The orchestra and its instruments

By Esther Singleton

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Title: The orchestra and its instruments

Author: Esther Singleton

Release date: July 8, 2024 [eBook #73991]

Language: English

Original publication: New York: The Symphony society of New York, 1917

Credits: The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)




                              THE ORCHESTRA
                             ITS INSTRUMENTS

                             ESTHER SINGLETON


                                 NEW YORK

                             COPYRIGHT, 1917
                        BY HARRY HARKNESS FLAGLER

                          THE · PLIMPTON · PRESS
                          NORWOOD · MASS · U·S·A

    _To_ F. W. C.

    _Friend of many years_
    _Whose sympathy_
    _Crowns all my efforts_


The purpose of this book is to give music-lovers and young musical
students a more intimate acquaintance with the Symphony Orchestra and its
instruments than they, perhaps, possess.

The instruments are described one by one; and, finally, the Orchestra,
which is, itself, treated as an instrument on which the Conductor may be
said to play.

Attention should be called to the description of Lully’s famous
Orchestra and to the interesting group of artists who played in it,
such as Descoteaux, the tulip-fancier, described by La Bruyère in his
_Caractères_, and Marin Marais, one of the greatest _virtuosi_ of the
Seventeenth Century.

It is often said that the virtuoso-conductor did not appear until the
Nineteenth Century. I think the facts given here will prove that Lully
was the first of the “star-conductors”; and that our Symphony Orchestras
may be said to have their origin in the “Twenty-Four Violins of the
King,” one of whom is represented in the illustration facing page 160.

It should also be noted that the illustrations have all been photographed
especially for this work,—many of them from rare volumes and old prints.

I wish to offer my grateful thanks to Mr. Walter Damrosch for having so
kindly read the page-proofs and to Mr. Harry Harkness Flagler for the
interest he has taken in the preparation of this book.

                                                                     E. S.

NEW YORK, _October 4, 1917_


  CHAPTER                              PAGE

        PRELUDE                           3

     I. THE VIOLIN                        9

    II. THE VIOLA                        47

   III. THE VIOLONCELLO                  55

    IV. THE DOUBLE-BASS                  67

     V. THE WOODWIND FAMILY              72

    VI. THE BRASSWIND FAMILY            103


  VIII. THE ORCHESTRA                   132

    IX. THE CONDUCTOR                   274

     X. THE HARP                        279

    XI. THE PIANOFORTE                  290

        INDEX                           303


  King René of Anjou with his Court Musicians                _Frontispiece_

    From the Breviary of King René, written and illuminated in the
    Fifteenth Century by some of those appearing in the picture.
    Preserved in the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Paris.

  First Violin, Symphony Society of New York, Alexander
      Saslavsky                                           _Facing page_ 10

  A Little Savoyard in Paris with _vielle_, or hurdy-gurdy (old print)  14

  St. Cecilia                                                           18

    From the Adoration of the Lamb by Jan and Hubert van Eyck,
    in the Cathedral of St. Bavon, Ghent. St. Cecilia is playing
    the organ, one of the Angels a harp (of the “Irish” type) and
    another a violin without “bouts” and with crescent-shaped
    sound-holes. Note the peculiar and archaic shape of the bow.
    This picture was painted in the Fifteenth Century.

  Violin by Gasparo di Salò                                             22

  Violin by Maggini                                                     24

  Cremona in 1830                                                       26

    From an engraving by Caporali.

  Violin by Antonius and Hieronymus Amati                               30

  The Hellier Stradivari                                                34

    Bought by Sir Samuel Hellier of Womborne, Staffordshire,
    England, from Stradivari about 1734. It was made in 1679,
    but its history between these dates is unknown. The Hellier
    Stradivari is one of the most famous examples of Stradivari’s
    work and is one of his very rare _inlaid_ violins. The bows are
    of an old model, as their points plainly show, made before the
    days of Tourte.

  Violin by Guarneri del Gesù                                           38

    Used by Paganini in most of his concerts. Now in Genoa.

  Instrument-maker’s Workshop (Eighteenth Century)                      40

    From the Encyclopaedia of Diderot and d’Alembert.

  François Tourte, “the Stradivari of the bow”                          44

  First Viola, Symphony Society of New York, Samuel Lifschey            48

  _Viola d’amore_                                                       50

    Owned by the University of Edinburgh. Note the beautiful inlay
    of the tail-piece and neck, the carved female head instead of
    scroll with the eyes strangely veiled. The sound-holes of the
    “flaming-sword” type are beautifully and gracefully cut. This
    instrument lacks the “sympathetic strings,” with which it was
    originally strung.

  Gaspard Duiffoprugcar                                                 52

  _Viola da Gamba_                                                      54

    Made by Gaspard Duiffoprugcar, with picture inlaid in the back.

  First violoncellist, Symphony Society of New York, Engelbert
      Roentgen                                                          56

  _Viola da Gamba_                                                      60

    Owned by the Museum of the Brussels Conservatory of Music. The
    back is of rosewood. The inlay, neck, scroll and tail-piece
    (carved in the shape of Mercury’s caduceus) are of ivory. The
    instrument is an exquisite work of art. It is of later date
    than the _viola d’amore_ facing page 50, as the crescent-shaped
    sound-holes show.

  Gentleman of the Seventeenth Century playing the _viola da gamba_,
      or _basse de viole_                                               64

  First Double Bass, Symphony Society of New York, Morris Tivin         68

  Lutemaker’s shop and Two Men playing the Double Bass. Date 1568       70

  First Flute, Symphony Society of New York, George Barrère             74

  Frederick the Great playing a flute concerto with his orchestra at
      _Sans Souci_                                                      78

    By Chodowieki.

  First Oboe, Symphony Society of New York, Henri de Busscher           84

  _Cor Anglais_, Symphony Society of New York, A. Bianco                90

  Bassoon, Symphony Society of New York, Ugo Savolini                   94

  Clarinet, Symphony Society of New York, Gustav Langenus               98

  Contrabass Clarinet, Symphony Society of New York, Richard Kohl      102

  Horn, Symphony Society of New York, Josef Franzl                     106

  Trumpet, Symphony Society of New York, Carl Heinrich                 110

  Trombone, Symphony Society of New York, R. Van der Elst              114

  Tuba, Symphony Society of New York, Luca Del Negro                   118

  Tympani, Symphony Society of New York, Karl Glassmann                122

  Percussion, Symphony Society of New York, Hans Goettich              126

  Drum, Xylophone and Triangle, Symphony Society of New York, Samuel
      Borodkin                                                         130

  Theorbo                                                              136

    Made by Giovanni Krebar of Padua in 1629. The body is of ivory
    and the neck and peg-box of ivory engraved with a view of
    Venice, incised figures dancing and fencing and a garden scene.
    The pegs show that there were eight bass notes, or diapasons;
    a single string to each note, five double strings on the
    fingerboard and one, the highest of all and single, called the
    _chanterelle_, or melody string.

  Three _Chitaroni_                                                    140

    The first is a theorbo, or bass lute, with a long upper neck
    to give length for the bass strings. It is five feet long.
    Notice the three sound-holes joined together (rosaces) and
    the mother-of-pearl ornamentation. This lute is strung with
    six pairs of strings on the fingerboard: each pair is tuned
    in unison. Seven single, or diapason strings (or open basses)
    are stretched from the upper peg-box. The _Chitarone_ in the
    centre, also richly inlaid with mother-of-pearl, has also
    three connected sound-holes, six pairs of unisons upon the
    fingerboard and eight diapason, or open bass, strings on the
    neck. It is six feet long! The third _chitarone_ has six pairs
    of unisons and seven diapason (or bass) strings. The neck is
    ornamented with checker work.

  Claudio Monteverde                                                   144

  Car of musicians. _Triumph of Maximilian_                            148

    By Albrecht Dürer, about 1518.

  Car of musicians. _Triumph of Maximilian_                            150

    By Albrecht Dürer, about 1518.

  Car of musicians. _Triumph of Maximilian_                            152

    By Albrecht Dürer, about 1518.

  Chamber music in France, in 1635                                     156

    By Abraham Bosse.

  One of the Twenty-Four Violins of the King, 1688                     160

  Jean Baptiste Lully                                                  164

    Engraved by Gérard Edelinck.

  Marin Marais                                                         170

    The most famous player of the _viola da gamba_ of the
    Seventeenth Century and Lully’s assistant conductor.

  Arcangelo Corelli                                                    178

  Concert                                                              182

    Domenico Scarlatti at the _gravicembalo_ (harpsichord);
    Tartini, violin; Martini, flute; Locatelli and Lanzetti.

  Rameau                                                               184

    Portrait by Restout, engraved by Benoist. Bibliothèque
    Nationale, Paris.

  Johann Sebastian Bach                                                186

    Portrait by C. F. R. Lissewsky (1772) in the Joachimstalschen
    Gymnasiums, Berlin.

  Handel                                                               188

    Portrait by Thomson.

  Handel conducting the Orchestra                                      190

    Handel at the _cembalo_ (old print).

  Gluck                                                                194

    Portrait by Duplessis.

  Haydn                                                                200

    Portrait by Gutenbrunn painted in London in 1770. Engraved by
    Luigi Schiavonetti.

  Mozart                                                               208

    Portrait by Cignaroli in 1770.

  Beethoven                                                            218

    Portrait by Lebronne. Engraved by Höfer.

  C. M. von Weber                                                      232

    Portrait by Schimon.

  Schubert                                                             238

    Water color sketch by W. A. Rieder.

  Mendelssohn                                                          242

    From a pencil-drawing by Bendemann in 1835. Autographed by

  Berlioz                                                              246

    Lithograph by Fischer in 1863. Autographed by Berlioz.

  Liszt                                                                252

    From a photograph taken in Budapest in 1875.

  Wagner                                                               258

    Photograph taken in Munich.

  Tschaikowsky                                                         266

    Photograph taken in Petrograd.

  Saint-Saëns’s Festival Concert, Salle Pleyel, Paris, in 1896         268

    Saint-Saëns at the piano; Sarasate, violin; and Taffanel
    conducting the Orchestra of the Société des Concerts du
    Conservatoire. Drawn by J. Grigny.

  Debussy                                                              270

    Photograph taken in Paris.

  Orchestra of the Symphony Society of New York                        272

    Walter Damrosch conducting.

  Orchestra of the Eleventh Century                                    274

    Development of the capital of a column in St. George’s,
    Boscherville, Normandy.

  Page from Conductor’s score                                          276

    Beginning of Second Movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

  Richard Strauss conducting                                           278

  Minstrels playing harp, flute, and pipe and tabor                    280

    From an illuminated _Ms._ of the _Romaunt of the Rose_, owned
    by the British Museum. Fifteenth Century.

  Harp of the Fourteenth Century (King David)                          286

    From a _Ms._ of the Fourteenth Century.

  Violinist, singer, and lady at the virginal                          292

    From Playford’s _Banquet of Music_. Printed in the Savoy for
    Henry Playford at his shop near the Temple Church (London,

  Concert with harpsichord                                             296

    From Peter Preller’s _Modern Music Master_ (London, Eighteenth




We have just arrived in the Concert Hall, have taken off our wraps and
are comfortably seated in our chairs waiting eagerly for the concert to

The Orchestra is entering from the doors at the sides of the stage.

Here come the Violins. They all sit in a group together. These in front
of us and on the left of the Conductor’s stand are the First Violins;
these on the right of the Conductor’s stand are the Second Violins. These
ten men who seem to carry very large violins are the Violas and they are
taking their seats by the side of the Second Violins. Opposite them ten
Violoncellos are taking their seats by the side of the First Violins.
Behind the Violoncellos stand the Double-Basses.

In the meanwhile, the players of the Woodwind have entered and have
seated themselves in a row facing the Conductor,—the Clarinets by the
Violas; then the Oboe and Cor Anglais (English Horn); and then the
Flutes. Behind the Flutes are the Bassoons; and behind the Oboes and
Clarinets are the French Horns. In the back row are Trombones, Trumpets,
Drums, Triangle, Cymbals and other Percussion instruments. On the right,
behind the First Violins, is the Harp.

They are all here now, each instrument in its own group, or family.

We cannot understand what any great city is like if we do not know
something about the people who compose that city. Take New York, for
instance; or London, or Paris, or Boston, or Washington, or Chicago, or
San Francisco. Each city has a personality of its own; and so we speak of
New York, or London, or Paris, or Boston, or Washington, just as if we
were talking of an individual.

It is exactly the same with an Orchestra. Though composed of a collection
of individual instruments, the Orchestra has an individual character of
its own. It is a _personality_ that speaks to us in the beautiful and
inspiring language of music; and, therefore, after we learn about the
instruments and what part each instrument has to play in forming this
little orchestral city, as it were, we shall then turn our thoughts to
the Orchestra itself.

The Orchestra is composed of three groups, or families, and one accessory
group. Each of these three groups forms a choir of its own, of four
parts,—soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

The most important group is that of the stringed instruments, or
“Strings,” as this family is called. The Violins sing the soprano;
the Violas, the alto, or tenor; the Violoncellos, the bass; and the
Double-Basses, the deeper bass. All of the “Strings” are played with the

The family next in importance is the “Woodwind,”—instruments consisting
of a long tube made of wood through which the performer blows. Some of
these are held horizontally, others longitudinally. These also play in
four-part harmony, as it is called,—soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

The Brasswind family comprises the Horns, the Trumpets and Trombones.
It forms another set of four voices—soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The
performers blow through the tubes of these instruments. These instruments
are usually spoken of as the “Brass.”

Last of all come the instruments of Percussion,—that is to say
instruments that are beaten, or knocked, or struck, or thumped, or
shaken, such as the Drums, Triangle, Cymbals and Tambourine. This group
is also called the “Battery.”

With these three separate choirs grouped into three separate families,
each with its special characteristics and accomplishments, the composer
is able to do many wonderful things. For example, he can let any choir,
or any instrument in that choir, sing a melody while the other choirs
accompany it with lovely harmonies, or dispute with it, or start up
another melody in opposition to it, or even make comments, pleasant or
ill-natured, on it, as it were. Then, in addition, the composer has the
“Battery” of beaten instruments to accent the rhythms, or to add sharp,
bright, penetrating notes; dull, soft, deep thuds; mutterings and crashes.

The Harp does not belong to any family, or group.

The other instruments are very indifferent about him. Perhaps they regard
him as an interloper. The Harp is not a regular member of the Orchestra:
he is only an occasional guest. Although a stringed instrument, the
Harp does not belong to the “Strings.” He comes from another line,
another race,—from the minstrels and bards. The Harp has a poetic and a
passionate utterance all his own, which is of an entirely different kind
of poetry and passion from that of the Violin tribe.

Applause! Here comes the Conductor! He bows, walks to the stand, bows
again and steps upon the platform. Now he turns and looks at the
audience. His quick glance sweeps the whole house—from top gallery
to parquet—and takes in everything, everywhere. He has now commanded
the attention he desires. Everybody is getting quiet. We did not
notice—perhaps because we were contributing to it ourselves—that there
was a general rustle and chatter and movement. Now that there is a hush
over everything we notice the contrast. But the Conductor is not quite
satisfied. Some persons are still talking in the box above us. He looks
at them and waits for them to finish. He does not have to wait long. They
notice the reproof and their chatter ceases suddenly. Now all is quiet.

The Conductor turns and faces his men. He lifts the little, white stick
that was lying beside the score on his desk, raps on the desk to command
attention from his men and raises his right hand.

What is the first number? Let me see the programme. Thank you.
Mendelssohn’s _Overture to Midsummer Night’s Dream_. Such lovely opening
chords! How silvery, delicate, faint and far-away are those soft, gentle
harmonies that melt into one another like the tender hues of sunset
clouds! They are, indeed, “the horns of Elfland faintly blowing.”

As we hear them we are transported into another world,—a world of fancy
and delight. We enter Fairyland ourselves!

Listen to the Violins! Can we not see the tiny flower-fairies, myriads
and myriads of them? Here they come,—tripping, dancing, twirling,
winding, flying, floating, laughing, singing and running lightly in
rhythmic steps to the gay melody on the Strings. The horns call again;
and again the fairies come, myriads and myriads more of them,—tripping,
dancing, twirling, winding, flying, floating, laughing, singing and
running lightly in rhythmic steps to the gay melody as did the first
merry troupe.

Again the Elfin horns! Could anything be more enchanting than those
lovely, melting harmonies of the fairy sentinels and little body-guard of
Queen Titania?

We seem to have left the Concert Hall now. We are in a beautiful English
forest glade where the grass is very green and where the beech trees
throw out upon the sward great, long, gnarled and snaky roots covered
with emerald moss. And here, on a bank canopied o’er with luscious
honeysuckle and sweet musk roses and eglantines, and where the nodding
violets and sweet-smelling thyme make us drowsy with their delightful
perfume, we see Titania and her tiny Elfin train gather. They charm away
the spotted snakes with double tongue, thorny hedgehogs, weaving spiders
and beetles black, so that their Queen may sleep in peace. Off they go
on various errands, leaving near the softly-breathing Titania a little
fairy sentinel standing on an eglantine and holding a sharp spear of
grass. Again we hear the delicate, silvery horns of Elfland; and, with
the last lingering chord, the Enchanted Forest vanishes.

These subtle harmonies touched our imaginations and evoked that lovely

The Conductor lays down his _bâton_. All is over!

       *       *       *       *       *

We have often read in Fairy Tales how only those who had tasted dragon’s
blood could understand the language of birds and animals.

It is precisely the same with regard to Orchestral music. Only those
whose ears are educated can appreciate all its meaning and its beauty.
When we taste dragon’s blood, so to speak, we understand the language
of music and enter into a new world of delight that is closed to the

The Orchestra throws open for us magic casements that look upon a realm
beyond that of everyday reality; and the more we know of the Orchestra,
the greater will be our power to enter that sphere of enchantment.
Therefore, our first step will be to inquire into the history and
capacities of the instruments that give the Orchestra its very existence.



    _Charm of the violin; voice of the violin; parts of the
    violin; construction of the violin; bridge, bass-bar and
    sound-post; ancestry of the violin; the vielle, or viole;
    evolution of the violin; corners and bouts; the sound-holes;
    birthplace of the violin; Brescia; Gasparo di Salò; Maggini
    and the characteristics of his violins; Efrem Zimbalist’s
    Maggini; Cremona; the Amati family and their violins; Antonio
    Stradivari; house of Stradivari described by Haweis; the
    Stradivari violin; the Guarneri; Joseph del Gesù; Carlo
    Bergonzi; Jacobus Stainer of Absam; importance of wood for
    violins; Joachim’s opinion of the Stradivari violin; strings of
    the violin; the fingerboard and “positions”; harmonics—natural
    and artificial; portamento; the sordino; the right hand’s work;
    bowing; pizzicato; position of violins in the Orchestra; the
    First Violin; Lavignac on the violin; Berlioz on use of violins
    in the Orchestra; François Tourte, the Stradivari of the
    bow; evolution of the bow; Corelli, Tartini, Tourte, Viotti,
    Paganini; Tourte’s model; the bow of to-day._

There is something very fascinating about a violin. This graceful,
delicate instrument, which is a marvel of strength, notwithstanding its
frail appearance, is beautiful to look at and its voice is lovely to hear.

It is often said that the voice of a violin is so greatly admired because
its tones offer the nearest approach to the human voice; but if you think
the matter over you will, perhaps, agree with me that the tones of a
beautiful violin do not resemble those of a human voice and that they are
infinitely more beautiful in quality. There is a mellowness, a softness,
a richness, a liquidity, a glossy clearness and a warmth peculiar to
the violin and very far away from anything that the human throat can

Let us think of the violin’s voice as something individual; and as
something delightful and dear to us because it is an individual voice
and not because of any fancied resemblance to a high soprano. Indeed,
very few of the greatest singers could ever produce such velvety,
sweet, poignant, vibrant and insinuating notes as we hear from a
luscious Stradivari, a sweet Amati, or a rich Maggini under the bow of a

Everything about a violin appeals to us. There is something so mysterious
and ingratiating about the little instrument, neat and trig and curved
at the waist, with lines as clean as those of a high-bred race-horse and
nerves as tense with excitement, ready to be set quivering at the touch
of the bow.

Moreover, the very fact that age improves it, and that the longer it
lives the sweeter and richer and lovelier it becomes, gives us almost a
feeling of awe towards the violin. This delicate little instrument defies
Time and disaster. In that it is superior to man himself: the violin is,
therefore, almost superhuman!

How many hands have touched this precious treasure! What scenes has it
passed through! How many countries has it visited! How many thousands
have listened to its voice!

The violin has outlived them all, generation after generation. If it
could only tell us all its experiences and adventures since it was taken
down from its nail in a Cremona workshop and pronounced ready for the
purchaser who had ordered it!


_Alexander Saslavsky_]

Romance, romance, romance, and nothing but romance, clings around old
violins, just like the scent in an old Chinese rose-jar. You cannot get
rid of the aroma. And, moreover, you do not want to. This atmosphere of
the Past gives enchantment to a violin as it does to a Ming vase.

Then there is something very thrilling in the fact that the violin has a
charmed life. Nothing can hurt a violin very much. If it is smashed into
a thousand bits, a clever repairer can put all the pieces together again;
and the instrument is little the worse for the shock.

Then, too, a valuable old Cremona seems to defy theft. If a thief runs
away with one, he has trouble to get rid of it, because few are willing
to buy it from him. The pedigree of every famous violin is known; or, in
other words, the name of every one of its owners is on record. A fine
instrument can be identified eventually.

All violins may look alike to you now; but not after your eyes have been
taught to know them. No two violins were ever made that were exactly
alike; although, of course, all those that were made by any one maker
have, generally speaking, the same characteristics. These characteristics
are what one has to learn, in order to become an expert, or a
connoisseur. All the celebrated makers gradually developed a “model,” as
it is called; and experts and connoisseurs can tell almost at a glance
from what workshop any instrument came. Not only the model, or pattern,
or shape, as we might call it, declares the maker, but every maker had
a special varnish. Every maker also had a special way of carving the
scroll, or head, and of cutting the sweeping _f_-holes that give the
violin so much expression.

And what would the violin be without these graceful _f_-holes?

It would not only lose its tone, but much of its beauty. These
sound-holes are of the utmost importance. Their shape, width and position
have all been determined through years—centuries indeed—of experiment.

The whole system by which the sound-waves are set in motion in the
_inside_ of a violin and the way they cross each other and issue forth
from these sound-holes is strange in the highest degree. It is a miracle!

Altogether, the violin is a very charming, fascinating, mysterious,
romantic, delightful, and lovable instrument.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although the violin may appear to your eyes as a very simple instrument,
it is really a very complex one.

If I asked you to describe a violin you would probably tell me that
it has a back and front, sides and strings. Perhaps you might mention
the bridge and, perhaps, you would not think about this small article.
Perhaps, too, you might mention the _f_-holes on either side of the
bridge. And there you would stop.

You know very little about a violin, or you would speak of the _belly_
and not the “front” and of the _ribs_ and not the “sides.” And you have
not mentioned anything _inside_ the violin. Perhaps you think it contains

A violin consists of _seventy_ different pieces.

Fifty-seven belong to the construction and thirteen are moveable fittings.

The back (sometimes in two pieces), the belly (sometimes in two
pieces), the blocks (six), the ribs (six, sometimes five), the linings
(twelve), the bass-bar, the purfling (twenty-four pieces), the nut, the
fingerboard, the neck, and the head and scroll (sometimes called the
lower nut).

The thirteen moveable fittings are: the tail-piece, the loop, the
button, or tail-pin, the screws, or pegs (four), the strings (four), the
sound-post and the bridge.

The wood used is of three kinds: maple, or sycamore, for the back, neck,
ribs and bridge; pine, or soft deal, for the belly, blocks, linings,
bass-bar and sound-post; and ebony for the tail-piece, fingerboard, nuts,
pegs and button. The purfling, that narrow edging that outlines the shape
of the instrument on both belly and back, is made of thin strips of ebony
and maple (sometimes, but not often, whalebone is used).

The parts are put together with the finest glue and invisible joinings.
Finally, comes the varnish, which is of the utmost importance.

The violin is, indeed, as a lover of this instrument[1] has said, “a
miracle of construction; and as it can be taken to pieces, put together,
patched and indefinitely repaired, it is almost indestructible. It is, as
one might say, as light as a feather and as strong as a horse. The belly
of soft deal and the back of hard sycamore are united by six sycamore
ribs supported by twelve blocks with linings. It appears that the quick
vibrations of the hard wood married to the slower sound-waves of the soft
wood, produce the mellow but reedy _timbre_ of the good violin. If all
the wood were hard, you would get the tone light and metallic; if all
soft, it would be muffled, or tubby. There is every conceivable variety
of fibre both in hard and soft wood. The thickness of back and belly is
not uniform. Each should be thicker towards the middle. But _how_ thick
and shaved thin in what proportion to the sides? The cunning workman
alone knows.”

And now let us consider carefully the three important and highly
mysterious organs of the violin. Yes, I am calling them organs. Perhaps
I had even better say organs and nerves. These are the bridge, the
sound-post and the bass-bar. The two latter are invisible. The bridge,
a delicately cut little arch of maple, or sycamore, higher on one side
than on the other, perforated curiously but according to a form learned
through the experiments of centuries, has been called the “_tongue of the
violin_.” The treble foot of the bridge stands firm and rigid on that
part of the belly made rigid by the sound-post. The bass foot of the
bridge rests on that part of the body, or belly, which vibrates freely,
these vibrations being increased and regulated by the bass-bar. Through
this bass foot of the bridge the vibration of the strings is communicated
to the belly and thence to the mass of air in the violin. The treble foot
of the bridge is _the centre of vibration_. The action of the bridge,
however, really depends upon the sound-post.


The sound-post has been called “the _soul of the violin_.” It is a little
pine stick, a few inches long, about the size of a large cedar pencil.
It is placed upright about an eighth of an inch to the back of the right
foot of the bridge.

“Through it pass all the heart throbs, or vibrations, generated between
the back and the belly. There the short waves and the long waves meet and
mingle. It is the material throbbing centre of that pulsating air-column
defined by the walls of the violin, but propagating those mystic
sound-waves that ripple forth in sweetness upon ten thousand ears.”[2]

The bass-bar (or sound-bar) has been called “_the nervous system of the
violin_.” It is an oblong piece of wood glued lengthwise to the belly. It
runs in the same direction as the strings and acts as a beam, or girder,
to strengthen the belly against the pressure of the left foot of the
bridge. The bass-bar has to be cut and adjusted to meet the requirements
of every violin; and only long experience can determine how _long_, how
_thick_ and exactly _where_ the bass-bar should be made and placed. The
fraction of a line makes all the difference in the world.

The bass-bar is the only member, or organ, of the violin’s body that
has undergone any change since the days of Antonio Stradivari. Owing to
the increased pitch (higher tuning) of the present time, the tension,
or pull, of the strings equals _eighty_ pounds! Think of it—this
frail-looking, delicate, little violin stands a strain of eighty pounds!

In Stradivari’s time this tension was sixty-three pounds. So in modern
times it has been found necessary to strengthen the bass-bar by giving it
extra depth in the centre and adding to its length.

Now we know exactly what happens. This tremendous strain of the strings
(equalling eighty pounds) is resisted first by the arch of the belly;
then by the ribs, strengthened by the upright blocks and linings; and,
lastly, by the supporting bass-bar.

Another change that has been made in the last century is the lengthening
of the neck. This was done on account of the increased technique of
modern performers. The scroll, or head, remained unchanged.

The scroll is very indicative of the maker. Any expert by looking at
the scroll can tell its maker. Truly we can repeat the words of Mr.
Gladstone: “to perfect that wonder of travel—the locomotive—has, perhaps,
not required the expenditure of more mental strength and application than
to perfect that wonder of music—the violin!”

       *       *       *       *       *

The violin is three hundred years old, and it is the only musical
instrument that has remained unchanged during that time! It has seen
viols, lutes, spinets and harpsichords go out of fashion; it has seen
many wind-instruments disappear and new ones take their places; it has
seen a few developments in the harp; and it has seen the birth of the
piano. But the model of the violin that was brought to perfection by the
old makers of Cremona, particularly Antonio Stradivari, is so beautiful
in form and so exquisite in tone that it has been impossible to improve

The violin did not spring into existence under the clever hands of the
Italian workmen. It had been developing for a hundred years before the
Cremonese makers added their finishing touches. What they did was to take
the model that already existed and improve it; and their improvements
were so great that they practically made a new instrument of it.

The violin has had a long ancestry. It would take several hours to
describe all the peculiar instruments from which it could have been
derived. We should have to go back thousands of years, to ancient Egypt
and Greece and Phœnicia and even to India. And everywhere we would come
across an instrument that is best described as a long box of wood over
which a string is stretched, or, in some cases, several strings are

We date our violin from the Thirteenth Century, a time when many great
changes were taking place, when great cathedrals were being built and
when Dante was living. Perhaps it would be better to say that the
_characteristics_ of our modern violin begin to appear about that
time—six hundred years ago—when the Troubadours began to flourish in
the south of France, in beautiful Provence, the land of roses and

The Troubadour, who was a poet as well as a musician and who wrote the
words of his songs as well as their melodies, played upon a _viole_, or
_vielle_. Another name for it is guitar-fiddle. The instrument was a kind
of guitar, fiddle and hurdy-gurdy all in one, as you will see if you
look at the picture of the _Little Savoyard in Paris_ facing page 14,
made in 1827; for the hurdy-gurdy of the wandering player is a survival
of the old _vielle_. Its body was pear-shaped and over it five strings
were stretched. The _vielle_ was a queer instrument indeed; sometimes it
was played with a bow; sometimes it was plucked with the fingers; and
sometimes it was played by turning a wheel. It was chiefly used by the
Troubadours to support the voice, so it was an accompanying, rather than
a solo, instrument. Gradually the _vielle_ was made larger; and during
this same Thirteenth Century, when there were many new ideas springing up
in the world, somebody got the idea of cutting out the sides of the long
instrument to form a kind of waist. And this waist was the first step
towards our modern violin.

In the Fifteenth Century—two hundred years later—something else
happened,—something of importance for the whole future of music. People
began to make bowed instruments corresponding to the various kinds of
human voices; consequently, these were the treble, or discant, viol; the
tenor viol; the bass viol; and the double-bass, or violone.

The next thing that happened—also in this Fifteenth Century—was the
invention of corner blocks, which followed naturally from the cutting of
the waist, although it took a long time to think of it. You will notice
if you look at the illustrations facing pages 22, 24, 30, 34, and 38,
that a violin has two sharply projecting points on each of its sides,
one at either extremity of the _f_-holes at the waist of the instrument.
These sharp corners mark the position of triangular blocks _inside_
the violin. These blocks are glued to the back and to the belly of the
violin and the ribs of the violin are glued to the blocks. These blocks
are the very corner-stones of the construction of a violin; and they add
very much to the strength and the resonance of the instrument.

[Illustration: ST. CECILIA

_By Jan and Hubert van Eyck_]

If you look at the violins and other bowed instruments in many old
Italian and Flemish paintings you will see that they have only single
corners, as, for instance, the large viol the Angel is holding in the
picture of St. Cecilia facing page 18. Nobody seems to know whether
single, or double, corners came first; but after a time only double
corners were used.

The use of these double corners produced something else that was new.
This was the curving of the ribs at the waist forming a hollowed-out
place called bouts; and these bouts gave the right hand of the player
more freedom to move up and down with the bow. Up to this time the
position of the performer’s hand was stiff and cramped unless there was
a tremendously high bridge to carry the strings. So when the ribs were
curved and the bouts cut, the player’s hand could move more easily and

But even so, the shape of the violin was not fully determined. These
bouts were made according to the idea of every individual maker. They
were small and deep in some instruments, long and shallow in others. They
were often of enormous size and out of all proportion to the general form
of the instrument. Pictures of these old models look very queer to us now.

About the beginning of the Sixteenth Century long and shallow bouts
were universally used and the violin began to take the simple and
graceful form with the double corners with which we are familiar. But,
notwithstanding all these improvements, we have not yet arrived at
our perfect violin. The sound-holes, those two curved openings called
_f_-holes, on either side of the bridge, were not yet in their proper

These _f_-holes were subject to a great deal of experimenting. Strange to
say in the old _vielle_, or _viole_, of the Troubadours they were often
very nearly in the place they occupy to-day, that is to say partly in the
waist and partly in the lower part of the instrument; but the invention
of the bouts displaced them, and, sometimes (indeed very often),
they appear right down at the very bottom of the instrument near the
tail-piece, as you will see if you look at the picture facing page 70.
Makers had an idea that the belly should be left as strong as possible
and that the cutting of these _f_-holes made it weaker. At first they
used a round sound-hole, like that of a guitar, right in the middle of
the instrument. Then they made a pair of crescents, or large C’s turned
face to face, as you will see if you look at the Angel playing in the
picture of St. Cecilia facing page 18; and they liked this so much that
they used these C’s for a hundred years (in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth
Centuries). Then came the “flaming-sword” as in the _viola d’amore_
facing page 50; and then the _f_-hole. But at first the _f_’s were placed
back to back. Finally, about 1580, the Italian makers cut their _f_-holes
front to front.

By the middle of the Seventeenth Century, about the time that our own
country was being settled by the English and Dutch, the violin was ready
for the great makers to improve it in beauty of outline and qualities of

The violin is, therefore, almost exactly the age of our own country!

       *       *       *       *       *

The birthplace of the violin is in one of the world’s loveliest spots—in
the fertile plain of Lombardy, in the northern part of Italy, where the
eyes of the traveller that have feasted on emerald meadows and sapphire
lakes look upward to the snowy Alps, where grew the pines, maples
and sycamores from which the old makers obtained the woods for their
instruments. The very trees were saturated with beauty as they grew on
the mountain slopes. Is it any wonder that the instruments made from such
wood should sing?

In this district and in the Tyrol little colonies of lute-makers and
viol-makers had lived and worked for centuries, supplying Europe with
such instruments as we find represented in old illuminated manuscripts
and described in song and story.

Two towns became especially celebrated for their violins,—Brescia and

Brescia was famous for two makers: Gasparo di Salò and his pupil,
Giovanni Paolo Maggini.

Gasparo di Salò’s real name was Gasparo Bertolotti. He was born in 1542
in the little town of Salò, on the shore of the Lake of Garda, about
twenty miles from Brescia.

Brescia was in those days a pretty town, hidden behind fortified walls
with the usual belfry, palace and Cathedral soaring above them. The
Cathedral was famous for its music and its fine orchestra. The monks
were very friendly with the instrument-makers, who had carried on their
art and trade from generation to generation ever since the beginning of
the Fourteenth Century. In Brescia Gasparo di Salò settled and became
well known for his viols and violins. He probably had many orders from
the monks, with whom he was evidently on good terms; for when he was
ill, at one time of his life, they took care of him. He made most of his
instruments from 1560 to 1610, when he died.

His name is of great importance in the history of the violin. The violins
of Gasparo di Salò are the earliest that are known. They are very rare,
however. The most famous di Salò was owned by Ole Bull, the great
Norwegian violinist. It is now in the Museum in Bergen, Norway. Instead
of the ordinary scroll it has an angel’s head, which is said to have been
carved by Benvenuto Cellini, the gifted silversmith.

“The violins of Gasparo di Salò are of somewhat large build with
strong curves and varnished with a dark brown varnish; but their shape
corresponds little with that adopted by the great Italian makers. The
middle bouts are cut very shallow; the corners project but little and
are strongly rounded, while the sound-holes are large and parallel
to each other—a feature which is peculiar to the Brescian School.
Gasparo selected for his bellies wood of an extraordinary uniformity of
regularity of grain.”[3]

[Illustration: VIOLIN

_By Gasparo di Salò_]

By him the present form of the violin was definitely fixed, as you will
see by looking at the Gasparo di Salò facing page 22. His tenors and
double-basses are superior to his violins and are much sought after.

Maggini was a native of Brescia and worked there from 1590 till 1632,
when he is supposed to have died of the Plague. His early violins
resemble those of Gasparo di Salò; but gradually the sound-holes grow
narrower and by the end of his life Maggini produced violins that were
pure in outline and beautifully finished. Moreover, they are famed for
their grand, deep, _melancholy_ tone. Maggini had learned to be extremely
careful in selecting the wood. In early days the Maggini bellies were cut
across the grain like Gasparo di Salò’s; but, after a while, Maggini cut
with the grain like Amati. His sound-holes grew more delicate, but they
were bevelled inwards (an idea that the Cremona makers rejected). Maggini
violins are also distinguished for their clear, golden-brown varnish
and for their purfling, which is usually _double_. Very often Maggini
indulged his fancy for ornamentation by twisting the purfling into a
graceful clover-leaf pattern on the backs of his violins.

Maggini violins are very rare. The last one to come to light was
discovered by Efrem Zimbalist about a year ago. The way it came into his
possession is as romantic a story as was ever told about a violin.

Zimbalist happened to be at Lake George. A policeman came to him one
day and said: “Mr. Zimbalist, I have an old violin that has been in the
garret for about seventy or eighty years. I have just been offered
a hundred dollars for it and I want you to tell me if I shall take
it.” “Bring the violin to me,” said Zimbalist, “and I’ll try it.” The
policeman returned with a dark, dirty old instrument, unstrung and in bad
condition. It was not prepossessing, but Zimbalist strung it and tried it.

“I’ll give you,” he said to the policeman, “a hundred and fifty dollars
for it now; and if I find that it is what I think it is, I will give you
a hundred and fifty more.”

Zimbalist brought the violin to New York and took it to a repairer, who
worked over it and at length brought it back to its original state.
Delighted with the violin, Zimbalist sent the policeman five hundred
dollars. Soon afterwards the violin repairer offered Zimbalist five
thousand dollars for it. The old, black, neglected violin had turned out
to be a beautiful Maggini.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not very far away from Brescia is the town of Cremona on the river Po.
Cremona! The very name gives us a thrill! The town, though small, was an
artistic centre. Its school of painting was nearly as famous as that of
Bologna, and in its stately Cathedral just as beautiful music was heard
as in the Cathedral of Brescia. The wealthy prelates and learned monks
encouraged and trained musicians of the first rank; and naturally there
was a great demand for fine instruments. Cremona had long been a rival of
Brescia in the production of viols and violins and now that Maggini had
made so many improvements, the Cremonese makers were quick to follow, so
quick indeed and so skilful that Cremona went ahead of Brescia and became
the centre of violin-making for the whole world from 1560 to 1760—two
hundred years! And it is thrilling to realize that in this little town,
in three workshops side by side, on the Piazza San Domenico, _all the
great violins of the world were made_ and in friendly competition by the
three families of Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri.

[Illustration: VIOLIN

_By Maggini_]

The Amati family was of good position. Their name goes back in the
records of Cremona to the year 1097. The first one of interest to us is
Andreas Amati, who was born in 1520 and who died in 1611. He may have
been a pupil of Gasparo di Salò and then again he may not. At any rate,
his model differs very much from Gasparo’s and marks a great advance,
although it still retains the stiff, upright Brescian sound-hole. Andreas
Amati chose a smaller model with belly and back very high. His outline
was very graceful; his scroll beautifully cut; his varnish of an amber
color; and he was noted for his _careful selection of wood_. Very few of
his works have survived. His sons, Antonio and Geronimo (Antonius and
Hieronymus as they are also known), improved on their father’s style. To
them is due much of the reputation of the Amati violin; for they reduced
the outlines to beautiful curves; were careful about the wood they used;
and they perfected a rich, clear varnish. These brothers worked together
and apart and produced a model that for artistic design and _sweetness of
tone_ has never been surpassed.

Then came Nicolò Amati (1576-1684), greatest of them all. He was the
son of Geronimo. First he copied the family model and then developed
a style of his own, producing an even more graceful outline, a richer
and _deeper_ varnish and a greater power and clearness of tone, without
sacrificing the peculiar sweetness and charm that is characteristic of
all the Amati violins. Nicolò, as a rule, made rather small violins, but
he also made some large ones. These are known as the “Grand Amatis” and
they are very highly prized to-day.

“Most of the Nicolò violins before 1645 are of the smaller pattern,
but after this date down to 1684, the year of his death, the eye of a
connoisseur will notice an increase in size, a finish in workmanship and
a more delicate purfle (never double). The model is still somewhat high
in back and belly, but with an increasing tendency to get flatter; the
side grooving is less pronounced, whilst the corners are noticeably drawn
out into finer points full of character, arresting the eye, lightening,
as it were, the model and giving the whole physiognomy of the instrument
a piquancy hitherto unattempted.”[4]

In his workshop on the Piazza San Domenico Nicolò Amati had many pupils
and apprentices. Among them were the Guarneri brothers and Antonio

Everybody has heard of Stradivari, or Stradivarius, for he is often
called by the Latin version of his Italian name. Stradivari was the
greatest of all violin-makers; and his violins are to-day as valuable as

[Illustration: CREMONA IN 1830

_By Caporali_]

What Stradivari really did during his long and industrious life was to
take the model of Nicolò Amati and improve it, searching ever to get
_intensity of tone without sacrificing sweetness_. In other words, he was
doing just what Nicolò Amati had done before him; and he applied all his
life, all his energies and all his thought to this purpose.

“Stradivari’s main improvements consisted of (1) In lowering the
height of the model, that is, the arch of the belly and in altering
this flattened curve to a more uniform arch, so as to afford greater
resistance to the pressure of the strings. (2) In making the four corner
blocks more massive, in an improved method of dove-tailing the linings
at the blocks, and in giving a quarter curvature to the middle ribs, the
result of which is to make the curves more prominent in the outline and
to increase the tension of the parts. (3) In altering the setting of the
sound-holes, giving them a decided inclination to each other at the top,
thus following the general upward diminution of the pattern and in fixing
the position of the sound-holes relatively to the corner blocks. (4) In
making the scroll more massive and prominent, thus rendering it less
liable to split at the peg-holes and forming more of a counterpoise in
the hand of the player.”[5]

Antonio Stradivari came from an old Cremonese family, members of which
held public office as early as 1127. There is not much to tell about his
life. He was born in 1644 and died in 1737 at the age of ninety-three.
When he married in 1667, he left Amati’s workshop and opened his own
a few doors away. When Nicolò Amati died, he left Stradivari all his
tools. By this time Stradivari had bought a house, No. 2, Piazza San
Domenico (No. 1, Piazza Roma from 1870 until it was pulled down), and
there in the top loft, or garret, he worked so industriously that the
people of Cremona had a proverb “rich as Stradivari.” No authentic
portrait of him is known. According to tradition, he was tall and thin.
In winter he wore a white woollen cap and in summer a white cotton one
and he always wore a white leather apron over his clothes when he was at

Mr. Haweis, some years ago, went on a special search for the house of
Stradivari and found it, after much difficulty; for the people of Cremona
had forgotten all about the man who made their town famous. However,
he succeeded in discovering the house. He takes us directly into this
romantic spot: “I stood in the open loft at the top of the house where
still in the old beams stuck the rusty old nails upon which he hung
up his violins. And I saw out upon the north, the wide blue sky just
mellowing to rich purple and flecked here and there with orange streaks
prophetic of sunset. Whenever Stradivari looked up from his work if he
looked north his eyes fell on the old towers of S. Marcellino and S.
Antonio; if he looked west the Cathedral with its tall campanile rose
dark against the sky; and what a sky! Full of clear sun in the morning,
full of pure heat all day and bathed with ineffable tints in the cool of
the evening when the light lay low upon the vinery and hanging-garden,
or spangled with ruddy gold the eaves, the roofs and frescoed walls of
the houses. High up in the air with the sun his helper, the light his
minister, the blessed soft airs his journeymen through the long warm days
worked Antonio Stradivari.”

Stradivari is supposed to have made two thousand instruments! He also
made lutes, mandolins and guitars and every detail of his instruments,
including the pegs! In those days princes and other rich amateurs ordered
their violins; and they would come themselves, or send some important
deputy, to the instrument-maker to talk it all over, and, often, indeed,
to give the measurements of their arms and bodies so as to get a violin
that should be exactly suited to the performer. In those days the best
concerts took place in private homes; and the wealthy patron of art
liked to own many fine instruments for his own little orchestra to play
upon, and still choicer ones for guests, who, in those troublous times
of war, rarely took their own valuable instruments travelling with them.
Stradivari, like other makers, was frequently asked to supply “a chest of
viols,” or a “set of instruments.” He was, therefore, very busy, filling
orders all the time. Meanwhile, he was thinking out, as he filled his
orders, the great problem of how to get a more carrying and penetrating
tone without sacrificing beauty and sonority. To give an idea of the work
he used to have, the King of Poland, in 1715, ordered twelve violins for
his court orchestra; then Cardinal Orsini (afterwards Pope Benedict XIII)
ordered a violoncello of Stradivari in 1685; and in 1687 the Spanish
Court ordered a set of stringed instruments that were ornamented with
ivory purfling. One of these found its way into the hands of Ole Bull
and was afterwards sold to Dr. Charles Oldham of Brighton.

Stradivari, in his early period, followed the Amati style, with, however,
a freer sweep of the scroll. He began to sign his violins, that is to
say to put a label, or ticket, inside of them, about 1700; and from that
date to 1725 he created his master-works. He gradually diminished the
arch under the bridge and, finally, produced the _flat_ model. Stradivari
only ceased to work in the last year of his life. For those great violins
that are now known by special names, the “Messiah,” the “Pucelle,” the
“Viotti,” the “Bossier,” the “Dolphin,” the “Hellier,” and so on, that
are now worth fortunes, the maker was paid from fifty to two hundred
dollars apiece!

What would old Stradivari say could he know the prices that are given
for these violins when they change hands! He would be amazed beyond
measure; but his delight would be greater if he could hear the rich tones
that are given forth from his instruments mellowed with age. Moreover,
violinists did not play in Stradivari’s time as they play now. Could the
old Cremonese maker see and hear the violins that he made and learned to
know and love as they took shape beneath his skilful touch in the hands
of Fritz Kreisler or Efrem Zimbalist—what would he think!

[Illustration: VIOLIN

_By Antonius and Hieronymus Amati_]

An authority tells us that: “After 1690 his individuality began to
assert itself, his model became more graceful and flatter, the _f_-holes
elegant and reclining, the centre bouts gracefully drawn out, as also
the corners; the scroll is bold and striking; the purfling rather
narrow; and the varnish beautiful golden, or light red. It was at the
end of this period that he made the violins known as the ‘Long Strads,’
so called from their narrowness between the _f_-holes, giving them a
lanky appearance, the size varying, and the varnish amber, or light red.
The year 1700 brings us to his best period, the model flattish, the
wood cut on the quarter and thickest in the centre under the bridge,
the curves gentle and harmonious, the wood of the blocks very light,
often formed of willow, the scroll perfect in its symmetry. The graceful
_f_-holes, the transcendently glorious amber-colored, or ruby, varnish
are all characteristics of this epoch of the greatest master’s greatest
power. His last instruments have the purfling pointed across the corner
instead of following it round; and it is not uncommon to find it running
completely through the corner. His ticket runs ‘Antonio Stradivarius
Cremonensis faciebat Anno 17—’. His years of experiment resulted in a
neatly compacted instrument with light edges, accurate corners, round
arching, broadly treated but exquisitely graceful sound-holes and scroll
and a varnish soft in texture which shades deliciously from orange to
red. From 1703 until about 1709, the year of those famous violins, the
‘Pucelle’ and the ‘Viotti,’ Stradivari seems to have settled upon certain
points of construction from which he rarely afterwards departed. In 1711
he made the fine violin known as the ‘Parke;’ in 1713, the ‘Boissier,’
which belonged to Sarasate; in 1714, the ‘Dolphin;’ and in 1715, the
‘Gillot’ and the ‘Alard,’ which experts look upon as the master’s finest
creations; and in 1716, came the ‘Messiah.’ No detail of his work was too
unimportant for the master’s vigilant observation. That he personally
designed the pegs, finger-boards, tail-pieces, inlaid patterns, bridges
and even the minutest details of his violin cases, is attested by the
numerous drawings of these in the Della Valle collection while the
several sketches for bow tips and nuts reveal the interesting fact that
he also made bows. Generally speaking, the so-called Lost Cremona Varnish
was in the writer’s opinion no secret in Stradivari’s lifetime, but the
common property of the lute-makers of the day, who compounded it from
the materials used by the great painters of the epoch. Stradivari’s
own recipe was inscribed on the fly-leaf of a family Bible, but his
descendant, Giacomo Stradivari, destroyed this.”[6]

Two sons carried on their father’s work, but they produced nothing

There were five of the Guarneri who were distinguished violin-makers. The
first was Andreas, who worked with Stradivari in the workshop of Nicolò
Amati. He afterwards developed an original style. The important member
was Joseph del Gesù, so called from the “I. H. S.” he added to his name
on the labels of his violins. Just why he did this nobody seems to know.
As he was the son of Gian Battista, he may have humorously wanted to
say he was greater than his father. Joseph, or Giuseppe, Guarneri was
born in 1687 and died in 1745. His latest productions, from 1740 till
his death, are his best. Whether he was a pupil of Stradivari, or not,
matters little. His real master was old Gasparo di Salò; for he revived
the bold, rugged outline and the powerful tone of the early Brescian
maker, as you will see if you compare the violins facing pages 22 and 38.
Joseph del Gesù was searching after _tone_; and he got it. He seems to
have led a wild life; and there is a story that once he got into trouble
and was locked up in prison and that the jailer’s daughter brought him
wood and tools so that he could make violins. These violins are called
“Prison Josephs”; and, judging from the number of them in the world,
Joseph del Gesù must have stayed a long time in prison and have been very
industrious while there.

Paganini had a Joseph del Gesù and preferred it to his Stradivari. He
always played upon it; and when he died, he left it to the Town Hall in
Genoa, where it is still to be seen. It is represented facing page 38.

One more and we shall have finished with the Cremonese makers. This is
Carlo Bergonzi, Stradivari’s favorite pupil. Carlo lived next door to
Stradivari; and when the latter died, he moved into Stradivari’s house
and lived with the latter’s son. First Bergonzi copied the Stradivari
model and then he tried for power; so he endeavored to combine the model
of Stradivari and that of Joseph Guarneri. The model that he produced is
bold, broad and massive and gives a strong, rich, full tone. Bergonzi
worked twenty-five years; but only about sixty authentic instruments of
his are known. Bergonzi was born in 1712 and died in 1750.

We must not imagine that these makers of whom we have been talking were
the _only_ ones at work in Lombardy during these two hundred years. If we
take the pains to look at any books on violin-making we will be amazed at
the long, long list of Italian makers of lutes and violins. There were
about as many of them as there are makers of pianos in the United States

There were also many German instrument-makers at work, particularly in
the Tyrol, where the pines were so plentiful; but the only one of any
great reputation is Jacob Stainer, who was born in the little town of
Absam near Innsbrück in 1621. He may have gone to Cremona, which was not
far away from his home, and have worked there, or he may have just had
some models. At any rate, his violins are more like those of Cremona than
are those of any other German maker.

Stainer’s violins bear a rough resemblance to the Amati violins; but they
are very much higher, and the _f_-holes are shorter and are very thick
and clumsy. Stainer made twelve violins for the Electors of his country;
and these “Elector Stainers,” as they are called, are his most famous
productions. He died in 1683.

It is said that this old maker used to walk through the wooded slopes
of the Tyrolean mountains with a hammer in his hand and that he would
knock the trunks of the trees and listen to the vibrations. When he
found a tree that suited him, he had it cut down to use in making his


The question of wood was of the greatest importance. “The wood must be
cut only in December and January and only that part must be used which
has been exposed to the sun. You may cut up planks before you find a
piece suitable for a really fine back, or belly. Witness the grain of a
Stradivari or Amati violin; mark the almost pictorially beautiful health
and evenness of its wavy lines, free from all knots, irregularity of
growth, studded with symmetrical and billowy veins where the rich sap
once flowed. And when the wood is cut it must be tempered and dried, not
with artificial warmth but with the slow and penetrating influence of a
dry, warm Cremona climate. For no customer, no market could the process
be hurried. And the application of the varnish required corresponding
care. It was to be perfectly wedded to the rare wood—a companionship
destined to last for ages—to outlast so many generations of men and
women, was not to be enterprised or undertaken lightly. In the spring
when the air got clear and bright and the storms were past, the subtle
gums and oils were mixed slowly and deliberately: hours to stand,
hours to settle, hours for perfect fusing and amalgamation of parts;
clear, white light gleaming from roads strewn with the dazzling marble
dust of Lombardy; clear blue sky, warm dry air, and the skill of an
alchemist,—these were the conditions for mixing the incomparable Cremona
varnish. So deliberately was it prepared and laid on, just where the wood
was fit to receive it—laid on in three coats in such a manner as to sink
into the dessicated pores and become a part of the wood, as the aromatic
herbs and juices become a part of the flesh that is embalmed for a
thousand years. All through the summer did that matchless varnish, which
some say contained ground amber and which, at any rate, was charged with
subtle secrets, sink and sink into the sycamore and deal plates, until
now, when age has rubbed away its clear and agate crust in many places,
the violin is found no longer to need that protection, for the wood
itself seems to have become petrified into clear agate and is capable
throughout its myriad pores and fibres of resisting the worm and even
damp and other ravaging influence of ordinary decay.”[7]

When Joachim was asked why he preferred a Stradivari to any other violin,
he replied: “A Stradivari is a mine of musical sound into which the
player can dig and bring out hidden beauties of tone.” And then he went
on to say: “While the violins of Maggini are remarkable for volume of
tone and those of Amati for liquidity, none of the celebrated makers
exhibit the union of sweetness and power in so pre-eminent a degree as
Giuseppe Guarnieri (del Gesù) and Antonio Stradivari. If I am to give
expression to my individual feeling, I must pronounce for the latter as
my chosen favorite. It is true that in brilliancy and clearness, even
in liquidity, Guarneri is not surpassed by him; but what appears to me
peculiar to the tone of Stradivari is a more unlimited capacity for
expressing the most varied accents of feeling. The tone seems to well
forth like a spring and to be capable of infinite modification under
the bow. Stradivari’s violins affording a strong resistance to the bow,
when resistance is desired, yet responding to its lightest breath,
emphatically require that the player’s ear shall patiently listen until
it catches the secret of drawing out their tone. Their beauty of tone
is not so easily reached as in the violins of many other makers. Their
vibrations increase in warmth the more the player, discovering their
richness and variety, seeks from the instrument a sympathetic echo of his
own emotions: so much so that these violins seem to be living beings and
become, as it were, the player’s familiars—as if Stradivari had breathed
a soul into them in a manner achieved by no other master. It is this
which stamps them as creations of an artistic mind, as positive works of

       *       *       *       *       *

We have talked about the construction of the violin and of its great
makers; now let us turn our attention to the actual playing of the

The four strings—G, D, A, and E—are made of catgut[8] and the lowest—the
G—is wound with silver. These strings do not run exactly parallel but
taper gradually from the bridge to the nut. The nut is a tiny, raised
bar of ebony at the extreme end of the fingerboard; and on the nut the
strings rest on their way to the pegs. Through each peg a tiny hole is
bored. The string passes through that hole and is looped around itself;
and then the peg is screwed up, or turned, until the proper note, or
pitch, is found. The violin is tuned in fifths.

These four strings give what are called the open notes—G, D, A, and E.
The lowest note possible to get from the violin is this open G.

On the piano every note is ready and waiting for us to touch. Not so on
the violin. Every note (except the open ones) the performer has to make.
He has only four fingers to make these notes because his thumb simply
helps the hand take its various _positions_. Generally speaking, there
are seven positions; for the three still higher ones are rarely used.
With each position, the hand is shifted a little higher on the neck of
the violin; and the thumb and wrist gradually turn, the thumb from and
the wrist towards the face of the player. As the hand creeps up upon the
instrument, the fingers come closer together and the notes lie nearer to
one another on the strings. The flexible little finger can be extended
still further in each position while the position of the wrist and thumb
is still retained.

As each finger presses the string tightly and firmly, the player shortens
the vibration (or length) of the string and gets a special note. He
learns to know his fingerboard and where all the notes lie on the strings
with their intervals of whole tones and half-tones; and just what finger
to place on these notes if he wants to play in the first, third, or
fifth, position,—and so forth. The violinist rarely plays in any one
position; but lets his wrist move up and down and his fingers fly all
over the fingerboard, playing in all the positions just as he pleases.
The player has to have a very accurate knowledge of the fingerboard;
and then, beyond that knowledge, a very correct ear so that he may play
in perfect tune, or good _intonation_, as it is called. A beginner on
the violin finds this task even harder than to learn to draw a firm,
straight, even and liquid bow. He has to listen to every note he produces
and test it, as it were, until, after a time, he learns the fingerboard
and his fingers drop on the right spots automatically. Of all musicians
the players of strings have the most sensitive, accurate and the best
trained ears.

[Illustration: VIOLIN

_By Guarneri del Gesù. Owned by Paganini_]

On the strings certain other notes are produced called harmonics. At
certain places on a string there are nodes, as they are called, where,
by lightly touching the string with the finger, over-tones are set
vibrating. These are very strange and curious. They sound ethereal and
flute-like. There are two kinds of harmonics: natural harmonics and
artificial harmonics. The natural harmonics are found on the open strings
at certain definite places. There are _five_ of these on each string.
The artificial harmonics are produced by stopping the string with one
finger and touching it lightly with another. These harmonics are harder
to master; and they are a great worry to a violinist, because if his
violin gets out of tune (drops a little from the heat of a concert hall,
perhaps) the proper harmonics cannot be played. The question of harmonics
is one that belongs to the science of acoustics and it is a very hard one
to understand.

The strings are different in character and quality of tone. The G is very
rich and mellow; D and A (particularly D) are sweet and warm; and E is
very penetrating. The French call the latter _chanterelle_ because it so
often sings the melody.

One peculiar charm about the violin is that though each of these strings
has an individual character they “carry over” into each other so
beautifully that a good player can pass from one to another smoothly and
evenly. He mixes them, as it were, into a lovely whole. In passing from
one position to another the violinist often _delicately_ slides with his
finger up to, or down from, a note. This effect is called _portamento_;
and it is one of the charms in violin-playing. Do not think that with his
first fingers, the artist slides along the string until he finds the note
he wants. Nothing of the kind. He slides up the string with one finger to
_nearly the place_ he wants and then drops another finger firmly on the
right note. But this _portamento_ is done so beautifully, so lightly and
so swiftly that we never hear a slur, but are only conscious of a lovely
and graceful effect.

When the composer wants to produce a very soft and veiled impression he
writes on his score for the strings _con sordini_. The _sordino_ is a
little brass, or wooden, article that looks like a comb. It is placed on
the bridge, teeth downwards, to add weight and to deaden the vibrations.
You will often see each of the Strings take his _sordino_ out of his
waistcoat pocket and place it on the bridge of his instrument during the
performance of a composition. Very few compositions are played with the
_sordino_ all the way through.

The left hand of a violinist is, to a certain degree, _mechanical_ and
trained to get accurate intonation, perfect position and tremendous
dexterity. His right hand has another kind of work to do. The bowing of
a violinist is what _breath_ is to a singer and what _touch_ is to a
pianist. The beauty and delicacy of tone and the astonishing effects of
scattering showers of notes about are all the work of the loose wrist,
strong and flexible arm and yielding fingers that hold the bow and draw
it across the strings.


_Eighteenth Century_]

The rich, velvety, smooth and peaceful _legato_; the detached or short,
sharp strokes; the hammered; the jumping; and the harp-like effects,
the _arpeggios_ (or open chords) swinging back and forth, are all
accomplished by the bow. Once in a great while, we hear a strange and
weird effect caused by rapping the string lightly with the stick of the
bow. But this is only a kind of trick that composers sometimes introduce.
Liszt calls for it in his _Mazeppa_; Saint-Saëns in his _Danse Macabre_;
and Strauss in _Also Sprach Zarasthustra_.

More often the violins (and other stringed instruments) play
_pizzicato_,—that is the violinist rests his thumb against the
fingerboard and plucks the strings with the tip of his forefinger.

Beethoven makes an effective use of this in the _Scherzo_ of his _Fifth
Symphony_ and so does Tschaikowsky in the _Scherzo_ of his _F-minor

In the Orchestra violins are classified into First and Second, as we have
seen, the First Violins sitting on the Conductor’s left and the Second
Violins on his right hand. They sit two and two, each couple sharing a
desk. The First Violins sing the high Soprano and the Second Violins the
mezzo-soprano. The First Violin in the whole Orchestra is called the
Concert-meister, or Concert-master, or simply the First Violin. Very
often he plays an elaborate solo passage.

Before the days of modern Conductors the First Violin used to be the
Conductor of the orchestra, or, we might say, the Conductor played the
violin and led the Orchestra at the same time. But although the First
Violin has no longer this double duty, his importance in the Orchestra is
very great. On him depends the _attack_ and phrasing of the first violin
and to a certain extent of the entire string Orchestra.

With regard to the position of the violin in the Orchestra let us
hear Lavignac: “The violin,” he says, “is preëminently a _melodic_
instrument,—the splendid _sparkling soprano_ of the stringed tribe, the
richest in varied effects, the most agile and the most impassioned of
orchestral elements.”

And now having understood its value as an individual, let us turn to
Berlioz to get an idea of its team-work.

“Violins are capable of a host of apparently inconsistent shades of
expression. They possess (as a whole) force, lightness, grace, accents
both gloomy and gay, thought and passion. _The only point is to know how
to make them speak._ Slow and tender melodies are never better rendered
than by a mass of violins. Nothing can equal the touching sweetness of
a score of first strings made to sing by twenty well-skilled bows. The
violin is, in fact, the true female voice of the Orchestra,—a voice at
once passionate and chaste, heart-rending yet soft, which can weep, sigh
and lament, chant, pray and muse, or burst forth into joyous accents
as none other can do. An imperceptible movement of the arm, an almost
unconscious sentiment on the part of him who experiences it, producing
scarcely any apparent effect when executed by a single violin will,
when multiplied by a number of them in unison, give forth enchanting
gradation, irresistible impulse and accents which penetrate to the very
heart’s core.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Until the bow was perfected there was no brilliant violin-playing as we
understand it to-day. It took a long time for the bow to develop. There
was a “Stradivari of the bow”; and the name of this person so valuable to
the art of violin-playing is François Tourte (see portrait facing page
44). All bows are made on Tourte’s model. A real Tourte bow commands a
high price.

To understand what Tourte did, we shall have to go back to the early days
of the violin and see what kind of a bow the old players used.

The earliest bow with which the _viole_, or _vielle_, and the early
violin was played was shaped just like the bow from which an arrow is
drawn,—a cord stretched from end to end of a stick. It was a very clumsy
affair. In the Thirteenth Century when the violin began to develop as
we have seen (see page 17), the bow began to change, too. The first
improvement was to make one end blunt and to use hair instead of a cord.
The head, or tip, was still sharply pointed. Nothing happened until the
time of Corelli, the Italian composer and violinist (1653-1713), who
did so much to improve violin-playing. He and others of his time used a
straight, short bow, which was not at all elastic, although it was made
of light wood. This was a distinct gain, as was also the novel idea of a
screw by which the hair could be regulated.

The next change took place in the time of another Italian violinist,
Tartini (1692-1770), the one who wrote the _Devil’s Sonata_, the melody
of which he said the Devil played to him one night in a dream. Tartini
used a longer bow than Corelli. It was also thinner and more elastic; but
the head of it was still scooped like the ancient ones.

Then, at the end of the Eighteenth Century, François Tourte (1747-1835),
worked away making bows, as his father had done before him, until he
developed the modern bow. It appeared just about the time of the French
Revolution. Like Stradivari, Tourte continued to work till the end of his
life. He worked all day in his workshop in Paris, No. 10 Quai de l’École,
and on Sundays and holidays he sat on the banks of the Seine fishing,
just as they do to-day, and occasionally caught a tiny little fish to the
envy of excited rivals around him.

With the stiff, straight, heavy, unelastic bow, the violinist could,
of course, produce very few effects. Tourte’s improvements almost
revolutionized violin-playing. It is said that Viotti, another Italian
(1753-1824), and perhaps up to his time the greatest violinist that had
appeared, gave Tourte the benefit of his ideas.

It is only by the use of an _elastic_ bow that a violinist is able to
produce his wonderful effects. Bowing is to the violinist what breath
is to the singer and touch to the pianist: _it is only through the bow_
that the violinist is able to express his emotions and ideas. So until
Tourte’s time there was no real _Art of Bowing_, although Tartini wrote a
little book on the subject.

[Illustration: FRANÇOIS TOURTE

“_The Stradivari of the bow_”]

The world was slow to adopt Tourte’s bow; and it was not until Paganini
(1784-1840), the Italian wizard, came on the stage that a revolution in
violin-playing took place. Paganini used every imaginable movement of
the bow and developed the flexibility of the wrist. Then a new School of
violin-playing arose and violin-playing gradually developed into what it
is to-day.

“Tourte’s first experiments are said to have been made from the staves of
old sugar hogsheads from Brazil. This is not unlikely. Probably the best
slabs of Brazil-wood employed for this purpose had acquired a certain
additional elasticity from the combined effect of exposure to tropical
heat and the absorption of the saccharine juices.

“It is certain that the greater elasticity which he secured in the
stick by the choice and preparation 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 realize what had long
been the desideratum of a violinist,—a _bow which should be strong and
elastic without being heavy_. By thus increasing and economising the
resistance of the stick, he liberated the player’s thumb and fingers from
much useless weight. By a series of patient experiments he determined
the right curvature for the stick and the rule for tapering it gradually
towards the point so as to have the centre of gravity in the right
place, or, in other words, to ‘balance’ properly over the strings in
the hands of the player. He determined the true length of the 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 band of metal fitted on a slide of

Tourte’s violin bows are from 29 to 29½ inches long; a viola bow is 29
inches; and a ’cello bow is from 28½ to 28¾ inches. The stick of a violin
bow is made of Brazilian snake wood, or lance wood, reddish and slightly
mottled. It is cut straight, following the grain of the wood and then it
is slightly bent by the application of heat. The hair, fastened into the
tip by a plug, is inserted into the nut of the bow (made of ebony, or
tortoise shell); it can be made tighter, or looser, by turning the screw
in the nut. There are from 175 to 200 hairs in a bow and these are taken
from tails of stallions. White hair is used for the violin, viola and
violoncello and black for the double-bass. Rosin is rubbed on the bow to
increase its friction.

A violinist takes just as much care of his bow as he does of his violin.
When he has finished playing, he wipes his violin carefully with a silk
handkerchief before he places it tenderly in the case; then he _unscrews_
his bow and places it in the rests in the top of the case.



    _The viol family; the tenor viol; technique of the viola;
    viola’s place in the orchestra; Mozart’s use of the viola;
    Beethoven’s use of the viola; Berlioz’s “Harold Symphony”;
    Wagner’s use of the viola; viola as treated by modern
    composers; Berlioz on the viola._

The viola is a fifth lower than the violin and an octave higher than the
violoncello. Its strings are C, G, D and A. The C string is particularly
resonant. The technique is the same as that of the violin; but the bow,
though similar in size and shape, is less elastic.

To understand the viola we shall have to go back to the Fifteenth Century
to examine a group of instruments that were the ancestors of the present
family of Strings.

This was the Viol Family. There were four sizes of instruments. There was
the Treble, or Discant (which always played the melody); the _viola da
braccio_ (played with the arm), or tenor; the _viola da gamba_ (the leg
viola), the bass viol; and the _violone_, or double-bass.

Another member of this family was the _viola d’amore_ (the viola
of love), a choice example of which appears facing page 50. It had
“sympathetic strings.”

These viols were all tuned in thirds, or fourths, instead of fifths, as
our modern Strings now tune.

And here we must pause for another moment to speak of an ancient
viol-maker named Gaspard Duiffoprugcar (his name is spelled in many
ways), who was born in 1514 and who died in 1570. He lived in that very
brilliant period, the Renaissance, when Italian painters were producing
magnificent works and when poets and dramatists were writing masterpieces
every day. The rich lords and ladies who patronized these artists were
very highly cultivated and accomplished; and Music was not the least
of their pleasures. Every house of wealth had a collection of fine
instruments, though this was before the days of Amati and Stradivari.

Duiffoprugcar lived in the Tyrol in the region of pines, in which
instrument-makers had long been settled, and he made lutes and viols all
his life. His instruments come so nearly to being violins that he is
sometimes called the first maker of violins. But in his hands the violin
did not quite reach the form that we find in Gasparo di Salò, who, as we
have seen (see page 22) was the true creator of the violin.

Duiffoprugcar’s instruments are valued not only because they are old and
rare, but also because they are works of art. They are often elaborately
inlaid and carved, such as the one facing page 54. Another of his
instruments, in the Brussels Conservatory, has the plan of Paris inlaid
in colored woods on the back, while the scroll ends in a finely carved
horse’s head. And still another has inlaid in the back a poetic Latin
inscription, which is a riddle that could be applied to any stringed
instrument. Translated, it reads as follows:

“_I was living in the forest; the cruel axe killed me. Living, I was
mute; dead, I sing sweetly._”


_Samuel Lifschey_]

The tenor viol was the ancestor of our modern viola. It was the oldest of
the viol family. It was very large and very hard to play, because it was
so difficult to hold comfortably. But the instrument was too important
to be sacrificed to the convenience of the player and the latter had
to get along with it as well as he could; for, in the general plan of
Mediæval Music, the tenor always sang, or sustained, the melody, or
_cantus_. The need for a more manageable instrument to play the leading
melody is one of the reasons that brought about the creation of the
_little violin_ which was destined to sing soprano. But at the time we
are talking about there was no violin. This great, big, awkward tenor
viol was called _Violino_! Then when the instrument-makers developed
the little instrument that we call _violin_, they gave it the name
_violino piccolo_, or little violin. The newcomer was really the little
tenor viol! Both _violino_ (or tenor) and its small companion, _violino
piccolo_, were made in great numbers in Lombardy, whence they were sent
to the wealthy houses throughout Europe. The makers, as we have seen,
began to improve the _violino piccolo_ to get more tone out of it. They
also tried for sweetness; and the beautiful violin came into being to
charm the world. In the meantime, _violinos_ were made in two sizes—tenor
and alto. After a time these two instruments were combined into one. Then
the great, big, awkward tenor viol disappeared and the viola took its

Therefore the viola is sometimes referred to as the alto and sometimes as
the tenor. Both names are correct.

The viola has been made in many sizes, from the huge instruments by
Gasparo di Salò to instruments not much larger than the modern violin.
The standard size is now about one-seventh larger than the ordinary

Fine violas are rare. Those by Maggini, of which not a dozen exist, are
especially valued. They are of a very high model: the corners short; the
purfling double; the sound-holes short, wide, upright, under-cut on the
inner edge and placed higher than on his violins; the wood is fine; and
the varnish is golden brown.

A viola often has “sleepy places,” where the notes sound muffled; and it
is also apt to have the dreaded “wolf.”[10]

It is often said that the viola is too large to be held like a violin and
too small to be held like a violoncello. So it might be described as a
half-and-half way instrument between the two.


Music for the viola is written in the Alto, or C, Clef (on the third
line). The highest notes are, however, written in the Treble, Violin,
Soprano, or G, Clef.

Important as the viola is in the Orchestra to-day, it was a long time
before the beauty of its voice and its technical possibilities were
recognized. It was only used to play subordinate middle parts, filling
up time and helping along now and then with the bass. Never, _never_ was
it allowed to lift its sad, melancholy, tragic and religious voice. No
matter how longingly it might listen to the other instruments singing
a melody, or chattering to one another, it was doomed to silence. No
composer would let it speak. Nobody ever dreamed that _it_ had anything
to say!

_But it was there all the time._ Patient old viola, just used for the
_tutti_ passages, where every voice speaks, or screams, or cries, at
once. Sometimes in rare delight it was allowed to play in unison with the
violoncellos, and, more rarely, in unison with the violins.

But Mozart—to whom Music owes so much—_discovered the possibilities_ of
the viola!

Mozart gave the viola its proper place in the Orchestra, making it
something more than a large violin filling up a gap between soprano and
bass. He made it important in his _Trios_ and lifted it into prominence
by writing a Concerto for violin, viola and Orchestra! The next time
you hear Mozart’s magnificent _Don Giovanni_ listen for the viola, when
Zerlina is singing her aria, _Vedrai carino_. The viola has a great
deal to say in this tender love song and says it as beautifully and as
tenderly as Zerlina herself.

The viola became of great importance in Beethoven’s _Trios_, _Quartets_
and _Quintets_; and, to its joy, it was allowed to take a prominent part
in the Orchestra! First it was permitted to sing with the violoncellos
and bassoons, as in the _Egmont Overture_, and then actually to play with
the violoncellos the exquisite melody in the Andante of Beethoven’s _C
minor Symphony_ (_the Fifth_). The first critics who heard this Symphony
noticed to their amazement that the violoncellos gained roundness and
purity of tone from their association with the viola!

There are many places in Beethoven’s _Symphonies_ where the violas are
conspicuous; and they are always noble as well as beautiful. The violas
also play with the violoncellos in the Choral finale of the _Ninth

Hector Berlioz, always original, did a fine thing for the viola by
writing a big solo part for it in his _Harold Symphony_, which describes
Byron’s wanderings of Childe Harold in Italy. The viola impersonates
Childe Harold.

Wagner saw what fine use Beethoven had made of this instrument; and with
his wonderful gift for understanding the character, quality and color of
every instrumental voice in the Orchestra, Wagner was impressed with the
possibilities of the viola.


There are new original passages and splendid melodies for the viola in
all of Wagner’s music-dramas (a student could find great profit and
pleasure by taking the orchestral scores of these works and following
the viola part from beginning to end), but one instance will suffice to
emphasize the important use Wagner made of this instrument.

The next time you hear the Overture to _Tannhäuser_ listen for the
_motive of the Venusberg_! This phrase, which Lavignac so aptly
says “recalls Weber when he is fantastic and Mendelssohn when he is
fairy-like,” is given to the viola! Here in this melodious passage Wagner
showed that the quiet, old, sedate viola could be wild, playful and
fiery. And Wagner was the first to exhibit the viola in such a _rôle_.

Tschaikowsky’s _Pathetic Symphony_ has a splendid part for this
instrument. Elgar also gives the viola much to do in his works; and
Richard Strauss, carrying Wagner’s fantastic ideas still farther, made
the viola impersonate Sancho Panza in the _Don Quixote Variations_, where
he treats it elaborately, whimsically and delightfully.

But very likely none of these composers would have thought about this
instrument had it not been for Berlioz, who said: “Of all instruments
in the Orchestra the one whose excellent qualities have been longest
misappreciated is the viola. It is no less agile than the violin.
The sound of its strings is peculiarly telling. Its upper notes are
distinguished by their mournfully passionate accent; and its quality
of tone, altogether of profound melancholy, differs from that of other
instruments played with a bow.

“The viola has, nevertheless been long neglected or put to an unimportant
and ineffectual use,—that of merely doubling in octave the upper part
of the bass. Its quality of tone so strongly attracts and captivates
the attention that it is not necessary to have in the Orchestra quite
so many violas, as second violins; and the expressive powers of its
quality of tone are so marked that in the rare occasions when the old
masters afforded its display it never failed to fulfil their intentions.
_Melodies on the high strings of the viola have a marvellous beauty in
scenes of a religious and unique character._”

These ideas, so new when they were written in the early days of the
Nineteenth Century, set composers thinking. They began to realize that
they had a color and quality of tone on their orchestral palette of which
they had been unaware. The question was how to paint with it. Wagner
boldly dashed forth with the _Venusberg motive_ and showed how agile and
fanciful the viola could be.

To-day the viola’s beautiful tone is perfectly understood. “Every skilful
violinist can in a few weeks acquire the ability to play the viola fairly
well; but the true virtuoso of the viola must study his instrument long
and carefully. In like degree as the violin is biting, incisive and
masterful, the viola is humble, wan, sad and morose. Besides using it
to fill in the harmony composers take advantage of those qualities to
obtain expressions of melancholy and resignation for which the instrument
is incomparable; for its range of sentiment runs from _sad reverie to
agonized pathos_.”[11]

[Illustration: VIOLA DA GAMBA

_By Gaspard Duiffoprugcar_]



    _The viola da gamba; violin responsible for the development
    of the violoncello; instruments of the Seventeenth Century
    distinguished for their delicacy of tone; Italians the first to
    appreciate the possibilities of the violoncello; instruments
    of Andreas Amati; Franciscello, the first great violoncellist;
    Berteau and Duport; anecdote of Voltaire; Servais; Boccherini;
    use of the violoncello by great composers; instruments of
    Bergonzi, Maggini, and, Amati; compass of the violoncello;
    Lavignac and Berlioz on the instrument and its capacities._

The violoncello is not a big violin; it is a little double-bass; and
that is why the name is spelled _violoncello_ and not _violincello_. Its
parent was the _violone_; and, if we remember that the violoncello is the
little _violone_ in the Viol Family, we will never make the mistake of
writing _violincello_ for _violoncello_. Almost everyone speaks of this
instrument as the ’cello (pronounced chello) except the Italians; for, as
the word simply means “little,” it has no significance to them.

The violoncello belongs to that ancient and honorable family of viols,
already described (see page 47). Its _immediate ancestor_ was the _viola
da gamba_.

For a long time the _viola da gamba_ was the most popular of all bowed
instruments. We see it in pictures by the old Italian Masters; and it
appears in many pictures by Ter Borch, Metsu and other Dutch and Flemish
painters of the Seventeenth Century, who loved to paint pictures of the
everyday life that they saw. Dashing men and richly dressed women often
appear with this big instrument in front of their knees, intently taking
a lesson from a music-master, or playing to entertain a group of friends
in a pleasant living-room.

We recall that Shakespeare in his rollicking comedy of _Twelfth Night_
makes someone say of the silly knight, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, that “he
plays o’ the viol de gamboys.”

In every wealthy home in England, as well as on the Continent, there
was, as we have seen, a collection of musical instruments for impromptu
concerts. The collection consisted first of lutes and viols of all sizes
and, at a later period, of violins, violas and violoncellos. Music
was one of the entertainments and amusements of society; and it was
considered just as necessary to have instruments of all kinds and all
sizes to suit the visitors as it is to have a piano in the home to-day.
In the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries public concerts were unknown.
It was in the churches and cathedrals and in the homes of the rich that
artistic music was heard.

The _viola da gamba_ was at this time a favorite instrument for ladies;
and it seems strange to us that the more delicate violin was not yet
considered suitable for them while this awkward, and, to our way of
thinking, rather unfeminine _viola da gamba_ was thought to be a lady’s
instrument. However, the _viola da gamba_ was not so hard for them to
play as the modern violoncello, because the strings were much thinner and
a bold, strong tone was not required.


_Engelbert Roentgen_]

The _viola da gamba_ was often made artistic to look at with rich
carving and inlay. A beautiful specimen belonging to the University of
Edinburgh is shown facing page 60. It once belonged to the violoncellist
Servais (see page 61). The back is of rosewood inlaid with ivory. The
neck, scroll (carved in the shape of a woman’s head with elaborately
dressed hair) and the tail-piece (in the shape of Mercury’s caduceus)
are of ivory. This exquisite instrument is of later date than the _Viola
d’amore_ facing page 50, for the crescent-shaped sound-holes are of a
later period than the “flaming-sword” sound-holes. The _viola da gamba_
is rarely met with even in museums; for when the violoncello came
into fashion, many people had their _violas da gamba_ converted into

Johann Sebastian Bach was the last great composer to write for the _viola
da gamba_.

It seems that the violin is responsible for the development of the
violoncello. The Italians, always so quick to perceive artistic needs and
fitness, soon found out that the newly perfected violin required a more
powerful accompaniment than the _viola da gamba_ could provide; and so
the instrument-makers worked away until they produced the violoncello.
This new instrument was mounted with much thicker strings than the _viola
da gamba_. It seemed just the thing to the musicians of that time to
accompany the very piercing and penetrating tones of the violin, which,
although very far from having the resonant qualities of the violin that
we know to-day since the development of the bow, seemed very loud indeed
to ears that had been accustomed to the sounds of “a concert of lutes, or

The people of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries understood all the
varieties of _tinkle_ rather than of _tone_. They liked lovely, soft,
gentle music, and they liked instruments such as the _viola da gamba_,
and _viola d’amore_ strung with “sympathetic strings” set into vibration
when the top strings were touched with the bow and that consequently gave
forth gentle echoes, like those of the Æolian harp.

We remember the Duke in _Twelfth Night_ asks a singer to repeat the music
he has just played and sung:

    “_That strain again! it had a dying fall!_
    _O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound_
    _That breathes upon a bank of violets,_
    _Stealing and giving odor._”

We must not despise that quaint and antique music of the Seventeenth
Century drawing-room. It was very high-bred, very refined, very delicate
and very poetic. It had distinction; it had charm.

But as times changed, manners and tastes changed with them. All of a
sudden, so it seems, the instrument-makers, as we have seen, began to
search for _tone_ and when the sharp, piercing and shrill (so it seemed
to the people of the day) violin came into being, other instruments
were needed to accompany it. Gradually, one by one, the delicate viols
with their thin strings and the tinkling and swishing lutes went out of
fashion and were made no longer.

To-day their voices are almost unknown; for the old Viol Family is
extinct. We have a new String Quartet that is distinguished for its great
carrying tone,—rich, warm, sweet and vibrant.

When it first came into favor, the violoncello was used to strengthen
the bass part in vocal music, particularly in church music and also to
reinforce the double-bass; but for a long time it made no appearance in
the drawing-room. The _viola da gamba_ still held the first place in

The first instance of a violoncello attracting attention is in 1691, when
Domenico Galli of Parma, a famous wood-carver, made a superb violoncello
which he presented to Francisco II, Duke of Modena, with a treatise on
violoncello as a solo instrument and the art of playing it. Two other
Italians in the first half of the Eighteenth Century, Antoniotti of Milan
and Lanzetti,[12] violoncellist to the King of Sardinia (1730-1750),
brought out compositions which are the first that recognize the
capacities of this instrument. The Italians were, therefore, the earliest
to develop the violoncello and also the art of playing it.

Andreas Amati (1520-1577)[13] was to the violoncello very nearly what
Stradivari was to the violin. He transformed the _viola da gamba_ into
the violoncello. As early as 1572 Pope Pius V sent Charles IX, King of
France, a present of thirty-eight bowed instruments, eight of which were
bass. These were all made by Andreas Amati and on the back of each were
painted the arms of France and other devices and the motto, _Pietate
et Justitia_. In 1790, when the mob broke into Versailles during the
Revolution, all these instruments were destroyed except two violins and
one violoncello. This is still in existence and is known as “The King.”
Once it was owned by Duport.

The first big solo violoncellist was Franciscello (1713-1740), of whom
little is known except that he played in all the important European
cities. He took his name from his instrument. It was a new thing for the
violoncello to appear in such a conspicious _rôle_.

Corelli and Tartini,[14] the first _great_ violinists, often had their
accompaniments played on a violoncello; and it is supposed that from
associating with the violin, the assisting instrument became ambitious
and tried a little virtuosity for himself.

Then the French took it up. They did a great deal for the violoncello.
First came Berteau, who died in 1756; and, after him, the still more
important Jean Louis Duport (1749-1819), who worked out a system of
fingering and bowing and a methodical manner of “shifting” from position
to position.[15] Duport’s _Essay_ on the subject made an epoch in
violoncello playing. Duport was a very fine performer. It seems that he
was inspired by the playing of the violinist, Viotti,[16] who visited
Paris in 1782 and who astonished everybody. This started Duport thinking,
just as Paganini’s playing a half century later set Liszt thinking.
Duport’s idea was to imitate the agility and grace and charm of the
violin upon his own violoncello. Ever since Duport’s time the violoncello
has been considered practically a bass violin as far as technique is
concerned; and great performers have constantly added some new idea with
regard to playing it, until now the violoncello in the hands of a Pablo
Casals can be as airy and light as a violin even if its voice is heavier.
The violoncello has now learned to _sing_. Duport would be astonished if
he could hear our violoncellists to-day, though he was one of the best
(if not the very best) of his time. Beethoven thought so much of Duport
that to him he dedicated his first two Violoncello Sonatas, op. 5.

[Illustration: VIOLA DA GAMBA]

We can get an idea of the way a violoncello was regarded in the
Eighteenth Century by the compliment that Voltaire paid Duport when the
latter played for him in Geneva. Voltaire was perfectly astonished by
his performance. When Duport laid down his bow Voltaire said: “Monsieur,
you make me believe in miracles. You know how to turn an ox into a

Duport was delightfully modest, although everybody acknowledged his
greatness and every violoncellist studied his famous _Essay on Fingering
and Bowing the Violoncello_. In this he said: “Everybody knows the kind
of bowing called _martelé_ (hammered), or _staccato_. It is an affair of
tact and ease. There are some players who get it at once; others never
learn to get it perfectly: _I am one of those_.”

Then came Adrien François Servais (1807-1866), called “the Paganini of
the ’cello.” He was a native of Brussels. Then Nicholas Joseph Platel
(1777-1835), called by Rossini “the King of ’cellists and the ’cellist of
Kings.” Platel is thought to have invented the peg as a convenient rest,
for he was very stout and found his instrument difficult to hold. Then
Alfredo Piatti’s lovely Amati ’cello and the way he played it are still
remembered by many old American concert-goers, who heard him abroad.

But instrument-makers and performers alone could not have brought the
violoncello to its position as a favorite instrument unless the composers
had helped.

As Bach had been one of the _last_ to write for the old _viola da gamba_,
he was one of the _first_ to write for the new violoncello. He wrote six
famous solos for it.

Handel took great pleasure in the violoncello. He made it play an
_obbligato_ in several arias in his oratorios and cantatas. Alessandro
Scarlatti also wrote for it; and, even better than he, Boccherini
(1743-1815), who was a splendid performer himself. His Quartets
particularly show it off to great advantage, as was natural to one who
could play it so well.

With the development of the String Quartet that was now taking the
place of the old “concert of viols,” the importance of the violoncello
was settled. It only remained for composers to discover its _singing_
qualities. Nobody understood these better than Mendelssohn. Next time
you hear the oratorio of _Elijah_ listen to the ’cello _obbligato_ in
Elijah’s aria _It is Enough_, which is even finer than the beautiful solo
accompaniment to _Be thou faithful unto Death_ in Mendelssohn’s other
oratorio, _Saint Paul_.

Rossini’s _Overture to William Tell_ opens with five solo violoncellos
accompanied by two others playing _pizzicato_ in first and second parts.
Wagner made great use of the violoncello. It is very conspicious in the
opening of the third act of _Die Meistersinger_, when Hans Sachs is
sitting in his room reading and talking to himself; and in _Tristan and
Isolde_ the violoncello speaks love-yearnings as never before.

This leads us to the latest development of the violoncello as a solo
performer in the Orchestra. In Richard Strauss’s _Don Quixote Variations_
the violoncello is made to _impersonate_ the mad, chivalrous and pathetic
knight, whose adventures are described by the Orchestra. In this work the
violoncello and the viola paint _character_ as nearly as it is possible
for music to do; and if we do not receive a definite idea of their
appearance the music conveys to us certain _impressions_ of Don Quixote
and his unimaginative squire. With great poetic judgment Strauss selected
the violoncello and the viola as the most suitable instruments to convey
these impressions.

We have been talking about the violoncello all this time. What about the
instrument itself?

Perhaps the first thing we notice is that the ribs of the violoncello are
very much higher in proportion to its body than those of a violin, or
viola. Of course, the height of these ribs differs in different makers.
Stradivari made his so low that many of his violoncellos have had to
be taken to pieces and wider ribs added to suit the music of to-day.
Naturally the sound-post has had to be made taller.

Few of Stradivari’s violoncellos are in existence. He made his
violoncellos in two models—large and small. The large ones are very
scarce. They have a beautiful tone, but they are hard to play on account
of their size. Servais had a “Strad.” Piatti also had one, which was
known as “the red ’cello” on account of its varnish.

The finest Stradivari was owned by Duport and passed into the possession
of August Franchomme, who paid 25,000 francs ($5,000) for it.

Carlo Bergonzi made superb violoncellos and so did Maggini, who made his
on the viola pattern, placing the sound-holes rather high. Andreas Amati
and Nicolò Amati both made beautiful instruments, which are characterized
by a sweet, mellow tone.

No violoncellos of Joseph Guarneri are known.

The violoncello in the illustration facing page 56 was made by Januarius
Galiano of Naples (born about 1740), one of the famous Galiano family
of makers, descendants of Alessandro Galiano (1695-1730), a pupil of

The strings of the violoncello are C, G, D and A, an octave lower than
those of the viola. The D string is very rich and is considered the most
beautiful of all.

The compass of the violoncello is nearly four octaves; and because of
this long range composers write for the violoncello in three clefs: the
Bass Clef, for the lower and middle registers; the Tenor Clef, for the
next highest; and the Treble, or Soprano, Clef, for the top notes.

The beginner on the violoncello has a great deal of hard work to do to
learn to play at sight in all three clefs.


In the main, the violoncello is played like the violin and viola, that is
to say the player has to make all his notes on the fingerboard; and he
can also produce harmonics on the open strings and artificial harmonics
by stopping the string at certain places. He sometimes stops these by
placing his thumb on the string,—something the violinist never does.

Of course, as the instrument is held in the reverse way from a violin,
the high notes are the farthest away from the player. He plays _from_
himself, not _towards_ himself.

Lavignac writes: “The functions of the Violoncello in the Orchestra are
manifold. Usually it gives, reinforced by the double-bass, the bass of
the harmony. This is its natural work. But sometimes the singing-part
is committed to it,—when, losing its austerity, it becomes a ravishing
instrumental tenor, of pure, warm _timbre_, ecstatic or passionate, but
always distinguished and captivating. Its rapid and light utterance,
the frequent passage from natural notes to harmonics imitating the
alterations of chest and head notes complete its resemblance to the human
voice. Moreover, the violoncello, though moving in another region and
awakening other sensations, possesses a richness of varied tones almost
as extensive as that of the violin; and its _pizzicati_ are better and
less dry than those of the violin.”

Regarding the team-work of the violoncello in the Orchestra, Berlioz
said: “Violoncellos together to the number of eight, or ten, are
essentially melodious; their quality on the upper strings is one of the
most expressive in the Orchestra. Nothing is more voluptuously melancholy
or more suited to the utterance of tender, languishing themes than a mass
of violoncellos playing in unison upon their first string. They are also
excellent for airs of a religious character. The two lower strings, C
and G, especially in keys which permit the use of them as open strings,
are of a smooth and deep sonorousness; but their depth hardly ever
permits a composer any melodies. These are usually given to the upper



    _Strings and compass of the double-bass; double-bass a
    descendant of the violone; voice of the double-bass; how
    Gluck, and Mozart treated the double-bass; Beethoven makes the
    double-bass a solo instrument; Verdi’s use of the double-bass
    in “Otello”; Wagner’s part for the double-bass in “Die
    Meistersinger”; Dragonetti and Bottesini; double-basses by the
    Cremonese makers._

The double-bass plays the lowest notes of all the Strings. It _doubles_,
that is to say, it plays in the lower octave the bass part given to
the bass voice, whether this be the violoncello, bassoon, or any other

Its strings are E, A, D and G. They are very coarse, thick and heavy. The
music for the double-bass is written in the F, or Bass, Clef, an octave
above the real sound of the notes. This is done to avoid the use of the
ledger lines.

To understand what the double-bass is we have to go back to the Viol
Family again. We saw that the viol was made in four sizes to make the
quartet:—tenor or discant; _viola da braccio_; _viol da gamba_; and
_violone_. We also saw that the violin gradually developed from the tenor
viol; that the _viola da braccio_ became the viola; and that the _viola
da gamba_ became the violoncello. Each passed through many changes until
the modern instrument was perfected. Strange to say, the double-bass made
on the violin pattern did not find favor; and the makers, therefore, went
back to the viol type.

So the double-bass is practically the old _violone_ with a very few
slight changes. It still retains some of the characteristics of the old
Viol Family; for instance, its flat back (instead of the new arched back
of the new Violin Family) and its slanting shoulders; but it has yielded
to the new style in its _f_-holes and its four corner blocks. We may call
the double-bass a combination of the models of the violin and the _viola
da gamba_ and not be far wrong. Compare the double-bass facing this
page and the _viola da gamba_ facing page 60, and you will see the same
slanting shoulders and general form. The double-bass also follows the
habit of the Viol Family in being tuned in _fourths_ instead of fifths.

If we look at the row of double-basses in the Orchestra, we will notice
that some of the men are playing on instruments with three strings and
others on instruments with four strings; but the work they have to do is
practically the same. It is fascinating to watch the players whose hands
move so rapidly up and down the long neck of the instrument and whose
fingers fall so intelligently and firmly upon the right places, while the
short, thick, black-haired bow looks sometimes as if it would saw the
double-bass in two.

We seldom hear a solo from the double-bass; for composers do not
encourage him. His voice in spite of his huge size lacks substance.


_Morris Tivin_]

We cannot imagine the double-bass whispering a tender love-song, or
indulging in any sweet sentiment. It is essentially an orchestral
instrument. Its heavy notes are for the good of the community. They help
make a fine, firm background for the melodies and harmonies of the more
delicate instruments.

The best effects of the double-bass are obtained on his open strings; and
it can (and often does) produce harmonics.

No composer ever thought of taking any special notice of it until Gluck
saw its possibilities and made it imitate the hoarse barking of Cerberus
in his opera of _Orfeo_. On the words “At the dire howling of Cerberus,”
the double-basses are doubled with the violas and violoncellos and make a
wonderful effect in depicting the three-headed dog of the lower regions.

Mozart used the double-bass with great skill in _Don Giovanni_; but still
there was no call for a solo from the double-bass. Nobody thought of
attracting attention to this clumsy old growler, sedate and solemn, often
severe, occasionally savage, and, at his best moments, gloomy and vague,
until Beethoven gave him greater and greater importance.

The next time you hear Beethoven’s _Fifth Symphony_ watch for the
_Scherzo_ and listen to the double-bass. The opening bars of this
movement are played as a solo by the violoncello and double-bass.
The people who first heard such a strange innovation were aghast and

But Beethoven made a still stranger and more striking use of the
double-bass in the _Ninth Symphony_. Here he employed it with the viola
as a kind of bridge leading from the sounds of instruments to human
voices. Deeply, darkly, solemnly the voice of the double-bass is heard
in an impressive recitative that seems to call mankind together to hear
the message that the human voices have to give. Then begin the words of
Schiller’s _Ode to Joy_.

Verdi considered the double-bass a dark, morbid personality, particularly
fitted for tragedy. He calls upon the double-bass to describe Otello’s
entrance into Desdemona’s chamber when he comes to murder her. Here the
double-bass darkly and wickedly mutters all that is in Otello’s savage
heart and tells us just what he means to do.

But, perhaps, the most striking treatment of the double-bass is in
Wagner’s _Die Meistersinger_. “In this score,” Charles Villiers Stanford
thinks, “you find the most economical and perfectly proportionate use of
that dangerous rogue-elephant, the double-bass.”

Naturally as there are no compositions written for him to shine in the
front of the concert stage, there have been few great performers on the

There were, however, two very great Italian players. One was Domenico
Dragonetti. He was born in 1755. Nothing was too hard for him to play,
and he achieved a great reputation. He played in concerts throughout
Europe. The other was Bottesini, who was born in 1822. He was also
considered a wonder. He played on a three-stringed instrument of rather
small size. Bottesini visited the United States with Arditi about
seventy-five years ago. Dragonetti played on a Gasparo di Salò. He also
owned a Stradivari.


Double-basses by the Cremonese makers are rare. Stradivari made a few
and Nicolò Amati made three or four; but Amati’s instruments are not
effective in the Orchestra. Carlo Bergonzi’s are among the best ever
made; for Bergonzi, as we have seen,[17] was famous for instruments of
strong tone and he went back to the Gasparo di Salò model.[18] We also
know that the double-bass has to keep to the Viol model; so it is not
hard to see why Carlo Bergonzi’s instruments are so highly valued.



    _The Woodwind; the reed; the flute; the piccolo; the oboe; the
    cor anglais; the bassoon; the double-bassoon; the clarinet; the
    basset-horn; the bass-clarinet._

The Woodwind Family consists of instruments that may be described as
wooden tubes, or pipes, through which the performer blows, stopping the
holes in these pipes with his fingers in order to get various notes.
Some of these are furnished with reeds and some are without. It is easy
for us to tell the difference when we look at the Orchestra. The flutes
are held _horizontally_ and have no reeds. All the reed instruments are
held by the player in a straight line, _perpendicularly_. The Reed Family
is divided into two groups: the oboe group, furnished with a double
reed; and the clarinet group, furnished with a single reed. This reed,
single or double, placed in the mouthpiece of the instrument, is the
“speaking” part. Without it, the instrument could not be played. The reed
corresponds to the sound-post of the violin.

The reed is made of the outer layer of a certain kind of grass that
grows in the south of Europe. Most of it is obtained from Fréjus on the
Mediterranean. The reed is very difficult to fit and the player is very
particular about it. If anything goes wrong with the reed, the instrument
makes a dreadful noise that is called the _couac_, or quack. It is even
worse than the wolf[19] on a stringed instrument.

In all woodwind instruments the _embouchure_ is important. The
_embouchure_ is a certain arrangement of the lips by which the performer
throws into the instrument all the breath that comes through the mouth
without losing any of it and without giving the slightest hissing sound.


If we listen attentively to any piece of orchestral music, we will notice
that the voice of the flute is rarely silent. Very often it doubles
the first violins in the melody, running along with them smoothly and
sweetly. Sometimes it plays an unobtrusive part of its own and every now
and then bursts out into a lovely and elaborate solo, when its clear,
silvery, liquid notes sound deliciously cool against the warm, vibrant
strings. The flute is one of the most agile and flexible instruments in
the whole Orchestra. The flute is the nightingale, the thrush, the lark,
the oriole, the mocking-bird of the Orchestra. It warbles.

The voice of the flute is gentle; it is ethereal; it is heavenly; it is
pure; it is sweet; and it is soothing. Therefore, composers make use of
it for poetic and tender sentiment; for scenes of a religious nature;
and to suggest beautiful dreams. It is both graceful and poetic and it
induces reverie.

“To most persons,” Lavignac writes, “as to myself, the ethereal, suave,
transparent timbre of the flute, with its placidity and its poetic charm,
produces an auditive sensation similar to the visual impression of the
color blue, a fine blue, pure and luminous as the azure of the sky.”

The flute is a long tube made in three pieces, or joints, as they are
called. The head is one-third the length of the tube; the body carries
the keys that produce the scale of D major; and, lastly, comes the foot
joint, or tail-joint. The flute is cylindrical and is made of wood or
silver. In the silver flute the head-joint alone is slightly conical. In
the side of the head there is a large opening, less than an inch below
the cork, and _across_ this opening the performer blows his breath. On
the lower part of the flute are six holes to be stopped at will by the
first three fingers of each hand; and three or four levers on the lowest
joint furnish additional notes below the regular scale of the instrument.

The performer holds the instrument transversely, sloping downward against
the lower lip with the hole, through, or across, which he is to blow
turned slightly outward, so that the stream of wind—the “air-stream” it
is called—shall strike against the outer edge of this hole. The left hand
takes the position nearest the player’s mouth. Four open keys are closed
by the first, second and third fingers and thumb placed at the back
of the instrument. The little finger touches an open key, G-sharp, or
A-flat. On the right hand joint are three open keys for the first, second
and third fingers, with the accessory, or “shake,” keys. The right little
finger takes the closed key of D-sharp and the two open keys of C-sharp
and C. The G-sharp key is open in some flutes, but generally G-sharp
closed key is used by flute-players.


_George Barrère_]

The flute has no reed. Instead of a reed the “air-stream” from the
player’s lips, thrown against the sharp edge of the hole _obliquely_,
produces the sound-waves.

The principle is that each note comes independently out of a separate
hole and speaks independently, just as if the rest of the tube were cut
off. All keys are open with the exception of G-sharp, E-flat keys—and
also the two small trill-keys.

Formerly the flute had no keys, or levers. It merely had finger-holes;
but between the years 1832 and 1847 Theobald Boehm, a German, by
following some experiments made by Captain Gordon of Charles X’s Swiss
Guards, worked away until he developed a system of keys, manipulated by
means of levers. His invention was so successful that the player has now
command of more holes; and, by means of this system, it therefore became
possible to play in every key.

The flute stands in this one scale of D-major, so the only way to get
higher notes depends upon the breath and lips of the player. “This is
the eternal question,” says George Barrère, “playing upper octaves does
not require _mere blowing_ as we can play _forte_ in lower octave and
_pianissimo_ in the upper. The real means of playing upper is _lips_.
It is not a secret; but how many flute-players ignore it, making the
flute the most disagreeable instrument to hear!” A good _embouchure_, as
the whole manipulation of the mouth is called, is essential to artistic
flute-playing. Moreover, the fingers must be raised at equal heights—and
not too high.

The player takes a calm, firm, easy, and often graceful, attitude before
his desk. Good flute-players also learn a great proportion of their music
by heart.

_Staccato_ notes and ornamental passages are produced by “single
tonguing,” and “double tonguing,” and “triple tonguing.” For different
effects the player makes an effort to pronounce certain consonants, _k_
or _t_ for example; but instead of pronouncing them he blows them off his
tongue in a little kind of explosion. But all this is done quickly and
with ease by a virtuoso.

The tones of the first octave are rather faint; those of the second
octave, produced by exactly the same fingering as those of the first and
with a stronger blowing of the breath, are stronger; and those of the
third octave, also produced by the same fingering, are more penetrating.

Boehm’s explanation is worth quoting to help us understand the production
of tone. He says: “The open air-column in a flute’s tube is exactly
comparable to a stretched violin string. As the string is set into
vibration by the bow, the air-column in the flute is set into vibration
by the blowing of the performer’s breath and management of the lips. As
the clear quality of tone of a violin depends upon the proper handling
of the bow, so the pure quality of tone of a flute depends upon the
direction of the ‘air-stream’ blown against the edge of the mouth-hole.

“Each octave requires a different direction of the ‘air-stream’; and,
by increasing the force of the breath, the tone is increased. By
‘over-blowing,’ each tone can be made to break into higher tones.”

Older composers seem to have cared very little for the flute. They did
not have the modern improved Boehm flute. They found that the performer
often played out of tune. Cherubini said: “The only thing in the world
that is worse than one flute is _two_.” Many agreed with him. However,
Haydn wrote a trio for flutes in his oratorio of _The Creation_ and
Handel wrote a beautiful _obbligato_ for it in the aria, “_Sweet bird
that shun’st the noise of folly_,” in _Il Penseroso_, where it imitates
the bird. Bach wrote six Sonatas for the flute.

Handel’s aria, “_O ruddier than the Cherry_,” in _Acis and Galatea_, now
played on the piccolo, was originally written for the flute.

Mozart wrote two concertos for the flute and one for flute, harp and
orchestra. It is very evident in the _Magic Flute_.

A solo passage in Beethoven’s _Leonora Overture, No. 3_, is very famous.
In Beethoven’s _Pastoral Symphony_ it impersonates the nightingale.

Mendelssohn loved the flute dearly. It is very important in his
_Midsummer Night’s Dream_ music. It plays lovely sustained chords in
the Overture, a beautiful part in the Nocturne and the Scherzo contains
one of the most celebrated passages ever written. He also gave it an
exquisite _obbligato_ in the quartet _O Rest in the Lord_ in the oratorio
of _Elijah_.

Wagner has a fine part for the flute throughout the _Meistersinger_;
it is important in the _Largo_ of Dvořák’s _New World Symphony_, where
it plays with the oboe; Liszt made it conspicuous in his _Hungarian
Rhapsodie, No. 2_; and it sings in the _Morning_ of Grieg’s _Peer Gynt

Berlioz and Tschaikowsky both played the flute themselves and, naturally,
their works are full of beautiful melodies for this instrument. Berlioz
calls for two flutes and harp for the _Cris des Ismaëlits_ in _L’Enfance
du Christ_. Tschaikowsky’s symphonies are a delight to the flute-player.
An exceptionally striking use of the flute is in the _Danse des
Mirlitons_ and _Danse Chinoise_ in the _Nut-cracker Suite_.

Richard Strauss, who always goes a little farther than anybody else, has
in the “Windmill” number of the _Don Quixote Variations_ called for the
“flutter tongue,” a new way of rolling the tongue. The name describes it.

Last, but not least, we must recall Gluck. What could be more beautiful
than his use of the flute in _Armide_, unless it is to be found in the
music of _Orfeo_? All through that beautiful opera the plaintive, tender
voice of the flute is conspicuous. Not only does it play melodies for
the enchanting ballets and minuets, but its wailing notes tell us of
the grief of Orpheus for his adored Eurydice; and when we arrive in the
Elysian Fields with Orpheus its pure and ethereal voice, heard in a solo
of ravishing beauty, lifts us out of the everyday world we live in and
transports us into a realm of blissful peace and enchanting beauty.


_With his Orchestra at Sans Souci_]

In early days the flute was played by holding it straight in front and
not horizontally as shown in the picture facing page 74. The German,
Quantz, did much to bring the horizontal flute into fashion. One of his
most enthusiastic pupils was Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, who
is shown in the picture facing this page playing a flute concerto with
his orchestra at _Sans Souci_, taken from an engraving by Chodowieki. The
King’s favorite greyhounds are the only listeners. Franz Benda is the
first violin and Christian Friedrich Fasch, who succeeded Philipp Emanuel
Bach (son of J. S. Bach), is playing the harpsichord.

Modern compositions usually call for two flutes and a piccolo.


The piccolo is the little flute. Properly, it should be spoken of as the
piccolo flute, for just as we have seen in the case of the violoncello
the word ’cello means little or small, so the word piccolo is an
adjective and not a noun. However, people speak of it simply as the
piccolo. The piccolo plays the upper octave of the flute. It is less than
half the length of the flute and it lacks the “foot-joint.” Its compass
is over two octaves. Almost every piccolo player can play high B and
even C. The music for the piccolo is always written in the Treble Clef,
an octave below the real pitch, that is to say an octave below the real
sound of the notes. The fingering and technique are exactly the same as
for the flute, so anything that can be played on the flute can be played
on the piccolo.

It should be noted here that two-thirds of the compass of the flute
plays within the compass of a high soprano; now, the piccolo, on the
other hand, is nearly always playing in a register higher than that of
any human voice. It is the most acute and piercing of all instruments in
the orchestra; for even the corresponding notes produced by harmonics
on the violin are far less shrill and penetrating. The piccolo rarely
plays in its lower register. Its second octave is bright and joyous; but
in this we hardly distinguish it from the flute. What we do notice are
the piercing upper notes in quick runs, in chromatic passages and wild
screams. Sometimes too, the piccolo can be made to utter something of a
diabolical nature.

The piccolo is often used to brighten the upper notes of the other
members of the Woodwind Family in all kinds of combinations. This method
of using the piccolo might be likened to brightening up an article with
gold leaf. We might say that the piccolo sometimes adds a sort of gilt
edge to the melody.

Berlioz liked to use it in this way for additional ornamentation, so we
hear a great deal of this kind of piccolo gilt-edging, as we might call
it, in his works. Berlioz gave it a great deal of thought. “In pieces
of a joyous character,” he wrote, “the sounds of the second octave are
suitable in all their gradations; while the upper notes are excellent
_fortissimo_ for violent and tearing effects: in a storm, for instance,
or in a scene of fierce, or infernal, character. Thus the piccolo flute
figures incomparably in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s _Pastoral
Symphony_—now alone and displayed above the low tremolo of violins and
basses, imitating the whistlings of a tempest whose full force is not yet
unchained—now on the higher notes still, together with the entire mass of
the Orchestra. Gluck in the tempest of _Iphigénie en Tauride_ has known
how to make the high sounds of the piccolo flute in unison grate still
more roughly by writing them in a succession of sixths, a fourth above
the first violins. The sound of the piccolo flutes issuing out in the
upper octave, produces, therefore, a succession of elevenths with the
first violins, the harshness of which is here of the very best effect.

“In the chorus of the Scythians, in the same opera, the two piccolo
flutes double in the octave the little grouped passages of the violins.
These whistling notes mingled with the ravings of the savage troop, with
the measure and incessant din of the cymbals and tambourine make us

“Everyone has remarked the diabolic sneer of the two piccolo flutes
in thirds in the drinking-song of _Freischütz_. It is one of Weber’s
happiest orchestral inventions.

“Spontini in his magnificent bacchanalian strain in the _Danaïdes_
(since become an orgy chorus in _Nurmahal_) first conceived the idea
of uniting a short piercing cry of the piccolo flutes to a stroke of
the cymbals. The singular sympathy, which is thus created between these
very dissimilar instruments, had not been thought of before. It cuts and
rends instantaneously, like the stab of a poignard. This effect is very
characteristic—even when employing only the two instruments mentioned;
but its force is augmented by an abrupt stroke of the kettledrums joined
to a brief chord of all the other instruments.

“Beethoven, Gluck, Weber and Spontini have thus made ingenious use—no
less original than rational—of the piccolo flute. But when I hear this
instrument employed in doubling in triple octave the air of a baritone,
or casting its squeaking voice into the midst of a religious harmony, or
strengthening and sharpening—for the sake of noise only—the high part of
the orchestra, I think it a stupid method of instrumentation.

“The piccolo flute may have a very happy effect in soft passages; and it
is mere prejudice to think that it should only be played loud. Sometimes
it serves to continue the scale of the large flute by following up the
latter and taking high notes beyond the flute’s command. The passing from
one instrument to the other may then be easily managed by the composer
in such a way as to make it appear that there is only one flute of
extraordinary compass.”

Handel used an instrument that corresponded in his day to the piccolo
in his wonderful accompaniment to the bass song, “_O ruddier than the
Cherry_,” in _Acis and Galatea_, where he gives it a pastoral character.
He also makes it play an _obbligato_ in the aria, “_Hush ye Pretty
Warbling Choir_,” in the same cantata. He does the same thing again in
the aria, _Auguelletti che cantate_, in _Rinaldo_. Meyerbeer gives it
much to do in his infernal waltz in _Robert le Diable_; and in Marcel’s
song “Piff Paff” in _Les Huguenots_ it adds brilliancy to the martial
effect. Beethoven has a striking place for the piccolo in the finale
of his _Egmont Overture_; Verdi makes it heard in Iago’s drinking-song
in _Otello_; it is conspicuous in the grotesque dances of the dolls in
the ballet of _Coppelia_ by Delibes; Wagner uses it in his storms, in
the _Ride of the Walküre_, and in all his fire-music in the _Nibelungen
Ring_; Strauss gives a peculiar trill for it in _Till Eulenspiegel_; and
Berlioz gives it full play in his _Carnaval Romain_, op. 9; and in the
Minuet of the “Will o’ the Whisps” of his _Damnation of Faust_ he calls
for _three_ piccolos.

Therefore, we might characterize the piccolo as the imp, or demon, of
the Orchestra, or the flash of lightning, or the darting flame, or the
whistling wind.


The Oboe, like the violin, comes from a family of long ancestry. It goes
back to ancient Egypt, Assyria and Greece. In the Middle Ages this family
was known as the _Bombardo_, _Bombardino_, _Bombardi_, or _Chalumeau_.
The Germans called this family _Pommers_, which seems to be a corruption
of _Bombardi_.

“The Bombardo,” writes Carl Engel, “was made of various sizes and with a
greater or smaller number of finger-holes and keys. That which produced
the bass tones was sometimes of enormous length and was blown through
a bent tube like the bassoon, the invention of which it suggested. The
smallest instrument, called _chalumeau_ (from calamus, a reed) is still
occasionally to be found among the peasantry in the Tyrol and some other
parts of the Continent. The Germans call it _Schalmei_ and the Italians
_piffero pastorale_. In England it was formerly called _shawm_, or shalm.”

The type of these instruments was a _conical_ tube of wood with a bell
at one end and a bent metal tube at the other containing a double reed
mouthpiece. There was a quartet of them; and the oboe, or _hautbois_
(high-wood) was the treble. There was also an _oboe d’amore_[20] and an
_oboe di caccia_, hunting oboe (from which the _cor anglais_ is supposed
to have been derived), and there were many others. Old writers refer to
them as _chalumeau_ and _schalmey_ and _shawm_; and in such a general
and confused way that it is hard to know just which special instrument
they are talking about. These old oboes are called for in Bach’s scores;
but they began to drop out of use in his time. We know, however, that
_chalumeau_ was the instrument of the old reed band that always played
the melody and that from it sprang the oboe of to-day. The instrument
went through many changes before it reached its present condition;
but none of these affected the family voice—the penetrating, roughish
twang. The Bombardino-Schalmey voice still persists: it is like some
other famous family traits—the Bourbon nose and the Hapsburg lip for
instance—it is hard to suppress. However, it is this peculiar voice that
makes the oboe such a desirable member of the orchestra.

“The _timbre_ is thin and nasal, very piercing in its _forte_ passages,
of exquisite refinement in its _piano_ passages; harsh and of bad quality
in its very high and very low notes. The oboe is artless and rustic in
its expression; it is pastoral and melancholy; if it is gay, its gayety
is frank and almost excessive and exaggerated; but its natural tone is
of a _gentle sadness and a resigned endurance_. It is unrivalled in
depicting simple, rural sentiments of any kind, and on occasion can even
become pathetic.”[21]


_Henri De Busscher_]

The oboe is the most elaborate and complicated of all the reed
instruments. The mechanical changes are due to Apollon Marie Rose
Barret (1804-1879), a remarkable French oboe-player, aided by a French
instrument-maker named Triébert. Historically and musically the oboe
is the most important member of the reed band. It is first of all a
_melodic_ instrument; or, in other words, its tone quality is what it
is especially valued for and not for brilliant passages. It can call up
pastoral scenes and it can express innocence, grief, pathos and gentle

The oboe is a wooden pipe, or tube, with conical bore widening out
gradually until it forms a small bell, shaped something like the flower
of a morning-glory, or convolvulus. At the opposite end it has a small
metal tube, or mouthpiece, called “staple,” to which the reed (consisting
of two blades of thin cane) is attached by means of silken threads. Along
the wooden pipe are two “speaker keys,” worked by metal rods called
“trackers.” This reed is the _speaking part_ of the instrument.

The oboe is made in three pieces,—the head-piece, bottom and bell-joints.
The player first screws the joints of his instrument together so that the
finger-holes are in a straight line, and then he puts the reed in the
head-piece. The first, second and third fingers of each hand are used to
cover the holes. The whole instrument rests on the thumb of the right
hand. The little fingers and the thumb of the left hand are used for the
keys. The fingers are always placed over the finger-holes ready to close
them when necessary. The fundamental scale is obtained by opening and
shutting the holes pierced laterally in the pipe and these are governed
by a mechanism called “speaker keys.”

The scale of the oboe begins on the middle C and is chromatic. The
instrument, being conical, “over-blows” an octave. It runs up to the
extreme treble G. But although it is a soprano, it is a “middle compass”
instrument. Music for it is written from F on the first space of the
Treble Clef to D in octave above.

The fingering resembles that of the flute; but, owing to the reed in his
mouth, the player can only use single tonguing.

The player puts the reed between his lips, taking care that his teeth
do not touch the mouthpiece. Then he places his tongue against the open
part of the reed, presses the reed with his lips, draws his tongue gently
backwards and blows a stream of air into the oboe, managing his breath as
if for singing. Sometimes he pronounces the syllable _doo_ and sometimes
that of _too_, according to the effect he wants to get.

The double reed in the player’s mouth is the sound-producer. The
air-column inside the pipe acts as a resonating medium, strengthening the
vibrations of the reed by vibrations of its own.

As the player is obliged to take his lips from the mouthpiece to exhale,
he cannot perform long sustained passages without pauses. While the oboe
does not require as much breath for blowing as some instruments do, the
difficulty is to _exhale_ and refill the lungs so as to go on with the
rest of the work.

The notes are produced by holes, some open, others closed by keys raised
by means of levers. The oboe, like the flute, is an octave instrument,
that is to say it “over-blows” the octave. The oboe possesses notes
sufficient for an octave, or more, with chromatic intervals. The next
octaves are obtained by means of cross-fingering and from the octave keys
which do not give out an independent note of their own but determine a
node in the column of air and so raise the pitch of any other note an
octave. The oboe is a “non-transposing instrument” and sounds the note

“It is possible to play on this instrument chromatic scales and
_arpeggio_ passages; _legato_ and _staccato_; leaps; cantabile passages;
sustained notes; _diminuendo_ and _crescendo_; grace notes and shakes.”

“The oboe,” writes Berlioz, “is especially a melodic instrument. It has
a pastoral character full of tenderness,—indeed I might say timidity.
Candor, artless grace, soft joy, or the grief of a fragile being suits
the oboe’s accents: it expresses them admirably in its _cantabile_.

“A certain degree of agitation is also within its powers of expression;
but care should be taken not to urge it into utterance of passion—a
rash outburst of anger, threat, or even heroism; for then its small
_acid-sweet_ voice becomes uneffectual and absolutely grotesque.

“Gluck and Beethoven understood marvellously well the use of this
valuable instrument. To it they owe the profound emotions excited
by several of their finest pages. I have only to quote from Gluck’s
Agmemnon’s air in _Iphigénie en Aulide_ ‘Can the harsh Fates?’ These
complaints of an innocent voice, these continued supplications, ever
more and more appealing, what instrument could they suit so well as an
oboe? And the celebrated burden of the air of _Iphigénie en Tauride_, ‘O
Unhappy Iphigénie!’

“Beethoven has demanded more from the joyous accent of the oboe. Witness
the solo of the _Scherzo_ of the _Pastoral Symphony_ and also that of
the _Scherzo_ of the _Ninth Symphony_, also that in the first movement
of the _Symphony in B-flat_. But he has no less felicitously succeeded
in assigning them sad, or forlorn, passages. These may be seen in the
minor solo of the second return of the first movement of the Symphony
in A-major in the episodical _Andante_ of the finale to the _Eroica
Symphony_; and above all, in the air of _Fidelio_, where Florestan,
starving to death, believes himself, in his delirious agony, surrounded
by his weeping family and mingles his tears of anguish with the broken
sobs of the oboe.”

In Beethoven’s _Pastoral Symphony_ the oboe impersonates the quail and
in Haydn’s _Seasons_ it imitates the crowing of a cock in a long and
difficult passage. Perhaps the most beautiful use of the oboe in all
music is in Gluck’s opera of _Orfeo_, in which it plays an exquisite
minuet with the flute and a beautiful ballet with the violin. Schubert
uses it charmingly in the second movement of his _Symphony in C-major_.


The _cor anglais_, or English horn, differs slightly in appearance from
the oboe; but these differences help us to identify it. In the first
place, it ends in a kind of ball; and in the second place, there is a
bent crook at the other end that holds the mouthpiece containing the
double reed. It is supposed that the word _Anglais_ is a corruption of
the word _anglé_, meaning bent; for in olden times this instrument was
bent at an obtuse angle in the middle of the tube. It is, therefore, more
correct to call it _cor anglais_ than English horn. The English have had
nothing whatever to do with the development of the instrument.

The _cor anglais_ is nothing more or less than the alto, or tenor, oboe.
It has the same scale and compass as the oboe; but it stands in the key
of F, a fifth below that of the oboe. It is, however, unlike the oboe, a
“transposing instrument,” that is to say, the music does not represent
the real sounds. In the case of the _cor anglais_ the music is written in
a key a fifth above the real sounds. Any good oboe player can play the
_cor anglais_, because the technique and fingering are practically the

“Its tone,” says Lavignac, “is essentially sad, melancholy, sorrowful.
The _cor anglais_ exactly suits the expression of mental suffering, which
is, therefore, especially characteristic of it.” “Its quality of tone,”
says Berlioz, “less piercing, more veiled and deeper than that of the
oboe, does not so well as the latter lend itself to the gayety of rustic
strains. Nor could it give utterance to anguished complainings. Accents
of keen grief are almost beyond its powers. It is a melancholy, dreamy,
and rather noble voice, of which the sonorousness has something vague
and remote about it which renders it superior to all others in exciting
regret and reviving images and sentiments of the past when the composer
desires to awaken the secret echo of tender memories. In compositions
where the prevailing impression is that of melancholy the frequent use of
the _cor anglais_ hidden in the midst of the great mass of instruments is
perfectly suited.”

The _cor anglais_ has been called “an oboe in mourning.” Perhaps that
will give the best idea of its sorrowful voice.

The _cor anglais_ came directly from the alto pommer of the
Schalmey-Pommer family.[22] Most probably the _oboe di caccia_, or
hunting oboe, was its immediate ancestor. A very good reason for thinking
this the case is because in Rossini’s Overture to _William Tell_ the
“_Ranz des vaches_” (calling the cows) was originally given to the _oboe
di caccia_, which was still in use in Rossini’s time; and when the _oboe
di caccia_ became obsolete, the part was taken by the newer _cor anglais_.

The _cor anglais_ and the oboe assumed their modern appearance about
the same time. Both instruments were much changed in construction and
mechanism during the last hundred years; but both instruments kept
the old family voice, which has a curious harsh quality combined with

Beethoven wrote a Trio for two oboes and _cor anglais_, op. 29. The
French composers made it popular. Meyerbeer has it play an _obbligato_ to
the aria “_Robert, toi que j’aime_,” in _Robert le Diable_; Berlioz made
it important in his _Symphonie Fantastique_; and it appears in Dvořák’s
_New World Symphony_, having a melody in the _Largo_ with accompaniment
of strings _con sordini_. Strauss gives it prominence in _Heldenleben_.


_Attilio Bianco_]

Of its famous solos none is so haunting as the plaintive part in Act
III of _Tristan and Isolde_. Here the long, sad melody heard on the
Shepherd’s pipe is entrusted to the saddest voice in the orchestra,—the
_cor anglais_.


The bassoon is the bass of the oboe group, holding the same place in
this family that the violoncello does in the String Family. It is a
descendant of the old bass pommer, the bass of the Schalmey Family; but
in the various transformations that took place between 1550 and 1600 the
characteristic Schalmey family voice disappeared in the bassoon. The
tone-color of the bassoon is quite unlike that of the oboe and that of
the _cor anglais_, although it is played with a double reed.

The bassoon is a pipe, or tube, eight feet long conically bored and
turned back upon itself so as to reduce its length to about four feet.
The instrument consists of five pieces: (1) the bell; (2) the bass, or
long joint; (3) the double joint; (4) the wing; and (5) the crook, a
small curved tube of metal which holds the mouthpiece with the double
reed. The bottom of the instrument is stopped by a flattened oval cork.
The pipes meet at the double joint and turn upward. The holes are pierced
obliquely so as to bring them within reach of the player’s fingers. There
are three holes in the wing-joint and three others in the front of the
double joint, to be closed by the first three fingers of each hand. A
single hole on the back of the double joint is for the thumb of the right
hand. The little finger of the right hand touches two keys; and a series
of interlocking keys is on the bass, or long, joint producing the lowest
notes of the scale for the left thumb to work.

The player holds the instrument diagonally in the hollow of his two
hands, with the left hand uppermost at the level of his breast, and, of
course, nearest the bell of the bassoon. The right hand is placed below
and behind his right thigh. The double joint of the bassoon rests against
the player’s knee. The bell of the instrument points upward.

The bassoon stands in the key of G-major and plays an octave lower than
the oboe. Its compass is three octaves and a half, the lowest note being
B-flat. The music for it is written in the Bass Clef and in the Tenor
Clef for the highest notes. Like the flute and oboe, its deep notes
are its _fundamental_ tones; those of its middle register are second
harmonics; and those of its highest register are third, fourth and fifth
harmonics. The fingering is the same for all octaves. The higher notes
are produced by “over-blowing,” so that the air-column in the instrument
vibrates differently according to the way the player directs his breath.

“Its lowest tones,” writes Lavignac, “are solemn and pontifical, like an
organ pedal. Its medium register has a sweet sonority of some richness
but little strength; and its high register has the most expression, but
is painful, distressed and dejected. At the same time this instrument
has comic possibilities. In the medium, and lower registers certain
_staccato_ notes which have been often used have a certain grotesqueness
bordering on awkwardness.”

“The bassoon was first used,” says Dr. Stone, “in Cambert’s _Pomone_,
Paris, 1671; but it has gradually risen to the position of a tenor, or
even alto, frequently doubling the high notes of the violoncello, or
the lower register of the viola. The cause of the change is evidently
the greater use of bass instruments, such as trombones and ophicleides,
in modern orchestral scores on the one hand and the improvements in the
upper register of the bassoon itself on the other. There is a peculiar
sweetness and telling quality in these extreme sounds, which has led
to their being named ‘vox humana notes.’ We have good evidence even in
Haydn’s time that they were appreciated; for in the graceful _Minuet_ of
his _Military Symphony_ we find a melody reaching to the treble A. Haydn
uses it as one of the most prominent voices of his orchestra.”

Until Mozart’s time the bassoon was little else but an instrument for
doubling the bass of the Strings; but Mozart did great things with it.
He even went so far as to write a Concerto for it. It is important in
his operas, particularly _Don Giovanni_; in his _Requiem_; and in his

After Mozart fixed its place in the Orchestra, Beethoven brought it
forward and made its part so conspicuous and so elaborate that the
performers had to set to work to improve their technique. “Beethoven
never failed to employ it largely, reinforcing it, in some cases, by the
double-bassoon. The _First Symphony_ is remarkable for the assignment
of subject, as well as counter-subject, in the slow movement to first
and second bassoons working independently; both afterwards joining with
the two clarinets in the curious dialogue of the trio between strings
and reeds. The _Second Symphony_ opens with a prominent passage for
the bassoon in unison with the bass strings; in the _Adagio_ of the
_Fourth Symphony_ is an effective figure exhibiting the great power
of _staccato_ playing possessed by the bassoon; in the first movement
of the _Eighth Symphony_, it is employed with exquisite humor and in
the _Minuet_ of the same _Symphony_ it is entrusted with a melody of
considerable length. Perhaps the most remarkable passage in Beethoven’s
writing for this instrument occurs in the opening of the _Finale_ of the
_Ninth_, or _Choral Symphony_, where the theme of the movement, played by
violoncellos and violins in unison is accompanied by the first bassoon in
a long independent melody of the greatest ingenuity and interest.”[23]

Cherubini gave the bassoon a solo in his opera of _Medea_; Gluck gave
it a solo in some of his dance music in _Orfeo_; Rossini opens his
_Stabat Mater_ with it; and Weber gave it much to do in his operas. Weber
wrote a _Concerto_ for it and also an _Andante and Hungarian Rondo_.
Mendelssohn also was fond of it. Dr. Stone has well summed up his use
of this instrument as follows: “Mendelssohn shows some peculiarity in
dealing with the bassoon. He was evidently struck not only with the power
of its lower register, a fact abundantly illustrated by his use of it
in the opening of the _Scotch Symphony_ and with the trombones in the
grand chords of the Overture to _Ruy Blas_, but he evidently felt with
Beethoven the comic and rustic character of its tone. This is abundantly
shown in the music to the _Midsummer Night’s Dream_, where the two
bassoons lead the quaint Clown’s March in thirds and still farther on in
the Funeral March, which is obviously an imitation of a small country
band, consisting of clarinet and bassoon, the latter ending unexpectedly
and humorously on a solitary low C. In the Orchestra the bassoon also
suggests the braying of Bottom. It is worth notice how the acute ear of
the musician has caught the exact interval used by the animal without any
violation of artistic propriety.”


_Ugo Savolini_]

Modern composers have delighted in exhibiting the telling qualities of
the bassoon. A notable example is in Tschaikowsky’s _Pathetic Symphony_
and in the waltz movement of his _Fifth Symphony_. In his _Marche Slave_
it is very effective in unison with the violas.

Brahms shows it off well in his _C-minor Symphony_; Strauss in his
_Heldenleben_, _Till Eulenspiegel_ and _Don Juan_; and Elgar in his _Pomp
and Circumstance March_ and Variations III and IX of the _Enigma_.

Wagner gets desolation and sorrow out of it; and, occasionally, humor;
and Humperdinck makes comic use of it in _Hänsel and Gretel_, where it
frequently comments on what is happening on the stage.

The bassoon gives long sustained notes, shakes and _staccato_ notes,
which are “dry” and grotesque. The English and French name _bassoon_ and
_basson_ refer to its pitch in the bass; but the Italians and Germans
call it _Fagotto_ and _Fagott_, because they think in shape it resembles
a bundle of sticks, or fagots.

To-day there are usually three bassoons in the Orchestra,—the first and
second bassoon and the double-bassoon.


The double-bassoon is an octave below the bassoon. It doubles the bass of
the bassoon as the double-bass doubles the violoncello.

The double-bassoon is a conical wooden pipe of hard wood—often maple—more
than sixteen feet long and doubled back four times on itself. The crook,
or mouthpiece, into which the double reed is fastened, is much like that
of the bassoon; but the metal bell points downwards.

Though the instrument is not a transposing one, the music is written
an octave higher than it sounds to avoid the use of ledger lines. Its
compass is from the middle C to the deep sixteen-foot C.

The double-bassoon was used in the Orchestra in Handel’s time. Haydn
calls for it in _The Creation_; Brahms, in his _C-Minor Symphony_;
Mendelssohn, in his _Hebrides Overture_; and Beethoven reinforces the
march in the _Finale_ of his _Fifth Symphony_ with it. He assigns it a
leading part in the _Ninth Symphony_.


The clarinet is also a descendant of the Bombardino-Chalumeau Family of
which, as we have seen, there were so many members. The great difference
between the ancestor of the oboe and the ancestor of the clarinet was
that the oboe’s ancestor was _conical_ in bore and played with a _double
reed_ and the clarinet’s ancestor was _cylindrical_ in bore and played
with a _single reed_. That fact was the parting of the ways and was
destined to make all the difference in the world. It would seem at first
that the tone of the two old _chalumeaux_ (the one double-reeded and the
other single-reeded) was at first much alike; but as time went on and the
single-reeded _chalumeau_ developed into the modern clarinet, the old
rough, reedy voice disappeared for a rich, warbling voice that has more
of the bird in it than of the reed.

“The clarinet is one of the most beautiful voices in the orchestra,”
Lavignac thinks. “It is the richest in varied _timbres_ of all the wind
instruments. It possesses no less than four registers, perfectly defined;
the _chalumeau_, which contains the deepest notes and recalls the old
rustic instrument of that name; the _medium_, warm and expressive;
the _high_, brilliant and energetic; and the _very high_, biting and
strident. All these registers, thanks to the progress of manufacture, are
able to melt into one another in the happiest manner possible and furnish
a perfectly homogeneous scale. Almost as agile as the flute, as tender
as, and more passionate than, the oboe, the clarinet is infinitely more
energetic and richer in color.”

About 1690 Johann Christopher Denner of Nuremberg added the twelfth key.
He bored a small hole nearer the mouthpiece on a _chalumeau_ type of
instrument, and made a key to it to be manipulated by the thumb of the
left hand. By this he increased the compass of the instrument by more
than an octave. It may be said that from this date the clarinet came
into existence. From the crude instrument of two keys and seven holes
has evolved the present-day clarinet with seventeen keys and twenty-one
holes, of which seven are covered directly by the fingers and the others
by the keys.

The clarinet is a cylindrical piece of wood, or a tube, about two feet
long, ending in a bell. It is made in sections: (1) mouthpiece; (2)
barrel joint; (3) left-hand, or upper joint; (4) right-hand, or lower
joint; (5) bell. The lowest note is emitted through the bell. The
right-hand thumb supports the instrument.

The reed is flat and the mouthpiece is curved backwards to allow of

The reed is carefully thinned at the point where it vibrates against
the curved table of the mouthpiece. The vibration is caused by the air
pressure against the reed, thus engendering sound. The air-column in the
instrument is shortened, or lengthened, by the opening, or closing, of
the holes and keys, emitting high, or low, sounds accordingly. The reed
vibrates through the action of the air. The lips of the player merely
encompass the reed and mouthpiece, slightly pressing the reed.

Again, to quote from Lavignac: “This instrument, the richest in compass
and in variety of timbre of all the wind instruments, is subject to a
very special and very curious law. Its tube is absolutely cylindrical
and open; and its column of air is set in vibration by a single,
flexible reed. Now a peculiarity in pipes of this construction is that
the vibrating segment forms, not at the middle point, but at the end
where the reed is, so the mode of subdivision of the air-column is the
same as if the pipe were stopped. The clarinet has, therefore, only the
harmonics of unequal numbers, which renders its fingering very different
from that of the flute, the oboe and the bassoon. It would seem that this
might place it below them. On the contrary, this instrument lends itself
with admirable suppleness to the expression of all sentiments which the
composer may wish to entrust to it.


_Gustav Langenus_]

“Its compass, the greatest possessed by any wind-instrument
chromatically, has a great deal to do with giving it this richness of
expression; but the diversity of _timbre_ belonging to its lower, middle
and higher registers must be regarded as the real superiority of the

Berlioz says: “The clarinet is little appropriate to the Idyl. It is
an _epic_ instrument, like horns, trumpets and trombones. The voice is
like that of heroic love. This beautiful soprano instrument, so ringing,
so rich in penetrating accents, when employed in masses, gains, when
employed as a solo instrument, in delicacy, evanescent shadowings and
mysterious tenderness what it loses in force and powerful brilliancy.
Nothing so virginal, so pure as the tint imparted to certain melodies
by the tone of a clarinet, played in the medium by a skilful performer.
It is the one of all the wind instruments which can best breathe forth,
swell, diminish and die away. Thence the precious faculty of producing
_distance_, echo, the echo of _echo_, and a _twilight_ sound. What
more admirable example could I quote of the application of some of
these shadowings than the dreamy phrase of the clarinet accompanied by
a _tremolo_ of stringed instruments in the midst of the _Allegro_ of
the Overture to _Freischütz_! Does it not depict the lonely maiden, the
forester’s fair betrothed, who, raising her eyes to heaven, mingles
her tender lament with the noise of the dark woods agitated by the
storm? O Weber! Beethoven, bearing in mind the melancholy and noble
character of the melody in A-major of the immortal _Andante_ in his
_Seventh Symphony_, and in order the better to render all that this
phrase contains at the same time of passionate regret, has not failed to
consign it to the medium of the clarinet. Gluck, for the _ritornello_ of
Alceste’s air, ‘_Ah, malgré moi_,’ had at first written it for the flute;
but perceiving that the quality of tone of this instrument was too weak
and lacked the nobility necessary to the delivery of a theme imbued with
so much desolation and mournful grandeur, gave it to the clarinet.

“Neither Sacchini, nor Gluck, nor any of the great masters of that time
availed themselves of the low notes of the instrument. I cannot guess
the reason. Mozart appears to be the first who brought them into use for
accompaniments of a serious character, such as that of the trio of masks
in Don Giovanni. It was reserved for Weber to discover all that there is
of the terrible in the quality of tone of these low sounds.”

Mozart was the first to appreciate the beauties and capabilities of the
clarinet. He wrote a Concerto for it with orchestra[24] and his _Symphony
in E-flat_ is so full of prominent work for it that it is often called
the “Clarinet Symphony.” Beethoven loved it also and developed music for
it far beyond Mozart’s ideas. It sings particularly lovely melodies in
the _Larghetto_ of the _Second Symphony_. In the _Pastoral Symphony_,
where the flute sings the nightingale and the oboe pipes for the quail,
the clarinet gives the cuckoo’s notes, or, rather, two clarinets together
say “cuckoo, cuckoo.”

Weber also wrote much chamber-music for the clarinet and gave it dreamy
melodies in the _Overture_ to _Oberon_ and also some difficult arpeggios
in company with the flute, known as “drops of water.”

Mendelssohn also used the clarinet for the idea of water. It is very
evident in the _Hebrides Overture_ and in the _Overture_ of _Melusine_
it suggests the rolling waves. It is conspicuous in Dvořák’s _New World
Symphony_ and it plays a solo in Tschaikowsky’s _Francesca da Rimini_.

And how Wagner enjoys it! Often he gives it a motive, or lets it
sympathize with what is taking place on the stage! And in the third scene
of Act I of _Die Götterdämmerung_, he has two clarinets play a duet for
thirty bars!


The basset-horn is a tenor clarinet with two additional keys and a longer
bore than the clarinet. The last three notes are worked by the thumb of
the right hand. The basset-horn is not a horn. It takes its name from
a German maker named Horn, who made a little bass clarinet in 1770 and
called it little bass horn as a modest compliment to himself. Its part is
written a fifth higher than the actual sounds. Gevaert says its tone is
one of “unctuous sweetness”; and those adjectives certainly describe its
rich voice very accurately.

The basset-horn was new in Mozart’s time and he liked it very much, so
much indeed that he gave it an _obbligato_ to the aria _Non più di fiori_
in his opera of _Clemenza di Tito_. In his _Requiem_ he calls for two


This instrument is made like the ordinary clarinet only the bell points
upward and outward something after the fashion of a big dipper. It is a
slow-speaking and hollow-toned instrument. Wagner uses it a great deal.
Liszt has a good part for it in his _Mazeppa_; and it is conspicuous in
the _Danse de la Fée Dragée_ in Tschaikowsky’s _Nut-cracker Suite_ and
also in the _Don Quixote Variations_ by Strauss.

The bass-clarinet is doubled by the contrabass clarinet.

The contrabass clarinet is an octave below the bass-clarinet. The tube is
partly conical and partly cylindrical. It is over ten feet long, and ends
in a big metal bell turned upward like that of the bass-clarinet. It has
thirteen keys and rings. It stands in the key of B-flat. The instrument
is also called pedal clarinet. Its middle and upper registers are reedy,
something like the ordinary clarinet tones, and the lower registers are
deep rumbles. It might be described as a rival to the double-bassoon.


_Richard Kohl_]



    _The horn; the trumpet; the trombone; the bass tuba._


Look at the golden horn with its open bell gleaming like a big yellow

First notice the large bell that spreads out to a diameter of about
twelve inches. Then notice that there is a tube that holds the
funnel-shaped mouthpiece. If this long brass tube were straightened out
it would be over seven feet long!

This instrument is nothing but a long tube spirally coiled and ending in
a bell.

The horn is very old. It is depicted in painting and sculpture in the
monuments of Egypt, Assyria and India. It may even be the oldest of all
instruments; for it was easier to blow through the horn, or the tusk, of
an animal than to cut a reed, or stretch a string.

At any rate, the instrument is derived from the horn, or tusk, of an
animal in the small end of which people soon had the idea of placing a
mouthpiece for convenience. Even in the Middle Ages the “Olifant,” as it
was called, was a recognized musical instrument. This was the tusk of an
elephant; and it was often exquisitely carved. A few “Olifants” are in

But even though the horn of an animal was used for many centuries people
had imitated it in metal before the Christian Era. The Roman _Bucina_, or
_Buccina_, or _Cornu_, for instance, was a brass tube of great length,
curved spirally and worn around the performer’s body.

The Guilds and Corporations in the Middle Ages had horns which they blew
upon to call the members to the meetings. Many of these exist in various
museums of Europe.

Poetically we say wind the horn and sound the horn, and Tennyson in
_Locksley Hall_ writes “Sound upon the bugle horn.” More romantic is his
line “The horns of Elfland faintly blowing,” in the exquisite lyric,
beginning “The splendor falls on castle walls,” in _The Princess_.

Then there was the hunting-horn—the horn that figures in old ballad
literature and romantic tales and legends.

This hunting-horn was a long tube which was passed over the player’s
right arm, the bell projecting over his left shoulder. It was
inconvenient; and so in the Seventeenth Century the tube was wrapped
around and around itself and became a great spiral coil with a large
bell. But it was still worn around the body so as to keep the hands free.

The hunting-horn was not an instrument, however, that was heard in
drawing-rooms, or in the theatre, though it was very musical when echoing
through the woods. There was an elaborate code of calls and signals and
fanfares, which every huntsman well understood. About 1720 the horn was
introduced into the Orchestra. Bach frequently scored for it. An early
use of it is in Handel’s opera of _Radimisto_. It was used in France
by Gossec, who had to write two airs especially for the _début_ of the
famous singer and actress, Sophie Arnould (one of the wittiest women of
her time), and he actually introduced _obbligato_ parts for two horns and
two clarinets (which were also new instruments then).

But the horn was not liked: it was considered common, even vulgar. The
idea of introducing an instrument from the hunting-field into the opera!

After a time, however, people began to like the voice of the horn, though
it only played fanfares and flourishes. But few, however, dreamed of
writing _music_ for this instrument, until Haydn and the great Mozart saw
its possibilities and wrote beautifully for it; and they generally called
for two horns in their scores. Mozart showed the world what he thought of
this instrument by writing _three_ Concertos for it with the Orchestra.

Cherubini called for four horns in his opera of _Lodoiska_.

Schubert opened his Symphony in C (No. 9) with a beautiful passage of
eight bars for two horns in unison. Mendelssohn made a most poetic and
dreamy use of it in the _Nocturne_ in _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ and
Weber has an exquisite introduction for four horns, descriptive of the
forest in the Overture to _Der Freischütz_.

“No other composer,” writes a critic, “has surpassed, or even equalled,
Weber in his masterly use of this instrument. He evidently loved it above
all other voices in the Orchestra. Besides abundant concerted music, the
effective opening of the _Overture_ to _Oberon_, the weird notes in that
of _Der Freischütz_ and the lovely _obbligato_ in the mermaid’s song will
rise into immediate remembrance. He fully appreciates its value, not only
as a melodic instrument, but as a source, whether alone, or blended with
other qualities of tone, of strange and new æsthetical effect.”[25]

In his opera of _Preciosa_ Weber calls for _eight_ horns.

“The horn,” says Berlioz, “is a noble and melancholy instrument. It
blends easily with the general harmony; and the composer—even the least
skilful—may if he choose, either make it play an important part, or a
useful, or subordinate one. No master, in my opinion, has ever known
how to avail himself of its powers more originally, more poetically,
and, at the same time, more completely than Weber. In his three finest
works—_Oberon_, _Euryanthe_ and _Freischütz_—he causes the horn to speak
a language as admirable as it is novel,—a language which Beethoven and
Méhul alone seem to have comprehended before him.

“The horn is of all orchestral instruments the one which Gluck wrote
least well for. We must, however, quote as a stroke of genius those three
notes of the horn imitating the conch of Charon in the air of _Alceste_,
‘Charon now calls thee.’ They are middle C’s, given in unison by two
horns in D-major; but the composer having conceived the idea of causing
the bells of each to be closed, it follows that the two instruments serve
mutually as a _sordino_; and the sounds, interclashing, assume a distant
accent and a cavernous quality of tone of the most strange and dramatic


_Josef Franzl_]

The horn that these composers called for in their scores was the
hunting-horn to which crooks had been added to enable the performer to
play in different keys—pitch. The horn in its natural, or simple, form
was used until 1830. After that valves, or pistons, were added and the
instrument was known as the chromatic horn.

Played with a mute (_con sordino_) made of cloth, the horn produces
a dreamy effect. Walter Damrosch makes a poetic use of the horn, so
muffled, in his opera, _Cyrano_.

The horn as we see it to-day consists of a tube bent into a spiral
(for convenience of holding), comparatively narrow near the mouthpiece
and gradually widening out towards the bell. It might, therefore, be
described as a conical pipe. The air-stream blown in by the player runs
all through the tube vibrating as it goes all through the coils and
emptying out of the bell. There are no holes pierced in it anywhere. The
horn has no reed. The lips of the performer have to do all the work.

By changing the pressure of the lips on the mouthpiece the performer can
cut up the vibrations into shorter lengths (just as the finger of the
player on a violin shortens the vibration of the string) and thus he is
able to get the harmonics of the scale.

The “crooks” are moveable pieces of tubing. They are inserted into the
coils to alter the pitch. There are “crooks” for all keys.

The natural, or open, tones of the horn are not produced by means of
keys that close, or open, the finger-holes, like the clarinet, or oboe.
They depend first on the length of the tube—the longer the tube, the
deeper the tone. The length is varied by means of “crooks.” Secondly,
they depend on the muscles of the lips and the increased pressure of
breath—the greater the tension, the higher the tone.

This method of producing notes is called “over-blowing.” Thirdly, upon
the valves, which, when pressed by the fingers, produce notes of lower
and higher pitch.

The right hand of the player is always in the bell of his instrument to
prevent harsh and loud sounds and to give the tone a smooth and veiled

To play the horn _bouché_ means to stop the horn with hand, or fist. To
_force_ its tone produces a loud, brassy and even wild effect.

Now the _cor à piston_, or French horn, is merely the horn that we have
just been describing with the “crooks” _permanently attached_. The
performer passes from one key to another by pressing his finger on one,
two, or all three pistons. The French horn F is the one most frequently
used. It has a complete chromatic scale of three octaves and six notes.
The mouthpiece is a funnel-shaped tube of brass, or silver, ending in
a rounded ring of metal for the convenience of the lips. The cavity is
_cone-shaped_ downward, and not cup-shaped; and it is supposed that this
shape has something to do with the tone.

Some musicians think the older and simpler horn of Mozart, Gluck and
Beethoven more poetic in quality of tone than the modern one.

“The _timbre_ of the horn,” writes Lavignac, “may be utilized in many
ways, but great skill is necessary to use it to advantage. It is heroic
or rustic; savage or exquisitely poetic; and it is, perhaps, in the
expression of tenderness and emotion that it best develops its mysterious

The family of horns is complete; there are horns now in all keys. The
music for them is generally written—whatever may be their key, or that of
the Orchestra—without sharps or flats at the Clef.

In the Orchestra the horn is seldom played singly. A pair of horns, or
four horns (two pairs), are usually employed.

It seems strange that such a primitive instrument should be capable of
such poetic effects.

Wagner called for sixteen hunting-horns in the first act of _Tannhäuser_
and made an effective use of the valve-horns in the Pilgrims’ Chorus in
_Tannhäuser_. In the _Siegfried Idyll_ he tried the effect of a shake
on the horn. In the _Flying Dutchman Overture_ he has four horns play
in unison. Throughout the _Meistersinger_ and the four dramas of the
_Nibelungen Ring_, particularly in _Siegfried_, the horns have beautiful
work to do. But Wagner outdid himself and everybody else in the music
for his horns in the second act of _Tristan_. Here in the beautiful
summer night King Mark is hunting; and we hear the faint far-away horns
and their echoes ringing through the moonlight and mingling with the
soft murmur of the Orchestra. Wagner produced this beautiful result by
having six horns play behind the scenes and two in the Orchestra. It is a
poetic, musical picture.

Since Wagner’s time six or eight horns often play in the Orchestra.
Strauss uses them in a very peculiar way in _Till Eulenspiegel_, in
which they play a four-part shake. They are also conspicuous in the _Don
Quixote Variations_.


As far back as the Eleventh Century there was a popular instrument called
the claro, clarino, or clarion. It was a short, straight, cylindrical
tube made of brass, with a cupped mouthpiece at one end and a bell at the

Towards the end of the Thirteenth Century this long tube was folded up
and the sections were bound together by an ornamental cord. The word
“clarion” was used to denote this new folded instrument and the word
“trumpet” was kept for the old straight tube, which still continued in

In the clarion, therefore, we have the ancestor of the modern trumpet.
We cannot mistake its voice. Lavignac calls it “a stately and heraldic
instrument.” That is a good characterization; for when we hear the sound
of the trumpet, we picture processions, tournaments and pageants of
historic and romantic times.

“To describe it in brief, we may say it is the soprano of the horn
family. It has nearly the same harmonic scale, but moves in a region at
once higher and more restricted. It differs from the horn in that it
produces only the open sounds. Closed sounds are unknown to it; and if
attempted would produce only an unpleasant effect.

“Like the horn, the trumpet is a transposing instrument. It has a number
of crooks,[26] or lengthening pieces.


_Carl Heinrich_]

“Of great agility, the trumpet is admirably suited to rapid figures,
_arpeggios_ and especially to repetitions of notes. Besides noisy
fanfares and strident calls, it is able to produce in _piano_, or
_pianissimo_, effects either fantastic, or of extreme sweetness.”

Berlioz says: “The quality of the trumpet tone is noble and brilliant. It
suits with warlike ideas, with cries of fury and vengeance, as with songs
of triumph. It lends itself to the expression of all energetic and lofty
and grand sentiments and to the majority of tragic accents. It may even
figure in a jocund piece, provided the joy assume a character of pomp and

“The first improvement in the trumpet,” writes Carl Heinrich, “was made
by Meyer of Hamburg in the Eighteenth Century. This was a practical
mouthpiece. In 1780 Wogel added tubes by which the performer was enabled
to play in tune with other instruments. Wiedenger, the court-trumpeter in
Vienna (1801), added stops to the trumpet by means of which the player
could reach two octaves in chromatic tones. Other improvements were
made by German and French players; but it was not until the keys were
applied that the trumpet began to approach its present condition. By
the use of keys it became possible for the chromatic tones to equal the
natural ones, and for the player to perform difficult passages with ease.
The first trumpets with keys were manufactured by Sattler of Leipzig.
Striegel, who played in the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, introduced
improvements in the bore and tubing.

“The scores of Bach and Handel often call for many trumpets. In their
day it was necessary to use a number of trumpets of different size,
because no one instrument could play all the notes required.”


Contemporary with the clarion, or claro, was a similar instrument called
the buysine; and, like the clarion, it was a straight brass tube with a
cupped mouthpiece at one end and a bell at the other. The only difference
appears to be that the buysine was _enormously_ long.

This instrument changed in form; and as early as the Fourteenth Century
it was actually supplied with a _slide_! Though it was called _sackbut_,
it shows the beginning of our modern trombone.

The sackbut was made in several sizes. There was a whole band of these
instruments. In the Sixteenth Century there was a bass sackbut almost
identical with the trombone of to-day.

The trombone may be described as a slender brass tube bent twice upon
itself and ending in a bell. In the middle section it is double, so that
the two outer portions _slide_ upon the inner ones. We always enjoy
watching the performer on the trombone pulling out his instrument at
different lengths; and we often wonder how he knows when to stop it at
the right points.

There are _seven_ positions for this slide and they have to be learned.
There is no guide but the performer’s ear, which has to be as accurate as
that of a violinist; and, indeed, we may say that the seven positions, in
a certain sense, correspond with the positions on the violin. They are
only acquired by constant practice; and when they are once acquired, the
performer thinks no more about them but pulls his slide up and down with
an air that seems to us almost indifferent.

These seven positions of the slide each give a fundamental tone and its

According to an authority: “The slide, being entirely closed, that is to
say, the tube reduced to its shortest dimension, the instrument produces
(modifying with the breath and the pressure of the lips as in the horn)
the harmonics. By pulling out the slide a little, which increases the
length of the tube, we have the second position and its harmonics.”
Pulling out the tube still farther makes the third position and its
harmonics; and so on.

There are three varieties of this instrument: the alto, the tenor and the
bass. Each is written in the proper key of the voice whose name it bears.

Trombones differ from all other brasswind instruments in that they are
non-transposing, and, therefore, render the notes as they are written.
The compass of the instrument is two octaves and a sixth.

“The _timbre_ of the trombone,” writes Lavignac, “is majestic and
imposing. It is sufficiently powerful to dominate a whole Orchestra. It
produces above all things the impression of power, a power superhuman.
For the loudest passages there is no instrument more stately, noble,
imposing; but it can also become terrible, or, even _terrific_, if the
composer has so decreed; and terrific also in the softest passages. It is
mournful and full of dismay. Sometimes it has the serenity of the organ.
It can, also, according to the shades of meaning, become fierce, or
satanic; but still with undiminished grandeur and majesty. It is a superb
instrument of lofty dramatic power, which should be reserved for great
occasions; when properly introduced, its effect is overwhelming.”

Mozart understood this reserve. In _Don Giovanni_, for instance, he kept
them out of the Orchestra until the scene with the statue. They come
in, therefore, in a climax, a terrific and solemn voice from the lower
regions calling Don Giovanni to his doom. Mozart also used them very
impressively for the March of the priests and to accompany Sarastro, the
high priest, in _The Magic Flute_.

Beethoven gave the trombones much to do in the _Ninth Symphony_, where
they begin in the Trio of the _Scherzo_. Schubert uses them strikingly in
his _Symphony in C_; and Schumann in the Finale of his _First Symphony_
and also in his _Manfred Overture_.

Berlioz made a great use of this instrument. He said: “The trombone in
my opinion is the true chief of that race of wind instruments which I
distinguish as _epic_ instruments. It possesses, in an eminent degree,
both nobleness and grandeur. It has all the deep and powerful accents of
high musical poetry from the religious accent, calm and imposing, to the
wild clamors of the orgy. The composer can make it chant like a choir of
priests, threaten, lament, ring a funeral knell, raise a hymn of glory,
break forth into frantic cries, or sound a dread flourish to awaken the
dead, or to doom the living.”

As a rule there are three tenor trombones in the Orchestra, but no alto,
nor bass.


_R. Van der Elst_]


This huge instrument, with the enormous bell standing upright, with
valves and horizontal mouthpiece and great coils of shining tubes, is
over three feet long! We can never mistake it; for it is the biggest
of all the brass instruments. It has the _deepest notes in the entire
Orchestra_. Its compass is immense! Four octaves! Having pistons, it can
give sharps and flats. Consequently, it is a chromatic instrument. The
sound of its voice is solemn, mysterious and lugubrious. It is very rich
in its deepest notes. If we do not try to listen for them we shall not be
able to distinguish them from the other bass instruments of the Orchestra.

The tone of the bass tuba might be described as partaking of both the
trombone and the organ. Many of the beautiful effects in Wagner’s
_Nibelungen Ring_ are due to this great tuba of five cylinders. Wagner
uses it to describe the deep, dark caverns under the Rhine and to suggest
the first heavy roll of the waves in _Das Rheingold_; and it is the
instrument on which the dragon, Fafner, speaks in _Siegfried_. It is
heavy and ponderous like Fafner’s own heavy coils; and it is dark and
deep and mysterious, just as we imagine a dragon’s voice might sound in
the forest, where his mutterings and threatenings are understood.

The bass tuba appealed very strongly to Wagner’s imagination; and the
_Rheingold_, _Walküre Siegfried_, and _Götterdämmerung_ are full of its
impressive tones.

The tuba was invented by a German composer, W. F. Wieprecht (1802-1892),
with the help of J. G. Moritz.

The bass tuba, like every other instrument, had a direct ancestor. In
some families the new generations are nobler and more refined than their
ancestors. This is the case with the tuba. As he belongs to the group of
horns and trombones, with even a slight relationship to the organ in his
deep rolling voice with more velvet in it than even the organ possesses,
the tuba might not care to be reminded that his parent is the ophicleide
and that he came down in a straight line of ancestry from the rather
commonplace and blatant Cornet Family.

The cornet is nothing more nor less than a bugle, a development of the
old post-horn. There is nothing elegant, nor distinguished about the
cornet (the old _zinke_ of Mediæval times). Quite the contrary. But
several centuries ago it was used to play the upper part in the Sackbut
group;[27] and as there was a bass sackbut, there was no need for a bass

After a time a French priest, named Guillaume, who was canon of Auxerre,
invented the serpent. This was a huge wooden instrument covered with
leather pierced with holes on the side and furnished with a big, cupped

This serpent was _the bass of the cornet family_. It is now obsolete. It
is hanging up in the wall in the instrument-maker’s workshop facing page

The serpent’s place was taken by the ophicleide, which is said to
have been invented in 1790, by Frichot, a French musician living in
London; but Regibo of Lille had made some improvements in the serpent
ten years earlier. Probably Frichot carried Regibo’s improvements a
little farther. First, the new instrument was called the serpentcleide;
afterwards by a combination of two Greek words, meaning “snake” and
“key.” Its voice was coarse and the instrument lacked suppleness.
Besides, it was difficult for the performer to play precisely in tune.
Mendelssohn wrote for it. It goes down into the depths (sixteen-foot A)
in _Elijah_ and it is used in the Clown’s March in _A Midsummer Night’s
Dream_.[28] Wagner uses it in _Rienzi_; Berlioz, in the Amen Chorus in
the _Damnation of Faust_; and Bizet, in _Carmen_.

Taste became too refined for the ophicleide; and its place was taken
by the double-bassoon until the bass tuba was brought to perfection.
The sonorous, majestic, velvety roll of the bass tuba has very little
resemblance to the race from which it came. To-day its plebeian origin
is forgotten and the bass tuba might be classed as belonging to the
trombone, or even to the horn family. It seems a little unkind to remind
it of its coarse ancestor, the serpentcleide.

“Minds have been confused,” writes Cecil Forsyth, “partly by Wagner’s
unfortunate misnomer _Tuben_ for a family of instruments only one of
which is a true tuba and partly by a number of inaccurate descriptions in
which the distinction between the whole-tube and the half-tube groups of
valve-brass have been overlooked.

“The orchestral godfather of all this group of instruments was Richard
Wagner. His intention was to introduce a new tone-color into the
orchestra akin to, but different from, that of the horns. The new
instruments were to be (and actually were) _modified horns_. In
particular they were to be strong and contrast with the trombones and
trumpets and were to have an even compass of about four octaves. Wagner’s
idea was to write eight horn parts and so arrange the parts for his new
instruments that four of his horn-players could be turned over at any
time to play them.

“The instruments were to have a bore slightly larger than that of the
horns, but much less than that of the tubas. The instruments were to be
arranged in two pairs—a small high-pitched pair and a large low-pitched
pair. They are all _modified horns_, but Wagner called them _tenor-tuben_
and _bass-tuben_. This group of the so-called Wagner tubas is made up
of two distinct types of instruments—a quartet of two high and two low
_modified horns_ and _one true tuba_.”

This is the bass tuba described above.


_Luca Del Negro_]



    _The kettledrums; the side-drum; the bass drum; the triangle;
    the cymbals; the tambourine; the tambourin; the castanets; the
    carillon, or glockenspiel; the celesta; the xylophone; the
    wind-machine; the rattle; the anvils; the cuckoo; the bells._

There are two kinds of percussion instruments: those which produce
_musical_ notes; and those which only make _noise_.

These instruments have neither strings, nor holes, nor keys. They are
simply beaten, or shaken.

In his definition of percussion instruments Gevaert subdivides them
into two groups: Autophonic Instruments, and Membrane Instruments.
Autophonic Instruments are those in which the tone is produced by the
vibration of solid bodies (made of metal or wood), and which are of a
nature sufficiently elastic to keep up the vibratory motion that has been
given to them by the blow from the performer. These include instruments
of _definite_ pitch, such as bells, _glockenspiel_ and celesta; and
instruments of _indefinite_ pitch, such as the triangle, cymbals, gong,
castanets, etc.

Membrane Instruments are those that have a parchment, or skin, stretched,
over them. These are the kettledrum, which has a _definite_ pitch, and
the bass drum, side drum and tambourine, which have _indefinite_ pitch.


The name of these instruments describes them precisely. We are perfectly
familiar with these huge copper kettles that stand at the back of the
Orchestra, adding no little to the picturesqueness of the stage.

The kettledrum is a big copper bowl, or basin, across which a piece of
parchment is tightly stretched to make the “head.” By means of screws
with T-heads, the parchment can be tightened, or loosened, and thus the
drum is tuned to a musical note of definite pitch. On the bottom of the
shell a hole is pierced so that the air may escape when a heavy blow is
struck. Otherwise the skin would split when the performer comes down with
a vigorous thwack upon the “head” with his stick. Calfskin is usually
employed for the “head,” and it has to be selected and prepared with
great care.

After being soaked in cold water until pliable, the “head” is tucked
around the “flesh hoop,” and, upon drying, it holds as fast as if it were

Before Beethoven’s day one drum played the tonic and the other the
dominant (which is a perfect fourth lower). Beethoven did nothing to the
kettledrums but change the way they were tuned; and _that_ made all the
difference in the world. Sometimes, as in the _Scherzo_ of the _Seventh
Symphony_ he tuned them a minor sixth. For the _Ninth Symphony_ he had
the original idea of tuning them in octaves.

Kettledrums are made in about six different sizes because there are only
_four good tones to each drum_. The drums, for instance, in the picture
facing page 122, are: 30 × 20, with compass E-flat to A-flat; 28 × 18,
with compass G to C; 26 × 17, with compass A to D; and 25 × 16, with
compass C to F.

There are many different kinds of sticks besides the felt-padded. Wooden
balls as large as a fifty-cent piece are used for certain effects;
ordinary street drumsticks for very fine crisp rolls, as required by
Elgar in his _Variations_; and the sponge sticks for delicate work. There
is no end to experimenting with different sticks for different effects.

Mr. Walter Damrosch tells an amusing story about the beginning of the
_Scherzo_ of the _Ninth Symphony_. It seems that one day when Von Bülow
was rehearsing his Orchestra in Florence, the kettledrum player could not
get the rhythm crisp enough, nor properly accented. He tried again and
again; and still it would not do. At last, Von Bülow called out: “Don’t
you see? It is _Tim_-pani, _Tim_-pani.” And, indeed, the Italian name for
these instruments—_Timpani_—gives exactly the right rhythm to this phrase
of Beethoven’s. The player had no more trouble.

We notice that the performer very often leans over his kettledrums with
the deepest concern and bends his ear over them, screwing his instruments
up or down, and again bending low and listening as he rubs a finger over
the parchment. He is altering the kettledrums so as to get notes that
will soon be required; for ever since Beethoven raised the kettledrum to
the rank of a solo instrument, composers have not hesitated to require
many changes of tuning in the course of a composition, only they are
careful to allow the player sufficient bars of rest, so that he may get
ready for the new requirements.

The kettledrum can make detached notes, deep rolls, long _crescendos_,
long _diminuendos_; and often it murmurs, or mutters, little, soft notes
that simply melt into the orchestral effects.

Musicians usually speak of them as “the drums.” Kettledrums are of
ancient origin. They come from the East. The Crusaders found them in
Arabia and introduced them into Europe in the Thirteenth Century, when
they were called “nakers” from their Arabian name, _naggareh_. Henry VIII
used them in his cavalry regiment. One was placed on each side of the
horse’s neck.


The side drum, or “snare drum,” is the military drum. It is used,
however, in the Orchestra for many rhythmic effects. The cylindrical
“shell” is of brass; and at each end is a parchment “head,” held down
by a small hoop, which is, in its turn, held in place by a still larger
hoop. Cords with leather tags keep the “heads” taut.

The upper head, on which the drummer plays, is called the “batter head.”
The lower one is called the “snare head.”

Across the “snare head” the “snares” are laid. These are thin strings of
catgut, something like violin strings, and they are stretched back and
forth from nuts to screws. They have to be screwed down rather tightly.
There may be two or three “snares” only and there may be a dozen.


_Karl Glassmann_]

When the player hits the “batter head,” the vibrations start others
in the air that is inside the shell. These internal vibrations excite
the “snare head” and then the “snares” begin to rattle. Consequently,
a great racket is set up, which might be described as a peculiar
“crackling” tone.

The “side drum” is a very hard thing to play well. The technique is not
founded on a single stroke, but on a double alternate stroke with each
hand. It is played with a wooden drumstick in each hand.

In the roll, called the “Long Roll,” or “Daddy Mammy,” the drummer
strikes the “batter head” left-left, right-right, left-left, right-right
and so gets a kind of rebounding stroke.

In addition to the roll, there are two other strokes: the _flam_, a short
note before a longer one; and the _drag_, a sort of roll preceding a
note—buddledee DUM! buddledee DUM!


The bass drum is a large wooden shell, like a big cylinder over both ends
(or “heads”) of which parchment (or skin) is stretched. This parchment
is held down by hoops. The player loosens, or tightens, these “heads” by
means of an arrangement of leather braces and tags working on a cord that
is zigzagged around the cylinder.

The bass drum is struck with a stick ending in a soft, round knob. The
bass drum may be used for noisy moments to imitate the firing of guns
and the roll, or crash, of thunder and also to mark _crescendos_ and
climaxes. If played very softly, it is solemn and awe-inspiring.

The bass drum always stands sideways. The larger the drum, the more
sonorous are the sounds.


The Triangle is a steel rod bent in a three-sided shape and left open at
one angle. It is about seven inches each way and not quite an inch thick.
It is hung by a string at the upper angle. This string the performer
holds in his fingers so that the triangle hangs loosely. The performer
hits the instrument with a small spindle-shaped bar of steel, called a

The sound is clear as crystal. Sometimes it even seems silvery. It can
play from the lightest _pianissimo_ to the loudest _fortissimo_. The
pitch is indefinite. Thus the triangle can be used in all keys and with
all chords. In addition to simple notes, isolated notes and little groups
of notes, the triangle can play the most complicated rhythms and even a

Mixed with soft strings and woodwind instruments, the triangle is of
charming effect.

Liszt made almost a solo part for this instrument in the accompaniment to
his Concerto for the Pianoforte in E-flat.

Widor said: “At the climax of a _crescendo_, when the Orchestra would
seem to have reached the height of intensity, the introduction of the
Triangle converts red heat into white heat.”

Thus the Triangle seems to say the very last word.


Like the triangle, cymbals are used to accentuate a climax, but more
vigorously than that little instrument.

Cymbals are round thin plates, or disks, of copper, or brass, slightly
concave in the centre. On the outer side of each plate a strap is
attached for the convenience of the player. There are several ways
of striking the cymbals. They may be clashed together with a kind of
brushing movement, called the “two plate stroke,” which is the ordinary
way of playing single notes; then there is a second way of rubbing the
plates together; then there is the “two plate roll,” which can be done
loudly or softly; and, finally, the player can hang up one cymbal and
beat it with a stick as if it were a gong.

Cymbals were known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans; but they
were chiefly used by the dancing-girls. The ancient cymbals were much
smaller than ours.


The tambourine is at least two thousand years old!

It is a wide, wooden hoop, over which a parchment, or vellum, head is
stretched, which can be tightened, or loosened, by means of small rods,
or nuts. The other side is left open. The tambourine, therefore, looks
not unlike an old-fashioned flour-sifter.

Around the hoop, at intervals, are hung several pairs of little metal
disks, or plates. These jingle whenever the tambourine is struck or
shaken. Hence, they are called “jingles,” or “bells.”

The tambourine can be played in three different ways: (1) by striking the
head with the knuckles, which gives detached notes and simple rhythmical
groups of notes; (2) by shaking the hoop, which gives a rolling noise to
the “jingles”; and (3) by rubbing the head of the tambourine with the
thumb, which produces a queer, hollow, rushing, swishing kind of noise
accompanied by the roll, or tremolo, of the “jingles.”

The tambourine is used in the Orchestra to give “local color,” especially
to folk-music of Spain and Italy; to “gypsy-music”; and to some kinds of
dance-music. It is also called _tambour de Basque_.


The tambourin is a long, narrow drum, which the performer beats with one
stick, holding a flageolet with the other hand. It originated in Provence.


Castanets are generally used to accent the rhythm of Spanish dance-music,
or to give color to music of a Spanish character. They consist of two
small hollow pieces of hard wood, usually of chestnut, _castaño_ in
Spanish, whence their name. They are shaped something like the bowl of
a spoon, or a shell, and are held together by a cord, the ends of which
pass over the thumb and first finger of the performer. The other three
fingers clap the two halves of the castanets together. The sound is a
deep, hollow click, which, although not a musical note, is not unpleasing
when heard with its appropriate music.

The Spanish dancer holds a pair in each hand. The right hand plays the
full rhythm of the dance which is known as the _hembra_, or female part,
and the left, a simplified rhythm, on a larger pair of castanets, called
the _marcho_, or male.

Wagner uses both castanets and tambourine in the delirious revels of the
_Tannhäuser Baccanale_.

Saint-Saëns calls for castanets in his opera of _Samson et Dalila_.


_Hans Goettich_]


We sometimes hear what sounds like a chime of bells, or one little
silvery bell, pealing forth now and then. We do not hear bells at all.
The _glockenspiel_, or _Carillon_, is a series of small bars of steel,
or bronze, that are struck by two small hammers. Some orchestras use
a mechanical contrivance with a keyboard, which enables the player to
produce _arpeggios_, trills and rapid passages that otherwise would be

A toy imitation of a chime of bells was used by Handel in his oratorio
of _Saul_ and by Mozart in the _Magic Flute_; but to-day steel bars are
preferred. They are called, however, “bells,” or _glockenspiel_.

Wagner made an interesting use of them in the Waltz in Act III of _Die
Meistersinger_ and also in _Siegfried_ and in the _Walküre_. In the
latter work the _glockenspiel_ is magical in helping to produce the
impression of fire. When Wotan strikes the ground with his staff and
calls Loge, the god of fire, to come and guard Brünnhilde, who is falling
into her enchanted sleep under the big pine tree, the red flames flicker
and soar into the air. We hear, with the slumber-song and other familiar
motives, the dance of the leaping flames. More and more furiously they
come, sparkling and gleaming like rubies and fire-opals; and as they rise
and crackle and soar heavenward the _glockenspiel_ adds its delicate,
silvery notes to the Fire-Music, making brilliant tips of light to the
soaring plumes of flame. And here, too, the triangle contributes its
white notes like vivid points of heat and light.


The celesta is a small, square instrument that looks something like a
parlor organ. It has a keyboard like the piano, with black and white keys
running to four or five octaves. Moreover, it has dampers and a soft
pedal like the piano; and the hammers are set in motion by a simplified
piano action.

The music is written like piano music for two hands in the Treble and
Bass Clefs; but sounds an octave higher than it is written.

The celesta is a new instrument. Tschaikowsky and Richard Strauss gave it

The celesta’s silvery and resonant voice owes its charm to the fact that
under each note, a little bar of steel, a resonator of wood is fastened.

The celesta _never gets out of tune_. It is sweet, clear, fairy-like,
fanciful, light and graceful. It is something like the little glass
harmonica, which children play with.


The xylophone (coming from two Greek words, wood and sound) is made on
the principle of the toy harmonica. It is an old instrument still used by
primitive and half-civilized tribes. A series of slabs of wood, graduated
in size, are fastened to two “guides,” or supports, also of wood. The
xylophone is played by two wooden “beaters,” which the performer holds in
each hand. The way of playing it is much like the Hungarian cimbalon. It
has a dry, hollow sound; and is only suited to grotesque music such as
Saint-Saëns’s _Danse Macabre_, or Dance of Death, in which it represents
the clattering of the bones of the dancing skeletons.


The wind-machine is very seldom used. Strauss calls for it in the
Windmill adventure in the _Don Quixote Variations_. It is a curious
_contrivance_ rather than a musical instrument. It is a sort of barrel
with some of the staves missing and the empty spaces covered with black
silk. The barrel is laid on its side in a “bearing,” supported by an open
“cradle.” It is then turned round with a handle, so that the silk comes
in contact with a “face” of wood, or cardboard, and makes a rushing noise
like the sound of wind, blowing violently.


Occasionally the rattle is used,—the old Watchman’s Rattle, a wooden
cogwheel, which is revolved against a hard, but flexible, spring of wood,
or metal. Strauss employs it in _Till Eulenspiegel_.


A blacksmith’s anvil is never brought into the Orchestra when “anvils”
are required. The effect is produced by means of steel bars. The player
beats them with a hard metal “beater.”

The famous Anvil Chorus in _Il Trovatore_ is played on such a substitute.
Wagner calls for no less than eighteen “anvils” in _Das Rheingold_ to
give an idea of the prodigious industry of the Nibelungs. They are of
three sizes—small, medium and large—and the music for them is written in
nine parts to get the effect that Wagner wanted.


This toy instrument consists of two tiny pipes, made of wood and mounted
on a pair of tiny bellows. The pipes are stopped with a plug that is
pushed in and pulled out to get the sound of the bird’s voice.

The cuckoo is used in Haydn’s _Toy Symphony_ and in Humperdinck’s fairy
opera of _Hänsel and Gretel_.


Bells are sometimes wanted by a composer. Meyerbeer used a big bell
in low F to give the signal for the massacre of the _Huguenots_ and
combined it with bassoons and clarinets, which give the music a sinister
quality that is very impressive. Rossini has a bell in the second Act of
_Guillaume Tell_ and Verdi has a prison bell ring in _Il Trovatore_.

“There is nothing more false,” says Lavignac, “than the saying ‘who hears
a bell hears one sound only,’ for of all sound-producing agents the bell
is perhaps the one which develops the greatest number of over-tones,
often discordant even, which sometimes causes a difficulty in discovering
which is the fundamental musical tone.”

Of course, we can easily see how such would be the case, when the sound
is reflected back and forth inside the bell and the old echoes do not
have a chance to die away before new vibrations are set in motion.


_Samuel Borodkin_]

Modern composers rarely use real bells. They give the impression by other
means; for instance, for the midnight chime in his _Danse Macabre_,
Saint-Saëns has twelve notes plucked on the harp. Strauss in his
_Sinfonia Domestica_ tells us it is seven o’clock by seven little taps on
the _glockenspiel_ (see page 127). The Bells of Montsalvat in _Parsifal_
are usually played on the “Tubular Chimes,” a row of steel pipes, which
are shown in the illustration facing page 126.



    _The Orchestra as an instrument; instruments of the Sixteenth
    Century,—Chitaroni, theorbo, lutes; Claudio Monteverde
    (1567-1643); Marc Antonio Ingegneri; Orchestra of Orfeo;
    Chitaroni; Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda;
    Incoronazione di Poppea; Adrianna; Vergilio Mazzocchi
    (1593-1646), and his music school; Stefano Landi; Orchestras
    in Rome; Orchestras in Venice; Antonio Cesti and his opera,
    “Il Pomo d’ Oro”; Cardinal Mazarin; growing popularity of the
    violin; the first French Orchestra—the Twenty-four Violins of
    the King; Bocan’s playing; anecdote of Cardinal Richelieu;
    Louis XIV and his magnificence; Twenty-four Violins of the
    King; amateur orchestras; instrumental musicians; Jean Baptiste
    Lully (1632-1687); La Grande Mademoiselle; the “Petits
    Violons”; Lully and Molière; death of Lully; Lully, the first
    real conductor; Lully’s Orchestra; Descoteaux, the famous
    flute-player and tulip-fancier; Philbert; quotation from La
    Bruyère; La Bas, the bassoon-player; Verdier; Jean Baptiste
    Marchand, the lute-player; Teobaldo di Gatti, the basse de
    viole; Jean François Lalouette; Pascal Collasse; Marin Marais;
    La Londe, the violinist; pay-roll of Lully’s men; Orchestra
    of Charles II of England; Thomas Baltzar of Lübeck; music in
    England in the Seventeenth Century; quotation from Anthony
    Wood; quotation from Dr. Burney; Corelli; Amati and Stradivari;
    development of the violin; Giovanni Baptista Bassani; Corelli’s
    great vogue; Geminiani’s estimate of Corelli; Corelli’s
    Orchestra and conducting; Corelli’s compositions and their
    influence on violin-playing; Alessandro Scarlatti, “the Father
    of Classical Music”; Francischello’s violoncello-playing;
    importance of strings in Scarlatti’s compositions; Domenico
    Scarlatti, originator of the Sonata form; Rameau and what he
    did to develop the Orchestra; the North-German Chorale; Johann
    Sebastian Bach, the “Musicians’ Musician”; Bach’s contribution
    to the Orchestra; Handel and his treatment of instruments;
    Handel’s Orchestra; Handel’s conducting; Handel’s use of the
    horn, violoncello, bassoon and kettledrums; neutral tints
    of the Orchestra of Bach and Handel; Handel’s great use of
    crescendo and diminuendo; Gluck’s devotion to Handel; Gluckists
    and Piccinists; Gluck’s contribution to the Orchestra; Gluck’s
    dramatic sense; Gluck’s ballet-music; Haydn; Prince Esterhazy;
    the second and “magnificent Prince Esterhazy”; “Papa Haydn,”
    the “Father of the Orchestra”; Haydn’s Orchestra; Haydn’s
    knowledge of the kettledrums; quotation from Stendhal; how
    Haydn composed; Dr. Burney’s estimation of Haydn and his new
    style of music; a modern critic on Haydn’s style; Mozart,
    the supreme genius; Stendhal on Mozart; Mozart’s gift to the
    Orchestra,—tone-color; influence of Mozart and Haydn upon each
    other; the Mannheim Orchestra; Mozart’s love of the clarinet;
    Mozart’s conducting; Mozart’s first composition; Beethoven
    s admiration for Mozart; an early appreciation of Beethoven
    (1818); Beethoven’s unhappy life; Orchestra of the Elector
    of Cologne in 1791 in which Beethoven played; Beethoven’s
    improvization; Beethoven in Vienna; the Lichnowskys; a
    Beethoven concert in 1795; Beethoven at the piano; appearance
    of Beethoven; Mozart’s and Beethoven’s Orchestra; Beethoven’s
    Symphonies; Beethoven’s treatment of instruments; Beethoven’s
    enrichment of the Orchestra; Beethoven, the last great classic
    and prophet of the New Era; Classic and Romantic contrasted;
    the Romantic School; Carl Maria von Weber; Weber as conductor
    of the Dresden Orchestra; Weber’s development of the woodwind;
    Weber’s fondness for the clarinet and horn; Weber, a painter
    of Nature; Schubert’s gifts to the Orchestra; Schubert’s
    Symphonies; Mendelssohn’s grace, charm and brightness of
    spirit; Mendelssohn’s happy life and varied accomplishments;
    Mendelssohn’s orchestration; Mendelssohn’s conducting; “Music
    of the Future” and its three great exponents,—Berlioz, Liszt
    and Wagner; Romantic Movement of 1830; Berlioz, a follower of
    Beethoven, Weber and Gluck; Berlioz’s love for the colossal;
    Heine on Berlioz; Berlioz’s volcanic temperament; Berlioz, the
    “Father of Modern Orchestration,” Berlioz, a forerunner of
    Wagner; Wagner’s confessed indebtedness to Berlioz; monster
    concerts; Berlioz’s symphonies; Paganini’s gift to Berlioz;
    Franz Liszt, a favorite of fortune; Liszt’s education; Liszt
    in Paris; the Romantic Movement; Liszt impressed by Paganini;
    phenomenal concert-tours; Liszt’s generosity; Liszt in Weimar;
    Liszt becomes an Abbé; Finck on Liszt’s genius; Liszt, a
    follower of Berlioz; the Symphonic Poem; Liszt’s orchestration;
    Franz Liszt, a wonderful spirit; Richard Wagner; Liszt’s aid
    to Wagner; Wagner’s dream fulfilled; Wagner’s introduction of
    the Symphonic Orchestra into the opera; Wagner’s treatment of
    instruments; Wagner’s orchestration and Wagner’s Orchestra;
    Wagner’s novel effects; Richard Strauss; Strauss’s life and
    education; novel use of instruments; complex and gigantic
    effects; Tschaikowsky; his education and career; Orchestra
    and scoring of Tschaikowsky; the “Casse Noisette Suite”
    (Nut-cracker Suite); Tschaikowsky’s love for Mozart; French
    composers and symphonic music; Saint-Saëns; French composers
    return to national fountains of inspiration; modern French
    composers; Debussy and his music; Debussy’s orchestral effects;
    Debussy’s Orchestra,—a melodious atmosphere and musical web;
    Debussy’s opalescent effects; Debussy’s love of water—sea,
    fountains and silvery rain; L’Après Midi d’un faune; Debussy’s
    Nocturnes; Catholic tastes of American audiences; Symphony
    Orchestra and Orchestra of the Eleventh Century compared._

Now that we have become acquainted with all the instruments in the
Orchestra, we must turn our attention to the Orchestra itself.

We must consider the Orchestra as _one great instrument on which the
conductor plays_.

The Orchestra is made up of all these varied instruments, which, as
we have seen, have been brought to perfection during centuries of use
and experiment,—instruments of long ancestry and historical interest,
instruments that have figured in song and story and romance.

The Orchestra is, therefore, a very unique instrument itself.

It holds within itself nearly every kind of tone from the deepest rumble
of the bass tuba and growl of the double-bass to the cool, flowing notes
of the clarinet and bassoon and to the penetrating call of the flute, the
cry of the violin and scream of the piccolo. It holds within itself every
kind of vibration from bowed, or plucked, strings, and air blown upon
quivering reeds, or through pipes, or tubes, or horns; it has every kind
of thump on tightly-stretched skin; it has every kind of rattle, clang
and clash; and every kind of sharp blow, from the heavy stroke on the
steel rod to the silvery notes of bells, or the brilliant, fiery sparks
from the triangle.

But there is one thing more that we have not yet taken into
consideration,—and that is the _human_ element.

What would these instruments be if there were no musicians to play them?

Is there anything more melancholy than a case full of musical instruments
hanging lifeless and silent in a museum?

We recall the striking illustration Shakespeare makes of unused
instruments in his _Richard the Second_, where the Duke of Norfolk, being
banished, breaks forth with:

    “_A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,_
    _And all unlook’d for from your highness’ mouth._
    _The language I have learn’d these forty years,_
    _My native English, now I must forego:_
    _And now my tongue’s use is to me no more_
    _Than an unstringed viol, or a harp;_
    _Or like a cunning instrument cased up,_
    _Or, being open, put into his hands_
    _That knows no touch to tune the harmony._”

In addition to the rich and varied instrumental material, we have
_ninety_ personalities possessed of brains, emotions and artistic ideals
and aspirations.

We call the Orchestra an instrument, or even a machine; but let us think
for a moment of these intelligent personalities behind their instruments,
or merged into their instruments, and we shall realize what a _sensitive_
organization a Symphony Orchestra is.

The Orchestra is a corporate body that is ruled by the Conductor. His is
the power that holds all these forces together; he it is who guides these
ninety men through the mazes of the vast musical composition, or fabric
of woven melodies and harmonies, the patterns and colors of which he will
place before our auditory nerves, which will carry to and impress upon
our brains the musical forms and figures that also charm our senses; and
to do this the Conductor must understand the technique of his Orchestra
every bit as thoroughly as each man knows the technique of his instrument.

The Orchestra began to be an instrument just about the time that Gasparo
di Salò (see page 21) fixed the form of the violin.

Let us look for a moment at the instruments that were in use at the
beginning of the Sixteenth Century—the instruments that formed an
Orchestra in Shakespeare’s time—the Orchestra of the Renaissance. Whether
in Italy, France, or England, it was the same.

“We are in a small square chamber, panelled and floored with oak. It has
a table with two silver candle-sticks, a couple of chairs and a few dozen
books arranged on a sort of dresser. In the window is a settle, and on
it a jumbled heap of music. We turn it over and see that it is almost
all manuscript—single-line parts of madrigals, ballets and canzonets.
But there are one or two printed books, such as Mr. Anthony Munday’s
_Banquet of Dainty Conceits_, published in 1588, and some later things,
such as Mr. Peter Philips’s Madrigals that came out four years ago. Here
is even a proof-copy of Mr. Morley’s new five-part _Ballets_. Clearly the
owner of this room is an advanced thinker. That locked case opposite, of
stamped Spanish leather, evidently contains his favorite _gamba_.[29]

“However, we must not loiter any longer in this room. We had better
make our way into the corridor, go down the staircase, and walk through
the great gallery that runs the whole length of the building. We
are now in the East Wing, where apparently the musicians have their
quarters. In the main room the logs are blazing; and on the table are
scraps of lute-tablature altered and re-altered, with odds and ends of
minnikins—the thin top-strings of the lute. There has evidently been a
rehearsal here.

[Illustration: THEORBO MADE IN PADUA IN 1629]

“Near the fireplace are the lutenists’ boxes. We notice on them French
and Italian, as well as English, names. If we open any of the boxes
we shall find inside them some very lovely instruments. Their vaulted
bodies are built up of strips of pine and cedar, and there are exquisite
purflings and ornaments of ebony, ivory and silver. In front is at
least one beautifully carved and inlaid ‘rose’; while the necks are
all ‘fretted,’ semitone by semitone. Each lute has twelve strings of
catgut tuned in six unison-pairs. But if we touch two or three lutes in
succession, we shall see that all players do not adopt the same tuning.
The average lutenist seems to prefer for his six pairs of strings a
system of fourths joined by a third in the middle.

“The instruments are made in three chief sizes, but the _tenor-lute_, or
_theorbo_, from Padua,[30] appears to be a favorite. If we take up one of
these lutes and pass our hands across its strings, we shall become aware
of a deliciously tender harmony. The instrument has no strength—only a
sort of _melancholy quietude_. And this is due, in some measure, to the
length of the strings. For much tension is out of the question in an
instrument whose bridge is merely glued to the belly.

“Here is a tall lute case in the corner, reaching almost to the ceiling.
From its appearance it has travelled far, over rough roads. Its owner’s
name suggests Italy. Let us take it out very gingerly. It is the latest
thing in lutes—a big Roman _Chitarone_,[31] or archlute, or bass-lute,
with seventeen strings—practically two instruments in one. For besides
the usual _pairs-of-strings_ that run up to the lower ‘nut,’ there is a
second series of _single-strings_ stretched to a second nut at the lute
head. These are the newly invented _diapasons_, a set of bass-strings
which hang free of the fingerboard and can therefore only be plucked
to give the one note of their full vibrating length. This addition is
naturally a great advantage in _consort_, or ensemble, playing; for it
extends the compass diatonically downwards.

“Before we leave the rehearsal room for Lord Strange’s performance in
the Hall we shall make free to open the huge oak cupboard that runs
across the upper part of the room. This is a boarded chest, as they call
it; and we know very well that we shall find inside a set of six viols.
They are heavy and cumbersome instruments and they run downwards like a
Noah’s Ark procession from No. 1, the big Double-Bass, to No. 6, the High
Treble. The favorite is No. 2, the Bass Viol, or _Gamba_. That is _viola
da gamba_ (leg-viol). The Italians also used the names _da spalla_ (the
shoulder) and _da braccio_ (arm) for the next two smaller viols. It is
doubtless a choice specimen of this instrument which was under lock and
key in the other room. It may have been made by Gasparo di Salò.[32] For
the Italians are rapidly coming to the fore as viol-makers; and a new
man, Andreas Amati,[33] is manufacturing a very small instrument, which
he calls a _violino_, or _violin_. But the Queen’s violists probably
regard this as a rather cheap and not quite worthy attempt.

“The tone of the viols is sombre and somewhat nasal. It lacks brightness
altogether. Excellent for _arpeggios_ and quiet vocal passages, the
instruments are apt to sulk unless continually coaxed by the bow. And
the bow unfortunately has to be used with considerable caution. For the
true viols have no fewer than six strings apiece. And in their tuning
they follow the irregularities of the lutes by using a series of fourths
joined together by a third. But the makers are beginning to see the
necessity of reducing the number throughout the whole Viol Family; for
the difficulties of bowing are very great. Accordingly they are just
introducing a modified type of instrument with five strings. They call
these _quintons_; and those players who use them are adopting a tuning
which gives them perfect fifths, at any rate, in the lower part of their
compass. This is interesting. For it shows that some change is in the
air. We should like to have ten minutes’ private conversation on the
subject with Signor Amati. If we did, he would first warn us that what
he was about to say must not on any account be repeated to his best
customers, the violists. Then he would probably give it as his opinion
that his new _violino_ with its simple regular tuning in fifths and its
lovely caressing tone-quality is worth all the viols that have ever been
made; and that all the talk about ‘vulgarizing’ and ‘popularizing’ is
nothing more than professional stupidity.”[34]

Orchestral music begins in Italy. It also begins with the dawn of the
Opera. We must first remember that the Italians always cared more for
solo-singing than for chorus-singing. It was just the same with their
instrumental music. Instruments playing _solo_, or holding a dialogue
together, with brilliant improvisations, occupied a much higher place
in the Italian taste than harmonies produced by a number of instruments
playing together. In other words, the Italians preferred _monodic_
music to _polyphonic_ music. So we find in the first operas, or plays
interspersed with music, that the only instruments that were welcomed
were the clavecin, the organ, the _chitarone_, and the lyre.

Now that combination is not as thin, nor as simple, as we might
think. The clavecin and organ could supply both bass and treble. The
_chitarone_, as we have just seen on page 137, was a big bass-lute known
also as the archlute, with two sets of strings: one reaching all the way
down the enormously long neck; the other, and shorter, reaching only
about a third the way down. Each set of strings had separate pegs.

The lyre was very complicated. It was a kind of viol with twelve, or
fourteen, strings, tuned either in fourths or fifths, alternately
ascending and descending. This very singular way of tuning permitted the
performer to find all kinds of chords in all kinds of positions beneath
his fingers.

[Illustration: THREE CHITARONI

_Seventeenth Century_]

The composer carried his melodies, however, on a very simple bass. If
the opera had “symphonies,” that is to say instrumental interludes,
and ballet-music, the composer would often indicate in his score “at
this place the instruments can play”; and the musicians selected what
they pleased. As time wore on, if the composer indicated a place for
one or two violins to play, he would give them a little theme; and the
players worked it up and elaborated it to suit their fancy and according
to their skill. Very often, indeed, they added a brilliant musical
_divertissement_. The scores of the earliest Italian operas have very
little accompaniment save two or three violins above a bass played on the
theorbo, or clavecin.

At the beginning of the Seventeenth Century a change took place in music.
A great many of the old kinds of wind instruments and the grave old
viols began to disappear. They were too old-fashioned for the New Art of
the time. The famous opera of _Orfeo_ by Monteverde (1607) is, perhaps,
the last of the great operas of that period that contained all that was
considered in those days the _rich voices of the Orchestra_. _Orfeo_ is a
landmark in musical history for many reasons. We shall presently see that
it is also the _starting-point of our modern Orchestra_.

And who was this Monteverde to whom we look back through three hundred
years of musical history? One of the most interesting facts about him is
that he was born in Cremona, that famous “violin town,”[35] where music
was literally in the air, although the Amatis and Stradivaris were not
yet working.

Claudio Monteverde was born in 1567. He was a contemporary of Gasparo di
Salò and Maggini.[36] At an early age he was an expert violist and was
taken into the service of the Duke of Mantua. The Duke’s Court was the
centre of every luxury and elegance in Lombardy and music had long been
one of the arts beloved there.[37] The Mantuan collection of instruments
was famous; and the Duke, like all other noble princes of the time, had
his own band of private musicians. At their head for his _Maestro di
Capella_, he had a very learned musician named Marc Antonio Ingegneri;
and young Monteverde was put under him at once to finish and perfect his
musical education.

Ingegneri, however, was unusually fond of counterpoint and of writing
fugues and Monteverde cared very little about _polyphonic_ music. And
we can imagine, therefore, that when at the age of sixteen he burst
forth with a beautiful _Book of Madrigals_—madrigals were all the rage
in those days—his artistic nature sought relief from studies that he
thought horribly dry and tiresome, but which undoubtedly did him a lot
of good. This set of madrigals was so well received that he followed it
with four more books of this lovely, lyrical form. Then in 1603 Ingegneri
died and Monteverde was chosen to succeed him. He had been superintending
the music at the Court of Mantua for four years and providing brilliant
entertainments and concerts of all kinds when the Duke’s son, Francesco
di Gonzaga, married Margharita, Infanta of Savoy. It was a brilliant
alliance; and the Duke of Mantua, wishing to celebrate it in royal
style, charged Monteverde to write the most splendid opera possible
and to stage it in the most magnificent manner. So Monteverde composed
_Orfeo_. This was one of the most popular of all subjects. It seems as
if every Italian composer had to write the search of Orpheus for his
beloved Eurydice. Ever since Dante had drawn his fantastic scenes of
the _Inferno_, Italian audiences had thrilled to stage pictures of the
lower regions for three hundred years! But it was strange that Monteverde
should have picked out this subject; for while he was writing his opera
his own lovely wife died and he was in bitter grief for her. So, perhaps,
one reason that Monteverde’s _Orfeo_ is so vital a work lies in the fact
that the composer was singing of his own despair.

We often see in histories of music that Monteverde astonished the musical
world with a novel Orchestra in _Orfeo_ and that he introduced a great
many new instruments into his score.

Nothing of the kind! What Monteverde called for in his Orchestra of
_Orfeo_ was _exactly what the Court of Mantua had been accustomed to
see and to hear. There was not a single new instrument of any kind

Now this is what he had: an Orchestra of forty instruments. As
instruments of the piano class he had two _clavicembali_, two _organi di
legno_ (little organs with flute tones) and a _regale_ (little organ).
As instruments of sustaining bass—_bass continuo_—he had two double-bass
viols, three _violas da gamba_ and two _chitaroni_ (deep lutes).
As instruments for string ensemble he had two little violins _à la
française_, or _pochettes_, ten _violas da braccio_ (soprano, alto, tenor
and bass), and ordinary violins (such as Gasparo di Salò and Maggini were
making). As wind instruments he had a _clarino_ (shrill trumpet) (see
page 110); three _trompettes_ with _sordini_; four trumpets and two
_cornets à bouquin_; flutes, both shrill and deep; and two oboes. He also
had an _arpa doppia_ (double harp).

First of all, as was usual in those days, the trumpets gave a fanfare,
or “flourish,” to announce the beginning of the drama. Then came the
introduction. Though called a “Toccata,” it was very nearly a _real
overture_. It had to be repeated three times before the rising of
the curtain. The organ, clavecin and _chitaroni_ seem always to have
accompanied the singers; the _ritournellas_, which marked the entrance of
the singers, were usually played by two solo instruments—the little tiny
“French violins,” or the little flutes, on a continued bass from some of
the bass instruments; and in the “symphonies” two groups of instruments
were used—first, a group of violins in five parts, _viole di brazzo_ (ten
in number) supported by the bass of double-bass viols, clavecins, or
_chitaroni_. Then a group of seven instruments (five trombones and two
cornets). The “symphonies” were very short—just an air played through
once; but they are very sweetly harmonized and resemble dance-tunes.

The groups of instruments were intended to express, accompany and even
symbolize each personage in the drama. _Orfeo_ was, therefore, not an
innovation; it was the highest expression of the _end of a period—the
crowning-point of the music of the Italian Renaissance_.

There were several new ideas in _Orfeo_, however, even if the instruments
of the Orchestra were just those of the Italian Renaissance. In one
place, for instance, two violins were allowed to play independently of
the viols; and _that_ was absolutely novel. The fact is _Monteverde was
new_, if his Orchestra was not; and his originality was going to express
itself more fully in after years as we shall presently see.


Let us run through the arrangement of Act III. The curtain rises on the
Infernal Regions with scenery painted in the magnificent style of the
Italian painters of the period—Titian, Tintoret, Correggio—any of the
great masters we may like to think of—and with many ingenious mechanical
devices; for these brilliant Italians were very well accustomed to
getting up pageants and _festas_. The trombone, cornet and organ play
large and sombre chords to evoke the idea of Hades. Orpheus enters and
tries to conquer the Powers of Darkness with all the resources of his
art. The first couplet of his song is accompanied by the _organo di
legno_ (organ with the flute tones) and the _chitaroni_; and when Orpheus
begins to sing, the two violins play. At the second couplet, after a
_ritournella_ by the violins, two cornets take their places and play; and
at the third couplet, when Orpheus sings “Where Eurydice is, is paradise
for me,” the double harp plays graceful arpeggios. Then Orpheus sings
some very elaborate vocalizations accompanied by two violins and a _basso
da braccio_ (a deep violin). When Orpheus bids Charon, the ferryman,
let him pass over the river Styx, the string-quartet plays chords; and,
finally, when Orpheus is triumphant, the whole Orchestra bursts forth in
one grand _finale_.

_Orfeo_ was a truly wonderful work. It was startling in many ways; but
its _Orchestra was conservative_. The instruments played together in
families. There was no attempt to mingle all their voices together,
nor to combine instruments except at the very end when the curtain was

It is not _Orfeo_, therefore, that marks the beginning of our modern
Orchestra, but an opera that Monteverde brought out twenty years later
called _Il Combattimento di Tancrede e Clorinda_.

In the _Combat of Tancred and Clorinda_, to give the opera its English
name, Monteverde used a very different Orchestra from the one he had used
in _Orfeo_. Here he has two violins, two viols (tenor and bass) and the
_contrabasso da gamba_. At this very moment—the year 1627—_the violin
took root in the Orchestra_. In ten years’ time it became the leading
instrument.[38] By 1639 _there were no more players on the viol in Italy_
that amounted to anything. From 1634 the violoncello was also established
as an orchestral instrument.

Truly, a great change had taken place! Monteverde’s Orchestra—we can now
call it so—had become one in which the violins and the instruments of the
piano class—the clavecin, etc.—form the _new body of the Orchestra_.

When Monteverde wanted certain effects, he now used special _timbres_,
or kinds of voices: trumpets and drums for triumphal scenes; cornets and
trombones for fantastic scenes; and flutes for pastoral scenes. Such
was the Orchestra that Monteverde used in his celebrated opera, the
_Incoronazione di Poppea_, which he brought out in 1642, at the end of
his life, and which the _Orchestras of Venice followed for years_.

Another thing that Monteverde did that was new in the _Coronation of
Poppea_ was to make his violins describe the excitement of the combat by
a long _tremolo_, using the passage exactly as we do to-day. It was so
novel that the violinists refused to play it. But they had to!

Monteverde also did not hesitate to introduce an instrumental
_intermezzo_ in the midst of a tragic scene.

Monteverde was a painter of life. His music was vital and vivid and in
spirit much like that of the great Italian portrait-painters who were his
contemporaries. He saw his characters and he explained them in musical
language; and _he made his Orchestra help him to do so_. And he did this,
moreover, in such an artistic way that Wagner thought him worthy of
copying nearly three hundred years later.

Monteverde stands forever as one of the greatest figures in musical

After the representation of _Orfeo_, Monteverde continued to compose;
and in 1608 he brought out an opera called _Adrianna_, which aroused the
whole of Italy to enthusiasm. Then he produced a number of ballets and
comedies. In 1612 he went to Venice, for he had been appointed _maestro
di capella_ in the beautiful church of St. Mark’s. The people went wild
over him. He was honored in every way; and his music travelled into
Germany, Holland, France, and England and was studied by all the leading

After the terrible epidemic of the Plague in 1630, which carried off
fifty thousand persons in sixteen months in Italy alone, Monteverde
entered the Church; but this did not prevent him from composing dramatic
works and madrigals (which he still loved to write) on love and war. He
saw the first public opera-house opened in Venice in 1637, which was an
important musical event, and he died in 1643, at the age of seventy-six.

After _Orfeo_, Monteverde gave up his “noisy Orchestra,” as it was
considered. He now simplified it. He weeded out the old instruments whose
tones did not harmonize with the new instruments—for the Brescian and
Cremonese-makers were very busy in these days turning out new models;
and, as he lived in the region of the great violin-makers, Monteverde saw
every new model as it left the hands of Maggini or Amati.[39] The idea
had dawned upon him of _mixing his instruments_—our modern Orchestra was

We must not imagine, however, that Monteverde was the only great musician
of the day, though he was _the most popular composer in Europe_.


_By Albrecht Dürer, about 1518_]

Florence, Venice and Rome, to say nothing of all the smaller cities,
had their operas, ballets and musical-contests. Rome was very active.
And, moreover, there was a great musical educator in Rome, whose
name was Vergilio Mazzocchi (1593-1646), who was one of Monteverde’s
contemporaries. He was _maestro di capella_ in St. John Lateran’s and
in St. Peter’s. It will give us an idea of how seriously music was
studied in those days if we remember what Mazzocchi required and what
extraordinarily proficient pupils he sent out from his school. They
could sing, play instruments, compose and write musical dramas and
ballets; they could read music at sight and copy it; and they were also
well trained in literature. Few of us would care for a day like this:—

In the morning—“an hour to singing difficult exercises; an hour to the
study of literature; an hour to practise singing before a mirror so as
not to make disgraceful faces. In the evening—half an hour to theory;
half an hour to the study of counterpoint; an hour to composition; and an
hour to literature.” The rest of the day was devoted to practice on the
clavecin, to composing for pleasure, and taking a walk in the open air.
Pupils were also sent to the theatre and concerts, so that they could
hear and study celebrated singers and performers; and they had to write
an account of their impressions! Poor young things! A busy schedule for
work and _pleasure_!

About this time an opera by Stefano Landi was produced in Rome (1632).
It was called _S. Alessio_; and the libretto was written by Giulio
Rospigliosi, from the _Golden Legend_. This work is very important in
musical history, not only because it has a double chorus and a double
Orchestra, but because the second act opens with a real overture in
three movements. It begins with a rapid _Fugato_ in 4-time; then comes
a majestic _Adagio_ in 3-time; and then another rapid _Fugato_ in
4-time. The “_sinfonia_,” or “symphony,” introducing Act I, is in five
movements,—a theme treated in fugue and counterpoint; a little piece
described as an “echo”; a short, slow number in 3-time; and a rapid
_Fugato_. The orchestral score is written in _five_ instrumental parts:
(1)-(3) violins; (4) harps, lutes, theorbos, violoncello and bass viol;
and (5), _clavicembali_.

Music in Rome was kept almost exclusively for the wealthy and
aristocratic circles. At the Barberini Theatre, which could easily seat
3,500 persons, only guests were admitted who had invitations. The public
was not allowed to see one of these fine operas! Woe betide anyone who
tried to get admittance! On one occasion in 1639 the Cardinal Antonio
Barberini chased out of the opera-house with his stick a nice-looking and
well-dressed young man, because he had not sufficient rank to come there!

In Venice matters were different. The public was not only allowed to
attend, but the director of the opera-house would even permit gondoliers
to sit in the boxes when the owners were absent. Consequently, the
Venetians were very well educated in artistic music. Many beautiful works
were given there. And the Venetian Orchestras were of the very best.

Mr. Goldschmidt, who examined the scores of 112 of these old operas in
the Library of St. Mark’s, found that the main support of the Orchestra
was the clavecin, which usually accompanied the singers; that the violins
were in general charge of the _ritournelles_ and the _entr’actes_; that
the trumpets played in the overtures and marches and often with the
voices; that the cornets, trombones and bassoons were used for fantastic
effects; that horns, drums, and other instruments of percussion were
used; and that flutes were not as popular as they were in France.


_By Albrecht Dürer, about 1518_]

Can we not see in these old Venetian Orchestras of three hundred years
ago some ideas gradually approaching towards our own?

Let us turn to Vienna, which was the great centre of the Central Empire.
One work will suffice to show that there was splendid music in that
brilliant capital. In 1666 Antonio Cesti, one of the members of the Papal
Choir in Rome and then _maestro di capella_ for the Emperor Ferdinand
III, in Vienna, wrote for the Emperor’s wedding festivities an opera
called _Il Pomo d’oro_. It was described as a “dramatic festa.” The
theatre seated 5000 persons. The Orchestra was separated from the last
row of chairs by a wide space and the conductor, who was the composer
of the work, sat at the _cembalo_, with his thirty musicians around
him. His Orchestra consisted of six violins; twelve alto violas; tenor;
bass; contrabass; two flutes; trumpets; two cornets; three trombones; a
bassoon; and a little organ.

The strings seem to have played most of the accompaniments to the voices;
the flutes were used for the pastoral scenes; the trumpets for the great
choral scenes; and the cornets and trombones for the infernal regions,—of
course, they had to have infernal regions!

An overture preceded each act. The opera was a magnificent spectacle. By
turns heaven and hell were represented; there were tempests on the sea;
there were battles on the land; towns were besieged with armed elephants;
and there were gardens and lovely landscapes and superb costumes.
And the Orchestra had to be worthy to accompany all this stupendous

An idea of the Orchestras of the Renaissance may be had by looking at the
three pictures facing pages 148, 150 and 152, representing the _Triumph
of Maximilian_ by Albrecht Dürer.

The Emperor Maximilian, who stood at the head of the old Roman Empire
and the German nation, took a childish delight in the glorification of
his own person. Instead of having a Triumphal Arch in marble erected,
he engaged Dürer in 1512 to make a record of his fame in engravings.
There was to be a Triumphal Arch and a Triumphal Procession followed
by a Triumphal Car in which the Emperor and his whole family were to
appear. Maximilian died in 1518. Dürer, to honor his memory, brought out
the _Triumphal Procession_ in eight large plates, three of which are
represented in this book. They show exactly the kinds of instruments that
were used in the Orchestras in Rome, Florence, Venice and Vienna, of
which we have been talking; but they give the Spirit of the Renaissance
as interpreted by the German mind.

Cardinal Mazarin, who brought so many Italian tastes into France when
he became Prime Minister to the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria, also
introduced the Italian Opera. In 1643 he sent to Rome for musicians.

It is very interesting to note the growing taste in France for “Strings.”
Like Italy, France had lost all pleasure in the big, bass woodwind
instruments; and as for brass instruments, they were not tolerated. All
had gone. Germany and Spain kept wind instruments in their Orchestras;
but in France and Italy the bowed strings were growing in favor every
day. Sometimes in church the cornet was played to mingle with the voices,
but nowhere else.


_By Albrecht Dürer, about 1518_]

The only instruments that French ears cared to listen to were Strings
(including the whole Violin Family), oboes and flutes. France always
loved the flute, which was comparatively little cared for in Italy, where
it was chiefly used in operas, as we have observed, for pastoral scenes.

The violin was becoming more and more popular every day. In every kind
of music it took the lead. It had been so much used for dance-music that
it had developed into a supple and graceful instrument and one that gave
itself most willingly to many delicate shades of expression in the hands
of a good player. The violin was often combined with the clavecin and

The combination was delicate and charming, rich and beautiful.

The old author of the _Comparison of Italian with French Music_ says:
“I beg to remark that with its four or five strings, the violin makes
you feel certain passions in the most striking manner, for it expresses
them in a way peculiar to itself. It really does not matter if it has
four strings, or five strings. The Italians tune their five strings in
fourths, we tune our four strings in fifths; and it comes to the same
thing. The violin mounted in either way is always the perfection of

About this time the first _real_ French Orchestra came into existence. We
may almost consider it as an ancestor of our own, as we shall presently
see. This was the famous “Twenty-Four Violins of the King.” Although it
originated in the days of Louis XIII, it is more identified with the
reign of his successor, Louis XIV.

The “Twenty-Four Violins” were the best performers of the period and they
are constantly spoken of in the _Memoirs_ and _Journals_ of the day. One
of them, for instance, Jacques Cordier, called Bocan, was dancing-master
at the Court of France, as well as violinist, and followed Henrietta
Maria, the King’s daughter, to England when she married Charles I. When
the Revolution broke out and Charles was beheaded, Bocan returned to
France and to the King’s household. He was one of the best violinists of
his day.

“The sound of his violin is ravishing,” writes Mersenne (who wrote a book
about the instruments of his time); “he plays perfectly, just as sweetly
as he wishes; and he makes use of a kind of trembling sound, which charms
our spirits.”

This was evidently the _vibrato_, which is produced by oscillating the
finger rapidly upon a note without allowing it to leave the string; and
it does produce “a kind of trembling sound.” The old writer described it

Bocan played on that memorable evening when the Cardinal de Richelieu
danced a Sarabande for the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria. At this moment
the great Prime Minister of France was taking part in all the momentous
affairs of Europe; and we get a glimpse of him in a play hour that few of
his contemporaries had. The Comte de Brienne wrote of it in his Memoirs:

“Richelieu,” he says, “was dressed in trousers of green velvet. On his
garters were silver bells and he had castanets in his hands. He danced a
Sarabande, which Bocan played. The violinist and a few spectators were
hidden behind a screen where we could see the antics of the dancer. We
nearly split our sides laughing; and I declare that now, even after fifty
years, I nearly die laughing when I think of it.”

When Louis XIV ascended the throne the “Twenty-Four Violins” became the
finest and most celebrated Orchestra in Europe. Though founded, as we
have said, in the former reign, the “Twenty-Four Violins” is particularly
the _Orchestra of Louis XIV_, the magnificent “Sun-King.” In the superb
palaces of Versailles and Marly Louis XIV blazed with all the glory that
is possible to mortals. Magnificent furniture, magnificent paintings,
magnificent gardens, magnificent fountains, magnificent costumes,
magnificent ladies, magnificent gentlemen, magnificent feasts and
magnificent operas, plays and concerts!

Everything “the Grand Monarch” had was the very best that could be found;
for in his reign France was the leading Power in Europe. So, of course,
he had the finest Orchestra.

The “Twenty-Four Violins” surpassed everything of the kind that had been
known up to that time. They represented the greatest heights to which
brilliancy and sonority could attain.

The “Twenty-Four Violins” played in the Court entertainments; they
played in the churches; they played in the gardens; they played on the
lawns; and they played for the King and his Court to dance. They also
frequently took part in the Court Ballets, when they were dressed in
peculiar costumes with masques worn hind part before, so that they gave
the ludicrous appearance of playing behind their backs. They played in
the gilded and tapestry-hung galleries and Salons of Versailles and Marly
and at the banquets of the King. And whenever they appeared they excited
the greatest admiration.

Although they were called the Twenty-Four Violins, the whole violin
family was represented. There were violins, altos, tenors, basses and
double-bass viols; and they played in four-part, or five-part harmony.

“All these parts sounding together,” wrote Mersenne, “make a symphony so
precise and agreeable that whoever hears the ‘Twenty-Four Violins’ of the
King play all kinds of airs and dances, confesses willingly that he never
heard such suave and delicious harmonies before.”

Mersenne also remarked that the deeper instruments, particularly the
basses, were much more sonorous and stronger in tone than the violins.

We know of some of their names. There was Constantin; there was Lazarin;
there was Bocan;[41] there was Foucard; and there was Léger.

“What could be more elegant than Constantin’s playing?” cries Mersenne.
“What could be warmer and more fiery than Bocan’s style? What could be
more ingenious and delicate than the diminutions of Lazarin and Foucard?
And if you add Léger’s bass above Constantin’s part, you will hear the
most perfect harmony.”

[Illustration: CHAMBER MUSIC IN 1635

_By Abraham Bosse_]

Perhaps, if we could hear the gentlemen represented on page 160 draw
his bow, we should think his tone very thin and we might not be at
all enthusiastic over the style of his playing; but we must remember
our ears hear very differently from those that listened to Bocan and
Constantin and have been educated along other lines. But certainly the
contemporaries of the “Twenty-Four Violins” considered that they were
supreme artists. And literature is full of allusions to them.

We also know that Guillaume Dumanoir was first a member and than
conductor of the “Twenty-Four Violins.”

Sometimes the King sent his “Twenty-Four Violins” to play for his great
princes and favorite courtiers. We learn from a contemporary poem that at
a superb dinner given by Cardinal Mazarin in 1660, “the feast was fine,
joy universal and the ‘Twenty-Four Violins’ played while we ate melons,
_pâtés_, tarts, _biscuit_ and dishes of delicious fruit piled up like
obelisks. We enjoyed ourselves immensely while they played a thousand
beautiful airs.”

There was hardly a great gentleman who did not have his little band of
violins, or his string-quartet, to entertain his friends and to amuse
himself. Those who could not afford to support an Orchestra, or a
quartet, would hire one on occasions.

There were many associations of musicians in the big cities like Paris
and London (survivals of the old minstrel guilds) and in small towns
throughout Europe where there were violinists, clavecinists, organists,
flute-players and a few players of old instruments—like the lute—so fast
becoming obsolete—ready to accept engagements. Such men carried the
growing taste for instrumental music, and the latest compositions as
well, to remote towns and country-houses. They were really preparing the
ground for us to-day, though they did not know it.

At this period Jean-Baptiste Lully comes on the centre of the stage.

When we think of the magnificent reign of Louis XIV—he of the long,
curling wig, the hooked nose, the supercilious smile, the long robes
and the high-heeled and diamond-buckled pumps—we think of the men who
made his century so great. We think of the great artists, Lepautre
and Bérain; we think of the architect, Mansart; we think of the great
furniture-maker, Boulle; we think of the landscape-gardener, Lenôtre; we
think of the great ministers, Condé and Colbert; we think of the great
generals, Turenne and Fontenoy; we think of the story-writers, Perrault
and La Fontaine; we think of the essayists, La Bruyère and Bossuet;
we think of the dramatists, Racine and Molière; and we think of the
musician, Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Jean-Baptiste Lully was not a Frenchman. His name was Lulli and he was
born in Florence in 1632. He was of humble origin and was taught by an
old Franciscan monk to play the guitar and to sing. Lulli was unusually
clever. He attracted the attention of the Chevalier de Guise, who was
visiting Italy; and this gentleman was so fascinated with him that he
took him to France and handed him on to Mademoiselle de Montpensier,
the daughter of Gaston d’Orléans, that eccentric person who is known in
history as “_La Grande Mademoiselle_.”

_La Grande Mademoiselle_, like every other person of place and wealth,
had her own Orchestra; and Lully (as his name was now written) was
given a place in it as one of the violins, while the Comte de Nogent,
who became interested in him, saw that he had lessons. _La Grande
Mademoiselle_ gave very brilliant ballets and concerts at the Tuileries;
but when the Royal Army occupied Paris, she was banished to her old
_Château de Saint-Fargeau_, which was quite far in the country. Lully
went with the rest of the household; and when he was not playing in the
Orchestra, or dancing in the ballet, he was employed as page. Some say,
indeed, he even served in the kitchen.

Lully, full of tricks and mischief and fun, composed a satirical song on
his mistress, _La Grande Mademoiselle_, who was a tempting subject for
a young boy’s wit. But _La Grande Mademoiselle_ heard the song; and she
very naturally dismissed him from her household. But this disgrace did
not affect Lully. In fact, it helped him in his career; for he very soon
got a place in the Twenty-Four Violins,—and there he was in the King’s
private band! And _La Grande Mademoiselle_ had to see and hear him play
very frequently.

_La Grande Mademoiselle_ does not refer to Lully’s insolence in her
_Memoirs_. Her version is as follows: “He did not want to stay in the
country and asked for his dismissal. I gave it to him and he has since
made his fortune, for he was a very great dancer.”

Lully was as clever as he was musically gifted. It was not long before
he had charge of all the “King’s Music,” which consisted of the Chamber
Music, the Chapel Music and the _Grande Écurie_ (the Stable). The latter
comprised the music for hunting and processions and out-of-door _fêtes_.
The famous “Twenty-Four Violins” played at dinner, at the Court balls,
and gave concerts for the Court, as we have seen.

In 1655 the King created a new Orchestra especially for Lully called the
“_Petits Violons_.” At first it consisted of sixteen players, but soon it
was increased to twenty-one. This Orchestra played at the Court balls,
at the morning toilet (or _lever_) of the King, at the dinner (or _grand
couvert_) and on various other occasions. Some persons thought it played
even better than the “Twenty-Four.” Lully composed a great number of
dances for it—sarabandes, gigues, chaconnes, etc., which delighted the
King and his Court. Sometimes the two Orchestras played together under
Lully’s guiding hand.

Jean-Baptiste Lully now became the most important musician in Europe.
After a time he felt that the violin, which he played so well, was
beneath his dignity, so he gave it up and devoted himself to the
harpsichord. He staged and danced in ballets for the Court; wrote operas
to the poetic _libretti_ of Quinault and produced them with superb
scenery; and he _composed all the musical interludes for all of Molière’s

He also played in several of Molière’s comedies. He took the part of
the physician in _Pourceaugnac_ and he played the comical Muphti in _Le
Bourgeois Gentilhomme_.


Lully ruled like a king.

Lully _was_ the King of Music, not only in France, but in all of Europe
in those grand days when France stood at the head of all nations in
wealth and power under her “Sun-King.”

One day in 1687, while conducting a _Te Deum_ in honor of the King’s
recovery from an illness, Lully, “the better to demonstrate his zeal,”
the contemporary account relates, “he himself _beat the time with the
cane he used for this purpose_, and he struck himself in the heat of
action a blow upon the end of his foot. This caused a small blister.”[42]
The quack doctor who was summoned was incompetent and Lully died from
blood-poisoning. He left four houses in Paris and a large fortune.

His portraits, which represent him in the big flowing curls of the
day—much like the King’s own wig—and with large heavy features, are said
by contemporaries to flatter him.

Lully was an undoubted genius and he was always clever. We sometimes
wonder if he did not know what he was doing when he wrote his satirical
song on “Big Mademoiselle,” who had plenty of enemies ready to laugh at
her expense.

Lully always knew how to attract attention to himself and he never seems
to have made a mistake.

I think we may call him the first _real conductor of an Orchestra_.
Certain it is that Lully was the first to gather together a virtuoso
Orchestra and train it by methods that approach those of to-day.

Lully’s Orchestra is, therefore, of the greatest interest to us. So
let us stop and examine it: “Lully got together the best Orchestra
of his time in Europe. It is perhaps an exaggeration to say that he
was the first man to train an Orchestra in France and that before him
(accordingly to Perrault) musicians did not know how to play from score
and had to learn their parts by heart. But he certainly did improve
instrumental execution, especially with regard to the violin, and he
created traditions in the conducting of Orchestras, which rapidly became
classic and were followed in France and even served as a model in Europe.
Among the many foreigners who came to Paris to study was an Alsatian,
named Georges Muffat, who especially admired the perfect discipline
and strict time of Lully’s Orchestra. He said that Lully’s method
was characterized by trueness of tone, by smoothness and evenness of
execution, by clean attack and by the way the bows of the whole Orchestra
bit into the first chord, that famous ‘first stroke of the bow,’ as well
as by the irresistible ‘go,’ the well-defined rhythm and the delightful
combination of vigor and flexibility, of grace and vivacity. But of all
these qualities, the best was the _rhythm_.”[43]

Robert Eitner called it an “incisive and expressive rhythm.” Others
tell us that Lully thought quite as much of delicacy of expression; for
there are many marks on his scores, such as “Play softly—almost without
touching the notes” and “Do not take off the _sordini_ until you are told

Lully’s Orchestra showed off splendidly in his operas.

“The Orchestra had for its chief instruments: violins in five parts,
which played the _ritournelles_, doubled the choruses and beautified
the solos with their harmonies. In excited airs expressing quick
passion, the voice was accompanied by two violins which played a very
elaborate part and when the passion abated returned to their ordinary
recitative. Flutes, usually straight flutes and _flutes à bec_, though
sometimes ‘transverse,’ or ‘German,’ were much used by Lully. Sometimes
they played in unison with other instruments. Sometimes they formed
separate ‘concerts’ and sometimes they were combined with the trumpets
and violins. The trumpets had a magnificent _rôle_. They played alone
in three, or five, parts with the drums. Lully also employed oboes,
bassoons, and instruments of percussion, and in his ballets he made a
great use of the _tambour de basque_, (tambourine), castanets and drums.
He also introduced bag-pipes, guitars and hunting-horns (in _La Princesse
d’Élide_); the charcoal-burner’s whistle (in _Acis_); and, like the
composer of _Siegfried_, he did not fear the sound of the forge and the
noise of anvils (in _Isis_). The characteristic trait of the Orchestra
(and one essentially French) is that Lully rarely employed it all at
once. He divided his Orchestra into groups that have conversations with
one another, or with the voices. This system puts lots of light into the
picture, as it were, and the air circulates freely. Strangers were always
struck by this.

“Lully’s Orchestra was large. It was carefully recruited and trained by
him. The violins were extraordinary, especially in ‘the first stroke of
the bow.’ People came from Italy, England and Germany to hear Lully’s
Orchestra. Everybody admired his correctness, rhythm, the perfection of
his _ensemble_; and, above all, the sweetness, preciseness and smoothness
of his violins.”[44]

And now let us see what a contemporary has to say:

“Lully would have nothing but good instrumentalists. He tested them first
by making them play _Les songes funestes_ from _Atys_. It was a nimble
hand that he demanded. After all, ease of execution was a reasonable
qualification to require. He supervised all the rehearsals; and he had
so nice an ear that from the far end of the theatre he could detect a
violinist who played a wrong note. And he would run up to the man and
say, ‘You did that. It is not in your part.’ The artists knew him and
they tried to do their work well. The instrumentalists particularly never
dared to embellish their parts, for he would not allow any more liberties
from them than he would from the singers. He thought it far from proper
that they should assume a greater knowledge than his own and add what
notes they pleased to their tablature. If this happened he became angry
and would make lively corrections. More than once he broke a violin
on the back of a man who was not playing to his taste. But when the
rehearsal was over, Lully would send for the man, pay him three times the
value of his instrument and take him out to dine.”

This characteristic little picture well shows the methods of the


Now these were neither ordinary men, nor ordinary musicians, whom Lully
was accustomed to strike with their instruments. Some of them were indeed
famous in their art and friendships. It only proves how supreme Lully was
that they would submit to his temper and rude treatment. Evidently it was
a distinction to play in Lully’s Orchestra. So they put up with anything
at rehearsals.

Take, for instance, Descoteaux, one of the most famous flute-players
of the time. Descoteaux was a great friend of Boileau, Molière and La
Fontaine. He lived to be very old, and Marais (the _viola da gamba_ of
Lully’s Orchestra) speaks of him in his _Journal_ in 1723 as follows:
“During the _fêtes_ I saw Descoteaux, whom I thought was dead. It was
he who carried the German flute to its highest point and who brought to
perfection the pronunciation of words in singing according to the rules
of grammar. The value of literature he understood better than anybody.
He sang words very correctly. Descoteaux had the love of flowers to a
supreme degree and he was one of the greatest amateur florists in Europe.
He lives in the Luxembourg, where they have given him a little garden,
which he cultivates himself. La Bruyère has not forgotten to include him
in his _Caractères_ and that fad of his for tulips, to which he gave
names as he pleased. He wants to be a philosopher now and talk Descartes;
but it is quite enough to be such a musician and such a florist.”

Thirty years before, when the tulip mania had spread from Holland
throughout Europe, causing people to win and lose large sums—fortunes
indeed—upon choice bulbs—and to spend time and money on the production
of new species—(a fad so well described in Dumas’s novel of _The Black
Tulip_), La Bruyère wrote of Descoteaux in _De la Mode_ (1691). He
did not mention Descoteaux by name; but everybody knew for whom the
pen-portrait was intended. Descoteaux had his garden then in the faubourg

Here is La Bruyère’s picture of Lully’s first flute: “The florist has
a garden in a faubourg. He runs to it at break of day and he visits it
before he goes to bed. We see him as if he were planted and had taken
root in the middle of his tulips and before the _Solitaire_. He opens
his eyes wide; he rubs his hands with delight; he goes closer to look at
it; he kisses it; his heart swells with joy, for he thinks he has never
seen it look so beautiful. Then he leaves it for the _Orientale_. From
the _Orientale_, he goes to the _Veuve_ (the widow); then he goes to the
_Drap d’or_ (Cloth of Gold); then he goes to _Agathe_; and then he goes
back to the _Solitaire_, where he takes root again. There he stands or
sits, rapt, and forgets all about his dinner. How beautiful her shading,
her stripes, her satiny, oily skin! How lovely her chalice! He gazes
upon her, admiring God and nature in her; and he would not give up that
tulip bulb for a thousand _écus_. But he will be glad to give it away for
nothing when tulips go out of fashion and pinks come in. This sensible
man, who has a soul and a religion, as well as a fad, returns home
fatigued but very contented; for he has seen his tulips!”

Descoteaux was a great virtuoso. So was Philbert, who was also a member
of Lully’s Orchestra. Descoteaux and Philbert often played together; and
they often played with Vizé, who was just as celebrated on the theorbo
and guitar as they were on the flute.

Philbert was famous for his gayety, his wit and his talent for mimicry.
He saw the ridiculous in everything and everybody; and he burlesqued
everything and everybody to make his friends scream with laughter.

In his chapter on _Des Femmes_, La Bruyère touches him off under the
name of Dracon. Addressing Lélie, he says: “But you have Dracon, the
flute-player! No one else in his profession can puff out his cheeks
so decently in blowing into an oboe, or a flageolet. The number of
instruments that he can make talk is infinite! Pleasanter still, he can
make children and young women laugh! Who can eat and drink more than
Dracon at a single meal? Dracon enlivens a whole company, and he is
always the last to get up!”

Poor Dracon had a sad love-story. A woman fell in love with him—not an
unusual thing to happen with Philbert—but she poisoned her husband so
that nothing might stand in the way of marrying him. At the last moment
she confessed her crime; and she was hanged and burned in the old _Place
de Grève_ in Paris. Philbert was perfectly innocent; but he, doubtless,
suffered terribly—poor fellow!

An artist’s life is not always a happy one!

Both Descoteaux and Philbert were great favorites of Louis XIV. As the
Philidor and Hotteterre families were renowned for their skill on the
flute, oboe and bassoon, some of them, undoubtedly, played in Lully’s
Orchestra. These families were famous in musical Paris for generations.

One of the bassoons was La Bas. He married an opera-singer, named Mlle.
Le Rochois. The marriage was somewhat unusual. Mr. Bassoon wrote his
promise to marry the lady on the back of a card—the Queen of Spades
(_Pique Dame_) and then he tried to get out of it; but the lady showed
the Queen of Spades to Lully; and Lully made Mr. Bassoon keep his promise.

Conductors have many duties!

One of the first violins, Verdier, was also the husband of an
opera-singer; but we do not know the story of his marriage.

Then there was Jean Baptiste Marchand, who played the lute and also the
violin. He wrote such a fine Mass that it was performed in the noble old
cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris.

Then there was Teobaldo di Gatti, a native of Florence, who was so
charmed with the “symphonies” in some of Lully’s operas that he had heard
(and perhaps played in) that he went to Paris in 1676 especially to see
Lully. As soon as he arrived, he hurried to call on the great composer
and conductor and told him why he had taken the journey. Lully was
highly flattered; and, after hearing him play, he recognized his ability
and gave him a place in the Orchestra at once. And here Teobaldo, the
_basse de viol_, played for fifty years! He died in 1727, playing in the
Orchestra up to the last. Teobaldo was a very well-known figure in Paris;
and everybody went to hear his opera, _Scylla_, when it was performed in

Perhaps the best musicians in all this Orchestra of _virtuosi_ were the
two violinists, Lalouette and Collasse, and the bass violist, Marais,
whose snap-shot of a fellow-member is quoted on page 165. Each of these
three artists became Lully’s assistant conductor.

Jean François Lalouette, the first of Lully’s conductors, was born in
1615. He studied the violin under Guy Leclerc (one of the Twenty-Four
Violins) and began to play under Lully when he was only twenty. First he
played among the violins; and then Lully made him his secretary and put
him to writing recitatives. He also instrumented some of Lully’s operas.
But when he boasted that he had composed the best parts of Lully’s
opera of _Isis_, Lully discharged him. Lalouette then devoted himself
to composition. Finally, he became _maître de chapelle_ at Notre-Dame,
Paris. He died in 1728. When Lalouette was dismissed in 1677, Lully gave
his place to Pascal Collasse.

Collasse was born in Rheims in 1649. At an early age he was taken to
Paris, where he became a chorister at St. Paul’s and a pupil of Lully.
He was more fortunate than Lalouette, for he stayed with Lully until the
latter’s death and completed his operas that were left unfinished.

Marin Marais was conductor at the same time as Collasse. Perhaps they
alternated, perhaps there was so much to do that two were kept busy. It
looks as if Lully only conducted when he wanted to—perhaps on a first
performance of one of his operas. At any rate, Marais and Collasse
worked together. Marais was a Parisian and was born in 1656. He sang in
the choir of Sainte-Chapelle and took lessons on the _basse de viole_[45]
with Sainte-Colombe. At the end of six months Sainte-Colombe, seeing that
his pupil was likely to surpass him, told him that he could teach him
nothing more. But this did not satisfy Marais; for he loved the _basse
de viole_ passionately and wanted to perfect himself by learning from
this master. At that time Sainte-Colombe used to practise in his garden
in a little shed he had built around a mulberry-tree where he could
be undisturbed. Marais hid behind the shed and listened to his master
practise some very difficult passages and bowings that Sainte-Colombe
wished to keep for himself. This did not last long because Sainte-Colombe
found it out. The next time he heard Marais he congratulated him on his
progress. Moreover, one day when Marais was playing for a company of
great distinction, Sainte-Colombe, who happened to be present, was asked
what he thought of Marais. He replied that “there were always pupils who
could surpass their master, but that nobody would ever be found who could
surpass Marais.”

Marais became the best performer on the _basse de viole_ of his time. It
was Marais who gave the instrument a seventh string and it was he who
wrapped the three lowest strings with wire. In 1685 he was soloist in
the King’s Chamber Music and he also played in Lully’s Orchestra. Lully
gave him lessons in composition. In 1686 he published a collection of
pieces for the _basse de viole_. An _Idylle Dramatique_ came out in the
_Mercure de Paris_ in 1693.

[Illustration: MARIN MARAIS]

Marais wrote a great deal of music for the strings. “We know,” writes a
contemporary, “the fecundity and beauty of the genius of this musician by
the number of works that he composed. They are astounding in taste and
variety. His great knowledge appears in all his works; but particularly
in two pieces: one, in his fourth book called the _Labyrinth_, where,
after having gone through various scales and touched on diverse
dissonances, and marked his way by grave tones and then by lively and
animated ones, describing the uncertainty of a man who is going through a
labyrinth, he comes out happily in a graceful and natural _Chaconne_. But
he astonished connoisseurs still more by a piece called the _Scale_—_La
Gamme_—a symphonic composition which mounts insensibly through all the
notes in the octave and then descends again with harmonious and beautiful
melodies through all the musical scales.”[46]

Marais also wrote several operas, one of which, _Alcyone_ (1706), had
in it a storm that the people of the time thought perfectly terrific;
for the drums rolled continually; the violins played on the highest
string—the _chanterelle_; the oboes screamed; and the bass viols and
bassoons added to the horrors in depicting the agitated sea and the
whistling wind.

Many were shocked!

In 1725 Marais, very old, lived in a house in the rue de Lourcine and
devoted himself to the cultivation of flowers. He also rented a room and
gave lessons two or three times a week to talented pupils.

Marais died in 1728.

Then there was La Londe, who began life as a _valet de chambre_ to
the Maréchale de Grammont. He was very talented and became one of the
best violinists in Europe. Then there was another violinist known as
Baptiste. It is supposed that he was Baptiste Anet, a pupil of Corelli.
We know of a few other names: Nicholas Baudry, _dessus de violon_; Julien
Bernier, German flute; Bernard Alberty, theorbo; Jean Théobalde, _basse
de violon_; and Jean Rabel, clavecin. There was also connected with the
Orchestra Jean Fischer (born in Swabia in 1650), who came to Paris when
very young and belonged to Lully’s orchestral family as a music-copyist.

An old document came to light in Paris several years ago that gave the
pay-roll of Lully’s Orchestra. Here it is:

    Batteur de mesure                        1,000 livres
    10 instruments de petit chœur à 6,000    6,000   ”
    12 dessus de violon à 400                4,800   ”
     8 basses à 400                          3,200   ”
     2 quintes à 400                           800   ”
     2 tailles à 400                           800   ”
     2 hautes contres à 400                  1,200   ”
     3 hautbois flutes ou basson à 400       3,200   ”
     1 timbalier à 150                         150   ”
                                            21,150 livres

This shows that there were forty men in the Orchestra and that the
average pay was 400 livres. We also learn that the clavecin player
received 600 livres. The ten instruments that had the biggest salary
were, of course, Lully’s pet _Petits Violons_.[47]

The Abbé Raguenet, in comparing the Italian and French Orchestras of the
time, says: “Besides all the instruments they have in Italy, we still
have the oboes, which, with their equally soft and piercing tones have
such advantage over the violins in ‘airs of movement,’ and also the
flutes such as the illustrious Philbert,[48] Philidor, Descoteaux[49] and
the Hotteterres know how to make wail in a manner so touching and to make
sigh so amorously in our tender airs.”

How we wish that we could go to one of the King’s Little Suppers at
Marly and hear a concert by this famous Orchestra! How we should like to
hear Descoteaux and Philbert play a duet on their flutes, or hear the
whole Orchestra play a Sarabande, or a Courante, under Lully’s careful

Charles II of England had not been on the throne very long before he
created an Orchestra of Twenty-Four Violins like that he had heard so
many times with delight at the Court of Louis XIV.

The chief violinist and leader of this organization was Thomas Baltzar of

“His Majesty, who was a brisk and airy prince, coming to the crown
in the flower and vigor of his age was soon, if I may so say,” says
Burney, “tired with the grave and solemn way which had been established
by Tallis, Byrd and others, ordered the composers of his Chapel to
add symphonies with instruments to their anthems; and thereupon
established a select number of his private music to play the symphony and
_ritournelles_ which he had appointed.

“The old way of consorts was laid aside by the prince immediately after
his restoration when he established his band of Twenty-Four Violins after
the French model; and the style of Musick has changed accordingly. So
that French Musick became in general use at Court and in the theatres.
Indeed, performers on the violin had a lift into credit before this
period when Baltzar, a Swede, came over and did wonders upon it by
swiftness and double stops. But his hand was accounted hard and rough,
though he made amends for that by often tuning in the lyre way and
playing lessons conformable to it, which were very harmonious.

“During the first years of King Charles’s reign all the Musick in favor
with the _beau-monde_ was in the French style, which at that time was
rendered famous throughout Europe by the works of Baptiste Lully, a
Frenchified Italian and master of the Court Musick at Paris, who enriched
the French Musick by Italian harmony which greatly improved their
melody. His style was theatrical; and the pieces called _branles_, or
_ouvertures_, consisting of an _entrée_ and a _courante_ will ever be
admired as the most stately and complete _mouvements_ in Musick. All the
composers in London strove hard to imitate Lully’s vein. However, the
whole tendency of the air affected the _foot_ more than the _ear_; and
no one could listen to an _entrée_ with its starts and leaps without
expecting a dance to follow.

“The French instrumental music, however, did not make its way so fast as
to bring about a revolution all at once; for during a great part of this
King’s reign the old Musick was still used in the country and in many
private meetings in London; but _the treble viol was discarded and the
violin took its place_.

“It may be ascribed to the peculiar pleasure which King Charles II
received from the gay and sprightly sound of the violin that this
instrument was introduced at Court and the houses of the nobility and
gentry for other purposes than country-dances and festive mirth. Hitherto
there seems to have been no public concerts and in the Musick of the
chamber, in the performance of _Fancies_ on instruments which had taken
the place of vocal madrigals and motets the violin had no admission, the
whole business having been done by viols.

“The use of the violin and its kindred instruments, the tenor and
violoncello, in Court was doubtless brought from Italy to France and
from France to England; for Charles II, who, during the Usurpation had
spent a considerable time on the Continent, where he heard nothing but
French Musick, upon his return to England, in imitation of Louis XIV,
established a band of violins, tenors and basses, instead of the viols,
lutes and cornets of which the Court band used to consist.”

Anthony Wood, that quaint old English writer, also throws a light on the
question of violin-playing in England at that time.

“The gentlemen in private meetings,” he writes, “which A. W. frequented,
played three, four and five parts with viols as treble viol, tenor,
counter-tenor and bass, with an organ, virginal or harpsicon, joined with
them; and they esteemed a violin to be an instrument only belonging to
a common fiddler and could not endure that it should come among them
for fear of making their meetings to be vaine and fiddling. But after
the Restoration of Charles I, viols began to be out of fashion and only
violins used, as treble violin, tenor and bass violin; and the King,
according to the French mode, would have Twenty-Four Violins playing
before him while he was at meals, as being more airy and brisk than

Then he goes on to tell us something about the chief violinist.

“Tho. Baltzar, a Lübecker born, and the most famous artist for the violin
that the world had yet produced, was now in Oxford; and this day, July
24, A. W. was with him and Mr. Ed. Low, lately organist of Christ Church,
at the house of Will Ellis, A. W. did then and there to his very great
astonishment hear him play on the violin. He then saw him run up his
fingers to the end of the fingerboard of the violin and run them back
insensibly and all with alacrity and in very good time, which he, nor any
in England, saw the like before. A. W. entertained him and Mr. Low with
what the house could then afford and afterwards he invited them to the
tavern; but they being engaged to go to other company, he could no more
hear him play, or see him play at that time. Afterwards he came to one
of the weekly meetings at Mr. Ellis’s house and he played to the wonder
of all the auditory; and exercising his finger and instrument several
ways to the utmost of his force. Wilson, thereupon, the public professor,
the greatest judge of music that ever was, did, after his humorsome way,
stoop down to Baltzar’s feet to see whether he had a hoof on, that is
to say to see whether he was a devil or not, because he acted beyond the
parts of man.”

Burney goes on to say:

“We are able to ascertain the time when concerts consisting of two treble
violins, a tenor and a bass violin, or violoncello, came into practice;
that they had their origin in Italy can scarce admit of a question; and
it is no less certain that they were adopted by the French.

“Indeed the idea of a performance where the instruments for the bass and
intermediate parts were in number so disproportionate to the treble,
seems to be absurd; and there is reason to suspect that the song
‘Four and Twenty Fiddlers all in a row,’ in D’Urfey’s _Pills to Purge
Melancholy_, was written in ridicule of that band of twenty-four violins,
which, as the French writers assert, was the most celebrated of any in

This old song begins:

    “_Four and twenty Fiddlers all in a Row;_
    _And there was fiddle fiddle and twice fiddle fiddle._
    _’Cause ’twas my Lady’s Birthday,_
    _Therefore we kept holiday,_
    _And all went to be merry._

    “_Four and twenty Drummers all in a Row,_
    _And there was tantarra rara, tan, tantarra._
    _Rara, rara, rara rar, there was rub, etc._

    “_Four and twenty Tabors and Pipers all in a Row_
    _And there was whif and dub,_
    _And tantarra rara, etc._”

and goes on in the same way for several verses.

The next name of importance after Lully is that of Corelli.

We must not imagine that Corelli suddenly appeared like a great shining
star in a dark night. No artist ever leaps suddenly upon an astonished
world. Every artist builds on the works of those who have gone before him.

To understand Corelli, we must go back a little and recall something that
we have already noticed; and that is the importance of the work of the
Italian violin-makers.

Let us then fix it in our minds that when Corelli was born, in 1653,
Nicolò Amati had already made a great number of fine violins and that
Stradivari was working all through Corelli’s life and that he outlived
him. So that the question of violin-playing was the chief one that
engaged the attention of the composers of Corelli’s time. They were all
working on the question of _how to play the new instrument_, just as
the makers had been, and were still working on the _technique_ of the
instrument itself. Amati and Stradivari, like those who had gone before
them, were trying for _tone_. The composers were now trying to show off
the voice, or _tone_, of the new instrument to the best advantage.

This question is of the greatest importance for us to remember, because
_the violin is the very foundation of our modern Orchestra_.

At first the violin was the _prima-donna_ of the Orchestra; but
eventually the other members of the Violin Family—viola, violoncello and
double-bass—also became singers. In short, the Violin Family became the
very backbone of the Orchestra.


Corelli had much to do with making this the case.

Before Corelli was born in Fusignano in 1653, the Italian composers,
particularly those who were attached to the cathedrals and private
Orchestras of the wealthy princes and lords of Lombardy—Brescia, Cremona,
Mantua and Padua—who were right in the midst of the activities of
violin-making, had been writing sonatas, “Flowers” and dances of all
kinds for the new violin, to be accompanied by the spinet, the organ, or
two or three other stringed-instruments. Their compositions gradually
grew more elaborate as they discovered the possibilities of the last
new model sent from the workshop of Gasparo di Salò, Maggini, Amati, or
Stradivari. There was a great deal more Italian music—and good music,
too—composed at that time than most people have any idea of.

Arcangelo Corelli studied the violin under Giovanni Battista Bassani, a
musician who is almost forgotten to-day, but who was a great violinist,
a composer, a conductor of the Cathedral-music, first in Bologna and
afterwards in Ferrara; and he was particularly happy in his writings for
the string-quartet. Bassani was about the same age as Corelli; and to his
pure instrumental style and knowledge of counterpoint Corelli and modern
music owe not a little.

After studying the violin with this master, Corelli went to Rome and
studied with Matteo Simonelli, who had had a splendid musical education.

Corelli travelled in Germany and was for a time attached to the Court of
the Elector of Bavaria. Then he went to Paris in 1672, and, returning to
Italy, settled in Rome. He became a favorite in society and lived in the
household of the splendid Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, taking charge of that
prince’s music. His regular Monday concerts were a feature of the social
and artistic life in Rome.

Pupils swarmed to him. One of them was Geminiani. Corelli became one of
the great personages of Rome. When Christina of Sweden went to Rome,
Corelli conducted an Orchestra of a hundred and fifty men in her palace.
When he died in 1713 he was buried in the Pantheon, not far from Raphael.
For years after his death a musical service was held annually at his
tomb, where some of his compositions were piously played by his pupils.

Geminiani’s estimate of Corelli’s character seems very just. He said:
“His merit was not depth of learning, like that of Alessandro Scarlatti;
nor a great fancy, nor rich invention in melody or harmony, but a nice
ear and most delicate taste, which led him to select the most pleasing
harmonies and melodies and to construct the parts so as to produce the
most delightful effect upon the ear.”

At the time of Corelli’s greatest reputation Geminiani asked Scarlatti
what he thought of him. Scarlatti answered that “he found nothing greatly
to admire in his composition, but was extremely struck with the manner
in which he played his concertos and his nice management of his band and
uncommon accuracy of the whole performance gave the concertos an amazing
effect; and that, even to the eye as well as the ear”; for, continued
Geminiani, “Corelli regarded it as essential to the _ensemble_ of a band
that their bows should all move exactly together, all up or all down;
so, that at his rehearsals, which constantly preceded every public
performance of his concertos, he would immediately stop the band if he
discovered one irregular bow.”

“There can be no doubt that above all Corelli was a great violin-player
and that all he wrote grew out of the very nature of his instrument.
In his _Chamber-Sonatas_ and _Concerto-Grossi_ he must be considered
the founder of the style of orchestral writing on which the future
development is based; while in the _Sonatas_ (op. 5) which have merely an
accompanying fundamental bass, he gives a model for the solo sonata; and,
thereby, for all writing for the violin as a solo-instrument.

“All his works are characterized by conciseness and lucidity of thought
and form, and by a dignified, almost aristocratic, bearing. The slow
movements show genuine pathos as well as grace, and bring out in a
striking manner the singing-power of the violin.

“Corelli’s _Gavottes_, _Sarabandes_ and other pieces with the form and
rhythm of dances, do not materially differ from similar productions of
his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, although, like everything
that he wrote, they are distinguished by great earnestness and dignity
of style and are especially well adapted to the instrument. He was not
so much an innovator as a reformer; he did not introduce new striking
effects; it cannot be denied that his technique was a limited one—he
never goes beyond the third position—but, by rigidly excluding everything
that appeared to him contrary to the nature of the instrument, and by
adopting and using in the best possible way everything in the existing
technique which he considered conformable to the nature of the violin,
he not only hindered a threatened development in the wrong direction,
but also gave to this branch of art a sound and solid basis, which his
successors could, and did, build upon successfully.”[50]

Burney tells us that “After the publication of Corelli’s works, the
violin seems to have increased in favor all over Europe. There was
hardly a town in Italy, about the beginning of the present century (the
Eighteenth), where some distinguished performer on that instrument did
not reside.”

The next link in our chain is Scarlatti.

Alessandro Scarlatti was born in Trapani, Sicily, in 1659. We find him at
a comparatively early age settled in Naples, where he was celebrated as a
singer, and a performer on the harp and the harpsichord and as a composer
of operas. He was the chief of the Neapolitan School. Modern critics have
proved that on his ideas the great Gluck built his musical edifice.

Scarlatti was a prolific composer. He wrote one hundred and fifteen
operas and two hundred masses, besides oratorios, cantatas and other

He is of importance to the Orchestra because of the new way he wrote
for the instruments. He made the accompaniment of vocal recitative of
new importance and gave the Orchestra a great part to do throughout the
entire opera. The strings formed the groundwork of his Orchestra; and he
also used oboes, flutes, bassoons, trumpets, drums and horns (the latter
an innovation).


Scarlatti was the creator of modern opera, and the “Father of Classical
Music,” the forerunner of Gluck, Mozart and Haydn and many others. Dr.
Burney put the debt that great composers owe to Scarlatti concisely when
he said: “I find part of Scarlatti’s property among the stolen goods of
all the best composers of the first forty years of the present century.”

With regard to his treatment of the violoncello, Dr. Burney says:

“The violoncello parts of many of his cantatas were so excellent that
whoever was able to do them justice was thought a supernatural being.
Geminiani used to relate that Francischello, a celebrated performer
on the violoncello at the beginning of this century, accompanied one
of these cantatas at Rome so admirably, while Scarlatti was at the
harpsichord, that the company, being good Catholics and living in
a country where miraculous powers have not yet ceased, were firmly
persuaded it was not Francischello who had played the violoncello, but an
angel that had descended and assumed his shape.”

Scarlatti also divided his strings into four parts and carefully balanced
with them the wind instruments that he used; but the strings were the
most important and stood out in relief against the wind; or, if we prefer
to think of the matter another way, the wind was subordinate to the

Very little is known regarding his private life.

His son, Domenico, was also a prolific composer and was a famous player
on the harpsichord (_Gravicembalo_). To him is due the original idea of
the _form of the Sonata which Haydn afterwards perfected_. Domenico
Scarlatti is remembered, too, for his “_Cat’s Fugue_,” written on the
notes that his favorite cat touched one day when she walked down the keys
of the harpsichord.

Next in line comes Rameau, who was born in Dijon, in 1683, just two
years before Bach. He was at the height of his fame when Mozart was
born. Rameau came of a musical family, showed his talent early, played
the clavecin at seven and studied the violin and organ. Eventually he
settled in Paris. First he wrote little musical comedies, and, finally,
operas—_Hippolyte et Arcie_, _Les Indes Galantes_, _Castor et Pollux_
are some of them—and ballets, which as M. Choquet truly says, “contain
beauties which defy the caprices of fashion and will command the respect
of true artists for all time.” Rameau died in 1774. Rameau looked very
much like Voltaire. He always used the violin when composing. Rameau’s
new ideas of orchestration created animosity among the followers of Lully.

What did Rameau do for the Orchestra?

_He gave to the different members of the Orchestra an individual rôle_;
he extended the technique of the violins; he made an increasing use of
arpeggios; and he was the first to use _pizzicato_ chords with all the
strings at once. He also made a delicate and light use of the woodwind.

Every day Rameau is taking a larger place in Music. French critics
consider him the most _French_ of all their composers.

[Illustration: RAMEAU

_By Restout_]

While the Italian Renaissance had developed the opera, the dance
and music that delighted the drawing-room, under the bright skies
of Italy, in the colder North, under the influence of stern Martin
Luther, the _Chorale_, or hymn-tune, had arisen to supply the needs
of the new Lutheran religion. The _Chorale_ is austere and solemn,
although melodious. It was largely owing to these chorales that the new
Reformed religion made its way so rapidly among the people of Northern
Germany. The sources of these Chorales were various: some came from
old church-hymns; others, from folk-songs. A good example is the “_Old
Hundredth Tune_” beginning “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

The custom of playing these _Chorales_ on the organ with elaborate
accompaniments and treating them also as themes for fugues and
counterpoint was a special fancy of the German organists.

Germany had the finest organists in Europe in the Seventeenth Century;
and there was no greater one among them than Johann Sebastian Bach.

Moreover, no one understood the _Chorale_ better, or made more use of it,
than Bach.

Bach’s life was uneventful. He was born in 1685 in Eisenach, near the
Wartburg (celebrated for the legend of Tannhäuser), was organist at
Weimar and _Kapellmeister_ at Cothen for the Prince Leopold and Cantor of
the Thomas School in Leipzig from 1723 until his death in 1750. He was
also organist and director of the two chief churches in Leipzig.

Bach wrote every form of music except the opera. His industry was
prodigious. “In Bach’s hands the music of the period marked its climax
of expression, the _Chorale_ was idealized to its highest pitch, the
combination of Orchestra, chorus and solo voices in the Passions, the
B-minor mass and the Church Cantatas became pillars of the house of
musical art for all time, the principle of equal temperament[51] was
fixed for good in Clavichord work, the _violin became a solo instrument
which could speak unaided for itself_, and the organ came finally
into its own. All this immense range of work was accomplished by an
unobtrusive, unadvertising man of the highest moral force and of simple,
deeply religious and deep-feeling character, a personality who would have
considered it the highest possible tribute to be called the worthy father
of a devoted family.”[52]

When Bach and his son, Philipp Emmanuel, went to work to draw their
family tree, they found they had fifty-three musicians to hang on the

The whole Bach family played the organ and every other keyboard
instrument. They were all marvellous players of the harpsichord.

Bach’s contribution to the development of the Orchestra is that
he treated each separate instrument lovingly and as if it were an
individual, so that _he prepared the way for the occasional solos in
orchestral compositions_. He wrote for a great many instruments that were
rapidly going out of fashion, such as the _oboe d’amore_, the _oboe di
caccia_, the _viola d’amore_ and the _viola da gamba_.

Bach stands at the parting of the ways of ancient music and modern music.
Bach is the bridge between the Old and the New. He is often called the
“musicians’ musician.”

Bach’s four Overtures for Orchestra are usually spoken of as _Suites_;
but they are compositions on the Lully type. Critics have pointed out
that Bach uses instruments to get the effect of _fulness_ rather than


_By Lissewsky_]

Bach’s compositions for a solo violin, unaccompanied, are the most
stupendous works ever written by anybody for a single instrument. Great
players have always delighted in mastering their technical difficulties,
which are very great.

Handel was born the same year as Bach, in 1685, though he seems a little
nearer to us somehow. While Bach was living his quiet, uneventful life,
Handel was gaining experience in the world. He was a native of Saxony
and was the son of a surgeon, who considered music a degrading business.
We know under what difficulties little Handel practised the spinet in
the garret. The Duke of Saxe-Wessenfels heard him play and persuaded
his father to let him follow the bent of his genius. Handel played in
the Orchestra in the Opera House of Hamburg, “the Northern Venice,” a
cosmopolitan city where the people had the best of music.

Then Handel travelled in Italy, where he met the famous Alessandro
Scarlatti[53] and had his opera of _Agrippina_ performed. Then he went to
the Court of Hanover to become _Kapellmeister_.

But Handel wanted a larger field for his activity, and so he went to
London in 1710 and brought out several operas. Queen Anne was reigning at
this time and her Court was famous for its brilliant literary men—Pope,
Addison, Steele, Sheridan and many others; and Handel’s music pleased
many of the Court, as well as the Queen herself. In 1713 he wrote a
_Birthday Ode_ for her, which delighted Her Majesty. It was literally “to
the Queen’s taste.”

But Queen Anne died in 1714; and a strange thing happened for Handel—the
Elector of Hanover, his old patron, was called to the British throne as
George I. Handel now became director of the King’s Music.

In 1717 he left George I to become Chapel-master for the Duke of Chandos,
who had a palace at Cannons, not far from London, where he lived in great
magnificence. For instance, he had a guard of a hundred Swiss soldiers
and a chapel like those of Italy. His Orchestra was of the best.

Handel stayed at Cannons three years and then he became director of the
Italian opera in London, where he produced one opera after another, some
of which brought forth witty satires from Addison and Steele, but all
of which attracted large audiences. Most of them were on mythological
subjects, were written in the Italian style and were superbly staged.
Occasionally, a beautiful aria from one or another of these operas
appears on a programme to-day; and it is so noble and lovely that we long
to hear the old operas themselves. As a rule, these arias are accompanied
by several instruments supporting one that plays an _obbligato_ part;
and these show what Handel did to develop and exhibit the _technique_ of
various instruments.

The last years of his life were devoted to composing the magnificent
oratorios of _Saul_, _Samson_, _The Messiah_ and _Israel in Egypt_.

[Illustration: HANDEL

_By Thomson_]

Handel became a naturalized English subject and lived far into the reign
of George II. When he died in 1751, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Handel’s contribution toward building up our modern Orchestra is that he
helped make it more solid, more sonorous and more vital.

The balance of Handel’s Orchestra was very different from ours, because
of the overwhelming number of woodwind instruments. If he had twenty-five
strings, he would sometimes have as many as five oboes and five bassoons!
The clarinet had not then come into use, and some stringed and some
woodwind instruments that Handel used became obsolete after his death.
Handel was particularly fond of the oboe: it is often conspicuous in his

Handel made his Orchestra a very strong ally of his operas and his
oratories. He conducted seated at the clavier, or organ, and accompanied
the singers with the most marvellous art possible to imagine, following
their fancies and pleasures and whims; and then, when they had finished,
he would _improvise_ to suit his own taste. His audience was always

It is little wonder, therefore, that Handel’s orchestration sounds scanty
to our ears, if his works are played from the original scores; for we
miss the filling in of all this elaborate work done on the spur of the
moment and in all the excitement and exhilaration of the concert-hall
before the audience who had learned what to expect.

We are told that when Handel conducted one of his oratorios the chorus
had their leaders who listened to the organ from which they took their
cues. The Orchestra was divided into three sections. Section No. I
was the _Concertino_, consisting of a first and second violin and a
solo violoncello. Section No. II was the _Concerto Grossi_, consisting
of eight first violins, eight second violins, six violas, four to six
violoncellos and four double basses. Section No. III was the _Ripienist_,
or the supplementary band, consisting of six first violins, six second
violins, four violas, three to four violoncellos and three basses. This
_Ripienist_ band was employed to fill in the harmonies, or to support the
solos, and the _concertante_ parts.

The picture facing this page, taken from an old print in the British
Museum, represents Handel seated at the clavecin (a _cembalo_ with
two keyboards), of which the lid is raised. On his right hand is the
violoncellist. Before his eye are two violins and two flutes. The solo
singers are near him, on his left, close to the clavecin. The rest of
the instrumentalists are behind him, out of sight. “Thus his directions
and his glances would control the _Concertino_ who would transmit, in
their turn the chief conductor’s wishes to the _Concerto Grossi_ and
they, in their turn, to the _Ripienists_. In place of the quasi-military
discipline of the modern Orchestra, controlled under the _bâton_ of a
chief conductor the different bodies of the Handelian Orchestra governed
one another with elasticity; and it was the incisive rhythm of the
_cembalo_ that put the whole mass into motion.”[54]

We rarely hear any of Handel’s music with exactly the Orchestra for
which he wrote. All conductors realize the difficulty of having anyone
improvise on the organ, or piano, to fill in the bald and empty spaces.
Moreover, it would confuse the singers and terrify the audience.
Improvising at concerts has gone out of fashion.


_Handel at the Cembalo_]

This was even realized in Mozart’s day; and so Mozart wrote those
beautiful “additional accompaniments” to _The Messiah_, which give to
that oratorio no little of its grace and nobility. Mozart, as we know,
was a genius in instrumentation and even in his day people demanded
something different from the Handelian concert.

Handel, however, was always seeking for novel effects. He was one of
the first to introduce the horn into the Orchestra and he was “the
first to assert the expressive personality of the violoncello.”[55] He
also appreciated the fantastic and lugubrious quality of the bassoons;
experimented with all kinds of instruments; and used the kettledrums as a
solo for Jupiter’s oath in _Semele_. This was so unusual and so startling
that Sheridan in his burletta on _Jupiter_ had a pistol fired suddenly,
upon which one of the characters exclaims: “This hint I took from Handel!”

Handel was considered horribly noisy in his day. His friend, Goupy, the
artist, made a caricature that doubtless amused Handel, who saw himself
represented at the organ as a huge, unwieldy figure with a boar’s head
and enormous tusks (referring to his violent temper) and the room full of
horns, trumpets and kettledrums, while a donkey is also present braying
loudly and in the distance a battery of artillery is ready for action.

It is noticeable, too, in Handel’s Orchestra, as in Bach’s, that we get
no (or very little) tone-color. Handel’s Orchestra is neutral in tint.
The organ and the keyboard idea is still prevailing—all the instruments
combine, as it were, to produce the one hue.

“But great painter as Handel was, he did not work so much through the
brilliancy, variety and novelty of his tone-colors as by the beauty
of his designs and his effects of light and shade. With a voluntarily
restrained palette and by satisfying himself with the sober colors
of the strings, he yet was able to produce surprising and thrilling
effects. Volbach has shown that he did not contrast and mix his strings
but divided the same family of instruments into different groups. In
the introduction to _Esther_ (1732), the violins are divided into five
groups, in the _Resurrection_ (1708) into four groups. The violas are
sometimes divided into two, the second group being reinforced by the
third violin, or the violoncellos. On the other hand, when Handel wanted
to do so, he reduced his instrumental forces by suppressing the viola
and the second violin, whose places were taken by the clavecin. All his
orchestral art is the true instinct of balance and economy, which, with
the most restricted means in managing a few colors yet knows how to
obtain as powerful impressions as our musicians to-day with their crowded

“One is prone to accept too readily the idea that expressive _nuance_
is the privilege of modern musical art and that Handel’s Orchestra knew
only the great theatrical contrasts between force and sweetness, or
loudness and softness. It is nothing of the kind. The range of Handel’s
_nuances_ is extremely varied. We find with him _pianissimo_, _piano_,
_mezzo piano_, _mezzo forte_, _un poco più F._, _un poco F._, _forte_,
_fortissimo_. We never find the orchestral _crescendo_ and _decrescendo_,
which hardly appears marked until the time of Jomelli and the school of
Mannheim; there is no doubt, however, but that it was practised long
before it was marked in the music. The President of Brosses wrote in
1739 from Rome: ‘The voices like the violins used with light and shade
with unconscious swelling of sound, which augments the force from note
to note, even to a very high degree since its use as a _nuance_ is
extremely sweet and touching.’ And endless examples occur in Handel of
long _crescendi_ and _diminuendi_ without their expression being marked
in the scores. Another kind of _crescendo_ and _diminuendo_—made on the
same note—was very common in the time of Handel. His friend, Geminiani,
helped to set the fashion.

“As Geminiani explains it: ‘The sound ought to commence softly and should
swell out in a gradual fashion to about half its value. Then, it should
diminish to the end. The movement of the bow should continue without

Padre Martini said that Gluck combined in the music-drama “all the finest
qualities of Italian and many of those of French music with the great
beauties of the German orchestra.”

Gluck began where Handel left off. Handel had already treated
mythological subjects. He had also written an _Alceste_ and an _Armida_
before Gluck appeared on the scene. Handel (who is said not to have liked
Gluck at all) was Gluck’s chosen master on account of “the wonderful
beauties of his melodies, the grandeur of his style and his rhythms like
armies on the march.”

Gluck not only followed Handel, but he adored him. He kept Handel’s
portrait over his bed!

“Gluck gave the Orchestra a new life, assigning the first place to it in
some cases, letting it express the feeling that captivates the listener.
With him violins, oboes and trombones are not merely sonorous agents;
they are living entities, personages of action. Through the Orchestra he
adds dazzling beauty to a temple scene, or a scene in the Elysian Field;
and by little touches on certain instruments here and there he can make
us feel the mystery of the infernal regions. Gluck’s great gift to the
Orchestra was to make it _speak_.”[57]

Christoph Willibad Gluck was born near Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate
(Austria) in 1714. He was educated in music in Prague and in Vienna; and
fortunately attracted the attention of Prince Melzi, who took him to
Milan to direct his private Orchestra. We all know how his successful
operas in Vienna prepared the way for still greater triumphs in Paris,
where Gluck enjoyed the patronage of the Queen Marie Antoinette, who,
being an Austrian, had known and loved Gluck’s works in Vienna.

[Illustration: GLUCK

_By Duplessis_]

All the histories and memoirs of the time speak of the quarrel between
the followers of Gluck and Piccini. Piccini represented the old Italian
style and Gluck stood for the new dramatic style—the latest thing out it
happened to be. The Piccinists accused Gluck of composing operas with
little melody, no truth to nature, little elegance or refinement, and a
noisy Orchestra. “Gluck’s modulations,” they said, “were awkward and he
had no originality, no finish, no polish.” In short, Gluck was everything
that was abominable.

Dr. Burney informs us that: “No door in Paris was opened to a visitor
without the question being asked—‘Monsieur, are you a Picciniste, or a

The Piccinists are forgotten: the Gluckists still live. We are among
them; for, to our way of thinking, nothing more noble and inspired than
_Orfeo_ was ever written. And if polish and elegance are to be found
anywhere in music, they appear in the scores of Gluck.

“Yet, if he had merely carried to perfection the work begun by Lully
and Rameau; if his efforts had been limited to removing the harpsichord
from the Orchestra, introducing the harp and trombones, employing the
clarinets, scoring with skill and effect, giving more importance and
interest to the overture and using with such magic effect the artifice of
momentary pauses to vary or emphasize speech in music,—if he had done no
more than this, he would have earned our gratitude, but he would not in
that case have been one of the monarchs of art.

“What then did he accomplish that was so extraordinary?

“He grasped the idea that the mission of music was not merely to afford
gratification to the senses, and he proved that the expression of moral
qualities is within its reach. He disdained all such tricks of the trade
as do not appeal to the heart—in fact, he preferred the Muses to the
Sirens. He aimed at depicting historic, or legendary, characters and
antique social life; and in his works of genius he put into the mouths of
each of his heroes accents suited to their sentiments and to the spirit
of the time in which they lived. He made use of the Orchestra to add to
the force of a dramatic situation, or (in one noble instance) to contrast
external repose with the internal agitation of a remorseful conscience.
In a word, all his French operas show him to have been a noble musician,
a true poet and a deep thinker.”

Gluck also contributed to the development of the ballet and made the
dance a vital part of the story of the opera, as, for instance, the
ballet of the Spirits of the Blest in _Orfeo_.

His ballet-music is very beautiful in form and melody and choice of
instruments that play it.

“With Gluck,” says Romain Rolland, “the ballet lost some of the
delightful exuberance it had had in Rameau’s operas; but what it lost in
originality and richness, it gained in simplicity and purity; and the
dance airs in _Orfeo_ are like classic bas-reliefs, the frieze of a Greek

“To think,” said Beethoven in his last days, looking at a picture of
Haydn’s birthplace, “that so great a man should have first seen the light
in a peasant’s wretched cottage!”

Haydn’s career once again proves that genius finds its level in the
world. Haydn was born of poor parents in Rohrau, a small Austrian village
near the borders of Hungary, in 1732. We all know how as a child he sang
in the choir at St. Stephen’s in Vienna and played the kettledrums, piano
and violin. At an early age he began to compose; and when he was about
thirty he became assistant director of music in Prince Esterhazy’s house
at Eisenstadt.

The story of Haydn’s entering into the service of one of the most
important princes in Europe is interesting.

Haydn had attracted the attention of Prince Esterhazy by one of his
symphonies; and friends of Haydn’s arranged that he should compose a
symphony to be performed at Eisenstadt on the Prince’s birthday.

“Haydn executed it and it is worthy of him. The day of the ceremony
having arrived, the Prince, seated on his throne and surrounded by
his court, attended at the usual concert. Haydn’s symphony was begun.
Scarcely had the performers got to the middle of the _first Allegro_,
than the Prince interrupted them and asked who was the author of that
fine composition.

“‘Haydn,’ replied Friedberg, and he made the poor young man, all
trembling, come forward.

“‘What!’ exclaimed Prince Esterhazy, ‘is it this Moor’s music?’ (Haydn’s
complexion, it must be confessed, gave some room for this sarcasm.) ‘Well,
Moor,’ he said, ‘from henceforth you remain in my service. What is your

“‘Joseph Haydn.’

“‘Surely I remember the name. You are now engaged to me. Go and dress
yourself like a professor. Do not let me see you any more in this trim.
You cut a pitiful figure. Get a new coat, a wig and buckles, a collar and
red heels to your shoes; and I particularly desire that your shoes may be
high, in order that your stature may correspond to your intelligence. You
understand me? Go your way and everything will be given to you.’

“Haydn kissed the Prince’s hand, and retired to a corner of the
Orchestra, a little grieved at being obliged to hide his natural hair and
youthful figure. The next morning he appeared at his Highness’s Levee
imprisoned in the grave costume which had been ordered. He had the title
of Second Professor of Music, but his new comrades called him simply _the

In 1762 Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy succeeded his brother and Haydn soon
became head of the entire music of the household. The “Magnificent
Prince Esterhazy,” as he was called, now turned an old hunting-lodge
into a splendid residence, making it a miniature Versailles. The house
was not only palatial, but there were deer-parks, gardens, hot-houses,
summer-houses, temples, grottoes, “hermitages,” two theatres equipped
with scenery and also a chapel. The musical establishment was large.
The Prince paid big salaries and the musicians were engaged for several
years at a time. There was a large opera company, a large Orchestra and
individual solo players on certain instruments. Haydn had charge of it
all. He was on friendly terms with Prince Esterhazy himself, for whose
_viola di bardone_, or _baryton_, he had to write a new piece every
day. Haydn lived at “Esterhazy,” as the place was called, until Prince
Nicolaus died in 1790. Then he went to Vienna, where he died in 1809.

Haydn was fortunate in having such a patron as Prince Esterhazy; for,
of course, he had no trouble in getting his works performed. For thirty
years he had an opera-house, an Orchestra—and both of the best—and a
cultivated audience as well; for Prince Esterhazy entertained royal and
noble personages and amateurs from every nook and corner of Europe.

When Haydn first went to Eisenstadt the Orchestra numbered eighteen
instruments, six violins, viola, violoncello, double-bass, flute, two
oboes, two bassoons and four horns. Then it was enlarged to twenty-two
and twenty-four instruments, including trumpets and kettledrums. There
was a great advance in the Orchestra of Esterhazy as the years rolled by;
and the last symphonies that Haydn wrote are very much richer than his
early ones.

Haydn represents the Orchestra in the same way that Gluck represents the
music-drama, Bach the organ and Handel the oratorio. He has been called
the “Father of the Orchestra”; and the name, “Papa Haydn,” that Mozart
gave to him, has been affectionately retained by posterity.

Haydn fixed the form of the quartet and the Symphony. Mozart and
Beethoven were his actual pupils as well as followers. Yet from Mozart,
Haydn learned much in the way of writing for instruments. Haydn left the
Orchestra in shape for Beethoven to carry still farther.

Haydn’s Orchestra consisted of the string-quartet, two flutes, two oboes,
two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets and kettledrums.

His practical knowledge of the kettledrums made him very partial to
them; and he was the first to give this instrument an individuality and
artistic part in the Orchestra.

Haydn introduced a loud blow on the kettledrum in the _Surprise Symphony_
to startle and wake up the audience. “Here all the women will scream,” he
laughingly said when he wrote the part.

Regarding Haydn’s quartets we have the following clever and humorous
analysis by Stendhal:

“An intelligent woman said that when she heard a quartet of Haydn’s she
fancied herself present at the conversation of four agreeable persons.
She thought that the first violin had the air of an eloquent man of
genius of middle age who supported a conversation, the subject of which
he had suggested. In the second violin she recognized a friend of the
first, who sought by all possible means to display himself to advantage,
seldom thought of himself and kept up the conversation rather by
assenting to what was said by the others than by advancing any ideas of
his own. The alto was a grave, learned and sententious man. He supported
the discourse of the first violin by laconic maxims, striking for their
truth. The bass was a worthy old lady, rather inclined to chatter, who
said nothing of much consequence, and yet was always desiring to put in
a word. But she gave an additional grace to the conversation, and while
she was talking, the others had time to breathe. It was, however, evident
that she had a secret inclination for the alto, which she preferred to
the other instruments.”

[Illustration: HAYDN

_By Gutenbrunn_]

Stendhal, who knew Haydn well, also writes:

“You must know, my friend, that before Haydn, no man had conceived the
idea of an Orchestra composed of eighteen kinds of instruments. He is the
inventor of _prestissimo_, the very idea of which made the old square
toes of Vienna shudder. In music, as in everything else, we have little
conception of what the world was a hundred years back; the _Allegro_, for
instance, was only an _Andantino_.

“In instrumental music Haydn has revolutionized the details as well as
the masses. It is he who has obliged the wind instruments to execute

“In the same way as Leonardo da Vinci sketched in a little book which
he always carried with him the singular faces he met with, Haydn also
carefully noted down the passages and ideas which came into his head.
When he was in good spirits and happy he hastened to his little table
and wrote subjects for airs and minuets. Did he feel himself disposed
to tenderness and melancholy, he noted down themes for _Andantes_ and
_Adagios_; and, afterwards, in composing, when he wanted a passage of
such a character, he had recourse to his note-book.

“Haydn, like Buffon, thought it necessary to have his hair put in the
same nice order, as if he were going out, and dressed himself with a
degree of magnificence. Frederick II had sent him a diamond ring; and
Haydn confessed that, often, when he sat down to his piano, if he had
forgotten to put on his ring, he could not summon a single idea. The
paper on which he composed must be of the finest and whitest possible;
and he wrote with so much neatness and care that the best copyist could
not have surpassed him in the regularity and clearness of his characters.
It is true that his notes had such little heads and slender tails that he
used, very properly, to call them his _flies’ legs_.

“It is said that no man had such a knowledge of the various effects and
relations of colors and the contrasts which they were capable of forming
as Titian. Haydn, likewise, possessed an incredible acquaintance with
each of the instruments which composed his Orchestra. As soon as his
imagination supplied him with a passage, a chord, or a single note, he
immediately saw by what instrument it should be executed, in order to
produce the most sonorous and agreeable effect. If any doubt arose during
the composition of a symphony, his situation at Eisenstadt enabled him
easily to resolve it. He rang his bell in the way agreed on to announce a
rehearsal; the performers repaired to the rehearsing-room. He made them
execute the passage which he had in his mind in two or three different
ways; and, having made his choice, he dismissed them and returned to
resume his composition.

“Sometimes he supposed that one of his friends, the father of a numerous
family, ill provided with the goods of fortune, was embarking for
America in the hope of improving his circumstances. The first events
of the voyage formed the symphony. It began with the departure. A
favorable breeze gently agitated the waves. The ship sailed smoothly
out of the port; while on shore the family of the voyager followed him
with tearful eyes and his friends made signals of farewell. The vessel
had a prosperous voyage and reached at length an unknown land. A savage
music, dances and barbarous cries were heard towards the middle of the
symphony. The fortunate navigator made advantageous exchanges with the
natives of the country, loaded his vessel with rich merchandise and at
length set sail for Europe with a prosperous wind. Here the first part
of the symphony returned. But soon the sea begins to be rough, the sky
grows dark and a dreadful storm confounds together all the chords and
accelerates the time. Everything is in disorder on board the vessel. The
cries of the sailors, the roaring of the waves, and the whistling of the
wind, carry the melody of the chromatic scale to the highest degree of
the pathetic. Diminished and excited chords, modulations, succeeded by
semitones, describe the terror of the mariners.

“But, gradually, the sea becomes calm, favorable breezes swell the sails
and port is reached. The happy father casts anchor in the midst of the
congratulations of his friends and the joyful cries of his children and
of their mother, whom he at length embraces safe on shore. Everything at
the end of the symphony is happiness and joy.

“I cannot recollect to which of the symphonies this little romance served
as a clue. I know that he mentioned it to me, as well as to Professor
Pichl, but I have totally forgotten it.

“For the subject of another symphony, Haydn had imagined a sort of
dialogue between Jesus Christ and an obstinate sinner, and afterwards
followed the parable of the Prodigal Son.

“From these little romances were taken the names by which our composer
sometimes designated his symphonies. Without the knowledge of this
circumstance, one is at a loss to understand the meaning of the titles
_The Fair Circassian_, _Roxalana_, _The Hermit_, _The Enamoured
Schoolmaster_, _The Persian_, _The Poltroon_, _The Queen_, _Laudohn_, all
which names indicate the little romance which guided the composer. I wish
the names of Haydn’s symphonies had been retained instead of the numbers.”

When Dr. Burney had nearly finished his immense _History of Music_ he
wrote the following words:

“I am now happily arrived at that part of my narrative where it is
necessary to speak of Haydn, the admirable and matchless Haydn! from
whose productions I have received more pleasure late in my life, when
tired of most other Music, than I ever received in the most ignorant and
rapturous part of my youth, when everything was new and the disposition
to be pleased undiminished by criticism, or satiety.

“The first time I met with his name in the German catalogues of Music is
in that of Breitkopf of Leipzig, 1763, to a _Divertimento a Cembalo_,
_3 Concerti a Cembalo_, _6 Trios_, _8 Quados_, or _Quartets_, and _6
Symphonies in four_. The chief of his early music was for the Chamber. He
is said at Vienna to have composed before 1782 a hundred and twenty-four
pieces for the _baryton_, for the use of his prince, who is partial
to that instrument and a great performer upon it. Besides his numerous
pieces for instruments he has composed many operas for the Esterhazy
theatre and Church Music that has established his reputation as a deep

“His innumerable symphonies, quartets and other instrumental pieces,
which are so original and so difficult, have the advantage of being
rehearsed and performed at Esterhazy under his own direction, by a band
of his own forming, who have apartments in the palace and practise from
morning to night in the same room, according to Fischer’s account, like
the students in the conservatories of Naples.

“Ideas so new and varied were not at first so universally admired in
Germany as at present. The critics in the northern parts of the empire
were up in arms. And a friend at Hamburg wrote me word in 1772 that ‘the
genius, fine ideas and fancy of Haydn, Ditters and Filtz were praised,
but their mixture of serious and comic was disliked, particularly as
there is more of the latter than the former in their works; and as
for rules, they knew but little of them.’ This is a censure which the
admirable Haydn has long since silenced; for he is now as much respected
by professors for his science as invention. Indeed his compositions are
in general so new to the player and hearer that they are equally unable,
at first, to keep pace with his inspiration. But it may be laid down as
an axiom in Music that whatever is _easy_ is _old_, and what the hand,
eye and ear are accustomed to; and, on the contrary, what is _new_ is,
of course, _difficult_, and not only scholars but professors have it to
learn. The first exclamation of an embarrassed performer and a bewildered
hearer is, that the Music is very _odd_, or very _comical_; but the
queerness and the comicality cease, when, by frequent repetition, the
performer and hearer are at their ease. There is a general cheerfulness
and good humor in Haydn’s _Allegros_ which exhilarate every hearer. But
his _Adagios_ are often so sublime in ideas and the harmony in which they
are clad that though played by inarticulate instruments they have a more
pathetic effect on my feelings than the finest opera air united with
the most exquisite poetry. He has likewise movements that are sportive,
_folâtres_, and even grotesque, for the sake of variety; but they are
only the _entremets_, or rather _intermezzi_, between the serious
business of his other movements.”

Haydn’s _Symphonies_ are to-day considered very simple and easy, so it is
interesting to learn from Dr. Burney that a hundred years ago they were
thought difficult and full of new effects and violent contrasts.

What would Dr. Burney have thought of Richard Strauss!

And now let us place by the side of Dr. Burney’s criticism one by a
writer of to-day, which will show us how Haydn is regarded at the present

“Of Haydn’s general style as a composer it is hardly necessary to speak.
To say that a composition is ‘Haydnish’ is to express in one word what
is well understood by all intelligent amateurs. Haydn’s music is like
his character—clear, straightforward, fresh and winning, without the
slightest trace of affectation, or morbidity. Its perfect transparency,
its firmness of design, its fluency of instrumental language, the beauty
and inexhaustible invention of its melody, its studied moderation, its
child-like cheerfulness—these are some of the qualities which mark the
style of this most genial of all the great composers.”[59]

Mozart was, perhaps, the greatest musical genius that ever lived. There
was no branch of music in which he did not shine. His life was short. He
only lived thirty-five years, but every moment of it was full of music
and experience.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756 and died in Vienna
in 1791. He picked out chords on the harpsichord when he was only a baby
and began to compose when he was but four years old. His sister was
also a musical genius; and his father, Leopold Mozart, a violinist of
reputation, took these two children on concert tours throughout Europe.
They visited all the German cities, Paris and London, and in 1769-1770
they travelled through Italy, where Mozart performed in Rome the great
feat of writing from memory Allegri’s famous _Miserere_ performed in the
Sistine Chapel during Passion Week.

In reviewing Mozart’s life it seems almost impossible that anyone
could have composed so many works, travelled so much and lived so much
in the world besides. His long list of compositions includes operas,
church-music, pieces for the piano, chamber-music, concertos for nearly
every kind of known instrument; and for the Orchestra there is an
astonishing number of works, among which forty-nine _Symphonies_ are

Such genius cannot be accounted for, nor explained: it has to be
accepted. We cannot stop to talk of his many great works. We can only say
that the older one grows and the more musical knowledge and experience
one has, the more one appreciates the charm and greatness of Mozart.

Mozart had the gift of beauty and grace; and those two qualities
blended together produce that quality so hard to define and so easy to
feel,—_charm_. _Mozart has charm._

Whatever Mozart does, he, like Raphael, to whom he has been compared,
is always beautiful. He is sunny and fresh and smiling, clear and
delightful. His melodies, moreover, are like a never-failing spring,—they
flow from an inexhaustible source.

Stendhal wrote in 1808:

“Like Raphael, Mozart embraced his art in its whole extent. Raphael
appears to have been unacquainted with one thing only,—the mode of
painting figures on a ceiling in contracted proportion, or what is termed
foreshortening. As for Mozart, I am not aware of any department in which
he has not excelled: operas, symphonies, songs, airs for dancing,—he
is great in everything. The most remarkable circumstance in his music,
independently of the genius displayed in it, is the novel way in which
he employs the Orchestra, especially the wind instruments. He draws
surprising effects from the flute, an instrument of which Cimarosa hardly
ever made any use. He enriches the accompaniment with all the beauties
of the finest symphonies.”

[Illustration: MOZART

_By Cignaroli_]

What did Mozart do towards the development of our modern Orchestra? The
question is easily answered. Mozart gave the Orchestra _tone-color_.

We have seen that Bach’s Orchestra and Handel’s Orchestra were both
neutral in tint; or, if we prefer, black and white. The instruments all
played their separate parts, but their individual _voices_ had as yet
hardly been discovered. It is true that Bach and Handel had written solo
parts for various instruments, but, as a general thing, the melodies
could be sung by one instrument as well as any other. But Mozart had very
different ideas regarding instruments. To him a violin was a violin, a
flute was a flute, a bassoon was a bassoon and a clarinet was a clarinet.
Each instrument had to _speak for itself and with its own true voice_, or
_tone-color_. Mozart originated what we may call an _orchestral palette_.

We have all seen a painter’s palette, with the colors arranged in groups
of reds and blues and greens, and so on, in their different gradations,
or shades. Mozart’s orchestral palette was arranged similarly, only
instead of paints he grouped his instruments—his strings, his woodwind,
his brass—as he pleased; and he mixed these tone-colors or conspicuously
exhibited one of these splendid hues, keeping the others subordinate as
an accompaniment.

We all know that light—perfectly white light—can be divided into the
seven colors of the rainbow and that all the manifold and varied tints
that we see in the world of nature—in sky and earth and sea—in every
flower and every fleeting hue that falls upon it—comes from those seven
colors. Now Bach and Handel and all the other composers who lived before
Mozart had never thought of music as anything but white, so to speak. It
was Mozart who broke up this white light into its prismatic hues. It was
Mozart who brought the new _beauty of color into music_.

Although Mozart learned much from Haydn, Haydn learned more from Mozart.
When Haydn wrote his first _Symphony_, Mozart was three years old.
Mozart died while Haydn was enjoying his London triumphs. Haydn’s last
_Symphonies_ show the influence of Mozart, though Haydn never reached
Mozart’s glowing and brilliant color.

It is singular to remember that Mozart wrote his first Symphony only five
years after Haydn wrote his first; but then Mozart was only eight years
old! It was, however, a real symphony, in three movements and scored for
the usual Orchestra of two violins, viola, bass (violoncello), two oboes
and two horns.

Mozart had a very great advantage over Haydn in having heard so much
music and so many different Orchestras. At this time there were a great
many fine Orchestras in Europe and Mozart heard them all. Particularly
notable was that of Mannheim, where Mozart first heard clarinets. “Oh, if
we only had clarinets!” he wrote home in 1778. “You cannot think what a
splendid effect a symphony makes with flutes, oboes and clarinets!”

The Mannheim Orchestra was generally considered the best in Europe,
though some critics thought those of Munich and Vienna were better.

“The excellence of the Mannheim Orchestra—whose performances excited as
much admiration among contemporaries as those of the Paris Orchestra
under Habeneck’s conductorship at a later date—gained for it the honor of
taking a regular share in the Elector’s concerts. The Orchestra contained
some of the first artists and _virtuosi_ of the day, such as Cannabich,
Toeschi, Cramer, Stamitz and Fränzel among the violins, Wendling as a
flute-player, Le Brun and Ramm as oboists, Ritter as bassoonist and Lang
as horn-player. But its fame rested chiefly on the excellent discipline
of the Orchestra, which, among so many first-rate artists, it was no easy
task to maintain. The _Kapellmeister_ at the time of Mozart’s visit was
Christian Cannabich (1731-1798), who had succeeded Stamitz in 1775. His
compositions were, doubtless, overrated by his contemporaries; but he was
admirable as a solo violinist and still better as an orchestral leader,
besides being an excellent teacher. The majority of the violinists
in the Mannheim Orchestra had issued from his school and to this was
mainly owing the uniformity of their execution and delivery. Cannabich,
who was more of an organizer than an originator, had experimented with
every condition and device for producing instrumental effects and he
laid special stress on technical perfection of execution in order to be
certain of having good ensemble players.”[60]

Mozart had much to do in raising the standard of the Vienna Orchestra on
his return home.

From this time forward the clarinet became conspicuous in Mozart’s

We get a glimpse of Mozart conducting in 1789 from Jahn. He was in

“At the rehearsal for this concert he took the _tempo_ of the first
_Allegro_ of his symphony so fast that the Orchestra was very soon in
hopeless confusion. Mozart stopped, told the players what was wrong and
began again as fast as before, doing all he could to keep the Orchestra
together and stamping the time with his foot so energetically that his
steel shoe-buckle snapped in two. He laughed at this; and, as they
still dragged, he began a third time. The musicians, now having become
impatient, worked in desperation; and at last the movement went right.
‘It was not caprice;’ he explained afterwards to some musical friends,
to whom he had been holding forth on the subject of too rapid _tempo_,
‘but I saw at once that most of the players were advanced in years and
there would have been no end to the dragging if I had not worked them
up into a rage so that they did their best out of pure spite.’ The rest
of the symphony he took in moderate time; and after the song had been
rehearsed he praised the accompaniment of the Orchestra and said it
would be unnecessary to rehearse his concerto: ‘The parts are correctly
written out, you play accurately and so do I.’ The result showed that his
confidence was not misplaced.”

Mozart is interesting to us in many periods; but we like best to think of
him as the tiny prodigy, who was caressed and admired by all the world
and who wrote the most delightful, childish letters home inquiring if
“Master Canary still sang in G-sharp” and sending “A thousand kisses
to Miss Bimberl” (the dog). We like, too, the story of his first
composition, as related by an eye-witness:

“Mozart’s father, returning from church one day with a friend, found his
son aged five, busy writing.

“‘What are you doing there, my little boy?’ he asked.

“‘I am composing a concerto for the harpsichord, and have almost got to
the end of the first part.’

“‘Let me see your fine scrawl.’

“‘No; I have not finished it yet.’

“The father, however, took the paper and showed his friend the sheet full
of notes, which could hardly be deciphered for the blots of ink.

“The two friends at first laughed heartily at this scribbling; but after
a little time when the father had looked at it with more attention, his
eyes were fastened on the paper, and at length, overflowed with tears of
joy and wonder.

“‘Look, my friend,’ he said, ‘look. Everything is composed according to
rule. It is a pity that the piece cannot be made any use of; but it is
too difficult. Nobody would be able to play it.’

“‘It is a concerto,’ replied his little son, ‘and must be studied until
it can be played properly. This is the way it should be played.’”

This was the beginning of Mozart’s composition. He wrote no less than six
hundred and thirty-six works!

And to his name we will add this tribute:

“I have always been one of the greatest admirers of Mozart and I shall
remain so until my last breath,—Beethoven.”

When Mozart heard the boy Beethoven play during his first visit to Vienna
in 1787 he said to his friends: “Pay attention to him he will make a
noise in the world some day, or other.”

It seems strange to find an English musician writing the following just
appreciation of Beethoven in 1818, while the great genius was still

“Beethoven’s genius seems to anticipate a future age. In one
comprehensive view, he surveys all that science has hitherto produced,
but regards it only as the basis of that superstructure which harmony
is capable of raising. He measures the talents and resources of every
preceding artist, and, as it were, collects into a focus their scattered
rays. He discovers that Haydn and Mozart alone have followed nature, yet
he explores the hidden treasures of harmony with a vigor superior to
either. In sacred music he is pre-eminently great. The dark tone of his
mind is in unison with that solemn style which the service of the church
requires; and the gigantic harmony which he wields enables him to excite
by sounds, a terror hitherto unknown.”

Yes; Beethoven had a dark nature; or, at least, dark clouds frequently
floated across his mind. He had everything to make him morose. His life
was exceptionally unhappy: he had an unfortunate love-affair; the nephew
in whom he placed all his hopes disappointed him; and, finally, he became
totally deaf.

“His whole life is like a stormy day. At the beginning—a fresh, clear
morning, perhaps a languid breeze, scarcely a breath of air. But there
is always in the still air a secret menace, a dark foreboding. Large
shadows loom and pass; tragic rumblings; murmuring awesome silences—the
furious gusts of the winds of the _Eroica_ and the _C-minor_.”[61]

Ludwig van Beethoven was of Flemish-Dutch origin as the “van” shows. He
was, however, born in Bonn in 1770, his birthplace a bare attic. His
father was a lazy tenor and his mother a servant. His childhood was most
unhappy. Beethoven was marked for sorrow from his earliest years.

He was compelled to practise the violin and harpsichord by his
good-for-nothing father, who made him earn his own living, and he soon
lost his mother, whom he adored.

In 1787 he visited Vienna and had some lessons from Mozart. In 1788, when
but seventeen, Beethoven was playing in the Orchestra of the Elector of
Cologne at Bonn.

We get a good idea of what a fine German Orchestra was in 1791 from
Charles Louis Junker, who described it in that year, and Beethoven, too,
who was then twenty:

“The Elector remained a considerable time at Mergentheim and had some
twenty of his band with him. I heard the most exquisite music and made
the acquaintance of some first-rate artists.

“On the first day I heard the musical performance, which took place
regularly while the Elector dined. There were two oboes, two clarinets,
two flageolets, and two horns. These eight players may fairly be called
masters in their art. Soon after the musical performance during dinner
the play began. It was _King Theodor_, with music by Paisiello.

“The Orchestra was capital, the _piani_, _forti_ and _crescendi_ being
exceedingly well observed. Herr Ries, the expert score-reader and player
at sight, conducted with the violin. He is worthy of being placed beside
Cannabich.[62] His firm, vigorous lead inspires every player with life
and spirit.

“The arrangement of the Orchestra was such as I had not seen elsewhere,
but I thought it very convenient. Herr Ries stood on a raised platform in
the middle of the theatre, and close to the stage where he could be seen
by everyone. Immediately below and behind him were a counter violinist
and violoncellist; on his right were the first violins, with the second
violins opposite them; behind the violins the violas, with the clarinets
opposite; behind the violas the counter violin and violoncello; and, last
of all, the trumpets. On the conductor’s left were the wind instruments;
the oboes with the flageolets opposite and flutes and horns. It would
be difficult to find an Orchestra where the violins and basses were so

“I also heard one of the greatest pianists—the dear, good Beethoven.
I heard him improvise. In fact, I, myself, was asked to give him a
theme. The greatness of this gentle man as a _virtuoso_ may, I think,
be estimated by the almost inexhaustible wealth of his imagination, the
skill of his execution and the thorough originality of his expression. I
did not find him deficient in any of the attributes of a great artist.
In addition to his fluent execution he is suggestive, expressive,
telling—in a word he touches the heart, and he is as good in _adagio_ as
in _allegro_. The clever artists of this Orchestra are his admirers one
and all and listen intently when he plays. But he is modest and quite

“The members of this band are, almost without exception in the prime
of early manhood and well-educated. They have a splendid physique and,
attired in the scarlet and gold uniform of the Prince, their appearance
is very striking.

“We have perhaps been accustomed to regard the Electorate of Cologne as
a dark land into which rays of enlightenment had never penetrated; but a
visit to the Elector’s Court would soon alter this opinion. I found the
members of the Orchestra men of very liberal and sound understanding.

“The Elector, the most humane and best of princes, is not only a
performer, but an enthusiastic lover of music. At the concert I went to
he was the most attentive listener present.”

Beethoven saw Haydn when the latter stopped in Bonn on his way to and
from London. In 1792 Beethoven submitted a cantata to Haydn. Haydn
praised it and encouraged Beethoven to go on with his studies. After a
time the Elector sent Beethoven to Vienna, the main reason being that he
should study with Haydn. One of his friends, on parting, advised him to
“Labor assiduously and receive Mozart’s spirit from the hands of Haydn.”

Beethoven was then twenty-two. He never returned. Vienna was thenceforth
his home.

Beethoven took lessons with Haydn for nearly two years and then went to
another master, Albrechtsberger, a very strict contrapuntist, who took
great pains with Beethoven but evidently did not think much of him, for
he said to a friend: “Have nothing to do with Beethoven. He has learned
nothing and will never do anything in decent style.”

Among Beethoven’s friends in Vienna were the Prince and Princess
Lichnowsky, who had been patrons of Mozart. They supported a Quartet and
an Orchestra and gave musical parties on a large scale. Their Friday
evenings were famous.

Music in Vienna was at that time chiefly dependent upon the patronage of
the wealthy; for concerts were not paying and they were usually organized
for some benevolent purpose.

The Lichnowskys offered Beethoven a home in their palace and a yearly
allowance. For ten years, or more, it was at Prince Lichnowsky’s house
that almost all of Beethoven’s works were first performed.

He was free to come and go as he pleased and had plenty of time to
study and compose. Here he had a great deal of pleasure with the
famous Quartet, first known as the Schuppanzigh and afterwards as the

Notwithstanding his uncouth ways and his passionate temper, Beethoven
was a favorite in Vienna society. Haydn called him the Grand Mogul and
considered him more of a pianist than a composer.

[Illustration: BEETHOVEN

_By Lebronne_]

“His manner was often abrupt and even aggressive. Perhaps he sometimes
appeared so when nothing was further from his intention. A man with
the _C-minor Symphony_ ringing in his head might well be excused some
forgetfulness of the smaller conventions.

“Hitherto Beethoven’s playing in Vienna had been restricted to the
drawing-rooms of his personal friends. It was not till the year 1795 that
the public whose curiosity must have been considerably excited by reports
of the achievements of the young pianist from Bonn, had an opportunity of
witnessing his powers. At the annual concert given at the Burg Theatre,
for the benefit of the widows and orphans of musicians, the composer
made his first public appearance. Salieri, as usual, conducted, and the
programme included, besides an operetta composed by one of his pupils, a
‘Pianoforte Concerto in C-major by L. van Beethoven.’

“On this, as on several other occasions, Beethoven caused something
like a panic among his friends by postponing the completion of his
composition till the last moment. Two days before the date of the
performance the Concerto was still in an unfinished state; one cause of
the delay being an attack of the colic, a malady to which the composer
was subject. Wegeler was at hand to doctor him as well as he could; and
while Beethoven, working at high pressure, filled sheet after sheet of
music-paper, they were passed over to four copyists who attended in the
next room. Next day at rehearsal a fresh _contretemps_ arose. There
was found to be a difference of half a tone between the pitch of the
pianoforte and that of the other instruments. To save a general retuning
Beethoven seated himself at the piano without hesitation, and played
the whole Concerto in C-sharp—not an entirely unprecedented feat,
but, nevertheless, one that gives an idea of his thorough mastery over
technical difficulties.”[63]

In 1796 Beethoven visited Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin.

In 1800 he left the Lichnowsky house and took lodgings for himself.
Thenceforward he spent his summers in the country. He was now deaf.

In 1803 Beethoven gave an important concert in the Theater-an-der-Wien,
the programme consisting of the oratorio _The Mount of Olives_, the
Piano Concerto in C-minor and the Second Symphony, which was dedicated
to Prince Lichnowsky. The final rehearsal took place at eight o’clock in
the morning. “A terrible rehearsal,” Ries[64] recorded, “and by half-past
two everybody was tired out and more or less discontented. But the genial
Lichnowsky, who was present from the beginning, had brought some huge
baskets laden with meat, wine and bread-and-butter, and he was soon hard
at work, pressing the good things upon each tired musician with both his
friendly hands. After this all went well.”

“We are told that Beethoven’s attitude at the piano was perfectly quiet
and dignified, with no approach to grimace except to bend down a little
towards the keys as his deafness increased. This is remarkable because as
a conductor his motions were most extravagant. At a _pianissimo_ he would
crouch down so as to be hidden by the desk, and then as the _crescendo_
increased would gradually rise, beating all the time, until at the
_fortissimo_ he would spring into the air with his arms extended as if
wishing to float on the clouds. When, as was sometimes the case after he
became deaf, he lost his place and these motions did not coincide with
the music, the effect was very unfortunate, though not so unfortunate
as it would have been had he himself been aware of the mistake. In the
Orchestra, as at the piano, he was urgent in demanding expression, exact
attention to _piano_ and _forte_ and the slightest shades of _nuance_ and
to _tempo rubato_. Generally speaking, he was extremely courteous to the
band, though there were now and then exceptions.”[65]

“Beethoven was short and thick-set, broad shouldered and of athletic
build. A big face, ruddy in complexion—except towards the end of his
life, when his color became sickly and yellow, especially in the winter
after he had been remaining indoors far from the fields. He had a massive
and rugged forehead, extremely black and extraordinarily thick hair
through which it seemed the comb had never passed, for it was always
very rumpled, veritable bristling ‘serpents of Medusa.’ His eyes shone
with prodigious force. It was one of the chief things one noticed on
first encountering him, but many were mistaken in their color. When they
shone out in dark splendor from a sad and tragic visage, they generally
appeared black; but they were usually a bluish gray. Small and very deep
set, they flashed fiercely in moments of passion or warmth, and dilated
in a peculiar way under the influence of inspiration, reflecting his
thoughts with a marvellous exactness. Often they inclined upwards with
a melancholy expression. His nose was short and broad with the nostrils
of a lion; the mouth refined, with the lower lip somewhat prominent.
He had very strong jaws, which would easily break nuts, and a large
indentation in his chin imparted a curious irregularity to the face. ‘He
had a charming smile,’ said Moscheles, ‘and in conversation a manner
often lovable and inviting confidence; on the other hand his laugh was
most disagreeable, loud, discordant and strident’—the laugh of a man
unused to happiness. His usual expression was one of melancholy. Rellstab
in 1825 said that he had to summon up all his courage to prevent himself
from breaking into tears when he looked into Beethoven’s ‘tender eyes
with their speaking sadness.’ Braun von Braunthal met him at an inn a
year later. Beethoven was sitting in a corner with closed eyes, smoking a
long pipe—a habit which grew on him more and more as he approached death.
A friend spoke to him. He smiled sadly, drew from his pocket a little
note-tablet, and in a thin voice which frequently sounded cracked notes,
asked him to write down his request.

“His face would suddenly become transfigured, maybe in the access of
sudden inspiration which seized him at random, even in the street,
filling the passers-by with amazement, or it might be when great thoughts
came to him suddenly when seated at the piano. The muscles of his face
would stand out; his veins would swell; his wild eyes would become doubly
terrible. His lips trembled, he had the manner of a wizard controlling
the demons which he had invoked. A Shakespearean visage—King Lear, so
Sir Julius Benedict described it.”[66]

Beethoven’s compositions are far too numerous to mention here. We shall
only speak of the _Symphonies_.

Beethoven’s very first _Symphony_ showed he was master of the Orchestra.

The Orchestra left by Mozart and Haydn consisted of the four stringed
instruments, two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two
trumpets, kettledrums and, occasionally, two clarinets. Neither Mozart
nor Haydn ever used trombones in their _Symphonies_. Haydn had used as an
exceptional matter in his _Military Symphony_ a big drum, a triangle and

The _First Symphony_ is written for two drums (in C and G), two trumpets,
two horns, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, first and
second violins, violas and basso. There are one flute and one clarinet
more than Mozart used in his _Jupiter Symphony_. One flute only is used
in the _Andante_.

Beethoven also for the first time in the history of the Orchestra tuned
the kettledrums in the key of the dominant instead of in the key of the

In the _Second Symphony_ the Orchestra is still the ordinary Haydn-Mozart
Orchestra without trombones, but _with the addition of clarinets_.

In the _Eroica_ (the _Third_) _Symphony_ we find something new—_three
horns_. It was, perhaps, the first appearance of three horns in the
Orchestra. In passing, we may recall that in 1805 when Prince Lobkowitz
was entertaining Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia at his castle
in Bohemia, to honor his guest, who was a remarkable musician and
connoisseur, Lobkowitz ordered a performance of the new _Eroica_, by his
Orchestra which always attended him. When the _Symphony_ was finished
Louis Ferdinand begged to have it repeated, and on the second performance
begged to hear it again. “Certainly,” replied Lobkowitz, “only we must
first give the Orchestra some supper!”

In the _Fourth Symphony_ only one flute is used. It is scored for two
drums, two trumpets, two horns, one flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two
bassoons, first and second violins, violas, violoncello and double-bass.

This _Symphony_, lovely as it is, was severely criticised. No one was
more satirical than Weber, who was then a young man. He wrote a sketch
in which he imagined himself as seeing in a dream all the instruments
of the Orchestra grouped around the violins. The double-bass speaks:
“I have just come from the rehearsal of a Symphony by one of our
newest composers; and though, as you know, I have a tolerably strong
constitution, I could only just hold out. Five minutes more would have
shattered my frame and burst the sinews of my body. I have been made to
caper about like a wild goat and to turn myself into a mere fiddle to
execute the no-ideas of Mr. Composer. I’d sooner be a dancing master’s
kit at once.”

The first violoncello (bathed in perspiration) says that for his part
he is too tired to speak, and can recollect nothing like the warming
he has just had since he played in Cherubini’s last opera. The second
violoncello is of the opinion that the _Symphony_ is a musical
monstrosity, revolting alike to the nature of the instruments and the
expression of thought and with no purpose but that of perpetually
“showing-off.” The conductor enters and threatens if they are not quiet
to make them play the _Eroica Symphony_; and then he makes a speech,
telling the instruments that the time has gone by for clearness and
force, spirit and fancy, works like those of Gluck and Haydn and Mozart;
and that here is the latest Vienna recipe for a _Symphony_: “First a
slow movement full of short, disjointed, unconnected ideas, at the rate
of three or four notes per quarter of an hour; then a mysterious roll of
the drum and passage of the violas, seasoned with the proper quantity of
pauses and _ritardandos_; and to end all a furious _finale_, in which
the only requisite is that there should be no ideas for the hearer to
make out, but plenty of transitions from one key to another—on to the new
note at once, never mind modulating—above all things, throw rules to the
winds, for they only hamper a genius.”

“At this point,” says Weber, “I woke in a dreadful fright. I was on the
road to become either a great composer, or a lunatic.”

The _Fifth Symphony_ is scored for two drums, two trumpets, two horns,
two flutes, one flute piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons,
three trombones, first and second violins, violoncellos, basses and
contra-fagotto (double-bassoon).

The piccolo, trombones and double-bassoon here make their first
appearance in the symphonies. Beethoven had long known the
double-bassoon, for there was one in the Orchestra of the Elector of

The _C-minor Symphony_ is of all Beethoven’s works the most popular. It
was the work that made him known to the whole world.

Berlioz tells an anecdote of how the _C-minor_ impressed Lesueur, one of
Berlioz’s masters, at the Paris Conservatoire when it was first played
in Paris. “After the performance,” Berlioz says, “I hurried to see the
effect the work had had upon him and to hear his judgment on it. I found
him in the passage, red as fire and walking furiously fast. ‘Well, my
dear master,’ said I—

“‘Ouf!’ was his reply, ‘I must get out into the air. It is astonishing,
wonderful. It has excited and overcome me so that in trying to put my
hat on I could hardly find my head. Don’t stop me now, but come to me

“Early next morning I called on him and we at once rushed into the
subject. At length I succeeded in making him repeat the confession of his
emotion at the performance, but then with a violent shake of his head and
a peculiar smile he said: ‘All the same, such music as that ought not to
be made.’ To which I answered: ‘All right, dear master, there’s no fear
of much being made like it.’”

The _Pastoral Symphony_ (the _Sixth_) calls for two flutes, one piccolo,
two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, two bassoons, two trumpets, two
drums, alto and tenor trombones, first and second violins, viola,
violoncellos and basses. The trumpets and trombones are used in the
_Storm_ only (fourth movement). In the _Andante_ (second movement) there
are two solo violoncellos (with _sordini_); the other violoncellos play
with the double-basses.

The _Seventh Symphony_ is composed for two flutes, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, two drums, first and
second violins, viola, violoncello and double-basses. The drums are tuned
in E and A except in the _Scherzo_, where they are tuned in F and A.

This _Symphony_ was first performed in the University of Vienna at a
concert for the benefit of soldiers wounded at the Battle of Hanau (Oct.
30, 1813), where the Austrians and Bavarians tried to cut off Napoleon’s
retreat from Leipzig.

Beethoven conducted. Some of the most famous musicians and composers
played in the Orchestra. There was Schuppanzigh, Romberg, Spohr, Mayseder
and the famous double-bass, Dragonetti (see page 70); Meyerbeer and
Hummel played the kettledrums; Moscheles, the cymbals and old Salieri
“gave time to the drums and salvos,” says a contemporary, who continued:

“At this concert I first saw Beethoven conduct. Often as I had heard of
it, it surprised me extremely. He was accustomed to convey the marks of
expression to the Orchestra by the most peculiar motions of his body.
Thus at a _sforzando_ he tore his arms, which were before crossed on his
breast, violently apart. At a _piano_ he crouched down, bending lower the
softer the tone. At the _crescendo_ he raised himself by degrees until at
the _forte_ he sprang up to his full height; and without knowing it would
often at the same time shout aloud.”

The _Eighth Symphony_ has two drums in F and C, two trumpets in F, two
horns in F, two flutes, two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons, first
and second violins, violas, violoncello and double-bass. In the Finale
the drums are for the first time tuned in octaves. It was first performed
in the Great Redoutensaal, Vienna, on Feb. 27, 1814. The Seventh Symphony
was also on the programme and received the most applause.

There is a tremendous gap between the _Eighth_ and the _Ninth
Symphonies_. Even Beethoven, Titan that he was and with an orchestra that
had developed marvellously under his magic hands, felt that instruments
were not sufficient to express the ultimate climax of this mighty work,
and, therefore, added human voices to swell the joyous uproar of the
last movement. The _Ninth_ was first performed at the Kärnthnerthor
Theatre, Vienna, May 7, 1824. The house was crowded. All the principal
musicians, professional and amateur, were present. “In a letter to
Schindler, quoted by Lenz, he calls the day _Fracktag_, because he had
the bore of putting on a smarter coat than usual. On this occasion it was
a green coat, and he probably also wore a three-cornered cocked hat. The
preparations had somewhat upset him, and his dress had to be discussed
with Schindler in one of the conversation-books. His deafness had by
this time become total, but that did not keep him out of the Orchestra.
He stood by the side of Umlauf, the conductor, to indicate the times of
the various movements. The house was tolerably full, though not crowded,
and his reception was all that his warmest friends could desire. To use
Schindler’s expression it was more than Imperial. Three successive bursts
of applause were the rule for the Imperial Family and he had _five_!
After the fifth, the Commissary of Police interfered and called for
silence! Beethoven acknowledged the applause by a bow. The Scherzo was
so completely interrupted—at the _Ritmo di tre battute_, where the drums
give the motif—that it had to be begun again. A great deal of emotion was
naturally enough visible in the Orchestra; and we hear of such eminent
players as Mayseder and Böhm even weeping.

“At the close of the performance an incident occurred which must have
brought the tears to many an eye in the room. The master, though placed
in the midst of this confluence of music, heard nothing of it at all and
was not even sensible of the applause of the audience at the end of his
great work, but continued standing with his back to the audience and
beating the time, till Fräulein Ungher, who had sung the contralto part,
turned him, or induced him to turn round and face the people, who were
still clapping their hands and giving way to the greatest demonstrations
of pleasure. His turning round and the sudden conviction thereby forced
on everybody that he had not done so before because he could not hear
what was going on, acted like an electric shock on all present, and
a volcanic explosion of sympathy and admiration followed, which was
repeated again and again and it seemed as if it would never end.”[67]

The score comprises two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons,
four horns, two trumpets, two drums, first and second violins, violas,
violoncellos and basses. In some of the movements three trombones, a
double bassoon, a piccolo, triangle, cymbals and big drum are called for.

“These great works he did as no one ever did and probably no one
ever will. But of orchestral music he wrote no more after the _Ninth
Symphony_. Music will advance in richness, scope and difficulty; but such
music as Beethoven’s great instrumental works, in which thought, emotion,
melody and romance combine with extraordinary judgment and common sense
and a truly wonderful industry to make a perfect whole, can hardly any
more be written. The time for such an event, such a concurrence of the
man and the circumstances will not again arrive. There can never be a
second Beethoven, or a second Shakespeare. However much Orchestras may
improve and execution increase, Beethoven’s _Symphonies_ will always
remain at the head of music as Shakespeare’s plays are at the head of the
literature of the modern world—‘Age cannot wither them, nor custom stale
their infinite variety.’”[68]

In every way possible Beethoven discovered and brought forward the
capacities of each individual instrument. Each instrument in the
Orchestra was enriched under Beethoven’s touch and given a new standing,
a new dignity. The viola, the violoncello, the double-bass, the horn, the
trombone and the kettledrum were all brought forward and turned into solo
instruments. The clarinet, too, became firmly established as a leading

No composer before him had ever _made the instruments converse_ as
did Beethoven. No composer had ever made the strings so flexible, so
humorous, so pathetic, so gay, so languorous. Besides, Beethoven was the
first to take the violins up into the highest register—into the ethereal
domain where Wagner followed.

“When an idea comes to me,” said Beethoven, “I hear it on an instrument,
never on a voice.”

“Beethoven is the prophet of the new era which the Nineteenth Century
ushered in for mankind. As things must be _felt_ before they can be
acted out, so they must be expressed in the indefinite emotional forms
of music before they can be uttered and definitely imaged forth in words
or pictorial shapes. Beethoven is the forerunner of Shelley and Whitman
among the poets, of J. W. Turner and J. F. Millet among the painters. He
is the great poet who holds Nature by the one hand and Man by the other.
Within that low-statured, rudely outlined figure which a century ago
walked hatless through the fields near Mödling or sat oblivious in some
shabby restaurant at Vienna, dwelt an emotional giant—a being who—through
his outer life by deafness, disease, business-worries, poverty, was
shattered as it were into a thousand squalid fragments—in his great heart
embraced all mankind, with piercing insight penetrated intellectually
through all falsehoods to the truth and already in his art-work gave
outline to the religious, the human, the democratic yearnings, the
loves, the comradeship, the daring individualities, and all the heights
and depths of feeling of a new dawning era of society. He was, in fact,
and he gave utterance to, a new type of man. What that struggle must
have been between his inner and outer conditions—of his real self with
the lonely and mean surroundings in which it was embodied—we only know
through his music.”[69]

Beethoven was the last great Classical composer.

With Weber we enter a new school of music—the Romantic; and Carl Maria
von Weber stands at the head of this Romantic School.

The word _Classical_ is used in two ways: one, to define old works which
have held their place in general estimation for a long time; and the
other to describe works, written according to strict ideas of form,
usually in the Sonata and Symphonic style. The great classical masters
are Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. The word _Romantic_ is
used to define the works of the composers who came directly after the
Classical composers and who wished to write in freer form, permitting
more play for the imagination.

The great Romantics are Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin.

“Widely as the composers of this new school differed in other respects,
they were alike in their susceptibility to the tone of thought and
feeling which so deeply colored the romantic literature of their time.
None of them were strangers to that weariness, approaching to disgust,
of the actual world around them and those yearnings to escape from it
which pursued so many of the finest minds of the generation to which they
belonged. To such men it was a relief and delight to live in an ideal
world as remote as possible from the real one.

[Illustration: C. M. VON WEBER

_By Schimon_]

“Some took refuge in mediæval legends, where no border divided the
natural from the supernatural one; some, in the charms and solitudes of
nature; and others in the contemplation of peace and beatitude beyond the

Of all the German musicians of the Nineteenth Century none exercised
a greater influence than Weber. “The historian of German music in the
Nineteenth Century will have to make Weber his starting-point. His
influence was even greater than that of Beethoven, for deeply imbued
though Beethoven was with the modern spirit of that time, he adhered
as a rule to the traditions of the Eighteenth Century. These Weber
casts aside and starts after fresh ideals. He was far less perfect in
form than Beethoven, nor was he his equal in power; but in originality
he has never been surpassed by any musician, ancient or modern. The
germs of life he scattered broadcast; and the whole of German Opera
down to Wagner’s latest works is evolved from Weber’s spirit. Even the
concert-music of other masters such as Mendelssohn and Schumann profited
by his suggestiveness. Without Weber Mendelssohn’s _Midsummer Night’s
Dream Music_, _Walpurgis Nacht_, _Concert-Overtures_ and _Pianoforte
Concertos_; Schumann’s _Paradise and the Peri_, _Pilgrimage of the Rose_
and concert-ballads; the entire variation music of the present day;
choruses for men’s voices; certain forms of the German _Lied_; even the
modern technique of pianoforte playing; and, most of all, the _present
development of orchestration are inconceivable_.”[71]

Weber, like Bach, came of a musical family; but, unlike most of the
great composers who had, heretofore appeared, Weber was of noble ancestry.

Weber was a cultivated man of the world as well as a musician. His
birth gave him a place in the best society and his cultivation, which
was learned from men rather than books—he lived a wandering life in his
youth—was wide and embraced literature and several arts.

Carl Maria von Weber was born in Vienna in 1786. He was a delicate,
nervous child whose health was not improved by his father’s desire to
make him a musical prodigy like Mozart, of whom he was a cousin. Weber
was sadly overtaxed. Among his masters were Michael Haydn, brother of the
great Haydn, and the Abbé Vogler, a fashionable composer and organist of
Vienna and a man of wit, culture and social position. By 1810, when his
true musical life may be said to begin, Weber had brought out several
operas. In Mannheim he produced his first _Symphony_. In 1811 he started
on his tour through Germany and Switzerland, at first alone and then in
company with Baermann, the celebrated clarinet-player. Weber’s visit to
Berlin in 1812 was very important. After many concert-tours Weber became
conductor of the theatre in Prague. In 1816 the King of Saxony called him
to Dresden.

It is interesting to catch a glimpse of Weber on his first appearance as
_Kapellmeister_ here, as related by his son:

“After a few words of pleasant and friendly greeting and assurances of
his goodwill and interest to all, he terminated with the astounding
declaration: ‘In return I expect explicit obedience. I shall be just but
pitilessly severe with all who need severity, myself among the number.’
Such expressions had never before been heard by any of the company. For
many generations gentle wishes, not commands, had been the order of the
day. At first all stood aghast and dumb. On leaving the theatre at least
two-thirds of the company declared themselves against the ‘impertinent
young musical director.’ The members of the Orchestra were all indignant.
Never had the most celebrated of _kapellmeisters_ ever dared to
address this celebrated Orchestra. And yet, in a short time, some of
the bitterest enemies of this hour became Weber’s staunchest friends,
supporters and admirers.

“There are still living many old members of the Dresden Orchestra who can
remember the appearance of Weber on this memorable occasion. He stood
before them a little, narrow-chested man, with long arms and a thin, pale
face, from which his eyes gleamed forth in lightning flashes through his
spectacles. When he was pleased a smile, which was positively enchanting,
played over his otherwise serious mouth. When affected by the occurrences
of the moment, he bent his head gently sideways with an air of peculiar
tenderness and earnestness. He wore a blue frock coat with metal buttons,
tight pantaloons and Hessian boots with tassels. A scrupulously clean
white cravat with embroidered ends, in which was stuck a handsome diamond
pin, encircled his neck. Over all he carried a tawny colored cloak with
several capes, a broad round hat on his head. Nothing in his whole attire
indicated any artistic pretension or affectation; and, in the streets,
or in a room, he might have been easily overlooked. Once noticed,
however, Weber was sure to charm and captivate by his air of intellectual
refinement and elegance of manner.”

_Der Freischütz_ was performed in Berlin in 1821; _Euryanthe_ in Vienna
in 1823; and _Oberon_ in London in 1826, the year of Weber’s death.

Though Weber’s works for the Orchestra are comparatively unimportant, the
instrumentation of his operas, so dramatic, so original and so poetic,
has had great effect on modern orchestral writers.

Weber’s instrumentation was founded on Beethoven’s. He introduced no new
instruments. What he did _was to develop the woodwind and make new and
lovely combinations_. For the clarinet he had a special fondness.

After Mozart introduced the clarinet into the Orchestra, it rapidly
became a favorite solo-instrument. At the beginning of the Nineteenth
Century Germany had two splendid clarinet-players,—Hermstedt of
Sondershausen, for whom Spohr composed, and Baermann of Munich, with whom
Weber gave concerts, as we have seen,[72] and wrote special music. Weber
learned much from the latter about the resources of this instrument; and
Weber is the composer, _par excellence_, of the clarinet.

Next to the clarinet, Weber loved the horns. He made them most poetic.
With Beethoven four horns and three trombones had been exceptional. With
Weber this number became the rule.

Weber was also fond of subdividing the violins.

“As an interpreter of nature Weber’s position in the dramatic world is
like that of Beethoven in the Symphony. Nobody has ever depicted with
the same truth as he a sultry moonlight night the stillness broken only
by the nightingale’s trill and the solemn murmur of the trees, as in
Agathe’s grand _scene_ in _Der Freischütz_; or a gruesome night scene
in the gloomy forest ravine such as that in the Finale of the 2d Act.
With this descriptive faculty went hand in hand consummate skill in
orchestration. There is something original and intoxicating in the sound
he brings out of the Orchestra, a complete simplicity combined with
perfect novelty. He was able, as it were, to _transport himself into the
soul of the instruments_ and make them talk to us like human beings, each
in its own language, each speaking when it alone has power to lay bare
the very heart of the action.

“The phrase ‘local coloring’ in music may be defined as that which
conjures up before our minds the associations connected with certain
scenes, races and epochs. In the _Freischütz_ the prevailing color
was derived from the life of the German foresters and huntsmen; in
_Preciosa_ we have the charm of the south in lovely Spain, then the
type of all that was romantic, with the picturesque life of the roving
gipsy. _Euryanthe_ takes us back to the Middle Ages and the palmy days of
French chivalry which reappear to some extent in _Oberon_ mingled with
scenes from Oriental life and from fairyland. Weber’s melody, the chords
of his harmony, the figures employed, the effects of color so totally
unexpected—all combine to waft us with mysterious power into an unknown

Schubert’s gift to the Orchestra was his _novel way of writing for the
trombones and for his use of the woodwind_. He gave a conversational
treatment of oboe, flute and clarinet. This does not mean to say that he
did not also write beautifully for the strings.

No composer ever lived more entirely in his music than Schubert. There
is not much to say about his life. He was born in Vienna; he lived there
all his life; and he died there at the age of thirty-one. He earned a
scanty living; he found it hard to get his compositions published; he
had no wealthy patrons like Handel, Haydn, Gluck, Mozart and Beethoven;
he had no pleasures, no triumphs such as Weber and Mendelssohn enjoyed.
Schubert’s life was dull and commonplace. Yet between the years of his
birth and death—1797-1828—he produced an astounding number of works. He
wrote 650 songs (the extraordinary _Erl-King_ when he was only eighteen),
ten _Symphonies_ (of which the eighth is the _Unfinished_), many
operettas, piano-music and a great deal of orchestral and chamber-music
and compositions for special instruments.

Salieri, the old rival of Mozart, was the first to recognize Schubert’s
genius. “He can do everything,” he exclaimed, “he is a genius. He
composes songs, masses, operas, quartets—whatever you can think of.” In
1822 Schubert met both Beethoven and Weber. Beethoven he adored. Schubert
was a singer, violinist and pianist.

[Illustration: SCHUBERT

_By Rieder_]

Schubert’s first _Symphony in D_ is dated 1813; the _Second in B-flat_
is dated 1814; the _Third in D_, in 1815; the _Fourth in C-minor_
(described by the composer as “the Tragic”) is dated 1816; and scored
for two violins, viola, violoncello and bass, two flutes, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets and drums.

The _Fifth Symphony_, known as the “Symphony without trumpets and
drums,” is scored for two violins, viola, violoncello, double-bass,
flute, two oboes, two bassoons and two horns. It is dated 1816. Up to
this point Schubert’s _Symphonies_ show the influence of Haydn, Mozart
and Beethoven. Now came the true Schubert style with the _Sixth_, _the
C-major Symphony_, which is regarded as Schubert’s masterpiece. It is
scored for two violins, viola, violoncello and double-bass; two flutes,
two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, and
drums. This work was first performed in Vienna in 1828, but it was not
heard in Paris and London until 1856. In 1842 Habeneck rehearsed it
in Paris, but the Orchestra refused to play it; and when Mendelssohn
put it into rehearsal in London the Philharmonic Orchestra laughed at
the triplets in the last movement, and Mendelssohn, very indignant,
withdrew it. Sir Augustus Manns, who introduced the work in England in
1856, remembers hearing at the end of the first movement the principal
horn call out to one of the first violins: “Tom, have you been able to
discover a tune yet?” “I have not,” was Tom’s reply.

The _B-minor_, the _Unfinished_, was written in 1822, before the
_C-major_. The _Unfinished_ we may note, was composed before Beethoven’s
_Ninth_ and the _C-major Symphony_ after it.

Perhaps Mendelssohn’s most characteristic orchestral work is to be found
in the _Midsummer Night’s Dream_ music, the oratorio of _Elijah_ and the
Overture to _Melusine_. Of course, his Symphonies—the _Reformation_,
which appeared in 1830, two years after Schubert’s _C-major_, the
_Italian_ in 1831 and the _Scotch_ in 1842, contain beautiful work
especially for the woodwind.

With his suave, graceful, sunny and charming melodies, it was only
natural that Mendelssohn’s instrumentation should be delicate.

In the world of pictures we often turn from the deep, rich colors of
Titian, Rembrandt and Velasquez to enjoy the softer hues of Chardin,
Watteau and Fragonard. It is the same in music. Refreshing it is to
turn from the dark, heavy colors of Beethoven, or the glowing hues of
Weber and Wagner to the opalescent tints of delightful, fanciful, poetic

Mendelssohn’s life was happy from beginning to end; and this joy bubbles
up in his music. The world gave him much; and he gave the world much in

Born in Hamburg in 1809, he spent his early years in Berlin, where his
family removed. He had a childhood almost unparalleled in the annals of
music for happiness. He conducted a little Orchestra in his father’s
house every Sunday morning, where many of his early compositions were
performed, among them the Overture to the _Midsummer Night’s Dream_,
which he wrote when he was only seventeen. As pianist, organist,
conductor and composer, Mendelssohn had one triumph after another. He
made nine visits to London, where he stood next to Handel in popular

In 1835 he became conductor of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig and he
established the Conservatory of Music in that city. He died in Leipzig in

Mendelssohn has suffered somewhat from the high position the English have
given him in music; but he has a place that is quite his own. He followed
in the footsteps of Weber rather than in those of Beethoven; and, though
he has no tragic depths, he has given the world lyric compositions of
great beauty and the greatest oratorios since Handel’s.

Mendelssohn sketched and painted well; he had a love for literature; he
wrote charming letters; and he was altogether a delightful person.

Mendelssohn’s orchestration is noted for _its perfect balance, its
clarity and its polish_. He seems to have cared less for the brass than
the other groups. His violin concerto, ranking next to Beethoven’s, shows
his sympathy for the violin. The viola is also well treated in all his
works. The violoncello _obbligato_ in the accompaniment to the solo “It
is enough” in _Elijah_ proves that this instrument was a favorite. The
clarinet passages in the _Overture to Melusine_ and the use of the horns
in the _Notturno_ in _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ exhibit his poetic and
romantic touch in the highest degree.

Many persons have left snap-shots of happy Mendelssohn, Sir Julius
Benedict, a pupil of his, wrote enthusiastically: “It would be a
matter of difficulty to decide in what quality Mendelssohn excelled
the most,—whether as composer, pianist, organist, or conductor of an
Orchestra. Nobody, certainly, ever knew better how to communicate—as
if by an electric fluid—his own conception of a work to a large body
of performers. It was highly interesting, on such an occasion, to
contemplate the anxious attention manifested by a body of sometimes
more than five hundred singers and performers, watching every glance
of Mendelssohn’s eye and following, like obedient spirits, the magic
wand of this musical Prospero. Once, while conducting a rehearsal of
Beethoven’s _Eighth Symphony_, the admirable Allegretto in B-flat,
not going at first to his liking, he remarked, smilingly that he knew
every one of the gentlemen engaged was capable of performing and even
composing a scherzo of his own, but that _just now_ he wanted to hear
Beethoven’s, which he thought had some merits. It was cheerfully
repeated. ‘Beautiful! Charming!’ cried Mendelssohn, ‘but still too loud
in two or three instances. Let us take it again from the middle.’ ‘No,
no,’ was the general reply of the band, ‘the whole piece over again,
for our satisfaction;’ and then they played it with the utmost delicacy
and finish, Mendelssohn laying aside his _bâton_ and listening with
evident delight to the perfect execution. ‘What would I have given,’ he
exclaimed, ‘if Beethoven could have heard his own composition so well
understood and so magnificently performed.’”

[Illustration: MENDELSSOHN

_By Bendemann_]

Another admirer wrote: “When once his fine, firm hand grasped the
_bâton_, the electric fire of Mendelssohn’s nature seemed to stream out
through it and be felt at once by singers, orchestra and audience.
Mendelssohn conducted not only with his _bâton_, but with his whole
body. At the outset, when he took his place at the music-stand, his
countenance was wrapped in deep and almost solemn earnestness. You could
see at a glance that the temple of music was a holy place to him. As
soon as he had given the first beat, his face lighted up, every feature
was aflame and the play of countenance was the best commentary on the
piece. Often the spectator could anticipate from his face what was to
come. The _fortes_ and _crescendos_ he accompanied with an energetic play
of features and the most forcible action; while the _decrescendos_ and
_pianos_ he used to modulate with a motion of both hands till they slowly
sank to almost perfect silence. He glanced at the most distant performers
when they should strike in, and often designated the instant when they
should pause, by a characteristic movement of the hand, which will not be
forgotten by those who ever saw it.”

Contemporary with Mendelssohn, though they seem much nearer to us than
he, are three great geniuses of the Nineteenth Century,—Berlioz, Liszt
and Wagner. Though all three were admirers of the Classic masters, they
formed an entirely new school of music, which was called “The Music of
the Future.”

It is hard to say to which of these men Music owes the most; for while
Wagner was certainly the greatest composer, Berlioz daringly led the
way into these new regions where Wagner followed, and Liszt, with his
extraordinary influence, his generosity of spirit, his untiring zeal in
producing Wagner’s works as well as his lavish gifts to Wagner in times
of trouble, was not the least important of the three in making Music what
it is to-day. Moreover, Liszt’s own compositions helped to establish in
the affections of the public this Music of the Future that became the
Music of the Present and that is rapidly taking its place in the Music of
the Past ranking as Classic in the first meaning of the word (see page

To understand how Music departed from the old roads and took a new path,
we must remember that in 1830 with the Revolution that sent Charles IX
from the French throne, a new spirit came into the world of literature,
art and music. It is known as the Romantic Movement. Writers and
painters, full of the excitement of the period and joy at the triumph
of republican ideas, sought to portray nature and human nature in truer
lines and colors than the traditional rules and measurements of the
Classic period.

There was a great outburst of literature in France—Gautier, Flaubert,
de Musset, de Vigny and Victor Hugo are a few of the names that rise to
one’s lips when the Romantic Movement is mentioned. Painters, too, were
numerous. There was but one French composer—Berlioz. Just what Victor
Hugo expressed in literature, just what Delacroix expressed in painting,
Berlioz expressed in music; and Berlioz stands alone, a solitary figure.

“Berlioz’s early influences were as much literary as musical. His
reading was mainly romantic; his musical gods were Beethoven, Weber and
Gluck, whose orchestral writings influenced him most. He knew little of
Beethoven’s piano writings and did not like Bach. Into the intellectual
world of the Beethoven symphony and the operas of Gluck and Weber, he
breathed the newer, more nervous life of the French Romanticists. _Color
and sensation_ became as important as form and the pure idea. These
influences and his literary instincts led him to graft the programme form
on the older symphony. All his music aims at something concrete. Instead
of the abstract world of the classical symphonists he gives us definite
emotions, or paints definite scenes. His own words: ‘I have taken up
music where Beethoven left it’ indicate his position. He is the real
beginner of that interpenetration of music and the poetic idea which has
transformed modern art.”[74]

Berlioz’s temperament was like a volcano bursting continually into fire
and flame and his mind took delight in everything of enormous magnitude.
He loved to think of the Pyramids of Egypt, of huge lonely mountains,
of great seas, the bursting of thunderbolts and the howl of tempests.
Everything with him appeared in colossal proportions; and, consequently,
much of his music seemed to the people of his time, even more than to us
to-day, to have been written for the ears of giants and Titans and not
for men and women of ordinary build.

Heine appreciated this phase of the extravagant Berlioz. “A colossal
nightingale, a lark the size of an eagle,” he wrote of him, “such as once
existed in the primæval world. Yes, the music of Berlioz, in general
seems to me primitive almost antediluvian; it sets me dreaming of
gigantic species of extinct animals, of mammoths, of fabulous empires
with fabulous sins, of all kinds of impossibilities piled one on top of
the other. These magic accents recall to us Babylon, the hanging-gardens
of Semiramis, the marvels of Nineveh, the audacious edifices of Mizraim
such as are shown in the pictures of the English painter Martin.”

This is all true, but it represents only one side of Berlioz.

Berlioz could be exquisite and dainty as well as colossal and terrific,
as we hear in the _Queen Mab Scherzo_ from the _Roméo et Juliette
Symphony_, and the _Dance of the Sylphs_ from the _Damnation of Faust_.

Berlioz is called the “Father of Modern Orchestration.” To appreciate the
magnitude of his work, we must forget all our modern music for a moment
and remember what the Orchestra was like when Berlioz, a country boy of
eighteen, arrived in Paris in 1821.

[Illustration: BERLIOZ

_By Fischer_]

Berlioz “is one of the most remarkable phenomena in the history of music.
In his earliest years, as in his latest, Berlioz was himself, a solitary
figure, owing practically nothing to other people’s music, an artist
we may say, without ancestry and without posterity. Mozart builds upon
Haydn and influences Beethoven; Beethoven imitates Mozart and in turn
influences the practice of all later symphonists; Wagner learns from
Weber and gives birth to a host of imitators. But with Berlioz—and it
is a point to be insisted on—there is no one whose speech he tried to
copy in his early years and there is no one since who speaks with _his_
voice. How many things in the early Beethoven were made in the factory
of Mozart! How many times does the early Wagner speak with the voice
of Weber! But who can turn over the scores of Berlioz’s early works
and find a single phrase that can be fathered upon any previous, or
contemporary, writer? There was never any one, before his time or since,
who thought and wrote just like him; his musical style especially is
absolutely his own. Now and then in _L’Enfance du Christ_ he suggests
Gluck—not in the turn of his phrases but in the general atmosphere of an
aria; but apart from this it is the rarest thing for him to remind us of
any other composer. His melody, his harmony, his rhythm, are absolutely
his own.”[75]

In nothing did the originality of Berlioz show itself more strikingly
than in his treatment of the Orchestra.

So many of his ideas and effects were used, and carried still further,
by Wagner that some of the richness and beauty of tone of the modern
Orchestra that we usually give to Wagner belongs rightfully to Hector
Berlioz. For instance, Berlioz discovered the value of _pianissimo_
brass effects; he discovered the ethereal charm of harmonies on divided
violins; he discovered the true worth of the viola; he introduced the
harp into the Symphony Orchestra; he grouped instruments into families
and got from them rich chords in different shades of the same tone-color;
he advocated the tuba as a substitution for the coarser ophicleide; he
made many experiments with the kettledrums and other instruments of
percussion; he divided the strings into many parts (one of his scores
calls for five double-basses); and he also advocated the sunken and
hidden Orchestra, which Wagner realized in his theatre of Bayreuth.

Wagner frankly confesses his debt to this French genius. “Berlioz
was diabolically clever,” he wrote: “I made a minute study of his
instrumentation as early as 1840 in Paris and I have often taken up his
scores since. I profited greatly both as regards what to do and what to
leave undone.”

It is absurd to say that without Berlioz there would have been no Wagner;
but it is no exaggeration to say that without Berlioz there might have
been a Wagner very different from the one we know.

“Berlioz’s startling originality as a musician rests upon a physical and
mental organization very different from, and in some respects superior
to, that of other eminent masters,—a most ardent nervous temperament;
a gorgeous imagination, incessantly active, heated at times to the
verge of insanity; an abnormally subtle and acute sense of hearing; the
keenest intellect, of a disserting analyzing turn; the most violent will,
manifesting itself in a spirit of enterprise and daring equalled only by
its tenacity of purpose and indefatigable perseverance.

“From a technical point of view certain of Berlioz’s attainments are
phenomenal. The gigantic proportions, the grandiose style, the imposing
weight of those long and broad harmonic and rhythmical progressions
towards some end afar off, the exceptional means employed for exceptional
ends—in a word, the colossal cyclopean aspect of certain movements are
without parallel in musical art.

“The originality and inexhaustible variety of rhythms and the
surpassing perfection of his instrumentation are points willingly
conceded by Berlioz’s staunchest opponents. As far as the technique of
instrumentation is concerned, it may truly be asserted that he treats the
Orchestra with the same supreme daring and absolute mastery with which
Paganini treated the violin and Liszt the pianoforte. No one before him
had so clearly realized the individuality of each particular instrument,
its resources and capabilities. In his works the equation between a
particular phrase and a particular instrument is invariably perfect; and
over and above this, his experiments in orchestral color, his combination
of single instruments with others so as to form groups, and again his
combination of several separate groups of instruments with one another
are as novel and as beautiful as they are uniformly successful.”[76]

Berlioz wrote a _Treatise on Instrumentation_, which he curiously
numbered among his works as opus 10.

Hector Berlioz was born in La Cote Saint-André, near Grenoble, in 1803,
and died in Paris in 1869. His father, Dr. Louis Berlioz, wanted him to
be a physician and sent him to Paris at the age of eighteen to study
medicine. But medicine was against his will, and it was not long before
Berlioz abandoned these studies and entered the Paris Conservatory as
a pupil of Lesueur. Soon his parents stopped his allowance; and the
young man was forced to earn his living by singing in the chorus of an
obscure theatre. He was not popular in the Conservatory: his character
and his genius were too original. However, in 1830 he obtained the
_prix de Rome_, that envied purse enabling the winner to study in
Italy. On returning to Paris, he earned his living by his pen—he was a
brilliant journalist—and gave concerts of his works as he finished their

His monster concerts and the huge Orchestra he required were subject to
ridicule and caricature. The comic papers were full of illustrated jokes
at his expense.

“I am so sorry to hear that your husband has become deaf. How did it
happen?” one sympathetic lady says to a friend, who replies, “Well, you
see he _would_ go to that last concert of Berlioz!”

Another picture shows two street venders looking at one of their tribe
flaunting a rich dress. “How did she become so rich?” one asks the other;
and the latter explains: “Why, she sells cotton at the door of Berlioz’s
concerts for people to stuff in their ears!”

Berlioz’s symphony _Harold in Italy_, written in 1834, at Paganini’s
request for a solo part in which he could exhibit his fine Stradivari
viola, attracted some attention when it was performed at the
Conservatory. His dramatic symphony _Roméo et Juliette_, performed at
the Conservatory in 1839, won him fresh laurels. It was dedicated to
Paganini, who having heard the _Fantastic Symphony_ and _Harold in Italy_
given under Berlioz’s direction at a concert in Paris in 1838, dropped
on his knees before the composer, kissed his hand and the next day sent
him a cheque for twenty thousand francs ($4,000). Berlioz spent much
time polishing this score; and of all his compositions he preferred the
_Adagio_ (love scene) of _Roméo et Juliette Symphony_.

Berlioz’s life was comparatively uneventful. His operas, _Benvenuto
Cellini_ and _Béatrice et Bénédict_ (_Much Ado about Nothing_) and his
two works on the Trojan War were unsuccessful. His gigantic works such as
the _Damnation of Faust_ and _Requiem_ were also failures. His success
was gained outside of his beloved Paris in 1843 and 1847, when he gave
concerts in Germany and Russia. His extraordinary reception amazed his
own countrymen, with whom Berlioz was never popular.

In 1852 he became Librarian at the Paris Conservatory. France gave him
the cross of the Legion of Honor and other countries bestowed decorations
upon him.

“Liszt was at first a pianist, the most extraordinary and fascinating
ever known, and one of the most wonderful of improvisators. Yielding
to the taste of the time, he composed _Fantasias_, arrangements, or
paraphrases, upon fashionable operas, bristling with difficulties of
execution so extreme that no one but himself could attempt to play them.

“It was not until a later period that he began really to compose and then
he brought into his work the quality of mysticism which was in his own

Franz Liszt (1811-1886), is another phenomenon in musical history. He was
great as a pianist, great as a composer, great as a conductor, great as a
man, great as a friend. In looking over his life it seems incredible that
any man could have accomplished so much and in so many varied directions.

All the good fairies of fortune presided over his career from his
earliest hours. He was born at Raiding in Hungary, in 1811, the son
of Adam Liszt, an official in the Imperial service of Prince Nicolaus
Esterhazy (the patron of Haydn) and amateur musician, who taught his
son so well that at the age of nine years he appeared at a concert in
Œdenburg. Soon afterwards several Hungarian noblemen subscribed a sum
to provide for his education for six years. Young Franz studied with
Czerny and Salieri (Mozart’s rival) in Vienna and in 1823 played before
Beethoven, who embraced him on the stage. In that year “the little Liszt”
was taken to Paris by his father and there he had the best instruction.
After the death of his father in 1827, he supported himself and his
mother in Paris, by teaching and giving concerts.

He lived in Paris in the early days of the Romantic Movement[78] and was
brought into relation with all the great artists, writers, poets and
musicians of the day. Paganini’s magical playing inspired in him the
ambition to do for the pianoforte what Paganini had done for the violin.
How well he accomplished his desire we all know.

For many years Liszt travelled through Europe giving concerts everywhere
and always with phenomenal success. His concert-tours, which extended
from Spain and England to Russia and Hungary, were really triumphal
progresses. Much of his money he gave away—sometimes to relieve suffering
brought about by some great calamity, sometimes to help needy brother
artists, sometimes for the cause of music, particularly for “the Music of
the Future.”

[Illustration: LISZT IN 1875

_Photograph taken in Budapest_]

In 1849 his career as a virtuoso-pianist practically came to an end and
he settled in Weimar. He soon made this town the centre of a brilliant
artistic life.

Professional and amateur musicians flocked there to study under the
generous master who gave instruction to talented pupils without
remuneration. Others came to hear rare and new works performed under his
_bâton_ at the Court Theatre of which he was conductor. His splendid
interpretations of _Lohengrin_ and _Tannhäuser_ contributed no little in
establishing Wagner’s reputation at a time when he greatly needed such
endorsement as Liszt was able to give.

In 1861 Liszt left Weimar and went to Rome, where he took minor orders in
1865. Subsequently he was known as the Abbé Liszt.

The last years of his life were divided between Rome, Weimar and
Buda-Pesth, an active and influential force in musical art until his
sudden death at Bayreuth in 1886.

There are two great paradoxes in the career of Liszt. The first is
that just as Rossini, the most popular opera composer of his day,
ceased writing operas thirty-nine years before his death, so Liszt, the
greatest and most adored pianist of all times, ceased playing in public
(except for an occasional charitable purpose) about the same number of
years before his end came. He had with his inimitable art familiarized
concert-goers with nearly all the best compositions for the piano created
by other masters. He had transcribed for the same instrument a large
number of songs, operatic melodies and orchestral works (the number of
these transcriptions at his death was 371) thereby vastly increasing
their vogue. He also wrote altogether 160 original compositions for
the pianoforte, many of them as new in _form_ as in _substance_; unique
among them being the fifteen _Hungarian Rhapsodies_—collections of Magyar
melodies with gipsy ornaments molded by him into works of art, after the
manner of epic poets. But—and here lies the second paradox—Liszt, the
greatest of all pianists was not satisfied with the piano. In many of
his pieces for it he endeavored to impart orchestral power and variety
of tonal effect; and finally, when he became conductor at Weimar, in
1849, he transferred his attention chiefly to the Orchestra. Of his
thirty-four orchestral works the most important are the _Faust_ and
_Dante Symphonies_ and thirteen _Symphonic Poems_, in which he deviated
from the old symphonic form in a spirit similar to Wagner’s operatic
reforms—abolishing unconnected movements and allowing the underlying
poetic idea to shape the form of the music.[79]

Liszt linked himself with Berlioz when he heard the _Symphonie
fantastique_. He took up the cause of Berlioz and became his champion.
But independently of Berlioz, Liszt was imbued with the Romantic Movement
of 1830. To such a genius and man of the world who came in contact with
all the great intellects of the day, it soon became natural to him to
make art _human and emotional_.

Therefore in both his playing and his composition Liszt departed from the
Classic ideals of an earlier period and became an expression of his own
time. In his endeavor to depict and express emotions, ideas, scenes of
nature and even events, he felt that the old Classic forms were suited
only to music that was purely music and nothing else. In the new paths
that the “Music of the Future” had made for itself a new form was needed
to express sensations and ideas of a new age of keener observation,
intense sentiment and passionate enthusiasm. Consequently Liszt invented
the _Symphonic Poem_, in which the movements are not divided as in the
regular Symphony but lead into one another.

In his orchestration Liszt followed Beethoven, Berlioz and Wagner. It is
always rich and heavy and full of color. Liszt makes great use of the
harp and his Hungarian blood shows itself in his marvellous and stirring

“Concerning so prodigious an activity, so far-seeing an intelligence, so
all-embracing a mind, so complete a musical organization, so ardent an
imagination, so enthusiastic a nature, so unselfish a character, anything
that may be said must seem inadequate.

“The spirit of Franz Liszt soared far above the petty meannesses of
life. His influence has been great and far-reaching, and if he has
left a priceless artistic legacy to the world, he has also given it a
magnificent and unique example of benevolence and self-abnegation and
realised to the fullest extent his own motto, _Génie oblige!_”

The third and greatest member of this remarkable trio, Richard Wagner,
seems to have gathered up all that was best in the music that preceded
him and having assimilated it in the crucible of his mind, gave it forth
again, fresh, new and vital.

Wagner was born in Leipzig in 1803 and died in Venice, in 1883. His
career as a musician began in 1833, after he had taken part in the
Revolutionary politics of 1830.

His early life was spent in struggling with poverty and composing operas,
which were not successful. He acquired greater fame as a _conductor_ than
as a _composer_. Called to be conductor of the Dresden Orchestra in 1842,
he began his work by conducting works of Berlioz, who was then making a
tour in Germany. (See page 251.) Berlioz speaks gratefully of Wagner’s
“zeal and good will” in this matter and also of the success of _Rienzi_
and _The Flying Dutchman_ in Dresden.

The active part he took in Revolutionary politics offended the Court; and
Wagner, compelled to flee, hastened to Liszt in Weimar. Liszt got him a
passport under a fictitious name; and Wagner hurried to Paris and thence
to Zürich, where he finished _Lohengrin_ and sent it to Liszt to produce
in Weimar.

The first half of Wagner’s life was singularly unhappy; the last was
singularly happy. He had the good fortune to attract the interest of
the young King of Bavaria, Ludwig II, who became his patron and turned
Wagner’s dreams into realities.

After forty years of struggle and disappointment, Wagner had his own
theatre at Bayreuth, where his works were given under ideal conditions.
The Bayreuth Opera House was opened in 1876, with a great performance of
the _Nibelungen Ring_; and the greatest artists of the day played in the
Orchestra of which Wilhelmj was the first violinist. In the meanwhile,
_Tristan_ had been splendidly performed in Munich in 1865 and _Die
Meistersinger_ in 1868.

One of Wagner’s great ideas was to make the Orchestra a vital part of his
music dramas. In other words he _carried the Symphony-Orchestra_ into the

Wagner is the greatest master of orchestration that the world has ever

“Wagner treats every instrument with the same certainty of touch as if
he had played it himself. He knows, as no one else knows, how to avail
himself of its resources, and he demands nothing of it beyond what is
entirely within its capacity.

“Notwithstanding the large number of performers he requires, he never has
recourse to complicated methods in his orchestration. The combinations
are always clear and simple, resulting in a sonority that is both plain
and powerful. The _Leitmotive_ (guiding themes) ceaselessly move about
the whole Orchestra, passing from one desk to another; but, nevertheless,
each one has a fondness for one special instrument, or one group of
instruments, which agrees with its character, on which it is first
heard and to which it returns whenever it must be heard again with
preponderating importance. Sometimes we recognize it from its very first
note by means of this characteristic _timbre_.

“Wagner developed the art of orchestration, of orchestral coloring to
a point before unknown, a point which is _apparently_ its final limit;
but in art there is no limit, its progress is endless. I will not name
the person, but it seems to me that there is now among French composers
one who has surpassed Wagner in this very respect. Wagner, however,
in addition to the new combinations that he devised among the various
instruments of the classic Orchestra, introduced new elements, notably
tubas, a family intermediate between horns and trumpets, and the bass
trumpet which figures in nearly all of his scores, and singularly
enriches the group of brasses without rendering his instrumentation any
more noisy.”[80]

“Wagner is a supreme master of instrumentation, of orchestral color. His
Orchestra differs from Beethoven’s in the _quality_ of tone emitted; over
and above effects of richness obtained by the more elaborate treatment
of the inner part of the string-quartet, the frequent subdivision
of violins, violas, violoncellos, the use of chromatics in horn and
trumpet-parts, etc. There is a peculiar charm in the very sound of
Wagner’s woodwind and brass. It is fuller than Beethoven’s, though
singularly pure. And the reason for this is not far to seek. Wagner
rarely employs instruments unknown to Beethoven, but he completes each
group or family of wind-instruments with a view to _getting full chords
from each group_.

“Thus the two clarinets of Beethoven’s Orchestra are supplemented by a
third clarinet and a bass-clarinet if need be; the two oboes by a third
oboe, or a cor anglais (alto oboe); the two bassoons by a third bassoon
and a double-bassoon; the two trumpets by a third trumpet and a bass
trumpet, etc. The results got by the use of these additional instruments
are of greater significance than at first appears, since each set of
instruments can thus produce complete chords and can be employed in full
harmony without mixture of _timbre_ unless the composer so chooses.

[Illustration: WAGNER

_Photograph taken in Munich_]

“To account for the exceptional array of extra instruments in the scores
of the _Nibelungen Ring_ it is enough to say that they are used as
special means to special ends.

“Thus at the opening of the _Rheingold_, the question is what sound will
best prepare for and accord with dim twilight and waves of moving water?
The soft notes of the horns might be a musician’s answer; but to produce
the full, smooth wavelike motion upon the notes of a single chord, the
usual two, or four, horns are not sufficient, Wagner takes _eight_, and
the unique and beautiful effect is secured.

“Again, in the next scene, the waves change to clouds: from misty
mountain heights the gods behold Walhalla in the glow of the morning
sun. Here subdued, solemn sound is required. How to get it? Use brass
instruments _piano_. But the trumpets, trombones and tuba of Wagner’s
usual Orchestra cannot produce enough of it. He, therefore, supplements
them by other instruments of their family: a bass trumpet, two tenor and
two bass tubas, a contrabass trombone and a contrabass tuba. Then the
full band of thirteen brass instruments is ready for one of the simplest
and noblest effects of sonority in existence.

“At the close of the _Rheingold_, Donner with his thunder-hammer clears
the air of mist and storm-clouds; a rainbow spans the valley of the
Rhine and over this glistening bridge the gods pass to Walhalla. What
additional sounds shall accompany the glimmer and glitter of this scene?
The silvery notes of harps might do it; but the sounds of a single
harp would appear trivial, or would hardly be audible against the full
Orchestra. Wagner takes _six_ harps, writes a separate part for each, and
the desired effect is forthcoming.”[81]

It might seem that after Wagner nothing more could be done with the
Orchestra. But the progress of Music, like all other arts, never ceases.
We have three more great names to consider—Richard Strauss, Tschaikowsky
and Debussy.

“Richard Strauss is an intellectual musician. Saint-Saëns pointed out
long ago the master part harmony would play in the music of the future,
and Strauss realized the theory that melody is no longer sovereign
in the kingdom of tone. His master works are architectural marvels.
In structure, in rhythmical complexity, in striking harmonies, ugly,
bold, brilliant, dissonantal, his symphonic poems are without parallel.
Berlioz never dared, Liszt never invented such marvels of polyphony,
a polyphony beside which even Wagner’s is child’s play and Bach’s is
rivalled. And this learning, this titanic brushwork on vast and sombre
canvases are never for formal music’s sake; indeed, one may ask if it is
indeed music and not a new art. It is always intended to mean something,
say something, paint someone’s soul. It is an attempt to make the old
absolute music new and articulate.

“The greatest technical master of the Orchestra, making of it a vibrating
dynamic machine, a humming mountain of fire, Richard Strauss, by
virtue of his musical imagination, is painter-poet and psychologist.
He describes, comments and narrates in tones of jewelled brilliancy;
his Orchestra flashes like a canvas of Monet,—the divided tones and the
theory of complementary colors (over-tones) have their analogues in the
manner with which Strauss intricately divides his various instrumental
choirs: setting one group in opposition, or juxtaposition, to another;
producing the most marvellous, unexpected effects by acoustical mirroring
and transmutation of motives; and almost blinding the brain when the
entire battery of reverberation and repercussion is invoked. If he can
paint sunshine and imitate the bleating of sheep, he can also draw the
full-length portrait of a man. This he proves with his _Don Quixote_,
wherein the noble dreamer and his earthly squire are _heard_ in a series
of adventures terminating with the death of the rueful knight—one of the
most poignant pages in musical literature.”[82]

Richard Strauss was born in Munich, in 1864. His father, Franz Strauss,
was first horn-player in the Court Orchestra and could play almost every
orchestral instrument. He was an extraordinary musician. Once when
playing under Wagner’s _bâton_, the composer said to him: “Strauss,
you can’t be such an anti-Wagnerite as I hear. You play my music so
beautifully!” “What has that got to do with it?” the horn-player replied.

Richard early showed his great genius. He played the piano at the age
of four and began to compose at the age of six. While at school he had
lessons on the piano and violin and studied composition.

“My father kept me very strictly to the old masters,” says Strauss, “in
whose compositions I had a thorough grounding. You cannot appreciate
Wagner and the moderns unless you pass through a grounding in the
Classics. Young composers bring me voluminous manuscripts for my opinion
on their productions. In looking at them, I generally find that they want
to begin where Wagner left off. I say to all such: ‘My good young man,
go home and study the works of Bach, the symphonies of Haydn, Mozart and
Beethoven, and when you have mastered these art works come to me again.’
Without thoroughly understanding the significance of the development from
Haydn _via_ Mozart and Beethoven to Wagner, these young students cannot
appreciate at their proper worth either the music of Wagner, or of his
predecessors. ‘What an extraordinary thing for Richard Strauss to say,’
these young men remark; but I only give them the advice gained by my own

Strauss early attracted the attention of Hans von Bülow, who played his
_Serenade_ for wind instruments (op. 7) at Meiningen. In 1885 Strauss
was chosen to succeed von Bülow as conductor of that famous Orchestra.
In 1885 he became third _Kapellmeister_ in Munich, and, in 1889,
assistant _Kapellmeister_ at Weimar. Later he returned to Munich as
Court _Kapellmeister_; and three years later he was made general music
director. For a little while he was conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic
Orchestra and in 1899 was made _Kapellmeister_ at the Berlin Royal
Opera, which position he still holds.

“If the now childish simplicity of Schubert’s orchestration proved a
stumbling block to the Viennese Orchestra only fifty odd years ago, and
furthermore Wagner’s _Tristan and Isolde_ shared the same fate at a
still more recent date, it will not be difficult to realise that Strauss
fifteen years ago taxed the virtuosity of the performers with passages
that are no longer dreaded.

“The flexibility of execution that formerly was expected only of a first
violinist is now imposed upon all five sections of the string band and
each member finds before him the pages of what looks like a concerto.
To the woodwind are assigned passages that Wagner would have hesitated
to write. What Strauss demands from them, Beethoven might have demanded
from the strings. Most prominent of all is the attention bestowed upon
the deployment of the brass as initiated by Wagner. The trumpets are
treated with unprecedented freedom, and are expected to perform passages
either of flowing melody, or of rhythmic intricacy in the fastest of
_tempi_. The horns are taught to display the agility of violoncellos.
In four-part writing, the fourth horn is much used as a deep bass
instrument absolutely apart from the three upper horns. The trombones are
employed as much for unallied melodic utterance as for combined harmonic
effects, and the intricacy of their parts constantly necessitates the
use of three staves in the score. Incidental mention might also be
made of such devices for acquiring weird tonal tints as obtained from
muted trombones. Similar to Wagner’s procedure in the Overture to the
_Meistersinger_, the tubas—and particularly the tenor tuba—are constantly
detached from their conventional association with the trombones, for the
purpose of giving expression to flowing _cantilena_.

“Novelty in the use of instruments of percussion is restricted to
rhythmic peculiarities and original combinations with other instruments
of more variable pitch; for Wagner’s general method of handling the
battery cannot be improved upon.

“In a word, the three choirs of the Orchestra have advanced one step
higher. The string-band has become so many virtuoso soloists. The
woodwind replace the strings and are themselves replaced by the brass.
The battery has acquired prominence such as the Classicists allowed to
the trumpets and trombones.

“Strauss advances yet farther by making permanent Wagner’s occasional
incorporation into the Orchestra of a second harp, an E-flat clarinet,
a double quartet of horns, five instead of four trumpets, and a tenor
tuba in addition to a bass tuba. The occasional addition of unusual
instruments, such as an _oboe d’amore_ and saxophones, is required.”[83]

In 1864 one of the chief critics of Russia pointed out Tschaikowsky
as “the future star of Russian music.” His prediction was verified.
Tschaikowsky is now ranked with the great masters. His great popularity
in this country is largely due to Mr. Walter Damrosch, who invited him
to take part in a series of festival concerts in 1891 at the opening of
Carnegie Hall in New York. Here Tschaikowsky conducted several of his
works, many of which were already known and loved by concert-goers.

We are all familiar now with Tschaikowsky’s great sweeps of tone; dark,
melancholy harmonies; and strange, barbaric rhythms.

“Tschaikowsky is eclectic, and many cosmopolitan woofs run through the
fabric of his music. Italy influenced, then Germany, then France; and, in
his later day, he let lightly fall the reins on the neck of his Pegasus
and was much given to joyously riding in the fabled country of ballet,
pantomime, and other delightful places.”[84]

This is perfectly true, but beyond and above all else Tschaikowsky is

“Like most Slavs,” writes Ernest Newman, “he drew sustenance more from
France than Germany. Brahms he thought dull; Wagner he never really
understood. He loved music, he said, that came from the heart, that
expressed ‘a deep humanity,’ like Grieg’s. To the delicate brain and
nerves of the modern man he added the long-accumulated eruptive passions
of his race. He takes the language made by the great Germans and uses it
to express the complex pessimism of another culture. The color of life in
his music ranges from pale gray to intense black, with here and there a
note of angry scarlet tearing through the mass of cloud.”

Peter Ilich Tschaikowsky was born in 1840 in Votinsk in the government
of Viatka, where his father was inspector of the government mines, soon
removing to Petrograd, where the boy received his education. He studied
music, played the piano well, and composed light music; but with him
at this time music was merely an accomplishment and a social pleasure.
In 1861 he began to study music seriously and gave up his work to face
poverty for the sake of art. In 1865 he completed his course at the
Conservatory, where he had attracted the admiration of Anton Rubinstein
with whom he studied orchestration. As an instance of his industry
Rubinstein’s story may be quoted. “Once at the composition class,” said
Rubinstein, “I set him to write out contrapuntal variations on a given
theme, and I mentioned that in this class of work not only _quality_ but
_quantity_ was of importance. I thought perhaps he would write about a
dozen variations. But not at all. At the next class I received over two
hundred. To examine all these would have taken me more time than it took
him to write them.”

When Nicholas Rubinstein organized the Conservatory in Moscow in 1866,
he gave Tschaikowsky the chair of professor of harmony. He spent much
time in composing and Nicholas Rubinstein brought out his works at the
concerts of the Russian Musical Society. Tschaikowsky’s life is in his
works. Whether in Petrograd, Moscow, in his country home, in Paris, or
travelling, he was always composing; and, consequently, his list of works
is long.

[Illustration: TSCHAIKOWSKY

_Photograph taken in Petrograd_]

Although Tschaikowsky wrote light operas, he is chiefly known for his
orchestral music—his magnificent symphonies and his symphonic poems. So
immense are these works in their effect that the hearer often imagines
that Tschaikowsky called for an orchestra with as many additional
instruments, new and old, as Richard Strauss. This is not the case,
however. For instance, in the _Symphonie pathetique_ he has the Beethoven
orchestra with the addition of the bass tuba.

“A remarkable feature of his scoring is the extreme modern effect secured
with comparatively modest means. He expressed himself in a language of
profound pathos which was in part due to the embodiment of weird and
gloomy orchestration. He made prominent use of low woodwind, which were
constantly combined with the violas, and he evinced peculiar predilection
for clarinets in their low range and bassoons in their upper range.”[85]

In the _Casse Noisette_ Suite (Nut-cracker Suite), which is so charming
in its playfulness, his instrumentation is particularly novel. In it he
introduced the celesta (see page 128).

Tschaikowsky should be described as a follower of Berlioz, Liszt, and
Mozart. He was particularly devoted to Mozart as his fourth orchestral
suite, entitled _Mozartiana_ plainly shows. In a preface to this work
Tschaikowsky says: “A large number of the most admirable compositions of
Mozart are, for some inexplicable reason, hardly known not only to the
public but even to the majority of musicians.”

Tschaikowsky died of cholera in Petrograd in 1893.

We have seen that in the days of Berlioz the French public cared more for
operatic than for symphonic music. After Berlioz, composers devoted much
more thought to the Orchestra; and French music now contains a long list
of masterpieces and admirable works.

Orchestral concerts under the direction of Habeneck and Pasdeloup and
afterwards under Lamoureux and Colonne did much to make symphonic music
popular in Paris.

The greatest name in the development of Orchestral music since Berlioz is
that of Saint-Saëns, whose orchestration, although rich and elaborate,
is always clear and polished to the last degree. The exquisite Symphonic
Poem, called _Le Rouet d’Omphale_, may be taken as an example. It is not
merely a beautiful piece of descriptive writing, but it is beautifully

Camille Saint-Saëns is the oldest living French composer. He was born
in 1835 in Paris and early showed his great talent for music. At the
age of seven he began to study the piano with Stamaty and harmony with
Maleden. In 1846, at the age of eleven, he appeared at a concert in the
Salle Pleyel; and a year later entered the Conservatory. Here he made a
name for himself. His _Symphony_, composed at the age of sixteen, was
successfully performed. In 1858 he became organist at the Madeleine in
Paris and astonished everyone by his feats of improvisation. Meantime,
he continued composing. He has produced an immense number of works that
include every kind of composition from operas to chamber-music, songs and
pieces for the harp.


_Paris, 1896_]

Saint-Saëns has also been an extensive traveller and has spent much time
in Algiers. He is an incomparable pianist, a fine musical critic, and an
excellent writer. Saint-Saëns is another instance of the general culture
required of the modern musician—the type that came into existence after
the Revolution of 1830 (see page 244).

Saint-Saëns was made an officer of the Legion d’Honneur in 1884. On June
2, 1896, the fiftieth anniversary of his first public appearance was
celebrated in the Salle Pleyel, on which occasion Taffanel conducted the
orchestra and Sarasate played a sonata by Saint-Saëns (see illustration
facing 268), with the composer at the piano. At the age of seventy he
came to America and astonished his audiences by playing his five piano
concertos, accompanied by Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony
Orchestra, with marvellous skill and the fire of youth.

Debussy is a modern of the moderns; and, moreover, he has led music into
a new path.

Debussy is, however, but one of a group of French musicians who, for
the last thirty or forty years, have been developing French music more
according to the traditional taste of their nation than it had been since
the days of Rameau. In fact, these musicians have carried music back to
its fountain head; and we may say that the same spirit that characterized
the works of the _trouvères_ of the Fifteenth Century (music such as is
being played by King René’s musicians in our frontispiece); the same
spirit that was expressed in the music of the French Renaissance; the
same spirit that was heard in the operas and ballets of Lully and Rameau
lives again, though in a new form.

Of all these modern French composers—Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel,
Albert Roussel, Emmanuel Chabrier, Vincent d’Indy, Ernest Chausson,
Henri Duparc, Paul Dukas, Florent Schmitt, Déodat de Séverac, and Ernest
Satie—Claude Debussy is the leading spirit; and, perhaps, the greatest

Claude Achille Debussy was born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in 1862. He
entered the Conservatory in Paris at the age of twelve and studied under
Albert Lavignac, Marmontel, Durand, and Guiraud. In 1884 he took the
_prix de Rome_; and from the Eternal City he went to Russia. On his
return to Paris he became one of the frequent guests at those famous
_soirées_ of Mallarmé, where painters, poets, sculptors, and musicians

His piano works, songs, instrumental pieces, and orchestral compositions,
such as _L’Après midi d’un faune_, were admired by many persons on their
first hearing; but his audience was comparatively small until the opera
of _Pelleas et Mélisande_ made him known throughout the world. Here
was an entirely new idea in music. The Orchestra did not annotate, nor
emphasize the actions of the persons on the stage, but it became a soft,
melodious atmosphere, a delicious web of harmony enfolding the entire
work. It was like nothing that had ever been written.

[Illustration: DEBUSSY

_Photograph taken in Paris_]

One idea of Debussy’s in orchestral writing is to get the greatest
effect with the simplest means. To produce these effects Debussy employs
many old scales and harmonic chords. His instrumentation, therefore,
seems diaphanous, ethereal, and suffused with delicate, opalescent
colors. He is in sympathy with the _impressionists_ in painting and the
_symbolists_ in poetry. The fluid quality of his music lends itself to
the description of water. His works are full of the sound of water—the
sea, fountains, and silvery rain falling upon dim gardens. He creates a
sense of mystery and atmospheric beauties as no one else has ever done.

In the _Afternoon of a Faun_:

“The ascending and descending introductory bars given out by an
unaccompanied flute convey an idea of pastoral charm. A characteristic
bucolic horn motive follows, and the first theme is repeated with muted
string accompaniment. The whole scoring of the composition is of cobweb
delicacy. The Orchestra is composed of three flutes, oboes, clarinets,
four horns, two harps, antique cymbals, and strings. The principal
themes are given by clarinets, oboes, and harps respectively. A scale
of whole tones is heard on the clarinet; this leads to another section
marked _più animato_, in which the oboe voices the principal theme. These
subjects are all interwoven with and linked to other themes. They are
heard sometimes as solos, sometimes concerted. The rhythm of the whole
work is free and varied. The strings, muted or otherwise, are often used
as a kind of background to the wind solos, which is most effective. A
veil of palpitating heat seems to be suffused over the composition and
corresponds to the glow of Eastern sunlight in the poem and also to the
remote, visionary nature of the poet’s imagery and fancies. The tone poem
also recalls the golden noon of an Idyl of Theocritus. All through the
piece the composer preserves this feeling of elusiveness, of mirage: he
attains it by the use of delicate unusual harmonies and by the silvery,
web-like tracery of his phrases. The frequent use of the scale of
whole tones and the unresolved dissonances produce a distinct charm of
their own. The chords are of an exceeding richness and present a depth
of glowing color. The interspersed solos for violin, oboe, clarinet,
_cor anglais_, resemble dainty broidery, and portray intimately the
ramifications of doubt and longing in the faun’s mind, which he likens to
a multitude of branches with slender pointed sprays and sprigs.”[86]

Debussy thus explains some of his titles: “The title of _Nocturnes_ is
to be interpreted in a wider sense than that usually given, and most
especially it should be understood as having a decorative meaning.
Therefore, the usual form of Nocturne has not been considered, and the
word should be accepted as signifying in the fullest manner diversified

“_Nuages_ (clouds)—the unchanging aspect of the sky and the slow, solemn
movement of the clouds dissolving in gray tints lightly touched with

“_Fêtes_ (festivities)—the restless dancing rhythm of the atmosphere
interspersed with sudden flashes of light. There is also an incidental
procession (a dazzling imaginary vision) passing through and mingling
with the aërial revelry; but the background of uninterrupted festivity is
persistent with its blending of music and luminous dust participating in
the universal rhythm of all things.

“_Sirénes_ (sirens)—the sea and its perpetual rhythm, and then amid
waves silvered by moonbeams are heard the laughter and mysterious song of
passing sirens.”


_Walter Damrosch conducting_]

Some critics have called Debussy a revolutionist. They are wrong.
Debussy’s musical ancestors are Rameau and Couperin; and his works show
us that “_revolution_ is merely _evolution_ made clear for all to see.”

Such is the French music of the present—beautiful, refined, clear,
polished, delicate, enchanting!

       *       *       *       *       *

We, in our great country, like to hear all schools of music, and our
wonderful orchestras are able to play equally well the works of all
composers and of all schools and nationalities. Some of us prefer the
French, some of us the Russian, and some of us the German Schools; but
our taste is broad and cultured, and we wish to hear the various ways in
which the musical minds of the day are expressing themselves.

What an advance since the days of “a consort of lutes, or viols”! What a
development since the Fifteenth Century, when gentle ladies played the
_psaltérion_ and flute and _vielle_, as seen in our frontispiece! But to
appreciate the evolution of the Orchestra, let us look at the picture
of an Orchestra of the Eleventh Century (facing page 274), the earliest
known representation of any Orchestra, taken from the capital of a column
of a church near Rouen, and then compare it with the picture of the
Symphony Society of New York (facing page 272).

Between these two Orchestras, separated by a period of eight hundred
years, we can realize the progress of “music’s ever welling spring, which
has flowed through the centuries until it has become an ocean.”



    _The Score; a page from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony;
    requirements of a Conductor; Lully; Wagner; our Symphony

The Orchestra, a great instrument, composed, as we have seen, of so
many different instruments, voices, and human personalities, awaits the
Conductor before it becomes of value.

He enters, takes his stand before his men, raises his tiny white _bâton_,
and the large body is vitalized into sound. All these many vibrations
and voices reach our ears; and we, following the unfolding patterns and
musical phrases, put them all together in the shape and form that the
composer heard in his dreams, reduced to writing and made permanent for

It is the Conductor’s work to make this musical pattern clear to us and
to realize the composer’s intentions. If the Conductor did not understand
the composition as preserved in the printed score, we could not put
together all these musical fragments. It would be nothing but a broken-up
jig-saw puzzle!

A Conductor has to _know_ the score.


To read a score requires a very high order of musical intelligence. Some
of us have never thought to ask what the big book looks like that lies
on the Conductor’s desk. Facing page 276 is a page from the Conductor’s
score of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It is the opening of the second
movement, _Andante con moto_.

We know that the Soprano sings, or plays, in the Treble Clef, the Bass in
the Bass Clef, and the Altos in the Alto Clef. Those who play the piano
have learned to play in the Soprano and the Bass Clefs simultaneously;
for the right hand plays the one, and the left hand the other. A
violinist only knows the Soprano Clef; those who play the viola, play in
the Alto, or Soprano Clef; and those who play the violoncello, play in
the Bass, Tenor and Soprano Clefs, for they have to play in them all from
time to time. The Conductor has to read _all the parts of the Orchestra
at once_,—and in all the Clefs. Let us look at our illustration. The
flutes on the top line and the oboes next play in the Soprano Clef; the
clarinets play in the Soprano Clef but _in a different key_ (B); then the
bassoons play in the Bass Clef; then the horns in C (still another key);
then the trombones in C; then the _tympani, or kettledrums_, in C and
G; then come the strings: the violins and second violins playing in the
Soprano Clef; the viola in the Alto, or Tenor Clef; the violoncellos in
the Bass Clef; and the double-basses in the Bass Clef. Notice that a long
line divides the bars, a line drawn, or _scored_,[87] through all the
staves from top to bottom.

In our example we have twenty-two bars of continuous music. The
viola[88] and violoncello begin the melody, with the double-bass playing
_pizzicato_ at first and taking up the bow in the ninth bar. All the
other instruments are silent, as the rests show, until the violas and
violoncello have finished their gentle, sweet melody, when the bassoons
and violins add a finish to it. Then the cool woodwind plays a lovely
little part, and the warm violins come in as the liquid flutes, oboes,
clarinets, and bassoons finish their phrase; and then the woodwind and
strings play together, the horns, trumpets, and drums keeping silent;
and—we cannot see what comes now, for we are at the end of this page.
This one page gives an idea of what the Conductor has to do. He has to
bring out the melody, get the right accents, give the right shading
(the _pianos_ and _fortes_), and make the right _crescendos_ and
_diminuendos_, besides adding a poetic conception, so as to render the
melodies flowing and graceful and to bring out the composer’s inner

What a quick and trained eye a Conductor must have to read the score,
both perpendicularly and horizontally at the same time!

Of course, an acute ear must be another of his gifts; and his natural ear
is trained and rendered more acute by experience.

An innate sense of rhythm must belong to a Conductor. He must have also
an appreciation of melody and an intuition that divines the subtle
melodies, melodic phrases, and beautiful harmonies that lie hidden in
the score. He must also have some of the qualities of a painter to bring
out light and shade and varieties of color—glowing hues and delicate
tints—from the instruments that are ranged before him ready to obey his
magic wand.


_Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony_]

The Conductor must also have a literary and a poetic sense to understand
the romantic and historical subjects, which composers so often select as
themes; and he must have imagination to visualize a picture in his own
mind before he can make his own Orchestra and his audience follow the
music, or the phrases, that go to make up that picture, or that _musical
impression of a picture_.

In a certain sense, the Conductor _leads his audience_, though most of us
are unconscious of his power in this particular. We, to a certain degree,
see the musical picture that the Conductor sees; for we have only the
threads he gives us—the scarlet and blue and green and purple and lilac
and golden threads with which we may weave as we listen the beautiful
musical tapestry, the cartoons for which may be said to lie in the pages
of the score.

Though it is often said that the “virtuoso-conductor” was practically
unknown until the middle of the Nineteenth Century, that statement is far
from correct. If you will read again the description of Lully’s Orchestra
(pages 162-172) you will see that he has a splendidly trained body of
highly artistic performers. Lully’s methods of polishing his material
were not unlike those in use to-day. Corelli, too, must have polished his
Orchestra highly; for his violinists all played as one man (see page 180).

It is a great mistake to condemn performances of the past and to think
that because tastes differed from ours that Orchestras were primitive.
There was nothing primitive in the cultured days of the Renaissance, nor
in those of Louis XIV.

We may be very sure that the lutes and viols, with their complicated
strings and intricate system of tuning, required _virtuosi_ to play them
artistically and romantically to suit the culture of the age; and that
the Conductors had something more to do than beat time, even if they sat
at the _gravicembalo_, or harpsichord.

Moreover, the audiences of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries were
highly cultured men and women. There were also many brilliant amateur
musicians. Perhaps, on the whole, amateurs reached as high a degree of
excellence as they do to-day.

Lully was undoubtedly a very great Conductor; and there does not seem to
have been any one after him who stood for such perfect performances as
his until Wagner pointed out the path for Conductors to follow.

Wagner’s criticisms in his _Art of Conducting_ show that the Orchestras
of Europe—even the famous ones—gave interpretations of the Classic
composer that we, Americans, would not tolerate; for it is no
exaggeration to say that the Orchestras of our country have for many
years been the most brilliant, the most finished, and the most poetic in
the world. This condition we owe to the guiding minds and high artistic
aims of the versatile and intellectual Conductors who have developed our
Symphony Orchestras, and to the fact that no national prejudice prevents
them from taking the best players from any country; the woodwind from
France and Belgium; the strings from Austria; the brass from Germany;
together with an ever-increasing number of young Americans who show
adaptability in all the orchestral groups.




    _Berlioz on the harp; construction of the harp; the harp an
    ancient instrument; the Egyptian harp; Greek and Roman harps;
    the Irish harp; quotation from Giraldus; the Welsh harp;
    the Scotch harp; quotation from Galilei; the Mediæval harp;
    improvements in the harp; Sebastian Érard; use of the harp in
    the Orchestra._

“The harp,” writes Berlioz, “is essentially anti-chromatic, that is to
say succession by half-tones are almost out of the question for it. Its
compass was formerly but five octaves and a sixth. All harps were tuned
in the scale of E-flat. The skilful manufacturer, Érard, seeking to
remedy the inconvenience of this system, invented the mechanism which
obviated these difficulties and proposed tuning the harp in C-flat, which
has been adapted by all harp-players of the present day.

“To instruments so constructed was given the name of _double-action
harps_. This is of what it consists and wherefore it allows the harp—if
not to play chromatic successions—at least to play in all keys and to
strike, or _arpeggio_, all chords. The double-action harp is tuned in
C-flat; and its compass is six octaves and a quarter.

“The seven pedals with which it is furnished are made so that the player
may, by means of each of them, raise at option each string a tone, or a
semitone, only. By taking in succession the seven semitone pedals, the
harp in C-flat can therefore be set in G-flat, in D-flat, in A-flat, in
E-flat, in B-flat, in F and in C-natural.

“The nature of the instrument having been explained, we proceed now to
the fingering, which many composers confound with that of the pianoforte,
which it nowise resembles. With each hand chords of four notes may be
struck, of which the two extreme notes do not extend beyond an octave.
Also, by a great stretch of the thumb and little finger, chords of a
tenth may be reached, but this position is less convenient, less natural,
and, therefore, less sonorous, since none of the fingers can attack the
string with as much force as in the ordinary position.

“The successive execution of the notes of a chord, either ascending, or
descending, is perfectly in the character of the harp. It is even after
its Italian name, _arpa_, that these passages have received the name of
_arpeggios_. The _shake_ exists for the harp, but it is only tolerable on
the high notes.

“The effect of harps is in proportion better as they are in greater
number. The notes, the chords, or the _arpeggios_ which they throw
out amidst the Orchestra are of extreme splendor. Nothing can be more
in keeping with the ideas of poetic festivities, or religious rites,
than the sound of a large body of harps ingeniously introduced. Alone,
in groups of two, three, or four, they have also a most happy effect,
either uniting with the orchestra, or serving to accompany voices and
solo instruments. Of all known qualities of tone it is singular that the
quality of horns, of trombones, and, generally, of brass instruments
mingles best with theirs. The lower strings (exclusive of the soft and
dull strings of the extreme depth), the sound of which is so veiled, so
mysterious, and so fine, have scarcely ever been employed except for bass
accompaniments of the left hand; and the more the pity! It is true that
harp-players care little to play long pieces among those octaves so far
removed from the body of the performer that he must lean forward with
his arms at full length, maintaining this awkward posture for more or
less time; but this motive can have had but little weight with composers.
The fact is they have not thought to avail themselves of this especial
quality in tone.


_Fifteenth Century_]

“The strings of the last upper octave have a delicate, crystalline sound
of voluptuous freshness, which renders them fit for the expression
of graceful, fairy-like ideas and for giving murmuring utterance to
the sweetest secrets of smiling melodies, on condition, nevertheless,
of their never being attacked with violence by the performer, as in
this case they yield a dry, hard sound, similar to that of broken
glass—disagreeable and snapping.

“The harmonics of the harp—particularly of many harps in unison—are still
more magical. Solo players frequently employ them in the pedal-points and
cadences of their fantasias, variations, and concertos. But nothing comes
near the sonorousness of these mysterious notes, when united to chords
from flutes and clarinets playing in the medium register.

“The best, and almost the only, harmonics for the harp are those obtained
by touching with the lower and fleshy part of the palm of the hand the
centre of the string, while playing with the thumb and two first fingers
of the same hand, thus producing the high octave of the usual sound.
Harmonics may be produced by both hands. It is even possible to produce
two, or three, at a time with one hand; but then it is prudent to let the
other have but one note to play.

“All the strings of the harp are not fit for harmonics—only the last two
octaves should be employed for this purpose; they being the sole ones
of which the strings are sufficiently long to admit of being divided by
touching in the centre and sufficiently tightened for neatly producing

The framework of the double-action harp consists of the soundboard
opposite which is the vertical pillar. Both support the “neck,” a sort of
curved bracket, graceful in shape. The neck contains the “comb,” which
holds the mechanism for raising the pitch of the strings. The pillar is
hollow and holds, concealed within it, the rods working the mechanism.
The pillar and soundboard are also united in the “pedestal,” which is the
frame for the pedals. These pedals are levers, which are moved by the
feet and move the rods in the pillar.

The wood used in a harp is generally sycamore, but the soundboard is
pine. Along the centre of the soundboard a strip of beech, or other hard
wood, is glued in which are inserted the pegs that hold the lower ends of
the strings. The upper ends of the strings are wound round tuning-pins
inserted into the wrest plank, which forms the upper part of the neck.

The forty-seven strings are of catgut colored for the convenience of the
player. The eleven longest are covered with wire, or silk. The uncovered
C-strings are colored red and the F-strings, blue. The harp player rests
the instrument upon his right shoulder and plays from the treble side.

The harp is a very ancient instrument. It was played thousands of years
ago in Egypt and Assyria. In fact it was the favorite instrument of
the Egyptians and it was often magnificently ornamented. The Egyptian
harp had no front pillar, and sometimes it looks in the hands of the
player like a boat with a sail of strings. Sometimes it stood six feet
high. There were a great many sizes and varieties, as are seen in
wall-paintings and other decorations.

The big Egyptian harp, with its dull, heavy thudding sounds, was
characteristic of Egyptian music, and Verdi has marvellously reproduced
this effect in his opera of _Aïda_.

All ancient nations seem to have used the harp in some form, or another.
And it never seems to have gone out of fashion. Cultured races and
primitive peoples alike played the harp. The Greeks had three-cornered
harps and the Romans had harps with a curved frame, pegs, and sound-box.
The famous lyre was a kind of harp. The ancient Irish harp, called
_cruit_, and also _crwth_, which in time became a sort of fiddle-harp and
was played with a bow, seems to have been an ancestor of the violin. As
early as 200 B.C. the Irish children were taught that “the spirit of song
dwelt among the trembling strings of the _cruit_.”

The Irish harp was famous. So were the Irish harpers. Bishops and abbots
travelled about the country with their harps, and the Irish bard with his
harp was a familiar figure as early as the Sixth Century.

When the great gathering, or Parliament, was held periodically at Tara,
County Meath, there was minstrelsy in the banquet-hall after every day’s
business. The last Parliament, or Feis, of Tara, was held in 560 under
Fergus; and never more after that gathering was the “harp heard in Tara’s

An Irish saga of the Seventh Century describes nine Irish harpers as
having “gray winding cloaks, with brooches of gold, circlets of pearls
round their heads, rings of gold around their thumbs, torques[89] of gold
around their ears, and torques of silver around their throats.”

Trinity College, Dublin, owns a harp that is supposed to have belonged to
King Brian, “Brian Boru,” the hero, who was slain in the hour of victory
over the Danes at Clontarf near Dublin in 1014. His harp was rescued
by his son, who took it to Rome and gave it to the Pope. It is the old
hand-harp of the minstrels.

In 1185 Giraldus, appointed by King Henry II tutor to his son, Prince
John, accompanied the latter to Ireland. On his return he wrote a book
describing the remarkable things he had seen in that country and paid the
following tribute to the Irish harpers:

“The cultivation of instrumental music by this people I find worthy of
commendation. In this their skill is _beyond all_ comparison superior
to that of any nation I have ever seen; for their music is not slow
and solemn, as in the instrumental music of Britain to which we are
accustomed; but the sounds are rapid and articulate, yet at the same time
sweet and pleasing. It is wonderful how, in such precipitate rapidity
of the fingers the musical proportions are preserved, and by their art,
faultless throughout, in the midst of the most complicated modulations
and most intricate arrangements of notes; by a velocity so pleasing,
a regularity so diversified, a concord so discordant, the melody is
preserved harmonious and perfect; and whether a passage, or transition,
is performed in a sequence of fourths or fifths, it is always begun in
a soft and delicate manner, and ended in the same, so that all may be
perfected in the sweetness of delicious sounds. They enter on and again
leave their modulations with so much subtlety and the vibrations of
the smaller strings of the treble sport with so much articulation and
brilliancy, along with the deep notes of the bass; they delight with
so much delicacy and soothe so charmingly, that the great excellence
of their art appears to lie in their accomplishing all this with the
greatest seeming ease and without the least appearance of effort, or art.”

The Welsh harpists learned from the Irish, as Wharton, in his _History
of English Poetry_, testifies: “There is sufficient evidence to prove
that the Welsh bards were early connected with the Irish. Even so late as
the Eleventh Century the Welsh bards received instruction in the bardic
profession (music and poetry) from Ireland.”

The typical harp of the Welsh was called _telyn_; but it does not seem to
have differed much from the Irish harp. Harp competitions were a feature
of the Welsh Eisteddfod that corresponded to the Irish Feis. In the
Highlands of Scotland the harp was called _Clarsach_. It is mentioned in
almost every poem, ballad, song, and story. Everybody played the harp;
even the children eagerly tried to sweep the strings with their little
fingers. In the Poem of _Trathal_ the hero’s wife remains at home. “Two
children with their fair locks are at her knees. They bend their ears
above the harp, as she touches with her fair hands the trembling strings.
She stops. They take the harp themselves, but cannot find the sound they
admired. ‘Why,’ they ask ‘does it not answer us? Show us the string where
dwells the song.’ She bids them search for it till she returns. Their
little fingers wander among the wires.” There was hardly a household of
the Highland chieftains which did not have bard, or harper; and in many
old castles the “harper’s seat,” “the harper’s window,” or “the harper’s
gallery” is shown with pride to visitors.

Playing the harp was a general accomplishment.

George Buchanan, in his _History of Scotland_, published in 1565, says
the people “delight very much in music, especially in harps, of their own
sort, some of which are strung with brass wire and some with intestines
of animals. They play on them either with their nails grown long, or with
a pectrum. Their only ambition seems to be to ornament their harps with
silver and precious stones. The lower ranks, instead of gems, deck theirs
with crystal. They sing poetical compositions celebrating the exploits
of their valiant men. Their language is that of the ancient Gauls, a
little altered.”


_King David_]

In England the harp was a regal accomplishment, and every gentleman as
well as prince could sing to the harp and play his own accompaniment.
Every one knows how King Alfred, who was a fine musician, explored the
Danish camp in the guise of a minstrel. All the early literature of
England is full of allusions to the harp and harp-playing. The harp
always appeared at ceremonies. For instance, in 1413, at the Coronation
of Henry V, “the harmony of the harpers drawn from the instruments struck
with the rapidest touch of the fingers, note against note, and the soft,
angelic whisperings of their modulations, were gratifying to the ears of
the guests.”

In 1251 the new coinage of Ireland “was stamped in Dublin with the
impression of the King’s head in a triangular harp.” The arms of Leinster
on a field _vert_, a harp, _or_ stringed _argent_, were subsequently
applied to the whole kingdom of Ireland.

At the end of the thirteenth century Vincenzo Galilei writes: “This most
ancient instrument was brought to us from Ireland (as Dante says), where
they are excellently made, and in great numbers, the inhabitants of that
island having practised on it for many a century. Nay, they place it in
the arms of the kingdom and paint it on their public buildings and stamp
it on their coinage, giving as a reason their being descended from the
royal prophet David. The harps which these people use are considerably
larger than ours and have generally the strings of brass and a few of
steel for the highest notes, as in the clavichord. The musicians who
perform on it keep the nails of their fingers long, forming them with
care in the shape of the quills which strike the strings of the spinet.”

The harp appears frequently in illuminated manuscripts. It is
played by ladies as well as by gentlemen, and by amateurs as well
as by professional musicians. It is always of the type shown in the
illustration of King David, facing page 286, taken from a manuscript of
the Fourteenth Century.

Another Mediæval harp is shown in our illustration, facing page 280. This
picture is taken from a beautiful illuminated manuscript of the famous
_Romaunt of the Rose_, by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meung, made
in the Fifteenth Century. The first minstrel is playing the harp; the
second, the flute; and the last the “pipe and tabor.” They are richly
dressed. The first minstrel is wearing purple and black hose, scarlet
mantle, green sleeves, and black velvet cap; the second in purple and
green hose, pink and black mantle, green sleeves, and red velvet cap; the
third minstrel is wearing purple and green hose, green and purple mantle,
and black velvet cap. The small, green leaves of the trees over the brown
wall show that the time is early spring.

The Mediæval harp had but one scale; and the only way to shorten the
string was to press it down firmly with the finger.

Gradually people tried to improve the harp. The first idea of pedal
mechanism is due to a Bavarian named Hochbrucker in 1720. Further
improvements were made by Cousineau, a French harper, and his son, who
doubled the pedals and the mechanism connected with them and practically
originated the idea of the modern harp. Cousineau also arranged the
pedals in two rows.

Then came Sebastian Érard, born in Strassburg in 1752, but who went to
Paris and became a famous maker of pianos. During the Revolution he fled
to London, but in 1796 returned to Paris, where he died in 1831. His
improvements in the harp date from about 1786 and were at first confined
to single action. He made his first double-action harp in 1801; and in
1810 produced the perfect model that has never been surpassed.

Handel introduced the harp into his orchestral scores. In the oratorio
of _Esther_, produced at Cannons for the Duke of Chandos in 1720 and
performed in London in 1732 he used it in combination with the theorbo
in “Breathe soft, ye winds”; Mozart wrote a Concerto for the Flute and
Harp for the Duc de Guisnes and his daughter. Spohr wrote much for
the instrument (his wife was a harpist). Meyerbeer, the first to use
the double-action harp, called for two in _Robert le Diable_. Berlioz
introduced a lovely trio for two flutes and a harp in _L’Enfance du

Liszt treats the harp most poetically; and it occurs in almost all of his
works. Wagner makes it conspicuous in _Das Rhinegold_ and _Die Walküre_.
It is strikingly used by Richard Strauss and Debussy. The modern
school of Russian and French composers treat the harp as an orchestral
instrument rather than as a solo instrument, making its voice a part of
the woven web of melody and harmony.



    _The dulcimer and the psaltery or psaltérion; ancestors of
    the pianoforte; the jacks; the spinet; the virginal, the
    gravicembalo or harpsichord; the Ruckers of Antwerp; the
    pianoforte; Cristofori; Liszt; the pianoforte a hundred years

The piano, or harpsichord, ceased to belong to the Orchestra in the
days of Haydn; but it is often called upon to play a Concerto with the
Orchestra and of late composers have again been experimenting with it as
an orchestral instrument.

A description of its mechanism would be dull. Like every other
instrument, the piano was a development of older instruments; and as
it developed composers changed their style of writing for it. We can
follow the development of the piano by following a chronological list
of compositions, from the preludes and fugues of Bach; the suites for
the clavecin and clavier of Handel, Couperin, and Rameau; and the
early sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven to the big sonata of Beethoven,
written for the “hammer clavier,” op. 111, and the elaborate _Hungarian
Rhapsodies_ of Liszt, and so on. With the development of the piano
came the development of _touch_. In the days of the harpsichords and
clavichords there was practically no such thing as _touch_. There was
brilliant execution, of course, and effects were produced; but _touch_
developed after the piano had been equipped with its softly padded
hammers and its improved action.

The modern piano is a miniature orchestra; and since the days of Liszt
pianists have sought to get orchestral effects from it. More literature
has been written for the piano than for any other instrument.

To find the origin of the pianoforte we must go back to the dulcimer and
the psaltery, or _psaltérion_. These two instruments are much alike,
differing only in the way they were played. The strings of the dulcimer
were set in vibration by hammers held in the hands of the performer,
and the strings of the psaltery were plucked with an ivory, metal, or
quill, plectrum, or even by the fingers. The psaltery was smaller than
the dulcimer and had fewer strings. Perhaps the name dulcimer was derived
from the words _dulce melos_, sweet melody; but it was only one of the
names for the instrument. The French called it _tympanon_; the Italians
_cembalo_ and _salterio tedesco_ (German psaltery); and the Germans
_hackbrett_, a board for chopping sausage-meat. The Hungarian, or Magyar,
name for it is _cimbelom_. It is played in Hungarian bands.

The dulcimer was a three-cornered or trapeze-shaped instrument, about
three feet at its widest part composed of a wooden frame inclosing a
wrestplank for the tuning pins around which one end of the strings
were wound; a soundboard with two or more sound-holes; and two bridges
over which the strings passed. Opposite the wrestplank there was a
hitchpin-block, to which the other ends of the strings were attached.

The dulcimer had about fifty notes, and several strings (two, three,
four, and even five) were used for each note. They were of fine wire.
The dulcimer was placed on a table and struck with hammers, the heads of
which were of leather, hard on one side and soft on the other to get the
required loud and soft _forte_ and _piano_ effects. There was no damping
(checking) contrivance to stop the vibration.

The compass was from two to three octaves from C or D in the Bass
Clef. The psaltery and dulcimer came from the East; they had been
known in Persia and Arabia for centuries when the Crusaders made their
acquaintance and brought them home. Chaucer describes the instrument in
his _Miller’s Tale_, (_Canterbury Tales_) as “a gay sauterie.” It appears
in that beautiful fresco of Orcagna’s, _Triumph of Death_, in the Campo
Santo in Pisa (1348) and in many illuminated manuscripts of the Middle
Ages. From its likeness to the shape of a pig’s head, old writers often
call it _Istromento di porco_.

Even as late as 1650, when instruments had improved so greatly, Kircher
wrote in his _Musurgia_ that the psaltery played with a skilled hand is
second to no other instrument, and Mersenne praises “its silvery tone
and purity of intonation so easily controlled by the fingers.” These
two instruments were often beautifully decorated and inlaid and the
sound-holes artistically treated.


If we look at the frontispiece we will see the psaltery, or _psaltérion_,
resting on the lap of the lady on the extreme left, who holds the
plectrum delicately, but firmly, in her right hand. But to reach our
modern piano from these two quaint instruments we have to travel through
several centuries.

We get into a tangle of names when we stir up the ancestors of the
pianoforte. The dulcimer and psaltery are simple enough, but from them
we come immediately to the _clavicembalo_ (one of the Italian names for
the harpsichord), or _gravicembalo_, as it was also called, which name
was derived from _clavis_, a key, and _cembalo_, a dulcimer. Then we get
the French _clavecin_ (which comes from _clavicymbalum_) _clavichord_,
harpsichord, _harpsicordo_, _clavicordo_, and _clavier_. Then in the
same group we have the virginal and the spinet, closely allied to these
forerunners of the pianoforte in everything but their names.

Students of the piano are often puzzled to know why they are given a
_Suite de pièces pour le clavecin_, or a Prelude and Fugue from the
Well-tempered[90] Clavichord.

It is well to remember that the _clavecin_ (French), the _clavicembalo_
or _gravicembalo_ (sometimes _cembalo_ alone) and _harpsichordo_
(Italian), and _Clavicymbel_ or _Flügel_, meaning wing, from its shape
(German) are all names for the harpsichord. All of these, as we will
see by looking at the picture facing page 182 of Scarlatti at the
_gravicembalo_, and that facing page 296 from Peter Preller’s _Modern
Music Master_ (London), showing a gentleman at the harpsichord, have the
form of our modern concert piano. On the other hand, the _clavicordo_,
_clavichord_, and _clavier_, spinet and virginal, are of the square,
oblong type, like the old square piano that has almost gone out of use.

In all the instruments of the piano family, the place of the plectrum of
the psaltery is taken by the “jack,” which was usually made of pear-tree.
It rested on the back end of the key-lever with a movable tongue of holly
kept in place by a bristle spring. Projecting at the end of the tongue at
right angles was a thorn, or a spike of crowquill. As the key was pushed
down, the jack was forced upwards and the quill brought to the string,
which it plucked. The string was “damped” (softened) by a piece of cloth
above the tongue. When the finger left the key, the key sprang upward to
its own level and the jack fell. The jack, is exactly the principle of
the plectrum of the psaltery adjusted to a key.

The hammer of the pianoforte is only the old hammer of the dulcimer made
into a part of the _action_, or mechanism, of the piano.

The spinet was a keyed instrument with jacks. According to Dr. Burney
it was a small harpsichord, or virginal, with one string to each note.
Though many writers persistently say that the name was derived from the
spine, or thorn, that plucked the strings, an old Italian book, published
in Bologna in 1608, says: “The Spinetta received its name from its
inventor, Giovanni Spinetti, of Venice.” One of his instruments is dated
1503. Very beautiful cases were made for these old Italian spinets which
were sometimes painted by great artists.

Annibal Rosso made a new kind of spinet without a case, showing the
soundboard with the wires lying flat like a harp. In England this
_Spinetta traversa_ was called the Stuart, Jacobean, or Queen Anne,
Spinet, and also the couched harp. The spinet made its way from Italy to
France, the Netherlands, Germany, and England.

The largest spinets were called the virginals. The word “virginal”
appears in a book by Virdung, published in Basle in 1511, which contains
a picture showing an instrument of the same shape as the clavichord and
with the same arrangement of the keyboard.

According to Prætorius, who wrote about a hundred years later, the word
“virginal” was used for a quadrangular instrument. However, from the time
of Henry the Seventh to the close of the Seventeenth Century the word
was used to describe all quilled keyboard instruments,—the harpsichord
and trapeze-shaped spinet as well as the regular virginal of Virdung and
Prætorius. Henry the Eighth was a fine performer on the virginal and so
was his daughter Queen Elizabeth.

Facing page 292 is a typical virginal of the Seventeenth Century; and
we can see from the performer just how the hands were placed on the
keyboard. This is taken from the title-page of Playford’s _Banquet of
Music_, published in London in 1688.

Very often in literature we find “a pair of virginals” mentioned; for
example Pepys, describing the Great Fire of London in 1666, writes: “I
observed that hardly one lighter, or boat, in three that had the goods of
a house in but there was a pair of virginals in it.”

The clavecin and harpsichord seem to have supplanted the psaltery some
time in the Sixteenth Century. The _gravicembalo_ or _clavicembalo_ was,
as we have seen, a conspicuous member of Monteverde’s Orchestra (see
page 143). It remained in the Symphony Orchestra until the days of Haydn,
who got rid of it.

Originating in Italy, it spread northward into France, Germany, the
Netherlands, and England.

The earliest mention of the harpsichord is under the name _clavicymbolum_
and occurs in the rules of the Minnesingers in 1404. The earliest mention
in English is in 1502, when it is called _clavicymball_.

The oldest harpsichord in the South Kensington Museum, of London, is
a Venetian _clavicembalo_, signed and dated Joanes Antonius Baffo,
Venetus, 1574. It has a compass of four and a half octaves from C
to F. “Raising the top and looking inside, we observe the harp-like
disposition of the strings, as in a modern grand piano, which led
Galilei,[91] the father of the astronomer, Galileo, to infer the direct
derivation of the harpsichord from the harp. In front, immediately
over the keys, is the wrestplank, with the tuning-pins inserted, round
which are wound the nearer ends of the strings—in this instrument two
to each note—the further ends being attached to hitchpins, driven into
the soundboard itself, and following the angle of the bent side of the
case to the narrow end, where the longest strings are stretched. There
is a straight bridge along the edge of the wrestplank and a curved
bridge upon the soundboard. The strings pass over these bridges between
which they vibrate, and the impulse of their vibrations is communicated
by the curved bridge to the soundboard. The plectra, or jacks, with
the exception that they carry points of leather instead of quills,
are the same as in later instruments. This Venetian harpsichord has
a separate case from which it could be withdrawn for performance, a
contrivance usual in Italy, the outer case being frequently adorned with
painting. Lastly, the natural keys are white and the sharps black, the
rule in Italian keyed instruments, the German practice having been the


_Eighteenth Century_]

This was the kind of instrument—the _gravicembalo_—that had a place in
the Monteverde’s Orchestra (see page 143), and that Domenico Scarlatti is
playing in the illustration facing page 182.

Just what the Amati family of Cremona was to the violin, the Ruckers
family of Antwerp was to the harpsichord. The Ruckers made the most
perfect and the most artistic of harpsichords. Altogether there were
about forty Ruckers.

Of this family there were four members living and working between 1591
and 1651, or later, who achieved great reputation. Their instruments are
known by their signatures and by the monograms forming the ornamental
rosette, or sound-hole, in the soundboard—a survival from the psaltery.
The great improvement of the harpsichord is attributed to Hans, the
eldest, who by adding to the two unison strings of each note a third of
shorter length and finer wire, tuned an octave higher, increased the
power and brilliancy of the tone. To employ this addition at will alone,
or with one or both the unison strings, he contrived, after the example
of the organ, a second keyboard, and stops to be moved by the hand,
for the control of the registers, or slides, of jacks acting upon the
strings. By these expedients all the legitimate variety ever given to
the harpsichord was secured. The Ruckers harpsichord given by Messrs.
Broadwood to the South Kensington Museum, signed and dated “Andreas
Ruckers me fecit Antverpiae 1651,” said to have been left by Handel to
Christopher Smith, shows these additions to the construction, and was, in
the writer’s remembrance, before the soundboard gave way, of deliciously
soft and delicately reedy _timbre_. The tension being comparatively
small, these harpsichords lasted much longer than our modern pianofortes.

“When the Ruckers family passed away we hear no more of Antwerp as the
city of harpsichord makers; London and Paris took up the tale.”[93]

A Fleming named Tabel established himself in England, and his pupils
Tschudi (or Shudi) and Kirchmann (or Kirkman) developed the harpsichord
to its utmost and produced what in those days was considered a big tone.

The earliest mention of the pianoforte, or forte-piano rather, occurs in
the records of the Este family, in the letters addressed to Alfonso II,
Duke of Modena, by an instrument-maker named Paliarino. The invention of
the pianoforte is, however, given to Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori
(1651-1731), a harpsichord maker of Padua, who removed to Florence at
the wish of his patron, Prince Ferdinand de’ Medici. Cristofori then
produced instruments with the hammer mechanism. A stone in Santa Croce,
Florence, to Bartolomeo Cristofori records that he was the inventor of
the “Clavicembalo col Piano e Forté.”

However, the hammer head was small and there was no check to control
the hammer in its rebound. At first the pianoforte was not much liked
by the musicians. It required a new kind of touch; but as makers added
improvements the new instrument gained in popularity and gradually
supplanted the harpsichord. Bach did not care for it. His favorite
instrument was the clavichord; and he often said “that he found no soul
in the clavecin, or spinet, and that the pianoforte was too clumsy and

But with the piano a new style of playing came into fashion and also
a new style of composition. Clementi, Mozart and Beethoven laid the
foundations for the modern style of playing. Then followed Hummel and
poetic Chopin; and, finally, Liszt, who created modern piano-playing
after hearing Paganini’s magical violin. In 1839 Liszt gave the _first
piano recital_ ever heard; and he labored all his life to teach pupils
to play the piano correctly and poetically and to put his technical
knowledge into permanent form for future generations. And this is how he
felt towards the instrument:

“My piano is to me what his boat is to the seaman, what his horse is to
the Arab: nay, more, it has been till now my eye, my speech, my life.
Its strings have vibrated under my passions, and its yielding keys have
obeyed my every caprice. In my opinion the piano takes the first place
in the hierarchy of instruments; it is the oftenest used and the widest
spread. In its seven octaves it embraces the whole compass of the
orchestra, and a man’s ten fingers are enough to render the harmonies
which in an orchestra are only brought out by the combinations of many
musicians. We can give broken chords like the harp; long sustained notes
like the wind; _staccati_; and a thousand passages which before it seemed
only possible to produce on this or that instrument.”

By the side of this eulogy we may place the following and quite
extraordinary description of the piano written by an English musician
named William Gardiner, in 1818, just one hundred years ago.

“The pianoforte was scarcely known in the time of Bach; and, from the
style of his compositions, it is evident that they were the product
of the harpsichord, an instrument of very limited powers, the boldest
effects of which were produced by sprinkling the chords in _Arpeggio_,
which occasioned a disagreeable jingling. The early sonatas of Haydn,
also, bear marks of the influence of this instrument, and possess nothing
of the expression of his later works.

“The invention of the pianoforte has formed a new era in the art. It has
been the means of developing the sublimest ideas of the composer, and
the delicacy of its touch has enabled him to give the lightest shades,
as well as the boldest strokes of musical expression. It is the only
instrument that will represent the effects of a full orchestra; and,
since its mechanism has been improved, Beethoven has displayed its powers
in a way not contemplated even by Haydn himself.”

Modern composers have experimented with the piano as an orchestral
instrument. Saint-Saëns uses it efficiently in his great Symphony
in C, dedicated to the memory of Liszt. Perhaps the most successful
treatment of it has been made more recently by Stravinsky in his Ballet,


[1] Haweis.

[2] Haweis.

[3] Abele.

[4] Haweis.

[5] Parker.

[6] Heron-Allen.

[7] Haweis.

[8] From the entrails of sheep.

[9] Parker.

[10] “In bowed instruments the wolf occurs owing to defective vibration
of one or more notes of the scale. When it occurs, it is generally found,
more or less, in every octave and on every string. Different instruments
have it in different places: it is most common at, or near, the fourth
above the lowest note on the instrument,—in the violin at C, in the
violoncello at F. The more sonorous and brilliant the general tone, the
more obtrusive it becomes: if the tone be forced, a disagreeable jar is
produced. Hence it is idle to attempt to play the wolf down; the player
must humor the troublesome note. It is commonly believed that there is
a wolf somewhere in all fiddles; and it is certain that it exists in
some of the finest, for example in Stradivaris. Probably, however, it is
always due to some defect in the construction, or adjustment.

“Violins with a soft, free tone are least liable to it. The cause of the
wolf is obscure and probably not uniform: it may result from some excess
or defect in the thickness; from unequal elasticity in the wood; from bad
proportion or imperfect adjustment of the fittings; or from some defect
in the proportions of the air-chamber. In the opinion of violin-makers
where it is once established it cannot be radically cured. Some
instruments have what may be termed an anti-wolf, _i. e._ an excess of
vibrations on the very notes where the wolf ordinarily occurs.” (Parker).

[11] Lavignac.

[12] Lanzetti appears in the picture facing page 182.

[13] See page 25.

[14] See pages 43 and 44.

[15] See page 61.

[16] See page 44.

[17] See page 33.

[18] See page 22.

[19] See page 50.

[20] Strauss calls for this in his Domestic Symphony.

[21] Lavignac.

[22] See pages 83-84.

[23] Dr. W. H. Stone.

[24] Köchel No. 622.

[25] William H. Husk.

[26] See page 108.

[27] See page 112.

[28] Now played on the double-bassoon.

[29] See page 55.

[30] See illustration facing page 136.

[31] See illustration facing page 140.

[32] See page 21.

[33] See page 25.

[34] Cecil Forsyth.

[35] See page 24.

[36] See page 23.

[37] See page 21.

[38] See pages 49 and 58.

[39] See pages 49 and 58.

[40] La Vieuville de Freneuse.

[41] See page 154.

[42] This is interesting as showing that Lully used a cane to beat time.

[43] Romain Rolland.

[44] Romain Rolland.

[45] Viola da Gamba.

[46] _La Parnasse Francoise._

[47] See page 160.

[48] See page 167.

[49] See page 165.

[50] Paul David.

[51] Equal tuning.

[52] Charles Villiers Stanford.

[53] See page 182.

[54] Romain Rolland.

[55] Volbach.

[56] Romain Rolland.

[57] Julien Tiersot.

[58] Henri Marie Beyle (Stendhal).

[59] J. Cuthbert Hadden.

[60] Jahn.

[61] Romain Rolland.

[62] In the Mannheim Orchestra (see page 210.)

[63] Rudall.

[64] Beethoven’s pupil.

[65] Sir George Grove.

[66] Romain Rolland.

[67] Sir George Grove.

[68] Sir George Grove.

[69] Edward Carpenter.

[70] A. W. Wodehouse.

[71] Dr. Philipp Spitta.

[72] See page 234.

[73] Dr. Philipp Spitta.

[74] Ernest Newman.

[75] Ernest Newman.

[76] Edward Dannreuther.

[77] Lavignac.

[78] See page 244.

[79] Henry T. Finck.

[80] Lavignac.

[81] Edward Dannreuther.

[82] James G. Huneker.

[83] Coerne.

[84] James G. Huneker.

[85] Coerne.

[86] Mrs. Franz Liebich.

[87] The name “score” is derived from this scoring. This in other
languages is _partition_ (French); _partitio_ (Italian); _partitur_
(German); meaning a collection of parts.

[88] See page 52.

[89] Circles.

[90] Well-tuned; not applying to the instrument’s disposition.

[91] See page 287.

[92] A. J. Hipkins.

[93] A. J. Hipkins.


  _Acis_, 163

  _Acis and Galatea_, 77, 81

  Addison, 187, 188

  _Adrianna_, 147

  _Aïda_, 283

  Air-stream (or air-column), 74, 75, 76, 86, 92, 98, 107

  _Alceste_, 109

  _Alcyone_, 171

  Alps, 21

  Amati, Andreas, 25, 59, 64, 138-139

  Amati, Antonio and Geronimo, 25

  Amati, Nicolò, 25-26, 27, 64, 178

  “Amatis, Grand,” 26

  American taste, 273

  Anne of Austria, 152, 154

  Antoniotti, 59

  Anvil Chorus, 129

  Anvils, 129, 163

  _Après midi d’un faune_, 270, 271-272

  Arditi, 70

  Arnould, Sophie, 105

  _Arpa doppia_, 144

  Arpeggios, 41

  _Art of Bowing_ (Tartini), 44

  Attack, 42, 162

  Atys, 164

  Bach, Johann Sebastian, 57, 62, 104, 111, 185-187, 210, 260, 262,
        290, 299

  Bach, Philipp Emmanuel, 186

  Ballet-music, 140, 196

  Baltzar, Thomas, 173, 174, 176

  _Banquet of Dainty Conceits_, 136

  Barberini, Cardinal, 150

  Barberini Theatre, 150

  Barret, A. M. R., 85

  Barrère, George, quoted, 75

  Bassani, Giovanni Battista, 179

  Bass-bar, 14, 15

  _Basse de viole_, 47, 168, 170. _See_ _Viola da gamba_

  Basset-horn, 101-102

  _Basson_, 95

  Bassoon, 91-96;
    air-column, 92;
    compass, 92;
    construction, 91;
    keys, 92;
    tone, 92

  Bassoon, double, 96

  Bass tuba. _See_ Tuba

  Bass viol, 47. _See_ _Basse de viole_ and _Viola da gamba_

  Battery, 5, 264

  Bavaria, King of, 256

  Bayreuth, 256

  Beethoven, 41, 52, 61, 69, 77, 81, 82, 88, 93, 94, 96, 100, 114, 120,
        121, 199, 214-232, 244, 262, 290, 299

  Beethoven as conductor, 220, 227

  Beethoven, quoted, 196

  Bells, 130-131

  Bells of Montsalvat, 131

  Benda, Franz, 79

  _Benvenuto Cellini_, overture, 251

  Bergonzi, Carlo, 64

  Berlioz, 52, 78, 83, 90, 114, 117, 243-251, 260, 267, 268, 279-282,
    orchestra of, 247;
    quoted, 42-43, 53, 65, 80-82, 87-88, 89, 99-100, 111, 114, 226

  Berteau, 60

  Beyle, Henri Marie. _See_ Stendhal

  _Birthday Ode, Queen Anne’s_, 188

  Bizet, 117

  _Black Tulip, The_, 166

  Bocan, 154, 155, 156, 157

  Boccherini, 62

  Boehm, Theobald, 75, 76

  Bologna, 24, 179

  Bombardino, 83

  Bombardino-Chalumeau Family, 84, 90, 96

  Bombardo, 83

  Bossier, violin, 30, 31

  Bottesini, 70

  _Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Le_, 160

  Bouts, 19, 22

  Bow, the, 43

  Bowing, 40-41, 162, 180

  Brahms, 95, 96, 265

  Brass instruments, 5, 152, 259, 263-264

  Brass wind, 5. _See_ Brass instruments

  Brescia, 21, 22, 23, 25, 179

  Brian Boru, harp of, 284

  Bridge, 14

  Brienne, Comte de, quoted, 155

  Bruyère, La, 165;
    quoted, 166, 167

  Bucina, 104

  Bülow, Hans von, 121, 262

  Burney, quoted, 173, 177, 182, 183, 195, 204-206

  Buysine, 112

  Cannabich, 211, 216

  Cannons, 188, 289

  _Cantus_, 49

  _Carillon_, 127

  _Carmen_, 117

  _Carnaval Romain_, 83

  Carnegie Hall, opening of, 265

  Carpenter Edward, quoted, 231

  Casals, Pablo, 61

  _Casse Noisette Suite_, 78, 102, 267

  Castanets, 126, 163

  _Cat’s Fugue_, 184

  Celesta, 128, 267

  Cellini, Benvenuto, 22

  Cembalo, 151, 291, 293

  Cesti, Antonio, 151

  _Chalumeau_, 83, 84, 97

  Chandos, Duke of, 188, 289

  _Chanterelle_, 39, 171

  Charles I, of England, 154

  Charles II, of England, 173;
    music under, 173-177

  Charles IX, of France, 59, 244

  Chaucer, 292

  Cherubini, 94, 105

  Chest of viols, 29

  _Childe Harold_, 52

  _Chitarone_, 137, 140

  Chopin, 232, 299

  Chorale, 185

  Christina, of Sweden, 180

  Cimbalon, 128

  _Cimbelom_, 291

  Clarinet, 96-101, 195, 210, 236, 241, 258, 264;
    air-column, 98;
    compass, 99;
    registers, 97;
    voice of, 97, 99

  Clarinet, bass, 101, 102

  Clarinet, double-bass, 102;
    voice of, 102

  “Clarinet Symphony,” 100

  Clarino, 110, 143

  Clarion, 110, 112

  Claro, 110, 112

  Classical music, 232, 255

  Clavecin, 140, 153, 293, 299

  Clavicembali, 143, 150

  Clavicembalo, 293, 296

  Clavichord, 293, 299

  Clavicordo, 293

  Clavicymball, 296

  Clavicymbalum, 293

  Clavicymbel, 293

  Clavicymbolum, 296

  Clavier, 293

  Clementi, 299

  _Clemenza di Tito_, 102

  Coerne, quoted, 263-264

  Collasse, Pascal, 169

  Colonne, 268

  _Combattimento di Tancrede e Clorinda_, 146

  Concert of lutes, 57

  Concert of viols, 57, 62

  Concert-master, 41

  Concertino, 190

  Conductor, 6, 42, 135, 146, 274-278;
    Beethoven, 227;
    Corelli, 180-181;
    Handel, 189-191;
    Lully, 162-164;
    Mendelssohn, 242-243;
    Mozart, 212;
    Wagner, 256;
    Weber, 235

  Consorts (lutes), 173

  Constantin, 156, 157

  _Coppelia_, 82

  _Cor, anglais_, 84, 88-89;
    compass, 89;
    tone, 89

  _Cor à piston_, 108

  Cordier, Jacques, 154

  Corelli, Arcangelo, 43, 60, 178-182;
    conducting of, 180-181

  Corner blocks, 18-19, 27

  Cornet, 116, 153

  Cornet Family, 116

  _Cornu_, 104

  _Couac_, 73

  Couched harp, 295

  Couperin, 273, 290

  Cousineau, 288

  _Creation, The_, 77, 96

  Cremona, 10, 21, 24-25, 141, 179, 297

  Cristofori, 298-299

  Crooks, 107, 108

  Cruit, 283

  Crusaders, 122

  _Crwth_, 283

  Cuckoo, 130

  Cymbals, 124-125

  _Cyrano_, 107

  _Damnation of Faust_, 83, 117, 246, 251

  Damrosch, Walter, 107, 121, 264, 269

  Dance-music, 153, 160, 179, 181, 184, 196

  Dannreuther, Edward, quoted, 248-249, 259-260

  _Danse Macabre_, 41, 128, 130

  Dante, 143

  _Dante Symphony_, 254

  Debussy, 260, 269-273, 289;
    quoted, 272-273

  Delibes, 82

  Denner, J. C., 97

  Descoteaux, 165-166, 173

  _Devil’s Sonata_, 44

  Diapasons, 138

  Discant, 18, 47

  _Divertissement_, 141

  Don Giovanni, 51, 69, 93, 100, 114

  Don Juan, 95

  _Don Quixote Variations_, 53, 63, 78, 102, 261

  Double-bass, 47, 67-71;
    Amati, 70;
    Bergonzi, 70;
    Gasparo di Salò, 70;
    Stradivari, 70;
    strings of, 67

  Dragonetti, 70, 227

  Drum, bass, 123;
    sticks, 123;
    side, 122;
    heads, 122;
    playing of, 122;
    roll, 122

  Duiffoprugcar, G., 48

  Dulcimer, 291, 292, 293

  Dumanoir, 157

  Duport, Jean Louis, 60, 63

  Dürer, Albrecht, 152

  Dvořák, 77, 90, 101

  Egmont, overture, 52, 82

  “Elector Stainers,” 34

  Elgar, 53, 95, 121

  _Elijah_, 62, 77, 117, 241

  _Embouchure_, 73, 75

  _Enfance du Christ_, 78, 247, 289

  Engel, Carl, quoted, 83

  English horn, 89

  _Enigma_, 95

  Érard, 279, 289

  _Eroica Symphony_, 88, 223, 225

  “Esterhazy,” 198-199

  Esterhazy, Prince, 197, 252

  _Esther_, 192, 289

  _Euryanthe_, 236, 237

  Fagott, 95

  Fagotto, 95

  _Fancies_, 175

  Fanfares, 104

  _Fantastic Symphony_, 250, 254

  Fasch, C. F., 79

  “Father of Classical Music,” 183

  “Father of the Orchestra,” 199

  “Father of Modern Orchestration,” 246

  _Faust, Symphony_, 254

  _f_-holes, 12, 18, 20, 30, 31

  _Fidelio_, 88

  _Fifth Symphony_ (Beethoven), 52, 69

  _Fifth Symphony_ (Tschaikowsky), 95

  Finck, Henry T., quoted, 254

  First violin, 41, 42

  “Flaming-sword” sound-holes, 20, 57

  “Flowers,” 179

  Flügel, 293

  Flute, 73-79, 153, 273;
    air-stream, 74, 75, 76;
    compass, 74;
    construction, 74;
    keys, 74, 75;
    playing of, 74;
    scale, 75;
    voice, 73

  Flute-players, famous French, 165-168, 173

  Flutes, 146, 151, 153, 163, 165-167

  Flutter tongue, 78

  _Flying Dutchman_, overture, 109, 256

  Forsyth, Cecil, quoted, 117

  Foucard, 156

  Francesca da Rimini, 101

  Franchomme, A., 64

  Franciscello, 60, 183

  Francisco II, Duke of Modena, 59

  Frederick the Great, 78

  _Freischütz_, 81, 100, 105, 106, 236-237

  French composers, modern, 270

  French flute-players, 165-168, 173

  French horn, 108

  Frichot, 116

  Galiano, Alessandro, 64

  Galiano, Januarius, 64

  Galilei, quoted, 287

  Galli, Domenico, 59

  _Gamme La_ (Marais), 171

  Gardiner, William, quoted, 300

  Gasparo di Salò, 21, 22, 23, 25, 33, 48, 50, 71, 135, 138, 141, 179

  Gatti, Teobaldo di, 168

  Geminiani, 180, 193;
    quoted, 180

  George I, of England, 188

  Gevaert, 101, 119

  Giraldus, quoted, 284-285

  Gladstone, quoted, 16

  _Glockenspiel_, 127, 131

  Gluck, 69, 78, 82, 88, 94, 100, 106, 193-196, 244

  _Golden Legend_, 149

  Gonzaga, Francesco di, 142

  Gossec, 105

  _Götterdämmerung, Die_, 105, 115

  _Grande Mademoiselle, La_, 159-160

  Gravicembalo, 183, 293, 295, 297

  Great Fire of London, 295

  Grieg, 265

  Grove, Sir George, quoted, 228, 230

  Guarneri, 26, 32

  Guillaume Tell. _See_ William Tell

  Guitar-fiddle, 17

  Habeneck, 239, 268

  Hackbrett, 291

  Hadden, J. Cuthbert, quoted, 206

  Hammer, 294, 299

  Handel, 62, 77, 96, 111, 127, 187-193, 210, 289, 290;
    caricature of, 191;
    conductor, 189-191

  _Hänsel and Gretel_, 95, 130

  Harmonics, 39, 64, 69, 113

  _Harold Symphony_ (Harold in Italy), 52, 250

  Harp, 5-6, 195, 247, 255, 260, 264, 279-289

  Harp, Egyptian, 283;
    English, 287;
    Irish, 283;
    mediæval, 288;
    Scottish, 286;
    Welsh, 286

  Harpers, Irish, 284-285;
    Welsh, 285

  Harps, 260

  Harpsichord, 183, 186, 195, 293, 295, 296, 297-298

  Harpsicordo, 293

  Haweis, quoted, 15, 26, 28, 34-36

  Haydn, 77, 88, 93, 96, 130, 183, 196-207, 210, 217, 218, 262

  Hebrides, overture, 96, 101

  Heine, quoted, 245

  Heinrich, Carl, quoted, 111

  _Heldenleben_, 90, 95

  Hellier violin, 30

  Henrietta Maria, 154

  Henry VIII, 122, 295

  Heron-Allen, quoted, 30-32

  Horn, 103-110;
    air-stream, 107;
    bell, 103, 107;
    construction, 107;
    crooks, 107;
    keys, 107;
    playing of, 107-108;
    tone, 108

  Horns, 104, 107, 109, 163, 182, 191, 236, 259, 263;
    modified, 117

  _Huguenots Les_, 82, 130

  Hummel, 299

  Humperdinck, 95, 130

  Huneker, James G., quoted, 260-261

  _Hungarian Rhapsodie_, No. 2, 77;
    _Rhapsodies_, 254, 290

  Hurdy-gurdy, 17

  _Improvisation_ (Beethoven’s), 216

  _Improvisation_ (Handel’s), 189

  _Incoronazione di Poppea_, 146

  Ingegneri, Marc Antonio, 142

  Instruments, Sixteenth-century, 136-139

  Interludes, instrumental, 140

  Intonation, 38

  _Iphigénie en Aulide_, 87;
    _en Tauride_, 80, 88

  _Ireland_, arms of, 287

  _Isis_, 163, 169

  _Israel in Egypt_, 188

  _Istromento di porco_, 292

  Jacks, 294

  Jahn, quoted, 212

  Jingles, 125

  Joachim, quoted, 36-37

  Joseph del Gesù, 32-33

  Jubilee, Saint-Saëns, 269

  Kettledrums, 120-122, 191, 197, 200;
    compass, 121;
    sticks, 121;
    tuning, 121

  “King, The” (violoncello), 60

  Kirchmann, 298

  Kreisler, Fritz, 30

  La Bas, 168

  Labyrinth (Marais), 171

  La Londe, 172

  Lalouette, Jean François, 169

  Lamoureux, 268

  Landi, Stefano, 149

  Lanzetti, 59

  Lavignac, Albert, 270;
    quoted, 42, 54, 65, 73, 84, 89, 92, 97, 98, 108, 110, 113, 130,

  Lazarin, 156

  Leclerc, Guy, 169

  Léger, 156

  Lesueur, 249

  Lichnowsky, Prince, 218, 220

  Liebich, Mrs. F., quoted, 271-272

  Liszt, 41, 60, 77, 102, 124, 243, 251-255, 260, 267, 290, 299, 301;
    quoted, 299-300

  Lobkowitz, Prince, 223

  Local coloring, 237

  _Lodoiska_, 105

  _Lohengrin_, 253, 256

  Lombardy, 21, 49, 142, 179

  “Long Strads,” 31

  Louis XIII, 154

  Louis XIV, 155;
    age of, 158;
    music of, 160

  Lulli. _See_ Lully

  Lully, Jean Baptiste, 158-164, 174, 195, 269, 277, 278

  Lute, 168

  Lute, bass, 140;
    tenor, 137

  Lutes, 29, 57, 58, 137, 140

  Luther, Martin, 185

  Lyre, 140

  Madrigals, 136, 142

  _Maestro di Capella_, 142, 147, 148

  Maggini, Giovanni Paolo, 21, 23-24, 64, 141, 179

  _Magic flute_, 77, 114, 127

  _Manfred_, overture, 114

  Mantua, Duke of, 141

  Marais, Marin, 165, 169-172

  Marchand, Jean Baptiste, 168

  _Marche Slave_, 95

  Marie Antoinette, 194

  Marly, 155, 156

  Martini, Padre, quoted, 193

  _Maximilian, Triumph of_, 152

  Mazarin, Cardinal, 152, 157

  _Mazeppa_, 41, 102

  Mazzocchi, Vergilio, 148;
    school of, 148-149

  Medea, 94

  Medici, Ferdinand de’, 298

  _Meistersinger, Die_, 62, 70, 77, 109, 127, 257, 264

  Melodic instruments, 85, 86, 106

  _Melusine_, 101, 241

  Mendelssohn, 6, 62, 77, 94, 96, 101, 105, 240-243;
    conducting, 242-243

  Mersenne, quoted, 154, 156, 292

  _Messiah_ (Handel’s), 188, 191

  “Messiah,” violin, 30, 32

  Metsu, 55

  Meyerbeer, 82, 90, 130, 289

  _Midsummer Night’s Dream_ (Mendelssohn’s), 6-8, 77, 95, 105, 117,
        240, 241

  Military Symphony, 93

  _Modern Music Master_, 293

  Molière, 160

  Monodic music, 140

  Monteverde, Claudio, 141-148, 295

  Montpensier, Mademoiselle de, 159-160

  Mozart, Leopold, 207

  Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 51, 69, 77, 93, 100, 105, 114, 127, 199,
        207-214, 262, 267, 289, 290

  _Mozartiana_, 267

  “Music of the Future,” 243, 253, 255

  Music of the Renaissance, 48, 152, 185

  Music of the Seventeenth Century, 58

  “Musicians’ musician,” 186

  _Musurgia_, 292

  _Naggareh_, 122

  “Nakers,” 122

  Newman, Ernest, quoted, 244-245, 246-247, 265

  _New World Symphony_, 77, 90, 101

  _Nibelungen Ring_, 256, 259

  _Ninth Symphony_, 52, 69, 88, 94, 96, 114, 120, 121

  _Nuance_, 192

  _Nut Cracker Suite_, 78, 102, 267

  Oberon, 101, 106, 236, 237

  Oboe, 83-88, 89, 189;
    air-column, 85;
    compass, 86;
    construction, 85;
    keys, 87;
    playing of, 86;
    reed, 86;
    scale, 86;
    voice, 84

  _Oboe d’amore_, 84, 186, 264

  _Oboe di caccia_, 84, 90, 186

  _Ode to Joy_, 70

  Ole Bull, 22, 29

  “Olifant,” 103

  Opera, dawn of, 139

  Opera, Italian, 139, 142-152

  Operas, Gluck’s, 196;
    Handel’s, 188

  Ophicleide, 116, 117, 247

  Oratorios, Handel’s, 188

  Orchestra, 3-8, 42, 65, 68;
    Bach, 192, 209;
    Beethoven, 230;
    Berlioz, 247;
    Cesti, 151;
    Corelli, 180;
    Dresden, 234, 235, 256;
    Eleventh-century, 273;
    French, 153;
    Gluck, 194;
    Handel, 189, 192, 209;
    Haydn, 199, 200, 223;
    Landi, 149-150;
    Louis XIV, 155;
    Lully, 160, 161-164, 172;
    Mannheim, 210;
    Monteverde, 143-144;
    Mozart, 223, 229;
    Scarlatti, 183;
    Venetian, 150;
    Wagner, 258

  Orchestral palette, 209-210

  Orchestral solos, 186

  Orchestration, Debussy, 270-271;
    Liszt, 255;
    Strauss, 263-264;
    Tschaikowsky, 267;
    Wagner, 257-258

  _Orfeo_, Gluck, 69, 78, 88, 94, 196;
    Monteverde, 141-146

  Organ, 143, 151, 186, 199

  Organists, German, 185

  Otello, 70, 82

  Ottoboni, Cardinal, 180

  _Ouvertures_ (Lully), 174

  Over-blowing, 76, 87, 92, 108

  Paganini, 33, 45, 249, 250, 252

  “Paganini of the ’cello,” 61

  Paliarino, 298

  Papa Haydn, 199

  _Parsifal_, 131

  Pasdeloup, 268

  _Pastoral Symphony_, 77, 82, 88, 101, 226

  _Pathetic Symphony_, 53, 95

  _Pelleas et Mélisande_, 270

  Pepys, quoted, 295

  Percussion instruments, 5, 119-131

  “_Petits Violons_,” 160, 172

  _Petrushka_, 301

  Philbert, 167-168, 173

  Piatti, Alfredo, 61, 63

  Pianoforte, 290-301

  Pianoforte Concerto in E-flat (Liszt), 124

  Pianoforte recital, first, 299

  Piccini, 194, 197

  Piccolo, 79-83

  _Piffero pastorale_, 83

  _Pills to Purge Melancholy_, 177

  Pitch, definite, 119;
    indefinite, 119

  Pizzicato, 41

  Plague, the, 23, 147

  Platel, N. J., 61

  Plectrum, 291, 292, 294

  Polyphonic Music, 140, 142

  Pommers, 83

  _Pomo d’oro, Il_, 151

  _Pomone_, 93

  _Pomp and Circumstance_, 95

  _Portamento_, 40

  _Pourceaugnac_, 160

  _Preciosa_, 160, 237

  _Princesse d’Élide, La_, 163

  “Prison Josephs,” 33

  Provence, 17

  _Psaltérion_, 273, 291, 292

  Psaltery, 291, 292, 293, 295

  Purfling, 13, 23

  Quantz, 78

  Quartet, string, 58, 62

  Quartet, woodwind, 83

  Queen Anne, court of, 187-188

  _Queen Mab Scherzo_, 246

  Quill, 294, 297

  Quinault, 160

  Quintons, 139

  Raguenet, Abbé, quoted, 173

  Rameau, 184, 195, 269, 273

  _Ranz des Vaches_, 90

  Rasoumoffsky Quartet, 218

  Rattle, 129

  Reed, 72, 86;
    double, 85, 89;
    single, 97

  Reed family, 72

  _Regale_, 143

  Regibo, 116

  Renaissance, the, 48, 152, 185, 277;
    French, 269;
    instruments, 136-139, 143-144;
    music, 136-152

  René, King, 269

  Requiem (Mozart’s), 93, 102

  Revolution of 1830, 244, 269

  _Rheingold Das_, 115, 259, 289

  _Richard the Second_, 135

  Richelieu, Cardinal de, 154-155

  Riddle, 48

  _Ride of the Walküre_, 82

  _Rienzi_, 117, 256

  Ries, 216, 220

  Rinaldo, 81

  Ripienist, 190

  _Robert le Diable_, 82-90, 289

  Rolland, Romain, quoted, 162, 163, 190, 192-193, 196

  Romantic music, 232

  Romantic movement, 244, 252

  _Romaunt of the Rose_, 288

  Rome, opera in, 150

  _Roméo et Juliette_, Symphony, 246, 250

  Rospigliosi, Giulio, 149

  Rossini, 62, 90, 130

  _Rouet d’Omphale_, 268

  Rubinstein, Anton, 266;
    quoted, 266

  Rubinstein, Nicholas, 266

  Ruckers, 297-298

  _Ruy Blas_, overture, 94

  Sacchini, 100

  Sackbut, 112, 116

  S. Alessio, 149

  St. Cecilia, picture of, 19, 20

  Saint Paul, 62

  Saint-Saëns, 41, 126, 128, 130, 268-269, 301

  Salieri, 227, 238, 252

  _Salterio_, 291

  Samson, 188

  _Samson et Dalila_, 126

  Sarasate, 269

  _Saul_, 127, 188

  _Savoyard in Paris, Little_, 17

  Scarlatti, Alessandro, 62, 180, 182-183, 187;
    Domenico, 183-184, 293, 297

  _Schalmei_, 83

  Schalmey, 84, 91

  Schalmey-Pommer Family, 90, 91

  Schubert, 88, 105, 114, 239-240

  Schumann, 114, 232, 233

  Schuppanzigh Quartet, 218

  Score, 274-275

  Scotch Symphony, 94

  _Seasons, The_, 88

  _Semele_, 191

  Serpent, the, 116

  Servais, A. F., 61, 63

  Shakespeare, 56, 58, 134-5

  _Shawm_, 83, 84

  Sheridan, 191

  _Siegfried_, 109, 115, 127

  _Siegfried Idyll_, 109

  Simonelli, Matteo, 179

  _Sinfonia Domestica_, 131

  Snares, 122

  _Sordino_, 40

  Sound-holes, 12, 18, 20, 22, 23, 27, 30, 31, 57

  Sound-post, 14, 15

  Speaker-keys, 85

  Spinet, 293, 294-295, 299

  _Spinetta_ traversa, 294

  Spinetti, Giovanni, 294

  Spitta, Dr., quoted, 233, 237

  Spohr, 289

  Spontini, 81

  Stabat Mater (Rossini), 94

  Stainer, Jacob, 34

  Stamford, Charles Villiers, quoted, 70

  Stamitz, 211

  Steele, 187, 188

  Stendhal, quoted, 200-204, 208

  Stone, W. H., quoted, 93, 94

  Stradivari, Antonio, 15, 16, 26-32, 63, 178, 250;
    house of, 28

  “Stradivari of the Bow,” 43

  Strauss, Richard, 41, 53, 63, 78, 82, 90, 95, 102, 109, 128, 129,
        131, 260, 289;
    quoted, 262

  Stravinsky, 301

  String-quartet, 58, 62

  Strings, 4, 152, 153

  _Suites_ (Bach), 187

  _Surprise Symphony_, 200

  _Symphonic Poems_ (Liszt), 254;
    Tschaikowsky, 266

  _Symphonie Fantastique_, 90.
    _See_ Symphony

  _Symphonie Pathetique_, 267

  “Symphonies,” 140, 144, 168

  _Symphonies_ (Haydn), 202-204;
    Mozart, 208;
    Schubert, 239

  Symphony (Beethoven), _First_, 93, 223;
    _Second_, 94, 101, 220;
    _Eighth_, 94, 227, 242;
    _Fifth_, 96;
    _Fourth_, 94, 224;
    _Ninth_, 94, 96, 228;
    _Third_ (Eroica) 88, 223, 225;
    _Seventh_, 100, 120, 227;
    _Sixth_ (Pastoral), 77, 82, 88, 101, 226

  _Symphony in C_ (Saint-Saëns), 301

  _Symphony in C-major_ (Schubert), 88, 105, 114, 239

  _Symphony in C-minor_ (Brahms), 95, 96

  _Symphony_, Mozart’s first, 210

  _Symphony in E-flat_ (Mozart), 100

  _Symphony in F-minor_ (Tschaikowsky), 41

  Symphony Society of New York, 273

  Tabel, 298

  _Tambour de Basque_, 126, 163

  Tambourin, 126

  Tambourine, 125-126

  _Tannhäuser_, 53, 109, 126, 253

  Tartini, 44, 60

  Temperament, 186

  Tennyson, quoted, 104

  Tenor, 49

  Tenor viol, 49, 67

  Ter Borch, 55

  _Theorbo_, 137, 153

  _Till Eulenspiegel_, 83, 95, 110, 129

  Tone, search for, 178

  Tone-color, 209-210

  Tonguing, 75, 86

  Touch, 290

  Tourte, François, 43, 44-46

  _Toy Symphony_, 130

  “Trackers,” 85

  “Tragic _Symphony_,” 239

  Transposing instrument, 89

  _Treatise on Instrumentation_ (Berlioz), 249

  Treble, 18, 47

  Triangle, 124

  Triébert, 85

  _Tristan and Isolde_, 63, 90, 109, 257, 263

  _Triumph of Death_, 292

  Trombone, 112-115, 263;
    bell, 112;
    compass, 113;
    harmonics, 113;
    position, 112;
    slide, 112, 113;
    tone, 113

  Troubadours, 17, 18

  _Trouvères_, 269

  _Trovatore, Il_, 129, 130

  Trumpet, 110-112;
    keys, 111;
    voice, 110

  Tschaikowsky, 41, 53, 78, 95, 101, 128, 260, 264-267

  Tschudi, 298;
    quoted, 267

  Tuba, bass, 115, 247, 267

  Tubas, 117-118, 258, 264

  “Tubular Chimes,” 131

  Tuileries, 159

  Tulip mania, 165-166

  _Twelfth Night_, quoted, 56, 58

  “Twenty-four Violins of the King,” 154-160, 169

  Twenty-four Violins (Charles II), 173-174, 175-177

  Tympanon, 291

  Tyrol, 21, 34, 48

  _Unfinished Symphony_, 239

  Urfey, Thomas d’, quoted, 177

  _Variations (Elgar)_, 121

  Venice, opera in, 150

  Verdi, 70, 82, 130, 283

  Verdier, 168

  Versailles, 155, 156

  _Vibrato_, 154

  _Vielle_, 17, 18, 43, 273

  Vienna, opera in, 151

  Viol, Bass, 171

  Viol Family, 47, 55, 58, 67, 68, 139

  Viol, tenor, 49, 67, 173

  Viola, 47-54, 63, 67, 70, 236, 250;
    Berlioz, quoted, 53;
    Gasparo di Salò, 50;
    Lavignac, quoted, 54;
    Maggini, 50;
    strings, 47;
    tone, 54

  _Viola d’amore_, 20, 47, 57, 58, 186

  _Viola da braccio_, 47, 67, 138

  _Viola da gamba_, 47, 55, 56-58, 59, 67, 136, 138, 170, 186

  _Viola da spalla_, 138

  Viole, 17, 43

  Violin, 9-43, 49, 57, 58, 67, 146, 153, 173-176, 178, 186, 187;
    age of, 16, 21;
    ancestry, 17;
    bass-bar, 14, 15;
    belly, 12;
    birthplace, 21;
    bouts, 19, 21;
    bridge, 14;
    charm of, 9-10;
    construction, 13-14;
    corner-blocks, 18-19, 27;
    _f_-holes, 12, 18, 20, 30, 31;
    Lavignac, quoted, 42;
    model, 11;
    neck, 16;
    nervous system, 15;
    parts of, 13;
    positions, 38;
    purfling, 13, 23;
    ribs, 12;
    scroll, 11, 16;
    soul of the, 15;
    sound-holes, 12, 18, 20, 22, 23, 27, 30, 31, 57;
    sound-post, 14, 15;
    tension, 15;
    tongue of the, 14;
    varnish, 13, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31-32, 35;
    voice, 10;
    waist, 18;
    wood, 13, 23, 25, 34-35

  Violin Family, 178

  Violin, the Little, 49

  _Violino_, 48, 138, 139

  _Violino piccolo_, 49

  Violins, Amati, 25-26;
    Bergonzi, 33;
    Berlioz, quoted, 42-43;
    Gasparo di Salò, 22;
    Guarneri, 26, 32-23;
    Maggini, 23-24;
    Stainer, 34;
    Stradivari, 30-32

  Violoncello, 55-66, 67, 69, 146, 175, 183, 191, 236, 242;
    Berlioz, quoted, 65-66;
    Lavignac, quoted, 65;
    strings, 64

  Violone, 47, 68

  Viols, 58, 138-139, 141, 146, 156, 173, 175-176;
    chest of, 29;
    concert of, 62;
    consort of, 57, 62

  Viotti, 44, 60

  Virginal, 293, 295

  Vizé, 167

  Vogler, Abbé, 234

  Voltaire, 61

  Wagner, 52-53, 62, 70, 77, 82, 95, 101, 109, 115, 126, 127, 129, 147,
        256-260, 261, 262, 264, 265, 278, 289;
    conductor, 256;
    quoted, 248, 261

  Walküre, Die, 127, 289

  Weber, Carl Maria von, 81, 94, 100-101, 105, 106, 232-238, 244;
    conductor, 235;
    quoted, 224

  Widor, quoted, 124

  Wieprecht, W. F., 115

  Wilhelmj, 256

  _William Tell_, overture, 62, 90, 130

  Wind instruments, 141, 152

  Wind-machine, 129

  Wodehouse, A. W., quoted, 232

  “Wolf,” the, 50

  Wood, Anthony, quoted, 175-177

  Woodwind, 4-5, 72-102, 184, 189, 258

  Xylophone, 128

  Zimbalist, Efrem, 23-24

  Zinke, 115



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