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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
A Glasgow leader of psalmody on repeating tunes

AT a meeting some years ago, for the practice of sacred music, in a leading United Presbyterian church in Glasgow, the leader of psalmody, as those formerly called precentors are now termed, in the course of some observations on Church psalmody, called attention to the want of good taste in the selection of tunes, which in most cases will not bear to be sung to any other words than those for which they have been specially composed. In one of them the last line of the verse, which had to be repeated, was, "And bow before the throne"; but, as sung with the repeat, it was, "Bow-wow-wow before the throne."

Another was equally ridiculous; the words were, "And for His sheep He doth us take," which, from a similar peculiarity in the repeat, was rendered in the singing, "And for His sheep hed," "And for His sheep hed," "And for His sheep He doth us take!"

In a third the repeat was," O send down sal," "O send down sal," "O send down salvation to us"; while in a fourth hymn the females had a repeat to themselves, which, it is to be presumed, the spinsters would sing with heart and soul, "O for a man," "O for a man," "O for a mansion in the skies !"

Of course the effect of such outrageous solecisms on good taste, not to speak of the apparent blasphemy and indecency of them in many cases, can have no other effect than to destroy that propriety of feeling and conduct which should always exist among those engaged in such a solemn exercise. Our leaders of psalmody, therefore, ought to be more careful in their selection of tunes, and see that they are suitable the words. Above all, let them avoid repeat tunes, unless they are certain that incongruities can be avoided; otherwise the consequences are inevitable, and the services, instead of having that solemnising effect which they ought to have, will only make the foolish laugh, and the judicious grieve.

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