HELMSLEY variant
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,437
    HELMSLEY has a rhythmic variant in the fourth-to-last measure.

    Some hymnals have a dotted half note followed by two eighths, and the others have a half note followed by two quarters.

    Can anyone think of any reasons to prefer one over the other?
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,258
    The two eighths version is common in Britain, the other variant in the US.
    Thanked by 2Kathy tomjaw
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,437
    The 1982 has the half, and the UM the dotted half.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671
    The dotted with eighths makes more sense if the tune is being sung in a broad (aka "stately") tempo, the half with quarters makes sense if it's being sung more flowingly to allow/encourage typical American Catholic congregants to sing each line (especially the first and third) in one unflagging breath without lifting.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Jackson,

    So, the two 8ths is correct?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,671
    The 1940 Hymnal appears to have introduced the two quarter notes. In versions earlier than that documented at Hymnary, the measure was a syllable on a half note followed by a syllable on a quarter note tied with two eighths.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Kathy
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,258
    Chris -

    I don't know that we can say that either one is 'correct'.
    I prefer the two eighths version, but in the absence of an 'urtext', that doesn't make it 'correct'.
  • [Teasing]: Since Anglicans (and former Anglicans) have been known to break spontaneously into SATB, surely the home country of such behavior is superior to its colonial derivative. Additionally, you've not heard congregational participation until you've heard mostly not-college-educated Welshmen sing Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, in unison, unaccompanied.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,000
    Even older hymnals have a half note for the first syllable, then a quarter (repeating the pitch of the half note) and two quarters (each going up a step) for the second syllable.

    I.e. (if in the key of G major): g2 (g4 a8 b8), 1868.
    Also appears as: g2 (g8 a8 b4), 1900.
    And even as a half followed by a triplet (the oldest, melody in tenor, 1849.
    The dotted half version appears as early as 1906, in The English Hymnal with Tunes.
    The half followed by two quarters seems to have originated in The Hymnal 1940.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,134
    The New Oxford Book of Carols (ed. Keyte & Parrott) has very extensive notes about the tunes and texts in an appendix---My copy is at the church, but I have a meeting there this afternoon, so I will look up the notes for this tune and see what they say about it. IIRC, it was originally an aria Alla hornpipe from an English opera, and was adopted as a hymn tune for the hymnbook of the Methodist Lock Hospital in London, for the text "Lo, He comes an Infant Stranger".
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,424
    New Oxford book of Carols is here,
    https://archive.org/details/newoxfordbookofc0000unse_a1o3
    You will need to log in and borrow it...
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Wikipedia shows a scanned page printed in 1758 with a great many rhythmic differences - dots, appoggiaturas, and triplets - that we don't see in any of our versions. Is that the 'correct' version? If you are looking for The English Hymnal version from 1906, the Vaughan Williams arrangement, that would be the eight notes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lo!_He_comes_with_clouds_descending
    https://archive.org/details/theenglishhymnal00milfuoft/page/8/mode/2up
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Kathy
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,126
    I have never heard this in a Catholic church. Local Methodists (Isle of Man) are using something very like the 1758 version, with all its complexities, it often figures in ecumenical services and on festive occasions..
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    We’ve done it round these parts. I’m not sure it’s universally known, but it is a great tune.
    Thanked by 1Kathy