Spanish traditional hymns
  • I am looking for solid Spanish hymns, ideally a collection of them. Most crucial are tunes suitable for Entrance and Final hymns, as Offertory and Communion will be Latin at this (low) Mass.

    Months ago I had run across a hymnal on WLP's site that was said to contain familiar, sturdy German, English, and French tunes with Spanish texts. Now they do not carry this item, and the customer service folks I've spoken with have no memory of it. Can anyone help with this?
    1881 Methodist Episcopal is online....
  • AMEN TO THIS REQUEST. I work in a school with 99.9% Hispanic population. I would love for them to be able to sing old hymns with their grandparents, but it seems that all of the Spanish hymnals I come across are thoroughly modernized al la Gather. (Gatherized. Gathericized. Gatherated. Can that be a verb? It would indicated the necessity for a Gatherectomy.)
  • Do a google BOOK search under:


    You will also find the current Presbyterian hymnal, published by Geneva Press there.
  • bgeorge77,

    Is "Gathstrated" descriptive?
  • frogman: I found it by using BOOK himnario episcopal 1940. But it looks like this is a place to buy the book, not to find it online. Am I misunderstanding something?

    Forgive my ineptness. I know practically nothing about Google. I know pre-Windows computing down to the bare metal but I never could get interested in GUI. It's sort of like pre- and post-conciliar ......
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,762
    Same here, Noel: no luck. For what it's worth, the Spanish Hymnal came out in 1961, consisting of hymns translated from English, and a more recent edition ("El Himnario") appeared in 1998. Portions of that can be seen on Google Books. A 1999 Presbyterian hymnal appears to be its cousin.

    Some other Spanish hymnals are on-line: e.g.
    1881 Methodist
  • Maureen
    Posts: 616
    The problem is that "himnario" wasn't widely used in Spanish back in the day, and "cancionero" used to mean mostly secular songbooks or poetry books. "Himnos catolicos" are Breviary hymns. You want "canticos religiosos" or the like.

    There seem to have been some good Spanish-language hymnals: Cecilia, and Cantemus Domino. But I'm having trouble finding anything but magazine reviews of them.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 616
    There are several folksong books which contain religious songs:

    Cantos del la Montana are from the Santander province of Spain.

    The Salmantine one covers Salamanca.

    There's also one of Castilian folksongs from Burgos.

    I don't think these will help much if you have Mexican or Latin-American or American Hispanic folks to deal with.
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  • Maureen
    Posts: 616
    Lyrical Mass of Mary, The Cancioneros of Montserrat. Barcelona, 1856. You have to wade through a lot of foreword, first. Nice illo, though.
  • A provisional hymnal for the Episcopal Church in Puerto Rico can be found in PDF format HERE.

    When I was a child, I played some services for a Spanish-speaking congregation of Methodists. I can't locate the hymnal they used, but this one looks promising.

    El Himnario was if I remember a joint project of Episcopalians and Presbyterians and a few other groups. It is worth buying from Church Publishing.

    Although it is no longer available for purchase, the Episcopal Church produced a small collection of hymns in Spanish called "Albricias". There were a number of hymns in that collection that I thought were well worth using. I wish I still had my copy.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 984
    Singing Mum,

    Since you're in the territory of the Spanish missions, why not add the Cantico del Alba, the dawn song in honor of the Virgin, and the Alabado, a hymn version of the Divine Praises? These opened and closed every day in the California missions and remained popular in the later 19th century.

    And yes, I have them in a basic form, waiting to be arranged.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 616
    Here's the bio of a sacred music Mexican composer from the early 20th century. I suspect that if you poke around with the links and search terms, or move over to Spanish, you'd find a lot of stuff that's relevant. They mention a "Nacionalismo sacro" movement associated with the old Motu, and the guy's magazine Schola Cantorum seems to have been a lot like the old CMAA ones. He was busy promoting chant and polyphony, as well as new sacred music.énez

    More about the guy, on a Spanish language blog:“como-un-eco-lejano…”-parte-i/
  • Hello. Sorry for my bad english. Maybe this would help:

    This Cantoral contains tunes of some countries in spanish

    There is too an himnario whith songs and canticles of Fr. Lucien Deiss in spanish:
  • Maureen
    Posts: 616
    Wow. In a burst of good sense, I checked the online catalog for university libraries in my state. (Which doesn't have a terribly large Hispanic population, historically.)

    There are tons and tons of Catholic Spanish hymnbooks back in the stacks. Tons. Tons and tons and tons. A lot of them come from way back, and then there's another chunk from the forties and fifties. Most of these seem to be indigenous and translated Latin hymns, not translations of English-language hymns. Obviously it's difficult to figure out overlap from stuff that's not online; but given how various the dedications of the hymnals are, I sorta doubt there's much of a sameness.

    Of course, a good chunk of them are Giant Marian Hymnbooks of Doom and reside at the Marian Library at the University of Dayton, but there are tons of them at pretty much every other Catholic university in the state, also. One forgets that Catholic universities used to have at least a minor focus on training people for the foreign missions.

    So... maybe we need a CMAA public domain Parish Hymnbook of good old Spanish hymns. We certainly seem to have the materials, even though they're not online.
  • Bump. Wow. What a resource that would be. I've used El Himnario, which I believe is a Methodist publication, but the translations of certain traditional hymns are cumbersome and confusing.
  • JDE
    Posts: 578

    unless my grocery store Spanish is wrong, "Mes Lirica" means lyrical Month, not lyrical Mass. It's a companion book with songs for a month-long devotion to the BVM.

    It does have some cool songs, though. Thanks for that!
  • JDE
    Posts: 578
    Sorry, Mes Lírico with an O.
  • Have you seen Flor Y Canto? Popular at churches in my local area.

  • Maureen
    Posts: 616
    Re: brain-o

    Sigh. My brain is melting. Thank you for the correction on "mes".

    Re: Flor y Canto

    If Flor y Canto is the hymnal I'm thinking of, it's another one where "traditional" nearly always means "1965-1985". Of course, it might not be that one... though "words only" does sound like it must be.

    I think we're hoping more for "traditional" in the meanings "older than dirt" or "free and public domain mwahaha!" I'm sure there are many perfectly lovely songs composed in the last forty years, but the Hispanic cultures in this hemisphere alone have 500 years' worth of Catholic music tradition, both sacred and devotional. Much more than the US has. So the natural wish is to broaden resources beyond the recent stuff and the "translations" of English language songs.
  • bjerabek
    Posts: 63
    Flor y Canto is awful; don't use it. Almost all of the Mass settings it provides do not contain the correct words as indicated in the Misal Romano. Probably about 85% of the Eucharistic hymns that it provides are heretical or "all about us". It is a syncretistic and modernistic hymnal.

    El Himnario, mentioned above, looks really great at first, until you start searching for Communion meditation hymns, only to find very few. When you have an ecumenical hymnal produced by folks who don't believe in the Real Presence, there isn't much to sing about at communion time. Some of them don't even regularly celebrate communion, and why sing about crackers and grape juice anyhow?

    If I had the time I would do more research on this matter, as there is a dire need for a solid Spanish resource. What's more, the need is such that we need to have a good Spanish hymnal that can be used by English-speaking organists with some ease. What we encounter in most hispanic Masses in this country is extremely impoverished, if not heretical, music accompanied by out-of-tune guitars, electronic keyboards (often amplified to an uncomfortable level), etc.

    Be very careful about any Spanish music resource you purchase; have a knowledgeable and orthodox Spanish-speaker examine it carefully first (preferably someone educated in theology and able to pick up on subleties).
  • bjerabek
    Posts: 63
    The other problem with El Himnario is that it does not come in a melody-only edition. It has all the notes for SATB. To the uninitiated the pages look intimidating and complex.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,351
    bjerabek: "El Himnario ... ecumenical hymnal ... communion time"

    Maybe where it is in use there is an opportunity to introduce the Graduale Simplex
    for Communion time?
  • Hi all,

    I know this discussion is pretty old, but I recently stumbled upon it and I have to say that I have been going through a very similar situation.

    I am Hispanic, and every Catholic church I have been to in the United States uses the Flor y Canto hymnal. Most of the hymns are terrible and are mainly written (poorly) for guitar or keyboard. Actually, mostly any book from OCP is not worth buying, based on experience.

    At the church where I am the organist, the choir director and I have been looking for a new hymnal to replace the ones we have. Flor y Canto and Unidos En Cristo. These are full of the modern heretical songs. In my opinion, definitely not appropriate for church.

    I recently came across a hymnal that appears to be what we have been looking for. It is the St. Michael Hymnal. It has traditional hymns in English, Spanish, and Latin, as well as decent mass settings. It is all scored for Choir and Organ. It has several different indices including, Title and first lines, mass parts, and Hymn tunes. I am very excited to review this hymnal.

    Here is the link to the website:

    I hope this helps those of you who are tired of the Spanish songs that have (for some reason) become so common. I will probably post more about it once I get a chance to look and play through it.

  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,270
    If I were working in a bilingual English/Spanish congregation, I would consider GIA's new(ish) Oramos Cantando.
  • ^What Adam said.

    I use it for some Archdiocesan events, and it's very well received.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 845
    I would second the mention of the St. Michaels hymnal. I wd say that there are about 40 sp hymns joined with tradional church tunes. And the "folk" hymns are of the better quality. Actually there are some rather beautiful old sp hymns such as "cantate al amour".
    Thanked by 1Organist27
  • Say, that GIA hymnal looks pretty promising too. My only issue with it (besides the color of the cover) is that, while it definitely has better Spanish hymns, it also contains most of the folky/ranchy/popy music that are in our current OCP hymnals. Which is what we're sort of trying to move away from. The St. Michael hymnal on the other hand seems to have almost exclusively traditional hymns.

    Nevertheless I'll show it to the music director and see what he thinks.

    With all these "Better" hymnals out there (especially when it comes to spanish), it makes me wonder why OCP is just about the most common.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,270
    the color of the cover)

    YES! Gah.

    it also contains most of the folky/ranchy/popy music that are in our current OCP hymnals. Which is what we're sort of trying to move away from.

    1. Don't do them.
    2. Some of them are perfectly fine if you approach them with a more solemn intention.

    With all these "Better" hymnals out there (especially when it comes to spanish), it makes me wonder why OCP is just about the most common.

    1. Price.
    2. Marketing.
    3. Habit.
    Thanked by 1Organist27
  • Adam, you make some good valid points.

    Do you know if they ever send out complimentary or example copy?
    Or would I have to purchase a hymnal at full price to review it?

    It definitely has a larger selection of Spanish hymns than the St. Michael. A good amount of traditional hymns translated into Spanish.

    I'm a little concerned that it's all scored for "keyboard" and not organ. It can make a big difference sometimes.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,270
    My experience with GIA is that they will send sample copies if you are contemplating a bulk order. (Also, if you go to an event where they have a table/booth, they give them out like candy. So it shouldn't be difficult to get them to mail one to you.)

    I don't know anything about their accompaniments.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 781
    I have recently received the accompaniment books and Lectionary psalm volumes for Oramos Cantando.

    I haven't used them yet and they're at the office, but I'd say that (at first glance) the psalms are two or three steps above any other collection of Spanish-language psalms I've ever seen. They're fairly straight-forward refrains with verses chanted to psalm tones.

    The other accompaniments seem to be similar to either Worship or Gather, inasmuch as if GIA thinks it's an "organ" hymn, it has an accompaniment that is suited (more or less) to the organ; if GIA thinks it's a "piano" hymn, it has an accompaniment that is more pianistic. I can take a closer look at this when I'm in the office this week.
    Thanked by 1Organist27