What is gallery music and psalmody?

What is west gallery music? -- a personal definition
In this helpful overview, written specially for this website, psalmody researcher Sally Drage explores the origin of the phrase 'west gallery music', considers its various definitions, and summarises its history, musical influences and performance practice.

Metrical psalms -- the words
An introduction and some personal thoughts by Dru Brooke-Taylor on the four main versions of the metrical psalms.

Area surveys

The west gallery tradition in the Isle of Man (GP1; pdf format)
Fenella Bazin sets out the historical background relating to the use of metrical psalmody in worshipping communities on the Isle of Man.

Early 19th century popular psalmody in the Isle of Man
Ed Maddrell takes a detailed look at some of the music manuscripts in the Isle of Man. [Long article]

West gallery music in Cornwall
Harry Woodhouse outlines research findings on Cornish gallery music and musicians.

Church and chapel music in and around Sydney, Australia, 1788–c1860 (GP1; pdf format)
James Forsyth offers a chance to understand how an essentially Anglican tradition was transplanted to a colonial settlement during the Georgian period.

Australian church music -- then and now
Joan Mansfield gives a funny, scholarly and interesting introduction to some aspects of the history of church music in Australia. [Long article]

Individual bands and musicians

Trouble in the gallery (GP1; pdf format)
Ken Baddley traces a dispute between the famous diarist Parson James Woodforde and the west gallery singers at Castle Cary, Somerset.

Thomas Hawkes of Williton, Somerset (1786-1857)
Bob and Jacqueline Patten introduce the businessman and Methodist musician Thomas Hawkes, including fascinating and detailed extracts from the preface to his 1833 publication A Collection of Tunes, etc. (or, to give it its local name, Hawkes Tune Book)

The Larks of Dean and their music
Introductory notes by Jean Seymour on the musicians of Rossendale, Lancashire, active from the 1740s to the 1860s. Includes illustrations.

Uriah Davenport and the psalm singers of Rushton, Staffordshire
Nigel Tringham gives a details of a singing master and the society of singers he belonged to for sixty-odd years.

William East of Waltham
Sue Glover introduces a Leicestershire singing master and music publisher of the 1750s.

Gallery music today

Alive and kicking: the living tradition of English 'gallery' music (GP1; pdf format)
Ian Russell of Village Carols introduces the carol singing traditions of Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Bright, believing bands
David Ward muses ... Why sing west gallery music? Has it any value? Is it art? How can we sing it today?

Presenting west gallery music to the general public (GP1; pdf format)
The Madding Crowd is one of the best known groups performing west gallery music. Mike Bailey traces the group’s background and shares many of their experiences, while dealing with everything from problems with the Alternative Service Book to questions of pitch.

West gallery music
A brief introduction to gallery music by Gordon Ashman, instrumental in founding the West Gallery Music Association

Performance practice

Performance practice in 18th-century Georgian psalmody (GP1; pdf format)
18th-century psalmody tune-books invariably contain prefaces, primarily designed to provide a basic grounding in musical theory. As an added bonus, they may also include evidence of original performance practice. Sally Drage examines the technical content of some of these psalmody prefaces, and discusses their relevance to modern performances of gallery church music.

The performance style of west gallery music (GP1; pdf format)
In attempting to reach an understanding of performance style within the genre, Vic Gammon examines the various types of evidence available, including traditions from North America and Scotland and the carol singing still enjoyed in public houses in Yorkshire and Cornwall today. He defines the 'plebeian musical style' prevalent in the galleries as 'full-voiced heterophonic polyphony'.

Researching psalmody and gallery music

The Hymn Tune Index
Nicholas Temperley explains how to code psalm and hymn tunes to match those in his Hymn Tune Index, and invites us to contribute codes of manuscripts and printed sources to the still-growing database of tunes at the University of Illinois.

Present at the birth (GP1; pdf format)
Nicholas Temperley points to publications and groups which have been influential in arousing the growth of interest in country psalmody. He continues by attempting to slot country psalmody into pre-existing musical categories before a brief examination of the attempts to sing the psalms and the role played by the itinerant singing teachers.

The decline of the gallery tradition (GP1; pdf format)
Christopher Turner questions the accepted view that the demise of the bands was directly as a result of the Oxford Movement. While acknowledging that the movement did have an enormous effect on the life of the Anglican Church during the 19th century, he attempts to show that many other factors need to be considered in understanding this complex period of change.

'If I was you, I wouldn't start from here' (GP1; pdf format)
Gordon Ashman looks at some of the mistakes he himself has made over the years with his involvement in various 'revivals'. He stresses that music from the gallery period is not a revival and points to some of the other assumptions that are made about the repertoire.

The English choir-band in literature (GP1; pdf format)
Gillian Warson draws on a small but important selection of English literature to see how contemporary writers reflect the activities of church and chapel musicians during the late Georgian period.

References from Georgian Psalmody 1 (GP1; pdf format)
This is a compilation of works referred to in individual papers in Georgian Psalmody 1. It includes all printed works (except modern newspaper articles) and recordings (listed after the printed materials).