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Informal Experiments

Over the past year or so, the pattern has gradually become established at St Clement’s that I get to lead the informal service on the second Sunday evening of every month. It works well because my lack of liturgical training isn’t a hindrance and my natural bent towards experimenting becomes a positive boon.

The nature of experiments, of course, is that you try new things and not all of them work quite as well as you hoped. I incorporated several twists tonight. Incorporating more readings into the worship set seemed to go down well but my attempts to folkify the songs by playing them in DADGAD tuning and taking liberties with the melodies felt like hard work despite a fair amount of practise. I suppose unfamiliar songs are even harder to follow when you can’t be sure what twists they are going to take. Next time, I might go for an open tuning again but perhaps pick my music from songs with easy and well known tunes.

It may not all have been perfect but at least I have the freedom to fail and, thus, the opportunity to succeed (as well as the ever present opportunity that, even in my failings, there might be the right combination of things to bless some of those present).


  1. Some songs work really well in DADGAD tuning (one of my favourites), while others are much harder work.

    I’ve never used DADGAD in an actual service, as we’re never doing enough of the songs that I can play sufficiently comfortably in that tuning (and I don’t that often play guitar in services anyway).  The most I usually manage is to slip into dropped D for a tune or two.  

    Of course, there are guitarists like Pierre Bensusan who build their entire careers on playing in DADGAD, so I suppose it’s just a matter of practice.

    • That’s why it is easier when you also get to pick all of the songs although, as noted, the experiment still wasn’t entirely a success!