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Questions and Answers

F. S.—1. Emil Sauer is in charge of the classes in artistic piano-playing in the Vienna Conservatory. To enter one of his classes a pupil must have had quite advanced training.

2. By writing to the conservatory you can learn about terms and other information.


K. D.—An accidental in one staff has no effect on a note of the same letter in another staff. Properly speaking it has value only in the measure and octave in which it occurs. If a note chromatically altered be the last in one measure and tied over to the first note in the next measure the chromatic sign need not be repeated.


A. B.:—In simple song-accompaniments the chords most commonly used are the tonic; dominant, with or without seventh; subdominant, supertonic, tonic, and dominant of relative minor. These chords are used in inversions also.


A. S.—1. “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” by Rathbun, is published only in the key of D-flat.

2. A diagonal line across a staff with a dot on each side indicates that the preceding group or measure is to be repeated. If a figure be written over it, repeat that number of times.


J. R. W.—If you wish to look into the matter of so-called national schools of composition consult the article on that subject in Grove’s Dictionary.


M. E. F.—The signature of a piece will not tell you whether the composition be in the major key as indicated by the signature or in the relative minor. The first chord is usually either the tonic or domi­nant, but the last chord should be the tonic. For example: Signature, one sharp; last chord, E, G, B; the key is E-minor. If the last chord be G, B, D, the key is G-major.


I. C.—The horizontal lines underneath the staff, as found in the music-pages of The Etude, are to indicate the use of the pedal. The short perpendicu­lar line shows when the pedal is to be pressed down, the horizontal line the duration of holding down the pedal, and the short line at the end when the pedal is released.


E. H.—The Mazurka, Op. 7, No. 5, by Chopin, comes to an end only at the pleasure of the performer. This is indicated by the words “dal segno senza fine,” which mean that the player is to go back to the sign and repeat without definite ending. This ma­zurka is in imitation of one of the old folk-dances, in which the same old melody is played over and over again, ceasing only when the dancers are tired out.


H. P. H.—In the Andante by Handel on page 49 of “First Steps” the combined dots and slurs indicate that the non-legato touch is to be used. Quarter notes so marked are to be executed as though written in dotted eighths, followed by sixteenth rests, and played with a “pressure” touch.


C. H. E.—1. The French term “bien rythmè” means well marked or accented.

2. In the case of the same note’s being written out twice and connected with a tie, a staccato mark over the second note does not mean that this note is to be struck again, but merely that it loses some­what of its value.


A. C.—1. Nowadays beginners before approaching the keyboard are by a majority of teachers trained in physical exercises and table-work, in order that a proper condition of the various muscles used in piano-playing may be induced and the hand may be correctly shaped. Conjointly with this work the ele­ments of music are taught and preparatory exercises in rhythm and ear-training given.

2. Tone-color, or “timbre,” as it is called in French, refers to the difference in quality of the sounds pro­duced by the various instruments and voices.

3. A cadence is the end of a phrase or any portion of a piece, or of the piece itself. The principal cadences are: the perfect cadence, dominant to tonic; the half, or imperfect cadence, tonic to dominant; the decerptive (sic) cadence, dominant to subdominant or submediant; the plagal cadence, subdominant to tonic.
4. A canon is the imitation of a theme, given out by a leading voice, by any succeeding voice. This imitation may occur in various intervals, and at varying distances, or may be begun at any point of the theme.
5. Counterpoint is the art of combining two or more independent voice parts, each seeming to have a design of its own.

C. J. B.—Reckoning by ten grades, which is now the generally accepted method of classification, the duet, “La Sonnambula,” by Sydney Smith, would be about Grade IV for the primo player, Grade III for the secondo.

C. B.—Flexibility of the hands may be cultivated to great advantage away from the keyboard by the use of the various physical exercises now in general use, by table-work, and by massage.

L. F.—1. Such signs of expression, phrasing, and dynamics as are supplied by the composer should be scrupulously observed by the performer. Beyond this, however, there is a certain freedom in experssion (sic) and interpretation demanded from the individual player.

2. Whether or not the hands should be dropped to the lap during rests depends entirely upon the length of the rests. In such matters as this the performer must depend upon his own judgment very largely, as there is no strict rule.


S. H. G.—1. It frequently happens that young children who display musical aptitude can be in­duced to practice systematically, with difficulty. In dealing with such cases patience and perseverance are prime factors. The main idea is to awaken the interest of the child and to stimulate the imagina­tion. You should not be discouraged by such cases as you describe, but rather be spurred on to renewed effort. Try using some first and second grade pieces of melodic and rhythmic interest. Make your lessons bright and cheerful, and above all things do not scold.

From the very beginning absolute accuracy in the rendition of studies and pieces should be sought. Never advance to a new step until the preceding one has been thoroughly worked out.

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