Hymn Tune Psalter

On my way to creating a complete cycle of psalms with refrains based on hymn tunes, I’ve decided to start a list of currently available settings with video recordings. This post will be updated as I have more material to include.

Here’s the current list:

  • Psalm 24 – Let the Lord Enter (BESANÇON)
  • Psalm 40 – Here am I Lord (JESUS IN THE MORNING)
  • Psalm 67 – May God Bless Us (PUER NOBIS)
  • Psalm 72 – Justice Shall Flourish (EIN FESTE BURG)
  • Psalm 95 – If Today You Hear God’s Voice (ADORO TE DEVOTE)
  • Psalm 96 – Today Is Born Our Savior
  • Psalm 146 – Blessed are the poor in spirit (BEACH SPRING)
  • Psalm 147 – Praise the Lord Jerusalem (EASTER HYMN)

Hymn Tune Psalms

One of the challenges in the Roman Catholic Church is trying to find ways to encourage and enable the congregation to sing. Unless you use a seasonal psalm refrain, this generally means the congregation has a new melody to learn every week with the responsorial psalm. Sure, you can build up a repertoire over time, but there’s not a lot of repetition in the three-year lectionary cycle. One of the easiest ways to learn a piece is through repetition, so I decided to use hymn tunes as melodies for the psalms. This reinforces the singing of the hymns and gives something familiar to the people for the psalm. I created numerous of these settings while at the Cathedral in Albany and now am in the process of revising them (and perhaps finishing the set) to go with the new Revised Grail Psalms. We used the first of these new revised hymn tune psalms at Mass this weekend for Advent 2.
Psalm 72 – Justice Shall Flourish
Refrain based on EIN FESTE BURG with Gelineau-style tone by Wm. Glenn Osborne

No Recessional Hymn

As someone who was raised in a Protestant church, one of my first impressions of the Catholic Mass was how much stayed the same every week. There were no printed worship aids at the first Catholic churches I attended, but everyone knew exactly what was next and all the proper responses. I was amazed! At first, this seemed a little rigid and monotonous to me, but as I spent more time worshiping with Catholics and studying Church documents, I came to discover the rich variety that is possible in the celebration of Mass.

The General Instructions of the Roman Missal (GIRM) provide the basic instructions for how we are to celebrate Mass. Like most instruction manuals though, once we’ve found a solution, we tend not to refer to them again. Unless we encounter a problem, we generally stick to what we’ve found and don’t go looking for any other information.

The GIRM gives options for what we should sing at the Entrance, Offertory and Communion. Typically the choices offered are chants from the historical books of chant (the Graduale Romanum or Graduale Simplex), another musical setting of these texts, a different Psalm with antiphon approved by the bishops, or “another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.” (GIRM, #48). This last option is what is most often chosen in the United States, though the choir here regularly sings the chants from the Graduale Romanum for the Entrance and Communion at the 11am Mass.

What most people do not realize is that there is not any requirement or musical options given for a closing hymn at the end of Mass. After the Dismissal, the priest (and deacon) venerate the altar and withdraw. No mention of music or singing at this moment is included in the GIRM. For this reason and as an experiment in progressive solemnity, we will not be singing a closing hymn for a few weeks this summer. In addition to changing the music that we sing for the Eucharistic Acclamations to mark the seasons and relative solemnity of our celebrations, this change in the number of hymns we sing gives more variety to our Liturgy throughout the year and will allow us to focus on quality singing rather than quantity.

Encouraging you to sing,

Bulletin Notes for the Cathedral of Mary, Our Queen, July 19, 2015


Alphabetical list of my hymn tunes

For a list of tunes sorted by meter, please click here.

  • Azure Blue – CM
  • Advent Beginnings – 10 10 11 10
  • Bitterwood – 76 76D
  • Casser – 11 11 11 11
  • Changing Words – 77 77D
  • Chaos Shelter – 87 87 with refrain
  • Classic Unity – CM
  • Demon Driven – 87 87D
  • Double Unity – CMD
  • Easter Morn – 88 88 88
  • Elm Street – LM
  • Extended Cloud – 77 76
  • Faithful Church – 11 11 11 11 with refrain
  • Farewell Friend – LM
  • Friends Today – 87 87D
  • Glad Acclaim – CM
  • Green World – 77 77 with refrain
  • Hillside Wheat – 87 87D
  • Hubbard – 66 67D
  • Idle Depths – 85 75
  • Light Unfading – 87 87 87
  • Living Church – LM
  • Love Me Not – CM
  • Matinal – 86 88
  • Merciful Shadow – SM
  • Mystic Spirit – 87 87 77
  • No Royal Crown – LM
  • Present Here – CMD
  • Proud Wisdom – 10 9 10 9
  • Refuge Call – SM
  • River’s Child – 7777
  • Rooted Chain – 87 87D
  • Sea Fishing – 88 88 88
  • Sea Walk – LM (w/repeat)
  • Sent Forward – 11 8 11 9 with refrain
  • Steadfast Mercy – SM
  • Trampled Shame – SM
  • Trusting Christ – CM
  • Unexpected Harmony – 87 87 87
  • Unfading Light – 87 87
  • Weary World – 76 76 D
  • 1 more unnamed tune

Hymn Tunes by meter

Listed below are the named hymn tunes I have written sorted by meter. For an alphabetical list, please see my post here.


  • Azure Blue
  • Classic Unity
  • Glad Acclaim
  • Love Me Not
  • Trusting Christ


  • Double Unity
  • Present Here


  • Elm Street
  • Farewell Friend
  • Living Church
  • No Royal Crown

LM with repeat

  • Sea Walk


  • Merciful Shadow
  • Refuge Call
  • Steadfast Mercy
  • Trampled Shame

66 67D

  • Hubbard

76 76D

  • Bitterwood
  • Weary World

77 76

  • Extended Cloud

77 77

  • River’s Child

77 77 D

  • Changing Words

77 77 with refrain

  • Green World

85 75

  • Idle Depths

86 88

  • Matinal

87 87

  • Unfading Light

87 87 with refrain

  • Chaos Shelter – 87 87 with refrain

87 87 77

  • Mystic Spirit

87 87 87

  • Light Unfading
  • Unexpected Harmony

87 87D

  • Demon Driven
  • Friends Today
  • Hillside Wheat
  • Rooted Chain

88 88 88

  • Easter Morn
  • Sea Fishing

10 9 10 9

  • Proud Wisdom

10 10 11 10

  • Advent Beginnings

11 8 11 9 with refrain

  • Sent Forward

11 11 11 11

  • Casser

11 11 11 11 with refrain

  • Faithful Church

CFAGO Easter Hymn Sing

Event Description:

Join with the
Central Florida Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Orlando Brass Quintet to celebrate the season of Easter in song. Among the hymns included on the program will be Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, O Sons and Daughters, Now the Green Blade Rises. Come even if you just want to listen because this will be a glorious occasion to bask in the joy of Eastertide.

Event Date


Event Time

7:00 pm

Event Venue

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
1603 N. Thacker Ave.
Kissimmee, FL 34741

Crucifixion Hymns

Americans are used to reading hymns with the text set between the treble and bass clef staffs with the syllables more or less lined up with the music. British hymns are usually set with the music at the top of the page and all the lyrics at the bottom in a format that makes the poetry more obvious. The score for The Crucifixion by John Stainer presents the five hymns in British style. While preparing for the CFAGO combined choir performance of the work, this has proved a bit of a challenge for my American choir, I have taken the time to set the text within the music and am offering the files for download below. Some files include the performance instructions which we followed.

Hymns from the Crucificion by John Stainer: