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The more things change...

Desert Dancer 17 Apr 11 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Apr 11 - 10:16 PM
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Subject: The more things change...
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 05:44 PM

...the more they remain the same.

A Mudcat moment (you know, one of those ones where you end up looking up and saying, "Where did that hour/afternoon/day go?"):

In the thread discussing Max's experimentation with new features (the highlight-popup-link thingy), I highlighted "Now is the Cool of the Day" and checked the list of linked videos. Selected one which turned out to have Tim Eriksen singing the song. The video is from the production of documentary called, Behold the Earth, "a feature-length musical documentary that inquires into America's divorce from nature, built out of conversations with leading biologists and evangelical Christians, and directed by David Conover."

Dirk Powell is the music director for the film. On his blog on putting the music together, he relates how Tim Eriksen introduced him to the work of D. H. Mansfield, who compiled "The American Vocalist: Tunes, Anthems, Sentences and Hymns", published in Boston in 1849. I clicked the link there to the Google books edition.

There, I came on these remarks by Mansfield, which are placed immediately before the tunes, after the instructional information on music and singing. These lead me back to Mudcat, where they could have been posted by any of a number of 'catters on the topic of vocal performance. (*SMILE*)


1. Singing, as a part of public worship should, if possible, be performed by the whole congregation. But if there are any who cannot, or will not learn to sing, they ought not to mar the devotion by attempting to sing in public.

2. Every singer should have a tune book; but he ought to commit so thoroughly to memory as not to be entirely dependent upon it in a public performance. The singer who is obliged to refer constantly to the music he is performing, will produce but little effect.

3. Musical instruments may be useful where singers are not thoroughly trained, but if they are, no instrument can add to the sweetness or effect of their music. If instruments are used, great care should be taken not to disturb the congregation in tuning them.

4. If there is a select choir, the members of it should receive their places with reference principally to their singing abilities and not with reference to their wealth, station, or general talent.

5. The tune must be keyed to suit the singers. It is supposed to be written where it can generally be performed with the greatest effect. Some choirs may require it a note higher or lower.

It is a painful fact that, many who assume this responsible part of public worship, feel themselves at liberty to disturb the remaining exercises, by turning over their books, reading, whispering, &c. &c., as if every thing of importance was done when they had gone through...

~ Becky in Tucson

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Subject: RE: The more things change...
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 10:16 PM

"Some choirs may require it a note higher or lower."

I wonder what Mr. Mansfield would say if I could but tell him that we really rock when I drop the hymns a fourth.

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