Category talk:Hymn meters

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Consulting the metrical indices for hymn tunes in sundry hymnals, there seem to be two major systems of organization. However, finding 88.88 in a hymntune index is rare; this meter is almost always categorized as "LM", and the listings for the three customary abbreviations (SM, CM, LM) and their derivatives, "with refrain", and the abbreviations for the doubled forms- SMD, CMD, LMD, all precede the numerically designated categories.

This organizations system may be worth consideration.

ns 2006 April 11 1708 CDT

There probably eventually needs to be a "search tips" section, to warn users of certain metrical pitfalls, e.g., that an 87.87.87.87 tune may fit iambic but not trochaic texts, or vice versa, or that a text with a meter 87.87.337 may have been fitted to a tune with a meter of 87.87.67. Also, capitalization matters, at least for the first character.

ns 2006 April 11 1713 CDT.

The hymn tune categories with more than nine syllables in the first line, should not be listed under "1". I know this is possible, and will work it out at some point in the near future; if someone else does it before I get to it, a brief description about how it is accomplished would be valuable.

ns 2006 April 11 1732 CDT

On the category page of each hymn metre with 10 or more syllables in the first line, say for example the category [[Category:10.10.10]], assign the category like this:

[[Category:Hymn meters|~10.10.10]]

The metre will then be grouped along with the ~ character, which sorts after 9, and is at least a slight improvement on having these metres sort under the heading of 1.

--Pml 01:03:24, 2006-04-12 (PDT)

Hmmm. Number of syllables are going to be a problem with any case where one or more lines has more than nine syllables, but a review of meters in several hymns reveals that none contains hymns with more than 15 syllables in a line. This suggests to me that the most expedient means of organizing the meters category is to use hexadecimal numbering, so that 10 is listed as a, 11 as b, 12 as c, 13 as d, 14 as e, and 15 as f. An explanatory note to the effect will be needed in the page for those who are not familiar with hexadecimal numbering, but at least there is no hexadecimal mathematic required. This will allow lines to sort properly, preclude the need to come up with five other characters besides, and have the number of syllable sort correctly.

ns 2006 April 12 1517 CDT

Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that an alternative to using hexadecimal numbers for meters with more than 9 syllables, is to place meters with ten syllables or more per line (especially if the ten or more syllables are in the first few lines) on a separate page, which is maintained by hand.

ns 2006 April 12 1944 CDT

Depending on what proportion of hymns use metres with 10 or more syllables in the first line, a hand maintained page may not be too much work. If you work out a reasonable way of doing the sorting, it may not look to bad to have the various metres organised one after (first the ones with 10 in the first line, then 11, then 12, and so on). Category talk:Voicing has notes on the method employed for sorting that list - which was a complete mess before Toby and I started on it; the next large reorganisation will be to do something useful with the searching methods for generic 2-part music, 3-part, and so on upwards.

--Pml 19:49:41, 2006-04-12 (PDT)

I'm guessing that there would be upwards from three dozen categories where the number of syllables in lines is 10 or more and which would necessitate listing on a hand-manitained page. However, in many cases, these are unicums, that is, like Stolpe's tune already up here, probably three quarters of the categories have only one or two tunes. If the categories were added as needed, maintaining the list would probably not seem too time consuming.

ns 2006 April 13 0314 CDT


OK, So I wandered over to WIKI, created an account, and spent a few minutes browsing, and think I may have discovered the answer to the question of sorting the meters in the order in which we want them to appear, and that is to define them as a list, instead of a category.

We can order the list in any way we want, and it may take a little more work to create, than letting WIKI do it automatically, but we only need one page instead of two, and 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 will wind up where we want them, or if they don't, it will be trivial to move them as needed.

Now all we have to do is to decide what order we want the lists in, lines, or syllables....

Mjolnir 08:54, 14 April 2006 (PDT)

Adding a new meter?

How can a new meter be added? I've just typeset a MS I wrote in 1989 for a text of 74.74.74.74., which I'm thinking can be abbreviated to 74.74.D. However, there is no such meter on the list at this time. I also notice there are no listings for P.M. and its siblings (CPM, SPM and LPM). Tweedfour 07:44, 2 March 2008 (PST)

Hi Thurlow. I added Category:74. 74. D, since I'm more-or-less the keeper of the meters here. Common, Short, and Long Particular Meters seem to have fallen into disuse in the vast majority of currently published hymnals, and I haven't noted, for instance, that 886. 886 is really C.P.M. or that 88. 88. 88 is really L.P.M. - although examples of these meters already exist at CPDL. As yet, 668. 668 (S.P.M.) is not represented here. In this vein, note that we haven't used the "half" forms of Common and Long Meters, either.
In Sacred Harp, there are also Particular Meters, which refer to what a few hymnals today list under "One of a kind meters" (generally so thay don't have to specify a separate heading for the meter and then a line for the single tune name). Obviously, we don't follow this practice here, since meter categories are added as they are required and, at least initially, most meters here would (or would have) started out "particular" in that sense.
The procedure for adding new meter categories is not yet well-documented. At first it was pretty much ad hoc, until I made a Template:MeterCat to unify the descriptive text and streamline the process of creation (but I was so busy I didn't provide the documentation). I will shortly provide the documentation, and possibly slightly modify the template to make it "extensible". At present, Template:MeterCat takes 3 parameters, the first being the specification of the meter for text (and the title of the meter category), for example:
86. 86. D (C.M.D.) with alleluias
The second parameter provides the "sort key" and is really the complete line by line listing of the number of syllables, lines separated by periods (.), where the numbers of syllables given by two-digit numbers (single digit numbers being having a prepended zero to make them look like two-digit numbers), and any extra description (such as "with alleluias" or "with refrain") included. For example, the second parameter for the above C.M.D. meter with alleluias thus appears as:
08.06.08.06.08.06.08.06 with alleluias
The third parameter is the (capitalized) word giving the number of lines (used to further categorize the meter by number of lines), refrains and alleluias are typically not counted (this may be something to rethink). In our example, the C.M.D. with alleluias receives Eight as its third parameter. This should explain why the file for [[:Category:86. 86. D (C.M.D.) with alleluias reads, in its entirety, as:
{{MeterCat|86. 86. D (C.M.D.) with alleluias|08.06.08.06.08.06.08.06 with alleluias|Eight}}
Finally, there are a few things about formatting the meters for the title of meter category pages (and the way they are specified on pages which link to them). Period+space separaters are placed in meter names to make the meters more readable, and the groupings that result are mostly two lines (couplets), less often three lines, and rarely four lines. More often than not, an attempt is made in odd cases to group lines according to the structure of the intended text or the cadence structure of the tune itself. Additionally, a two digit number is followed by a space if it occurs before another member of its group. You can see examples at Category:Hymn meters. Some have argued that it would be better if we just used a period (or a space, or a period+space) separater between every pair of lines. The chief argument against this has been that of readability versus confusion. Indeed, early on, when hymn meters at CPDL were in their infancy (or were they already adolescents?) and meter categories maintained in lists (rather than as sub-categories of Category:Hymn meters), there were notable confusions between such meters as 8.8.8.8.8.8.8.8 and 8.8.8.8.8.8.8 (if I recall, there was even a list entry which read something like "[[:Category:8.8.8.8.8.8.8|8.8.8.8.8.8.8.8]]" (seven 8s for the category, eight 8s for the way it was to appear in text!).
Anyway, there you have the Hymn meter situation pretty much as it stands now. I'll set to work on documenting the creation of new meter categories (and the Template:MeterCat). I keep a pretty close watch on all new scores submitted, so a needed new meter category doesn't have long to wait before it is created! Btw, I noticed a couple of anomalies (read "errors") in meter categories while typiing this reply, and I've corrected them. *grin*
-- Chucktalk Giffen 00:47, 3 March 2008 (PST)
Thanks for the info, Chuck, and for creating the new meter category. Since I'm entirely green at wiki code and have learned enough to post my own things in a reasonably tidy manner, there is something that occurred to me about the meter business, but I don't know if it is possible. If a hymn is submitted with a "new" meter, it would be ideal if once it's entered on the composer's page, for example [[:Category: 27. 27.|27. 27.]] it would automatically "create" the meter on the meter page. Sort of an auto-link thing, I suppose. Or would this be more trouble than it's worth? Or is such a thing even possible? And if I ever encounter text that would fit my ridiculous example of 27.27. I'll let you know!
How do you feel variable meters should be handled? There's a tune I wrote many years ago for a text with varying number of syllables per line depending on the verse. I think the hymnal in which the text appears labelled it as P.M., but newer hymnals seems to address these simply as "irregular meter." Should there be a meter category for these irregulars? Tweedfour 08:19, 6 March 2008 (PST)
Hi Thurlow. At some point, probably around now, I should add an Irregular meter category, and yes, contemporary lingo seems to favor "irregular" over "peculiar" or "particular" (I've heard both of these latter terms used). I wish there were a way to automate the creation of new meter categories ... but at present, I think I'm pretty much the "automator" of the process! But it's all okay, because I don't mind it at all. Who knows, as I have been learning more and more about templates and other features of Wiki coding, maybe I'll figure out how to write a template to automate the process ... but probably not for a long time. -- Chucktalk Giffen 09:58, 6 March 2008 (PST)

Unknown (or missing) hymn meters

I see that the category for Unknown hymn meters was deleted and the link here removed. However, I think some mechanism needs to be in place to flag (presumably by just such a category) those hymns, hymn tunes, hymn settings that have no meter supplied (perhaps by a poster who is unaware of the need to do it, and another user comes along and wants to flag this fact but doesn't know or isn't sure how to insert hymn meters properly). Just my thoughts... -- Chucktalk Giffen 21:21, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi Chuck, based on the text that was on the (now deleted) category, I clearly understood that it was a temporary tool used during the transition to the wiki system. Anyway, your suggestion is indeed valid and necessary; the easiest way to flag such works missing a hymn meter is to create a template for it, and inside the template categorize the work in whichever category is more appropriate. The "Unknown hymn meters" category may be undeleted at any time when such a system is implemented.
And since we are at it, could you or Rob please have a look and create the meter categories listed in Special:WantedCategories? I spotted at least 20 of them in the list, but I don't have enough knowledge on this subject to create them myself. In the Category:Hymn meters itself, a couple of entries have also incorrect sort keys or are not using the proper template correctly, so here too there's more work to do for someone willing to. As you see, the deleted category is the least of the problems... :) —Carlos Email.gif 21:56, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I'll be glad to do that, Carlos. Now that it is pretty easy to hone in these needed categories, it will be much easier to catch up. Thanks for all your organizational work! -- Chucktalk Giffen 01:55, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Simpler meter names

I can see that 86. 86 is logical to the uninitiated (and the rest of us could catechize them by piping 86. 86|CM) but some of the present names seem combine the worst of both worlds: I can remember dots and spaces between numbers, and even the parentheses around 'standard' forms, but it still takes me about three tries (86. 86. (CM) no... 86. 86. (C. M.) no...) to get a common meter link to work. Categories dont redirect, do they?

Btw, is pirate ballad meter 12 9. 66. 3 (Captain Kydd) or... :-) Richard Mix 01:55, 14 June 2011 (CDT)

Need a new meter added.

I'm working on a hymn-tune for a text with a meter of "44. 6. D with refrain". Would one of the admins be able to add this to the Meter category? Thanks. Tweedfour (talk) 18:08, 13 January 2015 (UTC)