What’s different about this book?
Hymn books are scored for singers, not organists or pianists. Their music looks strangely different because it is very different.
If you’re a singer, every syllable of each word has to have its own note, which, if played on the organ or piano, makes the music choppy. Sung by the human voice, the same line sounds smooth and musical, not at all choppy because the singers’ consonants merely alter the vowel sound but don’t divide the music with percussion and silence as when you hear the same phrase played on a keyboard.
Hymnbook music forces the organist to adapt on the fly by not playing all the notes, turning some but not all of the repeated notes into long-held notes. It is a difficult trick to learn to instantaneously convert an entire choir score into organ music in your brain.
To some organists this conversion of vocal music to organ becomes second nature, but others are never able to grasp it. As a result, they can grow to dislike playing hymns, finding them a chore and feeling frustrated–especially when they hear another organist and wish they could play like that.
There is a simple solution. Play the hymns from a matching organ edition that has all the hymns written out as organ music.
And that’s exactly what organists say when they first get a look at this organ edition: “Well, now, this looks like organ music. I can play this.”