Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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tury. Tusser mentions one to be sung to the tune of King Solomon; and it would have been very desirable if some of the genuine and popular carol tunes of that age had been preserved, which may however be the case, although difficult of proof.
Some of the airs hereafter given, are of consider­able antiquity, and one or two of them are said to have been known in Cornwall for three hundred years past. In the Additional MSS. British Mu­seum, Nos. 5465 and 5665, being collections of ancient songs in the time of Henry VII. and VIII. are some carols and pious songs, with the music generally in three or four parts, but not of sufficient interest for any but musical antiquaries, and scarcely intended for the lower orders of that age. Among the composers are Edmond Turges, Gilbert Banaster, and the before-named William Cornysshe ; and perhaps the 13*. 4d. carol may be in the collection. Some of the old psalm tunes, which were preserved at the time of the Reforma­tion, have considerable similarity in style to the old carol tunes, as for instance, the Bristol, Salisbury, and Kenchester tunes, among Playford's psalms, and others attached to the early editions of the English Liturgy.
In Shakspeare's time, carols were sung at night during Christmas about the streets, and made a pretext for collecting money. The Reformation also having abolished Latin hymns in the esta­blished church, Christmas carols came into general use in the country churches. About the same time, Sternhold and Hopkins made their English version of the Psalms; the former died in 1549, and his fifty-one psalms were published in the same year. The entire version was published by John Day in 1562, with " apt notes to sing them withall."

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