Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/19

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SUMER IS ICUMEN IN.

Italian School. It accounts for the transcription, in a handwriting of the I3th century, of pro- gressions which were not sanctioned by scholastic authority until the I5th ; and, at the same time, for the admixture, with these, of other progres- sions, which, in the I5th century, would have been peremptorily forbidden; in other words, it accounts for simultaneous obedience to two distinct Codes of Law diametrically opposed to each other ; two systems of Part- Writing which never were, and never could, by any possibility be, simultaneously enforced viz.theLaw of Coun- terpoint, which, in the I4th and 15th centuries, forbade the approach to a Perfect Concord in Similar Motion ; and that of Diaphonia, which, in the I ith and 1 2th, practically enjoined it, by employing no other Intervals than doubled Fourths, Fifths, and Octaves. It accounts for the erasures to which we have already called atten- tion ; placing them in the light of improvements, rather than that of necessary corrections. More- over, it accounts, with still greater significance, for the otherwise inexplicable absence of a whole army of familiar progressions, conventional forms of ornamentation, Cadences true, false, plain, diminished, modal, or medial, and of Licences in- numerable, which, after the substitution of Coun- terpoint for Discant, never failed to present them- selves, at every turn, in Polyphonic compositions of every kind, produced in every School in Eu- rope. These anomalies have not been accounted for by any critic who has hitherto treated the subject. Yet, surely, those who doubt the antiquity of the Rota, on the ground of its advanced construc- tion, owe us some explanation as to the presence of this advanced style in certain passages only. We sorely need some information as to how it came to pass that the piece was written in three distinct styles: two, of part-writing, separated by an interval of two or three centuries, at least ; and one, of melody, which, if not the result of an inspired Folk- Song, of remotest antiquity, must bring us down to a period subsequent to the in- vention of Monodia in the I ;th century. Our theory, if admissible at all, explains all these things. A learned Musician, deliberately in- tending to write a Canon for six voices, would, had he lived in the 1 2th century, have adopted the style observable in bars 37, 38, and 39, as that of the entire composition. Another, flourishing in the I5th century, would have confined himself lo that shown in bars 4, 6, 8, and 24. But, though the later savant would never have passed the Fifths and Octaves, the earlier one, had he possessed sufficient natural genius to enable him to rise above the pedantry of the age, would surely have excused a great deal of what he considered, and taught, to be licence. Finding that a Popular Melody of the day fitted together, in certain places, in a to his ear delightful succession of similar Perfect Concords, he would surely have forgiven certain other passages which defied his rules, but, judged by his natural in- stinct, did not 'sound bad.' Whether John of Fornsete did really construct the Rota on this principle, or not, we can never know for cer-

��SUPPE. 3

tain : but, since the accident we have suggested certainly has happened, and been turned to advantage in other cases, there is nothing improbable in the supposition that it may have happened before, in that which we are now considering.

The fact that no other English Rota of equal antiquity with this has as yet been brought to light, proves nothing. The wonder is, not that we can find no similar examples, but, that even this one should have escaped the wholesale destruction which devastated our Cathedral and Monastic Libraries, first, during the reign of King Henry VIII, and afterwards, during the course of the Great Rebellion. Moreover, we must not forget that the Reading MS., though it contains only one Rota, contains no less than three Latin Antiphons, two for three Voices, and one for x four; and that the Chaucer MS., 2 of very little later date, contains several Compo- sitions for two Voices, all tending to prove the early date at which the Art of Polyphonic Com- position was cultivated in England. 3

These suggestions are made for the express purpose of inviting discussion ; and, should any new light be thrown upon the subject, in the meantime, it will be noticed in a future article

on VlLLANELLA. [W.S.R.]

SUPERTONIC. The second note of the scale upwards, as D in the key of C. It is brought into much prominence in modern music as the dominant note of the dominant key. The strong tendency to find the chief balance and antithesis in that key, and to introduce the second subject of a movement in it, as well as the tendency to make for that point even in the progress of a period, necessarily throws much stress upon the root-note of the harmony which leads most directly to its tonic harmony, and this is the domi- nant of the new key or supertonic of the original one. It has consequently become so familiar, that its major chord and the chord of the minor seventh built upon it, although chromatic, are freely used as part of the original key, quite irrespective of the inference of modulation which they originally carried. Some theorists recognise these chords as part of the harmonic complement of the key, and consequently derive several of the most characteristic and familiar chromatic com- binations from the supertonic root. [C.H.H.P.]

SUPPE, VON, known as FRANZ VON SUPPE, the German Offenbach, of Belgian descent, though his family for two generations had lived at Cremona, was born at Spalato, or on board ship near it, April 18, 1820, and his full baptismal name is FRANCESCO EZECHIELE ERMENEGILDO CAVALIEKE SUPPE DEMELLI. His taste for music developed early. At 1 1 he learned the flute, at

��2 s. 248. See vol. 111. p. 4276. The Montpelller MS. Is certainly no older than this, and probably not so old.

3 Fosbroke, in his British Monachism ' (vol. ii. p. 113), tells us that the Song of the Anglo-Saxon Monks consisted of a method ol nguraie Discant, in which the various Voices, following one another, were perpetually repeating different words, at the same time. Surely, tnU savours strongly of the form of the Bound. 1

B 2

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