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


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 call to mind God's mighty deeds. The Red Sea reference makes it good for baptisms as well. Then also, a quick note on the phrasing of "the Feast of feasts" (or "Day of days" as it shows up in other hymns) - did you know that the entire Easter Octave is celebrated as one massive feast? That is to say, each day from Easter Sunday to the Second Sunday of Easter is treated as though it were Easter Sunday: the Eucharistic Prayer says "on this Easter Day," there is no penitential requirement on Easter Friday, and every one of the eight days is observed as a Solemnity. This symbolizes the New Creation brought about in Christ - God completed the first creation in seven days, but Christ arose on the first day, making that Eighth Day the beginning of the Era of Grace. This is why we Christians celebrate the Lord's Day on Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of the seventh day.

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Ora et labora