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» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Ecclesiantics   » MW 3197: St Alfege, Greenwich, London (Page 1)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: MW 3197: St Alfege, Greenwich, London
Rossweisse

High Church Valkyrie
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By one of those odd coincidences, I was at St. Alfege (which my musician's brain persists in thinking of as "St. Solfege") for this very service.

I attended with a pair of friends. (At least three of those tourists mentioned in the report managed to make it inside the church.) We sing in the same church choir, and I managed to snag a couple of real hymnals with the actual music printed in them, from the friendly woman behind the desk. One of them even had parts, which enabled us to sing three-part harmony together. (The lack of printed music in most English hymnals is an aggravating mystery.)

My friends and I had debated whether to attend St. Alfege or the college chapel, with its professional choir; from an earlier MW report, the choir sounded like a good one (which is important to us), and we liked the Thomas Tallis connection. After the service, we asked a member of the choir about Tallis, and were pointed to his memorial and keyboard, the latter mounted in the wall.

I was seated right behind the elderly lady who collapsed; before I could react, a young man got up and assisted her. We were all touched by the loving care shown to her.

One of our party, who'd been plumping for the chapel, said he was very glad we'd chosen St. Alfege. We all agreed that we felt we'd been a part of a real worship community.

We didn't make it to coffee; we had touristing to do, after all. But along with speaking with the hymnal-dispensing lady behind the desk and the singer, a parishioner welcomed us as we left the church. It was a fine ending to a really worthwhile morning of worship.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
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Link to report.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:

The lack of printed music in most English hymnals is an aggravating mystery.

[Overused]

Good to see you here, Rossweisse!

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Many years ago, my sister lived in Greenwich. She didn't go to church much, but decided to go one year to the Festival of Lessons and Carols at St. Alfege, in those days at least a formal affair a la King's College Chapel. She took with her my nephew Daniel, aged about 5.

The service proceeded as expected, with its assortment of reading, choir pieces and congregational carols. But, by about reading no.7, Daniel was getting bored. He turned to my sister and said, in a far-too-audible voice, "Mummy, this bit is boring. When are they going to put on the next record?"

She simply wanted the floor to open up under her ...

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venbede
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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:

(The lack of printed music in most English hymnals is an aggravating mystery.)

All standard hymnals are printed with music, but since the words only editions are much more compact cheaper and the vast majority of any congregation can't read music it would be a waste of money and space providing them for everyone.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Jengie jon

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Not quite Rejoice and Sing does not have words only but a melody edition. That was deliberate and started with the supplemental hymnal New Church Praise.

Two comments to make:

Firstly you do not need to read music to find a melody line useful (it is simple to gather higher notes and higher on the stave)

Secondly, a major con is that actually there is not a right tune to the words it is a matter of culture and putting a specific tune with the words is a way of standardizing culture.

Jengie

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L'organist
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Many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a student, I sang at a wedding in St Alfege.

Its claim to fame apart from the Tallis connecion is that it is the church where Henry VIII was baptised.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Rossweisse

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Yes, it's not that hard to make out a tune; the melody ought to be the minimum.

For those of us who do read music, the fact that the English and American hymnals often use different tune makes the usual lack of notes a major problem - and more people can read music than you might think.

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I'm not dead yet.

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Bishops Finger
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At Our Place, the majority of our hymn books are words-only. We have a small number of full music copies for anyone who wishes to use them, though, and one or two regulars do in fact avail themselves.

(Welcome back, Rossweisse! Glad you enjoyed your touristing in Ukland).

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Secondly, a major con is that actually there is not a right tune to the words it is a matter of culture and putting a specific tune with the words is a way of standardizing culture.

Yes, at my last church the organist came from a Congregational background and I from a Baptist one and we often had discussion as to what tune was best to use. My wife is Scottish and has a different repertoire of "right" tunes!

In any case, I think that R&S makes some odd choices!

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Rossweisse

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At Our Place, all the hymnals have full harmony, as the Deity and St. Cecilia intended.

(Thank you!)

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I'm not dead yet.

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

In any case, I think that R&S makes some odd choices!

Yes. The chances are nobody paid any attention to that (i.e. they went on singing them to the tunes they as a congregation always had) except to grumble about them. A few, a very few were actually Churches of Christ inheritance.

Rosseweise

The melody is only of use then if it is the tune the congregation are singing. If not then....

Jengie

[ 28. July 2017, 18:35: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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Rossweisse

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Jengie, the solution to that is to print more than one tune, and to specify which one is being used.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Jengie, the solution to that is to print more than one tune, and to specify which one is being used.

As the Holy Spirit had the good sense to inspire the compilers of the Episcopal Church's Hymnal 1982 to do.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Jengie, the solution to that is to print more than one tune, and to specify which one is being used.

I think there are hymns to which the 1932 Methodist hymn book had three tunes. I have certainly seen the phenomenon, and this is my nomination as to the likeliest book of my acquaintance to host it.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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Rossweisse

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Miss Amanda, The Hymnal 1940 also printed multiple tunes where required.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
The melody is only of use then if it is the tune the congregation are singing.

In all the churches I've attended, the congregation has always sung the melody that's printed. They don't have much of a choice when that's what the organist is playing!
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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
The melody is only of use then if it is the tune the congregation are singing.

In all the churches I've attended, the congregation has always sung the melody that's printed. They don't have much of a choice when that's what the organist is playing!
But I have occasionally attended a service where they announce that we'll be singing the words of Hymn #123 but to the tune of #456 (so of course the organist is also playing #456).

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Baptist Trainfan
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And, of course, the old CofS Psalter did this all the time, and had pages cut in two halves with the tunes at the top and the words at the bottom. This is a newer version.
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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Jengie, the solution to that is to print more than one tune, and to specify which one is being used.

Which, of course, adds to the size and costs of the hymnal ... and you'd still have some hymns where the tune preferred by the congregation isn't there. It probably would work if there were only 2, or at the most 3, tunes for a given hymn, but most hymns would work to a much larger number of tunes, and often sung to 4 or 5 different tunes. I'm not sure there is a solution that works with allowing the organist the freedom to select tunes (based on what the congregation knows, or how the tune fits the position within/theme of the service) and having the melody printed in the hymnal without having a massive book - combining difficulties with holding them and extra cost. Two books - one of words, and one of tunes - could simplify things, but holding two books while singing isn't simple.

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mark_in_manchester

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Methodist "Hymns and Psalms" - the 80s-revision hymn book before the one we're meant to be on now - has a great big metrical index which helps with all this. And a companion volume I found on ebay being flogged off cheap, with all sorts of background info on every hymn.

It's all really great, in a recently-lost, sad kind of way.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Rossweisse

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Printing hymnals with music really doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. And, to most of us, the words and the music are inextricably linked.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
most hymns would work to a much larger number of tunes, and often sung to 4 or 5 different tunes.

Yes, you can swap out any tune for any other tune in the same meter, and sing it. But I don't think it's really true that most hymns are often sung to 4 or 5 different tunes, is it?

I;m sure there is someone out there who thinks it's a fine idea to sing, for example, Glorious things of thee are spoken to Hydrofoil*, but there's no reason to encourage such obscenity.

*sorry - I can't not do that.

(Of course, this is where the projection screen gang could win - simply project the music and words together. Except that the projection crowd never projects the music, and rarely has adequate resolution).

[ 30. July 2017, 02:38: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Printing hymnals with music really doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

Indeed, particularly with modern printing technologies. The current ELCA hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, is 1211 pages (742 hymns), 1.6 inches thick and weighs 2.4 pounds. Glory to God, the PCUSA hymnal is 1018 pages (853 hymns), 1.4 inches thick and weighs 2 pounds. Both provide full parts for hymns, except for hymns intended to be sung in unison, in which case only the melody is provided.

And at least on this side of The Pond, my experience is that there might occasionally be a hymn for which 3 tunes are provided, and not too many more for which 2 tunes are provided. Otherwise, there might be a note at the bottom of the page of an alternate tune—almost always one that is well-known, so people can easily manage it without the music.

But for the most part, tunes tend to be fairly well established within denominations. For example, Presbyterians tend to sing "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" to Coronation (though Diadem has appeared in some hymnals), while Methodists favor Diadem and Episcopalians (at least around here) seem to prefer Miles Lane (though both also provide Coronation in their hymnals).

[ 30. July 2017, 02:52: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Presbyterians tend to sing "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" to Coronation (though Diadem has appeared in some hymnals), while Methodists favor Diadem and Episcopalians (at least around here) seem to prefer Miles Lane (though both also provide Coronation in their hymnals).

I've never heard an Episcopalian sing it to anything other than Coronation, which is what the Baby Jesus and his Blessed Mother sing it to.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Galloping Granny
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We got stuck with an excellent hymnary that several churches got together to produce and called With One Voice.
Which is fine until, shall we say, the Presbyterians stand up to sing a favourite hymn and find the tune chosen is the Anglican one.
And so on.
Our congregation would not be betond crying 'Wrong tune!!!' and 'Get the old hymnary out!'
But then, we for many years got our tunes from the old Scottish Church Hymnary, but the nice new CH4 ha some great modern hymns that we like singing but they've changed the tunes to some of the old favourites.

GG

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
I've never heard an Episcopalian sing it to anything other than Coronation...

Maybe it's just the parishes I've encountered it in (including one where I sang in the choir for a while in college) that preferred Miles Lane.
quote:
which is what the Baby Jesus and his Blessed Mother sing it to.
Amen and Amen.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Rossweisse

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
I've never heard an Episcopalian sing it to anything other than Coronation, which is what the Baby Jesus and his Blessed Mother sing it to.

Ahhh-men.

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I'm not dead yet.

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
I've never heard an Episcopalian sing it to anything other than Coronation, which is what the Baby Jesus and his Blessed Mother sing it to.

Ahhh-men.
Heathen. The tune in this position of honour is Diadem.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
I've never heard an Episcopalian sing it to anything other than Coronation, which is what the Baby Jesus and his Blessed Mother sing it to.

Ahhh-men.
Heathen. The tune in this position of honour is Diadem.
Sometimes the name is apt. The real answer is, of course, Miles Lane, though it was probably written with Diadem in mind, I believe.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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Baptist Trainfan
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Depends how good your sopranos are, and how many you've got.
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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
The melody is only of use then if it is the tune the congregation are singing.

In all the churches I've attended, the congregation has always sung the melody that's printed. They don't have much of a choice when that's what the organist is playing!
That is exactly the standardisation of culture I would expect from having the melody printed. If I went to some URCs, if the organist played the tune in the book and it was the 'wrong' tune they would tell the organist so and then sing the 'right' tune acapella. Yes, I have seen it.

Jengie

In scare quotes because I do not subscribe to these notions of 'right' and 'wrong' tunes but it seems some of you do.

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Basilica
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
In scare quotes because I do not subscribe to these notions of 'right' and 'wrong' tunes but it seems some of you do.

The "right tune" means "the one I sang in my childhood"!
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Baptist Trainfan
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Usually, yes. But it could perhaps mean "Any tune except the ghastly one I had to sing in my childhood"!

[ 30. July 2017, 11:52: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Enoch
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Miles Lane tends to be the usual tune in the CofE, but personally, I prefer Diadem. Having checked hymnary.org, I've never heard Coronation, either for All hail the power of Jesus' name or for anything else. I suspect it's unknown here.

I've long thought there's a lot to be said for the Scottish practice of publishing palters in stable door format that Baptist Trainfan linked to has a lot to be said for it. Although not all tunes and words in the same metre prove fully interchangeable, it's thoroughly beneficial to separate people from the modern assumption that x words are indelibly linked to y tune.


Perhaps I'm wrong in this. Could a USian shipmate confirm or deny? But I've got the impression that in the US the way books set out hymn tunes is different from the way we do it. We set them out as in Baptist Trainfan's link, with the tune all together on two staves and the words set out as verses. I think you may lay them out as four staves, and the words for each part printed between the staves. If you're used to one way of doing it, I suspect it makes the other a bit difficult to read on the fly, unless, I suppose, you have a band with four instruments, when the US method may be easier for the instrumentalists.

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Enoch
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Second Post

If you really want to set the cat among the pigeons ask people what they think is the 'right' tune for Rock of Ages.

If you're CofE, it's Petra by Redhead. But for some other traditions, it's Toplady by Hastings. What makes this controversial, is that if you're used to Toplady, for you it will have acquired all resonances that go with the profound words. However, if for you aren't, if for you the tune is Petra, Toplady sounds far too trite for the nobility of the text.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I've never heard Coronation, either for All hail the power of Jesus' name or for anything else. I suspect it's unknown here.

I've sung it at eucharist in St Paul's Cathedral, although a slightly modified version from what we're used to on this side of the pond (which threw me off to no end!).

quote:
I've got the impression that in the US the way books set out hymn tunes is different from the way we do it. We set them out as in Baptist Trainfan's link, with the tune all together on two staves and the words set out as verses. I think you may lay them out as four staves, and the words for each part printed between the staves. If you're used to one way of doing it, I suspect it makes the other a bit difficult to read on the fly.

Exactly. We usually see the four parts written out, with verses printed in between the treble and bass staves. I do find it difficult to sing if the words are printed separately. But then again I read music rather well.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If you really want to set the cat among the pigeons ask people what they think is the 'right' tune for Rock of Ages.

If you're CofE, it's Petra by Redhead. But for some other traditions, it's Toplady by Hastings.

Toplady, of course. Petra is for "Go to Dark Gethsemane."

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Albertus
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# 13356

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Any fule kno that the proper tune for any hymn is the one we sang it to at school. And if we didn't sing it at school, it's not a proper hymn. Simples. [Biased]

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irreverend tod
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# 18773

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Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
If you really want to set the cat among the pigeons ask people what they think is the 'right' tune for Rock of Ages.

If you're CofE, it's Petra by Redhead. But for some other traditions, it's Toplady by Hastings.

Definitely Toplady, but with the proviso that the organist doesn't go below a certain temp (so the organ doesn't blow up.) I'm not hugely fussed about the tune but playing at 40bpm has me chewing on the pew in front. We are supposed to be worshiping not waiting for coffin to be brought in! Unless of course you are waiting for coffin to be brought in. [Biased]

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Diocesan Arsonist and Lead thief to the Church of England.

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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That's assuming you used the Vaughan Williams/Martin Shaw "Songs of Praise" book, of course. (In tasteful blue embossed covers).

PS To me, the "proper tune" for "All hail" is "Diadem", though we sang "Miles Lane" at school. I do know "Coronation" and quite like it, but I honestly don't think it's quite such a good tune. These things are subjective, of course.

PPS For Real Singing you need to hear a good Scottish congregation singing "Ye gates, lift up your heads on high" to "St. George's, Edinburgh" or "The Lord's my shepherd" to "Orlington". But, writing from The Land Of Song, do I dare post that?

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Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
That's assuming you used the Vaughan Williams/Martin Shaw "Songs of Praise" book, of course. (In tasteful blue embossed covers).


We did!

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Could a USian shipmate confirm or deny? But I've got the impression that in the US the way books set out hymn tunes is different from the way we do it. We set them out as in Baptist Trainfan's link, with the tune all together on two staves and the words set out as verses. I think you may lay them out as four staves, and the words for each part printed between the staves. If you're used to one way of doing it, I suspect it makes the other a bit difficult to read on the fly, unless, I suppose, you have a band with four instruments, when the US method may be easier for the instrumentalists.

The TEC hymnal (which is fairly representative of my experience of US practice here) has SATB parts printed on the grand staff, with the words to the first 4-ish verses. Additional verses will come by themselves at the end.

Doing it this way means (at least for the first 4 verses) everybody stretches syllables in the same way.

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Jengie jon

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# 273

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:


PPS For Real Singing you need to hear a good Scottish congregation singing "Ye gates, lift up your heads on high" to "St. George's, Edinburgh" or "The Lord's my shepherd" to "Orlington". But, writing from The Land Of Song, do I dare post that?

Have you tried your home congregation on "How pleased and blessed was I" although these days the URC tends to use "When I survey". If John Bell is right you should get a good sound from those in your congregation with Congregational background. The theory is that these are denominational equivalents of football terrace chants.

Jengie

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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Haven't used it yet in this church tho' we had it in my last one. After a bit of debate we used "Ascalon" although there are two slightly different versions of the rhythm which caused hiccups! As far as I am concerned it is the "only" tune although I know there are others. I can't see how "When I survey" fits the metre.

[ 30. July 2017, 16:15: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Pigwidgeon

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# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Any fule kno that the proper tune for any hymn is the one we sang it to at school. And if we didn't sing it at school, it's not a proper hymn. Simples. [Biased]

But in the U.S.A., we didn't sing religious songs in school.
[Razz]

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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Speak for yourself, you young thing, you! Those of us of a certain age did sing religious songs in the public school, both in the classroom and in chorus. You'd never get away with it these days.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Haven't used it yet in this church tho' we had it in my last one. After a bit of debate we used "Ascalon" although there are two slightly different versions of the rhythm which caused hiccups! As far as I am concerned it is the "only" tune although I know there are others. I can't see how "When I survey" fits the metre.

No, nor can I. 'When I survey' is in Long Metre (8 8 8 8). The tune we were linked to was in 6 6 8 6 6 8.

Traditionally, 'When I survey' has usually gone to Rockingham which is also the customary tune for 'My God and is thy table spread'. Recently, though, people have begun to sing it to Waly Waly, to which it goes quite well.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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Or "Deep Harmony".
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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
That's assuming you used the Vaughan Williams/Martin Shaw "Songs of Praise" book, of course. (In tasteful blue embossed covers).


We did!
You are therefore one of The Elect.

(Here's a subject for a learned essay: "School Hymnbooks as Markers of Social Class").

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