George Grove.

A dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) online

. (page 180 of 194)
Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 180 of 194)
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in 1599, with the following title: —

The Psalmes of David in Meter, the plaine sonc beeing
the common tunne to be sung and plaide upon the Lute,
Orpharyon, Citterne or Base Violl, severally or alto-
gether, the singing part to be either Tenor or Treble to
the instrument, acoording to the nature of the voyce, or
for fowre voyces. With tenne short Tunnes in the end,
to which for the most part all the Psalmes may be
usually sung, for the use of such as are of mean skill,
and whose leysure least serveth to practize. Hy Eichard
Allison Gent. Practitioner in the Art of Musicke, and
are to be solde at his house in the Dukes place neere
Aide-Gate Iiondon, printed by "William Barley, the
aaigne of Thomas Morley. 1599.

The style of treatment employed by Allison in
this work — in which he has given the tune to
tlie upper voice throughout — is almost the same
as the mixed style adopted by him in Este's
Psalter. Here, after an interval of seven years,
we find a slightly stronger tendency towards the
more florid manner, but his devices and orna-
ments are still always in perfectly pure taste.^
The lute part was evidently only intended for
use when the tune was sung by a single voice,
since it is constructed in the manner then proper
to lute accompaniments to songs, in which the
notes taken by the voice were omitted. Sir John

2 Johnson (Ps. cxi.) lias taken the fourth unprepared in a chord of
the 6-4, and the imperfect triad with the root in the bass. Farnaby
so frequently abandons tlie old practice of making all the notes upon
one syllable conjunct, that one suppose he actually preferred
the leap in such cases. The following variants of a well-known
cadence, also, have a kind of interest, since it is difficult to see how
they could for a moment have borne comparison with their original :—

B. Johnson.

Johnson, though sometimes licenlinus, was also sometimes even
prudish. In taking the sixth and fifth upon tlie fourth of the scale,
his associates accompanied them, in the modern way, with a third ;
Jiihnson however refuses this, ami, following the strict Eoman prac-
tice, doubles the bass note instead.

3 it was by a chance more unfortunate even than usual that Dr.
Burney selected this rsalter,-on the whole the best that ever ap-
peared,— as a victim to his strange prejudice against our native
music. His slightingverdict is that 'the book has no merit, but what
was very common at the time it was printed": which is certainly
true ; but Allison, a musician of the first rank, is not deserving of
contempt on the ground tliat merit of the highest kind happened to
be very common iu his day.



Hawkins, in his account of the book, makes a
curious mistake on this point. He says, ' It is
observable that the author has made the plain-
sonf or Church tune the cantus part, which xiart
being intended as well for the lute or citter7i, as
the voice, is given also in those characters called
the tablature ivhich are peculiar to those instru-
ments.' That the exact opposite is the case,^
will be seen from the translation of a fragment
of the lute part, here given : —

Voices. When



-J 1 -


The next Psalter t»be mentioned is one which
f:eems to have hitherto escaped notice. It was
issued without date; but since collation with
Este's third edition proves it to be later than
1604, and since we know that its printer, W.
Barley, brought out nothing after the year 1614,
it must have been published in the interval be-
tween those two dates. Its title is as follows : —

The whole Booke of Psalmes. With their woonted
Tunes, as they are sung in Churches, composed into
foure parts. Compiled by sundrie Authors, who have so
laboured herein, that the unskilful with small practise
may attaine to sing that part, which is fittest for their
voice, Printed at London in little S. Hellens by W.
Barley, the assigne of T. Morley, and are to be sold at
his shop in Gratious street. Cum privilegio.

From this title, and from the fact that Morley
was the successor to Byrd, whose assignee Este
was, it would be natural to infer that the work
was a further edition of Este's Psalter : and from
its contents, it would seem to put forward some
pretence to be so. But it differs in several im-
portant respects from the original. Este's Psalter
was a beautiful book, in octavo size, printed in
small but perfectly clear type ; the voice parts
separate, but all visible at once, and all turning

' Hawkins has evidently been misled by the clumsily worded title.


the leaf together. Barley's Psalter is reduced
duodecimo size, becoming in consequence inc
veniently thick; it is badly printed; and tl
parts, though separate, do not always turn tl
leaf togetiier. Worse than this, in almo
all the settings, the two upper voice parts a
omitted, and the remaining parts — the tui
and the bass — being separate are rendered xie
less even to the organist, the only person wl
could have turned two parts to any sort of a
count. The work, therefore, is so unsatisfacto
as to be scarcely worthy of notice, did it n
contain ten new and admirable settings,
which four are by Morley himself, five by J0I
Bennet, and one by Farnaby. These not on
save the book, but render it valuable; for
Eavenscroft's Psalter, published a few ye:
later, only five of them — two by Morley, a
three by Bennet — survive. This work therefi
contains six compositions by eminent mvisici;
which are not to be found elsewhere. They ;
of course printed entn-e, as are also the settii
of the two established and often repeat
favourites above referred to, Oxford and Ca
bridge tunes, and a few others, which, howev
though they have escaped mutilation, have i
escaped alteration, considerable charges be-
sometimes made in the parts. In some of t
mutilated settings) also, the bass part has bi
altered, and in some a new bass has been si
stituted for the old one, while the editor 1
allowed the name of the original composer
stand above the tune. Examples of extrc
carelessness in editing might also be giv
were it worth while to do so. On the wli'
the book is somewhat of a puzzle. TL
would be nothing surprising in its peculiari
had it been some unauthorized or piratical i
tion of Este ; but when we remember that
printer was working under the royal pat
granted to Morley, and that Morley himself, ;
another musician almost as distinguished, c
tributed to it some of the best settings of chii
tunes ever composed, it becomes difficult
account for its badness.^ Besides the i
settings of old tunes, it also contains one 1
tune set by Blancks, afterwards called by Eav
croft a Dutch tune.

Eavenscroft's Psalter, which comes next i
order, was published in 1621, with the follow ;
title : —

The whole Booke of Psalmes with the Hyranes E •
gelicall and Songs Spirituall. Composed into four 1 >
by sundry authors, to such severall tunes, as have t: 1
and are generally sung in England, Scotland, W 1

2 One explanation only can be suggested at present. Theworl f
never have been intended to rank with four-part psalters a •
The sole right to print Sternhold's version, witli the church 1 *
had just passed into the hands of the Stationers' company; an •
possible that this book may have been put forward, not as a f ,*
edition of Kste, but in competition with the company : the pron *
hoping, by the retention of the complete settings of a fewfavi •
tunes, and the useless bass part of the rest, to create i tecl *
difference, which would enable them to avoid infringement t T
Stationers' patent. Ihe new settings of Morley and Benne) f>
have bten added as an attrac'ive feature. If. however tb J
nouncement in the title of the third edition of Este (1604), ' P^ J
for the companie of Stationers,' should mean that the compar ^
acquired a permanent right to that work. Barley's publication ■
seem no longer to be delensible, on any ground. Further Ki %
may make the matter more clear.




any, Italy, Prance, and the Netherlands : never as
ifore in one rohime published. . . Newly corrected
enlarged by Thomas Eavenscroft Bachelar of
;ke. Printed at London, for the Company of Sta-

lis Psalter contains a larger number of com-
ions than any other except that of Day ;
;he number in excess of the Church tunes is
Qade up, as in Day, by alternative settings,
)y the addition of 40 new tunes, almost all
hich are single common measure tunes of
ater kind, with names. They appear in the
t under the heading — 'such tunes of the
nes usually sung in Cathedrall Churches,
igiat Chapels, &c.,' and are divided broadly
three classes, one of which contains those
;d after the English Cathedrals and Uni-
ties, while the other two are called respec-
y Scotch and Welsh, and the tunes named
:dingly. The whole subject of these names,
how they are to be understood, has been
into at some length by Canon Havergal in
)reface to his quasi-reprint of this Psalter ;
his conclusion is probably the right one,
3ly, that the tunes were in most cases de-
ited according to the localities in which
were found in use, but that this does not
ssarily imply a local origin. We have
idy referred to Raven scroft's description of
)ld double common measure tunes, and need
lothing herewith respect to them. Under the
ing ' forraigne tunes usually sung in Great
taine ' will be found, for the French, only
few tunes taken from the Geneva Psalter,
nerated above ; with regard to other sources,
magnificent promise of the title-page is
ced to three German tunes, two Dutch, and

t the 100 settings in this work, 38 had
ared in previous ones. All the musicians
ged upon Este's Psalter are represented
; 31 of their compositions have been taken
and Douland and Hooper have each con-
ited a new one ; Douland's is the setting of
looth Psalm, ah-eady given in this work. [See
IN, vol. i. p. 762 6.] Also, one of Parsons'
ings has been taken from Day's Psalter,
igh not without alteration. The four settings
Morley and Bennet, from Barley's Psalter,
i already been mentioned, and in addition
e is a new one by Morley, a setting of the
Psalm. Tallis's tune in Mode VIII is also
n here from Parker's Psalter (to a morn-
h^-mn), in the shortened form, but with the
ir still leading the canon,
ight new composers appear, whose names
contributions are as follows : — R. Palmer, i ;
lilton, 2 ; W. Hnrrison, i ; J. Tomkins, i ;
Comkins, 2 ; W. Cran field or Cranford, 2 ;
fard, I ; S. Stubbs, 2 ; Ravenscroft himself.
In the work of all these composers is to be
. the same impurity of taste which was
3le in the settings made for Este by Farnaby
Johnson. The two cadences given above in
ite, as examples of a kind of aberration, are

seconci edition was published in 1G33. It was also several times
ited. either entirely or in part, during the 18th century.

here found to have become part of the common
stock of music ; and an inferior treatment of
conjunct passages in short notes, in which the
alternate crotchet is dotted, finds, among other
disimprovements, great favour with the editor.
Ravenscroft and INIilton appear to be by far the
best of the new contributors. The variety shown
by the former in his methods of treatment is
remarkable : he seems to have formed himself
upon Este's Psalter, to have attempted all its
styles in turn, and to have measured himself
with almost every composer. Notwithstanding
this, it is evident that he had no firm grasp
of the older style, and that he was advancing
as rapidly as any musician of his day towards
the modern tonality and the modem priority of
harmonic considerations in part writing. Milton's
two settings are fine, notwithstanding the oc-
casional use of the degraded cadence, and on the
whole worthy of the older school, to which indeed
he properly belonged. The rest, if we except
Ward, may be briefly dismissed. They were
inferior men, working with an inferior method.

Two years later appeared the work of George
Wither: —

The Hymnes and Songs of the Church, Divided into
two Parts. The first Part comprehends the Canonicall
Hymnes, and such parcels of Holy Scripture as may pro-
perly be sung : with some other ancient Songs and
Creeds. The second Part consists of Spirituall Songs,
appropriated to the sererall Times and Occasions, ob-
servable in the Church of England. Translated and
composed by G. W. London, printed by the assignes of
George Wither, 1G23. Cum privilegio Kegis Kegali.

This work was submitted during its progress
to James the First, and so far found favour that
the author obtained a privilege of fifty-one years,
and a recommendation in the patent that the
book should be ' inserted in convenient manner
and due place in every English Psalm book
in metre.' The king's benevolence, however,
was of no effect ; the Company of Stationers,
considering their own privilege invaded, declared
against the author, and by every means in their
power, short of a flat refusal, avoided the sale of
the book. Here again, as in the case of Parker's
Psalter, the virtual suppression of the work
occasioned the loss of a set of noble tunes by a
great master. Sixteen compositions by Orlando
Gibbons had been made for it, and were printed
with it. They are in two-part counterpoint,
nearly plain, for treble and bass; the treble
being the tune, and the bass, though not figured,
probably intended for the organ. In style they
resemble rather the tunes of Tallis than tlie
imitations of the Geneva tunes to which English
conu'regations had been accustomed, it being
possible to accent them in the same way as the
words they were to accompany; syncopation,
however, sometimes occurs, but rarely, and more
rarely still in the bass. The harmony often
reveals very clearly the transitional condition of
music at this period. For instance, in Modes XIII
and XIV a sectional termination in the melody on
the second of the scale was always, in the older
harmony, treated as a full close, having the
same note in the bass ; here we find it treated in
I the modern way, as a half close, with the fifth



of the scale in the bass. Two of these tunes,
altered, appear in modern hymnals.'

In 1632 an attempt was made to introduce the
Geneva lunes complete into this country. Trans-
lations were made to suit them, and the work
was brought out by Thomas Harper. It does
not seem, however, to have reached a second
edition. The enthusiasm of earlier days had no
doubt enabled the reformers to master the exotic
metres of the few imported tunes ; but from the
beginning the tendency had been to simplify,
and, so to speak, to anglicize them ; and since
the Geneva tunes had remained unchanged,
Harj)er's work must have presented difficulties
which would appear quite insuperable to ordinary

\Ye have now arrived at the period when the
dislike which was beginning to be felt by educated
persons for the abject version of Sternhold was
to find practical expression. Wither had in-
tended his admirable translation of the Ecclesi-
astical Hymns and Spiritual Songs to supersede
the older one, and in 1636 George Sandys, a son
of the Archbishop, published the complete psalter,
with the following title : —

A paraphrase upon the Psalms of David, by G. S. Set
to new tunes for private devotion ; and a thorough bass,
for voice or instrument. By Hem-y Lawes, gentleman
of His Majesty's Chapel Koyal.i ,

The tunes, 24 in number, are of great interest.
Lawes was an ardent disciple of the new Italian
school ; and these two-part compositions, though
following in their outline the accustomed psalm-
tune form, are in their details as directly opposed
to the older practice as anything ever written by
Peri or Caccini. The two parts proceed some-
times for five or six notes together in thirds or
tenths ; the bass is frequently raised a semitone,
and the imperfect fifth is constantly taken, both
as a harmony and as an interval of melody. The
extreme poverty of Lawes's music, as compared
with what was afterwards produced by composers
following the same jjrinciples, has prevented him
from receiving the praise whicli was certainly
Lis due. He was the first English composer
who perceived the melodies to which the new
system of tonality was to give rise ; and in this
volume will be found the germs of some of the
most beautiful and affecting tunes of the 17th
and 18th centuries: the tirst section of the
famous St. Anne's tune, for instance, is note for
note the same as the first section of his tune to
the 9th psalm. Several of these tunes, complete,
are to be found in our modern hymnals.

The translation of Sandys was intended, as
tlie title shows, to supersede Sternhold's in private
use ; but several others, intended to be sung in
the churches, soon followed. Besides the trans-
lation of Sir. W. Alexander (published in Charles
the First's reign"), of which King James had been
Content to pass for the author, there appeared,
during the Commonwealth, the versions of Bishop
King, Barton, and IJous. None, however, re-
quire more than a bare mention, since they vv'ere
all adapted to the Church tunes to be found

' These works were reprinted by John Kussell Smith in 1856 and
18T2 resiiectivtly.


in the current editions of Sternhold, and loaf
therefore only a literary interest. NothU
requiring notice here was produced until
the Restoration, when, in 1671, under cir
stances very different from any which had ded
the form of previous four-part psalters,
Playford brought out the first of his well-l
publications : —

Psalms and Hymns in solemn musick of foure pa
the Common Tunes to the Psalms in Metre : ui
Parish Cliurches. Also six Hymns for one voyce t^
Organ. By lohn I'layford. London, printed by|
Godbid for J. Playford at his shop in tlie Inner Ten

This book contains only 47 tunes, of whi(
35 were taken from Sternhold (including
of the single common measure tunes witli nai
which had now become Church tunes), and
were new. But Playford, in printing even
comparatively small selection, was ofi'erinj
the public a great many more than they
been of late accustomed to make use of.
tunes in Sternhold were still accessible to
but not only had the general interest in mi
been steadily declining during the reigns
James and Charles, but the authorized ve;
itself, from long use in the churches, had
become associated in the minds of the Purii
with the system of Episcopacy, and was o
sequently unfavourably regarded, the rest
being that the number of tunes to which ti
]}salms were now commonly sung, when tb
were sung at all, had dwindled down to son
half dozen. These tunes may be found in tl
appendix to Bishop King's translation, print
in 1651. According to the title-page, his psali
were 'to be sung after the old tunes used in
churches,' but the tunes actually printed i^
only the old looth, 51st, Sist, 119th, Co|
mandments, Windsor, and one other not-
Church tune. * There be other tunes,' adds (j
author, ' but being not very usuall are not "
set down.' The miserable state of music,'
general at the Restoration is well known, M
as regards psalmody in particular, a passage';
Playford's pi-eface so well describes the situaffl
and some of its causes, that it cannot be omi^
here : —

For many years, this part of divine service was A
fully and devoutly performed, with deliglit and comw
by many honest and religious people ; and is still tifi
tinued in our churches, but not with that reverence*"
estimation as formerly : some not affecting the tn
lation, others not liking the music : both, I must 6
less need reforming. Those many tunes formerly oi
to these Psalms, for excellency of form, solemn |t
and suitableness to the matter of the Psalms, were j
inferior to any tunes used in foreign churches ; bul
tliis day the best, and almost all the choice tunegJ
lost, and out of use in our churches; nor must we erf
it otherwise, when in and about this great city, in a|
one hundred parishes there is but few parish clerks f
found tliat have either ear or understanding to set.
of these tunes musically as it ought to be : it haV
been a custom during the late wars, and since, to choo
men into such places, more for their poverty than slri
or ability ; whereby this part of God's service hath be« ■
so ridiculously performed in most places, that it is no
brought into scorn and derision by many people.

The settings are all by Playfoid himsel ■
They are in plain counterpoint, and the voio
indicated are Alto, Countertenor, Tenor,


i, an arrangement rendered necessary by
entire absence, at the Kestorationj of trained

tiis publication had no great success, a
It ascribed by tlie author to the folio size
;he book, which he admits made it in-
enient to ' carry to church.' His second
ker, therefore, which he brought out si.K
s later, was printed in 8vo. The settings
here again in plain counterpoint, but this

I the work contains the whole of tlie Church
s. The title is as follows : —

e -whole book of Psalms, collected into English
e by Stemhold Hopkins, &c. With the usual Hymns
Spiritual Songs, and all the ancient and modern
3 sung in Churches, composed in three parts, Cantus
us and Bassus. In a more plain and useful method
hath been heretofore published. By John Play-

iayford gives no reason for setting the tunes
hree parts only, but we know that this way
mting was much in favour with English
posers after the Restoration, and remained

II the time of Handel. Three-part counter-
t had been much used in earlier days by the
lar school of Henry the Eighth's time, but
irevalence at this period was probably due to
fact that it was a favourite form of com-
tion with Carissimi and his Italian and
ich followers, whose influence with the
lish school of the Restoration was paramount,
bis was the last complete setting of the
rch tunes, and for a hundred years after-
Is it continued to be printed for the benefit
liose who still remained faithful to the old
)dies, and the old way of setting them. In
7 the book had reached its 2oth ediuon.
Iayford generally receives the credit, or dis-
it, of having reduced the Church tunes to
3 of equal value, since in his psalters they
;ar in minims throughout, except the first

last notes of sections, where the semibreve
tained ; but it will be found, on referring to
current editions of Stemhold, that this had
idy been done, probably by the congregations
Qselves, and that he has taken the tunes as
ound them in the authorized version. His
ngs also have often been blamed, and it
t be confessed that compared with most of
predecessors, he is only a tolerable musician,
tgh he thought himself a very good one ; but

being admitted, he is still deserving of
se for having made, in the publication of
psalters, an intelligent attempt to assist in
general work of reconstruction ; and if he
d to effect the permanent restoration of the
r kind of psalmody, it was in fact not so
h owing to his weakness, as to the natural
ilopment of new tendencies in the art of

he new metrical translations afterwards
ight out were always intended, like those of
Commonwealth, to be sung to the Church
is ; and each work usually contained a small
3tion, consisting of tho=e most in use, to-
ler with a few new ones. Concurrently with
|e appeared a large number of publications, —



Harmonious Companions. Psalm Singer's Maga-
zines, etc., which contained all the favourite
tunes, old and new, set generally in four parts.
Through one or other of these channels most of
the leading musicians of this and the following
century contributed to the popular Psalmody.
Both tunes and settings now became very various
in character, and side by side with settings
made for Este's Psalter might be found coinpo-
.sitions of which the following fragment will give
some idea.

Harmonious Companion, 1732.



- ^^


- 9?zz


i - ^-


J. jj:^^i.

The Lord goes up






- bove .... the sky.

On the next page is the original setting of the
44th Psalm by Blancks.

Tlie fact most strongly impressed upon the
mind after going through a number of these
publications, extending over a period of one
hundred and fifty years, is that the quality and
character of the new tunes and settings in no
way depends, as in the case of the old psalters,
upon the date at which they were written. Dr.
Howard's beautiful tune, St. Bride, for instance,

Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 180 of 194)