Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/461

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
DISCORD.
449
DITTERSDORF.

the chord of the 6th and 3rd on the second note of any key. The changed combination which must follow them in order to relieve the sense of pain they produce is called the resolution. For the various kinds of discords and their resolutions see Harmony.

DISSOLUTO PUNITO, IL, OSSIA IL DON GIOVANNI. The full title of Mozart's opera, so well known by the latter half of its name. [See Don Giovanni.]

DISSONANCE is any combination of notes vhich on being sounded together produces Beats; that is, an alternate strengthening and weakening of the sound, arising from the opposition of the vibrations of either their prime tones, or their harmonics or their combination tones, which causes a painful sensation to the ear.

DITAL HARP, or chromatic harp-lute, one of the numerous attempts made about the beginning of this century to improve or replace the guitar. Edward Light appears to have invented this form of stringed instrument about the year 1798. The harp-lute had originally twelve catgut strings—

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \relative g { \cadenzaOn g4 c d e f g a b c e g c } }

but this notation was a major sixth higher in pitch than the actual sounds. In 1816 the same Edward Light took out a patent for an improvement in this instrument, which he now denominated 'the British harp-lute.' The patent was for the application of certain pieces of mechanism called 'ditals' or 'thumb-keys,' in distinction from 'pedals' or 'foot-keys'; each dital producing by pressure the depression of a stop-ring or eye to draw the string down upon a fret and thus shorten its effective length, and render the pitch more acute. The most complete instrument of this construction he named the 'Dital harp.' In this each string has a 'dital' to raise it a semitone at pleasure.

[ A. J. H. ]

DITTERSDORF, Karl Ditters von—whose original name was Ditters—distinguished violinist, and prolific composer in all branches of music, but specially esteemed for his German national operas; born at Vienna, Nov. 2, 1739. He soon outstripped his early teachers on the violin, König and Ziegler (not Zügler, as he calls him in his biography). Ziegler worked his pupil in the orchestra at St. Stephen's, and also in that of the Schottenkirche. Here Ditters was noticed by his chiefs, and on their recommendation was received into the private band of the Prince von Hildburghausen, who, being himself a man of high cultivation, looked after the general education of his young page (a lad of 11), and had him instructed in composition by Bonno, the court-composer, in the violin by Trani, and in foreign languages, fencing, dancing, and riding. The formation of his taste was much assisted by hearing Vittoria Tesi, who sang regularly at the Prince's concerts, and he soon formed an intimacy with Gluck and Haydn. When the Prince dismissed his band in 1759 he procured a place for Ditters in the Empress's opera, but wishing to see the world he started in 1761 with Gluck on a professional tour in Italy, where his playing was much admired. Meantime the famous Lolli had been performing in Vienna with great success, but Dittersdorf on his return vanquished him; the general verdict was 'Each has marvellous execution, but Ditters also speaks to the heart.' His intimacy with Haydn was of service to them both. 'Whenever we heard,' says he, 'a new piece, we went through it carefully together, doing justice to all that was good, and criticising what was bad in it'—an impartial course seldom pursued by young composers. In the early part of 1704 he went with Gluck and Guadagni to Frankfort for the election and coronation (April 3) of the Archduke Joseph as King of the Romans. He played twice at court with brilliant success, but his expectations were not otherwise fulfilled, and on his return to Vienna the rudeness of Count Wenzel Spork, the then manager of the theatre, made him gladly accept