Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/125

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


��REQUIEM.

��RESOLUTION.

��113

��the and the

��in this country, at the house of Lady Thompson, London, July 7, 1871, Miss Regan and Stock- hausen singing the solos, and Lady Thompson and Mr. Cipriani Potter playing the accompani- ment d quaire mains. It was next performed at the Philharmonic Society's Concert, April 2, 1873, has since been most effectively given by e Bach Choir, and the Cambridge University Musical Society. The excellence of these per- formances plainly shows that the difficulties of the work are not really insuperable. They may, probably, transcend the power of an average coun- try Choral Society ; but we have heard enough to convince us that they may be dealt with suc- cessfully by those who really care to overcome them, and we are thus led to hope that after a time the performance of the work may not be looked upon as an unusual occurrence. [W.S.R.] RESOLUTION is the process of relieving dissonance by succeeding consonance. All dis- sonance is irritant and cannot be indefinitely welt upon by the mind, but while it is heard return to consonance is awaited. To conduct return to consonance in such a manner that connection between the chords may be intel- ible to the hearer is the problem of resolution. The histoiy of the development of harmonic usic shows that the separate idea of resolution the abstract need not have been present to the earliest composers who introduced discords to their works. They discovered circumstances which the flow of the parts, moving in con- nee with one another, might be diversified y retarding one part while the others moved on a step, and then waited for that which was left " ind to catch them up. This process did not variably produce dissonance, but it did conduce variety in the independent motion of the parts. The result, in the end, was to establish the class of discords we call suspensions, and their resolutions were inevitably implied by the veiy principle on which the device is founded. Thus when Josquin diversified a simple succes- sion of chords in what we call their first position, as follows

�����seems sufficiently certain that no such idea as resolving a discord was present to his mind. The motion of D to C and of C to B was predeter- mined, and their being retarded was mainly a happy way of obtaining variety in the flow of the parts, though it must not be ignored that the early masters had a full appreciation of the actual function and effect of the few discords they did employ.

Some time later the device of overlapping the succeeding motions of the parts was discovered, by allowing some or all of those which had gone on in front to move again while the part which VOL. III. PT. I.

�� ��had been left behind passed to its destination ; as by substituting (6) for (a) in Ex. 2.

Ex.2.

() I ^ I I (*> I ^ I I

���This complicated matters, and gave scope for fresh progressions and combinations, but it did not necessarily affect the question of resolution, pure and simple, because the destination of the part causing the dissonance was still predeter- mined. However, the gradually increasing fre- quency of the use of discords must have habituated hearers to their effect and to the consideration of the characteristics of different groups, and so by degrees to their classification. The first marked step in this direction was the use of the Dominant seventh without preparation, which showed at least a thorough appreciation of the fact that some discords might have a more inde- pendent individuality than others. This appears at first merely on this side, of occasionally dis- carding the formality of delaying the note out of a preceding chord in order to introduce the dissonance ; but it led also towards the consider- ation of resolution in the abstract, and ultimately to greater latitude in the process of returning to consonance. Both their instinct and the par- ticular manner in which the aspects of discords presented themselves at first led the earlier com- posers to pass from a discordant note to the ' nearest available note in the scale, wherever the nature of the retardation did not obviously imply the contrary; and this came by degrees to be accepted as a tolerably general rule. Thus the Dominant seventh is generally found to resolve on the semitone below ; and this, combined with the fact that the leading note was already in the chord with the seventh, guided them to the relation of Dominant and Tonic chords ; although they early realised the possibility of resolving on other har- mony than that of the Tonic, on special occasions, without violating the supposed law of moving the seventh down a semitone or tone, according to the mode, and raising the leading note to what would have been the Tonic on ordinary occasions. How- ever, the ordinary succession became by degrees so familiar that the Tonic chord grew to be regarded as a sort of resolution in a lump of the mass of any of the discords which were built on the top of a Dominant major concord, as the seventh and major or minor ninth, such as are now often called Fundamental discords. Thus we find the follow- ing passage in a Haydn Sonata in D Ex. 3.

�� �