to its internal proportions, it did not allow of a full bore when the valves were down. In 1854 he elaborated an improved system of full bore, by means of which the notes of the first and third valves separately, and those of the first and third together were perfectly in tune—a result which had never before been obtained. The year following he was successful in turning out an instrument with a full bore, the valve and open notes being in all respects perfect.
In 1858 were manufactured a series of instruments known to the profession as the 'Besson Girardin,' the feature of which was that the player was enabled to change from one key to another, without changing mouthpiece, slide, or crook.In the same year he introduced the circular system. By this method of manufacture the tubing was coiled in a circle round the pistons, the result being that, by doing away with all angles, the instruments obtained a greater volume of tone. This system was found to be remarkably effective with trombones and French horns. His invention of 1859 consisted of instruments having eight independent positions, and giving the entire scale, a note to each valve. But the greatest of all Mr. Besson's inventions, which has won for him upwards of thirty awards from different nations, and with which his name will always be associated, is what is known as the 'Prototype System,' and represents in a condensed form the sum of all the experience he had previously acquired. This system consists in having conical steel mandrils of exact mathematical proportions representing the different parts of the instrument. By this means an unbroken column of air is assured, and the player is enabled to obtain the utmost volume of tone, so that by the inert mechanism of the valves perfect tune is secured throughout the whole register. There is this further advantage in the Prototype System; it dispenses with anything like guesswork in the manufacture of musical instruments, and by its aid any number of instruments exactly alike in every respect and in perfect tune can be turned out. These important inventions, together with others of minor importance, yet in their way useful and deservedly appreciated by acousticians, have placed Besson in the foremost rank of musical instrument makers.
[ J. Sd. ]
[ A. C. ]
[ V. de P. ]
[ W. H. H. ]
BICINIUM (Lat. bis and canere), described by Walther as 'a two-part song,' is an obsolete name formerly used in Germany for any short two-part composition. In the preface to Rhau's 'Secundus Tomus Biciniorum' (1545), he uses as an equivalent the Greek δίφωνα: 'Nec video quomodo Tyrones canendo melius exerceri possint, quam si hæc δίφωνα illis proponantur, Sunt præterea ad omnia instrumenta valde accomoda.' The title-page of Lindner's 'Bicinia Sacra' (1591) is in both Latin and German, the latter translating 'Bicinia' by 'Zweystimmige Gesänglein,' though the above extract from Rhau's preface proves sufficiently that the term was not confined to vocal music only. 'Tricinium,' which is more rarely found, is an obsolete term for a short three-part composition. The following are the chief collections of Bicinia and Tricinia mentioned by Eitner and other editors:—
Tricinia ... Latina, Germanica, Brabantica, et Gallica ... G. Rhaw. Wittemberg: 1542.
Bicinia, Gallica, Latina, Germanica ... Tomus Primus. G. Rhaw. Wittemberg: 1545.
Secundus Tomus Biciniorum ... G. Rhaw. Wittemberg: 1545.
Diphona Amoena et florida ... J. Montanus et A. Neuber. Nürnberg: 1549.
Selectissimorum Triciniorum [Bassus etc.] Discantus ... J. Montanus et A. Neuber: Nürnberg 1559.
Variorum Linguarum Tricinia ... Tenor [Discantus] Tomi Secundi. J. Montanus et A. Neuber. Nürnberg: 1560 (1559?).
Bicinia ... P. Phalesius et J. Bellerus: Antwerp, 1590. (A later edition appeared in 1609.)
Bicinia Sacra, ex variis autoribus ... edita etc. C. Gerlach: Nürnberg, 1591.
[ W. B. S. ]
BILLET, Alexandre. See vol. ii. 732 a.BILLINGTON, MRS. ELIZABETH. Line 3 of article, for clarinet read oboist. Line 17, for at sixteen read on Oct. 13, 1783. Line 30, before Mrs. insert With the exception of a visit to Paris at the end of her first season, where she went to study with Sacchini. Line 3 from bottom, for 1798 read 1799. Second column of page, l. 10, for 1809 read 1811. Line 22, for 28 read 25. (Dict. of Nat. Biog.)
- A copy is in the British Museum.
- The bass has a different title.