A Catholic Organist's Book of Hymns - online and in print.
  • When developing A Catholic Organist's Book of Hymns, we selected useful public domain hymns from various hymnals without thinking of them as anything but a resource for us.

    The 3 part hymns are easier to play than 4 part hymns.

    Arranged so that a pianist can sit down and play them at the organ - they include registrations and rests for breath marks, something that should be in each hymn in a hymnal but are not...

    The one page chorale preludes may be used weeks ahead of the first singing of a hymn to get it into the ears of your congregation and also as "Intonations" to introduce the hymn once your congregation and choir know the hymn.

    Anyhow, people have been interested especially in the 3 part versions and chorale preludes, so we've pulled 126 of them out that represent the liturgical year in a book.

    We should not be surprised then to find that most hymns in A Catholic Organist's Book of Hymns [scroll down the page to see the cover and sample pages] may be found in the following hymnals in number, which pleases us - and hopefully you.

    St. Michael Hymnal
    Ignatius Press' Pew Missal
    Lumen Christi Hymnal
    Ignatius Press' Adoremus Hymnal
  • Ten Reasons to subscribe to this online book.*

    1. Large type makes it easy to read in dim choir lofts.
    2. Can be played from an iPad, tablet or printed out on paper.
    3. Three part hymns are easier to play and build confidence.
    4. Chorale Preludes on each hymn introduce hymns to the people.
    5. Stop registrations included for your organ.
    6. The music is written out for organ instead of singers.
    7. Notes on hymn playing explain the simple things to do when playing hymns
    8. Hymns are found in St. Michael’s, Adoramus, the Pew Missal and other favorite hymnals.
    9. Playing hymns will not be boring for you anymore.
    10. People will begin to listen to you and the organ and sing better.

    *126 hymns of this collection now available as a printed book, The Liturgical Year.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    For any of you out there giving lessons to beginning organists, the three part hymns are a wonderful resource.

    For the rest of you, these are nice accompaniments...at least in my opinion.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Noel, this is very exciting! I'm a vocalist/conductor, but as most on this forum can probably relate, circumstances call us to be more in times of great need. My organist (who is quite an accomplished player) graduated from college and went on for further study. I have some keyboard skills, but I had never taken a lesson on the organ. One of our semenarians gave me some direction (he is a very accomplished organist), but I think I need to work on some basics before I approach the organ teacher at the local university.

    I know the subscription is $20 for organists. Is this the same fee for "students"? I'd be using these resources at my parish, but as of now, I'd be the only one.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Students and anyone who is strapped for funds should definitely contact me directly - noel@frogmusic.com
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    The 3 part hymns are easier to play than 4 part hymns.

    I find this hard to believe.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Why, please?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,146
    I haven't used this particular resource, but I do not find it hard to believe that 3-part hymns would be easier to play than 4-part hymns, especially for a beginner.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    I forgot how to purple.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,125
    I forgot how to purple.
    And also how to use the search box?
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    I have used this particular resource and as a beginning organist I find the three part hymns less intimidating, which gives me the confidence that I can learn them.

    Having heard the Saint Michael hymnal accompaniments played badly, (and heard the complaints from the congregation about it) I'd much rather learn the three part and play it well.

    As usual...YMMV
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    Flor Peeters used three-part arrangements as a teaching tool in his method books. To my ear, they sound like something is missing, since I am used to four-part hymns. I don't know why an advanced organist would use them for congregational singing unless they matched the music lines written in the hymnals. As pieces to play, they would be fine.

    I have a weak bass section and a very strong tenor section in my choir. I once tried three-part choral arrangements to compensate for the weak basses. It didn't work well. It seemed the voice line was near the range limits of tenor or bass half the time. YMMV.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • donr
    Posts: 949
    To my ear, they sound like something is missing

    You are correct one part is missing
    FYI... It is not only the Bass Clef that has one part in these arrangements.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    There are men and there are women. There are voices with higher ranges and voices with lower ranges. 2 x 2 is 4. 4 parts. Makes good sense.

    I have to wonder, why 3 voices? Why not 2? Or one, for that matter. I frequently accompany hymns in one or two voices (if only for a verse). It can be a striking effect. Although the Parish Organist series from Concordia Publishing House does contain some well-written three part harmonizations.

    When I began organ, I was taught (very slowly) to develop competence with 4-part homophonic hymn texture. To my mind, this is the quintessential skill for church organ playing. With this skill, you can do all of your service playing well enough.

    Those who have not developed a basic competence in playing four parts should not routinely play for services until they have done so.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    On that missing line in three-part arrangements, I don't know if the congregation notices that something isn't there. What musicians notice is often far from what the congregation hears - or thinks it hears. Sometimes they seem to hear things that were never in the score.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    And also how to use the search box?

    I didn't really forget how to purple. Well, I don't remember, but I do know how to search for it. I just thought that my playful sarcasm was loud enough on its own. Then when it wasn't, I continued with a goofy comment.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    Those who have not developed a basic competence in playing four parts should not routinely play for services until they have done so

    Some places don't have a competent organist, but want one. I'd rather someone start with three part hymns rather than continue with the guitar group until they acquire the basic competence to play four parts. YMMV.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood ryand
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Those who have not developed a basic competence in playing four parts will not be hired at major churches until they have done so, but their developing talents may be a blessing to small rural parishes.

    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Adam Wood
  • Updated - information no longer accurate.
  • PhatFlute
    Posts: 219
    Phat would think 3 part is more harder of 4 parts,

  • Phat would think 3 part is more harder of 4 parts,

    Why, please?
  • Three Holyweek hymns and chorale preludes for free download.

    This is the revised 2nd Edition, now in a single book.
  • Phat would think 3 part is more harder of 4 parts,

    I still wake in the middle of the night, wondering, "Has Phat explained this yet?"
  • Holmes: Watson, I deduce that Phat is either a soprano or a bass.
    Watson: How on earth do you know that, Holmes?
    Holmes: Elementary, my dear Watson.... for tenors and altos, only 2 parts are harder of 4 parts. :-)
  • I also wonder about the book she published, "Hymns for Summer".
  • wasn't there a 14th century piece called something like the "Summer is Icumen" hymn?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,065
    Aside: 'Summer is icumen in' has an alternative set of words in Latin, suited to the Triduum, see.