Welcome to the Hymn Descants Blog

A descant is a counter melody written above the original melody. Its main purpose is to enhance the original melody without overpowering it. It heightens the effectiveness of the worship experience by adding a sense of climax and joy to a hymn.

Why hymn descants? I felt a need to expand my flute playing in church to more that just playing the various lines in the hymnal. Descants allow me to do this and bring more glory to God through my music. I found a few descant resources scattered here and there about the internet, but no one comprehensive site, so www.hymndescants.com was born.

This blog provides a forum for all to discuss descants as used in hymns. Posts can cover finding descants, writing, playing and/or singing descants.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Anglican Music: Shopping for a Christmas descant

Anglican Music: Shopping for a Christmas descant
A very interesting blog post about the search for a descant to go with The First Noel.
"Finding the right descant proved a lot harder than it looked -- both in terms of what is free on the Internet and also in terms of the lack of consensus."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1 Corinthians Thirteen the Christmas Version

If I Say Merry Christmas but don’t…-1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Version | Presenttruth.com

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,

but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,

but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity,

but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break, pictures will fade, clothes will be worn out, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Old farmer Joe went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. When he came home his wife, Martha, asked him what it was like.

"Well," said Joe, "it was good. But they did something different. They sang praise songs instead of hymns."

"Praise songs?" asked Martha. "What are they like?"

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like hymns, only different."

"Well what's the difference?"

"Well, it's like this. If I were to say to you,

"Martha, the cows are in the corn," - well that would be a hymn.

But if I were to say to you,

"Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA,
The cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows,
the white cows, the black-and-white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS,
Are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,

Then if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise song."

The next weekend, Joe's nephew, a young, new Christian lad from the city, came to visit his Uncle Joe and Aunt Martha. He attended their local church in the small town. When he returned home, his mother asked him about the country church.

"Well," said the young man, "it was good. But they did something different. They sang hymns instead of praise songs."

"Hymns? What are they?" asked his mother.

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like praise songs, only different," said the young man.

"Well, what's the difference?

"Well, it's like this. If Uncle Joe were to say to Aunt Martha, "Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well that would be a praise chorus. But if he were to say to her:

"Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry.
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain?
There is in their heads no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God's sun or His rain,
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea, those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night

They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.
So look to the bright shining day by and by
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animals make my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn."

"Then if he were to sing only verses one, three and four, and do a key change on the last verse - well, that would be a hymn!"

Source: The endless e-mail forwarding of the web.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Sine Nomine is the hymn tune setting written by Ralph Vaughan Williams. I have always loved this hymn. It is even better with a descant.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Giveaway - Bible.Logos.com

Logos Bible Software is celebrating the launch of their new online Bible by giving away 72 ultra-premium print Bibles at a rate of 12 per month for six months. The Bible giveaway is being held at Bible.Logos.com and you can get up to five different entries each month! After you enter, be sure to check out Logos and see how it can revolutionize your Bible study.

Sunday, July 26, 2009



Cuthbert Praise!

Cuthbert Praise!The Cuthbert Praise Hymn Collection is a versatile assortment of hymn descants and accompaniments using guitar, bass, brass, wind, string and percussion instruments. Sign up for the newsletter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The trumpet of the LORD

Interesting auction on eBay: Shofar (Ram's Horn) and Trumpet Descant Book

Can also order from:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Simon Cowell and "selfishness" in music performance

On American Idol, Simon has made suggestions to the contestants that they need to be more selfish or conceited (his way of saying that they need more self confidence). To have "self-confidence" you need a good sense of self worth, but not to the point of selfishness or conceit! I believe that in order to perform music well, especially music of a sacred nature, you must become totally self-unconscious – you’ve got to loose yourself in the music. A great music performance, whether sacred or secular, involves that spiritual portion of the brain (there was a scientific study on this - google it). This is what enables you to put "soul" into your music. Our brain appears designed so that in this state of unselfishness, produced during such activities as prayer or praise, we become more sensitive and connected to that inner voice - God speaking through our conscience. Conversely when you become too self conscious you experience stage fright thus sabotaging the full musical experience and the connection. Remember that it is our selfishness (aka sin) that separates us from God, and each other.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Music Gives Us the Chills | LiveScience

Why Music Gives Us the Chills | LiveScience: "As chills grow in intensity, bloodflow increases between areas of the brain associated with euphoria". I believe this to be God-designed. It is why you appreciate a good descant.

Friday, February 13, 2009

To His Glory... Free Praise and Worship Music for Your Church!

To His Glory... Free Praise and Worship Music for Your Church! This site contains many descants. To find them you will need to do a Google site search. Type the following (without the ") into a Google search box - "site:www.freechurchmusic.com descant"