Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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REIGN OF CHARLES II.                                               471
but this is because of the strangeness to us of the crude tonal system that prevailed at thotime, and upon which they are constructed. The peculiarities that result from it are the peculiarities of the age, and were common to all the best writers of th« school in this and every other country. Judged by the only true standard of criticism, —judged merely as what they were designed to be,—they must be pronounced ex­cellent proofs of the musical erudition, the ingenious contrivance, and the fluent invention of the composer."
Before the introduction of fantasies, says the Hon. Roger North, "whole consorts for instruments of four, five, and six parts were solemnly composed, and with wonderful art and invention, whilst one of the parts (commonly in the middle) bore onely the plain song throughout. And I guess that, in some time, little of other consort musick was coveted or in use. But that which was styled In Nomine, was yet more remarkable, for it was onely descanting upon seven notes, with which the syllables In Nomine Domini agreed. And of this kind I have seen whole volumes of many parts, with the several authors' names in­scribed. And if the study, contrivance, and ingenuity of these compositions to fill the harmony, carry on fugues, and intersperse discords, may pass in the account of skill, no other sort may plead so more; and it is some confirmation that in two or three ages last bygone the best private musick, as was esteemed, consisted of these." A volume of In Nomines, formerly in the possession of the North and L'Estrange families, is now in that of Dr. Rimbault. They are in five, six, seven, and eight parts; and among the composers are Shepherd, Taverner, Tye, Munday, Tallis, Byrd, &c. Among the earlier writers of fantaties whose works are still extant, are Robert White (the well-known church composer,.who died before 1581), Byrd, Morley,- Dr. Bull, Michael Este or East, Ferabosco, Cooper, and others.
Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book contains numerous fantasies for that in­strument, including one by John Munday, " Faire Wether, Lightning, Thunder, Calmt Wether, &c.;" and in Lady NevilFs, we have a composition by Byrd, entitled " The Battell," with the following movements:—" The March of Foote-men; The March of Horsemen; The Trumpetts; The Irish Marche; The Bag­pipe and Drone; The Flute and Drone; The March to fight; Tantara; The Battells be joyned; The Retreat; and The Galliarde for the Victorie."
Speaking of " Musick designed for Instruments," Christopher Simpson says, r Of this kind, the chief and most excellent for art and contrivance are Fancies of six, five, four, and three parts, intended commonly for viols. In this sort of Musick the composer (being not limited to words) doth imploy all his art and 'invention solely about the bringing in and carrying on these Fuges according to the order and method formerly shewed. When he has tried all the several ways '•which he thinks fit to be used therein, he takes some other point and does the like with it; or else, for variety, introduces some chromatick notes, with bindings 'and intermixtures of discords; or falls into some lighter humour like a Madrigal, or what else his own fancy shall lead him to; but still concluding with something which hath art and excellency in it.'*
Among the lighter kinds of instrumental music, were Pavans, Galliards







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