Church Music - Legacy thread

Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Dead Horses Host
Here is a link to Yet more crappy choruses etc on the old website.

Feel free to add to this thread or create a new thread on a subset of the overall topic,
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  • Copied from Purgatory:

    Hymns, how do you like them?
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Joyful or Dirges?

    Eutychus
    Purgatory host
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Gramps49 - I tend to find they're either dirges or contain theology I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. At the very least the modern stuff comes with massive baggage for ex-happy clappies like me.

    On the whole I have what is apparently a maverick view that congregational singing is a historical artefact; communal singing is not something people do any more. I heard something on the radio about how it's dying in it its last cultural stronghold, the football terrace.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I am not sure you're right Karl LB. Welsh rugby tends to have singing and folk clubs and after folk gigs. Not all, but most gigs I go to include audience singing and a number of bands will have an after sing along with anybody and everybody joining in. There are areas at festivals for people to make their own music. And there are singing weekends run by a number of bands that sell out months in advance.

    Church singing is a bit more refined and off putting.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    I am not sure you're right Karl LB. Welsh rugby tends to have singing and folk clubs and after folk gigs. Not all, but most gigs I go to include audience singing and a number of bands will have an after sing along with anybody and everybody joining in. There are areas at festivals for people to make their own music. And there are singing weekends run by a number of bands that sell out months in advance.

    Church singing is a bit more refined and off putting.

    It's exposed. Everyone can hear anyone singing louder than a sotto voce mumble. At least that's how it feels.

    Ac wrth gwrs dydy Cymry ddim yn Lloegr / and of course Wales isn't England.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Copied from Purgatory:

    Hymns, how do you like them?
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Joyful or Dirges?

    Eutychus
    Purgatory host

    Sung as quickly as possible.
  • ...yet another anglo-catholic fixation which bores me to tears. Different hymns need to go at different paces, and Welsh ones at about 40% of the speed at which they are gabbled through on this side of the border. Jesu, lover of my soul should be at a gentle four in a bar, not a brisk 2.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    We may not have much of a culture of singing left in this country. But have you been to a restaurant recently when a birthday cake is brought in to one of the tables? 'Happy Birthday to You' is our most prolific Anthem.
  • I find that "Happy Birthday to You" is particularly susceptible to becoming a dirge. You can usually find me trying to keep up the pace at any birthday party I have been invited to.

    I would find only singing joyful songs to be incredibly dull. There are occasions where you need slow. (I would also suggest that what makes something "joyful" changes over time- I can hardly imagine someone writing an Easter hymn today settling on a tune that sounds anything like Christ Lag in Todes Banden.)

    And like my suit and tie, you can take communal singing from my cold dead hands.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    I only get down our local shack these days when forced by a school service (Christmas, Easter etc.). Usually only I and the kids are singing. Even at Christmas. I don't get the impression many people outside the regular church going community much care for it. Even amongst them, we had a congregation of around 20-30 but the organist always knew when I was there because even singing at a pretty low volume she could clearly hear me above everyone else and the organ itself. It was like singing a solo. I usually sat at the back and yet similarly I could hear her above the congregation and our rather optimistically named choir.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Different hymns need to go at different paces,
    Absolutely. And I particularly dislike the current tendency to give "Slane" an upbeat rhythm though YMMV.
    And Welsh ones at about 40% of the speed at which they are gabbled through on this side of the border. Jesu, lover of my soul should be at a gentle four in a bar, not a brisk 2.
    Our church has to use pre-recorded music and, the other week, we had "Crugybar". Afterwards there were several complaints that it was too fast. This was true, but we couldn't change it!

  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Cross referencing with the hymn booklet thread, the BBC's CDs for "Come and Praise" have some very odd speeds, as I recall. Can't remember which ones were particularly bad, though.
  • Mr SmiffMr Smiff Shipmate
    Different hymns need to go at different paces,
    Absolutely. And I particularly dislike the current tendency to give "Slane" an upbeat rhythm though YMMV.
    Or to refer to the upbeat rhythm as "the Celtic version", rather ignoring the apparent celtic origins of the tune in the first place...
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I'm trying to hear "Be Thou my Vision" with an upbeat rhythm, and wholly failing. How? Or "Lord of all Hopefulness".
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    I'm trying to hear "Be Thou my Vision" with an upbeat rhythm, and wholly failing. How? Or "Lord of all Hopefulness".

    Change the three crotchets in each bar for two dotted crotchets and one undotted. Turns 3/4 into a driving syncopated 4/4
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Chorister wrote: »
    We may not have much of a culture of singing left in this country. But have you been to a restaurant recently when a birthday cake is brought in to one of the tables? 'Happy Birthday to You' is our most prolific Anthem.

    And they tend to go flat during the penultimate line.
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    Leo wrote: »
    Chorister wrote: »
    We may not have much of a culture of singing left in this country. But have you been to a restaurant recently when a birthday cake is brought in to one of the tables? 'Happy Birthday to You' is our most prolific Anthem.

    And they tend to go flat during the penultimate line.

    Probably because they always start it too high.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I don't want to hear it that way!
  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Chorister wrote: »
    We may not have much of a culture of singing left in this country. But have you been to a restaurant recently when a birthday cake is brought in to one of the tables? 'Happy Birthday to You' is our most prolific Anthem.

    Here in the US, I've noticed that people at other tables rarely sing anymore when something with a candle is brought to a table for someone's birthday. And the waitstaff often don't sing anymore either. Just the people at the same table as the person whose birthday it is, if even that. Of course, sometimes the candle is for an anniversary or something else other than a birthday (which may just be a US thing). But I think a lot of restaurants are wary of making a public spectacle of a guest unless they specifically request it - and more people just don't want too much attention drawn to them on their birthday unless they personally decide to have one of those big noisy birthdays. I however, do still try to sing whenever I see candles coming out to another table, but I do get a few awkward looks for it.

    This may be just the coastal white liberal upper-middle class bubble that I occupy, though.
  • I think children need to be taught hymn tunes in Sunday school and should be taught that they are expected to sing in church, no matter how good their voices are. I think the culture I live in, at least among younger people, views singing as something you do to become famous on a reality show and less something that you do for enjoyment.

    I've only attended predominantly-white RC and Episcopal congregations, though, and neither denomination is particularly known for congregational singing.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Chorister wrote: »
    We may not have much of a culture of singing left in this country. But have you been to a restaurant recently when a birthday cake is brought in to one of the tables? 'Happy Birthday to You' is our most prolific Anthem.

    Here in the US, I've noticed that people at other tables rarely sing anymore when something with a candle is brought to a table for someone's birthday. And the waitstaff often don't sing anymore either. Just the people at the same table as the person whose birthday it is, if even that. . . .

    This may be just the coastal white liberal upper-middle class bubble that I occupy, though.
    Not even sure about "coastal," unless "coastal" refers to a specific (north-easterly?) part of the coast. Neither the waitstaff singing nor people at other tables singing are at all uncommon in these parts.

    Then there were the five or so people in pirate attire who came in the neighborhood restaurant where we were Saturday night, and periodically broke into sea shanties. They were pretty awesome.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Chorister wrote: »
    We may not have much of a culture of singing left in this country. But have you been to a restaurant recently when a birthday cake is brought in to one of the tables? 'Happy Birthday to You' is our most prolific Anthem.

    Here in the US, I've noticed that people at other tables rarely sing anymore when something with a candle is brought to a table for someone's birthday. And the waitstaff often don't sing anymore either. Just the people at the same table as the person whose birthday it is, if even that. . . .

    This may be just the coastal white liberal upper-middle class bubble that I occupy, though.
    Not even sure about "coastal," unless "coastal" refers to a specific (north-easterly?) part of the coast. Neither the waitstaff singing nor people at other tables singing are at all uncommon in these parts.

    Then there were the five or so people in pirate attire who came in the neighborhood restaurant where we were Saturday night, and periodically broke into sea shanties. They were pretty awesome.

    My experience has been in New York, Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, and Colorado, which is not coastal but at least in the Denver-Boulder area is beginning to resemble the culture of the coasts more and more. I still see waitstaff singing and people at other table singing, although the latter is getting rarer. I am just shocked that there are restaurants where the waitstaff do not sing at all now. A place that I quite like had no waitstaff singing for a table where a husband, wife, and two young daughters were celebrating the mother's birthday, and no waitstaff or other patrons sang - only the father and two daughters in relatively muted voices. It was intimate and maybe what the family wanted but my heart sank when I saw it.
  • Jumping on to the tangent, I think it probably depends on the restaurant. I generally associate the big table-side "Happy Birthday" with chain restaurants and family friendly restaurants, but it would probably not be done at a fancier restaurant.

    Also remember that, until a year or two ago, "Happy Birthday"" was technically copyrighted, and ASCAP was known for sending cease and desist letters to restaurants, camps, TV shows, and others who were using the song without paying a royalty. It isn't the case anymore, but I wouldn't be surprised if the stories of potential lawsuits scuttled some of the restaurant-initiated celebrating. (I was actually a little disappointed when this changed, as it was always fun to see TV shows and restaurants do creative work-arounds to avoid paying the royalty.)
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Dead Horses Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    Further to what Og has written, I've only eve run into the big "Happy Birthday" think at a handful of places in the last 20 years, and never before. I find it acutely embarrassing to witness from another table. Fortunately, I've never been at a birthday celebration in a restaurant where it happened.
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    It is indeed acutely embarrassing if you are the victim, I mean honoree. I have told waiters that if they want a tip, they will NOT sing.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I carefully chose the dates of my astronomy cruise up the coast of Norway to NOT include my birthday.
  • Belle RingerBelle Ringer Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    I have no problem getting people to sing "Happy birthday." Maybe because they're all or almost all in one or another chorus or choir? Have to think on that one.
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Dead Horses Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    I have no problem getting people to sing "Happy birthday." Maybe because they're all or almost all in one or another chorus or choir.

    What a lovely world you live in, with so many musicians. Too bad (for me) my world isn't like that at all, in any way.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I have no problem getting people to sing "Happy birthday." Maybe because they're all or almost all in one or another chorus or choir.

    What a lovely world you live in, with so many musicians. Too bad (for me) my world isn't like that at all, in any way.

    Nor mine. Being part of any kind of choir is somewhere between bog snorkelling and kite flying in the weird/unusual past-times stakes in my neck of the woods I'd say.
  • But if you are in choir(s) yourself you are likely to have friends who also inhabit that world. I know that singing is a big part of Belle Ringer's world (from what she has told us before) so its not so unusual that many of her friends also sing in choirs.

    Myself I sing regularly in two choirs (one is with the church) plus singing is part of my job at the library (running 'Tot Rock' sessions with babies and toddlers), so for me singing really is an unremarkable facet of everyday life.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Singing in choirs is in my bloodstream.
    Since so many people claim to loathe singing, why is singing such a central part of our worship?
    I remember being quite shocked some years ago when a leading figure at my (then) church admitted that he can’t stand all the singing at Sunday services.
    Fortunately for him, his birthday is 29 February, so he rarely has to put up with people singing Happy Birthday to him.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    But if you are in choir(s) yourself you are likely to have friends who also inhabit that world. I know that singing is a big part of Belle Ringer's world (from what she has told us before) so its not so unusual that many of her friends also sing in choirs.

    Interesting. It's a hobby for me, but my friends don't necessarily share it any more than they are automatically into aquaria, fantasy RPGs or cycling.

    I've never really managed to make friends in choirs, if that's what you mean. Some people seem able to form friendships via small talk over the coffee break but I've never had the knack.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Singing in choirs is in my bloodstream.
    Since so many people claim to loathe singing, why is singing such a central part of our worship?
    I remember being quite shocked some years ago when a leading figure at my (then) church admitted that he can’t stand all the singing at Sunday services.
    Fortunately for him, his birthday is 29 February, so he rarely has to put up with people singing Happy Birthday to him.

    Your third paragraph answers the question in the second - it's just assumed that people like it.

    As for me, I like singing in choirs (though I'm not in one at the moment for various reasons, not least being always pressured to sell tickets when I know no-one who'd be the slightest bit interested in hearing Israel in Egypt. For the record, nor would I. Quite enjoy singing these things but couldn't sit through one) but I don't like singing as part of the church congregation.

    And another thing - there must be a reason for this, but singing in classical or contemporary style I'm quite comfortable up to an A, Bb even (tenor range), so why does a D# seem so high when you're singing a hymn in the congregation?
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate

    I've never really managed to make friends in choirs, if that's what you mean. Some people seem able to form friendships via small talk over the coffee break but I've never had the knack. [/quote]

    I know what you mean. One of my choirs has only a few minutes comfort break, so it is only on concert days that you get a chance to chat really.
    The other has a long 20 minute break, and as somewhat of a newcomer I struggle to fill it with small talk. However, once I have got my drink I do make a point of stepping out of my comfort zone and speaking to some altos. We sit facing them throughout the rehearsal, but I hardly know any of their names.

    But how does anyone make friends? I have lots of people I can call friends, through choirs, church or whatever, but nobody I could turn to in a crisis. My best friends are people I have known for many years, but we don’t live anywhere near each other.
  • This morning the closing song was “we are marching in the light of God.”
    A decision was taken to have, as the introduction, and between the verses, the theme to the Great Escape. Whistled.
    Do I win a prize?
  • Prize? I'd have thought some recognition of your fortitude in putting up with such pap wouln't be out of the question :smirk:
  • This morning the closing song was “we are marching in the light of God.”
    A decision was taken to have, as the introduction, and between the verses, the theme to the Great Escape. Whistled.
    Do I win a prize?

    It's a contender, certainly.

    I assume you sang in Zulu?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Some people seem able to form friendships via small talk over the coffee break but I've never had the knack.

    Mrs C has sung in the choir for years. So we know the people involved, of course, but friends? They're not people that we see outside a church setting, because we don't have anything else in common. Some of them are lovely people - some of them not so much, and there are plenty of them whose company I enjoy - we just don't share common interests. Their kids are grown, or they don't have any. Our lives just don't mesh.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    We used to sing Marching in the Light of God in Zulu. That particular parish the person who covered during holidays or sickness was a retired missionary priest, also a very loose canon, who had served in Africa. When he took the services we tended to find out a lot about his experiences. It gives me a certain fondness for it.
  • We sang it in English. I’m not sure that singing it in Zulu, with no native Zulu speakers, and I doubt anyone in church whose ever lived within several hundred miles of a Zulu speaking country, feels quite right to me. That said, we have sung it in Zulu a long time ago, and the choir do sometimes lead us in non-English songs, so.....

    I don’t know. A long conversation about the rights and wrongs of singing in notEnglisn could follow. I wouldn’t have anything articulate to add to it today!
  • Y'know, I've got nothing against modest amounts of Stuart Townend, but 3 out of 4 hymns plus an instrumental from his work? That's a bit much, particularly for a joint service where one of the two congregations involved considers the metrical psalm to be a staple of morning worship. Particularly galling when the service is focussing on Psalm 139 and there are good and well known metrical forms. At least we didn't have to endure a "drama" on this occasion.
  • What’s the old Stuart Townend joke? That he could write a birthday card for his 90 year old gran and get PSA in it somehow....
  • I think 3 out of 4 by any single author, including Watts or Wesley, is too many! "Variety is the spice of life" although the whole service does need to fit together.

    BTW are metrical psalms slowly disappearing? I never hear them on "Songs of Praise" these days, even when it comes from Caledonia - which is a shame.
  • We have one most Sundays, but the latest edition of the hymnary doesn't have one for each lectionary psalm.


  • [quote="

    BTW are metrical psalms slowly disappearing? I never hear them on "Songs of Praise" these days, even when it comes from Caledonia - which is a shame.[/quote

    I agree -- miss these Anglican Chants a lot.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    ...And another thing - there must be a reason for this, but singing in classical or contemporary style I'm quite comfortable up to an A, Bb even (tenor range), so why does a D# seem so high when you're singing a hymn in the congregation?
    I've only just read this thread so I'm a bit behind the times!

    To suggest an answer - because church is in the morning and the voice just isn't so happy singing that high that early in the day?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    ...And another thing - there must be a reason for this, but singing in classical or contemporary style I'm quite comfortable up to an A, Bb even (tenor range), so why does a D# seem so high when you're singing a hymn in the congregation?
    I've only just read this thread so I'm a bit behind the times!

    To suggest an answer - because church is in the morning and the voice just isn't so happy singing that high that early in the day?

    Happens in the evening too. It's totally weird.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Puzzler wrote: »
    .......And another thing - there must be a reason for this, but singing in classical or contemporary style I'm quite comfortable up to an A, Bb even (tenor range), so why does a D# seem so high when you're singing a hymn in the congregation?
    Greatly encouraged to find someone else has this problem! I'm bass, and singing a well constructed bass line doesn't give me a problem with range, top E not a problem, but if I'm singing the unison (ie top, give or take an octave) line in the congregation my top note slithers down to a D or even C. Very frustrating. I have begun to suspect that singing a line which is a bit high for a bass results in tired muscles in my throat which leads to an inability to find top notes. The effect passes off after a minute or two, only to re-establish itself with the next song.

    If it's a proper hymn I can sometimes get away with singing the bass line (so far nobody has complained!), or, a last-ditch defence, drop an octave ...
  • For nostalgia reasons I went looking for the old Maranatha Singers praise albums on YouTube. Two consecutive tracks on the suggested playlist, from the very same album ('The Praise Album", 1974) are entitled

    Bring My Body Closer

    and

    Cause Me To Come.

    Maybe I need a self-imposed sabbatical from the polyamory thread, but what were they thinking??
  • I've a query about "In Christ Alone", which is not among my favourite hymns, apart from the tune. I recently heard that the tune is Irish, and, by chance, came across a group singing it on the radio (only arriving after the wrath of God bit), in which the tempo was more as if they were singing "She moved through the Fair", which did not seem to fit the words, and certainly sounded like an Irish folk tune. Is it traditional? I ask because some words have been suggesting themselves to me, but if it is someone's personal work, it would obviously be inappropriate to continue with them. (They are addressed to Jesus, so not irreligiously inappropriate.) I've searched, and it does seem to be attributed to a person.
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