hymn


hymn
hymner /him"euhr, -neuhr/, n.hymnlike, adj.
/him/, n.
1. a song or ode in praise or honor of God, a deity, a nation, etc.
2. something resembling this, as a speech, essay, or book in praise of someone or something.
v.t.
3. to praise or celebrate in a hymn; express in a hymn.
v.i.
4. to sing hymns.
[bef. 1000; < L hymnus < Gk hýmnos song in praise of gods or heroes; r. ME ymne ( < OF) and OE ymn ( < LL ymnus)]
Syn. 1. anthem, psalm, paean.

* * *

Song used in Christian worship, usually sung by the congregation and written in stanzas with rhyme and metre.

The term comes from the Greek hymnos ("song of praise"), but songs in honour of God or the gods exist in all civilizations. Christian hymnody grew out of the singing of psalms in the Temple of Jerusalem. The earliest known Christian hymn dates from с AD 200. Hymns were prominent in the Byzantine liturgy from early times, and in the Western church they were sung by congregations until the Middle Ages, when choirs took over hymn singing. Congregational singing was reestablished during the Reformation. Martin Luther and his followers were great hymn writers, while the Calvinists preferred setting psalms to music. The compositions of Isaac Watts and John Wesley were notable in English hymnody. The Counter-Reformation led to the composition of many Roman Catholic hymns, and the Roman Catholic church restored congregational singing of hymns after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

* * *

▪ sacred song
Greek hymnos“song of praise,” in honour of gods, heroes, or famous men

      strictly, a song used in Christian worship, usually sung by the congregation and characteristically having a metrical, strophic (stanzaic), non-biblical text. Similar songs, also generally termed hymns, exist in all civilizations—examples survive, for instance, from ancient Sumer and Greece.

      Christian hymnody derives from the singing of psalms in the Hebrew Temple. The earliest fully preserved text (c. AD 200 or earlier) is the Greek “Phos hilarion” (“Go, Gladsome Light,” translated by the 19th-century U.S. poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). Hymnody developed systematically, however, only after the emperor Constantine legalized Christianity (AD 313); and it flourished earliest in Syria, where the practice was possibly taken over from the singing by Gnostics and Manichaeans of hymns imitating the psalms. The Byzantine (Byzantine Empire) Church adopted the practice; in its liturgy, hymns maintain a much more prominent place than in the Latin liturgy; and Byzantine hymnody developed complex types such as the kanōn and kontakion (qq.v.; see also Byzantine chant). Saint Ephraem—a 4th-century Mesopotamian deacon, poet, and hymnist—has been called the “father of Christian hymnody.”

      In the West, St. Hilary of (Hilary of Poitiers, Saint) Poitiers composed a book of hymn texts in about 360. Not much later St. Ambrose (Ambrose, Saint) of Milan instituted the congregational singing of psalms and hymns, partly as a counter to the hymns of the Arians, who were in doctrinal conflict with orthodox Christianity. In poetic form (iambic octosyllables in four-line stanzas), these early hymns—apparently sung to simple, possibly folk melodies—derive from Christian Latin poetry of the period. By the late Middle Ages trained choirs had supplanted the congregation in the singing of hymns. Although new, often more ornate melodies were composed and many earlier melodies were elaborated, one syllable of text per note was usual. Some polyphonic hymn settings were used, usually in alternation with plainchants, and were particularly important in organ music.

      Congregational singing in the liturgy was re-established only during the Reformation, by the Lutheran Church in Germany. The early chorale (q.v.), or German hymn melody, was unharmonized and sung unaccompanied, although harmonized versions, used by varying combinations of choir, organ, and congregation, appeared later. Some were newly composed, but many drew upon plainsong, vernacular devotional song, and secular song. The pattern of secular lyrics also influenced the hymn texts of Martin Luther and his contemporaries. Important early collections were those of Luther and Johann Walther (1524) and of Georg Rhau (1544). Pietism brought a new lyrical and subjective note into German hymnody in the 17th and 18th centuries, among both Lutherans and other groups, such as the Moravian Church.

      Swiss, and later, French, English, and Scottish Calvinism promoted the singing of metrical translations of the psalter (see psalmody), austerely set for unaccompanied unison singing. English and Scottish Protestantism admitted only the singing of psalms. English metrical psalms were set to tunes adapted from the French and Genevan psalters. These were fairly complex melodies written on French metres. The English psalter used only a few metres, and the custom of singing each psalm to its “proper” tune was soon replaced by the use of a few common tunes. The common metre 8, 6, 8, 6 (the numbers give the number of syllables in each line), a form of English ballad metre, remains the archetypal English hymn metre.

      The principal impetus to English hymnody came in the late 17th century from the Independent (Congregationalist) hymn writer Isaac Watts (Watts, Isaac) (Hymns and Spiritual Songs; 1705–19). The evangelical revival of the mid-18th century under John and Charles Wesley (Wesley, John), founders of Methodism, finally established hymnody in England and America. Charles Wesley's many poems use a variety of experimental metres, and John Wesley's translations introduced many of the finest German hymns. The Wesleys also adopted many German tunes, and their later editions contain much music in the style of Handel.

      The Church of England (England, Church of) accepted hymn singing officially only in 1820, following a controversy arising from the singing of hymns at a Sheffield church. The Oxford (Oxford movement) (High Church) Movement, begun in 1833, stimulated new compositions, translations of medieval hymns, and use of plainsong melodies. The present era of English hymnody dates from the publication of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861; last rev. ed., 1950), characterized by austerity of style, conformity to the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and the setting of each hymn to its proper tune.

      Two influential collections appeared around the turn of the 20th century: the Yattendon Hymnal (1899), by the English poet Robert Bridges, and The English Hymnal (1906), edited by Percy Dearmer and the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams; the latter includes many plainsong and folk melodies.

      Continental hymnody has been largely influenced by Lutheran models, although in Italy the Waldensian church cultivates congregational hymnody influenced by local folk-song and operatic styles. The Counter-Reformation in the mid-16th century stimulated the composition of many fine Roman Catholic hymns, and a renewal of interest in the late 19th century eventually led, in England, to the Westminster Hymnal (1940). The reintroduction of congregational singing during mass in the late 1960s also proved a stimulus to the composition of new hymns and led to the adoption of many hymns from non-Catholic sources. See also Armenian chant; fuging tune; sequence; spiritual; Te Deum laudamus.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hymn — • A derivative of the Latin hymnus, which comes from the Greek hymnos, derived from hydein, to sing Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Hymn     Hymn      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hymn — Desarrollador Anónimo Información general Última versión estable 0.8.0 Género eliminación de DRM …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hymn — «Hymn» Сингл Moby из альбома Everything Is Wrong Выпущен 1994 Формат CD, 12 Жанр …   Википедия

  • Hymn 43 — «Hymn 43» Canción de Jethro Tull disco Aqualung Publicación 19 de marzo de 1971 Grabación …   Wikipedia Español

  • hymn — [hım] n [Date: 800 900; : Latin; Origin: hymnus song of praise , from Greek hymnos] 1.) a song of praise to God ▪ He liked to sing hymns as he worked. 2.) a hymn to sth a book, film, song etc that strongly praises a person or idea ▪ Their first …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hymn — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz.mnż I, D. u, Mc. hymnnie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} pieśń pochwalna, dziękczynna w uroczystym tonie sławiąca podniosłe idee, boga : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Hymn do boga, słońca. {{/stl… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • hymn — [him] n. [ME ymen < OE ymen & OFr ymne, both < LL (Ec) hymnus < Gr hymnos, a hymn, festive song, ode] 1. a song in praise or honor of God, a god, or gods 2. any song of praise or glorification vt. to express or praise in a hymn vi. to… …   English World dictionary

  • Hymn — (h[i^]m), n. [OE. hympne, ympne, F. hymne, OF. also ymne, L. hymnus, Gr. ?; perh. akin to ? web, ? to weave, and so to E. weave.] An ode or song of praise or adoration; especially, a religious ode, a sacred lyric; a song of praise or thanksgiving …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hymn — Hymn, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Hymned}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Hymning}.] [Cf. L. hymnire, Gr. ?.] To praise in song; to worship or extol by singing hymns; to sing. [1913 Webster] To hymn the bright of the Lord. Keble. [1913 Webster] Their praise is hymned …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hymn — Hymn, v. i. To sing in praise or adoration. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hymn — c.1000, from O.Fr. ymne and O.E. ymen, both from L. hymnus song of praise, from Gk. hymnos song or ode in praise of gods or heroes, used in Septuagint for various Hebrew words meaning song praising God. Possibly a variant of hymenaios wedding… …   Etymology dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.