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Alyn Shipton and Barry Kernfeld

An oversized four-string guitar tuned like the electric bass guitar. It has been used in an amplified variant by Dave Holland, unamplified by Alec Dankworth and Terry Gregory in Martin Taylor’s string band Spirit of Django, and both amplified and unamplified by its principal exponent, Jonas Hellborg. An earlier acoustic bass guitar, called the bassoguitar, was briefly marketed in jazz circles in the late 1930s in a failed attempt, many years before the appearance of the electric bass guitar, to provide bass players with an instrument that was somewhat more portable than the double bass; a photograph of Israel Crosby playing the instrument at a jam session was published in ...

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A term applied to early techniques of sound recording (and playback), which employed only mechanical means; it is also used of the cylinders and discs produced by these means. SeeRecording, §I, 1, and Recording, §II, 2.

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Ronald Lewcock, Rijn Pirn, Jürgen Meyer, Carleen M. Hutchins, J. Woodhouse, John C. Schelleng, Bernard Richardson, Daniel W. Martin, Arthur H. Benade, Murray Campbell, Thomas D. Rossing and Johan Sundberg

A term that can embrace all aspects of the science of sound and hearing, but is here treated in two specific senses, that of room acoustics, considered only with reference to the performance of music, and that of sound-source acoustics, limited to various classes of musical instruments and the voice. For other acoustical matters ...

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(b Atri, 1458; d Conversano, Jan 19, 1529). Italian humanist, patron and theorist. He was a member of the Accademia Pontaniana in Naples and initiated a long-standing tradition of musical culture in the family of the dukes of Atri, who were important patrons; his son Giovanni Antonio Donato was also a lira player. Acquaviva d’Aragona financed the Neapolitan printer Antonio de Frizis and housed the press in his palace in Naples. One of the earliest examples of music printing in the kingdom of Naples was the ...

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Val Wilmer

(b Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast [now Ghana], June 7, 1931; d London, Sept 15, 1993). Ghanaian conga and bongo player. He was educated at the Royal School in Accra and began playing drums as a child. Following a brief spell in the army he traveled to Britain in ...

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ACT  

Gary W. Kennedy

Record label. Its parent company, ACT Music + Vision, was established in 1988 by Siegfried Loch, a former executive at WEA (the European division of Warner Brothers), and Annette Humpe, with the label ACT specializing in pop music. It failed shortly after its inception but was resurrected by Loch around ...

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Act  

Michael Tilmouth

One of the main divisions of a drama, opera or ballet, usually completing a definite part of the action and often having a climax of its own. Although ancient Greek drama was not divided thus except by the periodic intervention of the chorus, and the division into acts of the plays of Roman authors such as Plautus is the work of later hands, Horace (...

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Julian Budden

A self-contained section of an opera or music drama marked off by an interval (normally with applause and curtain-calls for the artists). It may last anything between 15–20 minutes (Act 3 of La bohème, 1896) and more than two hours (Act 1 of Götterdämmerung...

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Act 2 scene i of the original production of Berg’s ‘Lulu’, Zürich, 1937; Lulu (Nuri Hadžić) prepares to leave after shooting Dr Schön (Asger Stig), watched by Geschwitz (Maria Bernhard) and the Schoolboy

Douglas Jarman

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Act 2 scene ii (one of the city gates of Thebes) of Verdi’s ‘Aida’ showing the first production (in French translation) at the Paris Opéra (Salle Garnier), 22 March 1880: engraving

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Act 2 scene x of Sarti’s ‘Giulio Sabino’: engraving from the printed full score (Vienna, c1781)

Raccolta delle Stampe Achille Bertarelli, Milan

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Act 3 scene i of Sigmund Theophil Staden’s ‘Seelewig’: woodcut from G.P. Harsdörffer’s ‘Frawenzimmer Gesprächspiele’, iv (Nuremberg, 1644)

Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg

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Act I of Four Saints in Three Actsby Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein.

Lebrecht Music & Arts

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Curtis Price

Instrumental (rarely vocal) music performed before and during the intervals of late 17th- and early 18th-century English plays and semi-operas. A full suite of act music comprises nine pieces: two pieces each of ‘first music’ and ‘second music’, played to entertain the audience waiting for the play to begin; an overture, usually in the French style, sounded after the prologue was spoken and just before the curtain was raised; and four ‘act tunes’ played immediately at the end of each act of a five-act play or semi-opera (except the last)....

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Jack Westrup

Music specially written for the celebration of the Act at the University of Oxford in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The Act, held originally in July, was a traditional function at which candidates for degrees gave public evidence of their fitness. In 1669...

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A piece of music played, in English semi-operas and plays of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, at the end of each act (except the last). See Act music.

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M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

(Fr.). A French 18th-century stage work in one act, akin to the opéra-ballet and performed at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Opéra). Like the opéra-ballet, an acte de ballet includes airs, duets, choruses (particularly choeurs dansés) and sometimes other vocal music as well as instrumental dances. Being in a single act, it had a continuous, though slight, dramatic action: the plot was often designed to provide maximum opportunity for colourful scenic displays. Under the title ‘Fragments’, an evening’s performance at the Opéra might be made up of several ...

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Actéon  

John S. Powell

Pastorale in six scenes by Marc-Antoine Charpentier ; Paris, Hotel de Guise, 1683–5.

Actaeon (haute-contre) and a chorus of hunters are tracking game while Diane [Diana] (soprano) and her companions are bathing in a nearby spring. Actaeon takes leave of his party to find a quiet glade to sleep. Encountering the bathers, he attempts to hide but is immediately discovered. To prevent him from boasting of what he has seen, Diana transforms him into a stag. The hunters come looking for Actaeon to invite him to join their hunt, but Junon [Juno] (mezzo-soprano) appears and announces the death of Actaeon, who has been torn to pieces by his own hounds. A miniature ...

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Action  

Edwin M. Ripin and Peter Walls

(1) The linkage between the fingers (or feet) and the sound-producing parts of an instrument. Hence, the mechanism by means of which the strings or pipes of a keyboard instrument are sounded when a key is depressed, e.g. tracker action, pneumatic action, electric action, etc. in organs (...

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Term used originally by the jazz critic Don Heckman to describe Free jazz.