Church Music

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Comments

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I'm strongly under the impression the music was written by Keith Getty, who is, of course, Irish and profoundly influenced by Irish melodic traditions. It's Double Long Metre, by the way.

    I'm fairly sure the tune to She moved through the fair, which is a completely different tune, is Irish trad. There's less certainty about the source of the words. I think it's 11 11 11 11, which would mean it won't fit the words to In Christ Alone and tunes in Double Long Metre won't fit it.

    It's become quite popular at weddings, for which the words are spectacularly unsuitable for any normal person's marital aspirations, being about a couple who can't marry because of their respective social statuses, and then the prospective bride dies.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited December 2018
    To be fair, can marry *despite* their social differences:

    "my mother won't mind and my father won't slight you for your lack of kine"

    The only snag seems to be her disappearance and assumed death. But credit to her parents for their uncharacteristic open mindedness for Folksong Land.
  • Thank you. Words will have to go somewhere else. All I could find were references to someone who had recorded the hymn, which did not seem right, and I now know why.
    I referred to "She moved through the fair" because the singers on the Christian channel were singing with the speed, and indeed the sort of feeling I have heard for that - I know the metre is wrong. (So I can't use that, either!)
    I just wish the authors had not referenced God's wrath and the need for it to be satisfied. I first met it at an 11 year old child's funeral, and belted it out (I do miss singing hymns) with gusto, until I saw that cropping up. The silence must have been noticeable.
    One of the things that comforted the parents was that he had taken Christ as his saviour before he died, so that they could be sure he was going to heaven.
    Not my sort of theology.
  • Mr ClingfordMr Clingford Shipmate
    edited December 2018
    It's not unknown for people to accidentally sing other words, like 'love' and 'glorified'...
  • Or accidentally put them in the hymn sheet - although that is against copyright agreements. There are lots of thread around about In Christ Alone because many of us find the lines
    Till on that cross as Jesus died,
    The wrath of God was satisfied
    For every sin on Him was laid
    Here in the death of Christ I live
    don't fit with our theologies.
  • It does seem to deny the Trinity, making Christ and God entirely separate entities, and the father something of a Moloch. I find my own beliefs have more in common with those expressed in "God is Love, His the care, tending each, everywhere...". I see that there is a version rewritten to have inclusive language. In my opinion, it doesn't work well. I'd rather sing "All have here man to love" than "We can share life and love", because the idea that if we can't love our fellows, whom we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot, is quite important.
    I think that rewrite of "In Christ alone" has better poetry and meaning.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Yes, that's exactly the objection to PSA - it is a complete denial of the equality within the Trinity.
  • If In Christ Alone is picked I simply go quiet for the offending line. Stuart Townend has, I understand, refused permission for it to be altered so if you use an altered version you're likely breaching the terms of your copyright licence.
  • If In Christ Alone is picked I simply go quiet for the offending line. Stuart Townend has, I understand, refused permission for it to be altered so if you use an altered version you're likely breaching the terms of your copyright licence.
    That’s correct. “In Christ Alone” was on the list for our new hymnal, but with that line changed. But then the committee discovered that Townend denied permission to alter the line, so off the list it came.

  • It is rather sad that the is the sort of god Stuart Townend is so sure God is that he will not brook change.
  • Penny S wrote: »
    It is rather sad that the is the sort of god Stuart Townend is so sure God is that he will not brook change.

    In fairness, if I'd written a popular hymn I'd be keen to block any nutters trying to shoehorn PSA into it. I'm quite happy just to not sing it.
  • I think the shoehorning is in the other direction. He wants the singing to be about a wrathful deity who needs his son to die to satisfy that wrath. Others don't want to sing it.
  • Penny S wrote: »
    I think the shoehorning is in the other direction. He wants the singing to be about a wrathful deity who needs his son to die to satisfy that wrath. Others don't want to sing it.

    Yes, I'm just saying that if the shoe were on the other foot I might behave similarly. Wanting to safeguard the (in your view) theological accuracy of your work is not in itself a problem; the problem here is that the theology in question here is awful.
  • Evangelicals would say the same thing about (say) some Catholic theology, of course.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    For those that are obsessed with this issue, have you noticed that if your read the lyrics of the whole hymn, rather than fixating on one line in v 2, it is not built solely on one atonement model?

    Meanwhile, does anyone recognise where these words come from?
    "That guiltless Son, who bought your peace,
    and made his Father’s anger cease,
    alleluia, alleluia,"

    Where would you expect them to come from?

    They are actually from the English translation of the 11th century Latin Easter sequence: Victimae Paschali Laudes. The original Latin version is part of the Latin Easter Sequence and is attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (c.995-1048). They were put into the form of an English hymn is by a recusant, Sir Walter Kirkham Blount (?-1717). It comes from his The Office of the Holy Week: According to the Missal and Roman Breviary. The first line, by the way, is Bring all ye dear bought nations, bring.

    It isn't actually a very good translation. The Latin is “Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores”. It's years since I did any Latin, but I think that means ‘The innocent Christ has reconciled sinners to the Father’.

    Is this another example of how something written by an evangelical must be wrong, but it's all right, or can't mean that, if it was written by someone else?
  • Bad theology is bad theology, regardless of the author.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    For those that are obsessed with this issue, have you noticed that if your read the lyrics of the whole hymn, rather than fixating on one line in v 2, it is not built solely on one atonement model?

    Meanwhile, does anyone recognise where these words come from?
    "That guiltless Son, who bought your peace,
    and made his Father’s anger cease,
    alleluia, alleluia,"

    Where would you expect them to come from?

    They are actually from the English translation of the 11th century Latin Easter sequence: Victimae Paschali Laudes. The original Latin version is part of the Latin Easter Sequence and is attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (c.995-1048). They were put into the form of an English hymn is by a recusant, Sir Walter Kirkham Blount (?-1717). It comes from his The Office of the Holy Week: According to the Missal and Roman Breviary. The first line, by the way, is Bring all ye dear bought nations, bring.

    It isn't actually a very good translation. The Latin is “Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores”. It's years since I did any Latin, but I think that means ‘The innocent Christ has reconciled sinners to the Father’.

    Is this another example of how something written by an evangelical must be wrong, but it's all right, or can't mean that, if it was written by someone else?

    Is this an example of assuming bad motives in other posters?
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    It's not unknown for people to accidentally sing other words, like 'love' and 'glorified'...

    Oopsie....
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    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.

    Aye, love the tune, loathe the foul 'theology'.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    The hymn, Jesus Paid It All has a marvellous verse, we sang it last Sunday.

    Lord now indeed I find,
    Thy power and thine alone
    Can change the leper’s spot
    And melt the heart of stone.


    Leper's spot. It isn't a typo.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I have long had a hymn blacklist, although it tends to be the reverse of everyone else's. Anything that I sang fourteen times a year when I was a child is on it - which knocks out

    "All things bright and beautiful"
    "Praise to the holiest in the height"
    "All people that on earth do dwell"
    "Morning is broken"

    plus a few other 1970s and 80s school assembly war horses. The other victims of the banning/rationing policy seem to be mainly 1920s and 30s sunny side of Liberal hymns like Dearmer's "Sing praise to God, who spoke to man" - though that one will occasionally get through, but with the comment 'omit v.3.'

    On the other hand, the congregation probably his a list of hymns I use too often such as Luther's "A mighty fortress;" Franck's "Deck, my soul, thyself with gladness;" Cowper's "God moves in a mysterious way" and Newton's "Glorious things of thee are spoken." I think C. Wesley's "Jesus, lover of my soul," may have come off that list as I have not used it for over a year.

    PDR
  • ATB&B I think appears on the list of most people who, well, know enough hymns to have such a list.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Dear Lord and Father of mankind is on my personal blacklist.
  • And mine.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    The other object of my wrath with regards to hymns tends to be what I think of as "The Weird and Wonderful World of 1940 (PECUSA) Hymnal Tune Selections." Many a time I pick a hymn and then realize that the '40 Hymnal has it set to a tune that no knows and isn't worth learning.
  • Does the hymnal at least have a metrical index?

    One thing I give credit to the Church of Scotland Hymnary for is the retention of the idea that people may mix and match words and tunes, so it retains more CM and LM tunes than you can shake a stick at, including 3 for the most familiar metrical version of Psalm 23.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Dear Lord and Father of mankind is on my personal blacklist.

    You could always get 'confused' the next time it's requested, and sing the full version of the poem (link) ...

    (I rather like it, but I suspect what I actually like is Parry's music. It is a bit jarring when sung at an ultra-high Anglo-Catholic mass ...)
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Dear Lord and Father of mankind is on my personal blacklist.

    You could always get 'confused' the next time it's requested, and sing the full version of the poem (link) ...

    (I rather like it, but I suspect what I actually like is Parry's music. It is a bit jarring when sung at an ultra-high Anglo-Catholic mass ...)

    There is another set of words sung to that tune: I have a dream a man once said
    I haven't decided whether I like it or not, it seems to lack poetry.
  • I've used that, but I think it goes better to "Newcastle" (https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/109122).
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Dear Lord and Father of mankind is on my personal blacklist.

    You could always get 'confused' the next time it's requested, and sing the full version of the poem (link) ...

    (I rather like it, but I suspect what I actually like is Parry's music. It is a bit jarring when sung at an ultra-high Anglo-Catholic mass ...)

    There is another set of words sung to that tune: I have a dream a man once said
    I haven't decided whether I like it or not, it seems to lack poetry.

    I dunno, Repton sounds a bit too restful for a poem that's about not being restful ...
  • I have also sung it to Caryl Micklem's "Gatescarth".
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Does the hymnal at least have a metrical index?

    One thing I give credit to the Church of Scotland Hymnary for is the retention of the idea that people may mix and match words and tunes, so it retains more CM and LM tunes than you can shake a stick at, including 3 for the most familiar metrical version of Psalm 23.

    Yes, the '40 has a metrical index, but that doesn't help you very much because you always get push back from the five folks in the congregation who can read music and complain bitterly when you don't use the tune printed in the Hymnal! I love 'em, but they can be a bloody frustrating lot sometimes!
  • I'm pretty much always willing to sacrifice what limited musical literacy I have for a tune for which I don't need the music. If it's only five people I'd be inclined to photocopy the music for them. Problem solved!
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    That may be what I end up doing. At the moment I just tend to avoid the hymns with the 'Oh my, what were they thinking' tunes.
  • Can we all agree that asking a room full of white people to sing hymns in Swahili is a bad idea?
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I don’t think so necessarily. Is it really any different from asking a room full of non-English speakers to sing hymns in English, asking non-Hispanic Americans in Spanish, or asking a room full of almost anyone to sing hymns in Latin?

    It’s all in context. How much Swahili are they being asked to sing? Are they given assistance in how to pronounce it properly? Are they given help in understanding what it means? Are they doing it respectfully, with an eye (ear?) to celebrating the diversity and universality of the church?

    I don’t think it’s an inherently bad thing. But it can be done badly.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    John Bell has been doing it rather successfully for the best part of 35 years to my knowledge. What is the difference between asking them this than asking them to sing in Latin?
  • Wet KipperWet Kipper Shipmate
    Can we all agree that asking a room full of white people to sing hymns in Swahili is a bad idea?

    "See a Hamster cooked in white wine sauce" ?
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited August 5
    I think it's generally questionable having people pray in languages they don't understand. Having said that, Latin could be argued to be a heritage language for most European-Americans, especially if they worship in some liturgy descending from the Latin rites. Even if they don't speak Latin they are likely to know some basic Latin liturgical phrases. Likewise Spanish is a language they are very likely to encounter in day-to-day life, and may even be spoken by congregants. If there were actual Swahili speakers, or even descendants of Swahili speakers, in the congregation I could see it but that's not what I see happening. The Swahili (or Tagalog, or Hawaiian, etc) selections strike me as a well-meant but very cringey attempts by white boomer liberals to project a diversity that does not exist and that is not coming to the average shrinking 99-100% white ELCA or PCUSA parish. It probably seemed very forward thinking and aspirational in the 70's and 80's but it now feels like a bit of a bad joke. Of necessity, the lyrics are highly simplistic and repetitive and the tunes sound like nursery school stuff. I have not encountered attempts at Chinese- the pronunciation might be too intimidating- but as someone of Chinese descent I would cringe mightily at such an attempt and I imagine, perhaps wrongly, that a Swahili-speaking visitor from Kenya or Rwanda would feel similarly.
  • Two quick points (and I do note what you say about dreadful pronunciation!)
    1. I don't think this a misplaced attempt at trendy diversity - it is to remind people, especially those in monocultural congregations, that there is a huge breadth of Christian background and tradition in most countries; and
    2. That - as John Bell has indeed made very clear - we are part of a Church which spans the world.

    And, as far as intelligibility goes (whether Swahili, Latin or whatever) - tell 'em what it means before you start singing! My wife used to complain in my last church about the choir singing Latin anthems - what place had they in a Nonconformist church where intelligibility is prized?

    By the way, we have very occasionally sung hymns here using a diglot version whereby some have done so in English and others in Welsh.

    Also by the way, I have worshipped in West Africa in services where three or four languages were regularly used (though not simultaneously!)
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I have not encountered attempts at Chinese- the pronunciation might be too intimidating- but as someone of Chinese descent I would cringe mightily at such an attempt and I imagine, perhaps wrongly, that a Swahili-speaking visitor from Kenya or Rwanda would feel similarly.
    Maybe or maybe not. I think much depends on whether there's a sense that the congregation is doing it for novelty, doing it to show how progressive they are, or doing it with sincere respect. My experience is that people are willing to overlook lots if they sense an attitude of respect.

    For songs like these, our hymnal typically has words printed in the original language and in English, and people are encouraged to sing in whatever language they're comfortable with.

  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I tend to find that attempts to sing in Swahili, etc., usually end up getting the same response as Sing Nun Music in the RC Church. Brave attempt followed by silence. If the powers that be do it too often, it just gets the silence (apart from the choir/cantor) from the start.

    BTW, an unusual thing occurred yesterday. I was walking past the RC church, airing the dog before our 11am Eucharist, which is one block up from ours, and I could hear them singing outside even though the doors and windows were shut. Someone had ditched the 'Singing Nun music' for the last hymn and had chosen "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation." They were giving it some welly. The volume also goes up when they have a English/Latin Mass where the old hands get to sing the Missa De Angelis instead of the usual Nervous Order Ordinary Form pap.
  • What is 'Singing Nun music' ?
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    What is 'Singing Nun music' ?
    The pejorative used for some more contemporary-style hymns written since the 1960s, particularly in Catholic (or sometimes Lutheran) contexts.

    Frankly, I think the blanket dismissal of that genre of music is tedious, if not a bit snobbish. Sure, it may not be to everyone's taste, and that fine. But much of it is no less "worthy" than the so-called "classic hymns"—many of which were dismissed when first written as unworthy and not as good as the "old stuff."
  • True of contemporary Evangelical music too - lots of dross, some gems (as always!)
  • I'm pretty sure "Praise to the Lord..." was penned by some German Calvinist, so it's funny that would rouse an RC congregation to hearty singing. But it's a lovely hymn.
    I don't think this a misplaced attempt at trendy diversity - it is to remind people, especially those in monocultural congregations, that there is a huge breadth of Christian background and tradition in most countries; and
    2. That - as John Bell has indeed made very clear - we are part of a Church which spans the world.

    I appreciate and support the principle but there must be better ways to do it. For instance, John Mason Neale was able to translate ancient Syriac and Greek hymns to good metered English. "It is the Day of Resurrection" from St John of Damascus' Easter canon is now a staple of mainline Easter services. You could go a step further and introduce Byzantine or Ethiopian Zema chants but I'm guessing that would not go over well.

    What I've noted is similar to PDR's observation- the hymn selection is something decreed by the pastor or liturgist and the congregation follows along with less than fulsome zeal.
    And, as far as intelligibility goes (whether Swahili, Latin or whatever) - tell 'em what it means before you start singing!

    That's fair, and could also be applied to cases where people complain about, say, Tudor English. It seems very sensible and obvious. But in practice I am pessimistic of its application.
    Also by the way, I have worshipped in West Africa in services where three or four languages were regularly used (though not simultaneously!)

    My understanding is that it's not uncommon for at least that many languages to be spoken daily within a fairly small area in that region.

  • I appreciate and support the principle but there must be better ways to do it. For instance, John Mason Neale was able to translate ancient Syriac and Greek hymns to good metered English. "It is the Day of Resurrection" from St John of Damascus' Easter canon is now a staple of mainline Easter services.
    Of course; but the congregation singing those hymns will tend to think of them as "English" rather than as "world Church".
    Also by the way, I have worshipped in West Africa in services where three or four languages were regularly used (though not simultaneously!)

    My understanding is that it's not uncommon for at least that many languages to be spoken daily within a fairly small area in that region.
    Yes, that was precisely the situation.

  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited August 5
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    What is 'Singing Nun music' ?
    The pejorative used for some more contemporary-style hymns written since the 1960s, particularly in Catholic (or sometimes Lutheran) contexts.

    Frankly, I think the blanket dismissal of that genre of music is tedious, if not a bit snobbish. Sure, it may not be to everyone's taste, and that fine. But much of it is no less "worthy" than the so-called "classic hymns"—many of which were dismissed when first written as unworthy and not as good as the "old stuff."

    I tend to be a bit grumpy about 'singing nun music' but I will admit there probably are one or two gems in there - just haven't found them yet. Same goes for the "choruses" popular when I was in my teens and twenties - there were a handful of good ones, but the other three hundred in book were pretty stale even before the ink dried.

    One advantage of traditional hymnals is usually there has been a good weeding out of the weak material before it hits the pews. One thing I can say about the 1940 Hymnal is that the weakest stuff in it is very often what was then new stuff written in the 1920s and 30s, including a couple of real howlers by Percy Dearmer in his liberal phase.

    Usual policy when I was singing in parish church choirs was to have an old standard Hymnal such as Ancient and Modern Revised, and then a paperback with the new stuff in it. Usually when the next edition of Awful and Maudlin came around a few of the decent modern songs had made their way into the Hymnal. The same seems to have occurred with 'Common Praise.'
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I'm pretty sure "Praise to the Lord..." was penned by some German Calvinist . . . .
    Yes, Joachim Neander, for whom a valley (German thal) near Düsseldorf was named: Neanderthal. A significant discovery was, of course, made in that valley and bears its, and Neander's, name. :wink:

  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    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.)

    I remember the work-around ersatz song at Bennigan's (R.I.P.): Happy happy birthday, from Bennigan's to you, with a significant slow-down in the middle whilst all the waitstaff locked arms and swayed to sing May all...your dreams...come true before finishing up a tempo with Happy happy birthday, from Bennigan's to you! Hey!

    I once saw this song done to a stonefaced woman on her birthday; once the waitstaff left the table, she turned red and wished her well-meaning table-mates an eternity in the nether world.

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