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  1. #1
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    Bagpipe Hymn a Day

    Many years ago I did a deep dive into Hymnody.

    I collected as many Hymnals from as many denominations as I could.

    Then in my Rain-Man-like way I started going through the indexes and seeing which Hymn tunes were the most common, the most widespread across the most denominations.

    I ranked these Hymn tunes in order of commonness and began arranging them for the Highland bagpipes.

    Then after I had a ranked list of the Hymn tunes I began gathering all the various Hymns which used these tunes.

    For those that don't know, with the older traditional Hymns the Hymns (texts) and the tunes floated somewhat independently. For example the Hymn Amazing Grace was written as a text only, like a poem, and was entirely tuneless. Later, to sing it, people paired Amazing Grace with a number of traditional Hymn tunes. It so happens that one of those tunes, NEW BRITAIN, has in the 20th century become the most popular. But it wasn't always so.

    (It's customary to write tune names in all capital letters, I don't know why.)

    I was thinking about publishing my collection but instead I'm putting the whole thing up on Youtube as "A Bagpipe Hymn A Day". I'm presenting them in the order of commonness.

    Here's Day One, HYFRYDOL, the most widespread Hymn tune. I don't think I've come across a single Hymnal that doesn't have that tune.

    Not that the various denominations sing the same Hymn to it! Far from it: I've come across 13 different Hymns that give HYFRYDOL as the tune, across my various Hymnals.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx4D5KlCQEM&t=85s

    I give the titles of all 13 Hymns in the comments, and ask people who have other Hymns using HYFRYDOL in their own Hymnals to add those in the comments.

    I've been plugging along, today I recorded the 6th and 7th tunes, which will go up over the next couple days.

    These videos aren't monetized. I'm hoping that pipers might gain some benefit from them.

    In tandem with the Youtube videos I created a Facebook page Bagpipe Hymn A Day where I post the videos and also the sheet music to each tune.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 25th July 20 at 04:21 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    What a marvellous and generous contribution. I shall be a frequent listener, Richard. Thank you!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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  5. #3
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    You're welcome!

    Please, if you know any other Hymns using any of those tunes let me know and I'll add them.

    And also...to any and all Church people...if you have a tattered old Hymnal that's too shabby to use I would love to add it to my collection, to add the Hymns contained in it to my "database". (Though only if it's a Hymnal not already in my collection.)

    Ministers, Priests, choir directors, liturgists and others have been incredibly generous over the years! And thus my collection has grown. My hope is that their help will bear fruit.

    I have the well-known 1982 Episcopal Hymnal, which is a wonderful thing.

    For purposes of gathering data the easiest denominations are those who have a committee that creates that denomination's one-and-only official Hymnal.

    Nondenominational churches which don't have Hymnals, that project the music up on screens, are impossible for me to tabulate.

    In the middle, between those extremes, is the Catholic church. It might surprise people that the Catholic church (of which I'm a member) doesn't have an official Hymnal, nor a committee to create such a thing. Rather, the Catholic church allows laissez-faire capitalism. Anyone can publish as many different "Catholic Hymnals" as they please, and any Parish can buy whatever hymnal they want. I know of three publishers that each publish a half-dozen different "Catholic Hymnals".

    Which means that I would have to beg, borrow, or buy 20 Hymnals to get some sort of handle on the Catholic Hymn situation.

    (It makes sense when you appreciate that there are entirely Spanish-speaking parishes and Vietnamese-speaking parishes and Tagalog-speaking parishes...and that's just in Southern California!)
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  6. #4
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    Hello Richard -

    I've sent you a PM regarding two hymnals I have and am happy to send your way.

    Best,
    Joel

  7. #5
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    This is a great project. I have often wondered why at the various church services I have attended that feature pipes there is very little liturgical music being played. This included my wedding, where all the hymns were with a organ and the Scottish music on the pipes separately.

    I remember a few years ago the Roman Catholic bishop in NYC banned music that was not hymns at funerals and there was a huge outcry from the pipe bands for both NYPD & FDNY. The compromise was for the bands to play outside before and after the services, which I felt was a shame.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFS1970 View Post
    This is a great project. I have often wondered why at the various church services I have attended that feature pipes there is very little liturgical music being played. This included my wedding, where all the hymns were with a organ and the Scottish music on the pipes separately.
    Yes that's a pity, when the pipes are a perfect vehicle for Hymn-tunes, if you are careful to pick tunes that fit on the pipes!

    Most Hymn-tunes don't fit. Some are really impossible to render in any satisfactory way. Other only require minor tweaking to fit on the pipes.

    So far (I'm at Day 34 now) I've been able to exclusively present Hymn-tunes that, as they stand, fit perfectly. Those are the gems! To not have to fudge the tune at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by AFS1970 View Post
    I remember a few years ago the Roman Catholic bishop in NYC banned music that was not hymns at funerals and there was a huge outcry from the pipe bands for both NYPD & FDNY. The compromise was for the bands to play outside before and after the services, which I felt was a shame.
    Yes different denominations have their differing rules.

    I've piped at LDS services. Prior to the first one I did, the Bishop mentioned that only Hymns found in the LDS Hymnal can be played. No problem, I said, I have an LDS Hymnal so I can check everything.

    I've piped at hundreds of Catholic services over the years and the Catholic situation is that the Mass is a self-contained entity with a fixed structure. Part of it is that only Sacred music can be played during the Mass. As long as the pipes are playing Sacred music it doesn't violate anything, however there are a few Priests who don't like bagpipes no matter what music they're playing!

    Before the Mass starts and after it's finished anything goes. Or I should say it's at the discretion of the Priest that's celebrating that particular Mass, some don't like having the pipes inside the church regardless, and only allow the pipes to play outside. (Sounds like the NYC Bishop was in that category.)

    The other thing a piper runs into is dealing with the "wedding coordinator" or "funeral coordinator". Many of them take it upon themselves to create various rules and speak in the name of Clergy, saying "Father doesn't allow this or that". I've found that if I actually ask the Priest they'll almost always say "whatever the family's wishes are".

    So, many has been the time that the coordinator has told me that Clergy doesn't allow bagpipes, but I ended up playing the pipes anyway, with Clergy's approval.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PassingW View Post
    Hello Richard -

    I've sent you a PM regarding two hymnals I have and am happy to send your way.

    Best,
    Joel
    And I got them, thank you so much!

    I'm particularly fascinated with the 1933 Baptist Hymnal, because it has no tunes, giving just the Hymn-texts.

    So it's pure old-school! It gives the meter for each Hymn, for example

    386. Oh, it is hard to work for God. C.M.

    Now what does that mean? C.M. is "common meter" 86.86

    I pull out my handy United Methodist Hymnal and go to the Metrical Index and see that there are around 30 Hymn-tunes in that Hymnal in C.M.

    So on a given Sunday the choir director has a large variety of tunes from which to choose, if the choir is to sing #386 or any other Hymn in common meter.

    It makes me wonder how common such Hymnals were, where there's no suggested tune for each Hymn, which modern Hymnals have.

    Thanks again!
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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