Here is another question that our Songbook committee has addressed:
“We notice that the HP has changed some of the notes and the keys in which some
hymns are written in the blue Psalter Hymnal (bPH). Why is that?
In many instances, we believe the bPH sets hymns at an unnecessarily high key. We know
of many organists and other musicians who typically lower the key when they are
playing the hymn in a worship service. So we have adjusted many songs to a lower
key. Our preference is that the notes of a hymn would go no higher than a high D
and no lower than the A below middle C.
In other cases, we are recommending the traditional melody of a classic hymn, but with a more
interesting musical notation. Some of this enhanced music we are borrowing from
the grey-covered Psalter Hymnal and we will seek their permission for use in our
new songbook. See, for example, “Come, All You People, Praise Our God” (HP #5)
and “Comfort, Comfort Now My People” (HP #109; note that this musical rendition
is actually closer to the original version, written in 1551). ”
Do you agree? I have often found it to be the case that certain songs in the bPH have keys that are definitely too high. It becomes apparent in the singing of a number of stanzas that, not only men like myself with low voices, but the congregation as a whole, is having difficulty handling the key. “I Will Sing of My Redeemer”(HP #92) is one of those songs that has a new tune (and a good one IMO). “Am I a Soldier of the Cross” (HP 214) gets a new key which brings it into a more singable zone.