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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 07-24-2020, 01:31 PM   #1
pancelticpiper
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Default A Hymn a day

Due to not having all that much to do during the lockdown, I thought I would get off the ground something I've been working on in fits and starts for years.

I'm calling it Bagpipe Hymn A Day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx4D5KlCQEM&t=54s

It's a misnomer of course! It's really a bagpipe Hymn tune a day.

For example day one is HYFRYDOL for which tune I've found 13 different Hymns scattered across 20 or so Hymnals. One tune, 13 Hymns, the first day.

Some features of my little project:

1) All of these tunes fit on the ordinary 9 notes of the Highland pipe chanter. No "false" fingerings, no octaves substitutions, no note substitutions. These tunes all fit perfectly as they stand.

2) The melodies are the standard old melodies as found in Hymnals. My arranging consists of setting them in the key that fits the Highland chanter, and adding minimal ornamentation.

3) These arrangements are my own. I did not look at any bagpipe books or sites, but worked directly from the old traditional melodies.

4) The tunes are all Public Domain.

5) The order the tunes are presented in is not random, but based on the widespreadedness of each tune.

I gathered every Hymnal I could, from as many denominations as I could. In all, the Hymnals I gathered cover around 90% of US Christians.

I tallied all the tunes in the tune indexes (traditional Hymnals have those). My Day One tune, HYFRYDOL, appears as I recall in every Hymnal I've gathered, being the most widespread Hymn tune.

Then I work downward from there, next the tunes that appear in, say, six different Hymnals, then five, and so forth.

The idea is to make the collection as interdenominational as possible.

When I started comparing the tunes contained in different Hymnals I discovered something that surprised me.

I could compare two Hymnals and find they had a hundred or so tunes in common. Then I could compare one of those Hymnals to a third Hymnal and find that those two also had a hundred or more tunes in common.

But when I did a three-way comparison to see which tunes all three Hymnals had in common I was surprised to find out how few there were.

It of course diminishes even more when you start doing four-Hymnal comparisons, and finally are comparing the tunes of 20 or so different Hymnals. It made me realise how vast the corpus of Hymnody is, and how few tunes would be familiar to the majority of church-goers.

Anyhow it will be fun trying to keep up the pace. I should have enough tunes to get to the end of the year, at least. Maybe when Christmas approaches I'll switch to doing Carols for a bit.
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:42 PM   #2
Tucker Fleming
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Default Re: a Hymn a day

Honorable project Richard, I love it!
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Old 07-24-2020, 04:30 PM   #3
CalumII
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Default Re: a Hymn a day

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
It made me realise how vast the corpus of Hymnody is, and how few tunes would be familiar to the majority of church-goers.

Yes, I recently started working on playing 4-parted hymn tunes on the piano to practice my sightreading and I thought I was fairly literate in church music - sixty pages in I haven't yet encountered one I recognise. That said, I'm not yet into Common Metre yet!
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:36 PM   #4
Pip01
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Default Re: A Hymn a day





Greetings to All,

If... if... I may... there is always that terribly old... chant
(at least that is the major manner in which I learned it...
long ago) of "The Balladof Dives & Lazarus"... that is
also found in the Child Ballads, # 56... and in the Roman
Hymnal as... "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"... and in
others as... "Kingsfold."

And in that Long Ago... I was given to understand...
and by a well-founded academic... that both the
lyrics... and the tune... were much older than the
16th Century... from which they were cited to come.

Times since... I have also been given to understand
that there is at least one other (reasonably well-known)
hymn to the same tune. (Haven't the foggiest as to that
title.) (And that doesn't count... "The Star of the County
Down.)

Ah... such a grand and lovely pot of multifaceted musical
soup... in which we paddle about... ain't it? Ain't it just!! :)

Regards to All,

Pip01




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Old 07-27-2020, 12:00 PM   #5
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: A Hymn a day

One other thing! I'm not monetizing my Bagpipe Hymn A Day videos. I hate those YouTube commercials.

Interesting that you should mention KINGSFOLD, it's a great tune.

It will be Day 13 for my Hymn A Day.

I've come across, in my collection of Hymnals from every denomination I could beg, borrow, or buy 9 different Hymns sung to that tune.

Then as you say there are folk songs, and at least one Christmas Carol.

This is interesting, which Hymn they chose to sing to KINGSFOLD here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCBrdCK7u9c

Here are the 9 Hymns my Hymnals have using that tune

O Sing A Song Of Bethlehem

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

Come Let Us Use The Grace Divine

O Jesus Crowned With All Renown

When Jesus Left His Father's Throne

If You Could Hie To Kolob


To Mock Your Reign O Dearest Lord

My Heart Sings Out With Joyful Praise

Moved By The Gospel Let Us Move


That's the thing, the reason why we pipers have to think of the tunes rather than the words.

You could play KINGSFOLD on the pipes at nine different churches and the people will hear you play nine different Hymns- because you have!

(By the way it's traditional to spell Hymn tune names in all capital letters, I don't know why, perhaps it's so people won't confuse the tune names with the Hymn names.)
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:44 PM   #6
Pip01
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Default Re: A Hymn a day



Richard!!, As Always... Many Thanks!!

You have jogged my memory... and the one I
noted above as... "Haven't the foggiest..." is
actually... "O Jesus Crowned With All Renown."

And Thank You, again, for all of your good work!!

Regards,

Pip



And Now, Not So Much a PS... as a Clarifying Addendum:

First:
I have always loved playing "Kingsfold"... and I learned that
tune/music... as the setting for "The Ballad of Dives & Lazarus"
from that Old University Professor from The Granite State... and
as a liturgical chant... And, he gave me to understand that from
the best of his research... the music... and the antecedents of
the lyrics... stemmed from... somewhere around the 8th or the
9th Century. (As a chant is the usual manner of my playing it.)

Second:
A wonderful YouTube link to the young people's singing of it!! :)

A joy to hear!! :)

They again reminded me of that striking observation from the
writings of the Old Greeks:

"The Gods respect us when we work...
but they love us... when we sing!"

Again, many thanks, and regards,

Pip








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Old 07-27-2020, 07:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: A Hymn a day

What a delightful project!! My husband can't say how many times during church I have nudged him during a hymn and whispered "That would set well on the pipes!!" I will have fun going through our hymnals with greater intent, seeing if I can find the ones you list plus any others. Blessings to you!!
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:20 PM   #8
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: A Hymn a day

Thanks!!

It's fun, doing this thing.

Too bad that there are so many Hymn tunes that almost fit on the pipes!

So close, but no cigar.

I'll start doing those when I run out of the ones that do fit perfectly on "the nine notes".

Coming up soon is NETTLETON (my Day 10 tune) which fits perfectly in the key of G, but in the key of A has those awful High G naturals.

Happily there's a High G sharp fingering that works great x oxx xoox which opens up a zillion Hymns for pipers. But as I said that will come after I do all the tunes that fit without such trickery.

The thing the Church Piper's pipes really need is a High B key! There are so many Hymns that would open up!
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: A Hymn a day

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Thanks!!

SNIP

Coming up soon is NETTLETON (my Day 10 tune) which fits perfectly in the key of G, but in the key of A has those awful High G naturals.
Hymns that would open up!
Why not play the G#?
Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Happily there's a High G sharp fingering that works great x oxx xoox which opens up a zillion Hymns for pipers. But as I said that will come after I do all the tunes that fit without such trickery.

The thing the Church Piper's pipes really need is a High B key! There are so many Hymns that would open up!
Oddly enough, I play a lot of hymns (and other tunes) with High B and high G#, though the fingering that works for High G# on my chanters is slightly different:
0/xx0/ xxx0.
here's my current hymn list:Amazing Grace (NEW BRITAIN)

The King of Love My Sheperd Is ; O Breathe on ME, O Breath OF God (ST. COLUMBA);
Alleluia, Sing To Jesus , Hear Us Now, Our God And Father (HYFRYDOL);
Faith Of Our Fathers (ST. CATHERINE), With Praise And Thanksgiving (ASH GROVE)
Joyful, Joyful, We AdoreThee; God, All Nature Sings Thy Glory, Come, O Holy Spirit Come; Praise The Lord Ye Heavens (ODE TO JOY )
All Praise And Glad Thanksgiving (GOTT VATER SEI GEPRIESEN)
Lord Of The Dance;Simple Gifts (SHAKER SONG)
All Hail, Adored Trinity; All Creatures That On Earth Do Dwell; Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow; Doxology ; Song Of Farewell ( OLD HUNDREDTH)
As The Deer Longs ( Psalm42,) ; When love Is Found (WALY WALY)
How Can I Keep From Singing (ENDLESS SONG)
The Summons ( Kelvin Grove , uses a high B)
Going Home (Dvorák) (uses High G#)
Abide With Me;
Faith Of Our Fathers;
Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling;
Nearer, My God, To Thee;
For The Beauty Of The Earth; (DIX)
various Hymns: (FOREST GREEN);
Sing A New Song (Dan Shutte);
Hear I am, Lord (Dan Shutte).

There's also a list of Christmas carols and a few Marian Hymns.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:28 PM   #10
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: A Hymn a day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
Why not play the G#?
Because the stated purpose of this series is to only present hymn-tunes that, as they stand, perfectly fit on the ordinary 9 notes.

It's one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, that Steward Fairbairn was attracted to Amazing Grace/NEW BRITAIN, and why it's become such a bagpipe hit.

Thing is, I can play high G# and you can play high G# but 99% of the pipers out there won't know how to, and if they're given the sheet music to NETTLETON in A they'll ignore the G# and play their normal high G naturals. I've heard dozens of pipers massacre NETTLETON that way.

So I wrote NETTLETON out in G, where every note of the real tune comes out exactly right and requiring no special fingerings. Happily that tune has no 4th. BUNESSAN is like that too: you can massacre the tune in A (which 99.99% of pipers do) or you can play it perfectly in G using "the 9 notes".

So I will stay on song and stick with hymn-tunes that come out perfectly using "the 9".

Once I've used up my store of those it will be time to start presenting hymn-tunes that almost fit, that only require slight note substitutions, perhaps a single high G# passing tone, perhaps a brief low G#.

Then there are hymn-tunes where the first and second strains fit "the 9" but in two different keys. Those can sound well enough when playing solo but obviously won't do for performing along with choir and organ.

The last category to present are the ones that really do require alternate fingerings to play. There's loads of those! But they will be forever inaccessible to all but a tiny percent of pipers.

Several years ago for a Hollywood film score they wanted a group of Highland pipers to play a few pieces the composer wrote. They were chromatic. Do you know how hard it is to round up a bunch of Highland pipers who

1) can sightread, that is, play at full speed tunes they've never seen before

2) can play chromatically on the Highland pipes

3) can play in tune in concert pitch?

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