The Open Hymnal

LogoI’m probably the last person interested in hymns to have come across The Open Hymnal, so my apologies if this is old news.

Anyone who has tried to come up with a score for an older hymn to distribute to their congregation for singing knows that often the only recourse is to find it in a hymnal, make a copy, and distribute it. There are, of course, certain disadvantages to this procedure, including the quality of the copy one obtains from a thick book. It is at times possible to find a copy online in one of the various hymn websites, but this is hit-or-miss at best, and I’ve wasted quite a bit of time looking for a decent copy (to the right tune!) of a particular hymn for use in our congregation.

Brian J. Dumont has taken it upon himself to compile quite a few hymns (over 200 at present count) in The Open Hymnal, an online, public-domain repository. He has an eye for detail, and this freshly-revised collection is not shoddy work. The Hymnal includes indices of tunes and people, as well as scripture and topical indices. MIDI and MP3 links are available, and (astoundingly), the MP3 is of an actual piano playing the tune, not a synthesized version. My only complaint (a relatively minor one) is that I’d like to see all the author/composer/copyright information at the bottom of the hymn, not directly below the title. But that small matter is easily dismissed in light of the excellence of presentation of the hymn itself — clear font, suitable spacing, great musical notation. Brian takes suggestions for inclusion of hymns not presently in the Open Hymnal (I just sent him about a dozen), and judging from from the log on his homepage, he adds hymns at a clip of half a dozen a month or so.

Highly recommended.

The Open Hymnal website
The Open Hymnal (pdf)
The Open Hymnal: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Edition (pdf)

This entry was posted in Historic hymnody, Hymnbooks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Open Hymnal

  1. Jonathan says:

    You must have been the second to last. Excellent resource. Thank you.

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