Editorial Notes on the construction of the Hymn List

1) Content of the List Material
The titles which the board voted to include on the list, were agreed upon after examining the results of each of the subcommittees who were assigned to examine 1) Music 2) Text  and  3) liturgical suitability.   Not all three subcommittees gave equal value to the hymns considered, and the final decision by the board to include or reject titles was made after weighing up all aspects.  Where there were questions over suitability for inclusion, the board engaged in discussion and debate of the issues, to determine the balance of the outcome in favour or against.

2) Scope of the Review conducted by the NLC Music Board - in general, examination of titles was restricted to hymns and songs (excluding ritual/service music,  lectionary music)  - although as some ritual music and lectionary music does cross over into the area of general hymn/song usage, these have been included where it has been considered appropriate.  E.g. the sequences of Easter and Pentecost, and canticles which properly belong to the Liturgy of the Hours. E.g Magnificat or Benedictus etc.

In some cases, material which may form part of what is more strictly regarded as lectionary music – e.g. responsorial psalms,  is sometimes or even commonly used as hymns and songs at Mass.   In such cases, the most commonly identified titles have been added in an appendix at the end of the main alphabetical list.

3) Concerning the Appendix to the List
In the case of the appendix Psalm material, these have not been evaluated by the subcommittees  because the approved translations are not yet available for lectionary use. They are included for the reason that they are known to be sung frequently as hymns/songs throughout the liturgy, other than as  the Responsorial Psalm in the Liturgy of the Word.  When the approved translations are available, such a list will be made available in the future

4) Indexing method
The board agreed on the preferred systemn of filing by “First line index” in alphabetical order.    Where a hymn is sometime referred to be an alternative title, this is indicated in parentheses  (  ), and using Title Case, and appears at the head of the list.  The first line entry, will therefore appear in the body of the list.   Where hymns may share the same first line but have different melodies, the composer or hymn name is generally given in  <  >  to highlight the difference between them.

5) Variations in Hymn Texts and translation Versions
Even though several versions of  a hymn text or tune may appear on the list, with its references in the various Australian resources,  it does not indicate the boards’ “preferred” version at this stage of creating a list, but simply indicates a number of “suitable” versions and where these may be sourced.  The preferred text version will be determined at the stage of producing the NLC Music Resource database.

Where a text version is particularly problematic, the reference in the relevant resources, has been left out of the list altogether to avoid usage of that particular version.

6) On the use of the Sacred Tetragrammaton
The Music Board noted the instruction given by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in its letter 29 June 2008  to the Bishops’ Conferences, concerning the use of the sacred tetragrammaton.

Mindful of this directive, a number of titles which the board opted to retain were given a provisional approval even though the texts use the sacred name “Yahweh”.   In particular three hymns are noted  -  “I will be Yahweh” (Strong and Constant);  “Yahweh, I know you are near”, and  “May Yahweh bless you” (Blessing Song) – the major publishers have now since issued replacement texts which fit the melodies and thus alleviating the problem.

7) Appendix showing Titles suitable for Children and/ or Youth
A number of the titles examined were considered by the board to be mainly suitable by children and youth,  rather than general adult congregations.   The titles (which are listed in the general alphabetical list) are here listed as an appendix to indicate their particular suitability.    It must be stressed that these titles have been sourced from the principal Australian hymn book resources available in most parishes, and does not necessarily reflect the repertoire of children and/ youth music which may be in use in catholic schools or youth groups.

The 4th subcommittee established by the Music Board, is in the process of examining the bulk of children’s music which is contained in other sources such as “albums” produced by composers who write especially for children. E.g Burland, Mangan, Chin, etc.   These materials have been identified through contact with Resource centres of various Catholic Education Offices, with a view to evaluating further materials suitable for children and youth, for inclusion in the NLC Music Resource in the future.

8) Appendix Listing of Latin Original Sources – since a significant number of hymns in the Australian resources being examined are based on earlier hymn texts composed for the latin liturgy,  this appendix summarise the various translations which appear representing this corpus of classical Catholic hymnody.   Once again, a variety of translations may appear across the different resources, and the references simply indicate the board’s decision of suitable translations.   At the time of producing the Music Resource,  further examination to establish preferred translations for Australian use will be determined.

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