The Etude
Name the Composer . Etude Magazine Covers . Etude Magazine Ads & Images . Selected Etude Magazine Stories . About

Questions and Answers

M. R. B.—You can get information about musical scholarships by applying to Carl Ziegfeld, secretary of the Chicago Musical College, 202 Michigan Boulevard, Chicago, Ill.

C. T. L.—In a number of works for vocal students, especially the foreign editions, the syllable names are used according to the “fixed do” system, in which C is always called do; D, re; E, mi, etc., no matter in what key the piece is written. It is not possible for a pupil trained in the “movable do” or Tonic-sol-fa systems, to use the syllables in such cases as those alluded to. You should rewrite the syllables in your exercises, placing do under the key-note, and the others in their proper place according to the key-note.

H. S. D.—In the minor scale if the sixth degree is not chromatically raised, and the seventh is raised, it forms the harmonic minor scale. This is the same, ascending and descending. When the sixth and seventh are raised ascending, it forms the melodic minor; this scale has the sixth and seventh, without chromatic raising, when descending.

A. T. B.—When the part for tenor voice is written with the so-called tenor or C clef on the third space, it is understood that the C is the same pitch as middle C, the first leger line below the treble or first leger line above the bass staff. When, as in many anthems, the treble clef is used, and an accompanist wants to play the tenor part it should be played an octave lower. The tenor voice is an octave lower in pitch than the soprano; hence the sound will be an octave lower, though the note be written the same.

2. When an accompanist wishes to play from the vocal score of a male quartet the two tenor parts should be played an octave lower than written, if the treble clef has been used for these voices, but, as explained in No. 1, if the tenor clef has been used, the actual pitch is to be played, in which case the third space is to be considered middle C.

3. When the vocal score of a quartet for female voices is to be played the pitch is the same as written, and the treble clef is used. The parts are called first and second sopranos, first and second altos.

It would not be proper to call the chord C, E-flat, F-sharp, and A the Diminished Seventh Chord of C, although it is correct to say on C, meaning C as the root, or, more accurately, the apparent root. According to the system of harmony used by Dr. H. A. Clarke, in his text-book on the subject, also followed by the leading English theorists, the Diminished Seventh Chord is a part of the Dominant Ninth, the ninth in this case being minor—with the root omitted. Therefore the Diminished Seventh of C is the chord B, D, F, A-flat, being the third, fifth, seventh, and minor ninth from G, the Dominant of C.

H. W. C. D.—It is not very practicable to provide a key to a text-book on counterpoint, because to a given Cantus a very great number of counterpoints can be written. The object of contrapuntal study is to stimulate melodic invention, and a key would tend to discourage all originality.

M. E. C.—Tied notes should not be repeated unless a small dot should be placed over them.

E. S. M.—In response to your query as to a work on “Fingering” we would refer you to a most interesting article on this subject by Constantin Sternberg, in the May Etude, page 108. The ideal work on fingering has not yet been written. Much important information on this subject will be found in Germer’s “Technics,” a rather large and exhaustive work. An older and much smaller volume is the “Art of Fingering,” by Bidez. A careful perusal of the text of all four works of Mason’s “Touch and Technic” will be found of great benefit in this connection.

D. A.—1. The first tone of a phrase will usually be delivered with a light arm-touch, the fingers immediately falling into stroke-position for the execution of the remainder of the phrase. You have misinterpreted the meaning of the rule, that “the down-arm touch is very rarely, if ever, used for single tones.” Single is here used in the sense of detached. The reason for delivering the first tone of a phrase with an arm-touch is that, as the arm must be dropped in order to bring the hand into contact with the keyboard, the further use of the finger-touch for the first tone would be superfluous.

2. The touch indicated by the combined dot and slur is now generally known as the “non-legato.” It is also sometimes called the “portamento.” Notes marked in this manner lose about one-quarter of their length, for instance: a quarter note would be played like a dotted eighth, followed by a sixteenth rest; the eighth notes at the beginning of the “Little Love Song,” by Bohm, will be played like dotted sixteenths, followed by thirty-second rests. The “pressure-touch” may be used to advantage in this and similar passages,

3. In the Heller study in Grade 4 of the Standard Course, the non-legato is not indicated, since the dot is over the second note only, and not over the first. This is simply a pair of tied notes, the dot over the second one merely indicating that it is to be cut very short.

M. T. B.—We know of no work devoted exclusively to the “evolution” of the dance. There are, however, a number of good histories of dancing and technical works on the subject which incidentally cover the ground very thoroughly. A recent work entitled “Dancing,” by Mrs. Grove, and published in the Badminton Library of Sports, will probably be found to contain just the information you require. In addition to a history and description of the various dances from the earliest times, it contains a number of interesting musical examples. For a purely theoretical consideration of the various “dance-forms,” from a musical stand-point, we would advise you to consult Prout’s “Musical Forms.”

J. R. F.—Your query relating to the proper execution of the “left-hand accompaniment in a simple waltz” raises an interesting point for discussion. It is in just such apparently simple matters as this that so many players display an inexcusable carelessness. A measure of waltz accompaniment usually consists of the bass of the harmony struck in octave upon the first beat, followed by a three-part chord on the second beat, the same chord being repeated on the third beat. In accordance with the consensus of modern teaching, the octave upon the first and strongly accented beat will be taken with a “down-arm” touch; the chords upon the second and third beats, with the “up-arm” touch. Of course, various dynamic and interpretative markings by the composer might indicate other touches, but the conventional waltz accompaniment will be best executed in the manner prescribed above.

Mrs. J. B. D— 1. It is difficult for a young pupil to acquire a clean execution on the piano who is at the same time practicing upon a reed-organ. It would perhaps be better if for awhile you confined the practice of your pupil to one instrument, preferably the piano. The habit of “stammering” may be best eradicated by a resort to slow practice, accompanied by sight-reading exercise and time-drill.

2. The reason why No. 39 of the “Foundation Materials” seems more difficult than Nos. 36 and 37 to many pupils is that it requires greater independence of the hands. It should be studied very slowly at first.

3. Quite frequently pupils, especially those who are deficient in sight-reading, or who lack decided rhythmic sense, will, when counting aloud, accommodate the count to the playing. You had best require your pupil to practice with the metronome for awhile.

S. A.—1. There is no reason to say that the major scale originated from the voice or any special peculiarity of speech. There are many varieties of scales in use among the various nations and tribes of the world, and a number of others were once in use, but have been dropped. In obedience to an esthetic instinct all scales have intervals of different sizes, our major scale having whole and half-steps; the Hungarian scale, whole and half-steps, as well as the augmented second; the pentatonic scale, on which “Auld Lang Syne” is constructed, has no half-steps at all in the melody. Consult the history of the scales as found in histories of music, and also the article in Grove’s “Dictionary of Music.”

2. There is no recognized number of grades for piano-study. The house of Theodore Presser has adopted the decimal plan as most convenient, and always recognizes ten grades. Many schools make the number of grades suit the number of years in their courses, usually two to each year.

M. R. H.—It is not possible to give any satisfactory directions for making combinations of the stops of reed-organs, since the names used by different makers vary so much. All the well-known manufacturers issue a book of instructions for the use of their organs which gives directions for making combinations. A few general suggestions can be made. The stops are usually marked 8 feet, 4 feet, and 16 feet. The 8-feet stops are the foundation-stops, and give a pitch the same as the piano; the 4-feet stops give a pitch an octave higher; the 16-feet an octave lower. The 4-feet stops are added to the 8-feet to give brilliancy to tone, the 16-feet to add strength and body. If a 16-feet stop is used alone, play an octave higher than you would ordinarily; with a 4-feet an octave lower.

H. M.—You will find articles on Russian music and composers in The Etude for January, 1900; in Music, published in Chicago; and in “Famous Composers and Their Works,” found in most public libraries.

<< Musical Items     Woman's Work In Music >>

Monthly Archives


The Publisher of The Etude Will Supply Anything In Music