Here are some of my latest additions to the file of midified hymn-tune harmonizations that I have written and plan to include in the expanded edition of Useful Hymns.
this hymn I wrote on Jesus' raising of the widow's son at Nain. Since a quick-and-dirty search turned up no public-domain arrangements of it, I composed my own.
this hymn, I decided to go with that meter instead of what I originally wrote, but that meant when I midified this tune I had to reshape the cadences of my original arrangement.
this hymn, not to be confused with the tune by the same name that I chose for this hymn.
this hymn. I had harmonized it years earlier during a productive period in writing arrangements of hymn tunes I found in old chorale books.
Pastoral Call Hymn. I was trying to avoid re-using a certain Norwegian chorale that I had already set to one of my hymns, in spite of not particularly caring for it, but knew of nothing else that would do. Somehow another Scandinavian tune (I know exactly which one) got stuck in my head while I was writing it, so this is the best I could do without absolutely plagiarizing from the Norwegian folk tradition. One of my friends, getting an early look at it, spotted it at once as being like a sunny, northern European version of the Welsh tune LLANGLOFFAN - another of those instances, like COME TO THE FEAST, where my influences are embarrassingly transparent.
I think I have a pretty fruitful procedure for writing hymn tunes. They start with me trying to sing the words of a hymn out loud and, once I seem to have a handle on the corner of an idea, scribbling down the notes (or typing them in Word, using melody fonts) without, and I stress without, touching a keyboard instrument. The tune absolutely has to make musical sense as a bare melody without any accompaniment; and besides, it has to sing, rather than plunk like a series of notes hammered out on a piano. Once the double-barline has been added at the end and I am satisfied it works, then and only then do I play it on the piano to double-check my sight-singing, or ear-writing.
Experience, gained by frequent practice, enables me to harmonize tunes rapidly and easily, if not altogether brilliantly. I have a small repertoire of character types and styles that I try to switch between to avoid monotony. This last harmonization, for example, wrote itself in 30 minutes one morning before work; I clocked in 5 minutes late, because I had given myself only 20 minutes in which to do it. If I took more care and spent more time on them, maybe I could create masterpieces like the ones that CPH barricades behind a living wall of copyright lawyers. But when you absolutely have to have 187 hymn harmonizations - which, at the moment, I have - though that figure includes many public-domain hymnal arrangements that I have midified - the ability to work quickly pays better.