Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/116

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although, in general language, it is frequently used to denote a Subject of any kind, whether of a leading or subsidiary character. From the time of Sebastian Bach to our own, the terms Theme and Subject have been used with much looseness. In his 'Musikalisches Opfer,' Bach designates the Motivo given to him by Frederick the Great as 'Il Soggetto reale,' in one place, and 'Thema regium' in another; thus proving, conclusively, that he considered the two terms as interchangeable. But, in another work, founded on a Motivo by Legrenzi, he calls the principal Subject 'Thema,' and the Counter-Subject 'Subjectum'; and this is unquestionably the more correct method of using the terms. [See Subject, vol. iii. p. 749.]

A familiar application of the word 'Thema' is found in connection with a Subject followed by Variations; as, 'Tema con Variazioni,' with its equivalent in other languages. In the 18th century, this form of composition was called 'Air et Doubles'; the substitution of the word 'Doubles' for 'Variations,' clearly owing its origin to the then almost universal custom of writing the two first Variations in the Second and Third Orders of Counterpoint—that is to say, in notes the rapidity of which was doubled at each new form of development.

[ W. S. R. ]

THEORBO (Fr. Théorbe, Tuorbe; Ital. Tiorba or Tuorba, also Archiliuto). The large double-necked lute with two sets of tuning pegs, the lower set holding the strings which lie over the fretted finger-board, while the upper set are attached to the bass strings, or so-called diapasons, which are used as open notes. The illustration has been engraved from a specimen at South Kensington Museum. According to Baron's 'Untersuchung des Instruments d. Lauten' (Nürnberg 1727, p. 131), the Paduan theorbo was the true one. The English Archlute of that time, so frequently named as an alternative to the harpsichord or organ for the Basso Continuo or 'Through Base' accompaniment, was such a theorbo, and we must, on Baron's authority, allow it a deeper register than has been stated in the article Archlute [vol. i. p. 81]. He gives

8ve lower

—eight notes on the fingerboard and nine off. This is the old lute-tuning of Thomas Mace ('Musick's Monument,' London 1676), who says (p. 207) that the theorbo is no other than the old English lute. But early in the 17th century many large lutes had been altered to theorbos by substituting double necks for the original single ones. These altered lutes, called, according to Mersenne, 'luth téorbé' or 'liuto attiorbato,' retained the double strings in the bass. The theorbo engraved in Mersenne's 'Harmonie Universelle' (Paris, 1636) is really a theorboed lute. He gives it the following accordance:—

The Chanterelle single. For the 'Tuorbe' as practised at Rome the same authority gives (p. 88)—

In the musical correspondence of Huygens, edited by Jonckbloet and Land, and published (1882) at Leyden, is to be found a letter of Huygens wherein he wishes to acquire a large lute, to elevate it to the quality of a theorbo, for which he considered it from its size more fit. The same interesting work enables the writer to make some corrections to Lute. [See vol. ii. p. 177 b.] It was Charles I who bought a Laux Maler lute for £100 sterling, and gave it to his lutenist, whose name should be spelt Gaultier.[1] The lute had belonged to Jehan Ballard, another famous lutenist who never would part with it. The King bought it of his heritors. Two other corrections in the same article may be here appropriately introduced. As M. Chouquet has pointed out, the wood of old lutes could not be used for repairing fiddles. What happened was, the lutes were transformed into Vielles or Hurdy-gurdies. Professor Land suggests that Luther is a local name. Lutemaker in German would be Lauter. The drawing of the Maler lute, vol. ii. p. 176, shows a guitar head and single stringing, which became adopted before the lute went entirely out. Following Gaultier in the Huygens correspondence, Maler's period was about 1500-20, later than the date given by Carl Engel.

Prætorius ('Organographia,' Wolfenbüttel 1619, p. 50), with whom Mersenne agrees, states that the difference between lute and theorbo is that the lute has double and the theorbo single basses. The Paduan theorbo is about 4ft. 7 ins. high. Prætorius, in the work referred to

  1. Huygens met Gaultier in England, in 1622 at the Killigrews, whose musical reunions he remembered all his life.