Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/347

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CHANGE.
335
CHANSON.

changes, and the time generally allowed for ringing them:—

No. of Bells. Name. No. of Changes. Years. Days. Hours. Minutes
3 . . . . . . . 6 . . . . . . . .
4 Singles . . . 24 . . . . . . 1
5 Doubles . . . 120 . . . . . . 5
6 Minor . . . 720 . . . . . . 30
7 Triples . . . 5,040 . . . . 3 . .
8 Major . . . 40,320 . . 1 4 . .
9 Caters (quaters) 362,880 . . 10 12 . .
10 Royal . . . 3,628,800 . . 105 . . . .
11 Cinques . . . 39,916,800 3 60 . . . .
12 Maximus . . . 479,001,600 37 355 . . . .

CHANOT, François, son of a violin-maker, was born in 1787 at Mirecourt in France. He entered the army as an engineer under the Empire, but quitted it after the Restoration. Returning to Mirecourt, he made special studies on the construction of the violin, and ultimately built one which deviated considerably in form from the accepted pattern. Believing that, in order to make every part of the instrument partake equally of the vibrations of the sound, the fibres of the wood should be preserved in their entire length, he considered the corners and curves of the outline as so many obstacles to the propagation of the waves of sound, and accordingly gave his violin a pear-shaped form, resembling that of the guitar. The belly he made quite flat, and left out the soundpost altogether, on the ground that it merely served to break the waves of sound, while in reality it transmits them from belly to back.

This violin (if one may still call it so), the only one Chanot ever made, he submitted to the authorities of the Institut de France. After having been examined by a committee of eminent men, both scientific and musical, and tried against instruments of Guarnerius and Stradivarius, it was pronounced not inferior in quality to the violins of these great makers. (Rapport de l'Institut, in the 'Moniteur,' Aug. 22, 1817). It is difficult to account for this decision, which experience quickly proved to be a complete delusion, as all instruments made after the new pattern turned out of indifferent quality. A brother of Chanot's, a violin-maker at Paris, for some time continued to make violins of this kind, but was soon obliged to give it up. This endeavour to improve upon the generally adopted pattern of the great Italian makers, resulted, like all similar attempts before and since, in complete failure. Chanot died in 1833.

[ P. D. ]

CHANSON. The French chanson, derived from the Latin cantio, cantionem, is a little poem of which the stanzas or symmetrical divisions are called 'couplets.' Being intended for singing, the couplets are generally in a flowing rhythm, and written in an easy, natural, simple, yet lively style. As a rule, each couplet concludes with a repetition of one or two lines constituting the 'refrain'; but the refrain is sometimes separate, and precedes or follows the couplet, in which case it may be a distich or quatrain, or even a stanza, of different rhythm to the rest of the song. The history of the chanson would involve a review of the whole history of France, political, literary, and social. Suffice it to say here that all modern songs may be classed under four heads—the 'chanson historique'; the 'chanson de métier'; the 'chanson d'amour'; and the 'chanson bachique'; four divisions which may be traced in the ancient poets.

1. The historical songs may be subdivided into four classes, sacred, military, national, and satirical. The sacred songs include the 'cantique,' the 'noël,' or Christmas carol, the 'hymne,' and also the 'complainte,' or lament, and the 'chanson de solennités politiques,' composed to celebrate an accession to the throne, or other public event. The 'cantatas' performed on state occasions by other nations took their origin from these 'chansons de solennités.' The national songs of France are entirely modern. [See Vive Henri IV; Marseillaise; Départ Chant du, La Parisienne, &c.]

2. The 'chansons de métier,' like the 'chansons militaires,' were originally merely cries. (Kastner, 'Les Voix de Paris.') Of all the popular songs, these professional chansons are the fewest in number, and the least interesting both as regards words and music.

3. On the other hand, the 'chansons d'amour' are innumerable and well worth studying. In them the French poets exhausted all the resources of rhythm. The 'lai,' an elegiac song, accompanied by the rote, harp, or vielle (hurdy-gurdy); the 'virelai,' turning entirely on two rhymes; the 'descort,' in which the melody, and sometimes the idiom changed with each couplet; the 'aubade,' the 'chant royal,' the 'ballade,' the 'brunette,' the 'rondeau,' and the 'triolet,' are all forms of the 'chanson amoureuse,' which was the precursor of the modern 'romance.'

4. The 'chansons bachiques' are also remarkable for variety of rhythm, and many of them have all the ease and flexibility ot the 'couplets de facture' of the best vaudeville writers. In some songs the words are more important, in others the music. Hence arose a distinction between the 'note' or air, and the 'chanson' or words. The old chansons have a very distinctive character; so much so that it is easy to infer the time and place of their origin from their rhythm and style. The popular melodies of a country where the inhabitants live at ease, and sing merely for amusement, have as, a rule nothing in common with those of a people whose aim is to perpetuate the memory of the past. The songs too of those who live in the plains are monotonous and spiritless; whilst those of mountaineers are naturally picturesque, impressive, and even sublime. It is not only the influence