Jan Smelik

Relations between liturgical and non-liturgical singing in the Netherlands around 1900
Het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 6, 6-13 [summary]

100 years ago, many Dutch Protestant families possessed a reed organ. The popularity of this instrument grew since 1875 and is probably related to the introduction of gospel hymns in the Netherlands at that time. These gospel hymns originated in the United States of America, where they were used in revival gatherings. The songs were sung by singers like Sankey, who accompanied themselves on a reed organ. The popularity of the songs in the Netherlands did not lead to their introduction in church services; only a few of the songs were published in official church hymnals. At the same time, the official church hymns were not very popular outside of the church: only 29 of the 150 psalm tunes were generally known. Around 1900, content and melody of the psalms were held responsible for this lack of popularity. In a comparable way, The official hymns in the books Evangelische Gezangen (1806) and Vervolgbundel (1866) were not popular either. As before 1850 congregational singing was slow and isometric; organists played intermezzi between the lines. At the turn of the 19th century people tried to improve congregational singing; some of them pled for the introduction of the non-isometric, original rhythms. Some orthodox protestants felt their religious convictions were attacked by this movement.