Congregational singing when printing was expensive
When printing was expensive, and there weren’t pews with hymnals, how did congregations sing hymns?
Consider, too, literacy - how many Christians through the centuries have been literate?
(I think this idea bears repeating - vernacular Scripture translations in the Renaissance could not have “opened the Scriptures to the masses” unless the masses were literate....which, as I recall learning, they generally weren’t.)
I think of Bach BWV78, where JSB uses four different verses of the hymn (in different places - mvts. 1, 3, 5, and 7). How well did how much of Bach’s largely illiterate (correct??) congregation know all of those verses? Were the quotations just for the composer’s own edification (not an entirely absurd idea, considering the didactic natures of the never-published Mass “in B Minor” and the Art of the Fugue), or did Bach really target a certain segment (however large) of his congregation that actually recognized the quotations?
I mean, these aren’t verse 1, 2, 3, and 4. This is, like, verse 1, half of verse 4, half of verse 9, and verse 12. Yes, *12*! Some of those hymns have 30+ verses!!
And, when did congregations begin to sing in parts? Was it new in the 19th century?