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286                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
to the rank of auditors at the services. These were not allowed to join in the congregational singing, and were sometimes not even admitted to the body of the church edifice unless called there.
It is presumable that the right to join in the singing was, during the first two or three centuries, highly prized.
Little by little the spirit of improvement crept into the unskilled but soul-felt music of the early Christian church. It seems rather strange to find in the very germs of the religion, a silent, yet real contest between congregational and paid singing; and to find the same evils creeping in with the employment of sinsrers in those early times, that we see in the present days of quartette choirs. In the days of Origen (about the middle of the second century) all the congregation sang to­gether.
St. John Chrysostom says,—
" The psalms which we sing united all the voices in one, and the canticles arise harmoniously in unison. Young and old, rich and poor, women, men, slaves and citizens, all of us have formed but one melody together."*
A better picture of the full congregational singing of ttie primitive Christians cannot be given. The custom of allowing both sexes to sing together, was abolished by the Synod of Antioch in A. D. 379, and it was then decided that the men only should be allowed to sing the psalms.
In A. D. 481, the council of Laodicea ordained
•Quoted by Fetis, Histoire Gen. d. 1. Mus., t. 4, p. 7.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III