Music for Liturgy of the Hours

Does anyone know of a place where you could order a CD with the music for the different hymns and psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours? I’d like to learn the tunes and be able to sing at least some of it, but I don’t have the advantage of a religious community to teach me. Thanks.

I posted this question a few weeks ago and scarcely got an answer. I am presuming there is not such thing, so I’m reduced to reciting them, trying to set them to music of another song I’m familiar with, or — quite rarely — coming across one I actually know.

Hope you have better luck than me.:slight_smile:

A few years ago a priest friend asked me if such a CD existed and I searced and could not find one. You can find different settings of the psalms, both chanted and in hymn form, and the hymns for the beginning of the hours, but nothing in one collection. I had thought of putting one together myself but then I was concerned about copyright infringement. Perhaps that is a good suggestion for one of the major liturgical music publishing houses. But, it would have to be more than one CD to include all the hours, I would settle for just Morning and Evening Prayer.

Same here. At least it would be a start. And if it turned into a series where eventually all or most of the songs were included – all the better.

Until someone makes such a CD, here are some options.

Most good hymnals index their hymns several different ways in the back of the book.

One of these is an “Index of Tune Names,” “Index of Tunes,” etc. It lists common melodies by name and refers you to the hymns that use that melody. Check this using the “Melody” reference in red at the bottom of each hymn in Liturgy of the Hours. For example, at the top of page 1096 in Volume II, it gives “Saint Anne” for the hymn “O Christ, you are the light and day …” I looked up St. Anne in the Worship hymnal’s Index of Tunes, and it refers me to #579, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” so I just use that melody.

Another hymnal index is the “Metrical Index of Tunes.” It lists hymns by rhythm. The numbers refer to the number of syllables in each line. If you count up the number of syllables in each line of the hymn you don’t know (they usually follow a repeating pattern), you may find a hymn in the index that follows the same pattern.

When I find a melody that works, I pencil in the title in my breviary next to the unfamiliar hymn so I will remember to use it next time it comes around.

A final possibility is to substitute a hymn that you do know (this is permitted), or to simply recite the words of the hymn (my least favorite option).

A fellow board member gathered a lot of the music for hymns on a webpage: Divine Office Hymns (link). If the tune you’re looking for isn’t on that page you can try other websites like , or , or For instance if you want to know what the tune “St. Anne” sounds like you can go to and search their hymn tune index and it’ll give a list of hymns using that tune. If you click on the page for “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” that PhilotheaZ mentioned, the tune starts playing automatically (unless you have a pop-up blocker)

If you don’t mind another book purchase you can use the Mundelein Psalter which provides music for the psalms and the hymns of Morning and Evening Prayer. The antiphons use the same tones as the psalms. You can hear audio examples here: audio files.

I just received the latest catelog from Ignatius Press. They are selling a CD of the LOTH that the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception sang when Pope Benedict XVI was in DC.

You can find the information at . I think that it is about $20 or so.

Hymn tunes for the Divine Office are at .

I use the Mundelein Psalter and I think it’s great. You will be able to sing every Evening and Morning prayer through the year as well as many hymns. For the hymns, the original Latin text is provided along with an English transation so you can sing either language. Every psalm tone and hymn has a sound file provided on the webpage for you to learn the melody.

It was mentioned above that it is permitted to substitute other hymnns for the ones that you do not know in the LotH. While I know that to be a common practice, I have not been able to find anywhere that specifically allows selecting music from outside of the brevery.

Does anyone know where this permission is granted?

I found this site and I thought it might be helpful. It is a CD set. Its a little pricey but it does exist

I know that the post asking whether hymns can be substituted for those in the LOTH book is old, but for anyone interested, I think that the answer imust be yes. I use the British editon of the LOTH, and one of the reasons is for the lovely hymns. The psalms are the same as the American edition. I use it when I go to Vespers at St. Peter’s, because my Italian is not good enough to use the handouts there, and it is a good translation of what they use there, so know it is all right to use. It is approved for almost all English speaking countries in the world except the US and Canada. The hymns are completely different than in the American edition. They also have poems that can be read instead of the hymns if one prefers. If hymns couldn’t be changed, we’d all have the same ones in the different editions like we have the same psalms.

You might just try on youtube.
Here’s one for Compline:

Another option is to type into your search engine “chant of le barroux”. You’ll have the text available by clicking of the tab that says “text”. The words will appear in Latin on the left and in English on the right. The Monks sing in Gregorian chant. I listen and pray with them every day.


If one want to sing the current Liturgy of the Hours in Gregorian chant there are many options (the monks of Le Barroux sing the Monastic Office which is very difficult for busy laity).

For the hymns, there’s Liber Hymnarius, available from Solesmes. For the day hours (Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline), the Communauté Saint-Martin in France have published the truly excellent “Les Heures Grégoriennes”). It’s Latin/French and entirely noted for Gregorian chant (you could use an English LOTH side-by-side with it for the English). It’s what I use most of the time (occasionally I pray the Monastic Office). I chant each psalm in Latin then read it silently in French (my mother tongue). It’s beautifully organized to minimize page flipping though some is inevitable, and has 4 ribbons (about 2 less than it needs alas…)

Les Heures Grégoriennes

The other cool thing about Les Heures, is that you can buy an optional 2 CD set of MP3s to help with the chant. The first strophe of every hymn; every antiphon and the first verse of the psalm or canticle it accompanies, every versicle and responsory, and common tones. A huge, huge help for learning how to chant the office in Latin.

For Vespers of Sundays, feasts and solemnities there’s Antiphonale Romanum II published by Solesmes. It’s also excellent, and very handy for choral use, but Latin only. Again you could use a vernacular LOTH side-by-side if you wish to read the psalm in the vernacular after chanting it. Antiphonale also includes the hymns for the offices it contains, as well as responsories, readings, psalm tones, in short everything you need to pray Vespers of Sundays, feasts and solemnities in one book.

Antiphonale Romanum II

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