Kingdom Hall Music
According to my old friend Wikipedia, the hymnody of Jehovah’s Witnesses has not received much attention from academic hymnologists or musicologists. I know a little bit about it first hand.
The Kingdom Halls I have attended don’t have pianos. The congregations sing along with recorded accompaniments. I’m not sure if this is universal.
At first, the group used familiar melodies from other churches, and changed the lyrics of well known hymn composers to suit their own beliefs. Presently, all melodies and lyrics in their books are composed by Jehovah’s Witnesses. As with their other publications, these composers and poets are anonymous.
They use styles of music different from conventional hymns. Some are in march or waltz tempos. Sometimes the verse and the refrain are in different keys. One from their most recent collection is in quintuple rhythm.
I will likely attend their Memorial this year. This is held close to what others call Good Friday (which they don’t observe and theirs is not always on Friday) and the focus seems to be the same. Communion is held but the elements are just passed from hand to hand and not consumed. I guess there are a few people alive who actually eat and drink. These are the people who feel they will go to Heaven. Everyone else will live on earth.