But one option when a musician is not available is to use backing tracks, ie recordings of the hymn/song, which just have the instrumental part, not the vocals.
These can also be useful for learning new material.
Many of the major church music publishers sell backing tracks for some of their catalog - and some even have self-contained backing track packages like No Organist? No Problem.
But as well, some websites provide backing tracks for free-to-use hymns. A listing of these is given below, along with a custom-search-engine, which lets you search for a hymn, looking just at these websites.
Backing Track Search Engine
Enter the name of the hymn you want a backing track for, and click Search.
Websites offering backing tracks
- Church Music - has MP3 files of backing tracks, mainly made using Band in a Box, intended for learning rather than services - but often good enough to be used
- Hymnal.net - most hymns have an electronic keyboard (piano sound) recording in MP3 format, as well as an MIDI file
- HIFi Hymnbook - has very majestic sounding organ recordings of many hymns.
(March 2015 - appears to be offline)
- Scattered Christians - have four part piano recordings of a number of folder hymns.
Sites offering MIDI tracksThere are also a number of sites that provide MIDI tracks of hymns - these are more useful for learning, probably not suitable for use in a service, and are not included in the custom search tool.
- Family Friendly Churches - has midi files for hymn-tunes from the UK Methodist hymn book - Hymns & Psalms (excluding ones that are copyright).
- MyMIDI Worship Resources Ltd is a not-for-profit company, based in in Australia, which aims to "empower small churches with quality, flexible worship music". Their site has.
- MIDI files of public domain tunes (available free)
- MIDI files of copyright songs/tunes (available at low cost)
- MP3 files of copyright songs previously available from the Small Church Music websites (again, low cost)
Because they are based in Australia, a good deal of their content is only available to people be are based in Australia or New Zealand, due to copyright / licensing issues
Do you know of any others? Leave a comment below, so they can be added to the list.