Descants of hymns and songs

A choir descant in the final verse of a hymn can be truly inspiring for a congregation. But many commercially published descants can exhibit two major difficulties: (a) an assumption that its singers are comfortable on and above top G and still have headroom; (b) the entry notes of phrases may bear little, if any, relation to the hymn tune itself.

But in many smaller churches, the demands imposed by such assumptions are unrealistic. So these descants are specifically intended to be quickly and comfortably achievable by inexperienced singers. They are being written for, and have been used and tested by, our own small choir of amateur singers, for leading our congregation.

The lines flow melodically; the entry notes are easy to pitch and relate to the tune. Further, they are not only well within range but also have comfortable tessitura. For example their highest note is almost always only F (occasionally F#) and their sojourn there is brief.

See also the arrangements, some of which include descants.

Tune name First line Score Audio Other comments
Angel voices Angel-voices ever singing PDF  
Aurelia The Church's one foundation PDF  
Blaenwern Love divine, all loves excelling PDF  
Broken for me Broken for me PDF   Tune included by kind permission of Sovereign Music UK.
Coe Fen How shall I sing that majesty? PDF   Written for the installation of Barnaby Huish at St. John's, Nevilles Cross and St. Margaret's, Durham. Original tune (not included) copyright © Oxford University Press
Cross of Jesus Come, thou long-expected Jesus PDF  
Diademata Crown him with many crowns PDF  
Dix For the beauty of the earth PDF Another common text for this tune is As with gladness men of old.
Fulda We have a gospel to proclaim PDF  
Gerontius Praise to the Holiest in the height PDF  
Hyfrydol Alleluia, sing to Jesus PDF  
Lord of the years Lord for the years      
Lord the light of your love Lord the light… (Shine, Jesus, shine) PDF   Tune included by kind permission of Make Way Music.
Maryton Jesu, thou joy of loving hearts PDF  
Merton Hark! a herald voice is calling PDF (E)

Michael All my hope on God is founded PDF   Original tune (not included) copyright © Novello & Co.
Monks Gate He who would valiant be PDF  
Moscow Thou whose almighty word PDF  
Noel It came upon the midnight clear PDF  
Offertorium We hail thy presence glorious PDF  
Praise my soul Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven PDF  
St Leonards May the mind of Christ my Saviour PDF  
Woodlands Sing choirs of heaven! PDF  
Woodlands Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord PDF  
  Kyrie eleison     From: Dinah Reindorf (Ghana) Kyrie in World Praise (HarperCollins).