twelve or fourteen performers, among whom were several good violins; there were likewise two German flutes, a violoncello, and small double bass; they executed, reasonably well, several of our [J.C.] Bach's symphonies, different from those printed in England: all the music here is in MS. … Upon the whole, this concert was much upon a level with our own private concerts among gentlemen in England.’ (‘Tour,’ ii. 94-95). From Italy the use of the word spread to Germany. ‘Besuche er mich nicht mehr,’ said Beethoven on a memorable occasion, ‘keine Akademie!’
ACCELERANDO (Ital.). Gradually quickening the time. In the finale to his quartett in A minor (op. 132) Beethoven is not satisfied with the Italian, but has added above it ‘immer geschwinder.’
ACCENT. As in spoken language certain words and syllables receive more emphasis than others, so in music there are always some notes which are to be rendered comparatively prominent; and this prominence is termed ‘accent.’ In order that music may produce a satisfactory effect upon the mind, it is necessary that this accent (as in poetry) should for the most part recur at regular intervals. Again, as in poetry we find different varieties of metre, so in music we meet with various kinds of time; i.e. the accent may occur either on every second beat, or isochronous period, or on every third beat. The former is called common time, and corresponds to the iambic or trochaic metres; e.g.
‘Away! nor let me loiter in my song,’
‘Fare thee well! and if for ever.’
When the accent recurs on every third beat, the time is called triple, and is analogous to the anapaestic metre; e.g.
‘The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.’
As a general rule the position of the accent is indicated by bars drawn across the stave. Since the accents recur at regular intervals it follows of course that each bar contains either the same number of notes or the same total value, and occupies exactly the same time in performance, unless some express direction is given to the contrary. In every bar the first note is that on which (unless otherwise indicated) the strongest accent is to be placed. By the older theorists the accented part of the bar was called by the Greek word thesis, i.e. the putting down, or ‘down beat,’ and the unaccented part was similarly named arsis, i.e. the lifting, or ‘up beat.’ In quick common and triple time there is but one accent in a bar; but in slower time, whether common or triple, there are two—a stronger accent on the first beat of the bar, and a weaker one on the third. This will be seen from the following examples, in which the strong accents are marked by a thick stroke (─) over the notes, and the weak ones by a thinner (―).
1. 100th Psalm.
2. Beethoven, Eroica Symphony (Scherzo).
3. Beethoven, Symphony in C minor (Finale).
4. Haydn, Quartett, Op. 76, No. 1 (1st movement).
5. Mozart, Symphony in E flat.
6. Beethoven, Trio, Op. 70, No. 2 (3rd movement).
7. Mendelssohn, 'Pagenlied.'
The above seven examples show the position of the accents in the varieties of time most commonly in use. The first, having only two notes in each bar, can contain but one accent. In the second and third the time is too rapid to allow of the subsidiary accent; but in the remaining four both strong and weak accents will be plainly distinguishable when the music is performed.
It will be observed that in all these examples the strong accent is on the first note of the bar. It has been already said that this is its regular position; still it is by no means invariable. Just as in poetry the accent is sometimes thrown