Jump directly to the Content


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
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

A Structure Runs Through It
A Structure Runs Through It
Both free-flowing praise and traditional hymns can be included in an extended time of worship.
From the Magazine
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
How Jesus rescued a New Age psychic from spiritual darkness.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.