From ArticleWorld

The Hymn is a song written as a prayer, praise or adoration, usually linked to religion aspects. Other terms are also used in connection with it. The hymnist or hymnodist is the hymn composer and the process of performing it is called hymnody. The former term is also used to define a collectivity of hymns that are a part of a period or denomination. A collection of hymns (usually a book and rarely a collection of paper sheets) is considered to be a hymnal.

The Christian period

Christianity brought in hymns aimed towards the Divine. They usually are directed at God although other religious themes like the Blessed Virgin Mary or other saints are also common. Christian worship sessions often present hymns incorporated in the service. They can be either sung by the people attending or by the choir and are usually accompanied by an organ.

When this type of music appeared there was not a commonly accepted musical notation. Because of this hymns developed as Gregorian Chants and plainsongs, which were mainly written in Latin and only after centuries translated in other languages. Hymn writing and congregational singing developed with the appearance of Protestant Reformation. This period presented one of the most important people in hymn related history. He was Martin Luther, a reformer that created many such songs. Some of them are still sung in Roman Catholic churches today and have provided inspiration for many artists that emerged after his death. The early hymns showed a strong connection with the Bible (especially Psalms) and religious themes. As time passed composers stopped this movement and started focusing on other topics, enhancing hymnals.

As time passed hymns developed even more but it took a long time, until the eighteenth century, for this genre to receive another big influence. It came from the Methodist Revival and continued until the first half of the nineteenth century. Welsh hymnists had a very prolific time, writing numerous such songs. Hymns are still used and created nowadays, using the same principles used for hundreds of years.