Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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INTRODUCTION.
vii.
have no national music. It is extraordinary that such a report should have obtained credence, for England may safely challenge any nation not only to pro­duce as much, but also to give the same satisfactory proofs of antiquity. The report seems to have gained ground from the unsatisfactory selection of English airs in Dr. Crotch's Specimens of various Styles of Music; but the national music in that -work was supplied by Malchair, a Spanish violin-player at Oxford, -whose authority Crotch therein quotes. It is perhaps not generally known that at the time of the publication Dr. Crotch was but nineteen years of age. No collection of English airs had at that time been made to guide Malchair, and he followed the dictum of Dr. Burney in such passages as the following :—
"It is related by Giovanni Battista Donado that the Turks have a limited number of tunes, to which the poets of their country have continued to write for ages ; and the vocal music of our own country seems long to have been equally circumscribed -. for, till the last century, it seems as if the number of our secular and popular melodies did not greatly exceed that of the Turks." In a note, he adds, that the tunes of the Turks were in all twenty-four, which were to depict melancholy, joy, or fury,—to be mellifluous or amorous. (History, ii. 553.)
Again, in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, when Bottom has been turned into an ass, and says " I have a reasonable good ear in music; let me have tongs and bones," the stage direction is " Musick tongs, Rural Music." Burney inverts the stage direction, and adds " Poker and tongs, marrowbones and cleavers, salt-box, hurdy-gurdy, &c, are the old national instruments of our island." (iii. 335.)
Jean Jacques Rousseau published a letter on French music, which he summed up by telling his countrymen that " their harmony was abominable ; their airs were not airs ; their recitative was not recitative ; that they had no music, and could not have any." (Rousseau, Ecrits sur la Musique, Paris, edit. 1823, p. 312.) Dr. Burney seems to have improved upon this model, for Rousseau did not resort to misquotation to prove his case, but Dr. Burney's History is one continuous misrepresentation of English music and musicians, only rendered plausible by misquotation of every kind.
The effect of the misquotation is that he has been believed ; and passages as absurd as the following have been copied by writers who have relied upon his authority:—
" The low state of our regal music in the time of Henry VIII., 1530, may be gathered from the accounts given in Hall's and Hollinshed's Chronicles, of a masque at Cardinal Wolsey's palace, Whitehall, where the King was entertained with ' a concert of drums and fifes.' But this was soft music compared with that of his heroic daughter Elizabeth, who, according to Hentzner, used to be regaled during dinner 'with twelve trumpets and two kettle-drums; which, together with fifes, cornets, and side-drums, made the hall ring for half an hour together.'" (History, iii. 143.)
There is nothing of the kind in the books Dr. Burney pretends to quote. The account of the chroniclers is of Henry the Eighth's landing at Wolsey's palace,