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Title: Opinioni de' cantori antichi e moderni. English - Observations on the Florid Song - or Sentiments on the Ancient and Modern Singers
Author: Tosi, Pier Francesco, ca. 1653-1732
Language: English
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Florid Song;




_Ancient_ and _Modern_ SINGERS,

Written in _Italian_


Of the _Phil-Harmonic_ Academy

at _Bologna_.

Translated into _English_


Useful for all PERFORMERS, _Instrumental_
as well as _Vocal_.

To which are added


and Examples in MUSICK.

_Ornari Res ipsa negat, contenta doceri._


Printed for J. WILCOX, at _Virgil's_ Head, in
the _Strand_. 1743.

_Note_, By the _Ancient_, our Author
means those who liv'd about thirty
or forty Years ago; and by the
_Modern_ the late and present Singers.

N.B. _The Original was printed at_
Bologna, _in the Year_ 1723.

_Reprinted from the Second Edition by_
WILLIAM REEVES Bookseller Ltd.,
1a Norbury Crescent, London, S.W. 16


Made in England



Lovers of MUSICK.


Persons of Eminence, Rank, Quality, and a distinguishing Taste in any
particular Art or Science, are always in View of Authors who want a
Patron for that Art or Science, which they endeavour to recommend and
promote. No wonder therefore, I should have fix'd my Mind on You, to
patronize the following Treatise.

If there are Charms in Musick in general, all the reasonable World
agrees, that the _Vocal_ has the Pre-eminence, both from _Nature_ and
_Art_ above the Instrumental: From _Nature_ because without doubt it was
the first; from _Art_, because thereby the Voice may be brought to
express Sounds with greater Nicety and Exactness than Instruments.

The Charms of the human Voice, even in Speaking, are very powerful. It
is well known, that in _Oratory_ a just _Modulation_ of it is of the
highest Consequence. The Care Antiquity took to bring it to Perfection,
is a sufficient Demonstration of the Opinion they had of its Power; and
every body, who has a discerning Faculty, may have experienced that
sometimes a Discourse, by the Power of the _Orator's_ Voice, has made an
Impression, which was lost in the Reading.

But, above all, the soft and pleasing Voice of the _fair Sex_ has
irresistible Charms and adds considerably to their Beauty.

If the Voice then has such singular Prerogatives, one must naturally
wish its Perfection in musical Performances, and be inclined to forward
any thing that may be conducive to that end. This is the reason why I
have been more easily prevail'd upon to engage in this Work, in order to
make a famous _Italian Master_, who treats so well on this Subject,
familiar to _England_; and why I presume to offer it to your Protection.

The Part, I bear in it, is not enough to claim any Merit; but my
endeavouring to offer to your Perusal what may be entertaining, and of
Service, intitles me humbly to recommend myself to your Favour: Who am,

    _Your most devoted,
      And most obedient
        Humble Servant_,

          J. E. GALLIARD.



Prefatory Discourse


_Some Account of the_ AUTHOR.

_Pier._ _Francesco Tosi_, the Author of the following Treatise, was an
_Italian_, and a Singer of great Esteem and Reputation. He spent the
most part of his Life in travelling, and by that Means heard the most
eminent Singers in _Europe_, from whence, by the Help of his nice
Taste, he made the following Observations. Among his many Excursions,
his Curiosity was raised to visit _England_, where he resided for some
time in the Reigns of King _James_ the Second, King _William_, King
_George_ the First, and the Beginning of his present Majesty's: He dy'd
soon after, having lived to above Fourscore. He had a great deal of Wit
and Vivacity, which he retained to his latter Days. His manner of
Singing was full of Expression and Passion; chiefly in the Stile of
Chamber-Musick. The best Performers in his Time thought themselves happy
when they could have an Opportunity to hear him. After he had lost his
Voice, he apply'd himself more particularly to Composition; of which he
has given Proof in his _Cantata's_, which are of an exquisite Taste,
especially in the _Recitatives_, where he excels in the _Pathetick_ and
_Expression_ beyond any other. He was a zealous Well-wisher to all who
distinguished themselves in Musick; but rigorous to those who abused and
degraded the Profession. He was very much esteemed by Persons of Rank
among whom the late Earl of _Peterborough_ was one, having often met him
in his Travels beyond Sea; and he was well received by his Lordship
when in _England_, to Whom he dedicated this Treatise. This alone would
be a sufficient Indication of his Merit, his being taken Notice of by a
Person of that Quality, and distinguishing Taste. The Emperor _Joseph_
gave him an honourable Employment _Arch-Duchess_ a Church-Retirement in
some part of _Italy_, and the late _Flanders_, where he died. As for his
_Observations_ and _Sentiments_ on Singing, they must speak for
themselves; and the Translation of them, it is hoped, will be acceptable
to Lovers of Musick, because this particular Branch has never been
treated of in so distinct and ample a Manner by any other Author.
Besides, it has been thought by Persons of Judgment, that it would be of
Service to make the Sentiments of our Author more universally known,
when a false Taste in Musick is so prevailing; and, that these Censures,
as they are passed by an _Italian_ upon his own Countrymen, cannot but
be looked upon as impartial. It is incontestable, that the Neglect of
true Study, the sacrificing the Beauty of the Voice to a Number of
ill-regulated Volubilities, the neglecting the Pronunciation and
Expression of the Words, besides many other Things taken Notice of in
this Treatise, are all _bad_. The Studious will find, that our Author's
Remarks will be of Advantage, not only to Vocal Performers, but likewise
to the Instrumental, where Taste and a Manner are required; and shew,
that a little less _Fiddling_ with the _Voice_, and a little more
_Singing_ with the _Instrument_, would be of great Service to Both.
Whosoever reads this Treatise with Application, cannot fail of
Improvement by it. It is hoped, that the Translation will be indulged,
if, notwithstanding all possible Care, it should be defective in the
Purity of the _English_ Language! it being almost impossible
(considering the Stile of our Author, which is a little more figurative
than the present Taste of the _English_ allows in their Writings,) not
to retain something of the Idiom of the Original; but where the Sense of
the Matter is made plain, the Stile may not be thought so material, in
Writings of this Kind.


AUTHOR'S Dedication


Excellency the Earl of
of the Marines
of _Great-Britain_.


I Should be afraid of leaving the World under the Imputation of
Ingratitude, should I any longer defer publishing the very many
Favours, which _Your Lordship_ so generously has bestow'd on me in
_Italy_, in _Germany_, in _Flanders_, in _England_; and principally at
your delightful Seat at _Parson's-Green_, where _Your Lordship_ having
been pleased to do me the Honour of imparting to me your Thoughts with
Freedom, I have often had the Opportunity of admiring your extensive
Knowledge, which almost made me overlook the Beauty and Elegance of the
Place. The famous _Tulip-Tree_, in your Garden there is not so
surprising a Rarity, as the uncommon Penetration of your Judgment, which
has sometimes (I may say) foretold Events, which have afterwards come
to pass. But what Return can I make for so great Obligations, when the
mentioning of them is doing myself an Honour, and the very
Acknowledgment has the Appearance of _Vanity_? It is better therefore to
treasure them up in my Heart, and remain respectfully silent; only
making an humble Request to _Your Lordship_ that you will condescend
favourably to accept this mean Offering of my OBSERVATIONS; which I am
induc'd to make, from the common Duty which lies upon every Professor to
preserve Musick in its Perfection; and upon Me in particular, for having
been the first, or among the first, of those who discovered the noble
Genius of your potent and generous Nation for it. However, I should not
have presum'd to dedicate them to a Hero adorn'd with such glorious
Actions, if _Singing_ was not a Delight of the Soul, or if any one had a
Soul more sensible of its Charms. On which account, I think, I have a
just Pretence to declare myself, with profound Obsequiousness,

    _Most humble_,
      _Most devoted and_
        _Most oblig'd Servant_,
          Pier. Francesco Tosi.



The Introduction.


Observations for one who teaches a _Soprano_.


Of the _Appoggiatura_.


Of the _Shake_.


On _Divisions_.


Of _Recitative_.


Observations for a _Student_.


Of _Airs_.


Of _Cadences_.


Observations for a _Singer_.


Of _Passages_ or _Graces_.




The Opinions of the ancient Historians, on the Origin of Musick, are
various. _Pliny_ believes that _Amphion_ was the Inventor of it; the
_Grecians_ maintain, that it was _Dionysius_; _Polybius_ ascribes it to
the _Arcadians_; _Suidas_ and _Boetius_ give the Glory entirely to
_Pythagoras_; asserting, that from the Sound of three Hammers of
different Weights at a Smith's Forge, he found out the Diatonick; after
which _Timotheus_, the _Milesian_, added the Chromatick, and
_Olympicus_, or _Olympus_, the Enharmonick Scale. However, we read in
holy Writ, that _Jubal_, of the Race of _Cain, fuit Pater Canentium
Citharâ & Organo_, the Father of all such as handle the Harp and Organ;
Instruments, in all Probability consisting of several harmonious Sounds;
from whence one may infer, Musick to have had its Birth very soon after
the World.

§ 2. To secure her from erring, she called to her Assistance many
Precepts of the Mathematicks; and from the Demonstrations of her
Beauties, by Means of Lines, Numbers, and Proportions, she was adopted
her Child, and became a Science.

§ 3. It may reasonably be supposed that, during the Course of several
thousand Years, Musick has always been the Delight of Mankind; since the
excessive Pleasure, the _Lacedemonians_ received from it, induced that
Republick to exile the abovementioned _Milesian_, that the _Spartans_,
freed from their Effeminacy, might return again to their old Oeconomy.

§ 4. But, I believe, she never appeared with so much Majesty as in the
last Centuries, in the great Genius of _Palestrina_, whom she left as an
immortal Example to Posterity. And, in Truth, Musick, with the Sweetness
of _his_ Harmony, arrived at so high a Pitch (begging Pardon of the
eminent Masters of our Days), that if she was ranked only in the Number
of Liberal Arts, she might with Justice contest the Pre-eminence[1].

§ 5. A strong Argument offers itself to me, from that wonderful
Impression, that in so distinguished a Manner is made upon our Souls by
Musick, beyond all other Arts; which leads us to believe that it is part
of that Blessedness which is enjoyed in Paradise.

§ 6. Having premised these Advantages, the Merit of the Singer should
likewise be distinguished, by reason of the particular Difficulties that
attend him: Let a Singer have a Fund of Knowledge sufficient to perform
readily any of the most difficult Compositions; let him have, besides,
an excellent Voice, and know how to use it artfully; he will not, for
all that, deserve a Character of Distinction, if he is wanting in a
prompt Variation; a Difficulty which other Arts are not liable to.

§ 7. Finally, I say, that Poets[2], Painters, Sculptors, and even
Composers of Musick, before they expose their Works to the Publick, have
all the Time requisite to mend and polish them; but the Singer that
commits an Error has no Remedy; for the Fault is committed, and past

§ 8. We may then guess at but cannot describe, how great the Application
must be of one who is obliged not to err, in unpremeditated Productions;
and to manage a Voice, always in Motion, conformable to the Rules of an
Art that is so difficult. I confess ingeniously, that every time I
reflect on the Insufficiency of many Masters, and the infinite Abuses
they introduce, which render the Application and Study of their Scholars
ineffectual, I cannot but wonder, that among so many Professors of the
first Rank, who have written so amply on Musick in almost all its
Branches, there has never been one, at least that I have heard of, who
has undertaken to explain in the Art of Singing, any thing more than the
first Elements, known to all, concealing the most necessary Rules for
Singing well. It is no Excuse to say, that the Composers intent on
Composition, the Performers on Instruments intent on their Performance,
should not meddle with what concerns the Singer; for I know some very
capable to undeceive those who may think so. The incomparable _Zarlino_,
in the third part of his Harmonick Institution, chap. 46, just began to
inveigh against those, who in his time sung with some Defects, but he
stopped; and I am apt to believe had he gone farther, his Documents,
though grown musty in two Centuries, might be of Service to the refined
Taste of this our present time. But a more just Reproof is due to the
Negligence of many celebrated Singers, who, having a superior Knowledge,
can the less justify their Silence, even under the Title of Modesty,
which ceases to be a Virtue, when it deprives the Publick of an
Advantage. Moved therefore, not by a vain Ambition, but by the Hopes of
being of Service to several Professors, I have determined, not without
Reluctance, to be the first to expose to the Eye of the World these my
few Observations; my only End being (if I succeed) to give farther
Insight to the Master, the Scholar, and the Singer.

§ 9. I will in the first Place, endeavour to shew the Duty of a Master,
how to instruct a Beginner well; secondly, what is required of the
Scholar; and, lastly, with more mature Reflections, to point out the way
to a moderate Singer, by which he may arrive at greater Perfection.
Perhaps my Enterprize may be term'd rash, but if the Effects should not
answer my Intentions, I shall at least incite some other to treat of it
in a more ample and correct Manner.

§ 10. If any should say, I might be dispensed with for not publishing
Things already known to every Professor, he might perhaps deceive
himself; for among these Observations there are many, which as I have
never heard them made by anybody else, I shall look upon as my own; and
such probably they are, from their not being generally known. Let them
therefore take their Chance, for the Approbation of those that have
Judgment and Taste.

§ 11. It would be needless to say, that verbal Instructions can be of no
Use to Singers, any farther than to prevent 'em from falling into
Errors, and that it is Practice only can set them right. However, from
the Success of these, I shall be encouraged to go on to make new
Discoveries for the Advantage of the Profession, or (asham'd, but not
surpriz'd) I will bear it patiently, if Masters with their Names to
their Criticism should kindly publish my Ignorance, that I may be
undeceiv'd, and thank them.

§ 12. But though it is my Design to Demonstrate a great Number of
Abuses and Defects of the Moderns to be met with in the Republick of
Musick, in order that they may be corrected (if they can); I would not
have those, who for want of Genius, or through Negligence in their
Study, could not, or would not improve themselves, imagine that out of
Malice I have painted all their Imperfections to the Life; for I
solemnly protest, that though from my too great Zeal I attack their
Errors without Ceremony, I have a Respect for their Persons; having
learned from a _Spanish_ Proverb, that Calumny recoils back on the
Author. But Christianity says something more. I speak in general; but if
sometimes I am more particular, let it be known, that I copy from no
other Original than myself, where there has been, and still is Matter
enough to criticize, without looking for it elsewhere.


OBSERVATIONS _for one who teaches a_ Soprano.[3]

The Faults in Singing insinuate themselves so easily into the Minds of
young Beginners, and there are such Difficulties in correcting them,
when grown into an Habit that it were to be wish'd, the ablest Singers
would undertake the Task of Teaching, they best knowing how to conduct
the Scholar from the first Elements to Perfection. But there being none,
(if I mistake not) but who abhor the Thoughts of it, we must reserve
them for those Delicacies of the Art, which enchant the Soul.

§ 2. Therefore the first Rudiments necessarily fall to a Master of a
lower Rank, till the Scholar can sing his part at Sight; whom one would
at least wish to be an honest Man, diligent and experienced, without the
Defects of singing through the Nose, or in the Throat, and that he have
a Command of Voice, some Glimpse of a good Taste, able to make himself
understood with Ease, a perfect Intonation, and a Patience to endure the
severe Fatigue of a most tiresome Employment.

§ 3. Let a Master thus qualified before he begins his Instructions, read
the four Verses of _Virgil_, _Sic vos non vobis_, &c.[5] for they seem
to be made[4] on Purpose for him, and after having considered them
well, let him consult his Resolution; because (to speak plainly) it is
mortifying to help another to Affluence, and be in want of it himself.
If the Singer should make his Fortune, it is but just the Master, to
whom it has been owing, should be also a Sharer in it.

§ 4. But above all, let him hear with a disinterested Ear, whether the
Person desirous to learn hath a Voice, and a Disposition; that he may
not be obliged to give a strict Account to God, of the Parent's Money
ill spent, and the Injury done to the Child, by the irreparable Loss of
Time, which might have been more profitably employed in some other
Profession. I do not speak at random. The ancient Masters made a
Distinction between the Rich, that learn'd Musick as an Accomplishment,
and the Poor, who studied it for a Livelihood. The first they instructed
out of Interest, and the latter out of Charity, if they discovered a
singular Talent. Very few modern Masters refuse Scholars; and, provided
they are paid, little do they care if their greediness ruins the

§ 5. Gentlemen Masters! _Italy_ hears no more such exquisite Voices as
in Times past, particularly among the Women, and to the Shame of the
Guilty I'll tell the Reason: The Ignorance of the Parents does not let
them perceive the Badness of the Voice of their Children, as their
Necessity makes them believe, that to sing and grow rich is one and the
same Thing, and to learn Musick, it is enough to have a pretty Face:
"_Can you make anything of her?_"

§ 6. You may, perhaps, teach them with their Voice----Modesty will not
permit me to explain myself farther.

§ 7. The Master must want Humanity, if he advises a Scholar to do any
thing to the Prejudice of the Soul.

§ 8. From the first Lesson to the last, let the Master remember, that he
is answerable for any Omission in his Instructions, and for the Errors
he did not correct.

§ 9. Let him be moderately severe, making himself fear'd, but not hated.
I know, it is not easy to find the Mean between Severity and Mildness,
but I know also, that both Extremes are bad: Too great Severity creates
Stubbornness, and too great Mildness Contempt.

§ 10. I shall not speak of the Knowledge of the Notes, of their Value,
of Time, of Pauses, of the Accidents, nor of other such trivial
Beginnings, because they are generally known.

§ 11. Besides the _C_ Cliff, let the Scholar be instructed in all the
other Cliffs, and in all their Situations, that he may not be liable to
what often happens to some Singers, who, in Compositions _Alla
Capella_,[6] know not how to distinguish the _Mi_ from the _Fa_, without
the Help of the Organ, for want of the Knowledge of the _G_ Cliff; from
whence such Discordancies arise in divine Service, that it is a Shame
for those who grow old in their Ignorance. I must be so sincere to
declare, that whoever does not give such essential Instructions,
transgresses out of Omission, or out of Ignorance.[7]

§ 12. Next let him learn to read those in _B Molle_, especially in
those[8] Compositions that have four Flats at the Cliff, and which on
the sixth of the Bass require for the most part an accidental Flat, that
the Scholar may find in them the _Mi_, which is not so easy to one who
has studied but little, and thinks that all the Notes with a Flat are
called _Fa_: for if that were true, it would be superfluous that the
Notes should be six, when five of them have the same Denomination. The
_French_ use seven, and, by that additional Name, save their scholars
the Trouble of learning the Mutations ascending or descending; but we
_Italians_ have but _Ut_, _Re_, _Mi_, _Fa_, _Sol_, _La_; Notes which
equally suffice throughout all the Keys, to one who knows how to read

§ 13. Let the Master do his utmost, to make the Scholar hit and sound
the Notes perfectly in Tune in _Sol-Fa_-ing. One, who has not a good
Ear, should not undertake either to instruct, or to sing; it being
intolerable to hear a Voice perpetually rise and fall discordantly. Let
the Instructor reflect on it; for one that sings out of Tune loses all
his other Perfections. I can truly say, that, except in some few
Professors, that modern Intonation is very bad.

§ 14. In the _Sol-Fa_-ing, let him endeavour to gain by Degrees the high
Notes, that by the Help of this Exercise he may acquire as much Compass
of the Voice as possible. Let him take care, however, that the higher
the Notes, the more it is necessary to touch them with Softness, to
avoid Screaming.

§ 15. He ought to make him hit the Semitones according to the true
Rules. Every one knows not that there is a Semitone Major and
Minor,[10] because the Difference cannot be known by an Organ or
Harpsichord, if the Keys of the Instrument are not split. A Tone, that
gradually passes to another, is divided into nine almost imperceptible
Intervals, which are called Comma's, five of which constitute the
Semitone Major, and four the Minor. Some are of Opinion, that there are
no more than seven, and that the greatest Number of the one half
constitutes the first, and the less the second; but this does not
satisfy my weak Understanding, for the Ear would find no Difficulty to
distinguish the seventh part of a Tone; whereas it meets with a very
great one to distinguish the ninth. If one were continually to sing only
to those abovemention'd Instruments, this Knowledge might be
unnecessary; but since the time that Composers introduced the Custom of
crowding the Opera's with a vast Number of Songs accompanied with Bow
Instruments, it becomes so necessary, that if a _Soprano_ was to sing
_D_ sharp, like _E_ flat, a nice Ear will find he is out of Tune,
because this last rises. Whoever is not satisfied in this, let him read
those Authors who treat of it, and let him consult the best Performers
on the Violin. In the middle parts, however, it is not so easy to
distinguish the Difference; tho' I am of Opinion, that every thing that
is divisible, is to be distinguished. Of these two Semitones, I'll speak
more amply in the Chapter of the _Appoggiatura_, that the one may not be
confounded with the other.

§ 16. Let him teach the Scholar to hit the Intonation of any Interval in
the Scale perfectly and readily, and keep him strictly to this important
Lesson, if he is desirous he should sing with Readiness in a short time.

§ 17. If the Master does not understand Composition, let him provide
himself with good Examples of _Sol-Fa_-ing in divers Stiles, which
insensibly lead from the most easy to the more difficult, according as
he finds the Scholar improves; with this Caution, that however
difficult, they may be always natural and agreeable, to induce the
Scholar to study with Pleasure.

§ 18. Let the Master attend with great Care to the Voice of the Scholar,
which, whether it be _di Petto_, or _di Testa_, should always come forth
neat and clear, without passing thro' the Nose, or being choaked in the
Throat; which are two the most horrible Defects in a Singer, and past
all Remedy if once grown into a Habit[11].

§ 19. The little Experience of some that teach to _Sol-fa_, obliges the
Scholar to hold out the _Semibreves_ with Force on the highest Notes;
the Consequence of which is, that the Glands of the Throat become daily
more and more inflamed, and if the Scholar loses not his Health, he
loses the treble Voice.

§ 20. Many Masters put their Scholars to sing the _Contr'Alto_, not
knowing how to help them to the _Falsetto_, or to avoid the Trouble of
finding it.

§ 21. A diligent Master, knowing that a _Soprano_, without the
_Falsetto_, is constrained to sing within the narrow Compass of a few
Notes, ought not only to endeavour to help him to it, but also to leave
no Means untried, so to unite the feigned and the natural Voice, that
they may not be distinguished; for if they do not perfectly unite, the
Voice will be of divers[12] Registers, and must consequently lose its
Beauty. The Extent of the full natural Voice terminates generally upon
the fourth Space, which is _C_; or on the fifth Line, which is _D_; and
there the feigned Voice becomes of Use, as well in going up to the high
Notes, as returning to the natural Voice; the Difficulty consists in
uniting them. Let the Master therefore consider of what Moment the
Correction of this Defect is, which ruins the Scholar if he overlooks
it. Among the Women, one hears sometimes a _Soprano_ entirely _di
Petto_, but among the Male Sex it would be a great Rarity, should they
preserve it after having past the age of Puberty. Whoever would be
curious to discover the feigned Voice of one who has the Art to disguise
it, let him take Notice, that the Artist sounds the Vowel _i_, or _e_,
with more Strength and less Fatigue than the Vowel _a_, on the high

§ 22. The _Voce di Testa_ has a great Volubility, more of the high than
the lower Notes, and has a quick Shake, but subject to be lost for want
of Strength.

§ 23. Let the Scholar be obliged to pronounce the Vowels distinctly,
that they may be heard for such as they are. Some Singers think to
pronounce the first, and you hear the second; if the Fault is not the
Master's, it is of those Singers, who are scarce got out of their first
Lessons; they study to sing with Affectation, as if ashamed to open
their Mouths; others, on the contrary, stretching theirs too much,
confound these two Vowels with the fourth, making it impossible to
comprehend whether they have said _Balla_ or _Bella_, _Sesso_ or
_Sasso_, _Mare_ or _More_.

§ 24. He should always make the Scholar sing standing, that the Voice
may have all its Organization free.

§ 25. Let him take care, whilst he sings, that he get a graceful
Posture, and make an agreeable Appearance.

§ 26. Let him rigorously correct all Grimaces and Tricks of the Head, of
the Body, and particularly of the Mouth; which ought to be composed in
a Manner (if the Sense of the Words permit it) rather inclined to a
Smile, than too much Gravity.

§ 27. Let him always use the Scholar to the Pitch of _Lombardy_, and not
that of _Rome_;[13] not only to make him acquire and preserve the high
Notes, but also that he may not find it troublesome when he meets with
Instruments that are tun'd high; the Pain of reaching them not only
affecting the Hearer, but the Singer. Let the Master be mindful of this;
for as Age advances, so the Voice declines; and, in Progress of Time, he
will either sing a _Contr'Alto_, or pretending still, out of a foolish
Vanity, to the Name of a _Soprano_, he will be obliged to make
Application to every Composer, that the Notes may not exceed the fourth
Space (_viz._, _C_) nor the Voice hold out on them. If all those, who
teach the first Rudiments, knew how to make use of this Rule, and to
unite the feigned to the natural Voice, there would not be now so great
a scarcity of _Soprano's_.

§ 28. Let him learn to hold out the Notes without a Shrillness like a
Trumpet, or trembling; and if at the Beginning he made him hold out
every Note the length of two Bars, the Improvement would be the greater;
otherwise from the natural Inclination that the Beginners have to keep
the Voice in Motion, and the Trouble in holding it out, he will get a
habit, and not be able to fix it, and will become subject to a
Flutt'ring in the Manner of all those that sing in a very bad Taste.

§ 29. In the same Lessons, let him teach the Art to put forth the Voice,
which consists in letting it swell by Degrees from the softest _Piano_
to the loudest _Forte_, and from thence with the same Art return from
the _Forte_ to the _Piano_. A beautiful _Messa di Voce_,[14] from a
Singer that uses it sparingly, and only on the open Vowels, can never
fail of having an exquisite Effect. Very few of the present Singers find
it to their Taste, either from the Instability of their Voice, or in
order to avoid all Manner of Resemblance of the _odious Ancients_. It
is, however, a manifest Injury they do to the Nightingale, who was the
Origin of it, and the only thing which the Voice can well imitate. But
perhaps they have found some other of the feathered Kind worthy their
Imitation, that sings quite after the New Mode.

§ 30. Let the Master never be tired in making the Scholar _Sol-Fa_, as
long as he finds it necessary; for if he should let him sing upon the
Vowels too soon, he knows not how to instruct.

§ 31. Next, let him study on the three open Vowels, particularly on the
first, but not always upon the same, as is practised now-a-days; in
order, that from this frequent Exercise he may not confound one with the
other, and that from hence he may the easier come to the use of the

§ 32. The Scholar having now made some remarkable Progress, the
Instructor may acquaint him with the first Embellishments of the Art,
which are the _Appoggiatura's_[15] (to be spoke of next) and apply them
to the Vowels.

§ 33. Let him learn the Manner to glide with the Vowels, and to drag the
Voice gently from the high to the lower Notes, which, thro'
Qualifications necessary for singing well, cannot possibly be learn'd
from _Sol-fa_-ing only, and are overlooked by the Unskilful.

§ 34. But if he should let him sing the Words, and apply the
_Appoggiatura_ to the Vowels before he is perfect in _Sol-fa_-ing, he
ruins the Scholar.

CHAP. II.[16]

_Of the_ Appoggiatura.[17]

Among all the Embellishments in the Art of Singing, there is none so
easy for the Master to teach, or less difficult for the Scholar to
learn, than the _Appoggiatura_. This, besides its Beauty, has obtained
the sole Privilege of being heard often without tiring, provided it does
not go beyond the Limits prescrib'd by Professors of good Taste.

§ 2. From the Time that the _Appoggiatura_ has been invented to adorn
the Art of Singing, the true Reason,[18] why it cannot be used in all
Places, remains yet a Secret. After having searched for it among Singers
of the first Rank in vain, I considered that Musick, as a Science, ought
to have its Rules, and that all Manner of Ways should be tried to
discover them. I do not flatter myself that I am arrived at it; but the
Judicious will see, at least that I am come near it. However, treating
of a Matter wholly produced from my Observations, I should hope for more
Indulgence in this Chapter than in any other.

§ 3. From Practice, I perceive, that from _C_ to _C_ by _B Quadro_,[19]
a Voice can ascend and descend gradually with the _Appoggiatura_,
passing without any the least Obstacle thro' all the five _Tones_, and
the two _Semitones_, that make an _Octave_.

§ 4. That from every accidental _Diezis_, or Sharp, that may be found in
the Scale, one can gradually rise a _Semitone_ to the nearest Note with
an _Appoggiatura_, and return in the same Manner.[20]

§ 5. That from every Note that has a _B Quadro_, or Natural, one can
ascend by _Semitones_ to every one that has a _B Molle_, or Flat, with
an _Appoggiatura_.[21]

§ 6. But, contrarywise, my Ear tells me, that from _F_, _G_, _A_, _C_,
and _D_, one cannot rise gradually with an _Appoggiatura_ by
_Semitones_,[22] when any of these five _Tones_ have a Sharp annex'd to

§ 7. That one cannot pass with an _Appoggiatura_ gradually from a third
_Minor_ to the Bass, to a third _Major_, nor from the third _Major_ to
the third _Minor_.[23]

§ 8. That two consequent _Appoggiatura's_ cannot pass gradually by
_Semitones_ from one _Tone_ to another.[24]

§ 9. That one cannot rise by _Semitone_, with an _Appoggiatura_, from
any Note with a Flat.[25]

§ 10. And, finally, where the _Appoggiatura_ cannot ascend, it cannot

§ 11. Practice giving us no Insight into the Reason of all these Rules,
let us see if it can be found out by those who ought to account for it.

§ 12. Theory teaches us, that the abovementioned _Octave_ consisting of
twelve unequal _Semitones_, it is necessary to distinguish the _Major_
from the _Minor_, and it sends the Student to consult the _Tetrachords_.
The most conspicuous Authors, that treat of them, are not all of the
same Opinion: For we find some who maintain, that from _C_ to _D_, as
well as from _F_ to _G_, the _Semitones_ are equal; and mean while we
are left in Suspense.[26]

§ 13. The Ear, however, which is the supreme Umpire in this Art, does in
the _Appoggiatura_ so nicely discern the Quality of the _Semitones_,
that it sufficiently distinguishes the _Semitone Major_. Therefore
going so agreeably from _Mi_ to _Fa_ (that is) from _B Quadro_ to _C_,
or from _E_ to _F_, one ought to conclude That to be a _Semitone Major_,
as it undeniably is. But whence does it proceed, that from this very
_Fa_, (that is from _F_ or _C_) I cannot rise to the next Sharp, which
is also a _Semitone_? It is _Minor_, says the Ear. Therefore I take it
for granted, that the Reason why the _Appoggiatura_ has not a full
Liberty, is, that it cannot pass gradually to a _Semitone Minor_;
submitting myself, however, to better Judgment.[27]

§ 14. The _Appoggiatura_ may likewise pass from one distant Note to
another, provided the Skip or Interval be not deceitful; for, in that
Case, whoever does not hit it sure, will show they know not how to

§ 15. Since, as I have said, it is not possible for a Singer to rise
gradually with an _Appoggiatura_ to a _Semitone Minor_, Nature will
teach him to rise a Tone, that from thence he may descend with an
_Appoggiatura to that Semitone_; _or if he has a Mind to_ come to it
without the _Appoggiatura_, to raise the Voice with a _Messa di Voce_,
the Voice always rising till he reaches it.[29]

§ 16. If the Scholar be well instructed in this, the _Appoggiatura's_
will become so familiar to him by continual Practice, that by the Time
he is come out of his first Lessons, he will laugh at those Composers
that mark them, with a Design either to be thought Modern, or to shew
that they understand the Art of Singing better than the Singers. If they
have this Superiority over them, why do they not write down even the
Graces, which are more difficult, and more essential than the
_Appoggiatura's_? But if they mark them that they may acquire the
glorious Name of a _Virtuoso alla Moda_, or a Composer in the new Stile,
they ought at least to know, that the Addition of one Note costs little
Trouble, and less Study. Poor _Italy_! pray tell me; do not the Singers
now-a-days know where the _Appoggiatura's_ are to be made, unless they
are pointed at with a Finger? In my Time their own Knowledge shewed it
them. Eternal Shame to him who first introduced these foreign
Puerilities into our Nation, renowned for teaching others the greater
part of the polite Arts; particularly, that of Singing! Oh, how great a
Weakness in those that follow the Example! Oh, injurious Insult to your
Modern Singers, who submit to Instructions fit for Children! Let us
imitate the Foreigners in those Things only, wherein they excel.[30]


_Of the Shake._

We meet with two most powerful Obstacles informing the _Shake_. The
first embarrasses the Master; for, to this Hour there is no infallible
Rule found to teach it: And the second affects the Scholar, because
Nature imparts the _Shake_ but to few. The Impatience of the Master
joins with the Despair of the Learner, so that they decline farther
Trouble about it. But in this the Master is blameable, in not doing his
Duty, by leaving the Scholar in Ignorance. One must strive against
Difficulties with Patience to overcome them.

§ 2. Whether the _Shake_ be necessary in Singing, ask the Professors of
the first Rank, who know better than any others how often they have been
indebted to it; for, upon any Absence of Mind, they would have betrayed
to the Publick the Sterility of their Art, without the prompt Assistance
of the _Shake_.

§ 3. Whoever has a fine _Shake_, tho' wanting in every other Grace,
always enjoys the Advantage of conducting himself without giving
Distaste to the End or Cadence, where for the most part it is very
essential; and who wants it, or has it imperfectly, will never be a
great Singer, let his Knowledge be ever so great.

§ 4. The _Shake_ then, being of such Consequence, let the Master, by the
Means of verbal Instructions, and Examples vocal and instrumental,
strive that the Scholar may attain one that is equal, distinctly mark'd,
easy, and moderately quick, which are its most beautiful

§ 5. In case the Master should not know how many sorts of _Shakes_ there
are, I shall acquaint him, that the Ingenuity of the Professors hath
found so many Ways, distinguishing them with different Names, that one
may say there are eight Species of them.[31]

§ 6. The first is the _Shake Major_, from the violent Motion of two
neighbouring Sounds at the Distance of a _Tone_, one of which may be
called Principal, because it keeps with greater Force the Place of the
Note which requires it; the other, notwithstanding it possesses in its
Motion the superior Sound appears no other than an Auxiliary. From this
_Shake_ all the others are derived.[32]

§ 7. The second is the _Shake Minor_, consisting of a Sound, and its
neighbouring _Semitone Major_; and where the one or the other of these,
two _Shakes_ are proper, the Compositions will easily shew. From the
inferior or lower Cadences, the first, or full _Tone Shake_ is for ever
excluded.[33] If the Difference of these two _Shakes_ is not easily
discovered in the Singer, whenever it is with a _Semitone_, one may
attribute the Cause to the want of Force of the Auxiliary to make itself
heard distinctly; besides, this _Shake_ being more difficult to be beat
than the other, every body does not know how to make it, as it should
be, and Negligence becomes a Habit. If this _Shake_ is not distinguished
in Instruments, the Fault is in the Ear.[34]

§ 8. The third is the _Mezzo-trillo_, or the short _Shake_, which is
likewise known from its Name. One, who is Master of the first and
second, with the Art of beating it a little closer, will easily learn
it; ending it as soon as heard, and adding a little Brilliant. For this
Reason, this _Shake_ pleases more in brisk and lively Airs than in the

§ 9. The fourth is the rising _Shake_, which is done by making the Voice
ascend imperceptibly, shaking from Comma to Comma without discovering
the Rise.[36]

§ 10. The fifth is the descending _Shake_, which is done by making the
Voice decline insensibly from Comma to Comma, shaking in such Manner
that the Descent be not distinguished. These two _Shakes_, ever since
true[37] Taste has prevailed, are no more in Vogue, and ought rather to
be forgot than learn'd. A nice Ear equally abhorrs the ancient dry
Stuff, and the modern Abuses.

§ 11. The sixth is the slow _Shake_, whose Quality is also denoted by
its Name. He, who does not study this, in my Opinion ought not therefore
to lose the Name of a good Singer; for it being only an affected Waving,
that at last unites with the first and second _Shake_, it cannot, I
think, please more than once.[38]

§ 12. The seventh is the redoubled _Shake_, which is learned by mixing a
few Notes between the _Major_ or _Minor Shake_, which Interposition
suffices to make several _Shakes_ of one. This is beautiful, when those
few Notes, so intermixed, are sung with Force. If then it be gently
formed on the high Notes of an excellent Voice,[39] perfect in this
rare Quality, and not made use of too often, it cannot displease even
Envy itself.

§ 13. The eighth is the _Trillo-Mordente_, or the _Shake_ with a _Beat_,
which is a pleasing Grace in Singing, and is taught rather by Nature
than by Art. This is produced with more Velocity than the others, and is
no sooner born but dies. That Singer has a great Advantage, who from
time to time mixes it in Passages or Divisions (of which I shall take
Notice in the proper Chapter). He, who understands his Profession,
rarely fails of using it after the _Appoggiatura_; and he, who despises
it, is guilty of more than Ignorance.[40]

§ 14. Of all these _Shakes_, the two first are most necessary, and
require most the Application of the Master. I know too well that it is
customary to sing without _Shakes_; but the Example, of those who study
but superficially, ought not to be imitated.

§ 15. The _Shake_, to be beautiful, requires to be prepared, though, on
some Occasions, Time or Taste will not permit it. But on final Cadences,
it is always necessary, now on the Tone, now on the _Semitone_ above its
Note, according to the Nature of the Composition.

§ 16. The Defects of the _Shake_ are many. The long holding-out _Shake_
triumph'd formerly, and very improperly, as now the Divisions do; but
when the Art grew refined, it was left to the Trumpets, or to those
Singers that waited for the Eruption of an _E Viva_! or _Bravo_! from
the Populace. That _Shake_ which is too often heard, be it ever so fine,
cannot please. That which is beat with an uneven Motion disgusts; that
like the Quivering of a Goat makes one laugh; and that in the Throat is
the worst: That which is produced by a Tone and its third, is
disagreeable; the Slow is tiresome; and that which is out of Tune is

§ 17. The Necessity of the _Shake_ obliges the Master to keep the
Scholar applied to it upon all the Vowels, and on all the Notes he
possesses; not only on Minims or long Notes, but likewise on Crotchets,
where in Process of Time he may learn the _Close Shake_, the _Beat_, and
the Forming them with Quickness in the Midst of the Volubility of Graces
and Divisions.

§ 18. After the free Use of the _Shake_, let the Master observe if the
Scholar has the same Facility in disusing it; for he would not be the
first that could not leave it off at Pleasure.

§ 19. But the teaching where the _Shake_ is convenient, besides those
on[41] Cadences, and where they are improper and forbid, is a Lesson
reserv'd for those who have Practice, Taste, and Knowledge.


_On_ Divisions.

Tho' _Divisions_ have not Power sufficient to touch the Soul, but the
most they can do is to raise our Admiration of the Singer for the happy
Flexibility of his Voice; it is, however, of very great Moment, that the
Master instruct the Scholar in them, that he may be Master of them with
an easy Velocity and true Intonation; for when they are well executed in
their proper Place, they deserve Applause, and make a Singer more
universal; that is to say, capable to sing in any Stile.

§ 2. By accustoming the Voice of a Learner to be lazy and dragging, he
is rendered incapable of any considerable Progress in his Profession.
Whosoever has not the Agility of Voice, in Compositions of a quick or
lively Movement, becomes odiously tiresome; and at last retards the Time
so much, that every thing he sings appears to be out of Tune.

§ 3. _Division_, according to the general Opinion, is of two Kinds, the
Mark'd, and the Gliding; which last, from its Slowness and Dragging,
ought rather to be called a Passage or Grace, than a _Division_.

§ 4. In regard to the first, the Master ought to teach the Scholar that
light Motion of the Voice, in which the Notes that constitute the
Division be all articulate in equal Proportion, and moderately distinct,
that they be not too much join'd, nor too much mark'd.[42]

§ 5. The second is perform'd in such a Manner that the first Note is a
Guide to all that follow, closely united, gradual, and with such
Evenness of Motion, that in Singing it imitates a certain Gliding, by
the Masters called a _Slur_; the Effect of which is truly agreeable when
used sparingly.[43]

§ 6. The _mark'd Divisions_, being more frequently used than the others,
require more Practice.

§ 7. The Use of the _Slur_ is pretty much limited in Singing, and is
confined within such few Notes ascending or descending, that it cannot
go beyond a fourth without displeasing. It seems to me to be more
grateful to the Ear descending, than in the contrary Motion.

§ 8. The _Dragg_ consists in a Succession of divers Notes, artfully
mixed with the _Forte_ and _Piano_. The Beauty of which I shall speak of
in another Place.

§ 9. If the Master hastens insensibly the Time when the Scholar sings
the _Divisions_, he will find that there is not a more effectual way to
unbind the Voice, and bring it to a Volubility; being however cautious,
that this imperceptible Alteration do not grow by Degrees into a vicious

§ 10. Let him teach to hit the _Divisions_ with the same Agility in
ascending gradually, as in descending; for though this seems to be an
Instruction fit only for a Beginner, yet we do not find every Singer
able to perform it.

§ 11. After the gradual _Divisions_, let him learn to hit, with the
greatest Readiness, all those that are of difficult Intervals, that,
being in Tune and Time, they may with Justice deserve our Attention. The
Study of this Lesson demands more Time and Application than any other,
not so much for the great Difficulty in attaining it, as the important
Consequences that attend it; and, in Fact, a Singer loses all Fear when
the most difficult _Divisions_ are become familiar to him.

§ 12. Let him not be unmindful to teach the Manner of mixing the _Piano_
with the _Forte_ in the _Divisions_; the _Glidings_ or _Slurs_ with the
_Mark'd_, and to intermix the _Close Shake_; especially on the pointed
Notes, provided they be not too near one another; making by this Means
every Embellishment of the Art appear.

§ 13. Of all the Instructions relating to _Divisions_, the most
considerable seems to be That, which teaches to unite the _Beats_ and
_short Shake_ with them; and that the Master point out to him, how to
execute them with Exactness of Time, and the Places where they have the
best Effect: But this being not so proper for one who teaches only the
first Rules, and still less for him that begins to learn them, it would
be better to have postponed this (as perhaps I should have done) did I
not know, that there are Scholars of so quick Parts, that in a few
Years become most excellent Singers, and that there is no want of
Masters qualified to instruct Disciples of the most promising Genius;
besides, it appeared to me an Impropriety in this Chapter on _Divisions_
(in which the _Beats_ and _Close Shake_ appear with greater Lustre than
any other Grace) not to make Mention of them.

§ 14. Let the Scholar not be suffered to sing _Divisions_ with
Unevenness of Time or Motion; and let him be corrected if he marks them
with the Tongue, or with the Chin, or any other Grimace of the Head or

§ 15. Every Master knows, that on the third and fifth Vowel, the
_Divisions_ are the worst; but every one does not know, that in the best
Schools the second and fourth were not permitted, when these two Vowels
are pronounced close or united.

§ 16. There are many Defects in the _Divisions_, which it is necessary
to know, in order to avoid them; for, besides that of the Nose or the
Throat, and the others already mentioned, those are likewise displeasing
which are neither mark'd nor gliding; for in that Case they cannot be
said to sing, but howl and roar. There are some still more ridiculous,
who mark them above Measure, and with Force of Voice, thinking (for
Example) to make a _Division_ upon _A_, it appears as if they said _Ha_,
_Ha_, _Ha_, or _Gha_, _Gha_, _Gha_; and the same upon the other Vowels.
The worst Fault of all is singing them out of Tune.

§ 17. The Master should know, that though a good Voice put forth with
Ease grows better, yet by too swift a Motion in _Divisions_ it becomes
an indifferent one, and sometimes by the Negligence of the Master, to
the Prejudice of the Scholar, it is changed into a very bad one.

§ 18. _Divisions_ and _Shakes_ in a _Siciliana_ are Faults, and
_Glidings_ and _Draggs_ are Beauties.

§ 19. The sole and entire Beauty of the _Division_ consists in its being
perfectly in Tune, mark'd, equal, distinct, and quick.

§ 20. _Divisions_ have the like Fate with the _Shakes_; both equally
delight in their Place; but if not properly introduced, the too frequent
Repetition of them becomes tedious if not odious.

§ 21. After the Scholar has made himself perfect in the _Shake_ and the
_Divisions_, the Master should let him read and pronounce the Words,
free from those gross and ridiculous Errors of Orthography, by which
many deprive one Word of its double Consonant, and add one to another,
in which it is single.[44]

§ 22. After having corrected the Pronunciation, let him take Care that
the Words be uttered in such a Manner, without any Affectation that
they be distinctly understood, and no one Syllable be lost; for if they
are not distinguished, the Singer deprives the Hearer of the greatest
Part of that Delight which vocal Musick conveys by Means of the Words.
For, if the Words are not heard so as to be understood, there will be no
great Difference between a human Voice and a Hautboy. This Defect, tho'
one of the greatest, is now-a-days more than common, to the greatest
Disgrace of the Professors and the Profession; and yet they ought to
know, that the Words only give the Preference to a Singer above an
instrumental Performer, admitting them to be of equal Judgment and
Knowledge. Let the modern Master learn to make use of this Advice, for
never was it more necessary than at present.

§ 23. Let him exercise the Scholar to be very ready in joining the
Syllables to the Notes, that he may never be at a Loss in doing it.

§ 24. Let him forbid the Scholar to take Breath in the Middle of a Word,
because the dividing it in two is an Error against Nature; which must
not be followed, if we would avoid being laugh'd at. In interrupted
Movements, or in long _Divisions_, it is not so rigorously required,
when the one or the other cannot be sung in one Breath. Anciently such
Cautions were not necessary, but for the Learners of the first
Rudiments; now the Abuse, having taken its Rise in the modern Schools,
gathers Strength, and is grown familiar with those who pretend to
Eminence. The Master may correct this Fault, in teaching the Scholar to
manage his Respiration, that he may always be provided with more Breath
than is needful; and may avoid undertaking what, for want of it, he
cannot go through with.

§ 25. Let him shew, in all sorts of Compositions, the proper Place where
to take Breath, and without Fatigue; because there are Singers who give
Pain to the Hearer, as if they had an Asthma taking Breath every Moment
with Difficulty, as if they were breathing their last.

§ 26. Let the Master create some Emulation in a Scholar that is
negligent, inciting him to study the Lesson of his Companion, which
sometimes goes beyond Genius; because, if instead of one Lesson he hears
two, and the Competition does not discountenance him, he may perhaps
come to learn his Companion's Lesson first, and then his own.

§ 27. Let him never suffer the Scholar to hold the Musick-Paper, in
Singing, before his Face, both that the Sound of the Voice may not be
obstructed, and to prevent him from being bashful.

§ 28. Let him accustom the Scholar to sing often in presence of Persons
of Distinction, whether from Birth, Quality, or Eminence in the
Profession, that by gradually losing his Fear, he may acquire an
Assurance, but not a Boldness. Assurance leads to a Fortune, and in a
Singer becomes a Merit. On the contrary, the Fearful is most unhappy;
labouring under the Difficulty of fetching Breath, the Voice is always
trembling, and obliged to lose Time at every Note for fear of being
choaked; He gives us Pain, in not being able to shew his Ability in
publick; disgusts the Hearer, and ruins the Compositions in such a
Manner, that they are not known to be what they are. A timorous Singer
is unhappy, like a Prodigal, who is miserably poor.

§ 29. Let not the Master neglect to shew him, how great their Error is
who make _Shakes_ or _Divisions_, or take Breath on the _syncopated_ or
_binding_ Notes; and how much better Effect the holding out the Voice
has. The Compositions, instead of losing, acquire thereby greater

§ 30. Let the Master instruct him in the _Forte_ and _Piano_, but so as
to use him more to the first than the second, it being easier to make
one sing soft than loud. Experience shews that the _Piano_ is not to be
trusted to, since it is prejudicial though pleasing; and if any one has
a Mind to lose his Voice, let him try it. On this Subject some are of
Opinion, that there is an artificial _Piano_, that can make itself be
heard as much as the _Forte_; but that is only Opinion, which is the
Mother of all Errors. It is not Art which is the Cause that the _Piano_
of a good Singer is heard, but the profound Silence and Attention of the
Audience. For a Proof of this, let any indifferent Singer be silent on
the Stage for a Quarter of a Minute when he should sing, the Audience,
curious to know the Reason of this unexpected Pause, are hush'd in such
a Manner, that if in that Instant he utter one Word with a soft Voice,
it would be heard even by those at the greatest Distance.

§ 31. Let the Master remember, that whosoever does not sing to the
utmost Rigour of Time, deserves not the Esteem of the Judicious;
therefore let him take Care, there be no Alteration or Diminution in it,
if he pretends to teach well, and to make an excellent Scholar.

§ 32. Though in certain Schools, Books of Church-Musick and of
_Madrigals_ lie buried in Dust, a good Master would wipe it off; for
they are the most effectual Means to make a Scholar ready and sure. If
Singing was not for the most part performed by Memory, as is customary
in these Days, I doubt whether certain Professors could deserve the Name
of Singers of the first Rank.[46]

§ 33. Let him encourage the Scholar if he improves; let him mortify him,
without Beating, for Indolence; let him be more rigorous for
Negligences; nor let the Scholar ever end a Lesson without having
profited something.

§ 34. An Hour of Application in a Day is not sufficient, even for one of
the quickest Apprehension; the Master therefore should consider how much
more Time is necessary for one that has not the same Quickness, and how
much he is obliged to consult the Capacity of his Scholar. From a
mercenary Teacher this necessary Regard is not to be hoped for; expected
by other Scholars, tired with the Fatigue, and solicited by his
Necessities, he thinks the Month long; looks on his Watch, and goes
away. If he be but poorly paid for his Teaching,--a God-b'wy to him.


_Of_ Recitative.

_Recitative_ is of three Kinds, and ought to be taught in three
different Manners.

§ 2. The first, being used in Churches, should be sung as becomes the
Sanctity of the Place, which does not admit those wanton Graces of a
lighter Stile; but requires some _Messa di Voce_, many _Appoggiatura's_,
and a noble Majesty throughout. But the Art of expressing it, is not to
be learned, but from the affecting Manner of those who devoutly dedicate
their Voices to the Service of God.

§ 3. The second is Theatrical, which being always accompanied with
Action by the Singer, the Master is obliged to teach the Scholar a
certain natural Imitation, which cannot be beautiful, if not expressed
with that Decorum with which Princes speak, or those who know how to
speak to Princes.

§ 4. The last, according to the Opinion of the most Judicious, touches
the Heart more than the others, and is called _Recitativo di Camera_.
This requires a more peculiar Skill, by reason of the Words, which
being, for the most part, adapted to move the most violent Passions of
the Soul, oblige the Master to give the Scholar such a lively Impression
of them, that he may seem to be affected with them himself. The Scholar
having finished his Studies, it will be but too[47] easily discovered
if he stands in Need of this Lesson. The vast Delight, which the
Judicious feel, is owing to this particular Excellence, which, without
the Help of the usual Ornaments, produces all this Pleasure from itself;
and, let Truth prevail, where Passion speaks, all _Shakes_, all
_Divisions_ and _Graces_ ought to be silent, leaving it to the sole
Force of a beautiful Expression to persuade.

§ 5. The Church _Recitative_ yields more Liberty to the Singer than the
other two, particularly in the final Cadence; provided he makes the
Advantage of it that a Singer should do, and not as a Player on the

§ 6. The Theatrical leaves it not in our Election to make Use of this
Art, lest we offend in the Narrative, which ought to be natural, unless
in a _Soliloquy_, where it may be in the Stile of Chamber-Musick.

§ 7. The third abstains from great part of the Solemnity of the first,
and contents itself with more of the second.

§ 8. The Defects and unsufferable Abuses which are heard in
_Recitatives_, and not known to those who commit them, are innumerable.
I will take Notice of several Theatrical ones, that the Master may
correct them.

§ 9. There are some who sing _Recitative_ on the Stage like That of the
Church or Chamber; some in a perpetual Chanting, which is insufferable;
some over-do it and make it a Barking; some whisper it, and some sing it
confusedly; some force out the last Syllable, and some sink it; some
sing it blust'ring, and some as if they were thinking of something else;
some in a languishing Manner; others in a Hurry; some sing it through
the Teeth, and others with Affectation; some do not pronounce the Words,
and others do not express them; some sing as if laughing, and some
crying; some speak it, and some hiss it; some hallow, bellow, and sing
it out of Tune; and, together with their Offences against Nature, are
guilty of the greatest Fault, in thinking themselves above Correction.

§ 10. The _modern_ Masters run over with Negligence their Instructions
in all Sorts of _Recitatives_, because in these Days the Study of
Expression is looked upon as unnecessary, or despised as _ancient_: And
yet they must needs see every Day, that besides the indispensable
Necessity of knowing how to sing them, These even teach how to act. If
they will not believe it, let them observe, without flattering
themselves, if among their Pupils they can show an Actor of equal Merit
with _Cortona_ in the Tender;[48] of Baron _Balarini_ in the Imperious;
or other famous Actors that at present appear, tho' I name them not;
having determined in these Observations, not to mention any that are
living, in whatsoever Degree of Perfection they be, though I esteem them
as they deserve.

§ 11. A Master, that disregards _Recitative_, probably does not
understand the Words, and then, how can he ever instruct a Scholar in
Expression, which is the Soul of vocal Performance, and without which it
is impossible to sing well? Poor _Gentlemen Masters_ who direct and
instruct Beginners, without reflecting on the utter Destruction you
bring on the Science, in undermining the principal Foundations of it! If
you know not that the _Recitatives_, especially in the vulgar or known
Language, require those Instructions relative to the Force of the Words,
I would advise you to renounce the Name, and Office of _Masters_, to
those who can maintain them; your Scholars will otherwise be made a
Sacrifice to Ignorance, and not knowing how to distinguish the Lively
from the Pathetick, or the Vehement from the Tender, it will be no
wonder if you see them stupid on the Stage, and senseless in a Chamber.
To speak my Mind freely, yours and their Faults are unpardonable; it is
insufferable to be any longer tormented in the Theatres with
_Recitatives_, sung in the Stile of a Choir of _Capuchin_ Friars.

§ 12. The reason, however, of not giving more expression to the
_Recitative_, in the manner of those called _Antients_, does not always
proceed from the Incapacity of the Master, or the Negligence of the
Singer, but from the little Knowledge of the _modern_ Composers (we must
except some of Merit) who set it in so unnatural a Taste, that it is not
to be taught, acted or sung. In Justification of the Master and the
Singer let Reason decide. To blame the Composer, the same Reason forbids
me entering into a Matter too high for my low Understanding, and wisely
bids me consider the little Insight I can boast of, barely sufficient
for a Singer, or to write plain Counterpoint. But when I consider I have
undertaken in these Observations, to procure diverse Advantages to
vocal Performers, should I not speak of a Composition, a Subject so
necessary, I should be guilty of a double Fault. My Doubts in this
Perplexity are resolved by the Reflection, that _Recitatives_ have no
Relation to Counterpoint. If That be so, what Professor knows not, that
many theatrical _Recitatives_ would be excellent if they were not
confused one with another; if they could be learned by Heart; if they
were not deficient in respect of adapting the Musick to the Words; if
they did not frighten those who sing them, and hear them, with unnatural
Skips; if they did not offend the Ear and Rules with the worst
Modulations; if they did not disgust a good Taste with a perpetual
Sameness; if, with their cruel Turns and Changes of Keys, they did not
pierce one to the Heart; and, finally, if the Periods were not crippled
by them who know neither Point nor Comma? I am astonished that such as
these do not, for their Improvement, endeavour to imitate the
_Recitatives_ of those Authors, who represent in them a lively image of
Nature, by Sounds which of themselves express the Sense, as much as the
very Words. But to what Purpose do I show this Concern about it? Can I
expect that these Reasons, with all their Evidences, will be found good,
when, even in regard to Musick, Reason itself is no more in the _Mode_?
Custom has great Power. She arbitrarily releases her Followers from the
Observance of the true Rules, and obliges them to no other Study than
that of the _Ritornello's_, and will not let them uselessly employ their
precious Time in the Application to _Recitative_, which, according to
her Precepts, are the work of the Pen, not of the Mind. If it be
Negligence or Ignorance, I know not; but I know very well, that the
Singers do not find their Account in it.

§ 13. Much more might still be[49] said on the Compositions of
_Recitative_ in general, by reason of that tedious chanting that offends
the Ear, with a thousand broken Cadences in every Opera, which Custom
has established, though they are without Taste or Art. To reform them
all, would be worse than the Disease; the introducing every time a final
Cadence would be wrong: But if in these two Extremes a Remedy were
necessary I should think, that among an hundred broken Cadences, ten of
them, briefly terminated on Points that conclude a Period, would not be
ill employed. The Learned, however, do not declare themselves upon it,
and from their Silence I must hold myself condemned.

§ 14. I return to the Master, only to put him in Mind, that his Duty is
to teach Musick; and if the Scholar, before he gets out of his Hands,
does not sing readily and at Sight, the Innocent is injured without
Remedy from the Guilty.

§ 15. If after these Instructions, the Master does really find himself
capable of communicating to his Scholar Things of greater Moment, and
what may concern his farther Progress, he ought immediately to initiate
him in the Study of Church-Airs, in which he must lay aside all the
theatrical effeminate Manner, and sing in a manly Stile; for which
Purpose he will provide him with different natural and easy _Motets_[50]
grand and genteel, mix'd with the Lively and the Pathetick, adapted to
the Ability he has discovered in him, and by frequent Lessons make him
become perfect in them with Readiness and Spirit. At the same time he
must be careful that the Words be well pronounced, and perfectly
understood; that the _Recitatives_ be expressed with Strength, and
supported without Affectation; that in the Airs he be not wanting in
Time, and in introducing some Graces of good Taste; and, above all,
that the final Cadences of the _Motets_ be performed with Divisions
distinct, swift, and in Tune. After this he will teach him that Manner,
the Taste of _Cantata's_ requires, in order, by this Exercise, to
discover the Difference between one Stile and another. If, after this,
the Master is satisfied with his Scholar's Improvement, yet let him not
think to make him sing in Publick, before he has the Opinion of such
Persons, who know more of singing than of flattering; because, they not
only will chuse such Compositions proper to do him Honour and Credit,
but also will correct in him those Defects and Errors, which out of
Oversight or Ignorance the Master had not perceived or corrected.

§ 16. If Masters did consider, that from our first appearing in the Face
of the World, depends our acquiring Fame and Courage, they would not so
blindly expose their Pupils to the Danger of falling at the first Step.

§ 17. But if the Master's Knowledge extends no farther than the
foregoing Rules, then ought he in conscience to desist, and to recommend
the Scholar to better Instructions. However, before the Scholar arrives
at this, it will not be quite unnecessary to discourse with him in the
following Chapters, and if his Age permits him not to understand me,
those, who have the Care of him, may.


_Observations for a Student._

Before entering on the extensive and difficult Study of the _Florid_, or
_figured Song_, it is necessary to consult the Scholar's Genius; for if
Inclination opposes, it is impossible to force it, and when That
incites, the Scholar proceeds with Ease and Pleasure.

§ 2. Supposing, then, that the Scholar is earnestly desirous of becoming
a Master in so agreable a Profession, and being fully instructed in
these tiresome Rudiments, besides many others that may have slipt my
weak Memory; after a strict Care of his Morals, he should give the rest
of his Attention to the Study of singing in Perfection, that by this
Means he may be so happy as to join the most noble Qualities of the Soul
to the Excellencies of his Art.

§ 3. He that studies Singing must consider that Praise or Disgrace
depends very much on his Voice which if he has a Mind to preserve he
must abstain from all Manner of Disorders, and all violent Diversions.

§ 4. Let him be able to read perfectly, that he may not be put to Shame
for so scandalous an Ignorance. Oh, how many are there, who had need to
learn the Alphabet!

§ 5. In case the Master knows not how to correct the Faults in
Pronunciation, let the Scholar endeavour to learn the best by some other
Means; because the not being born[51] in _Tuscany_, will not excuse the
Singer's Imperfection.

§ 6. Let him likewise very carefully endeavour to correct all other
Faults that the Negligence of his Master may have passed over.

§ 7. With the Study of Musick, let him learn also at least the Grammar,
to understand the Words he is to sing in Churches, and to give the
proper Force to the Expression in both Languages. I believe I may be so
bold to say, that divers Professors do not even understand their own
Tongue, much less the _Latin_.[52]

§ 8. Let him continually, by himself, use his Voice to a Velocity of
Motion, if he thinks to have a Command over it, and that he may not go
by the Name of a pathetick Singer.

§ 9. Let him not omit frequently to put forth, and to stop, the Voice,
that it may always be at his Command.

§ 10. Let him repeat his Lesson at Home, till he knows it perfectly; and
with a local Memory let him retain it, to save his Master the Trouble of
Teaching, and himself of studying it over again.

§ 11. Singing requires so strict an Application, that one must study
with the Mind, when one cannot with the Voice.

§ 12. The unwearied Study of Youth is sure to overcome all Obstacles
that oppose, though Defects were suck'd in with our Mother's Milk. This
Opinion of mine is subject to strong Objections; however, Experience
will defend it, provided he corrects himself in time. But if he delays
it, the older he grows the more his Faults will increase.

§ 13. Let him hear as much as he can the most celebrated Singers, and
likewise the most excellent instrumental Performers; because, from the
Attention in hearing them, one reaps more Advantage than from any
Instruction whatsoever.

§ 14. Let him endeavour to copy from Both, that he may insensibly, by
the Study of others, get a good Taste. This advice, though extremely
useful to a Student, is notwithstanding infinitely prejudicial to a
Singer, as I shall shew in its proper Place[53].

§ 15. Let him often sing the most agreable Compositions of the best
Authors, and accustom the Ear to that which pleases. I'd have a Student
know, that by the abovementioned Imitations, and by the Idea of good
Compositions, the Taste in Time becomes Art, and Art Nature.

§ 16. Let him learn to accompany himself, if he is ambitious of singing
well. The Harpsichord is a great Incitement to Study, and by it we
continually improve in our Knowledge. The evident Advantage arising to
the Singer from that lovely Instrument, makes it superfluous to say
more on that Head. Moreover, it often happens to one who cannot play,
that without the Help of another he cannot be heard, and is thereby to
his Shame obliged to deny the Commands of those whom it would be to his
Advantage to obey.

§ 17. Till a Singer pleases himself, it is certain he cannot please
others. Therefore consider, if some Professors of no small Skill have
not this Pleasure for want of sufficient Application, what must the
Scholar do? Study,--and study again, and not be satisfied.

§ 18. I am almost of Opinion, that all Study and Endeavours to sing are
infallibly vain, if not accompanied with some little Knowledge of
Counterpoint. One, who knows how to compose, can account for what he
does, and he, who has not the same Light, works in the Dark, not knowing
how to sing without committing Errors. The most famous _Ancients_ know
the intrinsick Value of this Precept from the Effects. And a good
Scholar ought to imitate them, without considering whether this Lesson
be according to the _Mode_ or not For though, in these Days, one now and
then hears admirable Performances, proceeding from a natural Taste, yet
they are all done by Chance; but where that Taste is wanting, if they
are not execrable, at least they will be very bad: For Fortune not being
always at their Command, they cannot be sure to agree, neither with Time
nor Harmony. This Knowledge, although requisite, I would not however
advise a Scholar to give himself up to an intense Application, it being
certain, I should teach him the readiest way to lose his Voice, but I
exhort him only to learn the principal Rules, that he may not be quite
in the Dark.[54]

§ 19. To study much, and preserve a Voice in its full Beauty, are two
Things almost incompatible; there is between them such a sort of Amity,
as cannot last without being prejudicial to the one or the other.
However, if one reflects, that Perfection in a Voice is a Gift of
Nature, and in Art a painful Acquisition, it will indeed be allowed,
that this latter excels in Merit, and more deserves our Praise.

§ 20. Whoever studies, let him look for what is most excellent, and let
him look for it wherever it is, without troubling himself whether it be
in the Stile of fifteen or twenty Years ago, or in that of these Days;
for all Ages have their good and bad Productions. It is enough to find
out the best, and profit by them.

§ 21. To my irreparable Misfortune, I am old; but were I young, I would
imitate as much as possibly I could the _Cantabile_ of those who are
branded with the opprobrious Name of _Ancients_; and the _Allegro_ of
those who enjoy the delightful Appellation of _Moderns_. Though my Wish
is vain as to myself, it will be of Use to a prudent Scholar, who is
desirous to be expert in both Manners, which is the only way to arrive
at Perfection; but if one was to chuse, I should freely, without Fear of
being tax'd with Partiality, advise him to attach himself to the Taste
of the first.[55]

§ 22. Each Manner of Singing hath a different Degree of Eminence; the
Nervous and Strong is distinguished from the Puerile and Weak, as is the
Noble from the Vulgar.

§ 23. A Student must not hope for Applause, if he has not an utter
Abhorrence of Ignorance.

§ 24. Whoever does not aspire to the first Rank, begins already to give
up the second, and by little and little will rest contented with the

§ 25. If, out of a particular Indulgence to the sex, so many female
Singers have the Graces set down in Writing, one that studies to become
a good Singer should not follow the Example; whoever accustoms himself
to have Things put in his Mouth, will have no Invention, and becomes a
Slave to his Memory.

§ 26. If the Scholar should have any Defects, of the Nose, the Throat,
or of the Ear, let him never sing but when the Master is by, or somebody
that understands the Profession, in order to correct him, otherwise he
will get an ill Habit, past all Remedy.

§ 27. When he studies his Lesson at Home, let him sometimes sing before
a Looking-glass, not to be enamoured with his own Person, but to avoid
those convulsive Motions of the Body, or of the Face (for so I call the
Grimaces of an affected Singer) which, when once they have took Footing,
never leave him.

§ 28. The best Time for Study is with the rising of the Sun; but those,
who are obliged to study, must employ all their Time which can be spared
from their other necessary Affairs.

§ 29. After a long Exercise, and the Attainment of a true Intonation, of
a _Messa di Voce_, of _Shakes_, of _Divisions_, and _Recitative_ well
expressed, if the Scholar perceives that his Master cannot teach him all
the Perfection of Execution required in the more refined Art of singing
the Airs, or if he cannot always be by his Side, then will he begin to
be sensible of the Need he has of that Study, in which the best Singer
in the World is still a Learner, and must be his own Master. Supposing
this Reflection just, I advise him for his first Insight, to read the
following Chapter, in order thereby to reap greater Advantage from those
that can sing the _Airs_, and teach to sing them.


_Of_ Airs.

If whoever introduced the Custom of repeating the first Part of the
_Air_ (which is called _Da Capo_) did it out of a Motive to show the
Capacity of the Singer, in varying the Repetition, the Invention cannot
be blam'd by Lovers of Musick; though in respect of the Words it is
sometimes an Impropriety.[56]

§ 2. By the _Ancients_ beforementioned, _Airs_ were sung in three
different Manners; for the Theatre, the Stile was lively and various;
for the Chamber, delicate and finish'd; and for the Church, moving and
grave. This Difference, to very many _Moderns_, is quite unknown.

§ 3. A Singer is under the greatest Obligation to the Study of the
_Airs_; for by them he gains or loses his Reputation. To the acquiring
this valuable, Art, a few verbal Lessons cannot suffice; nor would it be
of any great Profit to the Scholar, to have a great Number of _Airs_, in
which a Thousand of the most exquisite Passages of different Sorts were
written down: For they would not serve for all Purposes, and there would
always be wanting that Spirit which accompanies extempore Performances,
and is preferable to all servile Imitations. All (I think) that can be
said, is to recommend to him an attentive Observation of the Art, with
which the best Singers regulate themselves to the Bass, whereby he will
become acquainted with their Perfections, and improve by them. In order
to make his Observations with the greater Exactness, let him follow the
Example of a Friend of mine, who never went to an Opera without a Copy
of all the Songs, and, observing the finest Graces, confin'd to the most
exact Time of the Movement of the Bass, he made thereby a great

§ 4. Among the Things worthy of Consideration, the first to be taken
Notice of, is the Manner in which all _Airs_ divided into three Parts
are to be sung. In the first they require nothing but the simplest
Ornaments, of a good Taste and few, that the Composition may remain
simple, plain, and pure; in the second they expect, that to this Purity
some artful Graces[58] be added, by which the Judicious may hear, that
the Ability of the Singer is greater; and, in, repeating the _Air_, he
that does not vary it for the better, is no great Master.

§ 5. Let a Student therefore accustom himself to repeat them always
differently, for, if I mistake not, one that abounds in Invention,
though a moderate Singer, deserves much more Esteem, than a better who
is barren of it; for this last pleases the Connoisseurs but for once,
whereas the other, if he does not surprise by the Rareness of his
Productions, will at least gratify your Attention with Variety.[59]

§ 6. The most celebrated among the _Ancients_ piqued themselves in
varying every Night their Songs in the Opera's, not only the
_Pathetick_, but also the _Allegro_. The Student, who is not well
grounded, cannot undertake this important Task.

§ 7. Without varying the _Airs_, the Knowledge of the Singers could
never be discovered; but from the Nature and Quality of the Variations,
it will be easily discerned in two of the greatest Singers which is the

§ 8. Returning from this Digression to the abovementioned, repeating the
first Part of the _Air_ with Variation, the Scholar will therein find
out the Rules for Gracing, and introducing Beauties of his own
Invention: These will teach him, that Time, Taste, and Skill, are
sometimes of but small Advantage to one who is not ready at _extempore_
Embellishments; but they should not allow, that a Superfluity of them
should prejudice the Composition, and confound the Ear.[60]

§ 9. Let a Scholar provide himself with a Variety of Graces and
Embellishments, and then let him make use of them with Judgment; for if
he observes, he will find that the most celebrated Singers never make a
Parade of their Talent in a few Songs; well knowing, that if Singers
expose to the Publick all they have in their Shops, they are near
becoming Bankrupts.

§ 10. In the Study of _Airs_, as I have before said, one cannot take
Pains enough; for, though certain Things of small Effect may be omitted,
yet how can the Art be called perfect if the Finishing is wanted.

§ 11. In _Airs_ accompanied only a Bass, the Application of him who
studies Graces is only subject to Time, and to the Bass; but in those,
that are accompanied with more Instruments, the Singer must be also
attentive to their Movement, in order to avoid the Errors committed by
those who are ignorant of the Contrivance of such Accompaniments.

§ 12. To prevent several false Steps in singing the _Airs_, I would
strongly inculcate to a Student, first, never to give over practising in
private, till he is secure of committing no Error in Publick; and next,
that at the first Rehearsal the _Airs_ be sung without any other
Ornaments than those which are very natural; but with a strict
Attention, to examine at the same time in his Mind, where the artificial
ones may be brought in with Propriety in the second; and so from one
Rehearsal to another, always varying for the better, he will by Degrees
become a great Singer.

§ 13. The most necessary Study for singing _Airs_ in Perfection, and
what is more difficult than any other, is to seek for what is easy and
natural, as well as of beautiful Inventions. One who has the good
Fortune to unite such two rare Talents, with an agreeable _putting
forth_ of the Voice, is a very happy Singer.

§ 14. Let him, who studies under the Disadvantage of an ungrateful
Genius, remember for his Comfort, that singing in Tune, Expression,
_Messa di Voce_, the _Appoggiatura's_, _Shakes_, _Divisions_, and
accompanying himself, are the principal Qualifications; and no such
insuperable Difficulties, but what may be overcome. I know, they are not
sufficient to enable one to sing in Perfection; and that it would be
Weakness to content one's self with only singing tolerably well; but
Embellishments must be called in to their aid, which seldom refuse the
Call, and sometimes come unsought. Study will do the business.

§ 15. Let him avoid all those Abuses which have overspread and
established themselves in the _Airs_, if he will preserve Musick in its

§ 16. Not only a Scholar, but every Singer ought to forbear
_Caricatura's_, or mimicking others, from the very bad Consequences that
attend them. To make others laugh, hardly gains any one Esteem, but
certainly gives Offence; for no-body likes to appear ridiculous or
ignorant. This Mimicking arises for the most part from a concealed
Ambition to shew their own Merit, at another's Expence; not without a
Mixture of Envy and Spight. Examples shew us but too plainly the great
Injury they are apt to do, and that it well deserves Reproof; for
Mimickry has ruin'd more than one Singer.

§ 17. I cannot sufficiently recommend to a Student the exact keeping of
Time; and if I repeat the same in more than one place, there is more
than one Occasion that moves me to it; because, even among the
Professors of the first Rank there are few, but what are almost
insensibly deceived into an Irregularity, or hastening of Time, and
often of both; which though in the Beginning is hardly perceptible, yet
in the Progress of the _Air_ becomes more and more so, and at the last
the Variation, and the Error is discovered.

§ 18. If I do not advise a Student to imitate several of the _Moderns_
in their Manner of singing _Airs_, it is from their Neglect of keeping
Time, which ought to be inviolable, and not sacrificed to their beloved
Passages and Divisions.

§ 19. The Presumption of some Singers is not to be borne with, who
expect that an whole _Orchestre_ should stop in the midst of a
well-regulated Movement, to wait for their ill-grounded Caprices,
learned by Heart, carried from one Theatre to another, and perhaps
stolen from some applauded female Singer, who had better Luck than
Skill, and whose Errors were excused in regard to her Sex.----Softly,
softly with your Criticism, says one; this, if you do not know it, is
called Singing after the _Mode_----Singing after the _Mode_?----I say,
you are mistaken. The stopping in the _Airs_ at every second and fourth,
and on all the sevenths and sixths of the Bass, was a bad Practice of
the ancient Masters, disapproved fifty Years ago by _Rivani_, called
_Ciecolino_,[61] who with invincible Reasons shewed the proper Places
for Embellishments, without begging Pauses. This Percept was approved by
several eminent Persons, among whom was Signer _Pistochi_,[62] the most
famous of our, and all preceding Times, who has made himself immortal,
by shewing the way of introducing Graces without transgressing against
Time. This Example alone, which is worth a Thousand (O my rever'd
_Moderns_!) should be sufficient to undeceive you. But if this does not
satisfy you, I will add, that _Sifacio_[63] with his mellifluous Voice
embrac'd this Rule; that _Buzzolini_[64] of incomparable Judgment highly
esteemed it: After them _Luigino_[65] with his soft and amorous Stile
followed their Steps; likewise _Signora Boschi_[66] who, to the Glory of
her Sex, has made it appear, that Women, who study, may instruct even
Men of some Note. That _Signora Lotti_,[67] strictly keeping to the
same Rules, with a penetrating Sweetness of Voice, gained the Hearts of
all her Hearers. If Persons of this Rank, and others at present
celebrated all over _Europe_, whom I forbear to name; if all these have
not Authority enough to convince you, that you have no Right to alter
the Time by making Pauses, consider at least, that by this Error in
respect of Time, you often fall into a greater, which is, that the Voice
remains unaccompanied, and deprived of Harmony; and thereby becomes flat
and tiresome to the best Judges. You will perhaps say in Excuse, that
few Auditors have this Discernment, and that there are Numbers of the
others, who blindly applaud every thing that has an Appearance of
Novelty. But whose fault is this? An Audience that applauds what is
blameable, cannot justify your Faults by their Ignorance; it is your
Part to set them right, and, laying aside your ill-grounded Practice,
you should own, that the Liberties you take are against Reason, and an
insult upon all those instrumental Performers that are waiting for you,
who are upon a Level with you, and ought to be subservient only to the
Time. In short, I would have you reflect, that the abovementioned
Precept will always be of Advantage to you; for though under the
neglecting of it, you have a Chance to gain Applause of the Ignorant
only; by observing it, you will justly merit that of the Judicious, and
the Applause will become universal.

§ 20. Besides the Errors in keeping Time, there are other Reasons, why a
Student should not imitate the _modern_ Gentlemen in singing _Airs_,
since it plainly appears that all their Application now is to divide
and subdivide in such a Manner, that it is impossible to understand
either Words, Thoughts, or Modulation, or to distinguish one _Air_ from
another, they singing them all so much alike, that, in hearing of one,
you hear a Thousand.----And must the _Mode_ triumph? It was thought, not
many Years since, that in an Opera, one rumbling _Air_, full of
Divisions was sufficient for the most gurgling Singer to spend his
Fire[68]; but the Singers of the present Time are not of that Mind, but
rather, as if they were not satisfied with transforming them all with a
horrible Metamorphosis into so many Divisions, they, like Racers, run
full Speed, with redoubled Violence to their final Cadences, to make
Reparation for the Time they think they have lost during the Course of
the _Air_. In the following Chapter, on the tormented and tortured
Cadences, we shall shortly see the good Taste of the _Mode_; in the mean
while I return to the Abuses and Defects in _Airs_.

§ 21. I cannot positively tell, who that _Modern_ Composer, or that
ungrateful Singer was, that had the Heart to banish the delightful,
soothing, _Pathetick_ from _Airs_, as if no longer worthy of their
Commands, after having done them so long and pleasing Service. Whoever
he was, it is certain, he has deprived the Profession of its most
valuable Excellence. Ask all the Musicians in general, what their
Thoughts are of the _Pathetick_, they all agree in the same Opinion, (a
thing that seldom happens) and answer, that the _Pathetick_ is what is
most delicious to the Ear, what most sweetly affects the Soul, and is
the strongest Basis of Harmony. And must we be deprived of these Charms,
without knowing the Reason why? Oh! I understand you: I ought not to ask
the Masters, but the Audience, those capricious Protectors of the
_Mode_, that cannot endure this; and herein lies my Mistake. Alas! the
_Mode_ and the Multitude flow like Torrents, which, when at their
Height, having spent their Violence, quickly disappear. The Mischief is
in the Spring itself; the Fault is in the Singers. They praise the
_Pathetick_, yet sing the _Allegro_. He must want common Sense that does
not see through them. They know the first to be the most Excellent, but
they lay it aside, knowing it to be the most difficult.

§ 22. In former times divers _Airs_ were heard in the Theatre in this
delightful Manner, preceded and accompanied with harmonious and
well-modulated Instruments, that ravished the Senses of those who
comprehended the Contrivance and the Melody; and if sung by one of those
five or six eminent Persons abovementioned, it was then impossible for a
human Soul, not to melt into Tenderness and Tears from the violent
Motion of the Affections. Oh! powerful Proof to confound the idoliz'd
_Mode_! Are there in these Times any, who are moved with Tenderness, or
Sorrow?----No, (say all the Auditors) no; for, the continual singing of
the _Moderns_ in the _Allegro_ Stile, though when in Perfection That
deserves Admiration, yet touches very slightly one that hath a delicate
Ear. The Taste of the _Ancients_ was a Mixture of the _Lively_ and the
_Cantabile_ the Variety of which could not fail giving Delight; but the
_Moderns_ are so pre-possessed with Taste in _Mode_, that, rather than
comply with the former, they are contented to lose the greatest Part of
its Beauty. The Study of the _Pathetick_ was the Darling of the former;
and Application to the most difficult Divisions is the only Drift of the
latter. _Those_ perform'd with more Judgment; and _These_ execute with
greater Boldness. But since I have presum'd to compare the most
celebrated Singers in both Stiles, pardon me if I conclude with saying,
that the _Moderns_ are arrived at the highest Degree of Perfection in
singing to the _Ear_; and that the _Ancients_ are inimitable in singing
to the _Heart_.

§ 23. However, it ought not to be denied, but that the best Singers of
these times have in some Particulars refined the preceding Taste, with
some Productions worthy to be imitated; and as an evident Mark of
Esteem, we must publicly own, that if they were but a little more
Friends to the _Pathetick_ and the _Expressive_, and a little less to
the _Divisions_, they might boast of having brought the Art to the
highest Degree of Perfection.

§ 24. It may also possibly be, that the extravagant Ideas in the present
Compositions, have deprived the abovementioned Singers of the
Opportunity of shewing their Ability in the _Cantabile_; in as much as
the _Airs_ at present in vogue go Whip and Spur with such violent
Motions, as take away their Breath, far from giving them an Opportunity
of shewing the Exquisiteness of their Taste. But, good God! since there
are so many _modern_ Composers, among whom are some of Genius equal, and
perhaps greater than the best _Ancients_, for what Reason or Motive do
they always exclude from their Compositions, the so-much-longed-for
_Adagio_? Can its gentle Nature ever be guilty of a Crime? If it cannot
gallop with the _Airs_ that are always running Post, why not reserve it
for those that require Repose, or at least for a compassionate one,
which is to assist an unfortunate Hero, when he is to shed Tears, or die
on the Stage?----No, Sir, No; the grand _Mode_ demands that he be quick,
and ready to burst himself in his Lamentations, and weep with
Liveliness. But what can one say? The Resentment of the _modern_ Taste
is not appeased with the Sacrifice of the _Pathetick_ and the _Adagio_
only, two inseparable Friends, but goes so far, as to prescribe those
_Airs_, as Confederates, that have not the _Sharp_ third. Can any thing
be more absurd? _Gentlemen Composers_, (I do not speak to the eminent,
but with all due Respect) Musick in my Time has chang'd its Stile three
times: The first which pleased on the Stage, and in the Chamber, was
that of _Pier. Simone_[69], and of _Stradella_[70]; the second is of
the best that now living[71]; and I leave others to judge whether they
are _Modern_. But of your Stile, which is not quite established yet in
_Italy_, and which has yet gained no Credit at all beyond the _Alps_,
those that come after us will soon give their Opinion; for _Modes_ last
not long. But if the Profession is to continue, and end with the World,
either you yourselves will see your Mistake, or your Successors will
reform it. Wou'd you know how? By banishing the Abuses, and recalling
the first, second, and third _Mood_[72], to relieve the fifth, sixth,
and eighth, which are quite jaded. They will revive the fourth and
seventh now dead to you, and buried in Churches, for the final Closes.
To oblige the Taste of the Singers and the Hearers, the _Allegro_ will
now and then be mixed with the _Pathetick_. The _Airs_ will not always
be drowned with the Indiscretion of the Instruments, that hide the
artful Delicacy of the _Piano_, and the soft Voices, nay, even all
Voices which will not bawl: They will no longer bear being teased with
_Unisons_[73], the Invention of Ignorance, to hide from the Vulgar the
Insufficiency and Inability of many Men and Women Singers: They will
recover the instrumental Harmony now lost: They will compose more for
the Voice than the Instruments: The part for the Voice will no more have
the Mortification to resign its Place to the Violins: The _Soprano's_
and _Contr'Alto's_ will no more sing the _Airs_ in the Manner of the
Bass, in Spight of a thousand _Octaves_: And, finally, their _Airs_ will
be more affecting, and less alike; more studied, and less painful to the
Singer; and so much the more grand, as they are remote from the Vulgar.
But, methinks, I hear it said, that the theatrical Licence is great,
and that the _Mode_ pleases, and that I grow too bold. And may I not
reply, that the Abuse is greater, that the Invention is pernicious, and
that my Opinion is not singular. Am I the only Professor who knows that
the best Compositions are the Cause of singing well, and the worst very
prejudicial? Have we not more than once heard that the Quality of the
Compositions has been capable, with a few Songs, of establishing the
Reputation of a middling Singer, and destroying That of one who had
acquired one by Merit? That Musick, which is composed by one of Judgment
and Taste, instructs the Scholar, perfects the Skilful, and delights the
Hearer. But since we have opened the Ball, let us dance.

§ 25. He that first introduced Musick on the Stage, probably thought to
lead her to a Triumph, and raise her to a Throne. But who would ever
have imagined, that in the short Course of a few Years, she should be
reduced to the fatal Circumstance of seeing her own Tragedy? Ye pompous
Fabricks of the Theatres! We should look upon you with Horror, being
raised from the Ruins of Harmony: You are the Origin of the Abuses, and
of the Errors: From You is derived the _modern_ Stile and the Multitude
of Ballad-makers: You are the only Occasion of the Scarcity of judicious
and well-grounded Professors, who justly deserve the Title of
Chapel-Master[74]; since the poor Counterpoint[75] has been condemned,
in this corrupted Age, to beg for a Piece of Bread in Churches, whilst
the Ignorance of many exults on the Stage, the most part of the
Composers have been prompted from Avarice, or Indigence, to abandon in
such Manner the true Study, that one may foresee (if not succoured by
those few, that still gloriously sustain its dearest Precepts) Musick,
after having lost the Name of Science, and a Companion of Philosophy,
will run the Risque of being reputed unworthy to enter into the sacred
Temples, from the Scandal given there, by their Jiggs, Minuets, and
Furlana's[76]; and, in fact, where the Taste is so deprav'd, what would
make the Difference between the Church-Musick, and the Theatrical, if
Money was received at the Church Doors?

§ 26. I know that the World honours with just Applause some, tho' few
Masters, intelligent in both Stiles, to whom I direct the Students in
order to their singing well; and if I confine the Masters to so small a
Number, I do beg Pardon of those who should be comprehended therein;
hoping easily to obtain it, because an involuntary Error does not
offend, and an eminent Person knows no other Envy but virtuous
Emulation. As for the Ignorant, who for the most part are not used to
indulge any, but rather despise and hate every thing they do not
comprehend, they will be the Persons from whom I am to expect no

§ 27. To my Misfortune, I asked one of this sort, from whom he had
learned the _Counterpoint_? he answered immediately from the Instrument,
(_i.e._, the Harpsichord)--Very well. I asked farther, in what _Tone_
have you composed the Introduction of your Opera?----What _Tone_! what
_Tone_! (breaking in upon me abruptly) with what musty Questions are you
going to disturb my Brains? One may easily perceive from what School
you come. The _Moderns_, if you do not know it, acknowledge no other
_Tone_ but one[77]; they laugh, with Reason, at the silly Opinion of
those who imagine there are two, as well as at those who maintain, that
their being divided into _Authentick_ and _Plagal_, they become Eight,
(and more if there were need) and prudently leave it to everybody's
Pleasure to compose as they like best. The World in your Time was
asleep, and let it not displease you, if our merry and brisk Manner has
awakened it with a Gayety so pleasing to the Heart, that it incites one
to dance. I would have you likewise be lively before you die, and,
abandoning your uncouth Ideas, make it appear, that old Age can be
pleased with the Productions of Youth; otherwise you will find, that
you will be condemned by your own Words, that Ignorance hates all that
is excellent. The polite Arts have advanced continually in Refinement,
and if the rest were to give me the Lie, Musick would defend me Sword in
Hand; for she cannot arrive at a higher Pitch. Awake therefore, and, if
you are not quite out of your Senses, hearken to me; and you will
acknowledge that I speak candidly to you; and for a Proof be it known to

§ 28. That our delicious Stile has been invented to hide with the fine
Name of _Modern_ the too difficult Rules of the _Counterpoint_, cannot
be denied.

§ 29. That there is an inviolable Rule amongst us, to banish for ever
the _Pathetick_, is very true; because we will have no Melancholy.

§ 30. But, that we should be told by the old _Bashaws_, that we strive
who can produce most extravagant Absurdities never heard before, and
that we brag to be the Inventors of them ourselves, are the malign
Reflections of those who see us exalted. Let Envy burst. You see, that
the general Esteem which we have acquired, gives it for us; and if a
Musician is not of our Tribe, he will find no Patron or Admirer. But
since we are now speaking in Confidence and with Sincerity, who can sing
or compose well, without our Approbation? Let them have ever so much
Merit (you know it) we do not want Means to ruin him; even a few
Syllables will suffice: It is only saying, He is an _Ancient_.

§ 31. Tell me, I beseech you, who, without us, could have brought Musick
to the Height of Happiness, with no greater Difficulty than taking from
the _Airs_ that tiresome Emulation of the first and second Violin, and
of the Tenor? Is there any that ever durst usurp the Glory of it? We, we
are those, who by our Ingenuity have raised her to this Degree of
Sublimity, in taking also from her that noisy murmuring of the
fundamental Basses, in such Manner,----(mark me well, and learn) that
if in an _Orchestre_ there were an hundred Violins, we are capable of
composing in such a Manner, that all and every one shall play the very
_Air_ which the Voice sings. What say you to that? Can you have the Face
to find Fault with us?

§ 32. Our most lovely Method, that obliges none of us to the painful
Study of the Rules; which does not disquiet the Mind with the Anxiety of
Speculation, nor delude us with the Study of reducing them into
Practice; that does not prejudice the Health; that enchants the Ear _à
la Mode_; that finds those who love it, who prize it, and who pay for it
the Weight in Gold; and dare you to criticise upon it?

§ 33. What shall we say of the obscure and tedious Compositions of those
whom you celebrate as the Top of the Universe, tho' your Opinion goes
for nothing? Don't you perceive that those old-fashioned Crabbednesses
are disgustful? We should be great Fools to grow pale, and become
paralytick in studying and finding out in the Scores, the Harmony, the
_Fugues_, their _Reverses_, the _Double Counterpoint_, the
Multiplication of Subjects, to contract them closer, to make _Canons_,
and such other dry Stuff, that are no more in _Mode_, and (what is
worse) are of little Esteem, and less Profit. What say you now to this,
_Master Critick_? Have you comprehended me?----Yes, Sir. Well, what
Answer do you make me?----None.

§ 34. Really, I am astonished, O beloved Singers, at the profound
Lethargy in which you remain, and which is so much to your Disadvantage.
'Tis You that ought to awaken, for now is the Time, and tell the
Composers of this Stamp, that your Desire is to Sing, and not to Dance.


_Of_ Cadences.[78]

The _Cadences_, that terminate the _Airs_, are of two Sorts. The
Composers call the one _Superior_, and the other _Inferior_. To make
myself better understood by a Scholar, I mean, if a _Cadence_ were in
_C_ natural, the Notes of the first would be _La, Sol, Fa;_ and those of
the second _Fa, Mi, Fa_. In _Airs_ for a single Voice, or in
_Recitatives_, a Singer may chuse which of these _Closes_ or _Cadences_
pleases him best; but if in Concert with other Voices, or accompanied
with Instruments, he must not change the Superior for the Inferior, nor
this with the other.[79]

§ 2. It would be superfluous to speak of the broken _Cadences_, they
being become familiar even to those who are not Professors of Musick,
and which serve at most but in _Recitatives_.[80]

§ 3. As for those _Cadences_ that fall a fifth, they were never composed
in the old Stile for a _Soprano_, in an _Air_ for a single Voice, or
with Instruments, unless the Imitation of some Words had obliged the
Composer thereto. Yet these, having no other Merit, but of being the
easiest of all, as well for the Composer as for the Singer, are at
present the most prevailing.[81]

§ 4. In the Chapter on _Airs_, I have exhorted the Student to avoid that
Torrent of _Passages_ and _Divisions_, so much in the _Mode_, and did
engage myself also, to give my weak Sentiments on the _Cadences_ that
are now current; and I am now ready: But, however, with the usual
Protestation of submitting them, with all my other Opinions, to the
Tribunal of the Judicious, and those of Taste, from whence there is no
Appeal; that they, as sovereign Judges of the Profession, may condemn
the Abuses of the _modern Cadences_, or the Errors of my Opinion.

§ 5. Every _Air_ has (at least) three _Cadences_, that are all three
final. Generally speaking, the Study of the Singers of the present Times
consists in terminating the _Cadence_ of the first Part with an
overflowing of _Passages_ and _Divisions_ at Pleasure, and the
_Orchestre_ waits; in that of the second[82] the Dose is encreased, and
the _Orchestre_ grows tired; but on the last _Cadence_, the Throat is
set a going, like a Weather-cock in a Whirlwind, and the _Orchestre_
yawns. But why must the World be thus continually deafened with so many
_Divisions_? I must (with your leave, _Gentlemen Moderns_) say in Favour
of the Profession, that good Taste does not consist in a continual
Velocity of the Voice, which goes thus rambling on, without a Guide, and
without Foundation; but rather, in the _Cantabile_, in the putting forth
the Voice agreeably, in _Appoggiatura's_, in Art, and in the true Notion
of Graces, going from one Note to another with singular and unexpected
Surprizes, and stealing the Time exactly on the true _Motion_ of the
Bass. These are the principal and indispensible Qualities which are most
essential to the singing well, and which no musical Ear can find in your
capricious _Cadences_. I must still add, that very _anciently_ the Stile
of the Singers was insupportable, (as I have been informed by the
Master who taught me to _Sol-fa_) by reason of the Number of _Passages_
and _Divisions_ in their _Cadences_, that never were at an end, as they
are now; and that they were always the same, just as they are now. They
became at last so odious, that, as a Nusance to the Sense of Hearing,
they were banished without so much as attempting their Correction. Thus
will it also happen to These, at the first Example given by a Singer
whose Credit is established, and who will not be seduced by a vain
popular Applause. This Reformation the succeeding Professors of Eminence
prescribed to themselves as a Law, which perhaps would not have been
abolished, were they in a Condition to be heard; but the Opulency of
some, Loss of the Voice, Age and Death of others, has deprived the
Living from hearing what was truly worthy our Admiration in Singing. Now
the Singers laugh at the Reformers, and their Reformation of the
_Passages_ in the _Cadences_; and on the contrary, having recalled them
from their Banishment, and brought them on the Stage, with some little
_Caricatura_ to boot, they impose them on the Ignorant for rare
Inventions, and gain themselves immense Sums; it giving them no Concern
that they have been abhorr'd and detested for fifty or sixty Years, or
for an hundred Ages. But who can blame them? However, if Reason should
make this Demand of them, with what unjust Pretence can you usurp the
Name of _Moderns_, if you sing in a most _Ancient_ Stile? Perhaps, you
think that these overflowings of your Throat are what procure you Riches
and Praises? Undeceive yourselves, and thank the great Number of
Theatres, the Scarcity of excellent Performers, and the Stupidity of
your Auditors. What could they answer? I know not. But let us call them
to a stricter Account.

§ 6. _Gentlemen Moderns_, can you possibly deny, but that you laugh
among yourselves, when you have Recourse to your long-strung _Passages_
in the _Cadences_, to go a begging for Applause from the blind Ignorant?
You call this Trick by the Name of an _Alms_, begging for Charity as it
were for those _E Viva's_, which, you very well know, you do not deserve
from Justice. And in return you laugh at your Admirers, tho' they have
not Hands, Feet, nor Voice enough to applaud you. Is this Justice? Is
this Gratitude?----Oh! if they ever should find you out! My beloved
Singers, tho' the Abuses of your _Cadences_ are of use to you, they are
much more prejudicial to the Profession, and are the greatest Faults you
can commit; because at the same time you know yourselves to be in the
Wrong. For your own Sakes undeceive the World, and employ the rare
Talent you are endowed with on Things that are worthy of you. In the
mean while I will return with more Courage to my Opinions.

§ 7. I should be very desirous to[83] know, on what Foundation certain
_Moderns_ of Reputation, and great Name, do on the superior _Cadences_
always make the _Shake_ on the third in _Alt_ to the final Note; since
the _Shake_ (which ought to be resolved) cannot be so in this Case, by
reason of that very third, which being the sixth of the Bass hinders it,
and the _Cadence_ remains without a Resolution. If they should go so far
as to imagine, that the best Rules depended on the _Mode_, I should
notwithstanding think, they might sometimes appeal to the Ear, to know
if That was satisfied with a _Shake_ beaten with the seventh and the
sixth on a Bass which makes the _Cadence_; and I am sure it would
answer. No. From the Rules of the _Ancients_ we learn, that the _Shake_
is to be prepared on the sixth of the Bass, that after it the fifth may
be heard, for that is its proper Place.

§ 8. Some others of the same Rank make their _Cadences_ in the Manner of
the Basses, which is, in falling a fifth, with a Passage of Swift Notes
descending gradually, supposing that by this Means they cover the
_Octaves_, which, tho' disguised, will still appear.

§ 9. I hold it also for certain, that no Professor of the first Rank, in
any _Cadence_ whatsoever, can be allowed to make _Shakes_, or
_Divisions_, on the last Syllables but one of these
Words,--_Confonderò_--_Amerò_, &c. for they are Ornaments that do not
suit on those Syllables which are short, but do well on the

§ 10. Very many of the second Class end the inferior _Cadences_ in the
_French_ Manner without a _Shake_[85], either for want of Ability to
make one, or from its being easy to copy them, or from their Desire of
finding out something that may in Appearance support the name of
_Modern_. But in Fact they are mistaken; for the _French_ do not leave
out the _Shake_ on the inferior _Cadences_, except in the _Pathetick
Airs_; and our _Italians_, who are used to over-do the _Mode_, exclude
it every where, tho' in the _Allegro_ the _Shake_ is absolutely
necessary. I know, that a good Singer may with Reason abstain from the
_Shake_ in the _Cantabile_; however, it should be rarely; for if one of
those _Cadences_ be tolerable without that pleasing Grace, it is
absolutely impossible not to be tired at length, with a Number one after
another that die suddenly.

§ 11. I find that all the _Moderns_ (let them be Friends or Foes to the
_Shake_) in the inferior _Cadences_ beforementioned go with an
_Appoggiatura_ to the final Note, on the penultimate Syllable of a Word;
and this likewise is a Defect, it appearing to me, that on such
Occasions the _Appoggiatura_ is not pleasing but on the last Syllable,
after the Manner of the _Ancients_, or of those who know how to

§12. If, in the inferior _Cadences_, the best Singers of these Days
think they are not in the wrong in making you hear the final Note before
the Bass[87], they deceive themselves grossly; for it is a very great
Error, hurts the Ear, and is against the Rules; and becomes doubly so,
going (as they do) to the same Note with an _Appoggiatura_, the which
either ascending or descending, if not after the Bass[88], is always
very bad.

§ 13. And is it not worst of all, to torment the Hearers with a thousand
_Cadences_ all in the same Manner? From whence proceeds this Sterility,
since every Professor knows, that the surest way of gaining Esteem in
Singing is a Variety in the Repetition?

§ 14. If among all the _Cadences_ in the _Airs_, the last allows a
moderate Liberty to the Singer, to distinguish the end of them, the
Abuse of it is insufferable. But it grows abomable, when the Singer
persists with his tiresome Warbling, nauseating the Judicious, who
suffer the more, because they know that the Composers leave generally in
every _final Cadence_ some Note, sufficient to make a discreet
Embellishment; without seeking for it out of Time, without Taste,
without Art, and without Judgment.[89]

§ 15. I am still more surprised when I reflect, that the _modern_ Stile,
after having exposed all the _Cadences_ of the theatrical _Airs_ to the
Martyrdom of a perpetual Motion, will likewise have the Cruelty to
condemn to the same Punishment not Those in the _Cantata's_ only, but
also the _Cadences_ of their _Recitatives_. Do these Singers pretend, by
their not distinguishing the Chamber-Musick from the immoderate
_Gargling_ of the Stage, to expect the vulgar _E Viva's_ in the Cabinet
of Princes?

§ 16. Let a sensible Student avoid this Example, and with this Example
the Abuses, the Defects, and every other Thing that is mean and common,
as well in the _Cadences_ as elsewhere.

§ 17. If, the inventing particular _Cadences_ without injuring the Time,
has been one of the worthy Employments of the _Ancients_ (so call'd) let
a Student revive the Use of it; endeavouring to imitate them in their
Skill of somewhat anticipating the Time; and remember, that Those, who
understand the Art of Gracing, do not wait to admire the Beauty of it in
a Silence of the Bass.

§ 18. Many and many other Errors are heard in the _Cadences_ that were
_Antique_, and which are now become _Modern_; they were ridiculous then,
and are so now; therefore considering, that to change the Stile is not
always to improve it, I may fairly conclude, that what is bad is to be
corrected by Study, and not by the _Mode_.

§ 19. Now let us for a while leave at Rest the Opinions of the aforesaid
Ancients, and the supposed _Moderns_, to take notice what Improvement
the Scholar has made, since he is desirous of being heard. Well then,
let him attend, before we part with him, to Instructions of more Weight,
that he may at least deserve the Name of a good Singer, though he may
not arrive at that of an eminent one.


_Observations for a Singer._[90]

Behold the Singer now appearing in Publick, from the Effects of his
Application to the Study of the foregoing Lessons. But to what Purpose
does he appear? Whoever, in the great Theatre of the World, does not
distinguish himself, makes but a very insignificant Figure.

§ 2. From the cold Indifference perceived in many Singers, one would
believe that the Science of Musick implored their Favour, to be
received by them as their most humble Servant.

§ 3. If too many did not persuade themselves that they had studied
sufficiently, there would not be such a Scarcity of the Best, nor such a
Swarm of the Worst. These, because they can sing by Heart three or four
_Kyrie's_[91], think they are arrived at the _Non plus ultra_; but if
you give them a _Cantata_ to sing, that is even easy, and fairly
written, they, instead of complying as they ought, will tell you with an
impudent Face, that Persons of their Degree are not obliged to sing in
the vulgar Tongue at Sight. And who can forbear laughing? For a Musician
knowing that the Words, let them be either _Latin_ or _Italian_, do not
change the Form of the Notes, must immediately conclude, that this pert
Answer of the great Man proceeds from his not being able to sing at
Sight, or from his not knowing how to read; and he judges right.

§ 4. There are an infinite Number[92] of others, who wish and sigh for
the Moment that eases them from the painful Fatigue of their first
Studies, hoping to have a Chance to make one in the Crowd of the second
Rate; and stumbling by good Luck on something that gives them Bread,
they immediately make a Legg to Musick and its Study, not caring whether
the World knows they are, or are not among the Living. These do not
consider that _Mediocrity_ in a Singer means _Ignorance_.

§ 5. There are also several who study nothing but the Defects, and are
endow'd with a marvelous Aptness to learn them all, having so happy a
Memory as never to forget them. Their Genius is so inclined to the Bad,
that if by Gift of Nature they had the best of Voices, they would be
discontented if they could not find some Means to make it the worst.

§ 6. One of a better Spirit will endeavour to keep better Company. He
will be sensible of the Necessity of farther Discoveries, of farther
Instructions, and even of another Master, of whom, besides the Art of
Singing, he would be glad to learn how to behave himself with good
Breeding. This, added to the Merit acquired by his Singing, may give him
Hopes of the Favour of Princes, and of an universal Esteem.

§ 7. If he aims at the Character of a young Man of Wit and Judgment, let
him not be vulgar or too bold.

§ 8. Let him shun low and disreputable Company, but, above all, such as
abandon themselves to scandalous Liberties.

§ 9. That Professor ought not to be frequented, though excellent in this
Art, whose behaviour is vulgar and discreditable, and who cares not,
provided he makes his Fortune, whether it be at the Expence of his

§ 10. The best School is the Nobility, from whom every thing that is
genteel is to be learned; but when a Musician finds that his Company is
not proper, let him retire without repining, and his Modesty will be to
his Commendation.

§ 11. If he should not meet with a Gratification from the Great, let him
never complain; for it is better to get but little, than to lose a great
deal, and that is not seldom the Case. The best he can do, is to be
assiduous in serving them, that at least he may hope for the Pleasure of
seeing them for once grateful, or be convinced for ever of their being

§ 12. My long and repeated Travels have given me an Opportunity of being
acquainted with most of the Courts of _Europe_, and Examples, more than
my Words, should persuade every able Singer to see them also; but
without yielding up his Liberty to their Allurements: For Chains,
though of Gold, are still Chains; and they are not all of that precious
Metal: Besides, the several Inconveniencies of Disgrace, Mortifications,
Uncertainty; and, above all, the Hindrance of Study.

§ 13.[93] The golden Age of Musick would be already at an End, if the
Swans did not make their Nests on some Theatres in _Italy_, or on the
royal Banks of the _Thames_. O dear _London_!----On the other Streams,
they sing no more as they used to do their sweet Notes at their
expiring; but rather sadly lament the Expiration of those august and
adorable Princes, by whom they were tenderly belov'd and esteemed. This
is the usual Vicissitude of Things in this World; and we daily see, that
whatever is sublunary must of Necessity decline. Let us leave the Tears
to the Heart, and return to the Singer.

§ 14. A discreet Person will never use such affected Expressions as, _I
cannot sing To-day;--I've got a deadly Cold;_ and, in making his Excuse,
falls a Coughing. I can truly say, that I have never in my Life heard a
Singer own the Truth, and say, _I'm very well to-day_: They reserve the
unseasonable Confession to the next Day, when they make no Difficulty to
say, _In all my Days my Voice was never in better Order than it was
Yesterday_. I own, on certain Conjunctures, the Pretext is not only
suitable, but even necessary; for, to speak the Truth, the indiscreet
Parsimony of some, who would hear Musick for Thanks only, goes so far,
that they think a Master is immediately obliged to obey them _gratis_,
and that the Refusal is an Offence that deserves Resentment and Revenge.
But if it is a Law human and divine, that every Body should live by
their honest Labour, what barbarous Custom obliges a Musician to serve
without a Recompence? A cursed Over-bearing; O sordid Avarice!

§ 15. A Singer, that knows the World, distinguishes between the
different Manners of Commanding; he knows how to refuse without
disobliging, and how to obey with a good Grace; not being ignorant, that
one, who has his Interest most at Heart, sometimes finds his Account in
serving without a Gratification.

§ 16. One who sings with a Desire of gaining Honour and Credit, cannot
sing ill, and in time will sing better; and one, who thinks on nothing
but Gain, is in the ready way to remain ignorant.

§ 17. Who would ever think (if Experience did not shew it) that a Virtue
of the highest Estimation should prejudice a Singer? And yet, whilst
Presumption and Arrogance triumph (I'm shock'd to think on't) amiable
Humility, the more the Singer has of it, the more it depresses him.

§ 18. At first Sight, Arrogance has the Appearance of Ability; but,
upon a nearer View, I can discover Ignorance in Masquerade.

§ 19. This Arrogance serves them sometimes, as a politick Artifice to
hide their own Failings: For Example, certain Singers would not be
unconcern'd, under the Shame of not being able to sing a few Barrs at
Sight, if with Shrugs, scornful Glances, and malicious shaking of their
Heads, they did not give the Auditors to understand that those gross
Errors are owing to him that accompanies, or to the _Orchestre_.

§ 20. To humble such Arrogance, may it never meet with that Incense
which it expects.

§ 21. Who could sing better than the Arogant, if they were not ashamed
to study?

§ 22. It is a Folly in a Singer to grow vain at the first Applauses,
without reflecting whether they are given by Chance, or out of Flattery;
and if he thinks he deserves them, there is an End of him.

§ 23. He should regulate his Voice according to the Place where he
sings; for it would be the greatest Absurdity, not to make a Difference
between a small Cabinet and a vast Theatre.[94]

§ 24. He is still more to be blam'd, who, when singing in two, three, or
four Parts, does so raise his Voice as to drown his Companions; for if
it is not Ignorance, it is something worse.

§ 25. All Compositions for more than one Voice ought to be sung strictly
as they are written; nor do they require any other Art but a noble
Simplicity. I remember to have heard once a famous _Duetto_ torn into
Atoms by two renown'd Singers, in Emulation; the one proposing, and the
other by Turns answering, that at last it[95] ended in a Contest, who
could produce the most Extravagancies.

§ 26. The Correction of Friends, that have Knowledge, instructs very
much; but still greater Advantage may be gain'd from the ill-natur'd
Criticks; for, the more intent they are to discover Defects, the greater
Benefit may be receiv'd from them without any Obligation.

§ 27. It is certain, that the Errors corrected by our Enemies are better
cur'd, than those corrected by ourselves; for we are apt to indulge our
Faults, nor can we so easily perceive them.

§ 28. He that sings with Applause in one Place only, let him not have
too good an Opinion of himself; let him often change Climates, and then
he will judge better of his Talent.

§ 29. To please universally, Reason will tell you, that you must always
sing well; but if Reason does not inform you, Interest will persuade you
to conform to the Taste of that Nation (provided it be not too deprav'd)
which pays you.

§ 30. If he that sings well provokes Envy, by singing better he will get
the Victory over it.

§ 31. I do not know if a perfect Singer can at the same time be a
perfect Actor; for the Mind being at once divided by two different
Operations, he will probably incline more to one than the other; It
being, however, much more difficult to sing well than to act well, the
Merit of the first is beyond the second. What a Felicity would it be, to
possess both in a perfect Degree![96]

§ 32. Having said, a Singer should not copy, I repeat it now with this
Reason; that to copy is the part of a Scholar, that of a Master is to

§ 33. Let it be remembered by the Singer, that copying comes from
Laziness, and that none copy ill but out of Ignorance.

§ 34. Where Knowledge with Study makes one a good Singer, Ignorance with
one single Copy makes a thousand bad ones; however, among these there
are none that will acknowledge her for a Teacher.

§ 35. If many of the female Singers (for whom I have due Respect) would
be pleased to consider, that by copying a good one, they are become very
bad ones, they would not appear so ridiculous on the Stage for their
Affectation in presuming to sing the _Airs_ of the Person they copy,
with the same Graces. In this great Error, (if it does not proceed from
their Masters) they seem to be governed by Instinct, like the inferior
Creatures, rather than by Reason; for That would shew them, that we may
arrive at Applause by different ways, and past Examples, as well as one
at this present make us sensible, that two Women would not be equally
eminent if the one copy'd the other.[97]

§ 36. If the Complaisance, which is due to the fair Sex, does not excuse
the Abuse of copying when it proves prejudicial to the Profession, what
ought one then to say of those Men, who, instead of inventing, not only
copy others of their own Sex, but also Women. Foolish and
shameful!----Supposing an Impossibility, _viz._ that a Singer has
arrived at copying in such a Manner as not to be distinguished from the
Original, should he attribute to himself a Merit which does not belong
to him, and dress himself out in the Habits of another without being
afraid of being stripp'd of them?

§ 37. He, that rightly knows how to copy in Musick, takes nothing but
the Design; because that Ornament, which we admire when _natural_,
immediately loses its Beauty when _artificial_.

§38. The most admired Graces of a Professor ought only to be imitated,
and not copied; on Condition also, that it does not bear not even so
much as a Shadow of Resemblance of the Original; otherwise, instead of a
beautiful Imitation, it will become a despicable Copy.

§ 39. I cannot decide, which of the two deserves most to be despised,
one who cannot imitate a good Singer without _Caricatura's_, or He that
cannot imitate any well but bad ones.

§ 40. If many Singers knew, that a bad Imitation is a contagious Evil,
to which one who studies is not liable, the World would not be reduc'd
to the Misfortune of seeing in a _Carnaval_ but one Theatre provided
with eminent Performers, without Hopes of[98] an approaching Remedy.
Let them take it for their Pains. Let the World learn to applaud Merit;
and (not to use a more harsh Expression) be less complaisant to Faults.

§ 41. Whoever does not know how to steal the Time in Singing, knows not
how to Compose, nor to Accompany himself, and is destitute of the best
Taste and greatest Knowledge.[99]

§ 42. The stealing of Time, in the _Pathetick_, is an honourable Theft
in one that sings better than others, provided he makes a Restitution
with Ingenuity.

§ 43. An Exercise, no less necessary than this, is That of agreeably
_putting forth_ of the Voice, without which all Application is vain.
Whosoever pretends to obtain it, must hearken more to the Dictates of
the Heart, than to those of Art.

§ 44. Oh! how great a Master is the Heart! Confess it, my beloved
Singers, and gratefully own, that you would not have arrived at the
highest Rank of the Profession if you had not been its Scholars; own,
that in a few Lessons from it, you learned the most beautiful
Expressions, the most refin'd Taste, the most noble Action, and the most
exquisite Graces: Own, (though it be hardly credible) that the Heart
corrects the Defects of Nature, since it softens a Voice that's harsh,
betters an indifferent one, and perfects a good one: Own, when the Heart
sings you cannot dissemble, nor has Truth a greater Power of persuading:
And, lastly, do you convince the World, (what is not in my Power to do)
that from the Heart alone you have learn'd that _Je ne sçai quoy_, that
pleasing Charm, that so subtily passes from Vein to Vein, and makes its
way to the very Soul.

§ 45. Though the way to the Heart is long and rugged, and known but to
few, a studious Application will, notwithstanding, master all Obstacles.

§ 46. The best Singer in the World continues to study, and persists in
it as much to maintain his Reputation, as he did to acquire it.

§ 47. To arrive at that glorious End, every body knows that there is no
other Means than Study; but That does not suffice; it is also necessary
to know in what Manner, and with whose Assistance, we must pursue our

§ 48.[100] There are now-a-days as many Masters as there are Professors
of Musick in any Kind; every one of them teaches, I don't mean the first
Rudiments only, (That would be an Affront to them;) I am now speaking of
those who take upon them the part of a Legislator in the most finished
part in Singing; and should we then wonder that the good Taste is near
lost, and that the Profession is going to Ruin? So mischievous a
Pretension prevails not only among those, who can barely be said to
sing, but among the meanest instrumental Performers; who, though they
never sung, nor know how to sing, pretend not only to teach, but to
perfect, and find some that are weak enough to be imposed on. But, what
is more, the instrumental Performers of some Ability imagine that the
beautiful Graces and Flourishes, with their nimble Fingers, will have
the same Effect when executed with the Voice; but it will not do[101]. I
should be the first to condemn the magisterial Liberty I take, were it
meant to give Offence to such Singers and instrumental Performers of
Worth, who know how to sing, perform, and instruct; but my Correction
aims no farther than to the Petulancy of those that have no Capacity,
with these few Words, _Age quod agis_; which (for those who do not
understand _Latin_) is as much as to say,-----Do You mind your _Sol-fa_;
and You, your Instrument.

§ 49. If sometimes it does happen, that an indifferent Master should
make an excellent Disciple, it is then incontestable, that the Gift of
Nature in the Student is superior to the Sufficiency of the Instructor:
and it is not to be wonder'd at, for, if from time to time, even great
Masters were not outdone, most of the finest Arts would have sunk before

§ 50. It may seem to many, that every perfect Singer must also be a
perfect Instructor, but it is not so; for his Qualifications (though
ever so great) are insufficient, if he cannot communicate his
Sentiments with Ease, and in a Method adapted to the Ability of the
Scholar; if he has not some Notion of Composition, and a manner of
instructing, which may seem rather an Entertainment than a Lesson; with
the happy Talent to shew the Ability of the Singer to Advantage, and
conceal his Imperfections; which are the principal and most necessary

§ 51. A Master, that is possessed of the abovementioned Qualifications,
is capable of Teaching; with them he will raise a Desire to study; will
correct Errors with a Reason; and by Examples incite a Taste to imitate

§ 52. He knows, that a Deficiency of Ornaments displeases as much as the
too great Abundance of them; that a Singer makes one languid and dull
with too little, and cloys one with too much; but, of the two, he will
dislike the former most, though it gives less Offence, the latter being
easier to be amended.

§ 53. He will have no Manner of Esteem for those who have no other
Graces than gradual _Divisions_[102]; and will tell you, Embellishments
of this Sort are only fit for Beginners.

§ 54. He will have as little Esteem for those who think to make their
Auditors faint away, with their Transition from the sharp Third to the

§ 55. He'll tell you, that a Singer is lazy, who on the Stage, from
Night to Night, teaches the Audience all his Songs; who, by hearing them
always without the least Variation, have no Difficulty to learn them by

§ 56. He will be affrighted at the Rashness of one that launches out,
with little Practice, and less Study; lest venturing too far, he should
be in great Danger of losing himself.

§ 57. He will not praise one that presumes to sing two Parts in three of
an Opera, promising himself never to be tiresome, as if that divine
Privilege of always pleasing were allowed him here below. Such a one
does not know the first Principle of musical Politicks; but Time will
teach it him. He, that sings little and well, sings very well.

§ 58. He will laugh at those who imagine to satisfy the Publick with the
Magnificence of their Habits, without reflecting, that Merit and
Ignorance are equally aggrandized by Pomp. The Singers, that have
nothing but the outward Appearance, pay that Debt to the Eyes, which
they owe to the Ears.

§ 59. He will nauseate the new-invented Stile of those who provoke the
innocent Notes with coarse Startings of the Voice. A disagreeable
Defect; however, being brought from[103] beyond the _Alps_, it passes
for a _modern_ Rarity.

§ 60. He will be astonished at this bewitched Age, in which so many are
paid so well for singing ill. The _Moderns_ would not be pleas'd to be
put in Mind, that, twenty Years ago, indifferent Singers had but mean
Parts allotted them, even in the second-rate Theatres; whereas at
present, those, who are taught like Parrots, heap up Treasures beyond
what the Singers of the first Degree then did.[104]

§ 61. He will condemn the Ignorance of the Men most, they being more
obliged to study than the Women.

§ 62. He will not bear with one who imitates the Women, even in
sacrificing the Time, in order to acquire the Title of _Modern_.

§ 63. He will marvel at that[105] Singer, who, having a good Knowledge
of Time, yet does not make use of it, for want of having apply'd himself
to the Study of Composition, or to accompany himself. His Mistake makes
him think that, to be eminent, it suffices to sing at Sight; and does
not perceive that the greatest Difficulty, and the whole Beauty of the
Profession consists in what he is ignorant of; he wants that Art which
teaches to anticipate the Time, knowing where to lose it again; and,
which is still more charming, to know how to lose it, in order to
recover it again; which are the Advantages of such as understand
Composition, and have the best Taste.

§ 64. He will be displeased at the Presumption of a Singer who gets the
Words of the most wanton _Airs_ of the Theatre rendered into _Latin_,
that he may sing them with Applause in the[106] Church; as if there
were no Manner of Difference between the Stile of the one and the other;
and, as if the Scraps of the Stage were fit to offer to the Deity.

§ 65. What will he not say of him who has found out the prodigious Art
of Singing like a _Cricket_? Who could have ever imagin'd, before the
Introduction of the _Mode_, that ten or a dozen Quavers in a Row could
be trundled along one after the other, with a Sort of _Tremor_, of the
Voice, which for some time past has gone under the name of _Mordente

§ 66. He will have a still greater Detestation for the Invention of
Laughing in Singing, or that screaming like a Hen when she is laying her
Egg. Will there not be some other little Animal worth their Imitation,
in order to make the Profession more and more ridiculous?

§ 67. He will disapprove the malicious Custom of a Singer in Repute,
who talks and laughs on the Stage with his Companions, to induce the
Publick to believe that such a Singer, who appears the first time on the
Stage, does not deserve his Attention; when in reality he is afraid of,
or envies, his gaining Applause.

§ 68. He cannot endure the Vanity of that Singer, who, full of himself
from the little he has learned, is so taken with his own Performance,
that he seems falling into an Extasy; pretending to impose Silence and
create Wonder, as if his first Note said to the Audience, _Hear and
Die_: But they, unwilling to die, chuse not to hear him, talk loud, and
perhaps not much to his Advantage. At his second Air the Noise
encreases, and still encreasing, he looks upon it as a manifest Injury
done him; and, instead of correcting his conceited Pride by Study, he
curses the deprav'd Taste of that Nation that does not esteem him,
menacing never to return again; and thus the vain Wretch comforts

§ 69. He will laugh at one who will not act unless he has the Choice of
the Drama, and a Composer to his liking; with this additional Condition,
not to sing in Company with such a Man, or without such a Woman.

§ 70. With the like Derision, he will observe some others, who with an
Humility worse than Pride, go from one Box to another, gathering Praises
from the most illustrious Persons, under a Pretence of a most profound
Obsequiousness, and become in every Representation more and more
familiar. Humility and Modesty are most beautiful Virtues; but if they
are not accompanied with a little Decorum, they have some Resemblance to

§ 71. He will have no great Opinion of one, who is not satisfied with
his Part, and never learns it; of one, who never sings in an Opera
without thrusting in one _Air_ which he always carries in his Pocket; of
one, who bribes the Composer to give him an _Air_ that was intended for
another; of one, who takes Pains about Trifles, and neglects Things of
Importance; of one, who, by procuring undeserved Recommendations, makes
himself and his Patron ridiculous; of one, who does not sustain his
Voice, out of Aversion to the _Pathetick_; of one, who gallops to follow
the _Mode_; and of all the bad Singers, who, not knowing what's good,
court the _Mode_ to learn its Defects.

§ 72. To sum up all, he will call none a Singer of Merit, but him who is
correct; and who executes with a Variety of Graces of his own, which his
Skill inspires him with unpremeditately; knowing, that a Professor of
Eminence cannot, if he would, continually repeat an _Air_ with the
self-same _Passages_ and _Graces_. He who sings premeditately, shews he
has learn'd his Lesson at Home.

§ 73. After having corrected several other Abuses and Defects, to the
Advantage of the Singer, he will return with stronger Reasons to
persuade him to have Recourse to the fundamental Rules, which will
teach him to proceed on the Bass from one Interval to another, with sure
Steps, and without Danger of erring. If then the Singer should say, Sir,
you trouble yourself in vain; for the bare Knowledge of the Errors is
not sufficient; I have need of other Help than Words, and I know not
where to find it, since it seems that there is at present such a
Scarcity of good Examples in _Italy_: Then, shrugging his Shoulders, he
will answer him, rather with Sighs than Words; that he must endeavour to
learn of the best Singers that there are; particularly by observing two
of the fair Sex,[108] of a Merit superior to all Praise; who with equal
Force, in a different Stile, help to keep up the tottering Profession
from immediately falling into Ruin. The one is inimitable for a
privileg'd Gift of Singing, and for enchanting the World with a
prodigious Felicity in executing, and with a singular Brilliant (I know
not whether from Nature or Art) which pleases to Excess. The delightful,
soothing _Cantabile_ of the other, joined with the Sweetness of a fine
Voice, a perfect Intonation, Strictness of Time, and the rarest
Productions of a Genius, are Qualifications as particular and uncommon,
as they are difficult to be imitated. The _Pathetick_ of the one, and
the _Allegro_ of the other, are the Qualities the most to be admired
respectively in each of them. What a beautiful Mixture would it be, if
the Excellence of these two angelick Creatures could be united in one
single Person! But let us not lose Sight of the Master.

§ 74. He will also convince the Scholar, that the Artifice of a
Professor is never more pleasing, than when he deceives the Audience
with agreeable Surprizes; for which reason he will advise him to have
Recourse to a seeming Plainness, as if he aim'd at nothing else.

§ 75. But when the Audience is in no farther Expectation, and (as I may
say) grows indolent, he will direct him to rouse them that Instant with
a _Grace_.

§ 76. When they are again awake, he will direct him to return to his
feigned Simplicity, though it will no more be in his power to delude
those that hear him, for with an impatient Curiosity they already expect
a second, and so on.

§ 77. He will give him ample Instructions concerning _Graces_ of all
sorts, and furnish him with Rules and profitable Documents.

§ 78. Here should I inveigh (though I could not enough) against the
Treachery of my Memory, that has not preserved, as it ought, all those
peculiar Excellencies which a great Man did once communicate to me,
concerning _Passages_ and _Graces_; and to my great Sorrow, and perhaps
to the Loss of others, it will not serve me to publish any more than
these few poor Remains, the Impressions of which are still left, and
which I am now going to mention.


_Of_ Passages _or_ Graces.

_Passages_ or _Graces_ being the principal Ornaments in Singing, and the
most favourite Delight of the Judicious, it is proper that the Singer be
very attentive to learn this Art.

§ 2. Therefore, let him know, that there are five principal
Qualifications, which being united, will bring him to admirable
Perfection, _viz._ _Judgment_, _Invention_, _Time_, _Art_, and _Taste_.

§ 3. There are likewise five subaltern Embellishments _viz._ the
_Appoggiatura_, the _Shake_, the _putting forth of the Voice_, the
_Gliding_, and _Dragging_.

_The principal Qualifications teach,_

§ 4. That the _Passages_ and _Graces_ cannot be form'd but from a
profound _Judgment_.

§ 5. That they are produced by a singular and beautiful _Invention_,
remote from all that is vulgar and common.

§ 6. That, being govern'd by the rigorous, but necessary, Precepts of
_Time_, they never transgress its regulated Measure, without losing
their own Merit.

§ 7. That, being guided by the most refined _Art_ on the Bass, they may
There (and no where else) find their Center; there to sport with
Delight, and unexpectedly to charm.

§ 8. That, it is owing to an exquisite _Taste_, that they are executed
with that sweet _putting forth_ of the Voice, which is so enchanting.

_From the accessory Qualities is learned,_

§ 9. That the _Graces_ or _Passages_ be easy in appearance, thereby to
give universal Delight.

§ 10. That in effect They be difficult that thereby the Art of the
Inventor be the more admired.

§ 11. That They be performed with an equal regard to the Expression of
the Words, and the Beauty of the Art.

§ 12. That They be _gliding_ or _dragging_ in the _Pathetick_, for They
have a better Effect than those that are mark'd.

§ 13. That They do not appear studied, in order to be the more regarded.

§ 14. That They be softened with the _Piano_ in the _Pathetick_, which
will make them more affecting.

§ 15. That in the _Allegro_ They be sometimes accompanied with the
_Forte_ and the _Piano_, so as to make a sort of _Chiaro Scuro_.

§ 16. That They be confin'd to a _Group_ of a few Notes, which are more
pleasing than those which are too numerous.

§ 17. That in a slow _Time_, there may be a greater Number of them (if
the Bass allows it) with an Obligation upon the Singer to keep to the
Point propos'd, that his Capacity be made more conspicuous.

§ 18. That They be properly introduc'd, for in a wrong Place They

§ 19. That They come not too close together, in order to keep them

§ 20. That They should proceed rather from the Heart than from the
Voice, in order to make their way to the Heart more easily.

§ 21. That They be not made on the second or fourth Vowel, when closely
pronounc'd, and much less on the third and fifth.

§ 22. That They be not copied, if you would not have them appear

§ 23. That They be stol'n on the _Time_, to captivate the Soul.

§ 24. That They never be repeated in the same place, particularly in
_Pathetick Airs_, for there they are the most taken Notice of by the

§ 25. And, above all, let them be improv'd; by no means let them lose in
the Repetition.

§ 26. Many Professors are of Opinion, that in _Graces_ there is no room
for the marked _Divisions_, unless mix'd with some of the aforesaid
Embellishments or some other agreable Accidents.

§ 27. But it is now time that we speak of the _Dragging_, that, if the
_Pathetick_ should once return again into the World, a Singer might be
able to understand it. The Explanation would be easier understood by
Notes of Musick than by Words, if the Printer was not under great
Difficulty to print a few Notes; notwithstanding which, I'll endeavour,
the best I can, to make myself understood.

§ 28. When on an even and regular Movement of a Bass, which proceeds
slowly, a Singer begins with a high Note, dragging it gently down to a
low one, with the _Forte_ and _Piano_, almost gradually, with
Inequality of Motion, that is to say, stopping a little more on some
Notes in the Middle, than on those that begin or end the _Strascino_ or
_Dragg_.[109] Every good musician takes it for granted, that in the Art
of Singing there is no Invention superior, or Execution more apt to
touch the Heart than this, provided however it be done with Judgment,
and with putting forth of the Voice in a just _Time_ on the Bass.
Whosoever has most Notes at Command, has the greater Advantage; because
this pleasing Ornament is so much the more to be admired, by how much
the greater the Fall is. Perform'd by an excellent _Soprano_, that makes
use of it but seldom, it becomes a Prodigy; but as much as it pleases
descending, no less would it displease ascending.

§ 29. Mind this, O my beloved Singers! For it is to You only, who are
inclined to study, that I have addressed myself. This was the Doctrine
of the School of those Professors, whom, by way of Reproach, some
mistaken Persons call _Ancients_. Observe carefully its Rules, examine
strictly its Precepts, and, if not blinded by Prejudice, you will see
that this School ought to sing in Tune, to put forth the Voice, to make
the Words understood, to express, to use proper Gesture, to perform in
_Time_, to vary on its Movement, to compose, and to study the
_Pathetick_, in which alone Taste and Judgment triumph. Confront this
School with yours, and if its Precepts should not be sufficient to
instruct you, learn what's wanting from the _Modern_.

§ 30. But if these my Exhortations, proceeding from my Zeal, have no
Weight with you, as the Advice of Inferiors is seldom regarded, allow at
least, that whoever has the Faculty of Thinking, may once in sixty Years
think right. And if you think, that I have been too partial to the Times
past, then would I persuade you, (if you have not a shaking Hand) to
weigh in a just Ballance your most renowned Singers; who you take to be
_Moderns_ (but are not so, except in their _Cadences_;) and having
undeceived yourselves, you will perceive in them, that instead of
Affectations, Abuses, and Errors, They sing according to those powerful
Lessons that give Delight to the Soul, and whose Perfections have made
Impressions on me, and which I shall always remember with the greatest
Pleasure. Do but consult them, as I have done, and they will truly and
freely tell you, That They sell their Jewels where they are understood;
That the Singers of Eminence are not of the _Mode_, and that at present
there are many bad Singers.

§ 31. True it is, that there are some, tho' few, very good Singers, who,
when the Vehemence of their youthful fire is abated, will by their
Examples do Justice to their delightful Profession, in keeping up the
Splendor of it, and will leave to Posterity a lasting and glorious Fame
of their Performances. I point them out to you, that, if you find
yourselves in an Error, you may not want the Means to correct it, nor
an Oracle to apply to whenever you have occasion. From whence I have
good Grounds to hope, that the true Taste in Singing will last to the
End of the World.

§ 32. Whoever comprehends what has been demonstrated to him, in these
and many other Observations, will need no farther Incitement to study.
Stirred up by his own Desire, he will fly to his beloved Instrument,
from which, by continued Application, he will find he has no Reason to
sit down satisfied with what he has learn'd before. He will make new
Discoveries, inventing new Graces, from whence after comparing them well
together, he will chuse the best, and will make use of them as long as
he thinks them so; but, going on in refining, he will find others more
deserving his Esteem. To conclude, from these he will proceed on to an
almost infinite Number of _Graces_, by the means whereof his Mind will
be so opened, that the most hidden Treasures of the Art, and most
remote from his Imagination, will voluntarily present themselves; so
that, unless Pride blinds him, or Study becomes tiresome to him, or his
Memory fails him, he will increase his Store of Embellishments in a
Stile which will be entirely his own: The principal Aim of one that
strives to gain the highest Applause.

§ 33. Finally, O ye young Singers, hearken to me for your Profit and
Advantage. The Abuses, the Defects, and the Errors divulged by me in
these Observations, (which in Justice ought not to be charg'd on the
_Modern_ Stile) were once almost all Faults I myself was guilty of; and
in the Flower of my Youth, when I thought myself to be a great Man, it
was not easy for me to discover them. But, in a more mature Age, the
slow Undeceit comes too late. I know I have sung ill, and would I have
not writ worse! but since I have suffered by my Ignorance, let it at
least serve for a Warning to amend those who wish to sing well. He that
studies, let him imitate the ingenious Bee, that sucks its Honey from
the most grateful Flowers. From those called _Ancients_, and those
supposed _Moderns_, (as I have said) much may be learn'd; it is enough to
find out the Flower, and know how to distill, and draw the Essence from

§ 34. The most cordial, and not less profitable Advice, I can give you,
is the following:

§ 35. Remember what has been wisely observed, that Mediocrity of Merit
can but for a short time eclipse the true Sublime, which, how old soever
it grows, can never die.

§ 36. Abhor the Example of those who hate Correction; for like Lightning
to those who walk in the Dark, tho' it frightens them, it gives them

§ 37. Learn from the Errors of others: O great Lesson! it costs little,
and instructs much. Of every one something is to be learned, and the
most Ignorant is sometimes the greatest Master.



Pl. I

Chap. 1.st

[Illustration: § 11 Page 17 Nº. 1]

[Illustration: Page 17 Nº. 2]

[Illustration: § 12 Page 18 Nº. 3 Exachords Transposed a Fifth lower]

[Illustration: § 29 Page 28 Nº. 4 Messa di Voce]

Pl. II

Chap. 2d.

[Illustration: § 2 Page 32 Nº. 1 Semitones Major Semitones Minor]

[Illustration: § 3 Page 32 & 33 Nº. 2]

[Illustration: § 4 Page 34 Nº. 3]

[Illustration: § 5 Page 34 Nº. 4]

[Illustration: § 6 Page 34 Nº. 5]

[Illustration: § 7 Page 35 Nº. 6]


[Illustration: § 8 Page 35 Nº. 7.]

[Illustration: § 9 Page 35 Nº. 8.]

[Illustration: § 14 Page 37 Nº. 9.]

[Illustration: Page 37 Nº. 10.]

[Illustration: Page 37 Nº. 11.]

[Illustration: Page 37 Nº. 12.]

[Illustration: Page 37 Nº. 13.]

[Illustration: §15 Page 38 Nº. 14.]

[Illustration: Page 38 Nº. 15. per Messe di Voce]

Pl. IV

Chap. 3d.

[Illustration: § 6 Page 43 Nº. 1.]

[Illustration: § 7 Page 43 Nº. 2.]

[Illustration: Flat Key]

[Illustration: sharp key Page 43 Nº. 3.]

[Illustration: § 8 Page 45 Nº. 4.]

[Illustration: § 9 Page 45 Nº. 5.]

[Illustration: § 10 Page 45 Nº. 6.]

[Illustration: § 11 Page 46 Nº. 7.]

[Illustration: § 12 Page 46 Nº. 8.]

[Illustration: § 13 Page 47 Nº. 9.]

Chap 4th

[Illustration: § 29 Page 62 Nº. 10. Bad]

Chap. 5th

[Illustration: § 13 Page 74 Nº. 1. affann:, Nº. 2. affan-ni]

Chap 8th

[Illustration: § 1 Page 126 Nº. 3. Superior Cadence

La Sol Fa

Inferior Cadence

Fa me Fa]

[Illustration: § 3 Page 127

Nº. 4. Nº. 5.

nel fondo]

[Illustration: § 7 Page 132 Nº. 6., not Resolved Nº. 7 Resolved]

[Illustration: § 9 Page 134 Nº. 8 Confond[ve]-ro am[ve]-rò]


[1] When Arts and Sciences were retrieving from the Barbarism in which
they were buried, Musick chiefly took its Rise in _Flanders_, and the
Composers of Musick of that Nation were dispersed all over _Europe_, to
the Improvement of others. In _Italy_ there arose from that School,
among several others, _P. Alis. Palestrina_, a Genius so extraordinary,
that he is looked upon as the _Raphael_ among the Musicians. He lived in
Pope _Leo_ the Tenth's Time; and no Musick, that we know of, is
performed at the Pope's Chapel, to this Day, but of his Composition,
except the famous _Miserere_ of _Allegri_, who liv'd a little time after

[2] Our Author seems to be a little too partial in Favour of the Singer,
all momentary Productions being the same; though it must be allowed,
that by reason of the Expression of the Words, any Error in Singing will
be more capital, than if the same were committed on an Instrument.

[3] The Author directs this for the Instruction of a _Soprano_, or a
treble Voice, because Youth possesses that Voice mostly, and that is the
Age when they should begin to study Musick. It may not be amiss to
mention, that the _Soprano_ is most apt to perform the Things required
by your Author, and that every different Scale of Voice has something
peculiarly relative to its Kind as its own Property; for a _Soprano_ has
generally most Volubility, and becomes it best; and also equally the
Pathetick. The _Contr'Alto_ more of the Pathetick than the Volubility;
the _Tenor_ less of the Pathetick, but more of the Volubility than the
_Contr'Alto_, though not so much as the _Soprano_. The _Bass_, in
general more pompous than any, but should not be so boisterous as now
too often practised.

[4] By this section, and mostly throughout the Work, one sees, the
Author calculated this Treatise chiefly for the Advantage of Professors
of Musick; but, notwithstanding, it appears in several Places, that his
Intention is, that all Lovers of Musick should also be the better for

[5] _The Explanation of_ Sic vos non vobis, _&c._, _for the Satisfaction
of those who do not perfectly remember it_.

_Virgil_ having composed a Distich, containing the Praise of _Augustus_,
and a Compliment on his good Fortune, fix'd it on the Palace Gate,
without any Name subscrib'd. _Augustus_, making strict Enquiry after the
Author, and _Virgil's_ Modesty not suffering him to own the Verses, one
_Bathillus_, a Poet of a mean Reputation, owned himself the Author, and
received Honour and Reward from the Emperor. _Virgil_, somewhat
scandalized at this Accident, fixed an Hemistich in these Words (_Sic
vos non vobis_) four times repeated under the other, where he had placed
the former Verses. The Emperor was as diligent to have these Hemistichs
filled up, but no-body appearing to do it, at length _Virgil_ supplied
them thus:

    _Hos ego Versiculos feci, tulit alter Honores;
      Sic vos non vobis nidificatis aves.
      Sic vos non vobis vellera fertis oves.
      Sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes.
      Sic vos non vobis fertis aratra boves._

i.e. These Verses I made, but another has taken the Applause of them.

    _So ye Birds build not your Nests
        For yourselves.
    So ye Sheep bear not your Wool
        For yourselves.
    So ye Bees make not your Honey
        For yourselves.
    So ye Oxen submit to the Plow
        Not for yourselves_.

Upon this Discovery, _Bathillus_ became the Ridicule of _Rome_, and
_Virgil_ acquired a double Reputation.

The Distich, which _Bathillus_ claim'd for his, was this:

  _Nocte plut totâ, redeunt spectacula manè,
  Divisum Imperium cum Jove Cæsar habet._

i.e. It rain'd all Night; in the Morning the publick Shews return:
_Jove_ and _Cæsar_ divide the Rule of the World. The Compliment is, that
_Cæsar_ designing to exhibit Sports to the People, though the preceding
Night was rainy and unpromising, yet such Weather returned with the
Morning, as did not disappoint the Solemnity.

[6] _Alla Capella_, Church-Musick where the Flats and Sharps are not

[7] Seven Cliffs necessary to be known. Pl. I. Numb. 1. By the Help of
these Cliffs any Line or Space may be what Note you please. Pl. I. Numb.

[8] It is necessary to understand the _Sol-Fa_-ing, and its Rules, which
shew where the two Semitones lie in each Octave, Pl. I. Numb. 3. Where
Flats or Sharps are marked at the Cliff, the Rule is, if one Flat, That
is _Fa_; if more Flats, the last. If one Sharp, That is _Mi_; if more
Sharps, the last.

[9] His meaning is, that the _French_ are not in the right.

[10] See § 2, and the following, in Chap. III. where the Difficulty of
the _Semitone Major_ and _Minor_ are cleared.

[11] _Voce di Petto_ is a full Voice, which comes from the Breast by
Strength, and is the most sonorous and expressive. _Voce di Testa_ comes
more from the Throat, than from the Breast, and is capable of more
Volubility. _Falsetto_ is a feigned Voice, which is entirely formed in
the Throat, has more Volubility than any, but of no Substance.

[12] _Register_; a Term taken from the different Stops of an Organ.

[13] The Pitch of _Lombardy_ or _Venice_, is something more than half a
Tone higher than at _Rome_.

[14] A _Messa di Voce_ is the holding out and swelling a Note. Vide Pl.
I. Numb. 4. This being a Term of Art, it is necessary to use it, as well
as _Piano_ for soft, and _Forte_ for loud. _N.B._ Our Author recommends
here to use any Grace sparingly, which he does in several other Places,
and with Reason; for the finest Grace too often repeated grows tiresome.

[15] See for _Appoggiatura_ in the next Chapter.

[16] This Chapter contains some Enquiries into Matters of Curiosity, and
demands a little Attention. The Reader therefore is desired to postpone
it to the last.

[17] _Appoggiatura_ is a Word to which the _English_ Language has not an
Equivalent; it is a Note added by the Singer, for the arriving more
gracefully to the following Note, either in rising or falling, as is
shewn by the Examples in Notes of Musick, Pl. II. Numb. 2. The _French_
express it by two different Terms, _Port de Voix_ and _Appuyer_; as the
_English_ do by a _Prepare_ and a _Lead_. The Word _Appoggiatura_ is
derived from _Appoggiare_ to lean on. In this Sense, you lean on the
first to arrive at the Note intended, rising or falling; and you dwell
longer on the Preparation, than the Note for which the Preparation is
made, and according to the Value of the Note. The same in a Preparation
to a Shake, or a Beat from the Note below. No _Appoggiatura_ can be made
at the Beginning of a Piece; there must be a Note preceding, from whence
it leads.

[18] Here begins the Examination of the _Semitones Major and Minor_,
which he promised in § 15. Ch. 1. It may be of Satisfaction to the
Studious, to set this Matter at once in a true Light; by which our
Author's Doubts will be cleared, and his Reasoning the easier
understood. A _Semitone Major_ changes Name, Line, and Space: _A
Semitone_ Minor changes neither. Pl. II. Numb. 1. To a _Semitone Major_
one can go with a Rise or _a_ Fall distinctly; to a _Semitone Minor_ one
cannot _N.B._ From a _Tone Minor_ the _Appoggiatura_ is better and
easier than from a _Tone Major_.

[19] These are all _Tones Major_ and _Minor_, and _Semitones Major_. Pl.
II. Numb. 2.

[20] Because they are _Semitones Major_. Pl. II. Numb. 3.

[21] Because they are _Semitones Major_. Pl. II. Numb. 4.

[22] Because they are all _Semitones Minor_, which may be known by the
abovementioned Rule, of their not changing Name, Line, nor Space. Pl.
II. Numb. 5. and which makes it manifest, that a _Semitone Minor_ cannot
bear an _Appoggiatura_.

[23] For the same Reason, these being _Semitones Minor_. Pl. II. Numb.

[24] Because one is a _Semitone Major_, and the other a _Semitone
Minor_. Pl. III. Numb. 7.

[25] Because they are _Semitones Minor_. Pl. III, Numb. 8.

[26] The _Tone_, or _Mood_, you are in, will determine which is a _Tone
Major_ or _Minor_; for if you change the _Mood_ or _Tone_, that which
was the _Tone Major_ may become the _Tone Minor_, and so _Vice Versâ_:
Therefore these two Examples from _C_ to _D_, and from _F_ to _G_, do
not hold true.

[27] His Perplexity comes from a wrong Notion, in not distinguishing
those two _Semitones_.

[28] All Intervals, rising with an _Appoggiatura_, arise to the Note
with a sort of _Beat_, more or less: and the same, descending, arrive to
the Note with a sort of _Shake_, more or less. Pl. III. Numb. 9, 10. One
cannot agreeably ascend or descend the Interval of a third _Major_ or
_Minor_, Pl. III. Numb 11. But gradually very well. Pl. III. Numb. 12.
Examples of false or deceitful Intervals. Pl. III. Numb. 13.

[29] So in all Cases where the Interval is deceitful. Pl. III. Numb. 14.
With a _Messa di Voce_. Pl. III. Numb. 15. See for _Messa di Voce_,
Chap. I. § 29, and its Note.

[30] In all the modern _Italian_ Compositions the _Appoggiatura's_ are
mark'd, supposing the Singers to be ignorant where to place them. The
_French_ use them for their Lessons on the _Harpsichord_, &c., but
seldom for the Voice.

[31] See for the several Examples of the _Shakes_, Pl. IV.

[32] The first _Shake_ of a _Tone_, Pl. IV. Numb. 1.

[33] See for the Meaning of superior and inferior _Cadences_, Chap.
VIII. § 1. Pl. V. Numb. 3. _N.B._ Prom the inferior or lower Cadences,
the first, or full, _Tone Shake_, is not always excluded; for in a sharp
Key it is always a _Tone_, and in a flat Key a _Semitone_, Pl. IV. Numb.

[34] The second _Shake_ of a _Semitone Major_, Pl. IV. Numb. 2.

[35] The third the short _Shake_. Pl. IV. Numb. 4.

[36] The fourth the rising _Shake_. Pl. IV. Numb. 5.

[37] The fifth the descending _Shake_. Pl. IV. Numb. 6.

[38] The sixth the slow _Shake_. Pl. IV. Numb. 7.

[39] The seventh the redoubled _Shake_. Pl. IV. Numb. 8.

[40] The eighth the _Trillo-Mordente_, or _Shake_ with a _Beat_. Pl. IV.
Numb. 9.

[41] _Shakes_ are generally proper from preceding Notes descending, but
not ascending, except on particular Occasions. Never too many, or too
near one another; but very bad to begin with them, which is too
frequently done. The using so often _Beats_, _Shakes_, and _Prepares_,
is owing to Lessons on the Lute, Harpsichord, and other Instruments,
whose Sounds discontinue, and therefore have Need of this Help.

[42] The _mark'd Divisions_ should be something like the _Staccato_ on
the Violin, but not too much; against which a Caution will presently be

[43] The _Gliding Notes_ are like several Notes in one Stroke of the Bow
on the Violin.

[44] The pronouncing _Eror_ instead of _Error_; or _Dally_ instead of
_Daly_. The not distinguishing; the double Consonants from the single,
is an Error but too common at present.

[45] See for the _syncopated_, _Ligatura_, or _binding_ Notes, Pl. IV.
Numb. 10.

[46] _Madrigals_ are Pieces in several Parts; the last in Practice were
about threescore Years ago; then the Opera's began to be in Vogue, and
good Musick and the Knowledge of it began to decline.

[47] _Musica di Camera._ Chamber, or private, Musick; where the
Multitude is not courted for Applause, but only the true Judges; and
consists chiefly in _Cantata's_, _Duetto's_, &c. In the Recitative of
_Cantata's_, our Author excelled in a singular Manner for the pathetick
Expression of the Words.

[48] _Cortona_ liv'd above forty Years ago. _Balarini_, in Service at
the Court of _Vienna_, much in Favour with the Emperor _Joseph_, who
made him a Baron.

[49] See Broken Cadences, Pl. V. Numb. 1.

----Final Cadences, Pl. V. Numb. 2.

[50] _Motets_, or Anthems.

[51] The Proverb is, _Lingua_ Toscana _in bocca_ Romana.--This regards
the different Dialects, in _Italy_; as _Neapolitan_, _Venetian_, _&c._
the same, in Comparison, _London_ to _York_, or _Somersetshire_.

[52] The Church-Musick in _Italy_ is all in _Latin_, except
_Oratorio's_, which are Entertainments in their Churches. It is
therefore necessary to have some Notion of the _Latin_ Tongue.

[53] The first Caution against imitating injudiciously the Instrumental
with the Voice.

[54] The _Italians_ have a Saying, _Voce di Compositore_, to denote a
bad or an indifferent Voice.

[55] _Cantabile_, the Tender, Passionate, Pathetick; more Singing than
_Allegro_, which is Lively, Brisk, Gay, and more in the executive Way.

[56] Suppose the first Part expressed Anger, and the second relented,
and was to express Pity or Compassion, he must be angry again in the _Da
Capo_. This often happens, and is very ridiculous if not done to a real
Purpose, and that the Subject and Poetry require it.

[57] It is supposed, the Scholar is arrived to the Capacity of knowing
Harmony and Counterpoint.

[58] The general dividing of _Airs_ described, to which the Author often

[59] With due Deference to our Author, it may be feared, that the
Affectation of Singing with Variety has conduced very much to the
introducing a bad Taste.

[60] Continuation of the general dividing _Airs_ in § 4. The End of this
Section is a seasonable Corrective of the Rule prescribed in the
foregoing fifth Section.

[61] _Rivani_, called _Ciecolino_, must have written some Treatise on
Time, which is not come to us, therefore no further Account can be given
of him.

[62] _Pistochi_ was very famous above fifty Years ago, and refined the
Manner of singing in _Italy_, which was then a little crude. His Merit
in this is acknowledged by all his Countrymen, contradicted by none.
Briefly, what is recounted of him, is, that when he first appeared to
the World, and a Youth, he had a very fine treble Voice, admired and
encouraged universally, but by a dissolute Life lost it, and his
Fortune. Being reduced to the utmost Misery, he entered into the Service
of a Composer, as a Copyist, where he made use of the Opportunity of
learning the Rules of Composition, and became a good Proficient. After
some Years, he recovered a little Glimpse of Voice, which by Time and
Practice turned into a fine _Contr'Alto_. Having Experience on his Side,
he took Care of it, and as Encouragement came again, he took the
Opportunity of travelling all _Europe_ over, where hearing the different
Manners and Tastes, he appropriated them to himself, and formed that
agreeable Mixture, which he produced in _Italy_, where he was imitated
and admired. He at last past many Years, when in an affluent Fortune, at
the Court of _Anspach_, where he had a Stipend, and lived an agreeable
easy Life; and at last retired to a Convent in _Italy_. It has been
remark'd, that though several of his Disciples shewed the Improvement
they had from him, yet others made an ill use of it, having not a little
contributed to the Introduction of the _modern_ Taste.

[63] _Sifacio_, famous beyond any, for the most singular Beauty of his
Voice. His Manner of Singing was remarkably plain, consisting
particularly in the _Messa di Voce_, the putting forth his Voice, and
the Expression.

There is an _Italian_ Saying, that an hundred Perfections are required
in an excellent Singer, and he that hath a fine Voice has ninety-nine of

It is also certain, that as much as is allotted to Volubility and
Tricks, so much is the Beauty of the Voice sacrificed; for the one
cannot be done without Prejudice to the other.

_Sifacio_ got that Name from his acting the Part of _Syphax_ the first
time he appeared on the Stage. He was in _England_ when famous, and
belonged to King _James_ the Second's Chapel. After which he returned to
_Italy_, continuing to be very much admired, but at last was waylaid,
and murthered for his Indiscretion.

[64] _Buzzolini_, the Name known, but no Particulars of him.

[65] _Litigino_, in the Service of the Emperor _Joseph_, and a Scholar
of _Pistochi_.

[66] _Signora Boschi_ was over in _England_ in Queen _Anne's_ Time; she
sung one Season in the Opera's, returned to _Venice_, and left her
Husband behind for several Years; he sung the Bass. She was a Mistress
of Musick, but her Voice was on the Decay when she came here.

[67] _Santini_, afterwards _Signora Lotti_. She was famous above forty
Years ago, and appeared at several Courts in _Germany_, where she was
sent for; then retired to _Venice_, where she married _Signor Lotti_,
Chapel-Master of St. _Mark_.

All these Singers, though they had a Talent particular to themselves,
they could, however, sing in several sorts of Stile; on the contrary,
one finds few, but what attempt nothing that is out of their Way. A
modern Singer of the good Stile, being asked, whether such and such
Compositions would not please at present in _Italy_? No doubt, said he,
they would, but where are the Singers that can sing them?

[68] Those tremendous _Airs_ are called in _Italian_, _un Aria di
Bravura_; which cannot perhaps be better translated into _English_, than
a _Hectoring_ Song.

[69] _Pierre Simone Agostini_ lived about threescore Years ago. Several
_Cantata's_ of his Composition are extant, some of them very difficult,
not from the Number of _Divisions_ in the vocal Part, but from the
Expression, and the surprising Incidents, and also the Execution of the
Basses. He seems to be the first that put Basses with so much Vivacity;
for _Charissimi_ before him composed with more Simplicity, tho' he is
reckoned to be one of the first, who enlivened his Musick in the
Movements of his Basses. Of _Pierre-Simone_ nothing more is known but
that he loved his Bottle, and when he had run up a Bill in some
favourite Place, he composed a _Cantata_, and sent it to a certain
Cardinal, who never failed sending him a fixed Sum, with which he paid
off his Score.

[70] _Alessandro Stradella_ lived about _Pier. Simone's_ Time, or very
little after. He was a most excellent Composer, superior in all Respects
to the foregoing, and endowed with distinguishing personal
Qualifications. It is reported, that his favourite Instrument was the
Harp, with which he sometimes accompanied his Voice, which was
agreeable. To hear such a Composer play on the Harp, must have been what
we can have no Notion of, by what we now hear. He ended his Life
fatally, for he was murthered. The Fact is thus related. Being at
_Genoa_, a Place where the Ladies are allowed to live with more Freedom
than in any other Part of _Italy_, _Stradella_ had the honour of being
admitted into a noble Family, the Lady whereof was a great Lover of
Musick. Her Brother, a wrong-headed Man, takes Umbrage at _Stradella's_
frequent Visits there, and forbids him going upon his Peril, which Order
_Stradella_ obeys. The Lady's Husband not having seen _Stradella_ at his
House for some Days, reproaches him with it. _Stradella_, for his
Excuse, tells him his Brother-in-Law's Order, which the Nobleman is
angry with, and charges him to continue his Visits as formerly; he had
been there scarce three or four Times, but one Evening going Home,
attended by a Servant and a Lanthorn, four Ruffians rushed out, the
Lady's Brother one among them, and with _Stiletts_ or Daggers stabb'd
him, and left him dead upon the Place. The people of _Genoa_ all in a
Rage fought for the Murtherer, who was forced to fly, his Quality not
being able to protect him. In another Account of him, this Particularity
is mentioned; that the Murderers pursued him to _Rome_, and on Enquiry
learned, that an _Oratorio_ of his Composition was to be performed that
Evening; they went with an Intent to execute their Design, but were so
moved with his Composition, that they rather chose to tell him his
Danger, advised him to depart, and be upon his Guard. But, being pursued
by others, he lost his Life. His Fate has been lamented by every Body,
especially by those who knew his Merit, and none have thought him
deserving so sad a Catastrophe.

[71] When _Tosi_ writ this, the Composers in Vogue were _Scarlatti_,
_Bononcini_, _Gasparini_, _Mancini_, &c. The last and modern Stile has
pretty well spread itself all over _Italy_, and begins to have a great
Tendency to the same beyond the _Alps_, as he calls it.

[72] The _Moods_, here spoken of, our Author has not well explained. The
Foundation he goes upon are the eight Church _Moods_. But his Meaning
and Complaint is, that commonly the Compositions are in _C_, or in _A_,
with their Transpositions, and that the others are not used or known.
But to particularise here what the _Moods_ are, and how to be used, is
impossible, for that Branch only would require a large Treatise by

[73] The _Airs_, sung in Unison with the Instruments, were invented in
the _Venetian_ Opera's, to please the _Barcaroles_, who are their
Watermen: and very often their Applause supports an Opera. The _Roman_
School always distinguished itself, and required Compositions of Study
and Care. How it is now at _Rome_ is doubtful; but we do not hear that
there are any _Corelli's_.

[74] _Maestro di Capella_, Master of the Chapel, the highest Title
belonging to a Master of Musick. Even now the Singers in _Italy_ give
the Composers of Opera's the Title of _Signior Maestro_ as a Mark of
their Submission.

[75] _Contrapunto_, Counterpoint, or Note against Note, the first
Rudiments of Composition.

[76] _Furlana_. A sort of Country Dance, or _Cheshire_-Round.

It is reported, that the Church-Musick in _Italy_, far from keeping that
Majesty it ought, is vastly abused the other way; and some Singers have
had the Impudence to have other Words put to favourite Opera _Airs_ and
sung them in Churches. This Abuse is not new, for St. _Augustine_
complains of it; and _Palestrina_ prevented in his Time Musick from
being banished the Churches.

[77] _Tono_, or _Mood_, and sometimes means the Key. Our Author in this
Section is fond of a Pun, which cannot well be translated. _Tono_ is
sometimes writ _Tuono_ and _Tuono_ signifies Thunder; therefore the
Ignorant answers, he knows no other _Tuono_ but that which is preceded
by Lightning.

[78] _Cadences_; or, principal Closes in _Airs_.

[79] For superior and inferior _Cadences_, see Pl. V. Numb. 3.

[80] Broken _Cadences_, see Example, Chap. V. § 13, and its Note.

[81] _Cadences_ that fall a Fifth, with and without Words, Pl. V, Numb.
4 and 5.

[82] By the _Final Cadences_ here mentioned, the first is at the End of
the first Part of the _Air_; the Second at the End of the second Part:
and the Third at the end of the first Part when repeated again, or at
the _Da Capo_, as it is always expressed in _Italian_.

[83] For the resolved and unresolved _Cadences_, see Pl. V. Numb. 6 and

[84] See for the Examples, Pl. V. Numb. 8.

[85] See Example, Pl. VI. Numb. 1.

[86] See Example, Pl. VI. Numb. 2.

_N.B._ An _Appoggiatura_ cannot be made on an unaccented Syllable.

[87] See for Examples, Pl. VI. Numb. 3.

[88] See for Examples, Pl. VI. Numb. 4.

[89] Some, after a tender and passionate _Air_, make a lively merry
_Cadence_; and, after a brisk _Air_, end it with one that is doleful.

[90] Though this Chapter regards Singers who make it their Profession,
and particularly those who sing on the Stage, yet there are many
excellent Precepts interspersed, that are of Use to Lovers of Musick.

[91] _Kyrie_, the first Word of the Mass-Musick in the Cathedral Stile,
is not so difficult to them as the _Cantata's_; and the _Latin_ in the
Service, being familiar to them, saves them the Trouble of attending to
the Words.

[92] _Thomas Morley_ (who lived above an hundred Years ago) in the third
Part of his Treatise, pag. 179, speaking of _Motetts_ or Anthems,
complains thus:--'But I see not what Passions or Motions it can stir up,
being as most Men doe commonlie Sing,--leaving out the Ditty--as it were
a Musick made onely for Instruments, which will indeed shew the Nature
of the Musick, but never carry the Spirit and (as it were) that lively
Soule which the Ditty giveth; but of this enough. And to return to the
expressing of the Ditty, the Matter is now come to that State, that
though a Song be never so wel made, and never so aptly applyed to the
Words, yet shall you hardly find Singers to expresse it as it ought to
be; for most of our Church-men, (so they crie louder in the Quire then
their Fellowes) care for no more; whereas, by the contrarie, they ought
to study how to vowel and sing clean expressing their Words with
Devotion and Passion, whereby to draw the Hearer as it were in Chaines
of Gold by the Eares to the Consideration of holy Things. But this, for
the most part, you shall find amongst them, that let them continue never
so long in the Church, yea though it were twentie Years, they will never
study to sing better than they did the first Day of their Preferment to
that Place; so that it seems, that having obtained the Living which they
sought for, they have little or no Care at all, either of their own
Credit, or well discharging of that Dutie whereby they have their

[93] In _Italy_, the Courts of _Palma_, _Modena_, _Turin_, &c. and in
_Germany_, the Courts of _Vienna_, _Bavaria_, _Hanover_, _Brandenbourg_,
_Palatine_, _Saxony_, &c.

[94] There have been such, who valued themselves for shaking a Room,
breaking the Windows, and stunning the Auditors with their Voice.

[95] The renowned Abbot _Steffani_, so famous for his _Duetto's_, would
never suffer such luxuriant Singers to perform any of them, unless they
kept themselves within Bounds.

[96] _Nicolini_, who came the first time into _England_ about the Year
1708, had both Qualities, more than any that have come since. He acted
to Perfection, and did not sing much inferior. His Variations in the
_Airs_ were excellent; but in his _Cadences_ he had a little of the
antiquated Tricks. _Valentini_, (who was here at the same Time) a
Scholar of _Pistochi_, though not so powerful in Voice or Action as
_Nicolini_, was more chaste in his Singing.

[97] The two Women, he points at, are _Cuzzoni_ and _Faustina_.

[98] The _Carnaval_ is a Festival in _Italy_, particularly celebrated at
_Venice_ from _Christmas_ to _Lent_, when all Sorts of Diversions are
permitted; and at that Time there are sometimes three different Theatres
for Opera's only.

[99] Our Author has often mentioned Time; the Regard to it, the
Strictness of it, and how much it is neglected and unobserv'd. In this
Place speaking of stealing the Time, it regards particularly the Vocal,
or the Performance on a single Instrument in the _Pathetick_ and
_Tender_; when the Bass goes an exactly regular Pace, the other Part
retards or anticipates in a singular Manner, for the Sake of Expression,
but after That returns to its Exactness, to be guided by the Bass.
Experience and Taste must teach it. A mechanical Method of going on with
the Bass will easily distinguish the Merit of the other Manner.

[100] A farther Animadversion against imitating Instruments with the

[101] Many Graces may be very good and proper for a Violin, that would
be very improper for a Hautboy; and so with every Species of Instruments
that have something peculiar. It is a very great Error (too much in
Practice) for the Voice, (which should serve as a Standard to be
imitated by Instruments,) to copy all the Tricks practised on the
several Instruments, to its greatest Detriment.

[102] _Passo_ and _Passagio_. The Difference is, that a _Passo_ is a
sudden Grace or Flight, not uniform. See Pl. VI. Numb. 5. A _Passagio_
is a Division, a Continuation, or a Succession of Notes, ascending or
descending with Uniformity. See Pl. VI. Numb. 6.

[103] This alludes to the _French_ Manner of Singing, from whence that
Defect is copy'd.

[104] The Time he alludes to, is at present between thirty and forty
Years ago.

[105] Compare this Section with Section 41 in this Chapter and the Note.

[106] This is a Fault more than once heard of, in _Oratario's_ or

[107] See Example, Pl. VI. Numb. 7.

[108] _Faustina_ and _Cuzzoni_, they both having within these few Years
been in _England_, there needs no other Remark to be made on them, but
to inform Futurity, that the _English_ Audience distinguish'd them Both
and at the same time, according to their Merit, and as our Author has
describ'd them.

It may be worth remarking, that _Castilione_, who lived above two
hundred Years ago, in his _Cortegiano_, describes _Bidon_, and
_Marchetto Cara_, two famous Singers in his Time, with the same
distinguishing Qualifications.

[109] See Examples, Pl. VI. Numb. 8 and 9.

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