Key Index to "Gospel Melodies"
By: B. G.
"The original published version of this article contains one or more illustrations. To view the illustrations, please view the PDF version of this issue which can be found in our archives."
The accompanying key index to Gospel Melodies can be of invaluable help to the song leader in bringing variety and greater interest into his song service.
For instance, let us say that the song leader has decided to sing during the song service a solo on the second coming of Christ or on the prospect of the Christian's privilege of seeing Jesus face to face. He notes that his solo is written in the key of A flat, so he checks the songs written in A flat in this key index to Gospel Melodies and finds songs on related subjects such as "Christ Is Coming," No. 180; "My Saviour First of All," No. 192; "Where the Gates Swing Outward Never," No. 195.
In the song service he has his accompanist prompted so that when the congregation or audience conies to the end of this congregational song, he launches right out and without an introduction sings the related solo in the same key, as if it were part of the congregational song; but naturally the audience stops singing during the solo. In a measure this will be startling to the audience when it is done for the first time, but if the theme of the solo is related to the congregational song they have just sung, the people will immediately see the connection, and it will go home to their hearts with telling effect.
If you are using the congregational song "Face to Face," No. 193, which is listed in this key index under B flat, it is very effective when you come to the end of the last chorus to sing just the chorus of Charles Gabriel's song No. 6 in Rodeheavers High Voice Collection:
"When I look in His face, His wonderful face,
In heaven, that beautiful place!
All the hardships of earth will seem nothing,
When I look in my dear Saviour's face."
This short little chorus coming as a coda to the congregational song is very effective and will be deeply appreciated by the audience. Similarly, one stanza of "Beyond the Sunset" in the "high-voice" key of G No. 10 in Rodeheaver's High Voice Collection—is very effective at the close of "Marching to Zion," No. 191 in Gospel Melodies. If the song leader is a baritone, he can easily arrange for a tenor or soprano to step forward at a prearranged signal and sing the solo. Similar arrangements can be easily worked out, with a little study, for low-voice soloists.
If in the young people's society or in an evangelistic song service the song leader is privileged to have working with him a male quartet and also a choir, sometimes a series of three or four songs in the same key can be worked out, and thus the intensity of the combination can be built up. For instance, after the singing of a solo the quartet comes to the pulpit, picks up without a break right where the soloist leaves off, singing in the same key and on a related subject now four voices instead of one. As soon as the quartet is finished, the choir can come in, having been previously prompted and thus adding their larger aggregate of voices to the crescendo of the theme that is being developed. Naturally, all these songs should be related in subject matter. With this key index, of course, it is a simple matter to work out such an arrangement.
The song leader should keep in mind that very often a song can be used which is only a half- step higher or a half step lower, simply having his accompanist change the key a half step to fit in with whatever plan he is working out. Thus when looking for related songs in the key index, say in B flat, look also at the songs in B and A, for these can be used in the key of B flat if necessary.
Testimony in Song
Another very fine plan that can be worked out is to have the congregation give their testimony in song. I often tell a congregation that it is a real thrill to lead great audiences in singing, but there is one unfortunate feature about large meetings; it is the fact that we cannot take time for the old-fashioned testimony meetings, when all would have time to testify of their love for their Saviour and their gratitude for the wonderful things He has done for them. But I tell them I have now found a way in which we can still have the old-fashioned testimony meeting, no matter how large our congregation may be. However, now we sing our testimony. I tell them to close their books, for "now we will sing from the heart."
I have all these songs arranged with the accompanist beforehand in the key of A flat, and then we begin by singing our confession of our need of Christ, just as in a verbal testimony. The first stanza and chorus only of "I Need Thee Every Hour" are sung; then, without any break, we go immediately to the next selection, which is a song of reconsecration, giving ourselves anew to Christ: "I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me." Then as soon as we come to the end of the first stanza and chorus of this number, we sing the chorus only of "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.". This is a testimony of the change that has been effected in the heart, and in this in stance we sing only the chorus. Without a break we go to the next song, which looks forward to the day when the great family of God will be gathered in the earth made new. This is depicted by singing the first stanza and chorus only of the old favorite, "When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more." To finish this little testimony in song, we use the chorus only of "The Glory Song," "O that will be glory for me." You will find that your congregation will greatly enjoy giving their testimony in song. The accompanist will, of course, have to play these without the music, for there is no time to turn from one number to the next. I usually give her a card with the key and sequence written out as follows:
First and chorus—"I Need Thee Every Hour."
First and chorus—"I Am Thine, O Lord."
Chorus only—"Since Jesus Came Into My Heart."
First and chorus—"When the Roll Is Called up Yonder."
Chorus only—"The Glory Song."
We hope that these few suggestions will start you on a train of thought that will develop your own combinations of using related songs on any given theme. This will bring greater interest and meaning to your song services.
Let us ever keep in mind, however, that whatever we do in a song service should not be done just to be novel or different. Instead, everything we do should have a, deeply spiritual atmosphere and there should be a definite reason for whatever is done that is unusual or different, and of course our great business as singing evangelists is to save souls.
The index on page 25 can be clipped out of THE MINISTRY and pasted into the back of your Gospel Melodies.
Hymn Society of America
HAROLD B. HANNUM: Professor of Organ and Theory, La Sierra College
Our workers, especially our musicians who are interested in hymns and the music of the church, will be interested in the work of the Hymn Society of America, whose headquarters are at 297 Fourth Avenue, New York 10, New York. This organization welcomes into membership those who are interested in hymns, their history and use in the church, and the promotion of greater interest in this part of worship.
Members receive the published papers of the Hymn Society, which includes a quarterly magazine called The Hymn. In recent issues have been articles on Isaac Watts, the Scottish psalter, and other topics of vital interest to the hymn lover.