One Hymn To The Tune Of Another

For the last couple of months, I've given myself a different sort of creative project: to find singable tunes for unsingable hymns.

You know as well as I do that 8 out of 10 hymns have beautiful lyrics but nigh-atrocious, horribly clunky music.  It's not just that the melodies are dated, it's that we no longer sing like that – when was the last time Fight The Good Fight or God Moves In A Mysterious Way turned up in church?  Exactly, because we can't sing them.

And it's a huge huge shame – these words are our heritage (not to mention being 20 times better than most modern worship songs), and are going to waste.  So here I come to save the day …

A few years ago, I discovered by accident that Amazing Grace fits the tune for House of the Rising Sun beautifully, but I was also fascinated to notice how giving the lyrics different melodic emphases somehow brings out new depth of meaning (plus the original context of the tune – the song of a repentant alcoholic – is very appropriate).  So that's what I've tried to do: bring new life to old words by singing them anew.

Here are some of my favourites:

                                Abide With Me
                                        tune: O Come, O Come Emmanuel
                                Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
                                        tune: Summertime
                                How Great Thou Art
                                        tune: Danny Boy
                                My Song Is Love Unknown
                                        tune: Dock Of The Bay
                                Onward Christian Soldiers
                                        tune: All Along The Watchtower
                                Joyful, Joyful
                                        tune: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
                                O For A Thousand Tongues
                                        tune: Blowin In The Wind
                                God Moves In A Mysterious Way
                                        tune: Greensleeves
                                It Is Well With My Soul
                                        tune: When A Man Loves A Woman

There are a few more too, but I'm winding down in my search now.  I find that once I'm on one kind of creative project, I can't really do any others, and I've missed writing – I've not been able to do any of any substance for the last two months.  I'm trying to switch back now (working on my story about a school set up to support the children of superheroes)
so I thought I'd mention my hymns before I wave goodbye to them …


One thought on “One Hymn To The Tune Of Another

  1. If you want to join in, I am still looking for tunes to fit ‘Immortal, Invisible’ and ‘Fight the Good Fight’.
    Or you can suggest a hymn to me to work on. In addition to those above, I already have tunes for Amazing Grace, O Jesus I Have Promised, Praise My Soul the King of Heaven, At the Name of Jesus, Trust and Obey, To God Be the Glory.

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