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Title: Hymns of the Church: "Creating God, Your Fingers Trace" - Evangelical Lutheran Worship # 684
Contributor(s): Knijff, Jan-Piet (author)
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: In the thirty years since it was copyrighted in 1979, Jeffery W Rowthorn's hymn "Creating God, Your Fingers Trace" has enjoyed quite some popularity with hymnal committees: It has been printed in at least six hymnals, paired with no fewer than eight tunes! Table 1 offers an overview of the situation ... Why exactly Rowthorn's hymn has been combined with so many tunes - it seems to me that this is an exceptionally high number of tunes for a hymn - is hard to fathom. As for the ELW community, it is interesting that the editors decided not to use DUNEDIN despite its familiarity from 'With One Voice' (WOV) when accepting the hymn for our new hymnal. The marriage of text and melody in WOV can hardly be called ideal-the significant beginning word of each stanza stands a bit in the shadow of the first downbeat God-but hey, how many marriages are perfect? Perhaps even more remarkable than the decision not to use DUNEDIN for ELW is that, instead of turning to one of the five tunes in use with the hymn elsewhere, the editors of ELW decided to pair the hymn to yet another different tune: the "shape-note" tune PROSPECT, found in William Walker's The Southern Harmony of 1835. Although I don't think that the match with DUNEDIN WOV was so outrageous that it had to be replaced at all cost, I do think that PROSPECT is a better match for Rowthorn's hymn. The different epithets of "God" at the beginning of each stanza receive the breadth they need. And the way the four lines of PROSPECT are connected seems to me more "in sync" with the poetry than was the case with DUNEDIN. The problem with the hymn in ELW as I see it is neither with the text nor with the melody-and one might well argue that, for that matter, there is no problem at all. I wish I could agree.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, 17(1), p. 33-35
Publisher: Valparaiso University
Place of Publication: Valparaiso, United States of America
Field of Research (FOR): 190407 Music Performance
220401 Christian Studies (incl Biblical Studies and Church History)
190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950101 Music
950405 Religious Structures and Ritual
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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