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Organs in British hymnody

Attitudes towards the use of organs to accompany the congregational singing of hymns and metrical psalms varied dramatically across the centuries and from place to place. Religious zealots denounced them as vainglorious ornaments, whilst musical reformers advocated their use to impose order on undisciplined singing. This makes an account of the subject problematic since almost any statement can be contradicted. It is important to realise that whereas organs were habitually to be found in the Chapels Royal, cathedrals and collegiate parish churches, the vast majority of places of worship in England did not acquire organs until the 19th century (Temperley, 1981a, p. 515). This article traces...

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