Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/148

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136
BAR.
BANTI.

than any of her rivals. Her voice was of most extensive compass, rich and even, and without a fault in its whole range,—a true voce di petto throughout. In her youth it extended to the highest pitch, and was so agile that she excelled most singers in the bravura style; but, losing a few of her upper notes, she modified her manner by practising the cantabile, to which she devoted herself, and in which she had no equal. Her acting and recitative were excellent. Her most favourite pieces were the 'Alceste' of Gluck, in which she very greatly excelled, three of her songs in it having to be repeated every night; his 'Ifigenia in Tauride '; Paisiello's 'Elfrida' and 'Nina'; 'Mitridate,' by Nasolini; 'Alzira,' 'Merope,' 'Cinna,' and others composed expressly for her by Bianchi. She also acted in comic operas, and was particularly successful in Paisiello's 'Serva Padrona.' Her spirits never flagged; nor did her admirers ever grow weary of her. They never wished for another singer; but Mrs. Billington had now returned, and astonished the public with her marvellous execution. The manager engaged her for the next season, and allowed Banti, whose health was now failing, to depart. Before the close of her last season (1802), however, an interesting performance took place. Banti prevailed on Mrs. Billington to sing with her on the night of her benefit, leaving her the choice of opera and character. Portogallo's 'Merope' was chosen, Mrs. Billington acting the part of the heroine, and Banti that of Polifonte, though written for a tenor. Banti died at Bologna, February 18, 1806, bequeathing her larynx (of extraordinary size) to the town, the municipality of which caused it to be preserved in spirits. Her husband was the dancer Zaccaria Banti, who was dancing in London as early as 1777 in Sacchini's 'Creso.' She left a daughter, married to Dr. Barbieri, who raised to her memory a monument in the cemetery outside the walls of Bologna, which was afterwards repaired and adorned by her husband, and from which we learn the places and dates of her birth and death ('Harmonicon,' viii.).

[ J. M. ]

BAPTISTE, a violin-player, whose real name was Baptiste Anet, a pupil of Corelli, and apparently one of the first to introduce the works and style of his great master at Paris, thereby materially influencing the development of violin-playing in France. When French writers of the period speak of him as an extraordinary phenomenon, and as the first of all violinists, we must remember that at that time instrumental music, and especially the art of violin-playing, was still in its infancy in France. Baptiste did not settle in Paris, in spite of his great success, owing probably to the circumstance of Louis XIV 's exclusive liking for old French music and for Lully. From Paris he went to Poland, where he spent the rest of his life as conductor of the private band of a nobleman. He published three sets of sonatas for the violin; two suites de pièces pour deux musettes, op. 2; and six duos pour deux musettes, op. 3.

[ P. D. ]

BAPTISTIN, Jean, a violoncellist whose real name was Johann Baptist Struck; of German parentage, born at Florence about 1690. He came to Paris, and he and Labbé were the earliest players of the cello in the orchestra of the Opéra. He had two pensions from the king, fixing him—the first to France, and the second to Paris. He produced 3 operas and 15 ballets, and published 4 books of cantatas. He died 1755.

BAR. A vertical line drawn across the stave to divide a musical composition into portions of equal duration, and to indicate the periodical recurrence of the accent. The word bar is also commonly, though incorrectly, applied to the portion contained between any two such vertical lines, such portion being termed a 'measure.' In the accurately ancient 'measured music' (musica mensuralis—that is, music consisting of notes of various and determined length, and so called to distinguish it from the still older musica choralis or plana, in which all the notes were of the same length) there were no bars, the rhythm—which was always triple—being shown by the value of the notes. But as this value was not constant, being affected by the order in which the longer or shorter notes followed each other, doubtful cases occasionally arose, for the better understanding of which a sign called punctam divisionis was introduced, written . or (Symbol missingsymbol characters), which had the effect of separating the rhythmic periods without affecting the value of the notes, and thus corresponded precisely to the modern bar, of which it was the earliest precursor.

The employment of the bar dates from the beginning of the 16th century, and its object appears to have been in the first place to facilitate the reading of compositions written in score, by keeping the different parts properly under each other, rather than to mark the rhythmic divisions. One of the earliest instances of the use of the bar is found in Agricola's 'Musica Instrumentalis' (1529), in which the examples are written on a single stave of ten lines, the various parts being placed above each other on the same stave (the usual arrangement in the earliest scores), with bars drawn across the whole stave. Morley also in his 'Practical Musick' (1597) makes a similar use of bars in all examples which are given in score; but the introduction of the bar into the separate voice parts used for actual performance is of much later date. The works of Tallis (1575), Byrd (1610), and Gibbons (1612), were all published without bars, while in Ravenscroft's Psalter (1621) the end of each line of the verse is marked by a single bar. This single bar is termed by Butler ('Principles of Musick,' 1636) an imperfect close, which he says is introduced 'at the end of a strain, or any place in a song where all the parts meet and close before the end,' while the perfect close (the end of the whole composition) is to be marked with 'two bars athwart all the Rules.'