Sing. Play. Edify.

Hymnal engraving handbook

June 25, 2018

As the second edition of the hymnal nears the final editing stages, I’ve realized there’s a need to codify music engraving principles specifically for typesetting hymnals. More people are typesetting and printing hymnals and supplements for their own churches, and the quality of reference materials varies widely, even among mainline publications.

I’ve compiled a short-form engravers’ guide with principles for beauty and clarity. Caution: music nerding ahead, including, but not limited to: font weight, note spacing, kerning, and even the golden ratio. You’ve been duly warned.

While much of the content is a specialized subject, I hope it may be useful to others who are typesetting and printing their own hymnal materials. You can read the handbook at

If you disagree with any of my assertions or observations, or have suggestions to improve the handbook, I’d love your input.

Happy engraving!