Tunes congregations always get wrong

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Hare
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Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Hare »

I was minded of this at this morning's mass for Peter & Paul - no choir, just organ. Belmont Mass plus hymns - one of which was "O thou who at thy Eucharist didst pray" to Orlando Gibbons' "Song 1". This is in F, but begins on C, rising to the tonic. The congregation mainly started on the tonic! Does this show a subconcious mistaken musicality, in wanting to start a tune on the tonic - even if they don't know their tonic from their ginger ale?

Other examples:

Ending "In bread we bring you, Lord" on the tonic F instead of middle C

Starting singing "Woodlands" on the introductory bass A

Ignoring dotted crotchets/quavers in "Repton"

The famous last phrase of "Abbots Leigh"

Ignoring syncopation in "Shine, Jesus, shine"

Changing rhythm in "Here I am Lord" at "I have heard you...." from 2 minims to a dotted minim and a crotchet
etc....etc :evil:

JW
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by JW »

This will always be an issue and congregations can only sing tunes properly if they have learnt them properly AND remember them properly. Congregations don't have the music in front of them to refer to, so they will tend to sing hymns as they remember them. If the organist can't syncopate 'Shine Jesus Shine' properly (would never happen in Tenterden or Rainham!), how does the congregation know it's supposed to be syncopated? Hymnbooks will eventually tend to print what congregations sing (e.g. HON contains a pause over the 2nd note of the 4th bar before the end of 'Hail Queen of Heaven' - I am open to correction but I don't think you will find such a pause in the Westminster Hymnal.)

Good leadership from cantors, choirs and musicians can alleviate, but not solve the problem entirely. I was rehearsing 'Lay your hands gently upon us' with our musicians the other day and discovered a couple of places where what we sung did not correspond to the printed music - in fact the last note of the 1st line of the verse is an F in the melody edition but an A in the full music edition. We plumped for the F to add musical interest, aware that the congregation and choir members who missed the practice will harmonise - one way to get harmony going in the Catholic Church congregation - perhaps we should do the same with the last note of 'In bread we bring you, Lord'!

Don't blame the congregation - they don't have our expertise in these matters!
JW

Hare
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Hare »

I try to play everything properly - although i have to go with the flow in "Go tell everyone" !

My point is that it is interesting how "untrained" congregations sing what they THINK should be happening (eg ending "In bread" on the tonic) thus displaying a measure of instinctive musicality (even if misplaced!)

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Nick Baty
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Nick Baty »

Perhaps composers should spend more time listening to congregations!!

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Gwyn
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Gwyn »

Hmm, our lot never get the tunes for 'Shine, Jesus, shine', or 'Go, tell everyone', wrong. We found a cure many years ago and it's never let us down. :wink:

alan29
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by alan29 »

Agreeing with Nick - sometimes congregations find a more musical route through a tune.

Hare
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Hare »

Gwyn wrote:Hmm, our lot never get the tunes for 'Shine, Jesus, shine', or 'Go, tell everyone', wrong. We found a cure many years ago and it's never let us down. :wink:


I think I would be pilloried if I adopted that method, certainly for those two! :P

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VML
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by VML »

It's all part of the folk process. :D
Celtic Alleluia is something else that gets all smoothed out by our and other congregations.

nazard
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by nazard »

A few weeks back I heard the organist of Zagreb cathedral solve that one. He played the Celtic Alleluia in organo plano far slower than I have ever heard it before on their gert big Walcker. If anyone got it wrong, I for one, did not hear them. The effect was not musical, but it did get onto the Richter scale.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Southern Comfort »

Hare wrote:Ending "In bread we bring you, Lord" on the tonic F instead of middle C


It's supposed to end on an F. Kevin Nicholls wrote two final notes: a C for verse 1, and an F for the final ending (to go with the word "redeem"). Some scores print that, which people find confusing because publishers don't always indicate what the two notes are for. Most congregations ignore the music and end on a C anyway.

Hare wrote:Changing rhythm in "Here I am Lord" at "I have heard you...." from 2 minims to a dotted minim and a crotchet
etc....etc :evil:


It's badly written with two minims, especially at the slow speed many people take it at, which produces a saggy effect. Lots of folk (including me) deliberately change it to dotted minim + crotchet, which gives a better sense of onward progression. Make a light crescendo on the dotted minim, please, aiming for the word "call" [ing].

NorthernTenor
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by NorthernTenor »

On reading this thread, I'm sorry to say I'm reminded of the sheer futility of polishing a substance whose colloquial name aptly describes many of the words and settings produced and commended by members and friends of this august society.
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musicus
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by musicus »

Oh, we don't have a monopoly on producing and commending them, NT. :lol: I suspect that the blame for the majority of the pieces mentioned here to which you refer can be placed elsewhere. (Sorry for the Yoda-speak in that last sentence; it's late.) Seriously though, I have generally found that SSG-led parish music is much more catholic, both in spirit and range, than that in most other parishes. We also know and accept, for example, that folk music will change for the reasons discussed above, but that, on the other hand, with the chant there is not to be any monkeying about.

However, on that last point, I learned most of my chant from the 1933 edition of the English Hymnal; i.e. in the Sarum versions. To be honest, I prefer them. Even now, nearly 50 years on, I still get them 'wrong' from time to time. Presumably the Sarum and the Roman versions represent just two different codifications, at different times and in different places, of the same chant melodies which had developed differently?

Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if many members of the Ordinariate, originating, like me, from the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Anglican Communion (where the English Hymnal still holds sway - albeit in a new and, IMHO, greatly inferior edition), continue to confuse Salisbury and Rome.
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Hare
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Hare »

Southern Comfort wrote:
Hare wrote:Ending "In bread we bring you, Lord" on the tonic F instead of middle C


It's supposed to end on an F. Kevin Nicholls wrote two final notes: a C for verse 1, and an F for the final ending (to go with the word "redeem"). Some scores print that, which people find confusing because publishers don't always indicate what the two notes are for. Most congregations ignore the music and end on a C anyway.



Ending on F in verse 2 is not indicated in CFE, nor, I think HON. In my experience congregations naturally end on F, despite me clearly "soloing" the end of the tune as a playover.

Another "grr" - inducer is the end of the chorus of "O the word of my Lord", where Damian Lundy indicated that the choruses end on F# except the final one which ends on D. This makes musical sense, as to end on two D's then start the verse on a D sounds naff, but that is what congregations seem to do, despite the accompanist and choir's best efforts!

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Nick Baty
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by Nick Baty »

The topic is "Tunes congregations always get wrong" but, in a couple of these examples, mightn't it be "Tunes composers always get wrong"? It really does seem a tad mad to ask the assembly to change one note at the end of something.

alan29
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Re: Tunes congregations always get wrong

Post by alan29 »

We get both notes at the end of "In bread we bring." Quite a nice effect.
It goes well to a gentle country and western accompaniment - but I expect I shouldn't have admitted that. Better not mention the tremolo RH chords on the 7ths either.

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