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05.24.1818th ApX Episode on Radio This Weekend
05.24.18Update: What's Going On & What's Gone Wrong?
05.21.18Get Multiple Downloads for One Donation
05.21.18Get Multiple Downloads for One Donation
05.18.18Three Great New ApX Videos
05.18.18ApX in Grade School in the Great White North
05.18.18How to Donate Online or by Mail
05.18.18New ApX USB Thumb Drives in Stock
05.18.18ApX on 30 Different Music Services Worldwide
05.15.18New Single: London & the Land of Lincoln
05.10.18Four Touching Testimonies We Had to Share
05.10.18How to Donate & How to Get Multiple MP3s
05.10.18The Delightful Dozen: 12 Notes from 12 States
05.10.18Encouragement from Abroad
05.09.18From an Oregon Pastor and Night Ranger's Sound Tech
05.09.18ApX Helps Reporter Recover from Tough Meetings
05.04.18Prayers for the Other David Cassidy
05.04.18Video of the Week: I Love Apostle Paul
05.04.18Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's ApologetiX
05.04.18Clues for Our Ninth Single of 2018
05.02.181150 Tracks for $100 (Extended Thru Thursday)
04.27.18Oregon but Not Forgotten
04.27.18ApX Helps College Student Help Others
04.27.18Get Our Complete Library for $100
04.27.18600th Song is Here, New Songbook is Coming
04.21.18Pastors Use ApX Parodies in Church Services
04.21.18400,000 World Magazine Readers to Discover ApX
04.21.18ApX Interviewed by American Family Radio
04.21.18Another Station Adds New ApX Radio Show
04.18.18New Single: 2 Rockers from the 70's
04.16.18New CD Deal Ends Tonight (Get 1 of 27 CDs Free)
04.13.18Music to File Taxes By: ApX Playlist for April 15
04.12.1812th ApX Episode on Radio This Weekend
04.11.18Clues for Our Eighth Single of 2018
04.10.18New CD Deal Ends Soon
04.06.18Bittersweet Testimony from Eastern PA
04.06.18Encouragement from 10 States (Plus Canada)
04.02.18New Single: The Nazarene & The Gadarenes
03.31.18Kenya Believe It? ApX is "Greatest Band Ever"
03.31.18Woman Moved to Tears by ApX Video
03.31.18What Songs Are on the New CD?
03.29.18This Weekend's Single Includes an Easter Treat
03.23.18ApX Passion Week Radio Special This Wkd
03.23.18Kudos from VA, IN, FL, WY & Canada
03.23.18Fabulous Fan Mail from France
03.22.18Here's the ApX Easter Top 40 Playlist
03.17.18More Encouragement from Far and Wide
03.17.18Fans React to Our New Single
03.17.18The Title and Theme of Our Next CD
03.16.18More ApX on the Radio This Weekend
03.14.18New Single: 2 Bands We've Never Spoofed Before
03.09.18Prayers for Keith Haynie's Sister
03.09.18From a New Fan in Manitoba
03.09.18New Clues for You: This Weekend's Single
03.06.18We Need Help, but Good Things Are Happening
03.02.18Encouragement from a Former Atheist in Iowa
03.02.18ApX Album Changed Maryland Man's Life
03.02.18ApX Aids Brothers in Arkansas
03.01.18ApX Video Was Just What He Needed
02.27.18ApX Releases 100th Single (2 New Parodies)
02.23.18Happy 50th Birthday, Todd Waites!
02.23.18Mississippi Man Announces ApX Plan
02.23.18Encouragement from an Educator in Ann Arbor
02.22.18Here Comes Our 100th Single/EP
02.22.18Clues for Our Fifth Single of 2018
02.16.18Fans React to Our Latest Remake
02.16.18New Batch of ApX USB Thumb Drives in Stock
02.16.18Scottish Blog Interviews ApX Lead Singer
02.16.18ApX on the Radio Again This Weekend
02.14.18New Single: Bad-Boy Bands (Not Bad Boy-Bands)
02.09.18Another Station Adds Weekly ApX Radio Show
02.09.18ApX on the Air in Remote Alaska
02.09.18Clues for Our Fourth Single of 2018
02.07.18Happy Birthday, Chris VonBartheld!
02.06.181100 Tracks for $100 Ends Saturday
02.02.18One Good Testimony Deserves Another (from Canada)
02.02.18New Fan in Washington, Old Fan in Alaska
02.02.18Beam Us Up, Scotland!
02.01.18More Stations Add New ApX Radio Show
01.30.18New Single (2 Killer Bs)
01.29.181100 Tracks for $100 Extended Another Week
01.26.18Apol-Annoyance in Austin
01.26.18MI Pastor Speaks Frankly to ApX
01.25.18Clues for Our Third Single of 2018
01.24.18Prayers for ApX Fan Deborah Huff in ICU
01.22.181100 Tracks $100 Ends Soon
01.22.18New Radio Program Will Feature ApX Regularly
01.22.18Pastor Looks Back on 19 Years as ApX Fan
01.19.18Special Request from ApX's Chris Von Bartheld
01.19.181100 Tracks for $100
01.19.18Get Multiple Downloads for Any Size Donation
01.19.18How to Donate Online or by Mail
01.19.18Encouragement from a Pastor in NC
01.18.18The Principal and the Parodies
01.18.18New Single: Tears for Fears & Alanis Morissette
01.16.18New Single (80s & 90s)
01.10.18ApX Lead Singer on ESPN Again This Weekend
01.10.18Fan Will Match Donations Up to $5000
01.10.18You Don't Need to Be in the USA to Enjoy Our USB
01.10.18Clues for Our Second Single of 2018

Fanny Crosby: That Christian Parody Hymnist
Sun., Mar. 4. 2007 6:27pm EST

Legend has it that Martin Luther and John & Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Church) rewrote popular music from the taverns to accompany some of their hymns. Recently, church scholars have presented pretty convincing proof that Luther and the Wesleys did NOT do so, and that the legend arose from a misconception about the word "bar tune" or "bar form," which seminary students assumed meant a tune sung in local drinking establishments, but is actually a form of poetry popular in Medieval times -- a different kind of bar altogether.

Although Luther and the Wesleys may not have used parodies, our friend Randy Hyde (an accomplished Christian parody writer himself) discovered recently that another famous hymn writer did:

As you're probably aware, Francis (Fanny) Crosby was one of the most prolific hymn writers of the 1800s (indeed, of all time) having penned the lyrics to something like 9,000 hymns, including many that are still favorites today including "Blessed Assurance", "Pass Me Not Oh Gentle
Savior", and "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." I recently pick up a biography of Fanny Crosby at church (ISBN 1-55748-731-6) and I came across a statement that I figured you would appreciate:

"By the early 1870s, she was well on her way to becoming the queen of hymnvwriters. Fanny often matched her poems to familiar tunes. An example is "We Thank Thee, Our Father," written to the melody of the famous "Adeste Fidelis." She set poems to Scottish and Welsh airs and used tunes by Stephen
Foster."


Thanks Randy! We already were aware that the founder of another very influential evangelical denomination used parodies, too. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, an extremely evangelical organization that did much to help the poor and the drunks in the streets, used the music of popular tunes for hymns. In the biography, "William and Catherine Booth: Founders of the Salvation Army," by Helen K. Hosier, it states the following:

"Satan would have to be battled within his own strongholds, and any means was justifiable, William decided, if it would attract sinners to listen to the message of salvation ... Thus it was that as the work grew, the music and street parades attracted increasing crowds of people who scorned the regular churches. 'Why should the devil have all the best tunes?' Williamreplied when chided for appropriating music of popular tunes for his hymns ... "

"The saying that 'the devil has no right to all the good tunes' has been attributed to both William Booth and Charles Spurgeon. But it was George Scott Railton, who was to become William's lieutenant general in 1873 and was well-known as an author and songwriter, who concluded an article 'About Singing' (1874) with this impassioned plea: 'Oh, let us rescue this precious instrument from the clutches of the devil, and make it, as it may be made, a bright and lively power for good!'"

The people in the Salvation Army weren't the first to use secular music for sacred purposes, though. Note the following:

"[The absence of contrast between 'secular' and 'sacred' styles of music in the Middle Ages] 'can be shown simply by the observation that a secular song, if given a set of sacred words, could serve as sacred music, and vice versa. Only recently has it been recognized how frequently such interchange took place, and the more we learn about medieval music, the more important it becomes. The practice of borrowing a song from one sphere and making it suitable for use in the other by the substitution of words is known as "parody" or contrafactum.'

(Source: Manfred F. Bukofzer, 'Popular and Secular Music in England', inThe New Oxford History of Music 3: Ars Nova and the Renaissance, 1300-1540, ed. Anselm Hughes and Gerald Abraham (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 108.)

For more information on contrafactums, please go to:

http://www.soton.ac.uk/~wpwt/notes/contraf.htm