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 32 of 194)
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 32 of 194)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

accompanies this Subject is but accessory, and
neither can nor ought to bear any other
name than that of Counter-Subject. A Fugue
which is called a Fugue on two Subjects, ought
to be called a Fugue on one Subject, with one
Counter-Subject,' etc. etc. It is highly desirable
that the nomenclature thus recommended should
be adopted : but there is no objection to the
terms Single and Double Fugue, as applied
respectively to Fugues in wliicli tlie principal
Counter-Subject appears after or simultaneously
with the Subject ; for, when the two Motivi
begin together, the term 'Double' is surely
not out of place. When two Counter-Subjects

I See CouKTEK-SuBJECT, vol. i. p. 409.


begin together with the Subject, the Fugue ma
fairly be called Triple ; when three begin with i'
it may be called Quadruple ; the number of poi
sible Counter-Subjects being only limited by tha
of the Parts, with, of course, the necessary reserva
tion of one Part for the Subject. A Septupl
Fugue, therefore, is a Fugue in seven Parts
written upon a Subject, and six Counter-Subjectf
all beginning together,

The Old Masters never introduced a Countei
Subject into their Ileal Fugues. Each Part, afte
it had replied to the Subject, was free to mov
wherever it pleased, on the appearance of th
Subject in another Part. But this is not the cas
in the modern Tonal Fugue. Wherever th
Subject appears, one Part, at least, must accom
pany it with a Counter-Subject ; and those Part
only which have already performed this dut;
become free — that is to say, are permitted, fo.
the moment, to fill up the Harmony by unfetterec

When the Subject and Counter-Subject star
together, the Theme is called a Double-Subject
as in the last Chorus of Handel's 'Triumph
Time and Truth,' based on the Subject of ai
Organ Concerto of which it originally^ formed thi
concluding Movement; in the 'Christe' of Mo
zart's Requiem ; and in the following from Haydn')
' Creation.'



It is very important that the Subject and
Counter-Subject should move in different figures,
A Subject in long-sustained notes will frequentlj
stand out in quite a new aspect, when contrasted
with a Counter-Subject in Quavers or Semi
quavers. In Choral Fugues the character ol '|
the Counter-Subject is usually suggested by a fl
change in the feeling of the words. For instance,
the words of the Chorus, ' Let old Timotheus,'
in 'Alexander's Feast,' consist of four lines of
Poetry each sung to a separate Motivo.

In order that the Subject may be more naturally
connected with its first Counter-Subject, it is
common to join the two by a Codetta (Fr.
Queue; Gerin. Nachsatz), which facilitates the
entrance of the Answer, by carrying the leading
Part to a note in harmonious continuity with it.
ThefollowingCodettaisfrom the celebrated Fugue
called ' The Cat's Fugue,' by D. Scarlatti.
Subject. , j»5^__^






Codetta. Counter-Subject

2 See the original MS., iu the British Museum, George 111. MBS.
310 t27i. d.]








"he alternation of the Subject with the An-
r — called its Repercussion (Lat. Eepercussio ;
.. Jieperciissione ; Germ. Wiederschlag) — is
emed by necessary, though somewhat elastic
s. Albrechtsberger gives twenty-four different
jmes for a Fugue in four Parts only, showing
various order in which the Voices may con-
ently enter, one after the other. The great
ideratum is, that the Answer should follow the
ject, directly; and be followed, in its turn,
in immediate repetition of the Subject, in
le other Part: the process being continued,
11 all the Parts have entered, in turn, with
iject and Counter-Subject, alternately, and
s become entitled to continue, for a time,
Free Parts. But the regularity of this alter-
ion is not always possible, in Choral Fugues,
management of which must necessarily con-
n to the compass of the Voices employed.

instance, in Brahms's 'Deutsclie Requiem,'
re are two Subjects, each embracing a range
10 less than eleven notes — a fatal liindrance
>rthodox fugal management.
Then the Subject has been thus clearly set
h, so as to form what is called the Exposition
he Fugue, the order of its Repercussion may
reversed ; the Answer being assigned to the
Is which began with the Subject, and tice
\d; after -which the Fugue may modulate at
isure. But, in common language, the term
(ject is always applied, whether accurately or
, to the transposed Theme, even though it
J appear in the aspect proper to the Answer,
ts the Fugue proceeds, the alternation of
>ject and Answer is frequently interrupted
Episodes (Ital. Andamenti; Fr. Divertisse-
tts), founded on fragments of the Subject, or
Counter-Subjects, broken up, in the manner
lained on page £35 ; on fragments of contra-
.tal passages, already presented, or on passages
urally suggested by these. Great freedom is
mitted in these accessory sections of the Fugue,
ing the continuance of which almost all the
•ts may be considered as Free, to a certain
ent. Nevertheless, the great Fuguists are
ays most careful to introduce no irrelevant
9, into their Compositions ; and every idea not
urally suggested by the Subject, or by the con-
puntal matter with which it is treated, must
essarily be irrelevant. It is indeed neither
sible nor desirable, that every Part should be
tinuously occupied by the Subject. When it

proposed this, or the Answer, or one of the
inter-Subjects deduced from them, it may
ceed in Single or Double Counterpoint with
le other Part. But, after a long rest, it
it alwaj's re-enter with the Subject, or a
mterSubject ; or, at least, with a contra-
ital fragment with which one or the other of
EQ has been previously accompanied, and which

may, therefore, be fairly said to have been sug-
gested by the Subject, in the first instance. And
thus it is, that even the Episodes introduced into,
a really good Fugue form consistent elements of
the argument it sets forth. In no Fugue of the
highest order is a Part ever permitted to enter,
without having something important to say.

After the Exposition has been fully carried
out, either with or without the introduction of
Episodes, the subsequent conduct of the Fugue
depends more on the imagination of the Com-
poser than on any very stringent rule of construc-
tion ; though the great Fuguists have always
arranged their plans in accordance with certain
well-recognised devices, which are universally
regarded as common property, even when trace-
able to known Masters. And here it is that
the ingenious Devices (Fr. Artifices ; Germ. Kun-
steleien) described at page 1 35 as accessory ele-
ments of the Fugue, are first seriously called,
into play. The Composer may modulate at
will, though only to the Attendant Keys of the
Scale in which his Subject stands. He may
present his Subject, or Counter-Subject, upside-
down — i. e. inverted by Contrary Motion ; or
backwards, in ' Imitatio cancrizans ' ; or, ' Per
recte et retro ' — half running one way, and half
the other ; or, by single or double Augmentation,
in notes twice, or four times, as long as those in.
the original ; or by Diminution, in notes half the-
length. Or, he may introduce a new Counter-
Subject, or even a Canto fenno. In short, h&
may exercise his ingenuity in any way most con-
genial to his taste, provided only that he never
forgets his Subject. The only thing to be de-
sired is, that the Artifices should be well chosen :
not only suggested by the Subject, but in close
accordance with its character and meaning. It
is quite possible to introduce too many De-
vices ; and the Fugue then becomes a mere
dry exhibition of learning and ingenuity. But
the Great Masters never fall into this error.
Being themselves intensely interested in the pro-
gress of their work, they never fail to interest the
listener. Among the most elaborate Fugues on
record are those in Sebastian Bach's 'Art of
Fugue,' in which the Subject given on page 136
is treated with truly marvellous ingenuity an<J
erudition. Yet, even these are in some respects-
surpassed by the ' Et vitam venturi,' which forms-
the conclusion of Cherubini's Credo, Alia Cap'
jidla, for eight Voices, in Double Choir, with
a Thorough-Bass. The Subject (quoted on page
136) is developed by the aid of five distinct
Counter-Subjects, three of which enter simul-
taneously with the Subject itself; the First after
a jNlinim-rest; the Second after three Minims;
the Third after two bars : the Subject itself oc-
cupying three bars and one note of Alia Breve
Time. It may tlierefore justly be called a Quad-
ruple Fugue. ThetvvoremainingCounter-Subjects
enter at the fifth and sixth bars, respectively;
and, because the first proposal of the Subject
comes to an end before their appearance, Cheru-
bini, though giving them the title of Counter-
Suljjects, does not number them, as he did the



first three, but calls one V mitre, and the other Ic
nouveau contrc-sujct. The Artifices begin at the
fourth bar, with an Imitation of the Third
Counter-Subject in the Unison, and continue
thence to the end of the Fugue, which em-
bodies 243 bars of the finest conti-apuntal writing
to be found within the entire range of modern

When the capabilities of the Subject have
been demonstrated, and its various Counter-Sub-
jects discussed, it is time to bind the various
members of the Fugue more closely together, in
the form of a Stretto* (Lat. Jiestrictio ; Ital.
Stretto, Rcdretto ; Germ. Enfffuhi-ung ; Fr. Ba2>
prockement), or passage in which the Subject,
Answer, and Counter-Subjects, are woven to-
gether, as closely as possible, so as to bind the
whole into a knot. Aptitude for the formation
of an artful Stretto is one of the most desir-
able qualities in a good Fugal Subject, Some
Subjects will weave together, with marvellous
ductility, at several different distances. Others
can with difficulty be tortured into any kind of
Stretto at all. Sebastian Bach's power of inter-
twining his Subject and .Counter-Subjects seems
little short of miraculous. The first Fugue of
the XL VIII, in C major, contains seven distinct
Stretti, all differently treated, and all remark-
able for the closeness of their involutions. Yet,
there is nothing in the Subject which would
lead us to suppose it capable of any very extra-
ordinary treatment. The secret lies rather in
Each's power over it. He just chose a few simple
Intervals, which would woi-k well together ; and,
this done, his Subject became his slave. Almost
all other Fugues contain a certain number of
Episodes ; but here there is no Episode at all :
not one single bar in which the Subject, or some
portion of it, does not appear. Yet, one never
tires of it, for a moment j though, as the Answer
is in Eeal Fugue, it presents no change at all,
except that of Key, at any of its numerous re-
currences. Some wonderfully close Stretti will
also be found in Bach's 'Art of Fugue'; in
Handel's 'Amen Chorus'; in Cherubini's 'Et
vitam,' already described ; in the 'Et vitam' of
Sarti's ' Crfedo,' for eight Voices, in D ; and in
many other great Choral Fugues by Masters of
the 18th centurj', and the first half of the 19th,
including Mendelssohn and Spohr. Some of
these Stretti are found on a Dominant, and
some on a Tonic Pedal. In aU, the Subject is
made the principal feature in the contrajiuntal
labyrinth. The following example, from the
'Gloria' of Purcell's English 'Jubilate,' composed
for S. Cecilia's Day, 1694, is exceptionally in-
teresting. In the first place, it introduces a
new Subject — a not uncommon custom with
the earlier Fuguists, when new words were to
be treated — and, without pausing to develop
its powers by the usual process of Repercus-
sion, presents it in Stretto at once. Secondly,
it gives the Answer, by Inversion, with such
easy grace, that one forgets all about its inge-
nuity, though it really blends the learning of

1 From atringerct to bind.


Polyphony with the symmetry of modem Foi
in a way which ought to make us very proud
our great Master, and the School of which
was so bright an ornament. For, when Purcel
'Te Deuni' and 'Jubilate' were written, S
bastian Bach was just nine years old.

Subject. Inversk








With the Stretto or Organ-Point the Fugi
is generally brought to a conclusion, and, in mar
examples, by means of a Plagal Cadence.

Having now traced the course of a fully di
veloped modern Tonal Fugue, from its Expos
tion to its final Chord, it remains only to say
few words concerning some well-recognised 63
ceptions to the general form.

We have said that the modern Fugue spran
into existence through the recognition of it|k
Tonal Answer, as an inevitable necessity. Y<
there are Subjects — and very good ones too- m
which, admitting of no natural Tonal Ansvre u
at all, must necessarily be treated in Real Fugue
not the old Real Fugue, formed upon a few sloi
notes treated in close Imitation ; but, a form (Ig
Composition corresponding with the modern Tons &
Fugue in every respect except its Tonality. Suci ie:
a case is Mendelssohn's Fugue in E minor (op. 3J j,
no. i), in which the Answer is the Subject ex i
actly a fifth higher. \\







Again, a Fugue is sometimes written upon, 01 <
combined with, a Canto fermo ; and the resulting *
conditions very nearly resemble those prevailin| '
on board a Flag-Ship in the British Navy; the' |
functions of the Subject being typified by tho«' ft
of the Captain, who commands the ship, and the f
privileges of the Canto fermo, by those of the: 1
Admiral, who commands the Captain. Some-' ki
times the Subject is made to resemble the'%
Canio fermo very closely only in notes of shorter ;
duration ; sometimes it is so constructed as to
move in Double Counterpoint against it. In .i.
neither case is it always easy to determine whicli


;he real Subject ; but attention to the Expo-
on will generally decide the point. Should
: Canto fermo pass through a regular Expo-
on, in the alternate aspects of Dux and
nes, it may be fairly considered as the true
aject, and the ostensible Subject must be ac-
ited as the principal Counter-Subject. Should
r other Theme than the Canto fermo pass
ough a more or less regular Exposition, that
erne is the true Subject, and the Canto fermo
rely an adjunct. Examples of the first method

comparatively rare in Music later than the
;h century. Instances of the second will be
nd in Handel's ' Utrecht Te Deum and Ju-
\te,' ' Hallelujah Chorus,' ' The horse and his
er,' Funeral, and Foundling Anthems ; and
J. S. Bach's ' Choral Vorspiele.'
Dther exceptional forms are found in the 'Fugue
[mitation,' in which the Answer is neither an
ict reproduction of the Subject, nor necessarily
[fined to Imitation in any particular Interval ;
1 Fughetta, or Little Fugue, which terminates
the close of the Exposition ; and the Fugato,
Pezzo Fugato, which is not really a Fugue,
i only a piece written in the style of one.
t these forms are not of sulficient importance
need a detailed description, [W.S.E.]

rONALITY is the element of key, which in
dern music is of the very greatest importance,
ion the clearness of its definition the existence
instrumental music in harmonic forms of the
lata order depends. It is defined by the con-
;ent maintenance for appreciable periods of
rmonies, or passages of melody, which are
iracteristic of individual keys. Unless the
lality is made intelligible, a work which has
words becomes obscure. Thus in the binary
duplex form of movement the earlier portion
ist have the tonality of the principal key well
ined ; in the portion which follows and sup-
ss the contrast of a new and complementary
J, the tonality of that key, whether dominant or
diant or other relative, must be equally clear.

the development portion of the movement
rious keys succeed each other more freely,
t it is still important that each change shall

tonally comprehensible, and that chords be-
iging to distinct keys shall not be so recldessly
xed up together as to be undecipherable by
y process of analysis — while in the latter
rtion of the movement the principal key again
juires to be clearly insisted on, especially at
3 conclusion, in such a way as to give the
larest and most unmistakeable impression of
e tonality ; and this is commonly done at most
portant points by the use of the simplest and
jarest successions of harmony. Chords which
e derived from such roots as dominant, sub-
minant, and tonic, define the tonality most
viously and certainly ; and popular dance-
nes, of all times, have been generally based
lon successions of such harmonies. In works
lich are developed upon a larger scale a much
eater variety of chords is used, and even chords
longing to closely related keys are commonly
berlaced without producing obscurity, or weak-



ening the structural outlines of the work ; but
if chords are closely mixed up together without
system, whose roots are only referable to keys
which are remote from one another, the result is
to make the abstract form of the passage unin-
teUigible. In dramatic music, or such music
as depends for its coherence upon words, the
laws which apply to pure instrumental music
are frequently violated without ill eff'ects, inas-
much as the form of art then depends upon
diff'erent conditions, and the text may often
successfully supply the solution for a passage
which in pure instrumental music would be
unintelligible. [C.H.H.P.]

TONE, in the sense of Quality, the French
timbre, is distinguished as harsh, mild, thin,
fuU, hollow, round, nasal, metallic or woody ;
and most persons agree in assigning these epithets
to varieties of tone as usually heard. No valid
reason was forthcoming for the cause of these
varieties until Helmholtz, in 'Die Lehre der
Tonempfindungen,' settled its physical basis, de-
monstrating and explaining it by his theory of
tone sensations. Since the publication of that
great work the why and wherefore of differences
of quality may be learned by all enquirers,
without any preliminary knowledge of mathe-
matics ; and as there are admirable translations
of Helmholtz's great work, in French by M.
Gueroult, and in English by Mr. A. J, Ellis,
those who wish to pursue the study of the
subject will find no insurmountable hindrance
to doing so.

If, as Helmholtz points out, the same note is
sounded successively on a pianoforte, a violin,
clarinet, oboe or trumpet, or by the human voice,
though the pitch be the same and the force equal,
the musical tone of each is different and may be
at once recognised without seeing the instrument
or singer. These varieties of quality are infi-
nitely numerous, and we can easily distinguish
one voice from another in singing or speaking
even by memory, at distances of time and space ;
and by the delicate shades of quality in vowel
tone we perceive that each individual is furnished
with a distinct vocal instrument. This infinite
gradation of tone is due to the fact that simple
tones are very rarely heard, but that in nearly
every musical sound, though accepted by the ear
as one note, several notes are really heard in
combination, and it is the different relative
numbers and intensities of the notes combined
that cause the sensation of different quality. In
the analysis of the combination the lowest tone
is called the ' Prime ' or ' Fundamental,' and
the higher ones, the ' Upper Partials.' ^ The
running off into upper partial tones is to be
attributed, as Mr. Hermann Smith discovered,
to the energy with which the sounding medium,
whatever it may be, is agitated. The .^olian
Harp is a beautiful instance of the influence of
varying energy. In it several strings are tuned
to one pitch, but they are not equally sub-

I We abstain from reference to the much-debated combination or
differential tones which the ear can perceive lower in pitch than the



mitted to the force of the wind, and in conse-
quence we hear lower or higher notes in com-
binations of concord or dissonance, as the strings
vibrate in longer or shorter sections due to the
less or greater power of the wind, and its point
of impact on the string.^ The pulsations known
as Beats, which may be heard by touching and
holding down almost any key of a pianoforte
not recently tuned, affect the ear by their fre-
quency. If unapparent or nearly so, Helmholtz
characterises the sound as ' continuous,' if per-
ceptibly apparent as 'discontinuous,' and while
continuity is harmonious and gratifies the ear,
discontinuity is discordant and more or less
pains the ear according to the frequency of the
disconnection. Now the priiae and upper partials
■which in strings, narrow tubes, reeds and the
Tinman voice form a musical note, proceed in a
xegular succession, the Arithmetical Progression
of I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. This succession may also
be expressed in ratios which show by fractions
the vibrating divisions of the string. We express
the same succession by Unison, Octave, Twelfth,
Double Octave, etc. Up to 8, which is the
Third Octave from the Prime or Fundamental,
the successive combination of these increasing
divisions of the string (or of the air column) is
sufficiently continuous or free from prominent
beats to satisfy the ear as harmonious, but that
point passed, the greater frequency of beats
caused by the increasing nearness of the suc-
cessive partials causes a disagreeable sensation
which is extreme when a string vibrating in 1 2
sections and another vibrating in 13, are sound-
ing together. The reader must take for granted
that for simple tones the particles vibrate like
the bob of a pendulum. For compound tones
the form of the vibration is very different. The
particular form in any case depends upon the
number and intensity of the partials or simple
tones of which it is coinpounded, and produces
the effect called quality of tone. There is
another circumstance called 'phase,' depending
upon the points of their vibrations in which
two partials coincide, when compounded ; this
alters the form of vibration in the compound
tone, but has no perceptible effect on its

We have so far touched upon the voice, and
those instruments of strings, reeds, and narrow
pipes which may have a regular series of harmonic
.proper tones ; there are however irregular causes
of musical or partially musical sound with inhar-
monic proper tones, not following an arithmetical
order of succession : among these are wide pii^es,
stretched membranes (as drums), plates (as
gongs), elastic rods (as tuning-forks), and the
various metal and wooden harmonicas. The use
of nearly all these varieties is in consequence
much restricted in our modern European music.
As to Resonance, any elastic body fastened so as
to be permitted to vibrate will have its own
proper tones, and will respond sympathetically to

1 The peculiar, touching, character or theiEoIian harp harmony is
determined by the frequent presence of the Harmonic Seventh, an
InterTal rejected in our music and replaced by sharper dissonant
seventlis of an entirely different tone character.



the influence of other periodic vibrations, as mi
be commonly observed with violins, pianoforte
harps, and other stringed instruments, whe:
the comparatively faint sound of the strings
materially reinforced by the responsive souni

In many wind instruments the phenomena !
Harmonics become of the first importance,
these they are caused by increase of pressure (
force of blowing; and, in point of fact, as eac
higher note is gained by the rejection of a lowe
factor of sound, the quality of each note changt
and gains in brilliancy as it ascends in pitch,
stringed instruments it is sufficient to touch th
vibrating string gently with the finger, to dam
all those simple vibrations which have segmenti
curves or loops at the point touched ; while s
the apparent resting-places from vibration whic
nre called nodes, the simple vibrations meetin
tliere continue to sound with undiminished loud (
ness. The quality is changed from the full sound ^
ing note ; the vibrating complex being simplex ],
sounds sweeter and purer, until in the ver ^
highest harmonics the difFerence to the ear be y
tween string and wind seems almost lost. Tb j

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 32 of 194)