Modern musick (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2016-09-26)   CPDL #41243:   
Editor: Aaron Giles (submitted 2016-09-26).   Score information: Letter, 7 pages, 76 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Transcribed from The Psalm Singer's Amusement
  • CPDL #04152:        (Finale 2001)
Editor: Rafael Ornes (submitted 2002-11-05).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 208 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: Modern Musick
Composer: William Billings

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredAnthem

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

Published: 1781 in The Psalm-Singer's Amusement

Description: First published in the Psalm-Singer's Amusement (1781).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

We are met for a concert of modern invention;
To tickle the ear is our present intention.
The audience are seated expecting to be treated
With a piece of the best, with a piece of the best.
And since we all agree to set the tune on E,
The author's darling key he prefers to the rest

[Next four lines simultaneously]
Let the bass take the lead and firmly proceed till the parts are agreed to fuge away. To
Let the tenor succeed and follow the lead till the parts are agreed to
Let the counter inspire the rest of the choir inflam'd with desire to
Let the treble in the rear no longer forbear, but expressly declare for a

fuge away.
Then change to brisker time and up the ladder climb,
And down again; then mount the second time
And end the strain

Then change the key to pensive tones
And slow in treble time the notes exceeding low
Keep down a while then rise by slow degrees;
The Process will surely not fail to please.

Thro' common and treble we jointly have run
We'll give you their essence compounded in one
Altho' we are strongly attached to the rest
Six-four is the movement that pleases us best, that pleases us best.
Six-four is the movement that pleases us best.

And now we address you as friends to the cause;
Performers are modest and write their own laws.
Altho' we are sanguine and clap at the bars,
'Tis part of the hearers to clap their applause, to clap their applause.
'Tis part of the hearers to clap their applause.