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SEP HO 190?

BR 45 .H362 v. 7
Richardson, Alfred Madelev

Church music


foantitoofeg Cot tfte Clergy








M.A., Mus. Doc, F.R.C.O.









All ri/jhts reserved



General Considerations


The Subject, 1 — Object of the book, 2 — Importance of the
subject, 3 — Knowledge required, 4 — The present diffi-
culty, 5, 6 — The safe path, 7 — Music in worship, 8 —
Twofold aspect, 9 — The mutability of music, 10 — Ancient
music, 11 — Modern Oriental music, 12 — Our own music,
13 — Two principles, 14 — The influence of music, 15 — Its
application, 16 — Concrete cases, 17 — The foundation of
our work, 18 — Music dependent upon living agents, 19 —
Twofold bearing of the subject, 20 . . . . 1-10


Historical Sketch

A. backward glance, 21 — The growth of modern music, 22 —
An analogy, 23 — The scale foundation, 24 — The com-
pelling power of music, 25 — The necessity for interpreta-
tion, 26 — Historical division, 27 — Jewish music, its
message for Christians, 28 — The manner of its rendering,
29-31 — Music in the primitive Church, 32 — Allusions in
St. James, Socrates, Pliny, St. Clement of Alexandria,
33-35 — Inference, 36 — Simplicity of early music, 37 —
Advance under Constantine, 38 — St. Ambrose, 39 — St.
Augustine, 40 — Other fathers, 41 — Gregory the Great,
42— -His Scholce Cantorum, 43 — Charlemagne, 44 — Hue-
bald, 45, 46— Guido, 47— Franco of Cologne, 48— Rise of
the harmonic principle, 49 — Its results, 50 — Methods of
early contrapuntists, 51, 52 — Dufay, Binchois, and Jos-
quin des Pres, 53 — Effect of the Reformation on music,
54 — The three new schools, 55 — The Roman Mass com-
posers, 56, 57— The German school, 58— The English
school, 59 — The three stages of development, 60 — The
sixteenth century in England, 61 — Merbecke, 62 — Tallis,
63 — Other cathedral composers, 64— A modern problem,
65— The school of Orlando Gibbons, 66— The Restoration
and its results, 67— Humphreys, Wise, Blow, and Purcell,
68— Their successors, 69— A period of decline, 70— The
nineteenth century, 71— A retrospect, 72 . . 11-39

vi Contents

The Present State of English Church Music


Effect of the Catholic Revival, 73 — Obstacles and difficulties,
74 — Types of English Church music, 75 — The cathedral
service, 76 — A vexed question, 77 — Congregational singing,
78 — An answer suggested, SO — The attitude of worship,
81 — A common mistake, 82 — The poets on music, 83 — The
horns of a dilemma, 84 — A new departure in worship, 85 —
The mind of the Prayer Book, 86, 87 — The true place of
congregational singing, 88 — The people's part, 89 — An
indictment, 92, 93 — A great responsibility, 94 — The raison
d'itre of a choir, 95 — A necessary qualification, 96 — Types
of musical service, 97-100 40-56

The Choir

A nineteenth -century development, 101 — Important considera-
tions, 102 — Training of a choir, 103, 104 — Selection of boys'
voices, 105 — The proper age, 106 — Balance of voices, 107 —
Selection of men, 108— Altos, 109— Payment, 110, 111—
The choirmaster, 112 — Amount of practice, 113 — Its aim,
114 — Its employment, 115 — Attention to details, 116 — ■
Discipline, 117 — Monitors, 118 — The personal element,
119 — Effect of choir work upon boys, 120 — The end in
view, 121 — The spirit of worship, 122 — Advantages of
choir work, 123 — The learning of the Psalms, 124 — Other
lessons, 125 — Maxims for choir work, 126 — Teaching of
men, 127 57-73

The Priest's Part

General principles, 128-130 — Three ways of using the voice,
131 — A passing prejudice, 132 — The natural use of the
voice, 133 — Singing and speaking, 134 — A point of
interest, 135 — Authority for the use of the singing voice,
136 — Principles of recitative, 137, 138— Method of study-
ing monotone, 139 — The vowels, 140 — Quantity, accent,
and emphasis, 141 — Common faults, 142 — Polysyllables,
143, 144— Phrasing, 145— Commas, 146— Pitch, 147—
Hints for practice, 148, 149 74-85

Note on Voice Production and Pronunciation

I'reathing, 150 — General rules, 151 — Divisions of speech
sounds, 152 — The vowels, 153, 154 — Inconsistencies of
spelling, 155 — Further variations, 156 — Consonants, 157 —
Sound gives sense, 158 — Quantity and accent, 159 — The
former, 160, 161— The latter, 162— Verbal accent, 163—

Contents vii


Grammatical accent, 164, 166 — Logical accent, 167, 168 —
Summary, 169 — Illustrations, 170 — Variations of quantity,
171 — Consonants, 172 — Special difficulties, 173 — Combi-
nations, 174 — Pitfalls, 175, 176 — A makeshift, 177—
"ed," 178— Exceptional words, 179 . . . . 85-101


The Priest's Part {continued)

An important principle, 180 — The Versicles, 181 — The Litany,

182-184— The Office of Holy Communion, 185-194 . 102-123

The Rendering of the Services

The unity of the Liturgy, 195 — Must not be overlooked, 196 —
The cathedral service, 197, 198 — The General Confession,
199-201 — Signification of choral monotoning, 202 — The
Absolution, 203— The "Amen," 204— The Lord's Prayer,
205 — Unity of the Versicles and Responses, 206 — The
opening note, 207 — Free rhythm of the Responses, 208,
209 — Organ accompaniment, 210 — A discrepancy, 211
— A misunderstood rubric, 212 — Rendering of the Psalms,
213-215— Rules for chanting, 216— Playing over, 217—
The Gospel Canticles, 218 — Singing of "Amen," 219 —
Communion Service, 220— The Kyrie, 221— The Gloria
Tibi, 222— The Creed, 223— The Comfortable Words,
224 — The Sursum Corda, 225 — The Sanctus and Benedic-
ts, 226— The sevenfold "Amen," 227— The Agnus Dei,
228 — The Lord's Prayer, 229 — Commencing the Gloria in
excelsis, 230 — The Blessing, 231 — The Service as a whole,
232 124-142


What Music to Use

What to include, 233 — The question of Gregorian v. Anglican
music, 234 — Three pleas for the former, 235 — Answer to
the first, 236— The second, 237— And the third, 238— The
real bearings of the question, 239, 240 — The modes, 241-
244 — Rhythm, 245 — Recent research, 246 — A final word,
247, 248— Settings of the Versicles and Responses, 249-
251— The Litany, 252— Psalters, 253, 254— Hymn books,
255-260— Services and anthems, 261— Dates of com-
posers, 262 — Communion Services, 263 — Merbecke, 264
— Tallis, 265— Later writers, 266— Adapted Masses, 267—
Modern English Services, 268, 269— Anthems, 270—
Conclusion, 271 143-108


St Basil



1. Quot homines, tot sententm may be said of
Church music of the present day. Every one has
his opinions, his tastes, his preferences, and his
prejudices; and amid so many conflicting tongues
is is sometimes difficult for the inexperienced
student to know what to think, what to accept,
and what to believe.

2. In the following pages an attempt will be
made to guide the reader through this tangled
web, to give him facts, principles, and deductions,
with the hope that he will thus be enabled to
see some light amid so much obscurity.

3. Every clergyman ought to know something
of the art of music generally, and of Church
music in particular. It is in reality as important
as many of the other studies usually required as
a necessary preliminary to ordination, perhaps
more so than most of them. In the exercise of
his office he is constantly surrounded by music,
as by one of the most potent forces through
which the life and work of the Church is carried


2 Church Music

on ; and to be entirely ignorant of its principles
and practice is to be placed in a position of most
serious disadvantage.

4. This is not to say that every clergyman
should be a skilled and learned musician ; that
is neither necessary nor desirable. But he should
know sufficient of the history, theory, and practice
of the art on which so much of the success of his
work depends, to be able to take an intelligent
interest in it when discussed, to manage his own
voice and part correctly, and to give strength, sup-
port, and sympathy to those others upon whom he
relies for its practice in the services of the Church.

5. The fact that English Church music is at
present in a state of chaos, though at first sight
somewhat disconcerting, need not alarm nor dis-
courage us. It is a sign of life and progress. The
old days of lethargy and stagnation are past;
therefore let us rejoice. We are suffering now,
not from lack of interest, but from misdirected
enthusiasm. This is an inevitable consequence of
the revival of life and energy.

6. English Church music has a great past; it
has also a recent past of sloth and inaction. It
has further, we may confidently say, a great
present and a still grander future. It is in a
very similar position to ritual. Few people are
now to be found who will assert that no ritual
at all is admissible. But when we seek to dis-

General Considerations 3

cover what things are lawful and what are not,
we find ourselves in a state of hopeless confusion.
We are confronted with ancient authority, medi-
aeval authority, modern authority, and no autho-
rity ; and amid the strife of tongues and conflict
of opinions, it seems well-nigh hopeless to seek
for truth and order.

7. To return to music. One man will tell
us that, to be quite correct, we must only use
mediaeval music, as having the support of ecclesi-
astical authority and tradition ; another, equally
confident, will assert that we need pay no regard
whatever to authority or tradition, but may use
every man what seems right in his own eyes. As
of old, so to-day, the true and safe path lies in
the mean. Let us respect and learn from the
past ; let us, in the light of its teaching, use the
God-given materials of the present, remember-
ing in all things that the end and object of our
art is not to please this or that person, not to
be trammelled by this or that old and worn-out
tradition, but to fulfil its purpose in the world
as a living force.

8. The raison d'etre of Church music is wor-
ship, and worship only. This may be thought
an obvious truism, but it is very necessary to
be borne in mind, as, being so plain, it is most
easy to forget. The simple idea of worship is
not difficult to grasp, but what does it mean put

4 Church Music

into actual practice ? How can we truly worship
through music ?

9. Music in worship has a twofold aspect —
Offering and Edification. The offering to God,
and the edification of the faithful. The first
thought suggests that we must offer the best
and highest that it is possible to produce in the
art in question : the best kind rendered in the
best way ; the second that, though it may be
granted that there is an absolute beauty inde-
pendent of the opinions and feelings of people,
vet for practical purposes we should use that
form of it which is felt to be beautiful by the


10. Music is the most ephemeral and intangible
of the arts. That its beauty is absolute may be
accepted as a general statement, but to us it is
in actual practice relative. History tells us that
from the commencement of the world until now
mankind has always been subject to the influence
of music, and has paid it homage as the divine
art. But when we come to examine the actual
forms and the mediums through which the art
has been practised, we are confronted by a re-
markable fact, which may be expressed as follows :
Music, though reigning supreme in the human
heart, is subject to restrictions of time, place, and
education. Unless all these conditions are favour-
able, the sympathy between the maker of the

General Considerations 5

music and the recipient or hearer is lost ; that
is, though clearly possessing an absolute beauty
of its own, its relative beauty for the individual
is absent. When an ordinary person speaks of
the beauty and power of music, he refers not to
music in general, but to that of his own time,
place, and level of education ; in other words,
we can only appreciate the music to which we
are accustomed.

11. Very little ancient music has survived, but
there is quite enough to show that, if it were to
be performed to-day, it would touch no chords of
sympathy in the hearts of the hearers, it would
sound ugly and futile. Yet this is the music
that soothed the rage and madness of King
Saul, that inspired the magnificent poetry of
the Psalms. These were the strains employed
when —

" Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves when he did sing."

12. Again, in our own day, the Oriental nations
have music of a high order, doubtless to them
appearing quite as beautiful a form of art as
ours does to us, and giving to them the same
feelings and inspiration. Yet, when we hear it,
we perceive nothing but a most painful jargon,
unendurable to our ears.

6 Church Music

13. With our own people, every individual
likes that to which he has become accustomed.
There are endless gradations, from the vulgarity
of the music - hall song to the sublimity of
Beethoven and Wagner. But here clearly it
is mainly a question of culture and education.
The "coster 11 thinks his melody beautiful, because
it is all that he knows of music ; the person of
culture enjoys Wagner, because he has accus-
tomed himself to that kind of music. It is
reasonable to suppose that, if these two in-
dividuals were to change places and start life
afresh, the result would be that their tastes
would also change places, showing that the atti-
tude of mind depends rather upon habit and use
than upon physical organisation.

14. All these considerations point to two im-
portant principles which will be of use in dealing
with our subject : —

(1) That people will appreciate and be affected

by that kind of music with which they
have become familiar.

(2) That, this being the case, it follows that

by constantly hearing music of a certain
kind they will learn to perceive its par-
ticular message.

We offer, then, to God a thing of beauty, upon
which all our talents and energies should be

General Considerations 7

expended to render it as little unworthy of its
object as may be : its quality should be such
that it may carry with itself a further offering,
by inspiring the faithful with higher motives and
nobler resolves, for which purpose no power on
earth is more potent than music.

15. Music, the language of the emotions, has
an influence which no one can explain, but no
one will deny. The better it is the greater its
power. It helps people to feel in a certain way.

16. There are gradations in music. Not all
music tends to edification. There is music of
vulgarity and frivolity, as well as of sublimity
and grandeur. The highest kind of music tends
to produce the highest kind of emotion, and
from this proceed all kinds of virtue. It is some-
thing to tell people that they must not be selfish,
mean, hard-hearted, proud ; but very often the
clearest arguments and soundest reasoning will
produce no change in these respects. If people
want to feel and act in a certain way they will
do it. Music is able to produce the desire for
good and holy things ; it supplies no arguments,
but implants longings and aspirations, which are
the sources from which proceed good actions and
holy lives.

17. Divine Love is the greatest thing in the
world : sacred music seems to hold it in solution.
It takes its tone from sacred words, and reflects

8 Church Music

their meaning and force with tenfold intensity,
possessing the heart of the listener and filling
it full of spiritual life and energy.

Think of concrete cases.

Compare the effect of the words, " I know that
my Redeemer liveth," at first merely spoken, and
then sung to Handel's sublime music by a great

Repeat the words, " Lacrymosa Dies ilia, qua
resurget ex favilla judicandus homo reus," and
then listen to them wedded to the immortal
strains of the dying Mozart.

Read the sentence, " And sorrow and sighing
shall flee away," then bow the head and hearken
to the Divine Voice speaking through the mortal
man, Samuel Sebastian Wesley.

We cannot account for this wonderful power
of music, but we know and feel it; we listen,
and are convinced.

18. Bearing in mind the secondary object of
Church music, edification, our work should be
built upon the foundation of its primary object,
the offering to God. A man's life and energies
cannot be better occupied than in seeking to
return to the Giver of all beauty the best he
can produce of those forms of beauty which the
human brain is enabled to create upon the

19. All the arts are employed in the service

General Considerations 9

of God ; architecture, painting, sculpture, &c.
In these we seek to give the best, but they one
and all differ from music in that their beauty
is passive ; created once for all, it remains
quiescent until destroyed by time. Music, on
the other hand, is active and living, its message
can be conveyed to the world only by living
agents interpreting it at a given time. The
composer of the music directs the performers as
to what they must do, but the music proper does
not exist until they obey these directions. Here
is at once the weakness and the strength of
music. For its beauty we are constantly de-
pendent upon the skill of the interpreter, either
our own or that of others, and if this skill fails
the music fails, at any rate in respect of the
intention of the creator. An unskilful perform-
ance is a mere travesty of great and beautiful
music, a libel upon the composer, who is ever at
the mercy of the performers. On the other
hand, when the executants are skilful, and are
competent to understand and to interpret to
others the hidden thoughts of a great musician,
then we have an art force greater than that of
any passive art. The tone poet lives again in
his music, his own voice speaks to the listener,
in whose being the vibrations find an answer-
ing chord, and he is moved, figuratively and

10 Church Music

20. We thus see that questions of Church
music divide themselves under two heads, touch-
ing the composers and the executants. We
must, of course, first decide what music to use,
and then next how we shall get it rendered. It is
a comparatively easy task to select suitable music ;
it is a far more difficult matter to secure its
adequate performance. Whether it be rendered
by clergy, choir, or congregation, the same
difficulties are ever present. Knowledge and
skill are the two things needful ; without them
music is nothing, with them everything. How
to acquire them, how to keep them, and how
to use them, is the constant care of the true
guardian of Church music ; with the never-to-be-
forgotten thought behind all that neither is of
any avail, neither can bring any blessing, without
sincere purpose and true intention — the guiding
light that should illumine every step of the way
towards all that is high and great in our art.


21. To obtain a well-balanced view of present-
day Church music it is necessary to look back
on the past, to notice upon what our heritage
of music is based, and to mark its gradual de-
velopment. For practical purposes English
Church music dates from the Reformation. All
that was used before that time was of course
set to Latin words, and although some of it
may be adapted to English, its effect is naturally
less satisfactory than that of music specially
written for the words to which it is sung. The
loss of pre-Reformation music is the less to be
regretted because it was of a kind and quality
which would appeal but little to modern ears.
When used now it sounds curiously archaic, and
conveys scarcely any conviction to us.

22. The period of the Reformation coincided
with a period of wonderful growth and develop-
ment in the art of music. It was then that the
foundations were being laid for all that is grand
and great in modern music. No definite date

12 Church Music

can be assigned at which it mav be said that
modern music emerged from the ancient. Gra-
dual and well-nigh imperceptible evolution is
as clearly a characteristic of this art as of the
wonders of nature. Year by year, and generation
by generation, details, devices, rules, and principles
have been added, abandoned, modified, improved,
here a little and there a little, until, though each
step has appeared to make slight difference in
itself, the net result is that, living now in the
twentieth century, when we take a piece of music
composed to-day and compare it with the pro-
ductions of the Middle Ages, we see that we have
what are practically two different arts, poles
asunder. Not only are the superstructures quite
distinct, but the very foundations upon which
they are erected are of a different nature, and
mutually exclusive of each other.

23. A somewhat analogous case may be seen in
the study of architecture. What can be more
dissimilar than Norman and advanced Gothic ?
They are obviously constructed upon very different
principles. Yet we know that as a matter of
fact the latter is actually a development of the
former, and the gradual change from the one to
the other can be clearly traced through the transi-
tion period.

24. The material from which music is con-
structed is the scale. For any given composition

Historical Sketch 13

this must be of a definite nature, i.e. the tones
and semitones of which it is formed must be found
in certain fixed places, and from these there
can be no departing; they are as permanent and
unvarying for the time being as a proposition
of Euclid. The explanation of the difference
in effect between ancient and modern music lies
in the fact that they are constructed upon dif-
ferent scales. The scales of ancient music are
now obsolete, therefore it follows that the music
formed from them is also obsolete for all practical

25. It might fairly be argued that even if this
is the case we might yet admire and use the old
music though no longer composing any more
on the principles upon which it is built, just as
we can admire various styles of architecture with-
out either the power or the wish to produce
similar works of our own. With music, how-
ever, the case is different. Of this there is no
question. And the reason appears to be that
music, more than any other art, takes hold of
a man, it goes through him and penetrates his
very soul ; he must either accept or reject it,
he cannot remain neutral. This being the case,
when once he has accepted that of his own
day, its principles and all that they involve, he
has no room and no sympathy left for another
and alien form of the same art. So it is seen

14 Church Music

that present-day musicians sometimes wax warm
in condemning what they feel to be the ugliness
of ancient music. They are unfair. It is not
ugly in the strict and abstract sense of the word,
but only old, and, being music, dead.

26. Further, as we have before insisted, there is
the necessity for the living medium. All other
arts are complete in themselves, but music is not
music until it is used. Its interpretation is the
music, so far as the listener is concerned. At this
distance of time we have no certainty as to the
manner in which ancient music was actually per-

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