Christian Virtual Hymnal® 10K

MusicEase Software, USA

The Christian Virtual Hymnal® 10K provides customizable sheet music for over 10,000 public domain hymns plus Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem. General functionality includes the ability to:

  • Transpose to any key, up or down.
  • Scale to almost any size and quickly re-format to fit the current horizontal margins.
  • Use any scalable font on the user's computer for lyrics.
  • Display notes as standard round noteheads, shape notes (4 or 7 shape systems) or tablature.
  • Extract any combination of parts.
  • Play via the computer at any specified tempo.
  • Export as a MIDI file.
  • Export as a MusicEase encoded file which can then be fully edited by the MusicEase Notation Editor.

Hymn-specific additional functionality generally includes the ability to:

  • Re-arrange verses into any order/delete any verses.
  • Display as lead sheet with optional chord names/fret diagrams.
  • Print as chart.
  • Export just the verses as a text file.
  • Modify or completely replace verses with new verses.

Messiah and Requiem additional functionality includes the ability to:

  • Transpose any combination of parts (to facilitate transposing instruments).
  • Scale any combination of parts smaller than the others (e.g., the piano accompaniment).
The hymns include some 1,500 SATB and STB shape note hymns taken from various versions of the Sacred Harp, the Christian Harmony and other shape note hymnals. The rest are generally all SATB and are taken from standard hymnals such as the 1990 Baptist Hymnal, the Christian Life Hymnal, and older sources. For many hymnals, the music, harmony and verses match those in the corresponding physical hymnal exactly, so churches that use that hymnal need do nothing (e.g., no modification of verses or harmony) to use the version in the Christian Virtual Hymnal 10K. Generally churches seem to be most interested in transposing hymns to keys more amenable to soloists and accompanists in addition to deleting some verses. Some want to make hymn verses gender neutral.

One advantage of using LispWorks for this is that all the music can be contained within the program itself (as each piece is stored in a linked list which is a built-in data type in Common Lisp as well as the form that users use to specify Lisp forms/commands). That eliminates the worry that music might be deleted or moved to an unknown location, and makes it more secure. Most important though is that the Christian Virtual Hymnal 10K leverages off the MusicEase Notation Editor engine which provides the underlying functionality (which is also written in Common Lisp). Both programs are produced by MusicEase Software. Thus if the need for new functionality in the Christian Virtual Hymnal 10K arises, we can simply implement it ourselves in the MusicEase notation engine, and are not constrained as we might be if we were using a music notation editor by some other company as the basis for the music in this product.

Below we show just a few of the numerous ways a single stored instance of a hymn can be customized. The hymn used here is All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name:

The Christian Virtual Hymnal 10K runs under both Windows and the Mac. We use basically the exact same code on both platforms. The LispWorks IDE allowed us to create the user interface under Windows and then with very little modification, use the same code under the Mac.

The Christian Virtual Hymnal 10K allows churches to customize the appearance of music for the choir, band/orchestra and the congregation, to easily extract hymn verses for bulletins; and its playing ability may allow it to replace an accompanist. Finally, being digital, it provides vastly more content than is possible with any physical hymnal.

Web site:
Christian Virtual Hymnal® 10K is a registered trademark of Gary M. Rader/MusicEase Software

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