Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Waulking song.

Labour song associated with the finishing or waulking of handwoven tweed in Gaelic areas of Scotland. Tweed waulking was traditionally a communal activity of women, who sang the songs, alternating between a soloist and chorus, to coordinate their physical efforts and to relieve the monotony of their work. See Scotland, §II, 5(ii).


J.L. Campbell and F. Collinson: Hebridean Folksongs (Oxford, 1969)

P.R. Cooke, ed.: ‘Scottish Tradition 3: Waulking Songs from Barra’, TNGM 111 [disc notes]


A pattern of vibration spatially distributed through a medium. An example of a medium of great importance in musical instruments is the stretched string. Three types of wave can exist in a string: a transverse wave, in which the particles of the string vibrate in a direction perpendicular to the string axis, a longitudinal wave, in which the string particles vibrate along the string axis, and a torsional wave, in which the string particles rotate about the string axis. All three types of wave can be generated by bowing a string, although the transverse waves normally dominate the acoustic behaviour of a bowed string. Transverse and torsional waves cannot be supported by a gaseous medium, so that only longitudinal waves are present in the air column of a wind instrument.

In a travelling wave the vibration pattern travels through the medium with a characteristic speed (the wave velocity); fig.1a shows three successive views of a transverse wave travelling from left to right on a string. When a travelling wave is reflected back on itself, a standing wave is set up; fig.1b shows three successive views of a standing wave on the string.

See also Sound.



The distance between two successive points that are at the same position in the cycle of disturbances at the same time in a periodic wave. In a simple sine wave it is merely the distance between two successive peaks or two successive troughs. See Sound, §2.


Wa-wa [wah-wah].

An onomatopoeic term derived from the sound created by the regular boost and cut of treble frequencies. It is applied to devices which produce this effect, notably the Harmon mute for the trumpet and trombone (see Mute, §2(ii)(c)), and to a signal processor unit, generally operated by means of a foot pedal (see Electric guitar, §2).

Wa-Wan Press.

American firm of music publishers. It was founded in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, in 1901 by the composer Arthur Farwell (b St Paul, MN, 23 April 1872; d New York, 20 Jan 1952) to publish neglected music by contemporary American composers and music using American folk material. Named after an Omaha Indian ceremony for peace, fellowship and song, it began idealistically to further the cause of American music and a new indigenous music that Farwell believed would emerge from a study of ragtime and of black, Indian and cowboy songs. The press published the works of 37 composers (including nine women) whose main interest was in American Indian music, and Farwell, H.W. Loomis and Carlos Troyer were among those whose works used such material. Other composers whose music was published by the firm include Frederic Ayres, Rubin Goldmark, E.S. Kelley, Arthur Shepherd, Henry Gilbert, E.B. Hill and Gena Branscombe. Two collections of music were issued each quarter, one vocal and one instrumental, in volumes beautifully designed and printed, often with introductions by Farwell. Later each composition was published separately in sheet-music form; Farwell designed many of the abstract covers himself, taking pride in their distinctive appearance; his typographical designs were adapted by other publishers. In 1907, encouraged by public acceptance and demand, the firm began to publish monthly instead of quarterly. In 1908 loss of subscriptions caused the publishing house to founder, and in 1912 it was acquired by G. Schirmer of New York.


E.N. Waters: ‘The Wa-Wan Press: an Adventure in Musical Idealism’, A Birthday Offering to Carl Engel, ed. G. Reese (New York, 1943), 214–33

G. Chase: America’s Music (New York, 1955, 3/1987/R)

J.R. Perkins: An Examination of the Solo Piano Music Published by the Wa-Wan Press (diss., Boston U., 1969)

V.B. Lawrence, ed.: The Wa-Wan Press, 1901–1911 (New York, 1970) [repr. of the entire press run incl. introduction by G. Chase: ‘The Wa-Wan Press: a Chapter in American Enterprise’]

E. Brody: ‘Vive La France: Gallic Accents in American Music from 1880 to 1914’, MQ, lxv (1979), 200–11

E.D. Culbertson: ‘Arthur Farwell’s Early Efforts on Behalf of American Music’, American Music, v/2 (1987), 156–75


Waxman [Wachsmann], Franz

(b Königshütte, 24 Dec 1906; d Los Angeles, 24 Feb 1967). American composer of German birth. After pursuing a career in banking for two years, he completed his musical studies in Dresden and Berlin. While a student, he supported himself by playing the piano in nightclubs, especially with the Weintraub Syncopators. It was this employment that led him, in 1929, to UFA, Germany’s leading film studio, where he was hired to arrange and conduct Frederick Holländer's score for The Blue Angel. The success of that film produced additional film work, ultimately leading to his emigration to Los Angeles in 1934.

Waxman’s arrival in Hollywood was timely; film music was just developing into a major art form and his fluent, highly Romantic style, coupled with a gift for melodic writing, was ideally suited to the medium. He quickly took his place as one of the most important composers of Hollywood’s golden age. His first original film score, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), re-used many times in other horror films of the period, set the style of scores for that genre. He went on to compose for some of Hollywood’s classic films, including Captains Courageous (1937), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Rebecca (1940), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1941), Prince Valiant (1954), The Nun’s Story (1959) and Taras Bulba (1962). In all, he worked on 144 films and received 12 Academy Award nominations, winning twice in consecutive years for Sunset Boulevard (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951). His music for the cinema appears on many recordings.

Of Waxman’s concert works, the most important are the oratorio Joshua (1959) and the dramatic song cycle The Song of Terezin (1965), his last composition. Perhaps his most famous work, however, is the Carmen Fantasie, a brilliant showpiece for violin and orchestra based on themes from Bizet’s opera, originally composed for the film Humoresque in 1947. Also a gifted conductor, Waxman founded the Los Angeles International Music Festival in 1948 and for the next 20 years presented important premières of works by Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Schoenberg and many others. A frequent guest conductor in the USA, Europe and Israel, in 1962 he was the first American to conduct major orchestras in the Soviet Union.


(selective list)

Film scores: The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935; Fury, 1936; Magnificent Obsession, 1936; Captains Courageous, 1937; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1939; The Philadelphia Story, 1940; Rebecca, 1940; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1941; Suspicion, 1941; Old Acquaintance, 1943; Objective Burma, 1944; God is my Co-Pilot, 1945; Cry Wolf, 1947; Dark Passage, 1947; Humoresque, 1947; The Paradine Case, 1947; The Unsuspected, 1947; Sunset Boulevard, 1950; A Place in the Sun, 1951; My Cousin Rachel, 1952; Demetrius and the Gladiators, 1954; Prince Valiant, 1954; Rear Window, 1954; The Silver Chalice, 1955; Crime in the Streets, 1956; Peyton Place, 1957; Sayonara, 1957; The Spirit of St Louis, 1957; Beloved Infidel, 1959; The Nun’s Story, 1959; The Story of Ruth, 1960; My Geisha, 1962; Taras Bulba, 1962; 112 other film scores

Orch: Scherzetto (Theme and Variations), chbr orch, 1936; Athaneal, ov., tpt, orch, 1946; Carmen Fantasie, vn, orch, 1947 [based on Bizet, from film score Humoresque]; Tristan und Isolda, fantasia, vn, pf, orch, 1947; Passacaglia, 1948; The Charm Bracelet, chbr orch, 1949; Sinfonietta, str, timp, 1955; Goyana, 4 Sketches, pf, str, perc, 1960; Ruth, sym. suite, 1960; Taras Bulba, sym. suite, 1962

Vocal: Joshua (orat, J. Forsyth), nar, chorus, orch, 1959; The Song of Terezin (poetry by concentration camp children), song cycle, Mez, mixed chorus, children’s chorus, orch, 1965


MSS, papers and recordings in US-SY

Principal publisher: Fidelio


P. Cook: ‘Franz Waxman was One of the Composers Who Thought Film Music Could Be an Art’, Films in Review (1968), Aug–Sept, 415–30

T. Thomas: Music for the Movies (London, 1973/R)

W. Darby and J. Du Bois: American Film Music (Jefferson, NC, 1990), 116ff

C. Palmer: The Composer in Hollywood (London, 1990)


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