MUSIC (ante). The history of music in the United States had its origin in the quaint and primitive psalm-singing of the Puritans, and until 1825, when Italian opera was first given in this country, church music was cultivated to the exclusion of all other styles. It appears that Ainsworth's version of the Psalms was brought over by the Pilgrim Fath ers who landed on Plymouth rock; and remained in use till 1603, when the Bay Psalm Bonk was generally adopted. This latter version was printed in 1640 in Cambridge, Mass., with the title The Hew England Version of the Bay Psalm-Book, and was the first import ant publication of its kind in America. Although it had been compiled by an associa tion of New England ministers, and approved by the churches, it met with great opposi tion, as many congregations looked upon the old version as a legacy intrusted to them by their forefathers. Among other scruples of conscience were, whether the singing of the Psalms of David with a lively voice was proper in these New Testament days. This and other quibbles set the churches into a turmoil, which did not subside until the rev. Joint Cotton wrote a tract in answer to the objections, which was sent to all the churches. Nathaniel D. Gould states in his book on Church Music in America that " when this tract or circular was read, and their feelings were reconciled, other objections and queries arose, namely, whether it was proper for one to sing, and all the rest to join only in spirit, and saying amen, or for the whole congregation to sing. Whether women as well as men, or men alone, should sing; whether pagans (the unconverted), be permitted to. sing with us, or church-menthers alone. Also, whether it be lawful to sing psalms in meter devised by man, and whether it be lawful to read the psalm to be sung, and whether proper to learn new tunes which were uninspired; for it appears' that they had so long been accustomed to hear and shng the same few tunes that they had imbibed the idea that the tunes were inspired, and that man's melody was only a vain show of art." Previous to the year 1600 there were but eight or ten psalm-tunes, taken mostly from Ravenscroft's collection, and they were sung hi rotation, without any regard to the subject of the preacher. About 1712 rev. John Tufts of Newbury published a book of twenty-eight tunes, with rules that the tunes might be learned with the greatest case and speed imaginable." When it was made known that some had acquired the art of learning a tune by note, without having heard it sung. "all were amazed, and still more astonished that all could finish a tune together." Rev. Thomas Walter of Roxbury, Mass., in 1721, edited the first book of music (except the few tunes attached to the Bay Psalm-Book), with the art of singing by note, with bars to divide the notes or measures, for the first time. The rev. Mr. Barnard of Marblehead published the psalms and hymna in verse, with fifty tunes at the end of the book. His work contained such tunes as Hear, Windsor, etc., in three parts; with one page of instructions. James'Lyon of Philadel phia, in 1761, published a choice collection of psalm-tunes, hymns, and anthems, in two, three., and four parts, called Urania. .Josiah Flagg of Boston, in 1764, published a col lection of church-music, engraved by Paul Revere, containing 116 tunes, generally of rather a light character. In 1770, appeared in Boston, The New England Psalm-Singer, or American Chorister, containing a number of psalm-tunes, anthems, and canons, composed by William Billings, a native of _New England. This book opened a new era in American -church music. William Billings was the author of six books of music, which were nearly all original, and very popular in their day. He was a zealous patriot, and the words to
which he set many tunes combined religion and patriotism. These melodies were sung in the tent by the soldiers as well as iu the church, and did much toward exciting the spirit of liberty among the people. Among those who succeeded Billings in compiling and composing church-music were Andrew Law, Oliver Holden, Samuel Holyoke, Dan iel Reed, William Little, Timothy Swan, George Lucas, Thomas Hastings, Lowell Mason, 'George James Webb, N. Gould, Henry E. Moore, William B. Bradbury, E. Ives, B. F. Baker, II. W. Greatorex, George Kingsley, L. 0. Emerson, Charles Zaier, II. K. Oliver, John Zundel, Albert W. Berg, Henry Stephen Cutler, William H. Walter, Henry William A. King, D. F. Hodges, Richard Storrs Willis, S. P. Tuckerman, H. N. Johnson, H. C. Timm, A. F. Lejial, L. II. Southard, J. H. Wilcox, Joseph Mosenthal, .John P. Morgan, A. Kreisemann, Dudley Buck; and many others. Of these, Thomas Hastings and Lowell Mason deserve special mention for their life-long exertion to spread musical knowledge in this country. Many of the hymns of Hastings have retained their place and popularity in Protestant collections. He published in 1822 A Dissertation on Musical Taste, which was widely read, and did much toward the improvement of musi cal culture. Under the influence of Lowell Mason vocal music received an extraordinary impulse in Boston, and throughout New England. Eminent teachers were introduced into the schools; the Boston Academy of Music was established; and music was pre .scribed as a regular branch of instruction in the schools of Boston, and subsequently throughout the entire country. His published works, particularly the Carntin.a Sacra, were very popular, and are still in circulation. Hastings and Mason were followed by many imitators who made numerous compilations of hymn-books, Sunday-school melo dies, glee-books, etc., which were constantly issued, as they proved for many years the most profitable kind of musical publications. In connection with the subject of church music the Gospel Hymns of P. P. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey should not be forgotten. They were introduced at the time of the Moody & Sankey revivals of 1875 and subse quent years, and were published in a cheap edition, which was sold by the million. Among the most popular were "Hold the Fort;" "Almost Persuaded;" "Pull For The Shore;" "What Shall The Harvest Be?" by P. P. Bliss; the "Ninety and Nine," by Ira D. Sankey; "I Need Thee Every Hour," by Robert Lowry; "What a Friend We Have In Jesus," by Charles C. Converse; and the " Sweet Bye-and-Bye," the words of which were written by S. Fillmore Bennett and themusic composed by Joseph P. Web .ster some years before the Gospel Hymns were published. These hymns have been ‘severely criticised for catering to an inferior order of musical taste; but they satisfied the popular craving for pleasing melodies, and were of unquestionable benefit to a certain -class of people whO afterward were led to the cultivation of higher styles of church music, There is now (1881) a movement in New York to have the scholars of the vari ens Sunday-schools who are musically inclined, meet in some large hall in their sec tion of the city, one or two evenings a week, for the purpose of receiving competent instruction. They will be taught to read notes ht sight. and be made familiar with a better class of sacred music. Sigismund Lasar has recently compiled a Congregational hymnal, with selections of the highest class, aiming at the improvement of public taste.