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 36 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 36 of 194)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

introduced by Fran9ois. The latter has been
denominated the Stradivari of the bow: and
there is some truth in this; for as Stradivari
finally settled the model and fittings of the
violin, so Tourte finally settled the model and
fittings of the bow. But he had more to do
for the bow than Stradivari for the fiddle. The
Cremona makers before Stradivari had nearly
perfected the model of the violin : it only re-
mained for him to give it certain finishing
touches. But Tourte, properly speaking, had no
predecessors. He found bow-making in a state
of chaos, and he reduced it to a science ; and he
may be said to have invented the modern bow.
Perhaps the best idea of the bows which were in
use in Tourte's youth may be gained from the
acicompanying illustration, which is copied from
the first edition of Leopold Mozart's 'Violin
School,' 1756. (Fig. I.) For this fearful imple-

Fig. I.

Fig. 2.

ment Tourte substituted the bow now in use.
(Fig. 2.) The service which he thus rendered to
music appears greater the more we think of it :
for the Tourte bow greatly facilitated the new
development of violin music which began with
Viotti, Rode, and Kreutzer. Before his time



all the modern forms of staccato must have been
impossible, and the nuances of piano and forte
extremely limited ; a rawness, especially on the
treble strings, and a monotony which to our
ears would be intolerable, must have deformed
the performances of the best of violinists. The
violin, under Tourte's bow, became a different
instrument : and subsequent bow-makers have
exclusively copied him, the value of their pro-
ductions depending on the success with which
they have applied his principles.

Setting aside for the moment the actual model-
ling of the Tourte stick, an examination of
Tourte's own bows proves that his first care was
to select wood of fine but strong texture, and
perfectly straight grain, and his second to give
it a permanent and regular bend. This was
effected by subjecting it in a state of flexion to
a moderate heat for a considerable time. To
apply a sufficient degree of heat to the very
marrow of the stick without rendering the ex-
terior brittle, is the most difficult part of the
bow-maker's art : cheap and bad bows have
never been thoroughly heated, and their curva-
ture is therefore not permanent. Tourte's first
experiments are said to have been made on the
staves of old sugar hogsheads from Brazil.
This is not unlikely : probably the bent slabs of
Brazil wood employed for this purpose had ac-
quired a certain additional elasticity from the
combined effect of exposure to tropical heat and
the absorption of the saccharine juices : and in
connection with the latter it has been suggested
that the dark colour of the Tourte sticks is not
wholly attributable to age, but partly to some
preparation applied to them in the process of
heating. The writer cannot agree with this
suggestion, especially as some of Tourte's finest
bows are extremely pale in colour. Be this as
it may, it is certain that the greater elasticity
■which he secured in the stick by the choice
and prepai-ation of the wood enabled him to
carry out to the fullest extent the method of
bending the stick of the bow the reverse way,
that is, inwards, and thus to realise what had
long been the desideratum of violinists, a bow
which should be strong and elastic witliout
being heavy. By thus increasing and econo-
mising the resistance of the stick he liberated
the player's thumb and fingers from much use-
less weight. By a series, no doubt, of patient
experiments, he determined the right curvature
for the stick, and the rule for tapering it
graduall}"^ towards the point,' so as to have the
centre of gravity in the right place, or in other
•words to ' balance ' properly over the string in
the hand of the player. He determined the
true length of tiie stick, and the height of the
point and the nut, in all which particulars the
bow-makers of his time seem to have erred on
the side of excess. Lastly, he invented the
method of spreading the hairs and fixing them
on the face of the nut by means of a moveable

1 Mathematically investigated. Tourte's bow, when unstrung, is
found to form a lo^'arithmic curve, the ordinates of which increase
in arithmetical proportion, and the abscissas in geometrical pro-


band of metal fitting on a slide of mother-of-
pearl. The bow, as we have it, is therefore the
creation of the genius of Tourte.

Tourte's improvements in the bow were
effected after 1775. Tradition says that he
was materially assisted in his work by the
advice of Viotti, who arrived in Paris in 1782.
Nothing is more likely; for only an accom-
plished violinist could have formulated the de-
mands which the Tourte bow was constructed
to satisfy. Viotti no doubt contributed to
bring the Tourte bow into general use, and it
is certain that it quickly drove the old bar-
barous bows completely from the field, and
that in Paris there at once arose a school of
bow-makers which has never been excelled.

For the excellent bows which thus became for
the first time obtainable, violinists were willing
to pay considerable sums. Tourte charged 12
louis d'or for his best bows mounted in gold.
As the makers increased in number the prices
fell ; but the extreme rarity of fine Pernambuco
wood perfectly sti'aight in grain has always
contr-ibuted to keep up the price of tire very best
bows. Tourte's bows, of which during a long
life he made an immense number, are common
enough ; but owing to the great number of al-
most equally good ones which were made by his
successors, only extraordinary specimens fetch
very high prices. A very fine Tourte has been
recently sold for £30: common ones vary in
price from £5 to £10. It is a singular fact that
there is no difference of opinion among violinists
as to Tourte's merits. His bows are universally
preferred to all others : and they show no signs of
wearing out. Tourte never stamped his bows.
Genuine ones are sometimes found stamped with
the name, but this is the work of some other
hand. His original nuts are usually of tortoise
shell, finely mounted in gold, but wanting the
metallic slide on the stick, which was introduced
by Lupot.

Like Stradivari and Nicholas Amati, Tourte
continued to work to within a very few years
of his death, at an advanced age. His atiHier
was on the fourth floor of No. 10, Quai de
I'Ecole : after making bows all day he would
descend in the evening, and recreate himself by
angling for gudgeon in the Seine. His peaceful
career came to an end in April 1835, in his 8Sth
year — nearly the same age as that attained by
the two famous violin-makers of Cremona above
mentioned. [E.J.P.]

TOWER DRUMS, THE. Handel frequently
borrowed a pair of kettledrums from the Master-
General of the Ordnance for his own perform-
ances of his oratorios ; and as they were kept
in the Tower of London, they were usually
called 'the Tower Drums.' They were in fre-
quent request after his death, including the
Commemoration Festival in Westminster Abbey
in 1784. Dr. Burney, in his account of this
Festival, .'^ays they were taken by Marlborough
at the battle of Malplaquet in 1709.

A much larger pair, 39 and 35 inchfis in
diameter, were made expressly for that Fe;itival


rom the design of a Mr. Asbridge, of Drury
jane orchestra, and have since obtained the
lame of ' Tower Drums,' from a notion that
he head of one of them was made from the
: kin of a lion in the Tower menagerie. These
Irums came into the possession of the late
T. P. Chipp, the well-known kettledrum mer,
md on the sale of his instruments were bought
)y H. Potter & Co., military musical instrument
nakers. They added a brass T-shaped key to
iach tuning-screw, and presented them (1884')
.0 the Crystal Palace Company, who have placed
.hem in their large orchestra.

Larger drums were made for the Sacred Har-
nonic Society (47 and 43 inches in diameter),
jut no tone can be got from such overgrown
nstruments. [V. de P.]

TOWERS, John, born at Salford Feb. 18,
1836, was for six years choir-boy in Manchester
Cathedral, in 1856 entered the Royal Academy
o{ Music, London, and in the following year
became pupil of A, B. Marx in Berlin, where he
remained for more than two years, at the same
time with J, K. Paine and A, W. Thayer. He
then returned to England, and after a residence
of two years in Brighton, settled at Manchester,
where he has since remained as choirmaster,
conductor, and organist. He conducts the Al-
derley Edge, Fallowfield, and Rochdale Orpheus
Glee Societies, the last-named being one of the
most successful choirs in Lancashire, and is
aow organist to St. Stephen's Conell, Manchester,
Besides a few musical trifles, Mr. Towers has
published a chronological list of Beethoven's
tvorks (Musical Directory, 1871), an interesting
pamphlet on the 'Mortality of Musicians,' a
'List of Eminent Musicians,' etc., etc. He is
ilso a more or less regular contributor to the
press. [G.]

TRACKER. A thin flat strip of wood used
n tlie mechanism of an organ for the purpose of
jonveying leverage from one portion of the instru-
nent to another. A tracker differs from a sticker
n the fact that a tracker pulls, while a sticker
jushes ; while therefore a tracker can be flat
md thin, a sticker is round and rigid. For
ixample, if, when one end of a key is pressed
lown ii raises a sticker at its other end, it is
;lear that the sticlter will push up a lever at a
ligher level ; but the other end of the lever at
ihe higher level will of course descend, and to
;his therefore must be attached a tracker. It
will be evident also that a sticker, having only
to remain in an upright position, can be kept in
its place simply by means of a bit of wire inserted
iit each end and passing loosely through holes in
bhe ends of the levers. But a tracker having to
pull and be pulled is provided at each end with
J. tap- wire (or wire like a screw) which when
passed through the hole in the lever is secured
by a leather button. In all cases noisy action is
prevented by the insertion of a layer of cloth or
some other soft material. Trackers are generally
made of pine-wood about one eighth of an inch
in thickness and from one third to a half of an
iniA in width. The length of trackers varies of



course according to circumstances ; in long
' actions ' or extended ' movements ' (as for
example, when mechanism is taken under a floor
or up a wall) they are sometimes twelve or more
feet in lengtli ; in such cases they are formed of
two or more parts joined together by wire. In
order to prevent long trackers from swinging
about laterally when in use they are often made
to pass through a register or thin board containing
holes of suitable size lined with cloth. A tracker
may convey leverage from any part of an instru-
ment to another, but its final function is to lower
the yull-doicn and let air pass through the pallet
into the pipe. [J.S.]

TRAETTA, Tommaso Michele Francescct
Savebio, an Italian composer of the i8th cen-
tury. Until recently it was believed that his.
name was Trajetta, and the date of his birth
May 19, 1727; but the certificate of birth pub-
lished by the ' Gazetta Musicale di Milano ' of
1879, No. 30, settles beyond question that he was
the legitimate son of Filippo Traetta and Anna
Teresa Piasanti, and was born in the year 1727,
on March 30, 'ad hore 16' in the morning,
at Bitonto (Terra di Bari). At eleven years
of age he became pupil of Durante at the
' Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto ' at
Naples, to which institution he belonged until
the autumn of 1748, when we find him teaching
singing, and occasionally writing some sacred
music for several churches of Naples. Two years
afterwards he tried his hand at the stage, and his
first opera, 'Farnace,' produced at the San
Carlo at Naples in 1750, met with such success,
that he was forthwith commissioned to compose,
six more operas for the same house. Of these
nothing is known, except the title of one, ' I pas-
tori felici,' 1753; yet they were probably not
less successful than 'Farnace,' since his name
spread rapidly, and he received engagements
at Florence, Venice, Rome, Turin, Verona;
Parma, etc. Goldoni and Metastasio did not
disdain to write librettos for him; Goldoni
a comic opera 'Buovo d'Antona' (Florence,
1756); and Metastasio ' L'Olimpiade ' (Ve-
rona, 1758). Towards the end of 1759 Traetta
accepted the appointment of Maestro di Cap-
pella and teacher of singing to tlie Princesses,
offered to him by Don Filippo, Infanta of Spain,
and Duke of Parma. The first opera he com-
posed for the Ducal Theatre of Parma was
'Solimano' (Carnival, 1759), followed in the
spring by ' Ippolito ed Aricia.' Tliis appears to
have been a masterpiece, as both the Duke and
the audience were exceedingly pleased with it ;
and on its reproduction six years later for the
wedding of the Princess Maria Luisa with
Charles III. King of Spain, a life pension was
granted to the composer. In 1759 and 1760
Traetta went twice to Vienna to witness the per-
formance of two operas purposely written for the
Austrian capital, 'Ifigenia in Aulide ' (1759),
and 'Armida' (1760).

In 1765, after the death of the Duke, Traetta
left Parma and settled in Venice, as principal of
the ' Conservatorio dell' Ospedalettc' He held



the fippointment for nearly three years, and re-
signed it on the invitation of Catherine II. of
Russia, to succeed Galuppi as ' Maestro di Corte.'
The severe climate of Russia however did not
agree with the Italian maestro ; in 1775 he gave
up his position, and in 1776 accepted an engage-
ment in London, where however he was not
very successful, owing chiefly to the firm hold
which Sacchini had taken of the English public.
He accordingly returned to Naples, but the
climate of Russia and the anxieties of London
had impaired both his health and his genius,
and the few operas he wrote before his death
show that the spring of his imagination was dried
up. He died in Venice on April 6, 1779, and
was buried in the church of Santa Maria Assunta,
where the following ejiitaph is engraved on his
tomb :












Though Traetta was gifted with great intel-
ligence, and his music is full of vigour and not
wanting in a certain dramatic power, yet his
works are now entirely forgotten.* Burney, Gal-
vani, Grossi, Florimo, and Clt^ment all praise him,
and Florimo even finds in him a tendency towards
the same dramatic expression and dignity in the
musical treatment of the libretto that a few years
afterwards made the name of Gluck immortal.
However this may be, nobody can deny that
Traetta had, as a man, a very peculiar character,
an extraordinary estimation of his own talent,
and an imusual readiness in making it clear to
everybody : ' Traetta,' says Florimo, ' at the first
performance of his operas, when presiding at the
clavicembalo, as was customary at that time,
convinced of the worth of his works, and per-
suaded of the special importance of some pieces,
— was in the habit of turning towards the audi-
ence and saying: Ladies and gentlemen, looJc
sharp, and pay attention to this j>iece.'

Subjoined is a catalogue of his works.


Farnace. Napoli, 1751.

I pastori felici. Do.' 1753.

Ezio. Rome. 1754.

Le nozze contrastate. Do. 1754.

L'Incredulo. ^'apoli, 1755.

La fante forba. Do. 1756.

Buovo d' Antona. Firenze, 1756.

Nitteti. Eeggio,1757.

Didone abbandonata. Venezia,

Olimpiade. Verona, 1753.

Solimano. Parma, 1759.
, Ippolito ad Aricia. Do. 17.59.

Ifigenialn Aulide. Vienna, 1759.

Armida. Do. 1760.

Sofoiiisba. Parma, 1760.

Enea nel Lazio. Toiiiia. 1760.

I Tindaridi. Parma, ]7fi0.

Eneae Lavinia, Do. 1761.

Antigono. Padova. 1764.

La francese a jUalghera. Ven-
ezia, 17G4.

La buona figliuola maritata.
Parma. 1765.

Semiramide. Venezia, 1765.

Le Serve rivali. Do. 176fi.

Amor in trappola. Do. 1768.

IflgeniainTauride. IUilano,176&

L'Isola disabitata. Bologna,

• His name does not occur once in the programmes of the Phil-
harmonic Society, and only once in all the three Indexes of the All?.
Mujikalische Zeitung.


Germondo. London, 1776. 'a ' dirertimento for four orche^

Mercpe. Milano, 1776. tras' with the title ' Le quattro

La disfatta di Dario. Venezia, Jstagioni ei dodicimesi dell" anno'

177S. i(the four seasons, and the twelve

II civaliere errante. Do. 1773. months of the j-ear).2

Artenice. Do. 1778. A Stabat Mater of his for four

Gli Eroi del Oampi Elisi. Do. |voices and accompaniment of

1779. Written on the composer's several instruments is known,

deathbed, and finished by Gen- and the Archives of the * Real

naro Astaritta. ICollegio di Napoli,' contain tha

Le feste d' Iraeneo, a prologue following compositions: —
and trilogy.viz. II trionfo d'Amore, j Lezione terza for soprano.
Triole.Saffo, and Egle, for the wed- 39 Arie (some with accompani-
ding of the Archduke Joseph of ment of violin and basso, and
Austria with the Infanta Dona some with accompaniment of
Isabella di Borbone, at Parma, |SeveraI instruments;.
Sept. 1761. j 7 Duetti.

II Tributo Campestre, 'com-| Aria ' Terrore m'inspirava,' with
panimento pastorale.' on the occa- pianoforte accompaniment,
sion of Maria Carolina of Austria. | Aria ' Ah ! consola il tuo dolore."
wife to Ferdinand IV. King of: arranged for two violins, viola,
Sicily, passing through Mantua in and basso.

1768. A Canon 'Sogno, ma te nore

In the s^me year he wrote animiro* for two sopranos and
Oratorio Salomone. for the ' Con- basso.

servatorio dell' Ospedaletto' ini A Solfeggio, with pianoforte
Venice ; and about 1770 he wrote accompaniment. IG. M 1

NATIONAL, was founded by the Society of
Arts. The subject had been in the air since!
the year 1866, a Musical Committee had been
appointed, and in 1873 a meeting was held at
Clarence House, the Duke of Edinburgh in
the chair, at which it was resolved that it ia
desirable to erect a building at a not ex-
ceeding £20,000 for the purposes of a Training
School for Music at Kensington, in connexion
with the Society of Arts. A site on the imme-
diate west side of the Albert Hall was granted
by the Commissioners of 1851, the construction
of the building, on the design of Captain F. Cole,
R.E., was undertaken by Mr. (now Sir) Charles
J. Freake, at his own cost ; the first stone was
laid on Dec. 18, 1873, and the School was opened
at Easter 1876, with 82 free scholarships, of
which 4 were founded by the Society of Arts, 2
by members of the Society, 5 by Mr. Freake, 10
by the Corporation of London, 14 by City Guilds,
33 l^y provincial towns, and the remainder by
private donors. The scholarships were of the'
value of £40 a \esit each, and were founded for
five j'ears, by subscription renewable at the end
of that term ; they carried free instruction for
the same period, and were obtainable ' by com-
petitive examination alone.' The Duke of Edin-
burgh was chairman of the Council, Mr. (how
Sir Arthur) Sullivan was appointed Principal,
with a staff of Teachers; in 1S81 he was sue*
ceeded by Dr. Stainer as Principal, and the
School continued to flourish till Easter 1882,
when it came to an end owing to the determin-*
ation arrived at to establish the Royal College
of IMusic on a wider and more permanent basis.
The College, on its formation, took over the
building, fui-niture and fittings, organ and music,
and a balance at the banker's of £1100. The
instruction in the Training School was system-
atic and thorough, and in proof of its efficiency
during the short period of its existence it is
sufficient to name Eugene D'Albert, Frederic
ClifFe, Annie Marriott, and Frederic King, as
having received their education there.

2 This composition is only mentioned in a letter bearing the date
2—13 Dec. 1770, written by Catherine II. of Russia to Voltaire.

i i


The Kotal College of Music, which thus
icame the successor of the Training School,
as founded by the Prince of Wales at a
eeting held at St. James's Palace Feb. 28,
382, and was opened by H.R.H. on May 7 of
le following year. Negotiations took place
ith the EoTAL Academy of Music with the
jjectof a union with the two bodies; but these
ive hitherto unfortunately come to nothing,
ike its predecessor, the College rests on the
isis of endowed scholarships lasting not less
tan three years ; but the funds for these are in
lis case provided by the interest of money sub-
ribed throughout the country and permanently
Lvested. The College opened with 50 Scholars
ected by competition, of whom 15 receive
.aintenance in addition, and 42 Paying Stu-
mts. It was incorporated by Royal Charter on
[ay 23, 1883, and is governed by a Council,
resided over by the Prince of Wales, and
ivided into a Finance Committee, and an Exe-
itive Committee. The staff are as follows : —
'irector, Sir George Grove, D.C.L. ; Principal
eachers, forming the Board of Professors, J. F.
ridge, Mus.D. ; H.C. Deacon; Henry Holmes;
[ad. Lind-Goldschmidt ; Walter Parratt ; C.
:ubert H. Parry, Mus.D. ; Ernst Pauer ; C. V.
Lanford, Mus.D. ; Franklin Taylor ; A. Visetti.
ther principal teachers : — Mme. A. Goddard ;
3hn F. Bamett ; G. C. Martin, Mus.D. ; R. Gom-
jrtz; C. H. Howell; F. E. Gladstone, Mus.D.;
, Higgs, Mus.B. ; G. Garcia, etc. Registrar,
. Watson, jun. The College possesses the ex-
nsive, rare, and valuable library of the late
icred Harmonic Society, presented through the
:ertion3 of Sir P. Cunliffe Owen, and that of the
oncerts of Antient Music, given by the Queen.
he Examiners at the end of the first year were
r. Joachim, Manuel Garcia, Otto Goldschmidt,
aseph Barnby, and Dr. Stainer. [G.]

TRAMIDAMENTE. This strange direction,
ith dngstlich below it as its German equivalent,
found at the Recitative with the Trumpets in
le ' Agnus ' of Beethoven's Mass in D, in the
d score (Schotts). In the new edition of Breit-
)pf & Hartel it appears as 'timidamente,'
liich is correct Italian, and is the translation
' angstlich ' — with distress. [G.]

TRANQTJILLO, an Italian term, meaning
almly,' 'quietly.' The nottumo in Mendelssohn's
[idsummer Night's Dream music is marked
^on moto tranquillo.' [G.]

TRANSITION is a word which has several
.fferent senses. It is most commonly used in
vague way as synonymous with modulation.
ime writers, wishing to limit it more strictly,
se it for the actual moment of passage from one
ey to another ; and again it is sometimes used
) distinguish those short subordinate flights out
:' one key into another, which are so often met
ith in modern music, from the more prominent
.id deliberate changes of key which form an im-
Jrtant feature in the structure of a movement,
he following example from Beethoven's Sonata
I Bb, op. 106, is an illustration of the process


defined by this latter meaning of tlie term ; the
transition being from Fj minor to G mi^jor and

[See Modulation.] [C.H.H.P.]

pianoforte accompaniments were set in full no-
tation, the practice of which, as Mr. W. H. Cuni-
mings has shown,' was first due, about 17S0-90,
to Domenico Com of Edinburgh, the entire
accompaniment, at that time the most important
study in keyboard playing, was from the figured
bass stave, known as ' Figured,' ' Through ' or
'Thorough' bass. From the varying natural
pitch of voices, transposition was a necessary
and much cultivated resource, and if the chro-
matic keyboard had been originally contrived
to restore the chromatic genus of the Greeks,
it was certainly very soon after permanently
adopted to facilitate the practice of transposition.
But the difficulties of the process seem to have
very early prompted the alternative of a shifting
keyboard, applied in the first instance to the
diatonic arrangement of the keys, which in the
1 6th century was still to be met with in old
organs : in other words, whatever the key might
be, to play apparently in C. The oldest authority
on the organ extant is the blind organist of
Heidelberg, Arnold Schlick, who in 15 11 pub-
lished the ' Spiegel der Orgelmacher und Organ-
isten,' of which only one copy is now known to

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 36 of 194)