Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

bind the unity of the melody, and to satisfy the æsthetic demand for repetition in art.

The harmony of the hymn tunes is richer and more varied than in previous Methodist collections, and the enrichment proceeds chiefly from the English contributions to our psalmody. It may be said also that the harmony of the new book is more logical and, for the most part, more correct. Such banalities in harmony as consecutive perfect fifths or octaves, augmented seconds, ascending sevenths or descending thirds in the chord of the dominant seventh, misspelling of chords—these demand editorial alertness to recognize and correct. Sometimes a composer is justified in making an exception to some rule of harmony, where there is good reason. Barnby, anxious to establish some ascending or descending line of melody in one of the three lower parts, or to follow some sequence, will often resolve a dominant seventh in unusual fashion. The first measures of “Love Divine” (355) and "Dunstan" (272) make beautiful use of the otherwise forbidden consecutive octaves between tenor and soprano. A few of the transgressions of these simple laws of harmony in the Hymnal seem not to be justifiable.

We may not dwell upon the meaning and use of each chord; but let us note one or two niceties of harmonic treatment that will serve to illustrate the importance of the harmony and its best usage. The chord of the dominant seventh has become of increasing importance in church music, since it was

first thoroughly established in the works of Monteverde, in 1568.' It is the chord of longing, of aspiration, and demands speedy resolution to the common chord of satisfaction. It is less frequent in the slow, dignified music of the Reformation than in modern hymn tunes, wherein resolutions are made more rapidly. When it is consistently avoided, however, an effect of stately simplicity is heightened, just as in Salisbury Cathedral, built throughout in the early English style of architecture, the noblest beauty is produced by strong, simple lines unembellished by elaborations of the perpendicular style. “Marlow" (8), “Winchester Old” (181), and "St. Anne" (214) contain no dominant sevenths, while “Dundee" (96) and “Old Hundred" (16) contain only one each, and these were not originally so written. "Ewing” (612), "Cobern" (92), and "Gilead" (202) have intentionally avoided the dominant seventh in several places. Most of our tunes, however, abound in the use of this rich chord, and, as was discussed in the preceding chapter, to the emotional enrichment of the music.

In none of the "Amens” in the body of the Hymnal is the dominant seventh used. This is true because, curiously enough, not one “Amen” is written to an authentic cadence; for the plagal cadence is used in each of the 557 different tunes. While of the two forms the plagal cadence is by far the more common in the "Amens” of other hymnals, it is

1Cf. “The Evolution of Church Music,” by the Rev. F. J. Humphreys,

p. 76.

very rarely that a book entirely omits the authentic cadence.

All of the "Amens," with only fourteen exceptions, end on the same note as the last note of the tune. And each ends on the same chord as the last chord of the tune, except where the tune ends in the minor mode, in which our editors have every time added a major cadence for the “Amen."

The harmonies in our Hymnal are more close than one sometimes finds in the English Methodist Hymn Book. The tenor and bass rarely part company farther than an octave, nor the soprano and bass many notes over two octaves. There is still preserved, however, a freedom of motion in all four parts. As a rule, the bass should move in opposite direction from the soprano, whenever possible and consistent with good harmony. A bass that runs along on one note robs the harmony many times of the interest it should have. In the best writing the bass part has a melody of its own to sing. Owing to the peculiar intervals into which the bass is often forced, the bass part could hardly be adapted for the chief melody of a hymn tune, but not so the tenor part. The student of harmony would find it a profitable exercise to select the tenor parts of the following hymns for the melody of a new hymn tune: "Cross of Jesus” (98), “Bremen” (476), "Ein' Feste Burg” (101), “Nuremberg” (103), “St. Athanasius” (77), "Munich” (151); and in harmonizing this tenor melody they can be made to produce a beautiful new hymn tune. Such a harmonization of

the tenor part of "Cross of Jesus” yields the following typical hymn tune:

[ocr errors][merged small]

PART IV

PRACTICAL USES OF THE HYMNAL

1

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »