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10.21.17Get Multiple Downloads for Any Size Donation
10.21.17How to Donate Online or By Mail
10.21.17Amazing Testimony from a Fan's Son in AZ
10.21.17How to Donate & How to Get Multiple MP3s
10.21.17Michigan Men Go to Green Bay for ApX Experience
10.21.17From Foster Care to Adoption to ApologetiX
10.21.17What You Need to Know About Our Next Single
10.20.17San Antonio Pastor Encourages ApX
10.20.17New CD in Stock and Sent to Fans (Buy 1, Get 1 Free)
10.20.17What Songs Are on the New CD?
10.13.17From a Dad in Connecticut
10.13.17Amazing Things God is Doing in Iran
10.13.17A Tribute to ApX Friend Millie Gerbo
10.12.17ApologetiX in Green Bay Saturday (25th Anniversary)
10.12.17From a Foster Mom in Colorado
10.11.17ApX Alum Drummer Needs Alabama Musicians
10.10.17Buy Our Next CD, Get 1 of 25 CDs Free
10.07.17New USBs with Complete Library in Stock
10.07.17The Title and Theme of Our Upcoming 49th CD
10.06.17Next Saturday: ApX 25th Anniv. Concert Midwest
10.06.17Join J. & Jimmy for a Special Show This Sunday
10.06.17New Single Spoofs The Cars & The Raspberries
10.04.17New Single, Help & Prayer Needed
09.29.171050 Tracks for 100 Bucks Ends Saturday
09.29.17Help & Prayer Needed
09.28.17Clues for Our Next Single
09.26.17The Latest News from the Man Called Moose
09.25.17Half Off CDs, MP3s & DVDs Ends Saturday
09.25.17Half Off & 1050 Tracks Deals End Saturday
09.20.17This Looks Like a Job for an ApX Fan
09.18.17New Single Spoofs 70's & 80's
09.17.17New Single Spoofs Tunes from '70 & '83
09.14.17Clues for Our Upcoming Single
09.14.17Powerlifter Pumps Up ApX with Encouragement
09.01.17Encouraging Emails: Eight is Enough
08.29.17Is There a Missing Churchigo EP?
08.28.17New Single Here at Last
08.26.1725th Anniversary Lapel Pins Now Available
08.26.17Anniversary Shirts Available at Last
08.26.17New CD BOGO Sale Ends Sunday Night
08.26.17About This Weekend's Single
08.18.17So How Did Things Go at the Anniversary Show?
08.18.17ApologetiX in Green Bay in 2 Months
08.18.17ApX Keyboardist Todd Waites Has New Video
08.18.17Anniversary Shirts Available for Order Soon
08.05.17ApX: Safe Bet for Sunday School in Reno
08.05.17ApX Parodies Touch Deep in the Heart in Texas
08.05.1725th Anniversary Shirts Coming Next Week
08.05.17Big Show is One Week Away, 80% Full Already
08.02.17New Single Spoofs 2 Hard-Rockin' Classics
07.29.17Clues for Our Next Single
07.29.17ApX Played Nationally on 700 Stations in Australia
07.26.17ApologetiX Needs Help & Prayer Again
07.20.17Minnesota Couple Will Reunite at Anniversary Show
07.20.17The Story Behind Our New Song "Works"
07.17.17New Single (California 80's-Style)
07.14.17Clues for Our Upcoming Single
07.07.17Send Us Your Video for the 25th Anniversary Show
07.07.17Fans from 28 States Coming to 25th Anniversary Show
07.06.17New Single (All 80's), New CD Mailed to Fans
06.30.17Clues for This Weekend's Single
06.30.17Get a Custom ApX Lapel Pin
06.23.17What Songs Are on Our New CD, Zebraic?
06.23.17New CD in Stock, Buy 1 Get 1 of 28 Titles Free
06.23.17New Single Spoofs 'Til Tuesday & REM
06.19.17New Single is Here, New CD is Almost Here
06.17.17ApologetiX: That Christian Wedding Band?
06.17.17Clues for Sunday Night's Single
06.09.17New Single Spoofs Two American Bands
06.09.17Norway to Heaven: Fan Mail from Scandinavia
06.09.17An Edifying Email from a Delaware DJ
06.09.17The Title and Theme of Our Upcoming 48th CD
06.02.17Prayers for ApX at the Wailing Wall in Israel
06.02.17Ohio Man Says ApX Show Was a High Point in His Life
06.02.17Clues for Our Upcoming Single
05.30.17ApologetiX Needs Summer Help and Prayer
05.26.17Fan Mail from a Science Teacher in MI
05.23.17New Single is a Sequel: Poisonous Scorpions Vol. 2
05.20.17Keith Haynie Returns from Nashville, Rumors Abound
05.20.17Seats Filling Fast for 25th Anniversary Show in August
05.20.17Clues for Our Next Single
05.18.17Custom ApX Lapel Pins Available
05.15.17Autographed CD Sale Ends Tuesday
05.12.17New Single is Our Most Creative Ever
05.12.177 Autographed CDs (Ends Tuesday)
05.12.1710 Little Opinions: Brief Notes from Fans All Over
05.12.17Happy Birthday, Moose!
05.08.17Get Multiple Downloads for Any Size Donation
05.05.17Clues for Our Next Single
05.05.17Some Scriptural Thoughts About Cinco de Mayo
05.05.17Clues for Our Next Single
04.28.17Bible Quizzers Celebrate with ApX Victory Song
04.28.17How About New Shirts and a New DVD?
04.28.17New Single Spoofs Van Halen & Loverboy
04.24.17New Single Spoofs 2 Bands That Epitomized the 80's
04.22.17New Zealand Fan Listens to ApX Several Hours a Day
04.22.17ApX as Big in Japan as in the United States
04.21.17Clues for This Weekend's Single
04.21.17New CD BOGO Deal Ends Sunday Night
04.18.17The Latest News from ApologetiX 4-18-17

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