I have had the pleasure of visiting a few churches over the last few weeks and I discovered a method of hymn playing I want to share.
The last note of the given hymn (organ, piano and band all playing along) is held for almost the full value, with a half beat lift and the accompaniment begins for the next verse immediately and precisely. For example with the hymn tune NICAEA (Holy, Holy , Holy) the organ/band hold the final chord for 3 beats, breathe on 4 and come in precisely on beat 1 to start the next verse. Ok… now consider…. EASTER HYMN (Jesus Christ is Risen Today)….hold the last chord 1 ˝ beats, lift for ˝ a beat and come in precisely on beat 1 for the next verse. Consider your favourite hymn. Would it work?
Now, I maybe old fashioned, but up until now I have held the last note of hymns to my own taste – always the same for a given hymn – but a definite pause between verses. For example.…EASTER HYMN (Jesus Christ is Risen Today)….I would hold the last chord 2 beats, lift for 2 beats and then start the next verse (all in time, no ral.).
(please let me know if my description isn’t clear enough – it can be a challenge to put these concepts into words)
How do you play hymns? Are both methods used? Is one more musical? Is one more poetic? Please share your thoughts.