Monday, March 14, 2011

Rules for Hymn Singing

I`ve just discovered something I didn`t know.

No, I`m not saying that I know everything, far, far from it.

But, looking at details of the new hymn book to be produced for the Methodist Church later this year I was just surprised to find that John Wesley had written a set of rules for people for singing hymns.  

Rules that particularly caught my eye were: -

3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a single degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing. 

4. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan. 

5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound. 

7. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven. 

The full list of rules can be found and read here

I think it would be good if they printed the list in the hymn book when it`s published.   Wonder if they will?


Z said...

Hm. Getting the balance between 4 and 5 could be tricky. I'm glad I'm the organist and rarely have to sing.

stf said...

I think Wesley was right. There's power in singing the words of God over us and we should do so with confidence in HIM and worry less about how our own voices sound to others!