Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Breviary Hymns--fantastic Resource

Periodically I receive questions and comments about the hymns that go with the Liturgy of the Hours.

 "Are the hymns optional? Why do the hymn selections vary from one breviary to another? What hymns appear in the official Roman breviary and where can  find them? How do I find a tune for a hymn when only the words are given? What do the number sequences such as 78.78 or 87.87 mean?"

The excellent and informative Breviary Hymns blog is  a goldmine of information.  I am just tickled that this blog exists. I mean, I thought I'd chosen a rather elite niche topic for my blog! Well, Breviary Hymns takes a niche within that niche. Posts include lyrics, history of particular hymns, the hymn in context of the liturgical season or feast, and often video clips of the hymn being performed. There's even this video of England's Mr. Bean trying to sing "All Creatures of Our God and King".  (scroll way down to find it.) When I saw that, I knew that blogger Kevin Shaw was a kindred spirit.

Although we all have our own tastes in liturgical music, and I've made no secret that mine run to traditional, I appreciate that Mr. Shaw tries to see the value in just about every hymn in the breviary, helping us to appreciate or at least find interest in each of them.

I also love his resources tab! Lot's of stuff related not only to hymns but to the Liturgy of the Hours in general. Thanks, Kevin, for a great blog.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I follow the breviary most days and particularly love to see what hymns are included and will often hunt for videos so I can listen to them. Music speaks to me in profound ways. Have added your blog and Breviary Hymns to my blog roll. :)

  2. I want to thank you also for this information. I just started with the Liturgy of the Hours and just began to read your new book! It is JUST WHAT I NEEDED! Plus, this blog and the Breviary Hymns all in the last two days...I am so excited! I feel like I am on the beginning of an adventure!

    1. Thanks, Ellen. Glad to know I've been able to help. Yes, it's an adventure all right. Welcome aboard.

  3. What a resource - thank you for sharing it!

  4. Thanks Daria! I couldn't have asked for a better recommendation. It's very encouraging. Thanks everybody for the great comments and for checking out my website.

    Kevin Shaw

  5. 78.78 refers to the number of notes in a traditional four phrase hymn (7,8,7,8) This then correlates with the number of syllables in a traditional 4 line verse hymn - match them up and you can pretty much select different tunes that will work with various hymn texts.