Thursday, September 26, 2013


A little primer on some of the information that appears along with a given hymn that appears in a hymnal.  To some, I'm preaching to the choir, but to the curious, this is some good knowledge.

The credits in the red Worship hymnal are quite easy, as the information on the text (lyrics) and the tune (music) are both at the bottom of hymn.  Very basic: Next to the word "Text" is the author's name and lifespan, or the source/book it may have been first published from and the year it was published.  Next to the word "Tune" is the name of the actual tune, its "meter" (explanations further down on this post) composer's name and lifespan, or the original source, or, if it's chant, the "mode" ("Chant, Mode ___" - blank will be a Roman numeral from I to VIII).  More information about Gregorian modes here.

In the maroon hymnal, it's a little different, and rather interesting when you consider the year of origin for that hymnal: 1940.  Even the supplements of 1981 (where the hymns numbered in the 770's and 780's are located) follow this pattern:  As you may notice there are no titles along with the hymns.  However, there is an "index of first lines" in the back, before the supplements.  At the top, you will see, to the left, the tune name, in the middle, the "meter", and to the right, the composer information.  At the bottom right corner, you'll find the author/source of the text.

A little information on "tune".  It is not the title of the hymn, but the title of the tune assigned to it.

Now, some information on "meter".  Those numbers that go along with the tune name (e.g. 87.87. or or letters (C.M. or S.M.D.) are the number of syllables of each line of a hymn (or in the case of 87.87., pairs of lines).  87.87. means that there are two pairs of lines with eight and seven syllables each, respectively.  Look at the tune "Stuttgart" (Come, thou long-exptected Jesus, #1 in the maroon hymnal, for example).  That has an 87.87. meter.  A "D" at the end of a meter code means "double".  Thus, 87.87.D. means four pairs of lines with eight and seven syllables, respectively (examples: "Hyfrydol" - Alleluia! sing to Jesus and "Pleading Savior" - Sing of Mary, pure and lowly).  Then there are the lettered codes "SM", "CM", and "LM", and their doubles "SMD", "CMD", and "LMD".  "SM" is "short meter", which is 66.86.  "CM" is "common meter", that is, 86.86..  "LM" is "long meter", or 88.88.  You may see the words "with Refrain" or "with Alleluias" added - self-explanatory.  Finally, for those hymns who don't have the same number of syllables in each verse (for example, "The First Nowell"), you will see the word "Irregular" or "Irregular with Refrain" as the meter.


The numbers given for this weekend refer to the maroon hymnal.  And based on the lesson I just gave above, I'll include the meter with the hymns.  The Alleluia and the sung Mass Ordinary are the same as the previous few weeks.  Next weekend, we will be switching to another set.

Entrance hymn: Round the Lord in glory seated (#260, meter: 87.87.D.) (Listen)

Responsorial Psalm: Praise the Lord, my soul, music by yours truly

Offertory hymn: Son of God, eternal Savior (#500, meter: 87.87.D.) (Listen)
- Side note: because this hymn and the entrance hymn (Round the Lord in glory seated) have the same meter, their tunes can be interchangeable.

Communion anthem: O Sacrum Convivium, music by Roberto Remondi

Meditation hymn: Blest are the pure in heart (#418, meter: SM, that is, 66.86.) (Listen)

Recessional hymn: Ye watchers and ye holy ones (#599, meter: 88.44.88. with Alleluias)
- The "44" are normally "alleluias" as well, but in some verses get replaced by such text as "Lead their praises", "O_ praise him", or "O_ sing ye".  The Alleluias mentioned in the meter are the five alleluias at the end of each verse.