Tones, from being all used in the revision of the Roman Antiphonarium by St. Gregory the Great at a subsequent date (A.D. 590). But St. Ambrose's own statement in his letter to his sister St. Marcelina is merely that he wished to take upon himself the task of regulating the tonality and the mode of execution of the hymns, psalms, and antiphons that were sung in the church he had built at Milan. It must be confessed that we really know little or nothing of the system and structure of the Ambrosian melodies, and no existing records show anything essentially different from Gregorian plainsong.
The subject of Byrd's anthem 'Bow Thine ear, Lord,' originally written to the words ' Ne irascaris domine,'
has always been quoted, since Dr. Crotch published his 'Specimens,' as a portion of the plainsong of St. Ambrose. A comparison of the liturgical text and ritual of Milan and Rome shows a different setting of the musical portions of the mass, as well as many variations in rubrics and in the order and appropriation of various portions to the celebrant and assistants, in the two uses. Thus the 'Gloria in excelsis' precedes the Kyrie in the Milan and follows it in the Roman Mass. The setting of the intonation of this, as taken from the missals of the two, may be here given as a specimen of the differences in the plainsong.
These intonations of the Creed
will also serve to show the kind of difference still discernible in the two rites.
But the principal boon bestowed on the Church by St. Ambrose was the beautiful rhythmical hymns with which he enriched the musical service of Milan Cathedral. Many hymns are called Ambrosian because written after his manner; but some ten of the ancient hymns are from his own pen, among which may be mentioned 'Veni Redemptor Gentium' and 'Eterna Christi munera' (Hymnal Noted, Nos. 12, 36).
The entire accent and style of chanting, as regulated by St. Ambrose, was undoubtedly an artistic and cultivated improvement on that of preceding church services, such as would naturally result from the rare combination of piety, zeal, intellect, and poetical and musical power by which he was distinguished. The Ambrosian chant was eventually merged, but certainly not lost, in that vast repertory of plainsong, whether then ancient or modern, which we now call Gregorian, from the name of the next great reformer of church music, St. Gregory the Great.
[ T. H. ]
AMEN. This word has been often employed by composers as an opportunity for the display of fugue and counterpoint, just as some of Palestrina's finest music is given to the names of the Hebrew letters, Aleph, Beth, etc., in his 'Lamentationes Jeremiae.' Witness Handel's final chorus in the 'Messiah,' Dr. Cooke's Amen in double augmentation, engraved on his tomb (see Augmentation), another very spirited chorus in the Italian style by the same composer (Hullah's Part Music, No. 6), fine choruses by Leo, Cafaro, Clari, and Bonno in the Fitzwilliam Music, and many others.
[ G. ]
AMERICAN ORGAN. A free-reed instrument similar in its general construction to the Harmonium, but with some important differences. In the first place the reeds in the American organ are considerably smaller and more curved and twisted than in the harmonium, and there is a wider space left at the side of the reed for it to vibrate, the result being that the tone is more uniform in power, and that the expression stop when used produces much less effect. The curvature of the reeds also makes the tone softer. In the American organ moreover the wind-channel or cavity under which the vibrators are fixed is always the exact length of the reed, whereas in the harmonium it is varied according to the quality of tone required, being shorter for a more reedy tone and longer for a more fluty one. Another point of difference in the two instruments is that in the harmonium the wind is forced outward through the reeds, whereas in the American organ, by reversing the action of the bellows, it is drawn inwards. The advantages of the American organ as compared with the harmonium are that the blowing is easier, the expression stop not being generally used, and that the tone is of a more organ-like quality, and therefore peculiarly adapted for sacred music; on the other hand, it is inferior in having much less variety of tone, and not nearly so much power of expression. These instruments are sometimes made with two manuals; in the most complete specimens the upper manual is usually furnished with one set of reeds of eight-feet and one of four-feet pitch, and the lower manual with one of eight- and one of
- The Roman examples are from a fine quarto Missale Romanum printed at Antwerp in 1598, corresponding with Guidetti's Directorium and the present use. Those for the use of Milan are from a portion of the 'Missale Ambrosianum Curoli Cajetam Cardinalis, novissime impressum, Mediolani,' A.D. 1831, brought from Milan in 1871 by the writer of this article.