Page 2, 24th March 1950

24th March 1950
Page 2
Page 2, 24th March 1950 — HYMN SINGING Sue-Canon Arscott's assertion that " our Catholic congregations

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Locations: Bath


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HYMN SINGING Sue-Canon Arscott's assertion that " our Catholic congregations

are not hymn singers "as an understatement. In general. Catholic congre gational singing is deplorable. I have no doubt that in the ears of Almighty God it is pleasing. but that is not an argument against improving

it by human standards. 1 do not agree that transposition is the cure. I have always done it without perceptibly increasing the body of tone. The trouble is elsewhere. In my experience the vocal members of our congregations are steeped in that Victorian sentimentalizing of music which emphasised singing " naicely " and with "expression." The " good hearty hymn singing " is not heard because of a mistaken notion that such brisk singing is not quite pious. Surely the singing should not be soporific hut should reflect the vitality of the Church.

I. Obviously no body of people can sing properly together unless they know exactly when the next

beat is going to occur. Therefore strict time must be kept and a consistent method of pausing adopted.

2. Whether a person can sustain a note for four rir six beats or not depends on the tempo (speed). Soft singing at a brisk pace with proper pauses is easier and more pleasing than the heavy variety. Those who bawl and drawl make singing difficult for themselves as well as making the musicianly members of the congregation relapse despairingly into silence.

3. Many e touchy amateur organists ", with good qualifications are not given the freedom a pro fessional could demand. I wholly support Canon Arscott's plea that "some of these people take the advice of those who know better." I am aware of the priest's jurisdiction but is it not often a case of " keeping a dog and barking oneself ?"

Finally the most devout congregation, being human, needs guidance and encouragement. neither of which are given by the all too common use of hymns as incidental music to the extinguishing of candles or tippingout of the collection.

JOHN J. LUCKMAN. 28 Seymour Road, Walcot, Bath.

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