The capture of negative muons by protons can be regarded as taking place as a result of a direct coupling or via the pi-meson field. An attempt is made to check whether the static, cut-off pseudovector coupling model of the π-meson-nucleon interaction can give rise to predictions on the capture of muons by nuclei in agreement with experiment. Chew theory leads to a capture rate 20 times smaller than that predicted by the direct-coupling theory. Accurate calculations can be made for the case of hydrogen, deuterium or helium, for which experimental information would be highly desirable. Comparison with the observational data for carbon, oxygen, and silicon, based on the ideal-gas model for nuclei, indicates that they are consistent with the direct-coupling theory. Meson theory gives a capture rate about 20 times too small.