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all to chant, and all to stop, at one and the same time.”
Then follow instructions which are equally needful, and still more important.
“ We admonish you, best beloved, to attend upon the Lord, in the Divine Service, with alacrity as well as reverence; not lazily, yawning, like people half asleep ; not grudging your voices, nor cutting off your words in the middle, nor skipping over whole ones,* nor pronouncing them in a mincing and effeminate tone of voice, but giving out the accents of the Holy Ghost in a manly strain and spirit. Men should chant like men, not like women, aping the wantonness of the stage with shrill and affected voices. Our rule, then, is, that you take care, in chanting, to preserve the due mean, which at once savours of gravity and preserves devotion.” So far the Cistercian rule. I The Cardinal himself adds,
“ The notes should all be given out evenly; in a due mean between excessive rapidity and tedious protraction."
The plan and scope of the present little volume are best expressed in words borrowed from the Preface of the “ Cantica Vespera.”
“The object is to remedy the manifold and acknowledged defects in Chanting, and these are, the uncertainty of the singer as to the syllable on which the reciting note (as it is called) should end ; the want of concert in the adaptation of the words to the tone ; and the unaccountable pauses made upon unimportant words in the sentence; thereby completely destroying the sense of the verse.
* Transilientes integra. † Non fractis et remissis vocibus muliebre quiddam de nare sopantes.
# Quoted by Card. Bona, as above. Vide S. Bernardi Serm. in Cantic. 47.
Card. Bona, as above.
66 The method has been to draw small bars across the words similar to those used to divide the music at the corresponding part of the tone. This will be easily understood, even by those who are little accustomed to read music.”
Something must now be said of the rule, if it may be so called, by which the words and syllables have been divided in the following pages, and which is somewhat different from that followed in the Cantica Vespera. It was found impossible, in adapting the English words to the music of the tones, to point them according to the natural mode of pronunciation, without innovating too much upon the established usage. Chanting has so long been viewed among us in the light of ordinary singing, that it would be far too abrụpt, even if a perfectly desirable, change to reduce it all at once to the character of mere recitation. No attempt has accordingly been made in the present case to keep perfectly clear of artificial emphasis ; and it has been thought best to aim at carrying out, as far as might be, another principle, opposite in some respects to that upon which the Cantica Vespera is constructed ; that namely of assigning distinct syllables to distinct notes, so as to furnish the utmost practicable security against the tripping mode of utterance into which boys especially are apt to fall. Thus, words like
majesty,” and “ covenant,” are here assigned, not as usually to one, but to three notes ; Sion, temple," and others of a like measure, to two, and so on. It is felt by the writer of these remarks, among others whose opinion is of more value, that a great deal is thus gained in point of solemnity, and nothing lost in point of spirit, and simplicity of utterance. Another peculiarity of the present arrangement, as compared with some others, and the result, in some degree, of the general principle upon which it is founded,
is that of the continuation of the reciting note beyond the limits which are sometimes assigned to it. This slight change is also felt to conduce to gravity and simplicity.
The Gloria Patri in the Psalms and Canticles has been printed in small capitals to indicate that it is most fitly chanted in chorus, i. e. by an union of the two divisions of singers, whatever those divisions may be, between which the other verses have been alternately shared. According to the most ancient method of chanting, as already observed, the alternation was made, not between the verses, but the clauses of each verse. And there seems so eminent a propriety in chanting the 136th Psalm in this manner, that, in the present volume, it has been printed so as to suggest the adoption of the early practice.
As no notice is taken in the title-page of the introduction of any chants except the Gregorian, it is right to add, that, although the latter only have been admitted into the Psalter, two others, and two only, will be found in the earlier part of the volume ; the Chant to which the Athanasian Creed is commonly sung in our Cathedrals, and which, though not a Gregorian, is quite of a Gregorian character, and that which is known by the name of the “Grand Chant,” to which, as well as to one of the Gregorian Tones, the Te Deum has here been set, so as to allow a change of tune, where felt desirable, on festivals. It will be seen, that, as different chants require different marking, this option could not ordinarily be given. The Tones, it may be added, are printed according to the arrangement of Mr. Novello.
Great care has been taken to preserve uniformity in the system of marking, but (independently of possible and probable oversights) it has been, in a few cases, purposely violated with a view to secure some object which seemed of greater importance than itself.
It is hoped that the indulgence of the Christian public may be fairly claimed for an attempt, which, whatever its unskilfulness, has evidently no other object in view than that of promoting the use of Ecclesiastical Psalmody in its simplest, and therefore, most devotional and edifying form.
74, Margaret Street.