Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/359

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CHIROPLAST.
347
CHITARRONE.

Zeitung,' in 1820, expresses himself favourably upon it. He was present at an examination of Logier's pupils, and writes—'when a new study was begun in quick tempo, the less advanced pupils were unable to get in more than a note or two in each bar, but by degrees they conquered more and more of the difficulties, and in a shorter time than one could have believed possible the study went well.'

By the terms of his patent, Logier exercised the right of granting permission to other professors to make use of the chiroplast and his system, for which they paid high terms. In 1816 he succeeded in persuading so many professors of the excellences of his method, that chiroplast academies were established in the provinces, and Samuel Webbe, at that time in great vogue, commenced teaching the system in London.

So much success was not allowed to pass unchallenged, and hostile criticisms found expression in a number of pamphlets, some respectable, some merely abusive. Of these the principal were an article in the 'Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review,' i. 3; 'General Observations,' etc. (Edinburgh, R. Burdie, 1817); and 'Strictures on Mr. Logier's System …,' by H. de Monti (Glasgow, W. Turnbull).

Feeling that these publications were likely to injure him Logier determined to invite the members of the Philharmonic Society, and other musicians, to attend an examination of Webbe's pupils in London on Nov. 17, 1817. The results of this examination were published by him in a pamphlet entitled 'An Authentic Account, etc., by J. B. Logier' (London, Hunter, 1818).

This was answered in a new pamphlet, 'An exposition of the New System …, published by a Committee of Professors in London' (London, Budd and Calkin, 1818). The committee was chosen from among those who had attended the examination on Nov. 17, and consisted of 29 of the most distinguished musicians of the day—Sir George Smart, Drs. Carnaby, Crotch, and Smith, Messrs. Attwood, Ayrton, Beale, Burrows, François Cramer, Dance, Ferrari, Greatorex, Griffin, Hawes, William Horsley, Hullmandel, Knyvett, C. Knyvett, jun., Latour, Mazzinghi, Neate, Vincent Novello, Potter, Ries, Sherrington, Schoener, Walmisley, T. Welch, Williams.

Logier rejoined in a not very temperate tract—'A Refutation of the Fallacies and Misrepresentations,' etc.

For some time after this, pamphlets in abundance made their appearance. One of the most bitter was an article written by Kollmann, organist to the German Chapel, St. James's, to the 'Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung' in Nov. 1821, and published at the same time in English, in which the writer is candid enough to say that he believes the principal secret of Logier's system is to rob all other professors of their pupils.

On the other side, Spohr, in the letter already quoted, says, 'There is no doubt that the chiroplast fulfils its purpose of inducing a good position of the hands and arms, and is of great service to Herr Logier, who has to look after thirty or forty children playing at once.' And in 1821 Franz Stoepel, who was sent to London by the Prussian government to examine into Logier's system, made so favourable a report that Logier was invited to Berlin, where in 1822 he established a chiroplast school, which was so successful that the King proposed to him to instruct twenty professors in his method, with the view of spreading it over the whole of Prussia. Logier accordingly remained three years in Berlin, visiting London at intervals. Meantime the chiroplast was introduced into many of the leading towns of Germany. In Paris, Zimmermann, professor of the pianoforte at the Conservatoire, had classes on the system, but in England it gradually died out, until it may be doubted if a single professor remains who employs the method, though the apparatus is still occasionally to be met with at sales of secondhand instruments.

The chief drawback to the chiroplast, apart from the risk of the hands falling into bad positions when the support was withdrawn, was the fact that the thumb could not be passed under the fingers, nor the fingers over the thumb, as in scale-playing. Kalkbrenner, who joined Logier in the establishment of a chiroplast class in 1818, perceived this, and in consequence adopted his so-called hand-guide, which consisted simply of the lower rail or wrist-support of the chiroplast, without the finger-guides, in which simplified form it is manufactured and sold at the present day (1877). By another modification the hand was placed in a sliding wooden mould, made to fit the palm, and secured by a small strap which passed over the back of the hand, thus allowing free movement of the hand along the keyboard, and of the thumb under the fingers.

That Logier's proceedings were not free from charlatanism may be inferred from the fact of the establishment in Dublin of a 'Chiroplast Club,' with a special button; and that his pretensions were extravagant may be gathered from his remark to Mazzinghi, that he 'considered himself an instrument, in the hands of Providence, for changing the whole system of musical instruction.' Still, the object in view was good, and the attention drawn to the subject cannot fail to have exercised a beneficial influence on pianoforte teaching.

[ F. T. ]

CHITARRONE (Ital, augmentative of Chitarra). A theorbo, or double-necked lute of great length, with wire strings and two sets of tuning-pegs, the lower set having twelve, and the higher eight strings attached; the unusual extension in length affording greater development to the bass of the instrument. The Italian chitarra was not strung with catgut like the Spanish guitar, but with wire, like the German cither and the old English cithern. The chitarrone, as implied by the suffix, was a large chitarra. Like its cousin the archlute it was employed in Italy in the 16th century with the clavicembalo and other instruments to accompany the voice, forming a band, the nutty, slightly bitter timbre of which must