George Grove.

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

. (page 27 of 194)
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lent of the German word. ^

But a term has been latterly employed wl; _,
must commend itself to all as at once a pure Eng i
word and a sj'mbol to express the idea, nowbecc ^
definite ; namely the word Quality. A so'
may therefore be said in fair English to pos
three properties, and no more — Pitch, Intens 2^
and Quality ; respectively corresponding to j
Frequency, the Amplitude, and the Form of
Sound-wave. In case this definition be objet
to as unnecessarily geometrical, the Qualitj^ T
Timbre, of a note may be described '""

sum of the associated vibrations which
make up that complex mental perception.

'If the same note,' says Helmholtz,' 'is sour
successively on a pianoforte, violin, clarinet,
or trumpet, or by the human voice, notw
standing its having the same force and pilT
the musical tone of each is different, and
recognise with ease which of these is being u
Varieties of tone-quality seem to be infini
numerous even in instruments ; but the hir
voice is still richer, and speech employs these '
qualitative varieties of tone in order to di)
guish different letters. The different vc
belong to the class of sustained tones which
be used in music; while the character of con
ants mainly depends on brief and transient noi

It is well known that he analysed these (
pound tones by means of Eesonators, and
sequently reproduced them synthetically t

3 ■ Sensations of Tone," EUii's transl. p. 28.


item of electrically controlled tuning-forks.

le full demonstration of these facts occupies

3 larger part of his classical work on ' Sensa-

ns of Tone,' and can hardly be given in a brief

nmary. Pure tones can be obtained from a

ling-fork held over a resonance tube, and by

)wing a stream of air from a linear slit over

3 edge of a large bottle. The quality of tone

struck strings depends on (i) the nature of

5 stroke, (2) the place struck, and (3) the

T isity, rigidity, and elasticity of the string.

bowed instruments no complete mechanical

' iory can be given; although Helmholtz's

■' lutiful ' Vibration Microscope ' furnishes some

uable indications. In violins, the various parts,

h as the belly, back, and soundpost, all con-

3ute to modify the quality; as also does the

itained mass of air. By blowing across the

ole of a Straduarius violin, Savart obtained

note c' ; in a violoncello, F ; and in a viola, a

e one tone below that of the violin,

)pen organ pipes, and conical double reed

truments, such as the oboe and bassoon, give

the notes of the harmonic series. Stopped

es and the clarinet give only the partial tones

he uneven numbers. On this subject, neither

Imholtz Dor any other observer has given more

ailed information : indeed the distinguished

•man physicist points out that here there is

I ' a wide field for research,'

'he theory of vowel-quality, first enunciated

VVheatstone in a criticism on Willis's expei-i-

its, is still more complicated. Valuable as are

mholtz's researches, they have been to some

jnt corrected and modified of late by R. Koenig

lis ' Experiences d'Acoustique.' ^ The latter

er begins by stating that, according to the

arches of Donders and Helmholtz, the mouth,

nged to produce a particular vowel-sound, has

)werful resonance-tone which is fixed for each

el, whatever be the fundamental note. A

bt change of pronunciation modifies the sound

iently to sustain the proposition made by

mholtz of defining by these accessory sounds

vowels which belong to different idioms and

sets. It is therefore very interesting to deter-

e the exact pitch of these notes for the dif-

at vowels. Helmholtz and Donders however

ar considerably in their results. Koenig de-

lines the accessory resonance-tones for the

els as pronounced by the North-Germans as

ws: —
















3600 vibrations

tie simplicity of these relations is certainly in
■ favour, and is suggested by M. Koenig as

reason why we find essentially the same
vowels in all languages, in spite of the un-
)ted powers which the human voice possesses
roducing an infinite number and variety of

sounds. [W.H.S.]

I elques Experiences d'Acoustique, Paris 1S82 (privately printed).

TIME (Lat. Tempus, Tactus] Ital. Tempo,
Misiira, Tatto ; Fr. Mesure; Germ, Told, TaUart,

No musical term has been invested with a
greater or more confusing variety of significa-
tions than the word Time ; nor is this vagueness
confined to the English language. In the Middle
Ages, as we shall show, its meaning was very
limited ; and bore but a very slight relation to
the extended signification accorded to it in modern
Music. It is now used in two senses, between
which there exists no connection whatever. For
instance, an English Musician, meeting with two
Compositions, one of which is headed, ' Tempo di
Valza,' and the other, 'Tempo di Menuetto,-* will
naturally (and quite correctly) play the first in
' Waltz-Time ' ; that is to say, at the pace at which
a Waltz is commonly danced ; and the second, at
the very much slower pace peculiar to the Minuet,
But an Italian Musician will tell us that both
are written in ' Tempo di tripla di semiminima ';
and the English Professor will (quite correctly)
translate this by the expression, ' Trij)le Time,'
or ' 3-4 Time,' or 'Three Crotchet Time.' Here,
then, are two Compositions, one of which is in
' Waltz-Time,' and the other in ' Minuet Time,'
while both are in 'Triple Time'; the words
' Tempo ' and ' Time ' being indiscriminately used
to indicate pace and rhythm* The difficulty
might have been removed by the substitution of
the term ' Movimento ' for ' Tempo,' in all cases
in which pace is concerned ; but this word is
very rarely used, though its French equivalent,
' Mouvement,' is not uncommon.

The word Tempo having already been treated,
in its relation to speed, we have now only to
consider its relation to rhythm.

In the Middle Ages, the words 'Tempus,'
'Tempo,' 'Time,' described the proportionate
duration of the Breve and Semibreve only ;
the relations between the Large and the Long,
and the Long and the Breve, being determined
by the laws of Mode,^ and those existing be-
tween the Semibreve and the Minim, by the
rules of Prolation.^ Of Time, as described by
mediaeval writers, there were two kinds — the
Perfect and the Imperfect. In Perfect Time,
the Breve was equal to three Semibreves. The
Signature of this was a complete Circle, In
Imperfect Time — denoted by a Semicircle — the
Breve was equal to two Semibreves only. The
complications resulting from the use of Perfect
or Imperfect Time in combination with the
different kinds of Mode and Prolation, are
described in the article Notation, and deserve
careful consideration, since they render possible,
in antient Notation, the most abstruse combina-
tions in use at the present day.

In modern Music, the word Time is applied
to rhythmic combinations of all kinds, mostly
indicated by fractions (2 etc.) referring to the
aliquot parts of a Semibreve — the norm by which

2 Here, again, we meet with another curious anomaly ; for the
word ' Mode ' is also applied, by mediaeval writers, to the peculiar
forms of Tonality which preceded the invention of the modern
Scale. •" See 3I0DE, Pkolatiun, and Vol. ii. pp. 171 i— 472 u.




the duration of all other notes is and always has
been regulated. [See Time-Signatdke.]

Of these combinations, there are two distinct
orders, classed under the heads of Common (or
Duple) Time, in which the contents of the Bar ^
— as represented by the number of its Beats —
are divisible by 2 ; and Triple Time, in which
the number of beats can only be divided by 3.
These two orders of Time — answering to the
Imperfect and Perfect forms of the earlier system
— are again subdivided into two lesser classes,
called Simple and Compound. We shall treat
of the Simple Times first, begging the reader to
remember, that in every case the rhythmic
value of the Bar is determined, not by the
number of notes it contains, but by the number
of its Beats. For it is evident that a Bar of
what is generally called Common Time may just
as well be made to contain two Minims, eight
Quavers, or sixteen Semiquavers, as four <Jrotch-
ets, though it can never be made to contain
more or less than four Beats. It is only by the
number of its Beats, therefore, that it can be
accurately measured.

I. Simple Common Times (Ital.r('j)ipi;5rt)-2; Fr.
Mesures a qnatre ou a deux temps ; Germ. Eiufache
gerade Taht). The forms of these now most com-
monly used, are —

I. The Time called 'Alia Breve,' which con-
tains, in every Bar, four Beats, each represented
by a Minim, or its value in other notes.

This species of Time, most frequently used in
Ecclesiastical Music, has for its Signature a
Semicircle, with a Bar drawn perpendicularly

through it^ ( ■ (j^ ■■ \ ; and derives its name

from the fact that four Minims make a Breve.

2. Four Crotchet Time (Ital. Tempo ordi-
nario ;' Fr. Mesure a quatre temps; Germ. Vier-
vierteltalct) popularly called Common Time, par



This kind of Time also contains four Beats in a
Bar, each Beat being represented by a Crotchet —
or its value, in other notes. Its Signature is an

utibarred Semicircle f — f^ \ , or, less com-
monly, 4.

_ 3. The Time called Alia Cappella— some-
times \evj incorrectly misnamed Alia Breve —

1 strictly speaking, the term 'Bar' applies only to the lines drawn
perpendicularly across the Slave, for the purpose ot dividing a Com-
position into equal portions, properly called • Measures.' But. in
common language, the term ' Bar' is almost invariably substituted
for Measure,' and consequently used to denote not only the perpen-
dicular Imes, but also the Music contained between them. It is in
this latter sense that the word is used throughout the present

2 Not a 'cipital C, for Common Time,' as neophytes sometimes

3 Net to be mistaken for the ' Tempo oidinario ' so often used by
Handel, in which the term 'Tempo' refers to pace, and not to
1 iiychm, or measuve.

containing two Minim Beats in the Bar, ar

having for its Signature a barred Semicircle e:
actly similar to that used for the true Alia Bre^
already described (No. i).

1= ' ( ^

This Time — essentially modern — is constant
used for quick Movements, in which it is mo
convenient to beat twice in a Bar than fo'
times. Antient Church Music is frequent
translated into this time by modern editoi
each bar of the older Notation being cut in
two ; but it is evidently impossible to call
' Alia Breve,' since each bar contains the vali
not of a Breve but of a Semibreve only.

4. Two Crotchet or Two-four Time, sometimt
though very improperly, called ' French Comrai
Time' (Ital. Tempo di dupla; Fr. Mesure
deux temps; Germ, Zweivierteltald), in whi
each Bar contains two Beats, each represent
by a Crotchet.

In very slow Movements, written in this Tin
it is not at all unusual for the Conductor
indicate four Beats in the Bar instead of tw
in which case the effect is precisely the same
that which would be produced by Four Crotcl
Time, taken at the same rate of movement 1
each Beat. It would be an excellent plan
distinguish this slow form of ^ by the Tin
Signature, g ; since this sign would indicate t
subsidiary Accent to be presently described.

5. Eight Quaver Time (Germ. Achtachtelta)
— that is, eight Beats in a Bar, each represent
by a Quaver — is not very frequently used : I
an example, marked §, will be found in the P
arrangement of the Slow Movement of Spoh
Overture to 'Faust.'

In the Orchestral Score, each Bar of this Mo"
ment is divided into two, with the barred Sei
circle of Alia Cappella for its Time-Signatu
It is evident that the gross contents of a Bar
this Time are equal, in value, to those of a I
of i ; but there is a great difference in <
rendering, which will be explained later on.

6. Two Quaver Time (Germ. ZweiacTitdta
or ViersechszehntheiltaJct), denoted by g or ^
also very uncommon : but examples will be fou
in the Chorus of Witches in Spohr's Faust, a
in his Symphony ' Die Weihe der Tone.'

The forms of Simple Common Time we hi
here described suffice for the expression of ev(
kind of Ehythin characterised by the presence



Vo, four, or eight Beats in a Bar, though it
ould be possible, in case of necessity, to invent
;hers. Others indeed have actually been in-
jnted by some very modern writers, under
•essure of certain needs, real or supposed. The
le indispensable condition is, not only that the
imber of Beats should be divisible by 2 or 4,
it that each several Beat should also be capable
subdivision by 2 or 4, ad infinitum}
II. When, however, each Beat is divisible by

instead of 2, the Time is called Compound
?mmon (Germ. Gerade zusammengesetzte Takt):
)mmon, because each Bar contains two, four,
eight Beats ; Compound, because these Beats
e represented, not by simple, but by dotted
ites, each divisible by three. For Times of
is kind, the term Compound is especially
jU-chosen, since the peculiar character of the
jats renders it possible to regard each Bar as

agglomeration of so many shorter Bars of
iple Time.

The forms of Compound Common Time most
jquently used are —

I a Tv?elve-four Time (Germ. ZwSlfviertel-
U), ^?, with four Beats in the Bar, each Beat
presented by a dotted Minim— or its equi-
lent, three Crotchets; used, principally, in
,cred Music.

2a. Twelve-eight Time (Ital. Tempo di Do-
ciapla; Germ. ZtcolfacldeltaU), ^^, with four
sats in the Bar, each represented by a dotted
otchet, or its equivalent, three Quavers. '
A * A

with four

3 a. Twelve-sixteen Time, j^ ;

lats in the Bar, each represented by a dotted

liiver, or its equivalent, three Semiquavers.



in the Bar, each represented by a dotted Crotchet
— or its equivalent, three Quavers.

i — I-


7 a. Six-sixteen Time, ^q, with two Beats
in the Bar, each represented by a dotted Quaver
— or its equivalent, three Semiquavers.


8 a. Twenty four- sixteen, ^f , with eight Beats
in the Bar, each represented by a dotted Quaver
— or its equivalent, three Semiquavers.

^^a. Six-two Time, ^ ; with two beats in each
ir; each represented by a dotted Semibreve-—
its equivalent, three Minims; used only in
cred Music, and that not very frequently.


5 a. Six-four Time, (Germ. Sechsvierteltalct),
,th two Beats in the bar, each represented by a
■tted Minim — or its equivalent, three Crotchets.

6 a, Six-eight Time (Ital. Tempo di Ses-
pla; Germ. SechsachteltaU), with two Beats

i This law does not militate against tlie use of Triplets, Sextoles.
I other groups containing any odd number of notes, since these
: lormal groups do not belong to the Time, but are accepted as
factions of its rules.

III. Unequal, or Triple Times (Ital, Tempi dis-
pai-i ; Fr. Mesures a trois temps ; Germ. Ungerade
Taht ; Tripel Takt) differ from Common, in that
the number of their Beats is invariably three.
They are divided, like the Common Times, into
two classes — Simple and Compound — the Beats
in the first class being represented by simple
notes, and those in the second by dotted ones.

The principal forms of Simple Triple Time
(Germ. Mnfache ungerade Takt) are —

lb. Three Semibreve Time (Ital. Tempo di
Tripla di Semibrevi), f, or 3, with three Beats
in the Bar, each represented by a Semibreve.
This form is rarely used in Music of later date
than the first half of the 17th century; though,
in Church Music of the School of Palestrina, it
is extremely common.


26. Three-two Time, or Three Minim Time
(Ital, Tempo di Tripla di Minime) with three
Beats in the Bar, each represented by a Minim,
is constantly used, in Modem Church Music, as
well as in that of the i6th century.

3 b. Three-four Time, or Three Crotchet Time
(Ital. Tempo di Tripla di Semiminime, Emiolia
maggiore; Germ. Dreivierteltakt) with three Beats
in the Bar, each represented by a Crotchet, is
more frequently used, in modern Music, than
any other form of Simple Triple Time.

46. Three-eight Time, or Three Quaver Time
(Ital. Tempo di Tripla di Crome, Emiolia
minore ; Germ. Dreiuchteltakt) with three Beats
in the Bar, each represented by a Quaver, is also
very frequently used, in modern Music, for slow






p m » f -

H a

It is possible to invent more forms of Simple
Triple Time (as A, for instance), and some very
modern Composers have done so ; but the cases
in which they can be made really useful are
exceedingly rare.

IV. Compound Triple Time (Germ. Zusammen-
gesetzte Ungeradetakt) is derived from the simple
form, on precisely the same principle as that
already described with reference to Common
Time. Its chief forms are —

ic. Nine-four Time, or Nine Crotchet Time
(Ital. Tempo di Nonwpla magr/iore ; Germ. Neun-
merteUakt) contains three Beats in the Bar, each
represented by a dotted Minim — or its ecjuiva-
lent, three Cro ets.


2C. Nine-eight Time, or Nine Quaver Time
(Ital. Tempo di Nonupla minore ; Germ. Neun-
achteltald) contains three Beats in a Bar, each
represented by a dotted Crotchet — or its equiva-
lent, three Quavers.
„ A A

3c. Ninesixteen Time, or Nine Semiquaver
Time (Germ. Neumecliszelmtheiltaht), contains
three Beats in the Bar, each represented by a
dotted Quaver — or its equivalent, three Semi-

,. A A



• fk p f ^ pnpipje


It is possible to invent new forms of Compound
Triple Time (as ^) ; but it would be difficult to
find cases in which such a proceeding would be
justifiable on the plea of real necessity.

V. In addition to the universally recognised
forms of Rhythm here described, Composers have
invented certain anomalous measures which call
for separate notice : and first among them we
must mention that rarely used but by no menns
unimportant species known as Quintuple Time
(^ or i^, with five Beats in the Bar, each Beat
being represented either by a Crotchet or a
Quaver as the case maybe. As the peculiarities
of this rhythmic form have already been fully
described,' we shall content ourselves by quoting,
in addition to the examples given in vol. iii. p. 6 1,
one beautiful instance of its use by Brahms, who,
in his 'Variations on a Hungarian Air,' Op. 21,
No. 2, has fulfilled all the most necessary condi-
tions, by writing throughout in alternate Bars
of Simple Common and Simple Triple Time,
under a double Time-Signature at the beginning
of the Movement.

There seems no possible reason why a Com-
poser, visited by an inspiration in that direction,
should not write an Air in Septuple Time, with
1 See Quintuple Time.


seven beats in a bar. The only condition n©
ful to ensure success in such a case is, that t
inspiration must come first, and prove of sul
cient value to justify the use of an anomalc
Measure for its expression. An attempt
write in Septuple Time, for its own sal
must inevitably residt in an ignoble failu
The chief mechanical difficulty in the emplc
ment of such a Measure would lie in the v
certain position of its Accents, which would r
be governed by any definite rule, but mi
depend, almost entirely, upon the character
the given Melody, and might indeed be
varied as to give rise to several different spec
of Septuple Time" — a very serious objection, f
after all, it is by the position of its Accents tl
every species of Time must be governed.^ It w
for this reason that, at the beginning of tl
article, we insisted upon the necessity for measi
ing the capacity of the Bar, not by the numl
of the notes it contained, but by that of
Beats : for it is upon the Beats that the Accel
fall ; and it is only in obedience to the positi
of the Beats tliat the notes receive them. N(
it is a law that no two Accents — that is
say, no two of the greater Accents by whi
the Ehythm of the Bar is regulated, witho
reference to the subordinate stress which c
presses the division of the notes into groups
no two of these greater Accents, we say, e
possibly fall on two consecutive Beats ; any mo
than the strong Accent, called by Grammaria
the ' Tone,' can fall on two consecutive syllabi
in a word. The first Accent in the Bar — mark
thus ( A ) in our examples, corresponds in Mus
with what is technically called the 'Tone-syllabi
of a word. Where there are two Accents in ti
Bar, the second, marked thus, ( A ), is of much le
importance. It is only by remembering this, th
w-e can understand the difference between tl
Time called 'Alia Cappella,' withtwo Minim Bea
in the Bar, and 4 with four Crotchet Beati
for the value of the contents of the Bar, in not<
is exactly the same, in both cases ; and in bo
cases, each Beat is divisible by 2, indefinitel
The only difference, therefore, lies in the disti
bution of the Accents ; and this difference
entirely independent of the pace at which tl
Bar may be taken.


In like manner, six Quavers may be writtei

" See the remarks on an analogous uncertainty in Quintuple Tin
Vol. iii. p. 616.

3 The reader will hear in mind that vre are here speaklOE
Accent, fitir et simple, and not of emphasis. A note may be CI
phasised. in any part of the Bar ; but the quiet dwelling upon
which constitutes true Accent— Accent analogous to that used
speaking— can only take place on the accented Beat, the position
which is invariable. Hence it follows that the most strongly accent
notes in a given passage may also be the softest. In all questio
concerning Ehythm, a clear understanding of the diff.-rence betwc
Accent— produced by quietly dwelling on a note— and Emfliasis
produced by forcing it, is of the utmost importance.




•ith equal propriety, in a Bar of ? or in one of
Time. But tbe effect produced will be alto-
ether different ; for, in tbe first case, the notes
ill be grouped in three divisions, each contain-
ig two Quavers ; while, in the second, they will
rm two groups, each containing three Quavers,
gain, twelve Crotchets may be written in a

ar of f. or \ Time ; twelve Quavers, in a Bar

■ §, or 8 ; or twelve Semiquavers, in a Bar of

or § ; the division into groups of two notes,

• three, and the effect thereby produced, de-
mding entirely upon the facts indicated by tlie
ime-Signature — in other words, upon the ques-
jn whether the Time be Simple or Compound,
the position of the greater Accents, in
mple and Compound Time, is absolutely identi-
1 ; the only difference between the two forms
Ehythm lying in the subdivision of the Beats
2, in Simple Times, and by 3, in Compound
.es. Every Simple Time has a special Com-
und form derived directly from it, with the
eater Accents — the only Accents with which
are here concerned — falling in exactly the

T>A'szA Tedesca

same places ; as a comparison of the foregoing
examples of Alia Breve and ^?, C and \?, Alia
Cappella and ^, ^ and 6, | and ^g, | and ^f, g
and j^g, § and ^, 3 and ^, 3 and ^^, wiU dis-
tinctly prove. And this rule applies, not only
to Common and Triple Time, but also to Quint-
uple and Septuple, either of which may be
Simple or Compound at will. As a matter of
fact, we believe we are right in saying that
neither of these Eliythms has, as yet, been at-
tempted, in the Compound form. But such a
form is possible : and its complications would in
no degree interfere with the position of the
greater Accents.^ For the strongest Accent will,
in all cases, faU on the first Beat in the Bar;
while the secondary Accent may fall, in Quin-
tuple Time — whether Simple or Compound —
either on the third or the fourth Beat ; and
in Septuple Time — Simple or Compound — on the
fourth Beat, or the fifth — to say nothing of
other places in which the Composer would be
perfectly justified in placing it.^

In a few celebrated cases — more numerous,
nevertheless, than is generally supposed — Com-

From 'II Don Giovanni.'


• » ■ — •-•-

p p • 0-^ — ^ a ^ « r =:

I i I T i I i H ^




Spohr, 'Die Weilie der Tone.'

&i b=d s=a^ ^=f Lg^


iomponnd Quintuple EhTthm would need, for its Time-Sicna- I means satisfactory 'rule of thumb.' that all fractions with a nume-

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 27 of 194)