66 of these are copyright-free versions (tune, text, and arrangement) of hymns from one of the two current Unitarian Universalist hymnals.
For the hymns not in the hymnals, I’ve tried to increase racial and gender diversity: 8 are from the African American tradition; 4 by women authors; 1 by a woman composer; and there’s 1 South African freedom song. I’ve also tried to add a little theological diversity: 1 Buddhist hymn; 1 Jewish hymn; 1 Neo-Pagan chant.
In the future, I’m planning to add tunes by Native composer Thomas Commuck, who was the first Native American to publish composed music. I’m also planning to add another 34 copyright-free versions of hymns from the current UU hymnals, bringing the total to 100 (plus the 25 hymns not from the current hymnals). Eventually, all these hymns will be gathered together on a static webpage. (But I don’t know when I’ll finish all these tasks, since we’re moving in a few weeks.)
Info for the newly-added hymns is below the fold.
Call, The — 89, Singing the Living Tradition
Text by George Herbert, The Temple: Sacred Poems (London, 1842), p. 188. In the second verse, “their” is substituted for “his.”
The music is adapted from “The Call,” Five Mystical Songs, by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Two slightly different adaptations are given. The first is the well-known adaptation by E. Harold Greer (c. 1911). The second is a fairly direct transcription of the music for the first stanza in Vaughan Williams’ original composition. Note that while the music is in the public domain in the U.S. and Canada, it’s probably not in the public domain in the E.U., and possibly elsewhere.
Fierce Unrest, A — 304, Singing the Living Tradition
The text is excerpted from the poem “Unrest” by Don Marquis, as printed in his collection Dreams and Dust (Harper Bros., 1915).
The tune was first published in 1816, and is attributed to Capt. Robert Boyd. The tune is called “Salvation.” The present arrangement is from The Southern Harmony (1854).
The tune is #15430 in Nicholas Temperley’s Hymn Tune Index.
I Walk the Unfrequented Road — 53, Singing the Living Tradition
The text by Frederick Lucian Hosmer is excerpted from “A Day in October,” The Thoughts of God in Hymns and Poems: 2nd Series (Boston: Roberts Bros., 1894), pp. 117-119.
The anonymous tune, named “Consolation,” may have been composed by Lucius Chapin. This arrangement is from the Southern Harmony (1854).
The tune is #14117 in Nicholas Temperley’s Hymn Tune Index.
No Longer Forward Nor Behind — 9, Singing the Living Tradition
The text is four stanzas from a poem by John G. Whittier titled “My Psalm.” This version was taken from The Complete Poetical Works of Whittier (Houghton Mifflin, 1894), pp. 397-398.
The tune is an English traditional song known variously as “Van Diemen’s Land,” “The Gallant Poacher,” etc. The tune was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams prior to 1906, and included as the hymn tune “King’s Lynn” in the English Hymnal (1906). Two arrangements are given: first, Vaughan Williams’s arrangement for unison voice and piano; second, a basic SATB arrangement which I’ve released into the public domain.
The tune is #221 in the Roud Folk Song Index.
This Old World — 315, Singing the Living Tradition
The song was first recorded in 1964 on the Folk-Legacy Golden Ring. The lyrics of the first two verses were first published in 1983 in The New American Songster ed. Charles Darling. Darling notes, “Howie Mitchell learned the words to ‘This Old World’ from Bernie Lourie while attending Cornell University.” I can find no earlier instance of this exact text, and my best guess is that musicians in the Folk Revival of the 1950s and early 1960s borrowed phrases from other folk religious songs to make up these lyrics. The 1964 recording simply repeats the first verse as the third verse; for this version, I borrowed phrases from various “floating verses” to make up a somewhat different third verse; I don’t think this third verse is copyrightable, but if it is, I release it into the public domain.
Two arrangements of the tune “Restoration” are provided. The first is from The Southern Harmony (1854). The second is from The Sacred Harp (1911); note that the melody is in the tenor in this second arrangement. One possibility for congregational singing is to use the first arrangement for the first two verses, then when the congregation has the melody firmly in their minds, switch to the second arrangement for some variation. The second arrangement can also be used for SATB singing.
The tune is #25258 in D. DeWitt Wasson’s Hymn-tune Index.