Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/484

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472

��SERVICE.

��explanation is possible if the popular use of the word 'service' be looked into. Originally sig- nifying the duty rendered by servant or slave, it afterwards became used roughly for the per- sons rendering the service, just as we now hear people speak of the 'Civil Service/ meaning the body of men who do the service, and of a 'service' of railway trains, meaning a regular group or succession. From this conception the word obtains a further meaning of a 'set' of things having a definite use ; for example a 'dinner-service' a 'set' of things for use at dinner; or, again, a 'service of plate' a 'set' of gold or silver vessels, etc. Although an analogous meaning of the musical term seems not hitherto to have been suggested, its correct- ness appears so highly probable that we shall in future understand by ' service ' merely a ' set ' of canticles or other movements prepared by a com- poser for use at a complete function.

The fullest form of a set or service would include free musical compositions for (i) The Venite, (2) Te Deum, (3) Benedicite, (4) Bene- dictus, (5) Jubilate, (6) Kyrie eleison, (7) Nicene Creed, (8) Sanctus, (9) Gloria in excelsis ; (10) Magnificat, (n) Cantate Domino, (12) Nunc Dimittis, (13) Deus Misereatur.

It will be necessary to say a few words about some of these movements separately before making any remarks on our services generally. The Venite has long since disappeared from the list of free compositions, and is now univer- sally treated as one of the psalms, and sung to a chant instead of being rendered as a motet. In the form in which the Venite was printed in the Breviary may perhaps be traced the reason why many of our earliest church-com- posers after the Reformation, such as Tallis, Bevin, Bird, Gibbons, and others, left settings of the Venite in motet-form. But this treat- ment of the psalm was probably found to lengthen unduly the time occupied by the Matins ; and it may also have been felt that an elaborate choral setting of these particular words seriously injured their force as an invitation to join in public worship. On the whole it is not a matter for regret that the Venite now takes its place merely as an introductory psalm. It is perhaps worthy of remark that the custom, still prevalent in many parts of the country, of singing the Venite only, and then reading the psalms for the day, may be the slowly dying tradition of a time when the Venite was sung to a special musical setting. Those who maintain this custom should at least open their eyes to the absurdity of inviting people to 'sing unto the Lord,' and then permitting them only to say the psalms.

The free setting of the Benedicite omnia opera did not long maintain its ground, owing probably to its excessive length. Purcell set this canticle, and it is even now occasionally sung to his music ; Blow also wrote an elaborate Benedicite in his Service in E minor. But the canticle itself fell for a long time into neglect, and when revived, it was sung either to a chant in triple measure, or to a 'single' chant, or to a Gregorian tone

��SERVICE.

having a ' short ending.' Hayes contributed one of the earliest triple-measure chants.

The Gloria in excelsis, though set to music by Tallis, fell almost entirely out of the 'ser- vice' owing to the loss of choral celebrations of the Holy Communion. On their resumption during the last few years the Gloria has once more been included in the set, after a long period of virtual disuse. The Kyrie eleison and Sanctus maintained their place in the set ; the former because it was always sung at the so-called 'table-prayers' (that is, a Communion- office brought to a sudden conclusion at the end of the Creed, Sermon, or Prayer for the Church militant) ; the latter lived on as an introit, a duty it fulfilled at one time univer- sally in our cathedrals ; happily it has now been superseded by a short appropriate anthem or hymn.

The Jubilate completely ousted the Benedictus for a long period. The earliest writers of our Reformed Church Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Bevin, Farrant, and others set the Benedtctus to music, but it was afterwards practically lost, until, within the last few years, a better feeling has restored it to the place which it should hold according to the spirit of the rubric, if not ac- cording to its letter.

The Cantate Domino and Deus misereatur may be said to have been in fashion from time to time. Both Blow and Purcell set these alter- native canticles, and later Aldrich also ; but they reached their highest popularity at the end of last and the early part of this century. At the present time they have again fallen somewhat into the background.

In addition to the contents of a service as above enumerated, the most modern composers add musical settings of the Offertory sentences, also of the Doxologies before and after the Gospel, and sometimes also of the Sursum Corda, Agnus Dei, and Benedictus. The Offertory sentences may perhaps be looked upon as a legitimate addition to the set, but the Gospel-doxologies and Sursum Corda have both their own ancient plainsong, and the Agnus Dei and Benedictus are not ordered by our rubric to be sung in the office of Holy Communion.

Having made these few remarks about the contents of a service, we must now discuss the musical character of our English services, assum- ing that a Te Deum, Benedictus (or Jubilate}, Magnificat, and Nunc Dimittis may be taken aa the main framework of an ordinary service. It can hardly be doubted that Tallis, the chief of the early post- Reformation composers, was influenced, when setting his celebrated Te Deum in D minor, by the character of the then well-known Am- brosian Te Deum which Marbecke published in the 1550 Prayer-book. There can be traced an evident wish to form a melody, if not actually in a Church mode, in a tonality closely resembling one of them. Tallis also avoided contrapuntal devices (in which he was a distinguished expert), and limited within strict bounds the ambitus of his melody and the number of his harmonic corn-

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