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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

December 7, 2018

Macaronic dilemma

evelyn @ 11:05 am

It’s decision-time again, and someone is bound to be offended …

This time it’s all about that famous macaronic carol, In dulci jubilo.

Macaronic? asked half the choir. The other half turned towards our social secretary, who had just booked the choir pizza evening.

No, it’s nothing to do with food, I explained. A macaronic carol is in a mixture of languages, in this case Latin and English. No, I don’t know why it’s called that. It just is.

But the point is, it isn’t in the hymn book, and even if we have the words printed out, the people will have trouble with them. Nobody learns Latin these days. ‘Good Christians all, rejoice’ is in the hymn book, and it’s exactly the same tune. And it’s the tune that matters, isn’t it? Well, isn’t it?

‘No’ was the answer to that, and to be honest, I sympathised. I actually do like the medieval words. I was just trying to think of the greater good, as they say. Or, to put it another way, how to offend the smallest number of people.

Our leader jumped in at this point and suggested substituting In dulci for ‘O holy night’. Her hatred of ‘O holy night’ is legendary, so that didn’t wash. As usual, the men were leading the rebellion, but when the altos joined them I knew the battle was over, and I would have to comply.

But I was determined to have the last word. ‘OK, but if it means a lot of type-setting, I’m not doing it.’

However, it’s pretty straightforward, and won’t be a lot of bother. I just hope the people don’t complain that they are being left out. We don’t want another ‘O holy night’ episode’ or its sequel.


1 Comment

  1. Beautiful!

    Comment by Maeve Logan — December 7, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

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