from arranger Don Chapman:
The First Noel marks the next stylistic phase of hymncharts.com. New arrangements will be more along the style of “modern” worship and will blend with popular groups and artists like Passion, Phil Wickham, Elevation, Lauren Daigle, Brandon Lake, Kari Jobe, etc. I’ve been slowly transitioning into this style over the past few years, but I think The First Noel is the most modern arrangement on the website.
Hymncharts has seen several shifts over the years. Back when the website began in 2002, Integrity Music was king and churches were coming out of the God With Us (Don Moen) phase. Electric guitars were being introduced in worship but the music was still more complex than it is today – you’d often hear a busy piano part with a key change on the last verse.
Next, church music evolved into a more streamlined pop/rock sound with guitar-driven worship hits by Paul Baloche leading the way.
This gradually transitioned into the harder edge of Hillsong United as well as sophisticated pop from Chris Tomlin, Gateway, Lincoln Brewster and Passion.
Over the past few years worship has taken quite a stylistic turn into the modern sound of Elevation, Bethel, Cody Carnes, Phil Wickham and Cory Asbury. I think one word that can sum up the modern style is “atmospheric.” Guitar pads and synths create a sonic ambience that fill the room and blanket the congregation. The arrangements are typically sparse compared to a decade ago. A set chord pattern is often repeated throughout. Songs have shifted from up-tempo rockers to mid-tempo, contemplative ballads.
My three versions of The First Noel here at hymncharts really do reflect the worship styles of the times. Hear the comparisons:The First Noel 2006: Classic
The First Noel 2014: Contemporary
The First Noel 2021: Modern
I’ll continue to create choir and instrumental parts for these modern arrangements as well as ORC mixes that highlight the instrumental parts.