Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/170

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158
BEAT.
BEALE.

named one of the professors of the pianoforte there.

[ W. H. H. ]

BEALE, William, was born at Landrake Jan. 1, 1784, and brought up as a chorister of Westminster Abbey under Dr. Arnold and Robert Cooke. In 1813 he gained by his madrigal, 'Awake, sweet muse,' the prize cup given by the Madrigal Society. He published in 1820 a collection of his glees and madrigals. On the title-page of his madrigal 'What ho! what ho!' published in 1816, he is styled 'Gentn, of His Majesty's Chapels Royal,' an appointment he never held. He gained a prize at the Adelphi Glee Club in 1840. He died in London on the 3rd of May, 1854. [App. p.533 adds "After the breaking of his voice he served as a midshipman on board the Révolutionnaire, a 44-gun frigate, which had been taken from the French. From Jan. 30, 1816, to Dec. 13, 1820, he was one of the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal. In November of the latter year he had been appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In Dec. 1821 he returned to London, and became successively organist of Wandsworth Parish Church and St. John's, Clapham Rise. (Dict. of National Biography.)"]

[ W. H. H. ]

BEARD, JOHN, one of the most eminent of English tenor singers, born about 1717, was in his boyhood a chorister of the Chapel Royal under Bernard Gates. He first appeared as a tenor singer in Handel's performances at Covent Garden Theatre in 1736, singing in 'Alexander's Feast,' 'Acis and Galatea,' and 'Atalanta.' On Aug. 30, 1737, he appeared at Drury Lane Theatre as Sir John Loverule in Coffey's ballad opera 'The Devil to Pay,' and in the following season was regularly engaged there. In 1739 he married Lady Henrietta, the young widow of Lord Edward Herbert, and daughter of the Earl of Waldegrave, on which he retired for a short time from professional life. After fourteen years uninterrupted happiness, Lady Henrietta died in 1753, aged thirty-six. Beard performed at Drury Lane until 1743, after which he was engaged at Covent Garden until 1748; he then returned to Drury Lane, where he continued until 1759, in which year he married Charlotte, daughter of John Rich, proprietor of Covent Garden Theatre, and was again engaged at that house. Rich dying in 1761, Beard became, in right of his wife, proprietor and manager of the theatre, and so continued until an increasing deafness determined him to dispose of his interest in it and quit the stage. He took his leave of the public as Hawthorn in 'Love in a Village' May 23, 1767. After his retirement he resided at Hampton, where he died, Feb. 4, 1791, in his seventy-fourth year. His wife survived him until August 26, 1818, when she died at Hampton at the great age of ninety-two. Beard throughout life bore the reputation of being a highly honourable and upright man. To form an estimate of his abilities as a singer it is only necessary to remember that Handel composed for him the great tenor parts in 'Israel in Egypt,' 'Messiah,' 'Samson, 'Judas Maccabeus,' and ' Jephthah.'

[ W. H. H. ]

BEAT. The name given in English to a melodic grace or ornament, but with considerable uncertainty as to which particular ornament it denotes, the word having been very variously applied by different writers.

With some authors it signifies the Acciacatura, but it appears to be most generally understood to mean the Mordent (Ger. Beisser) (Ex. 1), in which connection it seems not impossible that its English name may have been originally 'bite.' Dr. Callcott however, in his Grammar of Music, speaks of the beat as a reversed shake, and derives its name from Battement, giving an example as in Ex. 2. Battement again, according to Rousseau (Dictionnaire de Musique), is a shake beginning on the upper instead of the principal note (Ex. 3)

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f << { \clef treble \relative c'' { \cadenzaOn c4\mordent^"1. Written." \bar "||" c2\mordent^"2." \bar "||" d4\prall^"3." c \bar "||" } }
\new Staff { \clef treble \relative c'' { \cadenzaOn c64[^"Played." b c32 ~ c8.] | b16[ c b c b c ~ c8] | e32[ d e d e d c16] c4 | } } >> }

It is doubtless owing to this uncertainty that the word has now almost fallen into disuse.

[ F. T. ]

BEAT. The movement of the hand or baton by which the rhythm of a piece of music is indicated, and by which a conductor ensures perfect agreement in tempo and accent on the part of the orchestra or chorus; also, by analogy, the different divisions of a bar or measure with respect to their relative accent.

Among the ancients the ordinary method of beating time was by striking the foot upon the ground. The person who exercised this function, corresponding to our modern conductor, was called by the Greeks Coryphaeus (principal), and by the Romans Pedarius or Pedicularius, from the custom of employing the foot to beat with, and it was usual for him to wear sandals of wood or metal, called pedicula or scabella, in order by their percussion to render the rhythm more evident. Sometimes the measure was marked by clapping the hands—in which case the timebeater was called Manuductor; and sometimes by the striking together of oyster-shells, bones, etc.

To our ears this incessant and noisy percussion would be unendurable, and a modern conductor would be severely criticised who could not keep his performers in tune by the noiseless movements of his baton; nevertheless, the improvement is of comparatively recent date, for we find Rousseau in 1768 complaining that the listener at the Paris opera should be 'shocked by the continual and disagreeable noise made by him who beats the measure.'

The method of beating now commonly in use in England, France, and Germany is as follows:—the first note of each bar (which has always the strongest accent) is indicated by a downward movement of the hand or baton, and this part of the bar is therefore usually known as the 'down-beat'; in triple time this is followed by two unaccented beats, which are shown by a movement first to the right and then upwards, unless in scherzos or other movements in rapid time, where it is usual to give merely a down beat at the beginning of the bar. In common time there may be either one or three non-accents, in the first case the simple up-beat suffices, in the latter the beats following the down-beat are to the left, to the right, and then upwards. In all cases