Tunes played on the fife to regulate military activities. When the fife was reintroduced into the British army in 1746 fife calls, to the drum’s accompaniment, became the rule. They were possibly founded on 17th-century calls such as those that existed in France. Ex.1 shows the ‘Drummers’ Call’ from Potter’s treatise. Fife calls were used in Britain until the 1890s, the last official version being ‘Drum and Flute [i.e. Fife] Duty’, issued 1 October 1887, although fife and drum signals were still included in US army regulations as late as 1904.
For bibliography seeFife.
See alsoMilitary music and Signal.
Formerly a non-commissioned officer in the army who had charge of the regimental fifers. In Great Britain the rank was first mentioned in 1748 in the Royal Artillery; the office was abolished in that regiment in 1848, although the rank (without the office) continued for a few years longer. The office, although not the rank, also existed in the Foot Guards and regiments of foot. Simes said that the fife-major was expected to keep a roster and roll of duties for his fifers, and had ‘to take particular care that the fifers are properly dressed and their fifes in good order, and that they practise together twice a week’. When there was no fife-major the fifers were under the control of a Drum-major.
T.Simes: The Military Medley (London, 1767, 2/1768), 4, 19, 29
H.G.Farmer: Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band (London, 1904), 29
H.G.Farmer: Handel’s Kettledrums and Other Papers on Military Music (London, 1950, 2/1960), 13ff
(1) Flute or Fife (and a cognate of fife and Pfeife). The use of the term goes back at least to the 16th century. It is sometimes confused with piffaro (or piffero), which in the first instance means Shawm.
See underOrgan stop (Piffaro).
See underOrgan stop. See alsoSuperoctave.
(Fr. quinte; Ger. Quinte; It. quinta; Gk. diapente).
The Interval between any two notes that are four diatonic scale degrees apart (e.g. C–G, D–A). Unless specified, the term usually implies ‘perfect 5th’, which is the sum of three whole tones and a diatonic semitone. The diminished 5th, the sum of two whole tones and two diatonic semitones, can occur diatonically (e.g. B–F in C major or A minor); the augmented 5th, which is equal to a perfect 5th plus a chromatic semitone (e.g. C–G, B–F), is never diatonic.
In both the Pythagorean tuning system and Just intonation, the ratio of the 5th is 3:2, which is slightly larger than that of an equal-tempered 5th. Because this ratio is the quotient of the lowest primes of the number system, it has almost never been disputed as the basis of the ‘pure’ 5th; Simon Stevin, however, the noted Dutch scientist and mathematician, asserted (c1600) that 27/12:1 was the true ratio of the perfect 5th (i.e. the same as an equal-tempered 5th), and in the 18th century a certain Boisgelou believed that the ratio was 51/4:1.
The 5th is the only interval besides the unison and the octave that has maintained the status of Consonancethroughout the history of Western music. In ancient Greek and medieval theory it shared with the 4th and the octave the status of Perfect consonance (see alsoSymphonia). In the earliest forms of two-part parallel Organum, §2 the 4th was the commonest interval of separation, but in the 12th and 13th centuries, as polyphonic music developed, the 5th established itself as the most important consonance after the octave and the unison, a property it retained throughout the Renaissance.
In tonal music it is fundamental to the concepts of harmony and modulation, being the interval between tonic and dominant as well as between subdominant and tonic, and as such the interval between the tonalities that are most frequently contrasted. Key relationships are generally measured by the 5th, the ‘remoteness’ of one key from another usually being determined by the number of 5ths separating them; the Circle of fifths, when it takes into account the system of relative keys (e.g. A minor is the relative minor of C major), has generally been regarded as the most direct path for modulation.
A descant Recorder (lowest note c'', a 5th above the treble instrument).
Figner, Nikolay Nikolayevich
(b Nikiforovka, nr Kazan', 9/21 Feb 1857; d Kiev, 13 Dec 1918). Russian tenor. He studied in St Petersburg and Naples, where he made his début in Gounod's Philémon et Baucis in 1882. After further appearances in Italy he sang in Latin America, and in 1887 sang Raoul (Les Huguenots) at the Imperial Opera, St Petersburg. After his Covent Garden début in the same year, as the Duke in Rigoletto, he returned to the Imperial Opera, where he appeared regularly with his second wife, Medea Mei-Figner (see illustration), until their divorce in 1904. He took part in the premières of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades (1890) and Iolanta (1892), and Nápravník's Dubrovsky (1895) and Francesca da Rimini (1902). From 1910 to 1915 he directed and sang at the Narodnïy Dom opera house. His repertory included Tchaikovsky's Lensky and Andrey Morozov (Oprichnik), the Prince in Dargomïzhsky's Rusalka, Grigory (Boris Godunov), Don José, Faust, Werther, Radames, Vasco da Gama (L'Africaine), Lohengrin, Canio and Turiddu. Figner's voice, although dry, was extremely expressive; he took enormous pains with diction, acting and costuming, cutting a figure of romantic elegance which held audiences enthralled.