It’s fascinating to me that I have had several requests from older people in our congregation over the years to do the hymns faster. Consider the following clips:
Amazing Grace – Old School and Fast!
Amazing Grace – Modern, Bluesy and Slow!
Leaning on the Everlasting arms – Old School and Fast!
Leaning on the everlasting arms – Old School and Slow
Leaning on the everlasting arms – “New” Crowder version and medium/fast
Leaning on the everlasting arms – Buddy Grene/Gaither style … slow and groovy …
So… as you can see there can be a whole variety of speeds (tempos) that work for songs.
Why the request to speed them up? I’m just guessing here, but …
- So you can fit more hymns in. Makes sense.
- Personality. You aren’t particularly comfortable with slow meditation, you are a fast, hard worker. No dilly dallying!
- Slow=boring and you don’t want people to find the hymns boring
- You don’t like to emphasize the beat and enjoy a groove, in fact an underlying groove is just lost on you.
- Tendency towards adding rhythmic syncopation when things are slowed down, and older people tend to struggle with syncopation, because the music they grew up singing had more complex melodies and less complex rhythms.
- Different Stylistic Preferences
Am I missing some reasons?
Regardless, I have swallowed my personal preferences before and done a hymn way faster that I prefer, with no groove at all, but it is very uncomfortable for me to be so “unmusical” from my perspective, but I’m afraid there are some in the congregation who think I’m part of conspiracy to get people to not like the hymns because they are slow and “boring” … even though the exact opposite is true for me. As a musician I’d rather take my time and really enjoy the song, especially if it has a bunch of archaic words that I can’t comfortably just spit out, or I won’t have time to think about what I’m even singing.
Sometimes we might just have to agree to disagree and hope we can do it agreeably, at least on this side of heaven. 😉
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