About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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The representative Protestant collection, entitled “Hymns, Ancient and Modern”—in substance a compromise between the various sections of conflicting religious thought in the Establishment—is a typical instance. That collection is indebted to Catholic writers for a large fractional part of its contents. If the hymns be estimated which are taken from Catholic sources, directly or imitatively, the greater and more valuable part of its contents owes its origin to the Church.
— Orby Shipley (1884)

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Do You Recognize This Hymn Tune?
published 8 November 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

CURRENTLY SERVE on a committee established by the JP2 institute to produce a new Catholic hymnal named after St. Jean de Brébeuf, perhaps the greatest missionary of North America. Obviously, this book will include the “old standard” hymns, and plenty of them. (More on that later.) However, the book also includes contemprary hymn melodies—similar to how the CAMPION HYMNAL contained tunes by Kevin Allen—and also contemporary hymn texts. The following is an excerpt from one such text. By the way, none of the texts are written by me. Whatever talents I may possess, literary prowess is not among them.

The tune we’re considering was composed by Sir Richard R. Terry, editor of the Old Westminster Hymnal. I thought it would be fun to not reveal the tune name, because I want to see how many people recognize it. 1

I decided to record a couple verses. The women lines sung by me came out…interesting—but I did okay on Bass and Tenor. The SATB harmony starts at the 0:44 marker:


Those interested in submitting their own hymn texts should follow the instructions toward the bottom of this page. My work mainly involves musical stuff, and I’m glad to avoid some of the nitpicking and fighting that ensues when the committee evaluates contemporary hymn texts. I’ve witnessed heated exchanges when it comes to individual words in certain hymns. I guess “literary people” take words as seriously as musicians take music!



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   I had not previously known this tune, but I am familiar with Sir Richard R. Terry, and especially his student, Dom Gregory Murray (1905-1992).