Ben Crowder

Blog: #hymns

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New abstract hymn print: Be Still, My Soul.

I’m experimenting with a slightly new style here, masking the notes (after adding noise to the outlines with SVG filters and then eroding/dilating with Imagemagick) and painting inside the mask in Procreate. (And then texturing it in Affinity Photo as usual.)

Be Still, My Soul

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A new abstract hymn print for As Sisters in Zion:

Circles and lines representing the first few measures of “As Sisters in Zion”

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Abstract hymn prints

Me being me, I went ahead and explored what abstract hymn prints might look like.

I Stand All Amazed

Circles and lines representing the first few measures of “I Stand All Amazed”

In Humility, Our Savior

Circles and lines representing the first few measures of “In Humility, Our Savior”

Press Forward, Saints

Circles and lines representing the first few measures of “Press Forward, Saints”

The Spirit of God

Circles and lines representing the first few measures of “The Spirit of God”

I also played around with making one in Blender via depth maps:

High on the Mountain Top

Circles and lines representing the first few measures of “High on the Mountain Top”

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Hymn prints

A new experimental nerdy thing, for people who like hymns, sheet music, and textures:

The first few measures of “Abide with Me!”
The first few measures of “The Spirit of God”

How I make these hymn prints (as I’m calling them):

  • Typeset the first phrase (or so) in MuseScore using the Bravura font, with the spacing trimmed to within an inch of its life
  • Play it out loud to make sure I entered it right (cough) and export an SVG
  • Drag the SVG into a frame in Figma and use the SkewDat plugin to skew it -4°, center it, then export a 4,000px-wide PNG
  • Use ImageMagick to do some erosion and dilation (to simulate age and ink spread): convert input.png -morphology erode disk:18 -morphology dilate disk:16 output.png
  • Texture the image in Affinity Photo and export the PNG
  • Upscale with Real-ESRGAN to 12,000px-wide
  • Downscale a little in Affinity Photo, add 8% monochrome noise, and export the final PNG

I’m still figuring out how I want to do these (full bleed or not, barlines, clefs and key signatures or not, etc.). Also thinking about possibly doing some abstract versions as well, to avoid all these music typesetting issues entirely.


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I’ve been enjoying Emily McQueen’s The Green Hymnbook project (@greenhymnbook) — typewritten hymn texts with lovely linocut illustrations underneath.


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Chiptune hymns

Here’s an 8-bit chiptune rendition of the LDS hymn “The Spirit of God,” transcribed straight across from the hymnbook:

Back story: A few years ago I heard about MML, a way to write Nintendo chiptunes. Shaun Inman had put together an MML bundle for TextMate, which came with ppmck, a command-line tool for converting MML to an NSF (Nintendo Sound File).

I was curious what hymns would sound like as chiptunes, so I transcribed the hymn to MML, converted it to NSF, used Audio Overload to export it to WAV, then used Audacity to convert the WAV to MP3.

Because someone will probably bring it up: no, I don’t think it’s sacrilegious to do this. The 8-bit sound is morally neutral. I wouldn’t play this in a sacrament meeting — it wouldn’t be appropriate — but outside of church I see no problem with it.

Links:

The MML code (and yes, you have to spell “PROGRAMER” that way):

#TITLE The Spirit of God
#COMPOSER W. W. Phelps
#PROGRAMER Ben Crowder

@v0 = { 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 }

ABCDE t150

A l8 o4 @01 @v0
A f4 b-2 > c4 c4 d2 c4 < b-4 b-2 a4 g4 f4. g8 f4
A e-4 d4 f4 b-4 > d4 c4 < f4 g4 > e-4 d4 c4 < b-4 a4 b-2.
A f4 b-2 > c4 c4 d2 c4 < b-4 b-2 a4 g4 f4. g8 f4
A e-4 d4 f4 b-4 > d4 c4 < f4 g4 > e-4 d4 c4 < b-4 a4 b-2.
A f4 f2 d4 f4 f2 d4 f4 b-4 > d4 c4 < b-4 a4 g4 f8 g8
A a8 f8 b-2 > c4 d4 < g2 a4 b-4 > e-2 d4. c8 c2.
A c4 d4 < b-4 > c4 d4 < g2 > e-4 d4 c4. d8 c4 < b-4 a4 g4 f8 g8
A a8 f8 b-4. > c8 d8 c8 < b-8 a8 g4 > e-4 d4 c4 < b-2 a4 a4 b-2.

B l8 o4 @01 @v0
B d4 d2 f4 f4 f2 e-4 d4 g2 f4 e-4 d4. e-8 d4
B c4 < b-4 > d4 d4 f4 f2 e-4 e-4 f4 g4 f4 f4 f2.
B d4 d2 f4 f4 f2 e-4 d4 g2 f4 e-4 d4. e-8 d4
B c4 < b-4 > d4 d4 f4 f2 e-4 e-4 f4 g4 f4 f4 f2.
B d4 d2 < b-4 > d4 d2 < b-4 > d4 d4 f4 f4 e4 f2 f8 g8
B e-4 d4 f4 f4 f4 e-2 f4 f4 f2 f4. f8 f2.
B f4 f2 f4 f4 e-2 f4 f4 f2 f4 e4 f2 f8 g8
B f4 f2 f4 d4 e-2 f4 e-4 d2 c4 e-4 d2.

C l8 o2 @01 @v0
C b-4 b-2 > f4 f4 b-2 f4 g4 e-2. e-4 < b-2 b-4
C a4 b-2 b-4 b-4 > f4 d4 e-4 c4 d4 e-4 f4 f4 < b-2.
C b-4 b-2 > f4 f4 b-2 f4 g4 e-2. e-4 < b-2 b-4
C a4 b-2 b-4 b-4 > f4 d4 e-4 c4 d4 e-4 f4 f4 < b-2.
C b-4 b-2 b-4 b-4 b-2 b-4 b-4 b-2 > c4 c4 f4 e-4 d4
C c4 < b-4 > d4 c4 < b-4 > e-2 c4 < b-4 a2 b-4. > f8 f2.
C f4 b-4 d4 f4 b-4 e-2 c4 < b-4 > f2 f4 c4 f4 e-4 d4
C c4 < b-2 b-4 b-4 > e-4 c4 d4 e-4 f2 < f4 f4 b-2.

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Here I raise my Ebenezer

One of my all-time favorite hymns is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and today I found out I’ve been singing it wrong. (By the way, anyone know why it got taken out of the 1985 LDS hymnal?)

You know that part in the second verse where it says, “Here I raise my Ebenezer”? We were rehearsing it today in ward choir practice (I’m the accompanist) and when we got to that part and everyone sang “eb-uh-neezer” (as in Scrooge), one of the basses pointed out that it’s actually pronounced “eb-uh-nezzer.” Which rhymes better with pleasure later on in the verse, too. Turns out it’s a Hebrew word, Eben-ezer, meaning “stone of help” (it shows up in 1 Samuel 7:12).


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