Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/169

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RONZI.

RONZI. [See BEGNIS, DE.] ROOKE, WILLIAM MICHAEL, son of John Rourke, a Dublin tradesman, was born in South Great George's Street, Dublin, Sept. 29, 1 794. His bent for music, which displayed itself at an early age, was sternly discouraged by his father, who wished him to follow his own avocation, but before he was sixteen, he was, by his father's death, left free to follow his own inclination. He studied, almost unaided, so assiduously, that in 1813 he took to music as a profession, learned counterpoint under Dr. Cogan, a Dublin professor, and became a teacher of the violin and piano- forte. Among his pupils on the former in- strument was Balfe, then a boy. In 1817 he was appointed chorus-master and deputy leader at the theatre in Crow Street, Dublin, and soon afterwards composed a polacca, ' Oh Glory, in thy brightest hour,' which was sung by Braham, and met with great approbation. A few years later he removed to England. In 1826 he was leading oratorios at Birmingham, and in the same year came to London, and sought the appointment of chorus-master at Drury Lane, and established himself as a teacher of singing. About this period he composed his opera, 'Amilie, or The Love Test,' which, after he had waited many years for an opportunity of producing it, was brought out at Covent Garden, Dec. 2, 1837, with decided success, and at once established his reputation as a composer of marked ability. He immediately commenced the composition of a second opera, and on May 2, 1839 produced at Covent Garden ' Henrique, or, The Love Pilgrim,' which although most favourably received, was withdrawn after five performances on account of a misunderstanding with the manager. He com- posed a third opera entitled ' Cagliostro,' which has never been performed. He died Oct. 14, 1847, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery. [W.H.H.] ROOT. The classification of the chords which form the structural material of modern harmonic music is attained by referring them to what are called their roots ; and it is mainly by their use that these harmonic elements are brought within the domain of intelligible order.

As long as the purely polyphonic system was in full force, the chordal combinations were merely classified according to recognized degrees of con- sonance and dissonance, without any clear idea of relationship : but as that system merged by degrees into the harmonic system, it was found that fresh principles of classification were in- dispensable ; and that many combinations which at first might appear to have quite a distinct character must somehow be recognised as having a common centre. This centre was found in an ultimate bass note, namely, the bass note of the complete chord in what would be considered its natural or first position ; and this was called the Root, and served as the common indicator of all the various portions of the complete chord which could be detached, and their test of closest pos- sible relationship. Further, these roots were themselves classified according to their status in any given key ; and by this means a group of

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��chords which were related to one another most closely by having the same root, might be shown to be related severally and collectively to the group which belonged to another root ; and the degree of relationship could be easily and clearly ascertained according to the known nearness or remoteness of the roots in question. By this means the whole harmonic basis of a piece of music can be tested; and it must be further noted that it is only by such means that the structural principles of that kind of music which has been called 'absolute' because of its dis- sociation from words, is rendered abstractedly intelligible.

The principle upon which modern Instrumental Music has been developed is that a succession of distinct tunes or recognizable sections of melody or figures can be associated by the orderly distri- bution of harmonies and keys in such a manner that the mind can realise the concatenation as a complete and distinct work of art. It is obvious that fine melodic material is a vital point ; but it is not so obvious that where the dimensions of the work are such that a continuous flow of melody of a uniform character is impossible, the orderly arrangement of the materials in suc- cessions of keys and harmonies is no less vital. The harmonic structure requires to be clearly ascertainable in works of art which are felt to be masterpieces of form, and to be perfectly understood and felt by those who attempt to follow such models : hence, in discussing the structure of works of this kind, the frequent use of such terms as Tonic, or Dominant or Sub- dominant harmony, which is only a short way of describing harmony of which these respective notes are the roots.

The simplest and most stable of complete com- binations in music are the chords consisting of a bass note with its third and perfect fifth ; and of these the bass note is considered the root. In most cases such a root is held to be the funda- mental sound of the series of harmonics which an essential chord may be taken to represent. For instance, the chord of the major third and perfect fifth on any note is supposed to represent the ground tone or generator with two of its most distinct and characteristic lower harmonics; and whatever be the positions of the individual notes in respect of one another, they are still referred to this ground-tone as a root. Thus the chord GBD (a) would be taken

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