How to Compose a Hymn

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

How to Compose a Hymn. A hymn is a Christian song, usually written in a metrical form or with symmetrical stanzas. Some lyrics rhyme for emphasis, others use repeated words. Hymns are written to praise God and, as St. Paul says, "to strengthen the church."

Preparing

Learn about hymns before trying to write them. The more you know, the better equipped you will be. It may be helpful to read, sing and even memorize your favorite hymns.

Study English meter and metrical verse. The arrangement of stresses can be used to cause different movements in the singer.

Engross yourself in the Scriptures. The better you know your source texts the easier lyrics will come.

Writing Lyrics

Start with a text that you know and paraphrase it into a new hymn. You can use a Bible passage or even another hymn as your source. Once you have practiced using this exercise you can try writing hymns more freely.

Use a lot of details. This will give your hymn focus.

Target a particular audience. If you write for your own church, you will know their tastes. If one church likes your lyrics, it is likely that another will, too.

Organize your hymn. One method is rhyme. It can be a challenge to rhyme, but if you don't rhyme your hymn will need another form of organization. Repetition is another method of organization that you can use.

End the hymn with your best line.

Tip

Create an expectation with your writing, but don't make anything too obvious. If you need more structure choose your music before writing.

Warning

Don't use words that sound poetic, but say nothing. This is fluff. Don't use archaic language like thee or thou. Be careful how the sounds of words combine. When sung your words may create a sound that distracts the singer.

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