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a brighter day in his native country, when under happier conditions her sons may again be seen contented and prosperous,

and with hearts capable of once more entering into the times of old. In addition to the sentimental stimulus and enjoyment which Mr. MacColl's poetry affords, we can cordially commend the book as a fountain of sweet and flowing Gaelic. Mr. MacColl's vocabulary is very full, and through the careful printing of Mr. Sinclair, he has been saved from the vexation so often inflicted on Gaelic authors of seeing their works presented to the public all bristling with errors.

The book is correctly printed and neatly bound. The portrait which forms the frontispiece will help to recall the lineaments of the author's face, but we have no doubt those who know Mr. MacColl will agree with us in saying that his own pen represents the soul and spirit of the living, genial, and cultured bard much more faithfully than the pencil of the artist portrays his bodily presence.


MR. MACBEAN's last contribution to Gaelic Literature, namely, his Gaelic Psalmody,* may not be so practically useful, but it will not be any less interesting than his former works. The work consists of a number of psalm tunes as sung in the Highlands of Scotland with all their slurs and variations, and showing also in musical notation the recitative in which the precentor repeats each successive line of the Gaelic psalm before being sung by the congregation. Of the manner in which Mr. Macbean has done his work there can be no two opinions. Those who are familiar with the congregational singing of the Highlands, and especially the North Highlands, will testify to the truthfulness with which he has noted down the tunes which compose the

* FUINN NAN SALM. GAELIC Psalmody, including the Ancient Tunes and Precentor's Recitations. By L. Macbean. Music in both notations. Edinburgh : Maclachlan and Stewart. Inverness : John Noble.

work. To write an ordinary piece of congregational music from hearing it sung is but a very simple exercise for a musician, but when the tunes are of the character here met with, the task must have been no ordinary one. True, they bear such well known names as Coleshill, French, St David's, Dundee, New London, St. Paul's, etc., but instead of the easy syllabic movement of these well-known tunes, they are loaded with grace notes and slurs, and their essential tones are lengthened out and broken up into waving phrases, to an extent that in some cases, such as in the version given of the tune French, completely sets at defiance all attempts to discover the least resemblance to the professed original. To one who has not heard these melodies sung, it is scarcely conceivable how a congregation can be kept in hand by a precentor while gliding over their endless mazes; but so familiar have they become by frequent use, and we believe also by sincere delight in their melodious windings, that it is no unusual thing to hear a Highland congregation either in the church or on the hill-side sing them almost as if with one voice, and with very little divergence indeed on the part of the individual singers.

Besides being in itself interesting as a specimen of the ecclesiastical music of the Presbyterian Church in the North Highlands, Mr. Macbean's book is suggestive of various points in connection with the religious history of the Highlands as well as questions bearing on the music of the Celt. There is no doubt that the use of the ordinary Psalm tunes in Highland churches is comparatively modern. Indeed, the present Gaelic version of the Psalms itself is quite a recent introduction. We learn from Mr. Macbean's introduction that "the first portion of the Psalter was published in Gaelic verse not earlier than 1659," and, further, that “it was translated into the present measure for the express purpose of suiting the tunes used in the Lowlands and in England; and the Synod of Argyle, by whom it was published, craved indulgence for literary defects on the plea that this particular measure had never been used in Gaelic poetry before.” It had been well for Gaelic ecclesiastical music that the innovation in Gaelic prosody referred to by the Synod of Argyle had never been made, for I venture to say that it is

mainly responsible for the backward state of musical culture in our Gaelic churches. The metre chosen—the iambic—is totally unsuited to the language; for while in the iambus the accent is on the second syllable, in Gaelic words the accent is invariably on the first. The very first word in the Gaelic Psalm book will indicate what we mean. "'S beannaicht an duine sin," etc. Here the accent is naturally on the syllable "beann-” according to the invariable usage of the language, whereas both in scanning and singing, the accent is thrown on the second syllable, "-naicht,” and so on throughout the whole version, the translation is weakened by the necessity imposed upon the translator of finding monosyllables to enable him to adjust the accent to the “tunes used in the Lowlands," and of having to permit the accent to be misplaced, as in the instance to which I referred.

In his interesting introduction, Mr. Macbean touches on a question of considerable importance, and I sincerely hope he will devote his attention to its elucidation, namely, what style of music and psalmody prevailed in the churches of the Highlands between the Reformation, and the introduction of the version prepared by the Synod of Argyle. If the Reformed Church of the Highlands had any Gaelic psalmody at all immediately after the Reformation, all trace of it seems to have died away, unless the custom which prevailed among old people of a past generation of intoning the very chapter in their family devotions, be a survival of the practices of an earlier time.

I believe the habit so common among Highland ministers of using their singing voice in the delivery of their prayers and sermons must be due to the frequency with which they have to conduct their services in the open air, where it is much more easy and effective to use the singing tones than the ordinary speaking voice. Any one who has been on board a large ship hears something similar, all the communications between master and man being conducted in long-drawn musical tones, as it would be quite impossible to make the speaking voice heard or understood at long distances, especially in a storm. To this may also be due the tendency among Highland worshippers to regard melody rather than harmony or even expressive singing. This tendency is exemplified in its most exaggerated form in Mr.

Macbean's book, where the tones of the tunes are drawn out and diversified and slurred out of all possible recognition. The habit is interesting, but, like some other peculiarities of our church music, it must be condemned. It is inimical to just and proper musical expression, and tends to render the worship outwardly distasteful and unmeaning. Perhaps more deserving of reprobation, however, is the habit, also illustrated by Mr. Macbean, of reciting each successive line of the Gaelic Psalm before the congregation sings it. This practice originated at a time when there were few books and equally few readers. But surely the time has come when the Highlanders might shake themselves free of such leading strings, and learn to do in their religious worship as they can so easily and sweetly do in their secular singing, dispense with such humiliating and vicious expedients as reciting each line before singing it. These and many other interesting features of our Church psalmody and music will, I trust, occupy the attention of Mr. Macbean, and I am sure we shall gladly welcome his observations on them as we do his present most interesting little work.


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