John Mason Neale and Hymns for the O Antiphons

Folks over at the Liturgy Fellowship have begun to talk about Advent so I’m throwing out a post. Most people are familiar with the popular advent hymn written by John Mason Neale “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” This hymn is a meditation for the O Antiphons which looks at various images of Christ from the Old Testament with an emphasis on Isaiah.

I recently found a collection of hymns where JM Neale wrote an entire hymn for each O Antiphon (not just a verse).  A great meditation for advent, or source of texts for retunes. The Antiphons start on page #342.  You can download a PDF of the whole collection here.

Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols of John Mason Neale

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October 2014 Bits and Bobs

Some good stuff I’ve stumbled upon recently, need to post on, and generally feel compelled to share.

The Long Walk Home cover art
Great album
of eclectic arrangements to traditional hymns. Fleet Foxes meets Sun Kil Moon.

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- new charting enterprise from Zach Sprowls.  This is THE place to go if you are looking for Quality charts for your new album!

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Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany
- Features Hope College prof and poet Susanna Childress

Erik Marshall’s band “Young Oceans” is releasing a new album soon. Great ambient worship music. We regularly sing “Come Holy One.”

Let the Spirit of the Lord Come Down – Nigerian Folk Song

Nigerian folk song that I learned from Greg Scheer and Wendell Kimbrough that I thought would be great for our series through the book of Acts.

We sang it during communion last Sunday at the Gathering at Hope College so I added another verse.  We sang it with *bread but you could also use *manna.

mp3 | chart

Let the *Spirit of the Lord come down (Hallelujah!)
Let the Spirit of the Lord come down (Hallelujah!)
Let the Spirit of the Lord from heaven come down
Let the Spirit of the Lord come down.

*Power, Glory, Manna, etc…

Busman – On Praise and Worship Music: An Essay to its Cultured Despisers

I’m working on creating a “reader” for the common Worship Leader that provides anintroduction to the world of CWM as described and analyzed by (ethno)musicologists. Working back through some old notes and noticed that Joshua Busman linked Jamie Smith’s old blog post in his article below so thought I would come back around to it. “An Open Letter to Praise Bands

Three articles from Josh Busman with a musicologists analysis of the meteoric rise of ‘CWM’ and its impact both on the church and the wider culture.

Part One: “On Praise and Worship Music: An Essay to its Cultured Despisers.”
Part Two: “Exercising Your Second Commandment Rights: Luther and Calvin on Music.”
Part Three: “The Spiritual Children of Sigur Ros.

Also check out…

Ingalls, Monique. “Singing Heaven Down to Earth: Spiritual Journeys, Eschatological Sounds, and Community Formation in Evangelical Conference Worship.” Ethnomusicology No. 55, Vol. 2: 255-79.

Worship Leader as Chief Curator?

Title: Worship Leader, Chief Musician, President Curator

Joshua Busman, a PhD student in musicology at UNC posted an article he wrote last week called “God’s Great Dance Floor,” Or, Why You Don’t Need Ecstasy to Have an Ecstatic Good Time.”  One of the remarks he makes in the article (and there is a LOT here – cf. Zac Hicks on thoughts about Worship Music and EDM culture) is about how worship leaders function more as curators than performers in modern worship.

“In settings like Passion—as well as the recorded sounds which result from them—worship leaders, like EDM deejays, are entrusted with the experiences of a gathered community and while technical proficiency is obviously important, the standard of quality is ultimately curatorial rather than performative. Like the deejay, worship leaders are judged on their ability to enact a meaningful encounter for the gathered community rather than their ability to correctly realize a pre-determined musical product. This curatorial focus in “praise and worship” music means that what is most often being appropriated from mainstream musical culture is not a particular style or genre, but rather an embodied and culturally situated set of experiences. On “God’s Great Dance Floor,” it would seem, the embodied exhilaration of EDM and the ecstatic devotion of Christian worship are not only one and the same, they are mutually co-dependent.”

This is a reflection informed by how DJ’s often function in rave/EDM events.  It’s an important insight. Josh’s description of CWM and EDM could be applied to any context in terms of how music functions to “shape the ways that believers come to know themselves as religious subjects in worship.”

This kind of music has its most thick participants in teens and twentysomethings.  A population longing for a strong embodied element in their faith…in a culture where opportunities for positive ‘embodied’ activities are getting thinner and thinner.  I’m actually excited to see how this musical movement will impact the broader church.  I spent the summer diving into Ableton live so we can explore it in Hope worship gatherings!

Check out some artists we commissioned on our latest compilation to mashup some old hymn texts with electronic styles.


Use of the term Cardiphonia in literature

Here are a few quotes I rounded up recently of the use of the term Cardiphonia in theological literature.

from Hymns of the Church universal [selected by J. and E.A. Rylands]. 

The Book of Psalms has well been called the Cardiphonia of the Church. In it the people of God through all time have recognised the voice of their own hearts, in joy and sorrow, conflict and victory, prayer and praise.  It can never be superseded for its inspiration is Divine; it can never be obsolete, for its varied tones express all that is best and profoundest in our humanity.

The Psalms belong to the home and to the sanctuary; they breathe the emotions of the solitary soul; they utter the gladsomeness of assembled multitudes. Their Miserere is for every sinner in his penitence; their Hallelujahs echo through all generations.

Other hymns have their day; fashions in psalmody, as in all else, are mutable. Some strains that charmed us in childhood are already becoming flat and unprofitable to our successors: the time may even come when “Rock of Ages” will be thought inadequate to the aspirations of the soul, and “Jerusalem the Golden” shall cease to charm the weary heart.  But the Psalms can never die; and while in themselves they are the best expressions of faith and piety, they will always be the highest model for all our hymnody. The nearer to this high standard, the more truly will every Christian lyrist speak to the heart of the universal Church.

Our English Bible: Its Translations and Translators, by John Stoughton,

“The Psalms formed so important a part of the church service, and so powerfully touched the hearts of men, that we do not wonder more attention was paid to them by our forefathers than to any other portion of Holy Writ.  It is very remarkable that the Psalms have in all ages drawn towards them the affections of devout minds, and have been a true cardiphonia to mankind in general; so that in this fact we have a satisfactory answer to objections brought against them in modern times.”

The Catholic Presbyterian,  By PROFESSOR W. G. BLAIKIE, D.D

“But heaven help the presbyterian congregation whose officiating ministry is other than he ought to be; for no earthly remedy is theirs.  They have no time-honored form to fall back upon.  The prayers of Ambrose and Augustine, Athanasius and Chrysostom, are lost chords in their cardiphonia.  The minister must pray in his own poor shambling speech, choose his psalms and chapters in whatever eccentric way he pleases, pour forth his own ill-digested thoughts in ill-compacted paragraphs. The ordering of the whole service is left to his sole discretion.  There may be better readers than he in the congregation, but he must read; better framers of prayer, but he must pray; better orators, but he must preach.  Then again, if he has entrusted his thoughts to manuscript, it will be all the better, in the view of the average congregation, that he should make a second entrustment of them to his memory, and give forth, as impromptus and inspirations, what are, after all, but laborious recollections.”




Support Emerald Hymns and Jess Alldredge on Indiegogo

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Jess Alldredge and the terrific crew from Grace Church Seattle are working on raising money through INDIEGOGO to produce their first CD of music for the church. There are some awesome perks and with Bobby Krier (Castle Island Hymns) producing this is going to be stellar work.

Give Big and love on some fantastic artists.