Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/521

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FAUST.
509
FAUX-BOURDON.

duced at the Théatre Lyrique Mar. 19, 1859; at Her Majesty's Theatre, as 'Faust' June 11, 63; at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden, as 'Faust e Margherita,' July 2, 63; in English (by Chorley), as 'Faust,' at Her Majesty's, Jan. 23, 64. In Germany as 'Margarethe.'

Music to Goethe's Faust was composed by Lindpainter, and appears to have been produced at Stuttgart in June 1832; also by Prince Radziwill, the score of which was published in 1836. Spohr's Faust (words by Bernhard), a romantic opera in 2 acts, is in no respect connected with Goethe's play. It was composed at Vienna in 1813 for the Theatre an der Wien, but was first performed at Frankfort in March 1818, and was for many years a great favourite. It was produced in London by a German company at the Prince's Theatre May 21, 1840; and in Italian at Covent Garden under Spohr's baton July 15, 52.

[ G. ]

FAUSTINA BORDONI. See Hasse, Signora.

FAUX-BOURDON, or Falsobordone, a simple kind of Counterpoint to the Church Plain Song; in other words, a harmony to the ancient chant. The first kind of variation from strictly unisonous singing in the Middle Ages was the 'Organum,' or simple aggrandisement of multitudinous choral effect by the additions of octaves above and below the Plain Song or melody, answering to the accompaniment of the diapasons by principal and bourdon stops in the modern organ. Other parallel concords were also (as in the 'mixture' organ stops) blended with the octaves—as the fifth, and even the fourth. These appear to have been used as early as the 8th century. After the Organum the next improvement was the 'Diaphonum' and 'Descant,' and by the 14th century there are historical intimations that these had led, by a natural development, to the use of 'Faux bourdon' at Avignon, whence it was taken to Rome on the return of the Papal Court after its seventy years absence from that city. Hawkins (History, ch. 56) mentions an English MS. tract, by one Chilston, preserved in the 'Manuscript of Waltham Holy Cross,' most likely of the 14th century, giving rules and directions 'for the sight of descant .... and of Fauburdon.' Gaforius (1451–1522), who is justly considered the father of the artistic music of the great school which culminated in Counterpoint à la Palestrina, as also Adam da Fulda, about the same period, are among the earliest writers who speak of this kind of harmony. M. Danjou has discovered in the Library of S. Mark, Venice, treatises by Gulielmus Monachus, from which it is plain that in the i.fth century the faux-bourdon was held in equal honour in England and in France.

The English term Fa-burden is evidently a corruption from the French and Italian. Burden, or Burthen, is used both for the refrain of a part song or chorus, and for a vocal accompaniment to dancing—

       'Foot it featly here and there.
        And let the rest the burden bear.'

The word Bordone, and Bourdon, in its primary sense, is (in both languages) a pilgrim's staff; hence, from similarity in form, the bass-pipe, or drone, of the bag-pipe; and thence again simply a deep bass note. As the earliest Falsi bordoni of which we have specimens are principally formed, except at their cadences, by successions of fourths and sixths below the Plain Song melody, such an accompanying bass, to those who had hitherto been accustomed to use the low octaves of the organum, and to consider thirds and sixths inadmissible in the harmonised accompaniment of the Gregorian Chant, would sound false; and this application of the meaning of the falso and faux seems a more rational derivation than that sometimes given from falsetto and falsette, as implying the combination of the high voices with the low in Falso Bordone harmony.

The following example, from a [1]MS. copied from authentic sources at [2]Rome, will give a better idea of the nature of this kind of Counterpoint than any verbal description. It is a Faux-bourdon, of the 15th century, on the 2nd tone (transposed from D to G); originally written for 3 voices with the canto fermo in the alto part; and with a soprano part, ad libitum, added by Baini:—

The same harmony (in 4 parts) is given by Alfieri (1840) a 5th higher. A Faux-bourdon on the same tone (transposed into F♯) is given by M. C. Frank, Paris 1857:—

Falsi bordoni by Vittoria, Bernabei, de Zacha-

  1. 'Octo Melodiae octo Modorum harmonice factae ut modulabantur saeculo VII., ad praescriptum Adami de Fulda, et Franchini Gaforii.'
  2. For this and similar specimens of harmonies to other tunes, see 'Accompanying Harmonies of Plain Song,' by Rev. T. Helmore, Brief Directory, p. 7.