Ordinary Time 2017
It's Christmas time. And what better time to take a look at the Christmas hymns in The Hymnal 1982? In particular, we will be looking at the less commonly sung hymns in the Christmas section.
First, some context. The Hymnal 1982 is the official hymnal of the Episcopal Church and has been since, well, around 1982.
There are 39 hymns in the Christmas section. There are 12 days of Christmas. That's 3.25 hymns per day. Compare this with Advent, which has 24 hymns. This year, this only provided one hymn per day. Epiphany is even worse, depending on how you look at it. Again, there are 24 hymns, but the time after Epiphany is often much longer than Advent.
So, why so many Christmas hymns?
Well, people love Christmas. And people especially love singing "carols" at Christmas time. (I'm using the word hymns to refer to the pieces of music in this hymnal, but yes, surely many of these also count as carols). So perhaps the demand is greater, and it is prudent to include more.
But what has prompted this little study is that there are hymns in the Christmas section that I have never sung.
I am a professional church musician, and I have never sung these hymns. Not even on my own. I am not aware of others singing them either.
This is a puzzle. Why aren't they sung? Are we missing something? Should we be singing them? Are others actually singing them, and we just don't know about it?
Let's attempt to rank these hymns according to their popularity. And I mean man-on-the-street/woman-in-the-pew popularity. Since I haven't surveyed anyone I'm just guessing here, and I'm surely way off in a few cases.
I'm guessing about how "well known" they are: how much they are in institutional memories, and to what extent there is an actual practice of these hymns being sung in Episcopal churches during Christmastide.
So we're not talking about congregational singability (a couple of these hymns are a little suspect), we're just talking about hymn and tune recognition. In some cases, the tune can boost the "popularity" of a hymn when it is familiar from another context.
I'm using a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the least popular and 10 being the most popular. On this scale, we can crank it up to 11 for hymns which are unbelievably popular.
Let's get started, shall we?
But people really do come just to sing this hymn, surely. And lighting a candle has become part of the package.
The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.