Sinfonia, or symphony, usually relates to the few bars of preparation which are played as a prelude to songs, &c. to pre pare the audience, and to the singer the proper pitch fbr his voice—little sym phonies are also occasionally intempersed throughout, either as graces or as a relief to the singer, after exertion especially ; they are, for the same purpose, added af ter every verse of a song. The word sin fonia is synonymous with overture, when prefixed to a piece of many parts.
A cadenza, or cadence, is that flourish made arbitrarily by a vocal performer, or by a leading instrument, while the whole of.the other parts stop, at a pause. The cadence is quite an ad libitum usually is not written ; the performer be ing left to deviate according to fancy, and without restriction as to measure, or to note on which the cadence is founded. When cadences are written, they are never divided by bars, like rest of the measure.
A march, or marcia, is a military air in common time, and in a pompous majestic stile.
A gavot is a moderately lively air, in common time, commencing with a half bar.
A meek, or chase, is usually in six eighth time, in a hunting stile.
An allemand is a 'slow dancing air, in common time ; in which the parts of strain are always repeated.
The hornpipe, mgadoon, cotillion, soaks, &c. are various kinds of dances, in rather a slow time, so as to admit of much grace ; while the jig, the reel, the country-dance, &c. are more active amusements, and re. quire less finish from the dancing master.
The minuet is a slow dancing air in three-fourth time ; but is now out of use, except at court, and formal entertain ments. The minuets in overtures, &c. are now generally perforined quick ; some, indeed, are absolutely prestos.
These have usually trios or alternate minuets annexed ; after the performance of which, the minuet itself is always play. ed through without repeats. These mi nuets are not restricted to any number of bars ; but the dancing minuet ts invaria bly limited to two stanzas or strains of eight bars each.
The rondeau is a piece in which the theme is often repeated, and generally forma the main burden ; it always ends the piece.
Recitative is a peculiar mode of reciting wovds set to music in a kind of chant, that partly allows the sense to be expressed; the accompaniment of a recitative is often rich, though sparingly given, and requires the greatest judgment to exe cute with propriety.
Score is the notation of the several vocal and instrumental parts of a piece in va rious staves, one under the other,*bar, for bar ; so that the whole effect may be seen at one view, while each part occupies its own stave separately. The score is the manner in which the composer sets out the several parts ; from it they are after. wards transcribed by copyists into the different books respectively.
Counterpoint is the art of arranging parts to any piece of music, taking them from a figured bass; though some expert com posers form the bass as they proceed.
To be a good contrapunctist, a thorough knowledge of harmony, of modulation, and of the effect of certain combinations, as well of instruments as of notes, are ab solutely necessary. Many a person may possess very superior skill in counterpoint, who has no genius for the invention of good melody. Above all things the con trapunctist must avoid consecutive fifths and octaves in the same parts ; however, a perfect and an imperfect fifth may fol low. The reader will easily comprehend what we mean by consecutive fifths, when we refer him to the sounds of the open strings A and D on the violin, &c.; these are fifths—now, if the finger be laid on those two strings, so as to produce E na tural, and B natural, those two notes, being also fifths, cannot follow in any two parts ; for although fifths are the third stage of harmony (octaves being the first, thirds and sixths the second) yet, when two parts proceed in a parallel of fifths, one for instance playing A B C D, while the other plays the D E F G below, the effect is harsh and inharmonious.
We shall now state the regular degrees of slowness and of quickness, in the exe cution of music, according to the direc tions given by the following Italian words, which are chiefly in use.
Adagio, adagio, very slow.
Adagio, slow, in an easy leisure manner. Largo, or leuto giving full time to ex press each part Of the measure.
Larghetto, not quite so slow as largo or leuto.