The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

XIII
SCHUBERT

FRANZ PETER SCHUBERT was undoubtedly the most spontaneous of composers. Melodies occurred to him with the most amazing rapidity, and his short life was one continual outpouring of copositions. He seldom revised his work, being in this respect the opposite of Beethoven. But he gave forth his "native wood-notes wild" in an inexhaustible stream. Even Mozart, his only rival in this respect, was certainly behind him in melodic and harmonic expressiveness.

Schubert was born on January 31, 1797, in the large family of a poor schoolmaster at Lichtenthal, a suburb of Vienna. His home life was restricted by poverty, but his father and his elder brothers Ignaz and Ferdinand were devoted to music, which Franz soon found to be a congenial atmosphere. He received his earliest instruction at home, with the addition of some lessons from Holzer, the local choir-leader. Schubert's natural genius had evidently begun to make itself manifest; for Holzer said, "He seems to have known instinctively whatever I tried to teach him."

Soon after he reached the age of eleven he was transferred to the choir-school (Konvikt-Schule) of the imperial chapel in Vienna, where he stayed until 1813. There he had some chances to develop himself, such as hearing occasional operas, or playing in the school orchestra, of which he became first violin and assistant conductor. The playing at home, too, grew to a larger scale, and the domestic performances sometimes included symphonies as well as quartets. He began to compose also. In that branch he was handicapped at first by an unusual situation -- the lack of money to buy music- paper. Fortunately the situation was discovered by an older and richer student, who generously bought the needed supplies. Schubert's poverty was shown in another way; for the students were none too well fed, receiving only two meals a day, and a letter exists in which Franz begged his brother for extra Kreutzers (pennies) to buy more food.

-120-

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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