Tips on writing highly interchangeable lyrics and tunes
Here are a few tips to consider the next time you write a hymn (I want to try them myself)—these tips are to allow your lyrics to fit more tunes and your tunes to fit more lyrics:
Tune tips: • Sometimes, making each musical phrase as large as possible helps (or I should say it helps with some things).
Lyric tips: • Make each musical phrase as small as possible.
• Write an even number of verses (that way you can turn two into one and fit the meter doubled)—maybe even choose a meter that is common in both its original form and its doubled equivalent.
Tips for both tunes and lyrics: • Pay attention to the accents of your phrases—not all hymns of the same meter have accents in the same places. Accents in some areas are sometimes more common than others.
• Choose a poetic meter that has been used a lot already (i.e. L.M., L.M.D., C.M., C.M.D., L.P.M., C.P.M., S.M., S.M.D., M.H., 11s, 10s, 7s, 8 7 8 7, 8 7 8 7 D, 7 7 7 7 D, 7 6 7 6 D, etc.)
• Examine the Poetic Meters category on HymnWiki—it should be helpful. You might want to skip past the huge meters that appear on the first page. If you search HymnWiki for any of those common meters listed above, it should take you to the proper category instantly.
• Ask on this forum for help. Let me know what you have in mind.
• Choose a meter that fits other hymns you like.
Anyway, I hope this helps and that we get more people on here interested in making hymns.