the vibrations are just doubled, and although there is not a complete octave of color visible to the eye, as far as it goes, the same ratio exists. An octave of red would have 900,000,000,000,000, but the violet has only 720,000,000,000,000.

2.  If this means to convert tone vibrations into color vibrations by increased rapidity, there is no known way of doing it. Tones are propagated by waves of air; but light is believed to travel along waves of ether. Perhaps our correspondent refers to the sympathetic action of light upon tone as shown by the photophone. This is a circular disk with slots around the edge. A ray of light is directed through one of these holes, and as the disk is turned the ray passes successively through each hole, beating rapidly upon a glass tube filled with some substance or other. Presently the tube gives forth a musical tone, more or less resonant according to the material used.

3.  Crescendo and diminuendo refer to increase and decrease of force, while accelerando and ritard refer to quickening or slackening the time. Rallentando and ritardando are used interchangeably, although occasionally the former seems to imply also a sustained energy at the close of a movement.

L. E.—If your pupil does not know note values, a course in Landon’s “Writing Book” is what she needs. Perhaps your pupil understands the value of notes well enough but fails to calculate it while playing; if this is the case, give pieces in which different note values occur in the same measure and demand that the pupil count aloud while playing, paying especial attention to time value.

<< Special Notices.     Musical Items >>

Monthly Archives

The Publisher of The Etude Will Supply Anything In Music