thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded
A MUSICIAN'S DICTIONARY
by David W. Barber with cartoons by Dave DonaldPreface
by Yehudi MenuhinPublished by Sound & Vision $11:95 (North America) £5:95
(UK) ISBN 0-920151-21-3
Ever wanted to know the meaning of: "secondary sub-mediant
appoggiatura six-four" or "first inversion Neapolitan five-seven of
five, sharp four plus eleven, going to a half-diminished seven of six"?
Well look no further folks for this little book reveals all - or some
of it! Now you needn't feel diminished; and to misquote a current
TV commercial, armed with this knowledge, pleasure can follow pain.
To give you a sample of the erudition of this pocket
volume I quote a few early definitions:-
Atonality: A pathological disease that effects
many composers of modern music. It's most noticeable symptom is the
inability to make decisions - such as what key we should be in. It's
the advanced and sometimes fatal stage of polytonality.
Bagpipes: A Scottish instrument (of torture,
war, mass destruction) whose sound resembles that of a cat being run
over by a car...
Counter-Tenor: The highest adult male voice
currently available through legal and moral means. Sings roughly (and
roughly sings) the same range as the contralto, although he can sing
lower if pressed and higher if pinched...
Comodo: A tempo indication (from the Italian
meaning "leisurely" or "without strain"). Not to be confused with
commode, a small chair containing a chamberpot - the use of
which may also be leisurely (and, one hopes, without strain).
Glissando: The musical equivalent of stepping
on a banana peel.
Lord Menuhin contributes an amusing preface in which
he complains that there is one omission - the piano - and then goes
on to describe it in all its glory and to say something of its remarkable
So, music-lovers, remember, as in all walks of life,
bullshit baffles brains; and this wee tome will make you feel that
much more bullish.
Founding Editor Rob Barnett Senior Editor
John Quinn Seen & Heard Editor Emeritus Bill Kenny Editor in Chief
Vacant MusicWeb Webmaster
David Barker MusicWeb Founder Len Mullenger