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Questions and Answers

S. G. G.—In the Tonic Sol-Fa system Soh is used for Sol, as in the series as usually taught, and Ti for Si, making the series of syllables, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Soh, La, Ti. The I is dropped in Sol to avoid a final consonant, which presents difficulty in vocalization; Si is changed to Ti, in order to avoid repeating the initial letter S which is used before in Soh. The Tonic Sol-Fa system does not use notes, but indicates the sounds by the initial letter of the syllable which would fall on the required note, according to its position in the scale. Thus take the tune, "America": The first phrase, in the key of F, has the notes F, F, G, E, F, G. The syllable-names would be Do, Do, Re, Ti (Si), Do, Re. The Tonic Sol-Fa system would use, instead of notes, the letter d, d, r, t, d, r. You will find a little primer on the subject in the Novello series of music primers.
 
R. V. Y.—1. By the term "Grand Opera" is meant a music-drama in which there is no spoken dialogue to distinguish it from so-called light opera, or comic opera, which admits of spoken dialogue. The term "opera" is a general one and embraces any combination of drama and music. An operetta is shorter, less elaborate than an opera.
 
2. Mus. Doc., or Mus. D., is an abbreviation of the degree "Doctor of Music." In this country it is not conferred save as an honorary degree; but in England in addition to the honorary form, it can be secured by anyone who has the degree of Mus. Bac. (Bachelor of Music), by passing an examination, in some cases presenting a thesis on a subject connected with music, and submitting a satisfactory work for chorus and solo voices, with orchestral accompaniment.
 
3. Chamber-music is such as can be performed by a small number of performers. It includes sonatas for piano and some other instrument (violin or 'cello), trios, quartets, quintets, and sextets. In vocal music it may include quartets for male, female, or mixed voices, or part-songs by a small body of singers.
 
S. F. V.—It is not generally considered desirable for a teacher to play along with the pupil with one or both hands on the same piano, though there may be, for the sake of illustrating some particular passage, an occasional necessity for so doing. Duet-playing, however, either at one or two pianos, is most beneficial, and should be often resorted to. One of the greatest pleasures derived from music is to be found in ensemble playing.
 
X. Y. Z.—The "full-tone pianissimo," sought after by you, may be acquired only after long and assiduous practice. The ability to produce the effect aimed at depends upon the possession of nerve and muscular control of the highest order, and even this is valueless without the native gifts of a sensitive ear and the artistic temperament.
 
J. K.—1. It is highly essential for every teacher to make a thorough study of harmony, but it is a difficult and unsatisfactory subject for self-instruction. Where a good master cannot be secured "correspondence lessons" have proved most helpful. A reference to our advertising columns might prove profitable in this connection.
 
2. The publisher of The Etude will soon issue a work, entitled "The First Year in Theory," which can be used advantageously in connection with the earlier grades of piano-study.
 
G. W.—1. The highest tone of a chord is not necessarily the most prominent. Any tone in a chord may be caused to sound more prominently by exerting a firmer pressure of the particular finger playing said tone. The ability to do this can be readily attained by careful practice and is highly necessary in the proper execution of the works of the composers of the modern, romantic school.
 
2. All good teachers, nowadays, devote much care to the proper use of the pedals. "The Pedals of the Piano Forte," by Schmitt, is an exhaustive and highly desirable work on this subject.
 
A. B. M.—There is no hard-and-fast rule as to the use of the two marches at a wedding, but the general custom is to use the "Lohengrin Bridal Chorus" at the beginning and the march by Mendelssohn at the close of the service. It depends upon the size of the church and the numbers of the wedding party just how much of the opening procession should be played, but it should be discontinued as soon as the members of the party are properly disposed in the chancel, the organ thereafter sounding softly until the close of the service, whereupon the final march should be played complete.
 
A. L. P.—Since you are of that happy temper that you are impelled to music-study by love more than by ambition or greed, there is but one thing to be said to you: of course, go on. As for going to a school, yes; go and stay as long as you can to some school in a great city, and, whatever you do, be sure to keep out some money for concert- and opera- tickets. It cannot be too often insisted upon that one must hear much to be really musical and able to give out anything worth while.
 
G. F.—There is absolutely nothing better in pedagogical literature than "Touch and Technic," by Dr. William Mason, and one who can make good headway in the principles taught therein may exchange telegraphy for piano-teaching as a means of earning a livelihood. There is, of course, no real substitute for the personal teacher and the artistic atmosphere, but, if these are impossible of attainment, the alternative is not despair. Take a regular course of etude literature, doing it slowly and with minute patience and attention to the remarks of the annotator.
 
Every important set of etudes in these days has been winnowed and edited by some man of distinction. Also give attention to pieces that are distinctly musical. These can be had, carefully indicated as to difficulty, upon approval, so that, without ever leaving your village, you may really keep quite in touch with the great musical world.
 
M. S.—To improve your sight-reading you must do a great deal of it. The following exercises are suggested:
 
Play at first sight of a piece extremely slowly,— say, three or four times as slow as it ought to be,— and set your metronome, that you may be held rhythmically accurate by this inexorable guide. Second, if possible, play easy four-hand music with some congenial friend. The simpler overtures will be found of value here. Each number of The Etude contains a four-hand piece. Try these for sight-reading. A leading pianist says that his father brought over each morning from the music-store a dozen or more new pieces, and he was bidden to play for an hour or so without any permission to stop and correct any errors. This artist is one of the most wonderful readers in the country.

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