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change from the so called church modes to our modern tonalities, and were lost sight of almost entirely during the formative period of the oratorio and opera. These two forms had at the beginning so much in common, that we are not surprised to find in the music of so great a composer as Handel, but little difference between his religious and secular styles. This remark applies more particularly to the solo parts, for in his oratorio choruses we discern that nobility and dignity of style, which comports with the expression of exalted religious sentiment. Handel recognized the fact that the oratorio calls for the most sustained musical thought. "The Messiah," "Israel in Egypt," "Judas Maccabeus" and "Samson" are the fruits of his ripened genius, and the expressions of the sturdy religious conviction of the man's life.
Handel by his training as an opera composer, and by his life as a man of the world, was more dominated by conventionalities, and less fitted to set up authoritative standards of musical structure in the field of sacred music than Bach, whose genius was more reflective, and whose nature was more introspective and devout. While we admit the greatness of Handel's "Messiah," Bach's cantatas, chorals and notably his Passion Music must be cited as the purest examples of sacred music extant. In these works we meet with a style totally distinct from any secular music. His music is however founded upon polyphony and is too complicated for general use. This style is the same as that dominating Palestrina's masses, and by its very nature is more in consonance with the dignified Gregorian chant, of which it is the fruit. The very nature of polyphonic music is opposed to that metrical regularity, which while it underlies rhythm of the highest type, is at the same time responsible for the musical forms which are in essence,
not alone secular, but vulgar. The Passion Music of Bach will undoubtedly ever stand as the sublimest expression of sacred music human genius has ever conceived, a worthy and ideal interpretation of that pathetic story of suffering. Such music is, however, beyond the ordinary chorus and impossible for the congregation.
The chorals of the Lutheran church are suited to the capacity of the ordinary congregation, and are as worthy of respect in their limited field as is the Passion Music in its wider sphere. These melodies, in many instances, were derived from folk-songs, and this fact may account for their popularity in those countries which possess rich treasures of these songs of the people. These folk-songs were many of them derived from the so-called sequences, which were extended vocal passages emphasizing the importance of the word Alleluia in the Gregorian chant. These folk-songs preserved the character of that religious chant, (which contained the germs of our modern music,) and were, therefore, admirably adapted for use in the service of the church. Again, many of these folk-songs were incorporated into the ritual of the Catholic church, as for example, the "Stabat Mater," "Dies Irae," etc. The music to these songs was often full of pathos, and was more often grave than gay. In fact, the melodies themselves seemed to be more suitable for the church than for any other use. The beautiful choral "O, Sacred Heart, Once Wounded,' was originally a folk-song. All of them partook of the measured dignity of the Gregorian chant.
We must bear in mind that we have standards which should assist us in arriving at helpful conclusions, and to which we may confidently appeal. We may, in addition to the canons of musical composition (which cover the whole ques
tion,) refer to the standard of appropriateness, which Ruskin calls "the golden corner-stone of architecture."
Two factors are introduced at the present time which make a consideration of the subject somewhat difficult: 1. The lack of musical cultivation on the part of the majority of churchgoers. 2. The absence of uniformity in the public worship. Those who possess a limited degree of musical cultivation are most impressed by the very elements in music which are in essence most opposed to the dignity of sacred music. This is unfortunately the case in persons of intelligence, highly cultivated in other directions, who would be repelled by a literary work, or possibly a painting of the same grade as the musical compositions which are in actual use in many of our churches. The absence of uniformity in our church worship, in itself, may not be to blame for the many flagrant sins against good taste which occur so often in our services, but it is incidentally responsible. In a liturgical service, based upon the church year, the average church music director cannot go far astray. He may select poor music-as a matter of fact, he does very often—but he is not likely to cause music of a joyful nature to be sung on Good Friday, neither would he give music appropriate to that day on Easter. Throughout the whole year he has a guide in the liturgy, and the fact that the important Canticles, which afford the principal opportunity for the choir, are integral parts of the service, which must be read if they are not sung, makes flagrant transgressions against fitness wellnigh impossible. Again, the musical service of all liturgical churches has been enriched by a large and varied repertoire of choice settings of the Canticles and scriptural texts, by composers who, like Dr. Dykes, were priests in the church as well as musicians, or, like Sullivan, Barnby and Stainer, have
become thoroughly permeated by the spirit of the church. Every liturgical church has numerous musical traditions which have been maintained by generations of organists and choir-masters, who are thoroughly convinced of the correctness of the principles underlying the musical expressions of those ideas which the worthy and dignified religious service should inspire.
The liturgical churches are not held up as models from a denominational standpoint, at all, but simply as an illustration of the fact that in order to secure absolute harmony in the service, that all parts may be mutually helpful, it is necessary to have some definite plan to which all that contributes to the service shall conform. If the musical taste of a congregation is to be elevated, it is necessary to determine how the ideal church music may be introduced.
Music which upon a critical analysis can be shown to be dance music pure and simple, which in its arrangements of themes, its rhythms, the scheme of harmonies employed, can be assigned a definite musical dance form-cannot be divested of that musical character by the addition of religious poetry.
The character of the subject would not alter the structure of the sonnet, in so far as the number of lines enters into its analysis. A waltz is something more than a graceful, rhythmical "swing." That element is an important one, and aids in distinguishing between a waltz and a polka; but the arrangement of themes, the grouping of measures, are just as important, and more decisive as to the form than the rhythm. Now if an analysis of a piece of music shows it to be a dance, its place is in the ball-room. All dance forms appeal to the sense of rhythm primarily, and ordinarily this sense is the lowest in the scale of musical appreciation. This fact makes such music unworthy
of association with such exalted truths as underlie religion. The fact that people like such music is no argument, or at least a trivial one. A majority of the human race would be willing to remain in ignorance, were there no such thing as an ideal life held up before them. The church should be one of the greatest educators of mankind, and should stimulate ideals.
Music which has become associated with the theatre, the beer-garden, or even with emotions holy in themselves as romantic love—can never be used effectively in church worship. The more perfectly music expresses non-religious feelings, the less adapted it is for the church. Many of the most popular hymn tunes of the last generation, ("Lischer, "Thou Dear Redeemer, Dying Lamb,") have been sung as drinking songs in Germany for a generation or more. In our adaptation from the German folk-songs we have almost invariably selected the type which has the most decided metrical accent and passed by the substantial chorals. A love song like Ascher's "Alice" remains a love song even when sung to "I would not live alway." These examples are not quoted to belittle the subject, but to point out the absurdity of many of our adaptations.
The introduction of the organ into this country was not effected without considerable friction. The liturgical churches favored the use of the instrument as an aid to worship. The non-liturgical churches disapproved of the instrument, as they feared it would prove a "disturber of the peace." The prophetic instinct of these churches has been largely justified in these latter days, for the organ has been used in the services in many instances with an utter disregard of the fitness of things.
The whole idea of the ordinary opening and closing voluntary is repugnant to any possessor of cultivated taste. The