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Pousser  

Article

Primo  

Article

James W. McKinnon

(Lat.: ‘a beater of organs’)

The term appears in a number of medieval texts, where it means simply a ‘player of the organ’. Some 20th-century writers on the organ, however, have explained the word ‘pulsator’ by claiming that the cumbersome keys of the medieval organ could be depressed only by a blow of the fist.

The Latin verb pulsare (which means to beat not only in the sense of to strike but also to palpitate) has been associated since classical times with the playing of musical instruments. For example pulsare lyram (‘to play the lyre’) was in common Roman usage with no connotation of heavy beating. The application of such a connotation to medieval organ playing can be traced to 19th-century Germany, where the similarity of pulsator organorum to Orgelschläger was observed. The German phrase did indeed mean a beater of organs (it occurs in Johann Seidel’s influential Die Orgel und ihr Bau, Breslau, 1843...

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Puntato  

Article

James Tyler

(Sp.; Fr. pincé; It. pizzicato)

The modern term for the technique of plucking the strings of a guitar with the fingertips or nails of the right hand. Historically, the manner of playing derives from lute technique, and was used by baroque guitarists in conjunction with strumming technique ( see Rasgueado ). The Italian term pizzicato was the one used most widely in the Baroque era, since Italian guitarists were the main developers of the technique and repertory for the instrument in that period (...

Article

Robert Strizich

revised by James Tyler

[golpeado] (Sp.; It. battuto; Fr. batterie)

Term used to describe the technique of strumming the strings of the guitar in a downward or upward direction with the thumb, or other fingers of the right hand. The term rasgueado was used most commonly from the late 19th century, while, historically, the Italian term battuto or the Spanish golpeado was used in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Strumming has been an important component of guitar playing from at least the 16th century, when Juan Bermudo (Declaración de instrumentos musicales, Osuna, 1555, f.28v) mentioned, in reference to the four-course guitar, that música golpeada (‘struck music’) was old-fashioned. The exact nature of this 16th-century strumming technique is uncertain. However, by the beginning of the 17th century guitarists began to devise ways of notating it: the direction in which full five-course chords were to be strummed was shown by small vertical lines extending either above or below a single horizontal line – a downward line indicating a strum in a downward direction, and an upward line indicating an upward strum. Notes indicating exact rhythmic values of the strums were often added above the horizontal line. After the middle of the 17th century, when guitarists adopted a five-line staff for the notation of their works, strokes were indicated in two different ways depending on the type of tablature used: in Italian tablature, by small vertical lines extending either above or below the lowest line of the staff; in French tablature, by a note written within the staff, of which the value and direction of the stem indicated respectively the time-value and direction of the strum....

Article

Fenner Douglass, Barbara Owen and David Fuller

The selection of different pitches and tone-colours available on an instrument. The two instruments that offer the player a choice of registration are the organ and the harpsichord.

The musical forces of the organ are available selectively by means of separate stops, or registers, which together provide the entire tonal capacity of the instrument. Each of the stops controls the ‘on’ or ‘off’ position for a series of pipes, grouped so that one or more pipes will respond to each key on a manual or pedal keyboard. The term ‘organ registration’ takes in the large body of advice about what is appropriate when combining organ stops, as well as the aggregate tonal effect of any combination drawn for a particular musical need. There is a rich store of information about registration for the organ that can be classified generally into two categories: practical advice, often supplied by organ builders, which consists of lists of combinations capable of being turned to good use; and instruction from composers or theoreticians about combinations appropriate for performing a particular musical composition....

Article

Laurence Libin and Jessica L. Wood

Term introduced in the 20th century for instruments that had become obsolete but later were reintroduced as copies based on historical models. Some 19th-century antiquarians essayed earlier music on harpsichords, lutes, viols, recorders, and other types that had fallen out of production, for example in concerts organized by François-Joseph Fétis at the Paris Conservatoire from the mid-1830s, by Prince Albert at the court of Queen Victoria in 1845, and later by Edward John Payne and A.J. Hipkins in London, Paul de Wit in Leipzig, and the Mozart Symphony Club in New York. Better to serve such practical needs and to meet demand from collectors, replicas and modernized versions of old instruments were occasionally made at that time. Obsolete instruments also reappeared in new guises in the course of 19th-century nationalistic folk revivals, as in the case of German lute-guitars and the decorative, French Baroque-inspired ivory cornemuses produced by the obscure P. Gaillard. Despite the general inaccuracy of their portrayals of instruments, Pre-Raphaelite artists were influential in heightening awareness of rebecs, psalteries, portative organs, and other obsolete instruments. Newly designed harpsichords by Érard and Pleyel were showcased at the ...

Article

Article

David D. Boyden

revised by Peter Walls

(Fr.; Ger. Springbogen; It. saltando, saltato)

A bowstroke played rapidly in the middle of the bow, one bowstroke per note, so that the bow bounces very slightly off the string of its own accord. It is not indicated in any consistent manner: sometimes dots are placed above or below the notes, sometimes arrow-head strokes, and sometimes the stroke is simply left to the performer's discretion. ‘Spiccato’ and ‘sautillé’ are sometimes used as synonyms, though ...

Article

A style of guitar playing and tuning originating in Hawaii in the 19th century. A variety of ‘open’ tunings are used, i.e. with the strings slackened from the standard guitar tuning to form an open major chord. The thumb of the right hand plays the bass while the other fingers play the melody and improvise, and the strings are fretted in the normal way with the fingers of the left hand. The enormous influence that this style had on guitar-playing technique in the USA is often underestimated. Another technique, in which the strings are fretted using a metal bar (a ‘steel’), led to the development of the ...

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Article

Sopra  

Article

Howard Mayer Brown

(Lat.)

A word for improvised counterpoint, and especially for florid melodies added to a cantus prius factus, used in Germany from c1500 to the middle of the 17th century. The word first appeared in a German MS of c1476 ( D-Rp 98 th.4°) and shortly afterwards in Nicolaus Wollick’s Opus aureum (1501) and Enchiridion musices (1509), where sortisare (‘the improvised joining of various melodies to some chant’) was contrasted with componere, the premeditated combination of melodies interrelated by consonances but not necessarily with any reference to a cantus firmus.

The concept was described in varying degrees of detail by many 16th- and 17th-century theorists, including Andreas Ornithoparchus (1517); Heinrich Faber (1548), who divided musica poetica into sortisatio and compositio, but who rather disdained the former as more fit for the vulgar than the learned; Gallus Dressler (1563); Claudius Sebastiani (...

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. ...

Article

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.

See also...

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....