Imatges de pàgina

only method of wading through such lines, set to music, is for tho performer to suspend all thought and feeling, and struggle hard and patiendy, till he shall come to the light. The first word should, if possible, express something in itsell, and every word should add to it

. But, from a spirited clause at the beginning, the mind may derive an impulse which shall carry it through a heavy one that may follow. Clauses, however, which follow the main one, to qualify it, connected by a relative, are always heavy and injurious.

6. The words should be easy of enunciation, and capable of being dwelt upon, without seeming harsh or unnatural. "Difficult and unpleasant combinations of consonants; all successions of words and syllables in which the same sound frequently occurs; long words, where all thought and feeling must stand still, like spectators, while four or five syllables are drawn out to as many minims or semibreves; and all slender syllables, on which the voice canpot dwell without distorting them, especially if two or three of them occur together, or in an important part of the line.--are great defects in a hymn, if they do not entirely destroy its vigor. To express the whole thought in one syllable is, of course, much more forcible than to express it in many. The best orators and the best poets abour.d in monosyllables.

6. The pauses should be arranged with reference to effect. There should be a pause at the end of each line. The music is generally adapted 10 more or less of a cadence at that point, and, as his own ease requires it, the performer will naturally make one there. If, therefore, the nominative comes at the end of one line, and the verb at the beginning of the next, the lines, when sung, must Inake nonsense. If the performer attempts to run the lines together, and preserve the connection, the measure of the line, the returning rhyme, the length of the sentence, and the cadence of the music, all demarding a pause, but being violated together, will render the performance unnatural, and produce a harshiness worse, perhaps, ihan nonsense. If long pauses are introduced within the line, they should be at or before the middle; and never, unless to secure some peculiar expression, near the end. Even the short pause following an address, which may occur any where else, should not be admitted there.

7. The accented parts of the stanza should correspond with the accented notes of the tune. The want of this is a defect of moro frequent occurrence in hymns than any other. Articles or con. junctions, or the lightest syllables in important words, are often so placed, that, in the regular movement of the tune, they are pronounced on the longest and most accented notes; while the more important words and syllables, by their side, fall on the weakest and most unaccented notes. The judicious singer, in such cases, may be able to some extent, to acconimodate the music to the words; but ordinary choirs will entirely destroy the meaning and force of the poetry. Such a misplacing of the accent, such a swelling upon the unimportant syllables, and such a depression of the imporiant ones, is as unfavorable to all beauty and force, aud as utterly nonsensical, in singing, as in reading or speaking.

8. The several stanzas of a hymn should possess a good degree of uniformity, as to measure, accent, and pauses. Il each stanza were to be sung to a tune made specially for it, their structure might be ever so diverse without inconvenience; bul, as they are all to be sung to the same tune, it is obvious that all the stanzas should be similar to each other, and regularly conformed to the measure adopted, @ Each stanza, and the whole hyma, should be to constructed,

that the importance of the sentiments, the force of expression, the emotion, and the general effect of the piece, shall be increasing through to the end. A sinking, retrograde movement, is worse, if possible, in lyric poetry, than in oratory.

It is not claimed for the psalms and lıymns, in this collection, that they are entirely free from the faults that have now been referred to. Perhaps no hymn could be found in the English language, in which scme of these faults might not be detected. The writers of sacred devotional poetry seein to have thought very little of adapting it to musical purposes. Had they felt the importance of this, and turned their thought to it, much the larger part of all the irreg. ularities now found in their hymus might very easily have been avoided. Now, many of them cannot be removed, without rendering the pieces Jisagreeably stiff, or breaking down their whole fabric. In compiling this book, the principles just laid down have been kept constantly in view, and, in innumerable instances, such faults as have here been noticed have been corrected. The fact that some imperfections, of various kinds, must remaiu, is no reason why they should not be rendered as few as possible.

In noticing the sources from which the materials for this book have been drawn, it may be stated that, besides the version of the psalms by Dr. Waits, and those versions that preceded his, and those of some authors of less note, made since his time, use has been made of two nearly entire versions, and one very extensive collection, recently published in England. Versions of many singie psalms have been found scattered through the several collections of hymns which have been examined. In selecting the hymns, in ad. dition to the hymn-books used by the various denominations of Christians in the United States, the compilers have examined eight or ten extensive general collections of hymns, besides a large number of smaller collections published in England, and which have never been republished, or for sale, in this country. In these and other works, they suppose that they have examined nearly all the good lyric poetry in the English language.

The number of metrical pieces of the psalms is 454, and the number of the hymns 731, making 1185 iu all. Of these, 421 are from Dr. Watts, who has, undoubtedly, written more good psalms and hymns, of a highly lyrical character, than any other author, and to whom the church is indebted, probally, for nearly of all the valuable lyric poetry in the language. The names of the several anthors, when known, or the collections from which the pieces have been taken, are given in the index to the first lines.

In selec'ing and arranging these materials, the compilers have aimed to make a hymn-book of a thoroughly evangelical character, in doctrine and spirit, and as highly lyrical as the malerials, with such labor as could be bestowed upon them, would permit. They have, accordingly, rejected a large amount of religious poelry, ex. cellent in itself, so far as the sentiments and language are concerned, and aimed to select only such pieces as are adapted to be sung. As the same piece was often found with important variations, in different books, they have aimed to select that copy which seemed best suited to the design of this work, without inquiring how the author originally wrote it. They have treated the hymns which have come before them as public property, which they had a right to modify and use up according to their own judgment. Omissions. abridgments, alterations, and changes in the arrangement of the stanzas have, therefore, been made with freedom, whenever it appeared that the piece could thereby be improved. These alteratione

have been made principally to avoid prosaic and unimpassioned passages; low or otherwise unsuitable imagery or expression; abe rupt transitions; unmeaning and cumbrous words and clauses; long, complicated, and obscure sentences ; feeble connectives; long words, and harsh and slender syllables; a wrong position of the accent and pauses; the anticlimactic structure; and a disagreement in the form and rhythm of the several stanzas.

A considerable number of pieces, possessing less of a lyrical character than is desirable, have been retained ; partly because the subjects were important, and nothing better on them could be found; and partly because, though not well adapted to public worship gen. erally, they might be useful on special occasions, or for families

and individuals.

On some important topics, it may be asked why so few pieces have been inserted. The reply must be, that, on such topics, all have been inserted, which could be found, that seemed worthy of a place. Not one hymn, in all respects good, on any useful topic, has been designedly omitted. If it is asked why so large a portion of the pieces are so short, the reply is similar--that all of each piece was inserted that seenied worth inserting; and it was not thought worth while to print poor stanzas for the sake of increasing their number. Besides, four and five stanzas are, in ordinary cases, as much as can be sung with ease or profit. Singing, of all the exercises of public worship, should least be protracted so as to become weari. some, as it aecessarily must be, when six or eight stanzas are given out.

In the arrangement, it was thought best, for various reasons, to preserve the psalms separate, as has been done heretofore, in the books most commonly used. In the index of subjects, the psalms are arranged under the appropriate heads with the hymns. The several parts of each psalm have been arranged according to their metre, and are numbered on continuously throughout, in the most simple manner. In arranging the hymns, thuse heads were selected which, it was thought, would most easily cover the whole ground, and run into each other the least. They follow each other in what seemed the most natural order. The hymns, under cach of the general and subordinate heads, are intended to be so arranged, that, while they are read in course, the mind shall be steadily advancing in the subject. The arrangement is certainly imperfect; yet, prob

bly, few who examine it will see so many imperfections in it as they saw who made it. It is doubtful whether, while hymns pos. sess so little unity, any such arrangement can be adopted, as that many hymns may not, with about equal propriety, be placed under any one of two or three different heads." In the index of subjects here, they are so placed.

The number of tunes from which the selection has been made is limited, and such have been chosen as are not only appropriate in their general spirit and movement, but whose accent and pauses correspond with those of the several stanzas to be sung. Often, the tune prefixed merely indicates the class of tunes to be used. Others would be equally appropriate. Different choirs, or different cir. cumstances, may render it expedient to use different tunes. Judg. ment should be exercised, and time, place, occasion, &c., shoula be consulted.

To indicate, to some extent, the manner of performance, those marks for musical expression have been used which are commonly employed in music-books, and with which choirs are generally ac quainted, rather than any arbitrary signs.

very loud.

[ocr errors]

PP pranismo,

very soft. P piano,

soft. mp mezzo piano, a little soft. mazo,

middle-neither loud nor soft. This

mark is also applicable to those hymns or passages which now have

no mark.
mezzo forte, a little loud.

crescendo, increasing, louder and louder.
diminuendo, diminishing, softer and softer.

increasing and then diminishing.
inverted swell, diminishing and then increasing.

in a gentle, smooth, gliding manner Aff affetuoso, with deep and tender feeling.

sta cato, short, distinct, articulate. Lep lt utando, gradually becoming slower and softer

to the end. used at the beginning of a line, to

contradict any mark of musical expression which has gone before it. In the middle of a line, or a the end, it signifies a pause, longer or shorter, according to the judgment

of the performer. The marks for musical expression have been prefixed, in general, with reference to the tunes named. The same psalm or hymn, sung to a different tune, might often require some variation of the expression.

After all which can be done, directions for musical expression must be merely hints, by which the general character of the er. pression to be given is indicated. The various kinds and degrees of the emotions to be expressed, requiring a corresponding variation of the manner of performance, are so numerous, and so complicated in their nature, that only a ready susceptibility of emotion, joined to good taste and judgmeni, and careful attention to the subject, can secure a correct manner of singing.

lo the index to the first lines, as well as in that to the subjects, the psalms and hymns are brought together without distinc tion, and the reference is uniformly to the page. In the latter index, the different subjects are not inserted under words arbitrarily selected, and placed in alphabetical order, but under ihe principal and subordinate topics of the arrangensent in the book, thus bring. ing all the psalms and hymns on the same or kindred topics near each other in the index, so as to be easily found. This is believed to be the most convenient plan for such an index.

With these remarks and explanations, this work, on which the compilers have bestowed much time and labor, and in which they have found much pleasure, is now given to the churches for their use.


DAVID GREENE. Boston, August, 1831.


Page. ABOVE these heavens' created rounds..

Watts, 95 According to thy word...

Wrangham, 114 Again, indulgent Lord, return........ Dobell's Coll. 435 Again our earthly cares we leave...

Pratt's Coll. 454 Again the day returns of holy rest.

448 Again the Lord of life and light.

..Barbauld. 449 Ah, how shall fallen man..

Epis. Coll. 276 Ah, wretched, viie, ungrateful heart..

... Steele. 381 Alas! and did my Saviour bleed..

Watts. 321 Alas! what hourly dangers rise..

.. Steele. 420 All-glorious God, what hymns of praise. Epis. Coll. 278 AU hail, incarnate God.....

Scott. 477 All hail the great Immanuel's name...

.Duncan. 315 All power and grace to God belong.. ...Pratt's Coll. 199 All power is to our Saviour given..

473 All-powerful, self-existent God...

.Methodist Coll. 259 All ye nations, praise the Lord....

Wrangham. 198 All ye that love the Lord, rejoice..

Watts. 245 All ye who feel distressed for sin...

Prait's Coll. 359 All ye who serve the Lord with fear..

Wrangham. 72 All yesterday is gone....

Pratt's Coll. 355 Almighty Father, God of grace..

Pratt's Coll. 370 Alinighty Father, gracious Lord..

Steele, 533 Alinighty Father of mankind....

Logan. 512 Almighty Goil, eternal Lord....

Pratt's Coll. 456 Almighty Lord, before thy throne.....

Epis. Coll, 531 Alinighty Maker, God.....

Watts, 563 Almighty Maker of iny frame....

.. Steele. 98 Almighty Ruler of the skies......

Walls. 47 Almighty Spirit, now behold..

..Pratt's Coll. 468 Along the banks where Babel's current flows......Barlow. 229 Am I a soldier of the cross..

Walls. 419 Am I an Israelite indeed....

....Beddome. 403 Amid displays of wrath and love....... ...Prali's Cou. 369 Amid the splendors of thy stite....

Prali's Coll. 266 Amid thy wrath rernember love....

Watis. 97 Among th' assemblies of the great..

Watts. 145 Among the princes, earthly gods.

Watts. 152 Andram I born to die?..

Lutheran Coll. 519 And are we now brought near to God.........Pratt's Coll. 442 And are we wretches yet alive...

Watts. 372 And art thou, gracious Master, gone?.. ....Kelly. 421 And art thou with us, gracious Lord.. Doddrilge. 391 And can mine eyes without a tear?. .Heginbotham. 322 And can my heart aspire so high?

..Steele. 390 And did the holy and the just 1... ............ Steele, 301 And dost thou say, ' Ask what thou wilt'?........Newlon, 405 and must this body die l......

............ Watte, 518

« AnteriorContinua »