E HAVE SPOKEN in the past about common tunes, which are also known as “shared hymn tunes.” In essence, this was a strategy adopted by priests and musicians who created the Brébeuf hymnal. This marvelous strategy makes it possible to get through the entire liturgical year even if the congregation only knows a handful of decent hymn tunes. (On the subject of “what makes a good hymn,” you might want to read what Sir Richard Terry .) Below are two recordings made by a volunteer Catholic choir last Sunday. It should be obvious that these are “shared” hymn tunes.
The first text is for the “pre-Lent” season. You can hear a baby crying in the background, but that’s okay—as Father Valentine would say: A crying baby means we have a future.
The second text is for “general use”—or it can be used for November 1st, the feast of All Saints.
I realize the value of common tunes is not yet understood by all Catholic musicians. I will continue attempting to explain how powerful they are.