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What makes a good hymn?

JennieG 07 Aug 06 - 02:31 AM
Mo the caller 07 Aug 06 - 02:45 AM
Paul Burke 07 Aug 06 - 05:01 AM
Wilfried Schaum 07 Aug 06 - 06:21 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Aug 06 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Aug 06 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Russ 07 Aug 06 - 09:04 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Aug 06 - 09:08 AM
GUEST 07 Aug 06 - 09:53 AM
skipy 07 Aug 06 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Brian 07 Aug 06 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Russ 07 Aug 06 - 11:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Aug 06 - 01:05 PM
Burke 07 Aug 06 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Ed 07 Aug 06 - 04:58 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 06 - 05:01 PM
Slag 08 Aug 06 - 01:38 AM
Joe Offer 08 Aug 06 - 02:25 AM
Liz the Squeak 08 Aug 06 - 04:23 AM
Paul Burke 08 Aug 06 - 04:52 AM
Mo the caller 08 Aug 06 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Joe Offer, at the Honda dealer 08 Aug 06 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Russ 08 Aug 06 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Allen in Oz 08 Aug 06 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Aug 06 - 07:08 PM
Deckman 08 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM
JennieG 09 Aug 06 - 03:47 AM
Kaleea 09 Aug 06 - 05:45 PM
Penny S. 09 Aug 06 - 05:56 PM
Ref 09 Aug 06 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,Allen in Oz 09 Aug 06 - 11:13 PM
Slag 11 Aug 06 - 01:20 AM
Peace 11 Aug 06 - 01:35 AM
Blackcatter 11 Aug 06 - 01:41 AM
JennieG 11 Aug 06 - 03:26 AM
Paul Burke 11 Aug 06 - 03:34 AM
JennieG 11 Aug 06 - 03:53 AM
Wilfried Schaum 11 Aug 06 - 04:27 AM
Slag 11 Aug 06 - 01:30 PM
Nigel Parsons 11 Aug 06 - 03:04 PM
Nigel Parsons 11 Aug 06 - 03:10 PM
Joe Offer 11 Aug 06 - 03:39 PM
flattop 11 Aug 06 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Janie 11 Aug 06 - 05:47 PM
Deckman 11 Aug 06 - 06:05 PM
LilyFestre 11 Aug 06 - 06:24 PM
emjay 11 Aug 06 - 07:04 PM
Deckman 11 Aug 06 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,Mr War 11 Aug 06 - 07:42 PM
JennieG 11 Aug 06 - 09:30 PM
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Subject: What makes a good hymn?
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:31 AM

Last night a radio program mentioned an upcoming RSCM* seminar, and one of the subjects for discussion is "What makes a good hymn?" which set me thinking.

What does make a good hymn?

A singable tune? Words that mean something to the singer? An old favourite that was part of childhood Sunday School attendance?

Several churches went 'moderne' in the 70s and their hymns are less easy to sing as a result, I reckon. Give me the good oldies any day.

*RSCM: Royal School of Church Music

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:45 AM

Does it depend who's singing it?
Years ago I was a church member so attended regularly and sang what I believed.
A 'new' hymn appeared which we all took to at once "How great Thou art". We enjoyed the old ones with good harmonies too - "Bread of Heaven", but when you are singing them all the time something fresh is welcome.
Now as a practising atheist its the golden oldies that I remember the alto line to that stir nostalgia.
So maybe if the church is trying to get at the people who think of themselves as Christian without doing much about it they should use an occassional oldie, but add new favourites. Sankey & Moody, and Wesley wrote new hymns too.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:01 AM

I've forgotten nearly all the (Catholic) hymns I sang as a kid, most were dreary and interminable. The ones I can remember are either the floaty beautiful Latin ones like Pange Lingua Gloriosi, the rousers like Queen of the Angels (especially accompanied by a brass band), or the ones that terrified me... Just For Today included the verse:

Let me no wrong or idle word
Unthinking say;
Set thou a seal upon my lips
Just for today.

I was scared that if I said a naughty word, God would send a seal to bite me on the lips...


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 06:21 AM

Some years ago the hymnal of my church was revised extensively. Some old hymns were rejected, a lot of new ones were added, ans some from foreign countries, just for straining after effect.

Comparing them it seems to me:
The real runners are the old songs of the reformation, by M. Luther himself and his companions. They are written in a real folkie way: a clear and simple syntax, without any distortions of speech. They transmit the message clearly. The cries for help to God are in an earnest and hopeful language, too.

Only the best poets of the following centuries were represented, too; and there are only a few from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century. Especially the prosecution by the Nazis brought some fine and moving hymns.

The tunes are fewer, many are shared by a couple of hymns. There is a remarkable correspondence between the simplicity of the tunes and the words. Some of them were from secular origins and hit the folk charts in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The newer songs from the end of the last century are easily recognized by their missing message and their shallow sentimentality. The tunes are considered modern when some syncopes are injected, and the responsibles thought to attract younger people by such hymns. The only effect is that not more young people are coming to the services, and some older members are staying away.

The songs from abroad depend of the quality of the translation and the singability of their tunes.

Gimme that old time religion - but not sung by an elderly German parish but by a real good gospel choir from the South.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 08:30 AM

Just look at any newly compiled hymnbook and check out which ones were written before 1950. I bet that about half the contents will fall into that category, and more than half of those will have been written before 1900.

Of the new ones (post 1950), it will be the rousing choruses, the simple, easily remembered verses of contemplative worship and the uncomplicated arrangements of catchy tunes that will stand the test of time.

Oh, and by 'Bread of Heaven', do you mean the Bach tune 'Bread of Heaven, [on thee we feed]' or do you (as I suspect) actually mean 'Cwm Rhondda' for 'Guide me, O thou great Redeemer/Jehovah'?

Both are equaly good tunes, but one is more suited to quiet contemplation than a rattling good belter-outer.

LTS (former affiliated member of RSCM and chorister for over 30 years)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 08:45 AM

If by hymn, one means a song for the entire congregation to sing together, then in my opinion, a good hymn:

should not have a big range
should not be fast
should have an interesting melody
should have something to say
should have lyrics based on Scripture
should not be an obvious imitation of the latest pop hit
should not sound like something played in a bar
should lend itself to vocal improvisation
should be guitar (etc) friendly.
    should not constantly move stepwise
    should not be marked with chords that look like algebra


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 09:04 AM

Everybody seems to be focusing on the form.

By he way, hymns also have a content.

Many of them are intended to be didactic.

So, one would assume that they should be doctrinally sound/theologically correct.

Russ (who is NOT a Christian)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 09:08 AM

True... hymns DO and SHOULD have a content.. but what do you recognise first about a hymn.. is it the tune or is it the words? How many folks could sing the whole of a hymn, rather than just the first few lines or the chorus from memory?

The best hymns that have and will stand the test are those that are blessed with both a message and a memorable tune.

LTS


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 09:53 AM

What makes a good hymn?

faith


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: skipy
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 10:00 AM

A good her.
Skipy


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Brian
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 10:24 AM

Skipy, you have a good her. So where did you go wrong?

cheers

See you at WHFF

Brian


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 11:53 AM

Liz,

Good point.

I made my point about content because of a personal experience.

My wife once asked a friend sing a duet with her. I don't remember which hymn it was. The friend politely refused on the basis of doctrinal incorrectness. For that person content trumps all.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 01:05 PM

I think maybe the great hymns - the Bunyans, the Wesleyan hymns, the Spirituals, the Salvation army stuff etc

they all seem to relate to a time when faith was substantially a simpler matter than it is today. I'm sure they meant something different to the people who sang them in those days.

A good hymn, to me at least - I'm no sort of an expert, should give the singer a spiritual experience - it should feel like touching the very substance of God.

Mind you, I was brought up as a Quaker, and I used to envy the other kids singing hymns in assembly - I was brought up to believe it was an insincere form of worship. Later on I briefly attended a Quaker boarding school and found there that the kids were merrily singing away - so it was not a view shared by all Quakers.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Burke
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:39 PM

A memorable, singable tune.

A really good hymn has music that reinforces & helps picture the words.
Examples that come to mind quickly
Crown Him with many Crowns/Diademata
A Mighty Fortress
O sacred Head, now wounded/Pas­sion Chor­ale

Can be written for a specific time, place, event, but it needs to have a certain timelessness to it. I think this means correct grammar & syntax, avoid slang terms.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:58 PM

A memorable, singable tune

Burke hits the nail. You can think about the words later, but without a cracking tune a hymn is nothing.

And I'm right! :-)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:01 PM

Him with the big drum. (An old joke!)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Slag
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 01:38 AM

First and foremost is good theology. If it is doctrinaly unsound but has a great tune, well it's a "great tune" but it's not a hymn. No matter what your denomination your hymnal should take into account doctrinal and denominational considerations.

As for the music, you're all undoubtedly way beyond me. What? Good rythm, toe-tapping stuff, a great bridge or chorus, something that lends itself to choral arrangements. How about a double fugue like Verdi's "Sanctus" in "Requiem Mass"? If the folks go home humming it, it's a good hymn!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 02:25 AM

I think weelittledrummer is onto something - "it should feel like touching the very substance of God." My wife says she feels the song should feel like it comes from within herself, not so she feels like she's singing somebody else's song.

The doctrinal issue is a sticky one. I refuse to sing a number of hymns for doctrinal reasons - but usually because the song is pushing a doctrinal agenda. In general, I think a good hymn should transcend doctrine and unite people, rather than dividing people into doctrinal cubbyholes. On the other hand, it shouldn't be so devoid of doctrinal content that it says nothing. I'll agree with Slag that the theology should be sound, but perhaps it should not be sectarian.

Leeneia's list says the hymn should be based on scripture. I don't agree with that completely, but I've found that hymns based on scripture are generally more likely to stand the test of time. Scripture-based hymns usually don't get bogged down by excessive sentimentality or by cliches of the era. Still, there are some darn good hymns that aren't based on scripture.

In general, I think a good hymn has a memorable melody and a singable range and meter, and a certain timelessness to the lyrics. I think "How Can I Keep from Singing" and "I'll Fly Away" fit my criteria very well. So does "Where Charity and Love Prevail," which has a more profound message.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 04:23 AM

We could open up a whole new can of worms here by asking 'what is good theology?'.... it's as big a question and bigger answer than 'what is folk?'

One person may find good theology and a pertinent message in the most obscure text but that doesn't mean it makes a good hymn. And vice versa.

A good piece of theology is one that makes you feel happy, comforted, secure, intrigued, curious, thirsty for more and any one of a thousand other things. How it makes God feel is a totally different question!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord... doesn't say it has to be in tune!

LTS


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Subject: Lyr Add: ALL THINGS DULL AND UGLY (Eric Idle)
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 04:52 AM

It's one reason I don't like singing hymns, or Gospel stuff for that matter. I don't like saying I believe things that I don't. Where theology is irenicist, broad and inclusive ("Let's be nice to everyone"), it's difficult to disagree. But what motivates many religious people- not just Christians, and including some who don't think they are religious- is the feeling that their group alone have exclusive access to the truth, and the inward smirk that they seem to have when playing at being tolerant. I used to work with a bloke, he was very pleasant, but quietly let it be known that WE were all damned to hell for all eternity.

So theologically, All Things Bright And Beautiful is theologically impeccable, but so is this:

"All Things Dull And Ugly" from Monty Python's Contractual Obligations Album

All things dull and ug-ly,
All creatures, short and squat,
All things rude and na-sty,
The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their prudish venom,
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid,
Who made the spiky urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scant and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.

Amen.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 04:54 AM

Yes Liz, Cwm Rhondda, was the one I meant. With everyone singing in parts. How can you avoid joining in.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Joe Offer, at the Honda dealer
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 05:16 PM

Well, I suppose you have to have some divisions in your choice of music - Christians and Jews and Moslems probably won't have too many hymns in common, but maybe there are a few that they can all sing together.
Within Christianity, there is a distinct division between progressives and fundamentalists, but there is a large majority of moderates in the middle. I think there are a lot of good Christian hymns that express the basic beliefs of that majority. They certainly don't all believe the same thing, but their basic beliefs have very much in common, and good hymns should bring out that commonality and unity.
And yes, I think there's such a thing as sound theology that isn't an impossible goal to achieve. During Lent, the "mainstream" churches in our town spoonsor a weekly prayer gathering that includes, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and the United Church of Christ (Congregationalists). Each week, a different pastor gives the sermon - and I've found all of their sermons and all of the music to be theologically sound.
Religious groups should celebrate what unites them, not what divides them from each other.
Makes good business sense, too - the Oregon Catholic Press (now OCP) and the Gregorian Institute of American (now GIA) now market their music to all the mainstream churches.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 05:19 PM

Liz,

With all due respect for your piety, your use of the word "theology" is a bit idiosyncratic.

Theology is not about the emotional response of the listener.

Theology is about the correctness of the content of the hymn.

A hymn which is theologically "good" or doctrinally sound might be intended to scare the hell out of the listener. It might be intended to make one feel unhappy, uncomfortable, and insecure.

One job that hymns are called on to do is to motivate people, and there are lots of motivational buttons that have nothing to do with making people feel good.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Allen in Oz
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 06:22 PM

I do not know what makes a good hymn, but they don't come much better than " Abide with Me"...( and me ,a card carrying agnostic!)


Any hymn with the words " help of the helpless" can't be all bad ( even when interventions do not occur)

Hymns could be a good topic for a Folk Club evening in Northmead Scouts Hall

Best wishes

AD


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 07:08 PM

Despite what I said above, I'm not too fussy about hymns being based on Scripture. But I'm against something like "Onward, Christian Soldiers" or the one that has

..and he walks with me
and he talks with me
and he tells me I am his own."

I want to ask the person if they've seen a psychiatrist lately.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM

I am finding this thread VERY interesting. It's a perfect topic!

I was raised in the Pentecostal Church by two Grandmothers who were both Pentecostal preachers, one in Finnish and the other American. By six I was taught how to "speak in tongues" and how to "heal sinners" by laying on my hands. I also could sing scores and scores of hymns.

By the time I was 11,I recognized the deceptions for what they were and moved on.

When I started college, my first year as a "music major" I decided to become a choir director, studied all the formal music ed classes. But, after one year of that, I quit that pursuit.

I quit because I KNEW that while I might well be very good as a choir director, I would be completly PHONEY to my prsonal beliefs, as I now clearly understood the power of manipulation that is inherently possible with this kind of music.

Today, to me, a "GOOD HYMN" is something like "Who Will Sing For Me." It's vanilla enough that most folks can find something satisfying in it, it's got a lovely melody, it lends itself to harmony, and is very guitar friendly. These days, I often sing this song in churches (believe it or not) when I'm requested to sing at funerals.

By the way, over the years I've sung at both weddings and funerals. While my success rate for singing at weddings, as judged by the success of the weddings, is quite mixed, my success rate for singing at funerals is 100%. They all stayed dead!

CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: JennieG
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 03:47 AM

I am enjoying the posts too Bob, I'm glad I started this one.

Each year at the Oz National Folk Festival a popular workshop is the hymn singing session on Easter Sunday morning, run by our very own Mudcatter Hrothgar. Unbelievers, atheists, agnostics and those who believe in something all attend and have a rousing time together singing hymns for the pure joy of singing - this year we were even recorded for local radio because of our singing of "Battle Hymn of the Republic", sung with great verve and gusto!

I attended Sunday School as a child and church as an adult, but stopped going when I moved from a country town to the city. Since then I have become a 'hatches, matches and despatches' churchgoer but there is still something in the back of my mind that enjoys singing the words to hymns.

If I had to nominate a favourite hymn it would be a tie between "Guide me O thou great Jehovah" and "Be thou my vision".

Cheers
JennieG

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Kaleea
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 05:45 PM

As a choir director, I want a hymn to: have a lovely melody-but one that does not go too high or low-& satisfying harmonies which are easily learned by the all volunteer choir (& the melody by the congregation); be in a key which makes a voice sound best-which is usually a "flat" key; have lyrics which are easy for the nonprofessional singer to enunciate correctly; have a title which is not the same as any other so that the minister does not have the wrong hymn # printed in the sunday morning bulletin!; be appropriate for a variety of subjects which the minister might choose so we can concentrate on learning several hymns well instead of lots of hymns poorly; I could continue, but I'll move on.

As a singer, I like a hymn which is in a good key for my voice, usually one of the "flat" keys (yes, it really does make a difference, & it's not just about the range! Usually, a song in the common "traditional" keys do not fit my voice, but move it up or down one half step & my voice soars-this is completely normal, & choral music in the key of E major is notorious for causing the singers to go flat-especially when sung a cappella.); has a lovely melody; most of the melody is in the higher part of my voice since, as a soprano, that is the most powerful portion of my range; has a message which appeals to me & the average person, which is appropriate for a variety of occasions, and speaks to the human experience so that the audience will identify with the emotion I am intending to impart. (those are the highlights)

As a human being trying to navigate through this crazy thing we call "life," I prefer a hymn in which: my voice soars well (the right key-or that can be easily transposed-& right range for my voice); the message speaks to my own emotions & human experiences; the melody is lovely & satisfying to sing; inspires, comforts, praises the creator, or otherwise fits the emotions of my soul; brings about a very emotionally satisfying feeling; does not have gory lyrics like "eat my body, drink my blood;" is in a language which I enjoy singing, is easy for me to pronounce &\or translate & which makes the human voice sound the most beautiful (latin comes to mind, & no I'm not Catholic); most likely is an old one.




OK, everybody open your hermnals to page # . . .


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Penny S.
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 05:56 PM

One that hasn't been tampered with to remove Thee and Thou - eg "Be Thou my vision" and "Dear Lord and Father" in late 20th century hymnbooks.

Penny


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Ref
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 07:16 PM

I'll weigh in as a (not "for") the UU's. I like a good rousing anthem with readily available harmonies. Cheers for Cwm Rhondda and a lot of the old tunes. I've developed my own theory on the too-frequently execrable UU hymnal (the bastards took out The Battle Hymn Of The Republic which is part of our history and put in the ANC's marching song, which is just about unsingable), including the generally reliable rule that anything written by a lyricist still alive when the damn thing was published is unlikely to please. Such modern hymns are usually treacly and feature forced rhymes and overuse of tricks like triplets which congregations find difficult. UU's generally get all melty and emotional over a piece called "Spirit Of Life", which I think is abhorrent both musically and philosophically, yet its author (still living) also, in defiance of my rules, penned one of my faves. A hoary joke says that UU's make lousy singers because we're too busy reading ahead to see if we agree with the words!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Allen in Oz
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 11:13 PM

Some of the best hymns appear to involve lots of grovelling, eg. "How Great Thou Art", " Almighty , Ineffable", etc

The tunes are lilting and beautifully melodious

The sentiments; gushing and fearful of the great wok of fire for all non believers ( the punishment does seem a little harsh for not believing or for even admitting that you do not know ). Some God .

Anyway, well done Jenny for this site at Mudcat. All good stuff.

AD


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Slag
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 01:20 AM

Theology is "God-Logic". If your religion includes a god, the things you sing about should be consistant with your beliefs (hermeneutics). A case in point would be "This Is My Father's World" including a (poetically licensed?) phrase "...the music of the spheres..." Definitely not a Christian concept. Or better, in "I Come to the Garden", "...the joy we share as I tarry there, none other has ever known."???? NONE OTHER?? Who are you?!

As far as having something for everybody and an offense to nobody, it's never going to happen. You believe SOMETHING. You have to stand for SOMETHING. One's religion is almost always one's defining factor in his or her life. Accepting everything isn't tolerance. In Christianity there is something called the "offence of the gospel." Christ didn't make a whole lot of people very happy with His doctrine. Come to think of it a whole lot of people today aren't very happy with His doctrine and they still display "crucify him" attitude. Christians (not a phonies) will understand this because they too were so inclined before their conversion. It is part of Christian doctrine that "But God commended his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners (read: enemies of God), Christ died for us."Romans 5:8.

The trick is to maintain your moral certitude and (good) doctrine and remember that everyone in the world has been afforded God's forgiveness making them brothers and sisters or potential brothers and sisters. None to be hated or despised. Well, that's what passes for sound doctrine for me. In fact I seem to remember a Christian hymn about "My Beloved Enemy".

And remember the apostle Paul's admonition to "...sing hymns and spiritual songs to one another, with grace in your hearts..." Colossians 3:16.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 01:35 AM

"What makes a good hymn?"

A good her.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 01:41 AM

An old joke:

Why don't Unitarians sing hymns well? They're too busy reading ahead to see if they agree with the words.

And yes, I'm a Unitarian...


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 03:26 AM

Isn't there something, somewhere, in the Bible about "making a cheerful noise unto the Lord"? Or is my memory playing me false?

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 03:34 AM

That sounds Hassidic to me JennieG. "Maintain your moral certitude", Slag? Nothing like a good open mind!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 03:53 AM

Now I come to think on it, I think it might actually be "a joyful noise". Can anyone help me on this one?

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 04:27 AM

JennieG - maybe in the Book of Psalms?


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Slag
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 01:30 PM

Hey Paul, to some people an open mind is like a vacuum cleaner: it sucks up everything. When you find the "Truth" you cling to that and ignore the rest. Such is the way of mathmatics as well as religion. In religion it is a matter of faith. And I know that religion, like politics, can be very divisive. I'm not preaching here. I'm saying when it comes to matters that tend to be divisive one must be true to himself/herself, true to their revelation(s), their God but to do so without rancor or malice to those who hold a different conviction, point of view or faith. That all comes under the amazing concept of freedom of religion, freedom of conscience. No one is trying to force you to believe a certain way, not in this country anyway. Differing faiths can present their doctrine, credo, etc. and you can take it or leave it. You can think they are stupid, misguided, deluded or spot-on. That's your inalienable right which is guarded and protect by this nation and it's constitution. Closed minded? OK, you can say that about me. I've found something, Someone in whom I believe and that is where I'll take my stand and put my loyalty.

Make a joyful noise?
Psalms 66:1, 81:1, 95:1, 98:6


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 03:04 PM

Jennie G: "Oh be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladnes and come before his presence with a song"

The "Jubilate Deo" (psalm 100 "Jubilate Deo, omnis terra")

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 03:10 PM

Or, Psalm 66
1Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
2Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

Psalm 81
1Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

Psalm 95
1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Just a few selections

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 03:39 PM

"Cheerful" is close, but somehow doesn't convey the same meaning...


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: flattop
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 04:06 PM

My preference is for hymns with melodies having strong chordal notes - mainly major chords, without related key chords. Several hymns mentioned above and other that come to mind have these melodies:

I'll Fly Away
Abide with Me
Amazing Grace
Sweet Hour of Prayer
He walks with me and he talks with me
How Great Thou Art
My God is Real
Roll Jordon Roll
Ava Maria

Will Your Anchor Hold has a section in the chorus where it runs down the notes of the chord without any inbetween notes.

Memorable folksongs, like The Water is Wide and Tom Dooley, also have strong chordal melodies, as do many country songs. Some momentarily diverge from the three major chords before returning, like Alan Jackson's beautiful song, Here In The Real World.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Janie
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 05:47 PM

Good thread.

The hymns I find I love tell a good story, or have a universal message that I deeply believe, have words and music that, when sung together, simply move me, and/or are strongly associated, or in a style that I strongly associate with my childhood, family, and rural culture. I think I have more of an emotional response than a spiritual response to most of the hymns I love. I am more likely to respond to instrumental music as a spiritual experience than I am a song with lyrics. Perhaps because spirit is ineffable and words are not.


Janie


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Deckman
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 06:05 PM

Answer to Kaleea,

Were you one of my teachers in music school? Everything you said rings perfectly true. And yes, I wrote this note in B-flat because it certainly does fit my baritone voice much better! And I have also found that my guitar capo not only allows my guitar to easily play in the flat keys, but it occasionally has turned this baritone voice into a tenor ... when placed correctly ... just slightly above the adam's apple. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: LilyFestre
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 06:24 PM

What makes a good hymn? I think it's all in how it's presented. I've heard the same hymn presented different ways and sometimes I want to jump right in and sing my heart out while other times I can't wait for the song to end. For me, a good hymn (other than the presentation) is either upbeat or has very sweet, touching lyrics. The overbearing organ music is not my idea of great church music...overbearing anything (voice or instrument)really isn't my idea of good music of any kind! :) In my opinion, a hymn should please the ears and the mind.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: emjay
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 07:04 PM

Sometimes we sing hymns at church because we like them, not because of theology (or christology, bibliology, angelology, eschatology, or ecclesiology). A good rousing song like Life's Railway to Heaven, The Unclouded Day, I'll Fly Away, gets everyone singing. Sometimes we do change a few words -- Brethren We Have Met to Worship becomes Christians, We have.... and I make no apologies for that. Some songs we just won't sing and some are so good to sing we go home still singing them -- Balm in Gilead, for some reason, is one of those.
And personally, I can't stand How Great Thou Art. What a pompous bit of noise -- but I know that is just my opinion. No one needs to tell me what a wonderful hymn that is, my friends tell me that all the time.
Sharon Mountain Harmony from Folk Legacy is my all-time favorite collection and has just right examples of good hymns.
I have heard someone call many of the new ones "seven-eleven songs." Seven lines sung eleven times. Maybe even seven words.
MJ


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: Deckman
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 07:40 PM

EMJAY ... Interesting!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: GUEST,Mr War
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 07:42 PM

Don't talk about God.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 09:30 PM

Thank you to those good folks who directed me to the book of Psalms, it's been a busy week and I was leaving my web (or any other) searches for the weekend.

My mother always said she didn't want "Abide with me" played at her funeral but liked "Amazing Grace". Because of family politics she got neither, I remember we sang 23rd Psalm but can't remember what else.

Cheers
JennieG


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