Catholic SATB Hymn Survey
  • We are developing a Catholic SATB Hymnal for a singing congregation, to be used in a parish that has made/is considering the transition to a weekly Mass Music Bulletin - something that thas been widely successful in the Protestant church world for a century or so, and a few progressive Catholic parishes.

    Any chants or unison hymns are in teh printed bulletin.

    SATB hymns are in a book a bit thicker than A Parish Book of CXhamt and will fit in pew racks.

    Sacred Music Library / Frog Music Press.
    Noel Jones, Editor

    So, to be as inclusive as possible, we are surveying:

    Please consider voicing your opinion on a list of hymns for a hymnal for a congregation containing only SATB hymns.

    For example, Be Thou My Vision is a unison, not SATB hymn and would not be in the book.
    Check off ones that you think should NOT be in the book, you may add comments at the bottom of the long list - and also suggest ones we may have missed.

    Thank you, your input is valuable to us.

    Thanked by 2Chrism JacobFlaherty
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    I'm slightly confused at vetoing SLANE as a "unison" hymn but including several tunes in the survey that clearly work better in unison and/or that I have never seen in SATB arrangements.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Noel,

    May we take an OF context for granted?

    Furthermore, are you asking

    -- Can/should this hymn tune be sung well SATB?


    -- Is this hymn text suitable to be sung, on theological grounds, by a Catholic congregation, regardless of whether it's at Mass or at some other act of worship?

  • "I'm slightly confused at vetoing SLANE as a "unison" hymn but including several tunes in the survey that clearly work better in unison and/or that I have never seen in SATB arrangements."

    And that's why you are invited to comment. This is a quick list that is being pared down.

    OF - or for a Novena or before/after a TLM for those that indulge.

    "-- Can/should this hymn tune be sung well SATB?" Love to have your counsel on that. I think that we all know that it is not enough to merely like a hymn.

    " Is this hymn text suitable to be sung, on theological grounds, by a Catholic congregation, regardless of whether it's at Mass or at some other act of worship?" Most definitely, and that is the highest fence to overcome.

    And, as long as I have your ear (eye), does Joyful, Joyful have any place in a Catholic hymnbook? I have my opinion, what's yours?

  • ...does joyful, joyful...
  • I second Jackson's opinion, and Charles' on the subject of the hymn to the universal brotherhood of man.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw JL
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,689
    And, if the tune ODE TO JOY is to be used for another text, it should respect the rhythm of the original composer's final line.

    PS: E.g.,

    And in the Hymnal 1982:
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JL
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,089
    You mean that eager brotherhood-of-man syncopation four bars from the end? Ah, imagine persuading a congregation to observe that.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,689
    It's that way in Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Canticles and was never a problem for the congregation over decades....and given its presence in Hymnal 1982 I would imagine US Episcopalian congregations are familiar with it.

    That syncopation is what *makes* the tune. One seemingly small thing. Genius (as a tune) with it, much less so without it.
    Thanked by 3WGS Andrew_Malton JL
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    What hymn [& tune] is "All ye weary" [BLESSED MOTHER]? Is it perhaps "Come hither, all ye weary souls" (Isaac Watts) or "Come, all ye weary oppressed" (Eliza E. Hewitt) ... or something else? Sorry to be so confused about this.

    There don't seem to be but a few (if any) hymns &/or tunes in the list that were written within the past 25-50 years. Is this by intention? How are competent contemporary authors and composers of hymns ever to get their works into hymnals such as this? ...and I'm not talking about the schlock sacro-pop happy-clappy feel-good crud that is so pervasive in the usual suspects' song-books.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,604
    Well, there's alle Menschen and there's "Giver of immortal gladness", not quite as happy as O Dador de gozo eterno.

    It always amazes me that the Catholic Community Hymnal has both versions of ST ELIZABETH, 669 668 & 557 558, and that the congregation is never confused.
  • @CHGiffen Thumbs up! We must always take on the work to champion quality contemporary composers. Best from the past, best from the present.
  • Charles, Sgt,

    Part of the problem of including the best modern work is that it's hard to know what will stand the test of time, but another is that the selection is so small. Can you name someone not on this forum (so, Kathy Pluth is eliminated, for example) who is writing texts and music, or just worthy SATB tunes, presently?
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    I'm surprised not to see "Lo, He comes with clouds descending" not set to HELMSLEY (which is unison in the 1982 hymnal, but SATB elsewhere--several United Methodist hymnals come to mind.) Also, why not FOREST GREEN instead of ST. LOUIS for "O little town of Bethlehem"?
  • I don't understand the prohibition of unison hymns. This seems to me a serious loss. Surely, such gems as Divinum Mysterius, and a representaive presence of plain chant hymns which would be well known, such as Conditor alme siderum and the sequnces, etc., should have a place in any complete hymnal. What is the rational for havinng SATB only hymns? What is the underlying philosophy of this hymnal? To whom is it aimed? What would commend this hymnal over others? - other than that (for the most part!) it has little dross?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    I think the idea is that unison hymns would be printed in the "Weekly Mass Bulletin" - since they would not take up as much space in a worship aid as 4-part hymns would.

    Some time ago (2013) there was a thread on (ostensibly) the top 5 non-office hymns. The main results are summarized in the second page of that thread alphabetically, by title (my contribution) and also by hymn tune (chonak's contribution):

    The whole 3-page thread is interesting (re-)reading, but page 2 may be of use here. At least there were some more contemporary traditional hymns & tunes mentioned.
  • How really nice, Chuck, to see This Endris Nyght on your list. I have long found this to be an unusually enchanting tune. It is almost unheard of on this side of the pond and should find wider use. The same goes for Blaenwern, a splendid alternative to Hyfrydol. Blaenwern may be heard at St Paul's, Londoon, in all its splendour by googling 'Blaenwern Thatcher Youtube.' (The occasion is Baroness Thatcher's funeral.)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen marymezzo
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 495
    I’m really not sure about this idea. Why not just make a decent hymnal containing hymns to be sung in harmony and hymns to be sung in unison?

    1) The extra millimeters required to print a hymn SATB in the bulletin can easily be gained by bumping the margins out slightly (and/or printing some prayers without ICEL’s silly “sense lines”).

    2) If the people are to be given a book containing The Church’s Great Hymns And Songs, it would be sad to exclude items usually sung in unison, leaving the chant, Slane, whatever else out in the ether and then in the wastebasket.

    3) I also am wondering about funerals and weddings and emergency liturgies that cannot now be foreseen (such as services many places held the evening of 9/11). Unless the parish also has the Lumen Christi Missal or something, having a pew book with only SATB hymns means any time the church wants to celebrate a Mass with music, someone has to put together a complete leaflet. What if the Internet or printer goes down; what if the person who can make the leaflets is incapacitated? What if a new priest decides he’d rather have Worship IV because “it has everything” and the pew books can’t serve any liturgy but a novena by themselves?

    4) In Protestant churches, the denominational pew books have orders of service and liturgical music and hymns and psalmody – everything one could possibly need for any liturgy; leaflets are just a matter of convenience. There is always a fallback in case of local technical failure or technological ineptitude. It would be I think very unfortunate to go to the trouble of making a permanent book that is of no use by itself.
  • Re: SLANE, particularly Be Thou My Vision, there is an SATB version of it in the Choral and Praise hymnal, which goes with Breaking Break. That being said, we never sing it as such.