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Marje Throwing away the crutch.... (184* d) RE: Throwing away the crutch.... 27 Jun 13

There is some cross-over in parts of the UK: I'm thinking of the evangelistic tradtion, with hymns such as "In the Good Old Way" or "Blessed Quietness", which do get sung in secular folkie gatherings at times. Some of these may well be Anerican in origin, as much of the evanglistic approach has been over the years, but I don't think they're felt to be foreign. Traditional carols, in the style of the Sheffield carols or West Gallery, are also part of the folk tradition. I thinks they are usually sung as songs (with little or no pious or devotional feeling) rather than hymns.

But the point about these hymns is that they are designed to be sung without books - they usually contain a large proportion of repeated or chorus material that's easy to join in with, and only a line or two of new text in each verse.

There is, however, another reason that people expect to sing from books on both sides of the Pond. Like many people of my (now retired) generation, I was raised in a tradition of hymn singing from hymn books. We did this in Sunday School, in Church, and every day of my school life. Even when we were six, the words would often be up on a blackboard for us to sing from.

So although communal hymn-singingbut is not a common feature of modern life in the UK, many of the people over 50 who insist on reading every word from a book or file have, like me, spent their formative years singing from hymn books like this, and don't know how to do it any other way.

I don't like it in a folk setting, I think it's lazy and unnecessary, but I can see how it has come about.


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