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CHOIR S T UD I E S.
BY R. STORRS WILLIS.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, hy
R. STORRS WILLIS.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
C. A. ALVORD, PRINTER,
Nos. 29 & 31 Gold-street.
STEREOTYPED BY THOMAS B. SMITH
216 WILLIAM ST., N. Y.
The earliest mention that we have of Church Music, is that of the ancient Jews, about one thousand years before Christ, which, designed and appointed by that royal tone-poet, King David, was afterward brought to its greatest perfection in the gorgeous and imposing ceremonies of the temple, under King Solomon. The plan and economy of King David's musical establishment, is thus historically recorded.
The tribe of the Levites, to whom, by Divine command, the conduct of all public religious services was intrusted, superintended also the musical part of the Jewish worship. Of this tribe, from the thirty-eight thousand available souls, twenty-four thousand were in constant, though alternating service. While some of these served as guards of the doors, some as officials to preserve order, and some as judges, four thousand were appointed to constitute a musical Chapel. This Chapel of four thousand performers was subdivided into twenty-four choirs, fourteen of which were under the leadership of Zantan, six under Jeduthun, and four under Asaph: who were the three general Chapel-masters, or directors. Under these were also appointed twenty-four chorus, or vocal leaders, two hundred and eighty instrumental leaders, and a corps of twelve sub-chapel-masters, as well, whose peculiar duty it was to instruct the young Levites in musical theory and performance. Among th
Among these musical performers, it may be remarked, Chenania is mentioned as being the best vocalist, and Ethan Errachi, the son of Assaia, as the best instrumentalist. The head, however, of this musical establishment, the chapel-master general, who, as a musician, surpassed all others, particularly on his peculiar instrument, the harp,—was King David himself.
After the completion of the temple, King Solomon greatly increased this number of performers: the Chapel consisting, subsequently, of several additional thousands.
Respecting King Solomon's musical acquirements, it is recorded, that, as his father David was accounted a very accomplished harpist, so his son rejoiced in the reputation of being the best singer of his times. That this distinguished reputation of the two royal performers may have been borrowed in any degree from their distinguished position, the similar presumption touching the higher accomplishments of the royalty of the present day, would hardly justify us in supposing.