Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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246                                  ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
Viols had six strings, and the position of the fingers was marked on the finger­board by frets, as in guitars of the present day. The " Chest of Viols " consisted of three, four, five, or six of different sizes; one for the treble, others for the mean, the counter-tenor, the tenor, and perhaps two for the base. Old English musical instruments were commonly made of three or four different sizes, so that a player might take any of the four parts that were required to fill up the harmony. So Violins, Lutes, Recorders, Flutes, Shawms, &c, have been described by some writers in a manner which (to those unacquainted with this peculiarity) has appeared irreconcileable with other accounts. Shakespeare (in Hamlet) speaks of the Recorder as a little pipe, and says, in A Midsummer Nights Dream, " he hath played on his prologue like a child on a recorder;" but in an engraving of the instrument,* it reaches from the lip to the knee of the performer; and among those left by Henry VIII. were Recorders of box, oak, and ivory, great and small, two base recorders of walnut, and one great base recorder. In the same catalogue we find " flutes called Pilgrims' staves," which were probably six feet long. . Richard Braithwait, a writer of this reign, has " set down Some Bules for the Government of the Souse of an JEarl" in which the Earl was to keep "five musitions skillfull in that commendable sweete science," and they were required to teach the Earl's children to sing, and to play upon the base-viol, the virginals, the lute, and the bandora, or cittern. When he gave " great feasts," the musi­cians were to play, whilst the service was going to the table, upon Sackbuts, Cornets, Shawms, and "such other instruments going with wind;',l) and upon "Viols, Violins, or other broken1* musicke," during the repast.
The custom of retaining musicians in the service of families continued to the time of the Protectorate. It was not confined to men of high rank (either in this or the preceding century), but was general with the wealthy of all classes.
debted to the Musical Antiquarian Society. The Madrl-      reed in the Hautboy, and that these were Recorders. In
gals of Wilhye, Weelkes, Sennet, Bateson, and Gibbons;       the proverbs at Leckingfield (quoted ante Note b, p. 35),
the Ballets of Morley and Hilton; the four-part songs of      the Recorder is described as " desiring " the mean part,
Dowland, and four Operas by Purcell; besides the first      but manifold fingering and stops bringeth high (notes)
music printed for the Virginals, the four-part Psalms by      from its clear tones. This agrees with Salter's book. He
Este, and various Anthems, &c, &c.                                    tells us the high notes are produced by placing the thumb
* See " The Genteel Companion for the Recorder," by      half over the hole at the back, and blowing alittle stronger.
Humphrey Salter, 1683. Recorders and (English) Flutes      Recorders were used for teaching birds to pipe.
are to outward appearance the same, although Lord Bacon,         b In Middlcton's play, The Spanish Gipsy, act ii., sc. 1,
in his Natural History, cent, iii., sec. 221, says the Re-      is another allusion to the loud music while dinner was
corder hath a less bore, and a greater above and below.      being carried in, as well as a common pun upon sackbuts
The number of holes for the fingers is the same, and the      and sack.
scale, the compass, and the manner of playing, the same.         Alv. " You must not look to have your dinner served in
Salter describes the recorder from which the instrument      with trumpets."
derives its name, as situate in the upper part of it, i.e.,         Car. " No, no, sach-buts shall serve us."
between the hole below the mouth and the highest hole         ' " Broken Music," as is evident from this and other
for the finger. He says, "Of the kinds of music, vocal      passages, means what we now term "a string band."
has always had the preference in esteem, and in con-      Shakespeare plays with the term twice: firstly in Troilus
sequence, the Recorder, as approaching nearest to the      andCressida, act iii., sc. 1, proving that the musicians then
sweet delighffulness of the voice, ought to have first place      on the stage were performing on stringed instruments;
in opinion, as we see by the universal use of it confirmed."      and secondly in Henry V., act v., sc. 2, where he says to
The Hautboy is considered now to approach most nearly      the French Princess Katherine, " Come, your answer in
to the human voice, and Mr. Ward, the military instru-      broken music; for thy voice is music and thy English
ment manufacturer, informs me that lie has seen "old      broken." The term originated probably from harps,lutes,
English Flutes " with a hole bored through the side, in      and such other stringed instruments as were played with-
the upper part of the Instrument, the holes being covered      out a bow, not having the capability to sustain a long note
with a thin piece of skin, like gold-beater's skin. I sup-      to its full duration of time. Jose this would give somewhat the effect of the quill or

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