Musical Notes ♫♬ (Archive)
Our Hymn of the Day, "I come with Joy" is another one of those good Southern Harmony pieces. A while back we talked about how Southern Harmony really changed the way people sang and had access to singing. Southern Harmony was developed as a new method of teaching someone to read music using simple rhythms and only a few changes in pitch (usually only 6 different pitches used and we only have 6 in this hymn) which in turn allowed for greater access to singing by the general public. You didn't need a piano and you could sit in your revival tent with this music and figure out how to sing it. It's really a brilliant concept and these hymns have been passed down through generations and are some of the favorites in the repertory today. One of the many great things about these hymns is that the meter lends itself well to be set to a variety of different texts, much like how Brian A. Wren did for this particular hymn.
The tune THE ASH GROVE used for our final hymn "Sent Forth by God's Blessing" (also used for "Let All Things Now Living") is a traditional Welsh folk song. The original text to the folk song is found below. Further proof that any song can be turned into a hymn and any hymn into a song....especially if you are sitting around the organ in the living room singing with friends and family.
The ash grove how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking
The harp through its playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking,
A host of kind faces is gazing on me.
The friends from my childhood again are before me
Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden the leaves rustle o’er me
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.
Down yonder green meadow where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading I pensively roam
Or in the bright noon tide in solitude wander
Amid the dark spaces of that lonely ash grove.
‘Twas there while the black bird was cheerfully singing
I first met my dear one the joy of my heart
Around us for gladness the blue bells were springing
The ash grove, the ash grove that sheltered my home.
My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness;
No dream of the future my spirit can cheer.
I only can brood on the past and its brightness
The dear ones I long for again gather here.
From ev'ry dark nook they press forward to meet me;
I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome,
And others are there, looking downward to greet me
The ash grove, the ash grove, again is my home.