1. Saying Goodbye to a Great Staffer: Edial
    Please help me wish Edial a wonderful blessed journey as he steps down from CF staff.
    His footprint on our ministry will always remain but his presence will be greatly missed. I'm sure he will come around as a member to all his favorite forums but for now please join me at his profile page to wish him many thanks for the years of service he has brought to us all.
    All of us on CF staff will miss him dearly!!
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Welcome to Christian Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
  • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
  • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting after you have posted 20 posts and have received 5 likes.
  • Access to private conversations with other members.

We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Bar Room Hymns?

Discussion in 'Christian Music' started by VCViking, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. VCViking

    VCViking Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel...

    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    157
    Marital Status:
    Married
    Faith:
    Calvinist
    I keep hearing people say that most hymns are really just bar room songs with the lyrics changed. I can't seem to find any info to validate this. Has anyone any info as to the contrary?

    Thanks.
     
  2. redeemedbychrist

    redeemedbychrist Just a Channel Full of Blessing...

    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    9
    Marital Status:
    Single
    Faith:
    Christian
    I have never been to a bar to know about this. But I do know that in Wales, my homeland, many hymns are turned into "rugby songs" and its a shame because people then sing them without seeming to think about the meaning.

    3 examples-
    Calon Lan (welsh hymn)
    Bread of Heaven (guide me oh thou great redeemer)
    and Amazing Grace
     
  3. Willing Spirit

    Willing Spirit Newbie

    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    10
    Marital Status:
    Single
    Faith:
    Charismatic
    Good question.

    This is my long answer.

    The bar room argument is sometimes used by those trying to defend contemporary music in the church (something that has been frowned on for its secular associations).

    It is undeniable that secular music had an important influence on hymn music. The entire genre of classical music (including opera & classical hymns) would not exist without the contribution of secular music. The old gospel hymns of the 19th Century and early 20th Century, owes much to the popular parlor ballad style of the day, often drawing on other influences such as marches, waltzes, and operetta. Even ragtime rhythms found their way into some old gospel hymn compositions, such as the 1914 hymn "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart".

    Many hymn tunes have been borrowed from secular songs. This has been especially true of Salvation Army hymns and folk hymns. Some of the old gospel hymns and Sunday school songs also borrow secular tunes. It is also true that the hymn text "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"" by Charles Wesley, was partially based on the lyrics of a secular operatic air "Fairest Isle" by John Dryden. (The Dryden song makes a reference to the pagan love goddess Venus).

    However, very few of the secular melodies used are actually drinking tunes or "bar room songs". The only two examples I'm aware of were taken from music hall and changed into Salvation Army hymns. This includes the tune of "Champagne Charlie" which became Captain William Baugh's "Bless His Name, He Set Me Free" and "Here's To Good Old Whiskey" which was transformed into "Storm The Forts Of Darkness" (nor sure of the author). These two examples are apparently the exception to the rule. Most of the secular tunes used had nothing to do with drinking, and many of them had clean wholesome lyrics in the first place.

    There is also a very large group of hymn tunes that were original and not borrowed from any previous source (however influenced in style by the secular). This is true for example, for most Fanny Crosby hymns. Additionally you have many hymns from British writers like Isaac Watts, that were written with no music at all. They simply composed the lyric of the hymn, and allowed others to chose their own melody that would fit the lyric. A lot of the text for these hymns were written in so called "ballad meter", which easily fit the melodies of secular ballads and other available songs.

    So looking at the big picture, it is an exaggeration and myth to say that most hymns are simply bar room tunes with new lyrics. So people defending contemporary music in church, should not rely on this argument. But neither can the traditionalists take a totally hardcore stance against secular music, unless they are willing to throw out their own hymns. That's my conclusion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  4. VCViking

    VCViking Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel...

    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    157
    Marital Status:
    Married
    Faith:
    Calvinist


    Thank you.
     
  5. Willing Spirit

    Willing Spirit Newbie

    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    10
    Marital Status:
    Single
    Faith:
    Charismatic
    Your welcome.

    Here is some more info that will probably be of interest to you:

    http://apologetix.com/faq/faq-detail.php?faq_q_id=89

    To quote one part of the link above:

    "Legend has it that Martin Luther and John & Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Church) rewrote popular music from the taverns to accompany some of their hymns. Recently, church scholars have presented pretty convincing proof that Luther and the Wesleys did NOT do so, and that the legend arose from a misconception about the word "bar tune" or "bar form", which seminary students assumed meant a tune sung in local drinking establishments, but is actually a form of poetry popular in Medieval times -- a different kind of bar altogether."

    Here is another link, which gives a list of secular melodies used by the Salvation Army, including one of the drinking songs I mentioned earlier. Keep in mind, not all of the parodies are of Salvation Army origin:

    http://www.themeonline.ca/UserFiles/The Salvation Armys secular heritage.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
Loading...