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

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exist.^ Schlick is quoted by Sebastian Virdung,
who also published his book in 1511, and (2nd
cap. p. 19, Berlin reprint p. 87) has an interest-
ing passage on transposing organs, which we
will freely translate.

"WTien an organ in itself tuned to the right pitch can
he shifted a tone higher or lower, it is a great advantage
to both organist and singers. I have heard years ago of
a Positive so made, but I only know of one complete
organ, and that one I use daily, which together with its
positive, two back manuals, pedals, and all its many and
rare registers, may be shifted higher and back again as
often as necessity reqxiires. For some chapels and singers
ad Caittum Mensurohilem such a contrivance is specially
useful. Two masses or Magnificats may be in the same
tone, and set in the same notation of line and space, and
yet it may be desirable to sing the one a note higher
than tlie otlier. Say both masses are in the Sixth
Tone, with Clef C; the counter bass going an octave
lower = — in the other the counter bass goes a note or
more lower, to B or A J, which are too low for bass
singers, and their voices heard against others would be

1 Vide Proceedings of the Musical Association I860— ?1, pp. 19—28.

2 Eeprinted in the Monatshette fiir Jlusik-geschichte, Berlin 1S69;
edited with explanatory notes by Herr Robert Eitner.

3 To the C, second space of the bass clef, but evidently, as will be
obvious, sounding the F loiver.

4 In our pitch the double E and D.


too weak, if it were not possible to sing the part a note
liigher. Now in the first mass tlie counter bass in C can
be played on an organ as set, but the other demands
transposition to D, with the semitones F J and C 5, which
to those who have not practised it, is hard and impos-
sible. So therefore, with an organ, as described, the
organist may go on playing in C ' K-sol-fa-uti on the key-
board, although the pipes are in D ^D-la-sol-re).

We may assume that in course of time the
increasing skill of organists rendered mechanical
transjjositions unnecessary, since for the organ
ve hear no more about them ; but for the harpsi-
chord they were to be met with in the i6th and
following centuries. Prastorius (a.d. i 619) speaks
of transposing clavicymbals (harpsichord^) which
by shifting the keyboard could be set two notes
higher or lower, and describes a 'Universal-
Clavicymbal' capable of gradual transposition
by semitones to the extent of a fifth. Burney
in his musical tour met with two transposing
harpsichords; one a German one, made under
the direction of Frederick the Great, at Venice;
the other (a Spanish one, also with moveable
keys) at Bologna, belonging to Farinelli.

Considering the knowledge and skill
required to transpose with facility beyond a sup-
posititious change of signature and corresponding
alteration in reading the accidentals, as from C
to Cj or Cb ; it might appear strange that me-
chanical contrivances for transposition have not
been permanently adopted, but it finds its 6k-
planaLion in the disturbance of the co-ordination
of hand and ear. Those who have the gift of
absolute pitch are at once upset by it, while
those who have not that gift and are the more
numerous, find a latent cause of irritation which,
somehow or other, is a stumblingblock to the
player. In the present day it is not a question
of Temperament, equal or unequal, so much as
of position in the scale of pitch, of which, if the
ear is not absolutely conscious, it is yet conscious
to a certain extent.

The transposing harpsichord mentioned by
Burney, as belonging to Count Torre Taxis of
Venice, had also a Pianoforte stop, a combina-
tion in vogue at the time it was made, 1760.
A German pianoforte with moveable keyboard
was made for the Prince of Prussia in 1786, and
about the same period Sebastien Erard con-
structed an organised pianoforte, another favoured
combination of the latter half of the i8th cen-
tury, which transposed a semitone, whole tone,
or minor third each way, to suit the limited
voice of Marie Antoinette. Roller of Paris is
also said to have made transposing pianos.

The most prominent instances of transposing
pianofortes made in England in the present
century are the following: — (i) The square
piano of Edward Ilyley, patented in 1801, and
acting by a false keyboard, which was placed
above the true one, and could be shifted to any
semitone in the octave. Ryley's idea as stated
in his specification went back to the original
one of playing everything in the so-called natural
scale of C. The patent for this complete trans-

> This very difficult passage in the quaint original has be«n ren-
dered from an elucidatory footnote lij the Editor, Herr Eituer.


poser was bought by John and James Broad^ ^
wood, and an instrument so made is in tUl
possession of the present firm. (2) The Royal "^
Albert Transposing piano, brought out by Messrs; ^
Addison & Co. soon after the mamage of H^ "'
iMajesty the Queen, a piccolo or cottage instru- I'?
ment, is described by Rimbault in his History, .
as havang the keys divided at half their length; "
the front and back ends being capable of moving j,
independently of each other. (3) Messrs. Broad- h
woods' transposing Boudoir Cottage pianos, made ^
about 1845, displayed the novel feature of the "
instrument itself moving while the keyboard and ,
action were stationary. In some of their pianos "
made in this way, the instrument was suspended -
between two pivoted metal supporters which E
allowed the gradual movement, semitone by
semitone, effected by turning a pin at the side >•
with an ordinary tuning-hammer. Subsequently b.
the instrument was moved in a groove at the ^
top and on two wheels at the bottom of the
outer fixed case, but neither contrivance was Iti
patented, nor was long continued to be made, oa
(4) The latest attempt at transposing by the tut
keyboard has been brought forward in the al
present year (1884) by Hermann Wagner of f
Stuttgart. He names his invention ' Transponir- ^1
Pianino.' We gather from the description and ip
drawings in the ' Zeitschrift fiir Instrumenten- iric
ban,' Band 4, No. 12 (Leipzig, Jan. 12, 1884) es
that the keyboard moves bodily, there being ft isi
preliminary movement for protecting the action i
cranks or rockers by raising them together while ai
the keyboard is being shifted. (5) The Itiet lai
transposing contrivance to be mentioned is the igi
' Transpositeur ' of Messrs. Pleyel, Wolff, & C'*. i
of Paris, invented by M. Auguste Wolff in 1873. ft
The Transpositeur being an independent false ij
keyboard can be applied to any pianoforte by U
any maker. It has therefore the great merits lie
of adaptability and convenience. It can be lie
placed upon the proper keyboard of an instru- U
ment, and by touching a spring to the right la:
hand of the player and a button which per- i !^
mits the keyboard to be shifted through all 1 »
the semitones of an octave, the transposition de- 1 *
sired is effected. The Transpositeur is patented I a
and is sold by the Pleyel firm in Paris, or their il
agent, Mr. Berrow, in London, at a moderate
price. It is of course open to the same natural
objection which we have already noticed in j ~
speaking of the transposing clavicymbals of Prae- 1^
tonus. [A.JH.] *'

TRANSPOSITION, change of key, the nota- ■■
tion or performance of a musical composition in "•
a different key from that in which it is written.
When it is said that a piece of music is in a cer-
tain key, it is understood that it consists of the
notes of a certain scale, and that, except chro-
matic passing-notes and suchlike melodic changes,
no note can be employed which is not a part of
that scale. Each note of the composition there-
fore occupies a definite position as a degree of the
scale in which it is written, and in order to trans-
pose a phrase, each note must be written, sung,
or played a certain fixed distance higher or lower,



it it may occupy the same position in the new
lie that it held at first in the orio^nal one. Thus
:s. 2 and 3 are tsanspositions of Ex. i, one being
major second higher, and the other a major
:ond lower ; and the notes of the original phrase
ing numbered, to show their position as degrees
the scale, it will be seen that this position re-
iins unchanged in the transpositions.

Original Key C.


Transposed into D.



Transposed into BP.
112 7 12 33, 4


■> -Jm m a .,. ^

-* • •''-

- •-n-i-

•^ i ' ' '-1 ^ ' '



[t is, however, not necessary that a transposition
3uld be fully written out, as above. By suffi-
:nt knowledge and practice a performer is
abled to transpose a piece of music into any
juired key, while still reading from the originnl
tation. To the singer such a proceeding offers
particular difficulty, since the relation of the
rious notes to the key-note being understood,
e absolute pitch of the latter, which is all that
s to be kept in mind, does not matter. But to
e instrumental performer the task is by no
;ans an easy one, since the transposition fre-
ently requires a totally different position of the
gers. This arises from the fact that in trans-
sition it often happens that a natural has to be
presented by a sharp or flat, and rice versa, as
vy be seen in the above examples, where the
1 of Ex. 1, bar 2, being the 7th degree of the
vie, becomes Cjf, which is the 7th degree of the
lie of D, in Ex. 2 ; and again in bar ,^, where
, the 4th degree, becomes Eb in Ex. 3. The
ange of a flat to a sharp, though possible, is
ircely practical. It could only occur in an
treme key, and even then could always be
oided by making an enharmonic change, so that
3 transposed key should be more nearly related
the original, for example —

InD. InC'b. In Ei;(enlK'irmonic change).


— zztt

;nce it will not sufiice to read each note of a
rase so many degrees higher or lower on the
vve ; in addition to this, the relation which
STj note bears to the scale must be thoroughly
derstood, and reproduced in the transposition
means of the necessary sharps, flats, or naturals ;
lile the pianist or organist, who has to deal with
iny sounds at once, must be able also instantly
recognise the various harmonies and modula-
ns, and to construct the same in the new key.
The faculty of transposition is extremely valu-
le to the practical musician. To the conductor,
to any one desiring to play from oixhestral

VOL. IV. PT. 2.


score, it is essential, as the parts for the so-called
'transposing instruments' — horns, trumpets, clari»
net, drums — being written in a different key
from that in which they are to sound, have to be
transposed back into the key of the piece, so as
to agree with the strings and other non-transpos-
ing instruments. [See Score, plating fko.m,
vol. iii. p. 436.] Orchestral players and accom-
panists are frequently called upon to transpose, in
order to accommodate the singer, for whose voice
the written pitch of the song may be too high or
too low, but it is probably extremely seldom that
transposition takes place on so grand a scale as
when Beethoven, having to play Iiis Concerto in
C major, and finding the piano half a tone too
flat, transposed the whole into Cj! major !

Transposed editions of songs are frequently
published, that the same compositions may be
made available for voices of different compass,
but transpositions of instrumental music more
rarely. In KroU's edition of Bach's Preludes and
Fugues, however, the Fugue in Cj major in vol. i.
appears transposed into Ub. This is merely an
enharmonic change, of questionable practical
value, the sounds remaining the same though the
notation is altered, and is only made to facilitate
reading, but the change into G of Schubert's Im-
promptu, op. 90, no. 3, which was written inGb,
and altered b}' the publisher, was doubtless de-
signed to render it easier of execution. [F.T.]

TICAL MODES. Composers of the Polyphonic
School permitted the transposition of the Eccle-
siastical Modes to the Fourth above or Fifth below
their true pitch; effecting the process by means
of a Bb placed at the Signature, and thereby
substituting for the absolute pitch of a Plngal
Mode that of its Authentic original. Trans-
position to other Intervals than these was utterly
forbidden, in writing: but Singers were permitted
to change the pitch, at the moment of perform-
ance, to any extent convenient to themselves.

During the transitional period — but very rarely
earlier than that— a- double Transposition was
effected, in a few exceptional cases, b}' means of
two Flats ; Bb raising the pitch a Fourth, and Eb
lowering it, from thence, by a Fifth — thus really
depressing the original pitch by a Tone. As
usual in all cases of progressive innovation, this
practice was well known in England long before
it found favour on the continent. A beautiful
example wUl be found in Wilbye's 'Flora gave me
fairest flowers,' composed in 159S; yet Morley,
writing in 1597, severely condemns the practice.
]t will be seen, from these remarks, that, in
Compositions of the Polyphonic cera, the absence
of a Bb at the Signature proves the Mode to stand
at its true pitch ; while the presence of a Bb
proves the Composition to be quite certainly
written in a Transposed Mode.^ In modem
reprints, the presence at the Signature of one or
more Sharps, or of more than two Flats, shows
that the pitch of the piece has been changed, or
its Mode reduced to a modern Scale, by an editor
of the present century. [W.S.R.]

I See vol. ii. p. 474 o.





TKASUNTINO, Vito, a Venetian harpsi-
chord-maker, who made an enharmonic (quarter-
tone) archi cembalo or large harpsichord for
Camillo Gonzaga, Conte di Novellara, in 1606,
now preserved in the Museum of the Liceo
Comniunale at Bologna. It was made after the
invention of Don Nicola Vicentino, an enthusiast
who tried to restore Greek music according to
its three genera, the diatonic, chromatic and
enharmonic, and j)ublished the results of his
attempt at Rome in 1555, under the title of
•'L'Antica Musica ridotta alia Moderna Prat-
tica.' From engravings in this work illus-
trating a keyboard invented to include the
three systems, Trasuntino contrived his instru-
ment. A photograph of it is in the South
Kensingion Museum. It had one keyboard of
four octaves C — C, with white naturals ; the
upper or usual sharps and flats being divided
into four alternately black and white, each
division being an independent key. There
are short upper keys also between the natural
semitones, once divided, which makes • thirty-
two keys in the octave; 125 in all. Tra-
suntino made a Tetracorda, also preserved at
Bologna, with intervals marked oflt' to tune
the archicembalo by — an old pitch-measurer or
quadruple monochord. When Fetis noticed Tra-
suntino (Biographie Universelle, 1865, p. 250),
the archicembalo was in the possession of Baini.
It was not the first keyboard instrument with
enharmonic intervals ; Vicentino had an organ
built, about 1561, by Messer Vicenzo Colombo
of Venice. There is a broadsheet describing it
quoted by Fetis as obtained by him from Signor
Gaspari of Bologna : 'Descrizione dell' arciorgano,
nel quale si possono eseguire i tri generi della
musica, diatonica, cromatica, ed enarmonica,
in Venetia, appresso Niccolo Bevil' acqua, 1561,
a di 25 ottobrio.'

A harpsichord dated 1559, made by a Tra-
suntini, is cited by Giordano Eiccati ('Delle corde
ovvero fibre elastiche '), and was probably by
Vito's father, perhaps the Messer Giulio Tra-
suntino referred to by Thomas Garzoni ('Piazza
universale di tutte le professioni del mondo,'
Discorso 136) as excellent in all 'instrument!
da penna' — quilled instruments, such as harpsi-
chords, manicliords, clavicembalos and cithers.
Of Vito, FioraA'anti says (Specchio di Seientia
Universale, fol.273), 'Guido [or Vito] Trasuntino
was a man of much and learned experience in
the art of making harpsichords, clavicembalos,
organs and regals, so that his instruments were
admired by every one before all others, and
other instruments he improved, as might be
seen in many places in Venice.' These cita-
tions are rendered from Fe'tis. 'Manicordo,' as
in the original, is the clavichord. It is doubtful
whether 'arpicordi' and 'clavicembali' here dis-
tinguish upright and horizontal harpsichords,
or harpsichords and spinets. [A.J.H.]

TRAUER-WALTZER, i.e. Mourning-waltz,
a composition of Schubert's (op. 9, no. 2), dating
from the year 1816,





which would not be noticed here but for th
fact tliat it is often attributed to Beethovei
under whose name a ' Selinsuchts-waltzer ' (d
Longing waltz), best known as 'Le Desir' (fir
of a set of 10 all with romantic titles), con
pounded from Schubert's waltz and Himmell
' Favoritwaltzer,' was published by Schotts i\
1826. Schubert's op. 9 was issued by Capfl
and Diabelli, Nov. 29, 1821, so that there is nj
doubt to whom it belongs. The waltz was mucJ
played before publication, and got its title inl
dependently of Schubert. In fact, on one occai
sion, hearing it so spoken of, he said, ' Who couhl
be such an ass as to write a mourning-waltz^
(Spaun's Memoir, MS.) Except for its extraor
dinary beauty Schubert's Waltz is a perfect typi
of a German ' Deutsch.' [See Teutsch.] [G.'

TRAVENOL, Louis, a violin-player, bori
in Paris in 169S, might be allowed to go dowi
to oblivion in his native obscurity but for his
accidental connection with Voltaire. He enterec
the opera band in April 1739, and remainec
there till 1759, when he retired on a pension o
300 francs a year. In 1783 he died. Tiie titl«
of one of his numerous pamphlets (all more 01
less of the same querulous ill-natured bilioua
tone), ' Complainte d'un musicien opprim^ par ses
camarades' — complaint of an ill-used musician — •
throws much light on his temper, and justifies
Voltaire in suspecting him of having had a hand
in circulating some of the lampoons in which his
election to the Academic Francaise (May 9,
1746) was attacked. Voltaire, however, seems
to have made the double mistake of having
Travenol arrested without being able to prove
anytliing against him, and of causing his father,
an old man of 80, to be imprisoned with him.
The affair was brought before the Pailement,
and after a year's delay, Voltaire was fined 500
francs. A sliower of bitter pamphlets against
him followed this result. (See Fetis; and
Carlyle's 'Friedrich,' Bk. xvi. chap. 2.) [G.]

TRAVERS, JoHX, commenced ' his musical
education as a chorister of St. George's Chapel,
Windsor, where he attracted the attention of
Dr. Godolphin, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral and
Provost of Eton College, by whom he was placed
with Maurice Greene as an articled pupil. He
soon afterwards made the acquaintance of Dr.
Pepuscb, who assisted him in his studies to his



great advantage. About 1725 he was appointed
organist of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, and sub-
sequently organist of Fulbani Church. On May
10, 1737, he was sworn in organist of the Chapel
Roj'al in the room of Jonathan Martin, deceased,
upon which he relinquished his place at Fulham.
He composed much church music : his well-
known Service in F, a Te Deum in D, and two
anthems were printed by Arnold, and another
anthem by Page ; others are in MS. in the books
of the Chapel Eoyal. He published ' The Whole
Book of Psalms for one, two, three, four and five
voices, with a thorough bass for the harpsichord,'

3 vols. fol. But the work by which he is best
known is his ' Eighteen Canzonets for two and
three voices, the words chiefly by Matthew Prior,'
which enjoyed a long career of popularity, and
two of which — 'Haste, my Nanette,' and 'I,
my dear, was born to-day' — are still occasionally
heard. An autograph MS. by him, containing 4
melodies in some of the ancient Greek modes, for

4 voices with instrumental accompaniments, the
fruit, doubtless, of his association with Pepusch,
is amongst Dr. Cooke's MS. collections now in
the library of the Eoyal College of Music.
Upon the death of Dr. Pepusch he became the
possessor, by bequest, of one half of the Doctor's
valuable library. He died 1758. [W.H.H.]

TEAVEESO (Ger. Querflote), the present
form of flute, held square or across {a travers)
the performer, in distinction to the flute k bee,
or flageolet with a beak or mouthpiece, which was
held straight out, as the clarinet and oboe are.
It came in early in the iSth century, and was
called the ' German flute ' by Handel and others
in this country. In Bach's scores it is called
Flauto traverse. Traverse, and Traversiere. [See
Flute.] [G,]

TE AVI AT A, LA ('The misguided one').
Opera in 3 acts; libretto by Piave, music by
Verdi. Produced at Teatro Fenice, Venice,
March 6, 1853; ^* f^'® Theatre Italien, Paris,
Dec. 6, 1856 ; at Her Majesty's Theatre, London
<d^b(it of Mile. Piccolomini), May 24, 1S56; in
English at Surrey Theatre, June 8, 1857. The
opera was written in a single month, as is proved
by the autograph in possession of Eicordi. [G.]


organ, as the most powerful, complicated, and
artificial instrument, is naturally the most diffi-
cult to manage. The pleasure of producing large
volumes of sound is a snare to almost all players ;
the ability to use the pedals with freedom tempts
many to their excessive employment ; the bitter
brilliance of the compound stops has a surprising
fascination for some. Draw all the stops of a
large organ and play the three notes in the bass
stave (a). At least one pipe
speaks each note of the bunch
of sounds placed over the
chord. Ifthis cacophony is the
result of the simplest chord,
some idea, though faint, may be
formed of the efi"ect produced
by the complex combinations



of modem music. Of course no sound-producing
instrument is free from these overtones, but their
intensity does not approach that of their ai'tificial
imitations. We have all grown up with these
noises in our ears, and it would be impossible to
catch a first-rate musician and make him listen
for the first time to an elaborate fugue played
through upon a full organ ; if we coidd, his opi-
nions would probably surprise us.

The reserve with which great musicians speak
of the organ, and the unwillingness to write
music for it (the latter, no doubt, to be accounted
for partly on other grounds) are noticeable ; but
we meet occasionally with expressions of opi-
nion which probably represent the unspoken
judgment of many and the half-conscious feeling
of more.

The mechanical soulless material of the organ
(Spitta, Life of Bach, vol. i. p. 284.)

Another day he (Mendelssohn) played on the organ at
St. Catherine's Church, but I confess that even Mendels-
sohn's famous talent, like that of many other eminent
organists, left me quite cold, though I am far from at-^
tributlng this to any want in their playing. I find it'
immensely interesting to stand by an organist and watch
tlie motions of his hands and feet whilst I follow on the
music, but the excessive resonance in churches makes it
more pain than pleasure to me to listen from below to
any of those wonderful creations with their manifold in-
tricacies and brilliant passages. (F. Hiller, ' Mendels-
sohn,' Transl. p. 185.)

With reference to compound stops, Berlioz
says (Traits d'Instrumentation, p. 168) : —

Les facteurs d'orgue et les organistes s'accordent a trou-
ver excellent leffet produit par cette resonnance multi-
ple . . . Kn tout cas ce singulier proc^d^ tendrait ton-
jours a donner a I'orgue la resonnance harmonique qu'on
cherche inutilement a 6viter sur les grands pianos a

In the same connexion Helmholtz (Sensations
of Tone, Ellis's translation) writes : —

The latter (compound stops) are artificial imitations
of the natural composition of all musical tones, each
key bringing a series of pipes into action wJiich cor-
respond to the first three or six partial tones of the'
corresponding note. Viey can be vsed only to accompmi//
congregational singing. Vfhen employed alone they pro-
duce insupportable noise and horrible confusion. But
when the singing of the congregation gives overpower-
ing force to the prime tones in the notes of the melody,
the proper relation of qviality of tone is restored, and the

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 37 of 194)