Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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Vlll.
INTRODUCTION.
where, by a preconcerted arrangement, " divers chambers" (short cannon that made a loud report) were let off, and he was conducted into the hall with " such a noise of drums and flutes as seldom had been heard the like," for the purpose of surprising the Cardinal and the masquers. Not a word of the music of the masque. '
As to Queen Elizabeth, Hentzner describes only the military music to give notice in the palace that dinner was being carried in. Music then answered the purpose of the dinner-bell. He says " the queen dines and sups alone."
Burney carries his depreciation of English authors systematically throughout his work. It might be supposed that he would have allowed an author of so early a date as John Cotton, who flourished soon after Guido, to pass unchallenged, but he first misrepresents, and then contradicts him. Burney tells us that Cotton ascribes the invention of neumse erroneously to Guido (ii. 144). Now Cotton speaks of various modes of writing music by the musical signs called neumse, and attributes the last only to Guido. It is certain that Burney read no more of the treatise than the heading of a chapter (Quid utilitatis afferant neumce a Guidone inventce), for he proves by a note upon neumse, that he only half understood what they were. To any reader of Cotton's treatise, such misapprehension would have been impossible. (See Gerbert's Scriptores Mcclesiastici de Musicd, ii. 257.)
It is not always easy to prove that a writer reviewed works without reading them, but I doubt if any musician can now be found who believes that Burney had examined " all the works he could find " of Henry Lawes, with the " care and candour" that he professes; while in the case of Morley's Concert-Lessons, it is certain that he passed his facetious judgment upon them after scoring only a portion of two parts, the work being in six. This is proved by his own manu­script (Addit. MSS. 11,587, Brit. Mus.), and there was no perfect copy of the work extant at the time.
When Burney tells us that the Catch Club sang old compositions " better than the authors intended" (iii. 123),—that " our secular vocal music, during the first years of Elizabeth's reign, seems to have been much inferior to that of the Church," and has no better proof of it than a book of songs composed by an amateur mu­sician, " Thomas "Wythorne, Gent.," in 1571 (iii. 119),—when he says that, in. the same reign, " the violin was hardly known to the English in shape or in name !" (iii. 143),—and that Playford was the first who published music in the seventeenth century, yet commenced in 1653! (iii. 417 and 418),—he shews not only a desire to underrate, but also a deficiency of knowledge, that must weaken all confidence in him as an historian.
In his review of the music in Elizabeth's reign, he tells us that " the art of singing, further than was necessary to keep a performer in tune and time, must have been unknown . . . solo songs, anthems, and cantatas, being productions of later times" (iii. 114). A more strange misconception could scarcely have been penned. No songs to the lute ? No ballads ? If so, Miles Coverdale might have spared himself the trouble of telling the courtier " not to rejoice in his ballads," and Chaucer should have represented at least three persons as serenading the