The Baptist Church Hymnal was published by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Psalms and Hymns Trust, 1900). In the preface, the editors write,
In the choice of the TUNES great care has been taken that the music should fitly express the sentiment of the words, due regard being had to the association of certain Hymns with special Tunes, apart from which they would hardly be the same to the worshipper. In some few cases, however, the Compilers have to regret the absence of Tunes which would naturally be looked for, all efforts to secure permission having proved vain. It is confidently hoped that, by time and use, the Tunes substituted may secure equal acceptance.
In order to ensure variety within due limits, Hymns of the same metre have, as far as possible, been placed together in each section. The opening of the page will thus, in many cases, present a considerable choice of Tunes to the same Hymn. A Tune that may be unfamiliar to the choir or congregation will thus continually be found side by side with one well-known ; obviating what is often found to be a disadvantage in those Hymnals in which every Hymn has its own Tune. In all, the HYMNAL contains 716 different Tunes ; a number sufficient to offer an almost inexhaustible variety, and yet, it is believed, not too large a choice for any congregation where, in Choral meetings and in the homes of its members, the divine art of song is diligently cultivated, in preparation for this crowning service of the ” house of the Lord.”
It is for the congregation, rather than for the choir alone, that these Tunes have been prepared. No pains have been spared to adapt them to general, united- worship. Nothing, it is hoped, has been admitted which refined taste will not approve ; and, at the same time, there has been the constant effort to avoid over- elaborateness. As an aid to intelligent worship, and to quicken sympathy with the sentiment of the Hymn, marks of musical expression have been introduced but very sparingly. In some of the Hymns, these are altogether omitted as unnecessary; and wherever they are inserted their intention is not to drill the congregation into mechanical uniformity, but only to make plain those variations in the sentiment and tone of the Hymn which call for corresponding expression.
Many new Tunes have been written for the book : the Compilers would gratefully acknowledge the readiness to serve them shown by Sir John Stainer, Dr. Charles Vincent, and other well-known composers.
To the Composers and owners of Copyrights who have generously permitted the free use of their Tunes, the Compilers would offer special thanks. It is believed that the following is a complete list ; but should any name have been unwittingly left out, sincere apologies are tendered, and the oversight shall be remedied in future editions (ix).