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Questions and Answers

E. H.—Chamber-music is music suitable for performance in a small hall, and is distinguished from concert-music by the fact that each part has but a single player; for example, the quartet of strings as compared to the large orchestra, in which as many as sixteen men play the first violin part. Chamber-music includes music for violin and piano; violin, ‘cello, and piano; or other combination, such as violin and viola; violin, viola, ‘cello, and piano; string quartet, piano quartet, string quintet, or these combined with wood-wind, such as flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, or the French horn. But there must not be more than one player to a part. It may also include vocal music in connection with solo instruments, such as songs, duets, and trios, with accompaniment of violin, ‘cello, flute, etc., separately or in combination.

E. P.—The explanation of the term “Submediant” is that it is the Mediant of the Sub-  or under-  chord. The principal chords in a key are the Tonic, the third or middle note of which is the Mediant (Latin, medius,  middle); the Dominant, the third of which is the Leading-note; and the Subdominant, or under  Dominant, because it sustains the relation of a lower Dominant to the Tonic.  For that reason it may be called the sub  chord, and its middle note is the Sub-mediant.

S. G. B.—1. A block extending from one line of the staff to the next above, filling the entire space, is equal in value to twice the whole rest. This is not used very much in modern music. If it be desired to indicate a number of measures’ rest, a heavy black line with a light line at each end is used, and above it is placed the number of measures’ rest. This occurs usually in ensemble music, such as duets, trios, or orchestral music.

2. For other queries see answer to A. E. G. in this issue.

3. When the tenor clef is used, the degrees will be named the same as if the treble clef had been employed, but it must be remembered that the tenor clef indicates the position of middle C; so that a note on the third space is exactly the same in pitch as the first leger line below the treble staff.

A. E. G.—Hymn-tunes are marked in a way to indicate the meter and number of lines. 7s, 6l, indicates a hymn with seven syllables to a line, six lines to a stanza. 8, 7, D, indicates an alternation of lines of eight and seven syllables, double; that is, twice four lines, the usual number to a stanza, or eight lines. If but one figure be used, it means that all lines have the same number of syllables; if two are used, an alternation; if still more, as 11, 12, 12, 10, it indicates the number of syllables to successive lines; C. M. is an abbreviation for Common Meter, in which the succession is 8, 6; L. M. means Long Meter, 8 syllables to a line; P. M. means Peculiar Meter, for which no figures can be given. H. M. is commonly called Hallelujah Meter; an example of it is the familiar hymn “Zion Stands With Hills Surrounded”; the “Hallelujah” refers to the short line, of four syllables, or a longer line of eight syllables, divisible into two fours.

A. E. C.—1. In the hymn “Joy to the World” the word “wonders,” in the third verse, when repeated near the end is sung, “and wonders, wonders of his love,” making a slur on the first syllable of the second “wonders”; so that the words “of his love” come on the last three notes.

2. In singing the words “either” and “neither” vocalists differ, some pronouncing it as ee,  others as long i; it seems to be one of those cases in which no fixed rule can be laid down.

3. The tenor should always sing the real pitch as indicated by his part when the bass clef is used. In fact, he would have difficulty of singing it an octave higher except in a few notes. See also answer to S. G. B., third query.

S. S.—1. The Netherland Epoch in Music refers to the predominating influence of the Netherlands school of polyphonic composition during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, of which Dufay was the founder. The Elizabethan Era refers to the musical activities in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

2. The clavichord was a stringed instrument, and, since it had a keyboard, may be considered a precursor of the modern piano.

3. Schröter, who is connected with the early history of the piano, was a German.

4. The music for the forerunners of the piano, spinet and harpsichord, was written similar to the piano-music of to-day, except that the compass was much smaller. Old harpsichord-music can be played on our pianos. Bach, who preferred the clavichord, wrote his music—outside of orchestral and chamber-music—for the latter-named instrument, yet it is played on our pianos.

5. As many leger lines can be used above or below the staff as desired, but an extreme number is difficult to read; hence the custom of printing passages in a lower octave and marking them “8va higher.”

6. D’Albert is pronounced as if spelled Dahl-bare,  the final consonant being silent. Thalberg is pronounced as if spelled “Tahl-bairg.”

The word Andante  has no direct reference to speed (fast or slow), nor is it used so by the Italians. The word is derived from  Andare  (än-dä’ray), which means “to go,” and is modified by many other words, as  andare a piedi,  to go on foot; a a cavallo,  to go on horseback; a a vela,  to go by sail; a a galla,  to go adrift; a per mare, to go by sea; aall’incontro, to go to meet; a in collera, to go into a passion,  a casa hollita,  to go to hell, etc.

The principal meaning of Andante is “a moderate movement.” The student should keep constantly in mind that Andante does not mean slow; otherwise he will become badly tangled up by the modifying words.

Un poco andante means “a little moderate,” or not quite so moderate as andante: i.e., a little faster than andante. The opposite term is “meno andante,” which means a little less agitated than andante: i.e., slower than andante.

While upon this subject I wish to call attention to the diminutive form, “andantino,” which the Italians invariably use as meaning slower than andante (some dictionaries to the contrary notwithstanding). In four Italian lexicons now before me, all, without exception, define andantino as meaning “a somewhat slower movement than andante. This is the view taken by Grove, Stainer, Barrett, and Riemann. Webster, while defining Andantino as “faster than andante,” admits that “Some, taking andante in its original sense of ‘going,’ and andantino as its diminutive, or ‘less going.’ define the latter as slower than andante.” This is certainly the view taken by the Italian lexicographers, and they should be permitted to know their own language. Worcester simply quotes Dwight, who defines andantino as not quite so slow as andante. This mix-up is the result of defining andante as “slow,” with andantino as “less slow” (faster), instead of the true definition “going” and “less going” (slower).

As a curious proof of the uncertainty with which this term is used, turn to the oratorio of “Elijah.” The movements—“If, with all your hearts,” which is marked andante con moto; “The Lord hath exalted thee,” marked andante; and “Oh rest in the Lord,” marked andantino—are all performed in the same tempo, viz.: 72 quarter-notes per minute.—H. R. Palmer.

Sister A.—The term “rubato,” as used in the “Pas des Amphores,” by Chaminade, does not refer alone to the particular measure in which it is written, but to the entire theme. In fact, a piece of this character demands a certain discriminating flexibility in the time throughout, in keeping with the “air de ballet” style in which it is written. The term “rubato,” once used, is binding until canceled by some such other term as “a tempo,” “tempo giusto,” etc.

G. W.—1. Landon’s “Foundation Materials” may be followed to advantage by Volumes II and III of Mathews’ “Graded Course.”

2. First-grade and a few second-grade pieces may be used in connection with “Foundation Materials.”

3. In beginning the study of a piece like Schumann’s “Whims,” a very slow metronome-time should be adopted, preferably using three beats to the measure. The piece should be studied in this time until thoroughly known; then the rate of speed may be gradually increased until the desired rapidity is attained.

4. Your plan for keeping up your practice without the aid of a teacher seems very good. You might go right on with the “Graded Course,” using some of the pieces recommended in connection with the various grades. For daily technical work Mason’s “Touch and Technic” is almost indispensable.

5. “Murmuring Zephyrs,” Jensen-Niemann, would be about Grade 5, reckoning by ten grades.

G. H. S.—You will find the various arpeggios exhaustively treated in Volume III of Mason’s “Touch and Technic.”


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