Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/472

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

be taken as a modification or softening of the major ninth, and is certainly used with equal freedom. Examples from so trustworthy a source as Haydn, are given in the article Harmony (p. 683): Schumann's Overture to Genoveva actually commences with a full chord of the minor ninth; and Mendelssohn's Andante con Variazioni in E♭, with second inversion of the major ninth.

The ninths belonging to this class are not only free in the manner of their assumption, but singularly so in the manner of their resolution; they are both commonly resolved after the manner of suspensions, either upwards or downwards, while the rest of the chord stands still; or after the manner of the so-called 'prepared' discords; while the chord changes, as from Dominant to Tonic harmony. They also resolve by leaps, as in the case of the Dominant ninths; in which the part having the ninth frequently leaps downwards to the third or fifth of the chord, and then passes with change of harmony to a proximate concordant note in the Tonic chord. Occasionally the ninth appears to be resolved rather by a change of the mass of harmony than by the progression of the parts; and further it is found persisting through such changes of harmony, and being resolved without moving, as in the following from Mr. Macfarren's 'Joseph':—

\new PianoStaff << \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 4/4 \new Staff = "T" { \key g \major \partial 2 \relative b' { b2 _~ b1 _~ b4 } }
\new Staff = "B" { \key g \major \clef bass \override TupletNumber #'stencil = ##f \override TupletBracket #'bracket-visibility = ##f \times 2/3 { <g, d>8 b \change Staff = "T" b' } \times 2/3 { fis'' g'' b'' } \change Staff = "B" \times 2/3 { a, cis' \change Staff = "T" b' } \times 2/3 { e'' g'' b'' } \change Staff = "B" \times 2/3 { d d' \change Staff = "T" b' } \times 2/3 { d'' fis'' b'' } \change Staff = "B" \times 2/3 { <g d'> \change Staff = "T" g' b' } \times 2/3 { d'' g'' b'' } } >>

The Dominant major ninth is only used in the major mode, the minor ninth in both; and it will be clear at the mere statement that the minor ninth from the Dominant is not a note which occurs in the diatonic series of the major scale, and therefore the chord is chromatic in that relation. But not only this ninth, but several others which are more distinctly chromatic, are commonly affiliated in the range of a key without its being considered that the tonality is thereby obscured. The most conspicuous of these are the ninths of the Tonic and Supertonic, which represent the compound tone of those respective notes, and also stand in the favourable position of Dominant chords in the closely related keys of the Subdominant and Dominant to the original key. In these the minor seventh and minor ninth of the Tonic, and the major third and minor ninth of the Supertonic are chromatic in relation to the major scale. The major ninth of the Supertonic will not chime conveniently with the minor mode because of its contradicting the vital minor third of the scale; in all the other ninths which can be used in either scale, there will be at least one note which is chromatic.

From the minor ninth are derived that conspicuous class of discords called diminished sevenths, which are its inversions with the root-note omitted. They are said theoretically, that is in just intonation, to be very harsh; but modern musicians seem to be exceedingly well content, with the chord, and even go to the length of using the interval of a diminished seventh melodically; which shows at least that the mind can readily grasp it. This facility may of course be partly owing to the frequency with which the chord occurs in modern music. Theorists have complained that it is used to excess, and in some senses this may be true; but if so it is not unlikely that it is a good deal their fault, for they rarely miss the opportunity to show off much superfluous ingenuity in pointing out to their disciples the chameleonlike qualities of the chord and its various uses, which it would be much better for worthy disciples to find out for themselves. It may comfort those who feel disposed to use the chord a good deal at times for really musical purposes, to point out a singular example in a prelude in G minor for organ, by Bach (Dörffel No. 822), too long for quotation, in which there is a descending series of twelve diminished sevenths alternating with transitional resolutions, and followed by four more diminished sevenths descending in a row; making in all a notable total of sixteen diminished sevenths in thirteen bars.

Further particulars concerning the characteristics of this chord will be found under the heads of Diminished Interval and Change.

The complete chord of the Dominant ninth is sometimes called the 'Added ninth' because the third which produces the interval is added to the complete chord of the Dominant seventh.

[ C.H.H.P. ]

NISSEN, Georg Nicolaus von, Staatsrath of Denmark, was born at Hardensleben (Denmark), Jan. 22, 1761. When chargé-d'affaires at Vienna in 1797 he made the acquaintance of Mozart's widow, assisted her in regulating her embarrassed affairs, and, in 1809, married her. Retiring from official life in 1820 he settled in Salzburg, where he died March 24, 1826. His biography of Mozart, compiled from the mass of documents then in existence, and from the recollections of his wife and Mozart's sister, was published after his death by his widow, with preface by Dr. Feuerstein of Pirna, and 'Anhang' (published by Breitkopf & Härtel, with 2nd and cheap edition by G. Senff, Leipzig, 1828).

[ C. F. P. ]

NOCTURNE, NOTTURNO. A name and form of composition the origin of which is due to John Field, whose 18 or 19 so-called Nocturnes (although not more than about 12 of them deserve the title—see Field) are widely and deservedly popular, not only for their intrinsic charm of freshness and simplicity, but also on account of their being the predecessors of Chopin's Nocturnes, which undoubtedly owe their form, though not their characteristic melancholy, to those of Field. It is very interesting to compare some of the Nocturnes of both composers,—for instance, Field's No. 5 in B♭, with Chopin's op. 32, No. 2, both the first and second subjects of each bearing a striking resemblance to those of the other composer. The