For instance, if bass C be sounded with middle C, and the latter be slightly out of tune, middle C and the first harmonic of the lower C will be in the position of imperfectly tuned unisons, and beats will be produced. If C and G be sounded together, and the latter be out of tune, the second harmonic of the former and the first of the latter will clash in a similar manner, and beats will be produced between them. And so with other consonances.
The value of beats to organ-tuners is well known, as their disappearance when the notes are in tune is a much safer criterion of exactness than the musical sense unaided. Moreover it is possible to discover, by simple calculation of the number of beats in a second relative to the number of vibrations, the exact amount any note is out of tune with another.
For more complete discussion of this subject, see an article by W. Pole, Mus. Doc., F.R.S., in 'Nature' for 1876, Nos. 324, 325.
[ C. H. H. P. ]
BEAULIEU, Marie Désiré, whose family name was Martin, son of an artillery officer of Niort, born in Paris 1791 [App. p.533 "April 11"]. He studied under Rodolph Kreutzer, Benincori, and Méhul, and obtained the 'Grand Prix' at the Conservatoire in 1810. He did not accept the five years' tour to which the prize entitled him, and settled at Niort. Here he founded quartet meetings, and in 1829 a Philharmonic Society, which was afterwards expanded into the 'Association musicale de l'Ouest' (1835). This society was the first of its kind in provincial France, and through the untiring zeal of its founder has attained a high pitch of excellence. Yearly festivals are held in turn at Niort, Poitiers, La Rochelle, Angoulême, Limoges, and Rochefort; and Mendelssohn's 'St. Paul' and 'Elijah' were performed at Rochelle by this society long before they were heard in Paris. Beaulieu wrote in all styles, but excelled in church music. His principal work was a requiem on the death of Méhul, composed 1819, performed 1840. He also wrote much on music. A complete list of his compositions is given by Fétis. [App. p.533 "He died in 1863."]
[ M. C. C. ]
BEAUMAVIELLE, a baritone singer, brought from Toulouse by Perrin to sing in 'Pomone', the first French opera by Cambert, produced in 1671. After Lulli had obtained the transference of Perrin's monopoly to himself, Beaumavielle was one of the best singers at his opera-house. He died in 1688, soon after Lulli, and was succeeded by Thévenard.
[ M. C. C. ]
BEBUNG (Ger.; Fr. Balancement; Ital. Tremolo), a certain pulsation or trembling effect given to a sustained note in either vocal or instrumental music, for the sake of expression. On stringed instruments it is effected by giving an oscillating movement to the finger while pressing the string; on wind instruments and in singing by the management of the breath.
The word Bebung refers, however, more particularly to an effect peculiar to the old clavichord, but not possible on the modern pianoforte, in which the continuous and uninterrupted repetition of a note was produced not by a fresh blow, but by a movement of the tip of the finger without leaving the key. This effect was formerly held in high estimation as a means of expression, and Emanuel Bach in the introduction to his 'Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen,' says, comparing the then newly-invented pianoforte with the clavichord, 'I believe, nevertheless, that a good clavichord possesses—with the exception that its tone is weaker—all the beauties of the former (the pianoforte), and in addition the Bebung and the power of sustaining the tone, inasmuch as after striking each note I can give a fresh pressure.'
The Bebung was not often marked, except sometimes by the word tremolo. Marpurg, however ('Principes du Clavecin'), gives the following as the sign of its employment, using as many dots over the note as there were to be repetitions of the sound— .
[ F. T. ]
BECHER, Alfred Julius, born of German parents at Manchester, 1803; educated at Heidelberg, Göttingen, and Berlin. His life was one of perpetual movement and adventure. Before he was 40 he had lived in Elberfeld, Cologne, Düsseldorf, the Hague, and London, had practised as an advocate, edited a mercantile newspaper, and twice filled the post of Professor of Composition. But whatever else he did he was always faithful to music. In 1841 his wanderings came to an end in Vienna, and at the instance of Mendelssohn he took up musical criticism, in which he was very successful, associating himself with the 'Wiener Musik-Zeitung' and the 'Sontagsblättern.' He was equally enthusiastic for the old masters and for Berlioz. In 1848 he threw himself into politics as a violent democrat, became editor of the 'Radikale,' was tried by court martial and shot on Nov. 23, 1848, in the Stadtgraben of Vienna. Becher published songs, sonatas, and pianoforte pieces, many of which became favourites. He composed a symphony, a violoncello fantasia (performed at a concert at which he had the aid of Jenny Lind), and string quartets. But these, though full of ability and intelligence, never made any impression on the public. Becher's literary works were almost entirely fugitive, but he published a biography of Jenny Lind (1846).
[ C. F. P. ]
BECHSTEIN, Friedrich Wilhelm Karl. The first half of this century was not marked by any noteworthy progress in North German pianoforte-making, the instruments made being far behind the Viennese. But this reproach cannot now be applied either to Berlin or Leipsic. Herr Bechstein established his workshops in the former city in 1855. By the adoption of the American system of iron framing and of an action based upon the English, he has raised a reputation for his concert instruments reaching beyond Prussian limits. Herr Bechstein is a native of Gotha.
[ A. J. H. ]