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Hymn Books And Psalters


bourdon basher

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Morning All - This is my first post, so be gentle !

 

Question one:

 

Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings). This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

 

Question two:

 

Does anyone recommend a psalter (with chants). We use words only Worcester Psalter (about 50 yrs old) alongside the St Nicks Chant Book, but want to get something more manageable than two books. Obviously, aware of the Parish Psalter - but any other recommendations?

 

thanks,

BB

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Morning All - This is my first post, so be gentle !

 

Question one:

 

Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings).  This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

 

Question two:

 

Does anyone recommend a psalter (with chants).  We use words only Worcester Psalter (about 50 yrs old) alongside the St Nicks Chant Book, but want to get something more manageable than two books.  Obviously, aware of the Parish Psalter - but any other recommendations?

 

thanks,

BB

 

Hi

 

I would also look at Songs of Fellowship (they tend to keep traditional words to hymns, which I prefer). There's also "The Source" (Kevin Mayhew) - I've not used this, I had a look when it was first published and found it rather lacking in variety of styles. Another possibility - especially as you want something as a supplement - is Mayhew's "The Bridge" - a bit of a niche publication aimed at churches moving towards using contemporary songs - it's a rather idiosyncratic colection, but quite useable (we bought it at my previous church).

 

These days we have a data projector and screen which means I can draw hymns and songs from any source that's covered by the CCL license.

 

Can't help with Psalters - we don't sing Psalms - it must be 25 years since I last used one!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Morning All - This is my first post, so be gentle !

 

Question one:

 

Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings).  This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

 

Question two:

 

Does anyone recommend a psalter (with chants).  We use words only Worcester Psalter (about 50 yrs old) alongside the St Nicks Chant Book, but want to get something more manageable than two books.  Obviously, aware of the Parish Psalter - but any other recommendations?

 

thanks,

BB

 

 

 

 

Keep the Worcester Psalter! - As far as I know, it is now out of print (I may be wrong!). If I remember correctly, the pointing in there is far superior to that of the Parish Psalter with Chants (available through RSCM), which would be one option.

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Morning All - This is my first post, so be gentle !

 

Question one:

 

Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings).  This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

 

Question two:

 

Does anyone recommend a psalter (with chants).  We use words only Worcester Psalter (about 50 yrs old) alongside the St Nicks Chant Book, but want to get something more manageable than two books.  Obviously, aware of the Parish Psalter - but any other recommendations?

 

thanks,

BB

 

The New St Paul's Cathedral Psalter is pretty good, if you don't mind the distinctive practice of omitting parts of the chant to fit the text when necessary: thorough rehearsal is essential! Some of the 'new' chants are also a tad dreary imho...

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Keep the Worcester Psalter!

Couldn't agree more, Worcester certainly has some of the finest pointing ever published.

 

For some years now, I suspect in keeping with a great many others, I've been "doing out" the psalms myself on my PC, with words and chants all on the page.

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I have not used the Worcester Psalter, but once had a long look at it and thought it excellent. I prefer the Oxford Psalter, but from what I remember the two are so similar that it wouldn't be worth changing - particularly not in a parish context where all you are going to need is the Sunday psalms. Both are far superior to the ubiquituous Parish Psalter.

 

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Goldsmith. I think the New St Paul's Cathedral Psalter is dreadful. The pointing, though undoubtedly deeply considered, is finicky and fussy* and I reckon it would need an expert choir and thorough familiarity to make it work. It is hard to imagine anything less suitable for congregational singing. I don't think the matching of the chants with the psalms is much cop either.

 

* The problem is that there is a penchant for moving off the reciting note too soon, resulting in too many syllables being crammed into the remaining notes before the double bar. No doubt this was done in a quest for fluency, but it militates against the concept of Anglican chant being a form of recitation.

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Thanks for all the responses so far !

 

And there I was thinking that we were the only ones out there still using the Worcester !

 

The Worcester still is in print, but strangely only in the U.S and published by (from memory) Continuum.

 

The general feeling in the choir has always been that the pointing was excellent, especially when we have done the odd away-day at another church and used the Parish, etc.

 

The problem has been down to balancing two books (without a standing height music desk in the stalls!). I am very tempted to "destroy" a copy to make up a music version using the St Nicks Chant Book and then run off copies. I'm sure that there are dubious copyright issues in doing so - but it would mean that we are still using the Worcester and not going elsewhere, which surely is more important?!

 

Would still appreciate any further thoughts.

 

I plan to give the choir a "blind tasting" of examples from say The Worcester, Parish and maybe a couple of others and see what gets the vote.

 

cheers BB

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I have not used the Worcester Psalter, but once had a long look at it and thought it excellent. I prefer the Oxford Psalter, but from what I remember the two are so similar that it wouldn't be worth changing - particularly not in a parish context where all you are going to need is the Sunday psalms. Both are far superior to the ubiquituous Parish Psalter.

 

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Goldsmith. I think the New St Paul's Cathedral Psalter is dreadful. The pointing, though undoubtedly deeply considered, is finicky and fussy* and I reckon it would need an expert choir and thorough familiarity to make it work. It is hard to imagine anything less suitable for congregational singing. I don't think the matching of the chants with the psalms is much cop either.

 

* The problem is that there is a penchant for moving off the reciting note too soon, resulting in too many syllables being crammed into the remaining notes before the double bar. No doubt this was done in a quest for fluency, but it militates against the concept of Anglican chant being a form of recitation.

 

I'm not sure that it's so much a case of being fussy as of taking a different approach to pointing (as did its predecessor), by making the chant completely subservient to the text. In this way it does avoid the 'artificial' sing-song elongation of single sylablles over several notes.

 

Personally, I feel that congregational anglican-chanting is a pretty poor idea under any circumstances. Responsorials yield far more musical results, and it's quite easy to whip up some nice ones oneself.

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Personally, I feel that congregational anglican-chanting is a pretty poor idea under any circumstances.

Oh I quite agree. But it is the tradition in parish church Evensongs, isn't it? and woe betide the organist who tries to change it. Or are congregations more malleable these days, now Evensong is dying out in the parishes?
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Oh I quite agree. But it is the tradition in parish church Evensongs, isn't it? and woe betide the organist who tries to change it. Or are congregations more malleable these days, now Evensong is dying out in the parishes?

 

Also - still the tradition for Morning Prayer (Matins) - and in my case, it's woe betide the new vicar who tries to change it!

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The problem has been down to balancing two books (without a standing height music desk in the stalls!).  I am very tempted to "destroy" a copy to make up a music version using the St Nicks Chant Book and then run off copies.  I'm sure that there are dubious copyright issues in doing so - but it would mean that we are still using the Worcester and not going elsewhere, which surely is more important?!

 

Blind tasting idea is an excellent one but I hope you don't get too many conflicting reports. I'm stuck with the Parish Psalter but supplemented with The Anglican Chant Book - I think we may be looking to change soon too.

 

Winchester Cathedral have a "home brew" folder affair concocted in the same way the old Cathedral Psalter was - the pages are split with chants at the top half and words at the bottom. A good solution.

 

As far as hymnals go, I've always rated Common Praise as being a good successor to the very awful AMNS - it's better bound, better printed on better quality paper, and contains some good new stuff. If it's too highbrow then there is Hymns for Today's Church (suggested slogan - "not quite the worst"). Personally I wouldn't go near Mission Praise - there's just too much missing from it. I'm fortunate in being able to use the New English Hymnal (with very occasional supplements, on the bulletin that's printed anyway) which is just a superb book in every way, from content to quality of binding. Ours are donkey's years old but still in 100% good nick - no duct tape patches or anything like that, always a feature of AMR and its successors.

 

I would stick up for congregational psalm singing, too - it can be done properly and well, but usually isn't in those places where the Parish Psalter is in use - it encourages far too many bad habits. We have the Mag and Nunc pointed in order of service books, and just give out BCP to the congro for the psalms - it's all fairly logical after a while and keeps everyone on their toes. On occasions when the choir is not in residence (basically, August) then a pointed booklet is produced.

 

Seems to be not quite right to me - Mission Praise and old fashioned fuddy duddy Anglican psalms in the same cupboard...

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Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings).  This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

Common Ground. Can't recommend it enough. Published by St Andrew's Press, edited by John Bell, written as a "supplement" for the various Scottish churches.

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Morning All - This is my first post, so be gentle !

 

Question one:

 

Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings).  This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

 

I'd suggest going the whole hog and going for The Source or Songs of Fellowship. This will make the happi-clappies happy bunnies as they're the best foundation for worship songs and The Source is edited by that leading light of worship songs, Graham Kendrick. They also don't have too many traditional hymns in them so your traditional hymn book won't be under that much threat. Later versions of The Source are supplements to earlier versions, with an ever increasing proportion of songs that are completely unsuitable for congregational singing.

 

My church used to have Songs of God's People (SOGP) that supplemented AMNS (much needed). I think SOGP was a modern supplement to Church Hymnary III - the Scottish equivalent to NEH. I don't know whether Common Ground has replaced SOGP - the editors are the same. I thought Songs of God's People (or Soggy Pea, as we called it) was rather more like no man's land.

 

We eventually decided to replace it with a supplement we made ourselves and I'd recommend this approach - it worked really well for us. The idea was to create our own hymnbook supplement to AMNS, printed and produced locally and just for our church.

 

It wasn't that difficult to do: books like The Source come with CDs of the words for hymn sheets and projectors so it was easy to bring together all the words. We formed a little group of musicians from all camps in our church to decide the contents and ended up with about 75 hymns and worship songs. The exercise knitted together all the different camps of music in the church very nicely and all is harmonious between the groups: Modern traditional hymns written over the past 20 years are well represented, like Christ Triumphant, Praise the Lord of Heaven, etc, and we've also got the best worship songs like "In Christ Alone", "Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice", etc. All parties were agreed upon cutting out dross like "Make me a channel of your peace", "Kum by yar, my Lord", etc.

 

It was printed cheaply in A5 booklet form and the plan is we keep it for about 3 years before bringing out a new version, with more modern "trad" hymns and modern worship songs, while culling the hymns and songs that don't catch on. That way, we can keep current and not replace our hymnbook (the expenditure for which wouldn't be that politically astute for us right now, as the donor of AMNS is still a leading light in the church - and the church has been very generous shelling out over 1/4 million pounds for the new organ...

 

Anyway, the homegrown hymnbook is really cheap to do - the costs are 1 copy of all the hymn books you use, the CCL copyrights (having a single hymnbook rather than lots of bits of paper at individual services has really simplified admin on the copyright licence) and printing costs, which for us and 500 copies, came to about £50 with our very friendly printer.

 

You do need to watch the copyright carefully - make sure CCL cover them. They cover 99% and it's easy to check. It does mean a bit of extra work initially but it'll mean you won't have to worry about an audit of your entire music library every time you do your annual CCL return - just copy and paste the index of your supplementary hymnbook in and off you go...

 

Question two:

 

Does anyone recommend a psalter (with chants).  We use words only Worcester Psalter (about 50 yrs old) alongside the St Nicks Chant Book, but want to get something more manageable than two books.  Obviously, aware of the Parish Psalter - but any other recommendations?

 

thanks,

BB

 

I agree with everyone else - keep your Worcester Psalter! It's the best. If you need something more manageable, do photocopies with the chants and pointing on sheets of A4. Lots of people seem to do it. You can also put in your own instructions e.g. dec and can in funny places, dynamics, etc - it works really well and the choir won't have to juggle 2 books at once. I guess you could recycle the psalms over time if you want to save the planet.

 

Am I wrong or is a heavy duty photo-copier a must-have for churches these days? With CPDL, ever more elaborate psalms and CCL, I find I spend more and more time in front of a photo copier...

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Guest delvin146
Morning All - This is my first post, so be gentle !

 

Question one:

 

Does anyone recommend the new Mission Praise as a "decent" tome for more modern worship songs (aagh! - our new vicar has happy clappy leanings).  This is because we are looking for something to supplement the more respectable AMNS.

 

Question two:

 

Does anyone recommend a psalter (with chants).  We use words only Worcester Psalter (about 50 yrs old) alongside the St Nicks Chant Book, but want to get something more manageable than two books.  Obviously, aware of the Parish Psalter - but any other recommendations?

 

thanks,

BB

 

I don't think you could really call Mission Praise decent in any respect. The Supplement to the New English Hymnal could perhaps go along side AMNS?

 

As for Psalters, you really can't beat the Old Cathedral Psalter.

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This is a joke , right?

 

Hehathnothidhisfacefromhimbutwhenhecalled__ un - to him__ he__ heardhim_____

 

What my Dad called Gabble And Thump.

 

I must say that this isn’t a style of pointing that I familiar with.

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto him. He | heard him

 

This I personally would find OK or even (for the second quarter/half)

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto | him He | heard him

 

I’d be interested to see and hear how you’d point that text.

 

It’s only “Gabble and Thump” if you let your choir sing it that way. It’s not a contest to sing it in the shortest possible time.

 

:D

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Guest delvin146
I must say that this isn’t a style of pointing that I familiar with.

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto him. He | heard him

 

This I personally would find OK or even (for the second quarter/half)

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto | him He | heard him

 

I’d be interested to see and hear how you’d point that text.

 

It’s only “Gabble and Thump” if you let your choir sing it that way.  It’s not a contest to sing it in the shortest possible time.

 

:D

 

There seems to be a general obcession these days of taking everything as quickly as possible, that includes reciting notes in Anglican chant. I don't think anybody would want it to drag. I don't think there's much wrong with the original pointing, however you'd need to emphasise the word "from" and maybe add a comma after him. Seems perfectly natural to do so to me. Prefer it that way to the latter b.

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He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto | him He | heard him

 

Sounds awfully Parish Psalteresque to me... what happens inevitably is that everyone stalls on "called" and then the rest is banged out metrically and it all sounds hideous.

 

I would probably go for:

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he / called un.to / him He / heard him.

 

That way you get the emphasis on the matching words ("called" and "heard") and there's no way anyone could grind to a halt on "he". That's for a second part. For a first part I'd go with your first option, which seems fine to me.

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He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto | him He | heard him

 

Sounds awfully Parish Psalteresque to me... what happens inevitably is that everyone stalls on "called" and then the rest is banged out metrically and it all sounds hideous.

 

I would probably go for:

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he / called un.to / him He / heard him.

 

That way you get the emphasis on the matching words ("called" and "heard") and there's no way anyone could grind to a halt on "he".  That's for a second part.  For a first part I'd go with your first option, which seems fine to me.

 

A much better solution to the second/forth quarter/half than I cobbled together in about ten seconds this morning.

 

The big thing is to neither rush nor drag the words. Good pointing can help eliminate the “stalls” but it comes down to the choir/director to get rid of them completely. The hardest thing to overcome is the “we’ve always done it this way” brigade. Adding syllables, elongating words and putting in pauses (where none are required) are a no no.

 

:D

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The Gabble-and-Thump method was demonstarted to me by no less a liturgical authority than Prunella Scales who had heard it as a child in a village church in Devon, I'd imagine in the early 1940s. I encountered a version of it still in use in a church near Derby in the mid 1970s. So I don't think the tendency to rush the words on the reciting note (tha gabble) is anything new. And of course it is not limited to the Old Cathedral Psalter. But the printing of the first word of the "metrical" part of the half verse in bold in that book was, I think, hugely contributory to the thump.

 

Michael

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He hath not hid his face from him but when he called | unto | him He | heard him

 

Sounds awfully Parish Psalteresque to me... what happens inevitably is that everyone stalls on "called" and then the rest is banged out metrically and it all sounds hideous.

 

I would probably go for:

 

He hath not hid his face from him but when he / called un.to / him He / heard him.

 

That way you get the emphasis on the matching words ("called" and "heard") and there's no way anyone could grind to a halt on "he".  That's for a second part.  For a first part I'd go with your first option, which seems fine to me.

Definitely agree the stress needs to be on 'called', but personally would prefer:-

 

...when he | called . unto | him he | heard him.

 

This is very much in the spirit of the Worcester Psalter which does, on the whole put the stress in the right places.

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Sounds awfully Parish Psalteresque to me... what happens inevitably is that everyone stalls on "called" and then the rest is banged out metrically and it all sounds hideous.

As a choirboy I was brought up on the Old Cathedral Psalter and the traditional way of singing it. It was exactly as David describes: the semibreve reciting note was sung in speech rhythm and the minims in strict time. Choirs who sang this way usually developed a habit of stalling like a horse refusing a fence just before the first bar line. Ours was no exception.
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I'd suggest going the whole hog and going for The Source or Songs of Fellowship.  This will make the happi-clappies happy bunnies as they're the best foundation for worship songs and The Source is edited by that leading light of worship songs, Graham Kendrick. They also don't have too many traditional hymns in them so your traditional hymn book won't be under that much threat. Later versions of The Source are supplements to earlier versions, with an ever increasing proportion of songs that are completely unsuitable for congregational singing.

 

My church used to have Songs of God's People (SOGP) that supplemented AMNS (much needed). I think SOGP was a modern supplement to Church Hymnary III - the Scottish equivalent to NEH. I don't know whether Common Ground has replaced SOGP - the editors are the same. I thought Songs of God's People (or Soggy Pea, as we called it) was rather more like no man's land.

 

We eventually decided to replace it with a supplement we made ourselves and I'd recommend this approach - it worked really well for us. The idea was to create our own hymnbook supplement to AMNS, printed and produced locally and just for our church.

 

Agreed wholeheartedly with the supplement approach. (I tried to convince the PCC that Common Praise with a home-made supplement would be the best solution for our own church, but they decided to spend the money on a projector instead. Ah well.)

 

But if you decide not to do that, I would recommend against Songs of Fellowship as a purchase except for the happiest-clappiest of churches. We have Book 1 as one of our two standard books (the other being AMNS) and find we only sing a tiny fraction of what's in there. Yes, there are a few "classics" in there - whether you or I like them or not - but 95% of it hasn't stood the test of time. If you like, the body of songs in there hasn't gone through the "winnowing" that successive A&Ms have.

 

Since then, there have been two more volumes of Songs of Fellowship, and I see now that they're available in a combined edition containing a whopping 1690 songs. (Only if you can afford steroids for the congregation!) We sing a couple from SF2 - "I the Lord of sea and sky" and the Stuart Townend version of "The Lord's My Shepherd" at number 1030 - but, again, it's a pretty tiny fraction of what's there. Unless you've got unlimited budgets and storage space, SF doesn't make a lot of sense IMHO.

 

Again, for my money, Common Ground is the best single-volume "ready-made supplement" out there. I half see what you say about "no man's land", but then (even if this is a Scottish book) the Church of England has always excelled at muddling through somewhere in the middle. :D

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