Hymnal Companion to Sound the Bamboo: Asian Hymns in Their Cultural and Liturgical Contexts

The world of hymnody has a new, highly authoritative reference for seemingly “all things” related to Asian Christian hymnody. Noted hymnologist I-to Loh has gathered and assembled his studies and experiences and that of many, many colleagues relating to the history and practice of hymnody of a part of our world comprising many cultures and countries, not to mention spiritual influences.

Few resources, especially accessible to Western readers, have delved into the Christian sacred music of Asia; those that have tend to give only minimal examples, attempt to somehow combine all of Asia under a single umbrella, or examine only a few countries. The Hymnal Companion to “Sound the Bamboo” examines the hymns in their historical, cultural, and spiritual contexts of twenty-two countries-this in addition to the usual background stories of texts and tunes of specific hymns in the related hymnal and the biographies of their contributors. The book is also abundantly illustrated with music examples and photos of native instruments, liturgical spaces, and personages.

I-to Loh
Publication Year:
GIA Publications, Inc.
Main text: English; Hymn texts: Various
Purchase from:
GIA Publications


  • Prefaces by Dr. Thu En Yu, Chairman ATESEA and Prawate hid-arn, CCA General Secretary
  • Forward by C. Michael Hawn, Director, Sacred Music Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  • Introduction by Carlton R. Young, Distinguished Composer / Hymnologist

Part 1: Asian Hymns in their Historical Perspectives

  • Asian Identities and Their Expressions of Christian Faith
  • From Acculturation and Inculturation to Contexualization
  • History and Development of Sound the Bamboo
  • Texts and Prominent Themes in Asian Hymns
  • Characteristic Features and Performance Styles in Asian Hymns
  • Harmonic Treatment in Asian Hymns
  • Symbols and Symbolic Acts in Asian Worship

Part 2: Asian Hymns in Their Cultural and Liturgical Contexts

  • Northeast Asia
    • Chinese Hymns
    • Hong Kong Hymns
    • Japanese Hymns
    • Korean Hymns
    • Taiwanese Hymns
  • Mainland Southeast Asia
    • Cambodian Hymns
    • Laotian Hymns
    • Malaysian Hymns
    • Myanmar Hymns
    • Singaporean Hymns
    • Thai Hymns
    • Vietnamese Hymns
  • Island Southeast Asia
    • Indonesian Hymns
    • Filipino Hymns
  • South Asian Subcontinent
    • Bengai Hymns
    • Indian Hymns
    • Nepalese Hymns
    • Pakistani Hymns
    • Sri Lankan Hymns
  • Southwest Pacific Ocean
    • Australian Hymns
    • New Zealand / Aotearoa Hymns
    • Papua New Guinean Hymns

Part 3: Biographies

  • Family Names in Alphabetical Order
  • Afterward
  • Appendix: Resources of Asian Music, Worship and Arts
  • Bibliography
  • Indexes