Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Psalm / Hymn tune "Ulster" by Robert Lowry


Written by the hymnwriter Robert Lowry (1826 - 1899) who was himself of Ulster descent, this tune features in Psalters and in many traditional hymnbooks, best known as the tune for the Fanny Crosby hymn "All the Way My Saviour leads Me". Click here to listen.

Lowry also wrote another Psalm tune which he named after himself, best known as the tune for "Saviour Thy Dying Love".

There is also a Psalm tune called Bangor. Here's a nice simple rendition of "Ulster" from Youtube:

Psalm tunes are of immense significance to Ulster-Scots culture, even in their emigration to America in the early 1700s:

"...the hold of the Scottish type of Psalmody was materially strengthened by the great volume of immigration from the North of Ireland. The Scotch-Irish brought with them The Psalms of David in meeter bound in with their Bibles, and to their minds almost a part of it. They had been accustomed to a Scriptural Psalmody as of course: few of them knew any psalm book but their own..."
from The English Hymn, Its Development and Use In Worship by Louis F Benson (Philadelphia 1915)