Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/422

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410
COURANTE.
COUPERIN.

copying the curious rhythmical oddities which give to some of Couperin's pieces, particularly his courantes, an air of stiffness and angularity akin to ill-carved wooden puppets:—compare Bach's second courante, in the first of the Suites anglaises, particularly the first Double thereof, or the courante in the fourth Partita in D major, with Couperin's courantes in G minor and D minor, C minor, A major, and B minor, from the first, second, third, fifth, and eighth 'ordre' of his 'Pieces de clavecin.' A distinction should be made between Couperin's type of 'courante' and the Italian 'corrente,' as it is to be found in Corelli's works—of which latter type Bach also gives many specimens. [Courante.] Couperin's suites, in a word, are a sort of refined ballet music. He has re-set the dances played by the orchestra in Lully's operas for the clavecin, and the theatrical twang noticeable in the quaint titles of many of the pieces—for instance, 'La majestueuse,' 'L'enchanteresse,' 'La prude,' 'La flatteuse,' 'La voluptueuse,' 'Les enjouments bachiques,' 'Tendresses bachiques,' 'Fureurs bachiques,' etc.—has stood in the way of a thorough musical development.

Couperin's published works are four sets of 'Pièces de clavecin'; his 'Méthode, ou l'art de toucher le clavecin, y compris huit Preludes'; 'Les gouts reunis, ou nouveaux concerts, augmentés de l'apothéose de Corelli'; 'L'apothéose de l'incomparable Lully'; 'Trios for two violins and bass'; and 'Pieces de viole.' A careful reprint of his suites for the clavecin, of which two volumes have hitherto appeared, is being edited by Brahms.

[ E. D. ]

COUPLER. All modern organs are provided with mechanical appliances called 'couplers.' These useful adjuncts are of two general kinds 'manual couplers' and 'pedal couplers.' (1) The former operate in one of three ways: either by taking down on one manual the key corresponding to that played on another, in which case it is a ‘unison coupler’; or by taking down the octave above the note pressed down, when it forms an ‘octave coupler,’ sometimes incorrectly called a 'super-octave coupler'; or by operating on the octave below, forming a 'sub-octave coupler.' The octave and sub-octave couplers sometimes act on the manual on which the note is struck. The couplers are put in action by draw-stops inscribed according to circumstances—as 'Swell to Great,' 'Great to itself,'—or by pedals. Manual couplers date back at least as far as 1651, when Geissler's organ at Lucerne was completed; which, according to the account formerly existing over the keys, contained 'several registers, whereby one may make use of the three manuals together, or of one or two of them separately.'

(2) A pedal coupler attaches a particular manual to the pedal-clavier; and by bringing the lower 2½ octaves of the compass of the manual under the control of the feet, produces the effect of a third hand on any manual required.

[ E. J. H. ]

COURANTE (Ital. Corrente), (1) A dance of French origin, the name of which is derived from courir, to run. It is in 3-2 time, of rather rapid movement, and begins with a short note (usually a quaver) at the end of the bar. It is distinguished by a predominance of dotted notes, as in this, from Bach's 'English Suites,' No. 4,

{ \time 3/2 \key f \major \partial 8 << \relative f'' { f8 f4. c8 d4.\( f8 c4 bes8\prall a16 bes\) | a8 c d e f a g a bes a g e | }
\new Staff { \clef bass \key f \major \relative g { r8 | << { r g a4 bes c d e } \\ { f,1. } >> f'4. c8 d4. f8 c4 bes8\prall a16 b } } >> }

and requires a staccato rather than a legato style of performance. Like most of the other old dances, it consists of two parts, each of which is repeated. A special peculiarity of the courante is that the last bar of each part, in contradiction to the time-signature, is in 6-4 tune. This will be seen clearly by an extract from the movement quoted above:—

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/2 << \relative a'' { a4. e8 f4. g8 d4.\prall c8 | << { c2. ~ c2 r8 \bar ":|" } \\ { s2. <g e>2 r8 } >> }
\new Staff { \clef bass \key f \major \relative f { f8 e d c b g c4 g' g, << { c2. c2 r8 } \\ { r4 c,2 ~ c r8 } \\ { s4 r g' } >> } } >> }

As a component of the suite, the Courante follows the Allemande, with which in its character it is strongly contrasted. In losing its connection with the dance, it underwent a slight modification: whereas in its earlier shape the 6-4 rhythm was only to be found in the concluding bar of each part, courantes are frequently to be met with in suites wherein the two rhythms are mixed up, and sometimes even where, in spite of the time-signature, the 6-4 rhythm predominates throughout. This is especially the case in many of those by Couperin. The endeavour to bring out these various features clearly and prominently, without injuring the flow of the whole, led to the adoption of the polyphonic style, by which the Courante is so strongly contrasted with the Allemande. Its chief points may be briefly summed up thus—triple time, prevalence of dotted rhythms, alternations of 3-2 and 6-4 times, and polyphonic treatment.

(2) The Italian courante (Courante Italienne), called also, like the preceding, simply Corrente or Courante, is a different form, quite independent of that just mentioned. It answers more nearly to the etymological meaning of its name, consisting chiefly of running passages. This courante is also in triple time—usually 3-8, but sometimes 3-4—and of rapid tempo, about allegro, or allegro assai. It is thus, like the French courante, contrasted with the allemande. As an example of this class may be