Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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404
PURITANISM,
Divinity at Cambridge, attacked cathedral music, and even the service of the Queen's own Chapel, in a similar spirit. " In all their order of service/' said he, " there is no edification, according to the rule of the Apostle, hut confusion. They toss the Psalms, in most places, like tennis-balls." This is in allusion to the verses being sung alternately by the choir on the two sides of the dean and precentor. " As for organs and curious singing, though they be proper to Popish dens (I mean to cathedral churches), yet some others also must have them. The Queen's Chapel, and these churches, which should be spectacles of Christian reformation, are rather patterns and precedents to the people of all superstition."
Salisbury (and which I have verified by a contemporary manuscript, written for Symon, Abbot of St. Alban's, who was installed a.d. 1167, and died in 1188. See MSS. Reg. 13, d. 4, British Museum); also the following, equally curiousfor the early history of music in England, from Aelredus, Abbot of Rivaulx, in Yorkshire, who died a.d. 1166. Prynne prints the original Latin irfa note, and-quotes from Speculum Charitatis, lib. ii., cap. 23, Bibl. Patrum, vol. xiii., p. Ill, " Let me speake now of those who, under the shew of religion, doe obpalliate the busi-nesse of pleasure: who usurpe those things for the service of their vanity, which the ancient Fathers did profitably exercise in their types of future things. "Whence then, I pray, all types and figures now ceasing, whence hath the Church so many Organs and Mustcall Instruments? To what purpose, I demand, is that terrible blowing of Belloes, expressing rather the crackes of Thunder, than the sweetnesse of a voycei To what purpose serves that contraction and inflection of the voice I This man sings a base, this a small meane, an­other a treble, a fourth divides and cuts asunder, as it were, certaine middle notes,. One while the voyce is strained, anon it is remitted, now againe it is dashed, and then againe it is inlarged with a lowder sound. Some­times, which is a shame to speake, it is enforced into an horse's neighmgs j sometimes, the masculine vigor being laid aside, it is sharpened into the shrilnesse of a woman's voyce : now and then it is writtied, and retorted with a certaine artificial) circumvolution. Sometimes thou mayst ™ee a man with an open mouth, not to sing, but, as it were, to breath'out his last gaspe, by shutting in his breath, and by a certaine ridiculous interception of his voyce, as it were to threaten silence, and now againe to imitate the agonies of a dying man, or the extasies of such as suffer. In the mean time, the whole body is stirred up and downe with certaine histrionical gestures: the lips are wreathed, the eyes turne round, the shoulders play, and the bending of the fingers doth answer every note. And this ridiculous dissolution is called religion ; and where these things are most frequently done, it is proclaimed abroad that God is there more honourably served. In the meane time, the common people standing by, trembling and astonished, admire the sound of the Organs, the noyse of the Cymbals and musicall instru­ments, the harmony of the Pipes and Cornets : but yet looke upon the lascivious gesticulations of the Singers, the meretricious alternations, interchanges, and infrac­tions of the voyces, not without derision and laughter; so that a man may thinke that they came, not to an Ora­tory, or house of prayer, but to a Theatre; not to pray, but to gaze about them : neither is that dreadfull majesty feared before whom they stand, etc. Thus, this Church singing, which the holy Fathers have ordained that the weake might be stirred up to piety, is perverted to the use of unlawfull pleasure," etc. The above passage is so
descriptive of the state of church music in England in themiddleof the twelfth century, that I regret not having seen it in time for insertion in the text, in its proper place. It corroborates Dr. Itimbault's account, in his History of the Organ, that at that time organs had but one stop, and that Pipes, Cornets, and Cymbals (of a small description, tuned in sets) were used with them. Among the early improvements in the construction, were the imitations of those instruments by stops. The description of the sing­ing in four parts, and of the airs and graces, and the singers, have so modern an appearance, that they might almost have been written yesterday. Prynne prints the original Latin, from Bibl. Patrum, but to ensure that no interpolations have been made, I have collated that copy with a manuscript of the Speculum Charitatis, written in the thirteenth century, and now in the British Museum. It is MSS. Reg. 5, B. 9, and belonged to the Monastery of St. Mary, at Coggeshall, in Essex. The name of the author is variously latinized, Aelredus, Ailredus, Ealiedus, &c, his English name being Ethelred. The passage in question, at fol. 191 of the Manuscript, is as follows:—" De his nunc sermo sit, qui specie religionis negotium voluptatisobpalliant: quieaqugeantiqui patres in typis futororum salubriter exercebant, in usum vani-tatis usurpant. Unde quaeso, cessantibus Jam typis et figuris, unde in Ecclesia tot Organa tot Cymbala? Ad quid rogo terribilis ille follium flatus, tonitrui potius fra-gorem quam vocis exprimens suavitatemf Ad quid ilia vocis contractio et infractio? Hie succinit, ille discinit alter supercinit, alter medias quasdam notas dividlt et incidit. Nunc vox stringitur, nunc frangitur, nunc im-pingitur, nunc diffusion sonitu dilatatur. Aliquando, quod pudet dicere, in equinos hinnitus cogitur, aliquando, virilivigoredeposito, infaeminiae vocis gracilitateacuitur: nonnunquam artificiosa quadam circumvolutione torque-tur et retorquetur. Yideas aliquando hominem aperto ore, quasi intercluso halitu expirare, noti cantare, ac ridl culosa quadam vocis interceptione, quasi minitari silen* tium, nunc agones morientium, vel extasim patientium imitari. Interim htstrionicis quibusdam gestibus totum corpus agitatur; torquentur labia, rotant ocull, ludunt humeri et ad singulas quasque notas digitorum flex us respondet. Et hsec ridiculosa dissolutio vocatur religio; et ubi haec frequentius agitautur, ibl Deo honorabilius serviri clamatur. Stans intere vulgus, sonitum Follium, crepitum Cymbalorum, harmoniam Fistularum, tremens attonitusquemiratur: sedlascivas Cantantium gesticula-tiones, meretricias vocum alternationes et tnfractiones, non sine cachinno, risuque intuetur; ut eos non ad Oratorium sed ad Theatrum, nee ad oiandum sed ad spectandum sestimes convenisse: nee timetur ilia tremenda majestas cui assistitur," &c. " Sic quod sancti Patres in&tituerunt ut infirmi excitarentur ad affectum pietatis, in usum assumitur illecitae voluptatis."







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