An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Brown, Ray Francis

(June 23, 1897-Mar. 23, 1964). Church musician and composer. He was born in Roxbury, Vermont. Brown was a graduate of Oberlin College and an associate of the American Guild of Organists. Upon graduation from college he became director of the Music School of Fisk University, Nashville. In 1935 he became instructor in church music and organist at the General Theological Seminary in New York, a post he held until his retirement in 1963. During those years he also served as organist and choirmaster of several New York area parishes. At General Seminary he was known as a person of great compassion. In 1949 Oxford University Press (New York) published The Oxford American Psalter in which his pointing of the psalms reflected his advocacy of “speech rhythm” chanting, a method of pointing developed in England earlier in the century. The principles established by Brown in his work in chant at General Seminary influenced the pointing of Anglican chant in The Book of Canticles, The Hymnal 1982, and The Anglican Chant Psalter. Brown served on the Tunes Committee for The Hymnal (1940). The Hymnal 1982 contains one tune, “Chelsea Square” (521), which he harmonized and one Anglican chant (S 214) which he composed. Brown died in New York City. The Anglican Chant Psalter was dedicated to his memory.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.