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was losing its ecclesiastical character. Young Humphreys' anthems were the amusement of the Court, who went to hear them much as people in the present day go to Her Majesty's opera, criticising the inusic, the performers, and the dresses of the company, without having any regard to the solemn words, or the professed intention that they had gone to take part in an act of devotion. All this naturally in time vitiated the character of the music itself. The works of Purcell, of Gibbons, of Tallis, and other great masters, which had been written under different influences, and with different objects in view, no longer satisfied the public taste.
Too grave, too solid—in fact, too devotional—for the latter part of the seventeenth century, they were thrown aside, and glee-like cantatas and dramatic anthems were written to take their place. The old psalm tunes, so devotional, so valuable, so scientific, were considered to require a little ornament; and first Playford, and then many others, brought out new editions of the old tunes, with graces, trills, variations, &c., one editor vieing with another which would heap most ornament on the old melodies. Playford was a musical quack; but he was the fashion-or, rather, knew how to adapt himself to the fashion of the day-and so his style was a success. To read of him, in contemporary authors, by the name of honest John Playford, leads us to wonder at the strange standard that prevailed then, not alone in religion, but in morals and in music.
But away from London and Oxford—the only two places which boasted complete choirs qualified to execute these elaborate compositions—there were only the old metrical versions for congregations to sing. The language of them had become obsolete. The imitators of Milton and Dryden despised the efforts of the versifiers of one hundred years previously, and the wars of the Commonwealth had given them quite enough of wars and tumults. To supply the want that existed for something better than these metrical versions, Tate and Brady brought out what is still known as the new version of the Psalms of David, to distinguish it from the old, which had succeeded Sternhold and Hopkins. To these they adapted a number of old tunes, and “ near thirty new tunes by the best masters,” these, of course, being in the florid style of the day. Of this collection Dr. Rimbault says:-“ Near thirty new tunes by the best authors, as we are told in the title-page, were presented for the first time in the 'Supplement to the New Version of the Psalms,' by Tate and Brady, in 1703. Some of these thirty had appeared in collections of earlier date. The majority, however, were new, comprising some of the most general favourites of the present day. Long before this period psalmody had shown unequivocal symptoms of decay; but, before the publication of tht last-named work, it rapidly hastened to its downfall
. The unhealthy and indecorous introduction of the dramatic style into the sacred compositions of the best masters, and the inanity exhibited in the productions of the numberless itinerant quacks who abounded in the last century, had something to do with this catastrophe!”
The titles of some of the tune-books published about this time are highly suggestive. Hullah, speaking of them, says :-“The
publication of Playford's Psalters (for he was guilty of more than one) seems to have been a signal for spoliation and innovation from all quarters; and a task which had been thought not unworthy of the most skilful masters was henceforth to fall into the hands of any of those illiterate and conceited fellows who call themselves singing.masters and lovers of psalmody, who thought fit to undertake it. From the beginning of the last century the publication of Harps of Sion,' Psalm-singers' Helps,' 'Pious Recreations,' Melodies of the Heart,' and 'Psalters' Pocket Companions, has proceeded almost without cessation. Contemporary with Tate and Brady's Supplement,' appeared the 'Divine Companion; or, David's Harp New Tuned,' being a choice collection of new and easy psalms, hymns, and anthems, composed by the best masters. It contains, besides various easy anthems and hymns, several psalms by Dr. Croft, Jeremiah Clarke, and other authors of less note."
In Germany church music was not in a much better state. The Thirty Years' War, which closed about the middle of the seventeenth century, had put a stop to the cultivation of what are called the arts of peace for many years. Music languished, but, worse still, religion itself seemed to be quite dead. The Church which Luther had left was no longer living, active, dominant; the Thirty Years' War, undertaken professedly on religious grounds, with unctuous phrases as the battle-cry of both parties, had resolved itself—as the wars of the Commonwealth in England had done, into a strife between two parties, who fought only against each other, but neither in the cause of God.
“ Towards the middle of the seventeenth century,” says Sterndale Bennett, “music enters into a new phase. Until then its sole purpose was to serve the church through the medium of the human voice and the organ. But now instrumental music, though at first subordinate, begins to make its appearance. Secular cantatas, forerunners of the opera, are produced on festive occasions at the Courts, particularly of Italy;and German musicians, like those of other countries, who had gone to Italy for study or other purposes, on their return spread the influence which they had themselves received. In Protestant Germany church music gradually became less an object of ambition to composers ; fewer tunes, and most of them inferior in quality and vigour to those of the first century after the Refoi mation, sprung up; nor did the nation at large any longer set its seal upon them by adopting or rejecting them as before. In the hymn-books of the latter part of the seventeenth century and beginning of the eighteenth, we also find some of the best old tunes omitted; others deprived of the triple time peculiar to them; others, again, without distinct rhythm-all levelled to a general standard of lifeless uniformity. In the beginning of the eighteenth century Freylingshausen, of Halle,
published a hymn-book which soon became widely circulated. (There are two tunes in the “ Congregational Psalmist” taken from this book.) It is the latest source from which good tunes can be drawn ; nor could it be otherwise, as from that time sacred tunes of real worth rarely make their appear. ance; and with the diminished interest which religion commanded
in Germany towards the close of the eighteenth century, the distinctive outward feature of its Church--the hymn-book-also decays. Even the old standard hymns were improved, as it was termed, by recasting them.”
The testimony on all sides is the same. With the decline of spiritual life, the expression of it weakened, and in its place arose what has beeo aptly termed the flippant period in hymn-tunes. A3 a familiar example of the changes which a tune was made to undergo, let those of this generation who can recal the psalmody of ten, twenty, or thirty years back compare the tune “Tallis' Canon" as it was sung then with the way in which it is sung now. The present form is its original one as Tallis wrote it for Archbishop Parker's “Psalter;" the former, under the name of “Magdalen," is the florid ornament—if such a term might be applied—which was heaped upon it during the eighteenth century. Then the melody was made to commence on the last beat of a bar, throwing the strong accent on the final syllable of the first word, “ Glo-Ey t) Thee, my God, this night,” accompanying the first four syllables with a rapid descent of an octave in the bass; three notes werə apportioned to the word “this,” which by right should have borne no accent, and so on until the old tune was hardly recognisable. Those who recollect this version will require no further descrip tion, and to those wbo do not it would be impossible to convey an! idea of the wondrous additions which once were made to the original melody.
This corruption of the old airs did not take place all at once ; ii was a gradual process. But very soon such a number of new tunes sprang up, written in accordance with the taste of the day, that the old ones dropped out of sight. The few tunes written at that time which have been inserted by modern editors in their collections bave been so shorn of all superfluous ornament that they appear as very respectable devotional melodies. It was for the latter part of the eighteenth century that it was reserved for this fashion to reach a climax. The first edition of Dr. Rippon's "Tunebook" is an amusing study for the musician, beginning with the elementary instructions in the grammar of music contained in an introduction prefixed to the volume :-“Grace-notes, when used with judgment, add greatly to the beauty of singing; but it is better to omit them altogether, than to introduce them injudiciously. "George's Tune, as it is commonly sung, is really spoiled by improper grace-notes. The manner in which they should be used is better learned from observation than by description ; let it suffice to say that they are not, in general, to be sung as strong as the real notes of the iune, but gently touched-being only designed to introduce tbe next note with more taste.”
The idea is certainly startling of a whole congregation adding, each individual according to his or her particular taste, embellisbments such as the composer had never even imagined, much less written. But even to these embellishments there were certain limits. “The trill, or shake, is the last grace generally attained, on account of its being the most difficult. Few, in comparison, are able to use it with credit to themselves. The trill should be adopted
with great caution, and the only place where it can be always introduced with propriety is at the close of a tune." The italics are in the original. It recals to mind a practice, not
. many years gone out of date, of singing what ladies called “ coun. ter tenor,” in the last bar of a tune. This remarkable musical feat consisted in singing the words of the hymn to the note a third above each of the last three notes of the air, ending, if the tune closed on the keynote, on the third note of the scale. The few tunes of this period, which have been retained in our modern collections, have been so judiciously pruned of all exuberances, that they are no longer objectionable ; but “Mount Ephraim," " Devizes," and a few others which are found in the “ Congregational Psalmist,” and other modern books, must be studied in their original settings before any clear idea can be arrived at of the extraordinary ideas which prevailed respecting congregational-so called-psalmody, in the latter part of the seventeenth, and all through the eighteenth, centuries.
The Children's Hour.
LESSONS IN PATIENCE.
BY MARIANNE FARNINGHAM.
CHAPTER 1.-EASTER MONDAY. FIRST of all the cock crew.
Alice scarcely knew whether she heard it or not. She was asleep, for the hour was very early; and, instead of awaking, she slept on, dreaming all the time of very strange things.
Gradually the grey dawn of the day break was chased away, for the time of sunrise came. The new light crept up from the east, and touched the hills, and then went all over the valley beneath, waking up the birds, who at once began to sing their morning song, and touching the flowers, which slowly opened their eyes, and looked up, as much as to say, “Good morning, Sun; I am very glad to see you."
But it was not until the sun had been shining for some time that it came opposite to the window of the room in which Alice slept. Then it shone through the blind so brightly, and touched her face with its warm beams so gently, that it was like waking her with kisses.
“Let me see : is this the day, or is it not ?"
Alice's voice was rather sleepy, and her eyes felt a little tired as she spoke these words to herself. But only for a moment. Very soon her whole face brightened as she cried in a delighted tone, “ It has come at last! It is Easter Monday, and my birthday!.”
There was no more sleep for Alice after that. She sat up in bed, and with wide-opened eyes looked around her. She saw a pleasant
little room filled with the beautiful sunlight; she saw the floor covered with a pretty carpet, and the wall ornamented with a few pictures. But she did not see what she looked for. Everything was exactly as she had left it on the night before, and Alice could scarcely believe that no new object had been placed in the room. She sprang out of bed to make a closer inspection. “I
shall surely find a brown-paper parcel addressed to Miss Alice Russell somewhere,” she said. “ Mamma and Edith cannot have forgotten my birthday.”
She looked on the table, and under it; on the drawers, and inside of each one of them; on the bed, and under it; but could find no parcel.
“Very strange indeed! and not at all nice !” she thought. “But I am sure it is not forgetfulness on mamma's part, because I remember now that I told her yesterday that to-day would be my birthday, and she expressed no surprise. Well, I suppose I am not to have a present to-day, so I will go back to bed.”
Alice's face was not as sunny as the morning at that minute. There was, indeed, a heavy cloud upon it, which, if she had been going to have her photograph taken, would have spoiled the picture.
When she had lain in bed a few minutes, she bemoaned her sad fate with tears and reproaches.
“Other girls can have birthday presents, and why cannot I? A week or two ago Annie Green had a birthday, and she had a beautiful present of a writing-desk. Her mother did not forget, nor her sister either. They are more kind than mine.”
But Alice's conscience disturbed her a little after she had spoken those words.
“No one can be more kind than your mother and sister," said conscience; and Alice knew within her heart that it was true.
Still, it was very strange that no present seemed to be ready for her. Ever since she could remember, her birthday had been well kept, and a little parcel had always been the first object to greet her eyes
when she awoke. This fact ought to have kept her quiet and patient now. She should have trusted those whom she knew loved her so tenderly. But at present Alice was a very impatient little girl, who could not bear to be kept waiting, and who was very quick to feel anger and disappointment.
"Perhaps I shall find it on the breakfast-table.”
That thought caused Alice to spring from her bed once more, and begin to dress.
“That is it, no doubt. I shall find some little thing, if only a battledore and shuttlecock, waiting for me downstairs."
So she dressed quickly, for hope made her eager. But before she went down a thought caused her to hesitate.
“ It is very mean and little to care so much about a present. I am almost ashamed of myself. I will not let any one know how I feel.”
Having made this resolution, Alice went downstairs.
I am afraid she did not open the little Bible that lay upon the table, nor kneel beside her bed and thank the good Father in