Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/718

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706
PHRASING.
PHILLIPS.

Harmonic Society, etc., besides being regularly engaged at all the great Musical Festivals. He was at different times musical director of the Olympic and Princess's Theatres, composing the music for a variety of dramas. For many years he held the post of organist at St. Katherine's Church, Regent's Park, and at one time conducted a series of concerts at St. Martin's Hall. In addition to numerous songs he composed a Symphony in F minor, which was performed with great success at the concerts of the Royal Academy of Music, and of the Society of British Musicians. Prior to his fatal illness he was engaged on an opera founded on a Rosicrucian story, and a cantata on a Welsh subject. He also attained great proficiency on the pianoforte, playing at the concerts of the Royal Academy, his last public performance being the fifth concerto of Moscheles in C major. He died March 19, 1860, and was buried at the Highgate cemetery.

[ G. ]

PHILTRE, LE. Opera in 2 acts; words by Scribe, music by Auber. Produced at the Académie royale June 20, 1831; and in English—'The Love Spell'—at the Olympic, London, Oct. 27 of the same year. The subject is the same as that of the Elisire d'amore of Donizetti. It kept the Paris stage almost without interruption till Jan. 8, 1862, during which period it was played 242 times.

[ G. ]

PHRASE is one of the smallest items in the divisions which distinguish the form of a musical work. Where there are distinct portions marked off by closes like full stops, and half closes like stops of less emphasis (as often happens in Airs, Tunes, Themes, etc.), the complete divisions are generally called periods, and the lesser divisions phrases. The word is not and can hardly be used with much exactness and uniformity, for sometimes a phrase may be all, as it were, contained in one breath, and sometimes subordinate divisions may be very clearly marked. See Phrasing.

PHRASING. A musical composition, as has just been said, consists of a series of short sections of various lengths, called phrases, each more or less complete in itself; and it is upon the interdependence of these phrases, and upon their connection with each other, that the intelligibility of music depends. The phrases are analogous to the sentences of a literary composition.

The relationship of the different phrases to each other and to the whole work forms no part of our present subject, but may be studied in the article Form; what we have at present to do with is the proper rendering of the phrases in performance, that they may be presented to the listener in an intelligible and attractive form. The process by which this is accomplished is called Phrasing, and is perhaps the most important of the various elements which go to make a good and artistic rendering of a musical composition. Rousseau ('Dictionnaire de Musique') says of it, 'The singer who feels what he sings, and duly marks the phrases and accents, is a man of taste. But he who can only give the values and intervals of the notes without the sense of the phrases, however accurate he may be, is a mere machine.

Just as the intelligent reading of a literary composition depends chiefly upon two things, accentuation and punctuation, so does musical phrasing depend on the relative strength of the sounds, and upon their connection with or separation from each other. It is this close relationship of language to music which makes their union in vocal music possible and appropriate, and accordingly when music is allied to words it is necessary that the musical accents should coincide with those of the text, while the separation of the various phrases agrees with the division of the text into separate lines or sentences. In instrumental music, although the same principles underlie its construction, there is no such definite guide as that afforded by the sense of the words in a song, and the phrasing must therefore be the result of a just appreciation on the part of the performer of the general sense of the music, and of the observance of certain marks by which phrasing is indicated.

If we now consider more closely the causes and consequences of a variety in the strength of the notes of a phrase, we notice in the first place the necessity for an accent on the first note of every bar, and, in certain rhythms, on other parts of the bar also. These regularly recurring accents, though an important part of phrasing, need not be dwelt on here, as they have already been fully treated in the article Accent; but there are certain irregular forms of accent occasionally required by the phrasing, which it is necessary to notice.

In rapid passages, when there are many notes in a bar, it is often necessary to introduce more accents than the ordinary rhythm requires, and the number and frequency of the accents will depend upon the number of changes of harmony upon which the passage is founded. Thus in the first bar of the following example, each couple of notes, after the first four, represents a new harmony, and the bar will consequently require seven accents, while the next two bars will receive the ordinary rhythmic accent on the first note of each group; and in the fourth bar, since the harmony does not change, two accents will suffice In the example the place of the accents is shown by the asterisks.

1. Müller, Caprice, Op. 29, No. 4.

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