Forest Green

Forest Green brass ballsjpgThis recording is named, not for the first line of the hymn as is customary, but for the tune name. Each tune in the hymnal has its own name irrespective of the words that are sung to it.

Further, each tune is described by the number of notes (sort of…) in each phrase of the melody. Tunes are then organized in a metrical index. Some of the metrical patterns have nicknames. The pattern for Forest Green is of “Common Meter Double,” which means twice through Sorry…you didn’t know this was going to be a class did you.

Anyway, this metrical organization of tunes permits singers to sing any set of words of a specific metrical pattern to be sung to any tune of the same pattern. For instance, Forest Green, in the New Century Hymnal, is used with two different sets of words: #434 (All Beautiful the March of Days) and also #110 (Now Bless the God of Israel). As you sing along, the words for #434 (my own favorite words for this tune) may be found at and the words for #110 at Some hymnals even use it for “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” which may have been (I don’t know for sure) the text associated with Forest Green when Ralph Vaughan Williams made his famous 4-part harmonization that I used here.

OK…class dismissed. Have fun!

Just a reminder that the complete collection of these hymn recordings is available for free listening (streaming) at When each new recording is posted on the church website, it is also added to this album.

Author: Hilton Kean Jones

Composer and performer, retired college music professor, lyricist.

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