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Answers To Questions

Q. Do pianists or singers constantly count while interpreting? (W. F. H.)
A. No, but many do. Until the playing becomes automatically correct from the standpoint of time or rhythm it is always advisable to count. Young students should count aloud, to insure correct time. As the student becomes more advanced silent counting may be employed. In orchestras many of the performers count, but the process of counting in this case becomes subconscious.

Q. Mention some of Mehul’s pianoforte compositions.
A. Mehul’s fame rests almost wholly on his operas. He wrote over thirty-five operatic works, but they are rarely heard now. He was born at Givet, France, in 1763, and died at Paris in 1817.

Q. What is the meaning of the word œuvre? (J. A.)
A. It is the French word for work or composition, the Latin term for which is opus. Chef d’œuvre means leading work or masterpiece. The English term is always preferable when writing in English, except in the case of the word opus, which universal use has sanctioned.

Q. Is there such a thing as a chair organ? (Musicus.)
A. Yes, chair organ is simply another, but rarely used, term for choir organ.

Q. Was there ever such a thing as a pocket fiddle? (Treble Clef.)
A. Yes, it was known as a kit or pochette, but in Germany was called taschengeige. It was really nothing more than a diminutive violin that was carried in a very large pocket by dancing masters.

Q. Who was considered the foremost German organist of the last century? (L. O.)
A. Impossible to decide. Most organists would name Gustav Adolf Merkel, who was born in Oberoderwitz, Saxony, on November 12, 1827, and died in Dresden in 1885. He was a pupil of Joh. Schneider and Julius Otto, and was a splendid organist himself.

Q. How is the word campanello pronounced? (B Sharp.)
A. Kam-pah-nel-lo. Accent on the syllable nel. The word is Italian, and means a small bell.

Q. What is the difference between the words fin and fine? I saw the former in an old French composition. (Rousseau.)
A. Fin is the French form of the Italian fine, meaning the end.

Q. How long ago did the meistersingers exist? (L. G.)
A. The meistersingers came into existence about the 14th century. The minnesingers, who preceded them, had been for the most part men of noble or royal birth. The meistersingers, however, were composed of workingmen who assembled for mutual enjoyment. They were the master craftsmen of their trades, and their great amusement was music. The German male singing societies of to-day are really evolved from the meistersinger idea. The last society of meistersänger was dissolved in Ulm as late as 1839.

Q. What is the real meaning of refrain? (Singer.)
A. In its modern sense it means the chorus sung at the end of each verse in certain strophic songs with similar musical setting for each verse. The drone of the bagpipe is also colloquially called the refrain, as was the music sung to dancing.

Q. Is it true that Theodore Wachtel, the celebrated German tenor, was a cab-driver?
A. No. Wachtel’s father, however, kept a livery stable in Hamburg, and Wachtel continued in this business after his father’s death, until his wonderful voice was discovered. He then discontinued this business, and devoted himself to singing. He sang in most of the famous European opera houses, and was the Caruso of his day. His last appearance was in New York in 1875. He amassed a large fortune.

Q. Did Friederich Wieck have any other famous pupils beside Robert Schumann and his daughters, Clara (Schumann) and Marie Wieck?
A. Yes. Among them were H. Von Bülow, Anton Krause, Fritz Spindler, I. Seiss and Gustav Merkel. Wieck was born in Pretzsch in 1785 and died in a little village near Dresden in 1873. In his youth he studied theology, but abandoned it for medicine. He established a piano factory and a musical circulating library in Leipzig, but gave up both to become a teacher of pianoforte. He was one of the most successful teachers of his day.

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