Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/757

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Moderne dict Grand Jacques' (Lyon, 1539–41) in 9 volumes, containing 224 Songs, a 4, and 32 a 2 and 3, so arranged, that the Superius and Tenor sit facing each other, on opposite sides of the table—the Superius reading from the lower half of the left-hand page, and the Tenor from the upper half; while the Bassus and Altus occupy the same positions with regard to the right-hand page.

The rapid cultivation of Instrumental Music in the 17th and 18th centuries, naturally exercised a great influence upon the Part-Books of the period. Scores, both vocal and instrumental, became more and more common: and the vocal and instrumental Part-Books gradually assumed the form with which we are familiar at the present day.

[ W. S. R. ]

PART-WRITING (Free Part-Writing; The Free Style; German, Stimmführung). When the Polyphonic Schools were abandoned, in the beginning of the 17th century, in favour of the newly-invented Monodic Style, the leaders of the revolutionary movement openly professed their contempt for Counterpoint, and for every form of composition for which it served as the technical basis. Vincenzo Galilei thought it puerile; Monteverde made a pretence of studying it, under Ingegneri, but never paid the slightest attention to its rules; neither he, nor any other disciple of the Monodic School, ever suggested a better system to supply its place. But musicians like Giovanni Gabrieli, Bernadino Nanini, and Leo Hasler, could not content themselves with a stiff and ungraceful Melody, accompanied only by a still more stiff and unmelodious Continuo. Still less could their successors, Colonna, and Alessandro Scarlatti, in Italy, and the ancestors of the great Bach family in Germany, dispense with the effect producible by a number of voices or instruments, combined in accordance with a well-arranged system of harmonious concord. On the other hand, the gradual abandonment of the Ecclesiastical Modes opened the way for many new forms of treatment, and rendered many older ones impossible. Yielding therefore, from time to time, to the necessities of the case, these true apostles of progress gradually built up a new system, which, while relinquishing no part of the old one which it was possible or expedient to retain, added to it all that was needed for the development of a growing School, marked by peculiarities altogether unknown to the earlier Polyphonists.

In order to understand the changes introduced into the new system of Part-writing, by the pioneers of the modern Schools, we must first briefly consider the changed conditions which led to their adoption.

The daily increasing attention bestowed upon Instrumental Music played an important part in the revolutionary movement. When voices were supported by no accompaniment whatever, it was necessary that they should be entrusted with the intonation of those intervals only which they were certain of singing correctly in tune; and on this point the laws of Counterpoint were very precise. When instrumental support was introduced, it was found that many intervals, previously forbidden on account of their uncertainty, could be used with perfect security; and, in consequence of this discovery, the severity of the old laws was gradually relaxed, and a wide discretion allowed to the composer, both with regard to pure instrumental passages, and vocal passages with instrumental accompaniments.

Again, the complete abandonment of all the Ecclesiastical Modes, except the Æolian and Ionian, led to a most important structural change. In the older style, the composer was never permitted to quit the Mode in which his piece began, except for the purpose of extending its range by combining its own Authentic and Plagal forms.[1] But, he was allowed to form a True Cadence[2] upon a certain number of notes, called its Modulations.[3] As it was necessary that these Cadences should all terminate upon Major Chords, they involved the use of a number of Accidentals which has led modern writers to describe the Modulations of the Mode as so many changes of Key, analogous to the Modulations of modern Music. But the Modulations of the Mode were no more than certain notes selected from its Scale, like the Dominant and Sub-Dominant of the modern Schools; and, in applying the term Modulation to a change of Key, the technical force of the expression has been entirely changed, and the word itself invested with a new and purely conventional meaning.[4] When it became the custom to use no other Modes than the Ionian and Æolian—the Major and Minor Modes of modern Music—and to change the pitch of these Modes, when necessary, by transposition into what we now call the different Major and Minor Keys, it was found possible to change that pitch many times, in the course of a single composition—in modern language, to modulate from one Key to another. But, this form of Modulation was quite distinct from the formation of true Cadences upon the Regular and Conceded Modulations of the Mode; and it necessarily led to very important changes in the method of Part-writing.

Another striking characteristic of the new School—closely connected with that of which we have been speaking—was manifested in the construction of its Cadences. The principle of the Polyphonic Cadence was based upon the melodic relation of two real parts.[5] The Cadence of the modern School is based upon the harmonic relation of two successive Chords.[6] And, naturally, the two forms demand very different treatment in the arrangement of the vocal and instrumental parts.

Finally, the free introduction of the Chromatic genus, both in Melody and in Harmony, opened a wide field for innovation in the matter of

  1. See vol. ii. p. 338–9.
  2. See vol. iv. p. 592.
  3. See vol. ii. 351b.
  4. The Latin words Modula and Modulatio simply mean a tune.
  5. See vol. iii. p. 742; also vol. iv. App. p. 592.
  6. See vol. i. pp. 290 et seq.