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hats, four styles a year. A true tune, like a true prophecy, or a true proverb, or a true poem, lasts forever. Time is the only test of excellence. Great composers are known, not by their works in bulk, but by some one work, composed in an hour of inspiration, that has fastened upon the popular heart forever. The whole annals of literature illustrate this fact. It is equally true in music. "The Soldiers' Chorus " has given "Faust" and Goudinot sudden celebrity. It is whistled at every street corner, trolled by every schoolboy, played by every country band, thrummed by every boarding-school miss upon the piano, ground out of every barrel organ. If the inspiration is genuine it will be like Rossini's famous "Di Tanti Palpiti," as fresh half a century hence as now; if not it will pall upon the public palate and die. If, out of reams of blotted music paper, the arduous composer gets a single page that lasts a century, or even for a single generation, he has reason to congratulate himself. A sprig of laurel may be his, if not the wreath of immortality.

The genius of past ages has made us the heirs of its best inspirations. How shall we make the best use of its treasures? Because the forms of the jewels are old fashioned, shall we prefer alloys to pure gold and plating to solid silver? Out of their voluminous writings here and there a choice strain of Tallis, Lawes, Purcell, Handel, Arne, Arnold, and Boyce, has taken possession of the Christian world. Shall we displace these precious inspirations for insipid melodies and trite harmonies, made yesterday to be forgotten to-morrow?

The power to write music belongs to few; the power to interpret it pertains to many. Singers are like composers in the desire to seek the upper regions of the art. A genuine singer, like a genuine orator, is given to the world once in a century. Catalanis, Malibrans, Linds, Kelloggs, Farinellis, Lablaches, and Brahams are rare. The want of real artists, and the expense of time and cultivation necessary to make an artist, even when nature has bestowed the requisite gifts, render music one of the costliest of luxuries. Voice and skill are marketable endowments, and wealth and fame are lavished upon the fortunate possessors. A good voice must accomplish two things, make its possessor's fortune and gratify the public ear. The Church is no place for show, the concert room is a

narrow field, and the stage is the only resource. The stage monopolizes all the best musical talent of civilized lands. It is vain for the Church to attempt to compete with the stage. Even at Rome the effort has proved a failure. Hired quartettes at the back of a congregation, concealed by curtains, come ridiculously short of the effects produced by the same singers behind the footlights in the presence of an orchestra and dramatic accompaniments, under the inspiration of applauding thousands, and pay to the tune of ten to twenty thousand dollars for a single season. Operatic singing should be confined to the opera. The Church is no place for its display either in vocal song or instrumental voluntaries. Its introduction by irreligious leaders has scandalized the good from the days of Confucius. "If a man," says the great Chinese philosopher, "be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?" "Church music," says old Tansur, "should have as little of the playhouse maggots and voluntaries in it as possible. It should always be free from all galliardizing notes, military tattoos, or frothy jigging airs, which only tickle the ears of the chimerical with light fancies. Such strains prophane the service of God, and bring the playhouse into the Church, whereby we are toodled out of our reason and religion, morality and devotion, by persons of corrupt morals, more fit for penance and correction than for the offices of religion and exultation."

It is not to be doubted that the abuse of Church music by organists, choristers, and choirs, has entitled them to all the maledictions heaped upon them from Prynne to Adam Clarke.* Whatever may be the usages of Romish Churches, or high Church chapels and cathedrals, the theory of Protestantism in general is that music is solely for the worship of God, and that the Church is no place for show, or performance, or exhibition of talent and skill.

If this be the theory of Protestantism in general, what is that of Methodism in particular? Is it not to-day what it was in the days of John Wesley, "let all sing, not one in ten only?" Is it not that we are to sing with the spirit as well as with the understanding? If choirs are employed,

*It was an observation of Gregory the Great, A.D. 600, that singers were more admired for their fine voices than for their precepts or their piety.

is it that they may monopolize the singing and show off their skill and execution, or is it that they may lead the devotions of the entire congregation? If these questions be answered in the negative our occupation is gone; we have lost the fire and unction of the fathers without acquiring the science of other denominations. There is no longer the difference between us and them that existed forty years ago. While we have adopted choirs, they, by the extensive use of hymn tune books, profusely sprinkled with "ballad airs" borrowed from our repertories, have resorted to congregational singing, and consequent spiritual elevation in this part of sacred worship. The musical mission of American Protestantism is a humble one. It has no masses, no cathedral services, no chanted liturgies, no set anthems or oratorios. It is simple psalmody, and even its right to this in metrical form is questioned. The musical mission. of Methodism is humbler still. "The history of music in New England," says Hood, "for the first two centuries, is the history of psalmody alone." The history of Methodist singing is the history of hymnody alone. The psalms, by the non-adoption of the prayer book prepared by our founder, have dropped out of our services altogether. They are neither said nor sung in all the borders of cisatlantic Methodism. The apostle says, "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Our practice confines us to hymns and spiritual songs. We are hardly biblical, much less are we artistic. Poets and poetical musicians and critics will hardly allow our sacred lyrics a place in the lowest grades of poetry; musicians will hardly rank our choral rounds of thirty-two notes each in the lowest grade of musical composition. Professional singers would laugh at our orchestral displays, visit with sneers and contempt our efforts at congregational singing. Busby says "the vocal part of our parochial service is generally so ill performed that an organ decently played, loud enough to drown the voices, is a blessing." Charles Auchester is made to say, "my greatest trial was going to Church, because the singing was so wretchedly bad it made my ears ache. I complained to my mother, but she said we could not help it if ignorant persons were employed to praise God."

The singing of the masses is not for the ear but for the individual heart. Singing for the ear must be sought in the FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII.-24

parlor, in the concert room, at the opera, if your conscience will allow you to go there, but not in the Church of God, particularly in a Church where the music forms so small a portion of the services. The conviction is growing upon the mind of the Church that every effort of the spiritual Christianity of the age should be bent toward making the masses of Christian worshipers do at least a part of the singing of every public service. One characteristic of Methodist singing it should not lose, namely, its extemporaneousness, spontaneousness, adaptation to the sense or narration of Christian experience, the application in social worship of a single stanza or a stirring chorus to a specific case. "Spiritual songs may be as sedulously cultivated as ever; spiritual ditties should be discountenanced ever.


The latest phrase of the book-publishing mania is flooding the country with Sunday-school note books, in which every species of poetical trash is associated with lower than ballad music to initiate the rising generation into the mysteries of Christian song. The burden of a large number of these wretched ditties is the praise of the Sunday-school itself, in place of the praise of God. This is an undoubted evil, and needs immediate reformation. The style of our Church music will rise with the general rise of music and musical taste in the country. Our public schools are doing well, but not so well as they should do in this matter. The absurd custom is still followed of teaching music to classes in the mass instead of individualizing the lesson, and making each pupil sing independently as he reads or recites his languages or mathematics. When all understand the notes, as every one who has been through one of our public schools ought to do, and can read a plain piece of psalmody, hymn tune books will be of use. At present, it is perhaps safe to say that from one half to nine tenths of our choir singers, especially females, cannot read the commonest music at sight.* Holding up music books is sheer affectation. Put hymn tune books into their

*When Handel was about to bring out the "Messiah," wishing to try some of its pieces, he sought for some one who could sing at sight, and was recommended to one Janson, who managed so badly that the composer, purple with anger, and swearing in four or five languages at once, cried out, "You schountrel! tit you not tell me dat you could sing at soit ?" "Yes, sir," replied the cathedral singer, "but not at first sight." Our choir singers, like poor Janson, sing at sight, but not at first sight!

hands, and it would at least save the ridiculous farce so often. witnessed, of bobbing the head like a shuttlecock between the tune book and the hymn. It has always seemed singular to us that professional singers will come upon the stage and sing all the evening without a scrap of words or music before them, while the singers of a Church orchestra cannot recollect the twenty or thirty notes of a tune sung over four or five times a Sunday, and perhaps half the Sundays of the year. Of our own hymn tune book we have already incidentally noted the main deficiency, namely, in that department which it is at present impossible adequately to supply, the particular meters. If we were to indicate another deficiency it would be to point out the absence of some thirty or more of the most popular tunes of the age, mostly by Lowell Mason, and other composers of acknowledged merit. One third of our hymns are in particular meters, one third of the hymn tunes are in particular meter. Of these, twenty-five are by old authors, twenty-five more, or so, by new authors, and acceptable, some of the rest are passable, but mainly they are trash, which might and ought to be banished for something better.

We can think of no more fitting conclusion to this article than a brief exhibit of the efforts made by the associated choirs of New York City and vicinity for the promotion of sacred music in our branch of the Christian Church. Last year they addressed to the General Conference the following memorial, which, for its concise exhibit of the whole subject, is worthy of a prominent place in the history of the Church:

To the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Philadelphia, May, 1864, this Memorial of Choristers and others is respectfully presented:

BRETHREN AND FATHERS,-The place which music has ever held in the Church, and the part it has performed in the success of Methodism, establishes its importance.

While some denominations of Christians, by artistic skill unattainable by the masses, have excited admiration, it has been the purpose of the Methodist Church that music should be the medium and instrument of fervent spiritual devotions, adapted to all.

In this, as in other matters of Church polity, our puritanic affinities have caused us to lean too strongly away from ceremonials, and thus we have not sufficiently cherished the science of music, or kept pace with the advanced state of society.

It is true we have not been without efforts, which have at least

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