Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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REIGN OF CHARLES II.                                          475
printed." Again he says, " There are knowing persons who have been long bred in those worthily admired parts of Europe, who ascribe more to us than we to ourselves; and able musicians, returning from travel, do wonder to see us so thirsty after foreigners. Their manner of composing is sufficiently known to us, their best compositions being brought over hither by those who are able enough to choose." Lawes was an excellent musician, and composed the music to Milton's Comus. He was highly esteemed both by Milton and Waller. As some of his songs have been recently revived, and sung in public, he is better known to the present generation than almost any other composer of his day ; and his fame has been sufficiently vindicated from the very unjust criticism of Dr. Burney.
The fashion for foreign music continued to spread ; and in 1656, Matthew Lock, in his preface to his Little Consort of three parts, containing Pavans, Ayres, Corants, and Sarabands, for Viols or Violins, says : " For those mounte­banks of wit who think it necessary to disparage all they meet with of their own countrymen, because there have been, and are, some excellent things done by strangers, I shall make bold to tell them (and I hope my known experience in this science will inforce them to confess me a competent judge) that I never yet saw any foreign instrumental composition (a few French Corants excepted) worthy an Englishman's transcribing." He adds, " I only desire, in the performance of this Consort, you would do yourselves and me the right to play plain, not tearing them in pieces with division,—an old custom of our country fiddlers, and now, under the title of a la mode, endeavoured to be introduced." In the same strain, Christopher Simpson, in his Compendium of Practical Music, says, " You need not seek outlandish authors, especially for instrumental music; no nation (in my opinion) being equal to the English in that way, as well for their excellent as for their various and numerous consorts of three, four, five, and six parts, made properly for instruments—of all which, as I said, Fancies are the chief." (3rd edit. 8vo., 1678.) So also Playford, in his Introduction to the Skill of Music: " But musick in this age, like other arts and sciences, is in low esteem with the generality of people. Our late and solemn musick, both vocal and in­strumental, is now jostled out of esteem by the new Corants and Jigs of foreigners, to the grief of all sober and judicious understanders of that formerly solid and good musick." (6th edit. 8vo., 1672.) And in his preface to MusicWs Delight on the Cithren (1666), " It is observed that of late years all solemn and grave musick is much laid aside, being esteemed too heavy and dull for the light heels and brains of this nimble and wanton age; nor is any musick rendered accept­able, or esteemed by many, but what is presented by foreigners: not a City Dame, though a tap-wife, but is ambitious to have her daughters taught by Monsieur La Novo Kicksliawibus on the Gittar, which instrument is but a new old one, used in London in the time of Queen Mary, as appears by a book printed in English of Instructions and Lessons for the same, about the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign ; being not much different from the Cithren, only that [the Gittern ? ] was strung with gut strings, this with wire, which was accounted the more sprightly and cheerful musick, and was in more esteem, till of late years, than the Gittar."

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