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the girls' sides to sit apart and lead the psalmody, is a good
I have found it most useful, since it is far easier to teach to the children the use of foreign tunes than to adults.
d. I should question the attempt at present to organise choirs containing both men and women. This need not prevent us, however, from having men and women meet together to practice singing.
Where there is a school of men and also of women attending the same church, it might be possible to have a mixed choir, but I should say not in the next five or ten years. The singing might improve, but the results along other lines be quite the reverse.
However I have known instances where such an experiment seems to have met with success. Chinese.
I recommend the older churches, churches that have stood firm for years, having a large number of Christians in the congregation, to have mixed choirs. For the young churches it is better to wait for some time to come.
2. It is possible, but it is rather difficult to say wise or unwise to have choirs of both sexes, as it depends on the local conditions of different places. In Hongkong the London Mission has had on many occasions choirs containing young men, women and girls, who are, of course, kept separated by a harmonium, and really it would be a splendid thing to see a place well advanced to even such a stage as Hongkong. *
3. This is a question that can only be answered on the merits of each case. As a general policy I think the times are hardly progressed enough for the introduction of mixed choirs. This is to be solved along with the social question at large.
4. We believe it is possible, but not wise, to form choirs containing both men and women singers. Such a choir will have its peculiar attractiveness and effectiveness, but for that very reason its importance may be overestimated. Its presence in church may draw in a full congregation, but very often only to itself and for itself. We should look out for such dangers before they repeat themselves in China.
5. That depends upon local conditions.
* Foochow also.
I do not think it is wise to have a mixed choir among the natives.
8. It would be well at present to organize choirs separately, and occasionally let them sing in concert. It will be uuwise to organize a mixed choir.
9. No. To do this would create a suspicion on the part of non-Christians, or would at least cause unfavourable criticism.
QUESTION VI. Are there any other observations on the question of church
music in China which you would care to make ? ANSWERS. Foreign.
b. Until the whole of the Christian church can receive systematic inusical instruction from an early age, I believe the inost (musically) satisfactory results are obtained from pentatonic tuves ; the pentatonic air (or treble) being sung by the uncultured many and the other parts by the trained few. Very good results have been reached by this method in the English Baptist Mission in Shantung, as attested by many visitors. But we always aim at building up a church of those who can sing Western tunes as truly and as sweetly as Christians do in the West. Chinese children, taken under ten, can learn to sing, for example, the chromatic scale without more trouble than English children ; between ten and twenty, with care and patience, a great deal can be done, but in later life the power to distinguish the new Western sounds is largely atrophied, and we get Western tunes sung either with known notes substituted for unknown, or harrowing attempts at the unknown which are falsely sung flat or sharp, as the case may be.
I think an attempt should be made to gather up all the experience of those who have worked at this subject, and something might be done to unify our tune books by the preparation of a tune manual containing those airs which have been found most adaptable to Chinese capacity at the present time. The Chinese church should endeavour to break away from the use of hymns of outrageous metre, which are necessarily identified with tunes of a special and often atrocious kind. I have found the practice of encouraging the boys of the schools to use the Chinese fute for such hymns as are suited to its capacity, has had the result of making the parents and friends of the boys thoroughly acquainted with a certain number of
simple tunes. For the present, until the question of harmony is advanced a stage beyond its present condition, the attempt at part singing, except by specially trained voices, is unwise. Possibly in every church where there is a capable musician among the foreign missionaries, a Chinese quartet could be trained to do simple work. To attempt a little thoroughly per exemplar is a distinct need of to-day.
d. Make a great deal more of singing than is usually done in our churches. Much teaching is needed in order to get our Christians to realize just what the singing is for, and time should be taken outside the regular church services both to train the voices and teach tliem the meaning of the hymns, as well as to follow the tunes. They need to be taught that it is part of a spiritual service. It has been abundantly proved that where Chinese airs are adapted, or foreign tunes adapted to the Chinese scale, they greatly prefer them and sing them with much more enjoyment than unaltered Western tunes.
There should be a standard and complete collection of hymns, chants, and anthems, compiled for the use of all the churches in China. The verses should be simple, but of pure Chinese style. The musics, or melodies, should be classical but for the most part not too difficult or too high. They should be selected from the best authors. At the same time there should be a collection of the best anthems and songs for trained Chinese voices.
2. It is very difficult at the present time to get real, earnest Christians with both capacities-good Chinese education and thorough knowledge of music, for the organization of your scheme. But apart from this, is it not the duty of every one of us, either missionaries or church members of either sex, who are interested in music, to take more pains towards reforming church music ? And is it not possible for missionaries of either sex to set aside one or two hours in the evening during week days to teach the well-educated young men, ladies, or boys and girls, to learn music, so that when the time comes there may be some real, earnest Christians who will have both accomplishments-education in Chinese and the knowl. edge of music—to undertake this good reformation you have in view ?
3. As to other observations I would say that, whatever is to be done in the matter of reformation, at least we should have original Chinese hymns for the marriage and funeral services, where Chinese sentiments and thoughts can be introduced and where Chinese scholarship can have more scope for display. In the lamentations of the bride and the wailings over the dead, if you pay any attention to them, you will find a great deal of poetical thought and allusion mingled with their cries. In fine, the Chinese is essentially a poetical race. Their common talk has poetry in it. Their language is music in itself. The best rendering of any of Sankey's hymns into Chinese I have seen is that of“ Light after darkness,'' as the words are so near to Chinese poetical ideas. But there is the drawback that the music is not quite adaptable to the Chinese translation which, having to transpose the antithetic words, the loudness and softness of the music seems out of place. Then again in the hymn, “He arose. The words, “Up from the grave, which suit the expression of the music so admirably (in the English , have not the same musical connection when translated into Chinese. The ideal of musical composition is to suit your words to the music and the music to the words.
4. A family Christian song book will be a boon and joy to many a Christian home. Its scope : good religious songs and hymns, music and Chinese words together. Music expressed by any of the three ways-staff notes ; do, me, sol; 1, 2, 3, etc. 5.
I do not believe in sensationalism in the Church of God here in China or elsewhere, that is, anything that carries with it any theatrical association should be deprecated in all church services. I have great horror for revival and salvation army songs-songs after the Sankey type. Church music should be solemn and impressive.
6. For Chinese hymns, Chitiese instruments are a neces. sity. Would advocate the use of ancient instruments as men. tioned in the Shu Ching, etc.
7. The natives naturally sing with a dragging voice. I strongly recommend those who have the charge of the choirs not to allow it.
8. It will be an excellent idea to teach in the church say for twenty minutes, one new hymn each Sunday.
Summarizing the answers which have been received it will be seen that, with two exceptions (and those exceptions, reinarkably enough, Chinese), all who have responded speak of their dissatisfaction with the present condition and outlook of Chinese Christian hymnnology. It appears from the answers that are given to the succeeding question (No. 2) that while there is felt to be much room for improvement in the preparation and use of tunes now in vogue among the churches, the burden of dissatisfaction falls more heavily upon the hyinns themselves, looked at from the point of view of Chinese literature. Speaking generally it would seem that the translation of our foreign hymns into Chinese has been a failure ; that there are notable exceptions, and possibly not a few, may be at once allowed, but the method which has so far been followed in translating foreign hymns bas not produced results which are to be spoken of with satisfaction. The reason of this is not far to seek. Very few foreigners have a sufficient understanding of what constitutes a good Chinese poein. The translation of a liyinii, looked at from the technical point of view—so many feet to the line, such and such a rhythm, and a rhynie of so and so, and there you are—may seem simplicity itself, provided there is a sufficient vocabulary; the result, however, by. the consensus of Chinese opinion, is not poetry. If ever Chinese hymnology is to be set upon a proper basis, we must have, whether in translation or original work, a body of material for church praise, which is poetry. Poeta nascitur, non fit, and it is extremely unlikely that any foreigner will be born a Chinese poet. After glancing over back numbers of the RECORDER at contributions dealing with this subject, it does not seem to the writer that we are in any better position in this respect to-day than we were ten years ago. We are adding recklessly to the stock of literal translations, various versions of the “Glory Song" and other hymns which happen to catch the popular ear for the time being in the West, at a great rate, but the Chinese hymnologist has not appeared upon the horizon.
Though there may not appear a definite connection between the poet and the musician, this thing is fairly certain if the history of social and religious development goes for anything; we are not likely to get our Christian musician in China until we have produced our Christian poet. While our hymns are unsatisfactory it is not likely that our tunes will be ideal.