As someone who has an interest in the various tunes to which hymns are set, particularly regional variations within countries and differences from country to country, this article by Donald Keddie, published at Heidelblog, on the tune CRIMOND and the metrical setting of Psalm 23 as used the wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth’s wedding caught my attention.

The article weaves some North American hymn history among the social history the royal wedding, and reveals how this particular setting of The Lord’s My Shepherd became a widely used traditional element in Christian Services of various types.

The Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten in 1947 would be a worldwide event followed by an international audience. It seemed to offer hope of a new era of happiness in the aftermath of World War II.
The music director of the Royal Wedding, William McKie (1901–1984), visited Balmoral in Scotland and heard one of Princess Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, Lady Margaret Egerton, singing a descant of Psalm 23 to CRIMOND, accompanied by Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. McKie wanted to include something Scottish in the Royal Wedding, and Psalm 23’s pastoral imagery fit the bill perfectly.
Unable to find the music for the descant and with two days to go to the wedding, McKie wrote down the music himself shorthand and taught it to the Abbey Choir.
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The fame of the Royal Wedding made Psalm 23 to CRIMOND a Christian pop song of its era. The brighter, more joyful tune gave new life to the psalm. As a result, American Protestants of all denominations began singing Psalm 23 to this tune, and American Presbyterians embraced a metrical psalm from their own tradition again.

Read the whole post here.

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