Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/691

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PEDAL POINT.

the true origin of Pedal, as we shall presently see. Example from the Mass known as ' Mozart

No. 12'

��PEDAL POINT.

��679

��Ex. 3. I , | I I I i i

��These remarks also apply to the long drum- passage in the middle of the first movement of Beethoven's 4th Symphony, and in Wagner's Prelude to ' Das Rheingold,' both of which are sometimes spoken of as Pedals, but which are merely cases of a long sustained note or chord. In a true pedal the harmony must be independent of the sustained note and occasionally alien to it, as for example the grand instance in the ' Cum sancto spiritu ' of the above Mass, which begins thus :

���and increases in development for 13 bars more, forming as fine a specimen of true Pedal as can be quoted.

The rule that the Pedal-note must be either the Tonic or Dominant would seem to point to the Drone as its origin. This Drone, or sustaining of the keynote as an accompaniment, is probably the very oldest form of harmony, though it may not have been considered as such at all, having no doubt originated in the mere imperfection of ancient instruments, the persistent sounding of a drum or pipe with one note against the in- flected chant of voices, etc. Among the first rude specimens of harmony given by Guido in the ' Micrologus ' is the following :

Ex.5.

��e - rat in Je - ru - - sa - lem.

��But it is probable that all such Drones, even down to their high development in the bagpipe and hurdygurdy, rested on no theoretical basis, but were of accidental origin. Looked at in the light of modern knowledge, however, we see in the drone an unconscious groping after the truth of the Harmonic Scale, on which all modern harmony rests. We now perceive that either the Tonic or Dominant, or even both together, may with perfect propriety be sounded through any Tonic, Dominant, or Supertonic harmonies, since these must always consist of harmonics

��generated by the Tonic or it* harmonics, and the generator is therefore always a true bass.

But to leave theory and come to practice, it is to be observed that in the contrapuntal music of the 1 6th century the desire for some relief to note-against-note counterpoint gave rise to the sustaining of a note in one part so long as the others could be brought to sound consonant with it, and thus the fact of a Dominant forced itself into notice. The following two examples from Palestrina show how the idea of a long sustained note as a climax or warning of a conclusion was at this time growing.

Ex.6.

�� �� ��Ex.7.

�� ��iJ-

��The second of these is especially curious, as being a real and perfectly modern-sounding Dominant Pedal.

With the development of Fugue and the in- troduction of discords the Pedal, as a means of climax, grew in importance, and in the works of Bach and Handel we find it an almost indis- pensable adjunct to a Fugue. The single speci- men from Bach which space allows of our quoting is interesting from the boldness with which the composer has seized the idea of making a Pedal which shall be first a Tonic, then a Dominant, and then a Tonic again. In the Prelude to the great Organ Fugue in A minor there is a very long Pedal, which after 4 bars modulates thus

�� ��and after 5 bars more modulates back again. There is nothing contrary to rule here, as the Pedal is always either Tonic or Dominant, but it is none the less a precedent for modulation on a Pedal.

A curious example of apparent modulation on a Pedal is to be observed in the concluding bars of a Dominant Pedal which joins the first and second subjects of the 1st movement of Chopin's B minor Sonata

�� �