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Music from the East.
17
when some breeze provokes it to reply. A chant is
not a melody. It is merely an accommodation of
the speaker's voice to the words which are to be
delivered by him. The words may be long or may
be brief : the chanter or declaimer in music must
make room for them; and the intervals of tone may,
in many cases, be merely so many expedients of
support and relief to the speaking voice. Everyone
who has frequented the exhibitions of extempore
preachers must have been struck by a semi-musical
delivery, which in cultivated persons approaches
tunc, which in unlettered ones is twang. When
Edward Irving read from the Bible that splendid
passage which contains the dedication anthem for
the opening of Solomon's Temple, it was a spoken
chorus. Elizabeth Fry sang her sermons.
The Chant, then, it is not chimerical to assume,
originated unconsciously in verbal recitation. There
is nothing so soon caught up, so late got rid of, as
a peculiar inflexion of voice : and thus the desire of
crier or speaker to be heard by these at a distance,
seconded by imitation, has gone far to breed those
strange barbaric sequences of sound, which have been
erroneously defined as melodies.
Again : sounds independent of language grow
C







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