100 contemporary texts to common tunes
John L. Bell & Graham Maule
Singing a new song is not an optional extra, but a faithful response to a divine command. This command is the opening phrase of Psalms 96 and 98. And, St John the Divine says, this is what the saints in heaven are doing all the time.
But, on earth, things are not so easy. Sometimes it’s because the latest new song in the old hymnbook is two centuries old. Or the congregation has been told by some sadist that it ‘doesn’t sing well’. Or sometimes the organist can only play what s/he hears on the radio. Or the guitarist can do anything, as long as it’s only three major chords. However, even in such dire straits, the divine command has to be obeyed.
So what if we kept familiar tunes – hymn tunes or folk tunes – and set words to them in 21st-century idioms? What if we gave some ancient psalms a makeover, replaced threadbare wedding and funeral songs or dealt with the things that people actually talk about when they’re not in church? And what if most of the suggested tunes were so well known that – even if musicians took the huff – people could still sing the verses on their own?
What if you looked under the covers of this book and began to upset the quiet of the place in which you are presently standing by beginning to hum?
This book amounts to a modest proposal from the Wild Goose Resource Group on how to make the most of minimal congregational song resources in an accessible and resilient way.
The 100 texts in this volume represent a wide gamut of subject matter, from psalm paraphrases to songs about ecology, abuse, money, depression, and delight. Almost all of the tunes used can be found in any hymnal.
The ‘Knowns’ in this collection are the familiar tunes to which the texts are set.
The ‘Unknowns’ are the texts, some of which have never been published, and some that were previously published with original tunes, thus perhaps remaining somewhat ‘Unknown’.
These hymns are put together especially for the kind of churches the Wild Good Resource Group particularly wants to encourage—churches where there is no musician, churches where there is a reticence to sing new songs, or churches where the praise of God has been kept separate from the concerns of the world.
Significant discounts are available for groups and congregations who want to obtain multiple copies. Prices per unit (excluding P&P):
- 1-9: £9.99 each
- 10-24: £9.00 each
- 25-49: £8.50 each
- 50-99: £7.50 each
- Over 100: £7.00 each