Musical setting of the
"Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective"


The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective was written by a committee, 1995. Here is a new musical setting by Bradley Lehman of the "Unison Reading A" in that publication...the reading is in the printed version and at the Mennonite Publishing House site; the longer articles are available in this web version by Jon Harder.

This litany ("Unison Reading A") is printed in the booklet with a note:

"This unison reading was written with a fairly regular meter in order to make it suitable to be set to music and sung."

The meter is somewhat regular, but only loosely; one must in many cases fit extra syllables between the accented beats, or in other cases have syllables sung across several notes. I have tried to line up the syllables as seems best to me, making the rhythm as natural as possible given the irregularity of the text.

The primary difficulty of singing this text as a song is in fitting all the words in properly; I have tried to design the music to be easy and repetitive, so that the congregation can concentrate on getting the words. (Ideally, someone should rewrite the words using absolutely regular poetic meter, or at least rewrite them so that the syllabication is the same in all stanzas.)

The music is only half as long as it appears on the page. Each half is identical music, adjusted only for the numbers of syllables at those places in the text. Therefore, although the page seems to have four stanzas, it is actually the same music (two lines) going eight times. The hymn tune is named COF, irregular meter.

This musical setting is, like Schoolhouse Rock and advertising jingles, based on the principle that if one sings a text rhythmically to catchy music, and repeats it enough times, one will quickly memorize that text and eventually pick up its content as well.

Let's sing it!

See the printed page which may be printed from your browser. Please keep in mind that both the words and the music are copyrighted; you may use this for educational purposes only. Also, cleaner copies are available...the resolution of a page scan can't be perfect, and the words are of necessity quite small....

Hear the parts and the whole in MIDI

If you have MIDI capability on your computer, you may download these play files to hear the music, as an aid to learning the song. Windows 95 has MIDI play built in already; for older Windows or Mac machines you may have to install a separate player, if you do not already have one. See my MIDI page for more instructions.

In accordance with my philosophy of congregational singing, the music is not "melody and accompanying parts" but rather four independent melodic lines. Each must have interest in itself for the singers of that part: integrity as a melody. The four parts then fit together into a greater whole.

For further information about any of my hymns, or for permission to use/publish them, or for suggestions of texts I might set in future work, please contact me:

Dr Bradley Lehman
address available by request

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NEW! Concordance to Hymnal: A Worship Book

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