A Dictionary of Old English Music & Musical Instruments

A Dictionary of Old English Music & Musical Instruments

A Dictionary of Old English Music & Musical Instruments

A Dictionary of Old English Music & Musical Instruments

Excerpt

The present revival of interest in our later Tudor and early Stuart music is the healthiest sign that English musicians could hope for. It is a revival of interest rather than a continuance only because Charles II, with his French tastes in music, commenced a cult of foreign art that was still more actively followed by the Hanoverians. Alien influence need not always be harmful; Elizabethan music would probably have been different, though not necessarily lower in quality, had the Netherlandish and Italian ingredients been wanting. What caused the break in the continuity of our national music was the intrusion of styles and manners alien to the British character and temperament, and hostile to the development of the native genius. We have outgrown the artificialities of the late Seventeenth and the Eighteenth Centuries, and most of us fear the possibly greater artificialities that may be called into being by the demand for something new in the coming generation. To save us from a return of the former, and to rescue our children from the latter, there is an antidote in the honesty of purpose, the plain directness of speech, the cleanliness of workmanship of the early Tudors; and the artistry, the poetry, the imagination, and the healthy, clean, but never weak, character of the writers active during the reign of the last sovereign of that virile house.

The revival of our ancient music has brought with it a vocabulary that needs some explanation; and while supplying the present-day musician with an account of the forms, instruments, and terms used by his forbears, a book of reference on this subject would also give to the student of literature contemporary with their music a source of information not always afforded in the glossaries attached to the modern reprints of our early writers' works.

There must be a great many readers of Chaucer's

And pleyen songes on a small rubible;

Ther-to he song som-tyme a loud quinible . . .

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