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Thread: Hymn book with varied harmony

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    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Hymn book with varied harmony

    Hello to all the organist in the house,please i want to know the hymn book you use in varying the variations of hymn tunes,or do you just play the same tune in all the verses in a hymn.thanks

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Good question and whilst I can't speak from experience I do know the organist at Christ Church St Laurence (Sydney) often improvises the harmony of the last verse of a hymn, not from a book however.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    I do exactly what David mentions above ... I seldom play a hymn as written, unless the choir is doing 4 part harmony on one of the verses. I am always adding embellishments and changing the chords, and adding underlying leading tones to spice the hymns up a bit. I will oft modulate to another key between verses.

    The thing to do is to experiment with this during your practice time ... and then try it out on Sunday morning ... but only get 'crazy' on a well known hymn that everyone knows, or you will lose your congregation.

    There are some published books titled like "free accompaniments to hymns" ... Frederick Swann did one years ago, but there a number of others that might still be available. David N. Johnson did several; one such is Free Hymn Accompaniments published by Augsburg Fortress.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    @Lars - I note, with amusement, that the New English Hymnal (I'm sure you know of this wonderful publication) pointedly reminds organists to pull their heads in and not be too obscure with foreign harmonisations ... makes me laugh. I'll see if I can't grab my copy and give the exact quote.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    I never used a book as such for alternate harmonies. I just improvise... I guess I am lucky as I can improvise an entire service if I needed too. Experiment and I am sure you will find that you can obtain alternates harmonies. I sometimes put the melody in the pedal, harmany on great and use obligato on solo/swell manual makes an interesing sound.. Main thing is have a choir or congregation that can carry the tune while you play....mho
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contratrombone64 View Post
    @Lars - I note, with amusement, that the New English Hymnal (I'm sure you know of this wonderful publication) pointedly reminds organists to pull their heads in and not be too obscure with foreign harmonisations ... makes me laugh. I'll see if I can't grab my copy and give the exact quote.
    ... this reminded me of a situation that happened in a previous church when I did the occasional modulation ... seems the pastor's wife was sitting in the congregation one morning, and as I romped off into a modulation sequence she heard the people behind here say, "Well, there he goes again!"

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    @Lars - yep, I love it when the organist goes off on a tangent. Being a true bass, I sing along with the bass line all the time (my copy of the New English Hyman is the full SATB one). The only time my singing along with the bass line is curtailed is when Peter Jewkes goes off on an harmonic space trip.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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    Captain of Water Music
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    Noel Rawsthorne's '200 Last Verse Harmonisations' is rated by many, as is his '400 L V H'.
    Don't have copies myself, but have heard them used.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Hey there Nikam, nice to see a newbie posting here and welcome. I must assume you're an organist, or at least in the know? Keep posting in and have a look about.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  10. #10
    Captain of Water Music
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    Thanks for the welcome Ctb64! Yes, I do play, but mainly for my own pleasure.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    @Nikam - I'm an organist too, though my abilities are quite limited. I play simple pieces and I enjoy my level of expertise. I certainly don't play for church services, though I could probably manage the hymns without a problem I suffer greatly from the jitters. I'm in Sydney, and as you'll see by my avatar, my local large organ is a monster.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  12. #12
    Captain of Water Music
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    So a forum meet-up in Sydney might be a good idea!!

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I'd be the only one in attendance! But yes, a grand idea.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  14. #14
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat as Lars and bill - whatever happens when the hands hit the keys. I was once asked at a church many long years ago if I could restrain some of my last verse harmonies as they sounded a bit too "modern". I responded with something along the lines of "Well, a very similar criticism was apparently once levelled at a certain J. S. Bach, so if you don't mind, I'd like to keep something to which to aspire!"

    Ridiculous thing was, back then I didn't do anything all that "out there" and this was long before I discovered the joy of the diminished 6th chord. What, I ask, is wrong the occasional flattened 7th? (... well, I guess that depends on where you put it ... )
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

  15. #15
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I much prefer my sixths German or French, LOL.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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