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CONSISTING MOSTLY OF
SELECTIONS FROM THE SACRED SCRIPTURES,
ADAPTED TO APPROPRIATE MUSIC,
ARRANGED FOR CHANTING.
CONGREGATIONAL USE IN PUBLIC OR SOCIAL WORSHIP
“Let the PEOPLE praise thee, O God;
BY LOWELL MASON.
FEB 28 1910
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1942,
By J. H. WILKINS & R. B. CARTER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED BY KIDDER AND WRIGHT,
32 Congress Street.
It is gratifying to know that chanting has been gradually finding its way into the devotional exercises of Christians of various denominations within a few years past; and still more so, to be assured that wherever it has been judiciously introduced, and appropriately performed, it has met with the warm approbation of those who feel a deep interest in the spirituality of religious worship.
There is something so decidedly devotional in this style of singing, that it cannot fail to call forth the sympathies of the pious heart. A chant when performed by a well trained choir in appropriate style, and with just expression, unites the eloquence of Sacred music and poetry; and surely, no one who is susceptible of religious emotion can listen to the lofty and sublime strains of David, Isaiah, and other inspired writers, when thus sung, and remain unmoved. The fact that in chanting, the very words of the sacred Scriptures may be used, is certainly much in its favor, and of itself sufficient to commend it to those who desire to make “the statutes of the Lord their songs in the house of their pilgrimage.”
It is also much in favor of chanting that there is in it less tendency to draw attention to itself, than there is in Metrical Psalmody, especially, when, as is too often the case in the latter, the principal object seems to be to perform a pleasing air or melody; or to make the music or tune the principal thing, regarding the words as only of secondary importance. Nothing is more to be deprecated in Church Music, than the constant tendency to mere musical display or exhibition. But chanting seems almost preclude the very idea of diplay; it makes music a servant, altogether secondary to the great object of religious worship, and leaves the mind free and open to the full impression of the sacred text. The beautiful simplicity of the chant; its adaptedness to a clear enunciation of the words, to pause and emphasis; its susceptibility of genuine expression; and its total dissimilarity to Secular Music, are all considerations which seem to render it peculiarly appropriate to religious worship. In addition to which it may be mentioned as an important circumstance rendering the general introduction of chanting desirable, that it is an exercise in which it is quite practicable for the whole congregation to engage. If at first thought it may not appear so easy for a large congregation to keep together in a chant, as in the uniform rhythmically constructed choral; and if it be true indeed, that no one can chant well, or bring out the full effect of chanting, who has not within him the elements of a good reader; still experience has proved that there is no difficulty in making this a congregational exercise, at once pleasing and edifying, which may not be overcome by a moderate degree of attention to it, at least in those congregations where there is a good choir or precentor to lead. Indeed, it is believed that with the same attention to this subject which has usually been given to the singing of psalms and hymns, congregations may chant much better than they can now sing Metrical Psalmody.