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hymns, in general

Within the confines of the Christian tradition, a set of (more or less) metrical verses to be sung during acts of public worship. And, of course, privately in moments of stress, joy or any other stimulus. What a range this covers, to be sure.
Every faith has its appropriate music, and the difference between the creeds might almost be expressed in musical notation. The interval, for example, which divides the wild revels of Cybele from the stately ritual of the Catholic Church is measured by the gulf that severs the dissonant clash of cymbals and tambourines from the grave harmonies of Palestrina and Handel. A different spirit breathes in the difference of the music.

Quite so, and let's not remember with too much anxiety that the Psalms seems quite keen to recommend the use of the cymbals. Grave harmonies and stately ritual are now the exception, and as far as music goes I'm disappointed anew each time I go to mass in the UK. The appalling years of the [name your colour] "folk" hymnals seem to be behind us, but current collections still seem keener on trying all things than on holding fast to what is good.

Product of mixed liturgical experiences, I'd go for Praise the Lord in the revised edition, plus a Cambridge Hymnal and a New Catholic with a choir up to leading the congregation from them, and then a Geneva Psalter and a robust set of metrical psalm-translations.

Chance would be a fine thing…

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