A cord of three strands is not easily broken

Data articolului: 23/10/2016 20:35:39

Many ask us what we’re up to at Jubilate and how they can pray for us. We’re working on volume 2 of Culegerea Jubilate – a book of hymns for the entire church. We have a firm conviction that the most important music group in the church is the congregation.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken…

Many ask us what we’re up to atJubilate and how they can pray for us.We want to take the opportunity to thank you for your support of thework to which God has called us and to let you know what we’re up to!

We’re working on volume 2 ofCulegerea Jubilate – a book of hymns for the entire church. We have a firmconviction that the most important music group in the church is thecongregation.  Even though we publishmany choral scores, our heart is that the entire congregation worship, whetherthrough congregation singing or through the special offerings of the choir.  

The first Jubilate hymnal waspublished in 2003 and we praise the Lord for the way He has used these hymns incongregations throughout Romania as well as abroad.   The Jubilate hymnal adds repertoire to thealready existing denominational hymnals.We choose not to attempt to replace those hymnals, knowing the amount ofwork that went into each one; but rather to come alongside and supplement thealready beautiful work done by the evangelical denominations for theircongregations.  So, you’ll not find songslike “Amazing Grace” in the Jubilate hymnal since we know that such hymns arealready included in the repertoire through existing hymnals.

Instead our goal is to provideadditional songs toward the building up of the church.  To this end, we think of the verse,Ecclesiastes 4:12 that says: a cord ofthree strands is not quickly torn apart.The three strands that we take very seriously in the production of theJubilate hymnal are these:  theological,poetic and musical.  Each of these songsis analyzed and filtered as we choose the repertoire to be included in thecollection.


Of utmost importance is thetheological accuracy of the congregational songs that we include in the book. Itis said that Christians learn more of their theology through the songs theysing than through catechisms and Bible studies.Why?  The combination of text andmelody gives an extra strength for the concepts presented to remain in thesinger’s heart.

There is an interesting event in thelife of Moses.  In Deuteronomy 31:14, Godtells Moses: Behold, the time for you to die is near…”and what does the Lord tell Moses to do before his death?  We see in verse 19:  Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, andteach it to the sons of Israel; put it ontheir lips…

It matters what we sing!

So, as we choose songs for the hymnal, we askourselves these questions:

·Is the message of this song in agreement withBiblical truths?

·Does the text honor God? 

·Is the text edifying, uplifting?

·Is it theologically accurate?

·Does it communicate a Biblical concept aboutlife and the world?

We often think of thechurch’s song selection as a diet of spiritual food.  Do we survive on diluted songs, full ofbanalities, or do we delight on the solid food that comes from rich churchtradition?  The inclusion of new songsbased on rich church tradition is also, of course, a priority for us.



Here we consider melody and harmoniesused in the arrangement - that make it easy for the congregation to sing.  We are including songs that have a structurethat is intuitive to sing.

We are paying careful attention to themelodic and rhythmic ‘traps’ found in many contemporary songs.  Sometimes a song has too many syncopatedrhythms to be sung whole-heartedly by the entire congregation.  Melodic snags show up in other ways.  Sometimes the melody has a range that is sonarrow that it is hard to tell one song from another.  A song’s melody is the most important musicalpart in congregational song because the melody ‘carries’ the message.  So we look for beautiful melodies that havethe best vocal range for the majority of the congregation.   

We are so thankful for a team of arrangers working on these songs in order tobe „dressed well.”  Each song isarranged to an intermediate level for the accompaniment – beautiful, but nottoo complicated.  We will include manysongs for four voices so that choirs can use these songs in leadingcongregational singing.  In this volume,many will be happy to know that we will include guitar chords!

Here are the musical questions we ask outselves:

·Doesthis song communicate with musical integrity?Is it interesting and even valuable?

·Doesthe melodic contour and the rhythm lend itself to congregational singing?

·Doesthe harmony support and motivate the melody?

·Doesthe composer express his thoughts and feelings in a sincere manner, avoidingfluff?

Of course, we also take the time to analyze the combination of text andmelody.  We ask ourselves thesequestions:

·Isthere a good marriage between the text and music?

·Doesthe music support the significance of the text?

·Knowingthat musical style also communicates in a specific way, is the style of thesong appropriate for the text?

·Dothe accents of the music naturally correspond with the accent of the words?



Here are the questions we ask ourselves about the poetry of any potentialsong for the collection:

·Isthe song well-written in terms of the vocabulary used, the grammar, the syntax,the poetic language, the use of figures of speech (metaphore, similes, etc.)

·Doesthe text have integrity and literary value?

·Isthe text consistent with the principles of logic and aesthetics?

·Isthe text written with care and precision?

·Is itcharacterized by simplicity and beauty?

·Hasthe poet chosen the best words and structure for his thoughts?

·Doesthe song avoid clishee?

·Ifthe song is translated from another language, is the translated text faithfulto the original?


Here we would like to describe theprocess for each song chosen for the hymnal.But first, we look for songs!  Tothis end, we held hymn-writing contests in 2013 and 2014.  Through these contests, we came to know morecomposers from all parts of Romania.  Atthe end of each contest, we held an Eveningof Romanian Hymns. Along with the musical fruit of these contests, we havelooked for songs on Youtube and through the suggestion of many friends.

When it comes to translated songs,we are including songs over a span of many years – from J.S. Bach totoday.  We see value in including manystyles and many different expressions of worship.

Once we have a basketful of songs,we begin the selection process after which the songs will be subjected to theabove filters.  With each song we askourselves if the song is faithful to Scripture, if it’s beautiful bothmusically and poetically.

When a song is chosen, we alsobegin the process of having a musical score in the format of the book:  cataloging the song, putting with musicalnotation in the appropriate software, corrections, arrangements, corrections,put in the template, corrections, typeset, corrections, corrections and morecorrections…

In thinking of the book as a whole,we consider the message of the song.Each song will fit into the outline of the book.  Then, there is the typesetting – working tonot have a page turn in the middle of a song.Afterwards, we will insert Scripture readings according to subject categories.

During this time, we will pursue copyrights,the permission to print the songs, from either the composer or theadministrator of the copyrights.  Thiswork is surprisingly difficult.  When itis necessary, we will pay the fees required.Each foreign firm that must be paid, can hopefully provide us with adocument that helps us to not pay double tax without certain European proof ofresidence papers.  There is a completeprocess for each song. 

Only at this point are we ready tosend the book to the printers.

Please pray with us for this laborious process even as we press on for theprize!  We hope to have the hymnal readyin 2017.  Until then, there is a lot todo, including a move for our office so that we will have warehouse space forour books.  Your prayers are an importantpart of our work.  Thank you!

Be filled with theHoly Spirit, singing psalms andhymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord inyour hearts. (Ephesians 5:18-19)


Cuvinte cheie: Culegerea Jubilate volumul 2, English,
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