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37

I don't know that there is any evidence that the tritone was ever formally banned by the Catholic Church, although that story does get passed around a lot. An actual Church document that discusses this and puts the claim in context is needed. I see no mention of tritones or intervals of any type in Musicam Sacram of 1967. The Sacrosanctum Concilium of 1963, ...


19

The numbers you are referring to are most likely hymn meters. No, not a scale of how well the hymn was received, or how loud it should be, but actually an indication of the meter of the hymn. (Wikipedia has a good article on hymn meters.) The numbers themselves refer to the meter (number of syllables) of each line. Thus, 87.87.87 would mean the first line ...


13

Tritones have been used since Gregorian Chant days. There are several common patterns that outline a tritone and a few instances where a direct tritone is used. The term "Devil's Interval" seems to refer to the difficulty of resolving the interval rather than in forbidding its use. One amusing (if true) use was the direct F to B (I think downward) interval ...


11

It certainly isn't banned now! And the whole historical mythology of banning the 'Devil's interval' though a nice idea, is rather dubious. As well as being the engine of a dominant 7th chord, resolving to a major 3rd (or its inversion, a major 6th) it's almost achieved consonance status when used as a b5 by jazz players.


10

I think you're about right. Homophony is the concept of a single 'line' as such, potentially split across several parts, but all moving at the same time - parts mainly follow the same rhythm. Polyphony is when there is multiple melody lines at the same time, interacting with each other. What's important to remember is that there should be a degree of ...


7

Organists are one of the very few groups of musicians who have to learn not to listen to what they are playing, because (except for situations where a detached playing console is in the middle of the building) what they hear while playing has no resemblance to what the audience is hearing. Even with a relatively small pipe organ with the console "built in" ...


4

Chord tones are a great place to start. There's all the usual suspects, but do try adding ninths into major chords. You could also try and find one note to sustain over multiple chord changes. It might not be a note that's actually in the chord (ninths, and suspended fourths can be good here). An improvisational technique that I've used is a guide tone line....


4

Originally, carols - simple songs - were sung and often danced as a celebration of something joyous, often in the open air, by 'the common people'. It's said that the first carol was 'sung by angels from the sky', not surprisingly, at the first Christmas. The words still survive, apparently. Logic says that to be a Christmas carol, the words would have to ...


4

Formulas for terminations: The different intonations of the antiphons have given place to the diverse final cadences in each mode, in order to facilitate the intonation of the antiphon, when psalm ends. The termination of each particular case is indicated in two ways: a) placing next to the modal number of the antiphon a letter that indicates the ...


3

There are no strict rules for naming hymn tunes - as the composer, you're free to name it however you like. From a historical perspective, though, most tune names come from a few different sources: People. Often, tunes names will be given based on the name of the tune composer, or the author of the text it was written for. (This is almost always done well ...


2

You can very effectively play the melody. And, as endorph says, you can probably play less. Everyone in a church band can probably play less. And quieter. If you find yourself playing at the beginning of a song and not stopping until the end, you are definitely playing too much!


1

Whether 'Amen' is appended to every hymn during a service is completely down to the traditions of the individual church. I don't hear it much. Maybe your church likes it. Fine. During a Carol Service or concert I'd say no. But, if a clergyman is involved, ask him.


1

I think you can do a lot of interesting things by playing chord tones. Not just the root, but 3rds and 5ths and 7ths. One thing that I think works well over a Plagal cadence (IV -> I, like F -> C), is to play the root of second chord over both chords (C over the F, and sustain the same C through the C chord). (I realize this answer is very short. I will ...


1

Here is a list of the Orgelbüchlein, which sounds like what you're looking for (or at least might be a start): Advent BWV 599 – Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 600 – Gott, durch deine Güte, or: Gottes Sohn ist kommen BWV 601 – Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn, or: Herr Gott, nun sei gepreiset (also in the Neumeister Collection) BWV 602 – Lob sei dem ...


1

Homophony and polyphony are the two ends of a spectrum. Most music lies between the two extremes. As soon as a guitarist accompaning a singer realises that it sounds better when the bass notes move in contrary motion to the melody, we have an element of polyphony. When we write SATB harmonisations of a hymn tune, with everyone singing the same words and ...


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