Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Music in Sussex,
HUNDRED years hence, whoever looks back upon our age as we are looking back upon the century that preceded us, will have no reason to note the absence of evidence of the love and practice of music amongst the people of Sussex, not only in towns, but in the smallest country villages. In this respect the 19th century will contrast most remarkably and most favourably with the 18th and the 17th; indeed, with all the centuries, for aught we know, that preceded it. For if there be one thing more conspicuous than another by its absence in the archaeological records of Sussex, it is all reference to Music. As a Science it certainly had no existence out of the Cathedral at Chichester, in which, as in all Cathedrals, the practice and the traditions of an ecclesiastical school of music, dating from the Tudors, were kept up with more or less ability, according as the Cathedral dignitaries were more or less inclined to music, or their organist was more or less a musician.
But, setting aside this ecclesiastical class of music, as an exceptional and esoteric growth, scarcely touching the people, music had no existence in Sussex, as a Science, and scarcely as an Art, 100 years ago. There were, of course, both in towns and villages, musical instruments, and people who played upon them, and here and there, of course, there was a man of genuine musical taste and knowledge, who, in happier days for music, might have acquired fame as a musician. But they were rara aves, and their musical taste and talent obtained little fame for them, and not much profit
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