Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tunes for Anglophone Lutheran Hymns

In my upcoming series of posts labeled "hymn tunes," I plan to share the fruits of several years' worth of research and analysis I put into the music of Lutheran hymns in English-language. My work is incomplete, partly as a consequence of new hymnals being published that I haven't had time to assimilate into the body of data. So, allowing for the fact that Evangelical Lutheran Worship and The Lutheran Service Book (both published in 2006) and perhaps a couple other books have slipped through my sieve, to say nothing of minor works such as hymnal supplements—which call for a few more years of work before I can consider my study complete—here's what I have so far on hymn tunes that have been used in full-sized, commercially published, anglophone Lutheran hymnals.

Whether the tunes faithfully represent the spirituality of Lutheranism can be partly (though perhaps only subjectively) judged, based on a combination of:
  • the words most strongly associated with them;
  • the theology of the church body or spiritual movement that they have most strongly influenced, or been influenced by;
  • the attitude toward worship suggested by:
    • the music's level of artistic excellence, and/or
    • its suitability for being sung by a congregation, as opposed to a song-leader or choir; and
  • what form of spirituality best jives with the musical rhetoric of the tune, such as:

    • How subtle or obvious, genuine or cheap is its appeal to one's emotions?
    • Does it express either joy or lament without ambiguity? Or is does it land somewhere in between?
    • Does it come across as reverent, confident, and sacramental? Or does it err in favor of pious sentimentality, pomp and circumstance, folksiness or secular connotations?
Be aware that while I love classical music, I generally disapprove of the procedure of taking snatches of secular, classical melody and baptizing them as hymn tunes. Partly this is because many of these tunes do not work out so well as pieces for the congregation to sing. There are plenty of beautiful, churchly, and memorable tunes, well within the singing range of any well-nurtured Lutheran congregation, to suit any purpose that may arise in their hymnody; or, if not, there are still composers who understand the fine art—in my opinion, one of the greatest cultural and spiritual treasures of Lutheranism—of composing a chorale. Hymnals consulted, so far in my study, include:
  • ELHb—Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1912. Luth. Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS)
  • LHy—The Lutheran Hymnary. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1913. Norwegian Luth. Church, Norwegian Luth. Synod, Hauge’s Luth. Synod
  • CSB—Common Service Book, with Hymnal. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1917. United Luth. Church in America (ULCA)
  • TCH—The Concordia Hymnal, Revised and Enlarged. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1932.
  • TLH—The Lutheran Hymnal. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941. Ev. Luth. Synodical Conference of North America
  • SBH—Service Book and Hymnal. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1958. American Ev. Luth. Church, American Luth. Church, Augustana Ev. Luth. Church, Ev. Luth. Church, Finnish Ev. Luth. Church in America, Luth. Free Church, United Ev. Luth. Church, United Luth. Church in America
  • LHA—Lutheran Hymnal. Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House, 1973. Luth. Church of Australia.
  • LBW—Lutheran Book of Worship. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1978. Luth. Church in America, American Luth. Church, Ev. Luth. Church of Canada
  • LW—Lutheran Worship. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1982. Luth. Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS)
  • CW—Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1993. Wisconsin Ev. Luth. Synod (WELS)
  • ELHy—Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. St. Louis: MorningStar Music Publishers, 1996. Evangelical Luth. Synod (ELS)
In addition, I have been adding a much older Australian hymnal, several more American hymnals from the early 20th century, a late-20th century hymnal on which I have already posted extensively, and the two recent hymnals named above; plus a variety of pew supplements.

And so, without any further introduction (because each installment after this will start with a link to this one), I give you what I have discovered so far...

1 comment:

Rev. Alan Kornacki, Jr. said...

Thanks for doing all this work, brother. I'd offer to help, but I'm not musically qualified.