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One way to introduce a song with great words but difficult music is to sing it to a familiar tune. And likewise, familiar words can take on new meaning and power when placed in a new musical context.

This is why I rely on the metrical index, a feature in many of the better hymnals. Because likemetered hymns are virtually interchangeable, this can add freshness to congregational singing.

The following list represents just a few examples of the hundreds of possibilities a metrical index provides. The numerals indicate the number of syllables per line; the letter D stands for a doubled (repeated) metrical pattern.

Long Meter-8,8,8,8

All People (Old 100th)

Jesus Shall Reign

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

'Tis Midnight

Just As I Am

O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee


Short Meter-6,6,8,6

A Charge to Keep

Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart

Come We That Love the Lord

Blest Be the Tie

I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord

Breathe on Me

Short Meter Double-6,6,8,6D

Crown Him with Many Crowns

This Is My Father's World

Make Me a Captive, ...

From Issue:Fall 1990: Assimilation
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