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Questions and Answers

O. D.—In the case of a little girl of four years who gives evidence of a remarkable musical talent, I would advise against any serious effort to teach her either the theory or practice of music for some time to come. She will be able to accomplish just as much, and with less nervous strain, if she begins three years later,—say, at the age of seven or eight. With the musical kindergarten system of teaching, however, the objections to an early beginning are obviated, because very young children assimilate music naturally and without conscious effort, thereby avoiding the evil effects which may follow the hard study which is essential under ordinary methods of teaching. Kindergarten games may be played by the teacher and one or more children.
L. G. P.—1. Historically speaking, violin clef is perhaps a more correct term than treble clef. The C clef was originally used for vocal music, but later superseded by the G clef, used for violin music.
2. A motive is the smallest succession of notes that can contain a musical idea. It cannot be less than two notes. For example, in the tune "America," the first measure contains the first motive, three quarter notes; the second measure contains the second motive, rhythmically different from the first. The first and second motives alternate largely in this tune.
3. If you wish to prepare for teaching, in addition to your studies in piano-playing and theory of music you ought to make studies in musical pedagogy. Some of the large conservatories are offering courses in normal work. But still you must train yourself finally, for independent thinking, based on careful study under good teaching, is the surest help to practical teaching. A teacher is more what he makes of himself than what his teachers do for him.
T. H.—An accidental, strictly speaking, has no force outside the measure in which it occurs, unless the note affected is the last note in one measure and followed by a note on the same degree in the next measure, whether tied or not; nor does it have force in a different octave. Composers are not always careful on this point, however, and inaccuracies slip in.
M. C. W—1. The term "Invention" as used by Bach refers to a composition of an imitative character; that is, based on a single theme, which is used by the different voices, imitatively. In a measure, it is fugal in character.
2. The "Prelude" has no fixed form, and is used to fix the tonality of the following fugue well in the mind. It arose from the custom of composers to indulge in some extempore figuration of the principal chords of the key of the fugue they expected to play. Even to-day some concert artists strike a few chords, or sweep over the keyboard with extended arpeggios before beginning the piece to be played.
3. A "Fugue" is a composition built upon a single theme—unless it be a "Double Fugue," which appears successively in the different voices, under conditions prescribed by the rules of the subject. Thus: If the Bass should first announce the "Theme," or "Subject," in the key of C, the Tenor would take it up in the key of G, the Bass keeping on with the "Counter-Subject" or accompanying melody. When the Tenor has finished the Alto takes up the "Subject" in C, the Tenor accompanying with the "Counter-Subject"; the Soprano follows with the "Subject" in G, the Alto taking up the "Counter-Subject." There are other elements of construction in a fugue, as Episode, Modulation, Stretto, Organ or Pedal-Point, Codetta, and Coda. You can find a somewhat exhaustive article on the subject in Grove's or Riemann's dictionaries.
C. M. L.—Mr. Rafael Joseffy's address is Letter Box, 38, North Tarrytown, N. Y. He has some classes at the National Conservatory, 128 East Seventeenth Street, New York City.
M. E.—1. The metronome-time of a waltz is usually indicated by the value given to a dotted half note. In such case the quarter note should be set to three times the speed of the dotted half note. It would not be correct to use a half note to indicate the tempo, since that is only two-thirds the value of a full measure, yet twice the value of one beat.
2. Una Corda, literally meaning one string, refers to the fact that at one time the mechanism worked by the so-called soft pedal, moved the action so that the hammer struck but one string, instead of two or more, thus making a softer sound. The term now indicates that the soft pedal, so called, is to be pressed down.
3. When the first word of a hymn is to be sung to the last beat of a measure it should not be accented, any more than should the last beat in any other measure.
4. If a double sharp has been used and the proper degree of the scale is to be restored, it is indicated by placing a natural before a sharp. Thus: Suppose F-double-sharp is to be restored to F-sharp. Write a natural and a sharp before the note F. The natural cancels one of the sharps indicated by the double sharp, but the sharp must be used to indicate that F is to be sharped.
M. B.—If a boy's voice show signs of changing, do not allow him to sing. Serious injury may result, injury that may be permanent. Wait until the voice has settled. It is not possible to fix the age at which it will be safe to resume instruction. Ordinarily at 17 a boy may begin to take light work in singing, but the voice will not be firm for several years later, and care must always be exercised to avoid forcing or straining.
I. B.—We have no materials at hand for a sketch of Theodore Lack and Paul Wachs. They are French musicians, and live in Paris. Miss Helen J. Andrus is organist in Poughkeepsie, N. Y.; Mr. E. T. Marks is a resident of New York City; C. W. Krogmann is an American woman about whom you may possibly secure some information from B. F. Wood Music Company, Boston, Mass., who publish many of her compositions. We cannot give you information about Fliersbach.
M. B.—Briefly speaking, in the "classic" school form is held superior to content; in the "romantic" school content is predominant over form. It is rather difficult sometimes to mark accurately the dividing-line between the two schools. The "classic" school begins with Bach and Handel; then follow in order Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. In the modern "romantic" school may be classified Schumann, the prophet of this school; Chopin, the genius of the pianoforte; and Berlioz, the master of the orchestra. Although they are placed by some in the "romantic" school, many critics prefer to consider Schubert and von Weber as belonging to the "transition" period. The work of Mendelssohn, though leaning toward classic models, partakes largely of the nature of the romantic school.

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