Difference Between Song and Hymn (With Table)

A song and a hymn refer to any music with lyrics. However, both have considerable differences. A song here refers to a praise song, also called a worship song. On the other hand, a hymn is also known as a traditional hymn. A song refers to an informal song sung in churches in God’s praise. In contrast, a hymn is known as a formal song sung during God’s public worship.

Song vs Hymn 

The main difference between song and hymn is that a song refers to an informal song sung in churches in the praise of God. In contrast, a hymn refers to a formal song sung during the public worship of God. Every worship song has its music and lyrics. These songs represent a distinct approach to theology, worship, and music. On the other hand, hymns are always sung to the same rhythm or tune like 8.8.8.8. 

A song refers song sung in churches in the praise of God. Other names of a song are worship song or praise song. It is an informal song with music as the main defining feature. Praise songs are inseparable from their music. They are sung in unison and therefore, involve no four part harmony. The music range is limited and not influenced by classical songs. Praise songs are sung by a single individual or a group. 

A Hymn is defined as a formal song sung during the public worship of God. Metrical psalms may also be categorised as hymns. Hymns consist of only words. In addition, the tune to which a hymn is sung is known as the hymn tune. The music of a hymn is known as Chordal, which consists of a pattern of melody, harmony, and rhythm. It’s main function is to highlight the words in a hymn.

Comparison Table Between Song and Hymn

Parameters of ComparisonSongHymn
DefinitionA song refers to a song sung in churches in the praise of God. It is also known as a praise song or worship song. A Hymn refers to a formal song sung during the public worship of God. Metrical psalms may also be categorised as hymns. 
Nature of tune/lyricsPraise songs represent a distinct approach to theology, worship, and music ; they have distinct lyrics and music. Hymns are always sung to the same rhythm or tune.  
Musical Make-up A number of musical instruments are used when singing the songs. Most instruments are electric in nature, such as electric guitars. Hymns consist of only words. The music of a hymn is known as Chordal, whose main function is to highlight the words in a hymn. 
Composition Praise songs are sung in unison and involve no four part harmony. The music range is limited and not influenced by classical songs. Most often, a hymn is a four part harmony. 
Founding year Praise songs were founded in the 1960s. Hymns have been known for hundreds of years. 

What is a Song?

A song refers to an informal song sung in churches in the praise of God. Also called worship song or praise song, it has music as the main defining feature. Praise songs are inseparable from their music. Generally speaking, these songs represent a distinct approach to theology, worship, and music. Every worship song has its own music and lyrics. 

Praise songs are sung in unison and therefore, involve no four part harmony. The music range is limited and not influenced by classical songs. Praise songs are sung by a single individual or a group. Consequently, these songs call for the leadership of a single person or a group. A number of musical instruments are used when singing the songs. 

Most instruments are electric in nature, such as electric guitars. Praise songs have a short shelf life and are even disposable. Consequently, only a small number of these songs have survived over the years. The origin of praise and worship songs can be traced back to countercultural, charismatic and Jesus movements of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Praise songs are strongly influenced by current culture. Hymns have a superior position as compared to the praise songs in churches. Conclusively, hymn songs continue to be an important part of church gatherings. 

What is a Hymn?

A Hymn is defined as a formal song sung during the public worship of God. Metrical psalms may also be classified as hymns. Hymns consist of only words. In addition, the tune to which a hymn is sung is known as the hymn tune. For instance, “ Rock of Ages ” is sung to the hymn tune of Top Lady and “ Amazing Grace ” is sung to the hymn tune of New Britain.

The music of a hymn is known as Chordal, which consists of a pattern of melody, harmony, and rhythm. It’s main function is to highlight the words in a hymn. In addition, the structure of a hymn has been adapted from classical music, which is its strength. The melodies and lyrics of the hymn are interchangeable. 

Most often, a hymn is a four part harmony. It is always sung to the same rhythm or tune like 8.8.8.8. Hymns have been known to reinforce positivity through their combination of harmony, music, and melody. They take into account the mind, sense, and emotion of each worshipper to spread enlightenment and optimism. 

Hymns have been in existence for over hundreds of years. They still continue to be an important part of church gathering. The worshippers congregate to worship God as they sing the hymns. 

Main Differences Between Song and Hymn

  1. A song, also known as a praise song or a worship song, is sung in churches in God’s praise. In contrast, a hymn is a formal song sung God’s public worship.
  2. Every worship song has its music and lyrics, and represents a distinct approach to theology, worship, and music. On the other hand, Hymns are always sung to the same rhythm or tune like 8.8.8.8. 
  3. A number of musical instruments are used when singing the songs. Example includes electric guitars. A hymn, however, consists of only words. The music of a hymn highlights the words and is known as Chordal.
  4. Praise songs are sung in unison and therefore, involve no four part harmony. It not influenced by classical songs. In contrast, a hymn is a four part harmony.
  5. Praise songs came into existence in the 1960s. On the other hand, hymns have been in existence for hundreds of years. 

Conclusion

Conclusively, songs and hymns stand differentiated on several grounds. A song refers to a praise song or a worship song sung in churches in the praise of God. Music is its main defining feature. On the other hand,  a hymn refers to a formal song sung during the public worship of God.

Praise songs are sung in unison and therefore, involve no four part harmony. The music range is limited. In contrast, a hymn is a four part harmony. It is always sung to the same rhythm or tune like 8.8.8.8. Moreover, praise songs began in the 1960s. On the other hand, hymns have been sung for hundreds of years. 

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=A7ZVAAAAcAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA9&dq=hymns+and+praise+songs&ots=sG3q6wxbiH&sig=FaipnbjC9lD6osUV9kWGo933zfw 
  2. https://www.agingsuccessfullytoday.com/uploads/9/7/0/6/9706301/2015_vol_3_artistic_theologian_-_ruth_hymns_and_contemporary_worship_songs.pdf 
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