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HIS Psalter has been printed for the use of the Editor's 8.3 own Choir, and is published in the hope that it may supply a want felt by others as well as by himself.
In the Arrangement of it he has endeavoured to assort the Tones in such a way as to ensure both a sufficient variety of musical effect, and a just agreement between the sentiment of each Psalm and its Tone, without introducing more frequent changes than are necessary. He has not therefore thought it expedient to adopt a different Tone for each Psalm ; but, to avoid monotony, he has, as a rule, varied it once at least in each set of Psalms for Morning or Evening ; whilst a change in the character of any particular Psalm is always met by a corresponding change of Tone.
As regards the Pointing he does not profess to have followed exclusively any one system, his great aim having been so to adapt the words to the music as to enable them to be
recited with the least possible sacrifice of the natural Accent and Rhythm of the English language. He is aware that in making this avowal, he lays himself open to the criticism of many enthusiastic lovers of Plain Song, who in order to preserve the true character and peculiar charm of the ecclesiastical chant, think it absolutely necessary to revert to the Latin system of Pointing. An experience, however, of many years in the use of the Tones has convinced the Editor that, however suitable and effective such rules may be in their application to the Latin language, they cannot be applied to English without so torturing the words and violating the vernacular accent as to produce, too frequently, an effect at once ludicrous and distressing. The longer he uses the Tones, the more strongly he is convinced that for the recitation of the Psalter, especially in Parish Churches, they are incomparably superior, both on practical and ästhetic grounds, to the Anglican chants still so much in vogue ; and it is because he believes that many persons agree with him in his general estimate of the Tones, and are only withheld from using them by various objections to the Arrangement or to the Pointing of existing Psalters, that he has made this attempt to meet the difficulty, and so if possible to extend the use of Plain Song.
He is very far, however, from wishing to imply, that he is altogether satisfied with his own work, especially as regards the Pointing. There are many verses which are far from what he could desire in this respect ; but any one who has been engaged in adapting the Psalms either to Gregorian or Anglican Chants, will know that there are many instances in which no amount of ingenuity can produce an entirely satisfactory result. In choosing between several methods of Pointing there will often remain only a choice of evils. He trusts, however, that in the main his object has been attained, of preserving the easy and natural flow of the words, and that a due observance of the Rhythm of each clause has been secured by printing in Capitals the words on which stress should be laid.
The Editor begs to tender his best thanks to DR. STAINER, who has kindly drawn up the Accompanying Harmonies, and has spared no trouble to render them as serviceable as possible to those who require such aid. A variety of Harmonies has been supplied for each Tone, to avoid the monotony and oftentimes the incongruity of using the same chords throughout a whole Psalm ; and some Harmonies, having the “ Canto Fermo” in the inner parts, have also been added as suggestions to those who seek for greater variety in accompanying the Psalms.
The following Explanations and Directions have been drawn up for the convenience of Choirs unaccustomed to the use of the Tones.
Feb. Ist, 1867.