Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Shopping Discounts



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
REIGN OF JAMES I.                                            247
So the old merchant in Shirley's Love Tricks (licensed 1625) says, " I made a ditty, and my musician, that I keep in my house to teach my daughter, hath set it to a very good air, he tells me." At least one wealthy merchant of the reign of Henry VIII. retained as many musicians in his service as are prescribed for the household of an Earl in James' reign. Sir Thomas Kytson, citizen and mercer, built Hengrave Hall, in Suffolk, between the years 1525 and 1538, and at the death of his son (towards the close of Elizabeth's reign) inventories of all the fur­niture and effects were taken, including those of " the chamber where the musicyons playe," and of the " instruments and books of musicke" it contained.11 With the exception of those for the lute, all the books of instrumental music were in sets of five (for music in five or more parts), as well as those containing the vocal music, described as " old." The number of musicians was perhaps increased by his son, for in the household expenses of the year 1574, we find, " seven cornets bought for the musicians;" and the viols, violins, and recorders, in the inventory, are (like those of Henry VHI.) in chests or cases containing six or seven of each; whilst much of the vocal music required six, and some seven and eight, voices to sing it. In 1575 he lent the services of Robert Johnson, Mus. Baa, one of his musicians, to the Earl of Leicester, on the occasion of the pageants at Kenilworth.
Although we have no old English book written for the purpose of describing the musical instruments in use in former days, like those of Mcrsenne and Kircher 'for France and Germany, we find in our translations of the Bible and the Metrical Psalms, the names of all in general use at the times those translations were made, for the Hebrew instruments are all rendered by the names of such as were then commonly known. We are so accustomed to picture David play­ing on the harp, that we are not easily reconciled to the French version of the Psalms, in which, in translations of the same passages, the violin is the instru­ment assigned to him ; and what we translate lute, they render bagpipe (musette). It is not my purpose to enter upon a detailed account of musical instruments," but the curious in such matters will find in Sir William Leighton's " Teares or Lamentations of a sorrowful soule," a long catalogue of those known at this period. It is contained in " A thanksgiving to God, with magnifying of his holy name upon all instruments.0 In the following lines from Song IV. in Drayton's Poly-olbion, printed in the same year (1613), many of those in common use are cited:—
History and Antiquities of Hengraw, by John Gage,         • A copy with music in the British Museum. Among
F.S.A., fol., 1822. There are six viols in a chest; six      the instruments not mentioned by Drayton are the follow-
violins in a chest (in 1572 a treble violin cost 20s.); seven      ing, which I give in Sir William Leighton's spelling:—
recorders in a case; besides lutes, cornets, bandoras,       "Regalia, Simballs, Timbrell, Syrons, Crowdes, Clari-
citterns, sackbuts, flutes, hautboys, a curtail (or short soft      coales, Dulsemers, Crouncorns, and Simfonie." He men-
of bassoon), a lysarden (base comet, or serpent), a pair of      tions the Drumafter the Simphony, thereby apparently
little Virginals, a pair of double virginals, "a wind instru-      drawing a distinction between them, but according to
ment like a virginal," and a pair of double organs.                Bartholomeus Be Proprietatibus Rerum, printed by
b Sir John Hawkins' descriptions of musical instru-      Wynken de Worde, the Simphony is "an instrument
ments are too much drawn from foreign sources. English      of musyke. .. made of an holowe tree, closed in lether
instruments often differed materially from those in use      in eyther syde, and mystrels betyth it wyth styckes*"
abroad, as many do at the present day. I cannot agree      " Crouncorn" means, perhaps, Krumhom or Cromhorn, a
with his description of the Cittern (it has too many strings)      crooked horn, in imitation of which we have a reed stop in
or of some others. The catalogue of musical instru-      old organs called the Cromhorn, which is now corrupted
ments left by Henry VIII. (Hart. MSS. 1419, fol. 200)      into Cremona. Henry VIII., at his death, left several
was unfortunately unknown to him, or it would have      cases containing from four to seven Crumhorns in each. explained many difficulties.