Little men, or rather their heads, as notes; three pretty ladies under the same umbrella to evoke the rhythmic figure of the triplet; elegant couples waltzing in triple time; flats and naturals that acrobats raise like dumbbells. here is a Small illustrated music theory who does everything not to be off-putting… and who succeeds.
Collaboration between the composer Claude Terrasse and his brother-in-law, the painter Pierre Bonnard, this volume published in 1893 is opportunely reissued by the Réunion des musées nationaux (RMN) and the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny (1), at a time when music lessons in schools and conservatories.
A family matter
Educational and impulsive, the text explains the basics of notation, keys, keys, values and rests. So many conventions and rules that the apprentice musician often considers as an obligatory but constraining passage to approach a score. The composer and the painter decide otherwise, associating their humor and their lightness, well convinced that one can learn by smiling!
This Little music theory is the first of the thirty works that Bonnard will illustrate. He thus testifies to his beginnings in the subject, in the service of the prose of his brother-in-law, then renowned for his operettas and who, in 1896, will write the incidental music forubu kingAlfred Jarry’s cruel and delirious play.
Printed in only 2,000 copies, the work was unfortunately not a bestseller, whereas it is today considered a jewel of the genre. A moving gem too: on the back cover, with a free and tender hand, Bonnard sketches his wife Andrée, who is also a very talented pianist, reading to his son Jean this Little music theory family.