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Questions & Answers

N. M. P.—1. Only an expert can judge a piano by an inspection of its interior mechanism. A great many factors enter into this matter, each maker having his own peculiar plans and specifications. The most important features are the structure and placing of the sounding-board and the scale, the method of stringing, the action.

2. Possibly the easiest way to derive the relative minor scale is by rearranging the tones of the major scale, beginning with the sixth degree.

3. The melodic minor scale returns in descending to the old form of the minor scale in order to preserve its minor character and to retain the melodic quality of the scales. If this scale were written the same, descending as ascending, its minor quality would be nearly lost, since it would differ from the major scale in its third degree only, and this might be taken as an accidental. Try this for yourself and note the major character.

Subscriber.—1. If for your commencement exercises last season you found your “Flower Cantata” so successful, why not try a “Fairy Program” this year. You might use music written about fairies, elves, brownies, etc. The program could be made up largely of instrumental pieces, interspersed with readings and a few easy choruses. Vocal solos would be unnecessary. There is so much beautiful and characteristic music based upon this poetic subject that the arrangement of such a program would seem to be well worth the effort. In most cases the readings could be selected to have a direct bearing upon the pieces to be played.

2. The best way to interest boys in vocal music in public school work is to give them something tuneful and interesting to sing. Practice in sight-singing and drill in the intervals may also be made interesting if care be taken and the subject matter be presented in a vivid manner.

3. Forms for diplomas and certificates may be obtained from the publishers of The Etude.

H. M.—In cases where a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth is played against a triplet of eighth notes, the sixteenth note must follow the last note of the triplet, but the time must not be interrupted, the rhythm following along evenly.

L. G.—1. In the case of your pupil who memorizes so easily you should insist upon slow and exact practice. It is best not to work too long at a single piece, but it must be done thoroughly. It is a good plan to review pieces.

2. In the case of the second pupil mentioned, who gets pieces mixed up, possibly you should insist on a careful reading of the notes, and if the pupil memorizes do it slowly and thoroughly.

3. Poor readers should be brought on gradually, beginning with simple music.

4. Pieces used with pupils should be such as can be mastered, after a moderate effort, in a reasonable length of time. It is a safe plan to have the studies used about a half a grade in advance of the pieces. This rule will apply particularly to all three pupils mentioned above.

F. M. B.—1. The Tonic Sol-fa system uses the initial letter of the syllable names to indicate the relation of the various sounds to a tonic. Thus d for do, r for re, m for mi, f for fa, s for sol, l for la, t for ti, which is used instead of si. There are other characters, of course. You will find a concise manual in the Novello series of music primers.

2. This system takes account of modulations. For example, you may be singing a passage in the key of G; accidentals are introduced to change into the key of E-flat; G, which was do, now becomes mi, and, of course, B-flat is sol, or soh, as the Tonic Sol-fa system calls it.

E. B.—It is not a common practice for composers to follow the dominant triad with the sub-dominant, both chords having notes in the bass, but when the dominant is the last chord of a phrase, forming a half-cadence, the subdominant as the first chord of a new phrase may follow.

S. M. G. C.—1. Orlando di Lasso has been called the “Prince of Sacred Music” in the 16th century.

2. It is not possible to say who discovered or first made use of the dominant seventh. As a chord combination resulting from the movement of one voice of the dominant chord from the dominant through the sub-dominant to the mediant, it was used by all the early contrapuntists. Monteverde (1567-1643) is credited with being the first to use it freely and unprepared.

3. Gigue and giga are French and Italian spellings of the same word.

4. The old ecclesiastical theorists had a saying about the Tritone, as follows: “Mi contra fa diabolus est,” that is, the progression from F to B or vice versa, is unsatisfactory.

5. An example of a perfect eleventh is the interval from G, first line of the bass staff, to C, first leger line above; a major thirteenth, G to E, second leger line above; a minor tenth, from G to B-flat, first added space above; diminished fourteenth might be, theoretically, a diminished seventh added to an octave or from G-sharp to F, above Bass staff; it would not figure as an harmonic combination, however, for it would be considered only as a diminished seventh; an augmented ninth would be from G to A-sharp, fifth line of bass staff.

6. The metronome indication refers to the number of beats to the minute. Hence 160 quarter notes to a minute shows that a quarter note will have a time duration of one one hundred and sixtieth of a minute or 3/8 of a second.

E. D. B.-We indicate, as nearly as can be, the pronunciation of the names you give. There is no dictionary that covers this ground. It is not difficult to learn the principles of pronunciation of words in the German, French, and Italian languages. Among the appendices of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is one which gives the “Elements of Pronunciation of the Principal Modern Languages of Europe.” A careful study of this will aid you.

Lohengrin, as if an English word, long o; Aïda, “Aheédah;” Tannhäuser, “Tahnhoiser;” Ernani, “Airnáhnee;” Feramors, “Fairamores;” Iphigenie, “Ifiganeéa;” Traviata, “Trahveeáhta;” Euryanthe, “Erryáhnteh;” Preciosa, “Pretsiosa;” Freischütz, “Fryshüts” (the sound of the German ü is similar to that of the English long e, pronounced with the lips rounded and shaped for the oo sound in food); Fidelis, “Feedáylis;” L’Africaine, “L’African,” l and af as one syllable; Die Meistersinger, “Dee Mystersinger;” Nibelung, “Níbeloong;” Judas Maccabæus, “Joodas Maccabeéus;” Semiramide, “Semirahmeédeh;” Genoveva, “Gaynovayva; Valkyrie, “Vahlkeérie;” Siegfried, “Seegfreed;” Götterdämmerung, “Gehterdameroong,” the eh as if it were an er, with the r unsounded; Rheingold, “Rinegold;” Tristan, “Tristahn;” Isolde, “Iz-zoldeh;” Rienzi, “Reeéntsee;” Parsifal, as if English, accent first syllable; Le Prophete, “Leh Profet;” Pagliacci, “Pahlyáhtchee;” Vincent d’Indy, “Vahcen” (nasal sound to the vowels, as in Chopin); “Dandy” (nasal sound to the an); L’Etranger, “l’etrahnzh,” the zh like z in azure; Lucia di Lammermoor, “Lootcheea dee Lammermoor;” La Juive, “Lah Zhweeve,” zh like z in azure; Polyeucte, “Pollyoócte;” L’Eclair, “l’eclare;” Don Quixote, “Don Keehoate;” Don Giovanni, “Don Jováhnee,” J like z in azure; Robert le Diable, “Robare leh Deahbl,” two syllables only; Idomeneo, “Eedomaynio;” Clemenza di Tito, “Cleméntsa dee Teeto;” Oberto di San Bonifacio, “Obareto dee San Bonifáchyo;” Nabucco, “Naboóco;” I Lombardi, “Ee Lombahrdee;” Alzira, “Altseera;” Rigolétto, same as English; I Puritani, “Ee Pooreetahnee;” La Gazza Ladra, “Lah Gahtsa Lahdrah.”

L. F.—It is not possible in the small limit of this column to answer the question: “What is the difference between classical and popular music?” We have had long articles, and writers of musical work give a full chapter to the subject. A composition that has stood the test of time may be called a classic. Music written in the style accepted by the great composers is said to be in the classical style. Thus, the works by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, in sonata form, for piano, quartet, or orchestra, are usually called classical, because the sonata form is accepted as the most artistic form; works written by composers since then in a similar or modified form are also called classical in form, although they may not have, as yet, had the test of time. At the present day the term “classical” is used very loosely by many persons to signify music in which the accepted rules of form, harmony, counterpoint, etc., are followed, the composer aiming to develop his piece from one or more principal themes, just as the minister or orator develops his discourse from a text or central thought, and subdivisions of the general idea. In “popular music,” so called, the composer aims to supply a simple, flowing melody, generally known and commonly used harmonies, and, especially, rhythms such as are characteristic of dance tunes, like the waltz, schottische, march, two-step, etc. Music of the highest class aims to make use of all the elements in music, melody, simple or more complex, all possible harmonic combinations and progressions, rhythms, dance or otherwise, dynamic variations, contrast in tone quality, as in works for the symphoney (sic) orchestra, etc., while music of the popular type is largely based on rhythmic ideas joined to simple and familiar melodic progressions. This is the reason why so many “popular” songs seem reminiscent.

Anon.—One of the newest works on early music is “The World’s Earliest Music,” by Hermann Smith. The price is $1.75, net. For a critical work we recommend Parry’s “Evolution of the Art of Music,” $1.75, or a work which is not quite so deep, Henderson’s “How Music Developed,” $1.25, net. The most complete works on Counterpoint, Fugue, Form, Musical Construction, etc., is the series by Prout, $2.00 each. The “Cambridge Text Book of Music,” by Banister, is a very concise work, covering the subjects just named. The price is $1.00, net.

 

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