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MUSIC OF EUROPE.                     313
Both the above anecdotes, although quoted very frequently, must be taken cum grano salis, for as Ambros and Fetis well observe, the two singers, if they had received instruction from Gregory, and also taught in the era of Charlemagne, must have been about two hundred years of age, which is certainly too old for active service. Another historian gives the names of the envoys as Petrus and Romanus, and it is certain that one of these did go to Metz, and that a famous school of sing­ing was founded at Soissons about the same time. Both the teachers, also must have instructed the French, in the musical characters then used in notation, and known by the name of Neumes.
The Neumes which were iu. use for musical writing from the eighth to the twelfth century were short lines, twirls, and hooks, which were written above the words of a song to denote the melody.
The origin of these marks, is buried in oblivion, for they seem to have been developed, not at one time, but gradually, and from the simplest begin­nings. Although we have not space to describe the theories concerning them, a short explanation of them is necessary, for from these Neumes gradually came our modern system of notation. At first these marks were only meant as guides to memory; to aid the singer to sing an air which he had previously learned. Thus the first bar of 11 Home Sweet Home," would be represented by a Scandicus signifying three upward moving tones, the first two short, the last one long.






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