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Article

Ballad  

James Porter, Jeremy Barlow, Graham Johnson, Eric Sams, and Nicholas Temperley

(from Lat. ballare: ‘to dance’)

Term used for a short popular or traditional song that normally frames a narrative element. Scholars of the term’s history and origin take it to signify a relatively concise composition known throughout Europe since the late Middle Ages, spreading later to the New World, notably the Americas: it combines narrative, dramatic dialogue and lyrical passages in strophic form sung to a rounded tune, and often includes a recurrent refrain. Performance is predominantly by solo singers, though choral and dance elements are known in some cultures. Originally the word referred to dance-songs such as the French carole, but by the 14th century it had lost that connotation in English and had become a distinctive song type with a narrative core. The word has sometimes been used, mistakenly, as a translation for the medieval French forme fixe ballade (see Ballade), and for the 18th- and 19th-century German ballade (see §II below); the latter was partly influenced by the narrative folksong tradition of Britain and Scandinavia (...

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The Benny Goodman Quartet: Lionel Hampton, vibraphone; Teddy Wilson, piano; Benny Goodman, clarinet; and Gene Krupa, drums; in Busby Berkeley’s 1937 film, Hollywood Hotel.

(MaxJazz/Lebrecht Music & Arts)

Article

W. Dean Sutcliffe

In the 18th century sectional binary form continued to appear in folk music and in chorales (for example in Bach’s chorale no.38, Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn). It is most commonly found in arias, and may be understood retrospectively as a da capo form that unexpectedly fails to complete itself. This almost always occurs for dramatic reasons, as in Jonathan’s ‘No, no, cruel father, no!’ from Handel’s Saul, where a lamenting first section in B minor is succeeded by a G major Allegro. Both sections are harmonically closed, leaving the larger structure open; AB is clearly a more appropriate designation here. A more complex example is Iole’s aria ‘My father! ah! methinks I see’ from Handel’s Hercules. In the first section, beginning and ending in C minor, Iole relives the killing of her father by Hercules. The relative major is held in reserve for the second section, in which Iole bids her father rest in peace. Rather than finishing in E♭ major, though, the music clouds over into E♭ minor, implying that Iole’s remembrance of the violent death has invaded her thoughts. The close thus reverts to the mode of the first section and creates some sense of rounded shaping to the whole, if in the first instance for dramatic reasons; there are also some subtle thematic recollections from ...

Article

Erich Schwandt, Fredric Woodbridge Wilson, and Deane L. Root

(Fr.; It. burlesca; Ger. Burleske)

A humorous piece involving parody and grotesque exaggeration; the term may be traced to folk poetry and theatre and apparently derived from the late Latin burra (‘trifle’). As a literary term in the 17th century it referred to a grotesque imitation of the dignified or pathetic, and in the early 18th century it was used as a title for musical works in which serious and comic elements were juxtaposed or combined to achieve a grotesque effect. In England the word denotes a dramatic production which ridicules stage conventions, while in 19th- and 20th-century American usage its principal meaning is a variety show in which striptease is the chief attraction.

Burlesque: Instrumental music

Burlesque: English theatrical burlesque

Burlesque: American burlesque

ESMGG2 (‘Burleske’; M. Struck) [incl. list of instrumental works]NicollHT.F. Dillon Croker and S. Tucker, eds.: The Extravaganzas of J.R. Planché, Esq. (Somerset Herald, 1827–1871) (London, 1879)W. Davenport Adams...

Article

Fredric Woodbridge Wilson and Deane L. Root

In the USA, burlesque followed the English form until the 1860s. From the late 1830s burlesques of operas and romantic plays were presented in New York, and the English émigré John Brougham wrote and acted in numerous burlesques from 1842 to 1879. Brougham’s Po-ca-hon-tas (1855, after Longfellow’s narrative poem) is peopled with ‘Salvages’, its dialogue is a string of doubles entendres and its songs were selected from such popular tunes as Widow Machree and Rosin the Bow and Tyrolean melodies. Several minstrel troupes presented such satires; in the 1860s the Kelly & Leon Negro Minstrels performed burlesques of Offenbach (La Belle L.N., Grand Dutch S.) throughout the north-eastern states, and Sanford’s Minstrel Burlesque Opera Troupe advertised a ‘change of programme every night’. From about 1860 burlesque often provided the framework for elaborate spectacles, beginning with those produced in New York by Laura Keene, who employed ballet troupes of women whose costumes exposed their legs; nearly all New York theatres presented shows that relied less for their effect on dramatic elements, wit or satire than on female beauty, and the term ‘burlesque’ gradually shifted in meaning from the ridicule of stage conventions to an emphasis on women in various degrees of undress, with striptease elements prominent by the 1920s. The burlesque was banned in New York in ...

Article

Fredric Woodbridge Wilson and Deane L. Root

Burlesque was related to and in part derived from Pantomime and may be considered an extension of the introductory section of pantomime with the addition of gags and ‘turns’ such as traditionally accompanied a transformation scene. But whereas pantomime most often took its subject matter from stories familiar to children – fairy tale, nursery rhyme, folk story, familiar fiction or exotic tales – burlesque tended to employ more elevated and serious models: mythology, classical or historical legend (Medea, Ivanhoe), literature, Shakespearean drama and history (Guy Fawkes, Lucrezia Borgia). Among the objects of ridicule were the conventions of serious theatre and melodrama. Burlesques followed the appearance of virtually every major opera, as for example J. Halford’s Faust and Marguerite (1853) after Gounod’s Faust.

Like pantomime, burlesque became a largely seasonal entertainment, appearing in legitimate theatres at Christmas and Easter in place of more serious bills. Occasionally a burlesque appeared as a companion piece to other works. Whereas pantomime entertained all classes and all ages, the burlesque and extravaganza tended to appeal to a relatively educated and sophisticated audience. In both genres dialogue was cast in rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter verse (less often in blank verse). Music was an essential if often a minor feature, consisting chiefly of arrangements of songs and incidental music to underscore the action or for comic effect. In operatic burlesques, numbers were appropriated from the model, with new words and often with humorous touches; additional numbers were interpolated from a variety of familiar sources (such as music hall and minstrel songs). Rarely was there any attempt at musical parody....

Article

Erich Schwandt

J.G. Walther (1732) described burlesque music as ‘jocular’ and ‘amusing’ (‘schertzhafft’, ‘kurzweilig’) and referred to ‘burleske Ouvertüren’ as pieces in which ‘laughable melodies, made up of 5ths and octaves, appear along with serious melodies’. This probably referred to the comic effects achieved by composers of Italian opera buffa in the early 18th century, effects that doubtless helped to set a standard of musical humour for the ‘burlesca’ movements sometimes included in contemporary suites. The example in Bach’s Partita bwv827, which is called a minuet in Anna Magdalena’s Notebook (1725), has nothing particularly jocular about it, although it displays some striking harmonies, as well as a passage in parallel octaves. J.L. Krebs placed a ‘bourlesca’ between the saraband and the minuets of his Partita no.2 in B♭; the movement is not a dance, but rather a small-scale sonata form with a few melodic and harmonic surprises. François Couperin subtitled some of his harpsichord pieces ‘dans le goût burlesque’; two examples are ...

Article

Nicholas Temperley

A type of English operatic comedy that flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The term was one of several used for Italian comic operas of the light intermezzo variety: for instance Pergolesi’s La serva padrona was so described at its first London performance in 1750. Several Italian burlettas were played at Dublin with great success in the 1750s, and Lord Mornington commissioned Kane O’Hara to write an English imitation of one. The result was Midas, the first English burletta, performed privately near Belfast in 1760, and publicly at Dublin in 1762 and at Covent Garden in 1764. It was a burlesque on classical mythology; the music was a pasticcio, partly folksongs and partly tunes from Italian and English operas, with recitative. Its compiler is unknown.

Midas was a great success and was imitated both in Dublin and in the London patent theatres. These early burlettas, in verse throughout and all-sung, satirized the mythological and historical conventions of ...

Article

Nicholas Temperley

(b Kensington, London, Nov 20, 1766; d Bristol, May 15, 1821). English composer and theorist. Entering music as a largely self-taught amateur, he became a popular glee composer and a respected authority on music theory.

He was the son of a builder, Thomas Callcott, by his second wife, Charlotte Wall, and was educated at a private school by William Young; he was a brilliant student of classics, Hebrew and philosophy. Until he was 13 it was planned that he should become a surgeon, but he was so disgusted by witnessing an operation that he gave up this idea. He had learnt something of music from Henry Whitney, organist of Kensington parish church, and he began to practise the organ seriously while continuing to pursue, untaught, the study of languages and mathematics. He also learnt to play the clarinet and the oboe, and began to compose. In 1782 he became acquainted with Samuel Arnold and Benjamin Cooke, who encouraged him to enter the profession; the next year he became assistant organist of St George’s, Bloomsbury. Through Cooke he was admitted as a ‘supernumerary hautboy’ at the concerts of the Academy of Ancient Music. From this time onwards his efforts in composition were mainly devoted to the glee. His first glee, ...

Article

Miloš Velimirović, Ruth Steiner, Keith Falconer, and Nicholas Temperley

(from Lat. canticulum, diminutive of canticum: ‘song’)

A designation for hymns in the scriptures apart from the psalms; it is sometimes applied loosely to the Te Deum and other non-scriptural texts as well as to certain psalms, particularly in the Anglican rite.

Miloš Velimirović

Canticles are similar to psalms in form and content and several appear in various Christian rites. Biblical canticles are often referred to as ‘Psalms outside the Psalter’. In the Old Testament there are a number of such hymns, a few of which were used by the Jews both in the Temple and in the Synagogue rites. The most prominent were the Song of Moses (Exodus xv.1–19) and the Hymn of the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace (Daniel iii.57–88 in the Apocrypha). The Greek term in the Septuagint for such songs is ōdē (from adō: ‘to sing’). Of the New Testament canticles, it seems likely that some are new versions, maybe only slightly reworked, of earlier Jewish or Jewish-Christian material, the latter most probably consisting of hymns or psalmic compositions; the original versions, presumably in Hebrew or Aramaic, are lost and cannot now be reconstructed with certainty. Three New Testament canticles are used daily in the Roman rite: ...

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Jazz Ex.2 characteristic rhythmic motive of the charleston

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Corp author Jazzsign

In 

Charlie Parker, 1949.

(JazzSign/Lebrecht Music & Arts)

Article

Choro  

Thomas Garcia

Developed in Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s, it is the most important Brazilian popular instrumental music genre. The term “choro” originally referred to an improvisatory style of playing popular European dances favored by amateurs, as well as the gatherings at which it was played. Musicians of the day, moving towards a national popular music, adapted the polka, waltz, schottische, and other European dances to their tastes. This adaptation included influences from African-derived music, notably rhythm. The polka, for example, assimilated African rhythms to a large degree; this dance was adapted to the point that it became distinct from the European polka and was known as simply as choro. The typical ensemble for choro performance included a wind instrument, guitars of various sizes, and percussion. The heart and soul of the tradition was the roda de choro, or choro circle, a social and musical gathering in which amateur musicians would play for sheer pleasure. ...

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Jazz Ex.1c cinquillo

Article

Nicholas Temperley

(b Gloucester, Dec 13, 1770; d Holmer, nr Hereford, Feb 22, 1836). English organist and composer. He was the son of John Clarke of Malmesbury, Wiltshire (d. 1802) and Amphillis Whitfeld (d. 1813). He studied music at Oxford (against his family's wishes) under Philip Hayes. He was organist at Ludlow parish church, 1789, then at Armagh Cathedral, 1794, where his ‘irresponsibility and extravagance’ got him into bad odour with the authorities. Next he was Master of the Choristers at St Patrick's and Christ Church cathedrals, Dublin, 1798; organist of Trinity and St John's colleges, Cambridge, 1799; and organist of Hereford Cathedral, 1820. He was pensioned off by the Hereford chapter in 1833, having become incapacitated by paralysis. He took the BMus degree at Oxford (1793), honorary MusD at Dublin (1795) and MusD at Cambridge (1799, incorporated at Oxford, 1810). In ...

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Corp author JazzSign/Lebrecht Music & Arts

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Duke Ellington Orchestra: Kay Davis, singer; Al Sears, saxophone; Junior Raglin, bass, Ray Nance trumpet, and trombonist Tricky Sam Nanton; 1945.

(JazzSign/Lebrecht Music & Arts)

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Corp author Rue des Archives

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Ella Fitzgerald.

(RA/Lebrecht Music & Arts)

Article

Ian Bradley

English comic-opera collaborators. The impact of the comic operas of the librettist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) in the United States was immediate and lasting. H.M.S. Pinafore, the team’s second significant collaboration, established its transatlantic reputation. In the absence of international copyright agreements, a pirate production opened in Boston on 25 November 1878, exactly six months after the London first night. Within a few months Pinafore mania was sweeping the country. The opera was at one point being performed simultaneously in eight New York theaters within five blocks of each other. By the time the “authorized” version opened at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York on 1 December 1879, more than 150 productions had played across the United States.

It was a mark of the instant and intense popularity of the first of the major Savoy operas, as Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas became known, that the next work in the canon, ...

Article

Meredith Eliassen

The music and songs of the (California) Gold Rush in San Francisco reflected the sorrows and hard luck of residents who failed to find fortunes in California’s gold fields and faced mortality far from loved ones. The newspaper Alta California observed in 1851, “Birds of a feather flock together,” describing San Francisco as a miniature world where music reflected nearly “every country on the face of the earth.” A few short blocks from the Latin Quarter lay the heart of Chinatown. Streets reverberated with the bustling rhythms of landfill machinery used to reshape the geography of San Francisco’s waterfront and the transient movement of boardinghouse dwellers dodging firestorms, shanghaiers, and outbreaks of cholera.

Musical influences from Californios, New York’s Bowery district, and the Appalachian Mountains region, along with sea shanties from the Pacific Rim trade routes, rhythms of freeborn African Americans, and traditional musics of Europeans fleeing famines, economic depressions, and violent unrest reverberated through San Francisco’s vibrant street culture. Regular steamship service made minstrel shows and bawdy burlesque featuring all-male casts profitable in the absence of women performers. Local minstrel shows parodied popular music by adapting songs with new lyrics to entertain miners. The Philadelphia Minstrels started a long engagement at the Bella Union Hall on ...

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Jazz Ex.1b habanera