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Absatz  

A term, first used by H.C. Koch, denoting an opening phrase. See Analysis, §II, 2.

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Clive Brown

As a musical term, absetzen has two meanings: (1) to separate one note from another, as is usual in staccato performance and (2) to transcribe vocal music into tablature for some solo instrument, for example lute or organ. In the 18th century Quantz described staccato playing in general as ...

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Roger Scruton

The term ‘absolute music’ denotes not so much an agreed idea as an aesthetic problem. The expression is of German origin, first appearing in the writings of Romantic philosophers and critics such as J.L. Tieck, J.G. Herder, W.H. Wackenroder, Jean Paul Richter and E.T.A. Hoffmann. It features in the controversies of the 19th century – for example, in Hanslick’s spirited defence of ...

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Richard Parncutt and Daniel J. Levitin

The ability either to identify the chroma (pitch class) of any isolated tone, using labels such as C, 261 Hz or do (‘passive’ absolute pitch), or to reproduce a specified chroma – for example, by singing or adjusting the frequency of a tone generator – without reference to an external standard (‘active’ absolute pitch (AP): Bachem, ...

Article

Clive Brown

The normal German equivalent of the Italian verb staccare (‘to separate or detach; to play staccato’); the noun Stoss was used to mean staccato. Like its Italian counterpart it implies not only separation but also, in many cases, accent. Stoss means literally a blow or shove and the verb means to push, shove or jab. The prefix ...

Article

Erik Levi

Opera in one act, op.43, by Boris Blacher to a libretto by Werner Egk; Mannheim, Nationaltheater, 17 October 1953 (previously broadcast on Hessischer Rundfunk, 28 June 1953).

This 35-minute opera scored for soprano, tenor and baritone, mixed choir and instrumental ensemble is divided into seven self-contained scenes entitled Angst (Fear), Liebe I (Love 1), Schmerz (Pain), Verhandlung (Negotiation), Panik (Panic), Liebe II (Love 2) and Angst (Fear). There is no conventional plot as such; rather the opera, constructed in arch-form, offers an exploration of various states of mind. The vocal writing dispenses with comprehensible speech and relies on syllables and stage gestures to make its effect. In the opening scene the dialogue between the three soloists consists entirely of primeval wails based on the sound patterns of ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’. Following this is the first love scene which ends in hilarity when a dressmaker’s dummy is shot by the soprano. At the centre of the work lies the fourth scene, ‘Verhandlung’, in which an infantile and barely comprehensible discussion between a Russian (baritone) and American diplomat (tenor) breaks down through lack of communication. With the return to the ‘Angst’ scene at the end of the opera comes an overriding feeling of the futility of modern life....

Article

Peter Walls

In string playing Abstrich and Aufstrich denote ‘down-bow’ and ‘up-bow’, respectively. ‘Down-bow’ is indicated by the sign (a stylized representation of the frog of the bow) and ‘up-bow’ by (representing the point of the bow). These symbols were first described by Baillot (L'art du violon...

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Clive Brown

Singspiel in one act, j106, by Carl Maria von Weber to a libretto by Franz Carl Hiemer after Antoine Galland’s story Le dormeur éveillé; Munich, Residenztheater, 4 June 1811.

Hiemer based his libretto on the second part of Galland’s version of the well-known tale of ‘Abu Hassan, or The Sleeper Awakened’ from the Arabian ...

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Abume  

Bullroarer of the Tiv people of Nigeria; it is used in the agbande rite for a pregnant woman, with the ivuur scraper and the imborivungu pipe.

See also Imborivungu ; Ivuur .

Article

James Tyler

A tuning indication (im Abzug) found in 16th-century German lute tablatures. It directs the player to lower the pitch of the lute’s sixth course by one whole tone from its normal tuning. (See Cordes avallées and Scordatura, §4.)

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Howard Mayer Brown

According to C.P.E. Bach, Marpurg and Quantz in the 18th century, an Abzug is a decrescendo into the principal note from a long appoggiatura. Georg Simon Löhlein (Clavier-Schule, 1765 and later) said ‘Abzug’ is synonymous with ‘Schneller’, that is, a trill with one repercussion starting and ending with the main note, the ornament called ‘inverted mordent’ by some writers. For these meanings of the term see F. Neumann: ...

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Howard Mayer Brown

A term occasionally used by organ builders to refer to a rank of pipes forming part of a mixture or other compound stop that can be detached and used as an independent stop.

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AC/DC  

Robert Walser

Australian heavy metal band. Formed in Sydney in 1973 by the brothers Angus Young (b Glasgow [Scotland], 31 March 1955; guitar) and Malcolm Young (b Glasgow [Scotland], 6 Jan 1953; guitar), its best-known line-up stabilized in 1975 with Mark Evans (b Melbourne, ...

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Theatre in New York City, presenting regular operatic seasons from 1854 to 1886; see New York, §1 .

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Name for a group of American travelling companies drawn from resident troupes of the New York Academy of Music, 1854–86, variously under the management (1854–77) of Maurice Strakosch, Bernard Ullman, Max Maretzek and others. Under this umbrella were a variety of individual companies, including the Strakosch Opera Company, Ullman-Strakosch Opera Company and Academy of Music Company, all of which made extensive tours of the USA. From ...

Article

Graham Sadler

Pastorale-héroïque in three acts by Jean-Philippe Rameau to a libretto by Jean François Marmontel ; Paris, Opéra, 19 November 1751.

To protect Acante (haute-contre) and Céphise (soprano) from the menacing genie Oroès (bass), the fairy Zirphile (soprano) gives the lovers a talisman. This provides them with the telepathic power (‘la sympathie’ of the subtitle) to sense each other’s feelings even when separated. The work, which celebrated the Duke of Burgundy’s birth, includes more inventive music than such a puerile plot deserves, and incorporates the earliest surviving clarinet parts in French opera. The overture, a representation of the nation’s joy at the royal birth, uses cannon fire in its portrayal of fireworks....

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Academy associated (in Lucca, 1645; Bologna, 1647; Ferrara, 1648) with the touring opera company or companies known as the Febiarmonici : either they were one and the same, or the Febiarmonici were in some way managed by the academy.

Article

A direction to increase the speed of a musical performance, often over a fairly long passage. It is usually abbreviated to accel., and is in practice much rarer than its contrary, rallentando. Koch (Musikalisches Lexikon, 1802), translating it as eilend, drew attention to terms he considered more common at the time, ...

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Accent  

Matthias Thiemel

The prominence given to a note or notes in performance by a perceptible alteration (usually increase) in volume (‘dynamic accent’); a lengthening of duration or a brief preceding silence of articulation (‘agogic accent’); an added ornament or pitch inflection of a melodic note (‘pitch accent’); or by any combination of these. The term is also used for any of the notational signs used to indicate that such prominence is required. On instruments capable of immediate dynamic nuance, including the voice and most strings, wind and percussion, an increase of volume is usually the chief element in this prominence, commonly at the start (with a more assertive effect), but alternatively just after the start (with a more insinuating effect, for which one specific term is ...

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Accento  

An ornament defined by Zacconi and Bovicelli as a dotted figure filling in or expanding a written interval. See Ornaments, §1, Ornaments, §4 and Ornaments, §8 .