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Article

(Ger.)

The ‘blocking valve’ on an organ for preventing wind reaching a chest, saving it for other chests or keeping it from sounding a ciphering note. It is useful to the player as a registration aid, as it allows the fast addition of manual reeds or heavy pedal stops while playing. ...

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Article

In keyboard instruments, particularly organs, harpsichords and virginals, a key that is divided or ‘split’ into two parts. Most commonly it is the raised ‘sharp’ keys in the bass octaves that are so split, but occasionally natural keys may be divided also (e.g. on an instrument by Giovanni Battista Boni ). The front part is about one third of the length of the whole, and usually the back part is set slightly higher to facilitate playing. Each part has its own key-lever and playing action so that two notes are available. Split keys have been used for two purposes: (a) to permit sounding additional chromatic degrees in non-equal temperaments (when, for example, E♭ and D♯ or G♯ and A♭ are not enharmonically equivalent; see Enharmonic keyboard ); (b) in a broken octave ( see Broken octave ): a variation of the Short octave in which the lowest raised keys are divided so that the front part provides the pitch that would be expected of it in a normal short octave and the rear part sounds the accidental that would be found in a chromatic octave....

Article

Peter Walls

(It from strecciate: ‘divide’, ‘untwist’)

A direction placed by Vivaldi (rv 163) above a group of unslurred repeated demisemiquavers in allegro where he wanted ‘divided’ notes – presumably rapidly played in a measured tremolo (see Bow, §II, 2(vi). (In the same work, Vivaldi twice uses the direction battute for slower repeated notes.) The effect resembles ...

Article

Strich  

Howard Mayer Brown

(Ger.: ‘stroke’, ‘line’)

In bowing, Aufstrich is up-bow, Niederstrich or Abstrich is down-bow. But a Taktstrich is a bar-line. The Mensurstrich, a line drawn between and not through the staves, has been used in many modern editions of medieval and Renaissance music, beginning with those made by Heinrich Besseler in the 1920s; it was invented to minimize interruptions to the rhythmic flow and to avoid ties for syncopated notes. Most editors prefer to use ordinary bar-lines, but the Mensurstrich continues to find favour with some. Medieval manuscrsipts written in modal notation sometimes include vertical strokes to call the singer's attention to a change of syllable in the text; these are called Silbenstriche. (See F. Ludwig: Repertorium organorum recentioris et motetorum vetustissimi stili, i, Halle, 1910, p.49.) Strich, in the context of ‘Punkt und Strich’ (‘dot and dash’), refers to the Dash used as an articulation mark or accent in music notation.

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Article

Edwin M. Ripin

[damper pedal, loud pedal, open pedal]

A name often used for the right pedal of the piano, which when depressed raises the dampers from all the strings, allowing them to vibrate freely in sympathy with any notes being played. In earlier pianos, this effect was sometimes achieved by the use of knee-levers or hand-stops. It was sometimes possible to raise the treble and bass dampers separately, as on those instruments provided with a divided pedal or the less common ones with two damper pedals....

Article

Swell  

Peter Williams, Nicholas Thistlethwaite, Edwin M. Ripin and John Koster

A device for the gradation of volume in keyboard instruments.

Peter Williams, revised by Nicholas Thistlethwaite

The Swell organ is that manual department of an organ whose chest and/or pipes are enclosed on all sides by a box, one side of which incorporates a device (lid, flap, shutters, sashed panel, etc.) that can be opened and closed by connection with a foot-lever or pedal. A stop or half-stop may be thus enclosed, or several departments (Choir organ, Solo organ) or even the whole organ (Samuel Green, St George's Chapel, Windsor, 1790). The connection from foot-lever to swelling device can be mechanical, pneumatic, electrical, etc. and may be so made that fine gradations in the degree of closure are possible.

Some examples of the small Brustwerk of the 16th century may have had doors that could be opened; most authenticated examples before about 1700, however, have semi-fixed fretwork doors. The idea of foot-operated movable doors or, in chamber organs, flaps, occurred occasionally to builders (T. Mace, ...

Article

T  

Article

Peter Williams

(It.: ‘single key’)

A phrase used by composers to instruct the keyboard player of a continuo part to play the bass note(s) alone, without chords above. The phrase seems to occur in music (e.g. Corelli op.5) before it is described in theory books (Heinichen, 1728, Pasquali, Albrechtsberger), where the player is directed to play only those notes, singly (Heinichen) or with their octave (Adlung) or (if long) restruck (C.P.E. Bach etc.). C.P.E. Bach noted that the Italians did not in practice ever play tasto solo. Many composers also gave figures for passages marked tasto solo and in this case the figures may merely indicate the harmony implied or stated above by other instruments; these are either for the continuo player to fill in if necessary or, as in the case of Bach’s cantata bass parts, for the sake of the copyist writing out a part from the full score. To distinguish single notes from those doubled at the octave above or below, C.P.E. Bach applied the phrases ...

Article

Mark Lindley

Tunings of the scale in which some or all of the concords are made slightly impure in order that few or none will be left distastefully so. Equal temperament, in which the octave is divided into 12 uniform semitones, is the standard Western temperament today except among specialists in early music. This article traces the history of temperaments in performing practice and in relation to the main lines of development in the history of harmony; for additional technical and historical details see Tuning, Pythagorean intonation, Just intonation, Microtone, Mean-tone, Well-tempered clavier, Equal temperament and Interval, especially Table 1.

Since the 15th century, tempered tuning has characterized keyboard music and in Western culture the art music of fretted instruments such as the lute. Its prevalence is due mainly to the fact that the concords of triadic music – octaves, 5ths and 3rds – are in many cases incommensurate in their pure forms. Three pure major 3rds (e.g. A♭–C–E–G♯) fall short of a pure octave by approximately one fifth of a whole tone (lesser diesis); four pure minor 3rds (G♯–B–D–F–A♭) exceed an octave by half as much again (greater diesis); the circle of twelve 5ths, if the 5ths are pure, does not quite cumulate in a perfect unison; and, most important of all in the context of Renaissance and Baroque music, the whole tone produced by subtracting a pure minor 3rd from a pure 4th (C–F–D) is about 11% smaller than the whole tone produced by subtracting a pure 4th from a pure 5th (C–G–D). These discrepancies are summarized in ...

Article

Tenuë  

Article

David H. Fox

revised by David L. Junchen

[cinema organ]

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 magnificent movie palaces that arose during the first four decades of the 20th century. Used at first to substitute for the house orchestra during breaks, the theater organ eventually superseded the orchestra, for a single organist could improvise a more flexible accompaniment to the action on the screen. In the United States the term “theater organ” is preferred; in the UK “cinema organ” is used. Many characteristics of the theater organ can be traced to innovations in organs built between 1895 and 1910 in the UK and United States by Robert Hope-Jones (1859–1914), an early pioneer of the use of electricity in organs. Hope-Jones developed many of his innovative ideas in his native England, but not until he immigrated to America and later worked with the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, New York, was his concept of the “Unit Orchestra” fully realized. This 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 larger organ was obtained by the expansion of the number of pipes in each individual rank, and electrically “borrowing” additional stops from each rank at different pitches and on different manuals. “Double touch” enabled the organist to play a solo with a different stop arrangement from its accompaniment on a single manual, by applying additional pressure to the keys....

Article

Barbara Owen

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Tipping  

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Tirare  

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Tirata  

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Tirer  

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Tombé  

Article

Edwin M. Ripin

revised by John Koster

With reference to keyboard instruments, a term used to describe either the amount of force required to depress a key (‘touch weight’) or the distance that a key may be depressed (‘touch depth’ or ‘key dip’). Thus a keyboard may be said to have a heavy or a light touch, as well as a deep or a shallow touch. In harpsichords, the touch weight necessary to depress a key and cause two or three sets of jacks to pluck their strings is approximately 60 grams and the touch depth is about 7 mm. In modern concert grand pianos, the force necessary to depress a key to sound pianissimo is about 100 grams and the touch depth is about 10 mm. In 18th-century grand pianos, the corresponding figures are about 35 grams and 6 mm. In clavichords, the touch weight may be less than 10 grams. In organs, the weight and the depth of the touch vary considerably and depend in part on whether the action is electric or mechanical. For further information, see M. Cole, ...