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simpler and more comprehensible, in general, than compositions in many parts or voices; but it is also less effective. Homophonic formations show us one part acting as principal part, the accompanying parts as subordinate accessories. These latter may combine into an indiscriminate mass, as in No. 327; or they may annex themselves in the shape of successions of octaves, thirds, or sixths, in the submissive suite of the principal part; or they may occasionally, as in No. 329, seek to emancipate themselves for a moment from servitude.
The powers of the mind are more abundantly displayed in polyphonic phrases, where each part strives for distinction; where each part speaks for itself, and answers the other; where at one time, some combine against others; and one mass challenges the other-and finally, one part obtains the victory and becomes the principal. Here the object is to do justice to each part to make it distinguished where it is to be predominant: to subdue it when another is to have the pre-eminence: to give it distinctive characteristics, when others of equal importance are to tread the stage with it. All methods of constructing a phrase,—combination and contrast, accentuation, polishing, forte and piano,must contribute to enhance the richness, and elevate the sense of polyphonic phrases.
If we particularise the forms, we should say, that the passages are the most susceptible of motion; the phrases are determined and complete; the subject requires the most equipoised roundness and division; the appendix must appear as an addition, but be in character as a part of the whole.
The song-forms, or small rondo-forms, are easy to comprehend as a whole, In the song form, so soon as two different phrases (for example, the principal phrase and the trio) are joined together, or in the greater rondo-form, when one or two secondary phrases are added to the principal phrase, the different phrases appear as principal moments of the whole. These phrases must be kept distinct by the performance also, each being comprehended in its own peculiar manner; and moreover, they must be distinguished in the stream of the whole composition, without any disturbance of their mutual connexion. The return of similar phrases-for example, of the principal phrases-requires, of course, the return of the same exhibition. As, however, between the intention and relationship of the work, and of the performer and hearers, differences occur, so the performance will assume differences of colour; it will be strengthened, quickened, retarded, &c. The passages in the meanwhile will form at one time softer, and at others bolder interventions and transitions from one principal moment to the others.
compress each other contentiously in the second; wrestle through several scales; change their mode, and occasionally their whole manner; and combine together at last in the third. With them, come closing phrases, appendixes, introductions, passages, &c.; and all these must be distinctly separate, and yet must be comprehended and performed as a whole. How shall he who knows not how to separate the members and parts of such a wholehow to recognise and exhibit each by itself, and yet to combine the whole again-how to make the reappearing phrase again cognisable by similar performance, although varied from its previous exhibition and according to its present circumstances-how shall such a one, we say, be able to impart with certainty the idea of the composer?
In all these forms, the separation into determined parts comes very opportunely. If we can keep the great masses together, and perform them correctly in themselves, we shall have accomplished a great deal. But in fugues and great figuration, this assistance fails us. These compositions have indeed. their parts, but they are not generally so distinct nor formally separated as phrases; they move like great waves- -distinguishably, but flowing into each other; but the performer must be able to mark both with precision.
Finally, in the combined forms, for example, of sonatas, symphonies, &c., the single movements are generally separated from each other by formal sections, and intervals of time. But an inward tendency reigns throughout them. An internal unity of idea. or intention must essentially combine them together in one true and consistent whole, and be perceptibly manifested in their performance. And so, in conclusion, let it it not be doubted, that in the most extensive works, such as operas and oratorios, every part must be formed and comprehended and carried through, as a portion of the universal unity.
FOURTH SECTION.-OF THE COMPREHENSION AND PERFORMANCE OF PARTICULAR WORKS.
All our observations hitherto have been general only. They were directed to the explanation of the sense or meaning of the different musical configurations or forms in general. Our present object is how, in the individual works which we are to understand and to exhibit, all these means and forms show themselves-what the composer in each particular case has intended, and the performer is expected to realize.
We know already, that the notation is not adequate to our object, and that words and various signs and indications have been resorted to for relief. These expressions, of course, we must understand and strive to put in practice. But we have been long aware that a general word can only give a very general hint; and that a hundred such words are not sufficient to point out the proper performance of a single phrase.
To the knowledge and beneficial employment of all that is contained in notation, artistic signs and expression, and in the attainment of the deeper meaning of the elements and forms of art, so far can general instruction offer assistance.
But living instruction can lead farther, if we have the good fortune to find a teacher, himself possessed of the deeper sensibilities of the art, and capable of manifesting them in performance. This, unfortunately, is not easy of accomplishment. In all cases, however, the chief matter depends upon the zealous and well conducted will of the pupil; for all knowledge and teaching is useless, is dead and fruitless, where there is no susceptibility and reproductiveness,--the power of returning a living sensation for a living sensation received. All instruction can only awaken, excite, nourish, and conduct this power, but can neither create it, nor supply its place.
Here we will add our last advice. An experience not very limited, in practical education in music, persuades us that our counsel will neither be superfluous, nor will it induce to error.
When, all presuppositions and judgments being made, it comes to the point of grasping a determined composition in the most impressive and complete manner possible (taking into consideration, however, the proper time and company), let the performer give himself up boldly, without diffidence or reservation, to the new work; let him, indeed, throw himself into the work, and plunge into the most important parts of it, whatever little fractional bits may escape him. For a work of art is a whole, a living thing, which must be embraced in its life and entireness. No work of art is made up of independent unities, and none such can be grasped. Let him who is accustomed to construct an imaginary combination of notation without the help of an instrument, seek in a sudden glance to form at least a general representation of it, and start at once to its first performance, immediately the preceding momentary inspection of the notes has given him a little hold of it. In this first performance, the fortune and zeal of the moment must be relied on implicitly for the presence in himself of a correct apprehension of the composition in question. In this first seizure, difficulty may be heaped on difficulty, faults and omissions may abound; nevertheless it must be persisted in, in the time first chosen as the correct time, until the end of the whole composition; and if it have many movements, all of them must flow uninterruptedly after each other.
Whatever small errors may have been committed, one thing has been gained, which would hardly have been attainable in any other way; that is, the general comprehension of the whole without prejudice or disturbance by the idea of technical difficulty, and moreover, with the first fervour. In vocal compositions we consider it very advisable not to add the text to this first performance; for as every text may be treated in various ways, and as it is rare that a text be done justice to in all its parts, so a previous reading of the text induces prejudgments, which may place us in contradiction with the intentions of the composer.
It is only now, when by a single or repeated performance we have obtained a lively apprehension of the whole of its contents and tendency, that the time is come to give ourselves a more particular account of the two latter objects. Herein the knowledge of
forms is of great assistance to us, inasmuch as it enables us to find at once the mode of formation of the whole; the division, the principal phrases and their return, the changes, the combinations, &c. Now we examine everything in portions; we separate the first part, the second, the principal theme, the accessory or secondary themes, and strive to form an inward feeling of their significance.
If a theme be repeated and altered, for instance, in a sonata-form, we compare together all its fundamental configurations and the turnings of its fundamental thought, in order to arrive at their meaning and proper performance; and thus only, when we know what becomes of a theme, we acquire the power of managing it with assurance; we recognize its original position, how it is to be corroborated, or to be softened, and how it is to be carried forward in its different parts.
When we have pondered over the principal and its combinations singly, we return to the whole. Every composition has one, or perhaps several chief points, which serve alike as objects and as characteristics of the whole musical construction. Everything is grouped around these chief points; is urged constantly or at intervals to the same end, and is led back to it, for the conclusion, or for further progress. So, in every musical creation, small or large, one great or many small waves (and if there be more than one, there will still be one of them more powerful than the rest, were it only because it is the last) move swelling forward until the ebb, and then subside. He who does not imitate this progress of the waves, who knows not how and when to rise, and then in proper time to fall, may do much in individualities; but the prize of a perfect composition, fully worked out as a whole, will not be his. Therefore, again and again we must learn from a whole to produce a whole, but now we shall labour with a more enlightened comprehension of its parts and combination.
Now only can we feel assured that we have a perfect understanding of what is essential, and we may therefore pursue at discretion our study of particulars. Now we must recall and study all that in a technical point of view was imperfect. In vocal pieces, the text and the whole rhythmic construction must be nicely weighed. And here our intimate knowledge of the elements and forms of art will show its full value; for by their means only, can we become certain of what the composer intended to express; what interval, what rhythmic or melodic motive is considered important; in fine, what we are to elevate, and what to leave in shadow. In this scrupulous examination we find fundamentally; whether our first performance was correct or not. In compositions to be performed by several singers and instrumentalists, it is clear that this examination cannot rest with our part only, but must comprehend the whole orchestra. How could a singer perform his part with freedom and effect, if he had not knowledge of how he was to be accompanied,-what instruments would associate with, and what be concurrent or contrasted with him? So, therefore, we shall have penetrated at last to the smallest individualities; but
we did not conceive of them as unities alone, but as parts of the whole, and with a firm impression of the whole.*
It is true that this method is not so easy and short as the impetuous desires of many persons anxious for musical power would wish it to be; but it would be difficult to attain certainty and completeness at a less cost. To the zealous and enduring, the path becomes soon easier and more pleasant, and the goal appears nearer than we dared to hope. For he who has laboured through a few compositions seriously, proceeds afterwards with such a sharpened sight and increased velocity, that with comparatively trifling labour, he reaps redoubled satisfaction.
We would, however, advise any person desirous of perfecting his higher education in this manner, not to pass suddenly from one species of composition to another, nor from one composer to another; but to allow himself sufficient time to become familiar with each. If he have been busy with a fugue or sonata, for instance, let him go through a few more fugues or sonatas, in order to acquire a complete and satisfying knowledge of the form and general manner of handling such compositions. But let him then, also, compare the different works of like form, and seek in their contents the characteristic differences which determine their manner of performance, in order that he may not get into a mannered per
Little as it may consist with the province of this work to enter more deeply into the minutiae of performance, which indeed are better taught by private instruction and study, the Author is anxious not to part without leaving a few remarks, which long experience has taught him to consider as useful.
In the first place, let no one employ all his means upon every composition-let him not in all cases, for example, use the utmost forte or piano, nor all his singing and playing ornaments. Nothing gives performance less truth nor more sameness than this erroneous practice, which proceeds either from prejudice in favour of a particular manner, or from a vain fondness for display. A pretty song or rondo, a delicate sonata or a touching adagio, cannot require the massive power of a great scene or of a passionate sonata or symphony, and cannot endure it without exaggeration of its true value. A significant or even a polyphonic phrase, in which one might wish to make every turn and the course of each part perceptible, would be destroyed by so quick a time as might be perfectly appropriate to a shewy bravura composition. The Author must here take the opportunity of protesting against many of the indications of time, which occur in the otherwise most excellent and praiseworthy edition of Bach's works (at Peters, in Leipzig), by Mr. C. Czerny-with an appeal, indeed, to Beethoven-but probably, indeed, rather under the influence of his own highly distinguished powers of performance.
Also with regard to the capacity of the instrument or of the voice and space, a performer of judgment will be attentive so to arrange the measure of his fortes and pianos, as not to exceed the powers of the one nor of the other (therefore, with weak organs to begin with moderation), to delay the motion in greater ranges, in order that the tones may have time to spread without mixing, &c.
Secondly, let it be considered, that equal or very similar results may often be produced by different causes, and consequently that sometimes different means may be employed to supply the place or remedy the deficiencies of others. Thus, a quicker motion can increase the power of a whole movement, and an imperceptible retardation give enhanced expression to a note or passage, if the voice or instrument should fail, or other motives should suggest delay. In this manner, in song, the charm, expression, and energy of delivery, can compensate for many defects of the voice.
Thirdly, it must be remembered, that hastening or delaying ought not to be resorted to so frequently, nor be extended so long, as to endanger the feeling of the time-unless as a preparation for a new time. That also in changing time it has a good effect to let the new time be in a relation of even proportion to the old (so that the new be half, twice, or four times quicker or slower than the preceding), excepting in cases where a particularly passionate subject requires different treatment.
Fourthly, we should keep in mind that the signs used by the composer, as indications for performance, have not always and everywhere the same force. That, for instance, in a movement whose general character is gentleness, and which should be played quietly, in reference to its total significance, af. or ƒ ought not to be produced with the same force as in a movement, which in its totality demands a more powerful performance.
We may, in fine, adopt the general rule, that the meaning of the whole artistic work is to be kept constantly before our eyes in the performance of every individuality in it, as sole law and object.
formance, and exhibit in a like manner all compositions of a like name.
So it is also advisable, after having gone through a work of any composer, to proceed immediately to the study of others by the same author, in order to form a complete image of the manner of the artist, and fix it in the mind. Every artist, every nation, and every age, has had a peculiar manner in music, as in every other art, and in the conduct of life itself. This must have been always evident to every one at all acquainted with history and mankind, and may be readily perceived by a musician, if he will compare the works of artists of different nations,-of Rossini with those of Mozart; of Auber with those of Gluck. The deeper we penetrate into the national circumstances of the times, and into the life, qualities, and habits of an artist, the more clearly can we comprehend him in his works, and arrive at their scope and tendency. Little as our fellow artists seem disposed to admit it, a right and full understanding of art is not to be obtained without the revelations of the history of art. All the pretty figures of speech,—that art belongs to human nature universally, that it belongs to no age, that it is everywhere the same, that it requires merely a susceptible heart—are just merely figures of speech, which conceal an atom of truth under a mountain of error and falsehood; and whose most zealous propagators usually have the narrowest visual horizon. As they maintain that art is of no time or place, they have certainly reserved the most considerable portion for themselves, that is, the art of all past ages. Of contemporaneous art, all that is not their own is a closed book, and all art to them is limited to one or two artists, whom for that very reason they do not understand. All others have been false, or labouring in vain, or have grown old. But how can an artist be grown old, or be modern, if time has no concern with art? They don't like to hear this question.
Here it might be our duty to insist on the importance of historical instruction, but to impart it is not the object of preparatory teaching. But this history, when written, should not be of dates and facts only, but of the mind of the artistic periods and of artists. We must, however, here repeat what we have more than once said before, that the words of history will be an empty sound, and all the thoughts of others a useless possession, unless we employ them for self-improvement, for the formation of our inward mind-unless we really see and feel what history and instruction endeavour to announce to us.
FIFTH SECTION.-OF CONCERTED, OR
The manner of conducting the performance of several persons together, requires our especial consideration. This can take place in two ways. Either one person serves merely to accompany a song at the pianoforte, for instance; or several persons asso
Many_notices relative to the above matter may be found in the Author's Kunst des Gesanges, in his Ueber Malerei in der Kunst, and in the already mentioned Mus. Lexikon upon Seb. Bach, Handel, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and other artists; also from many excellent articles in the said Lexikon by other authors, and in Nägeli's lectures.
ciate in an equal participation in the performance; as in quartetts, orchestras with or without a vocal choir.
Accompaniment requires quite a peculiar talent; and it is easy to find good, nay, excellent players, who are bad accompanyers. The accompanyer does not require merely, like every performer, the complete insight and practical skill to comprehend and perform the work to be exhibited he must moreover possess the self-denial to subordinate his playing entirely to the chief part,—that is, to the song. He must be ready and able to follow in all respects the idea of the chief person; to guess beforehand, indeed, his weak points; to cover his faults, and enhance his good qualities: and all this art, this self sacrifice, will have merited most, if it has been able to conceal itself from the hearer. To this latter, no difference or disagreement between the performers should be visible; no concealment of defect be appreciable-the performance must seem to have issued from one mind.
But on the other hand, the accompaniment must Nothing not sink into passive, lifeless submission. would be more enfeebling for the work, nor more dispiriting to the principal part; especially in song. In every singer (and also in every principal player) there is much rather a want of, or a desire for, powerful concurrent striving,-not in contradiction, but in reciprocity and emulation with the accompaniment. An energetic and strongly accented expression of the accompaniment at a proper moment, with the recognition of the singer, is peculiarly refreshing and exhilarating to the voice, naturally so prone to undulating deviations; while a timorous, dissolving accompaniment, robs even robust male singers of certainty and power. That, therefore, to female singers (and of high order, too,) a manly and spirited accompaniment, at a proper moment and in a cordial manner, must be encouraging and acceptable, will be acknowledged by every one. have spoken before, of the duties of an accompanyer at the moment of performance. That by previous agreement and practice, the parties concerned should come to a perfect understanding as to the meaning of the work and manner of its performance, is a matter of course.
The accompanyer to song in many parts has other duties to perform. It is usually his business to be director, or conductor, also. Time, ensemble, production, the whole performance, in fine, is under his guidance. This conducts us to the second point of our considerations.
CONCERTED OR ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE, presupposes (if the result is intended to be sure and satisfactory) agreement and rehearsal in common; and, particularly in large orchestral or choral assemblies, a director or conductor.
After the choice of the composition, it is incumbent on the conductor to secure its best possible performance. Distribution of the parts, position of the performers, time, production, everything is in the last instance determined by him. He must therefore know everything in all directions, have everything prepared and ready, and be capable of
carrying it through. He that does not know the necessary means in all relations,-who is not penetrated with the work to be performed, and does not carry in his soul a perfect image of the manner in which it ought to be produced; he who cannot communicate intelligibly by word and action his conceptions and views to the performers, and perceive their errors and correct them, or even possibly foresee and prevent them; who cannot keep all the performers together by power of nerve, and will, and an all-present eye; he who is not, in fine, vested with absolute authority, and placed in an appropriate personal locality, cannot flatter himself with the hope of being a good conductor.
The mere procedure of beating time is soon learned. Two-part bars are struck downwards and upwardsthe principal part with the down beat, and the secondary with the up beat :
In six-part bars, the same procedure is adopted, excepting that the two first parts (one! and two!) are counted with the down beat, the third to the left, the fourth and fifth (four! five!) to the right, and the sixth with the up beat. In quick motion, halves or thirds only of bars are beat. For example, in quick bars, the first and third parts; in quick or 3, the principal and second part with the down, and the third with the up beat :
*In Italy and France, beating time is often performed reversely to the above (and as it seems to us, against the feeling and nature of the matter), that is, the principal part is signified by raising the hand, or the baton, in order to make this more visible.
It will be easily observed here, that each line represents a beat in a bar produced in the direction of the expansion of the line.
Many other arrangements are made which require no special mention here, since they easily come to mind when necessary, or the conductor expressly orders them.
The performers ought not only to be perfectly submissive to the will of the conductor, but they must have the capability of being so in reality. The proper and effective submission, or rather resignation, is not dead or torpid, nor (worse still) an exterior compliance united to an interior resistance; it is a lively and cheerful acceptance and cordial performance of the ideas and directions of the conductor, be they conformable or not to the sentiments of the performer,--and an indefatigable watching of, and correspondence with, his indications. This latter duty presupposes a more extended capability and promptitude than solo playing or singing. He must be perfect master of his own part, to be able to perform it correctly, and at the same time to be all eye and ear for every nod of the conductor; herein is shown the perfectly educated artist for concerted performance.
How much this task is facilitated and enlivened by a deeper insight into the nature of art and of the particular work which is to be performed, does not require any comment. But here, where, after unavoidable pupilage and education, the leading of the conductor awaits the performer, the simple General Musical Instruction, which has introduced the scholar and has hitherto guided his steps during his first studies-now to be extended and completed-must restrain itself within its proper limits.
Our disquisitions on concerted performance have brought us back to a subject which is not indeed very interesting to every musical amateur, but to all who aim at high distinction, and to all fully grounded musicians, is of the utmost importance; we allude to the performance of score. Its immediate advantage and its principal external characteristics have been pointed out in the tenth section of the third division. How much the knowledge of harmony, acquaintance with and skill in cyphering (thoroughbass), insight into the forms of art, but especially the practical composition of music, must facilitate and expand our understanding of score, will be
The publication of Dr. Grassner's "Dirigent and Ripienist" at Groos's in Carlsruhe, is very full and instructive on this subject.
obvious from our preceding observations. Practice in graduated order, and then acquaintance with the manner of writing and style of the composers whose scores we wish to study, are the last requisites for an easy and sure comprehension.
The understanding of score being presumed, we shall now make a few observations upon its manner of performance. It is so natural that we should wish ourselves and others to hear that which we have read with interest, and it must be so often desirable to parties unprofessional to perform or lead from scores, that these few hints, if not of general interest, may still hope to merit the attention of the emulous and aspiring lesser number. We take the pianoforte for our instrument, as the only one adapted to score playing, which is everywhere at hand.
After the already-mentioned requisites for score playing, one more is necessary, a sufficient, that is, considerable skill in pianoforte playing in general. In this, however, we do not understand any distinguished ability in bravura passages (although these may also be most favorably employed), but much rather the dexterity to lead two, three, or more varying or diverging parts, clearly and expressively together, to bring distinctly and faithfully to the ear many-grouped phrases and octave passages, with energy or with softness,-to seize distant intervals with either hand, and generally to perform melodies and passages in every mode of playing. Very often, almost at every moment, the score player will have to perform passages quite unadapted for the pianoforte (having been written for other musical organs), which force him to deviate from ordinary rules. He must have the ability, therefore, besides his scholastic attainments, to invent at every moment new applications and modes of playing, adapted to his peculiar circumstances, in order to free himself from the inconvenience and entanglement in which the score player often quite unexpectedly finds himself.
Persons in the habit of improvising at the instrument, will find advantage from it in score playing. It will have been observed, however, that the regular art of playing may be somewhat endangered by it; we recommend therefore, seriously, that score playing be not resorted to until a considerable degree of certainty and habit have been acquired in the ordinary mode of using the instrument.
So much touching the preparatory conditions. All that we have further to say regarding score playing is in reference to the question
What is the score playing to exhibit? Whoever clearly answers this question to himself upon each occasion of performance, and for every part of it, will find therein the right introduction to advantageous employment.
Score playing should produce the contents of the score as fully and completely as possible; and this either alone or associated with some of the parts— for instance, voices-of the score. In this latter case, the parts sung might be omitted in the playing.
It might be imagined from this, that it was necessary to produce from the instrument only those parts which were not performed by some other