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NEH v Common Praise hymn books

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Hello All,

 

I do hope this hasn't been covered already.

 

Can anyone point me in the direction of some kind of comparison between New English Hymnal and Common Praise if such a thing exists?

 

We have the go-ahead to change our hymn book and it would seem, after a very short time researching, that the best two books currently are these (by best, I mean covering generally traditional hymns, well laid out by season with good typesetting).

 

It would be very useful to have some kind of list of hymns which feature in one but not the other, and hymns which feature in neither!

 

If anyone can help, it would save a huge amount of time trying to do it myself!

 

Best wishes

 

Richard

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I think churchmanship is the main consideration in choosing between NEH and CP. If you want a good selection of Office Hymns and you think that the liturgical section, with various propers, responsorial psalms (can't stand them meself!), Merbecke and an underrated setting in similar style of the modern mass, will be of use to you, then NEH is probably your better choice. There is, however, a strangely diluted feel about NEH compared with its predecessor, and some of the newer items attempt to be in the EH style but don't quite make it, IMHO.

 

I think Common Praise is, overall, the best hymnal on the British market. It has a fine selection of hymns ,including a handful of the better worship songs, the editorial policy was to avoid tampering with older texts in most cases, the music includes all the favourites which were hitherto EH preserves (both books are now published by the same people, so copyright issues do not arise), it looks good, is easy to use and stays open without wrecking the spine.

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I think Common Praise is by far the best hymn book for almost any mainstream C of E parish. Superb and catering for most degrees of churchmanship. If you want Office Hymns, Propers etc., you need the OLD English hymnal which is far more comprehensive than NEH and has better plainchant accompaniments.

 

If you are very Anglo Catholic then The Catholic Hymn Book which Paddy Russill edited for the London Oratory is extremely good and it is still possible to pick up second hand copies of the old and trusty Mirfield Mission Hymn Book.

 

I would avoid any books published by certain firms I will not mention here.

 

Malcolm

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I would avoid any books published by certain firms I will not mention here.

:wacko:

We didnt some years ago which is why we are now replacing our "old" books for something more worthwhile without altered texts!!!

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I would endorse the comments above.

 

The only other thing I would mention is that, because NEH was published in the mid 1980s, it is missing a number of items which have now become popular (Coe Fen, Guiting Power, Lord for the Years, Corvedale, for example). You can find them in the supplement to NEH (New English Praise) but that is of course an extra book; Common Praise has them all in the main book (because it is a much more recent publication), which I think puts it ahead of NEH.

 

I wish we were using Common Praise.

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Some ten years ago my church PCC decided to send our greatly loved and deeply cherished Hymns Old and New to the everlasting bonfire and, for its replacement, they whittled down their final selection to CP and NEH. I perused both books carefully with a choirmaster friend and we both came to the conclusion that Common Praise probably had it just by a short head. NEH seems more suited to those churches that tend toward Anglo Catholicism, which we do not.

 

All of which is my long winded way of saying that IMO David Drinkell has got it spot on.

 

David Harrison

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This topic was discussed a few years ago here: http://mander-organs...6-new-hymnbook/ and the concensus was CP.

 

For what it's worth we've just bought CP to replace AMNS plus HON plus NEH (on occasion). It's currently available with a 30% grant rather than the usual 25%

 

mgp

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I've just been appointed as organist at a nearby village church with a one manual organ ( http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N05910) of uncertain pedigree but which is bright and well-voiced. I was delighted to find that we use English Hymnal and the BCP. I get to pick the hymns too...

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First service this morning...

 

Rule 1. Check that the organ copy of the hymnbook (English Hymnal) is the same as the congregational books (NEW English Hymnal) when picking the hymns. :ph34r:

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A new peril that I have recently become acquainted with is the use of the projector and screen. Powerpoint surely has its place in certain service settings, but how many times do I need to explain to the projectionist that if he puts up a hymn verse by verse, he alone knows how the next verse begins, so it is unreasonable for him to take his cue to advance to the next verse by the congregation attempting to guess the hidden first line of the next verse, rather than advancing to the next verse as the congregation sings the last word of the present verse.

 

A further problem is that the verses could have come from any source and therefore no longer have to follow what is laid out in the organ copy. Hence the Vicar can announce that "we will now sing hymn 526, words to which will appear on the screen", but disaster is bound to ensue if halfway through the hymn you realise that the order of verses as sung by the congregation bears no relation to that as laid out in the organ copy. Hmmm, we're on verse 3 according to me, so why have they already sung verse 6 and are now singing the words to verse 4? Is verse 2 coming? How many more verses are they going to sing? Will I provide one too many or one too few?

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A new peril that I have recently become acquainted with is the use of the projector and screen.

It’s vital to get a good look at the PowerPoint file in advance. As you say the words could have been sourced from anywhere and often typed in without much care. I haven't experienced a projector used in conjunction with congregational hymnbooks - the advantage should be that no one has messed with the words - but the potential for disaster is probably higher.

 

I have experience of providing Sibelius files for use in PowerPoint projections. It's quite time-consuming and you can't get very much music on one slide but it’s a great help when introducing new music if at least a few of the congregation can read it.

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It’s vital to get a good look at the PowerPoint file in advance. As you say the words could have been sourced from anywhere and often typed in without much care. I haven't experienced a projector used in conjunction with congregational hymnbooks - the advantage should be that no one has messed with the words - but the potential for disaster is probably higher.

 

I have experience of providing Sibelius files for use in PowerPoint projections. It's quite time-consuming and you can't get very much music on one slide but it’s a great help when introducing new music if at least a few of the congregation can read it.

 

Hi

 

We use a projector almost every week - and we do take care to lay the words out sensibly. The default is like a word processor - it makes the lines as long as the space allows - and the same with the number of lines on a page. Incidentally, a good big font (I use 36pt Ariel) and max of 6 lines on screen - ideally a dark blue background with bright yellow text, as that's the most readable colour combination, especially for those whose eyesight isn't what it once was! We adjust the line and page breaks in line with the text, even if it means using a couple of extra screens per verse. It's much easier to read if page breaks aren't in the middle of sentences! Also, having just a couple of words on the last screen just looks plain stupid.

 

It is important to check the words are the same as the music copies - all too easy to draw a loud combination only to find it's totally inappropriate for the words that appear on screen!

 

Unless you're using links between verses, the words should appear just as the previous verse ends - and with no fancy transitions - they take time, and can be distracting - a straight "cut" is all that's required. I rarely put words over pictures - a lot of churches do, but it requires great care - believe it or not, I was visiting a church and the projection of one song had words in white text superimposed on a background of ...................

white cliffs! Not exactly easy to read.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Unless you're using links between verses, the words should appear just as the previous verse ends - and with no fancy transitions - they take time, and can be distracting - a straight "cut" is all that's required.

I disagree; a straight cut (if that means one slide instantaneously replacing the previous one) is sometimes unnoticeable if the words of the new verse are very similar to the old one. We used to off-set the horizontal position of the second verse slightly so there was a visual "jump" in order for people to notice the change. Now we use very simple "page-turn" or "wipe" transitions, which probably last a tenth of a second but really help. Maybe this is more important for the musician playing for the hymn who will glance up to the screen just at the ends of verses. And maybe it is only a problem with hymns or songs where the verses are almost identical.

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I disagree; a straight cut (if that means one slide instantaneously replacing the previous one) is sometimes unnoticeable if the words of the new verse are very similar to the old one. We used to off-set the horizontal position of the second verse slightly so there was a visual "jump" in order for people to notice the change. Now we use very simple "page-turn" or "wipe" transitions, which probably last a tenth of a second but really help. Maybe this is more important for the musician playing for the hymn who will glance up to the screen just at the ends of verses. And maybe it is only a problem with hymns or songs where the verses are almost identical.

 

Hi

 

I've never had a problem - even with near identical verses or parts of verses. Transitions are fine if the timing is right - but a slightly late press of the button can all too often mean that the music has started before the words are on screen. Still there are more important aspects t the effective use of projection than transitions (which I do use elsewhere, just not in hymn/song words).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Thanks everyone for your help.

We are going to go for Common Praise and make our own suppliment for choruses etc.

Before I started this thread, I was convinced NEH was the right hymn book!

Now..what to do with the old books.....someone suggested ebay, but I suspect we might have to pay someone to have them!!!!!

With best wishes

Richard

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As a very belated followup to this topic, would-be purchasers of hymnbooks might be interested to learn that a new version, the Revised English Hymnal, is in preparation. Publication is expected in 2017.

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Many thanks Richard - look forward to seeing EHR!

 

The new Ancient & Modern, published in March 2013, ought to be mentioned as an addendum to this topic. Our church adopted it and I found it to be an excellent hymn book for a middle-of-the-road Anglican church. It is an evolution from Common Praise. So called "Worship Songs" have a reasonable representation, with a generally sensible selection and there are many new words and texts set to more familiar traditional tunes which stimulated our thoughtful congregation. At the other end of the spectrum to the worship songs, feast days and the church calendar are far better supported than in AMNS. We found the harmonies in the new A&M generally follow EH harmonies, more so than they followed AMNS.

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A preliminary hymn list for the Revised English Hymnal has just been published:

http://englishhymnal.getfreehosting.co.uk/English_Hymnal/REH_Contents.html

It looks evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with (probably - tunes aren't listed, only first line) three Howells tunes and one Langlais. Eight Communion settings. 

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