The Parish Book of English Hymns
  • I should add that they are more than happy to have anyone's help here, especially in typesetting. They both have the template and are very happy to send it to anyone who asks.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    In order to discuss particulars, a substantial amount of time for vetting would be necessary.

    This project was announced 9 days ago.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 868
    This project was announced 9 days ago.

    Behold the power of small teams.
  • Of course this list won't include new hymns, which will take the time. Remember that we have a template already in the wonderful 1981 book by ICEL.
  • i should add that Noel has been working on this for three years, so the project isn't just 9 days old. It is a matter of given flight to something already very much underway.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500

    Not that I want to slow things down, but in my experience, detailed thought about hymn texts usually raises one response: "Wow, I never thought about it like that before." That doesn't mean the concerns are petty, imho, but that they are difficult to discuss. I think some breathing room is called for, particularly concerning theology.
  • "I should add that they are more than happy to have anyone's help here, especially in typesetting. They both have the template and are very happy to send it to anyone who asks."

    "i should add that Noel has been working on this for three years..."

    Noel is not the only one who as been typesetting hymns for years. I know that there are many people on this forum, myself included, who have also done much of the same work--I'll bet that the same work has been duplicated 10 times by people on this forum. Perhaps it would be in order to place a call for people to submit to Noel and Jonathan their scores that they've already produced. Also, for those who use Sibelius the MusicXML cross-platform sharing filetype could be used. Getting the data of a hymn inputted is really not very difficult, especially with lyric import features that both programs currently utilize. And, formatting is a breeze especially if one is utilizing "house styles". It seems to me that the grunt work on this could get done very quickly with the help of this community.

    Also, in regard to the "list"--Why not just typeset and post online as many public domain hymns and texts as we can. Then discussion and editing can begin and, in due time, a decision could be made about what will go into print. I don't think that anyone would completely agree on what should go into a hymnal, but if pdf files are available online you can print and use what you want, when you want. Come to think of it, perhaps even CPDL could be utilized at some point since we're talking about public domain choral music.
  • oh that's absolutely true. In fact, I think Noel's site is posting these. and he plans to post far more than will be printed. Again, anyone with questions or contributions should write him.
  • As we continue to work on the PBEH project, we are now assigning hymns to be transcribed in various versions of Finale or in Sibelius - the Sibelius ones saved in XML format, as we explore cross platform compatibility for the future of this project. Or other notation programs that export in XML format.

    If you have time to help and want to transcribe hymns, please email noel directly at

    Let him know what program you are using, you will get sample files to transcribe. Finale users will get a template and we are hopeful that someone will work off a Finale XML file and create a corresponding Sibelius file.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Jeffrey - Can you please post a list of the titles that have been selected for the book? That might be of significant interest to all of us.
  • That's still in process and we'll post the list when it is stabilized for comment and criticism etc. for now, you can write jonathan or noel. believe me, they are very very anxious for input and help
  • I would be happy to post the ICEL table of contents but of course it is proprietary.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    The list of titles isn't even stabilized but you're recruiting assistants to do the actual typesetting? That doesn't sound like a project that allows for much positive input from interested CMAAers. "Sure we see your point, but this one is already typeset so we're going with it." Somebody was criticizing the qualifications of NPM judges the other day. Who are the people making the decisions for a publication to go out in the name of the CMAA? Doctors of Liturgical music? Techies with skills on Sibelius? It's beginning to strike me as more of a case of "the usual suspects" than one can put forward for the NPM's competition. It seems that the time for comment and criticism concerning the list of hymns to be included is before rather than after that list is stabilized.
  • here is a link of hymns that are so far being worked on. It is far from final and the typesetters are ready for suggestions. However, it would be good not to become too diverted because there is plenty to do that everyone agrees are essential hymns in the public domain. Mostly, anyone with typesetting talent is needed. workers - not complainers - are what is needed now.

    I suspect that there is something about hymnbooks that makes people crazy. I recall some years ago reviewing a new Catholic hymnal, and I was far more severe on the final result than I should have been. to my shock, every person listed among the editors wrote me to agree and add their own lists of evils of this book. It turned out that the process itself, rather than inspiring Christian brotherhood and love, led to lifelong hatreds and bitterness.

    Wouldn't that be horrible if that happened to this group?

    So please examine your motives consider whether your contribution is:

    a) negative, condemnatory, bitter, unhelpful, suspicious, nasty, bullying, or uninspiring, or
    b) helpful, constructive, filled with solutions, helpful, inspired by good will, and generally polite and collegial.

    If you plan to post or write anything that smacks of the former, I would rather you rethink your approach. If however you can add value to this project and are prepared to compromise and not get your way in every sense, please post or write the typesetters with all thoughts.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    What is the email address of the typesetters?
  • Look up on the thread. I'm not going to post them for the 3rd time.
  • -
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,940
    Not bad! Oh sure, there were a few maudlin hymns listed that I could do without. However, maudlin hymns, especially maudlin Marian hymns, always seem to be very popular with congregations. But the overall collection is far, far better than the GIA hymnal I am currently using.
  • Yes, there will also be a struggle between what we like as individuals and what people like in the pews. We sang Holy God We Praise Thy Name this morning, and a parishioner who loves chant and what we do otherwise said to me: I can't stand that hymn! I was amazed since it seems to be one of the few that is universal in the English speaking world. For that matter, if A Mighty Fortress stays in, I would still never program it for fear that one soul in the pew associates that hymn with rebellion against Rome. The key thing here is to keep the big picture in mind even while thinking about the details.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,185
    A question.

    Should the hymnal contain what is popular now or what is hoped for in the future? There seems to be a tension insofar as what we know now and what we would like our communities to know down the road. I realize its a transition that will be tricky, but it seems now is the time to ask that question.

    Sadly, I do not have the software to help or I would. But I will be among the first to purchase it.
  • It is really difficult to know for sure. In my own parish, I don't want to expend any capital on getting people to know new hymns in English since we see our primary development area as the Ordinary and Latin hymns. Old hymns, then, work as a kind of grounding so we can progress in other ways. I've talked to others who use chant week to week who say the same. On the other hand, it is hard to excuse forgoing excellent work to keep using mediocre work. In the end, it has to be a balance (to use a cliche).

    I should add that the OCP Heritage Missal that we use has about 10-15 hymns that are truly usable. Somehow we get by.
  • Gilbert
    Posts: 106
    "For that matter, if A Mighty Fortress stays in, I would still never program it for fear that one soul in the pew associates that hymn with rebellion against Rome."

    So I guess there is some debate on whether that particular hymn will stay in or not? I, as well as others I know, have very strong emotions against the hymn, because of who wrote it. Whether the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation" carries the same sentiments with other Catholics, I don't know. I guess the reformation is still a touchy subject with a lot of us.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    I am shamed that there are texts and a few tunes i don't know, will remedy the situation!

    A question, is the tune GUTE BÄUME BRINGEN a deon deal for "At the Name..."?

    But perhaps KING'S WESTON is not public domain.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Wow, I looked that over briefly. I love how many tunes I don't know, and want to know just because of the name (St. Bees??)
  • On Noel's working list of hymns, No. 178 is listed as "The Day You Gave Us" sung to St. Clement.

    I would beg, beg you for the original words "The Day Thou Gavest, Lord".
  • The title list is a working list from which we do searches to evaluate hymns. This text is present in a hymnal which lists it as being totally in the public domain. However, the text is listed as xxxxxx xxxx xxxx, alt. The alt is a red flag. There is no notation of what or when this "alt." was done, nor why it was done. So at this point we find the original text, which then restores whatever was altered. So this one, when it is transcribed will, along with others, have a different title and text.

    The alt. may have been done for reasons of theology...

    The ICEL hymnal "All hymns in the Public Domain" section has some with recent harmonizations that are copyrighted. Which means that they are not in the publis domain. Just a word of caution...
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    The Charles Wesley hymn “Wretched, helpless, and distrest” (which I don't expect to find in PBEH) is in the distinctive Wesleyan meter of 76767776 for which the most well known tune is perhaps Amsterdam (which probably won't be in PBEH either, unfortunately) , also the tune for Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above:

    1 WRETCHED, helpless, and distrest,
    Ah! whither shall I fly?
    Ever gasping after rest,
    I cannot find it nigh:
    Naked, sick, and poor, and blind,
    Fast bound in sin and misery,
    Friend of sinners, let me find
    My help, my all, in thee!

    2 I am all unclean, unclean,
    Thy purity I want;
    My whole heart is sick of sin,
    And my whole head is faint;
    Full of putrefying sores,
    Of bruises, and of wounds, my soul
    Looks to Jesus, help implores,
    And gasps to be made whole.

    3 In the wilderness I stray,
    My foolish heart is blind,
    Nothing do I know; the way
    Of peace I cannot find:
    Jesu, Lord, restore my sight,
    And take, O take, the veil away!
    Turn my darkness into light,
    My midnight into day.

    4 Naked of thine image, Lord,
    Forsaken, and alone,
    Unrenewed, and unrestored,
    I have not thee put on;
    Over me thy mantle spread,
    Send down thy likeness from above,
    Let thy goodness be displayed,
    And wrap me in thy love.

    5 Poor, alas! thou know’st I am,
    And would be poorer still,
    See my nakedness and shame,
    And all my vileness feel;
    No good thing in me resides,
    My soul is all an aching void
    Till thy Spirit here abides,
    And I am filled with God.

    6 Jesus, full of truth and grace,
    In thee is all I want;
    Be the wanderer’s resting-place,
    A cordial to the faint;
    Make me rich, for I am poor;
    In thee may I my Eden find;
    To the dying health restore.
    And eye-sight to the blind.

    7 Clothe me with thy holiness,
    Thy meek humility;
    Put on me my glorious dress,
    Endue my soul with thee;
    Let thine image be restored,
    Thy name and nature let me prove,
    With thy fulness fill me, Lord.
    And perfect me in love.
  • Some thoughts on the working list of hymns.

    Many of the hymns seem to work better as devotional hymns rather than as hymns for mass. There is nothing wrong with devotional hymns per se, and many have been used at mass for a very long time. But given that the hymnal is intended primarily as a book for use at mass, parishes would be better served by more hymns relating directly to the liturgical year. In fact, I think it would help if the list were arranged in this way, or at least complemented by a list arranged according to the liturgical year and feasts.

    The issue of "maudlin" hymns - already brought up by other commenters - could be dealt with in the same way as was done by the editors of the 2nd edition of the venerable Westminster Hymnal - by regulating them to an appendix.

    I hope I am not overstating my case. I have not made an exhaustive study of the hymns on the list, but I do notice a number of noteworthy omissions, all very singable, in the public domain (as far as I can tell), and, in my experience at least, widespread and popular: On Jordan's Bank; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Savior of the Nations, Come; Creator of the Stars of Night; Comfort, Comfort, O My People; The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns; numerous Christmas carols; What Star is This; The Glory of These Forty Days; At the Cross Her Station Keeping; Christ the Lord is Risen Today; Be Joyful, Mary; That Easter Day With Joy was Bright; Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain; A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing (Ascension); There's A Wideness in God's Mercy; Sing of Mary Pure and Lowly; All Ye Who Seek a Comfort Sure; Hail, Redeemer, King Divine.

    Sam Schmitt
  • AMSTERDAM is also sung with this text:

    1. Rise, my soul, and stretch thy wings,
    Thy better portion trace;
    Rise from transitory things
    Towards heaven, thy native place.
    Sun and moon and stars decay,
    Time shall soon this earth remove;
    Rise my soul and haste away
    To seats prepared above.

    2. Rivers to the ocean run,
    Nor stay in all their course;
    Fire ascending seeks the sun;
    Both speed them to their source:
    So my soul, derived from God,
    Pants to view His glorious face,
    Forward tends to His abode,
    To rest is His embrace.

    3. Fly me riches, fly me cares,
    Whist I that coast explore;
    Flattering world, with all thy snares,
    Solicit me no more.
    Pilgrims fix not here their home;
    Strangers tarry but a night;
    When the last dear morn is come,
    They'll rise to a joyful light.

    4. Cease, ye pilgrims, cease to mourn,
    Press onward to the prize;
    Soon our Saviour will return
    Triumphant in the skies:
    Yet a season, and you know
    Happy entrance will be given,
    All our sorrows left below,
    And earth exchanged for heaven.
  • Evolution of the project: You may have not noticed, but there has been a shift from just creating a hymnal of 250 hymns to creating a CMAA online-database of Catholic Hymns, using a Finale template (sorry, Sib people).

    If you see a hymn that you feel should be on the list, get Finale Notepad - free for 30 days, $9.95 to buy after that, download the template and enter the music AND text of the hymn.

    This is a collaborative project, setting your hymns greatly increases their chance of being included in the list and considered for the book. So many hymns, so little time. A hymn is an awful thing to waste.
  • ...there has been a shift from just creating a hymnal of 250 hymns to creating a CMAA online-database of Catholic Hymns, using a Finale template (sorry, Sib people).

    Please throw us poor Sibelius users a bone and include XML files in the online database... please?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,688
    Pretty please?
  • Yes, more on this by week's end
  • The book is still in prep but the collaboration is best worked out in this digital arena. the results will be better.
  • "3. English versions of the sequences"

    Yes, the future of Catholic Liturgical Chant for the Mass will be Prosa ad Sequentia (Sequence Chants) adapted into English language to their original melodies. I am working on this myself as we speak.

    Prose is the answer, the repetive, childrens style latin hymns you see in the divine office will not save our liturgy...
    Only the sequence can keep the flock from being stolen as converts by the Eastern Orthodox ! because it is potentially as beautiful as some of their troparia/kontakion/asmatikon presently are.

    One of many for the Mass for the Nativity of Our Lord...

    Natus Ante Secula:

    [la] Born before the beginning of time, the Son of
    God, beyond perception, without limit,
    [Ib] Through whom the workings of heaven and
    earth was made, of the sea, and all things that
    dwell therein,
    [2a] Through whom the days and hours flicker and
    then are rekindled,
    [2b] Whom the angels in the celestial realm continually
    proclaim with harmonious voice,
    [3a] He had taken on a feeble body-without the
    stain of original sin, from the flesh of the Virgin
    Mary-through which the guilt of the first parent
    and the lust of Eve might be wiped clean.
    [3b] Hence the present short day, this day of brilliant
    light, speaks forth, growing in length, because the
    true Sun, the newly begotten Son, by the rays of
    its light, had expelled the long-standing darkness.
    [4a] Neither did the night lack the light of the new
    star, for it struck fear in the knowing eyes of
    the magi.
    [4b] Nor was the light invisible to the shepherds,
    for they were awestruck by the glory of the
    heavenly host.
    [5a] Rejoice, O Mother of God, whom, in place of a
    midwife, angels surround singing "Glory of
    [5b] O Christ, only begotten of the Father, you who
    have taken human form for our sake, restore
    your humble servants;
    [6a] And, O Jesus, you humbled yourself that you
    might share in their suffering; deign to receive
    their prayers,
    [6b] So that you might deign to make them companions
    in your divinity, O only begotten God!

    [la] Natus ante secula dei filius invisibilis interminus
    [lbl Per quem fit machina celi ac terre maris et in
    his degentium
    [2a] Per quem dies et hora labant et se iterum reciprocant
    [2b] Quem angeli in arce poli voce consona semper
    [3a] Hic corpus adsumpserat fragile Sine labe originalis
    criminis de carne marie virigins, quo
    primiparentis culpam eveque lasciviam tergeret
    [3b] Hoc presens dies ista loquitur Prelucida adaucta
    longitudine quo sol verus radio sui luminis
    vetustas mundi depulerat genitus tenebras
    [4a] Nec nox vacat novi sideris luce quod magorum
    oculos terruit scios
    [4b] Nec gregum magistris defuit lumen quos prestrinxit
    claritas militum dei
    [5a] Gaudet dei genitrix quam circumstant obstetricum
    vice concinentes angeli gloriam deo
    [5b] Christe patris unice qui humanam nostri causa
    formam assumpsisti refove supplices tuos
    [6a] Et quorum participem te fore dignatus es hiesu
    dignanter eorum suscipe preces
    [6b] Ut ipsos divinitatis tue participes deus facere
    digneris unice dei

    - Blessed Notker of St Gall

    circa 880 AD (many Irish monks helped him and founded his monastery ;-)
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    I know this thread is old, but does anyone know where to find chant to which the above-referenced Natus ante saecula sequence is set?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,159
    The following link has the melody with text for Natus ante saecula:

    Thanked by 1CCooze