The Old Made New: Fresh Arrangements on Hymn Standards

Earlier, I began a running list of modern hymns written in the 1990′s to present date.  Now I would like to look at some hymns that have been given a new spin from a solid arrangement, added chorus, or a time signature change.  I will be posting two hymns a day for the next few days, and here are some noteworthy ones to start with…let me know if you have some to add!

Be Thou My Vision (posted 2/4/11)

  • Thomas Road Baptist Church, Eleanor Henrietta Hull, Mary Elizabeth Byrne, Chorus by Adam Lancaster
  • Public Domain (hymn)/Arr by Adam Lancaster via LifeWay.com
  • CCLI song number 30639
  • 1991 Baptist Hymnal #60
  • Exact Arrangement available via choral anthem at LifeWay.com

This ancient Irish tune has been a foundational hymn of the faith for countless years.  Based off of Psalm 83:25, Be Thou My Vision needs no “tweaking”, but in the defense of the new arrangement, only adding a simple refrain strengthens the original lyric and melody.

Thomas Road Baptist Church and Adam Lancaster made this arrangement widely-known in their worship services and LifeWay amde the arrangement available to the churches as a choral anthem.  This arrangement is also on the CD of TRBC’s worship leader, Charles Billingsley.  Lancaster uses a couple of subtle chord changes to add a nice progression.  The added chorus is simply: “Will you guide me, when I can’t see, please Lord, lead me, you’re all that I need.”  Lyrically, they skip the hymn’s original second and fourth verse but use 1 and 3.   Here is the format of the old made new hymn:

Verse 1 (solo) / Verse 1 (Repeated with choir) /  Chorus / Verse 2 (Hymn’s 3rd verse) / Chorus

Listen to the song here.

“One Day”/”Living He Loved Me (O Glorious Day)” (posted 2/4/11)

  • Casting Crowns/L. Wilbur Chapman/Charles Marsh
  • Public Domain
  • CCLI song number 63596
  • 1991 Baptist Hymnal #193
  • Exact arrangement is found in “super chart” form via LifeWayWorship.com

Casting Crowns hit two out of the park on their “Until the Whole World Hears” album (this one and “Blessed Redeemer” seen below).  Hear mark Hall (lead singer of Casting Crowns) talks about the “Living He Loved Me (O Glorious Day)” here.  The original hymn has five verses and Crowns uses four out of the five on their arrangement.  The hymn was composed in 9/4 time and the new arrangement has a 4/4 time signature.  The arrangement is in this format:

Verse / Chorus / Verse 2 / Chorus / Verse 3 (hymn verse 4) / Chorus / Bridge (hymn verse 5) / Chorus

Check out the song (via youtube) here.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (posted 2/4/11)

Christ Tomlin arranged this song in 2006 by using the original “Amazing Grace” verses 1, 2, and 4 while adding a final verse and chorus.  Hear Chris talk about the song, here.  Tomlin arranged the song in this format:

Verse 1 / verse 2 / Chorus / Verse 3 (hymn verse 4) / Chorus / Chorus / Verse 4 (new verse)

Listen to the song here.

To God Be the Glory (posted 2/3/11)

  • Tommy Walker, Fanny Crosby, and William Doane
  • 2005 Doulos Publishing (Admin. by Maranatha! Music)
  • CCLI song number 4556208
  • 1991 Baptist Hymnal #4
  • arrangement avaliable at CCLI SongSelect

Tommy Walker arranged this hymn by changing the time signature from the original 3/4 time to 6/8 time with a 3/8 bar included for metric/rhythmic consistency.  The lyrics are all the same as the original text from Doane.  The arrangement even keeps words like “hath” and “vilest” which would commonly be changed in other arrangers opinions.  Walker has updated the form a bit by using it in this format:

Verse 1 / Chorus / Verse 2 / Verse 3 / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus

The bridge was added by Walker: “Glory, glory, glory, glory, give Him glory, great things He has done!”

This song can easily be used in congregations with no need to “train” the congregation first.  Simply change the time signature and skip the bridge.  You could do it this Sunday, in fact.  Here is Walker with a recording of the song.

Blessed Redeemer (posted 2/3/11)

  • Casting Crowns, Avis B. Christiansen, Harry Dixon, Loes
  • 1921. Renewed 1949 Harry Dixon Loes. Assigned New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
  • CCLI song number 14954
  • 1991 Baptist Hymnal #149
  • Exact Arrangement available via “superchart” at LifeWayWorship.com

Casting Crowns arranged this song on their “Until the Whole World Hears” album which came out November 17, 2009.  Crowns put a minor tonality in the verses and switched to major in the chorus.  They kept nearly every word from the original text (only changed “tongue” in verse three to “song”).  In the hymnal, “Blessed Redeemer” is in 9/8.  The new arrangement is in 4/4.  The Crowns perform it in this format:

verse / chorus / verse / chorus / chorus / verse / chorus (added chorus)

Visit this link at youtube to see Casting Crowns perform it live at the 2:17 mark of the video.  Here’s a clip of Mark Hall (lead singer of Casting Crowns) speak about the song here.  Or, here is a clip direct from the recording (also via youtube).

OTHERS:

9 thoughts on “The Old Made New: Fresh Arrangements on Hymn Standards

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  3. I love this website. Thank you for the work you put into finding old hymns made new. Maybe you can help me find one that I heard on the way to church one Sunday morning about 3 or 4 yrs ago on KFSH, it was so familiar and yet I couldn’t place it at the time. Then it came to me that it was the words that were familiar and not the melody. The song is “How Firm a Foundation” sung by Chris Wright (not Rice) and I can’t find it anywhere. I would love to hear it again and use it in our worship music. Thank you for your help!

    • yep! its on there…just a the bottom…I had it as “holy holy holy” so I updated the name. thanks for the comment, Matt!

      Dennis

  4. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a
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    • Great! Thanks for visiting the site and for leaving a comment! Hope the new initiative goes well for you!

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