Friday, August 1, 2008

Congregational singing

What is it with some wards and commas in congregational singing? The most egregious are at the beginning of the fourth verse of “Behold the Great Redeemer Die” (where you get “Father [gratuitous eighth rest] from me remove this cup”) and the middle of the chorus of “The Spirit of God” (“Hosanna [gratuitous eighth—I’ve even been in wards where it was a quarter—rest] hosanna to God and the Lamb”).

My guess? It’s the legacy of overzealous choristers/organists who have internalized the rule of thumb that commas are places to pause and take a breath, and somehow can’t realize that it’s more important to not break the flow of the music. Score one for those faiths that have a tradition of professionally (or at least semi-professionally) training their musicians, I suppose.

2 comments:

mamaduk said...

I'll take a small rest if it means we can actually sing the rest of the song at the tempo at which it was intended to be sung. More than the commas, what's up with the incredibly slow singing?

Taylor said...

Heh heh heh... Great observation. I still remember the time (as the chorister, years ago) when I held out a fermata a little longer than "normal", and the organist actually followed me.

Made my head snap around, that one.