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Hymns - Unintelligible?

Mr Happy 03 Mar 13 - 12:53 PM
Bill D 03 Mar 13 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Jack Sprocket 03 Mar 13 - 01:55 PM
Megan L 03 Mar 13 - 02:05 PM
terrier 03 Mar 13 - 02:37 PM
gnomad 03 Mar 13 - 03:18 PM
DMcG 03 Mar 13 - 03:32 PM
Weasel 03 Mar 13 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 13 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,me too 03 Mar 13 - 08:01 PM
Weasel 04 Mar 13 - 08:24 AM
Wesley S 04 Mar 13 - 08:35 AM
Nigel Parsons 04 Mar 13 - 09:16 AM
Mo the caller 04 Mar 13 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Mar 13 - 10:19 AM
BillE 04 Mar 13 - 03:29 PM
Ron Davies 04 Mar 13 - 03:44 PM
Weasel 05 Mar 13 - 06:12 AM
Mr Happy 05 Mar 13 - 06:42 AM
Mr Happy 05 Mar 13 - 06:44 AM
Penny S. 05 Mar 13 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 05 Mar 13 - 10:33 AM
Weasel 05 Mar 13 - 12:47 PM
ripov 05 Mar 13 - 06:59 PM
Mr Happy 06 Mar 13 - 08:55 AM
Edthefolkie 06 Mar 13 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 06 Mar 13 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,van 07 Mar 13 - 02:45 AM
Mr Happy 07 Mar 13 - 04:35 AM
Peter the Squeezer 07 Mar 13 - 06:07 PM
Peter the Squeezer 07 Mar 13 - 06:15 PM
Weasel 08 Mar 13 - 03:03 PM
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Subject: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 12:53 PM

After listening to the news on R4 this morning, another programme came on 'Morning Worship'

I'm not religious but the music's traditional.

It struck me that I couldn't make out the words of any of the hymns that the congregation were singing.

Anyone else?


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 01:55 PM

Oh, that must be in England, then! Here in America they are always totally clear...... well,except for parts of Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Maine...


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 01:55 PM

You're both tolerant and lucky, Mr. Happy. Tolerant to endure it; lucky you couldn't make out what utter nonsense the words usually are. I don't know what sect was on offer today, but the Catholic Church used to conduct all its services in Latin. Sonorous and unintelligible, it exuded an aura of timeless saintlihood, ineffable scholarship, and dignity. Then they decided to go pop, and translate it into English. Perhaps their translators came on the cheap, perhaps they was a conspiracy to destroy the Holy Church. But cock- or stitch- up, they couldn't have managed it better from their opponents' point of view. There is little worse than flat champagne (well I exaggerate just a little).

O Loving Pelican!!!!! Non potuistis reddat*.

*That means "You can't vote for the new Pope if you're not a cardinal)


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Megan L
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 02:05 PM

how old are you jack? I mean you must be positivle ancient if you remember a latin mass mind you you sound grumpy enough to have been around at the time of Joan.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: terrier
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 02:37 PM

Why pick on hymn singing, it seems quite normal these days for singers of many types to sing in an incoherent fashion. One reason I can't stand opera, even when English words are used, it's rarely understandable. How many times are songs learnt from the singing of someone else full of errors in the words because of poor diction or too loud an accompaniment by the original singer?


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: gnomad
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 03:18 PM

Assuming that this Sunday Worship is the programme to which MrH refers, it sounds to me like a difficult one for the sound engineer. Live broadcast, chapel acoustics, and an original sound source (the choir) which may have sacrificed some clarity of diction to enhanced musicality.

Seeing it came from Scotland I expected accent to be a problem for me (one of my blind spots I'm afraid) but that proved not to be the case. Like MrH I found some of the words hard to follow, though it was decidedly easier in the case of those hymns with which I was already familiar.

Never been to a latin mass myself. Anglicans mostly went in for English long ago, but I seem to remember it was in my lifetime that the RC's here were even permitted to do likewise, and that some clung to the older form for a long time. I certainly know a few who complain of the passing of the latin mass even now.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: DMcG
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 03:32 PM

"Loving Pelican" makes more sense if you know in legend the pelican was thought to pierce its breast to feed its young (why that was thought, I don't know, but it was). With that in mind, it makes a reasonable Christian symbol


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Weasel
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 04:52 PM

A few years ago I heard a wonderful comedy sketch on the radio taking the mickey out of this very programme.

The announcer finished a prayer then said, "And now we will sing hymn number 523 - "Na Waboo Hab a wee oh God" then played a recording of the BBC singers from "Morning Worship". It sounded exactly like "Na Waboo Hab a Wee oh God".

Cheers,

Weasel


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 05:49 PM

A church service isn't a concert, where some rank as performers and some are mere audience members. Critics have no role. Christian worship is a community event. Get out your hymnal and sing along. If really, really cannot sing, get out your hymnal and follow along, thinking about the words.

You don't have to agree, but you're supposed to participate. That's why it's called the 'communion of saints.'


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,me too
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 08:01 PM

Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 01:55 PM

"You're both tolerant and lucky, Mr. Happy. Tolerant to endure it..." etc.


haha

stern but excellent!


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Weasel
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 08:24 AM

Leeneia -

I agree, but this is the BBC Singers we're talking about, not the local church choir. They're a professional choir - I don't think it's too much to ask that what they sing should be intelligible. And whilst it may not be a concert, the words of the hymns some might argue are more important than the melodies.

Cheers,

Weasel.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Wesley S
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 08:35 AM

"It struck me that I couldn't make out the words of any of the hymns that the congregation were singing."


Hmmmm..... Listened to any pop radio stations lately?


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 09:16 AM

Hmmmm..... Listened to any pop radio stations lately?
Radio 2 (does that count as 'pop'?)

Chris Evans was enthusing on a new version of 'Accentuate the positive'. He seemed to think it was the best record currently available.
Unfortunately I couldn't get past the repeated "Elim-(deep audible breath)-inate the negative"
Being church choir trained I expect a singer to manage a whole phrase in one breath. But to split a word in such an obvious manner is terrible!


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 09:39 AM

John, scroll down to the bottom of this thread and tell me if you recognise the words Full House sing (I join in the chorus, but I've no idea what they're on about)


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 10:19 AM

No, Weasel, the first post says "It struck me that I couldn't make out the words of any of the hymns that the congregation were singing." The BBC Professional Choir defense doesn't work.

Ah, congregational singing. It can include all kinds of voices: booming, piping, breathy, in tune and out of tune, good readers and those who go aah-aah-aah when nonplussed by the lyrics. Add the occasional toddler who chimes in with language of his own invention. Bounce that off a few stone walls, and what can you expect?

If you don't own a hymnal, you can surely find the words at the Cyberhymnal.com so you can sing along.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: BillE
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 03:29 PM

IMHO congregations would produce a much better result if hymns were pitched in a sensible key For ordinary voices. Not everyone can sing in the same key as the sopranos / trebles. SATB settings are the death of congregational singing. Come to Sheffield carols and hear the difference!

Bill


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 03:44 PM

"to split a word in such an obvious manner..:"

This must be more of the famed British sarcasm. I can't believe somebody can't tell the dlfference between jazz (or pop music of the 30s and 40s) and church music --or is subject to such tunnel vision that there is only one way to sing a line.

Say it ain't so.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Weasel
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 06:12 AM

Sorry Jeeneia,

I'm willing to be corrected but I'm pretty sure that "Morning Worship" doesn't have a congregation - it's the BBC Singers.

If I'm wrong and there is, then yes, I agree.

Cheers,

Weasel.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 06:42 AM

I didn't realise no congregation, why then does the prog pretend its a church seveice?


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 06:44 AM

..........& is 'Songs of Praise' presented in a similar manner?


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Penny S.
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 07:13 AM

Sunday Worship on R4 this week was the University Chapel in Glasgow. Daily worship through the week, long wave only, has been from a variety of places. No BBC singers. Different music directors.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 10:33 AM

I'm not religious but the music's traditional.

Hmmmmm. Hymns were one of the few examples of the 1954 Rule of music being taken up by the community & remaining unchanged, and NOT, therefore, traditional. Not that I agree. There is certainly an Idiomatic Tradition of hymn-making, and more popular religious music in general, such as psalmody & Mass settings, including the Folk Mass in its various forms, some of which are more depressingly happy-clappy than others. I'm a big fan of Gelineau's pop-psalmody, based (supposedly) on ancient Hebrew modality, but beguilingly infectious even so.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Weasel
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 12:47 PM

If we are all discussing the same programme, it is the BBC Singers (or a small group of them) broadcasting from a church in Didsbury

There's a history of the programme here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/daily-service/history/

Cheers,

Weasel


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: ripov
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 06:59 PM

At least hymnbooks are written in the same language that you are singing in. When the BBC puts on an opera the subtitles are always in english, and you must translate back into german or italian before you can sing along with it. And the timing's always wrong anyway.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 08:55 AM

Hmm, timing

On the odd occasion I've been at church services, latterly funreals, the pipe organ music's so languid, plus the peculiar acoustics in some buildings, the congregation in the pews someway back from the front seem to be still singing the first verse of the hymn, while the front rows are in the middle of the second verse - relativity?


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 12:42 PM

If it's on long wave 1500 metres (showing my age) I'm not surprised the BBC Singers are unintelligible.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 01:48 PM

Not often I try bragging but rather pleased with myself last year at a christening.

The proud parents were god botherers of the zealous wide eye clap and be happy variety. And so is their "church"

The hymns were with guitar drums and keyboard, and the lyrics were of the praise him praise him he is super he is super ad nauseum variety.

Bearings in mind I live two miles from where the Wesleys come from, I sympathised with a Church going family member who like me thinks churches are about organs and familiar hymns.   

I said "Can you hear that rumbling noise? That's Charles Wesley spinning in his grave."

Not religious in any way but something nostalgic about real churches and real hymns with a bit of Bach on the way out. This modern nonsense just makes my bemused onlooker stance all the more credible.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: GUEST,van
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 02:45 AM

I like the idea of a funreal. I hope the family organise one these when I pop me clogs;>)


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 04:35 AM

Ayup, real fun!!


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 06:07 PM

I have decided that I want people to have FUN at my FUNreal!

I want a recording played of Kate Rusby singing Who Knows Where The Time Goes, and as a reading, Les Barker's Detritus.


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 06:15 PM

The BBC pronunciation (some might say massacring) of the English language drives me to distraction at times. Where else but Radio 4 would you find a news report about the activities of "the Taahlibaahn in Paahkistaahn"!


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Subject: RE: Hymns - Unintelligible?
From: Weasel
Date: 08 Mar 13 - 03:03 PM

Mr. Happy - no, Songs of Praise has a real congregation made up of the regular congregation of the host church plus members of other congregations.

I played in the orchestra for a couple of programmes and the congregations were ticket only and there was a rehearsal on a previous evening. There were also guest spots recorded separately.

One of the services I played for a was a Christmas service recorded sometime in October or November I think - the place was bedecked with holly especially for the rehearsal and recording.

I couldn't tell what they were singing either.

Cheers,

Weasel


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