excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 199-200 (287 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 199-200 (287 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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There is an organ in Mr. James’ church, and also a choir; two things indispensable to the best results in church music. The organ was well played, yet not always with sufficient strength to support and guide the congregation.


The choir in Mr. James’ church did not seem to be much in advance of the people in the manner of their performance; they tried to help the organ to lead, but no choir piece, either tune or anthem, was attempted by them. There was no chanting, as there is in many of the London churches, and metrical psalmody was the only form of song. Extempore parts were sung near to me, and especially by a gentleman who knew enough of music to sing always a third below the treble; this knowledge he took care to bring into practical use, and so, of course, was often producing fifths as much at variance with music’s laws as are nouns in the plural in connection with verbs in the singular number with the requirements of grammar. The first tune was St. Ann’s, with the good old-fashioned cadence on the mediant at the end of the third line—grand and effective; the second was St. Paul’s; the third we did not know, but while it was a pretty, “all's well" kind of tune, it was unfit for Congregational singing, and an affected, fainting away, or “oh dear” result was the consequence. As in other places in England, so here, the hymn is just named, the organist then gives out the tune on his instrument, playing it through, then follows the reading of the hymn, after which it is sung.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 199-200 (287 words)


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