THE SINGING CHURCH - an outline history of the music sung by choir and people. By C. Henry Phillips B.A., D.Mus., A.C.D.C.M. sometime Lecturer and Sub-Warden of the College of St. Nicholas, Chislehurst. First published in Mcmxlv by Faber and Faber Limited 24 Russell Square London W.C.1. - This edition prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2004.

Part Six


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If worship may be described as the human response to the 'love' of God, then any man who has experienced and appreciated God's love is already in' a worshipping attitude. But that is only the first step. Such a man may next be vouchsafed a vision of the myriad worshippers of God living, dead or unborn, the Communion of Saints. It is only then that he can seize the raison d'etre of public worship, that pale reflection of the worshipping 'saints'. The living, present worship of those myriads of saints who have already passed beyond the grave does not here concern us. Our own incarnate worship uses the things of this world, personalities, talents, churches, language, music, robes, incense, with those materials and a few models given us by the fathers of old and by our incarnate Lord we have constructed our own liturgies. Because man is not perfect, because his mind does not easily attain unsullied concentration, forms and patterns are as necessary in public as in private worship.

Worship, sprung from experience, demands more than will and thought; it demands imagination or 'heart'. The material setting of worship is thus important. Springing arches, stained glass, sacerdotal robes, music, all these tend to quicken the vision of the worshipping man standing in his pew. By surrendering his own beloved personality to a bigger whole the individual is raised to higher efficacy; and that surrender in a public service is a picture of what must happen in his own life. As the soul grows the surrender is to bigger and worthier conceptions. Public worship, in fact, has repercussions in the human soul. The experience, faith and thanksgiving which are the bone and sinew of worship are given back, as it were, revitalised at a higher voltage. Worship thus becomes not only the natural reaction to the experience of God's love but an important factor in the psychological and spiritual development of the worshipper. That development becomes more real as the worship is more real: the worship is more real as the attention of the whole man-body, emotions, mind, imagination- is centred on the idea of God.

It is with the object of securing and holding this all-important attention that liturgies and set forms of prayer are used. Set prayers, set acts bring back old associations and so serve to 'tune in' the mind more quickly and secure the attention. [The old associations may be those of boredom and inattention; it is the worshipper's task to see that they are not. Hence the reformers of every century.] The ritual acts of kneeling, processing, reading from different parts of the church and so forth help to hold the secured attention by change and variety. To worship God alone or 'in a field' or in an ugly church demands immense imagination; the well-ordered service helps the un­imaginative back into his worshipping attitude. The worshipping attitude should ultimately become part of the warp and woof of daily life and the church 'service' is a kind of burning-glass focusing the 'life-service' into one public ritual act. Is it fanciful to suppose that a church which makes much of the social act of public worship will carry that social consciousness into the world outside to redress wrongs and succour the needy?

At the church service a man, then, sinks his own self and becomes one of the myriads of beings who consciously and socially worship God-all the living, dead and yet to live, tlie saints 'above', the angels and archangels. He identifies himself with humanity and the angels and his consciousness is thereby raised to a higher level. But merely being present at a public service will not attain this end; to assure that he is making a given 'act' of worship he must take part with his body and mind. He must actually say the creed, feel its emotional and intellectual import-'I believe'- 'listen' and rise to the meaning and vision of the lessons. The experienced worshipper can sometimes dispense with these 'acts' because he has built up strong worshipping associations round certain acts: thus he may listen to a musical setting of the creed and still identify himself with its intention. Congregations, like the men of whom they are composed, are at different points on the road to perfect worship-attainable only, presumably, in heaven. There the 'accidents' of worship are no doubt reduced to a minimum, but here on earth such worship is to most impossible. One congregation - as, for example a 'Children's Church' or a street-corner meeting - will need to take an active part in almost every act of the service; a congregation of specialists, as for instance a monastery at its office, will need fewer stimuli. 'High' and 'low' church are perhaps, from the point of view of active worship, the best milieux respectively for those needing action and those able to dispense with it.

The dangers inherent in public worship are many and obvious. They are mentioned here so that those who have to do with the running of public services may take stock. It is indeed easy and natural to become enamoured of the means and so fail to proceed to the end in view. The musician will sense the musical beauty and lose the purpose; the actor will love the dressing-up, the sonorous language, the ballet-like movements and miss their import; the slothful will allow the sheer sonority of the prayers to drug him into an intellectual sleep; the ungodly will thrill to the service on Sunday and swindle his neighbour on Monday. Imagination alone can pierce the veil of sound and action and so enter the true temple where God is worshipped 'in spirit and in truth'. Those who plan public services must use every effort to help their congregations through the veil, and to see that they themselves when they have ministered to others fail not.



From experience men have found that music not only kindles the imagination but serves as the most practical vehicle of corporate utterance. No effort is needed to see how the imagination is lighted by music: we sense it in the cinema 'trailer', in the organ recital before the political meeting, in the band playing by the seaside. It is as easy to see how music makes a unique contribution to corporate expression. Few congregations can make a said Pater Noster sound inspired (it needs very little rehearsal really) but nearly all can attain unanimity in a response or a hymn. We may, in fact, state that as a general rule music, like all the other accidents of worship is a necessity with congregations whose churchmanship is at the beginner's stage—for they need its kindling power—and becomes less so as church experience grows. From the strictly practical point of view music becomes more of a necessity the larger the building and congregation, as it alone can ensure unanimity (the more frequent use of loud-speakers may, however, nullify this statement). No doubt in heaven, contrary to romantic hopes, worship has dispensed with music: here on earth among imperfect ,men it is a necessity at any large gathering. At the 'low mass' alone it seems an intruder, for here the central acts of the service themselves provide stimulation. At the 'high mass' or 'sung Eucharist' of the high churches, where (rightly or wrongly is not our business) the communion aspect of the service has given way to the sacrificial and worshipping side, music has an honoured and indeed necessary function.

That the church has always regarded music as an important and indeed necessary part of its worship 'here below' is shown first by the work of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and Pope Gregory, and by the very nature of plainsong, the music of the medieval church. [See pages 50-51.] These two men busied themselves with making musical collections and revisions and founding a musical tradition. Gregory's musical counterpart of his liturgical work was not an afterthought. The sung text was, he realised, something potent; music then as now could alter the meaning and effect of the text to which it was set. [Music gets 'under the skin', affects the subconscious and deeper or higher levels of a man more readily, perhaps, than any other art.] Gregory saw to it that the text was enhanced rather than worsened. The Genevan reformers sought also to regularise the sort of music sung as well as doctrines and forms, and as their reaction to the methods of worship in their day was dour and unimaginative so the music they allowed followed suit in the strait-laced metrical psalm-tunes; but it did not dawn on even the strict Calvin to ban music from the services. The Tridentine reformers at the end of the sixteenth century called the musicians to book for over-elaborating their contribution to the worship, but again had no thought of ousting choirs and organists. During the Restoration period in England the social aspect of public worship became, at the Chapel Royal at any rate, stronger than the God-fearing attitude essential to true worship, and the less worthy music followed suit: its joy deteriorated to joyfulness, its sorrows to operatic sentimentality, and the anthem became an item in a 'sacred' concert. But works like Salvator mundi of Blow, Hear, O heavens of Wise or Thou knowest, Lord of Purcell are great Christian works which add a deeper meaning to their texts and vindicate the necessity of music; they show, too, that self-effacing sobriety which puts music into its true place in the service as a quickener of the spirit. And if further vindication were necessary one has but to think how much the spiritual experience of Christians would suffer from the lack of musical settings of the psalms and the finest hymns. Music is, indeed, part and parcel of the apparatus of earthly worship; without it our approach to the things of the Spirit would inevitably suffer.

Because of the power of music, especially on the uninitiated, the choosing and rendering of music are important matters. Performance of music, like the reading of lessons, must be within the competence of the performer. Though most people could read a parable well, it is not everyone who can read the finer lines of Isaiah, Paul or The Revelation. It is thus with psalms, hymns, anthems. Psalm 25 is easy and clear where psalm 159 is deep in meaning. While shepherds watched tells a simple story where Myer's Hark what a sound is more highly imaginative, subtle and beautiful. Stanford's setting in B-flat of Magnificat is easy and obvious while Thou knowest, Lord is a subtle commentary on a profound text. It will be seen that this has nothing to do with musical difficulty. A thousand choirs can sing the Stanford to one which can deliver the weighty words of the Purcell; it may be added that a thousand congregations can listen with understanding to the former to one which will seize the essence of the other. The choice itself-really an integral part of the worship-must be a matter of mutual aid and discussion between parson and musician; wise selection will be made only when each agrees to learn something of the other's outlook and when both set aside ample time each month to go fully into the points involved. Progress there must be but more harm than good is done by casting pearls before swine.

With the means of attaining aptness and reality in the services we are not really concerned. It will be achieved by thought and example, by teaching and by a care for the unity of theme in each service. But much can be done in the general planning which will at least remove some of the obstacles to reality. The treatment of latecomers, the orderly giving-out and collecting of books, the taking up of the alms, ringing of bells, playing of organs, the organisation of servers which does not deplete the small choir at important moments, the audibility of those who sing and read are all matters which have easy solutions. More difficult but as important are the community recitation and singing which can be dealt with by instruction, exhortation and rehearsal. Even lethargic congregations respond to enthusiasm in these matters. Small points like the unanimous utterance of Amens must be tackled, and the organist's voluntaries, like the music in general, can do much to make or mar; to prove that they are chosen with care they should find a place on the music list. It is hardly necessary to insist that the arrangements in the vestry must be clear and orderly and should not be the concern of the man at the organ who needs preparation for his important job: it is still less the job of the parson who should also be allowed freedom from petty worries in the moments before the service. Numbers of village churches, town churches, cathedrals have managed to make their organisation run so smoothly that the 'works' are never noticed, and if smooth running in itself is not worship at any rate it ensures that the atmosphere is one of freedom and lack of tension. An analogy may be found in amateur theatricals: if the lighting, scene-shifting and curtain are well managed that is half the battle. Poor acting may only mean that the play was badly chosen for the material to hand. In church the stage-managing can be always good; a wise choice of music is of much help in attaining an adequate performance.

It has often been proved that given efficient and enthusiastic leaders even the remotest village choirs will produce excellent results. The fault of poor services lies more frequently in the handling than in the material. Organists and clergy alike must receive adequate training; the resultant zeal and mission-sense will overcome what look like insurmountable difficulties. But for choirs, organists and clergy adequate means must be forthcoming. In the business world the text 'cast thy bread upon the waters' is well understood: you risk one talent in advertising to gain ten talents in profit. Is it too much to suggest that the children of this world can instruct the children of light? Too often the choir is shoddily equipped with ugly, uncomfortable stalls, torn books, unmendable garments; the organ has long been out of date, the organist is paid a pittance. The result is shoddy worship, and so bad business. A church where these things are not so is seldom empty for, rightly or wrongly, bad music keeps people away or drives them elsewhere. Often the attitude to such conditions is that of the bad business man: How can I improve without the means? The cart has been put before the horse; these things must somehow be improved before the means come, as come they will. A bold policy of this sort seldom errs. It is possible that by re-grouping parishes, or establishing a central fund for repayable loans, or supplying a travelling musical leader in charge of a group of country or town churches and run perhaps by the diocese a solution will be found. A church which cares for its children must find a way of providing the means of worship.



A parson (I suppose) has two main tasks: that of saving souls and that of directing public worship. As director of worship he must perforce-it would seem-use music and must therefore be interested in music. He cannot normally be skilled in music and thus will have to trust those who have made church music their special job.

The artist who directs the music has first to realise that his parson is not primarily interested in music. To him music is merely one aspect of his direction of the worship. Too often in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the cathedral organist strode the organ loft like a captain on his quarter-deck, regarding the church as his ship to use as he would and the parsons as so many nuisances: there are a hundred anecdotes to prove it. His artistry was often impeccable but his vision of Christian worship extremely limited. His colourful personality is still apt to make us approve of him. The modern cathedral organist is better fitted to his important job and if he has shed the anecdotal radiance he has at least a sincere appreciation of his work. But his task is easy compared with that of the parish church organist who cannot command cathedral resources and whose congregation must be considered as a more vital element in the worshipping life of the church. Here is ,a job demanding certainly musical skill and artistry, but also a flair for public ceremonies, a knowledge of liturgical matters, a dynamic personality and careful social tact combined with teaching power.

In every church, then, we have two men, the one a parson whose main objects are the saving of souls and the running of public worship, the other a musical artist intent to serve. It is as hard for a good parson to 'understand' a good artist as for a good artist to be able to share the point of view of a good parish priest. But if each has made some bid to study the other's job they can make a dynamic and invincible combination. Their common work includes first deciding on a liturgical and musical policy, having in view the type and level of the congregation and the resources at their command. For arriving at the right plan they will both need the experience not only of many types of church but also of liturgical and musical history. Thus the reforms of Gregory can teach them to have a clear policy, the sixteenth century will open to them the problems of congregational singing and show them the snares of over-elaborate music, while the Restoration will show them that the music must not create a purely 'social' service with music as the bonne bouche.

With a clear plan in their heads they can go ahead to map out their future progress, their teaching, the music of their ferials and festivals, the high lights of the year and of each service. They will no doubt adopt a monthly routine of meeting to work out the services so that each achieves a unity and the choir and congregation shall have both progressive and fallow, consolidating periods. They may plan choirless Sundays, congregational rehearsals, oratorio performances by an enlarged choir, times for teaching new principles, new hymns, new psalms, holiday arrangements, and so forth. They may even at times co-opt some discriminating member of the congregation and would certainly have the master of ceremonies at meetings where he was concerned. They would come to an agreement (not necessarily a lasting one) about the varied performance of hymns, about the thorny question of who shall sing the psalms-it need not always be the congregation or always the choir-and go through past achievements with a view to seeing what the next step is to be.

It is foolish to legislate for the future of congregational and choir music in our English churches. If the principles are clear and the leaders are creative the future of English church music is assured. The only mistake in a church where congregations vary not only socially but in liturgical- and worship-sense would be uniformity. There will be a place for the unison choir, the choir which is unrobed and sits as part of the congregation, the normal surpliced choir. Central training schools will certainly be necessary for musicians and the system of providing peripatetic choirmasters may help to solve the difficulties in country districts. Perhaps from such a centre sections of a resident boys' choir would visit and help at the churches most in need, while interest would be stimulated and teaching given as at present in many dioceses by means of choir 'festival' services in the cathedrals and bigger churches and visiting services by sections of the cathedral choirs. Future conditions may show that it is better to work by groups the size of a deanery than by isolated parishes, and it may be that such groups would best be formed not by one central authority but rather by diocesan organisation; a central authority, however, would find useful work to do in the shape of co-ordination, courses for choir­masters and general propaganda work. The gramophone and the piano will no doubt continue to be useful for teaching purposes or in isolated churches where there is no competent instructor and new uses will doubtless be found for the radio and the cinema. There is, indeed, no end to the suggestions which might be made, for worship, if it is to be part of life here on earth, must always strive to be vital by using the everyday things which God has given and which the wit of man has devised.

Since the days a hundred years ago when surpliced choirs began to appear in every parish church and ape the cathedral choir, church people have come to see that any such uniformity in worship is to be eschewed. Many now hope to see unity of doctrine and principles rather than uniformity of types and details. Uniformity with the past is no more attractive: in a world which is rapidly changing its basic ideas the living church will be keen to use the new creations of man in the service of God. New accompanying instruments, new shifts of population, new transport facilities, the radio, the cinema will foster new departures in public worship. There will be no danger of pollution if the first principles of worship are kept clear and the purpose of music is understood. If changed economics make us revise the details of our services let us trust that the new details will be painted in on a background of great ideas, not regretfully but joyfully in a creative way.




A New History of the Book of Common Prayer, Proctor and Frere (Macmillan, 1932 edition).


Collected Essays, XXI-XXVI, R. Bridges {O.U.P., 1935), for a detailed discussion on the principles underlying modern pointing and for some instructive thoughts on hymns and hymn-singing. See also the prefaces to the various psalters mentioned in the text.


Collected Essays, R. Bridges (see above). Hymnody Past and Present, C. S. Phillips (S.P.C.K., 1937). Those who still censure A. & M. as being ultra-conservative should procure a copy of the 1904 edition {Clowes}. It is instructive to compare this book with English Hymnal. See, for hymns at public gatherings, the preface to Songs of Praise. Words-only editions of all hymnals should be studied as one would study any verse anthology; there is no other way of remaining uninfluenced by the music.


The Principles of English Church Music Composition, Martin Shaw (Office of Musical Opinion) shows the position at the height of the reaction against Victorian church music.
Mastersingers, Filson Young (Grant Richards, 1901) gives a delightful early appreciation of Stanford under the title 'An Irish Musician'. Stanford has as yet no comprehensive biographer.


Parry: I was glad (Festival anthem).

Stanford: Services in A, B-flat, C, F and G. The Lord is my shepherd. Ye choirs of new Jerusalem. Stanford: Glorious and powerful God. Ye holy angels bright. How beauteous. O for a closer 'walk.

Wood: Services-Mass mainly in the Phrygian Mode, Mass in C-minor, Service in E-flat (two). O thou the central orb. Expectans expectavi. Glory and honour.

Carols: See the following collections: Oxford, Italian, Cambridge, Cowley. See also The Church Anthem Book (O.C/.P.) and works by Alan Gray and H. Walford Davies, who are not mentioned in this book.




The Principles of Religious Ceremonial, W. H. Frere (Mowbray, 1906-1928).
Liturgy and Worship, ed. Lowther Clarke (S.P.C.K.). (Two large works suitable for serious study).
A History of Christian Worship, 0. Hardman, (London University Press, 1937). (An excellent resume.) The Art of Public Worship, P. Dearmer (Mowbray, 1919).
A Dictionary of English Church History, ed. S. L. Ollard (Mowbray, 1912). (Reference book.)


A New History of the Book of Common Prayer, Proctor and Frere (Macmillan, 1901-1932). (A standard reference book for history and analysis.)
The Background of the Prayer Book, C. S. Phillips (S.P.C.K..).
The Story of the Prayer Book,
P. Dearmer (O.U.P.). (Has many interesting illustrations.)


The text -

The Parallel Psalter, S. R. Driver {Clarendon Press, 1909). (The most useful commentary for the layman.)
Songs of Zion,
L. James (John Murray, 1956). (Full of material for interesting choirs in the psalms; it gives the Jewish and modern background of the psalms and shows their structure.)
The Paragraph Psalter
, B. F. Westcott {Cambridge University-Press, 1895).
A Liturgical Psalter, W. H. Frere (Mowbray, 1925).
The Short Psalter with the Canticles,
H. Coleman and J. Hum­phries (Stott, Peterborough, 1957). (These last two books are worth study for modern ideas on the use of the psalms in Christian worship.)

Choir books -

The English Psalter {Novella).
The New Cathedral Psalter (Novello).
The Oxford Psalter (O.U.P.).
The Parish Psalter (Faith Press).,
The Psalter Newly Pointed (S.P.C.K.).

For historical interest only -

The Psalter or Psalms of David, S. S. Wesley (T. W. Green, Leeds, 1845).


A Dictionary of Hymnology, John Julian (John Murray, 1892- 1925). (The authoritative reference book.) Historical Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern {Clowes).
Hymnody Past and Present,
C. S. Phillips (S.P.C.K., 1937).
Collected Essays, XXI-XXVI, R. Bridges (O.U.P., 1955). (Includes essays on chanting the psalms.)
The Yattendon Hymnal
(Preface and notes), R. Bridges (Blackwell, Oxford, 1899. Later editions, O.U.P.).
Songs of Syon
(Preface), G. R. Woodward {Schott).
[katapi ed: Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient & Modern. ed. Maurice Frost. Litt.D. (Clowes 1962 - and still in print!)]

Choir Books -

Hymns Ancient and Modern (1916 edition and Shortened Music Edition, 1959), {Clowes).
The English Hymnal (O.U.P.).

Songs of Praise (O.U.P.).

The Public School Hymn Book (Novella).

The Church and School Hymnal (S.P.C.K.).

A Plainsong Hymn Book (Clowes).


A History of Music in England, E. Walker {O.U.P., 1907-1924). (Deals with secular as well as church music.)
English Cathedral Music, E. H. Fellowes (Methuen, 1941). (This book has superseded all other books on its subject.)
A History of English Cathedral Music, John S. Bumpus (T. Werner Laurie, two volumes.) (Though out of date, an entertaining if over-enthusiastic book.)
Voice and Verse,
H. C. Colles .{O.U.P., 1928). (A scholarly and authoritative study of the setting of words to music, treated historically.)
The Church Anthem Book, ed. H. Walford Davies and H. G. Ley {O.U.P.). (A choir book giving the music of anthems ranging from Elizabethan times.) See also the relevant parts of The Oxford History of Music, new edition, including the Introductory Volume. The latest edition of Grove's Dictionary is of course invaluable. Also interesting and stimulating are the relevant portions of A History of Music in Pictures, ed. Georg Kinsky {Dent).


Report of the Archbishops' Committee on Church Music (S.P.C.K., 1922). (This pamphlet should be on the shelves of all clergy and organists.)
Music and Worship,
H. Walford Davies and Harvey Grace (Eyre and Spottisivoode, 1955). Music in Church Worship, C. W. Stewart (Henderson, 1926).
Church Music in History and Practice, Winfred Douglas (Scribner, 1937). (A comprehensive survey of Christian church music in Europe and the Americas.)
Collected Essays, XXI-XXVI,
R. Bridges (O.U.P., 1935).

Church Music Society pamphlets:

Anthems (Rootham). Hymn Festivals and Hymn Practices.
Music in Larger Country and Smaller Town Churches (Gardner).
Music in Parish Churches-a plea for the simple (Harvey Grace).
Music and Christian Worship (H. Walford Davies).
The Organ Voluntary
(S. H. Nicholson).
Music in the New Cathedrals.
(A study of conditions, financial and others.)
The above are obtainable through S.P.C.K.

The following may be consulted in reference libraries:

The Choral Service, John Jebb (1845).
Choral Responses and Litanies of the United Churches of England and Ireland
, JohnJebb. (Vol. 1, 1847, Vol. 2, 1857.)
The Parish Choir.
(A magazine of great interest published with musical supplements between 1846 and 1851.)          


The Priest's Part of the Anglican Liturgy, C. W. Pearce (Faith Press).
A Manual of English Church Music, ed. G. Gardner and S. H. Nicholson (S.P.C.K., 1925).
Quires and Places . . . , S. H. Nicholson (Bell, 1952).
Choirs in Little Churches, S. M. Morgan (Faith Press, 1951).
Music in Village Churches, S. M. Morgan (S.P.C.K., 1959).
The Training of Boys' Voices, W. S. Vale (Faith Press, 1952).
List of Music Recommended by the Musical Advisory Committee (S.E.C.M. pamphlet).
Hymn Tune Voluntaries, R. H. P. Coleman (O.U.P.). (Pamphlet.)
Systematic Organ Pedal Technique
, R. Goss Custard (Stainer and Bell).
Science of Organ Pedalling, H. F. Ellingford and E. G. Meers (Office of Musical Opinion, 1928).



A. For convenience notes are named, as far as pitch is concerned, by the first seven letters of the alphabet. Middle-C is the white note situated on the left of the two black notes at the centre of the piano: D is the white note to the right of it, etc. It is the lowest note of most boys' voices, and is nearly the highest for a bass.
Accidentals. Roughly the same as chromatics, q. v.
Anticipatory note. A note which is heard one beat before it is really due.
Appoggiatura. A 'wrong' note, or discord, on the accent which resolves on the next, unstressed, beat.
Bar-line. An upright line drawn across the stave. Between 1700 and 1900 the note immediately after the bar-line was always accented; as the bar-line was drawn at regular intervals, a regularity of accent was thus imparted to the music. In sixteenth century music bar-lines are inserted by modern editors merely as a guide to the eye.
Block harmony. Music where all the voices sing the same words at the same time. Hymns are usually in block harmony.
Cadence. A stereotyped way of ending a musical phrase or a whole piece. The last two chords of 'God save the king' are, for example, called a Perfect Cadence; the usual Amen is a Plagal Cadence.
Canto Fermo. A 'given' tune to which another (called the counter­point) is to be added.
Chord. Two or more notes sounded together.
Chromatics. Notes foreign to a given scale or mode. When used consistently for any length of time they cause a piece to change its mode or key. This change is called modulation.
Clef. A sign placed at the beginning of a stave to settle the pitch of the notes. Originally a capital letter of the alphabet placed on a given line of the stave (C, F or G) to name it.
Concord. A 5rd, 5th, 6th or 8ve, pronounced octave and meaning an eighth.


Moving in 2nds, i.e. from one note to the next, up or down.

Counterpoint. Two or more individual tunes sung one against the other.
Crescendo. Increasing in volume; the reverse of diminuendo.
Cross-rhythms. Voices singing different rhythms simultaneously.
Crotchet. Music moves in pulses or beats. If a crotchet is regarded as a note moving one to each beat, the minim lasts through two beats, the semibreve through four. Quavers move two to each beat, semiquavers four.
Diminished seventh. A well-known discord made, for example, by striking together the following notes: C-sharp, E, G and B-flat.
Discord. Not an ugly chord but one which requires to be followed by another chord, called its resolution.
Dominant. The 5th note, counting upwards, of any modern scale. Other notes formed the dominants of the old modes.
Dominant seventh. A discord much in evidence in Victorian times. A typical one is G, B, D, F played together, a very familiar sound.
Figured-bass. A shorthand method, invented in the seventeenth century, of indicating accompanying chords by placing figures or numerals under the bass part.
Final. The 'tonic' of a mode.
Flat. A sign prefixed to a note to lower it a semitone.
Four-two . A metre noted by having four minims, or their equivalent, in each bar; the normal method of noting such a hymn as 'O God, our help'.
Fugato. A passage where the voices enter one after the other with approximately the same tune. When the imitation is 'strict', or exact, it is called a canon.
Harmony. The same as chords: also the study of chords.
Interval. From any note to the next up or down is called a 2nd: from any note to the next but one a 5rd, etc.
Key. The centre of gravity from which a piece starts and to which it normally returns. Roughly the same as mode and scale.
Leap. Any interval higher than a 2nd.
Manual. A row of keys to be played by the hands.
Metre. (Time) The basic grouping of pulses or beats in two's, three's, four's, etc. On this metric basis the rhythm is, as it were, hung.;
Minim. See Crotchet.
Mode. Everyone is familiar with a descending scale of bells. Modes -Dorian, minor, major, etc.-are merely different ways of ascending and descending by steps of a tone and semitone., Pieces in different modes tend to have different emotional effects.
Modulation. Changing in the course of a piece from one mode, scale or key to another.
Morendo. Becoming gradually softer and slower.
Passing note. When a concordant note moves by step to another concordant note a third away, the intervening note is called a passing note.
Perfect Cadence. See Cadence.
Pitch. The height of a note, e.g. at the top or bottom of the voice. It is scientifically determined by the frequency of the vibra­tions. It is shown in notation by the position of a note on the lines and spaces of the stave.
Quaver. See Crotchet.
Rhythm. The timing of notes on the metric basis, e.g. the notes to 'gracious king' in 'God save the king' form a rhythm on the basic metre or time of three in a bar.
Scale. The notes of any mode or key arranged conjunctly. Nearly all scales contain a mixture of tones and semitones: it is the grouping of these which gives the mode or key its characteristic feeling.
Score. A page of music on which everyone's part appears, so that any singer can follow what the others are doing. In part-books the singer has only his own part.
Semibreve. See Crotchet.
Semitone. A Tone is the interval from, for example, C to D, a semitone from G to the black note between it and D, called C-sharp or D-flat.
Semiquaver. See Crotchet.
Shake. A rapid alternation of two contiguous notes-vocal showing-off, as a rule. In the eighteenth century often called a 'trillo'.
Sharp. A sign placed before a note to raise it a semitone.
Six-four- cadence. So called from the name of the third chord from the end. At the end of 'God save the king', save comes on a six-four chord.
Six-two . A metre noted by having six minims, or their equivalent, in each bar.
Step. Moving by step is moving in 2nds.
Stave (or staff ). A set of parallel lines, 4 in plainsong, 5 today; the note-heads are placed on the lines and spaces thus formed to indicate pitch or height.
Suspension. When one chord follows another and one note of the first chord 'lags behind', i.e. moves later, a suspension is produced; a common feature of all church music.
Time. See Metre.
Time signature. Figures placed at the start of a piece to indicate the metre, or groupings of beats.
Tone. See Semitone.
Tonic. The 'home' note, keynote, or centre of gravity of a key or scale. The word king at the end of the national anthem occurs on the tonic of the key.
Transpose. To sing or play music higher or lower than it is written; e.g., making all C's become D's, etc.
Tritons. B and F (or other similar intervals) sounded together or following one another.
Underlaying. The fitting of words to the notes.