excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 301-2 (198 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 301-2 (198 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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We have been recently more than ever before convinced of the necessity of simple harmony for Congregational purposes. We have seen attempts to introduce, for example, some of John Sebastian Bach's harmony parts into congregations. Now, it is well known that Bach did not write harmony parts for Congregational singing, but for choir singing. In his church, the St. Thomas', Leipzig, all the people sing the melody, and the parts are sung (when sung at all) by the choir. Of course. Bach wrote such difficult harmonies as none but a choir, and a pro[f]essional choir too, can sing well. Yet editors not knowing these circumstances have introduced these difficult harmonies into tune books designed for Congregational use. Congregations might as well undertake to sing Beethoven's Mass No. 2, as these chorals, with all sorts of complicated and difficult harmony parts. Oh that two things in relation to psalmody might be understood! 1st. That Congregational singing cannot be good unless the tunes are very plain and easy; and 2d. That there are plenty of such plain and easy tunes which possess true musical excellence, and which are in all respects suited to the wants of a worshipping assembly. 

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 301-2 (198 words)


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