Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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From the restoration of Charles II. may be dated an entire change in the style of music till then cultivated in England. The learned counterpoint and con­trivance of madrigals and motets in vocal music, and of fancies in instrumental music, fell gradually out of esteem, and were replaced by a lighter and more melodious style of air; such as could be better appreciated by uncultivated ears. The viol, hitherto the chief instrument for chamber concerted music, was gradually replaced by the violin, and the supremacy of the lute in vocal music was then first contested by the guitar.
Charles II. had passed the greater part of his life in exile; where sauntering, dancing, and dallying with his mistresses, had been his principal occupation. One of his letters of that time is so characteristic, that it is here subjoined entire. It was written from Cologne, and addressed to his " deerest aunte," the Queen of Bohemia. The orthography is preserved, as by no means the least curious part; it would have disgraced a school-boy.
" Collen, Augt. 6 [1655]. " Madam,—I am just now begining this Letter in my Sisters Chamber, wher ther is such a noise that I never to hope to end it, and much less write sence. For what concernes my sisters journey and the accidents that happened in the way, I leave her to give your Ma'y an account of. I shall only tell your Maty that we are now fhinMng of how to passe our time; and in the first place of danceing, in which we find to difficultyes, the one for want of the fidelers, the other for somebody both to teach and assist at the danceing the new Dances : and I have gott my sister to send for Silvius as one that is able to performe both : for the fideldedies, my Ld Taaffe does promise to be there convoy, and in the meane time we must contente onr selves with those that makes no difference between a himme and a coranto. I have now receaved my sisters pickture that my deare cousin the Princess Louise was pleased to draw, »nd do desire your Ma'y thank her for me, for 'tis a most excellent pickture, which is all I tan say at present, but that I am, Madame,
Your Maties most humble
and most affectionate nephew and servant Charles R. The original letter is in MS. Lans. 1236 (fol. 106), British Museum; and & Copy is printed in the second series of Original Letters illustrative of English History, edited by Sir H. Ellis, iii. 376. On the 18th of the same month, Charles wrote, from Bruges, to Henry Bennet (whom he afterwards created Earl of Arlington), "Pray get me pricked down as many new Corants and Sarabands, and other little dances, as you can, and bring them with you, for I have a small fidler that does not play ill on the fiddle." And on the 1st of September of the following year, in another letter to the same person,—" You will find, by my last, that though I am furnished with one small fidler, yet I would have another to
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III