The Exercise of Music

  • for choir SATB and piano (with optional vocal solos)

  • Duration Flexible


by Henry Peacham


sheet music (PDF master score with permission to print or download an authorised number of copies) available via this website: GBP 2.75 per print-out


selected passages from "The Compleat Gentleman" by Henry Peacham (1578-?1644)
words in brackets [ ] not set to music
spellings in musical score modernised

(i) choir SATB

[The Physitians will tell you, that] the exercise of Musicke is a great lengthner of the life, by stirring and reviving of [the] Spirits, holding a secret sympathy with them; [Besides,] the exercise of singing openeth the breast and pipes: it is an enemy to melancholly and dejection of the mind; which S. Chrysostome truely called, The Divels Bath... Plato calleth it, A divine and heavenly practice, profitable for the seeking out of that which is good and honest...

(ii) solo voice (mezzo-soprano, or soprano/alto if transposed)

Moreover the Muse, Mirth, Graces, and perfect Health, have ever an affinity each with either.

(iii) solo voice (tenor, or baritone if transposed)

I now from your private study and contemplation bring you abroad into the open fields, for exercise of your Body, by some honest recreation, since Aristotle requireth the same in the Education of [Nobility and] all youth, since the mind from the Ability of the Body gathereth her strength and vigor.

(iv) choir SATB

Running and Agility of Body have beene esteemed most commendable in the greatest [Princes and Commanders] that ever lived...

(v) women's voices in three equal parts

Leaping is an exercise very commendable, and healthfull for the body, especially if you use it in the morning... Upon a full stomacke or to bedward, it is very dangerous, and in no wise to be exercised.

(vi) women's voices SSA

The skill and art of swimming is also very requisite in every [Noble and] Gentleman...

(vii) men's voices TB

Shooting also is a very healthfull and commendable recreation for a Gentleman; neither doe I know any other comparable unto it for stirring every part of the body: for it openeth the breast and pipes, exerciseth the armes and feete, with lesse violence, than running, leaping, &c.

(viii) choir SATB unaccompanied

Infinite is the sweet variety that the Theorique of Musicke exerciseth the mind withall, as the contemplation of proportion, of Concords and Discords, diversity of Moodes and Tones, infinitenesse of Invention, &c.

(ix) choir SATB

...Infinite is the sweet variety... the contemplation of... Concords and Discords... ...sweet... invention... the exercise of Musicke