Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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the intervals of the diatonic scale of C, such as are the white keys of the pianoforte, without any sharps or flats. The only allowable accidental note in the Canto. fermo or plain song of the Romish church is B flat, the date of the introduction of which has not been correctly ascertained." No sharp occurs in genuine chants of high antiquity. In some modern books the flat is placed at the clef upon 6, for the fifth and sixth modes, but the strict adherents to antiquity do not admit this innovation. These tones only differ from one another in the position of the half notes or semitones, as from b to c, and from e to/. In the four plagal modes, the final or key note remains the same as in the relative authentic; thus, although in the sixth mode we have the notes of the scale of C, we have not in reality the key of C, for the fundamental or key note is/; and although the first and eighth tones contain exactly the same notes and in the same position, the fundamental note of the first is d, and of the eighth g. There is no other difference than that the melodies in the four authentic or principal modes are generally (and should strictly speaking be) confined within the compass of the eight notes above the key note, while the four plagal go down to a fourth below the key note, and only extend to a fifth above it.
No scale or key of the eight ecclesiastical modes is to us complete. The first and second of these modes being regarded, according.to the modern rules of modulation, as in the key of D minor, want a flat upon b ; the third and fourth modes having their termination in E, want a sharp upon/; the fifth and sixth modes being in F, want a flat upon b; and the seventh and eighth, generally beginning and ending in G major, want an/sharp. ■
The names of Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, &c, have been applied to them with equal impropriety (more particularly since Glareanus, who flourished in the sixteenth century); they bear no more resemblance to the Greek scales than to the modern keys above cited.
Pope Gregory made an important improvement by discarding the thoroughly groundless system of the tetrachord,- adopted by the ancient Greeks,* and by founding in its place that of the octave, the only one which nature indicates. And another improvement no less important, in connexion with his system of the octave, was the introduction of a most simple nomenclature of the seven sounds of the scale, by means of the first seven letters of the alphabet. Burney says that the Roman letters were first used as musical characters between the time of Boethius,0 who died in 526, and St. Gregory; but Kiesewetterd attributes this improvement in notation entirely to Gregory, in whose time the scale consisted only of two octaves, the notes of the lower octave being expressed by capital letters, and the
* It was probably derived from the tetrachords of the Greek scale, which admitted both 6 flat and i natural, hut which it is not necessary to discuss here,
! b In the old Greek notation there were 1620 tone charac­ters, with which Musicians were compelled to burthen their memories, and 990 marks actually different from each other.
c It appears from Burney, that Soethius used the first fifteen letters of the alphabet, but only as marks of
reference in the divisions of the monochord, not as musical notes or characters.
d "History of the Modern Music of Western Europe, from the first century of the Christian era, to the present day," &c, by R. G. Kiesewetter, translated by Robert Muller, 8vo., 1848. It is a very clearly and concisely written history, and contains in an appendix within the compass of a few pages, as much of the Greek music as any modern can require to know.