Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/613

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monk of Reading Abbey, and itself implying a long previous course of study and practice. 1 And there is record of a company or brotherhood formed by the merchants of London at the end of the 1 3th century for the encouragement of musical and poetical compositions. With this purpose they assembled periodically at festive meetings ; and their rules were very similar to those of the German ' Meistersingers,' though their influence on contemporary music was much less widely dif- fused. This however is, at least in part, explained by the reluctance of the London brotherhood to admit any but members to its periodical meet- ings. 8 Of the abundance of popular tunes in the 1 4th century, evidence is supplied by the number of hymns written to them. For instance, "Sweetest <f all, sing,' ' Have good-day, my leman dear,' and six others, were secular stage-songs, to which Kichard Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory (1318-1360) wrote Latin hymns. (Chappell, p. 765.)

While the Minstrels flourished, notation was difficult and uncertain, and they naturally trusted to memory or improvisation for the tunes to which their tales should be sung. But with the end of the 15th century they disappeared, their extinction accelerated by the invention of printing ; for when the pedlar had begun to traverse the country with his penny books and his songs on broadsheets, the Minstrel's day was past : his work was being done by a better agency. 3 To the time of the Minstrels belongs however the famous ' Battle of Agincourt ' song, the tune of which is given by Mr. Chappell * as follows, with the date of 1415.




��Our king went forth to Nor- man - dy, With

��grace and might of chl - val - ry. The God for him wrought

��marv'-lous-ly, Where-fore Eng-land may call and cry. * De

��6 gn ti - as!'

In the period between 1485 and 1553, which covers the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., social and political ballads multiplied fast; and among the best-known productions

J See vol. 111. p. 208 ; also SUMER is ICDMEN is.

2 See Kiley's Liber Custumarum,' p. 688.

a Chappell's ' Popular Music,' vol. 1. p. 45.

Mr. Chappell further says that when Henry V entered the city of London in triumph after the battle of Agincourt. . . . 'boys with pleasing voices were placed In artificial turrets singing verses In his praise. But Henry ordered this part of the pngentry to cease, and commanded that for the future no ditties should be made and sung by Minstrels or "others," in praise of the recent victory; "for that he would whollie have the praise and thanks altoeether given to God." Nevertheless, among many others, a minstrel piece soon appeared on the Seyge <tf Harflett (Harfleur) and the BaUayle of Avynkourte, "evidently," says Warton, "adapted to the harp." and of which he has printed some portions. (Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. II. V- -57.) Also the following sons (see above) which Percy has printed in his Reliques of Ancient Poetry, from a MS. In the Pepysian Library, and Stafford Smith, in his collection of English Songs (1779 fol.), in fac-simile of the old notation, as well as In modern score.' 1 Popular Music,' 1. 30,

��of those reigns are 'The King's Ballad,' by Henry VIII. himself; Westron wynde,' 'The three ravens,' and 'John Dory.' It should be noticed here that many variations in the copies of old tunes indicate uncertainty in oral tradi- tions. Of the leading note which the Church Modes do not recognise, but which has been very popular in English music frequent variations are met with. But the copies exhibit most uncertainty as to whether the interval of the seventh should be minor or major. The general opinion now is that the old popular music of European countries was based upon the same scale or mode as the modern major scale, i.e. the Ionian mode; but numerous examples of other tonalities are extant. 5 Thus, among others, ' The King's Ballad' and 'Westron wynde,' agree in some of their many versions with the Latin or Greek Dorian mode. The easy Ionian mode il modo lascivo as it was termed was the favourite of strolling singers and ballad-mongers, but the scholar and musician of the i6th century dis- dained it. Even if he sometimes stooped to use it, he felt it to be derogatory to his art. The subsequent adoption of the modern system by cultivated musicians in the next century was at- tributable to the influence of Italian music.

Of secular music antecedent to the middle of the 1 6th century but little has come down to us. Its principal relics are the songs in the Fayrfax MS. This manuscript, which once belonged to Dr. Robert Fayrfax, an eminent composer of the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., consists of forty-nine songs by the best musicians of that time. 6 They are all written in 2, 3 and 4 parts, in the contrapuntal style; some in the mixed measure common time in one part, and triple time in another which was common at the end of the I5th century. But owing to the want of bars the time is often difficult to discover, and there is, likewise, a great confusion of accents. During the latter half of the i6th century musi- cians of the first rank seldom composed airs of the short rhythmical kind required for ballads. They generally wrote in the church scales, and there was a clear line of demarcation between their works and the ballads of the common people. 7 The best-known ballads of Queen Elizabeth's reign, from 1558 to 1603, were 'The carman's whistle/ 'The British Grenadiers,' 'Near Woodstock Town,' 'The bailiff's daughter of Islington,' 'A poor soul sat sighing,' 'Green- sleeves,' ' The friars of Orders Gray,' and ' The Frog Galliard.' This last, by John Dowland. is almost the only instance to be found in the Elizabethan period of a popular ballad-tune known to be from the hand of a celebrated com- poser. Dowland originally wrote it as a part- song, to the words ' Now, now. I needs must part,' but afterwards adapted it for one voice, with accompaniment for the lute. This practice

B Miss O. Prescott, 'Form or Design in Vocal Music,' Musical World, vol. 59.

6 See Burney, vol. il. p. 539.

i See Cliappell's ' Popular Music.' vol. 1. p. 106. Most of the Inform- ation in the text relating to Ballads has been taken from Mr. Chappell's work.

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