The Midnight Cry

During the pandemic, almost all of us have experienced the midnight cry. Awake in the middle of the night worrying, reliving all of our misdeeds, slights, inventing fear after fear, suffering…

This article — https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/covid-19-is-wrecking-our-sleep-with-coronasomnia–tips-to-fight-back-/2020/09 — talks about it and has some helpful suggestions.

I’ve suffered from it, too. That’s why almost all of the music videos I’ve recorded during the pandemic were done around 4 am, sometimes even 2 or 3 am. I can really related to the sentiment of the title of this hymn tune from Southern Music, and Musical Companion. Nothing human is really that new is it.

Idumea

Another new setting of a tune from Southern Harmony. Several of the Southern Harmony hymn tune names have their source in the Hebrew Bible. Every lazy person’s (like me) guide to the universe (Wikipedia) says “ancient Idumea or Edom, [was] a historical region south of Judea and the Dead Sea. This Wikipedia article on Edom (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edom) has considerable information, including a map. A detail about the sources of Idumea (or Edom) is this: “The Hebrew word Edom means “red”, and the Hebrew Bible relates it to the name of its founder, Esau, the elder son of the Hebrew patriarch Isaac, because he was born “red all over”. As a young adult Jacob, Esau’s brother, stole Esau’s birthright by deceiving their aging father into thinking Jacob was Esau. Jacob for ‘red pottage’. The Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] describes the Edomites as descendants of Esau.

“This hymn tune is another that’s new to me. I think it captures the longing for a home and the feeling of isolation in a remote desert.

Solicitude

A new one in my current project of setting some tunes from the “Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion.” I love writing countermelodies and this arrangement was no exception. I’m grateful to the teacher of my freshman theory course, Dr. Walter Teutsch, for beginning our first two years of theory with a year of counterpoint, FIRST, before “Harmony.” Usually, it’s reversed. He began with a solid semester of 16th Century (sacred, Italian) counterpoint, and then a semester of tonal counterpoint (J.S. Bach style). I specify the sacred and country because by the time I’d finished grad school I’d had courses in Italian secular counterpoint, English secular counterpoint, etc. Anyway, thank you Dr. Teutsch (now long deceased) who escaped from Nazi Germany before the US entered the war.

Charlestown

Easter Sunday was the first Sunday I returned to playing services in-person. It had been more than a year. The Easter videos for last year were among the very first in our effort to continue to provide spiritual community only via the internet. I’ve learned a lot during this year, especially about making videos, but also about music itself. At 76 you wouldn’t think I’d still be learning about music, but I am, mainly about how much better the music gets the simpler you make things!

This past Sunday was my third week of playing an in-person service. During these past two weeks, I’ve taken a “vacation” from making videos, except for an Earth Day compilation that will post this coming Thursday, Earth Day.

So, I’m resuming making a couple mid-week videos today with this beautiful tune from The Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion: Charlestown.

When I do these, I take the melodies directly from the Southern Harmony itself, deleting any of the harmony and counterpoint of the original, keeping only the melody. If it’s also published in various hymnals, I completely ignore those settings, so I’m interacting only with the original tune, devoid of even its own original harmony.

I didn’t know this tune, but I discovered and making the video, it does appear in some hymnals. I’m glad. It’s a beautiful melody.

Thorny Desert

If you’ve ever spent time in the desert, you’ll know that despite the thorns there are times–especially in the moonlight when you stand there alone, very still, listening–the dew sparkles and glistens and there’s a refreshing, peaceful, soul warming breeze.

Pisgah

The title of the tune, Pisgah,” from the tune from Southern Harmony, derives from the Hebrew word for summit and was the biblical mountain from which Moses first saw the promised land. It’s also the name for a mountain in North Carolina! For the complete story of how this part of American came to have a name from the ancient book of Deuteronomy see https://www.pisgahinn.com/history-of-pisgah-inn/.

The Lone Pilgrim

This repository of tunes from almost 200 years ago is so rich, so contemporary in its emotion, exploring each tune is an experience outside time itself. I’d never heard of this particular tune, The Lone Pilgrim. If it’s not in some hymnal, it’s a shame. Love this song. Love it…

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