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E. W. G.—You will find a concise statement of the biographical facts of Tschaikowsky’s life, an enumeration of his works, etc., in W. J. Baltzell’s “A Complete History of Music,” published by Theodore Presser. For a full consideration of his artistic tendencies see the interesting though prejudiced study of Tschaikowsky in D. G. Mason’s “From Grieg to Brahms.” For a detailed account of his life, “The Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tschaikowsky,” by his brother Modeste Tschaikowsky, translated and edited by Rosa Newmarch, is one of the most unusual personal records of a composer extant.

Piano Student.—The transposition into all keys of finger exercises, as recommended by Pischna, Philipp, MacDowell and others, helps greatly in attaining certainty of technic; it also helps to extend the problem of the exercise, as each key presents virtually a new exercise in itself. Some teachers recommend playing scales in all keys with the fingering of C major, and it is said that Anton Rubinstein used to make the students in his piano class at the St. Petersburg Conservatory play Czerny’s studies in various keys with the original fingering.

G. H. C.—In answer to your question as to why B-flat and A wind instruments are used instead of C, the clarinet, for instance, is much harder to play in keys having many sharps or flats. By using the clarinet in either B-flat or A the number of sharps or flats is greatly reduced and thus facilitates the execution of the pieces. In France they do use a trumpet in C almost exclusively, but in Germany and in this country they use trumpets in B-flat or A, according to what the signature is in flats or sharps and for the reason of simplification that ensues. The horn in F is used almost entirely in place of the horns in all keys, but that is chiefly because it combines more advantageous qualities. It is simpler also to transpose invariably a fifth lower than the note written, instead of constantly varying the interval as necessitated when horns of various keys are employed. Wagner, and at the present time, Richard Strauss, occasionally indicate horns in E in difficult sharp keys, in order to eliminate accidentals, but the chances are that orchestral players will employ the F horn and make a double transposition. On the subject of transposing instruments, look at E. Prout’s, “Treatise on Instrumentation,” published by Theo. Presser, or if in search of more detailed information consult the same author’s, “The Orchestra,” in two volumes, published by Novello, Ewer & Co.

(Kindly insert answer to query as to “work on the pipe organ, by Hinton,” as I do not find it mentioned in your catalogue.)

E. B. H.—Will you please answer the following? Why do they have B-flat and A wind instruments? Wouldn’t C answer all purposes and save transposition of the music? I have seen references made to a work on the pipe organ by A. Hinton. Do you have it? How much is it?

H. F. L.—If you want to find a clear and concise statement of the more important laws of acoustics and their relation to music, see the opening chapter in “Music and Musicians,” by Albert Lavignac, published by Henry Holt & Co., N. Y.

A. I. M.—Opera and oratorio probably sprang from the same source, the sacred plays or “mysteries,” which were popular at the end of the 16th century. The distinction usually accepted is that oratorio, from the Latin oratorium, a chapel, has a religious or Biblical subject, while the opera has a “secular” subject. “Parsifal,” nevertheless, is a religious work and is considered an opera, although Wagner’s own title is “A Dedicational Festival Play.” Rubinstein wrote a Biblical opera, “Moses,” in eight scenes. “Arminius” is called an “oratorio” on the title page, although it does not conform to the traditional requirement of having a religious subject. It is even spoken of as a “secular” oratorio, a seeming contradiction in terms but not more so than a “sacred” opera. “The Seasons” is also called an oratorio, although the subject is not “sacred.” The hard and fast distinction is not maintained at present as formerly, since standards in opera have become more and more serious, so that a religious subject is not incongruous, while the oratorio has taken on a more dramatic form, such as Edward Elgar’s, “The Dream of Gerontius.” For a concise account of the development both of opera and oratorio, see W. J. Baltzell’s, “History of Music,” chapters 17, 18, 22, 24 and following.

“Amateur Composer—For a simple treatise on musical form consult either “Musical Forms,” by E. Pauer (Theodore Presser), or “Lessons in Musical Form,” by Percy Goetschius (O. Ditson & Co.). Either of these books will give you the help you desire, but the chief experience to rely on is the works of the classic composers, and your own powers of observation, persistent study and original effort.

Teacher.—Yes, the studies of Czerny are still indispensable. No studies in the whole range of piano literature help so in attaining finger facility in nearly every variety of piano style. The most valuable of Czerny’s studies are Op. 299, The School of Velocity, Op. 740, The School of Finger Dexterity, Op. 636, The Preliminary School of Finger Dexterity, and Op. 365, The School of Virtuosity. The publisher of The Etude has now issued several volumes, containing the most useful of Czerny’s etudes, edited by Emil Liebling, and grading from easy to difficult.

A. G. L.—In answer to your inquiry as to the nature of the Wa-Wan Press publications, it aims simply to publish worthy American compositions from any section of the country, irrespective of whether they are based on Indian or Cowboy folk-songs, or on original themes. The year’s issue consists of two kinds, vocal and instrumental, in quarterly instalments. The price of a subscription to each is $3.00. The compositions previously published, extending over a period of four years, are also published in sheet music form. Their address is Newton Center, Mass.

Inquirer.—Ethelbert Nevin was born at Edgeworth, near Pittsburg, in 1861. His first published compositions are contained in his “Sketch Book,” Op. 1, a collection of piano pieces and songs. In spite of the wonderful popularity of “Narcissus” and other piano pieces, his ripest and most individual work is to be found in his songs, many of which are truly poetic.

G. B.—In his selection of studies from Clementi’s Gradus, Tausig gives the fingering for scales in double-thirds in all keys. These are the traditional fingerings. In Philipp’s “Exercises Journaliers” (Daily Exercises) he has devised a new system of fingering for double-thirds in all keys, which should prove useful to you.

 C. L.Beethoven did not give the name “Moonlight” to his Sonata, Op. 27, No. 2. His title was “Sonata Like a Fantasy” because the first movement is not in regular sonata form. This title to which you refer is the result of an imaginative publisher’s fancy. The same is true in regard to the fifth piano concerto, called “Emperor.”

T. B. S.—To develop the left-hand technic, Czerny’s “School for the Left Hand,” Op. 399, is excellent. For a modern and more comprehensive treatment of this specialty see Isidor Philipp’s “Exercises and Technical Studies for the Left Hand,” containing original exercises of great value and ingenious arrangements for the left hand from the works of Bach, Czerny, Kessler, Chopin, Schumann and Weber.

 J. L.—If you wish some practical book to teach the theoretical side of music to your piano students, you cannot do better than to use Caroline J. Norcross’, “Suggestive Studies for Music Lovers,” published by Theo. Presser, or “Intervals, Chords and Ear-training,” by Jean Parkman Brown, published by O. Ditson & Co.

T. S. N.—Cecile Chaminade was born in Paris, August 18, 1861, of an old French family. She began to compose at the age of eight. She studied the piano with Le Couppey, harmony with Savard, and the violin with Marsick (all teachers at the Paris Conservatory), and composition with Benjamin Godard. At the age of eighteen she was a brilliant pianist and played not only in Paris, but on short tours into the provinces. Her most pretentious works are Les Amazones, a lyric symphony with chorus; an unpublished ballet in one act, La Sevillane, another ballet “Callirshöc,” also a concert piece for piano and orchestra, which has been frequently given. Her piano pieces and songs are too well-known to need enumeration, although possibly it is not well-known that she has written a Sonata for piano, Op. 21, an Etude Symphonique, Op. 27, and two trios for piano and strings, of which the second, Op. 34, is published.

J. B.—The Paderewski prize for American composers was first awarded in 1900, when the winners were Henry K. Hadley, with his symphony in F minor, “The Seasons”; Horatio Parker, with “A Star Song,” for solos, chorus and orchestra, and Arthur Bird, with a Serenade for wind instruments. The competition was announced for the year 1905, the prize in the orchestral class was awarded to Arthur Shepard, of Salt Lake City, with an “Overture Joyeuse”; no prizes were awarded in the two other classes on account of the inferiority of the works submitted.

T. V. S.—Willem Mengelberg, the conductor, was born at Utrecht in Holland in 1871. He studied principally at the Cologne Conservatory. He was conductor of the Lucerne town orchestra in 1892, and has conducted the famous Concertgelouw (sic) Orchestra for more than ten years. He is one of the most celebrated of European conductors.

A. B. L.—1. The sign shaped like a small circle, if used in violin music, which we infer you have in mind, indicates the use of an open string, or a harmonic.
2. Henri Ravina was born at Bordeaux, France, May 20, 1818, was a pupil of the Conservatory at Paris, and afterward a teacher there. His compositions include salon pieces, etudes, etc.

O. H.—1. Folk-songs, that is, the people’s songs, have either sprung from the people, poet and composer being unknown, or have been made by some musician and taken up by the people, holding place for years: for example, some of the old German chorales, accepted by Martin Luther, are adaptations of old secular tunes used by the people for many years previous to Luther’s time. They generally have simple, easy melodies with plain diatonic harmonies. “Old Folks at Home,” by Foster, is an example of an American song that can be classed as a folk-tune, that is, in the style that is characteristic and representative of the people, not one class. European countries are rich in folk-songs, especially Russia and Germany; France, Italy, Spain. Scandinavia, have a rich and characteristic folk-song; in England the countryside tunes may be classed as folk-songs.
2. A first tenor is a voice of light, lyric quality with a high range, to high B-flat, for example.
3. “Vocal quartet obligato” would imply a composition in which a quartet sings simultaneously with a chorus, the two bodies having different themes.
4. Rossini is pronounced as if spelled Ros-see-nee, accent on the second syllable. Scherzo is pronounced as if spelled Scare-tso.

A. S.—1. In placing a piano on a platform, see that the treble side is nearest the audience.
2. The Secondo player should use the pedal in playing piano duets; in pieces properly prepared for publication, the pedal markings will be given, and the player whose part includes them is the one to observe them.

 

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