The hymn project...
  • I'd like to suggest that the discussion of hymns that is taking place is 'bad karma-ing' the process.

    We, on our end, need to clearly present the process and note the stages that we are in to you. But you have to take time and read this information and think it through as well.

    This hymnal in its printed form is intended to be the hymn book that can be as good and as useful and as well done as the Parish Book of Chant, if that is possible. CMAA is not going to drop its standards in the production of this book. The other people working on this project are very skilled and make up for my very poor efforts.

    The software industry seems to advertise software, present a mocked up demo, and, if there is enough interest, they begin to actually write the program. "vaporware" is the term for this.

    BETA is when the vaporware actually boots up! And it might even run to some degree. BETA is released so that people can try it and come up with suggestions, encounter bugs and help mold the project into something useful.

    BETA is the time when the creators get emails that say, "Man, this new program of your is worthless trash." and they get to use this information to improve or abandon the project.

    The current pdf files posted on the page for you to download are not complete. Jonathan may well have some up that are, but none...none of mine are.

    This book, in it's current form, is the pencil sketching that eventually turns into Disney's Cinderella.

    While people are arguing over what to keep out, you all may wish to stop and instead start telling us what to put in. That's why the page was posted. The book itself is "vaporhymns" right now!

    I suggest that in the next day or two we post a couple of finished hymns as examples of what the final book will look like to show what information will be presented with each hymn. In some cases, there is nothing available, as early hymnbooks failed to provide anything but the words and music. Every hymn that is posted at this point shows the tune, meter and text author or source that was available from the source of the hymn. Research will be done to fill the voids, and we may call on you to help.

    The hymns are in pre-BETA state, not ready for prime time in any way, but are there to inspire you to join the project by promoting music that you think SHOULD be in there.

    Within the process there has been since the day I first talked with Jeffrey a plan to separate the wheat from the chaff, first thought of to deal with weak protestant hymns but which also well applies to weak catholic hymns.

    Once this stage, the actual harvesting of the hymns is ready to begin, THEN you will have the opportunity to have an impact over what should be IN and what should be OUT.

    If you look at the list and review the postings of members over the past year on the forum you will find that almost every hymn suggested by a forum member in the last year is already in the list. Those who have mentioned their favorite hymns, we really, really want to thank you. Those that are not on the list are not there only because of copyright issues. We have actually taken about 10 of them that were ineligible for posting because of copyright of harmonizations and written new harmonizations because YOU believed they were good hymns.

    If I have missed posting any hymn mentioned in the last year, please let me know.

    Once we reach the point af analyzing the hymns, you WILL have an opportunity to speak. So, rather than rehash this all later on all over again, you may wish to put this entire "this hymn will destroy the hymnal" discussions and instead fight for hymns YOU WANT IN THE BOOK!

    I understand that many are fighting now thinking that today may be the last day to make their point before it goes to press. The date of execution [the book's or mine] has not been set.

    BETA people. BETA.


    PS: Why not wait until it is DONE to post anything? People are already USING them. They are needed even as they are now.
  • I'm certainly using them. Releasing in alpha is just what digital media is all about. Every software developer does this (ok, not microsoft) because it also testing and trial and comment and intensifies the urgency of the dev process. That's what this is all about.

    Noel is right that making positive suggestions for inclusion, rather than going on about what ought to be excluded, is far more productive. In this world, it is so easy to stop progress, so easy to condemn, so easy to attack what is. What is difficult is progressing, doing, advancing, adding, contributing.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    BETA is also the time when the initial conception of the project becomes evident.

    I think that underlying the piece-by-piece analysis of hymns--which is important in its own right--is a discussion of the ideal supplemental hymnal for Catholic parishes.

    --Are we going to repeat the errors of the sentimental hymnals of the past? That is an important question and I do think it needs to be asked now, during development.
    --Are we going to absorb Protestant hymns that have strongly evangelical undertones?
    --Are we going to make a popular hymnal or a hymnal that will help steer the worship life of the Church?
    --Will this hymnal be a bridge to the deep musical tradition of the Church?

    However, I agree that these questions can in most (not all) cases be just as easily discussed through positive recommendations as negative.
  • Your criteria, applied to PBC eliminates:

    Jesu, dulcis memoria [sentimental]
    Agnus Dei [sentimental]
    Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; Amen; Alleluia; Hosanna [from the Hebrew evangelical tradition - repeating words brings people to their feet]


    Every chant that uses Bb. [the deep musical tradition of the Church - pure modes only, please]

    Skinny book, eh?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    That's just the point of discussion, though, isn't it, Noel? We can carefully discern whether something is merely sentimental and customary, or whether it's consonant with the deep tradition.

    No one is attacking you. We're trying to think about hymns.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,188
    Given the track record of American Catholic music these last thirty years, these questions are worthy of bringing forward. While it might be true that the discussion might take a more positive spin, I for one, am glad to see the discussions mounted regarding the inclusion of certain hymns for that matter, any hymn. This group brings a wide array of expertise in all sorts of areas and having sat on some editorial committees, not afraid to ask hard questions or bring difficult points to the table. Given the era of "political correctness" and "commercial appeal", I am hopeful that this book and its contents will represent the strongest connectedness to the Catholic tradition we will have seen in years.

    Lastly, do not forget the relationship between piety and practice. As one goes forward, I would hope that we want to shape both piety and practice. This book has the potential for doing just that. Which makes it a great companion to the PBC.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Hello Kathy,

    Can you define "deep tradition." What would be included, what excluded by that definition, and not just music.

  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    As the Holy Father has repeatedly taught, the Church's universality is not only geographical but historical. We are one with the Christians of past ages.

    Although development is possible and laudable devotions may come and go as needed, still there are touchstones of hymnody that should be universally recognized.

    To find the touchstones of Christian hymn texts, it seems to me that there are four foolproof first steps:

    1) Know the Psalms
    2) Locate the hymns in the Bible, especially the New Testament hymns
    3) Learn the hymns written by Doctors and Fathers of the Church
    4) Learn the other hymns which have been accepted into the liturgy for centuries on end, particularly those which have survived every papal reform

    These are distinguishable steps but they overlap significantly. No great hymn writer in Christian history has strayed far from the Book of Psalms, for example.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    Would it be all right to lean more toward the side of "including" for now, much as "brainstorming" sessions collect all sorts of ideas generated on the fly, to be sifted later?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    I am not quite understanding what the finished project is going to look like. Are we looking at a hardbound hymnal to be put in pews? Or is this something that indididuals are going to compile from the on-lince sources?
  • Hardbound, just like PBC.