Follow the link above to also see some examples that are on the page. The examples are helpful, but contain some markings I was unable to reproduce.
The term Metre or Meter, is a Greek word and properly belongs to poetry, from whence it is transferred to music. Metre is the Measure, or the Standard by which the long and short syllables in the verses of a hymn are rhythmically and definitely arranged into groups of syllables called poetic “Feet.” Each “Foot,” having a distinctive name, is to poetry what a measure is, in many respects, to music. Very little is known of the actual way Greek verse was adapted to singing tones, yet it is safe to assume that every long syllable was sung to a longer tone and every short syllable to a shorter tone. Modern verse is set to a larger variety of patterns of long and short tones, provided that the “Accented” Syllables match with “Accented” Tones. The regular recurrence of the “Accent” constitutes and determines the Metre of the line or verse. In a modern Hymnal a very large number of forms may be represented but the form of every hymn-tune depends on the verse-form to which it belongs. Out of four or five types of “Feet,” developed the fundamental rhythm of modern music and its types of Metre. Of the many recognized “Feet,” Iambic with lines sometimes of 10 or more syllables, Dactylic, Amphibrachic, Anapestic and Trochial are the chief types. Trochial, having the greatest extension in the variety. Syllables of two and three “Feet” are called Simple Feet. When there are four, five and six syllables in a word they are reckoned as “Double” or “Compound Feet,” though often they are resolved Into Single Feet. The most frequently used Meters are: Common Metre (C. M.), Common Hallelujah Metre (C. H. M.), Long Metre (L. M.), Long Particular Metre (L. P. M.), Hallelujah Metre (H. M.), (Short Metre (S. M.), Short Particular Metre (S. P. M.) 7s; 8s; 8s 7s; 8s 7s 4s; 10s; 10s 11s; 11s; 12s.
HOW TO KNOW WHAT METRE TO ADAPT
Common MetreCommon Metre is known by a stanza of four lines composed of one short unaccented syllable and one long accented syllable in each poetical foot. The syllables being in number and order as follows: 8, 6, 8, 6, that is, there are 8 syllables in first and third lines and 6 syllables in the second and fourth lines.
Iambic Feet — C. H. M.Common Hallelujah Metre is a stanza of six lines, each poetical foot consisting of one short unaccented syllable and one long accented syllable. The syllables each being in number and order as follows: 8, 8, 6, 8, 8, 6.
Iambic Feet — L. M.Long Metre consists of four lines, of which each foot contains one short unaccented and one long accented syllable. Each line contains 8 syllables.
Iambic Feet — L. P. M.Long Particular Metre differs from Long Metre only in having six lines Instead of four, each of which contains 8 syllables.
Iambic Feet — H. M.Hallelujah Metre is a stanza of 6 lines with one short unaccented syllable, and one long accented syllable in each poetical measure or Musical foot. The syllables of each being in number and order as follows: 6, 6, 6, 6, 8, 8.
Iambic Feet — S. M.Short Metre consists of a stanza of four lines whose poetic foot is composed of two syllables — a short or unaccented syllable followed by a long or accented syllable. The syllables in number and order are as follows: 6, 6, 8, 6.
Iambic Feet — S. P. M.Short Particular Metre consists of six lines whose poetic foot is made up of two syllables — one short or unaccented followed by a long or accented syllable. The syllables in number and order are 6, 6, 8, 6, 6, 8.
Trochaic Feet — 7s
A stanza of Sevens consists of four lines with a poetic foot containing one long and one short syllable. The accented syllable followed by an unaccented syllable. Each line contains 7 syllables.
Trochaic Feet — 7s 6sA stanza with a Metre thus designated consists of eight lines in Trochaic and Iambic feet.
Anapestic Feet — 8sA stanza of four lines with a poetical foot containing two short syllables followed by one long syllable, is known as 8s. Each line contains eight syllables and is marked 8s.
Trochaic Feet — 8s 7sEights and Sevens consists of four lines with a poetic foot containing one long and one short syllable; an accented syllable is followed by an unaccented one and designated thus: 8s 7s. The syllables are as follows: 8, 7, 8, 7.
Trochaic Feet — 8s 7s 4sA Metre designated 8, 7, 4, differs from the Metre 8s 7s only in that it contains six lines instead of four lines; the syllables being in number and order as follows: 8, 7, 8, 7, 4, 7.
Anapestic Feet — 10s 11s10s 11s Metre consists of a stanza of 4 lines with 2 short syllables followed by a long syllable. The syllables in number and order are 10, 10, 11, 11, or six lines with a poetical foot consisting of one short unaccented and one long accented syllable thus: 10, 10, 10, 11, 11.
Anapestic Feet — 11sA Metre designated 11s, consists of a stanza of four lines with a poetical foot containing 2 short syllables followed by a long syllable, each line containing eleven syllables.
Anapestic Feet — 12sA Metre of twelves consists of a stanza of four lines, each containing twelve syllables with two short syllables followed by a long syllable, composing the poetical foot.
Dactylic Feetis just the reverse of the Anapestic, being composed of one long accented syllable followed by two short unaccented syllables.
Amphibrachic Feetis represented by three syllables. The first and third syllables are short, the middle syllable is long.