Tune for 'And Can it Be'

I'm after suggestion for the hymn 'And Can it Be' which is usually sung to the tune Sagina. This tune is woefully difficult to sing and requires vocal gymnastics that are beyond most of the congregation. Even skilled singers struggle with it. Is there a different tune that would be acceptable to singers and non singers? What tune do shipmates usually choose for this hymn?


  • Barnabas_AusBarnabas_Aus Shipmate
    edited February 27
    Hymary.org has these alternatives shown. We use Sagina, but don't find it terribly difficult.
  • I always go for Sagina. Never had a problem with it. However, our hymn book has SURREY as an alternative.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Our RC hymn book has Sagina. The hymn isn't in our repertoire, never heard RCs sing it to be honest. But Sagina is a splendid tune although rather more up and downy than folks are used to.
  • There can be no other tune! (My son had it at his wedding). I've never had a problem with it, provided it's in a suitable key. But otherwise Surrey (also known as Carey's).
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I agree that some congregations can get tied up in knots with the fuguing sections in Sagina but for "And can it be" any other tune is Outrage. Surrey would fit but that's the tune to "The Lord my pasture shall prepare".
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    We never seem to have a particular problem with Sagina. Those who know the hymn would mostly be devastated if we sang it to anything else.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate

    If you are looking for a more modern tune, Nathan Fellingham composed one in 2011. The musicians and singers of our church recorded this Lockdown YouTube version last year
  • Sagina is easy enough to sing - certainly easier for congregations than Surrey.
  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    I was shocked when I moved from Wales to England and heard it sung in unison. I had assumed everyone knew the harmonies by osmosis!
  • Gill H wrote: »
    I was shocked when I moved from Wales to England and heard it sung in unison. I had assumed everyone knew the harmonies by osmosis!

    No, through genetics!
  • Gill H wrote: »
    I was shocked when I moved from Wales to England and heard it sung in unison. I had assumed everyone knew the harmonies by osmosis!

    No, through genetics!

    Not so. I'm of Welsh descent and, while I've got the voice I've not got the harmonies. Counter melodies for SAGINA and the like I can manage, but proper harmonies are beyond me without a great deal of practice.
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    edited February 27
    I've always thought this hymn to be strange: a collection of segments that don't hold together well, as though the composer kept coming up with new ideas and just adding them on at the end. But I didn't grow up in a tradition that sings this hymn, so I guess it's natural it would be weird for me. And the "and" at the beginning makes me wonder what the text is a continuation of.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I hadn't really encountered "And Can it Be" until I took on a parish in New South Wales. Or certainly I hadn't encountered the, er, repeaty belt outy in gender-specific-ish voices bits (don't know the technical terms ... is that what "fuguing sections" means?) Perhaps I knew it in unison but it was never a stand out - I think perhaps my wonderful evangelical late ex father in law had it at his Significantly Large Funeral and I suppose people fugued it or whatever then, though it was "Be Still My Soul" that broke and remade my heart that day.

    But I digress. I moved to my Parish (St Cowsville by the River) and there, every time we sang it, two wonderful brothers sang heartily the (I suppose) fuguey bits, sang deep from within their hearts and souls and diaphragms and lungs. And oh it rocked. And ever since when I have tried to hold that part (often unsuccessfully) oh my soul has been raised heavenward.

    The brothers remain great if tyrany-of-distanced friends of mine still, two decades later, and I only wish I had their musical (fuguey?) prowess.
  • I'm a Methodist, and our lot go on and on about this one. I really like old hymns, but there are so many I prefer to chewing my way through this bloody thing! :smile:
  • Like some others have said, And Can It Be isn’t part of my tradition, and it’s not familiar to me at all. The only times I can recall hearing it are when I’ve looked it up on YouTube after it’s been discussed here.

    But I did do a little looking and found this resource page from the United Methodist Church, which notes:
    Charles Wesley's great hymn, "And Can It Be," no. 363 in The United Methodist Hymnal, was written to commemorate his conversion. Many consider it his greatest hymn. It has been set to different tunes in different hymnals. Some consider the SAGINA tune in our hymnal to be difficult for congregations to sing. It is offered here with the WEXFORD CAROL tune, a favorite traditional Irish melody.
    There are links to Sibelius version and a pdf of the Wexford Carol setting on that page.

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Hymns starting with "And......."
  • Four levels of Methodist at Annual Conference according to Charles Wesley's hymns:
    1. Those who sing the melody and need a book for the words
    2. Those who sing the melody but do not have a book
    3. Those who sing their part and have a book for the music
    4. Those who sing their part and do not have a book

    Guess which are true chapel.
  • rhubarbrhubarb Shipmate
    We had Sagina imposed on us today and the congregational pain was palpable. Lots of complaints after the service, particularly with having to sing 5 verses!
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    Hymns starting with "And......."
    Not just hymns.

    “And I Am Telling You,” from Dreamgirls.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited February 28
    I may fall into the camp that holds that when Jesus and the Apostles sang at the Last Supper they must have used the English Hymnal in a green cover, but knowing Sabina is almost worth the time I spent attending evangelical services at university.
    Even Dearmer nods.
  • Sabina? Know it, but rather dreary IMHO.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
  • Ah. Well, don't bother to investigate Sabina because it's not worth the 30 seconds.
  • Sagina, on the other hand ...
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
  • Teenage witch?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »

    Possibly Latinised Roman era name for the river Severn.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    May she rest in peace.
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