Difference Between a Song & a Hymn

At first glance, it might seem like a pointless question to differentiate between hymns and songs. Aren’t hymns simply songs sung in praise of a higher power at a religious service? A song is a collection of words that are composed with the help of rhyming words and then set to music (or it can be a reverse process where music is present, and words are set according to music). A hymn, as most people know, is a song in praise of a higher power. It is a specific type of song to be sung during religious services in a place of worship. This article aims to highlight the features of both hymns and songs to clarify the differences between them.


A hymn is a musical composition with words that reflect love for a higher power and their praise. These are texts that, in themselves, are sufficient, and setting them to music is not compulsory. A hymn remains a hymn even when it is not set to music. The primary purpose of a hymn is to express one’s love and adoration for a higher power and use it as a form of prayer to have direct communication with them. There are also hymns containing lamentation or grief. Hymns often have references to religious texts, such as the Bible, in them. Hymns have been in vogue since ancient Romans, who sang prayers for their deities. The shortest definition of a hymn would thus be special poetry set to music and addressed to a higher power.


Songs of praise are texts that rhyme and are set to music to make it easier for the devotees to sing in tune. Songs are meant to encourage and motivate believers and are addressed to them. They are also sung before a higher power, though addressed to the worshippers rather than the higher power themselves.

Key Takeaways

  • A hymn is a formal song or prayer to be sung in congregation, while a song is a collection of words composed with rhyming words and set to music.
  • Unlike hymns, songs are dependent upon their music and cannot be separated from it.
  • Hymns are believed to be superior to praise songs when it comes to public worship and have a longer “shelf life” than songs, which often change and last for only 20-25 years.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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