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In researching our work we have discovered some pages on the internet that you may find interesting.

Description & Link
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How to play hymns on the organ Some excellent advice here, covering most of what I recommend.
Hymnspiring your congregational singing Another useful guide
Hymn Accompaniment - Hector Parr - 1998 Some good stuff there but please don't use gathering notes; they are really old hat. Hector's reasoning behind gathering notes (drivers' reaction time when making an emergency stop) do not add up! Singers expect to start singing on time; they just need more clues from you how to do it! You wouldn't hear a gathering note in an opera chorus or Land of Hope and Glory so please don't do it with hymns!
Is it harder to play hymns or classical music on the piano? Interesting comments from various sources
(these may change of course over time)
How to play hymns for a church service An interesting young person's guide
New Liturgical Movement  
Learning the Church Organ from a Pianistís Background  
Articulation and Pedalling  
Miriam Duncan's Hymn Playing Lecture A long article that will repay careful study...albeit 1992.
The Reluctant Organist Great advice for those who find themselves unwittingly in demand THIS Sunday with little or no warning!


Be careful regarding what you may find on the internet particularly YouTube; there are some contributors there who have uploaded enthusiastic playing of hymns yet their playing renders the hymn virtually unsingable - usually for the following reasons:

  • Over-legato playing so the rhythm is lost,
  • Shortening rests and long held notes to less (sometimes far less) than their written value,
  • Very long pauses at the end of verses,
  • Undefined silent breaks between verses,
  • Simply getting the music wrong,
  • Playing far too loud throughout.

Look at these videos and listen carefully and imagine that you are trying to sing the hymn concerned.

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Jan 2015