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Questions and Answers

A. H.-We cannot recommend the surgical operation for the liberation of the ring finger. There have been cases in which fair results have followed, but the operation is one which requires an experienced surgeon. Try careful and consistent finger gymnastics to secure as much freedom of motion as possible.
 
W. D. C.—1. When an embellishment of two sixteenth notes precedes a note, and when the time is to be taken from that note it is usually joined to it by a slur. It is called a Vorschlog by the Germans. We have no specific name for it. The whole passage is necessary to decide the special treatment of an embellishment. You will find the work on that subject by Mr. Louis Arthur Russell very useful. It can be purchased from the publisher of The Etude.
 
An appoggiatura is a grace note and so is an acciacatura, the former being sometimes called the "long" grace note, the latter the "short" grace note. This form is usually written as an eighth note with a line through the hook.
 
The directions for writing the major scales, as given on page 25 of "First Steps in Pianoforte Study," are explicit. For example take the scale of C as printed. Start a new scale on the fifth of C, which is G. G then becomes the first of a new scale which is to have whole tones between 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 5 and 6, 6 and 7, and half tones between 3 and 4 and 7 and 8. For a new scale take the fifth of the G scale, D, as a starting point. In order that the half-tones shall come at the proper places, sharps or flats will be required according to the note selected for starting.
 
J. P. K.—Stainer's "Composition" is not a text-book of the subject of composition. It is rather an elementary work in harmony study. It helps in the choice of chords. If you have finished Harmony, try Sawyer's work on "Extemporization" in the Novello Music Primer Series. (It can be had from the publisher of The Etude.) This work gives the principles of the commonly used forms of composition in very clear statement, and contains a great deal of material for practical work. But no book will invent melodies for you. That is the work of the imagination. Good melodies are not always the product of a vague inspiration, but the result of an imagination trained to musical expression. You might also try Schwing's work on Melody Construction, which you can get from the publisher of The Etude.
 
N. C.—The different positions on the violin refer to the position of the first finger. When it is near the "nut," in the ordinary position in which the first finger plays A, E, B, or F-sharp, according to the string used, the hand is in the first position. If the hand is moved up a little higher so that the first finger takes the next higher notes than these mentioned, the hand is in the second position, and so on. A good guitar method will explain the location and method of making "Harmonics." You should have an up-to-date instruction book.
 
A. B.—1. To find the relative minor scale to any major take the sixth of that major scale and use that as one of a minor scale. The signature remains the same as the major. For example: The sixth degree of D Major is B. B Minor is the Relative Minor of D Major. Both keys have the same signature.
 
2. The last chord of a piece usually tells the key. For example if you have a piece bearing the signature of D Major, but the final chord is based on B, the key is B Minor.
 
A. R.—In the Mazurka di Concert, by Musin, the + indicates a pizzicato which is made by plucking the string with the fourth finger of the left hand. The ° indicates a "harmonic" tone.
 
R.—1. "Pantalon" is a French term applied to the buffoon in a pantomime. "Poule" is a French word for "hen"; "Paston relle" is the same as the English "pastoral."
 
Madame Sembrich's voice is a soprano. We do not know the extreme notes in the compass of her voice.
 
"Priere" is a French word meaning "prayer"; "Quasi Arpa" is Italian, and means "in the style of a harp," a passage which intimates the harp; "Slargando" means "growing slower"; "Raddolcente," "growing gradually softer and sweeter"; "Agevole," "with lightness or agility."
 
M. C. B.—For the study of history of music we recommend Fillmore's work as a class text-book. You may supplement this for your personal study by using Untersteiner's "Short History of Music," which is one of the latest works on the subject, but a trifle too scholarly to be used as a class text-book. Mathews' "Popular History of Music" contains much information on the subject. The three books named can be purchased from the publisher of The Etude.
 
A. L. M.—1. Most pupils are given Bach, especially the "Inventions," before they are properly prepared. Naturally finding the task a difficult one they consider them dry and uninteresting. Polyphonic playing must be developed by easy and natural stages. The best book to begin with is "The First Study of Bach," by Leefson. This volume contains a specially selected and prepared collection of the very easiest and most melodious of Bach's numbers. It may be used with pupils of Grade III. This may be followed by the "Little Preludes" edited by Orem. Then, as the taste develops and technic increases, the "Inventions" may be used. Finally the "Fugues" should be taken up. Of course, it is understood that many other studies will be used between, and in connection with the works mentioned. This polyphonic course should be spread out from Grades III to X.
 
The Etude for September, 1901, contains all necessary material and suggestion for a program of works by women composers. It is a women's number.
 
Rupert Hughes' "Contemporary American Composers" is the best volume to consult for the preparations of a program of the American composers and their works.
 
There are several collections of folk songs and folk music published, containing directions for performance and costuming.
 
G.—If you will consult Landon's "First Studies in the Classics" you will find material ample for introducing a pupil to the classic composers. The pieces therein given should prove a guide also for the selection of pieces for the future and the best composers to study. See answer to another correspondent in this column or (sic) the subject of Bach.
 
F. W.—We recommend duet playing, especially the "Secondo" part for a pupil who is inclined to play by ear after he has played a piece several times. The publisher of The Etude can supply duet collections from 1st to 5th grade of difficulty.
 
W. K.—It is impossible to state how much a pupil should accomplish in any given time. No two pupils are exactly alike in talent, physique, industry, application, or opportunity. Some pupils can accomplish in a year what others take two or three years to do. "First Steps in Piano Study" contains all necessary material for the first six months' work of the average pupil. This may be supplemented by Grade I, of the "Standard Graded Course," and followed by Grade II, of the course. The remaining grades may then be used, supplemented by various standard studies. Ample suggestion is given in "First Steps" and in the grades for the selection of pieces and supplemental studies.
 
W. E.— fp means forte piano—"loud," then immediately "soft."
 
W.—Some of the leading vocal teachers in London are Wm. Shakespeare, Alberto Randegger, Fred. Walker, Albert Visetti.

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