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  • New Methodist hymnal to straddle the fence?

    How about this article?

    http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/gc...thodist-hymnal

    A real printed and bound hymnal that each congregation can customize, to some extent. A core group of a few hundred hymns, with thousands more to add as desired, and new ones "approved" at each General Conference. Available in pure digital format as well. All conforming to "Wesleyan theology."

    The wave of the future, no doubt. Or the end of denominational hymnals as we know them?

    Thoughts?
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

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  • #2
    I despise the trend to just project the words of hymns and worship songs onto screens, because as yet there is no viable way to include the music portion along with the words. Without the music presentation, the tendency is to sing only "songs" with simple tunes and no harmony.

    Methodists used to be known for their singing, and their singing in parts. As the Contemporary wave has taken hold, that characteristic has been seriously weakened, and I don't consider that a plus. Unison singing has its place, of course, but there is no comparison to the emotional satisfaction of good 4-part harmony, which can help create the "mood" in support of the text.

    David

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    • #3
      Yep. Words on a screen are a poor substitute for a hymnal in the hand. And there is something very therapeutic and unifying about joining one's voice with others in harmony.

      Something extremely important is being tossed overboard by the modern church, and the long-term effects may include members that feel much less connected to one another, as well as less engaged with the mission of the church. Truly sad.
      John
      ----------
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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      • #4
        Eventually the printed books won't be updated or available, and the content will exist only online "beamed" to each outlet "on demand." There will be no local copies or local control over the content. Publishers will continue to slightly modify public domain materials in order to get a new copyright, and the church organization - the corporate body - will charge for the licensing, or be in collusion with the captive publisher so that each church may pay for the same material over and over, forever. No wonder they don't want individuals, and much less CHURCHES to own the hymnals.
        -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic project, 1899 Kimball project
        -- Rodgers W5000, Juno DS-61/88, FA-06 - Conn 643 - Hammond M3, E112 - M-102 coming soon
        -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

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        • #5
          I am certainly not a fan of projectors in the church, although the Methodist church I go to certainly does use one.

          Also, there's always the possibility of people releasing new hymn collections themselves. I self-publish, and I've been compiling a public-domain hymnal.

          (Of course, I'm aware of the issue of "arrangement copyright", and I think it's a bunch of malarkey, but there's nothing I can do about that other than attempt to dodge the copyright by making my own, uncopyrighted arrangements, some of which I offer for download as PDF.)

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          • #6
            Interesting. Having a wide variety of resources available is a good thing, of course. Just so long as someone makes sure that printed copies of the music are available for the organist/pianist/praise band/kazoo trio/whatever. . .

            If I read this right, the printed hymnal will contain just 300 hymns. That is a huge step backwards. One size never fits all, particular in a group as diverse as the UMC. I suspect most smaller congregation will take one look at the new hymnal and decide the old one is just fine.

            Just one request, Hymnal Committee: for once could you not diddle with the "normal" harmonizations of old hymns? It's fine that you add your own "licks" to certain hymns (I do that, too), but you just shouldn't cram your personal ideas down my throat. Thank you.

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            • #7
              They got hit hard for that back in '35. So hard, in fact, that they had to reissue the hymnal just 4 years later with a few hymns restored to their original arrangements.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                I despise the trend to just project the words of hymns and worship songs onto screens, because as yet there is no viable way to include the music portion along with the words. Without the music presentation, the tendency is to sing only "songs" with simple tunes and no harmony.

                Methodists used to be known for their singing, and their singing in parts. As the Contemporary wave has taken hold, that characteristic has been seriously weakened, and I don't consider that a plus. Unison singing has its place, of course, but there is no comparison to the emotional satisfaction of good 4-part harmony, which can help create the "mood" in support of the text.

                David
                We are raising a generation of church goers who have little idea what it means to truly harmonize. With the disappearance of hymnals in so many churches, no one can see the parts and learn how to sing them. I have no problem using the screen with contemporary worship, but I also think that we need to maintain the use of the hymnals. Another thing: much of the contemporary music does not lend itself to easy harmonies. It's three or four chords with melody lines that are all over the place and not often easily sung by the average congregant. Again, I'm not knocking all contemporary music, but there's definitely been a shift in the style of the music. It seems that gone are the days when we used to sing the last verse of those hymns a capella with beautiful four part harmony. Good points, David!
                Craig

                Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by musikfan View Post
                  We are raising a generation of church goers who have little idea what it means to truly harmonize. With the disappearance of hymnals in so many churches, no one can see the parts and learn how to sing them. I have no problem using the screen with contemporary worship, but I also think that we need to maintain the use of the hymnals. Another thing: much of the contemporary music does not lend itself to easy harmonies. It's three or four chords with melody lines that are all over the place and not often easily sung by the average congregant. Again, I'm not knocking all contemporary music, but there's definitely been a shift in the style of the music. It seems that gone are the days when we used to sing the last verse of those hymns a capella with beautiful four part harmony. Good points, David!
                  I am no spring chicken, but I have never been in a congregation that had more than a bare smattering of people singing hymns in harmony. That bare smattering probably were choir members sitting in the congregation during the summer.

                  The only time I have heard robust harmony in a service-like setting is at an Augsburg (the publisher) music clinic. I have been fortunate to live near one in different parts of the country almost all my life. They are not as long or in depth as they used to be, but they still include a music festival/hymn sing at some point during the clinic. Having a sanctuary of church musicians all singing together is quite an experience. Here is a link to the Augsburg Fortress site with the information for this year's clinics:

                  http://www.augsburgmusic.org/music-clinics/

                  If you can fit in any part of one these clinics - they are free - they generally have great clinicians and can get you revved for the fall.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I get what you're saying, CW, about rarely hearing great four-part singing, even long ago. I'm sure it was not something you'd hear just everywhere, and there were always churches filled with lazy singers who had no desire to make great music.

                    But 50 - 55 years ago when I was a small child attending country Baptist churches I remember hearing surprisingly robust singing. Some of our little churches would be filled to capacity for a special event, such as a funeral or a revival meeting, and many of them were just known for their hearty singing every Sunday. Not that everybody sang their SATB part, but most people, and especially the men it seems, would sing with great gusto even if they could only sing the melody.

                    Then when I was in seminary in the 70's every chapel service included the singing of two or three real hymns out of a real Baptist Hymnal, led by a marvelous pipe organ often played by Dr. Al Travis. With several hundred men and women present, all of them deeply committed to ministry, the singing was simply out of this world, surely a foretaste of heaven itself!

                    A third example -- after I got out of seminary and served in Baptist churches during the 80's and 90's, we still had annual associational meetings and state convention meetings and national SBC conventions that were well-attended. And every service or meeting included the singing of real hymns from a real hymnal, not the pop-style fluff and rock-band music that is featured in such meetings these days. And when we sang those hymns it would be accompanied by a nice big organ, either the one installed in the church that hosted the meeting, or, when meeting in large rented halls or convention centers, there would be an Allen or Rodgers brought in and set up, even if not set up like you'd want it done in a permanent install. People sang their hearts out and you'd heard awesome SATB on all the hymns.

                    Nowadays, you can hardly find anything like any of these anywhere. Such a shame, such a loss. And many people alive today have never experienced this and probably never will.
                    John
                    ----------
                    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, at the dinky little backwoods church I grew up in, we all pretty much sang the melody, even with the hymnals in front of us. I don't think I've ever heard a congregation sing hymns in full SATB.

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                      • #12
                        The idea of an "ala cart" hymnal is interesting; anyone know if this has been tried before? I like the idea of customizing it to the congregation, though perhaps it promotes a sort of short-sightedness when it comes to denominational polity.

                        Whenever the congregation here sings a stanza unaccompanied, it's interesting how strongly people react. I read things about the emotion impact of contemporary Christian praise music, but the swell of that third stanza unaccompanied can be deeply affecting. When a high school student's father died unexpectedly, it was important to her that the funeral include a few stanzas sung a cappella.

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                        • #13
                          I read things about the emotion impact of contemporary Christian praise music
                          Personally, contemporary Christian praise music has no positive emotional impact on me at all--I despise most of it (not all, just most--I wish I could never hear "Sanctuary" again).

                          David

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                          • #14
                            Just rhyming "Lord, prepare me" with "sanctuary" gives me a shiver. I hope not to hear it again for at least 40 years. After that, I think I'll be safely removed from it. Along with several others I can think of.
                            John
                            ----------
                            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                            • #15
                              ...I'm glad I have no idea what song you're referring to. xD

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