Piano accompaniment CDs

Image by Ernest James © Methodist Publishing

Available direct from Methodist Publishing.

CD booklet – the details for the complete CD set is available to download here as a PDF (rev.16-6-16)

The complete 33-CD set is selling for £132.00 (incl. VAT) plus £6.00 p&p. Includes CD of complete midi files.

The recording initiative, undertaken by a team at Methodist Central Hall, Coventry, has delivered a complete set of backing tracks for every hymn in Singing the Faith. Recorded on piano by the Central Hall organist, and Birmingham Conservatoire graduate, Alex Norman, the project has been supervised by Paul Wood and Ian Worsfold, both members of the resources group responsible for the compilation of Singing the Faith.

“The CDs are absolutely great. I can certainly recommend them and have no doubt that they will make a huge difference to churches across the country who, like us, would otherwise not be able to make full use of Singing the Faith. Thank you!”
Julie Maxon, Shap Methodist Church, Cumbria

Play sample tracks here (MP3 files):

StF 123 Come, you thankful people, come (4 verses, 2’43″)
StF 178 Long ago, prophets knew (4 verses, 2’52″)
StF 547 Beyond these walls of worship (3 verses, 2’35″)
StF 763 Our Father in heaven (Worsfold) (1 verse, 1’40″)

- or as midi files:

StF 123 Come, you thankful people (4 verses, 2’43″)
StF 178 Long ago prophets knew (4 verses, 2’52″)
StF 547 Beyond these walls (3 verses, 2’35″)
StF 763 Our Father in heaven (Worsfold) (1 verse, 1’40″)

The recording sessions are all of live performances, each one played with a feeling for the words – and allowing singers space to breathe! Where alternative tunes are suggested in Singing the Faith, these are played in the sequence printed in the book, eliminating the need to search for tunes or tailor a tune to a different number of verses.

Amendment to CD 24. An error at the printers means that the listing of tracks on the sleeve for CD 24 is incorrect. Download the correct listing as a PDF here.

The kingdom of God is justice and joy (StF 255) The alternative tune to this hymn is “Paderborn”, which is only available on the Piano Accompaniment CDs in its two-verse version. You can download it as a four-verse midi file for this hymn here.

The complete set of Piano Accompaniment CDs comprises 33 CDs, including one disc containing all the tunes as midi files – allowing the user maximum flexibility in how the resource is used. The complete set complies with all copyright requirements.

48 Responses to Piano accompaniment CDs

  1. Patrick Ward says:

    I am sorry to say that I am disappointed with the midi files. I had hoped that we could use these in combination with a midi drum machine but the midi data in your files is not synchronised to the file timing information. I’m guessing you simply recorded the midi information as someone played a keyboard without using a timing click on the sequencer software to keep it all in time.

  2. Editor says:

    From Nick Cowell:

    We have purchased the CDs and the piano playing is brilliant and at a good pace. Small churches would benefit from have some of the good and great older hymns i.e. “Guide me O Thy great Jehovah” or “O for a thousand tongues to sing” etc played by an organ or band, or even with a group singing so that they can manage to sing along lustily with the help of loud music. Older and younger folk love these hymns but they need a firm accompaniment.

    As I said the piano playing is spot on – well done.

  3. Revd Alan Combes says:

    The audio files have been a huge help to small group worship where no musician is available. I have the whole set on ipod so I always have the whole of StF in my pocket! It has been a great blessing thank you.

    One problem to for the creators to note please: the midi files assume playback through a piano-organ that has a sustain pedal channel. ie IF you explore playing these midi files through an organ console that has a midi interface (in order to take advantage of a church’s prior investment in a fine sounding organ) then these files are no good because the midi note events have not been extended to full note lengths. What this means in practice is that without a ‘sustain pedal’ function a chord sounds like a ‘stab’ which stops because the pianist has moved fingers to the next chord in piano style, rather than holding fingers to the full note length (as in Organ style). I wonder if post-processing these files could be explored? This would enable many churches to use their organs for appropriate Hymns within StF.

    Thanks again for such an incredible resource that sustains the worship life of the Church.

    • Editor says:

      Many thanks for this feedback, Alan, and for your comments and suggestions. These will be passed on direct to the originators of the product.

  4. Janie Grabham says:

    All the churches in our small circuit are now using Singing the faith.
    One chapel had difficulty playing the midi files through the organ as it is very stilted because it was recorded on a piano. So a small keyboard with midi input voice for £50 means the midi files now sound correct, and everyone is happy.
    Another church uses the CD’s and has found some of the tunes too fast for them.So we have made the tracks into high quality MP3 files and are gradually working through them with some members of the congregation and a tempo changer program on the old XP laptop computer to reset the tempo to a comfortable singing pace for the congregation . In doing this it is helping everyone learn the new hymn tunes. We just cannot thank the people who recorded it enough.

  5. Geoffrey Phillips says:

    I do not read music and have a problem with 2 of the sample tracks, 547 and 763. The other two are OK because I already know the tunes. Although both 547 and 763 have an introductory few bars, there is no obvious start point for singers. Most CDs of this style have a short pause and/or a “heavier” note to cue the start of the verse. If this is a “fault” of just 547 & 763, I would buy the set of CDs. But if this happens with the many new tunes in StF, I will not buy. Your comments will be appreciated.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Geoffrey – I’ve been in touch with the producers of this resource and thye’ve kindly offered this response. I hope it is of some help to you:

      “Thank you for your enquiry. We listened long and hard to other products and deliberately opted not to include a pause as it is impossible for the congregation to gauge from a CD how long the pause will be. Instead we opted for a more musical approach. The tracks are not intended to be “bashing out the melody” but accompanying the singing. This might well mean that getting to know the song in advance is needed but we hope will aid worship better than other products. In the end it will be up to you whether you feel you would want to buy the product – we hope it will be helpful.”

  6. RobA says:

    Will there be any chance of purchasing just the midi files on a CD(s) or do you have to buy the full set in order to get the midi files?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Rob – thanks for your enquiry. Unfortunately, copyright requirements dictated that the the midi files would only be available if bound in with the CDs. We’re very conscious that copyright law hasn’t always kept pace with fast-changing options in technology but this was our best solution.

  7. Rev Josette says:

    I am very pleased with the new CDs. In the “Tips for using the CDs” it says that ‘a fully detailed booklet is available to download’, but I have been unable to find it, please could you give the appropriate link.

    • Rev Josette says:

      P.S. I also noticed that the track numbers are wrong on the sleeve of CD 24, (the communion section) they all need to move up one, so where it says track 01 for number 574, it should be track 2 on the CD and so on….

    • Rev Josette says:

      I have just seen your answer below!

  8. Janie Grabham says:

    CD;s Have arrived and are wonderful.
    I hope this email comments spot will keep open in case any church has problems with playing their midi files.
    Well done everyone involved.

  9. Julie Maxon says:

    A huge thank you to everyone involved in producing the CDs – we have just received our copy and are absolutely delighted. Well done!
    Just one query – the info with the CDs refers to a fully detailed booklet of CDs and tracks being available to download from the website but I can’t find it! Apologies if I’m missing something obvious but please could you confirm where it is on the website. Many thanks.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Julie – thanks for your thanks!

      And you’re quite right – there will be additional information on the site. Unfortunately there has been a slight hiatus in getting that information collated. We will! And we’ll make sure that information is well signposted on the site and in the next e-news (are you signed up for that?).

      • Julie Maxon says:

        Yes, I’m signed up for the e-news so will await more info. The CDs are absolutely great – I’ve just spent most of this afternoon listening to them (fortunately no-one can hear me singing along!)! I can certainly recommend them and have no doubt that they will make a huge difference to churches across the country who, like us, would otherwise not be able to make full use of Singing the Faith. Thank you!!

  10. Phyllis Pape says:

    Thank you for all your hard work, am so looking forward to it. It will be wonderful to sing the new hymns to music. God Bless. xx

  11. Barry Redfern says:

    Will application forms for purchase appear here or do I have to monitor elsewhere?
    Many thanks for the work that has gone into the project. We now rely on technology at my church and this collection will broaden our repertoire.
    Best wishes

    Barry Redfern

    • Editor says:

      Best to keep checking this page, Barry. We’ll release the mechanism for ordering as soon as it is firmed up.

  12. D Spairin says:

    Will the CDs include a recommended midi editor/player for PC use?

    Also please note that this CD approach is rather dated! Others seem to have cracked the technology more comprehensively and effectively, and on a free-to-use basis….
    http://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns?lang=eng
    starting 25 years ago….! I know that the worst-case is the small church with a CD player but the main user is probably going to be lap-top-equipped, where a DVD would probably work better, or MP3 player again pre-loaded with all (or a sub-set of the more popular or public-domain) StF hymns.

    Are there any plans across UK Methodism church to foster midi-type expertise esp at the small-church level?

  13. Eunice M Irvine says:

    Are there plans for a similar book to Companion to Hymns & Psalms published for Singing the Faith? As a local preacher I always found the H & P companion very useful both for the subject index and the hymn histories. As things, are with a new hymnbook I find myself coming across a very suitable new hymn a week or two after the relevant service!

  14. Ray Hughes says:

    Please would it be possible to be supplied with one or two of the sample tracks above as midi files to evaluate on our Church organ. Thanks.

  15. David Stoves says:

    I think this set of CDs will be a wonderful resource for so many churches. Many of our older and smaller congregations have great difficulty in finding a a competent musician for every service. This method allows them to create music without fear of embarassment, or feeling that their worship is unworthy.
    Even churches with competent organists and keyboard players often have difficulty in finding a substitute accompanist during holiday periods, or to cover a musician’s illness or unavailability. At the price suggested, I think it will be in the reach of most congregations, and look forward to the publication date.

  16. Agèd Crone says:

    I was looking for the CDs to Singing the Faith to buy for our church in memory of a dear elderly friend who passed away last week.

    Like many other churches, those able/willing to play our organ or piano are now mainly elderly, and the digital piano fills in on a regular basis particularly when the organist on the rota is ill. I agree that we would all rather have a human being, but as fewer new members with playing skills materialise, I feel we can only be thankful that people are undertaking for us the task of creating the midi files for the new hymn book .

    It’s somewhat unfair, I feel, to compare other publishers existing midi files with the samples given – we don’t need full orchestral versions for our small churches which would be prohibitively expensive to produce (or to buy in from other publishers) and too expensive for these churches to buy the end result. And the person who complained about them being played ‘strictly as in the book’ should be thankful not to have to listen to hit-&-miss volunteer musicians in his church too often: we need the CDs to be rather like the digital equivalent of the good, competent pianist we wish we all had tucked away in the vestry cupboard for emergencies.

    Not only will the CDs for Singing the Faith be a valuable resource on Sundays but may also encourage budding musicians within the church to ‘have a go’ once they’ve listened to the CD version of what the basic tunes sounds like.

    • Editor says:

      Thank you “Aged Crone” (which I feel sure is a quite unwarranted pseudonym!). This is certainly a resource that arouses strong feelings – and it isn’t even published yet! We especially appreciate your note that, hopefully, the CDs will encourage less confident players to ‘have a go’ after they have heard an unfamiliar tune.

  17. John Fallows says:

    I don’t believe the ‘performance’ of the piano tracks is the issue – a basic piano accompaniment is a significant step backwards from the full rich sounds of the midi (& mp3) files already available from (eg) Worship Downloads, particularly for the more modern songs which have been included in STF, These files accurately follow the Songs of Fellowship arrangements which I believe that many (most?) of us were previously using. However I understand the compilers have subtly altered the notation (vs SOF) in a number of places so these files (which we have already purchased) don’t always map on to the STF version? Obviously effort is also being duplicated creating a resource which to a large extent already exists. Could not a deal have been struck with existing publishers of these tracks to create an STF package? Also in response to a previous point these tracks are available for individual download on a global basis so presumably copyright issues have been resolved in some way?

    • Editor says:

      John, you raise a number of issues here. I will pass your comments on to those more expert than me in this area. However, I understand that that what is being produced here is not like for like with other products but, rather, aimed very much at congregations without a pianist/organist. And – crucially – these accompaniments will match up completely with the printed and electronic words editions of StF. In many cases versions of hymns are more than just subtly different from those in other publications and may, for example, have a different number of verses. It’s also worth noting that a key difference between Songs of Fellowship (vols 1 & 2 at least) and Singing the Faith is that (aside from hymns out of copyright in any case), a significant percentage of hymns published in Songs of Fellowship are also owned by the publishers. That is not the case for Singing the Faith – a fact that informs the great majority of decisions around production and editions of all StF resources.

  18. I am very impressed with the samples! Well done! Plenty of time for a congregation to breathe and clear melody line to learn new tunes and hymns.

    I was a little dubious about Long ago prophets. . . as this was originally written for organ! But a very impressive rendition surpassed all expectations,

    I hope the overall cost will not deter congregations, especially of smaller churches.

    As an organist, I am most impressed with the piano accompaniment being live and not ‘synthesised’ in any way.

    Best wishes. Andrew

  19. Phyllis Pape says:

    Very pleased to hear the recording is going well. Can’t wait for them, will try and be the first to order it. We have the books just waiting for the music. God bless you for all the hard work that is going into this, just for us. Take care and keep up the good work. xx

  20. Mike Dernie says:

    Having lost our principal organist we’re trying to find ways of playing recorded hymns through our Clavinova. Would this initiative be suitable in midi file format?

  21. David Westhead says:

    Will we be able to purchase and download individual tracks ?

    • Editor says:

      Thanks for your question, David. At the moment, there are no plans to offer tracks individually. Copyright restrictions lie behind the decision to produce the CDs as a complete package. However, we have a StF Reference Group meeting coming up soon, and I’ll make sure your question is discussed.

  22. Richard King says:

    Totally agree with Philip Baldwin – no life at all.

    • Editor says:

      I note some divergent opinion on this page – which often suggests that something is being done about right.

      It’s probably worth noting that what is being produced is a set of accompaniments, to which congregations can add their singing with their own sense of feeling and meaning; as opposed to performances that may have a tendency to “tell” congregations how they should express the words. Ed.

  23. richardson says:

    when will these cds be ready and do you know what the cost will be.

    we use all Kevin mayhew cds on our system dont have or want ao organist

    • Editor says:

      All the current information for the CDs is available above. including the four sample tracks there. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

  24. Grenville Jensen says:

    these are just what we have been waiting for at Gipton Methodist where we have no musical accompanimnet two weeks out of four- if the quality is good they are an answer to prayer and will help enhance worship for our congregation rather than relying on my voice to get things started !!

  25. Phyllis Pape says:

    Thank you so much for doing this. Can’t wait for them to be on sale. Have listened to them, they are great so easy to learn the new hymns. Don’t like all the fancy bits when you can’t hear the tune. So again thanks. xxx

  26. PHILIP BALDWIN says:

    I hope these samples are just that, and not an indication of the finished tracks

    I felt the last one was exceedingly dull, not at all inspiring…. all played strictly as in the book with no life, feeling or brightness.eg doubling melody octaves or embellishments of any kind. If i played it like that my congregation would be asleep before I was on the second page !

    • Janie Grabham says:

      The great Joy of midi is that you can adjust tempo volume and pitch to meet most congregations needs. From a Local Preacher point of view Ireally appreciate all the working is being done to bring Singing the Faith to the majority of congregations through these midi CD’s I know how much hard work is going into it.
      Our chapel has a lovely organist who gets very nervous trying to play the modern tunes on the organ, so we have any traditions tunes on the organ and I play an mp3 recording of any modern Singing the Faith hymns we need, which I get from the Australian minister and organist Clyde McLennan who has put many hymn books on the internet ( including most of Singing the Faith) where you pay a small copyright fee for the tune from http://www.smallchurchmusic.com

      • Editor says:

        Thanks Janie – the work is still progressing on the StF CD/midi accompaniments and we’re looking forward to passing on further information about their release as soon as we can.

        • Janie Grabham says:

          Thanks, all the churches in our circuit are going to buy a set of the cd’s but as the files are to be midi we do not understand why there needs to be 40 cd’s. only one of our churches uses a laptop to play the midi organ, the others use either sd card or floppy disks in their midi player. You can get 99 midi tracks on one floppy (1.4mb) so you could get all of singing the faith midi on one cd (700mb) with plenty of room to spare unless there is something in addition to midi files on the CDs. Our LP meeting is looking forward to the release of the set for purchase in June. All best wishes and God’s speed to the people doing this incredibly valuable work for congregations with no organist. Janie Grabham

          • Editor says:

            We take you point, Janie – and thanks for your comments and support. We do feel, though, that there is a need and demand for the music to be recorded in a non-midi form, which is why we’ve gone down this route.

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