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A dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) online

. (page 18 of 194)
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own clavichord and harpsichord equally, though
the organ still remained in the meantone system.
This statement is borne out by internal evidence.
In Bach's organ works the remoter keys are
scarcely ever employed, while no such restrictions
are observable in his works for the clavichord.
With his preference for a wide range of modula-
tion he would naturally find the limits of the
old-fashioned meantone organ irritating, and we
can easily understand that he would have fa-
voured any tuning which made all the keys
available. He would doubtless have welcomed
any practical method of extending the meantone
system ; but to provide this was a task beyond
the inventive capacity of that age. His authority,
then, may fairly be quoted to show that all the
keys must be in tune to the same degree ; but
this condition can be realised by many other
systems besides temperament when a sufficient
number of notes is provided in each Octave.
If the question were to be decided by an appeal
to authority alone, we might quote the names of
many musicians of last century who were ac-
quainted with both kinds of temperament, and
whose judgment was directly opposed to that of
Bach. But this style of argument, always in-
conclusive, will appear peculiarly out of place
when we consider what changes music has
passed through since Bach's day. That the de-



TEMPERAMENT. |

fects of equal temperament were not so notice ,
able then as now, may be attributed both to th^
different kind of instrument and the diflferenfi
st^'le of composition which have since been de*
veloped. Tlie clavichord which is said to hava ^
been an especial favourite with Bach, was chaJ '
racterised by a much softer quality of tone, and i..
feebler intensity, than the modern pianoforte.?
Again, composers of a century and a half agq
relied for effect chiefly on vigorous counterpoinl ''
or skilful imitation between the various melodi .
parts, and not on the thick chords and sustaiuei ,
harmonies which have become so marked a fea i
ture in modern music. Owing to these change* I
conditions the evils of temperament are greatlj .,
intensified nowadays, and the necessity for soin^ ^
remedyhas become imperative. There is but oi
direction in which an efficient remedy can 1
found, namely in the use of some more ha
monious form of intonation than that which
present prevails. It is only by the help of i ,
instrument on which the improved systems ^ [
tuning can be employed in an adequate mann(
that the student will be able to estimate tb
value. Such an instrument we will now proce
to describe.

If we wish to employ anj' other system of tunii
than equal temperament, we must increase i
number of notes per Octave, since the ordina
twelve notes, unless tuned equally, are useless!
anything beyond illustration or experiment. H
methods used by Father Smith and byHandel cai
not be followed nowadays. The ordinary keyboil
is already so unsymmetrical, that the insertaj
of a few additional black or white keys woii
make it almost unplayable ; and the changingi
levers would be a troublesome interruption i
the performance. The only way to bring ■
improved systems of temperament within ^
range of practical music, is to remodel M
simplify the keyboard. This has been done i
different ways by several inventors of late yeal
At a meeting of the Musical Association of Lpi
don on May i, 1875, an organ on which one i
the stops was tuned according to the meantoi
system was exhibited by Mr. R. H. M. Boafll
quet, of S. John's College, Oxford. The kti
board of tliis instrument — which is now intj
South Kensington Museum — is arranged eji
metrically, so that notes occupying the 8U
relative position always make the same mui^
interval. There are twelve finger keys in J
Octave, of which seven as usual are white I
five black. The distance across from any k
to its Octave, centre to centre, is six incb
each key is three-eighths of an inch broad, tr^''''
is separated on either side from the next key 'I'.''''
the space of one-eighth of an inch. As if
Octave is the only interval in which all syste
of intonation agree, keys an Octave apart i.'P'-''
on the same level with each other. The it -'
of the keys are placed at various points higl . ~
or lower to correspond with the deviations :
the pitch of their notes from equal temperamc
Thus the G key is placed a quarter of an u r^

I Bosanqaet, ' Temperament," pp. 28. 2D. it



I



TEMPERAMENT.

I'ther back, and one-twelfth of an inch higher
in the C. The D key recedes and rises to the
me extent relatively to the G, and so with
,8 rest. After twelve Fifths we come to the
! key, and find it three inches behind and
ie inch above the C from which we started.
lis oblique arrangement enables us to greatly
,;rease the number of notes per Octave without
y inconvenience to the player. At the same
ae the fingering is greatly simplified, for any
/en chord or scale always has the same form
der the hand, at whatever actual pitch it may
' played. Nor is it necessary to decide before-
,nd on the exact key-relationship of the passage,
' it will be played in the same manner, what-
ir view may be taken of its analysis. The
vantage of having thus to learn only one style
|fingering for the Major scale, instead of twelve
Terent styles, as on the ordinary keyboard, is
f-evident. Chromatic notes are played accord-
;• to the following rule : — put the finger up for
harp and down for a flat. This results from
i principle on which the keyboard is arransjed,
! higher keys corresponding to notes which
'■■ reached by an upward series of Fifths, and
i) lower keys to notes reached by a downward
ies. The following diagram shows the positions
;he notes on the keyboard when applied to the
antone system : —

. . ej

aS . .

di

(/S . . . .



TEMPERAMENT.



75



• <:$



n



b .



hb



ab



db



I'o



/b



bbb



ebb



abb



ribb



t^bb



is all proposed improvements, either in music
anything else, are sure to meet with opposi-
1, we will here consider some of the objections
ich may be made to the use of an instrument
h as we have just described. It is natural
t the new form of keyboard should be re-
?ed with some hesitation, and that its style of
jering sliould be thought difficult ; but in fact
I old keyboard is far from being a model of
ijiplicity, and many attempts have been made
> reform it, independently of any aim at im-
iving the tuning, [See Key, vol. ii. pp. 54,



55.] On the new keyboard the fingering is of
the simplest possible character, and permits the
attainment of any required rate of speed. All
desirable combinations lie within easy grasp ;
related notes being nearly on the same level.
To prove that ordinary music can be easily
adapted to the meantone organ, Mr. Bosanquet
performed on it three of Bach's preludes at the
meeting of the Musical Association already re-
ferred to. There would be no difficulty in con-
structing this form of keyboard with several
manuals, nor in applying the same symmetrical
arrangement to a pedal.

The advantage gained by employing an im-
proved system of tuning depends so much on
the quality of tone of the instrument, that it
is very doubtful whether it would be worthwhile
to ado]it the meantone system for the pianoforte.
It is only on the modern 'concert-grand' that the
defects of equal temperament are felt to any
great extent, and it might therefore be well to
construct these instruments with a complete
meantone scale. Still, the result would hardly
be so satisfactory as on the organ, whether used
in solo performance or in leading the voices of
a choir.

The last objection which has to be considered
is that enharmonic changes are supposed by
some to be impossible in any system of tuning
which provides distinct sounds for Gb and Fjf.
This view is incorrect, as we shall recognise if
we enquire what enharmonic changes really are.
For the most part they are merely nominal, being
used to avoid the strange appearance of remote
keys. Thus in the ' Pro Peccatis ' of Rossini's
' Stabat Mater,' there is apparently an enhar-
monic modulation from the key of Afl to that
ofDb.




But in reality it is a cJiromatic modulation
from A 5 to Cjf, with no enharmonic element
whatsoever. The passage would be played on a
meantone instrument as follows : —




78



TEMPERAMENT.



ff\ s/




It would be unnecessary in general to translate
passages of this kind into correct notation before
performing them, as in most cases the key-
relations would be tolerably clear, in whatever
way they were written. Should there be any
chance of error in taking the accidentals literally,
a large acute or grave mark might be drawn
across the staff, to indicate that the notes are
to be played twelve Fifths higher or lower than
they are written. In the present instance, the
acute mark could be used.

Sometimes the enharmonic change is real, and
not merely a device of notation. Take the fol-
lowing extract from ' The people shall hear ' in
the ' Israel in Egypt ' : —




Here Bb must be played in the second bar
and AJ in the third, a modulation which is
rendered easy by the general construction of the
passage. 'Enharmonic changes (Hebnholtz re-
marks) are least observed when they are made
immediately before or after strongly dissonant
chords, or those of the Diminished Seventh.
Such enharmonic changes of pitch are already
sometimes clearly and intentionally made by
violinists, and where they are suitable even pro-
duce a very good effect.'*

The necessity of avoiding ' wolves ' in the
meantone system sometimes restricts the choice
of notes. Thus in a passage in the ' Lachrymosa '
of Mozart's Requiem : —




the discord Ab — F — Bb — Eb must be pla5'ed
exactly as it is written, owing to the Bb and Eb
being prepared. Even if G J stood in the te.xt,
Ab would be substituted in performance, as the
'wolf GJ — Eb is inadmissible. All such dif-
ficulties can be solved in a similar way. On the
other side, we have to reckon the great variety
of chords and resolutions which are available in
the meantone sj'stem, but have no existence in
equal temperament. Many chromatic chords

1 'Sensations ol Tone,' p. 513.



TEMPERAMENT.

may have two or more forms, such as the f<
lowing : —





each of which may be used according to the ke;
relation of the context, or the effect required
the melodic parts. Again, the Augmented Sixl
is much flatter in the meantone system than i
equal temperament, slightly flatter even thi
the interval called the Harmonic Seventh. Wha J
the strange impression which it causes at fira
has worn off, its effect is peculiarly smooth an(
agreeable, especially in full chords. It is ala '^^
available as Dominant Seventh, and may b< j^j
vsritten with the acute mark (G — /F), to dia ^^
tinguish it from the ordinary Minor Seventh go( ^
by two Fifths downwards (G — C — F).

It is important to recognise the fact that th(
forms of chords can only be settled by actua '^^
trial on an instrument, and that the judgmeU ^j^
of the ear, after full experience of the differen] y
modes of tuning, cannot be set aside in favor
of deductions from any abstract theory. Practii
must first decide what chord or progression soum
best ; and this being done, it may be worth whi
to ask whether theory can give any reasons ffflfj
the ear's decision. In many cases our curiositjj
will be unsatisfied, but our preference for on^
effect rather than another will remain unchaugei"
Neither can theory solve those questions whi
sometimes arise as to the correct mode of writ'
certain chords. All questions of notation Ci
only be decided by playing the disputed pass;
in some system of tuning which supplies a sepi
rate sound for each symbol. The reason wh]
Gb and Fj were not written in the same choi
was a purely practical one ; these two signs o)
ginally meant different sounds, which formi
combinations too rough for use. Our notatioa'
having been formed long before equal temperar,
ment came into use, it is not surprising th^| ^^
the symbols do not correspond with the sounds ^^
But they correspond exactly with the mean- ^.
tone scales, and it is on this system of tuning , j ^
that all our rules of notation are founded. 'It .
is only necessary to remember that we have hert ^
the original system, which belongs from the very ^^^
beginning of modern music onward to our musioifl
notation, to see that by employing it we have
the true interpretation of our notation ; we have
the actual sounds that our notation conveyed tO
Handel, to all before Bach, and many after hin^
only cured of the wolf, which was the consequent
of their imperfect methods.'^

To carry out any system of temperament con-
sistently in the orchestra is practically an im-
possible task. Tempered intervals can only be
produced with certainty on a small number of
the instruments, chiefly the wood-wind. The
brass instruments have an intonation of their -^
own, which differs widely from either of the j.
temperaments we have described. Thus the
French horn, whose notes are the harmonies

2 Eosanquet, ' Temperament,* p. 39.



tit



itd



TEMPERAMENT.



TEMPERAMENT.



77



sing from the subdivision of a tube, gives a

ijor Third much flatter than equal tempera-

int, and a Fifth much sharper than the mean tone

item. [See Node; and Partial Tones.] There

lecessarily a great deal of false harmony when-

jr the brass is prominently heard in tempered

isic. Again, the tuning of the string-quartet is

:omplished by just Fifths (C— G— D— A— E),

b as these instruments have free intonation,

jy can execute tempered intervals when sup-

•ted by the pianoforte or organ. In the ab-

■ce of such an accompaniment, both violinists

i singers seem unable to produce equally

apered scales or chords. This is precisely

at might have been expected on theoretic

lunds, as the consonant relations of the diflferent

;es being partially lost through temperament,

! altered intervals would naturally be diflScult

leize and render. Fortunately, we have positive

ts to prove the truth of this deduction. The

iject has been recently investigated by two

inch savans, MM. Comu and Mercadier.*

eir experiments were made with three profes-

aal players, M. Leonard the Belgian violinist,

Seligmann, violoncellist, and M. Ferrand,

linist of the Op^ra Comique, besides amateur

yers and singers. The results showed that a

le distinction must be drawn between the in-

pals employed in imaccompanied melody, and

Ise employed in harmony. In solo perform-

!es, continual variety of intonation was ob-

ved ; the same pitch was seldom repeated,

I even the Octave and the Fifth were some-

les sharpened or flattened. So far as any

'ularity could be traced, the intervals aimed

fippeared to be those known as Pythagorean,

yhich the only consonant ones are the Octave,

th, and Fourth. The Pythagorean Major

ird is obtained by four just Fifths up, and is

sequently so sharp as to amount to a disson-

;e. In melody, a scale tuned in this manner

ound to be not unpleasant, but it is impossible

harmony. This fact also was verified by

•nu and Mercadier, who report that, in two-

t harmony, the players with whom they ex-

imented invariably produced the intervals of

t intonation. The Thirds and Sixths gave

beats, and the Minor Seventh on the Do-

lant was always taken in its smoothest form,

nely the Harmonic Seventh. 'I have myself ob-

ved,' says Helmboltz, 'that singers accustomed

1 pianoforte accompaniment, when they sang

mple melody to my justly intoned harmonium,

g natural Thirds and Sixths, not tempered,

yet Pythagorean. I accompanied the com-

acement of the melody, and then paused while

singer gave the Third or Sixth of the key.

.er he bad given it, I touched on the instru-

nt the natural, or the Pythagorean, or the

ipered interval. The first was always in uni-

with the singer, the others gave shrill beats.' ^

since, then, players on bowed instruments as

il as singers have a strong natural tendency

'ards just intervals in harmony, .t is not clear

' See KUis's Appendix to the 'Seasatioos of Tone," p. 7S7.
» ' Sensations of Tone,' p. 640.



why their instruction should be based on equal
temperament, as has been the practice in recent
times. This method is criticised by Helmholtz
in the following words : — ' The modem school of
violin-playing, since the time of Spohr, aims
especially at producing equally tempered intona-
tion. . . . The sole exception which they allow is
for double-stop passages, in which the notes have
to be somewhat differently stopped from what
they are when played alone. But this exception
is decisive. In double-stop passages the indi-
vidual player feels himself responsible for the
hannoniousness of the interval, and it lies com-
pletely within his power to make it good or bad.
. . . But it is clear that if individual players feel
themselves obliged to distinguish the diff'erent
values of the notes in the different consonances,
there is no reason why the bad Thirds of the
Pythagorean series of Fifths sliould be retained
in quartet-playing. Chords of several parts, exe-
cuted by a quartet, often sound very ill, even when
each one of the performers is an excellent solo
player; and, on the other hand, when quartets
are played by finely cultivated artists, it is im-
possible to detect any false consonances. To my
mind the only assignable reason for these results,
is that practised violinists with a delicate sense
of harmony, know how to stop the tones they
want to hear, and hence do not submit to the
rules of an imperfect school.*

Helmholtz found, by experiments with Herr
Joachim, that this distinguished violinist in
playing the unaccompanied scale, took the just
and not the tempered intervals. He further ob-
serves that, 'if the best players, who are tho-
roughly acquainted with wliat they are playing,
are able to overcome the defects of their school
and of the tempered system, it would certainly
wonderfully smooth the path of performers of the
second order, in their attempts to attain a per-
fect ensemble, if they had been accustomed from
the first to play scales by natural intervals.'

The same considerations apply to vocal music,
' In singing, the pitch can be made most easily
and perfectly to follow the wishes of a fine musi-
cal ear. Hence all music began with singing,
and singing will always remain the true and
natural school of all music. . . . But where are
our singers to learn just intonation, and make
their ears sensitive for perfect chords ? They are
from the first taught to sing to the equally tem-
pered pianoforte. . . . Correct intonation in sing-
ing is so far above aU others the first condition
of beauty, that a song when sung in correct in-
tonation even by a weak and unpractised voice
always sounds agreeable, whereas the richest
and most practised voice offends the hearer when
it sings false or sharpens. . . . The instruction of
our present singers by means of tempered instru-
ments is unsatisfactory, but those who possess
good musical talents are ultimately able by their
own practice to strike out the right path for
themselves, and overcome the error of their ori-
ginal instruction. . . . Sustained tones are prefer-
able as an accompaniment, because the singer
himself can immediately hear the beats between



78 TEMPEEAMENT.

the instrument and his voice, when he alters the
pitch slightly. . . . When we require a delicate
use of the muscles of any part of the human
body, as, in this case, of the larynx, there must
be some sure means of ascertaining whether suc-
cess has been attained. Now the presence or
absence of beats gives such a means of detecting
success or failure when a voice is accompanied
by sustained chords in just intonation. But
tempered chords which produce beats of their
own, are necessarily quite unsuited for sucli a
purpose.' '

For performance in just intonation the three
quartets of voices, strings, and trombones have a
pre-eminent value ; but as it requires great prac-
tice and skill to control the endless variations of
pitch they supply, we are obliged to have some
fixed and reliable standard by which they can at
first be guided. We must be certain of obtaining
with ease and accuracy any note we desire, and
of sustaining it for any length of time. Hence
we come back once more to keyed instruments,
which do not present this difficulty of execution
and uncertainty of intonation. The only question
is how to construct such instruments with an
adequate number of notes, if all the intervals are
to be in perfect tune. Theoretically it is neces-
sary that every note on the keyboard should be
furnished with its Fifth, Major Third, and Har-
monic Seventh, upwards and downwards. There
should be Fifths to the Fifths, Thirds to the
Thirds, and Sevenths to the Sevenths, almost to
an unlimited extent. Practically these condi-
tions cannot be fully carried out, and all instru-
ments hitherto constructed in just intonation
have been provided with material for the simpler
modulations only. One of the best-known histo-
rical examples is General Perronet Thompson's
organ, now in the collection of instruments in the
South Kensington Museum. In each Octave
this organ has forty sounds, which may be di-
vided into five series, the sounds of each series
proceeding by perfect Fifths, and being related
to those of the next series by perfect Major
Thirds. The interval of the Harmonic Seventh
is not given. With a regular and consistent
form of keyboard it would have been more suc-
cessful than it was, but the idea of arranging
the keys symmetrically had not then been de-
veloped. The first application of this idea was
made by an American, Mr. H. W. Poole, of
South Danvers, Massachusetts, His invention
is described and illustrated in ' Silliman's Jour-
nal' for July, 1867. The principle of it is that
keys standing in a similar position with regard
to each other shall always produce the same
musical interval, provided it occurs in the same
relation of tonality. But if this relation of
tonality alters, the same interval will take a
difiFerent form on the keyboard. There are five
series of notes, each proceeding by perfect
Fifths : — (i) the ances : the sub-
sion of the Semi tone is an indirect result of this,

is not proposed as an end in itself. Whether

minuter intervals would ever be useful in
ody is a question which experience alone can

VOL. IV. PT. I .



TEMPLETON.



81



decide. It rests with the composer to apply the
material of mean and just intonation, with which
he is now provided. The possibility of obtaining
perfect tuning with keyed instruments is one
result of the recent great advance in musical
science, the influence of which seems likely to be
felt in no branch of the art more than in Tem-
perament. [J.L.]

TEMPESTA, LA. An Italian opera in 2
acts ; libretto partly founded on Sliakspeare,
translated from Scribe ; music by Haldvy. Pro-
duced at Her Majesty's Theatre, London, June 8,
1850 (Sontag, Lablache, Carlotta Grisi, etc.).
Produced in Paris, Theatre Italien, Feb. 25, 1851,
Mendelssohn, at the end of 1847, had the libretto
under consideration, but it came to nothing. [See
vol. ii. 289 b.] [G.]

TEMPEST, THE. 'Tlie music to Shak-
speare's Tempest' was Artliur Sullivan's op. i.
It consists of twelve numbers : — No. I, Introduc-
tion; No. 2, Act I, Sc. 2, Melodrama and Songs,
' Come unto these yellow sand«,' and 'Full fathom
five'; No. 3, Act 2, Sc. i, Andante sostenuto,
Orch. and Melodrama ; No. 4, Prelude to Act 3 ;
No. 5, Act 3, Sc. 2, Melodrama, Solemn music;
and No. 6, Banquet dance ; No. 7, Overture to
Act 4 ; No. 8, Act. 4, Sc. i. Masque, with No. 9,
Duet, SS. 'Honour, riches'; No. 10, Dance of
Nymphs and Reapers ; No. 1 1, Prelude to Act 5 ;
No. 12, Act 5, Sc. I, Andante, Song, 'Where
the bee sucks,' and Epilogue. It was first per-
formed at the Crystal Palace April 5, 1862.
The music is arranged for 4 hands with voices
by F. Taylor, and published by Cramers. [G.]

TEMPLETON, John, tenor singer, born at
Riccarton, Kilmarnock, July 30, 1802. At the
age of fourteen he made his first apjjearance in
Edinburgh, andcontinued to sing in public until his
sixteenth year, when his voice broke. Appointed
precentor in Dr. Brown's church, Edinburgh, at
the age o:^ twenty, he began to attract attention,
until Scotland became too limited for his am-
bition, and he started for London, where he
received instruction irom Blewitt in tliorough



Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 18 of 194)