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Music from the South.                    95
The memory of these lauds and canticles, sung on holidays by confraternities in procession—some­times by nobles, sometimes by artisans—unlike that of the Siciliana, has thoroughly passed away. Yet, at the beginning of the last century, according to Crescembini, they figured btavely at the Roman jubilee; and the morning after Eurney arrived in Florence, so late as 1770, he had the treat of hearing them singing a cheerful matin hymn in three parts, as they passed his lodgings in grand procession, 'dressed in a whitish uniform, with burning tapers in their hands.' How far this cheerful hymn was ancient or modern, there is no discovering. It is obvious, however, that—apart from music which was to be danced to—harmony predominated in the art long before melody took anything like that form and order of symmetrical beauty which so many absurd pedants, fancying themselves innovators, are at the time present trying to destroy, as something puerile and obsolete. The sacred lauds and secular madrigals were largely accompanied by instruments, and pretty much alike in character—bearing traces of the old influences and tones of Paganism : dry and shapeless, whether music was called in to en­hance the solemnity of a rite of worship, or to grace







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