Hymn writing competition
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,553
    http://www.togetherinsong.org

    Catholics would do well to also have competitions.
    Thanked by 1ZacPB189
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    With the criteria they have stated, I will not be entering.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    With the criteria they have stated, I will not be entering.


    Is this your objection?
    5. Contemporary Application
    Entries are to avoid archaic language, such as "Which wert, and art, and evermore shall be", and non-inclusive language, such as "O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother".


    I find the following to be way more disturbing, and the reason I don't enter hymn writing contests:

    4. New Work
    Hymns previously published or currently entered in other contests should not be submitted.
    6. Copyright
    Copyright of the winning hymn text/s and music will become the property of The Australian Hymn Book Pty Ltd.


    Set aside the copyright issue for a moment, which is a matter of personal philosophy.
    What exactly does (4) mean? It's 2013, for goodness sakes. Is something I posted here considered "published"? What about if I put it on my site? Offer it for Print-on-Demand sale? (If P.O.D., is it only published once someone buys it and it is printed the first time?)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    Adam, this is one of those cases when you give up your right to the text. It now belongs to someone else.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • I agree that hymn-writing competitions could produce good fruit.

    I also agree that some of the rules stifle the growth of such fruit.

    How long, O Lord, will we choose to sweat under the dominion of publishers??
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    Adam, this is one of those cases when you give up your right to the text. It now belongs to someone else.


    Yes, I know. And that's clearly a "rhetorical you," since I would never do such a thing.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    Why not? You can always write more.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    Why not? You can always write more.


    But never could I write that text again.

    If it was good enough to win a competition, I would want everyone to have access to it.
    If it wasn't good enough, then I wouldn't want to submit it.

    If it was terrible, but good enough to win, for the sole reason that hymn competition judges seem to like total ca-ca, well then... maybe I could use a pseudonym or something.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,553
    Hymn Society of US does the same thing.

    Problem really is not the publishers....it's the people who buy from them.

    Winning a competition like that merely establishes your name to some degree without having to wait for a new hymnal to come along that needs hymns.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    ...hymn competition judges seem to like total ca-ca,

    This is my #2 problem (#1 being a total missed opportunity for evangelization.) It's not that hymn competition judges and hymnal editors have too little to work with. It's that they apparently prefer the trite, the bad, the lame.

    "Avoid artistic merit at all costs!" Is this the motto?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    hymn competition judges seem to like total ca-ca, well then... maybe I could use a pseudonym or something.


    Giving my penchant (and, possibly, talent) for humorous verse, I have often thought about trying to enter these competitions (and some of the more ridiculously conceived ones) with over-the-top stupid entries.

    I have not done so, because I really couldn't live with myself if I won.
  • Adam, Kathy...
    You guys are cracking me up big time.

    Problem really is not the publishers....it's the people who buy from them.
    Noel- I concede your point, well mostly. When certain publishers give the impression that the parish is almost guaranteed easy, one-step vibrant liturgy through use of their materials, they are part of the problem for being misleading.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    When certain publishers give the impression that the parish is almost guaranteed easy, one-step vibrant liturgy through use of their materials, they are part of the problem for being misleading.


    Hence Kathy's frequent injunction that some of us more serious-minded folks create such a resource. (Which, BTW, Vatican II Hymnal does a good job of appearing to be).

    (And also note- Kathy's suggestion, which I completely agree with, is often couched within her criticism of my copyright philosophy. Let it be known, if it wasn't already, that anything I have produced may be used in such a commercial endeavor.)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    As an aside, I'd easily wager a goblet of Opus One that more parishes sang Adam's "Ascension Hymn" than that thing that was supposed to vocally/aurally inaugurate and inspire the Year of Evangelization. I'll have the 1999, please.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I know of four, including one Episcopalian parish here close to my house.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Five now, bud. But my gentleman's intuition hollars that it spread like hoarfrost and dewfall via MSF once you posted it. Who knows what good sense lies in hearts of....persons, male and female, uh, persuasion, guys and dolls, men and womyn, people.....people who need people......are the (slap from Kathy!) Yeesh, that was hard.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    I get the impression that some of you who contribute to these kinds of discussions have been burnt by rejection letters from publishers in the past.

    Don't dismiss (all) publishers so easily. If a publishing company does its job, its part of the contract giving it exclusive control over your intellectual property is to promote it.

    Publishers are not the bad guys in the room. Perhaps what you have written does not conform to the types of music a specific publisher handles. If so, try another.

    If what you have written has real quality, someone will recognize.

    Be careful about posting your work on the internet and telling everyone they may use it. You may be placing your work in the public domain. If it turns out to be a masterpiece, you can be sure more than one publisher will publish it and not have to pay you one cent in royalties.

    As to the Australian publisher running this competition, the stated "rules" make me leery. The rules should state that, in addition to the prize money, industry standard royalties will also be paid. That IS the industry standard.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I get the impression that some of you who contribute to these kinds of discussions have been burnt by rejection letters from publishers in the past.

    I have only received one or two publisher rejection letters in my life, back in high school when I thought that getting picked was important. I have since chosen to pick myself.

    I wouldn't call it being burnt, but my comments are informed by:
    -what I see getting published
    -what I read in hymn competition guidelines ("Saint whosiwhatsit is looking for a new text that will challenge faithful Christians to live out the Gospel call to protest on behalf of non-genetically modified food....")
    -my philosophy regarding intellectual property

    its part of the contract giving it exclusive control over your intellectual property is to promote it.


    So you can't promote something unless you own and control it? That's weird. My company recently paid a ton of money so that we could have two consultants come and tell us whether or not a particular Open Source piece of software is worth using or not.

    If what you have written has real quality, someone will recognize.

    Which is why I don't need a publisher to pick me.

    Be careful about posting your work on the internet and telling everyone they may use it. You may be placing your work in the public domain. If it turns out to be a masterpiece, you can be sure more than one publisher will publish it and not have to pay you one cent in royalties.


    ...maybe you haven't been listening....
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    We post our work on the internet, but EACH OF US OWNS IT. We copyright it ourselves, as we too are publishers. Serious composers and hymn writers who aren't chasing a passing fad don't bother with the publishers of the day. I was told (years ago in my rejection letter from WLP) that my content was too ... CATHOLIC! I am laughing all the way to the music of historical applause.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood Earl_Grey
  • For the record, I'm not enough of a word-smith to compose texts for hymns. I've never submitted anything.

    I'm a crusading singer and vocal pedagogue, attempting to teach everyone I possibly can sacred music- Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. In four and a half years at a parish with 300 families, I've managed to recruit 61 singers to three choirs (not including ones who moved away or are on a hiatus), teach yearly classes, and direct yearly chant camps of 65+ young people. This is my part-time job and passion. My full-time job and vocation is to be a wife, and mother/ teacher to four young sons. :)

    I don't have time or expertise to give to hymns. I leave that to Kathy, Adam, Francis, etc. And I applaud their efforts.
    Thanked by 1Earl_Grey
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I get the impression that some of you who contribute to these kinds of discussions have been burnt by rejection letters from publishers in the past.

    What an odd aspect to mention, Fr. Ron, and sort of a left-handed compliment to then conclude, well you might have a masterpiece out there and you'll have missed out on the big bucks. Take a number and spin the wheel....
    First of all, may I remind you of the heavily evidenced difficult tenures of one J.S. Bach. I think there's more resemblence to that model of careerism among us here, than of those of the publishers' stable of stars who, once endowed that status, must keep a calendar of appearances far and wide to help push new product, not only at big conventions but at regional and parish commissioned events. That life is not for everybody, thanks.
    Secondly, as one composer/arranger who accepted the arranging responsibilities in toto so as to uplift the quality of one publisher's artistic output (singer-songwriter tending toward the banal) and who did have those arrangements accepted and published, no one at said publisher gave a rat's patootie that without those efforts, the "songs" wouldn't have made it through the front door.
    Nothing's new under the sun (which doth shine on the hindquarters of good and bad doggies) about this issue of public domain/copyright/commons. Most of us do what we do because we are gifted to repay the Lord for his graces. Mendelssohn did Bach a favor for which we're all grateful. But besides the corpus of music, we have his example of "soli Deo gloria."
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I'm not 100% what was just said, but I think I agree with it.
    Thanked by 2francis Earl_Grey
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I live to confound you and everyone else, Adam.;-)
    My last paragraph basically said "I was someone's 'Quincy Jones'" for a major publisher's production of one of their name "artists." What I brought to the equation was huge. Did any of that change the course of my career. Nope. Didn't think it would. The fondest moments in our little cyber world are when I can scream "Heath Morber" to the mountaintops, or I can drop a wedding psalm to a seasoned pro like Jonathan Eason in a heartbeat and have JDE say: "That was really good, Charles."
    Also, where's Jeffrey Quick in all these discussions?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    One of my favorite stories is about how Gerard Manley Hopkins' masterful poem Wreck of the Deutschland was rejected--by the Jesuit provincial newsletter he sent it to.

  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    To all who commented since 2:15 PM, I certainly meant no offense in that earlier comment of mine. As Roseanna Roseannadanna would... Sorry, lost my train of thought.

    But, Charles, I was not confounded by either of your comments. Does that mean we're beginning to bond?
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I wasn't offended, but my assumption was that you are mistaken about my motivations/philosophy. Which I was happy to correct, as it involves talking about myself, one of my favorite subjects.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    I know of four, including one Episcopalian parish here close to my house.

    Five now, bud.


    At the risk of giving Adam more material, make that six.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I think melo's was in my original count of four.
    So, five - maybe?

    But who's counting, amirite?

    Since you didn't have to pay for it, do me a favor and make nine copies of it every day for the next nine days, leaving the nine copies in the narthex of a different local church each night. On the tenth day, you will receive many rewards and material blessing from our lady.
    Thanked by 1veromary
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    (Fr.) Ron, we're already bonded.Fresno shot-callers (of whom I am not among their number) have designated your bilingual Misa the official setting for diocesan Masses. So, I'm happy to tell you that I did my best Pepe Romero on my classical guitar for our "new" Bp. Ochoa's installation. Gotta admit I threw in some Clapton now and then.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    What a friend I have in Fresno,
    Just don't know who could it be...
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    To be faire his home's Visalia
    Distance needed from the See.
    Easily he doth transition
    Duplets couched in time of three.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Point 6 on copyright is my main objection. Point 4 on archaic language certainly, but the requirement that it somehow narrate part of the pauline epistles is also a major problem for me.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    In any case, I've always written hymns to be sung to familiar tunes for specific occasions. Typically as additional verses for existing hymns such as By All Your Saints Still Striving. I also wrote an additional verse for O God Beyond All Praising for use as a recessional with a doxology.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    but the requirement that it somehow narrate part of the pauline epistles is also a major problem for me.


    Why is that? I think hymn competitions always have some kind of requirement of what they are seeking, for instance, "we are seeking an original text intended for the dedication of a new church during the Easter season." In light of that, having a competition for a text based upon a Pauline pericope should not be seen as surprising.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I'm with Fr. K on that- of all the things that seem weird, the fact that they are asking for a hymn based on a passage of scripture seems totally normal, and hallf the point of having such a competition.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    Isn't it a truism that limitations are what make art possible?
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,553
    People want to give money to have a hymn written the way they want it written.

    People don't want to write the hymn the way they want it written.

    What's all the fuss about?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    FNJ, been there, done that, got the T shirt, literally. That's about it, fo' sho'.
  • Surely using Pauline epistles and avoiding archaic language are mutually exclusive goals?

    Remember: in Minneapolis, modern scholarship gave them the right not to do anything from St. Paul.

    I won't be applying. What I call beautiful, the committee call archaic, I'm sure.

    Would "Oh brother, where art thou?" be archaic, since it uses "brother"? On the other hand, can I start a hymn with

    "Oh, God, this helpless aging cast
    can't torment me for long;
    behold, their time is almost past
    and so: BREAK INTO SONG"


  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I really feel that your use of "and" in the last line is just meaningless filler....
  • Adam,

    I tried something else, but the censors wouldn't accept it.

    Maybe "Heigh, Ho: Break into song" works better?

  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    Better. But, you know- there's just too many songs about singing already.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    But, you know- there's just too many songs about singing already.

    Correct. We need to remove about half the psalms from the psalter because they refer to singing.

    I never have bought into that position, and I never will.
  • "Oh, God, this helpless aging cast
    must torment me in song
    I hope their time is almost past
    but Lord, Oh Lord, how long?"
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    Tune: GILLIGAN'S ISLE
  • ^^ give that man a scholarship!
    (And I'm not just saying that because my name makes an appearance in the tune.)
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    I was thinking more St Anne for those hymn words.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,596
    I was thinking more St Anne for those hymn words.


    In 12/8 time, dotted-quarter = 42 bpm, with stummy gee-tarrrrrrzz and tambourine.