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treatise on the art of Composition, in which he treats of florid counterpoint at greater length than any of his predecessors, In the same tract, he gives very admirable instructions for making Organ pipes, and excellent receipts for casting Bells. I About this time, also, appeared the treatises of Marchetto, and of John de Muris (who is said by some to have been an Englishman), in which the use of Discords is recommended, as excellent to correct the cloying which attends a harmony of concords only. Explanations of the Resolution of Discords are also given.
The progress which had now been made in the scientific part, tended very much to advance and embellish the practical parts of music. A species of composition called Motets, of a livelier nature than the sombre and monotonous Canto Fermo, was invented; and attempts were made to introduce it into the service of the Church. But the rigid zeal of the holy fathers manfully opposed an innovation which savoured so much of secular profanity. They had beheld, with very jealous eyes, the addition of the semibreve and minim; but when motets were suggested, they could no longer contain their indignation. They petitioned Pope John XXII. that he would adopt some measures to check the spirit of libertinism which was so dangerously manifesting itself; and, in compliance with their urgent entreaty, his Holiness issued a decree, in which he severely animadverts upon the abuses which had crept into the Sacred Music of the Church; and setting forth, that some profane persons had been daring enough to introduce wanton modulations, and to butcher the melody by indecorous divisions; * and that others, with no less hardihood, had been so captivated by these vagaries, and by the new notes and novel measures of the disciples of the modern school, that they liked better to have their ears tickled with the scmibreves and minims, and such frivolous inventions, than to hear the orthodox and established ecclesiastical chant:-he strictly forbids the use of such innovations, under the penalty of his apostolical malediction. With the same praiseworthy detestation of improvement, Odo, archbishop of Rheims, admonished the nuns of the monastery of Villars, to avoid such indecent
| See a biographical account of this learned monk, in Moreri.
* In the original Bull, the words are · Melodias hoquetis interse. cant.' His Holiness alludes, we presume, to the Neuma, or Bars, which were used about this time, and were first employed in church music as breaks or pauses, to allow the singers to take breath : and for this interruption in the monotonous drawl of the chant, the performers were censured as hiccuping in their song.
music, which was no better than a scurrilous and jocose song, and quite unfit to make a part of the devotional exercises of so pious a sisterhood.
We cannot therefore wonder that the progress which music made was so slow, when the churchmen, who were then the principal cultivators of that or any other art, were restricted by the arbitrary bigotry, and timorous scruples of their superiors, But the time was now at hand, when the various causes, which had been gradually effecting a change in the languages of the South of Europe, began in like manner to produce a revolution in its music. The improvements in the languages of the South, which, since the destruction of the Roman Empire, which occasioned an incorporation of the Latin with the corrupt dialects of the Northern invaders, had such important effects on the poetry and music of those countries, that they deserve some attention.
Some time before the birth of the Italian language, there had been established in Gaul, the Romanesque or Romance, so called from having had its basis in the Roman tongue. After the southern provinces were subdued by the Visigoths and Burgundians, and the northern by the Franks and Normans, there was not in that country any further irruption from the North while Italy continued, for some ages after, a prey to invaders from all countries,—Germans, Hungarians, Saracens;—and thus, while each district retained its own peculiar dialect, no general language could be consolidated, and hence it was behind Gaul in the formation of its language. The poetry and music of Provence were the boast and model of all Europe for several centuries after the time of Charlemagne. But this supremacy survived only till about the time of the crusades, when the Italian poetry and literature having acquired a strength which made it known to the rest of Europe, superseded that of the Troubadours,—which continued, for a short period longer, to linger in Catalonia and Arragon, and then expired for ever, It had, however, wrought an important change in the character of the music of that period; and its effects on this were of a more lasting nature than on the poetry-as, being transmitted by the minstrels who came into the north of Europe, the improvements were pursued in the music of the fabulous songs and romances, which succeeded the Provençal, in the northern provinces of France.
Although the French were in the habit of writing their language
earlier than the Italians, they were much longer in bringing it to perfection. In Italy, the use of the Latin was preserved in the courts of law, and very generally in polite conversation, but universally in composition, such as sermons, discourses
and familiar letters, down to a very late period. The Italian was not used in poetry till the twelfth century. Indeed it must have been late in that century; for Dante, who flourished towards the end of the thirteenth, declares that the language was not 150 years old. Their first attempts in verse were short pieces of Lyrical Poetry, whose origin may be satisfactorily traced to the poetry of Provence; the Kings of Sicily succeeded the Spaniards in the sovereignty of Provence; and from the intercourse thus formed with the Troubadours, arose the poetry which the Italian language imbibed during its progress at the courts of the Sicilian monarchs, and which was afterwards transmitted into Tuscany, and other parts of Italy. Before the usurpation of Tuscany by the family of Medici, the form of Government at Florence had been Democratic. The numerous opportunities thus afforded to the citizens of speaking in public, and the consequent encouragement given to popular oratory, and to a free communication of opinion, may account for the care bestowed upon the language of that particular province, and the polish it so early received.
Little is known of the secular music of Italy, at this early period. A few specimens of the Canzoni, or songs of the Tuscan Giocolari, have been preserved in the Florentine collections of MSS., and also of the Madriali, *-alla Madre,-hymns to the Virgin: We are told also that the populace went about the streets singing the verses of Dante, so delighted were they with genuine poetry, the first they had ever heard. But the character of their music was not yet established; and although, in the time of Petrarch, poetry had acquired nearly its highest perfection, the progress of music had by no means been corresponding. Indeed, in its advance towards perfection, music appears to differ from all the fine arts. In painting, in poetry, in sculpture, there has been but one step from childhood to maturity—from invention to perfection ;—from the roughness of the inhewn block to the bigh finish and masterly polish of the statue. Take away Milton, and we find all the greatest geniuses, born in the infancy, and still alive in the maturity of their respective arts :-Since the days of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante-of Raphael, Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and their gigantic contemporaries, there have been no such constellations of unrivalled genius. Men of high fame have indeed appeared in after-times; but it has been only at intervals—and they have
come sparingly. Milton, Tasso, Guido, Rembrandt, are
* Whence our Madrigals, which certainly do not abound with religious sentiments.
great names; but yet, even with all the advantages of their predecessors' experience, they fall short of those great forefathers of mighty proof.' In music, on the other hand, particularly instrumental, there is just so much science mixed with the art, às to place it beyond the power of individual genius to bring to perfection. Its march must in a certain degree be progressive, -it must pass through youth and manhood-and in its scientific character there are no limits to its perfection. Once carried beyond its rudest state, it may receive a sudden advancement from the genius of a Corelli; but it is capable of still further progress from the invention of a Haydn, and may be carried yet nearer to perfection by the originality of a Beethoven. Hence it is, that, though Italy and other countries abound in composers and theorists, we find no one, till as late as the 17th century, whose genius was sufficient to stamp music with a new character. Zarlino, in the sixteenth, was a composer and a theorist of great authority; but he went very little out of the beaten path. Palestrina, who lived somewhat later, did more for the art, and was esteemed an excellent musician, as the register of his burial suficiently attests In St Peter's Church,
near the altar of St Simon and St Jude, was interred, in consequence of his extraordinary abilities, Pierluigi da Palestrina,
the great musical composer, and Maestro di Capella, in this • church. His funeral was attended by all the musicians of • Rome, and “ Libera me Domine, as composed by himself, . in five parts, was sung by three choirs.' Early in the seventeenth century, music began to relax a little in its character; and occasionally little conceits and capriccios were introduced. Thus Merula composed a piece of music to the words . Quis vel Qui; nominativo Qui, Quæ, Quod,' &c. in which the stammering and hesitation of the boys, and the corrections inflicted by the master, are imitated in a very ludicrous manner. But we pass over all other composers of this period, and come at once to the first very remarkable era in instrumental music, -the time of Arcangelo Corelli.
This great man, whose works and whose practical skill, gave a reputation to Instrumental music, which it had never before enjoyed,—was born at Fusignano, in 1653. He was not formed to astonish the world by any display of very early talents ; he was scarcely known before the publication of his first Twelve Sonatas, at Rome, in 1683: Nor was it till some years afterwards, that he acquired the name of a great performer.--He was of a singularly modest and retiring nature, and was with difficulty prevailed upon to take the principal violin, and the arduous task of leading the band, at Rome. The work, by