Friday News Roundup #214

Worth Knowing

Worth Reading

In this week’s featured Letter to the Editor, reader JSR reflects on the importance of digital availability of projects:

Everybody in SG needs to get their music on iTunes. If nothing else, the ability to hear short clips is a good way to introduce your music. I don’t think the market for SG will ever go away, but a failure to have the abiliity for people like me (who don’t go to concerts and don’t buy a lot of complete albums) to have easy access to your music will jepordize the viability going forward. There are some SG artists that I’ve never bought any of their music in a store, but I have grabbed a song here and there off iTunes, or similar venue, after hearing it on Pandora or YouTube or on a SG blog. It needs to be that Daniel is soon forced to put a link to iTunes or the Google Play Store or Amazon for a digital download for every CD that hits the market.


Worth Watching

This has made the rounds, but in case you haven’t watched it yet, it’s worth watching: Kim and Connie Hopper missed a flight, so Chris Allman, Doug Anderson, and Tim Lovelace filled in on “What a Lovely Name.”

Worth Discussing

Were there any significant Southern Gospel news stories this week that we haven’t mentioned yet?

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11 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. So I have a question that I’ve been pondering for a couple of days, but decided to wait until today to ask it in this thread.

    Is it common for a hymn to be set to two completely different melodies that are accepted?

    The hymn in question is Redeemed. There are two different melodies I’ve heard on the verses. If you’ve ever heard the Martins’ version of the hymn, they actually combine both melodies into the song. Here it is:

    Are there any other hymns like this which have two accepted melodies? Is the difference based on geography, or maybe something else?

    • It’s rare, but there are probably around a dozen reasonably prominent examples. Two that come to mind are “Away in a Manger” and “O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.”

      • How about another Christmas song, “Angels From The Realms of Glory”? I don’t think differing tunes bother me as much as does songbooks that change words in familiar songs. We use one at our church (Mennonite) that does that quite often. And they like to mess with the notes on certain songs just enough to mess you up. Also they like to put in bass runs & tenor/soprano descants on songs where it doesn’t even really seem to fit. I guess I tend to be a little more traditional in my singing. 🙂

    • In early gospel hymnody (1600-1800s), lyrics and melodies were often times written apart from one another. Sometimes the matching of tune and text occurred later. If you notice in your hymnal, the metric markings at the bottom of the page (i.e. refers to the syllables in each line of the hymn. “Back in the day,” hymn texts were sometimes printed by themselves, without the music. If a congregation was to sing a hymn written in a meter, they could choose from any hymn tune with that same meter to sing it in! It’s only been recently (in the past 100 years?) that we’ve sort of “settled” on just one (or two) tune(s) for one hymn text.

      Indelible Grace, a contemporary group out of Nashville, has made a career out of writing new, contemporary melodies for great old hymn tunes.

      Also as a curious aside on a different subject… I wonder why the Hoppers used the Homecoming track for “What a Lovely Name” instead of the one they recorded on their “Generations” album. They’re both in the same key(s).

      • Indelible Grace takes both old hymn lyrics nobody remembers and writes new melodies, which is commendable. They also take some hymns that are very widely known throughout the church and write new melodies for them. I don’t commend that practice as highly, for two reasons. First, it introduces unnecessary confusion. Second, if a melody is good enough to carry the song through 200 or 300 years of church history, it’s safe to assume that it’s good enough that it’ll be hard to top. I wish they stuck to new melodies for forgotten lyrics.

    • Would “All Hail the Power” fall into that category?

    • From Every Stormy Wind and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross come to mind. I think the latter has at least three accepted tunes, though I can recall only two of them.

  2. Just saw this photo posted by Mark Trammell on Facebook… I thought Mr. Hall had passed away several years ago.

    • I do hear of him performing with groups who come through his area from time to time.

      From the picture, it’s easy to see how he got the nickname “Big John” Hall! And with that stature, it’s no wonder that his vocal cords were long enough to sing bass without vocal fry.

      • Mr. Hall still comes out to concerts in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area. He’s a gentle giant… and he still has a booming voice.