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 33 of 194)
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greater consistency of metal assists the mainten ^
ance of a state of vibrating motion once assumed L
and from this what we characterise as metalliiL
tone is the comparatively steady lasting of thcij
high upper partial tones, but with the possibltk^
fault of becoming tinkling. In the less elafltiifc
mass of wood, the upper partials rapidly di(.L
away. Unless this decrease be too rapid the eai|,jj
delights in the greater prominence gained for th«jt
prime and its nearer upper partials. If too rapid|jj|
we characterise the tone as woody. [jj

In the Pianoforte we meet with the readiesfli,
application of the terms 'metallic' and ' woody.' ji.
Modern pianos, where the framing which holds ji
the strings and bears their draught is of iron,
frequently have a ' metallic ' tone from the higher
elasticity of the framing, which being metal does
not allow the high upper partials of the string
to die away so soon as they did in the older .^
pianos of iron and wood or of wood alone, the
inferior elasticity of which permitted them to
become extinct sooner and the string to pass
more quickly into longer segments of vibration.
The extreme influence of metal may be to main-
tain a ' ringing ' or even a ' tinkling ' tone ; from
the wood we get a 'dull' or 'woody' quality.
There are however other conditions to be pre-
sently referred to. To show the strength of the
octave harmonic in a good pianoforte you will
rarely find the tuner adjust the pitch note C (a)
to its corresponding tuning-fork. He prefers the
middle C (6) an octave lower, because its first upper
partial (c) beats, for a certain space of time, more
(a) (6) (c)



distinctly with thefork than the fundamental with
which it is in unison. The scheme of strengthening
the octave harmonic by an additional octave string
is certainly a work of supererogation ! But one



TONE.



TONE.



U2



irj important factor in pianoforte tone is the
immer, both in its covering and in its striking
ace against the string. Helmholtz shows that
soft hammer causes softer or rounder tone be«
mse the greater continuity of contact of the
ft material damps the very high upper partials,
hile the less continuity of contact of a hard-
irfaced hammer allows small sectionsof the string
sound on. Strength of blow causes loudness by
creasing the amplitude or greater vibrating ex-
irsion of the string, while it also expends more
lergy and increases the number of upper partials

the tone. Weakness of blow is, of course, of
verse influence. The striking-place, or point
' contact of hammer and string, affects the tone
iriously. Experience teaches that it should be
)on a nodal point, although many pianoforte
akers neglect an accurate adjustment of the
riking line, to the detriment of purity of tone.
' the string could be struck exactly at the half

its length between the bridges, a kind of
arinet tone o .-great beauty would be obtained.
a the other hand, by striking very near the
restplank bridge, and thus favouring the very
gh partials at the expense of the lower ones,
I approximation to the oboe tone would be
lined. The so-called ' Lute ' stop, in the
krpsichord, is a practical illustration of this
lange of quality. The best fundamental tone
. combination with the best sounding partials

obtained at the eighth of the string ; at the
nth the tone hardens by diminution of the
)wer of the prime, which is proved by the ham-
er requiring more 'toning' or softening. The
gh upper partials continue to come into greater
■ominence as we ascend to the tenth and higher,
r which reason, to get brighter trebles, piano-
rte makers have adopted the device of bringing
le striking-place inwards as they ascend, with
loss of equality of tone. In the old Iceyboard in-
ruments which preceded the pianoforte, and
deed in the early pianofortes, no attention was
lid to accuracy of striking-place. In Harpsi-
lOrds and spinets the strings were usually
uched somewhere between the half and the
nth of the length; but the small diameter

the strings favoured the due formation of
[reeable upper partials.^

Tiie framing and weight of stringing have much
1 do with the bars attached to the under side of
le belly or soundboard of a pianoforte. These
krs cross the direction of the grain of the Spruce
ir of which the belly is made, and promote the
asticity of this most important tone reinforcer.
■'ithout the Resonance table the strings would
fer scarcely any sound, and without the
asticity gained by the bars their high upper
irtials would be imperfectly reflected, or im-
ediately lost. The hard wood bridge carries
le complete pulsations of the strings to the
undboard by alternating greater and less pres-
ires. On the whole no other musical instru-

The effect of the striking is due. generally, to the intensity of
)tioa cf the sinaple vibrations, and the corresponding increase
decrease of the partials. at the point of excitement by the hammer.
Js affecting the composition of the musicaJ tone. Helmholtz (Ellis;
123.



ment is capable of the infinite variety of the
tone qualities of the pianoforte, as various as the
wonderfully nervous touch of the ends of the
fingers of the player, which differs in every in-
dividual so that no two persons produce quite the
same tone from the pianoforte unless they mny
be said to agree in the bad tone obtained by in-
elastic thumping.

We can compare, although remotely, the
violin with the pianoforte in some of the funda-
mental principles of tone-production, but in many
respects these instruments are very different.
For instance, in the tone-production, the string
clings to the bow until it is suddenly detached,
when it rebounds and is caught by the bow again.
Thus a peculiar vibrational form ensues, in which,
according to Helmholtz, the prime or fundamental
tone is stronger than in the pianoforte, while the
first upper partials are comparatively weak. The
sixth to the tenth are much stronger, which gives
the bowed instruments their cutting character —
the 'scolding violins,' as old Thomas Mace
called them when they were beginning to super-
sede the viols and lutes. Any scratching of the
bow is immediately shown by sudden jumps or
displacements of the compound figure of vibration.
The form of this figure is however tolerably in-
dependent of the place of bowing, usually at
about one-tenth of the length of the string. The
quality becomes somewhat duller as we approach
the fingerboard, and brighter as we approach the
bridge, at least for forte passages. We have re-
semblances to the pianoforte in the pressure of
stopping in the violin by the finger, in the piano-
forte by a firm wrestplank bearing ; by this power
the production and continuity of the upper par-
tials is assisted and maintained. The ' bass bar '
in the violin answers to the more complex barring
of the piano, by screwing the belly up to the
required pitch of elasticity for the reinforce-
ment of the upper partials. Lastl}', the bowing
has some analogy to the touch of the pianoforte
player; in that quality of individuality which
extinguishes or subordinates the mechanical in
performance.

Recent researches have proved that the orches-
tral division of wood and brass in wind instruments
is nominal, or nearly nominal, only. The material
affects the tone of those instruments by the
rigidity or elasticity which it offers for enclosing
columns of air. The cause of the difference
of the quality of tone is the shape of the air
column as it approximates to a cylindrical or
conical form, and is wide or narrow for the pro-
duction of the proper tones ; the upper partials as
determining the qualit\', and in combinations as
harmonics. The production of the tone — whether
by double reed (as in the oboe), by single reed
(as in the clarinet), or by emiouchure (as in the
flute); the hypothetical air reed in flue organ
pipes, and the action of the lips as vibrating
membranes in the cupped mouthpieces of horns,
trumpets, trombones, etc. — has its place in the
determination of quality ; so much so, that to pre<-
serve the colour of tone in the orchestra, clarinets
and oboes have not been improved, as the flute



144



TONE,



has been, lest their distinctive qualities of tone
should be destroyed. But orchestral qualities,
considered as a whole, do slowly change. It
would not now be possible to restore the orches-
tral colouring of Handel or Bach.

The most strident reed-tone is heard in the
harmonium. In that variety called the American
organ, the force of the high upper partials en-
gendered by the action of the reed, is qualified
by altering its position and form. It is impossible
in a dictionary article to carry out the discussion
of various qualities of tone, even as far as the
subject is already known ; the writer can only
refer the inquirer to the best existing sources of
our knowledge : to the great work of Helmholtz
already referred to — especially in Mr. Ellis's
translation, which contains appendices of great
importance; to the writings of Dr. Stone and
M. MahiUon on wind instruments ; to Mr. Walter
Broadwood's translation of an essay by Theobald
Boehm, on the flute, and to some interesting
articles 'In the Organ and in the Orchestra,'
written by ]\Ir. Hermann Smith, and published in
'Musical Opinion.' The writer can only lay claim
to indejaendent investigation as regards the piano-
forte and its congeners. [See Timbke.] [A.J.H.]

TONES or TUNES, GREGORIAN. The

most typical examples of the Church Modes,
which are described at p. 340 h of vol. ii. [See
fdso Gbegoriax Toxes, in Appendix.] [G.]

TONIC SOL-FA is the name of a method of
teaching singing which has become popular in
England during the last thirty years. It is the
method now most generally used in primary-
schools, and is adopted widely for the training
of popular choirs. Its leading principle is that
of 'key relationship' (expressed in the word
' Tonic '), and it enforces this by the use of the
ancient sound-names, do, re, mi, etc., as visible,
as well as oral, symbols. These names are first j
put before a class of beginners in the form of a
printed picture of the scale, called a ' Modulator.' j
For simplicity's sake they are spelt English-wise, j
and si is called tc to avoid ha%nng two names
\yith the same initial letter. In the first lessons
the teacher practises the class in the singing
of the sounds as he points to the name of each,
first taking the do, me, soh, of the common chord, 1



d'


f




t


- n' -


1


1


- r' —


s 1


's


— DOHi —


f 1




TE —


n


f


ta lo




n


— LAH ^

la se


r


r


-SOH —


d


1


ba fe


t.


d


— FAH




t,


— JVLE —

Pla re


1.


''


- KAY —

de


s, '


s>


— DOH —


^'i




t| —


n, 1


f






n.


- 1, -


r,


r.


— s, —




d,


- f,




t^


— Hi —


K



TONIC SOL-FA.

making his pupils feel the special character «
each sound, its distinguishing melodic effect, an
afterwards training them to recognise the intc
mediate sounds in the same way. It is o
this ' feeling ' of the different character of eac
sound, the difierence dn
to its place in the scali
that the greatest sties
is laid. "When the pup,
has caught the percep |
tion of these difference! r
and has learnt to af 1
sociate the diff'erence < |
the feeling with the dil ^
ference of the name, h
has grasped, in its essen ^
tial principle, the secr^ e
of singing at sight. — Th' -
central column only of thi '
modulator is used at firstfE
The lateral columns
for teaching and
plaining change of
The fe, se, etc. reprei
the occasionally
'chromatic' sounds, i.e
' flats ' and ' sharps ' no
involving modulation in
to a new key. Thl
names of the sounds an ji
so placed on the modu
lator as to show, accup^
ately, the true positions of the sounds ii,-j
the natural (untempered) scale. When the clastj.
can, with some readiness, sing the sounds
the teacher points to them on the modulai
they are introduced to exercises printed
a notation formed out of the initials of
scale-names ; d standing for doh, i for
etc. The duration of each sound is indici
by the linear space it occupies, each line
print being spaced out into divisions by
and dots. A 'rest' is shown by a blaok '
space, the prolongation of a sound by a linl*
( — ) occup}-ing the space. Sounds in up: r
and lower octaves are distinguished by si: . i-
figures: thus, d.', r\ etc. signify an upper oc-
tave ; d, r, etc. a lower. The following is an
example of a vocal score : —



m



w



^t2E



-y-sr



Since first I saw jrour face I re-solv'd to hon-our and re-



m^^



Key D. M. 60.
P

:d

1. Since



Treble.



Alto.



face,

r



:d



:m

2. The

:d



d

fiist

d



m

sun,

d



f .m I r

I re - soVd

r .r I r



t .t I t

ri - ous
S, .S,



are.



Thomas Forb.



-.d

f

whose

-.d



1 .t

Ee -
f



m

sair

d



8

beams

d



f
d

1

mart
1.



r/

s :- s I f !

ton - our and

m :-.d I t, !■ 1'.,



d' :-.s

ject - eth

m :-. m



8



TONTC SOL-FA.



TONIC SOL-FA.



145







cret.








PP


1 ., ;


— ^ ^
























• • •

nown


you



; If
erei.


DOW I be dU-dain'd,


I


wish my
PP






























crcs.






pp_


^ ^-


-1-r-i-»-


-• —


-• —


-— .-S






cres.


• • ■ — - — : —


_, 1 :^—]

PP




























































art had


De


-ver


known jou.
























































































■rJ a









cres.










r :-


.d|


d


: d


d


:-.r


m


:f


nown




you,


If


now


I


be


dis .


d :t,


I


d


: d


d


:-.d


d


:d


8 : —


- 1


m


: m


m


:-.f


s


:1


hold -

8. : -


-'l


d'


And

: d


Tour

d


sweet

:-.d


beau


■'i.



s :f.ni

dain'd, I

r :r 1


r

wish

r


:1

3ty

:r


s

heart

in


-.8

had

-.d


nev


:m

- er

:d


t :t 1

past com -

s, :s, 1


t

pare,
S


:1 .t

Made

:f


d'

my

m


-.8

poor


|8

iT


:s

the

:d


m .r :-


.d


1 d










known

d :t


I


you.

1 d










s :

bold

s. :





1 m

er.

1 d











Che method is, it will be seen, identical
principle with the old system known by
name of the ' Moveable Do,' and the
Ation is only so far new in that symbols are
itten down which have been used, orally,
some eight centuries. The syllables at-
juted to Guido, circa 1024 [see Hexachord],
re a notation, not of albsolute pitch, but of
lie relation; his ut, re, mi, etc., meaning
netimes



sometimes ^ ^ g> — ^ —



1 so on, according as the tonic changed its
ch; and this ancient use of the syllables to
•resent, not fixed sounds, but the sounds of
! scale, has been always of the greatest service
helping the singer, by association of name
;h melodic effect, to imagine the sound,
e modern innovation of a ' fixed Do ' is one
the many symptoms (and effects) of the
ni nation of instruments over voices in the
rid of modem music.^

rhe Tonic Sol-fa method, indeed, though
iken of as a novelty, is really a reversion to
;ient practice, to a principle many centuries
. Its novelty of aspect, which is undeniable,
ults from its making this principle more
iminent, by giving it visual, as well as oral,
)ression ; that is, by using the old sound-
nes as written symbols. Those who follow
! old Italian and old English practice of the

iir John Herschel said in 1868 (Quarterly Journal of Science.
•Musical Scales^— ' I adhere throughout to the good old system of
esenting by Do. Re. Mi, Fa. etc., the scale of natural notes in any
uhaltrer. taking Do for the key-note, whatever that may be, in
jsition to the practice lately introduced (and soon I hope to be
oded). of taking Do to represent one fixed tone C— the greatest
)grade step, in my opinion, ever taken in teaching music, or auy
ir branch of knowledge.'
VOL. IV. PT. 2.



' Moveable Do ' are, in effect, Tonic Sol-faists.
The question of notation is a distinct one, and
turns on considerations of practical convenience.
The argument for adhering to the old tonic use
of the syllables rests bro.adly on the ground that
the same thing should be called by the same
n.ame ; that, for example, if



i



&



is to be called do, do, re \ si, do, re, it is not
reasonable that



the essential effect of which on the ear is the
same — for the tune is the same, and the tune is
all that the ear feels and remembers — should be
called by another set of names, si, si, do \ la, si,
do. And, converseh', it is not reasonable that
if, for example, in the passage



the last two sounds are called do, la, — the same
sounds should be also called do, la, in the passage



m



where they sound wlioUy different ; the identity
of pitch being as nothing compared to the change
of melodic effect — a change, in this case, from the
plaintive to the joyous. It is on this perception
of the ' mental effect ' of the sounds of the scale
that the Tonic Sol-fa teacher relies as the means
of making the learner remember and reproduce
the sounds. And it is this that constitutes the
n ovel ty of the system as an instrument of teaching.



146



TONIC SOL-FA.



To make the beginner feel these effects for him-
self is the teacher's first object. As a help to
such perception a set of descriptive names are
used in the earliest lessons. The pupil is told he
may think of the do as the ' strong ' tone, of the
me as the ' steady' or ' calm' tone, of the lah as
the ' sad ' tone, and so on ; these epithets giving,
in a rough way of course, some indication of the
' mental effect.' When in this way the pupil has
learnt to associate the names with the several
sounds, he refers the letters on the printed page
to a mental picture of the modulator, and though
the music does not ' move u]) and down,' as in
the Staff notation, the syllable-initials suggest to
him the names ; he sees these names, mentally,
in their places on the scale, and with the remem-
brance of the name comes the remembrance of
the sound.

This constant insistance on the scale and

Robinson.



i



pfc^



?2=



-^ 1 1 J I .



^3



^=^ -



z:i — 'zH



the ™1 meaning that the singer is to sing the
sound which is the me of the scale in which he
began, but to call it lah while singing it, and
sing onwards accordingly. When the key
changes again to the original tonic he is in-
formed of it by the •^ s, which means that he
is to sing again the sound he has just sung as
doh, but to think of it and sing it as soh. These
indications of change of key give the singer direct
notice of what, in the Staff notation, he is left
to find out inferentially from the occurrence of a
sharp or flat in one of the parts, or by comparing
his own part with the others. To make these
inferences with any certainty requires a consider-
able knowledge of music, and if they are not
made with certainty the ' reading ' must be
mere guess-work. Remembering that in music
of ordinai-y difficulty — say in Handel's choruses
— the key changes at an average every eight
or ten bars, one can easily see what an advan-
tage the Tonic Sol-faist has in thus being made
at every moment sure of the key he is sing-
ing in. The method thus sweeps out of the
beginner's way various complications which
would puzzle him in the Staff notation — ' signa-
tures,' 'sharps and flats,' varieties of clef. To
transpose, for instance, tlio above chant into the
key of F, all that is needed is to write ' Key F '
in place of ' Key E b.' Thus the singer finds all
keys equally easy. 'Accidentals' are wholly
unknown to him, except in the comparatively
rare case of the accidental properly so called, that
is, a ' chromatic ' sound, one not signifying change
of key.i

These advantages can, it is true, be in part
secured b}' a discreet use of the ' tonic ' principle,
— a ' moveable do ' — with the staff notation. But
tlie advocates of the letter notation urge that the

1 In the Soprano part, for instance, of the Messiah choruses
there are but three real • accidentals.'



TONIC SOL-FA.

nothing but the scale carries the singer with ea
over the critical diSiculties of modulation. I
has been taught to follow with his voice tl
teacher's pointer as it moves up and down tl »l
modulator. When it touches soh (see the mod
lator above) he sings soh. It moves to the dt
on the same level to the right, and he sings t)
same sound to this new name. As he follov
the pointer up and down the new scale he is soc
taught to imderstand that a new sound is wantf
to be the te of the new doh, and thus learns, by tl i
'feeling' of the sounds, not by any mere m. ill
chinery of symbols, what modulation is. Whe
he has been made familiar with the change froi
scale to scale on the modulator, he finds in tl
printed music a sign to indicate every change
key. Thus the changes between tonic an «
dominant in the following chant are shown iP!
follows (taking the soprano part only) : —



Key Eb.

T I d':l I

f. Key Efe.
3^ I f : m



Key Bb.

11'^ 1 t:d'



d' :t |d' : —



I :— II s I r :m I r :r ] d :— ]



old notation hampers both teacher and leame
with difliculties which keep the principle out
view : that the notes of the staff give only. ,!
fictitious view of interval. To the eye, for iB
stance, a major third (o) looks the same aa ,
minor third (b) ; which of the two is meant cai

(«) (6)



i



=^=



only be determined by a process of reasoning oi ;p
the 'signature.' A like process is needed befan m
the reader can settle which sound of the scc^ i
any note represents. In the above chant, fa| k
example, before the singer can sing the openin|i s
phrase he must know that the first sound is till il
so/i of the key. The staff notation shows him f i i
mark on a particular line, but it is only after hc! k
has made certain inferences from the three ' flats' o
on the left that he can tell where the sound is in j
the scale. How much better, the Sol-faists say, ji
to let him know this at once, by simply printing i
the sound as soh. Why impede the singer by ^
troubling him with a set of signs which add si
nothing to his knowledge of the facts of music, li
and which are only wanted when it is desired t* \
indicate absolute pitch, a thing which the sight- ^
reader is not directly concerned with? b

The question of the utility of a new notation; f.
is thus narrowed to a practical issue : one which i
may be well left to be determined by teachers jj;
themselves. It is of course chimerical to suppose '►
that the ancient written language of music could
be now ' disestablished,' but musicians need not
object to, they will rather welcome, any means
of removing difliculties out of the learner's way.
The universal language of music — and we are
apt to forget how much we owe to the fact that
it is universal — may well be said to be almost a
miracle of adaptation to its varied uses ; but it is



TONIC SOL-FA.

h observing that there is an essential differ-
between the sight-reader's and the player's
)f any system of musical signs. The player
lot to think of the sounds he malies before
lakes them. When he sees, say, the symbol

^^^ its meaning to him is not, in practice,

gine such and such a sound,' but ' do some-
f on your instrument which will make the
d.' To the pianist it means ' touch a certain
e key lying between two black keys ' ; to the
nceUist, 'put the middle finger down on the

string,' and so on. The player's mental
ment of the sound only comes in after it has
produced. By this he ' checks ' the accuracy
e result. The singer, on the contrary, knows
ing of the mechanical action of his own
it : it would be useless to say to him, ' make

vocal chords perform 256 vibrations in a
id.' He has to think of the sound first ;
1 he has thought of it, he utters it spon-
)usly. The imagination of the sound is all



TONIC SOL-FA.



147



in all. An indication of absolute pitch only
is useless to him, because the melodic effect,
the only effect the memory can recall, depends
not on absolute but on relative pitch. Hence a
' tonic ' notation, or a notation which can be
used tonically, can alone serve his purpose.

An exposition of the details of the method
would be here out of place, but one or two points of
special interest may be noticed.^ One is the treat-
ment of the minor scale — a crux of all Sol-fa



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 33 of 194)