Exploring The Hymnal 1982 Service Music Accompaniment Edition

Hymnal 1982 accompaniment edition

Even if you’ve worked as a parish musician for a number of years, there’s still a chance you are overlooking some golden service planning resources available in The Hymnal 1982. With all the helpful guides offered for music planning that specifically deal with choosing hymns and anthems for the three-year Revised Common Lectionary cycle, musicians often forget about the useful indices available within the accompaniment edition of the service music volume of The Hymnal 1982. And, of course, every organist will need these volumes, so they are not an additional expense for the parish. These service music edition indices might not be ALL the musician needs, but they are valuable supplements to other published resources. Moreover, many freshly-minted church musicians might welcome some guidance in finding starting places for planning liturgical music. With that in mind, I thought I’d throw out a few options.

On p. 677 of the Service Music Accompanist Edition, there are several “Resources for Service Planning.” Here are some highlights.

  • “Hymns based on Canticles and other Liturgical Texts” are particularly useful for planning sung Daily Offices. While the Service Music section of The Hymnal 1982 contains musical settings of the Invitatory Psalms and the Phos Hilaron, there are also paraphrased musical versions that are suitable for use within the Office. These can expand the repertoire of Office service music and create musical variety. Additionally, the list of hymns based on canticles could be useful in selecting Songs of Praise to replace the Gloria in excelsis on occasion, as appropriate. They can also serve to expand the repertoire of canticles provided within The Hymnal, offering paraphrased versions of authorized canticles for use in the Daily Office. S355 within the Accompaniment edition itself gives some options of canticles to replace the Gloria in excelsis, as well as other parts of the Holy Eucharist.
  • Some people may remember the section within the old 1940 Hymnal entitled “Hymns for Children.” Well, The Hymnal 1982 did not abolish such a resource, but it relegated such a listing to an index in the back of the Service Music Accompanist Edition. And it’s expanded and revised!
  • The “Liturgical and Subject Index” has a much more expanded thematic grouping of hymns than that found in the Table of Contents at the front of The Hymnal 1982. The comprehensive listing of hymns possibilities for Lent is particularly useful, since the Lent liturgical section of The Hymnal 1982 is somewhat limited in scope. I highly recommend browsing this section, as the topical suggestions are extremely detailed.
  • The “Index of Scriptural References” is pure gold. There are many times in which other hymn planning resources can be of little help. Especially during the long season of Pentecost, using such hymn planning resources can provide for little hymn variety, since many of the same hymns work well over several weeks. In such a case, consider taking a scripture verse or several from the appointed lectionary readings for a service, and do a search of this index. This will expand your possibilities for picking hymns. This resource can also be quite useful for choosing hymns at the Daily Office.

Finally, don’t forget that there are some things in the accompaniment edition of the Service Music section of The Hymnal 1982 that are ONLY found here. One notable resource is full service music for Compline. There are also beautiful plainsong settings of anthems for occasions like Candlemas Processions, the washing of feet on Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. These are just to name a few. I encourage you to explore this resource in your musical planning. It might surprise you.

Kyle Babin is Administrative Assistant for the Center for Liturgy and Music.