Hymns and chants


Do any of you practice singing the hymns and chants sung at Mass?
I do and some of the chants seem a bit difficult.
In general, how do people actually learn all those melodies? I guess not all sing them that welll. What are your experiences with this?
Are hymns supposed to be easy so that practising is unnecessary?


Perhaps one or two are on YouTube or the like, it may help to sing along to them?

This is one we sing following midweek mass


Useful resource here:



That’s an excellent link, thank you.


For learning hymns I find the recordings of John Keys playing the organ helpful. They are at https://www.hymncds.com and on Amazon Music, iTunes and other places. There is over 2,600 tracks.

For learning chants I usually use a organ to play the tune. Then I use an app on my iPhone called insTuner to see how close I am getting to the correct note.

Another iPhone app I have found useful is SingTrue. It has exercises for learning to sing and hear notes. I found the singing part better than the hearing part.


Resource for hymns and worship songs:



Regardless of the music source, think about getting a Bluetooth speaker so that it can travel with you from room to room. $25-$250 from mild (Aomais) to wild (Bose). Am installing a small shelf in my garage so that I can play my “faith” playlist from YouTube while I putter around.


Our priest learned the Mass settings using the internet. He suggested that the parish members learn from the same internet source that he used.


My parish unfortunately never does chant save for the Tantum Ergo on Mandy Thursday. We instead have hymns for every prayer and the four hymn sandwich. Whenever there is a new hymn they will have people practice the hymn in church before the Mass.

I find this odd as being a former Protestant we never practiced hymns before church. We didn’t have a lot of ‘new’ hymns. Most hymns didn’t use a completely novel tune. But there would be some rarely used tunes. This never posed a problem. We always had a choir which would help carry the tune, but in general the laity could pick up on a tune (including the four parts) with no difficulty.

Between chant and hymns chants are what should be easier. Some chants can be complex, but there are more simple chants.


In Sweden they recorded the whole book, the official hymn book for OF. But with only the first verse of the hymns being sung.
Chants have melismas and they are not always that easy.


My wife is one of the choir directors at our parish. When She starts a “new” hymn or chant, the choir practices it, first in our out side Mass rehearsal then in the rehearsal before mass for several weeks to a month or more, depending on the difficulty. The before Mass rehearsals let the congregation hear it and get familiar with it. She will then use it as a 2nd Communion/meditation hymn before finally scheduling it as a regular Mass hymn. Mass parts are done similarly when we change them (seldom). By the time the "new hymn is live, everyone is familiar with it.

Yes, we in the choir use YouTube to get familiar with it when we are learning.



The 2015 Guidelines for Liturgical Music (revised) of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has a chapter “Introducing New Music” on page 130. (At https://www.scsba.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/guidelines_liturgical_music.pdf ).

Some of the guidelines are:

List new pieces you would like to use for coming year, no more than four new songs for the assembly.

Have choir sing new piece before celebration.

Sing the piece three or four weeks in a row.

If the song has a refrain, have congregation sing only the refrain (e.g. cantor sings first verse, choir second and third verse, whole assembly last verse.)

Introduce new music in the parish bulletin.

Use new hymns at other gatherings like meetings and prayer groups.


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