Hymns and arranging

Andy has some good ideas for updating hymns without changing the tune (not that there is anything wrong with that!) I am currently reading a book called 'Exploring the Worship Spectrum '. It's a book that has writers from 6 different church styles (Liturgical, Hymn based, contemporary, charismatic, blended, emerging) arguing their particular preference. Harold Best writes the article on hymn based worship and it is very good! I'll post some more about my friend Harry later. Check out his website if you are looking for some great stuff to read.

P.S Just discovered Google Books! you can read 'Exploring the Worship Spectrum' for free here

Posted byDan at 12:43 PM  


Andy M said... 4:32 PM  

Hey Dan.

Thanks for that.

Hope you don't think I think there's anything wrong with changing the tune to hymns. There's been some great ones in recent years (Ruth Buchanan's Rock of Ages particularly comes to mind).

But there are advantages to keeping the tune if you can manage to play it with an updated arrangement, the main benefit of course that you don't have to teach a new song to the congregation. (And however familiar a church might be with the lyrics of a hymn, once you put it to a new tune, you are in effect teaching a completely new song).

Again, I've no problem with teaching new songs either, but I've imposed a restriction on myself not to do it too often for fear of swamping church with too many new songs! So if I can update arrangements of existing hymn without changing the tune, I don't eat into my "new song quota"!

Speaking of which, I've heard via Dave your new tune for Crown Him With Many Crowns and quite liked it, though the recording was a little unclear and I think what I could hear was one of the singers singing a harmony rather than the melody line. If you've got the melody written out at all, I'd love to see it. It's a great hymn.

Dan said... 7:32 PM  

Hey Andy. Whats your quota? How many new songs do you teach per month? This could be a good topic to post about.

Andy M said... 3:55 PM  

It's not set in stone, but I'm thinking about 10 per year. It takes a few weeks to get used to a new song, so if it were many more than that it could mean we're always feeling like we're singing new songs every week. It's good to be singing new songs, but needs to be balanced against desirability of singing things we are already confident with. Any more than something around that level could be pushing the friendship with the congregation a bit I reckon.

I'd love to do it more often though. I have a bulging list of new songs to introduce, and it keeps growing and I can't keep up with it!

What are your thoughts?

Dan said... 4:04 PM  

last year I had a goal of one song for every month. I followed a pattern of:
-Popular Christian contemporary (Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin)
-Our own composition
-Sovereign Grace or EMU

That way we had a healthy balance. It was good but I found it frustrating because my song list was only growing at 12 per year. That may seem like lots but we didn't start the year with a great list and i was impatient.

This year I'm more relaxed on the method but I'm tighter on what we sing. So we may teach two songs a month if they are good. I think a song only needs to be sung three times to be familiar.

I also think that the generation we minister to are a generation who pick up and drop songs every fortnight on the radio. They are used to having heaps of new stuff. Personally I don't think that bombarding people with new songs for the sake of a songlist overhaul is that bad. What do you reckon?

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