The Complete Hymn
You are the Conductor!
A modern, sensible and logical way to play hymns and worship songs...

So what about the old convention?
In my view - NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE...

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Congregations should have the confidence to start singing from the first note of each and every verse of a hymn or worship song, just as they do in almost any other area of singing.
Experience suggests that this does NOT happen in most places of worship led by the organ.
The conventional way of starting a hymn - first two lines, pause on the last note and silence for two beats then start has always been a somewhat hit and miss method; the pulse and rhythm are usually lost with any pause and this convention is almost useless with modern hymns and worship songs that are much more rhythmic or start off the main beat. Because it works sometimes that's no excuse to use it all the time.

The musicality of our hymn playing can be almost primitive when compared with the world of the anthem and oratorio (in sacred music) and opera and pop song (in secular music). There the music is so much more joined up. Only in hymn playing is it so fragmented.

The complete music for each hymn or worship song should be properly worked out and joined up with playovers and bridges leading naturally into each verse. It is good that some recent music is written with the complete score in mind.

The Professionals
Worse still is that this fault is blindingly obvious watching the videos of the big hymns on some major occasions. There are several examples on YouTube of royal weddings, and other state occasions where these faults remain apparent.

CWM RHONDDA slowed down considerably in the 2011 royal wedding and many hymns fail to start properly even with choir and conductor. This is LESS a criticism of the professionals; it is MORE a criticism of the METHOD.

The Scope.
All hymns and songs should be sung like this so I have published this major VOLUME comprising some 250 hymns and worship songs (just over 200 tunes) illustrating how it can be achieved.
(These are The Specials.)

In addition to the detailed work, the Volume includes a table of playovers and verse joins (bridges/short interludes) for a further more straightforward 250 hymns and songs.

You are the Orchestra and the Conductor!
It is your job to
lead; it's a far better expression than the common "accompany" which gives all the wrong messages. You might accompany a choir or a soloist but not your congregation. You have to set the pace and timing.

Organists really do need to look carefully at how they lead their congregations in the singing, and particularly how they lead into each verse; if you get this wrong the whole worship environment can and does suffer.

So before you play your next service, take a good look at the music you are expecting to play and see if it really works or not. Examine the score carefully to see if you could do it better.

You must not be the reason congregations feel uncomfortable about singing in worship. Take a look at the examples on the website. More may be added in PDF for free download.

The Volume

Examples of the playovers and bridges may be seen on their respective pages and some full scores may be found from their links on the Hymns and New Music pages in PDF; I shall be adding more.

Here is a snap-shot illustrating the original large print and 4-hole binding that the Volume comprised. 150+ pages of 100/120gsm paper ensure that the volume lies securely on the music rest.
Please note: I am not now generally offering to print the document for you. Having worked on it for many years it is my intention to make this available FREE in PDF; but if you would like it printed I can do so but will make a charge to cover relevant expenses.

Sample pages from The Complete Hymn...
I wish some of the major publishers would give much more thought to this aspect of their books.

If you do not use the UK standard paper page size (A4), try a download in PDF first from which you may be able to make a satisfactory print or at least extracts.


The Training Session

I have run two evenings where I illustrated from the console what this work is trying to achieve.
For more information please contact me.



Download the Volume in PDF HERE. (6Mb.) Save the file to a folder in the usual way (Windows), or to Files on your tablet. The reason for this is that the tables are very heavy in memory and may stick.


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Clive Sawers - The Complete Hymn/You are the Conductor!