Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/673

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PASQUINI.
661
PASSAGGIO.

made of an opera, produced at the Teatro Capranica in 1679, in honour of Queen Christina of Sweden. Matheson on visiting the opera-house in Rome was much struck at finding Corelli playing the violin, Pasquini the harpsichord, and Gattani the lute, all in the orchestra. Pasquini's music is terse, vigorous, and at the same time graceful; in fact he had much in common with Handel, and exercised a certain amount of influence upon German musicians. The writer of this article possesses a Favola pastorale, or small opera in three parts, called 'La Forza d'amore' (libretto by Apolloni, a gentleman in Prince Chigi's household), the music of which is fine, and elevated in style.

[ F. G. ]

PASSACAGLIA, PASSACAGLIO, or PASSECAILLE, an early Italian or Spanish dance, similar in character to a Chaconne. The name (according to Littré) is derived from the Spanish pasar, to walk, and calle, a street, in which case a Passacaglia may mean a tune played in the streets by itinerant musicians. This derivation is confirmed by Walther's Lexicon, where the name is translated by 'Gassenhauer.' Other authorities have attempted to connect the word Passacaglia with gallo, a cock; thus Mendel translates it 'Hahnentrapp.' The original dance was performed by one or two dancers; it survived in France until the iSth century, and directions for dancing it may be found in Feuillet's 'Chorégraphie.' But the feature which, in common with the Chaconne, has elevated the Passacaglia above the majority of dance forms, is the construction of the music on a ground bass, generally consisting of a short theme of two, four, or eight bars. This form attracted the attention of the organ and harpsichord composers of the 17th and 18th centuries, with whom the construction of elaborate Passacaglias and Chaconnes became a favourite exercise for contrapuntal skill. It is somewhat difficult to ascertain in what the difference between these two dance forms consists. Matheson,[1] a contemporary authority, distinguishes four points:—the Chaconne was slower and more stately than the Passacaglia; the former was always in a major key, the latter in a minor; Passacaglias were never sung; and Chaconnes were always on a ground-bass. The above distinction of keys is not borne out by the specimens that have come down to us, and the Passacaglia is, if anything, generally of a more solemn character than the Chaconne. The only material difference between the two seems to be that in the Chaconne the theme is kept invariably in the bass, while in the Passacaglia it was used in any part, often so disguised and embroidered amid ever varying contrapuntal devices as to become hardly recognisable. Among the most celebrated Passacaglias may be mentioned those by Buxtehude, Bach (Bach Gesellschaft, vol. xv.), Frescobaldi (Toccate d'Intavolatura, vol. i.), and Handel (Suite VII). The following less-known instance is from Sonata 4 of Handel's 'VII Sonatas or Trios.'

{ \time 3/4 << \new Staff { \key g \major << \new Voice \relative b' { \stemUp b4 b4. d8 | g,4 g'4. d8 | e4 e,4. fis16 g | fis4 d' a | b g e | c' a4. fis'8 | g4 g,4. c8 | b a a4.\trill g8 | g4 d'8 e fis d | }
\new Voice \relative g' { \stemDown g4 g4. fis8 | e4 e4. g8 | g4 c,4. b8 | a4 fis' fis | g d e | e fis4. a8 | g4 d e | g g fis | g b8 c d b | } >> }
\new Staff { \key g \major \clef bass \relative g { g2 d4 | e2 b4 | c2 a4 | d2 d,4 | g2 c4 | a2 d4 | b2 e4 | c d d, | g'2 d4 } }
\figures { s2. s2 <6>4 s2. s s <5>8 <6> s2 | <6> s4 <6 5> <5 4> <5 3> } >> }

etc.


There are also in existence some curious 'Passagagli flebili,' by Salvatore Mazzella, in his 'Balli, Correnti, Gighe, Gavotte, Braude, e Gagliarde, con la misura giusta per ballare al stile Inglese' (Rome, 1689). [App. p.744 "Add that the form has recently been introduced into the symphonic structure, by Brahms, in whose Symphony in E minor, no. 4 (op. 98), the finale is an exceedingly elaborate passacaglia."]

[ W. B. S. ]

PASSAGE. The word 'passage' is used of music in the same general sense that it is used of literature, without any special implication of its position or relations in the formal construction of a work, but merely as a portion identifiable through some characteristic trait or conterminous idea.

Thus in modern writings on music such expressions as 'passage in first violins,' 'passage in strict counterpoint,' 'passage where the basses go gradually down through two octaves,' show that the amount or extent of music embraced by the term is purely arbitrary, and may amount to two bars or to two pages at the will of the person using the term, so long as the definition, epithet or description given with it sufficiently covers the space so as to make its identification easy and certain; short of this the word by itself conveys no meaning.

It is however sometimes used in a special though not very honourable sense, of runs and such portions of music as are meaningless except as opportunities for display of dexterity on the part of executants, which are therefore in fact and by implication nothing more than 'passages.' In this respect literature and language are fortunate in having long ago arrived at such a pitch of development that it is hardly possible to find a counterpart except in the byways of gushing sentimental poetry or after-dinner oratory. It is possible that the musical use of the term originated in the amount of attention and labour which executants have had, especially in former days, to apply to such portions of the works they undertook, and the common habit of speaking of practising 'passages,' growing by insensible degrees to imply practising what it is hardly worth the while of an intelligent audience to listen to, except for the sake of the technique. It is probable that this use of the word in its special sense, except for mere exercises, will become less frequent in proportion to the growth of public musical intelligence.

PASSAGGIO, 'passage.' This word is used in two senses: (1) of the passing from one key

  1. Vollkommener Kapellmeister, p. 233.