Using Hymns in a Postmodern World
Few, if any people in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) have put as much thought into worship, at least worship music, as Kevin Twit. Here are a number of articles by Kevin and others.
To hear some hymns recasts with modern tunes, go to http://www.igracemusic.com/ and click on any of the five album covers.
By the way, some people don't like it when we "change" the tunes to old hymns. While there is something comforting about the familiar, there are good reasons for this. First of all, if you look through the hymnal, you will notice that most of the tunes were not written at the same time as the text. So, in most cases, there is no "original" tune. Secondly, if you go the back of the hymnal, you will notice that there is a Metrical Index. That index is there so that you will know which tunes can be sung to which texts. There is a long standing tradition of NOT singing hymns hymns to the "traditional" tune. Thirdly, sometimes the tunes we think of as being the "original" just don't fit. I realize that there are some people who love the Scottish Psalter, but it seems that the Scots had a knack for taking glorious psalms and putting them to depressing, unsingable tunes. Fourthly, musical tunes are cultural expressions. Even a cursory glance of music history (and even church music history) will show that the musical style of the church has always been changing. After all, even in the most traditional churches Protestant churches, we sing with the use of hymnals, organs, and pianos, which were not even invented at the time of the early church. The early church didn't even use harmonies. Fifthly, some great hymns with great texts are being lost because they are attached to unsingable tunes or tunes that don't connect with modern and post-modern people. Sixthly, a new tune can make you see familiar words in a new light.
More to come later.