Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/488
��effect, in the well-known Minuet in 'Don Gio- vanni'; and Spohr has used similar combinations in the Slow Movement of his Symphony, 'Die Weihe der Tone.' The last-named Composer has also used f , in the Overture to his finest Opera, 1 Faust; and f, in the Second Act of the same work.
It must not be supposed that this admirable system sprang into existence in a moment of time. It was the result of long experience, and many tentative experiments ; but we have pre- ferred to treat of it, in its perfect condition, rather than to dwell upon the successive stages of its progress; and the more so, because, since the tune of Bach, and Handel, it has undergone scarcely any change whatever. 2 Those who care to study its transitional forms will find some curious examples among the numerous Ricercari, Toccate, and Capricci, composed for the Organ by Frescobaldi, during the earlier half of the i 7th century.
When the old Ecclesiastical Modes were abandoned in favour of the modern Major and Minor Scales, the insertion of accidental Sharps, Flats, and Naturals, was no longer left to the discretion of the performer. The place of every Semitone was indicated, exactly, in writing ; and, in process of time, the Double-Sharp ( X ) and Double-Flat (bb) corrected by the Jjjf and b, were added to the already existing signs. A curious relique of the mediaeval custom was, however, retained in general use, until nearly the end of the 1 8th century, when the last Sharp or Flat was suppressed, at the Signature, and accidentally introduced, during the course of the piece, as often as it was needed. Thus, Han- del's Fifth Lesson for the Harpsichord (contain- ing the 'Harmonious Blacksmith') was originally written with three Sharps only at the Signature, the D being everywhere made sharp by an acci- dental. (See the editions of Walsh and of Arnold.) A few of these ' Antient Signatures ' as they are now called may still be seen, in modern re- prints ; as in Mills' s edition of Clari's Duet, ' Cantando un di,' which, though written in A major, has only two Sharps at the Signature.
The rapid passages peculiar to modem Instru- mental Music, and not unfrequently emulated by modern Vocalists, naturally led to the adoption of characters more cursive in style than the quaint old square and lozenge-headed notes, and capable of being written with greater facility. Thus arose the round, or rather oval-headed notes, which, in the iSth century, completely supplanted the older forms. Lozenge -headed Quavers, and Semi- quavers, whatever their number, were always printed with separate Hooks. The Hooks of the round-headed ones were blended together, so as to form continuous groups, containing any num- ber of notes that might be necessary a plan which greatly facilitated the work both of the
1 In the P.F. arrangement, only : not In the Full Score.
2 Unless we except the praxis of the Modern Italian Composers, who always write In Simple Time, and make it Compound by the iu-
24 ertion of Triplets a strange contrast to the conscientious . of the
' writer, and the reader. Moreover, with the increase of executive powers, arose the demand for notes indicating increased degrees of rapidity ; the Semiquaver was, accordingly, subdivided into I Demisemiquavers, with three Hooks, and Half- j Demisemiquavers, with four the number of ad- ditional Hooks being, in fact, left entirely to the discretion of the Composer. 8
The introduction of the dramatic element played a most important part in the development of modern Music ; and, in order to do it justice, it became imperatively necessary to indicate, as precisely as might be, the particular style in which certain passages were to be performed. As early as 1608, we find, in the Overture to Monteverde's ' Orfeo,' a direction to the effect that the Trumpets are to be played con sordini. It was manifestly impossible to dispense, much longer, with indications of Tempo. Frescobaldi was one of the first great writers who employed them ; and strangely enough, considering his birth in Ferrara, and long residence in Home one of his favourite words was Adagio, spelled, as in the Venetian dialect, Adasio. The idea once started, the words Allegro, Largo, Grave, and others of like import, were soon brought into general use ; and their number has gradu- ally increased, until, at the present day, it has become practically infinite. As a general rule, Composers of all nations have, by common con- sent, written their directions in Italian ; and, as a natural consequence of this practice, many Italian words have been invested with a con- ventional signification, which it would now be difficult to alter. Beethoven, however, at one period of his life, substituted German words for the more usual terms, and we find, in the Mass in D, and some of the later Sonatas, such expressions as Mit Andacht, Nicht zu, geschwind, and many others. [See BEETHOVEN, vol. i. p. 1936.] Hesoon relinquished this novel practice ; but Mendels- sohn sometimes adopted it as in Op. 62, No. 4, marked Mit vieler Innigkeit vorzutragen, and numerous other instances. Schumann, also, wrote almost all his directions in German : and the custom has been much affected by German Composers of the present day. A few French Musicians have fallen into the same habit ;* and it was not unusual, at the close of the last and beginning of the present century, to find English Composers especially in their Glees substitut- ing such words as 'Chearful,' and 'Slower,' for A llegro, and Piii Lento. Nevertheless, the Italian terms still hold their ground ; and the adoption of a common language, in such cases, is too obvious an advantage to be lightly sacrificed to national vanity.
We have already noticed the first indications of Dynamic Signs, in the Antiphonary of S. Gall. This, however, was quite an exceptional case.
The slowness with which these innovations were accepted is well exemplified in an article in the 'Penny Cyclopaedia,' (1833-5) the writer of which, lamenting the addition of unnecessary Hooks, regreU that he is obliged to mention the name of Beethoven among those who have been guilty of this monstrous absurdity!
| 4 Berlioz, for Instance, Indicates the use of ' Harpes, deux au moius,'
i and ' Baguettes d'eponge ' t