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Church Music.


ART. IV. 1. The whole Booke of Psalmes, with their wonted Tunes, as they are sang in Churches, composed into Foure Parts. 1592. Reprinted for the Members of the Musical Antiquarian Society, and edited by E. F. RIMBAULT, LL.D., F.S.A.

2. The whole Booke of Psalmes, with the Hymnes Evangelical and Songs Spiritual, composed into Four Parts by sundry Authors, &c. Edited by the Rev. W. H. HAVERGAL, M.A. London: 1845.

3. The People's Music Book, Part. I., consisting of a Selection of Psalm Tunes, in Four Parts, with an arrangement for the Organ or Piano Forte. Edited by JAMES TURLE, Organist of Westminster Abbey, and EDWARD TAYLOR, Professor of Music in Gresham College. London: 1844.


HERE are periodical ebullitions of zeal among the English people for the furtherance of divers worthy purposes; most of which may have been constantly within their view for a succession of years without exciting much attention. On a sudden, however, one or more of them assumes an air of importance, and becomes an object of general conversation; the press, perhaps the pulpit, takes it up-the bell-wethers lead the flock instinctively follow, and a subject which had scarcely been of sufficient consequence to interest a parish, all at once interests a nation. Such has been the case with regard to that portion of the worship of God which is performed by the aid of music. After more than a century of patient acquiescence in the single drawl of a clerk, or the unisonous squall of a row of charity children, we seem to have awakened to the conviction that this is not music, and that still less can it act as a help or incentive to devotion. The necessity of some change must be considered to be admitted on all sides, when every body agrees that 'whatever is, is wrong.' Nevertheless, to what extent, and in what way the change shall be effected, all sorts of discordant opinions are afloat, from the want of clear and distinct notions of either the purpose in view, or the proper means of attaining it. This arises from the ignorance of persons, whom, unfortunately, that ignorance has not prevented from at once twaddling and dogmatising, nor from exercising considerable influence over the public. If music formed a part of the education of the English people, if even the clergy were 'mediocriter docti in plano cantu,' this could not happen; or if they acted upon Burke's wise resolve, that where he did not see his way clearly he would

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'tread cautiously,' the efforts we may make would be made in one and the same direction, all tending to a certain definite end, and all adopting the best and surest means. But as our musical reformers are destitute, for the most part, of any knowledge on the subject, either historical, theoretical, or practical, the questions, whether our efforts at amendment will be made in the right or the wrong direction, as well as whether the object which is sought to be attained can, or even ought to, be accomplished, are likely to be settled by pure accident, or something very little better. We would willingly throw a little light upon the point in debate, by considering it with reference to history, to authority, and to utility. It will be found, we think, that history and authority clearly show what are the modes and forms in which music can be fitly employed in devotional service; though at present they are perpetually confounded, in equal disregard of rule and of good taste.

Music, as a part of public worship, is either performed by a choir distinct from the congregation, or by the congregation themselves, or by both alternately.

The former was the practice in the Jewish Temple, where also originated the antiphonal chant, -a method of singing which then, as now, required two choirs, each in itself complete, and separate from the congregation. (Nehem. xii.) Whatever were the musical attainments of the 'men singers and the 'women singers,' they are constantly mentioned as a separate body, towards whom the Rabbi stood in the situation now occupied by the Precentor in our cathedrals.* And David 'was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah, the master of the song, with the singers.' (1 Chron. xv. 25.) The two hemistichs of each verse were sung by the opposite choirs or by the Precentor-Rabbi and the choir; the whole assembly, at the end of the Psalm at least, (Hallelujah, Amen!) often replacing the choir. That the singing was alternate is clear from the structure or parallelism of many of the Psalms, and also from the Hebrew verby, usually translated to sing,' but sometimes, to sing responsively.' Thus, in Ezra, iii. 11., And they sang together by course, in praising and giving thanks I unto the Lord,' &c. For the transmission of the alternate chorus from the Jewish Church to the Christian, Lowth, in his Nineteenth Lecture on Hebrew Poetry, quotes the early au



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*Quem nos Cantorem nunc a cantando vocamus, vel Choragum, quasi caput Chori.'-Kircher, Musurgia, p. 58.


Choir Singing: and Congregational.


thority of Pliny's Letters; and that of Bingham for its continuance in the latter Church from the first ages.

To this Psalmody, towards the close of the sixth century, about 590, Gregory the Great adapted the eight tones of the Greek music-an accidental improvement upon the Jewish recitatives. But a new element had been previously introduced by Ambrose into the Western Church at Milan. This was the Hymn or Metrical Song, and its date is from about A. D. 380. Some of these Ambrosian hymns, together with their original tunes, are still preserved, and are traceable by Vatican and German MSS. up to the time of Charlemagne. The Gentile Christians from the first had been acquainted with the Greek music. It consisted of three highly cultivated systems, of the simplest of which (the diatonic or two simple tetrachords) they availed themselves in forming the octo toni ecclesiæ.' The original tunes to the Ambrosian hymns are all composed in one of the modes of the diatonic system, and they were sung by the whole congregation.

Under these circumstances there was for a time choir singing and congregational singing. Both would flourish together. The hymns were congregational; while choir music was the old Hebrew element of Psalmedy in its proper sense. But even here the Christian impulse led to giving a part to the congregation. Thus in the Te Deum laudamus the whole congregation sang the responses in Augustin's time. But a century or two later Christendom and Christian worship underwent a serious transformation. As the Dark Ages set in, and the hierarchical system became complete by the appointment of Canonici, congregational hymn-singing during the service was dropped altogether, and the Canonici became the substitutes of the congregation. The choir or chancel, by which the persons who officiated in the service were separated from the general assembly, was an invention of medieval architecture, corresponding with this change.

Choir music had been long a favourite art in great ecclesiastical establishments, and was now certain of being more devoutly and professionally encouraged than ever. From its first admission into Christianity England had taken its place in the cultivation of sacred music along with the rest of the Western World. Choirs were formed* and endowed in our cathedrals,

Nothing, however, approaching to the splendid establishments of David. The account, 1 Chron. xxiii., supposes music and poetry to have been in a most flourishing state. By him no less than 'four thousand singers or musicians were appointed from among the Levites, under two hundred and eighty-eight principal singers or

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provision was made for their instruction, and priests were taught to sing. Pope Gregory I. founded and endowed a school at Rome, in which children were instructed in reading," sing'ing, and good morals: from this school those were taken, 'when well accomplished for it, who were to perform the musical part of the service in public.'* Paulinus,' says Bede, leaving York and returning to Rochester, left behind him one James, a priest, who, when that province had peace, ' and the number of the faithful increased, being very skilful ' in ecclesiastical song, began to teach many to sing after the way of Rome or Canterbury.'t Gerbertus Fontinellen

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sist, Airnardus Divensis §, and Durandus Troarnensis |, like three radiant stars in the firmament of heaven, so shone 'these three Abbots in the citadel of Jehovah. To the fervour of devotion and the warmth of charity they added the possession of various kinds of knowledge, continually thirsting after the service of God in his holy temple. Among those who were best skilled in the art of music they excelled; especially in singing and chanting the sweetly-sounding antiphons and responses. They gave forth, springing from pure hearts, melodious praises of the Almighty King, whom cherubim ' and seraphim and all the host of heaven adore,—of the holy Virgin Mary, the mother of our Saviour; and carefully taught "the boys of the church to sing in concert to the Lord, with 6 Asaph and Eman, Ethun and Idithum, and the sons of


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'leaders of the band, and distributed into twenty-four companies,
'who officiated weekly by rotation in the Temple, and whose whole
'business was to perform the sacred hymns: the one part chanting
or singing, and the other playing upon different instruments. The
'chief of these were Asaph, Heman, and Iduthum, who also, as we
may presume from the titles of the Psalms, were composers of
'hymns.' After this, Lowth may well observe on the original dig-
nity and grandeur of the Hebrew Ode; and Milton must have ad-
mitted that the quire was worthy in its amplitude of those 'frequent
'songs throughout the law and prophets,' which he held 'incompa-
'rable,' not in 'their divine argument alone, but in the
very critical
art of composition, over all the kinds of lyric poetry.'
* Dorrington's (Rev. Theo.) Discourse on Singing in the Worship
of God (1704), p. 182.

† Beda, Histor. lib. ii. chap. 20. (quoted by Dean Comber).

The Benedictine abbey of Fontenelle, or St. Wandrille, in the diocese of Rouen, founded by Wandresigillas in the seventh century. § The Benedictine abbey of St. Pierre sur Dive, founded by Lucellina, wife of William, Count of Eu, 'super rivulum Divæ,' in the diocese of Lisieux.

|| The Benedictine abbey of Troarn, in the diocese of Bayeux.


1852. Lutheran Hymns: Calvinistic Psalmody.



Chore.' At every period the extent of the choir must of course every where have varied with the provision which had been given or bequeathed for its support. In England, for instance, the twenty-four vicars of Exeter Cathedral were incorporated in 1194. The choir of Durham at the time of the Reformation consisted of twelve minor canons, a deacon and subdeacon, ten clerks (either priests or laymen), ten choristers (boys) and their master. The Lincoln choir in the reign of Edward III. comprised the precentor, four priest vicars, eight lay vicars, an organist, eight (boy) choristers, and seven chanters added and endowed by Bartholomew Lord Burghersh. More specific instances are unnecessary; we may state generally, that the number of the choir ranged, in different cathedral and collegiate churches, from twenty to fifty; that an ample revenue had been appropriated for their maintenance; that, after the example of Pope Gregory I., a grammar-school was attached to every cathedral, where the boys received such musical as well as classical instruction as qualified them for more advanced stations, clerical or lay, in the choir; and that the duties of every member of such a choir were accurately and distinctly defined. The funds which had been set apart for this purpose in any particular establishment survived the Reformation wherever the establishment itself survived. In case they should have subsequently disappeared, the lovers of cathedral music may probably in time hear of something to their advantage through the agency of Mr. Whiston and his pamphlet on Cathedral Trusts and their Fulfilment.'

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The Reformation would of course find the musical part of the Church service in much the same condition on the Continent as in England, -the congregation equally excluded. On inquiring to whom we are indebted for that class of sacred music which is now distinguished by the share the congregation has in its performance, Rochlitz refers to the compositions of John Huss and Jerome of Prague, and to the hymns and tunes of 'the United Brethren.' But the decided reaction waited for the authority of Luther and Calvin. Both were bent on bringing back the congregation as active parties in this portion of the service. They differed only in the form of doing it,Luther preferring hymns composed not by Jews but Christians, Calvin preferring metrical translations of the Psalms; and this has since been the constant difference between the Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches over the Continent, though now in Germany and Holland the Calvinists have agreed to sing hymns.

* This passage of Ordericus Vitalis is taken from Baron Maseres's Historiæ Anglicana selecta Monumenta, p. 281.

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