'Since singing is so good a thing
I wish all men would learne to sing'.
William Byrd : in his 'Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie...
for the recreation of all such as delight in Musicke' (1588),
appends an 'Epistle to the Reader', being
'Reasons briefly set down by th' Author,
to perswade every one to learne to sing'.
First it is a knowledge safely taught and quickly learned, where there is a good Master, and an apt Scholar.
2. The exercise of singing is delightful to Nature & good to preserve the health of Man.
3. It doth strenghthen all the parts of the breast & doth open the pipes.
4. It is a singular good remedy for a stutting & stammering in the speech.
5. It is the best means to procure a perfect pronunciation & to make a good Orator.
6. It is the only way to know where Nature hath bestowed the benefit of a good voice: which gift is so rare, as there is not one among a thousand that hath it: and in many, that excellent gift is lost, because they want Art to express Nature.
7. There is not any Musicke of Instruments whatsoever, comparable to that which is made of the voices of Men, where the voices are good, and the same well sorted and ordered.
8. The better the voice is, the meeter it is to honour and serve God there-with; and the voice of Man is chiefly to be employed to that end.