The hymn, one of the most frequently encountered songs in Western European sources, poses many questions with regard to the conflict between common and local traits. The Office hymns on which I focus were transmitted mainly in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century sources, which contain huge collections of hymns for different liturgical occasions, including those in honour of local saints. We still do not have a reasonable explanation of how or why the same tunes were adapted for different texts (or vice versa). The ‘Franciscan’ hymn melody Stäblein 752 (originally devoted to St Francis), for example, which occurs with different hymn texts in Austria, Germany, Bohemia, Poland and Spain, has many melodic variants reflecting regional characteristics. Why was this particular melody transferred to and adopted in other parts of Europe, where there was certainly no shortage of alternative hymn melodies? Is it a question of the adoption of favourite melodies in the Middle Ages? Were the same tunes used for hymns in honour of both male and female saints? What are the implications for us when the same ‘local’ tune can be identified in polyphonic hymn settings?