The Art & Craft of Typesetting Hymns
David P. Schaap

Author David P. Schaap
Price $24.50 (U.S.) Released 7/09
Catalog no. 380-501

Download an excerpt

Order now!
Add To Cart  View Cart

Order as a digital download
Add To Cart  View Cart Your download link will be sent in an e-mail once order is approved.

David Schaap founded Selah Publishing Co., in 1987, and since then has designed numerous hymnals and hymn collections and proofread thousands of hymns. His background in graphic design, art, and music make him uniquely qualified to discuss the design and considerations of preparing hymns for publication. While opinionated, this monograph discusses the many decisions that need to be made before music typesetting begins, and details the pros and cons of various choices.

Written for local church musicians and professional typesetters alike, this book will help make your hymn typesetting output more consistent, more legible, and more singable.

Planning a Hymn Collection

  • Forming a Committee
  • Project Management
  • Editions Produced
  • Ordering of Book

Page Layout

  • Size of Page
  • Margins
  • Elements on a Page
  • Font Choices

Musical Considerations

  • Size of Music Systems
  • Musical Font
  • Line Widths
  • Spacing of Staves
  • Time Signatures
  • Single Staves
  • Descants or Obbligato lines
  • Markings for Introductions
  • Markings for Canons or Rounds
  • Guitar Chords
  • Metronome markings
  • Partial Staves
  • Beaming to Time Signature vs. Syllabic Beaming
  • Double Stemming
  • Stem Direction
  • Unison and interlined hymns
  • Choice of Key
  • Measure Spacing
  • Cautionary Accidentals
  • Double stemming of seconds
  • Unisons
  • Height of Stems
  • Stem Direction
  • Ties
  • Slurs
  • Articulation and Dynamics
  • Chant

Text Considerations

  • Font Choices
  • Italics
  • Number of Syllables per line
  • Number of Stanzas to interline
  • Markers between large numbers of stanzas
  • Numbering of stanzas
  • Omitting stanzas
  • Capitalization of pronouns for God
  • Capitalization by poetic phrase
  • Justification of lines
  • Elisions
  • Word extensions vs. dotted slurs
  • Hyphenation
  • Centering of syllables
  • Underlayment of long syllables

Credit Considerations

  • Identifying the contents
  • Presentation of credits
  • Abbreviations used in credits

Index Considerations

  • Possible Indexes to include
  • Alphabetizing indexes
  • Author and composer indexes
  • Tune index

Appendix I: Order entry for music typesetting

Appendix II: Checklist for proofreading

Appendix III: References

The Secrets of Typesetting Hymns

"My first thought on seeing this book was, 'This is a very good technical book for a specialized group of readers who are composers.' On second thought, however, I realized that even a director who writes only short responses for her choir or congregation can use the topics under discussion here to make her work more easily readable, and therefore more accessible.

The author is the founder of Selah Publishing Co.; he has been typesetting music for two decades. He presents strongly-held opinions developed with experience, some of which are applicable only to those compiling hymn collections. However, the lion's share of the material is worthy of consideration for those using music publishing software to print all those things church musicians find necessary to make their work successful: their own compositions, responses, descants, and instrumental parts. (There is no implication in the book or in this review that the copyright laws may be violated.)

The topics covered are very helpful, especially when it is desirable to override the software default settings. Least helpful for most of us is the opening chapter on organizing the hymn collection, but the other subjects include the musical concerns of staff and note size, beaming and stem direction, the textual considerations of font and size, capitalization and hyphenation, among others. Useful appendices include procedural checklists and a bibliography. My own collaborators in making music for worship wish I had found this little volume and followed its tenets years ago." --Worship Arts, May-June 2010


Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Please e-mail us your thoughts.

What's New | Music in Worship | About Selah | Composers & Authors
Licensing | Customer Service | Ordering | Legal Stuff

Children | Choral | Congregational Song | Handbell | Instrumental |
Organ/Keyboard | Video | Vocal Solo

© Selah Publishing Co., Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15227.