The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #93597 Message #1805606
Posted By: Kaleea
09-Aug-06 - 05:45 PM
Thread Name: What makes a good hymn?
Subject: RE: What makes a good hymn?
As a choir director, I want a hymn to: have a lovely melody-but one that does not go too high or low-& satisfying harmonies which are easily learned by the all volunteer choir (& the melody by the congregation); be in a key which makes a voice sound best-which is usually a "flat" key; have lyrics which are easy for the nonprofessional singer to enunciate correctly; have a title which is not the same as any other so that the minister does not have the wrong hymn # printed in the sunday morning bulletin!; be appropriate for a variety of subjects which the minister might choose so we can concentrate on learning several hymns well instead of lots of hymns poorly; I could continue, but I'll move on.
As a singer, I like a hymn which is in a good key for my voice, usually one of the "flat" keys (yes, it really does make a difference, & it's not just about the range! Usually, a song in the common "traditional" keys do not fit my voice, but move it up or down one half step & my voice soars-this is completely normal, & choral music in the key of E major is notorious for causing the singers to go flat-especially when sung a cappella.); has a lovely melody; most of the melody is in the higher part of my voice since, as a soprano, that is the most powerful portion of my range; has a message which appeals to me & the average person, which is appropriate for a variety of occasions, and speaks to the human experience so that the audience will identify with the emotion I am intending to impart. (those are the highlights)
As a human being trying to navigate through this crazy thing we call "life," I prefer a hymn in which: my voice soars well (the right key-or that can be easily transposed-& right range for my voice); the message speaks to my own emotions & human experiences; the melody is lovely & satisfying to sing; inspires, comforts, praises the creator, or otherwise fits the emotions of my soul; brings about a very emotionally satisfying feeling; does not have gory lyrics like "eat my body, drink my blood;" is in a language which I enjoy singing, is easy for me to pronounce &\or translate & which makes the human voice sound the most beautiful (latin comes to mind, & no I'm not Catholic); most likely is an old one.
OK, everybody open your hermnals to page # . . .