Thanks to Finale, I’ve been working on a number of items for our congregational worship, such as setting texts from Christopher L. Webber’s A New Metrical Psalter to familiar hymn tunes. (We’ve been using this Psalter a good deal, but since it’s words only I’ve been printing the words, with the tune above it. This is the norm in UK and Australian hymnals, but here in the States people have grown up with words between the staves and it is very, very difficult for them to go back and forth between words and music.) Here’s an example:
Another thing I’m doing is putting together some “fixes” to the 1990 Trinity Hymnal: i.e., restoring some of the egregious omissions from that volume and undoing some of the more unhappy text/tune combinations. At the top of my list:
- Restore stanzas to “For All the Saints” (especially, “O blest communion, fellowship divine . . .”)
- Pair “Praise the Lord, Ye Heav’ns, Adore Him” with AUSTRIAN HYMN.
- Get the ending of AUSTRIAN HYMN right. What was up with changing Haydn’s tune? Stupidity or arrogance? Or that attractive combination of both?
- Restore the original rhythm of NEUMARK for “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee” and “By Grace I am an Heir of Heaven.” That isometric non-rhythm would make a Puritan yawn.
- Restore all of Matthew Bridges’ text to “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” especially “Crown Him the Virgin’s Son, the God Incarnate born . . .”
- Set “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” to MELITA.
- Set “Look Ye Saints” to ALLA TRINITA BEATA.
- Set “O Worship the King” and/or “Ye Servants of God” to HANOVER.
- Put Van Dyke’s “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” back with ODE TO JOY instead of that starchy text they have with it now. (One supposes they didn’t include Van Dyke’s text because he was a “liberal” Presbyterian, but then they turn around and include “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” by Sears, a Unitarian. Go figure. Or go don’t figure. Don’t think. Feel. That must have been the philosophy.)
This is but the beginning. I’ll be including all the service music (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, etc.) in several different settings, as well as the aforementioned metrical psalms. When it’s all over, we will have a nice booklet that will go in the pews with the “official” hymnal. No more inserts! No more trying to read teeny-tiny printed music in the bulletin!