SABBATH HYMN AND TUNE BOOK
Lowell Mason, et. al., 1864
It is the purpose of this work to furnish suitable tunes for the hymns in “THE SABBATH HYMN BOOK,” and to bring the hymns and tunes together, so that both may be easily seen at the same opening of the volume. The tunes are designed to meet the capacity and wants of congregations, though it is hoped they will be found to possess interest and appropriateness for choirs. Every hymn contained in the SABBATH HYMN BOOK will be found here, and in connection with each hymn, or at the same opening of the book, one or more appropriate tunes. All the tunes are also published in a separate volume, entitled the SABBATH TUNE BOOK. The series therefore consists of three volumes:-
THE SABBATH HYMN BOOK, containing Hymns alone.
THE SABBATH HYMN AND TUNE BOOK, containing Hymns and Tunes.
THE SABBATH TUNE BOOK, containing Tunes alone.
Two principal methods have prevailed, to a greater or less degree, in the Service of Song in Christian worship; that of the whole Congregation, and that of a select Choir. The Congregational was the primitive method, and the only one known in the earlier history of the Church. The method of singing by a choir came into the Church at a later period, with wealth, power, and worldly greatness, and it has been her attendant rather in temporal prosperity, than in poverty and adversity.
At the time of the Reformation, Congregational Singing had become extinct, and the more artistic manner of Choirs, consisting mostly of an inferior order of the clergy, singing in a language unknown to the people, had taken its place. Luther, Calvin, Knox, and others, took early measures to rescue the singing service in public worship from the hands of the clergy, and to reinstate it as an exercise for the people. As the abuses of the Romish church had led to the rejection of chanting (the primitive form of Church Song) the Psalms were translated, or hymns were written in a stanzaic form, and adapted to a simple but dignified form of melody, with special reference to the capabilities of the people. The union of the whole assembly in the exercise was regarded as essential. Other liturgical forms were rejected; but this new one of a metrical Psalmody, for the people’s simultaneous utterance of praise and prayer, was received with great favor, and almost universally practiced. It was no attempt on the part of the Reformers to introduce an artistic manner of song, but, on the contrary, a very plain one, a “highway” of Psalmody, in which “the wayfaring man, though a fool, should not err.”
The Congregational method, thus restored to the churches, was brought to this country by the Protestant Fathers. It continued to be their only method for about a century and a half. It is not surprising that during this period, amidst the deprivations which the new settlements experienced, attention to song should have been neglected, nor that, neglected by generation after generation, the ability for it should have been well nigh lost. In the early part of the last century the very low condition of the singing in public worship began to attract the attention of some of the friends of religion, and measures were taken by a few of the leading clergymen and others for reform. Hitherto all the singing in the American churches had been unisonous, the melody only having been sung; but in 1720 a book of tunes, in three parts, “Cantus,” “Medius” and “Basus,” was published by Rev. Thomas Walter. The harmonizing of the tunes in parts undoubtedly grew out of the fact that the more elaborate service of choirs had always taken that form both in the Psalmody continues to this day to be sung, as it was originally, in unison, and it is at least doubtful whether parts in harmony for the choir and unison for the congregation, would not still be the best arrangement for Church Song. This new arrangement of tunes in parts led to the formation of choirs. At first, they were introduced only as helps to Congregational Singing, but this gradually yielded, as it had done before, and the new method advanced with sure and steady progress, until toward the close of the last century it had become the almost exclusive method of Church Song.
And now, within ten or fifteen years, Congregational singing is again attracting attention, and many persons, especially those who look for a higher religious power in Psalmody, are turning to it, as a remedy for the evils which have grown out of the exclusive method of choirs, and as promising to restore to the Church the almost lost religious aid of song. It is to be regretted that some, in their zeal for Congregational singing, have supposed it necessary to set their faces against choirs, and have even gone so far as to reject the services of such associations. The fact that choirs have, in a great degree, failed to present a method of song truly religious in its influence, is not to be attributed wholly to them; but probably quite as much to those clergymen and people who have mistaken a mere musical excitement for the “quickening and raising up of the affections to God.”
That it is unsafe to depend exclusively upon choirs, is abundantly proved in the history of the Church. The great danger of such a dependence is, that the whole service will degenerate into a mere attempt at musical display. Nor is it safe to trust to the Congregational method alone, for without constant care, the singing will then be very liable to fall into neglect, and become uninteresting, ineffective, and even wearisome. Let the two methods exist together, strengthening one another. Congregational Singing can not be dispensed with by those who seek for the religious influence of Church song; and choirs may do much to promote the true service of Psalmody, by their guidance and encouragement of universal song. Whenever it is practicable, then, let the people who are desirous of Congregational singing avail themselves of the advantages to be derived from such choirs as, formed from among themselves, and disposed to exert a religious influence in the singing exercises, will enlist the sympathy and cooperation of all the people.
But that the present efforts for Congregational Singing, or that any efforts for the improvement of the Service of Song be in any satisfactory degree successful, we regard it as essential that both methods be practically understood—at least by those who guide the service—since any attempt to build up the one on the basis of the other must, necessarily, in a great degree fail. Those who seek for Congregational Singing on the principles of Choir Singing, will probably soon give it up as impracticable, and return again to the Choir Singing as the only available method.
The Congregational is nature’s method of praise. It is, in a great degree, independent of art culture, being indeed above art. It is adapted alike to the voices of the young and the old, of the uncultivated and of the cultivated. It engages all in the simultaneous exercise of the same emotions, furnishes something for every one to do, admits of no listeners, and thus excludes that bane of all true worship, criticism. As individual voices are lost in the chorus of the many, one is naturally led to feel his own insignificance. The essential feature of Chorus Singing, the blending of voices, by which the impurity of individual tones is neutralized, and dissonance harmonized, and in which consists in a great degree its strength and its beauty, is obtained almost without effort when many voices, (even fifty or a hundred,) join in one melody. It is adapted to awaken within us ideas of greatness. It belongs to the sublime in tone; the sublime in nature rather than in art. It may be compared to the mountains, which owe their majesty, not to their fertile soil, nor to any elaboration of architectural skill, but to that Power which commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and brought up from the depths the rough and diversified materials in which consists the “strength of the hills.” The mountains are not more necessary to fit the earth to be the habitation of man than is this great method of song to the highest development of that religious life which is perfected through Psalmody.
Choir Singing is the method of art; and although for the common purposes of Church Song no very high degree of artistic attainment is required, yet, that Choir Singing which is worthy of the name, must be the result of the proper training of a suitable number of persons who have a more than ordinary portion of intuitive musical ability. It belongs to the beautiful. It depends upon flowing melody, with measure symmetrical, in such soft, elegant, and delicate style as to awaken delight. It may be regarded as one of Zion’s “beautiful garments,” so that in the proper union of the two methods, it may be said of the Service of Song, “strength and beauty are in the sanctuary.”
That we may, if possible, throw still further light upon a subject which we consider of vital importance to the success of Church Song, we will mention some conditions which are indispensable to Choir Singing, but not to Congregational Singing.
1. It is not indispensable, though it is desirable, in order to qualify one to take a part in Congregational Singing, that one should be able to read written music. Let properly conducted singing schools be maintained, and let all be encouraged to attend them; and especially let all children receive, while they are yet young, appropriate vocal training, and be practically taught the elements both of music and notation. And let all be encouraged, whether they have learned any thing of singing or not, to join vocally in the Psalmody as a religious exercise, regarding it as their duty and privilege.
2. Purity of tone is not indispensable, though it is desirable, to qualify one to unite in Congregational Singing. Although one’s tone may be of a nasal or guttural quality, he is not to be denied the privilege of singing his Maker’s praises in the congregation of the people. Yet it may often be the duty of others to exercise forbearance, and to do whatever circumstances allow for the removal of the cause of offense by suitable attempts at cultivation. And it is possible that there may be cases where it may be the duty of one to engage only mentally in the exercise, if thereby one may cease to give pain to another.
3. It is not indispensable, though it is desirable, that one should be able to sing in perfect tune, in order that he may join the Congregational Psalmody. There are very few persons whose intonation is not more or less fault, but although one may not sing, individually, in tune, there is a “sympathy in sounds” by which, when a multitude sing together, dissonance is resolved, and voices are drawn into unison.
4. It is not indispensable, though it is desirable, that one should be able to appreciate the divisions of time, or, as it is more commonly expressed, to keep time, in order to engage in Congregational Singing. If such a natural, easy movement is taken as is alone well adapted to the singing of a promiscuous assembly, there will be no difficulty in keeping together, and however feeble may be one’s perception of a regular movement, he may safely trust his voice with the voices of the many.
5. It is not indispensable, though it is desirable, in order to unite in Congregational Singing, that one’s articulation or pronunciation should be exactly right. The words are, indeed, of the utmost importance, the indispensable part of a hymnal service, and although we may join devotionally in the act of worship in song, even when we do not know the particular subject of the hymn, as where the service is in a foreign language, yet we can not be in union with the assembly in definite thought and emotion unless we are in possession of the words. Still, no one should be excluded from Congregational Singing on account of an inaccurate articulation, whether this arise from a natural defect in the organs of speech, or from want of proper culture.
6. Artistic application of the laws of accent, emphasis, and general expression, is not indispensable, though it is important, to qualify one to join in Congregational Singing. There should indeed be appropriate expression; but this in one method is quite a different thing from what it is in the other. The expression of Congregational Singing is unlike that of Choir Song. Let the singing be habitually regarded as a truly religious act; let the people, old and young, be led to engage in it as such; let this one point be taught and guarded from the pulpit; let God be sought habitually and found in the Psalm, and it will not lack a suitable expression; one consisting not so much in the mechanical observance of piano, forte, crescendo, diminuendo, or any dynamic notation, as in the more legitimate conditions of a good tonal utterance. Let the mouth speak “out of the abundance of the heart,” and it will be likely to be done with much more propriety than any utterance, however perfect, which arises from the mere observance of rules of art.
As two principal methods of singing have prevailed in the service of the Christian Church, so three distinct forms of song have arisen; THE CHANT, THE ANTHEM, THE METRICAL TUNE.
The CHANT is supposed to have been the primitive form of Church Song; the same in which the Saviour himself engaged, when, after he had instituted the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, he sang a hymn with his disciples, before he went out into the Mount of Olives. In its simple state it consists in the intoned recitation, or cantilated delivery of the words of the Psalm, being the nearest approach to an impassioned and dignified reading, which a retained pitch, or the absence of inflection will allow. In chanting, the Psalms may be sun in the very words of the sacred Scriptures, the highest form of lyric poetry; metrical arrangement being unnecessary. The Chant is adapted to a clear enunciation of the words, and thus tends to make music subordinate to thought, and son to religious worship. It is totally dissimilar to all the forms of secular music, and seems to preclude the very idea of display. It leaves the mind open to the full impression of the sacred text, and is most favorable to a heartfelt expression. It furnishes the most simple form in which many voices may unite in a simultaneous utterance of words, and hence, is admirably adapted to the Congregational method, to which it properly belongs. Children easily acquire it, and take great delight in it; and it is a most interesting form of worship in Sabbath Schools, as we have tested by long experience.
These remarks, however, are applicable to Chanting in its primitive use, and not to such a hurried, “confused and disorderly chattering of the words,” or to such a “careless, irreverent manner, without a spark of feeling,” as, an English writer observes, is often heard in cathedrals; or to such abuses as have grown out of the modern double and florid chants, and from which Chanting has well nigh ceased to be regarded as belonging to the Congregational method.
The word ANTHEM is supposed to be derived from the same Greek root as is antiphony, which signifies the alternate or responsive manner of singing said to have been introduced into the Western churches by Ambrose, in the fourth century. Choir singing probably had its origin in antiphonal singing, and hence comes Anthems. This form was retained by the English church at the time of the Reformation, though generally rejected elsewhere. In its primitive use it was exclusively by choirs, yet in a simple form it is quite practicable in Congregational Singing, and may be made a feature of much interest and usefulness.
The METRICAL TUNE is that form which, although known to a limited extent in earlier times, came into general use in public worship, at the time of the Reformation, and has ever since been retained in the Protestant, and in a portion of the Romish church. It was the musical form of the restored method of song, in which the people were the actors, and consisted in a simple melody, which, being within the compass of all voices, was sung in unison by the congregation. In the German and other churches on the continent of Europe, the original character of Congregational Tunes and of Congregational Singing still continues, and almost universally prevails to this day. But in England the influence of choirs soon led to the introduction of the different vocal parts, which, although at first not intended for the people, were gradually introduced into Congregational Singing, though seldom, if ever, in such proportion as to produce an thing like symmetrical harmony.
THE SABBATH HYMN AND TUNE BOOK is designed as a Manual for Congregational Singing. In regard to the principles which have guided its editors in the selection of hymns, the reader is referred to the Preface to THE SABBATH HYMN BOOK. In setting the hymns to music, we have valued musical art, only so far as it might be made to contribute to the religious purpose in view. Music is employed as a means and not as an end. Our constant object has therefore been to provide for the best religious expression of the words.
The aim has been to secure tunes of not merely negative, but of positive merit-tunes possessing such salient points as are at once marked and relevant, with such agreeableness of melody, and individuality of character as shall cause them to be apprehended, quickly learned, easily sung, always remembered. Tunes free from all such difficulties as would render them impracticable to the musically unlearned, and possessing such peculiar excellences as will render them attractive to all. Nor has it been forgotten that the tunes, generally, are to be sung not only in the larger assembly of public worship (to which some of them more properly belong), but also in social worship, where, often without much musical ability, Christians pray to God, and “admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”
It is evident that in preparing a book like the present the most obvious musical material is to be found in the well-known tunes which are commonly used. It was an important object to secure as complete a collection of these as possible. A circular letter of inquiry was therefore addressed to clergymen and those having charge of church music in various parts of the country. Lists of tunes actually in use were thus obtained, all of which were carefully compared and collated, and from them an index was formed, showing what tunes are most used, and what is the degree of their popularity. This index has been employed as a guide in selecting tunes. As many of these tunes are copyright property, it may be well to add that the editors have been able to insert every tune which they desired, a privilege not often enjoyed by the compilers of similar works. Yet notwithstanding all our care and facilities it is quite probable that some persons will miss in this collection tunes which are to them favorites. There are tunes which have become popular in certain localities, but which are not so generally known or of such intrinsic merit, as to claim a place in a collection like this. In the nature of things it is probable that hardly any man will find in any such book, every tune which he would be glad to have inserted.
We have, of course, felt obliged sometimes to sacrifice our own taste to what has appeared to be a public demand, and to admit tunes which we regard as having structural defects as tunes for Congregational Singing.
The repetition of well-known and most useful tunes is a new feature in this book. There are a few tunes which are very widely known and constantly used. If one of these be presented in but one place, it can be in connection with but few hymns, and therefore will not be frequently sung. Such tunes are repeated in this volume, some of them several times, and each of them is therefore in connection with a large number of hymns.
THE SABBATH HYMN AND TUNE BOOK contains many New Tunes, or such, be they old or new, as are not generally known in our churches. These are needed not merely for the sake of variety, though this might be a sufficient reason for their introduction. There are hymns of new meters which must be supplied with Tunes; and there are in some hymns of the more usual meters, peculiarities of stanzaic form, which, in singing, require tunes of corresponding rhythmic or melodic structure. There are also hymns presenting such new experiences of Christian life, as can hardly find an appropriate musical expression in any of the older melodies. That the new tunes open a wider field of musical expression, we believe will be readily granted, as new hymns to new tunes become familiar in religious worship. We should be very sorry to have the good old tunes superseded-the Old Hundredths and the Dundees should be retained, often sung, and handed down, well known and familiar, from generation to generation; but yet there is not only room, but a real demand, for tunes which are new. This department of our work has been enriched by selections from a very wide range of tunes of all denominations of Christians, in different ages and countries. The new tunes have different degrees of merit, yet all of them may contribute to the appropriateness and variety of worship in song.
The large supply of Double Tunes may be regarded as a new feature in our work. The importance of Double tunes consists in the fact that such hymns as contain six or more stanzas, often take up too much time when sung through, and that a tune six times repeated may, to those persons whose minds are not intensely fixed upon the hymn service, become tiresome. Almost all these Double tunes are intended to move quickly, and when properly sung, will be to some extent a remedy for that slow manner of singing which Dr. Watts condemned, and will prevent the necessity for that frequent abridgment of hymns which weakens the religious effect of the singing exercise.
THE SABBATH HYMN AND TUNE BOOK provides and increased number of Minor Tunes. The necessity for these, which have been of late neglected, arises out of man’s emotional nature. If there are seasons of sunshine in Christian life, there are also those of clouds and darkness. As, on the one hand, there is in every high religious experience a fullness o joy which can find a suitable utterance only in the most jubilant strains which musical genius has ever conceived, so, on the other, there is a heart-felt sorrow so deep as to be far beyond the expression of any but the more tender accents, the wailings (it may be) of minor strains. But without going to extremes, it may in truth be aid of the Major and Minor in music, that the common experiences of Christian life seem to require, perhaps equally, the animating and invigorating strains of the one, and the tenderly sympathizing and plaintive influences of the other. The educational power of music must be much abridged, if it be confined to the Major mode. Still, as some choirs and congregations are unaccustomed to Minor tunes, they will generally find, opposite to the Minor, and at the same opening of the book, a tune in the Major mode, applicable in some degree to the same hymns which can be most appropriately sung with the Minor tune.
In our adaptation of Minor tunes to hymns, we have not been unmindful of the fact that the propriety of this depends not only upon the emotional character of the words, but also upon times and seasons, and we have sometimes followed the beautiful example of the Episcopal church, which, in the time of her Lenten fastings, sings her jubilant canticles in plaintive Minor strains.
The rhythmic form, which is regarded as, in general, the best for metrical tunes, especially for such as are designed for the simultaneous song of many people, is that which, with the exception of the initial and terminal of each line or couplet, consists mostly in tones of equal length. Examples of tunes in this form are on pages 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 26, 27. “This,” says Rev. Mr. Havergal of Worcester, England, “is generally the old form, the traditional form, and the only one which all singers feel to be natural.” In this form the older tunes were formerly printed, both in England and in this country, so that in reprinting “The Old Hundredth,” “Dundee,” and other tunes, as we have done in this work, we do not alter them from but restore them to the original. After much observation and practical experience we are fully persuaded that this form furnishes the best movement for metrical Psalms and Hymns. The longer initials and terminals enable all the best movement for metrical Psalms and Hymns. The longer initials and terminals enable all the people to begin and to close the line together, and also afford a moment for rest at the end of each line, while the intermediate shorter tones are most favorable to the simultaneous utterance of each word and syllable as with one voice. But the greatest advantage, perhaps, is that it enables a choir or congregation to sing together in a quicker movement than any other, yet is at the same time conducive to that simple strength and dignity which should ever characterize the union of many voices in sacred song.
That we may not be mistaken as to what we mean by quicker movement, we will add that “The Old Hundredth” has been often sung so slowly as to occupy a minute and a half, or even more, in its performance, whereas we suppose, that if sung in its original time, it would not take more than from forty to fifty seconds. The time of this tune, and indeed of all tunes in this rhythmic form, may be learned by using a pendulum of from thirty-five to forty-five inches in length, each eat of which will give the time of one of the intermediate or shorter tones. We do not mean that all these tunes are to be sung, or that any one tune is always to be sung in exactly the same time; there will naturally be a slight variation, depending upon the hymn, and the circumstances of the occasion. We deem it important, however, to remark that there should never be any apparent change of time, during the singing of a hymn; but one movement should be preserved throughout all the stanzas, however they may appear to differ.
A second rhythmic form, one which has become very popular within the last twenty-five or thirty years, consists of tones mostly of two lengths, as before, but in alternate groups of two. The tunes Hebron, Denfield, Downs, Boylston, afford specimens of this rhythm. A pendulum of from thirty to forty inches will give the time for the shorter tones in these tunes. It is most important in this class of tunes, that every approach to staccato in the short tones be carefully avoided; on the contrary, they should usually be sung quite legato, and sustained to their full length. On the other hand, the longer tones must not be too long. Indeed, there may be a little accommodation between the two, so that the shorter tones may be, as it were, a little longer, and the longer tones a little shorter, than the exact time indicated by the notes, but this must be done without breaking up a proper distinction between the two, or disturbing the general choriambic character.
A third rhythmic form consists of tones of two lengths as before, but mostly in groups of four. The tunes Uxbridge and Olden illustrate this form. A pendulum of from thirty to thirty-six inches will give the time. The remark in respect to the accommodation between the tones of different lengths applies also to this rhythm.
A fourth class includes tunes in which the longer and shorter tones regularly alternate: Ortonville, Ray, Rayford, Anley, and many other tunes belong to this class. A pendulum, from sixteen to twenty-four inches, will give the time of quarter notes in these tunes. A somewhat modified form of this general rhythmic structure may be seen in the tunes Becker, Albon, Ware, Albec, and others. These tunes, on account of the prevalence of the shorter tones, require a somewhat slower movement, as indicated by a pendulum of from twenty to twenty-six inches. Again, another modification of the form may be found in such tunes as Bethany and Glyn, which, because of the prevalence of the longer tones, require a somewhat quicker movement, as of a pendulum of ten or twelve inches in length.
Each of the foregoing classes, with slight exceptions, is adapted to a syllabic utterance, or the singing of single tone to each syllable. The last is, perhaps, somewhat less adapted to Congregational Singing.
A fifth rhythmic form includes tunes in equal (double or quadruple) measure, embracing a greater variety in the length of tones, brought together with less regard to the symmetrical relation of length, and containing syncopes, suspensions, etc. See Duke Street, Federal Street, Lanesboro, Ernan, Hamburg, Lyte, Ward, Dedham, Medfield.
Tunes in unequal (triple or sextuple) measure, but in other respects similar to class five, may be brought together as the last rhythmic class which we need to present. Illustrative of this class, are Howard, St. Martins, Rhothwell, Abridge, Mendon, All Saints, Thatcher. A pendulum of from twenty-five to thirty inches will indicate the time of the quarter notes in the last two varieties.
There may be a few tunes which can hardly be assigned to either of the above classes, but in regard to all, whatever may be the movement, sufficient time must always be taken to speak the words with propriety, for nothing merely musical can justify a movement, be it quick or slow which shall interfere with an appropriate delivery of the words.
The Adaptation of Tunes to Hymns is a department of our labor upon which most care and consideration has been bestowed, in the belief that it is of great importance to the usefulness of religious song. This has, indeed, been by far the most difficult department of labor in the preparation of this volume. A good hymn may be sung to a good tune, and the two together form an unsatisfactory whole. One may prove a detriment rather than an assistance to the other. The mere metrical fitness of one for the other, though necessary, is a simple, and the very lowest consideration. The music must be suitable to express the emotion which the words describe or imply. A first question then is, what is the emotional condition which the hymn supposes? A second question is, what strains will best assist the expression of this emotion? Is the hymn one of worship, or is it merely didactic, hortatory, or descriptive? Does it imply direct or immediate homage, or only that which is indirect or mediate? These questions have been minutely considered at every step.
Our experience has led us to reject all such aids to musical expression as the marginal marks found in some books of psalmody. We are satisfied of the injurious effects of such notation. It encourages, almost necessitates, a dramatic spirit in singing, which is wholly at variance with the spirit of worship.
Careful attention has also been given to such peculiarities of rhythmical and poetical structure as are found in some of the hymns. Instances may be cited in hymns 8, 292, 298, 339, 357, 471, 556, 718, 1004, 1092, 1267, and many others.
It has been supposed that it would e interesting, where it could be done without detriment in other respects, to set the old versions of the Psalms to corresponding old tunes sung also in early times. Instances in which this has been done are in hymns 13, 31, 32, 46, 48, 65, 220, 230, 243, 336.
There will generally be found at each opening of the book two tunes, either of which is adapted to all the hymns upon the two pages. Commonly one of these is a well-known tune; and the other, one which is less familiar, or entirely new. This arrangement has also enabled us, where we have felt compelled, in deference to its popularity, to insert a tune which we can not regard as free from serious defects, to give in connection with the same hymns at tune of better structure. Care has also been taken to preserve, as far as possible, established associations between hymns and tunes.
The hymns in this book are not arranged in numerical order as in the Sabbath Hymn Book. From the plan of the work, it was impossible that this should be done without sacrificing the proper adaptation of tunes to hymns. Yet it was deemed of great importance, for convenience in using the two books in the same congregation, that the hymns should be numbered alike in both books. It is supposed that the clergyman will always find it most convenient to use “The Sabbath Hymn Book” in selecting his hymns, because of its topical arrangement. When both books are used in the same congregation, it being understood that in the announcement of the page, reference is always made to “The Sabbath Hymn and Tune Book,” they hymn may be given out thus: “71st Hymn; 42d page.” Those who have only the Hymn Book will then turn immediately to the hymn by its number, while those who have the Hymn and Tune Book, will find it with equal ease by the page.
The Chants contained in THE SABBATH HYMN AND TUNE BOOK, are mostly those of the best English composers, and the few new ones are upon the same primitive Anglican model.
A new feature, at least in this country, in a book for Congregational singing, is the introduction of short, easy Anthems. The words of these are mostly from the Psalms, and are peculiarly appropriate to the various occasions of public worship. The music is easy, and quite practicable to congregations which are willing to make a little effort to learn it. They will be found useful for choirs as well as congregations.
The Anthem, No. 14, may derive some interest from the fact that it has been supposed to be an ancient Hebrew melody, and substantially the same as was used in the Temple worship.
Two of the Indexes in this volume refer to the number of the hymns, and not to the pages. The pages will be easily ascertained by reference to the table on page II. It was found that the attempt to include in each case in these indexes a references to the page, as well as the number of the hymn, besides occupying a very large amount of space, would confuse the mind, and be inconvenient in many respects.
As we have already remarked, Congregational singing may be led by a Choir. It may be led by a Precentor; yet he, if he is truly interested in his work, and if he sustain a proper relation to the congregation, would almost immediately gather around him a few aiding voices. In either case the accompaniment of an Organ, Organ Harmonium, or Melodeon, will be important. The choir, who lead must be content to sing in a plain, simple manner, without any attempt at artistic effect. They should avoid every thing which tends to confuse the congregation or to discourage the general participation in the song; and they should furnish a full volume of sound with which the people can readily unite. It is better that all should sing the melody, at least until the congregation become very thoroughly acquainted with it, and, under all circumstances, it is important that this part should be well sustained by men’s voices. The singing of the four different parts is in fact singing four different tunes, and this causes confusion to those who have made little musical proficiency. These remarks may apply, also, in part at least, to the manner of playing the organ, which should have for its constant object the assisting of the people, all the people, in their song, and should avoid every thing having a tendency to mislead or confuse them.
Tunes should be used with which the congregation are familiar. New tunes may be introduced, one at a time, with more or less frequency, according to the facility with which the people learn them. The same tunes should be frequently repeated, since familiarity with the tune is necessary to any high degree of religious influence in the singing exercise. It is not an uncommon thing, in the German congregations, to hear the same tune to two hymns during the same service.
It is important that every one in the congregation make, and continue, the effort to unite in the singing. If a man utter no sound which can be heard even by the person at his side, a good example, at least, is set which may encourage some one else to sing who would otherwise remain silent.
It is desirable that those who can do so should sing heartily, with open mouth and full voice, and not in the smothered, uncertain manner, which is too common, and affords poor encouragement and assistance to others.
The advantage of occasional meetings for singing need hardly be alluded to. We have reference now, not to the usual singing school, the object of which is to teach those who attend to read music, though it is most desirable that such should be encouraged, but to gatherings of all the people for the purpose of learning the tunes chiefly by rote. These should not degenerate into mere singing, but should be religious meetings. Let the hymns be sung through, and this with meaning. Success in Congregational Singing can not be expected without effort. There must be a willingness on the part of the people to make and preserver in this effort.
Finally, each one should make the song his own, assuming the words as real expressions of the inward sense of his own soul. Even although they may not always be strictly applicable to one’s circumstances, yet sympathizing with others, we should surely in this universal and delightful Song Service, rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. An esteemed writer, already quoted, in speaking of the old tunes, says: “If we would have these old tunes to perfection, we must attain more of the old-fashioned piety with which they were formerly sung.” If music be substituted for religion, and singing for devotion, the best tune and the best voices will neither increase religion, nor aid devotion. Unless Congregational Singing rest upon a religious foundation, it will be like the house built upon the sand. Unless it be conducted as a religious duty and privilege, it will fail to secure its legitimate ends. But where it is attempted and pursued in a right spirit and with proper efforts, there is no danger from the want of artistic culture.
“We no offer ‘The Sabbath Hymn and Tune Book’ to the churches, invoking the blessing of the Great Head of the Church upon our labors, that they may meet the wants of devout worshipers, and especially that they may be found conducive to the spirituality of ‘The Service of Song in the House of the Lord.’”
EDWARDS A. PARK,
ANDOVER, MASS, March, 1859.