Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/119

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AYRTON.
107
B

ad eundem by the University of Oxford. The anthem by which he obtained his degree, 'Begin unto my God with timbrels,' was performed in St. Paul's Cathedral, July 28, 1784, the day of general thanksgiving for the termination of the American revolutionary war, and was afterwards published in score. In 1805 he relinquished the mastership of the children of the chapel, having been allowed during many years to execute the duties of his other offices by deputy. He died in 1808, and his remains were deposited in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. Dr. Ayrton's contributions to the Church consist of two complete morning and evening services, and several anthems. (Mus. Periodicals; Biog. Dict. U. K. S.)

[ E. F. R. ]

AYRTON, William, son of the preceding, was born in London in 1777. He was educated both as a scholar and musician, and was thus qualified to write upon the art. He married a daughter of Dr. S. Arnold, which introduced him into musical society, and he became a fashionable teacher. Upon the death of Dr. Aylward, in 1801, he was a candidate for the office of Gresham Professor of Music, but was unsuccessful, on account of his youth. In the palmy days of the 'Morning Chronicle' Mr. Ayrton was its honorary musical and literary critic from 1813 to 26; and he wrote the reviews of the Ancient Concerts and Philharmonic Society in the 'Examiner' from 1837 to 1851, also gratuitously. He was a Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, and an original member of the Athenæum Club. He was one of the promoters and members of the Philharmonic Society at its foundation in 1813, and subsequently a director. More than once he held the important post of musical director of the King's Theatre, and in that capacity had the merit of first introducing Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' to an English audience in 1817, and afterwards others of Mozart's operas. According to a writer of the period he twice, if not oftener, regenerated that theatre, when its credit was weakened by repeated failures. In 1823 he commenced, in conjunction with Mr. Clowes the printer, the publication of the 'Harmonicon,' a monthly musical periodical, which was continued for eleven years. Independently of the valuable essays, biography, and criticism in this work, it contains a choice selection of vocal and instrumental music. The writing of this journal and its criticisms upon the art were much in advance of anything that had previously appeared in England. This was followed in 1834 by the 'Musical Library,' a collection of vocal and instrumental music, consisting of songs, duets, glees, and madrigals, and a selection of pianoforte pieces and adaptations for that instrument, and extending to eight volumes. A supplement containing biographical and critical notices, theatrical news, etc., was issued monthly, making three extra volumes. He wrote the musical articles for the 'Penny Cyclopaedia'; the chapters on music in Knight's 'Pictorial History of England'; and the musical explanations for the 'Pictorial Shakespeare.' His latest work was a well-chosen collection of 'Sacred Minstrelsy,' published by J. W. Parker, in two vols. He died in 1858. (Imp. Dict. of Biog.; Private sources.)

[ E. F. R. ]

AZOR AND ZEMIRA, or the Magic Rose, in three acts; the English version of Spohr's opera Zemire und Azor, produced at Covent Garden Theatre, April 5th, 1831.


B.

B.The name of the seventh degree of the natural scale of C. In French and Italian it is called Si, and in German H (Ha), the name B being given to our B♭. The reason of this anomalous arrangement is explained in the article Accidentals.

B is an important note in the history of the musical scale, since its addition to the hexachord of Guido, which contained only six notes, transformed the hexachord at once into the modern scale of seven sounds, and obviated the necessity for the so-called mutations or changes of name which were required whenever the melody passed beyond the limits of the six notes forming a hexachord (see that word). The date of the first recognition of a seventh sound in addition to the six already belonging to the hexachord is uncertain, but Burmeister, writing in 1599, speaks of the additional note as nota adventitia, from which it would appear that it had not then come into general use.

At the time when the necessity for the introduction of accidentals began to be felt, B was the first note which was subjected to alteration, by being sung a semitone lower, and as it was considered that this change had the effect of making the melody softer and less harsh, the altered B (B♭) was called B molle, while the original B received the name of B durum. It should be borne in mind that the modern German designations B dur and B moll (which answer to our B flat major and B flat minor) have nothing to do with the older Latin names, as the melody which contained the B molle, and was on that account called cantus mollis, was identical with the modern key of F major.

It is on account of B having been the first note to which a flat was applied that the name of the flat in German is B (also written Be), and that scales having flat signatures are called B-Tonarten.

B♭ is the key in which one of the clarinets in use in the orchestra is set, and in which horns, trumpets, and certain brass instruments belonging to military bands can be made to play by arrangement of their crooks.