Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/143

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TIME-SIGNATURE.

TINCTORIS.

127

When both Modes were Imperfect, or the Greater Imperfect and the Lesser Perfect, the difference was indicated by the groups of Eests, as at (c) and (d).

(a) Both Modes Perfect.

(c) Both Modes Imperfect.

(b) Greater Mode Perfect, and Lesser Imperfect.

(d) Greater Modes Imperfect, and Lesser Perfect.

The Circle and the Semicircle, were also used either alone or in combination with the figures 3 or 2, as Signatures of Time, in the limited sense in which that term was used in the Middle Ages;[1] i.e. as applied to the proportions existing between the Breve and the Semibreve only—three to one in Perfect, and two to one in Imperfect forms.

Perfect Time.

The same signs were used to indicate the proportion between the Semibreve and the Minim, in the Greater and Lesser Prolation;[2] but generally with a bar drawn perpendicularly through the Circle or Semicircle, to indicate that the beats were to be represented by Minims; and sometimes, in the case of the Greater Prolation, with the addition of a Point of Perfection.

The Greater Prolation.

Combinations of Mode, Time, and Prolation sometimes give rise to very complicated forms, which varied so much at different epochs, that even Ornitoparchus, writing in 1517, complains of the difficulty of understanding them.[3] Some writers used two Circles or Semicircles, one within the other, with or without a Point of Perfection in the centre of the smaller one. The inversion of the Semicircle ((Symbol missingsymbol characters)) always denoted a diminution in the value of the beats, to the extent of one-half; but it was only at a comparatively late period that the doubled figure ((Symbol missingsymbol characters)) indicated an analogous change in the opposite direction. Again, the barred Circle or Semicircle always indicated Minim beats; but the unbarred forms, while indicating Semibreves, in Mode, and Time, were used, by the Madrigal writers, to indicate Crotchet beats, in Prolation.

The application of these principles to modern Time-signatures is exceedingly simple, and may be explained in a very few words. At present we use the unbarred Semicircle to indicate four Crotchet beats in a bar; the barred Semicircle to indicate four Minim beats, in the Time called Alla breve, and two Minim beats in Alla Cappella. Some German writers once used the doubled Semicircle, barred, ((Symbol missingsymbol characters)) for Alla breve which they called the Grosse Allabrevetakt, and the ordinary single form, barred, for Alla Cappella—Kleine Allabrevetakt: but this distinction has long since fallen into disuse.

The Circle is no longer used; all other forms of Rhythm than those already mentioned being distinguished by fractions, the denominators of which refer to the aliquot parts of a Semibreve, and the numerators, to the number of them contained in a bar, as 2/4 ( = 2/Daman semiminima up.svg), 3/2 ( = 3/Blanche.svg) etc. And even in this we only follow the mediaeval custom, which used the fraction 3/2 to denote Triple Time, with three Minims in a bar, exactly as we denote it at the present day.

A complete list of all the fractions now used as Time-Signatures will be found in the article Time, together with a detailed explanation of the peculiarities of each.

[ W. S. R. ]

TIME TABLE. A Table denoting the forms and proportionate duration of all the notes used in measured Music.

The earliest known indication of a Time Table is to be found in the well-known work on Cantus mensurabilis, written by Franco of Cologne about the middle of the 11th century. Franco mentions only four kinds of notes, the Large (or Double Long), the Long, the Breve, and the Semibreve. Franchinus Gafurius, in his 'Practica musicæ,' first printed at Milan in 1496, describes the same four forms, with the addition of the Minim. These were afterwards supplemented by the Greater Seiniminim, now called the Crotchet, and the Lesser Semiminim, or Quaver; and, later still, by the Semiquaver, the Demisemiquaver, and the Half-Demisemiquaver.

The modern Time Table, denoting the proportionate value of all these notes, is too well known in our schoolrooms to need a word of description here.

[ W. S. R. ]

TIMIDAMENTE. The indication written by Beethoven in his MS. of the Mass in D at the well-known passage in the 'Agnus' where the trumpets produce their thrilling effect—'Ah Miserere!' etc.; but changed by the engravers of the first score and subsequent editions to 'Tramidamente.' The mistake was corrected in Breitkopf's critical edition.

[ G. ]

TIMPANI is the Italian word for kettledrums. Printers and copyists often substitute y for i in this word, which is a great fault, as the letter y does not exist in the Italian language.

[ V. de P. ]

TINCTORIS, Joannes de, known in Italy as Giovanni del Tintore, and in England as John Tinctor, was born at Nivelle in Brabant

  1. See p. 17b.
  2. See Prolation.
  3. See vol. iii. p. 12.