A Catholic Organist's Book of Hymns

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A Catholic Organist's Book of Hymns

Authored by Noel Jones

Revised, 2nd Edition.

This is a collection of hymns found in current Catholic hymnals that organists are expected to be able to play.

This book does not replace the accompaniment book that arrived with the hymnals, but instead may be used by the organist in tow ways.

1. Accompaniment books almost always include four-part arrangements of the hymn as they would appear in a Protestant hymnal or the Choir Book from the publisher.

It's hard to play hymns in four parts, but essential when you have a choir at each service singing in four parts and a congregation that may also sing parts.

Since it is rare for a Catholic hymnal for the congregation to have anything but the melody, there is no reason to struggle with playing four part hymns at Mass unless the choir is singing and only if they do sing parts.

2. Teaching a hymn by a singing session before Mass is an ineffective way to introduce a hymn to the congregation. No other denomination does this. Instead the hymn is introduced by playing or singing it multiple times on weeks before the first time the congregation is to sing it.

Each hymns in this book has an organ solo arrangement of the hymn, a chorale prelude, across the page from the hymn itself. Playing the chorale prelude during the offertory or communion for at least 4 weeks and possibly having a soloist or choir sing it the last Sunday before putting its number up on the hymn board, you have made the people familiar subconsciously with the melody.

Some of the chorale preludes can also be accompaniments when the melody is sung by a soloist or choir in place of the organ arrangement.

The three part hymn arrangement you are going to play has a strong baseline and middle voice that fills out the harmonies very clearly.

Four part hymns are all about subtle harmonic effects, created with four notes playing against each other. Effective and often beautiful, though requiring many finger substitutions and thumbing from key to key to keep all the parts playing.

Three part hymn playing is easier. It is always easier to keep track of playing three notes all at one time than four notes.

Directors of music, when polled with this question: "Would you prefer hymns payed in three parts very competently by your organist or do you insist in four parts knowing that your organist may have to struggle a bit a times?" were unanimous. Three parts is always preferred over four parts in that situation.

Often organists using these three part hymns are complimented on their hymn playing. That says a lot, doesn't it?

Leafing through the book you will find many Catholic hymns that you know and love. You will also discover some hymns that have been added to hymnals as part of the ecumenical movement of the late 20th century. By including these hymns we are not endorsing their use at Mass, rather we are supporting organists who need to be able to play them.

Publication Date:
1533414912 / 9781533414915
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Music / Religious / Hymns

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