Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Terms and Processes Used in the Interpretation of Music: Letters E-K



In music, the method of clearly presenting the emotional and intellectual characteristics of a work. There are a few broad rules which are generally accepted as being at the basis of expression. A crescendo movement is usually accompanied by an intensification, a diminuendo by a slight drawing back: a musical phrase is played with increasing fervor to its climax, and from that point is diminished to its end; any striking melody or rhythm in a passage should be emphasized; a modulation to a new key is accompanied by a crescendo. It is interesting to note that passages of increasing intensity generally have rising melodies, while those which show a decrease have falling. There are a number of works on the theory and practice of expression, among them; Lussy, Traite de l'expression musicale (Paris, 1873, translated into English London, 1885; into German, Leipzig, 1886); Klauwell, Der Vortag in der Musik (Berlin, 1883); Riemann, Musikalische Dynamik und Agogik (Hamburg, 1884); Christiani, Das Verstandnis im Klavierspiel (Leipsiz, 1886); Haweis, Music and Morals (London, 1871).


In stringed musical instruments, the thin strip of wood glued upon the neck, above which the strings are stretched and on which the player presses his finger when shortening the strings. At its lower end the finger-board projects over the sounding-board of all instruments played with the bow, but in other varieties, as in the guitar, it is glued down on both neck and sounding-board. In some stringed instruments plucked with the fingers the finger-board is divided by frets to enable the player more readily to find the correct pitch. See KEYBOARD.


In music, the method of applying the fingers to the keys, holes, strings, etc., of musical instruments. The simplest fingering is upon the brass wind-instruments, whose keys are so few that they can be manipulated by one hand without change of position. The woodwind instruments come next in order of difficulty, various functions being assigned to each finger, and sometimes the same key being pressed by different fingers. For the fingering of stringed instruments, such as the violin, see POSITION. The most complicated fingering, however, is on instruments having keyboards. The method of notation for fingering used at present on the pianoforte in which the thumb is marked X and the fingers 1, 2, 3, 4 (English) ; or the thumb 1, and the fingers 2, 3, 4, 5 (German), is the outcome of a long series of experiments, prominent among the reformers being Liszt, Tausig, and Bulow. Consult: Whittingham, Companion to All Instruction Books for Keyed Instruments (London); Reinagle, A Few Words on Pianoforte Playing, with Rules for Fingering (London, 1854); Cramer, Studies for the Pianoforte (New York, 1828). See also articles on the various instruments.



A keyed musical instrument, formerly in extensive use, but now little known. In shape it was exactly like a grand pianoforte, to which its internal arrangements were also similar. The sound from the strings was produced by a small piece of crow-quill, or a piece of hard leather, which projected out of a slip of wood, called the jack, that stood upright between the strings, and was pushed upward by the key till the quill, or leather, twitched the string , causing a brilliant but somewhat harsh sound, deficient of any means of modification in respect to loudness or softness. Specimens of the harpsichord, although now becoming quite rare, are still to be found in good preservation, but rather as articles of virtue or curiosity than as useful musical instruments. Many Italian and Dutch harpsichords were highly ornamented by the most eminent artists with valuable oil paintings on the inside of the lid. The date of the invention of the harpsichord is uncertain. Before the fifteenth century there is no trace of its existence. It was introduced into England early in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century Kirkman, and later Broadwood and Schudi, were the famous makers in London. After the invention of the pianoforte the harpsichord and all instruments of the same kind, such as the spinet, were in time entirely superseded. The harpsichord shown in the accompanying illustration was presented to Nelly Custis by George Washington. It was made in London, is eight feet long, three and a half feet wide, and has two banks of 120 keys.



In music, the production of tone either by an instrument or by the voice. It is of no importance in keyed instruments like the piano or organ, as the performer can only strike the proper key and is powerless if the isntrument is not in tune. But the matter of intonation is of utmost importance in the voice and all string and wind instruments. Only a person having a finely trained ear is able to produce proper intonation. Hence we speak of pure and false intonation.



A keyboard for the pianoforte invented by Paul von Janko in 1882. This was introduced to the English public in 1888, and in New York in October, 1890. The Janko keyboard consists of six rows or banks of keys, placed in a semicircle and presenting a fan-like appearance. Each note has three different keys, one lower than the other and attached to a key-lever, so that each key may be struck in three different rows. Six parallel rows of whole-tone intervals are thus produced. The keyboard slants, the keys are rounded on both sides, and the sharps and flats are distinguished by black bands. A freer use of the fingers is claimed than with the accepted keyboard. By reason of the many rows, the hand can maintain its natural position with the long fingers on the upper notes and the shorter ones on the lower. All scales and chords have uniform fingering, the relative position being the same in all keys, and the only necessary change is to raise or lower the entire hand. The octave is brought within the stretch of the sixth on the ordinary keyboard, and half tones bay be played legato with one finger. The new keyboard can be adapted to any pianoforte, grand, upright, or square, without harm to the instrument. Chromatic scales in thirds, sixths and octaves can be executed with as much facility as the ordinary scale on the ordinary pianoforte, because one performer can produce effects that now are obtainable only in four-hand playing.



A frame containing a set of keys, placed in the front part of the pianoforte or organ. The word is also applied to the keys, or digitals, taken collectively. The natural keys are of wood covered with white ivory, and the raised keys, touched to produce sharps and flats, are blocks of ebony or other hard black wood. The influence of the keyboard upon the development of modern music is important. The earliest keyboard of which we have record was that of the jydraulic or water organ, a Greek invention of the second century. In this the keys, eighteen in number, were all level. Strange to say, the principle oof the balanced key, which had to be rediscovered in the seventeenth century, was then well known. Our modern chromatic keyboard was in use as early as 1361, though the keys were so large that they had to be struck with the fist. Their width was, however, gradually lessened, and in the spinet made by Pasi, of Modena, in 1490 (the earliest instrument of this class), and in the organ of Saint Blaise at Brunswick (1499), the compass was approximately that of our present keyboard. In most of the early instruments the natural notes are black and the sharps and flats white. Several attempts have been made to reform the keyboard. The principal objection to all rearrangements is the fact that there is a mass of beautiful music, written for the modern pianoforte, which could not be adapted to an improved instrument.

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