FOUNDATION

Composer: Anonymous

In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries. Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: Anonymous
Meter: 11.11.11.11
Incipit: 56161 51131 35
Key: A♭ Major
Source: Southern Harmony, New Haven, 1835; A Compilation of Genuine Church Music, by Joseph Funk (Winchester, Virginia: J. W. Hollis, 1832); Early American melody
Copyright: Public Domain

Notes

The anonymous tune FOUNDATION first appeared in Joseph Funk's A Compilation of Genuine Church Music (1832) as a setting for this text (there it was called PROTECTION). The tune was also published with the text in Southern Harmony and Sacred Harp. The ancestors of Joseph Funk (b. Lancaster County, PA, 1778; d. Mountain Valley, a.k.a. Singers Glen, VA, 1862) were German Mennonites who had settled in eastern Pennsylvania. Around 1780 the Funk family moved to the Shenandoah Valley close to Harrisonburg, Virginia. Funk became a farmer and a teacher in a schoolhouse on his property. An itinerant singing-school teacher and music publisher, he also issued the monthly music journal Southern Musical Advocate and Singer's Friend before the Civil War (the journal was continued later by his sons). Funk published Choral-Music (1816) and A Compilation of Genuine Church Music (1832). The revised twenty-fourth edition (1980) is still in use by Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley today. Funk's life was the focus of Alice Parker's opera Singers Glen (1978). The harmonization is by Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4). There are several options for singing: congregation throughout, soloists on the middle stanzas, or in canon. Like many folk tunes, FOUNDATION is pentatonic and should be sung with vigor. It can be sung either in two-part canon (two measures apart) or in four parts (one measure apart). Try having the choir's men and women sing in canon on the inner stanzas, perhaps following a soloist. For the final stanza, try dividing the entire congregation into four groups for a stirring conclusion. When singing in canon, sing unaccompanied or use the Busarow settings for canon in All Praise to You, Eternal God (Augsburg, 1980), do not use the hymnal accompaniment. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987 The above information is incorrect and incomplete. This tune occurs (under the name CHRISTIAN'S FAREWELL, #334) in the Southern Harmony, but not with this text. Rather, its first line there is "Farewell, my dear brethren, the time is at hand". "How firm a foundation" appears twice in the Southern Harmony, but the tunes are SINCERITY (#101) and SOLICITUDE (#69). In the Sacred Harp, "How firm a foundation" is set to this tune, but the tune name is BELLEVUE. (note by User Haruo added June 7, 2011)

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Baptist Hymnal 1991 #338
Text: How Firm a Foundation
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