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THREE OCTAVES OF THE FINGER-BOARD OF THE PIANO, AND THE TWO STAFFS, WITH THEIR CLEFFS. (Diag. 8.)
Diag. 8. represents three octaves of the finger-board of the pianoforte, and the two staffs, with their cleffs. The notes are written upon the staffs opposite those keys of the piano by which they are respectively produced.
The usual compass of a modern grand piano-forte, is six octaves. The instrument extends one octave below, and two octaves above that portion of the finger-board which is represented in Diag. 8.
The keys of the piano, like the notes which they severally produce, are named after the first seven letters of the alphabet: the key which produces the F note is called the F Key; that which produces the G note, the G Key; that which produces the A note, the A Key, and so on.
The finger-board of the piano consists of white and black keys. The instrument is so constructed, that if you touch the white keys in their consecutive order, a diatonic series will be produced; but if you touch all the keys, white and black, in their consecutive order, a semitonic series will be the result.
In the diatonic scale, as has been shown, there are five tones, and two semitones. There are, however, two varieties of the scale: one is called the major mode; the other, the minor mode. In the major mode, the first semitone is between the third and fourth de
gree of the scale; the second, between the seventh and eighth. (Diagram 4, p. 40, represents the major scale.) The minor mode, in ascending, has the first semitone between the second and third degree; the second, between the seventh and eighth; but in descending, the second semitone is between the fifth and sixth. (See Diagram 9.)
No. 1, in Diagram 9, represents the ascending and descending major scale; No. 2, the ascending minor scale; and No. 3, the descending minor scale.
There is another scale, called the semitonic, or chromatic. It is formed by dividing the whole tones of the diatonic scale into semitones, by five additional sounds. The chromatic scale may be illustrated by touching all the white and black keys of a piano-forte, in their consecutive order. (The chromatic scale is represented by No. 4, in Diag. 9.)
The sounds which compose the diatonic scale, as I have said, are named after the first seven letters of the alphabet. The five additional sounds, which, when added to the diatonic scale, divide it into semitones, are called flats, or sharps, according as they receive the names of the notes immediately below, or of those immediately above them. Thus, the second note of the chromatic scale of C, is called C sharp, or D flat; the fourth is called D sharp, or E flat; the seventh, F sharp, or G flat; the ninth, G sharp, or A flat; and the eleventh, A sharp, or B flat. (See No. 4, in Diag. 9.)
When a note is to be sung, or played sharp, a character called a sharp (#) is prefixed to it. When a note is to be sung, or played
flat, a character called a flat (b) is prefixed to it. Sharps and flats are generally placed at the beginning of a tune, or strain, immediately after the cleff. They are then called the signature; because they serve to point out the key.
By key is meant a scale of sounds, to the first of which all the others bear a certain relation. This first note is called the keynote, fundamental note, or tonic. As each note of the diatonic scale of C (see No. 1), as well as its sharp and flat (see No. 4), may be assumed as a key-note of a series of seven, it follows that there are twenty-one major, and twenty-one minor keys. And as each note of the diatonic scale of C, as well as its sharp and flat, may also be assumed as a key-note of a chromatic series, it follows that there are twenty-one keys in the chromatic genus. These, added to the forty-two keys in the diatonic genus, make the whole umber of keys in the musical system amount to sixty-three. Still, as there are but twelve notes, there can be but thirty-six scales; and even this number may be resolved into three- one major, one minor, and one chromatic; all the others are transpositions of the three primitive scales into different ranges of pitch.
The speaking voice, in good elocution, seldom rises higher than a fifth above the lowest note of its compass. Supposing the lowest note which can be made with a full intonation, to be F, the following scheme will show the relative pitch of keys, adapted to the expression of different kinds of sentiments.
KEYS OF THE SPEAKING VOICE. (Diag. 10.)
Very spirited declamation. (Three millions of people,
armed in the holy cause of liberty,
and in such a country as we possess, &c.
My brave associates, &c.
I had a dream which was not all a, &c.
The majority of the people in this country pitch their voices too high, not only when they read and speak in public, but also in their colloquial intercourse.
We not unfrequently meet with individuals who always speak in the highest key of the natural voice, and we occasionally meet with some who even speak in the falsetto. A high pitch, in speech, is unpleasant to a cultivated ear; and though it may answer in the business transactions of life, it is totally inadequate to the correct expression of sentiments of respect, veneration, dignity and sublimity.
NFLECTIONS, in the science of
Writers on elocution describe six different notes of speech; namely, the rising inflection, the falling inflection, the acutograve circumflex inflection, the gravo-acute circumflex inflection, the acuto-gravo-acute circumflex inflection, and the gravo-acuto-grave circumflex inflection.*
In the rising inflection, the movement of the voice is from grave to acute; in the falling inflection, from acute to grave; in the acuto-grave circumflex, from grave to acute, thence back to grave; in the gravo-acute circumflex, from acute to grave, thence back to acute; in the acuto-gravo-acute circumflex, from grave to acute, thence back to grave, and thence again to acute; in the
*Mr. Steele calls the inflections of the voice accents-acute, grave, and circumflex. Dr. Rush denominates the rising inflection the rising concrete; the falling inflection, the downward concrete; the circumflexes he calls waves..
gravo-acuto-grave circumflex, from acute to grave, thence back to acute, and thence again to grave.
In that part of this work which consists of EXERCISES IN READING AND DECLAMATION, these notes of speech are represented by the acute, grave, and circumflex accents, thus;
Rising inflection (). Acuto-grave circumflex (^). Falling inflection (). Gravo-acute circumflex (v). Acuto-gravo-acute circumflex (N).
Gravo-acuto-grave circumflex (v).
In reading and speaking, each syllable has some one of these inflections; but, for practical purposes, it is necessary to mark those only which are emphatic.
The various movements of the voice, in song and speech, may be explained in the following manner :
When the bow is drawn across an open string of the violin, or any of its species, a sound is produced of a uniform pitch, from beginning to end. This sound is a pure note of music, and, so far as pitch is concerned, is identical with a note of song. When the bow is drawn across the same string, while the centre of the string is pressed down with the finger, a sound is produced similar to that of the open string, but an octave higher. The intermediate notes of the diatonic scale may be produced by pressing down the string, at the proper places, and drawing the bow across it.
When a string of the violin is pressed down by the finger, and, at the same time, the finger is made to slide upon it towards the bridge of the instrument, during the drawing of the bow, a sound is produced which gradually increases in acuteness from beginning to end. When the finger is made to slide in the opposite direction, during the drawing of the bow, a sound is produced which gradually increases in gravity during its prolongation. When the finger is made to slide towards the bridge, and thence back again, during the drawing of the bow, a simple circumflex note is produced. When the finger is made to slide towards the bridge, thence back again, and thence again towards the bridge, during the drawing of the bow, a compound circumflex note is produced.
Other varieties of the slide might be given, but these are sufficient to answer the purpose of explanation.
"The slide is å grace of much simplicity and beauty, evidently drawn from nature. It expresses the most tender and affectionate emotions: we hear it in those little gusts of passion which mothers use in caressing their infants; it is one of the most endearing tones in the language of nature.