This question already has an answer here:

In my school hymn book I always see numbers and a name at the start of a hymn, eg

Slane 10 11 10 10 Or 'irregular'

What do these mean? Are they indications for the organist?

marked as duplicate by Dom Jan 22 '18 at 14:01

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


They represent the number of syllables that fit to the lines of the tune. Thus, any hymns with the same series of numbers can be sung to any other (with the same numbers). And vice versa.

  • 2
    You cannot always mix and match hymns in the same meter, because the syllable stress for the words may land in a different place. – roaima Jan 22 '18 at 14:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.