Page images
PDF
EPUB

3. 6
8

6
8

8

We say

to the 3d above the key-note in ascend- foregoing remarks will not be regarded ing, the minor' mode is changed into the as inexcusably prolix. major on the same key-note, and the laro, In treating of accent, ch. v., Mr. H. or former key-note, is to be changed into has adopted the idea of Callcott, that faro.

there are only two species of time which 8. When three flats are added to the are radically distinct, and that all the major mode descending, or a single flat varieties arise from the different degrees to the 3d above the key-note in ascend- of rapidity with which these two are pering, the major mode is changed into the formed. “ An auditor," he observes, (p. minor on the same key-note, and the faw, 13.)“ cannot tell whether the triple time or former key-note, is to be changed into he hears be written in measures of 3, law.

, or 2." We confess ourselves These two opposite changes are of not rather inclined to subscribe to the opinunfrequent occurrence; but if at all pro- ions of the German theorists, and to adtracted, they are generally denoted by a' mit a radical difference, at least between new signature.

the three first varieties named above, on The application of these rules will re- the one hand, and the three last, on the quire but three explanatory circum- other. Let a strain in, and another in stances. 1sti A natural is to be reckon-, be performed with the same rapidity, ed as a sharp or a flat, according as the and their rythmical effect, we apprehend, note which it restores is flat or sharp; 2d. will be found to differ in two respects. the same rules regulate a digression from In the latter, the first note in each mea. one related key to another, as from the sure is more strongly accented, and is principal to a related key; 3d. the sharps more protracted, compared with the or flats mentioned above may not all'oc- others, than in the former. car in any one part. Some of the notes more protracted, because, although the which would be affected by accidentals, notes are theoretically equal in time, if they occurred, may not be found at all the established mode of execution has: in a given part, while the change of key made accented notes the longest. Again, continues.*

the first note of every measure of has We would not have our readers sup- an equal accent; but the first note of a pose that we consider this statement as

measure of $, at which the hand falls, is exhausting the subject, or as containing naturally accented more strongly than any thing new. Our sole object has been the 4th, at which it rises. For both these 10 exhibit, in the smallest possible com- reasons, triple time might be easily dispass, all that is necessary to be known tinguished from compound, by a discernby the vocal performer: and when it is ing ear, even supposing both performed considered that an acquaintance with with the same rapidity. We believe, this subject is indispensable to the correct also, that two radically distinct species of performance of every thing beyond the common time can be shown to exist; one simplest specimens of counterpoint, that in which every other note is equally acthe great majority of our musical com- cented, and the other, in which the forpilers have totally neglected it, and that mer of every two accented notes has a uniformity of practice among our teach- superior, and the latter an inferior accent. ers is highly desirable, we trust that the If any one wishes to satisfy himself of

this, let him strike out the bars from a * When a modulation is carried through a

piece of music written in the second vamusical period, the key may often be found at riety of common time, and insert them so once, by inspecting the base note of the cadence of that period. It is important also to remark,

as to divide the former measures into that in every regular composition, the change of equal parts. On singing the piece anew, key is the same in all the parts. If, therefore, he will probably find the effect of it somethe new key can be found for one part, it is found for the rest.

what altered. We think a subordinate

[ocr errors]

accent on the 3d hote more exactly de-. tion, in our view, evinces not only a corscriptive of the fact, than the language rect and discriminating taste, but, what of Kollmann, who represents the 3d pote, is not less important, practical good sense. in this second variety, as wholly unac- A few pieces we might name, perhaps, cented. But we will not enlarge on a which are rather of negative merit; a point which is rather curious than prac- few more, partly, we presume, through tically important. Whatever difference inadvertence, are inserted twice under of opinion may exist as to the number of nearly the same form; and in several inradically distinct species of time, all will stances different tunes have been admitagree that there is a convenience in re- ted which have too close a resemblance taining those at least nominally different in their general effect: but as a whole, varietics which are in common use. the work is characterized by chasteness

We must now dismiss the Musical Rea- and variety of style, and is eminently der, and hasten to an examination of the adapted to the wants of the choir and the other work announced to our readers at

congregation. A sufficient number of the head of these remarks. The “Mu- set pieces (unless the want of a few ansica Sacra" consists of two musical com

thems in the ancient style be considered pilations which have been already before a deficiency) are interspersed, to fit it for the public, and have, we believe, in their the private circle, and for special public separate state, been well received. “ The occasions. To accommodate it more present work,” say the editors in their effectually to the wants of different Chrispreface, which embraces, with suitable tian denominations, several chants are alterations and additions, most of the mu- inserted ; and that it may answer the pursic contained in those collections, is in- poses of the organist as well as the vocal tended to present to our readers a greater performer, the bases are, throughout, variety of chaste and classical pieces figured. In this last particular, the work than has yet been offered to the public before us, with the exception of one or in any single volume.” Whether the two imperfect attempts, stands alone compilers have succeeded in their “ in- among our American compilations of satention," we do not think it of much im- cred music. It is an unfortunate circumportance to decide ; for the merit of a stance that the methods of figuring in difwork of this kind depends much less on ferent parts of it are so much at variance. its absolute dimensions, than on its adap- Where a figured base from an English tation to the purposes it was designed to copy could be found by the editors, they answer. Waiving the inquiry, therefore, seem to have felt themselves unauthorwhether all the 300 original pieces in Ho- ized to venture on any alterations; and lyokes's unwieldly “ Repository" are un- they have accordingly introduced as many chaste and unclassical, or whether all the systems of figuring as were adopted by music by which the “ Village Harmony” the different authors whose music they exceeds the one before us is of the same have compiled. When a figured base character, we have been led to the more could not be found, they bave supplied important opinion, (and it is an opinion the deficiency; and with a correctness founded on a pretty close scrutiny of the (excepting what are evidently typograpresent publication, and a tolerably ex- phical errors) which evinces their qualifitended acquaintance with its chief pre- cations for the undertaking. Had they decessors,) that, considering the price, reduced all the figuring to a single standthe style of mechanical execution, and ard, we think the value of the work to the wants of our churches, the intentions the instrumental performer would have of the compilers have been virtually real- been sufficiently enhanced, to obviate ized. They have drawn their materials every objection which might be started almost exclusively from the most respect- on the ground of innovation. able European sources; and their selec- If the editors deserve credit for their Vol. 19.-No. 111.

26

selection of tunes, they deserve no less possessed that kind and degree of musifor their labour in procuring, and their cal knowledge wbich may be picked up taste in deciding between different co- by a teacher of psalmody, and has dealt pies of the same tune, where different it out with no small ostentation in his , editions are found to vary. Many of the “ Elements of Music Displayed;" but old airs now in general use in our the vulgar rhymes, the excessive meanchurches, it is well known by those ac- ness of style, and the low abuse of his quainted with the history of church music, contemporaries, observable even in this were written without accompaniments,* production, demonstrate bis total want of and owe their harmony to subsequent learning and taste, and his unfitness for authors: and all have undergone such the work of revising and harmonizing the alterations in the hands of different edi- ancient church music of Great-Britain. tors, learned and unlearned, during the The copies of old music in his “ Royal lapse of two or three centuries, that the Melody” are such as might be expected exact form of the original harmony is now from his taste and qualifications. We lost. Hence, if we except the air which cannot, however, place A. Williams prehas seldom been touched, there is in cisely on the same level. That he was reality, at the present time, no standard a superficial contrapuntist, few will proby which the correctness of a given copy bably deny ; but there is a variety of of these ancient tunes can be brought to pieces now in circulation in this country, the test. The reader will see many of some of which are undoubtedly his, (althese tunes in the present compilation, though others are as certainly not,) which under a form somewhat different from are generally esteemed, and are far from that to which he has been accustomed; being contemptible, in point of composibut before he censures the course adopted tion. That he undertook the revision of by the editors, he ought to be apprised of the old tunes, in bis “ Universal Psalmodthe state of facts. We will allow them to ist,” is implied by himself when he speaks make their own statement :

of the whole as “ composed in a new and " On perusing the following pages, it will easy t aste;” but the existence of the be observed that some of the old tunes are “ grossly incorrect” copies now current differently harmonized from the copies se in this country is not to be ascribed to lected from Williams and Tansur, and other him. These copies appear to have been authors of less note. But to those persons who are forward to condemn every copy taken ly our late compilers, not from that differs from the one they formerly have the original work of Williams himself, seen, it should be more generally known that those copies are grossly incorrect. Eu. but from Bailey's edition of Williams rope, as well as America, bas her pretend- and Tansur, published in Newburyport, ers to science, and such were certainly Wil. 1770,- an edition in which the old liams, and Tansur, and several others whose compositions have already had a sufficient tunes, common to Williams' and Tansur's circulation. We would not be understood books, are copied from Tansur, and in to complain of the airs that those authors which the few found only in Williams are have compiled, for many of them are truly excellent: but the manner in which they generally given in a different, and much have harmonized them, is such as no person more exceptionable form than in the of science or taste can approve. A consi- English edition. deration of these circumstances has induced us to avail ourselves, as much as possible,

We think our intelligent readers will of those copies which have been produced have no hesitation in admitting that the by the distinguished masters of Europe.copies of many of the old tunes in gene

To the character of Tapsur, we think ral circulation, coming as they have done this representation does no injustice. He

from a source of so little respectability, and still farther corrupted in passing

through the hands of different publishers, * The first collection of psalm tunes published are indeed “grossly incorrect.” They in Great Britain, (annexed to Sternhold and Hopkins' version, 1562,) were in one part only abound in consecutive fifths and octaves,

1

-in progressions to unrelated chords-in. of their old form, except the air. Their unsharped sevenths on the ascending mi- zeal for reform has, we think, been carpor scale,--and in short, in violations of ried to a very injudicious extreme, even if almost every rule of simple counterpoint. it had been under the guidance of the However desirable the substitution of greatest musical skill; but we are comcorrect copies may appear, any attempt pelled to say that their high pretensions of this kind, considering how nearly uni- are very ill supported. An eminent proversal is the adoption of the existing ones, fessor is said, in their preface, to have been is liable to formidable objections. We employed to correct the harmony of every are naturally attached to what we have piece in the work; but this “ eminent been accustomed to hear from infancy; professor," whoever he was, has commithence it is scarcely to be expected that ted the grossest violations of all rule, in innovations, even if made for the better, almost every page that has passed under will meet with a general reception. A his review; and while he has left the certain portion of the old tunes under harmony in a state scarcely better than consideration, are, if we may so speak, that in which he found it, he has rendered the universal language of Christian devo- the melody, in many instances, absolutely tion; and the mischiefs of giving a par. barbarous. In a recent compilation, ential currency to innovations in this lan- titled “ Songs of the Temple,” several guage are just as palpable as those which of the most defective of the old tunes would arise from a partial introduction of have been newly arranged, in part by the the innovations proposed by some wrong. Editor. We have looked at his arrangeheaded philologists, in the established or- ments with a careful eye; but he seems thography. If it be allowed even to the to us, in several instances at least, to have most skilful theorist to change a note ora studied correctness, to the neglect of an passage whenever it does not exactly suit easy flowing melody.* his ear, or coincide with his rules, igno- A less questionable course has, in rance and vanity will soon take the work general, been adopted by the Editors of ont of his hands, and we shall have as the Musica Sacra. They have employed many different“ improved and corrected” themselves, with much apparent industry copies of these tunes, as there are men and perseverance, iu comparing those who possess just that sinattering of sci- foreign copies which have appeared under ence which produces eagerness for inno- the sanction of distinguished masters, vation.

and “where the same piece was found to · Notwithstanding these objections, seve- be differently harmonized, have endeasal attempts have been made, within fif-voured to select that copy which would teen years past, to give our old harmonies be sung with the most interest, and whichi, an improved form. Mr. Law, we believe, at the same time, should disfer least from stands among the earliest of those who the one in general use.” In regard to have undertaken this task ; and whatever those old tunes which had obtained the we may think of the general expediency most general admission into our churches, of the atteinpt, we must at least do bim even this course is not free from the obthe credit of saying that he has given se- jections incident to innovation ; although veral of these pieces a more correct and it has at least the merit of not adding to scientific form than belongs to the copies generally current. The compilers of the

* We consider this compilation, however, (es

pecially the last edition, published in Boston, Salern Collection,” first published in September, 1818,) as possessing, in most re1805, in their zeal for the restitution of spects, a high degree of merit, and as well en

titled to a share of public patronage. The later correct harmony to these tunes, have not editions of the Village Harmony, likewise, and hesitated to alter every thing which they the Hartford Collection, contain a large mass of could construe into a defect, and have excellent church music; but 100 little attention

has been paid by the editors of these compila left to many of them scarcely any restige tions, to the copies of their tunes

the number of varying copies already so We have already intimated that the unhappily great. But there is a large plan of selection, as distinguished from class of tunes of a more modern stamp, that of original alteration, has not been and less generally, adopted, in regard to invariably adhered to by the Editors. We which it appears to us, in every point of have learned from other sources than view, expedient and desirable. Our ears their own preface, that in some instances, have not been inured to the defects of the when a tune was palpably erroneous, and current copies, -and the inconveniences a classical foreign copy was not to be attendant on a seeming innovation are found, they haveventured on slight alteracomparatively trifling. In the great tions, upon their own authority. The air body of instances in which the copies of they have not ventured to touch, except tunes, selected by our compilers,vary from in one or two instances of old tunes less those already in circulation, we have no generally known. The base of ten or hesitation in saying that the former are twelve pieces has undergone in their decidedly the best. We believe our read- hands more or less change; and the upers will agree with us in opinion, when per parts of several more appear to have they have compared the Reading, Brent- been newly arranged. In this last parford, Wilton, and Wirksworth of the Mu• ticular, which is of little importance ou sica Sacra, with Walsall, Bethesda, Wind- the score of innovation, as these parts sor and Aylesburg, * of, for example, the have always been treated with great Village Harmony; and the St. Mary's liberty,* and as no changes in them can Portugal, Truro, Weymouth, Bangor, have much effect on the radical harmony Amsterdam, &c. of the former, with those of the movement, the Editors appear to of the same name in the latter. It would us to be fully justified, by the distribution be unfair not to notice two or three in- they have made of the parts. The colstances which we regard as exceptions to lections of A. Williams, Tansur, and T. the above remark. The Portuguese Williams, from which most of the foreign Hymn is given as arranged by a Dublio church music chiefly used in this country master; but in the attempt to give it ap has been derived, are arranged, (although air of modern refinement, we think the it is spoken of by A. W. as an innovation inimitable beauty and simplicity of the in his time,) in such a manner as to give old form, as adapted to the words Cone the air to tenor voices. The arrangehither ye failhful, &c. has been consider- ment adopted in the work before us, which ably impaired. Likewise in that excel. is that of almost all the first masters of lent tune of Dr. Crofts' called St. Ann's, Great Britain, and is rapidly gaining although the editors bave the authority of ground in this country, assigns the air to many English copies for the cadence on the treble. Hence the old trebles, in the dominant in the third line, and the many instances, require raising, to adapt progression is doubtless in theory the them to tenor voices, and to avoid the efmost correct, we must own ourselves best fect of a second base. The propriety of satisfied with the cadence of the common altering a base must be judged of in indicopies on the mediant. The recurrence vidual cases from a comparison of two of two cadences, so nearly identical as circumstances,--the extent to which the those of the second and third lines in the tune is used, and the degree in which the present copy, produces a monotonous and base is faulty. In regard to the old tunes enfeebling effect.

which have the most extensive currency,

the Editors have ventured on alterations * It will be inferred from this emmeration; in the base with a very sparing hand; and that many of those favourite pieces which might appear on a hasty glance not to be contained in this compilation, are really found in it under different names. Would it not be desirable, * These parts are a mere nose of wax, and where different names are extensively adopted have never been uniform, even in our own comfor the same tune, to notice both, at least in the pilations. The diversity is equally great in index?

foreign copies.

a

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »