Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/352

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

MODE (Lat. Modus; Ital. Modo; Old Eng. Moode). A term employed in mediæval music, to indicate the relative duration of the Large, the Long, and the Breve.

Mode is of two kinds—the Greater, and the Lesser. The former regulates the proportions of the Large (maxima) to the Long: the latter, that of the Long to the Breve. Both kinds may be either Perfect, or Imperfect.

In the Great Mode Perfect, the Large is equal to three Longs. In the Great Mode Imperfect, it is equal to two only.

In the Lesser Mode Perfect, the Long is equal to three Breves. In the Lesser Mode Imperfect, it is equal to two.

The Modal Sign is usually placed after the Clef, like the Time Signature in modern music. Innumerable varieties are found in music of different periods. Even as early as 1597, we find Morley bitterly lamenting the absence of a rule of universal application: and a little attention to the subjoined examples will show that his complaint was not an unreasonable one. The following forms are given by Zacconi:—

Other writers sometimes describe them thus:—

Combinations of the Greater and Lesser Modes are frequently indicated, thus—

In these examples, the Circle is used as the sign of Perfection, and the Semicircle, as that of Imperfection. The rests denote the proportion between the two notes not always accurately, but, in a vague way which accorded well enough with the conventional signification of the figures, when they were in general use, though it fails to explain their real meaning. In Zacconi's formulæ, the groups of rests are doubled—probably for the sake of symmetry. Allowing for this, we shall find that the sign for the Great Mode Perfect exhibits, in every case, the exact number of rests required: viz. three Perfect Long Rests, as the equivalent of a Perfect Large. The same accuracy is observable in the signs for the combined Modes exhibited in the last four examples. But, in the other cases, so great a discrepancy exists between the number of rests indicated, and the true proportion of the notes to which they refer, that the figures can only be regarded as arbitrary signs, sufficiently intelligible to the initiated, but formed upon no fixed or self-explanatory principle.

It will be observed, that, in all the above examples, the rests are placed before the Circle, or Semicircle; in which case it is always understood that they are not to be counted. Sometimes, indeed, they are altogether omitted, and a figure only given, in conjunction with the Circle, or Semicircle. Thus, Morley, following the example of Ornithoparcus, gives (Symbol missingsymbol characters) 3 as the sign of the Great Mode Perfect; (Symbol missingsymbol characters) 3, as that of the Great Mode Imperfect; (Symbol missingsymbol characters) 2 as that of the Lesser Mode Perfect; and (Symbol missingsymbol characters) 2 as that of the Lesser Mode Imperfect.

During the latter half of the 15th Century, and the first of the 1 6th, Composers delighted in combining Mode, Time, and Prolation, in proportions of frightful complexity; but, after the time of Palestrina, the practice fell into disuse. [See Time; Prolation; Proportion.]

[ W. S. R. ]

MODERATO. 'In moderate time,' or 'moderately.' This direction is used either singly as a mark of time, or as qualifying some other mark of time, as Allegro moderato, or Andante moderate, when it has the result of lessening the force of the simple direction. Thus Allegro moderato will be slightly slower than Allegro alone, and Andante moderato slightly faster than Andante. Moderato alone is never used by Beethoven, except in the doubtful Pianoforte Sonata in G called no. 37. He uses Molto moderato however in the Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin, op. 30, no. 3, and Moderato e grazioso in the Menuetto of the Pianoforte Sonata in E♭, op. 31, no. 3. Assai moderato is used in the march from the 'Ruins of Athens,' and Moderato cantabile molto espressivo in the beginning of op. 110. Molto moderato is used by Schubert in the Pianoforte Sonata in B♭, no. 10. Instances of Allegro moderato in Beethoven's works will occur to every one. Allegretto moderato is also very common. Vivace moderato occurs in Bagatelle, no. 9, (op. 119). Mendelssohn is very fond of the direction Allegro moderato, using it no less than eight times in the 'Elijah' alone. Schumann very constantly used Moderato alone, translating it into German sometimes by Mässig, and sometimes by Nicht schnell. See the Album, nos. 3, 5, 13, 16, 19, etc.

MODES, THE ECCLESIASTICAL. One of the most prominent features in Greek music was the division of the Diatonic Scale into certain regions called Modes. The musicians of the Middle Ages, who confessedly derived their idea of the scale from Hellenic sources, adopted an analogous peculiarity into their own system, in which it at once took root, though its development was very gradual. At first, four forms only were recognised, in the newer method—the Authentic Modes of Saint Ambrose. To these—if tradition may be trusted—Saint Gregory added four Plagal scales. Later theorists taught the existence of fourteen