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Transcript

of

Church Bands

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), p. 200.

by

R. Pearse Chope

Prepared by Michael Steer

Initially, Anglican parish musician groups generally sang unaccompanied, but later they were augmented by instruments such as the violin, cello (sometimes referred to in contemporary accounts as 'bass viol'), clarinet, flute and bassoon. As the primary purpose of the accompanying instruments was to maintain the pitch of the singers, the instruments tended to double the vocal parts, with depictions of such groups, as in Thomas Webster's painting The Village Choir, showing each instrument leading a group of singers gathered around it. Accompaniment with a bass instrument was most important and is seen from the mid-18th century; bands including treble-range instruments were rare before 1770, but became more common during the period 1780–1830. During this period, some collections of psalmody included independent instrumental parts, either accompanying the sung sections, or separate 'symphonies' (short instrumental interludes). The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers..

Note 167. Church Bands (IX., p. 124, par. 106; p. 149, par. 121 ; p. 161, par. 135).— Mr. Henry E. Bridgman, of Budleigh Salterton, informs me that he has a distinct recollection of the band in Stokenham Church, which gave place to an organ about the year i860. He well remembers old John Randall, a blacksmith, giving out from the west gallery the Tate and Brady psalms, two verses at a time, in good Devonshire intonation. Mr. John Wm. Rhymes, who has played the organ in Stokenham Church since April 17th, 1887 - just thirty years – and has only missed two services, believes that the band was composed entirely of members of the Randall family. John Randall, the father, played the "bass" ('cello), and, of the sons, Peter played the violin, Richard the flute, and, he thinks, William Henry the cornet, but he does not know whether there were any other instruments. The members of Mr. Rhymes' own family were vocalists in the choir, of which his father was a member for more than fifty years

                 R. Pearse Chope.