The Art-Forms of Music, Letter: C

 
 
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CANON

A particular form of part-music based on strictest imitation. The opening theme or melody, the antecedent, is repeated by the other part or parts, and is then called the consequent. There is severe observance of the intervals of the melodic design, each part coming in after exactly the same number of measures or bars as the second part comes in after the beginning of the theme by the first part. During the flourishing period of polyphonic music the canon and fugue reached their highest stage of mechanical perfection. Up to the present time they constitute the most difficult portions in the formal study of the art of music.

CANTATA

In music, the name of a vocal composition of either a sacred or a secular character, for solo voices, ensembles, and chorus, with instrumental accompaniment. The sacred cantata differs from the oratorio in that it is less subjective, the solos representing individuals from a community or a congregation. The secular cantata differs from opera in the absence of stage accessories, and in this respect the name lyric scene is perhaps more appropriate. In mere matter of length the cantata is usually much shorter than the opera or the oratorio.

CATCH

(probably because the voices caught up the words in turn). A species of musical composition peculiar to England, without accompaniment and set to humorous words. The music is generally for three voices and in the canon style. As in the canon, each voice takes up the subject at a certain distance after the preceding has begun. One of the best specimens of a catch is by Calcott, on Hawkins's and Burney's histories of music, where the humor lies in one of the parts repeating 'Burney's history', sounding like 'burn his history', while the others are advocating Hawkins.

CHAMBER MUSIC

A term used to designate music that is specially adapted for performance in a room. The name originally comprised both vocal and instrumental music, not intended for the church; but it is now almost restricted to the various combinations of the pianoforte with strings or strings alone, as duos, trios, quartets, quintets, etc. Chamber music is the most delicate, refined, and perfect branch of the art, the size of the small auditorium allowing of the most exquisite shadings and nuances. The greatest masters of music have left some of the world's richest musical legacies in their chamber music.

CHANT

A form of choral music between singing and recitative and especially used for litanies and psalms in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Episcopal service. The chant is the ancient style of church song, certainly as old as Christianity, which seems to have inherited it from the Jewish Church. The ancient Persians chanted or intoned their religious hymns, the Gathas; Saint Paul exhorts believers to sing (to chant) psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; and Pliny the Younger mentions the early morning assembling of Christians to chant hymns to Christ. As rhymed and metrical hymns, now so common, were the product of a later art, so the tunes accompanying them are modern as compared with chants.

CHORALE

A melody to which hymns or psalms are sung in church by the congregation in unison. The Catholic Church service has from early times contained chorales, but the name is generally applied to those in the style introduced by Luther into the German Protestant Church in the Sixteenth Century. Realizing the great power of music to awaken religious emotion, he determined to carry his reforms into the music of the Church service, and to invigorate it with new life. He selected simple tunes from many sources, sacred and secular, and arranged them to fit the hymns and psalms used in the service. Some of the most attractive of the ancient Latin hymns were chosen, the chorale "Herr Gott, dich loben wir," is adapted from a song of praise by Saint Ambrose. German songs furnished material for many others.

The inspiration proved a great success; congregations everywhere joined heartily in singing the familiar melodies, and their religious interest took a new growth. The chorale became a popular form of composition, and many fine examples of this style were written during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries. The most important of the early collections of chorales was the one published by Luther and his friend Johann Walther, in 1524, called the Enchiridion. Chorales were intended always to have an organ accompaniment, which was usually contrapuntal, and as time went on these accompaniments were made more and more elaborate by the organists, who found this a tempting field for display. Originally chorales were strongly rhythmical in character, with frequent alternations of duple and triple rhythm; and this, being in direct contrast to the droning, unrhythmical nature of the Gregorian chant, formed one of their greatest attractions. By a gradual process of change, however, this rhythmic element has disappeared, and chorales are now sung in notes of almost uniform length.

German writers complain of this 'flattening-out' process, and regret the loss of character which has resulted. But even without its original rhythm, the fine simplicity and stately solemnity of the chorale render it an ideal form for the expression of religious fervor. Probably the most famous of all chorales is the one popularly accredited to Luther himself, "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott." This stirring tune has been incorporated into many compositions. It appears in one of Bach's cantatas, and in Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony; is heard in Wagner's Kaiser Marsch, and forms an important theme in Meyerbeer's opera Les Huguenots.

Bach's works abound in beautiful chorales, and when these are sung by a large chorus the effect is wonderfully impressive and inspiring.

CONCERTO

A musical composition for a solo instrument, with orchestral accompaniment, calculated to exploit the resources or possibilities of the instrument and thus to give the performer an opportunity to display the highest technical skill, as well as intellectual grasp and musical culture. The concerto belongs to the eyelical or sonata group of musical compositions, and differs from a symphony or overture only through the special prominence given to the solo instrument. It consists, like the symphony or sonata, of three or four movements, each of which, like the whole, requires a clear development and treatment of motives, and a strict adherence to the rules of form. The earliest concertos were written for two or more instruments, being thus really in concertante style. From the beginning of the eighteenth century the pianoforte and the violin have been the solo instruments mostly used for the concerto. Among the oldest violin concertos are those by Tartini and his pupils. The French and Germans afterwards improved on these and fixed the forms, which all the great masters of modern times have adhered to.

CYCLICAL FORMS

In music, forms that consist of a cycle or series of movements, such as the suite, concerto, sonata, or symphony. The origin of cyclical forms is to be found in the form of the old overture, which consisted of three parts, the first and third being slow, while the middle part was lively. Gradually these three parts were extended and detached. In the older compositions the movements were alternately slow and fast. But soon it became customary to begin and end with a fast movement. In the modern symphony the customary arrangement is: (1) Fast; (2) slow; (3) fast; (4) fast. But Beethoven's "Sonata," opus 109, and Tschaikowsky's "Symphonie Pathetique," are two famous examples of cyclical compositions closing with a slow movement. Originally all the movements of a cyclical composition were written in the same key. The development of the sonata wrought a change in this direction, so that different keys (though always related to the fundamental) were assigned to the different movements. The first and last movements, however, are always in the same key, which is considered the fundamental key of the whole work. If the first movement is in minor, the last is generally in the parallel major.

 

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: The Art-Forms of Music Letter: C
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina

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BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: The New International Encyclopedia; 1902-1905 Dodd, Mead and Company-New York Total of 21 Volumes
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