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BOSTON: - PUBLISHED BY SAMUEL T. ARMSTRONg, AND CROCKER & BREWSTER, ' A o T
--- No. 50, Cornhill.
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1) ISTRICT OF JAASS.10HUSETTS –To zväz: District Clerk's Office. BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the seventh day of Ja nary, A. D. 1815, and in the fortieth year of the indepe dence of the United States of America, SAMUEL Worce TER of the said District, has deposited in this office the titl of a book, the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, i the words following, to wit:
“Christian Psalmody, in four parts; comprising Di Watts's Psalms abridged; Dr. Watts's Hymns abridged Select Hymns from other Authors; and Select Harmony together with Directions for Musical Expression. By Sam uel Worcester, D. D. Pastor of the Tabernacle Church, Salem.”
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, intitled, “An act for the encouragement of learning, by . the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned;” and also to an act intitled, “An act supplementary to an act, intitled an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching, historical and other prints.” WILLIAM S. SHAW, Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
AMoxg the Psalmists of the Christian Church, Dr. WAtts stands pre-eminent. His Psalms and Hymns have an established and consecrated character; and to Christians of sound piety and correct taste, it is matter of devout gratulation and thankfulness, that they are so extensively used, and so highly venerated. The Book, however, like the best of human works, has its imperfections. In regard to some subjects it is redundant, in regard to others it is deficient; aud some of its contents, fall very considerably below its general excellence. These imperfections have been extensively felt and acknowledged; and for the remedy of them, various attempts have been made, with various success. By what has been done, however, the way has been opened for something still further to be attempted. The preseat work was undertaken from no spirit of innovation; but from a sincere desire for the improvement and stability of our public Psalmody. On a careful examination of Dr. Watts's §. it was found, or thought to be found, that it might be very considerably abridged, without any detriment:-that some entire Parts, and many stanzas of other Parts of the Psalms, and that some entire Hymns, and many stanzas of others, might very well be spared; as the subject-matter and sentiments of them, were contained, and as well or better expressed, in what would still remain. By such an abridgment, some important advantages would be gained: redundancies would be retrenched; passages of little merit would be excluded; some Parts of Psalms, and some Hymns, so prolix and complex as seldom, perhaps never, to be given out in public, would be reduced to convenient and excelleut portions for use: especially, room would be made for the admission of not a small number of Select Hymns, from various authors, eligible either for their sterling worth, or for their suitableness to supply the deficiencies of Watts. And thus, if the design were judiciously executed, a body of Psalms and Hymns would be formed, more compact, more complete, and more worthy of extensive adoption for permanent use, than any before presented to our churches. ...To the high purposes of Psalmody, good and well adapted Tunes are essentially requisite. To aid the laudable exertions of respectable societies and individuals, for the general and established use of such tunes, was a primary object of this work. It was found to be the opinion of many, well qualified to judge, that a small but judicious selection of tunes, in the same book with the Psalms and IIymns, would be useful in several respects; as it might contribute to restrain the too common vagrancy of singing choirs, and to give permanency to the use of a standard set of tunes— would be a great convenience to singers in the choir, who might wish to refresh their memories in regard to the tune to be sung—and would be a help to many others in the congregation, who, by occasionally casting their eyes upon the tune, would be able to join in the performance, of this pleasing, animating, and exalted part of divine worship.
. The effect of public psalmody is often exceedingly marred, by a psalm or hymn being sung to an ill adapted tune. The leaders of singing choirs are not always persons of good taste and judgment; nor ean the best qualified lead
er, always at the moment, so fully possess himself of the
sentiments of the portion given out, as immediately to recur to a tune well suited to express them. It might therefore, it was thought, be highly useful to sit down at leisure, and refer each psalm and hymn, not merely to the proper key, but to a suitable tune. The grand defect of our publick psalmody in general is the want of proper expression. Should a preacher deliver his sermon, in an unanimated, monotonous manner, not varying the movement, or quantity, or tone of voice, nor even observing the pauses—be his sermon ever so good, or his pronunciation ever so exact—his hearers might sleep, and his labour be lost. So the best psalm may be sung to the best tune, and every note, in the several parts, be sounded with the utmost exactness, and yet the performance have little interest or effect. That performance of psalmody, and that only, is entitled to be called good, in which the movement, quantity, and tone of voice, are well adapted to the general subject, and so varied as justly to express the different thoughts, sentiments, and passions. This, it is confessed, is an attainment of no small difficulty; and requires no ordinary degree of judgment and taste, attention and practice. Its importance, however, demands that every thing which can be done in aid of it, should be done. To assist singers extensively, in this essential, but neglected part of good psalmody, no method appeared more eligible, than that of so marking the psalms and hymns by means of certain symbols, as to indicate, as correctly as possible, the requisite variations of movement, quantity, and tone of V():ce, Such were the views of the Compiler, when he took up the design of this work. He was sensible in the outset, and became more and more deeply so in the progress of the undertaking, that it was a design of difficult execution, and of no ordinary responsibility; and in regard to its several parts, he has not failed to avail himself, as opportunity offered, of the judgment of clergymen, musicians, and