Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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Notker, who wrote a tract on Church Music in one of the Teutonic dialects, towards the close of the ninth century, says that the rote, like the lyre, had seven strings for the seven notes of the scale,—" andero lirun finde andero r6tun id siben sieten." (Gerbert's Scriptores, i. 96.) Another Notker, a monk of St. Gall, who wrote in Latin about a century later, says that the ancient psalterium was in the form of the Greek A, and that it had ten strings. He considered this triangular shape as em­blematic of the Trinity, and complains that, after the instrument had been adopted by singers and players (ludicratores) for their uses, they added to the number of strings, altered the form to suit their convenience, and, giving it the barbarous name of rotta, destroyed its mystical signification."
In Chaucer's description of his mendicant friar, he says : "■ Wei couthe he synge and playe on a rote ;" and, although many lines intervene, yet, when he adds " And in his harpyng, whan that he had sunt/," it is a continuation of the portrait, and no other instrument has been named.
The resemblance of the rote to the ancient lyre will account for Spenser's having applied the term of " Phoebus's rote" to the lyre of Phosbus in the Fairy Queen.
Finally, there is no old authority for giving the Latin name of rota to the hurdy-gurdy. Mersenne and Kircher style it Lyra Mendieorum, and in the manuscript " of the ninth century" quoted by Gerbert, it is entitled Organistrum.
p. 35, note b. Shawm.—The different descriptions of the shawm may be reconciled by the fact of their having been made of various sizes.
p. 37, 1. 28. New College, Oxford.—The words of the Statute are " Post tempus prandii aut cense liceat gratia recreationis in aula in cantilenis et aliis solatiis honestis moram facere condecentem," &c. This does not prove the singing of part-music.
p. 52,1. 10. Ophelia's Song.—The burden, " you must sing down, adown, an you call him adown-a," will be found almost verbatim in a ballad commencing— " When as King Edgar did govern this land, And in the strength of his years he did stand,
Adown, adown, down, down, down,                     Call him down-a."
See Evans's Old Ballads, ii'. 22, 1810, or Old Ballads, ii. 28, 1727.
p. 66. As I walked the woods so wild.—This is parodied in Andro Hart's Compendium: " I am woe for their wolves so wylde."
p. 76. Who's the fool now ?—Archie Armstrong, Charles the First's jester, quoted this song when he tauntingly asked Archbishop Laud "Who's the fool now?" after the stool had been thrown at the dean's head, for reading the English liturgy in Edinburgh. It is also quoted by Dryden, in his play of Sir Martin Mar-all.
p. 77. Bransle, or Braule.—The following description of this dance is from the Lictionnaire de Danse [par Ch. Compan], Paris, 8vo., 1787 :—" Branle est une danse par ou commencent tous les Bals, ou plusieurs personnes dansent en Rond en se
■ " Sciendum est quod antiquum psalteriura, instru-mentum decachordum, utique erat, in hac videlicet deltse Htteraefigura, multiplicitermystica. Sedpostquamillud, ymphoniaci quidam et ludicratores, ut quidam ait, ad
fluum opus traxerant, formam utique ejus et flguTam commoditate suae habilem fecerunt, et plures chordas annectentes et nomine barbarico roitam appellantes, mysticam illarn Trinitatis formam transmutaverunt."

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