A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Gradus ad Parnassum

GRADUS AD PARNASSUM. The title of two eminent progressive works on music. 1. Fux's treatise on composition and counterpoint—'Gradus ad Parnassum, sive manuductio ad compositionem musicæ regularem, methoda nova ac certa, nondum ante tam exacto ordine in lucem edita: elaborata a Joanne Josepho Fux' (Vienna 1725; 1 vol. folio). It was translated into German by Mizler (Leipsic 1742), into Italian by Manfredi (Carpi 1761), and into English, 'Practical rules for learning Composition translated from a work entitled Gradus ad Parnassum, written originally in Latin by John Joseph Feux, late chief composer to the Roman Emperor Charles VI.—Welcker, 10 Hay Market' (a thin folio with no date). This contains, in addition to the exercises in the text, a Kyrie and Amen from the Missa Vicissitudinis.

2. Clementi's well-known work 'Gradus ad Parnassum, ou l'art de jouer le Pianoforte demontré par des Exercises dans le style sévère et dans le style élégant. Composé et dedié à Madame la Princesse Wolkonsky, née Wolkonsky, par Muzio Clementi, membre de l'Academie Royale de Stockholm.' (Milan, Ricordi.)

It is in two parts or volumes, containing in all 100 exercises. Some of these are marked as having been published before, and extended and revised by the author. Thus Ex. 14 is headed 'extrait par l'auteur de ses Duos à 4 mains, œuvre xiv, publié a Londres en 1784. Tulit alter honores. Virg. apud Donat.' Ex. 39. Adagio in B♭, is entitled 'Scena patetica,' and so on. The work has at the beginning an English motto from Dr. Johnson—'Every art is best taught by example.' Clementi published an Appendix to the Gradus, containing 134 Exercises, Gavottes, Gigues, Airs with Variations, etc., partly his own, but chiefly by other composers. They are arranged, each key with its relative minor—usually a prelude or preludes by Clementi, followed by pieces.

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