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The same rule was followed in intonating the versicles and responses, the versicle and response together being regarded as a complete sentence; the close of the former requiring the “mediate,” the close of the latter the “grave” accent'.
3. The third division embraces the Psalm-chants. These seem originally to have followed the rule of the “Cantus Prophetarum ;" to have consisted of plain monotone, relieved only by one of the “accents” at the close of each verse. In course of time the middle, as well as the end of the verse, came to be inflected. The inflexions became more varied and elaborate; the result being a whole succession of distinct melodies, or chants, following the laws of the several ecclesiastical modes.
4. As the third division admitted of far greater licence than either of the two former (ultimately, of very considerable melodic latitude), so was the fourth division more free and unrestrained than all. This embraces the music for the Hymns, metrical or prose; for Prefaces, Antiphons, and the like. From these any continuous recitation note disappears altogether, and an unrestricted melody is the result.
Church Song has passed through many vicissitudes ; becoming at times viciously ornate, debased, and emasculate. So long as the people took part in the service, the music was necessarily kept very simple. When they ceased to participate, and the service was performed for them, the once simple inflexions and melodies became expanded and developed,—ten, twenty, or more notes being constantly given to a syllable ; and the plain song became the very reverse of plain, and for all purposes of edification practically useless.
Many protests were from time to time issued; but it was not until the period of the Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, that really effectual and energetic measures were taken to arrest the growing evil. At that time the laborious task of examining and revising the Plain Song of the Western Church was entrusted to Palestrina (who took for his coadjutor the indefatigable Guidetti) by the musical commissioners (one of them the great St. Carlo Borromeo) appointed by the Council of Trent.
But twenty years before Palestrina had set about his toilsome work, a similar movement had been initiated in this country, in connexion with our revised Office-books.
When the great remodelling of our English Services took place, earlier in the same century; when the energetic and successful attempt was made to render them once more suitable, not only for private and claustral, but for public congregational use, and at the same time to disencumber them of any novelties in doctrine or practice which in the course of ages had fastened round them; when the old Mattins, Lauds, and Prime of the Sarum Breviary were translated into the vernacular, compressed, and recast into the now familiar form of our English “Mattins,” or “Morning Prayer," and the Vespers and Compline of our “Evening Prayer,” or “ Evensong;” the question of the music for these rearranged offices forced itself upon the notice of our Church rulers. And it is most interesting to note, how the same wise conservative spirit, which had guided the changes in the words, manifested itself in the corresponding changes in the music with which those words were to be allied.
Radical alteration in either department there was none, simplification being the main object. And thus, in the province of Church Music, the great aim was not to discard, but to utilize the ancient plain song, to adapt it to the translated offices, to restore it to something more of its primitive "plainness,” to rid it of its modern corruptions, its wearisome “neumas," and ornaments and flourishes; so that the Priest's part, on the one hand, might be intelligible and distinct, and not veiled in a dense cloud of unmeaning notes, and the people's part, on the other, so easy and straightforward, as to render their restored participation in the public worship of the Sanctuary at once practicable and pleasurable.
It has been hastily imagined by some in modern days that our great liturgical revisionists of the sixteenth century designed to abolish the immemorial custom of the Church of God, alike in Jewish and Christian times, of saying the Divine Service in some form of solemn musical recitative, and to introduce the unheard-of custom of adopting the ordinary colloquial tone of voice. But such a serious and uncatholic innovation never appears to have entered into their heads.
The most that can be said of our English Post-Reformation rule on this subject is, that in case of real incapacity on the part of the priest, or other sufficient cause, the ordinary tone of voice may be employed; but this only as an exceptional alternative. The rule itself remains unchanged, the same as of old.
“moderate” accents, she seems practically to have parted with the “grave" and the “ acute."
Or their substitutes, in case of a monosyllabic termination | See the preceding note.
The Rubrical directions,“ read,” “ say," "sing,” expressed in the old technical language, are substantially what they were before. The first of these words, “legere," was the most general and comprehensive; merely expressing recitation from a book, without defining the “modus legendi,” or stating whether the recitation was to be plain or inflected. The usual modes of recitation are expressed in the words “say” and “sing;” the former (“dicere ") pointing to the simpler, the latter (“cantare") to the more ornate mode. Thus the old “legere ” might signify (and often did) ornate singing; and it might signify (and often did) plain monotone; and it is observable that the words “say” and “sing” are often employed interchangeably in the old rubrics, when their specific distinctions do not come into prominence?
Now the same holds good in our present Book. For instance, in one place we find a rubric ordering that the Athanasian Creed shall be “ read here.” Now, the point of this rubric being the particular position in which the Creed shall be recited, and not the particular mode of its recitation, the general term “legere” is employed. The “modus legendi” is determined by other rubrics, which prescribe that it may be “either said, or sung;" i. e., which allow of both modes of choral recitation, either the plain, or the ornate; either the simple monotone, or the regular chant.
The same thing occurs in another rubric, which (like the former), dealing with the position, not the mode, orders the “Venite” to be "read” in a certain place. Now the general term “read” in this instance is obviously equivalent with the word "sing;” the Church of England always contemplating that the Psalms shall be not said on the monotone, but sung to regular chants ?.
The two works which directly illustrate the mind of the English Church as to the musical rendering of her reformed Service are, 1st, the Litany published by Cranmer with its musical notation (the first instalment of our Book of Common Prayer); and, 2ndly, the more important work containing the musical notation of all the remainder of that Book, edited (plainly under the Archbishop's supervision) by John Merbecke, and published “cum privilegio” in the same year with the first Prayer Book of Edward VI.
A word or two may be said respecting both these publications.
1. The Litany was published in 1544 in a work entitled “An exhortation unto praier thought mete by the King's Majestie and his clergie, to be read &c. Also a Litany with suffrages to be said or sung.” Now this Litany was set to the beautiful and simple old Litany chant still used in most of our Cathedrals and Parish Churches where the service is chorally rendered. It was republished by Grafton, with harmonies in five parts, a month after its first appearance. Some twenty years afterwards it was again harmonized by Tallis; and it has been harmonized and set in different forms by many of our English Church musicians.
2. The other publication was entitled “ The Booke of Common Praier noted,” wherein “is conteyned so much of the Order of Common Praier as is to be song in Churches." Like the Prayer Book itself, it contains nothing absolutely new : the old English Service Music being simplified and adapted to our revised and translated Offices. The adjustment of the musical notation is as follows :
i. For the Prayers, the old “Cantus Collectarum,” or simple monotone, is used . . ï. For the Versicles and Responses, the old inflected “ Cantus Prophetarum."
üi: In the Scripture Lections, however, it seems manifest that it was not in contemplation to retain the use of this last-mentioned inflected Song, which of old appertained to them. In the Pre-Reformation Service-books the “ Capitula” and the Lections were generally very short; the latter being moreover broken and interrupted by Antiphons. Here, inflected musical Recitative might not be inappropriate. But to sing through a long lesson from the English Bible in the same artificial method, would be plainly wearisome, if not somewhat grotesque. Hence our rubric ordered that “in such places where they do sing, then shall the lesson be sung in a plain tune, after the manner of distinct reading; and likewise the Epistle and Gospel.”
I “How depe and inwarde comforte shoulde yt be to you to 3 In two instances (but only two) Merbecke has adopted a synge and rede and say thys holy seruyce.” Oure Ladyes My. | special peculiarity of the Sarum (as distinguished from the Roman) roure, f. v.
Rite, in the employment of the grave accent (see p. lvii) on 3 « The Psalter, or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be the last syllable of the collect preceding the “Amen." sung (or said) in Churches." The Psalter, we see, is specially 4 See also p. lviii. pointed for singing: the pointing itself plainly expressing the 1 5 See an instance of this method described at p. 96, note. mind and wish of the Church. The “say" only gives a permissible alternative where there is no choir.
Now here the emphatic word appears to be "plain," as opposed to “inflected ;” and the object of the rubric, to recommend the substitution of the “Cantus Collectarum,” or monotone, for the Lessons, Epistle, and Gospel, in place of the ancient “Cantus Prophetarum.” It is needless to point out, by the way, in the face of a rubric which defines the mode in which even the lessons are to be “sung," how little idea there was on the part of our Liturgical Revisers of interfering generally with the ancient musical performance of Divine Service.
It may not be out of place here to remark, that the above rubric which ordered the "plain tune” for the lessons, was, after the lapse of above a century, ultimately withdrawn. The Puritans strongly urged its withdrawal at the Savoy Conference, prior to the last Review in 1661. Our Divines at first refused to yield, alleging that the objections urged against the use of Monotone for Holy Scripture were groundless. However, they gave way at last : and it is, perhaps, happy that they did. For, while in the case of solemn public addresses to Almighty God, the grave, devout, unsecular, ecclesiastical recitative is alone appropriate; in the case of addresses to man, even though they are lessons of Holy Scripture, which are read for purposes of instruction, a freer and less formal mode of utterance seems alike suitable and desirable.
iv. The Te Deum is set to the ancient Ambrosian melody, simplified and adapted to the English words from the version given in the Sarum Breviary.
v. The other Canticles and the Psalms are assigned to the old Gregorian chants. The Book does not actually contain the Psalter with its chants (just as it does not contain the Litany with its music, which had been already published). A simple Gregorian melody (8th tone, 1st ending) is given for the “Venite;" after which is added, “and so forth with the rest of the Psalms as they are appointed.” The primary object of this was, probably, to keep the Book in a reasonably small compass, and avoid the great additional expense of printing a musical notation for each verse of the entire Psalter. But partly, no doubt, it was the uncertainty then felt (and even to the present day, to some extent experienced) as to the best mode of selecting and adapting the old chants to English words, which caused the editors instinctively to shrink from the responsibility of so soon determining these delicate points, and to prefer leaving it to the different Choirs and Precentors to make experiments, and adapt and select according to their own judgment. There is no proof that it was intended to fasten this particular book upon the English Church. It was probably of a tentative and experimental character. It was put forth as a companion to our Revised Service-book, as a practical explanation of its musical rubrics, and as also furnishing examples and specimens of the way in which the framers of our vernacular offices originally contemplated that they should be allied with the old Latin Ritual Song.
vi. In the music for the Hallelujah (“The Lord's Name be praised"), for the Lord's Prayer in the Post-Communion, and for the Kyrie (the melody of the latter borrowed from the Sarum “Missa pro Defunctis "), we find merely the old Sarum plain-song reproduced in simplified form.
vii. The Nicene Creed, Gloria in Excelsis, and offertory sentences appear, from the structure of the music, to be all set to simplified forms of ancient Gregorian melodies. But their immediate source has not yet been clearly ascertained.
From what has been said it will incidentally appear, 1st, how fully determined were our sixteenth century Revisionists that the Offices in their new form should not lose their old choral and musical character; and thus that Divine Service should still continue what it had ever theoretically been, a “ Service of Song.” And, 2nd, how earnestly anxious they were that the music should be of a plain and simple character, so that it might be a real aid in the great object they had before them, that of restoring to the people their long-suspended right of due and intelligent participation in the public worship of the Sanctuary.
In illustration of these points, Cranmer's letter to Henry VIII., dated Oct. 7, 1544, is interesting; and although it is printed entire at p. xxii, it is necessary again to refer to it in connexion with our present subject. After speaking of the English Litany already published with musical notation; and of certain other Litanies, or “Processions,” which he had been preparing, and which he requests the King to cause to be set to music, on the ground that “if some devout and solemn note be made thereunto," " it will much stir the hearts of all men to devotion;" he proceeds to offer his opinion as to the kind of music suitable for these Litanies, as also for other parts of the Service :
“In mine opinion the Song that shall be made thereunto would not be full of notes, but as near as may be for every syllable a note; as be, in the Matins and Evensong, "Venite,' the Hymns “Te Deum,” • Benedictus,'Magnificat,' Nuno Dimittis,' and all the Psalms and Versicles; and, in the Mass, Gloria in excelsis,'. Gloria Patri,' the Creed, the Preface, the • Pater noster,' and some of the "Sanctus' and ' Agnus. As concerning the Salve, festa dies,' the Latin note, as I think, is sober and distinct enough; wherefore I have travailed to make the verses in English, and have put the Latin note unto the same. Nevertheless, they that be cunning in singing can make a much more solemn note thereto. I made them only for a proof, to see how English would do in song."
The last portion of this letter introduces a subject on which it is necessary to add a few words, viz., the use of Metrical Hymns in public worship.
Cranmer himself was most anxious to have retained the use of them, and with that view set about translating the Breviary Hymns. But he was so dissatisfied with his attempts, that eventually he gave up the idea. This loss was a serious one, and soon made itself experienced. Fervent Christian feeling must find means of expression; and if not provided with a legitimate outlet, such as the Hymns of the Church were intended to furnish, will vent itself in ways irregular, and, perhaps, in unorthodox language.
It is difficult to ascertain the exact time when the practice of popular Hymn and metrical Psalm singing established itself in connexion with our revised ritual, though independently of its direct authority. Such singing was in use very early in Elizabeth's reign, having doubtless been borrowed from the Protestants abroad. For the purpose of giving a quasi-official sanction to a custom which it would have been very unwise to repress, (and thus, through a sort of bye-law, to supply a practical want in our authorized public Ritual, it was ordained, by a Royal Injunction in the year 1559, that, while there was to be “a modest and distinct song so used in all parts of the Common Prayers in the Church that the same might be understanded as if it were read without singing;" (in other words, while the old traditional plain-song, in its simplified form, is to be employed throughout the whole of the service; yet,) “ for the comforting of such as delight in musick it may be permitted, that in the beginning or at the end of the Common Prayer, either at morning or evening, there may be sung an hymn or such like song to the praise of Almighty God, in the best sort of melody and musick that may be conveniently devised; having respect that the sentence [i.e. sense] of the hymn may be understanded and perceived.”
To this Injunction of Queen Elizabeth we owe our modern Anthem; on which it is necessary to add a few words.
The term itself is merely an Anglicized synonym of the word Antiphon. Its old spelling was Antem, Anteme, or Antempne'. Its origin is the Greek word åvridwvov, or rather åvridwva (antiphona : neut. plur.), which is the old ecclesiastical term. From antiphona comes the Italian and Spanish antifona, as well as the old English form antephne, and the Anglo-Saxon antefn. Now, just as the Anglo-Saxon word stefn (the end, or prow, of a ship) became stem in English, so did Antefo become Antem. The further change of the initial ant into anth is merely parallel with the corresponding change of the Old English te and tat into thee and that'.
From the fact of Barrow in one of his sermons spelling the word “Anthymn," Dr. Johnson and others have hastily inferred that its true origin is to be traced in αντί ύμνος or άνθυμνος (anti-hymnus, or anthymnus), which would give it the meaning of a responsive hymn. And it is by no means improbable that the accidental similarity in sound between the final syllable of “Anthem ” and the word “hymn,” coupled with the fact of the intelligible, and in a measure correct, meaning which this plausible derivation would seem to afford, has not been without its influence in determining the popular sense of the word itself. But there is not a vestige of authority for this latter derivation, nor shadow of doubt that own and not õuvos is the root out of which “Anthem ” grows.
In its earliest form, the Anthem, or Antiphon, seems to have been a single verse out of any Psalm repeated after the recitation of the Psalm (and, in later times, before its recitation also) with a view of fixing the key-note, so to speak, of the Psalm; of bringing into prominence, and fastening attention upon, some special idea contained within it. In course of time the Antiphons came to be selected, not exclusively from the particular Psalms to which they were affixed. Appropriate passages of Scripture from any part, even short uninspired sentences in prose or verse, came to be similarly applied. From the fact of the Antiphon giving the key-note or leading idea of the Psalm to which it was attached, we find the word Anthem frequently used for the text of a sermon :.
i See p. lvi, and “the Myrroure of our Lady,” fol. lxxxix.
? For a discussion on the derivation and use of the word Anthem, see Notes and Queries, 2nd Series, xi. 457. 491 ; xii. 90. 151.
3 It may be remarked, that as the idea of Responsive Music lies at the bottom of Antiphon, or Anthem (whence we find old writers speaking of the Psalms as sung Anthem-wise, i.e. respon.
sively), so, in the actual and varied use of the word, we find, sometimes the Responsive, and sometimes the Musical, element coming into prominence : occasionally, one or the other element entirely disappearing. In the text of a sermon, for instance, there is nothing musical. In a modern Anthem, there is nothing necessarily responsive.
When the use of a “Hymn, or such like song," was authoritatively permitted at the beginning or end of Common Prayer—not only with a view of adding dignity and interest to the worship of Almighty God, and rendering the Service of Praise more worthy of Him to whom it was offered; but with the twofold secondary end also (1) of “comforting” musical people by allowing the strains of the Sanctuary a greater freedom of development than the mere chant and plain-song intonations admitted, and thus (2) of encouraging amongst all classes the study and practice of music-our Church composers, in casting about for suitable words, seem first to have had recourse to the old Antiphons, many of which they set to music. Other similar brief and characteristic passages of Holy Scripture, Prayers, Hymns, and the like, were speedily selected for the same purpose; but the name “ Anthems," whether they happened to have been used as Antiphons or not, equally attached itself to all.
Many have endeavoured to discover some definite ritual significance in the word itself, and in the position occupied by the Anthem in our Service, to account for its name. It has been regarded as the intentional “residuum ” of the Antiphons of the old Service-books. But such theories, though interesting, are unsubstantial. It is all but certain, that it was through a loose, accidental, popular application of an old term, the strict meaning of which was not a matter of much concern, rather than through any deliberate conviction of the modern Anthem being, practically or theoretically, identical with, or a legitimate successor and representative of the old Antiphon, that the name Anthem finally allied itself with that class of musical compositions or Sacred Motets which now form a recognized adjunct to our English Service'. It may be added that, in country parishes, where a trained choir could not be obtained, a metrical Psalm would be sung in the place of the Anthem, and fall under the same general designation.
The actual period of the introduction of the term in its familiar modern and popular sense, to denote a piece of sacred music for the use of the Church, may perhaps be approximately illustrated by a comparison of the titles of two successive editions of a very important musical work. Within the year after the publication of Queen Elizabeth's Injunction giving permission for the use of a “Hymn, or such like song,” John Day printed his great choral work entitled, “Certain notes set forthe in 4 & 5 parts, to be sung at the Morning, Communion, & Evening Prayer, very necessary for the Church of Xt to be frequented & used. And unto them be added divers godly Prayers & Psalmes in the like form to the Honour and Praise of God.” Five years later, this fine work, to which Tallis with other famous Church writers contributed, was reprinted, though with a somewhat different title : “ Morning & Evening Prayer & Communion set forth in 4 parts, to be sung in Churches, both for men & children, with divers other godly Prayers & Anthems of sundry men's doyings." In the second edition we thus have the word “ Anthems” used, where in the first edition “Psalmes” had been employed.
An illustration of the early actual use of the Anthem, in its modern English sense, is afforded by Strype, in his description of the Lent Services which took place in the Chapel Royal, within a year of the time when the permissive Injunction for the use of “a Hymn, or such like song," was published, at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign.
“The same day” (he writes, i.e. Midlent Sunday, March 24, 1560), “in the afternoon, Bp. Barlow, one of King Edward's Bishops, now Bishop of Chichester, preached in his Habit before the Queen. His sermon ended at five of the clock : and, presently after, her Chapel went to Evening Song. The Cross as before standing on the Altar; and two Candlesticks, and two Tapers burning in them. And, Service concluded, a good Anthem was sung." [See also Machyn's Diary, 1560.]
Thus the place of the Anthem became practically settled after the third Collect, with which Morning and Evening Prayer at that time concluded; although it was not till above 100 years after this period that there was any rubrical recognition of the Anthem, or direction concerning the time of its performance. When, however, at the last Review, in 1661, the concluding prayers were added, the Anthem was not removed to the end of the Service, as before, but was still allowed to retain its old traditional place after the third Collect. And it was with a view of fixing this position that the Rubric was inserted, “In Choirs and places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem.”
But although this is the only place where the introduction of a “Hymn, or such like song," or “ Anthem,” is definitely authorized, yet custom has sanctioned a much freer interpretation of the
" It will also be observed, that the two English words-really identical, and coming from the same root-Antiphon and Anthem,
have finally parted company; the former retaining its ancient ritual, the latter acquiring a modern musical meaning.