in Haydn's 'Surprise Symphony' is in Spondaic Dimeter Catalectic—
The Theme of Weber's Rondo brillante in E♭ (op. 62), is in Anapaestic Tetrameter Brachycatalectic, very rigidly maintained—
The Slow Movement of Beethoven's Symphony in A, is in alternate verses of Acatalectic and Catalectic Dactylic Tetrameter, with a Spondee in each of the even places—
A no less captivating alternation of Amphimacers and Trochees is found in the Tema of Mozart's Pianoforte Sonata in A—
It would be easy to multiply examples, ad infinitum; but these will be sufficient to shew, on no mean authority, the importance of a subject, which, though too often neglected as a branch of musical education, will well repay a little diligent study.
[ W. S. R. ]
METRONOME (Germ. Metronom, and Taktmesser; Fr. Métronome. From the Gr. μέτρον, a measure, and νόμος, a law). An instrument, constructed for the purpose of enabling composers to indicate the exact pace at which they wish their works to be performed.
The Great Masters of the earlier Schools left the Tempi of their compositions entirely to the discretion of the executant. In doing this, they incurred no risk whatever of misconception: for, until the close of the 16th century, and even later, the Composer was almost always a Singer in the Choir for which he wrote; and his relations with his fellow Choristers were infinitely closer than those existing between a modern Composer and the Orchestra under his control. But, the change of style introduced by Claudio Monteverde, added to the impulse given to Instrumental Music and Vocal Music with Instrumental Accompaniments, after the beginning of the 17th century, changed these relations very materially. The invention of the Opera brought new ideas into the field. The individuality of the Composer began gradually to throw the characteristics of the 'School' into the background: and Musicians, no longer guided by traditional laws, soon became alive to the necessity for giving some sort of direction as to the manner in which their pieces were to be sung or played. Hence arose the employment of such words as Grave, Allegro, Adagio, and other terms of like import, which have remained in common use to the present day. As the resources of modern Art became more fully developed, even these directions were found to be insufficient for their intended purpose. A hundred different varieties of Allegro were possible. How was it possible to indicate to the performer which of these the Composer intended him to adopt? The number of technical terms was multiplied indefinitely; but, it was clear that none were sufficiently explicit to remove the difficulty; and, at a very early period, the use of the Pendulum was suggested as the only rational means of solving it.
To Etienne Loulié—not François, as has been sometimes supposed—belongs the credit of having first turned this idea to practical account. In a work, entitled Élémens ou principes de Musique, mis dans un nouvel ordre, (Paris, 1696, Amsterdam, 1698), he describes an instrument, called a Chronomètre, formed of a bullet, suspended to a cord, and provided with means for lengthening or shortening the latter at pleasure, in such a manner as to indicate seventy-two different degrees of velocity. This was a good beginning. Nevertheless, the machine does not seem to have become generally known; for, in many curious treatises of later date, we find vague glimmerings of similar ideas, put forth in apparent ignorance of Loulié's discovery. Joseph Sauveur—the inventor of the word 'Acoustics,' and the author of a series of valuable papers on Music contributed to the Mémoires de l' Academie, between the years 1700 and 1711—is said to have proposed a Chronomètre of his own. In 1732, an article on a species of Musical Time-keeper was contributed to the Mémoires des Sciences by Enbrayg. Gabory recommended the use of the Pendulum, in his Manuel utile et curieux sur la mesure du tems, (Paris, 1771). John Harrison's 'Description concerning such a machine as will afford a nice and true mensuration of tune; as also an account of the Scale of Music,' (London, 1775), serves to shew that the connection between Music and Chronometry was not unnoticed in England. Davaux wrote an article on the subject for the Journal Encyclopédique, in 1784. Not long afterwards, Pelletier made use of the Pendulum in a way sufficiently ingenious to call forth a treatise on his invention from Abel Burja, of Berlin, in 1790. In the same year, Breitkopf & Härtel printed, at Leipzig, Zwölf geistliche prosaische Gesänge, mit Beschreibung eines Taktmessers, by J. G. Weiske. And enough was done, both in France, and in Germany, to shew, that, even before the close of the 18th century, the matter had attracted no small amount of serious attention.