known Te Deum in F of Gibbons (1583–1625), appears in this shape:—
The headings or 'Indexing' of these versions stand as follows, and are very suggestive:—'Tallis in D, organ part varied'; 'Te Deum, Mr. Tallis, with Variations for the Organ'; 'Gibbons in F, Morning, with Variations'; 'Te Deum, Mr. Orlando Gibbons, in F fa ut, varied for the Organ'; and so forth. There is little doubt therefore that the versions under notice were not intended as accompaniments at all, but were variations or adaptations like the popular 'Transcriptions' of the present day, and made for separate use, that use being doubtless as voluntaries. This explanation of the matter receives confirmation from the fact that a second old and more legitimate organ part of those services is also extant, for which no ostensible use would have existed, if not to accompany the voices. Compare the following extract from Gibbons's Te Deum ('The noble army of Martyrs') with the preceding.
An early specimen of a short piece of 'obligato' organ accompaniment is presented by the opening phrase of Orlando Gibbons's Te Deum in D minor, which appears as follows:—
The early organ parts contained very few if any directions as to the amount of organ tone to be used by way of accompaniment. Indeed the organs were not capable of affording much variety. Even the most complete instruments of Tallis's time, and for nearly a century afterwards, seem to have consisted only of a very limited 'choir' and 'great' organs, sometimes also called 'little' and 'great' from the comparative size of the external separate cases that enclosed them; and occasionally 'soft,' as in the preceding extract, and 'loud' organs in reference to the comparative strength of their tone.
Other instruments were used besides the organ in the accompaniment of church music. Dr. Rimbault, in the introduction to 'A Collection of Anthems by Composers of the Madrigalian Era,' edited by him for the Musical Antiquarian Society in 1845, distinctly states that 'all verse or solo anthems anterior to the Restoration were accompanied with viols, the organ being only used in the full parts;' and the contents of the volume consist entirely of anthems that illustrate how this was done. From the first anthem in that collection, 'Blow out the trumpet,' by M. Este (about 1600), the following example is taken—the five lower staves being instruments:—
The resources for varied organ accompaniment were somewhat extended in the 17th century through the introduction, by Father Smith and Renatus Harris, of a few stops, until then unknown in this country; and also by the