The Complete Hymn
A modern, sensible and logical way to play hymns and worship songs...

So what about the old convention?

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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.

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 the music so fragmented.

The complete music for each hymn or worship song should be properly worked out and joined up with play-overs 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 are apparent.

CWM RHONDDA slows 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 play-overs 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 is added regularly in PDF for free download.

The Volume

Examples of the play-overs 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; we shall be adding many more.

Here is a snap-shot illustrating the large print and 4-hole binding that the Volume comprises. 180 pages of 100/120gsm paper ensure that the volume lies securely on the music rest.
Please note: I do NOT sell the folder; you will need to buy one; make sure that it is robust enough and preferably four-hole punched. The rings should be O not D and large enough for the 90 sheets of 120 gsm paper that you will receive.

Sample pages from The Complete Hymn...
We 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 we illustrated from the organ console what we are trying to achieve.
I will bring this to you wherever you are (UK) but expenses will be expected. For more information please contact me.




The volume itself is written and the music extracts complete and congregation tested. I have received most of the permissions to publish the extracts where necessary.

Over the last twelve months or more I have been checking and re-checking! There is additional material coming along all of the time. Each volume is uniquely printed and dated. This will help you with updates which will be listed on the website.

Ordering information - see Contact Me



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Clive Sawers - The Complete Hymn