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Tune for "This Little Light of Mine" and UMC #585

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  • Tune for "This Little Light of Mine" and UMC #585

    Anyone else notice that the tune for UMC #585 is sort similar but not really the same to the tune many/most of us have run into over the years?

    This - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKkbIZtqhyQ - is how I've always heard it done.

    Comments, anyone?

    -S-

  • #2
    I don't know why the Methodists have messed with "This Little Light of Mine" or several other standards in their hymnal, but they have. Another that comes to mind is "What Child is This?" They have ended it on a Major chord.

    Just play it how your congregation sings it. It will usually be the traditional way.

    Comment


    • #3
      The Methodists haven't messed with anything. This Little Light of Mine was originally a Negro Spiritual and sung exactly as it appears in the UMH and other places. It was never intended to be an uptempo tune, accompanied with Hammond B3, Tambourines and R&B Gospel Choir in glitter regalia. That came later. The later more uptempo version superseded the simpler, more contemplative, spiritual tune and became a classic. Amazing Grace went through a similar transformation. Raise your hand if you use the UMH harmony for Amazing Grace. I sure don't. Does anyone? As for "What Child is This", many different time signatures and harmonies exist and the Methodists picked one out of the several choices they had at their consideration. Do you think there is only one version of "Now Thank We All Our God"? I sub at a Lutheran Church and I can't take anything for granted there. All the keys and time signatures that I am familiar with are different from what I as a life long Methodist am used to. I could say "I don't know why the Lutherans have messed with: __________, _______________, or ______________ , but I know better. Whether it is for copyright reasons, or just the slow creep of time and the evolution of musical understanding, things change. That's just the way it is.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Steve Freides View Post
        Anyone else notice that the tune for UMC #585 is sort similar but not really the same to the tune many/most of us have run into over the years?

        This - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKkbIZtqhyQ - is how I've always heard it done.
        Steve,

        I've actually learned it over the years with a descending melody line for the first phrase, rather than the version you have. I just ran into it this week when it was selected for a mass I play for weekly. Because I'm teaching it to PK students, I'll just change my melody to what the Catholics use vs. the way I learned it. It fits into the lesson plan that not all tunes have the same words (some or all are changed), and not all words have the same tune (i.e. the two versions of Away in a Manger).

        Originally posted by cearley View Post
        I don't know why the Methodists have messed with "This Little Light of Mine" or several other standards in their hymnal, but they have. Another that comes to mind is "What Child is This?" They have ended it on a Major chord.
        That is known as a Picardy Third, and usually it is understood vs. written. However, I have to agree I've never heard the end of What Child is This end on a major chord. I'm sure someone thought it was cute, or they learned it that way, and decided to codify it in writing a hymnal. And so goes the musical literacy of our society.

        Michael
        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

        Comment


        • #5
          Michael,

          I have often heard and seen arrangements of "What Child Is This" that use the Picardy Third for the final ending of the song but not the end of each refrain. In fact, I used it for my arrangement of the tune on my YouTube channel. Please note that I am playing the tune in an orchestral style on my Roland Atelier. I did not use any type (classical, theatre, or Hammond) organ sound.

          Later,
          Allen


          Originally posted by myorgan View Post
          . . . .

          That is known as a Picardy Third, and usually it is understood vs. written. However, I have to agree I've never heard the end of What Child is This end on a major chord. I'm sure someone thought it was cute, or they learned it that way, and decided to codify it in writing a hymnal. And so goes the musical literacy of our society.

          Michael
          Currently own: Roland Atelier AT-90, Yamaha 115D, Roland DP-90SE, Yamaha PSR-S910

          YouTube Channel

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by afuller5 View Post
            I have often heard and seen arrangements of "What Child Is This" that use the Picardy Third for the final ending of the song but not the end of each refrain.
            Good point, Allen. I see what you mean.

            Michael
            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
              The Methodists haven't messed with anything. This Little Light of Mine was originally a Negro Spiritual and sung exactly as it appears in the UMH and other places. It was never intended to be an uptempo tune, accompanied with Hammond B3, Tambourines and R&B Gospel Choir in glitter regalia. That came later. The later more uptempo version superseded the simpler, more contemplative, spiritual tune and became a classic. Amazing Grace went through a similar transformation. Raise your hand if you use the UMH harmony for Amazing Grace. I sure don't. Does anyone? As for "What Child is This", many different time signatures and harmonies exist and the Methodists picked one out of the several choices they had at their consideration. Do you think there is only one version of "Now Thank We All Our God"? I sub at a Lutheran Church and I can't take anything for granted there. All the keys and time signatures that I am familiar with are different from what I as a life long Methodist am used to. I could say "I don't know why the Lutherans have messed with: __________, _______________, or ______________ , but I know better. Whether it is for copyright reasons, or just the slow creep of time and the evolution of musical understanding, things change. That's just the way it is.
              Thanks for this - a good perspective.

              Amazing Grace - I never play it like it's in the hymnal, either.

              I am in year #4 as an organist - at a UMC church, and it's my first organist job. As time goes on, one of the things I've come to love is that I don't have to play things the way they're written. I'm a trained classical musician, and it's just plain fun sometimes to do it how you wish, how you hear it, and how the musical moment moves you.

              Change of subject somewhat, but I was dog tired today, and when it came time for my postlude, I played about a bar of it then launched off on my own, to the applause of the congregation when I was done. One of my choir was standing behind me, also clapping, and then looked at me and said, "You didn't play that music, did you?", and pointed to the Bach piece I had up there. "Nope!" I said, "I made it all up."

              -S-

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              • #8
                Originally posted by afuller5 View Post
                I have often heard and seen arrangements of "What Child Is This" that use the Picardy Third for the final ending of the song but not the end of each refrain.
                That is the way I have always heard it.

                FWIW, I know of 3 different tunes often used for "Away In A Manger": MUELLER; CRADLE SONG; and AFTON WATERS. According to a web site, there may have been as many as 41 different tunes for those words, but I'm only familiar with those 3.

                David

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                • #9
                  I've heard it with a Tierce de Picardie at the end but never played it that way. As for 'alternative' tunes, 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem' has around 5 that I know of: the original Lewis Redner tune St Louis is no doubt the best known on your side of the pond and we usually sing it to Forest Green over here. Walford Davies wrote a couple of tunes for it, I think and there's a more obscure one by Rhys-Herbert. I did once arrange it for our school choir, using the three best known tunes - starting and ending with Forest Green. Hours of work went into that, but the 'musical director' thought it 'too complex' for the choir.

                  As for Amazing Grace, I've played that many a time, but for one wedding I was playing electronics rather than pipes, switched the leslie on to fast and got the choir to sing it in a more gospel style. Not exactly 'standard procedure' in church but it was what everyone wanted and was well received - it got a round of applause for the choir!
                  It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                  New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                  Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
                  Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
                  Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by andyg View Post
                    I've heard it with a Tierce de Picardie at the end but never played it that way. As for 'alternative' tunes, 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem' has around 5 that I know of: the original Lewis Redner tune St Louis is no doubt the best known on your side of the pond and we usually sing it to Forest Green over here. Walford Davies wrote a couple of tunes for it, I think and there's a more obscure one by Rhys-Herbert. I did once arrange it for our school choir, using the three best known tunes - starting and ending with Forest Green. Hours of work went into that, but the 'musical director' thought it 'too complex' for the choir.
                    The United Methodist Church publishing house, Cokesbury, puts out a collection of Free Harmonizations to well known tunes in the hymnal. One of the harmonizations is written to work with EITHER the St. Louis or the Forest Green tunes for "O Little Town of Bethlehem". Now that's some fancy arranging.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow! Do I have stories that I could tell. Having played in Baptist, Assembly of God, Four Square, Church of God (pentecostal) churches, I have to "learn/re-learn" each denominations "version" of hymns...gospel choruses. Funny, they all think theirs is the correct way to be played...lol. I take it as a challenge but do at times get frustrated
                      Allen 5300-DK, Hammond A-105, Conn Custom 905-DK

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hamman View Post
                        Wow! Do I have stories that I could tell. Having played in Baptist, Assembly of God, Four Square, Church of God (pentecostal) churches, I have to "learn/re-learn" each denominations "version" of hymns...gospel choruses. Funny, they all think theirs is the correct way to be played...lol. I take it as a challenge but do at times get frustrated
                        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                        Comment

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