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Hymn Tempos Too Fast

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  • Hymn Tempos Too Fast

    Anyone had experience with an MM upping the tempo as soon as you finish playing a hymn introduction. I was subbing in a little church and they did this with All Creatures of Our God and King, but to an almost unrealistically fast tempo. I could barely keep up! Let's say my feet got a little crossed

  • #2
    I had the opposite recently at a Catholic church. I was told before the service I should play faster than last time. I did. The congregation, however, sang in their usual slow tempo.
    So I went along, for harmony's sake

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    • #3
      Anyone had experience with an MM upping the tempo as soon as you finish playing a hymn introduction. I was subbing in a little church and they did this with All Creatures of Our God and King, but to an almost unrealistically fast tempo. I could barely keep up! Let's say my feet got a little crossed
      What's an MM?

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      • #4
        Musical Moron?
        Bill

        My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

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        • #5
          In my church, the organist and ONLY the organist, sets the tempo for all the hymns, as it should be.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by regeron View Post
            What's an MM?
            Minister of Music
            -Admin

            Allen 965
            Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
            Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
            Hauptwerk 4.2

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            • #7
              I prefer when the organist sets the tempo as well. That's how it is most places I play.

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              • #8
                As the organist, I always set the tempo. That doesn't mean that I won't often find out, after the fact, directly or otherwise, that some people disagreed about my choices. It has been said, I forget where: "The organist is the only musician whose playing can be at the same time, too fast, too slow, too loud and too soft". There is some truth to this.

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                • #9
                  Our services regularly contain 4 hymns and 4 pieces of liturgical music (these are single verses of familiar hymns). Most introductions are in the tempo that I plan to have the congregation sing. 2 of the liturgical pieces are in places where I improvise on the tune before we sing it. In those cases, and because the upcoming single verse is based on a familiar tune, I have explored improvising in a tempo that is different from the one we'll use to sing. The congregation has had no problem at all making the shift.

                  Then again, I know the congregation's singing well. They sang well before I arrived 10 years ago, and I have helped to shape that further. We can sing in strict time or with a more relaxed feel. I do have to let the choir know if a hymn tempo will be out of the ordinary - they and the congregation tend to sing faster rather than slower, but we try to sing meaningfully.

                  Referencing the opening post - I do occasionally introduce one of the 4 main hymns with a more elaborate improvisation. In those instances, I try to make the tempo of the more elaborate introduction either match the tempo of the upcoming hymn, or vary it enough that everyone knows that the singing tempo will be different from the intro tempo, eliminating any confusion.

                  If I did the intro close to the singing tempo, but not identical, I could see it causing some confusion.

                  With the more elaborate introductions, I also try to make the meter and structure of the intro different, which gives me more freedom to vary the tempo between intro and first verse. Again, people pick up on the fact that the intro gives the key and tune, but could otherwise be quite different from how we are actually going to sing the verses.

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