Cobbling together metrical Psalms…

In our church we use a fair amount of Scripture. We read a chapter from an Epistle even before the Call to Worship. Our Call to Worship is always from the Scriptures. We read a passage as a part of the Proclamation of Christ’s forgiveness. We read from the Gospels. We read responsively from the Psalms. And, of course, I read a sermon text.

It would be difficult to have too much Scripture in a service.

We also sing the Psalm we have read responsively. Frequently I cannot find a version of the Psalm that our congregation can sing, and I have to put something together. I may use lyrics from a metrical version that we already have license to use. (I do not believe in breaking copyrights in this stuff.) I may go to somewhere like (maintained by Calvin College). has been pretty fruitful for finding old metrical Psalms from places like the Bay Psalm Book and the Scottish Psalter and Paraphrases.

Once I have found the lyrics, I look for a suitable tune. I try to use something this congregation already knows that has the right metre. I then download a Noteworthy® file from or the Cyberhymnal and use the Noteworthy software to marry the lyrics and music.

I was helping a friend out today, marrying up an 18th century metrical Psalm 13 and a tune known as “St. Agnes,” authored by John B. Dykes in 1866 (Think: “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee”) He asked if I could give him a tutorial, and I thought I could use this platform to do it.

First, I have gone to the Hymnary and searched for St. Agnes.


There are actually several tunes with that name. I happen to know that what I want is the one John Dykes did.


It takes me to this page. Nice picture.


If then page down and find a download link to  a “NWC” file…NoteWorthy Composer.


I have downloaded it to an appropriate location on my hard drive. When opened in Noteworthy, it looks like this:


Then I went back to Hymnary, and found the metrical lyrics I wanted. I have copied them and pasted them into Word:


There are some things you have to do to make the lyrics line up with the notes the way you want:


Then I told Noteworthy that I wanted to input the lyrics.


This is the Noteworthy lyric input dialog box. This is verse 1:


I’ve got all six verses in, and I can see that I have a problem. I forgot to put dashes between syllables in one word in each of verses 2 and 5.


I have corrected it.


There is some page formatting necessary, but this is the finished product.




This entry was posted in Psalms, Random Prattlings, Things they didn't teach me in seminary..., Worship. Bookmark the permalink.

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