Help with Luther's "From the Depths of Woe" (Psalm 130)

Discussion in 'Worship' started by Marrow Man, Oct 25, 2010.

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  1. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I would like to include Martin Luther's "From the Depths of Woe" (based on Psalm 130) in worship this Lord's Day, since it will be on October 31st. Here are the words:

    The problem I am having is that the meter for the tune is a rather unusual one: The tradition tune for the hymn is unfamiliar to me, as are all of the other possibilities I can find (see here for a list with midis).

    Here is a link to the traditional tune for the hymn as found in the Trinity Hymnal.

    I would appreciate any suggestions for alternatives. I realize that the RUF hymnal has a "contemporary" version (that is rather pleasant), but this is not what I am looking for.
  2. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't mean to hijack your thread, Tim, but while we're on this topic - if someone knows where I could buy a recorded copy of the RUF version, I would love that.
  3. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder


    J/K The RUF online resource is here, and among other things there is a downloadable mp3 of that version.
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I like this song. And I've only dared to pick it maybe once :D from the Newer Red Trinity
    The tune in the Red Trinity is more minor (Aus Tieffer Not, on that midi page, quite a fit, in my opinion), but no easier to sing.

    Another tune to that meter is "Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light" (a Bach tune)

    I'm musically inclined, so I have to be careful what I shove under the noses of the flock.
    I know the stress. I hope you find something.

    I just figured out two other tunes, #4 in both Trinitys (but different tunes). The song is "All Praise to God Who Reigns Above." (Mit Freuden Zart in New Trinity)

    Another: Great God, What Do I See and Hear, Nun Freut Euch, New Trinity
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  5. interalia

    interalia Puritan Board Freshman

    Just curious - What makes that version contemporary? It is a straight easy tune that seems reminicent of hymn tunes. It would go well against piano/organ, or even a cappella.

    Whatever tune you choose, it is a superb choice for Reformation Sunday!
  6. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    The tune of "Whate'er My God Ordains is Right" (a Pachelbel tune) should work (and fits the lyrics).
  7. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank you! I can't seem to download it, but I can at least listen to it on my computer

    ---------- Post added at 04:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:48 PM ----------

    Never mind - just figured it out!
  8. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    The only version I've heard is arranged for guitar singing (and the version at the RUF Hymnal site is sung that way -- a duet, in fact, but not a congregationally-sung hymn). I used that because I couldn't think of a better adjective. But even the RUF page says it is "putting old hymns to new music" and utilizing "fresh tunes."

    Kathleen, if you look at the page I linked, there's also a link there to Indelible Grace which has CDs with several of the hymns.
  9. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Bruce, thanks for the help. I thought of the tune for "All Praise to God Who Reigns Above," but alas it is also unfamiliar to our congregation. But I do think it would be much easier to sing. I was just hoping there was something easier out there.
  10. interalia

    interalia Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks. Now that you mention the duet, I do not think I have heard the one you are referencing. The version I recently heard was from "My Cry Ascends" from Ligonier Ministries - Nathan Clark George (and I think solo). It is played with a guitar, but the tune and movement would work very well for congregational singing.
  11. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    One of the points that T. David Gordon makes in Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns is that while the guitar may be utilized for congregational singing (then again, so may the kazoo!), it is at heart a chamber instrument designed for small groups of singers. The strings are strummed, while those of the piano are struck and multiple parts can be played in this fashion. Because of this, it lends itself better to congregational singing.

    But the first time I heard "From the Depths of Woe" (the RUF version) was in a congregational setting. It was actually at a chapel while I was in seminary. My Greek/NT professor Jimmy Agan (now at Covenant Seminary) was preaching that day and leading worship, and we sang this version while he played guitar (especially memorable, since he is left-handed).
  12. 21st Century Calvinist

    21st Century Calvinist Puritan Board Junior

    The IG version works well for congregational singing. We sing it frequently at Crossroads and sometimes at CTS chapel.
    I am in a class with the left handed prof this semester and he has sung and played guitar several times this semester in class. It only adds to the delight of being his student.
  13. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We enjoy the RUF version at our church as well. There is a modernized version of this by David Ward ( called "By Grace Alone". However, the words have been changed and some of the verses edited out. It is, however, more hymnlike than the RUF version. By Grace Alone | Reformed Praise

    Out of the depths I cry to You,
    Lord, hear my voice of pleading;
    Bend down Your gracious ear, I pray,
    Your humble servant heeding.
    If You remember each misdeed,
    And of each thought and word take heed,
    Who can remain before You?
    Only by grace, by grace alone.

    Your pardon is a gift of love,
    Your grace alone must save us,
    Our works will not remove our guilt,
    The strictest life would fail us.
    Let none in deeds or merits boast,
    But let us own the Holy Ghost
    for He alone can change us:
    Only by grace, by grace alone.

    Though great our sins and sore our woes
    His grace much more aboundeth;
    His helping love no limit knows,
    Our utmost need it soundeth.
    Our kind and faithful Shepherd He,
    Who will set all His people free
    From all their sin and sorrow:
    Only by grace, by grace alone.

    While this is not my favorite version of this, it has worked well where I have heard it sung.
  14. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    The left-handed prof was probably my favorite prof in seminary at Erskine. I especially enjoyed him for NT I and II. We had a small class because several of the students were "scared off" (he required a lot of work for the class) but I found those classes to be among the most profitable I had in seminary. He is a great teacher. Learn as much as you can from him.
  15. 21st Century Calvinist

    21st Century Calvinist Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks. I agree with everything you wrote and this is my experience also. I am privileged.
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