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Estonia Pianos
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I recently acquired a hymnal so I can play the hymns that I remember from my youth. I grew up in a Lutheran church, so even if you didn't like the sermon, the music was always good. Anyway, I find that hymns are easy to play, and I can even sight-read them. If I wanted to, I suppose I could sing along. I am just curious to know how many other folks on the forum like to play hymns as well? Maybe there are even some organists among us?

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I have an old, very thick volume of hymns, mostly for organ/SATB choir which I bought as a teenaged student.

I have sight-read through most of them over the years, but the reason I bought it was because when I started singing hymns for the first time (and hearing them for the first time) when I went to a boarding school in the West, I was fascinated by the tunes and harmonies (so different from what I was exposed to in my home country), and began playing them by ear on the piano, and wrote them down. Some hymns were regularly sung in my school, so it was relatively easy to check to see if I'd written them down correctly (in SATB) when I heard them again, but others not so. The hymnal allowed me to check my efforts.

This Welsh hymn was always one of my favorites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gvCODgV1fc

BTW, I was born an atheist, but I love to hear, play and sing religious music of all sorts, for the, er, music wink .


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I’m familiar with the hymn but different tune
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jPsxqQsnzJA


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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To answer the original question: as a kid, I played the piano for church when the pianist was absent, and played the organ for Sunday evening church services. So for many of the hymns, I can still play them by memory.

I have a lot of hymn arrangements since I have intermittently played the piano preludes for church. I will occasionally play them at home


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I’m not an organist, but I love playing all sorts of hymns on piano. I also like improvising basic theme-and-variations on some hymns!

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When I was a teen, I played for church services for a small church that had a piano but that did not have an organ. Most of my hymn memories come from those days when, over several years, I must have played several hundred hymns from our hymnal.

Regards,


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Sure. They are music. Some even quite good music. Some are pretty old and known in many countries. Some newer and more local.

Some work well as more elaborate arrangements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2UYFn2_cUI

Or as very simple and stripped down ones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXF9ReqJPhc

(No piano, no lyrics in those. The latter one doesn't show the original melody much until on the elecric guitar. They are a bit "jazz".)

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Like others, I also used to play the hymns on the organ or the piano as a kid at church. There were basically three players: the conductor of the choir who was a violist and not very good at the keyboard but nevertheless very experienced in adapting the hymns in a way that won't confuse people (they needed a very strong lead for the melody and would always drag and one has to listen a lot), he taught me how to create the needed rhythm and intros even though they weren't there, or the opposite: how to slur the notes, so that there's just a harmony support for people since they have learned some hymns wrongly and it would be difficult to correct them... and it was my mom, who was a better keyboardist than him but less experienced in the peculiarities. And I was regularly replacing one of them. This is also the time when I started improvising in jazz and reharmonizing on the spot which would often confuse people but surprisingly they started coping with that. I mean, there's always some space for progress, they are not dumb and music is part of the service, so why not some change. This created a long-lasting interest in reharmonizing hymns that I still do today, although I don't go to church anymore and the last time was more than 25 years ago.

Last edited by CyberGene; 02/04/21 07:50 AM.

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My all time favorite hymn. Eternal Father Strong to Save. I really loved what Hans Zimmer did with it. (Long distant mics with the vocals and synths/trumpet) I transcribed this for myself and play it often. I went really low to capture the bass and it gives me shivers when played on the piano.

Here it is from Crimson Tide: (Hans version)

https://youtu.be/rQ3MkrSc5yY


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when I was a kid and when I went to the church, they didn't let me play their organ....


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Definitely. I used to practice music regularly with a group in church before the pandemic. I uploaded a few hymns online. A while ago I uploaded "O Come Divine Messiah" usually sung around Advent a week before Christmas. It's the piece with the most viewers online.



I don't have a good piano sound on my keyboard and prefer to put it on organ instead. The next on the list is "Abide with Me" with "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"



2 Christmas piece I uploaded last year. The first was "O Holy Night". 4 years ago the city had a power blackout before Christmas. This piece was played during a candlelight service. To commemorate the event I dimmed the lights to make a recording.



A more recent find was a piece I heard on the radio before Christmas "In the Bleak Midwinter" by the English composer Gustav Holst.


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A suggestion from my organ teacher: don’t play every repeated note, but tie the bass and alto. Repeating the soprano helps keep the rhythm going though. And sometimes the tenor.

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Originally Posted by RubberFingers
A suggestion from my organ teacher: don’t play every repeated note, but tie the bass and alto. Repeating the soprano helps keep the rhythm going though. And sometimes the tenor.

Yes, I've been taught that too when playing church hymns. Those SATB scores are really meant for singers. When replayed on organ, it's a bit too staccato-ish that way.

Last edited by CyberGene; 02/04/21 12:31 PM.

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I can't play any church hymns, but I have always like this ending hymn I heard on the Mission of St. Clare's daily office website and I just found out it's sung by the Ely Cathedral Choir



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I too really enjoy playing hymns. They're generally relatively simple, with clear soprano, alto, tenor and bass melodies which are very satisfying. It's funny though, my favourite hymns tend to be ones where the arrangements are by great composers. Two of my favourites are "Who would true valour see" arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and "Long ago, prophets knew" arranged by Gustav Holst.

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Speaking of great composers' own hymns, there is the lovely Min Jesus, lad mit hjerte få which, if you aren't Danish, you'd probably have never heard, unless you know the composer's Wind Quintet, in which he used his hymn for the finale (Theme & Variations):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-rEXo6Iyto

I first heard it in København in a church (whilst on my travels as a young man, about 100 years ago), and actually thought then that it was derived from a Danish folk song (even though at the time, I already knew The Inextinguishable and Hymnus amoris, and had sung in his folksy Fynsk Foraar as a chorister at school).

Staying in the Nordic countries, of course we all know this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3JJ0vdLN-U

Everyone knows that Britain's favorite hymn, Jerusalem, was composed by Sir Hubert Parry, but not a lot of people know that another well-known hymn tune Repton (used in "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" in the UK, though not in the US) was derived from Parry's contralto aria 'Long since in Egypt's plenteous land' in his oratorio Judith.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JymuL_r2THY


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Originally Posted by bennevis
[...]at another well-known hymn tune Repton (used in "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" in the UK, though not in the US) was derived from Parry's contralto aria 'Long since in Egypt's plenteous land' in his oratorio Judith.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JymuL_r2THY

It was hard to find on Youtube the tune I know from my youth to "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind."



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Originally Posted by BruceD
It was hard to find on Youtube the tune I know from my youth to "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind."
In North America, the prevailing tune used is 'Rest' by Frederick Charles Maker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaZfDMZFdOI

.......which I've never heard until your link today. I doubt that there are any regular church goers in the UK (and probably Australia and NZ too) who knows it either.

Maybe it's just me, but Parry's 'Repton' tune sounds very English, and Maker's 'Rest' very American, in both the tune and the harmonization, even though they were both composed around the same time (1888 and 1887 respectively). Is that your perception too?

Just like this sounds very Finnish, even when sung by an English choir with English words:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msLqQf4P3Yo


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I can't imagine any 'ordinary' crowd in the UK or US celebrating their own greatest composer(s) in the way the Finns celebrate theirs - really inspiring. Sibelius is truly an icon for them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUkzmJGi1Lo


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by BruceD
It was hard to find on Youtube the tune I know from my youth to "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind."
In North America, the prevailing tune used is 'Rest' by Frederick Charles Maker:
.......which I've never heard until your link today. I doubt that there are any regular church goers in the UK (and probably Australia and NZ too) who knows it either.
'Rest' was the tune sung in the (Australian) Anglican church I attended in the 1960s. The hymn book we used was The Book of Common Praise which was nothing if not English. "Repton" is the tune we hear now - if you can find a church where they still sing hymns that is!


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