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MUSICAL EDITOR'S PREFACE.
In adapting music to words already chosen I have been in some degree spared the 'too much liberty' of unrestricted choice ; for the number of existing Psalm and Hymn tunes is very great. Great however as it is, the peculiar forms of line and stanza adopted by many writers have often narrowed the choice of 'apt notes' for them to a minimum, and sometimes rendered the composition of new ones indispensable. For the larger class of Hymns in (so-called) long, common, short, and even some peculiar metres, I have drawn largely on that rich fund of melody with which long-continued use has familiarized every English congregation. But, over and above all these, I have had in numerous instances to deal with a style of hymn, which has recently found large and hearty acceptance, for which these older melodies are in character altogether unfit, and indeed would furnish but very inadequate musical expression. The words of this Hymnal are marked by great variety of age, and therefore of style: a corresponding variety in the music seems indispensable to the unity of the work completed by it. This of necessity opens the always unsettled question, to what extent modern—and as yet, secular-forms of melody and harmony are admissible into sacred music. As a matter of fact, the progress of ecclesiastical music for some centuries back has been as rapid and in the same direction as-only a little behind-that of secular music; and the question just proposed has been practically settled by the Church of one age continually availing itself of the resources of the world in the age before it. But why should even this disparity be maintained ? Why, so long as they move in different, though parallel, lines, should sacred music be always in arrear of secular? On what principle are even the wisest and best people of one age to dictate to those of another, not truths which are eternal, but mere forms of expression, in themselves non-essential, and, as all experience proves, ephemeral ? A late musical writer in answer to the question, “And must we then have no new Church music ? replied, "Yes, but no new style. Surely an answer more consistent with common sense would have been, ‘No; let us have no new music, unless it be in a new style.' For is it likely that a musician trained in the idiom of Mozart will ever surpass or equal Palestrina in the use of his? And what else but the hope of doing so could justify the composition of new music in the style of the sixteenth century, or in any style other than that of the composer's own epoch? That modern Church musicians should penetrate themselves to the utmost with the spirit of the great masters of the age of Palestrina is in the highest degree to be wished ; that they should attempt to use their forms of expression is as much to be deprecated. The musical reader will therefore not be surprised to find that the majority of the melodies composed expressly for this work differ widely in character from those older melodies which form the greater bulk of it. In setting Hymns like * Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,' or the still more recent *Nearer to Thee,' the composers have not stopped to consider how Tallis or Gibbons would have set them (putting the impossible case of their having had to do so), but they have simply tried how, in the musical idiom of their own time, they could best express the thoughts and feelings of contemporary poets.
In dealing with the older tunes in this volume I have striven to follow the good example of Sir Roundell Palmer in respect to the Hymns to which they are adapted. I have spared no pains, by reference to and comparison of the earliest copies accessible, to arrive at the thought and intention of the original, and too often anonymous, composer. Great licence-greater than seems justifiable in the treatment of any work of art-seems to have been used by even the earliest editors of these old melodies. Copies, all but contemporary, differ, if not much in their notation, yet very much in their rhythm ; and in later editions these differences have been settled by the adoption of a barbarous rule reducing all notes in them to an equal length. The mischievous effects of this have been great and various ; one, not the least of them, being the extravagant pace at which, within the last few years, they have come to be performed. Rapid execution is always the first remedy that suggests itself to the uninitiated for absence of life in a musical composition. Rapid execution, however, can no more give spirit to lifeless music than sluggish execution can give dignity to flippant music. A dull tune will be none the more lively for being played or sung much too fast; though it will certainly be the sooner ended. The dulness (if it really exist) is inherent to the thing itself, and can only be remedied by alteration, which, judiciously made, will often prove to be restoration to an original form. As a well-constructed verse will have its long and short syllables, its emphases, and its pauses, so a well-constructed musical phrase, especially when meant to be allied with verse, will have its long and short notes, its emphases, and its pauses, so disposed as to bring out with added force and clearness the meaning of the verse. In these varieties the old tunes, as they are found in the old copies, are very rich; the possible uniformity of their rhythm being continually avoided by contrivances sometimes a little troublesome to the performer, but always admirably successful when put in practice. Let the musical reader compare the tune Commandments (No. 116) with the older version of it, Audi Israel (No. 19), and he will assuredly feel the force of what has been said. No volubility of utterance will give brightness to the former; no heaviness of execution will altogether deprive the latter of its spirit and energy. Indeed there is at once a dignity and a life about most of these old tunes, as they appear in the old copies, which is sadly wanting in the more modern versions of them. The musical reader will do well not to decide hastily on their merits, especially adversely, merely from reading or playing them. None but very experienced Church musicians could anticipate the effect of such tunes as the Old 137th (No. 63), Babylon Streams (No. 95), ‘Freuen wir uns all in ein' (No. 4), or "Gott hat das Evangelium (No. 144), when executed by a large body of voices well accompanied, and repeated (such tunes will bear repetition) half-a-dozen times to as many different verses. It must be remembered too that many of these severe-nay, uncouth-melodies are still, after two or three centuries, the frequently-employed vehicles of prayer or praise for hundreds of Christian congregations all over the world. Habit alone will hardly account for so long a term of favour and of service. Whatever may be the merits of more modern, and for the moment more pleasing, strains, they must of necessity long want the imprimatur which time—the greatest and justest of critics--has set upon their predecessors.
The number of existing hymn-tunes, without taking into account any of the most recently composed, is so large, and they present—the German repertory* especially-such all but exhaustless varieties of form and character, that there is probably no hymn in this volume for which its complement might not have been found in a tune of fitting metre. But fitting metre, in itself indispensable, is not the only qualification for the union of words and notes; and in the comparatively few instances where I have failed in finding music suited as well in character as in form for particular hymns, I have invited the co-operation of one or other of my musical brethren, always with a hearty response. Among these I have especially to name my fellow.labourer in other ways, Mr. E. J. Hopkins, organist of the Temple Church, and my friends Dr. Monk, of York, and Dr. Steggall, of Lincoln's Inn, to whom I am severally indebted for Nos. 36, 265, and 296; No. 272; and No. 179. Mr. Joseph Barnby, organist of St. Andrew's, Wells-street, has kindly contributed two compositions (Nos. 177 and 309); and the second of two melodies (Nos. 306 and 320) by Mr. Arthur Sullivan, one of the brighest and last-risen stars of our English musical hemisphere, closes not inappropriately the long series.
My acknowledgments, however, must not end here. I have to return my best thanks for permission, in every instance readily and courteously given, to enrich this collection by the addition of several copyright compositions. To the Lord Bishop of Argyle and the Isles I am indebted for leave to print the bright and popular melody, originally set by Mr. Alexander Ewing to another hymn, but now universally sung to Jerusalem the golden (No. 114); also to Mr. Arthur Henry Brown for the use of St. Brelade's (No. 203), composed originally for one of the Peterborough Choral Festivals; and to my valued friend Mr. W. H. Monk, editor of Hymns Ancient and Modern, for the beautiful melody Abide with me (No. 251), and another, St. Lawrence (No. 185), composed, like Mr. A. H. Brown's, for a Peterborough Festival. Of the tunes bearing my own name, No. 42
* One German collection alone, from which I have made many extracts, the Kern des Deutschen Kirchengesanges' of Layriz, contains upwards of 600 tunes.
was composed for the Rev. R. R. Chope's Congregational Hymn and Tune Book; Nos. 51 and 85 for the Hymns and Psalms for Divine Worship, recently published by Messrs. Nisbet ; Nos. 38 and 49 for the use of the scholars of Charterhouse. Nos. 1, 15, 129, 197, 26, and 67, have been composed expressly for this work. The two last Hymns presented somewhat difficult problems. Their unusual length, and still more unusual irregularity of metre, rendered the adaptation to them of any tunes of ordinary form impossible, while to have set them in extenso, with music following the various changes of the verse, would have rendered them altogether unsuitable for congregational use. A mixed form, in which timeless and mensurable melody might be alternately employed, seemed most appropriate ; whether I have turned it to the best account experience only will show
Having adopted a somewhat unusual course in respect to the naming of a large number of the tunes in this book, it may be well to state why I have done so. Where a name has been originally given to a tune, or sanctioned, by the composer himself, or where a name has been associated with it, from whatever cause, for a great length of time, I have retained it. London New, St. Ann's, and many others, will be found under their several time-honoured designations. The term Proper Tune is used always in its old sense-applied to those melodies only which have been set ex. pressly to particular words, or which by universal consent have long been associated with them. In the former class are nearly all the new tunes in this Hymnal; in the latter all such as the Easter Hymn. But I have not felt justified in appending names altogether unauthorized by their composers, and altogether unknown to their countrymen, to any of the numerous German tunes in this collection. Breslau, Erfurth, and the like, suggest no especial melodies to German Church musicians or congregations; nor would the composer of any German melody recognise it under any such title. The practice of naming tunes is exclusively English ; it should therefore be limited in its application to English tunes. The first line of the hymn to which it was first set is the only recognised name of any German tune, in Germany; and by reference to it the musical student can easily trace it, in all its forms of arrangement, in the numerous collections extant.
This Hymnal contains in all 159 tunes, set to 320 hymns. A considerable number of the former therefore are employed more than once. It seemed undesirable, for congregational use, that they should be unnecessarily multiplied ; and the universal practice of the Church for ages past has shown that more than one hymn can be sung to almost every tune of the same metre with it. I have spared no pains in finding for each hymn an appropriate tune, and in some instances it may be thought, at first, that I have not succeeded in doing so. Few English hymns are so symmetrically constructed that every verse will go equally well to any given tune, and in my adaptations I have always been governed by the majority of verses, not of necessity by the first verse.
The number, both of hymns and tunes in this collection is so large, that