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This example, taken from page 48 of Catel's well-known Treatise on Harmony, begins and finishes by the cadence of La, that is, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 1st again, or La, Do, Mi, La. It is, therefore, in key of La, and minor mode, the Do not bearing a sharp. The second part passes from the 5th to the octave, and this being a note of the cadence, does not produce dissonance, which is the function and effect of the precadence, and therefore this is not a passing note. But the progression of the seeond part in this manner effects a retardation, or prolongation, of the following precadence, that is, the 7th in the dominant, or the 5th, 7th, 2nd, and 4th.
In directing the student to analyze the rest of this example for himself, the author by no means recommends it for imitation. It is rather different with his treatment of a trio and minuet by Haydn, a careful examination of which charming composition will satisfy the student of his advancement by this time in the part and principles of musical composition. The author has supplied beforehand all the requisites for such an analysis.
We have afterwards a complete essay on the construction and character of the Canon and Fugue, and these formidable species of composition in high art are deprived altogether of the formidable investments with which ignorance and pedantry had clothed them.
The remainder of the volume is chiefly occupied with choice examples from masters of known excellence. Amongst these is a counterpoint in eight parts by Reicha, to which the editor has added the Geneuphonic ciphering.
Further exemplifications are deduced from the Spanish composers, Carnicer, Mozart, Kromer, Haydn, Richter, and Rossini. The specimen, chosen from the last named master, is the canon for four voices extemporized in the Royal Conservatory at Madrid, in illustration and express honour of the Geneuphonic Theory. It may not be considered a masterpiece of the great author, but it certainly requires no excuse for haste or poverty of composition, on the account of the improvisatorial circumstances of its production. It is an exceedingly skilled and effective opusculum, in every respect worthy of a great musical writer.
A copious and elaborate index concludes a volume which recommends itself to the musical student by the unparalleled originality of the views which it sets forth, and the vast importance of the truths which are enunciated and established in its pages. To those who have already passed years of toil and pain in the ever disappointed endeavour to extricate some truth and intelligence from the mass of mystery hitherto passing under the name of counterpoint, it will come as a happy rescue from endless and vexatious confusion. To the tyro, it offers a rich boon in the presentation of simple principles, intelligible truths, and an easy road to perfection, in a department of study from which most have been hitherto deterred from persevering by the artificial difficulties with which it was obstructed. When he has made his careful way through this work, he will find that he possesses all the knowledge necessary for excellence in every description of composition, from simple melody to the changeful combinations of the canon and the fugue. Nor can even the accomplished professor rise from its perusal without the conviction that he has at length learned that music has natural laws, and that they are as simple as they are peremptory and invariable.
Communications with reference to this Book to be addressed to Mr. JAMES FREDERICK HASKINS, Mus. Prof., care of Messrs. Cramer, Beale, and Chappell, 201, Regent Street, London.
J. HADDON, PRINTER, CASTLE STREET, FINSBURY.