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Fa SEP 13 

Dao asi 


jAN ^b 

7 ^ ;^y 

OCT 23 1934 




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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

Boston Public Library 

http://www.archive,org/detairs/hist5ryOfmusi<*Q3LCQwb: /' 








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{The right of translation is reserved.) 







CHAPTER I. Page i. 

CHAPTER n. Page 44. 

CHAPTER HI. Page 66. 

CHAPTER IV. Page 102. 

CHAPTER V. Page 198. 

CHAPTER VI. Page 252. 




CHAPTER I. Page 281. 

CHAPTER n. Page 332. 

CHAPTER HI. Page 504. 

CHAPTER IV. Page 580. 

CHAPTER V. . Page 611. 









Such was the state of Tragedy at the time of 
Sophocles ; and the chorus, and the acting, and the 
solo singing, and the flute-playing were all knit 
together into one beautiful whole, and each in turn 
grew naturally out of the action of the drama in 
the part that it came, and there was no visible 
effort in producing this symmetry, but it all had the 
ease of nature. And it was the power of Rhythm 
which effected this masterly union of the various 
parts, and kept them all together, that is, the Rhythm 
of Character, which is otherwise called Strength, and 
abides in eternal repose ; so that to us, at this 
distant time, the Tragedy and its makers seem like 
a gallery of gods, or like those marble figures, that 
are the other relics which have come down to us 
from that age of repose and beauty. But what were 
the causes that led to the weakening of this 
character, and the ruffling of this repose, and broke 



up for ever this beautiful life, which has never since 
in the world revived again ? And whether it were 
the worry of war, or the excess of culture that 
began it, for both were at work, for the 
Peloponnesian war could not last for thirty years, 
with its constant reverses and discouragements, 
without fretting and galling the noblest minds, and 
the homage paid to intellect was likely to degenerate 
into the adoration of mere cleverness — however it 
were, the dignified Pericles was succeeded by the 
fractious Alcibiades, and Sophocles had to give Avay 
before the querulous Euripides. And the showy 
Alcibiades is marvellously reflected in the wordy and 
subtle Euripides, who was eminently a man of his 
time. And weakness of soul shows itself in 
complaint and passion, and weakness of mind in 
cunning and subtlety, which is the fruit of cowardice, 
and both were well exhibited in him. And Euripides 
was the pet pupil of the Sophist Prodicus, and if it 
were a preparation for dramatic poetry to learn the 
art of declamation and argument, he had that 
preparation to perfection. For these were the arts 
that the Sophists taught, to argue on both sides of a 
question, to make the worse appear the better 
reason, and to trick up the dry threads of logic 
with the spangles of artificial verbiage, so that dull 
ratiocination, which is tiresome and uninteresting in 
general to men, might commend itself by the charms 
of poetry and even of music ; for melody of 
language was what they greatly aimed at. And this 
was an art which had much to recommend it to the 
men of the time, for the perpetual disputations of 
the Public Assembly, and the daily round of 
conversation in the Agora, could not go on for long 
among the custhetic Athenians without an art 


flowering on their surface. And we have seen the 
beginnings of these things before, but now they had 
greatly increased, and the exercises of tlie gynrinasia 
were being neglected for this new and more 
intellectual pastime of gossip and talk. So that while 
we picture Sophocles in his youth striking his lyre 
and leading the dances of boys, we imagine 
Euripides disputing in the schools, and outshining 
his companions in the closeness of his arguments 
and the grace of his words. And this was the new 
spirit which was to be infused into Tragedy. And 
the results were quickly seen ; for from the first 
Euripides, as was natural, laid all the stress on the 
dialogue of the actors, which he soon converted into 
an exhibition of argument and rhetoric ; and 
neglected the musical part of the play, the songs 
and dances of the Chorus, which he set so little 
store on, that he employed other men to write the 
music for him, getting lophon and Timocrates of 
Argos to write it for him, and he was the first who 
had ever done so. And what was the effect of the 
very first move of Euripides in the matter, that is, 
his laying a stress on one portion of the play to 
the neglect of the rest ? And it was this, that the 
various parts of Tragedy, which we have seen grow 
together so slowly yet so surely into the perfect 
whole, began now to separate again, and in course 
of time they were to return into their former Chaos. 
And the first to feel the effect of the change was 
the Chorus. For by his devoting all his attention to 
the speeches of the actors, which he would centre all 
the interest of the play on, and so contrive that here 
and there they might have regular rhetorical arguments 
on the abstract questions in which he delighted ; in 
this way, I say, he quite left the Chorus out of sight 


in the action of the drama, and when it came to 
their turn to sing, he was glad to put them off 
with a song on any subject, not connected perhaps 
with the story of the play at all, as in the 
Phoenissse, when the action of the play turns on 
the dispute between Eteocles and Polynices, he 
brings in the chorus singing a song about the birth 
of Bacchus, and in the Helena, where the story is of 
Melenaus' burial, he assigns the chorus a song on 
the Wanderings of Ceres, and in other plays in like 
manner. In this way the Chorus became unhinged 
from the body of the play, and year by year showed 
more and more signs of dropping off completely. 
And even at its best there was always something of 
patchwork and artificiality about it, as there must be 
when one man writes the music and another the 
words ; and doubtless in the figures of the dance, 
there would be the same want of union between the 
motions of the dancers and the words they sang, 
though on this point we are not particularly informed. 
But yet this praise must not be denied to the 
choruses of Euripides — the beauty of their melody. 
And indeed this was a beauty which arose naturally 
from his very faults. For melody is easy of coming, 
when we give our will the rein, and slower of 
coming when we bend our music to an unalterable 
purpose. In this way the choruses of ■ Sophocles, who 
had something of the Epic in his composition, and 
whose every tone and thought was obedient to the 
development of the action of the drama, may come 
somewhat short in sugared sweetness of the choruses 
of Euripides, which were free from all such restraint, 
and were often wanton toyings with dainty subjects 
that he picked at will from the garden of lyric 
poetry, x^nd Euripides delighted in those soft Ionian 


feet, which are so melodious in singing, and many 
choral parts in his plays are made up almost entirely 
of those feet; I and also in the New Bacchiuses and 
the Prosodiac,2 that dally so sweetly at the close 
and the commencement. And the melody of his 
language, which is sweeter and more delicate than 
that of Sophocles, would greatly enhance the charm of 
his songs. And these things united to much more 
artful music, as it must have been, since the men 
who wrote it were exclusive musicians, and not the 
combined musicians and poets they had used to be — 
all this may teach us how the choruses of Euripides 
commended themselves to the Athenian audience of 
his day, and how he won the prize from Sophocles. 

And now we will give one or two choruses of 
Euripides, in order to contrast his style with the 
vigour of Sophocles. And we will take first a chorus 
from his Hippolytus, and it is where the Chorus 
come dancing in, to tell what they had heard of 



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I As the choruses in the Bacchre. 519. (Nauck's Edition.) Hercules 
Furens. 348. Heracleida;. 748. Ipliig. in Taur. 1089. Iph. in Aul. 751. 
&€., &c. 

^V-/ 5 w For the first, Cf. the clioius in the Hecuba. 629, Cf. 

Hercul. Fur. 351. 640. Rhesus. 693. For the second, Ion. 909. Iphig. in 
Aulis. 57r. Rhesus. 343. 273. &c. 


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And the next chorus we will take is from his 
Cyclops, and it is of much the same character. As 
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And we shall notice here how the melody is in 
advance of the rhythm, which is remarkable for its 
smooth monotony. But many lines have artful rhymes, 


as the first two, the 4th and 5th, &c., in the Strophe, 
the 9th, loth, nth in the Antistrophe, and others 

And abandoning himself to this softer mood, which 
is the mood of passion and sentiment, Euripides was 
naturally led to infuse its spirit into the dialogue, on 
which he laid such stress, as well as into the chorus ; 
and this he did by breaking the regular march of 
the iambics, which rolled along in Sophocles and 
^schylus like some great Epic poem, and introducing 
snatches of passionate melody and broken rhythms, 
that were of a piece with the songs of the chorus, 
and like them were sung to the accompaniment of 
flutes and lyres. Only this time it was a solo singer 
that sang them, and not a dancing chorus moving 
through the orchestra in time with the measure, so 
that their effect depended greatly on the passion and 
sentiment of the actor who sang them, since all 
spectacular aid was absent from them. And these 
are the songs that were called Monodies, because 
they were sung by a single actor. And they are in 
keeping with Euripides' other innovations in Tragedy ; 
for they are a breaking loose from the restraint of 
rhythm, that is, they are a sign of weakness and 
want of self control, which is the explanation of all 
passion ;i and the same want of grasp, which showed 
itself in his slack handling of the play itself, so that 
the component parts began to fall away from one 
another, showed itself in his handling of the iambic 
metre, which he was compelled to break free from 
again and again — he fretted and fumed so much. 

^ To Photius they are uprivoi, " lamerits," by which he designates all 
monodies. It was the excess of passion which produced the song, and 
thus the' want of music produced music. 


And if \vc imagine a long operatic sceua, we shall 
have a good idea of a Monody. And the beginning 
of this style of writing might have been seen in 
Sophocles, who well divined what great effects might 
be produced by the passion of utterance breaking out 
into song, and indeed it was in keeping with the 
Paracataloge, or " mixture of speech and song," which 
was the basis of all Greek Tragedy, as we have 
said. But if Sophocles uses it, he uses it sparingh^ 
and judiciousl}', and only when the occasion most 
strongly demands it. But Euripides is never done 
with it, and most probably, because he saw that his 
beautiful choruses were such favourites with the people, 
he brought in his frequent Monodies, with their choral 
rhythm, to please the people also, for he ever had 
his eye there instead of keeping it on his art. And 
all his Monodies are beautiful and melodious, and 
some are well timed, but most are wearisome and out 
of place, as that Monody in lon^ which is not called 
for, indeed, and is near a hundred lines long; and 
the Monody is full of most beautiful music, but 
yet, because it is not actually called for in the action 
of the drama, but is merely put there to please, 
it falls on deaf ears.^ And as we to-day complain 
of the sweetest music, when it is poured on us 
without stint, and some, for that reason, would go to 
banish arias and scenas completely from our boards, 
so did the more judicious Greeks of tliat day 
complain of the untiring melodiousness of Euripides' 
monodies, and many thought that monodies were 
beneath the dignity of tragedy altogether. " As long 

1 p. 83- 

- Cf. the Monody in Electra. 112. avvTHV iopa, which is a still 
more remarkable example. 


as it is Andromache, or Hecuba," says Lucian, " who 
is singing, we can excuse your Monody ; but when 
Hercules so far forgets himself as to begin it, and 
warbles away, with a calm disregard to his lionskin 
and his club, we are apt to condemn the Monody as 
a solecism, that should have never been admitted into 
tragedy at all." And the opinion he expresses was 
felt by many men at the time we arc writing of ; 
for despite the acknowledged beaut}- of Euripides' 
writings, it was the outcome of ^^'eakness, and nothing 
else but the beauty of deca}^ ; for it has been well 
said, that the surest sign of the decline of an art is 
not the occurrence of plainness or deformity, but the 
superabundance of beauty. 

But there was one sphere of Athenian music, 
where these mischievous tendencies had not affected an 
entrance, and which had kept comparatively pure 
while tragedy was decaying. And this was the Comic 
Drama, which was built on much the same plan as the 
Tragic, and fitted often with very beautiful music. P^or 
it consisted of actors and chorus, dialogue and song ; 
and when the chorus were not a band of pantaloons, as 
sometimes they were not, for in one play we know of 
they were a troop of maidens with wings and gauze, to 
represent the Clouds, and in another they were a flock 
of chattering Birds, and we also hear of Nightingales ^ 
for a chorus, and of Sirens- — and in cases lilco these, I 
sa}', we may well imagine the most beautiful music 
assigned to their part, as indeed the choruses of this 
kind which have come down to us, teach us that it 
was. For what can be more suave and dulcet than 
such a chorus as this, and it is from the " Clouds " of 
Aristophanes, and a troop of girls, \\'ho are the Clouds, 

' Tlie title of one of Canthaius' Comedies. - A comedy of Eupolis. 



come sailing in through the side entrances of the 
orchestra, and sing as they float round the altar. 

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And of these tuneful and melodious choruses, which 
have all the vigour of rhythm, with none of that 
effeminate laxity which was fast spoiling tragedy, we 
have many examples in the writings of Aristophanes. 
And Comedy was at its best when Tragedy was decaying. 
And it has been well said that the Muses, before they 
quitted Greece for ever, found a home in the breast of 
Aristophanes. -^ 

/\nd Comedy had had a different origin from Tragedy. 
For while Tragedy arose as we have seen from the 
choral and martial dances of the Dorians, Comedy arose 
from the festivities of the vintage. For the rustics of 
the villages had their Harvest home with the grape, 
as we have with the corn. And mounted on waggons 
they would go singing and laughing along the road ; 
and this is how Comedy begun. For sometimes they 
would organise processions ; and first would come a 


man with a jug of wine and a vine branch in his hand, 
and then one with a basket of figs, and after him was 
carried aloft the Phallus, or serpent, which was a 
symbol of the God of the Vintage, and then all the 
vinedressers and peasants in their carts. And the jug 
of wine and the basket of figs were to be the prizes 
for the best jester. And they strived to outdo one 
another in coarse ribaldry, and he who made the 
coarsest jest, or said the broadest thing, received the 
prize. And it was drunken Epicharmus, we hear, who 
first gave a rough form to these uproarious elements, 
and he filled them with the wildest buffoonery, but yet 
he always had a tale of some sort running through his 
jokes, and this is how Comedy began. But others 
would have it that Susarion of Megara was the first to 
give the start to Comedy, and others Epicharmus in 
Sicily, as we have said. But however that may be, the 
thing progressed, and regular writers arose for it, and 
they were all of them of the pattern of Epicharmus — 
topers, tipplers, merry fellows. There was Cratinus, 
that tippled eternally, as he boasts of doing, and 
Eupolis, who was not far behind him. And Aristophanes 
was a free liver and fond of his liquor, and so were 
they all, down to the last of them, Philemon, who 
had an epic end, for he died of laughing at seeing 
an ass eat figs. 

And Comedy, in its perfect form, such as we find 
it in the works of Aristophanes, which is all we 
know it by, was not very dififerent in the groundwork 
of its Form from Tragedy, as we have said. Y\nd 
these are the main differences of Comedy from Tragedy. 
First there was a far more frequent change of scene, 
as was natural from the characters of the plays 
themselves — wild buffooneries, reckless improbabilities, 
which were heaped on one another till your brain 

CHArTKR I. 15 

reeled under the extravagance. And so, frequent 
change of scene was a necessity, to give room to the 
ridiculousness to assert its hcence. And next, the 
Chorus was 24 in number, instead of 1 5, Hke the 
Tragic Chorus was ; and in the earher days of Comedy 
the Cliorus did not wear masks, and perhaps later 
on it was sometimes the same, but smeared their 
faces witli wine lees instead, to make themselves look 
more merry and Bacchanalian. And it was much 
the same idea which made them spread purple skins 
over the stage in Comedy, for perhaps this was to 
make the very scene uproarious and ros}'. And- 
thirdly, the Comic Chorus, at one part of the play 
or another, always sang what we should call a 
" Topical Song," and in Greek it was called a 
Parabasis, or Digression, and consisted in personal 
allusions, or political jokes, or digs at any of the 
author's rivals. i\nd it had nothing to do with the 
plot of the play at all, and it was a remnant of 
the old carnival raillery with which Comedy began. 
And part of it was sung by the leader of the chorus 
as proxy for the poet, for it was the poet's part of 
the play, in which he could say what he liked ; and 
the rest was sung by the Chorus in Strophe and 
Antistrophe, as in the regular choruses. But excepting 
for these differences, which we have just enumerated, 
the form of the Comedy was in all respects the 
same as that of the Tragedy. Only its character, of 
course, was the very reverse. And the comic poets 
would have choruses dancing in the orchestra of 
Ploughmen,! of Coalheavers,^ of Bargees, of Drunkards,^ 
of Cowherds,^ or they would have them dressed up 

^ Aristophanes. Pax. - Id. Acharnians. 

'"' ]Cpicharmiis' Comastaj. ' Cratiuus' Bucoli. 


as we do in our pantomiiies, and have choruses of 
Birds, of Wasps, of Frogs, of Ants, of Fishes, of Calves,^ 
perfect imitations of the creatures, and the music 
would be corresponding. And this is a thing we 
must not overlook, the humour and fun of the Comic 
music. For the rhythms were made to mimic the 
characters — ungainly rhythms for the rustics, mincing 
rhythms for fops, and so on. But particularly is it 
in these Animal choruses that the fun comes out. 
And let us hear the chirruping of the birds. And 
the story of the play is, that Alcibiades and his 
friend Euelpides, whom Aristophanes hated, as he 
did all such effeminate fellows, and took them off on 
all possible occasions, made an expedition to the city 
of the Cuckoos up in the clouds, which they imagined 
was another Utopia. And no sooner are they there 
than they are surrounded by a flock of birds — there are 
birds of every sort in the chorus — ^jays, turtle-doves, 
larks, owls, buzzards, herons, falcons, kestrels, cuckoos, 
robin redbreasts, ouzels, ospreys, woodpeckers — and this 
is the way they come in chirruping : — 

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1 "The Ants" and "The Calves" are plays of Eubulus; "The 
Fishes," of Archippus. 



m h i> K s ^ I I 

Or here is another of their chirping rhythms, and 
it is in a different time, as we may see : — 

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' P- 738. 




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And then he breaks into cluttering iambics. 
This was the Hoopoo. Now for the red-legged 
partridge : — 

|2 K h I 


IS k I 


ro - po - t\^ to - po - t\^ to - 00 - ri^ to - po - rl^ 
And this is the way he makes the Frogs croak: — 

It K N 3 K I 



^— ^-J- 



It Is N 

4 — ^ — *- 

3 ^ 1 I IS I 

j3p£ - Kt 

K I 

Ks - (ce^ Ko - at, (CO - as 

t^ - vai - a Kpr} - vwv tek - va, 

t,v - vav - Aov vfx 

j3o - av 



16 ^ I 

IS 1 3 I 

hy-^(x) - fXiB\ iV 

Is h ! 

5~^ ^- 

yrj - puv Ifi - dv a - 01 - ddv 



N I 

K I 

KO - d^ KO - uE, 

In fact there is no limit to the musical humour of 
Aristophanes, and his frolics with sound. And what is 
true of him, is no less true of the other comedians. 
And let me quote one more example of this frisky 
humour, and for a change I will give a snatch of a 
Hyporcheme, which was so closely allied to the Comic 
dance, and although its place should strictly have fallen 
earlier in these pages, its character well earns it a 
place here.i And let us notice the liveliness of the 
rhythm : — 


h h 

h h h h 

r* !*• h hi I 

* • * I C3 

r'lq b 66 - pv - /3oc o - Se ; ti to. - Se rd \o - pev 

(s^hM ^^^^ 

^ h h 

^ h 

/iia-Ta', Tig v - (ipig £- fio-Xev t - irl Ai-o - vv - ai- a - 

3^7 .f" J; I > J* / / 1 3 7^ I 

Sa TTO -\v - TTii - TU - ya 6v - f.ia - \av. 

£ - fxoQ I - /xog 6 Bjoo - fxi - OQ I - fd 

I It is from a Hyporcheme of Pratinas, 


sfz sfz sfz sfz 

Set KE - Aa Sai', £ - /t£ 6a 7ra - ra - ytty av' op - 

^^ / / •^ I J *^ J^ I J •^ / I J r II 

£ - a o-u - yU£ - vov //£ - ra Na - "i - a ~ Swv. 

So that when we turn from this gay sprightliness of 
style to the lumbering measures of Euripides again, and 
his intellectuality, and his gravity and pompous rhetoric, 
we see very well where the buoyancy of the age was, 
and how much Tragedy had fallen into the rear, when 
its master could be a man such as he was. 

Indeed we cannot compare the two for a moment. 
And Aristophanes is never weary of rallying Euripides 
for his pedantry and his prosiness. And I think it 
was Eupolis who first introduced this manner into 
Comedy, of making the play a vehicle for general satire, 
but he seems to have limited it to political satire, which 
indeed was one of its great fortes by this time, but 
Aristophanes extended its sphere to every kind of satire, 
and literary satire is what he delights in. And let 
us hear Comedy chaffing Tragedy — Aristophanes taking 
off the dull Euripides. And in one of his comedies, , 
the Acharnians, he feigns one of his characters on a 
visit to Euripides. And Dicaeopolis, for that is the 
man's name, knocks at the door of Euripides' house, 
and asks the servant if his master is at home? And the 
servant gives the Euripidean answer, " He is at home 
and yet he is not at home, if you can understand that." 
"How can he be at home, and yet not at home.''" 
" Very easily. His mind is abroad gathering scraps of 
poetry, but his body is at home writing tragedy." And 
when at last we find the great tragedian, what is he 


engaged in doing ? He is searching for rags to wrap 
his heroes in, for he is so anxious to be true to nature, 
that he has forgotten art. And heroes must suffer 
misfortune hke other folk, and the calm tranquillity 
of tragedy must be blurred by passion, and tears 
must come (for all these things are natural), so that 
while he is speaking we feel very well that the days of 
this glorious art are fast passing away^ and that the 
reign of the gods is ceasing among men, and that a 
new order of things is on the way. For what is this 
Passion that pushes itself into classic thought, and these 
womanly feelings, and compassion for weakness ? And 
certainly, as I write it, it is not Greek, but it is 
something else. 

And by this time Sophocles was dead. And he 
was laid in that Colonus that he loved so well. 
And this is the epitaph that was written : — 

Twine, gentle evergreen, and form a shade 
Round the dear tomb where Sophocles is laid. 
Sweet ivy, bend thy boughs and intertwine 
With blushing roses and the clustering vine. 
Thus shall thy lasting leaves with beauties hung 
Prove grateful emblems of the lays he sung. 

And Euripides was succeeded in his dictatorship 
of Tragedy by Agatho. And he was a mean man, 
and an effeminate fellow. And he wrote a poem in 
praise of love, and also idylls as well as tragedies. 
And the want of union between the chorus and the 
dialogue, which men complained of in Euripides, was 
made still worse by Agatho. For they say that 
there was not one of his choruses that had anything 
to do with the subject of the drama.^ And he had 

1 'Eju/3oXt/^a, Aristotle calls them. Poetic. i8. 22. 


studied rhetoric under Gorgias, as Euripides under 
Prodicus, and he was as good a master of the art. 
He was the first who introduced the Chromatic style 
into tragedy. And this was a great innovation on 
the part of Agatho's. For even Euripides had never 
dared go so far, but must needs content himself 
with the Diatonic and Enharmonic, which Sophocles 
and yEschylus had used. For Tragedy was always 
slow of admitting changes. When Sophocles had 
introduced the Phrygian Mode even, which was 
merely another setting of the ordinary Diatonic scale, 
he was thought to have gone far enough. But now 
Agatho introduced the Chromatic style, and it 
doubtless made his simpering more alluring, and 
it seemed to find favour with the people. 

And what was the Chromatic Style .? For we 
have discussed the Enharmonic and Diatonic styles 
before now, and we found the Enharmonic to 
consist in dividing the semitones, where they occurred 
in the Diatonic Scale, into enharmonic demitones, 
and also it was singular in omitting some of the 
diatonic notes, and proceeding every now and then 
by skips thus : — 






And in contradistinction to this, the Chromatic 
proceeded indeed by a similar progression, but divided 
differently, for it divided from half a tone above 
the semitone, dividing thus : — 


And the skips were by consequence half a tone 
shorter, and not the semitone was divided but the 
whole tone, the semitone forming the under half 
of the division. 

And the Chromatic had been in existence indeed 
before Agatho^s time, but not much used, and never 
at all in the higher walks of art. For as certainly, 
as we have said, it was not used in Tragedy,^ 
so it was not used in the Choral Odes of Epinician, 
Gymnopaedic, &c., styles,3/and only for the lower and / 

(^particularly the amorous style of music.'^ And if we 

\ ' 

search for the history of the Chromatic, it was in the 
luxurious city of Sicyon that it first saw the light, 
and Lysander, the cithara player, devised it to 
diversify the sound of the solo cithara,^ which had 
always this to contend with, that being unaccompanied 
with words it must use some shift of novelty to be 
a counterpoise to this. And thus was the 
Chromatic instituted as an agreeable variety of the 
Enharmonic, for it is merely a variety of that style 
as we may see, resembling it in the skips that it 
every now and then takes, and in the exhibition of 
the division only twice in the 8ve. And let us for 
a moment view the leading modes under the 
influence of the chromatic. And the Dorian Mode, 

1 KaB' rjiiiLTOviov kuI iifxiTovLov KCti TQLy]fxiT6vLOV. (Aristides.) 

2 Cf. also Plutarch's remarks. De Musica. XX. 

3 Supra. 

* It is classed with TTokv^OQ^ia, /xeraldoXrj, and the other 
admitted perversions of music, by Plutarch himself. De Mus. XXI. 

* Athenseus. p. 637. Plutarch's statement is considered above p. — . 
The chromatic has however been referred to other musicians than Lysander. 



:^- -P- 



sung in the Chromatic Style, would become 


commencing to divide from half a tone above the 
semitone, and making its original semitone from the 
under half of the division. 

And the Phrygian Mode, in like manner, 












i^ ^^- ^. 

And the Lydian Mode, 




in the Chromatic, 





- ^ if) 




tl=l-|2=<— ^- 

sS teff^)" 

And the Mixolydian Mode, 

r IT- ^ 





s^- ^: 

would become 

='^— -^=i3=^=3- 

tjs^ t^s^- -^ 


And the " Hypo " Modes in the same way, which it 
will be unnecessary here to. set down. 

And it was quite in keeping with Agathon and 
Athens of that time, that such a meretricious grace, 
coming from luxurious Sicyon, should find a ready 
welcome. And such favour did it receive, and so 
universal became its practice, that it gave birth to 
new manners of singing the Modes, or rather, we 
should say, that new Modes arose in the effort to 
accommodate the old ones to the Chromatic style. 
For taking the • Phrygian Mode, as we have written 
it above in both forms, it is plain that if the 
Chromatic is to be the commoner form of the two, 
the Phrygian Mode will be much more naturally sung 

from i^'^^gz z: rflfS-— . which allows the voice to 

move freely up and down in the Chromatic dieses. 



than in the old form of 

.1 LU 




clips it of the lower F^^j^g-fe^ — ■ to which the voice 

falls from the Chromatic progression, as it goes 
downwards, or ascends from it, moving upwards ; 

while the upper -^^^g^^^^, which is not employed 

at all, is plainly entirely useless. In this way, a 
new form of the Phrygian Mode arose, namely, 

_ _ig- to 

from F^S A 3 tt^=i , containing the same intervals 

as the old one, but lying within limits that 
rendered it far more convenient for the employment 


of the Chromatic. This was called the Low Phrygian. 
And in the same way the Lydian — which, it will be 
seen, misses its Chromatic Pycnon altogether in its 



/er part, owing to the want of the ~ ~zi^^j^ — — __ 
— the Lydian likewise received a low form, which lay 


between -j ^ -^tr — ^— and— , - , which employed the 

same intervals as the original Lydian, but lay far 
more conveniently for the exhibition of the Chromatic. 
This was called the Low Lydian. And similarly the 

P_u. ■ 

falling out as useless, in the constant travelling of the 

voice through 



rr ^ ^ c ^^ t^^. _^ 

and the scale being rounded off with a 


at the bottom.! And the other modes, in the same 
way, all received low forms, all except the Dorian, 
which, as will be seen, perfectly exhibits two complete 
Chromatic pycnons in its original position, while the 
Hypodorian, which was at the bottom of the system, 
was also left untouched. And the Modes, in their 
forms of Low and High, stood as follows, beginning 
with the Mixolydian : — 

1 The rationale of the change in the Mixolydian may admit conjecture. 

CHAPTER 1. 27 

High Mixolydian (Original Mode). 





Low Mixolydiafi. 



Diatonic. ' 'It 

High Lydian (Original Mode). 


Diatonic. ' 

Low Lydian. 




' Diatonic. ' T B^ ^|^ ^ 

High Phrygian (Original Mode). 

^ §^- 1^ ^ J I I I y 


Z.r'w Phrygiajt. 

^ 12- -pi. -J. _, „ I „ I I , 



And the " Hypo " Modes, in a similar manner, had 
each their High and Low, as we have said. Such 


complexity then was introduced into the music by 
these means, that Aristoxenus, who is the Pythagoras 
of this later age, found it necessary, at no long time 
after this, to make a re-arrangement of the entire 
Greek Modes ; and accepting his arrangement as a 
perfect scheme of the music of the time, we shall see 
what remarkable changes had beetl introduced by 
this predominance of the Chromatic, for not only had 
these new Modes been introduced, and two or three 
more, which we have not mentioned, but the whole 
scale had been changed, as we shall presently see. 
For these are the Modes in the arrangement of 
Aristoxenus — and they are fifteen in all — 

Hypodovian or j^olian (impaired). 

Chromatic. , , , ^ 

c , ^ f- p ni 



t 1- 1~ 

High. I , I 

r__-« 1- UyJ 1-2, — J-lji^-ja^, 


Low. I 

-1^-1— -^-1-— J A^L^-\^:^- ^- 


. ^-1 T-l 


High. I 1 





-f^— ^-fg— g^-p^- 












I ^ I 

-I 1— ■- 










r — r- 


Low Mixolydian. 




3?^W"P"n I "^ 

High Mixolydian. 
Progression doubtful. 

— Z^I 

Hypermixolydian (Original Mixolydian). 





-P^- i|^ 


1 The Hypodorian is also called the Locrian ; the first Phrygian, the 
Ionian. There is also a Hypo-Ionian, which is also the first Hypophrygian. 
For the above, see Aristides Quinctilianus. p. 23. 





:^— |3=^z:=z^: 



And these last two plainly carry us beyond the 
limits of the old Greek system, which ended on A, 
but now we have it extended a few notes higher. 
And this extention upwards, coming at such a time 
as this, is a sign of querulousness and effeminacy, 
perhaps, in the music, and was doubtless due much 
to instrumental influence, as we shall see. 

So then now these Modes, which take up for 
standing room every semitone on a scale from 




:Jf?2 , would similarly fill up the 

original Diatonic Scale on A, which is the familiar form 
we write this B Scale in, as follows (for from B to CJf 
becomes A to BJi, and the semitones fill in as under) : — 


w w 

^M ^* ^M -n ?*§ &?!» So ^.2f ^o -S"^ ft^ ^~ ^-^ 

°S &^ SS Q ??=• j?5. hj" t-ii .2— .25- W.a fflK W^ 

-I — i — I— ^F~f — 



1 Aristides. p. 23. (in Meibomius,) 


So that in this setting of the Modes, we have the 
original Pythagorean Scale, increased by the same full 
complement of Chromatic Semitones, which we are 
accustomed to think of nowadays, when we talk of the 
Chromatic Scale. 

And though this scale differs vastly from ours in its 
employment, and, in the form in which we have written 
it, is only of theoretical application, it is nevertheless 
interesting to observe how it has grown up, and how 
these various semitones have been brought so 
symmetrically together — by the influence, namely, of 
isolated Chromatic progressions occurring in the various 
modes, and necessitating, as if by accident, casual 
alterations, which have ended in producing so excellent 
an order. 

Now the start of this movement, which has in a 
short time grown to such maturity, we have found to 
be owing to Instrumental influences, and its continuance 
was doubtless due to the same. For Instrumental 
music, which delights in that wanton frolicking with 
sound, and which can do harder things than the Voice 
can, because it is mechanical and precise, while the 
voice is unaffected and careless by comparison — the 
instruments were fast taking the pas of the voice in the 
affections of the people, and in no long time after 
Agatho and Euripides instrumental music had overspread 
the face of Athenian life, and almost banished the voice 
from the scene. And we hear of most artful lyre- 
players, whose execution was miraculous,^ and the lyres 
they played on are generally spoken of as having 12 
strings,^ which looks very much as if they were all set 

' e.g. Amoebseus and others alluded to below. 

^ Cf. Plutarch. De Musica. fin. quoting Pherecrates. Also the lyre 
of Phyrais, which the Ephors cut, &c. 


in this Chromatic Scale that we have mentioned. And 
of the citharas the same — and the cithara-players were 
even greater virtuosos than the lyre-players, and attracted 
still more attention.^ And so it was with the citharas 
and the lyres. But there was one instrument that 
overtopped them all in public esteem — and that was 
that most meretricious of instruments, the Flute, which 
always comes prominently to the fore when instrumental 
music is in the ascendant, and having again and again 
attempted to assert itself in Greece, now we may say that 
at last it was master of the situation. The skill 
of the lyre-players and the cithara-players vanished 
into nothing before the amazing execution of the,, 
flute-players. And all the people would flock to hear 
the flute-players perform, preferring them much to 
the lyre-players and the cithara-players, and placing 
them even before the delights of the Tragedy. And 
standing in some conspicuous place in the centre of 
their audience, and arrayed in long flowing robes, 
and with women's veils on, and having straps 
strapped round their cheeks to support the muscles 
of the mouth, the flute-players would play. And they 
were effeminate fellows, and more women than men. 
And some of them would wear delicate Milesian slippers 
while they played, and saffron-coloured gowns.^ 
And the sums that they asked for their performance, 
and that were paid them, were immense. Some 
received as much as ;^200 for the day's performance, 
and others more than this. And they were fellows 
that lived in the best society, and rolled in wealth 
and luxury. So that it became' a proverb to say of 

1 Some of those loosely mentioned as lyre-players, were strictly 
citharists. e.g. Amoebseus. 
- Among others, Antigenides. See the account in Suidas, 


any one who lived extravagantly and luxuriousl}', 
av\{]rov fdiov Ky,^ ''he lives the life of a flute player." 
And these were the names of some of them — 
Ismenias, Philoxenus, Dorion, Antigenides, Telephanes, 
and Mnestor. And Philoxenus was he who wished he 
were all neck, so that he might enjoy his glutton}^ 
more. And this was the character of them all — 
gluttons, epicures, haughty parasites, that lived at 
kings' tables, as Dorion, for instance, who gormandised 
at the table of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse ; and 
some would boast their achievements in cooker}-. 
And Ismenias, when he would purchase a gorgeous 
jewel, and got it by accident at a lower price than 
it was worth, was angry with the man who sold it 
him so cheap, and said, " You have disgraced the jewel." 
And there were female flute-players as well as male, 
of whom Lamia was the chief, that was a female 
flute-player, and the mistress of Demetrius Poliorcetes. 
And the female flute-players were equally the rage, 
and they belonged always to the class of courtesans, 
who flooded Athenian life at present, and were so 
much the rulers and leaders of life, that biographies 
of five hundred and thirty-five of the leading ones 
were in existence in antiquity, although lost now.^ 
And that we may see what honours were paid to the 
female flute-players, the degenerate Athenians built a 
temple to the flute-player, I.amia, and worshipped her 
during her life as Venus.^ 

And the flutes that the flute-players played on were 
most expensive. For indeed they must have produced 
most melodious tones, and the greatest care must 
have been spent in ma'king them, and it took years 

1 Siiidas. Xenophon also speaks to the same effect in the Memorabilia. 
- By the grammarian, Aristophanes. ^ Athena^us, p. 253. 



and years for the wood to season itself to sweetness. 
And the prices of some of these flutes we know. 
And the flute of Ismenias, the flute-player, cost ;^s8i, 
and the flutes of other flute-players were not far 
behind. But most of all was Antigenides renowned for 
the care he took in choosing his flutes. And we 
hear that he altered the time of cutting the reeds 
from September to July or June.^ For the reeds of 
which the flutes were made, grew in the Lake Copais 
in Boeotia, which also had furnished Pindar 
and the Theban flute-players with flutes. And 

this is the way the reeds were cut : 
The flute reed always grew when the lake was full 
with a flood, which took place about once every 
9 or lo years. Its time of growing was when, after 
a rainy season, the water had kept in the lake 
two years or more — and the longer the better. And it 
was a stout, puffy reed, fuller and more fleshy and 
softer in appearance than other reeds. And when 
the lake was swollen, the reeds increased in length. 
And the time of cutting was in the rainy season in 
September. And this was the time of cutting, up 
till Antigenides' time. And he changed the time of 
cutting to June or July, i.e. in the heat of summer. 
And the pipes cut at this period, they say, became 
seasoned much sooner : three years were sufiflcient to 
season these, while the others cut in the rainy 
season took many years to season.^ This is what 
they tell us. But I think it was another reason 
which induced him to cut them in the dry 
season. And that was to get the reeds crisper, 
and shorter, and smaller in the bore, and that for 

1 Theophrastus. Hist. Plant. IV. ii. 

- The whole account is in Theophrastus. Hist. Plant. IV. ii. 


this he was ready to sacrifice even beauty of 
tone, in order to get them crisp and small.^ 

For there was a peculiarity in the music of the time, 
which would make such reeds very much in demand 
for flutes. For we have already spoken of the ■ 
favour Avhich the Chromatic mode found at Athens, 
and we have attributed its introduction generally to 
the influence of the instruments, and also to the - 
effeminacy of the people. But we might have 
given a nicer reason. For we have always found 
that in early times of a people's history, when therei 
is a broad simplicity of thought among men, the 
Diatonic scale, with its free open intervals, prevails, 
to the exclusion of all other ; and also in healthy 
and heroic epochs, when such breadth and simplicity 
but repeats itself, it is the same. The character 
shines out in the music, which is but one of the 
many mirrors of the mind. But when ages of 
restlessness and feverishness supervene, or ages of 
weakness and pettiness, like the present, the craving 
for novelty produces rarities, and the art reflects 
the age down to details. And this was a petty age, 
and a subtle age ; it was an age of quibbling and 
cavilling and hair-splitting. Common conversation I 
delighted in abstract discussion. Men were much 
given to defining things. The Sophists stickled for 
the meanings of words, as if it were so much gold 
they were weighing- — the precise signification of 
"justice," what the word "virtue" might properly be 
said to imply. Or else they would discourse for 
hours on the abstract idea of " truth," or the 

/• It was at any rate to get some peculiar and highiy artificial effect, 
for it was never done VVIK 7]v\ovv uirXcKTTioi', but only t-Trtl ilq 
rrjv TrXacTiv /X£rt|3r;fT«i'. 


conditions that conditioned " certainty." And these 
things hummed in the Agora, and we have seen 
Euripides introducing them in his plays, and now 
they were in the very heyday of their favour. Andl 
these subtleties and hair-splittings of thought had their 
parallel or their consequence in other things as 
well. As men divided and subdivided thought, so 
they divided and subdivided sound — doing it or 
welcoming it when done, without any conscious 
appreciation of the connection between the two. 
Although when we think of it, the consequence 
seems a necessary one. And the subtleties of the 
Sophists are seen as the semitones of the scale, or 
rather as smaller subdivisions still than even semitones. 
For not only was the Chromatic with its 12 semitones 
in use, as we have said, but also two other forms 
of Chromatic, which had a still more artificial division 
of the intervals. And a strange and artificial 
perversion of the Diatonic had grown up, agreeably 
to the same spirit, and this we will first give. And 
/ it was called the Soft Diatonic, and only once in the 
I whole octave was a full tone taken, and twice a 
semitone, and all the other intervals were fourths 
of tones. As we may see, for this is the perverted 
Diatonic scale, as it appeared at present in Greek 
music : — 

Semitone 4 f whole |; double |; ^ |l whole J double 4 

-I 1 1 1 1 ^ ' ^ !=- 


Tone Semitone "^ if whole S double ft 4 $ whole 4 double jt i 


1 Aiistides. p. 21. 


And we have given it here to the centre part of 
the scale. 

And the two forms of the Chromatic were still 

more finical and artificial. For the Soft Chromatic, 

2 / 

w^hich is the first one we will take, proceeded by o of/ 
a semitone at a time, thus : — ' 

3 short of F \% -3 short of C \% ^ ^ 




And the Hemiolian Chromatic, as it was called, 

which was the other form, by . of a semitone at a \ 
time, thus : — 

"J short of F ■^ f "4 short of C 2" $ 

- I ^- 

Now it was to accommodate his flutes to these 
minutenesses of Music that Antigenides must needs 
change the time of cutting the flute reeds from 
September to June, in order to get crisp reeds, and 
small reeds with small bores, and that might give out 
these querulous intervals ; and very likely the flute was 

^ Id. p. 20. 

- The Greek writers explain these vaiieties of scales by figures thus : — ■ 
Let us suppose the Tetrachord as 60. Then the Enharmonic division 

is 6 _|_ 6 + 48, Kara cieatv Kol ^iemv koX ^itovov. The Soft 

Chromatic, 8 + 8 -f 44, kutcI ^uaiv koX dteaiv koX rpirffUTOVLOv 

KOL ^iemv. The Hemiolian Chromatic, 9 + 9 -1- 42, Kara onmv 


The Ordinary (Tonirean) Chromatic, 12 -f 12 + 36, KaO' i^fXlTOViov 
Kfu y^fxiTOviov KOL Tfxrj^fro v<ov. The Soft Diatonic, 12 -|- 18 + 
30, per hemitonium et tres dieses quadrentales et quinque dieses quad- 
rentales. The Ordinary (Syntono) Diatonic, 12 + 24 4 24, as we know. 

38 HISTORY OF Music. 

becoming perverted to the piccolo form under these 
influences, though on this point we are not informed. 
And dexterity and skill in the littlenesses of playing 
would be the character of the flute-playing under such 
influences as these. 

And what had the singers to say for themselves, in 
presence of these artificial and quibbling scales ? And 
their style was, as we might expect it to be, distorted 
by graces, and very fastidious. And shakes and turns 
were so commonly employed, that Aristophanes could 
hear nothing else in his time,^ and it was worse now. 
/And to hear a singer singing at one of these mince- 
/ meat scales was " like treading on a nest of ants and 
Iseeing them all crawl about." ^ And this was the singing 
of Timotheus that this simile was about, and he was 
renowned for his ants' nests of intervals that he shook 
about your ears. And indeed we will not pursue the 
subject further, nor suffer ourselves to delay over the 
degradation of Greek Music, which we have seen in its 
glory : which Pherecrates, the comic poet, personifying 
as a woman, brings on the stage, with her body all 
beaten and disfigured, and complaining that her last 
days are indeed come. The beginning of her woes, she 
says, was when Melanippides brought the flute into such 
favour, that the flute-players became as good men as 
the poets. "And next Cinesias fairly spoilt me by 
the discordant trills he made in his strophes.^ And 

^ d St Tig avTwv (dcoino\o)(u{)<TaiT i) Kiippni tlvci Ka/xirriv, 
oiag 01 vvv &c. (Clouds.) 

On the KayUTTj) Cf. Philostratus. Vit. Soph. 11. 28. £V(j)ioviaV 
aL(r\vvojv Ka/nralg acrfxanov alg kuv v7rop)(i](TaiT6 Tig tmv 

^ q.^(x)v kKTpaTriXovg fxvQfiriKiag. 

2 i^ap/ioviovg KUfXTrdg ttolCjv Iv aT(^)U(j)alg. 


Phrynis' interminable turns turned me ill, they did," and 
this is the Phrynis that Aristophanes speaks about, 
and he says his turns were so long they seemed as if 
they were never going to get round the post.^ " And 
worst of all, Timotheus, with his ants' nests of 
intervals, he undressed me and undid me with his 
semitones and demitones." 

And now we are to see a singular sight. For passing 
from this decline and decadence of Greek Music, and 
the circumstances under which it was perishing, we are 
to see its passage into another form, and how its 
dissolution was delayed by a change of front such as 
we may well wonder to behold. For it met its end, 
indeed, not by death, but by metempsychosis, or, being 
a phoenix, its ashes brought not corruption, but a new 
creature. For in Greece music could never die. But 
if it were denied life in one form, it would flourish 
in another. And Music being banished from Song, we 
are now to see Music pass into Speech. 

This is what happens. It returns at periods, and 
chiefly at the ends of periods, as at the end of Paganism 
it was now returning, to the place from whence it came. 
And as it arose from the bosom of Speech, so it was 
now returning thither. And we may see this elsewhere 
and with other peoples than the Greeks alone. But 
with them especially so. For there is something in ' 
the nature of the Greek language, which inclines Speech 
from the first to musical expression, and leads readily / 
to an alliance with Music. Which is but another way 
of saying, that the Greeks themselves were from the 
first so musical, that they unconsciously framed their 
language on a musical pattern, without knowing that 

^ KO/iTrac ^vaKoXoKUfXTTTovc, taking the metaphor from the race- 


they were doing so. For, if we remember, when we were 
groping in those early days of Homer's time for the 
first setting and cohesion of those metres, which we 
have now traced through so proud a prime to their 
final decay, we found that the " Foot " was the union 
of two Accents, and the *' Line " was the union of 
two Phrases, and both " Foot " and " Line " agreed in 
this, that they united opposites and combined 
contradictories, which is the Pythagorean expression for 
the Principle of Music.^ For the Foot is the 
combination of a light accent with a heavy, the Arsis 
and Thesis, and the Line was the combination 
of the Up Phrase with the Down Phrase, or the 
Antecedent Phrase with the Consequent Phrase. And 
Music began with this uniting of contrasts, and how 
it went on to dualise everything, and got new forms 
by doubling, is what we have already shown, and 
need not repeat here — but this was the fundamental 
principle of its operations. Now if we turn to the 
Greek language we shall find this principle playing 
through it from the very first, and moulding it to 
musical form. For not only have we the perpetual 
fxlv- — Se, which sort all sentences into pairs of contrasts, 
"though" — "yet," but also Trpwrov — eireira, which also 
contrast (though less sharply) ; rs — kcu, which pair 
rather than contrast ; and later on we get the 
eternal changes which are rung on Xoyt^i — Epy^i^) which 
is fuv — Se ten times intensified, and are nearer the 
times we are writing of. For it was the Sophists 
that brought in this fashion of Xojm — tpyw, which we 
find so eternally for instance in Thucydides ; and the 
sophist Antipho, his writings are studded with never 

^ IvavTuov (Twapjuoyi) kcu rwv ^ixocppovovvrtov crvfKj)- 


ending Kcd — kcu, re — -koi, ?) — 1), iroTepov — 7}, Xo-yoj — f'pyw — 
and they taught men to balance clauses, and contrast 
clauses, and pair clauses, and, without knowing it, they 
were teaching them to think musically, and to speak 
in musical rhythm. And Gorgias of Leontinum was 
the man who brought this tendency to a head, and 
made an art of it. And the great axiom of Gorgias' 
style was precisely the Principle of Music, and its 
name is one that will be at once familiar — for the 
Principle of Music, appearing in Language, is known 
by the name of Antithesis. 

And Gorgias taught men to construct their language 
in such a way that there was always a Thought and 
a Counter-thought, a Sentence and a foil to that 
sentence, which together made the Antithesis. And 
from him the orators got it. And taking this as the 
base of his system, he went on to develop it. And 
he introduced the icroicwAta,^ and the Trapiawmg,^ and 
Trapovojuaauu, and Traprj^'V^'C into speaking,' which were 
developments of the Antithesis, and proceeded on 
the same principle. And the IctokidXici was the art 
of making the two sentences of equal length, which 
procured the same beautiful rhythm, as that which 
governed the Hexameter. And the irapiaLoaig was to 
make them correspond to one another exactly in form, 
as a pronoun at the beginning of the first must 
imply a pronoun at the beginning of the second, and 
a verb at a certain place in the sentence must have 
a verb at the same place in the antithetical sentence, 
or if it is a participle, there must be a participle 
there too. As that Trdpiaov of Antipho's, for instance, 
ovTOL fxlv Tovtj \\6rivaiovg Ir'iixiov Kara n)v (Jvvdi}Ki]v, 
Ikhvol Sf roue AaKfoat/xovtouc,' t(piXovv Kara ti]v crvyyiveiav, 

■ Alhciui-Ub. p. 187. - Isocrates. p. 233. 


where there is a pronoun to open the sentence, and 
a pronoun to open the second, and the accusative 
comes in the same place in both, that is, 3rd, and 
the Verb is 4th in the first sentence, and 4th also in 
the second. And the TraQovofiaaia and TraQiixiicrig was 
this, that words of similar formations should be sought, 
to match one another in the sentences, as a verb 
compounded with avTi in the ist sentence should be 
matched with a verb compounded with avri in the 
2nd, or a derivative of ttoXvc in the first sentence 
should require a derivative of -koXvq in the second — 
all these things being done to procure an easy flow 
of rhythm, and to mimic the melody of music in the 
symmetry of speech. 

And Gorgias went on to add this very melody to 
his sentences, for he introduced what is known as 
the ofioLOTeXwTa into his sentences, by which they must 
both end the same, that is, they must rhyme with 
each other ; and this was often used in melodious 
moments of expression with great effect, as, let us 
take that passage of Lysias for an example, cKftvot yap 
Koi ay air 1) (t o v a i, koX aKoXovd i](t ov a l, koX fmXiaTa avTol 
i)CfB 1] (T ovT a L Koi ovK £Xa)(i(TTr}v X'^'-P'-^ £ t (T o V r a £.^ 

And from Gorgias the orators got it. And 
although they used these devices with greater 
frugality, yet much of . the melody of their rhetoric 
must be attributed to this. And Lysias we know 
was renowned for his mellifluous language. And 
Demosthenes — in Demosthenes whole verses are of 
constant occurrence. And with their beautiful voices, 
it was like some rhapsodist reciting, instead of 
orators haranguing. And their easy antitheses had 
the rhythm of musical melody. Whence in 

Aristotle. Rlietoric, 3. 9. 9. 


ancient art many orators are represented with a lyre 
hanging on their arm, to show that their speech was 
very music, and that their style was the style of 
song. And some of them indeed would have, while 
they were haranguing, a slave standing near with a 
pitch-pipe in his hand, who was to sound a note 
1 occasionally, that they might modulate their voices, 
■ and address them to tune.^ 

And orations were written in trilogies, like the 
tragedies had been. And tragedies were written by 
the orators as exercises in rhetoric. For the two 
things were so mixed up now, there was no 
distinguishing them. 

And Isocrates was a great architect of oratory. 
They say his speeches sounded like beautiful harmony 
when they were spoken. And he comes a little 
before Demosthenes. 

1 It is from Rome, certainly, that the account comes. Caius 
Gracchus had a slave for this purpose. 



And Demetrius Phalereus was the last of the Attic 
Orators. He it was who instigated Ptolemy Soter 
to found the Alexandrian Library. And every vessel 
that came to the port of Alexandria had to send 
what books it had on board to the library. And 
this is the way the library increased so much. And 
the scholars of Alexandria turned their attention 
greatly to collecting and editing the ancient Greek 
poets. And there were editions of Homer made 
with great care. And the copies of the works of 
Sophocles and ^schylus, that were in the archives of 
Athens, were bought from the Athenians for the 
Alexandrian Library. And the work of editing and 
arranging went on with great care. And the critics 
of Alexandria, trying to preserve the beauties of 
Greek literature from perishing, often tried to preserve 
the beauties of the Greek language from perishing 
likewise. For whether it was that the harmonious 
tones of the orators had infused themselves into 
ordinary speech, or that a melodious mode of utterance 
not unlike the Chinese Sheng had arisen in speech — 
certain it is that the Greeks of the peninsula, and 
particularly the Athenians, were allowed on all hands 
to speak most melodiously, /'and attempts were made 
by the grammarians and critics of Alexandria to 
register these beautiful tones, which bathed the Greek 
language, and preserve them to the eye in literature, j 
And among various attempts, that of the grammarian, 
Aristophanes, was the most happy. And he hit on 
this plan of registering the tones. Whenever the 


voice went up on a syllable, he placed an up mark 
on it, thus, /, which is written by a motion of the 
pen upwards, and is very happy because it imitates 
the motion of the voice. And when the voice went 
down on a syllable to its normal pitch again, he 
placed a down mark on that syllable, \, made by a 
motion of the pen downwards, which also imitates the 
motion of the voice down to its pitch again. And 
when the voice went both up and down on the same 
syllable, he combined the two, thus, A. So that 
if we take a word such as toirog, in which the voice 
went up on the first syllable, and down on the 
second, we shall write it, according to Aristophanes' 

method, roirog, which in music is | — ^ — 7^ — . And a 

word such as laorr^g, in which the voice went up this 
time on the second syllable, we shall write it, according 
to Aristophanes' method, laiWrig, which is in music 

} — :^ — ^ — ji — — \ servmg, as will be seen, for 

) - (TO- Trig 
the normal pitch, which we represent as W , and 
therefore falling on every syllable except the one 
that had the Up mark on it, as TroXurtXfo-n/ro?, 

1% h 1^ J S K T- ,, 1 

\z~^ — wi — -^ — ^ — ^ — ^ — . ror there was only one 

TTO - Xu - T£ - Xea - T(i- Tog 

rise of the voice in every word, and therefore only 

one Up mark in like manner. And this Up mark 

was called " the word's song " (the Prosody, o}dri irpog 

f)i]fxa),^ which we translate, "the Accent." 

1 In like manner the " instrument's TT^orrotota, that is, " the song 
which accompanied the instrument," was '''O?/ irpog Kiuupav. 



Now, not all words were so lively. Some had no 
song. e.g. exOpog, "an enemy," had no song, but was 

£)(0p6c I — a^ — 4^ — . and many more beside, that we 

could name. But the greater majority had all their 
Song, occurring on the second last syllable, or on the 
third last, these were the favourite places, and never 
on the last of all, except in the combined form, /\, 
which was now written with one sweep of the pen. 

And let us see how musical this 

n = 


registering of the Song made even the dullest prose 
appear, and taking an instance like the following : — 
juera St Tavra Sa/^oy ftacnXevg Aa^eiog cup^a iroXiiov 
Traaeiov Trpwrrfv EXXrjvtowv Kot papl^apiov dia TOir]v^e riva 
atnrjv, which as it stands is dull and meaningless ; let 
us write it by benefit of the Song, and we shall see 
that not only is there an irregular melody, which we 
promised, but also there is a rhythmic contour 
impressed on it, which perhaps is some clue to the 
occurrence of the Song where it does, on the second 
last and third last syllables of words, for as we write 
it now. 




Tciv - ra 

"SiU - f-iov 


Xevc Aa - pH - hg 


\t - 



:J— *: 

(T£ - WV TTjOW-riJV '^EX - X?) - VI- §(UV /cot /Sf/jO 


1*» N 

J J> 

K (^ 

(ddp-MV dl - a rot - i]v - ce ri - va 



we hear a constant play of Trochees, Tribrachs, 
Iambuses, Spondees, which had escaped us before, but 
which the occurrence of the Song on the • critical 
syllables brings into strongish relief. And this may 
have been one reason for the Song always occurring 
where it did. Now we have said that the Song never 
fell on the last syllable of a word, unless it were in 

the compound form, = gL_\ And the reason 

of this is plain, for if the object of the Song was to 
give an unconscious prominence to the rh}^thm of words, 
as we have suggested, it is plain that there is no foot 
of one syllable only, but at the least there must be two, 
and therefore the Song must never come later than 
the second syllable from the end. But there is another 
and a more important reason than this. For we 
know what Cadence is, and we remember that every 
Line had its cadence, and every Clause and Phrase 
had its cadence, where the voice fell for a moment 
of repose after the labour of sustaining the tone was 
over. And as it is in Lines and Phrases, so it is 
also in Sentences and even in Words ; and the Voice 
naturally makes a trifling cadence at the end of every 
word, as it makes a marked one at the end of a 
Sentence or a Phrase, and that is why the Song never 
came on the last syllable — in order, that is to say, to 
admit of a natural cadence on that syllable. But why 

the compound Song, pj \_g>_J_j was allowed where 

the other was not, is because it contains the Cadence in 
itself — it rises but to fall, and so the Cadence is 


expressed as usual. And Aristophanes went on still 
further to preserve the music of the Greek language, by 
inventing signs for " Pauses," which were called aTuyfiai, 
and answered to Rests in Music. And there were 
three kinds of ari'^fxcu, the rfXem, the fiiar], and the 
virofxiar]. And the reXfm was a little dot that was 
placed on the top of the word over its last letter, 
thus, TrspiEpofwg, and this was the sign of a Perfect 
Pause, and meant to say that the end of the sentence 
had come. And I cannot but think that the effect 
of the Stigma was primarily to increase the length of 
the last syllable, and so rather prepare the ear for 
the pause than actually to indicate the pause itself. 
If which were the case we might well render the 

Stigma as follows : 7r£ptSpOyUoc= — api — — wt — wf-r- And 
the two other aTLy/nal were placed, the /if.rrj halfway 
down the letter, indicating a shorter pause, thus 

Is 1 

7rfptopo/ioe*= — w^ — — ^ — i^~r~ , and the wTro^uto-rj at the 

bottom of the letter, indicating a still shorter pause 

N 1 

than the fxiai], wepi^poinog. = — wl — ^ — J—^—- . And 

when these marks were used in annotating poetry, as 
they greatly were, for it was in a great measure to 
introduce order into the ruins of the poetry that 
Aristophanes laboured so, and invented these things, 
they would be associated with names which will 
appear very suggestive to us. For the Musical 
Sentence, which was the groundwork of all the 
Poetical Form, we have already in past pages 
described as the " Period " (Trepiodog), and the members 
that composed it in sets of twos we have before 
known as " Colons " (kwAci " members "), and these when 
they fell short of symmetrical length and were 


Acatalectic, we have now to know as " Commas," KOjiiiara — 
" dipt colons " we may translate it, for Ko/xfxa means 
*' a clipping." And now these stigmas of Aristophanes, 
used to punctuate the poetry, would naturally go the 
reXeia, or "full (rriyfxri," with the Period, the jida-n, or 
" Half arijiiiri" with the Colon, and the virofxiai], or 
" Quarter aTiyfii)" with the Comma. 

And now as we stand among the schools of 
Alexandria, and see a retreating Universe fast 
vanishing from our sight, consorting with men at 
present who are busily engaged in labelling and 
ticketing the fragments of its beauty, against a time 
that no one knows what forecasts he may make of 
it, let us speak for almost the last time of Greek 
music in its glory, and remember the two great 
schools, the Dorian and the yEolian, and what were 
their differences. And it is of the Cadence again 
we would speak, and show how the music had 
transfused itself into the Language, and still preserved 
its main characteristics, though the form they appeared 
in was homely and weak. And we have said that 
every word had its cadence, and the voice fell at 
the conclusion of the word, as formerly in music it 
fell at the end of the Line or the Period. But in 
Greek Music this was known as the ^Eolian Cadence, 
because it was so favourite with the iEolian singers, 
who brought their Phrases and their Periods to a 

close with the natural and easy cadence, V^. — | | — 


as in former pages we have told. But the Dorian 
singers used another and a more powerful Cadence, 

which was the inverted one, p^-— p — ^— , where the 

voice seemed to spurn repose ; and this was as 

constant in the Dorian style, as the other in the 



^olian. Now how did this appear in language ? 
And it was used by those melodious Greek speakers 
as unconsciously as the other, and just too in the 
right place. For it was used at the end of sentences, to 
take off the weakness of an attenuated close. For 
when a songless word, which may have been of 
many syllables, and there were such words, came at 
the end of a sentence, then, instead of having a 
natural and audible cadence to close the sentence 
with, the sentence would flutter and droop long 
before its time. And this weakness was counteracted 
by the invariable habit of making a rise on the 
last syllable of the sentence, which mimicked the 
Dorian Cadence to a nicety. And in this way a 
songless word received for once a Song, but only 
when it came at the end of a sentence, as we may 
see : — 


TToX - 



ria - 




- poi ' 

TToX - 
























XlijO - 











_.r zi 

S' " 

^ ■- 

Such are the pale reflections of the past that Ave 
are moving among now. And Aristophanes also 
invented a method to record the breathings, or 
aspirations, " Spirits, TrvEujuara," of words, which are 
indeed Spirits to the Song's Body, and of these 
there were two kinds, the Hard and the Soft, and 
he invented ( ' ) to serve for the Hard, and ( ' ) for the 
Soft. And of these, instances have been given in 
the course of the above. And these were the 
labours of Aristophanes. 

And his pupil, Aristarchus, collated and annotated 


the works of Homer, and set breathings and accents 
on every word, according to the system of Aristophanes. 
And the music of Homer indeed was irretrievably 
lost long before, nor was this an attempt to restore 
it, but it gives us exactly the way in which ^ the 
poetry was read, according to the melodious 
pronunciation of the day. 

And the teachers no longer taught in the 
gymnasiums, as they had used to do in the palmy 
days of Athens, and indeed there was only one 
gymnasium in all Alexandria, so we may see how 
life had altered since we spoke of it then. And 
that beautiful blending of gymnastic with education, 
which alone can produce strength in thought and 
music in expression, because it grapples body and 
mind together, and prevents the unhealthy preponderance 
of either of these two components of our nature, was 
now no more. And by consequence poets were no 
more, and even orators were no more. But it was 
an age of Criticism, which means an age of stagnation, 
when men fold their hands, and pretend that the end 
of life is to survey what others have done. 

And the stars of Alexandria were critics and 
commentators ; as the Pleiad, which was the constellation 
of Alexandrian genius, and was composed of 7 editors 
and commentators. And turning to the music, how do 
we find it? And the great names of Alexandrian 
music are Porphyry, Jamblichus, Nicomachus, Ptolemy 
and Alypius. And the enumeration of these names will 
show us the strength of the Alexandrian genius, and 
also its weakness. And how strong is it, and what do 
we not owe it, when we think that we derive our 
knowledge of the entire Greek Music almost solely 
from the writings of these men ! And on the contrary 
how weak is it, when the masters of its music are 


merely the commentators and compilers of the labours 
of others ! And indeed, if we may speak without 
being suspected of jesting, the Egyptians, who in 
Alexandria had blended with the Greeks, were always 
noted for their skill in embalming, and this 
commentating and editing was but the intellectual 
aspect of the same faculty. And these men that 
we have mentioned, laboriously deduced the principles 
and science of the Greek music from the works of 
the musicians that they had access to — not indeed 
showing the editorial spirit so much as others that 
we . have mentioned, as Aristarchus, Hephsestion, and 
others, but rather the scientific spirit — of whom Alypius 
wrote a large treatise in 7 parts on Ancient Greek 
Music, of which only one part has come down 
to us ; and the titles of the several parts we know, 
and the ist was on Sounds, the 2nd on Intervals, 
the 3rd on Systems, the 4th on Genera, the 5th 
on Tones, the 6th on Modulation, and the 7th on 
Composition. And the work of Nicomachus was 
an Encheridion, or Handbook, of Music, which is 
particularly valuable for the light it affords us 
on the discoveries of Pythagoras. And Jamblichus 
we already know as the divine biographer of 
Pythagoras, and are now to know him as a most 
suggestive writer on the nature of Sound. And 
Porphyry was a commentator on Ptolemy, who was 
the greatest musician of them all. In Ptolemy, 
indeed, we may well study the Alexandrian genius 
at its height, for in him it reaches originality, and 
we may observe from the originality of Ptolemy the 
dryness that had now beset Greek thought, even 
at its best, and how there is no blood but only 
dry bones to be found therein. For Ptolemy indeed 
indulges in the same speculations which Pythagoras 

CHAPTER 11. 53 

had engaged in centuries before. He too strove to 
weave the world in music, and to find its threads 
running through every part of thought and hfe. 
But in place of poetical visions and noble 
imaginations, glimpses indeed of nature's mysteries, 
what artificiality, what dryness repel us from the 
speculations of Ptolemy ! For let us hear him 
speaking about this Natural Music, if we may call 
it so ; and he will tell us, in speaking of the Soul, 
that there are three parts of the Soul, the 
Intellectual part, the Sensitive part, and the Habituative 
part, and that the Intellectual part is the Octave, 
the Sensitive the 5th, and the Habituative the 4th.i 
But for this arrangement we only get the fanciful 
reason, that the Sensitive is nearer to the Intellectual 
than the Habituative is, and therefore the 5th falls 
to it as a matter of course ; and the 4th to the 
Habituative, because the 5th is nearer the 8ve than 
the 4th is. And afterwards he theorises thus about 
it — those creatures that have Habit have not always 
Sense, and those who have Sense have not always 
Intellect : but on the other hand those who have 
Sense have always also Habit, and those who have 
Intellect have both Sense and Habit — and therefore 
the 4th, 5th and 8ve do correspond each with each 
as aforesaid, since where the 4th is, there is not 
always the 5th, and where the 5th is, there is not 
always the 8ve : but on the contrary, where the 5th 
is, there is always also the 4th, and where the 8ve 
is, there is also both 5th and 4th.2 Which, like the 
former is unreal and idle. And then he will go on 
to pursue this fanciful parallel to death, and since 

* Ptolemy. Harmonics. III. Cap. 5. - Ptolemy. Harmonics. IH. Cap. 5. 


there are three species of 4th, differing from one 
another by the position of their semitone, so there 
must be three species of Habit to correspond ; and 
four species of 5th, four Senses to correspond in 
like manner — to get at which he has to reduce the 
usual complement of five by one, conceiving Touch 
to be common to all ; and seven kinds of 8ve, seven 
kinds of Intellect in like manner.^ With much more 
of the same kind, as when he pairs Physics, 
Mathematics, and Theology, with the Enharmonic, 
Chromatic, and Diatonic genus respectively, &c., &c. 
All of which has no foundation in fancy, and like 
the rest is unreal and idle. 

In such an atmosphere of thought as this, and 
among such men^ it was natural that when Didymus 
revived the doubts which Aristoxenus had expressed 
on the Pythagorean doctrine of the Scale, the chance 
of controversy should be eagerly welcomed, and the 
whole subject laboriously discussed. And we remember 
how Pythagoras had established the ratios of the 
Consonances, that is, the 8ve, 2 : i, the fourth, 4 : 3, 
the fifth, 3 : 2, and also that equivalence of tones and 
numbers which he had laid down, and the regulation 
of the purity of Intervals by means of the Monochord, 
which was one string divided by a moveable bridge 
into the proportions of the numbers as he had 
determined, and which was the basis of all ; for he 
had said that to get the purity of an 8ve we must 
divide the string into two parts, as 2:1, and to 
get a 4th, as 4:3, and a 5th, as 3:2, basing all on 
the ratios of numbers, and laying down the scale as 

^ Ptolemy. Harmonics. III. Cap. 5. 


and this had- been accepted by all the Greek world. 
But in course of time there had arisen some men 
who refused to accept this system of measurement 
not, as I imagine, in the first instance at least, because 
they deemed it as at all containing any touch of 
error, but because they held it in a great degree 
unnecessary. Of whom the chief was Aristoxenus 
who took up his ground on the following reasons : 
For there is a simpler way, he said, of determining 
the intervals of the Scale, and the measure of part 
and part, than by employing the abstruseness of 
mathematical demonstration. For the ear is now 
sufficiently educated to decide on such matters for 
itself, without going any further afield. For let us 
ask, said Aristoxenus^ how the scale is composed 
(and he speaks of the small scale of Pythagoras, 
which was always the scientific illustration). And we 
will consider it as composed of a 4th and a 5th, 

= P^P==P 


p-^— gi 


a 4th from E to A, and a 5th from A to E. Now 
by how much does this 5th exceed the 4th ? And it 
exceeds it by the distance of A to B, that, is, by a 
tone, for A to E is a 5th, but to get a 4th we 
must start from B to E, and the difference between 
the two is A B, which is a tone. Now then having 
discovered what a tone is, and having familiarised 
the ear with its dimensions, we may use the tone 


as our basis of measurement, and define an 8ve as 
that which is composed of 6 tones. But since the 
4th and 5th contain semitones, and therefore cannot 
be measured like the 8ve can, let us suppose the 
Tone, which is the basis of measurement, to be 
divided into 2 Semitones, and let us familiarise our 
ear with the dimensions of a Semitone. And 
substituting this as our basis of measurement, we will 
define the 8ve as that which is composed of 12 
Semitones, the 5th as that which is composed of 7, 
and the 4th of 5, in like manner. And to get any 
of these intervals we have simply to add Semitone 
to Semitone till the last is reached of the agreed 
total, and then we have the perfect interval we 

But now let us see into what a gulf this empirical 
and shallow method of handling the Scale plunged 
Aristoxenus and his followers. For it is plain that 
in this handling of the Semitones, he had assumed 
that all Semitones were equal to one another. 
Whereas it had been the doctrine of Pythagoras 
that all were not equal to each other ; who had laid 
it down that Semitones were of two kinds, Greater 
Semitones and Lesser Semitones, and he had said 


that the interval from : ^=p — gz: in the scale was 

by no means half a tone, but much less than half ; 
and he had expressed it by the ratio of 2^ : 243, 
caUing it the TJmma, or " Residuum," ^ while the 
distance it lacked of being a complete tone, he had 
called the Apotome, which was much greater than it,^ 
and these were the Greater and Lesser Semitones 

1 Gaudentius. Harmonica Iiltroductio. p. 15. - Id. 


which he intended. So that to measure 




:p2 — I or tm—?2: 


5th, or 8ve, all of which contain this interval, by the 
addition of equal semitones, is purely fallacious and 
idle, let alone the fact that in the Diatonic Scale at 
any rate, two semitones never occur together at all, 
and so, strictly speaking, the experiment can never 
even be made. 

And this controversy which we have stated here 
was carried on with warmth at Alexandria for a very 
long time, and in justice to the Alexandrians it must 
be said, that the leaders of their music without 
exception espoused the cause of Pythagoras, and the 
most lucid demonstrations of his theories were offered, 
and the doctrines that he had inculcated received 
their final confirmation, now for the last time ; for 
other ideas were astir in the great world beyond, 
and Greek Music was dying, and already the chill of 
death was upon it. And this is the way that 
Ptolemy demonstrated the quantification of the Limma^ 
or Lesser Semitone, as laid down by Pythagoras : — 

Let the number 1536, and after that its epogdoan, 
1728, be taken to express a tone ; and again the 
epogdoan of 1728, which is 1944, to express another 
tone: then the numbers, 1536 and 1944, will stand 
for the Ditone. Now since the Diatessaron is 
hemiolian, i.e., 4:3, it is therefore necessary to seek 
a number that shall contain 4 of those parts, of 
which 1536 is three; and this can be no other than 
2048. So that the interval, whereby the diatessaron 
exceeds the ditone, is in the ratio of 2048 : 1944, i.e., 
256 : 243. And next to judge of the magnitude of 
this interval. Let the epogdoan of 1944, viz.^ 2187, 


be taken for a third tone. And let us then enquire 
the difference between the ratios, 2187 : 2048, and 
2048 : 1944. And the first of these two ratios will 
be found the greater of the two, for 2187 exceeds 

2048 by more than -^gth, and by less than — th 

part • whereas 2048 exceeds 1944 by more than 
I 1 

Y^th and by less than ^^th ; and consequently, that 

which together with the ditone completes the 
diatessaron, is the lesser part of the third tone, as 
Pythagoras has said.^ 

And there was another and a greater than he, a 
man of Alexandria, who had demonstrated more 
perfectly and much more copiously the truth of the 
Pythagorean tenets. For who is this figure, bending 
down over the sand, and tracing lines and circles 
with trembling hand ? Is it in such keeping as this 
that we find Greek Music now ? Then indeed its 
end has come. The best type of the Greek thought 
of the time, and beautiful exponent of a clay cold 
energy — Euclid, the philosopher, who has ratified for 
all time the wisdom of Pythagoras, and brought in 
the aid of Mathematics to canonise the dead Music. 
And his demonstrations are exact and geometrical, 
and he proceeds step by step from theorem to 
theorem to build up the architecture of his mathematic, 
and Music becomes with him and his school the 
recreation of geometry, the dreamland of mathematic 
fancy, and he makes his music of angles and lines. 
And he proceeds, as we have said, from theorem to 
theorem, accumulating truth step by step, beginning 
with theorems of the magnitude of intervals, and easy 
propositions of the subtractions and additions of 

1 Ptolemy's Harmonics. Book I. Cap. 10. 


intervals, and so on through their ratios, as of 
Hemiolian to Epogdoan, and Epitrites to that 
Hemiolian, until at last he culminates with an exact 
mathematic demonstration of the Pythagorean doctrine 
of the Monochord, and how the whole Greek scale 
may be evolved from the proportions of one single 
string, exactly as Pythagoras had said. And this 
proposition we must now give ; and it is divided into 
two parts, and in the first he demonstrates the 
evolution of the notes 


which were the Principal notes of the Scale, or the 
Fixed notes, as Pythagoras had called them, because 
they were uninfluenced by the occurrence of the 
Enharmonic genus. And in the second, he 
demonstrates the evolution of the remaining notes, 




And these two propositions we will now give. 

Theorem A. 
The Monochord of Pythagoras contains^ in just proportion 
of the moveable bridge^ the notes 

-p — ^■ 

P=k — V-=^ felz:;jz:^ 


-_^ — , which are the 

Fixed Notes of the Greek Scale. 

Let the length of the Monochord be A B, and let it be 
divided into four equal parts at the points, C, D, E. 








Then A B is the gravest sound, that is, the Proslam- 

banomenos, - ^) ^^. And since A B is the Epitrite 

to C B (4 : 3), C B will be the Diatessaron of A B, 

that is, - ^' & — . Again, since A B is double of D B 

(2:1), D B will be the octave of A B, viz. - J^ 

And since A B is twice double of E B (4:1), E B will 
be the double octave of A B, that is, p j^ ,^ — . Next, 
let C B be bisected in the point F. Then C B is double 
of F B (2 : i). But C B was ^^• =^= . Therefore, F 

B is the octave of C B, that is, 

And from 

the whole, D B, cut off a third part, D G. Then D B 
will be Hemiolian to D G (3 : 2), that is, G B will be the 

Diapente of D B. But D B is p§p== , therefore G B 

will be p ^ — . Next make G H equal to G B. 
Then the whole, H B, will be double of the part, G B. 
But G B was shown to be p /4^ . Therefore H B 

is F^^5^E- Again, take away H K, the third part of 

H B. Then the whole, H B, will be Hemiolian to the 
remainder, K B, that is, K B will be its fifth F ^ '^ ^ 


Lastly, from the whole, A K, cut off L K, equal to 
K B. Then the whole, L B, will be double of its part, 

K B, that is, it will be the octave in basso, - (^ — 

In this way all the Fixed Notes of the Scale are shown 
to be contained in the Monochord. q.e.d. 

Theorem B. 

The Mofiochord of Pythagoras contains likeivise, by similar 
adjustment of the bridge, the notes. 



j ' ~( fh ^"~ rj " ~ ~:; d ' ivhich are the 


Moveable, or Optional, Notes of the Greek Scale. 

Let the length of the Monochord be again A B. Let 

the whole A B be the Proslambanomenos, 


and from A B, the greater, cut off C B, the less, making 
C B the fourth part of A B, that is, its double octave. 









Divide C B, which is timzzissziij '^^^^ ^^S^^ equal parts, 

and from the remainder of 
equal to one of them, so 
Epogdoan to C B (9 : 8). 
D B, into eight equal parts, 
cut off a part, F D, equal 
whole, D B, the Epogdoan 
be a tone lower than C B, 
Epogdoan of D B, which 

the line cut off a part, C D, 
that the whole, D B, may be 

And again divide the whole, 

and from the remainder, D A, 
to one of them. Then in the 

of C B, which is D B, will 
, And in the whole, F B, the 
is F B, will be a tone lower 

than D B. But C B is p Tk p;^ — -_ (constr.) ; therefore 

D B is 




and F B is 



Next divide 


F B into three equal parts, and from the remainder, F A, 
cut off a part, F G, equal to one of those parts. Then 
the whole, G B, will be the Epitrite of F B, that is, F B 
will be the diatessaron of G B in alt. And since F B is 

- jfty — , G B will be the fourth in basso, 

Again, bisect G B at C, and make G E equal to one of 
the two" parts, so that the whole, E B, will thus give a 

Diapente (3 : 2) to one of them. But G B is - ^ 

therefore E B will be the fifth in basso. 


from the remainder, E A, cut off a part, E H, making 
E H equal to E G. And then the whole line, H B, is 
divided into four parts, H E, E G, E C, C B, all equal 
each to each. And since the whole, H B, comprising the 
four parts, HE, E G, E C, C B, is Epitrite to E B, 
which only comprises three, H B is Diatessaron ifi basso 


to E B. But E B was [^^' =:— = . Therefore H B is 

p <i S^ rp — • In the same way it may be shown, by taking 
the division of the Hne, as at C B in Proposition A., which is 

Y &- — ^ — , and dividing C B into four equal parts, at 

M, N, Q, since the whole, C B, comprises the four 
parts, C M, M N, N Q, Q B, but M B comprises only 
three of them, therefore M B is Diatessaron in alt. to C B, 

— rp — 
that IS, It IS . In this way all the Optional Notes 

of the Scale are shown to be contained in the Mono- 
chord. Q.E.D. 

And if we continued our accounts of the Greek 
Music any further now, it would be but to give a 
series of such demonstrations and figures as these, lines 
traced in the sand, and umbratile studies of philosophers. 
For on studying the Music of the Alexandrian School, 
we find that Music has passed from being Music, 
and has hardened into the Ideal Mathematic. 



Now after this time it happened, and in the reign 
of Tiberius Caesar, that a merchant vessel, bound 
from Greece to Italy, was beating about off the coast 
of Alexandria, unable to make way against the contrary 
winds which had driven it so far out of its course. 
And Epitherses, the father of ^milian the rhetorician, 
was on board, who told the story, and other passengers, 
and also the pilot, Thamous, who was an Alexandrian 
by birth. And it was midnight of the third day, 
when suddenly the wind abated, and there was a 
dead calm. And while they all were wondering at 
this sudden change, a voice was heard in the air, 
and they were far from land, and out of sight of vessel 
or of any human thing. And the voice called aloud, 
" The Great God Pan is dead ! The Great God Pan 
is dead ! " And immediately the air was filled with 
a noise of weeping and wailing, that was terrible to 
hear. And when they came in due course to 
Italy, they published to the people what they had 
heard ; and again those shrieks and weepings filled 
the air as they were telling the news, for they stood 
on the forecastle of the vessel, and so told the 
people on shore. And Pan was the son of Mercury 
and Dryope, and had been the god of shepherds and 
of music. But in the later and mystical ages of the 
Pagan religion, he had been chosen as the typical 
god in whom men saw summed up and centring the 
powers and attributes of all the others, and he had 


come to be regarded as a type, and even as a 
synonym of the whole Pantheon. And on the 
same night that Pan had died, Apollo was seen to 
leave the steep of Delphi, vanishing in the mist that 
sighed around him. And they say that in the 
thickets and the woods the Nymphs were heard 
mourning and lamenting ; and they tore their hair, 
and beat their breasts, for they, too, soon were to 
pass away. 

And the story of the seamen soon travelled to 
Rome, and caused much comment at the time ; but 
the luxurious Romans, given over to indolence and 
pleasure, were not the people to regard it long ; and 
the tale of the Alexandrian boatmen became a piece 
of idle tattle, to be put away and forgotten when 
the novelty wore off. And there was much 
intercourse between Rome and Alexandria at this 
time, and here must we follow the steps of music, 
to see, indeed, not merely the reappearance for a 
while of the gay Greek Music, but a general mixing 
and blending of all the musics of the Pagan world. 
For under the arches of the Campus might have 
been, heard the sambucas and gingrases of the Syrian 
dancing girls,i and beating in the taverns hard by 
the drums and cymbals of the tipsy priests of Tyre,^ 
and in the theatres the flutes and lyres, and songs 
of Grecian chorus-singers, and winding along to the 
temples of Isis and Serapis bands of Egyptian 
musicians with harps and sistrums^ — all the world's 

1 Et cum tilbicine chordas 

Obliquas . . . et ad circum jussas prostare puellas. 
- In magna popina, 

Et resupinati cessantia tympana Galli. 
3 Cf. the procession of Serapis in Apuleius. Metam. 


minstrelsy was there, in this great churning-press of 
creeds that men called Rome. 

And where shall we take a central point, or from 
what post of observation survey this last great scene 
of the Pagan music ? And at the theatres we shall 
find its rallying ground, which now no longer served, 
as once in Greece, as the temples of the national 
religion, but as places of spectacle and amusement. 
And the change was confessed by the very structure 
of the theatres themselves. For there was no altar 
of Bacchus now in the centre of the Orchestra, and 
the chorus no longer made their evolutions round it, 
or indeed in the Orchestra at all, but on the stage 
now ; and that great flat open space was filled with 
seats, that were reserved for senators and great men, 
so that the orchestra scarcely differed from the rest 
of the theatre, except in the seats being lower down, 
and almost in a pit compared to the others. And 
the reason for all these changes was because not only 
had the plays lost their religious significance, but 
they had also greatly changed in character. For 
while in Greece it was the Comedy and Tragedy that 
were the spectacles of the theatre, in Rome it was 
by preference the Pantomimes. And these Pantomimes 
were a development of the old Latin Miimis, or 
" Farce," which was a sort of rustic drama that had 
grown up among the country people. But in the 
Pantomime, the Mimus received a very peculiar 
development ; for all speaking and singing gradually 
dropped out, and nothing but the mere acting was 
left, and the Pantomime, as we find it now, was 
dumb show. This was the last stage of the Pagan 
drama, and now we see it had lost its voice. And 
of Pantomimes there were three kinds : there was the" 
simple Pantomime, in which no one took part but 


the actors or actor, for sometimes there was only one, 
and by their dancing and gestures they endeavoured 
to present the tale of the drama to the audience.^ 
And next there was the Pantomime with music, in 
which a band of musicians were stationed on the 
stage, who accompanied the acting of the Pantomimist 
with their music.^ And lastly there was the Chorus 
Pantomime,^ which is the one we shall particularly 
select for description, because in it we see for the 
last time the shadowy outlines of the old Greek drama, 
and it probably had arisen from a union of the 
Latin Pantomime with the Greek drama itself. And 
in this as in the Tragedy there were Chorus and 
Actors, only the Chorus took no part in the action of 
the play, but stationed on the stage they formed a 
kind of orchestra, part Vocal, and part Instrumental, 
which accompanied with music and song the gestures 
and dancing of the actors. And the song that the 
Chorus sang was the narrative of the pantomime, to 
which the actors set suitable motions. Indeed in 
this decline and decrepitude of the drama we have got 
back to its state of infancy again, for this is precisely 
the form of that Hj/porc/ieme, which helped with other 
things to give the start to Tragedy, in which the 
Chorus sang a song, and tHe exarchs, or leaders, of the 
Chorus set suitable motions to it. And the instruments 
the chorus used were worthy of the pomp and 
pageantry of Rome, and also of that Oriental love 
of din and roar, which in Rome appeared so strongly. 
And the Chorus were half singers, half instrumentalists, 

1 Calliachius. De ludis scenicis. In Sallengre. II. 754. 
* Ad tibiarum sonum, &c. Id. 

' Fabulas, quas praacinebant cantores, I'eferebant. Id. Cf. also 
Cassiodorus. I. Variaruin E. 51. cantorum carmen exponit 8cc. 


and the instruments they used were these : Cymbals, 
Gongs, Flutes, Pipes, Gigantic Lyres, Castanets, Rattles, 
Clattering Shells, and Foot Castanets. ^ And the Cymbals 
were small concave cymbals, that almost fitted in the 
palms of the hand, and yet they made a loud 
clashing noise.^ And the Gongs were generally 
known by the name of "Vinegar Jar Gongs," 
(Acetabula), because in shape they were so much like 
vinegar jars. And they were made of brass or 
even of silver,^ and gave a rich sonorous sound when 
struck, " ctim suavitate tumittim " says Cassiodorus, 
" they clashed most pleasantly." And the Flutes and 
Pipes were much like the Greek Pipes which we have 
before described, but some of the pipes were different. 
For some of them were bagpipes. For long ago in 
the fields of Latium had the shepherds discovered the 
art of fitting their pipes into a bladder or bag, which 
should act as a wind chest, and greatly lighten the 
labour of blowing.^ And it is strange that the 
Romans alone, and another people of antiquity besides, 
whom they greatly resembled, should alone have hit 
on this mechanical invention. This other people 

1 Salmasius draws the picture : " alii tibiis canebant, alii vocibus 
concinebant, alii fistulis sibilabant, alii cymbala concrepabant, alii pede 
sonabant." Calliachius gives the instruments as Tibiaj, Fistulse, Citharae, 
Cymbala, Scabilla, Testulae, Acetabula. 

^ That these common cymbals of the marbles, See, were the ones 
used by the chorus, see CalUach. on Nonnius, v. i8. 

^ -Snea et argentea, says Cassiodorus (De Mus. Ant.). The same in 
St. Isidore's Origins, III. 22. i. That they were percussionalia, see 
Cassiodorus. loc. cit. 
* As the boor in Virgil, 

Post epulas et pocula, multicolorem 
Ventriculum sumpsit, buccasque inflare mbentes 
Incipiens oculos aperit, ciliisque levatis 
Multoties alto flatum e pulmonibus haustum 
Nunc hue nunc illuc digito salientei 


were the Assyrians, also like the Romans noted for 
their skill in mechanical arts. The Assyrians too 
had the bagpipe/ although when we were speaking 
of them we purposely omitted it, in order to say it 
here. And it seems that the same cause led both these 
peoples to their discovery — for it was the delight in 
loud sound that led them, which the bagpipe can 
give in ten or twenty times the volume which the 
ordinary pipe can. And a similar reason led the 
Romans to treat their ordinary pipes after a manner 
peculiarly their own. For we have said that the 
Roman pipes were much like the Greek. And so 
they were in general shape and length. But then 
they were much stouter, and were bound with brass, 
and in sound the Roman pipe rivalled the trumpet.^ 
And the Gigantic Lyres that we have mentioned were 
also like the Greek in shape, but much larger and more 
powerful.3 Now the Castanets were made of a reed 
divided into two by a slit from the top extend- 
ing half way down, very much like the Greek 
gamma, y, and these two split pieces were struck 
against each other, the instrument being held by the 
single piece at the bottom. '' Rauci calamV they 
were called, and made a loud clattering sound.''- 
The Rattles were brass rings attached to iron rods.^ 
The Castanets were sometimes made of brass, and 
tricked up with bits of crockery, wood, &c.6 The 

^ See Engel's Music of Most Ancient Nations, et alibi. 

2 It was 'tubas aemula,' says Horace. Also ' orichalco vincta,' Id, 

3 Calliachius. De ludis scenic, in Sallengre II. 

•' Ad cubitum raucos excutiens calamos (Virgil's Copa). I have seen 
this translated as if the bagpipe were intended by Virgil. The error 
seems a silly one, and is merely noticed here Avith a view to its 

' CkIIus, folio 1049. ^ Ibi 


Shells f" Testes'' ) were rattles of crockery- ware or 
shells.! But most remarkable were the Foot 

Castanets. They were great clattering Fans, or 
Castanets of wood, that were worked by the foot, and 
generally in exact time to the steps of the dancer.^ 
For all the time that this orchestra was singing and 
playing, the actors were carrying on their dumb show 
to the audience, endeavouring to express by their 
motions and gestures the action of the narrative that 
the chorus was singing.^ And these chorus pantomimes 
were got up on the most stupendous scale. And 
they say that there were sometimes more people on the 
stage than there were in the theatre itself,^ for what 
with the immense pageants of actors, and the great' 
choruses of singers and instrumentalists, the stage 
was full. " The passages are full of singers," says 
an eye witness, " the orchestra is thronged with 
trumpets, and every kind of pipe and musical instrument 
peals from the stage." ^ There were interludes of instru- 
mental music, ^^ entr'actes I' and overtures of flutes alone.^ 

^ Vid. Forcellini in voc. 

2 This is the TTOOo/cruTTfa, which we read of. There has been 
much dispute as to what this really was. Salmasius will have it that 
the TTOooKTi/TTOt were men with wooden slippers or clogs on, "lignes 

soleae," and he translates ttooo/ctutteTv as"pede sonabant." Calliachius 
endeavours to make a wind instrument out of it, but I cannot see 
how. The conjecture in the text would make it an instrument not 
unknown even yet among the Italian peasantry, if slightly divergent 
perhaps from the ancient form. The Italian and Tyrolese method of 
working the drum by the foot may be seen in the streets of our own 

3 Cantorum carmen exponit, et per signa composita, quasi quibusdam 
litteris, edocet intuentis aspectum. 

* Seneca. Epist. 84. » lb. 

^ The overtures were descriptive of the action of the play that was 
to follow, not however so much in the way of " programme music," 
as probably by embodying certain songs, the words of which were 


But what these trumpeters in the orchestra were for, 
was to sound a tucket or flourish before the curtain 
drew up. " Drew up," we phrase it, but with them it 
drew down, rolling down on a roller into a recess under 
the stage, which also is the more artistic way, for by- 
rolling down instead of drawing up, it let the heads 
of the actors be first seen, instead of what we see ; 
and similarly at the end of the play, the least 
graceful part of their persons was the first to be 
concealed. And this is the pantomime of " Paris," as 
it was seen by one at the time. " At the sound 
of the trumpets the curtain rolled down, and the 
hangings were drawn together, and the stage was 
laid bare to the eyes of the spectators. The scene 
was a wooden mountain, and a very high one, 
planted with shrubberies and green trees, from its 
top a fountain flowing, and real water was trickling 
down the side. A few kids were cropping the 
herbage, and a youth was shepherding them, dressed 
in the Phrygian style, with a golden diadem on his 
head. A beautiful boy was also on the stage, naked 
but for a scarf that hung from his left shoulder. He 
was the mark of every eye for his beautiful yellow 
hair, among which were little golden wings. This 
was Mercury, as the caduceus that he carried 
showed him to be. He ran with a dancing step, 
and, carrying in his right hand an apple stuck 
with spangles, offered it to Paris, and announced to 
him in signs that Jupiter had entrusted him with the 
task of deciding who was the most beautiful of the 

familiar to the audience and contained allusions either to the general 
character or to the actual personages of the play itself. The passage 
in Donatus will however admit of both explanations : " hujusmodi 
cannina ad tibias fiebant, ut his auditis multi ex populo discerent 
quam fabulam acturi essent scenici." 


goddesses, and that this apple was to be the prize 
of beauty. On his departure a girl of noble 
countenance entered, with sceptre and crown. This 
was Juno. And then another who was Minerva, as 
her helmet told us. And still another who we knew 
was Venus, and she was perfectly naked except that 
a silken scarf covered her middle, the fringe of which 
the busy wind would now blow back and now blow 
to her, and either way it showed its impudence. Her 
body was pure white, and lovely to look upon. And 
now the virgins, their attendants came dancing in ; 
but Juno was attended by Castor and Pollux, and 
by a band of stately matrons. Juno, to the 
modulations of the music, promised the shepherd, by 
modest signs, that she would bestow such and such 
on him, if he adjudged her the prize of beauty. 
And next came Minerva, making promises likewise, 
but two boys, Terror and Fear, danced with drawn 
swords around her, and clashed their arms ; and since 
it was renown in war which she promised, the pipes 
struck up the Dorian Mode, tantiveying in the 
manner of trumpets. And next came Venus sweetly 
smiling, amid the applause of all the spectators, and 
surrounded by a crowd of tender little girl boys 
{teretes et lacteos puellos), and you would have thought 
them real cupids, with their smooth fair faces and 
little wings and tiny arrows. And they bore shining 
torches before Venus, as if she were going to 
consecrate a marriage. And virgins, too, in troops 
came dancing — the lovely Graces, and the rosy Hours, 
scattering flowers and garlands, and soothing the 
queen of pleasure with the tresses of the Spring. 
Now then the flutes pealed out; and with a florid 
Lydian strain they charm the souls of the spectators, 
while Venus begins to step to Paris. The graceful 


undulations of her back, the flowing of her form, the 
arching of her neck, and all in time to the delicate 
warbling of the flutes — can you wonder that the 
apple was her easy prize ? " ^ 

Such was the wanton and lascivious spectacle that 
had taken the place of the ancient Tragedy in 
Pagan life. And it was supported by all the pomp 
and wealth and partiality of Rome, The emperor 
Caligula, was such an admirer of the pantomimist, 
Mnester, that he would get up and hush the slightest 
whisper among the audience, while Mnester was 
dancing. And similarly Domitian with Paris ; and 
Hylas, also, was another imperial favourite, who 
received as great honour as these. Augustus would 
have banished the Pantomimes from the state, had it 
not have been for the prayers of Maecenas, who was 
so in love with the dancer, Bathyllus, that he could 
not think to let him go. Pylades in the Tragic 
Pantomime, Bathyllus in the Comic, were mighty 
names in their day, and represented almost influences 
of state. And the dance that Bathyllus was renowned 
for, was the Cordax, or " Licentious Dance," that was 
danced with loose garments, and tremulous enamoured 
motions of the body, the sight of which inflamed the 
wanton crowd to roars of wild applause. And the 
theatre echoed with shouts, as Bathyllus danced his 
licentious dance, the favourite of Msecenas, the 
emperor's friend. But the actors were generally dressed, 
the men, in a tight-fitting costume and a little cloak 
that came down to their middle,^ while the women 
wore but one thin garment, that clung to their figures 
and allowed the form and motions of their body 

1 Apuleius. Golden Ass. Cap. 29. 30. sq. 

* Dimidiasque nates, says Martial, Gallica palla tegit. 


to be seen no less than if they had been quite naked.^ 
And after a time they discarded even this, and 
appeared quite naked on the stage,^ as we have seen 
Venus in the pantomime of Paris. And the Apocinus 
was a pantomime that was danced by two girls, one 
of whom was Myrrhine and the other Thryallis. And 
the subject of it was a contest between the two, 
which should show her figure best. And they were 
dressed in wrappers of transparent Coan silk, and 
the naked body could be spied through the transparent 
dress. And Myrrhine looses her girdle, and shouts 
of applause roar through the theatre — but yet Thryallis 
will outdo her, and receive the prize.^ And there 
was a pantomime called Aphrodite, and the actress 
imitated the languishing of Venus.''- And another 
called Adonis, in which the loves of Venus and Adonis 
were played on the stage.-^ And there was the Leda 
pantomime, in which a swan was introduced on the 
stage ; ^ and Bathyllus would often take the part 
of Leda, half naked and dressed like a woman, 
for he had a smooth and beautiful face, and a 
delicate skin, and he would play even Venus herself, 
and quite deceive the audience.7 And Europa, in 
the pantomime of Europa, was often played by men,8 

^ This was the subecula. For a description of its appearance, see 
the Scholiast on Valerius Maximus. X. ii. 

2 See Julius Pollux on the Lamprotera and Mimetice Dances, IV. 14. 

3 Arnobius describes this contest of the Apocinus with his customary 

* Jerome's Epistle, De Hilarione. It is principally to the Fathers 
that we owe our descriptions of these various pantomimes. 

s Arnobius. VII» 

s iPrudentius, Peristj X. Cycnus stuprata peccat Intel- pulpita. 
Arnobius also alludes to this pantomime by name. 

■^ Mulier nempe ipsa Videtur Ndn pfersond loqui; vacua et plana 
omnia dicas Infra ventriculum et tenui distantia rima. 

s Arnobius. VII. 


and Ganymede, in the pantomime of that name, by 
men or beautiful boys, that came naked on the stage. 
And country girls, coming up to town, had their 
morals corrupted at the theatres, for there was no 
sitting there for long and remaining pure. Tuccia, 
Thymele, and a village beauty from Apulia, coming 
up to Rome to see the sights of the town, make a 
party of pleasure one afternoon to the Pantomime, 
and are initiated into the most hidden mysteries of 
mischief before they have been half an hour there. 
It was the pantomime of " Leda " that they chanced 
to attend, and Bathyllus was acting the leading role.^ 
What with his amorous gestures, and the monstrous 
things he did, Tuccia can no longer contain herself,^ 
but reels out of the theatre, to fall into the arms of 
the first gallant she meets. And for the other two, 
their innocence is equally gone.3 Thymele sits 
greedily devouring every motion of the actor's body,4 
and the village beauty from Apulia is every now and 
then ejaculating, " Dear Bathyllus ! do it again."^ The 
Roman ladies, also, whose virtue was in hourly peril 
amid the temptations of the town, were not behind 
their country sisters in their admiration of the 
pantomimes. The actors, the dancers, the chorus- 
masters, but above all, the singers and the musicians 
of the theatres, were the pets and lions of the Roman 
ladies,^ and the singers and musicians particularly so, 
and in a more intimate way, because of the easy 
access which brought them together. For every 

Roman lady must learn to play and sing, and who so 

Chironomon Ledam molli saltante Bathyllo. 

Tuccia vesicae non imperat. ^ Tunc rustica discunt. 

Subitum et miserabile longum Attendit Thymele. 

Appula gannit, Sicut in amplexu. 

Nullius fibula durat Vocem vendentis prcctoribus. 


capable of instructing her as the professional musicians 
from the theatres ? In this way a channel of 
communication was opened between the theatres and 
the most veiled seclusion of domestic life. Bathyllus 
in the boudoir, Paris in the private chamber— the 
morals of the pantomimes found a new field to expand 
themselves in, until at last every Roman lady, to be 
in the fashion, must have an amour with a theatrical. 
They sat in the silent curtained apartment, listening 
to the instructions of their insidious music master, 
toying with tortoiseshell lyres studded with sardonyxes, 
and every now and then striking the strings with a 
plectrum, to make a little music by way of a change.^ 
And when their instructor had gone — and it is 
Juvenal who draws the picture — the fair pupil would 
wander fretfully about the house, longing anxiously 
for the morrow, pressing her music roll to her breast, 
or kissing the lyre where her master's hand had been.^ 
And when he had entered his name to contend for 
a public prize, as at the Capitoline competition, where 
prizes were given for the best singer and player, what 
flurry ! what trepidation ! and on the morning of the 
games, phalanxes of fair admirers, with garlands ready 
to throw, if their hero was the conqueror.^ And many 
of these men were eunuchs, despicable adventurers 
from Syria and the East, soft effeminate fellows with 
swarthy skins, who often came to Rome as slaves. 
And yet when Hedymeles, one of them, had entered 

Organa semper 
In manibus ; densi radiant testudine tota 
Sardonyches ; crispo numerantur pectine chordae, 
Quo tener Hedymeles operas dedit. 

Hunc tenet, hoc se 
Solatur, gratoque indulget basia plectro. 
For the account, see Juvenal. 


for the Capitoline prize, Julia Lamia, the proudest 
matron in Rome, did not think it beneath her to make 
a public procession to the temples, and implore 
the gods with the richest sacrifices, to vouchsafe 
success to her favourite. And in holiday time, when 
there were no pantomimes, and no competitions to 
kill the tedium of the day, the stage-struck ladies 
would get up amateur performances among themselves, 
under the superintendence of their favourite players : 
as Messalina, the empress of Rome, and wife of 
Claudius, had the Epilenius pantomime performed at 
the palace by the ladies of the court, herself taking 
the principal part.^ There were satyrs stamping 
winepresses, and lakes of wine flowing, and girls 
dressed in skins and dancing like Maenads in the 
hall, while she herself, with dishevelled hair, shaking 
the thyrsus, stalked amid them all, with Silius, her 
favourite, at her side, who was naked and crowned 
with ivy to represent Bacchus. And sometimes 
these performances were nocturnal, and then the 
priests of Cybele would be there, with their obscene 
faces and womanish hips — the drums and Phrygian 
pipes would roar through the lighted rooms, and 
what deeds were done before the evening ended ! 

And let us pass a few years onward from the 
time of Claudius, and see the centrepiece of all — 
a young man sitting on the tower of Maecenas, 
dressed in the costume of a Grecian rhapsodist, with 
a garland of olive on his brow, and dandling a lyre 
on his knee as he gazes dreamily on an awful 
conflagration that rages beneath him. By his side 

' The Epilenius Pantomine, or Vindemia, is described by Longus 
(Paemen. II.) and by Philostratus in his Eicons. For Messahna's part 
in it, see Tacitus. Ann. XI. 


stands a pJwnascus, or "voice trainer," who sniffs the 
air to see if a chill is in the sky, and every now 
and then applies a handkerchief, that he holds in 
his hand, to wipe the perspiration from his patron's 
lips. " By heavens ! Terpnus," says the rhapsodist, 
turning to him, " what a blaze ! what a lovely 
blaze ! " And as he speaks, his eyes become fixed, 
and running his fingers over the strings of his lyre, 
he bursts into an impassioned recitation of some 
verses of Homer. " Sire," says the trainer, when he 
had ended, "your voice will suffer if you tax it so 
much. You have already to-day done more than 
enough. Your assumption of the part of Orestes 
this morning at the theatre was a great strain on 
you, considering the delicate state of your throat at 
present, and surely you will not by excess of 
enthusiasm impair even in a slight degree that 
beautiful voice which all the world delights to hear." 
" You are right, Terpnus," replies Nero, " we will give 
over singing for to-day, and forget the tyranny of 
art in the recreations of the banquet." 

And the banquet was held in the gardens of 
Sallust, and all the nobility of Rome were there. 
And the tables were laid under the trees, and 
twinkling lamps were hung above the banqueters ; and 
from one end of the gardens came the roar of vast 
bands of music, while dancing-girls, in the lulls 
between the courses, came dancing down the files of 
tables in troops, wrapped in thin gauze, and clattering 
their cracking castanets. And many of them were 
Spanish girls from Gades in Spain, who danced in 
line, rising and falling in waves of tremulous hips. 
And also Syrian dancing-girls, more wanton than 
these, half naked or entirely so ; and these had cymbals 
that they clashed above their heads, and there was 


something fearful in their wild immodesty. And 
high among the banqueters sat Nero drinking hard, 
and every now and then applauding the grossest 
sallies of the dancers. And his beautiful mother, 
Agrippina, who was also his wife, sat by him. And 
the toasts were ushered in by torrents of rippling 
flutes, and the flute-players were beautiful boys and 
girls, who before the night was over were to know 
the lowest depths of shame. And with the clearing 
of the tables and the commencement of the second 
course, which was wine alone, the orgies began in 
earnest. And now the living torches were lighted, to 
cast a dreadful glare over the banqueters ; and screams 
and shrieks of agony began to mingle with the roar 
of the music and the tempest of the dancers' feet. 
For these torches that were lighted were human 
beings, wound up in tar and tow, and blazing in iron 
cradles like so many beacon fires. They were the 
guilty sectaries of a certain new religioUj that had 
begun to make its appearance in Rome, and to whom 
the burning of the city had been accredited. And 
under their glare leapt the dancers. Whistle your 
flutes, you angel children ! and beat your cymbals 
louder, Syrians ! for the evening's entertainment 
is at its height. And soon the banqueters begin to 
rave, and stagger from table to table. And Nero 
reels from his throne, and mixes with the throng. 
And the gay order of the banquet has given way to 
a crowd of panting women and drunken men, timid 
children's faces too among the crowd — one seething 
mass of licentiousness. And the torches are burnt 
out, and the moon and the stars shine down through 
the trees. 

And next day is a gala day for the emperor's 
performance at the theatre. Nero's favourite parts 



were Orestes, Canace, CEdipus, Hercules FurensJ He 
had made his debut as a singer at Naples, in the 
third year of his reign. He entered the city the 
day before the performance, dressed as Apollo, and 
with a long train of musicians and a crowd of 
attendants — a thousand carriages in all — the horses 
and mules were harnessed with silver, and the drivers 
and muleteers were clad in the costliest cloth from 
the looms of Canusium. He sang several days in 
the theatre, but his first appearance was the most 
remarkable. For scarcely had he stept on the stage 
and begun the opening scena of the tragedy, when 
the shock of an earthquake was felt in the theatre, 
and some said that the gods were angry that the 
emperor of the world should be seen in such a 
character. And during all the time that he was 
singing at Naples, he would scarcely allow his voice 
•any rest, and only left the theatre for the baths. And 
from them he hastened back to the theatre again, 
and commonly dined in the middle of the 
orchestra, when it was crowded with people. From 
Naples he went to Greece, and sang at the 
principal theatres there, and entering into public 
competition with all comers at some of the games, 
he several times received the prize. Such diligence 
did he use to improve his voice, that he would 
sit up with his singing-master, Terpnus, till late in 
the night, practising his arias and roulades for the 
next day.= He slept with plates of lead on his chest, 
to correct unsteadiness of breathing, and give him the 
power of sustaining his notes in equal volume.^ He 

1 Suetonius, 21. For the other facts mentioned, see Suetonius or 

■- Suetonius, ?o, ^ Suetonius. 25, 


would also abstain from food for days together, in 
order to purify his voice ; often denying himself fruit 
and sweet pastry, which are known to be prejudicial 
to singing.i When he played at theatres where the 
audience might possibly be unfavourable to him, he 
had organised bands of claqueurs, who commonly 
accompanied him in his tours, consisting of many 
young men of the nobility, and at least five thousand 
of lower rank. And these were stationed in various 
parts of the theatre, and they were instructed in three 
different kinds of applause, which they were to give 
according to the cue communicated to them by the 
leaders of their divisions. There was the " bonibi^' 
which consisted in repeating the words '^ Eugel' ''" Bellel^ 
(answering to our "bravo!") two or three times, as 
if in spontaneous admiration of the performance. There 
was the " imbrices^' which was a subdued and half- 
repressed clapping, that sounded well when disseminated 
through the theatre. And lastly there was the " testa\' 
which was loud and regular clapping, which left no 
doubt that applause was meant.= And by these 
means there is no doubt that Nero obtained many 
theatrical successes in Greece, which otherwise he 
would have been slow of achieving. And he was 
not only a cultivated singer, but a skilful performer 
on many instruments as well, and eminently a 
connoisseur. He could play the flute with the best 
players of his day, and was no mean performer on 
the trumpet.3 He was also a skilled lyre-player, 
as we have seen ; but affected particularly that small 
Assyrian instrument, the Pandura, with 3 or 4 strings,4 

•' Id. 20. - Suetonius. Nero. 20. 

■' Ipse cantavit, saltavit, ad tihias dixit, tuba cccinit. 
* J])sc pandurizavit. 


which has been noticed before in these pages, and 
was now making its way along with other musical 
oddities to Rome. 

Now it happened that during a second tour of his 
through Greece, a revolt broke out among the Gallic 
legionaries, who, dissatisfied with the present 
administration of the empire, put their general, Vindex, 
at their head, and began to march on Rome. Their 
disaffection was joined by the legions in Dalmatia 
under Galba, a more experienced general than Vindex, 
and a more powerful opponent. The news of this 
rebellion drew Nero reluctantly from the theatres of 
Greece, and after many delays on the route he 
appeared at last in Rome. The armies were not 
far off, and prompt action was essential. But instead 
of haranguing the senate, and issuing orders for calling 
out the troops, he spent the first day of his arrival in 
examining a New Instrument, which had just been 
brought to Rome. I It was called an Organ, and had 
been made after the designs of Ctesibius of Alexandria 
— a man very skilful in mechanical contrivances. 
He had invented an instrument called the Rhyton, or 
Musical Vase, which was a vase filled with water, and 
so contrived, that, by the water trickling through a 
hole in the side, a musical sound like a silvery 
trumpet-sound should come.^ And other strange 
instruments he had invented. And his organ was 
exactly like our organ in general structure ; it had 
keys and pipes and a wind-chest, only the air was 
forced into the wind-chest not by bellows but by 
pistons, which pumping the air through water, the 

1 Suetonius. Nero, 41. 

3 Atlienreus, 407, aci^TriKu Xiyvv VX^^' 


instrument was thence called a Water Organ. ^ And 
what gave Ctesibius the first idea of his water organ 
was this : He had invented the Clepsydra, or Water- 
Clock, which was a clock to tell the time, that went 
by water. The water was m.ade to drop upon little 
wheels, and so turned them round. The motion of 
these wheels was communicated to a little statue, 
which gradually rose as they went round, and pointed 
with a stick, that it held in its hand, to the hours 
marked on a pillar. But this clock, which answered 
admirably in the daytime, was plainly of no good at 
night, when it was dark, and you could not see the 
hours that were marked on the pillar. So another 
Greek had invented a contrivance by which the figure 
should sound the hours on a flute, instead of pointing 
to them, and these could be heard at night. And 
it was by directing the water in such a manner that 
it could force air through the flute at certain times, 
that he had managed this. And Ctesibius, indeed, 
had already noticed this principle of extracting music 
from the pressure of air through a tube, having 
observed that the weights of a moveable mirror, while 
sliding down the tube they fitted in, made a prolonged 
sound by the pressure of the air. But he had not 
applied the principle to any invention, until this night- 
clock and the flute-playing figure made him think of 
doing so. And taking his hint from this, he had 
made the Hydratilis, or " Water Flute," which was 
really a box of flutes, not unlike the Clepsydra in 
general appearance, though different in points of 
structure. For there was a large vase containing 
water, which was like the cistern of the Clepsydra, but 
above this there was a box in which flutes were set. 

' Vitmv. De Archit. X. i 


with their ends turned down towards the water, and 
the water being dashed about, it forced the air upwards 
through the flutes, and set them playing.^ But this 
was mere unregulated sound, and came to nothing, 
being more Hke the random melody of an /Eolian harp 
than the ordered playing of a musical instrument. 
Nor was it until he had invented slides, which could 
shut and open the pipes at pleasure, that Ctesibius 
succeeded in regulating the sound. And having 
invented slides, he attached them by strings or levers 
to iron keys, which the fingers should press, and so 
open and shut the slides at pleasure. In this way 
he could make the pipes speak as he pleased. At 
this point of development new improvements were 
not difficult to add, and by the time the instrument 
came to Rome, and in the form that Nero saw it, 
it was as follows : — 

There was first a large vase half full of water, which 
had an inverted funnel in it, that was connected by 
a pipe with a flat box, or wind-chest, above, that 
contained the wind. And on each side of this vase 
were cylinders with pistons inside them, which were 
worked with levers from below, like pumps. And 
these cylinders had pipes running from them into the 
central vase, down through the water into the bell 
of the funnel. And there were valves at the top, 
hanging by moveable chains. When, therefore, it 
was necessary to fill these cylinders with air, the 
lever was raised, and the valve immediately descended, 
and through the hole the air rushed into the 
cylinder. But directly the lever was pumped 
downwards, and the air sent rushing up the cylinder 
by the piston, at the first puff the valve closed at 

1 Athenteus, p. 174. 


the top, and the air therefore rushed through the 
pipe into the central vase, and down it into the 
bell of the funnel, for the pipe reached there. From 
thence with redoubled force, owing to the weight of 
the funnel and the pressure of the water, it was 
driven up the funnel's pipe and into the wind-chest. 
In this the pipes were set, and their bottoms 
covered with slides, as we said, which were connected 
with iron keys by strings, or trackers. And the 
pipes were in number 4, 6, or 8, according as the 
instrument were tetrachordal, hexachordal, or octachordal, 
but generally it was octachordal.^ And the touching 
of the keys caused the sound to come, and according 
as it was played, there was a varied and beautiful 
melody. And this was the instrument that was 
shown to Nero that afternoon when he arrived in 
Rome, having been summoned from Greece by the 
news of the revolt of his legions. And having seen 
the instrument, he was well pleased with it, and 
determined to introduce it into the theatres, saying 
that it would make a most agreeable addition to the 
orchestras of the pantomimes, and would also come 
in well for tragedy.^ And that evening he banqueted, 
meaning to commence his preparations against the 
rebels next day. But the next morning brought 
worse news, for another legion had revolted, and now 
there were three armies at once marching on Rome. 
And it was too late to do much. And Nero got 
together the singers and dancers from the theatres, 

^ Cf. the entire description in Vitruvius X. 13. Isaac Vossius' 
directions and diagram for building such another (De Poematum Cantu, 
p. 98.) are still the best guide to the elucidation of the Vitruvian 

- It was his intention also to have established contests for ^^'atcr 
Organs at the Public Games. Suetonius, 54. 


and had them dressed hke Amazons, and put himself 
at their head, and ordered the gates of the city to 
be flung open, for that thus he would go to meet 
the foe. For he believed that perhaps some prodigy 
would be worked in his behalf, or that the soldiers, 
amazed at so strange an equipment, would cease to 
be so terribly in earnest, and would return to their 
allegiance. And next, when some dissuaded him 
from this, he declared he would go and meet the 
rebels all by himself, trusting to his beautiful voice to 
work upon their feelings, and his passion, and his 
tears.i And when he was told that Vindex, one of 
the generals, had criticised his voice, and said he had 
a bad one, he was more angry at this than at all 
the revolt beside. And he vowed that here at last 
was treason. But when the push came, and the 
armies were close to the city, his friends all left him, 
and Nero was left alone. Only a freedman of his, 
named Phaon, and the boy Sporus, whom he loved, and 
two slaves, still remained faithful to him, and with these 
he set off to Phaon's country house, in a storm of 
thunder and lightning. And his horse took fright 
at a dead body that lay on the road, and his 
handkerchief, which he held over his face as he rode, 
fell off, and a passer-by addressed him by name. 
And they passed the camps, where the soldiers were 
cheering for Galba, and when they at last arrived at 
Phaon's house, they had to creep through marshes 
and reeds, to get in unobserved. And Nero, being 
faint and thirsty, drank the water of a puddle, and 
he said, " This is Nero's tipple now." And his 
clothes were all torn and his shoes, and his body 
was torn with brambles, and in this way he was 

1 Dion, 63, 27. 


brought into a small chamber underground in Phaon's 
house. And he made them dig a grave, and Sporus 
to begin the funeral lament. And Nero looked at 
the grave, and said, " What an artist dies in me ! " 
And while he was yet speaking, the hoofs of his 
pursuers' steeds were heard clattering in the distance, 
every minute growing louder and louder. And Nero 
burst into a. verse of Homer's, 


" T/ie gallop of szvift-footed horses strikes on my ear^ 
And when he had finished singing, he set a 
dagger to his throat and by the help of Epaphroditus, 
his slave, plunged it in, and so died. 

And Pagan music died with him. For though those 
theatres and pantomimes and great orchestras of many 
nations still survived, and Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and a 
long line of emperors were still to come, and these 
things long remained, yet a New Music had begun. 
For about this time in the life of the Imperial City, 
a belated wayfarer, coming home at night through 
the Flaminian or Latin Way, or other road on the 
outskirts of the city, might have seen lights among 
the tombs, or glimmering from the catacombs under- 
ground ; and muffled voices would strike his ear, as 
of men engaged in secret prayer and forbidden rites. 
The Christians had come, and these were their assem- 
blages. Food for the torches under Nero, as the years 
wore on they waxed stronger and more numerous, but 
at first ' and for a long time they were obliged to 
hold their gatherings in such places as these. ^ And 
they met always in the evening, and sometimes at the 
dead of night, for fear of the law which prohibited 
all secret assemblages. And they were the dregs of 

1 Cf. the Jcsjcriptionii of Jerome. 


the people, many of them slaves, and all poor and 
despised and friendless. And at these meetings they 
would listen to the reading of their sacred books, 
and after that would come an address from the 
president of the meeting, and then they would sing 
psalms,! and these are what would strike on the cars 
of passers-by, who in hearmg them would be listening, 
without knowing it, to the New Music of the world. 
For it was a new music growing out, as all musics 
originally come, from the bosom of Speech. For their 
psalms had no metre, and would fit no tunes, none of 
the gay tunes of Greece aad Rome, that were fluttering 
on the golden surface of life, if indeed they had sorted 
with the mood of these poor outcasts. But a new 
style of strain, quite different to all we have hitherto 
been speaking of, must be born in the world to express 
them. For how was Greek Music born ? Amidst the 
patter of the dancers' feet, in showers of sunlight, and 
swimming of the senses. But how was Christian music 
coming ? In subterraneous vaults, from desperate men, 
to whom sorrow was a sister, and fear their familiar. 
And the psalms in their services they muttered and 
mumbled rather than sang ;^ and on happier days they 
would exalt their voices and declaim a little the words, 
but still it was far from singing.^ Nor was there 
anything to suggest such a form of expression as 
song to their minds, for their psalms were but 
rude translations of ancient Hebrew scriptures, which 
themselves had nothing metrical about them, and in 
translating they suffered a still lower descent to the 

1 Justin. I. 67, &c. 

- Ita psallebat, ut pronuntianti vicinior esset quam psallenti. St, 
Isidore. De Offic. 7. Their singing is compared to the murmur of the 
sea by one of the Fathers. 

^ St. Isidore, loc. cit. 


level of ordinary speech, appearing as sheer prose but 
for one thing. For in speaking of the Hebrew poetry 
in former time, we remarked that its only approxi- 
mation to that studied form of utterance which we 
call poetry, lay in its observance of what is called 
Parallelism of Thought, which soon had led to Paral- 
lelism of Language, and that the Hebrew poetry had 
each of its verses set out in two parts, with no 
careful arrangement of the syllables, or efforts after 
Rhythm, but only this to constitute the form of its 
verse. And this peculiar feature was naturally preserved 
in the Latin translations which the Christians sang. 
They knew verse from verse because of the pair of 
expressions that made up each, and with this simple 
lore their musical science began, and all that was done 
in the future was but the application of this first lesson, 
or a building on this primitive basis. 

Now then shall we see the Semitic contending with 
the xA.ryan. And which is to be the conqueror ? For 
the Christians, with their contempt of earthly pleasures 
and strange spiritual dreams, are but the revival of 
that wild Semitic fanaticism, which we thought we had 
left for good, ages ago, among the mountains of 
Carmel. We thought it had vanished, with its wild 
ravings and shapeless music, for ever from the scene ; 
but now behold it re-appear again in the heart of 
voluptuous Rome ! Will it do more now than then ? 
For then it promised so little, and did so little, with 
its contempt of art, and bold reliance on the power 
of earnestness and nature to bring its accents home. 
But now it had a new birth, and once more was 
heard in the world, in the prayers and praises of the 

And their psalms, then, were muttered or spoken 
by congregations of uneducated men and women, who 


knew nothing of the devices of art, but felt the truth 
of every word they uttered. And these psalms, as 
we know them, differed so much in character from 
the classical repose of the Greek spirit — for they are 
pleadings, prayers, passionate lamentations, outpourings 
of the heart. It is the language of Emotion which 
they speak, and we may imagine from the first how 
they would reflect themselves in the tones of those 
who said them. And each verse being divided into 
two well marked parts, it was often the custom for 
one speaker to begin the verse, and the rest to join 
in at the close — he taking the first half, and the 
others falling in at the second.^ This was a common 
custom, and it sometimes would be extended to the 
whole psalm — one person reciting it entire, and the 
rest joining in at the last verse of all, instead of verse 
after verse, as in the other way.^ But the most 
common method of all, and indeed the most natural, 
when we think of the earnestness of the worshippers, 
and how they all burned to take part in the service, 
was for the congregation to divide itself into two 
groups, and declaim verse about, or else the halves of 
verses, first one group, and then the other answering 
them.3 And this was called the Antiphonal method 
of singing,4 and we have met it before in this history, 
having found that it was the Semitic manner of singing, 
which now reappears, and quite unconsciously, in 
the assemblages of the Christians. And these were 

1 St. Basil. Ep. 63. ad Neocses. The second halves of the verses, 
when thus sung, were called the Acrostics. 

^ This method was the Acroteleutic method— the verse, in which all 
joined, having that name. This style of singing is particularly described 
by Eusebius II. 16. 

3 St. Basil, loc. cit. 

4 avTi(j)iovoi' vfiv(i)Sia, Socrates calls it. VI. 8. 


the organised and ordinary arrangements of the 
singing, so far as anything was organised. But there 
were other things, which we must also take notice 
of. For the people would every now and then 
interrupt the preacher or the reader with spontaneous 
outbursts of enthusiasm, for their fervour was so 
great, they could not contain it, and at points in the 
address or in the reading of the scriptures, which 
touched their hearts, they would break in with the 
words ajuriv, "So be it!" "A/Ze^hua," "Praise the Lord!" 
" Hosanna," " Lord save us ! " and o.ther such 
exclamations,! which in^ their utterance would have 
much in common with the psalm-singing, that is to 
say, they would be half spoken, half d(fclaimed, and 
all in the deepest fervour of devotion. But little by 
little this rude declamation, and especially would this 
be the case with the psalms, from its very frequency 
and being so constantly employed on the same words, 
would little by little gain a regularity of utterance, 
which, though far removed from what we call melody 
or song, might yet deserve the name of musical. ^ 
For it would be hard if people, repeating time after 
time, and day by day, sets of words, and all so 
much alike in form as verse to verse, being indeed 
exact repetitions of one another, would not little by 
little fall into conventional swings of voice, in like 
manner, which it seems it would be difficult to avoid. 
For let us observe the behaviour of the voice in 
declaiming or speaking even a sentence, and we may 

' The practice and origin of these exclamations is treated at length 
in Bingham. XIV. 

2 " Siinplices cantilenaj," says Glareanus (Dodecachordon. I. 14.) " qu:^ 
vix diapente ascensu ac descensu implerent," but doubtless even his 
account goes too far, and the word " cantilentc," can with little 
justice as yet be applied, Cf, Infra, p. 38, 


be sure that the habits it has there would be 
still more strongly marked in those symmetrical 
sentences, which were verses. And first it makes an 
obvious rise to a certain level, and this is in the nature 
of things, for there is an effort in commencing a 
sentence at an elevated pitch, and we seldom do so, 
unless it is a question or an exclamation. But it 
is much easier to suffer the voice to go up of its 
own accord, even if it is only a word or two that 
it rises from. And next it remains in a wavering 
way at a certain level during the greater part of the 
sentence, and towards the end it sinks again. And 
this is the natural habit of the voice, as we may 
easily discover for ourselves. And wc ha\^e already 
noticed how exactly this was the habit of the voice 
in that development of speech, which was the 
Hexameter verse of the Greeks, which, beginning low, 
attained its greatest emphasis and height in the middle, 
and sank again at the end in what we called a 
Cadence. But now we have to deal with a different 
kind of verse, far less shapely, unmetrical, and consisting 
always of two distinct parts. Yet if these two 
parts were still one, and both together made the 
verse, we must imagine a similar inflection of the 
voice, that it rose at the beginning of the first part, 
and remained till the end of the second part, and 
then fell, and thus each verse was rudely rounded off 
from its fellow, as sentence is from sentence and 
clause from clause in common discourse. And to 
express what we would be describing, musically, we 
can best do so by drawing a waved line through 
the common stave thus : — 


And this will give our meaning. But what rudeness 
must we not imagine in the utterances of these 
unpractised people ! x^nd we speak of " sustaining " the 
voice, and the tone " remaining," but we should rather 
imagine the utmost licence of inflection and unsteadiness, 
since the psalms, as we have said, were rather 
spoken than sung, for Song, as we understand it, was 
deemed by the Christians a profanity. That gay 
poising and modulating of the voice, which we call 
singing, was the vanity of the theatres, the 
accomplishment of the Pagans. " God desired no such 
vanity." "It was not with the voice, but with the 
heart that they must praise him." ^ " Servants of 
Christ, let the words be your delight, and the holy 
thoughts they convey ; not the tones they come and 
go in."2 So much did they set themselves in 
opposition to those around them, that they must needs 
reject all that Art had done, and fall back on the 
rudest elements of nature to make a new one. 

And let us turn for a moment to their innocent 
services, and see how much they were in contrast to 
the vice and licentiousness of the time. And we 
have already spoken of those simple gatherings, when 
they read the Scriptures together, and heard an 
address, and afterwards recited their psalms. Rut 
besides these, they had their Agapes, or Evening 
meals, when they all assembled together, each bringing 
his share of food, already dressed, and fruit, and 
bread and wine. And after they had offered prayers to 
God, they ate and drank together, and conversed 

1 These are the words of Jerome. In Eph. 5. 19. " Deo non voce 

sed corde cantandum, &c.'' " Quamvis sit aliquis KUKOcfuovog, si bona 
opera habuerit, .dulcis apud Dcum cantor est." 

- " Sic cantet servus Christ], ut non vox sed verba placcant," Sic, 


cheerfully with one another, till the lights were brought 
in, when they washed their hands, and began their 
psalmody.^ And this lasted for a long time, until 
late in the evening. And they would encourage one 
another with Alleluias to continue.^ For the Alleluia 
was the Christians' sweet ccletisina, or call, whereby 
they invited one another to give praises unto Christ.^ 
As the sailors reefing a sail, or the rowers pulling their 
boat through a stormy sea, so too must these new 
rowers and storm-tossed sailors cheer one another 
with a call like this. And after the Agape was 
over, there came those holy mysteries of breaking the 
bread> and mixing the wine, and commemorating the 
death of their Lord, Jesus Christ. During which, they 
would read from the diptychs, or tablets of wax, the 
names of those Christian saints and martyrs^ who 
had died for the sake of their faith, as they too were 
prepared to die. 

And in these gatherings the men sat on one 
side and the women on the other, and on the 
women's side the younger women in one place, the 
married women in another, the virgins, widows, and 
elder women apart by themselves, but in a place 
before all the rest. And when the evening was over, 
they bid one another good bye with a kiss of peace, 
the men saluting one another, and the women saluting 
each other, and this was the kiss of the Lord.4 

And a Christian maiden must never approach the 
profane company of Pagans ; she must never be seen in 

1 The order of the psalmody is detailed in Tertullian's Apology. 39. 

2 "The Alleluia," says Bingham (XIV. ii. 4.) "served as a sort of 
invitatory or mutual call to each other to praise the Lord.'' 

3 The expression is St. Augustine's. De Cantico Isovo. II. 
^ Apost. Const, p. 264. 


the environs of a theatre/ which was " a sink of foul 
iniquity," and " the temple of the accursed demon, 
Venus." 2 ■ And if by chance she hears a Pagan song, 
she must shut her ears, and not listen to it,^ and as 
for a flute, or lyre, or cithara, she must not even know 
what they mean.4 

And here is the Christian idea of Music, as it was 
laid down by the Fathers of the Church. And little 
by little their rude psalms had got to have some 
tune, and they must needs acknowledge that here 
was in a measure singing. But further than this 
they would not go. "As David sang psalms on 
a harp to the Lord, so do we too sing, but on a harp 
whose strings are alive — our Tongues are the strings. 
And more the Lord does not require." ^ "The only 
instrument we use is the Voice. The Word, and the 
Word of Peace, is enough for us. Let Syrinxes be 
given to silly clowns ; the pipe to superstitious men, 
who pay honour to idols. Such instruments are to 
be banished from all sober company, and are more 
fitted for beasts than men. How far, then, must 
they be kept from the assemblages of Christians ! Be 
far from us those florid songs and dissipated music, 
that corrupt the morals ! "^ 

And yet there was no preserving this simple music 
in its infant purity for long, and shutting out 
completely the influences of the outer world. For 
already in the reign of Alexander Severus, some 

^ Cf. St. Cyprian's words to that effect. 

- " Sacrarium Veneris," as Tertullian calls it. 

3 ovTE oo-/xa TTopvtKOv owTE w Stjv WviKTiv. Apost. Const. 

III. 10. This prohibition is repeated in Clemens. Predagog. II. 4. 

* "Tibia, lyra, cithara cur facta sint nesciat." S. Jerome. "She 
should not know how to use them," is what he really says. 

5 S. Chrysostom. *> S. Clemens Alexandrinus. 



century or so it was from the time of Nero, we 
hear of a Roman maiden, Cecilia, by name, who was 
accustomed to accompany her beautiful voice with the 
Lyre, and she was the first Christian that did so. 
Yet did this not grow into a custom, but was quite 
a novelty and exceptional thing, which if others did 
at her time, or after her for a long while, we do 
not know of them. And she was a Christian virgin, 
and was forced against her will to marry a Roman 
gentleman, named Valerian ; but she converted him 
to Christianity on the first day of her marriage and 
before she had broken her vow of virginity, which she 
never broke at all, for within a few days she and 
her husband and his brother and a Roman officer, 
named Maximus, whom she had converted, were seized 
and put to death for being Christians. 

It was not through instrumental music that 
modifying influences crept into the early Christian 
psalmody, for not for a long time to come do we 
hear any more mention of instruments after the time 
of St. Cecilia. But it was rather through the 
singing itself that these influences crept in, and in 
one weak part of it, that seemed from the first to 
offer an opening to such things. For as it was the 
custom to have a president of the meeting, who 
should preach and take the lead in the prayers, so 
it was also the custom in the psalmody to have a 
leading singer, a Phonascus he was called, by which 
they meant a Precentor, who should lead the psalmody ; 
and this seems to have been the practice from very 
early times.^ But it was natural that this Phonascus 
being employed to lead the rest, and feeling himself 
looked up to by the others, should sometimes be vain 

1 This fact is brought out by Bingham. 


of his duties, and introduce a touch of art or two 
into the naive simplicity of the Christian psalms. 
Yet did not this have much effect on the congregations, 
until those times, which came in due course, when 
largeness of numbers, or a growing respect for ceremony, 
which even their simplicity could not quite be free 
of, made them choose certain members of their body 
as regular psalmists in their services, who should 
follow readily the lead of the Precentor and act with 
him, and whom in their turn the general congregation 
should follow. Towards the end of the 2nd century 
after the beginning of Christianity, we find among 
the regular officers of their gatherings, that is. 
Doorkeepers, Exorcists, Readers, &c., the names of 
Singers also appearing,^ by which we may be sure 
that actual choirs had begun to be employed. 

And among these Singers, women as well as men 
were usual,^ which speaks of querulousness, and also 
perhaps of adornments and decorations, that ,may have 
come from Pagan song. For it is the women whom 
the Fathers reprove for these things, saying that they 
tried to thrill the hearts of their hearers with 
meretricious tones and sweetness of voice, which was 
a vicious thing to do.^ And yet can I well 
imagine, that this meretriciousness and viciousness was 
but the natural passion of earnest utterance, that 
came in sweet tones because sweet voices sang it, 
and that the Christian maidens, who sang in the 
choirs, though they may have seemed sad warblers to 
the severity of the Fathers, were yet far from 

^ They are mentioned as regular officers in the Apostolic Consti- 

- Ambrose. Prsef. in Ps. iv. 2. 

^ St. Isidore of Pelusium. Ep. I. 90. 


emulating the arts of the hcentious Pagans, whom their 
brethren in every way so strongly reprehended. For 
I can promise, that when we come to the first 
definite tidings and records of Christian song, and 
can study the very notes before us, we shall find 
that the art has grown up as the very flower of 
Nature, containing nature's imperfections along with 
her beauties, and that the alloy of Pagan elements 
was slow of coming. 

And the Christians being now stronger and more 
numerous, and also having wealthy converts among 
their number, began to worship more openly and 
with greater pomp than they had used to do. 
And they would hold their services in basilicas, or 
public halls, which were the halls that the magistrates 
sat in in the daytime. And they were long halls, 
generally with two rows of pillars, one on each side, 
that made three aisles in all. There were galleries 
along the side, and at the end,' where the gallery 
was discontinued, stood a raised platform, on which 
was the magistrates' tribunal. And there were steps 
up to it, and this was called the Bema, and here 
the clergy stood. And the rest of the basilica was 
the Nave, or " Ship,'^ for they still loved to think of 
themselves as storm-tossed mariners, though now they 
were fast approaching port ; and here the congregation 
sat. And in the centre of the Nave was the Ambo, 
or lectern, where the Reader stood to read the 
Scriptures, and on each side of the Ambo were seats 
for the choir, who sat in two lines, one on each 
side of the Ambo, that they might sing their psalms 
antiphonally, as they had from the first been used to 

And here, then, would the Christians assemble now, 
and so conduct their services. And "the roofs re-echoed 



with their cries of Alleluia." ^ And the sound of 
their psalms, as they sang them in immense 
congregations, "was like the surging of the sea in 
great waves of sound." ^ 

1 Jerome. Ep. 30. 

S. Ambrose. Hexamer. III. 5. 



But with wealth and strength came in some 
quarters corruptions. And first it was in the 
luxurious city of Antioch that these things began — 
the gate of the East, the mart of Oriental trade, 
where all the caravans from Arabia and Persia made 
their halting-place and journey's end. And Antioch 
at this time was under the empire of Zenobia, queen 
of Palmyra. And there were many Christians there, 
and their bishop was Paul of Sam'osata, whose pupil 
Zenobia had been. And Paul paid much attention 
to ceremony, and strove to introduce the Pagan arts 
of theatrical display into the simple services of the 
Christians. And he had a gorgeous throne erected 
on the Bema, with a canopy over it and curtains, and 
here he would sit and deliver his addresses to the 
congregation. And he had a choir of women in 
the middle of the church, that sang most beautifully 
new songs, and not christian psalms. And as he 
preached he would strike his thigh with his hand, 
and stamp with his foot on the ground ; and he had 
claqueurs in the audience to applaud him here and 
there, and wave handkerchiefs, and others to clap 
the singing. And the songs his choir-girls sang 
were not christian psalms, as we have said, for he 
said that this was mushroom music that had only 
sprouted yesterday,^ and besides their want of melody 

veiorepovg nal Viwrepdjv dv^pwv avyypafXfxara, (Eusebius.) 


and metre was doubtless displeasing to such a lover 
of strong effects as he was. But he had songs sung 
that had seen more service, and these were doubtless 
Pagan tunes, though we cannot positively say so, and 
he had words set to these tunes that made the 
people shudder when they heard them,i for the words 
were to the effect that he, Paul, Avas an angel from 
heaven, and had existed in the beginning with God, 
before Christ was begotten. And he had two 
beautiful choir-girls that he always associated with, 
and he allowed a similar privilege to all the clergy 
in his diocese. And these are some of the corruptions 
that Paul of Samosata introduced into the primitive 
Christian service. 

Now this device of discarding the stern psalmody 
of the Christians, and employing Pagan tunes to 
catch the popular ear, was not unknown even before 
his time, and we are all the more willing to credit 
him with it, because it was chiefly men like himself, 
that is, heretics or worldly men, who resorted to it. 
For earnestness and strict enthusiasm, which can be 
content with the plain voice of passion, is not familiar 
to the mass of men ; but metre and melody will 
always catch the popular ear, and so, ambitious and 
Avorldly men could turn it to their own purposes, 
while heretics with one foot in Paganism, or often 
more Pagan than Christian, would naturally follow in 
the Pagan path, for metre and rhythm and all the 
gay arts of Music were the Pagans' own, by contrast 
to the wild, stern, and formless music of the Christians. 
And before the time of Paul, one Bardesanes of 
Edessa had corrupted the Syrian Christians with songs 

^ ojv Kol uKOvcrui' Tig civ (j)fjiE,Hei>. (Eusebius.) 


and tunes,^ which he used to spread his doctrines. 
And he was a Christian, who had fallen away from 
the faith, and would have others follow him. But 
yet he was no ambitious worldly man, but a pure 
and beautiful character. And in his songs he 
propounded his Pagan doctrines. And the beauty of 
the words was great,^ but more than that, the charm 
and beating of the rhythm, which struck on ears 
unaccustomed to receive it.^ For the Christian 
psalms, that were loose and shapeless prose, had not 
that element of music to adorn them. And the 
Christian youths of Syria would sing the songs of 
Bardesanes everywhere, and many were drav/n over to 
his doctrines by this means.4 And they would meet 
in caves and sing them,5 so fond were they of 
Bardesanes' songs. And we read that the metre that 
he used chiefly in his songs, and how tame is it 
when we think of that glory of rhythm which once 
had . been ! but yet it is spirited and pleasing — was a 
four-foot tetrasyllable, that is, it was a tetrasyllable 
line in couplets : 


And in this most of his songs were written. Also 
the heretics, the Ophites, whose heresy was so near 
akin to Paganism, used songs, or hymns, as we may 
well call them, to distinguish them from the psalms 

1 "JModis mollibus et luxuriosis." Ephr. Syr. in hymn. p. 51. 

- Both Sozomen and Theodoret speak of To KoXXog tCjv ovofiaTWV. 
3 " Induxit metra," says St. Ephraim the Syrian in hymn. p. 553., 

" et mensuris ponderibusque distribuit voces." And tm pvufXio TrjQ 

/ueXc^hiag, in the words of Theodoret. 

* " Concentu psalmorum suorum illexit pueritiam," Ephr. Syr. in 
hymn. 439. and " ita propinavit simplicibus venerum, Sec." Id. 553. 

5 "In specubus Bardesanis canticorum exercent.'' 

" St. Ephraim the Syrian, loc. cit. 


of the Christians. And the metre that they used 
was not unhke that of Bardesanes, being also 

w w _|w w_|vy w_|w_|^ 
but far more irregular, being often mixed with others, 
for I have found complete Hexameters in a hymn 
of theirs. And the beautiful Valentine, whose heresy 
indeed is the poetry and music of a stern forbidding 
age, also expressed his lovely dreams in hymns. ^ 
But more than them all, Arius, the arch deceiver, 
the great heresiarch, who would set himself up against 
Christ himself, and drag him from his throne, a bold 
unscrupulous man, he couched his doctrines in common 
songs and tunes,^ and generally in this pleasing 

1^ I INN 

and the tunes were most melodious and catching,^ 
that everybody could sing, and in this way he 
disseminated his doctrines among ignorant men, that 
otherwise would have known nothing about his " Like 
Substances," and " there was when He was not," for 
these were the jingles that he sang, And men sang 
his songs at the mill, and sailors as they were 
hauling in their anchors at sea, and travellers 
beguiled their journey by singing the songs of Arius.6 

1 An entire hymn of theirs is preserved in Hippolytus. The rest 
are fragments. 

- As we know from TertuUian's attack on one of them. De carne 
Christi. Cap. 20. 

■^ " Suavitate cantus imperitorum animos ad impietatera adduxisse." 
Philostorgius. H. E. Lib. II. Cap. 20. 

* The Sotadean Verse, in which they were chiefly written. 

® " Sauvitate cantus." supra. 

'■' Arius cantica nautica, molendaria, et viatoria, ejusque modi alia 
composuit. Philpsto^gijus. H. E. 11. 2. 


And the Arians, his followers, rent the infant church 
with their heresy, and more than half the Christian 
world for a long time was Arian. And Arius knew 
well how to spread his doctrines. And he wrote a 
long metrical piece, called the Thalia, that could be 
sung as catches at meal times, or any other time 
when men relax their minds. And in this,, though 
its measure is irregular, there are sometimes complete 
Hexameters : 

aliTog yovv 6 9aog mOo bctt' appr]Toc a7ra<Ti. 



owo£ yap IcfTiv "laog, dW ovd' ojnoovGiog avrd^. 
— w w ww_ _ _ WW_WW.J 

"He is not equal, nor even is lie of the same 
substance with the Fatlier!' 

And to such an extent did he spread his views by 
these means, scoffirtg and jeering at Christ, and saying 
that he was inferior to the Father, that the shopmen 
as they sold their wares would remark, that a Son 
must come after a Father, and servants took their 
orders saying, the Father first, and then the Son- 
And the Arians would make processions in the porches 
of Constantinople in the evening, carrying lighted 
tapers in their hands, and singing, " Where are those 
who say that the Son is as great as the Father ? " 
and so they would go round past the churches where 
the Christians were worshipping, and mock them 
with their songs. And they would also sing a 
hymn of these words, " GLory be to the Father, in the 
Son, by the Holy Ghost.^' And passing in procession 
down the streets at all hours of the day, they would 
sing this Arian hymn, " Glory be to the Father, in 
the Son, by the Holy Ghost." And so they misled 
many of the faithful, who saw no harm in the words, 


not knowing that they were carefully contrived by 
Arius, so that the Son might have less honour. For 
the " Glory " was to be given to the Father alone, 
as they sang it, although it seemed, on first hearing, 
that each person of the Trinity was receiving equal 
meed of praise. And it was this song of the Arians 
that first gave rise to the doxology, " Gloria Patri," 
among the Christians, for Flavian, a Christian bishop, 
seeing that the song was popular with the people, 
changed the words to " Glory be to the Father, and 
to the Son, a7id to the Holy Ghost," as we have 
them now, by which each person of the- Trinity got 
really, and not only in appearance, equal meed of 
honour. And the Christians would organise processions 
in opposition to the Arians, and it was principally 
St. Athanasius, their great bishop, who v^s the great 
opponent of Arius, who got up these processions as 
a retaliation on the. Arians. And with crucifixes and 
images, and carrying lighted tapers in their hands, 
the Christians would walk two and two, in long 
processions through the streets of Constantinople, 
singing their sjmple psalms, that were so different to 
the florid metrical songs of the Arians. And the 
clergy would walk first or last in these processions, 
and before or behind them long trains of people. 
And the women and the men walked apart — and 
the virgins by themselves, and the married women by 
themselves, and the men and younger men also by 
themselves.! And in this way they walked, and 
sang their simple psalms. And we may well imagine 
what psalms they would sing, such as the Alleluia 
psalms, which were the psalms of David from the 

1 Martene. Dc Antiq. Eccles. Rit. III. 


145th to the 150th psalm, which were full of 
Alleluias and praises, and fitted for such occasions of 
spiritual war. And we may also well suppose that, 
setting themselves in opposition to the semi-pagan 
influences of the Arians, as well, of course, as to the 
pagan influences of the real unbelievers, they would 
accentuate and emphasise still more their stern and 
simple style, if only out of opposition, as we have 
said. And the Gloria Patri, if it had originally a 
metrical cast, which perhaps it had not, for the words 
do not point that way, soon lost what little it had, 
and fell into the stern declamatory style of Christian 
song. And this they would generally keep for an 
Acrqteleutic at the end of their psalms. For we 
have already mentioned their chief manners of singing, 
how they would sometimes sing in plain antiphon ; 
and in processions where they walked two and two, 
that is, in two long files, it would doubtless be line 
and line answering one another : and how they would 
sometimes have one single singer begin the verse, 
and the rest join in at the second half But the 
Acroteleutic was when they added a doxology or 
similar burden at the end of their psalms, and this 
we have also mentioned before. 

And now other Christian chants, or songs, and 
cries of musical praise had grown up since we last 
mentioned them then. And at that time they had 
their psalms, and '^Alleluia,'' and ^' Amen," and 
" Osannal' that they were wont to exclaim in holy 
emotion during their services. And first these 

passionate words had extended much in the utterance, 
for they were their calls of encouragement and sweet 
Celeusma, by which they invited one another to praise 
the Lord, and they loved to linger over them as they 
said them. And saying the Alleluia, they would dwell 


upon it, and say it, '' Alle hiia ,"i 

as if they were loth to let it go. And then as 
they sustained the tones like this, what waverings 
and tremblings of their untaught voices ! no long- 
drawn notes, such as practised singers give, but 
wayward dwellings on their loved words, and sighs 
of earnestness and emotion. And so of " Amen " in 
like manner. They would dwell on this too, 

'M -- men" as if it were never to be done, 

for they felt its meaning so well, and longed so much 
to express it. But besides these, actual chants and 
psalms had grown up besides those psalms of David 
that they first had only sung — psalms, that had grown 
up among themselves, as often they knew net how. 
And first there was the Angelic Hymn,^ And they 
called it a hymn indeed, but how far was it from 
being what we think of when we speak of " hymn." 
For it was rude and shapeless, like their psalms, 
with no metre to form or adorn it, and, the very 
utterance of their souls. And its words were these, 
"Glory be to God on High: and on earth peace, 
good will towards men. We praise thee, we bless 
thee : we glorify thee, we adore thee. We give 
thanks to thee : for thy great glory. O Lord God, 
Heavenly King : God the Father Almighty." And 
so on as we know it. And this was the Angelic 
Hymn that they chanted or sang, and as they sang, 
they thought the angels in heaven sang with them 
every morning. And also there was the Cherubic 
Hymn, or Trisagion, that was revealed in a vision to 
an ancient Hebrew prophet. 

^ "Lente cantabant, syllabas producebant." 
- S. Chrysostom. Horn, 68, in Matth. p- 600, 


"Aytop 6 Oeog, "Ayiog ^laxypog, "Ajiog 'AddvaTog, eXeijcrov 

And it was called Trisagio7i, because the word "Ayioc 
(" Holy ") occurred three times — " Holy, Holy, Holy!' 
and he saw in his vision the Cherubin and Seraphin 
singing it before the throne of God, and this is why 
it was called the Cherubic Hymn. And also there 
was a verse of song, not so extended as these, which 
had grown up more like the " Amen " and the 
" Alleluia," as a passionate exclamation in the services 
— and it was " Lord have mercy on us," " Kyrie 
Eleiso7i" which was however much lingered on in 
the utterance, having been at first a passionate 
exclamation, as we have said, that the people again 
and again repeated in the emotion of prayer.^ But 

now it was much lingered on, " Ky rie 

eleisonl' making sad music of their emotion, for thus 
far had art asserted itself that they could dally with 
their sadness now. And also there was another 
psalm of theirs, like the former ones we have 
mentioned, which the virgins used at their devotions.^ 
And it was called the Song of the Three Children, 
because it was sung by three children of Israel, and 
had been handed down by tradition among the 
Hebrews, from whom the Christians received it — 
EyXoyeTre rravTa rd tpya Kvpiov tov Kvpiov 
" O all ye works of the T.ord, bless ye the Lord : 
praise him and magnify him for ever!' 
which went on for many verses. And these are 
some of the chants and psalms of the Christians at 
the time "we are writing. 

^ Its antiquity is testified to by Bingham, who also quotes a passage 
in support of this assertion as to its constant repetition in early times. 
~ S. Athanasjus, De Virgin, p. 1057. 


Now let us ask, and try and examine more closely 
what style of song this really was — these Christian 
chants and psalms. And soon we shall get tidings 
and written records of them, but we would make a 
guess at them before, while still art was so immature 
as to be indifferent to archives, and its shapes still 
soft and yielding, and as yet not hardened into their 
final form. And first they would have no Tonality, 
for what were tones and scales to earnest men like 
these, who also were in the main ignorant men, that 
knew little more than how to praise God, and their 
psalms but the overflowings of an earnest heart. 
And even if the precentors, or leaders of their 
singing, had been skilled musicians enough to check 
off the psalms in apt tonalities, what scope had 
they to make their knowledge good among such 
simple singers, while, on the other hand, the semi- 
speech, which still was Christian song, would seem 
as yet to defy all efforts to check it off so. But the 
absence of instruments from the psalmody must be 
held to have been another reason why they would 
find it difficult to make much musical precision, which 
banishment was also a cause why Christian song 
so slowly rose from the state of nature. And next 
their psalms would suffer from all the failings of 
uneducated voices, and these things were likely to pass 
into regular habits, and, from being so long uncorrected, 
at last to be accepted as currency. And let us 
take the behaviour of an uneducated voice, and see 
what faults it has when it attempts to sing. And 
first it has the greatest difficulty in lighting on a 
steady note. And this we have seen before in our 
history, having seen it in primitive times, when all 
song was beginning, and how ages had to pass before 
steadiness of note became natural to singers. And 



we have much the same picture now, though 
things will move more rapidly. And first, then, it 
lacks all steadiness of note, which when it gradually 
attains, there are certain habits noticeable which we 
may here remark. For an uneducated voice will 
always anticipate a note it rises to, or a note it falls 
to, by two or three others on the way, which, 
whether it does because it cannot yet wholly shake 
off the influence of Speech, which seldom makes 
intervals but covers all up, or because there is a 
greater ease and less effort in sliding up or down 
than in jumping, may vvell admit conjecture. But 
however that may be, it is certain that unpractised 

voices, if they have to sing -^ — p — , will generally 





" (uT ""^ "*' — ^^'J s-i'iticipat 


their note by others ; and similarly in taking an interval 


:^iz they will sing : 






5=&z:;«= &c. 

But if we were to represent that unsteadiness of 
tone we spoke of in their general singing, we must 

needs write their F^ 




and their 




or even 


Now that anticipation of the note we have already 
noticed as dimly present in every sentence we utter, 
and have alluded to it in that zigzag line, which we 
used to express a sentence by, 

imagining, when we spoke of it, that the Christians' 
psalms were declaimed on the analogy of spoken 
sentences, beginning low and mounting to a certain 
wavering tone. But now we find that the same 
thing holds in each single note also. 

And that unsteadiness of tone, how would it come 
out in the unpractised Christian singing ! And 
especially in those exclamations of praise and fervour 
that we have spoken of, the " Allehiia," the '' Avieji" 
and the '^ Kyrie" &c., where they dwelt so lovingly on 
the syllables, as if they were loth to let them go. 
And in the psalms they might have passed from 
word to word without it being so observable, but 
here where they loved to hold the tone, how would 
it show! for they would hold the syllables of Alleluia 
and Amen, and generally the last syllaMes of Alleluia 
and Kyrie, as long as their breath remained. And 
what wavering would there be ! 

And this unsteadiness of theirs would be greater 
than it otherwise might have been, and less easily 
corrected, owing to the utter want of Rhythm in 
their songs. For Rhythm is the propeller of the 
voice, and without Rhythm the voice becomes lazy 
and frisky. And we have noticed in the decline of 
Rhythm, at the latter days of Greek music, that 
trills and turns and restlessness of singing became 
the fashion. And there is much in common between 
the two cases. For old age and childhgod may well 



shake hands, since they do but repeat each other. 
But what is natural in the child to do, we say is 
the silliness of age, and is always a sign that dotage 
has begun. Now had the Christians had Rhythm 
with them, they would have been saved from their 
quavering and restlessness, which the voice always 
fell to, when it paused to sustain. But they were 
averse to it from the first, and had nothing to call 
it into being. And we may find hereafter, that these 
very weaknesses and failings, being fostered more and 
more, so grew on them, that they accepted as beauties 
what might well be decried as faults, and that 
the guiding principle of Christian art lay in 
cultivating what all the world before had agreed to 

For we are now in a new dispensation. For the 
world now was in the dispensation of the Holy 
Ghost. And what is the influence of the Holy 
Ghost? And it is the influence which makes men see 
the hollowness of form, and divine the might of 
the indwelling spirit. He is the God who gives 
that inward light to the simple, whereby out of their 
very ignorance they can become the teachers of 
mankind. He it is who inaugurates, by his divine 
overshadowing, new eras, when men cast off the wraps 
and robings that encumber them, and stand, like 
Adam, naked and not ashamed. And the dispensation 
of the Holy Ghost comes at regular periods in the 
world's history, to aid and assist the advance of man 
to perfection, being indeed the regeneration of effete 
systems and expiring society, to bring about which 
there must be in every case a pure return to nature. 
And what is the Music of the Holy Ghost? And 
the Music of the Holy Ghost is that music which 
has rid itself of all the coloured trappings which 


delight the sense, and seeks only to find a voice 
which may utter music's first subject-matter, the 
infinite emotions of the heart. And such was the 
music of the Christians, which aimed at nothing but 
pouring out the depth of their emotions and their 
love, letting the form in which these outpourings came 
grow up and cluster as it might to shape, leaving 
the outward as the second and subordinate issue, for 
time or accident to deal as it would with. And this 
is the Music of the Holy Ghost, which is the 
re-casting or regeneration of jaded music, and so St. 
Basil calls it. For he says that it is by favour of 
the Holy Ghost that Christian music began, and that 
the feelings and emotions of Christian men might 
never have known a vocal utterance at all, had it 
not been for the Holy Ghost quickening and operating 
thereto. But He in his infinite wisdom, knowing the 
frailty of human nature, and how a holy pleasure 
even the saints delight to feel, vouchsafed, this holy 
pleasure to his children, by finding them a voice to 
praise the Lord.^ And their sad stern music was 
so much sweetness to them, and the rendings of their 
hearts royal tune. 

And St. Basil, who thus describes Christian Music, 
saying that the Holy Ghost was the author of it, 
goes on to praise it further, chiefly on this account, 
that it edified while it pleased. This is to him its 
main title to regard, that it profited the soul by the 

^ ETTEtSr/ yap dBe to HvEv/xa to iiyiov ^vadyttyyov rrpog 
aptTTiv TO yivoQ tCjv av9pu)7r(t)v, koX cid to Trpog /jSov?jv 
lirippETTiQ Tov bpQov j5iov KciTaiiieXovvTag rj/iag, tl ttoisi ] 
TO k Trig fie^io^iag TEpTTVov, 8cc. S. Basil in Psal. 


holy thoughts it gave and the holy words it uttered.^ 
" For through it," he says, " high advantage comes to 
one and all ; for those who are old and steadfast in 
the faith, with what delight do they hear the music 
mixed with holy mysteries ! and those who are young 
in years, or touching perfection of virtue as yet not 
grown to ripeness, while they think they sing, in 
reality learn." ^ And Basil was the bishop of sandy 
Csesarea, and we hear of the singing at his services, 
how they would pass the night in a vigil of prayers 
and weeping, and then when the day broke, would 
begin the singing of their psalms. And St. Basil, more 
than any other man of his time, was the supporter 
of the early Christian spirit, and in his ordonnances 
about music he followed the pattern of St. Athanasius, 
or the Alexandrian style of Christian song,^ which 
was the best and purest exponent of the Christian 
spirit. For now another style of song was growing 
up in Italy, called the Italian style,^ and of this we 

^ tyKart/xtsE [to /xiXog] TOig So'y/.tacrt k. t. X. u) rF/c (TO(f)T]g 
livivoiag TOv ^icaaKuXov {i.e. rou ay'iuv nvevjuaTog), ofxov 
re aceiv y]f.iag, koi tu XvcrinXri /uavOavsiv nr]y(ctvix)fxivov. 

^ Of TTatofC TTiv i^XiKLav i) Koi oX(jjg veapol to r}Qog 
TO) ^ev coKHv iueX(x)^ov(7i, Ty §£ aXrjOda TUg \pv\ag 

3 Palmer in his Origines Liturgicae p. 57. quotes a passage from 

an Irish MS. "After Mark, Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil, 

Anthony, Paul, Macarius, and Malchus chanted according to the order 

of the Fathers." We may conceive, indeed, the paternity of influence 

in some such form as this : — 

St. Mark. 

St. Athanasius. 

St. Basil. St. Gregory Nazianzen. 

* The demonstration of this entirely different style of Christian 
Song will be given afterwards, and can be given easily. 


shall speak hereafter. But Alexandria and Egypt had 
always been the stronghold of the primitive Christian 
spirit. For it was in the Thebai'd that the monks 
were, and in the island of Tabenne, the monks of 
Pachomius, 50,000 in all, and in the desert of Scetis, 
the Nitrian monks, 5000 and more. And these had 
always been celebrated for their preservation of the 
earliest and simplest style of Christian song — singing 
antiphonally, and rather speaking than singing. And 
St. Athanasius would have it also so at Alexandria? 
making the people rather read and speak than sing. 
And so late as his time, then, the Alexandrian style 
still retained the features of the early Christian song. 
And this was the style that St. Basil upheld at 
Csesarea. And there was an intimate communion be- 
tween the church of Csesarea and the church of 
Armenia, which was an offshoot from the church of 
Cssarea. And Armenia in its seclusion had preserved 
the earliest Christian traditions, for it had been founded 
in the second century. And the influence of Basil 
would increase this primitive leaning. And the 
influence of Basil was in course of time extended to 
Constantinople. And a "service that he had written 
began to be used there. 

Now at Constantinople the contrary was the case 
to what it was at Csesarea or Alexandria, and still 
more to what we have said about Armenia. For 
though Constantinople was by this time in a great 
measure Christian, yet the traditions of Pagan Art 
were present in great force, descending in unbroken 
succession from the times of the Greeks downwards. 
Here had been no persecutions to set Christian against 
Pagan, and no barbarian inroads to break the current 
of development. But the people had slipped into 
Christianity without well seeing how the change came, 


and by virtue of an imperial fiat the Pagans of 
to-day became the Christians of to-morrow, with all 
the greater readiness because Christianity was the 
fashionable religion of the court. And they were a 
dainty people. And if we were to single out what 
traditions of Paganism had been most perpetuated 
with them, we should take the spirit of declining 
Greece, as we found it among the Sophists and 
Euripides, as the spirit which ruled them most. The 
same hair-splittings and niceties of thought and 
language, which we found engaged men's attention 
then, were once more the rage, only now they were 
applied to Christian themes. The mystery of the 
Trinity, the precise lengths of the Incarnation, &c., 
were debated and defined with the greatest acumen, 
and the subtlety of their thinking went through the 
other paths of life as well. Their art was mosaic 
painting, which consists in piecing innumerable little 
fragments of tiles together, and making a picture out 
of them. Their literary style was the style of 
exactitude and dainty choice of words ; and in their 
music they had retained those hair-splitting scales, the 

Soft Chromatic, which went by ^rds of tones, the 
Hemiolian Chromatic, which went by ;^ths. And 
they delighted in turns, and trills, and shakes 
innumerable, of which a whole literature survives.^ 
There was the Qidlisma (Kylisma), or " Turn Proper," 
which consisted of four grace notes, two before and 
two after the note of the melody — for in this semi- 
pagan music that we are speaking of, we light on 
melody again — -thus : — 

, z. ^ 



There was the Ecstreptoii, or " Outward Trill " : — 



And the Paracletice, which was much like the Kylisma, 
only downwards instead of upwards : — 

"^ 3 







Also the Tramikon Syntagma, which greatly resembles 
our Shake : — 

And the Hoinalon, which was a trembling of the 
voice, that was thought " smoothness " by comparison 
with other turns, whence it was called Ho via Ion, or 
the " Smooth " Grace : — 

And the Antikcnonia, which was used to fill up the 
gaps of intervals, and doubtless answered much to 
our portatnento, and which we must express : — 

1 The Music of the Greek Church, as it was arranged by St. John 
Damascene in the 7th century, has, according to constant testimony, 
remained unaltered to the present day. With propriety, therefore, may 
the accounts of it that come from later centuries be taken in evidence 
of its earlier state, just as in the Ancient Greek Music we must needs 
find much of our information as to its state under Terpander and the 
Greek Tragedians, in the descriptions of its system, as given by Ptolemy 
and other Alexandrian writers, who lived some 600 or 800 years after. 

2 Villoteau. Description de I'Egypte. ^ lb. 


Likewise varieties of the Kylisvia : — the Hetsron 
Parakylisina, which was the Kylisma doubled, thus : — 


the Antikenoma Parakylisma, a compound of the 
Kylisma and the Antikenoma : — 

Also " Ec/ios," two kinds, that were lightly sung 
graces, the Thematismiis Echo, which is like the 




And the Heteros Echo, :^=p^ =p=3:^:J:^ — j5=-~ 

-| — V r 

And Apoggiaturas and Acciaccaturas, the Lygisina, 
p^^=^™ the Tsakisma, E^'— gipnn the Bareia^ 

\ -^— ^ — , together with many more of the same 

kind, I — ^these indeed being the devices with which Art 
seeks to relieve the monotony of Unrhythmic music. 
For this semi-pagan music of Constantinople suffered 
from rhythmic weakness, though not in so great a 

1* fSee the Greek Treatise in Villoteau. Description de I'Egypte. for 
the above. 


degree as the pure form of Christian music, which we 
have found with St. Basil, &c., and certainly from 
another cause. For while the Christian music was a 
young and new music, that had broken free from the 
restraints of rhythm in its intense earnestness and spiri- 
tual ecstasy, this was an old music, that was hastening 
to the same result indeed, but through decrepitude and 
decline. And these are its tottering steps we see, 
which it has the art, however, to disguise in feeble 
pirouettings and shaking attitudes. And we have 
marked the weakening of rhythm and the entry of 
meretriciousness from the time of Euripides and 
Agatho ; and now old age has come in earnest. So 
like is its quavering to the honest timidity of Christian 
song, that we wonder how the two musics will affect 
each other. And the Byzantine theorists are observed 
to lay great stress on the Procrusnms, the Eccncsinus, 
the Teretisnius, and other graces and ornaments of 
ancient Greek Music, ^ which we have mentioned before, 
and these added to those we have just now given 
which might indeed have been greatly multiplied, will 
show us how the music was studded with decorations, 
and how it must have waved and trembled on the 
ear. And of the ancient Greek modes, which had 
grown to fifteen by the time of Aristoxenus, the 
semi-pagan music of Constantinople had retained at 
least twelve,^ but curiously distorted by the influence 
of the Chromatic, which, since we left it in the days 
of Aristoxenus, had struck its influence so deep into 
music, that all pure Diatonic forms had ceased, and 
corrupt mixed forms of Diatonic and Chromatic had 
superseded them, as the ordinary forms of the Modes. 

1 As Manuel Biyennius and others. 
^ See the Greek Treatise in Villoteau. 


For this was the weak place of the Diatonic, through 
which the Chromatic had most naturally struck its 
root : — the upper note of the semitone. For since the 
semitone acts a bridge, or point of transition, to every 
new group of tones, the voice always suffers a 
momentary failure on it, and principally it should 
seem on the upper note of it, where the beginning of 
the new group occurs in ascending, and the cadence 
of it in descending ; and here as we say the Diatonic 
was weak. But at this precise place the Chromatic 
put forth all its strength, for descending the mode, 
e.g., the Dorian : 


it struck hard and firm with its accidental sharp the 
top note of the semitone, vis., C, ^^z^, which was 

rendered all the more poignant by the omission of 

the intervening note, viz., D, as :^ — — I \ 

and this effect once heard was not easily forgotten. 
Now this telling effect took place at every semitone, 
that is, generally twice in every Mode : and little by 
little it had grown the custom to admit this Chromatic 
Semitone as an essential constituent of the Mode, 
and this was the corrupt form we spoke of. And 
in this corruption of half Diatonic, half Chromatic, 
the Dorian Mode was sung : — - 
:g- .f2. «^. 


and the other modes in like manner, as the 





-^- tt^- -^: 

the Phrygian Mode, 


^- ig - -^ 

-^ 1 1 — 



and the rest in like manner. In such cases as the 
Lydian, however, where the Chromatic progression 
occurred at the extremities of the Mode, and in 
neither case could be perfectly exhibited owing to the 
deficiency of notes preceding or following, only the 
available semitone, that is, the one in the middle, 
had received alterations, and the Lydian mode by 
consequence was sung. 

Now we have said that at least Twelve Modes 
were used ; and of these, four were new ones, called 
Middle Modes/ of which we know nothing, and which 
played but a subordinate part in the music ; but the 
other eight were confused selections or survivals of 
the High and Low forms of the Modes of Aristoxenus, 
one or other form of each mode remaining. And of 
the Lydian Mode the High form had survived, that 
is to say, in the corrupt form we have mentioned, 

and of the Mixolydian the Low form, corrupted as 





and of the Phrygian the Low form 

m- .f=2. .^ 

while the Dorian, which had no Low or High form, 
stood as it was. And the Hypos to these Modes, 
at a fourth below with similar corrupt intervals, that 
is, the High Hypolydian, the Low Hypophrygian, and 
the High Hypodorian. 

And in order to show yet more perfectly what 
changes these modes had undergone, and into what 
forms they had grown, let us treat them by application 
to the scale ; and applying the corrupt Dorian to 
the scale. 



;^=^t:f=p.ztz:t=:-±— -=q==l 







we shall find that it will no longer lie between 

for its semitones will not 

P =^= ^"^ P== 


fit in there, but between p^ — ^ — and F^^ 

as we may see; for the semitones of the corrupt 
Dorian are, 

— ^--^zig: 


p ^z- ^ — g^ — I- 1 1 1 

which on application will be found to coincide with 

those on the scale between p^__^^r and 




■jzi — g: 



And similarly of the Hypodorian, a 4th below, 






which will coincide with those between J 


And the Lydian, 



will no longer coincide with the tones from u ^ — ^— 


to F ^' I but with tshose from p ic^ — ^ 





^ — ,s? (^ -'^- 



And the Hypolydian in the same way, at a 4th 
below. And the Mixolydian no longer with the 

tones from F^:- — -j 1 , but with those from 


-—3- — -■ 




And now we have spoken of all the Modes except 
the Phrygian, in which there was more than ordinary 
corruption. For it is plain that the Dorian, in 

changing its situation from F ^ — jn — to P ^- 

has usurped the intervals of the Phrygian, while the 
Phrygian, in receiving a semitone at its beginning, viz. 

F ^: ff p? — before F ^'— g p — , had contracted a great 

similarity with the Dorian, for applying this corrupt 
Phrygian Mode to the Scale, 


. i )-l i i 1 1 ■ ■ - 

we shall find that except in one interval it will 
exactly coincide with the true Dorian intervals from 

.— 1=— 




-fS- :^- 


:g2=:p— ,^"— pz=[zi: 

And this similarity with the most prominent and 
commonest of all the ancient modes was too strong 
to escape a last perversion, and the Phrygian was 
generally sung with the natural instead of the flat, 
and thus became identical with the ancient Dorian. 
And now, to write all these Modes in one figure, 
we shall clearly see their exact progressions and 
their new relations to each other : 



Dorian Mode, 
i Hypolydian Mode. 
■; Hypophrygian Mode. 
jHypodorian Mode.! 








Phrygian Mode. 

Lydian Mode. 
Mixolydian Mode. 



To these forms, then, had the modes grown by the 
time we reach them again at Constantinople, and 
having appHed them to the scale, we have shown 
more clearly in what their variations from their 
ancient forms consisted. And being taken as the 
basis of the music, they were sung not only in their 
corrupt Diatonic forms, but also with the genuses of 
Soft Chromatic, Hemiolian Chromatic, Soft Diatonic, 
and Enharmonic, which still remained as in the days 
of Agatho. And also those graces and adornments 
in abundance, the Frocrusmus, the Eccnlsmus, the 
Qtdlismas, the Echos, Syntagmas, &c., were used in 
profusion in the singing, as we have said. And it was 
into such an atmosphere as this^ that that sad earnest 
Christian music was launched, which last we left in the 
hands of Basil at sandy Caesarea. 

And a service that he had written began to be 
used at Constantinople about this time. And his 
service, indeed, may have remained the same, but 
the singing of it certainly changed. For let us ask 
what was there in common between those sad singers 
of nightly vigils, that we have known in the chapel 
where he worshipped, and the luxurious congregations 
of Constantinople, who repeated with even greater 
licence the pomp of Paul of Samosata.i Immense 

See Infra p. 42. 


churches with domes burnished with gold, pillars of 
costly marble in aisles about, and lamps burning in 
hundreds through the church — these are the scenes we 
are amongst now. And in the middle of the 
church, and under the triUkim, which was the dome, 
the choir sat, arrayed in costly habits. St. Chrysostom 
complains of theatrical gestures accompanying the 
music, and shall we- not think of theatrical manners 
of singing? Indeed this was the very ground of 
complaint, which other fathers and he too bring 
against them. They had got so far as use unguents 
for their throats,^ and their turns, and shakes, and 
flourishes were incessant. And round them sat the 
people, principally ladies, ready with applause, or 
waving their handkerchiefs,^ at fine singing or good 
preaching. Indeed there was some ground for the 
reproach which the Pagans might make, that in the 
Christian Service the Tragedy of Bacchus was but 
repeating itself in a stiffer and soberer form. There 
was the priest, the rhapsode — the chancel, the stage — 
the chorus, the choir in the body of the church, 
which like some great orchestra spread out its huge 
area. And they answered him, and so the service 
went on. There was an altar, too ; and many things 
there were at that time, that seemed of themselves 
to suggest the comparison, among which was the silver 
fan, which was in very truth the fan of Bacchus, 
though they said they used it to imitate the rustling 
of angels' wings. 

Now long before this time, pious Christians, who 
saw what way things were taking, had often wished 

- " Guttur et fauces dulci medicamine collimendos," Cf. S. Chrysostom 
to the same eifect. 
2 KaTaaeiovcTi raiQ odovcu^. 


that their traditional music and psalmody might be 
collected and arranged, before it was spoilt by the 
corruptions that were entering into it, or the memory 
of it lost amid the wordly music of the time. Yet 
no one was competent to undertake the task, and 
whether it were that such sober-minded Christians as 
would attempt it, were as a rule quite ignorant of 
the traditions of Pagan Music, in which alone lay 
the science that could make it possible, or whether 
perhaps the actual difficulty of recording those half 
spoken, half chanted tunes was too great to give 
any promise of success, however it might be, years 
wore away and corruptions increased, and still the 
task was unfulfilled. As early as the end of the 
4th century, the emperor Theodosius had commissioned 
Damasus, bishop of Rome, to undertake it,i and had 
it been done then, we might have known these songs 
better. And now it was near the end of the 6th 
century, and the task still unaccomplished, when 
Pelagius II., another Roman bishop, sent a young 
man, named Gregory, to Constantinople, as papal legate 
to the court of the Emperor, He, remaining in 
Constantinople for four years and more, became 
acquainted with all the musical science of the time, 
which was in a manner locked up there from the 
rest of the world ; and there he heard the Christian 
music declaimed in a rare, and, as it often seemed 
to him, a delightful way, for a rude ear will catch at 
showy things — and yet was he not always led away 
by it. And coming from there a learned musician, 
and skilled in the most refined style of Christian 
music, he afterwards became Pope of Rome, succeeding 
Pelagius. And doubtless he had been collecting 

' Durandus, De Officiis. V. 2. 



Christian music before, being one of those who would 
fain preserve it from perishing; but now the idea came 
to him of gathering Christian chants and psalms from 
all parts of the world, and uniting them into one 
mighty work, which should remain for ever the 
meeting-ground of Christian music, as Rome was to 
be of Christian faith. 

And having these things collected, which he had 
doubtless collected in large numbers himself, he sorted 
and arranged them in the form of the services as they 
were held at that time, so that there might be different 
chants or tunes for every Sunday and Holy Day in 
the year, and he had such a large number to choose 
from, that this was not difficult to do. But what was 
more difficult than sorting and arranging the tunes, 
was giving them a musical structure ; for they would 
ill lend themselves to that dainty trifling music of 
Constantinople, although in a marvellous way there 
was greater affinity between the two than at first sight 
appeared^ and with the genuine Pagan music 'they 
had nothing in common, for they had no rhythm. 
They were couched in no scales, for they had grown 
up among men ignorant of music, and even at the 
time we find them, were but half emerged from speech. 
So that it was difficult for St. Gregory to convey 
a musical structure to them, without diminishing 
considerably from their original character. Yet this 
he did, and so skilfully, that with much that is new 
so much of the old remains, that we may easily hear 
the voices of untrained singers and the utterances of 
simple worshippers echoing throughout them all, and 
catch Song springing like a rose from Speech. 

And first, what were the parts of the service where 
the singing came, and the music he arranged for those 
parts? And some of them we have already met 


before— for the Kyrie Eleison and the Alleluia had 
continued in use among Christians from the primitive 
times when we found them, and doubtless with but 
little change of singing ; only there was this difference, 
that they were not sung or chanted as ejaculations 
now, or continually by the congregation as many 
times as the fancy took them, but once or twice only, 
and at a definite place in the service. And the 
Alleluia was sung after the reading of the Epistle, 
which was read towards the middle of the service ; 
but the Kyrie came earlier, coming before the Collects, 
or selections of scripture which were read by the 
priest. And the Alleluia was sung but once, and 
the Kyrie but at this one place, though more than 
once, for it was sung six times in all, with the 
words, Christe Eleison, " Christ have mercy," coming 
in the middle, that is, between the third and the 
fourth time, thus ; — 

JCyrie Eleison, 

Kyrie Eleison. 

Kyrie Eleison. 

Christe Eleison. 

Christe Eleison, 

Christe Eleison. 

Kyrie Eleison. 

Kyrie Eleison. 

Kyrie Eleison, i 

in this way, keeping up to some extent the traditions 
of its early manner of being sung, when they would 
continue to say it until the priest had made them 
a sign to cease. But now it was more orderly. 
And besides these there was the Amen, a kind of 

^ In this form it was a prescribed part of the service, being so 
ordered by the Council of Vaison. 


Acroteleutic, that was sung at the close of every 
prayer. And of longer pieces, the Cherubic Hymn, 
the Trisagion, had been brought from Constantinople, 
appearing in Latin form as Tersanctus or Sanctus^ 
which was sung shortly before the consecration of the 
bread and wine ; also the Angelic Hymn, *' Glory be 
to God on High," " Gloria in excelsis" which was 
sung immediately after the Kyrie Eleison, indeed 
between it and the collects. And new pieces of 
similar kind — there was the Agnus Dei,^ " O Lamb of 
God that takest away the sins of the world," which 
was sung while the priest was taking the bread and 
wine ; also the Creed was now beginning to be sung 
in the services, as it was arranged at the Council of 
Nicaea, " I believe in one God ; " and there were 
short Antiphons or Responses of a line or two in 
different parts of the service.^ But particularly there 
were the Introits and Graduals, which were established 
by St. Celestine, Pope of Rome, in 422 A.D., who 
ordained that the psalms of David should be chanted 
through in the course of the year, by taking 
sometimes one, sometimes another at the beginning of 
the service, and this psalm that ushered in the service 
was called the Introit, because while it was being 
sung the priest made his entry. And it was to be 
sung antiphonally, one side of the choir answering the 
other, as indeed all the music was sung. And the 
Gradual was not unlike it, but shorter, being not a 
complete psalm, but only a selection, to which form 
indeed the Introit afterwards came, though, at the 

^ Strictly speaking this was not introduced till the time of Pope 
Sergius. A.D. 690. 

2 Cf. also the Prefaces, for which see the Sacramentary of St. 


time we know it now, it was an entire psalm. And the 
Gradual, then, was also sung antiphonally, and generally 
in that kind of antiphony in which one singer 
answered the full choir. And it was sung between 
the Alleluia and the Epistle — indeed the Alleluia 
should rather be considered as an appendage to the 
Gradual, and the note of jubilee that concluded it; 
for this was the happiest moment of the service, when, 
the Epistle being finished, the choir stood on the steps 
of the chancel (in gradibus), and sang this Gradual, 
or " Psalm of the Steps," which was followed by a 
prolonged note of Alleluia, for after this the Gospel 
was to be read, in which they would hear the good 
tidings of their Lord. 

And the Introits, they said, were bold and ringing, 
like the voice of some crier proclaiming the service.^ 
And the Antiphons, or Responses, were sweet and 
tender. And the Alleluias full of divine joy. But 
the Graduals combined all these things, and were happy, 
and jubilant, and heavenly.^ In this way, they 
assigned a character to the various parts of their 
service, and doubtless the traditional chants and psalms 
well sustained these things. And St. Gregory collecting 
these, which had many of them come down from the 
earliest times, was hard put to express them all in 
one common musical structure, for they varied so much. 
For among the mass which he had at his disposal, 
there were doubtless the florid chants of Constantinople 
side by side with the rude psalms of the early 
Christians. And let us see how he did. And 
first, he took the Eight Greek Modes, that is, the 

1 Sicut piseconis vox. 

2 These are the characteristics given by Gaforus. Musicse utriusque 
cantus practica. Cap. 8. -- ~ - 


Dorian, the Phrygian, the Lydian, the Mixolydian, 
with their subordinate Modes, or Hypos, a 4th below 
each, and he arranged eight methods of chanting, 
agreeably to these, determining them according to 
their height, for some were low and some were high, 
according as the character of the words had prompted 
the singing. And those whose tones fell chiefly 
about the ordinary level of the singing voice, that is, 
the Mese of the old Greek Scale, the note A, which 
was the conventional note in Greek singing, and now 
was the 5th of the Dorian Mode, he set these chants 
in the Dorian Mode, and pinned their principal note 
to the note A, so that voices should henceforth tune 
themselves to this for their key note. And now let 
us see the actual form of those ancient songs, of 
which we have talked so much, for now we may behold 
them musically. And they were like sentences of 
speech we have said, rising up at the beginning of 
the sentence to a general level, and then sinking again 
at the end, like 

as we expressed it, for this is how our sentences are 
inflected, and so we imagined them sung in the 
catacombs, and at the primitive gatherings, when 
Christian music was beginning. Now let us set the 
note A for the line of general level, thus. 

and making an approach and a descent from it, 




we shall have gone near to get the outline of the 
ordinary Christian chant. As we may well see, by 
considering the chants which Gregory collected and set 
down. For the chants he set in the Dorian mode were,i 













:r ?-p- ^ 







^0m «N "■ 

^ "^ -^^ 



■/»"S. r^ ■rDl"G> - 

■ ra"p^~f p* ?rp -^^ 




p> /-J •■ 

\p)' p"- 



|_t: ^ — 1 

— 1 

— t— 




















And these waverings about between A and A, 

W- are but the natural 

behaviour of the uneducated voice, which cannot hold 
its note, and is more akin to speech than song, or 
else had they been perfect singers we should have 
had one continuous A all through, as we have in 
the ground form that we have set over the 

1 Nivers' Dissertation sur le Chant Gregorien, which Sir John 
Hawkins largely used, may still retain its place as one of the leading 
authorities for Gregorian Music. 



And similarly in the Phrygian^JVLode, which is 
higher than the Dorian, and in which he set chants, 
that were higher and gayer, accordingly, he pinned 
the principal tone to the note B ; for the Phrygian 
Mode was exactly a note higher, and therefore B 
took the place of A. 













And yet because there was something mournful in 
this run on B, and the chants he wanted to express 
were lighter and sweeter, he set them on C instead 
of B, though still in the Phrygian Mode, and so 
the one we have quoted became 



:^— (2_ 







which is much sweeter and more melodious.^ And 
the rest in accordance with it : 



-& -^ 









f=2— «— fSa 


And in the Lydian Mode, which by right3 were on C, 

1 This change probably came after Gregory's time. 


for the Lydian Mode was a note higher than the 





-I s* — P- 



And in the Mixolydian Mode on D, a note higher 
than the Lydian, 

1 — I — ^- I I I I 1 r I I — r- 

1 — I — I 1 — I 1 '-- i I —I — ^- 



F:— 1 — I — I 1 I r^ ^ 1 I I — ^— j — 

-| 1 1 1 \—~\ \ 1 1 1 — 

-^- a^- '^ t ^ -P- ^" -^ ^" - fg- • J ^ 

And now let us see how much the characters of these 
Modes had altered by the changes they had been 
subject to since we knew them among the Greeks — I 
mean, in the progression of their intervals. For the 


Dorian Mode was once the grave majestic mode, and 
the Phrygian the wild and passionate one, and the 
Lydian the sweet and tender, and the Mixolydian the 
melting mode of emotion, which also was the mode of 
Sappho. But now the Dorian has something of sad 
melancholy about it, and the Phrygian is grown sweet 
and tender. But the Lydian is the most powerful 
of them all, for those chants in the Lydian Mode are 
ineffably powerful. But the Mixolydian still retains 
much of its old character, for the Mixolydian chants 
are the most melodious and tuneful. 

And next St. Gregory took the Hypo, or 
Subordinate, Modes, and arranged chants to them in 
like manner, pinning the principal tone to a note in 
them in like manner. But with these he dealt somewhat 
differently. For whether it was that the Hypos were 
somewhat low for singing, and so he by preference 
took their 6th instead of their 5 th for his chants to 
move on, and even higher than their 6th, for he 
sometimes took their 7th, or that in the Hypos he 
would make each a sort of under reflection of its 
leading Mode, and that in the chants which he 
designed for them he had to do with chants of 
limited compass, which called for tender handling — 
wishing, then, to establish a community between each 
pair of Hypo Mode and Main Mode, he so arranged 
his chants that the last note of each pair should 
always be the same, and this served as a Tonic, 
which made them in a manner one. But in the 
leading Modes, the run of the melody moved much 
higher above its Tonic than in the Hypo Modes, 
which kept lower down and scarcely three notes or 
§0 above it, so that they were really dim reflections 
of the characters of the leading Modes, moving from 
the same Tonic but at a lower level. And since 


the Dorian chants ended properly on D, which was 
the Tonic of the Dorian Mode, for though to some 
he had been compelled to yield the licence to end 
a note or two above, it is plain that this was the 
proper ending, for it was the note of the Mode's 
octave, he arranged the Hypodorian so that it should 
also end on D, and therefore took F in the 
Hypodorian Scale of 




as the note to pin the principal tone of his chant to. 
And it will be seen that this chant has precisely the 
same contour as the others. 

^ ^ ^ ^ 




ending on D, the Tonic of the Dorian. 

And in the Hypophrygian Mode, for the same 
reason, he took A, 



ending on E, the Tonic of the Phrygian. 

And in the Hypolydian Mode also A, to end on 
F, the Tonic of the Lydian, 

■m fS' 


f^' ■■■ 

^ P 


*— ^ ^ ^ 

^ ^ "^^ -^ 

'/m\' r~- fn f^ ' 

~ fi>~ 

r^ — "3 f^ 

F-" r-j ^-, 

yfij' r' 

P F^ 


\^^ 1 


' . 


■ ■ 1 

1 ,., 1 ' 

' L. . 


And in the Hypomixolydian, C, to end on G, the 
Tonic of the Mixolydian. 




r^ 1 . . __^___^ 

-p- -p- 

/«v r-^ r^ ' 

' L 

!"^ If-' /O 

(5J. 1 1 ' 'I 1 1 ■ i 

\_y 1 1 1 ■ ' ' 1 

And the chants in the various Modes he called 
Tones. There was the ist Tone (Tonus Protus), 
which were the chants in the Dorian Mode. And 
the 2nd Tone (Tonus Deuterus), which were the 
chants in the Hypodorian, And the 3rd Tone 
(Tonus Tritus),^ the chants in the Phrygian. The 4th 
Tone, the Hypophrygian. The 5th Tone, the Lydian. 
The 6th, the Hypolydian. The 7th, the Mixolydian. 
And the 8th, the Hypomixolydian. And the note in 
each which was the principal one, on which he had 
pinned the principal tone of his chants, was called 
the Dominant, because it seemed to domineer and 
govern the others. And the note to which they fell 
at the end, was the Tonic, as we have said. But 
the notes by which the chants approached the 
Dominant at the beginning, was called the Intonation, 



in the ist Tone, it was - ^: — ^ p' 


the 2nd F 

- ^— — , and so on, 

Thus fitted with Intonation, and Dominant, and 
Tonic, which was the Cadence at the end again, we 
see these ancient Christian psalms in a musical dress, 

1 The Greek names of the Tones, as here given, which were the 
eoitimoti names in the early Middle Ages, are peculiarly suggestive of 
a Byzantine origin. 


differing but little, indeed, except in greater firmness 
of outline, from the primitive form in which we 
imagined them first to be sung. And this form 
indeed they got partly from the natural inflecting of 
the simple sentence, and partly also from the singular 
form of the Jewish poetry, to whose pattern they 
were insensibly constructed. For had sentences indeed 
been their sole original, they would scarce have risen 
to so definite a shape, for varying lengths would have 
caused confusion, and the utter absence of rhythm 
would have produced at best a melodious chaos. 
For let us pass to other portions of their music, 
where they had not even this loose form to guide 
them, as their Kyries, and their Alleluias, for instance, 
and we shall see how formless, and vague, and 
almost unintelligible to rhythmic ears was this wild 
Christian music. And here are some Alleluias, as 
they are preserved in Gregory's Collection, which 
were sung after the Gradual Psalm and before the 
reading of the Gospel. 



Al - le . - - - - lui 

-g f^— -g-— g— p. 

1 Alleluia for the ist Sunday in Advent. Gregory's Antiphonary. 
St, Gall MS. 





:g= p _g?-rp=:g: 


Al . le 



?- -f2- -s- 




;. -^2. 












Or let us take a Kyrie, and we shall find the 
same thing hold, 

Ky - ri 









el .... ei - - son. 

So that we must not think that in these eight 
tones which we have just now discussed, in which 
Christian Music has all the benefit of Greek Art to 
help it and give it clearness, we see a complete 
picture of it by any means. On the contrary, we 
see but the choicest and most orderly specimens of 
it, which Gregory with great art had weeded out 
from the rest, and set in the form we have given them. 



For what swaying, and wavering, and breaking free 

from the smallest restraint, do we find not only in 

their other music, which we shall shortly give, but 

even in the chants of these Tones themselves, which 

come to us through other channels in such forms as 
these -J 
The First Tone no longer, 











- ^-(^—^- 1^2=.?^. 

— — - — s>- 




:^~P — r s=g~i^: 



:g-?^— l^-r^: 


The Second Tone no longer simply, 










ig-f?— g: 









r — r 



F — 1 1 ! 


The Third Tone not as, 

1 From an Antiphonary of the 13th century (French , 





-f=2- -e>- 









-^-: p:-p. 

.(2. .(^. .^. 


P 1 ^Z 


-iS 3^ 1 



-(=2- .s>- -IS- 




and the others in Hke manner. In which we may 
well mark the characteristics of the uncultivated voice, 
with its wavering, and unsteadiness, and inability to 

keep its note, and its 



when it would get at a pitch; and its p^:— P— Q^=^ 

when it would descend, &c. For these bound minims, 
which we have written above, might indeed have been 
better expressed by appoggiaturas and slurs, as 
we have written them just now, and then 

'^■zziE. would have appeared for 



^tEt^E and Fp; 

-^ — p — *-^* -«)-(?s- 




Fp ~s»-Jl'S- p-g-^— for Fpz: ^-p ig2ig:g=^zg: 
F^ —h^ . -J E ^ L^ r-fe'^B&ti: 

and probably even the intonation itself, F ^' [^ — =^^i — 

or -^:-^— ;i for 



For how many of those weaknesses of untrained voices, 
to which we have before reverted, do actually appear 
as artistic forms in Gregory's Gradual of Christian 


Song ! How common a thing is F (^ P^ fX ^ 

to find, for an ascent to fj^'.: i — ' by the 

interval "^ 

tzzi; and Eg =gp-:^= for 

): (^ p^ , which is almost perpetual ; and 

f: — g2 r T~f~T~^~T~f~' t-j^—^^ — for the sustained note 

- (^' l -i^^l— - . which is a common thing to find — 

uncouth anticipations and feeble holdings of note, the 
weaknesses of unpractised singers, which reverent 
tradition had preserved, and now places before us in 
Gregory's Gradual, as the choicest fruits of Christian 
Art. So much so indeed that we may even pick 
out the bones of the music, that is, its tones as 
they would have been sung by skilful singers, and say 
what were the flaws and imperfections of utterance, 
which by a miraculous conservatism were carefully 




husbanded as beauties, and recorded as such in the 
book we speak of. And taking an Antiphon from 
thence, we will write it thus — ^ 


•Gh -G>- S>- 


-(S> S>- 

E - mit - te lu - cem tu 
And underneath how it appears. 


-iS>- -»"P-»-P-»~ 

r— I — I- 





E - mit - te lu - cem tu 

This is its diffi- 
culty in ascending 
to the note. 

Here it falters 
on it. 

J^. .C2. j2. 

et ve • ri - ta - tem tu 


I I I I I I ! r » — ^— 

'^^. .c^-f-.^jfifi^s'-'T^ 

_t_j — ^ 



Here it begins to 
descend to A. 

et ve • ri- - ta - tem tu - 




Ip - sum 

me de 

am Ip - sum. 

I wavering on C. | 

me - de 

1 Antiphon for Passion Sunday (ascribed to St. Gregory), extracted 
from a German Antiphonary of the 13th centuryk 


^ S" rn 

- dux - e - runt et ab-dux-e-runt inmontem 

n -^ ^ "S A' I S I ^ I 

S — \ — I \- ' 



dux - e - runt et ab-dux-e-runt in montem 

A hesitation which I 
leads to repetition. | 


■S* ^ — ■ 

Sane - turn tu - um. 

r^ 't^^ ^ _ '^ Tl ^ 1*^ 


Sane - turn tu - um 

I A faltering cadence twice repeated. | 

which written as Gregory writes it becomes 

-s- -^- •/&- -^- -(^- -f2- -i^- 

E - mit - te lu - cem tu • - 


- C2. f:^ 

-(=^ -f=i=- 4=2- -,s^ -t=^ 4— -<=2- 


- 1 P 


r^ 1 1 i_ 1 "L.i.s-' [_ 



ve • ri - ta 

:g: — 1= 


tern tu - am , 

Ip - sum , 












-I ^_ — I 1 1 1 1 — 


•iS 1© ^ iS"- 

-I — I- 



et ab - dux - e - runt 





in mon - tem Sane 

turn tu 












:^= p-r?-p— fr? =^: 



! ! — I— 

-br— I h 

a most wayward and shapeless piece of music, which 
perplexes us as we read it. 

Or take the following from the service for Palm 



-Q pr?~ 

Ten - u - is - ti 

ma - num , 





Ten - u 

Difficulty of sus- 
taining the note. 


of ascent 


1 Gradual for Palm Sunday. Antiphonaire de St. Gregoire. St. 
Gall MS. 



-^ S"- 

-S! (S (Si- 

— ^ 


dex - te 

ram me - am. 


of F. 


ram me - am. 


Inability to take 
an interval with- 
out slurring it. 

on the note C. 

^: ^- 


- (S> S> ^ ^ jTi — 

Sm^ r? 

in vol ■ 

un - 

ta - te tu - a 

^ h<-d ! -J J 1 

^^i^-Ci * 

1 1 ^-1 

in vol 

I The voice 
through the 

un - ta - te tu 

Unsteadiness l Similar un- 
on the note. steadiness. 


-^ — -^ 


^ ^- 


de - dux - 

is - ti 


et cum 






■4 * <^ 

-J ■•-i ■*■ ■-■• '^ J 




de - dux - is - ti me. 

et cum 

As I As I Wavering I 
before. | before, j on G. | 



glo - ri - 



■^ — • e «-H^ 

o — I- 




on E. 

The regular 
slurring of 
the interval. 









sumps • SIS - ti 




as - sumps - sis - ti 

I Wavering on C. | The rise to the note. | 


S fL— -,,^— »-^ 




gg=^=gl ^fc=P^=^^l 

|. Unsteadiness in sustaining G. | Similarly on E. 

which, written as Gregory writes it, becomes 

7? — ra' 

: g r^ P : 




:g ~P~r?- 

•St U=ir 

Ten - u 

is - ti . 





num dex 

: 1 1 — I 1^ — \— L ii— I — I — 


te - ram . 

me - am . 




in vol 


: g-r3-p z=g: 

-g ^ 

j — r 

t» - te. 



-^-1 ! — ! I ^ 1 — F-t — i _■■ ^ 

de - dux - is 

I 1 1 1 1 ! f 1 

! \ h—-— 


cum glo - • ri - - 



sumps - SIS 

-■'^-?2zz^=i^z:j^-r ^ — ^ — r? — r^?- 

— e_^ 1 I fca* f— 1-— (— (-■■^ h— ^ 3-3 

^=E^^=^^S— i 1= ^ — =^^^=£#= 

So constant and common had these ^^ , J^^'^ &c., 
become, that regular characters had to be invented 
to express them by, which are ill represented by our 
tied minims, &c., with which we have attempted to 
render them. 

And for the last instance we will take this, which 
is also from the services for Palm Sunday,^ 

1 Gradual for Palm Sunday. Antiphonaire de St. Gregoire. St. 
Gall MS. 
' Tract for Palm Sunday. Gregory's Antiphonary. St. GalJ MS, 




Deus, , 



Deus, . 


-o — <s> — e — o- 



De - us me - us, res - pic - e in 


& — o — <s> — o- 







De - us me - us, res - pic - e in 

^T: Q — Q— - 

qua - re me 

::J -o -Jzg3 



de - re - li - quis - ti ? 

■^— rf"— - — ^-e-sH*-' ^ ^ " -^--j- 

^ZZ ji-^-t 


qua - re me de - re - 11 - quis 




De - us,, 

, i — I 1 — I ■ 1 — P-! — ^— ^ 


■^ — fg-F^-p^-(S— j>^ — {SI — r^~ ^ — - 

■iS— iS* (S* (^ (S>- 

1— r — F 


De - us me - us, res - pic 




^-P— s'— P-?2: 

-I — I h 




m me. 


^^ ^ — ^ & — '^ — -<5' ■ g j ^ — ^ ^—tSi- 



qua - re me de 

gE.g£ggEgE gE^pE^gEg^ 

quis - ti ?. 

Hence then these waverings that perplex us, and 
this aimlessness of utterance, as it appears to be. It 
is the instability of the untrained voice, which began 
to chant without a knowledge of singing, and having 
nothing but its own earnestness for its guide, in lieu 
of rules of Art ; the result of which has been to land 
us in a chaos of undisciplined sound, not only replete 
with faults of ignorance, but rendered still more wild 
and formless by its antirhythmic spirit. For when 
Rhythm is banished from Music, the Voice, without 
a steadier, wastes its powers like fire among the stubble, 
and never comes to any good. Nor indeed can we 
see what principle there is to guide it, beyond its own 
wanton fancy. For out of all those Graduals, 
Antiphons, Introits, which the Book of St. Gregory 
contains, how few are there which possess even the 
regularity of the Tones, to which the Psalms were 
sung ! but most are the loose chaotic music which 
we at present describe. And the character of them 
is this : — there are a few words, and then a syllable 
is hung on and toyed with, and there the voice 
wilfully wavers as long as the breath lasts. And then 
a few more words, and another pausing and clinging 
about a syllable. And one would think indeed that 
perhaps the emphatic syllable would be chosen for 
this, but it is not so, and mere idle fancy guides 
selection. Generally it is the end one, and this the 


voice will cling to as long as the breath lasts. With 
justice were these long sung syllables called Neumes 
(Pneumes), or " Breaths," for their whole extent, and 
even their form, in a measure, seems to be determined 
by the breath, for when the breath is going, the voice 
sinks, and this makes the cadence, or fall, that ends 

And to show their character in this light, let us 
take two or three Graduals, or other pieces from St. 
Gregory's Book, which was called the Antiphonary, 
because it contained the Antiphons, or Anthems, which 
the Christians sung. And we shall see that this is 
their character. And then we will pass from them 
to the residue of another music which yet remained 
in the world, not quite dead, and destined one day, 
though in the far future, to revive and triumph over 
the world again. 

And here is a Gradual from St. Gregory's 
Antiphonary, like them all, an ancient Christian Chant, 
and in his Antiphonary it is set down to be sung on 
Christmas Eve. 

Ve - ni 

do - mi - 


:g i^- ^ :^"^- 
j — f p 1 — h- 

-^•— ' — ^=^ 

tar - da 




=" 5":^^^.-^ ^ :^-«-^- 



— — ^^*'- 



J — I ^^ 1 — I — 






pie - bis tu - £6. 

r. -L I .u_gzLd U^^zife^ 

-^--^— ^^-^= 


Gradual for Christmas Morning. 

Dixit dominus domino meo : sede a dextris meis. 
Donee ponam inimicos vestros : scabellum pedum tuorum. 



.f=. .^. 42. 


^- .^. 



Dix - it do - mi - nus do - mi - no me 








-U.i_l—kM.*i_W H 



^<2. I^- ^. -^ I^- .p. J^. -p. -,<i2. .f^. I^ 





-h- ^h 


a dex - tris. 




.1 — ^^ 

-(=2. .,*=, "S" .(^. .^. ^. 


is. Do - nee po 

I ^-^ — (S>- 

-I 1- 

H \- 


-I I H ^ 

nam m - im - ic 







-I — I- 


tu - OS. 



— t 




-iS-l iSI-T-T-^- 

-jSi- _ -iS"" 









3-<2_,(=2. ■^- 



-1=^ — I — I- 






dum tu - or - um. 


-S>S> (S-7-!-<S>- 






1 s— S>--3- 

p— I 1 i 1 1 1 f-'- 


lui - a. 






H ^-f^-^-f^- 



Gradual for the 3rd. Sunday after Christmas. 

Misit dominus verbum suum et sanavit eos : et eripuit eos 
de interitu eorura. 

Confiteantur domino misericordiae ejus : et mirabilia ejus 
filiis hominum. 


-i^— i — — -^ — h-— : 1 1 — ! f"^—^ — I f-^-' 



Mis - it do 





^=^=P=^=P=g=^'=^ l^~P " 

=?2 — ^: 


um et, 

sa - na - vit 








_f=2_^. .^. 


OS : et e - ri - pu - it e 



-I 1 f^ — I 1 1 1 1- 


OS de,.,,... in - te - ri - tu. 




H 1 ^■ 






" P 1 ^ \ ^ - P o o &- 







con - fit - e - an 


■^^_:pip-^ ^ -g-^|^ ,^jgugi^_ 



■^ -p- -(^ -p-^p 

-r— Uj 





-(g-|g' ^ 


tur do - mi - no. 



■^- -1=2- -, 







mi - se - ri - cor - di - 

-SI. .^1. 







■iS— -— S" ? 




-I — ;^— I — h 






'P- r^ 





•jg- -^2. .p r^ p . ■^. :^ jpl.^. -^- -<^^£2. 



et mi 


ra - bi - H - a e 




:g--P- '(g-f=^gig: 

p-p-p-rt i 


-**si? — r: 

fi - 11 



mi - num. 

Al - le 

F ^~r~rT~ r =°=p=g =^=^=g 

■I — (^ — h- 


: @'— P=p-r: gz; ? =p--r:^^ = F?^-p=P4:^ 

And as we read these chants, that are so unlike 
the former music which we knew, that gay sweet 
music we heard with rapture in the days of Greece — 
what spirit or tongue of man do they bring back to 
us, that sang like things before? And from the first 
we found two wings, the one inclined to spiritual 
passion, the other to the beauty of sensuous form, 
the one with their chants, that were but speech 
in music, the other with the gay dance, that brought 
rhythm and tune. And we have seen from the 
first how there were some men that leaned to 
one, and some to the other ; the melancholy Semites, 
the happy Aryans, the fervent Hebrews, and the 
laughing Greeks. And we predicted that a day would 
come when these two forces should be brought face 
to face on the stage of the civilised world, and now 
behold it come ! For the Christian and the Pagan are 
the Hebrew and the Greek ; for the Christians, indeed, 
whose faith came from Judaea, and who for all their 
early centuries were led by Jewish teachers and apostles, 


did but repeat, though they gave it new birth, the 
character and tradition of the Jews. And the chants 
of. the Hebrew prophets were heard once more in 
the world. .And now for the time they had 

And pausing for a moment to examine the 
Christian chants in this second point of view, as 
the inheritors of the Hebrew form and spirit, let 
us take their music in connection with the Hebrew 
verse, and examine it so. And we will begin first 
with the simple form of the Tones, or plain singing 
of the psalms verse by verse. And the Hebrew verse, 
as we found it in the psalms, was composed, each 
verse, of two parallel members. And the music, it 
is plain, in like manner admits a treatment like 
this : — For half belongs to one parallel member, and 
half to the other ; and as we express the duality 
in the words by a colon ( : ), so we ought to have 
some device to express it in the music by. And 
having taken the waved line as the main outline of 
the Chant, 

we will express the duality, or parallelism, of 
the members, by a break in the line, thus : — 

by which it is plainly shown, that the chant is 
in reality a combination of two things, first, an ascent 

of the voice, as to 

■ < £^ ^ — and then 


its descent again from fg and 


this last note we may actually set down as the 
Tonic of the Mode, for we found that this was what 
Gregory always laid before him as the principle of 
structure, that the Tone should always end on 
the Tonic of its Mode. Now we may describe the. 
form then as an ascent to the Dominant note of the 
Scale, a pause there, and then a descent to the Tonic, 
and represent it freely as this : — - 

Now of these two parts it is plain that neither could 
stand without the other, but both though separate 
are still dependent on each other. The Antecedent 
implies a Consequent, the Subject a Predicate, the 
Question an Answer. And we have before taken 
the Angle /\ as the type of all Musical Form, 
because it is composed of two lines, a rising 
line and a falling line, both of which are necessary, 
and in such a position, to the existence of the angle : 
and we find that it has worked its way through, 
and imprinted itself as unmistakeably on Christian 
song, as before it had made itself visible on primitive 
Greek i^rt, when first we paused to consider it. 

Such then being the similarity between the 
two styles, we may well go on to consider the 
differences. And comparing the Hexameter with 
the Chant, the Hexameter also rose towards the middle 
(it was through its emphasis that we saw it, for of its 
tones we could not speak), and sank again in a 
cadence at the end ; and we represented it thus : 



It, too, like the Christian or Hebrew Chant, was 
formed of two parts, being formed of two short lines, 
as the other of two parallel members. But here the 
resemblance ends, and henceforth begin the differences. 
For the two parts of the Hexameter were locked 
together into a perfect unity, but the two parts 
of the Chant appeared as parallel members to the last. 
And the unity of the one and disintegrity of the other 
is a type of their subsequent developments. For 
how did the Greek Form go on to develop. By 
laboriously adding line to line, till a symmetrical 
Period was formed. By adding Period to Period, till a 
Periodic outline was formed, in which Greek Form 
reached its climax, and as the Strophe, Antistrophe, 
and Epode, has already been considered in these pages. 
But how is Christian Form developing — and we 
may well consider these extended Graduals, 
Introits, &c., as developments of the simple chant? 
What form, what aspect shall we pick out of these 
chaoses of notes, and say that such and such a 
form has grown ? And if we look at them narrowly, 
we shall find that Nature has engrafted a form 
on them such as we could never imagine, and which 
Art certainly would never have devised. But 
knowing how they were the very flower of Nature, 
this form indeed seems the likeliest that could have 
come. For in saying that the spoken sentence gave 
the chant its peculiar musical inflection, that, namely, 
of a rise and a fall, or waved line, and that every 
sentence we utter does actually possess this inflection 
of voice, we have not yet referred this to its primary 
cause, which it is plain is attributable to the behaviour 
of our breath. For if our breath were limitless, 
sustained tone would be endless, with no cadence ever 
at the end, because the breath would never die away. 


But as it is, the breath comes, and then it goes again' 
and in this time the clause or sentence, or that 
musical sentence, the chant, is uttered ; and reflects 
in its tone the coming and going of the breath. Now 
in a much extended piece, the breath will come and 
go several times instead of once. And in this way 
did Christian form receive its development. For if we 
examine these extended Introits, Graduals, &c., we shall 
find that their Form is a collection of little chants, 
little rises and falls, that are plainly dependent for 
their duration on the necessities of the breath, and all 
more or less exactly repeating the original form of a 
rise to a Dominant note, a pause there, and then a 
fall to the Tonic, 



which is the musical equivalent of that waved line 
of vocal inflection, 

which is the sentence. And because, in these extended 
pieces, one sentence of words is frequently the sum 
total of the piece, being extended and played with, 
as we have seen, the voice takes words or groups of 
words for its sentences, and the whole piece is but 
a series of repetitions of the primitive form. For we 
will draw slurs round the little slabs of form, 
and taking as our example some of these Graduals 
we have already quoted, it will be easily seen that it 
is as we say : — 

^^^= ==i=^=:s2 ^_^;2_g=:=:===z: 

Ten - u - is - ti 















itzl — ti: 

te - ram. 

me - am. 




in vol 

un - ta - te. 












l«Bs;| 1 ! h- 

du.^ - is - ti me 



T/izs zva?its the Cadc7ice. 






et cum glo 





ISI f—^— I rS> 


■! — ^ — I- 




b^l - ^ — I I - I — t— I 1 h- 


■t—ti:;:^— tii^^- 

-^^ ■ 1 1 1 I I—. I 






sumps - SIS 





if ^— p— ^2 ^p fg r=> 



-I 1 1- 



g=:p2=g=^=-=^p-/^-^=^-p-r?-p-r ? i:g=^lzg 

-t- [-1— f-=P^! 

H 1 1 b 

Deus, , 






:g-p— P=g — p- r ? : 

:^=g=^=^:z^ =:{=- — F— rj^"-p7:?-p qg:^^^ 

-1 h 

De - us me - us, res - pic - e in nie. 


i=P^^pEg^-F^ ^^E^g^ E ^^ ^ 

qua - re me. 


\—:=i !~=l- 


de - re 




:^zrp=^i^z^s2 — ^, 






J r 

Mis - it do 


^- f^-p-r^- ^ 



-I 1 ! ^- 

■I h^—t^-\ F^ (O. 



bum su 




um et sa • na - vit. 

1 66 















OS, et e - li - pu - it e 

T/ie ascent is here wanting. 







OS de. 

in - te - ri - tu. 









CSV.— ^r 





-<S G> (S>- 


Con - fit - e - an 


HSiH _^(S'--^- 

77zi? cadence is here w anting; 


-I 1 1 — I — 


tur do - mi - no. 

5- -^2. 

_tZ [3- 





-^ :&^: 

mi - se - ri - cor - di - oe. 

.^j^-.fg-j:a-^i^-p-^Tp-. p. .p^ -^a. .jg. ^ .^_^^. 


-S?— — -Si- 

r " ■■ I 








-^-\ (S>-| 1 1 ! b^-| 



et mi 

ra - bi - li - a e 


-I — I — e 


li - li 

-iS" — ! 1 — - 

-^- -1^ _ -iSi- -(SI- 




mi - num. 

-s>- -f2_^-^. 




1 68 








Al - le 


:<= 1=- 


-iS'— f-^^iS> — (Si- 




And to take a last instance, and we might 
multiply them for ever, the Gradual, " Vtdenmt omnes 
fines ferrce" because it is a well known one, and is 
the first one to occur to us. 


•f^ -S>- -iS>- 

1 — I- 

Vi - de - runt om 



: p r r r 

-I — I — 1^^ — I- 

; ^^ — 

nes ter 


-g-_Q -f^^f^- -(&- ^^ -^- _ _ -iS'-f^-fS'- 

sa - lu - ta 

re de 



-| ■■■ p' I — fg— ig h 

■fS>- -O- hkSH 

~^bJ -h— n|ii. 


nos - tri. 

ju - bi - la - te 




^-^-. "■ 

Here, then, we have the chmax of Christian Form, 
as it has developed thus far, and we see how 
completely different is the path it has followed, and 
what different results it has arrived at, to what 
Greek or Pagan Form had done before it. And the 
main cause, as I take it, of their dissimilarity, is the 
absence of Rhythm in the one and its presence in 
the other. For Rhythm in Music has a cementing 
and arranging power, and when it is absent, we 
see how loose at the best the form becomes. And 
also this may be seen in the handling of the 
individual words. What surprising dififefence do we 
find in these words that are paused and wavered on 
and dealt so wilfully with, and that firm march of the 
syllables in Greek Music, with the voice strong and 
self-controlled ! 

And now, then, we will pass in quest of that very 
music — not going indeed to the art of Constantinople 
in search of it, where it lingered in senility and decay, 
repeating in its dotage very much the faults and 
weaknesses of its rival ; but searching for some healthy 
residue, if in some outlying quarter it may be found. 
And they say that before St. Gregory had commenced 
his arrangement of Christian music, St. Ambrose of 

1 Gradual from the Third Mass on Christmas Day. St. Gregory's 
Antiphonary. St. Gall. MS. 


Milan in the North of Italy had attempted the 
same, and that he had made use of four of the 
ancient Modes, the Dorian, the Phrygian, the Lydian, 
and the Mixolydian, as Gregory had employed the 
eight, to regulate the Christian song by. But coming 
earlier in history, and before Christianity had quite 
overwhelmed the world, there was much more of 
Pagan elements in his work, and less that was decidedly 
Christian. Besides Ambrose himself was more under 
Pagan influences than Gregory, who except as an 
opponent was scarcely touched by them. Gregory was 
a bitter assailant of Pagan art. We know that he 
destroyed the Palatine Library, because it contained so 
many Pagan Books ; and other things of the same 
kind also are told of him. Ambrose began life as a 
Roman magistrate ; and in Milan, which was a second 
Rome, for the capital of Italy had been transferred 
there by Maximian, and it was a frontier town, and 
somewhat beyond the circle of the new ideas, the old 
influences retained much of their force ; besides which 
there are undoubted signs of a Pagan revival at his 
time, as we shall hereafter allude to. So then his 
arrangement of Christian song had a Pagan strain 
running through it, which in Gregory's we look for 
in vain. And first, it is characteristic in his treatment 
of the Modes, that he made use of the Mese, or 
Subdominant, that is, the 4th of the Mode, for his 
principal note,^ instead of the 5 th as Gregory did : 
and this is eminently Greek, for in Greek Music 
the chief note was ever the Subdominant. And also 
we hear that the Chromatic, which is the Instrumental 

1 This may be gathered from the Ambrosian Cadence, as it was 
called, which was a descent from the 4th to the Tonic, instead of 
from the 5ch, as with Gregory. 


style of scale, was employed by Ambrose in some of 
his music. ^ And this we know was not admitted by 
Gregory. So that how much nearer was the 
Ambrosian song to Pagan Art, even in these respects, 
than the Gregorian ! And in another respect that we 
have yet to mention, it was nearer still : For it is 
always described as " nieusurabilis et haruionicus"^ that 
is, there was rhythm in it, and the natural result of 
rhythm, there was tune. A sort of wild phrasing, 
indeed, he contrived to impress on the wayward music, 
which he could have gained nowhere else but from the 
art of the Greeks, and, says Guido, "phrase answered 
phrase, and figure answered figure, and there was a 
vein of resemblance uniting the oft contending parts." 3 
Something plastic and definite therefore we may here 
imagine, in place of that vagueness of form which 
we found in Gregorian Song. As indeed we may see 
for ourselves that it was so, by looking at that great 
psalm, the Te Deum, which since the time of Ambrose 
began to be used in the Christian services, being 
composed by Ambrose himself For it was at the 
baptism of St. Augustine, when St. Ambrose was 
baptising him at Milan, as they stood there dressed 
in white, after the manner of such ceremonies, they sang 
this psalm by inspiration, for the Holy Ghost inspired 
them. And if we look at it, we shall find that what 
Guido says is true, and how phrase answers phrase 
and figure figure, and how there is a vein of melody 
running through it in consequence of this simple 

1 The Chromatic was certainly used in the hymn, " Ut queant laxis." 
See Regino de Prum. fol. 3. 

- S. Ubaldo. Disquisitio de cantu a S. Ambrosio &c. Abstedius also 
in his Encyclopaedia. lib. XX. De Musica. Cap. 10. "Ambrosiana 
musica vocatur ' mensurabilis.' " 

3 Guido. Micrologus. cap. xi. 



symmetry, which we look for in vain in the psalms 
of Gregory. For such passages as these are common 
in it, 






Per sin - gu - los di • es be - ne - di - ci - mus te 


-(^- .?=2. 





Et lau - da - mus no - men tu - um in sse - cu - lum 



et in sas - cu - lum sse - cu • li Dig - na - re 









do • mi - ne di - e is - to si - ne pec - ca - to 


p-^ -|g- -(g-[^- 






nos cus - to - di - re Mi - se - re - re no - bis 

-p- -p-^-p- -IS- -p-^-p- 



^ (^'^' - 

/(t^* i 1 

J i 


r^ i , 

(^. 1 1^1 L^ 1 . 

L«^ 1 

V— ' "^ ^^1 I 1 . — 



do - mi - ne mi - se - re 

- re no 

' bis 

Fi - at 

-p- -p- -p- -(S- -p- -p- 

-iS'- -<Si- 


^ -e 

l^. 1 1 1 1 

1 1 


1 1 

^W^ I 1 . 1 I 1 1 , 

mi - se - ri - cor - di - a 

tu - a 


- mi - ne 

^^ -^- -^-f2J^:L:p- f- -^- -^- 


g- -^2- (=2 

:g:'-^~bif-Tt:-t-l — 1= 


1 1 ■ " '^ 

i^^-tr ^ 

su ■ per nos quern- ad ■ mo- dum spe - ra - vi - mus in te. 

or even more symmetrical than these, 



-<S>- -iS> 





S> iS"- 

-I 1 — 


Pie - ni sunt coe - li et ter - r^ ma - jes - ta - tis 

-^-f^— ^-iS>- 





g.o - n - je tu 

Te glo - ri 

o - sus 

^-P— P— -1^— g2— ^^ 




a • pos - to - lo - rum cho - rus Te pro - phe 


■G) — P S> S» iS- 


^—^ ^ 



ta - rum lau - da - bi - lis nu - me - rus 


-TTS— W ^ "^- — ^ — ^ — ^ — ^ — ^ — ^ — ^ — ?r5 — ^- 
r - ^ - I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 f-*^ — i — 

:l b: 

-I h 

Te mar - ty - rum can - di - da - tus lau - dat ex 


^ "^ 


"^ fS_ 

^ <D ^ 


fS> ry 




f — " 


W ^ 

'.— I 








ci - 




or - bem 

ter - ra - rum 

rD C^ f^ 


T> 1 


1 1 " 


. p.— 1 - ■- 

1 "P^ f^ 



v-A — 


H 1 

1 1 i 


-L— -< 



^ 1— 

sane - ta con - fi - te - tur ec - cle - si 

And sometimes in short rounded phrases, 



-I h 

■H-^! 1 — -I 1 1 f-^-1 1 1 1 ^- 


Sane - tus, sane - tus, sane - tus. 

And it will be observed that many of these phrases 


repeat, and in the case of the words, " Sanctus, 
sanctus," this repetition is pecuHar for another reason, 
for when the word " Sanctus " occurs again further 
down, viz., at " Sanctum quoque paracletum," we find 
a repetition of exactly the same melody for the word 
" sanctus," 

Sane - turn quo-que pa - ra - cle - turn spi - li - turn. 

which is anticipated in a preceding phrase, that this, 
so to say, is balanced by, 

Pa - - tiem. 

Indeed, if we knew more of the Ambrosian song, we 
might find an actual periodic structure running through 
it, not unlike that of the Greek choruses, and each 
period with its character, — as this Te Deum itself 
will well admit of loose periodising, so regular is 

And it is interesting to notice how these phrases, 
that answer one another, and are built so artfully 
together, yet all bear the same stamp as those of 
Gregory's music, ascending and descending «** "j*" at the 
beginning and end, showing well what primitive origin 
they proceed from, however art has shaped them on 
the way. 

Also other fragments that have come down to 
us of Ambrosian song show the same or even greater 
melodiousness, which is owing to the symmetry of 
their shape ; as the following, for instance, which are 
very melodious compared to the Gregorian : — 




(^ fs 



-s> — 



/"^ ^ 

c::? t*-^ 


1 1 







j 1 


'— iJ 




Al - me 




ter Am 





-S? 1 — (S>- 





pre - ces 
or this, 


di. Chris - te, 



ex - ail - di nos. 






Bap - ti - zat Au - gus - ti - num sac - er - dos Am 

r^-^- -^ 

'^' T 

■^f2 ^ 





-^:— 1 \ — 

tz : 

~Q — r~ 

_i — 

— h2— 



— 1 — — 

— f-2- 


■■\z^ 1 

^*-i 1 



bros - i - us. Am - bo sta - tim cla - ma - ve - runt 









SO much so that we may bar them,^ and hear a 
definite melody running through them. 

This, then, was the Itahan style of song, as 
opposed to the Alexandrian, or truer Christian style,"*- 
for we have said before that there were two styles, 
and this was Christian song under Pagan influences. 
And how does St. Augustine speak of it? "The 
sounds," he says, " floated in my ears, truth was 
distilled in my heart, and the feeling of devotion 
streamed over in sweet tears of joy!" And elsewhere ^ 

1 Gaforus. Musica Utriusque Cantus. cap. 8. - lb. 

* They are barred in Gaforus. 

* Cf. supra, p. 22. As opposed to the sternness of the Alexandrian 
style, the Ambrosian was "melting" and "soft." Odo in Gerbert. 
Scriptores Eccles. I. 265. 

^ Confessions. X. 33. 


he confesses that there was almost a danger in the 
pleasure, so opposed was the music to the genuine 
Christian ideas. " Ambrose was all for sweetness," 
says another,! and "he made wonderful efforts to 
secure melodious sound."^ 

Now we have spoken of the rhythm which 
characterises this Music, but there is another 
characteristic which comes still nearer the Pagan 
style, and is but a consequence of the former ; and 
that is the syllabic treatment of the words. For while 
the Christian chants, as we have found them in 
Gregory's Gradual, were free from all dependence on 
syllables, taking often many syllables to the note, or 
many notes to the syllable, with the Greeks, on the 
contrary, each syllable meant one note and no more. 
And this principle is very nearly approached in the 
specimens of Ambrosian music that we have just now 
considered. Here, then, and through this soft side 
of Christian song, was it possible for Pagan art to 
effect an entry and a permanent lodgment, in the 
manner which we shall now describe. 

For since the days of Greek Tragedy there had 
been a remarkable falling off in rhythmic vigour in 
the Pagan music, which indeed we may well define as 
decay, that besets all things and music no less than 
the rest. And the dotage of that music in Christianised 
Constantinople we have already considered, but are 
now to trace a healthy residue, that moved in different 
paths. And indeed it was the last shred of Greek 
Tragedy, and had been preserved in the Tragedy of 

1 Guido in Gaforus. Musicas Utriusque Cantus. cap. 8. "Ambrosius 
solam modulationis dulcedinem exquisivit." 

2 Franco of Cologne. De Musica. cap. 14. "Ambrosius in sola 
dulcedine mirabiliter laboravit." 


Rome. The fertility of rhythms in Sophocles we have 
seen become sugared monotony with Euripides, 
and still more bare and monotonous in succeeding 
tragedians. But by the time of Roman Tragedy, such 
as we find it, for instance, in the time of Nero, there 
had been decay indeed ; so that taking the choruses of 
Seneca's Tragedies, we find all has given way to one 
main metre, the Anapaest : — 

I 1^ ^ I I N K I I !> ^ I I IS N I I 

|zz3^^i^zz:^=|=i:gjzz:^=zi^z:|=zali=:^iz:iJ=L<l M i^zzil 

with the occasional variety, of course, of Dactyls and 
Spondees intermixed. Asclepiads, certainly, we some- 
times find, 

I I 111 IS .s 1 I I 's S I I K 1 |i 

and occasionally Sapphics, 

I I ^ 1 I i'* I I Is N I I Is I i I P 

but that gay marshalling of rhythms, and each verse 
a new one, which we were accustomed to in Greek 
Tragedy, is gone for ever.3 These very metres that 
we have mentioned, are most monotonously treated, 
and run in unbroken streams from one end of the 
chorus to the other. But most of all the Anapaests, 
which is by far the favourite of the three, and the 
choruses of Seneca may well be typified by quoting 
at hazard such a passage as this, 

!s S I I I ! I fs IS J I 


Quon - dam "e - ne - trix nunc et tha - la - mis 

^ As in Hercules Furens. Act IV. Thyestes. Act I. 
- Once or twice Pherecratics, as in the Chorus in Thyestes. II. 
2 There are only one or two instances in the whole of Seneca, as 
I remember, and those are very monotonous performances. 







h 1 

N IS i 







«! m) 




Ex - 


- a 

sor - oi- 

mi - se - ran 


CO - 





ls t 

1 ! 







^ ^ 

^ ^ 







- e - tas 

nunc nu 


ha - 




id — 


— -^ — 

1 1 

- J J 


—^ — 


— ^ 


me - 


dig - ne 

de - fle - 


po - 





j"" J" 

J J ' 



s - 



2 M 

» S » 



Ma - 



la - cri - 

mis nos - tris 

ques - 




^ — 


■ — ^ ^ 

1 1 




- det 


e - don ? cu - jus 


en - 




S S 1 
„ d—d .d . 


S K 


U - ti - nam 

hi fa 

To this monotony had choral metre dwindled, and 
out of all the ancient rhythms, the Anapaest was 
the one which held out and kept in favour the 
longest. And it was written as we see, either with 

Anapsstic opening J^ ^ J , or Dactylic opening 

J J^ J^ , or with the Spondee, which might stand 

for either. And Spondees were freel}/ intermixed, as 
indeed we found them with the Greeks. 

But in course of time the same decay, which 
had worn down the ancient metres to so small a stock, 
began to operate on those that remained, and as 
we saw the Hexameter passing from Common to Triple 
time under this influence, in the times of the Greeks, so 
may we see the same phenomenon in the case of the 
Anapaest, which by the time of Adrian, about 130 A.D., 
was commonly written, 

I k I I Is ; I S ! I N I I 


instead of 

I > l> I I K S I I j^ !*• 1 I 1^ K I I 


I i ^ I I '^ I I ^ I ! > I 

I — ¥ a^z:|=:^=z^— |z:g=i^z:|=:i^z=z^=:| 

that is, with Trochees for the Dactyls, as there 
were Iambuses for the Anapaests, instead of the older 

Spondees being loosely intermixed, as we see. And 
in this form, that is, in Triple measure, by the time 
of Adrian, it was the common metre of the day, the 
well known ode of Adrian himself being a good 
example of how the change had operated, and in 
what form the. metre now appeared: — 

A - ni - mu - la va - gu - la blan - du - la, 
I? i I l§ ^ I I ^ I I ^ I I 

Hos pes CO - mes - que cor - po - ris, 

Quce nunc a - bi - bis in lo - ca, 

|2 i iS K j§ IS K N I N I I i> I 

Pal - li - du - la ri - gi - da nu - du - la, 

I ^ I I Is i I K I I Is I I 

Nee ut so - las da - bis jo - cos ? 

And in this form it was the common measure of 
Roman song. The tavern catches were sung in it, the 
squibs, the lampoons of the day were composed in it. 
We have billets doux in this metre, and messages to 


pot companions, and conundrums, and cookery 
receipts.! And it seems to have got its hold on 
the popular taste all the more readily, from its 
likeness to the measure of the old Latin farces. 


— ^ — 


— s — 

K 1 

— ^ — ^ — 





N£e - 

vi - o 

po - 

e- - 





— ^r- 





pe \7& 

der - 

en - 



^ J 




Da - 


ma - lum 


■ tel 

■ li, 

— ^— 

is 1 




Da - bunt ma - lum 

which, it will be be seen, it exactly resembles, except 
in being half a foot longer. 

So that when courtly poets, under the Christian 
Emperors of the later Empire, would make their verses 
acceptable to the princely ear, we find Christian 
sentiments and Christian doctrines beginning to appear 
in this popular measure, and forming often a strange 
contrast to what else was written in it. But what 
they did from policy, was imitated by earnest 
Christians in a spirit of devotion. And perhaps when 
we find a Christian bishop using this metre to convey 
Christian teachings by, we may attribute to him some 
such design as that which prompted Arius, Bardesanes, 
and other heretics, to make their doctrines into songs, 
viz., to spread the doctrines among the common 
people, whose ear is always open to the charms of 
rhythm and tune. But this we cannot certainly say, 

^ I have my eye particularly on Ausonius here, but earlier examples 
are freely forthcoming. 



but only that Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, wrote many 
songs on Christian themes in this measure,^ which he 
caused to be sung by the people in his diocese. 
And Ausonius and Prudentius, two court poets of the 
time, also wrote these Christian songs; and others 
that we might mention ; and among the rest, Ambrose, 
who was doubtless influenced neither by a wish to 
make proselytes, nor to find favour in imperial circles, 
but simply imitated the best remains of Pagan Art, 
after the example of those who were writing these 
songs around him. And the songs that he wrote are 
described as very beautiful, and they are all in this 
four-foot measure like the rest with one or two 
Sapphics among them, and one or two Asclepiads. 
And here are some of Ambrose^s songs, which 
henceforward we may begin to call hymns, which 
he ordered to be sung in the Christian church at 
Milan, as Hilary had done before in Poitiers : — 







k i 


■■ S 


19 ,. 


^^ s 




ort - 



di - ne 

-^ — 


— ^ — 



— al — 


N 1 

— s — -d — 


us - 



ter - 



mi - tem, 

^ 1 


.s . 



■■■'•' ' 


S ^ '■ 









ci - pem, 

^ 1 







a^ S 

Na - 


Ma - 




- gi - nis. 

Another : — 

J 1 1 





^^ J 


m 1 

■ *^ 




S S'-' ■ 


lu - 





de - re, 

1 At; " T.nri 

" «T 

nnKic rranrl.-a • ' 

Quadragenarise : " " Jesus refulsit omnium," &c. 














*.. _ 




■*' ■'■ 


De - 



pre - 

ce - 





- pli - 
















di - 




— Pl— 


- ti - 


-at — 


— ^ 




- vet 



no - 




- ti - 







_. ,»,s, 



Lin - 

I J 


re - 

fre - 




- pe - 



1 ^ 


,.._ ^ ^ 



li - 




- ror 




- gru 










Vi - 


— s — 



fo - 




- do 

— at~ 



- te - 



-at — 



»l — 



— s — 

ni - 

— ^ — 

ta - 

s — 




— ^— 

ri - 







di - 




- ces 

se - 













— ^ — 

- tem 


— -M — 

- que 

— -^ — 



re - 



— J— 

e - 


^ — 






- di 




- ti 

■ nen 


- ti - 














And it will be seen that this is in stanzas of four 
lines each, and this was the general way of writing 
these Songs, or Hymns. And from the gravity of 
the matter, and the occurrence of so many spondees 
among the feet, we might w»ll assume that the pace 

CHAPTER lY. 183 

was a slow one at which they were sung, and write 

which, perhaps, when we get tidings of their melodies, 
we may be tempted to do : but in the meantime 
we have written them as we have, to bring out their 
affinity to the Pagan music, which we now allude 
to for the last time. For their music is regulated by 
measure, and they are written in lines, and each 
syllable of the words has a note in the music and 
no more, just as it was among the Greeks, So that 
there can be no doubt from what source they have 
come. And hereafter we may find the Hymn 
standing in antagonism to the Psalm, and representing 
another direction of Christian music. But in the 
meantime it was barely effecting an entry. And it 
was owing to a Pagan revival, as I take it, that it 
could do so. And we have shown Ambrose^s music 
before, how much it was indebted to Pagan influences — 
but now more so. And Ausonius and Prudentius 
studied to introduce the elegancies of the Pagan poets 
into their hymns ; and after them, Sedulius and 
Fortunatus wrote many hymns, that were most 
elegant in composition, of whom Fortunatus was made 
a Saint of the church for the beautiful hymns he 
wrote. And three great names in Music, that is, 
comparatively great, for we are in a barren age, and 
must judge things only by their surroundings — three 
names appear in Music now, Martianus Capella, 
Cassiodorus, and Boethius, of whom Cassiodorus 
only was a Christian, but the other two were Pagans. 
And these men are remarkable, not for their compositions, 
for they were not composers, but for their learned 
treatises on the Art of Music, which afterwards became 


the foundation of the Science of the Middle Ages. 
And with Martianus Capella the Musical Treatise rises 
to the interest of a Romance, so charming is the . 
invention with which he surrounds it. His treatise is 
called, " The Nuptials of Mercury and Philology," and 
he supposes the marriage of Philology to Mercury ; 
and Venus and the other deities, and also Orpheus, 
Amphion, and Arion, are assembled to honour the 
ceremony. The Sciences, who are personified as 
male and female, also attend, to the number of seven. 
Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, 
Astronomy, and Music. And Music is represented 
as a beautiful maiden, having her head decked with 
a variety of ornaments, and bearing in her hand the 
symbol of the faculty over which she is feigned to 
preside. She is made to exhibit the power of musical 
sounds by such melody as Jupiter himself commends, 
and this is succeeded by a request of Apollo and 
Minerva that she would unfold the history of her 
art. She tells them that she was formerly an 
inhabitant of the earth, and that through the 
inspirations of Pythagoras, Aristoxenus, and others, 
she had taught men the use of the Lyre and the 
Pipe : and by the singing of birds, the whistling of 
the winds, and the murmuring of waterfalls had 
instructed even the artless shepherds in the rudiments 
of melody. That by her power she had cured diseases, 
quieted seditions, and attempered the irregular affections 
of men : notwithstanding all which, she was now 
despised and reviled by these sons of earth, and had 
therefore sought the heavens, where she found the 
motions of the heavenly bodies regulated by her own 
principles. She then proceeds to explain the precepts 
of the musical art in a short discourse, which, if we 
consider the style and method of it rather than the 


substance, must be allowed to be a very elegant 
composition. Martianus concludes the ninth book of his 
treatise thus : — When Music had discoursed of these 
things, conceiving songs and the sweetness of verse in a 
manner both august and persuasive to the gods 
and heroes, who were very intent, she decently 
withdrew. Then Jupiter rose up, and Cymesis, 
modulating in divine symphonies, came to the chamber 
of the virgin, Philology, to the great delight of 

These Seven Sciences, which Martianus introduces 
in poetical allegory here, Cassiodorus is at pains to 
demonstrate as commensurate with the whole extent 
of human knowledge, to show which is the object of 
his book, De septem disciplinis^ one of the most learned 
works of the age. And Boethius considers them 
thus: 2 Of these seven, three are Moral — Rhetoric, Logic, 
and Grammar, which are concerned with the 
expression of thought, and the form in which it 
shall reach the minds of others, as by Rhetoric it may 
be made to awake their emotions, &c. And four are 
Mathematical or Speculative — Arithmetic, Geometry, 
Music, and Astronomy, whose aim is the investigation 
of truthv But in these four. Music holds a unique 
position, for though its main scope may be the 
investigation of the accuracy of intervals and the 
determining the due proportion of strings, &c., according 
to numbers, yet it must be allowed to have a 
practical side as well, in which it offers great 
affinity to the Moral Sciences. For the passions are 
affected by it, when it comes to the mind through 
the ears. And a wanton man will like wanton tunes, 

1 Martianus Capella, in Hawkins. I. 
- Bocithius. De Musica. Cap. i. 


and a chaste man sober tunes ; so that moral effects 
may be plainly distinguished in notes and notes. 
Music, therefore, though for the sake of order it may 
be classed with the Speculative Sciences, must yet be 
held as occupying a middle position between the 
Speculative and the Moral, and combining the 
characteristics of both. And Boethius reviews the 
whole system of ancient music in his treatise, and 
revives the doctrines of Pythagoras, to which he as a 
rule assents. And with the exception of the Modes, 
which he does not give us, he treats most exhaustively 
of the Nature of the scale, and he suggested an 
ingenious method of noting it, namely, by letters of 
the Alphabet from A to P, thus, 

-P-r— r-r-f=-^ 

i I I 1 fj -^ '^ ^ 


The names of Philolaus and Pythagoras appear now 
for the last time in history, and the doctrines of Plato 
on the nature of Music are heard once more in the 
philosophy of Boethius. The true musician, says 
Boethius, is not the twanger of strings or the blower 
of pipes, but the man who knows the nature of 
harmony, and has discovered the truth of musical 
proportions. He maintains that music is a panacea 
for all human infirmities, and the great healer of all 
ailments, whether of mind or body, steeping the soul 
in unruffled calm, and bringing peace and freedom 
from care.i And doubtless it was his music, no less 
than his philosophy, which enabled him to bear the long 
imprisonment and the inhuman tortures with which 

1 Boece. Cap^ 34. 


the Christian Emperor/ Theodoric, stamped out this 
last of the ancient Pagans, but could not destroy his 

And with the death of Boethius, that Pagan revival, 
which we have here briefly sketched, seems to have 
come to an end. The world was plunged in 
darkness more and more, till a great darkness came, 
which for centuries we shall find to wrap Europe. 
The hymns of Ambrose were little by little banished 
from the church, until at last all hymns were 
definitely excluded from the services.^ And it was 
about fifty years after the death of Boethius that 
Gregory made his arrangement of Christian Psalms and 
Music, as we have said, proceeding on different lines 
and under other influences altogether to those which 
had actuated Ambrose, making an arrangement which 
was as free from all alloy of Pagan elements as 
Gregory himself was the bitter foe of the Pagan 
spirit. And between the Antiphonary of Ambrose 
and the Antiphonary of Gregory, for so were the 
books called, because they contained the Antiphons, 
or musical pieces, that were sung in the services, 
there seems for a long time to have been the 
greatest rivalry ; and more especially in the northern 
parts of Italy, where Ambrose's influence had ever 
been strong. And for a long time there was doubt 
which would win the day, until at last a miracle 
decided the victory for Gregory. For both 
Antiphonaries were placed one night on the altar, 

^ Christian, that is, of the Arian persuasion. 

- With the exception of one or two favoured ones — St. Fortunatus' 
" Pangue lingua," and another one. These are the only hymns in 
St. Gregory's Antiphonary; and the Antiphonary in its turn must be 
taken as representing the normal service of the epoch, and indeed of 
many centuries to come. 


to see if Heaven would send a sign; and they 
were left all night on the altar. And in the morning 
the Antiphonary of Ambrose lay where it had been 
placed, but the Antiphonary of Gregory was found 
torn into a thousand pieces, and scattered all over 
the church ; from which it was understood that 
Gregory^s music would spread all over the world, 
but that Ambrose's would go no further than the 
place where Ambrose had written it, that is, in 

And remembering what large share Constantinople 
had had on Gregory's musical knowledge, we may be 
able to find some new and perhaps surprising features 
in his Antiphonary, by which it differed still more 
from that of Ambrose. For having found that one 
main feature of Ambrosian Song was as near as may 
be the syllabic utterance of the words, which 
attained its climax in the Hymn, when every 
syllable had one note only and no more, while the 
Gregorian Song, on the contrary, allowed the voice 
the utmost laxity, and syllables went for nothing, 
but now remembering that florid and querulous 
music of Constantinople, and how much alike was 
its quavering to the emotional style of the Christians, 
we may well surmise that Gregory must needs have 
been influenced more or less by what he became 
familiar with there, and was likely to have introduced 
some of these mistaken graces, imagining them beauties, 
as ornaments and decorations of simple Christian 
song. And so indeed we find it to be; but perhaps 
are not right in imagining that so severe a man as 
he would stoop to adornment or decoration, and the 
tmth would appear to be that his very fidelity led 
him to make use of these things ; and wishing to 
record Christian song exactly as it was traditionally 


sung, he found that many of the graces and turns of 
Byzantine music came as near as might be the 
weaknesses and hesitations of the simple Christian 
singers ; as an uneducated voice, that trembles on its 
note, is not far removed from a skilful voice, that 
trills there ; and if we would actually record this 
very trembling, we might do worse than make a 
regular trill served to represent it. And we have 

spoken before of — -j^j^ — and — I- Q^ l and 


— ^ — ' :;^~\ &c., which are represented in the music as 

zz^— n= =tzz:ggz^ and -^-r^hfF^ &c., but 

there are many more of these things, which he has not 
been content to express merely loosely thus, but has 
gone to the artifices of Byzantine song, for parallel 
figures, to convey them exactly as they were 
sung. For he often sets a figure over some notes, 
which we know to be the same as the Quilisma, or 
Turn, of the Byzantine music, and is called by the 
same name, though tradition would make a trill to be 
the manner of performing it, rather than the simple 


turn between two notes —^~jr*-^ — as we found it 

before. And this he would think aptly set at some 
note in the song, where the emotion of the singers 
used to reach a great intensity, and writing it 

— f-P-p-j^-is* — H- — he would render as near as mig-ht 
mhaSEttnizt^ ^ 

be the character of the utterance by the musical 


forms he was familiar with. And that behaviour of 


the voice in slurring its intervals — ^ — * ^ \ ■ ■ , which 


gave so peculiar a colour to the music in general, 


and which is represented by the common — ^zz^pzlz:; 

r^ — b^*g — — - 

of the chants, he has chronicled more daintily at 
times by a figure, which is evidently the Byzantine 
Antikenoma, or Portamento. It is called Giitturalis 
by the medieval writers, and consisted in three or 
more, sounds blended together by one movement of 
the throat. And the anticipations and prolongations 

ZZ'ysz^ ~~l~~ rj^' — when they were not pronounced 

enough to form part of the song, as they commonly 


did in the forms — t— L^-'i — =- — (=^-22 — — he had 

the appoggiaturas of the Byzantine music, the Lygisma, 
the Tzakis7na, the Bai'eia, to render them exactly by, 
and accordingly we find throughout his Antiphonary 
these figures of constant occurrence, which are called 
PHcas, or Eptaphoims, and CepJialictis, and are precisely 
the Appoggiatura, some descending and some ascending. 
So careful was he to preserve down to the minutest 
details every shade of tone, and so convenient were 
the idle graces of the Byzantines, from their similarity 
to the impassioned artlessness of Christian song. 
Indeed it seems in music such as this, the minutiae 
were almost as important, or more so than the actual 
notes themselves, for by their means that singular 
peculiarity of Christian music alone could be conveyed 


— I mean, the great part that was played in it by 
mere expression. "Their music," it has been well 
said, "was the language of the passions at their 
greatest tension, in their strongest emotions." ^ And 
those chaoses of notes which we have before given, 
when speaking of the Gregorian song, were made 
plain and definite to the hearers, through being 
lit up by the most varied expression of feeling. So 
different was this style to that of Pagan song, which, 
if plastic and symmetrical, has yet something of the 
coldness of marble about it ; but this was alive with 
the finest emotion. And how well has Gregory 
contrived to preserve this too ! For every now and 
then, over the words and notes that need it, he has 
set letters to mark the expression that is to be given 
to these notes. And over some is written /, which 
stands for "loud," "/^/ cwn fragore seii freiidore feriatii,}' ; 
and over others p for ^'pressio," which means "soft;" 
and over others ni for moderate tone or mezzo, 
''^ mediocriter \^ other notes have e over them, which 
denotes that they must be sung smoothly, ^' eqtialitei' •" 
others t, which like our te?i. for temito, means that 
the note must be held, " itt trahatur." V is another 
form of /, standing for valde, " loud," while ^ is a 
mark of dimimiendo, and is placed before this V much 

as we place :^ before a forte, to show that 

the increase in sound must be gradual. 

And these marks of expresssion suggest these 
thoughts about the music, for they show us what 
pulses of feeling beat throughout it, and how its 
merit lay in expressing to the uttermost every shade 
of thought, being in this respect, with all its 
formlessness, much the superior of the Pagan song. 

^ The Abbe de Ja Tour's Observations sur les nouveaux Breviaires. 



in which accuracy of expression was often sacrificed 
for the sake of rhythmic contour. For while the 
classical musician, forgetting or ignoring the sense of 
individual words, would let his strain run on with no 
thought but to round off the melody well, the 
Christian music rises and falls with every throb of 
sentiment,^ and having for its aim, so near was it to 
nature, the exact reflection of the language. For how 
many passages might we quote like the following, 
where the sound is such a partner to the 
sense : — 

Vi - de - runt om 










fi - nes ter 

zgf gz^zag^g^ -gz^^zg^^g^^g-- 


sa - lu - ta 

re de 


-P^"—' -P-^- 

nos - tri . 

ju - bi - la - te 

^ In allusion to the above, I may well translate from Baini's 
Memorie storico-critiche sopra la vita di G-. Pierluigi da Palestrina. II. 
82 : " The execution of the Gregorian Song was of a great delicacy, 
and comformable to the style ,'indicated by the figures of the notation. 
I have read in certain ancient authors that they made common use 
of the piano, crescejido, diminuendo ; also of trills, groups, and 
mordentes ; sometimes accelerating the song, sometimes retarding it ; 
the voice passing by degrees from piano to pp., and developing thence 
to the loudest forte. The art of the portamento was known and 
practised. Hence the immense satisfaction of the hearers, as many 
passages in the Holy Fathers attest," &c. &c. 





:^-_s. -f=2_i^-_,=2_ 


— I 1 1 1 1 1 1 f 1 





where that high ascent on the word, " Dei," is 
admirably representative of the glory which they 
would give to " God," and also that prolonged note of 
triumph at the "Jubilate" is just the exultation of 
Christians in the summons to "rejoice." 

Or let us take a passage such as this, " Boiinni est 
sperare in domino'' "It is a good thing to trust in 
the Lord," and what notes of wild rapture at the 
" Bonum" as of men who from their hearts believed 
it was so ! — 



- p ^ 1 




Bo - num , 










s] e - ra - ro 

-^---' ;g -g- P- -g^_-. ^qg:JE l_-p:_-g-_-gL^- 


ip fl(j - mi • 110, 



Or in the following, " Universi qtii te expectant tion 
conftmdenftir, Domine" if the voice wavers on 
" expectant^' how firm does it become on " noji 
confufidenttir" "ihey shall never be confounded," singing 
it almost syllable for syllable ! 









Un r i - ver 






qui te ex - pec 










And many more apposite than these we might 

And let us now, to conclude, write these or others, 
with all Gregory's marks of expression and devices to 
render the tiniest fluctuations of tone, and we shall see 
what vast lore of musical language he had gathered 
together, and with what pains and art this compilation 
of Christian song had been made, so that we fnay 
well admire how wonderful a transcription it is of 
vocal utterance, such as never perhaps had been seen 
in the world before : — 

f ritard. acce 

„*_^P2_t=--(— — I 1 1 1 1 X^—K 

- — h- 1— —I \ — bii-"t^- 






rando. ^ 


mi - ne de - re 



_^ _, accelerando. 

f ^^^=gS^ 




-P7^~ p: 

Jr-I sij !— pz 






per pu - 

^' «^^-?/. 

.£^^^- lento. 

y ^?c/"^/. 




;a//. rtcr - el 



ant. . . . 



-(^-P -^^-fS- g 






tes i quo - ni 

accel ' er - ando. 

tu PO 

ral - len - /ando. 



•iS>-P-:— S"- 


■ I--J . fS ,- 1 kawyt— .iJ 

:, ^~f^'n ~f?: 

tis - si - mus su - per om 





:^ — ^ 

-^3— i-^-<^- 


iS>—^ — f^ 




I Antiphonaire de St. Giegoire. St. Gall. MS. 


.^. acccl. rail - en - tando. ^ 

Such then was the skill of Gregory in selecting from 
the jaded art of Constantinople whatever suited his 
purposes, and gaining thereby a consummate means of 
musical expression, without which the record of the 
emotional Christian song had been plainly impossible. 
For the elder and purer Pagan music, with its bold 
and simple outlines, and strong rhythmic character, 
would not have helped him at all, even if it had 
been accessible to him. And so rejecting some things 
and retaining others, let us see what he rejected and 
what he retained : And of the graces of song he 
rejected many that were plainly artificial, and retained 
only those that were a near approach to nature. And 
he retained the scale in the musical system, and of 
the Modes he retained eight but rejected four, that 
is, the Middle Modes. And he rejected the 
Enharmonic genus, because probably it was too 
difficult of execution, and the Chromatic, because it 
was instrumental and to a certain extent artificial. 
Likewise those degenerate forms of these, the Soft 
and Hcmiolian Chromatic, and the Soft Enharmonic, 
he also rejected ; retaining only the Diatonic genus, 
in which all his music is set. And time marks and 
rhythmic measurings &c., were plainly of no use to 
him, since the Christian music had nothing in common 
with time or rhythm.. And these too he rejected. 

And, having finished his collection, he had formed 
a unity, which was, so to speak, the Epic of Christian 
Music. And in its character it most strikingly resembled 

' lb. 


the music which it represented and contained. For 
it was not h"ke other Epics, a beautiful and 
symmetrical whole ; but a unity of fragments roughly 
pieced together, as the music has been found to be 
but strings of rudely jointed phrases, lying side by 
side, with little order and no art ; so Gregory's 
Antiphonary is a series of unconnected Graduals and 
Antiphons, with no bond of union but a common spirit 
which holds them all together. And now, as we have 
said, the Ambrosian Song, with its melodious forms 
and rhythmic hymnsj which was the Pagan element 
predominant, was fast retreating, or had already 
retreated into obscurity and neglect before the 
Christian Song of Gregory. All hymns were banished 
from the services, for there was something Pagan an ' 
heretical about them, for these were what the 
heretics had sung, and Arius, Bardesanes, Valentine, 
were names of execration in the universal dominion 
of Christianity. And having finished his Antiphonary 
then in the manner that we have described it, 
Gregory bound it by a chain on the altar 
of St. Peter's, to be a canon and norm of Christian 
Song for ever.' 



The Indians cut notches in sticks to record their 
music by ;^ the Peruvians tied knots in string for 
the same purpose.^ And using these sticks or 
string as we use a music-sheet they could sing 
their songs with ease by the help of this rude 

But the Indians have got further than " music- 
sticks," as they call them. They have regular Music 
Boards, which are flat pieces of the bark of a birch 
tree, on which they draw or paint the characters of 
their music.^ And these characters are very limited 
in number, and very elementary, as we may well 
imagine. For when the tune is to go up, they draw 
the figure of a little man with his hands up, so, 

and this indicates an ascent of the vorcc* 

And when it is to continue at the same level, they 
draw this sign, 777"/ /////. And they have another sign 

for an ascent of the voice, JX which, it must be 
allowed, is admirably expressive of the meaning. 

And a sign for a high and sudden- ascent n( 

' Schoolcraft. I. chap. VI. ' Garcilasso de la Vega. II. 27. 

* Schoolcraft, loc. cit. 

* Kohl's Wanderings round Lake Superior, p. 287. 



which also conveys it well. And if the voice is to 
move smoothly and wavily — we might almost say 
if it is to slur its notes — they draw the figure of 

a man on a curved line, thus, H^^^"^ Also they 
have a sign for a 4-epeat, which it is not so easy to 


, and a sign for a pause, which is 

very like our double bar 

And these form 

their musical notation.^ 

And they place these here and there in their 
songs among the words — whenever, we suppose, there 
is a danger of the tune eluding the memory of the 
singer,^ or when it takes an unexpected turn, which 
these marks recall ; and sometimes, when the words 
are learnt by heart, these signs are placed alone, 
as in the following song, (and it will be seen that 
their words are written by pictures, for they are 
still in the stage of picture writing) : — 

A Wigwam. 

Sign of Repeat. 

I enter into and bring a The words and i have come 

the wigwam of fine sacrifice, """sic of the j^ ^ 

4.U TVT J' preceding must ,, ^ ^ 

the Medes, therefore be thee, 

sung twice. 

1 Kohl's Wanderings round Lake Superior, p. 287. sq. 

* " When he began to sing," says tCohl of the Indian whom he 
heard, " his voice went up and down as he looked at the music in 
accordance with the notes to which he pointed with his finger, " p. 290. 



A Bear. 

A Path. 

That thou wilt 
give me this animal, 
the Beaf- 


I will walk on 
the right path 
for it. 

Now I have walked 
long enough, and 
tny medicine sack 
is strengthened.^ 

Darin;'- these hist s{(f//s, tJic following words must be 
sung, of zv/iich t/uy give the music: 

" Give me this animal, as thou didst promise to do, when 
I go hunting in the backwoods. Thou saidst to me, ' 1 
will bless thee with my abundance, and thou shalt even see 
thy table full. There will always be a beast for thee.' " 

If we were to interpret these musical signs, 
then, by modern characters, we must write them, 

//////// ■ 







or from same 
point upwards. 


-iS* — 




for beyond the slur, the value of this sign 

These signs then, it will be seen, are attempts to 
make pictures of the sound, as the words in their 
writing are pictures of the objects. And musical 
notation begins, as the notation of language does, 
with picture writing. 

» Kohl. loc. cit. 


Now whether the knot music of the Peruvians had 
anything in common with this, we cannot say, but 
should imagine not, and that it proceeded on a 
different principle altogether. And hearing that 
the Peruvian Knot-writing was principally used to 
keep registers and censuses and accounts, ^c.,*^^ that is, 
that its scope was in the main an arithmetical one. 
we may suppose that such a writmg applied to 
music would be chiefly devoted ro registering the 
Rhythm of the music, as so many knots would denote 
so many beats or measures, and the melody of the 
songs would be left out of the question, and only 
this part of them recorded in the Knot Music, as 
indeed the rhythm v/as left out of the question, and 
only the melody attended to, in the picture 

Such are the rude beginnings of Musical Notation 
that meet us at the threshold of things. And these 
two instances are the only ones we have news of. 
For most savages,^ and even elder nations of antiquity, 
such as the Egyptians, for instande,^ were content to 
note their songs by words alone, and make no attempt 
to register the tone, which is but a shirking of the 
question, and implying, as it does, that the tune must 
in all cases be learnt by heart, can be of no aid to 
us in examining the notation of music. 

Nor do we find any further attempts in this way 
till a considerable period after the savage state, and 
at a much later stage of musical development, when 
men had passed from a mere general estimate of 

^ Tylor. Early History of Mankind, p. 157. 

^ e.g. the songs quoted in Schoolcraft I. 401. in Catlin, and most 
of those in Engel are merely pictiire writings of the words. 

' e.g. the Egyptian Threshing Song from the Tomb at Eileithyias 
translated by ChampoUion, is merely concerned with the words. 


musical tone to an acquaintance with the actual notes 
that composed it ; when, that is to say, they could 

construe an upward sweep of sound into — .^— ^ 


and a downward one into — j - ■■ j^ — p^ — , and 

then, and it is to the C hines e we must go for this' 
second system of notation, being acquainted with the 
notes that composed the scale, they named the notes, 
and used these names to note their music by.^ And 
the Chinese, who had but Five jxptes in their scale, 

.<s> — Q-— S- — called the lowest one The 


E mpero r {Koung JZ} ), because it was the base and 

foundation of the Scale, and all the other notes, so 
to speak, defended upon it. And the Second one 

r2 — 
rz they called the Prime Min ister (Tschang 

/-k'/j, because they thought its sound had something 

sharp and harsh about it, and for this reason they 
called it the Prime Minister. And the Third note 

-<s> — : 

, which they consider to have a soft and 

mild tone, they called the Subject, because subjects 
must always be soft and mild in their behaviour, and 

'subject' in Chinese is Kio, L — i . And the Fourth 

- Vg^' ._. r" they called Public Business {Tsche /'\ ), 

* La Borde. Essai sur la Musique. I. 144. 


because it is a quick and energetic tone, and public 
business must be quickly and energetically conducted. 

And the Fifth f^-— . which they hold to be the 

most brilliant and majestic of the tones, they called 

Yu ( Jl ), that IS, " The Mirror of the Universe," 

because all that is brilliant and excellent in musical 
nature is concentrated in this tone. And having 
named their notes in this way, henceforth they had a 
perfect system of musical notation always to hand, for 
they had merely to write the names of the notes 
one after another, and everything was intelligible to 
the singer or player ; as Koung, Tsche, Kio, Koung^ 
Yu, Kio, Tsche, or, in Chinese characters, 

is quite as intelligible to the musician, as that we 
translate it by, 

S» ^ T 


and this they would place either side by side with 
the words, or, if it were an instrumental piece of 
music, they would write the notes by themselves. And 
sometimes, as if for the sake of greater clearness, and 
possibly it was to help the singers to measure the 
intervals between the notes better, they would write 
each note on a little square by itself, and join them 
by lines in the direction the tune was going, 
setting them at proportionate heights, in this 





whir.ji ifteans, 



or, to treat the melody we have already given in the 

same manner, it will become, ^ 


But this is by no means the commonest way of 
doing, and is but seldom employed, because the other 
way, with the names of the notes ranged side by 
side, as we have given them before, is quite 
sufficient for all purposes, being readily intelligible to 
all who know their meanings.^ 

But what is easy and natural to the Chinese, with 
whom a word and a letter is the same thing, becomes 
cumbrous and troublesome to other nations, whose 
words contain many letters. And the Chinese could 
write their music with rapidity and freedom, setting 
the name always for the note, because the name was 
merely a letter, easily written, and the system was an 

' The whole question of Chinese notation is admirably treated in 
Autrust RcJssmann's Musikalisches Conversations-Lexikon 


eminently manageable one. But let us see how 
cumbrous such a method became with the Greeks, for 
instance. For the Greeks, too, like the Chinese, had 
a name for every note. Their lowest note was 
called Proslambmiomenos. The next Hypate Hypaton. 
The next Par hypate Hypaton. The next Lichanos 
Hypaton, &c., as we have already given in former 
pages. But to write these long names, time after time, 
for each note as it occurred, was plainly out of the 
question, since the Greeks, unlike the Chinese, could 
not express a word by a single letter. They were 
therefore reduced to employing an arbitrary set of 
symbols for the notation of their music, taking the 
letters of the alphabet to stand for the notes. But 
while there were only twenty-four letters in the 
Alphabet, and there were eight Modes to be accounted 
for, and later on there were fifteen, each having 
three forms, its Diatonic, Enharmonic, and Chromatic 
form, besides those varieties of Chromatic and 
Enharmonic, the Soft Chromatic, &c., which \vc 
have before described, and, in addition to these, 
there was the simple scale of eighteen Notes, which 
must be kept distinct from the Modes — and letters 
had to be found for all these ; they were put to 
the most unnatural shifts to express this abundance 
of musical tone. And sometimes they would have 
one letter for one note, and the same letter lying 
on its side for another note, and the same letter 
upside down for another note. Then they would 
halve letters, and have the top part to stand 
for one note, and the bottom part for another note ; 
and introduce new signs that were not letters at 
all, though something like them. And all these 
devices they employed to note their music b>'. 
And indeed, as if in a spirit of bravado, or out 



of a superabundance of inventive genius, they nearly 
always set two optional signs for every note, so 
that their musical notation is very complicated 
indeed. For let us first give the simple scale in 
Greek notation, and we shall see that the symbols are 
purely arbitrary, and very difficult without long practice 
to understand : — 

7 or (-< 1 or T R or I. (p or f C P or O 

JVI or T I or<: ® or V J-^^ or 2^ IT or Z 

^ or II_ £ or IT or Z/ O- or |4 k or (- (Vl or f] 

J or <; 1 

which, read off into our notation, is, 




— ■^-^ - f^ '~_.i_._ " . t: 
I — \-~\ — t— L — — 




that is, 7 or (h for FOz=3— 7 or T for 

R or 1, for y^ — ^ — and so on. 

And now we will give one of the Modes in the same 
manner. And taking the Dorian Mode, we will write 
it in its Diatonic form by preference, besides which 
there are the Enharmonic and Chromatic forms, if we 
cared to set them down : — 

Dorian Mode. 

H or f^ ^ or E ^t^ or lij 
^ or :^ T or 7 P or J or K 


^ or H-) /} or A* 

H or> 

1 Bacchius Senior. Eisagoge. in Meibomius. For the Synemmenon, 
Alypius in Meibomius. 23. 


M or n A or ^ H or "> r or N B or / 

>C or / X or X^ I 

And each of the Fifteen Modes had similarly 
different signs. 

And these letters or signs were set over the words 
that were to be sung, as we may see from the 
following specimen, and in this way the music was 
written : — 

(T Z Z <p <p (T (T 

i M M ' 

juoXttijc S'^iw^^ KaTap\ov- 

Z Z Z E Z Z r t 
avpr} Of <TMV ott' oX(T£a>v 

MZN /0(T p MtjxT 
(fuig <ppivag covtirw. 

ap M ft (T <p p 
KaXAtoTTf/o aotpa 

fjLOvaCt)v irpoKaOayiTi ' repTTviov, 

p ((kt pM i M 
Kot fTOcpe jiivnToBfWa 

Mi E Z rMp (T M V 
AarovQ 701/f A/jA/f Hai(iv, 

M i Z M ^ (T <T 
ivfiiviig Trapeari poi. 

'• Alypius. Introductio Musica. p. 19. 


and the music of this we have given in a former part 
of this history. And we may see, by examining the 
above specimen, how hard to learn must the notation 
have been, of which this is only one Mode out of 
fifteen, and only the Diatonic form of that mode. 

Now had an arbitrary^ notation by letters been limited 
to expressing the simple scale — for instance, as we find 
Boethius proposing a similar notation by the Roman 
letters, A to P, for the simple scale, at a time when 
the modes were much diminished and forgotten, and 
their Enharmonic and Chromatic forms completely lost 
to music — it would have been a manageable and an 
easy system. But in the multitude of notes which 
demanded expression in Greek Music, such a system 
became very intricate, and perhaps was confined more 
to theory than to practice, though, in the form we 
give it, it ciirtainly endured to the reign of Adrian, 
that is to say, till the decline and almost the 
extinction of Greek Music. But before the time of 
Adrian, a new system of notation had begun. 

For in the schools of Alexandria, the critics and 
grammarians, who undertook the editing of the ancient 
poets and writers of Greece, in endeavouring to 
preserve the beautiful tones of the Greek languaf.e 
from perishing, had set marks over the words, as thty 
were spoken in the pronunciation of the time. And 
it was Aristophanes, the grammarian, as we remember, 
who invented the sign / , that is, an up stroke, to 
show when the voice should ascend, and the 
sign \ , or a down stroke, to show when it should 
descend, or remain at its original level. And being 
faced with a new material to dear with, for it was 
no longer musical notes, which may be registered by 
definite symbols, but the fluctuating rise and fall of 
speech, which defies an accurate chronicling, they wcie 


forced to invent an original method of expression, and 
in setting an up stroke / for a rise and a down 
stroke \ for a fall, they were in reality painting 
the sound, much as we found the Indians endeavouring 
to paint it at the beginning of this chapter. And 
starting like them from nature, they had curiously 
made a most similar copy, for while the Indians 

painted the ascent of the voice as ^ , the 
Alexandrian critics made it / ; and while the Indians 
had their straight line ZZZZZZZZZT for sustaining the 
voice at the same level, the Alexandrians had their 
down line \ for a descent of the voice, of which 
the principle is exactly the same. 

Now then we have heard how Aristophanes 
combined the up stroke / with the down 
stroke \ into a new form /\, or, as it was more 
commonly written by one sweep of the pen, Q , which 
meant both up and down : and how, in this way, 
while roTToc, which has the strokes separate from one 

another, would be intoned as — ^ — w — , such a word 

TO - TTOg 

as ravTu, where they are combined in the compound form, 

would become : — ^ — J — m — . And also on the last 
rav - Ta 

syllable here, the continuance of the voice at the 
same pitch, which might well have been expressed by 

a straight line , is expressed, as it always was, 

still by the down stroke \ , to avoid no doubt an 
unnecessary multiplication of signs. 

With these signs, therefore, equipped, the Greek 
language went out into the world. And it had a 
most admirable notation to express that vague play 



of the voice in speaking, which no musical characters 
could ever have conveyed — they had been too definite. 
And in this way it was written and read for centuries 
after, during which time Christianity had arisen. 
And the Christians, whose singing was so much like 
speaking, found these signs of Greek pronunciation 
served them well to note whatever of their simple 
songs thev wished to note. And the period indeed 
is plunged in darkness, but it was doubtless at 
Alexandria that the practice began, and it may be 
the beginning of it was due to Athanasius himself, 
for we know what pains he took with the singing 
of his people, and how he would rather have them 
speak than sing ;^ and perhaps he may have declared 
against the Greek musical alphabets, and preferred 
this simple style instead, or it may have suited that 
stern form of singing which he laboured to promote. 
And St. Basil, who was his great follower, may have 
received it from there, as he received the Liturgy of 
St. Mark from Alexandria, and caused it to be used 
at Csesarea. And so it may have spread to Armenia, 
for the intercourse between Armenia and Caesarea was 
very close indeed, the Armenian church being an 
offshoot from that of Csesarea, • and holding Caesarea 
as the metropolis of its faith. 

These things we say, endeavouring to trace through 
men and facts the paths which the darkness of history 
conceals from our eyes, although it lets us know that 
paths are there. For the historian, who would rebuild 
the infancy of Christian Art, or even of Christian 
Life, — his eyes must ever turn to Armenici, which was 

^ Augustine. Confess. X. cf. also Bingham's remaxks on St. 
Athanasius' singing, "the song was only with a little gentle inflexion 
find agreenble turn of the voice, not much diffeient from reading." 

CHAPTER V. 21 r 

evangelised by Gregory the Illuminator shortly before 
the time we speak of, and being from its position 
much secluded from the great world around, has 
retained many of the most ancient forms of Christian 
life, which have perished elsewhere, and also of 
Christian Art. And the Armenian music, and in the 
form we now have it, is traditionally referred by the 
Armenians themselves to the institution of Mcsropes, 
who was a contemporary of St. Basil, if indeed he 
did not come from Caesarca : whcse work it seems 
was that of an arranger, and the stream, we may 
take it, began to flow from the time of Gregory the 
Illuminator onwards, who was a contemporary of St. 
Athanasius, though somewhat older than Basil, 

Now the Armenians have many musical signs, and 
some we may take to be primitive and others to be 
later, but most, it is probable, are of the age we speak 
of. And when they mark a rise of the voice in their 
songs or psalms, they put an upstroke X over the 
word,* and when a fall of the voice, a downstroke \ ; 
and when they would have at rise and fall of the 

voice on the same syllable, they put a sign ^ , which 

is not dissimilar to Aristophanes* H ^ only wanting a 

part, and it is plain it is the same. For exact 
similarity we must not expect, which indeed it would 
be impossible to have. For as the Armenians have 
these Alexandrian signs in their music, so also they 
have 'Breathings' too,^ which are sung as appoggiaturas ; 
but how different to all appearance arc the Greek hard 

breathing ^ and the Armenian breathing r , and 
the Greek soft breathing ^ and the Armenian soft 

' Villoteau. Description de I'Egypte. XIV. 332. sq. 
» Villoteau. XIV. 330. 


breathing v , though in reality the same. For the 
Armenian signs do but invert the thick part of the 
comma, putting it at the bottom instead of at the top, 
as we may easily see by inverting the comma 
ourselves and comparing them, / the Rough, J the 
Soft, and to the Rough a stroke is added underneath. 
But these are but graces of their song, and they have 
other signs which are based on the three principal ones. 
For when the voice is to be raised forcibly and 
suddenly, they write the upstroke thick towards the 

top / and with a slight curve in it, caused evidently 
by the natural motion of the pen in such cases. And 
when the voice is to sink suddenly and forcibly, they 

make a similar figure downwards J . Now they 
have something which the Alexandrians had not ; for 
they use a short straight stroke to indicate a note __ , 
and if they would show that the next note must be 

above it, they set another stroke above, as = . These, 
it appears, and their other signs that we shall mention, 
are perfectly legitimate developments of the simple 
principle which is at the bottom of all, that is, the 
upstroke and the downstroke. Nor is there any 
reason to doubt that they are primitive, for it is plain 
that however near the Christian singing approached 
to speaking, there is yet a great gap between the two ; 
and while three Greek signs were quite sufficient to 
satisfy the inflections of speech, others would be 
immediately required directly song was the subject 
instead. So we may expect, even at the earliest times, 
additions to the little stock, but all formed on the 
same principle. For as we found just now, that the 
Armenians used a thicker up stroke than ordinary, to 
indicate a sudden and forcible ascent of the voice, 
so we may imagine that, to indicate a smooth or 


slurred ascent, they would make use of a curved line, 
even as the Indians do, who make use of a curve to 
indicate a slur. And this we accordingly find, but not 

exactly in the form we should expect it, but as C 
which indicates the ascent of a 4th. And in a 
similar way, there is a parallel figure for a descent, also 
curved, but as we might expect in the opposite 

direction j^ , to which a line is added, as we see, 
and this indicates a descent of a note and a half. 
But if a trill or shake is to be pictured, what so 
natural as to represent it by a zigzag line, as /^^ or 
vv»/ ? And both these forms are found in Armenian 
music, to represent a shake. And an ordinary tone 
or note, which we have before mentioned as, when 
standing in relation to another, being marked _ and 
one set above the other as z: &c., when it stands 
by itself is represented by a dash downwards, thus I 
And these are the principal signs in Armenian music, 
for the rest are chiefly graces. And- we have 
selected those which seemed most primitive.^ 

And when we say primitive, we speak of the earliest 
Christian times, that is, of the century or two which 
followed Basil and Athanasius. For let us take it 
that this rude notation, proceeding evidently as it does 
from the Greek accents, for notes or names of notes 
they have none, came indeed from Alexandria to 
Caesarea, and from thence was diffused to Armenia in a 
more or less developed state, where it has lain 
embalmed in its seclusion since, and is to-day not 
much different from the ancient form in which it came 
there. And then, even in Basil's time, the influence 
of Caesarea was extended to Constantinople, and the 

^ For the above, cf. VillQteau. loc. cit. 


liturgy of Basil began to be used there. And 
afterwards the Patriarch of Constantinople got the 
jurisdiction which once belonged to Caesarea, and 
Caesarea, like other dioceses of less note, was 
swallowed up in Constantinople. And here then is 
the centre of the subject now, and at Constantinopje 
the best results of Christian Art and Christian work 
of every kind would be received, and have every 
scope for development. And this would be about 
the time that Gregory came as papal legate from 
Italy to Constantinople, and remaining there for four 
years, and becoming acquainted with the musical science 
there, he afterwards returned to Italy, and collected 
and wrote his Antiphonary, But the characters in 
which he wrote his Antiphonary are almost identical 
with those Armenian characters which we have just 
been describing ; with many others added, indeed, for 
the introduction of which we must allow the two 
centuries that had elapsed since the death of Basil, 
before which event the primitive characters had 
already penetrated into Armenia, to remain untouched 
in that great storehouse of early Christianity. 

So that in the Armenian characters we have the 
primitive signs of Christian notation, and in the 
Gregorian Song we have a developed form of them ; 
yet still, as we say, with the old remaining, and 
forming the basis of the system. Now in the 
Armenian notation we have the three Greek accent 

marks, / for up, \ for down, and n for up and 
down. And in the Gregorian Antiphonary wc 
have y for up, and fl for up and down ; but the 
mark \ is generally employed in the other Greek 
use, according to which it expressed the continuance 
of the voice at the same level, as in 7roXi»r£Ai;c 


— 1 ^ t i ■ d y— And since in this sense it is merely 

TToAw - rsAijc. 
equivalent to the simple note, it is generally confounded 
with the Armenian sign for a note, in both its forms, 

_ and I , and as a rule written thus. And also 
we have the Armenian sign for an ascent of the 
voice from a low note note to a high, the curved 
line C , which appears in the Gregorian Antiphonary 
in precisely the same form C ? and perhaps from its 
use there we may discover the meaning of this 
curving of the line, for it is used for a slurred 
interval, and denotes two sounds tied and ascending, as 

e?— F^:— ?-r-^- 

^^Ei EeE^EE teE^^, yet with the 

interval filled up by a Portamento ; as we should 

"^^^ . 

write it F^~P^'~'~ f^— "^^tE ^^"^ ^"*^ ^^^^ 

that other curved Armenian sign 3 , which denoted a 
descent of a note and a half, also appears in the 
Gregorian music, but in this form ) , that is, with 
the curve bent more. And this denotes a slurred 

interval downwards, as 

being the converse of the former sign.^ And lastly the 

* In the Guidonian. MSS. this sign is translated by two simple 
notes tied and ascending. The introduction of the Portamento is the 
happy suggestion of Pere Lambillotte. 

* In the Guidonian MSS, this sign like the former is rendered by 
plain notes. The Portamento is again due to the demonstrations of 
Pere Lambillotte, who has made a happy application of the words of 
Guidoj "liquescunt vero in multis voces more hterarum, ita ut inccptus 
modus unius ad alteram limpide transiens, nee fmiri Videatur." 


Armenian sign for a shake wt/ appears as col/ or 

i4V , and with the same meaning. And these are 

the Armenian signs we find in Gregory. 

But having now shown the similarity or identity, 
we must now go on to display the variety. For if 
in the Armenian signs we have the primitive Christian 
notation of the time, and perhaps even of the liturgy 
of St. Basil, we must imagine many developments and 
additions in the two centuries that intervened between 
then and the time when Gregory wrote. And 
development proceeds as a rule by composition. And 
first, the variety has arisen from these old signs being 
compounded into new ones. As let us take this last 
sign that we wrote, the Shake, and we shall find that 
the Gregorian is really a compound sign, and not 
the simple Armenian form. For it is compounded of 
the Armenian shake frw/ and the upstroke /, as we 

may see by examining it, lax/ , and testifies to its 

composition by the notes that are assigned it in 
Gregorian Song, for this is the translation of the sign 

into music —^^-^f- p -^— , and the high note here is 

evidently the up stroke, which is compounded with the 
original shake as we have shown. But the composition 
of the other signs exhibits a more remarkable variety. 

And on the analogy of that first compound H , which 

was originally written /A , and compounded of the 
up stroke and the down stroke, and so used even by 

the Alexandrian Greeks — and this sign meant — ^- a»— 

as we have said, — ^ — for the up stroke and zzmtz for 
the down — so now another compound had been formed 

CIIAf'TER V. 217 

which was just the reverse of this, and was to indicate 

not — _—* but zza!z_zz . and consequently the down 

sign was put first and the up stroke second, and 

the sign appeared as \/ ot s/ , This is the 

second compound sign that we find. And the next is 
the following : For the point now was to invent a sign 
for three ascending notes ; and the combination of 
ascending and descending was easy and lucid, but this 
was difficult For three up strokes one after another 
would be out of the question, for they would only end 
in being one long stroke. So the device was hit on 

of writing an up stroke / and then a note of 

continuation _. , /"", and then another up stroke j^ , 

and so a manageable sign was made, in which, though 
the note of continuation was for the moment forced out 
of its meaning, three ascending notes were very 
fairly expressed. And this sign did duty for 


i — , which we had better write for 

Now to 

represent the converse of this, that is, three descending 
notes, what so natural as to write the sahie sign the 

other way round, that is, / > which stood therefore for 
This saved the search for a new 

sign, although it was to a certain extent a dangerous 
expedient, because it violated the principles of the 
notation for the convenience of the moment, which, 
however, its excessive aptitude may excuse. The truth 


is kept to, however, better in the following sign, which 
is the same as the first of these two, but has a 

different meaning : _/ ; for the note of conti^iuation 

is now used merely as a coupler of the two up 
strokes, and the sign stands for two notes ascending, 

-'I —— &c. To distinguish it however 

from the first sign, the lower upstroke is made thicker 
than ordinary, as we have represented it J . And in 
the following sign, which is the inverse of this, that is, 

EE^^gEE^Eg^^. the 

two notes descending 


composition is effected by joining the upstroke with 
the downstroke, as we have before found it in the 

most primitive compound sign n or/\ ; but since 

this one differs from that in marking a smaller interval 

of descent, not i^'^^stzu:, that is to say, but only 


•Ezz , to express this, the downstroke is 

shortened by half, and the sign becomes / or / 

Now then these compound signs themselves begin 
to be compounded into new ones, and thus a new set 
of signs are formed, which we may call double 
compounds. For take this last sign that we have 
written /^ ; and this is compounded with the 
compound sign of ascent v , which we noticed as the 

inverse of O and stood for F <^'- ]~^ — , and a new 
sign is made V which therefore expresses 

CHAl'TER V. 219 

And in the same way, when the 

object was to descend a third instead of a second from 
P__ — "p**^ ,. r7~^ — ^ — p . ■ (^ 

b ^zztznz to -fe- T -. instead of to SE^ , 

V could be compounded with the original n , and ♦ ) 

or as it was more usually written t/l , would express 

■T-, — j g > ^' ■ - & — 

% ..| I — i ■ And to this again a simple upstroke 

could be added, k/1/ , and then the sign would express 
• ^' ' — ^-^^^l >■■■ — — so that now we have come to 

triple compounds. And the original sign could be 
written twice over, and yet form one sign, but a 

quadruple sign, as i/Vl , which then would stand for 
hy^ — i— - '' ^ — y-'i !" ■■■ or, as it more usually stood. 

for r *P"' '— ' ' — ' >■■ ■ — , for there was much 

freedom in the dimensions of the intervals especially 

in the compound signs, and though D in its 

simple form represented a larger interval than / , 
yet in composition it was often used the same. And 
the signs got to be associated with common runs of 
melody instead of with definite intervals, and so 
precision of extent was often lost to them — and this we 

must be prepared for. And the compound sign 1/2/ 
FPz:— t ■ 1 1 ^as combined with that curved 


sign for a slurred interval, which we met at the 

beginning '] , and became 7 ; but though this 

should have stood strictly for r/gv— jg - ' r " P — |~''^n^~ 

yet a longer descent is employed for the last sign, 
and the notes become F^:— | \ ! — |~"*'P' '■ And 

the sign v (and in this the intervals are more 
strictly kept) was compounded with itself J , and 
in this form represented precisely a double v, standing 

And to this the downward 

sign n was sometimes added, v , or, as it was 
commonly written a/^ , and then the notes ran 

■ | 1 :| ^, — . And sometimes the down 


sign n was added twice, making the sign e/ , and 
then the notes become 

>{— <s — ^ — ^— is' 

So that the actual intervals of the signs may vary, 
but their directions and main principles vary never. 
And throughout all, we may see the voice rising at 
the up stroke and sinking at the down stroke, precisely 
as we found it at the threshold of the system. So 
that wherever we find an Upstroke, we may say that 
there a high note is meant, and wherever a Down- 
stroke, a low one ; as take this last compound sign 

that we gave y^ ' , and it is plain that reducing it 

from its curves to strokes, there are four strokes of 


either kind in it, for it is composed of two v and two 
n , and the stroke at -A^ /, which we mark with a 

cross, is in reality a double upstroke, being the last 

stroke of the second v and the first of the first H 
combined. And resolving this sign then into actual 

strokes, it becomes / , which therefore, with a low 

note for a down one and a high note for an up one, 

^^ f^^* _ (=? ^ „ .^ 
IS easily seen to be | 

•<= ^ '=' r r 

and that these notes should take the particular positions 
which we have already given them, is owing, as we 
have said, to them being associated and probably 
having come into use to express that particular run 
of melody, which is an oft recurring one. And these 
eight notes would all be sung to one syllable, which is 
the case with all the double signs, and evidently the 
original intention of their construction, just as it was 

with the simple circumflex sign H of the Alexandrian 
Greeks. But when only one note was sung to the 
syllable, then the simple signs were used. And also 
when any runs of notes even on the same sj'llable were 
to be expressed, which were not expressible by double 
signs, for the double signs were limited, and there were 
many motions of the voice which would not tally with 
them. For these, then, the simple signs were used ; 
and we have seen how height was expressed in them 
by X, and the simple note by __ or i , just as it was 
in the Armenian notation. But these simple notes 
could be made to express degrees of height by 
themselves, without necessarily employing in all case« 
the / , or up stroke; and this was done by the simple 


device of placing them one above the other, as = 
or = , which also was employed in the Armenian 
system. And to show all these things in action, 
without any longer pausing on lifeless explanation, let 
us write a piece of music by benefit, of these signs 
that we have given. And already we have got the 

following : /l _ v/O /^/Co jVjW Jirs J^ J^^jf) 

together with r i p , '"^nd the curved signs of 
the Armenian notation C , and the shake wt/ —of 
all which we have already given the meaning. And 
writing a piece of music by their help, we will arrange 
them as follows : — 

1~ _ ^//r)'r)9_/ 

which, written in modern musical characters, become : — 


:^-i^-<^7 -(g r:^_.^,jg_gj_g— 

g=:E=£iz|zii£z]g-l^JV?— r? g: 

?3=zp?z=^izp ?-p-- Ft— g 

h»^* ^"^ -— »= 1- — f i i n 

And these characters were written over the words, 
just like the Greek accents were. And it will be 


seen we have set no key-note, because they never give 
one. And the signs may be used at any height 
and any depth, and often with great varieties of 
interval. And indeed they have all the vagueness of 
accents, and, like the Christian music which they 
express, are rather vague movements of sound, than the 
marks of any definite determinate melody. 

Yet must we not think that in these signs, as we 
have written them here, we see the sum and limit 
of the Gregorian notation. On the contrary we 
see but its outlines, and the details, though tedious, 
we yet must study. For many were the hands 
through which these characters had passed before 
they came even to his knowledge, and various were 
the forms which the taste or caprice of penmen had 
set upon them ; so that did we not know the ground 
principles of their structure, we might well admire 
how so many different shapes could all be but 
varieties of the same thing. For first, to take the 

simple compound sign n , which we met with 

among the Greeks as A , and afterwards as H in 
the form we give it, this appears in Gregory's 
Manuscript in the following different forms : — J '^ 

X? 7 ^^ '9 A // // . And to these latter 

turns a downstroke is often added on the top, as 
if to indicate their meaning better, and it is, like 

them, curved ( ^ ^^ or even / . And then the 
triangular form is written square towards the top 

/ , which passes into I , and so on to I I 1 , 

and eventually to i . Yet all these, as we may 

easily see, are but varieties of the original A and H . 
And in the same way with the upward compound 
sign V. It is seldom if ever written in this exact 


form, but always with the right stroke taller than the 

left V , which comes more natural to the pen, 
and can be much more rapidly written. And 
this form, as we may imagine^ appears in such 

varieties as these: — v^v/^J A or even as J\ , or with 

the bottom curved, as c/ c/ J ,i and sometimes the 

curve continued to a circle^ as c/ </ ; and sometimes 
as if some ornate penman had improved the top 

Kj , And all these are confessed to mean the 

same. But the simple upstroke /^ appears with 
still more surprising varieties, for it is written 

/// V //■/■// J I I ■ And 

these various forms, I think, are easily and naturally 

explicable. For when the pen writes an upstroke / , 
it fills a little with ink at the top, catching the 
paper slightly, or whatever else may be the reason, 
and this will naturally give the dot at the top, 

which we see in the second form / , which 

becomes more pronounced in the third form / , But 
now this stroke with a dot at the top becoming 
an established way of writing the upstroke, penmen 
would find this dotted stroke was easier written 
downwards, as forms 4, 5, 6, are obviously downwards, 
and so, though still intending the upper stroke, 
they would write it from the top downwards, 
instead of the way in which it was written at 

first. Now the 7th, 8th, and 9th forms /" / / , 

on the contrary, are written upwards again, and 
have plainly arisen from the travelling of the pen, 
in rapid writing, to the character that it is to come 
next, just as the dot from, its pausing. But the 
lOth, nth, and 12th forms are an application of the 


new form to a downward writing of the stroke, and 
the 13th and last one is also written downwards, a 
twist of the pen taking the place of a dash. Now 
the sign of the simple note, — or i , is written 
very carelessly. And first it is often expressed by 
a mere dot . , and these dots are set above one 
another, as we said the strokes — were, to express a 
rise or fall of the melody, as ^ • ^ • * * • ^ &c. 
But the strokes themselves are written — \ / , in 
fact in any direction, and we only know they are 
not meant for upstrokes or downstrokes, instead of 
for the simple note of continuance, by their smailness. 
But sometimes, in keeping with their derivation from 
the original downstroke or grave accent, they serve 
for actual downstrokes in any of their forms, and 
indicate a descent of the melody, as we shall 
afterwards show. And this- form I is often written 
f, that is, with a dot at its top, and in this form 
may readily be confused with the dotted upstroke ; 
and sometimes n with a circle at its top, and in 
this form may readily be confused with the twisted 
upstroke j ; and these confusions are hard to tell. 
For both these circular forms are almost impossible 
to distinguish from the' descending, appoggiatura 

interval :^__!?^-bJ:i_ | in its various forms of 

I \ ') ^ y , and but that the two with 

the circle on the right are straighter in their tail 

than the twisted upstroke f , and the others with it 
on the left are taller than that little '^ , there would 
indeed be no telling. And the sign (^ , which is 

the ascending appoggiatura interval 


was variously written ^ if C J U ^, and 
sometimes by a similar flourish of the pen which we 
mentioned in the case of the compound upstroke, 

J , is transformed into S , differing by a hairsbreadth 
from that very form, for while the flourish is here 
on both sides of the top, in the compound upstroke 
it^was on the right side only J . And the sign, 

/ , which is the descending interval of a tone 

— was variously written / I / / / and 

even /j , and the sign for the shake ^^tA^y /uy mv 

wi/ and aj or ^ ; in the two latter of which 

there is obviously a composition with the compound 

down sign , and all these are more or less easily 
deducible from the primitive form. But in the various 

form of the sign >r, which was /^, there seems a 

great divergence, nor can we explain the reason of 
the form, but simply state that the two are the 
same. Now in the rest of the signs, and particularly 
with the long compounds, the signs of Gregory are 
the same as we have before written them. For in 
composition the rudimental forms of the strokes arc 
much better preserved than in the simple signs, which 
have suffered so much as we see from the caprice of 
copyists, and perhaps this strictness was necessary to 
prevent confusion, for the simpler signs were easy to 
be recognised however they were written, but in long 
compounds any departures from the rudimentary form 
would have made the sign unintelligible. 

And now, by the help of what we know, we may 
write that piece of music which we gave a page or 
two back, with the same variety of notation which we 



find in Gregory's Manuscript, and so writing it, it 
will become, /cZ/^O'''^- i^ 1 ^ J 

Or taking an extract from Gregory's Antiphonary, we 
can easily translate it into modern music ; and here 
we shall see the characters in their true aspect, that 
is, set above words, to which, like a series of 
complicated accents, they give the inflections of the 
tone:- ^^ ~i'^^\c X ^ / ^ '^ ^ 

which we may thus translate : — 


z — i^z^g: 









U - ni - ver 



:^'=^ p-p-7^— f^=:g=^— ^tnzzU^ifc:. 

si qui te ex 


■^- r - ^ r^ -fg — p-(S— p — p 


Uiii — "^ 

fun • den - tur 



-i — 



^ziigrgzgzg— r ^— P- 

:P-P— ^: 



- p f^-^' 

-I — \ — r 

^ Gradual for ist Sunday in Advent, Anti])lionairc de St. Gregoirc; 
St. Gall MS. 


Iv. which we may remark the loose dealing with the 
intervals, and how the sign /7 is used in two 

consecutive passages, first for E^'uSsirtzzi , and then 

for p^— P-:g5-- , and similarly ~ in the same 

manner, at first for h^ —f^—^^ . that is, the interval 
of a 3rd, but afterwards at domitie for the interval 

of a 2nd p^'— yg — ^g — . And how we know that 


these are the actual intervals in their respective places 
is because the translation we have given is agreeable 
to the traditional rendering in later MSS. And also 

the sign ^ \ or /" is sometimes used for a repeated 
note instead of a higher one. And this is a use of 
it v/hich afterwards became common, as we shall 
subsequently show, and even in Gregory we may well 
see the beginning of it. And also the sign for a 

simple note — or I , agreeably to "its derivation from 

the grave accent or downstroke \ , is sometimes used 
for a lower note instead of a repeated one, as at 
dom in ''^ domitie ^^ and at the last note of the piece. 
And it will be seen that the actual height of the 
writing is by no means a guide to the height of the 

notes, for in the first word, ^ is written at the 

same height as the y 'which precedes st, ind yet it 

denotes a lower pitch. Yet sometimes this is so, 
as in the passage at the end, and always it is so 
in the arrangement of the dots. * 



And let us take another extract 

onura e/r confLde.r-c\,<YLO 


P / ^f y^^^^'^ ^'-'"yrj?^ ^^^1 


UXUYI. Con. 



irtt oiTtin.6 

-p:-fg — p— i^— f=— p— ^— ^ p -gs: 
:^- t— I 1 ^-"b S;, d — ' — ^ 

Bon - um est con - ti 


P? f^ (g" 


^ -1 ^gai * I — 


in do 

= ^: p^ £ j ~ r 






•i^-fS^ -^ 

c^r rrf-^ ^ 


con - fi - de - re. 

:jE> — P' r^ - £? r^ -^ « — s« — 1=2 — p: 











-is — f— ^ 


I I ■ -1- 

And in this we shall find the same things hold 
good, and being a longer piece we shall notice not 
only the freedom with which the signs are used, but 
also the apparent wantonness in the shaping of them. 
For casting our eye over this and the preceding 

' Gradual for Fourth Sunday in Lent. Antiphonaire de St. Gregoire. 
St. Gall MS. 


piece, \vc find that the up sign \/ for instance, of 

which we have given so many varieties, is written in 
fresh variety still, that is, with a turn at the top, 

as at '' fundenUir''' in the first piece / , and with a 

larger turn S , as at " Bonnm " in the second. 

And the compound sign \P for 


pzi, which we gave originally as yj , 

is written as >j , with a stroke at the end and also 

quite square J~ , as at " domino T And other similar 
things we might mention. In fact, there seems no 
limit to the variations which these signs receive, and, 
when we ]iave grasped the fundamental principles of 
their shape, no limit to our understanding them. 

But suppose we look at them in different 
surroundings altogether, and written by a different 
people, who have elaborated them in a way peculiar 
to themselves, and also have had many extra centuries 
to bestow on their development. Then we may 
be prepared for differences indeed, to which the 
variations that w^e have just been considering will 
appear trivial and paltrx/. For the Greeks of 
Constantinople, though we ma)- well suppose that at 
the time of Gregory himself, since he derived his 
musical knowledge all from thence, the> wrote their 
njusic in very similar and perhaps the identical 
characters which Gregory employs and which we have 
just described, yet we have no means of learning 
the truth of this supposition, or indeed of estimating 
the Byzantine notation at all, till late in the 13th 
century, when one or t\^'o MSS, begin to aj^pear in 


Europe/ and it is not till the 17th century that a 
treatise on the subject comes to hand,^ together Avith 
other MSS. of a more developed form^ — by which time, 
as will be readily allowed, many changes must have 
taken place since the comparatively primitive times 
of which we are now speaking. And we may well 
conceive in what direction those changes have been. 
For looking at the character of the Byzantine Greeks 
themselves, and their nattiness and love of learned 
trifling, we may well imagine that their music has 
amassed a crowd of intricacies, both in its system 
and in its expression. And such a character as this 
leads to caligraphy in penmanship ; and that this was 
the case with the Byzantines we may well judge, 
when we find an emperor, the Emperor Alexius II., 
boasting of being the best writer in his empire.^ So 
that what changes we find in musical notation, we 
may expect to lie in the direction of florid ornament 
and meretricious decoration, with which things 
accordingly we find the Byzantine music so overloaded, 
that at first sight all resemblance between it and the 
primitive notation of Gregory seems entirely lost. 

And the Byzantine Music like that of Gregory is 
more a system of elaborate accentuation than the 
precise register of sound, which we understand by 
notation. The signs are set above the words in the 
same way, and have no more than a relative value. 

^ Id the Colbertine Codex, however, of the jith century, there are 
some Byzantine musical characters, which form a puzzle even to 

- It was among the plmider captured from the Turks at the siege 
of Vienna. 

3 The same book contained MSS. of Greek Hymns, &c. 

■* MSS. of this prince, written in the form of a cross, in purple 
ink powdered with gold, have been discovered in the monasteries of 
iMount Athos. 


for they may occur at any pitch ; but then they are 
more accurate than Gregory's signs in their designation 
of the intervals. And they are divided into Spirits 
and Bodies. And first, in these names themselves we 
may sec the common origin of the two notations. 
For the Gregorian signs were one and all known by 
the name of Spirits (Pneumata. Neumes), but the 
Byzantines have two classes, Spirits and Bodies, as we 
have said. And the Bodies were those signs that 
denoted no more than intervals of a tone and a 
semitone. But the Spirits were those that denoted a 
larger interval, as a 3rd, a 5th, &c. And the 
Bodies are eight in number, six ascending, and two 
descending, together with the note of continuance, 
which is also reckoned a Body, nine in all. But now 
let us look how this note of continuance is written, 
which in Gregory we found denoted by the simple 
stroke — . But Byzantine penmanship appends a hook 
at the beginning, and it becomes ^ — • . And this is 
.set at any pitch at the beginning of the music, and 
serves as the starting note of the melody ; and in the 
course of the music it denotes that a note is to be 
repeated. And the other Bodies, that is, the ascending 
ones, denote degrees of ascent by tones or semitones 

above. Thus — denotes a tone above li. . / 

a tone above — , c_^ a semitone above / . c;,^ 

a tone above <^__r> . ^ a tone above c^ 

And II a semitone above / . Or, as- 
suming for the moment that c is pitched at 

p^z ^ , they will run 

t:: <s? — 

^ Fetis has erred alinost wilfully in identifying the signs with 
absolute notes. He calls one C, another D, and so on, instead of 
treating them as purely relative and independent of pitch. 

CIIAl'TER V. 233 

Now to see the similarity between these signs and 
Gregory's, we need only conceive that these are indeed 
Gregory's lying on their sides, and setting them up 

straighter we shall easily read them — as ,,-' , y 

as / , c_p as c-^ , (_^ as t/" , that is .-^ the 

simple upstroke, denoting the ascent of a tone, y a 
more pronounced upstroke, denoting the ascent of 

two tones, ^_/ as the compound upstroke of Gregory, 

^or ^ , (figured here with a curve at the top), 
denoting in reality an ascent from a low note to a 
high, but used here merely as an emphasised form 

of the ordinary upstroke X , (y as the various 

form of the same, U as we find it even in 
Gregory, and here used as a device to indicate a 

further ascent still. But / (no longer bent down) 
is the variety of the simple upstroke, which Gregory 
also uses, and denotes a note higher than C-f:> ; and 

H is an upstroke doubled, to signify a note 
higher still. Thus, various and quite legitimate 
devices have been used to press the simple signs of 

ascent / ^y into a dainty precision of meaning. 
And in the Down Signs, or Descending Bodies, we 
shall see that the signs of descent are similarly 
employed. For there are two down signs, or 

Descending Bodies, -> , which denotes the descent of 

a tone from any pitch, and ^^ , which denotes the 
descent of two tones. And > is plainly the simple 

downstroke \ , and >^ is the downstrokc doubled 


K^ , to increase the descent, just as the upstroke 

was doubled in It , to increase the ascent. 

And passing from the Bodies to the Spirits, we 
shall see similar resemblances. For there is a Spirit 
called the Elaphron^ which is the interval of a third 

descending, as we might write it p^ — ea" 

And this is written ^-^ , which is plainly no other 
than the simple compound sign of descent , and 
expresses the same interval. And there is a Spirit, 
the Aporrhoe, which denotes a descending interval taken 
with an appoggiatura or the Portamento \ and written 

as it is f , it is plainly identical with ^ , which is 

a various form of \ , which we find also in Gregory, 

that indicates a descending interval taken in the same 
manner. The only difference is in the compass of 

the two, for while the Byzantine f is the interval 

of a 3rd, ^ or r is the interval of a 2nd. as we 

have mentioned before. And the next Spirit is the 

Hypsile /^ , which denotes the ascent of a 5 th, and 

this is merely a variety of the compound up sign 

\/, as we may see. And the Kentema I , an 
ascent of a tone and a semitone, we may well refer 
to t , the sign of a similar ascent in the Gregorian 
notation, though with an appoggiatura which the 

Keiitenm has not. And first in the Kamile H- 

(^a descent of a 5th), which is the last of the Spirits, 
we are left to seek to what affinity in the Gregorian 
notation we should refer it, whether we should take 

it as a variety of 't^ , a form of the compound 
dowH sign, which meajis the same thing, or rather 

f flAPTKK V. 235 


as 7 . which we mentioned as a downward 

movement, but not an interval But since either 
seems somewhat forced, we shall prefer to leave it 

Indeed, the wonder is, not that there should be 
a difficulty in finding a resemblance, but there 
should be any resemblances at all to find. After 
so long a lapse of years, some eight or nine 
centuries, we are first shown this Byzantine notation, 
with nothing to enlighten us about its course in the 
meantime; and with such a people, so bent on the 
finenesses and details of things, so gifted too with 
that minute ingenuity which makes a skilful penman, 
we might well inr igine that much greater changes 
had taken place than those comparatively slight ones, 
which we have just considered, in the fundamental 
parts of their notation. And certainly in other respects 
the music has gained much in laboured intricacy„ 
And in other parts of their notation, where the fancy 
is not fettered by pre-existing forms, but left free to 
move as it pleases, the notation passes from notation 
to being such a strange rcj^ister of sound as we may 
scarcely conceive. For here, as nowhere else, that 
peculiar phenomenon of " Sound-painting " meets us ; 
and perhaps some of the alterations of the primitive 
forms that we have just now been considering, may 
be d.ue to some such an influence, though we cannot 
now hope to trace it. And this Sound- Painting is 
practised with a minuteness that will surprise us, in 
keeping with the intricacy oi the music itself, which 
intricacy lay mainly in the abundance of graces and 
jioritiiras with which the notes were studded, which 
we have alluded to alread)-, but now more so. For 
over and above the Spitits and Bodies, fifteen in 


number, which we have just been describing, some 
thirty or forty Hypostases or Substances meet us. 
And they are called the Substances of the Music, 
being really the graces and roulades. And some 
are symbolised indeed by signs, and not attempted 
to be painted, as indeed some of the notes themselves 
in their new forms may well be supposed to be : 
but others, and the majority, are painted, and a few 
of these we shall now give. And first there is the 
Enarxis^ a grace which consists of two rapid notes 

above and below a principal one, thus 

and the sign for it is plainly an attempt to paint 
this zigzag motion of the voice by a similar motion 

of the pen, for this is the sign ^ . And the 

contrary grace to this, the Homaion, or " Smooth 
Grace," which is a gentle undulation between two 


principal notes, • | — *~ ' ( ^ which might have 

been well expressed by a waved line * — ^-^ — ' , is 
yet expressed, and perhaps more truly, by a long 

straight line — \ , being in this way the 

exact opposite of the Enarxis, and contrasting with 
all the other graces, none of which are so smooth as 
the Homalon. And how admirably is the following 
a painting of the sound, which is the Antiketto- 

kylisma — ;^-*^* -f^ — ^ -s!-*^— and does not the sign 


^ The musical renderings of these Hypostases have been taken in 
the main from Villoteau, in some cases from Fetis, who translated 
them into modern notation agreeably to the indications of — 


exactly paint it ^ v/-""^ , sweeping up and down in its 
two parts, just like the movement of the voice ! And 
the following also, the Paracletice, which stands for 

*" ** ff0 , and expresses it by a zigzag figure of two 

lines and a cross one ~"Z_ • Or what could bettei* 
paint the simple appoggiatura than a dash of the pen 
much like our apostrophe ; ? 

But more than the painting of the pen on paper, 
in the creation of these signs, there would be another 
cause at work, which would tend to represent them 
with still greater exactitude. For we hear much of 
the Chironomia, or movement of the hands, in 
Byzantine music, that is, the movement of the 
conductor's hand, Avho, as he beat, and conducted his 
choir, would often endeavour to trace in the air those 
intricate movements of the voice, with which the 
music was studded, which would help the singers 
greatly, or perhaps he would unconsciously do so in 
his efforts to carry them along. And then, in 

representing such a grace as this ^?^5*zz 
which occurs between two principal notes of tJie chant, 

as — ~ ^ ' ■''T j TS r^ ' " » ^is hands would natiwally make 

some such movement as v *^^_^ ^ or to couple it with 

music ^ J I j J, which afterwards appears, as the sign 

• J • * 

for this grace. And then at the Ahitikenoma, or 
fining up of an interval by a kind of portamento, and 
it is an upward portamento, his hand would sweep 


upwards, /which thus became the musical sign for the 

grace notes in the following, ^ j -^- p— _ And 

-I — 

with such a motion as this ^_^/ , the hand would 
trace in the air these notes — ^^^^ J -J— , which 

form the grace Psifiston, and are written in the 

notation as / . But others are not so simple, 

and yet we may well follow the motion of the 
hand. For let us take this grace, the Stau?'os, 

I I I I 

— a^Jgrii^'J^- J -J— , and we will mark it off with slurs 

I I I I I I P!„ 

to show our meaning better, —.m '^'^T ^wt.'^: ^ ^—. 

And a nimble hand, endeavouring to write exactitude 
on the singing, might well be conceived to make an 
upward sign at the first two semiquavers, a downward 
one at the second two, then a cross to the left at 
the next two, and a cross to the right at the 

remaining two, thus -— ==^ , or writing it loosely 

And whether this be the true explanation 

or not, we have + in the Byzantine notation 
as the sign for those notes, which in our characters 

we express as — ^ '^ -"^^-J-W-^ . In a similar way 
three downward beats seem to have deixoted. _^^^^-_ 

CHAPTER v.. 239 

notation, in one figure ''^"^^ , and perhaps this 

ihus, — •at^^— , or, as they are written in the 

grace, which is the Epizerma, was sung -• ^ «i J-^-^ j^-j— 

'>^,»»' ^^»< Ss»*- 

that is, with the portamento, and then this will explain 
why the three intervals are so carefully beaten to^ 
and also why the hand sweeps so. But in the 
following we have an exact picture of the motion of 

the sound, ^ ^- p -^ fut^j^jt^ , Now a common 

indication of a double appoggiatura, ^1^ or ^ , seems 

to have been a turn of the hand, or of the finger, 
thus, , and this we find in many signs, in Ox^_^. 

which equals — -£~^^, or, as I should prefer to 

write it, =:_i^?:i^~ , where -©- is- for the doubh 

appoggiatura iz_rJLr . and ^^--- for the descent; in 


'jit^zi , where the two -O- 's are 

for —it:^— and n^r^ir respectively, and the remainder 

of the sign for the next note — -— and the descent 
to E ; and finalK' in a strange sign ^-^j^ . which. 


we are told stands for — jta^ J ^^J^ , thou<Th the actual 

meaning is not so easy to trace. 

To such an intricacy and such a freedom, and to 
even greater intricacy than this, for these signs are 

many of them compounded, as \«,.-^h«^ and © into 

/"^j^"^ x~v-Nand O intc> ^^^^sJLf-K &c,, and the system 

becomes all the more intricate in consequence — to this, 
then, we have traced that method of notation, which, 
unlike others that preceded it, sought to express 
musical notes by actual drawings of their sound, 
instead of by the clumsy device of alphabetical symbols, 
as the classical Greeks for instance made use of. 
And we have seen this system start from the simple 

up and down stroke / \ , which is so natural a 

picture of the sound, that even savage man expresses 
it in the same way, and proceed step by step by 
composition and other means in its development, till 
it has reached the florid and elaborate form, which 
we have just now described ; through all of which 
indeed the primitive basis of the upstroke and the 
down is clearly discernible as the foundation of the 
structure, though to look at the ornate Byzantine 
signs, with the crowd of graces with which they are 
studded, who would find them expMcable, or discover 
any resemblance at all to the elementary system from 
which they are derived, or even to the Gregorian 
system with which in their main features they are 
actually identical ? For let us here write a piece of 
Byzantine music in the notation we have been 
describing, and it will be seen that the notes, that is, 
the Bodies and Spirits, are written in. black ink, and 



the Graces or Hypostases in red, which is ahvays the 
way in Byzantine Music : — 
^1/ J -y^ 


Xa-oi v}L-\n\ - (T(i) 

V // 

Koi Trpo<T - Kv - vi] - aw - jJLiv ^piarov, co% - a - l,ov - nq 

TOV ~ TOV Tl)v fK VtK- ptjJV «1' - 

av - ua 


ra - ra - aiv o 

Jj .J 

-'-^ ' tl ^ 

'i uv 



Ecr - TIV o 


Oi - Oi - ih - or 7} - /) - )/ 

/zwv o eic fiv fK rT/c irXa - I'rjc row t^aoou 

TOV KO(T - /^tOV - /tOV \v - \v - TpU) - ad - /.<£ - I'OC - voc- 

which, according to the explanations already given, 
we may thus translate : — 









Asi) - T€, 


Of Vfii - in). 

file - ^wv «l' 

a a Tu 



or - / uv - £<r 

.^^ ^ 


og ri - ^wu 



- — hi — f=— ^ — 1 F 1 * 

-62 ZZl? — I , f= 1 ^ 1 22 p2_ 

EK r»)c ttAm - i>r]g row e;^ - fipou tov 


icoT - liiov - Av rpu) -era - jUf - vot,^ 


So different, then, have the signs become in the 
new conditions to which they have been submitted 
among the Greeks of Constantinople. And even 
nearer home, that is, nearer Rome, where the signs 
were first presented as an organised system of notation 
in the Gregorian Antiphonary, a similar variation of 
form was growing up, even in the lifetime of Gregory, 
though it was not such a marked one as the 
Byzantine, which we have just described. For by the 
end of the 6th century, the barbarian Lombards had 
overrun Italy to the gates of Rome, but their power 
was greatest in the north, where they received the 
civilisation of Pavia, Verona, and Milan. And when 
in course of time fresh manuscripts began to appear 
of the Gregorian Song, those which were written in 
Lombardy have a well marked character of their own, 
being much rowgher and coarser in their outlines than 
the rest, and with these the German MSS. have much 


in common. They are the barbarian edition, if we 
may call them so, of the Gregorian writing, and besides 
this, they also contain a few new signs, which it will 
be well to notice. And first they are very rough 
and coarse, being v/ritten in thick black strokes, and 
in such a running hand that they look more like 
clumsily formed letters than those signs that we have 
been accustomed to. Thus the sign f\ or y^ 

appears in the Lornbard notation as jl | L 

y^ jj 'f^ , and the sign \/ in the same 

way (J </ t/ <^ , and even as ^f , so 

careless were they in forming the signs ; and their 
running hand put in dovvnstrokes, as in the latter 

part of Jf , which formed no part of the sign. 

And the other form of the sign A , that is, \ , 

which is more truly a Lombard sign, for we find it 
but seldom in Gregory, appears coarsely shaped as 

/ I , and also inverted as ^ j and 

/ , And these variations lead to new forms in 

the compounds, as the sign O^ , which is compounded 

of ^ and the upstroke, appears in the Lombard 

notation as "XT^ > where the last part ^ , 

however, is not a new down sign, but the Lombard 

form of the simple upstroke ^ , which is constantly 
written with a turn at the top, though often, too, in 

the old form clumsily made as J y or / . And 
the sign of the shake Uc/ is written in the Lombard 
notation t/w or ^-*a>J ^ and the sign / , which 

we have before found written / is now constantly 


written in that latter form. And the sign L or 

J is written J , although that properly should 
come under the new signs, of which we have said 
there were a few. For the simple note, ~ or -^ , 
has this new sign in the Lombard notation ,a^ , 
which is plainly, like the rest^ the result of a thick 

sweeping pen. And similarly j is written by this 

new sign, fO or C , and / appears as """^ . 

And in the last case, at least, the Lombard sign is 
nearer to the sound than the original is, for y^ 
stands for a descending interval of a second, which 

is here well expressed by two strokes ""^ , and 

similarly | stands for the same interval with an 

appoggiatura, and fCy gives it well, but L not so 

Now as a result of this clumsy hand, which often 
must have been hard to follow, the Lombards were 
led to a device, which was of great importance in 
the history of musical notation, for they were led to 
make marks in these ungainly signs, to show where 
the notes came, and which was merely the line of 

junction, as in -3 , where there are two notes 

I P, they would make marks at each end of the 

sign, using their sign for the note for this purpose, 

^•'4-' so that U became ^ , but this is principally 

.in the later manuscripts. 

Now we cannot qo better, to show the difference 
betw^een the Lombard notation and the old Gregorian, 
than to give a piece written in both notations side by 
side. And of the Lombard we will give two styles, 
the older and the newer Lombard ; and in the former 



it will be seen that some of the changes we have 
spoken of hav^e not yet come about, as the simple note 
- or '^, is still denoted by a stroke or a dot, and 
one or two other things will be noticed ; — 

Gradual for Christmas Day. 

:g-_-(g" -p- -p- ^ :g™-:g- :^. 

g-g giz — C^l ^ Lj izzzBzz-. 


Vi -de - runt om 


1- j£2- -i 


1 1 l^-f 


9 ■■■ i mw iM i iiiim I I 

nes ter 

p ^ ' ., . 1 ^^ — jg— ^ ^^— P "1 ^" -p- 

5^— h 


j^ -j^ :gi_iQ. 


- bKowausS«auasa/^~" ~ 

-P " ?' 1~ -p - -P - -P- ;^ 7 ^- 






^> W>««0,<- 

1105 - tn. 

ju - bi - la 


I — I- 






•r -p- - p --g-^-g-^- 





p— ^— p— (g- 



Gregorian Notation.'^ 

\/ ide-rurLL- o r<^ ^ ^^f fiAcf ter^'^^e 

/klt^iav-e ' ^^ J 0X0/ v-x. ji^^ 

x>e^) ^' o )7-L )i// L<S/^-?^ 

Old Lombard Notation.^ 

1 T'^ ^ "^ ^'>'it>^ '^ .-/^ (ly' fiir /^m 

u\f f^i}/j)^/ifj /ifyy ^ rt f ^ 

La.ter Lombard.^ 

iOem>icoyn.-ri£Slmesrerre-falatt re te 
. "\" r4oHr\>»a/)8aTe^tE-o-o)Ti-y\i$-' Terra 

^ From the Antiphonary of St. Gregory. St. Gall MS. 

^ From the Antiphonary of Murbach. 9th century. 

* Conformable to the Prsemonstratensian MSS, of Everboden. .lu 

the concluding passage here, the group E^—^^EE is omitted. 


And now having spent much time in the description 
of these signs, it will be well to give the names they 
went by; and to do this we will go back to the 
simple forms of them, as we find them in Gregory's 

Antiphonary, that is, >/ ^ / # / L <^ &c., 

passing from the Lombard notation, where the names 
are yet the same, though there is a variety of form. 
And whether these names were in use in Gregory's 
time or not, we cannot tell, but most probably they 
were, for so many of them are Greek, and therefore 
point to having come along with the signs themselves 
in those early days from Constantinople. And to one 
of these Greek names at least we have already 
called attention, that is, to the Kylisma (KuA/o-/ua), or 
Shake, which in the corrupt Latin form is caJHed 

Quilisma, and is the name for tec/ . And the 

StropJdcus, also a Greek name, reminds us of the 
Byzantine Ecstrepton \^ and the Strophicus was the 

name of J , which was three ascending notes, 

as we have already said, and it also had a Latin 
name, Guttiiralis, or " throat sign," because these three 
notes were executed by one movement of the throat. 
But Strophicus, or "the turned sign," was in allusion 

to the form of it, / , as we shall see most of 

the names were. Thus j was called the "headed 
sign," Cepkalicus, (Ke^aXfjcor), and it had a Latin name, 
Pandula, and another Greek name, Tramea, which is 
much the same as the Byzantine Tramikon, which we 

have mentioned in another part. And as | was 

' Still more remarkable is the reminder in Apostrophus, another 
name for the Punctum, and Hemivocalis, an obvious translation of 
Hcmiphonus, anotlicr name for the Eptajilidiiu^. 


called the "headed" sign, ^ was called the "footed" 

sign, Podatus, (7roSatus),i a barbarous word, half 
Latin and half Greek, but like Cephalicns, in allusion 
to the form of the sign. And the compound down 
sign A was called " the Hill," Clivis, sometimes by- 
barbarism, Clinis, or else it was called " the Quart 
Measure," Cenix, (yoiv(^), because it resembled a quart 
pot.2 And f was called the Ptmctiim, or "point;" 

and /^ the Virga or Virgtila, that is, " the Rod." 
And / was called the Simiosa, or " curling sign ; "^ 
and in this form fj or / , was called the Ancus, 
which means "the Curve." In a similar way, \/l 

was called " the little chain," Torcidiis ; f^ the 

Porrectui, or " extended sign," and / " the 

boundary," Oriscus. L was called the Eptaphonus, 
which is probably a corruption of Epiplionus, which 
would mean the sign with the " subjoined note," 
alluding to the Appoggiatura, which occurs in the 
interval. Indeed this name Epiphonus is actually 
found, and also Hemivocalis, Franculus, Gnomo, which 

are other names for the same sign. v/V is called 

the Pentafonus, or " five note " sign, though really 
there are but four notes in it, and we must therefore 
suppose that one note has dropped out since the 
name was given. But the compound signs, as a rule, 
are not named, unless in certain new groupings, which 

now begin to appear; and while those long signs, /^ / 

^ This most common of the signs went by various names, though 
all, except the one giyeii, are more or less rare. It was called the 
Pes, the Pes quassus, the Pes stratus, &c. 

* It was also called the Flexa. 

2 In the Ottenburg table it is called the Flexa sinuosa. 


(jyX &c., are only known by compound names, as 

the first known as Podatus Duplex et Clivis Duplex, 
and the second as Podatus et Clivis Duplex, these new 
groups, which are composed of some simple sign and 

one or two little notes with it, as •. / , that is, 

the Virga and two Points, do yet receive a name, 

when they seem hardly to merit it. But perhaps 

the facility of naming them led to this privilege, for 

y^l &€., suggest nothing definite to the eye, but 

these are easy. So '. was called the " Ladder," 

Climacus, and / the "Climb," Scandicus. And 

another like them, , , only with the compound 

upstroke v^ instead of the simple upstroke, was 

called the "Jump," Salicus. And / • / , which 

was two upstrokes in their varied form of / , was 

called the " Yoke," Ygon, (^uyoi^), from its resemblance 
to a yoke. And three points or simple notes set 


indicate E ^* .p- p p , were called the 

" Triangle/' Trigouicus. And there was a strange sign 

of this sort, / '•, . . y, which was however not called 
in reference to its shape, but it was called by the 
barbarous name P roslambaromenon, an evident corruption 
of the Greek P roslambanomenos ; and probably this 
sign, as it certainly indicates a descent of eight notes, 
was used to signify a descent of the scale down to 
the lowest note A, and if so it is the first and only 
trace of an actual Resignation of notes that we have 
found in this notation. If to these signs we add 

/^ and ^<^ , both of which indicate a descent 

of two notes, and were chiefly used at the end of a 


piece — they were called the Pressiis Major and Mmoj', 
or the " Greater " and " Less " Conclusion, we shall 
have exhausted the list of these new groups of signs, 
and also of the neumes in Gregory. For all these 
were called Neumes, as we have said before, taking 
their name from those long-sung syllables, which gave 
the character to all the music, that were sung in the 
time of a ]3reath (Pneuma), and of which they were 
the notes. And such a system of notation as they 
gave was indeed far better adapted to render the 
music they expressed, than any more definite musical 
characters would have been. And we have seen how 
they have grown up with the Christian music, and 
kept pace with its increase step by step, and in the 
developed form at which we have now described them 
they served as a perfect notation for the Antiphonary 
of Gregory, which contained the best results that 
Christian Art had at this time achieved. And where 
we may feel their deficiency, that is, in the absence 
of all signs for pitch, and the complete absence of 
any marks of time or rhythm, was in reality no 
deficiency at all, for the music was wholly destitute of 
rhythm, and the pitch rested merely at the pleasure of 
the singers. Even the looseness of the neumes in 
expressing intervals was probably a looseness that 
was not felt, for doubtless the intervals were often 
sung as loosely as the neumes expressed them, and 
such flexible signs as they, were entirely necessary 
to suit the requirements of the case. 

Written in such characters as these, the Gregorian 
Song began to spread over Europe. For it has been 
well said, that Gregory won back by policy what Rome 
had lost by arms. And it was his object to give 
Rome a new empire, that is, not a temporal one, but a 
spiritual empire over the minds of men. And wherever 



he sent his missionaries, there also he sent copies of 
the Gregorian Song, that is, as he had arranged it 

And he bade them go singing 
And in this way St. Cyriacus 
went to Spain, and St. Fulgentius to Africa, and 
St. VirgiHus to France. And St. Augustine to 

in his Antiphonary. 
among the people. 



And St. Augustine's entry into Britain is described 
to us. He came bearing a silver cross, and a banner 
with the image of Christ painted on it, while a long 
train of choristers walked behind him, chanting the 
Kyrie Eleison. In this way they came to the court 
of Ethelbert, King of Kent, who assigned them 
Canterbury as an abode, while they remained in 
England. And they entered the gates of Canterbury 
with similar pomp, the silver cross borne aloft, and 
also the banner, and the choristers with their books 
and vestments, chanting psaims and the Kyrie. And 
as they passed through the gates, they sang this 
petition, " Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy wrath 
away from this city and from thy holy church, 
Alleluia ! " And the simple people hearing their 
singing and the strange art with which they tuned 
their voices, were afraid of witchcraft and fascination, 
and at first would have nought to say to them. 
And King Ethelbert himself was not superior to such 
fears, and this was the reason that he had sent 
Augustine and his singers to Canterbury, so that they 
might be at a distance from the capital. 

And similar stories are related of the singers who 
were sent into France and Spain. For at the same 
time with St. Augustine, there were chosen singers 
sent in his train, who should stop on the way in 
France, or turn aside into Spain, in order to teach 
the; inhabitants of these countries the Gregorian song 


likewise.^ For the French and Spaniards, though not 
heathens as the Saxons were, had yet no knowledge 
of the Roman service, or of the music as Gregory 
had arranged it. For their Christianity had come 
from another quarter, and not from Rome at all, 
having been introduced into France, at least, about 
the second century of the Christian era, straight from 
Asia Minor The missionaries of St. Polycarp, who 
was himself a disciple of St. John, had evangelised 
Lyons at that early period, and Christianity had 
spread from Lyons through the greater part of 
France, at a time when even Rome itself had not 
emerged from Paganism. In this way the French 
could boast a service, and indeed a style of singing 
of their own, which had every evidence of being more 
primitive than the Roman. The service for instance 
contained that reading of the names of martyrs from 
the diptychs, or tablets of wax, which was usual 
among the early Christians ; and it also commenced 
with bible reading both from the Old Testament and 
the Epistles, which likewise was the primitive practice, 
and had been abolished in the Roman rite. But 
the singing testified still more strongly to a primitive 
origin. It contained not a touch of any art, being 
a mere drawl on one or two notes, which it seldom 
or never left. There was none of that variety and 
almost melody, which was secured by the copious 
inflections of the Gregorian tones \^ but from 
beginning to end it was one monotonous recitation, 
with even the cadence so slightly marked, that it has 
since been denoted in music by the descent of one 

' J )hn the Deacon. Vita St. Greg. II. 

- ."Simplex magis fuit cantus Gallicus ; Caiitiis Romanus rms;is 
vr.iiegatus. Gerbert I. 263, 


note.^ In this way had Christian song developed in 
the remote districts of France, and its development 
had been to gain in steadiness of intonation in the 
course of centuries, but in other respects it had 
stood still. Now the name by which the French 
service was known, was the Gallican Liturgy, and the 
Spanish service, which was not unlike it, and only 
differed in a few immaterial points, was called the 
Mosarabic or Gothic Liturgy ; and this was the service 
and the singing which the singers of St. Gregory 
found in France and Spain, when he sent them in 
the train of St. Augustine, who was on his way to 
Britain. And their efforts to spread the Gregorian 
song met at first with but scant success. i^ For the 
people were loth to let go their ancient rites, and 
the influence of Gregory was not strong enough to 
compel them to do so.'^ Only in Britain was he in 
the meanwhile perfectly successful in his propaganda, 
and for this reason he loved that country next to 
Italy itself In Italy he was very rigorous and 
exacting, and went great lengths to secure the 
complete establishment of his music. He would 
consecrate no man a bishop, who was not fully 
acquainted with it, and his object was that each 
diocese might have its special superintendent.^ Yet 
he did not live to see his dream of peaceful conquest 
carried out to the letter, but only gloriously begun, 
and the world must wait a century and more before 
that dream could be achieved. For how could it 
take effect under the weak and inglorious popes who 

' Leboeuf. Traite historique sur le chant eccelesiastique. p. 35. 
" Fauchet. Antiq. Gallic. III. 21. 

5 Chilperic I. and Dagobert could think the Gallican song very 
■ sweet and de]i<;htful."' 
i Gregory. X. Epist. 34. 


succeeded him, and the barbarism and ignorance 
which after his death enveloped Europe ? And most 
of all , the depredations of the Lombards, and the 
establishment of a powerful Lombard kingdom in the 
North and North-west of Italy, were hostile to the 
policy which Gregory had laid down. For with the 
Lombards came the music of Ambrose again, and 
during the century that followed Gregory's death, half 
Italy owned the Lombard sway. And it was about 
fifty years after Gregory's death that the Lombards 
were received into the Catholic Church, and then the 
danger to his policy seemed greater still, for while 
they were Arians, the Ambrosian music suffered 
from the taint and could never be formidable ; but 
now it had effected a lodgment, despite all opposition, 
in the Church itself 

So did things stand when that century was over, 
and Charlemagne ascended the throne of the Franks. 
And the position he occupied, which he had inherited 
from his father, Pepin, was that of special protector 
and soldier of the Roman Church. And at this time 
the popes were more than ever embittered against 
the Lombards, owing to the injuries they had 
sustained from King Astolfus, in the course of the 
controversy in Image Worship ; and at the same time, 
weak followers though they were of Gregory, they must 
have felt how much the unity of the church was 
menaced by the establishment of the Ambrosian service 
in the North and North-west of Italy itself Of all the 
popes Pope Adrian I. was most emphatic in his 
opposition to that service, and he was the contemporary 
of Charlemagne during the first twenty years of his 
reign, and first summoned him across the Alps to 
defend the Church against the Lombard king, 
Dcsidcrius, that king, had been most persistent in his 


persecution of Adrian ; had ravaged his territory, and 
insulted his envoys ; so that we cannot wonder at the 
hatred which Adrian felt for everything Lombard, and, 
as head of the Roman church, for the Lombard 
church of Milan, which boasted a style of singing 
and a service of its own. And Charlemagne, having 
conquered the Lombards, proceeded to Rome to meet 
the pope and the cardinals, and to consider the 
arrangements that were to be made for the settlement 
of his new conquest. And the political arrangments 
he proposed to despatch himself, but in what toucheu 
ecclesiastical concerns he sought the decision of the 
conclave. And the pope called a great synod, which 
was attended by bishops from all parts of Europe ; 
and the synod passed a decree commissioning 
"Charlemagne to proceed through the length and breadth 
of Italy, and to utterly uproot everything which in 
singing or in ritual differed from the practice of the 
Roman church, so that there might be unity 
throughout the land." ^ And armed with this 
commission, Charlemagne posted to Milan, and seizing 
all the chant and hymn books of the Ambrosian 
song, he made bonfires of them in the middle of the 
city.2 He also carried numbers with him over the 
Alps into France, where they were made away with. 
His agents were instructed to buy up every copy 
that could be found, or in default of fair means to 

1 "Synodus immensa, multis di^^ersanim terrarum episcopis congregatis, 
in qua &c. . . edoctus itaque Carolus Imperator ut per totam 
linguam proficisceretur Latinani, et quidquid diversum in cantu et 
mysterio divino inveniret a Romano totum deleret." Landulphi 
Senioris Mediolanensis Historia II. cap. 10. 

^ Unde factum est ut veniens Imperator Mediolanum omnes libros 
Ambrosiano titulo sigillatos, quos vel dono vel pretio vel vi habere 
potuit, alios comburens alios traais monies quasi in exilio secum 
detulit. lb. 


take them by force.'^ Those of the clergy who 
refused to give up their books, were to be put to 
the sword, and many both of the higher and lower 
orders of clergy perished in this manner.^ So thorough 
and wholesale was the destruction, that when St. 
Eugenius visited Milan shortly after these events, with 
the express purpose of obtaining a copy of the 
Ambrosian Chants, he could find only one Missal 
in the whole town, and this had been secreted by a 
priest during the persecution in a cave outside the 
city gates.3 The same measures were taken throughout 
the rest of Lombardy,^ and in a few weeks the 
flourishing empire of the Ambrosian Song was reduced 
to desolation, and the only fragment that escaped, 
was, according to tradition, this very missal which 
St. Eugenius found. 

Perhaps it was at this period, and possibly owing 
to this event, that Charlemagne was led to reflect on 
that wonderful scheme of St. Gregory for creating a 
united Church by means of a common music, which 
he may have smiled at before as the vision of an 
enthusiast. He was now master of Northern Itah', 
and had been crowned with the iron crown of the 
Lombard kings ; and, as the sovereign of a conquered 
people, he may have fancied that pacification had 
come sooner than it might have done, by the 
introduction of a Church's influence which was devoted 
to him. And since his interests were now inextricably 
bound up in those of Rome, and his whole political 
creed was the fabrication of unity, he was now 

^ " Omnes clericos minis et suppliciis cogebaut, &c." Durandus 
ex Vita S. Eugenii. V. 2 

2 "Trucidatis multis clericis minorum et majorum ordinum." Land. 
.Sen, TI. 12. 

3 Land. Sen. II, 12, * lb. 



inclined to sympathise with the aspirations of St. 
Gregory, and even to adopt the very means which he 
had devised to employ. The Gregorian Song, which 
was to be the magic thread that bound all Christendom 
together, might also serve political purposes, and . 
entwine the discordant elements of his empire, as a 
gentle bond of union, which no one felt, and was 
therefore all the stronger because concealed. In this 
way Charlemagne proceeded the champion of St. 
Gregory, and in the course of his championship he 
passed from the political partisan into the musical 
enthusiast, as we shall show in the sequel. 

And first, he desired Pope Adrian to send men, 
skilled in the Gregorian chant into France, in order 
to instruct his French subjects in the style, who 
hitherto were only acquainted with the Galilean music. 
And that we may see how completely the spirit of 
Gregory had passed away from Rome, let us consider 
the supineness of Pope Adrian in responding to 
Charlemagne's request. For he sent teachers so 
incompetent and so carelessly ■ chosen, that they did 
not agree with one another in any of their teachings. 
And being twelve in number, they were sent one to 
each of the principal towns in France.^ But 
Charlemagne, going to hear the Christmas services at 
some of these places, found the singing at Metz to 
differ completely from that at Tours, and the singing 
at Treves from that of Paris. And dissatisfied with 
this first experiment, he again asked the Pope to 
send teachers, and this time to use more care in the 
selection. And Theodore and Bennet, two of the 
most learned singers in Rome, were sent to France, 

1 The best account is that given by Th. Nivers, which is here 
followed. See his work p. 33. Other accounts in Gerbert I. &c. 


and they brought with them an exact copy of the 
Antiphonary of St. Gregory, as it lay on the altar 
of St. Peter's. And Charlemagne settled one at 
Metz and the other at Soissons, and he commanded 
all the musicians and masters of choirs in the kingdom 
to assemble at one or other of these places, and 
rectify their false singing by the teachings of Theodore 
and Bennet.i 

These men also taught the art of organ-playing to 
the French,^ which it seems had been preserved in 
Italy among the other fragments of Pagan culture, 
though unknown to the rest of Europe. The iirst 
organ ever seen in France was an organ which had 
been sent as a present to Pepin, Charlemagne's father, 
by Constantine Copronymus, the Emperor of the 
East.3 But the first organ ever built, was built by 
the directions of Charlemagne himself, and from the 
account we have of it, we may infer that the organ 
sent to Pepin, had been treated as a mere curiosity, 
possibly never played on, and in course of time 
broken and destroyed. For the building of 
Charlemagne's organ presupposes a strange instrument 
which men only knew from hearsay, as we shall see 
by the story itself : — It was when the Greek 
ambassadors came to Aix-la-Chapelle on a mission 
from another Constantine to Charlemagne, that stories 
began to spread about the court of the wonderful 
instruments they had brought with them, and among 
others of a complicated instrument, made of brazen 
cylinders, and bull's hide bellows, and pipes, which 

^ Th. Nivers. Dissertation. 

- Vita Caroli INIagui per Monachunr Engolismensem descripta, 
ad annum 787. 

3 Constantinus Imperator misit Regi Pippino inter csetera dona organum, 
cjuod antea non visum fuerat in Francia. Annales Mettenses. ad. a. 757, 


could roar as loud as thunder, and yet could be 
reduced to the softness of a lyre, or tinkling bell. 
This plainly is an organ. And to gain the 
knowledge of its construction, Charlemagne sent 
artisans into the ambassadors' apartments, bidding 
them pretend to employ themselves on some other 
labour, but all the time to examine the structure of 
this organ, so that they might make another like it.^ 
The organ thus made, stood in the cathedral of Aix- 
la-Chapelle for many years, but it is plain that the 
art of organ-building must have spread pretty generally 
over France by the time that Theodore and Bennet 
came there. And to pause a moment over the 
history of the organ, let us see how the instrument 
had developed since the time we left it in Pagan 
Rome. And in the first place, its life has been 
mainly confined to the Eastern Empire, and especially 
to Constantinople, where we have constant and 
continuous accounts of it from Pagan times straight 
on to the time we are writing of,^ while in the 
West, that is, in Italy, its history is plunged in 
darkness. But these accounts, though they evince 
the favour in which the instrument was held, tell us 
little about its improvements in construction, which we 
are left to gather from our own inferences. And 
looking at this organ of Charlemagne's, it is plain 
that its main difference from the organ of Nero's 
time lies in the possession of stops, which therefore 
must have been invented in the interim. For that 
it possessed stops, we must inevitably assume from 
the words of the monkish chronicler, " that it could 

^ Monachi Sangallensis. De reb. bell. Caroli Magni. II. lo. 
" Cf. the uninterrupted series of accounts from the earliest times, in 
Constantine Porphyrogenitus' book De Cserimoniis Aulcc Byzantinoe, 


roar as loud as thunder, and yet could babble as soft 
as a lyre or tinkling bell." Now in our account of 
Nero's organ, if we were right in assuming that the 
keys acted by means of cross slides, that is, by the 
same mechanism which we employ for our stops, then 
we must argue that the mechanism of pull-downs, 
pallets, and grooves, or an equivalent for these, had 
meantime been invented for the keys, and the slides 
appropriated for stops, as we use them at present. 
Or, if on the other hand we prefer to credit Nero's 
organ with a similar key action to our own, then we 
must admit that slides had been the new invention. 
In any case we must grant that stops had been 
added to the organ, and this is the main difference 
between the organ of Charlemagne and the organ of 
ancient Rome. In other respects there is a 
remarkable similarity. Both were water organs, as 
those two brazen cylinders will show us : for what 
purpose could they answer in a wind organ ? But in 
a water organ they forced the air by means of pipes 
through the water into the air-condenser, from which 
it was conveyed into the wind-chest, and are indeed 
the identical barrels or vases of the Ctesibian instrument. 
But here there is a novelty, but it is the only one. 
In the organ of Ctesibius which Nero saw, the wind 
was pumped up the vases by means of pistons, 
which fitted into them, and were worked by levers 
underneath. But in Charlemagne^s organ we hear 
of " bellows made of bull's hide," and evidently the 
bellows were used in place of the pistons and levers, 
and they blew the wind into the cylinders. Thereby 
the necessity of a valve at the top of the cylinders 
was done away with. In all other respects the 
organs were the same. 

Now that the art of organ-playing had been 


preserved in Italy, on the other hand, in unbroken 
tradition straight on from the classical times, is no 
hard case to prove. For the Water-organ, which was 
a novelty in the reign of Nero, had become so 
common and so popular by the time of Honorius, 
that no nobleman's house was complete without one, 
and further, portable water organs were made in great 
numbers, which could be carried by slaves from house 
to house, where concerts or musical gatherings were 
attended by their masters.^ Now taking the date of 
Honorius as 400 A.D., it is no long step from thence 
to the year 660 A.D., when the next mention of 
organs occurs — in which year we hear that they were 
introduced by Pope Vitalian into the services of the 
church.2 So that whatever barbarism and darkness 
had overspread Italy in the intervening period, there 
was no time for the knowledge of the organ to drop 
out in the short space of two centuries and a half, 
and to require a fresh introduction from Constantinople, 
as we have seen it but now introduced into France ; 
but we must consider the organ of Pope Vitalian's 
time the lineal and direct descendant of the Roman 
organ under Nero. In Constantinople however, we 
must seek the real home of organ building, and the 
accounts which reach us from there, will enable us to 
perfect our conception of the organ of Charlemagne, 
even down to the number of pipes, which it contained. 
After the primitive organs of 4, 6, or 8 pipes, organs 
began to be built with 15 pipes, as we know not 
only from engravings on coins,^ but also from the 
express testimony of a writer to that effect. This was 

1 Ammianus Marcellinus XIV. 6. 

2 John the Deacon. Vita S. Gregorii. II. 

3 See Sigebertus Havercampus. Dissertatio de nunimis contorniatis. 


about the end of the 2nd century, and probably before 
the removal of the capital to Constantinople, The 
object of the pipes being 15 in number, was "to 
admit the modulation from mode to mode," ^ and the 
modes being 7 in number would require 14 notes 
for their perfect exposition on the key board, from the 

lowest note of the Hypodorian F ^' — g — to the 

highest note of the Mixolydian : ^ — s^zz: , which 

together with the Proslambanomenos at the bottom 
would reckon 15 in all. By the time of Constantine 
the Great, that is, at the beginning of the 4th century, 
the pipes of the organ had increased to 26 in number, 
and this important piece of information we know in a 
singular manner, and by one of those freaks of history, 
which it will not be idle here to set down : Optatian, 
a court poet of the time, and a master of conceits, 
has written a poem on an Organ, and has so arranged 
his verse that it shall exactly represent the appearance 
of the organ itself; that is, the first verse is of so 
many letters, the second of one letter more than the 
first, the third one more than the second, and so on, 
so that the appearance of the verses exactly imitates 
the gradual rise of the front pipes of an organ, pipe 
after pipe. And to these he has appended shorter 
verses, all of the same length, which stand for keys, 
and one is at the bottom of each pipe. Now there 
are 26 verses in all, and 26 keys to match ; and this 
is the way we know the make of organs at the 
beginning of the 4th century.^ Without wishing to 

^ ' Coramercia modorum.' Tertullian de Anima. 14. 

- Optatian has other picture-poems than this. He has one on a 
Syrinx also, which is no less useful in informing us the number of 
pipes in Syrinxes of his time. 


extend the compass of the keyboard by Charlemagne's 
time, though we might well be allowed to do so, we 
have to take into consideration the subsequent invention 
of stops, and since there were at least two stops in his 
organ, as we mentioned in our account of it, 52 pipes 
are the smallest number it could have contained.^ 

Such then was the organ which was built for the 
Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, and doubtless for other 
churches in France at the same time, and Theodore 
and Bennet coming from Rome taught men the use 
of it. And doubtless the destination of the instrument 
to church purposes was also due to their influence. 
For in Constantinople to the last the organ was a 
purely secular instrument, being used in the circuses,^ 
or at banquets to usher in the guests,^ or at state 
ceremonies, as at those ceremonies observed in the 
Golden Hippodrome on the First Monday after Easter, 
when the Emperor was publicly welcomed by the 
people.''^ But the Roman organ had had a different 
history, and since the time of Pope Vitalian was 
regularly played in churches ; ^ and now this 
ecclesiastical use was introduced into France.^ 

And Theodore and Bennet, the one at Soissons, 
the other at Metz, were vested with complete authority 
by Charlemagne over the French Music. And the 
reforms which they endeavoured to bring about, at 
any rate in the matter of singing, were at first no 

1 Cf. also the expression of Nicetas Chariates. Alex. Com. III. 2, 
TToXvavXa opyava, which is equally suggestive, though less definite, 
than the above evidence. 

2 Constantine Porphyrogenitus. De. Caer. p. 167. Ed. L. 

3 lb. 169. 

* Theophanes. p. 321. 

5 Joan. Diac. Vita S. Greg. II. 

6 The Byzantine organs were most of them portable. Constantine. p. 219. 


easy achievement. For the voices of the French 
singers, long accustomed to the simpHcity of the 
GalHcan style of song, would by no means yield 
themselves to those dainty graces of expression, and 
shakes, and turns, and portamentos,^ of which we have 
found the Gregorian song to be full. " When they 
attempted it," says a writer of the time, " instead of a 
sweet and well turned tune resulting, their singing was 
like the noise of cartwheels rumbling over a causeway." ^ 
So different was the theory of fine singing among 
the French singers, that their highest aim was to sing 
as loud as possible on the one or two notes of which 
their chants consisted. The Gloria Patri in the 
Galilean Liturgy was. 

1 r-l 1 1 1 V-\ I I 1 r^ 

Glo-ri-a pa - tri et fi - li - o et spi - ri - tu - i sane - to. 
the psalm " Dixit Dominus," — 

Eg z:L=c:=tz=czt:— tzz:Lziz=j — h=b _l L =itzz:^=t:=±:zi 

Dix - it Do -mi-nus Do-mi-no me - : se - de a dex-tris me - is. 

Let US compare these with the Gloria Patri of the 
Gregorian song, 


1 " Tremulas vel vinnulas, sive collisibiles vel secabiles voces." 
John the Deacon. 

■' Bibuli gutturis barbara feritas, dum inflexionibus et repercussionibus 
mitem nititur edere cantilenam, naturali quodam fragore, quasi 
plaustra per gradus confuse sonanlia, rigidas voces jactat. John the 
Deacon. II. 

^ Lebaeuf. Traits sur le chant Ecclesiastique p. n^ 

' Id. p. 35- 


Spi - ri - tu - - i Sane - to. 

and think how violent was the change which 
Charlemagne set himself to bring about. Nor was 
it long before the French singers openly rebelled 
against the new method of chanting, and the disputes 
between them and the Romans ran high even at the 
court itself. On one occasion it was agreed to refer 
the merits of the two styles to Charlemagne himself 
for arbitration. But he without hearing the arguments 
turned to the French singers, and said, "Tell me, 
which is the purer, the water of the fountain, or the- 
water of the rivulets that run at a distance from the 
fountain?" They said, the water of the fountain, and 
the further you go, the more must the rivulets be 
corrupted. He answered them: "Go ye then to the 
fountain of St. Gregory, for ye are the rivulets, and 
ye have manifestly corrupted the ecclesiastical cantttsT^ 
He was very careful to convince himself that all 
his regulations were carried out to the letter. He 
would stop at churches on his journeys, and, going 
in suddenly during the singing assure himself personally 
that the Gregorian song was in daily use.^ In his 
own private chapel, also, he would be present frequently 
at the practices, and conduct the singers with his 
staff.4 He also published a law enjoining with the 

1 From an Antiphonary of the I2th century (French). 

2 The story is told in Cardinal Baronius, Hawkins, and others. 

3 Schletterer's Geschichte *der geistliche Dichtung. 
* Schletterer's Geschichte der geistliche Dichtung. 


severest penalties that every clergyman in his empire 
should be perfectly acquainted with the Gregorian 
Music, and able to sing therein when required.^ In 
his Capitularies, or Legal Code of the Empire, no 
less than six statute laws exist commanding the 
exclusive use of the Gregorian song, and to some of 
these the reason is appended, " in order to produce 
unity among those acknowledging the authority of the 
Pope, and for the sake of the peaceful concord of 
the Church of God." ^ 

This political reason indeed was the strong one 
that led him to insist on such universal obedience. 
The doctrine of one church, one empire, became 
clearer to him as his conquests increased in number, 
and at last developed into a great maxim of state. 
The climax of his policy was reached when he was 
crowned Emperor of the West by Pope Leo III., at 
St. Peter's but the beginning of it had been long 
before — even before his time. For it was in the 
reign of his father, Pepin, that the association between 
the Popes and the Prankish King had first begun, 
and when Pope Stephen II. came to claim aid from 
Pepin against the Lombards, it is said that the 
Roman Antiphonary was introduced into the Royal 
Chapel, out of compliment to the visitor.^ But it 
had dropped out of use again, and its introduction 
by Charlemagne was in every sense a pure innovation ; 
and what resistance it met with, and how he ultimately 
achieved its establishment over the Galilean, has now 
been told. 

Now the introduction of the Gregorian Music into 

1 lb. 

2 " Ob unanimitatem apostolicse sedis et sanctse Dei ecclesise paciticam 
concordiam," in ist Capitulary 78. ad. a. 789. 

3 Walafridus. De rebus ecclesiasticis. Cap. 25. 


Spain and its triumph over the Gothic, which so 
nearly resembled the Gallican, might well find a place 
here, although it belongs to a later period than the 
present, and is in no way connected with Charlemagne. 
In Spain the Gregorian music met with more 
opposition than it did in France, and its establishment 
was due to Alphonso I., king of Castile. After much 
contention between the two services, the Castilian 
nobles resolved to put the issue to the test of single 
combat. There was a champion chosen for the 
Roman liturgy, and one for the Gothic, and the 
Gothic champion was victorious. The two liturgies 
were then submitted to the ordeal of fire. A brasier 
was lighted, and both liturgies committed to the 
flames. The Roman was burnt, but the Gothic was 
left entire. Yet despite this the Roman Antiphonary 
was introduced by King Alphonso, as we shall mention 

Now to spread the Roman music in other parts of 
his empire, Charlemagne applied to the Pope to send 
two teachers into Germany with copies of St. Gregory's 
Antiphonary, to instruct the people there. And the 
Pope sent two celebrated singers, named Petrus and 
Romanus, who went to the Monastery of St. Gall,^ 
and taught the monks, and from St. Gall the knowledge 
of the Gregorian Song spread all over Germany.^ 
And he himself in his conquests over the Saxons 
introduced the Gregorian Song along with Christianity 
among these nations.^ And in this way was the 

1 Durandus Rationale Divinorum Oific. II. ii. 5. 

2 This is agreeable to the account of Ekkehardus. 

3 In the BoUandists. Act. Sanct. for April, p. 582. *' Abinde " i.e., 
from St. Gall, " sumpsit exordium Germania sive Teu tenia." 

1 Others would postpone it till the time of St. Adalbert. 


knowledge of the Gregorian song dispersed throughout 
all his dominions. 

And in order to secure its firm establishment, and 
to provide against what might happen when his 
influence had passed away, he caused schools to be 
built throughout his Empire, and more particularly 
in France, where we have the most authentic accounts 
about them. And the Song Schools in France were 
the Schools of Metz, Soissons, Orleans, Sens, Toul, 
Dijon, Cambrai, Paris, and Lyons.^ And at these 
schools nothing was taught but Singing and Gregorian 
music, to which afterwards Organ-playing was added. 
And there were other schools besides these, that is 
to say, the High Schools, in which music was mixed 
with other instruction, as the High School at Tours, 
in which Alcuin taught.^ and the Palace School at 
Aix-la-Chapelle, where Sulpicius was the teacher, and 
which was presided over by Charlemagne himself.^ 
And besides these, there were the Infant Schools, in 
which the subjects of instruction were psalm-singing, 
musical notation, general singing, arithmetic, and 
grammar.4 So that there were three orders of schools 
altogether, and the pupils passed from one to the 
other, as from first grade schools to second grade 
schools with us. And the most advanced schools of 
the three orders were the High Schools, in which 
Music was mixed with other instruction, for these 
were intended for purposes of general culture, and not 
merely to train professional musicians. In these 
schools music was taup"ht as a branch of the 

1 Cardinal Baronius. Ann. Eccles. Tom. IX. Vita Caroli Magni per 
Monach. Engol., &c. 

2 Chronica Fontenell. 

2 Schletterer's Geschichte der geistliche Dichtung. 
♦ Capitulary. I. 70. ad, a, 789. 


Quadrivmm, or Cycle of Four sciences — a division which 
we have already seen in the works of Boethius. For 
the Seven Sciences of Martianus Capella, or Seven 
Disciplines of Cassiodorus, by whom they are 
demonstrated as commensurate with the whole extent 
of human knowledge, are divided by Boethius into 
Moral and Speculative ; and under Moral he classes 
Logic, Rhetoric, and Grammar,, and under Speculative, 
Astronomy, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Music — the last 
holding a unique position in the list, as partaking in 
a manner both of Moral and Speculative qualities. 
Now the first three of these were called the Trivium 
or Road of Three Sciences,^ and the last four the 
Qtiadrivmm or Road of Four, and the description of 
these groups did not vary, except that for "Speculative" 
was substituted the term "Physical," and the Quadrivium 
was apportioned to the Science of Physics, And in 
this form, then, were they studied in the Upper 
Schools or High Schools.^ And Alcuin considers 
them all as but leading to Theology, or as forming 
a branch of it ; and this is the first hint of that 
swallowing up of all things into Theology, which was 
soon to overcast Europe. And Music in the 
Quadrivium would be regarded as a subject for 
Philosophy, and also the higher details of, its science 
would be dealt with. In Alcuin's treatise on Music, 
there are abstract definitions, and general reflections, 
but also some new and useful classifications and 
principles. And of the former let us instance his 
definition of Music. " What is Music ? " he asks. 
" It is a division of sounds, a modulation of voices. 

1 Better, "the threefold way to knowledge" — "triplex via ad 
eloquentiam," says Ugutius, 

2 Th. Nisard, 


and a variety of singing." And afterwards, " It is a 
discipline, which speaks of the numbers which are 
found in sounds." ^ And of more technically musical 
matter, we find among other things a new classification 
of the Eight Gregorian tones. For after asking, 
" What is a Tone ? " " It is the sum and difference of 
the whole musical system," ^ — which it must be admitted 
is a very happy definition — he proceeds to divide 
them into Authentic and Plagal, deriving Authentic 
from the Greek avOevriKog, which he considers to be 
equivalent to aiictor and magister, and therefore, to 
translate it, we may call the Authentic the " Master 
Tones ; " and Plagal he derives from TrXaytoc (obliqiius 
sett lateralis), and interprets as " Subordinate," or 
" Inferior." And taking the Eight Tones, Dorian, 
Phrygian, Lydian. Mixolydian, Hypodorian, Hypo- 
phrygian, Hypolydian, and Hypomixolydian, he 
arransfes them thus : — 

Dorian, ist Tone. 





— t-- 

Hypodorian. 2nd Tone. 







Phrygian. 3rd Tone. 



Hypophrygian. 4th Tone. 

r— t=zi:c: 



1 Alcuin's Musical Catechism. - lb. 


Lydian. 5 th Tone. 


Hypolydian. 6th Tone. 




MIXOLYDIAN. 7th Tone. 




Hypomixolydian. 8th Tone. 



and regarding the Dorian and the Hypodorian as in 
fact one Tone, because they both are based on the 
same Tonic, or Final, D, — for it will be remembered 
that this was the principle of pairing which Gregory 
employed all through his arrangement, — he named the 
Dorian the Authentic Tone, and the Hypodorian the 
Plagal, or Subordinate of that Tone, because the 
chants in that Tone do not ascend so high above 
the final as they do in the Authentic, but are of a 
more subdued and graver character — which is merely 
reducing to a classification the principle of Gregory's 
arrangement. And the other Tones in the same 
manner — that is, the Hypophrygian, the Plagal of the 
Phrygian, the Hypolydian, the Plagal of the Lydian, 
and the Hypomixolydian, the Plagal of the Mixolydian. 
While the others, of which these are the Plagals, are 
Authentic Tones. And to this classification of 
Alcuin's the science of succeeding years has only 
been able to add the following more exact rule for 
distinguishing them ; — That when the chant ascends 



to the 6th note or more above its Final, it is 
Authentic, and when it does not ascend so high as 
the 6th note, it is Plagal. 

Such is a specimen of the instruction given in the 
High Schools in which Alcuin taught, where Music 
was treated as part of the Quadri'vium. But in the 
Palace Schools, in which the personal influence of 
Charlemagne reigned supreme, technical instruction in 
the practice of music was added to the scientific 
aspect of the art, and the same exercises were pursued, 
perhaps even in greater advancement, as at the Song 
Schools themselves. Scholars were drafted from all 
schools alike to the Palace School, and a good singer 
no less than a good theorist had always the chance 
of passing thither.^ Kere the Emperor himself 
would attend the classes during the lectures of the 
masters, and observe the conduct of the scholars,- 
singling out any for special commendation, and 
sometimes, as at his choir practices, conducting the 
singers himself.^ His interest in the spread of the 
Gregorian Music having now satisfied itself by the 
establishment of the music throughout the empire, 
spent its energies on improving and perfecting the 
performance of it. In his own family there were 
constant rehearsals and practices of the Church Song, 
and his daughters received three hours musical 
instruction every day.^ The choir of his private 
chapel was allowed to have no superior in the empire. 
None but the best singers dare enter it, for fear of 

' Schletteiei's Geschichle der geistliche Diclltung. Th. Nisaid. 

"- lb. 

■'• I\Ionuclii Saii;^allenbiti. Dc ccclesiaslka Cuia Cuioli Jlugni. L 
Cap. ;. 



the emperor's criticisms,^ and, owing to his constant 
supervision, the singing attained a point of excellence, 
perhaps not equalled in Rome itself. His habit of 
keeping discipline was a singular one, for knowing 
that the practice of the young clerks and choristers 
was to mark their piece of the chant with their 
thumbnail on a piece of wax, and so wait carelessly 
till their turn came, without looking at the music, 
it was his habit to point with his finger or with a 
stick at the next who was to go on, and so he 
compelled them all to be attentive. And when he 
wa,nted the singer to stop, he used to cough. Such 
was the terror in which they held the Emperor, that 
directly they heard him cough, they would stop, even 
though it vi^ere in the middle of a sentence, and 
immediately the next would go on, at whom he 
pointed with his staff.- In this way he made his 
choir a pattern choir, and he recommended the same 
strictness to others.^ 

But more interesting to us than either the High 
Schools or even the Palace School, must be the 
Song Schools themselves, of which the chief was the 
School of Metz. This was the place to which the 
Singer, Theodore, had been sent in the early part 
of Charlemagne's reign, and the " Canttts Mettensis " 
was as famous a term as the " Cantus Romanus " 
itself,4 and could even claim some small antiquity before 
Theodore's arrival. There was said to have been a 
school here in Pepin's time, and Metz was undoubtedly 

1 Scliletterer. loc. cit. 

- Monachi Sangallensis. De ecclesiastica cura Caroli Magni I. 
Cap. 7. 

■' lb. 

* Cardiuul Baronius. Ann. Ecclei;. Tonii IX. quoting John Ihc 


the parent from which all the other singing schools 
had sprung.! In these schools, then, the most elaborate 
instructions were given in the Gregorian Song. 
Class singing was the ordinary method of practice,^ 
which, if we consider that the singers were destined 
for church choirs, was also the more natural one. 
Excessive care was bestowed, so that large masses of 
voices might intone their words syllable for syllable all 
together, the greatest stress being laid on the concluding 
notes of the chants, and in Graduals and longer pieces 
on the concluding notes of the phrases,^ so as to 
ensure good habits in that most dangerous part of 
the melody. The singers were trained to hold their 
breaths, so as to acquire the power of taking long 
ones,4 in order that each phrase might be sung from 
beginning to end in the same breath, however long- 
it might extend. Equality of tone was a great object 
of study,5 and no doubt the acquisition of this would 
be reserved for solo practice. "A round, healthy, and 
crisp voice" was the aim set before the singer,^ and 
exercises for the attainment of this must have been 
written and performed. Nor must we forget those 
countless turns, shakes, appoggiaturas, &c., which stud 
Gregorian Music, for all of which the most copious 
practice would be necessary. 

Then for the acquirement of that difficult notation in 
which the music was written, there were mnemonic 
verses, which had to be committed to memory by 
the pupils, and of which some have come down to 
us, and others, also, which date from a later period ; 

.Paul the Deacon. Lib. de episcopis Mettensibus. 
The St. Gall MS. "Instituta Patrum de Modo Psallendi." 
lb. ' Instituta Patrum de Modo Psallcndij 

lb. " lb. 



Eptaphonus, Strophicus, Punctum, Porrectus, Oriscus, 
Virgula, Cephalicus, Clivis, Quilisma, Podatus, 
Scandicus, et Salicus, Climacus, Torculus, Ancus, 
Et Pressus minor et major. Non pluribus utor. 
Neumarum signis erras qui plura refingis. 
Another table : — 

Scandicus, et salicus, climacus, torculus, ancus, 
Pentafonus, strophicus, gnomo, porrectus, oriscus, 
Virgula, cephalicus, clivis, quilisma, podatus, 
Pandula, sinuosa, gutturalis, tramea, cenix, 
Proslambaromenon, trigonicus, ygon, pentadicon. 
Above the words the figures of the notes were set, 
as we have written them, and doubtless these verses 
were often set to jingling tunes, in order to imprint 
them on the memory better. 

Such things we might also imagine the children to . 
have sung in the Infant Schools, where we are 
expressly told that Musical Notation formed one of 
the subjects of instruction. Or even those exercises 
in the eight tones, which certainly were originally 
written for the Song Schools themselves, and always 
used there : — 




tonus sic inciDit, et sic flee - ti 






et sic me - di - a 

- tur, 



ii - iii 


1-3=^— s_, 








— J 

Se - cun > dus tonus sic inciplt, et sic flee - ti 

ig— (g-r?-^ 

I — 1=- F - Mt -F^— I 1 F^-H F 






di - a - tur, et sic it • ni - tUr. 




Ter - ti - us tonus sic incipit, et sic flee - ti - tur. 

et sic me - di - a - tur, et sic fi - ni - tur. 

Even to these Infant Schools did Charlemagne's 
care extend. He has regulations for them too. 
" Do not suffer your boys," he writes in a capitular}' 
of his code, "either to sing or to write the Gregorian 
Music one note different from its true form.''^ And 
again, " If you want a copy made from some Cathedral 
MS., do not trust the making of it to a boy, 
for fear he makes mistakes, but let some man of 
ripe years make }'ou \-our copy."- And there is 
another statute about them which wc \\ill also quote, 
" If a poor boy applies to }-ou for instruction in 
singing, and is not able to pay his school pence, do 
not turn him away, but give him his lessons free." 3 

By these means, then, and by the efforts of 
Charlemagne, was the knowledge of the Gregorian 
Music spread ; and whereas before his time it was 
confined to the South of Italy and the remote island 
of Britain, by the time of his death it was established 
as the Music of civilised Europe. 

' In Baluze's Collection. I. 204. Capitularies. 

- lb. 

■' In Baluze's Collection. I. 204. C'apitularies. 







Now this is the story of how the Antiphonaiy of 
St. Gregory was brought to the monastery of St. Gall. 
For that Petrus and Romanus were sent there by 
the command of Charlemagne in order to spread the 
Gregorian Music from thence through Germany, the 
monks deny, but they say that only one of them 
came there, and they relate the story in this way : — 
Petrus and Romanus were two celebrated singers, who 
were sent by the Pope to the great Song School at 
Metz, to give their assistance to the Roman teachers 
already there. And they were each provided with a 
new copy of St. Gregory's Antiphonary to convc}^ to 
Metz. And it was in the Grisons, and close b}- the 
Lake, of Constance, that the cold became vcr}' intense, 
and as they travelled on their road, Romanus began 
to sink under the cold, till at last he could go no 
further. And Petrus, finding that he must leave him 
on the road, for there was no help nigh, nor any 


human habitation, said to him, "Give me your 
Antiphonary, that 1 may bear it to Metz, so that 
both may arrive there in safety as the Pope desired." 
But Romanus would not part with his Antiphonary, 
saying that only death should separate it from him. 
And being left by Petrus in the snow, he in a 
miraculous manner afterward recovered, and contrived 
to drag himself along to the monastery of St. Gall, 
which was a few miles distant, where he knocked at 
the gate and demanded admission. ^^ This is the 
account which the monks give, and they say that 
having taken him in and tended him till he was 
restored to health, he afterwards took up his abode 
with them in gratitude for what they had done for 
him, and taught them the Gregorian Song out of the 
Antiphonary which he had brought with him. And 
Romanus lived to be an old man, and such was the 
fame of his teachings, that scholars came from all 
parts to St. Gall in order to learn the Gregorian 
Music ; and the Antiphonary he had brought was a 
priceless possession for the monastery, for it had been 
copied by his own hand from the manuscript of St. 
Gregory in St. Peter's, and there were but few genuine 
copies in existence. Even among those sent to 
Charlemagne there were but one or two, for the 
original manuscript at Rome was so difficult of access 
and was hemmed round with such restrictions, that the 
Popes themselves could not easily obtain admission to 
it. Having been bound by a chain to the altar 
during Gregory's lifetime,^ it was after his death 
enclosed in a casket, and placed in a secret recess 

1 Eckehardus. Liber de Casibus St. GalJi. ia the Bollaiidists. I. 
Ap. 3. 

- Pcre Lambillottc. Antiphonaire de St. Giegoire. Picefat. 


under the tomb of St. Peter/ and, according to his 
directions, was never to be disturbed, unless some 
great contention should arise about a disputed reading, 
an event which only occurred once or twice in as 
many centuries. And Romanus used equal care for 
the preservation of his copy. When he was at the 
point of death, he caused a casket to be made, 
and a secret recess to be prepared, in imitation of 
St. Gregory, and there his Antiphonary was deposited, 
by which means it has remained unimpaired to the 
present day. 

And the School which Romanus had founded at 
St. Gall soon rivalled, and even surpassed in fame 
the great Song Schools of Metz and Soissons. And 
as years wore on, the advantages of situation began 
to tell. For after the death of Charlemagne, and in 
the troubles and confusion which enveloped his empire 
under the weak rule of his sons, many of those noble 
foundations which he had instituted became a prey 
to rapacious princes, or were suffered to fall into 
decay. A town like Metz, standing on the highway 
between France and Germany, and after the separation 
of these two kingdoms a great frontier fortress, was 
much exposed to the wind of political commotion, 
and the same may be said of Lyons, Paris, and 
other places, in all of which Schools of Song had 
been established by Charlemagne, and were now 
running to ruin under his successors. But the School 
of St. Gall, secluded in mountain fastnesses, was far 
removed from the turmoil of the world beyond, and 
it served as a lamp in those dark ages to keep alive 
the flame of art and knowledge, after it had been 
extinguished in the rest of Europe, And it lay in 

1 M). 


the midst of pathless woods on the banks of the 
river Stcinach, which flows into the Lake of Constance.^ 
Here it was that St. Gall, the Irish monk, and 
companion of the wanderings of St. Columban, had 
sunk down exhausted beneath a hazel tree, saying, 
" Hcec reqidcs vieay And round that hazel tree where 
he had made his hermitage, they had built a shrine, 
and afterwards a chapel was built, and so the great 
Monastery of St. Gall had gradually grown up.= 
And it had many celebrated abbots, all men of 
learning, who had spent great care in gathering 
together, or making copies of all the best manuscripts 
of the time. There was the Abbot Werdon, and the 
Abbot Gotzpertus, and the Abbots Grimaldus, Hartmotus, 
and Salomon.3 And under the Abbot Gotzpertus it 
could be said, that so great was the quantity of 
books that the library was not sufficient to contain 
them,4 and they had to be dispersed in other parts of 
the monastery.^ And chiefly was it manuscripts of 
the Classics that were collected or copied at St. 
Gall ; and most of Cicero's writings, and all 
Ouintilian, Silius Italicus, and Ammianus Marcellinus 
were preserved by copies made in this Monastery.^ 
But it was not till the time of the later abbots, that 
is, Grimaldus, Hartmotus, and Salomon, that the 
copying of music was much engaged in. But under 
these, and particularly under the Abbot Salomon, 
music began to be copied in great quantities,^ so that 

1 " Inter spissas silvas," &c. Eckeh. 

- Eckehardus. Lib. de Cas. I. 

'■ Eckehardus. Lib. de Cas. 

^ Tantam copiam librorum patravit, &c. Lib. de Cas, VI. 

•' lb. 

'' Eckehardus. Lib. de Cas, 

'' Eckehardus, Lib, dc Cas. 


all Germany was provided with its manuscripts of the 
Gregorian Song by copies made at St. Gall.^ Now 
the way in which the copying was performed was 
this : There was a room in the Monastery, called 
the Scriptorium^ and it was in charge of a superintendent, 
called the Char hilar ins, and certain monks, called 
Librarii, were appointed as scribes. And they were 
provided with pens, ink, and parchment, chalk, pumice- 
stones for rubbing the parchment to make it smooth, 
knives to scrape the parchment to make erasures, 
and a large knife for cutting it into pages.^ They 
also had tablets of wax and styluses, such as the 
Romans used, but these were used only to write the 
list of services for the choir, and not for general 
purposes.3 And the music was written as wc ha\-e 
seen it in a former chapter, that is to say, the words 
in connected lines, and over these the musical notes 
or neumes. And this we have described before, but 
we omitted then to speak of the Illumination of the 
Manuscripts, and this we must do now. The first 
letter of every Antiphon or Psalm, or in a Hymn 
the first letter of every line, was beautifully illuminated. 
Sometimes the whole of the first line or two, was 
coloured, or six letters would be coloured red, the 
next six blue, the next six green, and so on. But 
whether in Hymns or Antiphons, the letter at the 
very beginning of the piece was always more richly 
illuminated than the rest. Its size was increased 
accordingly, so as to admit of the colours being laid 
on in some quantities, and then, if it were an R, 
the straight stroke would be coloured drab, the round 

' Acta Sanctorum. Apr. 582. 

- Ducaiigc. Alt. Scriptorium, ^c. 

■• 11). 


strokes green, and perhaps the thicker parts of the 
strokes tricked up with Httle round pieces of gold. 
In an A, the stroke to the right would be painted 
half green, half blue, the stroke to the left green 
with white embroidery, and in the space between the 
two, imitations of flowers or ribbons would be drawn, 
and all this often picked out with gold.^ I's, T's, L's, 
and generally all the straight letters seem to have 
offered most attractions to the penman. I have seen 
beautiful I's of green, white, and gold, and the tints 
of them are as clear as stained glass; and I have 
seen T's that extend like great trees nearly all over 
the page, done in shining black and gold, with things 
like great wheels on them with gold centres. Now 
to produce these beautiful colours they had pigments 
made of gums, cinnabar, pyrites, juices of herbs, 
varnish, indigo, and ochre ; but the neumes, or musical 
notes above the letters, were never illuminated, but 
were written in the common black ink, that was made 
of soot or ivory black mixed with water.^ 

Now we have spoken here of Hymns, and it is 
strange to find the monks of St. Gall engaged in 
copying Hymns, which we have known to be definitely 
banished from the services of the Church, by the 
time of St. Gregory. They must therefore have 
revived, despite all the opposition that was shown 
them, or have been preserved in some manner to 
these times, which are nearly two centuries later than 
then. And it will be interesting to consider how 
this has been done. And starting with the time of 
Ambrose, we have seen how the Hymn was the 

1 This elegance and profusion of ornament will be found in most 
of the larger MSS. 
' DucangCi Gloss; 


lineal descendant of the ancient Pagan Music, and 
stood out even then in marked opposition and contrast 
to the Christian Psalms — how they were so wild and 
formless, and void of all time and rhythm, being, 
indeed, very chants, or shapeless recitations of 
impassioned words, while it was full of time and tune, 
based on bold rhythms, which had first sprung up 
in Grecian dances, and though much fallen from their 
ancient beauty, yet still melodious and strong. And 
even at St. Ambrose's time there were stern Christians 
who saw but trifling and folly in his hymns, thinking 
them idle catches which might serve to beguile weak 
men into the fold, but also might seduce others out 
of it, from the strain of Paganism which ran through 
them ; while nobler spirits, such as St. Augustine, 
found them too beautiful, and almost feared to hear 
them. And after St. Ambrose's death, and when the 
regular service of the church, which we know now as 
the Mass, was gradually growing into the shape which 
Popes Gelasius and Gregory set the seal on, these 
were the reasons which induced earnest men to reject 
those beautiful melodies, preferring Christian purity to 
rarities of beauty, which might yet be soiled with 
worldliness or worse. In this way the cultivation of 
the hymn was diminished into an amusement of 
learned leisure, and except in the home of the 
Ambrosian Song, that is, in Lombardy, and particularly 
Milan, knew no other than a literary life. But 
in Lombardy a school of hymn writers had flourished 
in direct descent from St, Ambrose, the last of whom 
was Paul the Deacon, ^ Chancellor to that King 
Desiderius, who was the King of Lombardy when 

^ The lamous hymn with which he is credited, is, " LU- qucanl 


Charlemagne conquered the country, and destroyed all 
the Ambrosian books. And if we would pursue even 
the literary life of the hymn, we must search for it 
chiefly in remote and outlying districts of the Christian 
world, as in Spain, where several bishops of Toledo 
wrote hymns, as St. Eugenius, for instance ;i St. 
Isidore of Seville, also, and Braulis, Bishop of 
Saragossa, were famous hymn writers -.^ in Britain, 
where the Venerable Bede wrote many hymns. But 
how purely literary was this school of hymn writing 
we may judge, when we learn that the Church of 
Spain was of all churches the most rigorous in its 
denunciations of hymn singing, and that such of these 
hymns as are found noted in MSS. are generally set 
to tunes of St. Ambrose, St. Fortunatus, Prudentius, 
or other early composers,^ which, from their being 
invariably in similar metres, could easily be done. 

How then were those ancient tunes themselves 
preserved, and the Hymn taught to live a humble 
life, truly, but yet an uninterrupted one? How came 
it that in the destruction of the Ambrosian Song the 
Hymn was not itself entirely destroyed, that is, the 
Musical Hymn, for the hymns of scholars and learned 
men need not concern us here? And the hymns 
were preserved in the private devotions of the monks. 
Even in the time of St. Benedict himself,'^ who came 
a little before St. Gregory, this licence was granted 
to men so immersed in the spiritual life, that no 
worldly toy could harm them ; which might afterwards 
have been extended to them in virtue of their learning. 

1 The hjiiins, "Rex deus imraensse," and " Ciiminum moles," are 
ascribed to him. 

- Daniel's Hymnologus. 

■' Schlelteiei's Geschichtc del' t,^eistlichc Dichlung. 

* lb. 


whereby they were enabled to appreciate and love 
the relics of a fallen antiquity. In the privacy of 
the monasteries, the hymn had found a shelter, while 
the clergy and popes were storming at it from 
without ; and at the very moment when Charlemagne 
was uprooting the Hturgy of St. Ambrose at Milan, 
monks were singing Ambrosian hymns in the 
cloisters of St. Denys. 

Now according to the dispositions and partialities 
of the monks themselves, so would the life of the 
Hymn be in various monasteries and among various 
orders. Some orders that we know of were expressly 
forbidden to cultivate learning ; and led the life of 
visionaries and enthusiasts, who would find greater 
nourishment in the vague and passionate utterances 
of the Gregorian Song, than in the graceful 
tranquillity of the classical style ; while with others, 
and these were the learned fraternities, regular schools 
of hymn-writing sprang up, that were founded on the 
models of St. Ambrose. Particularly was this the 
case at the monastery of St. Gall, which was the 
most learned monastery in Europe, and most of all 
calculated to afford a nursery to this remnant of 
ancient art. We have spoken before of the learning 
of these monks, but we have yet to hear that they 
were such accomplished Latinists, that they could 
greet royalty with odes in Sapphics,^ and that even 
in this dark age all the forms of Latin verse were 
copiously cultivated by them. Here then a great school 
of hymn-writers arose, and it was chiefly in the time of 
their famous Abbot Salomon,^ among whom are 
celebrated Ratpert, Hartmannus, Notker, and Werembert.3 

1 On the occasion of the visit of Charles the Fat to the Monastery, 
* Eck^hardus. Lib. de Casibus, ^ lb. 



And we hear Notker recommending the study of 
Priidentius to one who applied to him for advice on 
hymn-writing ; ^ so it is plain that their hymns were 
founded on the ancient models, not onh^ in their 
words, but also most probably in their music too — 
for the h^/mns of the monks af St. Gall were not the 
mere literary compositions we have spoken of in the 
case of St. Isidore and others, but destined for actual 
use in the choir. Yet in their ordinary daily services 
were these new hymns not generally employed, but 
still the ancient hymns of St. Ambrose and other 
ancient writers remained in use, and were sung 
without any change in the same form in which they 
had first received them. And being Benedictines, 
they used selected hymns in the order set down by 
St. Benedict, who had selected the most favourite 
hymns, and appointed them to be sung by the monks 
of his fraternity.2 And they sung them at the 
Services of the Hours, v.'hich all the Monks in Europe 
alike performed daily. And there were eight Services 
of the Hours : the first was Matins, which was at three 
o'clock in the morning, and for this service the 
monks rose at two, and spent the hour before it in 
private prayer in their cells. And when three o'clock 
approached, the bell in the great belfry of the 
monastery began to ring, and the words it seemed to 
say were, " Exsuvgc qui doiJiiis, ct cxsurgc a mortuis^' 
" Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead."^ 
And in the dark of the early morning the monks 
hastened to the chapel, and having all assembled, the 
bell ceased, and thev began the service of Matins. 

1 Eckehardus. Vita B. Notlceri. (in the Bollandists.) 
~ Schletterer's Geschichte der geistliche Dichtung. 
^ Purandus. Rationale Divinor. Officio. I. VI. 



And at this they sang fifteen psahiis to the Gregorian 
Tones ; and also the Antiphon, Dens iti adjittormni ; 
and the Gloria Patri to it. Then another Antiphon, 
the Pater Noster, the Credo, and a hymn of St. 
Ambrose, which was appointed for this daily Matin 
service.^ And it was one the most beautiful of all 
the hymns he wrote ; and to be a wayfarer among 
those hills in the moonlight, and hear the monks 
singing the morning hymn of St. Ambrose, was like 
listening to the voices of angels. 








- de 







pre - ce - mur sup - pli - ces, Ut in di - ur - nis 

-ig-|-ig — p — p — g 


ti - bus, Nos scv - vet 

ti - 1ms. 



Lin - guam re - fre - nnn?; tern - pe - ret. 




li - tis hor - ror in - gru - at ; Vi - sum fo - ven - do 








con - te - gat, Ne va - ni • ta - tes hau - ri - at. 

' The substance of the Services here and afterwards is taken from. 
Benedictine service of the Hours. (loth century.) MS, 



:p— ^: 

— p — p — p — ^- 

— =2— i — ^ — SI — 

— (S — 



1 , 1 1 , 













:=L=-^-r— I h 



tem - que sors re - dux - e - rit, Mun - di per abs - ti - 






nen - ti - am Chri - sti ca - na - mus glo - ri - am. 

And with this they opened their day of prayer, 
beseeching God to save them from all evil thoughts 
and actions during the coming day. And after 
Matins were over, the second Hour, that is, the service 
of Lauds, followed next, with an interval of a few 
minutes between. And at this they sang Psalms and 
Antiphons in like manner, and another beautiful hymn 
of St. Ambrose, though scarcely perhaps so beautiful 
as this one. These two services over, they retired 
to their cells again, many to rest, but some to pray, 
until they heard the Bell for Prime, which was the 
third Hour of Service, though but the first of the 
day, for it was held at six in the morning. And 
to this service they went in procession through the 
cloisters, the monks and the choir boys, carrying 
candles and chanting psalms.^ And the service was 
but little different from that of Matins, though with 
different Antiphons and Psalms, and a different hymn. 
After it was over, they sat in the cloisters, while the 
boys practised singing under their direction, and then 
followed confession and other religious duties.^ Now 
the next three services were Tierce at nine, Sext at 
twelve, and Nones ^t three o'clock in the afternoon. 

I Ducange. Gloss, in Vpp. 




And for each of these the great bell of the monastery 
rang three times, that is, with three changes of ringing,^ 
whereas for Prime it had rung in one monotonous 
refrain ;2 but for Matins more brilliantly than for all 
the other services, pealing and changing its rhythm 
most frequently,^ and where there were chimes, which 
sometimes happened even at this early age, being six 
bells in all,^ the chimes were always rung for matins. 
And the services of Tierce, Sext, Nones, were the 
same repetition of Psalms and Hymns that we have 
said before, and this was a Hymn of Ambrose that 
was sometimes sung at them : — 







:(^— . 



Con - di - tor al - me si - de - rum, JE 




ter - na lux ere - den - ti - um, Chri - ste, re - demp-tor 



cm - ni - um, Ex - au - di pre - ces sup - pli-cum. 

And what heavenly melody lies here ! But shall we 
hear the evening hymn, as we have before heard the 
morning hymn? And when the day was drawing to 
a close, they held their Vespers, and at Vespers they 
sang the hymn to Mary's star, that is, the moon. 

' Durandus. Rationale Divinorum Off. I. VI. 

2 lb. 

" lb. These various forms of ringing are alluded to in monkisli 
phraseology as the simpulsation, the compulsatlon, and the dupulsation 

* Kircher's Musuryin. VI. 



which was now rising in the evening sky : — '^ 



I — I — y- 

j^^i^ — 














le - i mu - ter al 



At - que sem - per 




■f^-i — I 





li por - ta. 

And it was at this service, or shortly after it, that 
the Angehis was rung, and it was rung at the same 
hour from every monastery in Europe, and whoever 
heard it, no matter what he might be engaged in, 
or where he might be, that is, of the villagers or 
country people, he must sign the sign of the cross, 
and repeat three times the Ave Maria, which is the 
Angelic Salutation that the Angel made to Mary^ — 
And the Angelus, which at first was only rung in 
the evening, was afterwards rung three times a day, 
namely, at morning, and at midday too. And the 
last service of the Hours was the service of Com- 
pline, which was held at seven o'clock, and the hymn 
usually sung at Compline was the hymn of St. 
Fortunatus, " 7> li/cis ante terminum" "Before the 
ending of the day." And these were the Services of 
the Hours, and the manner in which they were 
performed, which all the monks in Europe alike 
performed daily. 

1 Quod non modo sicut stella maris, (" star of the sea,") sed etiam 
ut cum Luna comparata, nuncupatur B. V. M. " maris stella," tcstatur 
Danielus. Thesau. Hymiiologic. I. 205. 

- " Quilibct audiens cujus<|uc status fuerit " Sec, runs the rcrtulation. 


Now we have read these hymns that have been 
written above, and seen how very different they are 
to the music of Gregory, and how they repeat in 
every note of them that ancient Pagan music which 
his had displaced, being indeed hneal descendants 
from that far off time of beauty, which shall never 
but only in dusky repetitions be seen in the world 
again. And the Pagan music had voiced itself in 
these melodious and tuneful hymns, and they had 
been preserved in the services of the monks, as we 
have said. But yet were they without much 
influence on the people at large ; for first, they were 
in Latin, a language which the common people 
could not understand, and secondly, they were sung 
at services which no one was present at but only 
the monks themselves. Only through latticed 
windows, or echoing from distant cloisters, did their 
sounds come to the ears of the outside world, and 
they were shut up in convents to grace the services 
of recluses, but not to benefit and improve the 
music of general life. The people, accustomed to the 
service of the Mass, formed all their ideas of music 
from that alone, which consisted, as we have seen, in 
Graduals, Antiphons, Introits, &c., couched in the 
freest and most luxuriant recitative of the Gregorian 
Song, and were quite ignorant that there was another 
order of music in existence, far more melodious and 
far more likely to please, because of its rhythms and 
its tune, which is always the popular clement in 

So then thus it had been for some centuries past, 
for four hundred years had passed away since the 
days of St. Ambrose and St. Hilary, until, at the 
time we are writing of, there lived at the monastery 
of St. Gall a monk of the name of Notkcr, and he 


is called by some St. Notker, because of his beautiful 
and holy life. And he was a great and celebrated 
hymn writer/ and the finest musician who had been 
at St. Gall since the time of Romanus himself, who 
brought the Antiphonary there. And St. Notker had 
written a treatise on this Antiphonary,^ being a master 
of the Gregorian Song. But most of all was he 
skilled in hymn-writing, as we have said. And he 
was a solitary man, who avoided the company of 
his brother monks, and would walk about in secret 
places by himself, meditating on his music and his 
poetry.3 And his mind was stored with the beautiful 
hymns of Prudentius and of Ambrose,^ but he was 
not content with imitating these, but thought he 
would try and introduce some of their beauties to 
the world at large. For his heart yearned to the 
simple people, whom he saw attending the services 
of the churches. They were so ignorant and poor, 
and many of them serfs and slaves to the great 
barons of the country ; and the Sunday service, 
which was the one bright spot in their week of toil, 
was far above them, not only because its words were 
in Latin, but also from the florid and restless style 
of the Gregorian Music, with its constant mseanderings 
and runs, which they were unable to follow, and 
must needs therefore be listeners only. There were 
but two places in the whole service where they could 
join in, the first was at the Kyvie Eleison, where the 
words, though in a strange tongue, were so familiar 

1 Cf. the four hymns which he wrote for the Archbishop of Metz ; 
the hymn, " Nostri solemnis ssecuH," and others. The four alluded 
to are mentioned in Prsefat. Notkeri ad Sequentias. 

- In Gerbert. 

•' Solus sibi vacabat, says Eckehardus. Vita Notkeri. 

' Prsefat. Notkeri ad Sequentias. 


by repetition, for it is many times repeated between 
the Introit and the Gloria in Excelsis, that any one 
might say them ; and the second place was at the 
Allehna, which comes at the end of the Gradual, 
also a familiar word which every one knew. And 
this even more than the former was a favourite place 
for the people to attempt to sing.^ Yet the runs 
on this word were so long and so florid, that many 
would-be singers went astray in their -attempts, and 
there was much confusion in the churches, while the 
choir were singing the true Alleluia in the chancel, 
and the people in the nave were trying to follow in 
this favourite passage of the service,^ And what 
made the confusion even greater than it might have 
been was this, that the choir themselves often 
departed from the set notes, and even extemporised 
as far as a choir can.3 For let us consider how 
the Alleluia was • sung, and we shall see that it was 
easy to do so here, which in other cases would be 
hard to do. For the Alleluia was sung with two 
long runs in it, the first on the syllable " le," and 
the next on the last syllable " a," which was 
particularly long, being extended at times till it 
seemed almost endless. In this wa}^ : — 

Al - le lui - a 

Now how this might have been extemporised, and 
Inded most probably generally was, by the choir, was 

1 The story is told in the Bollandists. I. Ap. 3. 
- Acta Sanctorum, loc. cit. 
■' lb. 


this : The Precentor sat in the middle of the choir 
on the right hand side, and all attended to his 
motions. And he held a silver staff in his hand, to 
direct the music with.^ And since there were no 
words to encumber the voices of the singers, but 
only the sustaining of a prearranged syllable, when 
he raised his staff on that syllable they would easily 
and naturally raise their voices too, and when he 
depressed it they would sink in like manner, using 
gradual ascents and descents, or proceeding in the 
easy lines of rise and fall, but too well known to 
singers trained in the Gregorian Song. In this way 
the Alleluias were often, as near as may be, 
extemporised by the choirs ; but it is plain that 
however fresh and beautiful the tones may have 
mounted from the choristers, it was a constant source 
of confusion and bewilderment to the people, who 
would fain have followed every note, but yet were 
never able to do so. 

And St, Notker, seeing this confusion, and wishing 
to remedy it, thought he might do so by applying 
his arts of hymn-writing to the Alleluias; and that 
as the hymn went note for syllable, so he would 
make the Alleluias run in the same manner, for that 
by setting words to those waverings and flexions of 
tone he would at least secure definiteness and certainty 
of tune, and preserve the melodies which the people 
loved, which every Sunday now saw different.^ And 
selecting the most beautiful of the Alleluias, and those 
which were the greatest favourites with the people, he 
composed words to fit the tones, and to every note 
he set a syllable. In this way : — 

' t)ucaligc. Aiti Baculus cilutoiis. 
- Eckelmrdus; Notk; Vita. 




The Original Alleluia. 







-i — I — I .. r I — v — I — I — 1_^]— I — I — 1 — ,1 — I — I — 



WitJi ivords composed to the notes 



^- -fr-^ -f^^f:. 


-i != 


Lau - des De 

o con - ci - nat or - bis 




u • bi - que to - tus, qui gia - ti - is est li -, be - ra - tus. 

judging rightly that when words were added to the 
idle sound, the syllable and the tone would pair off 
together, and there would be little chance of change 
of music for the future. And this was the first 
Alleluia that he treated, and we shall see that the 
run on the first syllable is here left untouched ; but 
let us take a later one, and we shall find that this 
too has received its syllables, and is in every respect 
conformed to the principle which he laid down himself 
for his guidance, and which he drew directly from 
the hymns, " Singull inotiis cantilencc singnlas syllabus 
habere debent"^ "Each separate movement of the voice 
ought to have a separate syllable go with it." 

Pncfal. Nolkcri ad ScquciUias. 



Original Alleluia. 


P ^^^^^^^f^g 


le - lui - a . 

With words composed to the notes. 










Na - tus 







li - us, in - vi - si - bi - lis, in - ter - mi - nus. 

In this way he preserved the beautiful strains of the 
service which the common people loved, so that every 
Sunday they heard them sung the same ; and getting 
thus completely familiar with them, men would hum them 
or whistle them at their work,^ and even the children 
would sing them about the streets.^ And St. Notker 
would fain have set German words instead of Latin 
ones to the Alleluias, so that they might come home 
to the people still more. But this he was not able 
to do, because no other language than Latin was 
allowed to be used in the churches.^ But after a 
time even this came, when his innovations had had 
time to ripen, and the clergy saw how popular they 

Now these Nomes of Notker — for we might well 
call them so, reviving for a moment the ancient 

1 Eckeliardus. Vita. - Id. 

3 That Notker however wrote at least one Sequence in the vernacular 
is certain. There seems no doubt about the genuineness of that one 
which has survived. 


name which was applied to the tunes of the Greek 
Terpander, so hke are these to those. For the task 
of Notker has not been unHke that of Terpander, 
who, to curb the excesses of lyre-playing, set words 
to the instrumental prelude, and to catch the fleeting 
tones of the rhapsodies taught men to sing a syllable 
at every note ; and Notker also in the same way 
has used the same means to procure certainty of 
intonation in the Alleluias, and his inventions might 
well be called Nomes or " Laws of Sound," in a 
similar manner ; but from the place in the service 
where they came, that is, following the Gradual, they 
were called Sequences, because they were the Gradual's 
Sequels. And in no long time these Sequences began to 
take the place of the old Alleluias in all churches, 
and many celebrated writers of Sequences arose, 
particularly in the monastery of St, Gall, where 
Ratpert,^ Tutilo, Werembert,^ and others, were famous 
writers of Sequences. 

But first we must see how the Sequence had 
developed before this took place. For it had grown 
under his hands into an organised and independent 
musical form, getting its shape little by little from 
improvements he introduced as he perfected his ideas. 
And it had begun as we have seen with setting 
words to the Alleluia, and was at first one long 
straggling line, without metre or symmetry of any 
kind, accommodated to the free motions of the Gregorian 
Song, being indeed mere prose, whence the Sequences 

1 The ascription of the origination of Sequences to Ratpert must 
remain a vexed question. Even Petrus and Romanus are credited 
with Sequences. But these are certainly spurious ; and if Ratpert 
were the prime originator, to Notker none the less is the development 

2 Liber de Casibus St. Galli. in the BoUandists I, Apr. 3. 


were indeed often called Proses, But in order to 
take away the unrhythmic effect of this, Notker began 
to set a second line of an equal number of syllables, 
that in the repetition, at least, some feeling of rhythm 
might be secured. And building on this beginning, 
he next composed a third line different to these, but 
he wrote a fourth line like the third. And adding 
more lines, he kept them always in pairs, writing the 
first of each pair in what number of syllables he 
chose, but the second was constructed on the model 
of the first. Thus, 

A Sequence of Notker's. 

I i. Per quern dies et horse labant et se iterum reciprocant, 
t 2. Quern angeli in arce poll voce consona semper- canunt, 
/ j-^ Hie corpus assumpserat fragile 

4. Sine labe criginalis criminis de carne Marise virginis, quo 
primi parentes culpam Evasque lasciviam tergeret. 

5. Hoc pr^esens diecula loquitur 

6. Praelucida, adaucta longitudine, quod sol verus radio sui 

luminis ejus vetustas mundi depulerit genitus tenebras. 

(7. Nee nox vacat novi sideris luce, quod magorum oculos 
terruit nescios, 
^ 8. Nee gregum magistris defuit lumen, quos perstrinxit 
' claritas militum Dei. 

/ 9, Gaude, Dei genitrix, quam circumstant obstetricum vice 
j concinentes angeli gloriam Deo. 

10. Christe, patris unice, qui humanam nostri causa formam 
assumpsisti, refove supplices tuos, 
/ II. Et quorum participes te fore dignatus es, Jesus, dignanter 
1 eorum suscipe preces, 

^ 12. Ut ipsos divinitatis tufe participes, deus, facere digneris, 
\ unice dei. 

' Irregular. 




And the music was written agreeably to the lines, 
that is to say, a new strain for the first of every 
pair, and a repetition of it for the second, as we may 
see by examining the music to this Sequence, and 
we shall find that each new strain has its fellow- 



-(S> — ©> — iS- 




Per quern di - es et ho - rx la - bant et se i - te - rum 






- cip - ro - cant, Ouem an - ge - li in ar - ce po - li 


i ' 1 i 1 1 




ce con - so - na sem - per ca - nunt, Hie cor - pus as - sum 

'— ^^22Z=^-n-^ 

i \- 




e - rat fra - "ile Si - nc la - be or - i - 51 - na - lis 
















-1 — 




— 1 


-1 — 

-1 — 

-1 — 



— — 

— — 

_t — 

nis (Ic car - ne 'y]a - ri - a? vir - iji - ni^, quo pri - mi 







ren - tis cul - pam E - vaj-qne las - ci - vi - am ter - ge -ret. 

- -f2- 




pra? - sens di - e - cu - la lo - qui - tur Pr?e - lu - ci - d 

:g-^--g-g -P- -P- -P- -p- -S--T=i--|=--C=. 





ad - auc - ta Ion - gi - tu - di - ne, quod sol ve - rus ra - di - o 





-f=2- -f^ 



:l — r=li 



su - i lu - mi - nis e - jus ve - tus - tas mun - di de - pu - 

le - lit ge - ni - tus te - neb- vns. Nee nox va - cat no - vi 









-t=— p— -^-(2- 


j — r 




si - de - lis lu - ce, quod ma - go - rum oc - u - los ter 



lu - it ne - sci - os, Nee gre-gum ma - gis - tris de - fu - it 




-t=-g--g- (:> g-:g- 


lu-men, quos per-strin - xit cla - ri - tas mi - li - turn De - i. 

r ? -p : 

-f2. .f=2. 

■^— P— (=2. 

-fS. .f=2. :^ 






- i 


- ne 

■ trix 

quam cir - eum- 

stant ob 

ste - tri . 







-jS ■■ 


(S (^ ■ 









-\ — 

_(_ u 




-1 — 

cum vi - ce eon - ei - nen - tes an - ge - li glo - ri - am De - o. 

■P--f=2--,^ ^ ^ -P- -P- ^' -(S- _ -P- -)g- 




:^-f=2— P_ 

Chri-ste, pa - tris u - ni - ce, qui 

.^- r- f=- =r" -P- -p- 

hu - ma - nam no - stri cau - sa 

/•^« r=? 

1 1 r^ 1 f-^ \ 

rrJ.' r n 1 ' ' ' 1 

1 ^ ^ ^^ ^ 1 

•\;s^ ■- 1 

1 i— ■- 1 1 1 \ I 

for-mam as - sump - sis - ti, re - fo - ve sup - pli - ces tu - os 
42. ^" s>- -P. -^r^ -is- -SI- .,s>. 



-jSi— ! (S>- 



Et quo- rum par - ti - ci - pes te fo - re di - gna - tus 



-S? — f^ — (S» — ;>5 — (S— I — '—&-^. — '—^-^ ^ — ;^ — /S> — ^- 

-(S» — ;«5 — jS — I <S — I SI 1 ^ — ;p^ — £ 


es, Je - sus, dig-nan-ter e - o - rum sus - ci - pe pre - ces, 

_, -f2- :^" -js- .|2. .e,T\^ .^. .^1 

_(S — I 1 1 1 1 f-d — ^ — |. — 

■S> — t G>—\ 


Ut ip - SOS di - vi - ni - ta - tis tu - ae par - ti - ci 

-IS — f^ — ^ — TTi — <S— ! — ^iS>— ^^iS>— f 



pes, de - us, fa - ce - re di - gne-ris, u - ni - ce de - i. 

And Notkei" caused these pairs of lines to be taken 
one by each side of the choir, so that his Sequences 
were sung antiphonally, hke the Psalms were. And 
in this perfect form, such as we have written it here, 
did the Sequence go forth into the churches of Europe, 
as we have said ; and Sequence writers arose, 
eminently those of the monastery of St. Gall, whose 
names we have before given. 

And it is plain that in the Sequence Notker had 
introduced a new Form into the Music of the Time. 
And we may easily see from what that form proceeded, 
for it was a cross or compromise between the Classical 
and the Christian elements of the Art, between the 
Hymn and the Chant. And in its tying up of 
separate notes to separate syllables, it shows its 
descent from the Hymn, and also in the straining 
after rhythm, which led to the syllables being 
ordered with as great care in every other line, as 
we found them treated when we were speaking of 
the Strophes of the Greeks. But in the freeness of 
the open lines, which indeed is insensibly communi- 
cated to the whole piece as it strikes the ear, we 
may see repeated the free and arrhythmic character 
of the genuine Christian Song, which also the 



antiphonal singing of the Sequence most strongly 
bears out 

Simple as the Form may appear to us, it was 
nevertheless a great discovery in the darkened Middle 
Ages. Before the Sequences began, we look in vain 
for any musical form outside the shapeless graduals 
and antiphons, which offer so vague an outline, that 
all form seems lost in them. But with the Sequences 
a flexible and elastic shape had appeared, built of 
so many members, rounded in such a way, that 
seemed to invite of itself to music-making, and the 
importance of its influence cannot be over-estimated. 
The Classical principle of note for syllable was kept 
with even greater strictness than in the Hymns 
themselves, for in some of the Hymns this had 
become perverted or forgotten, but in the Sequences 
never. While in the free expansion of the complete 
piece, what scope for beautiful refrains, and for 
invention to assert itself, which the narrow margin of 
the Hymn might have hampered and kept under! 
So that perhaps it was better that the Hymn should 
begin to exert its influence on Music rather through 
the Seqence at first, than in its own proper form, 
among people accustomed to the wilful freedom of 
the Gregorian Song. 

And St. Notker continued to write many Sequences, 
wandering about in the forests near the monastery, 
and composing his beautiful melodies under the trees. ^ 
And the people loved his music more than anything 
they had ever heard before, it was so melodious and 
tender. And let us see how he had made his way 
so much in the affections of the people, for it was by 
the simplicity of his thoughts, and by the sympathy 

1 Eckehardus, Vita Notkcri, 


he felt for them, which all his music sho\ved. One 
day walking by a mill stream he heard the mill- 
wheel going, and because the water was very low, 
and the wheel was turning very slowly, there was 
not that monotonous roar, which is generally heard 
from mill-wheels, but a soft and subdued sound, 
which seemed to Notker to resolve itself into certain 
musical notes.^ And taking these notes as his theme, 
he wrote a sequence on the Mill-wheel, and this is 
the burden of it. 


^^^^~^ — ^~pzfz^=22rpzi 



which is repeated again and again throughout the 
Sequence^ as if the mill-wheel were turning and 
singing all the while. And the name of this Sequence 
is "■ Sancti Spiritits adsit nobis gratia" which became, 
very popular with the people. And at another time, 
when he was wandering near the brow of a precipice, 
looking over he saw a thin and fragile bridge, which 
ran like some little thread over the chasm to the 
mountain opposite, and it had been built for the poor 
peasants to carry their wares over to market.^ And 
Notker, reflecting on the dangers which tlic poor had 
to undergo, and how every day they risked their 
lives' to pass it, composed the Sequence of the Bridge, 
which begins with these words, ''In the midst of life 
we are in death," " Media vita in mortc simuis^' 
"What helper shall we seek but only Thee, O Lord! "3 

^ Eiat molendinum juxta vicinum &c., quod quosdam dabat 
quodammodo vocum sonos : quod audiens homo Deo dignus statim 
fuit in spiritu &c. lb. 

- Eckehardus. Vita Notkcri. 

5 This sequence was afterwards sung all over Europe as the funeral 


And in this Sequence, so mournful is the subject, 
that he has departed from his usual practice of setting 
to every note a syllable^ but has admitted the 
passionate exclamation of the Gregorian Song, allowing 
long runs of notes, as, 


Sane - te , De - - us. 

and this is one of the few instances in which he has 
done so. 

In this way, then, he passed his time among the 
hills and woods around St. Gall, returning always at 
the hours of prayer, \\'hen he heard the bells ringing the 
canonical Hours from the great belfry of St. Gall, which 
commanded a spacious view of hill and valley, and rang 
out clear notes into the air, which could be heard for 
miles. And how the bells rang the Hours we have 
said before, ringing brilliant chimes for Matins and 
Vespers, and three changes for Tierce, Sext, Nones, and so 
on. And in the belfry of St. Gall there was a peal of 
six bellsji which was the largest peal commonly used 
in the Middle Ages, though sometimes we hear of a 
peal of seven,2 and once of eight bells.^ There was 
also at St. Gall an old square bell,4 which was said 
to have been brought by St. Gall himself from 
Ireland ; at any rate it was a form of bell that was 
only made in Ireland and in Denmark,^ for all the 
other bells were round, as ours are to-day. And 
they were rung, not with a wheel as ours are, and the 

^ Liber de Casibus Sancti Gall. 

- Magius. De Campanis. 

3 Id. 

^ This bell is to be seen in the monasteiy at the present day, 

■'■' In England also 'pells were made so. 


rope passing over it, but by a piece of wood, fixed at 
right angles to the stock of the bell, to which the rope 
was attached. I By this leverage, then, was the bell 
worked, and the bell ropes had brass or silver rings 
at the end for the ringers to hold them by.^ And 
in a peal of six bells, 720 changes may be rung ; 
but the art of change-ringing belongs to more recent 
times, and particularly to English bell ringers ;3 and 
abroad, and indeed all through Europe in those 
ancient times, they were contented with simple chimes, 
whose excellent monotony may well be held to surpass 
the variety of manifold changes, which often are 
confusing to the ear. And many of the monasteries 
had silver bells, and what melodious music must they 
have made ! Six silver bells were common in the 
German monasteries,4 and at a monastery at Bologna 
there were three silver bellsj that made celestial 
ringing.^ Such simple chimes then as these,- we must 
imagine, if we would hear those bells again : — 






q=z=q=-q==1— =n 







^ Authorities are silent on the subject, but discoveries in ancient 
belfries have elicited the information. 
- Ducange in voc. 

"' I have never heard change-ringing anywhere but in England; 
' Kircher. ]\Iusurgia Universalis. VI. 
' Kircher. ]Musur£jia Universahs. VI. 


And yet the ordinary bells were not made of any 
such costly substances as these, but of the common 
bell metal which we use at present, which is made 
of two parts of copper to one of tin. And by the 
time we write of, this composition of metals was 
known all over Europe,^ in more ancient times bells 
being made of iron,^ as all the old square bells were 
made. And the iron was coated with bronze, either 
for tbe sake of the appearance, or to sweeten the 
tone.3 But yet must the tone have been at the 
best very grating and harsh of these iron bells, which 
the square shape would not conduce to improve. But 
with the discovery of the true bell metal, which how 
or when it was discovered we do not know, the 
round shape began to supersede the square, till at 
last all bells were made in that pattern. And this 
is the way the bells were cast, for I imagine that, 
as in pottery and other homely arts of life the method 
of working to-day differs but little from the original 
one of earlier times, since there are many things in 
the world, where improvements and novelty soon 
become impossible.4 The metals were fused in a 
large cauldron over a wood fire, whereby a far more 
perfect fusion was obtained than we get nowadays by 
the use of coal, for coal is too hot and sublimates 
the tin, which is the life of the bell, and ought never 
to be sublimated. And in bell-founding the great 
secret is to know when to put the tin into the 
cauldron, for it is cast in some time after the copper, 

1 The beginning of the 8th century may be set down as the era. 

- Prcetorius. Syntagma Musicum. 

^ lb. 

* Conjecture can be one's only guide in such a matter, since the 
liumble field of invention and discoveries is as a rule almost ignored 
by annalists. 


and this secret men seem to have known in these 
early ages better than we do now. Now to the 
cauldron in which the metals were fusing, there was 
a sluice attached, which communicated with a mould, 
where the shape of the bell was moulded. And the 
mould was built in this way : There was first an 
inner mould or core, built of brickwork, having its 
inside hollow for a fire to be lighted in it. The 
face of this was then covered with clay, which was 
moulded into the shape of the inside of the bell, 
and though this moulding may have been done by 
hand, yet most probably even at this early period 
the crook was invented, which is a pair of large 
wooden compasses, with one of the legs curved into the 
shape of the inside of the bell, and the other leg 
into the shape of the outside, and, like the potter's 
wheel for pottery, may have been used for bell- 
founding from the first commencement of the art. 
And one of the legs of this crook was made to play 
round the clay, which thus received the shape of the 
inner side of the bell. And after the clay was 
burnt hard by the fire in the inside of the core, a 
perishable composition was washed over it to the 
thickness required for the bell. And over this, when 
it was dry, another clay coating was placed, and 
worked into shape by the play of the crook as 
before, but this time into the shape of the outside of 
the bell. Then the fire in the core was lighted 
again, which destroyed the perishable composition 
between the two clay slabs, and baked the outer one 
hard, as it had before baked the inner one. Now 
the outer one was called the Cope of the Bell, and 
on the top of it the crown, or head, was fixed ; and 
all this lay in a pit close to the furnace and the 
cauldron, and it was tightly rammed down all round 


with dry sand. Meanwhile the metal's were fusing in 
the cauldron, and the master-smith stood by, ready to 
draw the sluice at the exact moment when the fusion 
was complete, which only he knew, having learnt it 
by long experience. For the knowledge when to tap 
the metal, was the great secret in bell-founding, and 
was jealously kept by the guilds of coppersmiths in 
the middle ages, not to be known by any but a 
master workman. And it was at this point in the 
ceremony that the blessing of the bell took place,i 
its baptism following after when the founding was 
complete. While the metals were fusing, I say, and 
just before the sluice was drawn, the priest appeared, 
attended by a large number of the people. And 
the priest was robed in his surplice and stole, and a 
cross was held before him. And stretching out his 
hand, he blessed the bell in the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. Then the Te Deuni and the 
Da Pacem were sung,^ and everything being ready the 
master-smith drew the sluice, and immediately the 
molten liquor rushed gurgling into the mould. And 
there it was allowed to harden for a day or two, 
and then the mould was broken, and the beautiful 
bell exposed to view. And the people came to gaze 
on it, and the ceremony of its baptism was publicly 
performed. And wealthy people of the district stood 
godfathers and godmothers, and the great bell was 
arrayed in an embroidered robe.^ And all having 
met, the priest began : " This is the work which the 
Lord hath made." Response, " And it is marvellous 

1 .This service is to be found in the Processionale in Ustim Sar. 
- ±*rQcessionale cit. 

^ Some writers liave specihed tlie texture and make of these 


in our eyes." Then lifting up his hands he said the 
prayer of consecration, that where this bell hangs, the 
attacks of enemies may be brought to nought, the 
malice of ghosts, the incursion of whirlwinds, the 
stroke of the thunderbolts, the flame of lightning, and 
the assault of tempests. Then the psalm, " Praise 
the Lord, O my soul," was sung by the congregation. 
Then the priest washed the bell with holy water, oil, 
and salt, and prayed that where its melody sounds, 
the hearts of those who heard it might increase in 
faith and holiness. Then turning to the Bell he said, 
" Strike down the powers of the air by the right 
arm of thy power ! vanquish the assaults of Satan ! 
and protect all those who are Avithin hearing of thy 
chime !" Then he wiped it with a towel, and the 
Psalm^ " Vox Domini super aquasl' was sung. Then 
he touched it with the chrism seven times, and 
prayed for the Divine grace to be infused into it. 
Then the holy water was sprinkled over it, and also 
over the whole congregation, and it was named by 
the godfathers and godmothers ; and the priest, with 
his hand on the bell, and signing the sign of the 
cross, named it too. The great bell, Guthlac, of the 
monastery of Croyland, had the Abbot Turketul for 
its godfather, and the peal of six bells which was 
set up by his successor, Egelric, were called 
respectively, Bettelin, Turketul, Bartholomew, Tatwine, 
Pega, and Begu. Another great bell that we know 
of was called John, after the pope of that name. 
And other names we could give of bells, which have 
descended to us by tradition. And strange stories 
are told of these bells of the Middle Ages. It was 
said that they could ring of themselves, without the 
intervention of mortal hand. They were thought to 
leave the belfries at certain seasons, and float like 


clouds through the air, ringing all the while, to the 
amazement of those that heard them. Once a year 
in Holy Week all the bells in Europe were believed 
to go to Rome to confess, and so from Maunday 
Thursday till Easter Eve the belfries were always 
shut, and the doors secured with bolt and bar, that 
no one might look into the empty place, for fear the 
bell might never return. Some in these airy voyages 
sank tired into lakes and rivers, from whence they 
rose like bubbles, ready after a while to soar again 
back to the monastery where their belfry was. On 
the sounds of bells did the souls of the faithful float 
to heaven, cushioned on that buoyant harmony, which 
daily with distant echoes was thought to reach the 
celestial courts. 

Also since in storms, and most of all at the height 
of them, the bells were often heard ringing in the 
belfries, then when the lull came, after the height of 
the storm was over, the people thought it was the 
voice of the bell which had commanded the elements 
to cease, and many superstitions arose in consequence. 
It was no hard matter to believe that the bell had 
lifted its voice of its own accord, and bid the storm 
be still. And from controlling the tempests, and 
breaking the thunderbolt, they were conceived to have 
a general power over the weather, so that when the 
people wished to have a good harvest, they would 
assemble round the monasteries and the churches, and 
beg that the bells might be rung to benefit the crops,i 
and when a rich harvest came they would bless the 
bells that brought it. And the bell reared in the 
moss-grown belfry, and lord of the powers of the air. 

1 Campaiios pulsaii pro fructibus terra;, Sec, prsccipiuut Stat. Synod 
Eccles. Carca?s. 


was a sort of palladium to the village, which kept 
all harm away from those within hearing of its toll ; 
even plagues and distempers its ringing could clear 
the air of.^ And this was the reason that the clergy, 
when they went to visit the sick, would always have 
one with a hand-bell to walk before them, to cleanse 
the air, perhaps, or fortify the spirits of the people, 
who thought it would.^ But the clergy themselves 
were not without their weakness and belief in the 
magic power of bells ; and for this reason they were 
wont to cover their copes and tunicles with legions 
of little bells,3 in order to spread the magic virtue 
over their persons, for there was something peculiarly 
" canny " in their " tinkling " — the " tinnitus " was 
''salutifer" says the monkish biographer of St. Hilary 
of Aries. 

Now if we would complete our knowledge of the 
superstitions connected with the bells, and of the 
virtues that were supposed to reside in them, we must 
turn in conclusion to the Legends of the Bells, in 
which their powers are briefly and succinctly stated. 
For when a bell was cast, on that perishable 
composition which was washed over the inner mould, 
and over which the cope, or outer mould was formed, 
letters were traced, which were the letters of the 
legend, and these imprinting themselves on the inside 
of the cope, then when the bell was cast would 
appear embossed on the outside of the bell. And 
some of these legends are merely historical, and relate 
to the donor of the bell, or the year it was cast in, 

' Agreeably to the common bell legend, "pestem fugo " &c. 

- " Campanulam pulsabat cleiicus praseundo rectoii ecclesiai infiiraos 
visitanti." Ducange. Art. Campanula. 

•' " Uudique in capa tintinnabiila ..... pendent. Ducange in voc. 


but others are the true bell legend, which describe 
the powers and virtues of the bell itself. x'\nd one 

Funcro platigo, fnlgura frango, Sabbata pango, 
Excito Icntos, dissipo ventos, paco criientos. 

" Men's death I tell The sleepy head 

By doleful knell. I raise from bed. 

Lightning and thunder The winds so fierce 

I break asunder. I do disperse. 

On Sabbath all Men's cruel rage 

To church I call. I do assuage." 

And another, 

Laudo dettm vcniiii, plcbcni voco, convoco clcniin, 
Dejimctos ploro, pcstcui fiigo, fcsta decora. 

" I praise the true God, 1 call the people, 

I assembly the clergy, I mourn the dead, 

I drive away diseases, I am the adornment of festivals." 

And others say, 

Vox mea sublimis depellit nubeculam, &c. 

" My voice on high dispels the storm. 

This power has Nature herself bestowed on me.''^ 


" I ring out the bad, I ring in the good." 

" Ave Maria is my name. 
All storms I drive away." 

And this last was placed on the bell that rang the 
Angelus, at hearing which, every one, no matter what 
he might be engaged in, or where he might be, 
must sign the sign of the cross, and repeat three 

' Hoc uiihi nalunv vis "enuiiia dcdil. 


times the Atc Maria, which is the Angelic Salutation 
the Angel made to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And 
this bell was supposed in a miraculous manner to 
shed the influence of the Blessed Virgin on all who 
heard it, and it was the most sweet-toned of all 
the bells in the belfry, and was often made of 
silver. And sometimes the whole Ave Maria was 
inscribed on it for a legend, and sometimes this 
beautiful legend, 

Sum Rosa pulsata inundiquc Maria vocata. 

" I that am beaten am the rose of the world, and am 
called Mary." 

And of a similar character was the Saunce bell, which 
was rung at that part of the Mass where the priest 
begins the Sancttts, that all might know \\\\?i\. hoi}- 
mysteries were proceeding, and if they list might fall 
on their knees in reverence for the ceremony. And 
this bell was generally placed in a lantern in the 
springing of a steeple, that it might be heard far off. 
And its legend was some appropriate one as, " Vox ego 
swn vUce" " I am the Voice of Life," for it also was 
supposed to have a holy and purifying influence on 
those who heard it, though not to such a degree as 
the Angelus. 

Now these are the bells that hung in the belfries, ■ 
and some of the powers and virtues attributed to 
them. But in every monastery there were man}- 
more. For there were small bells placed in various 
parts of the monastery, which were rung at stated 
intervals throughout the day, to summon the monks 
from their avocations, or bid them begin a new one. 
So nicely toned too were these bells, and varied from 
each other, that to hear them was quite sufficient to 
know which bell it was that was ringing. And in 


the refectory was the Squilla,'^ which was a small 
shrill bell, on hearing which, the monks assembled in 
the refectory, which they did for the first time after 
Tierce, having previously confessed in the Chapter. 
And to summon them to the cloisters, where they 
went after Prime was over to hear the singing practice 
of the boys, there was the " Cymbalttml' "^ which was 
a loud clashing bell as its name imports. And at 
other times in the day the Cymbalum was also rung, 
as after Sext, when they sat in silence in the cloisters, 
and at other times. Then there was the Nola, for 
the choir,3 and the Nohila,^ and the Gampana^ — these 
were the bells in the belfries — and the Sigiunn,^ being- 
six kinds of bells in all, that were used in monasteries 
for various purposes throughout the day. And at the 
ringing of the Nola, the choir boys and novices 
would assemble in the choir under the superintendence 
of their master to practise singing, or in the Song 
School, which probably existed in most monasteries, 
and certainly in the monastery of St. Gall. This was 
a school where they were taught to sing and play 
the organ, and it was built within the Chapel itself, 
probably in a recess of the transept or in the chancel, 
as the Lady Chapel was. There were desks in it 
from one end to the other, and it was neatly 
wainscotted two yards high. The floor was boarded 
for warmness, and round about it long forms were 
fastened for the boys to sit on. 7 This was the School 

^ Squilla in triclinio, - Cymbalum in claustro. 

^' Nola in choro. * Nolula, seu dupla, 

•' Campana in campanili, 

'' The names of these various bells and their uses are given in 
Durandus' Rationale Div, I. 6. 

~' A good description of the Song Schools in Monasteries is given 

in Fosbrooke's Encyclopaedia of Antiquity. 


in which Notker taught, being the Master of the 
Song School during his life at St, Gall, having in his 
turn been a pupil there under the celebrated master 
Ratpert, who was most learned in the classical style 
of song, and so successful a master, that forty priests 
from various parts of Europe came to St. Gall, when 
they heard he was dying, asking him to give his 
blessing to his old pupils.^ It was to Ratpert that 
St. Notker owed many of those ideas, which we have 
seen him before developing. Some say that it was 
even to Ratpert that the introduction of note for 
syllable in the Sequences was due,- and that Notker 
at first showed him sequences, which had runs of 
notes in them, and were altogether too free in their 
treatment, and that Ratpert had improved them for 
him, and had even been angry with him, treating 
him with sternness, until he should have realised the 
sequence as Ratpert desired it.^ And the genealogy 
of the Masters of the Song School at St. , Gall was 
this — for they dated back to Romanus himself: There 
was first Romanus ; and after him came Werembert, 
a scholar of Rabanus Maurus, who succeeded him. 
This was till A.D. 840.4 From A.D. 840 to 865, I so, 
a celebrated master, under whom the school grew to 
such fame, that strangers from all parts flocked to 
St. Gall to learn music there.^ And Iso was 
compelled to divide the school into two parts, in one 
of which the novices and boys of the monastery 
itself were educated, and to the other the numerous 

1 Lib. de Casibus Sanct. Gall. 

- The Sequences of Ratpert, however, have many runs of notes in 
them, as may be easily proved by examination. 
■'■ Eckehardus. Vita Notkeri. 
* Liber de Casibug. 
' lb. 


strangers were admitted, who came to the monastery 
for instruction. And he brought a celebrated master 
of singing from Rome, Marcellus, to whom he 
committed the instruction of the boys and novices, 
receiving the strangers from distant parts himself ^ 
And these two shared the school between them. 
This was in the time of the famous abbot, Grimaldus.^ 
And next after Iso and Marcellus, Ratpert succeeded. 
And he was so diligent in his instructions, that the 
story went he had but one pair of shoes a year,3 so 
little did he use his feet, scarcely ever stirring out of 
his school in the monastery. And the most famous 
scholars of Ratpert were Notker and Tutilo, Hartmann, 
Waltram, and Salomon. 4 But the first two were ever 
his favourite pupils, and in character they were as 
opposite as night to day. Notker was the reserved 
and gentle scholar, but Tutilo was a bold and dashing 
spirit, almost a swash-buckler monk, who could cross 
a blade, or even set a lance against any man. And 
Ratpert loved them both exceedingly, but Notker 
most. And to Tutilo he has constantly some sage 
advice, or even kind reproof to give, and we can see 
that he is often troubled at the doings of his brilliant 
pupil. But to Notker it is always, " Sed tu, Notkerc 
care, quia tii timidiilus cs!' 

And the character of Tutilo is well shown in his 
music. What gaiety of melody shines in the 
Sequences of Tutilo ! and, even more than in his 
Sequences, in his Kyric .Elcisons\ which, far from 
being a sad prayer for mercy, pass with him into a 
joyous rush of happy tones, so joyous and gay is his 

1 Lib. de Casibus Sancti Galli. ~ lb. Cap. I. 

3 lb. -i lb. 




Cunc - ti • po - tens ge - ni - tor, de - us, 



t=i^U4-L-l— LJ- 


jii - ere • a - tor, e - - - lei - son. 



e - - - lei - son. 

This is a Kyric Eleison of Tutilo's, and how does it 
contrast with much of the music of the time, and 
even with the sadness and sentiment of Notker's 
muse ! There is a round and clear form about it 
also, and looking at it we may sec how - well the 
Sequence was doing its work, and behind it the 
Hymn, setting form and shape on what was vague 
before. And even more than the clearness of form, 
the note accompanying the syllabic betrays the influence 
of the Sequence ; and had this piece been written 
before the influence of that form began, it would have 
been the chaos of wild runs and phrases, which we 
found in Gregorian music. 

Yet not all men were so happy as Tutilo ; for 
there was little cause to make them so. Secluded 
in the walls of their monasteries, the monks passed 
peaceful and tranquil lives ; but outside, storms were 
blowing. The people, unwilling slaves to oppressive 
masters, the country, plunged in perpetual discord 
from the turbulence of the barons ; weak kings, who 
could not control their subjects ; and lawlessness and 



rapine everywhere — such was the state of the times. 
And now to add to the general disorders, the 
Hungarians began their ravages in Germany, and the 
Norsemen in France, as the Lombards in Italy a 
century back. But worst of all were the Hungarians. 
They came riding on horses in troops through the 
villages, burning down houses, and destroying the 
crops. And the people fled in terror at their 
approach, for their very appearance was revolting, and 
there were horrid stories about, that they lived like 
wild beasts, and ate human flesh. Such terror did 
they inspire, that whole villages were deserted at their 
coming. And the ravages of the Hungarians extended 
throughout the length and breadth of Germany 
as far as the river Rhine itself. And when the 
Hungarians had gone for a time, the barons would 
come out and plunder the people, so as to make good 
any losses they had sustained, by pillaging and 
plundering them. In this sad case the people fell 
into despair, for the only protectors they had were 
the clergy and the monks, who could not render them 
much assistance, beyond praying with them and 
comforting them. 

And now Notker died, and was buried in the 
chapel of the monastery of St. Gall. And it was 
the beginning of the loth century, in which strange 
things were thought. For the troubles and trials 
which the people had daily to endure, made them 
remember an old prophecy, which said that the world 
should come to an end in the i,oooth year after 
Christ's birth. And there were to be wars and 
rumours of wars, and famines, and pestilences, and 
prodigies in the heavens, and other fearful signs — and 
many of these things had already come. And plagues 
and famines appeared in various parts of Europe, for 


the fields were burnt up and destroyed, and there 
was no bread to eat, and the people died of hunger 
and disease. And in order to propitiate the Divine 
wrath, the people would assemble at the church doors, 
and go in procession through the streets of the villages, 
or over the barren fields, chanting Litanies, with the 
clergy at their head, the clergy intoning the 
supplication, and the people answering, ^^ Kyrie Eleisoii" ; 
but no longer those happy Kyries of Tutilo, but sad 
mournful strains, that were meanings rather than 
singing. And at the head of the procession there 
were hair-cloth standards, and the deacons in their 
white amices followed, carrying the relics of saints 
wrapped in a silken pall, and then came- the people, 
two by two, sometimes with lighted candles in their 
hands. And meantime the bells of the churches were 
tolling, and the women at the cottage doors were 
wringing their hands as the procession passed. And 
there were other litanies than these, that is to say, 
heroic ones. For when the monasteries were attacked 
by the invader, the monks would sometimes sally 
out to meet him, but not with arms of flesh, but 
preceded by the abbot in his rochet and alb, and the 
other dignitaries of the monastery, dressed as if for 
a festival, with their hoods on and beating of bells, 
they would issue forth from the gates of the monastery, 
intoning with strong clear voices the hymn of St. 
Fortunatus : — 


gis pro 




-Jo-j ^J . L : 

Quo car - ne car - nis con - di - tor 

Sus - pen - siis est pa - ti - bu - lo. 

And often the invader, at the sight of this company 
of fearless men, would retire awestruck from his work 
of pillage. 

Now Litanies, such as wc have described, were of 
long standing in the church, and used in seasons of 
trial and distress, and always on Rogation Days which 
were days of humiliation before God. And they had 
been instituted by Mamercus, bishop of , Vienne in the 
south of France, during a season of drought and famine. 
And he had instituted them in this way : The bells 
were all rung, and the choir were to assemble in the 
chancel, and the people in the nave. After other 
bells were sounded, the procession commenced. Three 
crosses were carried in front, and two banners with 
each cross. The bearers were to have albs on, and 
have their feet bare, and those who walked in the 
procession must carry staves in their hands. The 
clergy were clothed in their vestments, and copes of 
red silk. In this way they all walked in the 
procession. And there were Stations pre-arranged, 
where they were to stop and offer prayers ; and 
these were generally at Oratories, or at churches, if 
any lay on their route. Such were the processions 
that were held at Vienne to avert the drought and 
famine, and at Verdun to avert the attacks of wolves, 
and during the plague at Rheims ; and at other 
places, And the supplications put up by the priests 


were generally answered with " Kyric Elcison " by the 

Pro civitate hac et conventu ejus omnibus habitantibus. 

Resp. Kyrie Eleison. 
Pro aeris teniperie et fructu et fcecunditate terrarum. 

Resp. Kyrie Eleison. 

But not always, for sometimes other forms were used 
as replies, as, 

Parce nobis, Domine. 
Libera nos, Domine. 
Te Rogamus audi nos. 
Miserere nobis. 

with other forms. But none were so common as 
Kyric Eleison. 

And the gentle Notker would fain have made an 
art even of Litanies. And he wrote supplications in 
Elegiac verse, to which he set most sweet Kyrie 

" Votis supplicibus voces super astra fn'amus, 
Trintis nt ct supplex nos rcgat omnipotais, 

Kyric Eleison. ^ 

But such things were the toys of tranquillity and 
peace, and not fitted for sterner times, when misery 
and distress of every kind hovered in the air, and a 
universal gloom oppressed men's minds, in which the 
music of the time, no less than other things, shares 
its part. 

For such music as was written in this age barren 
of art and prolific in nothing but despondency and fear, 
is sad and dismal in its strains, and in the language 

> Martcne. HI. 



that accompanies it there is not even an attempt at 
a poetical thought. The composers seem unable to 
weave a melody amidst the gloomy apprehensions of 
the time, or the poets to rise even for a moment 
above the region of prose. For far more strongly 
than we can ever imagine was that dreadful event 
expected, that the world was soon to end, till at 
last it became a horrid nightmare, that weighed down 
the minds of all. 

An exception to the universal depression of musical 
art is the so-called Song of Gotteschalk,^ 












O quid ju - bes, pu 

1 J 

le, Qua - 



re man - das, 









Car - men dul - ce me can - ta 

re, cum sim 




:t — ' ^ 






Ion - ge ex - ul val - de In - tra ma - re ? 









cur ju - bes, pU - si 


1 Bibliotheque Nationale. MS. 11544 This composition, supposed to 
be written by Gotteschalk during his exile, must obviously from its 
texture be referred to a much later date than his. 


And yet how sad it sounds ! But take the following, 
and we shall see how gloomy is the music,i 

-p_ p— p^p -p^— ^_^— g—g- ^;^- ^ 

Mag - nus Cx - Ot - to, quem hie mo • dus 

re - fert in no - mi - ne Ot - tine die - tus, qua - dam 

t=t=zz:bz=t:z=bzi^ ' I 

noe - te, mem -bra su - a dum col - lo - cat Pa - la 





ti - o, ca - su su - hi - to in - Ham - ma - tur. 

And yet more prosy are the words. For who but in 
such dreadful times would have lacked the- spirit to 
soar higher than this for poetry ? — " The great emperor, 
Otho, whom this song is about, the tune being called 
Ottinc, one night when he laid himself down to rest in 
the Palace, suddenly his clothes caught fire by accident." 
And the rest of the poem is taken up with a minute 
description of the disaster. And this piece is 
interesting, as showing how entirely the form of the 
Sequence had impressed itself on Music now, but 
otherwise it is only valuable as showing the depression 
of our art amidst the general gloom that enveloped 
the world. 

Meanwhile the i, 000th year was fast approaching, 

1 From the Wolfenbuttel MS. first printed in Coussemaker's Histoire 
de I'Harmonie. But his translation of the neumes leaves very much 
to be desired. The present writer has therefore attempted a new 


There were but a few more years to run, before it 
should arrive. And the voice of the Sibyl was heard 
proclaiming the end of the world. This was the 
ancient prophecy we spoke of, and it had descended 
from the remotest times, passed on from generation 
to generation by tradition, but never heeded till the 
awful time was at last at hand. " The Judge shall 
give the sign," it ran, " The earth shall sweat with 
fear. The stars shall be rent into threads, and the 
splendour of the moon shall fail. He will cast down 
the hills, and dash them in pieces. Everything shall 
come to an end. The earth itself shall perish." 
And this was the horrid dirge :^ — 

^ — «^- 

:g=:g=z:g=p— (g— 7?— P— P— g: 


E - li - pi - tur so - lis ju - bar, et cho • rus 

:p2 — pf^P ig-r-p-f's-f^— r?— ^-(g-p?ll 

^^^ g =E ^ g^g 

in - te - rit as - tris, Vol - ve - tur cce 

lum, lu 

- na - ris spl 


dor ob 


- bit. 

'/m\ P' 

f^ r^ ] f^ 



1 1 

u-T ' — f— 



L -j-jj.t_ 


De - ji - ci - et col - les, val - les ex - tol 
■^ — r 


-P7sr-p ? — (g ^ r ^r^^sr. 


let ab i - mo. Non e • rit in 

-!-— r— p — p=f =F=r= p .Eg^ 

bus ho = mi - num sub • li - me vel al « turn* 

i feibliotlieque Nationale (Paris)^ MSS. 2832. 



-g-g_p— ^_g— g. 


-t — — — ■ 

Jam JE - quan - tur cam - pis mon - tes, et coe - ru 

P~^~PP"T?~P^~(^ r^ ~r?~P~r?: 

la pon - ti Om • ni - a ces - sa 


ig— f^— p-r=P-g:J=z:^ 




bunt, tel - lus con - frac 




And the signs which should betoken the dreadful 
event were seen on every side. For faith was to 
fail, and battles and tumults to rage, and there were 
to be eclipses of the sun, and noises in thg air, and 
all these things had come. x\nd not only was there 
to be misery and distress throughout the world, 
but vice and impiety were to reign triumphant ; and 
in the fearful licentiousness of the popes themselves 
the people saw the signs too well fulfilled. Under 
John XII., Rome had become Babylon once more. 
Seated amid prostitutes he would barter bishoprics 
for sale, and he had ordained cardinals in stables. 
He drank wine " to the love of the devil," and 
while gaming he would call on Jupiter, Venus, and 
other demons for aid. Female pilgrims could no 
longer visit Rome, for fear of becoming the victims 
of his violence. And those who followed him in the 
papacy, and those who had preceded him, were little 
less impious than he. 

At last the year 1,000 began. And many in their 
terror fled to dens and caves in the rocks, while 
thousands flocked to Palestine, as hoping that there would 
be a shelter from God's wrath. Agriculture was 
neglected, and building was even suspended. There 


was no will made, and no business transacted. Many 
gave their estates and property to the churches, as 
having no longer any use for them. And others 
plunged into reckless living, rioting and feasting in 
very despair, or affecting to disbelieve the event ; 
while crowds of fanatics paraded the streets, dressed 
in black and with dishevelled hair. And some would 
throw themselves in the dust, howling, and cry out, 
" Mercy, mercy ! Peace, peace ! " Or they would join 
in fearful chants, which seemed to exult in the 
impending doom. ''Audi telbis" "Hear! O earth! 
Hear, thou pit of ocean ! the last day is at hand ! " 
" Bene fnndata terra" " The well-founded earth shall 
shake and stagger. ' Towns and castles shall perish. 
The rivers will be dried up ; the sea will be dry. 
Chaos will yawn, and Hell gape asunder." And then 
came the fearful refrain, that sounded like a knell, 

in - ep •• tarn se - que - ris la: • ti - ti ' am, 

" F rails, dolus, et cupido^^ '' The impious prevail, and 
the wicked hold sway. Virtue is neglected, and 
saintliness displeases." And those who met them turned 
aside in horror, and people closed their doors as they 
passed. And the banqueters in the gay chambers 
shuddered and grew pale, as they heard the awful 
chant surging up through their windows from the 

' Bibliotheque de Montpellier. MS. 


.50 J 


:g=g=g=:P— P=g=P— P— ^ 



Au - di tel - lus, au - di mag - ni ma - ris lim - bus, 


S> — ^ — i^—!S>—^—^- 


-iS— H 

Au - di ho - mo, au - di om - ne quod vi - vit sub so 


:p2=^^=pz:pz:,r ?— i ^-giz^=>2--^r^: 


\ ^— h 



Ve - ni - et pro - pe ? di - es i - rae su - pre - mae, 






vi - sa, di - es 

di - es 

ma - ra, 

-O &- 


-p' — I ^ — \ 

■S) (S>- 

qua C£e - lum fu - gi - et, sol 

ru - bes - cet. 

-iS> iSi- 




lu - na mu - ta - bi - tur, di - es ni - gres - cet, 


-P2 ■^- 


de - ra 

pra ter - ram ca - dent. 






Heu ! mi - se - ri, Heu ! mi - se - ri, Quid ho - mo. 





-^ — e ^<^-g'— s>^ ■ 

in - ep - tam se • que - ris lae - ti - ti - am! 

1 lb. 



. But the i,oooth year came to an end, and brought 
no Judgment Day ; and the world, disabused of its 
terrors, began to laugh. The prophets and fanatics 
could scarce raise their head under the flood of 
ridicule and merriment that was heaped on them ; 
even the religious orders did not escape their share 
of contempt, many of whom had lent themselves to 
the propagation of the opinion, which had turned out 
so silly a fear. A spirit of levity and almost of 
ribaldry seemed to infect all classes alike. And the 
Feast of Asses, the Pope of Fools, the Boy Bishop, 
and other such travesties of the religious rites, are a 
witness to the feelings that animated all, down even to the 
clergy themselves. There was gaiety too and blitheness 
now, and men seemed to forget their troubles in the 
general feeling of relief that possessed the world. 
And the peasants might be seen dancing and singing 
in the fields, and the church itself became secularised, 
and its Kyvic Eleisons began to pass into Carols, 
and its Hymns and Sequences into Popular Tunes. 
And. this is the way that the Kyrie Eleisons passed 
into Carols : the words of the petitions were first 
written in metre, as we have seen Notker write them, 
and at the end of each verse, '^ Kyrie Eleison" was 
sung, which at last seemed quite to lose its mournful 
meaning, and passed into the burden of a song. 
And then French or German or other vernacular 
words were used instead of Latin, and set in the 


same metres, but still the two words, " Kyric Elcisonl' 
were retained for the burden, for they had such 
pleasant melodies, and were so familiar to the people's 
ear, that they could never be cast aside. And these 
" Kyrie Eleison " songs were called by various, though 
similar, names in the corrupt pronunciation of provinces 
and of different countries ; and in Germany they were 
called " Kyrielcisl' or " Kyi'ides'^' and in Bohemia, 
'■ Crolesl' or " Crilesseii" and in Holland, " Kyrioles" 
in France, ^' Kyrielles^^ ^' Kisiellcs," '' Qtciriclles," and in 
England, '' Crolcs" or '' Caroles!'^ And the subjects of 
the songs were not always sacred, but very frequent!}- 
secular now, and owing to their familiar refrains uhich 
cvcr}^ one knew, they were great favourites with the 
people. And here are some of the beautiful medieval 
" Kyries," so that we cannot wonder that the people 
would delight in singing them again and again : — 

Ky - ri - e e - - - lei - son. 

.(22. .^. 

&-n-& ;^ ! 1 \ 1- 

:^-- ^-^. 

.iiii^=— I ^— g^g^zigfcigzig: 

Ky - ri - e e - lei - son. 

And even in these three that we have cited, what 
similarity of cadence and of melod)' ! so that to 

^ Schletterer's Geschichte der geistliche Dichtung. 

2 i2th century MS. 

■■■ 1 2th century. 

■• This is strictly a Kyrie farci. 


remember them was an easy thing. And the people 
sang them in their own way, singing as they danced, 
and taking them to dancing rhythms, which made 
them crisp and melodious. 

And meanwhile the Hymns and Sequences were 
passing into popular tunes, that is, they were 
imprinting their form on the songs of the people, 
which were now first beginning to sound in Europe ; 
for it seemed as if all things were coming together, 
happiness to the common people, and joy and release 
to the world at large. And first we must say that 
the Sequences had little by little grown so like the 
Hymns, that there was scarce any distinguishing one 
from the other ; for instead of being written in 
limping prose, the}-' were no\\' written always in 
metre, and generally in that common Hymn metre of 
four iambic feet or spondees to the line. Even the 
repetition of each line of melody twice over, which 
originated in their antiphonal singing, was not 
universally preserved, but was fast giving way to the 
regular Hymn form,i and in this manner the Sequences 
were sung in churches. Some indeed say that the 
Hymns themselves were by this time released from 
their seclusion, and were admitted to ordinary public 
worship, and that this was the reason for the 
prevalence of the Form, which now at last appears 
triumphant. And the people's songs, as we said, 
taking their impress from the Hymn, either directly 
or through the Sequence, were all couched in its form, 
that is, in stanzas of four lines each, and lines of four 
iambuses or four trochees, mixed with spondees, 

1 Cf. all sequences of this century, especially those in collections of 
itin Hvmns. 

Latin Hymns 


/ / / ■ 

[—■Mz=:M—\—M aLj —-0— Milled ^zz| 

or trochaically, 

/ / / 

And the complete music of any of their songs has 
not survived, but only fragments of the music ; on 
the other hand, the words of many have remained, 
and from these we have been enabled to judge them. 

A strange relic has survived, which will show us 
what the music in its entirety was. Among the 
wrecks of the medieval popular music, a People's 
Sequence has survived entire, and its words are partly 
in Latin, and partly in the vernacular, in the latter 
case being in every respect a repetition of the ordinary 
popular song, whose words wc have said are often 
preserved to us. And wc shall see what the music 
is, how it is exactly the music of the Hymn, as the 
metre of the words would otherwise imply. And the 
Sequence we speak of is the Sequence of the Ass. 
Once a year on the 14th of January was celebrated 
now the Feast of Asses, which was a burlesque of 
the Mass. A beautiful girl was selected to represent 
the Virgin, and she was seated on an ass, most 
elegantly caparisoned, and carried a child in her 
arms to represent the infant Jesus. And she was 
led to the church amid a great procession of people, 
and conducted up the aisle to the gospel side of the 
altar, that is, to the right hand side of it looking 
down the church. Here she dismounted, and sat with 
the ass tethered by her, while the mass was performed. 
And the burlesque went on in this manner : the 
Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, &c. were all terminated 
with the words " Hee-Haw ! " and at the end of the 



service, the priest, instead of saying " Itc Missa est,'' 
brayed three times, and the people brayed three times 
in response.! And this is the Sequence of the Ass, 
which was chanted at its proper place in the 
service : — 




O - li - en - tis par - ti - bus ad • ven - ta - vit as - i - nus, 









Pul-cher et. for - tis - si - mus, Sar- ci - nis ap - tis - si - mus. 

-(&- -fS- -f^- 






Hez ! Sire As - nes, car chan-tez, Bel - le bou-che re - chi-gnez. 




-I — I — e>- 



Vous au - rez du foin as - sez, et de I'a-voin - e a plan-tez. 

This is the first time we meet with the vernacular 
in any entire piece of medieval music, and, as we say, 
it is a key to the character of the medieval popular 
songs, which were written in this measure. 

Now why the Church Music should impress itself 
so strongly on the popular mind as to reproduce 
itself in the people's songs, why, I say, so powerful 
an influence could be exerted by the Church in these 
days, was because there was an intimacy of connection, 
a familiarity of intercourse between the Church and 
the common people, such as never in history has 
occurred again. The clergy would often get up 
shows to please the people, in which they would 

1 Ducange. Art, Festum. as it was celebrated at Beauvais. 


represent various incidents of Holy Writ, dressing up 
the chancel to represent a scene, and having- the 
various personages performed in character. And these 
shows afterwards developed into the Miracle Plays and 
Mysteries, as is well known. But they did more 
than this, for on certain days of the year they threw 
open the churches to the people, and allowed them 
to have their games and dances there.^ Well, therefore, 
might the influence of the Church be so strong on 
the people, when such familiarity of intercourse 
prevailed between the two. And how the Church 
tunes came to ring in their ears, so that they were 
never forgotten, is well seen also, for all the while 
they were dancing and singing, the organ was playing 
in time with them,^ playing popular hymns and 
sequences in frolic time, or sometimes Antiphons and 
Graduals, which must have been sadl}' curbed and 
altered by the measure of the dance. And once a 
year, that is, on Easter Day, the clergy themselves 
joined in the sport. There was a Ball Dance on 
that day in the choir. The Dean stood with a ball 
in his hand, and directly the organ struck up, he 
threw it to one of the choristers, and he to another, 
and so it was passed all round the choir. Even an 
Archbishop, if he were there, did not disdain to bandy 
it. And meanwhile the choir boys were leaving their 
places in the stalls, and bounding and leaping all 
about the chancel, and the elder clergy joining in 
with them, and footing it to the sound of the organ.3 
And if these were merriments, there were also actual 
grotesques, which, since music played so chief a part 

1 Ducangc. Choreare. 
- Ducange. Art. Pelotr, Percula. 

■'■ The Ball Dance is minutely described in the Acta Sanctorum. 



in them, and indeed seems to have originated them, 
we may well consider to form a part of its history, 
and to be to music what the tailed dragons and 
griffins and other grotesques are to sculpture. For 
the Boy Bishop was a chorister, and the whole of 
that burlesque ceremony originated with the choir ; 
as also the Burial of the Alleluia, in the same way, 
which we must particularly describe. For the 
Alleluia, which was the most joyous part of thp 
service, and from whose fountain of copious melody 
the tuneful Sequences, as we have seen, had arisen, 
during Lent was not sung at all, and the people were 
so heartily sorry to lose it, and most of all the 
choristers, who delighted in it, that a mimic ceremony 
of burial was gone through, and the Alleluia was 
solemnly interred in a grave, there to remain till 
Lent had ended. And it was on Septuagesima 
Sunday that the ceremony took place. After the 
last Be?iedicainns had been sung, the choristers 
advanced with crosses, torches, holy water, and incense, 
carrying a turf in the manner of a coffin, which was , 
to represent the dead Alleluia. And in this \va)^ 
they passed down the church, singing a dirge, and 
so out into the church-yard, where a grave was dug, 
and the turf was buried. And sometimes a choir 
boy whipped a top down the aisle in front of the 
procession, on which the word, " Alleluia," was written 
in golden letters. This was to show to those who 
knew it not the meaning of the ceremony.^ But the 
pageant of the Boy Bishop passed from a mere jest 
into a piece of most serious drollery, and we may see 
to what lengths humour could run, when we remember 
that a choir boy, having been elected bishop for the 

Ducange. Art, Alleliiia. 


space of three weeks every year, that is to say, from 
St. Nicholas' Day till Innocents' Day, the 6th to the 
28th of December, any benefice that fell vacant in 
the diocese during that period was in his gift, for he 
was elected to discharge all the functions of the 
regular bishop,^ and during his tenure of office the 
whole diocese was ruled by the boys of the choir. 
This indeed was an utter upsetting of all propriety, and 
humour carried to extremities. And he had 
prebendaries and canons of his own, and chaplains 
and deacons — all, like him, boys of the choir. And 
at the solemn service on the eve of Innocents' Day, 
he officiated, attended by the real Deans and Canons 
and clergy of the Cathedral. And there he sat in 
his rochet and chimer. And he had a ring on his 
finger, and a mitre on, and a crozier. And the mitre 
was made of cloth of gold, with knobs of silver 
gilt, and v/as garnished with pearls.^ Now with the 
Pope of Fools we pass from decent, if extraordinary 
jesting, to actual ribaldry and profanity. For the 
Porter preached a sermon, and the Pope of Fools 
celebrated high mass, and afterwards played at dice 
on the altar. Cakes and spiced wine were also served 
out to the communicants, and after celebration they 
adjourned to the ale-house.^ This was one of the 
mockeries and profanities that had sprung up in the 
general levity and gaiety of the time, and was very 
different from the good-humoured extravagancies we 
have mentioned before. But in the tide of happiness 
that was overspreading the world, such things as this 

' At Salisbury at least it was so. 

- For a full description of tlie service, &c., see the Processionale 
ad usum insignis et prccclarce ecclesiK; Sarum. Rothoiiiagi. i.s66. 4-6, 
■• Ducange. Art, Kalendas. 


came with the rest, and must be considered as 
merely the excess of the same feelings, which to 
greater or less degree prompted all. 

But meanwhile the monks in their cloisters still 
pursued their tranquil life, far removed from the joys 
and fears of the world beyond. Yet even here gaiety 
found an entry, but not couched in the language of 
vulgar folly, but how idealised ! how transfigured ! The 
gaiety of the world could only shed celestial peace 
on their souls. With them, happiness appears as 
beauty, and joy goes out in heavenly melody. While 
the world was rejoicing, their vigils and prayers had 
still continued, in no way different to when we saw 
them first at their midnight matins singing the hymns 
of St. Ambrose. Whole nights would they spend in 
prayer, and they would remain in their chapels all 
through a November darkness till morning light 
appeared, kneeling or lying on the benches for very 
weariness, while every now and then the Prior would 
go through the aisle with a lantern to reprove the 
sluggard, or encourage those who fainted with fatigue. 
In such a life as this, heavenly tunes were born ; 
for melody, which is the rose of emotion, flowers 
sweetest where asceticism is its fosterer. And the 
wild Gregorian music floated in unwonted strains of 
beauty now. And there were melodies, such as came 
like visions to men who knelt with bare knees on 
flintstones in their cells, and wore sackcloth next 
their skin, and wept and prayed till nature could 
endure no longer. And of such melodies this is 
one : — 

Pu - er na - tus est no - - bis, 


, •p-p-t=::^^i^,^--g-_-g--jg:--g-_gi-Pf^^:^ 
qZ^^ ^ JZl^^-P r^l I — —I R=Fr- z 

et fi - li - us da - tus est no 

-I 1 1 1 '- i— ^ — ^S"*— — ' ' 

-t==l 1 r: 

bis, cu - jus im - pe - ri - um su - per 

liu - mc - rum e - - - jus, 




:^ P r?-ig-::.u 

!-i - li • i an - - - - ge - lus. 

And more such heavenly melodies \vc might give, 
which stand out in strong relief from the vague 
tunelessness of the Gregorian Song, and point to this 
later period for their composition, as indeed we know 
it to have been. For joy had at last found its way 
into the cells of ascetics, and their sternness was 
melting away into emotion. Nay, even a tenderer 
feeling than joy had made its way there ; for that 
strange and beautiful cult, the worship of the Blessed 
Virgin, was common now in every monastery, and 

' From the Antiplioiiar)- of Montpellier. 


who shall tell to what height of rapture it was 
carried in the privacy of the cells ? At any rate, if 
music can speak the language of devotion and love, 
that language is most truly spoken in every tone that 
tells of her. For as we turn the dry pages of 
service books, there is sameness and monotony on other 
themes, but directly her name appears, flow'rets seem to 
spring, and the melody of streams to murmur through 
the page. 

And what scope for beauty of melody was there 
then, such as shall never occur again in music ! For 
we of modern days, since harmony has been added 
to the art, are insensibly fettered in our flights, and 
even restricted in our choice of sounds, so as to be 
in keeping v/ith certain stock progressions of the 
harmonising parts, which occur again and again, and 
have, without our knowing it, engendered many 
samenesses of turn and cadence, conventional forms 
of phrase, and generally a limitation of breadth and 
roomy thinking in the composition of tune. Most of 
all has the methodical alternation of Dominant and 
Tonic in the bass done this, cramping the air by 
separating it into alternate sets of notes, which come 
in regular succession as the bass moves. But then 
all was freedom. The fetters of harmony had not 
yet been forged. The melody soared careless and 
uncontrolled, and in an age of beauty and happiness, 
what lovely music did ensue ! And a specimen of 
this ease of movement we have already given in the 
Antiphon for Christmas Day, " Ptier natus est',' in 
examining which, who detects any of those deliberate 
progressions to certain groups of notes, which harmony 
has now compelled ? It is an unchecked flow of 
beautiful sound. And similarly free, and almost as 
beautiful, is this monkish gradual :— 








Pu - e 

li He - brae - o 

rura, tol - len - tes 




:^— r?— p=g?: 



ra - mos ol 

va - rum, ob - vi - a - ve - runt 




-I — f — I — |- 
-^ — ^^ 

do - rai - no, cla - man 

tes ct di 

:g=:gi&fzg— P— P: 


:s:p=i:?2z— - 




1 ^ — 1-_ 

tes, O - san - na in ex - eel - sis 








He - brce - o 

rum ves - ti 

-I 1 1 1 1 1 P^-*-F--' 



men - ta sua pros- ter - ne- bant in vi - a, et cla -ma - 









bant, di - cen - tes, O - san - na fi - li - o Da - vid 1 be - ne • 

g=gE F=, ^-p- p-p - ^-p -r ^ ig= ^g ip^zz^=ip: 



die - tus qui ve - nit in no - mi - ne do - mi - ni 

or this, which belongs to the same period : — 






■^— s: 






Ad - est no - bis di - es al - ma, et mag-no gau - di - o 

1 l-i'iom German Gradual, nth centurVi 





:l — 

pie - na, In qua san - eta de - o gra - ta con - gau - det 





ec - cles • i - a. Ho - di - e ca; - les - tis laj - ta - tur 

f2. ^ 1 1 1 , e 1 

zi^-=m.—\±—^ —\ I — b: 


tur - ba, qua; glo - ri - am can - tat in ex - eel 

1 <» — I 1 1 \=:^ 

vo - ce dul - cis - o - na cum sym - pho - ni - a. 

But this freedom of melody was soon to pass away, 
for indeed this ver\' force of Harmony had in a 
remote corner of the world by this time begun, and 
we shall see under its influence the free joyousness 
give way to unnatural cramp and stiffness, till in 
course of time the old flexibility is in a measure 
regained, when the fetters have become silken, and 
music is reconciled to her new companion. 

And meanwhile we may notice the influence of the 
Hymn in greater or less degree on all these pieces 
we have given, and on the first indeed it is not very 
strong, but into the others it has insinuated its form, 
imprinting a soft rhythm on Gregorian Antiphons and 
Graduals, despite the unmetrical words and long-drawn 
phrases, and tuning their straggling shape to symmetry. 
And this is an operation of its influence we would 
willingly pursue, but yet we shall prefer to travel in 
a stronger light than this, and see how the Hymn 

1 From a collection of Festival Music (English MS.) Brit. Museum. 
Roval. 2. B. IV. 


itself received a greater rhythm, and was changed and 
rendered still more plastic in its outline. For having 
said that the people had such delight in the familiar 
form that they would have all their homely songs 
taken to its measure, and in this way would sing 
them at their merry-makings and dances, we must 
consider how the complexion of the melody would be 
altered by its accompaniment to a dance. And what 
we found taking place with the Greeks and the 
barbarians, we find also take place here. For Triple 
Time is ever the time of the dance ; and in the 
dances of the peasants was Triple Time born into the 
medieval world. And the Hymn, having passed into 
the popular song, received in its new shape this 
accession to its beauty, and in this final form it now- 
established itself as the foundation and type of all 
popular music. And how this was brought about, 
may well be seen by considering the melodies of the 
dances themselves, of which, two from this early 
period have survived : — 






^.— ^— Q— (g— ^ — g^ — '^^l-'g'-g'— 'g-Q £^-G ^ 

' Printed in Fourtaul's Introduction to the Dance of Death; (t*aris; 
Schlotthauer's en^avings.) 


And the other one : — 

— r r 1=-| — f=^^ h 


_^ — ^- 

— ==^ — ^_ 

-i^j — ^— 









1 — 

H- 1 P-C-i- 



i ■ ■' 1 

^ — .-- ^ ^ — ?^— :z; 

^^Eg:^ §Ez=g^^g^-EgEg^= gE5E^ 



p2— s!— P-p-^-; 

— -j-- 

t===i^— P=,Fzz&^=c^: 



p-^— p 1 p- p-r r ^ — p~^ 

— F-^ Sf 5-5 ^—-M 1- 


And they are both, as will be seen, in Triple Time, 
and danced to the Iambic measure, v-* _, so that we 
may write their rhythm, as we wrote it in the times 
of the Greeks, 

\j I w_| \j I w_ |w j &c. 

and it will be plain that whatever song is sung to 
such a dance, must take its time from this measure ; 
and since singing was the constant recreation of 
holidays, when dancing and junketing were holding 
high carnival too, little by little all the popular songs 
began to give evidence of this new influence, so that 

1 Bibliotheque de Lille. MS. 95. 


of the fragments which remain to us from this early 
period, there is not one but what is in Triple Time. 
Dancing indeed had developed into a sort of passion 
among all orders of the people. " In public places 
and in the fields," says a historian of the time, "dancing 
is common at all hours of the day." ^ " Men and 
women," says another, "are continually dancing 
together, holding one another by the hand, and 
concluding the dance with a kiss."^ And is there 
not the story of the Doomed Dancers, which belongs 
to this period, who incurred the vengeance of the 
Church ? for indeed the Church, which at first had 
encouraged these harmless levities, was now, in the 
abuse of them, compelled to reprimand and restrain, 
" I, Othbert, a sinner," runs the legend, " have lived 
to tell the tale. It was the vigil of the Blessed 
Virgin, and in a town of Saxony, where was a 
church of St. Magnus. And the priest, Ratbertus, 
had just began the mass, and I with my comrades, 
fifteen young men and three young women, were 
dancing outside the church. And we were singing 
so loud, that our songs were distinctly heard inside 
the building, and interrupted the service of the mass. 
And the priest came out and told us to desist ; and 
when we did not, he prayed God and St. Magnus 
that we might dance as our punishment for a year 
to come. A youth, whose sister was dancing with 
us, seized her by the arm to drag her away, but it 
came off in his hand, and she danced on. For a 
whole year we continued. No rain fell on us ; cold, 
nor heat, nor hunger, nor thirst, nor fatigue, affected 
us ; neither our shoes nor our clothes wore out ; but 

1 Quoted in Sir John Hawkins. I. 
- Quoted in Fosbrooke. 


still we went dancing on. We trod the earth down 
to our knees, next to our middles, and at last were 
dancing in a pit." ^ With the end of the year 
release came. And in this story we have a legendary 
account of a true matter, for dancing had become a 
rage among the people, as we have said, and other 
reports we might give of the same thing. Even 
churchyards were not sacred from the dancers,^ where 
perhaps those luckless dancers were dancing who were 
bewitched. And the perpetual Feast Days of the 
Calendar offered an excuse for dancing, and the May 
Day dances were beginning. So that we cannot 
wonder to find dancing time penetrating so widely 
into the popular music, as indeed to exclude all others. 
And thus the habit was laid of using triple time for 
every song, whether danced to or whether not. Even 
the popular Sequences and Hymns were sung by the 
people themselves, whatever the Church might do, in 
Triple Time, and thus the Sequence of the Ass for 
instance was now sung: 3 


Or - i - en - tis par - ti - bus Ad - ven - ta - vit as - 1 ^ nus 

and of all the fragments of popular songs that have 
been preserved to us, there is not one, as we have 
said, which is not in Triple Time. And of these 
fragments let us give one or two instances :— 


Oh ! ma da - me, 

' William of Malmesbury. II. 174. 

" According to Fosbrooke (Art. Dances.) these were common places 

for dancing* 

' 8ee Fetis' remarks on this ill his restoration of the original form. 

^' Pseudo-Bede. nth century. 



and another much like it, 



Dem - me - nant grand 

both obviously fragments of complete songs, of which 
the first ran in the ordinary hymn-measure of four 
feet a line and four lines, and in its entirety would 
have been, 

while the second is in the same measure, but shortened 
of a foot, 


w _ \j — \j — 


^^_u_^^ — S>- 

W— \J — W — \J — \J — \J 

And we shall see that while these are in Iambic 
Triple, the Ass' Sequence was in Trochaic Triple. And 
this is a thing which most naturally has occurred, for 
both forms of step, \j _ and _ \j, are equall}^ 
intuitive to the dance, as we found them among the 
Greeks ; but there the Trochee seemed the more 
primitive step of the two, the lighter and gayer one. 

' In the Pseudo-Bede. 


but in the Middle Ages the Iambic step is the first 
to appear, which is the graver and soberer step, and 
its influence is also far more widespread throughout 
the music. And the forms of these medieval dances 
we would willingly give, but as yet we have no actual 
records of the figures. It was the beginning, almost 
the chaos, of those gay patterns of elegance, which 
afterwards appeared as the dances of Europe. The 
simplest of the steps were there, but the weaving of 
them, which is higher art, had yet to come. And 
there was much liberty and lawlessness, as I say, and 
the dancing was rather the joy of motion than any 
ordered symmetry of tread. But the figure of one 
of their dances has been preserved to us, and it is 
the most primitive of all figures, and we have met 
with it before. The men and women danced together 
holding one another by the hand, or linked arm in 
arm. And standing in a ring, they danced round 
and round, singing a song the while, which they 
called the Round Song, or the ^^ Rotmde lay" And 
first, turning round in one way, they would sing the 
first verse, and then turning the other way, the next 
verse ; and so they would continue, singing the same 
strain again and again for many verses together.^ 
And this was the commonest of all their dances, we 
are told, and the others we may well conceive to 
have been variations of this, or some figure no less 
simple, in which art as yet had little share. And 
thus they would dance to the sound of pipe and tabor, 
singing as they danced, or with a lute perhaps 
accompanying their voices, and giving them melody to 
their steps. 

1 Fosbrooke describes this dance. See also Brand's Antiquities, 
Adrien de la Fage, &c. 


And the sounds of their songs floated through the 
convent windows, where the monks were studying and 
praying. And most strangely would the strains fall 
on those solitary hearts, that knew so little of worldly 
joy, and doubtless the music itself would sound no 
less strange to ears ringing with Antiphons and 
Credos. The rhythmic buoyant time, the voices of 
• women, the pipe and tabor, or the lute twittering 
with the voices, and touching oft' here and there the 
melody they sang with snatches of quaint accompaniment 
— so different was all this to what those sad recluses 
knew, that it seemed a new music to them, and 
many would shut their ears to it as against an unholy 
thing. But some listened. And so listened, in the 
convent of St. Amand in Flanders, Hucbald, a learned 
monk, and the profoundest scholar in musical lore, 
which any monastery of the age could show. He, 
sitting among his Greek and Latin manuscripts, 
turning the pages of his beloved Boethius, or musing 
over Ptolemy, or Vitruvius, or those Pythagorean 
treatises, which he had been the first to unroll since 
the days of Boethius himself, heard the peasants singing 
and dancing in the fields outside his walls. And 
listening to their artless music, what his ear caught 
most was not so much the rhythm or the melody, 
for with these the doctrines of Pythagoras were but 
little concerned, but the play of the instrument and 
the voices, as it flung a rude accompaniment to them, 
beneath the random hand of the village player. And 
he marked how here and there the effect was most 
sweet, but at other places it went against the voices 
in a manner that jarred sadly on the ear. And it 
was to him as if men were sorting puzzle letters into 
pattern, that sometimes by good luck spelt off into 
a word, but as often as not made nonsense and 


confusion. I And he took his pen and wrote as 
follows: — '''' P rcBniisscs voces non onines lequc suavitcr sibi 
miscentur, nee quoquo modo Jimctce concordabiles in cantn 
reddunt effecttis." " Sounds do not all unite together 
in the same degree of sweetness, nor can random 
combinations of them ever produce harmonious effects 
in music."2 But out of the range of tones those 
sounds must be picked, by which this sweetness might 
be systematically ensured, and this was the curious 
task which Hucbald found himself attempting ; having 
fallen into it he knew not how, but at least realising 
to himself that he must now endeavour to apply in 
practice those precepts, which up till now had been 
with him a mere matter of speculation. And there 
was another and perhaps a more powerful reason for 
the attempt ; for the organists in the chapels and 
churches were now accustomed to employ a similar 
free style of accompaniment,^ and often with as 
disasterous effects ; indeed, whenever an instrument 
was used to accompany the voice, this practice seems 
to have been usual, if we may judge from the name 
which was applied to it, for it was called, 
" Instrumentation," or "Organisation," the word, "Or^'anujn," 
being the general term in those days for any musical 
instrument.4 And the practice of the organists, from 

1 Ut litterse, si inter se passim junguntur, ssepe nee verbis nee 
syllabis concordabunt copulandis. Hucbaldi Musica Enchiriadis. Cap. X. 

2 lb. 

3 Cottonius in Gerbert. II. 263. 

* Amalarius. De Eccles. Officiis. III. 3. (9th century.) " Organum 
vocabulum est generale vasoruni omnium musicorum." So also in 
Papias' VocabuHsta (nth centmy) "Organum generale nomen," &c- 
The same had been said by St. Isidore in his Origins, II. 20., 
" Organum vocabulum generale," &c. That this was the usual method 
of accompanying the voice in his time, appears from Hucbald's own 
words, that the style is seen "promtius in musicis instrumentis." 

CHAl'TER TI. 353 

which we are left to gather our chief evidence, seems 
to have agreed much with the style of accompanying 
which we found among the Greeks, so that we may 
almost assume that the tradition of this style had 
remained along with other relics of classical culture — 
with the Modes, and the Hymns, &c., and had been 
preserved in greater or less esteem in the practice of 
players. I For they were accustomed to accompany 
the voice in 5ths or 4ths above or below, or else in 
8ves2— these three were the leading intervals — and also 
to employ discordant notes with as great freedom, but 
probably with less judgment, than was the habit 
among the Greeks.^ And this style, I say, we 
may either imagine to have sustained itself from 
classical times, or to have developed naturally in the 
growth of so many new things during the Dark 
Ages. For we have seen similar practices arise even 
among barbarian man, when Harmony began with 
the union of the voice and the instrument ; and a 
repetition of similar circumstances would most 
naturally bring similar results in its train. Most of 
all would an instrument like the organ be apt to 
develop such a style, for played as it was with two 
hands, that is, with two parts travelling in the 
accompaniment instead of one, there was every 
likelihood that both at any rate would not be 
content with merely repeating the melody of the 
voice, but that one at least would seek the variety 

^ Cf. in his De Harmonica Institutione. Consonantia est iluorum 
sonorum concordabilis permixtio, ut fit in eo quod consuete organisn- 
tionem vocant — whence it appears that the practice was in existence 

- Ench. II. De Symphoniis. 

^ Cf. his remarks in Cap. X. of the same, which make it appear 
that discordant notes were commonly used, 

A A 


of occasional, and as it seems to us, of perpetual 
digression from the air. Whatever the orgin of the 
practice, then, whether traditional or of recent growth, 
in the time of Hucbald it was pursued as we have 
described it, and his attention was now turned 
to remedying its inaccuracies. And he approached his 
task as a scholar mapping the ways of the world to 
the pattern of the study, or as a philosophic 
visionary who constructs an ideal polity, and then seeks 
to impress it upon men ; for let us hear in his own 
words his qualifications for the task. God, he says, 
has suffered him to peer into the writings of the 
ancients. He knows the musical construction of the 
universe, and how the elements are arranged in 
musical proportions ; how therefore some sounds 
eternally agree, and others disagree, according as they 
follow in the patterns of universal nature. It will, 
therefore, not be hard for him, he seems to think, 
to tabulate and classify harmonious sounds, and 
introduce the principles of truth into what was now 
often but capricious invention. ^ Yet even in his 
boasted knowledge there is much obscurity, for at the 
commencement of his task he seems to think, that 
the harmoniousness resides in the sounds themselves, 
instead of in their relations to one another ; he 
imagines that he may pick out of the scale of notes 
a certain select few, like one picking flowers, and so 
he shall get the harmony he is in search of.^ Even 
his terminology is rude and confused, and he scarce 
knows how to express himself on the subjects he 
treats of. Melody he defines as "a uniform song,"^ 

1 Enchiiiad. II. Cap. 19. 

3 lb. 

3 Uniformis canor, 


and harmonised melody as "a consonance concordantly 
different."^ But gradually he reaches greater clearness 
of expression, and the following terms appear : 
Harmony is " Symphony," ^ Harmonised melody is "a 
song composed of symphonies ;"3 or in one word it 
is defined as " Diaphony ; "4 or, regarding its origin 
from instruments, as "Organum;"^ while the art of 
adding this harmonious accompaniment is called 
"Organisation," that is, " Instrumentation,"^ which term 
we have heard before. And his conceptions become 
clearer in like manner, and without pausing over the 
intermediate steps by which he arrives at his results, 
let us see the final form in which he determines 
that harmonies must be. And we shall see that 
he has been to Pythagoras and Boethius, and 
has imported their doctrine of the perfection of 
Consonances, to be the canon and norm of practical 
music, without any regard to those variations of 
dissonance by which the Greeks themselves had 
alleviated the severity of Harmony, and which the 
practice of the Middle Ages, though in an uncouth 
and corrupt form, had yet continued. And we shall 
see what stiffness will ensue, not unlike the stiff 
drapery and straight figures which characterise the 
sculpture of the age, or the stiff figures of the tapestry, 
that seem to be wooden figures not men. For he 
lays it down that only the three Perfect Consonances 
must be employed in Harmony, that is to say, the 
8ve, 5th, and 4th,7 and taking a melody, which he 
calls the Principal part, he sets another part to it. 

1 Concentus concorditer dissonus. * Ench. Cap. X. 

' Cap. 13. ^ Cap. 10. 

■> Vel assuete organum vocamus. ° De Harmonica Institutione, 

T Cap. X, 



which he calls the Instrumental or Organal Part, 

which proceeds in one or other of these intervals, 

without change, from beginning to end, as in 5ths it 

would be : — 

Tu pa - nis sem - pi - ter - mis es fi - li - us. 

Principal, or 

Voice Part, r; 


I I 1 i I J 


-^ p 12. 

r-— t- — I — 1 — r— ' — i — f — f-^ 

in 8ves : — 

Tu pa - tris sem - pi - ter - nus es li - li - us.- 


'' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

Yoicc Part. 


V 1 • 1 ^"^ ^ ^ .— J cJ ■■ i 1— ■■ ■! 1 

\i\J -j - ,^ .-. L-' .-^ _r .^ r-J ^ '11 

^ CJ ^ cJ 


f^: e Pi f^ ^ P ^ t e ^ \ 

ijp p \ \ 1 1 1 1 ' 1' r P 1 


L • ' 1 1 U 

And in 4ths in the same manner.^ In no case 
allowing the introduction of any other interval than 
that it began with ; in which we may mark the true 
medieval stiffness, and severity of the study. 

And there were developed forms of these, by which 
three or even four parts were admitted to the Harmony. 
And yet they were not real parts, but only one or 
other of the original parts doubled, as in the Diaphony 

of the 5th p(^'— ^ — \j-^ . first, the Instrumental Part 

might be doubled above, and secondly, it might be 
doubled below, thirdly, the Voice part might be 
doubled above, and fourthly, it might be doubled 
below, while, fifthly, the Instrumental part might be 
placed above the Doubled Voice Part, and finally, 
both parts might be doubled. 

1 Cap- 12. 
? Cap. 13. 

Cap. II. 


Firstly, the Instrumental part might be doubled above/ 


-S- -S- 





, , P 



-"■fr} rD 

' a.' 


f^ ^ 




s — 


.'p . 5 ■■ 

— 3~" 



— a — 

— a — 


— s> 

— e 

Secondly, it might be doubled belowV 

-;■ — 


\( \ 


^/ . n 



-&• -S)- 





C-? &<' 

fmy " 

^ s> 

^ a ^^ 


.(^ ^ — 

_, , 

s — 

_J2. Q 

Thirdly, the Voice part might be doubled above the 



— — — 





— s*— 



— S"— 

" D 



■ 23 


— (S»— 





— e — 


— d — 


Fourthly, the Voice part might be doubled below the 






\!-./ (TJ 

. c:^ 






/v->. d JZ., 





=^ .£, ® s 

(fj. X "^ 

-O TD ■ -'^-. 

t_X C> L-r 

Fifthly, the Instrumental part might be placed above 
the Doubled Voice part instead of between it, 



"C — " ^ — C" 

:,s> 22 22 22 eszziss: 


' Hucbaldus. II. De Syniplioniis. 
- Hucbaldus. II. De Sjmphoniis. 
■' lb., and the succeeding instances likewise 


And lastly, both parts might be doubled, as, 




(( \ ^ ^ --, ^ — , /TJ 


„ ^Z> 



^— ^ 


*— ^ 


d ^ 







— (^— 

.... o .. 


" C? 

f^{ -2r" 

— s? — 

— ,S>— 


\^ '-^ 

lad ■ 


p "" 




*— ^ 

a — 

— £^ 

— e/ 

All these it will be seen being but repetitions of the 

orisfinal form 





^z )* 








and in no 

sense an innovation on it ; while with the 4th it was 
the same, so that putting a 4th instead of a 5th in 
the above examples, we shall have in precisely the 
same positions six forms of the Diaphony of the 4th. 
The Diaphony of the 8ve, it will be plain, admitted 
only of the two positions : — 



-s> — ^ — ^- 







-& iS* <S- 

a g ^ a — 

— ©-————-—- — 

-9 e o- 

both of which are used. 

But with the 4th, Hucbald was compelled to relax: 
somewhat the rigour of his rules. For in the almost 
mechanical method of his harmony, he had overlooked 
something — a thing which often happens, when things 
come by deliberation, not by nature, and is usual to 
occur in systems. For that interval, the Tritone, or 
Fourth of three whole tones, which has a place once 
in every octave, and was easily avoided by the 
flexible harmony of the Greeks, which could vary its 
intervals at pleasure, was inescapable in the system of 
Hucbald, For starting with 4ths, he had laid it 


down that 4ths must continue, and no melody 
written could be so conveniently constructed as to miss 
the perilous place for long. A similar flaw might 
have attended his Diaphony of 5ths, for there is also 
an Imperfect 5th in every octave, of two tones and 
two semitones, and a harmony travelling exclusively 
in 5ths must ever and again have lighted on this, 
had it not been for a peculiarity of the Musical 
Scale at this period, which had eliminated Imperfect 
5ths from the gamut. 

For since we left the Scale in the days of Gregory 
at Constantinople, many were the changes that had 
passed over it, and its history for centuries is lost in 
darkness ; till by the time of Hucbald we get tidings 
of it again, and it reappears in a most peculiar form, 
which it will be well here for a moment to consider. 
And the changes had affected not so much its compass 
as the progression of the intervals that composed 
it, although its compass too had changed, but only 
by the addition of one note at the bottom, so that 

now it extended from from - fe)! 1 -;r ~ 


^2 n. 

instead of, in the times of Gregory, F ^' | ' 7 zzr? 

Far more remarkable alterations than this however 
had made themselves felt in the notes which composed 
it, for whereas in the ancient Greek Scale the 
notes ran in a series of conjunct tetrachords from 

to :^^=^z=z, with a Proslambanomcnos 

' See Hucbald's Scale, p. 166 in Geibeit. 


at the bottom, as, 







a disjunction of the tetrachords occurring in the 
middle, which in the Syneimnenon System however 
disappears altogether, 

this union of the parts had sadly separated in the 
Byzantine days. In the general disbanding and 
breaking up of Greek life, it seemed as if the scale 
too was to disband and separate ; and this was the 
way in which it occurred : — The Proslavibanomenos^ 
which in the best days of Greek music, had been 
admitted and viewed on all hands as merely an 
addition to the scale, "an added note," as its name 
implies, had gradually lost that character, and began 
at last to be regarded as an intrinsic part of the 
scale itself. When this position was finally established 
for it, .next came the desire to include it in the 
Tetrachords ; and the lowest tetrachord in the course of 
this achievement became separated from the higher, 
in this way : — 

Original Form. 


,. -fs. 

:r?-p-rr^r— i=t 

:^=P— r T— l=^=!=r±z: &c 



New Form. 


-^. -^- 

^-\ 1 f~ 

^E-^Ep=gEF=t=^b: cvc 


Now then there were three Disjunct Tetrachords in 


the scale, the highest one from 



— Zi — beins 

in the meantime conjunct with the one below it ; 
and in this way was the scale gradually breaking 

But let us for a moment observe the intervals of 
this lowest, or Proslambanomenos Tetrachord, and we 
shall see a remarkable variation in it -from their 
position in the original form, and also in the 
tetrachords above them. For in all these, and in the 

original tetrachord from t \ ^ ^ - to p 

the semitone occurs in the first place. 


,^ -(S--f-^-i 

W^^^^^^ Eg:E^ 



but in the Proslambanomenos Tetrachord it occurs 
a step higher up, that is, in the second place 


—fp —^— . And this is a thing which 

♦ may well amaze us, for never through the whole of 
Greek Musical History, or indeed in any Ancient 
Music,' have we found a Tetrachord so constituted, 
but they all had the semitone in the ist place, as 

we have written them above, in -(^— ^^ ^— p— f-^^ &c. 

r— r— t- 

Now this thing, which occurs in the decay and 
corruption of Greek Music, and has proceeded from 
a corruption of its forms, as we have shown, must 
nevertheless not be regarded as in itself a 


corruption, but as an actual step of development in 
the history of the scale. For we have seen, indeed, 
how at the appearance of Christianity in the world 
there was a fainting in the traditions of art, yet no 
abrupt division, but much of the old remained, and 
was received into the new elements, and thus pursued 
its path of development, which otherwise it might 
never have reached to. And such a progression in 
development was this apparent corruption of the lower 
tetrachord ;. and how it was so we may well enquire. 
For what is a Tetrachord ? And a Tetrachord is an 
infant scale, and among the Aryans, and especially 
the Greeks, the first form that a scale appears in. 
And whatever we assume as the origin of Tetrachords 
themselves, whether deducing them from the union of 
fragmentary small scales, as we have theorised in 
early times and in discussing the origin of the Greek 
Modes, or whether we conceive them to have grown 
up in the form we find them in, certain it is that 
Tetrachords are the first actual historical data for our 
study of the scale, and with the arrival at tetrachords 
a new starting-point is reached for scale development. 
And a Tetrachord contains all the characteristics and 
essentials of a scale, being, as we say, an infant one. 
For it is a sweep of the voice through certain notes, 
which often occurring, and occurring easily, gives birth 
in time to a recognised formula of sound, which 
thenceforth becomes the subject of art. And the 
Voice, in forming its tetrachord, is travelling in the 
very steps of nature. Even the length of the sweep 
which forms the progression seems determined by the 
exigencies of the breath, and the succession of the 
intervals certainly is. For the behaviour of the 
breath in speaking and singing we have studied before, 
and found that it does not attain its full volume at 


the very commencement of its exercise, but here there is 
a reluctance or a weakness, which is the hesitation 
before the effort, or the mustering up the powers to 
make it, being indeed but the common behaviour of 
nature, which has shade before light, and a whisper 
before a wind. And this weakness appears in the 
tetrachord as the Semitone, which is the easiest and 
weakest place in the progression, and therefore most 
naturally comes first, 




And this habit of the Voice, I say, we have studied 
twice before in this history, and each time have found 
it produce the same results. And first we considered 
it in the declamation of Homeric Times, and how it 
determined the emphasis of the Epic line, which began 
with softness, and reached its full volume in the 
middle, and then died away in a cadence again at 
the end, representing it thus : — 

And wc also studied it in the declamation of the early 
Christians, when we were concerned not with emphasis 
but with pitch, and we found that the natural habit 
of the voice determined the rise and fall of their 
chants, like a waved line appears to the eye, thus, 

/ ^ ' \ 

which written in notes became, 

-c=y- -cs^- -e-F^ /0-\ 



And now regarding it in its very exposition of 
intervals, and in its formation of scales themselves, 


we must perforce follow the same line of discovery, 
and find the weakness at commencement in the 
Semitone, and the fullness of volume in the Tones 
that follow. 



And this will be an offer at explaining the origin of 
the Semitone in all music. 

But now if we would harmonise our Tetrachord 
completely with the models we have just now given, 
we must carry it on to a legitimate cadence, where 
the voice fails again, that is to say, to the occurrence 
of another semitone ; and we may write it, 

...^ *^ JffS2. :^- 

or better and more naturally, 

making the Tetrachord, as an expression of vocal 
movement, complete in itself. For Tetrachords were 
first developed independently, and then the scale was 
built out of them, growing time by time in extent 
and magnitude, as the voice grew more powerful and 
more copious, and was able to travel beyond the 
simple boundaries that at first were sufficient for it. 
And in this way did the Greek Scale grow up, of 
which tradition has ascribed the authorship to 
Pythagoras. First, 

=P— g=^| 1 »= — h 1 — F- 



Added Tetrachord. 

and then Tetrachords above and below in the same 
manner, till the complete scale was formed as we 
know it to be. And all Tetrachords in antiquity 
were formed in this manner. And this is the natural 
and simple form of their progression. 

But now in Constantinople, and in the corruption 
and decline of Ancient Music, we have found a new 
form of Tetrachord, which we have refused to consider 
a corruption, and that for the following reason : That 
the mere admission of the Proslambanoinenos into 
ordinary song shows a development and strengthening 
of the voice, a development, that is to say, in extent, 
and there can be no corruption where there is advance 
perceivable. And the admission of the Proslambanoinenos 
had created a new form of Tetrachord with the 
Semitone second, 


or in other words, art had so far advanced, or the 
voice had become so far stronger, as to overcome the 
naivete, and simplicity of nature, and, as if in a 
spirit of triumph, as is the way with advancing art, 
to court difficulties rather than recede from them, and 
to employ an artificial and difficult form of breathing, 
which subdues the inclination of nature, and throws 
force and body into the commencement of its effort. 
And this passing into an ordinary habit of singing, 
must necessarily imply a higher development of the 
human voice, though, if it occurred but occasionally, 


it could not strike us as the exemplification of a 
principle, but only as an idle and perhaps a wanton 
variation of the usual form. And this is the Second 
Stage of the Tetrachord, when all the Tetrachords in 
the Scale have put on this stronger and more artful 
form of intonation ; which by the time of Hucbald 
we find accomplished. And however hard it may be to 
think of development in the present case, or that the 
rawness and rudeness of medieval singing was in any 
sense an improvement on the cultivated style of the 
Greeks, yet we must remember that Music, as all 
other things, proceeds to its maturity by stages of 
silent growth, and that its childhood may be one of 
brilliancy and wonder, and its youth be spent amidst 
clouds and darkness, but still the growth is proceeding. 
And now the greater strength and copiousness of the 
human voice is shown by the addition of a new note 
to the bottom of the scale, which even the admission 

of the Proslambanoinenos - ^ £^' — to the fraternity 


of the Tetrachords, that is, to common employment 
in song, was sufficient to testify ; but by the time 

of Hucbald we have a new note 


beneath the Proslambanornenos, and all the Tetrachords 
of the Scale have become shaped to the pattern of 
the second stage of their development, that is, with 
a tone at their commencement instead of a semitone, 
and the semitone forced into the second place of the 
Tetrachord. For this is the musical scale by the 
time of Hucbald, and its division into Tetrachords is 
here given as recorded by him : — 



in which it will be seen that all the Tetrachords 
appear in the pattern of their Second Stage of 

development, that is, with a " full tone in the first 

place, and the semitone driven into the second, 

agreeably to the shape of the Proslambanomenos 

Tetrachord, which we found to be the start of this 
peculiar form, 

Now when the Third Stage in the development of 
the Tetrachord is reached, then will the Modern 
Scale of Europe at last appear. But this is in a 
time distant from the present, though its beginnings 
will not be far off. For the Voice, continuing silently 
to develop its powers, at last becomes strong enough 
to overcome its weakness almost entirely, and in the 
effort to do so the Semitone is driven into the third 
place, and the Third and last stage of the Tetrachord 
is arrived at, that is, with two whole tones at the 
commencement and the Semitone last. 

^ See Hucbald's Scale in his Musica Enchiriadis. Of all the writers 
on the subject, and there have been many most painstaking ones, not 
one has taken the trouble, or rather has thought it worth while, to 
examine the succession of Tones and Semitones (T and S) as written 
by Hucbald in front of the notes themselves. This oversight on the 
part of enquirers has led to a vast abundance of writing, every second 
word of which is deformed by error. Were I to compute the number 
of printed pages within my own cognisance that deal with Hucbald's 
system, and, bearing the effects of this oversight, are by consequence 
from first to last mere idle writing, I might number some thousands. 
The present writer believes he is the first who has had the incredulity 
to suspect an error, and the curiosity to submit the diagrams of Hucbald 
himself to the minute consideration, up till now deemed unnecessary. 



o— ?=- 


or, in its more familiar position, as it appears in the 
Scale of Modern Europe, 







But this consummation, as we say, is yet in the 
distance, and we shall find strange influences brought 
to bear to effect it ; and in the meantime we are 
in the Second Stage of the Tetrachord, and the 
Scale of Hucbald, which we have written. 

And the anomaly of a general scale written with 
accidentals occurring here and there, will disappear, 
if we remember that this is the shift we are reduced 
to, through having to employ a notation fitted solely 
to express our own modern scale, with its intervals, 
as we have given them above. For in those days no 
such anomaly was perceptible, when an entirely 
different notation was current. Neumes were the 
ordinary notation then, as we have described them in 
earlier pages of this work ; but they were growing 
day by day less capable expositors of the music of 
the time. For admirable exponents as they were of 
the general flexions and movements of the voice, they 
did not descend to the niceties of song, and had no 
means of distinguishing a progression of a tone from 
that of a semitone, or the interval of a greater third 
from that of a lesser third, and so on. As long 
therefore as the scale was disorganised, and the positions 

CHAi'TKR IL :/^'J 

of the semitones were more or less undecided, that is, 
in the transition period between the Byzantine Scale 
and the present, the neumes served their purpose \\'ell. 
But directly the Scale grew into the symmetrical form 
we have just now given, their im.perfections were 
most apparent ; and we find Hucbald himself inventing 
a notation to chronicle the new scale, which VvC must 
now give: I — He took the letter F as the basis of his 
scheme, which is the first letter of the word, "Finalis ;''' 
and for that the second Tetrachord of his scale 

['^!~~ii ~"f^~~ f^^ ~P ~ contained the Final notes ('' Finales'' } 
EHz:F-| — ^t-zfzn 

of all the Modes, p^ — p — : of the Dorian and 

Hypodorian, E^' — ^ — of the Phr}-gian and 

Hypophrygian, p ^' ^ — of the Lydian and 

Hypolydian, and E^-zzip^ of the iVlixolydian he 

made his 'first beginning on this, and expressed these 
four notes by different forms of the letter F. He 

expressed E^^r^izz by the simple letter \> 
\ (» )'; ' i"?""" by the letter with the top hue turned 
downwards E , Fi^--E-F?~~ by the letter F with 

^ The complete system of notation, as liere deficribcd, i:-; given in 
his Musicii I-Hicliiriadis. 

IJO Hl^r(>];V UF MUSIC. 

the top line curled upwards pi , and F ^ — P~~ ^Y 

the omission of the projecting lines, and the mere 
upstroke remaining | = The notes in this tetrachord 
he called the Finales. And the notes in the under 
Tetrachord he called the Graves, or " low notes," and 
he expressed them by varieties of the letter v 

turned backwards : — Y& — by *^ " (^ b}* 



^ , E!Srzip2Z=; b}', 4 and hfe'— ^^^ — . or the 

third note in the Tetrachord, by a figure derived from 
the j of the third note in the Tetrachord above, that 
is, by y\ . And the notes in the higher Tetrachord 

:i_t^t:_!ii: — he called Superiores, or " Upper 

Notes," and he still expressed them by varieties of 
the letter J? . This time b}- the i! turned backwards, 
and also upside down, 

:^ b5- J, 

:p^t=z=r. by vi 


i — tzzz: > the third note in the Tetrachord, by 

1/1 ; always expressing the third note in every 
Tetrachord by an almost distinctive sign, derived 
from the I , which was the sign for the third note 
in the Tetrachord of Finales. 



And the notes in the Tetrachord above this he 
called the Excellentcs, or " the Extreme notes," and 
these he expressed by the letter J! turned upside 
down, but this time forwards, 


by Ly by k^ 




and the third note 



^plZ-t as before, by a sign 

derived from I , viz., X . And the two remaining 

notes above them again, viz., \ 7a^ — 'S Jfe^ — '- ^Y forms 

of f l^ing on its side, viz., Eja^— ^ — b)- ^^ 

and vipi 


bv "^ 

So now he 'could write 

his complete scale, wilK ib 

And when he would write worJs lo his music, he 

had but to place his letters each after Ihcir syllable, 

or, if more than one tone went i-j a sN'lUiblc, then 

more than one letter, as Al ^. Ic r ]\i i V 

ia I 1 r ,1 which in modern music becomes, 


-I !=w^ — t- •- — 


Al - Ic - lu - ia 

But as if this were not sufficlcntlv clear, he imagined 

1 }Iucbakl. VI ir. 


a plan by which the eye also might see the very 
motion of the voice, and the sound be rendered 
visible in writing. For he drew lines, and at every 
space between them he set one of his letters, thus, 
and wrote the melody as it moved from note to note, 



/ \te num. 


Laa / 

V m'/ ^de c« lo e 


V \e /\li /\ra. te/\ 


\a\h^ \y ^U L \Deu 



What clearness therefore is here ! and what wonderful 
anticipation of future development was present in the 
mind of Hucbald ! He was a man, indeed, far in 
advance of his time, and a figure in musical history 
of such moment, that we shall scarcely find so great 
a one again. 

And next, in order to attain an exaggeration of 
exactitude and clearness, forced thereto no doubt by 
the terrible looseness and uncertainty which must 
have infected all the musical notation of his time, he 
took the last step to render his sounds completely 
palpable, for before each letter he v/rote the name of 
the interval it represents, that is, whether a Tone or 
a Semitone, thus ^ 


T r da/\ 

te num. 

T 1 Uu/ 

\ mi/ \a[e cae lo e 

8 r 

\/ \e /\l. /\rum te/\ 

T r 

Valis/ \ / \lau da/ NDeufU 


" \u/ 

1 Hucbald. VIII * Id. Cnp. 13. 

CHAPTER ir. ^J}, 

So that even those ignorant of his notation might 
sing his Music, as we believe was often done. 

And this addition of the value of the interval was 
peculiarly convenient to him for another reason. For, 
as we may have remarked in our examination of his 
harmonical principles, one of the results of the 
introduction of harmony was to compel the use of 
accidentals occasionally on other degrees of the scale 
than those on which they normally occur, or since 
the normal accidentals are merely due to an alien 
notation, we may phrase it, to compel the use of 
accidentals. For of the three harmonies which he 
allowed, the 4th and 5th indeed do not necessitate 
any change in the notes of the scale, but the 8ve 
immediately does. For owing to the disjunction of 
the Tetrachords, the play of the octave is not possible 
as in Modern Music ; for in our scale, 

~^ . ^ -,^-^2-^: — fl. . — I — I — 3_ 


^2-gz:±=&=:[=:i I ' ' -^x^zjz^zzji:^:^. 


. p-r- 

the tetrachords go in pairs, as it will be seen, and 
the lowest note of the first pair is also the lowest 
note of the second pair, and travels through exactly 
the same notes, as it progresses upwards, for 8ve and 
8ve do but repeat each other. But in the scale of 
Hucbald there was no pairing of the Tetrachords, but 
they existed apart and independent, as we may see, 




u_ s>- 

-1— r 



And passages in Sves, through each note of the 8ve 
not holding the same position in a similar tetrachord, 



very soon came to discord, as in the following example 
it will be seen, 

It was therefore necessary to raise or depress the 
upper or the under note of the 8ve at certain places, 
in order to render this possible, (and generally it 
seems that the upper one was chosen, because the 
lower Tetrachords were more important than the 
higher ones in the estimation of theory), and where 
we should employ a flat or a natural, as, 






r— t- 


Hucbald could most conveniently express it by 
substituting Tone for Semitone, or Semitone for Tone, 
at the beginnings of his letters, and thus the original 
notation could adequately express the 8ve progression 
without any need to invent new signs, as, writing the 
above in his notation, it will become, 


CHAl'TER n. 375 

TX ^ . 

T ^ y: 

HA ^ 

T M / 

Ta / 

S^ / 

T f / / 

T I / 

S F^ / 

I" N / 

ST Z" 

TT / 

Now wherever the 8ve occurred, these changes were 
made, that is to say, not in the 8ve progression 
alone, but in those doubhngs of the Instrumental or 
the Vocal part above or below each other, which we 
have given as the sequel to his three fundamental 
harmonies, wherever an 8ve occurred in them — but 
only there. For the progressions of 5ths and 4ths 
were the recipients of no such licence — indeed, it was 
not necessary for them, that is to say, for the 5ths 
at least ; for the progression of 4ths was the weak 
part of his system, and might have perhaps been 
improved by the employment of accidentals, that is, 
if he had dared to employ them, which would at 
best have been but a clumsy contrivance, and would 
have helped him but little towards the solution of his 

For let us for a moment regard the play of 5ths in 
his harmony, and see how elegantly and easily they 
move. For taking the .scale, and setting the harmony 
of 5ths to it, 


we shall see that they are all Perfect, that is, all alike 
composed of three tones and a semitone, and the 
Imperfect Fifth of two tones and two semitones, 
which occurs once in every 8ve of ours, is not there. 
And perhaps it was this elegance and fluency of the 
Fifths which led Hucbald to his canon of unvarying 
intervals, that is, the preservation of the original interval, 
with \\hich the harmony opened, through the complete 
progress of it, basing his ideas on the fluency of 
the Fifths, though finding afterwards that the other 
harmonics were less amenable to rule ; as it certainly 
was the reason which led him to attach such importance 
to the Fifth, \\hich he tuiotes by preference on all 
occasions, and assigns as his illustration of harmonious 
progression wherever possible. 

But with the Fourth it was very different, and here, 
as we have said before, was the flaw in his system. 
For let us set his scale this time to a harmony of 4ths, 

And we shall see that so far from imitating the 
elegance of tlie Fifths, the Discordant Imperfect Fourth 
of Three Whole Tones occurs fivice in every octave. 
In our modern scale it occurs but once in the 8ve, 
but here, as we see, once in every half octave, or 
Tetrachord ; and there was no melody written, if har- 
monised in fourths, that could govern its intervals so 
supremely, as for long to avoid it. Now of this weakness 
in his system Hucbald is fully conscious, and he lays 
it down in this way : — " Triiiis subquartiis dcutcro ^ 


symphonia deficit"^ " The third note ©f every Tetrachord, 
when united with the second of the Tetrachord above, 

produces Discord," as -<^-^^j— , the third note of 

the Archoos Tetrachord, united with F ( ^ - P~ the 
second note of the Deiitcros Tetrachord, which is the 
one above it ; or F^— p— the third note of the 

Dciitcros Tetrachord, united with F^'nEizi the second 

note of the Tritos Tetrachord, which is the one above 
it, and so on. And we shall now see why he employed 
quite a distinctive and almost unique notation for the 
third note of every Tetrachord in his variations on the 

the letter h , representing the F(5^-^^ — by ^ , the 

^^"E^^ by ! , the ^S^E^ b)- y\ , and the ^e3= 

by X , all of which though doubtless derivatives of 
the letter K , as it appears first denuded as I , are 
nevertheless so distinctive as to leave no question as 
to his meaning. And he used this distinction of 
character, to show at a glance to the singer where the 
perilous place in the harmony came, so that the 
proper measures might be taken to avoid it. And let 
us see what were these measures, and what was the 
device or licence allowed by Hucbald for avoiding 
and counteracting this regularly recurring discord. And 

I ''ap. 17. 


they were these : Taking our instance in tlic lowest 

Tetrachord, where the clash was between t^r^^z: 
let us harmonise the melody 

^^t^-^-^-^— "^ 

according to his directions, ^ setting it to a harmony 
of 4ths. And it is plain that if we write it barely 
down on the model of the harmony of 5ths, we shall 
have the forbidden interval most discordantly appearing 
as under : — 

3— '^— ^ 

t — f— r— r— t — r— r-^p-i — 

But according to Hucbald's ruling, directly we are on 
the verge of the forbidden interval, we must let the 
under part stand still, and so remain till all danger 
is fast. It must not even descend below the dangerous 
ground, even should a descent of the upper part, 

say to - ( ^— p — f allow a perfect fourth to be formed 

beneath it, but for fear the ear should expect another, 
and this time the Imperfect Fourth, on the passage 
up again, this descent is forbidden. And if the last note 
of the melody or the first note chances to provoke 
the Imperfect Fourth, by being the actual harmony 
to it, or requiring, as before, a 4th that is beneath it, 
then the under part must coalesce with the upper part, 
and end or begin, as the case may be, in unison. So 
that harmonising the above passage in 4ths, according 
to Hucbald's rule, wc shall find it become, 



+: — ^ — »-3 —^ — ^ — ^ — »-5 J--J — 

izigszig=gs -15^-h ?^-g3 p-Fg - 

T— r— r— r— [- — r— I — 


or, as we might have ended it, [( £> f^^~F^ — I for he 

will willingly allow even the two last notes to coalesce, 
for the sake of the pleasing effect at tlie close. And 
now let us give the two examples of this method 
which he himself offers, and see that they are precisely 
constructed on these principles : — ■ 


-4 1 

In Fifths. 









Rex ccE - ]i do - mi - ne un - di - so - ni 

In Fourths. 


^1=^=:^=^=^=^— ^ 





t: — r— 

Rex coe - li do - ir.i - ne un - di - so - ni. 


r— r—f-- 

This is written in the lower Tctrachord ; but he has 
also given an example in the Tctrachord above, where 

the forbidden interval is 


In Fifths. 







.i 1 — , 1 — I — I j — I — z.^ 


Te hu - mi-les fa - mu - li mo - du - lis ve - ne - ran- do pi - is 

^ Mu.^ica Enchiiiadis. 


In Fourths. 

1 I 1 '.J.J- 1 1 J I r I I I I , ^ 

c 1 — I — r.-^=-. — [ — I — f==n 

Te hu - mi - les fa - mu - li mo-du-lis ve - nc -ran-do pi - is= 

And this method of according the Fourths was called 
the "' Diatcssai'on Symphonia^' or "Harmonising of the 
Fourths," and began to spread along with the rest of 
Hucbald's system through the monasteries of Europe. 
For the pleasing effect that was introduced into 
music by the symphony of voices according to his 
principles, (for though he speaks of one part of his 
harmony as the Instrumental part, having regard to 
the origin from whence he derived his idea, yet he 
soon learns to view the possibility of voices alone 
performing the harmony,^ and recommends the trial 
of it from his cell to the world outside), and, I say 
that the pleasing effects of his melodious symphonies ^ 
secured a ready welcome for them among the monks ; 
and through many of the German monasteries, and 
especially in that of Reichenau, and throughout all 
the Italian monasteries, were Hucbald's teachings 
practised .4 

Thus, and in these strange and studious surroundings, 
was the New Music of the woHd being laboriously 
formed, while the people were dancing and junketting 
in the villages beyond. And what was attracting most 
attention among the vulgar now, was a new dance that 
had just come from Spain, and was said to have been 

1 lb. 

- De Harmonica Institutione. " Cum virilis et puerilis vox pariter 
sonuerit," &c. 

3 Enchiriad. 14. " Videbis suavem ex hac sonorura commixtione 
nasci concentum." 

* Aiiibios. Gcschichte der Musik. I. 


brought there by the Moors, And it was called the 
Morrice Dance, because the men who danced it had 
their faces stained with walnut juice, to look like 
MoorSji and on many of the simple country people 
they passed themselves off as such. And they were 
dressed up in curiously slashed doublets of chamois 
leather, and green caps with silver tassels, red ribands 
also and white shoes, while all their dress was covered 
with little bells, that jingled and jangled as they 
danced. They had bells at their knees, and round 
their ankles, and bells at their wrists, and bells on 
the lappets of their doublets ; streams of bells hung 
all over their body, and to be proper morricers they 
must have 252 bells in all. And these were arranged 
in 21 sets of 12 bells each, that were tuned in musical 
intervals with each other. And bells of certain tones 
hung doAvn one side of their body, and bells of other 
tones down the other side, and according to the 
motions of their body as they danced they -might make 
melodious jingles. And they clashed naked swords also 
as they danced, and this was the sight that attracted 
the country people at their fairs and merry-makings, 
crowding round to see the Moors dance, that had 
come all the way from Spain on a dancing tour 
through Europe. And at another side of the fair the 
clatter of castanets would betoken another Spanish 
dance in motion, and if this were the Clika being 
danced here, it was a dance that would do the people 
no good to see it. For it was danced by a woman 
and a man, and was most amorous in its motions. 
She with panting breast and flashing eyes cracked her 
castanets, and invited him with every motion in her 
power to wantonness and caresses, while he, beating a 

^ Thoinct Avbesu's Orcliesograpliie. 

,vS2 insroRv oy mcsic. 

tambourine the while, would now seize her in his arms, 
and now fling her from him, and the most amorous play, 
the closest embraces, were the ordinary accompaniments 
of the dance. I Or here the real Gitana, who now 
first begins to appear in Europe, with her sunburnt 
face, and tricked up with gay ribbons and gaudy 
dress, tinkling her tambourine, and pirouetting and 
footing it to earn a few pence from the gaping 
crowd.2 And the fair days and the sights they would 
bring, would not be without their influence on the 
dances of the villagers themselves. And many a step 
would they pick up from the odd dances from abroad, 
and clowns would foot it behind the hayrick in clumsy 
mimicry of the artful poses they had seen the strangers 
make. Also we must allow for the gradual development 
of dancing itself, for it is plain that even without any 
aid from without, new steps and new figures would 
grow up, and the original stock of steps, that is to 
say, w _ and _ \j, would be increased by new ones, 
even as we saw new steps grow up in the times of 
the ancient Greeks, l^ut that the Morrice Dance was 
danced to long notes of Triple Time we know, as 

tzz:22Z^fzz:22nzz!zi;^zrz:[zz:22izzzzj ^ and the rhythm of 

the music, though not of the feet, was _l_|_j_j. 
And doi;btlcss this disposition cf the music was to 
allow th(; jingling bells to be heard in the interim 
between the sounding of each note, but the feet may 

^ Due castagnette di sonoio lasso 

Tien nelle man la giovinetta ardita, &c. 
Tlie description is from Marino. 

- Bansatr ces, vel forte dansatrices, ut volunt aliqui, est id genus 
mulierum 'aganlium atque mendicantium, qua; vulgus appellant 
iEgvptias sive Bohemia;;, quae latrociniis et saltatio libus omnino dcditsc 
sunt, &c. Ducange. CWoss. 

3 Thuinct Arbeau's Orchesographie. 

rHAPTKk II. 3S3 

have pattered with the bells, for these long notes would 
have been too staid a step. So partly from without 
and partly springing up of themselves, new rhythms 
and new steps appeared in the dances, and passed 
from thence into the Songs, which we have seen were 
all in Triple time ; and as yet we have found them 

in these two measures I p ^~ ^ and t=22Ziir^2Ziiz| 

arising from the dancing steps, \j _ and _ w. But 
now this new step appeared in the dances, _ w _, 
and yet we must not go to interpret it as exactly of 

the pattern of the Greek Paeon, J J^ J | , though it 

approaches it, but rather as identical with that step, the 
Double Skip, which we found appearing in the dances 
of the most primitive times of history, with which in fact 
it is precisely identical ; for the rhythm of the Dcuble 

Skip was I — ^ . j ^ — ^ — I , and this is the same, though 

we shall write it in longer notes |izc2zzziffiz=Z2Zizl ; 
and it may have sprung up as naturall)' here as 
there. J\nd there was another step which is' also 
very nearly the same as a well known Greek one, 
namely, one of the Bacchiuses, w w _ _ , but was 
paused on at the second short step, and must 

1 i'^ ! 1 I 1 

therefore be written in music \—^-^?=^ — d?—~ ?^ — | . 

And }-et anc>thcr which bears as much resemblance to 
the Dochmius of the Greeks a, the other two to the 
Bacchius and Paeon , though like them not precisely 
identical : v> _ _ v-/ _, for all the long steps in it 
were not of exactly similar length, as in the Dochmius, 
but the second was paused on, as in the preceding 

Ccises, and in musical characters it is r?2z;j2:zs33r3Ziq2z 

{ ! 

And in these rhythms of medieval dancing, wc miss 


the lightness of the true Greek treading, for what 
can be Hghtcr, as we have often said, than '^ J ^ 

and J^ J J / J I and ^^ ^'^ J J | ? but in 
the lengthening of one of the steps in the medieval 

measures, J • ^ J I » ♦^ J J J I ' ^"'^ 

^ ^ J • J^ ^' I , there is a heaviness, we might 
almost say a clumsiness, which speaks of other 
figurantes than lithe youths and Dorian maidens. 

And the dances and the melodious songs that 
accompanied them (for singing as they danced, the 
melodies would soon weave themselves to the rhythms 
of the feet), attracted the attention of learned men, 
who began to find that a new power in music was 
arising from the light-heartedness and laughter of 
the people. For that weak rhythm of the Hymn was 
all that was known in the cloisters, which indeed was 
the dying strain of a past most glorious symphony ; 
but here was a nev/ world of beauty and of strength 
growing up fast beneath them. And among the rest 
who were drawn to think on this new appearance in 
music, was a learned monk of Cologne, named Franco, 
who laboriously collected the popular melodies of his 
time ; and it is from his works, indeed, 'hat we have 
drawn the account of them that we have, given above. 
And he found Five different rhythms emplo3'cd in 
them, and these he named Measures, and they arc 
known in history as the Five Measure:; of Franco.^ 
And most of these we have given already, but we 
may set them down here in the order and form in 
which, he gives them. And the First Measure was 
composed of a Long and a Short, _ v.'. 

Franco of Cologne. !Musica et Cantus Mcnsurabilis. Cap. III. 


and as an example of this we may take the 
following : — 




:i|s:=2^zzt=^— ^; 


IMain - tes fern - mes 

And the Second Measure was the converse of this, 
being composed of a short and a long, \j _, I f^ : gszz:| 

and an example of this we have already given, when 
speaking of the earliest popular songs, which at first 
were exclusively in this measure : 

And the Third Measure was the quasi-Paeon, _ w _, 
which in musical characters was |^2szi~^5z:z:s2:zz, 

And a complete example of this measure has not 
been preserved to us, but only isolated measures of 
it, as 



Suant. Quand tu t'en. 

And the Fourth Measure was the quasi-Dochmius, 

w _ _ v-/ _, in musical characters z^i22z:a:z?2iC2Z 

I • I 

and no instance of this has been preserved. And the 
Fifth Measure was the rhythm that approximated to 

the Greek Bacchius, w w _ _, 1 — ^ — i^ — ?^ — ^ — 1 

* Quoted in Ambros' Geschichte dev Musik. II. 288. 
- Fragment from the Pseudo-Bede. 
^ From Tinctoris' Proportionale, 

C C 



which Franco however shortens by half its value, 

compared to our way of writing it, and makes it 

occupy the same time as the First or Second 

Measure ; so that doubtless it was a light tripping 

measure that always was taken fast, and we must write 


it I — P— ^ — ^ — f=2 — I and we have an example of 
I I I I I I 

this in the fragment, 



And now to the First Measure he added a new one, 
which doubtless he took from ecclesiastical music, for 
he w^ould make his system all-embracing, so as to 
include all the rhythms of the music of his time ; 
and it was scarcely a rhythm indeed, as we may 
suppose, being but a succession of notes all of the 
same length, as was the common manner of singing 
in the Gregorian or the Sequence Style, and this he 
introduced into his First Measure, on the following 
principle, that each of these notes of equal length 
should be reckoned equal in value to the whole of 
his First Measure, and henceforth the First Measure 

was constituted either by a long and a short, "cszzfszi' 

or by one long equal in value to both,^ which we may 
write =22izz, as this passage is in the First Measure, 





no less than this, 

1 Fragment from Franco. 

" Franco. Cantus Mens^rat)ilis, Cap. Ill, 








And now let us notice what admirable use he made 
of this new introduction, which indeed his researches 
in rhythm enabled him to do, for he might now pass 
from being the collector and arranger to be the 

promulgator of principles. P'or since 

v/as equal to 

— (Z? — <=)- 

and therefore 

, then it was also equal to 



also included in the First Measure, 





And such a breaking up of the regular steps would 

doubtless often occur in the dance, since it occasions 

no disturbance of the time, and we can readily 

imagine dances composed of this step alone. As it 

certainly is found in the songs of the period, which 

do but reflect the motions of the steps, one of 

which Franco quotes : — 

Fifih Measure. 

-c*- -c?- -^- 

Dou - le se 


■=!— =1: 

av en 

o - re ri - tro - vc\'. 

where it is combined with the Fifth Measure, as wc 

1 Franco. Cantus INIensiuabilis. Cap. IX. 


have indicated. And next he proceeded to build his 

last principle on the same basis as the foregoing; for 

proceeding with p^E—p F as he had done with 

^ -J] ^ 1 PF ' '^hice in the Fifth Measure it is shown 

equal to (frr [ 1— , which obviously suggests the 

breaking up into the form indicated. Room therefore 
must be found in the First Measure for this new 

equivalent; and as -^Ez^Ezjz:iij=:p was reckoned in the 

— 3 3 ^^^ — 3 — -1 

First Measure, so also was 

its equivalent, reckoned in it too/ and with this last 
addition the system of Franco was complete. And 
such a rhythm as this last might certainly have 
been heard in the music of the dances, though 
feet could scarcely have been so fleet as to make 
to every note a tread. And there is a Dance tune 
belonging to a period but a little later than the 
present, some half a century or less-, which will let 
us see that even his theories were no mere theories, 
but the careful results of widespread observation, 
which he had extended to every corner of the 
music of his time. 

1 Franco. Cantus Mens. loc. cit, 






















«r -9 .^. .^. .^. 


-^ — !■ 














And how admirable is the classification which ranks this 

measure under the same head as ^ \ — -— p • — F &c., 

which seems to beat on all the time ! or what better 
union of refined speculation with happy practical results 
could we choose than this application ? And here it 
will be noticed that the forms of the measures are 
sometimes mixed, finding as we do in the same piece 

the form - 


and the form 


— T '""^ J~~|~~l~"|) "O'' does he pretend it to be 

' Smith's Mubica Antiqua. 



otherwise, for his measures pass from the strictness of 
unvarying metre to the signification of " Bars," and 
thus even different measures are found sometimes in 
the same piece, as in the piece we quoted, where the 
First Measure and the Fifth were found combined, or 
in the following, where the First, Second, and Third 
Measures -are found :-- — 

^rd Measure. 2nd Measure. 1st Measure. 


voi - le dout taut nude. 

or in this, where the First, Second, Third and Fifth 
are found : — 

1st Measure, ist Measure. 2nd Measure, ist Measures. 

■| r 

L'om - me 

me, I'om-me ar - me. 

Et Ro 


._]J Ij--?-^-. 

5th Measure, ist Measure. 3rd Measure, ist Msre. 

n I 1 1 1 1 — 1 1 








- net tu m'as la mort don - ne quand . tu t'en vas. 

for not only will dancers change their steps in the 
same dance, but makers of songs their measures more 
so, to gain variety or to comply with the demands 
of language, which sometimes requires an Iambic 
Measure in the midst of a Trochaic, as in the 







^ P'rom Tinctoris' Proportionale. 

CHAPTER 11. , 391 

and other changes in like manner. But whatever 
rhythms were employed in the time of Franco are 
faithfully reflected in his measures, and we may rest 
assured, if we find no more than these, that the world 
knew as yet no others. So extensive and complete 
are his labours, and so harmonious is the result to 
which he has fetched confusion. 

And pausing to contemplate his system, he could 
not but be struck by the fact that all the Time was 
Triple, and that the Number 3 indeed shines through as 
the motive and sustaining power of the whole. For the 
composition of the First Measure is typified by the single 
note, which contains three inferior ones, and these, 
each three inferior ones again ; while the other form, 
that is, the trochaic form of it, is likewise similarly 
composed. And so of the Second Measure, and of 
the other measures in like manner, the composition of 
which is easily seen to rest on groupings or constituents 
of three. And the pious Franco found in this a direct 
manifestation of the Trinity,^ and it pleased him to 
imagine that he had been the means of unveiling 
one of the processes of its operation. Which indeed 
might well be conceived to a mystical mind to be 
the direct effectuator of the Art of Music, since Triple 
Time was holding complete empire over the world, 
and now had even passed to the cloisters 
of the monks. They, too, now wrote their melodious 
music in Triple Time, rendered ten times more 
melodious by this soft influence, for Triple Time 
is the Time of gaiety and joy, and how does it 
melt even the sternest strains to tenderness ! So that 
we well may choose to give an instance of this new 
enhancement of their beauty, and we w^U take an 

' Franco. Cantus Mensurabi'ii--. Cap. .|. 



" Agnus fill" which is written in the First Measure 
of Franco : — 



Ag - nus, li - li 


vir - gi - nis, 

pri - mi. 


• -^ 

lap - sum 

'^' .^ "S?" ■• 
mi - nis 




tau - rans 


"Cp— ' 






sanc - ti pas - cu 


mi - 




se - re 


And this then would be sung in the cloisters, and it 
might perhaps be accompanied by the organ or by a 
harmony of voices in the melodious symphonies of 
Hucbalfl, and then what new beauty would be heard ! 
For most of the monks, as we have said, had welcomed 
his harmonies, and the organists were trained to practise 
it, accompanying the voices in 5ths, 4ths, or 8ves, or 
in those other doubled progressions of these intervals, 
that so much enriched the concord. And the tones 
of the organs in these days were singularly sweet and 
mellow. They said they were like flutes in sound, or 
the warbling of nightingales,^ for they were mostly 

1 Bibliotheque de Lille. MS. 95. (Quoted in Coussemaker harmonisied. 
Histoire de I'Harmonie.) 

2 " Velut luscinise sonabant calami." 

CHAPTER 11. 393 

small I — some of them so small as to be portable — 
and very delicately and almost fastidiously made. 
Some organs we read of in the monasteries, whose 
pipes were made of pure gold,^ and all had their 
pipes gilded, and their woodwork tricked up with colours 
and devices.3 And some, as we say, were so small 
as to be easily carried about ; these were called the 
Portatives : while others were of heavier build, and could 
not be moved, which were called the Positive, or 
" Stationary " Organs. And both kinds were used in 
the monasteries. 

And the history of the Organ since last we left 
it has been as follows : — For after that rare and 
wonderful organ, which Charlemagne caused to be 
constructed on the models of the Byzantine Ambassadors, 
and the tone of which was so sweet that some were 
reported to have fallen into ecstasies when they heard 
it, as if celestial harmony had descended to their 
ears ; 4 organs of a similar pattern began to be built 
through France and Germany, as we have mentioned 
before. But whether it were that such an organ was 
rather a delightful plaything, than a valuable aid to 
the services of the church, the organs of Charlemagne's 
time were not of a very great longevity, and by the 
time of his son, Louis the Pious, we hear of a new 
era in organ building, which was inaugurated by the 
arrival of George the Venetian, a learned priest, at the 

1 See Clement's Histoire De la Musique Religieuse, where the idea 
is rightly put forward, though with but little direct evidence to support 
it. Historici modemi, qui scribunt de organis clavibusque giganticis, 
plane desipiunt. 

2 In certain German monasteries the tradition runs so. See Gerbert. 
II. At Constantinople such organs were not uncommon. Cf. the 
accounts in George the Monk, Constantine. De Vita Basil. Maced. &c. 

3 " Auratis capsis," &c. Adhelm. Dc laude virginum. 

* There is an epigram e.\tant concerning the effects of this organ. 


court of that monarch.^ Such success did George have 
with the organs that he built, that Louis ordered 
wood and metal and all the essentials for organ 
building to be placed freely at his disposal,^ and with 
these he doubtless built the organs for the royal 
chapels throughout the empire. Most organs of this 
date, at least in France and Germany, were probably 
built on the pattern of George's organs, if not in 
great part under his superintendence. And his organs 
were all water organs of the ancient form, and not 
provided with bellows as well,^ in the manner of 
Charlemagne's organs. Perhaps it was this very addition 
of bellows to the hydraulic mechanism that had proved 
a precarious and unsound contrivance in Charlemagne's 
organs, and was the cause of their comparatively early 
desuetude. At any rate, with George the Venetian we 
notice a retrogression in the art of organ building, as 
if, after due trial of a new invention, the old form was 
by preference reverted to, as being the safer and more 
manageable. And so it continued for some time to 
come, though we cannot doubt that many experiments 
were made with bellows in the meanwhile, both in 
conjunction with water perhaps, and certainly by 
themselves. For the application of bellows to organs, 
which is a most natural one, was known, though 
but rarely acted on, even in the childhood of organ 
building, that is, in the days of the later Roman 
Emperors. On the obelisk of Theodosius there is a 
representation of an organ blown solely by bellows, 
and the Emperor Julian, who lived about twenty years 
before his time, has thought the bellows-organ worth 

^ Eginhaid. Annales, ad. a. S26. " lb. 

•'' "Hydraulica" is the utmost we are told about them. Had 
there been bellows, they would have been mentioned. 


making a conundrum about ; ^ so that probably the 
application of bellows to organs had first been thought 
of about his time. Yet it was rarely if ever acted on, 
as we say, partly because of the insufficiency of power 
in bellows compared to that of hydraulic pressure, for 
in thinking of bellows we must imagine the identical 
bellows, and no other, which are used at our own 
firesides to-day, and partly because of the unsteadiness 
of blowing, which bellows of so primitive a form can 
never be free of, and which was so admirably obviated 
by the contrivance already in use of pistons and 
levers passing a continuous current of air through 
water. For these reasons, T say, the bellows-organ was 
put aside, as an invention that would come to nothing, 
almost without being tried at all, and even the attempt 
to make a compromise between it and the water-organ, 
which we have seen in the organ of Charlemagne, was 
abandoned after a time as hopeless. So it was when 
George the Venetian re-introduced the original water- 
organ into France, as we have mentioned, which 
doubtless was the form that had been retained in Italy 
without any change all along. But within a century 
after George's time, the home of organ building, from 
what cause we know not, had passed from Italy and 
France to Germany.^ Italy indeed had so far lost its 
prestige that scarce an organ was built there,^ and we 
have Pope John VIII. writing from Rome to Bishop 
Anno in Germany, " Send me the best organ you can 
procure, and along with it a tuner, for we have none 
here."4 And with Germany, England also appears as a 

' " Pipes sjjiinging up froin a brazen soil. Bellows blow them, 

not breath. Fingers are at work beneath their roots." This is the 
conundrum, and doubtless was a hard one. 

- Gcrbert. II. T42. ^ lb. 1 lb. 


centre b( organ building,^ and whether we must ascribe 
it to the mechanical genius of these nations, or whether 
we must not rather consider that they were less tied 
to traditions of workmanship than the Latin nations, 
and so more disposed to make innovations and 
improvements, certain it is that the bellows now begins 
to appear as the feeder of the organ, instead of the 
hydraulic mechanism, which had held its own «|^o long. 
And the unsteadiness and weakness of the bellows was 
obviated in this way — many bellows were used, that so 
while one was filling another could be exhausting, and 
thus a constant current of air could be kept up. Or 
rather there were two ways to counteract the deficiencies 
of bellows : — the first was to use many bellows, as we 
have said, the second was to make the organ so small 
that one pair of bellows was sufficient to feed it. And 
both these plans were adopted, and the first tended to 
produce enormous organs, far larger than any water 
organ, while the second produced organs supremely 
diminutive. For in the first case it is plain that since 
the supply of wind was unlimited, now that the idea 
had occurred of multiplying bellows indefinitely, there 
was no limit also to the size of the organ. And a 
remarkable spirit that was passing over the Architecture 
of this period, was loudly calling large organs into 
requisition. For speaking of a century or more after 
the time of George the Venetian, who lived in the 
reign of Louis the Pious, this will bring us to the 
end of the 9th century, or the beginning of the loth, 
when the great Romanesque churches were beginning 
to cover the land. And what could a puny organ do 
in the illimitable vaults of their roofs or the deserts of 
their aisles ! Organs therefore began to grow with the 

- Our account of the largest organ comes from there. 


churches, and immense organs were the consequence. 
In place of one pipe to every note, ten were now 
employed,^ so as to ring out the note into the empty 
space around. Even the compass of the organs was 
extended far beyond the hmits of the actual scale, and 
two players were employed, to double one another in 
their accompaniments to the voices.^ And the organ 
itself grew in this accession to its strength, not only 
in its case, which it plainly must, if only to contain the 
numerous pipes, but the very keys were made larger 
and broader, That compass of eight notes, which at 
first could easily be spanned by the thumb and 
little finger, could now scarcely be included by the 
outstretched arms.^ With their fists, even, were the 
players compelled to strike the broad flat keys,^ while 
round the organ rows of bellows stood like casks, 
sometimes thirty in number, and two or more 
bellows-blowers to each.^ 

This was the development the Organ was pursuing 
in the Churches, and under the influence of the gigantic 
Romanesque architecture, which was now rising in 
heavy piles on Europe. But in the monasteries its 
course was a different one. For the monastic chapels 
were small by comparison to these enormous churches, 
and organs of moderate size were sufficient for them, 
and these, as I have said, they call the Positives, or 
" Stationary " Organs, as also were the great Church 
Organs Positives, as will well be understood. But the 
chapels were also often furnished with Portatives, or 

1 In the epigram of Volstanus Diaconus each lingua or " key," 
commands lo pipes. " Inqiie sue retinet ordine qufeque decern." 

•^ lb. 

2 Pra^torius. Syntagma Musicum. * lb. 

^ In Volstanus' account, 26 bellows : Bisseni supra sociantur ordine 
folles, Inferiusque jacent quattuor atque decern. 


" Portable " Organs, which could be easily lifted from 
place to place, and at the practice of the choir it was 
customary to place these in front of the Positive Organ, 
and for the organist to sit between, playing now on 
one, now on the other, as he was rehearsing the boys 
in their parts, or showing them on the Positive how 
the piece would sound in the serviced 

But we have yet: to speak of that third development 
of the organ, whereby it became dwarfed and stunted 
to a little thing, so small and so diminutive, that it 
could be held in the palm of the hand. And it arose, 
as we have said, in the adaptation of bellows to the 
organ, which might be done in two ways, either b}' 
multiplying and increasing the bellows to the necessities 
of the organ, or by diminishing the organ to the 
capabilities of the bellows. And in the present case 
the latter plan was followed, and dwarf organs were 
the result. And these tiny organs had but six notes 
to them,2 and were so light, as we have said, that 
they could be held in the palm of the hand. And 
they had a pair of bellows at the back, which the 
player could work with his left arm, holding them in 
the fold of his elbow, while he played the keys with 
his right hand, supporting the instrument on the palm 
of his left. And they puled and piped so melodiously, 
that every one was glad to hear them — dainty little 
mechanisms, artful toys, that yet would make rare 
harmony. They are the triflngs of the Middle Ages, 
and many such musical follies of mechanic might we 
set down here ; for philosophers in their studies were 
not abov^e coquetting with invention, and devising quaint 

1 Clement. Histoire de la Musique Religieuse. cf. Gerbeit. II. 191., 
of which this is the elucidation. 

- I have .seen 6 and also 7 keys in Regals in MSS,, and never 


oddities of music, like these little Rcgals, for so were 
the tiny organs called, because they " regaled " and 
refreshed the ear of all who heard them, they sang 
so merrily. And some devised musical clocks, and 
the art of clock making has always been connected 
with that of organ making, and indeed at the beginning, 
as we have seen, they were both the same ; and the 
musical clocks marked the hours by sounds of music 
and by dances, and in some of them there was a 
rich sonorous bell to do this, and a number of small 
balls in a recess of the clock ; and at one o'clock 
one ball fell on the bell, at two o'clock two, at three, 
three, and so on, and directly the sound of the bell 
had ceased, twelve prancing horsemen, armed cap-a-pic, 
capered out of the clock, and pranced along beneath 
its face, in rhythmic motions to the measure of its 
ticking.^ And in others of the clocks two cavaliers 
issued out at the hours in mimic tourne}-, and gave 
one another as many blows on tinkling armour as 
was the number of the hour to be sounded. And in 
this way the philosophers and mechanicians amused 
themselves in their studies with their musical mechanic ; 
of whom chief was Gerbert, who w^as Archbishop of 
Rheims, and afterwards became Pope under the title 
of Sylvester II. He was the most learned mechanician 
of his age, and had invented sun-dials, and hour-glasses, 
and was the first who applied weights to clocks : he 
also invented the escapement. r\nd he had studied 
under the Arabian doctors at Cordova, which was now 
the centre of all the learning of Europe, and knew 
how to make celestial spheres with the horizon, and 
representation of the heavenly bodies, and to calculate 
the meridian, and the circumference of the earth. 

I The description is in Eginhard, 


And they say that he had constructed a Speaking 
Head, that is, a head made of brass, which could 
speak, and answer him questions about futurity. And, 
in the privacy of his chamber he had made organs 
that could play of themselves, without human finger 
touching the keys ; and these were worked by boiling 
water, which forced jets of steam into the pipes, that 
opened and closed according to a mechanism of 
clockwork that he had invented ; ^ and by these and 
other inventions he was reputed a magician by the 
vulgar. But he was also a most learned master of 
music, and was called Gerbert the Musician by his 
contemporaries. He was the author of the beautiful 
Sequence, " Sancti Spiritiis adsit nobis gratia''' and of 
the responsorium, " O Jiida et Jerusaleinr And such 
tunes as these he would doubtless make his magic 
organs to play, and we are told that the sound of 
these organs was singularly sweet and mellow. 

But more sweet and more harmonious than any trick 
of philosophic mechanic could strike out, were the 
organs of the monasteries, which had gradually developed 
by the slow steps we have seen. And they had not 
shared that lust for bigness which had brought the 
Church and Cathedral Organs to such enormous size, 
but had remained of moderate proportions, and therefore 
of excellent tone. For there must have been great 
rawness and coarseness in those immense organs, as 
piping querulousness in the regals ; but these came 
between, and were the perfection of the organ building 
of the time. And it was about the end of the nth 
century that the monks took diligently to organ 
building.2 Sigo, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Florentius 

1 William of Malmesbury. II. i68. 

2 Gerbert. II. 142. 


at Ligeris in the middle of that century, began it, 
and his example found many imitators in the various 
monasteries of Europe.^ And it will surprise us to 
find how much these organs were like our own : indeed 
in all essential respects they were the same ; and the 
complete furnishings of the organ parts were manufactured 
in the monasteries, even down to the smelting of the 
metals of which the pipes were made.^ And the pipes 
were made of lead or copper, but generally of copper.^ 
And the building-frame and all the interior wood-work 
was made of plane wood ; ^ and the construction of the 
organ, as I say, was in all respects similar to our own. 
There was first a frame which contained the bellows, 
and the wind passed from thence into the wind-chest, 
not indeed by a wind-trunk, as with us, but by a 
number of holes communicating with the bellows, which 
answered the same purpose.^ Above the wind-chest 
there was another frame containing the grooves, the 
upper-board, and, fitted on to this, the pipes. ' And this 
was all closed in with a bottom made of plane wood, 
which was furnished with contrivances similar to our 
pallets, by which the wind might pass from the 
wind-chest into the grooves. And above the grooves 
came the upper-board, as we have said, in which 
the pipes were set. But instead of being made of 
continuous pieces, as with us, the upper-board was 
made of several separate pieces of wood, each groove 
having its separate piece above it, and in this its pipe 
or pipes were set. And the keys acted much as in 

1 lb. 

2 So we must judge from the account of Theopliilus the Monk, who 
gives the minutest directions for making the pipes. 

•' Theoph. the Monk. De Diversis Artibus. III. 81. 
* lb. 82. 

■^ In superiore parte vero lateris fiant cavatmoe, per quas flatus ad 
fistulas posset pervenire. lb. 

P U 


our organs, that is to say, with pull-downs passing 
through the wind-chest, and drawing down pallets, which 
allowed the wind to pass at once into the grooves.^ 
But in other respects their action was simpler, for 
there were no stickers or back-falls, but the key 
communicated direct with the pull-down, and for the 
purpose of working it, was made to move a little 
outwards each time it was pressed,- by which contrivance 
the pull-down, which was fastened to it, and ran slanting 
through the wind-chest up to the pallet, was drawn 
down a little, and so opened the pallet, which admitted 
the wind to the groove. Now to prevent the keys 
coming out too far each time they were pressed, pins 
were placed in them where we place our pins, so that 
the key came forward to such a point, and then, when 
the finger was lifted, it flew back again to its original 
position.3 And in this way was the mechanism of the 
key-action contrived. But as to how the stops acted, 
on this point we receive no information, though probably 
it was now by the same cross slides as with us. And 
if we were right in imagining that slides were once 
the action by which the keys worked, then we must 
agree, that with the discovery of a new and neater 
key-action, the old action had been appropriated to 
the stops. And the keys had their names written on 
them,4 that is to say, either according to the notation 
of Hucbald, or according to the old notation of 
letters from A to P, which was instituted by Boethius, 
with the necessary changes to accommodate it to the 
alterations which had occurred since his time in the 

' Theoph. De Diversis Artibus. loc. cit. 

2 We must necessarily assume this from the words, " educuntur," 
" extrahuntur," &c. 

3 " Clavi capitati." lb. 

* Jn caudis linguarum scribantur literse, &c, 


scale. For we hear of " letters " placed on the 
keys, and therefore cannot think of Neumes being 
employed, which indeed would have been entirely 
impracticable, since they denoted no fixed notes, but 
were used indiscriminately at any degree of the scale ; 
though in general music they were still by far the 
commonest mode of writing. And the bellows were 
still apparently of the primitive shape, though larger, 
and worked with long handles, much in the manner 
of our own. I And several might be used, as we have 
said before, and the case was increased or diminished 
in size according to their requirements. And above 
the organ was suspended a canopy of drapery to 
keep the dust out of the pipes, which might be 
drawn up to the roof, and let down. And it was 
always drawn up during the playing.^ 

Such were the organs used in monasteries during 
the nth century, and, as will be seen, they evince 
the highest mechanical skill in the construction of 
them. It was an age of mechanics, and the sudden 
development of the organ from its rude to its almost 
perfect form, is but an aspect of the energy which 
was working in other fields as well. The 
construction of new military engines, the perforation 
of rocks, and throwing of bridges, the invention 
of clocks and compasses, is well reflected in the 
labours of the organ builders ; and from the Pope, toying 
with regals in his chamber, down to the monks, 
fashioning wood and metal in the monasteries, the 
same skill seems to have actuated all. And the 
method of organ playing in the monasteries will 
also be interesting to consider ; for ' besides the 

' See the illustrations in Strutt's Horda. 
2 Theophilus. III. 83. 


harmonies of Hucbald, which the organ played to 
the voices, the fashion of preluding was now not 
uncommon, and the organist before the antiphon or 
hymn began would extemporise an introduction to it, 
conceived after the manner of what was to follow : 
nay, sometimes during the singing of the hymn itself 
he would intersperse organ music, for he would repeat- 
each line after the choir, varying the tones 
occasionally as it suited his fancy, till at last a 
regular interlude began to be employed between each 
line of the hymn.^ And in this, as will be seen, 
there was much licence and departure from the 
simplicity of the ancient style, and though some 
might esteem it a beauty, it was in reality a 
meretricious adornment that boded no good to the 
purity of song. And from their delight in these 
interludes and preludes, the monks would sometimes 
not be content that one of their own number should 
be the organist, but would search out men skilled 
in organ playing, even lay brothers, or monks from 
other monasteries, that the music might be most 
skilfully performed.2 For indeed it seems as if 
something worldly were now finding its way into the 
sternness of their discipline, and that they were passing 
from regarding their music as the voice of holy 
rapture, to consider it as a delightful pastime, which 
by all means they must cultivate and improve. Thus, 
their singing practices were now much more lengthy 
than of yore ; they taught the choir boys also to 
abstain from food before the services on great 
festival days, that their voices might sound the 

1 Gerbert. II. i86. An interesting specimen of this practice is to 
be found in the hymn, " Ortum predestinatio." British Museum, MS, 
No. 29. (nth century.) 

? Gerbert II. 171, 

CHAPTER It. 405 

sweeter ; ^ and, indeed, when we think of the rich 
tones of their organs, and the new allurements to 
beautiful music which Harmony and that free organ 
playing offered, we cannot wonder that these worldly 
thoughts should be finding their way into monkish cells. 
Then, too, the convents were much more open to the 
general world than they had used to be. Travellers 
and itinerants of all sorts could often reckon on a 
night's lodging in a monastery ; and as the monks 
crowded down to the refectory of a morning after 
Tierce was over, they might not seldom have the 
sight of one of those strange itinerants, the Wandering 
Minstrels, who were now first beginning to appear in 
Europe — men who strolled from village to village and 
from fair to fair, playing at the dances of the 
country people, or stopping occasionally at lords' 
castles, where a song and a tune were sure to be 
repaid by a dinner. And sometimes, as wcvsaid, they 
appeared even in the cloisters of the monasteries.^ 
And one of these, 1 say, the monks might sometimes 
see of a morning among the other strangers in the 
refectory, warming himself at the fire, or taking the 
snatch of breakfast which the liberality of the 
monastery afforded ; and great would be the contrast 
between the careless stroller and the cowled recluses, 
who regarded him, perhaps at some little distance, 
with dubious looks. And there he sat in his 
threadbare gown of blue, with lute and wallet 
slung at his back, the picture of thoughtless gaiety. 
His face has seen many weathers, and his wallet 
looks empty enough ; yet he makes very light of it, 

> Id. 

- See Walton's Histoly of Poetry., I. 82. for references in support 
of this assertion. 


as the feather in his cap shows, and the lappet of a 
handkerchief, marked with a true love and a heart, 
that peeps out of his bosom. What jaunty vanity 
is this, and emblems of profane things found amid 
the sanctity of the cloisters ! Yet fifty years hence, 
perhaps, shall tell a different tale, and stories begin 
to be heard of monks themselves abandoning the 
cloisters, and minstrels with cowls and shaven crowns, 
when the age of minstrels in earnest begins. 

But, in the meantime, though discipline was relaxing, 
it had not relaxed so far, and meanwhile had only 
affected the services, which, despite the apparent pains 
bestowed on them, were not so well performed as 
they had used to be. And this was partly to be 
attributed to the prominence of organ playing, as we 
have said, and particularly to those interludes and 
preludes, which were dangerous things. For listening 
to variations on the tunes they sang, would tend to 
corrupt the recollection of the tunes in the minds 
of singers, while careless choristers would get to rely 
on the help which the organ afforded them in 
suggesting the run of the melody, instead of trusting 
entirely to the notes of the service books before 
them. And this tendency was encouraged by 
the difficulties which the service books themselves 
presented. For the music was still written in 
neumes, despite the changes in the scale and the 
introduction of Harmony into music ; and great 
perplexity was the consequence. The notation of 
Hucbald had not received such diffusion as the 
rest of his musical system ; and an old style of 
writing had to serve the general turn, in which there 
were no distinctions of tone and semitone, no apt 
expression of harmonies, and no indication of pitch, 
so that the singers might know at what portion of 


the scale their voice was travelling. And the sense 
of these deficiencies, and particularly of the first, 
that is, the distinction of tone and semitone, was 
much aggravated by the growing use of accidentals 
in the scale, which the octave harmony had been 
the cause of initiating. For owing, to the influence of 
this harmony, the lowest tetrachord of the scale was as 

often sune 

Bz: — -B^=P2= as p^'== =— ^^zipn , 

r~i — i — 



to be in keeping with the upper 8ve, 



which in its turn was oft(^n sung with the B flat, 
[^ =P-[-- l I while the F sharp, [fe=^ 

was most commonly transformed into F natural, to 


be in keeping with the F natural below, - ^' .p — • , 

and the other accidentals in the same way. Indeed, 
we may say that the scale was in a transition state 
again, on the road to its final form ; and, with 
nothing to mark the occurrence of the semitones, 
great was the confusion that ensued. Ten years, 
it was said, were necessary to familiarise the boys 
with the intricacies of the Neume notation, so as 
to enable them to sing easily from book ;3 and the 
teachers, it seems, found no less difficulties than the 
scholars. So that it was no wonder that singing 
by ear and following the organ became so universal 

• See the scale on p. — Infra. '^ lb. 

3 Epistola Guidonis De Ignoto Cantu. 


a practice, that in many choirs the service books 
were scarcely opened at all. 

Such then was the state of things in music, when 
it happened that a monk, named Guido, of the 
monastery of Arezzo in Tuscany, sitting one evening 
at vespers in the chapel of his monastery, heard the 
Hymn to St. John the Baptist being sung by the 
choir. And this is the hymn which he heard: — 



tssJ — (-— H 1 F 

t 1-- 

Ut que - ant lax - is Re - so - na - re fi - bris 








Mi - ra gas - to - lum Fa-mu-li tu - o - rum, Sol 








ve pol-lu-ti La-bi -i re - a - turn, Sane- te ' J*lg| oT^^pr" 

And he noticed that the first syllable of feuch 
succeeding line was exactly one note above that c ' 
the line before it, and that the syllable of the fourth 
line. Famuli ttioruin, was a semitone above the third, 
but all the others were tones. And taking the 
notes of these syllables he found they made up 
together six notes of the scale, namely, from C to A, 


-^— C2^^~"^~^EtE^~ ' having the semitone 

E F in the middle. And it seemed to him that if 
he were to take these notes as a formula, and apply 
them to the various music that was to be sung, he 
would be able perfectly to show when tone and 
when semitone occurred, which was the great perplexity 
of the musical notation of the time. For above 



each semitone he would set -^ — ^ ^ , and above 

each tone, if it followed a semitone, :^'— ^ 

or if it preceded, 


or if two tones 


, m 




and so on. But in order 

to prevent the suggestion of pitch by any of these 
notes, he must not use the letters of Boethius to 
indicate them, or the figures of Hucbald, both of 
which would denote certain degrees of the scale ; 
but he must find names for them, which had nothing 
to do with musical associations. And what could 
be better than the very syllables of the hymn to 
which each note was sung? Indeed, thinking over 
his divine discovery, after it had flashed across him, 
and had become quite clear to his mind, he could 
not but regard it as a direct inspiration from St. 
John himself, and accordingly he determined to 
consecrate it by names drawn from his hymn. In 

this way, -<c^'— ^— , which was sung to the first 

syllable of the line, 

Ut queant lax is, 

became Ut ; p^'— p— [Resonare fihris) Re; p ^=:^: 

{Mira gestovuin) Mi ; 

•V. — (S^ 


La, in like manner, each from the first 


syllable to which it was sung. And now he had 
this simple formula, 

Ut re mi fa sol la, 

which he could write over the notes at any pitch, 
or break up into what groups or sets he pleased, 
according as the run of the music might be ; and 
so the boys might easily sing their chants by these 
syllables, having nothing to remember except that 
when tni fa came, there was a semitone, arid, having 
learnt the music thoroughly thus, they could then 
sing it with the proper words, in the services of the 
chapels. As in the following example, 


-I 1 ^— I F2__| 1_ 1 1 

i==^i — r-i — ^-r-=± 

he would write, Ut re itt fa mi re mi ut fa sol 

fa fa, and giving the \ ^ ^^— as the proper pitch 

for Ut, the boys would easily sing the melody by 
reading the syllables, and thus he could take it at 
any degree of the scale where the same succession 
of tones and semitones occurred, as on F above, with 
the Bb accidental, 


:^:^±g^-^- d_g ^: 


TTJ— g*— ?rd ^'—&—^— r=i 

which would also be written, 

Ut re ut fa mi re mi ut fa sol fa fa, and 

with {- 7F — ~^r ~. given as the note for Ut, the 

same melody would be sung. 

But should two or more semitones occur in the 


course of the music, and at different pitches from 
each other, as to take the first instance, and 
extend it as an example : — 

- ( ^ y. ^ — ^ — ^ — I — I — ^ — I — f-^ — I — f— — 



,. -(S. 


-fS. ■^- I^- .,2. .fS. 

in that case the formula irii fa must be repeated 
for the higher one as well, although its pitch be 
different, and a new set of notes run into the other 
thus : — 

(7l re ut fa mi re mi ut fa sol fa fa re 
mi fa re mi nti re re^ which might be extended 
upwards, if the music so went, 






fa sol la 

to the completion of the set. Or did it still 






sol la 

re mi fa sol la 

in each case writing ;;// fa at the semitone, 
wherever it might occur, and in order to prepare 
the singer for the semitone, invariably reckoning as 
re the note immediately before it, as in the last 
example, where the la is reckoned r'e for this reason. 
So that, had the extension here been by B flat 
instead of B natural, and the semitone then occurred 



a step earlier, viz., between A and B flat, instead of 
B natural and C, then the sol would have been 
reckoned re, 

fa re mi fa sol la 

and this is a plan which at once commends itself 
for its suggestiveness.i 

In this way, then, and by these simple means was 
an admirable simplicity and clearness introduced into 
the art of singing, so that there were few who could 
not learn to chant correctly from book in six months' 
time, which formerly it had taken ten years to do.- 
And in order to make his system applicable to 
general music, and not merely a device for teaching 
the choristers in his monastery to sing, Guido 
arranged the whole scale agreeably to his six 
syllables. And this will be an interesting task to 
see him undertake, for we shall then see the changes 
which the scale has suffered since the time of 
Hucbald. For we have seen how Hucbald wrote his 
scale ; and let us now see Guido write it : — 

— 1 *l f 




4 ^- 





^ See the admirable analysis of the Guidonian system in Ambros' 
Geschichte der Musik. 

- Prologus ad Micrologum. 

3 Cf. Infra, p. ^ That the B J? was a permissible optional note 
in the lower part of the Scale, may be proved by reference to his 
Organums (Cap. i8. of the Micrologus), where care is taken to avoid 
the concurrence of Bj? with the E above it, which gaVe the Tritone, 


in which we perceive many changes. For in the 
first place that symmetrical division of disjunct 
Tetrachords has completely disappeared. A nd thisis 
the first instance of the disturbing influence of 
Hucbald's harmonies on the scale he had so 
symmetrically established. For we might have 
prophesied, indeed, that the octave harmony, which 
annihilated the tetrachords each time it moved, must 
either give way to them, or they to it ; and the 
latter we see has been the case. The Tetrachords 
are neither disjunct, nor are they conjunct ; but for 
the time in theory they have ceased to exist, and 
the octave harmony can move freely up and down, 
with no impediment either from custom or theoretical 
tradition. In the second place, the same influence, 
that is, of the octave harmony, has required and at 
last obtained an optional accidental at that important 
place of the scale, the B flat. We have seen it 
employ this optional accidental from the 'very first, 
and now we find the optional note incorporated at 
last as an intrinsic element in the scale. It occurs 

3 times pglz^zfezi p^ =CZ L-Z and 

and doubtless the employment ot the double 8ve, 
which was one of Hucbald's forms, has contributed to 
effect the admission in the third instance, though the 
single 8ve might equally be supposed to have caused 

it.^ But with the Fjf -^y—-^— which has disappeared 

completely, there was no such pressing necessity for 
a double form. There was " but one more F in 

1 Cf. bis first Organum for this, also his scale. 


the scale 

i^zz , and this was a much used note 


in its natural form, while the F Jf laboured under 
the additional drawback, that it formed the tritone 

with h #^ [ — . It is plain therefore which has had 

the stronger influence, and without any compromise 
of accidentals, the sharp has completely disappeared. 
In the third place, two extra notes have been added 

to the scale, v?s., F rK " — 1^^~\ » ^.nd these are the 

changes which have taken place in the scale since 
Hucbald's time, and most of them, as it seems, 
through the influence of his harmony. 

Now while with Hucbald the flat B was the 
commoner, or rather the usual form in the low 8ve, 
and the natural B in the higher one, with Guido, on 
the contrary, the reverse is the case, and the natural 
B has grown so common in the lower 8ve that 
he writes no other, except when he is employing 
harmonies,^ while the flat B is the common form 
in the upper 8ves. What is the cause of this 
strange change of habit we cannot tell, unless it 
be that singing had assumed a higher pitch since 
Hucbald's time, which indeed the extension of the 
scale upwards by two notes might suggest, and thus 

the acute B, ~ (m ^ P — > which was always written 

with the flat by Hucbald himself, became the common 

' It is interesting to notice that the influence of Hucbald's scale, 
i.e., with regard to the lower B|T, remained in Harmony long after it 
bad perished in Melody. Cf. Guido's Organums passim, 



octave to the middle one— this, however, will not 
explain the naturalising by preference of the lowest 
B. Whatever, therefore, may have been the cause, 
the scale as Guido commonly wrote it was, 


-pJ?p -i;Q_-g-- 




r— r 





-j_ '_ 

And so entirely had the doctrine of Tetrachords for 
the time being departed from theory, that we find 
him arranging it in sets of six notes, to suit his 
sets of six syllables. These he calls Hexachords, 
and he arranges them to suit his syllables as under, 
contriving it that he ma}^ get 7m' fa wherever the 
semitones come : — 

lit re mi fa sol la 
lit re vii fa sol la ^ 

lit re vii 

sol la 


^- :^- 

ut re mi fa sol la 
fa sol la 

^ -A — -J- 




/// re mi fa sol la 

;S ^— ^3g ; 


1 Micrologus. Cap. II. 


And he called each of these sets Hexachords, as 
we have said, because they contained six notes. 
And there are seven of these Hexachords in all, as 

will be seen. And the lowest one from - ^ p^— 

I to 
he called the " Low hard hexachord " ( Hexachordwn 
durum grave), because it contained the hard B 

; for now that there were two " B "s in use 


namely, BJl and B!2, it was customary to call 
the B C| "The Hard B," and the B flat "The 

Soft B." And the hexachord from p ( g 3: y - he 

— I 

called the " Low Hexachord of Naturals," (Hexachordum 
naturale grave), because it ran in naturals alone, 
without any accidental occurring. And the Hexachord 

from F^-~ p"~^ he called the " Low Soft Hexachord,"^ 

because it contained the Soft B flat. And the other 
Hexachords, which are but repetitions of these, only 
at a higher pitch, he called in the same way. 

i^— ^ — *— — was the "High Hard Hexachord," ^ 



— |— was the " High Hexachord of Naturals ;"3 


1 Hexachordum molle grave. 

2 Hexachordum durum acutum. 

3 Hexachordum naturale acutum. 




CHAPTER 11. 417 


T-^— was the " High Soft Hexachord."^ 

This ended the second pair of three Hexachords. 

And the next from F^ '"~~! "~P"~ was the "Very 

High Hard Hexachord " ^ — which concluded the scale. 
And next, though not for purposes of singing, he 
affixed letters to the notes of the scale. And we 
have seen this plan used before — first by Boethius, 
who named the notes of the Greek System from 

i ^ ."' ^ — to E^zzc2zz by the letters of the alphabet 

from A to P, and also by Hucbald, who designated 
them by varieties of the letter F. And we have 
conjectured which of these two styles or varieties of 
them were used for the keys of the organs of the 
period, which had letters inscribed on their keys, as 
we have said, that the organist might be able 
readily to distinguish note from note as he played. 
And now Guido invented a new system of lettering, 
finding that of Boethius cumbersome, perhaps^ and that 
of Hucbald difficult, because of the strange shapes it 
contained. And taking his hint perhaps from what 
he had already done with his sets of syllables, he 
arranged the letters also in sets, and we may see 
what influence the octave harmony had had or was 
having upon music, when we find him arranging his 
letters so as to run in sets of octaves. And he 
took the System of Boethius as his basis, and since 

1 Hexachoidum molle acutum. 

2 Hexachordam durum superacutum. 

£ E 


that had run from A to P 

he reckoned off the first octave of it, 


F^'iz^':~ ^_^:-.; g:?~'^~^' ^ ; when it began to repeat, 

B C D E F G a 

setting an "a" again. But he had a note FO 


at the bottom of his scale, which Boethius had not, 
and since he must find a letter for this, which was 
G, in order not to use the same form of G as the 
other one, he wrote it with a Greek Gamma, F, 
for he would willingly employ a different shaping of 
the letters for different parts of the scale. Thus 
the higher octave, which repeated the one we have 
given, he wrote in italic letters, a b c d e f g, 
and the notes that yet remained, repeating these in 
in very small italics, a h c d e. But now there 
was a sign to find for Bfl, for, as the letters stood, 
they did not include this, 



-r—r — f- — •" — ' — 






d- C f g a be d e 

So for B F^*— [— — ^"*^ p^-ggz: he used a square "b' 

' Micrologus. Cap. 2. 


[3, or, as some say, it was the letter "h" fa. And 
the BJl was known as " The Square B," and the B^ 
as " The Round B." And this is the Gamut of 
Guido, that is to say, this scale of letters in company 
with his syllables, which he v/ould willingly write io 
this form, which is the same as we have formerly 
given, only without the modern notes : — 

^ la 

^ la sol 

<^ sol fa 

^ mi 

* fa 

« la mi re 

g' sol re vX....Hexachordum durum superacutum, 

f fa ut Hexachordum niolle aciitum. 

e la mi 

d la sol re 

c sol fa ut Hexachordum naturak acutum. 

^ mi 

d fa 

a la mi re 

G sol re ut Hexachordum durum acutum, 

F fa ut Hexachoi'duvi molle grave, 

E la mi 
D sol re 

C fa ut Hexachordum naturale grave, 

B mi 
A re 
r ut.... Hexachordum durum grave. 

And because the two lowest notes of both were 
Gafnma ut, it was called Gamimit or Gamut, as we 
have said. And there is a picture of him in an 
old monkish chronicle, holding a long scroll in his 
hand, on which letters are written, and they are 
from r to ^ as we have given them. 

And it was customary with him to exercise the 
children in the monastery on these changes of 
hexachord by rote, and they had to ring the 
changes on them, saying E la mi, a la mi re, 
f sol re lit, C fa ut, and so on, in order to familiarise 


themselves with the notes and their positions. And 
he made rhymes to assist their memory, and to 
show them how the notes came : — 

Ut rgy re ut^ re mi cum mi re fa, utque sol utque 
Sol reque, la re, la mi, scandere te faciunt. 

Ut fa, ut sol re, sol cum re la mi laque fa sol, sol 
Faque, sol sol, la la sol dum canis ima petunt} 

And he also invented the Musical Hand,^ in order 
to show the children, much as if he were teaching 
them to count on their fingers, that very succession 
of notes which formed his Gamut. For he took a 
note to every finger joint of his left hand, tracing 
them with the forefinger of .his right ; and reckoning 
in the tips of the fingers, this gave him the exact 
number of notes and all their"^ mutations which 
formed his gamut. Only he had to reckon the b flat 
and the b natural as one note, as we shall see. 
For starting with the tip of the thumb, that was 
Tamma tit, the first joint of the thumb A re, the 
lowest joint B mi; then proceeding by the lowest 
joints of all the fingers, that of the first finger was 
C fa ut, of the second D sol re, of the third 
E la mi, of the little finger F fa ut. Then up 
the little finger with G sol re ut, a la mi re, b fa 
mi, which was the tip. Then by the tips of the 
fingers towards the first finger ; of the third finger 
c sol fa ut, of the second d la sol re, of the first 

1 It is odd that these lines have been transmitted from hand to 
hand, •without being recognised as Elegiac verses. They are generally 
foimd written in a fancy measure of 6 or 8 syllables in the line. 

2 His invention of the Musical Hand is indeed open to doubt. 
In this, as in one or two other points, it would be no hard matter 
for a jealous critic to controvert the givings out of tradition, which 
is but an unamiable thing to do, and of inconsiderable importance in 
the due conception of history. 



e la mi. Down the first finger to the middle joint, 
along the middle joints of second and third, up the 
third to the top joint, from thence to the top joint 
of the second finger, which was the last vacant 
place, and off with e la mi. This gave him the 
complete gamut, as we may see, 






And in this way he would teach the children 
in the monastery, teaching them so clearly and 
by such easy methods that none could mistake 
him, and even the dullest could learn to sing 
easily off the book in six months' time, and 
some, it was said, could even learn it in one 

Now his brethen, the monks of the convent, grew 
jealous of the great success he had in his teaching, 
and brought tales to the abbot, saying that he was 
corrupting the genuine traditions of ecclesiastical 
music by new-fangled devices, and that the monastery 
was becoming a laughing-stock to the world by 
reason of the silly stuff that was taught there. 
And the abbot hearing this, and perhaps knowing 
as little of Guido's method as the monks themselves, 
and without caring to observe the marvellous results 
of his teaching, reprimanded him, and bade him 
teach after the ancient style or not at all. And 
Guido left the convent. And he was much dispirited 
at the treatment he had received from his own 
brotherhood, whose music he would have raised to 
such a pitch of excellence by means of his system, 
that no monastery in the world could have surpassed 
it And he thought to himself that if his own 
brothers rejected him thus, what treatment could 
he expect from strangers ! And he wandered from 
monastery to monastery, gaining admission to some, 
indeed, but at others not even allowed to enter 
the walls. And even in those that received him, the 
same jealousy and mistrust was his lot, and no 

1 His exact words in the Prologue to the Micrologus are, that 
children, who had not seen their music for a whole month, could sing 
it at first sight by means of his system. 


sooner had he begun to put his system into practice 
than intrigues were set on foot against him, and 
he was thrust often with derision from the doors. 
And thus wandering from place to place, with no 
one to put faith in him, or even to give his system 
a hearing, he compares himself to the man who 
had invented a priceless glass, flexible and unbreakable, 
that was more precious than any pearl, and took it 
to the Emperor . Augustus, expecting a great reward. 
But Augustus ordered the inventor to be killed, 
because he had invented something that was too 
valuable for mankind to know. And to this man 
does Guido compare himself, for he also had invented 
a priceless glass, and no one would look at it, and 
he must needs be a wanderer on the face of the 
earth, and thrust from door to door, for what 
he had done. And indeed this is the lot of all 
originators, that they must consent to sacrifice 
themselves to their discovery, for this is the only 
price at which the world will take it. 

But through all his adversities one man stood 
his friend, and that was Tedaldus, Bishop of Arezzo, 
who is represented in monkish manuscripts holding 
one end of the scroll with the Gamut inscribed on 
it, and Guido the other, because it was Tedaldus 
who first made Guido known. He, wishing to see 
that admirable system brought before the world, and 
to raise its great inventor above the petty jealousies 
of common men, at last prevailed on the Pope 
himself to send for Guido, and hear what he had 
to say for the improvem.ent of ecclesiastical song. 
And the Pope having sent for him was so well 
pleased with what he heard, that he would even 
receive instruction from him himself, and commended 
his system as a prodigy, which all men would do 


well to iearn.i And from that day, it seems, the 
fame of Guido began to spread, but not his 
prospects to improve, and he was glad to retire 
from the jealousies and ill feelings which still 
pursued him, to the quiet convent of Pomposa in 
Ferrara, where he devoted himself to writing a 
treatise on his system, and also to making certain 
improvements in the musical art, which he had had 
for a long time in his mind. For his syllables 
and hexachords, indeed, were designed to the 
elucidation of that method of musical notation by 
Neumes, and gloriously had they illuminated it. 
But yet the same method of notation still continued, 
nor had he as yet advanced any suggestion towards 
its improvement. And this, method we have spoken 
of in great detail before, and have found it to 
consist of strokes and points placed above the 
words, according to the principles of a complicate 
system, and though but derivatives of simple accents, 
yet answering in their developed form all the purposes 
of a musical notation, except for the vagueness with 
which they denoted the intervals, and for the lack 
of any means of determining the pitch. And the 
latter deficiency, indeed, was not so much felt in 
days when pitch itself was but loosely regarded, and 
the greatest latitude allowed to singers to accommodate 
the tenour of the song to the exigencies and compass 
of their voices. But the former was a more serious 
blemish, and must even have been felt a difficulty 
even in the times of Gregory himself, though not 
so much observed, owing to the tunes being mainly 
traditional, and well known to the singers, who 

1 The account of tliis and the rest is given in Guide's own words 
in his treatise De I"noto Cantu. 


therefore found the hints the Neumes gave them 
ample for their purposes. Also the Neumes had 
grown up step by step with that same Gregorian 
song ; their simpler forms gave the ordinary intervals 
by which it progressed, their compositions were the 
very expression of its more usual passages of melody, 
and thus the deficiencies of the system, though 
felt perhaps by the unlearned, were scarcely even 
suspected by the trained and practised musicians of 
the time. But with the decline of Gregorianism, 
or rather with the rise of another and a rival music, 
as the music of Hymns and Sequences and sacred 
or secular Latin Songs, the peculiar aptitude of 
the Neumes sadly diminished. For, first, to take 
the Hymns and Sequences alone< where the melody 
proceeded note for syllable, the utility of that vast 
fecundity of forms, which the Neumes possessed, to 
express ascending intervals, descending intervals, 
ascending and descending passages of three, four, five, 
even eight notes, was at once annihilated, and out of 
that copious treasury of signs which the Gregorian 
style possessed, but two were found of service, the 
sign for the simple note or the low note — and • , 
and the sign for the high note, in its various forms of 

/y;y/rrr A/^j-iy ,aii of wwch 

meant the same thing, though the caprice of 
copyists had transformed them into so surprising 
a variety. Accordingly by the alternation of these 
two signs, which were all that were necessary, were 
the Hymns and Sequences written, as, 

Per sum - mi pa - tiis in - dul - gen - ti - am qui mi - se - rans quod 


-r— r— • 1 F— /^? r— /^^* — P^ f ?»^ f^ ^^^ — r-— — /^? — ^^i"""! 

ge - nus hu - ma-num ca - su sue -cu . bu - it ve - te - ra - no. 


7 - / - - -- 77 / _. /._ / ; 

Per sumrni patris indulgentiam qui miserans quod 

7 7 7 7^ 7- 77.7-7-- 

j2^enus humanum. casu succubuit veterano 

and others in the same way, with all the varieties 

of shape, as . for „ , / / J &c., for / , which fancy or 

caprice suggested. But this was a defective method, 
as indeed an examination of the above will show. For 
the extent of interval of rise and fall was far less 
lucidly indicated than even the Gregorian system 
had contrived to indicate it by those compound 
signs which it chiefly used, in which -A was generally 
understood to mean a descent of a second or third, 

/j of a second, v an ascent of a second or 

third, and the others with similar traditional limitations. 
But here in this tenuity of notation there was 
absolutely no guide to determining the value of the 
interval, nor were the signs doubled by others of 
similar meaning, as in the luxuriant Gregorian 
vocabulary, that special functions might have been 
assigned to each. 

The natural way to obviate the difficulty was not 
however long in coming. The signs were Written 
at higher or lower levels, according as an ascent 
or descent of the voice was intended, the proportionate 
height or distance ■ between each being determined 
by the measure of the interval. Already by the 
end of the 9th century, we find this method 
commonly employed. And now since in this arbitrary 


raising and depressing of signs, a sign of intrinsic 
ascent or intrinsic descent was no longer necessary, 
either of the two forms _ and 7 was employed 
to the exclusion of the other, and it was written at 
higher or lower levels, as under, 

Per summi patris indulgentiam qui miserans quod 

genus humanum casu succubuit veterano^^ 
or with the 7 sign, 

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7// 7 ' 7 ^ / 

Per summi patris mdulgentiam qui miserans quod 

^7777 7 7 7 7 7 .7 7 7 7 7 

genus humanum casu succubuit veterano.^ 

Such then was the method of writing which 
grew up in the Hymn and Sequence style, and in 
that sphere of music it answered very well. But 
meanwhile in that other branch of the art, in Sacred 
and Secular Latin songs, in the later Gregorian 
style itself, that is, in Responsoriums, Antiphons, &c., 
composed by the monks, the difficulties of the old 
notation were felt even more grievously, while there 
was no such easy method to counteract them. For 
the music of their order still ran in the vague 
arrhythmic tenour of the old Gregorian song, yet the 
progressions had vastly altered so as to render many of 
the compound signs of passages nugatory, while there 
was a daily demand for greater precision of notation 
in the simpler signs for intervals and in the posture 
of the ordinary notes, if the invention of composers 
was ever to assert itself against traditional renderings 

^ As in the so-called Song of Boece— end of 9th century. 
* This form no less than the other is found in the MSS., the 
same neume being retained from first to last. 



and constant perversions, which the retention of the 
original signs, conceived for an antiquated style ot 
melody, rendered unavoidable. And first there seems 
to have been a reaction against the complicated 
Neume notation entirely, and a following in the 
steps of the Hymn and Sequence style, but with 
what effect we shall presently see, for what was 
natural in the latter, that is to say, the reduction 
of all the forms to one or two symbols, for it 
went note for syllable, and required no more, was 
unnatural and even foolish in this, which required so 
many bends and flexions of tones on single syllables, 
and runs, and other Gregorian habitudes ; as if we 
should write a piece like the following. 


22-^-^— (2-:^=^: 





r — ^ 

Ve - ni - unt, 

J-T — I- 





-fg^ f^i^-^ . 





by simple notes, 

Veniunt ad mo - numentum orto jam sole. 

it would lead to endless confusion, for the notes 
being ranged above one another, to preserve them as 
far as possible to their syllable, there is no telling 
whether they should be read down or up, and other 

B. Museum. MS. No. 29. 


difficulties also occur, and the eye is weary of 
scanning the ungainly drawing, and cannot read it 
properly. Yet such a plan was undoubtedly pursued 
for a time, and examples of it may be found in 
the Antiphonary of Murbach, the Antiphonary of 
Montpellier, and various MSS. in the Bibliotheque de 
Montpellier. But even had clearness been effected 
by these means, all the nice signs for banded notes 
and ties, which indicated a dainty acceleration of the 
voice, as we have mentioned before, had disappeared 
in the transaction, and also those graces of slurred 
and appoggiaturaed intervals, and other things as vv^ell, 
which all alike were entirely indispensable to the 
due execution of Gregorian song. So that it was 
but a raw substitution and a hasty effort at 
redemption, which brought no result but only a 
desire to return to the past again. But now a 
divine compromise was effected, and who was the 
author of it we cannot tell, which lit up the dark 
Gregorian system into the most lustrous perspicuity, 
and exactly effected what it was the desire of 
everybody to have. And it turned on the combination 
of the old Gregorian signs with these new note 
marks which had grown up under the influence of 
the Hymn and Sequence. For these were the ancient 
Gregorian signs : — There was the Clivis, which was 

written in its various forms of /\ ^ H ^ ^ <'\ 

which indicated a descending interval, as an 

interval of a 2nd, 3rd, even 4th or 5th ; there was 
the Podatus which was the opposite of this, and 
denoted an ascending interval of a 2nd, 3rd, &e., in 
the same manner, and was written ^ J X 
J c) <y ] there was the Sinuosum, a descending 
interval, like the Clivis^ but generally, as we have 


said, limited to the descent of a 2nd, and the 

Sinuosum was written / /^ /^ /^ /^ /) ^^ '^ c 
Then there was the Porrectus, three ascending notes, 

/^ , and the Onscus, three descending notes / , 
and not unhke the Porrectus, but with a thicker 

tail, the Pressus /^ /which indicated the ascent of 

a 2nd. Then there were compounds of these, / , 

compounded of s/ and / , and equalling an ascent 

followed by the descent of a 2nd ; c/) compounded 

of N/'and O , Podatus and Clivis, and indicating an 

ascent and a descent, and " other compounds, as t/i/ 

^^^^^^J\J\_P'' all with their special meanings, 
as we have given them before. Nor must we 
forget the graces of the notation, the slurred or 
appoggiaturaed ascending interval the Eptaphonus, 

wnticn C C C J U di and the Ccphalicus, or slurred 
descending interval, written \ ^ ^ J ^ J ) 5 ; 
together with the signs of the high note and the 
simple note, which we have given a moment ago, 
and other signs and other compounds, of which 
these however are the chief. Now the objection that 
beset this Gregorian notation was the vagueness with 
which the extent of the intervals to be taken was 
indicated, for the same sign, which one moment 
indicated the descent of a 2nd, might the next 
imply the descent of a 5th, and the same which 
implied in one instance three notes ascending by 
2nds, might in another imply their ascending by 
3rds and so it was with all the others. And 
there was no means of telling what was intended, 
and the greatest confusion was the consequence. 
And now, I say, a divine illumination was effected 


by the attachment of these note marks, which were 
placed at higher or lower levels, proportionately 
to the span of the interval, to the Gregorian 
signs themselves, which instantly received a most 
perspicuous meaning, and, retaining all their old 
expressiveness, became at the same time the most 
accurate expositors of music. For if the Podatus 
s/ meant an ascending interval of any value, then 
by affixing a note at its top and bottom, at the 
proportionate distance of a 3rd, as note marks went, thus, 

V Z J ^ the Podatus received at once the value of a 

3rd, but by extending the distance of the notes a 
little, and stretching out the body of the Podatus, 
thus Jf , the Podatus received the value of a 4th ; 
and similarly by compressing its body's length, and 

bringing the notes closer together 3. , the Podatus 

received the value of a 2nd. And similarly with 
the other signs, as the Clivis, which by preference 

in this style was written in the forms y\ or 

\ . Arming the Clivis therefore with a note 

at head and foot thus, \ or Z ; stretching out 

its body L , you shall have the interval of a 5th, 

diminishing it T, , you shall have a 3rd, to 

tininess 1, , a 2nd. And similarly with the other 
signs, which thenceforth by their union with the 
note marks began to pass into other forms as we 

shall show ; for the Sinuosum /'^ , with note marks 
attached to it, put on squareness for its roundness 

and became I , for it indicated the descent generally 
of a second, and the notes are inserted in its 
rounded rim at that distance apart, and so obliterate 
the original form. Now these might be brought 


further apart, if the Sinuosum for the time being were 
intended to denote a larger interval, thus r" , where 

they may be F~P~f^~ , let us say ; and how 

lucid and easy is the determination now ! Similarly 
the compound sign c/) is also accurately defined as 


»— p— p— by the insertion of the notes at J% 

and as I — (S> —^—is— by their posture thus JL , and 
as p— (^— I (g— byw* . And by similar insertion 


and similar position were the other compound signs 
transformed and explained. / which was a triple 
sign like the last, though not intended to fall so low 

at the close, was limited to the notes h [^ 

— ; — ^ 
by its form j" , but became 


J>" was used, and thus it was with the rest of the 
compounds. And meanwhile the Porrectus r three 

ascending notes, was distinguished in its two forms of 

ascent, for by seconds it wasM , by thirds J ; and 

its contrary, the Oriscus, in descending was defined by 
like insertions in the same manner. While that Neume 
so like the Porrectus, but with a thicker tail /*' , 
which denoted the ascent of a second, retained much 
of its old form even with inserted notes, appearing 


as / . And in this way the Neumes were changing. 
And those grace notes, which were the flowers of the 
Gregorian music, denoting slurred and appoggiaturaed 
intervals of indeterminate value, and the voice was 
said to limpidly pass through them, and the waved 
line expressed their character so well — since these 
denoted only one ordinary note besides the appoggiatura, 
they might well have been left untouched, but in 
keeping with the spirit of the other alterations, an 
inserted note was placed in the centre of them, the 

Eptaphonus becoming |^ ^ , and the Cephalicus, 
I \ . Also the sign / , in its various forms 

//^/))^^^'^7^"] T became much 
more decided in the stroke at its top at this 
period, and these forms variously appear / J 

j ^ j^ , &c., the sign ) however being 

still the commonest. But the sign for the simple 
note remained m , as we have seen. 

Now whether the idea of actually inserting the note- 
marks in the signs was not perhaps suggested by a 
habit of notation which had obtained among the 
Lombards, may well admit conjecture. For the 
Lombards wrote their neumes in thick black strokes, 
and in such a running hand, that they were more 
like clumsily formed letters than signs of notes in 
music ; and in order to make them a little clearer, 
they would sometimes put the simple note sign at 
one end of their Podatus or at the highest part 
of the Clivis, to show that the sign began or ended 
there. But this should seem rather to be a device 
of a few copyists, which was unknown to the 
majority of musicians, and certainly without all 
influence on the insertion of the Note-marks in 

F F 


the Neumes in general Europe, which came about 
in a different manner, and by naturally developed 
steps, as we have seen. 

Let us now write the piece of music which 
looked so ungainly in a former page, when bare 
note marks were used to express it, by benefit of 
the illuminated Gregorian notation, which we have 
since seen grow up before us : — 

-333-n. 1 3 1 3T3 -LTJ-l.. 

Veniunt ad monumentum 

or - to jam sole. 

where, taking C to start with, it will be plain 

that the 3 following indicates an ascending interval 
of one tone, the following 3 also of one tone, but 

the succeeding J , which is taller, an interval of 

two tones. Then J^ , which is a triple sign, the 

rise and fall of a tone; — — — three descending 
signs, the melody sinking one note at each, and 

rising again at the high sign, or upstroke I , and 
so on. And in this way may we with very little 
difficulty make out the tenour of the melod}^ And 
this method of writing, despite some imperfections, 
remained the style employed in Europe for nearly 
two centuries. 

And what are these imperfections? And there is only 
one main one, which is, that though each individual 
sign tells its tale and tells it well, yet in their 
relations to each other there is a wide margin of 
laxity, nor is there any certainty whether the 
succeeding sign starts at the same level at which the 
preceding one left off, or at a lower or higher 
pitch ; as in the instance just quoted, where in 


- 3 T 

Veniunt we are surprised to find the J not 

equivalent to '^• — j^— p— , understanding the _ to 


but instead of that to 

thus leaving a gap, between itself and the last note, 
unaccounted for, and with no means of indicating it 
in the music. But this deficiency, which was not 
felt for a long time — for nearly two centuries, as we 
have said — and was perhaps scarcely recognised as a 
deficiency in a notation that seemed almost lucid 
clearness after the obscurity of the ancient Gregorian 
style, was not hard to remedy ; for the remedy 
merely turned on setting the Neumes at higher or 
lower levels agreeably to their pitch as the notes had 
"Been set ; and doubtless directly the difficulty began 
to be a difficulty, this principle of counteracting it 
began to be acted on. And accordingly we find 
towards the middle of the iith century the Neumes 
set above one another or below one another agreeably 
to the pitches of their commencing note, and, in a 
word, on entirely the same principle which had 
governed the arrangement of the simple note-marks 
in the same manner. And as an example of this 
we may give the following : — 

Clemens rector aeterne pater immense eieyson 

I -n-^» -I 

Kyric clcyson. Nostras nee non voces 



1- 3il :_ 


. r- . 

exaudi benedicte domine.^ 

And this principle of proceeding again smoothed all 
difficulties, and once more the Neumes started on 
a fresh career of existence. Flung now in all sorts 
of airy mazes about the paper, they lost in symmetry 
of pattern what they gained in perspicuity of pitch, 
and were often in the hands of careless copyists 
made to dance rare cotillons in the margin or 
between the lines. The privilege of rearing them in 
hills and slopes above the even line of the text 
was unfairly utilised by many copyists, who crowded 
in more words beneath them than their perspicuity 
would bear, especially at the ends of lines or at the 
turnings of pages, where bad copying perceives that 
it has used more room than it ought ; while other 
writers, falling into the same fault, and endeavouring 
to remedy it by at all hazards keeping the Neumes 
above their syllables, squeezed the hills into pinnacles 
and the slopes into acute angles, and completely 
sacrificed the proportionate height of their components 
in consequence. And even in the best copying the 
art of setting the signs in precise ratios of height and 
depth, when there was no guide to lead the eye, 
which was an easy art when simple notes or dashes 
only were concerned, became a comparatively difficult 
one, when the whimsical shapes of hooks and tails, 
which were the Neumics, had come forward as the 
material of treatment. And as difficult as it was for 
the copyists to set them, no less difficult was it for 
the singers to read them. So that the necessity of 

' From a Ficnch Psalter, nth century^ 


some clue or assistance towards proportioning their 
relative heights and depths was daily felt more and 
more an urgent need. And a line was drawn through 
the flux of Neumes, as a clue or assistance to 
the copyists, and immediately the difficulties were 
diminished by one half; for there was proportioning and 
sorting those below the line, and there was proportioning 
those above the line, for all that stood at such and 
such a height, say a 5th and more above the lowest 
neume, immediately went on or over the line, and 
admitted an easy determination with their companions 
at higher or similar levels, on the new basis of lowest 
note which the line afforded. And first the line 
was drawn with a dry pen, but afterwards it was 
drawn in ink, sometimes black, but oftener red. 

Such then was the state of things in Guido's time, 
and he, having perfected his musical system of 
vocalisation and song, as we have seen him do, and 
having composed a treatise on it, which \Vas designed 
to give scientific demonstrations to the advantages 
of his style of teaching, had retired to the convent 
of Pomposa in Ferrara, with the intention of making 
extended studies in the musical science of his time, 
and also of contriving certain improvemeuts in this 
very notation, which he had had for a long time in 
his mind. And the neumes then, as he found them, 
were written with a line thi'ough them, in such a 
form as the following : — 

Chris-tus factus csbi^ro no - - bis ob-a; - - - - 

p 1^ - - ] - 1 

- - - di-ens u.s . . que ad . , , . mor - 


tern, mor-tem autem cm - - - cis' - - 

And in this way their relative heights were much 
more easily determined than had formerly been the 
case. But Guido added another line, and thus made 
their determination easier still. For let us set a line 
as he did among the Neumes, like the lower one, 
only higher up, and we shall see what manifest 
advantage to clearness of position is gained by so 
doing : — 

Ihris-tus factus est pro no - - bis ob-ae - - - - 

^ „ . - 

:^^ \ JTL. 

M ^ 

di-ens us . . . que ad . , . mor - 

^jlU — - 1^ . , ^j^.jij^ 

tem, mor-tem autem cru - - cis 

But next he proceeded to an almost divine origination, 
which was in keeping with his other exactitudes of 
reformation which he had introduced into other spheres 
of music ; for these lines indeed help marvellously 
to show the relative height and depth of the signs, 
but they do not tell us what actual musical notes 
the signs indicate. And now we shall see how that 
last deficiency of the Neumic notation, the lack of 
any means of determining the pitch of the notes, was 
remedied by the genius of Guido. For he arranged it 

* Gradual for Palm Sunday. German MS. 



that the lines should each indicate a definite note, 
and all the signs which stood on either line accordingly 
should be taken at that line's note, and the others 
proportionably below or above it. And since the 
lines were at about the proportion of a 5th from 
each other, he arranged it that the lower line should 
give the note F, and the upper line the note C. 
And to make their distinction striking to the eye, he 
coloured the C line yellow, but the F line he left 
red, as it was at first And then he says, " Ubicun- 
qiie igitiw videris ci'Dciim, ipsa est littera tertia ; iibicim- 
qiie videris miiiiiun, ipsa est littera sexta," which is, 
" Whenever you see yellow, that is the third letter or 
C ; and whenever you see red, that is the sixth letter, 
which is F." So that the notation now stood, 

,11N! Nm3 

-j-3.---T.^ [13 - n.^* V^ 



->>-l n .,f -l J ^N P^J - 

And now, finding the good effects of the perspicuity 
which the lines had brought about, copyists themselves 
began to employ new ones, drawing lines with a 
dry pen, though afterwards in ink, between the C 
line and the F line, and also above the C line, in 
this way 

So that now there were four lines in all, each 
a third apart from the others. And since this was 
amply sufficient for the compass of ordinary singing. 


containing an 8ve and a note, in this form the stave 

But though he had determined so nicely the neat 
colouring of his lines, he must be prepared for the 
carelessness or inability of copyists to comply with 
his directions, who often, out of caprice or else in the 
absence of proper pigments, wrote all the lines in 
black ink ; so that to obviate the confusion which 
this would entail, he was led to another contrivance, 
with which he set the seal on his other discoveries, 
and with which indeed his relations to musical notation 
come to an end. For finding that the copyists wrote 
all his lines often in black, and so the distinction of 
colour was lost, he set the actual letter " C " on the 
C line, and the letter " F " on the F line, thus, 

Now how C passed into C^ , and from thence into 

our own C clef, Q^ or :^, and how F similarly, 

losing its lower stroke, passed into iZ. , and so into 

g? and, ^' which is our Bass or F clef, and how 

the Neumes themselves, as "j - 3 "L &c., gradually 

put on more familiar forms as j* ^ pj \ ^ 

and how one line more was added to the stave, 
and the system we have been studying passed easily 
into the forms of modern notation, will be more 
conveniently described at a later place in this history. 
But meanwhile, while these strange fortunes were 

1 It will be seen that the notation of Hucbald plays no part in 
the main march of notation, nor has his stave had any influence even 
in suggesting the stave of Guide. One appeared as the miraculous 
invention of a single thinker ; the other grew gradually into shape as 
necessity required it. That has perished, this has remained. 


attending the progress of the Neumes, another order 
of music was attaining prominence, which bid fair to 
lay a far greater strain on their powers of expression, 
for besides requiring a definition of the pitch of the 
notes, it also demanded an indication of their lengths 
And this was that Rhythmic Music of the Popular 
Songs, which we have seen even making its way 
into the ecclesiastical style, and already systematised 
and arranged by Franco of Cologne. And the neumes 
that were in use in his day had not indeed reached 
that perfect form which Guido ultimately set 
on them, but were sufficiently far advanced in their 
development to offer a flexible material for treatment 
having the exact contour of the Guidonian notation, 
though lacking the stave and the clefs, which, though 
of immense value towards defining pitch, were 
towards the exposition of rhythmic quantity entirely 
unnecessary. And Franco, arranging his system in its 
symmetrical balance of longs and shorts, was put to 
taxing the Neumes to expound the various values of 
his notes. And some of his rulings may doubtless 
have been arbitrary, but others had probably the 
benefit of tradition to determine them. For already 
in the pre-Gregorian times we noticed, and in the 
days of the early Christian song, how the behaviour 
of the untrained voice, in scarcely taking a note, 

but it must anticipate it by another, as F^'-— [—— 

had set its mark on the features of that early music, 
and how this deficiency had been preserved as an 
essential part of the Gregorian Song, in which 


occurrence, where we should write a simple note. So 
that in the actual intonation of the ascending interval 
we may imagine an unconscious adhesion to the 

primitive style of utterance, and that the sign */ , 
which represented it, was always sung with the first 
note slightly short. If this were so, it would give a 
start to a rhythmic valuator. And similarly the 

descending sign /\ would furnish another hint. For 
in descending there is no such effort as in ascending ; 
there is no anticipation, and there is no shortening 
of the first note ; so that the descending sign /V 
would be naturally sung with its commencing 
note of the ordinary length, as the ascending one 
with its first note slightly short. But even more 
perhaps than either of these, would groups of 

neumes, such as / ', / '. &c., suggest 

possibilities of rhythmic assessment, for whatever 
primitive types of melody they were intended 
to represent, even in the advanced style of 
Gregorian signing there was scarcely any avoiding 
a slight pause on the highest note of the group, 
which is most natural to singers ; and these phrases 
of notes would be sung, and perhaps from the 

earliest times were sung, F^*— p^ ■ - {j - | p p- - 

-p^— ,^— 1 , and in descending, with a slight pause 

r — ^— /S— 

on the highest note in like manner - ^: — i 1 ~P" 

And whether it were from the influence of such, 
passages as theso, or that there is a tendency ir 
the voice to make a slight pause on all high notes, 


we have good reason to believe that the up sign 

/ or / was ahvays associated with a shght pause 
in its note, in the traditions of singers even before 
the time of Franco, and when it came, as we have 
seen, to lose its original signification of height, and 
to be interchanged freely with the sign — or • , 
this distinction, or at least the memory of it, had 
survived, and here was another suggestive hint towards 
a rhythmic valuation. 

With such slender materials as these, then, to work 
upon. Franco commicnced his task of adapting the 
Gregorian notation to the requirements of the new 
or Measurable Music, or, as it was called in the 
Ecclesiastical Latin of the time, the Caiitus 
Meitsiirabilis, which he had organised and almost 
created. And since the starting-point of his system 

had been the Long note of three times F^ ~ ^1 
which included F^ ) " ' j ~~i I | ^^ the equivalents of 

its value, he made this sign that we have just 

mentioned, | or ■ , writing it in the latter form 
which was the commoner, stand for the Long note ; 
and he took the sign for the simple note ■ to 
stand for the short ones, which were equivalent to it. 
And he called the sign ■ the Long, but the sign ■ 
he called the Breve, that is to say, the Short,i 
employing the Latin language for his terminology, 
agreeably to the practice of the time. But there 
was still another sign wanted to express his third 

Franco. Cantus Mensurabilis. Cap. 4. 



order of note, for he had ruled that 


equal to P^ I " T~T^ but also to 


_Zl_l4 — |_I!^IZ1- 


So that to express these last notes he employed that 
other sign for the simple note, the dot * , and this 
he called the Semibreve, or Half Short.^ And now 

he could write his three orders of note as "^ ^ ^ 

and for the elements of mensurable music he had 
got convenient symbols. 

But next he must traffic with these In a strange 
way to the due expression of his Measures. For he 
had Five Measures or Rhythms, as we have 
mentioned some time ago, which he had sifted from 

the popular music of the time. There was 

with its equivalents as above, and also zffizz 

2=5 C?" 

the First Measure 


the Second Measure ; 

■sp— 2S?-' 

" ^ . 1 — 1 the Third Measure ; 

the Fourth Measure ; and 

^zizlz'S-z^ziiilH the 

Fifth Measure ; and these it will be seen contain 
new quantifyings of notes, beyond the scope of the 

1 Franco. Cantus Mens. Cap. 4. 


simple signs for F rK ~ 1 prR 1 n and 

And let us see how he contrived 

to express them ; for he invented no new signs to 
do so, which had been the easiest way, but limited 
himself to the old ones ; and in the evident 
conscientiousness of this limitation, we may perhaps 
discover actual proof, that the three simple signs 
which he started with had perhaps some traditional 
distinction of rhythmic value, as we before suggested. 
In order then to express the variant form of his 

First Measure h(fh \--\ , for which indeed he 


j c? ^' 

had the sign ■ for c?' , but no sign for c, since his 

Long "J stood for P ^ of three times, he ruled 

that when a Long was immediately followed by a 
Breve, it should lose its signification of - ^ -j 

and should receive instead the diminished value of 


F^^-7:i-i . Thus he expressed the variant form 

of his First Measure, F ^\ ^^nH , thus, ^ ■ , or to 

set it in lines, which will be more convenient for 
the eye, --^~^~*— . And since in the process he had 

' Franco. Cant. Mens. Cap. 5. 


evolved a new kind of Long, which, though the same 
in figuration, was different in value to the original 
one, he laid it down that there were two orders 

of Longs, the first equivalent to F/^t— 1, and the 

second equivalent to p ^ — — -j . And since the first 

contained Three times, but the second only Two, 

and Three was the sign of the Trinity, which was 

the symbol of Perfection, he called the first order 

Perfect Longs,^ but the second order he called 

Imperfect Longs, and they were the same in 

figuration, though different in value, as we have said.^ 
Now in order to express his Second Measure 

"^1 I 1 ' ^^ ^^^ "°^ think well to lay any 


further tax on the expressibility of his Longs, or 
to say, for instance, that if a Long was immediately 
preceded by a Breve, it should also become Imperfect, 
as when it was followed by one ; but instead, he 
taxed the Breve alone to express this new collocation 
of values, which had the further advantage that it 
completely distinguished the Second Measure from 
the First, that otherwise had been hard to tell. 
And he laid it down that when two Breves came 
together, the second should at once receive a Double 

value, becoming, that is, equivalent to bSnzzid instead 

1 Franco. Can. Mens. Cap. 4. Peifecta dicitur eo quod tribus 
temporibus mensuretur Est enim ternarius numerus inter numeros 
perfectissimus, pro eo quod a summa Trinitate, quae vera est et summa 
perfectio, nomen assumit. 

^ lb. Sub liguratione perfecte, duo tantum tempora valet. 



I I . And in this way he expressed his Second 
— c? 

Measure, writing for : ^ "i ==rj z|E?z=^ . And 


next to express his Third Measure, which was 

:^ ~ I j , he had merely to combine forms 

ah-eady determined on ; yet in the combination he 
was led to the evolution of a new principle of 

necessity. For while -j^ — *— *— would admirably 
express the latter p^^'t of the Third Measure 

Fgy — I — j. and i^^ Ffe =z; the 

former part ; yet the combination of these two forms 
would lead to confusion, unless some means were 
taken to prevent it ; for having before ruled that any 
Long, which was immediately preceded by a Breve, 
should become ipso facto Imperfect, and be diminished 

in value from E& — zzzzl to 

no sooner 

was the Third Measure written in full r^—^—' 

than the Long changed accordingly, and this collocation 
of notes instead of representing p^ ! ~~~:n 

'C? CP' 

denoted instead h^j 1 j . It was therefore 

"SP c?~c?- 

1 Franco. Cant. Cap. 4. 


necessary to devise some contrivance which should 
remedy this, and accordingly he hit upon the 
following : — He set a little mark, either a little dot 
or a little stroke, after the Long, when it was to be 
taken independently, without regard to its relations 
towards the note that followed.^ And in this way 
he could perfectly express his Third Measure, thus : — 

z^ ^zzjzii^Bz: oi-, with the dot, JE^iE'Ei^E ; for by 

benefit of this mark the Long was considered 
without regard to the Breve that followed, and 

therefore received its full value of r^ H , as the 

measure required. This also enabled him to express 

his Fourth Measure Frh 1 1 by the 

same easy method, writing it i^z?L:?z3z^z!E 


now with his Fifth Measure, he was confronted with 
a new necesssity of ruling, and this time with regard 
to the Semibreves ; for the Fifth Measure, as will 

be seen, P ^ — r ^^ Y~—^ contains a Semibreve, and 

it also contains a note of new value V^^~^~ , for 
which no provision has as yet been made. And now 

had he attempted to express this new note hfeizzjiz 

' Franco. Cant. Cap. 5. 


by creating a new and shortened form of Breve, 
which seems the most natural way, he would have 
laid perhaps too great a strain on his Breves, of 
which he had two classes already. He determined 
therefore to assign the expression of it to the 
Semibreves, which as yet were untouched. And 
he laid it down that three Semibreves indeed coming 
together should each receive their regular value 

-*— *— ^— would equal 

:3~^ , as ruled before ; but if two only were 

placed, the first should be received in the acceptation 
of an ordinary Semibreve, but the second should be 
reckoned in double value, and stand as one note 
equivalent in duration to the ordinary two ; ^ dealing 
with his Semibreves as he had before dealt with his 
Breves, for he had made a First and Second Breve, 
the latter double of the former, and now he made a 
First and Second Semibreve, or, as he called them, 
a Less and a Greater, the latter in a similar manner 
double of the former ; and he ruled that this 
valuation was to be attached, whenever two semibreves 
came together. In this way he could perfectly 
express the first part of his Fifth Measure 

writing it by two semibreves, thus, 

-j^^— *- But in the latter part of it he unexpectedly 
discovered a difficulty. For here he had two simple 

' Franc. Can. Cap. 4. 

G G 


Brev^es, which were easily enough expressed, indeed, 

by the plain form - ^"^"^ , had he not ruled before 

that whenever tzvo Breves came together, the latter 
of the two should always be held a Second or Longer 
Breve, and be double in value of the preceding one. 
Now in order to escape from this, he was led to a 
ruling which at first sight appears a great complexity, 
but on nearer examination is seen to be the last 
touch of symmetry, which gave elasticity and freedom 
to a most remarkable system. For he said, "The 
equivalents of notes shall reckoned as notes. Two 
Breves shall not be reckoned as isolated Breves, and 
amenable to the" distinction aforesaid, if the equivalent 
of a Breve precede them ; but in that case they shall 
be counted in their proportion of the time to which 
three Breves would be taken "^ — that is, three Breves 

3E!EEE"= = 



Hi— =i- 

2^— C? — C?" 

or a Perfect Long 

h ^ H , and two Breves with the equivalent of a 

Breve in the same time p ^ — [ — j—rijizz^j . And in 


— ^-c;^—s^— Se- 
this way he could write his Fifth Measure, 

:> ~s~M ~"«: 

By such easy and eminently philosophical principles 
of ruling, then, had Franco made the three simple 
signs i^ ■ • serve the most diverse purposes, and 

1 Franco Can. loc. cit. 


afford a complete expression to all the rhythms 
of his time. And now by a new application of the 
little stroke, or dot, which was called the Divisio 
Modi, he cemented his system, and provided for 
something which was all that was left to provide 
for. For having ruled that if two Breves came 
together, the Second was to be double of the former, 
and if three, or the equivalents of three, they were 
all to be equal, and of semibreves in like manner ; 
how, if many Breves, or many Semibreves appeared 
in collocation — how should the singer know then 
whether they were to be sung in twos or threes? as 

for without the occurrence of a Long here and there 
to mark them into groups it would be hard to tell, 
And b}- a new application of tlie Divisio Modi, or 
little stroke, as I say, he determined this accurately. 
For having formerly used it to show that a Long was 
to be considered independently of the Breve that 
followed, or, as we might say, to "mark off the 
Long from the following Breve, he now applied it as 
a general sign of division to mark off group from 
group, whenever a number of Breves or Semibreves 
appear ranked side by side. And applying it to 
the Breves above figured, 

was recognised at once as, 






and with the semibreves in like manner. Or he might 
mix these forms as : — 


which became, therefore, 


and so on.^ 

In this sign, therefore, Franco had a corrective, 
which he could use at any moment, not only in 
a long succession of parallel notes, but in all 
sequences of notes, to enlighten and make clear the 
rhythm, whenever there seemed any doubt regarding it. 
For a succession like this, indeed, is clear enough : — 


:■— ,— ^: 

<i2 ,_ 







-&- . 





' Franc. Can. Cap. 5, 


yet if this latter had seemed dark, he would have 
placed a Divisio Modi at the G, thus, 


to show that two Breves were left over after the 
Triplet, and must be treated accordingly. But these 
calculations were so well understood, that only in 
very long passages was the employment necessary, as. 

while all that preceded and were left unmarked, went 
regularly in triplets. Yet such passages were of rare 
occurrence. But the Divisio Modi was more generally 
useful to show unusual constructions of the notes, 
as of . 

which naturally were 



were intended instead to be sung. 


then this surprising alteration was easily effected by 
the use of the Divisio Modi, as under, 



And in such cases as this, it indeed justified its 
title as Divisio Modi, or Division of the Measure, 
for it showed that the Second Measure was to be 


used in the second two notes instead of the First. 
And sometimes so in other cases. For his measures 
were often mixed, though not necessarily marked off 
as here, being the equivalents of our bars in music, 
and having a greater elasticity, for they began with 
shorts no less than longs, that is, with light accents 
no less than heavy, as was the case with the Greeks 
— a refinement we have since lost. 

And Franco, complying with the requirements of 
usage, invented a Double Long or a Large, which 
should be equal to three Longs and of nine times.^ 
This was because the music of the songs sometimes 
held on a note for all those beats. And why he 
made it of nine times, and equal to three longs, 
instead of six and equal to two, was to be in 
accordance with the symmetry of his system, agreeably 
to which one long was equal to three breves, and 
one breve to three semibreves, and now he must 
have one Large equal to three longs in like manner. 
And where a long equal to two longs was wanted, 

he wrote it by two Longs side b}^ side |^ |!~p ~ . 

And so the Large of three longs he at first, wrote 


by three Longs side by side, as j^— ■ ■ ■ ■■— . But 

afterwards he invented a character for it, viz. 

j^ **'j ~ • And why he should invent a character 

for this, and not the long of two times, which he 
undoubtedly used, was either because it was a 
commoner note in a music that consisted entirely of 
Triple Time, or else because he refused to recognise 

* Cantus Mensu. Cap. 4. 

' It is alsvavs so written in Gerbert. 


as very valid a note that was not in accordance 
with the symmetrical proportions that pervaded his 

Let us now write a piece of music agreeably to 
Franco's measured notes, and we shall see how 
fluently and easily it runs : — 


Fi - de - li - uui so - nat vox so - bri - a Con - ver - te - re 

=^-izz:"=liii'-"iz:nz=iizz^= aizzi^ zz,_- ,- 


Si - on in gau - di - a Sit om-ni-um u - na lae - ti 

id^— *: 

-■ — ■ — — — ■ — ■ 1 — — ■— ■ — ■ — — 

1 1 ^ ) 1 ^ — ■ — ^- 

ti - a yuos u- ni - ca re- de - mit gra-ti - a 

But with the determination and sorting thus 
of the values of thes'e three species of notes, his 
system of notation had not ended ; for there yet 
remained the tied notes to be classified and valued, 
as whenever two or more notes went to one syllable, 
for which such abundance of signs existed in the 
Gregorian notation, which, now that rhythm was fast 
penetrating all, must receive their quantification and 
determination as the simpler signs had done. For 
he laboured indeed not to create new figurations and 
new signs, but to adapt the old ones to the new 
requirements ; and having adapted the three simple 
signs to rhythmic measurements, probably by benefit 
of some traditionary usage, as we have suggested, 
which led him to a valuation not wholly arbitrary, 
he adapted the tied signs, that is, the bound neumes, 
or Ligatures, as they were called, in a similar 

manner. And for that the neume -J , or in its later 

form S , was commonly sung with the first note 


slightly shorter than the other, being the representative 

of the p ^— gutiT— , or anticipated note of early 

Christian music, he ordained that the first note of it 


should be reckoned a Breve -^ ^ ; , and passing 

from thence to a general principle he ordained that 

all ligatures, that ascended like the neume, v and 
had the first note without a tail, as it has, should 
similarly have that first note reckoned a Breve.^ 
And thus the first note of many ligatures was at 
once determined and valued on very striking analogy, 
that is to say, the first note of the Porrectus neume, 
which was the ligature ^ , of the compound Podatus 
and Clivis neume, which was the ligature ■% of the 
variant form of the neume B , which was sometimes 
written a" with the highest note turned outwards, that 
is to say, of all compound figures whatsoever, that 

agreed with the above ruling, as of the ligatures ,"g" Jt 
■"■®« b" " *H ^"*^ others — all having their first note 
determined on the analogy of the neume v , which 
was the ascending ligature i , and had his first note 
without a tail, and the value of that note a Breve, 
And similarly he determined the value of other 

ligatures on the analogy of the descending neume 'V 

or I , which we have seen written as a ligature \. 
And the traditionary method of singing this ligature, as 
we have seen, was with the first note long. And 

Cap. 7. item, omnis ligatura cum proprietate piimam facit 


Franco ordained that all ligatures that descended 
like the ligature "■, and had their first note without 
a tail, as it has, should have that first note reckoned 
a Long.i And thus the first note of many ligatures 
was at once determined and valued on a, very striking 
analogy, that is to say, the first note of the Oriscus 

neume, which was the ligature \, and of the compound 

Clivis and Podatus neume, which was the ligature 

■|, and of all compound signs whatsoever, which 

■■ ■■ ■ ■ 

agreed with the above ruling, as \ ^ "^b ■ , all having ' 

the first note determined on the analogy of the 
neume ^ , which was the descending ligature "■ , and 
had its first note without a tail, and the value of 
that note a Long. 

And next to contrast with these, he proceeded 
to a ruling, which perhaps was arbitrary ; for he 
ordered that the presence of a tail to the first note 
changed its value to its exact opposite, as in a 
descending ligature it would make it short, and in 
an ascending ligature it would make it long.^ And 

these were the two neumes, the Pressus neume /^ and 

the Sinuosum neume fo , which had given birth to these 
two orders of ligatures; and there seems no reason 
to think that there was any traditionary valuing of 
them to lead to the ruling, which was a purely 
arbitrary and convenient one. And the Pressus 


neume in ligature, appeared as " , as we have before 

mentioned but also as | and | , for it was written 
in various ways, and all ligatures that agreed with 

lb Item omnis sine, lougatn. ■^ Cap. 7. sq. 


it, in ascending and having their first note furnished 
with a tail, had that first note a long, as the 

p-".^ -■'■ 

compound ligatures " , | , | , and others. And 
the Sinuosuni neume in ligature appeared as j ■ , as 
we have before mentioned ; and all ligatures that 
agreed with it, in descending, and having their first 
note furnished with a tail, had that first note 

a Breve, as the ligatures W, |«],"^, and 
others in like manner. And this determination 
of the first note of ligatures Franco called the 
Propriety of Ligatures, or as we may turn it, the 
Peculiarity of Ligatures ; and regarding the Long as 
the natural value of the first note, he said that 
those ligatures, which had their first note a Long 
had " no peculiarity," but those which had a Breve 
" had peculiarity." Or, to adopt his terminology, in 
the former case they were "Without Propriety," 
sine pvoprietate, in the latter case they were '* With 
Propriety," cum proprietate Then he had a strange 
term, "Opposed Propriety," ^ which was not much 
used ; but it was applied to ligatures with a tail 
to the first note upwards, as ^"^ . And how these 
ligatures can have arisen we cannot tell ; for there 
is no sign in the Gregorian notation from which 
they can have arisen ; and probably the tail upwards 
was an arbitrary sign, which he himself may have 
been the first to employ, for the sake of indicating 
an equally arbitrary valuation of the first note of 
certain ligatures. For the use of Semibreves was to 
a certain extent a necessity in tied notes now, and 
the upwards stroke indicated, and the term '• Opposed 

'- Cap. 7. fill, 


Propriety" expressed, that the first note of the 
h'gature should be a Semibreve. 

In this way Franco determined the first notes of 
Hgatures, some as Longs, and some as Breves, and some 
as Semibreves. And he ordered that all the middle 
notes without distinction should be reckoned Breves.^ 
And now there was but the end notes to determine. 
And here his ruling begins to be arbitrary. For he 
ordered that the last note of every ligature should 
be reckoned a Long,^ if it were right above the 
second last, — as for instance in the Podatus ligature 
I , it was reckoned a long, in the Pressus . ligature 

I , I , in the compound ligatures ^^ , " , ' ^, ""J , &c., 

all different and contrasted ligatures, and yet all 
agreeing thus far, that the last note was right above 
the second last E : or if it were anywhere below it, 
as in the Clivis ligature, \ the Sinuosum ligature i ■ 
the Oriscus Ligature ■„ , the Podatus and Clivis 

ligature ^^ , the compound ligatures I "■, , b"^"% &c., 

all different and contrasted ligatures, yet all agreeing 
in this, that the last note was below the second last. 
But if the last note was above, but yet not right 
above the second last, that is, if it were to the side 
of it, then the last note was to be reckoned a 
Breve : and this occurred in such ligatures as the 
variant form of the Podatus ligature ■" , the variant 

form of the Pressus ligatui-e | , and in such compound 
forms as ,%■, | , (,"■" ^^* And similarly must the 

' Item, onmis media bievis, nisi per oppositam propi ietatem semibievietur. 
2 Item, omnis perftctio longa ; et omnis imperfcctio brevis. 


last note be a Breve, if it were anywhere in 
Obliquity.^ And this is a term which we must now 
explain ; for copyists, in writing these waving ligatures, 
were accustomed, in order to shorten their labours, 
occasionally to dash two or more of the notes into 
one thick line, where the sense could not be 
mistaken, and where the line could easily be 
construed into its real components ; as they would 

-■" -- 

sometimes wnte ,■ as --" , and \ as —- , j as | , 

and "v ' ^^ 1* ' ■"■ ^^ JT** ' ■" "■ ' ^^ ■■^**" ^"^ 
so on. Now Franco skilfully availed himself of this 
manner of writing, to introduce a new device of 
pliability into his ligatures ; for he said, whenever 
the last note is in Obliquity,, it shall be reckoned a 
Breve, thinking doubtless to offer an easy way out 
of a difficulty to whoever would wish to have a 
short note at the end of a ligature, which by other 
rulings should be long, since he had only to write 
it in obliquity, and thereupon it became short. And 
the principle, as we have said, became established, 
that all ending notes in Obliquity were Breves. And 
this is one of Franco's arbitrary rulings, but little 
can we condemn him for it, as indeed for none of 
them ; for here is one, equally arbitrary, yet 
equally happy in its workings ; for in his exact 
symmetrising of longs and shorts, those graces of 
song, the slurred and appoggiaturaed intervals, that 
the voice was said to limpidly pass through, and 
were indeed the very toys of singers, or vocal negliges, 
we may call them, must yet submit to his valuings ; 

\ Si duo ultima punctua ligature in uno coipore obliquo ascendente 
vcl desccndente commiscentur, bievietuv ultimum. 


and since both the Eptaphonus neume and the 
CephaHcus neume, which were these two, were written 

in many ways, as L C J (J S ' ^"^ ^^^ Cephahcus 
> / / I 7 , which had become more reduced after 
the insertion of the note, appearing as 'j '^ , and n 11, 
he chose the Eptaphonus neume with the tail to the 
right y , and determined it to be equivalent in value 
to a Long, but that with the tail to the left Ij , 
he reckoned as equivalent to a Breve, and with the 
Cephalicus in the same way, counting " , as the 

Long and " as the Breve, and ruled that the note 
and its appoggiatura with it must be taken to the 
time of a Long or a Breve, according to whichever 
form it woreJ 

Thus partly by arbitrary ruling, and partly by 
grasping the entangled threads of obscure tradition 
and weaving them into unexpected pattern, did Franco 
create this sublime system of rhythmic music — 
unaided, if we believe tradition ; the sole fount and 
expositor of si complexity of metric and a complexity 
of symbol, which is not far from rivalling that of 
the Greeks themselves. 

And now by the art of Franco might those songs 
of the people be written down, which hitherto existed 
only by oral tradition, for the Gregorian music, 
which made no distinction in value of note and time, 
which were the mainsprings of their melody, was 
unadapted entirely to give expression to such music, 
until it was lit up by the genius of Franco. And 
let us write one of those popular songs, of a later 
period indeed, but not much later, by the aid of his 

1 Cap, VI. 


notation —that is to say, we give it as the copyist 
has left it to us : — 

Lone le rieu de la fon - tain - e 
which we may thus translate, 

Lone le rieu... de la fon - tain 

=i EgEEgEgiE^E?g^gEEE ^E==^Eg±E^ 







And how beautiful and buoyant is the melody ! and 
what divine sagacity has been at work, first, to 
organise and display these forms of beauty, and 
next to change the cumbrous Gregorian notation 
into so flexible a medium for expressing them ! 

And now there was no excuse for these songs 
remaining mere matters of tradition, as they had 

1 Bibliotheque Nationale. (Paris.) MS. 813. 


been up till now, but now they might be set 
down in writing and preserved ; not that their 
chronicling tended much to any immediate benefit, 
but has rather served for the gratification and 
enlightenment of posterity. For the songs themselves 
were in excellent hands, being the portion of the 
Wandering Minstrels, whose profession it was to 
retain the choicest in their memory, and sing them 
at fairs, or merry-makings, or cottage doors, or 
wherever else they might find a listener, who would 
reward their strains with a dole of money or a 
meal ; and wandering as they did through whole 
countries, and even throughout all Europe in their 
tours, they disseminated and diffused these popular 
songs in a manner which could never have been 
effected, had written intelligence been the only means 
of communicating them.^ And at the time we are 
writing of, that is to say, at the close of the nth 
century, these strange itinerants swarmed through 
Europe, by which time too a copious literature of 
popular music had sprung up to support them, which 
we have seen beginning, indeed, years ago amid the 
dances of the peasants, but now must imagine in 
its bloom and heyday, and with such gay, strange 
expositors to interpret it as these. And the Form 
of these popular songs had remained, with but 
little change, the same as what we found it then, 
that is, shaped on the model of the Hymn, and the 
music running with the words in stanzas of four 
lines each. Sometimes there were more than four 
lines, and sometimes less, but this was the ground 

^ In Germany called " varende liite," "Fahrende," " Gehrende," 
•• Spieleute ;" in France "Menetriers;" in the Netherlands " Ministrele." 
For various information concerning them, see Ducange. Art. Joculatores. 
Mirristelli. Menestriers, &cc. 


form, as we have said. And the music repeated 
stanza after stanza, while the words ran on, exactly 
in the manner of the Hymn. And the length of 
the lines was four feet to the line of iambic or 
trochaic rhythm. But as there were hymns with 
longer lines than these, and hymns with shorter lines, so 
also did the songs observe the same freedom at times, 
though moving as a rule in the ordinary four-foot 
metre as the hymns did. Then too the influence 
of the dances had meanwhile been at work, and 
besides these iambic and trochaic rhythms, which 
were the First and Second Measures of Franco, those 
other rhythms, which were his remaining measures or 
the variations on his first one, had also penetrated 
widely into the music, and in florid songs were freely 
intermixed with the commoner ones. And such were 
the popular songs, and such was the Form of them, 
at the time we are writing of, when, the First 
Crusade being over, but the taste for a wandering 
life which it had communicated still strong in the 
minds of men, the roads of Europe were crowded 
with itinerants of all sorts, travellers anxious to see 
the country, wayfarers idling from town to town, 
pilgrims en route to distant shrines, mountebanks, 
jugglers, pedlars, tramps, and, among the rest. 
Wandering Minstrels, gaily arrayed in hat and 
feather, dressed in fine clothes tricked up with knots 
and ribbons, with their wallets at their back, and 
their instruments in their hands, twanging their lutes, 
or warbling on their flageolets, to beguile the tedium 
of the journey.^ They were the kings of the roadsters. 

1 The description of them is given in Ducange and in the Latin epigrams. 
Drawings in MSS. and old engravings are all at one in the costume they 
give them. 


Never a tavern on the way but they must turn in 
to accept the hospitality of a chance comrade, whom 
they would amuse during drinking with a song or 
a tune. Never a village but some merry-making 
was on foot, to which they were always welcome, as 
indispensable additions to the gaiety. While the fairs 
which occurred almost weekly the whole year round 
at some town or another, were points of congregating 
which they made for in swarms, being always sure of 
a rich harvest from the rustics who frequented them. 
Thus, the road was their empire, and perpetual 
movement their life : then, all the romance of itinerancy 
too, it must not be forgotten, centred on them. To 
the country maiden they took high rank among the 
pedlars and wandering apprentices, which were all 
the strangers that as a rule she saw. They were 
her chevaliers and knights of aristocratic breeding, 
compared to such homespuns as these. No matter 
if they capered sometimes as they sung^ or bent 
their body into comic attitudes to amuse the 
bystanders, or indulged in winks or ogles, which 
\\'cre somewhat overstrained. These might be but 
marks of the polish of the town ; and many 
were the fluttering hearts the Wandering Minstrels 
left behind them, and many were the love ditties 
they sang, whose theme was a real one. 
But even to other observers than these they were 
wrapt in the halo of romance. They were, no one 
knew who. Their ranks were supplied, no one knew 
how. New minstrels appeared from time to time, 
but even their own brothers could not tell what 
history had led them there. All orders of people 
contributed their quota to the minstrel throng. There 
were gay spendthrifts of the upper classes, who had 
wasted their all, and were compelled to take to 

H H 


the road for a living ; there were broken-down 
craftsmen, whose necessities led them the same way ; 
there were wild sparks, who took up the life for the 
love of the thing, and for the pleasures and adventures 
it promised them.^ Then there was another 
contingent, and a very large one, which came from the 
monasteries.2 Strange though it may seem to look 
to such a quarter for auxiliaries, yet there is abundant 
proof that monks were leaving the convents, in rebellion 
against the trying discipline, and were taking to the 
careless stroller's life instead. And it might happen 
in this way, — that they were crazy for music, and 
must needs gratify the passion at all hazards in some 
more original way than services and choir-singing 
could afford- or that they were scapegraces, who had 
fled from the convents in disgrace, and took to their 
music as the most natural way of supporting them, 
or, which was the commonest, that they were dissolute 
fellows, who had been banished their monastries, 
and took to a tramping mendicant life instead, and 
then in the course of their travels falling in with 
the Wandering Minstrels, they had joined most 
naturally their ranks, to which their knowledge of 
music indeed most admirably fitted them. And these 
monk minstrels at first could not entirely shake off 
old influences, or else did not wish to do so, finding 
the aroma of sanctity a useful recommendation to 
their trade. And they would go about in their 
frocks and cowls singing legends of the saints in 
verse, or semi-secular sequences of their own 

1 Much interesting information is collected nbout them in Reissmann's 
Musikalisches Conversations-Lexikon. 

2 Fetis would make all the Minstrels come from the cloisters. 
This is carrying the idea too far. 


composing. J^ But this was in the earlier days of the 
minstrel passion, for afterwards, when recreancy became 
a common thing, and runaways from convents counted 
by scores, the monk flung down his habit and rosary 
along with his vows, and donning the harlequin 
costume of the minstrel, and with a peacock's feather 
in his hat, and a lute for his sword of proof, footed 
it with the best knights of the road.^ 

Thus, and from such various sources, were the 
minstrel ranks supplied. Nor must we forget a large 
and perhaps the most worthy division, which were 
those who took to the life from the sheer love of music. 
This was the only means of gratifying a musical 
leaning in those days ; to be a professed musician a 
man must be a wanderer, and many were the pangs 
no doubt it cost to some, before the love of art 
prevailed over the love of home, and obtained as the 
price of its gratification the sacrifice of every social 
and every domestic tie. 

Aud now having said who they were, let us see 
a Wandering Minstrel at his work. And he has 
been travelling along the road among a company of 
good fellows, who have insisted on his turning in with 
them at every tavern on the way, to taste their 
free-handed hospitality. And in this way he comes 
to a village. It is a summer's evening, and the 
women are knitting at their doors, the men in little 
knots talking in the street, or lounging on rustic 
benches outside their cottages in the sunset after the 

^ Continually had the synods to raise their voice against this recreancy 
e.g. Statut. Synod. Episc. Leodic. Cap. 12. 5., &c. 

2 In the words of Reismann " Das Leben war so frei & verfiihrerisch. 
Selbst bei magerer Kost lebte sichs mit lockern Gesellen und den 
Gefalligen Weiber auf der Landstrasse besser als am fetten Tisch im 
dustem Rcfectorium." 



labour of the daj' is over. And he scans them all 
as he passes, and they scan him, till at last he 
comes to a cottage door, where the good-humoured 
faces of it owners seem to promise him a supper for 
his entertainment, and perhaps even a lodging for 
the night. Then without more ado he makes a 
pause, and slinging his lute round in front of him, 
after tempering a string or two with his tuning-key, 
and a little warbling on the strings by way of prelude, 
he begins : — 

In quick time. 

This is the first verse, and he now repeats it on his 
instrument alone, skipping round the while in a circle 
with dancing steps, for he holds his lute most 
conveniently for all sorts of amblings, having it 
suspended by a piece of blue ribbon round his neck, 
and most convenient to his hand. This commencement 
cannot fail to attract attention, and by the time he 
has reached his third or fouth verse, he finds himself 
in the centre of a ring of bystanders, ready to 
applaud and welcome his efforts. And now having 
finished his first song, he puts on a sedate and 
painfully lugubrious air, and commences a serio-comic 
ditty of moral advice to the ladies : — 

1 Ambros on Kiesewetter, II, 288. 




Main - tes fern - mes 




^J ^J 

-c? C^ 


r:::^ ny* 


-;:? — c^ 

The sallies of this and the following verses provoke 
plenty of laughter among the bystanders, and he takes 
advantage of the occasion to doff his hat and send 
it round for maravedis, and perhaps may get enough to 
pay for his night's lodging, that is, unless those 
particular cottagers whom he has chosen as his patrons 
are kind enough to accommodate him, from the light 
of whose fire and the bustle going on inside the 
cottage he can well judge that supper is preparing, 
to which in no long time he is invited. After 
supper there might be other occasions for the exercise of 
his talents, for there might be a dance in the barn, or 
the celebration of a rustic wedding, for instance, for which 
his presence was to the last degree desirable. And 
thither accordingly he went, not without a bevy of 
sudden acquaintances, for he was good company for 
every one, as the main actor of the evening's amusement, 
almost as the master of the ceremonies. What did 
they want ? He could give it them. Did they want 
a Roundelay? He had one ready. 




-g) gl ~i^ 


' Ambiob. II. 288. 






: g J cJ r 




:p=ff=Lf=(Ezp2i :^?2-p-p: 


Did they want a Jig ? He was for them. 





._i — I — I — I — I — I — I — 1 — 1 — I . 

9 » -^ .^ .^. m 

-^ -^ 




T) 9 .A. _Jr"_|. _|. ^. ^ -X-m- -9-~Jt^9 J^. 






H 1 (- 



-^ -^ 

— +• -^ 









-H 1 1 1 !• 

■ 4 ■ J. V d ^^-^ 

-i^- .J: 


And so they footed it and danced to his music ; 
and such was the merry life that the Wandering 
Minstrels led towards the close of the nth century 
of our era. 

But in the earlier days, and at the start of the 

^ This Roundelay is preserved in the Mystery of Notre Dame. 
2 Supra p — 


Minstrel movement, for though the Crusades with their 
propensities of travelling and restlessness had given a 
marvellous impulse to the movement, they cannot be 
said to have wholly begun it, for some century or 
century and a half before this time we have dim and 
obscure accounts of Wandering Minstrels — and these 
elder Minstrels, I say, had no such happy lives as 
those who followed after them, but on the contrary 
very hard ones. Such a one we have seen in earlier 
times of our history, admitted under protest to the 
hospitality of a convent, and a night's lodging there. 
Yet even he was a junior compared to those dim 
figures, which loom almost from the mists of legend, 
as the progenitors and real fathers of the movement. 
There was an air of shabby gaiety about him, which 
is utterly lacking to our accounts of them. For they 
move across the scene with solemn step, furtive, as 
if shrinking from the eyes of men, as men placed 
under a ban, or engaged in an unholy calling.^ 
Outcasts from the world, it seems, and stooping not 
to make friends, all doors were shut against them, 
and they were in the world alone with their art. 
They were exorcised by the clergy, and the people 
crossed themselves as they passed by. And why 
these things should be, was doubtless because they 
were the first expositors of a Secular music in an 
age when the whole world was wrapped in the 
Ecclesiastical style, and thus their strains were 
considered unholy and profane ; while the strange 
wandering life they led, so new and rare a thing at 
that time, could not but create in every one's mind 
feelings of suspicion and distrust towards them. 
What passion, then, it needed for their art to consent 

1 The accounts we have of them are almost entirely legendary. 


to such a sacrifice of all that men are apt to value 
— a sacrifice, indeed, which all foresaw, and yet with 
open eyes they made it, for the love they had to 
their delightful music. The people indeed employed 
them to play to them at times, though they despised 
or even loathed them ; and gave them a crust and 
a truss of straw to He upon for their pains, and 
body and soul might thus be kept together ; and so 
these Fathers of the Minstrels wandered from place 
to place, as their descendants did, but in tattered 
gowns of blue, and with staves in their hands to 
support their steps, for they were often footsore and 
weary, bearing it all for the love they had to their 
delightful music. And if we may believe tradition, 
such strains were never heard again from Wandering 
Minstrel's hand as these weird brethren of the elder 
craft could produce. Such seductive sweetness as 
seemed almost unearthly, such notes as drew people 
from a distance to come and listen to the player, 
and even to follow him till his playing ceased ; or 
in their lighter moods, such tripping, skipping, hopping 
airs that compelled men and women to dance instanter^ 
whether they would or no. Such are the accounts 
and many are the legends that reach us to the same 
effect. On all instruments, for there were players of 
all of them, their power was the same : the pipe, the 
lute, the tabor, and the flute, but more than all a 
strange instrument that had but recently been 
introduced into Europe from abroad, called the Fiddle 
or Violin. The Geig it was called in Germany, and 
the Vielle in France, for it went by many names, 
and many were the strange stories that had got 
about, about its wonderful powers of music in the 
hands of these weird Minstrels. It was said that 
once when one of them had been brought before the 


magistrate on a charge of vagrancy that might have 
gone hard with him, finding no means of escape he had 
begun to play his violin, and so set the magistrate 
and all the court a-dancing, and gone quietly off in 
the hubbub. Another story that got abroad was 
this, how a minstrel repaid with interest some scurvy 
entertainers, by leading them a dance at midnight 
over bogs and fens and moorland, walking in front 
while they capered behind, tired and weary, and with 
nothing but shirts to shield them from the cold. 
Now whenever the strains of a violin were heard at 
a distance, as in a wood or a field, some minstrel 
playing as he walked, the peasants would cross 
themselves for fear they might be set a-dancing by 
the strains, or compelled to follow the player wherever 
he went, for stories to both effects were told. And 
when the fiddle was heard coming down the village 
streets, the people would shut their doors and stop 
their ears. But at last some girl would say, " We 
must go and have a dance, for such a dance we 
may never get again for many a day." And a dance 
was soon struck up, and the fiddler played the " Fiddle 
dance," as it was called, being known however by its 
German name, the " Geig " dance, or the " Jig " dance, 
and excellent dancing it was. One night a number 
of country people had assembled in a barn, and were 
waiting for the fiddler who had promised to come. 
But instead of him a deputy appeared, who was a 
queer looking man with a sugar loaf hat. And he 
began to play, and most merry was the dancing ; 
and next it got uproarious, and the dancers now found 
that they could not stop dancing, however much they 
tried ; and then too late they noticed that the fiddler 
had a cloven foot, and so they are dancing till 
doomsday. Similar arc the stories that are told 


about the Pipers, for there were piper minstrels no 
less than fiddler minstrels, and lute and tabor players, 
as we have said. There was a Wendish Piper, who 
by day would play in the villages, but by night 
he would be seen on the tops of mountains playing 
his magic pipe, and whoever heard that pipe of his 
would never live long after. Now there was a town 
called Hammelin, and it was infested by mice and 
rats, and there was no way of ridding the town of 
the plague ; till one day a Pied Piper appeared, who 
was Satan in disguise, and he rid the town of the 
rats, but, because his reward was denied him, he 
began to play his pipe and to walk through the 
town, and all the little children in Hammelin came 
running out of the houses and followed that Piper, 
and he led them to a hill near the city, which 
opened into two, and they all went in and were 
never seen again. But the Violin, it was played by 
the witches at their revels in the Brocken. They 
had Violins made out of the skulls of horses, and on 
Walpurgis Night they would all sit in a ring, young 
witches and old together, playing on their violins. 
And some of the weird minstrels were supposed to 
have been present at these revels, and to have learnt 
their art from thence. And it is known indeed that 
some did actually go there on that night, with the 
intent of taking advantage of these tales, and gaining 
unhallowed secrets of their craft, if by chance they 
might learn them. And how they fared there, and 
what they learnt, were but other wonders for the 
people to speak of, as also that many minstrels had 
bartered their souls to Satan for the possession of 
their skill. For such was the art of their playing, 
and so great their power over their simple audiences, 
that the vulgar were disposed to believe the grossest 


incredibilities about them, reckoning as enchantment 
that which was only consummate art, and ascribing 
the entire effect to the power of the player, instead 
of a great part of it, at least, to the simple 
susceptibility of their own emotions. 

Now a more fortunate lot than these elder minstrels 
was that of the younger and later ones, whom we 
considered at first. Their skill may have been less, 
but their reward was more ; for indeed these wild 
stories that we have just mentioned about the former, 
far from bettering their lot, did merely increase the 
suspicion and even aversion with which the people 
on every side regarded them, and it was the fate of 
these pioneers of the minstrel movement, which is not 
uncommonly the lot of leaders, that the more a man 
advanced in the knowledge of his art, the more 
estranged he was from public sympathy, and to attain 
perfection was in every sense of the word to attain 
perdition. But the reckless blades who succeeded 
them were under no such fealty to art, as to sacrifice 
their life to its exclusive practice, or their comfort to 
an ideal exposition of it, being often, as we have 
said, gay spendthrifts, who had wasted their all, and 
took to the life as a mere means of subsistence, or 
young sparks, many of them, who pursued the calling 
for the pleasures and adventures it promised them. 
Such men as these, we may be sure, would not 
entertain any very lofty ideas about their profession, 
and would scruple at nothing to fill their wallet, 
should the minstrel lay for the moment prove 
unremunerative. Thus we hear of some of these 
younger blades, being at a dead lock in a village, 
where perhaps they had swept charity clean, and had 
sung their songs dry, and purses would no longer 
open at the call of music, rig up a platform and 


turn quack docters for the nonce, loudly vaunting the 
virtues of nostrums and purgatives, that were composed 
no one knew how, but still were sovereign cures for 
all diseases ; and by these means they would 
sometimes make a rare harvest from the peasantry. 
Highly delighted at their success, two or three of 
them would club together for the hire of a cart, to 
the end of which they would attach a great drum, 
and dressing themselves up in fantastic costumes they 
would ride about from village to village, signalling 
their arrival by loud beating of the drum, and he 
who had the largest share of effrontery or the greatest 
practice in the art, would commence vaunting his 
physics. Meanwhile the country people would come 
gaping round, and in no long time their hard earnings 
were transferred to the pockets of the minstrels. 
Others, when reduced to extremity, with similar wishes 
but different qualifications to the above, would utilise 
their skill in capering and dancing, which all the 
minstrels more or less practised as side issues and 
decorations to their songs, and laying down their 
lutes and fiddles till better times should dawn for 
music, would cut capers many feet high to the 
amazement of the rustics, turn somersaults, twine their 
legs round their necks or their arms under their feet, 
and having attracted a crowd by their extraordinary 
performances send round their hat for contributions. 
Others of similar bent would find knives thrown into 
the air and caught dexterously by the handle, a most 
successful means of extracting money, or even that art 
of swallowing knives, or eating blazing tow, at which 
the peasants would stand open-mouthed, and willingly 
pay I know not what to have the wonderful 
performance over again. 

Such shifts were these poor fellows often reduced 


to, for there, were many hardships in their way 
despite their usually merry life, and their wallet was 
many a day empty, and could only be filled by such 
dodges as these. Yet most readily would they lay 
down their legerdemain and their mountebanking 
pranks, and take to their instruments again, and their 
singing, and their art, which even the most reckless 
of them loved better than himself. Their practice of 
it, under all their hardships, and amid all the mad 
guises that they were compelled from time to time 
to assume, was indeed incessant. It was a point of 
honour among them to be the very best possible 
player, and what is more to play as many instruments 
as possible. " I can play," says the minstrel Robert 
le Mains, " the lutdT^the violin, the pipe, the bagpipe, 
the syrinx, the harp, the gigue, the gittern, the 
symphony, the psaltery, the organistrum, the regals, the 
tabor, and the rote. I can sing a song well, and make 
tales and fables. 1 can tell a story , against any 
man. I can make love verses to please young 
ladies, and can play the gallant for them if necessary. 
Then I can throw knives into the air, and catch 
them without cutting my fingers. I can do dodges 
with string, most extraordinary and amusing. I can 
balance chairs, and make tables dance. I can throw 
a somersault, and walk on my head." Such were 
the qualifications for a minstrel's life which he boasts 
of possessing, and such as a rule were the quali- 
fications of them all. And now by these feats of 
dexterity of theirs, which, once learnt, they were 
rather proud of showing off, perhaps more than was 
necessary, to the gaping crowd, they began to get 
the name of "jugglers," or "jotigeletirs," which the 
corrupt pronunciation of dialects transformed into 
'^ jonglejirsl' and such was the phase of their history 


through which the Wandering Minstrels were passing 

But these instruments that our jongleur speaks of 
his power of playing will merit a brief attention ; for 
some of their names are unfamiliar to our ears, and 
even in the familiar ones there is something which 
perhaps may need explaining, for instruments appear 
here congregated in one group, which before were 
separate among different families of men, and some 
that we have lost sight of ages ago are now seen 
to be revived and flourishing. And first there is the 
Lute, and when we last had accounts of this it was 
among the ancient Aryans of India and Persia, since 
which time the Lute entirely disappeared from view, 
to reappear again in the heart of medieval Europe. 
And how this may be, we may well admire. And 
the Greeks and Romans have had no part in its 
propagation, for to them the Lute form, and indeed 
the use of all instruments whose strings are stopped, 
was entirely unknown, or if known was rejected. 
We must look elsewhere then for its disseminators, 
and probably we shall not do wrong if we turn to 
the great empire of the Arabians for the secret, who 
conquered Persia and India in the 8th century of our 
era, and the bounds of whose realms and civilisation 
extended from thence in an uninterrupted line on the 
lower fringe of the Mediterranean to Spain and the 
South of France. And next there is the Violin, 
and here indeed is a new appearance, such as in all 
antiquity we have never heard a whisper of. But 
since the Violin is but a Double Lute, being but 
two Lutes crossed, and being indeed to the Lute what 
the Double Pipe is to the Pipe, doubtless we must 
look to the Home of the Lute for its origin, and to 
the same disseminators for its diffusers, though this 


may well merit a more minute inquiry hereafter. 
And next there is the Pipe, and with this we shall 
have no difficulty, as the Pipe was indigenous in 
Europe before the Roman Conquest, as indeed the 
String was before the Arabian influence began — but 
we are now speaking of particular varieties. But if 
this pipe that our jongleur played, as most like it was, 
were the Shalm or Wait, that is, a form of hautboy 
or reed pipe, then we must consider its introduction 
into Europe as having been actually effected by the 
Romans, whose Calamus was such a reed pipe,^ as 
indeed the term Shalm, which is but a corruption of 
the name, sufficiently denotes. More accurate and 
undoubted is the Roman paternity of the Double 
Pipe, which was also an instrument of Medieval 
Europe — for despite our jongleur's versatility he does 
not play quite all the instruments of his time — ; 
for the double pipe, which is a most peculiar variety, 
was neither indigenous among the Anglo-Saxon nations, 
nor was it ever found among any German nations,^ 
but it had been disseminated among these and other 
European nations from the Home of the European 
Pipe, which is Italy, by the conquests of the Romans. 
There was another form of Pipe in use in Medieval 
Europe, which was not a reed pipe, but of the 
flageolet order, and this was called more commonly 
the Flute, being played like the common avXbg of 
the Greeks, that is, in the manner of a Flageolet ;3 
for the cross flute {Jiute transversiere), though it existed, 
as we have seen, in antiquity, has meanwhile in the 
Middle Ages dropt out of sight entirely. And next 

1 This point is proved by Fetis. II. 

2 lb. 

3 MS. Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris) No. 3129. 


there is the Bagpipe.^ And in the rough humour 
of the time the bagpipe was often made to assume 
the most grotesque forms in its construction. And 
the bag, being made of pigskin, was often made in 
the exact shape of a pig,^ either as a piece of 
rough humour, as we have said, or else for celerity 
and cheapness of manufacture, the skin of a pig, 
coarsely tanned, being sewn up without any attempt 
to alter its shape, and this being filled with wind 
gave the appearance of a perfect pig, the pipes of 
the bagpipe being inserted in its mouth. This was a 
rare instrument for the jongleurs, for it tickled hugely 
the humour of the rustics, and at fairs and such 
occasions it was most commonly employed. Then 
there were other forms of the bagpipe, equally odd, 
though perhaps not quite so grotesque : there was 
the bagpipe with its bag in the shape of a tortoise, 
being skin sewn into the shape of the body of that 
animal, while the lower part of the projecting pipe 
was carved in the figure of its head.^ And there 
was the bagpipe in the shape of a serpent, with a 
long writhing bag, that writhed and wriggled round 
the body of the jongleur, like the long peacock's 
feather in his own hat.4 Then the Syrinxes (frestele,) 
which he also enumerates in his list, we need not 
describe ; but the name frestele may admit of another 
application, being applied sometimes to a strange sort 
of flute or flageolet, that had its lower end in the 
shape of a bowl.^ And here we may remark on 
much of the confusion that pervades the musical 

1 Digby MS. Bodleian Library. 

2 Brit. Museum. MSS. Cotton. Tib, VI. 

3 B. Mus. MSS. Cott. Tib. VI. 
* lb. 

5 MS. Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris) No. 3219. 


instruments of the Middle Ages and the causes of 
that confusion ; for many of their names were appHed 
in two senses to different instruments, not merely to 
different instruments of the same order, but to 
instruments of a totally opposite kind, as the same 
name would now denote a stringed instrument and 
now a wind, and hence great confusion arises. Thus, 
another species of bagpipe, in which the pipes went 
right through the bag, instead of being merely inserted at 
one end, was called indeed the Chorus or the Symphony.^ 
Yet the term, Chorus, was applied to a peculiar 
variety of the string form, as we shall soon see, and 
even to the Violin,^ to which latter also the term, 
Symphony, was applied. While the Symphony, in its 
turn, which differed not from the bagpipe Chorus but 
in being larger, was freely called the Lyre or the 
Vielle.-'' In a similar way, the Sackbut, which was a 
trumpet not unlike our trombone, was also the name 
of a stringed instrument 4 though here the explanation 
is not far to seek, for doubtless this stringed 
instrument was the ancient Sambuca or a descendant, 
to which Sackbut was the nearest familiar or pro- 
nounceable musical term. Now the Regals were 
often capriciously called Dulcimers,^ because perhaps 
the action of the fingers on the keys was not unlike 
that of the plectrum or hammer on a dulcimer ; 
while Dulcimers themselves were as often as not called 
Drums or " Tympanums," a name given to many 
stringed instruments, and sometimes even to the Lute 

1 B. Mus. Cott. Tib. VI. 

- Fetis. Histoire. IV. 422. cf. Aimericus de Pergrato of the Chorus 
" duplicem cordam perstridentes." 
3 Fetis. loc. cit. 
* Gerbert. Tom. II. fin. 
5 Fetis. IV. 

I I 


itself.i And Organistrums were called Vielles,^ and 
Psalteries Cymbalums — but without proceeding to 
enumerate more confusions, we will rather reserve the 
common terms for the several instruments, which 
but for the comparative ignorance of the age would 
have been the exclusive ones. And next in our 
jongleur's list comes the Harp. Now this instrument 
was a small one, and rather a lyre than a harp, 
being easily portable and carried in one hand, yet 
of the true harp shape, that is to say, triangular, and 
with pillar and sound-board ;-"' and its home in the 
early middle ages was with the Anglo-Saxons of 
England, to whom it seems to have been indigenous, 
or to them along with other German nations, but 
most favourite with them.4 And spreading from 
England or North German}- it had spread over Europe.-'' 
And these medieval harps, their pillar is sometimes as 
thick as their sound-board. And the next instrument 
that our jongleur could play was the Gigue. And this 
was but a small form of violin, which being chiefly 
used in Germany had received the German name of 
Geig, which in French was Gigue, and in English Jig. 
And with this, those Fiddle Dances or Jigs were 
played, that we have heard of before. And it was 
a small shrill instrument, that twittered most saucily 
and merrily.6 And the next instrument that our 
jongleur could play was the Gittern, which was a 
small guitar strung with catgut,7 for by this time the 

1 La Borde. Essai sur la Musique. I. 

- Fetis prefers this name for it even in his Histor}-. A common 
term for it was "lyra mendicorum." "' Gerbert. II. fin. 

* .See the illustrations in Strutt's Horda Angel Cymmon. 

■'' Being played by jongleurs of even,' nationality. 

f' " Muliebris vox" is the term applied to its sound. 

' Engel's note on the IMJnstrels' gallery in E-Neter Cathedral. Mu^ 


Guitar/ the most melodious and dulcet Guitar, had 
been born in Europe, having been brought here by 
the Arabians, whose Kiiitra it was, having been 
received by them from the Persians, whose Sitar it 
was, having travelled all the way from Persia to be 
the joy of Europe, and the delight of that courtly 
world of chivalry, which was now beginning to glitter, 
though its beams are not yet on us. Now the Guitar 
was strung with wire, but the little Gittern, with catgut, 
as we have said, and this was all the difference 
between them.^ And the jongleur could play the 
psaltery, the organistrum, the regals, the tabor, and 
the rote. And the Psaltery had descended from the 
later Roman period, being indeed a very Ija'e, though 
different in shape, having an oblong shape, and also 
being plucked by the fingers, not struck with a 
plectrum.3 And it had been introduced into Rome 
from effeminate Egypt, or still more effeminate Syria, 
and had so descended to medieval Europe. And the 
strings were strung on an oblong frame, as we have 
said. And this was the psaltery. But the Organistrum 
was the strangest instrument we have yet described ; 
for it was a lute or guitar with keys, and it was 
worked by a wlieel. In this way: — keys like those 
of an organ were placed on the neck, and they were 
raised a little to touch the strings by means of 
handles at the side of the neck. There were two 
bridges — one for the strings to go over, as in a 
common bridge, but the other bridge was a wheel, 
which was turned by a handle at the end of the 
instrument ; this lightly touched the strings and made 

' MS. Roman d'Alexandie (Bodleian.) 
- La Bordc. Essai sur la Mnsique. I. 
5 Cotton MS, P, Museum. Tib. VI, 


them vibrate by friction, and the keys, when pressed 
against them, made them sound.^ Sometimes two 
jongleurs played this instrument together, one turning 
the wheel, the other managing the keys.^ But yet 
one player was sufficient, if need be. And the Regals 
we already know, but have not heard till now that 
the Wandering Minstrels used them. But so they 
did, holding these little organs in their hand, and 
frolicking with the keys most melodiously either for 
dances or for songs.3 And the Tabor was another 
instrument our jongleur could play, and the playing 
of this he could not have reckoned high. And he 
could also play the . Rote. Now the Rote was an 
instrument of many strings, almost indistinguishable 
from the harp, except that it was squarish rather 
than triangular, and its sound-board was carried down 
much below the frame, and the form of the Rote 
was that of the letter " P." And it was a light, 
small, portable instrument."^ And all these instruments 
could that jongleur play, Robert Le Mans. Now 
other jongleurs were not behind him. Says Colin 
Muset, the jongleur, " I can play the flute, the 
"trumpet, the guitar, the harp, the flageolet, the 
tambourine, the violin, the sets of bells, the orga- 
nistrum, the bagpipe, the psaltery, the tabor, the lute, 
the sackbut, the rebeck, the trumpet marine, and the 
gigue." Says the jongleur, Jacques le Guet, " I play 
the shalm, the timbrel, the cymbals, the regals, the 

1 Fetis. IV. 

~ Bas-relief of the Abbey of St. George de Boscherville. 

■' Poesies dii roi de Navarre. I. 244. 

■* Most numerous are the forms of instrument to which the name 
" Rote " is apphed. The one at present indicated has the greatest 
individuahty, and stands out from the rest, so as to deserve to typify 
the others. 


gittern, the sackbut, the fiddle, and the lute ; the 
Spanish penola that is struck with a, quill, the 
organistrum that a wheel turns round, the wait so 
delightful, the rebeck so enchanting, the little gigue 
that chirps up on high, and the great big horn that 
booms like thunder." Thus do they go on, trying 
to outdo one another, as if they were bragging at a 
fair, or up on their mountebanking platforms selling- 
nostrums. And when many of them met together, 
as they sometimes did, to celebrate a feast day or to 
hold a carousal together, what carnivals of music ! 
what showers of chattering sound ! and fantastic 
instruments brought by strange jongleurs, which were 
the envy of all, and the pets and prides of their 
owners, whose very natures we cannot even guess at, 
and can only repeat their designations. " Some of 
them," says the Latin poem which commemorates one 
of these celebrations, " were playing harps, others 
blowing bagpipes, others twanging lutes, others playing 
pipe and lute together, others tuning up their rebecks ; 
and sets of bells were tinkling, and trumpets braying, 
and drums roaring; there were symphonies, psalteries, 
shalms, monochords, all playing at once ; there were 
Gitterns, Regals, Violins, Cymbals, Tabors, Dulcimers, 
Flageolets, Nabelles, Enmorachcs, Micamons, Naquaires, 
Douceines, Huissines, Eles, Mouscordes, all these were 
the jongleurs playing. And some were telling stories, 
and others were making verses." And then the 
antics that wefnt on. What frolicking ! What sport ! 
For they were throwing somersaults, many of them, 
and walking on their head, and balancing chairs and 
tables in all sorts of impossible positions, showing off 
to their brothers-in-arms their latest feats in litheness 
and dexterity. .Language fails the Latin chronicler 
to describe their doings. He gets bewildered in the 


attempt. " He folds himself," says he, speaking of 
an athletic jongleur, " he folds himself, and unfolds 
himself, and, in unfolding himself, he folds himself," ^ 
Such were the merry doings that went on at these 
assemblies ; and the diversity of the instruments may 
well amaze us, and also those crowd of new ones, 
whose very names are entirely inexplicable. But let 
us briefly finish our survey of the instruments, before 
we proceed with our history of the jongleurs ; and not 
attempting to explain those which seem to baffle us, 
select those commoner and better known ones, which 
we have by chance passed over before, and set them 
down here to conclude the list. And there is the 
Trumpet marine, which the jongleur, Colin Muset, 
played ; and despite its name it was a stringed 
instrument, and was doubtless called " trumpet " from 
the rich sonorous sound of its single string, for it 
had no more.^ And it was played with a bow like 
the fiddle was, and indeed we have accounts of fiddles 
with no more than one string, although they were 
comparatively rare. Now we have before heard of 
the term " trumpet " applied to a stringed instrument, 
for the Grecian Magadis was called the " trumpet-toned 
Magadis ; " but why the term " marine " should be 
applied to it was this, that the frame of the 
instrument was made of a sea-shell, and this was the 
reason.3 And other instruments of medieval use which 
we know but have not yet mentioned or described, 
were the Cithara, the Nabelle, the Bombulum, the 
Cymbalum, the Great Horn, the Penola, and the 
Rebeck. And the Cithara had remained, straight 
from classical times, true to its original shape, as we 

Se plicat et replicat, se rcplicaiido plicat. 
It is well described in Hawkins, I. 


have described it among the Greeks.^ There was 
however a variant form of the cithara which had 
grown up, that was somewhat commoner than the 
pure form of the instrument ; and this was a 
triangular-shaped cithara,^ almost identical in pattern 
with the ancient Sambuca. And perhaps it was 
indeed the Sambuca, though called by another name. 
In which form it was often confounded with the 
Nabelle, that was sometimes constructed triangularly 
and in the shape of the letter A , though more 
usually, and as its regular form, in the pattern of a 
half moon.3 And it was held with the round part 
upwards and the straight part downwards, and the 
strings were strung vertically thus, some fifteen or 
twenty in number.^ Now the Bombulum was a 
most singular instrument, for it was a collection of 
pipes, a little organ we might call it, but without 
any resemblance at all to the Organ ; for it was in 
the shape of a knife-cleaner, and the pipes stuck out 
all round, like the projections on that implement.^ 
And how they were blown, or how at all it was 
played, we cannot tell. The Cymbalum was another 
composite instrument, but of the bell order. It was 
a frame full of bells, and they hung in such a 
pattern, and the frame was so constructed, that it 
resembled at a distance a great candelabra, nor was 
there any telling the difference until you examined 
it nearly, when you found that from its lustres 
depended scores of little bells, and they jingled and 
clashed most melodiously when it was shaken.^ This 
is the docJiette, or set of bells, that the jongleur. 

1 MS. B. Mus., cit. MS. Bibl. Nationale, cit. 

2 Gerbert II. fin. " MS. B. Mus. cit, 
1 lb. '' Fetis. IV. 

'> Gcibcil. II. fin. 


Colin Muset, speaks of playing, and it was a favourite 
instrument with the jongleurs. Now the Great Horn 
was that which Jacques le Guet means, when he 
speaks of his thundering trumpet, and it was at 
first chiefly an Anglo-Saxon instrument.^ And it 
was so long as to fatigue the arm to hold it, and 
therefore was rested on a stand while playing, like 
arquebusses were, or crossbows.^ The Penola, it was 
a Spanish violin that was touched with a quill,^ for 
violins at first were not all played with the bow, 
but some were plucked with the fingers,4 others 
struck with a plectrum,^ and others played with the 
bow.'S So slow was the progress of that excellent 
instrument to maturity, and so many were the 
competing forms that at first sprang up, and by their 
prodigal luxuriance retarded its development. The 
Rebeck was a three-stringed violin, played with the 
bow. It was called the Violin champetre, and was a 
great favourite with the country people.7 

And all these instruments could the jongleurs play, 
and also those fantastic ones whose very nature we 
cannot even guess at, and can only repeat, as we 
have done, their designations. And the merry-makings 
and meetings of these men being such as we have 
described, we must also speak of their organised 
gatherings. For in keeping with the spirit of the 
Middle Ages, which led men to combine in masses, 
and made Leagues among the merchants, and Guilds 

"^ Strutt's Hoida Angel Cym. I., pi. 5, Fig. 4. Though it is also 
called •' le grand cornet d'AUemaigne." 
8 Strutt. loc. cit. 

1 As the name implies. See Fuertes, Historia della Musica 
Espanola. I. 

2 Viole de dois. ^ Viole de penne. 

* Viole de I'Archet. 

* Fuertes. Historia del la Musica Espanola. I. 


among the trades, and in political life those Secret 
Societies of which we have heard so much ; so 
also had the jongleurs their Guild or Brotherhood, 
which had its rules for their welfare, and its 
contributions from the various members, and which 
indeed it was their interest by all means to support. 
For despite the gay life they led, they were homeless 
and friendless — not even the vague title of a 
nationality could they lay claim to. For to become 
a jongleur was to forfeit citizenship and to forfeit 
country. The Wandering Minstrel from the first day 
he took to the road henceforth ceased to be the 
countryman of any nation, and became instead a 
vagabond of Europe and a common vagrant,^ for 
whose protection no laws existed, whose wrongs no 
court would take cognisance of, and for whose 
maltreatment, or even for whose death, no punishment 
could be inflicted.2 And this was the Guild of the 
Minstrels and these were its objects, to, counteract 
as far as possible the unkindness of the laws, and 
to offer by the mutual co-operation of its members 
that protection which it was impossible for them 
otherwise to obtain. And one of the members being 
sick, he received a dole of money or necessaries from 
the common stock, and was not left to die on the 
road, as it otherwise might have been ; and a 
minstrel, being wronged or maltreated, had proper 
defenders secured for him by the kindness of the 
guild, to plead his cause before a court, and in 
the absence of justice at least to awake compassion 

1 Heimath • und rechtlos, in the words of Reissmann. Their 
children were illegitimate. " Minstrels and Harlots " may be found 
coupled together in the same statute." Blount's Law Dictionary, Art. 

* Grimm's Rechtsalterthiimer. I. 678. 


ill his behalf. Now all the Wandering Minstrels in 
Europe were members of this Guild, which in its 
turn had its various subdivisions and local branches — 
to borrow a modern word, we might call them 
" Lodges," to these and those of which such Minstrels 
belonged as were natives of that part of the country, 
or were accustomed to make it the principal place 
of their peregrinations. And once a year, on Guild 
Day, every minstrel of the Lodge would assemble in 
a great company, sometimes 400 or 500 strong, as 
at the Guild Day of the Alsatian Lodge of Minstrels, 
which is described to us,^ and march in procession 
to church, after which they would hold their court, 
and then going to the lawn of the seignorial castle 
would play their instruments and sport awhile, and 
finally close the day by a feast in the hostelry. 
Now the ceremonies of their Court are particularly 
interesting, for here it was that such barren justice 
as they might have was administered, and being 
debarred from courts of law they discussed their 
wrongs before a Court of Minstrels, which was 
presided over by their King. Once a year the 
finest player in the district was elected " King of 
the Minstrels," and the badges of his office were a 
white wand and a crown of gold, and he had 
stewards, and pages, and a retinue as befitted his 
mimic state ; and he it was who presided over the 
Court, as we have said. And the Court had no 
legal power, yet doubtless the publicity with which 
its proceedings were conducted, acted as a deterrent 
no less effectual than the penalties of a regular 
tribunal of justice. And this was how the court 
was held. After having marched in procession to 

' }»IaUliebon. CiUica Musica. II. 343. 


church, with trumpets blowing, and drums beating, the 
minstrels marching six abreast, with their King and 
his pursuivant-at-arms in the midst, the court was 
constituted in the castle hall of the lord of the 
manor. And first of all, all minstrels in arrears of 
payments to the fund of the guild were amerced in 
the amount, and compelled to pay. Then two juries 
of minstrels were sworn, twelve in each, and they were 
sworn on the Holy Evangelists. And the King of the 
Minstrels charged them as follows, that considering 
the excellence and antiquity of Music, which was 
an established art in the days of the Greeks and 
Romans, and considering the skill in it, esteemed so 
considerable, and that Music is even at the present 
one of the liberal accomplishments, they should judge 
and decide as good men and true, and with due 
regard to the oath they had taken. That although 
some musicians are counted as rogues and vagabonds, 
such organised societies as theirs are excepted, to 
preserve the repute of which should be their greatest 
concern, nor can they find a better way of doing so 
than by being upright and righteous in their verdicts. 
With this, the court proceeded, and the various cases 
of complaint and injury were brought forward one by 
one, and decided according to their merits.^ Now 
this mimic pageantry of justice, so wholesome and 
necessary did it seem, was in a manner recognised 
and acknowledged by kings and princes ; and actual 
Charters remain to us, that give . to the Minstrel King 
full legal rights over his fellows, and the right of free 
speech and honest complaint against men at large. 
Such a one is the following, from John, King of 
Castile : — 

' Mattheson, loc. cit. Reissmann, SpiclleiUe. Sclieid. Disseilalio 
(.le jure in musicos, p. 47. Buniey's History of Music. II. 


" John, by the Grace of God, King of Castile and Leon, 
to all them who shall see or hear these our letters, greeting. 
Know ye, we have ordained, constituted, and assigned to 
our well-beloved, the King of the Minstrels, who is or for 
the time shall be, to apprehend and arrest all the Minstrels 
in our honour and franchise that refuse to do the services 
and Minstrelsy, as appertain to them to do from ancient 
times, yearly on the days of the Assumption of our Lady ; 
giving and granting to the said King of the Minstrels for 
the time being, full power and commandment to make 
them reasonably to justify and to constrain them to do their 
services and minstrelsies, in manner as belongeth to them, 
and as it hath been and of ancient times accustomed. In 
witness whereof, we have caused these our letters to be 
made patent. Given under our privy seal," &c., &c.^ 
And when the court was over, the minstrels 
adjourned in full force to the hostelry, where a 
banquet was prepared for them, and sitting at long 
tables they caroused. And at the head of the 
company sat the Minstrel King, on this day above 
all in the year enjoying the full privileges of his 
office, crowned with his golden crown, and drinking 
wine out of a silver cup, which passed from king 
to king year after year, as another of his official 
symbols, like the white wand and the retinue of 
pages.2 He led the revel and proposed the toasts, 
and held high court in imitation of the mythical 
King of the Minstrels, King Blegabres, who in their 
creed was the prime originator of the office ; who 
lived many hundred years before Christ in the land 
of Nowhere, and toped and tippled eternally, to the 
sound of harps, psalteries, rebecks, and flutes, and 
could play every instrument under the sun, and first 

Quoted in Burney's Histoiy of Music. II, 361- 
Mattheson. Critica Musica II. 

CHAPTER 11. 493 

founded the gallant company of Minstrels, which since 
his day had flourished, God be praised !^ Now as 
they had a mythical king and pedigree of royalty, 
whence they deduced the lineage of their monarch, 
so also had they a patron saint, and let us see how 
such merry fellows had contrived to establish their 
strange profession in the Calendar. For they had at 
first been hard put who to choose, so opposed was 
the practice of their craft to saintliness, and so alien 
were the attributes of the saints, and would lend 
themselves to no such travestyings. Till at last some 
merry head hit upon St. Julian as a saint that might 
well serve their turn, for the following valid reason : 
St. Julian having passed a life of pride and haughtiness 
repented at last of his arrogance, and resolved to 
atone for his misdeeds in the past by going to the 
opposite extreme in the future. He made a vow 
accordingly to take into his house anybody and 
everybody ; and presuming that among the rest even 
poor strollers would not have been denied, the 
Minstrels dubbed him their Patron Saint accordingly. 
So it was King Blegabres and St. Julian, as the 
glass passed round, and St. Julian and King 
Blegabres. And equipped with two such traditionary 
heroes, they could at least lay claim to a history. 
Now we must speak of the way they lived in towns, 
and how the quarter they inhabited was called St. 
Julian's Quarter. For in the multitude and super- 
abundance of minstrels that now obtained, some found 
a better market for their talents by hanging about 
large towns, at least in the summer time, and catering- 
the music that was wanted there for marriages, festivals, 
and routes. And they all lived together in a street 

1 lb. 


or quarter of their own. And in Paris this quarter 
was known as St. Julien des Menestriers^ And 
whenever the people wanted music for their 
entertainments, they would send a message to St. 
Julien des Menestriers, and a troop of minstrels would 
in no long time be in attendance.^ And such crowds 
of them would sometimes come, in a dull time, 
or in rivalry with one another, that a law had 
to be passed, prohibiting more than a certain 
number from attending ;3 for what with those 
who were engaged to play, playing and singing 
inside the house, and a crowd of others, who had 
come unbidden, blowing and twanging their instruments 
outside the doors, the street was in an uproar, and 
such was the general occurrence till these disturbances 
were prevented by law.''^ But in their own peculiar 
quarter of the town there was no checking their 
merriment, and, if we may believe report, a noisy 
place it was. From every window came the sound 
of music, from minstrels practising or minstrels 
carousing ; others sat fiddling outside, and girls were 
romping and dancing in the street.- To accustom 
themselves to the staid life of towns was a hard 
thing for the Wandering Minstrels to do, and their 
sojourn there was as a rule but temporary. Yet 
some were led to take up their abode in towns for 
good, being principally those who had married, and 
with a wife and children dependent on them found 
it more convenient to have some fixed habitation, 
where they could leave their family during their 
excursions, rather than submit them to the fatigues 

^ At present the Rue Rambuteau. 

2 Burney's History of Music. II. 

^ lb. 1 Burney's History of Music. II, 

+ lb. La Borde, Essai, I. 


and dangers of continual trampings of the road. 
Paris offered greater inducements than any other 
town to those whose thoughts inchned this way, for 
there were many privileges granted to minstrels there, 
which no other town afforded, some trifling enough, 
as that statute which exempted all minstrels from 
toll on condition of their singing a song at the 
city gates before entering,^ but others of greater 
value ; and here most of the staider and soberer 
minstrels began by degrees to congregate. Such a 
one was the minstrel, Rutebeuf, whose life ma\' be 
taken as a type of that of the better class of 
minstrels of his period. He was in his youth at 
the University of Paris, but falling in with gay 
companions, and having marvellous talents for music, 
he was led into a life of gallantry and extravagance, 
which in no long time brought him to poverty and 
low esteem. From this condition his musical abilities 
rescued him, " for he could play any instrument from 
a lute to a bagpipe," and he led a merry life for 
some time as Knight of the Road and most 
transcendent Minstrel ; till in an evil hour for his 
fortunes he married, and in course of time a famih- 
of young children looked to him for support. 
Rutebeuf now had to work hard for his bread. 
With his wallet on his back and his lute in his hand, 
he would sally out of a morning into the villages 
round Paris, sometimes extending his absence for 
weeks at a time into the country, but more often 
returning home at nightfall, bringing the contents of 
his wallet to his expectant family, and sometimes it 
was empty, but more often it was full. Luncheons 

' La Borde I. 315. They also got their charter in Paris n;uoH 
earlier than in other countries. 


of bread, scraps of meat, a bottle of wine occasionally, 
a few groats perhaps — these were the contents of our 
jongleur's pack ; and with this humble fare he appears 
to have been well content. 

" When I come home with a swollen pack, 
Swinging heavily at my back. 
My wife jumps up with a joyful cry, 
And throws her spindle and spinning by."^ 
This is a domestic picture, but not all jongleurs 
were so domesticated as Rutebeuf. For most still 
preferred the wild life of the road, and would have 
their wife and children accompany them, travelling in 
caravans, as the gipsies to-day ; or strolling about 
in company with Glee Maidens, or Minstrel Girls, 
those most romantic figures of the Jongleur life, on whom 
so much sentiment has been lavished in fiction, which 
still is nothing to what history might relate. 
Sometimes these Glee Maidens would wander unac- 
companied throughout the length of Europe, passing 
unprotected through solitary ways, and braving all the 
dangers of the road, and yet escaping harmless. And 
one would have a little goat, perhaps, and another a 
dog, to bear her company in her wanderings, as that 
Glee Maiden with her violin and little spaniel dog, 
who is described to us.^ She was dressed in a blue 
jacket embroidered with silver, sitting close to her 
figure ; and she had a silver chain round her neck, 
and gaudy jewellery about her, short petticoats, red 
stockings, and buskins of Spanish leather. And 
standing in the middle of the crowd, mounted on a 
slight elevation, she would play her violin, and sing 
in time to it. The courts of monasteries were not 

1 For these details of his life, see his own account. 
- The pictures of romance have borrowed the descriptions of history, 
and for that reason may be here reproduced. 


ignorant of the Glee Maiden, and in the courtyards 
of castles she was a frequent figure. Yet the pious 
monks would shut their eyes as they heard her sing ; 
and when they translated her name into Latin, they 
wrote it " Meretrix,"—' Glee maiden,' " Meretrix' ' Minstrel 
Girl ' '* Scortiimy^ And sometimes the Glee Maidens 
would travel about in the company of Jongleurs, as 
we have said, and what additional attraction were 
they likely to afford, when the hearts of the audience 
were led captive, not merely their ears alone! So 
they played and sang, while their jongleur friends 
cut capers and stood on their heads, in those hard and 
tight times we spoke of, when music was at a discount, 
and sensational effects were the only means of raising 
the wind. And what ingenious jongleur was it, who, 
to crown the bevy of attractions and deal a striking 
blow at the humour of the rustics, conceived the idea 
of taking about dancing bears, as an unfailing means, 
when all others failed, of filling the hat with money ? 
An old Latin poem describes this apex of grotesqueness, 
and nearl)' in the following words : — " A party of 
Jongleurs and Minstrel Girls came to the village, 
leading a pair of dancing bears with them. As soon 
as the jongleurs touched the strings, the bears reared 
themselves up to dance, and marked the time with 
their feet, springing very high at times, and often 
feinting to come to blows with one another, and 
doing other antics, while the music lasted. Then the 
bears would dance with the minstrel girls, who sang 
the song of the dance with most melodious voices ; 
and the bears would dance with them, putting their 
great paws in their pretty hands, and footing step for 
step and quite correctly the measure of the dance, 
growling contentedly the while." 

* Vide " Spilwip " and " Spilarma," 

K K 


Such were some of the strange surroundings in 
which our jongleurs figured, and more we might give. 
But it is time to pass from their gay doings and 
romantic life to consider them in the severer aspect 
of their historical worth, and to ask in what way 
these merry mountebanks and careless strollers furthered 
the advance of the musical art, and what is their 
exact place in musical history. And in an age when 
all the world was wrapped in the gravity of the 
Church Song, they disseminated and gave enormous 
vitality to the common melodies of the people, which 
but for them must have perished from the face of 
Europe. In an age also when, in Churches and with 
the people alike, singing was the utmost that the art 
of music had achieved, they stept forward as the 
expositors of the Instrumental side of music, and this 
was even a greater merit than the former. Beneath 
the guise of buffoons and the carelessness of strollers, 
they hid often the ambition of virtuosos ; and we 
will not repeat the sacrifice which the adoption of 
their profession often entailed on them, and how they 
flung all other thoughts aside provided they might 
still pursue the art they delighted in. Beneath their 
skilful hands this teeming variety of musical instruments 
grew up, which otherwise had never seen a genesis. 
Ancient instruments were revived to satisfy their 
versatility, new instruments were invented, strange 
instruments were imported from abroad — and all for 
the jongleurs. For the upper classes did not deign to 
play an instrument, and the common people could 
not, and the monks in their cloisters sang their old 
antiphons and psalms, as they had done centuries 
before — and all the novelty and advance came from 
the jongleurs. Had the introduction of that noble 
instrument, the Violin, been the sole innovation they 


effected, even then they would have merited the 
thanks of posterity. But as we have seen, the Violin 
was but one of a crowd, all new, and all Jongleurs' 
instruments ; and thus most important and even 
transcendant is the historical position of these men. 

And we have delayed long over them, indeed, — a 
thing which they seem to merit — and yet a little 
longer will it be worth our while to pause, if only 
to consider a few facts in the history of that most 
famous of their instruments, the Violin, that we have 
spoken of, which, coming in an obscure time into 
Europe, has provoked controversy about its precise 
original, nor have historians yet been able to give a 
trustworthy account of the manner of its introduction. 
And some say, indeed, that Saxon England was its 
birthplace, and others that it came through Spain 
from the Arabians ; and the claims of these two 
paternities we may vv^ell pause to weigh. And first 
with regard to the Saxons, it should seem that their 
claim to the independent invention of a Violin is 
incontestable; yet that the instrument was disseminated 
from England through Europe, admits the gravest 
doubt, being most probably locked up in that island, 
the delight of none but its inventors, and having its 
general diffusion from another centre entirely, namely, 
from the port of the Pyrenees. But meanwhile it 
had grown up in remote England into the perfect 
Violin, proceeding by gradual steps to its perfection 
from the most primitive beginnings, all of which we 
may distinctly discern with the exception of one, 
which unfortunately is the most interesting of them 
all. And first, even in the times of the Britons, we 
have news through Latin writers and through the 
Greek, Diodore, of a certain instrument that the 
natives used, which was so like the classical lyre 


there was scarce any telling one from the other. 
MtT opydvojv toXq Xvpaig ofioicov are the words of 
Diodore, and Fortunatus expressly compares it to the 
Lyre, in a distich which has been preserved to us.^ 
And having said that the Lyre was constructed with 
a hollow frame that went halfway up behind the 
strings, and that it had horns or arms extending from 
the top, these being joined by a crosspiece to which 
the strings were fastened, so also had this British 
instrument a similar construction, only the arms were 
themselves joined, to make the crosspiece, in the form 
of a semicircle — and this was the only difference 
between them.^ And finding this instrument of the 
natives so much to resemble the Lyre, we are at 
liberty to consider that it was indeed the actual Lyre 
itself, which they had copied from the Romans, or else 
that it was an indigenous instrument, which by a 
freak of accident had taken the Lyre's form. To 
the former of these views, the name of the instrument 
would seem to point ; for it was called by a Latin 
name by the Britons themselves, being called " C/iorus" 
or in their barbarous pronunciation " C/irut/i," which, 
to write in the form the name has descended to us, 
is " Crwthr To the opinion that it was an indigenous 
instrument, the national character which it always 
possessed, and the remote antiquity with which it 
has ever been credited, will incline us — but without 
pausing to enter into unnecessary detail, the two views 
seem to be evenly balanced. Now as the Crwth, 
or as the Ancient Lyre, the Violin existed in embryo 
in Britain, and this was the first stage of its 
development. And it was played exactly in the 

1 Romanusque lyra plaudat sibi, barbarus harpa, 

Graecus Achilliaca, chrotta Britanna placet. 
* See the Crwth figured in Gerbert. II, fin. 


manner of the Grecian Lyre, that is, resting on the left 
shoulder, with both hands employed on the strings, 
the left hand naturally at the back of the strings, 
and the right hand at the front.^ Now next, the 
art of " stopping " came in, and a narrow piece of 
wood was run up the back of the strings, in the 
empty space where the horns came, that is to say, 
from the belly of the frame to where the horns 
were joined in a semicircular crosspiece. And the 
strings were brought closer together, so as to allow of 
their being stopped on this narrow piece of wood ; 
and they, which at first had spread out in their 
ascent like a fan, were now compact and near 
together, like the strings on a guitar to-day.- This 
was the next development of the Lyre, or Crwth, in 
its progress towards the Violin ; and now it was a 
mixture of the Lyre and Lute forms, but more 
inclining to the Lute, especially when those horns or 
arms were brought closer together as the strings had 
been ; for their great semicircular expanse was now 
useless and unmeaning, and they were brought near 
together, as we have said, till the form of the 
instrument resembled an oblong, or rather an 
attenuated oval. And the next step was the 
introduction of the Bow. And how was this step 
taken ? Here, unfortunately, we are left to the 
resource of conjecture, for this is the very link in 
the chain that is the most interesting of all and 
that unfortunately is entirely wanting. We find in 
one period crwths, or lyres, the strings twanged with 
the right hand and stopped above with the left, for 
they were held as we hold a violoncello to-day, only, 

* In the earliest known MS. drawing of the crwth (of the 7th 
century), we find this method of holding obtain. 

2 Fetis has engraved an example of this form from a Breton abbey. 


being small, on the lap ; ^ and in the next period we 
find the same crwths played in the same position 
and the same manner, only that the right hand of 
the player is now furnished with a bow,^ and we are 
left to seek how the innovation has come. This is 
an unhappy lacuna in the Violin's history, and 
we may well surmise that, in the intervening time 
between these two periods we have spoken of, some 
transitional form was in use, which, like the connecting 
link between definite organisms in natural history, 
disappeared entirely directly its work was done, and 
left us only to speculate on what it might have been. 
And now the next step after the introduction of the 
bow and the crwth held violoncello-wise, was to turn 
it the other way in the hands of the player, and 
hold it as we hold our violins to-day. This was an 
obvious change, and merely a matter of convenience ; 
and for some time both ways of holding were 
in use,3 though the new one eventually obtained 
the preference. 

But meanwhile while the Violin was thus developing 
in Saxon England, it had been introduced independently 
into Europe from the Moors of Spain. A dainty 
instrument was this Arabian Violin, most exquisite 
and symmetrical in structure compared to the rude 
carpenterings of the Anglo-Saxons ; it came, too, in 
all the charm of completeness, and in its various 
forms of rebeck, gigue, rotte, rave, penola, and vielle, 
was speedily diffused through the length and breadth 
of Europe by the medium of the jongleurs. It was 

1 In all the drawings of the Crwth this manner holds good. 

2 The most pertinent examples are the common engravings of Saxon 
Kings in Strutt and elsewhere. 

' A third method of holding, viz., with the bow in the left hand, 
is also found. 


pear-shaped ^ — for these various forms differed but 
little from each other except in size, and in the 
number of their strings, — and sometimes with frets 
and sometimes without ; ^ and the strings varied in 
number, three, four or five.3 But four was the 
general number, and the number of the Vielle's 
strings 4-, which was the eminent form. Sometimes 
there were four sounding-holes,^ sometimes but two,^ 
and two were the more common number. And 
finding now this marvellous maturity of the violin 
among the Arabians, perhaps by studying its history 
among them we may find the clue to that secret 
which baffled us before, how bowed instruments 
really began, or what gave the first idea of the bow 
to lute and lyre players. This was the lacuna, so 
tantalising, that met us in the history of the Anglo- 
Saxon instrument, and I say that by turning to the 
Arabians, we may perhaps be able to fill it up. 

1 This phrase is borrowed from Sandys' and Forster's History of 

the VioHn, where its application is carefully substantiated. 

- Frets are rather the exceptions and belong to the later forms of 

the instrument. 

3 Gerbert. II. fin. 

1 Fetis. II. 150. 

* Gerbert. II. fin. 

« lb. 



And the first glance shows us that we shall not 
search in vain. For what a variety of stringed 
instruments, in every stage of development, from the 
rawest and simplest forms to the most artful and 
laboured masterpieces of beauty, presents itself to our 
eyes, when we turn to the music of the Arabians ! 
and in what luxury and untold profusion do they 
come ! There were thirty-two varieties of Lute alone, 
fourteen varieties of Violin, and fifteen varieties of 
other stringed instruments, such as Dulcimers and 
Lyres — sixty-one in all.^ And they played into one 
another, these instruments, form passing into form, 
and new blendings of shape arising, in a manner 
that is most surprising to consider. And the Lutes 
go diminishing from five-stringed Lutes and four- 
stringed Lutes, of large size and of small, decreasing 
string by string, till they taper off into one-stringed 
lutes, a large family of every kind of shape, from 
the shape of a lute to that of a simple bow. And 
the Violins in the same way, they vary from three, 
four, and five-stringed violins to two-stringed and 
one-stringed violins, the latter a large family of every 
kind of shape, from the shape of the violin to that 
of its bow. And the Dulcimers and Lyres we need 
not particularly speak of, for they do not concern us 
here, but we must follow the Lutes and Violins, 
And now in their long and slender forms, which are 

' Kiesewetter. La Musique des Arabes. 


often attenuated to one string, as we have said, and, 
but for trifling details, so nearly resemble one another 
that the Violin is hard to tell from its bow, and 
both are almost indistinguishable from the pair of 
Lutes that lie by them — I say, in these slender and 
delicate instruments we may read the history of the 
Violin from its very alphabet. For first came the 
simple Lute that was plucked by the fingers, and then 
another Lute was used to strike the strings of this 
first one, in order to increase their brilliancy and 
power. It was a kind of plectrum, indeed ; and 
why a Lute should be used to serve this office, was 
because the slenderness and lightness of the make of 
some of them rendered it a most natural thing for 
the hand to use. Then it was found that by 
making the string of the second lute of hair instead 
of catgut, it might be rubbed or drawn across the 
strings of the other one instead of struck against them, 
and with far finer effect in tone. When this was 
done, the Violin had seen the light ; and thus the 
Violin is in reality a Double Lute, being to the 
String family what the Double Pipe is to the Pipe 
family, and most interesting and poetical in its 

xA.nd where was this charming ingenuity and ease 
of instrumental growth propounded ? Not in Arabia ; 
for the earliest accounts which we have of the 
Arabians represent them as receiving their Violins 
fully fledged from another nation, and in this other 
nation we must search for the nativity. For it was 
in the middle of the 7th century of our era that the 
Arabians, then a raw race of warriors, conquered the 
luxurious and highly civilised country of Persia, and 
among the prizes which fell into their hands was the 
heritage of the Persian music. In Persia, the land 


of the Sun and of the Morning, this royal brood of 
strings had seen the light. Here from unknown 
antiquity the Double Lute, or Violin, had lain 
concealed, till it was made the common property of 
the world by the conquests of the Arabians. The 
very name of the Persian instrumeut was preserved 
and disseminated by its new masters, for in Persia 
the Violin was called Rebab, and that was the 
Arabian name too. From Rebab we get our "Rebeck," 
as from Sitar our " Guitar." 

Yet even in tracing the Violin to Persia, the end 
of its antiquity is not yet. In those remote districts 
of the globe, it seems like a thing that has no 
beginning. For simultaneously with their brothers 
the Persians, the Aryans of Hindostan had developed 
the Double Lute to the same perfection. Perhaps 
traffic had diffused it at a remote period from one 
nation to the other, or it may have existed half- 
fledged before the separation of these two great wings 
of the Aryan race. For there is no question of an 
independent or isolated creation, since the Hindu 
instrument had almost the same name as the Persian, 
being called " Rabab." ^ Thus from a great antiquity 
had the Violin lain among these Orientals, shut up 
from the world at large. Meanwhile Music had seen 
a zenith among the Greeks and Romans, and was 
fast on its way to a second climax, unbeautified by 
this gay addition to its charms, which Persian 
minstrels may have played in Persepolis when Rome 
was still a village, or Alexander have heard from 
the Indian hamlets, as he sailed down the Indus to 
the sea. 

Since then a great secret of music lay entombed 

1 Fetis. II. 291. 

CHAPTER ill. 507 

in the East, which no man divined or even desired 
until the actual rifling of the treasury came, what 
credit must we give to those Anglo-Saxons, who in 
their rude wit groped their way to a similar, if a 
rougher conclusion, and did independently and unaided 
what other men had never known but for teaching ! 
Now then we have seen what was the connecting 
link in their violin's development, and how they too 
must have employed a small form of Crwth, or lute, 
as a plectrum to strike the strings with, and then 
from the Double Crwth, as from the Persian Double 
Lute, the Violin have proceeded. 

And now after the conquest of Persia by the 
Arabians, all the stores of that garner of culture 
came pouring into the western world through Damascus 
Aleppo, Alexandria, skirting round the fringe of Africa, 
and so on through Tripoli and Morocco into Spain, 
where they hung for a time in the air, it may be, till 
the establishment of the Ommiade Caliphs at Cordova 
gave them a centre, whence they were easily diffused 
through Europe. And not to speak of the other 
wealths of musical art, there were sixty-one varieties 
of stringed instruments alone, as we have said. And 
the chief of these were of the Lute kind — the Great 
Lute, " El Oud," in the Arabic, which became the 
Spanish '' Lauciol' the Italian '' Liiito," the French 
" LutJi" the German " Laute," the English " Lute," and 
which in its turn was the Persian '' UEoud'' And 
the Arabians made it as the Persians made it (or in 
other words, it was the same instrument), that is, with 
four strings, which strange to say were often double 
ones, and with a large rounded back to the sound- 
board. And it had three rosettes instead of one — 
one large one in the ordinary place, and two smaller 
ones above it, and the head was turned sharply 


down at the nut, so as to make a most pronounced 
angle with the neck ; ^ — the KuiTRA, which became 
the Spanish Guitarra, the ItaHan Chitarra, the French 
Guitave, the EngHsh Guitar, and was, in its turn, 
the Persian Sitar, or Schtdreh, and the Indian Sitar 
likewise. And the name in Persian means " four 
strings," and this was the number of strings on the 
Kuitra. And it was somewhat smaller than the Lute, 
and differed from it in having a flat back to its 
sound-board, and in having its head almost straight 
with its neck. And it had two rosettes instead of 
three — they were side by side — though, in the form 
we know it, it has but one rosette. And its strings, 
which we know as six in number, were then only four, 
as we have said. Now there is a Kuitra described 
by Arabic writers of the nth century with five 
strings : ^ — the Tambura, which became the Spanish 
Tambor, the Italian Tamburo, the French Tambour, 
was distinguished from the Lute in being much 
smaller, in having a shorter and rounder belly, a 
longer neck, and no rosette ; also its strings passed 
through a ring instead of over a bridge.^ Now this 
is one of the most interesting of all the instruments, 
as its name denotes, and one of those primitive and 
slender kinds that we spoke of as paving the way 
for the Double Lute, or Violin. For it has but two 
long strings, and the Little Tambura,^ a variety of 
it, has but one.^ And the Little Tambura is the 
very instrument which seems to have given rise to 

1 Ali of Ispahan. Liber Cantilenarum. fol. 52. 
= Id. 

3 See the elaborate description of the Modem Tambura in F6tis. 
II. For the ancient instrument, Ali. loc. cit. 

* La Borde's 7th variety. Essai sur la Musique. I. 380. 
6 lb. 


the Violin, for unlike the Larger Tambura it is not 
plucked by the fingers, but played by a bow, and 
the bow is so like the Little Tambura itself there is 
no distinguishing one from the other. Now we have 
said that the name, Tambura, was a most interesting 
one. For what is it but the ancient name, Patidura, 
appearing in Metathesis? For converting it, Tambura 
Bamhtra, the latter readily gives by the ordinary 
change of consonants '• Pandura," as its identical name. 
And the PAN-dura, which was the linguistic development 
of the simpler Kan or Ben, was that most primitive 
instrument of our race, which we have before studied, 
in the " Lyre Period," and it appears again under 
the self-same name, and as a second time the father 
of a species. Now the Tambura, in its greater or 
Single Lute form, is the Indian Toumura,^ as the 
identity of name implies; but in its Double Lute, or 
Violin form, that is, the Little Tambura, it is to be 
identified with the Indian Ravanastroji, which differs 
only in being bigger \^ in which two lutes have 
evidently been joined, for the bow of the Ravanastron 
is so like the Ravanastron itself, that there is no 
distinguishing one from the other : — the Sewuri, which 
is a species of lute with four strings, but much smaller 
than the Great Lute, though shaped like it with 
rounded sounding-board, and its strings were of steel 
wire •? — the Beglama, which is a species of Tambura 
with a short neck. It had three strings, and unlike 
the Tambura they passed over a bridge instead of 
through a ring.4 These were some of the chief 
instruments of the Lute kind. Of the Violin kind, 

' According to some, there is also a Tambura in Hindostan. 

* Fetis. II. 291. 

3 La Borde. Essai sur la Musique. I. 380. 

* lb. 


there was the Little Tambura, that we have mentioned, 
the nearly fledged violin, and there was the Rebab, 
the perfect viohn. And the Rebab was made with 
a long narrow body of cocoa-nut - wood, and with a 
sounding-board of skin stretched over a frame ^ And 
it looks hke a lute that is all neck, with a little drum 
fastened at its back. Such is the Rebab, and, without 
its drum, the Rebab and its bow are so alike, that 
there is no distinguishing one from the other. And 
it is evident that the Rebab has been at one time 
a Double Lute ; but why the little drum is fastened 
at the back, is to give resonance to the strings. The 
Lyra. Most strange is the introduction of this name 
among Arabian instruments, nor can we give much 
account of the matter ; but stranger still is the 
instrument it designates, for it is most like the Crwth 
of the Anglo-Saxons, and seems to be a violin that 
has developed from the classical Lyre,^ as we hinted 
that perhaps the Crwth itself was. The name, if 
nothing else, would point to such an origin ; and this 
would merit extended inquiry, were it not that some 
say, having evidence for their words, that the Lyra 
was indeed the Grecian Lyre, and having come in its 
original shape from medieval Greece to Arabia had 
the bow applied to it after the pattern of the Rebab 
and other instruments, and that it is a late and 
artificial species of the violin form. The Rave. Its 
name will remind us of the Indian Ravanastron, 
though in shape it resembles the Rebab. It is to be 
identified with the Persian Kemangeli, having like it 
a foot to stand on, being played violoncello-wise, 
which also was the case with the Rebab itself.3 The 

' La Borde. loc. cit. - La Borde. !oc. cit, 

^ Ali of lsa]ihnn. Lib Cant. fol. 69. 


Marabba. With the Marabba we are introduced 
to a new family of violins, which were the rivals 
of the rebabs ; and had their rivalry been a 
successful one, most strange would have been the 
shape of our violin to-day. For the Marabba had 
a neck like a lute, but a sound-board shaped like 
a great spade, though broader at the bottom than 
the top, and it had a leg to stand on, and was 
played violoncello - wise. It had one string only, 
and the spade-like sounding-board was made of skin 
stretched on a frame.^ Most strange therefore 
would the shape of our violin have been to-day, 
had the Marabba family of violin gained the 
ascendancy. Yet that the Marabba had some 
influence in giving its ultimate form to the Violin 
we cannot deny, for the pear - shaped form which 
the Violin took afterwards among the Moorish makers 
of Spain, though owing its pear shape undoubtedly 
to the Little Tambura, owed its flatness, perhaps, to 
their reminiscences of the Marabba ; for it is strange 
that the Rebab, so powerful in influencing the 
instrument's growth, had little or no weight in 
determining its form. The ROTTE. This was a 
violin of the Rebab family, with two or three strings.^ 
And these that we have given are the chief of 
the Lutes and Violins that the Arabians introduced 
into Europe. They in their turn had received them 
from the Persians ; and now we must speak of 
the Dulcimers and Lyres which were the Arabians' 
own. For neither is a Lute to be found in Semitic 
Arabia, nor a Lyre through the whole length of 
Aryan India and Persia,^ but each race keeps to 

1 La Boide. Essai &c. I. 380. 

2 Kiesewetter. Die Musik der Arab. 

3 This fact is happily demonstrated by Fetis. 


their own. But for that the indigenous Dulcimers 
and Lyres, which the Arabians introduced, were of 
very small influence in European music, we shall 
only mention the chief in each class. And there 
were 15 varieties of them, as we have said, and of 
the Lyres the chief was the Great Semitic Lyre, 
which we have often described before, with seven 
strings, and now sometimes eight ; ^ and of the 
Dulcimers, the Kanoon, which was a flat dulcimer 
with strings of wire. ^ 

All these instruments came swarming into Europe 
through the port of Spain, and we have seen the 
most prominent of them already in the hands of 
our European jongleurs, but now are beholding them 
amid that great and wonderful race, who were the 
carriers of art and culture to a benighted world, — 
the Arabians of the Middle Ages. For while Europe 
was plunged in the profoundest darkness, that is, 
about the 8th century of our era, the Caliphs of 
Bagdad held a refined and dazzling court at their 
luxurious capital, monarchs of a united empire which 
extended from the Ganges on the east to its 
westernmost limit at Tangiers on the west coast of 
Africa, and comprised within its boundaries the 
countries of India, Persia, Syria, Arabia, the most 
fertile districts of Africa, that is to say, Egypt, with 
the whole of Barbary and Algeria ; while the 
luxuriousness of their court was imitated, and even 
rivalled by the Ommiade Caliphs of Spain. To 
journey from one end to the other of this immense 
empire required continuous travelling for nearly a 
whole year to accomplish it, and a caravan, starting 
from Morocco in the sultry heat of an African 

1 Kiesewetter. Die Musik, &c. - Id. 


spring, would have arrived at the borders of Tartary, 
when sleet and fog were announcing the approach of 
winter to the merchants of Samarcand. Meanwhile 
there was yet India to trace, and at their back, and 
still untouched, the rival empire of the Spanish 
Caliphs, whose rich domains embraced Portugal, 
Andalusia, Granada, Murcia, Valencia, and most of 
New Castile. And the centre and meeting-place of 
all the wealth and luxury was the great city of 
Bagdad, which for the time being was the mart 
of the world. It received from caravans the 
manufactures and produce of Persia, Kurdistan, 
Armenia, and Asia Minor ; the wares of Egypt and 
Africa came pouring in through a series of bazars, 
that extended in an almost unbroken line from 
Grand Cairo to its gates ; while argosies, unlading at 
the port of Balsora, despatched in fleets of boats up 
the Tigris the muslins of Bengal, the spices of Ceylon, 
sandal wood from Malabar, silks from Mousul, gold 
and silver stuffs from the looms of Surat, pearls from 
Baharen, and coffee from Mocha, Such was the 
populousness of the place, that a public festival could 
be attended by eight hundred and sixty thousand 
men and women of Bagdad and the adjoining district ; 
and such was the wealth and luxury of the Caliphs, 
that the Caliph Mahdi, in a single pilgrimage to 
Mecca, expended six millions of dinars of gold. His 
train of camels laden with snow astonished the natives 
of Arabia, and refreshed the flowers and liquors of 
the royal banquet. His grandson, Almamon, gave 
away two million and a half gold dinars before he 
drew his foot from the stirrup, and at the nuptials 
of the same prince, a thousand pearls of the largest 
size were showered on the head of the bride. The 
great palace of the Caliphs in Bagdad had thirty- 

L L 


eight thousand pieces of tapestry hanging on its walls, 
twelve thousand five hundred of which were of silk, 
embroidered with gold. The carpets on the floor 
were twenty-two thousand in number. And among 
the other decorations of rare and stupendous luxury 
was a Musical Tree, made of gold and silver. Its 
glittering foliage spread into eighteen large branches, 
on which, and on the lesser boughs, sat a multitude 
of birds made of the same precious metals. While 
the machinery affected spontaneous motion, the birds 
warbled their natural harmony.^ 

But it was in the reign of Almamon's predecessor, 
the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, that the art of music 
attained its highest perfection in this capital of the 
world. And to consider in what the perfection of 
the Arabian Music consisted, we must consider what 
the Music itself was. And it was the purest type 
of a Vocal Music that we have met since the days 
when we studied the same Semitic music among the 
ancient Hebrews. Hence the ready welcome which the 
Arabians gave to stringed instruments — the perpetual 
consorts of the art of song ; and the highest precepts 
of their theorists aspire no higher than this. " To 
be a good musician," says one, " it is necessary to 
make your hearers understand the words as you chant 
them." 2 "A good musician," says Ali of Ispahan, 
"will have at his fingers' ends a hundred pieces of 
poetry, and countless songs, both humourous and 
melancholy. He will have a fluent tongue, and a 
copious comimand of speech; and he will be a good 
grammarian, and know how to form his sentences 

1 Gerbert (De Cantu. II.) gives a fanciful illustration of this tree, 
whicli Gibbon describes. 

* Ibn Chaldun, in Fundgraben des Orients. II. 


properly."! Another praises a clear pronunciation, 
another an abundant wit, another a refined sentiment.^ — 
so that it is plain that in the language even more 
than the music did the music lie, and that the Arabian 
conception of the art is even too freely defined by 
the use of the term, Song. The typical Arabian 
minstrel was the same then that he is now, who 
comes to the courts of the houses, and extemporises 
poems and recitations, among which must not be 
forgotten the crowd of compliments which he showers 
on the master of the house, and the gallant speeches 
he makes to the ladies, beginning with the stock formula, 
" Shut your eyelids, ye eyes of the gazelle." 3 

Now we have compared the Arabian Music to that 
of the Hebrews, and in one respect they were very 
like indeed, that is to say, in the prominence which 
both gave to the voice and to Language. But in 
other respects they were entirely different, for the 
Arabian music was no expression of exalted sentiment, 
or messenger of the religious impulse, as we found 
to be the case with those ancient Semites, but 
entirely Secular and worldly, a toy of gallantry, a 
refined amusement, and, so far from partaking in the 
religious feelings, divorced and alienated from religion 
altogether. The practical spirit of Mahomet had 
from the first set itself in opposition to that unbending 
and relaxing of the soul, which we call Music. " Your 
prayers," said he to the people of Mecca, "if music 
form a part of them, will end but in piping and 
hand-clapping." And elsewhere he denounces it in 
these terms, " Music and singing cause hypocrisy to 
grow in the heart, as water makes corn to grow." 

1 Lib. Cant. * lb. 

3 Fctis. Histoire, II. p. 107. 


So there was no music in the Mahometan Heaven, 
and the houris, though made of pure musk, and 
dwelling in houses of hollow pearls, were constrained 
to waste their dalliance in an eternal silence. And 
on earth, in the same way, there was no music in 
the mosques ; even bells were disallowed, to call the 
faithful to prayer ; and the muezzin must needs mount 
the minaret to do that duty with his voice, which 
other nations, less rigid in their rulings, have assigned 
unsuspiciously to instruments of harmony. Thus 
banished from its natural and ennobling liaison with 
religion, music became to the Moslems an illicit 
pleasure, like wine was ; and it grew up amid myrtle 
blossoms and the laughter of women, and became 
most like to its companions. Frowned at and execrated 
by the earlier followers of Mahomet, it was next 
connived at, and at last could appear in public 
places, and even before the caliph himself. For in 
the days of the earlier caliphs, we read how, agreeably 
to the law of Mahomet which forbade the practice 
of music, a young man was apprehended with a lute 
in his possession. Brought before the judgment seat, 
the caliph asked him what that thing was. The 
young man replied : " Commander of the faithful, it is 
called a lute. It is made by taking some of the 
wood of the pistachio tree, and cutting it into thin 
pieces, and gluing them together, and then attaching 
over them some cords ; and when a beautiful girl 
touches these cords, they give forth sounds more 
beautiful than the sound of rain falling on a desert 
land." I 

But by the time of the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, 
all such restrictions had passed away, and the art 

1 Lane's Arabians of the Middle Ages. 


was cultivated freely by the whole world, though still 
in the secular sphere alone. And the principal 
musicians at the Court of Haroun were Ibrahim of 
Mossoul and Ishak, his son, Zobeir Ibn Dahman, Jesid 
Haura, El Garid of Mecca, and Ebn Sorcidschuma, 
his rival,^ together with the famous musicians, Serjab, 
and his pupil, Mousali,^ who, though we hear but 
little of him by comparison with others, is yet said 
to have been the most famous musician of the East.^ 
And of these the patriarch was Ibrahim of Mossoul, 
whose life was chiefly passed and his fame secured 
in the reign of the Caliph Mahdi, Haroun's father ; 
and in the reign of Haroun himself, his position was 
that of reverend ancestor of the other musicians, 
most of whom had owed their instruction to him. 
Yet he still exercised the strongest influence, as we 
shall see, and was emphatically the Court musician 
of the time.'* Zobeir Ibn Dahman was born at 
Medina, and went to the Court of Bagdad along 
with his brother Abdallah. The following incident 
brought him into notice : The Caliph, smitten with 
the charms of one of his favourite slaves, composed 
a piece of poetry to her, and desired the musicians 
of his Court to set it to music. More than twenty 
melodies were made, yet none pleased the Caliph so 
well as Zobeir's, who accordingly received the prize, 
and a reward of 20,000 dirhems. On another occasion 
the same Zobeir received 50,000 dirhems for one 
song, and being told to demand whatever further 
reward he wished, he asked for a country house ; but 

1 These with many more are enumerated in Ali of Ispahan. 

2 Id. 

3 Lane's Arabians of the Middle Ages. 

* In history and in fiction ahke, this position seems assigned him. 


the Caliph gave him two villages.^ Such were the 
lavish recompenses that were bestowed on the musicians, 
and amid such princely patronage we cannot wonder 
that the art of music speedily reached its highest 
perfection. Of one musician at the Court we are 
told that he sang so sweetly some fell into a trance 
before him ;2 and of El Garid and Ebn Sorcidschuma, 
the two rival singers, both excellent and both 
enchanting, we hear that a lady could find no other 
thing to compare them to than the pearls and gems 
which are hung round the neck of a beautiful girl, all 
of the finest water, and all so alike that there is no 
choosing between them.3 

Now the first musician who brought female singers 
into the harems was Jesid Haura,^ whose name we 
have already mentioned. Up till then only male 
singers were allowed admission there, and they were 
compelled to sing behind screens and awnings ; and 
with this cumbrous arrangement the Arabians were 
well content till the time of Haroun, when greater 
freedom in all things seemed to develop itself, and 
the ungainly partition of the music saloons was done 
away with, and singers, who could no longer shock 
the fair audience with their persons, filled the interiors 
of the seraglios. With a looseness for which he has 
often been reprehended, Haroun ordered that, during 
performance, female singers should always expose 
their faces.S Perhaps his design was to please the 
senses by beholding the emotional play of the features, 
in a style of song where all was emotion and passion ; 

1 F^tis. II. 13. sq. 

' The effect of music on the hearers is well illustrated in Power's 
History of the Mahometan Empire in Spain. 

3 Anecdotes Arabes. Paris. 1752. i. * Ali of Ispahan, fol. 67. 

^ Lane's Notes to the Arabiah Nights. I. 203. 


perhaps he intended by the regulation to deter the 
more modest from a life, which must soon lead to 
depravity and ruin. Whatever were the reason, the 
regulation was productive of the very effect he dreaded, 
and the female singers of Bagdad were notoriously 
of the class of courtesans. Dokak, Dinamir and 
Kalem - ess - Salihijeh, were the more famous among 
them, and the latter, who was an elegant player on 
the lute, was bought by her possessor for 10,000 
pieces of gold.^ But the most celebrated of all was 
the singer, Oreib, who besides a singer was a profound 
musician, a poetess, a composer, a wit, and the most 
skilful player on the lute of her time. It is related 
that she knew by heart 21,000 melodies, any one of 
which she could at a moment deliver either on the 
strings or with her voice ; and the faculty of learning 
a tune immediately after hearing it added daily to 
the stores of her memory. Her history reads like a 
romance. She was bought when very young by 
Abdallah ben Ismail, but was carried off from him 
by a gallant, who kept her for six months a close 
prisoner in his house in the country. At the end 
of this time she escaped, and fled back to Bagdad, 
where she supported herself by playing the lute in 
the public gardens. One day she was surprised in 
her occupation by her former master, Abdallah, who 
had her beaten with rods for her elopement, but 
afterwards in remorse gave her 10,000 dirhems. Next 
she was bought by the Caliph for his seraglio 2— but 
her adventures, which are but half concluded, and 
which have the merit of representing the typical life 
of the Bagdad singing-girls of the time, would cease 
to interest by reason of the repetition of elopements, 

1 Fetis. 13. sq. ' Anecdotes Arabes. Paris. 


captures, and sales which make them up. Now 
before the fashion of introducing these singers into 
the harems had begun, the practice of employing 
women singers at banquets and festivities had already 
commenced in Mecca. Abdalla ben dschudan was 
the first to begin it,i and the two female singers he 
bought to decorate his banquets were known in 
Mecca as "The two Grasshoppers i"^ and he was 
fain to keep open house while he possessed them, 
such was the rage to hear their voices. And after 
him, Jabala ben el aiham, also of Mecca, multiplied 
the number of performers. He had ten women 
lute-players and five women singers at his banquets, 
and we are told that the floor was sprinkled with 
myrtle, jasmine, and other fragrant flowers ; precious 
odours in gold and silver vases were carried round ; 
if it were winter, logs of sandal wood were burnt 
in the fire, if it were summer, snow was piled in 
heaps at each corner of the apartment.^ Yet these 
displays of luxury were nothing to the magnificence 
that surrounded the music of the caliph. Preceded 
by a hundred flambeaux of white wax, borne in the 
hands of as many young eunuchs, who were followed 
by a hundred more, with naked and glittering scimitars, 
the brightness of which almost rivalled that of the 
flambeaux themselves, the caliph moved to the music 
saloon of his palace, where at the end of a great 
hall, twinkling with a thousand lustres, and ablaze 
in its walls and ceiling with all the colours of the 
rainbow, a broad platform stood thronged with singing- 
women and lute-players. At his entrance they 
touched their instruments, and tinkling sounds rippled 

1 Ali of Ispahan. Procemium. * Ali of Isp. p. 6. 

5 lb. 

CHAPTER m. 521 

in thousands through the spacious hall, while the 
caliph took his seat among the ladies of his harem. 
A constant succession of choral singing and playing 
was varied by the efforts of soloists, and the most 
beautiful voices were tuned in their best melody, for 
it was well known that nothing excellent would go 
unrewarded. And later in the evening the dancing 
girls came in, dancing in scores through the spacious 
hall, like flakes of snow falling, or a flock of white 
doves let loose to fly, while lutes and violins, in 
sweeps of music, tempered them to time and tune. 
And shall we say those light gazelles, the dancing 
girls who tripped and flew, the coryphees who started 
out from this delightful company — the dances of the 
single dancers, who fluttered like houris in wreaths 
of gauzy silk — these things which fable delights to 
report we must leave for fable to dilate upon,^ and 
pass from the Caliph's Music Halls to the music of 
the life beyond him. For if music was, a luxury 
and a dissipation in his palace, so was it equally 
among all the citizens of Bagdad. In their gardens, 
perfumed with roses, and refreshed with fountains and 
tinkling waterfalls, they sat in the summer's evening 
beneath the boughs of fig trees and pomegranate 
trees, listening to the delightful warblings of the lute, 
or while some singer poured his extemporised 
strains, in which the wit and now the melancholy 
alternately excited the laughter or sighs of the 
company. And as the added accompaniment to the 
delightful concert, yet still essential to it, there were 
wines, and odours, and aloes wood, and orange 
blossoms, and rose water sprinkled on the hair, and 

1 The descriptions of fiction may well be utilised, where history 
ceases to describe. 


ambergris in censers burning near, and flowers of 
every hue. For what says the poet ? 

" Dost thou not see four things must be when music is afoot, 
The lute, the dainty dulcimer, the light guitar, the flute ? 
For these 'tis meet four odours sweet in contrast we oppose, 
The myrtle flower and violet, the lily, and the rose. 
Yet even these must fail to please, unless four more com- 
A garden rare, a mistress fair, gold cups, and ruddy wine." ' 

And another in the same way sings, " What go with 
wine and the lute? The jasmine, the eglantine, the 
orange flower, the lily, sweet basil, wild thyme, the 
lotus, the pomegranate flower, the poppy, the crocus, 
flax blossoms, and almond blossoms." ^ And, "Wine 
is the body," sings another, " Music is the soul ; and 
joy is their offspring."^ And as the mate of wine 
and laughter, and very queen of all delights, did 
Music live in Bagdad. And at the Rose Season, 
which lasted for two full months every summer, 
when all the gardens in that city of gardens were in 
bJoom, they would take perpetual holiday, and abandon 
themselves to the irresistible delights of fragrance and 
sweet sound. And many would wear rose-coloured 
clothes during the time, and they would have roses 
festooned in thousands about their chambers, and the 
very carpets on the floors sprinkled with rose-water. 
And this is the song that went round in the gardens, 
and the lute twittered its melodious accompaniment, 
" The season has become pleasant. The time of the 
Rose is come. Drink your wine in the mornings 

1 From the Arabian Nights. "The Porter and the Three Ladies of 
Bagdad." (Original version.) 
* Quoted in "The Porter and the Three Ladies." (Orig. version.) 
3 lb. 


and enjoy the sunlight, as long as the Rose has 

And let us be present at one of these delightful 
concerts ; and entering the gate of the house into the 
court, for all the houses alike had verdant courts in 
their centre and the house itself ranged round it, we 
shall see a balcony and awnings to it, and gilded 
minarets, and private rooms with curtains hung before 
them, and in the midst of the court a sheet of water, 
and a fountain throwing up its spray. And since 
this is a sumptuous dwelling of one of the upper 
class, at the end of the court a raised dais of cypress 
wood set with gems, with a curtain festooned in front 
of red damask silk, the buttons of it pearls as large 
as nuts or larger. This is filled with musicians, whose 
melodious music serves to fill up the time, till all 
the guests have arrived, and the collation over, and 
the wine passed round, the freedom of the party has 
begun. Then they depart, and the guests are left 
alone. And there they sit beneath the afternoon sun, 
laughing and conversing in a circle round the water's 
rim, till at last a proposal is made for music to add 
its charms to the general delight. Then one of the 
damsels arises, and takes down a bag of damask silk, 
with green cords to it and two tasselled balls of 
gold drooping from their ends, from a pin in the 
wall where it had been hanging. And she unties 
the bag, and takes from it a lute fit to accompany 
singing, and she tunes the strings, and • tightens the 
pegs, and leaning it against her bosom she begins to 
sing. And all is hushed as she sings, for her voice 
is softer than the zephyrs, and more sweet than the 

* Hammer Purgstall in Fundgraben des Orients. II. 


waters of Paradise, Then each of the other maidens 

in the company stand op, and taking each an instrument 

they break forth into sosig. And as tiiq^ look at 

their kjvers, ^mey see them lost to existence. And 

now a Jorer takes tflie hitc, and, lorfdng at his mistress, 

he sn^ of a maid kiv^ in a>untenanc£, her eyes 

edited vilii kdln; her kx^ loi^ and dark black, 

wiA. poutii^ 1^ and p e r fe c t in her shape, as if she 

were sooie fidie grac efti l branchlet or the slender 

szi. \ ::' 5. sweet plant, to daze and bewilder the 

- ^ r :::-!. ** Dost thon miderstaQd," he asks, " what 

i. ; Nay!" ^le says, "bat I am del^hted even 

:.-.e beaaity of thy fii^gers." Now night drops her 

.r.r -::r. them, and the moon comes out and the 

: : -:_ng stars. And still they sing and dally by the 

S"Qch was the music and such were the delights at 
Ziriii r :.-'.- days of flie Cai^b Haroun-al-R aschkL^ 
-J 1 : t ._:i, that aB could play, was that same 
?t : 1 :h2: ^e hav^e told erf befiove. And it 

-...'^iz ;: : t : -one pieces cf maple wood, glued 
: :rf..:-er, and ^tzr^TLztz from one another by twenty 
-.ir_.r :f oi Sl Lude wood. The face was flat with 
;:L:tt iz^itztos in it, and liie back was full and roimd, 
^z.z the strings were of catgut, and the nut, where 
zr^ty mm down between the pegs and the neck, was 

Tijf BDcol Ttfp of t-Kf rrmp ^ best fflastratsd irasn t^hp As-sMroiHripg 
of ±:t_:i. IPifli is^eI feD t&e MiS Mw itfiM of the >JTtaM! on Ae hesoas, 

Zlit ::_:'"j:r TSSagC ftom Ife. JctSBH^ ^Ot^ to ^'fa^ Araflar u mti nm 

d: -It r:::-i:,^i and Otae Ji^fe asaf lie gaodsd: "Tiw efixt 
r:-::-:r: :^ :: lz_'; ^pcm £he people of tlie East E vtbem xt*f 
: : ~ r-;_. _ ; i ..i i sr no resLraiiit. they give "way to ti»e ■! ■■■n mn un 

.-Lj-S --S. iii. 



» X^ 3>- 

^foe pacsTtHEagc 

Jinaa aH pK^ tz 


^ .afi dr 



gained at the cost of often weary pilgrimages : of 
whom the chief was Mabed. 

He was a native of Medina, and his earlier life 
seems to have been passed in wanderings, much in 
the manner of Ebn Musaddschidsch's, though afterwards 
he received the patronage he merited at one of the 
caliphs' courts. And he tells his story in his own 
words, and it gives us a marvellous insight into the 
minstrel life of Arabia, and shows us how earnest and 
disinterested were these early men in their devotion 
to music, and also what shifts they were reduced to, 
to gain the knowledge of it. " When I had given 
myself up to singing," says he, " and the fame of my 
singing had made some noise in Medina, and not 
only in Medina, but also through many parts of 
Arabia, and I began to obtain glory in the world, 
I said to myself, ' I will go to Mecca, that I may 
hear the singers who are there, and sing my songs 
to them, and in this way arrive at a knowledge of 
their style.' For my soul burned with the desire of 
knowledge, and I was anxious to gain acquaintance 
with all kind of singing, that I might become great. 
So I bought an ass, and rode to Mecca. And when 
I got there, I sold my ass, and asked in what place 
the singers wont principally to assemble. And the 
people said to me, ' At Koaikian, in the house of 
a certain man.' So I went to the house of this 
man early in the morning, and knocked at the doors. 
But he said 'Who is there?' I said, 'Come and see. 
And may God preserve you!' He coming opened 
the door, and asked me who I was. I answered, ' A 
man of Medina.' Then said he, 'What do you 
seek ?' I answered, * I am a man who is delighted 
with singing, and I imagine myself to have some 
trifling skill in this art, and having heard that the 


singers of Mecca are accustomed to assemble in your 
house, I have come to hear them. Wherefore I beg 
you to admit me to this assemblage, and give me 
the opportunity of sitting near you, for little trouble 
shall I cause you, and what I hear will profit me 
much.' Then the man said, ' Come in, then, and 
welcome ! ' So I went at the hour appointed, and 
sat down near them. And the singers came in one 
by one, till they had all assembled. They did not 
take my presence kindly, and asked, 'Who is that 
man ? ' But the master of the house said, ' He is 
a man of Medina, a lover of song, and he comes 
here only for his own enjoyment. He is neither a 
spy on you, nor is he an enemy, but a man of 
peace who wishes you well' Having heard this, 
they bade me welcome, and we talked together. 
Next they joked, and drank, and sang. But I was 
delighted with their singing, and I told them so, 
and they were delighted at my words. When we 
had passed some days in this manner, I learnt some 
of their songs, from hearing them sing them, yet 
without them perceiving it ; and then others, and 
then others. Then I said to the host, * Hear me 
sing ! ' and he said * Surely you cannot sing } ' I 
said, ' You shall hear, and perhaps at the same time 
I will compose something.' So I began, and, putting 
forth all my powers, I sang a song. Then he and all 
of them cried out, * You have sung well, may Allah 
save thee ! ' And then I said, ' Hear another song 
then ! ' So I sang another, and they listened, and 
at the end gave even more applause than before. 
And in this manner I sang to each of them some 
song out of his stock that he had sung before, and 
they were astonished, and said I was a better singer 
than they. And then I said, ' Let me now sing 


you one of my own songs.' Which when they heard, 
they redoubled their applause ; and I sang them another, 
and another, and another. And they fell on my 
neck, and said ' We pray thee by Allah ! for thou 
art a man who has won fame doubtless heretofore, and 
art plainly a proficient in the art of song, tell us. who 
thou art ? ' And I said, ' I am Mabed of Medina.' On 
hearing this they gave me hearty praise, and kissed 
my head, and said, ' We have indeed heard your 
name, but did not know thou wert so great a singer. 
Tarry with us yet awhile, and we will spend pleasant 
times together.' So I tarried with them a whole 
month, busied with learning songs of them, and they 
learnt songs of me. After this I returned to Medina."^ 
This however was but the first of his wanderings, 
and we hear of him in Syria, and Persia, and under 
the burning suns of Egypt, still wandering, and 
gathering from all quarters the lore of his art. And 
meanwhile the excellence of his singing had increased 
to such a height, that wonders are reported of it. 
It is said that people fell into a trance as he sang, 
and let us hear a story from his own lips, that 
wears the aspect of the soberest truth.^ " Hot was 
the day and sultry, Allah forgive me for complaining! 
but the sun was beating down from mid heaven, and 
I was on my camel in the Ethiopian desert, with 
my lute before me, and I was sore fatigued, and 
almost dead with thirst. And I came to the tent 
of an Ethiopian, who had water-pots at the door of 
his tent. But he was a boorish man, who would 
neither let me enter his tent, nor taste the water at 

1 AH of Ispahan's Life of Mabed. Ali's life is plainly an edition 
of some genuine autobiography. 

2 Ali's Life of Mabed. 


his door. So I got off my camel, and rested 
outside in the shade, and took my kite, and began 
to sing. And in a Httle while the man ran out 
and said, ' Oh ! servant of Allah, come into the 
tent, and take of the water and some barley meal 
to mix with it. and tarry with me till your 
weariness is over.' But I said, 'A cup of water is 
sufficient for me. I will not receive more at your 
hands.' And having drunk a little water, I went on 
my way." And in course of time Mabed came to 
the Caliph's court, and he became a musician in the 
family of the Barmecides. And his renown began to 
spread through all the East. And his most celebrated 
songs were seven in number, and they were known 
as the " Seven Castles," for when some one had said 
to him, "Koteiba ben Moslim has taken by storm 
seven castles or seven states in Khorassan, in each of 
of which a castle was built, that up till now had 
been deemed impregnable," Mabed answered " I have 
composed seven tunes, each of which is more difficult 
than the storming of those castles. "^ 

Such were the early minstrels, who, though not 
enjoying such liberal recompense as the later ones we 
have mentioned, may yet be supposed to have 
equalled them, or even exceeded them in skill. And 
among the rest of the minstrel tribe we must not 
forget those strange itinerants, the Calenders, who 
were a sort of half mendicant, half minstrel, and 
would call at the gates of houses, and perform songs 
and dances for alms. They carried no instruments 
with them, but were supplied with what they needed 
by the people of the house, and the Persian lute, 
the Arabian lyre, the Tartar pipe, and the Egyptian 

* Ali. loc, cit. 

M M 


dulcimer would generally meet their requirements ; ^ 
and these instruments were often kept in the porter's 
lodge of houses, on purpose to serve the turn of 
the Calenders.2 For they were most amusing 
performers, and their odd appearance, which was 
increased by their beard and whiskers being closely 
shaven, was always sufficient even of itself to provoke 
a laugh.3 

Now we have seen the condition of the Arabian 
minstrels rise by degrees from that of wanderers in 
the early times, till by the days of Haroun-al-Raschid 
and in the persons of Ibrahim of Mossoul, Zobeir, 
Ibn Dahman, Jesid Haura, and others, they became 
the companions of princes, and received such liberal 
rewards as we have said. Now the two most famous 
of these courtly^ musicians we have not yet spoken 
of, namely, Serjab, and his pupil, Mousali, who is 
reckoned on all hands the most famous musician of 
the East ; for their history leads us away from 
Bagdad to other climes and other courts, and brings 
us into connection with the music of Europe — for 
which reason we have deferred mentioning them till 
now. For Serjab, the most skilful musician at the 
court of Bagdad, and beloved by the Caliph, fell a 
victim to the jealousy of Ibrahim of Mossoul, whose 
favour was high in the harem, and a series of court 
intrigues were commenced against him, which ended 
in compelling him to bethink him of some other 
patron, and to form the resolution of quitting Bagdad 
for ever. In his difficulty he turned his eyes to the 
rival Caliphs of Spain, and wrote a letter to Abderame 

1 49th Night (orig. version). ^ lb. 

3 Interesting accounts of these wandering mendicants are given in 
the Anecdotes Arabes. Paris. 1752. 


II., requesting the favour of an asylum at his court. 
The petition was granted with more readiness and 
greater Hberality than he could ever have imagined, 
and bidding adieu for ever to the roses and orchards 
of Bagdad, he took ship at Alexandria, and arrived 
in due course at Algesira in Valencia in Spain, from 
whence he was conducted by a large retinue of 
officers and domestics, that had been sent to meet 
him, to the glittering court of Cordova.^ 

Now at Cordova the magnificence of Bagdad did 
but repeat itself The wealth of the Spajiish Caliphs 
was even more exuberant than that of their Eastern 
rivals, for if Bagdad was the mart of the merchandise 
of the East, the territories comprised in the younger 
caliphate yielded natural resources far beyond the 
requirements of its princes. We seem to be 
transported to the region of legend, when we read 
of the mines of gold and silver ; the iron, loadstone 
and crystal that was quarried from the rocks ; the 
amber, ambergris and sulphur that could be picked 
up in profusion from the soil. Silks, oils, sugar, 
cochineal, saffron and ginger were the easy produce 
of the fields ; coral was collected on the shores of 
Andalusia; pearl fisheries of immense value existed 
off the coast of Catalonia ; and there were two mines 
of rubies, one at Malaga, the other at Beja. These 
resources of natural wealth brought vast opulence to 
their prince. A small tax even on the 12,000 
towns and villages, which lined the basin of the 
Guadalquivir, would have returned an enormous 
revenue ; but from the whole of his populous 
dominions, an income flowed into the Caliph's coffers 
of 160 millions annually. Into this land of wealth 

1 Fetis' Epitome of the Life of Seijab. Histoire. II. 


and luxury, then, did Seijab come ; and he who at 
Bagdad was almost driven to beg his bread, received 
at Cordova a settlement of 30,000 dinars of gold and 
300 measures of wheat, which was to be paid him, 
year by year, by the treasurer of the royal 
exchequer.! - 

Now in their patronage of art the Caliphs of 
Cordova evinced purer and more exalted principles 
than their Bagdad rivals, for while the latter to the 
last merely fostered and favoured music as one more 
rose in the chaplet of enjoyment, the Caliphs of 
Cordova gave serious and sj^stematic encouragement 
to its professors, preferring those learned in its science 
to those merely versatile in its art, and endeavouring 
to repeat in their relations to music the same grave 
patronage which they extended to literature. For 
by their assistance seventy great libraries had sprung 
up in the various cities of Spain,^ and the Arabian 
doctors and philosophers of Cordova, who reached 
their height in Averroes, were already the leaders of 
the thought and culture of the world. It was therefore 
with an ulterior motive beyond the mere enjoyment of 
his melodies, that Serjab had been invited so readily 
to the Spanish capital ; for the caliph, knowing him 
to be a pupil of the patriarch Ibrahim of Mossoul, 
who was the father and prime exponent of all the 
traditions of Eastern music, had conceived that, in 
the absence of Ibrahim himself, Serjab was the 
musician who would next best suit his immediate 
purpose, Avhich was the establishment of a great 
School of Music at Cordova.^ Vested therefore with 

' Cardonne. Histoire de I'Afrique et de I'Espagne. I. 
- Andres. Dell' origine e stato attuale, Sec. I. 182. 
2 Fuertes. Historia de la Musica EsjDanola. I. 11. 


full powers for the performance of his task, and 
supplied with a handsome revenue for all the 
requirements, Serjab commenced his undertaking in a 
spirit far more liberal than we might have been led 
to expect. For side by side he caused to be taught 
not only the Arabian musical system, but also the 
system of the Ancient Greeks,^ which he had learnt 
in his wanderings in Syria, or had received from the 
instructions of his master, Ibrahim. Nor did he 
leave the musical improvements of Modern Europe 
out of sight in his scheme, but engaged two professors 
to teach the Harmony of Hucbald,- as we have 
described it before in these pages. Here then beneath 
the shadow of the Music School of Cordova arose 
those celebrated Doctors and musicians, Farabio 
Mahomet, Alfarabi, Mousali, Moheb, Abil, Vadil, Ben 
Zaidan, and others,^ whose fame is yet enduring in 
Arabic tradition ; while in imitation of the example 
of the capital, similar Schools in no long time arose 
at Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Toledo, and other 
cities in Mahometan Spain.4 

Now the Arabian musical system, which was first 
organised here, had been the gradual growth of 
centuries, and, though owing much of its formulation 
to the science of the Persians,^ can yet readily be 

' According to Fuertes, there was a definite abandonment of the 
Arabian system, and a substitution of the Greek in its room. I. Cap. 

" "Et duo niagistri legebant de musica de ista arte, qujc dicitur 
Organum," in the words of Virgil. 

3 Fuertes. Historia de la Musica Espanola. I. Cap. II. 

1 lb. 

5 I^Iany of the technical terms in Arabian Music, in some treatises 
all, as in the Treatise of Shamseddin al Saidaoui in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale at Paris, are taken from the Persian language. 


discerned as for the most part an original creation. 
And being the youngest music that we yet have 
studied, for it is not till shortly before the time of 
Mahomet that we get our first accounts of its 
infancy, the consideration of its character will be 
interesting to us, and we shall once more see Speech 
budding into Song, but this time the germination 
will be most apparent. For that period, which is 
so evanescent in most musics, I mean that which 
precedes the assumption of the Diatonic style, when 
the wavering and hesitating voice cannot as yet 
step steadily from tone to tone in the manner we 
understand when we speak of "singing" — this, which 
passes so rapidly as a rule away, was preserved and 
paused over by the Arabians, so as to become the 
basis of their system. Their music consisted not of 
tones, but of fractions of tones ; and their Modes, 
unlike those plastic scales of sound to which the 
Greeks accustomed us, were merely wild swayings of 
the voice within often a narrow compass, such as it 
would easily, fall into in the act of declaiming, from 
which we must suppose that all music, and eminently 
the Arabian, arose. 

For when we first get tidings of that music, that 
is, in the days of ignorance before Mahomet came, 
the Arabian musicians were merely poets,i differing 
in no respect from the ancient Hebrew singers, and, 
what is more remarkable, using precisely the same 
form to express the musical colouring of the thought. 
For they divided their words into equal and parallel 
periods, and, declaiming them thus in exalted tones, 
they satisfied at once the musical feehngs of their 

1 e.g. the singers of the Aloallacat and others, further accounts of 
whom than this bare one do not reach us. 


hearers, and their own.i " He that steps beyond the 
bounds of Nature," says one of the most learned of 
their theorists, "cannot be said to make music, but 
rather folly." 2 And agreeably to this principle did 
their early music grow up, remaining long in the 
bosom of Speech, and, when it emerged, carrying with 
it all the characteristics of its foster - mother. For 
what shall we say of such subdivisions of the simple 


tone as this, which we sing p ^ 1 | , but they 



which wears most evidently 

the impress of spoken language, and which ran 
throughout their entire singing as the normal 
exhibition of the interval? In this way, there was a 
fusion and blending of otherwise separate sounds, 
which to the last presented the aspect of idealised 
Speech rather than of singing, and offered an 
admirable medium for the expression of poetical 
thought and graceful sentiment, in which the genius 
of Arabian music mainly consisted. And the first 
dawnings of a definite system begin with the 
evolution of certain favourite passages, or runs of the 
voice, from the wilderness of Impassioned Speech, 
which little by little put on the conventional form 
which enabled them to pass into Modes or Manners 
of Declamatory Song, And they were six in number 
at first, but were afterwards increased by twelve 
more. And the original six, whose character most 

* Lane's Arabians of the Middle Ages. " This was sufficient to 
satisfy a people passionately fond of poetry, whose first object is to 
understand the meaning of the verses which are chanted." 

* Fundgraben des Orients. II. 



plainly betokens the source whence they have 
proceeded, were these : — ^ 

P It l^ i^ 




'4^ — ^^ — gs- 


i^ i> 

3 -^ 



^Si ^S" ^.^ 




u u 


- 9-(S tg* § ^ 



l^ 1% ' 


-&SI I^Si- 



U l^ 


u It 


:^^ — ^ — tfs2: 


— easy deductions, natural evolutions from spoken 
language, growing more and m.ore like the ordinary 
shape of musical scales as they proceed. And we 
must remember that each progression from tone to 
tone passes through three mtervals, which we have 
ventured to express by our sharp and flat ; and 
remembering that each sharp is but one-third sharp, 

1 Kiesewetter's " Laut-Tonarten." (Die Musik der Araber.) In 
endeavouring to assign historical precedency to these various modes 
the author has only had his speculation to guide him. 


and each flat but one-third flat, and that both must be 
allowed for between every tone, it will be unnecessary 
to write the valuations of these intervals above them 
for the future. Now these strange fractions of intervals 
we must suppose to be the gradual crystallising of 
the fluxions of speech into a conventional musical 
form, and why fractions should be there instead of 
perfect notes is because the Arabians have caught 
the modulations of the Voice and imprisoned them 
in music, earlier than other nations, who allow them 
to faint away, and the subsequent Diatonic style to 
begin, before they rise to the conception of a system. 
And that this precocity of organisation among the 
Arabians was mainly due to the influence of Persian 
science, which met them fully developed at a most 
early period in their history, will appear in the 
course of our description later on. 

And next other Modes, or Manners of Singing, 
twelve in number, were added to these original six ; 
and they are more like the normal form of Mode 
than the latter of those we have enumerated, and 
show most plainly the gradual progress of musical 
theory and skill. And these were the following : — 




-!r> <g- 




1 The J\Iakamat. Kiesewetter's Musik der Arab. 



■Sh Ss*- 


■^ET"!^^ ^' 



^jd .^. &s:r S^ =' 




^e?— K<s 


^ — l^r— o— Jts?- 




-g^: c* ifc?- 

FM^- ■ — n 'tf?=» -— — s' =g^ = 

And the symmetry which is evident In these, compared 
to the former and more primitive ones, not only 
in their assumption of a single tonic but in the 
completeness and fullness of each separate scale, and 
in the extension of every mode between its octaves, 
makes it plain that science has had a large share in 


their formation ; and that it is to the Science of the 
Persians that we must look for this sudden introduction 
of order into the naive elements of Arabian song, is 
equally apparent, when we find six out of the twelve 
names of these modes to be taken from the Persian 
language.^ Also the adoption of the note A for a 
tonic, and therefore the institution of a quasi-Minor 
scale, is another derivative from the Persians,^ who 
doubtless shared this early form of the musical scale 
with their kinsmen, the Greeks, since the Arabian scale 
itself, when fully developed, as we shall afterwards 
see, was of a far more modern pattern, and possessed 
a peculiar and unique characteristic, which has exerted 
a novel and remarkable influence on the music of 

And meanwhile the notes were being named, and the 
Modes also had been named, as we have mentioned 
before. And the names of the notes, agreeably to the 
mathematical genius of Arabic science, were the figures 
of arithmetic, and there being 17 notes in the compass 
of the 8ve and before the repetition of the first one 
began again, these were named i, 2, 3, 4, &c., up to 17, 
and these numbers were applied as a nomenclature 
to the notes with as great freedom and with as 
perfect a signification as to arithmetical quantities 
themselves.3 And the names of the modes were 
eminently poetical ones, and were designed to express 
actually or by metaphor the character of each of the 
several modes themselves. And the names of the 

1 Those of the and, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th. 

2 Unless we regard it as directly borrowed from the system of the 
ancient Greeks by the theorists, of. Fuertes. I. 11. There would 
seem however to be greater difficulties in the way of this supposition 
than of the one in the text. 

3 Ali of Ispahan. Lib. Cant. 



six primitive Modes, or the "Six AwASAT," as they 
were called, were,i 

Q. [ , Shenas, that is, 

of ^^ ^ ;^^^^^ij^^=»^^^ "the flatttery of a 

f King-;" 









, Maje, " the Trea- 
sury of Tones ; " 


:r^=^.zfej^= ' 


Ncwrus, " the 
Daybreak ; " 





, Girdanije^ " the 

:^^g^^'^ ^~^ ~ Dancing Mode ; " 

, Gczvischt, " the 

^^^^^ ^p^|?^^p^ Murmur," or "the 

-CJ-^-S^-J*^ ^ Whispering Mode;" 

And of the other twelve in like manner, in their 

" the lovers," 

" the modulation," 

"the delight of the harem," 

"the straight," 

"the Arabian," 

" the Persian mode of Ispahan," 

"the little," 

"the great," 

"the bell," 

" the Mesopotamian mode," 

"the lament," 

" the mode of Arabia Petraea." ^ 













1 Kieswetter. Die Musik, &c. 

■^ Kiesewetter. Die INIusik der Arab. 


And of these, all but a few are directly expressive 
of the character of the Mode, and have received 
their title from thence. And the poet must use the 
greatest discrimination in selecting his Mode, and one 
of the chief niceties of Arabian music turned on that 
knowledge : The theorists are never weary of dilating 
on the expressibility of the different varieties, and 
common consent has agreed on the following general 
principles of character, which relate to the last twelve 
enumerated. The Modes Uschak, Newa, and Buselik 
were fitted to excite the soul to joy, merriment and 
courage ; they were adapted to the Seljuk Turks, 
the Ethiopians, and the mountaineers of Persia. The 
Modes Rast, Newrus, Irak, and Ispahan were inclined 
to a more temperate working on the feelings. They 
were fitted for men of a subdued and gentle spirit, and 
therefore adapted to the inhabitants of the Temperate 
Zone. The Modes Busurg, Rohawi, Zirefkend, Sengule, 
and Hussein were weak, mournful, and relaxing, and 
required the greatest caution in their employment.^ 

Such was the Arabian musical system, as it had 
grown up by indigenous development and by the 
influence of Persian science. But now, among the 
Doctors of Cordova, more extended knowledge and 
profounder theory lent a new impulse to the progress 
of the system ; and seeing that the canons of 
Pythagoras and the entire Greek system of antiquity 
was the constant object of study in the Schools, we 
cannot wonder that much of this influence is apparent 
in the new illumination of the Arabian music.^ Also 

1 Kiesewetter. Die Musik der Arab. 

2 If we were to rely solely on the accounts of All, we might 
imagine that the Arabian system was in every respect identical with 
the Ancient Greek. So complete, however, is the simihtude, that we 
have no option but to imagine the affinity to go no deeper than 
learned theory. 


there was a gathering together and formulating of 
all the principles of national art ; and in a most 
surprising manner, at the very climax of the learning, 
the true elements of nature, on which Arabian music 
reposed, are now for the first time made completely 
manifest to the sight. And first came the 
organisation of a general Scale, which should give 
accurate expression to all the varieties of native 
song; and in this formulation, which hitherto had 
existed only in embryo or in the mazy methods of 
the modes, the principle which was followed is best 
exhibited in the words of the Fakir Jany-Mohammed- 
Essaad. " A scale," says that learned theorist, " which 
does not correspond to the organic inflections of the 
human voice, is entirely worthless as a medium of 
music." Accordingly in the institution of the scale, 
not only was there regard to those fractions of tones, 
that is, the thirds of tones we spoke of, into 
which the Arabian singing had at an early time 
conventionally fallen, but still smaller fractions were 
introduced, so as to give expression even to that yet 
more primitive style, before Song had emerged from 
Speech at all, and which might still be supposed to 
survive in that half-spoken, half-chanted declamation, 
which often alternated with actual song in the 
performances of the usual minstrels. As a frame for 
these constituent elements, the Tetrachord, so plastic 
and so scientific a basis of musical arrangement, was 
borrowed from the theory of the Greeks, and two 
systems of scale were formed in conjunct tetrachords, 
as follows : — ^ 

1 The demonstrations of Ambros (Geschichte der Musik. I.) have 
been impaired by the desire to harmonise the Arabian scale of conjunct 
tetrachords with the modern scale of 8ves. 


1st TetracJiord. 2tid TetracJiord. 

-^rd Tetrachof'd. \th TetracJiord. 

^th TetracJiord. 6tJi TetracJiord. (iticomplete.) 

.:;^::^-^^-B^, ^^h^J.^tegg.^^Jgi^: 

40 intervals in all. 

And next, with still smaller intervals, a second 
system was arranged as follows : — ^ 

\st TetracJiord. 

"C" ^'zp" f25" +'^' ft^* "^" ^^"^-^^^ ^- "§<^- ^i^- 


1^9 2 


ITg^. g:^ *.^. t^. t^. i^. II to- §l2c^1Fto- 2^- litfs=^ 
2«^ TetracJiord . 


§tt=r"irl)s^ 1^=^ -e-,^. ^«. j.«r-js.||i»-§fei='-1FSc- 

1 La Borde. Essai. I. Ambros. I.' Writers have abstained from 
recording the Lahanis, contenting themselves vi^ith indicating that such 
a system was in use. 


\^-\\^^- §i;2=?-irtf^— t|c?~ *-<5'-fc?- t^—pz^ "^- ^^^ 

[77/6' oflitT Tetrachords in like manner. 

:1[^^z:bi^=|||^: §|^.ir|^=|^=:s3Z *:s2it22i t:22Zitt=: 


140 intervals in all ; and it was called the " System 
of the Lahanis." And either of these systems were 
of equally common employment, as also a pure 
Diatonic system, 




mixed with whatever adornments from the others 
the taste of the singer might suggest, or employed 
alone, agreeably to which the Lutes were tuned. 
For this was the tuning of the Lute, (and it 
will be seen that though it is based on the 
diatonic system, the system of thirds of tones is 
equally practicable of employment, but the " System 
of Lahanis," which was concerned solely with vocal 
expression, is not represented on the strings 
at all):— I 

' AH of Ispahan. Lib Cant, fol. 52. sq. 



G (open) C (open) F (open) B 1? (open) 


^ r 


...1st Finger Fret. 

-^ [...A# m G# CS 

.2nd Finger Fret. 
...3rd Finger Fret, 

...4th Finger Fret. 




4th String 3rd String 2nd String ist String 

And now, having stated the system categorically, 
we may proceed to consider it in its historical aspect, 
which offers most interesting subjects for inquiry. 
For let us omit for the moment those points of 
difference in which it contrasts so strongly with the 
other musics we have become familiar with, and turn 
to those in which it agrees, that we may compare 
it with companion systems, and estimate its true 
place in musical history. And the points of difference 
are the divisions of the tone into fractional parts ; 

N N 












































Frets of 
|>- Extension 
on the First 


but this is a difference which once appreciated will 
be found to be an inessential one, and the main bulk 
of the system will easily be seen to bear comparison 
with any of those that we have formerly considered, 
especially if we consider it in its purely Diatonic 
form, which for the sake of comparison we may 
be allowed to do. For it has Modes or Manners 
of singing ; a Scale on a defmitc Tonic ; it employs the 
Tetrachord as a formulating principle — and, without 
proceeding further in our enumeration, we may briefly 
state that it is the latter point in its similarity that 
we would first consider. For when we last spoke of 
the Tetrachord, which was in the time of Hucbald, 
we took the licence of regarding it as an infant 
scale ; and we spoke of the primitive tetrachord of 
antiquity, which flowed directly from the natural and 
artless behaviour of the voice, that does not attain 
its full volume at the commencement of its effort, 
but exhibits a reluctance or weakness, which is the 
hesitation before the act, or the mustering up the 
powers to do it. And this weakness appears in the 
tetrachord as the Semitone, and in antique tetrachords, 
which were near to nature, the Semitone invariably 
came first, 

and this we described as the First Stage in the 
development of the Tetrachord. And the Second 
Stage was what we found among the Byzantine Greeks 
of Constantinople, and later and more perfectly in the 
science of medieval Europe, when an artful form of 
intonation had taken the place of the earlier and 
more natural one, and the semitone was forced into 
the second place of the Tetrachord, 


This we described as the Second Stage in the 
development of the Tetrachord, and here we left 
it, for this was the universal form in the science of 
the time, and was the form on which was constructed 
the Scale of Hucbald, that was the great scale of 
the early middle ages. And the Third Stage in the 
development of the Tetrachord, when the Semitone 
is forced into the last place of the Tetrachord, 



had not yet been reached, though we predicted its 
arrival, and said moreover that it would come from 
some un looked - for quarter ; and now behold the 
prophecy fulfilled ! For it has grown up among the 
deserts of Arabia and the minarets of Spain, and the 
youngest music that we have yet considered in 
our history has evolved the youngest and latest 
form of Tetrachord. For let us turn to the Diatonic 
System of the Arabians, and we shall find that the 
Tetrachords that compose it are all of this Third 
Stage of the form, 



'-^G ^- 



Even in the system of Fractional divisions of thirds, 


and in the System of the Lahanis, the same principle 
is observed, though not so perspicuous, for which 
reason we have preferred to consider the Diatonic 
form alone. But let us for a moment look at 
these variations on it, and we shall find that 
the occurrence of the Semitone and therefore the 
character of the Tetrachord is most plainly marked, 
and established as identical with the Diatonic form, 
by the total omission of any fractional third or any 
Lahani at the Tetrachord's last interval, which 
therefore remains true to its legitimate form, e.g. 





of the thirds, and 


*j -25- ^Tzr t"23' t2^' #^" "^^" ^^'^" ^^" ^'^" "^^ 



§l^.ir|^. 1^. *.^. t-^. t^. g^. 112=?- §fes?- iT&c'- 


ftT ter llijs^- §tfs3- ^ti^- tt^- ■«- *-^- f^- -f' 

y- ii!2s?- §fe^-iifes?— fee;'- iit|?^ §i:t^-irj:t^~|:f^- *-=?- r^- 


^— jj— =11^^. §^^.11^^=^: llg^; §|^:^|^=|^zzs2==z 


of the Lahanis ; and every other Tetrachord in their 
systems in like manner. 

Now this highly developed Tetrachord which we 
find in the Arabian Music, 

had already been suggested in the Music of Europe 
by the Gamut of Guido, who, in his Hexachords, 
had regularly employed a progression of two tones, 
followed by a semitone, and then two more tones, 
embowering in each cluster of notes a perfect 
Tetrachord of the latest and most developed form, 
yet quite unconsciously, and doing so as it were by 
chance. For at his time the scale was in a 
transition period, as we have mentioned, and the 
doctrine and application of Tetrachords had for the 
time ceased to exist. Yet in a strange way was 
the music of Europe working to that conclusion, to 
which Guido's invention is but one of the indexes. 
For the hard and fast scale of disjunct tetrachords 
of the Second Stage, which had been established by 

Hucbald, which began p ^', — _ kp^ —irs — : , and 

consisted of a series of parallel forms throughout, 
had fallen to pieces by the exigencies of a daily 
engrossing Harmony, which altered some of the 
intervals, and created optional forms of others, and 
generally deranged the symmetry of the scale so far, 
as to leave no principle of structure apparent 
throughout it. Such was the state of musical 
science when Guido, having no other object than the 
indication of the semitone in the neume notation, 


invented his system of syllables, which he carried so 
far as to place the semitone in the centre of the 
set ; and taking Hucbald's scale in the distorted form 
he found it in, he arranged his syllables as 



enshrining a true tetrachord in each set, without 
knowing it,i and in most of them a tetrachord of the 
Third, or latest stage of development. 

In this clumsy way, and by such mechanical and 
unwitting steps, was Europe blundering on to the 
final Stage of the Tetrachord, which meanwhile had 
flowered in all its newness among the minstrels of 
Arabia, and was soon to be introduced by the gate 
of Spain, as that other product of Arabian genius, 
the Violin, had been before it. And we may well 
compare the parallel cases, how the Violin had 
received and the Tetrachord was receiving an 
indigenous development in European Music, when the 
introduction of the perfect product from without 
anticipated the naivete of native effort, and rendered 
its further progress useless. And this New Tetrachord, 
in opposition to the one it was to dethrone, bears 
the characteristics of what we call " Major," that is 
to say, it has a greater third, or a full tone between 
its 2nd and 3rd notes. But the more primitive 
tetrachord of Hucbald and the Byzantines was 
" Minor," having only a semitone between its 2nd 
and 3rd notes. For this reason we may well consider 

1 To consider Guido's hexachord as an advance in musical science, 
unconscious though it may have been, rather than as a mere method 
of instruction in singing, is the fairest way to regard it. Cf. Infra. 
Chap. IV. p. 19. 



the Minor as but a more primitive form of musical 
utterance than the Major ; and so we shall prefer for 
the future to regard it. 

And now having spoken of the Arabian Tetrachord 
we must proceed to speak of the Arabian Scale, 
which was composed of many such Tetrachords. 
And it will be seen that it possesses the remarkable 
peculiarity of having all its Tetrachords conjunct : — 



the effect of which is to introduce much monotony 
and weakness into the music, and utterly to destroy 
that happy framing of sounds in octaves, which lends 
so much symmetry to the music where it obtains. 
For to constitute an 8ve, the tetrachord must be 
disjunct, as we saw in the disjunct system of the 




-^- -^- 

and as we find in our own modern scale. 




the effect of which separation is not only to secure 
the rounded musical contour, which the 8ve at either 
end gives to the notes between, but, by setting up two 
distinct groups of sounds, and as it were matching 
set with set, to effect the possibility of that pretty 
play of contrast or antagonism, in which we found the 
secret principle of the art to lie. For that alternation 


of Tonic and Dominant, which has so great a part 
in modern music, is but in its essence the play of 

the tetrachord 



against the tetrachord 



:^=ci— . Our ear most readily distinguishes 

their vicissitude, and the pleasure which it receives 
is but the constant pleasure of all musical impression, 
and effected by the same means, that is, by the 
working of Duality and Contrast, which is typified 
by the figure of the Angle A , to which two things 
are necesssary, whether it be / \ the long and short of 
rhythms, or the light and shade of expression, or the 
duplicity of groups in forms and scales — all to effect 
the antagonism and contrast, without which there 
can be no music, but only wayward sound. Now 
the Arabian music possessed all the attributes of a 
perfect music, with but this one deficiency, and by 
consequence its weakness, and yet perhaps its charm, 
lay in its melody, which was wayward, wild, and 
vacillating, and quite lacking in that definiteness of 
intention which the popular music of Europe was now 
beginning to assume. In contrast then to the Angle 
the Arabian scale-system may be typified by the 

curve /- ^ , which is the expresssion of duality 

merged in unity. And we shall see how this 
system, coming to the knowledge of Europe, first 
aided the development of the single Tetrachords to 
their third and ultimate stage ; and, later on, took its 
place entire in the heart of European music, blending 
and combining most happily with the elements it 
came in contact with; how the play of tetrachords 
was repeated in a play of scales, and the Arabian 





was found weaving" itself with the European 




1/ ill!.' 



















and the Arabian 

:^— s^ 



with the European 

_^ ^. 





and the Arabian 




with the European 


:^— ^==5- 

and new parallel combinations and new forms arising. 
But this is not till late in our history, and most 
strange shall we find the steps that lead to these 
results ; and in different lands and under different 
surroundings shall we find those flowers appear, of 
which wc sec the seeds now committed to the ground. 


And meanwhile the Doctors of Cordova had added 
to their science of musical theory by appropriations 
from the lore of Pythagoras.^ And it was to give 
adequate expression to all their various Modes on 
the projection of their scale that they made their 
borrowings, and what they took from him was 
his device of Fixed and Optional notes, which we 
have treated at length before, by virtue of which 
he could express both the Diatonic, Enharmonic, and 
Chromatic forms of every tetrachord at one and the 
same time on the scale, and by which they now 
made shift to express the various diversities of Mode. 
For many and most various were the Modes that 
had sprung up since last we considered them in 
Arabia, and those which we did consider had 
marvellously changed in form, nor can we always 
explain the reason of these changes, but must simply 
admit that they had come to pass. Most of these 
new modes had come into being by the compounding 
of old ones, as the mode Uschak, compounded with 
the Mode Rast, that is, the first tetrachord of Uschak 
with the second tetrachord of Rast, or the first 
tetrachord of Rast with the second tetrachord of 
Uschak, in either case produced a new mode, which 
had to be made allowance for on the scale. And 
seven of the ancient modes had remained, partly in 
their original forms, and partly in this composite 
state, in which they were varied greatly ; and 
five new ones had been added, which also were 
compounded with the above. And all the Modes, 
which were 84 in number, could be taken at any 
tetrachord in the scale, since all the tetrachords were 
alike ; and all, with the exception of these five new 

^ Fuertes. Historia de la Musica Espaiiola. I. 


ones, could be repeated consecutively through the 
length of the complete scale. But these five new 
ones and their compounds could not so be repeated, 
for a reason that we shall see hereafter. 

Now this immensity of subject-matter the Arabian 
Doctors, by benefit of that device of Pythagoras, 
were enabled to express most succinctly and easily. 
For taking their scale, in whichever way we prefer 
to write it, either as 

or as 


they laid it down that the extreme notes of each 
tetrachord were Fixed, and the interior notes were 
Moveable or Optional, and thus any mode, no matter 
which it be, could be reputed as lying on any part of 
the scale, provided only the extreme notes of its 
tetrachord coincided with the extreme notes of the 
tetrachord, to which it was applied on the scale. 
For the Mode, UsCHAK, indeed, in the form it was 
now written, does actually coincide note for note with 
the first two tetrachords, or typical tetrachords, of 
the Diatonic Scale, as we may see : — 


-e>— == 



But the Mode, Newa, will by no means coincide note 
for note, 



yet by considering its Fixed notes alone, as if we 
write it by some such symbol as this. 




it may well find its place on a scale which is 
arranged with similar projection, 




and the other modes in the same way, that is, the 
Mode, BuSELIK, in the form we most find it, 


the Mode, Rast, 


^. \l^- -^- 



&i- Ife. 



chapter iii. 557 


-^- ^i- ^■ 

^e 22 

and the Seventh Mode, a new one, whose name we 
are not informed of, 

And these might be repeated, so as to cover the 
entire length of the scale, or placed at any coincident 
part of it, not only the first ; as the Mode, Buselik, 
repeated through the scale, 

---z^— a: 

— •- -o- -«S'- 

would become 

^ ^-=3^R^_lI5 n _ _ 

or, placed at any part of it, would easily rank itself 
in accordance in like manner. 

But those five new Modes that we spoke of, could 
not be repeated up the scale, because in their second 
half they extended beyond the limit of a Tetrachord, 
and thus when repetition was to begin they had no 
starting point of union, but must needs miss notes to 
arrive at the beginning of the next tetrachord ; and 
thus the ground was not by any means covered by 
the repetition of these five new modes, and they 



hold a position distinct and separate from the 
rest, and these are the strange additions to their 



-gj — ^- 


^e ^6 


0j '& 






Aud it seems as if we were here on the brink of 
embryo Pentachords, which indeed they in all strictness 
deserve to be considered, however against the genius 
of the Arabian system. ^ 

Now the materials we have given here were 
constituted so as to be 84 Modes in number, which 
was done by halving the Seven Modes, and taking 
the first half to all the second halves of the entire 
twelve. This made 84 in number, and mechanical 
as it may seem, was doubtless found necessary by the 

I Many of the Arabian theorists arrange the scale by Tetrachords 
and Pentachords. In these cases we must find the effect of Greek 
influence, and regard it • as a copy of the Pythagorean arrangement, 
since in no case could such a division of the mode hold in a system 
composed of conjunct tetrachords, as the Arabian. 


theorists so as to systematise a perpetual interchange, 
which otherwise must have been denounced as mere 
confusion. Here are the 84 Modes, and their interchange 
and blending will now be plain how it was effected ; 
and this vicissitude of scales is called the " Circulation 
of the Modes."i 

The First Thabakas. The Second Thabakas. 

(eacli of these must be 
taken with each of the Seeond 
Thabakas in turn.) 




-2? #S?- 


-C?- ■« 


' -c?" ^ i^ 




^ .^ 2^ -^- -^ 


?& ^ 


mr^T'^ :S:-2=^-tW=^~^ 


•^ - ^^. 1^- -^- 

-2^—^^ — == 


1 La Borde. Essai sur la Musique, I. 



S^^iTfeY^-^s^^ ^-ft^-H)^ 




:&^ — 22- 

- ^g g ^ c?- 





And these last five extend from a Tetrachord to 
a Pentachord, as we have said, and doubtless belong 
to a later date than the rest, or have varied in their 
form since the era we write of, so as to assume this 
shape so antagonistic to the principles of the scale. 
And some have even imagined that they were 
consciously arranged in Pentachords by the Arabians 
themselves, and others would make shift to treat the 
rest to a similar symmetry, which, though allowable 
indeed in theory, and doubtless even so employed 
by learned Arabians familiar with the niceties of the 
Greek musical system, would not be tenable in practice, 
if there were to be harmony between it and the 

1 The common airangeroent is to treat them all as Tetrachord and 
Pentachord, which, though agreeable to modern comprehension, 
is false to the principle of the Arabian scale, 


Such then were the excellent results reached by 
the Doctors of Cordova under the princely patronage 
of the Abderames, at whose court Serjab, Mousali, 
Alfarabi, and other eminent Doctors flourished, whose 
names we have mentioned before. And now let us 
observe a striking peculiarity of these Arabian Doctors, 
such as but seldom appears where profound learning 
is in question. For the most erudite theorists and 
professors of the science of music were at the same 
time the best exponents of its art. Alfarabi, whose 
works on musical theory are no less profound than 
those of the Greeks themselves, was so exquisite a 
player on the lute, that fable has made free with 
his name much in the same way as with the weird 
minstrels of Europe. Being invited from Cordova to 
the Court of Bagdad, and when there being detained 
a prisoner so that his beautiful playing might always 
be at hand to delight the Caliph, he took up his 
lute and played to his gaolers. And first he made 
them all laugh, and next he made them weep, and 
next he set them quarrelling with each other, and at 
last he sent them fast asleep, and meanwhile escaped 
from his prison. No less remarkable are the stories 
told of Mousali ; and the melodious songs of Moheb, 
after spreading from Cordova through the greater part 
of the Arabian world, were heard from the lips of 
minstrels, three hundred years after his death, in the 
camp of Tamerlane. Even Serjab himself, profound 
theorist as he was, was no less famed for his skill 
as a singer and a composer. His songs were so 
beautiful, that he had little difficulty in persuading 
his patron and contemporaries that they were inspired 
by genii in the night time, to keep up which deception 
he would summon up his slaves with their lutes often 
at the dead of night, to take down the songs and 

o o 


learn them, after the genius had visited him. He, 
also, it was, who, to give greater scope to his dexterity 
in playing, added a 5th string to the lute, placing it 
in the middle of the original four, and this innovation 
began in no long time to be adopted throughout 
the Arabian world. 

Such then were the musicians, learned theorists and 
no less excellent performers who, under Abderame 
lll.,^ the Augustus of the West, raised the Arabian 
music of Spain to a point of excellence, that might 
well compare even with that of Bagdad itself Most 
marvellous, too, are the accounts that come to us of 
the universality of the practice of the art among the 
people at large The lights twinkled down the banks 
of the Guadalquivir, and, mingled with the breeze, we 
are told, came the perpetual sounds of instruments 
and songs, as the boatman glided past village and 
village on his way. And from every balcony in 
Cordova came the tinkling of lutes and the melody 
of voices, in the evening time, so that the city 
seemed wreathed in musical airs, after the bazaars 
were closed, and the evening's recreation had begun.^ 
But the monarch himself, secluded from public 
curiosity in his voluptuous retreat of Zehra, tasted 
of the choicest minstrelsy of the time, amid scenes 
that may well recall the descriptions of fable. The 
royal musicians, summoned to furnish the evening's 
concert, assembled in a pavilion of gold and polished 
steel, the walls of which were incrusted with precious 
stones. In the midst of the splendour produced by 

' The character of the musicians in the reign of Abderame If. is 
well preserved in those of his greater namesake, Abderame III. 

' " On all sides," say Fetis (Histoire de la Musique. II.), " were 
heard the voices of singers, accompanied by the notes of musical 


lights reflected from a hundred crystal lustres, a sheaf 
of living quicksilver jetted up in a basin of alabaster, 
and made a brightness too dazzling for the eye to 
look upon. I In this glittering paradise, the scenes 
of the music halls of Haroun were enacted over 
again, but with greater pomp ; and the Caliph of 
of the West could boast, that, at an age when the 
glories of Bagdad were fast declining, a new home 
had been found for the Arabian music, and a more 
luxurious one than ever it had basked in before. 
Meanwhile, throughout the length and breadth of 
Spain, raonis, or strolling minstrels, of a type not 
unlike those of Christian Europe, whom we have 
described before, were spreading the lore of Arabian 
minstrelsy,^ till it reached even the ears, not only of 
the Spaniards themselves in their northern fastnesses 
of Leon and Castile, but also the semi - Spanish 
Catalonians, from whom it passed into French 
Provence, thence to exercise an untold influence on 
the music of the modern world. 

And let us for a moment pass to these new regions, 
the rugged districts of northern Spain, from the 
cultivated Arabians to the unpolished Spaniards, passing 
from the music of luxury and refinement to the 
music of nature once more. x'\nd we shall be 
introduced to far different scenes, to the rustic dances 
of the peasants, to homely piping and singing. And 
yet it will behove us to watch these dances carefully ; 
for here no less than in Arabian Spain is one of 
the fountains springing of the young music of Europe. 
For what do the names Cliaconne, Sarabande, Cotirante, 
Bourrec, suggest to our mind, and in what sublime 

' Cardonne. Histoire de I'Afiique et de I'Espagne. I. 
- Fauriel. Histoire de la Pocsie, &c. HI. 338. 


pageants of music will they not one day play their 
part, and be woven with others of their kind into 
great tapestries of sound, with the fabrication of which 
modern music is at last at an end ? And yet here 
we may see the beginnings of these things, and 
find the first threads of the Symphony in the steps 
of Spanish peasants. And first, we may see what 
influence the Arabians have had even upon these 
untutored vassals of theirs, for this slow and measured 
dance is the Sarabande, or " Saracen dance," being 
danced by the Arabians in Southern Spain, and now 
imitated by these rude natives of the north.^ And 
its time is slow, as we have said, and its rhythm is 
that of Triple Time. And next, another Saracen 
Dance, the CJiaconne, more lively than the former, 
but like it in Triple Time. And if this be a 
development of the African Chica, as we believe it 
to be, then has it wonderfully improved in propriety 
under its new masters. For the Chica was a most 
wild and wanton dance, and we have seen it danced 
before in this history ; but now, as the Chaconne, it 
appears much more orderly and modest. More related 
to the Chica in general character, though not in name 
and genealogy, was the Fandango, a dance as old, we 
are assured, as the time of the Empire, and 
so popular as to be the national dance of Spain.^ 
And the Fandango was danced in couples to the 
accompaniment of the guitar and castanets, whose 
crackling rhythm the dancers employed with the utmost 
precision and grace, to mark the measure of the steps. 
And the Fandango was in short phrases of triple 

* Fuertes. Historia de la Musica Espanola. I. 

2 Fuertes with much ingenuity traces it back to the dance of the 
Gades girls, described by Juvenal. 


time, and its motions were in the highest degree 
amorous and seductive. The dancers danced with their 
arms held out, inviting one another to embraces ; 
they flung their bodies in wanton attitudes, and struck 
positions during the dance, that were only too 
suggestive of the lively emotions they were intended 
to imitate. The excessive looseness of the Fandango 
has prevented its general acceptance among the nations 
of Europe ; yet a modified form of it went out from 
Spain at a later period, indeed, namely the ^Bolero,'^ 
and consists of many of the Fandango steps, with 
much of its freedom eliminated. And in the Bolero 
as in the Fandango, such is the tempest of the 
steps, and all in triple rhythm and in well marked 
phrases, that the eye grows weary of watching the 
play of the feet^ — and in early times we may 
imagine the same tendency, if not so high a 
development. And next came the Seguidilla, which 
had the peculiarity of having much poetry mixed with 
the music. The singers must ^ing as they danced, 
and the verses were in alternate stanzas of four lines 
and three lines.3 The music was in triple time, and 
there were three kinds of Seguidilla, the Seguidilla 
Maiichega, which was a most lively and nimble dance, 
the Seguidilla bolera, more tranquil in its movements, 
and the Seguidilla gitana, the easiest and slowest of 

1 Fuertes at one time inclines to make it a compound of the 
Chaconne and the Bourree (p. 186); at another, he puts forward the 
opinion mentioned in the text, which is the usual one given in the 
Popular Histories of Dancing, cf. Czerwinsky's Geschichte der Danzkunst 
bei den civilisirten VoUcem. 

2 Some have described the Fandango as " a regular and harmonious 
convulsion of all parts of the body." Gallini in his History of 
Dancing derives the Bolero, no less than the Seguidilla, from the 

3 Fuertes. Historia de la Musica Espan. I. 


all.i Now these were varieties of the Seguidilla, 
which grew up in later times in various parts of 
Spain, as the first plainly, as its name will tell us 
was developed in the province of La Mancha, and 
the others in other parts of Spain. For so prolific 
was the national genius for the Dance, that not only 
were there these great and prominent dances, that 
belonged to the country at large, but in every province, 
whether under Arabian rule or in the Castilian 
kingdom, dances of every sort and order were fast 
growing up, that remained for long the heritage of 
their provincial home, till little by little they passed 
into the world at large, some to perish there, but 
others to attain European renown. And thus the 
Biscayans had their Carricadanza^^ which was danced 
to the sound of a drum. And the Castilians their 
Guaracha, most graceful and poetic of dances, whose 
beauty consisted in statuesque posing of the person 
and elegant attitudes, and which may remind us of 
the plastic dances of the Greeks. Its music was in 
long phrases of triple time, often of winning sweetness, 
and the dancer accompanied herself on the guitar. 
Yet has the Guaracha not taken a part in the 
European concert, being too delicate it may be to 
stand the air, and its name conveys but few 
associations to the mind, beyond those that are purely 
Spanish. And other dances of the Castilians 
were the Serrano, the Villarro, the Villota, the Maya, 
the Gallarda, the Giga, the Pabana, and others, some 
of which they shared with the Portuguese and 
Catalonians, but many were purely Castilian. And 
the Serrano . was a descriptive dance, and to the 

1 Fuertes. Historia de la Musica Espanola. I. 

* For this topography of the dances, see Soriano Fuertes. I. 


Provengals it became the Pastourelle, turning on a 
dialogue between two shepherds, the words and action 
of which formed the material of the dance.^ Some- 
what similar were the Villarro and the Villota.^ 
But the Gallarda, or Galliard, was an elegant dance 
in Triple time, perhaps not indeed indigenous to 
Castile or even to Spain, since its name would imply 
a home in France and more particularly in Brittany, 
unless we are willing to derive its ancestry from 
Galicia, which may without much violence be done. 
And the Giga was but the Spanish form of that 
ancient " Gigue," or " Violin " dance, which we have 
heard of before in other parts of Europe, and now 
find no less popular in dance-loving Spain. But the 
Pabana was destined, as the Pavan^ to achieve a 
world-wide reputation ; and it was a gay dance in 
triple time, and always a wonderful favourite.^ Now 
among the Catalonians we hear of dances whose 
names will be even more familiar to our ears — the 
Tornade, the Tornadilla, the Ballade, the Ctirranda.^ 
And these last two are plainly our "Ba^llad" and 
" Courante," the former, that common dance measure, 
with stanzaed words, that compelled repetitions and 
induced refrains, and has since become the 
foundation of so much simple music, the latter, the 
stately dance which one day we shall see walked in 
the halls of Venetian senators, and thence transferred 
into instrumental music, and forming one of the chief 
pillars in the architecture of the Suite and Symphony 
— and meanwhile but a few poor steps in the rugged 
valleys of Catalonia, danced by rough peasants to the 

1 Fuertes. p. 181. ^ Id. p. 177. sq. 

' For this attribution of the Pavan to the Gahcians, see Fuertes. I. 

* lb. 


music of flageolet and drum, its coryphees gaitered 
men in red waistcoats and slouch hats, and peasant 
women tricked up with ribbons and taffeta head-dresses, 
designing in their simple wit the first rude drafts of 
what in time was to be so excellent a drawing. 
Nor must we forget the dances of Valencia ^ and 
Andalusia in Southern Spain, that growing up under 
Moorish influences partook so largely of that effeminate 
and wanton character, of which the African Chica 
was the great exponent. The Olla and the Cachirulo 
were wild and voluptuous to a degree,^ and we read 
how, on occasions of great festivals, bands of dancers, 
Spanish and Moorish intermixed, would congregate in 
the market places and squares, and abandon themselves 
to the intoxication of these dances, as at those 
festivals of Cordova, when the city was illuminated, 
the streets were strewn with flowers, and lutes, 
tambourines, and hautboys rang out in the air the 
whole night through. 

But meanwhile, while the peasants were dancing, 
the Spanish chivalry were arming ; and very soon 
dark clouds were forming in the north, which bade 
fair to launch ruin and destruction on those gay palaces 
and pavilions, which had risen, like an exhalation, 
under the refined Arabian rule, in a rude and semi- 
civilised land. And soon the Cid was moving on 
the frontiers of the Arabian monarchy, and now great 
deeds were to ensue. And what have we to do 
with wars and battles, and feats of gallantry and 

1 The excellence of the Valencians in dancing is the theme of 
constant praise from Spanish writers. Their Egg dance is a famous 
one, in which eggs are laid in fancy patterns on the ground, and the 
dancers dance between, without breaking the eggs. 

2 Amados de los Rios. Historia Critica de la I^it. Espan. I. 
Cap. 23. 



chivalry? Only with the humbler part of them. 
For caracoling on prancing steeds, and preceded by 
troops of jongleurs chanting their war songs, and 
themselves with strong clear voices joining in the 
cry, the Spanish gentlemen advanced to the combat, 
while a hundred clarions brayed their challenge to 
the Moors. On the other side their swarthy foes, 
advancing in crowds, like the locusts of the desert, 
came on to the roar of great copper trumpets and 
the deafening din of a thousand drums, that were 
beaten by the hand, to make continual uproar.^ 
And what concerns us in such scenes as this is the 
minstrelsy of the fight ; for in the strains that excited 
the Spanish chivalry to the combat, were heard the 
first notes of the Romance music of Europe. And 
let us ask what these strains were. And they were 
chastened by a stern simplicity, such as was meet 
for the ears of men, who were advancing face to 
face with death. And their measure was that same 
simple ballad measure we have heard so often 
before, and their strains were such as these: — 





:t=— I f=2=^: 





-I — -^ 


:^i.— , 

: P— P- 


1 1-- 

1 Such is the music assigned to the Moors in the Chanson de 
Roland, where the statements of fiction on subordinate issues are as 
elsewhere to be accepted as historical. 

2 Quoted in Fuertes. I. (Laminas*) as an example of the ancient 
Ballad measure. 


But little different indeed from the Hymns and 
Sequences, that were intoned by the monks in the 
services of the church, and presenting through their 
entire literature but one sublime monotony of measure 
and of style, of which the above may well be taken 
as a type. And the Spanish jongleurs, born and 
bred up in such an atmosphere as this, were of a 
different cast from all the other jongleurs of Europe ; 
for their songs were of feats of arms, and they had 
no vulgar tricks to attract their audiences,^ but rather 
grave recitals of the deeds of Bernardo del Carpio, of 
Lara, of the Cid, of Fernan Gonzalez, which they 
chanted in the style of epic minstrelsy, accompanying 
themselves on the violin or guitar.^ Here, too, first 
began the practice of jongleurs attaching themselves 
to the person of some patron ; and often each chevalier 
had his jongleur, whom he supported in the state of 
an inferior esquire, and who sang the ballads which 
sometimes he himself had composed.^ And the Spanish 
jongleurs also differed from the other jongleurs, in 
most of them being trained musicians, who had studied 
their art at the University of Salamanca, perhaps, or 
among the Moors at Cordova.4 But still Wandering 
Jongleurs were found also in Spain — " Jongleurs by 
instinct," 'juglares de mero instinto,' as they were 
called, who repeated the life of the Wandering 
Minstrels of other parts of Europe, though they were 
very few by comparison. Yet even these were of 
the same exalted spirit as the rest, and, standing in 
the midst of crowds of people in the market places, 
they would sing the deeds of Bernardo del Carpio 
and the Cid, and so infuse valour into the most 
timorous breasts. 

1 Marquis de Pidal. I. loo. sq. '^ Ih. 

3 Fuertes. I. ^ This point is well brought out by Fuertes. 


And while this firm front was gathering on the 
horizon of their empire, the Arabians of the south, 
removed from the disturbances of frontier wars, were 
languishing under their load of luxury and wealth. 
Entertained by poets and minstrels in their delightful 
halls, they forgot the existence of that danger which 
menaced almost hourly their existence, and employed 
themselves in weaving those arabesques of sounds, 
which were their songs, and in cultivating that poetry 
of theirs, which has since become the model of the 
civilised world. For in the ruin of their empire 
came the dissemination of its treasures of art and 
refinement, and the doom, which was hastening on 
them, was but to bring the day to the world at large. 
And let us anticipate this diffusion of their culture, 
by briefly considering that second section of their 
music, their verse and poetry, which we have hitherto 
left unexamined, but which to their theorists and to 
their own conception formed quite as intrinsic a part 
of the musical art as sounds and scales themselves. 
For the play of language was at least half the 
song, and not only in the lips , of the minstrel were 
music and poetry blended, but also in the organic 
construction of their systems. And first, as we found 
the Tetrachords of the Scale linked and conjunct, as 


s~rr'X3=3= 3^ 


■car ■&■ 

so also do we find the nature of the verse determined, 
each verse being formed of two parts of equal length 
linked together. And the entire verse was called 
" A house," and the two parts of it, " the folding 
doors." And the resemblance they intended to 
indicate by these terms was this, that each door 


is separate and independent, and can be opened and 
shut of itself, and yet, when both are shut together, 
they make but one door. So of the verse. Either 
of the parts might be sung without the otlier, and 
yet, when they were both sung together, they made 
but one verse.^ Thus was the verse constructed in 
the manner of the Tetrachords, and this manner of 
construction went deeper than the music of the hour. 
For is it not a trace of that old Semitic parallelism, 
which required two members to every thought and 
two parts to every verse, and which now appears, 
after so long a time, in such strange scenes as this ? 
This secret construction of all their music seems a 
part of the Semitic genius, and as we found it giving 
birth to Question and Answer, the Semitic Antiphony, 
as we called it, and to the Antiphony of Choruses 
likewise, among the Hebrews, so we shall see it 
insensibly impressing its seal on the form of the 
Arabian music in like manner. For even in the early 
times, that is, in Arabia itself, the shepherds watching 
sheep in the desert are described as whiling away 
the night by answering one another on their flutes ;2 
and shortly after that time, and still in the days of 
ignorance before Mahomet came, we hear of the rise 
of that species of song, which ever remained the 
leading order in Arabian music, — when the duality of 
the verse was represented in reality by two minstrels^ 
who each sang his half alternately.^ This practice 
in no long time led to the " Contention " of Minstrels, 
which was a poetical duel, and turned on the 
challenger singing halves of verses, which the other 

1 Freytag's Darstellung, &c. Cf. Forbes' Arabic Grammar. Prosody. 
* Even in the times of the Greeks, this practice had passed into a 
proverb. Schott's Proverbia Grseca. p. 37. 
» Fauriel. Histoire de la Foesie, &c. III. p. 337. 


was constrained to finish.^ And the word, " to 
answer," passed into the meaning of " to sing," in 
which sense it is used in Arabic to the present 
day. And now let us see another remarkable result 
of this duality of phrasing. For as the practice arose 
of making the length and rhythm of the phrases 
the same, so there came the habit of making them 
end with similar sounds ; and the melody of Language 
was first heard as a systematic form in Arabic 
poetry as Rhyme. ^ This sugared sweetness of eloquence 
we might indeed well attribute, rather perhaps than 
to the Arabians themselves, to their Persian masters, 
who taught them so much ; and say it travelled, 
along with the Lute and the dulcet Guitar, all the 
way from Persia to Arabia, and by the Arabians 
was disseminated through Europe. But without 
considering the precise home of its origin, we will rather 
credit the Arabians with its complete development, 
and say that they were its sponsors to the world. 
And the practice of rhyming each of the phrases, 
with which the art began, passed subsequently into 
the rhyming of each of the lines, which was a more 
flexible and convenient form of application. And the 
fertility of the Arabian rhyming may well amaze us. 
For of their two styles of solo songs, the Casidas 
and the MaoiicJiahs, the Casidas, which sometimes 
extended for fifty lines at a stretch, contained but 
one rhyme from beginning to end, that is to say, 
fifty words of similar termination were at the ready 
command of the minstrel, to be employed with 
fluency and ease ; 3 while the Maouchahs, which were 
the short lyric songs and love ditties, were so bestuck 

1 lb. 

- Andres. Dell' origine e stato attuale d'ogni letterntura. II. 194. 
3 Fauriel. III. 253. sq. 



and bespangled with rhymes, as well to merit the 
name by which they were called, which, being 
translated, means " embroideries." Now the measures 
of Arabian music were no less complicate, compared 
with the simple science of Europe, than its poetry 
was exquisite and refined. And while, as we have 
learnt from the system of Franco, European music 
at this time had but three valuings of its notes, 
the Long, the Breve, and the Semibreve, and all of 
triple time ; the Music of the Arabians had no less 
than eight separate valuations of note/ which, as 
was natural in a music that flowed so palpably from 
the Chant, were based not on Triple Time, but on 
Common.2 ^nd now for the first time we find that 
most convenient accession to musical measurement, 
the Dot, appearing, which was groped after, if some- 
what fantastically, by the Greeks, but had remained 
an unknown item of notation among the theorists 
and musicians of Europe. And the Eight values of 
Arabian notes were these: There was the Long of 8 

times, equivalent to our 

the Loner of 

; the Long of 6 times, our 

7 times, to our l yf. g- 

ffi^zzE: ; °f 5 times, =^=^=3=: 5 of 4 times. 

1 Fuertes. Historia de la Mus. Espan. p. 77. AH of Ispahan 
only gives four valuations. It must be noticed here that the little 
circles in his MS., by which he denotes the beats, must be understood 
rather by their look as the hand would write them, than by their 
exact position beneath one another — a method of explanation, which 
only results in needless confusion. 

2 Fuertes. loc. cit. 


CHAPTER 11. 575 

of 3 times, FiES=»~^3 ' °^ ^ times, 

:fe=:a^i=q ; and the Short of i time y-^—' 

And these notes were distinguished from one another 
in the music by paints of different colours, being 
painted Green, Rose, Blue, Yellow, Black, Azure, &c., 
each value with its separate colours.^ 

Such were the complete materials of that refined 
and artistic music, which now we shall hear for the 
last time. For by this time the battle of Tolosa had 
been fought, and even Cordova was in the hands of 
the Christians. And the great Spanish Caliphate was 
broken up into a crowd of petty kingdoms, which 
even more than the onslaught of Christendom brought 
about its ruin. And it was at this time that 
Mahomet Alhamar transferred the seat of the principal 
Moorish kingdom from Cordova to Granada, and 
revived once more, though in the magnificence of a 
falling grandeur, the glories of the dynasty of the 
Abderames. And Granada lay in a Vega, or " plain," 
which was watered with infinite springs, and diversified 
with dales always verdant, forests of oak, and groves 
of orange trees, fields of corn and plantations of the 
sugar cane. The city itself, rising in terraces in a 
half moon from the river, still the Guadalquivir as of 
yore, presented a picture of tiers and tiers of turrets 
and gilded cupolas, surmounted by the Alhambra ; and 
for a background, the majestic Sierra Nevada, covered 
with eternal snow. Here, I say, was revived once 
more the spirit of that former age of glory, and the 

1 lb. » lb. 



gallantry and sentiment of the Moors was seen in 
its greatest lustre before its final ruin. The servitude 
and subordination which Oriental customs impose 
upon women, had now almost entirely passed away 
in the open life of European Spain, and the language 
of love was as freely spoken by Moorish Cavaliers, 
as ever its accents have sounded in Christian lands. 
From under balconies in the evening time might be 
heard the lutes and voices sounding ; and the Serenade, 
or " Evening Song," which the lover sang to his 
mistress, attained its justest perfection in the gardens 
of Granada, The language of flowers, the language 
of colours, the hearts pierced with arrovvs,^ emblems 
of the gallant warfare, were but side lights to that 
chief expression of their passions, the Music. And 
let us listen to some of those delightful songs, to 
whose utterance the tender and emotional character 
of the Arabian minstrelsy lent itself so well: — ^ 

Very softly. 

Ah ! ma gazelle. 


a - mour, doux 


mour. Viens ! bel - le sul - 

' It is strange to find these emblems bear so distant a date, and 
be derived from the gallant Moors of Granada. 

2 I have not hesitated to vi^rite this Moorish air of later date as 
an exemolification of that earlier style of sentiment, of which so few 
specimens are preserved to us. Quoted in Fetis. II. 





g i^— P-j=3=F ^^ 





ta - ne je t'at - tends sous la pla - ta • ne, Du 

> > > ^P , . 

tr? — P — rz : 






-^— P — »^ . 


ren - dez - vous c'est le jour. Viens ! beau - te 

___——— . — , dim. 

jy-p f#-f-^ 

pi^:^— !=itd:#p=g=p:| 




te Lais-se la ten 
-, -~-. dint. 







Voi - ci le 









se la ten • te, Le ciel est noir Bien noir. 

Ah ! ah ! la plus bel 



-^— P- 

?z=^:nzit=: =g p ^^ r ~^ p— -— " : 



Ah ! c'est ma ga - zel 

Another from an Arabic MS. ^ 



-J-T-H— 4 






1 From a collection of Arabic and Persian Songs. Brit, Mus. MS, 

P P 



{^Ip — ll 

i— 4- 





I J I 



i rJ rj. 


] SiT=i=S=l=:^ 





— I — \ s ^ d — 't 1 1 1 1 — i "^"* * ) ■■■ r 

And we shall see how wild and wayward is the 
melody, as we have before described its character, 
and how the music is so charged with passion, that 
every note betrays the accents of the heart. 

And passing now from the exterior life of this 
gay Granada, let us visit the monarch in his palace, 
and hear for the last time in the Saloon of Music 
in the Alhambra those admirable concerts, over 
which we have paused so long. And we shall be 
transported into a fairy scene, into courts paved with 
white marble, and surrounded with delicate pillars, 
and walls ornamented with gilded arabesques and 
mosaic of a colour of untold brilliancy. In the 
apartments of the palace themselves water is thrown 
by fountains into the air, or spread in smooth sheets 
in cups of alabaster bordered with flowers. Even in 
the gardens, the murmur of the trees, the dashing of 
the cascades, the trickle of artificial rivulets makes 
sighing music to the ear ; but in the Saloon of 
Music in the Palace, which is devoted to nightly 


concerts, the court has assembled for its nightly- 
recreation, and the music of lutes, violins, guitars, and 
voices begins to sound, amid all the delights of sense. 
Four great tribunes, filled with performers, are ranged 
at the sides of the saloon, and answer one another 
in that peculiar style of song, that we have spoken 
of before; I the king and his favourites and attendant 
courtiers are seated on carpets and divans in the centre, 
round an alabaster basin, from which a fountain plays ; 
while through marble slabs, pierced with a variety of 
apertures, the perfume of odours arises, that are 
burning in vaults beneath. ^ 

Thus, then, and in such scenes as this, may we 
leave the Moorish Music, nor need we pursue it in 
its decline, which was soon to come. For by this 
time its work was done, and its influence, though 
divested of its magnificence, had ere this been 
disseminated through Europe. 

1 Though we are left without actual information on this subject, it 
seems the object of the tribunes can have been no other than to admit 
of antiphonal performance. 

2 Power's History of the Mussulmans in Spain. 



For long before tlie days of Granada, indeed, a 
pale reflection of its beauty had arisen in France. 
For it was at the beginning of the 12th century, 
that the Counts of Barcelona, to whom the greater 
part of Catalonia belonged, obtained by marriage the 
Crown of Provence, and their immense dominions 
embraced the whole of the sea - board of the 
Mediterranean, and far into the interior, from 
Tarragona to Marseilles.^ There was thus easy 
access opened between Provence aud Spain, which 
even before now had not been slight,^ and the 
traditions of Arabian music, that had penetrated to 
France before, were now enabled to pour in a wide 
and steady volume through the gate of Catalonia.^ 

And we shall admire how the Provengal singers 
resembled the Arabian, not only in sentiments and 
character, but also in the very forms of their 
minstrelsy. As the Arabians had their dual verses, 
so had the Provencals their Coblas, or " Couplets," in 
like manner. As the duality of the verse had led 
to those amicable " Contentions," or poetic duels, of 
which we have spoken among the Arabian singers, so 

1 Diago. Historia de los victoriosissimos Condes de Barcelona. 

2 lb. 

3 " The Catalonian melodies were heard with pleasure at Granada, 
and the Moorish melodies were no less favourites with the Catalans, 
not only when sung by professional minstrels and jongleurs, but even 
by rough sailors at the ports." Historia Arabe estractada por Casiri. 


had the Provencals their " Tensosl' or " Contentions," 
in which similarly two minstrels bore a part. And 
that adornment of Poetry, Rhyme, which we have 
seen the Arabians develop, flowered into roses among 
the Provengals, and in Provence was first heard in 
any other tongue but the Arabic.^ No less the 
manner of using the rhymes. For as the Arabians 
had their " Casidas," or long poems all on one rhyme, 
and their short bespangled and dainty Maouchahs, or 
" embroideries," so also had the Provengals two well 
defined orders of poetry, the first, long poems on one 
rhyme, which, with equal wealth of melody, they 
could sometimes extend to a hundred lines — so fertile 
and luxuriant was the rhyming music of their 
language ; ^ the second, short lyrical poems with such 
dainty jinglings and artful ambushings, that might 
compare with the best Arabian embroidery : — 

\j — \j 


\j — \j 


\j \j — \j — \j 

Me destrenh e m balansa, 

\j — \j — \j — \j 

Res no sai on me lansa 

\j — \j 


\j — \j 


\j — \j — \j — \j 

Me tolh ir 'e m' enansa 

1 Andres. Dell' origine e stato attuale d'ogni letteratura I. 440. 

2 Fauriel. Histoire de la Poesie Provengale. III. 253. 


\j \j — ' \J — \J — \J — \J 

Un messatgier, qui me venc I'autre dia, 

\j — \j — w — v^ — \J — 

Tot en vellan, mon verai cor emblar ; 

\j w — \J — w — \J — \J 

Et anc pueisas no fuy ses gelozia, 

\^ — \J — W — KJ — \J — 

E res no sai vas on lo m 'an sercar.^ 

Nay, even the names they gave their songs are the 
same as the Arabian names,^ being but the Arabian 
names translated. For they had their " Evening 
Song," which they called " Serenade," or " Serena" 
their "Morning Song" they called the '^Albaf their 
Complaints, " Planks,'' and their Romances, or long 
narratives of prose and verse intermixed, which were 
but the common Arabian tales, that were chanted by 
the raouis to the accompaniment of the Marabba, or 
poet's violin.3 But the forms of their " Ballads " they 
borrowed from the " Ballad " dances of Catalonia, and 
their Roundes from the Roundelays of general Europe, 
and their Dances from the same common source, and 
their Pastourelles, or Pastoral dialogues, from the 
Serranos, or Shepherd dances, of Castile, and the 
Villanios, which were but much the same in Leon.^ 
So that they drew indeed from other elements for 
their store, but most of all, and far beyond all, from 
the Arabians. And the Provencal minstrels were 
called in their own language " inventors," or " makers," 

1 Guillaume de Beziers. 

2 The relationship is well drawn out in Fauriel's Histoire de la 
Poesie Provengale. III. 334. 

s Fauriel. III. 334. 

* This infusion of Spanish elements cannot be directly proved, but 
only inferred from the similarity of forms. 


of songs. And "to invent" in Provencal was " trobar" 
and " an inventor " was a " Troubadour." 

And since the Provengal minstrels, or Troubadours, 
differed from all other minstrels whom we have yet 
considered, it will behove us to pause, on their 
character and history a little, if only to see these 
points of difference. For while all other minstrels 
that we have yet met, have been poor and despised, 
or wanderers over the face of the earth, like the 
jongleurs were, the Troubadours were courtly gentlemen, 
who pursued the art of music for the love they bore 
it ; and while all were cavaliers of the first degree 
of knighthood,! they could reckon among their 
numbers four kings, many princes of royal blood, 
and of counts and dukes very many.^ And because 
the practice of music was often esteemed an ignoble 
pursuit, and only the composition of it fit for the 
etiquette of their rank, they would keep jongleurs in 
their service as inferior esquires,^ in the manner of 
the Spanish cavaliers, and would instruct the jongleurs 
to sing their music at the courts of their friends, or 
under the windows of their lady-love. But yet we 
must not think of them as retired and studious 
composers, but as something very different. For at 
the first breath of spring, the Troubadour, who had 
passed the winter in his castle, varying the exercise 
of arms with the composition of music, mounted on 

^ As we may know from the common passages in the Chronicles, 
where "Troubadour" and "Cavalier" are treated as' synonyms, 
"Peirols no se poc mantener per Cavallier, e venc Joglars." "E '1 
senher de Marveis si '1 fes Cavallier... no poc mantener cavalaria, si se 
fes Jotglar," &c. 

2 According to Millet. Les vies des plus celebres, &c. 

3 To quote the words of the chroniclers, the Troubadour, " anava 
per cortz, e menava dos chantadors, que chantavon las soas chansos." 


his steed, and, attended by his jongleurs, sallied out 
in quest of listeners and prepared to indulge in what 
adventures might befall him on the way. As the 
knight-errants of chivalry, so these chevaliers of 
music, commending themselves to fortune and their 
Is^dy, gave the reins to their steed, and let it carry 
them where it chose, abandoning themselves to 
delightful contemplation, while their jongleurs, on foot 
in the rear, tuning up their instruments, sang out 
their master's songs, that echoed through the meadows 
and woods as they passed along. And in no long 
time they would reach a castle, where the news of 
their coming had already been announced by a jongleur 
despatched for the purpose in front. And when 
they arrived at the castle gate, the Troubadour 
dismounted, and was soon the centre of a courtly 
throng assembled to receive him, who helped him to 
divest himself of his armour, (for being a knight 
bachelor he always rode in knightly panoply, and 
arrayed him in a costly mantle,) as was usual in the 
hospitality of the time ; ^ while the jongleurs, ranging 
themselves in a row before the company, began the 
preface to their concert, which was often couched in 
the most fantastic terms. " We come," they sang, 
"bringing a precious balsam which cures all sorts of 
ills, and heals the troubles both of body and mind. 
It is contained in a vase of gold, adorned with 
jewels the most rare. Even to see it is wonderful 
pleasure, as you will find if you care to try. The 
balsam is the music of our master, the vase of gold 
is our courtly company. Would you have the vase 

' The above is agreeable to the usual descriptions given by the 
Troubadours themselves. "Allar par le monde," "Aller par les 
cours," were the usual phrases applied to these expeditions. 


open, and disclose its ineffable treasure ? " ^ And so 
they prattled on in most harmonious music, twanging 
their instruments and piping the while, for this was 
the prelude to a long list of songs, that might take 
days for their apt delivery.^ For not all their songs 
were sung in the courtyard at their entry, but only 
a chosen few, and those the most appropriate. And 
after this, royal cheer in the banqueting hall, and 
the jongleurs sitting below the salt would ever and 
anon break out in some harmonious strain at a signal 
from their master, most apropos and pleasant for the 
occasion.3 And next morning, music on the ramparts 
overlooking the moat, where the ladies were wont to 
walk and talk in the early part of the day with the 
knights and squires. Or in the meadows outside the 
castle, and this more often in the afternoon, where 
a gallant company of knights and ladies from the 
surrounding district were assembled, and carpets of 
brocade were spread on the grass, and they sat in 
groups up and down the meadow, while the jongleurs 
moved about, singing as before.^ Here it was, and 
on such distinguished occasions, that the Troubadour 
himself perhaps would sing — a rare privilege, which 
he was chary of according. And taking his guitar 
from the hands of an attendant jongleur, he would 
strike the strings and commence his excellent refrain, 
and very soon all that courtly company had gathered 
round the spot where he was singing, for such 

1 Such is the preface in Fauriel. III. 234. 

2 lb. 

' Sitting below the salt, or standing in front of the table. "Vor 
dem Tische stant," runs the old traveller's narrative in Scheid. p. 18., 
in allusion to the jongleurs. 

* This picture is common in medieval romance. 


singing was no common privilege to hear.^ Now in 
every castle there was a large book kept, and the 
seigneur of the castle had a scrivener on purpose to 
copy in it whatever song greatly pleased him. And 
wherever the Troubadour and his jongleurs went, they 
always left many such songs behind.^ And such and 
of such kind were the visits that the Troubadours 
made to the castles in Provence. 

And so it continued all the summer time, and 
when the winter carne, Amanieu de Escas, the 
Troubadour, shall tell us how they employed their 
time then. " When hail and frost cover the earth, 
and cause man and beast to shelter themselves from 
the cold, I am sitting in the house with my pages, 
singing of love, of joy, and of arms. The warm 
fire burns bright, and the floors are well covered with 
mats. White wines and red are on the table." ^ 
And every day a new song written, and the jongleurs 
rehearsing it under their master's guidance,4 against 
bespangled spring when the round of pleasures begins 
again. But with the Troubadours, all is spring and 
summer, nor do I know any passage but the present 
one where winter and its occupations intrudes itself 
into their thoughts. But all is sunshine, and their 
month is May. And Music is to them the "Gay 

I In opposition to the singular statement of recent writers, that the 
Troubadours were composers only, the following passages may be quoted : 
"Pons de Capdeuil sabia ben trobar e ben viular e ben cantar." 
(MS. Biblioth. Nationale.) "Peire Vidal cantava meilz c' ome del 
mon." (lb.) An exception to this universal rule is thought worth 
while chronicling in the case of Hugues Brunei, " qui trobet cansos 
bonas, mas non fetz sons." (Bibliotheque Nationale. MS. Fonds Latins. 

' Fauriel. Histoire de la Poesie Prov. III. 235. 

' Amanieu de Escas in Reynouard's Recul6e. 

* This point is noticed by Fauriel. III. 233. 


Science," ^ and they styled one another in jest the 
"Doctors of the Gay Science." And we could tell of 
contests that they had together, in which the prize 
was a golden violet,^ and of their efforts so untiring 
to outvie each other in the composition of beautiful 
music ; for in the cultivation of music and in the 
pursuit of arms was their life entirely passed. But 
most of all with music, for by music no less than 
by arms might they aspire to reach that end, which 
was proposed as the prize of all chivalry. For 
what to them were the twangings of lutes and apt 
arrangements of melodies and songs, or why should 
they wander from place to place, like knightly errants 
as they were, and pass their time- in pilgrimages of 
poetry and song, but to win their lady's favours ? 
For as the errant knighis themselves, whom chivalrous 
romance informs us of, roamed the world in quest 
of adventures, engaging in perilous enterprises, or 
stationing themselves at passes in forests, or at bridges, 
and compelling all those that went by to acknowledge 
the superiority of their lady-love, so the Troubadours 
journeyed from castle to castle and from court to 
court, singing of the lady, whose beauty attracts all 
eyes, her skin white as the driven snow, her complexion 
like the rosebud in spring, and wreaths of flowers 
wound round her long flaxen hair, which shines like 
gold.3 As it was imperative for every knight-errant 
to have a lady - love, so was it equally incumbent 
on the Troubadour.4 She was the subject of his 

1 The " Gai Saber " or " Gaya Ciencia." 

* As the Sobregaya Companhia dels Sept Trobadors de Tolosa.— 
Though this is late, yet it was the imitation of an earher custom. 

' The common heroine of the Troubadours' poems. 

* Some of these connections have become more celebrated than 
others, yet in no case were they or could they in the nature of 
things be absent. Infra, p. — 


Serenades, his Planhs, of all his musics Her 
influence he invoked when he commenced to sing, 
and to spread her name throughout the land was 
the purpose of his many pilgrimages. "To my 
lady-love," sings Bernard De Ventadour, "I owe 
my valour and my spirit. I owe to her my sweet 
gaiety and engaging manners ; for had I never seen 
her, I should have never loved, and never have 
desired to please." " To my lady," sings Guillaume 
de Saint Didier, " I consecrate all my songs. She 
is the model of all perfection. Her lands, her castle, 
her very name, her discourse, her actions, her manners, 
all offer new beauties for contemplation. Oh ! that 
some traces of her loveliness might infuse themselves 
in my verses. For I tell you, that if my songs 
were worthy of the lady they celebrate they would 
surpass the songs of all other troubadours, as her 
beauty surpasses that of every lady in the world." 
" Ah ! my tender dear, when the sweet Zephyr fans 
that happy place where thou dwellest, it seems to 
me that I breathe a perfume of Paradise." Even in 
their martial exercises, which they shared with other 
gentlemen of their time, they did not forget her ; 
and let us hear how sweetly one could make music 
of the battle to please his fair enthraller^/ " Many a 
champing steed shall I see," it is Bernard jieMontcuc 
who is singing, " at Tarzane near Balaguier, the 
chargers of the king who boasts his invincible might. 
And his squadrons and his troops will be there, and 
legions of serried warriors will come riding on me 
then. Yet shall I have no fear. But what fear 

1 Of the various styles of composition among the Troubadours, all 
but one (Infra, p. — ) being on amatory themes, and containing, either 
in the body of the poem or in the Envoi, an address to their mistress. 


should I have if my lady were unkind, whose 
beautiful charms I long to possess ! 

" The barbed steed, the hauberk, the polished lance, 
and good sword of steel, and war in procinct, I 
prize more than brave attire, and the weak delights 
of peace. But more than all do I prize my lady, 
for never such a lady shall I find again. 

" Well am I pleased with the archers near the 
barbican, when the engines begin to play, and the 
wall staggers beneath their stroke, and swarming 
from the trees the army grows and deploys itself. 
But never had general such joy in his gallant troops 
as I have in my lady - love, when I think of the 
joys I have shared with her, and the delights greater 
far than glory." 

Many a story is told of their devotion to their 
mistress. Richard de Barbesieu, the Troubadour, had 
for his mistress the wife of Geoffroi de Touai, whose 
excellence he had proclaimed through all the courts 
of Provence. But she at last disdaining him, he 
retired to the woods and built himself a cabin of 
leaves, resolved never to show his face to man, till 
he was restored to her favour. And after two years 
spent thus, the lady said that if one hundred knights 
and ladies, who were truly in love, would come with 
their hands joined, and ask her on their knees to 
receive his love again, she would consent to do so. 
And this was done, and Barbesieu released from 
solitude.! Jaufred Rudel was the Troubadour Errant. 
Most fantastic were his adventures, but, more than all, 
his passion for the Countess of Tripoli, whom he had 
never seen, for she lived in Palestine, and he had 
become enamoured from report of her. He put on 

1 La Curne de St. Palaye. Histoire Litteraire des Troubadours. 


the dress and habit of a pilgrim, and embarked on 
a ship at Marseilles for the Holy Land. But on his 
way he fell grievously sick for love of her, and 
arrived at Tripoli but to die. And the Countess, 
having heard of the sick pilgrim at the port, came 
to see him, and he took her hand, and spoke 
as follows : " Most illustrious princess, I will not 
complain of death, for now I have seen you, and 
have achieved the sole object of my desire." She 
had him interred in a tomb of porphyry, and Arabic 
verses written over him.^ And this was the song 
that the Troubadours made on him in Provence : 
" Geoffrey Rudel, going over the seas to see his lady, 
died a voluntary death for her." ^ Pons de -Capdeuii^ 
the Troubadour of Puy, was enamoured of Azalais, 
the lady of tlie Baron of Mercoeur. Many were the 
feasts he made for her, to which all the nobility of 
Provence resorted in crowds. Tournaments took place 
on these occasions for Azalais as the Queen of the 
Tourney, and hosts of jongleurs were there, to 
celebrate • her and her lover in music and song. But 
woe for him ! she died, and Pons de Capdeuil, 
breathing out his despair in . a tender complaint, 
threw away his lute for ever, and passed over the 
seas in the hosts of the Crusaders, and found in 
a glorious death the end of his grief. ^ Many 
Troubadours vowed to sing nothing but Planhs, or 
Complaints, thenceforward, Avhen their mistress died, 4 
While others buried themselves in the cloisters, and 
gave their lands and possessions to the fraternity 
they had joined.^ 

1 Nostradamus. Les vies des plus celebres Troubadours. Lyon. 1575. 

2 Crescimbeni. loc. cit. ^ La Curne de St. Palaye. Histoire. 
* As William de la Tour, and others. 

5 As Fulke of Marseilles. Others might be mentioned. 



And let us hear some of their songs, about which 
we have spoken so much. And taking one of Pons 
de Capdeuil's, written in his halcyon days, which 
many a time was sung by his jongleurs at the feet 
of Azalais, let us consider its character and its Form, 
that so we may judge how far those accounts were 
true which we gave of the parentage of this Music, 
and of the source from whence it was derived. For 
we have derived it partly from the Arabian music, 
and partly from the chivalrous music of Spain, and 
let us see how it bears the impression of its origin. 



f^ T^~ 




Us gays CO - nortz. 

me fai 


a - men 










Gay - a chan - so qui fag e gai sem 





Gai dez - i 


^=P2— ^ 

rier jo - jos gay 

:^— ^=ft 













per gai - a ton - ap gai cors ben es 


W- ■^ -^ 

Ab cuy tro - ban gai so - latz e gai 







gai - a cul 

hir gai de port gai jo 











gai - a ben ttjl?, gai chan - tar gai al • bi - re . 











Gai ditz pla - sen gai joj gai preta gai,,, , gen 










soi gais, car soi siens fi - na 

And first, we shall see the Arabian influence in the 
waywardness and weakness of the rhythm, for the 
Chant Music of Arabia was conspicuous for this, and 
quite opposed to that crisp and firm style of song, 
which had grown up in the popular music of Europe 
under the influence of the dances. And next we 
shall see another Arabian influence, in the perpetual 
contrasting of line and line, or phrase and phrase, 
which had stamped itself on Arabian music by virtue 
of the antithesis of the two members, of which every 
verse was composed, and now appears in the lines 
and phrases of this Troubadour song, a phrase 
mounting and a phrase falling, the first high, the 
second low, in the manner in which we know it to 
have been in the halves and halves of Arabian poetry. 
And next the influence of the Spanish ballad music 
is very perspicuous in the measure of the poetry. 
For each bar, as it is marked here, encloses a line 
of verse, and we shall find that the verse is the 
same Ballad measure that we have heard but just 
now in Spain, though treated with such freedom in 
the music, and it has become the foundation of all 
the Troubadour poetry. Here the ordinary four-foot 



rhythm is increased to five-foot by the addition of 
an iambus, and this is often done, yet without 
prejudice, it is easily seen, to the fundamental form, 
which shines through their entire poetry as the regular 
framework of their measures. But the Rhyme is 
plainly Arabian, whether we count it as coming 
through the Spanish ballads, or as borrowed direct ; 
and also something else, which is of greater 
importance for us to take notice of For having 
said that the Arabian Scale was constructed in 
Tetrachords, all of the Third, or Last Stage of 
development, we find this song to be constructed on 
a scale of similar Tetrachords, and considering its 
notes we shall find them to lie exactly in the series 
of the Modern Major Scale : — 




I-— 4- 





Still more plain will be the discovery in the following 
Song, in which we may notice the jongleur influence, 
if we may call it so, that is, a crispness and rotundity 
of rhythm, which comes from the popular music. It 
is a Pastourelle, a style of song in which the 
Troubadours commonly drew largely from the popular 
forms. It is by the Troubadour Thibaut, Count of 








L'au - trier par la ma - ti 


En - tre un bos et 






ver - gier Un 

pas - tore ai trou - ve 

Q Q 




Chan - tant pour soi en - voi - sier 


di - soit un 








-/e— L-^ 


son pre - niier "Chi me tient li mans d' 



Tan-tost ce 




le par m'en-tor Ke je I'or. 





■^-V-gJ- -^~^~g=^~^ '-^— c^— ^: 

de frai - ni - er Si li dis sans de - lai - er, 



3 ^- 


=e= -sl- 

Diex vous 



-^— SJ: 



Here, as I say, more perspicuously than in the former, 
we may notice the features of our own modern scale. 
For the sharpness of the Rhythm brings it into relief, 
and enables us to see its relationship to the Arabian 
scale, and also its diversity. For it resembles it in 
being composed of the most highly developed form 
of Tetrachords, but it differs from it in having its 
Tetrachords disjunct. And we may well admire how 
this difference has arisen. Nor must we seek the 
cause in any vague generalising on the greater 
clearness in musical perception among the Europeans 
than the Arabians, saying that as their rhythms 
were more plastic, so was their idea of melody more 
distinct, and they delighted in playing tetrachord 
against tretrachord, and so reaping the benefit of 
that contrast, which is the fountain of all variety and 


the sure securer of symmetry, and cannot obtain, 
when the tetrachords are conjunct, as in the Arabian 
system — but this, I say, is vague and unsatisfying. 
And we shall more conveniently find the cause in 
the constant habituation of the European ear to disjunct 
tetrachords, long before the Arabian scale had been 
heard of. For the tetrachords in the scale of 
Hucbald, which had been its immediate predecessor, 
were all disjunct, and no less were they so in the 
Church Modes, which were founded on the Greek 
System, in which this disjunction of Tetrachords 
obtained as the normal form. So that it was most 
natural that the Arabian Scale, coming through Spain 
into Europe, should shape itself agreeably to the 
traditional patterns so long in use there ; and 
contributing its own individuality of the Third Stage 
Tetrachords, and submitting these to the conditions 
that were traditional in its new home, it produced 
that scale, which we have already written , before, and 
may here repeat, 




In this way we have at last reached the goal of 
that history of scale development, which has already 
occupied us so long ; and how it has been achieved, 
we have seen. And the importance of Hucbald's 
position in the growth of the Modern Scale cannot 
be over-estimated. For he it was who first broke 
free from the fetters of the Greek System, to which 
all the Church Modes were even yet entirely amenable, 
and created a scale which had regard to the singing 
of his time. Similarly it may be said of Guido, 
that his innovations were a decided advance towards 


the Modern Scale. And these men we have singled 
out from the crowd of others, whose teachings bore 
no fruit of newness, but were merely repetitions of 
doctrines and forms, that in the time of the Greeks 
we have amply discussed. For all the while that 
the popular music was progressing step by step to 
that form which we use to-day, the music of the 
church had remained stationary and the same. And 
while the Troubadours and jongleurs were expressing 
their melodies in the one common scale that served 
for all, entering the churches and monasteries we 
should still have heard the Eight Tones of Gregory, 
and all the music framed therein. So that we must 
conceive a separation in the music of the world at 
this time, and two distinct styles in existence, the 
old and the new, which hereafter we shall see in 
conflict, and struggling for the mastery. 

Now not all the Troubadours' songs are such 
admirable illustrations of the Modern scale as those 
we have given, but only some of them. Many do 
but speak it out faintly and vaguely, and many are 
entirely couched in the scale of the Arabians. As 
the following song, for instance, where the stoppage 
of the melody at the flat seventh, at once speaks oi 
conjunct tetrachords, which necessitate a flat seventh, 
if they are both to be of the same, that is, the 
third form of development : — 



:pi=g-r-r- P=^t=^^t=|zi^i^g=^-g: 


i^4 1- 





-A -I 1 \—^ , 1 ^__J___^_4. 


But we may admire that we never find those mincings 
and chips of intervals, in which the Arabians so 
much deHghted, but all the music expressed in the 
plain diatonic style. And we must say that the 
subdivision of intervals can never have been pleasing 
to European ears, and that this was an element which 
was deliberately rejected. But more obvious and 
easy borrowings, all were there — the sentimental spirit 
of the music, the formulation of it into patterns on 
the model of the poetry, into Ballads, Serenades, 
Chansons, of such a length and such a texture, because 
the poetical model must have it so, and generally the 
preference for short, fugitive, and airy forms — all these 
were in keeping with the essence of the Arabian 
Music. And while all these forms and the others 
we have mentioned passed into currency in Europe 
afterwards, to be of high importance on the development 
of the art, one form in particular was destined to 
play so remarkable a part in future music, that we 
must at some little length consider it, though it 
delay us on our course to do so. For having said 
that the main form of Arabian poetry was when two 
singers answered one another, each declaiming his 
half verse, and so a dialogue was kept up, and on 
its interchange of melodies did the interest of the 
music consist, we must say that the " Contention," 
for so we have called it before, received a most 
remarkable treatment at the hands of Troubadours, 
and was by them nourished into a mighty form, 

1 Reynouaid. II. IV. 

598 History of music. 

destined for centuries to overarch the Music of Europe. 
And first we may ask, what form more likely to 
take precedence of all others than such a form as 
this ? For wandering about the land, each vaunting 
at every castle he came to the merits of his lady 
love, it was natural that as the knight errants often 
came to blows to decide the superiority of their fair 
one, so too the Troubadours should often find 
themselves antagonists in a similar quarrel, as when 
Aimed de Peguilan supported the beauty of the Dame 
de Bonville, but Gaucelm Faidit maintained that Mary 
de Ventadour was the fairest ; or Pierre d' Auvergne 
sang of the peerless maid, Clarette, but Guionet would 
allow that none could equal the lovely Emilie. And 
Courts of Love were established in various parts of 
Provence, in which these dainty issues might be 
decided, not by blows and bloodshed, but by the 
gentler weapons which the Troubadours employed, that 
is, by songs and guitars and ready wit and music.^ 
And the judges of these Courts were the ladies of 
the neighbourhood, who would meet together, sometimes 
60 in number, for the purpose of trying the cause,^ 
And they would sit round raised tables, placed on a 
dais in the hall ; and in the lists below them the 
gentle tourney began. And the two Troubadours stood 
with their guitars in their hand, bedizened too in 
silks and satins, as was meet for the fair company 
that was to hear them, and each maintained the 
beauty of his mistress. And it was Question and 
Reply, and line for line they sang, in all respects 
the same as in the style of the Arabian "Contention." 

^ Andre. Livre de 1' Art d' aimer. Since his time, Reynouard 
(Reculee des &c.) has investigated the subject, and confirmed most of 
his statements. See also De Sade. Vie de Petrarque. II. Note. 19. 

2 Andre. Livre de 1' Art d' aimer. 


And this tourney of wit and music was called the 
" Tenso," which, as we have said before, had that 
meaning. And thus would they continue, extemporising 
words and melodies, line for line or phrase for phrase 
about. ^ And here, I say, was a great musical form 
being dallied with, which ere long we shall see 
domineer and enslave the entire music of Europe. 
For what is that Form of Music which has lasted 
till to-day, but which then in Europe had no 
existence, where phrase answers phrase in Question 
and Reply, and the whole texture of which is but 
this agreeable altercation from first to last? Is it not 
the Fugue ? which seen now in its later complexity, 
which the science of centuries has set upon it, may 
hardly be recognised in so simple an original, but 
yet without doubt it is che same ; and we need but 
imagine living interlocutors in its play of musical 
dialogue, to see from what primitive form it has 
sprung. And now, before it passed to the science of 
the cloisters, it was flowering in freedom amid the 
gardens of Provence, having been wafted to these 
pleasant surroundings from the minstrels of Arabian 
Spain, who kept up that Contention of Question and 
Answer, which they had Derived from the earlier 
minstrels of Arabia itself, who in their turn were 
but giving utterance to that deep-seated formula of all 
Semitic poetry, that Question and Reply that the 
ancient Hebrews had been the first to expound, which 
we have before designed as Parallelism. 

Thus unconsciously were the Troubadours elaborating 
a great musical Form. And quite as unwittingly 
were they developing a great component of the 
musical art, which, up till the impulse it received 

I Reyiiouard. Art, Tenso. 


from them, had for centuries remained in a state 
of stagnation. For Harmony since the time of 

Hucbald had scarcely moved forward in the path of 
progress, having no new conditions brought to bear 
on it which might develop novelty, and no impulse 
to improvement, since it entirely satisfied the 
requirements of those who used it. It was the 
nursling of the churches and the cloisters, and but 
for a few changes, with one exception, of little 
moment, had remained from then till now in the 
state of infancy. The first change that had taken 
place in the ancient system was the introduction of 
a licence, or rather an ornament, into the series of 
consecutive 4ths, 5ths, and 8ves, which made it up, 
whereby some slight relief from the monotony was 
gained, by employing an invariable 8ve to open 
the piece, so that, while the old form of Hucbald's 
harmony ran, 

Harmony r^l) ' " gj ^ °^ &c. 

Melody ^^ I^T-p?— P 

by virtue of this new ornament, the opening became 

Harmony Y f(}\ '"^ g^~ ^-^ &c. 

Melody ^g^ .^ £J ^ 

And from this principle another had easily flowed. 
For if the melody fell at its second note, instead of 
rising, as here it does, the 8ve at the commencement 

1 As may be judged from the regulations of the handbooks, which 
make this progression their primary rule. Though any handbook 
would have served the turn, the rules have been taken here from the 
Treatise MS. 813. (Fonds St. Victor. Bibliotheque Nationale.), because it 
has been most recently published by Coussemaker. 


60 1 

would necessitate too great a leap for the voice on 
to the succeeding note, and in place therefore of 




the 8ve was placed at the second note of the piece, 
instead of the first, with the following result, 

n 1 

:=:z:c2EiE^z= &c. 


Such was the simple innovation which the singers of 
the churches ventured to make in the hard and fast 
severity of Hucbald's method — one 8ve amid a crowd 
of 5ths, and with this solitary grace the harmony was 
conceived to be "mitigated and mollified." ^ Yet one 
change was not long in leading to another. For the 
ear, accustomed to the pleasant variety of the opening, 
soon came to require an infusion of the same in the 
song itself, nor was it long before the device of the 
commencement was repeated throughout the piece, 
and what had been originally written. 






1 Auct. cit. In Guy de Clialis, 



appears a.s 


an optional form for 

r (SI ^ and 



was now, with an agreeable alternation of fifths and 
octaves, written and sung as follows : — 



— r^ — ~~~Z 


-C3 — ^r — ^ — 1^7 — ^ z=J — -i^- 

And this is the important change we spoke of a 
moment ago. For though Church Harmony lingered 
in such a phase as this, without taking the next 
step in its progress, yet a great principle had been 
already inaugurated, and was faithfully acted on, that 
to procure pleasant variety of concord the parts must 
proceed in contrary motion.^ This principle, flowing 
easily as it does from the device of the 8ve 
commencement, which necessitated contrary movement of 
the parts on the second note of the piece, had come to 
be commonly used in the church style, but no further 
than this had the church style dared to soar. 8ves, 
4ths, and 5ths, though now intermixed as we see, 
formed the sole constituents of the harmony ; and 
this was the condition of Harmony, when the 
Troubadours had begun their singing in Provence. 

And committing their songs to the performance of 
jongleurs, which by preference they did, only on rare 
occasions deigning to appear as performers themselves, 
they were committing them to men little disposed to 
bind themselves to any severity of principle, to men 
who were familiar in a popular sense with the music 
of the churches and monasteries, and, above all, to 
jongleurs, who, for the first time in jongleur history, 

















1 "Written in the MS. quoted ; 

2 That the principle is laid down in so many words cannot be 
exactly said ; but the examples in the handbooks all proceed as if it 



sang in companies together. For up till the time of 
the Troubadours, the jongleur roamed alone, but now, 
collected in bands and parties, they passed their 
time in castle-yards and halls, singing their masters' 
songs. For the jongleurs harmonised the songs, as 
they sang them, in their own wilful way, extemporising 
harmonies and surprising combinations of voices with 
the same ready wit they had always displayed, and 
the melody which the Troubadour wrote was performed 
by his jongleurs, with such variations as their fancy or 
waywardness suggested. This method of extemporising 
harmonies was known as Descant^ and the immediate 
result of it may be easily surmised. For at once, 
and without any laborious development to lead to the 
result, it broke through all the fetters of the church 
style, and laid open the whole field of musical 
combination to the harmonist. For no man 
extemporising harmonies can show himself so skilful 
an adept, as always to keep his invention in accord 
with rule ; for the melody may take a turn he was 
little prepared for, and by mishap, or by caprice, 
some other interval than the regular one will intrude 
itself. And such mishaps and such caprices were the 
constant concomitants of jongleur singing, as we may 
see by considering the manner in which it was 
performed : The main body of singers declaimed the 
melody, and one improvised his descant above it. 
Next another would try his hand, it might be on 
the same melody, it might be on another ; but in 
either case emulation was equally present, and jongleur 

1 The attempt of some to divert Descant from its meaning of 
" extempore harmony " to the signification of " Harmony " in general, 
has no ground to stand upon but assumption alone. 


after jongleur would do his best to outshine his 
comrades in cleverness of combination and novelty 
of effects. Let us then think what scope was given 
for licence to assert itself, and wilful harmonising 
such as system never dreamed of 

And now to the jongleur, whose ear was his only 
guide, 3rds and 6ths^ would sound as pleasant as 8ves, 
5ths, and 4ths, Even discords would be welcomed 
as an agreeable means of variety,^ more especially 
when to the descanter the desire came of making 
his descant as good a melody as the song itself — 
which in due time took place. The device of 
harmony, which we call " Passing Notes," appeared as 
another result of this,^ and with the exception of the 
simple principle, which their own good ear led them 
to, that every discord should be succeeded by a 
concord,4 nothing in the range of musical combination 
was safe from the extravagancies of the jongleurs. 
In such forms as this, then, would they descant, and 
we may see how free and flexible is the harmony : — 

1 Faux-Bourdon had already habituated the ear to these intervals. 
It is to be regretted that this method of progression cannot be alluded 
to here. 

^ In the oldest examples of Descant known, quoted in Coussemaker. 
Beilagen., are to be found the intei-vals of the 8ve, 5th and 4th — the 
3rd occasionally, and the 6th occasionally. In later ones, as 
"Lone le rieu," the discords of the and and 7th are employed, but 
on condition of resolving them by contrary motion on concords. 

3 In "Discantus Vulgaris Positio," in the Treatise of Jerome of 
Moravia, we first have the progression permitted of two notes of the 
Descant to one of the Melody, either of which, the first or the second, 
may be a discord. 

* If we may call it a principle which was merely a habit 
unconsciously followed by these extempore singers, and not even in 
the earlier handbooks recognised as a canon of harmony. 













~i r-' r-^ \ 



^- P 1* * 

rJ \^ f-^ rJ 

p" r r r 



] 1 1 ^ 

_| 1^— -1- ' 








:^— -^Hzz^zzL^^ 




:iz 1— 






Of this Descant, then, as we have given it here, had 
the Troubadours been the unconscious founders. But 
as it advanced in its development, they were drawn into 
closer connection, and even compelled to appear as 
its main exponents. For those merry spirits, into 
whose hands the art of harmony had thus so strangelj^ 
fallen, were little disposed to pause at the point they 
had now arrived at. For from one extempore 
descanter they soon passed to two. Two jongleurs, 
each prepared to illustrate his originality of invention 
and musical combination, and each extemporising on 
his own account, became in no long time the usual 
addition to the song. The highest of the two 

MS. Bibliotheque Nationale. 7451. 



descants, which was the new one, since thus it seems 
that harmony grows, was called the Treble^ that is, 
the Triple, or Third, part; and with two extempore 
singers, neither knowing from note to note what 
interval his fellow might take, most rare was the 
confusion which sometimes resulted. To check the 
licences, then, and to amend the errors, the Troubadours 
found themselves compelled to arrange the parts 
beforehand, and the descant, which in two-part 
harmony was merely governed by the whims of the 
jongleurs, must now in three-part be carefully written 
down and rehearsed before performance. The 
Troubadours made use of the same free intervals 
and the same bold combinations, which the jongleurs 
in their extempore singing employed.^ And we have 
many beautiful examples of Descant written by the 
Troubadours for the Jongleurs in three parts, of which 
we may well quote the following as instances — 2 







Counter Tenor. 






Melody or Tenor. 






1 Harinony, with its accompanying demands on the labour of the 
composer, was no great favourite with the earlier Troubadours. 
Rather to the later Trouveres, or Troubadours of Northern France 
and Belgium, did it owe its progress. 

2 MS. Biblioth^que Nationale. 5397. 
















•H \ 1 





in which we may notice that the discord of the 
second at i is resolved regularly by contrary motion, 
but at 2 it is not so resolved, though the resolution 
is but suspended, and takes place at 3. Let us also 
observe the passing notes at 4 ; and other points of 
harmony throughout the song will be suggested by 

Here is a Round, no less aptly harmonised than 
the preceding : — 

Treble. 1. 





t zM- 



Counter Tenor. 





"' * cJ- 




Melody or Tenor. 











c^- -o- 










-^— ^ 

.^._ , — ^ — _- 








I — ^1. 



' — ^ s>- 



r— IS" — r- 




-iS-T — 





1— Sl-T 1— <S-T 1— iSI T 





6. 6. 

-~^_ ^ e- 








-s?— - 

— W- 1 1 — 3 ' 

— 3 1 

W^ ^=F=t^ ^ ^ 

_j . ,_j — 1_. 

iCi ^■^ * d ff rJ 

Ij ^^- 


— ep-T— LI 

— jrp" — 1 

— 22~ 

-^ 1 

—SI--— • 


_ E 


And the discords at i and 6, and the passing notes 
at 2, 3, 4, 5, will strike us, and also the apt 
alternation of harmonious intervals, so as to procure 
the most pleasing change and variety. In this way, 
from pure wit and delicate ear was the art of Harmony 
being slowly forged. And meanwhile all the lighter 
forms of our modern music were flowering fast, some 
to attain a high maturity later, and some to as 
quickly vanish and fade away. Ballads, Chansons, 
Rounds, or Rondos, Serenades, Nocturnes — all these 
with many more as Sonnets, Coblas, Planhs, Tensos, 
and Sirventes, must be credited for their origination 
to the Troubadours. And some, as I say, have 
passed away, but others still remain, with the benefit 
of that complicate development, which centuries have 
brought about. And all alike were in their infancy 
now, and but the simple utterance of poetical 
sentiment, deriving their name and their nature from 
the uneventful particular which originated them. If 
they were composed to the measure of a dance, 
{Baile), they were called Ballads, and to the measure 
of the Round Dance, Rounds ; if they were phrased 
with fancies that sorted with the Evening {Se7'a), then 
they were Serenades, with the late night. Nocturnes. 
And all these we have described, with the exception 
of the Sirventes, which yet remain to be considered. 
They differed from the rest, not in their musical 
texture, but in the subject that called them forth. 
For while the theme of the other songs was amorous, 
the Sirventes were tbe songs of war.^ Real war, 
indeed, no Jess than those pleasant mimicries of fight 
which the Courts of Love could witness, played its 

1 Also of Satire and Humour, in which, though by comparison 
sparingly, the Troubadours sometimes indulged. 

R R 


part in the lives of the Troubadours ; and with their 
Sirventes they sent challenges to knightly adversaries, 
or wrote in Sirventes that music of the tourneys 
which was fitted with wild accompaniments of many 
instruments, as befitted the occasion.^ They stationed 
their jongleurs outside the barriers of the lists, while 
they themselves , mounted on their war-horses, jousted 
for their lady-love, and in the melee they could hear 
their own music on horns and bells pealing out above 
the roar of crashing blades and the shock of steeds.^ 
This was the service their jongleurs did them, 
playing on horns, bells, and drums, that strange 
battle-music, or carrying the dead Troubadour from 
the lists after the melee was over, when the ground 
was strewn with glittering pieces of armour, and gold 
and silver spangles. 

' The account is from Justinus Lippiensis, in Lerberke's Chronicon 
Comitum Schaw. 

2 "Tibia dat varias," it runs in the poem above cited, "per mille 
foramina voces ; Dant quoque terribilem tympana pulsa sonum." 



Now these are the names of the Troubadours, who 
Hved and sang in Provence and Languedoc, from the 
time of William, Count of Poitiers, who was the 
earliest of them, till the time when they were 
exterminated by Pope Innocent III. and the Inquisition : 
— William of Poitiers, who was a type of many of 
them. He fought in the Second Crusade, and after that 
devoted his life to gallantry, all his songs being but 
descriptions of his amours ; Bernard de Ventadour, 
who was a great favourite at the court of Eleanor 
of Guienne, and afterwards at the court of Raymond V., 
Count of Toulouse, the great protector of the 
Troubadours ; Richard I. of England, and his friend 
Bertrand de Born. They would call one another Oc 
(" Yes") and No, so familiar were they ; and the 
Princess Helena, Richard's sister, was Bertrand's lady- 
love ; Garin d' Apchier ; Bernard de Montcuc ; Pierre 
Rogiers, who was the lover of Ermengarde, Viscountess 
of Narbonne ; Pierre Raymond ; Guillaume de Balaune ; 
Guillaume de St Didier; Pierre de Barjac ; Pierre de 
la Mula; Alphonso II., King of Arragon ; Raymond, 
de Miravals, who was one of the chief victims of the 
persecution, that in time began against them ; Pons 
Barba ; Giraud de Roux ; Guillaume Rainols d' Apt ; 
Guillaume de Durfort ; Raymond de Durfort ; Bertrand 
de Marseilles, another victim of the persecution ; 
Rambaud, Prince of Orange ; Rambaud de Vaqueiras, 
a great Crusading Troubadour. Those of his songs 


which are not battle pieces, are devoted to the praises 
of his mistress, " Le Bel Cavalier," a beautiful lady, 
who could perform all the martial exercises of the 
time ; Bertrand de la Tour ; Guillaume de Baux ; 
Guillaume de Figueira ; Dendes de Prades ; the Dauphin 
of Auvergne ; the Marquis of Malaspina ; the Sieur 
de Barjols ; Elas Cairels ; Bertrand d' Almamon ; 
Hugues Brunet; Ferrari de Ferrare ; Cardenet; 
Perdigan ; Gui de Palasol ; Fulke of Romans ; Giraud 
de Borneil ; Pierre d' Auvergne. He it was who 
wrote that beautiful chanson, " Go sweet nightingale, 
go and tell my fair one, how I love her and desire 
her. love. Learn the news from her, how her heart 
is bent to me, and fly fast back, and quickly bring 
me word. The pretty bird flies off, and gaily soars 
along, until he finds my fair one, until he sees my 
love ; " Giraud de Calanson ; Boniface de Castellane ; 
Sordel ; Hugues de Mataplana ; Gui d' Uisel, he was 
a canon of Brionde, who disguised his orders, and 
went about Provence as a Troubadour ; Guillaume de 
St Gregoire ; Armanieu des Escas ; Richard Barbesieu ; 
Guillaume de la Bergedan ; Granet ; Guillaume de la 
Tour ; Lanfran Cigala ; Simon Doria ; Hugues de St. 
Cyr ; Bernard de la Barthe ; Hugues de 1' Escure ; 
Jean d' Aubusson ; the Monk of Montaudon, he was 
Prior of Montaudon, but being of a noble family in 
Auvergne he obtained permission of his Abbot to go 
about the Courts of Provence as a Troubadour ; the 
Monk of Puicibot — he ran away from the cloisters, and 
took refuge with the Troubadour, Savari de Mauleon, 
who raised him step by step through the degrees of 
knighthood, till he became knight-bachelor, and was 
enabled to adopt the circumstance of a Troubadour ; 
Savari de Mauleon ; Durand ; Aimeri de Peguilani ; 
Guillaume Magret ; Bernard the Troubadour ; Arnaud 


d' Armagnac ; Sordel de Gaito ; Blacas de Provence ; 
Marcabres ; Mathieu de Querci ; the Monk of Fossan ; 
Lanza; Bernard de Rovenac ; Raymond Jordan; Aicarts 
del Fosset ; Aimeri de Beauvoir ; Aimeri de Belmont ; 
Guillaume Adhemar — he had not the means to 
support the estate of a Troubadour, and was allowed 
to become a jongleur. Of Aimeri de Beauvoir, whom 
we have just mentioned, the same is said ; Frederick, 
king of Sicily ; Guillaume de Mur ; Arnaud de 
Marsan ; Guillaume de Montagnogont, a knight .of 
Provence, and a great sufferer in the persecution ; 
Arnaud de Marveil ; Geoffrey Rudel ; Gavaudan, a 
leading Troubadour in the Third Crusade. His songs 
in some parts rise to the enthusiasm of prophecy ; 
the Bishop of Clermont, a bishop, who was at the 
same time a Troubadour, but not the only instance 
of such a union of functions ; Fulke, Bishop of 
Marseilles ; William Cabestaing — he it was who was 
killed by the husband of his lady-love, Margherita, ' 
and his heart served up to her at a banquet. And 
she having eaten of it, and being informed whose 
heart it was, said, " After eating such excellent food, 
to show how I prize it, I will never eat food again ; " 
Richard de Naves ; Ogier, a great supporter of the 
Vicomte de Beziers, who was the champion of the 
Troubadours against the Inquisitors ; Gaucelm Faudit 
— he lost his possessions by gambling, and being unable 
to support any longer the expenses of a Troubadour 
was allowed to become a jongleur, in which capacity 
he went on the Third Crusade in the train of King 
Richard ; Arnaud de Ribeyrac ; Izarn ; Fulke of 
Lunel, that visionary enthusiast, who took the Virgin 
Mary for his lady-love, and to her dedicated all his 
songs ; Arnaud de Comminges, who with all his family 
was made one of the chief victims in the persecution ; 


Pierre Vidal ; Pierre Cardinal, who was one of the 
chief champions of the Troubadours in the persecution, 
encouraging them by his songs to resist the 
pretensions of the Inquisitors and of Rome ; Guy de 
Cavaillon, whose castle was stormed during the 
persecution; Raymond V,, Count of Provence; the 
Count of Foix ; Raymond de Beziers ; Pierre TIL, 
king of Arragon ; Bertrand d'Avignon ; Arnaud de 
Marsan ; Raimond de Castelnau ; Paulet de Marseilles, 
and others of lesser note. But these were the 
coryphees in those gay doings that we have but lately 
described. And they each supported their train of 
jongleurs, and made music and performed pilgrimages 
in honour of their lady-loves. And of these 
attachments some have become more renowned than 
others, as of Bernard de Ventadour for Eleanor of 
Guienne, afterwards the wife of Henry II. of England; 
of Pons de Capdeuil for Azalais, which we have 
mentioned ; of Arnaud de Marveil for Adelaide, 
Countess of Beziers ; of Pierre Rogiers for Ermengarde, 
Viscountess of Narbonne ; of Pierre d' Auvergne for 
Clarette de Baux, who, however, was a Troubadour 
so popular with . the ladies, that he always received 
the reward of a kiss from those who pleased him 
best ; of Savari de Mauleon for Guilemette de Beuavias, 
and of Guy de Cavaillon for the Countess of Provence. 
Now such was the amorous atmosphere of the time, 
and so perfectly did these liaisons constitute one of 
the chief, or even the chief object of existence, that 
the Courts of Love, which we have mentioned before 
as existing in Provence and Languedoc, grew little 
by little into institutions of the highest importance. 
Having been established to settle the disputes of 
contending Troubadours, who with guitars and songs 
appeared before them, pleading in tensos the excellence 


of their lady-loves, they gradually extended their sway, 
arbitrating on the etiquette of courtship, deciding 
knotty points in love making, and generally exercising 
a daily engrossing influence over the entire social life 
of the time.i The ceremonies still remained the 
same, being conducted with mimic lists and tensos as 
before, but a spirit of trifling, and also perhaps of 
looseness, was insinuating itself into the proceedings, 
which argued ill for the future of such assemblages. 
To give an instance of at least the former element, 
and also to show what sort of subjects now formed 
the theme of debate, let us take the following 
example : — When more than two Troubadours were 
concerned in a Tenso, which was sometimes the case, 
it was called a Tenso-Tourney, and we have an 
instance of a celebrated Tenso-Tourney between the 
Troubadours, Savari de Mauleon, the Seigneur of 
Bergerac, and Geoffrey Rudel, before the Court of 
the Ladies of Gascony. They had been on a visit 
to the Vicomtesse de Gavaret. She had held out 
hopes to each separately beforehand, and, on the 
occasion of their visiting her together, had the address 
to content all three at one and the same moment. 
She gazed amorously at Geoffrey Rudel, and at the 
same moment pressed tenderly the hand of the 
Seigneur de Bergerac, and pressed with her foot the 
foot of Savari de Mauleon. The object of the 
tenso was to decide who had received the greatest 
favour. Geoffrey Rudel, who had received the amorous 
gaze, maintained that the pressure of the hand was 
a mere courtesy, the touch of the foot might be an 
accident, but that a look arises from the soul. The 
Seigneur de Bergerac, whose hand had been pressed, 

' Andre. Livie de I'Art d'Aimer. 


maintained that the look was of no consequence, 
since kind looks are given to all ; the touch of the 
foot was no great intimacy, because the foot was 
covered ; but when a white hand without glove 
presses tenderly your own, it is a sign that genuine 
love is present. With still more convincing eloquence 
did Savari de Mauleon defend the foot.^ 

And in these amorous triflings was much time 
passed almost daily. Codes of laws also began to be 
drawn up by the Courts,^ to which life at large must 
needs submit itself, and the most minute details of 
love-making were regulated and laid down with the 
nicest discrimination. The value and weight which 
was attached to them may be gathered from the 
mythical stories which were told of their compilation. 
And if the Koran was believed to have been sent 
down from heaven, the Laws of Love were supposed 
to owe their origin to witchcraft and enchantment. 
Fables of Troubadours riding in forests, and finding 
scrolls attached by chains ®f gold to such and such 
a dragon's neck, or such a wild bird's perch, and 
how these scrolls contained the veritable statutes and 
regulations of the Court of Artus or the Court of 
Narbonne^ — such fables, I say, were employed to 
mystify the vulgar and to give a prestige to what 
but else was the very excess of trifling and folly. 
For to instance but a few of these statutes from the 
the Laws of the Court of Artus : — 4 

^ Reyiiouard. Reculce, &c. il. 

- Nostradamus. Les vies des plus celebres, &c. Andre. Livre de 
I'Art d'Aimer. 

s The story of the discovery of the laws of the Court of Artus 
is told in Reynouard. II. It may lay claim to lively and poetical 

1 Quoted in Reynouard. II. 


1. That married people must be allowed the privilege of 
entertaining lovers. 

2. That the test of a lover is his power to keep a secret. 

3. That a lady may permit herself to be loved by two 
gentlemen at one and the same time, or a gentleman by 
two ladies. 

4. That it is not well to snatch favours without full 
permission, because as a rule they are tasteless. 

5. That the more difficulties stand in the way of 
enjoyment, the greater the pleasure when it is achieved. 

&c., &c. 

And to these edicts were all within the jurisdiction 
of the Court compelled to conform, under penalties 
for disobedience and due rewards for compliance. 
And the tendency of these things is easily seen, and 
how we are now in a most strange epoch, which 
cannot last for long. 

And next the Courts began to discuss matters of 
looser purport, and a freedom is perceptible, which 
speaks ill for the morality both of Troubadours and 
of ladies. The following questions may be taken as 
specimens of the later Tensos : Whether a lover 
might enjoy the embraces of another lady, if he had 
first gained his mistress' consent ; What are the 
rights and privileges of seduction ; Utrum intima et 
secreta amoris vulganda sint ;^ with others of the 
same kind. And the Courts of Love began to pass 
from public assemblies of sixty and more ladies, to 
private reunions, where licentiousness was tolerated 
and encouraged ; and thus they might well join 

^ The first of these questions was debated in tenso before Queen 
Eleanor of Guienne (Andre. Livre de I'Art d' Aimer, fol. 92.) ; the 
second before the Countess of Flanders. (Id. fol. 94.) ; while a 
gentlemen stood charged with the offence implied in the third, before 
the Court of the ladies of Gascony. (Id. fol. 97.) 


company with certain other assemblies, of a no less 
secret kind, which at this time were in existence 
throughout Provence. For swarms of unbelievers and 
heretics had honeycombed the land, and the waifs 
and fragments of those infidel opinions of Eastern 
mysticism, which had travelled to Europe through the 
medium of the Crusades, and afterwards brought 
about the ruin of the Templars, were propagated by 
sectaries on every side. There were the Patarenes, 
who denounced all marriage as unholy, and preferred 
the connection of accidental love : the Bulgari, or 
Bougres, whose views were even more licentious ; the 
Cathari, or Manichaean heretics, whose doctrines on 
the Nature of the Universe led them to approve and 
encourage the very worst forms of vice, for they 
recognised the Duality of Principles, that is, the 
Eternity of Good and also of Evil, and there was 
no vice which they could condemn, and no virtue 
which they could commend. These views, I say, so 
like in their practical results to the principles and 
practice of the Troubadours, began little by little to 
be confounded with them, and the ill-omened name 
of Albigenses was applied to the gay singers, no less 
than to the visionary enthusiasts, being itself at first 
the name of a small but typical sect, which had 
appeared with some prominence in Albigeois, but 
destined in the end to become one of the most 
tragical appellations ever coined by man. 

And the doctrines of these sectaries were ceaselessly 
propagated. They would write them on tracts, and 
disperse these through the country. They would 
leave their tracts on the wayside or on the mountains, 
in the hope that poor people or shepherds might find 
them. They would have secret conventicles and secret 
houses of entertainment, in which they would expound 


and develop their views, which reposing on the 
recognition of the Two Eternal Principles, as we have 
said, grew into a system of morals and of religion most 
agreeable to the gay companies, who laughed and 
jested life away on the surface of that fair land. 
For if Evil was inextinguishable and eternal, being 
indeed the Great Serpent that encompasses the 
Universe, and entangles all things in his folds, what 
need of virtue, and self-restraint, and other lets to 
delight and pleasure, since to practise these is but to 
make a silly opposition to the principles of Eternal 
Nature, which approves of one form of life no less 
than the other? And these doctrines, I say, 
whispered in the privacy of conventicles, and spread 
by secret embassies through all ranks of the people, 
began afterwards to be heard in the boudoirs of 
chateaux, and were caught up and repeated from 
mouth to mouth in those gay and happy assemblies, 
that we have hitherto found but the recreation grounds 
of courtly ladies and silk-bedizened Troubadours, with 
lute and song proclaiming the empire of ideal love. 
" In the private chamber," says the Troubadour, Izarn, 
" where the ladies Domergna, Renaud, Bernard, Garsens, 
sat spinning at their distaffs, there was sure to be 
some Albigense at their elbows, expounding the great 
mysteries of creation and existence." And most 
congenial were the Albigensian doctrines to the 
Troubadours themselves, for they contained, if in 
a much perverted and vulgarised form, the main 
elements of those musical religions that we have before 
met in this history ; and the Eternity of Evil, and 
the Duality of Principles inextricably interwound with 
each other, did but repeat those ancient creeds of 
Pythagoras and Orpheus, how Matter, which was the 
Evil Principle, was eternal and indestructible, and^ 


how, at first a seething chaos, it was by the power 
of Good, which is Harmony, attuned to symmetry and 
order, and how in the Universe, as we know it, these 
two remain inseparably joined, as the numbers, 1+2, 
which is the Octave. And these doctrines we have 
seen appear again and again in this history, weaving 
themselves round the very existence of Greek Tragedy, 
and appearing in the tenets of Pythagoras and the 
mysteries of Orpheus, and now in new mysteries and 
new tenets appearing among the Troubadours. But 
we have yet to hear how inimical they were to the 
Christian religion, and how in this new world of 
Christendom that they had appeared in, they enforced 
the denial of Christ, whom the Albigenses explained 
into a shadow or phantom of Ormazd, and the 
denial of the Blessed Virgin, and the repudiation of 
baptism, and the denial of transubstantiation, and, more 
potently perhaps than all, the renunciation and derision 
of the clergy, whose dissolute lives, indeed, had otherwise 
afforded ample theme for reproach. And the 
Troubadours sent their jongleurs to sing sirventes 
among the crowd at market days, and at fair times, 
and in the streets of the chief towns. And the 
jongleurs, dispatched on their strange errand, acquitted 
themselves but too well, and striking their lutes, or 
touching up their violins, they very soon attracted 
the sympathies of scores of listeners, while they sang 
their masters' sirventes, than which perhaps nothing 
fiercer or more scathing has ever been composed. 
" Ah ! false and wicked clergy," runs it in a sirvente 
of Bertrand of Marseilles, " traitors, liars, thieves, and 
miscreants ! Your balance is gold, and your pardons 
must be sought by silver. Your portion is the 
portion of hypocrisy, and the world rings with 3/our 
roguery." Or from a sirvente of the Troubadour, 


William de Figueira, who, grown bolder, attacks Rome 
herself. " God confound thee, Rome ! " he sings. 
" Thou draggest all that trust in thee into the 
bottomless pit. Thou forgivest sins for money, and 
takest the offences of others on thy shoulders, too 
charged with guilt already." Elsewhere we hear 
churches called " dens of thieves," the cross, " the 
mark of the beast," altars, holy water, pilgrimages, 
confessions, all denounced and vilified. And of the 
Troubadours nearly all were busy, and concerned in 
the movement. Few were so happy as Monk of 
Montaudon, who boasts that Albigense and Christian 
were the same to him ; and, alas for the Troubadours ! 
but two were on the Christian side. These, who 
were counted as recreants by their brothers, were the 
Troubadour, Izarn, and Fulke, Bishop of Marseilles. 
And these stood the brunt of the musical war, and 
retorted in counter sirventes, defending the church. 
And the , quarrel had reached the point of the most 
violent controversial discussion, which is at once 
terrible to contemplate, and also at this distance of 
time contains an element of amusement, which 
however was not then. For let us hear Izarn in 
reply taking up the championship of the church, and 
he couches his controversy in tensos between himself 
and an opponent. " Dost thou believe in the seven 
sacraments .'' " he asks. " Dost thou believe in the 
change of the elements into the body and blood of 
Christ ? " And then came the reply, and so the 
tenso proceeded. "Ere thou art delivered to the flames," 
sings this recreant Troubadour, " take this to comfort 
thee at thy burning." " I have in eight points 
convicted thee, obstinate heretic " — such are some of 
the pleasantries of this poetical duel, which very soon 
became a real one. For Innocent III., who at this 


time occupied the Papal Chair, was not the man to 
connive at the impious opinions, which rang throughout 
the castles of Provence,^ and, stimulated thereto by 
the importunity of the Troubadour bishop, Fulke of 
Marseilles, a man who in his youth had been the 
gayest and loosest of the Troubadours, but afterwards 
had recanted, and put on the guise of a sour ascetic, 
he preached a Crusade against this happy land, 
where love and music were in their heyday, and all 
nature smiled. And the Crusaders under the command 
of Simon de Montfort and the Papal Legate, Arnold 
of Citeaux, with crosses on their breasts, and all the 
privileges of a Crusade as if against Turkish infidels, 
came marching on Provence, to stamp out the cursed 
heresy, and turn the impious land into a pasture pure 
once more. And meanwhile on the other side, the 
Troubadours were arming, chevaliers and knights of 
high degree gathering their retainers and vassals, and 
drilling their troops, and pouring forth in the 
enthusiasm of the moment martial songs and calls 
to heroism innumerable. And there was putting of 
castles in defence thoroughout Provence, and concerting 
of plans of military operation. And the leaders of 
the Troubadours were the Counts of Toulouse and of 
Foix, the Counts of Beam and of Comminges, the 
Vicomte de Beziers, Guy de Cavaillon, Guillaume de 
Montagnogont, Arnauld de Comminges, Raymond de 
Miravals, Guillaume Rainols d'Apt, Bertrand de 
Marseilles, and others of lesser note in the ranks. 
And first, it was against the Vicomte de Beziers 
that the fury of the Crusaders discharged itself, and 

1 The main authorities for the narrative which follows, are the Epic 
by the anonymous Troubadour, *' Aisos es la Cansos de la Crozada 
contr els Ereges d'Albeges," and the accoiint of the war of the 
Albigeois in Fauriel. II. 


the Christian Army, numbering 20,000 men-at-arms 
and 200,000 villeins, besides bishops and clergy, 
marched against the town of Beziers. " God never 
made clerk or grammarian so learned," writes the 
Troubadour, who has sung of the wars, " that he 
could recount the names of the clergy and abbots in 
it. "And see," he continues, "in what spirit they come! 
' There shall not one stone be left on another,' said 
the Papal legate ; and when the town was captured, 
and he was asked how the soldiers were to 
distinguish between Christians and Albigenses, ' Slay 
them all,' he said, ' the Lord knoweth them that are 
his.' And therefore near 100,000 men were slaughtered 
at Beziers, and the city of Beziers was set on fire." 

And next the Crusaders marched to Carcassonne, 
where the Vicomte de Beziers commanded in person. 
And here as elsewhere they commenced the siege 
with military engines surmounted by a huge cross, 
and the clergy, and bishops, and the Inquisitors 
at a little distance, intoning antiphons and psalms, 
and exciting the Crusaders to deeds of daring. 
Meanwhile inside the town was the music of guitars 
and violins, the jongleurs parading the streets, and 
singing to the desperate people their masters' songs, 
who themselves were on the bastions leading the 
defence against the foe. And Carcassonne, too, was 
taken, and the people massacred, four hundred of the 
more impious being chosen to be burnt. 

And next against the Count of Toulouse the fury 
of the Crusaders turned itself — but why should we 
pursue the details of an enterprise, which resulted in 
the ruin of our delightful music, and the extermination 
of those gallant spirits who were its gay and poetical 
exponents ? For after scores of such captures, and 
after repetitions of such massacres, in which the 


noblest and fairest fell a victim to the zeal of the 
Crusaders, at a desperate moment and at the very- 
crisis of the crusade, Pierre, the Troubadour King of 
Arragon, having but recently triumphed over the 
Moors of Spain in the great battle of Navas de 
Tolosa, found himself at last at liberty to help his 
brother Troubadours and kinsmen. And he sent a 
sirvente by his jongleurs to the camp of the zealots, 
saying, " For the love of my lady I am coming to 
drive ye out, barbarians, of that beautiful' land that 
ye have ravaged and destroyed." And one of the 
Crusaders, hearing his message, cried out, " So help 
me God ! I do not fear a king, who comes against 
God's cause for the sake of a harlot." And Pierre 
began to collect his army, and set out on his 
march ; and let us hear the Troubadour, who sings 
of the war, describe his coming. "The good King 
of Arragon," he sings, " on his good steed is come 
to Muret, and has raised his banners, and assembled 
round him many a rich vassal, who owes allegiance 
to his crown. He has brought with him the flower 
of Catalonia and great knights from Arragon. And 
yet all these valiant men and all their beautiful 
armour he must lose." For he came and was 
conquered in that battle of Muret. Himself was 
slain, and his gallant army either perished on the 
field, or were driven into the waters of the Garonne. 
And now commenced a work of remorseless 
destruction on the defenceless people. Castle after 
castle was taken, town after town, and at each there 
was murder and cruel slaughter. At La Minerve 
near Narbonne, a hundred and forty of the Albigenses 
were burnt alive in a great bonfire, all together. At 
Bran, Simon de Montfort, the Papal leader, tortured to 
death one hundred chosen victims. At Lavaur eighty 


chevaliers were gibbeted. The sister of Almeric, the 
Troubadour commander, was charged with complicated 
incest, and was thrown down a deep well, and oppressed 
with stones. By the intervention of "a Frenchman, 
courteous and gay," the other ladies of the town were 
saved, but four hundred of the most impious of the 
Albigenses, with their Troubadour leaders, were burnt 
" with immense joy " by the Crusaders. Wherever 
they went, they spread desolation over the country. 
Vineyards lay blackened and destroyed, fields were 
bare and hard, villages burnt, castles in ruins. The 
gay reign of Love and the Troubadours was over for 







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