« PreviousContinue »
It is evident that there have been for several years two diverging drifts of sentiment in reference to the service of song in public worship: on the one hand, a preference for music of decided melody and hymns accompanied by a refrain; on the other, a taste for tunes constructed on the model of the English and German chorals, and hymns of a more stately character and varied rhythm. To meet the popular need of the present day a manual must include much that is new, while retaining whatever is standard and well beloved.
The plan of this book, by which some hymns (about one-fifth of the entire number) are printed without music, was that employed in "Songs for the Sanctuary," and in both collections it has received the approval of thousands of churches. It is thought to be, on the whole, the best for the largest number of congregations. The unset hymns are intended more especially for the use of choirs, who may adapt them to tunes of their own choice from this book or others; the remaining hymns may be sung by choir and congregation together to the music furnished, of which a wide choice is afforded here. A hymn need not be considered as fixed to the music under which it stands, for oftentimes mechanical reasons have constrained its position, and more appropriate music may be found upon the opposite page. It so happens that the unusual meters and the strange structures of some modern hymns are precisely what most artistic leaders of trained choirs love to find; and, with proper notice, such hymns can be made most profitably to take the places of anthems and set pieces in the services.
When the minister wishes to use an unset hymn, he should confer with the leader before giving it out, that a tune may be selected, and this, as well as the hymn, should be announced to the congregation.
In the present volume, while ample provision has thus been made for strictly congregational singing, yet, as its title suggests, SPIRITUAL SONGS FOR CHURCH AND CHOIR may be used to an equal advantage when a trained choir conducts the service of praise.
CHARLES S. ROBINSON.