Sunday review: “All Creatures of Our God and King”

Image courtesy of the blog, “Good Fruit”

We began our congregational singing yesterday at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church with “All Creatures of Our God and King” – an updated version of the hymn that uses drop-D DADGAD tuning in the guitar. Here’s what the forces involved were:

  • Worship leader: vocals and acoustic guitar
  • 2 female vocalists
  • choir
  • electric lead guitar
  • piano
  • bass
  • drums
  • pipe organ
  • congregation

Some notes – our congregation and choir members who are long-time church folks learned this first with the original rhythmic and metrical design of the hymntune, LASST UNS ERFREUEN ( link). Our updated chart is in 4/4 all the way through. Folks in the congregation had an initial adjustment to make if they already knew the hymn, but it was an easy adjustment because they could see the worship leader and the vocalists. The choir, on the other hand, had a harder time because they could NOT see the faces of the leaders. They did figure it out after a verse, but in hindsight I should have gone over it with them ahead of time, even if it had just been that morning before the service. I just didn’t think it would be a problem. Whoops!

All that said, it ended up being a fun chart to play, GREAT words to sing, and enough familiarity and newness to bridge the generations in our congregation. I was pretty happy about the way it turned out. (NOTE – if you play the chart, know that we extended the BbM7 chord another 2 beats at the end, 6 beats in total. Just felt better.)

Download the chart: PDFSibelius 7MusicXML


  • Note: The text in our hymnal is under copyright, so the chart offered here has no lyrics.
  • You are free to use at your church – I just ask that you shoot me a note to let me know you are using it.

Soli Deo gloria!

Best music library program – and, what’s an incipit?


Sure – use Excel if you want to. No shame in that. But AT LEAST turn on the Auto-Filters. You’ll thank me later.

OR…. use an actual database. Right now I am really happy with Google Fusion tables. I basically took my Excel list, exported it as a .csv file, imported it into Fusion Tables and went from there. It’s amazingly powerful and customizable, and much easier to deal with than a raw MySQL database (which is what I was using for a while).

Whatever program you go with, make it more than a list of stuff.

Too often we think of the library file as a way to store stuff and find it later. While that is true it is MUCH more helpful to think of the library as a ministry and planning resource! Come up with the questions you are often trying to answer when planning, and figure out the best way to represent the answers to those questions in your music library data file.

For example – I often can remember the melody line of a hymn before I can think of the name of the text or the tune. So, it is helpful for me to quantify the melody into a searchable term. “Holy, Holy, Holy” (NICAEA) opens with the following incipit: 113355 (do, do, mi, mi, sol, sol), so I entered that numeric code into an “Incipit” column and can now search for that melody. And, a neat side benefit is that as the database grows and you search it for incipits, you will discover similar melodic contours in hymns that you never ever thought of as being related.

This link will take you to the public version of my Google Fusion Tables database – the subset that contains only hymns. Play with that and search by incipit in your browser. It’s pretty cool.