Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/666

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654

��SPINET.

��ripiegata.' l Professor Kraus maintains the nearly general use of the short octave in Italian spinets, harpsichords, clavichords, and organs, and to some harpsichords he adds even another dominant. D E Bb G D E Bb

����CFGABflC C F G ABtJC

According to this, the oldest harpsichord known to exist, the Roman one of 1521, at S. Kensington, is a short octave F instrument. But extended keyboards existed contemporaneously, since the Pisan harpsichord of 1526 is continued down to F, omitting the lowest Ffl and Gfl. Bb and Bt| are, of course, there. When, in the last century, the C short octaves were made long, it was by carrying down the G and A, and giving back the semitonal value to the B and Cfl (sometimes also the Dfl) ; but Gg was not introduced, since it was never re- quired as a dominant. The dominants had some- times given way to semitones as early as the I4th and 1 5th centuries.

What was then the original intention of 'short measure'? We find it indicated in Mersenne's Psaltery (G C D E F G A Bb C d e f g) and in many delineations of Portatives or Regals in pic- tures of the old masters, whose sincerity, seeing the accurate manner in which they have painted lutes, cannot be questioned. We will confine our references to Orcagna's 'Coronation of the Virgin' (1350), in the National Gallery, London, and Master Stephen's 'Virgin of the Rosary' (1450), at Cologne, with the Holyrood picture of 1484, already referred to as an illustration of a Positive organ with short measure. May not Dr. Hopkins's quotation [ORGAN, vol. ii. p. 585] of two long pipes in an organ of 1418 count as evidence for short measure as much as for pedals? We think so. In fine we regard short measure as having been intended to supply, in deeper toned instruments, dominants for cadences, and in the shriller regals (which were no more than boxes of pitch-pipes, one, two, or three to a key), to prompt the intonation of the plainsong. The contraction of the keyboard, whether diatonic or chromatic, to suit the size of the hand, was probably due to these small instruments

Orgues avait bien maniables, A une seulle main portables, Uu il me. mes souffle et touche.

Roman de la Rose.

The contraction to the short octave measure might have been intended to get rid of the weight of the heavier pipes not needed for dominants or intonation, and, at the same time, keep the keyboard narrow. Both contractions the keyboard and the short measure were thus ready made for the spinet, harpsichord and clavi- chord, when they came into use.

The short octave group was finally partially doubled, so as to combine with the dominant

l But not ' Ottava Bubata,' which some inaccurately apply to the lowest octave of the short octave manual. This is a contrivance in email organs with pedals to disguise the want of the lowest diapason octave on the manual, by coupling on to it the contrabasso of the pedals with the register of the octave above.

��SPINET.

fourths the ordinary chromatic scheme, by dividing the lowest sharps or chromatics, of which there is an example in a spinet by Pleyer or Player, made between 1 710 and 1 720, exhibited by Messrs. Kirkman at S. Kensington in 1872. This instru- ment, with black naturals, and apparently 4^ octaves from B to D, has the lowest Cfl and Dg divided, called in the quotation in the Catalogue (p. 12) 'quarter tones.* But it is difficult to imagine enharmonic intervals provided for the deepest notes. We believe it to have been intended for a 'short octave,' and to be thus explained :

5t ?A Cf Df Apparent notes B C D B

��Real notes

��_ _ A B C D E,

��Db Eb

or Apparent notes BCD E A B

��Real notes

��CJ Eb ODE

��A spinet by Keene, dated 1685, in possession of Mr. H. J. Dale, Cheltenham, and one by the same maker belonging to Mr. E. R. Hughes, of Chelsea, have the same apparently enharmonic arrangement. One by Player (sic), lately sent to South Kensington (1882), is to be included with Messrs. Kirkman's and the Keenes, and also a Player which belongs to Mr. Amps of Cambridge ; but a Keene of Mr. Grove's, undated, has not the cut sharps, which we are disposed to regard as for mixed dominants and chromatics, because the independent keynote value of the chromatics was, about A.D. 1700, beginning to be recognised, and the fretted clavichords were soon to give way to those without frets. It was the dawn of Bach, who set all notes free as tonics. We see in Keene and Player's spinets the blending of old and new, that which was passing away and our modern practice.

Returning to the Spinetta Traversa, we find this model preferred in England in the Stuart epoch, and indeed in fashion for 150 years. The favourite makers during the reigns of Charles I. and II. were John and Thomas Hitchcock and Charles Haward, 2 but there is an unaccountable difference between John Hitchcock's and Charles Haward's spinets in the fine specimens known to the writer, both the property of Mr. William Dale of London, the latter of much older char- acter, though probably made subsequent to the former.

2 The statement In HARPSICHORD that there was no Independent harpsichord-making apart from organ-building in England during the 17th century is now contradicted by the fact of these spinet- makers having also made harpsichords, ' harpsicons as the English then preferred to call them. There is a harpsichord of 5 octaves F-F by John Hitchcock in the possession of Mr. W. J. Legh of Lyme. Cheshire. It is without date, hut is numbered inside 3. Mr. Dale'* John Hitchcock spinet is numbered inside 21 and dated 1630. A name. Sam or Sams, apparently a workman's, is found in both instrument*.

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