Prelude Blog

Tactus and Tempo

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 7:50:49 AM by John Jahr in Assembly Song, in leading, in tactus, in tempo

“The organist plays so fast I can hardly catch my breath.”

“Every hymn is like a dirge; why can’t the organist play faster?”

These are phrases we’ve probably all heard at least once. Exasperated parishioners will use whatever language they know to describe a common issue in worship. What is the right tempo for a hymn? Is there a “right” tempo for a hymn? And how do we enliven our assembly song so that our hymns do not feel like “a dirge?”

I would suggest that many tempo issues have nothing to do with tempo at all, instead that the TACTUS is not clear. While tempo is important, and we will discuss that later, the most important concept to keep in mind when leading assembly song is that of tactus.

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