Showing posts from May, 2022

Hymn of the Week(ish): Crown Him With Many Crowns

  Hymn Title: Crown Him With Many Crowns Tune Name: DIADEMATA Meter: SMD (that is, Short Meter, Double - There is no better example of the power of hymnodal language than Crown Him With Many Crowns. A vigourous, commanding text wedded to a trimphant hymn tune, just begging for a trumpet fanfare, this gem is often found to be the victim of misguided modern verbal castration: cut, sanded, watered down, and just... weakened. However, here it is, in its original lyrical glory - note especially the third verse, my favourite: "Crown him the Lord of Love, Behold his hands, his side; Rich wounds yet visible above, In beauty glorified. No angel in the sky Can fully bear that sight, But downward bends his burning eye At mysteries so bright." And I can never resist a big dopey grin when singing the phrase "Creator of the rolling spheres / Ineffably divine." It's just too much. A real poetic masterpiece. And the music! A joy to the rational soul, the p

The Sequence (with music!)

There are a few major feasts in the church year that are distinguished by the addition of a Sequence to the liturgy: Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and Our Lady of Sorrows . What is a Sequence, and what is it for? It's a piece of theological poetry, based in scripture but not directly taken from it, which forms one of the lessons for the day. I like to think of it as a kind of homiletic fail-safe - no matter how good or bad a preacher your pastor is, you will get this one elegant lesson that encapsulates all you have to know about the feast. In the Ordinary Form, it is sung between the second reading and the Gospel Acclamation.  While two of the Sequences are optional, the ones for Easter and Pentecost must be at least recited - but they are so much better when sung. Since the Sequence is a lesson, similar to the readings, I think it is best to sing it in the vernacular - at the very least, the congregation should have the translation in their hands. If it is not printed in t

Hymn of the Week: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

 After a restful Easter Octave and replete with feasting (and now improved by the addition of five solid pounds of Easter Joy to my frame), I am back with more Hymns of the Week to broaden your repertoire! Hymn Title: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain Tune Name: GAUDEAMUS PARITER Meter: 76 76 D (D for "double," so 7.6. 7.6. 7.6. 7.6.) A bright, dance-like Easter hymn, Come Ye Faithful plays a few rhythm tricks to liven up its simple tune and harmonies. Although there is no time signature written, it alternates between 2/2 and 3/2 - it's not too hard to figure out which part is which. Definitely  remember to keep it in 2, though, or it will be way too slow. (The original manuscript has each phrase ending with two half notes with a fermata, but I translated that into a 3/2 bar with a half note and a whole note for clarity.) The lyrics draw a strong parallel between the events of Exodus and the Paschal mystery, making this hymn a solid choice for days when the antiphons

How to Pick Music

 I've gone over some general guidelines for choosing music before, but after having talked to a few people since then, it seems like it would be helpful to have more detailed instructions. I don't have the same resources as you, so I'll keep it broad, but hopefully this will still help. Step One: Organize. Use a spreadsheet program or a word processing program to set up a monthly music planner. Include columns for the date, the Entrance, Offertory, Communion, and Recessional (also a Meditation slot, if you want - I just put mine in the Communion cell). Put the month and year at the top, and include the year of the liturgical cycle you are on, if you are feeling fancy. I saved a blank one as a template, so that every time I want to make one, I can click "create new" and choose the template from the list and away we go. (I'd share my template with you except that I use a mac for my planning computer and a chromebook for my blogging and typesetting, so who am I