John Hawkins.

A general history of the science and practice of music online

. (page 64 of 123)
Online LibraryJohn HawkinsA general history of the science and practice of music → online text (page 64 of 123)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Tide Kirch. Musnxg. tom I. Iconism. III., nevertheless, in all the
Instances above referred to, it is defined by the interval of a major third.

I This assertion is grounded on the authority of a book intltled
Prasoentiones Musloes Poetlca, sen de Compositione Cantus, written
hf Jonannes Nuciua, printed in I61S, wherein, to give it at length,

Is the following remarkable passage, intended by the anther as em
answer to the question, ' Quern didmus poeticum muslcum t ' >-

* Qui non solum precepta musics qmrimft intdligit, et juxta ea rect&,
'ae bene modulatur, sed qui proprii mcenil penetralia tentans, novaa
'eantflenas eudit, et fiezlMles sonos plo verborum pondere tcxtibua

* antat. Talem artifieem Olareanus symphoneta appellatione describic

* Sicut Fhonasci nomine cantoiem insinoat. Porr6 tales avtifloea elata-

* erunt, primum drea annum Christi 1400, ant eert^ paulft poet. Ihiax^

* tapli Anglus A quo primum figuralon musioam inventam tradunt.'

Thomas Rnvenscroft, the author of A brief Discourse ef the true b«t
neglected Use of characterising the Degrees in measurable Music, quarto.
1614, asserts that John of Dunstable waa the first chat invented musical
composition, in which, tak' '

he appears most grossly i

composition, in which, taking the above-eited passage for his authority,
he appears most grossly to have erred. Musical oomposition must
certainly be aa ancient aa the invention of characters to denote it; i

it may be conjectured that counterpoint waa known and practised belbre
the tbne spoken of, but aa to figurate music, we are at a loss for evidence
of its existence before the time of Ddnstable, and in truth it is the in-
vention of figurate musie only that Is ascribed to him by Nndus.

Digitized by


Chiv. XLV.




^■,^-^—-^ -i-s —^h-'±=s^^=^=^




teed and blow <- eth meadi and spriugih the wde no.

1 I ==:

Sing cno




ting ouo - cuy

Grow - eth seed and blow - eth mead« and apringth the wde

Bing cue

smg cue

Awe ble * teth af « ter lomb, Ihouth af - ter calve co.

blew - eth mead, and qpringth the wde



Grow - eth need and blow - eth mead, and springth the wde


4=^ i=S- =S ^'=* =^==^f =-==f-^-=i=^^i=^-;^

Bol * Ine stert - eth, bucke wvt * teth, mu < rie sing cue - ca,

^^^ ^ ^f^ ^ y^ E^^^ t^^ l^ ^^E^^

lomb, Ihoath af - ter calre


Bol - luo stert - eth, bqcke y«r * teth,

Awe ble * teth af •* ter k>mb» Ihonth af » ter ealre, ca,


Digitized by




Bo<« V.

Bed - luo stert - eth, bucke ver • teth, ma - rie sin^^ cuo - on,

af - ter calve cu.

Bui - luc stert - eth. backe yer - teth, ma - rie





na, sing

3£^-^^ ^ ^ " -


na, nog


na - ver na.

SUMER is i - oa • mea ia Lhade sing cuo

thu oac - cu,


cue - cu, wel sings thu cuo - cu, ae swlk thu na - ver

sing cuo - cu»

cue - cu.

cuy wel sings thu ooo -

cuo - - cu,


cue - CO


sing cuo - -

cuo " - cu

nu, sing cuo - cu,

smg cao

Grow - eth seed and blow - eth mead, and springth the wde nu.

cu - men in, Lhude sing ooo - oa.

Grow - eth seed and blow - eth

SUMER is i - oa - men in, Lhude sing cuo - cu.


=-i-hi^-M==^ I I \ ^-r\" I* r-^

- - en,

ne swik thu na - yer no*

7 S — g"

t— . — Y

SUMER is i - ca - men

il^=^^=i l

smg ouo

sing cuo • • cu.

Digitized by



Chap. XLV.



The history of music, so far as regards the use and
practice of it, is so nearly connected with that of civil
life, as in a regular deduction of it to require the
greatest degree of attention to the customs and
modes of living peculiar to different periods : a
knowledge of these is not to be derived from history,
properly so called, which has to do chiefly with great
events ; and were it not for the accurate and lively
representation of the manners of the old Italians, and
the not less ancient English, contained in the writings
of £occace and Chaucer, the inquisitive part of man-
kind would be much at a loss for the characteristics
of the fourteenth century. Happily these authors
have furnished the means of investigating this subject,
and from them we are enabled to frame an idea of the
manners, the amusements, the conversation, garb,
and many other particulars of their contemporaries.

The Decameron of Boccace, and the Canterbury
Tales of Chaucer, appear each to have been composed
with a view to convey instruction and delight, at a
time when the world stood greatly in need of the
former ; and by examples drawn from feigned history,
to represent the consequences of virtue and vice ; and
in this respect it may be said that the authors of both
these works appear to have had the same common end
in view, but in the prosecution of this design each
appears to have pursued a different method. Boccace,
a native of Italy, and a near neighbour to that country
where all the powers of wit and invention had been
exerted for upwards of two centuries in fictions of the
most pleasing kind, had opportunities of selecting
from a great variety such as were fittest for his pur-
pose. Chaucer, perhaps not over solicitous to explore
those regions of fancy, contented himself with what
was laid before him, and preferred the labour of
refining the metal to that of digging the ore. ,

FarUier, we may observe that besides the ends of
instruction and delight, which each of these great
masters of the science of human life proposed, they
meant also to exhibit a view of the manners of their
respective countries, Italy and England, with this
difference, that the former has illustrated his subject
by a series of conversations of persons of the most
refined understanding, whereas the latter, without
being at the pains attending such a method of selection,
has feigned an assemblage of persons of different ranks,
the most various and artful that can be imagined, and
with an amazing propriety has made each of them the
type of a peculiar character.

To begin with Boccace. A plague which happened
in the city of Florence, in the year of our Lord 1348,
suggests to him the fiction that seven ladies, discreet,
nobly descended, and perfectly accomplished ; the
youngest not less than eighteen, nor the eldest ex-
ceeding twenty - eight years of age ; their names
Pampinea, Fiammetta, Philomena, Emilia, Lauretta,
Neiphile, and Eliza, meet together at a church, and,
after their devotions ended, enter into discourse upon
the calamities of the times : to avoid the infection
they agree to retire a small distance from the town,
to five in common, and spend part of the summer in
contemplating the beauties of nature, and in the in-
genious and delightful conversation of each other;

but foreseeing the inconveniences that must have
followed from the want of companions of the other
sex, they add to their number Pamphilo, Philostrate,
and Dioneo, three well-bred young gentlemen, the
admirers and honourable lovers of three of these
accomplished ladies. They retire to a spacious and
well furnished villa. Pampinea is elected their
queen for one day, with power to appoint her suc-
cessor; different offices are assigned to their at-
tendants ; wines, and other necessaries, chess-boards,
backgammon-tables, cards, dice, books, and musical
instruments are provided ; the heat of the season ex-
cluding the recreations of riding, walking, dancing,
and many others, for some part of the day, they agree
to devote the middle of it to the telling of stories in
rotation : the conversations of this kind take up ten
days, each is the narrator of ten novels. Such is the
structure of the Decameron.

The highest sense of virtue, of honour, and religion,
and the most exact attention to the forms of civility,
are observable in the behaviour of these ladies and
gentlemen ; nevertheless many of the stories told by
them are of such a kind as to excite our wonder that
well-bred men could relate, or modest women hear
them ; from whence this inference may be fairly
drawn, that although nature may be said to be ever
the same, yet human manners are perpetually chang-
ing; particular virtues and vices predominate at
different periods, chastity of sentiment and purity
of expression are the characteristics of the age we
live in.

But to pursue more closely the present purpose,
we find from the novels of Boccace that Music made
a considerable part in the entertainment of all ranks
of people. In the introduction we are told that on
the first day after they had completed the arrange-
ment of this little community, when dinner was over,
as they all could dance, and some both play and sing
well, the queen ordered in the musical instruments,
and commanded Dioneo to take a lute, and Fiammetta
* una vivola,* a viol, to the music whereof they danced,
and afterwards sang. And at the end of the first
Giomata we are told that Lauretta danced, Emilia
singing to her, and Dioneo playing upon the lute :
the canzone, or song, which is a very elegant com-
position, is given at length. At the end of the third
Giomata, Dioneo, by whom we are to understand
Boccace himself, and Fiammetta, under whom is
shadowed his mistress, the natural daughter of Robert
king of Naples, sing together the story of Guiglielmo
and the lady of Vergiu, while Philomena and Pam-
philo play at chess ; and at the end of the seventh
Giomata the same persons are represented singing
together the story of Palamon and Arcite, after which
the whole company dance to the music, * della Cor-
' namusa,* of a bagpipe, played on by Tindaros, a
domestic of one of Uie ladies, and therefore a fit
person to perform on so homely an instmment.

These representations, fictitious as they undoubtedly
are, may nevertheless serve to ascertain the antiquity
of those musical instmments, the Lute, the Viol, and
the Comamusa, or Bagpipe ; they also prove to some
degree the antiquity of that kind of measured dance.

Digitized by




Book v.

wUeh WW originsDy inweated to display all the
graces end elegaticies of a beauttf ol fonn, and is at
this daj eitemed one of the requiaites m a polite


It remaina now to speak of oar ancient English
poet, and from that cooions fond of intelligenee and
pleaiantry the CanterWy Tales, to select such par-
ticulars as will hest illustrate the subject now under
consideration. The narrative supposes that twenty-
nine persons of both texes, of professions and em-
ployments as different as invention could suggest,
together with Chancer himself, making in all Uiirty,
sat out from the Tabarde inn in Southwark * on a
pilgrimage to the shrine of 6t Thomas Becket in the
cathedral church of Canterbur}% and that this motley
company consisted of a knight, a 'squire his son, and
his yeoman or servant ; a prioress, a nun, and three
priests her attendants ; a monk, a friar, a merchant,
a clerk of Oxford, a seijeant at law, a franklin or
gentleman, a haberdasher, a carpenter, a weaver, a
dyer, a tapiser or maker of tapestry, a cook, a ship-
man or master of a trading vessel, a doctor of physic,
the wife of a weaver of &th, a parson, a plowman,
or, as we should now call such a one, a farmer, a
miller, a manciple, a reeve, a summoner, a pardoner,
and Chaucer himself, who was a courtier, a scholar,
and a poet The characters of these, drawn with
such skill, and painted in such lively colours, that
the persons represented by them seem to pass in
review before us, precede, and are therefore called
the Prologues to, the Tales. After the prologues
follows a relation of the conversation of the pilgrims
at their supper, in which the host desires to make
<»ne of the company, which being assented to, he
proposes that in the way to Canterbury each should
tell two tales, and on their return the same number ;
and he that recounts the best shall be treated with
a supper by his companions. To this they assent,
and early in the morning set out, taking the host for
their guide. They halt at St Thomas's Watering,
a place well known near Southwark, and the host
proposes drawing cuts to determine who shall tell the
first tale ; the lot falls upon the knight as having
drawn the shortest and making a brief apology
(wherein his discretion and courtesy are remarkable)
he begins by a recital of the knightly story of Pala-
mon and Arcitcf

" TMt Inn wm fom«rty the lodging of the abhot of Hyde new
Wlneheater, the elgn wm a Tabarde, a word slfnilfyinR a short Jacket,
or eleert le«a eoat, whole bofon, open on both tidoa, with a eouare oollw
and hanging tleeTet. Stow'i Surrey, lib. IV. chap. 1. From the wearing
of this garment some of those on the foundation at Queen's college In
Oxford are ealled Taberdarit. The aerrants of tholr respeotlTe masters
nt the great oall of seijeants In the year 17M, walked In coats of this
fbrm, and of a vlolot colour, in the procession fhnn the Middle Temple
haU to Westminster. It was andentlV the proper habit of a senrant, and
there cannot be a dearer proof of it than that all the knaves in a pack of
cards are dressed in it. A fow years ago the aign of this Inn was the
Talbot or beagla, an sTidence that the slgniflcation of the word Tabarde
was at least unknown to its then owner. The host in Chaucer's timo
was Renrv Bailie, a merry follow, the humour of whoee character, which
Is admirably drawn by the poet, is greatly heightened by the drcum-
stanct of his havhvg a shrew for his wifo. It Is with great Justice that
Ut, Drydm remarks that ftom that predee and Judicious enumeratioB
of drcumstances contained in this and the other characters of Chaucer,

* ht was enabled to fbrm an idea of tho humours, the foatuieo* and tho

* vary dress of the pUgilms, as dlitlactly as if he had supped wiUi them

* at Oie Tabarde In Southwark.*

t II li very remarkable that Cowley could noYtr rellah the humour

Ia the prologues the foDowing partienhtB re-*
lating to mnsic are obaervable ; and first in that of
the 'squire it ^jpears that

He cosde iboges ttake aad w^enMttf
JoAe, and eke daunce, portray, and wd write.

And tlurt the prioress,

- ' ^ - - called dame Eglmrine,
Fol wel Ae foof the fenrke derine,

Of the Frere it is said that

- - - cert^fily he had a( vnety noCe,
Wd cMide lie fingr and phitf on a R<M.

And that

In harping whan he had (bng

His eyen twinkeled id his hed aright.

As done the Aerres in a Irofty night.

From the cliaracter of the clerk of Oxenforde we
learn that the fiddle was an instrument in use in the
time of Chancer.

For him was leuer to haue at hu beddes heed
Twenty bookti dadde with blacke or reed.
Of Ariftotle and of his philofophie.
Than robei ridie, or fidddl» or gay Attfte.

And of the miller the anthor relates that

A baggepipe weU couth he blowe and soune.

In the Cook's Tale is an intimation that the ap-
prentice therein mentioned could dng and hop, i e.
dance, and play on the Getron and Rihihle ; and in
the romannt of the Rose is the following passage*: —
There mighteft thou se thefe Flutmns,

Minftrals, and eke Toglourk,

That well to fing did her paine,

Some fong (bnges of Loraine,

For in Loraine her notes be

Fulfweter than in this countre.-^ol. 119, b.

From the passages ahove-cited we learn that the
son of a knight, educated in a manner suitable to his
birth, might be supposed to be able to read, write,
dance, pourtray, and make verses. That in convents
the nuns sang the service to the musical notes. That
the Lute, the Rote, the Fiddle, the Sautrie, the Bi^-
pipe, the Oetron, the Ribible, and the Flute, were in-
struments in common use: Speght supposes the
appellative Rote to signify a musical instrument
used in Wales, mistaking the word, as Mr. Urry
suspects, for Crota, a crowd ; but Dr. Johnson in his
Dictionary, makes it to mean a Harp, and cites the
following passage from Spenser : —

Worthy of great Phsebus rote.
The triumphs of Phle^rean Jove he wrote,
That all the gods admired his lofty note.

But in the Confessio Amantis of Gower ia the
following passage : —

He taiught hir, till flie was certene
Of Harpe, Citole,]; and of Riotr,
With many a tewne, and many a note. — ^Fol. 178, h.

of Chauoer. Dryden relates the llsct, and gives his anUiority for it in
the»ie words :— ' I hare often heard the late earl of Lektster say that
'Mr. Cowley himself was ef opinion that Chaucer was a dry eM
• Awhioned wit, not worth receiving ; and that having read him over aft
*my lord's request, he declai«d he had no taste of him.' Pre£ ta
Drydon'a Fables.

This ftict is as difficult to account for as another of a similar Idnd ;
Mr. Handel made no secret of declaring himself totally insensible to tha
exoeUeaolBS of Pureell's oompoeitions.

} CiTOUi, in the passage above-dted from Oower is derived ftom
CisTBttA. a Httle chest, and probably means a duldroer, whkh is in
truth no other than a little chest or box with strings on the Ud or lop.

Digitized by


Chap. XLVI.




Upon which it is observable that the words Harpe
and iliote, or Bote, occur in the same line, wluch
circQinstance imports at least a doubt, whether in
strictness of speech they can be said to be synony-
mous. The word Sautrie is cleariy a cormption of
Psaltery, a kind of harp ; Qetron or Gretem has the
eame signifioation with Cittern; and Ribible or
Rebible, is said by Speght and Urry to mean a
Fiddle, and sometimes a Getem. The names of
certain other instruments, not so ea^ to explain, are
alluded to in the following list of musicians attending
king Edw« IIL extracted ^m a manuscript-roll of
the officers of his. household, communicated by the
late Mn Hardinge of the House of Commons :' — ^
^Trompetters - - 5
Cytelersf - - - 1
Pypers - . - 5
Tabrete - - - 1
Mabrers - - - 1
Clarions - - - 2
Fedeler ... 1
iWayghtesJ - - 8

As to the organ, it was clearly used in churches,
long before the time of Chaucer : he mentions it in
the tale of the Nun's Priest ; and what is somewhat
remarkable, with epithet of merry, —

His voice was merier than the mery Or^on
On mafie daies, that in the churches gon.

Other particulars occur in the prologues, which as
they relate to modes of life, are characteristic of the
times, and tend to elucidate the subject of the present
enquiry ; as that at Stratford, near Bow in Middlesex,
was a school for girls, wherein the French language, but
very different from that of Paris waa taught, and that
at meals, not to wet the fingers deep in the sauce was
one sign of a polite female education. And here it
may not be improper to remark that before the time
of king James the first, a fork was an implement
unknown in this country. Tom Coriate the traveller
learned the use of it in Italy, and one which he
brought with him from thence was here esteemed
a great curiosity. § But to return to Chaucer: al-

* Of the tevenl instmments aboye-mentioned tt seems that the haip
was the most esteemed. It is well known that king AlfMd hfanseif
plajed on the harp : and we are told br Walter Hemlngford In hii
Chronicle, published by Dr. Thomas Gale, in the Hist. Brit, et Ans

plajed on the harp : and we are told br Walter Hemingford in his
Chronicle, published by Dr. Thomas Gale, in the Hist. Brit, et Ang.
otherwiie caUed the XV. Scriptoies. vol. III. p. 591, that Edward L
while ho was prinee of Wales, and in the HoIt Land, was attended hj
a Citharedut or harper ; and it is probable that he had contracted a love
for this instrument in some of those expeditions into Wales, which he
undertook in the life-time of his Csther Hen. III. The same author
relates that it was this harper that killed the assassin who sUbbed
Edward with a poisoned knife at Ptolemais. The manner of tt Is thus
described by him : — ' After the prince had received the wound he wrested

* the knife from the assassin, and ran it into hk beUf : his oenrant [the

* harper] alarmed by the noise of the stmggie, rushed into the room, and
<wHh a stool beat out Us brains.' See also Fuller's Hist, of the Holy
War, book IV. chap. 29.

t Flvm CiTOLB, abore explained.

I ' Watobtbs or Waits,' are Hantbols. Butler, Prtneiplos of Musle,
pag. M. It is remarkable of this noun that it has no singular number ;
Ibr we never say a Wait, or the Wait, but the Waits. In the Etymo-
logienm of Junius the word Is used to slgniiy the players on these
instruments, and is thus explained:— ['Waits, lyridnes, tibicines, ci-

* tlurstdl, £. i verb, to wait, quia sc. magistratus et alios in poropis instar

* stipatorum, sequunter, vel a 6. guet, vigilla, guetter, quia noctu ex<
*eoblas agunt quse eandem agnoseunt originem ac nostrum watch,
«Tigili«.' SUn.

f * Here I wn mention a thing that might have been spoken of before

* In disoourse of the first Italian tewne. I observed a customs in aU

* those Italian cities and townes through the which I passed, that Is not

* used in any other eoantry that I saw in my travels, neither doe I thinke
*that any other nation of Christendome doth use it, bat only Italy.

though forbidden by the canon law to the clergy, it
appears from him that the monks were lovers of
hunting, and kept greyhounds — that Serjeants at law,
were as early as the time of Edward the Third, occa-
sionally judges of assise, and that the most eminent
of them were industrious in collecting Doomes, i e.
judicial determinations, ' which by the way did not
receive the appellation of Reports till the time of
Plowden, who flourished in the reign of Mizabediy
before which persons were employed at the expense
of our kings to attend the courts at Westminster, and
ti^e short notes of their decisions for the use of the
public : II a series of these is now extant, and known
to the profession of the law by the name of Year-
books — that the houses of country gentlemen
abounded with the choicest viands^-^at a haber-
dasher, a carpenter, a weaver, a dyer, and a maker
of tapestry, were in the rank of such citizens as hoped
to become aldermen of London ; and that their wives
claimed to be called Madam — That cooks were great
cheats, and would dress the same meat more than
once — That the masters of ships were pirates, and
made but little conscience of stealing wine out of the
vessels of their chapmen when the latter were asleep
— ^That physicians made astrology a part of their
study — ^That the weaving of woollen cloth was a very
profitable trade, and that the neighbourhood of Bath
was one of the seats of that manufacture — That a
pilgrimage to Rome, nay to Jerusalem, was not an
extravagant undertaking for the wife of a weaver —
That the mercenary sort of clergy were accustomed
to flock to London, in order to procure chauntries in
the cathedral of St Paul ^— That at the Temple the
members were not more than thirty,** twelve of whom

' The Italian, and also most strangers that are commorsnt In Italy, doe
' alwaiee at their meides use a little forke when they cut their meate.

* For while with their knKb, which they hold in one hand, thev cut the
'meate out of the dlah, they futen their fbrke. which they hold in their

* other hand, upon the same dish, so that whatsoever he be that sitting
' in the company of any others at meale, should unadviaedly touch the
'dish of meate with his fingers flrom which all at the table doe cut, he

* will give occasion of oftbace unto the company, as having transgressed

* the lawes of good manners, insomuch that for his error he shall be at
' the least brevMwaten, if not reprehended in werdes . This forme of
' feeding I undersUnd is generally used in all places of Italy, their forks
'being for the most part made of yron or Steele, and some of silver, but
' thoee are used only by gentlemen. The reason of this their ourioelty is,

* because the Italian cannot by any meanes indure to have his dish
'touched with flnirers, seeing all mens fingers are not alike cleane.
' Hereupon I myseUb thought good to imitate the Italian foshion by this
' forked cuttina of meate, not only while I was in Italy, but also in
' Germany, and oftentimes in England since I came home ; being once
' quipped for that flrequent using of my forks by a certain learned gentle-
' man, a familiar fHend of mine, one M. Laurence Whltaker, who in hia
' merry humour doubted not to call me at table Fuidfer, only for using

Online LibraryJohn HawkinsA general history of the science and practice of music → online text (page 64 of 123)