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  • Writer's pictureTim Braithwaite

A Comparison Between Cathedral Singing and the Singing of David’s Psalms (1644)

Davids Psalms sung in our English Meeter differ much from Cathedrall singing, which is so abominable, in which is sung almost every thing, unlawfull Letanies, and Creeds, and other prose not framed in Meeter fit for singing. Besides they do not let all the Congregation, neither sing, nor understand what is sung; battologizing and quavering over the same words vainly. Yea nor do all they sing together, but first one sings an Anthem, then half the Chore, then the other, tossing the Word of God like a Tenice-ball. Then all yelling together with confused voice, This we utterly dislike as most unlawfull. As Hieronius of old declaimed justly against it, calling it Musicam Theatralem, stage play singing.


Nathanael Homes, Gospel Musick : Or, the Singing of Davids Psalms, &C. (London: Overton, 1644)

The image below is from British Library Add MS 35324 and depicts the funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth I, which occurred on the 28th of April, 1603. Note the labelled children and gentlemen of the Chapel Royal.


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