In a world without television, participatory music represents a major source of entertainment for the average person. Besides the music composed for the great courts, there was plenty of popular music that spread about through published broadsides and simple word of mouth. Performers at fairs or markets would sing popular songs and sell the ballad sheets. Popular songs might cover the ever-popular topics of love and romance, but also addressed current affairs and served as signs of sectarian identity in a conflict-ridden world. For people of the Reform, a search for appropriate music in worship led to the translation of the Psalms paraphrased into vernacular meter by Clement Marot and Theodore de Beze, and set to music drawn from popular tunes. The Psalms sung as part of the worship service were unadorned, sung a cappella with a single melody shared by all voices. Trying to provide "godly" entertainment in the home that could compete with the explosion of published worldly popular music, some of the gifted composers of the day (l'Estocart, Goudimel) created polyphonic settings of the Psalms that could be sung among family and friends for pleasure. The Psalms were sung by Huguenots for every occasion -- as battle hymns, as celebrations, as defiance against authorities, as thanksgiving, as comfort, to stiffen one's resolve in the face of persecution, as a community bonding experience, and just for fun. We will have sheet music for some of these for anyone interest in some spontaneous "pick-up singing." The music is simple, and easy enough even for M. du Lac to sing (and he is hardly gifted in that art).
In addition to French psalms, we will be singing popular English rounds with children who come to visit us. These are mostly from Ravenscroft.
Come Kiss Me Now.
The original verison of Three Blind Mice.
Mault's Come Down
Psalm #137 "By the Waters ofBabylon", in English,
page 1 and page 2
Some rounds in French.
Some are from Ravenscroft but in translation.