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Answers to Questions

A department of expert advice for the use of any ETUDE reader who may desire information upon some special musical subject.
Q. What is meant by the word "Requiem?" (D. E. S.)
A. A mass for the dead. It is a part of the Roman Catholic Church service, but some of the great requiems, such as the "Manzoni" requiem of Verdi, the great requiem of Berlioz, and the "German" requiem of Brahms are frequently performed at choral concerts. The requiems of Mozart, Cherubini and Gossec are also famous.
Q. What is the difference between a motive and a phrase? (J. L.)
A. A motive is the short theme from which a longer passage is made. A phrase in the melody sense may consist of only two notes, but it is usually longer. It may best be defined as a "passage of melody, complete in itself and unbroken in its continuity." It has also been called a "single, definite musical thought or idea." Some writers consider a passage as long as a complete musical sentence of eight measures a phrase. There is much difference of opinion upon the subject and many uses of the term.
Q. Are double sharps and double flats on white keys—the sharps a tone above and the double flats a tone below? (Old Subscriber.)
A. The double sharp is the sign used to indicate the use of one whole tone higher and the double flat the sign used to indicate one tone lower than the notes before which these signs are used. In practically all cases the double sharp, as well as the double flat, falls upon a white key on the pianoforte, but it would be possible to have it fall upon a black key, as in the case of e double sharp or f double flat. Such cases, however, are so rare that they need not be considered.
Q. Shall I instruct my vocal clauses to pronounce the word wind wĭnd or wīnd? (D. W.)
A. This must be determined by the rhyme of the verse and by the personal taste of the teacher. In some districts wĭnd is preferable, as wīnd might be considered affected.
Q. Is it safe for a young man to begin voice culture as soon as his voice has changed? (M. J.)
A. It is safer to wait and often better to wait as long as a whole year.
Q. Do pianists or singers constantly count "to themselves" while performing in public, or do they depend upon their developed natural sense of rhythm to keep strict time? (W. I. H.)
A. This depends upon the individual. Some count, but the ideal way is to depend upon the rhythmic sense, which is often developed by years spent in counting.
Q. Is there any particular reason why publishers state that a vocal selection is "for Baritone in the Key of D," or for "Soprano in the Key of F," etc.? Is there any way in which I can tell from a given key the highest and lowest notes in a selection? (Victoria.)
A. If you know the selection you desire and have a knowledge of the scales, you can tell the vocal limits of the piece in another key. The fact that the key is given is of no value to you unless you have previously seen the piece in some other key. It is, however, of great value to teachers who desire to order familiar pieces in other keys.
Q. Are the works of Meyerbeer considered as great as those of Wagner? (B. E. S.)
A. No.
Q. What is a quadruplet? (M. O.)
A. A group of four notes to be played in the time usually given to three or six of the same denomination. Where a movement has been in groups of three, as in the case of the eighth notes in 9/8 time, and a group of four notes is introduced instead of three eighth notes, the group of four is called a "quadruplet."
Q. Has any country ever employed a scale 0f six equal tones?
A. Yes. The Javanese have such a scale. It runs C, D, E, F#, G#, A#, C.
Q. I am told that music that contains imitations of the sounds of Nature is always of a lower class. Kindly tell me whether any of the great composers have attempted to imitate the sounds of Nature in their music?
A. Some famous masters have attempted to imitate the sound of animals. In the "Cat's Fugue," by Krieger, we have the miawing of the cat. Haydn attempted to imitate the crowing of the cock and the roaring of the lion, in the "Seasons" and in "The Creation." Beethoven, in the pastoral symphony, has tried to imitate the nightingale, the lark and the quail, and Mendelssohn, in the overture to "The Midsummer Night's Dream," is said to have tried to imitate the bray of the ass. There are numerous other instances. Examples are given in Ralph Dunstan's excellent "Encyclopedic Dictionary of Music."
Q. What is a Strathspey? (Inquirer.)
A. A quick Scottish dance in four-quarter time. The movement is characterized by groups of notes consisting of a dotted eighth followed by a sixteenth.
Q. When did Weber write the piece known as "Weber's Last Waltz?"
A. The piece to which you refer is falsely named. It was not written by Weber, but by Reissiger, who was a German musician born at Wittenberg.
Q. What is the difference between the dash or point ( ' ) and the dot ( • ) used over notes to mark staccato? (Treble.)
A. The dash or point indicates that the note is to be played very short. The dot is used where the note is not so short. Some writers make a general rule that in the case of the point the note should be played for one-quarter of the length indicated, while in the case of the dot the note is held for one-half of the length of the note indicated. The point is the oldest form of staccato sign.
Q. What does "Magg." mean? (L. S.)
A. This is an abbreviation of Maggiore, the Italian form of the word Major.
Q. How is Auber pronounced? (S. of C.)
A. O-bair.
Q. Did Haydn ever write a "Toy Symphony?" (Z. A.)
A. Yes. An attractive article upon the subject of how to conduct children's symphonies with toy instruments appeared in The Etude for April, 1908, and was part of the Children's Department.
Q. Please recommend a book on the subject of "How to succeed in music."
A. Mr. Tapper's work. "The Music Life and How to Succeed in It," is excellent and treats upon the subject from both the practical and the ideal standpoints. Mr. Geo. Bender's "Dollars in Music," which will be published shortly, will treat of the subject from the business standpoint. Both books are full of new ideas for musicians and students.
Q. What is a vorschlag?
A. This is the German term for the appogiatura or the grace note.
Q. Who was the great violinist who toured America with Rubinstein?
A. Henri Wieniawski.
Q. Who is called the "Saviour of Church Music?"
A. Palestrina.

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