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Old Hymns to New Music

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  • Old Hymns to New Music


    I am a campus pastor at Mercer University, and God has given us a very talented group of musicians. Our ministry, RUF, has been known for rewriting music for older hymns. Some examples of this can be found here: Indelible Grace Music. Our music team would like to record a CD of some of these hymns, but we do not really understand the copyright rules about doing so. I thought you all might know where I could get some information on this.

    Particular questions we have are:

    1. What constitutes a hymn being in the public domain? If it is public domain can the tune be rewritten without any copyright infringement?
    2. If a hymn is copyrighted, how do you go about seeking permission to use it to a new tune? Are royalties due to the author once the music is rewritten? Can these royalties be paid once, or are they to be paid as the song is sold?

    Thanks! Any help here is good help.

    Please let me know if there is another section of this site I should post on.

    Grace and Peace,

    Rev. Chris "Buck" Rogers
    RUF Campus Pastor, Mercer University

  • #2
    As far as I know, if the song is over 30 years old it is under public domain and copyright rules do not apply. The song can be made, re-made and such without any concern for copyright rules.

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart with your soul with all your mind and with all your strength!!


    • #3
      Check this link for some public domain information:

      Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
      Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.


      • #4
        Cheering you on

        Just want to give you a bravo on the important endeavor of setting old hymns to new music. We're doing it ourselves out here in Denver, under the inspiration of forerunners like Indelible Grace and Red Mountain Church. Please check out our stuff:

        Zac Hicks - Old Hymns, New Music, Ancient Liturgy, Modern Worship - Zac Hicks Blog

        And then check out our hymns network of a lot of other artists so you guys can get plugged in.

        Zac Hicks - Old Hymns, New Music, Ancient Liturgy, Modern Worship - The 'Hymns Movement'




        • #5
          another bravo here!

          i love what indelible grace and RUF are doing!


          • #6
            I third the motion.

            There is an absolute treasure trove of opportunity to share these great songs with a whole new audience!

            Music Ministry Tips


            • #7
              I do this every Sunday too! We have a jazz trio that reworks the hymns to bring them forward in time a little.

              It is welcomed by both older and younger generations. Keep up the good work. We should NEVER forget the traditions that got us here.