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Questions and Answers

S.—1. Mr. Edward Macdowell is generally recognized as the leading American composer in the large forms. His works rank high, equal with the majority of contemporary European composers.
 
2. Paderewski is pronounced Pah-dreff-ski; Liszt, List; Gericke, Gehricky; Bispham, Bispum.
 
B. I. C.—1. The musical phrase is a succession which expresses a complete musical thought. The smallest melodic division is the motive, which may contain as few as two notes, generally the equivalent of one measure (two if the tempo be very rapid; two motives or two repetitions, of one motive usually make a phrase). We judge from your query that you have confused the musical phrase, an element of form in music, with "phrasing" as applied in playing.
 
2. Phrasing, as the term is generally used, consists in indicating the relation the various musical ideas bear to each other and to the entire work. A phrase is like a clause in a sentence, and phrasing is the parallel in playing of the method whereby a speaker or a reader makes clear the relation of the clause to the entire sentence. An example may be taken from the text of a very popular song. It runs thus:
 
And let me sit beside you, in your eyes
Seeing the vision of our Paradise.
 
As generally sung this becomes:
 
And let me sit beside you in your eyes.
 
A manifest absurdity. Proper phrasing requires a break at the comma after you, the end of a phrase, and the momentary break made there is the parallel of punctuation in the sentence.
 
3. The slur so-called is used very loosely by composers and musical editors. It is commonly employed to indicate a legato execution. At other times, and by the most careful writers always, to indicate the various subordinate phrases, between which there should be a slight break, varying according to the needs of expression. The end of a phrase may be over a note of any value. Two excellent articles on this question appeared in The Etude for October and November, 1903, by Dr. Percy Goetschius, the well-known theoretician.
 
R. H. D.—1. It is not an infrequent occurrence that pupils have difficulty in controlling the action of the thumb-joint next to the hand, due to what is usually called double-jointedness. The remedy is patience and continued effort to keep the joint from yielding inwardly. This trouble can be overcome.
 
2. We are not in position to say that all parties who advertise to correct musical manuscripts are responsible. You will find in the advertising columns of The Etude the cards of competent musicians who do this kind of work. It may be that there are publishing firms who will take advantage of composers who send manuscripts to them; we can say, without any qualification, that no reputable firm, such as those well-known in the music trade, will publish compositions entrusted to them for examination without first making proper legal arrangements with the composer.

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