Favorite Songs and Hymns For School and Home, page: 0356

450 Of The World's Best Songs And Hymns, With Lyrics & Sheet music for voice & piano.

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35O                         
Choral Singing.—How should a choral be sung, and what tunes shall we select ? How shall we know g good tune when we hear it ? In answering these questions, I shall try to make myself understood by Ihe unmusical reader. A good tune, fit to be sung by the congregation, must answer Rossini's question: «' Will it grind ? " For instance, *' America " is a very good hand-organ tune. It will grind first-rate. The tune known us Dundee is better still. It contains but two kinds of notes. The figures I and 2 represent its character. They are simple numbers, closely related. The tune Arlington has four kinds of notes, that may be represented by the figures 1, 2, 2^, and 4. This, you see, is an irregular arrangement. Tunes contain­ing dotted notes are not the best, because the dotted note destroys that straight-forward, exact, and mechan­ical character that appeals so directly lo the common
idea of time and numbers. In brief, the best chorals contain notes related to each other by simple numl^rs, like Old Hundred, Dundee, Luther's Chant, Mission­ary Hymn, or related by such numbers as 1, 2, and 3, as Balerma, Dennis, Olmutz, Boylston and others. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. Certain tunes possess a life and animation strong enough to carry them over any ordinary difficulties. Handel's Christmas and the Portuguese Hymn are notable ex­amples. If you take pains to examine the best Ger­man chorals, you will find, as a rule, they contain only two kinds of notes—long and short ones, related as I to 2. Simple and exact, they are easily caught, and are produced, as we happen to know, with wonderful effect. Having seen that simplicity of form and me­chanical exactitude are the standards of a good choral, let us see what more they should have. First comes
O COME, COME AWAY.
Allegro. 1______w
W. E. Hickson.
association. Old Hundred has a rather dry, uninter­esting melody; yet it will never die. It has become so bound up with our dearest thoughts, and connected with our most sacred occasions, that we sing it with tearful eyes, and wonder why we love such a dear, stupid old song. Association keeps alive many a psalm that should be happily forgotten. The tunes Mear and Marlow might well be expunged from our books, as too dreary for any cheerful and sensible Christian; yet there they are likely to stay as long as you and I live. Next, the tunes should always be pitched in low keys. I have listened to congrega­tional singing for many years, and I have never heard the people sing above E of the scale with ease. The
people—men, women and children—sing the melody, and I find this the limit of their average voices. They can go higher; but it is strained and unpleasant, neither edifying nor agreeable. The tunes should have a simple and flowing movement. The intervals or steps between the notes should not be wide nor un­usual. "America " has a remarkably singing melody, confined within seven notes. The tune Ward keeps within six; and Naomi, one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, covers only five notes. Choral music is attracting increased attention every year. It is destined to grow and improve. Let us bid it God­speed. May the day soon come when we can say; " Yea, let all the people praise the Lord !"—Barnard.
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