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About the
Hymn Tune Index
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HTI: Definitions
  • A citation is an occurrence of a specific tune in a specific source.
  • A source is a book or piece of sheet music containing at least one tune.
  • A tune is a melody that sets a text and is suitable to be repeated for several verses. Extremely long or soloistic melodies (such as arias) are not considered tunes.  For a more precise definition see Scope.
  • A text is a metrical, strophic, religious lyric; in other words, a hymn or metrical psalm.
  • The source code is a unique identifier for a source. There are three kinds: generic codes begin with * ; title codes begin with # ; and compiler codes begin with the first letter of the compiler’s last name. The complete list of source codes may be found in the printed edition of the Hymn Tune Index.
  • The source compiler is the person or persons who compiled or edited the source.
  • The source title is the title as it appears on the title page (long titles are shortened, sometimes considerably).
  • The text (first 2 lines) is the first two phrases of the first stanza of the hymn.
  • The text code is a unique identifier for a text. It consists of the initial letters of the first six words (for example, APTOED for “All people that on earth do dwell”) plus a sequential number. An alphabetical list of text codes may be found in the printed edition of the Hymn Tune Index.
  • The tune attribution is the origin of the tune (composer or other book) as named in a given source. This may or may not be the actual origin.
  • The tune code is a unique identifier for a tune. The higher the number, the later the tune first appeared in print. Letters designate variants of a single tune. “Starts with” and “contains” are disallowed for tune code searches and return the same result as “is exactly.”  A chronological list of all tune codes up to 17424 may be found in the printed edition of the Hymn Tune Index.
  • The tune composer is the actual or probable composer of the tune as identified by the editors of the Hymn Tune Index.
  • The tune incipit consists of the first fifteen notes of the tune. Enter the notes numerically by scale degree (use “1” as first note of the scale in both major and minor). Ignore rhythm and accidentals.
  • The tune name is the name given above the printed tune or in the source’s index.