The Cyber Hymnal™

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I help?

  1. Many pages have re­quests for in­for­ma­tion or pic­tures. If you can help with any of these, it would be a bless­ing! Click here for spe­ci­fic in­for­ma­tion ab­out pict­ures.
  2. Publicize our ad­dress in blogs, In­ter­net mail­ing lists, news groups, Web sites, news­let­ters, ma­ga­zines, news-pa­pers, ra­dio and TV pro­grams, etc. If you find Web sites that still point to the old URL, ask them to up­date their links.
  3. Proofread our pag­es and test the links. Tell us about any er­rors you find.
  4. Click the Face­book Like and Share but­tons on our home page. Click here if the but­tons aren’t vi­si­ble.
  5. If you’d like to help de­fray our costs for com­put­er hard­ware, sof­tware, sup­plies, etc., con­sid­er mak­ing a do­na­tion at PayPal to ac­count
  6. HTML 5, the lang­uage of mo­dern Web pages, has an <audio> tag that lets brows­ers play mu­sic with­out ad­di­tion­al plug­ins. The Cyb­er Hym­nal™ us­es MIDI files to play sound. But, though MIDI is the old­est and most ma­ture au­dio for­mat for com­put­ers, no brows­er yet sup­ports play­ing MIDI in the <audio> tag. In fact, there is (so far) no low band­width, roy­al­ty free au­dio file for­mat that all ma­jor brows­ers sup­port in the <audio> tag! We want to get rid of plug­ins to make your life (and ours) simp­ler, but brows­er ven­dors aren’t be­ing help­ful.

Tell the World Wide Web Con­sor­ti­um ab­out it by send­ing an e-mail to Here’s where you can sub­mit this re­quest to brows­er mak­ers:

Please let us know if any of these links are out of date.

If you know an­y­one else who us­es this site, please ask them to sub­mit these re­quests, too! Help bless mil­lions. Be pa­tient, but pe­rsist­ent (Luke 18:5).

For brows­er ven­dors: The first pro­duct to sup­port MI­DI in the <audio> tag will be­come our re­com­mend­ed brows­er!

Pray that God will con­tin­ue to show us His will for this site.

How do I clear my brows­er’s cache? When you vis­it a Web page, your brows­er usu­al­ly saves the page in a stor­age area called a cache.

The next time you vi­sit the page, the brow­ser can give you the cached co­py, in­stead of re­triev­ing it again from the serv­er. This tech­nique makes Web pages load more quick­ly.

How­ev­er, it can some­times cause err­ors. Clear­ing the cache makes the brows­er re­place the old page co­py with a fresh one, which of­ten solves the prob­lem.

If you get a mes­sage say­ing you should clear your cache, but don’t know how, click here or here for in­struct­ions.

I have a Face­book ac­count—why don’t I see the Like and Share but­tons?

Some brows­er ex­ten­sions or other fea­tures hide these but­tons (Ad­Block, for ex­am­ple, or Chrome’s In­cog­ni­to mode). If you don’t see the but­tons, and sus­pect your brows­er set­up is the cause, try these steps:

After you click the but­tons, you don’t have to re­peat these steps. Face­book lets you click the but­tons on­ly once.

Why don’t I hear mu­sic? If you want the mu­sic to start au­to­mat­ic­al­ly on each hymn page, check the box on our home page that says Play Mu­sic Au­to­ma­tic­al­ly. If it does­n’t work:


If you want to play the mu­sic man­ua­l­ly, click the 🔊 icon. That should play the mu­sic with your com­puter’s mu­sic soft­ware (that is, out­side the brows­er).

Unfortunately, the prob­lem may re­cur, so re­peat these steps if the mu­sic goes si­lent again lat­er.

Sorry, we can’t di­ag­nose prob­lems long dist­ance. If you still can’t hear the mu­sic, please see your lo­cal tech­ni­cian.

What’s the XML mu­sic link do? Why do on­ly a few pages have one? It’s a hy­per­link to the mu­sic­al score in MusicXML for­mat. This for­mat is sup­port­ed by a num­ber of mu­sic an­no­tation pro­grams, such as Muse­Score. If you have one of these an­no­ta­tion pro­gram on your com­put­er, click­ing the XML link should down­load the score in­to your an­no­ta­tion pro­gram. This lets you view and ed­it the score ev­en if you can’t read files in our na­tive file for­mat (cur­rent­ly, Note­Wor­thy Com­pos­er™).

If you don’t have an ap­pli­ca­tion that sup­ports MusicXML, click­ing the link will prob­ab­ly just dis­play the raw XML (not the score) in your brows­er, or in an XML ed­it­or, if your sys­tem has one.

I found tune XXX in the tune name index (or on a bi­o­gra­phy page), but when I click the link, I end up on a page play­ing a dif­fer­ent tune. This can hap­pen if the tune is not the pri­ma­ry tune on any of our hymn pag­es. In this case, the link points to a page where it is an al­ter­nate tune.

Why does the text in [lang­uage xyz] show rec­tan­gles, di­a­monds or ques­tion marks? Some pos­si­ble caus­es:

Your com­put­er doesn’t have a font that can dis­play the miss­ing char­act­ers. For ex­amp­le, the de­fault font used by Mi­cro­soft In­ter­net Ex­plor­er (MSIE) for Greek text under Win­dows XP is Times New Ro­man, which can dis­play some, but not all Greek char­ac­ters and di­a­cri­ti­cal marks.

We’ve found the free font Gen­ti­um to be good a re­place­ment for Times New Ro­man in the case of Greek. For oth­er lang­uag­es, brows­ers and op­er­at­ing sys­tems, you can find fonts via In­ternet search en­gines.

If the prob­lem per­sists ev­en with the cor­rect font in­stalled, your brow­ser may be ig­nor­ing the font: The mere pre­sence of a font on your sys­tem doesn’t guar­an­tee your brows­er will use it.

Our site gives font hints to brows­ers for lang­uag­es with non-La­tin al­pha­bets, but some brows­ers don’t bo­ther check­ing these hints. How­ev­er, some brows­ers let you ex­pli­cit­ly choose the fonts to use for par­ti­cu­lar lang­uag­es. For ins­tance, with MSIE, choose Tools-In­ter­net Op­tions-Fonts (though ev­en this does­n’t al­ways work).

Firefox seems to read our font hints cor­rect­ly. For oth­er brows­ers, please con­sult the help file or ask a com­put­er sup­port tech­ni­cian.

The pages are hard to read on a small screen. How I can re­duce the clut­ter? Select the Short Ver­sion check box on the home page: It will re­duce the data dis­played on hymn pages.

To tem­po­rar­i­ly re­duce the data on a sin­gle page, click the black ar­row in the up­per right corner of the brows­er win­dow. Re­peat­ed clicks will tog­gle be­tween the con­densed and full modes.

Why is the text hard to read? We doesn’t spe­ci­fy a par­ti­cu­lar font for Eng­lish text. Your brows­er picks the font, so if it’s hard to read, you’ll have to blame your brows­er.

Why do some in­dex en­tries have num­bers af­ter them? These in­di­cate pri­ma­ry ti­tles, names, etc. Most­ly, this is for our own use as a con­ven­ient way to count the num­ber of pri­ma­ry en­tries. En­tries with­out num­bers are al­ter­nate ti­tles or first lines.

Is there an in­dex of hymns by date writ­ten, by au­thor birth/death dates, etc.? Sor­ry, no. We don’t have the re­sourc­es to main­tain such in­dex­es.

Do you have hymn xxxx? If the ti­tle starts with A, An, or The, it’s in­dexed un­der the next word (that is, the in­dex­es ig­nore these short words at the be­gin­ning of ti­tles). If you still can’t find it, check the index for its first line. Some hymns’ ti­tles and first lines are used in­ter­change­a­bly. If you still can’t find it, try us­ing our search page.

Why don’t you have my fa­vo­rite hymn, xxxx? If it was pub­lish­ed af­ter , it’s prob­ab­ly co­py­right­ed. Click here to see fre­quent­ly re­quest­ed hymns in that ca­te­go­ry.

Why don’t you have more con­tem­po­ra­ry mu­sic? Co­py­rights. We can’t post co­py­right­ed ma­ter­ial with­out per­mis­sion. If there are fa­vor­ite hymns you’d like to see on­line, please get the co­py­right hold­er’s writ­ten per­mission be­fore con­tact­ing us.

Our Po­pu­lar Hymns page lists co­py­right­ed ti­tles peo­ple oft­en re­quest. Bot­tom line: please do your home­work.

Do you need mu­sic? Yes, there are some lyr­ics for which we haven’t found suit­a­ble mu­sic. Click here for de­tails.

Why do some por­traits have gold-col­ored bor­ders? This is our way of re­cog­niz­ing the con­tr­ibu­tions of people who have pub­lished one or more works on hym­no­lo­gy or the stu­dy of church mu­sic (hym­nals and song books don’t count for this pur­pose).

Do you have high re­so­lution ver­sions of pic­tures? Sor­ry—the on­line im­ages are the on­ly ones avail­a­ble.

Is your site avail­able on DVD or CD-ROM? Sor­ry, afraid not. As a low budg­et pri­vate site, we don’t have the re­sourc­es to run a pub­lish­ing bus­iness. Main­tain­ing this site is a full time job.

Why are some lyr­ics dif­fer­ent than those in our hym­nal? Our sourc­es may have been dif­fer­ent than those your hym­nal used. His­tor­i­cal­ly, hym­nal com­pil­ers have tak­en li­ber­ties with lyr­ics, ar­range­ments, etc., caus­ing the (usu­al­ly mi­nor) dif­fer­enc­es you see.

Sometimes ev­en we make small chang­es to lyr­ics, though we try to keep such mo­di­fi­ca­tions to an ab­so­lute min­i­mum. The most com­mon rea­son is to fix me­tri­cal de­fects, or make ar­cha­ic vo­ca­bu­la­ry, spell­ing, or gram­mar clear­er to vi­sit­ors whose pri­ma­ry lang­uage is not Eng­lish (due to the world wide reach of the In­ter­net). However, we don’t un­der­take such chang­es light­ly, and make our best ef­fort to re­tain the orig­in­al po­et­ry.

Why do some words in the lyr­ics have ac­cent marks? These are sing­ing hints. An ac­cent ov­er a let­ter means the word should be sung with an ex­tra syl­la­ble. For ex­am­ple, you would sing bless­ed in one syl­la­ble, but you would sing bless­èd in two syl­la­bles.

How can I get the lyr­ics? Feel free to co­py and paste pub­lic do­main lyr­ics di­rect­ly from the screen. Most of our lyr­ics are in that ca­te­go­ry. If the lyr­ics are co­py­right­ed, there will be a no­tice say­ing so. Please don’t co­py these lyr­ics un­less the co­py­right no­tice al­lows it.

What are MI­DI files? First, MI­DI files are not re­cord­ings. Ra­ther, they con­tain di­git­al in­struct­ions for a com­put­er sound board tell­ing what notes to play, their vol­ume, tem­po, du­ra­tion, in­stru­ment, etc.

Click here for the his­to­ry and more in­for­ma­tion on M­IDI.

What are the NWC files I get when I click the illustration icon? This is sheet mu­sic in Note­Wor­thy Com­pos­er™ for­mat. See our Down­loads page for de­tails.

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween PDF & NWC files?

  1. PDF is a gen­er­al pur­pose file for­mat from Adobe Sys­tems. The NWC for­mat, from Note­wor­thy Soft­ware, is spe­cif­ical­ly for sheet mu­sic. Both com­pa­nies of­fer free view­ers for their files.
  2. You can’t change the PDF files, but—with the full ver­sion of Note­Wor­thy Com­pos­er—you can ed­it the NWC files (i.e., change tem­po, lyrics or font size; fix er­rors; trans­pose keys or re-ar­range the mu­sic; crea­te MIDI files; add com­ments; etc).

How do I de­com­press the ar­chive files? You need an UN­ZIP util­i­ty.

How do you choose the tunes? We nor­mal­ly use the tune found in the source where we found the lyr­ics. If the source doesn’t as­sign a tune, we pick one that seems to fit best. This is rare, though; the tune we use is usu­al­ly in a pub­lished hym­nal. Exception: Some ve­ry old hym­nals have on­ly words, no mu­sic. In these cas­es, we try to find a tune that fits.

Why don’t you list tune xxx as an al­ter­nate for hymn xxx? The al­ter­nate tune lists are not ex­haust­ive, and due to time and space constraints, prob­ab­ly ne­ver will be. We simp­ly give some that we have seen pub­lished in var­i­ous mu­sic­al tra­di­tions. Also, please real­ize that a well known tune in one de­no­mi­na­tion can be vir­tu­al­ly un­known else­where.

I have lyr­ics, but no mu­sic. How can I find a tune that fits the words?

  1. Count the num­ber of syl­la­bles in each line to de­ter­mine the po­et­ic me­ter. For ex­am­ple, a line of 8 syl­la­bles, fol­low­ed by lines of 6, 8 and 6 syl­la­bles, would be Com­mon Meter.
  2. On our home page, and click the Tunes by Me­ter link.
  3. On the Tunes by Me­ter page, find the de­sired me­ter in on the left side, and click it.
  4. When list of tunes ap­pears, click each one to list­en to it.
  5. If you find a tune you like, you can go to a page that us­es it to get the sheet mu­sic. See the next quest­ion.

How can I get the sheet mu­sic? We don’t pub­lish or sell mu­sic. Much of the ma­ter­i­al on this site is out of print, so if you want a pa­per co­py, check used book stores, es­tate sales, flea mar­kets, or an an­ti­quar­ian book­sell­er. Or, just click the illustration icon and print it (re­quires Adobe A­ro­bat Read­er).

Another pos­si­bil­i­ty is to down­load the hymn­al or song book where it was pub­lished from an on­line source. Ma­ny, but not all, of these books have been di­gi­tized and are avail­able for free on the In­ternet.

How can I get sheet mu­sic for a spe­ci­fic tune?

  1. Click here, or go to our home page, and click the Tunes by Name link.
  2. A page will op­en show­ing all tune names start­ing with the chos­en let­ter. Find the tune you want, then click one of the ti­tles at the end of that row (far right).

How can I tell where the mu­sic came from? The com­ment sec­tion of the Note­Wor­thy Com­pos­er™ file usu­al­ly shows the source.

I use mu­sic no­ta­tion soft­ware XYZ. Can I im­port your Note­Wor­thy Com­pos­er™ (NWC) files? Yes, if your soft­ware can read MusicXML files. Click here to vi­sit a site that con­verts NWC files to Mu­sic­XML for­mat.

Why does the mu­sic sound tin­ny/like a harp­si­chord/weird? You prob­ab­ly have an out­dat­ed soft­ware driv­er, or a low qual­i­ty sound board/speak­ers. It’s prob­ab­ly worth some time and ef­fort to fix the prob­lem. With the right set­up, your sound should be al­most CD-qual­ity.

Why is the mu­sic so fast/slow? Speed is large­ly a mat­ter of per­son­al taste. If you want to change the tem­po, you can down­load Note­Wor­thy Com­pos­er™ and cre­ate a MIDI file to suit your needs.

Can I play your mu­sic on a re­gu­lar DVD/CD player? Not di­rect­ly, but with some ef­fort and the right soft­ware, you could con­vert the MI­DI files to MP3 format, then burn them on­to a DVD/CD. You might see if your con­gr­eg­ation has a will­ing and able teen­ag­er: that age group oft­en has ex­per­ience in DVD/CD cre­a­tion.

Where can I get MI­DI files for oth­er types of mu­sic? There are ma­ny Web sites spe­cial­iz­ing in MI­DI. Try look­ing on a search en­gine like Goo­gle.

Can you show gui­tar chords? Sor­ry, we don’t have that ca­pa­bil­i­ty. But there are oth­er Web sites that spe­cial­ize in wors­hip mu­sic played by gui­tar.

Our Web site links to the Cyber Hym­nal™. Can you tell us when your pag­es change, so we can up­date our links? Sad­ly, no, due to lack of time. But our Re­cent Ad­di­tions page lists the new ma­ter­i­al when it goes on­line.

Do you have any fa­mi­ly his­to­ry on the au­thors or com­posers? This is ou­tside our scope. We re­com­mend you vi­sit one of the ma­ny of gen­e­a­lo­gy sites on the Web, or click the Find­a­grave link if shown on one of our bi­o­gra­phy pag­es.

Can I down­load your en­tire site? There are ma­ny pro­grams on the In­ternet to down­load en­tire Web sites. For pages on our site which have re­strict­ive co­py­right no­tices, you should first ob­tain pe­rmis­sion from the co­py­right own­er.

Why do I get the mes­sage Ac­cess De­nied in Mi­cro­soft In­ter­net Ex­plor­er (MSIE)? We haven’t seen this mes­sage our­selves, but it seems to be caused by er­rors in MSIE. This link shows dis­cuss­ions of the to­pic and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. If you still get the er­ror, we re­com­mend us­ing a dif­fer­ent brow­ser, such as Fire­fox or Chrome.

Who are you? What’s your de­no­mi­na­tion? This is a pri­vate Web site, do­ing our best to ad­vance God’s king­dom, us­ing the gifts He gives us. We be­long to the same de­no­mi­na­tion as Je­sus: Chris­tian.