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worship should begin with the first note of the organ, and the final act of worship should be the close of the Postlude. Is it so? May we not begin at this point and throw out some hints as to the proper use of the various parts of the musical service:
In a liturgical service the prelude is short, and by virtue of tradition, dignified, massive, and is intended to cover the interval of time consumed by the rector in finding the lesson for the day, etc., in the service book. If a processional is sung, the prelude merges into this and is thus even more truly a part of the service. If the prelude is trivial or irreverent, the organist in such a church deserves no mercy, for he sins against great light. In many churches the voluntary is very often a more or less pretentious piece of music, having no connection with that which follows, even if it seems to introduce an anthem by the choir or the doxology by the congregation. It may be an arrangement from "Carmen" or a movement from an organ sonata. If it is a dignified, worshipful introduction to that which follows, it is artistic, judged by musical criticism, and in that church the first step has been taken in the direction of an ideal service.
If the anthem which follows is an appropriate introduction to the line of thought which is to dominate the preaching service, it is generally an accident. If the choir director is a good musician-one who appreciates the true mission of music--the composition is devotional; if not, it may be some flippant production of the day, or an arrangement of some melody which would be debarred from the church by the application of critical standards. It may be a showy solo for the tenor or soprano. If the members of the congregation are not exceptionally cultivated or anxious to become so, the showy solo will surely come unless its place is taken by some weakly, sentimental
absurdity like "Where is my wandering boy to-night?"
The hymn tune comes next in order. An enumeration of the hymns which have fitting tunes written expressly for them, will show conclusively that two-thirds of the hymns in the average hymnal have no value as hymns. It may seem an exaggeration (but the statement can be verified) that the number of hymns adapted to the church musical worship does not exceed two hundred. Three hundred years ago the first chapter of St. Matthew was set to music, but the setting of sermons to music has since then become a lost art, and didactic hymns are avoided by the composer. All such hymns should be eliminated. They are practically, for they are never sung. The versification of hymns is often so defective that the musician can not but be repelled by them. To be sure, many of these hymns may be very effectively used in anthem form, but these remarks apply more particularly to the hymns which are sung by the congregation. There should be no other settings in church. All the blame must not attach to the poet, for the musician who composes a tune full of chromatic harmonies, difficult intonation and extended compass sins against good taste. Chromatic harmonies are associated with the expression of the passionate in music, and the difficult intonation and extended range make it impossible to insist upon the one condition which is imperative if good congregational singing is desired. This condition is that the congregation must sing the melody. No one has the faintest idea of perfect congregational singing who has not heard a large number of people singing in unison. This grand body of tone-a noble composite voice-in which all the deficiencies and roughness of single voices is absorbed--is sustained by the varied harmonies of an adequate organ. The time may never come when a congregation can
hope to sing successfully in parts until an ideal existence is ours. The lack of harmony in many of our church services is condoned by the statement that everything musical which precedes the long prayer, has no particular connection with the sermon. The long prayer appears to stand between the two opposing parts, and reconciles them in a measure. Such a conception of church worship can hardly be called ideal-and why should there not be an ideal church service?
The first essential in securing an ideal form of worship, is a perfect understanding between the pastor and the director of the music. If there is not such an understanding, if there is no prearranged plan, if the director has no idea of the sermon, (the understanding should go as far as that), or at least of the general trend of the service, no one should be blamed if the most absurd combinations should result. If he cannot enter into the spirit of the service after such sympathetic explanations, he should not be retained.
The question of authority is a troublesome factor, for in most cases the pastor is the one who decides upon the fitness of things. In most cases he is assisted by a music committee generally appointed as a sort of compensation for a conspicuous want of knowledge of the subject. The possession of authority should be accompanied by a disposition to fit oneself to exercise such authority judiciously and understandingly. How many pastors attempt to learn enough about sacred music to be intelligent critics, safe guides, and above all possessors of absolute authority? A movement in the right direction has already been made in the Hartford Theological Seminary by the establishment of a chair of sacred music.
The perfect understanding between pastor and chorister existing, the ideal service becomes possible.
This mutual relation would, if both were courageous and honest, eliminate the false and debasing Moody and Sankey music-under which title all Gospel Hymns may be grouped. Church music has gone backward wherever this music has been introduced to any extent. The typical Gospel Hymn occupies. the same relation to dignified and worthy church music that the "blood and thunder" novel does to literature. In the end no good can result from its retention. No self-respecting musician can afford to condone it, for to endorse it is to go contrary to one's artistic conscience. If music is to occupy its proper position in the church, the best cannot be too good and there should be no place for music of a low grade.
In the ideal service the music will be an integral part of the service in the non-liturgical as well as in the liturgical church. The highest type of music only will be allowed within the walls of the sacred edifice. The people will not like such music at first, but they must be made to like it. To aid this the organist should give recitals of the best organ music. The people should meet together occasionally, as a chorus, to practice singing hymns and it would not be long before the members of such a church would enjoy singing the grand old chorals and music which like these grand melodies breathes the spirit of true devotion, as they never did the undignified, trashy hymn tunes of the last generation. The people in such a church would look back upon many of the musical practices of the present with astonishment.
To establish the ideal church service will require patience, time and money. This ideal may come in your day. It may come very soon, it may be delayed; but the time is surely coming when all I have hinted at will be accomplished and every church service will be ideal.
THE RIGHT OF DISSENT WITHIN THE CHURCH.
PROF. F. M. TAYLOR.
Delivered May 21, 1893.
To the very respectable class of persons who in our materialistic age still believe that God is and that man has a nature and destiny which involve personal relations with God, who believe, therefore, that churches still have a mission in the world, to all such one of the most interesting questions of the day is this, How shall the Church, with its ideas and practices inherited from a former age, adjust itself to the spirit and beliefs of our own? For some process of adjustment is evidently necessary. The discrepancy between the two is real and sufficiently obvious. It is of course conceivable that men will cling to the older ideas in spite of their want of harmony with current thinking. These ideas were to the Greeks, i. e., to the scientific men, even in Paul's day, "foolishness." Yet they mastered the world. The admitted impossibility of subjecting the realm of religion to the processes by which knowledge is perfected in other fields leaves room for faith to roam without conscious conflict with one's general intellectual spirit and method. Nevertheless, the maintenance of such a dualistic thought-life always involves considerable difficulty, and certainly an increasingly large number of persons are ceasing to attempt it. For one cause or another, disbelief in what the so-called evangelical churches look upon as essential, is widely prevalent among those who still cling to a minimum of religious