Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/67

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KEY.
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in two fingerings, according as a lower or upper key may be the keynote. The note C becomes a black key, and the thumb is more frequently used on the black keys than has been usually permitted with the old keyboard. The latest school of pianists, however, regard the black and white keys as on a level (see Preface to Dr. Hans von Bülow's Selection from Cramer's Studies, 1868) and this has tended to modify opinions on the point. In 1876–7 the partisans of the new German keyboard formed themselves into a society, with the view of settling the still more difficult and vexed question of the reconstruction of musical notation. Thus, discarding all signs for sharps and flats, the five lines of the stave and one ledger line below, correspond to six black fingerkeys for C, D, E, F♯, G♯, A♯, and the four spaces, including the two blanks one above and one below the stave, correspond to six white finger-keys, C♯, D♯, F, G, A, B. Each octave requires a repetition of the stave, and the particular octave is indicated by a number. The keyboard and the stave consequently correspond exactly, black for black and white for white, while the one ledger line shews the break of the octave. And further the pitch for each note, and the exact interval between two notes, for equal temperament, is shewn by the notation as well as on the keyboard. The name of the association is 'Chroma- Verein des gleichstüfigen Tonsystems.' It has published a journal, 'Die Tonkunst' (Berlin, Stilke), edited by Albert Hahn, whose pamphlet, 'Zur neuen Klaviatur' (Königsberg, 1875), with those of Vincent, 'Die Neuklaviatur' (Malchin, 1875) and of Otto Quanz, 'Zur Geschichte der neuen chromatischen Klaviatur' (Berlin, 1877), are important contributions to the literature of the subject. The inventor appears to have been K. B. Schumann, a physician at Rhinow in Brandenburg, who died in 1865, after great personal sacrifices for the promotion of his idea. The pianoforte maker of the society is Preuss of Berlin, who constructs the keyboard with C on a black key; width of octave 14 centimétres,[1] (5¾ inches nearly), and with radiating keys by which a tenth becomes as easy to span as an octave is at present. About sixteen other pianoforte makers are named, and public demonstrations have been given all over Germany. In this system much stress is laid upon C being no longer the privileged key. It will henceforth be no more 'natural' than its neighbours. Whether our old keyboard be destined to yield to such a successor or not, there is very much beautiful piano music of our own time, naturally contrived to fit the form of the hand to it, which it might be very difficult to graft upon another system even if it were more logically simple.

The fact that the fingering of the right hand upwards is frequently that of the left hand downwards has led to the construction of a 'Piano à double claviers renversés,' shown in the Paris Exhibition of 1878 by MM. Mangeot frères of that city. It is in fact two grand pianos, one placed upon the other, with keyboards reversed, as the name indicates, the lower commencing as usual with the lowest bass note at the left hand; the higher having the highest treble note in the same position, so that an ascending scale played upon it proceeds from right to left; the notes running the contrary way to what has always been the normal one. By this somewhat cumbersome contrivance an analogous fingering of similar passages in each hand is secured, with other advantages, in playing extensions and avoiding the crossing of the hands, etc.

[App. p.690 "The last new keyboard (1887–8) is the invention of Herr Paul von Jankó of Totis, Hungary. In this keyboard each note has three finger-keys, one lower than the other, attached to a key lever. Six parallel rows of whole tone intervals are thus produced. In the first row the octave is arranged c, d, e, f♯, g♯, a♯, c; in the second row c♯, d♯, f, g, a, b, c♯. The third row repeats the first, the fourth the second, etc. The sharps are distinguished by black bands intended as a concession to those familiar with the old system. The keys are rounded on both sides and the whole keyboard slants. The advantage Herr von Jankó claims for his keyboard is a freer use of the fingers than is possible with the accepted keyboard, as the player has the choice of three double rows of keys. The longer fingers touch the higher and the shorter the lower keys, an arrangement of special importance for the thumb, which, unlike the latest practice in piano technique, takes its natural position always. All scales, major and minor, can be played with the same positions of the fingers; it is only necessary to raise or lower the hand, in a manner analogous to the violinist's 'shifts.' The facilities with which the key of D♭ major favours the pianist are thus equally at command for D or C major, and certain difficulties of transposition are also obviated. But the octave being brought within the stretch of the sixth of the ordinary keyboard, extensions become of easier grasp, and the use of the arpeggio for wide chords is not so often necessary. The imperfection of balance in the key levers of the old keyboard, which the player unconsciously dominates by scale practice, appears in the new keyboard to be increased by the greater relative distances of finger attack. On account of the contracted measure of the keyboard, the key levers are radiated, and present a fanlike appearance. Herr von Jankó's invention was introduced to the English public by Mr. J. C. Ames at the Portman Rooms on June 20, 1888. It has many adherents in Germany. His pamphlet 'Eine neue Claviatur,' Wetzler, Vienna, 1886, with numerous illustrations of fingering, is worthy of the attention of all students in pianoforte technique."]

[ A. J. H. ]

III. KEYS (Fr. Clefs; Ger. Klappe; Ital. Chiave). The name given to the levers on wind-instruments which serve the purpose of opening and closing certain of the sound-holes. They are divided into Open and Closed keys, according to the function which they perform. In the former case they stand normally above their respective holes, and are closed by the pressure of the finger; whereas in the latter they close the hole until lifted by muscular action. The closed keys are levers of the first, the open keys usually of the third mechanical order. They serve the purpose of bringing distant orifices within the reach of the hand, and of covering apertures which are too large for the last phalanx of the finger. They are inferior to the finger in lacking the delicate sense of touch to which musical expression is in a great measure due. In the Bassoon therefore the sound-holes are bored obliquely in the substance of the wood so as to diminish the divergence of the fingers. Keys are applied to instruments of the Flute family, to Reeds, such as the Oboe and Clarinet, and to instruments with cupped mouthpieces, such as the Key Bugle and the Ophicleide, the name of which is a compound of the Greek words for Snake and Key. [Ophicleide.] In the original Serpent the holes themselves were closed by the pad of the finger, the tube being so curved as to bring them within reach. [Serpent.]

The artistic arrangement of Keys on all classes of wind instruments is a recent development. Flutes, Oboes, Bassoons, and Clarinets, up to the beginning of the present century or even later, were almost devoid of them. The Bassoon however early possessed several in its bass joint for the production of the six lowest notes on its register, which far exceed the reach of the hand. In some earlier specimens, as stated in the article referred to, this mechanism was rudely preceded by plugs, requiring to be drawn out before performance and not easily replaced with the necessary rapidity. [See Bassoon.]

The older Flutes, Clarinets, and Oboes only possess three or four keys at most, cut out of sheet metal, and closely resembling mustard-spoons. The intermediate tones, in this deficiency of keys, were produced by what are termed 'cross-fingerings,' which consist essentially in closing one or two lower holes with the fingers, while leaving one intermediate open. A rude approximation to a semitone was thus attained, but the note is usually of a dull and muffled character. Boehm, in the flute named after him, entirely

  1. The width of 6 of the present keys.