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Child Composers in the Old ConservatoriesHow Orphans Became Elite Musicians$
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Robert O. Gjerdingen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190653590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190653590.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 June 2021

The Contest Piece as a Probe of Memory

The Contest Piece as a Probe of Memory

(p.191) 14 The Contest Piece as a Probe of Memory
Child Composers in the Old Conservatories

Robert O. Gjerdingen

Oxford University Press

At the end of the school year at the Paris Conservatory each class or studio held a contest. How a student did in the contests could determine whether or not he or she could continue in that class, advance to a higher class, or be dismissed. In the harmony contests, students would be unlikely to win any sort of prize if they could not reproduce the contrapuntal schemas suggested by patterns in the given basses or melodies. That is, a student was provided with just one of the four parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and required to complete the rest of the parts. The test typically lasted six hours, with the student shut in a room without any keyboard instrument. By being sensitive to the cues in the given voice, students could retrieve from their memories the other voices of the appropriate marches harmoniques. These were descendants of the movimenti (bass motions) taught in the Naples conservatories.

Keywords:   Memory, Prix de Rome, Concours, Charles Lenepveu, Fedele Fenaroli, Stanislao Mattei, François Bazin, Charles Catel, Victor Dourlen, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Hippolyte Colet, Samuel David, Albert Lavignac

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