As Lent progresses, and Holy Week draws nearer, I wanted to share another new reworking of a familiar Lenten hymn that I've done this year.
"My Song Is Love Unknown", a hymn text by Samuel Crossman in the 1600s, was not very familiar to me until I came across it while looking for song ideas for Lent this year. It's a beautiful text, but the tunes it was set to were not very memorable, and I think that was partly why I had not known it well before.
But what a wonderful hymn! The poetry is magnificent, and the theological message is both deep and personal, placing us among the crowds that cried both "Hosanna" and "Crucify" during Christ's final week, and affirming that our true song is one praising the incarnational and sacrificial love of our Savior and Friend, who suffered pain and death as "love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be."
Also, the meter and rhyme scheme are fascinating. The stanzas each have a distinct A section and a B section, and each section has different phrase lengths and a unique rhyme scheme.
The A section of each stanza has 4 phrases of 6 syllables each, with a familiar, alternating rhyme scheme of ABAB.
The B section of each stanza has two pairs (4 total) of four-syllable phrases, and the rhyme scheme switches to ABBA, with the first and last lines rhyming.
I was intrigued and decided to take on the challenge of writing a new melody that would fit the text, compliment the poetry and make it accessible, and bring out the uniqueness of this hymn's shifts in meter and rhyme without making it sound like two disparate melodies duct-taped together.
The result is a tune that I'm pretty proud of (at least for now), and that I think meets the goals I had for it.
Give the song a listen (I've embedded a soundcloud upload of a rough live version below). And then comment on this post, give me feedback on facebook, or shoot me a tweet (@lukehyder), and let me know if you think it works
And if you would like to use the song in worship this Lent, you can view and download a leadsheet of my retune HERE.