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Hymns of Zion enhance worship

Church leaders encourage use of the hymns of Zion, not just in congregational singing, but for instrumental and vocal performances in a worship service.

Bonnie L. Goodliffe, a Temple Square organist and former member of the General Music Committee of the Church, conducted an idea exchange on the topic, "Using Hymns for Special Musical Selections."The following ideas on special treatment of hymns were included on a printed handout she prepared for the session. She emphasized that these ideas are "for occasional use only, not every hymn, not every week." She further admonished: "Experiment at home or in a rehearsal setting, not during the meeting. If you think it may be too much, it probably is!"

  • In a choir, have one verse sung by men only or women only.
  • Have the men sing the melody while the women sing the alto part. (Other ideas for vocal adaptation are in the "Using the Hymnbook" section of the Church hymnbook.)
  • Include an instrumental or vocal obbligato (special accompaniment) in choir performances.
  • Feature a vocal solo on one or all verses of a hymn.
  • Feature an organ or piano solo on one verse before or after the choir sings.
  • Include a poetic reading of the text.
  • Use accompaniment other than keyboard instruments.
  • Sing different verses to a hymn than usual.
  • Make unusual combinations of text and music. The "Meters" index in the Church hymnbook can be used for this purpose, as it lists each hymn under its metrical heading so that hymn texts of like meter can be matched with a variety of hymn tunes. For example, "Guide Me to Thee" (No. 101) can be sung to the tune of "Nearer, My God, to Thee" (No. 100). In making such adaptations, however, Sister Goodliffe cautions, "Use care!"
  • Sing a hymn unaccompanied, either in unison or in parts.
  • Sing a verse adding one vocal part with each line.
  • Change keys during the performance. In doing so, however, use restraint.

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