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Questions and Answers

E. C.—When a perfect fifth is altered by lowering the upper note or raising the lower, the resulting interval is called a diminished fifth; by some writers the term “imperfect” fifth is recommended. There is no such term as “minor” fifth.

H. H. P.—Heacox’s work on “Ear-Training,” pub­lished by Theodore Presser, is a very useful text­book for private or class study and drill in the sub­ject. In The Etude for February, 1902, you will find a valuable article on the subject by Mr. W. S. B. Mathews.

J. J. H.—“Bluette” is a French word meaning spark or flash, and from that, a light production of wit, applying to a book or literary article; from that to music also. In that way it has come to be applied to a light, brilliant piece of music, popular in char­acter.

M. M. M.—The combination C, E flat, G-sharp, is not a true chord. Not knowing what chord pre­cedes and what follows, we cannot tell whether the notation is correct or not. It might be C, E-flat, A-flat, if properly written, in which case it would be the first inversion of the major chord of A-flat. It might be a passing chromatic combination; for example: the chord of C, E, G, E in the bass might progress downward through E-flat to D, while the treble could go through G-sharp to A, the chord re­sulting being D in the bass, C, F, A in the upper three parts. This G-sharp can also be written A-flat if desired.

C. M. C.—The touch you describe, raising the finger high and bringing it down with sudden force, is sometimes known as the hammer-touch. As you suggest, it conduces to a hard, dry tone. Moreover, its continued and exclusive use brings about mus­cular contractions which are difficult to overcome. The two-finger exercises of “Mason’s Touch and Technic,” properly used and practiced intelligently and with assiduity, are the best yet devised for in­ducing strength and elasticity combined.

A Teacher.—Table exercises are now used by very many teachers. Their principal function is to shape the hand and prepare the fingers of the pupil before approaching the keyboard. The advantage of this method of procedure is that the entire attention of the pupil may be concentrated upon the physical and mechanical side of piano-playing and correct technical habits be formed from the very beginning. The ingenuity of the teacher should supply many of these exercises adapted to the individual pupil.

You will find some good suggestions at the begin­ning of “First Steps in Pianoforte Study.” Book I of the Virgil “Foundation Method” contains an elaborate and very satisfactory collection of table exercises.

X. Y.—The pupil you describe as having such diffi­culty in reading from the two clefs, when playing hands together, was probably, at the beginning, kept too long on the treble clef before having the bass clef introduced. You will need to pay particular attention to the bass clef for some time to come, using sight-reading exercises both at the keyboard and away from it. In studying new exercises and pieces this pupil, and all pupils, in fact, should begin with the left-hand part first, not taking up the right- hand part until the left-hand part has been thor­oughly mastered in slow time and not attempting to play hands together until the right-hand part has been equally well learned.

If you will adopt this method of procedure and give it a fair trial, success should reward your efforts.

G. D. D.—1. In reply to your query about the bass voice’s changing at a certain point in its compass from chest-tone to higher voice we refer you to the article on “Registers” in the Vocal Department of The Etude for May and June of this year.

2. Such words as “power,” “flower,” “hour,” when set to be sung to two notes are better when slurred; the word will sound like “pow’r.”
M. R. B.—We regret that we cannot tell you of a school of music in which you can work your way through. We suggest that you correspond with those schools that are advertised in The Etude. Perhaps you can make arrangements with the directors. Be sure to state the nature, extent, and quality of the work you have done, so that it will be possible for the head of the school to determine whether he will be justified in doing something for you. Scholarships and other aids are usually given to those who show the greatest promise.

J. C.—In counterpoint the first accepted consonant intervals were the octave and fifth, perfect; later the major and minor thirds and sixths were accepted, and called imperfect concords. In harmony the fourth should not stand alone nor should there be a succes­sion of fourths, unless there be a third added below the lower notes of each of the fourths; thus, A-C-F, G-B-E, F-A-D. If we raise the question of the con­sonance of G C, for example, we may consider the in­terval consonant if it be a part of the chord of C, but not if G be the fundamental.

C. W. F.—When the time signature of a composi­tion is changed from duple to triple, as 2/4, 3/4, or 4/4 to 6/8, 9/8, or 12/8, or the reverse, unless the composer ex­pressly indicates otherwise it is best to consider one beat as having the same duration in each different movement.

F. A.—In the columns of The Etude from time to time you will find suggestions for attractive musical evenings. In your case you might divide your class into two sections and have the younger pupils one evening, the older on a different occasion. For the younger pupils you might gather some ideas from late numbers of The Etude in the Children’s Page. See also the present number. Let each one play, perhaps also recite a little poem or some thought about music; you can have anecdotes taken from the childhood of the great composers, you might let each one of the pupils represent some one of the composers and recite the anecdote, use piano-duets, let some of the children sing a simple song accompanied by one of the pupils; you could have a flower recital, if you can get the flowers, roses, goldenrod, etc., and have the little ones dressed appropriately and play a piece with a title suitable. Perhaps you may have some help from these suggestions. In the case of older pupils it is far more difficult to work out a consistent idea. Per­haps a few recitations, and a few original, short essays about music, music-study, what music does for a pupil, careful practice, etc., will give a satisfactory educational tone to your recital. We see no reason why you should not use such an occasion to advertise your work.

L. M. S.—1. We prefer whole-step, half-step, to whole-tone, half-tone.

2. Mathews’ “The Masters and Their Music” is a useful book to a club who takes up the study of composers and their works. The department of “Woman’s Work in Music,” which is included in The Etude except in the summer months, gives many use­ful suggestions for program-making. We think at least one of your meetings should be a public one, with admission fee, at which the program should be played by a professional of reputation in concert- work, who makes a specialty of recital work, such as Sherwood, Liebling, Perry, Hanchett.

J. F. A.—In the proper position of the hands and arms ease and lightness should be sought, all heavy pressure and undue contraction being avoided. The upper arm should hang lightly from the shoulder, separated somewhat from the body. The forearm and the back of the hand should be nearly on a straight line, with a slight inward incline of the arm. The hand should be tipped slightly toward the thumb in order that the outer or weak side of the hands should be elevated and the inner or stronger depressed.

Interested.—1. In the Steingräber Edition of the works of Chopin, the execution of the chain-trill in the Nocturne, Op. 62, No. 1, is correctly indicated. In this passage the grace-notes simply indicate the note with which each member of the chain-trill is to begin. Each trill begins and ends with the principal note and the trill upward, not downward.

2. In the article on the Chopin Nocturnes, the Schu­mann Nachtstück, in F, No. 4, is the one referred to, although the second Nachtstück is also in F.

E. S.—The figure 8 placed under a note means that the note itself is to be played together with its octave below. It is generally placed under low bass notes in order to avoid the use of many leger lines for the in­dication of the lower note.

E. M.—The position and height of the piano-stool must be largely regulated by the height, size, length of arm, etc., of the individual pupil. The stool must neither be too high nor too low, but should remain at such a height as will best conduce to the proper position of the hand and arm of the player. The gen­eral tendency seems to be to sit too high.

Generally speaking, the player should sit so that the back of the hand, from the second finger-joint, the wrist, and the elbow should be on nearly a straight line. In no case should the wrist or elbow be unduly elevated. In addition to this, the player should sit so far back from the keyboard as to admit of a slight incline of the body from the hips.

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