Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/649

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SORDINI.

Steibelt's op. 35 was published in 1799, by Longman, dementi & Co. 1

The leather was applied in one length to mute the strings more effectually, and was then called in French ' Sourdine.' John Broadwood was the first to put the 'sordin' as the term occurs in his patent of 1 783 upon a foot pedal ; he put the dampers upon a pedal at the same time, and for fifty years the pedal-foot was cloven, to divide the dampers into bass and treble sections, as the stops had previously been divided for the same purpose. The use of the pianissimo mute was indicated by the Italian word 'Sordino.' Mr. Franklin Taylor has pointed out to the writer the use of this term in the sense of a mute as late as Thalberg's op. 41 (Ashdown's edition) :

��SORDINI.

��637

���The 'Verschiebung,' or shifting pedal, for shift- ing the hammer first to two strings and then to one (una corda), ultimately gained the day over the muted pedals or stops. The effect of the 'una corda' was charming, and is expressly indicated by Beethoven in his G major Concerto, in op. 106, etc. The pp and ppp soft pedal in course of time shared the fate of the divided damper pedal : such refinements were banished as being of small service in large rooms. In the six-pedal Viennese Grand of Nanette Stein at Windsor Castle, the 'Verschiebung' and ' Harfen- zug' co-exist. 2 The latter has of late years

i Stelbelt gives a description of the pedals, with his signs for them, In his ' MtHhode de Piano,' first published by Janet, Paris, 1805. He names Clement), Dussek and Cramer as having adopted his signs. They differ from and are better than Adam's (Methode de Piano du Conservatoire), also published in Paris, 1802. Steibelt calls the ' una corda' celeste.

a The remaining pedals In Nanette Stein's Grand are the ' Fagotzug,' by which a piece of card or stiff paper is brought Into partial contact with the strings, and the ' Janissary ' drum and triangle. See STEIN.

��again come forward, at first in oblique pianos that could not shift, and since more generally; and has, to a certain extent, gained the favour of amateurs. The material used is cloth or felt. [A.J.H.]

Most instruments are capable of having their tone dulled for particular effects, and this is accomplished by partially preventing the vibra- tions by the interposition of a foreign substance. Violins are muted either by placing a wooden or brass instrument [see MUTE] upon the bridge, or by slipping a coin or strip of horn between the strings above the bridge. These two means produce different results. The brass mute is so heavy as to entirely extinguish the tone, espe- cially of a small or inferior violin, while the strip of horn sometimes produces scarcely any effect at all. A penny squeezed between the bridge and tailpiece produces just the right effect. The brass mute should be reserved as a special effect of itself. On the other hand, the mutes for the Cello and Double-bass are rarely made heavy enough, and this has given rise to the erroneous idea (see Prout's Treatise on Instru- mentation, pp. 23, 28) that mutes do not produce much effect on these instruments. The double- bass mutes used by the present writer are of brass, and weigh rather over a pound. They produce a beautiful veiled tone, and it is pro- bable that larger patterned basses would bear even a heavier mute.

Brass instruments can be muted in three ways. The first and most effective is as in 'stopping* a horn the introduction of the closed hand or a rolled-up handkerchief into the bell. This raises the pitch of the instrument, but produces a good muffled tone. The second way is by inserting a pear-shaped piece of wood covered with leather into the bell, which it fits, small studs allowing a portion of the wind to pass. The tone thus produced is thin, nasal, and unpleasing. Wagner has frequently used it (Siegfried, Acts I and 2 ; Meistersinger, last scene) as a comic effect, imi- tating the sound of a toy-trumpet. The third means produces a very distant-sounding, but still more nasal quality of tone, and is known to orchestral players as the ' coffee-pot effect.' It is obtained by allowing the sound to issue from the small end of a small double cone of metal, styled the 'echo attachment.' A good cornet player can, by these three devices, produce on his instrument exact imitations of the horn, oboe, and bagpipe.

Trombones, Tubas, etc., can also be muted in the same way, though we are not aware of any instance in orchestral music. The effect of au entire military band con sordini would be very curious and striking, but almost impracticable, owing to the difficulty of keeping in tune.

It has been frequently stated that 'Berlioz muted the Clarinet by enveloping the bell in a bag of chamois leather,' and that *The Oboes in Handel's time were muted by placing a ball of cotton wool in the bell.' But these devices only affect the bottom note of the instrument, as all others issue from the holes and not from the bell

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