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07.03.20How to Donate & How to Get Multiple MP3s
07.03.20Next CD Coming Soon: What's It Called?
07.03.20ApX Episode 128 This Weekend
07.03.20Bible Reading Update: Deuteronomy 22-Judges 6
07.03.20The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 8
06.29.20New Single: '78 and '90
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06.26.20Clues for This Weekend's Single
06.26.20ApX USBs Contain Complete Catalog
06.20.20God Turns Prayer Request to Praise Report
06.20.20Here's an ApX Father's Day Playlist
06.20.20New Single: '67 & '84
06.18.20ApX Alum Keyboardist Releases New Album
06.13.20Watch ApX Accept Award Online Today
06.13.20Prayer Request for Kansas Pastor
06.13.20Clues for This Weekend's Single
06.05.20How to Donate Online or by Mail
06.01.20New Single: Sisters Side by Side (80's Ladies)
06.01.20Over 1300 Tracks for $100
05.29.20How to Help the Studio Where We Record (It's Free)
05.28.20Clues for This Weekend's Single
05.28.20Another New Video from Our 25th Anniversary Show
05.23.20The 365-Day Album Challenge
05.23.20Prayers for ApX Fan & Fiancée with COVID-19
05.21.20New Single: 2 More from Our 25th Anniversary Show
05.15.20Alphabet Super: ApX from A–Z (Again and Again)
05.11.20New Video from Our 25th Anniversary Show
05.08.20Here's an ApX Mother's Day Playlist
05.08.20New Single: 2 from Our 25th Anniversay Show
05.01.20ApX Webmaster Facing More Health Challenges
05.01.20Prayer Request from a Fan
05.01.20Bible-in-a-Year Finishes Next Tuesday
04.25.20Songs We're Working On While Staying at Home
04.25.20What J's Been Reading in 2020
04.18.20Whatever Happened to the 25th Anniv. Recordings?
04.13.20This Week's News Update: CD BOGO Ends Tonight
04.13.20New CD BOGO Ends Tonight
04.10.20J. Sings All of the #1 Songs from 1964-78 in Order in 25 Minutes
04.10.20ApX Easter Playlist Now on Spotify
04.07.20This Week's News Update: New USBs in Stock
04.03.20God Enables Fan to Help Others in Midst of COVID-19
04.03.20Passion Week Playlist: ApX Songs for the Season
04.02.20New Video from ApX 25th Anniversary Show
04.02.20Happy Birthday, Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner!
03.31.20This Week's News Update: New CD Sent to Fans
03.24.20New Single: 70's Superstars in '69 & 83
03.22.20ApX Featured on Syndicated Canadian Radio
03.22.20Clues for Our Sixth Single of 2020
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03.07.20Great Observations from the Great White North
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03.07.20Clues for Our Fifth Single of 2020
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02.15.20Tom Milnes to Return to Studio with ApX
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02.07.20Clues for Our Third Single of 2020
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Fanny Crosby: That Christian Parody Hymnist
Sun., Mar. 4. 2007 6:27pm EST

Legend has it that Martin Luther and John & Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Church) rewrote popular music from the taverns to accompany some of their hymns. Recently, church scholars have presented pretty convincing proof that Luther and the Wesleys did NOT do so, and that the legend arose from a misconception about the word "bar tune" or "bar form," which seminary students assumed meant a tune sung in local drinking establishments, but is actually a form of poetry popular in Medieval times -- a different kind of bar altogether.

Although Luther and the Wesleys may not have used parodies, our friend Randy Hyde (an accomplished Christian parody writer himself) discovered recently that another famous hymn writer did:

As you're probably aware, Francis (Fanny) Crosby was one of the most prolific hymn writers of the 1800s (indeed, of all time) having penned the lyrics to something like 9,000 hymns, including many that are still favorites today including "Blessed Assurance", "Pass Me Not Oh Gentle
Savior", and "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." I recently pick up a biography of Fanny Crosby at church (ISBN 1-55748-731-6) and I came across a statement that I figured you would appreciate:

"By the early 1870s, she was well on her way to becoming the queen of hymnvwriters. Fanny often matched her poems to familiar tunes. An example is "We Thank Thee, Our Father," written to the melody of the famous "Adeste Fidelis." She set poems to Scottish and Welsh airs and used tunes by Stephen
Foster."


Thanks Randy! We already were aware that the founder of another very influential evangelical denomination used parodies, too. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, an extremely evangelical organization that did much to help the poor and the drunks in the streets, used the music of popular tunes for hymns. In the biography, "William and Catherine Booth: Founders of the Salvation Army," by Helen K. Hosier, it states the following:

"Satan would have to be battled within his own strongholds, and any means was justifiable, William decided, if it would attract sinners to listen to the message of salvation ... Thus it was that as the work grew, the music and street parades attracted increasing crowds of people who scorned the regular churches. 'Why should the devil have all the best tunes?' Williamreplied when chided for appropriating music of popular tunes for his hymns ... "

"The saying that 'the devil has no right to all the good tunes' has been attributed to both William Booth and Charles Spurgeon. But it was George Scott Railton, who was to become William's lieutenant general in 1873 and was well-known as an author and songwriter, who concluded an article 'About Singing' (1874) with this impassioned plea: 'Oh, let us rescue this precious instrument from the clutches of the devil, and make it, as it may be made, a bright and lively power for good!'"

The people in the Salvation Army weren't the first to use secular music for sacred purposes, though. Note the following:

"[The absence of contrast between 'secular' and 'sacred' styles of music in the Middle Ages] 'can be shown simply by the observation that a secular song, if given a set of sacred words, could serve as sacred music, and vice versa. Only recently has it been recognized how frequently such interchange took place, and the more we learn about medieval music, the more important it becomes. The practice of borrowing a song from one sphere and making it suitable for use in the other by the substitution of words is known as "parody" or contrafactum.'

(Source: Manfred F. Bukofzer, 'Popular and Secular Music in England', inThe New Oxford History of Music 3: Ars Nova and the Renaissance, 1300-1540, ed. Anselm Hughes and Gerald Abraham (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 108.)

For more information on contrafactums, please go to:

http://www.soton.ac.uk/~wpwt/notes/contraf.htm