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CHOPSTICKS—CHORICIUS

CHOPSTICKS, the “pidgin-English” name for the pair of small tapering sticks used by the Chinese and Japanese in eating. “Chop” is pidgin-English for “quick,” the Chinese word for the articles being kwai-tsze, meaning “the quick ones.” “Chopsticks” are commonly made of wood, bone or ivory, somewhat longer and slightly thinner than a lead-pencil. Held between the thumb and fingers of the right hand, they are used as tongs to take up portions of the food, which is brought to table cut up into small and convenient pieces, or as means for sweeping the rice and small particles of food into the mouth from the bowl. Many rules of etiquette govern the proper conduct of the chopsticks; laying them across the bowl is a sign that the guest wishes to leave the table; they are not used during a time of mourning, when food is eaten with the fingers; and various methods of handling them form a secret code of signalling.


CHORAGUS (the Lat. form of Gr. χοραγός or χορηγός, leader of the chorus), the citizen chosen to undertake the expense of furnishing and instructing the chorus at the Dionysiac festivals at Athens (see Liturgy and Finance). The name is given to an assistant to the professor of music at the university of Oxford, whose office was founded, with that of the professor, in 1626 by Dr William Heather.


CHORALE (from the Lat. choralis, sc. cantus; the final e is added to show the Ger. pronunciation chorāl), a term in music used by English writers to indicate the hymn-tunes composed or adopted for use in church by the German reformers. German writers, however, apply the terms “Choral” and “Chorale-gesang,” as Luther himself would apply them, to any solemn melody used in the church. It is thus the equivalent of canto fermo; and the German rhymed versions of the biblical and other ancient canticles, such as the Magnificat and the Te Deum, are set to curious corruptions of the corresponding Gregorian tunes, which adaptations the composers of classical German music called chorales with no more scruple than they applied the name to tunes of secular origin, German or foreign. The peculiarity of German chorale-music, however, is that its use, and consequently much of its invention, not only arose in connexion with the Reformation, by which the liturgy of the church became “understanded of the people,” but also that it belongs to a musical epoch in which symmetry of melody and rhythm was beginning to assume artistic importance. The growing sense of form shown by some of Luther’s own tunes (e.g. Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her) soon advanced, especially in the tunes of Crüger, beyond any that was shown by folk-music; and it provided an invaluable bulwark against the chaos that was threatening to swamp music on all sides at the beginning of the 17th century. By Bach’s time all the polyphonic instrumental and vocal art-forms of the 18th century were mature; and though he loved to derive the design as well as the details of a large movement from the shape of the chorale tune on which it was based, he became quite independent of any aid from symmetry in the tune as raw material. The chorus of his cantata Jesus nun sei gepreiset is one of the most perfectly designed and quite the longest of movements ever based upon a chorale-tune treated phrase by phrase. Yet the tune is one of the most intractable in the world, though its most unpromising portion is the basis of the most impressive feature in Bach’s design (the slow middle section in triple time).

The national character of the German chorale, and the recent great development of interest in folk-music, together with the unique importance of Bach’s work, have combined to tempt writers on music to over-estimate the distinctness of the art-forms based upon the German chorale. There is really nothing in these art-forms which is not continuous with the universal practice of writing counterpoint on a canto fermo. And it should never be forgotten that, however fascinating may be the study of the relation between artistic forms and the spirit of the age, no art can successfully express more of the spirit of the age than its own technical resources will admit. Choral music in all ages has tended to consist largely of counterpoint on a canto fermo (see Contrapuntal Forms). Where there are not many canto fermos in constant use in the church, composers will be driven to use them rather unsystematically as special effects, and to rely for the most part on other artistic devices, though any use of melodies in long notes against quicker counterpoint will be aesthetically indistinguishable from counterpoint on a canto fermo. Thus Handel in his Italian and English works wrote no entire chorale movements, yet what is the passage in the “Hallelujah” chorus from “the kingdom of this world” to the end but a treatment of the second part of the chorale Wachet auf? How shall we describe the treatment of the words “And their cry came up unto the Lord” in the first chorus of Israel in Egypt, except as the treatment of a phrase of chorale or canto fermo? Again, to return to the 16th century, what are the hymns of Palestrina but figured chorales? In what way, except in the lack of symmetry in the Gregorian phrasing, do they differ from the contemporary setting by Orlando di Lasso, also a Roman Catholic, of the German chorale Vater unser im Himmelreich? In modern times the use of German chorales, as in Mendelssohn’s oratorios and organ-sonatas, has had rather the aspect of a revival than of a development; though the technique and spirit of Brahms’s posthumous organ chorale-preludes is thoroughly modern and vital.

One of the most important, and practically the earliest collection of “Chorales” is that made by Luther and Johann Walther (1496–1570), the Enchiridion, published in 1524. Next in importance we may place the Genevan Psalter (1st ed., Strassburg, 1542, final edition 1562), which is now conclusively proved to be the work of Bourgeois. From this Sternhold and Hopkins borrowed extensively (1562). The psalter of C. Goudimel (Paris, 1565) is another among many prominent collections showing the steps towards congregational singing, i.e. the restriction to “note-against-note” counterpoint (sc. plain harmony), and, in twelve cases, the assigning of the melody to the treble instead of to the tenor. The first hymn-book in which this latter step was acted on throughout is Osiander’s Geistliche Lieder . . . also gesetzt, dass ein christliche Gemein durchaus mitsingen kann (1586). But many of the finest and most famous tunes are of much later origin than any such collections. Several (e.g. Ich freue mich in dir) cannot be traced before Bach, and were very probably composed by him. (D. F. T.) 


CHORIAMBIC VERSE, or Choriambics, the name given to Greek or Latin lyrical poetry in which the sound of the choriambus predominates. The choriambus is a verse-foot consisting of a trochee united with and preceding an iambus, -∪∪-. The choriambi are never used alone, but are usually preceded by a spondee and followed by an iambus. The line so formed is called an asclepiad, traditionally because it was invented by the Aeolian poet Asclepiades of Samos. Choriambic verse was first used by the poets of the Greek islands, and Sappho, in particular, produced magnificent effects with it. The measure, as used by the early Greeks, is essentially lyrical and impassioned. Mingled with other metres, it was constantly serviceable in choral writing, to which it was believed to give a stormy and mysterious character. The Greater Asclepiad was a term used for a line in which the wild music was prolonged by the introduction of a supplementary choriambus. This was much employed by Sappho and by Alcaeus, as well as in Alexandrian times by Callimachus and Theocritus. Among the Latins, Horace, in imitation of Alcaeus, made constant use of choriambic verse. Metrical experts distinguish six varieties of it in his Odes. This is an example of his greater asclepiad (Od. i. 11):—

– ∪∪– –∪∪––  ∪∪
Tu ne | quaesieris | scire nefas | quem mihi, quem | tibi
Finem | Di dederint | Leuconoë; | nee Babylon|ïos
Tentar|is numeros. | Ut melius | quicquid erit, | pati!
Seu plu|res hiemes, | seu tribuit | Jupiter ul|timam,
Quae nunc | oppositis | debilitat | pumicibus | mare
Tyrrhe|num.

In later times of Rome, both Seneca and Prudentius wrote choriambic verse with a fair amount of success. Swinburne even introduced it into English poetry:—

Love, what | ailed them to leave | life that was made | lovely, we thought | with love?
What sweet | vision of sleep | lured thee away | down from the light | above?

Such lines as these make a brave attempt to resuscitate the measured sound of the greater asclepiad.  (E. G.) 


CHORICIUS, of Gaza, Greek sophist and rhetorician, flourished in the time of Anastasius I. (A.D. 491–518). He was the pupil