excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 290-1 (314 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 290-1 (314 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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In the evening we went to the "Zion-street Chapel,” Walworth. This is a Baptist chapel; the pastor was absent, and a young man, a student, filled his place. As a matter to be expected in such a case, there seemed to be some attempt at eloquence; we almost invariably see it in a young man, and especially in a student. It is often somewhat trying to listen to the sermons of the theological students, and so it was on this occasion. The hymns were given out by the Precentor, who read them badly enough, applying the same accent, or general inflection, to each stanza. Perhaps the following may convey some idea of his manner of reading:— Let the first line be commenced on a high pitch, and let the pitch rise by a slide gradually until a climax very high is obtained by a strong pressure tone and upward slide or inflection on the last syllable but two; then a sudden slide down, still on the same syllable, followed by still another upward on the last syllable, and this to be exactly the same in form, though differing a little in force in every couplet, or twice in each stanza:

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds 
In a believer’s ear;
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

We have seldom heard a hymn read in a more mechanical sing-song manner, or in worse taste. There was no choir, and the congregation generally joined in the singing. The people were all seated in prayer, and all stood in singing. They all took their seats merely for the benediction after the last singing. People in our own country are very much troubled that the custom of sitting in prayer should be increasing so much; but it seems to prevail in a majority of the churches here.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 290-1 (314 words)


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