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Article

David H. Fox

A type of pipe organ built between 1911 and 1940 specifically for the accompaniment of silent films and the performance of popular music. In the USA the term ‘theater organ’ is preferred (for earlier types of organ used in theatres, see Theatre organ). Many characteristics of the cinema organ can be traced to church organs built between 1895 and 1910 in the UK and USA by Robert Hope-Jones (1859–1914), a pioneer of the use of electricity in organs. These included the use of rapid electropneumatic action, remote consoles, numerous couplers and accessories and, in particular, unification. With this economical system, the effect of a 61-pipe rank of another octave was obtained by the addition of 12 pipes to a stop and appropriate electrical connections (see Extension organ and Organ, §VI, 4). ‘Double touch’ enabled the organist to play with a different stop arrangement when applying additional pressure to the keys. This permitted the playing of solo and accompaniment on the same manual, and other effects....

Article

Laurence Libin

Technique employed by wind players to produce a continuous melody or a single, very prolonged sound without interruption to draw breath. The player’s lungs, under diaphragm pressure, inflate the mouth cavity, causing the puffed cheeks to act as a wind reservoir in the manner of a bagpipe’s bag. With the soft palate closed, the cheek muscles force air into the instrument; when this air is nearly exhausted, the player inhales in short, deep intakes through the nose to replenish the lungs. Especially applied to reed instruments but also to such varied winds as conch and Tibetan thigh-bone trumpets, the technique is widespread in folk music traditions; it gained currency in jazz during the 1950s and 1960s, notably in performances by the saxophonists Harry Carney and Roland Kirk, and later by Kenny G. The technique, which admits minor variation, is increasingly required for modern compositions, but players sometimes employ it as an impressive trick (saxophonist Geovanny Escalante has reportedly held a single note for about 90 minutes) or to enable performance of music originally written for bowed strings and requiring long, continuous phrases. Rumours that circular breathing can cause lung damage are unsubstantiated. See ...

Article

(Fr. appel, pédale de combinaison; Ger. freie Kombination)

In organs, a device that allows the player to put a group of stops into operation at once. Such actions may be either fixed (unalterable) or adjustable by the player, and are found in organs with every type of key action: mechanical, pneumatic or electric. Early mechanical types of combination action were generally foot-operated, but in electric-action organs thumb-buttons between the manuals are common. ...

Article

Peter Williams

revised by Nicholas Thistlethwaite

The name given to the foot-operated lever of an organ that takes off or brings on predetermined stops, usually by operating on the draw-stop rods. J.C. Bishop was the inventor, though a counter-claim by his former master, Benjamin Flight, was dismissed by the Society of Arts in 1809. The composition pedal replaced the earlier ‘shifting movement’ which had comprised a foot-lever operating directly on the ends of the sliders in such a way that on depression the stop was taken off, and on release a spring returned the slider to the playing position. According to the builder Jordan’s trade-card of about 1720, its purpose was to put stops ‘off and on by the feet, simply or together, at the master’s discretion, and as quick as thought, without taking the hands off the keys’. Hopkins, in The Organ (1855), used the term ‘single-action’ to describe the composition pedal that ‘either draws out or thrusts in a given number of sliders’ or draw-stops, and ‘double-action’ for the pedal that did both. Such accessories were as popular by the late 1820s (John Abbey’s small organ for the Paris Exhibition of ...

Article

James H. Cook

An organ installed in a public performance hall. Owing to their intended use, concert organs stand apart from church organs on one hand and residence organs on the other. Such organs were common in the 1920s and 1930s, less so in the years following World War II. A late-twentieth-century resurgence of interest has produced some outstanding examples, including those in the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas (Fisk ...

Article

The Fingering of keyboard music with figures 1 to 5 for each hand, 1 standing for the thumb, a system in general use throughout the world today. The term was used in Britain in the 19th century in contrast to so-called English fingering (not, however, exclusively English), which provided for four fingers (marked 1 to 4) and a thumb (marked +)....

Article

Owen Jander

(Lat.: ‘against the tenor’)

The name given in the 14th and early 15th centuries to a polyphonic line composed in the same range as the Tenor. The practice of writing a part ‘against the tenor’ superseded the typical 13th-century process of adding parts above a tenor line. The first theoretical mention of the word ‘contratenor’ occurs in the treatise In arte motetorum (CS, iii, 88; 14th–15th century), and its earliest known appearance in a musical source is in a fragmentary motet manuscript of between 1315 and 1319 from the cloister of S Giorgio Maggiore, Venice (facs. in Quadrivium, ix (1968), table 1). The innovatory practice of adding a contratenor to a tenor is interestingly revealed in two motets (Vos quid admiramini/Gratissima/Gaude gloriosa and Impudenter circuivi/Virtutibus laudabilis) by Philippe de Vitry (1291–1361), which may be performed either with a conventional single-line tenor (‘tenor solus’) or with the same part ingeniously rewritten in the new manner as two lines, ‘tenor’ and ‘contratenor’....

Article

Owen Jander

(Lat.: ‘high [part] against the tenor’)

A line in polyphony lying just above the tenor. In the 15th century, as music came to be written in four rather than only three voices, composers approached the addition of the fourth voice by an extension of earlier compositional procedure. The most common arrangement of three voices had been superius (or cantus), tenor and Contratenor; in the new four-voice texture the composer used two contratenor parts, a contratenor bassus and a contratenor altus. The original method of writing these two voice parts is still evident in Pietro Aaron’s Il Thoscanello de la musica (1523), where ten rules set out ‘the method of composing the controbasso and the controalto, after the tenor and canto’ (bk 2, chap.21). In Italy ‘contratenorbassus’ was abbreviated to ‘bassus’, ‘controbasso’ or ‘basso’; ‘contratenor altus’ became ‘altus’, ‘controalto’, ‘contr’alto’, ‘contralto’ or ‘alto’. In France the term became Haute-contre. English usage was complicated because even in the late 16th century (by which time the word ‘contratenor’ had long been obsolete on the Continent) an alto part might also be called a meane, a contra, a counter or a ...

Article

Article

Coupler  

Peter Williams

revised by John Koster and Christopher Kent

(Fr. accouplement, tirasse; Ger. Koppel, Koppelung)

The mechanism in an organ or harpsichord whereby pipes or strings of one department or manual are made to sound an octave lower or higher, or on the keys of another manual. The most common system until the early 19th century was the Schiebekoppel or shove coupler: one set of keys was pushed in or pulled out to enable some kind of wooden protuberance along the key-shafts (dogs, lugs, small vertical battens, etc.) to connect in one way or another with a second set of keys and so cause them to be depressed likewise. Usually a coupler could not be engaged while playing since both hands were required to move the keyboard by grasping blocks at each end and since (even if the motion to engage the coupler is controlled by a pedal or knee lever, as in some late 18th-century French harpsichords) the coupler dog on a key being played would, if one attempted to move it into the coupling position, block against the side of the point of contact of the key of the second manual. During the early 19th century other more easily manipulated mechanisms came into common use: (...

Article

Article

Article

The arrangement of different stops or registers among the keyboards or divisions of a harpsichord or organ. For example, a single unison register of a harpsichord is usually designated as 1 × 8′; an octave higher (the four foot) as 1 × 4′. A three-register harpsichord with two unisons and an octave would be designated 2 × 8′, 1 × 4′....

Article

Stephen E. Hefling

Rhythms in which long notes alternate with one or more short notes, so called because the long notes are usually written with the aid of the dot of addition (see Note values). Dotted rhythms are found in mensurally notated music of all periods; this article, however, deals mainly with music of the 17th and 18th centuries, in which it was customary to alter certain sorts of written rhythmic values in performance (see also Notes inégales; for notational meanings of the dot before 1600 see Notation, §III). The principal issue is the degree to which such rhythms sounded uneven, rather than the specific manner of their notation (e.g. the dot may be replaced by a rest or tie).

Dozens of contemporary theoretical and pedagogical sources indicate that the dot was ordinarily equal to one half the value of the note or rest preceding it, just as it is today. But the treatises also present various exceptions. The dot could stand for a tie (...

Article

Doublé  

Article

Howard Mayer Brown

(1) An adjective used, like ‘contra-’, to indicate a lower octave, hence qualifying particular instruments. Thus the double bassoon (or contrabassoon) plays in the octave below the bassoon, the double bass (or contrabass) an octave below the cello, and so on. This usage derives from the old practice of identifying notes below gamma ut (the G on the bottom line of the bass stave) by double letters, FF, EE, and so on. Organ builders still refer to these low pitches as ‘double F’, ‘double E’, etc., and name 16′ manual ranks ‘double open diapason’, etc. ‘Double harp’ (arpa doppia) denotes either a harp with two ranks of strings or a harp with a downward extension of pitch, or both. Keyboard instruments with two manuals are often called ‘double’. But in the 16th and 17th centuries the terms ‘double harpsichord’, ‘double regals’, ‘double virginals’, or even ‘double curtall’ (and also the ...

Article

Article

Matthias Thiemel

The intensity of volume with which notes and sounds are expressed. In the 20th century dynamics came to be seen as one of the fundamental parameters of composition which function interdependently to create musical meaning and structure.

Dynamic variation is so natural to the performance of almost all styles of music that its presence can normally be assumed even when indications for it are mainly or even entirely absent from the notation. That dynamic transitions occurred in the music of ancient Greece is suggested by Plutarch’s accounts, and it is likely that the monophonic hymns of the 1st century ce displayed nuances of volume illustrating their meaning or imitating the tone of speech. Medieval musicians had no word for ‘dynamics’ per se, but it is implicit in the concepts of structura and processus. By the early Renaissance period dynamic values were reflected in changes in the number of voices and their registers. In Josquin’s ...

Article

Echo  

Murray Campbell and Mary Térey-Smith

The repetition of sound after a short time interval. In addition to the applications discussed below the term is used for a signal-processing device (also known as a delay) that produces a slightly delayed playback of sounds either by a tape loop or by digital delay; see Electric guitar §2 .

See also Organ stop .

Natural echoes arise from the reflection of a sound wave by a solid surface, such as a wall or cliff. For the echo to be perceived as distinct from the original sound, the extra path length travelled by the reflected sound wave must have a minimum value of around 17 metres, corresponding to a minimum time interval of 50 milliseconds between direct and reflected sounds.

The reverberant sound field in a concert hall is created by multiple reflections of sound waves. In a well-designed hall, the direct sound reaching a member of the audience is followed by a series of reflections within a time interval of around 35 milliseconds. These ‘early delayed arrivals’ are not heard as separate echoes; because of the ‘precedence effect’ they are perceived as a reinforcement of the direct sound. Subsequent reflections blend smoothly into the reverberation. A concave surface, focussing sound waves into a particular part of the hall, can give rise to an audible echo; a ‘flutter echo’ can arise from successive reflections between parallel walls....

Article

The Fingering of keyboard music with figures 1 to 4 representing four fingers, and + the thumb, of each hand, a system used in England and elsewhere in the 19th century and now obsolete. The term contrasted with Continental fingering, which provides the figures 1 to 5 for each hand, 1 standing for the thumb, a system in general use throughout the world today....