An unusual Christmas carol

Back in 1845, Thomas Commuck published a book of sacred songs titled “Indian Melodies.” Commuck called his book that because he was a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation. In the introduction, referring to himself in the third person, he tells why his published his book: “his object is to make a little money.” To increase sales, he managed to convince Thomas Hastings, then a well-known composer of sacred music, to harmonize Commuck’s melodies. Commuck then named most of the tunes after Indian tribes.

Most of Commuck’s tunes are delightful, and Hastings’s harmonizations tastefully support the melodies without overwhelming them. The tune “Uncas” is simple but very singable, with a fun arrangement by Hastings. And the words are a classic Christmas text, “Shepherds rejoice, lift up your eyes….”

So here, for your Christmas pleasure, is Thomas Commuck’s Uncas. Commuck and Hastings put the melody in the tenor line (as was common in early American sacred song); I’ve switched their soprano and tenor lines, so that the melody is now in the soprano.

Sheet music for Uncas.
Click the image above for a PDF of the sheet music.

More problems with captchas

A reader emailed me saying that he had been prevented from entering a comment by my captcha plugin (Simple Cloudflare Turnstile); he got a message saying he had to verify he was human but was not given a problem to solve. Reading the online forum for this plugin on reveals that others have had this problem, too. Then today I got shut out of logging in by exactly the same problem. That did it. I logged in from another computer, and disabled the Simple Cloudflare Turnstile plugin.

Most captcha plugins for Wordress use Google’s recaptcha service. I refuse to use Google products because of their evil practice of stealing user data. However, there are now WordPress captcha plugins using the hCaptcha service, which has a much better privacy policy: “Our systems are designed from the ground up to minimize data collection and retention while maintaining class-leading security. The best way to protect user data is not to store it at all.”

It’s too bad I had to do this. Simple Cloudflare Turnstile has a lot of potential — keeping bots at bay without making everyone solve a stupid captcha puzzle. But when it blocks me from logging into my own blog — well, that’s something I just can’t accept.

I apologize in advance for making you (and making myself) solve a stupid captcha puzzle.