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Normally I think it unwise to point out problems with Hymns; doing this will too often serve to detract from worship the next time the reader sees the song. But my thought here is that perhaps a worship director will see my comments here and attempt to improve upon the original.

 

The hymn in questions is “Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven”

 

And here are the lyrics of the first verse:

 

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, to his feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.

 

So, the faithful reader might ask, what is the problem? Good, biblical lyrics – praising God. A strong melody. But here, let me put up the lyrics with the syllables that are stressed by the notes of the melody (and this assumes, I’m afraid, that you know the melody):

 

Praise, my soul, the King OF heaven, to his feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, FORgiven, evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise THE eVERlasting King.

 

Do you see? Words that are less important are sung more strongly because of the way the melody was written. This also happens in a significant way in other verses.

 

And here is what I would like to point out – it’s all quite fixable. Just hold King for Another beat – The KING of HEAVen and this is no longer a problem. This works for other poorly stressed words as well.

 

Choir directors, music leaders, make the change the next time you use this hymn. If anything the children will be less confused.

 

Improving worship on a potentially global scale – just one more service provided here at the Responsible Puppet.

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