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rt> tDl<m0 maefoa frOma tn a^aUxt 

Page of a MS. in the Library of the Medical Faculty 
at Montpellier; Thirteenth Century. 

{After E, de Cowtemalter, "UAri Hormonique aunt Xlle et Xllle tiielet.") 








Professor of Music in the University of Oxford. 


Wiitlj a Juries of ^portraits reproimcetr in J)|joto0ratjure, 
anti ^itmcroiia lUitstraHaits. 









THE work that is here submitted to the public will no doubt be permitted 
to claim, being the first of its nature, that indulgent judgment usually extended 
to initial attempts on hitherto untrodden paths. Notwithstanding all the 
excellent work published within the last few years, on account of the desire 
of the ever-increasing number of the serious friends of music for further 
knowledge of musical history, there was a want felt of a work that would 
with pictorial aid meet that demand. The aid of illustrations of important 
musical documents, &c., has therefore been called in to render the comprehension 
of past periods and the ever-changing position of musical art more clear. To 
effect such a purpose has been the aim of the present work. Neither trouble 
nor time has been spared in treating this most extensive subject in such a 
manner that possible omissions through unsuccessful research into important 
periods might be avoided. 

Great energy was required to pursue this path, more especially when, 
after the appearance of the first number, six years ago, severe trouble, such 
as might have effectually paralysed all activity, delayed for a time the regular 
publication. It will not be denied that the work of the general historian 
is of much greater responsibility than that of the specialist, who has merely 
to treat of one composer, school, or period, although no one can be more 
ready than the author to acknowledge the invaluable nature of the results 
achieved by such specialists as Winterfeld, Dehn, De Coussemaker, Van 
der Straeten, Otto Jahn, Bellermann, Thayer, Yon Kb'chel, Nottebohm, and 
C. Pohl. 

There were parts in this work in which all the astuteness of the specialist 
was required to corroborate the evidence of the historian. For example, for 
the first time an uninterrupted continuity has been proved from the twelfth 
to the fourteenth century of the old French Tone-School, the masters of 
which were the first European contrapuntists. These must be accepted as 
the oldest models of the polyphonic style in the place of those Netherlander 
hitherto accredited as such. And thus, while such a profound investigator 
as Dehn only dared date the origin of double counterpoint from the sixteenth 
century, it will now be seen that the old French masters employed it as 
early as the twelfth century, and in a state of such advancement as to be 
matter for surprise. A special investigation has also been made into the 
authorship of the well-known hymn " Eine Feste Burg " (Martin Luther's 
hymn), and an inquiry into the position in which the Italian masters and 



the Bohemian Dismas Zeleiika stood in influencing the great Sebastian 
Bach. They will no doubt be admitted to be that great master's influencing 

An attempt has been made to prove on historical as well as on sesthetical 
grounds that just as the Renaissance was the evolution of the Antique, so 
the New Romantic is the culmination of the Renaissance of the Romantic 
School. The success of popularising for the first time the invaluable investiga- 
tions of De Coussemaker, and of defending the merits of the ISTetherland 
School, the importance of which during the period of 1350 to 1450 has 
been unjustly and severely attacked, is naturally regarded with satisfaction. 
Much work of a similar nature has been made popular by other historians, 
notably by no less a one than A. W. Ambros, whose supercilious critics, in 
ignoring his great merits, took exception to such anomalies in orthography 
as are to be found in every tongue. 

Important as the work of specialists undeniably is, it nevertheless requires 
the careful comprehension and wide survey of the historian in order to link 
together their deductions, and so to form a complete and consecutive whole. 
This has been achieved in the plastic arts and in literature by such as 
Schnaase, Liibke, Kugler, Gervinus, Vilmar, Hillebrand, and Carriere, whose 
works have gained as much repute as those of the eminent specialists 
Woltmann, Grimm, Tausing, Jordan, Lewes, Carlyle, Palleske. Delius, Karl 
Witte, &c., to whom we owe biographies of Holbein, Michael Angelo, 
Albrecht Diirer, Titian, Goethe, and Schiller, and commentaries on Shake- 
speare and Dante. Their labours have met with their merited reward, but 
it is regretted that such has, generally speaking, been withheld from the 
musical historian. 

An attack was made thirty years ago on the assertion that Handel was not 
only a sacred composer, but was especially the founder of the epic element in 
music. It is, therefore, very satisfactory to observe the extent to which the 
truth of that assertion is now generally admitted; this can also be said of 
the admission of the proof that the " invention " of the opera at Florence 
was due to a Tuscan school. 

That adverse criticisms might be made on the literary style of this 
work was not thought at all improbable, but it will be remembered that 
such have been passed on the style of eminent writers like "Winterfeld, 
Ambros, Hanslick, and Gevaert. Efforts have been made throughout to 
maintain an even line of argument, and, in fact, rather to praise than to 
condemn ; but it must be mentioned that this impartiality has received 
nowhere so little acknowledgment as from the followers of the New Romantic 

The comparative method has been adopted, since it inquires into the laws 
of organic and formal development, which in art reign completely, and these 
have been applied strictly to all arguments advanced. 


This work is intended .to meet the wants of that innumerable class of the 
public desirous of obtaining a general knowledge. If the second part be found 
too exhaustive, it will be in consequence of its having been written more 
especially for professors ; but it is to be hoped that it may prove of 
interest to others also. 

It is a pleasant duty to tender thanks to those heads of libraries and 
institutions who have in manifold ways aided necessary investigations by 
supplying autographs, photographs, documents, &c. To certain professional 
friends, the Society of the Friends of Music, the Ambros Collection at 
Vienna, the Bibliotheca Musica Regia of Dresden, the Royal Dresden Library, 
the Mozarteum at Salzburg, the Royal Library and Hohenzollern Museum 
of Berlin, and the Royal Libraries of Munich and Stutgardt, much acknow- 
ledgment is due, as well as to Count Victor von Wimpffen and Hermann 
Scholtz, for the aid of their invaluable collections. Many important notices 
have also been furnished by Professor Moritz Fiirstenau (of Dresden), Pro- 
fessor Dr. Bellermann (of Berlin), Dr. Jan (of Strasburg), Dr. Wullner (of 
Cologne), Ferdinand Hiller, C. Pohl, Professor Dr. E. Hanslick, Dr. Edward 
Wlassack (of Vienna), Dr. Johannes Brahms, Max Bruch, Niels Gade, and 
others, to all of whom are tendered sincere thanks for their original con- 

No pains have been spared in making this history as complete as possible 
by the valuable aid of illustrations of the chief musical instruments used from 
the earliest antiquity, as well as of prints of historical buildings, monuments, 
engravings, portraits, &c. It has been very gratifying to observe the success 
with which the work has been met. It has been translated into English by 
the composer Ferdinand Praeger, and edited by the Rev. Sir F. A. Gore 
Ouseley, Bart., M.A. and Mus. Doc. and Professor of Music in the University 
of Oxford, who has also supplied the chapters signed F. A. G. O., and has been 
published simultaneously in London, Paris, New York, and Melbourne. It has 
also been recently translated into Dutch by J. C. Boers, of the Hague. 

It is only hoped that it may aid in fostering an ever-increasing interest in 
the most emotional and cherished of all the arts Music. 




CLASSICAL ERAS . . . . " - 1 





TURKS, MEDES, AND PERSIANS . . , .. k . , . . 34 

III. THE ISRAELITES , . . . . V . . 58 

IV. THE ISLAMITES . . . ' *, ( . . 85 

V. THE GREEKS . . ... 118 


grrok II. 





COLOGNE . . . . . . . . i 183 


















Page of a MS. in the Library of the 
Medical Faculty at Montpelier, Thir- 
teenth Century Frontispiece 


Musical Scale, Oldest Chinese 8 

Musical Scale, Chinese, Seven Tone ... 9 

Hymn to the Dead, Old Chinese 11 

Chinese Melody 11 

Duet, Chinese 12 

Chinese Performer on the King 13 

Hiuen-kou, the Giant Drum of the 

Chinese 13 

Ya-kou, the small Chinese Drum 14 

Gong, or Tamtam 14 

The Tchoung-Tou 14 

The Cheng, or Tscheng, of the Chinese 15 
Blind Performers on the Che and Po-fou 16 
Chinese Orchestra in the Tay-miao ... 17 
Nareda, the God of Hindoo Music ... 20 
A Gopi attracting Gazelles by her Vina 

playing 22 

Specimen of the Thirty-six Keys in 

Indian Music 23 

Hindostani Melody 26 

Tuppah 27 

Rektah 28 

Iwan Schah, a Celebrated Hindoo Musi- 
cian 30 


Chromatic Scale of Two Octaves 

Seven Tones of the Vina 

The Magoudi, or Hindoo Guitar 

The Serinda 

The Golden Horn, Chinese and Hindoo 

Instrument 33 

Performers of Funeral Music 37 

Tetrachord, Egyptian 41 

Egyptian Melody 43 

Egyptian Melody 43 

Egyptian Ditty 44 

Performing Women and Maidens 45 

A Stringed Instrument 47 

Angular-shaped Egyptian Harps 48 

Groups of Musicians ... 49 

Authentic Forms of Early Egyptian 

Harps 50 

Egyptian Priest Playing on the Harp ... 51 

Egyptian Trumpeter 52 

The Old Egyptian Kemkem 53 

Egyptian Drummer 53 

Ethiopian Round 54 

Melody, Abyssinian 54 

Melody, Nubian 54 

Melody, Abyssinian 54 


44. Musicians and Singers in Front of a 

Triumphal Procession 55 

45. The Schofar 61 

46 48. Jewish Signals in use at Dresden... 63 

49. Jewish Coin, showing a Six-stringed 

Lyre 63 

50. Coin showing a Three-stringed Cithara 64 

51. Castanets 73 

52. Ancient Melody in use in Jewish 

Synagogues 74 

53. The Kinnor 75 

54. The Psaltery 75 

55. Hasur, the Hebraic Cithar 76 

56. The Israelitic Sistrum 76 

57. Adufes 77 

58. Cymbals 77 

59. A Large Harp 

60. The First Three 


Verses of Psalm 
cxxxvii 79 

61. Miriam's Song 81 

62. "Sch'ma Israel," Setting used at 

Dresden 81 

63. Antique Jewish Melody 82 

64. Old Tune 82 

Roman Soldiers at the Destruction of 

Jerusalem bearing away the Plun- 
dered Treasures of the Temple To face 88 

65. Music and Dance in Harem of a Turkish 

Pacha 94 

66. Music in a Cafe at Cairo 95 

67. Mahommedan Music, Specimen of ... 96 

68. " Danse des Alme'es " 99 

69. "Reverie du Soir" (Old Arabian 

Melody) 100 

70. A Recitation from the Koran 102 

71. Muezzin Singing at Sunrise 103 

72. Song of a Muezzin to the Rising Sun 104 

73. Performer on the Rebab 107 

74. Performer on the Kemengeh 107 

75. Oriental Lute, Front View of 108 

76. Oriental Lute, Section of 108 

77. Darabukkeh (Drum) 109 

78. (a) Tar (Tambourine), (6) Sagat (Casta- 

nets) 109 

79. Dancing Dervishes 110 

80. Apollo Musagetes 119 

81. Euterpe 120 

82. Erato 120 

83. Terpsichore 120 

84. Bacchic Revel 122 

85. Female Centaur and a Bacchante ... 123 

86. Ulysses Passing the Sirens 125 

87. Pan Teaching Olympus to Play the 

Syrinx 126 

88. Ancient Greek Melody 126 




89. Dance of 

90. Arion 













Spartan Maidens, accom- 
panied by Tympanum and Crotalus... 
j-ion Riding through the Waves on a 
Dolphin 128 

Eros Playing the Lyre, Seated on the 
Back of a Lion J29 

Female Dancers Striking the Lyres ... 160 

Contest between Sappho and Alcseus Ic 

Diazeuctic Interval of a Whole Tone ... 

Dorian and Phrygian Scales 

Lydian Scale 

Scale of Terpander 

A Pythian Ode by Pindar 

Performers on the Lyre 

Performers on the Flute 

(a) Plectrum, (6) Cither, (c) Psalter, 
(d) Chelys 

101. (a) Large Lyre, (b) Trigon, (c) Large 


102. Musical Instruments of the Greeks ... 

103. Etruscan Mural Painting, representing 

a Flute Player 

104. Roman Lyres and Cithars 

105. Roman Performers on the Tuba and 


106. Roman Buccinator 163 

107. Antique Roman Vase, representing a 

Group of Musical Bacchantes 163 

108. Female Dancer 164 

St. Cecilia To face 178 

109. St. Cecilia Playing on the Organ ... 178 

110. Signs from a Codex of St. Blaise ... 182 

111. Church Modes 185 

112. Ritual Chants, Specimens of 187 

113. Gregorian Melody 187 

114. The Song of Adalbortus 188 

115. Pneumatic Organs of the Fourth 

Century 194 

116. Ancient English Church Organ 195 

117. King David Playing on the Harp ... 195 

118. Organistrum of the Ninth Century ... 196 

119. Performer on a Three-stringed Crout 

orRotte 196 

120. Performer on a Square Psaltery of the 

Ninth Century 197 

121. Performer on Circular Psaltery of the 

Twelfth Century 197 

122. Performer on a Psaltery of the Four- 

teenth Century 197 

123. Fifteen-stringed Harp, Twelfth Cen- 

tury 197 

124. Triangular Saxon Harp, Ninth Century 197 

125. An Angel Performing on a Stringed 

Instrument 198 

126. Neume Notation 199 

127. Neume Notation of Tenth Century ... 200 

128. Neume Notation of Eleventh Century, 

deciphered by Martini 200 


129. Neume Notation of Guido of Arezzo... 200 

130. Deciphered Neume Notation of the 

Latest Period 200 

131. King David Playing on a Stringed 

Instrument 201 

132. Polyphonic Notation of Hucbald ... 206 

133. Letter-Notation of Guido of Arezzo 

with deciphering 207 

134. Secular Organum 207 

135. Diaphony, Specimen of 209 

136. Guido of Arezzo 210 

137. Prayer to St. John... 210 

138. Scale, according to Guido of Arezzo ... 211 

139. The Guidonian Hand ... 213 

140. Ligature Signs, Examples of 217 

141. Engrossed Notation, Examples of ... 218 

142. An Orchestra of the Mediaeval Ages, 

Eleventh Century 219 

" Sumer isicumen in," the Oldest Piece 
of Polyphonic Writing 222 

143. The Minstrel " Aderies li Rois " before 

Mary, Queen of France 232 

144. A Song of King Thibaut of Navarre... 234 

145. Notation of the French Trouveres ... 236 

146. Notation of the Spanish " Trobadores " 237 

147. "The Loveliness of Woman," a Pro- 

verb by Spervogel 239 

148. "To Frau Minne," a Love Song by 

Prince Witzlav 242 

149. " Broken Faith " 243 

150. Reinmar, the Minnesinger 246 

151. Master Heinrich Frauenlob 249 

152. Cabinet of the Meistersingers 252 

153. A Menestrel Harp of the Fifteenth 

Century 253 

154. A Five-stringed Lute of the Thirteenth 

Century 253 

155. A Female Playing on the Vielle, Thir- 

teenth Century 255 

156. Satan Playing upon an Oval Three- 

stringed Vielle, Thirteenth Century 255 

157. An Angel Playing upon a Three- 

stringed Gigue, Thirteenth Century 257 

158. Jongleur Playing a Vielle, Fifteenth 

Century 257 

159. A Vielle 258 

160. ARebek 258 

161. The Roland or Olifant Horn, Four- 

teenth Century 259 

162. A Performer on the Trumscheit 261 

Old German Wind Instruments 262, 263 

163. The Seal of the " Confrerie de St. 

Julien des Me'nestriers " 264 

164. The Chapel of St. Julien des Me'nes- 

triers in Paris 265 

165. Jean Pierre Guignon, Roy des Violons 266 

166. A Banquet with Accompaniment of 

Music , ... 267 





US 1C did not attain 
to the position of 
an independent art 
either in the classi- 
cal or pre-classical 

epoch : it did not become a self- 
existing 1 and creative power with 
the cultured people of Asia and 
Africa, or with those of the south- 
eastern and southern parts of Europe. 
Among the Greeks and Romans, 
and also with the Chinese, Hindoos, 


Egyptians and Israelites, music was closely associated with poetry, the 
drama, and the dance, although it occupied a position inferior to those arts. 

The greater or less esteem in which music was held by these nations 
had an important bearing on their progress or retardation in general 
civilisation. The more or less remarkable development of the other arts, 
especially poetry, exercised also an influence as powerful as those of 
religion, race, natural tendencies, climate, and geographical position. 
This is exemplified in the great contrasts presented to us by the different 
ancient civilised peoples of Asia and Europe, in their national existence, 
their philosophy, and also in their conception of the musical art. Not 
without reason does Herodotus lay stress on these seemingly irreconcilable 
contrasts that characterised the general mental life of Asia and Europe; 
and he even attributes to them all the sanguinary wars that raged, from 
the Trojan War, surrounded with its halo of myth, down to those which 
were waged against Persia. 

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the Greeks adopted Egyptian, 
Lydian, and Phoenician traditions in their theory of music as well as in 
their melody and rhythm, and that these traditions had a great influence 
on their selection and construction of musical instruments. But their 
innate sense of beauty and proportion saved them, on the one hand, 
from the manifold barbarisms which disfigured the music of the other 
nations, while, on the other hand, their talent for grasping heterogeneous 
matter, and reproducing it in a refined and intellectual form, enabled them 
to mould into a nobler and more complete unity the separately transmitted 
fragments of the musical culture of other lands. 

In common with most nations of the pre-classical age, the Greeks 
were in the habit of making music the subject of speculative philosophy ; 
but whilst the Orientals lost themselves in mythology, or revelled some- 
times in strange and voluptuous, sometimes in childish yet ingenious 
flights of fancy, the Greek mind, seeking in all things for an organic 
whole, systematised the sensations, ideas, and combinations produced by 
musical sounds, by subjecting them to a progressive philosophical and 
mathematical investigation, at once consecutive and exact. 

The Greeks, as well as the civilised tribes of Asia, evinced a great 
partiality for speculating on the nature of music, an enjoyment entirely 
distinct from the pleasures they experienced through its sensuous charm : 


but they assigned to it an ethical position, a dignity and importance, 
both in relation to education and the state, as well as a softening influence 
on the passions that was not dreamt of by the Oriental nations. 

The Greek tribes of Peloponnesus and Hellas, as well as the Egyptians, 
Phoenicians, the Greeks inhabiting the isles of the ^Egean Sea, and 
especially those of Cyprus, had a primitive ' ' Lament " which seems to have 
come originally from Phoenicia. It was a funeral chant on the death of the 
youthful Adonis, who represented symbolically the beautiful but short- 
lived spring. The Egyptians changed its signification into a lament 
of Isis for Osiris. The Greeks called it Linos, and the Egyptians 
Maneros ; but wherever we find it on the eastern shores of the Mediter- 
ranean it always has the character of a plaintive wail of anguish at 
the evanescence of all things mortal. 

We see by this in what inseparable proximity music has, from the 
first, stood to the contemplation of nature, and to the earliest thoughts 
and feelings of the human race. For this song, perhaps the oldest of 
which we have any knowledge, is a dirge for the fast-fleeting spring of 
youth and beauty a lament over the frailty of all earthly things ! Thus 
soon was the key-note sounded of that sorrowful strain which inspired 
the greatest poet of modern Germany, when he sang 

" ' But why am I transient, Zeus ? ' Beauty asked. 
' To fade I made Beauty,' stern Jupiter said ; 
And youth, flowers, dewdrops, all heard his sad words, 
And weeping they turned them away from his throne." 

From the earliest times of which we have any record, music has lent 
its voice to grief as well as to joy; and if no art was more capable of 
giving expression to the earliest accents of sorrow, none was more suited to 
afford consolation and hope to the broken-hearted. Thus music by its 
magic healed the wounds which it had itself inflicted ; but whether its lyre 
was attuned to joy or to sorrow, it consecrated both by elevating them 
above terrestrial darkness into the purer atmosphere of sublime art ; and in 
this respect the earliest and latest musical utterances display the most 
striking affinity. For the folk-songs of the most ancient nations, those 
which were sung beside the cradle of humanity, equally with those of 
our own time, are, like the immortal creations of the tone- poets of the 
Jast four centuries, one and all, mirrors of most purely unaffected and 
B 2 


heartfelt sentiment. Indeed, this natural utterance came much more 
unwittingly in the early and middle ages than in the present, but a 
large part of this ingenuousness descended to the great masters of the 
classical epoch. Hence it arises that it is precisely in the periods either 
of an imperfect development of the art or of its super-refinement that 
we meet with musical monstrosities and degeneracy, with over-elaboration, 
sentimentality, exaggerated expression, coquetry, voluptuousness, falsehood, 
diffuseness, and an artificial striving after effect. 

However, the greater part of this primordial ingenuousness, which 
betokened the sweet innocence of bewitching childhood, was destined to 
disappear again until the day should come when the first faltering accents 
of music should be transformed into a genuine tone-language. 

When this moment arrived, and the contemplation of music assumed a 
more intellectual character, then, in her endeavours to attain the ideal, she 
was launched on a boundless sea of trouble and obscurity. How could it be 
otherwise ? For every awakening from dreams of innocence and childhood 
is just like the expulsion from Paradise enacted anew; the plucking of 
the fruit from the tree of musical knowledge could only be atoned for 
by the sweat of the brow. To reach the coveted goal, the first pioneers in 
the field of music had to grope their way through tortuous and thorny 
paths ; and to follow them therefore in their search after light and 
truth furnishes us with an interesting historical retrospect. If, in the 
different stages of its course, which are marked by the long epochs of 
its warfare with besetting difficulties, music, the perfectly natural art, 
often returns very near to its starting-point of simplicity and unaffected 
expression, it takes nevertheless a place as high above its origin as the 
features of a Madonna by Raphael surpass those of a handsome peasant- 
girl. This is the relation in which the music of the ancients many of 
whose immortal folk-songs are still extant stands to the compositions of 
such composers as Bach, Gluck, Mozart, or Beethoven. Even the happiest 
attempts of the ancients outpourings of their deepest sensations and 
feelings are but the germs and foreshadowings of a higher subsequent 
development. The perfectly-matured art unfolds her wondrous wings, 
and, transcending expectation, soars above the most daring flights of 
fancy in the pursuit of her noble ideal. 


F we wish to gain a clear idea of the position in the 
history of music of the people who inhabited the eastern 
and southern parts of Asia, those of the south-west 
countries, generally classed together under the name of 
the Orient, the inhabitants of the Upper and Lower Valleys 
of the Nile in fact, x>f all the civilised nations of the eastern half of the 
old world we must divide them into four groups. 

From this point of view we shall arrange together for purposes of 
examination, the Chinese, Japanese, and Hindoos ; classing together in the 
same way the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Western Asiatics. 

In the same way, the followers of Islam, although comprising many 
nations and distinct races, should, with reference to their musical achieve- 
ments, be grouped under one head. This applies still more especially 
to the Israelites, who, arrogating to themselves the title of the "chosen 
people/'' certainly merit that appellation in the musical art of the pre- 
classical age. 

The Chinese, Japanese, and Hindoos may be treated of in one and the 
same chapter; first, because they are neighbours geographically, and 
secondly, because they are alike in that their music had no influence 
over the tonal art of the people of Europe. The still closer relation 
which existed amongst themselves will be left, however, for further 

The second group of nations viz., the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and 
Israelites are closely connected by their geographical position, and in 


addition to this have a common descent and language ; they are either 
Semites, or have Semitic elements in their civilisation. But this im- 
portant link is wanting in the former group, since the Chinese, being 
descendants of the Mongols, and the Hindoos of the Aryans, differ widely 
both in descent and disposition. 

We have devoted an entire separate chapter to so comparatively small 
a people as the Hebrews, whilst compressing into the same space the history 
of the Chinese and Hindoos who, without the Japanese, comprise more 
than half the inhabitants of the whole world because, as already explained, 
the wonderfully high endowments of the former have obtained for them 
the first place amongst Orientals. It should further be mentioned that 
there existed a peculiar and intimate connection between the music and 
religious poetry of the Israelites ; and lastly, that Palestine became the 
garden of the Lord, from whose soil was to spring forth and bloom the 
flower of Christianity in other words, that religion by means of which 
music was to be elevated into a self-existing art. 

It may appear incongruous to include in this section the Mohammedans 
with the nations of the pre-classical age. It is, however, an ascertained 
fact, that typical Arabian music, and even many Arabian instruments, 
belong to a period anterior to the Mohammedan em; and, moreover, 
were we not to refer to them here, some difficulty and confusion might 
be experienced in returning to them when tracing the history of the 
music of the Western nations. For a similar reason Kugler, Liibke, and 
other eminent writers interpolated Mohammedan art between classical 
art and that of Western Christianity; or between the oldest Christian 
plastic art of Byzantium and Rome, and that of the Middle Ages, because 
ancient traditions exerted so great an influence on Byzantine architecture, 
sculpture, and painting, and on early Christian art, that at the time of 
Rome's decadence they could not be said to have as yet attained to that 
individuality of style which characterises the art of the later Middle Ages. 

The musical historian has to deal with a somewhat different state of 
circumstances. Although Christian music was trammelled by ancient 
tradition for several centuries, yet it was not so heavily weighted as were 
the arts of painting and sculpture of that time. Christianity and music 
had, from the commencement, so great an attraction for each other, that 
they literally coalesced by spontaneous approximation. For this reason we 


have not wished to separate the early history of Christian music from its 
development, and therefore have preferred to speak of that of the Islamites 
here. Thus the history of the tonal art shows that already, in its earliest 
beginnings, it was the most Christian of all the arts. This is proved by the 
fact that almost all music of Paganism can, from an historic point of view, 
be divided into separate groups, according to the impress of nationality 
borne by their tonal art. With the Christians, however, no such division was 
ever possible, as all Christian nations, from the moment that music came in 
contact with Christianity, have collectively contributed to the development 
of music in the same direction without reference to nationalitv. 



IN this chapter are included three nations, the Chinese, Japanese, and 
Hindoos, for though differing widely in race and temperament, they were, 
nevertheless, allied by the proximity of their geographical position, as well 
as by a certain mental resemblance. The spreading of Buddhism from 
India to China and Japan, the division into castes, and the tenacity with 
which the three nations clung to ancient customs during thousands of years, 
without change or progress, are all of importance in tracing their musical 
history. To these causes, together with an enervating climate and imperfect 
political institutions, may be ascribed the origin and growth of Fatalism in 
Japan, and Quietism in India and China. 

Apart from the similarity of their mental life just indicated, these 
nations present to us, in other respects, the most striking contrasts. This 
is not perhaps due so much to dissimilarity of race and the vast territories 
over which these races extended, within which one might find every variety 
of character, as to the difference of disposition which led these nations to 
regard the world from divergent standpoints. 

Whilst the Hindoos possess a lively imagination, the Chinese exhibit in 
its stead a circumscribed but practical worldliness. The former's conception 
of the world is poetical and ecstatic ; the latter's, insipid and prosaic, with a 
puerile and pedantic trait running throughout. Whereas Chinese art is 


superficial, that of the Hindoo, on the contrary, attempts to be profound, 
to fathom the connection between mind and matter, uniting therewith a 
predilection for the transcendental, the fantastic, and the mysterious. 

Nothing can more forcibly demonstrate to us how intimately the growth 
of music is associated with the development of special characteristics and 
civilisation among nations, than the almost opposite method adopted by the 
Hindoos and Chinese, both in their treatment of musical theory, and in the 
manufacture of musical instruments. 

An investigation of the peculiar characteristics of the above-named 
nations, as reflected in their musical conceptions and in their systems, will 
astonish those who have not fathomed the profound connection that exists 
between civilisation and art. 

In turning our attention first of all to the Chinese, we find that the 
origin of music with them, as with all other nations, is in close affinity with 
that of their religion. The Chinese builds his world upon the harmonious 
action of the heavens and earth ; regards the animation of all nature, the 
movement of the stars and the change of seasons, as a grand " world- 
music,'" in which everything keeps steadfastly in its appointed course, 
teaching mankind thereby a wholesome lesson. One of the founders of 
their religion, Fo-Hi, is believed to have been the inventor of the Kin, 
a stringed instrument still in use in China. The close relationship that 
originally existed between the constitution of the state and music is also 
clearly shown in Chinese history. 

All their music has from time immemorial been under state supervision, 
in order to guard against the stealthy introduction of any tone contrary to 
ordinance. Here we already meet with the pernicious influence of a bureau- 
cratic pedantic state, as well as that of the prosaic character of the Chinese, 
upon their music. Both features are exemplified in the names of the notes 
of their oldest musical scale, which consisted only of five tones, from 
F to D, omitting the B. 

No. i. 


The lowest note of this scale, F, was called " emperor ; " the G, " prime 
minister;" A, "loyal subjects;" C, "affairs of state ;" and the D, " mirror 


of the world/ J A people in whose tales and novels the climax culminates 
in the success or failure of the hero's state-examination could not but 
possess very feeble notions of the tonal art. The emperors did not disdain 
to bring themselves into close communication with musical institutions. 
In the year 364 A.D., Ngai-Ti published a decree against weak, effeminate 
music; and Kang-Hi, 1680 A.D., invented with success some new melodies, 
and founded an Academy of Music. 

We will now endeavour to describe Chinese music by noticing some of its 
prominent features. Among the Chinese the art of music has ever remained 
an object either of diversion or of speculation. It has never revealed to 
them the language of the heart and intellect. Nevertheless they draw 
a distinction between sound and noise. The period at which their five- 
toned scale was enlarged to seven tones has been described by Chinese 
theorists as the commencement of the decadence of their musical system. 
They ascribe to their mythical bird " Fung-Hoang/' and his mate, the 
invention of tones and half-tones ; the six whole tones to the male, 
and the half-tones to the female. Such a creed coincides with all their 
notions of man and woman. The whole tones represented to them things 
perfect and independent as heaven, sun, and man ; the half-tones, things 
imperfect and dependent as earth, moon, and woman. The enlargement 
of the scale from five to seven tones was owing to the insertion of the 
two half-tones E and B, which were called "leaders'" and "mediators." 
These appellations proceed from a very fine musical instinct, as indeed 
E and B are " leaders " to F and C, and they possess also, for the 
modern cultivated ear, the quality of resolving themselves into the half- 
tone above, acting at the same time as mediators, and filling up the void 
between D and F A and C. 

No. 2. NB NB 


After the completion of the octave the intermediate half-tones were 
added, viz., sharps to F, G, A, C, and D ; dividing the Chinese scale, like our 
modern chromatic scale, into twelve semitones within the octave. From 


this time the scale received the name of Lite i.e., Law ; but they clung 
to F as the root of all tones. 

It is characteristic of the Chinese, who generally regard things from 
an opposite point of view to other nations, that in music they call low 
what we call high, and vice versa e.g., the E of scale No. 2 would be to 
them the lowest, and the F at the beginning of the scale the highest tone. 

In their theory of harmony there is a foreshadowing of the relation of 
the tonic to its fourth and fifth, but they did not perceive the full 
importance of these intervals as upper and lower dominants of the tonic, 
although in their circles of fourths and fifths they always returned to F, 
their starting-point. Their theories are based upon an infinite variety of 
rules, and exhibit a timorous mental hair-splitting which has completely 
fettered all artistic imagination. Here, too, the pedantic mind of the 
Chinese makes itself manifest, for, though possessing a strong power of 
discrimination, yet it lacks all imagination. It masters up to a certain 
point all knowledge that can be acquired by industry and observation. 
Beyond this, however, even in an art like music, its barren, theorising 
character makes itself felt. To suit its exigencies, tone too must do 
didactic duty, operating not upon the emotions but upon the intellect. 
The most interesting part of Chinese theory is its ingenious combination of 
tone with nature, men, and things, to which we have already referred. 

The Chinese are the only people who, thousands of years ago, possessed 
a system of octaves, a circle of fifths, and a normal tone. With this 
knowledge, however, their eigbty-four scales, each of which has a special 
philosophical signification, appear all the more incomprehensible to us. 
Hence the conclusion gains cogency, that notwithstanding the early de- 
velopment of their theory, they never used tone to express feelings. 

The oldest known Chinese book on music dates from the eleventh century 
before Christ. Five hundred years before our Christian era, a friend of Con- 
fucius, the great moral teacher of the Chinese, wrote a musical commentary, 
the great teacher himself writing a song-book, which Riickert, a celebrated 
German poet, translated in 1833 A.D. All these songs were intended to be 
set to music, and are for the most part of a didactic character. Amiot, the 
French Jesuit and missionary in Pekin, mentions in his work on Chinese 
music, published in Paris, 1776 A.D., no less than sixty-nine theoretical 
works. From a great number of these it appears that the Chinese care less 



for combinations than for single sounds. This reminds one of their habit 
of splitting up their own language into monosyllables. Everywhere they 
exhibit a child-like tendency to unite single sounds, without the slightest 
desire for a higher ideal combination. Their melodies have thus the 
character of an aimless wandering amongst sounds. They lack form, out- 
line,, and intrinsic merit. The best of them, relatively speaking, are to be 
found amongst the oldest sacred music and the songs of the people the 
sailors and mountaineers; the worst, in their theatre* (sing-song) music, 
both vocal and instrumental, the melodies having no form whatever. The 
sacred hymns, and the songs of the people, have been transmitted unaltered, 
from time immemorial. 



tfo. 3. 


' T^~ 

^ ^H p ^ 



t) 23 


c-' f 

I | 1 



= tr^- 


This tune is sung in praise of the dead, and does not exceed the five 
tones of the old Chinese scale. It will be noticed that F, the Chinese 
patriarch of all tones, forms the beginning, the middle, and the end of the 
melody. It was made known by Amiot. Very peculiar is another melody, 
noted by Barrow, and with but slight variation by Amiot, which C. M. von 
Weber has made use of in his overture to Turandot. The designed 
omission of the half-tones E and B testifies to its great antiquity. 

No. 4. 
Moderately fast. 

:rf) <t r r r 


I ?-p 

i r r ^ r ' i r r 

^ r r~~j 



^ | f 

i 1 i i i i i 1 i 

j ^ ^ j r . r r-^-^-- 

_ fr . 

i^j) r 

, , 





* r i * r+ J ^r- 
i i ^ H 1 i J - 



i J- 




-J-^ ^ * J'-^-J-J 

_Lj J-J | 

The German " Sing-Sang'' is no doubt derived from this. 



r i ' r r~ i ' H rj rj 


This melody does not lack rhythm, but has something dull and childish 
in it, an effect caused by the continual repetition of the two minims. 
For the rest, it is not wanting" in a certain ingenuousness and national 
idiosyncrasy. Barrow also mentions a sailors' duet between the coxswain 
and oarsmen, which they sing when rowing. 

No. 5. 



r tfv'--'- - - 

U U 

r 1 c 

^ ^ j 

"IX IX p? 

r* LJ ! _* 

r r r i 

k ^ x b A. 

1 IX iX 

C f I 

IX IX 1 

Hei - ho hei-hau ! 

Hei-ho hei-hau! 

J* J" 

(gp2 = 

P - kL 



m f 2 

^r ^g 

Hei - ho 




^ -E K-- { 


' 5^5 p* 


^ ^ 

= P ^~ 

\f ^ p 


Hei - ho 

hei-hau ! 

r IX ^ 

hei-hau ! 



^t> ^ t^ 


1 IX |X 

hei-hau ! 

Hei-ho hei-hau! 

The accompaniment of their songs consists sometimes of a pedal bass 
for higher tones in the fifth, and for lower tones in the fourth a most 
primitive method, reminding one of the bag-pipes, and of the earliest 
attempts of untutored nations. Nevertheless, the Chinese believe their 
music to be the first in the world. European music they consider to be 
barbaric and horrible. They possess a certain rude notion of rhythm ; but 
most of the melodies with which we are acquainted show that they prefer the 
even to the uneven measure. Their sense for uncouth rhythm may perhaps 



partly explain their predilection for instruments of percussion, a preference 
for which is always indicative of a low musical organisation, whilst a love 
for stringed instruments evinces a higher order of mind 

They have numerous instruments of percussion, large and small kettle- 
drums indeed, drums of every kind instruments made of stones or metal 
bells, suspended in wooden frames and beaten with a mallet ; cymbals ; 
suspended rows of tuned cop- 
per plates; various kinds of 
tinkling instruments ; wooden 
clappers; and wooden tubs 
beaten either from the inside 
or outside. The most interest- 
ing of these instruments is the 
King, invented by the Em- 
peror Tschun and the Chinese 
Orpheus Quei, which is said 
to have existed as far back 
as 2,300 B.C. 

It consists of sixteen dif- 

Fig. 6. Chinese Performer on the King. 

ferent-sized stones, suspended in two rows, and tuned according to the 
twelve tones of the Lue ootave, and their four additional tones. It is 
struck with a wooden mallet. The most sonorous of these stones come 
from the province of Leang-tscheu ; they are called Yu. A richly-orna- 
mented instrument made out of these stones, 
called Nio-King, may only be played by the 
Emperor. The above illustration represents a 
King of the more ordinary construction, others 
being made after this pattern. To the family 
of the King belongs the Pien-tschungj an 
instrument consisting of many bells, arranged 
and tuned in a similar manner to the stones 
of the King; also the Ynen-lo, consisting of 
a frame ' in which are suspended ten tuned 
copper plates. 

They have, also, a giant drum, called the 
Fig. 7. Hiuen-Kou, the Giant 

Drum of the Chinese. Hiuen-Kou, said to have been invented 1,122 B.C., 



during 1 the dynasty of Tcheou, for use at the Imperial Palace. The 
size of this colossal drum is at once seen on comparing the height 
of the performer in our illustration with that of the instrument. It is 
placed on a specially-prepared stand : it oscillates, 
and has two smaller drums, one on each side. The 
Chinese ear finds a special charm in the contrast of 
the deep-booming thunder of the large drum and 
the mere rattling of the two small drums, a charm 
for which our European ears are possibly being 

prepared, should the increase of instruments of per- 
Fig. 8. Ya-Kou, the Small . . , , , . 

Chinese Drum cussion in the modern orchestra continue at the 

same rate as heretofore. 

Amongst the drums we find the Ya-Kou most generally used. It has 
the form of a small tub, is attached to the body by a cord, and does not 
give a very loud tone. 

We must also mention the Tchoung-Tou, a fan-like looking instru- 
ment, made of pieces of wood tied together, which served in ancient times 

Fig. 9. Gong, or Tamtam, from the Palace of the 
Chinese Emperors. 

Fig 10. 
The Tchoung-Tou. 

for beating time. It was held in the right hand, and the time was marked 
by gently striking it against the palm of the left hand. 



The Chinese wind instruments are fewer in number than those of 
percussion. The oldest of these, the Hiuen, is in the shape of an egg. It 
is made of earthenware, open on one side, with five ventages, which give 
the five tones of the oldest Chinese scale. Speaking rela- 
tively, the most elaborate of Chinese wind instruments 
is the Cheng. It is the most pleasing of their instru- 
ments, arid serves as a standard to tune other instruments. 
It has for its basis a hollowed-out pumpkin, which serves 
the purpose of a wind receptacle, in which are twelve to 
twenty-four bamboo reeds, placed closely together in a 
circle. The performer blows into the curved cylinder, open- 
ing and closing the ventages with his fingers. Among 
their instruments of the flute type, mention should be 
made of the Yo, which is played from the top like 
the clarinet ; and the Tsche, played like the modern 
flute. They also possess the pan-pipes called Siao. 

Their martial instruments include various trumpets 
with funnel or knob-shaped bells. Their orchestra is 
but sparsely recruited with stringed instruments of their 
own invention, for the mandolines and guitars which Fig. 11. The Cheng, 
they use are more probably of Persian or Hindoo than of Chinese!^' 
Chinese origin. 

The only Chinese stringed instruments are the Kin and Che the 
former, a very primitive guitar, of a pear-shape, usually strung with 
four strings, and having inside it some metallic bells which make a 
clanging accompaniment to the sound of its strings; while the 
Che, literally translated "the wonderful/' is a table-psaltery, nine 
feet in length, containing twenty-five strings. Both are evidently 
of great antiquity, and are said to have been invented by Fo-Hi, 
but musically the Che is the more important. In the plate we 
have placed beside the performer on the Che the player of the small 
drum, called the Po-fou, because these instruments are never separated, 
but appear always together as accompaniments for vocal music. This 
observation applies especially to the accompaniment of ancient songs and 
hymns. The Che strengthens the melody and supports the voice of 
the singer, the Po-fou regulating the rhythm and gesticulation. We 


have represented both performers as blind, for Amiot tells us that all ancient 
tradition described musicians as blind. The intellectual Chinese Prince 
Tsay-yu finds a reason for this remarkable tradition in the following fact : 
"The ancient musicians/' he relates, "closed their eyes whilst performing, 
so that no external object should engage their attention, and it is from this 
habit that the people gave them the name of the blind/' 

This tradition has a deeper meaning than that attached to it by the 
Chinese, inasmuch that any enthusiastic listener to music appears entranced 
and absorbed in inward contemplation, all his mental faculties being lost 

Fig. 12. Blind Performers on the Che and Po-fou. 

in the depths of his own heart and mind. But however little such a 
poetical metaphor can be applied to the real musical performance of a people 
whose practice in the tonal art has remained in a semi-barbaric state, it is 
nevertheless true that their musical traditions and theories abound in 
highly ingenious ideas. It must be acknowledged that this theory of the 
Chinese is the true interpretation of the nature of music, but it is a theory 
which is far in advance of their practice. 

The following illustration (Fig. 13) is an exact copy of an entire 
Chinese orchestra, strictly historical and national. It represents the 
musicians arranged for the performance of a requiem in honour of their 
ancestors in the Tay-miao. In the background, towards the south, in 
front of the portraits of the ancestors, stands the table of perfumes ; on it 
is placed lighted candles, flowers, and seen*. To the right, towards the 



west, are the bell and time-beaters, pan-pipe and Cheng players ; to the 
left, towards the east, are the players on the kettle-drum, rattle-drum 
(Tao-kou), and the flute-players. Most important for a more detailed 
investigation of Chinese music are the works (as yet only partly published) 
of Gladisch, a German savant who died a few years ago. It seems almost 
beyond doubt that he has succeeded in pointing out the undeniable and 
intimate connection that exists between the oldest Chinese theory and the 
musico-philosophic conceptions of the great Greek teacher Pythagoras 

Fig. 13. Chinese Orchestra in the Tay-miao. 

a connection proved by the perfect similarity of their systems of vibrations 
and intervals. If, indeed, GladiscVs own discoveries in this direction 
induced him to complain of our want of appreciation of Chinese music, 
he was in this respect not unlike Amiot, Barrow, and others, whom the 
surprisingly profound combinations of the Chinese system deluded into 
a belief that their practice was as perfect as their theory. 

The Japanese are the nearest neighbours of the Chinese, and they are 
also related by blood to them. They are descended from the Chinese and the 
Ainos, a nation still inhabiting the most northern part of Japan, the Kurile 
Isles, and the southern part of Kamschatka. The Japanese, waging war 
against the element that surrounded them, and forced to subdue the original 


inhabitants, the Amos, have become a more energetic and active people 
than the Chinese, their forefathers. In music, however, they have in 
nowise surpassed the Chinese standard, but have, on the contrary, rather 
remained below it. They revere music, and connect it with their idol- 
worship, but, judged from an artistic point, it is inferior to Chinese music. 
We also find the music of the Japanese in strange association with their 
diplomacy. It is said that formerly an ambassador in addressing a foreign 
court to which he was accredited did not speak, but sang his mission. 
" Diplomatic notes/' therefore, acquired in Japan a double signification, 
and there first earned an undoubted right to their present appellation; 
we may not, however, venture to assume that a chanted ultimatum sounded 
altogether like a congratulation. The descent of Japanese music from 
Chinese shows itself in their instruments. They have the Kin and 
the Tscheng (Fig. 11) in common. Peculiar to the Japanese is the Oboe, 
a strong shrill-sounding instrument made of sea-shell, to which is affixed 
a tube for a mouth-piece. This instrument is used in the place of a 
trumpet. They possess many stringed instruments, some of them like 
our European mandolins and lutes ; one of the latter, Samise, is a cube- 
shaped resonant frame, and is struck with a plectrum. Like the Chinese, 
their barbarism in music shows itself in the number of drums, clappers, 
and bells. They have a drum in the shape of an hour-glass, which is 
struck at both ends ; also cylindrical drums, and many bell instruments 
shaken by the hand, which are like our children's rattles. 

Siebold, in his work on Japan, gives us an illustration of a whole 
Japanese orchestra. It consists of three men and four women, who perform 
on a horizontal flute, a large hour-glass-shaped drum, two bell-rattle instru- 
ments, two wooden clappers, and two small drums. This picture, taken 
from life, exhibits no less than six barbaric instruments of percussion 
ranged against a single flute, that has alone to support the melody. The 
co-operation of women is not cnly admitted in the performance of their 
secular but also in that of their sacred music. The social position of 
the musician is not specially respected, his status being no higher than 
that immediately above the lowest class. 

Passing from the Chinese and Japanese to the Hindoos, we feel 
ourselves in a new mental sphere, with an entirely different conception of 
life, the character and mode of which has but very little in common with 


the nations of whom we have spoken. The Hindoos, like the Chinese, 
connect the origin of their music with their religion ; but whilst the 
Chinese do not trace its source further back than to the mythical bird 
Fung-Hoang, the Chinese hero the semi-mythical Fo-hi, and the pillar 
of their state-religion Confucius; the Hindoos, on the contrary, derive 
their music direct from their gods. This can scarcely surprise us if we 
cast a glance at the country which they inhabit. 

Under a fierce, glaring sun, in a climate which generates the wonderful 
animal and vegetable kingdoms of the tropics, lies an immense peninsula, 
sheltered by gigantic mountains, stretching southwards far out into the 
ocean, taper-like, and forming an almost isolated world of its own. The 
mighty rivers rising in the snow-capped Himalayas temper, by their rushing 
waters, the consuming heat of the near equator, and disseminate around 
a refreshing coolness, and existence full of youthful activity. Hence the 
Hindoos venerate rivers like the Ganges, just as they do those mountains 
from whose valleys they take th-jir source, and hold them sacred. 
Yet the power of the equator is so great that the people of Southern 
India cannot work like those of the north, but easily succumb to the 
influence of the enervating climate, which invites to rest, contemplation, 
day-dreaming, and a luxurious play of imagination. Besides, as such 
tendencies had already in ancient times exhibited themselves in the 
disposition of the Hindoo, before he emigrated from Thibet to the south, 
it was only natural that the character of the newly-adopted country should 
still further increase them. 

Without taking into account the totally different characteristics of 
these nations, it at once becomes manifest that music among such a people, 
and under such a sky, would occupy a totally different position from 
that of the Chinese and Japanese inhabitants of a more northern clime. 
If the development of music amongst the dull, prosaic, and grotesque 
Chinese was beset with difficulties, it found, on the other hand, among the 
Hindoos, in the country of the lotus-flower and gazelle, and under the 
narcotic influence of tropical foliage, a thoroughly congenial soil, and one 
in every respect favourable for striking root. By the Hindoo, therefore, 
music is regarded as an immediate gift from the gods. The consort of 
Brahma, the benevolent and kind Sarasvati, gave the Yin a, the most 
charming of all instruments, to mankind. Sarasvati was the generally- 
c 2 



accented guardian of music, but the one whose special office it was to preside 
over the art was Nareda. The following illustration (Fig. 14), which has 
reference to a part of the poem "Magha/" is taken from a work by Sir 
William Jones. " Nareda once sat at his Vina, wrapped in deep contempla- 
tion, when suddenly the gently-moving zephyrs drew forth from the strings 
sounds that enchanted his ear, and which, proceeding in regular rhythm, 
varied continually, becoming at each change still more and more beautiful." 
In the Rigveda, one of the four primordial books of the Brahmins, 
written in Sanskrit, and known under the name of the "Vedas/' there 
are hymns intended for music. The existence of these books is supposed to 

date from the year 1500 B.C. The 
Brahmins gave to the musically-gifted 
Hindoos a number of sacred songs, 
closely connected with their worship, 
the composition of which they traced 
to the most remote antiquity, and 
frequently ascribed to gods. Such 
melodies, " Ragas," were supposed 
to be capable of miraculous effects. 
Some forced men, animals, and even 
inanimate nature, to move according 
to the will of the singer ; others could 
not be executed by any mortal man 
without the risk of being consumed 

. XT ~~. . , ,, . by flames. The singer Naik-Gobaul, 

Fig. 14. Nareda, the God of Hindoo Music. J & 

who tried to sing a forbidden " Raga/' 

was, notwithstanding that he stood up to his neck in the river Jumna, 
consumed by fire. To another melody was attributed the power of calling 
down rain ; a female singer saved Bengal by this " Raga " from drought 
and famine. A third melody obscured the sun, and enveloped the 
sovereign's palace in terror-striking darkness. 

The Hindoos, believing in the supernatural effects of music as well 
as that the sound was agreeable to the gods, surrounded their heaven-god, 
In r Jra, with hosts of performing genii called " Gandharven/" and with 
female dancers and performers called " Apsarasen." 

The story of the Gandharven and Apsarasen in Hindoo mythology is 


told in the following manner. Brahma, according to tradition , broke by the 
power of his thoughts the shell of the Brahma egg, in which he had been 
confined for three thousand billion and four hundred years, into two halves. 
Out of these, heaven and earth were fashioned. He then created man, who 
called forth from chaos ten " heavenly sages." The sages again peopled 
heaven and earth with good and bad spirits, and created the Gandharven 
and Apsarasen. The special mission of the " lotus-eyed " Apsarasen was to 
test by alluring song and luxurious enchantment the sincerity of the pious 
hermit, who had retired into seclusion to lead a godly life. If, however, 
these heavenly dancers exceeded their mission, and caused a holy man to 
break his vow, they were visited with the anger of the gods. Such was 
the case with the beautiful Apsarase Rambha, who was punished by being 
turned into stone. Lastly, the Apsarasen, conjointly with the Gandharven, 
were also appointed to enliven the feasts of the gods with song and 

The oldest of the Hindoo scales corresponds exactly with that of the 
five-toned Chinese scale another proof of the close relationship which, in 
primordial times, must have existed between the two nations. It is not 
improbable that this scale was made up of the tones F, G, A, C, D, which, 
like the Chinese scale, lacked the B, the first scale " Velavali" (also Velavi) 
consisting of the above-named progression. In India, as in China, this 
scale was in course of time increased to seven' tones, the Hindoo scale 
corresponding to our scale of A major, the abbreviations of their signs being 

Sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni. 

These seven tones were repeated three times, and thus by taking the 
octave system as a foundation, a scale of twenty-one tones was obtained. 

But the Hindoos, especially in their theory, did not stop short here. 
According to their system, distinction was made between large and small 
whole-tones as well as half-tones; and again, every large whole-tone was 
divided into four quarters, every small whole-tone into three-thirds, and 
every half-tone into two quarter-tones, so that the octave, called " Strati," 
contained twenty-two of these divisions. It becomes at once apparent that 
these "Strutis" could not be employed either by vocalist or instru- 
mentalist, because, if we wished to divide our scale into quarter-tones, it 
would give us twenty-four sounds, whilst the Hindoos, having but twenty- 


two equal divisions, constructed a scale which, if not mathematically, is 
musically quite an impossibility. 

The extreme vagueness of the Hindoo theory is seen in the immense 
number of their keys, and their divergent systems. This anomalous 
state of things proceeds more especially from their having almost entirely 
ignored the mathematical and physical part of musical theory. 

In the time of their god Krishna they asserted the existence of 16,000 
keys. Monstrous as this may seem, when judged from a practical standpoint, 

the explanation by which they justify 
this enormous number is not altogether 
devoid of the charm of poetical imagery. 
The story runs, that at the time when 
the beautiful young god Krishna lived 
on earth as a shepherd, all Maduric shep- 
herdesses and nymphs, called " Gopis," 
of whom there existed 16,000, endea- 
voured to gain the love of the divine 
youth. In this contest every one of the 
Gopis invented a new key, hoping by 
its novel and peculiar construction, and 
consequent original melody, to move 
the young god's heart more powerfully 
than her sisters. Sir William Jones, 
in 1789, introduced into England from 
India a number of small and prettily- 
painted pictures, called " Ragmalas," 
representing with child-like simplicity 
the meeting of Krishna and the Gopis, 
likewise these lovely nymphs rehearsing their songs on the Vina, in 
private, in order hereafter to charm their god. The illustration (Fig. 15), 
taken from the work of Sir William Jones, represents a Gopi, who, by 
her performance on the Vina, has attracted a number of gazelles, that 
frolic and gambol around her. 

At a later period these 16,000 keys were reduced to 960, then to 
thirty-six, and lastly to twenty-three. But in most of the Indian provinces 
the thirty-six keys mentioned in the holy books Soma and Narayan have 

Fig. 15. A Gopi attracting Gazelles by 
her Vina playing. 


been retained. The origin of these thirty-six keys is attributed in Hindoo 
theogony to Maheda- Krishna, who brought forth from his five heads five 
keys, named " Raga," to which his consort Parbuti added the sixth. In 
addition to these, Brahma himself created thirty subsidiary keys called 
" Raginit." We give here from the book Soma a few of these thirty-six 
keys, the more clearly to illustrate the extraordinary omissions in their scales. 
No. 16. 




-y : 



i i 



^ (Corresponding to the old 

UARNATI. Scottish Highland scale.) 



i I 

i i 





^ T 





^ t 1 

But even the thirty-six keys of the scales of which we have given some 
examples did not meet with general acceptation, for although they appear 
under the same name in the Soma and Narayan, yet they are differently 
noted, and it is only in the last-named book that the important key 
" Sriraga " corresponds to our modern scale of A major, which it is well known 
was the chief key of Hindoo musical practice. Amongst the thirty-six keys 
of the book Soma we meet with eight incomplete scales, seven of these 
being without the B. In the book Narayan, on the contrary, there are 
eleven of these incomplete scales, which, according to our modern notions, 


are imperfect. But also in these last the B appears to have been studiously 
avoided, as it is wanting in no less than eight of them ; this peculiar con- 
struction undoubtedly being that of the oldest Hindoo scale. 

In this omission of the B we trace a highly-interesting connection 
between the scales of the Hindoos and those of the ancient Greeks a 
connection similar to that previously pointed out as existing between those 
of the Hindoos and the Chinese the Greek scale of Terpander, according 
to the notation of Nicomachus, also having no B. Another division, 
differing from that found in the books Soma and Narayan, is that of 
Killinatha, who reckons 90 scales ; Terat, on the other hand, fixes them, 
at 132. Often when referring to a key, a special melody only is understood. 
Consequently in the Hindoo theory of music we meet with almost the same 
extravagance, the same want of decided outline, and likewise a corresponding 
tendency to multiply and exaggerate everything, as is displayed in their 
sculpture, with its huge unnatural figures, and its many-headed gods, 
possessing an unlimited supply of arms and legs. 

In the Sanskrit literature a great number of theoretical works on music 
have such fanciful names as "the mirror of scales/' "the mirror of 
melodies/'' "the sea of emotions/' "the delights of society/' "the science 
of scales/' &c. The sacred book Narayan even speaks of a theory of 
music in verse, a fact which might well be relied on as showing the 
fanciful Hindoo's predilection for clothing in flowery language the most 
abstract notions. The Narayan treats first of song, then of stringed 
instruments, and lastly of the ballet. The union of these arts is called 
" Sangita." It should be mentioned that the six principal keys of the 
thirty-six referred to in the Soma and Narayan bear the names of Indian 
provinces, and each of the separate tones the name of a nymph. 

The ever-varying metre which characterises Hindoo poetry, arising 
chiefly from the excitable and ecstatic nature of the race, has left its 
indelible impress on the rhythm of their music. In some instances, every 
beat of the bar was required to be performed strictly in time in fact, 
just as at the present day ; whereas, in others the duration of such divisions 
was left to the individual taste of the singer. In the songs known to 
us the rhythm is very difficult to understand, and can only be approxi- 
mately rendered by our modern system of notation. The English writer 
Bird says, in reference to such songs, " that many of these Kaginis were 


so entirely without rhythmical symmetry, that it would be almost 
impossible to reproduce them in the same form as they were executed by 
the Hindoo singers; they seem like the outpourings of exalted beings, 
who wed to words such sounds as their emotion or fancy suggests." Even 
in musical rhythm the symbolising spirit of the Hindoo exhibits its 
effeminate predilection for ornamentation, the picture of a lotus-flower 
indicating the conclusion of each musical period. 

Scientific research has not yet been able to ascertain whether the 
present music of the Hindoos bears anything more than the remotest 
resemblance to that of the ancients. Their oldest songs are to be found in 
the " Vedas." The sacred songs contained in these holy books were saved 
from destruction by their being written in verse, committed to memory, 
and chanted a custom common to the civilised nations of antiquity. All 
scientific efforts to trace these melodies have proved fruitless. We are 
indebted to the German savants, Theodor Benfey and Max Miiller, for 
what little light has been thrown on the supposed connection between the 
rhythm of these hymns and the music to which they were sung. Fetis, 
following up their investigations, has, in his ( ' Histoire de Musique/' made 
some further deductions which are very interesting. Sir William Jones 
discovered two ancient songs which are supposed to have been committed 
to writing about 1,400 B.C., but as every savant has hitherto deciphered 
them in a diffei ent manner, it is clear that the correct method of reading 
them has yet to be found out. The nearest approach to the old Hindoo 
music is most likely to be found in the religious hymns of the Hindoos 
of the present day. All sacred traditions in which category these songs 
must be placed are preserved and adhered to by Eastern races with a 
tenacity totally unknown to nations inhabiting the West. 

The following examples of Hindoo melody still extant, though they 
have probably lost much of their original character, owing to foreign 
influences during thousands of years, still retain sufficient individuality to 
enable us to form at least a general notion of ancient Hindoo music.* 

* The following are from Sir William Jones's work on " Hindoo Tone-art." With the 
exception of the third example in minor, I have selected as illustrations other melodies than 
those given by Ambros in his excellent " History of Music," partly with the object of com- 
pleting the specimens given by him, and partly because these melodies appear to me to be 
no less characteristic than those already known. In harmonising them I have followed 
the system adopted by Sir William Jones, Ambros, Bird, and others. I have employed this 


No. 17. (Allegretto grazioso.} 

< t T 


w V I ^N 

* J 


-* * 


r - 



J^ . r 





or r 







^1 g t g ^ 



method with all the more confidence, in that the simple and natural progression of these 
melodies seemed to indicate so obviously the requisite harmonies, as to preclude the possibility 
of extensive variation. 


A sense of refreshing and ingenuous gaiety pervades 'this melody, 
involuntarily reminding one of the child-like grace of the Gopi with the 
gazelles in the picture, page 22. Such music could only emanate from 
a mind at peace with the world and ignorant of its sorrows. The Hindoos 
are children of the sun, and enjoy an existence as unconscious as that 
of the midges who dance in the last rays of our daily orb. For the rest, 
this melody runs smoothly in periods, and should hold a far higher rank 
than the aimless ramblings of the Chinese. As regards the rhythm, 
however, we here meet the same monotony common to all the ancient 
civilised nations. Yet, the ever-recurring crotchet rest of the second bar 

No. 18. Moderately fast. 



3 1 




produces a less wearisome effect than the repetition of the two minims 
of the Chinese melody, No. 4. 

To modern investigators it becomes more and more patent that Indian 
music must at some period have been in close connection with that of 
Persia and Arabia. The melody of No. 18 supports this view, as every 
connoisseur of Arabian music will at once recognise its similarity to a 
number of Mohammedan melodies that have been imported into Europe. 
It may therefore be taken for granted that this Indian Tuppah more nearly 
resembles the music of our own time, by centuries, than the Hindostani 
melody, No. 17. 


No. 19. Lively. 

.- T _ i . i> ' r . i* 

FT^r r i rfcr v \ \ 

I > 





+ s 

f FINE. 

L. ^J 


* . 




lino. T j ^^ 2do> t I 

With regard to this last example, No. 19, 1 would refer the reader to 
a previous observation. I pointed out that most of the Chinese melodies 
known to us are in common time. We may assume the contrary to have 
been the case with Indian melodies, as they betray a predilection for 
uneven measures, most of them being in f , f, or f time. It is not 
difficult to discern a connection between this unequal measure and the 
natural tendency of the people. The undulating, indecisive character of 



uneven measures seems more in consonance with the soft sentimentality 
of the Hindoo, and coincides more closely with certain traits in his 
homely poetry and plastic art than even measures, which convey an 
impression more nearly akin to the frank, decisive, and realistic feeling 
of the Chinese. The latter, therefore, naturally prefer the major keys, 
whilst the former make more constant use of the minor. It is, however, 
sometimes very difficult to determine the key in which a Chinese melody 
is written, and more especially whether it is major or minor. The many 
years of bondage endured by the Indians changed considerably the 
character of their native music. Thus their Rektahs are of Persian, their 

Tuppahs of Mongolian, and their 
Teranas of Arabian origin. Their 
instruments also testify to the influ- 
ence of political changes and a foreign 

It can be safely asserted of but 
few of the Indian instruments that 
they are of native origin. They are 
those which belong to the earliest 
period of their civilisation; the 
greater number, however, have been 
copied, with but slight alteration, 
from those of the neighbouring 

When speaking of Nareda, the 
god of Hindoo music, we pointed 

out how close was the connection between the history of the oldest and most 
important instruments and that of their religion. The Vina, which might 
be appropriately termed the Hindoo lute, is at once the most perfect and 
the most national of all their instruments, and its antiquity is proved by 
the frequent mention made of it in a great number of ancient Hindoo 

In the drama Sakuntala, so highly and justly praised by Goethe 
written by the Hindoo poet Kalidasa, 56 B.C., the King Duschmanta, on 
entering his garden, is wonderfully refreshed and invigorated by a triumphal 
song wherewith two singers greet him. He had hardly seated himself 

Fig. 20. I wan Schah, a Celebrated 
Hindoo Musician. 


by the side of his friend Madhawja, when the sound of a Vina is heard 
through the grove. " Hark ! said Madhawja to the Prince, " do you not 
hear the sound of song from yonder room ? It is the harmony of a 
perfectly-tuned Vina. 'Tis there the Princess plays." " Hush!" rejoined 
the King, " let me listen ! " And now behind the scene is heard the 
Princess Sakuntala accompanying herself on the Vina to a bewitchingly- 
tuneful song. " How full of emotion is this song ! " exclaimed the 
King. " What can it be ? Since I heard this song, I feel a strange 
longing as for a loved one far away ! " 

Hence we learn that the Vina was used by personages of the highest 
rank, and the perfection of its tuning was extolled 2,000 years ago. That 
it was also a favourite instrument with the immortals appears from two of 
our illustrations, where it is seen in the hands of the god of music, and of 
the nymph Madura, a Gopi. The Vina is, as our illustration clearly shows, 
neither a harp nor a guitar, although bearing some resemblance to the latter 
instrument, the finger-board being provided with frets. It consists of a 
cylindrical tube about three feet in length, and contains no less than nine- 
teen movable bridges, placed at short intervals, which permit of a chromatic 
scale of two octaves (see No. 21). The seven strings of the Vina, made 

. No. 21. 




of metal, are fixed to a similar number of pegs, and are tuned in the fol- 
lowing manner. 

No. 22. 



The resonance of the Vina (vide Fig. 20) is produced by the two hollow 
pumpkins attached, to the back of the instrument. The performer here is 
the celebrated Hindoo musician of modern times, Iwan Schah. The Vina, 
as we see, is played in a sitting position, the instrument being pressed 


obliquely to the body of the performer, so that his chest is interposed 
between the two pumpkins. 

Another stringed instrument, the Magoudi (Fig. 23), bears a close 
affinity to the guitar, and its form is also somewhat 
like the Tanbur used by the Arabs. The Hindoo 
snake-charmers display a marked preference for this 
instrument in their exhibitions. The body of the 
Magoudi is richly ornamented, and resembles a pome- 
granate cut in half. 

The Hindoos have two kinds of violin, of which one 
is called the Seringhi and the other the Serinda. The 
strings of the latter are made of silk, and it is played 
with a bow of most primitive construction (Fig. 24) . 

Several of their instruments of percussion remind 
one of those of the Chinese, viz., their big drums, 
kettle-drums, and bells. They also have no lack of 
flutes, double-flutes, and bagpipes. At their funerals 
they use the Tare, a kind of trombone, which. has a 
dull mournful tone. In common with the Chinese 
they have the King, the Gong (or Tamtam), and the 
Golden Horn (Fig. 25), a metal instrument, most artis- 
tically ornamented. 

It may be here observed that they possess a greater 
Fig. 23.-Magondi, the apt itude for music than the Chinese, as may be judged 

Hindoo Guitar. 

by the greater number and perfection of their stringed 

instruments, as well as by the more general employment of them. 

The most important use made of their music is in connection with their 
religious rites ; their songs (Gana) and instrumental music (Badya) being 
strictly regulated for use in the pagodas. 

Fig. 24. Serinda. 



The Hindoo Bayaderes play no insignificant a part in relation to 
religion, music, and the dance. They are divided into two classes, the 
first being dedicated to the service of the Temple of the Gods, and the 
second consisting of dancers who lead a wandering life. The Bayaderes 
of the first class are called "Devadasi" (the slaves of the gods), and 
live within the precincts of the temple. They are maidens who 
are free from bodily defects, and whose parents enter into a solemn 
contract renouncing all claim to them. The Devadasi are instructed 
in music, dancing, and mimicry. In the processions and festivities 
of the god whom they serve 
they chant choruses, in which 
his deeds and victories are glori- 
fied, and dance before his image 
as it is carried from place to 
place. They also plait wreaths 
and garlands to adorn the 
altars and pictures of their 
gods. When they wish to resign 
their sacred office they are per- 
mitted to choose a suitor from 
within or without the temple, but 
their selection is limited to the 
highest caste; and they are com- 
pelled to promise their daughters 
as Devadasis, and their sons as Fig. 25. The Golden Horn of the Chinese 
musicians. and Hindoos. 

A very inferior position is occupied by the Bayaderes of the second 
class. They are only engaged to perform at private festivities, caravan- 
saries, and public places of amusement, taking the place, in fact, of 
itinerant musicians. Their dances are not without historical interest, 
however, as they serve to perpetuate many ancient traditions. They 
consist mostly of mimicry, explanation being given by musicians who 
accompany the dancing with songs, and generally refer to accepted or 
rejected love, lovers'' meetings, jealousy, revenge, and the like. 

We also meet in India with musical dramas, the invention of which 
is attributed to the demigod Bharata. Gitagowinda, an idyllic musical 


drama of very ancient origin, which tells of Krishna's quarrel and recon- 
ciliation with the beautiful Radha, consists of the songs of the two 
lovers, alternating with the chorus of the friends of Radha. 

Here we must close our sketch of the musical condition of the civilised 
nations of South-eastern and Southern Asia, and proceed to investigate 
the development of music in the primitive lands of the Nile Valley 
and in Egypt, the connecting link between Asia and Africa, returning 
to the ancient nations of Western Asia. 



ALL early musical investigation regarded the Egyptians as an unmusical 
people an opinion with which we even meet in the present century. Such 
a belief was especially fostered by a misunderstood passage in Diodorus 
Siculus. It was only after Dr. Burney found a hieroglyph in the shape 
of a lute on a fallen obelisk at Rome, and James Bruce discovered repre- 
sentations of harps in the tombs of the Kings of Thebes, that this illusion 
began to be dispelled. The false impression was still further weakened 
by the discovery of monuments which threw new light upon the musical 
condition of the mysterious land of the Nile. Egyptologists have, in 
numerous instances, identified the figures on these monuments as those 
of performers on wind and stringed instruments, and have likewise de- 
ciphered several inscriptions referring to music. In one of the islands 
of the Upper Nile, Brugsch found the following inscription, supposed to 
date from the fifteenth dynasty : " Erpa-He the Great, Prince of Kusch, 
and singer to his lord Amon," from which we may conclude that even 
princes did not disdain to officiate as leaders of the singers. 

On the whole, it is matter for surprise that, considering the musical 
endowments of the Egyptians, it was possible to have been deceived so 
long. Amongst a people whose religion entered so deeply into all relations 
of life, and in a country where there existed so firm and general a belief 
in the immortality of the soul, the tonal art was sure to find its home. 
Where there is no religion, music can never obtain a secure footing, nor 


meet with its due appreciation. But a nation like the Egyptians, so 
o-i ven to symbolising and philosophising on the nature tf the soul, could 
not but be strongly influenced by the power and soothing effect. of music. 
The people were cast in a grand and stately mould, and lived in a 
land pre-eminently conducive to habits of meditation and reflection. 
Nowhere besides, except in India, do we find a people who, possessing 
mental proclivities similar to those of the Egyptians, endeavoured to 
account for the phenomena of this mysterious world. To such homes 
of civilisation the tonal art was necessarily indigenous. 

There can be no doubt as to the character of Egyptian music, at least 
in its employment as an accessory to the performance of religious rites, it 
must have been both solemn and majestic. This would correspond with 
all the philosophical notions entertained by the Egyptians concerning the 
universe reflections everywhere directed towards the great contradictions 
of human existence. The wonderful sublimity of the natural phenomena 
surrounding them could not but lead to this habit of thought. ' Egypt 
itself was an oasis in a boundless desert, and it was only by means- of 
their fertilising river and a limited extent of sea-board that communi- 
cation between themselves and other nations could be continuously 
maintained. In striking contrast to the luxuriantly fruitful soil of the 
well- watered valley of the Nile stood the bare and arid mountains bordering 
upon it, from whose summits the eye wanders over the boundless sandy 
desert, or is deceived by the strange mirage on the horizon. During the 
periodical inundations of the Nile the valley was transformed into one 
immense sea, in which cities and villages were visible only as islands, the 
.country presenting a totally different aspect from that which it assumed at 
other times of the year. Whilst engaged in the contemplation of such vast 
dissimilarities, the minds of the inhabitants of this country became -alive 
to the greatest of all contradictions in nature and in human existence; 
they awoke to a sense of that irreconcilable antithesis existing between 
life and death : this formed the basis of their cosmical philosophy. 

But death, though it belongs to the unfathomable secrets of human 
existence, possesses, nevertheless, so great a fascination for us, that it ever 
incites to renewed speculation. A continuous meditation of the kind, such 
as we find occupying the intellects of the Egyptian priests and sages, could 
not but assert its ascendancy over the minds of the people to whom they 


ministered, imbuing them, and their colossal buildings, with the character 
of the solemn, the wonderful, and the mysterious. We may, therefore, not 
unreasonably conclude that their music was brought under the same domi- 
nant influence, thus giving to it the impress of solemnity and mysticism. 

Even at the time when the Egyptians were still believed to have been 
entirely unmusical, many of our great musicians, with a power of divina- 
tion superior to that of erring science, instinctively discovered the tonal 
characteristics of this Eastern music, and used it to give local colour to 
their compositions. I need only refer, in support of this assertion, to 
MehuFs Joseph in Egypt, and Mozart's Zauberjiote. The idols, pyramids, 
sphinxes and obelisks, the representations of Pharaoh and his followers, 
or the priesthood in the exercise of their mystic rites, which formed the 
background of Egyptian temples, contributed in no small degree to the 
creation of that solemn, sanctified, and truly-exalted sentiment pervading 
the immortal compositions above mentioned. And whilst we are upon 
this subject, it is worth while to note the impression produced on the 
greatest tone-poet of the nineteenth century by a saying of ancient 
Egyptian lore. On Beethoven's writing-table there was a framed copy of 
an inscription from the Temple of Sai's, which ran thus : " I am all 
that is, that was, and that will be; no mortal has lifted my veil." 

How inherent the musical gift was among the Semitic races has been 
shown by the Hebrews from the earliest times to the present day. The 
Egyptians, indeed, though almost certainly Semites, are a different race 
from the Israelites the latter of whom, as is known, lacked entirely the 
matured plastic art of the Egyptians, whilst the Egyptians, on the other 
hand, were poor in poetical creations. We may, therefore, presuppose that 
music in the Temple of Memphis differed from that performed in the 
Temple at Jerusalem, although no doubt also many a reminiscence of 
Egyptian music found its way into Palestine. 

Bunsen describes Egypt as the " land of monuments/' and the Egyp- 
tians as the " monumental people of history." But the very existence of 
such a plenitude of monuments makes the want of musical records and 
Egyptian melodies all the more painfully felt. The lack of these shows 
us at what a disadvantage music stands in comparison with the plastic 
arts. For tone-pictures are not made of indestructible material like the 
pyramids, which stand firmly fixed in the ground, capable of resisting 


the ravages of thousands of years. Tones are, so to speak, the children 
of the moment ephemeral, evanescent. Even the attempt to fix them 
by notation offered no security for their preservation. A roll of papyrus 
fell an easy prey to the elements and a host of other enemies. 

I have already referred to the close connection that must have 
existed between the music of the Egyptians and their religion. 
Traces of it are visible not only in what we know of the vocal 
and instrumental music employed in their temples, but also in a 
considerable portion of their mythical traditions. Thus the Egyptians 
attribute the origin of those sacred melodies to the goddess Isis. Plato 

Fig. 26. Performers of Funeral Music. (Copy of a Picture from a Tomb at Thebes.) 

tells us that amongst these sacred songs some must have been of great 
antiquity, as he believed that good music and beautiful works of art 
had existed amongst them for ten thousand years without suffering any 
change. " In their possession, " adds the Greek philosopher, " are songs 
having the power to exalt and ennoble mankind, and these could only 
emanate from gods or god-like men/' The Egyptians themselves had 
similar notions concerning the origin of these primitive melodies. But 
not content with this, they pressed into the service of music even the 
natural elements which had been symbolised into gods. Thus there 
is to be seen in their temple at Dakkeh a picture representing the fire- 
god Ptah playing on a harp. Osiris also was looked upon as a patron 
deity of song. In many representations he is accompanied by the nine 


female singers whom the Greeks subsequently transformed into the 
" nine muses/' as they also transformed Osiris into " Phoebus Apollo." 

There is an Egyptian tradition, very similar to one held by the Greeks, 
that the Egyptian god Thot was the originator of the lyre, an instrument 
made out of the shell of a tortoise with strings affixed to it. Among forty- 
two " priestly books " attributed to Thot, there are two " Books of the 
Singer." From pictures of Egyptian catacombs we learn that instrumental 
music formed the general accompaniment of their solemn funeral rites, 
and that vocal music was employed in exceptional instances only (Fig. 26) . 
Whole families of singers were attached to the temple; the mysteries 
belonging to their religious rites were transmitted like their castes, from 
father to son and from generation to generation. The Egyptians placed 
in the most ideal relation to the tonal art their goddess Isis-Hathor, 
she whom Ebers calls "the holy goddess of love, the mighty heavenly 
mother, the beautiful filling heaven and earth with deeds of benevolence." 
Subsequently she was transformed into a muse, under whose protection 
were placed the dance, song, sport, and licentiousness ; the rope and tam- 
bourine in her hand signifying the captivating power and joy of love. 

Manifold were the relations which music bore to . the state and to 
general civilisation. In the houses of great families singers were specially 
retained, and from pictorial monuments we learn that both singers and 
dancers formed part of the household of Egyptian grandees, the illustrations 
showing female dancers accompanying themselves on the guitar, and 
blind singers accompanying themselves on harps. 

The Egyptians placed their music in close affinity with astronomy, a 
position which we have already seen it occupy among the Chinese and 
Hindoos; but it was only among the Greeks that this combination at- 
tained to its greatest significance. This linking together of music with the 
science of the stars and the universe a connection repeatedly asserting itself 
amongst so many of the ancient civilised nations distinctively points to 
their view of music as the art capable above all others of giving complete 
expression to the infinite, the eternal, and the ineffable. Poetry, from 
its very nature, is confined to the expression of definite ideas; the plastic 
arts demand tangible forms and a circumscribed limit in space. Poetry, 
architecture, sculpture, and painting can therefore only indirectly express 
the infinite, and make it clear to us by symbolisation. 


The pictorial representation of the interior of the House of the Pharaohs 
on the architrave of a door in the catacombs near El-Amarna is highly 
interesting, as it shows the important position which was then assigned 
to music. The number of male and female singers and instrumentalists 
performing, either singly or conjointly, is so great, that Ambros, speaking 
jestingly of them, says that " the Egyptian palaces were surrounded with 
whole conservatoires of music." On the walls of a catacomb dating from 
the time of the seventeenth dynasty, the departed master of the house 
and his consort are represented as listening to the performance of two 
female singers accompanied by two harps and one flute, while a little girl 
is beating time with the well-known Egyptian wooden clappers. This 
evidently is intended to represent one of those private orchestras which 
were usually attached to the houses of Egyptian nobles. Martial music 
had its place with the Egyptians as with all the nations of antiquity ; 
but as with them it was almost entirely confined to the use of 
trumpets and .drums, we are justified in concluding that it was used 
only for signalling purposes. And this restriction would seem to 
suggest that music was with them, comparatively speaking, a highly- 
developed art. For it is a characteristic of barbarous nations only to 
begin a battle with howling war-cries, accompanied by the clamour of 
all their instruments. Homer refers to this ("Iliad/' iii. 1 9) when he 
speaks of the Greeks, as the more civilised people, advancing to the 
fray silently, while the Trojans enter with loud cries. 

Like the Chinese and Hindoos, the Egyptians were rigorously divided 
into castes; and so circumscribed was their conservatism, that it checked 
for thousands of years the onward march of civilisation, and isolated them 
entirely from intercourse with other nations. It was owing to this last 
circumstance, Herodotus tells us, that no strange melody crept into the 
land. The only exception to this, as I have already pointed out, is the 
"Maneros/-' in the melody of which Herodotus recognised the Greek 
" Linos." The illustrious Greek traveller was not a little astonished to 
find these familiar sounds among a people who, with that exception, had 
nothing in common with his nation.* 

* That Herodotus refers less to the poetical contents of the song than to the melody 
seems clear, for except that everywhere the poetry has the character of a lament, the words 
are different. Each tribe applied it to its special gods, traditions, and rites, the tune alone 
remaining intact. 


The most important of their national melodies were those that referred 
to death, the frailty of all things human, and the future state of the 
blessed subjects which, as we have already seen, specially pre-occupied 
their minds. Their odes on death were of a twofold character, sometimes 
pathetic elegies on the loss of the departed, sometimes hymns glorifying 
their transfiguration. Specimens of both are given in the following 
verses. The first of these is the commencement of the " Maneros," the 
lament of Isis on the death of the beloved Osiris. She sings : 

" Return, oh, return ! 
God Panu, return ! 
Those that were enemies 
Are no more here. 
lovely helper, return 
That thou may'st see me, thy sister, 
Who loves thee : 
And com'st thou not near me ? 

"beautiful youth, return, oh, return I 
When I see thee not 

My heart sorrows for thee, 
My eyes ever seek thee, , 

1 roam about for thee, to see thee in the form of the Nai, 
To see thee, to see thee, thou beautiful lov'd one. 

Let me, the Radiant, see thee 

God Panu, All Glory, see thee again. 

To thy beloved come, blessed Onnofris, 

Come to thy sister, come to thy wife, 

God Urtuhet, oh, come ! 

Come to thy consort ! " 

The second song, given below, is a hymn of the priest Tapherumnes. It 
is dedicated to the waning sun sinking beneath distant seas, whose waves 
are tipped with gold. This was looked on as symbolic of the pious singer 
at the close of a gentle life hastening to its beatification. 

" Gracious be to me, thou God of the rising sun, 
Thou God of the evening sun ; Lord of both worlds, 
Thou God, who alone in truth dost dwell, 
Thou, who hast created all, 
Revealing Thyself in the Eye of the sun. 
At eventide I praise Thee, 
Peacefully dying to begin new life ; 
'Midst hymns of praise sinking into the sea 
Where jubilant Thy bark awaits Thee." 


If the melodies wedded to such, verses were only approximately as 
emotional, then the music of the Egyptians must indeed have been 
capable of very great effects. 

Let us direct our attention to the few points which present themselves 
for investigation in the musical systems of the Egyptians. The walls of 
the temples and catacombs of Egypt do not disclose to us any expla- 
nation of the musical theory of the former inhabitants of that land, and 
we are therefore compelled to take refuge in the region of supposition, and 
it is at best only by indirect inferences that we can arrive at some not 
improbable conclusions on this important subject. We have but little 
positive information concerning the keys and scales of the Egyptians 
indeed, much less than we have relating to the systems of the Chinese 
and Hindoos. The reason is that the occasional finding of a single papyrus 
and palimpsest can afford but scanty information compared with that con- 
tained in the sacred books of the Chinese and Hindoos that have been 
preserved to us. The sacred books of the Egyptians are chiselled in stone, 
and it is from the walls of the temple, obelisks, and tombs that we have 
to read. But it was impossible for the Egyptians, under such adverse 
circumstances, to fix the details and subtleties of their tonal system and 
musical history in the same manner as they are fixed in the Hindoo books 
Soma and Narayan. 

Nevertheless we are justified in supposing that the oldest tone-relations 
of the Egyptians consisted of tetrachords i.e., four tones. Yet, were we 
certain of this, it is always an open question whether these tetrachords were 
of a melodic or harmonic structure ; if melodic, they would have been played 
in succession i.e., note after note ; if harmonic, then they would have 
been sounded simultaneously i.e., in chords. Kiese wetter supposes the 
latter. In this event, the tetrachord could only have consisted of its key- 
note and its natural aliquots, a succession of tones like the following : > 

Dio Cassius entirely rejects this, and admits only the Greek system, 
which has the interval of a fourth (" Diatessaron ") as a foundation. But 


here the notion of a melodic and harmonic tetrachord would be excluded, 
and we should be reduced to the circle of fourths and its inversion a circle 
of fifths which we met with among the Chinese. 

In the face of such contradictory opinions and surmises of ancient and 
modern times, the author is compelled to adhere to the melodic tetrachord 
as the oldest and only authentic one. In proof of this I would point to 
the use made of the melodic tetrachord by the neighbouring Greeks, who 
employed it as the foundation of all their melodies; and as it is known 
that they imitated the Egyptians in music, as well as in other depart- 
ments of knowledge, there is nothing to militate against the supposition 
that the melodic tetrachord was also appropriated by them. Again, the 
fact that the Egyptians, like the Pythagoreans, regarded the number four 
as sacred, leads us to the conclusion that they may likewise have made 
this mythical number the basis of their tonal system.* 

Still stronger evidence in favour of our contention is derived from the 
circumstance that certain melodies still existing in Ethiopia that high- 
land from which the Egyptians in pre-historic times descended into the 
Nile Valley are restricted within the limits of a Greek tetrachord. I 
refer to example No. 40 in the chapter treating of Ethiopian music. 

To these arguments another no less important, as it appears to me, must 
be added. Celebrated travellers during the early Greek period, who received 
their information verbally from Egyptian priests, relate that some Egyptian 
melodies have remained unchanged during thousands of years. This cir- 
cumstance demonstrates not merely the tenacity with which the Egyptian 
priesthood and people clung to their traditions, but it also brings out into 
prominent relief that tendency of their artistic development which made 
architecture their predominant art, and gave to their sculpture an entirely 
architectural impress by confining it within circumscribed limits. We may, 
therefore, suppose that this strict conservatism extended itself to their 
music, and prevented it from being lost in the vague and undefined. 
Music being so entirely without substance and of such a subtle nature, we 

* Even the Nilometer was supposed to have been based on the important number four, and 
Passalaqua connects the four points of that instrument with the four cardinal points, the four 
elements, and the four different stages which the Egyptians imagined as existing in their 
mental life and the transmigration of souls. If, therefore, the number four had such an 
importance in the real and ideal existence of the Egyptians, we have another reason for 
assuming that it was of equal importance in their music. 


may well take it that the contemplative Egyptian mind, ruled by unchange- 
able lines and forms, encompassed this art within rigid rules and narrowly- 
defined limits. To this end the four notes of the tetrachord must have 
suggested themselves as being very appropriate ; for whilst within their 
range there is scope for great variety of melodic invention, the melo- 
dies, owing to this restriction, became imbued with a character of 
exalted tranquillity and grandeur to which it would have been far more 
difficult to attain if they had been composed of a greater number of notes. 
These sacred songs must have excited in the mind of the hearer emotions 
similar to those aroused by the contemplation of the pyramids, the mighty 
temples, and the dignified majesty of the colossal statues and sphinxes.*" 

It is an ascertained fact that the musical character of the sacred songs 
of the most ancient nations exercised, in the course of time, a great in- 
fluence over their secular music, and with a people like the Egyptians, 
prone to dwell upon the uncertainty of human life, we may suppose 
that this influence was greater than with many other ancient nations. 
This theory obtains significance from the fact that the modern Egyptians 
(who have, it should be remembered, undergone admixture with Koptic 
and Mohammedan elements) possess melodies based on the tetrachord. 
Thus I find in the work of Sir Edward William Lane, " An Account 
of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" (London, 1836), 
that the following melodies are still in use in Egypt : 

IS o.28. 


I [I 


No. 29. 


* How conducive a limited extent of notes is to the expression of the mysterious, tho 
solemn, and lofty, may be observed in the temple melodies of some of the oldest civilised nations, 
in the Catholic liturgy, in the oracle of Gluck's Alceste, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, 
the song of the men in armour in The Magic Flute, and innumerable national melodies. 



Jomard supplies us with the following Egyptian ditty 

No. 30. Allegretto. 


2do. | 


r s\ \j i<* 

^_ ...^ . 


[ 4^- 


_f _ 

It is not only the limitation of these melodies within the compass of the 
tetrachord, hut, more than this, the repetition of pairs of similar melodic 
and rhythmical phrases which excite our special interest, resembling as 
they do similar repetitions in the Ethiopian ditties (see No. 40, &c.) . In 
these examples we seem to discern a renaissance of old Egyptian melodies. 
This view accords with certain remarks made by Carsten Niebuhr in his work, 
" Travels in Arabia and the Neighbouring Countries," Vol. I. (Copenhagen, 
1774). He relates that whilst he was in Egypt he often heard sheiks 
singing certain parts of the Koran which greatly pleased him, the music 
being natural and the performers always keeping their voices within a cer- 
tain range. One sees from this that he refers to a tonal limitation. Later 
on in his book he again alludes to this restriction, stating " that the melodies 
of the Egyptians are all serious and simple/' He also notices the custom 
resorted to by Egyptian men and women so often represented on the 
oldest Egyptian monuments of marking the rhythmical measure of their 
song by "clapping hands" in the -absence of drums to serve this purpose. 
Women are especially represented as accompanying their songs after this 
fashion e.g., on the tomb of Imai in the City of the Dead at Memphis, 
and also on the catacombs of El ei thy a, near Thebes (Fig. 31), As this 

* The one digression from the tetrachord in this example is rendered all the more perceptible 
by the regaining portion of the melody having been kept strictly within the prescribed 



practice of clapping the hands still exists in Egypt, there is every reason 
for believing that those songs and melodies based on the tetrachord which 
are stiil extant have also descended from the oldest times. 

In connection with certain measured movements of the arms and feet 
which we meet with pictorially delineated on the walls of tombs, this 
clapping of hands provides us with a starting-point for understanding the 
musical rhythm of the Egyptians. This rhythm must have been a very 
strongly-marked one, as with all Orientals it was in general very decided, 
and is still so with the peoples of Southern Europe. Indeed, so vigorous 

Fig. 31. Performing Women and Maidens. (From an Ancient Tomb of 
the Egyptian Kings.) 

was the marking of this rhythm that the whole body of the musician was 
swayed to and fro.* 

There is much reason for supposing that the Egyptian appreciation of 
musical harmony was very highly developed. It appears to have been 
more decidedly innate with them than with the other civilised nations 
of the pre-Christian era. In this respect they not only differ from the 
Hindoos, whose natural tendencies inclined to the formation of flowing 

* To this day the natives of Morocco and Tunis, and especially the Jewish maidens, 
accompany their social songs with rhythmical clapping of hands and stamping of feet. This 
ancient custom appears to have spread from Egypt over the whole of the northern coast of 


melodies, but also from the Chinese. An almost undeniable proof of the more 
advanced harmony of the Egyptians is to be found in their representations 
of certain groups of instruments, which by their different nature lead us 
to the conclusion that they must have formed a musical ensemble in its 
present accepted sense. Instruments varying so mush in structure, character, 
and tone like the many-stringed large harps and the smaller harps with 
a more restricted number of strings, to which must be added guitars, lyres, 
flutes, and drums when performed on simultaneously could not have been 
used merely to strengthen the melody, because if the melody had only been 
written within the limits of the tetrachord the compass of the orchestra 
would have been too large. The converse of this might be assumed if 
we suppose the melody to have consisted of a greater variety of tones. We 
may therefore conclude that the instruments were not played in unison, 
but that they supplied a harmonic accompaniment; and we are further 
j ustified in this belief by the fact that all the performers are represented 
as striking the strings simultaneously with both hands, thus indicating the 
use of arpeggio or at least of harmonic chords. We are, perhaps, justified 
in inferring from the use of the zither by the peasants of the Tyrol 
and Upper Bavaria, and from the fondness of the Bohemian (i.e., gipsy) 
musicians for the harp, that among somewhat primitive peoples there is a 
liking for many-stringed instruments with arpeggio and harmonic accom- 
paniments. It is to be remarked that the sharp short tones of harps, lyres, 
and lutes, which are not played with the bow, but pulled with the fingers, 
would have proved totally inadequate for the execution of legato melodies, 
especially those used in the temple. A performance of these sacred melodies 
on such instruments would have been as unacceptable as one of our Christian 
hymns performed on the violin pizzicato. 

A strongly-developed appreciation of musical harmony by the Egyp- 
tians is perfectly reconcilable with the general disposition of a people 
given to mental analysis and mystic contemplation; for, in truth, music 
becomes of absorbing and engrossing interest only when the union of its 
melodic with its harmonic elements has been effected ; and it is then, and 
not till then, that its inherent power of portraying the miraculous and 
supernatural arrives at its complete expression. 

The musical history of the Egyptians is closely connected with their 
political history. Lepsius gives the year 3892 B.C. as the beginning of 


the reign of the first historical Pharaoh. In those ancient times the " seven 
sacred sounds/' the only tones which the priests permitted to be used by 
the female singers dedicated to the temple service, may be presumed to 
have been the sole music performed at their religious services, as it is 
probable that instruments were then excluded. The importance of these 
seven sounds in the old Egyptian liturgy is referred to in the writings of 
Christian teachers resident in Egypt and the East during the second, third, 
and fourth centuries A.D. Amongst other things they state: "The seven 
sounding tones praise Thee, the great God, the ceaseless working Father of 
the whole universe." And again : " I am the great indestructible lyre 
of the whole world, attuning the songs of the heavens.'*' 

In the fourth dynasty of the " old empire " we find a chorus of female 
singers associated with a performer on the harp, and also men who accom- 
pany the music with mimicry. A like illus- 
tration is to be found depicted on the tomb 
of Imai, where, in addition to the repre- 
sentation of the performers, their occu- 
pation is more particularly described by the 

f- IT, ,,1 w A Fig. 32.-A Stringed Instrument, 

hieroglyphs as harpers, singers, and something between a Harp and a 

" dancers/' The musical leader or con- Lute. 

ductor of this whole group is in the act of holding the palm of his 
hand to his ear, as if desiring by this means to increase the power of his 
hearing an attitude often found on many ancient monuments. On the 
tomb of the Roti, a grotto of the time of the twelfth dynasty, the wife 
of the departed is seen suckling her babe and listening to a singer who 
is kneeling down and holding his hand to his ear in the same manner as 
before mentioned, accompanied by a harper. 

About the time of the fourteenth dynasty it is supposed that the Hykso^ 
invaded, subjugated, and reigned over Egypt for 511 years. It is by no 
means improbable that these peculiar nomadic intruders, who were governed 
by shepherd kings, exercised, during the long period of their conquest, some 
influence over Egyptian music. To them might be ascribed the introduc- 
tion of instruments into the temple service, including the drums and long 
Egyptian flutes, the latter of which were held by the executant in an 
oblique position. 

About the lime of the eighteenth dynasty there was a marked increase 



in the number of musical instruments, and a greater interest also was mani- 
fested in the tonal art. Of this impetus the tombs of El-Amarna furnish 
us with convincing- proof. Here we find variously-constructed harps (Figs 
32 and 33), old and new bow-shaped harps used at social gatherings, 
the Nablium (an ancient harp of Phoenician origin in the shape of a 
right-angled triangle), also Egyptian lyres and lutes. The temple-harps 
during this period increased both in size and tone, and the richness of 
their artistic ornamentation was both striking and beautiful. The pictorial 
illustrations which we meet with from this time forward frequently 
exhibit a complete orchestra, composed of harps, lyres, single and double 
flutes, hand kettle-drums resembling the Neapolitan tambourine, and lutes. 

Fig, 33. Angular-shaped Egyptian Harps. 

It is, moreover, characteristic of the Egyptians that the performers at 
their musical requiems no longer consist indifferently of men and women 
as formerly, but almost exclusively of maidens both singers and harpists 
and one dancer, who regulates her steps according to the rhythm of the 
music. At a still later period the whole practice of the art of music appears 
to have been entirely entrusted to women. This is sometimes looked upon 
as the epoch of the decadence of the Egyptian tonal art, and to my mind 
it was during the period when the priests are represented standing upright 
and playing with both hands upon their large and beautifully ornamented 
temple-harps, that Egyptian music reached its culminating point of 

There can be no doubt that the degeneracy of the Egyptian tonal art 
dates from the conquest of the land of the Pharaohs by Cambyses and 
the Persians (527 521 B.C.). Even during the time when the Egyptians 
were brought into contact with the Greeks when the Ptolemies were 


reigning 1 at Alexandria Egyptian music failed to retain its national 
characteristics, even losing, probably by reason of this very connection, 
its peculiar charm. 

Let us now direct our attention to the construction and special charac- 
teristics of the Egyptian musical instruments. The examples, Fig. 34, 
copied from various monuments, represent the old native instruments of the 
land of the Nile, and give a tolerably correct idea of all the instruments 
that were then used in combination one with another. We see here a small 

Fig. 34. Groups of Musicians. (From Old Egyptian Monuments.) 

harp carried on the shoulders and played by an Egyptian maiden ; harpists, 
both standing and kneeling, using instruments of various construction, and 
long flutes played in oblique positions. 

According to our illustrations, the harp would appear to have been the 
most important of Egyptian instruments. It possesses a twofold interest, 
in that it is of undoubted Egyptian origin, and also because it is indissolubly 
connected with the rise and decadence of Egyptian civilisation. This latter 
connection is so striking that a mere glance at the different constructions, 
shapes, number of strings, and methods of playing the instrument will in- 
dicate the most important periods of Egyptian history. 

Their most ancient harps are supposed to have been bow-shaped, with 


one string; this involuntarily reminds one of the Greek fable told by 
Censorinus : Phoebus Apollo hearing the twang of the bow-string of 
his divine sister Artemis, was seized with the idea that this murderous 
weapon might yield tones which would bring joy to the heart. 

In Fig. 35 we have the first authentic illustrations of harps to be found 
on Egyptian monuments. The centre of the three lower illustrations in 
Fig. 34 already shows an enlargement of the base of the harp. The 
f-rther development in this direction led to it being constructed in such 
a manner that there was no longer any need for the performer to hold the 
instrument. All later harps are constructed on this principle, and Fig. 36, 

Fig. 35. Authentic Forms of Early Egyptian Harps. 

illustrating an old Egyptian priest-harp, shows that even our modern harp, 
in its general form and outline, has been based upon this. The chief 
difference between our modern harp and that of the ancient Egyptians 
consists in this,* that in the latter the front support is wanting. 

In the twelfth dynasty the base of the instrument was so increased in 
size that it served as a large resonance body (Fig. 34) ; and in the new 
empire the bow-form and bent outline of the harp disappeared entirely, and 
were succeeded by the triangular shape. During the reign of the Ramessids 
(1464 1110 B.C.), and under Barneses III. (1284 B.C.), the founder of the 
twentieth dynasty, the harp attained to its highest point of development, 
and became a truly royal instrument. It then acquired the picturesque 
form which it still possesses. It exceeded in height the instruments now 
in vogue. During the period of its greatest perfection it had thirteen, 

* In our modern harp this is a hollow tube called the "pole," which contains the whole of 
the mechanism for moving the pedals. Translator's note. 



eightaen, twenty-one, and even twenty-six strings, and was most probably 
played only by priests and kings, which may in some degree account for its 
elaborate ornamentation. The framework was carved in the richest and 
most elegant manner, inlaid with gold, ivory, tortoise-shell, and mother-of- 
pearl ; and it was further ornamented with mythical figures, or with the 
heads of gods, goddesses, sphinxes, and animals. It was sometimes decorated 
with colours, the edges, covered with morocco and velvet, imparting to 
it a bright and cheerful appearance. It may well be supposed that these 
magnificent instruments served as precious pieces of furniture in the houses 
of Egyptian grandees, somewhat in the 
same manner that our splendid grand 
pianos, polished like mirrors, adorn our 
modern residences. 

From the different positions which 
the performers occupy when playing 
the harp, one can decide with tolerable 
certainty the date of the instrument. 
All representations of harpists during 
the "old empire" show them kneeling, 
those of the "new empire" standing. 
This remark applies especially to the 
priests, and would therefore have re- 
ference only to the harps used in the 
temple. Harps borne upon the shoulder 
and triangular-shaped harps, which also 
could not rest upon the ground, existed simultaneously with the temple 
harp, both in earlier and later times, as we have seen in Figs. 33 and 34. 

The degeneration of the music of the temple may be dated, as we 
have said, from the commencement of the conquest of the Egyptians, a 
corresponding deterioration also being observable in the make of the 
harp, until at last it resumed the old bow-form shape, and finally was 
transferred from the hands of men to those of women. 

Tlie second stringed instrument of importance was the Lyre. This does 
not appear to have been, like the harp, an exclusively native instrument, 
but was introduced from Asia in the times of the eighteenth dynasty. Its 
graceful form, and especially its finely-curved arms, would appear to fore- 


Fig. 36. Egyptian Priest playing on 
the Harp. 



shadow the lyre of the Greeks. Just as we found that men alone were 
permitted to perform on the temple-harps, so we find the lyre exclusively 
entrusted to women. Amongst the Egyptian wind instruments, flutes and 
double flutes occupied the first place. On a tomb at Gizeh no less than 
eight persons are represented performing on the flute. 

Their trumpets (see Fig. 37), which in early times were very rude, had 
probably in the course of ages arrived at a state of efficiency which might 
perhaps sustain a comparison with the modern simple trumpet, and we may 
presume that the trumpets which the Hebrews used in their conflicts with 
the Canaanites were brought from Egypt at the time of their exodus. 
Similarly, we may suppose that the well-known Hebrew instrument of 
percussion, the timbrel or tambourine, was also brought from Egypt. In 
Exodus xv. 20 we read that " Miriam the prophetess, 
the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all 
the women went out after her with timbrels and with 
dances." There is no doubt that this refers to the 
hand or bell drum which we find represented on Egyp- 
tian monuments. 

The Sistrum should also be mentioned here, although 
it did not properly belong to the Egyptian orchestra, 
as was formerly, though erroneously, believed. It was 
employed somewhat after the manner of the little 
bell in the Roman Catholic masses viz., to attract 
attention during special parts of the temple service. 
To the Egyptians it was known as the Kemkem ; to the 
Romans, who connected it with the worship of Isis, as the Isis Clapper. 
The Egyptians attributed to the Sistrum power over evil spirits, 
and believed that at its sound the hideous Typhon fled. It was 
possibly this supposed power that led to its use in the time of 
battle. Thus Queen Cleopatra, at the battle of Actium, in the year 
31 B.C., employed numerous Sistra to intimidate her enemies. The 
Kemkem consisted of a frame of bronze or brass, crossed with three or 
four metal bars, and was furnished with an ornamented handle. At the 
end of these bars were movable pieces of metal for the purpose of 
producing a jingling noise when the instrument was struck with a metal 

Fig 37. 
Egyptian. Trumpeter. 



The communications which C. Billert received from Lepsius have 
dispelled the notion that the music of the Egyptians was closely allied 
to that of the Chinese. The supposed connection with the music of the 
Hindoos is also doubted, but if such did exist it could only have been 
of a very general character; that, however, with the Greeks, Hebrews, 
Phoenicians, and Ethiopians, has thereby been all the more conclusively 

"We will firsb deal with the Ethiopians, as they are the nearest neigh- 
bours of the Egyptians, and further because it is historically affirmed that 
the latter originally migrated from Ethiopia. Indeed, the music of the 
Ethiopians offers strong internal evidence in support of this assertion. 

Fig. 38. The Old Egyptian Kemkem. 

Fig. 39. Egyptian Drummer. 

It is first to be noticed that the Ethiopians have a number of instru- 
ments in common with the Egyptians. They have the Sistrum, so charac- 
teristic of the land of the Nile, the Egyptian lyre, and a common small 
drum slung across the shoulders resembling a small tub, which is played 
at both ends with the hands (Fig. 39). The Ethiopians attribute to the 
Egyptian god Thot the introduction of this drum into their land, in the 
first year of the creation of the world. But it is more probable that 
this drum was transmitted from the Ethiopians to the Egyptians, the 
legend having no doubt been reversed. 

The clapping of hands common to Egyptian women and maidens for 
marking the rhythm of their songs is also to be found in Ethiopia. But 
the most important fact establishing a musical connection between the two 


nations seems to be the marked resemblance that the songs already alluded 

to sung to this day in Ethiopia bear to a great number of melodies still 

prevalent in Egypt. The similarity consists in the common employment of 
the tetrachord. The following round, still sung in Nubia and Abyssinia 
i.e.) ancient Ethiopia may be cited as an example : 

No. 40. 

O - ya A - ly - meh, O - ya A - ly 

In the Habesch of to-day many of these melodies are still used, some of 
them with a range of but three notes, which are repeated ad injinitum. The 
following example (No. 41) is still sung in Amhara : 

No. 41. 



~~* J* J* ^H 

- *-*=*- 


Jan - choi Be - lul - choi, Jan - choi Be - lul - choi, Jan - choi Be - lul - choi 

example 42 in Gonga : 

No. 42. 

M)C f o 

\ p 


\ 1 1 1 

r r 

Don - zo, Don - zo, Don - zo, Don - zo 

and example 43 in Tigre : 

No. 43. 

Ha - da 

Ha - da - ri 


Ha - da - ri 


The examples given above afford convincing testimony that the earliest 
musical efforts of semi-barbaric nations (to whom the Nubians and Abys- 
sinians belong) were directed to the imitation of sounds existing in nature. 
It is as if we heard the oft-repeated warbling of birds in the quiet of 
the forest, sometimes cheerful, sometimes plaintive the voices of the 

* Although the accompaniment to this ditty, for stringed instruments, has a range of six 
notes, it does not in any way interfere with the primary character of the melody, which 
undoubtedly is to he regarded as the original. 



feathered tribes, which, notwithstanding their monotony, lull us into sweet 
dreams or conjure up fairy tales, and seem to give life to the whispering 

The natives of Western Asia Minor, the valleys of the Euphrates and 
Tigris, and the countries between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, 
present to us, during the pre-classical age, most remarkable contrasts when 
compared with those solemn inhabitants of the Nile Valley the Egyptians. 
They were the Assyrians, Babylonians, Phrenicians, Lydians, Phrygians, 
Medes and Persians; and all these nations differ from the Egyptians in 
their various conceptions of the dignity of the tonal art, as also in their 
special method of performance. 

Assyria was in a far higher degree than Egypt an autocratic kingdom. 
This showed itself in the different dispositions of the reigning despots, who 

Fig. 44. Musicians and Singers in Front of a Triumphal Procession. (Copied from a Bas- 
relief from Kouyunjik, found in the Ruins of Nineveh; preserved in the British Museum.) 

sometimes were bold conquerors like Ninus, Salmanassar, and Sennacherib, 
at other times voluptuaries like Sardanapalus, or else like Semiramis, who 
was a beautiful, heroic, and art-loving queen. But whatever the indi- 
viduality of the monarch, music never attained a higher purpose than that 
of praising him their earthly god and of pandering to his tastes, whilst 
the musician's position never rose above that of the ordinary subject whose 
life depended on the capricious whim of the tyrant. 

The sculptured figures on the walls of Sennacherib's palace represent 
men and women receiving the returning conqueror with music. 

Amongst the Assyrian instruments we find small portable triangular 
harps played with a plectrum, besides cylindrical drums, double flutes, and 
a kind of dulcimer (hackebrett) . Very characteristic of the Assyrians is 
the small harp in Fig. 44 called the Kinnor, played with a plectrum, and 
the Dulcimer, which consists of a square resonance box with strings affixed 


to the top. There can be no doubt that it is to these instruments that we 
owe the original idea of the piano, because the strings were struck, not with 
the hands but with an intermediate substance viz., the plectrum, the 
precursor of our piano-hammer. We also see in this sculpture women and 
children accompanying their singing with rhythmical clapping of hands, in 
the same manner as with the Egyptians and Ethiopians an additional 
testimony of the spread of similar musical customs throughout the East. 

The Chaldeans and Babylonians had two peculiar instruments, 8am- 
buka and Symphoneia, both of which differed from those of the Assyrians. 
The Symphoneia was probably nothing else but the old sackbut, the ancestor 
of our bagpipes. The nature and construction of the Sambuka seems 
destined to remain for ever shrouded in obscurity, all traditions having 
reference to it being most contradictory. Very probably, however, it was 
a stringed instrument. 

There is no doubt that the Chaldseans, probably the oldest of astro- 
nomers, connected music with the movement of the heavenly bodies, in 
the same manner as the Chinese, Hindoos, and Egyptians. They further 
associated music with the seasons, symbolising the relation of spring to 
autumn by the interval of a fourth, and of spring to winter and summer 
by the intervals of a fifth and octave. 

The music of the Medes and Persians, of which we know next to 
nothing, may be assumed to have been, on the whole, similar to that of the 
Assyrians and Babylonians, although offering, possibly, greater scope of 
execution. When Parmenio, general of Alexander the Great, conquered the 
Darians, there were found among the prisoners no less than 329 singers 
and dancers who belonged at the same time to the harem of the king. 

The music of the Phoenicians appears to have exercised a most exciting 
and intoxicating influence over the passions. Nor is it to be wondered at 
when we consider that music accompanied the performance of the indecorous 
ceremonies of Astarte, the Phoenician Aphrodite. The men and women 
that took part in the processions in honour of this goddess wandered 
through the streets of the great seaport towns amidst the maddening sounds 
of fifes, double-flutes, cymbals, drums, and clappers, the ceaseless din of 
the instruments stimulating their depraved fanaticism to such a pitch that 
they scourged themselves even to bleeding, or mutilated themselves with 
swords. The harp lost its old musical importance and dignity with the 


Phoenicians, and became the favourite instrument of the Hetaerse. Naturally 
this observation does not refer to the large priest-harp, but only to the small 
portable harp introduced from Egypt. It is in reference to this, and to 
the hands into which the instrument had fallen, that the prophet Isaiah, 
addressing the city of Tyre, says: " After the end of seventy years shall 
Tyre sing as an harlot. Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that 
hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thoumayest 
be remembered"" (Isaiah xxiii. 15, 16). 

Bearing in mind the base uses to which the tonal art was subjected by 
the Phoenicians, it seems strange that to them, amongst others, should have 
been ascribed the elegy, already known to us, composed in honour of the 
death of the youthful Adonis. This hymn, supposed to have been first 
sung in Cyprus and in Tyre and Sidon, was, as we know, adopted by the 
Egyptians and Greeks. That this elegy may have originally proceeded from 
the Phoenician coast does not appear to us as impossible, for degenerate 
nations, like licentious and dissolute individuals, may at times realise the 
hollowness of dissipation and the vanity of all things earthly ; and though 
this reflection may be of too short duration to arrest them in their downward 
course, yet it may appal them the more, affording, as it does, so startling 
a contrast to the rest of their degraded existence. 

The Phrygians and Lydians, like the Phoenicians, indulged in music 
for the flute of an effeminate- and enervating character as the chief element 
of their tonal art, and especially adopted it for the worship of Adonis. 
Amongst all these people we find sculptured reliefs and mural paintings of 
women and maidens performing on different instruments, singers beating 
time with their hands, and dancing youths and maidens playing the tam- 
bourine. These are generally to be found in representations of triumphal 
processions, the musicians either forming part of the procession, or advancing 
to meet the returning conqueror. The relation of music to religion seems 
very slight amongst these people, who appear to have possessed warlike and 
effeminate qualities in about an equal measure, and to have given way to 
luxurious revelry. Their religious music was superficial, whilst with the 
Egyptians and Hindoos, as we know, it was profound and mysterious. 
But the primitive connection established between mankind's conception of 
a God and the tonal art presents itself in a still stronger light amongst 
that people to whom we now proceed to direct our attention the Hebrews. 




THE influence of the Israelites on the progress of civilisation has been as 
great and as universal as that of the Greeks. If we must resort to the 
religious belief, institutions, philosophy, and ethics of the latter for all that 
is best and noblest in art, we are no less indebted for our religion to the 
pure and ineradicable monotheism professed by the Israelites. Most rightly 
are the Hebrews called " the chosen people/' or " the people of God " (a dis- 
tinction retained even to this day), seeing that the land of Israel was 
destined to become the garden of the Lord on whose soil was to bloom the 
flower of Christianity. 

But in addition to this there is one other distinction which this won- 
derful people may justly lay exclusive claim to it is that they are the 
only people who, from the earliest times of human history to the pre- 
sent, have remained unchanged in their national integrity, fulfilling thus 
the earliest prophecies concerning them. What has remained of ancient 
Egypt, what of the classical Greeks and Romans? At most we find but 
ruins, statues, inscriptions, historical and poetical records, the monuments 
of former greatness, but of living witnesses preserved in the persons of their 
true descendants there are none; the uninterrupted historical continuity 
showing a people as they lived a thousand years ago is lost to us. The 
Israelites, on the contrary, of whom we possess no monuments either in stone 
or metal, are in themselves a standing monument of their glorious past, 
for although influenced and changed by the course of historical events, 
their individuality as a people has remained as intact as in the time of 
the old covenant. 

What distinguished the Israelitic conception of a Godhead from that 
of other nations of the pre-Christian era was that instead of deifying 
nature, they adopted the belief of an only and indivisible God whose work 
was all nature. They were the first to perceive that God, the omnipotent, 
was the creator of the world from whose hand everything- proceeded, 
and whose being therefore could not be represented by any picture nor 
expressed in the form of an image. This transcendental and idealised 
conception of the Almighty was regarded with inconceivable astonishment 


by all the ancient nations who came into contact with them. It was this 
belief which stamped its impress on their poetry and music the only two 
arts which became developed in Israel. How favourable such a belief 
was to the tonal art can best be judged from the fact that music now 
occupies amongst the arts a position similar to that which the religion of 
the Israelites held amongst the peoples of antiquity. If the belief in 
Jehovah forbade the introduction of images into their service, so also did 
music stand aloof from all emblematic representation, since it is the only 
art whose models are not sought for in the phenomena of physical nature. 
As the Hebrew faith enhanced a veneration of the Deity in spirit and 
in truth, and consequently conduced to a more profound contemplation of 
moral man, so the art of music is not objective but subjective. Music 
possesses the unique faculty of appealing to us with that heavenly voice 
and utterance which words are powerless to portray. Incorporeal and 
etherealised in the realms of art, tones are untrammelled by external per- 
ceptions, unhampered by the bonds that fetter human imagination. 

It is only when the connection between such an art and religion has 
been proved to have been thoroughly complete that we may reasonably 
infer with any degree of certainty that music reached a higher state of 
perfection amongst the Israelites than among any other nation of anti- 
quity. This aptitude of the Jews for music, to which the most ancient 
records bear witness, has been maintained to the present day. 

The music of the Israelites must have been more closely allied to their 
political life, their mental consciousness, and their national civilisation than 
that of any other nation of olden times ; for if even amongst nations pos- 
sessing a less refined and pure belief we found music united to their religion, 
how much nobler and more profound must have been the relation of the 
tonal art to the faith and general civilisation of a people whose political 
constitution and written law were wholly united to their religious belief. 
The kingdom of the Hebrews was a theocracy viz., one in which Jehovah 
reigned supreme; the earthly kingdom could only exist by the grace of 
the Almighty. The royal crown, in a certain sense, was only bestowed 
conditionally, and was held in a manner unlike that of any other nation : 
the king was but the substitute of a higher power that reigned unfettered 
above him, and he was liable at any time to dethronement by prophet, 
priest, or elder, to whom the people acknowledged a superior allegiance. 


To that unseen King of kings, the Creator of heaven and earth, who 
had promised that He would raise His chosen people above all nations if 
they kept His statutes, music was dedicated as the most sacred of the arts. 
To Him they addressed their hymns of praise, and to Him the sorrowful 
heart drew near in tones of anguish. It was with the Israelites, therefore, 
that music for the first time became the connecting link between man and 
his Maker. Such an exalted sphere was never assigned to it by any other 
ancient civilised people, and it was not till Christianity had asserted itself, 
and was disseminated throughout the world, that music again laid claim to 
this elevated position. We may also take it, that whenever we find the 
music of the Israelites wedded to their religious poetry, the object was, 
by the co-operation of music, to intensify the meaning and expression of 
the words. And .thus it has come to pass that the Psalms and other hymns 
of the ancient covenant became, and have ever since remained, the principal 
songs of the succeeding Christian age of the age when music asserted 
her independence as an art; for the Psalms entered into the religious rites 
of all Christian peoples without distinction of nation or creed. 

One of the oldest traditions in reference to antediluvian music is 
to be found in Genesis iv. 21, to the effect that Jubal was the 
inventor of stringed and wind instruments, and moreover that he was 
the first musician. The Kinnor a little triangular-shaped harp and 
the Ugdb a flute are ascribed to him. There can be no doubt that 
Moses was intimately acquainted with the practice of music, as he was 
the disciple of Egyptian priests who, we know, had the sole control of 
the music of their temples. But besides this, we meet with a number 
of musical directions and instructions as to the make and use of certain 
instruments that emanated from this prophet. Thus, the two silver 
trumpets, which served principally as signals for the children of Israel 
during l.heir forty years' sojourn in the desert, were to be made out of 
one piece of metal. These are, perhaps, the only instruments of which we 
have any authentic fac-similes. They are copied from the celebrated relief 
of the Arch of Titus at Rome, which clearly shows the form of these 
traditional sacred instruments, and, in addition, that of the golden candle- 
stick with its seven branches, which was taken with other treasures from 
the burning Temple at Jerusalem, and subsequently occupied a place in 
the triumphal processions of the Roman emperor. In my opinion, 


these are the celebrated silver trumpets of the Temple, and not, as certain 
learned Hebraists assert, the equally sacred Temple-horn the Schofar. In 
every existing synagogue we find the Schofar ; the form of which, accord- 
ing to ancient tradition, is entirely different from that of the trumpets in 
the sculptures on the Arch of Titus. Even to-day we should know them 
to be trumpets, although unusually long of their kind. A similarly- 
constructed instrument is also to be found amongst the Romans and in 
the Middle Ages. The shape of modern Schofars differs considerably from 
that of the trumpets on the Arch of Titus. The latter instruments con- 
sist of a tube, perfectly straight from the mouthpiece to the bell -, the 
Schofar, on the contrary (Fig. 45), has a strongly-marked curve towards 
the bell, and I can bear 
testimony to the truthful- 
ness of this illustration, 
having inspected certain 
Schofars for the purpose. 
The Schofar in olden 

times is supposed to have rig - 45 The Schofar. (One-sixth of its 

Natural Size.) 
been made out of the horn 

of a wether, and the instrument represented in Fig. 45, which is made of 
horn, retains the same form. The instruments represented in the Roman 
relief, on the contrary, are no doubt made out of pure metal ; they are the 
silver trumpets which, as we have seen, the ancient Hebraic command- 
ments require to be made out of one piece of metal. It could be only 
the fact of their great rarity, excellence, and celebrity that could have 
induced Titus to exhibit them in his triumphal processions. Besides, the 
trumpets of the prophet Moses are always spoken of as a pair, and as 
such they are represented on the relief; whilst the Schofar is never 
referred to in a similar manner, and at the present day one instrument 
suffices for the purpose of sounding the signals in the synagogue. 
That the two trumpets in the relief rest upon the same stand is but 
another proof of their connection, as the stand, which was also taken from 
the Temple, was specially arranged as a rest for the two instruments.* 

* The conjecture that the Schofar, shown in the relief of the Arch of Titus, required 
the support of a frame on account of its extraordinary size is most erroneous, and has 
led to the fallacious inference that it was a principle of the Hebrews that everything 


The necessity for the frame or rest is proved by the immense size of 
the sacred trumpets ; they were (to refer once more to their length) , 
according- to the traditions of the Thora, intended "to call a whole people 
together/' and must consequently have been large and powerful in size 
and blast. In the Mosaic ordinances on the use of the two silver 
trumpets (Numbers x. 1 10) we read: "And if they blow but with 
one trumpet, then the princes, which are the heads of the thousands of 
Israel, shall gather themselves unto Thee. When ye blow an alarm, then 
the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow 
an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall 
take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But 
when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye 
shall not sound an . alarm/' 

To commemorate these commands and the wanderings of the children 
of Israel through the desert, the Schofar is blown p,t certain seasons of the 
year in the synagogues of to-day, instead of the obsolete silver trumpets. 

connected with their service of Jehovah should be of colossal proportions. The modest 
dimensions of the Ark and Tabernacle, the measurements of which have been handed down to 
us, negative this conclusion, and the assumption that the Schofar was unusually large is 
also clearly refuted by passages which we shall quote from the Old Testament. In Judges 
vii. 16 we read that Gideon "divided the three huudred men into three companies, and 
he put a trumpet (Schofar) in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the 
pitchers ; " and to prevent any doubt that the lamp-bearers were also the blowers of the 
trumpets, v. 20 adds, " And the three companies blew the trumpets (Schofars), and brake the 
pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands." Every 
unbiassed critic will admit that an instrument, the weight of which was so great as to require 
the support of a specially-prepared frame, could not have been handled by every one of 300 
men whilst attacking an enemy. The most competent authorities inform me that the Schofar 
as used in the synagogues of to-day has one common size and form. It is a light, portable 
instrument, and that which I have seen corresponds to this description. One of my authorities 
has seen it in Warsaw, Lemberg, Vienna, Breslau, Posen, and Dresden, and states that every- 
where it was of a corresponding size, and of a horn not trumpet form. Many ancient 
Talmudical ordinances support this statement. Thus, in the Treatise on Kosch-haschana, 
p. 26 b, Rabbi Jehuda says : " The Schofar which is used at the beginning of the New Year 
shall be the horn of a wether ; " and Rabbi Levi somewhat later adds, " The Schofar must be 
bent near the bell." If we look, however, at the representations of the instruments in the 
Roman relief, we find them fashioned in a manner in direct opposition to these commands, as 
they are neither bent nor made of wether horn, but perfectly straight metal instruments. 
It is therefore impossible to mistake them for Schofars, especially when we remember 
that Rabbi Jehuda lived about 180 years A.D., or nearly 100 after the destruction of the 
Temple, and therefore at a time when all traditions were still fresh in the minds of 
the people. 


The sounding of the prescribed signals at the beginning of the New 
Year and on the Day of Atonement is performed with but little variation 
in the synagogues of all countries. In Dresden the signals are as 
follows : 

No. 46. 
Con moto. 

No. 47. 

T t T T T T T 

- :-:-:-:-: 


T T T T 

No. 48. 


The first two signals represent the two alarms referred to in Numbers 
x. 5, 6. As, however, in the course of time, doubts arose whether the 
signals should be sounded as in No. 47 or as in No. 46, separated by 
rests, both ways of performance have been adopted in order to insure 
the correct rendering. No. 48 refers to the command that at the 
gathering of the congregation " ye shall blow, but shall not sound an 
alarm." This was done by smoothly connecting the second note with 
the first. This so-called " long-tone " is the beginning and ending of 
the signals in the modern synagogues ; Nos. 46 and 47 intervening. Th^ 
strongly accentuated interval of the minor seventh (No. 48), as it is 
played at Dresden, has something in 
it very impressive to the hearer, for 
the Schofar, though but little more 
than twelve inches in length, has a 
strong, wild, piercing tone, which no 
doubt gave rise to the old Israelitish 
belief that Satan was driven away at 
the sound thereof. 

The authenticity of the representations of several stringed instruments 
found on Jewish coins of the time of the first and second wars against 
the Romans cannot be so well guaranteed as that of the silver trumpets 

Fig. 49. Jewish Coin, showing a 
Six -stringed Lyre. 


on the Arch of Titus. I give specimens of two coins, one (Fig. 49) repre- 
senting a six-stringed Lyre, and another showing a three-stringed Cithara, 
both reminding one strongly of the Greek instruments bearing the same 
names. A peculiarity of the lyre is the kettle-shaped resonance body which 
is placed below the strings. That these instruments were undoubtedly 
used in Palestine is shown by the coins, though this does not prove that 
they were Jewish national instruments. 

The first remarkable manifestation of the Israelites' genius for music, 
after their exodus from Egypt, is the triumphal song of Miriam. It is the 
outpouring of a thankful heart for the goodness of God, who had divided 
the Red Sea that Israel might pass over, drowning therein the mighty 
Pharaoh and his pursuing host. I have already mentioned that the 
Hebrew prophetess and the women accompanying her in the " Song of 
Victory'''' used the Egyptian timbrel, known to the Israelites as the 

Adufe. Miriam began the song, " Sing 
ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed 
gloriously, the horse and his rider hath he 
thrown into the sea." * 

Miriam's " Song of Victory " was 
Fig. 50. Coin showing a Three probably sung as a solo, with choral 

accompaniments; but in the Book of 

Judges, Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sing conjointly in 
praise of the triumph over Sisera, the captain of the host of Jabin, 
the King of the Canaanites. " Then sang Deborah and Barak the son 
of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the* Lord for the avenging of 
Israel. Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing 
unto the Lord God of Israel" (Judges v. 1 3). In Judges xi. 34 we 
read that when the daughter of the victorious Jephthah went forth to 
meet her father, she was accompanied with her maidens, playing the 
timbrel : "And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, 
his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances/' 

The oldest traditions of the Israelites tell us that the mere effect of tone, 
as such, was revered as the voice of the Almighty. Thus, at the giving 
of the law from Mount Sinai, we read in Exodus xix. 16 19 : "And it 

* Handel in his final chorus in Israel in Egypt has immortalised this grand triumphal 


came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders 
and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the 
trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp 
trembled. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed 
louder and louder/'' &c. Similar allusions to the effective power of tone are 
to be found in the Book of Joshua, where, at the taking of Jericho, we 
read : " And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of 
rams' horns ; and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, 
and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it came to pass at the 
seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto 
the people, Shout ; for the Lord hath given you the city. So the people 
shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets : and the wall fell down 
flat, and the people went up into the city" (Joshua vi. 13, 16, 20). But 
it was not alone in the rolling thunder, or in the trumpet-blast, that the 
Divine Power manifested itself. In a still more impressive manner did 
God^s presence make itself felt when Elijah awaited the coming of Jehovah 
on Mount Horeb. It was not in the hurricane, or the fire, or the earth- 
quake, but in " the still small voice/' that the Lord God declared himself. 

Moses, as we have already mentioned, enjoined upon his people the 
observance of numerous musical ordinances, which were subsequently greatly 
increased by the Kings of Israel. The care of the sacred music was 
confided by the prophet to the hands of the Levites. David and Solomon 
not only confined this privilege to the tribe of Levi, but considerably 
increased and extended their musical duties. The Levites had to provide 
no less than 4,000 singers and musicians for the sacred service. They 
were divided into twenty -four orders, with twelve singing-masters, 
making a total of 288; these latter were, in course of time, permitted 
to wear the priestly vestments when officiating in the Temple. 

We may assume with some degree of certainty that male singers only 
were employed in the choir of the Temple of Solomon. But from Ezra 
ii. 65, and Nehemiah vii. 67, there can be no doubt that the choir of the 
second Temple consisted of both men and women. The treble part, according 
to the Talmud, was sung by boys of the tribe of Levi. These were placed 
upon the lower, and the men upon the higher steps of a platform. From 
the works of Josephus we obtain some idea of the magnificence of the 
decorations of this part of the Temple. In the third chapter of the eighth 


book of his History of the Jews he states that in the first Temple there were 
200,000 of the silver trumpets prescribed by Moses, 200,000 coats made by 
the king's order of the finest silk for the use of those Levites whose duty 
consisted in singing the sacred songs, and 40,000 harps and psalteries 
made of the purest copper, which formed part of the Temple treasure. 

In addition to the regularly established Temple choirs, David and 
Solomon instituted bands composed of instrumentalists and female vocalists 
for the execution of secular music. They originally occupied a somewhat 
similar position to that held by our modern Court orchestras, but their 
subsequent artistic and moral degeneracy drew upon them the righteous 
anger of the prophet Isaiah, who exclaims, " And the harp, and the viol, 
the tabret, and pipe, and wine are in their feasts ; but they regard not the 
work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of His hands ; " and the 
reproaches of the prophet Amos, " Ye sleep upon beds of ivory, and stretch 
yourselves upon couches, and chant to the sound of the viol, and invent 
instruments of music like David, and anoint yourselves with ointment, 
but Woe to ye ! " The female singers of this secular chapel probably con- 
stituted, at once, a portion of Solomon's household and his harem. To 
the degraded status of these women, and to their blandishments, the Son 
of Sirach bears witness when warning Israel to " Beware of the female 
singers that they do not entice thee with their charms/'' 

Both the poetical and musical endowments of the people of Israel, 
without doubt, approached the climax of their development in the time of 
David. David himself was not only a poet of inimitable and immortal 
genius, but was also an inspired musician, whose golden-stringed lyre was 
seldom absent from his hand, whether he was pouring forth his sorrowful 
acknowledgments of his own shortcomings, or offering up joyful thanks 
for the boundless goodness of God. Whilst the inspirations of David found 
vent in sacred hymns, the great poetical and musical gifts of the age of 
Solomon were more specially directed to secular song. The Song of 
Solomon, when, divested ^of all theological associations, still remains one 
of the most charming idyllic love songs that has ever been sung by mortal 
poet. It is the ideal of a pastoral poem contemplating nature and a patri- 
archal existence. That it was intended to be wedded to music is shown 
by its entire form. It is evidently a lyric or pastoral, reminding us in 
mood and character of the Hindoo idyll, Gitagowinda. 


The musical endowments of the Israelites and the gift of prophecy 
were intimately associated one with another. Indeed, a similar instance of 
so close a connection existing between the tonal art and that of divination 
is not to be found in the whole history of music. When Elisha prophesied 
to King Jehoshaphat he exclaimed, " Now bring me a minstrel. And it 
came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came 
upon him" (2 Kings iii. 15). In Israel there were whole schools of 
prophets, the disciples of which we are told "prophesied on cithars, 
harps, and timbrels/'' The host of prophets who w r ent out to meet 
King Saul from the Hill of the Lord (1 Samuel x. 5) struck the strings of 
their cithars and harps, and thus gave the stimulus it needed to Saul's 
individual gift of prophecy. 

Music was not only employed to excite and intensify the prophetic 
faculty, but, by its magic charm, men's troubled spirits were calmed and 
purified. Here, again, Saul furnishes us with an instance of one who had 
recourse successfully to music to banish the black thoughts that oppressed 
and agitated his soul. For we are told in the Old Testament, as well 
as by the Jewish historian Josephus, who lived in the time of Titus, 
that the sole remedy prescribed by the physician to quell the passionate 
rage of the king was the harp-playing and song of the shepherd lad David. 

Let us now glance at the intimate relation that existed between the 
music and poetry of the Hebrews, especially the religious hymns. In deal- 
ing with this branch of the subject, our comments on the Psalms should 
occupy the foremost place. The word ' ( Psalter " means, indifferently, a 
performance on a stringed instrument and a " sacred hymn/-' The in- 
struments which accompanied the Psalms consisted of harps, timbrels, 
psalteries, trumpets, drums, schofars,* and sometimes flutes. The instru- 
ments used were most likely selected with especial reference to the cha- 
racter of the Psalms which they were to accompany. Stringed instruments 
were effectively employed in the accompaniment of penitential Psalms; 
trumpets, drums, schofars, timbrels, an increased number of harps of a 
larger size, and a greater number of strings being added for Hymns of 
Praise. The choruses were arranged and led by a precentor. 

* This instrument has been incorrectly identified by Luther with the trombone. It 
is, however, to be presumed that the schofar at that time was a more perfect instru- 
ment than at present. 


The modes of singing the Psalms appear to have been multifarious. 
They were probably 'sung antiphonally either by the priest and congrega- 
tion, the divided choirs, or the precentor and chorus. In such a manner 
Psalms xiii., xx., xxxviii., Ixxxv., and cv. were perhaps executed ; the 
response of different voices or choirs would under these conditions be 
explicable in accordance with the poetical form of the verses. 

The Psalms are constructed on a poetical basis wherein the division of 
the couplet into strophe and antistrophe follows the form of a parallelism in 
which the ideas are expressed. The division of a verse into three parts is 
very unusual. The beginning of Psalm xxxviii., divided in the following 
manner, will clearly illustrate this : 

A. O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy wrath ; 

B, Neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure. 

A. For Thine arrows stick fast in me; 

B. And Thy hand presseth me sore. 

A. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger ; 

B. Neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 

A. For mine iniquities are gone over my head ; 

B. As an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 

A. My wounds stink and are corrupt ; 

B. Because of my foolishness. 

A. I am troubled and bowed down greatly; 
. I go mourning all the days of my life. 

A. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease ; 

B. And there is no soundness in my flesh. 

A. I am feeble and sore broken ; 

B. I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 

A. Lord, all my desire is before Thee ; 

B. And my groaning is not hid from Thee. 

A. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me ; 

B. As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 

The letters A and B denote in every verse the couplets completing the 
parallelism. We may either suppose that A was sung by the first singer, 
B as the response by the second, or that they were sung alternately by two 
semi-choirs. But it is just as probable that the first part was sung by the 
precentor, and the second by the full choir. This latter supposition is 
supported by the fact that the second half-verse generally intensifies the 
meaning of the first part of the couplet. For instance, the first part of 
Psalm xxxviii. begins : " O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy wrath," to 
which the second part adds, "Neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure/' 


Here the two ideas expressed are not only allied to each other,, but the 
second intensifies the meaning of the first, inasmuch as the " chastening" 
has a far stronger signification than that contained in the indecisive 
" rebuke.-" The same may be said of the first verse of Psalm ciii. : 

" Praise thou the Lord, my soul, 
And all that is in me, praise His holy Name." 

The first half-verse is the key-note of the melody, or what we might 
call the " Positive/' the second being the " Comparative/' as it is not only 
the singer's soul, but all that is within him, which should praise the Lord. 

It is, however, very possible that the alternation in the singing took 
place at the end of each verse, instead of at the end of the half-verses, 
only a slight pause being made at the half-verse. This method of 
chanting the Psalms (which is one of undoubted antiquity) is still 
practised in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches of to-day. The 
celebrated Miserere (the fifty-first Psalm) of Gregorio Allegri (1580-1652 
A.D.) is composed in this manner, and shows how grand a musical effect 
can be obtained by the use of this form. 

Those Psalms the verses of which commence or conclude with an oft- 
recurring exclamation were, without doubt, chanted in other methods than 
those already referred to. They must evidently have had a regularly- 
repeated musical phrase to correspond with the fixed poetical formula. 

Other Psalms were most likely chanted by a smaller choir, the 
refrain being taken up by the whole congregation. This undoubtedly 
must have been the case with the twenty-six verses of Psalm cxxxvi., 
each of which has the refrain, " For His mercy endureth for ever." 
Psalm cxviii. contains the same refrain, but only in its four opening 
and concluding verses; and Psalms cvi. and cvii. have this formula at 
the beginning. There is a refrain to David's lament on the death of 
Saul and Jonathan which is most touching in its simple grandeur : 
"The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places; how are the 
mighty fallen ! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of 
Askelon ; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters 
of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be 
no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings ; for 
there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, 


as though he had not been anointed with oil. How are the mighty fallen 
in the midst of battle ! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan : very pleasant hast thou 
been unto me : thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 
How are the mighty fallen ! " 

To such reiterated exclamations there were probably set musical phrases 
in which either the whole congregation or the united choir of precentor 
and priests joined. 

There can be the less doubt that such fixed tone formulae were used, 
when we remember that the " Hear ye, O Israel/' is still sung in the 
modern synagogues to a tune which is obviously based on some older and 
more primitive melody. Also in the most ancient Christian Church music 
we find similar tone formulae for Amen, Hallelujah, Kyrie Eleison, the 
Graduals, and other parts of the Catholic Liturgy : formulas that have 
existed for more than a thousand years. It is, moreover, undeniable that 
the songs of the people, and even those of the most joyous kind, found their 
way into psalmody. 

In Luther's Bible the superscriptions of certain Psalms are as follows : 
Psalm ix., "The Handsome Youth/' Psalm xxii., " Hunting the Hind;" 
Psalm xlv., " The Roses/' &c. They cannot, however, in any way be 
interpreted as belonging to the text of the Psalm, but merely as the titles 
of certain well-known melodies to which the Psalms were to be sung.* 

The German Bible of Luther contains a number of musical directions. 
Thus it is ordered that the chanting of Psalms iv., liv., lv., and Ivii. is 
to be preceded by a prelude performed upon stringed instruments. 
Psalms xi., xiii., xiv., xviii., xix., xx., xxi., xxxvi., xxxix., xl., xli., li., 
and Hi. have the simple superscription, "A Psalm of David." That of 
Psalms Ixvi., Ixvii., and Ixviii., "A Psalm-Song/' cr, as in Psalm Ixv., 
"To the Song." In reference to Psalms vi., viii., xii., and Ixxxi., the 
direction is, " To be sung on eight strings," or " To be introduced by the 
Gittith." f Psalm Ixi. is directed " To be sung to the accompaniment of a 

* In the modern German Bible similar superscriptions may still Le found. It is not an 
uncommon practice in England, among congregations of all denominations, to appropriate 

tunes for their sacred poetry. 
t Whether the term " Gittith " refers to a musical instrument or to a popular melody 
has not yet been decided. 


stringed instrument," Psalm liii. is to be sung " By alternating choirs." 
Again, in Psalm cxlvii., verse 1, " Sing alternately to the Lord with thanks, 
and praise our God with harps ." * 

Again, an example of a firmly-established tone-formula is to be found 
in Psalms cvi., cxi., exii., cxiii., cxxxv., cxlvi., cxlviii., cxlix., and cl., all 
of which begin and end with the word " Hallelujah/' 

The musical purpose of the Psalms is often as clearly indicated in the 
text as it is in the superscriptions. Thus, in Psalms xcvi., xcviii., and cxlix., 
there is " Sing to the Lord a new song ; " in Psalm cxxxvii., " We hanged 
our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For they that carried us away 
captive required of us a song ; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, 
saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's 
song in a strange land ? " In Psalm cviii., " Awake, psaltery and harp," 
the instruments are, as it were, summoned to join in the praise of God. In 
Psalms cxlix. and cl. the whole of the instruments which accompany the 
choirs are enumerated : "Sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp, 
praise Him with trumpets, praise Him with psaltery, praise Him with strings 
and pipe, praise Him with cymbals, praise Him with well-tuned cymbals." 

No satisfactory explanation has as yet been given of the superscription 
to Psalms cxx. and cxxxiv., "A song of degrees." The word " degree" may 
with equal probability allude to an extended tonal range (and perhaps to some 
special key), or to the elevated position assigned in the Temple to the vocalist 
when singing the sacred songs; or, again, it may have reference to the 
impassioned nature of certain songs, thus imparting to the measure a more 
animated movement, or the word may relate to the higher flight of the 
poetical afflatus. Many conjectures have been offered as to the meaning of 
the term " Selah," but it cannot be said of any of these that they are satis- 
factory. My opinion leans to those who regard it as a musical sign, repre- 
senting either the termination of a section of a Psalm or a musical interlude 

* Similarly in 1 Samuel xviii. 6, 7, we read: "And it came to pass as they came, 
when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistines, that the women came out 
of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, 
and with instruments of music. And the women answered one and another as they played, 
and said, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Here the words 
" answered one and another " cannot but have reference to antiphonal singing, as the innate 
musical gift of the Hebrews would naturally lead them to sing their hymns in the form of 


filling up a pause between the verses, or as serving to introduce a special 
group of instrumentalists or singers. It may well be that in translations 
other than that of Luther, many of the superscriptions above alluded to 
have been omitted, or that the originals, owing to variations in their ren- 
dering, have come to acquire other accepted meanings. But it may be 
taken generally that the superscriptions always have reference to the 
music and to its method of execution. 

I have already stated that the word " Psalter " has a twofold meaning. 
In the first place, it applies to the whole collection of Psalms; and secondly, 
to that musical instrument which is always mentioned as the one upon 
which the Psalms are to be accompanied. As a musical instrument, it is 
frequently referred to, as we know, in the Book of Psalms. In English, 
when thus used, it is, .spelt Psaltery. 

The psaltery used sometimes in the services of the early Christian Church 
differed from the cithar mainly in this, that in the former, according to St. 
Augustine, the resonance body was at the upper, whilst in the latter it was 
at the lower end of the instrument. According to St. Jerome, the psaltery 
consisted of a square frame with ten strings affixed to it ; and the venerable 
father, faithful to the symbolising tendencies of his age, saw in the four 
corners of this instrument an allusion to the four Gospels, and in the ten 
strings the Ten Commandments. The psalteries used in the Temple at 
Jerusalem appear to have been made of sandal wood a wood much used 
by the Orientals inlaid with gold and silver. 

The word " Psalmist " is generally interpreted as relating to David, 
tradition ascribing to him the greatest number of these sacred hymns. But 
it must not be forgotten that the origin of some are attributed to Asaph, 
Moses, the children of Korah, Solomon (Psalms Ixxii. and cxxvii.), the 
Ezraites Heman, and Ethan, and a great number exist, the authorship 
of which has never been traced. 

We learn from the Psalter that not only men, youths, and boys, but 
also maidens were engaged in the performance of the Psalms, while it is 
curious to note that the instruments assigned to women were only those 
that served to mark the rhythm, viz., instruments of percussion, which, 
according to our notions, are more fitted for the use of men. Thus, in 
Psalm Ixviii. 25 : "The singers went before, the players on the instruments 
followed after ; among them were the damsels playing with the timbrels/' 


This proves that women were not excluded from taking part in the public 
performance of the Psalms, and, further, confirms the passage already 
quoted from Exodus xv. 20, 21, in which " Miriam and her maidens went 
out with timbrels * and with dances/' The timbrel and the castanets are 
still used by the Orientals as an accompaniment to pantomimic gesture, 
and for marking the rhythm of dance and song. 

Whether Miriam's dance consisted of graceful measured movements like 
the dance of King David before the ark, or a real dance of joy, in which 
all the people joined, it is impossible to decide. Be this as it may, how- 
ever, the participation by women in religious processions, and in the public 
performance of Psalms, is undoubtedly proved. It would appear, however, 
that in the special music of the Temple, men were the sole executants. f 

Although it is known that the Hebrews were the most musical people 
of the East, yet we have as little information concerning their tonal 
system as of that of the Egyptians, and con- 
sequently we are again reduced to speculation, 
but to speculation which has a reliable founda- 
tion. First, with regard to the scale. Some in- 

Fig. 51. Castanets, 
vestigators hold that the Hebrews employed one 

of five tones (corresponding to the oldest scale of the Chinese and Hindoos), 
others that it was composed of seven tones, whilst some again con- 
tend that it consisted of a greater or lesser number of tones than 
the two scales just mentioned. In the face of so many conflicting con- 
jectures, it may perhaps be permitted to a, musician to state his own 
convictions. My opinion (which, of course, is but an individual one) is 
that the Israelites, at the time of their exodus from Egypt, carried with 
them, in addition to a great number of Egyptian instruments, their task- 
masters' scale of four tones the tetrachord. To support this proposition, 
I need but refer to certain ancient melodies of the Temple still extant 
in the synagogues, and especially to those which are believed to be of 

* Luther renders this word " Kettle-drum ; " but the author shows that interpretation to 
be erroneous, as the " kettle-drum," on account of its size and weight, would have prevented 
its employment by women when accompanying their dances. The English translation, 
"timbrel," i.e., tambourine, is undoubtedly the correct rendering. F. A. G. O. 

f This remark relates only to the Temple of Solomon, for, as I have before pointed out, we 
may without doubt assume that in the second Temple the one destroyed by Titus women 
also took part in the musical performances. 


the greatest antiquity. The following example (which is within the limits 
of the tetrachord) forms a part of almost every sacred service. 

kl.. - _ 

I -- 

n 5 ' 

1 . , r J3i 

E<^ T . . 


1 u~~ 

i ' 

/ ' ^ 

L^ j 1 

M i^ ^ 


In addition to the tetrachord, it is probable that the Israelites possessed 
some knowledge of the scale of seven tones, and used it in the same 
manner as the Egyptians. In Egypt the scale of seven tones was the 
exclusive property of the priests, the people being permitted to use the 
tetrachord only. It is very probable that, by a similar arrangement 
among the Israelites, the priests of the tribe of Levi specially appro- 
priated the scale of seven tones. The reasons for such a supposition 
are manifold. It is, for example, not impossible that the Israelites adopted 
from the Egyptians the so-called " holy sounds/' connecting these, as did 
the people of the Nile Valley, with the scale of seven tones. Again, the 
heading of Psalms vi. and viii. " To be sung on eight strings " may 
refer to the octave, and probably points to the possession of a scale of seven 
tones. Finally, we should not omit to notice the importance attached by 
the Hebrews to the number seven. It was their sacred number, a symbol 
of completion and perfection ; and according to Herder, the centre of the 
hexagon, the so-called " hermetical figure/'* The seven Mosaic days of 
creation, the candlestick of Solomon's Temple with its seven branches, 
the seven planets, and the seven heavens all appear to be connected with 
this. Moreover, as we have already noticed, " Seven times did seven 
priests sound seven trumpets " before the Lord delivered Jericho into the 
hands of his chosen people. The Jewish rites, festivals, and fasts are 
all governed by the number seven. The feasts of the Passover and 
Tabernacles each lasted seven days. Every seventh year was a Sabbatical 
year, and every seventh Sabbatical year was a Jubilee year. The seventh 
day of the week was the Sabbath ; he who was pronounced " unclean/' 
from having handled a corpse, required seven days for purification ; and 
the Day of Atonement closes with the exclamation, seven times repeated, 

* There is no mathematical reason for calling the " hermetical figure " the symbol of 
completion and perfection ; it is merely a figure of speech. 



"The Lord alone is God." It is, therefore, almost conclusive that the 
number seven formed the basis of the tonal system of the Hebrews as well 
as of many other nations, who regarded this number as sacred. 

There is ample evidence to warrant my belief that the Hebrews sang 
not only in unison, but to some extent in parts, and that they had a 
knowledge, if not of perfect part-writing, at least of harmonic accom- 
paniment.* I am as little influenced by the conflicting theories of Speidel 
and Arends on Hebraic accents, as by the more favourable opinion of 
Anton, the learned Hebraist, whose examples derived from the modern 
common chords refute his own conclusions, f 

For the present I leave these signs, which, it is presumed, have fur- 
nished a clue to the musical notation of the Israelites, in order to adduce 
some facts in support of my opinion. I commence with the musical 

Fig. 53. The Kinnor. 

Fig. 54. The Psaltery. 

instruments of the Israelites, The greater number of these were, as with 
the Egyptians, stringed instruments, not played with the bow, but struck 
with the fingers or a plectrum, and were therefore incapable of producing 
a legato melody ; we must then, from their nature, regard them as in- 
struments used for accompaniment only. They were grouped together 
under the appellation Neginoth ; they consisted of the small portable 
triangular-shaped harp (the Kinnor) ; an instrument provided with a finger- 
board called the Hasur, concerning which nothing is known with any 
degree of certainty, but which was probably the Cithar, its tortoise-shaped 
back reminding one of the Greek lyre; the Nebel, or Nabul (Nablium), 
a harp played with both hands; the Psaltery, a square-shaped stringed 

* From our author's opinion on this point I feel bound to dissent. F. A. Gr. O. 

1 1 must here refer to the extreme difficulty experienced in obtaining a reliable inter- 
pretation of these accents, as each character varies in signification in the books of Moses, 
the Prophets, and the Psalms. 



instrument somewhat like the harp ; the Asor, or Nassor, an oblong- 
psaltery ; and a semicircular harp with many strings. So great a number 
of stringed instruments especially adapted for accompaniment naturally 
leads one to conclude that the Hebrews had some knowledge of harmony, 
or, at least, of arpeggio chords. 

Now, adding to these instruments those borrowed from the Egyptians, 
and used for marking the rhythm, such as the Cymbal, Sistrum, and Adufe, 
and the silver trumpets (formerly used as instruments for signalling), 
none of which could have served to strengthen the melody, there remained 
for this purpose only the Flute and a few other wood-wind instruments. 
The melodies of the Psalms and other hymns must have been, therefore, 
chiefly sung in unison by the enormous choirs, which were far too powerful 

Fig. 55. Hasur, the Hebraic Cithar. 

Fig. 56. The Israelitic Sistrum. 

to require the assistance of any instruments, or to run the risk of the 
melody being drowned by the accompaniment. 

The dictum of the Hebraist, Henricus Horchius, agrees with my views 
of the matter. Speaking of the Israelitic instruments employed in combina- 
tion in the Temple service, he says : " The maximum number of Nebels 
(the Phoenician harp Nablium, played with both hands) was not allowed 
to exceed six, the minimum two ; flutes (including, no doubt, other wood- 
wind instruments) , not less than two or more than twelve ; trumpets, not 
less than two ; cithars, not less than nine. As these instruments were used 
merely for accompanying, and not for strengthening the melody, the 
maximum was unlimited. One pair of cymbals (Egyptian metal instru- 
ments, similar to our modern cymbals) only was used for marking the 


We have here, then, fifteen instruments of accompaniment cithars 
and harps opposed to twelve flutes, used for strengthening the melody ; 
whilst the trumpets (the sound of which, as our modern composers know, 
can be effectively used with the harps) were perhaps played in chords, 
in order to strengthen the harmony. This conclusion, i'f correct, would 
seem to show that the old Israelitic orchestra accompanied melodies with 
chords, both simultaneous and arpeggio. Apart from and in addition t 
the reasons above stated, I attribute to the Israelites of the pre-Christian 
era a knowledge of harmony on account of their national idiosyncrasy 
and profound religious belief, characteristics which have proved all 
important to the history of the human race. I have already pointed out 
that melody in music finds its counterpart in the outline in painting. 
It is only with those nations of the early ages, who, to a strong love 
for outline and clearly-defined form, combined with an acute sensitiveness 

Fig. 57. Adufes. Fig. 58. Cymbals. 

and a religion rooted in such characteristic traits, that we find the love 
for melody paramount. With a people, however, like the Hebrews, who 
were diametrically opposed to almost all nations of the classical and pre- 
classical times in their rejection of pictorial representations and efforts in the 
plastic art, and possessing a faith that did not content itself with symbolising 
a deity but conceived an almighty and omniscient Godhead, it was impossible 
to rest satisfied with the mere sensuous effect of melodic outline, and its 
promptings, therefore, necessarily led them to seek that mysterious support 
which harmony lends to melody. To this intense religious feeling of the 
Hebrews must be ascribed those soul-stirring hymns which they addressed 
to their Deity. Thus, when the Psalmist exclaimed, " My soul is athirst 
for God, yea, even for the living God; when shall I come to appear 
before the presence of God?" or when in sorrowful accents he cried, 
"The seas are mighty and rage horribly; all thy waves and storms 



are gone over me :" to express such a depth of feeling the mere melodic 
outline does not suffice; it claims that richness of tonal colouring which 
the harmony of music can alone adequately supply. 

For similar reasons I credit the Israelites with a species of melody 
bearing less resemblance to our Christian hymns, with their measured 
rhythm, than to a song in which the varying meaning of the text is 
closely followed by the melody, never degenerating, however, into that 
monotonous musical recitative known as recitative secco. Were I, there- 
fore, compelled to decide which of the many dif- 
ferent explanations of Hebrew accents and tonal 
notation of the old Hebraic poems merit acceptation, 
I should choose that of Arends, as it fulfils all the 
conditions which, in my opinion, should belong to 
an original Hebraic melody. The following melody, 
which bears the unmistakable stamp of its Oriental 
nationality, so plaintive, and, in a musical sense, so im- 
portant, set by Arends to the first three verses of Psalm 
cxxxvii., has never yet been equalled by any other 
melody arbitrarily deciphered by self -constituted autho- 
rities. The discovery of such a melody was only pos- 
sible when its real interpretation had been made manifest. 
This melody, which I have endeavoured to harmonise, 
strongly reminds one of certain solo passages in Sebastian 
Bach's Passion and anthem music. The task was not 
so easy as might be supposed, because the strange old melody would not 
readily lend itself to an accompaniment of single chords which are mostly 
used in such cases. I was most successful when employing unusual and 
especially diminished chords, which leads me to conclude that the original 
accompaniment must have been of a somewhat similar character. * 

Should this inference appear strange, I would remind the reader that at 
the present day many Oriental peoples, the gipsies, and some of the Slavonic 

Fig. 59. 
A Large Harp. 

* The author seems here to have been somewhat led away by his desire to establish his 
position ; for when we consider the manner in which harmony has gradually been evolved 
from the simplest perfect concords, it is not probable that recondite harmonies, such as he 
refers to, should have been in use at so early a period, nor is it at all certain that the scales 
employed by the ancient Israelites were susceptible of any harmony whatsoever. F. A. G. 0. 



races evince a marked preference for diminished and augmented harmonies 
instead of our diatonic chords. The following ancient Israelitic melody 
bears evidence of having been sung by mezzo-soprano voices, accompanied 
by arpeggios upon the harp, psaltery, and cithar (which were specially 
attuned for diminished chords), or by male chorus in continuous harmonies. 




By the wa - ters ot Ba - by - Ion, 

There we sat down and wept, 

~7T ^ i*- 5 < 




^ f\ p~ 

(\\ 1 ' ^ 

^ iJ* i* 





ff j 


"When we re - 

member'd thee, O 

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a. A 

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u, we 


wept when we re- 
/^ 1 










U i i 




crescendo. / 'ftw. 

we hung them up on the 

- ber'd thee, O Zi - on ! And our harps, 



trees, on the trees that are there-in, on the trees that are there - in. For 




they that led us cap - tive re - quir'd oi' us a song, and mel - o - dy, and mirth, in our 




dim. p 

cres f 


heav - i 

" Now sing 

one of the songs ot Zi - on ! ' 




rit. fl 



The extent to which the music of the modern synagogue resembles that 
o the old Hebraic Temple music is, and must remain, a matter of conjecture, 
Most of the original characteristics have, without doubt, been lost; only a 
few isolated remnants still exist. The destruction of the second Temple 
by Titus, and the dispersion of the people of Israel throughout the whole 
world, whilst it robbed them of their kingdom, almost wholly obliterated all 
trace of nationality in their music. The influence of foreign civilisation on a 



people so widely scattered as the Hebrews could not fail, notwithstanding 
their exclusiveness, to leave its impress on them and on their tonal art. 
Hence the divergence between the music sung in the synagogues of the 
Portuguese Jews and that of their brethren in France and Italy, the difference 
between the sacred songs of the Polish Jews and those employed in the 
English and German synagogues. 

Nevertheless, there are a number of characteristic tunes still extant, 
though sometimes consisting of a few bars only, which seem to belong to 
that remnant of musical traditions to which I have already referred. My 
reason for this opinion is the fact that these are the only tunes that remain 
totally unchanged, or if changed, yet containing enough of the original 
to warrant my belief, no matter whether we find them in the synagogues of 
Lisbon, Amsterdam, Vienna, Warsaw, Berlin, or London. To these belong 
the " Hear ye, O Israel " (Seh'ma Israel), No. 52 ; and the celebrated song 
of Miriam, No. 61. 

No. 61. 

Not strictly in time, but almost recitativo. 

4 . * * 

This, notwithstanding that it has somewhat the character of Handel's 
triumphal song, is supposed to be one of the most ancient of Hebrew 
melodies. Its antiquity is placed beyond doubt by the fact that it is 
used with but the smallest variation in all synagogues throughout Europe.* 

The following example is the special setting used at Dresden of the 
" Schema Israel." 

No. 62. 

* I am indebted for this example, and for many other valuable items of information, to 
Dr. Landau, Chief Rabbi at Dresden. 



With the exception of one tone, it is the same as No. 52, the former 
having the range of three tones, whilst the latter has that of a tetrachord. 
The following melody, sung at the Benediction in Dresden, is most 
characteristic and antique. 

No. 63. Moderato. 

EES i 7 ' r 


3 <! 

1 ^ !^ i 

, ^ ^ 

N^T 1, 

r r 






\ r 

This strongly reminds one of some themes of Meyerheer which possess 
certain Jewish peculiarities. The beginning of the second part of Mendels- 
sohn's Elijah, " Hear ye, Israel ! " seems likewise based upon another well- 
known Hebraic melody sung at the Dresden synagogue, and yet both these 
melodies are, without doubt, of most ancient origin. It does not appear to 
me to be very difficult for a practised ear to distinguish the old tunes, with 
their national and foreign stamp, from the newer melodies which are ani- 
mated with the spirit of modern music. For instance, one of the modern 
synagogal melodies is an exacfc copy of Joseph Haydn's chorus, " Be pro- 
pitious, bounteous Heaven/' from the Seasons, the words only being 
altered. * 

In a very praiseworthy work, " Schir Zion " (" Sacred Songs/' edited 
by S. Sulzer, choirmaster in the Israelite Temple at Vienna), the following 
" old tune " is to be found. It is peculiarly national in its character, 
and is to be sung ad libitum. 

No. 64. 

* I am indebted to the kindness of Messrs. Janssen and Loffler, Organist and Precentor 
of the synagogue in Dresden, for free access to the " Songs of the Ritual," and for valuable 
information concerning the signals of the horn Schofar. 




This strange melody is repeated through a number of verses, but in a 
somewhat more florid manner. Many other " ancient tunes " from Sulzer's 
book have a still more unusual and wild character, forcibly reminding 
me of the alluring cry of the female slave Astaroth, in Goldmark's 
opera of the Queen of Saba, where the composer has, without doubt, 
adopted one of these tunes as his model. There breathes throughout this 
" ancient tune/' and that of Goldmark, an air of mystery akin to that 
surrounding the traditions of the East, and falling on the ear like the 
moaning of the night wind in the desert.* 

The result of my survey of the synagogal melodies of the Israelites has 
led me to divide them into three different groups. The first includes all 
those declamatory phrases of which " Hear ye, O Israel/' may be taken 
as a type. They are not merely recitations on one and the same tone 
to which are added short cadences like those in the Catholic Liturgy, 
but they are composed almost entirely of melodic outlines, which, how- 
ever, strictly speaking, are not sung so much as declaimed, and therefore 
permit of greater attention being bestowed on the respective lengths of 
the syllables. Belonging to this strictly liturgical form are certain 
of those legato responses sung by the precentor and choir, the origin of 
which is evidently of later date. They remind one of certain antiphons 
performed by priest and choristers in the Catholic churches, which may 

* In A. Rubinstein's Maccabeus there are many diminished progressions similar to those 
in No. 64. It is clear that diminished intervals form a special feature of all Israelitic 
music; just as we have seen in Psalm cxxxvii., No. 60. 


probably,, in the course of time, have crept into the synagogal service of 
song-. The continuous melodic recitations, as a whole, I take to be very 
ancient, and it is not unlikely that they may have formed the basis of 
the Arnbrosian songs of the ancient Christian Church, and especially 
that of the Psalms. 

To the second group belong those melodies arbitrarily embellished with 
florid passages, of which No. 64 may be taken as an example. Sometimes 
they are sung with innumerable redundant flourishes, by the precentor 
alone, or alternately with the Rabbi. These possibly belong to the period 
following the destruction of the second Temple, when the Israelites, living 
in strict seclusion amongst the different nations of Christianity, began to 
develop that casuistic sophistry, which not infrequently usurped the place 
of their former grandeur and simplicity. 

In the third group I include all melodies similar to that of Psalm 
cxxxvii., No. 60, deciphered by Arends. This may probably be classed 
amongst the oldest specimens of Israelitic music, but not, however, as it 
seems to me, with the regular songs of their ritual; it may, however, 
have served as a fine example of a free fantasia designed for sacred 
services. A work so full of religious fervour, and yet so unconventional, 
might with equal propriety form part of the established liturgy of any 
civilised nation, and we therefore cannot doubt its employment for this 
purpose amongst the Hebrews; but should it be difficult to believe that 
the music of an obscure musician could have been accepted and found a 
place amongst the revered psalmody of the Jews, then let its invention 
be ascribed to David or Solomon.* Be this as it may, in the Israelites we 
recognise a people to whom, for the first time in the history of the tonal art, 
the sensuous charm of music was not all-sufficing a nation who employed 
music as a means to an end, viz., to express their ideal. Thus, music and 
poetry, inseparably connected, became the language in which the Israelites 

* It is at once admitted that neither David nor Solomon could have composed this Lament 
on the Babylonish captivity. But we are not limited to the supposition that it could only 
have been the composition of kings ; prophets, judges, elders, and other leaders of the people 
might in a moment of inspiration have indited such a composition, and their celebrity alone 
would have been sufficient reason for its retention amongst the songs of the Temple. Even 
Hebraic musicians might have been thought not unworthy of such a distinction. That their 
status was a highly-respected one in Israel may be gleaned from the reference made to the 
musicians Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, in the Book of Chronicles. 


addressed Jehovah. They were the people who first acknowledged the God 
of all things, and to Him they sang in jubilant strains or bewailed in sor- 
rowful accents their sufferings and repentance expressed when in captivity. 

So soon as a deeper understanding of Music's ethereal mission began to 
be established upon this basis, so soon was the tonal art enabled to proceed 
upon its upward course leading to the highest pinnacle of its greatness. 
From the Lament, chanted on the shores of the Euphrates, to Allegri's 
Miserere or the aria in Bach's Passion, " Have mercy on me, O Lord/' 
there is but one step. 

If, therefore, Christian music has intensified the tonal art, and made it 
the language of the heart and soul, it should never be forgotten that to 
the Hebrews we are indebted for the prolific soil on which it fructified. 
The further history of the tonal art will clearly illustrate this, for, after a 
period of 2,000 years, not only the Psalms themselves but also the manner 
of their execution are still preserved in the Christian churches. 



IT is a peculiarity of the civilised nations of antiquity that the complete 
geographical isolation of each nation finds its counterpart in their special 
characteristics, and the more strongly defined their natural boundaries, 
the greater their importance as a civilised people. Ara.bia, the cradle of 
Islam, is a country as completely isolated, geographically, as were ancient 
India and Egypt, and just as we found the inhabitants of the latter 
countries exceptionally gifted, whilst being entirely isolated from their 
neighbours by clearly-defined natural boundaries, so do the Arabians 
appear to us as the most talented amongst the followers of Islam. 

Arabia, like India, is a peninsula, joined to the Asiatic continent on 
the north side only: it is bounded by the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, 
and the Arabian Ocean. It is divided into three parts Petraea, Felix, and 
Deserta. Arabia Petnea, lying to the south of Syria, is barren, sterile, 
and traversed by chains of rugged mountains. Arabia Felix occupies the 
south-west corner of the peninsula, and embraces many rich tracts of land. 


In this division are the principal towns. Arabia Deserta consists almost 
entirely of enormous sandy plains and steppes : the natives,, who naturally 
lead a pastoral life, are true sons of the desert a trait which has so com- 
pletely permeated their being that, as we shall see, it has asserted its influence 
over their music. But our remarks do not refer to the Arabians alone ; 
it was owing also to their conquests over the Egyptians and Persians, and 
their subsequent admixture with these races, that a distinctive character 
was imparted to the music of Islam. From the moment that the Persians 
were subdued, in the year 700 A.D., Arabian civilisation received a note- 
worthy impetus. 

The most salient characteristics of the Arab's disposition are a noble 
chivalry, a truly ideal love of clanship, hospitality, and undaunted courage 
qualities which are united to natural bodily agility, and to a rich but 
often extravagant imagination. In strange .juxtaposition to these stand 
their inborn shrewdness, their acute observation of nature, and strict love 
of truth in all things relating to the material world. Such prominent 
and important qualities, notwithstanding their great contrast, disclose to 
us the reason why Fatalism and Quietism Islam's greatest foes could 
exercise but little influence on the Arabs in the time of their ascendancy. 
With the Israelites, their congeners, they share a belief in a single and 
invisible God, the Creator of all things. If such a clear conception was 
momentarily obscured by idolatrous worship (which, after all, was the case 
with the Hebrews), their innate monotheism returned with the advent of 
Mohammed in all its purity and grandeur, never again to fall away. 

These hardy sons of Nature benefited so little by the refined civili- 
sation of their contemporaries, that they have remained almost unchanged 
in habits and customs for thousands of years. With a strong predisposition 
for the fantastic, they infused into their music something of the mysterious 
and romantic, and it seems surprising that monotheism should have played 
a much less important part in the development of their music than it 
did amongst the Israelites. The reason for this appears to me to be, 
that although Allah is, comparatively, a pure conception of the deity, yet 
it is far inferior to that of Jehovah. The Koran, notwithstanding its 
many excellences, is but the creation of a single powerful mind, whilst 
the Old Testament contains the collective writings of generations of 
inspired men. This circumstance will explain, I think, why the music 


of the Hebrews raised itself into an art, whilst that of the Islamites 
ever remained at the level of folk-songs and inferior instrumental music 
of a popular kind. 

The musical endowments of the Arabians were undoubtedly of a very 
high order, and, indeed, such as was only to be expected from a people 
so peculiarly developed as were these Children of the Desert. It was 
based upon their enjoyment of Nature a never-failing sign of a music- 
loving people. This shows itself in their preference for rhyme, a feature 
that is very characteristic of Arabian poetry. It is not the rhythmical 
or metrical side which is predominant in their poetry, but the purely 
musical. Even when the epic or dramatic element is paramount, the 
lyrical is never entirely eliminated, and in such exceptional instances is 
shown its innate musical tendency. In addition to these positive inferences, 
others may be adduced which negatively support this proposition. For 
instance, their plastic art, restricted as it was, and their pictorial repre- 
sentations, all point to a taste for splendid decoration or ingenious arrange- 
ments of colours and arabesques, rather than organic arrangement and 
completeness of construction. But, in general, those nations whose efforts 
in the plastic arts are similarly limited in their scope, display a propor- 
tionally strong predilection for the cultivation of music and poetry. 
Thus it was with the Arabians. 

Their want of a more highly-developed architecture, sculpture, and 
painting is not attributable to their Semitic origin, nor to their mono- 
theism, which (as with the consanguineous Israelites) prohibited the 
symbolising of the deity by pictorial representation, but to their un- 
ceasing love of change. This mental and bodily instability made the 
Arab pre-eminently susceptible to the charm of music, for the tonal art 
lends itself more readily to movement and variety than the arts of sculp- 
ture and poetry. 

The Arabs had a strong aversion to portraits ; they regarded them as 
soulless bodies, and believed that at the Day of Judgment the portraits 
would demand the souls of those who had dared to delineate them. On 
the other hand, the Arabs decorated the walls of their edifices (as Cordova 
and the Alhambra bear witness) with des : gns executed in the most cap- 
tivating colours, or with stuccos which enchant by their strange fantastic 
form. Both these are richly ornamented with arabesques, whose seemingly 


interminable lines and interlacements affect the eye with a sensation of 
movement similar to that produced upon the ear by continuous tones. 
This continual craving after movement, which so strongly distinguished 
them from the rest of their fellow-believers, especially the Turks, 
forced them from their native land in the far east of the Orient 
to the extreme west of the Occident. Unlike the inactive Egyptian, 
Hindoo, and Chinese, the Arab was of a roving and warlike nature, 
conquering and founding dynasties through the whole civilised world. 
He planted the banner of the Prophet in India, Spain, the two Sicilies, 
Persia, Egypt, and the coasts of Africa washed by the Atlantic. It is 
characteristically related of an Arabian chief that when his tribe first came 
to the African shores, he walked into the sea up to his neck, and turning to 
the people on the banks, he said, " See, God hath fixed a limit to our 
ambition ; we are now at the end of the world." 

The musical theory of the Arabs, though somewhat more adapted to the 
requirements of the people than that of the Chinese and Hindoos, presented 
numerous difficulties for a perfect musical practice. It deals in subtleties, 
the counterpart of which is to be found in the highly-ingenious devices 
on the walls of their mosques. It is capable of numerous kaleidoscopic 
changes, each variation forming a perfect pattern. This corresponds with 
a similar tendency of the Semites which vents itself in devising word- 
plays and enigmas not unlike rhetorical displays. Their musical system 
is, nevertheless, not without a certain fantastic excellence, for although 
the mathematical and physical side of their music profited considerably 
thereby (the Arabs being as great naturalists as they were mathematicians), 
yet it still retained a vast amount of allegorical suggestion. Thus was 
music typified by a budding tree, various tones being connected with the 
elements, fire, water, air, and earth, finally with the twelve signs of the 
zodiac, the planets, and with day and night. 

The oldest Arabic scale is, if we except the Ftf, of the same kind as the 
Phrygian scale of the Greeks, and, like it, has no leading-note. 


This scale is divided in a twofold manner firstly at the G, forming a 
group of four and one of five notes (the latter called a pentachord) ; secondly, 


it is again divided at G, the G being repeated in each part, giving two 
united tetrachords, the mean being G. 

As, however, in the second example the octave D is omitted, the Arabian 
musicians continued their system of scales, making the C the root of new 
tetrachords, and each tone and half-tone the basis of new scales. 

Every whole tone was divided into three, the half-tone being reckoned 
in the scale as one of the three parts, so that the octave consisted of V, of 
which V represented the five whole tones, and the remaining two-thirds the 
two half-tones. 

The interpolation of such a number of sounds, exceeding in superabun- 
dance our chromatic scale, may perhaps be attributable to their nasal method 
of singing and the habit of gliding from note to note. These peculiarities, 
which are not only traceable amongst all Orientals, but also to a certain 
extent are common to the inhabitants of Southern Europe, viz., the Greeks, 
the Neapolitans, and the Andalusians, forcibly impressed the author of this 
work whilst on his first visit to Italy. 

The division of tones into three parts may also be connected with the 
movable and immovable tones of their scale, forcibly reminding us of 
the changeable and unchangeable scales of ancient Greece. The natural 
sequence of the diatonic scale, which had been interrupted by the sub- 
division of tones, was restored by the immovable tones. 

Amongst the intervals the Arabic theory regarded the octave as the 
chief consonance. The fifth was looked upon as doubtful, both practice and 
theory showing a decided preference for the tetrachord. By a simple and. 
combined augmentation of the notes of the tetrachord (called "Thabaka"), 
the Arabians obtained the great number of 84 scales, twelve of which were 
selected as the principal keys. We find, therefore, with them, just as with 
so many other nations of antiquity, practical and unpractical scales. When 
an Arabian theorist satisfied himself as to the uselessness of one of his 
arbitrarily-concocted scales, he silenced his doubts in that truly stolid 
Oriental manner, with " God knows it." 

Ambros asserts that the Arabians had no knowledge of harmony. This 


is an assertion to which I cannot assent, great as my respect is for the 
judgment of so learned a musical historian. Such an opinion would seem to 
be contradicted by the favourite practice of Orientals, and especially the 
followers of Islam, viz., that of adding a kind of pedal bass to their 
melodies. This practice is still prevalent in the East. Besides, their 
accompanying instruments could not have been used merely for strengthen- 
ing the melody, but evidently had, and have still, the object of sustaining 
the melody by chords, arpeggio or otherwise.* 

Nowhere does the nomidic character of the Arabs more clearly appear 
than in their methojl of distinguishing different musical rhythms. These 
were denoted by the expressions " long rope/' " short rope/' " stake/' " peg/' 
thus employing the names of a portion of the implements connected with the 
pitching and striking of tents. Their scales were named after cities and 
provinces, but their appellations were nevertheless sometimes due to purely 
adventitious circumstances : e.g., one was called " Ispahan," after the old 
capital of Persia ; another " Uschak/' i.e., the loving one ; and another 
" Buselik/' which was probably the name of a very musical slave belonging 
to Prince Schetad. 

It is greatly to be wondered at that music ever made any progress in 
Arabia, as Mohammed was much opposed to its use, most likely looking 
upon it as enervating. The Caliphs were, however, more tolerant than the 
founder of their religion ; some of them were even inventors of melodies. 
Harun al Kaschid, so glorified in myth, is said to have been impressed to 
such an extent by the song and lute-playing of an attendant singer that he 
pardoned a maiden whom he- had condemned to death in a fit of jealousy. 

The music of the Islamites, and especially that of the Arabs, appears 
to have entered upon a new lease of life at the period of the conquest of 
New Persia. The Islamitic race became so intermingled with the musical 
inhabitants of this beautiful country that they naturally appropriated to 
themselves some characteristics of the land of their adoption. The Persians 
regarded two of their chief singers as being of equal value to the whole 
region of Iran. If this should appear extravagant, I need but refer to the 
extraordinary halo which surrounds the name of Hafiz, who lived in the 

* The author here again has been induced, by his adherence to his own opinions, to mak3 
an assertion which is in total opposition to the present practice of Oriental nations, as well as 
to all their indigenous traditions. F. A. G. 0. 


fourteenth century A.D., and subsequently to Firdusi, the most popular 
poet and singer of Persia, in order to show how much music, especially 
in the shape of folk-song-, had become a necessity to the every-day 
existence of the Persians. 

The music of Persia and Arabia in the eighth century became so indis- 
solubly blended as to render impossible any subsequent separation. About 
the year 780 A.D., Chalil wrote his f< Books of Sounds/' which was followed 
by El Kindi's " Theory of Composition/'' "Arrangement of Tones/' "Laws 
of Rhythm/' and " Musical Accompaniment/' 862 A.D. But far more 
interesting than any of the foregoing works are the writings of a number of 
medical men, who adopted the unprecedented course of setting themselves 
up as authorities on matters musical. Their treatises show that music 
was not merely regarded as a pleasure-giving art, but investigations 
were conducted by them with the eyes of naturalists and philosophers. 

The first celebrated author of this class was Achmed ben Mohammed, 
who lived about the middle of the ninth century A.D. His work, " An In- 
troduction to the Science of Music/' deals principally with the philosophical 
side of the question. "The Influence of Musical Melodies on the Souls of 
Animals," written by Ibnol Heisem, who died in the year 1038 A.D., is 
a work of great interest. But the most remarkable of these savants is, 
perhaps, the celebrated Avicenna of the eleventh century A.D. This dis- 
tinguished doctor and philosopher started with the thesis that the only 
purpose for which the human body had been entrusted to man's keeping 
was to aid in the development of the soul; that our senses conceive and 
comprehend only the external form of phenomena, but that our reasoning 
faculties (which he places high above the mere understanding) could alone 
penetrate into the secrets of nature ; and lastly, that only by subduing, 
ennobling, and purifying our animal passions could we fit ourselves for 
contemplating infinity and eternity. A man of such elevated thoughts 
could not but be capable of discerning the ideal and ethereal power of 
music. We cannot, therefore, be surprised that Avicenna should have 
been perhaps the first physician who, in a profoundly scientific manner, 
recognised the power of music to " minister to a mind diseased," as well as 
to the human body. Assertions which might at the time have seemed 
hazardous, have since been verified by long experience, for music at the 
present day is an acknowledged remedy in cases of mental derangement, 


especially in those of a lighter character. Arabian lawyers, also, made a 
special study of the nature of the tonal art, amongst whom stood pre- 
eminently Sosi Mohammed ben Issa, 1344 A.D. j he delivered public lec- 
tures at Cairo, and wrote a treatise on the " Signs of the Tonal Art." * 

It is, however, to be regretted that the musical theory of the Arabs 
did not adhere to the lines laid down by those intellectual and far-seeing 
men who, whilst cultivating the technical, mathematical, and physical 
departments of the tonal art, attached, nevertheless, due importance 
to its purely human and its ideal side. By ignoring the results of 
their labours, it became dogmatic, puerile, and involved in abstraction. 
In the tenth century i.e., before the time of Avicenna ill-starred 
attempts were made to discover a connection between the musical 
theory of the Arabs and that of the Greeks; and finally, in the 
fourteenth century, certain doctrinaires of New Persia, in conjunc- 
tion with their Arabian colleagues, succeeded in destroying what little 
there remained of practical utility in the Mussulman theory. They 
abandoned the hard-won octave, substituting for it a number of use- 
less keys, and reverted anew to the tetrachord and pentachord. At the 
same time free invention was interdicted, and the disciples of the tonal 
art were ordered to keep strictly within the limits of the theory. Thus 
all inspiration was checked, and its products discarded, unless they bore 
the brand ef scholasticism, and only those phrases were deemed worthy 
of acceptance which were formed by the interweaving of a number of 
short and rigidly-prescribed tone-formulae. 

Under such circumstances one can only regard it as a piece of good 
fortune that the people began to treat the theory of their teachers with 
disdain. In defiance of arbitrary rules, they improvised songs responsive 

* During the past fifty years several members of the legal profession in Germany have earned 
for modern music a similar distinction. It may suffice to mention a man like Thibaut (1774 
1840), a celebrated lawyer of Heidelberg, whose excellent pamphlet on the " Purity of the 
Tonal Art" caused quite a sensation ; Ambros (1816 1876), legal adviser to the Government 
at Prague, and one of the most learned of modern musical historians; Bitter, Prussian 
Minister of Finance, " The Biographies of Sebastian Bach and his sons, Friedemann and 
Philip Emanuel." The philologists Bellermann, Bockh, Otfried Miiller, Heimsoeth, Von Jan, 
Westphal, and Otto Jahn, have all done substantial work in this branch of literature. The 
interest taken by such savants in the tonal art shows that with music, more perhaps than 
with any other of the arts, the co-operation of the lay element has proved itself extremely 


to their inner promptings, accompanying themselves according to their 
own inclination. Naturally, the divergence of the music of the people 
from any recognised system was as powerless to create a perfect art as 
the dogmatic professors, who affected contempt for the unrestrained out- 
pourings of national sentiment. To this schism between abstract theory 
and intuitive practice we owe a number of songs, dances, and marches, 
possessing a peculiar and even romantic charm, characteristic of the Arabs, 
Bedouins, Saracens, and Moors, and exhibiting their great aptitude for 

The music of the Orient became so widely diffused that appellations 
such as " Alia Turca," " Danse Maura/' and " Music of the Janissaries " have 
crept into European vocabularies to indicate music of an entirely national 
character. Not alone inferior composers, but also the great masters have 
imitated this kind of music, on account of its characteristic excellences. 
Mozart, Beethoven, Cherubini, Boieldieu, and C. M. von Weber have 
repeatedly made use of this form. It will be sufficient to refer to 
Mozart's Seraglio, certain fragments of the too little known opera L'Oca 
del Cairo, and the "Alia Turca" of his pianoforte sonata in A major; to 
Cherubini's Abencerages and Ali Baba ; Boieldieu's Caliph of Bagdad ; 
Beethoven's Ruins of Athens, with its Turkish march and dance of 
dervishes ; and Weber's Oberon and one-act opera Abou Hassan. 

Within the category of the people's music, which was uninfluenced by 
any theory, many different kinds are distinguishable. The music performed 
in the palaces of the grandees and in the secluded gardens of the harems 
differed from that of the streets, public places of amusement, and the 
songs and dances of the middle and lower classes. From these two sorts, 
which bear more or less resemblance to one another, must be separated the 
social songs, the martial and instrumental music of those tribes living in 
the desert, and of the Arabs, Moors, and Fellahs who accompanied the 
caravans. Again, the songs of the old Islamitic ritual are a class by 
themselves ; and further, the highly-original dances of the dervishes, with 
their strange admixture of religious frenzy; and lastly, the impressive 
chant of the Muezzins, who from the minarets of the mosques summoned 
the faithful to prayer. 

The music in the kiosques and palaces of the Turkish grandees was 
exclusively entrusted to women, and was therefore confined to the harem. 


The princesses of the houses of Omej jade and Abbaside greatly distinguished 
themselves as lutists and vocalists. Amongst the Turks, on the contrary, 
and especially since the decadence of the Turkish Empire, the music of 
the harem fell more and more into the hands of the Odalisks and female 
slaves, perfection in the musical art being a great recommendation to a 
slave even at the present day. 

Fig. 65. Music and Dance in the Harem of a Turkish Pacha. 


The song, dance, and mimicry of the women, accompanied by the lute, 
tambourine, and the tanbur (a stringed instrument), possess a charm for 
the Turkish grandee, seated majestically on his divan, similar to that pro- 
duced by the pleasant murmur of the rising and falling of the fountain, 
which in its monotony cannot fail to harmonise with his Oriental Quietism. 
Both the song and dance, accompanied by the castanets, have a soothing 
effect, and serve rather to induce than to arrest a dreamy state of 
forgetfulness in the hearer. 

The music performed in cafes, and especially in those of the larger 



towns, presents features of greater interest. Our illustration (Fig. 66) 
represents the interior of one of the largest and handsomest cafes at Cairo. 
It would appear, on glancing at the picture, that the performance was 
restricted to instrumental music, the Rebab and Kemengeh (stringed 

Fig. 66. Music in a Cafe at Cairo. 

instruments played with the how) being principally in requisition. The 
instrumentalists are exclusively men, and the placid Moslem listens for 
hours to their dulcet strains whilst smoking his hookah and sipping his 
favourite beverage. The folk-songs, marches, "Turkish concert music/'' 
and dances performed in these cafes all evince the peculiar characteristic 
features of Mohammedan music, of which the following tune (No. 67) may 
be taken as a specimen: 



No. 67. 


1 * 

f D a Oapn dal Segno al Fine. 


The melodies of many Mohammedan dances, whether of the inhabitants 
of the desert or of those Egyptians of the Nile Valley who go out in the 
quiet of the evening to meet the returning fishermen with jubilant songs 
and merry dances, possess an unusual charm for the musical ear. Women, 
even of the lowest class, very rarely take part in these dances, and if 
they do, it is merely in the clapping of hands. There are, however, 
public dancers, known at Cairo as the Ghasi, who, although Mohammedans, 
yet may be engaged to perform in gardens and houses. This is entirely 
contrary to the custom prevalent among women of the East of living in 
seclusion, but as the husbands of these dancers are generally artisans of 



the poorer class, they have no objection to their young wives and maidens 
dancing before any company that may choose to hire them. Sometimes 
the dancers are very good-looking, and although their gestures, attitudes, 
and movements not infrequently border on the extravagant, yet are they 
often as pleasing and original as the very primitive instrumental accom- 
paniment of the tambourine and kemengeh. 

The dancers mark time by incessantly clapping the castanets, to the 
rhythm of which, whilst swinging their arms high in the air, they regu- 
late their gestures. The instrumentalists who assist at these dances are 
generally a man and an elderly woman ; the latter, besides playing the 
tambourine, acts the part of duenna to the young dancers. The music on 
such occasions has frequently a wild and excitatory character, of which 
the following tune may be taken as an example. It was first made 
known to us by De la Borde, and has since been effectively introduced 
by C. M. von Weber as a Moorish dance in his opera of Oberon. 

Allec/ro maestoso. 




The songs, dances, and marches of the wandering Bedouins, and those 
that accompany the caravans, although bearing a general resemblance to 
the songs, &c., of the Arabs living on the borders of the desert, yet have 
special, and by no means unimportant points of difference. The musical 
mind of the Arabs is seen at its best in the simple songs of the faithful 
nomads, who, notwithstanding their excitable nature, have nevertheless 
remained uncorrupted by the pernicious atmosphere of the Mussulman 
towns. A reference to the works of a French composer of the nineteenth 
century, Felicien David, affords convincing corroborative evidence of the 
pure and unvitiated character of Arabic music. Felicien David wrote a 
cantata for orchestra and male voices, entitled Le Desert, which con- 
sisted principally of Moorish melodies and dances. On an examination of 
the works of William Lane, De la Borde, Villoteau, and other historians, 
containing Turkish, Arabian, and Moorish melodies, I discovered that the 
finest themes of David's Le Desert were either note for note in these 
works, or that they had been modelled after certain others in a remarkably 
intellectual manner. This, as every sensible person knows, in nowise 
detracts from the artistic merit of the work, for the musician, like the 
poet, is but the mind that unites into one complete whole the fragmentary 
elements of the traditions of the people, colouring it with the peculiarity 
of his own genius. David's cantata created a startling effect by the 
novelty of those national songs, which reproduced in a most vivid manner 
the composer's impression of the immensity of the Sahara, the brilliancy 
of the starry heavens, and the dreamy longing of an imaginative race ; the 
fantastic dances and marches being eminently suggestive of a bold and 
powerful people. This work was highly praised by Robert Schumann. 

We owe the origin of this cantata to a journey which Felicien David 
made across the Sahara from Cairo to Algiers.* He had drunk, as it were, 
at the fountain-springs of Moslem music, intently watching the hardy sons 
of the desert, who, at the end of a fatiguing day's march, having pitched 
their tents, followed their musical instincts, and gave themselves up to the 

* David having joined the Order of Saint Simon was compelled to leave Paris. He 
sought refuge among the Turks, hut was incarcerated at Constantinople. Subsequently 
pardoned, he went to Egypt, from whence he returned through the north of Africa to France, 
travelling hut slowly on account of the attraction that the habits and customs of the Moslems 
possessed for him. 


enjoyment of song and dance. The two following melodies effectively 
worked out, and accompanied in the true spirit of Mohammedan music, by 
Felicien David, may give the reader some idea of the singularly poetical' 
instincts of the tribes inhabiting the Sahara. They are to be found 
in a collection of Moslem melodies by Lane, and also in a volume of 
Egyptian dances published at Cairo. They seem tinged with that dreamy 
and melancholy longing so characteristic of those strange children of the 

No. 68. 

Allegretto moderate. (Oboe solo.) 



2nd time. f f 



s^s r 


un poco nt - - en - w - ^o. 

No. 69 

Andante moderate molto. 


3t= =* 

* '-* -^ 


^ Pi Pi- 


*P P P 

H 3- 



^^ 5 

* *- 

?H^ gL^ ^ ^ ^ Pj 4-4-4 4 4 









f T 




=^=d J T-J- I l==^&q 

-^ I 1 1 * -^ ^=^E^j 

5= =^= -*- ^^^^ == v-^--w- 


^ 3^ 



sempre p 








un poco rit 

In the melody of No. 68, " Danse des Almees/' the accompaniment 
of which imitates the rhythm of the castanets, the F& in the scale of A 


No. 70. 






minor, in the descending passage, should be particularly noticed. It 
occurs in the 6th, 10th, 15th, and 16th bars, and reminds one of many 
melodic progressions in old Israelitic tunes, showing that the music of 
kindred Semitic nations pos- 
sessed certain distinguishing 
features in common. The second 
example, No. 69, called by David 
" Reverie du Soir," appears to 
be an exact transcript of a 
melody given by Lane in his 
book on "Modern Egypt," vol. 
ii. of the English edition, p. 
80, published in 18-34. The first 
performance of Le Desert took 
place in Paris in 1844. One 
might at first imagine that the 
composer copied his melody from 
W. Lane's work, but as we know 
that David appropriated his Ara- 
bian airs from the people them- 
selves, we can but see in the 
perfect identity of the two melo- 
dies a further proof of their 

Coming now to the songs of 
the Mohammedan ritual, we find 
many points that are interesting. 
The preceding example (No. 70), 
which we owe to the learned 
Englishman just mentioned, is 
given as a specimen of the music 
of the Koran. It bears a strong 


resemblance to the celebrated 

song of the watchman in the third act of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, which 
he sings at the tolling of the curfew. And if this should suggest a certain 
homogeneousness in the inventive genius of the Orientals, we cannot fail at 

Fig. 71. Muezzin, Singing at Sunrise 



the same time to be struck with the remarkable similarity which the 
melodies of the Koran bear to the responses and chants of the Catholic 

But all Arabian melodies do not possess the same charm for us as those 
which we have quoted. If some are remarkably pleasing, there are others 
whose beauty is marred by confused and intricate progressions, elaborated 
with every kind of possible and impossible nourishes, producing- a most 
disagreeable effect on the ear of the auditor. Amongst these fantastic 
and distorted melodies, however, there are some which hold us entranced 
by sheer force of genius. Prominent among these stands the chant of 
the Imam, summoning the people to prayer, as well as his address to the 
Rising Sun, both of which are to be found in the works of Villoteau. But 
still more affecting is v the song of a Muezzin, which David heard during 
his exile, and transcribed in Le Desert. It is a song of praise to Allah, 
sung at early dawn by the Muezzin from the minaret turned towards 
the golden East. 

The following example is given in its entirety, as noted down by 
David, together with the few accompanying chords added by the com- 
poser. They strengthen the bold, elevated character of the melody, 
proving that even so curious and seemingly formless a strain may 
derive support from a harmonic basis. 


No. 72. 
TENOR SOLO. Un poco mosso e con elevazione. 

titftu 3 *^rtt]-r -C-S-5-u-fci 

^" hfc.1 ^ 

Saz i - - ^ ' 

^J eneryico.l P > 


f^^-S -7-5 ff ^5 ^ ^ ^~* 

r* S 

1 1 



||ij}. S j. / i M fZ 

1 s 1 

PC2 i\ ..- 





*"* f^ 

/r- g # ~] F p ' f \ 


, = inn 

(([) IX IX - 


/" ~^~ 

r " 

f g f '^a 

'X ^ S &"& & KZ1 '" 

/WA .U ^ 


vt ft 1 

l^y* ** MI r^ ^ 


' a 


C - i 


' ' P^ 

^^7 jt " F ^jj^ 

F ' ^ 



~7\ ^TL ^~ L-^K^I f *^^'i r i 



/^A ** |^ i^ 


^ i 

[ C>f ' f 

h* ff 2 i" 1 

' \ ' 


I ' 



r^^-r^ ^ j p 1 

"r =^~ 

^^ ii- i ' 

1 -V 

ad lib. 





I 2 -rH-7< 

. r 



No one possessing the smallest modicum of musical acumen can fail 
to recognise the similarity between this and certain of the most ancient 
synagogal melodies still extant. True it is that the flourishes of the 
Arabian melodies are conceived in a jubilant strain, whilst those of the 
synagogue have a certain solemnity ; but this very dissimilitude strengthens 
the conclusion that the latter were composed during a period subsequent 
to the destruction of the Second Temple and the dispersion of the children 
of Israel over the wide world. 

The military marches, boating and funeral songs of the Mussulmans, 
and those sung by them during the drawing of water, abound in originality. 
Like all Orientals, the Moors, Turks, and Arabs prefer a nasal method of 
intonation, and the more exaggerated the nasal tone the greater is the 
supposed perfection, affecting them at times even to tears. The execution 
of a song without this nasal twang, and according to the modern European 
style, is not appreciated by them ; they consider it tedious in the extreme. 

We will now glance at those instruments most generally used by the 
Islamites, the comparatively great number of stringed instruments played 
with the bow chiefly occupying our attention. Amongst these the Rebab, 
or Rabab, holds a prominent place. It is a stringed instrument, in shape 
somewhat like a violin, though in size sometimes larger or smaller, and it 
generally has only one string, but some are still used with more than 
one. Judging from the drawing furnished by the historian Lane of one 
which he saw in Egypt (see Fig. 73), it looks almost as large as a 
modern violoncello. 

It will be seen that it differs from our violoncello in being four-cornered, 
and that the resonance body becomes slightly narrowed towards the top j the 


strings are affixed to the neck by pegs in the same manner as with our 

In the eighth and ninth centuries the Rebab was introduced by the Arabs 
into Southern Europe, and may be regarded as the precursor of all our 
modern stringed instruments.* But it was not till the sixteenth century, 
after undergoing various modifications in Italy, that it finally assumed the 
shape of a viol or violin, the violoncello and contra-basso (double-bass) being 
added at a somewhat later date. We next meet with the Rebab in the 
twelfth century as the lielek, or Rebec, of the Provencal troubadours, who 
imported it from the East during the Crusades. The Rebab with one 
string (Fig. 73) is known in the East as the " Poet's Rebab," and that 

Fig. 73. Performer on the Rebab. Fig. 74. Performer on the Kemengeh. 

with several strings, the " Singer's." The latter is seldom used con- 
jointly with other instruments, being reserved for the accompaniment of 
song. On such occasions the accompaniment is confined to an unchange- 
able and oft-repeated figure of two or three tones, serving as a sort of 
pedal-bass to the melody that rarely exceeds the limits of a tetrachord. 

Another old Oriental stringed instrument, which has not, however, 
been subjected to the same process of development as the Rebab, is the 
Kemangeh, or Kemengeh (Fig. 74). 

It has, as may be seen, a very curious appearance, the drum-shaped 
resonance body being made from the shell of a cocoa-nut, or of wood, with a 

* From this view I am compelled to dissent, believing the British Crwth, and perhaps 
some other northern instruments of a kindred nature, to have been in use at a much 
earliei period. F. A. G. 0. 



disproportionately long neck of ebony, inlaid with ivory, to the pegs of 
which are affixed two or three strings. Almost as long as this enormous 
neck is the iron peg below which serves as a support to the resonance body. 
This instrument is always played by the musician in a sitting posture, with 
the legs crossed in Oriental fashion. An enumeration of the various off- 
shoots from the Kemengeh would exceed the limits prescribed, and I shall 
therefore confine my remarks to an instrument called Marraba, having 
but one string, the sounding body of which is covered with the skin of an 
animal, serving thus the double purpose of drum and violin. 

Fig. 75. Front View of an 
Oriental Lute. 

Fig. 76. Section of an 
Oriental Lute. 

Among the Turkish stringed instruments with narrow necks, the Lute 
stands pre-eminent. The use of this instrument spread as far as Japan 
in the East, and Portugal in the West. It was called by the Arabs L'Eud, 
or El And, from which the Spanish Laudo and the Italian Liuto are 
derived. The Oriental lute (Figs. 75 and 76) originally had four strings, 
which by degrees were subsequently increased to fourteen. It is some- 
times played with a steel plectrum, and sometimes with the quill of an 
eagle. To this class belongs the Tanbur, which, with its oval body and 
long neck, strongly resembles the Egyptian instrument of the same name. 

The Moslem wind-instruments form a very numerous class. Of these 



the oboe, or hautboy, seems to be specially selected for the performance of 
the melody, on account of its shrill piercing tone, which is very effective 
in processional music. Flutes are also greatly used by the Turks. 

One might reasonably suppose that instruments of percussion and brass 
wind-instruments would be deemed fitting accessories to those dances of 
the Dervishes (Arabian Fakirs) which are so potent to excite religious 
fanaticism. Contrary to expectation, however, these performances are, 
oddly enough, accompanied by the sweet and low sound of the flute only. 

Fig. 77. Darabukkeh (Drum). 

Fig. 78. (a) Tar (Tambourine) ; 

(*) Sagat (Castanets). 
Oriental Instruments of Percussion.* 

F. G. Welcker, the celebrated archaeologist, told me that during a 
journey through Asia Minor he repeatedly saw Dervishes dance till they 
fell to the ground in spasmodic fits, ofttimes foaming at the mouth. 
This circumstance may possibly explain how it happens that amongst 
nations who have not reached a very high state of civilisation, the seductive 
tones of the flute are productive of exaltation. 

A special group of percussion and wind instruments is used by the 
Turkish and Islamitic armies, known by the name of Janissary music. 
Belonging to this class are " Mohammed^s standard," the national instru- 
ment of the Turks, consisting of a brass frame, with numerous bells, 

. * From Lane's " Modern Egypt,' 1 third ed., vol. ii., pp. 87, 88. 



carried on a long- perpendicular pole, the point of which is surmounted by 
the crescent and the well-known streamers of horse-hair : an elongated 
roll-drum, narrowed towards the base, a big drum, triangle, metal clappers, 
shrill piccolos and oboes, trumpets and horns, forming an ensemble most 
effective and warlike. 

The trumpet used by the Janissaries is of Arabian origin, and called by 
them Nefyr. It, more than any other Oriental instrument, resembles the 

Fig. 79. Dancing Dervishes. 

modern trumpet tube, bell, and mouth-piece being similar to ours. It 
is very probable that our trumpet owes its origin to the Arabian Nefyr, 
and, indeed, that the whole of our military instruments are of Eastern 
origin, having been introduced into Christian Europe by the Crusaders. 

There can be no doubt that our pagan forefathers used neither trumpets 
nor bugles when preparing for the fray, but the more uncouth buffalo horn. 
This remark applies equally to the ancestors of all other European nations 
whom the Romans contemptuously styled "Barbarians. 1 " Under the 
generic term of " Turkish music" are included the big drum, the now 


obsolete side drum, which first came into use at the end of the Middle 
Ages, kettle-drums, triangles, clappers, " Mohammed's standard," and bell- 
instruments like huge rattles, all undeniably of Turkish origin. 

That the Moslems were cognisant of the moral power of the tonal art may 
be gleaned from the writings of their most celebrated philosophers. But 
if they and especially the Arabs, who were so learned in astronomy and 
mathematics, and to whom we owe the science of Algebra systematised 
too much, forgetting the true mission of music as a language of the heart 
and passions, their folk-songs, and the old chants of their mosques, prove 
that the ethical aspect of the art was not entirely ignored by them. 

Even if we can bring ourselves to suppose Turkish theory and folk-song 
to have joined hand-in-hand and elevated music into an art, yet it could 
hardly have arrived at an advanced stage of development, for in that 
event it would probably have still retained, though in a somewhat refined 
and more artistic form, that arabesque character lacking neither grace nor 
eloquence, but depth only which is common to the Moslem music of the 
present day. Still less impressive is the Arabian folk-song, suggesting 
as it does the pleasure-seeking Almee rather than the serious muse. It 
sports with sounds in the same manner that the lyric poetry of the " Makame" 
and " Ghasel " plays with words and rhymes. A preference is everywhere 
evinced for the mere charming of the ear by sensuous tonal effect. If, on 
the one hand, a poet like Hafiz treats art in many of his verses, which were 
doubtless wedded to appropriate music, from a purely sensuous standpoint 
(foreshedowing the famous convivial song of Martin Luther, " He who 
loves not wine, women, and song"), the Turks, on the other hand, in 
their recitations from the Koran, and the songs of the Muezzins above 
referred to, showed themselves capable of soaring into realms of far nobler 
inspiration. The Arabs attribute to the lute their chief instrument 
miraculous powers of healing. Their philosophers claim to see in it a 
reflection of nature, and liken the highest of its four strings to Fire, the 
two middle ones to Air and Water, and the lowest to the Earth. They 
further add that a musician should not play without pursuing some 
systematic method of procedure; for instance, starting from the lowest 
string, the melody should speak comfort to the hearer; this should be 
succeeded by a song of love, gradually giving place to a seductive dance 
rhythm, and concluding with sounds inviting to peaceful slumber. 


It is, indeed, remarkable that the founder of the religion of a music- 
loving people like the Arabs should' have been so decidedly indifferent to 
the practice of the tonal art. For although Mohammed, strictly speaking, 
was the avowed enemy of the plastic art only, yet nowhere do we find 
him encouraging the practice of the tonal art. This is all the more 
unaccountable, since, notwithstanding -the prophet's seeming indifference 
towards the art, he never denied his descent from a musical nation. For 
he tells us that when, like Moses, he withdrew into the solitude of the 
wilderness, there to hold communion with his God, he heard the sound, 
as it were, of a tinkling bell, and voices singing and calling to him, and 
on looking, behold, no one was nigh ! Afraid of losing his reason, he 
communicated this strange manifestation to his wife Chadidsha, and it was 
entirely owing to her ministering comfort that he took courage, and con- 
tinued to believe in .his Divine mission. The fact of Mohammed seeking 
the advice of his wife would seem to indicate that the social position of 
Arabian women was superior to that of other Oriental nations, and it 
breathes somewhat of that chivalrous spirit which we see now and then 
reflected in their melodies. 

Music, also, had no unimportant part assigned to it in the early w r ars of 
Mohammed. At the battle of Ohod, 625 A.D., in which the victorious 
Mohammed three times repulsed the Meccanites, the women, led by the 
poetess Hind, sang to the sound of the timbrel that the victor would be 
received with open arms. 

This song of the Arabian women recalls to our recollection Miriam's 
' ' Song of Victory " when Pharaoh's host was drowned in the Red Sea ; 
and a further parallel suggests itself in the means adopted by the Caliph 
Omar for summoning the faithful to prayer, who in lieu of the fifes of the 
Jews, and the bells and metal instruments of the early Christians, sub- 
stituted the song of the Muezzin. 

This substitution of the human voice for the sound of instruments 
betokens that keener appreciation of nature and that higher sense cf 
refinement which give us a clue to their tolerant bearing towards 
Jew and Gentile alike; it discloses a state of civilisation unapproached 
by the Christians in the eighth and ninth centuries. 


HE classical era of Greece has been called the (< adolescence 
of mankind." If an ideal conception of the universe be an 
especial character of the Spring of Life, then such a com- 
parison is not over-strained when applied to a people whose 
entire existence was subordinate to the radiant influence of 
Art, proceeding from their innate sense of ideality. This becomes all the 
more manifest when we compare the prevailing realistic tendencies of our 
age with the beautiful idealism of the ancient Greeks, who sought in all 
things to bring man into harmony with nature. It is, at the present day, 
almost impossible for us to enter into the feelings of a people that deeply 
sympathised with the being who had not seen the statue of Jupiter their 
masterpiece of sculpture and whose sense of beauty was so intense that it 
even warped the true course of justice, as the following story will testify. 
It is related that at the trial of Phryno, a celebrated beauty, Hyperides, the 
young advocate for the defence, produced an almost magical effect by lifting 
the veil from the face of the accused, and, by thus exposing her exceeding 
loveliness to the gaze of the assembled Court, secured her acquittal. We 
moderns can hardly conceive the idea of a people whose two greatest philoso- 
phers, in the midst of the most serious debates on the laws of their country, 
could speak of the tonal art as one of the chief elements of education, 
and denounce the introduction of presumably irrational scales as a national 
danger and misfortune. A people who, from the highest to the lowest, 
could follow the tragedies of ./Eschylus and Sophocles, and who recited at 
their national festivals the songs of the poet Homer, is a unique phenomenon ; 
nor is it probable that ever again in the history of the world shall we find a 


nation, even under the most favourable circumstances, so exceptionally 
gifted, and possessing such noble attributes. 

Schiller says, " The May of Life blooms but once ; " and if this be 
accepted as true of the individual, must it not apply with even greater 
force to a whole nation? Again, when the poet is dilating upon the 
charms of classical Greece, he yearns for the hallucination of the past, as 
only man can yearn, when thinking of the golden dreams of his youth, and 
of that time when the glories of the wide world were before him, or, as 
Goethe has it, (e Those days when the breath of heaven fell like a loving 
kiss upon the cheek of youth, filling his heart with an undefined craving, 
and impelling him to seek the seclusion of the forest/"* But the idealism of 
the Greeks is essentially different from that which the modern poet delights 
to picture. The Athenian could not feel, like Goethe^s Faust, " amidst 
thousands of scalding tears, the birth of a new world ." To the poetical 
Hellene such a subtle analysis of human feeling and so subjective a survey 
of surrounding nature would have seemed but weak sentimentality. The 
Hellene viewed the world from a purely objective standpoint, and it 
naturally followed that the aim of Greek art was to ennoble and idealise the 
real and terrestrial without aspiring to go beyond physical nature. Bearing 
in mind these characteristics, we shall the better understand the only 
position that it was possible for the tonal art to assume with such a people ; 
but in order to comprehend this the more fully, it will be necessary to give 
some explanation of the relation in which music stood to the other arts of 

The natural artistic sense of the Greek was, on the whole, of a plastic 
character : everything objective possessed a greater attraction for him 
than fantastic dreaming or re veilings in fanciful emotions. The actual 
world was more interesting than that of his imagination; the bright 
noonday sun more congenial than mystic twilight. That which was 
simple appealed to him more than that which was complex the clear, 
well-defined outline in nature more than the mysterious and abstruse. 
It cannot, therefore, surprise us that, under such circumstances, sculpture 
should have been the favoured and dominant art. Sculpture and music 
represented to the Greeks the two extremes in ' art, and therefore the 
influence of the former on he development of the latter could only have 
been of a very slight character, whereas the art of poetry, although, in 


point of completeness, inferior to sculpture only, was nevertheless strongly 
influenced by the plastic art. Epic poetry and the epic drama were the 
most admired, the lyric forming part of the poem only when describing 
the visible aspect of the beautiful. 

The architecture of the Hellenes, like their poetry, was brought under 
the sway of the plastic art. Their ancient temples harmonious buildings 
in themselves lose much of their attractiveness, if we think of them apart 
from their magnificent gable groups, panels, reliefs, and the colossal 
statues of their gods. This plastic character was all-important, the 
sacred element being largely eliminated. Thus were their temples but 
splendid erections for the exhibition of statues victoriously enthroned on 
the topmost points of the gable roofs. Were we even to disassociate the 
sculptural wonders of the interior from those of the exterior, the plastic 
would still be visible. Their pillars, too, were not like those of the Gothic 
churches in which the arched plinths seemed to grow in uninterrupted suc- 
cession one out of the other, but they stand in their plastic absolutism 
supporting the architrave the state resting as it were on the shoulders 
of man a comparison which is by no means inapplicable as the names of 
the various parts of the pillar, such as capital (head), socle (foot), and 
shaft (body), eminently remind one of man. The subsequent substitution 
of the Caryatides (figures of women dressed in long robes serving to sup- 
port the entablatures) for pillars, therefore, appears to me to be the most 
natural outcome of such a system. 

The influence of the plastic art on music, although, as we have stated, 
of a very slight nature, is nevertheless easily traceable in the prevalence 
of melodic outline and pointed rhythm, greater attention being devoted 
to these than to harmony. We shall, however, deal with this more 
completely when describing their music. 

The influence of sculpture upon painting was even still more strongly 
felt ; indeed, music appears to have occupied a position in relation to poetry 
analogous to that held by painting in reference to sculpture. The Hellenes 
proceeded from the mere colouring of statues (a system proving the subor- 
dinate position assigned to painting) to the execution of pictures. But 
even in the latter the design was the more important, the colour being laid 
on merely to give that apparent roundness of form and distribution of light 
and shade which helps to bring the contour into relief, the plastic side of 
I 2 


painting- being thus alone represented. The modern system of colouring 
was practically unknown to the Greeks, who were alike ignorant of shading 
and perspective. Possessing no knowledge of perspective, colouring,, fore- 
shortening, or chiaro-oscuro, as we understand those terms, and without 
any foreground, centre-distance, or background, it was naturally impossible 
for painting to occupy a position equal to that of the other arts of that 
period. Equally impossible was it for music to become an independent art 
prior to the discovery of the system which forms the basis of that employed 
in modern times. The Hellenes were content that painting should remain 
a mere slavish imitation of sculpture, and music the handmaid of poetry. 
And yet Greek art has continued to be the classical standard for all suc- 
ceeding ages. In architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, and music, the 
Romans were but imitators of the Greeks, so that one can only speak 
relatively of Roman art. It was not till the Romans had departed from 
the lines laid down by the Greeks that they could be said to possess an 
art of their own, and this secession was accomplished by substituting for 
ideality unmitigated realism, and for poetical intensity, external splendour 
and exuberant extravagance. 

Relatively speaking, those works of the Romans are of the greatest 
value which were erected to commemorate the success of their arms, such 
as their triumphal arches and pillars of victory. We should not, how- 
ever, lose sight of the fact that a people who earned for themselves the 
appellation of " followers of Greece " must necessarily have been endowed 
with a considerable amount of artistic aptitude and a keen appreciation for 
the achievements of their predecessors. 

When speaking of the Israelites, I said that they were the first to 
employ music and poetry as a means of establishing a personal relationship 
with the Godhead ; on the other hand, the Greeks cultivated art solely 
and entirely for itself. For if they, like other ancient civilised nations, 
originally employed art in the service of religion, yet at an early period 
of its development we see it quitting this narrow arena, and gaining thereby 
an importance and value out of all proportion to that achieved whilst it was 
subservient to other purposes. In proof of this we need but note the 
introduction from time to time of certain artistic productions of a purely 
secular type into their religious rites, and indeed the humorous and cheerful 
spirit with which special phases of their mythology are treated betoken the 


pursuit of art for art's sake. The Israelites were led through their religion 
to art and artistic expression; but the Greeks, on the contrary, evolved 
their religion from their art, for it was impossible that their gods could 
ever have attained that perfect reality of an ideal existence which charms 
us even now, without the assistance of Greek poetry and sculpture. We 
shall not, therefore, err in repeating what has been said of Homer and 
Hesiod, and, we may add, Phidias and Praxiteles, that they created the 
gods of the Greeks. 

Thus it was that the Israelites were the people that laid the foundation 
for the religion of all religions, and the Greeks the nation on whose artistic 
development our modern art is entirely based, and to which we must ever 
have recourse to correct eccentricities and to draw invigorating draughts of 
noble inspiration. And, furthermore, music and the lyric poetry of the 
Christian era sprang from the psalmody of the Israelites, and modern 
plastic art from ancient Hellenic tradition. The influence of both the 
ancient Jewish and Greek nations has left its indelible impress upon our 
modern culture, whilst that of the Hindoos, Chinese, and Egyptians cannot 
be said to have affected, to an appreciable extent, Western civilisation. 

For a thorough understanding of the music of the Greeks it is all- 
important to note their classification of the arts. Owing, no doubt, to 
their superior powers of discernment, they were the first people who placed 
music and poetry in a category by themselves apart from the plastic 
arts. This division was implicitly adhered to by the Romans, and, as 
regards the plastic art, obtained recognition not only in the fifteenth 
century, but has become a guiding principle in modern aesthetics. It is to 
Gluck that we are indebted for re-asserting and maintaining the close 
affinity which exists between music and poetry. The union of music and 
poetry effectuated by the Greeks had its drawbacks as well as its ad- 
vantages. Music was ever regarded by them as inferior to poetry; but 
though in practice it occupied a purely subordinate position, yet, on the 
other hand, in its ethical and sesthetical character it assumed a com- 
prehensiveness and universality denied to it in modern times. Tone was 
looked upon by the Greeks as a powerful moral element, calculated to 
awaken the purest harmony of the soul, and to inspire enthusiasm for 
noble and worthy deeds. It was considered capable of affording conso- 
lation and hope to the afflicted, and the graceful evolutions of the 


human body whilst engaged in gymnastics, dancing and mimicry seemed 
also to convey to the Greeks the idea of music. It spoke to them from out 
the sounds and rhythms of their wonderful language, and was closely asso- 
ciated by them with their philosophy, sorcery, mathematics, and astronomy. 
The history and theory of Greek music, which we are about to pass 
in review, will disclose to us the intimate connection that existed between 
the tonal art and the every-day life of the Hellene. It will, moreover, con- 
vince us at the same time that, notwithstanding its restricted sphere of 
action, it is after all such a powerful factor in the history of the tonal 
art (influencing as it did the whole of the Middle Ages, and especially the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) that without it the possibility of 
any further development might reasonably be doubted. 



THE musical history of the Greeks, if we include the mythological era, 
ranges over a period of nearly 1,300 years. We will divide it into 
two principal sections, viz., the mythological and historical periods. 

We may date the commencement of the former from the thirteenth 
century B.C. It is during this dark epoch that the Argonaut expe- 
dition is supposed to have taken place, and that Orpheus is said to have 
stimulated by his music the courage of the heroes. To this period belong 
also Amphion, the elder Olympus, and Chiron, the renowned Centaur, 
celebrated in myth as the musical instructor of Achilles-. 

In Orpheus the Greeks personified that entrancing power of music 
which nothing, as Shakspeare tells us, is too " stockish, hard, and full 
of rage " to resist. The wild beasts of the forest crouch at the feet of 
the enchanter, mountains and forests bow to his will, even the terrible 
rage of the Furies of Hades is calmed by his tuneful lyre and plaintive 
song, and they are constrained to grant to the suppliant free admittance 
within those awful gates where tarries his lost wife Eurydice. 

Another well-known myth symbolising the power of sound is that 



of Amphion. It attributes to this demi-god the erection of Thehes and 
Cadmea, who by his playing caused the rocks and stones to move 
spontaneously, suggesting- that magic charm of pure harmony which 
can unite into a perfect whole the most discordant and incongruous 
elements, and can also restore tranquillity 
to the human mind rent with discord 
and confusion. 

Kot only the demi-gods, but also the 
gods, of the Hellenes were intimately 
associated with the tonal art. The tute- 
lary deity of poetry and music was 
Phoebus-Apollo, and he alone was re- 
garded as the god capable of inspiring 
the singer's utterances. The lyre was 
on this account regarded as the attribute 
of Phoebus- Apollo, who was also celebrated 
as the leader of the nine muses, amongst 
whom were Euterpe, Erato, and Terpsi- 
chore (the muses of the tonal art and 
the dance), as well as Polyhymnia, the 

When referring to Apollo as the god 
of music he is always designated Apollo 
Citharcedus, or Apollo Musagetes, and 
never Phoebus the shining, nor Helios 
the sun-god. We must not forget, how- 
ever, the beautiful Homeric myth of the 

"Musical bow," in which the archer and Musagetes are one and the 
same ; Apollo wings death-dealing arrows, but the bow-string, which is 
doubled or trebled, suddenly produces sweet sounds that heal the wounds 
of the body, and give balm to the troubled conscience. Thus Apollo, 
the god of the murderous bow, also presided over that manly and ethical 
element in music which stimulates the warrior to deeds of daring, and 
supports the soul in its struggles with adversity. 

* The reputed inventor of the lyre was the god Hermes, who having stolen from 
Apollo certain bulls, was permitted to retain them only on resigning the lyre to the god 
of the muses. 

Fig. 80. Apollo Musagetes. 
(From the Statue in the Vatican.) 



One of the oldest traditions referring to Apollo as the god of the lyre 
is that of Marsyas, the celebrated flute-player,, who was flayed alive for 
presumptuously entering into a musical contest with the son of Latona. 

Apollo Citharoedus was regarded as the personification of that noble 
power of the tonal art able to purify and elevate the mind and to allay 
pain, whilst amongst all other Hellenic deities who were in any way 
connected with music, Dionysus (Bacchus) was looked upon as the repre- 
sentative of the mere sensuous power of tone. That distinctive kind of 

Fig. 81. Euterpe. 

Fig. 82. Erato. 
(From Statues in the Vatican.) 

Fig. 83. Terpsichore. 

music which incited man to reckless adventure, increased his love of 
life's pleasures, and drove him to maddening orgies, found in the songs 
dedicated to the god of wine its strongest expression. The Bacchanalian 
songs were always sung in chorus, and in their original form were songs 
of praise to Bacchus as the giver of the joys of life; subsequently they 
developed into the Dithyrambus. They were not, however, always 
restricted to the expression of unbridled joy and jubilant praise of the god 
as is generally supposed, but were occasionally transformed into touching 
laments or passionate outbursts of sorrow. For Dionysus was not only 
the giver of wine and its consequent joys, but by his sufferings and 


death which were celebrated in mystic rites dedicated to him he 
became alike the symbol of perishing nature and of the awakening 1 of 
spring. Hence arose the sacred tradition that Zagreus or lacchus (names 
by which Dionysus was known in the mysteries) had been torn asunder 
by the Titans the personifications of the forces of nature. 

A characteristic feature of the mysteries of Dionysus was the peculiar 
manner that the Centaurs, Silenus, and Satyrs were related to the god, 
and the way in which they were made to symbolise nature as the teeming 
mother of all existence, or Bacchus the friend and protector of the tiller 
of the soil, and the joys of pastoral life. The plastic art of the Greeks 
connected these mythological personages (that are not entirely devoid of 
humour) with Dionysus, as the personification of the power of sound, 
and sometimes with Bacchus, as the god of wine, to whom were dedicated 
rustic dances and songs accompanied upon the shepherd's pipe, crotali, 
and cymbals. 

Our illustration (Fig. 84), a copy of which is in the Louvre at Paris, 
affords us some notion of these mythical beings. They are represented in the 
picture with the ears of an animal, and a small tuft of hair growing upon 
the back, and one is seen playing a double-flute. Other illustrations repre- 
sent Centaurs and Satyrs with the pans-pipes and similar rustic instruments. 
The lyre also frequently formed one of the instruments employed at these 
Bacchanalian orgies. Fig 84 represents, besides the flute-player already 
mentioned, a female figure regulating her steps to the clapping of castanets 
(called by the Greeks crotali), also two maidens playing the lyre. The 
exciting effect of the music used at these orgies is strikingly represented in 
Fig. 85 by a female Centaur and a Bacchante. The Centaur strikes her 
lyre in transports of joy, and conjointly with the Bacchante sounds the 
Greek cymbal. 

The myth of the Sirens testifies to the entrancing power of tone 
so well known to the Greeks in a manner totally different from 
that of the unrestrained songs and dances which formed part of the 
mysteries of Bacchus. To them were ascribed those strange sounds which, 
seeming to rise from the billows of the raging sea, startled the mariner 
near the rocky shores of Hellas, or the islands of the ^Egean Sea. With 
the Grecian mermaids originated that love for the rippling, splashing, 
and roaring of the brook, stream, and river that delight experienced in 



contemplating the silver-crested waves 
dancing in the sun and breaking into 
ten thousand mirror-like sparkles, which 
is characteristic of all the Indo-Ger- 
manic nations. The legends of the 
German nymphs and sprites, the Pro- 
vencal Melusine, and other creations of 
modern Germanic poets, such as the 
" Daughters of the Rhine " and the 
" Loreley/' with their seductive songs, 
are all more or less indebted for their 
origin to the myth of the Sirens. 

Besides the well-known contest be- 
tween Apollo and Marsyas, there is 
also related in Grecian mythology an 
account of a tournament between the 
Thracian singer Thamyris and the nine 
muses, which clearly shows that the 
Greeks accredited not only Euterpe, 
Terpsichore, and Erato with musical 
skill, but also the other muses. One 
of the oldest traditions informs us that 
Cadmus, who came from Phoenicia 
about the year 1550 B.C., was wedded 
to the youthful Harmonia in the pre- 
sence of the gods. This would seem 
to indicate that Cecrops and Cadmus 
brought the arts and sciences from 
Egypt and Asia to Hellas, and that 
at this union the Samothracian mys- 
teries were indissolubly connected with 
the art of music. 

Amongst the heroic warriors who, 
in the twelfth century B.C., besieged 
Troy, the youthful Achilles is the only 
one referred to as a singer, and able 



to perform on stringed instruments. With the close of the great Doric 
migration, 1068 B.C., the first period of mythical history may be considered 
at an end. 

The second period, although treading to some extent on historical 
ground, is 'still enveloped in a mythological twilight. It seems to me 
that the commencement of this period may be best dated from the time 
when the Olympian, Pythian, and Nemeian games were first established, 
viz., about the year 1000 B.C., of which games music formed a part. 

The Olympian games, the founder of which is supposed to have been 
Hercules, and also those of Nemea, consisted almost exclusively of 
gymnastic displays, the 
songs of celebrated poets 
being sung only at ban- 
quets. The Pythian 
games, however, dedi- 
cated to the Pythian 
Apollo, were specially 
confined to musical con- 
tests, chiefly between 
Citharoedes and Auletes, 
in which the contending 
parties sang a festival 
hymn, accompanied on 
stringed instruments or 
flutes ; and although the prize was but a simple laurel wreath, the victor's 
praises were sounded throughout the whole of Greece. 

Homer, 950 B.C., proves himself an invaluable guide to the musical his- 
torian. Both the " Iliad " and the " Odyssey " contain materials under this 
head which enable us to draw almost positive conclusions. We are told by 
the greatest poet of the- Hellenes, who was himself regarded as a singer, 
that music in his time was capable of arousing the deepest emotions. 
This assertion would not astonish us at the present day, when music has 
reached such a high state of development, but taking into account the 
period at which it was made, it must be regarded as truly surprising. Thus 
Achilles, repining at his forced inactivity whilst on shipboard, and also 
at the loss of his beautiful Briseis, forgets his sorrow when striking the 

Fig. 85. Female Centaur and a Bacchante. 


golden strings of his lyre ; and thus it is that Nestor and Ulysses find 


" How he comforts his heart with the sound of the lyre, 
Fairly and cunningly arched, and adorned with a bridge of silver, 
Stimulating his courage and singing the deeds of the Heroes." * 

And when Penelope from her balcony heard " the heavenly song " of 
Phenrius, bewailing the return from Troy, she descended to her suitors, 
and discoursed with the bard. 

" Phemius ! much art thou skilled in moving our hearts by singing ; 
Telling the deeds of the heroes and great gods, famous in story ; 
E'en one of those do thou sing us, and cease from this song of our sorrow. 
Truly, thy strain awoke deep down in my heart lamentation ; 
To whom, more than all upon earth, are sorrow and mourning unending." f 

Whose heart is not moved, as only music can move it, at the story 
of Odysseus (Ulysses) weeping and covering his head whilst, unrecognised, 
he hears his own luckless adventures and the deeds of his brethren in 
arms related by the bard Demodocus? 

I have already pointed out the close relation that existed between the 
music and poetry of the ancient Greeks. In the Homeric time poet and 
musician were united in the same person, and we are able to recognise the 
poet in the " Iliad " and " Odyssey" (who was really more musician than poet) 
only by his playing on a stringed instrument, or, like Phemius or Demodocus, 
he is referred to as the one whose duty it was to amuse princes and heroes, 
after the pleasures of the table, by music both instrumental and vocal. 

Homer was probably the first who gave adequate expression to the 
deeper meaning underlying the myth of the Sirens. He describes their 
song as so seductive that the companions of Ulysses, fearful of exposing 
themselves to the enticing strains, stopped their ears with wax while passing 
these dangerous songstresses ; the hero himself meanwhile, eager to listen, 
being bound to the mast ere he ventures within hearing of the alluring 

A profound symbolism, characteristic of the Greek mind, is embodied in 
this fanciful and humorous story; for, as the eame poet elsewhere suggests, 
noble and manly music invigorates the spirit, strengthens wavering man, 
and incites him to great and worthy deeds; whereas false and sensuous 

" Iliad," ix. t " Odyssey," i. 



music excites and confuses, robs man of his self-control, till his passions 
overcome him as the waves overwhelmed the bewitched sailor who listened 
to the voice of the charmer. 

Before we leave the mythical age of Grecian music, we must mention 
the elder Olympus, who belongs to historical times only inasmuch that he 
is neither referred to as a god nor a demi-god, but always as a " musician. " 
By this we do not mean to say that he is entirely unconnected with mytho- 
logy, because we are told that the shepherds'* god taught Olympus the flute. 

Fig. 86. Ulysses Passing the Sirens. 
(From a Relief on a Marble Sarcophagus in the Museum at Florence.) 

With this exception, musical facts alone are related of him, and none of 
those wonderful legends that surround the stories of Orpheus and Amphion. 
The elder Olympus, who is believed to have lived during the twelfth 
century B.C., is of some importance in history, for it is to him that several 
Greek authors and some modern philologists ascribe the introduction into 
Grecian music of the so-called enharmonic system. Other archaeologists 
and musical historians dispute his claim, and attribute this innovation to 
the younger Olympus, who is supposed to have existed 500 years later. * 

* The question whether the elder or younger Olympus was the inventor of the enharmonic 
system still remains unsolved, and the period is so remote that any opinion upon the point 
must, at best, be purely conjectural. 



Be this as it may, one thing appears certain, that neither the elder 
nor the younger Olympus can be in any way connected with the later 
theory of enharmonics, which subsequently had such a baneful effect upon 

Greek music. Most probably both were 
allied to the older enharmonic system, 
which consisted in the omission of 
certain intervals of the diatonic scale, 
e.g., the third and seventh of the Doric 
scale, and hence arose melodies like the 
following (No. 88) . Concerning these, 
Aristoxenus and Plutarch said that 
under this system Olympus had pro- 
duced much that is beautiful ; and 
we cannot but admit that, for our 
ears> No. 88 has a certain impressive 

The second era in the history of 
Greek music belongs to the historical 
Fig. S7.-Pan Teaching Olympus to Play period, and may be said to date from 

the time when the Greeks began to 
count by Olympiads, viz., 766 B.C. I 
divide this epoch into four parts: (1) from the first Olympiad to the 
time of Terpander, 776 to 676 B.C. ; (2) from Terpander to Pythagoras, 
676580 B.C. ; (3) from Pythagoras to Aristoxenus, 580350 B.C. ; and 
(4) from Aristoxenus to Ptolemy, 350 B.C. to 161 A.D. 

the Syrinx. 
(From o Bas-relief in the Albani ViR<t at Borne.) 



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The development of the tonal art during the first two periods rested 
entirely with the Dorians, and it is to the earlier that the younger Olympus 
belongs. He is supposed to have been a contemporary of Midas, whose 



ears Apollo changed into those of an ass,, because at a musical contest 
between Pan and Apollo he adjudged the former the victor. Midas died 
697 B.C.* 

The younger Olympus is frequently spoken of as a celebrated Aulete- 
i.e., a flute-player. 

From the time of Tyrtaeus, 676 B.C., our historical information is of 
a more reliable nature. In the wars of the Spartans against the Messenians, 
Tyrtaeus performed the double role of warrior and bard, rousing the Spartan 
youth to acts of heroism by his passionate patriotic songs. He it was who 
first induced the Spartans to use the trumpet as a martial instrument, 
the strange and war- 
like sound of which 
put the attacking 
Messenians to flight. 

Terpander, however, 
gained greater ethical 
renown for the Lace- 
daemonians, among 
whom although a 
native of the isle of 
Lesbos he chiefly 
tmght. His greatest 
successes were probably 
achieved during the years 638 634 B.C., i.e., between the first and second 
Messenian wars. He founded the famous Lesbian school, which boasts of 
such names as Arion, Alcseus, and Sappho, among whom, although all prac- 
tised both branches of the art, Terpander and Arion must be especially 
regarded as musicians, and Alca3us and Sappho as poets. Terpander had 
very great influence in Sparta, and his name was long remembered by the 
grateful Lacedaemonians, chiefly because his melodies (known among the 
Greeks as Names) were found to exercise the highest moral effect upon 
the spirit and courage of the Spartan youth. It is from the history of 
this great master that we learn for the first time what an incomparable 
position music occupied in Grreek political life a position to which, even 

Fig. 89. Dance of Spartan Maidens, accompanied 
by Tympanun and Crotalus. 

* It will be noticed that the mythological influence is felt during the historical era, 
reaching even down to the time of Pythagoras. 



in these days of musical culture, it has never since attained. He relates 
that in consequence of the Messenian war, a large party in Sparta 
clamoured for a redistribution of land ; the tumult threatening- the very 
existence of the State, the Delphic oracle was appealed to for aid. The 
appeal was answered by 

" When Terpander's Cithar shall sound 
Contention in Sparta shall cease." 

The Lacedaemonians thereupon called in the assistance of Terpander, 
and by the power of his song, those that were enemies became friends, 
and the contending factions were reconciled. 

Fig. 90. Arion Riding through the Waves on a Dolphin. 
(From 071 Antique Fresco.) 

In addition to his own compositions, Terpander made a collection of 
Asiatic, Egyptian, ^Eolian, and Boeotian melodies, and set to music a great 
number of foreign poems. Owing to his exertions, Greek music acquired a 
firm basis, and he is also accredited with the invention of a new notation, 
and the enlargement of the cithar from four to seven strings.* 

In the year 620 B.C., when Sparta was visited with the plague, the 

"* Euclid states that Terpander celebrated the extension of the tetrachord to the heptachord 
in the following stanza : 

" The four-toned hymns now rejecting, 

And yearning for songs new and sweet, 
With seven strings softly vibrating, 
The lyre a-non shall we greet." 



people, sorely pressed, anxiously appealed to the bard Thaletas for help, 
who by his supplicatory hymns appeased the anger of the gods, whereupon 
the plague ceased. Thaletas, a native of Crete, introduced into Lacedae- 
monia both choruses and war-dances, which found great favour with the 
Spartan youths. Ten years later Alcman imported into Sparta choruses 
and dances for the " honey-voiced " maidens of the land, as well as the flute 
and the Lydian scale. But the Dorian mode remained the national one, 
and was always employed when singing the praises of their gods and of 
their native land, and when glorifying all that was noble and sublime. 

The story of Arion (620 B.C.), though belonging to the historical period, 
contains, nevertheless, much that is mythical. The fable runs that certain 
mariners, jealous of Arion's victory 
over the Citharoedes at Tarentum, 
captured him, carried him on board 
ship, and determined to put him 
to death. Arion, however, entreated 
and obtained permission from his 
would-be murderers to prepare him- 
self for death by song, and uttered 
sounds so sweet and affecting, that 
when the bard cast himself into the 
waters the dolphins, who meantime 
had surrounded the ship, bore him 
to his home. 

This fable, like that of Orpheus, 

is symbolic of the power of music over the animal creation. The historian 
Pausanias tells us that a representation of Arion's ride on the dolphins 
was wrought in metal, and that the Spartans, anxious to honour the 
bard's memory, placed his lyre amongst the stars, or, in other words, 
named a constellation after him. The power of music is glorified in the 
most beautiful manner in the cameo represented in Fig. 91, in which 
the child Eros is seen to subdue the wild king of the forest by his 
playing on the lyre.* 

* Goethe makes use of this myth, dressed in a modern garb, in his " Novelle," written 
in 1827. In both instances music is lauded as that heavenly power which enables even 
children to subdue the wildest arid most ferocious natures. 

Fig. 91. Eros Playing the Lyre, Seated on the 

Back of a Lion. 
(Prom an Onyx Cameo in the Museum at Florence.) 



Herodotus attributes to Arion the first Dithyrambus. It is most pro- 
bable that Bacchanalian music had its origin in the islands contiguous to 
Asia, where it sometimes assumed a passionate and exultant, at others a 
cheerful and jubilant character; and it was owing to such development 
that the Greeks accredited Arion with the invention of this wild, rugged 
poetry. The Dithyrambus plays an important part in the history of Greek 
music. It was the root out of which, by degrees, the Greek drama, and 
especially the tragedy with its stately inspired choruses and cheerful 
Satyric Drama, was evolved. The Satyric Drama commenced immediately 
after the final chorus, the latter being sung by men dressed as Satyrs, in 
honour of their divinities. 

Fig. 92. Female Dancers Striking the Lyre. 

The Song, as the expression of individual sentiment and as a pure love- 
ditty, is especially identified with Sappho (560 B.C.) . She is also the reputed 
inventor of the Barbiton,, a stringed instrument that was certainly unknown 
up to her time. It is extraordinary how many young maidens of noble 
birth were attracted by Sappho to Lesbos to be instructed by her in the 
arts of poetry, song, dance, deportment, and calisthenics. We can well 
imagine the pupils of this queenly poetess, lyre in hand, singing praises to 
Aphrodite, and accompanying their songs with graceful evolutions, as they 
are represented in our illustration (Fig. 92), taken from Hope's magnificent 
pictorial work, copied from an ancient Greek monument.* It is highly 
characteristic that each dancer holds a lyre with six strings a number rarely 

* " Costumes of the Ancients." By Thomas Hope. (London, 1812.) 



met with in Grecian stringed instruments of that date. This is all the 
more significant, as a relief in terra-cotta, found in the Isle of Melos, 
represents Sappho playing on a six-stringed lyre. Another picture on an 
antique vase (Fig. 93), whose antiquity is evidenced by its archaic style, 
depicts Sappho in a poetico-musical contest with her countryman Alcseus. 

Representations of ancient monuments and figures, like that of Fig. 
93, all point to the double meaning which the Greeks attached to the 
word " bard," especially in the time of 
Alca3us (580 B.C.). Although Alcjeus 
was distinguished as a poet, yet in our 
illustration he is shown accompanying 
himself on a lyre. The poet Anacreon 
also, who lived in the fifth century B.C., 
speaks fondly of accompanying him- 
self on the twenty-stringed Magadis, 
dancing to its strains and caressing it as 
his " darling child," or joyously singing 
to the sound of the Pectis. Hence the 
appellation of " lyric-poet," i.e., a bard 
who sung his own verses and accom- 
panied them on the lyre, had a far 
more accurate signification with the 
Hellenes than it has in our time. 

Up to the time of Sappho and her 
contemporaries, music and poetry floated 
across the ^Egean Sea from those happy 
isles Lesbos, Samos, Chios, and Melos, to the Greek continent. At the 
same time the Greek colonies of Southern Italy and Sicily, where the 
fine arts had already established themselves, must have exercised an 
influence over the art of the mother-country. It was to Arion, a native, 
as we have seen, of Lesbos, that Hellas was indebted for a partial union 
of the two schools, and the development of those Bacchanalian songs and 
dances forerunners of the chorus of the Greek drama which played 
so important a part in the subsequent history of the Greek tonal art. 
Contemporary with Arion was Tisias (640 556 B.C.), who, on account 
of his activity in the same field, was known as " Stesi-chorus ". i.e., 
J 2 

Fig. 93. Contest between Sappho 

and Alcseus. 
(From the Agrigentine Vaseinthe Munich Museum.) 


the director of the chorus. To him is ascribed the division of the chorus 
into three parts, called Strophe, Antistrophe, and Epode, an arrangement 
intimately connected with the dances of the chorus. 

Further, it is of great importance to note that he connects his choruses 
with stirring events, such as the Fall of Troy, the Labours of Hercules, and 
the Life of Orestes. From this it is but one short step to the powerful 
tragedies of vEschylus, in which the chorus occupies so prominent; a 

Meanwhile the musical theorists had not been idle. About the time of 
Lasos (590 B.C.), who is supposed to have arranged and ordered Dithyrambic 
contests, music began to be the subject of mathematical and philosophical 
speculation. The labours in this direction of Pythagoras (584 504 B.C.) 
influenced the theory of music not only during the classical period, but also 
throughout the Middle Ages until the time of the Renaissance. Born in 
the Isle of Samos, and supposed to be the son of a merchant, his thirst for 
knowledge drove him into Egypt, where he remained for twenty-two years, 
departing thence to Babylon, and finally taking up his abode at Crotona, in 
Southern Italy. The contributions of this remarkable man to the study 
of mathematics and philosophy scarcely require comment at our hands, 
nor will our limits allow us to make any adequate reference to his specu- 
lations. We are, therefore, compelled to confine ourselves to the briefest 
possible notice of those relating to the tonal art. Before adverting to 
them, however, it may be deemed necessary to cast a cursory glance at the 
theoretical systems in general use among the Hellenes. 

The foundation of all Greek scales was the tetrachord, the same four 
notes which formed the basis of all the scales of the Egyptians and Moham- 
medans, represented in Hellas by the four-stringed lyre. The Greek tetra- 
chord was at all times of a melodic and not of a harmonic nature. It did 
not consist of tonic, subdominant, dominant, and octave 1st, 4th, 5th, and 

8th but of a pure fourth, beginning invariably with a semitone ; the 
same, it will be remembered, that belonged to the people of the Nile Valley 
and of the East. 




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Or thus 

It was out of four such tetrachords that the Greeks formed their 
normal scale. It will be noticed that the first and second and the third 
and fourth tetrachords were united by a tone common to both groups of 
notes. The second and third tetrachords, however, were divided by a 
whole-tone, known as the " diazeuctic " interval. By prefacing the first 
tetrachord with a whole-tone they obtained a succession of fifteen notes. 

No. 94. Added Tone. Diazeuctic Interval of a "Whole Tone. 

3rd Tet. 4th Tet. 

1st Tet. 2nd Tet. 

p^V I I -J ^ r ^ 

r^ ^ ^ ^ 1 ^~ 


j ^ _^| 

, Added 

We must not confound this normal scale (which, be it noted, cor- 
responds to our descending A minor scale) with the pre-existing octave 
passage called by them "harmony" and "mode/' If, then, this normal 
scale represents the whole of the system of the Greeks, both in the manner 
of construction and as to extent, the " octave scales " were to them what 
our various keys are to us. Of these octave scales they originally pos- 
sessed but two or three, but subsequently they were increased to seven. 
Aristotle speaks of the " Dorian " and Phrygian as the oldest. Aristides 

No. 95. Dorian Scale. 




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v P II 

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and Plutarch refer, in addition to these, to the Lydian scale, which, it will 
be seen, corresponds in every respect to our modern scale of C major. 


No. 96. Lydian Scale. 


It is interesting to note the different emotional and ethical effects attri- 
buted by eminent men of Hellas to melodies com posed on the various lines 
of these simple scales. Thus the Spartan Ephori (teachers of schools) 
directed that the manly and serious Doric scale should be exclusively 
used in the education of youth, as it was considered to be the only one 
calculated to inspire respect for the law, obedience, courage, self-esteem, and 
independence. The Lydian scale, imported from Asia, was less highly 
esteemed. Plato considered that melodies founded upon it had a voluptuous, 
sensual, and enervating tendency, fitted at best only for the accompani- 
ment of orgies; and wished, therefore, wholly to prohibit its employment. 
Aristotle ascribed to the Phrygian scale the power of inspiration, to the 
Dorian the qualities of repose and dignity, and, in opposition to Plato, 
attributed to the Lydian scale power of awakening the love of modesty 
and purity. In addition to the three foregoing scales, four others were 
developed out of the old heptachord viz., the Hypolydian, ranging from 
F to F ; the Hypophrygian, from G to G ; Hypodorian, from A to A ; 
and the Mixolydian, from B to B, all of which would lie on the white 
keys of the modern piano. 

It is easy to see that this ancient tonal system was as simple as it was 
comprehensive. Its origin has been associated by some with Terpander, 
which would accord with the supposition that this celebrated master 
added three strings to the old four-stringed lyre ; and others have asso- 
ciated it with Polymnesus (700 B.C.). Although their tonal system was 
naturally capable of melodic expression, yet gradually it became so over- 
laden with theoretical subtleties, the results of false deductions, that for ages 
Greek theory has presented to the scientific investigator obstacles almost 
insurmountable. This chaotic confusion was caused by adding the so-called 
enharmonic and chromatic systems to the original seven diatonic scales, a 
result both valueless and detrimental to musical practice. And still more 
futile was this system rendered by a factitious, yet highly-plausible, recon- 
struction of their one changeable, normal octave, increasing their number of 
scales from seven to fifteen. 

We must not confound the enharmonic system of later times (which 


inserted quarter-tones within the tetrachord) with the diatonic-enharmonic 
system of Olympus. This insertion of quarter-tones may have been the 
result of Hellenic connection with the Orientals, who, as we already know, 
loved to glide from note to note by the smallest possible interval. It is, 
however, just as possible that the Hellenes copied the procedure from their 
Asiatic neighbours, a practice which would greatly harmonise with the 
Hellenic theory of dividing tones into infinitesimal portions. Seeing that 
the human voice is not capable of the execution of quarter-tones, and 
even instruments only approximately so, this system must be regarded as 
a lamentable failure. All melodic phrases built on this plan could only 
be of a disagreeably lachrymose character. Their chromatic scale was more 
in accord with our system, as it did not go beyond the division of whole- 
tones into semitones.* 

In nothing is the true musical instinct of the Greeks, notwithstanding 
theoretical aberrations, more clearly visible than in the small importance 
which their celebrated philosophers and tone theorists attached in practice 
to the chromatic or enharmonic scales. Thus it was prescribed that they 
should never be used separately, but always in conjunction with the 
diat ,nic scale. In the time of Aristides and Ptolemy, the employment of 

* It is easy to discriminate between the diatonic, enharmonic, and chromatic tonal systems 
of the Greeks, by the different divisions and groupings of tones within the tetrachord. The 
lowest and highest tones of the tetrachord in all three systems were the same, and were 
therefore called " immovable " tones; the intermediate tones, being changeable, were called 
"movable." The three lowest tones of their chromatic and enharmonic tetrachord consisted 
of a lesser interval than that between the third and fourth, because in the chromatic tetra- 

chord they were counted as a whole-tone, e.g., ( " " | > and in the enharmonic 


as a half -tone only, e.g., - . In the latter example BJf identical with 

our C must be regarded as the quarter-tone between B and C. And, further, the interval 
from the C8 to the highest tone of the chromatic scale consists of one tone and a half, 
whereas that of the enharmonic consists of two whole-tones, giving us for the chromatic 

3 , and for the enharmonic 




the enharmonic was entirely obsolete, and even the much earlier Aristoxenus 
bears witness of its gradual decease. Theon of Smyrna refers to the 
diatonic as being capable of both manly and intelligent expression ; the 
chromatic as plaintive and pathetic, and the enharmonic as artificial, 
mystical, and intelligible only to the experienced musician. Aristotle, and 
an anonymous writer mentioned by Bellerman, characterise the chromatic 
scale as voluptuous, insipid, and lachrymose. Aristo-xenus derisively says 
that it was only used by musicians brimful of mawkish sentimentality. 

To this same sestheticism may be ascribed the dissociation of the 
chromatic scale from the performance of tragedy, at a period long ante- 
rior to Aristoxenus, and it was not re-introduced till the time of Agathos 
(450 B.C.). As the enharmonic was comparatively easy of execution on the 
flute, it was on this account adopted in their sacred services. 

The melodic system of the Greeks, being based exclusively on the 
diatonic scale, was far more matured than the harmonic. Although 
they knew of combinations of simple intervals such as the octave, fifth, 
and fourth, called by them " Symphonia/'' yet this coupling of sounds 
must have been but sparingly used, otherwise their theorists would 
scarcely have omitted all reference thereto. And, furthermore, their 
classical writers make no mention of counterpoint, that is to say, of a 
melody accompanied throughout by a counter melody ; nor in the few speci- 
mens of Greek music still extant do we find any trace of this contrivance. 

We may therefore assume with some degree of certainty that part- 
singing, like the use of the Gothic arch in architecture and rhyme in 
poetry, is the outcome of Christianity. It is, however, possible that Greek 
melodies were not infrequently accompanied by sundry isolated chords on 
the lyre, and this might lead us to infer the occasional use of combinations 
of more than two notes. 

Greater attention was bestowed upon the rhythm of Greek music 
than upon harmony, by reason of the subordinate position which the 
latter occupied relatively to poetry. We cannot therefore be surprised 
that rhythm should have attained greater importance than melody; and 
this, no doubt, explains why Aristides likens the former to the manly 
or active, and the latter to the feminine or passive element in the tonal 
art. It is for this reason that the development of the music of the 
Hellenes was concomitant with the progressive development of their 


language. The aim of the musician was therefore no higher than that 
of supplying the language of the poet with melody and musical accents. 
He never strove to invest music with a dignity that should make it 
independent of poetry. 

After these few cursory remarks on some of the more prominent 
and characteristic features of Hellenic music, we will now return to 
consider how great was the influence which the labours of Pythagoras 
exercised over Greek tonal art. 

It is to Pythagoras that we are indebted for the discovery of a 
system representing the numerical relation of one tone to another. He 
started with the assumption that the harmony of the mighty universe 
was methodically arranged and governed by numerical laws. The master 
and his disciples conceived the theory that the whole world was governed 
by musical intervals founded upon mathematical rules. The Monochord 
of Pythagoras consisted of a square box with one string and movable 
bridges, certain points being indicated as the normal tones of the instru- 
ment. By means of this instrument he fixed the ratio of the tonic to 
the octave, as 1:2; the tonic to its fifth, as 2:3; the tonic to the 
fourth, as 3:4; and on account of the numerical simplicity of the ratio 
of these three intervals, and jtheir equally simple progression, declared 
them to be perfect musical consonances.* 

Even to this day the octave, fifth, and fourth are the fundamental 
notes of our modern tonal system, for regarding the octave as the tonic, 
the fifth and fourth are then relatively the upper and lower dominants. 
Important as may have been the adoption of this theory, it is never- 
theless to be regretted that music, according to the Pythagoreans, was 
to be governed by numerical laws, instead of by the truer instincts of 
the ear. By such an arbitrary method the third that most agreeable 
of all intervals was regarded as a dissonance; and this in no small 
degree prevented any development of harmony and part-writing, as we 
now understand those terms. 

The completion of the scale is considered by some to have been the 
work of Pythagoras, as it is recorded of him that he added an eighth string 

* The above ratios are based on the observations made by Pythagoras, viz., that a 
string shortened by one-half produces its octave, that frds will give the fifth, and fths the 


to the seven-stringed lyre of Terpander, and hence arose the name of " the 
octachord of Pythagoras/"' The scale of Terpander no doubt embraced the 
interval of an octave, but it was by omitting one of the intermediate tones. 
It was formed by combining two tetrachords, and since the highest note 
of the first was the lowest note of the second, it could only have contained 
seven tones, as the following example shows. 

No. 97 


It is assumed with some degree of certainty that the interval omitted 
by Terpander was the B, the fifth note of the Doric scale. * But 
Pythagoras, conscious of the deficiency, and unwilling to dispense with 
this perfect fifth, which was one of the pure consonances discovered by him, 
is supposed to have disunited the two tetrachords of Terpander, and, leaving 
the lower one in its original state, began his new tetrachord with the 

hitherto omitted B. 

NB. , 


If Pythagoras was in truth the perfecter of the scale, it would go far 
to prove that the renowned teacher's ear was not always governed by his 
mathematical predisposition, f Nothing could be more erroneous than to 
suppose that the researches of Pythagoras were . solely confined to the 
establishing of musical intervals according to the number of their vibra- 
tions, or to the placing of music on a scientific basis. " Number " and 
"measure" had for the great Hellenic philosopher beyond their actual a 
symbolic signification, thus expressing the ideal side of music, as well as 
for the first time connecting it with the most exact of all sciences 
mathematics. Just as number and measure were not in the eyes of the 

* A passage from Nicomachus would seem conclusively to prove this ; others, however, 
suppose that the C or D was the omitted note, and therefore the sixth or seventh of the Doric 

f The claim of Pythagoras is supported in a direct manner by Nicomachus (1, 9), and 
indirectly by Philolaus (vide Bockh, p. 65) ; but Lycaon of Samos is also mentioned as having 
eupplied the omission in Terpander' s scale. (Boethius de Musica, 1, 20.) 


Pythagoreans mere abstractions, for to them number was the symbol of the 
germ of all creation, and the laws of harmony the laws of nature, so a 
harmonious and well-directed life was deemed the end and aim of our 
mortal existence, and this they symbolised by a well-tuned lyre. They 
ascribed to music the power of controlling the passions, which they compared 
to a bottomless vessel, incapable of being filled. They firmly believed 
that sweet harmony and flowing melody alone were capable of restoring 
the even balance of a disturbed mind, and of renewing its harmonious 
relation with the world. Playing on the lyre, therefore, formed part of 
the daily exercises of the disciples of the renowned philosopher, and none 
dared seek his nightly couch without having first refreshed his soul at 
the fount of music, nor return to the duties of the day without having 
braced his energies with jubilant strains. Pythagoras is said to have 
commended the use of special melodies as antidotal to special passions, 
and, indeed, it is related of him that on a certain occasion he by a 
solemn air brought back to reason a youth who, maddened by love and 
jealousy, was about setting fire to his mistress's house. 

We cannot be surprised to find such traditions associated with the name 
of a man whose conception of the high moral power of the tonal art was 
so great, to whom number, tone, and the harmony of the universe were 
identical, and who, convinced of a mysterious relation between the seven 
notes of the scale and his seven planets, perceived in the solar system the 
" Music of the Spheres." This belief of Pythagoras so forcibly impressed 
Shakspeare that it moved him to the utterance of the grandest and noblest 
praise that poet ever bestowed on music. In this Pythagorean system we 
see carried to its final consequences the tendencies of the ancient Chinese, 
Hindoos, Egyptians, and Chaldseans, who connected music and its laws with, 
the universe and the orbits of the heavenly bodies. It is impossible to 
conceive a grander theory than that of the great Hellenic philosopher, who 
believed that the movements of the heavenly bodies and their distance from 
the world's centre were governed by musical and therefore mathematically 
determinate intervals, and that the planetary revolutions produced a 
harmony intelligible only to the initiated. 

It is improbable that we shall ever possess any definite knowledge of 
the musical practice of the Pythagoreans, as the search for any manuscripts 
containing specimens of their melodies has proved futile. We may, how- 



ever, obtain some notion of what this practice was by a study of one of 
Pindar's odes (52*2 B.C.), which has happily been preserved and deciphered. 
Pindar, the greatest lyric poet of Hellas, was a disciple of Pythagoras, and 
greatly celebrated as an inventor of melodies.* The rhythm of the follow- 
ing ode has been arranged by Westphal, the harmony by Carl Lang and 


No. 98. Un poco mosso. 


Mov - ffav Kriavov' rks d - Ko6 - ei fifv &d-<ris d-yXa -i- 




. \- 

Chorus of Citharodes. 



* Some writers have maintained that Pindar belonged to the school of Lasos. Be this as 
it may, the interval between Pythagoras and Pindar was hut a few years, and the influence of 
the Pythagoreans on Greek musical art was in his day at its zenith. We have it on no less an 
authority than Bockh that the above melody (No. 98) was composed by Pindar. 




oi - Sol 0*0 - fj.a - ffw, a - 777 - ffi - 

I i . J . J* i j J 

ird - 


j i *i i * *=* 

U-l I 




rev - 

- Ae - Ai 





iH-H-'M JU 



T <i*' KG - pav - 

trjSei' - vu - ts. 








The above ode moves chiefly in melodic sections, each not exceeding an 
interval of four tones, except in one instance. Although at the time this 
melody was written the seven -stringed lyre of Terpander and the eight- 
stringed lyre of Pythagoras were both known, yet it is evident that the 
Hellenes preferred to restrict their melodies to the limits of the old favourite 
tetrachord. For the rest, although Pindar was by birth an JEolian, his 
melody might be regarded as belonging to the Doric mode, both on account 
of its rhythmic and melodic character, and its serious and manly feeling. 



Viewed from a purely musical and formal standpoint, it is interesting in 
that it works out a clearly tuneful and rhythmical theme.* 

The second epoch of Greek music may be taken as dating from 
Pisistratus (550 527 B.C.), during the time of the Athenian ascendency. 
This celebrated autocrat and ruler of the chief city of Attica is accredited 
with having regulated on an increased scale of magnificence those grand 
Athenian processions held every four years in honour of Pallas Athene, 
the tutelary deity of Athens. He added to the existing gymnastic dis- 
plays, and horse and chariot races, 
contests of musicians, singers, and 
dancers, as well as rhapsodical 
recitations of portions of the 
"Iliad" and "Odyssey/' The 
illustration on the opposite page, 
copied from the frieze of the 
Parthenon, and representing a 
group of musicians, shows us that 
flute -players took part in the 
Athenian processions, known to 
the Hellenes by the name " Pana- 
thenaea." The illustration (Fig. 

99). copied from a celebrated frieze 
Fig. 99. Performers on the Lyre. _ _A... 

(From the Frieze of the Parthenon.) b 7 PhldiaS, prOVCS that CltharS 

were also used at the festivals of 

Minerva. Pisistratus was also looked upon as the special patron of the 
spring festivals held in honour of Dionysus. These festivals consisted of 
fantastic processions, celebrating Bacchus as the god of joy and regenerate 
nature; the Bacchante, both male and female, joyously shouting "Evce," 
and swinging their Thyrsus wands, entwined with ivy and the vine, 
or dancing to the sound of the Crotalum. Singing boys, gaily attired, 
joined in the processions, as also at intervals the singers of the Dithy- 

* I have partially altered the harmony of Lang although conceived with much refined 
feeling hy omitting the chord of the dominant seventh, and the tonic which had been added 
as a pedal-bass. It savoured too much of our modern tonal system, so totally opposed to 
that of the Hellenes. The repetition of the seventh could not be altogether avoided, owing 
to the cantusfirmm, still the melody must have gained greater simplicity by being restricted 
to the triad and its inversions, retaining thereby a closer affinity to the Doric mode. 



rambus, who accompanied their songs with pantomimic action. In the 
coarse of time speech took the place of song, and the accompanying gestures 
developed into dramatic action, the whole by these changes acquiring the 
characteristics of a stage play. 

In the works of the Attic poet Pratinas the singer of the Dithyrambus 
is distinguished from the early tragedian. Thespis appears to have been 
the first to absorb the Dithyrambus into the legitimate drama, which he 
performed on a rude stage erected in a waggon. Thus it happened that 
tragedy in Athens was origi- 
nally derived from the wor- 
ship of Bacchus. The dra- 
matic element in the Dithy- 
rambus, which hitherto had 
only been treated episodi- 
cally, came to be regarded 
as more and more essential. 
This by no means implies a 
subordination of the lyrical 
and musical element; but 
on the contrary, now that 
the Dithyrambus appeared 
in tragedy under the form 
of the all -important chorus, 
Greek music found a wider 

scope for the expression of exalted and joyful emotions, and a channel 
was opened up wherein it obtained its grandest and noblest effects. 

But in common with the plastic art, music and poetry, united in the 
chorus of the tragedy, only reached the highest stage of perfection in the 
time of Pericles (478429 B.C.). ^Eschylus (525456 B.C.), the oldest of 
the three great Hellenic dramatists of the era of Pericles, assigned to the 
chorus, and especially the musical part of the tragedy executed by them, a 
very prominent position, allotting to them space equal to that of the dialogue. 
Sometimes the chorus encroached directly upon the dramatic action e.g., 
in his Orestes trilogy. Sophocles (495 406 B.C.), predisposed in favour 
of the dramatic element, introduced into the tragedy a third actor, and 
thereby increasing the amount of dialogue, must of necessity have curtailed 

Fig. 99a. Performers on the Flute. 
(From, the Frieze of the Parthenon.) 


the part of the chorus. Euripides (480 406 B.C.) accepted the chorus as a 
sacred tradition compelling his submission. It was for this reason that he 
used it only when actually obliged for the elucidation of the story, some- 
times changing its dramatic character to that of a reflecting and moralising 
spectator. Such a change naturally could not remain inoperative in its 
influence on the musical treatment of the chorus, and we cannot but con- 
clude that the emotional utterances usual to the chorus gave way to 
those of a more measured and passive kind. 

The duty of providing the members of the chorus devolved upon the 
oldest and wealthiest of the Athenian families, and they were fired by the 
same ambition which stimulated the dramatists when competing for the 
national prize a wreath of ivy dedicated to Bacchus. The fortunate 
citizen who had provided the chorus for the successful drama was honoured 
by his name being engraved on a tablet recording the fact. 

The greatest poets of Hellas all interested themselves in training the 
chorus in the songs and dances, the latter of which naturally partook of a 
serious and solemn character in keeping with the sublimity of the drama ; 
nor is it at all improbable that the dramatists composed the music of the 
chorus, and at the same time arranged the order of the dances. They may 
besides have employed the well-known melodies of Terpander, Alcman, 
Hierax, &c. Each principal chorus was divided into strophe, antistrophe, 
and epode ; the strophe was sung whilst the chorus moved to the right, the 
antistrophe while moving to tho left, and the epode after these two evolu- 
tions were performed. This distribution, no doubt, greatly influenced the 
mupical form of the chorus. The " chorus " may have consisted of two 
semi-choirs that sang antiphonally during the first two parts of the drama, 
joining in one grand unison in the epode, or it may have been that they sang 
in unison throughout the performance. Supposing the latter conjecture to be 
the more correct, the division into three parts would then be marked by musical 
rests or refrains. Stage processions of great solemnity, and dramatic dances 
arranged for performance around an altar, were accompanied by choruses of 
an appropriate nature. Such processions and dances are to be found in the 
Antigone of Sophocles, the Bacchanalian chorus of which, in its allusion 
to Dionysus, significantly reminds one of the origin of the Greek drama.* 

* It is that chorus which has become so celebrated through Felix Mendelssohn's music to 
Antigone, and now known under the name of the < Bacchus chorus." Mendelssohn, with a 


There can be no doubt that the chorus was never suns 1 recitativo. as 

O ' 

all Greek authors always refer to the chorus as specially representing the 
melody, and distinguish between it and the musical recitation of the tragedy. 
The monologues and dialogues of the actors were generally treated in 
the recitalivo style. The dialogue was not spoken, as one would naturally 
imagine, but delivered in a half-singing manner; the sacred meaning 
attached to the tragedy excluding all ordinary speech, as savouring too 
much of every-day life. Such a method of performance becomes at once 
intelligible when we find a Greek philosopher justifying the use of the 
tetrachord upon the ground that its limits were not exceeded by the human 
voice in speech. The semi-musical recitations of the actors may, therefore, 
not improbably have been confined to four tones. In a few cases, how- 
ever, the recitation perhaps assumed a melodious character, and we may 
suppose that this occurred more frequently in lyrical monologues, or in the 
dialogue of the actors with the chorus. 

We know that the Greek tragedy, not excepting even those parts which 
were recited by the actors, was accompanied by instrumental music ; but 
it has not been satisfactorily ascertained what special class of instruments 
was used. Judging from the performances in the Hellenic temples, I 
should suppose that flutes and cithars were employed. The number of the 
chorus originally consisted of forty-five persons, but for general purposes 
^Eschylus reduced this to fifteen. In exceptional cases the poet employed 
an increased number of singers, and it is an ascertained fact that his terror- 
striking chorus of the " Furies " was sung by fifty persons. The corypheus 
preceded the chorus, and acted as precentor and conductor. Concerning the 
musical treatment of the text we have but little information. It seems, how- 
ever, to be beyond question that the music of the chorus was what might be 
termed Syllabic i.e., one tone allotted to every syllable, and not, as in our 
modern compositions, a whole tonal phrase or succession of notes to one 
syllable. This is, to some extent, an additional proof that the tonal art 
of the Hellenes was but the handmaid of poetry. The modern composer 
manipulates his metres and syllables according to his music, whereas the 
Hellene shaped his melody according to the words. 

refined artistic feeling for the metre of Greek poetry, has successfully reproduced its peculiar 
rhythm and accent. According to Donner's translation of the master- work of Sophocles, the 
festive song, beginning with the words u Thou god of many names," should be sung while the 
singers march in procession round the altar dedicated to Dionysus. 


It is interesting, and well worth remembering 1 , that on the day of 
the battle of Salamis, 20th September, 480 B.C., the poet JSschylus, 
in the full vigour of manhood, was numbered among the warriors that 
fought for the freedom of Hellas ; that Sophocles led the dance of the 
Athenian youths celebrating the victory of their countrymen ; and that 
Euripides first saw the light of day.* 

It was not long after the Persian wars, with which the three great 
dramatists were connected in so memorable a manner, that the music of 
Hellas gradually began to fall back from its high position. The first traces 
of this degeneration date from the close of the reign of Pericles. This is 
no doubt surprising, as the era of Pericles (444 429 B.C.) has always been 
glorified as that period at which Greek art arrived at its greatest excellence 
and refinement. Phidias, the greatest master of the plastic art that the 
world ever saw, was an intimate friend of Pericles, and under his directions 
were built the Parthenon and the Propyla?a. He added to the already 
splendid temples, works, the marvellous beauty of which enchants the modern 
world of art, and has immortalised the name of the renowned sculptor. 
The three great dramatists were also contemporaries of Pericles, and that 
noble ruler interested himself greatly in the success of the tonal art by 
erecting the Odeion for musical and poetical contests. It is, however, not 
to be denied that the tragedies of Euripides do not reach the sublime 
height of his predecessors ; he has neither the grandeur and deep passion of 
^Eschylus, nor the unaffected simplicity and beauty of Sophocles. Still, as 
Goethe says, if we find fault with him, we should do it on bended knee. 
We may naturally suppose, however, that the music of the chorus in his 
tragedies was also inferior to that of his celebrated contemporaries. 

Conclusions of a more decided nature may be drawn when we notice 
the increase in the number of virtuosi, whose predominant influence in the 
arts, and especially in that of music, must always be regarded as the first step 
in its downward course. In the year 456 B.C. Phrynis, the Citharoede, 
aroused great enthusiasm by his wonderful execution of scale passages, but 
did not escape the censure of some for apparently endeavouring to make 
digital skill the end and aim of musical art. He is also regarded as having 
added a ninth string to the eight-stringed lyre a contribution of much 

* The supposition that Euripides was born in the year 485 B.C. has of late been aban- 
doned in favour of the year 480 B.C. 


value to the performer, because he was thereby enabled to play in two keys 
without re-tuning his instrument. On arriving with his newly-constructed 
instrument in Sparta, where the heptachord of Terpander and the severe 
style of this master were highly respected, the Ephori cut two of the strings, 
as a lyre with nine strings was opposed to all their revered traditions. 

The same striving after effect, observable among the performers on the 
lyre and flute, now began to show itself amongst the singers. Instead of 
simple melodies, we find tunes embellished with all kinds of superfluous 
ornaments. This was carried to such a degree that Aristophanes, in his 
comedy The Clouds, makes Phrynis, a teacher of singing to the Athenian 
youth, the object of pitiless satire : 

" Had any one for sport essay'd such shakes and trills to practise, 
Like Phrynis now has introduced, neckhreaking skip and flourish, 
Of stripes he'd had a measure full, for holy art corrupting." 

Aristophanes states that, in the time of his forefathers, measured rhythm 
and simple melody were the fundamental rules of music. 

Timotheus the Elder (446 357 B.C.), who succeeded Phrynis, is 
accredited with having increased the seven strings of the lyre to eleven. 
The singer Moschus, a native of Agrigentum, became a great favourite, 
owing to his power t>f sustaining the sound of a note longer than any 
of his compeers. Thus arose a system of substituting artifice for art, 
and sensuous effect for heartfelt emotion. Hence this materialism 
naturally led to the invention of a number of new instruments, for poverty 
of inventive power ever seeks to gloss over its shortcomings with novel 
and startling tonal effects. 

Let us now turn our attention to the history of the mechanical con- 
struction of the musical instruments of the Hellenes, noticing how from 
very primitive beginnings they matured into elegant instruments, whose 
symmetrical form corresponded to the purity of their tone, and how their 
increasing excellence was concomitant upon the development of their music. 

Although archaeology has supplied us with the names of a vast number 
of Greek instruments, we have but little reliable information concerning 
their construction. It was this lack of knowledge which provoked Ambroses 
observation : " Would that the descriptions of Greek instruments were less 
ambiguous and inexact ! " We will, nevertheless, endeavour to furnish the 
reader with explanations as correct as existing details will allow. 
K 2 



The two principal and, indeed, the national instruments of the Hellenes 
were the lyre and flute, the former being more extensively used, because 
in a country where music was but the handmaid of poetry it permitted 
the simultaneous exercise of singing and playing. 

Both these instruments were originally introduced into Greece from 
Asia and Egypt; but subsequently, after undergoing an entire change, 
they came to be regarded as purely national instruments. This re- 
modelling will be at once apparent on referring to Fig. 34, an Egyptian 
lyre, and to Fig. 55, the Israelitic lyre called the Hasur, from which 

Fig. 100. (a) Plectrum ; (8) Cithar ; (c) Psalter, or Long Lyre ; (d) Chelys. 

one- cannot fail to trace the descent of the lyre of the Hellenes. The 
greater number of the stringed instruments of Hellas are all offshoots, 
either direct or indirect, of the lyre. This is at once apparent on com- 
paring the construction and mechanism of the various instruments. In 
genera], the resonance body consisted of a square box, from which two 
arms, more or less curved, projected symmetrically; these were connected 
at the upper end by a cross-bar, to which strings and pegs were affixed, 
the strings passing under a similar bar at the lower end. 

It is specially to be observed that the Greek stringed instruments 
were never played with a bow, while the non-employment of a finger- 
board, by means of which sounds other than that given by the vibration 
of the string itself are obtainable, left them with only as many tones as 


the instrument had strings. The performer used either the pointed 
plectrum, or struck the lyre with his fingers ; but when tones of different 
qualities were required the two mediums were employed alternately.* 

Several authors, betrayed into error by the many appellations of larger 
and smaller lyres, have fallaciously concluded that each name particularised 
a different instrument. I am confidently of opinion, however, that the 
Greeks possessed but two stringed instruments viz., the lyre and the 
cithar and that all others were but variations of these. The dissimilarity 
that exists between the lyre and cithar is more apparent than real.f 

The characteristic features of the lyre and cithar are clearly illustrated 
in Greek sculpture, statues, reliefs, vases, and mural paintings, representing 
the more ancient cithar with a cube-shaped resonance body, whilst that of 
the lyre has somewhat the oval appearance of the back of the tortoise. The 
arms of the cithar are but slightly curved, and are massive, broad, and 
square ; whilst those of the lyre are slender, rounded, and gracefully curved. 
The cithar would therefore appear to have been the heavier instrument, the 
lyre the more graceful; and we may not unreasonably suppose that the 
strings of the former were shorter than those of the latter. The instrument 
which Apollo Musagetes is generally represented as carrying would there- 
fore be the cithar (Fig. 80), the same as that of Terpsichore (Fig. 83). 
A cithar of a lighter kind is represented in Fig. 100, b. The square- 
shaped instrument held by the performer on the left in Fig. 99 must be 
regarded as belonging to the cithar family, whilst that held by the performer 
on the right hand has the shape of a lyre. This latter observation will also 
apply to the statue of Erato in the Vatican (Fig. 82) ; the instrument held 
by the goddess is not a cithar, but the more ancient lyre, whose primitive 
shape recalls the invention of the lyre viz., the connection of the horns of a 
goat, hart, or an ox, by means of a cross-bar, to which strings were affixed. 
I am also of opinion that the golden Phorminx often associated with Apollo 
is the older and heavier cithar referred to above. Gevaert considered that 
the cithar made greater demands on the dexterity of the performer than the 

* The neglect to use a finger-board, the advantages of which were recognised by the 
Egyptians, will surprise us the less when we remember that the Greeks never adopted the 
large and well-developed harp of their south-eastern neighbours. 

t The Hellenes, amongst themselves, distinguished between the lyre and cithar, their 
mythology attributing the invention of the former to Hermes, and of the latter to Apollo. 
A similar tradition in reference to the last- mentioned instrument is current in Egypt. 



lyre, basing his belief on the assumption that the performer on the cithar 
could produce not only the actual tone of each string, but also its harmonies. 
The cithar was carried by an embroidered band fastened over the right 
shoulder, enabling the performer to hold the instrument firmly against the 
breast or hip (Fig. 80) ; the lyre, on the- contrary, was always borne on the 
left arm of the performer, and played with the fingers of the right hand. 
The cithar appears to have been the favourite instrument of the virtuosi 
and bards ; the lyre,, being more adapted for general use, became the more 
popular. Notwithstanding certain variations- in the construction of these 

Fig. 101. (0) A Variety of the Large Lyre ; (l>) Trigon; (e) A Variety of the Large Lyre. 

instruments,, more than one Greek author has referred to their cognate 
nature. Thus Aristides Quintilianus speaks of the lyre as a (< manly " 
instrument, because of its deep, sonorous tones, and curiously adds that the 
cithar possesses almost the same qualities. Athenreus relates that when 
the Pythagorean Clinias sought to calm his anger, he had recourse to the 
soothing influence of music, ' ' and struck the strings of his lyre as if it had 
been a cithar." Euphorion may be said to have carried this relation still 
farther, as he states that all Hellenic stringed instruments belonged to one 
and the same family, the manner of performance only being different. 
Pausanias mentions that an altar at Olympia was dedicated to Hermes 
(as inventor of the lyre) and Apollo (as inventor of the cithar) ; and the 
plastic art represents Apollo sometimes bearing a cithar, and sometimes 
a lyre. 


Many of the oldest of the Hellenic stringed instruments e.g., the 
Barbiion and the Pectis, the favourite instruments of Sappho and Anacreon 
were discarded, after the Persian wars,, in favour of the lyre and cithar. 
The strings of both instruments consisted of the sinews of animals, the use 
of metal strings being unknown at that date. Smaller and more portable 
cithars, in addition to the large and unwieldy Phorminx, were in use, a 
lighter kind of lyre being substituted for the large lyre in the accompani- 
ment of the songs of the people. The large lyres (Fig. 101, a and c) were 
richly ornamented. The Chelys, sometimes represented with only five 
strings (Fig. 100, d), and the Psalter, or long lyre (Fig. 100, c), must be 
numbered with the lighter and smaller lyres ; the former instrument is 
repeatedly referred to as having been used in the accompaniment of the 
songs of women. We have already stated that the number of the strings 
of the lyre increased in proportion to the development of the tonal art. 
The oldest lyre, viz., that with three strings, was doubtless introduced into 
Greece from Egypt. On the case of an Egyptian mummy at Vienna the 
lyre of Anubis is represented with five strings. The six-stringed lyre is 
supposed to have been of Lesbian origin. The addition of three strings 
to the four-stringed lyre of Pythagoras is attributed to Terpander, who is 
also accredited with having completed the scale. This number of strings 
remained unchanged up to the time of Pericles, as the nine-stringed cithar 
of Phrynis was, as we have seen, held in disrepute. Shortly afterwards, 
however, owing to the influence of Theophrastus and Ion of Chios, the nine 
and ten stringed cithar came into general use, which in course of time gave 
place to lyres with twelve, fifteen, and even eighteen strings. 

Among the seven and eight stringed instruments, the use of which was 
condemned by Plato and Aristotle, were the Magadis and Trig on. The 
strings of the Magadis were tuned either in unison or in octaves ; an in- 
strument, therefore, of thirty strings would represent fifteen octave tones, 
which would considerably increase its tone-giving power. This practice was 
so irritating to the sensitive ear of the Hellene, that Aristotle satirically 
called it " magadising." The Trigon (Fig. 101, 6) was used by the 
Greeks in the place of a harp. Unlike the trigone harps of the Orient, it 
was provided with a pole, had eleven or thirteen strings, and was embel- 
lished according to the canon of Greek art. 

The wind instruments of the Greeks may be regarded as next in 



importance to those with strings, and amongst the former the flute stands 
pre-eminent, the trumpet and horn acquiring but a secondary importance. 
That the trumpeters Timaeus and Crates were the declared victors in the 
Olympian musical contests does not cast doubt upon the above assertion ; it 
proves no more than that Greek taste, at all events in the year 396 B.C., was 
no more refined than that of the people of the present day, whose enthusiasm 
is aroused by the performance of some popular melody on the cornet-a-piston. 

Fig. 102. Musical Instruments of the Greeks. 
(Copied from Monuments and Paintings in Herculaneum.) 

It is probable that the flute was in general use as far back as the eighth 
century B.C. The Greeks possessed the long-flute (called the Anlos, used 
especially by the virtuosi), a small flute, and the double-flute (Fig. 102, d) 
so often seen in the hands of Erato, and Euterpe. The Grecian flute should 
not be confounded with the one used in our modern orchestras. A super- 
ficial inspection of the former shows at once the difference, as, with its 
funnel-shaped tubes, it resembles the oboe or clarionet much more than 
the flute. The description of its tone by ancient writers leads us to con- 
jecture that it was both stronger and shriller than modern instruments of 
the same name. It probably partook of the nature of the two instruments 
above referred to, which accounts for some of our musical historians, versed 


in ancient lore, having 1 indiscriminately compared it, sometimes to the one 
and sometimes to the other. Fig. 102, a, represents the old Grecian shepherd 
or Pans-pipe, called the Syrinx, its seven reeds giving the seven notes of the 
scale. The Tympanum (hand-drum, Fig. 102, e) and the Cymhalum (cymbal, 
Fig. 102, c) were both used in the Bacchanalian orgies. The lyre-looking 
instrument (Fig. 102, b) is perhaps a variety of the more antiquated cithar. 

Instruments of an unusually large number of strings, like the trigon, 
were no doubt first used after the time of Phrynis and the elder Timotheus. 
All these (including the Sambuca, an invention ascribed to Ibycus) could 
not have been used exclusively for accompanying songs, which, under the 
peculiar development of Greek music, alone acquired artistic value. They 
must, therefore, have served to produce digital skill, and attest the ever- 
increasing popularity of the virtuosi. Still, music was reverenced by 
all the people as a high and sacred art, destined to call forth the noblest 
aspirations of man ; but as at this time there was a perceptible decrease 
in musical invention., both theorists and philosophers began seriously to 
speculate on the causes of such degeneration, and to consider music's true 
mission in relation to the moral education of the people and to the State. 
In so profound aaad serious a maianer was this accomplished, that the names 
of Plato and Aristotle must always be surrounded by a halo of glory in the 
history of the tonal art.* 

Plato deprecated the notion that music was intended solely to create 
cheerful and agreeable emotions, maintaining rather that it should in- 
culcate a love of all that is noble, and hatred of all that is mean, and 
that nothing could more strongly influence man's innermost feelings than 
melody and rhythm. Firmly convinced of this, he agreed with Damon of 
Athens, the musical tutor of Socrates, that the introduction of a new and 
presumably enervating scale would endanger the future of a whole nation, 
and that it was not possible to alter a key without shaking the very founda- 
tion of the State. Plato affirmed that music which ennobled the mind was 
of a far higher kind than that which merely appealed to the senses, and he 
strongly insisted that it was the paramount duty of the Legislature to 
suppress all music of an effeminate and lascivious character, and to en- 
courage only that which was pure and dignified ; that bold and stirring 
melodies were for men, gentle and soothing ones for women. From this it 
* See Plato's Republic, Timaeus, and Laws ; also Aristotle's Politics and Problems. 


is evident that music played a considerable part in the education of the 
Greek youth. The greatest care was also to be taken in the selection of 
instrumental music, because the absence of words rendered its signification 
doubtful, and it was difficult to foresee whether it would exercise upon the 
people a benign or baneful influence. Popular taste, being always tickled by 
sensuous and meretricious effects, was to be treated with deserved contempt. 

The opinions of Aristotle, though differing in detail, on the whole coin- 
cided with those of Plato. The latter would not permit the performance 
of any music devoid of a distinct moral purpose, whilst the former, more 
tolerant, pleaded for the admission of all that was elegant and graceful. 
With reference to the position which should be assigned to music for 
educational purposes, Aristotle agreed generally with Plato. That strength 
and vigour which gymnastics lent to the body, music was to impart to 
the soul, and in its relation to our mental culture was to foster what was 
noble and pleasing. Like exhilarating wine or refreshing sleep, music 
affords enjoyment and recreation; but its higher mission was to comfort 
and calm the troubled soul.* 

In their attitude towards the tonal art the public may be divided 
into two classes, the intellectual and the unreflecting. The music 
of the virtuoso found great favour with the latter class, who admired 
extravagant and dexterous manipulation no less than the mere jing- 
ling of sound, gratifying even to children, slaves, and animals. But 
to the intellectual, that only was true music which brought solace to 
the suffering heart, and inspired with patriotism the mind of youth. 
Aristotle also advised the exercise of discrimination in the choice of 
instrumental music, and also in the use of special instruments. He 
condemned all instruments difficult of execution, especially such as had 
many strings, like the trigon and cithar ; but he recommended the 
genuine Hellenic lyre, which, doubtless, consisted of eight strings. His 
depreciation of the flute appears very remarkable, because next to the 
cithar it was the chief instrument used in the temple service. In con- 
nection with this, Aristotle says that Pallas Athene did not, as is related 
of her, cast aside the flute because on one occasion, when playing upon 
it, she saw in a fountain the reflection of her distorted face, but really 
because the great goddess deemed it unworthy of her. He probably 
* See Aristotle's Politics, and Plato's Republic, Timseus, and Laws. 


objected to it on the ground that the flute had become the favourite 
instrument of virtuosi, and was used only for the sensuous pleasure that 
it afforded. Aristotle's dislike to the virtuosi was such that all 
exercises for acquiring- mere execution were considered by him as un- 
worthy of free men, and fit only for slaves. 

With a consideration of the works of Aristoxenus (350 B.C.), a pupil 
of Aristotle, we conclude our survey of the second epoch of the historical 
portion of Greek music. A fragment alone remains of his work 
on ' c Rhythm ; " but his " Elements of Harmony," in three volumes, 
have been preserved intact. In the latter work he is entirely opposed 
to the Pythagorean system of ratio. Bath philosophers start with the 
same theory as to the origin of sound; but whilst Pythagoras deduced 
everything from numerical ratio, Aristoxenus made the ear his sole guide. 
This led to the followers of Aristoxenus being called " Harmonists/'' and 
those of Pythagoras " Canonists." The leader of the " Harmonists," in 
his work on harmony, treats of sound, the scale, intervals, transposition, 
key, melody, and modulation.. He is also said to have increased the 
fifteen-stringed lyre to eighteen strings. 

Our third epoch coincides with the decline of Greek freedom under Philip 
of Macedon. The fratricidal Peloponesian war prepared the way for the 
extinction of liberty, and the decisive battle of Cherona3a (338 B.C.) dealt 
it its death-blow. The conqueror Philip was flattered and lauded not 
only by poets, artists, and courtiers, bat by musicians, who, degrading 
their sacred art to the mere expression of the sensuous, pressed them- 
selves into his train. There were, however, a few musicians who, even 
at that degenerated period, made earnest attempts to elevate the art, 
amongst whom must be mentioned Xenocrates (335 B.C.), who distin- 
guished himself in the cure of insanity by tonal effects. 

It is not till the time of Alexander the Great that we again find the 
tonal art closely connected with historical events. The beautiful and famed 
Attic dancer Thais is said to have carried a torch before the victorious 
army of Alexander, and to have given the signal for the burning of the 
city of Persepolis (331 B.C.). The celebrated bard Timotheus accompanied 
Alexander in all his wars. He joined with Thais in her endeavours to 
reclaim the monarch from his voluptuous indolence, and induced him to 
return to the path of glory. Handel, the Homer amongst our great tone- 


poets, has, in his Alexander's Feast, written 150 years ago, raised an 
imperishable monument to the Macedonian conqueror. Musical traditions 
equally important are associated with the marriage of Alexander and 
Roxaaie (328 B.C.), known, on account of her transcendent beauty, as the 
" Pearl of the East."" This union was regarded by both Greek and Oriental 
as the symbol of the union of Asia and Europe. Alexander also, regarding 
his marriage from this point of view, sent for the most celebrated of the 
Hellenic musicians to be present at the festivities, and besides the younger 
Timotheus, the musicians Athenodorus, Aristonimus, Cratinus, and Hera- 
clitus are mentioned as having accepted the royal invitation. 

Meanwhile, the ever-increasing influence of the virtuosi led to a 
proportionate decadence of the ideal in art, which was followed by a 
gradual decline of the morals of Greece. Whilst real art mourned, the 
meretricious gained an ascendancy and power almost incredible. The 
flautist Nicomachus (325 B.C.) was renowned as the possessor of the most 
valuable precious stones of Greece, which he had gained by his wonderful 
execution of florid passages. It even became the fashion to erect statues to 
living bards, virtuosi, dancers, and actors ; and it was in vain that Aristotle, 
Alexander's teacher, inveighed against the introduction of enervating keys 
and the supremacy of digital skill. Yet a still more extraordinary example 
of this one-sided adulation, exhibiting the effete taste of the rulers of nations, 
occurred in the year 300 B.C., when a temple was erected to the distinguished 
female flute-player Lamia, wherein was placed her statue, which, it is said, 
was regarded with a kind of divine veneration. She was also highly 
esteemed at the Court of the first Ptolemy, Ptolema3us Soter; and when her 
patron and protector was defeated by Demetrius at the battle of Salamis 
(306 B.C.), and she fell into the hands of the victor, she so captivated him 
by her marvellous beauty and enchanting flute-playing that all thoughts 
of conquest and the spoils of war were forgotten. 

In this era of vitiated taste, theory alone endeavoured to unravel the 
ethical and scientific problems cf music. In the year 260 B.C. (according to 
Gevaert 200 B.C.) the great mathematician Euclid made music the subject 
of investigation and speculation, and sixty years later we meet with the 
philosopher Alypius as a writer on the tonal art. * 

* As two philosophers of this name appear in the history of Greece, much divergence of 
opinion has arisen as to the exact time at which they flourished. It is supposed that one 


In a fragment of his " Tonal System " is contained the only information 
we possess respecting the musical notation of the Hellenes. He tells us 
that the first seven notes of the scale were named after the first seven letters 
of the alphabet, and that capitals were used to denote the lower, and small 
letters the higher octaves.* 

Diodorus, to whom we are indebted for interesting information con- 
cerning the oldest music of Egyptians and Greeks, is supposed to have 
flourished about the year 50 B.C. Plutarch (49 120 A.D.) has left us a 
musical treatise which the publisher Westphal entitles " The Archaic and 
Classical Periods of Greek Music/' The renowned astronomer Ptolemy 
(60 139 A.D.), born at Pelusium, wrote three books on harmony, in which 
he re-affirmed the relation of music to the harmony of the spheres ; and, 
on the whole, adopted a system somewhat between that of Pythagoras and 
Aristoxenus. Nicomachus (150 A.D.), an Arabian by birth, was a disciple 
of the Pythagorean school, and interested himself solely with the theoretical 
part of the tonal art. With the death of this philosopher, the musical 
history of the Greeks may be considered as closed, and, indeed, it is doubtful 
whether the works of some of these men should not be regarded as belong- 
ing to the musical history of the Romans under whose dominion they lived. 
Certain it is that the music of the Greeks, even in the Ptolemaean era, 
had begun to influence the tonal art of the Romans, and it is now time 
to consider the music of that people the then rulers of the world. 

Thus the Greeks enforce the lesson already taught us by more ancient 
races, that the development of the tonal art was most intimately connected 
with civilisation. So long as Greece rose in the scale, music became pro- 
portionately elevated ; but so soon as respect for law and morality became 
lax, music declined. But their theory, preserved by Rome and afterwards 
adopted by Christendom, formed the nucleus from which proceeded to a 
large extent all subsequent developments of the musical art. 

lived 200 years before, and the other ahout the same period after Christ. My opinion leans to 
those who believe the elder Alypius to have been the writer on music, adopting as I do, 
amongst conflicting chronological data, a middle course. Gevaert decided in favour of the 
younger Alypius, but significantly added a note of interrogation to his statement, thus 
200 A.D. ? 

* When in later times the seven scales were increased to fifteen, the first octave was known 
as the "large," the second as the "small," and to distinguish the others the initial letter of 
the third octave was underlined once, the fourth twice, &c. This system is now adopted by 
the Germans in their nomenclature of the scale. 




WHILST the Greeks maintained a marvellous equilibrium between idealism 
and realism, with the Romans the latter conception largely preponderated. 
Although the Romans were the immediate inheritors of Greek culture, this 
strong dissimilarity in their nature will account for the divergence in their 
philosophy and the different development of the arts amongst them. This 
contrast between the two peoples is apparent in their national religious 
beliefs, and in the metamorphosis undergone by the Hellenic deities trans- 
mitted to the Romans. Apollo, Aphrodite, and the Muses personifications 
of the Greek ideals of purity, of beauty and proportion, and of song were 
regarded by the Romans as vastly inferior to their god Mars. The Greeks 
themselves venerated their god of war, Ares, in a far less degree than 
did the Romans Mars. Again, we cannot regard Minerva as identical 
with Pallas Athene ; the former represents human reason in a much more 
realistic manner than Palla-s Athene, who symbolised less the rational than 
the mystical side of wisdom. We cannot be surprised that the strong 
veneration of the Greeks for the beautiful should have been with the 
Romans but a love for the real and visible ; nothing of the ideal had any 
weight with them. Greek heroism and patriotism became but mere ambi- 
tion for conquest and military glory. Genuineness in art was to the Greeks 
their highest delight, whereas the Romans were content with the semblance 
of it. Whilst the love of unfettered liberty was innate in the Greek, the 
Roman was satisfied with restricted freedom. 

If I have emphasised the baser characteristics of the ancient Latins, it 
was with no desire to detract from their undeniably grand qualities. The 
rather must one admire that noble sacrifice of self for the good of the 
commonweal, that far-reaching diplomacy, that energetic and indomitable 
perseverance which enabled Rome to subjugate so many nations, and to 
exercise over the conquered an influence that rendered them participators in 
an advanced culture and beneficent laws. By these means was cemented 
a harmonious fusion of races and nations unexampled in the history of the 
world. Their respect for the law, no less than their aptitude for governing, 


their frugality in camp-life, their power of organisation and combination, 
exhibited in the erection of bridges, aqueducts, baths, and amphitheatres, 
and, above all, their pure, homely virtue, bear immortal testimony to their 
greatness. The Roman woman occupied, both socially and legally, a higher 
status than her Hellenic sister. Even the State itself, as the Vestal service 
shows, enforced respect for female virtue and the domestic ties. But Rome, 
on the one hand, did not long remain true to the thoroughness and austerity 
of her fathers, and on the other, had she done so, these characteristics were 
in themselves insufficient to create a self-existing art. Still less than the 
other arts was music able to thrive on so unproductive and superficial a 
soil. In Roman life there was an absence of that mysterious and mystical 
element so congenial to the inventive power of the musician. The Romans 
lacked that ideality possessed by the Greeks in the highest degree, which 
gave to the tonal art, especially when united to poetry, such an elevated 
position in Greece. In Rome music was at best cultivated to increase 
the pleasures of life ; it served as pure ornamentation, and substituted for 
artistic feeling mere effect, which it attained not by intrinsic merit, but 
by brilliancy and display. Roman music contains certain elements which 
cannot be explained by the relation in which Roman stood to Greek art, but 
were innate in their character. 

We will now proceed from this general survey of Roman music to a 
consideration of it in detail. 

The oldest of their instruments were, no doubt, copied from the neigh- 
bouring Etruscans, a people far superior to the early Romans in general 
culture. This remarkable nation, which even up to the present day affords 
so much room for speculation, appears to have been the connecting link 
between Hellenic and Roman culture. The architectural and plastic works 
of the Etruscans, unquestionably of Pelasgian and Doric origin, no doubt 
influenced the corresponding arts of the Latins, and tradition informs us 
that the Etruscans united with them and the Sabines in erecting the city 
of the seven hills. 

The principal instrument of Etruria was the clouUe-flute. From repre- 
sentations depicted on Etruscan vases, it Would appear that this instrument 
was largely used in the celebration of their funeral rites. The extravagant 
attitudes of the dancers may be accounted for by the peculiar rhythm of 
the music and the primitive condition of the art of design. The double- 



flute was also employed to accompany festive dances, and also in their 
sacred services. It is highly probable that the Romans adopted it at a very 
early period, and also because their national instrument, the Tibia, appears 
to have been of two kinds, right and left handed, showing thereby its 
undeniable descent from the double-flute. 

The illustration below represents a youth playing on a double-flute, who, 
from his surroundings, may be accepted as the Etruscan Orpheus. The 
Roman flutes were somewhat similar to the Grecian, having the shape of 
the clarinet and the sound of the oboe. These were used at funerals, and a 
female mourner sung the plaintive chants (Neniae) accompanied by the 

Tibia. The flute was also used 
at feasts, at sacrifices, and in 
the songs of youths glorifying 
the deeds of their ancestors, 
and finally in the Saturnalia 
and in the Roman comedies. 
Cicero speaks of solo perform- 
ances on the flute as preludes 
and interludes to stage plays. 

The lyre was but little 
used by the Etruscans, al- 
though it may occasionally be 
seen on a few Etruscan vases 
and mural paintings, whilst the 

Romans used the cithar and lyre as largely as did the Greeks.* But as 
both these instruments were used only during the middle and the latter 
part of the Roman dominion, it would go to show that neither the cithar 
nor the lyre could have come from the Etruscans, who were acquainted 
with only the most primitive instruments, but were imported direct from 
the Grecian colonies of Southern Italy and Sicily. 

At one period cithar-playing was considered part of the education of 
maidens of noble birth. Later, however, when music became dissemi- 
nated among the multitude who used it only as a superficial amusement 
cithars and lyres, just as all other instruments, descended into the 

* One of these vases especially attracted my attention ; it depicted a winged spirit de- 
scending with a lyre in his hand, to receive which a woman is extending her arms. 

Fig. 103. Etruscan Mural Painting representing 
a Flute-Player. 



hands of slaves. Those who desired refined musical enjoyment, which we 
know was the case with many emperors, senators, and rich patricians, 
engaged performers from Greece another striking proof that music never 
became a national art with the Romans. 

As might have been anticipated amongst so warlike and aggressive a 
people, the Romans possessed an unusually large number of martial, and 
especially of wind, instruments. The chief instruments of this kind were 
tae Tuba and the Buccina. The formed, as our illustration (Fig. 105) show?, 
had somewhat the shape of the trumpet, although it was longer than that 
in present use. It gave the 
signal for the (t advance >} 
and the "attack/' The 
Euccina was in shape some- 
what like a horn, though 
proportionately much larger 
than the modern brass in- 
strument o that name. 
It curled round the body 
of the performer, passing 
under the left arm and over 
the head. Though of a 
more primitive nature, the 
Buccinas were less unwieldy 
than the huge horns now 
made for use in military 

The purpose of the Buccina seems to have been to direct the movement 
of troops detached from the camp. The immense boots which the buccina- 
tors are always seen wearing were doubtless rendered necessary from the 
nature of the ground, sometimes uneven and marshy, which they had to 
cross in order to arrive at a certain eminence from which their signals could 
be heard afar off. Both Tubas and Buccinas were used in triumphal pro- 
cessions, and, according to our illustration, conjointly ; but, judging from 
their simple construction, the sound could not have been anything more 
than the blare of a fanfare. 

In the cultivation of vocal music the Romans were far inferior to 

Fig. 104. Roman Lyres and Cithars. 
(Copied from Antique Reliefs and Mural Pain* ings.) 



the Greeks, and this was more the ease in choruses than in solos. As 
Latin music was not so closely connected with poetry as that of Greece, 
it lacked the inspiration necessary to its highest development. 

The want of a dignified drama, like that which so powerfully raised the 
Hellenic choral song, was an insuperable barrier to the successful develop- 
ment of Roman vocal music; for although the Romans adopted the Greek 

drama, it never flourished or 
took root amongst them. 

With a people so prac- 
tical and ambitious as the 
Romans there was no room 
for self-culture. The State 
that was charged with ad- 
ministering the government 
of the whole world could 
not be supposed to occupy 
itself with the individual 
and individual culture. The 
imported drama, therefore, 
could have had but a very 
limited circle of supporters. 
Imitations of the Greek 
tragedy, and these of a very 
diluted character, were pre- 
pared for the rich only, the 

Fig. 105. Roman Performers on the Tuba and Buccina. people being content with, 

(From Trajan's Pillar at Borne.) -, .-, 

ana enjoying, the coarse 
exhibitions of gladiatorial 

skill. With such degenerate tastes it was impossible for the drama 
ever to reach the sublime heights attained by Hellenic tragedy. 

The rise of the Latin comedy, and its peculiar development, was not 
without its influence on Roman music. The dialogue was probably 
executed in the sort of semi-recitative adopted by the Greeks, and the 
monologue as a complete recitative, the chorus, according to Diomedes, 
being entirely eliminated. 

The stimulating enthusiasm which Hellenic musicians received from 



Fig. 106. 
Roman Buccinator. 

their poetical brethren was entirely wanting to the Roman musician, the 

lyric poetry of Rome lacking that passionate expression of the heart 

which is so distinctive a feature of Greek poetry. 

The Romans have produced nothing that can be 

compared to the nobility of the odes of Pindar, or 

the enchanting simplicity of the songs of Sappho 

and Anacreon. Their lyric poetry was either 

too rhetorical and didactic, or it was so philo- 
sophical and contemplative as to be totally in- 
capable of stimulating the inventive powers of 

the musician. Even the odes of Horace are open 

to this observation, the peculiarity of their form, 

moreover, rendering them, in most instances, un- 

suited for musical treatment. 

In one respect only did Roman music receive 

from the national life of the people a somewhat 

similar impulse to that which aided Greek song, 

viz., from the Dionysiac rites which had been introduced into Rome by the 

Greek colonists from Southern Italy. Before these ceremonies degenerated 

into mere orgies, they were 
highly conducive to the 
advance of the tonal and 
plastic arts. As the Ro- 
man Dithyrambus was not, 
however, a national fes- 
tival, but only an imitation 
of the Greek ceremonies, 
it never had the same in- 
fluence over the music of 
the Latins <*3 over that 
of the Greeks. Although 
the Dionysiac festivals in 

Fig. 107. Antique Roman Vase, representing a Group of Greece degenerated, yet 
Musical Bacchant*. ^ degeneracy neyer as _ 

sumed so base a type as it did in more material Rome, where it sunk so 
low that the co-operation of art of any kind was entirely excluded. 
L 2 



The Feasts of Liber (Liberalia), the participators of which were 
only youths and maidens under the age of twenty, fell to such a low 
level of shamelessness that the Roman Consul, in the year 186 B.C., pub- 
lished a special edict prohibiting ariy further Bacchanalian performances. 
It is presumable, however, that the dance retained its character for 
propriety and refinement longer than the Dionysiac festivals, and that it 
was accompanied by both instrumental and vocal music. This supposition 
is supported not only by the general character of the Roman dance-songs, 
but also by the numerous Roman mural paintings, especially Pompeian, 

that depict female dancers in graceful at- 
titudes, sometimes accompanying themselves 
with Crotali, while their rhythmical move- 
ments lead to the inference that their actions 
were regulated by music. The decline of the 
dance may be dated from the decadence of 
Rome. It was then that the love for the 
beautiful began to give place to a craving 
for the sensual, so that even the dance of the 
Graces, as represented in our Pompeian illus- 
tration, degenerated into voluptuous move- 
ments and poses. But the decline of the 
dance in its rhythm and melody was not the 
only instance of decay of Roman culture ; it 
was most intimately connected with the con- 
tinual waning of the tonal art. Again, the 

dominating influence of the virtuosi, whose sway was far greater than 
that of their brethren in Greece, contributed largely to the general 
degeneration. This pernicious tendency, which in Greece was restricted 
to the circle of artists, affected patricians and sovereign, and demoralised 
the standard of true propriety. It is related that Nero, with womanly 
vanity, imitated Greek art by decorating himself with a bunch of pea- 
cock's feathers, and that his imitation was so forced and exaggerated 
that it can only be regarded as play-acting. He appeared also in person 
as a singer and citharoede before a public consisting of courtiers and de- 
pendants, who pretended to have been overcome with admiration in order 
to humour the emperor's personal vanity. 

Fig-. 108. Female Dancer. 
(From a Mural Painting at Pompeii.) 


To the musician Diodorus who must not be confounded with the 
historian of the same name mentioned in an earlier part of this work was 
assigned the duty of accompanying Nero on the harp. In the year 64 A.D. 
this overweening potentate, bent on receiving the adulation of the people, 
appeared publicly at Naples in the role of singer, actor, and charioteer. 
But the emperor's triumphal musical journey through Greece and other 
subjugated provinces was even more characteristic of his excessive vanity. 
The astute Greeks, knowing the danger of displeasing the powerful 
monarch (whose veneration for Greek art was, as they well knew, all 
assumed), did not forget to load him with flattery and the usual rewards of 
success. The hollow sham with which the tyrant simulated a love for art 
becomes painfully revolting. At one time he is weeping at the recital of 
some touching verse, at another shedding tears of joy at his supposed in- 
comparable voice, and yet in the same breath, as it were, issuing man- 
dates condemning to untold torture or instant execution such nobles as 
had not blindly acquiesced in his unmanly cruelties. This inhuman 
monster, when in the closing moments of his life he fled from the 
Praetorians to the country-house of one of his freedmen, did not bewail 
his misdeeds, but sorrowed more for the world that was about to lose 
so great an artist. 

The whole artistic life of Rome, especially the musical portion, was 
reduced to the vainest subjectivity. That which elevates the artist to 
the priesthood of his craft, viz., boundless self-denial and devotion to his 
ethical and aesthetic mission, was entirely ignored. The sentimental hypo- 
crisy of the tyrannical Nero is, however, not the only instance in the 
history of Roman civilisation of a despotic emperor affecting a love for 
art. It is related of Caligula, the successor of Nero, that in the dead 
of the night he summoned to his palace certain of his courtiers. In 
obedience to the royal command, they presented themselves before him in 
fear and trembling, expecting instant execution. The malignant emperor, 
after having gloated over the terror-stricken condition of his dependants, 
informed them that he had merely summoned them into his presence 
that they might witness his representation of a dramatic scene, accom- 
panied by song and flute. 

Heliogabalus, with similar affectation, appeared before his Court as singer, 
dancer, tuba-player, and actor; and Nero, during the burning of Rome, is 


well known to have sung the " Destruction of Troy," accompanying himself 
on the cithar. Indeed, we may well say that at this period there appears 
to have been a general tendency towards the debasement of art. The 
admiration of the Greeks for Phrynis, Timotheus, or Lamia was, after 
all, based on a love for art, although that art had somewhat degenerated ; 
but it is a question whether the Roman virtuosi were not admired more 
for their personal blandishments and enchantments than for their skilful 
performances. In place of one celebrated female flautist as in Greece, 
Rome possessed whole groups of them. The story of the degenerate and 
degraded citharoedes and female flautists is a dark page in the history of 
Rome. The decay of the tonal art was so complete, its practice falling 
into the hands of adventurous strangers and women who enticed by their 
charms, that, by the direction of the State, it was expunged from the 
curriculum of Roman education, the State arguing that an art practised 
by slaves and the despised classes of society was not befitting to the 
educational training of youthful patricians. Thus, all too soon, were 
fulfilled the prophetic words of Aristotle, that an art having for its object 
the mere display of digital skill and sensuous attraction was unbecoming 
to the dignity of man, and fit only for slaves. 

The musical theory of the Romans based itself, like all their higher 
mental attainments, on that of the Greeks, but its development was 
more independent and bore less traces of its origin than did the Roman 
tragedy and epic. Thus, about the year 50 A.D., the Romans introduced 
the major third into their diatonic scale as a consonance, the Greeks 
having hitherto excluded it as a dissonance. The scale as it now stood 
may be regarded as the forerunner of our diatonic scale. The names of 
Vitruvius, Macrobius, and Boethius should be mentioned as writers on 
the theory and practice of the tonal art. Vitruvius, in his work on archi- 
tecture (16 13 B.C.), frequently refers to music. Macrobius, who lived 
sometime during the first half of the fifth century A.D., discourses at 
length on musical theory, and proves himself a devoted disciple of the 
philosophic Pythagoras. Boethius, the date of whose birth is unknown, but 
who died by the executioner's hand, at Pavia, 524 A.D., left behind him a 
work named " De Musica/' containing the old Greek scales of Ptolemy, 
which were destined to form the foundation of the future music of the 
Christian Church. 


It is curious to observe with what esteem the Greeks, who were 
naturally a plastic-loving people, regarded that most unplastic of all 
arts music. They assigned to it a position in the State, and made it 
one of the chief elements of education. 

The Romans, on the other hand, cultivated it only to the extent of 
affording pleasure to the hearer, and hence we cannot be surprised that 
it finally became the handmaid of luxurious and licentious enjoyment. 
Whereas the Hellenes possessed a serious musical school, and revered 
their artists, the Latins had their virtuosi and dilettanti, and when 
Roman culture fell generally from its pinnacle of excellence, music sunk 
lower than all the other arts ; in fact, so low that the degeneracy of the 
virtuosi might alone afford an historical explanation for the decay cf 
classical Rome. 

The heathen and classical ages were now effete, and if humanity 
was to regain its vital energy and march onward in the path of pro 
gress, a new culture with other aims and other theories of life was 
necessary to it. 



T the time when proud 
Rome was the centre of 
all civilisation, and Caesar 
reigned supreme over the 
whole world, bringing 

treasures from East and West to the 
shores of the Tiber, the one purpose of 
life seemed to be the draining of the 
cup of pleasure to its last dregs ; power, 
influence, and the acquisition of riches 
appearing to be the sole ambition of 
humanity. It was then that, in the far 
east of the Roman Empire, a Babe of 


lowly origin was born who was to become the moral Regenerator of 
humanity. The rulers of that time did not dream that this Child, cradled 
in a manger and reared amongst shepherds, was a Divine Power before 
whom the pomp and glory of the world should vanish, and the pillars 
and gables of the palaces of mighty Caesar should decay and become as 
dust. Nor did suffering humanity dream that this Child was to be the 
Saviour of the world, and the One destined by the Highest to cry, " Come 
unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

No one will deny the lofty mission of the classical age. Its influence 
is easily distinguishable even to this day, and will always be proportionate 
to our love for the ideal and beautiful. But we cannot forget that the 
Classical Age, even in its highest state of perfection, ignored the rights of 
humanity as we understand them now, and Greek art could flourish only 
where the rigid barrier of class distinction strongly and firmly divided 
master from slave. Iphigenia, perhaps the most ideal feminine per- 
sonification of classical antiquity, says, in the tragedy of Euripides, 

" 'Tis just and right that Greek o'er barbarians should reign, 
For bondage is the fate of barbarians. Hellenes alone are free " 

the poet intending to convey the idea that all people who were not Greeks 
by birth were barbarians and born to slavery. And yet the very existence 
of such slaves was necessary to enable the Hellenes two thousand five 
hundred years ago to arrive at that aesthetic and artistic state which is the 
admiration of to-day. 

Far less even than in Greece were the rights of the individual re- 
spected in Rome. There class prejudices reigned supreme. The con- 
victions of the most noble were only respected in so far that they 
harmonised with those of the sovereign. The individual, as such, was 
nothing; his social position, everything. The repression of all ideality, 
and the reign of an exaggerated reality, dismantled the world of its 
art divinities, and left the people with their Imperator, the spurious 
representative of the true and noble, as their idol, before whose image 
they bowed the knee in humble subjection. It was at this time that 
the voice of the Divine Master was heard proclaiming that before His 
Father in heaven all men were equal, and that He came with a 
message of love and peace to the poor, the weak, and oppressed, 


which was of far greater value than all the riches that this world could 
give. Joyfully did suffering humanity hear the Master cry : " Fear not 
them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul." " What 
shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own 
soul?-" "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are they 
which are persecuted for righteousness' sake,, for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven/-' " In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good 
cheer, I have overcome the world/'' These words were to the slavish, 
hypocritical world as the softening influence of the spring upon the icy 
bands of winter. They laid bare the egotism and narrow materialism 
of those who believed only what their senses perceived, and infused 
hope and comfort -into the breast of him in whom the divine spark of 
love and truth was not quite extinguished. The message of salvation 
was equally powerful in its influence on art generally as on individual 
life. Art's ideal was to be no longer the embodiment of material 
matter : henceforth the invisible and immaterial were to be its goal. This 
was also the substance of the new religion. It preached God as a Spirit, 
and that "they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in 
truth/' And no less profound were the words, " Except a man be 
born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God." 

Again and again is man directed to search his heart, for out of 
the deepest and most hidden sources of the soul should arise all that is 
pure and noble. And this was also to be the relation of the regenerated art 
to the divinity. The artist of- the classical age selected his models from 
the phenomena of physical nature, imitating them with beautifying effect ; 
the new-born art was to search for forms from the depths of the heart ; to 
realise the divine and to embody it with transcendental beauty. Again, 
" My kingdom is not of this world ; " " Blessed are they that have not 
seen and yet have believed ; " and " That which is born of the Spirit 
is spirit-" all these utterances were to proclaim a new era of truth in 
art. The plastic art of the classical era became in the Middle Ages 
but the handmaid of architecture. How could the plastic art delineate 
with propriety subjects that were the outcome of inward revelations and 
visions, or represent the Ascension, or floating forms of saints and angels ? 
But the noblest task of the new era in art was to fittingly represent the 


Crucified One. The expression of the face, as reflecting the soul's 
emotions, was the first consideration; the beauty of the form was of 
secondary importance, and was developed at a much later period. 

Painting was an art infinitely more in harmony than any other with 
the spirit of the Middle Ages, and naturally it developed entirely new 
features. If beauty of form had been the highest ambition of the classical 
age, and if the plastic art had been unable to depict that soul-felt expression 
of the eye which painting alone could delineate, the sublime subject of 
Christianity now opened to the limner a boundless field for the expression 
of the internal workings of the mind. Not until the Middle Ages did 
painting become an independent art such as sculpture had been with the 
Greeks. Thus the expressive glance of the eye mirror of the soul and 
'the facial expression, by which is implied a faithful rendering of the 
heart's emotions, became the chief objects of the Christian painter's skill, 
whilst natural phenomena and mere outward beauty of form were counted 
as of secondary importance. It can be said with certain truth that it 
was not till the time of the Renaissance that the beauty of the form 
again began to receive its due share of attention. 

The longing for the life beyond the grave, so prevalent in the mediaeval 
ages, could nowhere find a deeper and truer expression than in the tonal 
art. Music, far more than painting, was capable of entering into the depths 
of the soul and expressing that craving for the unknown. And although 
music was the youngest of the arts, and was now but in its embryo state, 
the works of the composers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
and even down to the time of Sebastian Bach, were all the outgrowth of 
this religious era. Again, the introduction of harmony (polyphony), by 
which means music could alone become free and emancipate itself from 
the other arts, was also owing to the influence of Christianity.* Ancient 
melody, i.e., homophony, without counterpoint, may not unfitly be likened 
to bare ar.d colourless outline in painting. Part-writing the outgrowth of 

* Our author does not appear to take cognisance of the fact that harmony seems to 
have arisen in the first instance among the northern tribes of Europe, and it was not for 
several centuries after they had freely adopted it for secular purposes that it was admitted 
into the music of the Church. For this reason it is open to more than a doubt whether 
the introduction of harmony can truly be attributed to the influence of Christianity. At 
the same time it must be conceded that when once it had found its proper place in the 
music of the Church, it rendered that music more worthy of its exalted mission than it 
had ever been before. F. A. G. 0. 


deep and sincere Christian feeling enabled the musician to produce those 
effects of light and shade which may be compared to systematic arrange- 
ment and grouping in the plastic art, and to perspective, shading, and colour in 
painting. Thus the Christian religion increased in a wonderful manner the 
means of expression in music. Only now did the tonal art become capable of 
expressing those secret promptings of the heart which, as lightning flashes, 
speak to man of the existence of a Deity, and, independently of his wJl, 
force themselves upon him with an intensity and truthfulness that no language 
can adequately convey nor logic prove. Music had reached a power of ex- 
pressing the souPs language to which no other art can attain, and feeling 
that now it was fulfilling its true mission, it boldly winged its flight heaven- 
ward, and showed itself as the only art capable of fitly representing the 
principles of the new religion. Although painting for some time during 
the mediaeval period had been the most adequate means of artistic expression 
of early Christianity, yet whatever Giotto, Orcagna, Fiesole, or Bartolomeo 
had given to the world as faithful pictures of the feelings of their time, were 
not only reached but surpassed by the choruses of Palestrina, Allegri, and 
Gabrieli, and by those plaintive laments for the Crucified by Lotti, Schiitz, 
and Sebastian Bach, the solemn masses and anthems of the latter touching 
the heart to the quick. It was music, the most immaterial of arts, that 
was to depict the glories of the new home beyond the stars as the life to 
succeed this earthly existence, which had hitherto been regarded as the 
termination of all being. Only flowing melodies based on noble harmonies 
could adequately express that anxious craving for the world beyond, which 
to some extent architecture had endeavoured to portray by enthroning on the 
topmost point of the Gothic cathedral the cross of Calvary, yearning, as it 
were, to enter the heavens. 

Nothing could more explicitly testify to the diametrical opposition 
between classical and old Christian culture than this striving for the 
heavenly, a feature so peculiarly characteristic of the progress of mediaeval 
art. There was no connecting link between the mysterious longing of the 
Christian nations and the realism of the people of antiquity. Whilst the 
motto of the latter was " Think ye how to live," that of the Christians 
was ' ' Think ye how to die ; " and the tonal art, imbued with the devotional 
spirit, gave to the world the affecting " De Profundis," the " Miserere/' 
and the " Requiem." But it must not be supposed from such compositions 


that Christians had nothing but the picture of a charnel-house and cemetery 
always before them. They also chanted in hope of eternal happiness their 
" Gloria in Excelsis " and " Te Deum Laudamus." Nor was there wanting 
a certain robust gaiety and a joyful love of life in their existence, entirely 
in keeping with the poet's words, " The wheel of life revolves merrily, when 
religion is safely rooted in the heart/' The general tendency was to regard 
this earthly sojourn as but a stage in the heavenly journey, and the present 
was valued only so far that it helped men to prepare for the future. 

It must not be supposed, however, that it was entirely owing to this 
striving for the new life that music and the other arts were impelled into 
new courses ; another important element and this was especially the case 
with the tonal art was the changed and elevated social status of woman. 
For Christianity was not confined to one people, class, or sex. The Saviour 
directed His Apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations and all decrees 
of men, and in place of separated peoples and religions, to teach the 
acceptable doctrine of " one fold under one Shepherd/' Before God all- 
men and women alike were equal. The women with whom Jesus talked 
showed themselves to be as deserving of the love of the Heavenly Father, 
and of the appellation, " Children of God/' as men. 

To the changed status of the Christian woman was chiefly owing the 
growth of Romanticism in the Middle Ages, which was as unknown to the 
nations of antiquity as the yearning for the eternal. The reverential love 
for the Virgin Mary, as well as the more material but still highly 
idealised affection for an earthly wife, found in the Christian people 
its most chaste and tender expression. Tacitus speaks of the high respect 
which the Teutons paid to women, and how they were reverenced as 
priestesses and prophetesses, their word in war and peace being listened 
to with awe, the intuitive perception characteristic of woman seeming 
to the Teuton as something akin to divine inspiration. Nowhere did 
that Romanticism which grew out of Christianity find a more congenial 
soil than in mediaeval Germany. For, however beautiful and fantastic 
the romanticism of the Romance nations (from whom the word Roman- 
ticism originated), it was mere elegant superficiality when compared to 
the deeply-felt romanticism of the Teutons, invested with all the 
power and earnestness of innermost life so strongly distinctive of that 
nation ; and nothing will better exemplify this than a comparison of the 


song-s and poems of Wolfram of Eschenbach and Walther of Vogelweidfc 
on the one hand, with the lays of the Prove^al troubadours on the other. 

The " Romantic/" like the idealism of the Christian, found in the tonal 
art its most sympathetic means of expression, for romanticism,, especially in 
its purest form, is, like religious feeling, deeply associated with the mys- 
terious, the unrevealed, and that ecstatic fervour which is the intimate 
companion of deep enthusiasm. It is within this emotional sphere that 
music is best able to achieve its noblest successes. Traditions embracing 
such scenes as the choir of angels chanting to the shepherds of Bethlehem, 
of martyrs and prophets singing the message of peace from the burning 
stake, could not fail to induce a general state of mental culture which 
should powerfully aid in the development of the art of music in a manner, 
as successful as it was unanticipated. The Romantic character of the 
Christian era at once manifested itself in the adoption of a new tutelary 
deity for the tonal art. This was to be no longer the skilled archer, but 
a woman the devout St. Cecilia a martyr to the new faith, at whose 
tomb, in the catacombs of Rome (as depicted in the arabesque in the intro- 
duction of thjs book), the early Christians met together in secret, and 
chanted their hymns of sorrow in memory of her who had sealed her 
faith with her life. 



HE sacred songs and chants of the first Christians and earliest 
Christian communities were without doubt closely con- 
nected with existing tradition, and it is not without some 
significance that we point to the well-known traditions of 
the Hebrews and Greeks, because these nations occupied, 
as we have seen, the foremost place in the art of music in the classical and 
pre-classical eras. Although the melodies of the early Christians have not 
been preserved, yet our assumption is none the less probable. The hymn 
of praise chanted by the Lord and His disciples at the Last Supper 
(Matt. xxvi. 30, Mark xiv. 26) may have been some ancient Hebraic 
melody, and those psalms, the chanting of which was warmly recommended 
by the Apostles (see Ephes. v. 19, Col. iii. 16, James v. 13), probably com- 
prised the whole liturgical treasure of the oldest Christian community of 
Jerusalem, and were preserved for the use of future generations of their 
co-religionists. Whether the method of singing adopted by the Christians 
varied from or closely resembled that of the old Hebrews, it is impossible 
to determine authoritatively. The accounts preserved to us seem to indicate 
that they were sung between precentor and congregation, or antiphonally 
between two half-choirs. Besides, the Israelites, at a period subsequent to 
the death of Christ, and even those that dwelt beyond Judsean territory, 
continued to sing in the old traditional style. Thus the Jewish historian 
Philo mentions that an Israelitish sect, existing about the middle of the 


first century A.D., at Alexandria, known as the Therapeutae, chanted their 
psalms and hymns antiphonally by choirs of men and women. Such 
traditions, coming- direct from the Holy Land, were highly respected by the 
disciples of the new faith, and it would seem as if the existing Christian 
antiphonal chant had been gradually adopted by the Western Christian 
nations. St. Augustine (354 430 A.D.) says, " One cannot sing to the 
Lord unless he hath God in his heart, and no worthier songs could be 
found than the inspired Psalms of David. " 

The strong influence exercised by Greek traditions on the earliest for- 
mation of the music of the Western nations, we leave for future investigation. 
How was it possible to imagine that the sources of the Christian hymnology 
would have been other than those from which Christian architecture and 
painting descended ? Liibke has justly remarked that " early Christianity 
assumed the garb of the decaying Grecian art." Much of the ecclesiastical 
architecture of the Western Christians was based upon a plan similar to 
that of the basilica, the Roman chamber of justice. Paintings of this 
period represent Christ as Orpheus, and as the "Good Shepherd/' the 
prototype of the latter being the Greek Hermes, represented as bearing 
on his shoulders a wether.* 

In the same way the tonal art of the new epoch, adopting from sheer 
necessity Hebrew, Greek, and Roman traditions, selected and preserved 
those which laid the foundation of a newer and higher development of the 
future. It may be here remarked that the acceptation of the traditions 
of one generation by another points to the continuity of human progress 
and the unbroken sequence of the powers of the human mind;, from the 
earliest times to the present. 

The antiphonal method of chanting the Psalms is attributed to Flavian 
and Diodorus, who introduced it into the Church at Antioch, 350 A.D.f A 
still earlier reference on the same subject is that concerning St. Ignatius 
(49 107 A.D.), who is said to have been a disciple of the Apostle St. John, 
and to have died the death of a martyr at Rome. The sacred historian 

* Orpheus, by his sweet sounds, subdued the demoniacal and animal creation, and Christ, 
by His loving gentleness, overcame the like evil passions in man. The wether borne by 
Hermes symbolises the lost sheep saved from destruction in the parable of Christ. Numerou? 
paintings both of Orpheus and Hermes are to be found in the catacombs of the earliest 
Christian communities of Naples and Rome. 

f See " Historia Ecclesiastica," by Theodoret. 


Socrates relates that Ignatius in a vision saw the heavens opened, and 
heard heavenly choirs praising the Holy Trinity in alternate chants, a 
method which so impressed the holy father that he caused it to be 
introduced into the Church at Antioch."* 

It is on record that about the year 180 A.D., the Christian communities 
of Alexandria accompanied the chant of the Last Supper with the sound of 
the flute ; but, notwithstanding this, there can be no doubt that origi- 
nally the music of the divine service was everywhere entirely of a vocal 
nature. The persecution and oppression which so cruelly followed the early 
Christians must, as a matter of caution, have led to a very restricted 
use of instruments at their secret prayer meetings. The disciples of the 
new faith were compelled to seek refuge in secluded forests and subter- 
ranean passages, and there bewail in secresy the deaths of the martyred. 
Music was not only a solace to them in their loneliness, but a sustaining 
and comforting power in their dying struggles. To illustrate this I would 
refer to the persecutions which the Christians suffered under Nero (64 A.D.) 
and Diocletian (284 A.D.),f in which, by the will of their merciless enemies, 
the followers of Christ were crucified, burned at the stake, or cast defenceless 
into the arena to be torn asunder by wild beasts. And yet even with the 
fear of such horrible and violent deaths before their eyes, their ecstatic- 
enthusiasm upheld them to the last, and with holy rapture they chanted the 
praise of their new faith. Nor were such songs of victory in vain. The heart 
of many a persecutor was touched, and he became a convert to the faith of the 
Cross. The ashes of the martyred were piously collected and deposited in 
recesses hollowed in the rocks, and the number of such recesses in the 
Roman catacombs, which at that time served as Christian burial-places, 
is surprising. As time wore on, these cavities were enlarged and used 
by the brethren as chapels, and here they fortified themselves with sacred 
song and girded on their armour for new conquests. The author has 

* " Vidit aliquando angelos hymnis alternatim decantatis sanctam Trinitatem celebrantes, 
et canendi rationem, quara in ilia visione animadverterat, ecclesise Antiochenae tradidit " 
(Socrates, " Historia Ecclesiastica," liber vi., cap. 8). 

f* Questionable as the declamation and song of Nero at the time of the burning of 
Rome may be it is probably one of the many anecdotes which crept into the history of 
the emperor through Suetonius and other Roman authors there can scarcely be any 
doubt that the Roman populace accused Nero of having fired Rome, and that to clear 
himself of such an accusation he shifted the guilt on to the Christians, who were thereupon 
persecuted with redoubled vigour. 



trodden one of these subterraneous chambers, lit only by the aid of the 
torch, and pointed out as the tomb of the martyred St. Cecilia, concern- 
ing whose historical and musical importance the most conflicting views 
exist at the present day. After carefully weighing all the evidence now 
attainable, the author is of opinion that there can no longer be any doubt 

that St. Cecilia was really 
an historical being, de- 
scended from the noble 
Roman family Csecilia, 
and that she died the 
death of a martyr during 
the reign of Marcus 
Aurelius (177 A.D.). In 
a fresco-painting of the 
seventh century, over the 
martyr's tomb, she is 
depicted wearing a richly- 
embroidered stola, the 
distinctive dress of the 
patrician families of old 
Rome. The circumstances 
of her death may have 
been somewhat distorted, 
but that she died a wit- 
ness to the truth seems 
incontestable. It is re- 

Fig. 109. St. Cecilia Playing on the Organ. 
(From the Celebrated Painting by Carlo Dolce, in tlie Dresden Gallery. ) 

lated that just before her death she became the means of converting to 
Christianity both her bridegroom Valerianus and also her judge. On the 
eve of her martyrdom she was told that, on account of her noble descent, 
her life would be spared if she would recant and sacrifice to her former 
gods, and only on her firm refusal was the grim sentence carried out. It 
is on record, and by St. Augustine's own confession, that he was con- 
verted to Christianity solely by the divine power of music ; and it appears 
to me but a fair deduction, considering the close relation in which 
St. Cecilia stood to that art, notwithstanding the doubt that has of 
late been cast upon such connection, that her conversion was analogous 


(From the Original Picture biy DomenicTwio, in the Louvre, at Paris.) 


to that of Augustine. Remembering with what tenacity the Catholic 
religion clings to ancient tradition, and that it has ever regarded St. Cecilia 
as the patron saint of music, and also bearing in mind the intimate con- 
nection which has existed between music and Christianity, I am strongly 
led to the conclusion that a soul filled with enthusiasm for music must 
naturally have turned towards the doctrines of the new faith. It is no 
doubt an error to attribute to her the invention of the organ, for the 
primary principles of the construction of that instrument were- already 
known in the East, but doubtless the dissemination of Christianity 
materially aided its general development. 

The reverential affection for St. Cecilia was second only to that held 
for St. Sixtus ; and on account of the immense number of pilgrims that 
flocked to the tomb of the martyred heroine, the exit of the crypt was 
enlarged into a spacious vestibule, that served as a chapel, from which 
resounded hymns of praise in honour of the saintly virgin. The custom 
among the disciples of the new faith of singing hymns to the glory of 
Christ, in times even anterior to this, is referred to by Pliny the Younger 
(62 110 A.D.). He tells us that on special feast days the Christians 
came together before sunrise to sing hymns of praise to Christ, anti- 
phonal song predominating a method of chanting distinctly showing the 
influence of Hebraic tradition. Music so thoroughly harmonised with 
the spirit of the new era that its praises were sung by mighty intellects 
in poetic pictures and parables. Thus Montanus, the reputed founder of 
the sect of the Montanists, in the second century A.D., exclaims, "I lie 
here like a lyre that is played by a divine plectrum;" and St. Clement, 
who died in the year 220 A.D., Presbyter of the Alexandrian Church, 
compares the Logos i.e.) divine reason to a singer chanting eternal har- 
mony and reconciling the antagonistic world to peace and concord. 

The notion of a Catholic Church, as the representative of a universal 
and all-embracing faith, first began to dawn in the second century, and 
with it arose the desire to create a service of Church song which should 
readily adapt itself to all parts of the liturgy. Tertulian, Origen, and 
Clement of Alexandria relate many important facts in reference to certain 
attempts made in this direction in the third century. But the successful 
propagation of one common hymnology that should be acceptable to the 
whole Christian community, scattered as it was over many lands and 
M 2 


embracing- many different nationalities, could only be achieved under 
the auspices of a Christian emperor like Constantine (306 337 A.D.), and 
his pious mother Helena. Both erected magnificent churches, the structure 
and size of which led to the introduction of new methods in chanting the 
psalms. The simple, unaffected chant of the congregations of olden times 
would not have harmonised with the architectural embellishments of the 
new church. Choirs of trained singers were therefore instituted, the exist- 
ence of which strongly denned the line of demarcation between laymen 
and clerics, and although the hymns of the congregation were not entirely 
excluded, henceforth they were treated as of secondary importance only. 
At the Council of Laodicea (367 A.D.) it was prescribed, for the first time, 
that only those duly appointed should sing in Christian churches. 

At the beginning of the fourth century, Pope Sylvester founded a 
school for singers at Rome. The production of original hymns by 
which, no doubt, is intended a strain of poetry independent of all tradi- 
tion dates from the time of the partition of the Roman Empire (395 A.D.) . 
The first writers of the new hymns of whom we have any authentic infor- 
mation were Bishop Hierotheus of the Greek Church, and Hilary, Bishop 
of Poitiers (355 A.D.). About the year 400 A.D. a certain section of the 
clergy strenuously opposed the introduction of any new melody into the 
Church service, but by the determined attitude of SS. Chrysostom and 
Cyprian their unfettered admission was secured. In the middle of the 
fourth century the reaction against the Christian faith, especially among 
the higher classes, was so strong that it threatened any further develop- 
ment of Church music; and, indeed, if the Emperor Julian the Apostate 
(361 363 A.D.) had reigned but a short time longer, the future of Church 
song would have been seriously endangered. He boldly advocated the 
use of the pompous heathen ritual, to the exclusion of the prevailing 
simple and pure Christian service. But St. Jerome, anxious to uphold 
his Master's faith, warned his congregation against the degraded and 
wanton songs of the heathens, further anathematising the shamelessness of 
the songs of the Roman drama. With exuberant earnestness the good 
father insisted that a Christian maiden should be entirely ignorant of the 
flute and lyre, and therefore of the debased purposes for which they were 
employed. But notwithstanding these laudable efforts to keep the Chris- 
tian service free from all pernicious influences, and the anxious desire to 


improve, elevate, and mould it into one common form for the whole of the 
Christian Church, it was not till the time of St. Ambrose (333 397 A.D.) 
that that success was achieved which established the song of Christianity 
on a basis so firm that it lasted unchanged for 200 years. 

St. Ambrose founded his system on that of the ancient Greeks, adopting 
the Phrygian (D to D), Dorian (E to E), Hypolydian (F to F), and Hypo- 
phrygian (G to G) scales, which were henceforth known as the " Ambrosian " 
or " authentic " scales. It should be specially noticed that the Lydian 
scale corresponding to our C major was omitted, and although so natural 
to modern system, was apparently very antagonistic to the musical feeling 
of that period.* 

Although we are not in the possession of any melodies based on the 
Ambrosian scales, still, if we bear in mind the efforts which St. Ambrose 
made to connect his system with that of the Greeks, we may with some 
reason conclude that his melodies were chiefly of a metrical character i.e., 
based on the syllabic contents of the text. This supposition is supported 
by the opinion of the celebrated monk Guido of Arezzo, who flourished in 
the eleventh century. The Ambrosian chant was probably of a declamatory 
character, the tone, as with the Greeks, being entirely subordinated to the 
words ; and it is not at all unlikely that certain of those responses of the 
modern Roman Catholic Church which are more often recited than sung, 
have grown out of the Ambrosian system. 

Whatever the true chant may have been, and however much the tone 
was fettered by the words, it is historically proved that it was capable 
of grand and soul-stirring effects. St. Augustine, when referring to the 
Christian chant, which he first heard at Milan, exclaimed, " O my God ! 
when the sweet voice of the congregation broke upon mine ear, how I 
wept over Thy hymns of praise. The sound poured into mine ears, and 
Thy truth entered my heart. Then glowed within me the spirit of 
devotion ; tears poured forth, and I rejoiced/'' f The chant which so 
powerfully affected St. Augustine was one that had been introduced by 
St. Ambrose into Milan at the time he was bishop of that city, in the 

* Our author here differs from the usual system of nomenclature adopted in the Church. 
The correct names would be Dorian (D to D), Phrygian (E to E), Lydian (F to F), and 
Mixolydian (G to G). F. A. G. O. 

f " Confessions of St. Augustine," ix. 2. 


year 386 A.D. And when Augustine subsequently became Bishop of Hippo, 
in North Africa, he carried this soul-stirring chant with him to the scene 
of his new labours. 

The first attempts at Christian musical notation were called Neumes, 
and date from the fourth century, at a time when the Ambrosian chant was 
disseminated throughout the whole of Christendom, although St. Ambrose 
himself had no knowledge whatever of the Neume notation. The 
reputed originator of this system was St. Ephraim, a monk living at 
the end of the fourth century, who is said to have entirely renounced 
the letter notation of the Greeks, substituting in its place the following 
fourteen characters : 

~ *f ) f I ^ /-" + j ^ ff 11 

The Neume system was originally and chiefly employed to notify to 
the priest the inflections and modulations required in the declamation 
of the Gospel, Epistle, and Psalms. The rapidity with which these signs 
could be noted led to the practice .of uniting two or more, and so a kind 
of stenographic system was evolved.* The above signs of St. Ephraim 
are not unlike the characters of modern short-hand, and the same may 
be said of the following signs taken from a codex of St. Blaise : 

No. no. 

*' 7* &- **P 



f ft 


* The word "Neuma" is derived from the Greek pneuma (in/eG^a), meaning "breath." 
In inelisma and jioritura passages, one single sign denoted where the singer was to take 


) K 

11 II t" 

The Ncume was a decided improvement upon the alphabetical notation 
of the Greeks and Romans, as it more clearly indicated the modulations 
required of the voice. 

The dissemination of the Ambrosian chant brings us to an important 
epoch in the early history of the music of the Western nations, dating 
from the Apostolic era to the end of the sixth century. In dealing 
with that period known as the Gregorian, and which may be regarded as 
the commencement of the second epoch of Christian Church music, we 
shall note a marked divergence from the traditions of the classical age, 
more decided and important than that of the Ambrosian system. In 
closing our review of the latter system, we may remark that it was 
about the year 508 A.D. that Paris became the capital of France. 
This apparently extraneous information is really of great importance to 
the history of music, for when, 600 years later, Paris was the centre of 
mental culture, a musical school was instituted there, whose reforming 
influence made itself felt throughout Europe. 




AT the time Gregory was elevated to the Papal See (590 A.D.) the 
Ambrosian chant had lost much of its early purity and dignity, and an 
anxious desire had grown up amongst the people to possess a newer and 
freer musical Church service than that which had hitherto been theirs. 
To create a service which should satisfy this craving was no easy task, 
because of the many varied methods of chanting certain portions of the 
liturgy in use throughout Christendom. It. was necessary, therefore, 


if there was to be one grand musical system for the Church, that the 
essential elements of each service should be collected, and after rejecting 
that which was worthless, it might then be possible to adopt a method 
which should be acceptable to all. Gregory, who had already done a 
great work as a Church reformer, was convinced of the necessity of such 
a common chant for the success of his Master's faith, and undertook the 
arduous duty. Thoroughly impressed with the importance of his serious 
undertaking, he so energetically set about his self-imposed task, that 
during the comparatively short period of his reign (590 604 A.D.) he 
succeeded in entirely re-constructing and re-modelling a hitherto hete- 
rogeneous service into one harmonious whole. His success was so great 
that it may fairly be asserted that his efforts liberated music from the 
fetters of the prosody and metre of ancient poetry, and laid the foun- 
dation for a free and independent art. 

The chant, as now arranged by Gregory, differed from the Ambrosian 
in that it was no longer recited, nor governed by the length or quantity of 
the syllables or the metre of the language, but consisted of continuous 
melodies, the length of each tone differing but slightly in value. It 
possessed something of that peculiarly impressive character belonging to 
the Church chorale, so adequately fitted for its divine purpose, partaking 
of that seriousness and majestic dignity which makes the chorale a 
fitting offering to Him who is far above time, space, and the accidents 
of every-day life. 

The Gregorian chant was termed Cantus planus or Cantus choralis. 
The first name was given to it on account of the even, measured move- 
ment of its melody,* the second term, Cantus choralis, signifying that the 
melody was not to be sung by a single person, but by the chorus or 
congregation. The participation of the latter, however, was somewhat 
limited, as Gregory directed that it should be chiefly sung by the duly 
appointed choirs. The Gregorian chant also received the name Canonicus, 
because all liturgical texts were provided with special melodies that were 
to be used by the united church as canonical, and hence arose the term of 
Cantus firmus i.e., fixed chant. The Gregorian antiphonal i.e., the 
richly-ornamented codex containing the new songs of the ritual was 
chained to the altar of St. Peter's at Rome, thereby signifying that the 
* Cantus planus literally translated is " plain chant. " 



contents were to remain unchanged for future generations. Gregory added 
to the four Ambrosian scales, known as the Authentic, four others which 
received the name of Plagal, or oblique. The latter he constructed by 
prefacing each original scale with its last four tones e.g., in the first 
scale (D D) the four final tones are A, B, C, D ; these he placed an 
octave lower, at the same time putting them before the initial note of 
the scale, viz., D. The new scale thus formed ranged from A to A, and 
the whole eight scales, i.e., the four Authentic and the four Plagal, were 
then called Church modes, and written as follows : 

ISo. in.* 


i ^ m 





i J 

J rJ 

i i " ! 



W ^ 



! i 

^^-"' -*^~} 




1 ' 






. J J 





It will be noticed that the initial note of the Authentic .scale becomes 
the fourth note of the Plagal scale. The latter scale appears to stride 
upwards to attain its fourth tone, feeling this to be its true basis (notwith- 

* I have added the commonly received names of these eight scales, or modes. F. A. G. O. 


standing in theory its initial note would be its ground-tone) ; and in a like 
manner does the Authentic scale recognise in this one and the same tone 
its first and ground note. This will explain why the melodies of the 
Plagal scales have their movement upwards, and why those of the Authentic., 
always returning to their bass note, have the character of rest. Ambros ex- 
presses this feeling in the following somewhat fanciful words : "Without 
requiring aid, the Authentic unites with the Plagal at its middle (or fourth) 
tone, representing, as it were, self -relying man ; whilst the Plagal, in 
endeavouring to reach its authentic tone, has the character of dependent 
woman."" Moritz Carriere carries this comparison even still further : "The 
Authentic symbolises the satisfying and ever-returning movement of 
Divine life, the Plagal symbolising the longing and striving of the world 
to find in the Divine i.e., the Authentic both peace and rest/' And we 
can further add that the general character of melodies based on Authentic 
scales might be likened to the expression of faith and hope in the Divine 
Lord depicted in medieval pictures of saints and angels, whilst Plagal 
melodies would seem to suggest pictures of the penitent Magdalen yearn- 
ing for Divine forgiveness,* and of the Mater Dolorosa, and the suffering 
martyrs, all of whom were yet of this earth. 

It is undeniable that the Authentic melodies possess a sensuous charm 
capable of inducing deep religious fervour. A somewhat similar feeling, 
however, is engendered by Plagal melodies, because of the aversion to 
construct melodies on scales which have a semitone between the seventh 
and eighth, the seventh of all Plagal scales (with the exception of the 
sixth from C to C) being a full tone below the octave. Only one other of 
the eight Gregorian Church modes, viz., the fifth (from F to F), possessed 
a leading note. Even when melodies were based on these two Church 
modes the semitone was often avoided. Again, the strong dislike of 
employing the third of the tonic, especially in ascending passages, invests 
Gregorian melodies with an undefinable and mystical character. In order 
to illustrate this the better the opening phrases of a few ritual chants are 
appended, the effect of which would be intensified if one could imagine 
them chanted in solemn strains from the altar, without any attention 
being paid to time. 

* The upward glance depicted by all mediaeval painters, with its intense feeling and 
devotional earnestness, has been termed specifically " the Catholic expression." 



No. 112. 



tr =^- 


r ^ 

& r"^ 1 



22 r"^ 
1 ' 
Glo - - 

- ria Patri. 



r^ 5 


> ^ 

eJ e* 

c*' j 


- - Sane - to 


de Ma - ri 

(a) Metensis minor, by Petrus, (l>) From Banchieri's " L'organo Suonarino." (c) Letania. 
by Ratpert. (d} Cignea, by Notker Balbulus. v 

An example of a Gregorian melody with a more extended range will be 
found in the celebrated " Media vita in morte sumus " of Notker Balbulus, 
monk of St. Gall (912 A.D.). The idea was suggested to- Balbulus on 
seeing certain workmen engaged in the construction of a bridge across a 
yawning chasm. * The following song of Adalbertus, noted down for the 

No. 113. 

h 7 


1 i > i 

1 i fc= 




cJ ^ 

1 -^ J J^ 



' ^ ^ ^- ^r^ 


Me - di - a vi - ta - - in mor 



J J J-J J J J J J J 

c ^ -- ^ 

Quern quse - ri - mus - - - ad - ju - - to - rem 

* The chorale, " In the midst of life," still in use in the German Protestant Church, is an 
imitation of that of the monk of St. Gall, viz., No. 113. The extraordinary independence of 
the tune, in reference to the meaning of the words, will be at once evident on comparing the 
number of notes that are appropriated to the short unaccented final syllables, e.g., in the word 
adjutorem, the final syllable rem having no less than five tones. It must not be supposed, 
however, that such melodies were chanted in tones of equal length, for although they were 
of a solemn and serious character, rhythmical singing was entirely left out of sight, no atten- 
tion being paid to the length of the syllables. But the emphasis to be attached to a word, in 
its relation to the meaning of the context, was indicated by a special musical accent being 
given to it. By this means the text regained somewhat of that material weight which it had 
lost when subordinated to the musical phrase. In such a manner, therefore, must we suppose 
Notker's melody to be chanted, final syllables being slurred over and sung rather hurriedly, 
and with less stress than accented syllables. In order to gain a clear notion of such a method, 
and of the impressive effect of these melodies, it is necessary that one should listen to the 
chanting of a priest or acolyte in Catholic churches where the Gregorian chant is still in use. 
The ascending passages in the melody, No. 113, on the words morte and juste, fill one with 
apprehensions of approaching death, consciousness of guilt, and Divine retribution. 



!__)/ 1 i | 1 , _j 

-i : i i 1 | i i i i - 

! '^JrJdx-J^jJ^JI 1 

1 v- * f^J "^ s ~ ** * (^ C2 "*""^ l ~~ "^ /* 

si - - - Te - - Do - mi - ne. - - 

F^ -i 1 1 1 1 

- Qui pro pec - ca - tis no - stria .... 

i i i I i "[! : 

-m J rJ d d d r 

3 f '- c*o ^ 

in - - - sto i - r3i 

J fd eJ ^\ d r j ^ ^-1 

first time in the year 992 A.D., and harmonised for the present work by the 
author, conformably to the spirit of the tune, is also of interest, and all 
the more so as it is still sung by the Catholic population of Bohemia. 



Do - mi - ne, mi - se - 

a^ T * % 1 1 P ft 

1 C*) * 

re - - re! Sa - lus es to - 

r \* 
hf J J ,\.\ ^ j ^ J 

pd J 1 i J J J -j ^n 

I3Z St3j ^^cx ^q 

tius mun - di : Sal - va nos, et 


per - ci - pe Do - mi - ne vo - ccs 

J ^ ' - r__r r - r-i 

/v ' ; ' : ' ? it* 1 ^ ^ ' 'i* 2, p 
&-? r^ \ "& ^ &. 1= 

( J J . J J J -1 JH 

) ^ ^ ^ -j J p 5 

^ H 3 1 J * J ^ 3-1 

nostras da cunctis 

B ^ ^ i<.\\ < fo+ 

r-r r 

Do - mi - ne pa - nem pa - cem no - 

^ ! ' \-\^ 1 1 

-p j u ' J ^ 1 1 ' 

-. ^. ^r^H 

- strae ter - rae Ky - - ri - e 

+ . 0< "T&- 

Wi_ ^ _b j _> ^ 

j 1 L^ JL 


The Gregorian system was now generally adopted by Christian con- 
gregations, and new directions were promulgated as to the performance 
of the Mass. Gregory also divided the Kyrie into three parts, viz., the 
Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, repeating the Kyrie as the third section. 
Immediately following the Kyrie came the Hymnus Angelicus (known 
to-day as the Gloria in excelsis], which was then succeeded by the Collects 
or Orations for the priest. The Graduate, Alleluia, and Sequentia were 
then inserted between the Epistle and Gospel, both the latter being recited 
by the deacon. Next came the Credo, which was sung by the chorus, 
followed by the Offertory (special Offertories being appointed for special 
festivals), and the Sanctus and Benedictus. The officiating priest then 
intoned the Pater noster and the Communio, the chorus frequently respond- 
ing " Amen," and the Mass terminated with the Agnus Dei and Dona 
nobis pacem. The arrangement of the Mass as it then stood has remained 
unchanged to the present day, and has been the groundwork on which 
some of the noblest musical compositions have been raised into monuments 
of imperishable grandeur. This remark may be applied with as much 
truth to the works of early masters like Josquin des Pres, Orlando Lasso, 
and Palestrina, as to the relatively modern Sebastian Bach, Mozart 
(Requiem), Beethoven, and Cherubini. The Introit, formerly chanted by 
the priest at the commencement of each division of the Mass, was hence- 
forth intoned in the solemn Gregorian manner. 

The introduction of the Introit into the service of the Church is 
attributed to Pope Celestine I., who died in the year 433 A.D. ; but 
although this is not clearly established, yet we know with certainty 
that Gregory the Great prescribed a special Introit for every Psalm, 
and most probably one for each division of the Mass. 

It was not alone the Catholic Mass, however, that gained so much 
from the Gregorian chant, for the latter adapted itself equally well to 
the hymnology of the Christian Church, whose service, throughout the 
mediaeval ages, had been chanted in the Latin language. At a time prior 
to the Ambrosian chant we meet with both Greek and Latin hymns ; 
indeed, the Kyrie Eleison was adopted from the Greeks by the Latin 
Church as early as the third century, if not before, and Hilary, Bishop of 
Poitiers, in the fourth century, is accredited with having introduced, one 
century later, the Gloria in its present form into the Mass. 


Amongst the most celebrated of the Ambrosian hymns are those 
beginning " O lux beata Trinitas/' and " Veni Redemptor gentium/' the 
" Te Deum Laudamus " being but a translation by St. Ambrose from the 
Greek. Gregory wrote several hymns, the melodies being supplied by his 
" singing-masters/' Ten of these hymns are still extant ; that used at the 
celebration of the Holy Eucharist, beginning " Rex Christe factor omnium,'" 
the favourite of Martin Luther (see his "Table Talk-"), is deserving of 
special mention. The hymns of Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers, who died 
600 A.D., should be noted, and particularly the impressive Passion hymn, 
" Pange lingua gloriosi." 

A very important section of the Catholic liturgy was that occupied 
by the Sequences. The general character, however, which they assumed in 
th0 later period of the Middle Ages cannot be supposed to have been the 
same as that of the Gregorian era. Still, there can be but little doubt 
that they constituted part of the ritual as far back as the third and 
fourth centuries. Originally they were used by Christian congregations, 
more particularly from the time that duly-appointed singers were introduced, 
ani when the Latin language gained such an ascendency in the Church 
as to exclude the participation in the service, to any extent, by the people. 
Their part in the service, now that the Mass was chanted in the Latin 
tongue, was restricted to the chanting of the Kyrie Eleison, the Alleluia 
and Amen, and as these responses had formerly been sung by them, 
their purport was perfectly intelligible. It was owing to the popular 
use of the Kyrie and the Alleluia, and the desire to afford the con- 
gregation an opportunity of more fully joining in the service, that the 
Sequences were introduced into the ritual. They consisted of short 
Biblical and liturgical passages called " Tropes," and served to prolong the 
Kyrie. Similar passages, called "Jubilus," were added to the Alleluia, 
enabling the congregation to express their joy in exulting strains on the 
full, open vowel sound of a, the final syllable of jtilila. Subsequently 
texts, and even whole hymns, were substituted for the vowel sound. As 
the Tropes followed the Kyrie, and the Jubilus the Alleluia, they were 
called " Sequences," from the Latin sequi, to follow.* 

* It must be remarked here that " Tropes " had another and important signification, viz., 
the special ending denoting the specific Church mode to which each Cant us firmm belonged. 
It i& a matter of no difficulty to distinguish between the two kinds of Tropes, as the former 


The Sequences, especially the oldest that consisted of a single vowel, 
illustrate the Gregorian chant in its strongest antithesis to the Ambrosian 
song. In the former the method of completely subordinating the text 
to the tone was carried to its extreme; the tone was not only master, 
but also the tyrant of the word, a strange contrast to that dominating 
power exercised by the text over the tone in ancient music. And yet such 
extremes were necessary if music was to become a self-dependent art. It 
was imperative that the tonal art should cast aside the metrical and syllabic 
letters which had held it bound for so long. Without such independence 
it could never have attained that free sphere of action which it acquired 
in vocal music in the sixteenth century, and in instrumental music in the 
eighteenth century. The marked contrast between the uneven rhythm of 
the Gregorian chant, and the measured, rhythmical chorale of the Protestant 
Church, is best seen in the old Sequences. The latter are invested with a 
character of absolute freedom, strikingly impressive to the hearer. On 
the Good Friday of 1851 the author was in Rome attending service in 
the Sistine Chapel, and was much impressed by certain of the solo 
melodies, which he regarded, and still regards, as survivals of the oldest 
kind of Gregorian Sequences preserved by tradition for upwards of 1,000 
years. They were very peculiar ; indeed, one-half were chanted in equally 
measured tones, whilst the other appeared to be an aimless wandering 
among sounds, similar to the songs of the Alpine shepherd. One could 
almost have imagined that one heard the shepherd lad David singing 
upon the mountain slopes a half -reverential and half-jubilant song to 
the Almighty, the effect of which was all the more heightened as the 
melody was sung by a wonderful mezzo-soprano voice. It must be added 
that even later, when the Sequences and other musical effusions had 
appropriate Biblical passages added to them, rhythm was ignored, and 
the text was specially called " prose," which will somewhat help to prove 
that the Sequences retained part of their original musical freedom. 

The Gregorian chant, as arranged by Gregory and his immediate suc- 
cessors, may be said to have remained unchanged from 590 to 814 A.D. 
We might even extend this period, if we regard the chant merely as the 
expression of homophonic song, and apart from attempts which were 

Were added to the Kyrie to prolong the service of the Mass, whilst the latter were mere 
theoretical signs indicating the special mode to be used. 


subsequently made at part-writing. Taken in a more general sense, the 
Gregorian chant may be said to reach the threshold of the seventeenth 
century. In the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church it has been pre- 
served even up to the present day. Many of the melodies chanted by the 
priest and choristers in the services of the Roman Catholic Church, and 
which were formerly directed to form part of the Concentus, are either 
Gregorian or evince strong characteristic features of the Gregorian song. 
Such are the Introits, many antiphonal Psalms, almost the whole of the 
Sequences, hymns, and special liturgical passages sung by the officiating 
priest between the choral parts of the Mass. All those ritual chants which 
were recited in declamatory tones, and in the manner known as Choraliter, 
and which from the earliest times were directed by the choral teachers of 
the Church to be governed by the Accentus, are no longer to be regarded 
as specialities of the Gregorian chant, and indeed they never were, although 
so much prominence was given them by Gregory in the musical part of the 
liturgy.* The Accentus lacks just that one thing so characteristic of the 
Gregorian chant, viz., the emancipation of the tone from the syllabic accent. 
We must, therefore, conclude that Gregory accepted the Accentus from pure 
reverence to Ambrosian tradition. On the same system are composed cer- 
tain antiphonal Psalms and Responses, the Collects, Lessons, Epistle, and 
Gospel, all delivered in a kind of intoned recitative rather than in melodic 
song. Indeed, most of these are recited on a single tone, only the verse, 
half- verse, cadence, and half-cadence being marked by a strictly prescribed 
melodic formula of limited compass. 

In order to perpetuate his new system of song, Gregory instituted a 
musical academy at Rome on a scale of great magnificence. This school 
became so famous that in a very little time the praise of the Cantus 
' Romanus was sounded in all lands. The founder personally instructed at 
his academy, and years after his professorial chair was pointed out as that 
from which the learned dignitary listened to the exercises of the students, 
or it is even said threatened with the scourge those who made mistakes. The 
Cantus planus spread with surprising rapidity over the whole of Central 
Europe. In the year 604 A.D. the Pope sent singers to England. The 

* One can clearly see here how little the literal rendering of a word should influence us in 
arriving at its meaning. Choraliter (modus legendi choraliter), instead of implying choral 
or melodic song, really means " intoned recitation." 


successor of Gregory to the Papal chair was solemnly acknowledged by the 
Western nations as the supreme head of the united Church, and this greatly 
tended to the speedy diffusion of the new musical ritual. In the year 
660 A.D. Pope Vitalian permitted certain monks of the Romish Church to 
teach the Gregorian chant in Brittany; and in 758 A.D., at the request of 
King Pepin, Pope Paul sent two delegates to instruct the Franks in it. The 
result was that Pepin re-modelled the Gallic service both in Paris and Metz 
after the manner of the Church of Rome. In 678 A.D. Bishop Benedict of 
York invited Roman singers to England. Boniface, the Apostle of the 
Germans, introduced the Romish ritual into Fulda in 744 A.D., and pro- 
bably at the same time into St. Gall, a monastery in Switzerland founded 
by St. Gallus 614 A.D. And yet, notwithstanding such wide diffusion of 
the Gregorian chant, it retained all its original features. Charlemagne, 
hearing the Papal song at Rome in 790 A.D., became one of its most 
enthusiastic promoters. He erected similar schools to that of Gregory, at 
Soissons, Orleans, Sens, Lyons, Cambray, Toul, and Dijon; and in Ger- 
many at Mayence, Reichenau, Hersfeld, Korvey, Treves, Eichstadt, Regens- 
burg, and Wiirzburg. The august emperor was greatly assisted in his 
undertakings by Pope Hadrian I. (772 795 A.D.), and was presented by that 
Papal dignitary with autograph copies of the Antiphones. The emperor's 
zeal for the new ritual may be inferred from the proclamations promulgated 
at Aix-la-Chapelle in 803 A.D., and at Diedenhofen in 805 A.D., directing 
that the Gallic song should be superseded by the Roman. He occasionally 
conducted the choir at Aix in person, expressing his disapproval by brandish- 
ing his staff before the delinquents. 

Meanwhile instrumental music had begun to develop itself in Christian 
lands. To the organ, the instrument specially appropriated by the Church 
for its service, we shall devote our first attention. The Israelites, Greeks, 
and Romans had already a knowledge of this instrument, the Organum 
pneumaticum and the Organnm hydraulicum being known in the classical 
ages. The Organum hydraulicum, or water-organ, was a great favourite. 
It was used more in the house than in the temple, and Nero is said to 
have possessed a great number of them. In the fourth century A.D. the 
organ was regarded chiefly as a secular instrument. 

Our illustration (Fig. 115) shows that the Roman hydraulic organ 
described by Yitruvius was superseded by the pneumatic about the year 



350 A.D. That the latter was also used for secular purposes is clearly 
evidenced by the joyous gesticulations of the female singers and musicians 
taking- part in the performance. It will be observed that the small 
pneumatic organs are being supplied with air by blowers treading the 

Fig. 115. Pneumatic Organs of the Fourth Century. 

Many improvements in the organ were made by the Byzantines, and 
Byzantine emperors are known to have presented organs to Pepin in 757 A.D., 
and, later, to Charlemagne. Some writers have accredited the latter 
emperor with the introduction of the organ into the service of the 
Western Church, by reason of his gift of one of these instruments to Aix- 
la-Chapelle; but others assert that this was owing to Lewis the Pious, 
who first introduced the organ into Germany about 822 A.D. In 860 A.D. 
there were numbers both of organ-builders and performers ; and towards 
the end of the century the Germans are said to have imported organs into 
Italy. In the eleventh century organs were used for divine service in the 
churches of Erfurt, Magdeburg, and Halberstadt, cities of Eastern Ger- 
many, and it was about this time that they were imported into England 
and France, where they were also used for divine service. 

Our next illustration* (Fig. 116), taken from a Cambridge manuscript, 

* It has been shown, however, that this very curious example of an old organ is a copy 
of a still older drawing extant in a manuscript now at Utrecht, but formerly in the British 
Museum, known as the Utrecht Psalter, to which considerable attention was attracted a few 
years ago in consequence of its containing the oldest known copy of the Athanasian Creed. If 
this manuscript is of the fifth or sixth century, as is generally supposed, it goes far to prove, inter 
alia, the existence of organs in England long before the Conquest, andpossibly in the days of St. 
Augustine of Canterbury. Indeed, it would appear from some writings of Bishop Aldhelm that 
he claimed to have introduced an organ into this country in the seventh century. He speaks 
of it as " a mighty Instrument with innumerable tones, blown with bellows, and enclosed in 
a gilded case." Moreover, William of Malmesbury speaks of an organ which was given 
by St. Dunstan to Malmesbury in the reign of Edgar, and states that the bellows were filled 
by the agency of hot water which seems strange. F. A. G. 0. 



is a faithful representation of one of the old English church organs,' 
and is very interesting on account of the whimsical, droll manner in 
which the performer is seen communicating with the blower. 

During the first 
thousand years after 
Christ stringed in- 
struments were in 
the ascendant, and 
we may divide these 
into two great 
classes viz., those 
played with the 
hands and those 

Fig. 116. Ancient English Church Organ. 


played with the bow. 

Of the former, the 

oldest were unquestionably harps imported from the East. The copy of 

a miniature of the eighth century (Fig. 117), representing King David 
playing on the harp, would, notwithstanding the 
barbarously primitive design, lead us to conclude 
that this instrument at that time was richly 

Another old instrument is the Organistrum, a 
faithful conception of which may be gleaned from 
Fig. 118. We first meet with it in the ninth cen- 
tury. In shape it is like an enormous guitar, having 
two ventages and three strings, the latter being set 
in vibration by a crank. The eight movable bridges 
seen in our illustration could be raised and lowered, 
thereby enabling the performer to produce tones 
other than those of the strings themselves. 

The Organistrum originally required two per- 
formers, viz., one to turn the crank and the other 
to manipulate the bridges, but when its enormous 
size was subsequently reduced, one performer sufficed. 

In France it was known as the Rttbelle, Rebel, Sympkonie, and Chifonie. 

Fig. 117. King David 

Playing upon the Harp. 

(from an Irish Miniature of 

the Eighth Century.) 

Prsetorius, a German musician of the latter end of the sixteenth and of 



the early part of the seventeenth century, speaks of it as the ec peasant's 
or strolling woman's lyre, which is played with a crank, the left hand 
manipulating the keys."* 

The Rota (La Rote and Crout in French, and Crwth in Welsh), de- 
scribed in rather ambiguous terms as of the harp, cithar, 
or violin kind, was also known in the ninth century. 
This very equivocal statement can be best explained if 
we remember that many instruments of the mediaeval 
ages, and especially those with strings, had a plurality 
of names. Fig. 119 represents a German Rotte, played 
with the bow. This was the favoured instrument of 
English minstrels, French Trouveres, German Minne and 
Meister singers. The Rotte, most likely appropriated from 
the Northern Celts, may, conjointly with the Rebal, or 
Ralab, introduced into Western Europe from the East 
by the returning Crusaders, be regarded as the fore- 
runners of all our modern stringed instruments that are 
played with the bow, viz., the 
violins and basses. Indeed, one 
may almost positively assert that it 
is entirely to the combination of 
the Crout and the Rebab by the 
people of Central Europe that we 
are indebted for the violin of to-day. The Crout 
may be said to have furnished the body, and the 
Rebab the neck, pegs, and bow, as the triangular- 
shaped bow of the Rotte (Crwth), Fig. 119, is 
less like the modern bow than that of the Rebab- 
player (Fig. 73, p. 107). 

Figs. 120 12 represent mediaeval Psalteries. 
It is curious to note how instruments bearing the 
same name completely change their character in 
course of time, for, beyond the strings, the instru- 
ments in these three illustrations have little or nothing in common, and the 
dissimilarity between these and Fig. 54 is even greater. 

* " Syntagma Musicum," by Michael Praetorius, vol. ii., p. 49. 

Fig: 118. 
Organistrum of 

the Ninth 
. Century. 

Fig. 119. Performer on 

a Three-stringed Crout, 

or Rotte. 



The quadrilateral- shaped Psaltery of 'the ninth century (Fig. 120) bears 
the nearest resemblance to the Israelitish Psaltery (Fig. 54) . Those of the 

Fig. 120. Performer on a 

Square Psaltery of the 

Ninth Century. 

Fig. 121. Performer on a 

Circular Psaltery of the 

Twelfth Century. 

Fig. 122. Performer on 

a Psaltery of the 
Fourteenth Century. 

twelfth and fourteenth centuries have, on the contrary, an entirely dif- 
ferent construction, the former reminding us somewhat of the Hebraic 
Hasur (Fig. 55). The two following illustrations (Figs. 123 and 124) of 

Fig. 123. Fifteen-stringed Harp 
of the Twelfth Century. 

Fig. 124. Triangular Saxon Harp 
of the Ninth Century. 

triangular Saxon harps possess a striking affinity to the Phosnician Nablium, 
although that of the twelfth century has the addition of a pole. 

"We close our survey of the mediaeval stringed instruments with illus- 
trations of two tablets taken from the cathedral at Schwerin, bearing the 



I *^s^ 

date 1375 A.D. Fig. 125 represents an angel, and Fig. 131 King David, 
both performing on a stringed instrument that appears to be a combina- 
tion of the Rebec and Rotte, although from the body of the 
instrument being more developed than the neck, it is more 
akin to the latter than to the former. 

The Neume notation employed in writing the Gre- 
gorian chant was the system almost exclusively 
adopted by church choirs, monasteries, and academies 
founded for the dissemination of sacred song. Some- 
times, however, secular melodies were noted by this 
method, of which the following Lament, written 
and composed in 814 A.D., on the death of 
Charlemagne, may be cited as an example. The 
simple, popular character of the melody and its 
poetical contents speak of the great love in 
which Charlemagne was held by all Christendom. 
This specimen of Neume musical notation, which 
is taken from La Croix, is probably of the eleventh 
century. Its rendering into our modern system 
will enable the reader to gain a clear impression of 
the dolorous song that was chanted alike by Franks 
and Germans on the death of the great emperor, 
both nations claiming Charlemagne as their ruler. 
This remarkable melody has barely the extent of a 
tetrachord, as the C, occurring but once in each verse, 
can hardly be taken into consideration, and it may 
therefore be said that it has but the limits of a major 

The following specimens of the Neume notation, of the tenth, 
eleventh, twelfth, and fourteenth centuries, afford a clear illus- 
tration of the changes which the system underwent 
^ rom the time ^ its invention to its decadence 
Instrument. an( j re pl acemen t bv a newer and more intelligible 

(From a Tablet in fheCathedral " 

at Schwerin.) 


* Thus, nearly 1,000 years before Rousseau wrote his famous melody of three notes, 
it was shown that a national song, which should be at once simple and melodious, could be 
so written. 



No. 126. 


. > 





V * tarer wctr^in 

. , 




C \mer r-cie 






! J>^?h^H 


A so - lis or-tu us-quead oc - ci-du - a Lit - to - ra ma-ris planctus pulsat 



pec-to-ra; Ul - tra ma - ri - na ag-mi- na tris-ti - ti - a Te - ti - git 



^^^_ g= ^gj^-Jg--^ T ^ > j- F =g 



in - gens cum er - ro - re ni - mi-o. Heu ! me 

do - lens, plan - go ! 

, L 

^ j-^--^ *-jr 

Fran - ci, Ro - ma - ni at - que cun-cti ere - du - li, Luc - tu pun - gun - tur 



et mag-namo-les-ti-a, in-fan-tes, se - nes, glo-ri-o - si prin - ci - pes ; Nam clangit 

or - bis de - tri-men-tum Ka - ro - li. Heu ! mi - hi mi - se - ro ! 



toe grci iui mcoi mtc -m-atf t . 

No. 127. () Neume Notation of the Tenth Century. 

mC ufqbfeciairt &c.. 

Po - pu - le me - us quid fe - ci aut 

No. 128. (b) Neume Notation of the Eleventh Century, deciphered by Martini,. 



Ue U i^ < 

No. 129. (c) Neume Notation of Guido of Arezzo. 


ttat ttjjem flmwm 

Co - ro - cat re - gem om - ni - um 

No. 130. (rf) Deciphered Neume Notation of the latest period. 

In course of time the characters of the Neume notation (Virga, Flexa, 
Ancus, Climacus, &c.), which were formerly jotted down without any sys- 
tematic arrangement, were rendered more intelligible to the reader by the 
introduction of a coloured line. This definitely fixed the relative position 



of the signs, and made their interpretation a work of comparative ease 
(see a) . Should this line be of a red colour, F was the tonic, and all 
melodies based on this began and ended on F ; rf of a 
yellow colour, C became the tonic (see No. 128). In 
the eleventh century both lines were used in noting the 
same melody, the range of a fifth from F to C being 
then clearly established (see example It). The cele- 
brated Guido of Arezzo added two more lines (see c), 
and it is indeed remarkable to note how near the 
four lines thus formed approach our present five-lined 
stave. The Italian monk not only employed the 
lines to designate certain tones, but also utilised 
the spaces for the same purpose. In passing, we 
may notice that Guido substituted a green line 
for the yellow line denoting the C, the fifth below, 
F retaining its original colour. The uncoloured 
lines represented D and A, so that the range now 
acquired extended from C below the first line to 
D above the fourth line, thus consisting of nine 
tones. In the fourth example (d) traces of the old 
Neume system are still visible, notwithstanding that 
the notation is that of the fourteenth century. It is 
interesting to notice how the characters of the eleventh 
century, used in No. 128, foreshadow those of the four- 
teenth century, used in No. 130, the latter of which 
were not inaptly termed by some musical historians 
" engrossed notation," Ambros facetiously alluding to it 
as the "nail and horse - shoe " system. 

Amongst the schools established in England for diffusing a 
knowledge of the art of music, that founded by Alfred the Great 
at Oxford was the oldest and most celebrated. 
Fig. 131. King David That theory as ' well as practice was studied at 
Playing- on a Stringed thig school ig unque stionable, as it is on record that 


(FromaTaUetintho Cathedral in the vear 886 A.D. the king 1 bestowed on one 

atSchwvrin, 1375 A. D.) 

of the teachers of theory, by name John, the title 
of " Professor of Music/' which is probably the first appellation of 


its kind. In France the school of Metz held the honoured place. 
The reputation of this school was so great that the Cantus Mettensis, 
i.e., the chant of Metz, or, in German, " Mette," was universally 
adopted by the Catholic Churches at matins, and at the grand festivals. 
The monastic school of Fulda, owing to the indefatigable energy of the 
Abbe Rabanus Maurus (776 856 A.D.), held the foremost place in Ger- 
many. But the lustre of both Metz and Fulda was eclipsed by the 
famous school of St. Gall, in Switzerland, to which we have already 
referred. It is to the renowned monk Tuotilo, who died 915 A.D., 
that the special merit belongs of having improved the Tropes, more par- 
ticularly in their relation to the Kyrie. Ekkehard says that Tuotilo, who, 
it should be mentioned, was poet, painter, and sculptor, as well as musician, 
played Tropes of his own composition to the accompaniment of the 
Rotte and Psaltery,- " in a remarkably sweet manner." * 

Reference should now be made to the famed monk of St. Gall, 
Notker Balbulus, and to his work on the development of music, a 
treatise but little inferior to that of Tuotilo. We have already referred 
to Notker's celebrated " Media vita,"" a chant which owed much of its 
popularity to its subsequent adoption by Christian warriors and monks as 
their battle-song. 

It is to the St. Gall monk that we are indebted for a nobler and 

* We must here again draw the reader's attention to the high position which the 
monasteries of Central Europe, from the ninth to the fourteenth centuries, held in relation 
to progressive civilisation. The monks, to whose fostering care we are indebted for such 
treasures of Greek and Eoman antiquity as have been preserved, were not only the conser- 
vators of classical philosophy and literature (and therefore the mediators between Paganism 
and Christianity), but were also poets, architects, painters, sculptors, and musicians, the 
originators of theories and technicalities connected with all arts. The cloister was in itself 
a substitute for university, library, art academy, and museum. The industrious and humane 
ecclesiastics of those centuries were the benefactors of all who came in contact with them. They 
founded boroughs and towns, con verted forests into arable land, tended and educated the people, 
acted as physicians, teachers, botanists, agriculturists, and artisans, providing the villagers 
with work, and giving alms to the poor. Goethe, Macaulay, Carriere, Freytag, Scheffel, and 
others, all well-known Protestants, who cannot be suspected of being actuated with party 
feeling, and some of the most eminent German historians, have testified to the noble and 
beneficent work done by the monasteries in the Middle Ages. But, above all, it should 
not be forgotten that the elevation of music into a self -existing art is almost entirely 
owing to the zealous earnestness of the monks. This, as the student will readily agree, was 
no easy task, but one of great labour, requiring the most steadfast perseverance. The 
venerable fathers not only occupied themselves in teaching the rudiments of music, but 
constructed melodies of imperishable beauty. 


grander expression of the Sequences, thirty-five of which were written by 
him. The most famous of these are those used at Pentecost and Easter, and 
that beginning- " All praise to thee, Lord Jesus Christ," appointed to be 
sung during the festival of Christmas. The existence of numerous other 
melodies testifies to the fertile inventive powers of Notker, a Codex at 
St. Grail alone containing no less than forty-four such chants.* The 
Sequences composed by Notker influenced both Trench and Italian song. 
Another famed writer and singer of Sequences was Robert, King of France, 
who died 1031 A.D. His Pentecostal Sequence, beginning 

" Veni sancte spiritus 
Et emitte coelitus 
Lucia tuse radium," 

is known throughout Christendom, and there can be no doubt that the 
melody as well as the words was the invention of the royal composer. 
Indeed, I must draw particular attention to this Sequence, as its author 
appears to have been one of the first of the medieval poets, who in the 
eleventh century introduced rhyme into the Latin songs of the Church, both 
the Sequences of Notker and of his immediate successors being without 
rhyme. Besides the French king, Adam, Canon of the Abbey of St. Victor, 
in Paris, who died 1177 A.D., and Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbe of the 
monastery of Clairvaux from 1115 to 1153 A.D., deserve mention as Church 
vocalists. Martin Luther, in allusion to the latter ecclesiastic, says : " li 
ever there lived a truly pious and God-fearing monk, that was St. Bernard. 
It is he whom I reverence more than all the Papists of the earth/' Both 
the Abbe Adam and St. Bernard, besides being singers, were also writers of 
Sequences. Next to Notker, Adam is celebrated as the most prolific Sequence 
writer of the Middle Ages, some twenty being ascribed to him, which, on 
account of the nobleness of their language and purity of their melodies, 
have gained for their composer the flattering title "the Schiller of Latin 
Church music." The Sequences of St. Bernard are of a solemn and mys- 
terious character, breathing, as it were, a profound angelic spirit. Foremost 

* Notker the elder, also called Balbulus (the Stammerer), born 840 A.D., must not be con- 
founded with his confrere of St. Gall, Notker the younger, known as Notker Labeo or 
Teutonicus, who died in the year 1022 A.D. The elder Notker was celebrated as a dis- 
tinguished poet and vocalist, whilst the younger Notker obtained renown as the writer of the 
first German manuscript on the theory of music. 


among Italian Sequence writers stands the name of the learned Franciscan. 
Thomas of Celano, the composer of the incomparable " Dies irae, dies ilia," 
appointed to be used on All Souls' Day. Closely following upon Thomas 
of Celano is Jacopone, who died 1306 A.D., the writer of the beautiful 
Sequence "De septem doloribus Mariae virginis." Both Sequences have 
earned for their composers an undying reputation, the "Dies irae" of 
Thomas being known in the Catholic Church of to-day as the " Requiem/' 
and the " De septem " of Jacopone as the " Stabat Mater." The thir- 
teenth century must be regarded as the era in which the poetry of the 
Latin Church reached its greatest perfection, and that in which the hymns 
dedicated to the Virgin Mary rose to the highest pitch of ideal fervour. 
The last Sequence writer to whom we shall take occasion to refer is 
the famous Dominican friar, St. Thomas Aquinas, known as " Doctor 
angelicus," who aJso belongs to the thirteenth century. He wrote the 


" Pange lingua gloriosi 
Corporis mysterium," 

and the " Lauda Sion," both of which are intoned down to the present 
day in the Roman Catholic Church at the feast of Corpus Christi. 

Meanwhile the music of the Church had been steadily developing in 
other directions. About the year 1000 A.D. the organ was greatly im- 
proved by Pope Sylvester II. In 1096 A.D. the Rebec, to which reference 
has already been made, was introduced into Europe by the returning 
Crusaders, who, at the same time, diffused a knowledge of the poetical 
rhyme of the Orientals. That same earnestness of faith which had 
inspired men with an anxious yearning to conquer the Pagan and regain 
the Holy Land in which their Saviour had lived and died, permeated 
the whole artistic life of Christendom, leading to an entirely new and 
vigorous development of art. One of the most important results of 
this impetus was the attempt made in the eleventh century at "Part- 
writing/' i.e., to invent a song in which the various parts should 
harmoniously blend together. Efforts had already been made to introduce 
an harmonious syllabic rhyme into poetry, the same desire animating 
the poet, as also the musician, to harmoniously connect the various parts 
of his subject. In poetry, rhyme conduced to as complete an harmonic 
basis as possible, but in music the area for the harmonist was infinitely 


greater. Formerly the desire to write harmoniously for two voices 
(technically called parts) had been the musician's highest ambition, but 
now he longed to soar to loftier heights. In poetry, harmony is 
successive, or, as it has been not inaptly termed, horizontal ; in music 
it is simultaneous, or perpendicular -.* 

All efforts of this nature in art must ever point to an increased mental 
activity among the people. In classical Greece the impetus derived from 
any such wave of mental vitality vented itself in a more vigorously defined 
plastic form, but in the Middle Ages man strove to penetrate into his 
innermost soul, and there discover that which should set at rest for 
ever those conflicting doubts that had tortured his spirit ; and here he 
found God, and those Christian principles which were to be the beacon- 
lights to lead him to the " haven where he would be/' This deep 
religious feeling did not fail to make itself felt on the artistic life of 
the people. It both ennobled and purified painting, poetry, music, and 

In the eleventh century, part-singing was substituted for the unison or 
octave method hitherto in use ; but isolated instances of the performance of 
Church song in this latter method are certainly to be found in the records 
of the early part of the tenth century, both in choirs and monasteries. 
The attempts at part-singing cannot, however, be regarded as arising 
from an innermost sense of joyfulness, but rather from theoretical causes 
and the requirements of musical practice. The distinguishing feature of 
all such essays, even up to the twelfth century, was extreme harshness; 
indeed, one may say that their undeniable discordance could only have 
been equalled by the extreme ugliness of the drawing of King David 
(Fig. 117), or the earliest artistic attempts of the Hindoos, the archaistic 

* The author (and he "believes he is the first to do so) points to the hidden links that 
connect the early attempts at poetical rhyme with musical harmony, the common impetus of 
which, in his opinion, is to be found in that intellectual enthusiasm which was the outgrowth 
of the Crusades. An era that saw the introduction of the Gothic arch in architecture, and 
that gave birth to the "Divina Commedia" of Dante, and the "Parcival" of Wolfram of 
Eschenbach, could not have been destitute of equally important efforts in the art of music. 
Indeed, it may truly be said that the grandest of all the successes was achieved on the 
introduction of harmony. But it will be only possible to see- the inherent connection between 
the harmonious rhyme of the final syllables of poetical lines, and the simultaneous blending 
of two or more different musical parts, when one penetrates beyond the surface, earnestly 
striving to fathom their true origin and meaning. 



era of Greek plastic art, the oldest illustration on Etruscan vases, and the 
gold background of Byzantine pictures. One of the first to introduce 
part-singing into the Church was Ubaldus, Hucbald, or Hugbald (840 
930 A.D.), a Benedictine monk of St. Amand, in Flanders. This learned 
ecclesiastic, following the Pythagorean and Boethian theories, recognised 
fourths, fifths, and octaves only as consonants, and accordingly based 
all his harmonies on those intervals, a proceeding which could not but 
produce a painfully-discordant effect. The relation of dissonance to con- 
sonance in the tonal art is what the ugly is to the beautiful in painting. 
We cannot do better than append a specimen of Hucbald' s harmony, 
the extreme ugliness of which will be at once evident. 



/ mini \ 


t L sit \ oria/' in \ cula bitur Dominus in o / n \ / is 

St g'"/~ Do~\ sae/ \ ta / b^s 

/ mini\ 


pe\ su\ 

tH sii\ oria / in\ cula bitur Dommus mo/ ri \ / is 

SJ glo/ sae/ \ ta/ tnis 


Do \ 


/ mini \ 

pe\ su\ 

t I sit\ oria/ in\ cula bitur Dominus in o / n\ / is 

Do'Y sae~/ \ ta~7 bul 


/ mini\ 


pe\ su\ 

t "i sit \ oria/ __ in \ cula _ bitur Dominus in o / ri \ / is 
SN glo/ sae/ \ ta/ bus 

No. 132. Polyphonic Notation of Hucbald. 



Sit glo 

ri - a Do mi - ni in sae - cu - la lae- 

1 r 

ta - bi - tur Do - mi - nus in o - pe - ri - bus su - is. 

Deciphering of above. 


The earliest attempts at part-writing, of which No. 132 may be taken 
as a specimen, were known by the name of ars organancli y or organum. The 
intention was to denote both the whole and semi-tones, and also the range 
of the notes, whether high or low, by letters placed at the beginning of 
horizontal lines, in the spaces of which short lines were inserted close to 
the words of the text, in order to indicate the rise and fall of the voice. 

The above example, according to the modern deciphering, appears to have 
been written for four voices. It is to be observed that Hucbald's notation 
was written exclusively between the lines, whereas Guido of Arezzo, 
a century later, used both lines and spaces. This may in some degree 
account for the retention of the Roman system by most of the tenth 
century composers, as it was easier both for writing and reading. A 
letter-notation was certainly in use in Hucbald's time and even as late 
as the eleventh century, but the signs denoting the rising and falling voice 
were not so clearly expressed. 


Qui tol - - lis pec - ca - ta. 

No. 133. Letter-notation of Guido of Arezzo, with deciphering. 

The part-singing notation of Hucbald's time, known as the " sacred " 
organum, consisted of fourths and fifths; but another method, known as 
the <( profane " or secular organum, was also in use. The latter system 
introduced thirds and seconds, which, if not altogether agreeable, was 
not so discordant as the sacred organum. 

No. 134. .^. _<=>_ 

-*^- *~-} 

*=* tt&& 2 

Tu pa - tris sem - pi - ter - mis es fi - li - us. 

The transition from abstract theory to agreeable tonal effect was but 
by the smallest steps, as the Church practice of the Middle Ages was 


completely dominated by that of the monks. This will be the more 
clearly understood when we refer to the edict " De vita et honestate 
clericorum " of Pope John XXIII., promulgated in the year 1322 A.D. } 
at Avignon, forbidding the use of the secular organum at Church festivals 
as too mundane. This must not, however, lead us into the error of under- 
rating the merits of the gentle Hucbald, who was named by his contem- 
poraries " the spotless dove."* 

Without such beginnings in the practice of sacred part-singing as those 
which Hucbald had the courage to introduce, and without that enthusiasm 
and perseverance so characteristic of all his efforts, the development of 
polyphony would undoubtedly have been greatly retarded. | 

To illustrate how great was the contrast between the musical sense of 
that and the present time, I would mention that Hucbald specially commends 
for Church-singing his euphonious fourths and fifths. He says : ( ( ' Vide- 
bis nasci suavem ex hac sonorum commixtione concertum/ i.e., if two or 
more persons fervently sing according to my system, the blending of 
the voices will be most agreeable." Other ecclesiastics of the tenth and 
eleventh centuries also refer to the "sweetness" of the sacred organum. 
Such adjectives have been to the historical critic a source of much 
discomfort, frequently causing him to pause and inquire whether the 
organum can have been faithfully transmitted to us. But the most 
careful investigations, however, of modern times have entirely set this 
matter at rest, showing, as they do, that both vocalist and auditor meekly 
bore the harsh sound of the fifths for two centuries. Ambros, sarcastically 
referring to this, says " that the organum was probably regarded as a 
' penance for the ear/ " and it does not seem altogether unlikely that it was 
really a punishment of the flesh a sort of flagellation of the body 
because at this period all sensuous beauty (and therefore musical euphony) 
was supposed to come from the evil one.J 

* Both Ekkehard and Scheffel refer to Hucbald in the above manner. 

f Hucbald was not really the originator of the system of fifths ; he himself speaks of it 
as being already known. But undeniably his is the merit of having noted and fixed its 
theoretical basis, as well as its introduction into Flanders and the neighbouring Low 

We must here remark, however, that Hucbald repeatedly recommends a moderate time 
in singing (probably analogous to our Adagio movement), in which the fifths and fourths, 
if not altogether harmonious, are less offensive than in a quicker movement. I have 
been greatly surprised, however, by witnessing how much discordance, even at the present 


Equally zealous in the cause of part-singing was that far-famed monk, 
already referred to by us, viz., Guido of Arezzo, or Guido Aretinus, who 
was born in the year 995, and died May 17th, 1050. Guido, who was 
Prior to the monastery of Avellana, designated the singing of two persons 
together diaphony. Although we know that Guido was no more the 
originator of part-singing in Italy than Hucbald in Flanders, yet, like 
his predecessor, he was most zealous in his efforts to diffuse a general 
knowledge of the diaphonic system. 

The diaphony, with but slight exceptions, can scarcely be said to 
have been more highly developed than the organum, for Guido finding 
successive fifths too harsh, substituted fourths as more agreeable an 
alteration that can be esteemed but a very moderate improvement. This 
comparatively free diaphony, although it has been likened to Hucbald's 
secular organum, is certainly more bearable, the following example show- 
iug that the third was used no less than four times. 

No. 135. 




I 111 II 

In addition to the laudable introduction of the diaphony , the name 
of Guido is also connected with the system of solmisation (solfeggi), 
although it is most positively proved that he was as little the inventor 
of the solfeggi as of the diaphony. The solfeggi was no doubt, However, 
the result of his teachings noted down by his pupils with the desire to 
perpetuate the memory of their master. But it is characteristic of 
modern writers, when referring to the Middle Ages, to single out one 
prominent name, and attribute to that the many excellences belonging 
to an art, omitting all reference to less prominent coadjutors. This was 
especially the case with Guido of Arezzo and the tonal art. But, no 
matter to what extent this one-sided practice may have been carried 

time, can be borne by some persons. In September, 1872, a chorus of men serenaded 
the Crown Princess Margaret of Italy, who was then on a visit at the Villa Melzi, by 
the Lake of Como. Amongst other pieces they sang a solemn hymn, in which a series of 
common chords following each other formed a complete succession of fifths. This not 
only excited my curiosity, but at the same time was a practical illustration of the historical 
truth of the organum. 




out, we are unable to dissociate the name of Guido from the system 
of solmisation, as such a course would be in direct opposition to certain 

doctrines which it is well known 
emanated directly from the cele- 
brated monk. Solmisation implied 
the substitution of the melodious 
syllables, nt, re, mi, fa, sol, la, for 
the first six tones of the scale C, D, 
E, F, G, A. The introduction of 
these syllables into musical practice 
arose from the setting of six phrases 
to a vocal exercise, the phrases 
being so arranged that the initial 
syllable of each, viz., ut, re, mi, fa, 
sol, la, fell under the first six as- 
cending tones of the scale. The 
text was a prayer to St. John en- 
treating him to preserve the voices 
of the suppliant choristers from 
hoarseness. It was as follows : 

Fig. 136. Guido of Arezzo. 

No- 137. 

TJfc queant ia 

Re - so na - re 


ges - to - rum Fa - mu - li tu - o - rum Sol . 

ve pol - lu - ti 

La - bi i 

turn Sane 

te Jo - an nes. 

By this means the pupil learned to fix the pitch of each tone in his 
memory. Tone and syllable were so closely associated with one another 
that he had but to remember the melody which he had learned by heart to 
enable him to read at sight any new chant which did not go beyond his 
acquired six tones. Guido, however, invented a system which did not 



restrict the singer to the first six tones of C major scale, but starting from 
others of these tones as the basis, other scales could be raised upon them. 
The scale, according to Guido, consisted of twenty tones, which were divided 
into seven hexachbrds (six tones) . It will be seeii that the ground tones 
or tonics of the seven hexachords consisted of C, F and G, the latter 
beginning three of these hexachords, and therefore the others two each.* 

No. 138. 

7. H. 

6. H. 

ut re 

mi fa sol 


5. H. 


re mi 

fa sol la 

4. H. 

J ut re 



sol la 

3. H. [ut re 

mi fa so" 



2. H. >ut re mi 

fa sol la 

1. Hexachord. jut re mi fa sol la 


jut re mi i fa sol la j 

s^y '^- -^^ 


r\ '' 

1 /<)' ^3 f ^ ^ 




^ t^J ' ' 

\ ^-^ s~3 ^^ ^ 

^ a 

r A B(t|)C D E F G a b(tj)c d e 

f g aa bb(t})ec dd ee 

It is to be remarked that in the Gregorian scale the B which follows 
the A in hexachords 3 and 6 was to be sung as B rottmdum, i.e., our 
present Bt>, while in hexachords 1, 4, and 7 it represented B quadratum, or 
Btj. " Solmisation " among the disciples of Guido meant the sol-fa-ing 
or vocalisation as now understood by us.f 

The first tone of every hexachord was supplied with the syllable ut, 
the remaining tones carrying in order the remaining syllables, re, mi, fa, 
$ol, la. The tones of the scale were therefore re-named, the names which 
belonged to them under the Gregorian system being disregarded. J By 

* Although, the C occurs three times in the Guidonic system, yet as there were but seven 
hexachords, the highest of the three C's could not possibly begin a new hexachord. 

f The expression " solmisation " is most properly used here, as Guido was one of the 
first tone-masters who imposed upon his pupils the necessity of solfeggi, i.e., the execution of 
vocal exercises, analogous to the solfeggi exercises of to-day. Both the word solfeggi, and its 
meaning, have remained unchanged since the eleventh century, solmisation and ars solfandi, i.e.^ 
the setting of well-sounding vowels to tonal phrases. The modern Italian school has retained 
the Guidonic syllables, with the exception that the open vowel sound Do has been substituted 
for Ut ; their exercises are termed solfeggis, though, of course, they are executed in much 
quicker time than those of the disciples of Guido. 

J The syllables, ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, did not, therefore, single out special tones, but were 



this method the third and fourth of every hexachord always consisted 
of a semitone. 

So long as the vocalist was restricted to the limits of a hexachord, 
his way was simple enough ; even the .veriest tyro could determine the 
semitone in the most unequivocal manner, as it was always marked 
mi, fa, enabling him to sing more readily at sight, and at the same time 
in tune, than was possible by any other method. Difficulties only 
presented themselves when the melody moved over a range of more 
than one hexachord. It was then necessary that the tones of the added 
hexachord should be re-named, care being taken that the mi, fa fell upon 
the semitone. In order to do this, it was necessary that in ascending 
passages the two highest tones of the lower hexachord should be named 
according to the lettering of the higher hexachord. If the melody 
descended, i.e., the transition from the higher to the lower hexachord, 
the practice was reversed. This system of interchanging the syllables 
was called mutation; and as at this time there was such a poverty of 
tonal and technical resources, and the interchanging was so confusing 
to the memory, the practice of solmisation was looked upon by the 
choristers as their cross of tribulation, and was dubbed by their contem- 
poraries, " Crux et tormentum puerorum." In order to facilitate mutation 
for the boys as well as for advanced singers, and to aid the memory, 
the so-called hand-system of Guido was adopted. 

It had already been observed that the number of the joints of the 
five fingers of the human hand, with the addition of the five tips, was 
the same- as the number of tones in the Guidonic system, counting 
from the lowest G (marked by the Greek T, gamma) to the top D.* 

The arrangement of the tones and syllables in connection with the 
Guidonian hand was as follows : Starting from the tip of the thumb 
as the gamma, it descended through the two joints of the thumb 
across the lowest joints of the four fingers, ascending to the tip of the 
little finger; thence passing over the extremities of the ring, middle, 
and fore fingers, it descends to the second joint of the fore finger, 

applied to more than one e.g., re also referred to G, A, D ; and the ut, in addition to its own 
tone, to F and G. 

* As no space could he provided for the highest E, Guido, in order to complete the seventh 
hexachord, assigned it a place above the tip of the middle finger. 




terminating in a spiral curve above the middle finger. Such a scheme 
was of great assistance to the student, as he could, by glancing at his 
left hand, see the whole of the system in his mind's- eye. The Guidonian 
hand was, therefore, not so useless as those who have but very imperfectly 
understood it endeavour to induce others to believe. It showed at a 
glance the extent of each hexachord, with their interchangeable tones, 
whether ut (according 
to its position in the 
hexachord) was to be 
sung as re or mi, &c., 
and in mutation the 
place of the semitone. 
The B, whether as Bt> or 
Ba, was also clearly in- 
dicated. At the present 
time such a compli- 
cated contrivance as the 
Guidonian hand would 
appear somewhat la- 
boured and heavy, but 
for that period it must 
be deemed to have been 
of incalculable value. 

However much or 
little credit one may be 
inclined to bestow on 
Guido as the inventor 
of the various artifices 

attributable to him, there can be no doubt that in his century he was 
looked upon as a master well qualified to rule. He also wrote several 
works in connection with his beloved subject, and, amongst those known 
to be authentic, the "Micrologus de Disciplina artis Musicse," a theory 
of music, written in twenty chapters, may be considered the best. He 
is distinguished from Hucbald, who was more of a scientific speculator, 
by the vigorous defence of his principles, and as a master that dearly 
loved musical practice. To quote Guido's own words on this point, he 

Fig. 139. The Guidonian Hand. 


says, "The way of the philosopher is not mine. I care only for that 
which is good for the Church, and tends to the advancement of our 
little ones."* Guido did not, like the greater number of his clerical 
predecessors, look upon music merely as a science, but felt it to be an 
art, as he says, " The musician must so arrange his song that it is 
but the reflection of the words. If the melody be for youths, there 
must be an exuberance of cheerfulness; if for old age, a fretful serious- 
ness ."f And, again, " funereal music " should be " depressed," and 
" festival music " of an te enlivening " character. 

To the musical scientists of the eleventh century such golden truths, 
which, notwithstanding their simplicity of language, might well be 
adopted by many modern composers, may have seemed either the eman- 
cipation from an obsolete theory, or the departure from traditions still 
looked upon as sacred; at any rate they must be regarded as the dawn 
of a new era in music. Guide's thesis called forth as much enthusiastic 
praise as it did most bitter opposition, and the latter for a time was so 
acrimonious that he was temporarily compelled to resign his office in the 
monastery of Pomposa, near Ravenna. He was subsequently re-installed by 
Pope John XIX. (10241033), his vindication being all the more sincere, as 
Guido, to prove the practical utility of his method, taught the Pope to sing 
correctly at sight in one lesson. Taken all in all, we cannot fail to acknow- 
ledge in Guido one of those rare men whom the history of art denominates 
as reformers, and the Tuscans have not done too much in honour of their 
great countryman by erecting statues to him both at Florence and Arezzo. 

When the practice of part-singing became more general it was found 
necessary to fix the value of the notes of the different parts, and although 
the strictly measured bars of our time with their bar-lines were not then 
adopted, a near approach was made in this direction. When, in the 
tenth and eleventh centuries, the organum and diaphony were chanted, 
the voices moved in the same direction, and it was then possible to sing 
in time without any special difficulty. But in the twelfth century a 
change took place, diaphony was merged into the Discantus % or Biscantus 

* By " little ones " is meant the choristers, 
t Our excellent Guido does not treat old age very reverentially. 

J Biscantm and Discantus are identical, and, like diphony or diaphony, signify a two- 
voiced simultaneous part-song. 


(French, Dechant) , which was especially the case among the inhabitants of 
the north-east of France and the Netherlands. In these districts a practice 
which almost developed itself into a mania arose of embellishing the 
upper notes of the Biscantus with ornaments, called in France, Fleurettes, 
and in Italy, Fioriture. This practice was most remarkable on account of 
its after-effects. Under such circumstances, the melody of the upper voice 
gained a considerable accession of movement compared to that of the lower 
voice, the second voice singing the cantus jirmus, and on this account it was 
called Tenor. Under these conditions, a further united singing of the 
two divergent voices was impossible, unless governed by some fixed rules 
of measure, i.e., time. 

Hence the invention of a new notation, or at least a re- modelling of 
the old system, had become a necessity. Before we glance at this 
music, now to be systematised into measured notes and bars, and known 
as the Mensural notation,* we will briefly scan the historical events pre- 
ceding this change. It must be remarked that the practice of ornamenting 
the melody of the upper voice with fioritura (an artistic dexterity which 
was called descanting] led, in a very natural manner, to the acceptation 
of the term descant as applicable to the upper voice only, whereas pre- 
viously it referred to the two voices. The practice of descanting was not 
confined only to the provinces between the rivers Seine and Scheldt, but it 
was known also at an early period in England, Holland, and Lower Germany, 
and especially the provinces bordering on the Lower Rhine. We are indebted 
for the oldest and most trustworthy information extant on this subject to 
the learned Franco of Cologne. The exact period at which this celebrated 
master lived is not known, but most probably it was during the latter end 
of the twelfth and the early part of the thirteenth centuries. From his 
famous work, <f Musica et ars cantus mensurabilis/' it would appear that 
" descanting " and the singing of two voices in tones of different durations 
were both known before his time. 

It is curious that even up to a very recent date, the personality of 
Franco of Cologne was surrounded with much mystery, a statement which 
will no doubt be deemed surprising considering the authenticated data which 
we possess relative to the much earlier Guido of Arezzo. It is owing to 

* Mensur (L., mensura, to measure) in music means the division of notes into tones of 
different durations, such as breves, semibreves, minims, &c. 


the researches of the distinguished Balgian musical historian Coussemaker 
that we are in possession of more positive information. He proves that 
besides Franco of Cologne,, another Franco (of Paris) existed, whose period 
was but little anterior to that of our Franco.* The Parisian Franco has 
been confounded with his namesake of Cologne down to our own time. A 
few historians, unable to reconcile the conflicting evidence concerning the 
two Francos, began to doubt the historical existence of the Cologne master. 
The confusion was increased by the discovery of a third Franco, a scholar and 
mathematician, who is said to have lived about the year 1060 in Lieges, 
and who, on account of the proximity of Lieges and Cologne, was confounded 
with the German Franco. f 

The able researches of Coussemaker have set at rest any doubt concern- 
ing the historical personality of Franco of Cologne ; neither is the German 
master's musical importance lessened, notwithstanding the proved existence 
of his Parisian namesake. 

From the "Compendium de discantu," now in the Vatican, beginning with 
the words " Ego Franco de Colonia," it would appear that Franco was a native 
of Cologne. J The evidence of Coussemaker also points in the same direc- 
tion, as he states that the Franco of Cologne was a native of the Rhenish 
provinces. The celebrated teacher zealously advocated the adoption of the 
Mensural song, which he greatly improved, making it acceptable to all. 
He also originated the uneven Tempo, or triple time, introducing it into 
Church music on the ground, which was entirely in keeping with the spirit 
of the mediaeval ages, that the Holy Trinity teaches us to regard the number 
three as the symbol of perfection, and hence triple time was ever to be regarded 

* Early musical historians connected Franco of Cologne with Paris, even calling him 
" Parisiensis magister," an error which we are now able to assert was the beginning of the 
historical confusion. 

t According to Fetis, Franco of Cologne studied at Lieges. This assertion was made 
prior to that of Coussemakor's concerning the Parisian Franco. It is surprising to note the 
number of publications on the history of music which have appeared since the time of Cousse- 
maker, all of which speak of one Franco only, and that one of Cologne, ignoring entirely any 
reference to others of the same name. A special article, entitled " Franco of Cologne " 
(Mendel's "Musical Encyclopedia," vol.iv., 1874), and published nine years after the valuable 
information of Coussemaker had been given to the world, not only ignores this author's able 
proofs, but bases his assertions on data furnished by Kiesewetter and Fetis which have subse- 
quently been proved to be entirely erroneous. 

J Kiesewetter's scruples concerning the authenticity of this work may now be looked upon 
as groundless. 



as the tempus perfectum. His labours in the diffusion of the knowledge of 
musical harmony were also of the highest kind. In this he ran counter 
to the laws of Greek harmony, as he regarded the third as a consonance, 
although an imperfect one, and thereby adopted an interval which, notwith- 
standing its euphony, had been interdicted by the ancients and mistrusted 
by the Christians during the first Christian millenium.* He further pre- 
pared the way for our modern harmonic system by classifying the major 
and minor seventh, the second, and the augmented fourth, also called Tritonus, 
as the only real dissonances. The musical theorists of the Middle Ages had 


stigmatised the Tritonus F/k. =j 

r\>\j 3 

as the diabolus in musica. The 

laws of part- writing laid down by Franco of Cologne were, in their essential 
elements, the same as those which govern modern harmony. Consecu- 
tive fifths were rejected by him much as they had been a century before 
by Guido, but by his strong advocacy of the motus contrarius, i.e., & con- 
trary motion of the different parts, he towers above all his predecessors, 
for the movement of parts in contrary directions, whether convergent or 
divergent, is the most harmonious that can be adopted. The germs of the 
new notation, forced into existence by the Mensural music, and which were 
to mark the varying durations of the tones of a melody, were known, how- 
ever, previous to the time of Franco. He adopted therefore for his purpose 
the four following well-known characters, each representing a different value, 
viz., the Longa ^, the Brevis^f^, the Maxima or duplex longa N^^^ , and 
the Semibrevis <f . Certain signs of the Neume notation, representing a 
complete ornamented phrase, were replaced in the Mensural notation by the 
so-called Ligature sign. Examples of the latter follow, with their ex- 

planation : 

No. 140. 
Ligatura recta. Deciphering. Ligatura obliqua. Deciphering. 

4^ p 

u^ , 

g> i 

-= lEEfl 

Ligatura. Deciphering. 



^ ^-^41 s 

4f^ ^<g 


-ti |- g -fl 

* It is probable that the major third was regarded as a discord in consequence of the 
Pythagorean tuning, which gave the ratio of that interval as f instead of |. F. A. G. 0. 


Dufay, " Je prends conge." Deciphering. 

Je prends con - ge Je prends con - ge 

It must, however, be remarked that the open chorale-note, like that in 
the three-part melody of Dufay beginning- " Je prends conge," was not used 
until the fifteenth century. In Franco's time, as well as in the second 
half of the thirteenth and the whole of the fourteenth centuries, the notes 
were almost exclusively black. 

The notation of the Mensural music, which is easily recognised from 
the signs used, and called Nota quadrata, is one and the same with that 
known as the Chorale notation. In the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- 
turies it was called the Franconian notation. That notation, which we 
have designated the " Engrossed," the characters of which are generally 
spoken of as the Gothic chorale notation, but which, as our example 
shows, would be more correctly termed the horse- shoe and nail notation, 
No. 141. 

is but little older than that of Franco, and this unmistakably contains 
the embryo of the Franconian system. In many places we may be sure 
that the Gothic and Franconian systems came into use simultaneously. 
Both notations have existed from the beginning of the twelfth to the 
beginning of the sixteenth centuries, therefore for a period of about five 
hundred years. The square chorale note is used even to-day in many 
Roman Catholic mass-books and antiphonals, and instances also are not 
wanting of the use of the engrossed horse-shoe notation (the German Gothic 
chorale notation) by the inhabitants of the Lower Rhine and of Belgium. 
In this we see that the fundamental law of all organic and mental 
being is the gradual development of new life, according to certain un- 
changeable principles, which, though branching out in new directions, 
can still be traced to its origin ; and this applies with great force to the 
gradual development of notation in the time of the Middle Ages. 


In Italy Mensural music found a soil congenial to its growth and 
development, and the name of Marchetto da Padova will ever be remem- 
bered as that of one of the earliest propagators of the new system. 
In his musical lectures delivered at Naples, he, like many of his 
predecessors, was strongly opposed to the use of consecutive fifths. 
He was also one of the first to utter that fundamental law of all 
euphony "That every dissonance should resolve itself into a conso- 
nance/'' a necessity founded on inborn musical feeling deeply rooted in all 
human nature.* The chief work of Marchetto was a treatise entitled 
"Pomerium in Arte Musicse Mensuratae," and bears the date 1307 A.D. 
We close this chapter with a copy of a bas-relief of the eleventh century, 
representing a,n instrumental concert, in which the whole of the per- 
formers appear to use different instruments. 

Fig. 142. An Orchestra of the Mediaeval Ages. Eleventh Century. 
(A Copy of a Bas-relief from the Church of St. George, at Boscherville, in Normandy.) 

We first notice two Rottas or Grouts of different calibre, and which, 
according to the position of the performers, would lead us, in the 
nomenclature of a later time, to designate one as the Rota da Gamha, 
and the other as the Rota da Bracchio. The Organistrum, it will be seen, 
required two performers, the first to turn the crank, and the second to 
make the instrument sound. The next figure appears to be provided 
with a wind instrument and also an instrument of percussion. Other 
performers are seen playing on sets of bells, psalters, and harps, whilst 
the two remaining figures viz., those at the extreme right of the picture 
although very indistinct, yet sufficiently indicate, by their actions, a 
performance o.n bells with clappers. From such a strange combination 
it is difficult to decide whether the performance was secular or sacred. 

* If the law, that a dissonance must be "'prepared," had been known to Marchetto, and 
added by him to his own grand principle that discords must be resolved, his method would 
then have been complete. 


To judge from the antics of the figure represented in the second half 
of the illustration as standing on his* head, and also from the bell 
and drum performers, the performance would appear to be that of a 
secular concert. But notwithstanding the undevotional and irreverent 
attitude of one performer, and the apparently inappropriate instruments 
of others, we cannot positively assert that this was not a sacred concert, 
because the religious faith of the people, at the time to which our 
illustration refers, was not so weak that the exhibition of popular 
humour would either shock or give offence. Their simplicity of mind 
led them to accept many things which would be exceedingly distasteful 
to our notions of propriety and reverence at the present day. Indeed, 
the fact that this picture is- a copy of a relief from a church, and also 
that nearly all the performers are csowned, intended probably to represent 
Kings David and Solomon, or even Constantine and Charlemagne, would 
seem to argue in favour of a sacred concert. 

The first twelve centuries of the Christian era present to us the 
rise and gradual development of mediaeval tonal art, due to the labours 
of prominent men of different European nations, whose individual 
exertions united and fitted in with each other. At the beginning of 
the thirteenth century, however, this working together ceased, and, in 
the place of collective labour, we find first one nation and then another 
of the great cultured people of Central Europe taking the lead. 

But before we follow music', now so richly endowed, and existing as an 
entirely self-dependent art, we will briefly glance at the rise of " Folk- 
music"" in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which, to so large an 
extent, emancipated itself from the scientific principles of school. 
At the same time, we shall devote some attention to the study of 
the music of the courts and the nobility, which, owing to the peculiar 
method in which it developed itself, became capable, at a later period, 
of re-acting on Church music in an invigorating and vivifying manner. 
In our next chapter, therefore, we shall endeavour to give some idea 
of the manner in which music became the joy and ornament of life, 
how it was fostered, and the influence it exercised in the princely palace, 
the knightly castle, and great cities, in the village, the field, and the forest. 

[The author has omitted all mention of what is unquestionably the 
oldest piece of polyphonic and canonical composition known to be in 


existence the old Northumbrian round, " Sumer is icumen in." Of 
this most remarkable production it will be as well to give a short 
description in this place. Sir John Hawkins was, I believe, the first to 
draw attention to it in his " History of Music/' but he assigns to it an 
entirely erroneous date, in which, as usual, he has been followed by 
Dr. Burney and others. It has been reserved for Mr. William Chappell 
to prove the real antiquity of this celebrated composition. It exists 
in a manuscript now in the British Museum (Harl. MS. No. 978), and 
Mr. Chappell has conclusively shown that the handwriting is of the 
thirteenth century. It was copied by a monk of Reading, named John 
Fornsete. The latest date of his work, in the MS. No. 978, is 1228. 
This definitely settles the date of the copy; the work cannot then have 
been long composed. The author of the music gives the following 
curious directions for the performance of his piece (which he calls 
" Rota " ) : " Hanc rotam cantare possunt quatuor socii. Pa.ucioribus 
autem quam tribus aut .saltern duobus non debet dici ; prseter eos qui 
dicunt pedem. Canitur autem sic. Tacentibus ceteris, unus inchoat 
cum his qui tenent pedem. Et cum venerit ad prim am notam post 
crucem, inchoat alius ; et sic de ceteris. Singuli vero repausent ad 
pausaciones scriptas, et non alibi, spatio unius Ionga3 notse/' It is 
therefore clearly a canon, fooir 'in <ome, with two additional parts 
forming a " Pes," or ground-bass. The character of the melody is 
sweet and pastoral, and well adapted to the words. It must be regarded 
as the only piece in six real parts known to exist before the fifteenth cen- 
tury ; it is fairly free from errors of harmony ; it is a strict canon, and 
the earliest canon known; it also offers the earliest example of a basso 
ostinato, or ground-bass. On every account, then, it deserves to be con- 
sidered as the most remarkable ancient musical composition in existence. 
As to the words, they are obviously Northumbrian, and it is probable 
that the music also was composed by a north-countryman, for we know 
from Giraldus Cambrensis that in his days vocal harmony was practised 
chiefly in the parts of England north of the Humber. The notation of 
the original manuscript is similar to that employed by Walter Odington, 
whose treatise on music was written about the year 1230, and is one of 
the very best works on music of that period. England may well be proud 
of her proficiency in music, both theoretical and practical, in those early 
days. We subjoin the canon, in score, together with the words. 





Su - mer is i - cu - men in .... , Lhu - de sing Cue - cu. 

Su - mer is i - cu - men 




y^ y . 1 



Sing Cue - cu nu Sing Cue - cu. 

-. ^^ 


Sing Cue - cu. 

Sing Cue - cu 



Grow -eth sed, and blow -eth med, And springth the w - de 


'& ^"^ 

in , Lhu - de sing Cue - cu. 

Grow - eth sed, and 


Su - mer is i - cu - men in. 

Lhu - de sing Cue- 


Su - mer is i - 


Sing Cue - cu 

nu Sing Cue - cu. 


Sing Cue - 


Sing Cue - 



-22- : 

Sing Cue - cu. 

Aw - e 


- -- 1 

blow - eth med, And springth the w - de nu. 


- CU. 

Grow - eth sed, and blow - eth med, And springth the 

- cu - men in , Lhu - de sing Cue - cu. 

Grow - eth 

Sing Cue - cu 



cu nu Sing Cue - cu 


blet - eth af - ter lomb, Lhouth af - ter cal - ve cu ; 

\-x-^,& - 

c ^ 



-^ -(- 


1 1 



~~~ 2 


^ <^ 

Aw - e blet - eth af - ter lomb, Lhouth 

sed, and blow - eth med, And springth the w - de nu 
<2__._ ~ 

Cue - cu 

Sing Cue - cu. 




r^j (^i 

- *" 


V | / 


9) Bul - luc 

^r~t 1 

stert - eth, 

Buck - e 

vert - eth, 

Mu - rie 

sing Cue - 


f-y-P- ^- 

*Jj7 r^> 

1 J | 

1 <^v 

U 3 ' 


J af - ter 

cal - ve 


Bul - luc 

stert - eth, 




J \2 <TJ -jj 

-^ J- 


=5 S 


-^ 3a 

t^ Aw - e 

H9 ^ s 1 

blet - eth 

af - ter 

1 ^ 1 

lomb, Lhoutb 


af - ter 

L^ ^=d 

cal - ve 

_x b 

= ! 


~^ H 

f 7\ 


C? | 

J Sing 
-s>- . 


^3 - 


-<s>- . 

Aw - e 


blet - eth 








iS'u ^ '~ 

^^ * 

& -= 1 

^T3 SJ 

1 1 







- cu. 

Cue - cu, Cue 

Buck - e vert - eth, Mu - rie sing Cue - cu. 

i ' -i 


Bul - 'luc stert - eth, Buck - e vert - eth, 

af - ter lomb, Lhouth af - ter cal - ve cu; 


nu Sing Cue - cu. 


Sing Cue - cu 





JB Et 


ri H 

<qr ~ ^ 

t-' Wei song 

- es thy 


P '^ 1 & j^ 1 
cu; Ne swik thu 

j 1_ 

^ f^..A C2 ~ d 

na - ver nu. 

j ~~n 

(fl; ^ 

^ ^ "1 

3 Cue - 


Cue - cu. Wei song - es thy Cue 

- cu. 

w - H 

J Mu - rie 

sing Cue 


- cu. Cue 

^ .^ ^ (=2_|_^? 2_ 




^ H 

tT" Bui - luc 


stert - eth, 

E r- 

Buck - e 

vert - eth, Mu - rie sing Cue 


- cu. 

S^\* .** ^ 


i ^ , 



q^^- ~ 





Cue - cu 

1 1 
nu Sing 

Cue - 




^ ' 

& ~fi 

j~P j - J 

Sing Cue - cu. 

Sing Cue 


The directions for the two lower parts, which sing the " Pes/' are 
as follows : 

1. " Hoc repetit unus quoties opus est, faciens pausacionem in fine." 

2. " Hoc dicit alius pausans in medio et non in fine, sed immediate repetens principium." 

Under the old English words are written the following Latin ones, 
which would almost make it appear as if the piece were meant to be 
sung in church : 

" Perspice christicola 
Quae dignatio 
Coaiicus agricola 
Pro vitis vitio. 

Filio non parcens 
Exposuit mortis exitio 
Qui captives 

A supplicio 
Vitae donat 
Et secum coronat 
In cceli solio."] 




THE slow and tedious progress made by Church music in its striving- 
after artistic form, even after the great reforms introduced into the 
liturgical song by Gregory, viz., from the seventh to the thirteenth 
pnturies, forms a strong contrast to the free and unembarrassed develop- 
ment of secular song amongst the people. The folk-songs, refrains, and 
roundelays which accompanied all the popular dances, the tales and sagas 
related in epic or song-form, and the ballads and serenades of the southern 
nations, although made by the people, and therefore entirely independent 
of scholastic theory, yet contained in themselves the germs of a rich 
development, which, coming into contact at a later period with the achieve- 
ments of art, attained to the most gratifying results. In like manner, 
the continuous improvements which were made in the mechanism of the 
organ that sole and favoured instrument of the Church from the ninth 
century improvements which we will follow as far as the sixteenth 
century, are in great contrast to the invention of a number of " profane " 
or secular instruments, either of foreign origin or the outgrowth of 
instruments of the most primitive nature. 

Certain fragmentary specimens of secular song dating from the sixth 
century are still extant, e.g., one of the time of Clothair II. (584 628 
A.D.), of which, however, we possess the words only, the melody unfor- 
tunately being lost to us. Even the notation of the celebrated " Roland's 
Song" of Charlemagne's time cannot be traced, although it is recorded 
that it was sung as late as 1356 A.D., at the battle of Poictiers. It will 
be remembered, however,* that the melody of the "Lament/' composed 
in commemoration of the death of the great emperor, has, curiously 
enough, been preserved to us (vide No. 326). Besides the love-ditties 
composed during the reign of Charlemagne, there were others of a 
licentious and satirical character which were forbidden to be sung in 
the precincts of the church, and also mournful songs chanted in the 
night over the graves of the departed supplicating the delivery of the 
soul of the dead from the power of the Evil One. Lastly, there were 


hymns of praise and battle-songs, and amongst these the famed "A 
King do I know named Ludwig the Sire." It is a matter of regret that 
of all these songs the words only have been preserved, and we are, there- 
fore, not in a position to judge how far the melodies departed from the 
cantus planus. Even after a careful study of the melodic fragments of 
the old folk-songs used by Flemish composers of the fifteenth century as 
the tenor of their contrapuntal parts, we should fail to gain any positive 
information as to the nature of the early folk-song, for at most these 
fragments carry us back only to the thirteenth century. The songs 
of a much later period naturally fail to furnish us with any reliable 
information whatsoever ; besides, the necessity of confining the folk-song 
to the metrical canon form entirely obliterated all trace of their original 
popular rhythm. Only in the Lochheimer song-book do we find one of 
those invaluable collections which enable us to obtain some notion of the 
musical form of the secular song of the Middle Ages. But even with 
such a collection at our command, we can only speak conditionally, for, 
notwithstanding that the book contains no less than forty-four songs 
noted down at the latest during the fifteenth century, yet it shows us the 
folk-song already influenced by theoretical doctrine, and, moreover, the 
collection has reference to Germany only.* 

But in order to N gain a more general understanding of European 
medieval folk-lore and its musical setting during the time of its gradual 
dissemination, we must devote our attention to a study of the songs of 
the eleventh and twelfth centuries, which are really the melodies of the 
troubadours and minstrels, and are, therefore, much more fitted for our 
purpose than the lays of the Lochheimer song-book; for although the 
former are really the reflections of court poetry, yet there was always a 
mental connection, as well as an external union, between the songs of 
chivalry and those of the people that was never entirely severed, and 
these songs, the outgrowth of such an alliance, remained for centuries. 

Specimens of the oldest secular mediaeval folk-music, whether in the 
romances of the South, or among the popular ditties of the Northern 

* The lays of the Lochheimer song-book are occasionally of great melodic beauty, the 
rhythm and musical structure showing a considerably advanced development. The composers 
evince a delicate sense of poetical feeling, and the songs not unfrequently possess a consider- 
able power of musical expression, affecting the hearer as much by their noble simplicity as by 
their purity of sentiment. 


Germans, are to be found in the songs of mountebanks, adventurers, 
itinerant jugglers, and strolling players, all of whom accompanied their 
songs on various musical instruments. In Germany these wandering 
musicians were generally tramps and vagrants, a class of humanity very 
characteristic of the Middle Ages. In Italy they were chiefly recruited 
from strolling players, from showmen who traversed the country exhibit- 
ing camels, monkeys, and dancing bears, from tricksters and vendors of 
molasses, the latter of whom were known as the Ceretani. In France, 
more especially in Provence and Normandy, they were represented by the 
Jongleurs and Menestriers, men who were indifferently buffoons, rope- 
dancers, or musicians, and also by Fableors and Contaires, i.e., profes- 
sional story-tellers, who sometimes accompanied their recitals by music. 
In England they, were known under the name of minstrels. * It must 
be distinctly understood that the undeniably beautiful melodies of Ger- 
many, Gaul, and Italy, sung by the wandering minstrels, were not 
their own original productions, but were the outpourings of the heart- 
felt emotions of the people themselves. The minstrels were but hawkers 
and disseminators of the tunes, carrying the themes and a knowledge of 
the musical elements from one people to another. But to their credit 
it must be said that it was owing to their skilful pipe and rota playing 
that a more lively style and many an original and singular rhythm 
were introduced, while the comical vein of their quaint, humorous songs 
stimulated others to new and bolder attempts in musical contrivance. 

Notwithstanding the great favour with which these wanderers were 
regarded by the people, and their own endeavours to establish the fact 
that their art was inherited, yet they never achieved any social distinction 
or attained any civil rights. True it is that their existence was tolerated, 
but all real protection of the law was withheld from them. Indeed, 
to such an extent was this carried, that a strolling player might suffer 
bodily injury, even by the sword of his assailant, and yet have no claim 

* The suppositions of Freytag and others, that these strollers were the descendants of the old 
Roman gladiators and comedians, seem to me to be conclusively proved. The fall of Rome, 
and the subsequent migration of nations, compelled this despised community to seek their 
bread among the " barbarians," and, as they had stood of yore in the Roman market-place and 
circus, so now they played and piped before the homesteads of Frankish chiefs those strange 
lays " which mayhap had been introduced into Rome with the adopted orgies held in honour 
of Asiatic deities." 


to compensation. The farcical performance of striking at the shadow 
of his wanton aggressor a blow similar to that which he himself had 
received was the only protection the law afforded him. Thus this 
remarkable people, unwittingly possessed of a romantic spirit, remained 
throughout the Middle Ages honourless and homeless outcasts. Even 
the Church withheld its sympathy and denied them the right to partake 
of the Christian sacrament.* 

These drawbacks, however, did not prevent their congregating in 
hundreds at court festivals and fairs, on great market-days, and when 
celebrated pilgrimages were to be made; their rewards, either in money, 
food, or raiment, being usually very great. Their performances consisted 
of heroic and amorous songs, laments and jocular ditties, such as were 
usually sung by them during their rovings from place to place, and 
satirical, denunciatory songs deriding those who had ill-treated or in- 
sufficiently rewarded them. The latter were frequently so pointed in 
their sarcastic allusions that it was often found more expedient to pur- 
chase the goodwill of the songsters by sumptuous feasts and gifts than to 
run the gauntlet of their dangerous satire. The strolling player, besides 
exercising his public calling, frequently acted in numerous other capacities ; 
thus, he was the secret messenger of princes and nobles, the courier tV amour 
of lovers, the agent of merchants, and the bearer of news to the peasant from 
distant relatives. When the players moved about in companies, women 
and children formed part of the troupe, the former taking part in the 
performances as dancers and singers. Amongst those companies that 
rjved through the South, we find women and children skilfully using the 
well-known Oriental tambourine and Egyptian clapper in their wanton 
dances. Their rambling, dissolute life induced a certain moral laxity 
that brought upon them public censure, so that in the year 554 A.D. 
Childebert promulgated very stringent laws for the suppression of their 

The great mental elasticity of these adventurers, united to a certain 
inborn shrewdness, enabled them to adapt themselves to all circumstances 

* This can scarcely surprise us when we remember that even in the eighteenth century 
actors and operatic singers (in whom, after all, we can trace a faint connection with the 
" wanderers ") were regarded as without the pale of ordinary citizenship, and (is it not 
painful to add ?) even to-day among some religious bodies the ordinary burial rites are 
refused to actors, and the use of consecrated ground prohibited. 


and to take part in every new phase of mental activity. This was 
especially the case with regard to the great revolution that took place in 
the minds of the people in the ninth and tenth centuries. Up to this 
time all traditions, institutions, customs, and sagas of classical heathenism 
had remained unattacked, and the same may be said of home traditions, 
which in many countries dated from a time prior to the Christian era. 
Even Charlemagne had collected, with unbiassed poetical feelings, the 
heroic songs and sagas of the heathen Germans, for which, however, his 
son Lewis the Pious exhibited the most undisguised contempt. It will 
not be difficult to obtain a clear conception of the moral and intellectual 
condition of the mass of the people at this time, if we remember the 
ever-growing influence of their tutors, the fanatical ignorant priesthood, 
who, however, must not be confounded with the educated monastic friars. 
The woodcut at the head of our Second Book, representing Venus and 
Tannhauser, will afford the reader some indication of the impending 
mental revolution. As early as the tenth century, Venus, the Roman 
goddess of beauty, had been transformed into a female demon, whose 
office was to lure the souls of pious Christians into perdition; whilst 
Tannhauser, who only for a time had yielded to her influence, was 
regarded as eternally lost, even a pilgrimage to Rome failing to 
bring him salvation. Paganism and Christianity had hitherto existed 
for centuries side by side without causing dissension or exciting provo- 
cation, but now they became implacable enemies. All that heathen art 
had transmitted to Christianity underwent a complete metamorphosis. 
And now the wandering minstrels, the social outcasts and the rejected of 
the Church, acted as interpreters, disseminators, and singers of the new 
cycle of sagas that grew out of the rupture between idolatry and Chris- 
tianity. But our vagrants obtained even still greater distinction by 
their performances of sacred plays. At first they were allowed to 
perform only in the adjacent grounds of the church, but after a time 
permission was extended to them to play in the porches, and finally 
even in the interiors a striking proof of the cleverness whereby this 
despised race ingratiated itself into the favour of the very Church 
which had formerly treated them with such extreme severity. At 
first, viz., in the former half of the twelfth century, the sacred plays, 
known in Germany as the Easter and Passion plays and in France as 


the Mysteries, were performed solely by the clergy, as the text of all 
plays was then in the Latin tongue. But in the latter half of the twelfth 
century, and more specially in the thirteenth, when the native vernacular 
forced itself into the Passion plays, both mountebanks and minstrels 
were to be found taking- part in the performances, infusing a vein of 
humour into their parts highly agreeable to the people. 

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries mountebanks and strolling 
minstrels were engaged in the service of Troubadours and Minnesingers, 
a circumstance that contributed greatly to the development of secular 
mediaeval music. At first their office was only that of instrumental accom- 
panists to the poetising nobles and knights, as the latter were either 
incapable of accompanying themselves, or considered such performances 
unbecoming their exalted station. Later on they were intrusted with the 
task of disseminating a knowledge of the songs and canzonets of their 
lordly masters ; and so great was their success that the courtly Troubadours, 
stimulated by the skill with which the strollers manipulated the Rota 
and the Rebeck, and their dexterous performance on the lute and fife, 
strove anxiously to acquire so effective an accomplishment, and from 
this time they numbered in their ranks many excellent instrumentalists. 
Moreover, the strolling minstrels, who after all were the only true re- 
presentatives of folk-music, infused into the canzonets of their noble 
masters an ever-refreshing and invigorating element which, besides pre- 
serving them from a one-sided development, saved them from an early 

The honour of having been the pioneers of courtly poetry and song 
belongs to the nobles of South-eastern France. It was there, in that 
corner of the French kingdom bounded by the Rhone, the Alps, and 
the Mediterranean, under the deep blue sky of Provence, that the romantic 
element, after the fall of Rome, had remained comparatively pure, without 
mingling with that which was foreign in the same degree as did the 
romanticism of more Northern France. The homely poetry and song of 
a contented people, gifted with the love of adventure and possessed of a 
cheerful, sensuous conception of the world, so excited the admiration and 
enthusiasm of the nobles, that they created for themselves a song akin 
to that of the peasant, giving to it, however, the stamp of their own 
individuality. The result was that their song was distinguished by a 



more compact form, more refined versification, nobler language, and a 
somewhat improved melody ; and, altogether, was superior to the Pro- 
ven9al lay, exercising a refining influence on the mind and morals of 
Christian mediaeval chivalry. The Troubadours did not disdain to accept 
gifts from those princes and noble ladies who formed the laudatory burden 
of their lays. Their poetising and song did not, however, descend, as with 

Fig. 143. The Minstrel " Adenes li Rois " before Mary, Queen of France. 
(From a MS. of the Thirteenth Century, in the Arsenal Library at Paris.) 

the Jongleurs, to a mercenary profession, but, practised and loved solely 
for itself, it rose to a self-dependent art. 

Prominent amongst the Troubadours of this time stands the name of 
Count Wilhelm of Poitiers (10871127 A.D.). The Love-songs which 
were composed by him and his followers, and addressed to courtly dames, 
were termed Canzonets, corresponding to the French chanson. To these 
belong the Serenade, i.e., the Evening song, and another known as the 
Day song, or Aubade, the versification of the former not unfrequently 
reminding one of Romeo's reply to Juliet when she earnestly entreats 
him to begone now that " jocund day stands misty on the mountain 


In complete contrast to these were the Servants t written to extol the 
goodness of princes, or else indifferently praising or condemning some 
public event. There were also the Tenzone, quarrelsome or contentious 
songs ; Roundelays, that terminated ever with the same refrain ; and finally 
Dance songs, among which the round-dance, accompanied by song and 
ballad, was the most favoured. 

Although, as regards melodic beauty and expressive rhythmical form, 
the Provencal songs were, as a rule, inferior to the best German songs 
of the Minnesingers, yet they contained in themselves sufficient tonal 
merit to prove the existence of an inborn musical gift. The oldest of 
these melodies are attributed to the pen of Chatelain de Coucy (1180 A.D ), 
so greatly extolled by tradition ; the Servantes to Bertrand de Born, the 
burden of whose laudatory songs was the beauty of Helen, the sister 
of Richard Coeur de Lion (11891199 A.D.). 

Another class of song, descriptive of Arcadian love in idyllic nature, 
was the Pastourelle, although the sentiment expressed savoured more of 
knights and courtly dames, under the guise of shepherds, than of the 
veritable herdsman himself.* 

The poetry and song of the Provengals was gradually disseminated 
throughout France, and towards the latter end of the twelfth century we 
find the Troubadours nourishing in the North under the name of Chan- 
sonnierSj amongst whom the name of Count Thibaut of Champagne 
(L201 1253 A.D.), King of Navarre, is the most celebrated. His songs 
bear as much reference to religious as to secular subjects. Among the 
former are hymns addressed to the Holy Virgin, and,, among the latter, 
amorous songs addressed to his Queen Blanca. Lays partaking of the 
character of the Pastourelle have been preserved, the following number, 
beginning " L'autrier par la matinee/' which I have endeavoured to har- 
monise according to the spirit of its naive and characteristic expression, 
being one of the prettiest. 

* It appears to me necessary to point out that the close relation supposed to have existed 
between the Cows d? Amour and the Troubadours is, according to the judgment of many, 
entirely fictitious. Well-qualified judges have asserted that the Cours d' Amour were not 
" tournaments of song," presided over by noble dames, but courts held in honour of the god 
Amor, the king of love, a Court and Parliament being appointed to decide on all matters affecting 
the tender passion, and that these dramatic musical representations were performed publicly 
in various French cities, more especially towards the end of the Middle Ages. 



No. 144. A SONG OF KING THIKAUT OF NAVARRE (1201 1253 A.D.). 

Light and rather lively. 

^~ j. 

~d r 

J ss 

L'au-trier par la m a - ti - ne - e ent'r un tos et un ver - gier 

-' i r 


-i i- 


i i 

-I r-4 


une pas - to - re ai tro - ve - e chan-tant pour son en - voi - sier 

: ^fc: 


JT ' 


A L 

di - sait un son pre - mier chi mi tient li mais d'a-mour. 

^k ^m 1^^^ 

J i I L 







Tan -tost eel - le par en -tor ka je loi de frai - nier 


.+ | , | j 

-i- P i J faJ j = 


si li dis sans de - lai - er : Bel - le, diex vous doint bon jour. 

i n **-* -*^- _| , 1 1 ici_^a_ 

-?n P- 

-r r r- 


Besides the charm of the ditty itself, this specimen possesses most in- 
teresting matter for reflection. First, we notice that not only the songs of 
the Troubadours and Trouveres, but also many of the songs of the German 
Minnesingers move no longer according to the old Church modes, but 
are written in our own modern major and minor key ; e.g., the above 
melody moves entirely in the key of G major. Another song of the 
same period, viz., the "Lament on the Death of Richard the King/' 
is written in D minor and its relative, F major. It becomes clear, 
on a study of these songs, that the people, whether high or low, com- 
posed their melodies unrestrained by any theoretical law, our present 
diatonic scale appearing to have been the basis on which they intuitively 
built their lays. Thus, it is self-evident that the chansons of the Trou- 
badours and the songs of the Minnesingers were the precursors of the 
great change which took place in the middle of the seventeenth century, 
when art- music seceded from the hitherto-used Church modes, to adopt 
the system of scales and keys now in common use. 

Besides the celebrated Thibaut, Adam de la Halle of Arras, in Picardy 
(1240 1286 A.D.), deserves mention as one of the most noted Trouveres. 
He was appointed "singer" to the Count of Artois, and travelled with 
that prince to Naples. The favoured Chansonnier of Picardy is considered 
to have been the first to re-model the Pastourelle into a complete musical 
drama, and his " Jus de Robin et Marion " has often been sportively re- 
ferred to as the first comic opera of France. But he is chiefly to be remem- 
bered by reason of the efforts which he made in part-writing ; and in our 
next chapter we shall notice a chanson written by him, and first brought 
to light by Fetis. Yet De la Halle was not alone in his endeavours to 
establish polyphony, for the Troubadours of Provence, and the Trouveres 
of Artois and Picardy of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, were not 
)nly melodists, but relatively harmonists and contrapuntists ; and on this 
point, as also on the development of music generally during the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries, we are indebted to Coussemaker for much valuable 
information.* The causes that led to such advanced musical knowledge 

* In referring to this, Coussemaker observes in his " L' Art Harmonique au xiii. siecles, 
Paris, 1865 '' : " Quant aux trouveres, on admettait generalement qu'ils etaient melodistes, 
;'est-a-dire, inventeurs de melodies, notamment de celles qui accompagnent leurs poesies ; mais 
>n ne les regardait pas comme harmonistes, c'est-a-dire, comme auteurs de compositions a 
olusieurs parties ; cette qualite leur etait ir.eme refusee. Nous etablissons que les trouveres 



will be discussed in the next chapter, and also the fact that amongst their 
European neighbours the French were the only people who had established 
an almost exclusively national School of Music. The notation of the 
French Trouveres of the thirteenth century was the square note on the 
four lines, a specimen of which is given below. 


omo UTS "D i cnr mon 

Jso. 145. Notation of the French Trouveres. 

The beautifully-coloured and ornamented initial letters with which the 
chansons are prefaced are characteristic of the monastic manuscripts of 
that age. 

The rise of a Northern French School of knightly singers, founded, 
towards the end of the twelfth century, on that of the Provengal Trou- 
badours, has already been noticed. Both schools endeavoured to disse- 
minate a knowledge of their own peculiar song among the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring lands, and Eastern Spain and Northern Italy soon 
adopted Provengal poetry and song. In Spain the Trobadores were 
chiefly to be found at the courts of Arragon and Castile, their melodies 
forcibly reminding one of their Provengal origin. Even their notation 

etaient veritablement harmonistes, et que quelques-uns n'etaient pas inferieurs dans 1'art 
d'ecrire aux dechanteurs et aux didacticiens de 1'epoque." 



bears the undeniable stamp of its source, as the following example clearly 

The Jongleurs were also known in Spain under the name of Joglares ; 
and Estevan de Terreros also speaks of Joglaresas i.e., women who 
roamed the country with the Joglares, taking part in their performances 
as kite and mandoline players. 

qtieno &3 

No. 146. Notation of the Spanish " Trobadores." 

Poetry and song were introduced into England from Northern France,* 
and here the knightly songsters, who, like the Troubadours, fostered the 
love for national poetry and secular song, were known as Menestrels or Min- 
strels. In Italy the ProvenQal lay did not strike deep root. Although Carl 
of Anjou and Azza of Este, the latter of whom was himself a distinguished 

* The author is hardly correct in this statement. There is every reason, indeed, to 
1 elieve that among the ancient Britons an independent and peculiar style of national 
melody was cultivated, and that traces of this music have survived in some of the oldest 
traditional melodies of Wales. Nor was music neglected by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. 
The well-known story of the expedition of King Alfred into the heart of the Danish 
c imp disguised as a minstrel would alone suffice to prove this point. It is, of course, 
indubitable that after the Norman Conquest a new and different kind of music was im- 
ported from France and Normandy; but the old Saxon gleemen still plied their trade, 
a ad bore their share in the gradual formation of a truly English school of art. In 
Ireland and Scotland also there were traditional melodies, the origin of which is lost in 
antiquity. Nor are indications wanting of the existence of a rude kind of harmony 
in these countries, and possibly in England and Wales also, long before Norman in- 
flience was brought to bear on native art. F. A. G. O. 


" Trovatore," appear to have been friendly to the introduction of the foreign 
melodies, they were destined to exist but for a short time, and then to 
fade entirely away. It is difficult to account for the non-success of the 
Provencal song among the Northern Italians, unless, indeed, the powerful 
and original genius of Dante may have absorbed all the poetical interest 
of his nation, and thus have greatly contributed to its extinction. 

The movement of the Crusades, which convulsed the whole of the 
chivalric knighthood of Europe, naturally drew Germany into the vortex 
of its religious enthusiasm. Notwithstanding its shortcomings, we 
doubtless owe to it some of the noblest fruits of progressive civilisa- 
tion : such as refinement of manner, an improved social morality, and, 
not least as regards art, the growth of that class of melodies 
specially belonging to the nobles, and also the first independent develop- 
ment of secular song. It was, however, but a part of Germany only 
that was at all influenced by this movement, for if we examine the 
lays of the Minnesingers of Southern Germany Suabia, Bavaria, Tyrol, 
and Upper Austria we shall find that in the majority of cases they 
are of an entirely different character to those of the Troubadours. In- 
deed, we may say that they were almost entirely independent of the 
Provencal influence, although the Northern German provinces, i.e, Suabia, 
Bavaria, &c., naturally felt, though in a very slight degree, the effects 
of the mental thrill which then electrified the whole of European chivalry. 
The case was different, however, with the Minnesingers of Lower and 
Central Germany. They, evidently, were first acted upon by the song 
of the Trouveres of Northern France, and more especially by that of 
the second-rate nobles, which was probably introduced into Germany by 
way of Burgundy, Flanders, and the Lower Rhine. The Lower German 
School, therefore, before it came into contact with, or was influenced 
by, that of Upper Germany, betrayed all the characteristics of its courtly 
origin, whilst throughout all ages the songs of Upper Germany preserved 
the stamp of their popular source, as true folk-music. 

The differences between the two schools were, however, not so great 
that, at the time when middle-high German became the general language 
of court poetry, and the melodies of the Upper German School, so 
closely connected with the construction of the strophe, became the 
common property of the Minnesingers, they would admit of no recon- 



ciliation. And accordingly in the thirteenth century we find every- 
where the same poetical form, as well as a corresponding musical 

We may date the commencement of the German Minnesong from the 
time of Frederick the Red (1152 1190 A.D.), and among the prominent 
names stands that of Heinrich of Beldeke (1184 1188), a poet who is 
known to have insisted on correct versification and purity of song. He 
cannot, however, be termed a Minnesinger in the proper sense of the word, 
since his poetry was chiefly of an epic character, as in his "Aene'ide." 
Yet we must always regard him as one of the institutors of courtly poetry, 
for although his great poem treats of a classical subject, yet there breathes 
through it the very same spirit that is so characteristic of the Minnesongs 
of mediaeval chivalry. Kiirenburger, of the middle of the twelfth century, 
and his contemporary Dietmar von Aist, and Spervogel (1150 1175 A.D.), 
should all be mentioned as in every respect true representatives of the 
Minnesingers. The latter is represented in a Parisian manuscript in the 
Manesse collection with a spear (sper) in one hand, on which a number 
of birds (vogel) are transfixed. From the instructive character of the 
Proverbs and Sacred Songs written by Spervogel, we must class him with 
the courtly singers of the twelfth century. In the following beautiful 
Proverb, praising modest womanhood, he shows in how refined and tender 
a manner he can express himself both in tone and verse : * 

No. 147. (The middle of the Twelfth Century.) 

.Rather lively and Lightly. nt. 

T i i 1 

TOT] n 

Tritt ein rei-nes Weib da - her im schlich-ten Kleid, so klei- det doch so 


* The modern German rendering 1 of the exquisitely touching poem, No. 147, is by R. Von 
Liliencron ; the harmony by W. Stade. (Published by C. F. Kahnt, Leipzig.) 



lieb-lich sie die Sitt-sam-keit, dasz ihr an Glanz die Blu - me weicht, dasz 





j J J ! 3 ' i i | J * TTgg * * H* 

=j_^^_j ^ ' 3 -glj-4. i* ' <> < 5 S- 1 -* *-ip= 

sie der gold-nen Son - ne gleicht, die an dem f rii - hen Mai - en - tag hin - 

i r*i & -f- + -* 

*" ' P r i- 



strah-let auf die Lan - de, kein Aug' er- freut das f al -sche Weib i 


1 f 

' ' 1 1 

*' J ' 

t r- 

^ j ^ f^jj ' J J J 

T r ^^j^ * 

stol - zen Prunk-ge - wan - de 

Reference has been made to the fact that the formation of the melodies 
of the Minnesongs is dependent on the metre and poetical construction of the 
strophe. In order to gain, therefore, a clear understanding of the Minnesong, 
it will be necessary to glance at the structure of those in common use at 
that period. Of these, three principal kinds present themselves to our 
notice, viz., the Song (Steb), Lay (Sercfy), and Proverb (@prucfy). According 
to the character of the Lay, its melody was constructed either out of the 


well-known Church sequences, cr of selections from the oldest dance tunes. 
If the latter were the case, the Lay was then composed of differently- 
constructed strophes, each of them naturally with a different melody. As 
a rule, the Lay was composed of more than one strophe, whilst the Song 5 
very rarely exceeded that number. . The Proverb was composed of one 
entire strophe ; should the poet, however, subsequently write other strophes, 
they could be all sung to the same tune. This is the one important musical 
difference between the Proverb and the Song, for every Song, notwithstanding 
a similarity in metrical structure, required in each case a special melody. 

With few exceptions, the strophe of the Song was divided into three 
parts. The first and second sections were of the same metre, and were 
called Sfollen, the third part being built on an entirely different measure. 
The Song consisted of several of such strophes, and therefore one melody 
sufficed for them all ; whilst the Lay, composed of dissimilar metrical 
strophes, could not be set to one and the same melody, but required a series 
of entirely different musical phrases. 

ID must be here remarked that the term tone, or tone of a song, so 
frequently employed by the Minnesingers, did not in any way whatever 
indicate the use of special melodies or keys an error which one might easilv 
have committed when we remember that the old Church keys were com- 
monly referred to in the singular as " tone/' The tone of a song, in the 
sense that it was employed by the Minnesingers, was synonymous with 
the word metre) and referred solely to the metrical structure of the strophe. 
The musical part of the song was called the melody. Subsequently the 
tone (metre) and the melody were brought into closer union with the word. 
Sometimes, however, the word was united to the melody only as embodying 
both (tone) metre 'and tune. 

The Minnesong (Lied) consisted of one strophe, which was divided into 
three sections, the first two of which were called the Aufgesang, or Stollen. 
The third section, being of a different metrical construction, required an 
entirely new melody. If the metre of the end of the third section was 
similar to the beginning of the first section, then the melody was made to 
lead back to the opening motivo. We append two Minnesongs, very cleverly 
harmonised by Wilhelm Stade, which will clearly enable the reader to 
follow the construction of the Lied.* 

* Taken from a collection of songs by Liliencron and Stade. 



No. 148. 





1 I Young Earth, to life a - wak - 'ning, A - gain gives life to 

| The val - leys all are sing - ing ; Dread storms have lost their 

Now eyes iu love's sweet dream - ing Are bright as ta - pers 

If thoa wilt ne - ver hear us, And turn our joy to 

1 J fr 


m i 


i* ' 




" i i 


i 1- 




r^TV -J-M-r 

!T*~ = 





^ ^ < 


- * * J : 


flow - 'rets ; A - round us sweet-est o - dours Load with scent the 
ter - ror ; Birds ju - bi - lant as - cend - ing, Sing on high their 
gleam - ing ; With love all hearts are brim - ming God - dess, grant to 
sor - row, Will a - ny give thee wor - ship ? God - dess proud, be - 


^- ^- 



5 : 


tran-quil air. 

songs of joy. o J Drear win-ter's cold has van -ished, The young May-days are 
us a share. I Let love's sweet joy re - ward him, Who true to^ thy fond 
- ware ! be-ware ! 

J. .J. J. J. J -J. J. 

with us, Bright in their beau - ty smil - ing : Go, stern win - ter, 

bid ding, Glad - ly thy chains doth car - ry. Maid, of all maids 










thee Be - fore the sun's bright ra - 
est, To thee I vow al - le 


&.-. i i 




i : 

No. 149. 



Poetry by Heinrich von Morungen. Melody by Prince Witzlav. 

With deep feeling. 



-i I 


-J f 

1. Fool - ish spi - rit, wilt thou ne - ver wea - ry Of 

2. Faith - ful e - ver, my heart's true e - mo - tion, Yet 

3. Long for faith - ful love I've sought and wait - ed, But 

j I 



r r 

r f 


i i 

this mad love that hath so long de - - lud - ed ? Sad and mournful 

love's re -ward to me was pain and sor - row. Ev - er since my 

woe is me, heart - bro -ken with com - plain - ing, Like the wind my 

ill, I I 


-i i- 


<J * * * * ? ~-*-~V ~? * * V~ 

I must part for e - ver, Be - trayed by love all 
child-hood have I wor-shipped Thine i - mage fair, in 
yearn-ing cry de - part - ed, And heart-less, faith-less, 


hope and faith have 
true love still a - 
love to me hath 
I I 






Al - 

yet 'twas she who in her beau 
heart's en - shrined in bit - ter an 

though my fond heart she pos - sess 



4 1 1 

3H 2 - 



As white as H - lies, red as ro - ses, Stood be -fore me, 
Yet ne - ver cry from me has reached you : My heart's deep e - 
In vain I look for her re - spond - ing. Bless - ed had I 

r J J. 


-/S 2 


; i i ii 

ra-diant as the sun-shine : Oh, wound-ed heart, must thou for e - ver 

mo-tion have I sti - fled, And ev - 'ry sha- dow of my sor - row 

been, how far more bless - ed, Had I but heavenward turn-ed my de 

- - ^ I ! I I i I I I 

1 i 

P ritnrd. 

sor - row ? 
hid - den. 
vo - tion. 


The sympathetic expression of the above ditties bears such a resem- 
blance to that which our modern song-writers endeavour to produce, that 
notwithstanding- the antiquity of Prince Witzlav's melodies, one might 
easily suppose them to have emanated from the pen of Schumann or Men- 
delssohn. The zealous and profound studies of Stade in this special branch 
of mediaeval mins'relsy have enabled him to extract the treasure of their 
innermost meaning and present them to us in their modern form, without, 
however, altering one note of the original tunes. He has not only divided 
them into bars, but has harmonised them in a manner as entirely different 
from anythiug that had hitherto been attempted, as it is successful. Many 
essays at deciphering and arranging these melodies have been made by 
learned investigators, but all such attempts have proved abortive. . Whilst 
one essayist, Kugler, asserts the impossibility of successfully resuscitating 
such mediaeval melodies, another, Kretschmar, contemptuously designates 
them t( barbaric^ music. We have not far to seek for the reason of such 
condemnatory language. It is that neither of these investigators has dis- 
covered the true interpretation of the rhythmical structure of the melodies 
which they had undertaken to decipher. After the exhaustive explanations, 
however, given by Liliencron and Stade, the possibility of an erroneous 
interpretation of the musical technique of mediaeval song would now seem 
to be entirely precluded.* 

The early representatives of middle-high German poetry are Sper- 
vogel, Dietmar, Kiirenberg, and others; whilst those of the twelfth and 
the early part of the thirteenth centuries, when courtly poetry and popular 
song were at their highest state of perfection, may be represented by 
Heinrich von Morungen, Reinmar Hagenau (also called Reinmar the Elder), 
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Strassburg, Hartmann von Ane, 
and W r alther von der Vogelweide. With the opening of the thirteenth 
century German Minnesong may be said to have entered upon its third and 
last epoch, its principal exponents being Nithart von Reuenthal, Reinmar 
von Zweter, Ulrich von Lichenstein (died 1275 A.D.), and Konrad von 
VViirzburg (died 1287). Although a few important works were produced 

* It will be interesting to peruse the promised work of Jacobsthal on this point. In any 
ase the musician of the present day who endeavours to harmonise the melodies of the Meister- 
-ingers can base his use of the modern instead of the Church mode on the fact that the 
uelodies of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were constructed on scales which undeniably 
j lave actually anticipated our modern system of keys. 



during 1 this period, yet the traces of the degeneration and declension of 
the Minnesong were unmistakable, and, indeed, by the middle of the 
fourteenth century it had ceased to exist. 

If, as Yidal supposes, the illustration below refers to the end of the 
twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century, then it represents 
Eeinmar, surnamed the Elder, to distinguish him from Reinmar von 

Although we have stated that the Minnesingers never slavishly 

imitated the courtly poetry of the 
romantic South, yet this state- 
ment must not be taken too 
literally. Certain it is, however, 
that the song-forms which they 
adopted were so entirely changed, 
and indeed re-created, as to 
eventually become truly national 
forms. One important point of 
difference, and one which cannot 
too strongly be noticed, is that 
the Minnesingers infused into 
their melodies a feeling that 
savoured less of the courtly and 
more of the popular element 
than did the songs of the Trou- 
veres. They also strove to free 
them from the French conventional manner of expression, and in doing 
so elevated the poetical art to a much higher standard than it had en- 
joyed under the Trouveres. The sentiment of the following verses of 
Walther von der Vogelweide is much more elevated and serious than 
that of most of the songs of the Provencal Trouveres : 

" Love is neither man nor woman, 
Soul it hath not, nor yet body, 
And no earthly sign or token ; 
Though the tongue of man hath named it, 
Never mortal eye hath seen it. 
Yet without it can no creature 
Win Heaven's pitying grace and favour; 

Fig. 150. Eeinmar, the Minnesinger. 

(From a If 8. of the Thirteenth Century, in the National 
Library at Paris.) 


NOT wheie love is will there linger 
Aught of fraud or baseness ever ; 
To the traitor, the fafoe-hearted, 
Love hath come not, cometh never." 

If the melody of this poem was but in keeping with its graceful 
simplicity (which we have in vain tried to preserve in the translation), ttien 
might we well deplore that it has not been preserved. It is with regret 
also that I am compelled to admit my inability to supply the original 
melodies to the two following naive stanzas : 

" Underneath the linden shadows, 
On the wood's enamelled meadows, 

Where with my true love I lay, 
You may find among the heather 
How we plucked the flowers together, 
E'en as lovers do in play. 
By the woodland in the vale, 

Tra-lira-la ! 
Sweetly sang the nightingale. 

With foot hurrying and heart beating, 
Swift I hastened to the meeting, 

Found my lover waiting there ! 
My true love was there before me, 
And he clasped me, and bent o'er me, 
Till I thrilled with joy and fear. 
Did my lover kiss, you said, 

Tra-lira-la ! 
Nay, why are my lips so red ? " * 

The songs of the Minnesingers did not, like the greater number of the 
courtly chansons of France, Spain, and Italy, treat of the tender passion 
only. They embraced moral, religious, and even political topics of the 
period. Fealty to God, to the king, and to women formed, however, 
the principal themes of the lays of the knightly poets. Chief among the 
Minnesingers must be singled out for special mention the name of Walther 
von der Vogelweide. As a rule the Minnesingers were not attended by 
bards like the Jongleurs or the Troubadours, but sang their own lays, often 
improvising words and music together. Those who were able to accomplish 

* That the latter part of the Minnesingers' period was not wanting in melodies of an 
equally spontaneous character may be seen from the two songs which we have given, written 
by Prince Witzlav, besides another entitled " Wood and Meadow," the manuscript of which 
k in the museum at Jena. 


this were subsequently designated " Mastersingers/' He who was found to 
have plagiarised either words or melody was dubbed a " tone-thief ." * 

The name of Heinrich von Meissen has attached to it a special signifi- 
cance in connection with the history of music. The last of the Minne- 
singers, he was born in 1260 A.D. at Meissen, and died in 1318 A.D. at 
Mayence. So constant and successful were his praises of woman that by 
common acclamation he was named " Frauenlob/' i.e., woman's praise. He 
was fond of using the word " Frau " (woman) instead of the older word 
"Weib" (our "wife") employed by Schmit Regenbogen and Walther von 
der Vogelweide. In an old chronicle of the period we read how the women 
of Mayence, when their favoured minstrel died, bore him to his tomb, which 
they moistened with their tears and bedewed with the costliest wines of 
the Rhineland. 

In the Manesse collection of manuscripts at Paris there is an illustration 
(a copy of which is given below) depicting Frauenlob conducting a band 
of musicians, from which we may infer that Heinrich von Meissen was 
not only a singer, but also a musician in a more comprehensive sense. 
Although, from the attitude of some of the figures, we might take them as 
intended to represent singers, yet, from the fact that the greater number are 
depicted with either wood or string instruments in their hands, we can see 
that the drawing is evidently intended to represent an instrumental orchestra. 
All the performers appear to have ceased playing, in order to listen to 
the violinist in the centre of the picture, and it may be observed that not 
only is Frauenlob conducting from his elevated platform with baton and 

* It may be here remarked that there exists no evidence whatever to prove that the contest 
at the castle of the Wartburg, always spoken of as the "singer-contest," was, in fact, a 
musical contest at all. Indeed, all German historians are agreed that unless the whole story is 
a myth, any such gathering must have been for poetical contention only. Tradition affirms 
that Hermann of Thuringia caused a tournament of song to be held in the year 1207 A.D. The 
chief object of the contest is said to have been to laud the virtues of princes, each singer sound- 
ing the praises of a prince other than his own ; e.g., Ofterdingen is said to have praised 
Leopold of Austria ; Wolfram, the Landgrave of Thuringia ; Walther, the King of France. 
The Manesse manuscripts, which are supposed to illustrate these contests very fully, curiously 
enough neither show the contending singers with any musical instruments in their hands, 
nor represent them as singing. They are depicted more in the attitude of reflection, or as scan- 
ning verses'. Nowhere are we able to discover any authority which will support the theory 
that the contest at Wartburg was a musical one. Lately, however, the erroneous belief that 
such a contest was musical has gained ground through Wagner's opera of Tannhau&er, in 
which the tournament of song at the Wartburg is introduced. 



finger, but also that two of the figures at the side of the solo-player 
seem to be beating time. The representations of the stringed instru- 
ment should be 
noted. Bearing 
in mind the time 
at which Riidi- 
ger von Manesse 
wrote his famous 
manuscripts, viz., 
the fourteenth 
century, and from 
the general ap- 
pearance of these 
instruments, we 
place them in the 
same category as 
the German 
Rotte and the 
Northern Grout 
or Crwth, rather 
than class them 
with the Rebec, 
the Gigue, and 
the Vielle of the 
romantic South. 
Each of the 
former group, 
although start- 
ing from very 
crude forms, even 
as early as the 

twelfth century, show a remarkable similarity to our modern violin. In 
the course of the development of these various instruments, both names 
and shapes were so often changed as to lead to great confusion. Thus in 
the fourteenth century the Germans adopted the French names of Vielle 
and Gigue for instruments almost identical in construction, modifying 

Fig 151. Master Heinrich Frauenlob. 
(From a Parisian [Manesse} MS.) 


them, however, into Fiddle and Geige (violin). Of the remaining 
instruments in Fig. 151, there is one to the right of the spectator of 
the nature of something between a dwarfed harp and a psaltery. There 
are also four wind instruments, in three of which the ventages are clearly 
discernible. Two figures to the right of the soloist, represented without 
instruments, appear to be beating time, and we may therefore conclude 
that these are singers. Lastly, the figure to the left of the solo-player, 
represented with a wind instrument raised in the air, would appear to be 
a woman. That a female may have been among the performers is very 
probable, as it is an ascertained fact that women were instructed in 
the art of playing the Vielle and other instruments in the time of the 
Troubadours and Minnesingers. 

The name of Frauenlob stands out prominently in the history of the 
general development of art, not only as the last of the Minnesingers, but 
also as the connecting link between the dying courtly minstrelsy and the 
germinating civic Meistersong. Hitherto we have confined ourselves to 
the history of minstrelsy up to the fourteenth century. We now propose, 
however, to treat of the Meistersingers (Mastersingers), notwithstanding 
that such a consideration will carry us as far as the sixteenth century, as 
it will be found more convenient to deal with them here than in chrono- 
logical sequence. 

The German Meistersong seems to have originated at Mayence, from 
whence it became disseminated throughout the German lands. This city of 
the Rhine retained its supremacy in the Meistersong during the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries, notwithstanding that Strasburg, Augsburg, Munich, 
and Nuremburg, the city of the celebrated Meistersinger Hans Sachs (1494 
1576 A.D.),all attained celebrity as centres for its propagation. The rise of 
the Meistersong followed immediately upon the decay of the Minnesong-, 
the exponents of the former adopting, especially in lyric song, the forms 
of the latter. The Lied, or song, was called Bar, and like the song of 
the Minnesingers consisted of three or more G-esdtze (strophes). Each 
strophe consisted of two shorter stanzas called Stollen, which, being of the 
same metre, were sung to the same tune. The first Gesatz, called Aufge- 
sang (opening song), was followed by the Abgesang (after song), which had 
an entirely new melodic motivo. The Abgesang was sometimes succeeded 
by a third Gesatz, which generally, however, consisted of a single Stollen 


only, the melody of this usually leading back to the melody of the opening 

Yet the connection between the Minnesingers and Meistersingers was 
more apparent than real. Indeed, it could not well have been otherwise, 
for since princes, nobles, and even the clergy, who were formerly the real 
conservators of poetry and song, degenerated into freebooters, living in a 
continual state of mutual feuds and disquietude, music and poetry passed from 
their hands into those of a people who lived in quiet and safety behind 
their city walls. This cannot be regarded otherwise than as an undoubted 
gain to both arts. Instead of music and poetry being the exclusive property 
of an aristocratic class, they now awakened to a new and freer existence 
among the city burghers. And yet a slight deterioration did manifest itself 
in the transfer of the sister arts from a chivalric knighthood to an opulent, 
self-sufficient, and prosaic civic body. Guilds were formed for the cultivation 
of music, the members of which were bound by laws the same as those of other 
corporate bodies. Hence, the tonal art now became impregnated with a good 
deal of the formality of the master-artificer, weakened in imagery, and tied 
and bound by conventionalities. The honest citizen's strict obedience to cast- 
iron rules in his daily avocations showed itself forcibly in his music. The 
pedantic observance of the external form was more to him than truthful 
expression. The shell was more to him than the kernel. Depth of feeling, 
truthfulness, and freedom of expression were regarded as of secondary im- 
portance only. All this will be made clear to us on a study of the rules by 
which the contests of the Meistersingers were governed. These contests 
generally took place in churches,* the people being invited to them by 
placards posted on the walls of the city. At these trials, where sacred song 
predominated, there were usually four judges, called Markers, who sat at a 
table near the altar, screened from the public gaze by a curtain. The 
duty of the Markers consisted, first, in noting that the text of the singers 
did not depart from Holy Writ; secondly, that the rhyme and rhythm 
were perfect, every syllable being counted ; and thirdly, that the melo- 
dies of the aspirants were original and written strictly according to the 
precepts of the Meistersinger law (talulatur). The candidate had carefully 
to guard himself against the use of any of the prohibited transitions and 

* At Nuremburg:, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, these contests were held in the 
church of St. Katherine. 


ornaments. Should he fail in any one of the rules, the Markers declared 
him "versungen und verthau," i.e., unsuccessful.* The contending singers 
consisted of apprentices and masters, the title of Meistersinger (master- 
singer) being a- 
warded to him only 
who invented both 
melody and verse. 
Those who were 
possessed of a good 
voice and suitable 
delivery were 
termed Singers. 

The melodies 
invented by the 
Mei stersingers 
may well be com- 
pared to their 
psalmodic recita- 
tions dry and 
monotonous, not- 
withstanding that 
permission was 
sometimes granted 
allowing the in- 
troduction ojiori- 
tura. It is strange 
to note the poetical 

Fig. 152. Cabinet of the Meistersingera. 
(From the Original in St. Kathcrinf'* Church at Nwemburg.) 

names that were 

given to melodies so hedged-in by trades-union rules ; e.g., " Maidenly 
(Iraee/' "The Nightingale/' "The Blue Corn-flower/' "The AVall- 
tiower/' " A Melody of Roses/' besides some peculiarly odd ones, as 
"The Glutton," "A Monkey Tune," "The Pointed Arrow," "A 
AYeaver's Song." 

The Meistersong flourished for a period of nearly four centuries, and 

* Riehaixl "Warmer, in his opera The Meistersincicrs of Xurembnrg, has re-awakened 
the general interest in the history of the Meistersiugers. 



may be roughly said to be represented by the celebrated Hans Sachs, 
Muskablut, Behaim, Folz, Rosenpliit, Puschmann, and Hadlaub. In the 
sixteenth century, schools for its propagation are known to have existed 
as far north as the Baltic Sea. Besides the celebrated school at Nurem- 
burg, others were founded at Frankfort, Ulm, Ratisbon, Heilbronn, 
Gb'rlitz, Breslau, Danzig, and many smaller cities. In Brandenburg, 
Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and Saxony, however, the attempt to disseminate 
the Meistersong met with little or no success. In the 
seventeenth century the Meistersong, practised accord- 
ing to strict guild law, began to decay ; one school, 
however, survived at Ulm as late as 
1839 A.D.* 

We will now turn to a survey of the 
musical instruments in use from the 
twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. Some 
have already received a passing glance, 
but there are others very important 
ones too of which no mention has yet 
been made. 

The first and most important of 
Fig. 154^ A Five- the stringed instruments on which the 
Trouveres, Minne and Meister singers 
used to accompany themselves are our 
old Eastern friends the lute and harp. 
Both, as may be expected, had undergone considerable changes during 
the long lapse of years between the decay of ancient pagan art and 
the regeneration of artistic culture in Western Christendom. Neither 
must we forget the immense tract of country, with its various peoples, 
over which these instruments had to pass before they finally came 
into the hands of the Western European nations. Their general out- 
line, build, and mechanism were almost entirely changed. This will be 
at once evident to the reader if he will compare illustrations of ancient 
Oriental harps and lutes with the two subjoined. One is a portable 

* I have purposely omitted all reference to the ephemeral schools of East and West 
Fricsland. The well-known mediaeval adage, Frisia non Cantat (Frieslanders do not sing), 
would seem to imply a good deal of indifference to the vocal art in those provinces. 

(From an Old MS.) 

(From a MS. in ike 

National Library at 



harp of the Menestrels of the fifteenth century, and the other a lute of 
the Trouveres of the thirteenth century. The practice of the harp was 
cultivated by Norman, Scottish, and Irish nobles, and also by the courtly 
singers of the north of France. The Trovatores of Italy and Troba- 
dores of Spain favoured the guitar, an instrument which very soon 
attained its present development in both those countries. From the 
fourteenth century to the present day, no modification of the lute and 
guitar has been made of any importance. Even the Mandoline and 
Theorboe are but offshoots of the lute, and gained but a transient and 
local popularity.* The story of King Alfred's harp-playing in the tents 
of his Danish enemy will at once present itself to every student's mind, 
as illustrative of the love of the Saxons for the harp long anterior to the 
era of English minstrelsy. 

We have before stated that the favourite instrument of the Trouveres 
was the Vielle, and it is to the consideration of the mechanism and manner 
of playing that instrument that we now turn. The range of the Vielle 
was somewhat analogous to that of the modern viola, though extending 
from a lower bass to a Jesser altitude. It possessed five strings, which 
were tuned as follows : 

1. 2. 3. 4..J2. 5. 

The two lowest, and sometimes the third and fourth strings, were made 
to vibrate so as to produce a kind of pedal-bass, the melody being played 
either upon the third, fourth, and fifth strings, or upon the fifth string 
alone, as the case might be. 

Such a sustained pedal-bass, reminding one of the incessantly sound- 
ing fifth of the bagpipes, was called in France Bourdon. It will be 
observed that the D is repeated no less than three times on an instru- 
ment possessing only five strings. This fact cannot be too strongly noted, 
for this repetition of the tonic and fifth leads me strongly to conclude that 
at that time there was an incipient yearning after harmony, which appeared 
to spread over Central Europe during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, f 

* The mandoline may as well be regarded as an outgrowth of the lute as of the guitar, 
whereas its sharp and piercing tones distinguish it again from hoth those instruments. 

f We have already pointed out that some harbaric nations, e.g., the Nubians, possessed 



We have before referred to the bewildering confusion that existed during 
the Middle Ages concerning the names and structure of the various string 
instruments then in use. Two illustrations are subjoined, which, although 
representing the same instrument, show a wide dissimilarity in construction 
and general appearance. A careful research of the works of German and 

French savants, 
treating of the his- 
tory of music, has 
exhibited the Vielle 
to us under forms 
the most dissimilar. 
That represented in 
Fig. 155 bears a 
close resemblance to 
two that are de- 
picted on a monu- 
mental tombstone 
at Schwerin, one of 
which is played by 
an angel and the 
other by a crowned 
The oval- 
shaped Vielle in the 

hands of the female (Fig. 155) is, in my opinion, on account of its shape 
and short neck, the oldest of its class. That in Fig. 156 is of a later date, 
the neck showing signs of development. Both these instruments, I take it, 

Fig 1 , loo. A Female Playing 
on the Vielle. Thirteenth 

(From an Enamelled Dish at Soissons.) old man. 

Fig. 156. Satan Playing upon 

an Oval Three-stringed Vielle. 

Thirteenth Century. 

( Copied from a piece of Sculpture in the 
Cathedral at Amiens.) 

instruments which contained certain notes that were always used for basses, and which droned 
the whole of the time the melody was being plaj^ed. This bass note also existed on most primi- 
tive lyres. It is even now to be found in the Oriental bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies. But, in my 
opinion, this bass note cannot be regarded as showing a leaning on the part of the Orientals 
to polyphony, but as an introduction solety to please the ear. The continuous sounding, 
however, of the perfect fifth on so comparatively a highly-developed instrument as the Vielle, 
and the simultaneous growth of the Mensural song, would seem to conclusively prove a 
striving after polyphonic effect throughout the Middle Ages. If we can imagine several 
performers on the Vielle meeting together, some taking the lowest of the three strings as a 
pedal bass, and others the remaining strings on which to play the melody, we might well take 
it that, in the primitive contrapuntal fashion of the time, a kind of three-part harmony was 


are closely related to the German Rotte and tlie Italian Rota, and it would 
have been more correct to have designated them such, rather than \ 7 ielles 
or Fiddles, the precursors of which were the Rebab and Rebec. I am dis- 
posed to agree with Lacroix that the instrument which Fig. 157 is intended 
to illustrate belongs to the Gigue class. From its structure it is nearly 
related to the Oriental Rebec. Although the four-stringed instrument played 
by the Jongleur (Fig. 158) is, by the Parisian manuscript, designated a 
Vielle, I should be more inclined to place it in that category of instruments 
which grew out of the fusion of the Rotte and the Rebec, and which were 
the immediate precursors of the modern violin.* 

* I am greatiy strengthened in this opinion by a study of many hundreds of drawings, 
manuscripts, and actual instruments which I have seen in various Continental museums. It 
may be of interest to, note in chronological order the precursors of this, the most important of 
all stringed instruments, giving the various names by which it has been known in the three 
most musical countries of the earth, viz., France, Germany, and Italy. As this is the first 
attempt that has ever been made, as far as I am aware, at giving the pedigree of the queen of 
musical instruments, I do not assert that it is altogether incapable of improvement : 

France. Germany. Italy. 

Crout. Kruth. Ribeca. 

Rote. Rotte. Ribeba. 

Vielle. Viedel. Viola. 

Gigue. Geige. Guigna. 

Violon. Violine. Violino. 

In Germany the word Viedel was not unfrequently written with an F, thus: Fiedel or Fiddel. 
Gottfried of Strasburg writes it Videl. In Italy, Guigna was often written Giga, and Ribec- 
chino appears to have grown out of Ribeca. The countless changes in the structure of the 
violin and its family I reserve for future consideration. 

From the above table it will be seen that the development of the violin in France and 
Germany was somewhat coincident. But in Italy, and more particularly in the early days of 
the growth of the violin, it had an entirely independent development, following the form and 
structure of the Rebec, the descendant of the old Arabian Rebab. In France and Germany 
the earliest violins were most closely related to the Crwth or Cruth, a stringed instrument, 
the origin of which is not clearly known, although it is an ascertained fact that it was used 
among the people of Ireland and Wales. The French and Germans were not long before they 
imitated the Italian Ribeba, the outcome of which was the Rubebe and Rebeb. The Italians 
also, in their turn, copied the Northern Crotta and Rota. From the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries, instruments which formerly had been easy of distinction, both by structure and 
name, now began to assume similarity of form, and, retaining their original names, caused the 
most mystifying confusion. Instruments externally the same had entirely different names, 
whilst those of a very dissimilar build had the same names. This age of confused terminology, 
however, should be especially remembered as that during which the Rotte and Rebec were 
fused. It is greatly to be regretted that no definite name was given to the outgrowth of 
such an amalgamation, as the many appellations by which it was called led to endless con- 
fusion, presenting to the investigator the most perplexing difficulties. Sometimes it was 



Our illustrations, which are taken from old manuscripts and chronicles, 
from monuments in stone and metal, have an interest for us beyond that 
of merely illustrating the instruments to which they refer. They are of 
importance in that they speak to us of the general interest that was taken 
in the progress of music during the Middle Ages, and of a strong mental 
bent which cannot be regarded other than as a musical 
one. The popular humour of the period even found 
vent musically, and that in a curiously characteristic 
manner. I would but refer to 
the naively comic drawing of a 
monument (Fig. 156), which, 
oddly enough, is enthroned on 
the dome of a Christian cathe- 
dral. The picture of the 
Jongleur (Fig. 158) clearly es- 
tablishes the fact that the ac- 
companiment to the chansons of 
the Trouveres was played on a 
stringed instrument. The two 
illustrations, Figs. 155 and 
157, depicting a maiden and an 
angel performing on stringed 
instruments, and also Figs. 159 and 160, remind us of the Troubadour 
days, when women assisted at the instrumental performances. 

The daughters of Provencal and the French nobles beyond the Vosges 
mountains were instructed in the art of playing musical instruments, both 
those that were struck with the plectrum and those that were pulled with the 

called, subject to slight variations, after the Rotte, and sometimes after the other of its 
precursors. Entirely new names were also given to it hy the Germans, and, indeed, every 
country adopted their own nomenclature, adding more and , more to the general confusion 
which already existed. Even now it is an open question what instrument really was the 
forerunner of the Geige. The modern French historians, Vidal and Lacroix, are of opinion 
that the Gigue is of German origin. Lacroix says, " L'Allernagne crea la Gigue." On the 
other hand, Ambros, Dommer, and the writer of the article on the "Geige" in Mendel's 
Lexicon, are of opinion that it originated among the Romauns. These three investigators 
presume that the word Geige is derived from Gigot, Gigue, or Guigna, the French and Italian 
words for leg of mutton. Wigand, however, supposes it to be derived from either the old 
Northern Geiga, i.e., trembling, or from Gigel, to quiver. 

Fig. 157. An Angel 

Playing upon a 
Thirteenth Century. 
(From a piece of Sculp- 
ture in the Cathedral at 
Amiens. ) 

Fig. 1 58. Jongleur Playing 

a Vielle. Fifteenth Century. 

(From a MS. in the Arsenal 

Library at Paris. ) 



Fig. 159. A Vielle. 

(From a Latin Psalter of the end of the Thirteenth or the beginning of the 
Fourteenth Century, in the National Library at Paris.) 

fingers, such as the 
Organistrum, Chit 
fonie, Salteire (psal- 
tery), and the Sam- 
bute (Sambuque) , a 
stringed instrument 
somewhat like the 
zither. They also 
learned such as re- 
quired the use of a 
bow e.g., the Vielle, 
Gigue, and Rote. 
From well-established 
facts such as these 
we might with safety 

infer that the cluster of angels playing stringed instruments, which are 

always seen surrounding the Madonna in the pictures of Italian painters 

of the Middle Ages, were not merely the ideal creations of the artists, 

but actual delineations of maidens of noble families of the period. 

Among the stringed instruments of the Trouvenes there is one that 

deserves special mention, viz., 

the Rulele. It had a long 

narrow body which is strangely 

contrasted with the large 

oval -shaped Yielle. It is, 

as its name would seem to 

indicate, a descendant of the 

Rebab. It was known to the 

Italians, before its adoption by 

the Trouveres, under the names 

of Ribeca and Rubeba, and 

one of its offshoots, in the fif- 
teenth or sixteenth century, 

was the Ribecchino, the clever 

usage of which was well under- 

, , , Fig. 160. A Rebek. 

stood by Monte verde. The (Frem an Italian Painting of the rfcirtw ft Century.) 


tone of the Rubebe was similar to that of the lower register of the 


modern viola. As it possessed but two strings, however, its range was 
necessarily a restricted one. Its limited extent of notes, which may be 
compared to the small compass of a bass singer, would seem to suggest 
that the Trouveres used the Rubebe solely to strengthen their melodies. 
The German Minnesingers used much the same instruments in their 
accompaniments as their French confreres, but, as we know, designated them 
differently. Such were the Rotte, Fiedel, Geige, Harfe, Psalter, Zither, 
and Sambuke, or (according to the modifications of the German language) 
Sambut and Sambiut. Gottfried von Strasburg says, in his grand poem 
of " Tristan/' that " so sweetly did Tristan play on his harp that the heart 
of Isolde was touched."" The poet further makes Tristan say that he is 
master of the "Lyre and 
Grigue, the Harp and Rotte, 
the Videl and the Sym- 
phoneia." * When King 
Marke questions Tristan in 

reference to the Samliut, the Fig. 161. - The Roland or Olifant Horn. 

. - . , . , . , , , Fourteenth Century, 

knight replies that he loves (FromWille m in>s"Les Monuments Francis.") 

to play on that more than 

on any other instrument. f The daughters and wives of the princes and 
nobles of Germany were all taught to play on stringed instruments ; and 
an old chronicle speaks of the beautiful Agnes playing on the violin and 
singing before Wenzel II., King of Bohemia. 

Turning now to the wind instruments that were in use among the poet- 
knights, we find that the earliest were trumpets, drums, kettle-drums, and 
horns, all of which were imported into Europe by the returning Crusaders. 
One of the most ancient of the horn kind was the Olifant or Roland's horn. 

It is stated that Roland, at the ill-fated battle of Roncesvalles, blew 
three mighty blasts on his horn to call Charlemagne to his help. This 
establishes the fact that the horn was known to the Franks in 778 A.D., and 
it is presumable that it was known even prior to that date, as it was, 

* " Tristan," verses 3674-5 and 7568-9. 

f Soon after the time of Gottfried, the Lyre, i.e., not merely the peasant-lyre and Organ 
rum, but the Lyre and its offshoots generally, came to he regarded as unfit for a Minnesinger, 
it then descended into the hands of the blind, and was considered their special property. 


in all probability, adopted from the infidels. Horns of various shapes* 
some like the Olifant, were in use throughout the Middle Ages and during 
the early part of the seventeenth century. In the second volume (table xxii.) 
of the "Syntagma Musicum," by M. Prsetorius (1619 A.D.), there are 
several illustrations of drinking-horns very similar in appearance to the 
Olifant. These, however, are designated by Pratorius t( hunting-horns." 
For general use the hunting-horn was made of the horn of a steer or buffalo, 
whilst those carried by the nobles were made of brass, richly ornamented with 
silver and gold. Horns of a smaller size were also worn by ladies when 
following the chase.* 

It need scarcely be remarked that the various kinds of horns, trum- 
pets, drums, and kettle-drums were used only as martial instruments, and 
never to accompany chansons. The flute and Schallmey were also but 
sparingly used, and even then only by the Jongleurs, as the Trouveres 
could not blow and sing at the same time. The favoured instruments of 
the Minne and Meister singers were the same (with of course certain 
modifications) as those used by the Trouveres, to which we have already 
devoted our attention. 

We will now discuss more fully the popular instruments used by the 
wayfaring wandering musicians, to which we but cursorily referred in the 
early part of this chapter. 

From time immemorial the Sackpfeife (bagpipe) and Schallmey 
(shepherd's pipe) seem to have been intimately associated with the wander- 
ing minstrel of Germany. The Sackpfeife, although modified with the 
course of time, under the name of Dudey and Dudelsack, is still well 
known to the German peasant. The Schallmey, the descendant of the 
Calamus (the Roman Reedpipe), is known in France as the Chalumeau.f 
In the eighth century the Sackpfeife and Schallmey were very popular with 
the people of Thuringia and Saxony, who, be it remembered, at that time 
were heathens. Gustave Freytag carries us back even to a much earlier 

* The hunting-horns were called Hufthorner or Hifthorner (hip-horn), from being worn at 
the hip, or from hiefe or hiefte, i.e., a German hunting cry. 

t The Roman Pifferari and Italian shepherds use to-day similar wind instruments. But the 
Schallmey is to be found in its most primitive form among the peasants of the Lower Rhine, 
where it is known as the Mayflute. It is made by youths in the spring of green reeds or of 
the soft bark of trees, and possesses a soft dreamy tone not unlike the Schallmey register of the 



date. In that volume of his celebrated historical novels, "Die Ahnen," 
which refers to the year 357 A.D., he speaks of a wayfaring Jongleur who 
' ' one day appeared in the village carrying his box, and played so well in the 
courtyard of the prince that all the villagers came rushing to listen to the 
performance."" As we are unable to supply the reader with any authentic 
illustration of the Sackpfeife and Schallmey of this period, we append 
two tables of instruments taken from the work of M. Praetorius (A.D. 
1619), which illustrate either these or 
nearly related instruments in use during 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
These tables will enable us to form a 
tolerably accurate conception of what the 
old Sackpfeife and Schallmey might have 
boen, as it is a well-ascertained fact that 
instruments made and used by the people 
always, or very nearly so, retain their 
original shape. f 

Another popular instrument with the 
people from the thirteenth to the fifteenth 
centuries was the Trumscheit, called by 
the theorists of the romantic south the 
Monochord. It consisted of a long nar- 
row box made out of three planks^ and 

tapering towards the top. When Stand- (From a MS . nal' Library at Paris.) 

ing upright it was taller than a man. 

One of the planks acted as a sounding-board, one strong string of gut 
extending the whole length of the box. The Monochord was played 
with a well-resined bow made of horsehair. Sometimes a string, half the 
length of the original one, was added for the production of the octave. 

Fig. 162. A Performer on the 

* Vide Freytag's "Ingo,"p. 89. 

t These tables introduce to our notice an instrument in very common use among the 
Germans at the end of the sixteenth century, viz., the Pommer, also called the Eomhart, 
o,nmert, and Bombazet. It was a direct descendant of the Schallmey, and the immediate 
prc cursor of the Italian Fagotto, The Discant-Schallmey, No. 4, table xi., was the predecessor 
of the oboe ; and we may remark, in passing, that the term Schallmey, or Chalumeau, is still 
ap] lied to the lower register of the clarinet. The Schallmey is, perhaps, the oldest of all 
instruments, and therefore the parent of all the reed instruments of our modern orchestra. 

Tcnor P mrtKr - 3- 

4. Difcant Gdjolmefl, f. fvUwcf>a(me0. rf. 
7. c&aperpfaff. 8. Aflmmc^en. 9. 

1. Bass Bombazet. 2. Basset, or Tenor Bombazet. 3. Alto Bombazet. 4. Schalmei, or 
Treble Pipe. 5. Smaller Schalmei. 6. Large Bagpipe. 7. Shepherd's Pipe. 8. Smaller 
Shepherd's Pipe. 9. Dudey, or Hornpipe. 


(From the "Syntagma Musicum," ly Michael Prcetorius, 1619 A-D.) . 

i. Baflbtt.-Nicolo* 2^5?wnfcormr. j, 

'tffrtlii ' 


1. Bassoon. 2. Curved Horns. 3. Cornets. 4. Bagpipe with Bellows 


(From the "Syntagma Miisieum," by Midwel Prcetorius, 1619 A.D.) 



It is very presumable that an incessant droning bass was all that could 
be produced from the Monochord, or at the very outside the tonic and 
dominant.* An illustration and description of the Monochord by Praetorius 
will be given later on in the work, and will show that even such a rude 
instrument underwent a kind of development. 

We have seen how by degrees the art of the Minnesingers became 
merged into that of the Meistersingers, and how the latter survived up 
to the nineteenth century ; and it will not be less interesting to trace the 

history of the German roadside 
minstrel and his popular ballad. 

In the thirteenth century way- 
faring musicians, who had hitherto 
^ ^ roamed the country, began to flock 
^ to the cities and towns, forming 
guilds among themselves or entering 
such as may have already existed in 


Fig. 163. The Seal of the " Confrerie de St. 
Juliendes Menestriers," Paris, 1330 A.D. 

any particular town. They then 
received a kind of public recogni- 
tion, and were dubbed town pipers. 
In the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies their social status was raised 
a little, and they were appointed 
town and corporation trumpeters; 
and it is not uninteresting to note that those who formerly had been 
regarded as the pariahs of society now began to acquire, although in a 
limited sense, a social standing and the rights of citizenship. The for- 
mation of these guilds may be regarded as the precursors of the modern 
Continental town orchestras. Similar guilds were also established in France 
and England. 

One of the earliest of these guilds was that founded in Vienna in 
1288 A,D., known as the Brotherhood of St. Nicolas. From 1354 to 
1376 A.D. the guild was placed under the supervision of the Imperial 
Chamberlain Peter von Eberstorff. This officer gradually came to be 
looked upon as the Patron of Music, and subsequently, by Imperial decree, 

* I think it is not improbable that this short string may sometimes have been two-thirds 
of the length of the original string. 




was appointed chief of a Board of Control, under the jurisdiction of which 
all Austrian guilds were placed. In 1777 A.D. Maria Theresa endeavoured 
to re-model and consolidate its then weakened constitution, but her efforts 
proved futile, and five years later the court was entirely abolished by 
the Emperor Joseph II. Such 
guilds as were formed outside 
Austrian territory did not come 
within the jurisdiction of the 
court. These either selected 
their own patron or placed 
themselves under the nominee 
of the reigning- prince. The 
appointed patrons in their turn 
singled out a player from each 
guild to act as " Piper-king/' 
or, as they were then called, 
" Vicarius " and " Locum 
tenons." The duty of the 
Piper-king was to take care 
that "no player, whether he 
be piper, drummer, fiddler, 
trumpeter, or performer on 
any instrument, be allowed to 
accept engagements of any 
kind, whether in towns, vil- 
lages, or hamlets, unless he 

had previously enrolled himself Fig. 164. The Chapel of St. Julien des Menestriers 

P ., ., , ,, -r, in Paris. Fourteenth Century. 

a member of the guild. From (Fwm Millin , s <, Anii<luiUs Nat i on aies.") 

time to time a general meeting 

of town-pipers was convened, and a court was constituted consisting 
of a mayor, four masters, twelve ordinary members, and a beadle. The 
chief purpose for Avhich the court was formed was for the punishment 
of offending members of the various guilds, and in order to effect recon- 
ciliations between contending parties. The last surviving member of one 
of these piper guilds was Lorenz Chappuy (1838 A.D.), violin-player and 
orchestral conductor at Strasburg. The last courts, however, were held 



about the year 1700 A.D., in the Alsatian towns of Rappoltsweiler, 
Altenhann, and Bischweiler. 

Contemporary with the formation of the German guilds were 
similar confraternities founded in France, especially in the north, under 
the name of Menestriers or Menestrueux. The most important of these 
was the " Conf rerie de St. Julien des Menestriers/' established in Paris 
1330 A.D. It consisted chiefly of players on the Vielle, the Gigue, and the 

Rubebe. From the year 1401 A.D., 
when the guild was re-modelled 
under Charles VI., the members 
adopted the title of '' Joueurs 
d'instrumens tant haut que bas." 
The brotherhood possessed a hand- 
some chapel, which they named the 
" Chapelle St. Julien des Menes- 
triers/' Adjoining the chapel was 
the dwelling-house of the guild. 
The street in which the buildings 
were situated was, up to the latter 
part of the last century, known as 
Rue St. Julien des Menestriers. 
The code of laws by Avhich the 
members were governed was exceed- 
ingly odd. In the early days of 
the guild the chief was called <e Le 
Roy des Menestriers/' and later on 

(t Roy des Violons." The crowning of a violin-king was a ceremony 
of great solemnity. The guild adopted the titular nomenclature of 
royal princes e.g., Dumanoir, Roy des Violons (1630 A.D.), was succeeded 
by his son Dumanoir, surnamed the Second, &c. ; and it is recorded that 
in 1741 A.D. Louis XV. confirmed the celebrated Jean Pierre Guignpn in 
his title as " Le Roy des Violons." * 

* We are indebted to Vidal for some interesting information concerning the end of this 
corporation. He says: "In 1789 A.D. the affairs of the Corporation of St. Julien des 
Menestriers were examined into hy order of the French Convention. The result was that 
their buildings, &c., which were rated at 18,025 francs, were purchased by the State, and 
demolished to make room for new constructions. Thus was razed to the ground the chapel 

Fig. 165. Jean Pierre Guignon (1741 A.D.), 
Roy des Violons. 
(From Van Loo.) 











4J ^ 

But not all, however, of the wayfaring class 
of minstrels joined guilds. The more robust 
entered military bands as drummers, trumpeters, 
and horn-players. Others, especially the skilful 
performers on the more highly-developed instru- 
ments, entered the service of princes, as solo 
performers and orchestral players at court festi- 
vals. Later on they were permitted to aid in the 
performance of sacred music in churches. Such 
a privilege was not likely, however, to have been 
granted anywhere before the middle of the seven- 
teenth century, and when it was conceded it 
was not restricted to the musicians attached to 
the households of princes. It was also accorded 
to the town pipers of the free German cities, 
although at first, and especially in Protestant 
Germany, their chief duty had consisted in play- 
ing a simple chorale from church towers to usher 
in the festivals of Christinas, the New Year, 
Easter, and Pentecost.*" 

Our next illustration, representing a state 
banquet, depicts the musicians who were attached 
to the houses of great nobles playing during the 
progress of the feast. These players of the lute, 
violin, trumpet, and schallmey may be regarded 
as the immediate precursors of our modern 
chamber musicians. The picture is interesting 
in its simplicity, and shows, we must regretfully 
add, that we have not improved upon the custom 
of the fifteenth century, viz., that the playing 
of the orchestra was the signal for general con- 

in which for several centuries the ' Joueurs d'instrumens tant 
haut que has ' had worshipped. Even the statuettes which had 
adorned the facade from 1335 A.D. were also destroyed." 

* A most impressive custom still in vogue in many old 
German cities. 


versation. They treated music merely as a sensuous pastime, or, as 
Burney says, " an innocent amusement." 

The wayfaring musicians and the members of the piper-guilds of 
the Middle Ages must ever be regarded with special interest, as they 
were the only people who cultivated and perpetuated the art of in- 
strumental playing, even during the time of the Reformation. With 
the exception of the organist (whose ranks were recruited from the 
cloisters and from musical theorists and contrapuntists), these guilds, 
together with the principal choral bodies then established, were the 
pioneers of that splendid era of instrumental music of the eighteenth 
and nineteenth centuries in which Germany took the first place among 
European nations. 

I H ^|| , .--,, 

- . - m i , . , i ,,,/,.-, 





v. 1 
cop. < 

Naumann, Emil, 

The history of music.