Hymn tunes that need new texts
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    Asking in my capacity as a writer of new hymn texts...

    Are there any tunes you feel are really great, but:
    - you don't LOVE the text(s) commonly in use with them
    - the good text you like has been popularly associated with some other tune, so it doesn't get sung enough any more
    - the commonly associated text is oddly-specific somehow, so doesn't get sung often enough
    - for any other reason, the tune could use a new text
    ?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    New Britain (Amazing Grace)

    I regularly swap out other texts since people love the tune so much, but the hymn essentially espouses the Calvinist “once saved, always saved” heresy. (I don’t love this tune… but it is very, very popular, as you well know.)

    One tune I do love is Eventide, but I don’t like how it is hamstrung to vespers, essentially. I’ve paired a few communion texts with this in the past, although I know some people here on the forum would skin me for it.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • LauraKaz
    Posts: 74
    I'd suggest Kelvingrove. It is very well-known and congregations typically sing it very well, but the common text ("The Summons") leaves something to be desired imo.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    One problem with kelvingrove is it’s not in the public domain, fwiw. Same thing with the tune of the “Servant Song” (This latter being a nicer tune, imho).
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    Easily, DANBY (L.M.), a lovely plaintive tune, almost chant-like (always a good thing for hymns in Catholic liturgy), collected by RVW for the 1906 English Hymnal. It's associated with a text by the brother of H W Longfellow, but I doubt ever heard in a Catholic parish in the USA, so I seriously doubt the likelihood of cognitive dissonance in pairing it with a fresh LM text.

    https://hymnary.org/page/fetch/EH1906/416/high

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgDtklcOL44
  • Carol
    Posts: 856
    I love St. Elizabeth- which I think of as "The Crusaders' Hymn." It is now in OCP with the title "Beautiful Savior." The "Beautiful Savior" lyrics are way too schmaltzy (as my father would have said.) I have related in a post somewhere else on the forum that I have ruined Kelvingrove for myself by putting a "quack-quack" at the end of each line, which is probably the result of too much cartoon watching in my childhood.

    Unfortunately, I hear my parish has chosen to stick with OCP for the 2024 liturgical year.
  • A side note, but OCP would benefit from dropping Randall DeBruyn’s weird harmonization of that hymn tune. Stick with T. Tertius Noble’s.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,039
    According to Hymnary, Kelvingrove is a traditional tune in the public domain. Evidently the arrangement is copyrighted, but not the tune itself.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    > DANBY (L.M.)

    This is a fantastic tune, which I had never heard before.
    Thanks!
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • TCJ
    Posts: 977
    The Ignatius Pew Missal has DANBY for O Trinity of Blessed Light.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    Adam

    It's a tune with which many people appear unfamiliar - other than hymn tune collector-types, who are its champions. I've never heard it in church before, but became aware of it because hymn tune fanciers mentioned how lovely it is, and it is.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • KEDRON, which is a beautiful tune often eclipsed by other more well known passiontide hymns, and thus is heard nowhere.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    This Kedron? https://hymnary.org/tune/kedron_dare
    (There are quite a number of other tunes by the same name.)
    Thanked by 1liampmcdonough
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    My first encounter with KEDRON:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cQ5GgbaA9I

    Original tune with different text (melody in tenor):

    https://www.harmoniasacra.org/hs_tune_images/62a.png


    Which LP also included this pearl of a tune, SWEET PROSPECT (as always with shape note tunes of this vintage, melody is in the tenor/middle voice - the American shape note hymn tradition is blessed with many lovely tunes):

    https://www.ccel.org/ccel/walker/harmony2/files/gif/SweetProspect.gif

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuwqNayqu84
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Kedron is a very fine tune but I’m not aware of any Catholic hymnal that has it. The 1940 is where I discovered it and, as is often the case, the harmonization there is sturdier and superior to the 1982. Kedron would benefit from a pairing with other texts, not necessarily penitential.

    Edit: The tune “Tender Thought” could use wider exposure.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    Before this worthy thread sinks too low to be refreshed...I would like to add a thought more broadly about a somewhat less-used meter in which some lovely simple tunes have been set: Short Meter (6.6.8.6). This came to mind reflecting on encountering SWABIA on the Sunday before last for the text 'Tis Good Lord to Be Here. ST THOMAS, SOUTHWELL, FRANCONIA, ST BRIDE, and more: https://hymnary.org/search?&qu=meter:6.6.8.6 in:tunes&sort=

    I find Short Meter arresting and I've tried to figure out why. Maybe it's because the meter disciplines a lucid concision of expression, and frees briefly to allow the penultimate line one more foot (like loosening a belt briefly after the main course of dinner or perhaps like the development section of the sonata allegro form) before returning a final, constricted, line.