NEAPOLITAN SIXTH is the name by which a chord consisting of a minor sixth and minor third on the subdominant has long been known; as (a) in the key of C minor
Bach, Violin Sonata, No. 4.
Theorists, starting from different radical assumptions, suggest different derivations for this chord. Some, taking the major and minor scales to comprise all the notes which can be used for essential harmonies, except in the cases where important root-notes in those scales bear fundamental harmonies on such principles as they accept, derive the chord from a combination of two roots; so that the dominant is the root of the two lower notes which are respectively its seventh and minor ninth, and the tonic of the upper, which is its minor ninth. Others, accepting the unquestionably frequent use of some chromatic harmonies in relation to an established Tonic, by many great masters, indicate the major concord on the minor or flat supertonic (as the major common chord of D♭ in relation to the Tonic C) as one of them, and hold the 'Neapolitan sixth' to be its first inversion. Others, again, hold this sixth to be found in the minor scale of the subdominant; and others, yet further, that it is merely produced by the artificial lowering of the sixth for artistic purposes, similar to the artificial sharpening of the fifth which is commonly met with; and that its object may either be to bring the supertonic melodically nearer the Tonic in downward progression, or to soften the harshness which results from the augmented fourth in the chord of the sixth and minor third on the subdominant of the usual minor scale. In the theory which explains some chromatic combinations as reflections of the old ecclesiastical modes, this chord would spring from the use of the ecclesiastical Phrygian, which was the same as the Greek Doric mode, or mode of the minor sixth.
[ C. H. H. P. ]
NEATE, Charles, born in London, March 28, 1784, received his early musical education from William Sharp, and afterwards from John Field, with whom he had formed a close intimacy. Besides the pianoforte he performed on the violoncello, he and Field both being instructed on that instrument by Sharp. He first appeared in public as a pianist at Covent Garden at the Lent 'oratorios,' in 1800, and soon established a reputation as an excellent performer of the school of Clementi and Field. He studied composition under Woelfl, and in 1808 published his first work, a sonata in C minor. In 1813 he was one of the original members of the Philharmonic Society, of which he was for many years a director, often a performer, and occasionally conductor, at its concerts. His admiration of Beethoven induced him in 1815 to visit Vienna, where he remained for eight months, enjoying the friendship and profiting by the advice of the great composer. He then went to Munich, where he stayed five months, studying counterpoint under Winter. After an absence of two years he returned to England, and was long esteemed as one of the best performers upon, and teachers of the pianoforte. He was the first to introduce into England Beethoven's Concertos in C minor and EĊd;, Weber's Concertstück, and Hummel's Concerto in E, and Septuor in D minor. He did not publish a second work until 1822, when he produced his sonata in D minor, and subsequently several other works; but notwithstanding his sound technical knowledge, he was not successful as a composer, as he lacked fancy and originality. He died at Brighton, March 30. 1877, having many years before retired from the exercise of his profession.
[ W. H. H. ]
NEEDLER, Henry, born in London in 1685, was an amateur violinist, who was instructed on the instrument first by his father and afterwards by the younger Banister, and became a proficient performer. He is said to have been taught harmony by Purcell, which must probably be taken to mean Daniel Purcell. About 1710 he was appointed Accountant-General of the Excise, and in the same year assisted in establishing the Academy of Ancient Music, where he long filled the post of principal violin. He was the first to lead the concertos of Corelli in England. He died Aug. 1, 1760. 28 volumes of music, almost entirely transcribed by him from the libraries at Oxford, were presented by his widow to James Mathias, who, in 1782, bequeathed them to the British Museum, where they form Add. MSS. 5035 to 5062.
[ W. H. H. ]
NEEFE, Christian Gottlob, a musician of some distinction in his day, but whose claim to being remembered is his having been Beethoven's instructor. He was born at Chemnitz Feb. 5, 1748, the son of a poor tailor, and possessing a lovely voice sang in the church choir and learnt music in the school. His parents contrived to place him at the University of Leipzig to study jura, but the love of music was too strong, all his spare time was spent over the treatises of Marpurg and Emanuel Bach; and the acquaintance of J. A. Hiller, then cantor of Leipzig, and a leading musician of Germany, was a great incentive. He broke with law and began his musical career by writing operettas for the theatre. In 1776 he took Hiller's place as conductor of a travelling orchestra known as the Seyler Society, which made him known in the Rhine district. At Frankfort he found a wife, in 1779 settled at Bonn as conductor of another association called the 'Grossmann-Hellmuth Society,' and on Feb. 15, 1781, entered the service of the Elector, Max Friedrich, as aspirant to the post of court-organist, vice Van den Eeden. With the organ Neefe took over van den Eeden's pupil, Ludwig van Beethoven, then just entered on his eleventh year. Van den Eeden died June 29, 1782, and on April 26, 1783, Neefe was promoted to the direction of both sacred and secular music at the court.