Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/757

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STRING.

of the material ; and in exact ratio with this rapidity the ear is sensible of the difference of musical pitch. From the 6th century B.C. the monochord or single string, stretched over a soundboard and measured by moveable bridges, has been the canon of musical intervals, the relative scale of pitch. The string by itself would give but a faint tone in the surrounding air, and a soundboard is necessary to reinforce the tone, and make it sufficiently audible.

Of the materials employed for strings silk has been much used in the East, but in European instruments gut and wire have had the constant preference. Gut (xpS?7 in Greek, whence the familiar 'chord') was the musical string of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans ; wire was practically unknown to them, since wire-drawing was invented only about A.D. 1350, synchronising with the probable inven- tion of keyed instruments with strings, such as the clavichord, harpsichord or virginal. From that epoch gut and wire have held divided rule, as they do in our own day in the violin and the piano. The general name for gut strings is 'cat- gut, but it is really made frpm the intestines of sheep and goats, chiefly the former; the best and strongest being of lambs' gut when the lamb is of a certain age and development, whence it comes that September is the month for fiddle- string making ; particularly for first (or E) fiddle- strings, which are the smallest though they have to bear the greatest strain of the four. According to Mr. Hart ('The Violin,' London, 1875) the best catgut strings are the Italian (the Roman par excellence) ; next rank the German, then the French ; last of all, the English. Mr. Hart attri- butes the superior quality of the Italian to climate, an important part of the process of manufacture being, in Italy, carried on in the open air, which is naturally not always practicable in England. For the deeper toned strings the gut is overlapped with silver, copper or mixed metal. According to J. Rousseau ('TraitfS de la Viole,' 1687) this loading of the string was introduced in France by Sainte Colombe about A.D. 1675. The tension of the four strings of a violin was stated by Tartini, in 1734, to be *>3 lb. Mr. Hart, for the modern high pitch, estimates it at about 90 lb. a plea for the desired adoption of the French normal A.

Wire strings were originally of latten or brass, with which psalteries and dulcimers were strung. As late as the first half of the i8th century, clavichords were generally strung with brass wire only : pianofortes retained a batch of brass strings until about 1830. Steel wire, as the special iron music-wire was called, was however very early introduced, for Virdung, whose 'Musica getutscht und ausgezogen' is dated A.D. 1511, expressly states that the trebles of clavichords were then strung with steel. Early in the pre- sent century Nuremberg steel wire was in great request, but about 1820 the Berlin wire gained the preference. The iron of both came from the

i The origin of the term catgut has not yet been traced. It Is difficult not to believe it to be a corruption of some similarly sound- Ing Italian term, of probably quite different meaning. [G.]

��STRINGENDO.

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��Hartz mountains. About 1834 Webster of Bir- mingham brought out cast steel for music wire, and gave piano strings a breaking weight of about one third more than the German. But in 1850 Miller of Vienna was able to contend for the first place, and in the following year actually gained it at the Great Exhibition, for cast steel wire-drawing. After that, Pohlmann of Nurem- berg came forward and was considered by some experts to have surpassed Miller. 2 Webster's firm has not been idle during a competition to the results of which the present power of the pianoforte to stand in tune owes so much. A recent trial made under direction of the writer gives for average breaking weight of 24 inches, of no. I7| wire, Pohlmann's 297 lb., Miller's 275 lb., Webster and Horsfall 257 lb., all nearly doubling the tension required for use. It is not therefore with surprise that we accept the emi- nent authority of Dr. William Pole, who regards cast steel music-wire as the strongest elastic ma- terial that exists. The earliest covered piano strings, about a hundred years ago,, spun in long interstices of brass over steel, have in time become close spun in single, double, and even treble over- layings of copper, or mixed metal composed of spelter and copper, gaining in the largest strings a diameter of 0-21 of an inch, and considerable power of strain. The greatest tension of a string recorded by Messrs. Broadwood in the technical part of their Exhibition book of 1862 is 315 lb. for the highest single string of a Concert Grand. They give the whole tension at that time for Philharmonic pitch (viz. A 454, C 540 double vibrations per second) of two of their Concert Grands, as well as the tension of each separate note. The first of the two is 34,670 lb. (15 tons 9 cwt. etc.) ; the other, a longer scale, 37,160 lb. (16 tons II cwt. etc.). In the last twenty years tension has been increased, but not sufficiently so to account for the much higher totals or for the breaking- weights of wire recorded in Mendel's Lexicon. [A.J.H.]

STRING. The terms ' Strings,' 'Stringed in- struments,' 'String-quartet,' ' String- trio/ have come to be applied in England to instruments of the violin tribe only, the terms answering to the German Streiehquartet, Streichinstrumente. Thus a quartet for four stringed instruments, usually two violins, viola, and cello, is called a String-quartet, to distinguish it from a piano- forte quartet that is, for piano and three other instruments ; or for any other combination of four, such as a quartet for four horns, four flutes, etc. [G.]

STRINGENDO, 'forcing, compelling'; press- ing or hastening the time. This word conveys, besides the idea of simple acceleration of pace, that of growing excitement working up to some climax ; and in the opinion of some authorities on the subject, the acceleration may not unfrequently be accompanied by a slight crescendo, unless of course there is any mark to the contrary. [J.A.F.M.]

J Unpublished correspondence of Theobald B8hm, the flautist. hows that POhlmann was indebted to him lor Improving his manu- facture.

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