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PRACTICAL REMARKS

ON THE

REFORMATION

OF

CATHEDRAL MUSIC.

LONDON:
FRANCIS & JOHN RIVINGTON,

ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD, AND WATERLOO PLACE.

1849.

"In Church Music, curiosity and ostentation of art, wanton, or light, or unsuitable harmony, such as only pleaseth the ear, and doth not naturally serve to the very kind and degree of those impressions which the matter that goeth with it leaveth, or is apt to leave, in men's minds, doth rather blemish and disgrace that we do, than add either beauty or furtherance unto it.

"On the other side, the faults prevented, the force and efficacy of the thing itself, when it drowneth not utterly, but fitly suiteth with, matter, all together sounding to the praise of God, is in truth most admirable, and doth much edify, if not the understanding because it teacheth not, yet surely the affection because therein it worketh much.

66 They must have hearts very dry and tough, from whom the melody of the Psalms doth not sometimes draw that wherein a mind religiously affected delighteth.” -Hooker's Eccl. Pol. bk. v. § 38. 1597.

PRACTICAL REMARKS,

&c.

A DISLIKE to CATHEDRAL SERVICE is often thought to be necessarily indicative of a distaste for music.

Or else it is supposed that persons who do dislike cannot have been used to hearing it: and that, hearing it as more or less of a novelty, their prepossession in favour of "Parochial Service," as it is distinctively termed, has disposed them to regard the Cathedral Service with jealousy, if not aversion.

It may, however, be reasonably doubted whether there are so many persons who have a real distaste for music as the former opinion implies: or, indeed, as, upon any ground', it is commonly believed that there are.

For excellent persons, from a needless modesty, not unfrequently appear, even to themselves, to be much more indifferently endowed both with tastes and capabilities than they really are.

There are many again, who, not being of an energetic disposition, have a habit of concluding at once, the moment any subject is brought before them, that they have no taste or capabilities

1 "Without doubt there are many cases of men advanced in life, of whom the attainment even of the smallest amount of musical power, may demand time and labour which it is impossible for them to bestow.

"But of younger persons, I believe the instances are very rare indeed of such an obstinacy of ear, or inflexibility of voice, as cannot be overcome by the reasonable amount of earnest endeavour, which every body brings to bear on that which he is determined shall be done.

"As to children, I do not believe there was ever one born into the world, with the usual number of senses, who could not be taught to sing."-Mr. Hullah's Lect. at Leeds, 1846, p. 9.

for it; a conclusion, of the error of which, in most instances, and certainly in the case of music, a very moderate amount of application would convince them.

Some people, again, have a way of affecting distastes (just as many others affect tastes) which in reality they do not feel. And neglecting, on this point, at least, to cultivate the talents given to them in charge, they are found not unfrequently exhibiting an evident complacency and satisfaction in endeavouring to persuade the world that even in their defects they are not as other men are.

Accepting, too, these reasons for dislike of Cathedral Service as correct and adequate, many persons are not able to resist a certain amount of wonder that there should have been ordered, or sanctioned, or permitted, the adoption into the "mos et ritus Cathedralium Ecclesiarum" of such a service as should be so positively offensive to the natural feelings of the children of the Church; or even to the prepossessions of so many of them in favour of the same service modified as in parochial use.

2

But in point of fact these reasons are not sufficient, nor indeed true. For it is found that there are many persons of undeniably devout habits, lovers of music, who have been perhaps used to Cathedral Service for years, or even their whole life; whose sympathies would all be in favour of a solemn musical service as an adjunct and handmaid to the Liturgy; who yet cannot divest themselves of a strong feeling of uneasiness, and even repugnance, when attending Divine Service in many cathedrals.

They do not enter as either "one unlearned or one that believeth not," to scoff. They come to worship. But they do not afterwards feel that they have remained to praise or pray.

They have been, they complain, distracted by the style and quantity, and overpowering accompaniment of the music, instead of being toned down to sober devotion.

They have found themselves absolutely excluded from joining in voice as well as heart in some portions of the Service in which they think that, according to the intention of the Church, they have a right and a correlative duty to take part. While in others, as the Responses and Psalms, they have found that on account of some practical hindrance, which they cannot exactly

2 Upon Queen Elizabeth's Injunction, No. 49, Heylin remarks :

According to which order, as plain song was retained in most parish churches or the daily psalms, so in her own chapels, and in the quire of all cathedrals, and some colleges, the hymns were sung after a more melodious manner, with organs commonly, and sometimes with other musical instruments, as the solemnity required."-p. 289.

explain or define, but which is a real impediment, it is almost equally impossible to join.

And they complain that there is, they feel, an exhibitional rather than a devotional effect aimed at; not intentionally, but practically. The Service is, they say, apparently "performed."

Ir does not appear that any long period has ever elapsed in the history of the Church, without some such ground of complaint having arisen, in consequence of variations from a simple solemn mode of Divine Service.

We will first take a brief notice of some of these, and of the endeavours made at the Reformation to provide a fitting kind of music as an accompaniment to Public Worship. Both in this portion, and in the subsequent remarks, we shall proceed much by quotation, for obvious reasons.

We may here exhibit the following series of questions from Mr. Dyce's Preface to his edition of the Prayer Book. The answers will suggest themselves to the reader as he proceeds in the sequel; and will, we think, establish in his mind the premises upon which the consideration of remedies against present, or of preventives against future, subject of complaint, must be conducted.

"How comes it that, in cathedrals and collegiate churches, those portions of the Service which are ordered by the Rubrics to be read, used, said,' or 'pronounced,' are now and always have been SUNG? Sung, not anyhow, but with a specific kind of intonation termed plain tune? Is there any authority but custom for the one or for the other? Whence did the custom of singing such parts of the Service originate? How came the music sung to them to be reckoned authentic and invariable? Are we to consider that the practice of cathedrals has been, for the last three hundred years, a violation of the rubrical directions of the Prayer Book? If not, does the word 'say,' mean to 'sing? Or if not to sing anyhow, does it mean to use certain intonations?"

RECITATION in an antiphonal or alternate manner, which is so essential a characteristic of the "one use of saying and singing in churches, which henceforth all the whole realm shall have 3, was in use among the ancient Jews, and express mention of it is to be found in the Old Testament. It is as old as the days

3 Pref. to Prayer Book, 'Concerning the Service of the Church.'

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