Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/505

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Sharp Signaluret.



���Key of O.

��F >bup. sharp.

��Flat Sirimtiires.

�� ��Key of F. Bflat. E flat. Aflat. Dflat. 6 flat. C flat.

The order in which the si^ns are placed in the signature is always that in which they have been successively introduced in the regular for- mation of scales with more sharps or flats out of those with fewer or none. This will be seen in the above table, where Fff, which was the only sharp required to form the scale of G, remains the first sharp in all the signatures, Cfl being the second throughout, and so on, and the same rule is followed with the flats. The last sharp or flat of any signature is therefore the one which distinguishes it from all scales with fewer signs, and on this account it is known as the essential note of the scale. If a sharp, it is on the seventh degree of the scale ; if a flat, on the fourth.

The signature of the minor scale is the same as that of its relative major (i. e. the scale which has its key-note a minor third above the key- note of the minor scale), but the sharp seventh which, though sometimes subject to alteration for reasons due to the construction of melody, is an essential note of the scale is not in- cluded in the signature, but is marked as an accidental when required. The reason of this is that if it were placed there it would interfere

��with the regular order of sharps or flats, and the appearance of the signature would become so- anomalous as to give rise to possible misunder- standing, as will be seen from the following example, where the signature of A minor (with sharp seventh) might easily be mistaken for that of G major misprinted, and that of F minor for Eb major. 2.

��A minor.


��F minor.

��In former times many composers were accus- tomed to dispense with the last sharp or flat of the signature, both in major and minor keys, and to mark it as an accidental (like the sharp seventh of the minor scale) wherever required, possibly in order to call attention to its im- portance as an essential note of the scale. Thus Handel rarely wrote F minor with more than three flats, the Db being marked as an ac- cidental as well as the Efl (see 'And with His stripes ' from Messiah) ; and a duet ' Joys in gentle train appearing* (Athalia), which is in reality in E major, has but three sharps. Similar instances may be found in the works of Corelli, Geminiani, and others.

When in the course of a composition the key changes for any considerable period of time, it is frequently convenient to change the signature, in order to avoid the use of many accidentals. In effecting this change, such sharps or flats as are no longer required are cancelled by naturals, and this is the only case in which naturals are employed in the signature ; for example

��HUMM EL, ' La Contemplazione.'

���In such a case the modulation must be into a sufficiently distant key, as in the above ex- ample; modulations into nearly related keys, as, for instance, into the dominant, in the case of the second subject of a sonata, never require a change of signature, however long the new key may continue. Otherwise there is no limit to the frequency or extent of such changes, pro- vided the reading is facilitated thereby. In the second movement of Sterndale Bennett's sonata The Maid of Orleans ' there are no fewer than thirteen changes of signature. [F.T.]

SILAS, EDOUARD, pianist and composer, was born at Amsterdam, Aug. 22, 1827. His first teacher was Neher, one of the Court orchestra at Mannheim. In 1842 he was placed under Kalk- brenner at Paris, and soon afterwards entered the Conservatoire under Benoist for the organ and Hale'vy for composition, and in 1849 obtained the

��first prize for the former. In 1850 he came to- England; played first at Liverpool, and made his first appearance in London at the Musical Union, May 21. Since that date Mr. Silas has been established in London as teacher, and as organist of the Catholic Chapel at Kingston-on- Thames. His oratorio * Joash' (words compiled by G. Linley) was produced at the Norwich Fes- tival of 1863. A Symphony in A (op. 19) was produced by the Musical Society of London, April 22, 1863 ; repeated at the Crystal Palace, Feb. 20, 1864 ; and afterwards published (Cramer & Co.). A Concerto for PF. and orchestra in D minor is also published (Cramer & Co.). A Fantasia and an Elegie, both for PF. and orches- tra, were given at the Crystal Palace in 1865 and 1873. In 1866 he received the prize of the Belgian competition for sacred music for his Mass- for 4 voices and organ.

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