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Joan Pinkston’s best hymn tune

In my first church ministry, we used Hymns of Grace and Glory, edited by my undergraduate theory professor, Joan Pinkston. It’s a great hymnal for many reasons, and one of those is the several excellent hymn tunes composed by Pinkston herself.

All of them are good, but in my opinion the best tune she composed is one that we have received permission to also use in our new hymnal. It is a tune she called “SASHA” (I’m pretty sure I know the individual she named it after), composed for Isaac Watts’s excellent text, “How Sad Our State.”

The tune starts in G minor, reflecting the sadness of our sinful condition, but then it beautifully shifts to a Bb major tonality when the text moves from acknowledgment of sin to the solution: “But there’s a voice of sovereign grace sounds from the sacred Word, ‘Ho! ye despairing sinners come, and trust upon the Lord.'” It’s a marvelous example of musical fittingness uncommon in many hymn tunes.

You can listen to the tune below:

I’m so happy we can include this (and one other of Pinkston’s tunes) in our hymnal, and you can download it for free now here.

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Cutlure, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and three children.

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