Hymnals with Guitar Chords
  • Adoremus
    Posts: 34
    Pax! I would like to know what hymnals have guitar chords in addition to the melody. Thanks
  • What limitations do the hymnals need to meet?

    Hymnal 1982 has guitar chords on some pieces, if I recall correctly.

    Gather Comprehensive does.

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    Hymnal 1982 has guitar chords on some pieces, if I recall correctly.

    Really? — in the hymnal itself? — or perhaps in some accompaniment edition(s)?
  • Charles,

    I don't have a pew edition, only an accompaniment edition, so I guess that would be my point of reference.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 252
    Hymnal 1982 has guitar chords on some pieces, if I recall correctly.

    Only in the accompaniment edition or the 'Hymnbook' edition (full accompaniments but no service music), and only for a very small handful of hymns (thankfully) with the indication that guitar and keyboard should not be sounding at the same time.
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    Many times the guitar chords given are inferior to the "keyboard" accompaniment. Often the hymns move so quickly from chord to chord that a decent guitar accompaniment is almost impossible, unless you are satisfied with strum a-strum strumming. When my husband accompanied me on guitar, he often used fingerpicking or a pinching technique to avoid the strum-a strum style and these would necessitate a microphone for the guitar, of course.
  • Many times...chords given are inferior...
    This is self-evident and hardly surprising! Unless the organ accompaniment was unimaginably bad it would be a given. Besides, they are an eyesore. Besides, how did it ever come to pass that anyone barged into the church pretty as you please and strumming a guitar with a straight face?
  • Adoremus
    Posts: 34
    We don't use guitar in our liturgies but our "organist" depends so much on the chords since he is not really trained.
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    Once again, where is that HUH? button I've been asking for? I clicked on Francis' link and got a site with links to popular music, but maybe that is your point, Francis.

    As I have mentioned before, we filled in (gratis) when there was no organist, at the request of our pastor who knew we would play competently and tastefully. We chose primarily traditional music such as "Humbly Lord We Worship You" and "Christians Let Us Love One Another" and performed them well. When the new organist and the new pastor showed up, we were eased out without a real thank you for your service. I still sing in the choir and cantor and my husband still directs the choir and writes arrangements that suit the abilities of our ragtag bunch of amateurs. My husband sometimes says, "The church is the hardest organization to help."
  • I always sigh and chuckle whenever I use our hymnal accompaniment books. At the bottom of every single page in bold it says something to the effect of, "When playing with a guitar, the keyboardist should in stead use the chords marked above the accompaniment." Go figure: a guitar kaChunkAChunkin' doesn't blend very well with traditional SATB accompaniment, so it's up to the "keyboardist" to solve the problem.
    Thanked by 2Carol CCooze
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    Why you would use both guitar and keyboard is beyond me anyway. The number of times that both would be really called for musically is slim to none. The only other reason is to keep a guitarist happy.
  • A guitar playing actual continuo might be passable - but not in metrical hymnody with a chord change on every beat.
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    Hadn't thought of that. My husband would often play a very nice line in the bass while accompanying me with fingerpicked chords. Very few church guitarists can do that well.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,016
    There are traditional hymns on that site I posted
    Thanked by 2sdtalley3 Carol
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 335
    How many times are stringed instruments mentioned in the Bible? How many times is the organ mentioned?
  • Never, it was still evolving to become the instrument for sacred music as the strummed instruments became the heart of easy to play secular music.

    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,016
    its not about 'the bible says'... that is a protestant mentality... its about TRADITION! (as Noel alludes to)
  • Pax,

    Independent of whether "the bible says" is a Protestant attitude... so what?
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 396
    Is tradition not what we want tradition to be? How far do we go back?
  • ...mentioned in the Bible?...
    This is astonishing. Should we, by this thinking, be observing the Mosaic dietary laws or sacrificing turtle doves because they are 'in the Bible'. This sort of Protestant thought led people like Calvin and the multiplicity of Calvinist splinter groups to ban any song but the a capella singing of the psalter; it led some Protestant groups to ban altogether the use of any musical instruments because 'they weren't in the New Testament'. Then, of course, there was the Puritan tyranny of the English Interregnum. It just so happens that quite a number of the psalms enjoin us to praise God with 'the ten-stringed lute', with cymbals, loud crashing cymbals, and with tabret and harp. No, the organ wasn't around until its invention in Aegypt around 300 B.C. Like our Lord, it had humble origins. It was used in a variety of entertainments, but came by the Romans to be exalted as an instrument employed in ceremonies surrounding the emperor. It was used as early as the Vth century in certain Germanic dioceses, as is attested by bishops in those areas who on various occasions requested them. Finally, it was appointed for use in the Church in Rome by the VIIth century Pope Vitalian. That is a very long pedigree. The Catholic Church, unlike some (though not all) Protestant churches, has never been limited in its music, its doctrine, its literature and arts by what was in the Bible. I dare say that the esteemed author of this question sings much music and plays instruments which were not in the Bible. Catholic history has baptised the organ more than any other instrument, and, as is well known by the membership of this Forum, the recent Vatican council singled out the organ as most fitting for Catholic worship. It doesn't so much as mention, envision, or baptise a single other instrument, nay, not even guitars, much less the ten-stringed lutes, tabrets, and cymbals of the psalms - just the organ. No, it wasn't in the Bible, but, then, neither are the self-appointed guardians of what is and isn't 'in the Bible' in the Bible.
  • "Tradition" (as if that matters for much in this case) matters far less than 1) the Church expressly stating, in recent exhortations, that the organ is the principal and most suitable instrument for liturgy, and 2) the organ objectively being the best instrument to fulfill the strictly musical requirements imposed on it (being able to support congregational singing, accompany a choir, and provide suitable voluntaries and improvisation with necessarily huge variety in volume and tone) as well.
  • "Pax! I would like to know what hymnals have guitar chords in addition to the melody. "

    Here is the problem. Hymns in four-part harmony move through subtle harmonies that makes them beautiful. Singing just the melody of a four-part hymn is like looking at a tree that has had its leaves and limbs burnt off in a fire.

    Trying to accompany a hymn with guitar chords is silly like looking at a tree with its limbs and leaves burnt off in a fire.

    It's like playing Scrabble with blank tiles. Or an ice-cream cone without the ice cream.

    Publishing a hymnal with guitar chords is giving people what they want instead of giving them what they need. A lack of musical integrity.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,209
    A lack of musical integrity.?
    If they are classic 4-part hymns, sure. The Gradual? - Any accompaniment is inappropriate. For the Grail Psalms as authorised in 1962, use of a cithara, or a guitar similarly played would be quite suitable for some of them†. And integrates well with the intention of producing a translation mirroring the original Hebrew poetry.
    † together with the Gelineau tones
    With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
    (Ps. 98:6 RSV)
    As @PaxMelodious said when I posted a picture of a modern portative organ a few weeks ago :- "Look like a great collection of tin whistles. But I guess that is really what most organs are. "
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 403
    I don't know of any hymnals that give guitar chords. However, the Lectionary Psalms and Gospel Acclamations published by WLP give guitar chords, so you might want to look at those.

    I think when guitar chords are included in the music they are as simple as you can get so that those who don't practice finger exercises can strum along. The worst I have ever heard is a key board set to the guitar setting, 6 or 12 string and the musician playing the notes of the hymn as if playing on the organ or piano. It's really awful.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • A lot of ocp and Gia stuff has chord symbols, but it’s only in the accompaniment edition. Pew hymnals have absolutely no need of them, which is why they aren’t in them.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Tin whistles????

    Cliquot?
    Schnitger?
    Cavaille-Coll?
    Harris?
    Aeolian-Skinner?
    Pasi?
    von Beckerat?
    Marcussen? and.................
    Tin whistles????????????

    Those who would pronounce the organ to be no more than a collection of tin whistles are not unlike those who might see nothing in Michaelangelo or da Vinci but paint smeared on a canvass. There are people who pride themselves on such snide and very ill tutored pronouncements.
    This is just plain stupid and unworthy of this Forum.
    Thanked by 2Carol francis
  • Adoremus,

    You piqued my interest: why are you looking for hymnals which have the melody and guitar chords, anyway?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,209
    @ServiamScores you have conjured up for me a terrifying picture of a whole congregation armed with ukuleles.
    Thanked by 2Carol ServiamScores
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 134
    CCLI SongSelect tends to have very accurate chord assignments for the public domain hymns in their database. Other than that, Gather guitar edition has a lot of hymns in it, although their chord assignments are often not high quality. Personally, I typically make my own guitar edition by assigning chord symbols to the choir edition of the St. Michael Hymnal.
  • [Asking out of ignorance]: Does a person who writes guitar chord assignments pay attention to the key signature of the original piece, or keep track of sensible harmonic movement, as if writing a figured bass, or does such a person just look at the note in the melody and write [that chord, as if the melody were the root of the chord].
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 134
    Does a person who writes guitar chord assignments pay attention to the key signature of the original piece

    I would write the chords in the original key, especially if I intend to play the piano off the chord symbols. If I wanted them in an easier key for a guitar player, I would write them in said easier key than write "capo" plus the number of frets that the guitar player needs to put the capo stick on to match the original key.

    or keep track of sensible harmonic movement, as if writing a figured bass, or does such a person just look at the note in the melody and write [that chord, as if the melody were the root of the chord].


    Definitely not the last part. If you really understand lead sheet notation, you should be able to write a chord symbol that doesn't lose any information from what was in the SATB score. Lets say that your notes in ascending order are E C G B. You would notate that Cmaj7/E.
  • If you really understand lead sheet notation, you should be able to write a chord symbol that doesn't lose any information from what was in the SATB score.
    Except for NCT, of course.
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    jclangfo has given a good explanation of creating the guitar accompaniment. The challenge comes when the accompaniment has a lot of movement which requires expertise of the guitarist. As I said on the forum once before, it's a lot easier to acquire a guitar and learn a few chords and call yourself a guitarist than it is to call yourself an organist.
  • I think it also worth noting that many of the larger publishers have dedicated guitar supplement books to go with the normal accompaniment books for a reason. It's difficult to always fit everyone's part on the same page. You can't provide transposed guitar chords in a keyboard accompaniment book, for instance, unless you add a guitar stave or expressly forbid the keyboardist from using the chords, at which point, why add the chord symbols to the keyboard book to begin with? So, if you have a particular hymnal in mind, I bet if you do some googling you'll find a dedicated guitar book. (This obviously does not apply to "traditional" hymnals, but a company like GIA is likely to produce them for their hymnals.)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,252
    Golleee geee the man just asked s simple question, he was not requiring a doctoral disssssssertation on the history of the Epesema.

    I believe that The St. Michaels' hymnal has a version which has guitar chords. And it is a very good hymnal. All of the GIA ones do, i think, and all of the WPL ones.
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 134
    I believe that The St. Michaels' hymnal has a version which has guitar chords


    Oh really? I will buy that ASAP if this really exists.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,209
    https://stmichaelhymnal.com/Purchasing/ChordedLooseLeaf
    But they have a fifth edition in preparation.
  • Golleee geee the man just asked s simple question, he was not requiring a doctoral disssssssertation on the history of the Epesema.

    This made me chuckle. You're right of course.
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  • Adoremus
    Posts: 34
    @Chris Garton-Zavesky
    the one who uses the electric organ in our parish is not so trained when it comes to organ music... he relies on chords for the accompaniment. We don't use guitar and we sing traditional hymns and even Gregorian chants with guitar chords.
  • Adoremus,

    Lemons... lemonade, I guess.

    Thanked by 1Adoremus