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Questions and Answers.

L. M. P.—If you have already acquired an assured technic under the Mason system, there is no particular reason why you should take up the clavier system. The clavier itself, however, is of unquestionable value in technical practice, especially in foundation-work; but if you have pursued a Mason course faithfully and industriously, and according to the intentions of its author, you should need nothing further in that direction.

S. E. B.—For a pupil such as you describe, lacking firmness and decision of touch, we would recommend a thorough course in the two-finger exercises in Mason’s “Touch and Technic.”

You will find the new Book II of the “Selected Studies of Loeschhorn” both valuable and acceptable to use in the grade mentioned.

N. S.—1. It often happens that pupils who memorize readily and without special effort prove to be very poor readers, and vice versâ. You should certainly make an effort to improve the reading ability of your pupil without delay by a systematic course in playing at sight. This is best accomplished by the use of the various duet-albums, beginning at first with such numbers as may be easily read in moderate time, and gradually advancing to more difficult ones, invariably insisting that absolutely strict time be preserved and allowing no unnecessary stopping or interruption. We have known of many instances where this playing, patiently and persistently adhered to, has achieved most gratifying results.

2. Any of the standard reed-organ methods—Landon’s, Clark’s, or Getze’s, for instance—should furnish you all necessary information as to the best use of this instrument, and you should feel no hesitation in teaching the same.

A. V. D.—1. In teaching a child the scales you could not do better than follow the method pursued in “First Steps in Pianoforte-Study.” In this volume the scales are introduced gradually, beginning with the C-major scale, which comes very early in the book, and after each scale a number of studies and pieces are introduced in a corresponding key. It is neither necessary nor advisable to teach all the major scales before introducing the minor scales.

2. By the “great octave” is meant the octave beginning with C. upon the second leger line below the bass clef; by the “small octave,” is meant that beginning upon C. in the second space of the bass clef; by the “one-lined octave,” is meant that beginning upon middle C, etc.

S. H. C.—1. A motive is usually two measures; a phrase, four measures; a section, eight measures; and a period, sixteen measures.

2. The second subject, or theme, of a sonata form should be written in the dominant, if the movement is in a major key, and in the relative major if the movement is in a minor key.

3. Before the development of the sonata, music was chiefly of a polyphonic nature, an the fugal style was predominant.

4. There is but one chromatic scale, which may begin and end on any degree, but there are several methods of writing the same. One method is to raise the first, second, fourth, fifth, and sixth degrees ascending: C, C-sharp, D, D-sharp, E, F, F-sharp, G, G-sharp, A, A-sharp, B, C. In descending to lower the seventh, sixth, fifth, third, second: C, B, B-flat, A, A-flat, G, G-flat, F, E, E-flat, D, D-flat, C. Another, founded on modern harmony methods, consists of the lowered second, third, sixth, and seventh, and raised fourth, and is written the same ascending or descending: C, D-flat, D, E-flat, E, F, F-sharp, G, A-flat, A, B-flat, B, C.

5. Every piece of music ends with its tonic chord, and an analysis of this chord will invariably determine the key of any composition.

W. C. E.—The following has been recommended as a polishing-paste for piano-cases by a tuner and repairer: Take small pieces of wax, white or yellow, and add oil of turpentine until the solution has the consistency of a thick paste. Of this mixture lay a piece as large as a bean upon a piece of cloth and rub it out as much as possible on the cabinet work; then wipe with a woolen rag. But if this composition is to be used on mahogany pianos, the oil of turpentine must be colored before adding the wax, by soaking some alkanet in it until the oil turns a deep violet. If the gloss is to be restored to mahogany, the oil must be dyed only slightly, because the wood has a tendency to become brown in time; cherry-wood, however, bleaches in the course of time, hence for this oil must be strongly colored. It is well to use of this mixture only a little at a time. If more is taken, it is necessary to rub a longer time; hence, it is better to put on another thin layer and to repeat the operation several times. This gives a better gloss. After rubbing with the woolen rag, it is well to finish rubbing with an old linen one.

M. T. S.—1. A melodrama is a dramatic work in which music is used to heighten the effect of the various situations.

2. A double bar may be introduced in the middle of a measure if a principal period or other division ends there.

3. The word motive is not strictly synonymous with figure, although the two terms are used interchangeably to some extent. A motive is the smallest musical division that can exist. It cannot be of one note, but it may be of two. The term figure is hardly so comprehensive. We speak of an accompaniment figure, arpeggio figure, etc., referring to the particular rhythmic shape it may have. We even speak of the rhythmic figure of the motive, the latter also including certain melodic and dynamic characteristics.

C. E. K.—The names of the stops used in different organs vary in character. The treble coupler adds the octave higher of a note; the bass coupler an octave lower; the last note to which the octave can be added of course is F, fifth line, treble staff, since the organ does not give any notes higher than the octave of that note; the bass coupler does not act higher than E, third space bass clef, since if higher notes were used there would be danger of adding the octave of the tenor as in the chord C, G, C, E. If the G, fourth space, were doubled by its octave lower, it would add a note below the bass. “Dulcet” is usually what is known as “mute,” that is it opens the “melodia” only partly, being therefore a softer tone of the same quality. “Celeste” sometimes represents a set of reeds sometimes does not; probably in your case it is a “mute” to “Cremona,” which is a stop of a character similar to a stringed instrument in several organs. “Forte” and “Piano” are mechanical stops designed to increase or diminish the general tone of the instrument. “Principal” is a stop of four-feet tone, and is added to “Diapason” to give a more brilliant effect. First play the one and then the other, and note the octave’s difference in pitch. “Echo” may be a mechanical stop of the “mute” kind, to give a soft effect by only allowing the reeds to be opened a little bit.

Q. E. D.—Mr. H. Engelmann, the composer, is a German by birth, but a resident of Philadelphia for a number of years.

C. S.—Erik Meyer-Helmund was born at St. Petersburg, April 25, 1861. He was educated by his father, and later went to Berlin, where he studied with Kiel and Stockhausen. He is best known as a song-composer of light, graceful, and vocally effective songs, to which he has generally supplied his own text. He has also written operas.

B. C.—1. The name Handel is also spelled Händel and Haendel, and then pronounced as if spelled Hendel, the ä and ae being equivalent.

2. Guiseppe, is the Italian for Joseph and is pronounced Joo-sep-pe, the j having a sound like z in azure; Gioacchino is Italian for Joachim, and is pronounced Jo-a-kee-no, j as above; Ignace, Ig-nase; Johannes, Yo-han-nes; François Esprit, Frahn-swah Espree; Mozart, Mot-sart; Kücken, Kih-ken (the rule usually given for ü is to place the mouth in the position for the sound of oo in food, and then give the long sound of e); Wieniawski, Vi-en-ni-offski; Haydn, Hy-den; Wollenhaupt, Vul-len-howpt.

3. If you will send your address the other queries will be answered privately. Questions relating to metronome-time, the execution of particular passages, etc., cannot be answered in these columns, which must be devoted to questions of a general nature.

L. T.—The outer and inner parts are usually best balanced when the proportion is 3 sopranos to 2 altos. In a chorus of 75 you might have 45 first sopranos, 30 seconds.

H. L. H.—Correct transposition depends largely on a good working knowledge of harmony. The Grade I technical exercises you mention should not, however, prove difficult to transpose, as they are largely based on some elementary scale or broken-chord passage, and it is necessary, only, to fix the mind upon the new key and its intervals, the same fingering almost invariably being used. We can recommend Warriner’s “Transposition” as a useful work.

S. E. C.—The caving-in of the first joint when playing is due either to a weakness of the hand or to an improper muscular condition, and is best cured by table-work and physical exercises, afterward using at the keyboard some such five-finger exercises as Schmitt’s or Haberbier’s.

 

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