Music Notes for Lent 2


Hymn 340, We sing the praise of Him who died, is set this week as the sermon hymn at the 10.30am service. The words will be familiar to you but the tune, BOW BRICKHILL, may not. You can listen to the tune on YouTube where it is sung by the choir of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in the UK (embedded below).

The tune BOW BRICKHILL was written by Sir Sidney Nicholson (1875-1945). It is very singable and rather beautiful. It gives us an opportunity to broaden our repertoire and to use BRESLAU (set in the 1940 Hymnal for We sing the praise of Him who died) for the hymn Take up thy cross, the Saviour said instead.

Nicholson was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey and subsequently founder of the College of St Nicholas, which later became the Royal School of Church Music, and to which St. Thomas’ is affiliated.

I very much hope you enjoy singing this hymn on Sunday.


Many of you will have noticed that I have been pointing the plainsong psalms differently from how they are set out in The Plainsong Psalter. The reason I have been doing this is to avoid any ambiguity about which note is sung on which syllable.

The principles are as follows:

  • The first two notes (intonation) are, in most cases, sung by the Cantor alone at the start of the initial verse, with the men coming in on the reciting note for the second half of the initial verse.
  • We move off the reciting note at the first italicised syllable or word.
    Syllables or words in bold are sung on the same note.
  • A Flex (pause) is indicated by a dagger in the text, and in Tones I, IV, VI, & VII necessitates a fall of a whole step; in Tones II, III, V & VIII this will necessitate a fall of a minor third, as in the second half of the psalm Gloria.

For further information, please consult: A Grammar of Plainsong.

I hope this is helpful; if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. If you have favourite hymns that would like to see included in services, please let me know by email: