SOMERKERSFEES – WEERGAWES, PERSPEKTIEWE EN MUSIKALE KRAGTE
The popular South African and Afrikaans Christmas carol, Somerkersfees (Summer Christmas), also known as Welkom, o stille nag van vrede (Welcome, oh quiet night of peace) by Koos du Plessis, exists in two noteworthy versions: in the hymnbook of the church, Liedboek van die Kerk, and the folk songbook, FAK-Sangbundel 2. The small differences between these two versions caused some debate among church musicians, but views of the debate were not supported by valid perceptual and theoretical principles. The aim of this article is to enter the debate utilising Steve Larson’s theory of musical forces and to apply this valuable theory in the field of liturgical music. The author shows how melodic and metric forces have reciprocal influences on each other and how these forces caused the two versions to exist. The finding is that melodic forces are sometimes stronger and more on the foreground than metrical forces – or vice versa – and that these aspects should be taken into consideration when debating Somerkersfees. This will hopefully cause church musicians to accept that there are two versions of the Carol, and that there is not a correct and an incorrect version.