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Church Music 

BY 

JAMES TAFT HATFIELD 



^'R^pirinted from the " Methodist Review " 

Vol. LXXX, No. 3. May-June, 1898 



NEW YORK 

eAtON & MAINS 

189S 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this bool< is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



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404 Methodist B&view. 



aet. v.— church music. 

We are to consider musical art — which is historically the 
outgrowth of religious worship — in the service of religious 
worship. We are not dealing with art in the abstract, which 
jealously and properly demands entire freedom in its internal 
development, but with a finished product of art, designed for 
a special function. Throughout this discussion we look upon 
music as the handmaid of devotion, whose eyes look unto the 
hand of her mistress, and who is not guilty of the impropriety 
of thrusting herself into the position of command. Fortu- 
nately, this relation, instead of lowering the dignity of music, 
has immeasurably deepened its contents, and given it an ear- 
nestness of purpose and a spirit of reverence, which are the 
very soul of all true art. On the other hand, I have no sym- 
pathy with the spirit which divorces art from the all-impor- 
tant concerns of worship as being relatively vain and trivial. 
Granted that the preaching of the word is the first mission of 
the Churcli, what can be more helpful for the conveyance of the 
message than hearts awakened and warm to welcome the truth 
when spoken ? The Bible itself appeals more to the heart than 
to the head ; and is not music, the most elementary, direct, 
and effective of all arts, precisely adapted to speaking to the 
heart, often to the heart of him whom a sermon flies ? How 
admirably musical expression can bring out au'l emphasize the 
dignity of the majestic diction of the Bible ! What richness 
of content has not the sacred oratorio added to the words of 
prophets, psalmists, and apostles ! " I heard the Messiah ren- 
dered," writes the literary master of us all, Goethe, in his diary ; 
" it gave me entirely new ideas of declamation." One can 
tell, when a minister reads the fortieth chapter of Isaiah in 
public, by the fullness of content or by the relative flatness 
which he lends to its phrages, whether he has lived into Han- 
del's work or not. 

In beginning this discussion we would state as the first 
proposition : Music which shall be truly representative «i the 
American Methodist Episcopal Church and an adequate part 
of its organic life must be rooted and grounded in its historic 



1898.] Chv/rch Music. '405 

past and reflect its characteristic spirit. America seems, in 
some degree, to be an exception to the all-important law of 
organic continuity. "We have achieved practical results en- 
tirely incommensurate with the shortness of our separate exist- 
ence. No nation has ever compared with the American people 
in the eagerness and success with which they have taken over 
and carried further the products of a slow evolution in the 
older countries. But, whether developed here or there, art is 
developed. Original genius can only shock and repel by its 
rawness and discord, as the results of an attempted oi'iginality 
in American architecture sufficiently attest. There is among 
foreigners the very common reproach that we Americans show 
a lack of flavor, doubtless induced by our very eagerness to 
appropriate the best from foreign sources. There is a particu- 
larly unedifying artiflciality in our social life ; New York's 
smart set is a painfully literal copy — diluted^of London ; 
Chicago copies New York ; Peoria copies Chicago's dilution of 
New York ; and Centerville sedulously imitates and dilutes 
Peoria's dilution of Chicago's dilution of New York's dilution 
of London, and so on, to the dissipation of much native power 
and possibility. 

What ! Phantoms are we, specter-thin, 

Unfathered, out of nothing bom? 
Did being in this world begin 

With blaze of yestermorn ? 

Nay ! sacred life, a scarlet thread. 

Through lost unnumbered lives has run ; 

No strength can tear us from the dead ; 
The sire is in the son. 

I admit, however, that admirable fruits have been produced 
by the grafting process, and consider, flrst, "What organic re- 
sults, the approved products of a long selective evolution 
elsewhere, will offer materials helpful to the music of the 
American Methodist Episcopal Church ? 

We turn, first of all, to the most ancient and characteristic 
Christian music, the plain song or Gregorian choral, going 
back to the Ambrosian Chant and the melodies of the church 
at Antioch. It has entered largely into the stately service of 
the Church of Kome, and a large and influential association 



4^6 Methodist Review. [May, 

in England, under the presidency of the Duke of Newcastle, 
is doing much to show its adaptation to the English Book of 
Common Prayer. Certainly nothing which has served a no- 
ble purpose from the days of classical antiquity is to be lightly 
thrown aside as worthless. This music has religious depth, it 
puts the singer into the fundamental mood of worship, and the 
melody is subordinate to the tliought which it carries. One 
can but feel the pith and genuineness of these old melodies 
as compared with the complex, conscious phrases of the mod- 
ern style. They should never die out entirely; the long-meter 
doxology shows that this type can maintain a long existence ; but 
yet the ancient melodies are practically extinct ; they are essen- 
tially foreign to our taste, tliey give little pleasure to the ma- 
jority of hearers. Moreover, they demand greater purity of 
tone than an average congregation can produce. The flexible 
American temperament demands more brightness, variety, and 
vigorous movement. 

^Nearer to our own feeling, and more democratic in its spirit, 
is the congregational choral of the Lutheran Church, devel- 
oped chiefly from the German VolksUed; it has solved in 
Germany the difiicnlt problem how to secure universal and' 
hearty participation in congregational singing. The Lutheran 
choral is always self-respecting, never weakly sentimental, and 
stands for a deflnite national style, with no uncertain character. 
To the German religious consciousness our hymn tunes seem 
trivial, light, and shallow, not likely to endure the test of long 
use — a test which the German choral has stood triumphantly. 
We can only rejoin that lightness and flexibility do not always 
mean cheapness or worthlessness. There is a German solidity 
which tendeth to ponderousness in the American eye. We 
see it in German hardware, faithfully constructed after the 
patterns of Tubal-cain, as compared with the American Tale 
lock, the American clipper-built bicycle, the American pitch- 
fork which Germany imports in large quantities, not yet being 
able to rival it in lightness and tenacity. The American will 
find, in general, the choral too archaic, too lacking in variety, 
as he sometimes finds in the German national Church a sug- 
gestion of chill. In the matter of dignity, simplicity, genuine 
national style, wearing qualities, and adaptation to popular 



1898.] Church Music. 407 

ability, we have much to learn from the solid and noble Ger- 
man choral. 

We come to the center of living issues when we consider 
the music of the Protestant Episcopal Church, on the whole 
- the most reverent, artistic, and progressive of all. Developed 
in the national Church of England, it has both the strong na- 
tional character and the aggressive good taste of that country. 
As a rule, the spirit of the English service — I regret to say it 
as a Methodist — ^is more democratic, the participation of the 
congregation as a whole is more general, than among our peo- 
ple. How genuine and dignified is the musical work of such 
men as Monk and Hopkins and Barnby and Stainer ! With 
those who can see in the service of the Church of England 
nothing but "vain repetitions" I cannot sympathize. The 
Church which claimed the constant love and loyalty of John 
and Charles Wesley is not to be treated with light condescen- 
sion by this generation. Why not cut short distracting at- 
tempts by adopting the present body of English Church music 
as a whole, and endeavoring, first of all, to completely assimi- 
late its form and spirit, and, as further gi'ace shall be given us, 
to perhaps lend our own aid in carrying on its career ? This 
is just what an immense number of our refined congregations 
are doing with all their strength. There are, however, certain 
objections. In a word, the English Church is not American 
enough; its face is set too much toward the past ; it has 
inherited somewhat of the insular British self-satisfactioii, and 
ignores too completely what has been developed outside its 
own bounds. Its whole tendency is toward a choral service by 
a surpliced male choir — an innovation since about 184:2 — which 
will never do for the American Methodist Church. The 
" pure tones " of boys' voices are relatively piping and thin, 
compared with the fullness and color of mature mixed choirs. 
Mixed choirs are not preferred in the Church of England, but 
that is in a country where no woman may receive an academic 
degree from the old universities, or dine in their college halls, 
or visit the House of Commons without being shut up in a 
grated cage. The congregational hymn singing in the Eng- 
lish Church has been forced into a very lively tempo by the 
exigencies of the long ritual, and singers trained in English 



408 Methodist B&oiew. May, 

Church ideals simply wreck the more solid Methodist hymns 
when they set the congregation scampering through such hymns 
as " Come, O thou Traveler unknown," or 

A thousand oracles divine 

Their common beams unite, 
Tliat sinners may with angels join 

To worship God aright. 

s 

There is yet one reason which must tend to prevent our look- 
ing up with an entirely docile spirit to the Anglican Church 
— a fact which I would touch upon with the kindliest Chris- 
tian charity — T mean its attitude of denial of the individuality 
and independence of its neighbors, the eflEort of its clergy t© 
read the entire American people into the pale of the Anglican 
connection by pure assumption, to which we give place by 
subjection, no, not for an hour. 

Emphatically not to be ignored as an element in the solution 
of our problem is church music as historically developed in 
America, for America has had an important productivity in this 
field, in which, however, Methodism has shared only generally 
without having played any distinctive part. The work of our 
real American composers has found its way into the heart of 
the whole people, and has proved one of the most visible signs 
of the essential unity of our immense and varied population. 
Billings, Ingalls, Swan, Holden, Lowell Mason, "Woodbury, 
Hastings, Bradbury, and Koot are distinctly American in their 
work. They have given us a body of hymns which has im- 
measurably refreshed and popularized our worship music. The 
American hymn has a sweeter melody, a more flowing move- 
ment, for which we ought to be grateful. It reflects the 
national temperament, the essential condition of a real music. 
Nor will I speak with unmixed censure of the much-reviled 
Qoapel Hymns, light, cheap, and frivolous as they often are. 
What Bliss and Sankey and Doane and O'Kane have done 
has not only made the conquest of the hearts of our people, but 
has gone out to conquer all lands ; and that in the American 
Gospel hymn are deep spiritual possibilities no one need ques- 
tion who remembers with what power the simple words of " I 
need Thee every hour " speak in Mrs. Ward's American story, 
A Smgulao' Life. 



1898.] Church Music. 409 

Lastly comes the Methodist music ^o?" excellence, that music 
which historically accompanied the original Methodist move- 
ment and made so large a part of it. As Methodists we have 
no need to speak diffidently upon this subject, for John Wesley 
was a remarkable pioneer in the development of congregational 
singing. His services have been well investigated by Miss 
Florence SpofEord.* Before his time the hearty singing of 
hymns by the whole congregation was almost unknown in the 
English Church. He became acquainted with the rich German 
hymnody through his association with the Moravians on the 
way to Georgia, in 1735. The first hymn book compiled for 
use in the Church of England was his American collection of 
psalms and hymns, Charleston, 1T3Y. In 1742 he published 
forty-three tunes set to music, the first Metliodist collection of 
the sort. This music is of a solid, sober, and dignified charac- 
ter, corresponding to the sense of the hymns. One third of 
the hymns in the collection are in the minor mode, of a rugged 
strength and insistent melody. Most of them are quite foreign 
to our use at present, " Amsterdam " being, I believe, the only 
one generally known, though the typical " Fetter Lane Tune" 
in a somewhat doctored-up condition is found in the supple- 
ment to our Hymnal, page 428, under the title " Aylesbury," 
and the " One-hundred-and-thirteenth Psalm Tune," a Grego- 
rian piece taken from Playford's Psalms, appears modified by 
Lowell Mason as " JSTashville." Rich and solemn melody — 
not harmony — and extreme simplicity, so characteristic of 
"Wesley, are the chief features of this miisic. In the Select 
Hymns Wesley says that the best collection of hymn tunesf 
which had previously appeared in England was not the thing 
he wanted, namely, a small, cheap collection of the tunes actu- 
ally in use among Methodists. For twenty years he had been 
endeavoring to procure such a book, but in vain. Masters of 
music were above following any direction but their own, "and 
I was determined whoever compiled this should follow my 
direction, not mending our tunes, but setting them down, 
neither better nor worse than they were." The book also con- 

* The, Christian Advocate, February StT, 1896. 

+ The reference is to Playford's Harmonia Sacra. There Is a good copy in the Newberry 
Library, Chicago. 

27 FIFTH SERIFS, VOI,. XIV. 



410 Methodist Heview. tMay, 

tained twelve carefully engraved pages of practical Instructions 
in the art of reading music by note. In the second edition 
(1765) we have Wesley's directions for using the tunes : 

Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mend- 
ing them at all; sing all. See that you join with the congregation as 
frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness 
hinder you. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing 
as if you were half dead, or half asleep ; but lift up your voice with 
strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now nor more ashamed of its 
being heard than when you sung the songs of Satan. Sing modestly. 
Do not baul, . . . but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make 
one clear, melodious sound. Sing in time, . . . take care you sing not 
too alow; this drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy. Above 
all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you say. Aim 
at pleasing him more than yourself or any other creature. 

Already in 1822 Eichard "Watson deplores the fact that 
these tunes have been neglected and that congregational sing- 
ing has declined. The rage for new tunes had brought in a 
deluge of base, dissonant, unscientific, and tasteless composi- 
tions, utterly destructive of that rich and solemn melody which 
best becomes religious services. Time will not allow us to pur- 
sue this subject further, but enough has been said to show the 
grotesqueness of the idea of certain American precentors that 
the real primitive Methodist hymns are galloping jigs. 

Taking into account Vhat has been already adduced, we pro- 
ceed now to some simple data for a school of American Metho- 
dist music. It must be hearty and spirited, as opposed to all 
barren formality, vain repetitions, and lifeless traditions. It 
must reflect the downright earnestness of Methodism, the depth 
of personal experience, the joyous confidence of salvation from 
fear, doubt, and sin. It must be robust and virile, in good 
taste and having a full sense of propriety and decorum ; it 
must be spiritual, from the heart, a reverent service and sacri- 
fice pleasing to God and offered to him directly, not an enter- 
tainment for man. It must be closely wedded to biblical 
themes and motives. It must be democratic and allow of uni- 
versal participation. "We must move slowly and not too far 
outrun the body of the people in taste and thought. It is 
not so difiicult to elevate a special caste, to train up a set of 
Brahmans, lamas, choristers, priests, acolytes, or what not ; but 



1898.1 Church Music. 411 

to move the whole body upward, this is our great and impor- 
tant task — the more difficult as society becomes more differen- 
tiated by specialized culture, as labor is endlessly subdivided, as 
national flavor is diminished by universal intercourse. Yet I 
hold to the doctrine — and on this I stake my faith in democ- 
racy — that no culture need be carried so far as to lose its 
healthy sympathy for what is elementary and simple. The 
plea for democracy is not an encomium upon vulgarity or stu- 
pidity. That culture which must have involved artistic elabo- 
ration, even if it has to go to the Lord's house — the common 
meeting place of the rich and the poor, the favored and the 
oppressed — to secure it, is open to suspicion. What could be 
more simple than the official university services at Oxford, the 
very center (in the opinion of some) of the highest average of 
all-round culture that the human race has yet reached? Com- 
plexity usually covers up a lack of genius by a flourish of exe- 
cution. What made German hymnody the rich stream which 
was to water every land ? The simplicity of the Kirchenlied 
at the time of the Reformation, based as it was on the Yolks- 
Ued sung by the whole people in place of elaborate motets in an 
unknown tongue sung by the clergy. I am convinced that it 
is this policy or none for music in the Methodist Church of 
America, or for any distinctive national music. A national 
school of music is not to come from a highly educated, school- 
trained, formally conscious set of musicians, as Reginald De 
Koven has well pointed out in an interesting article in the 
Cosmopolitcm. How well this is shown in the work of Stephen 
C. Foster, who wrote the real Yolkslieder of the Americans! 
How intimately did he enter into the genuine facts and use 
the actual properties of homely life, its real pathos — hard times, 
separation, death — ^its tender side of affection and sentiment, 
which never becomes cynical or false, and but rarely verges 
upon the vulgar! How he exemplifies simplicity and a humor 
which always borders upon pathos, and makes use of the gen- 
tle rhythm and pleasing melody which appeal to the popular 
heart ! 

In the actual problem of church music we have to consider 
three chief elements, the musical instrument, the choir, the 
congregation. By the musical instrument we mean, practi- 



■412 Methodist Beoiew. [May, 

callj, the church organ. The voluntary, as a rnle, involves a 
complex theme whose intricate treatment, when heard for the 
first time, taxes severely the attention of the best amateurs in 
the congregation, and is not followed or grasped at all by 
ninety-nine in one hundred. Is there any other degradation 
to which musical art is subjected like the usual treatment by 
the congregation of this most difficult task, the sounding of 
the very ground-note of the whole religions service? The 
Dresden court theater has done away with all music between 
the acts, and Liszt did the same thing when director at Wei- 
mar, because of the indignity done to music by the inattention 
of the public. Doubtless there is a duty of the public to listen, 
but how shall they follow sympathetically that which they 
cannot grasp 1 Variations of simple religious airs, in tlie spirit 
of Bach's preludes to the German chorals, or Lux's treatment 
of the " O Sanctissima," can be made full of the deepest reli- 
gious feeling and wiU lay hold of many persons to whom the 
most brilliant works of the French school would be as sound- 
ing brass or a tinkling cymbal. In leading the congregational 
singing the organist should refrain from the use of the mixed 
stops which compete, with the vocal effects, and should fiU in 
the harmonies with the rich diapason tones.* 

The choir in the course of our evolution has practically 
come to mean the ti-ained quartet. I appreciate and sympa- 
thize with our quartets in their somewhat thankless task, and 
believe that, according to their lights, they try conscientiously 
to carry out the ideas of the music committees which direct 
them, though as a class they are too much afflicted witli the 
fixed idea that the music of the Anglican Church is the one ideal 
which Methodist congregations should cultivate. I cannot quite 
accuse our quartets of aU that sad state of things which Dr. 
White and Bishop Bowman recently dwelt upon in a discus- 
sion before the St. Louis preachers' meeting, nor would I 
echo the unintended irony of the preacher who announced,, 
" As our choir is sick with influenza, the whole congregation 
will unite in singing, ' Praise God, from whom all blessings 
flow.' " The evil lies rather with the music committee, gen- 
erally cultivated amateurs who wish to beautify the service by 

*Compue F. W. Boot. Oongreffotfonol Singino- 



1898.] Chnirch Music. 413 

having the " best " music, but who thoughtlessly ignore the 
interests of the great majority. "We are governed by a small 
aristocracy in this matter, at the expense of the plainest rights 
of the people. I am not putting aesthetic standards to a ma- 
jority vote — it is only artists who can fully decide what music 
is really good ; but the question should not end there — what 
good music can the people appreciate? I sympathize with 
quartet and leader, though in minor, unintentional ways of 
defeating the ends of Methodist worship they do sometimes 
seem to be ca/pahle de tout. How often musical or personal 
considerations direct the choice of mnsic, without regard to 
content or effect ! There is also the undignified setting of 
hj'mns to melodies which wrest one's literary association of 
ideas in a way which choir leaders quite underestimate. I 
confess to a feeling of " suddenness " when I hear the famil- 
iar strains of "Maiden, smile on me," accompanied by the 
words " Holy Spirit, come ! " or Gerliardt's " O sacred Head, 
now wounded," set to Liszt's " Du bist wie eine Blume." It is 
a direct slight to the intelligence and good sense of a congre- 
gation for singers to indulge in weakly sentimental or offen- 
sively bourgeois effusions like " Once I dreamed a heavenly 
dream," or to expect a Methodist congregation to listen pa- 
tiently to meretricious musical expression which is merely 
a declamation of words, bearing down upon single phrases 
without expressing the sentiment of the whole. Take as an ex- 
ample the last stanza of " Eock of Ages.'' "What can be more 
solemn than its increasingly awful sense of accountability : 

While I draw this fleeting breath, 
When my eyes shall close in death, 
When I rise to worlds unknown, 
And behold thee on thy throne. 
Rock of ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee. 

Nine times out of ten a choir sings the first two lines in sad, 
soft, and tearful tones; of course they include the word 
" death," and this is the proper expression for phrases which 
contain that idea. But as soon as the words " When I rise " 
are reached the organ gives out its peals of melodious thun- 
der, and the choir breaks forth into triumphant ecstasy. 



414 Methodist Review. [May, 

What is the sense in " rising " at all, unless one rises directly 
to all the felicities of the blessed ? A choir in a Methodist 
church commits an act of usiirpation by singing an unfamiliar 
hymn during the communion service. We need leaders who 
have grown into, and who fully understand, the spirit and prac- 
tices of Methodism. Musical leaders often do violence to literary 
texts, apparently without any sense of the sacredness of the 
work of a master. We are sometimes told that this sort of 
thing is done for reasons of phonetic euphony, but quite as 
often it is due to an unauthorized intrusion into the field of 
literary criticism. Omnibus est Iwe mtiwin cantoribits. It is 
on a par with the pernicious activity of the typesetter or 
proof reader who omits, alters, or inserts, whenever the diction 
of an author gets beyond his easy comprehension. Happy is 
the writer who has never suffered from this sort of treatment, 
which results either in a reduction to tame stupidity or in a 
thoroughly cheap attempt at heightened rhetorical effect. 
One recalls Oliver Wendell Holmes's wrath at such treatment 
of his poetry in the printing office, or Gustav Freytag's re- 
marks to actors in regard to liberties with the dramatic text. 
Luther and Wesley have indulged in very plain talk in regard 
to the contemporary amendment of their hymns, and things 
are worse now than then. Even the elementary principles of 
English grammar are not allowed to stand in the way. I 
once heard a quartet sing before a congregation of more than 
average intelligence : 

In death's dark vale I fear no ill 
With Thou, dear Loi-d, beside me. 

Music and poetry are, on the whole, getting more and more 
divorced. When will our American musicians learn that the 
attitude of the composer toward his text is one of piety and 
not one of superiority ? Let choirmasters firmly refuse to en- 
tertain any work which shows such literary mutilation. Grer- 
many has shown far more intimate sympathy between its 
greatest poets and musicians, and has proven how fruitful may 
be their cooperation, literature furnishing to music noble and 
adequate themes, wliile music has directly stimulated the pro- 
duction of the poet. How intimate Goethe's interest in the 



1898.] Church Music. 415 

composition of his works was is shown by his correspondence 
with Kayser and Zelter ; and how triumphantly successful is 
the alliance between the two elements in such work as that of 
Beethoven upon Goethe's "Egmont," or the song composi- 
tions of Loewe and Schubert. 

As regards congregational singing, I,am supported by some 
of the best qualified musicians in my firm belief that it ought 
to occupy a large part, perhaps the chief part, in church music. 
There are other views. A lady of musical tastes in Baltimore 
told me that she did not think the congregation ought to join 
in the music at all ; it simply killed the fine work of the choir. 
In the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford, visitors are asked 
by a printed notice to join in the service silently. One is re- 
minded of the verger in Westminster Abbey who roughly dis- 
turbed a devout Catholic as he knelt to pray, and indignantly 
added, " Hif this sort of thing goes hon we shall soon 'ave 
people praying hall hover the habbey." Heaven save us 
from too much propriety ! The fault, however, lies not so 
much in the transcendent perfection of the music of the 
choir as in the half-hearted attitude of the people toward 
the public service of God. How helpful to devotion is the 
reverent waiting of a Moravian congregation with locked 
doors, in silent preparation for the orderly and solemn serv- 
ice. Such a service is a unit, and every moment in its va- 
ried progress is made holy by a sense of the divine presence. 
This sense of solemn reverence in worsliip seems to have 
almost died out in our democratic congregations. The church 
is an entertainment, religious duties are a part of social eti- 
quette. Let me give from scientific observation the natural 
history of the assembling of one of our strongest congregations, 
numbering more than a thousand persons, under the minis- 
trations of one of our most popular preachers. Three minutes 
past the hour of service twenty people are in the pews, and 
the voluntary begins ; five minutes later the minister mounts 
the platform, a hymn is announced, and while it is being sung 
the congregation continues to straggle in. One half hour after 
the time for the opening of service the first prayer is fin- 
ished, the doors are thrown open, and at least a third of the 
congregation, having had time to get done with a late breakfast 



416 MeOwdist Beview. [May, 

and the reading of the Sunday paper, comes thronging in in 
the most cheerful and bustling mood, quite ready to listen to the 
entertainment offered by the preacher. Imagine such slovenly 
attendance upon a dinner party, for instance. Is not the only 
possible inference the one that the members of such a con- 
gregation consider the service of the Almighty less important, 
so far as their cooperation is concerned, than a function of 
Mrs. Ponsonby de Tompkins ? As to choir and congregation, 
I believe that there should be the fullest identification be- 
tween them, the heartiest sense of their being together parts of 
the same worshiping congregation, and I hold that in most 
cases the ideal Methodist choir is a chorus choir, and withal a 
voluntary chorus from the congregation; for no other choir can 
compare with this for entering into the spirit of the music, 
or in the incomparable heartiness of every service which is 
given as a free offering. Let the clioir be identified with the 
congregation; let it not be condemned to a cold isolation 
when the collection plate is being passed around or during 
the administration of the Lord's Supper. I believe that to 
keep congregational music from dragging a large volume of 
voices should lead. I would by no means shut out the quar- 
tet of professional trained voices from the service, for the 
highest and most perfect music is not too good for the service 
of the Lord's house ; but this element must lead, combine, and 
cooperate, rather than have an independent existence. The 
chorus music should be mainly settings of those pregnant Bible 
passages which lie enshrined in the very heart of the people, the 
typical example being the choruses of Handel's "Messiah." The 
quartet work should also be within reach of the apprehension 
of the Methodist people, and give characteristic expression to 
the spirit of its worship. An admirable type is the setting of 
Charles Wesley's " Love divine," by Stainer. We must have 
a school of Methodist composers of the very best musical 
training, who can keep us supplied with this kind of material, 
or we might as well refrain from higher class quartet music. 
Most promising for musical unity and general association in 
the service is that class of music, still undeveloped among us, 
which allows of alternate, intimate participation in the same 
plan by choir and congregation, as in Stainer's " Crucifixion," 



1898.] Church Music. 417 

Barnby's antiplions, Eoot's New Choir and Congregation, and, 
more successful yet, tlie programmes of the Moravian Church, 
and those for special occasions and church festivals used in the 
Lutheran Church in Germany. Our congregations should be 
provided with all the materials which will keep them full}' in- 
formed as to the course of the service, and with the notes 
and words of what they are to sing, chiefly the hymns in our 
excellent Church Hymnal. I do not claim that it is ideally 
the best collection possible, though it would be hard to name 
its superior. All things considered, I doubt if fifty hymns 
and tunes would need to be added to bring it to the highest 
working value for our present uses. At any rate the Church 
has not half exploited or used what it possesses. Before devel- 
oping the effects we might get from the most available pieces, 
such as "Hamburg," or that ideal congregational tune, " Love 
Divine," by John Zundel, we hasten on to more diflicult pieces. 
Still worse is the fact that cheap and trivial collections stand 
in the way of the mastery of these noble hymns by our peo- 
ple. There are harrowing examples of such spiritual destitu- 
tion, as Dr. "White has pointed out. Now that our Hymnal 
with notes, ritual, bibliography, and order of service can be 
bought, well bound, for twenty-seven cents, it is beyond ex- 
planation why our people do not more fully go up and possess 
the land. 

It is not unpleasant to find one's speculative theories con- 
firmed by subsequently discovered facts. Mr. Beecher's 
church, under his intense and original interest on the subject, 
developed the best congregational music in America, and he 
got his ideas from the Eastham Methodist camp meeting. 
The traditions of Plymouth Church are splendidly contin- 
ued at present under Dr. Abbott and Mr. Charles H. Morse, 
who succeeded John Zundel. All the elements discussed are 
found here — a pastor intelligently interested in the music of 
his church, a native leader, a large voluntary choir fully in 
sympathy with the spirit of the congregation, assisted by pro- 
fessional soloists and instrumentalists of first-rate ability. Any- 
thing more truly enjoyable, highly artistic, or genuinely demo- 
cratic than the Christmas festival service which I attended 
there on a Sunday evening two years ago I do not hope to 



418 Methodist Meoiew. [May, 

experience. Another independent demonstration of the posi- 
tion taken is the music in Dr. Joseph Parker's church in Lon- 
don. The service is a unity, and the musical element is fitted 
in without a break. The voluntary chorus choir, averaging about 
sixty, meets for practice on Friday evenings from 7:30 to 9, 
and is kept full without difficulty even in whirling London. It 
is supplemented by a paid quartet and by an orchestra of from 
ten to thirty instruments, according to occasion. The musical 
programme is always printed and posted in advance. The 
title of every voluntary, often its text, is possessed by each 
worsliiper. Once a year the choir makes an excursion, an 
event which is made attractive by the most liberal arrange- 
ments. This fine chorus has developed an interesting esprit de 
coi'ps — much more, it has come to feel the value of that one 
reward best worth having, the glad sense of free cooperation 
in the highest hum*n service : " How amiable are thy taberna- 
cles, O Lord of hosts ! . . . Blessed are they that dwell in thy 
house : they will be still praising thee. . . . They go from 
strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth be- 
fore God." 

I close by expressing the wish that the Methodist Church 
might take more interest in extending elementary knowledge 
of singing among children in the American public schools. 
In England at the present time four and a half miUion cliil- 
dren are learning this happy accomplishment with the most 
gratifying success. It is as truly a part of the equipment of 
life as scholarship, or genei-al refinement, or athletics. Music 
should not be allowed to drift into a craze and disturb tlie bal- 
ance of culture ; but all children should be given the elementary 
basis which underlies the highest musical possibilities. Pas- 
tor and Sunday school workers might cooperate in developing 
the knowledge of a limited set of hymns of standard value, 
which the scholars might memorize. Let the Christian home 
develop family singing, not coldly and superficially, but lov- 
ingly and heartily. Let the Ep worth League, whose fimction 
is to " Lift up," help in some way in the definite enrichment 
of the knowledge of our own church music among the young 
people. Let schools of singing be revived, taking up the rudi- 
ments in the excellent way in which Mr. O'Kane has recently 



1898J Church Music. 419 

treated them in the series of twenty articles in the Weat&m 
Christiom Advocate, during the earlier part of 1897. 

I have the strongest faith in the higher possibilities of the 
American people as a whole. Can we believe that their 
aesthetic capacity is less than that of German peasants or Brit- 
ish school children ? Aliens always underestimate the capac- 
ity of the rank and file of the American people to achieve 
higher results. When our civil war broke out foreign critics 
prophesied the inability of our masses to cope with the gigan- 
tic power of secession, but the American people justified 
their own confidence in their higher destiny. Never was an 
unmilitary nation so quickly transformed into veterans. The 
real problem was to find leaders — men who fully understood 
the national problem, who were in entire sympathy with the 
cause of the Union, who knew the heart of the people, their 
temperament, their likes and dislikes, their limitations, and 
their practical possibilities. With proper changes the chief 
cry of our own body, in its desire for a real Methodist music, 
is still the same which was heard again and again during the 
long earlier years of our national struggle, "Abraham Lin- 
colnj give us a man ! "