Saturday, July 28, 2007



- The following
is excerpted from the United Methodist News Service, Aug 13, 02: "An
oft-heard myth about the Methodist tradition is that founders John and
Charles Wesley used drinking and tavern songs as the melodies for hymns.
'The Wesleys did no such thing,' says Dean McIntyre, director of music
resources at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn.
'Given their aesthetic and theological sense, it would (have been)
unthinkable for them to do so.' ... McIntyre decided to set the record
straight after returning from this summer's jurisdictional and chapter
convocations of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship
Arts. At each event, someone referred to the 'long-held and oft-repeated
untruth that John and Charles Wesley made use of tavern or drinking songs as
tunes for their texts,' he says. He adds that some people have used the myth
as an excuse for importing secular influences into worship. McIntyre says
the legend began when a seminary or music student became confused over the
musical term 'bar tune' or 'bar form'--a medieval pattern for poetry
consisting of three or more stanzas--which became the pattern for

Someone with no knowledge of medieval poetry heard 'bar form' in connection
with John Wesley, and the songs became tavern songs, he says. ... 'In no
hymn book or other publication of the Wesleys can there be found any example
of or encouragement to use drinking songs to sing hymns,' he says. ...
'Rather, the issue is why Wesley did not use them.' Noting that Wesley found
drinking songs unacceptable, he asks if worshippers today should use music
from the local bar for worship. 'If Wesley's reasoning for the Methodists of
his time remains valid for our own, then the answer is no.' He suggests that
those who 'justify' the use of secular culture and influences in United
Methodist worship by repeating the Wesley legend 'should be called to

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Free Hit Counter