How To Chant The Psalms

How to Chant the Psalms

The psalms are written with the intention of being sung. Singing allows us to connect much more deeply with these profound and ancient melodies of prayer and praise, engaging our hearts, minds, souls, and strength in the process. The psalms are also an important part of our Reformed liturgical history, and we sing them in our churches. The psalms are accessible to everyone who want to learn how to recite them and include them into their regular prayers. It is not necessary to have significant musical training or specific expertise to perform this.

If you want to learn to recite the psalms, you’ll need a text that has “points.” Simple symbols in the text of the psalm show when the melody changes and how the words should be spoken in response.

559-783) and the PresbyterianBook of Common Worship –Daily Prayer (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993; pp.

Prepare to sing by humming or playing the melody (the first line of the song) on an instrument such as a piano or recorder to get your voice in tune before you start.

  • The psalm’s words can be sung when the melody has been firmly established in your head.
  • The reciting tone is the first note in the musical phrase (which appears as a hollow circle with vertical lines on each side) and is represented by the first note in the musical phrase.
  • In the instance of the example above, that would be the words “Hallelujah!
  • At this point in the book, you will come across the word “holy,” the first syllable of which has been underlined to emphasize its importance.
  • Do not slow down or adjust your pace at this point; instead, continue to sing as if you were uttering these words.
  • It is on this note that you sing the remaining word(s) from the first line of text.
  • To finish this measure, you sing this word in its entirety: “tem ple,” with both syllables of the phrase sung simultaneously.

When you reach the asterisk (*), take a deep breath and continue the same procedure with the notes of the second measure, utilizing the second line of text, until you reach the end.

You sing “offer praise in the firma – “on the recitation tone, followed by “– ment of” on the next two notes, and lastly “heav – en” on the final note of the phrase to complete the sentence.

It’s actually far more difficult to explain than it is to just state the obvious.

Then go back through the instructions one more time.

For example, every other verse (in this case, two lines of text) is printed in strong facetype in the Book of Common Worship (BoCW).

Thank God in the sacred temple, and express gratitude in the firmament of heaven.

If you are chanting the psalms with another person, you can alternate by singing the non-bold lines first and then the bold lines second.

When there are an odd number of verses, the last verse is sung in unison by the two cantors or groups of cantors.

This is especially impactful when the psalm is said as part of a public worship service on the Lord’s Day.

Following each psalm, a prayer based on the psalm is offered.

Praise and worship in the form of psalm prayers take the key imagery or ideas of a psalm and reframe them as Christian prayers, which are presented to God in the name of Jesus.

The “Laudate Psalms” – Psalms 145 through 150 – are used to demonstrate this practice of chanting in the films that accompany this article.

Psalm 147 is divided over two days, as is customary in Morning Prayer. These six psalms are historically connected with each of the seven days of the week in the liturgy for Morning Prayer, and are allocated as follows (Psalm 147 is divided over two days):

Sunday Psalm 150
Monday Psalm 145
Tuesday Psalm 146
Wednesday Psalm 147:1-11
Thursday Psalm 147:12-20
Friday Psalm 148
Saturday Psalm 149

A unique resource with the complete words and musical tones for each of the seven Laudate Psalms is available for downloading. Please feel free to use the videos (or sound files) that accompany this article as a prayer resource on other websites.

Chanting the Psalms — Spirituality for Questioning Minds

We begin our meeting by reciting a psalm together. The chanting’s rhythm and breathing pull us into our bodies and assist us in settling down after the hustle and bustle of traveling to the group at the conclusion of a long day at work. By performing the Psalms chanting rite, we are reconnected to centuries of monastic heritage. The chanting serves as a portal into the prayer realm, allowing us to pass through from the outside world into it. The term “psalm” literally translates as “song.” The Psalms are designed to be sung, and they have been chanted in monasteries for hundreds of years.

  1. A psalm can be chanted by anybody.
  2. This is a simple exercise that does not involve any special skill, study, or even a very excellent voice.
  3. The human voice communicates the truth of human existence in a vivid and perceptible way via the poetry of the Psalms, which is written in the Hebrew language.
  4. It is possible that your chanting will have a captivating quality in spite of, or maybe even because of, the limits of your voice when you are totally present in your body and devoting your complete concentration to your work.
  5. In addition to more complicated chanting forms, the book offers a variety of extremely easy chanting techniques that are explained in detail on the accompanying CD.
  6. As you come into your body, take a few deep breaths and notice how the sensation of your breath filling your lungs and torso might help you relax.
  7. Choos a single note that is comfortable for you and repeat the psalm in a monotone style, focusing on that single note throughout.

The fact that you are chanting in a monotone does not imply that you should be monotonous.

The first example is performed in a straightforward monotone.

The monotone has been broken up in spots when I wanted to emphasize a certain feeling or thought process.

I will not be in want because you, O God, are my shepherd.

Using your name, you direct me along the correct paths.

You set a feast before me in the midst of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; and my cup overflows with blessings.

Detailed instructions for chanting Psalms with antiphons Occasionally, in our group, we will utilize an antiphon, which is a brief line taken from a psalm that will be repeated as a refrain.

After that, the leader will recite a few lines of the psalm, stop, and then repeat the antiphon with the rest of the group joining in.

However, it is not so much the choice of melody or monotone as it is the leader’s understanding of what is going to be chanted that is critical.

This will assist to maintain consistency if the antiphons are shouted using the same tune each time.

People Alleluia, I am rejoicing in the shelter of your wings.

People Alleluia, I am rejoicing in the shelter of your wings.

Your love is far more wonderful than life itself.

People Alleluia, I am rejoicing in the shelter of your wings.

My soul has remained firmly attached to you, and you have maintained me with your right hand.

“Be still, and know that I am with you,” says God in Psalm 46, which is repeated with the antiphon, “Be still, and know that I am with you.” Psalm 46 sung to an antiphon Leader “Be calm; I am with you,” God says in hushed tones to the heart.

Leader God is our refuge and our strength, and he is always there to help us when we are in distress.

People “Be calm; I am with you,” God says in hushed tones to the heart.

We will not be afraid People “Be calm; I am with you,” God says in hushed tones to the heart.

“Be quiet, and know that I am God,” the leader says. God is with us, God has spoken, and the ground will melt as a result of God’s words. People “Be calm; I am with you,” God says in hushed tones to the heart. According to the book Centering Prayer for Everyone, these instructions are correct.

Singing the Psalms — Introducing Chant as Prayer

Kate Daneluk is a model and actress. When you are in need, the Psalms will always have an answer for you. Our faith’s earliest recorded hymns include some of the best sources of encouragement, thankfulness, history, grief, and supplication that can be discovered anywhere. In and of themselves, the psalms provide witness to the power and long history of music and prayer across the world. Years ago, I was one of a small group of students who sang in the choir of the Benedictine monastery that stood at the top of the hill on the campus of my university.

  1. My eyes were drawn to the book and my feet staggered in time with the voices that sung the Scripture in stunningly simple unity throughout the room.
  2. It was much simpler to read than the written music I had previously studied, and I found myself pondering on the words of the Scripture much more thoroughly than I would have done if I had merely read the words of the Scripture.
  3. As catechists, we have the chance to give our pupils with a similar learning experience in their own lives.
  4. If you have any musical expertise or experience, you may simply begin chanting the psalms with your students right away.
  5. Here are a few suggestions on where to begin: It’s Time to Talk It Out Before instructing pupils on how to sing the psalms, it is important to explain why we sing these songs.
  6. Explanation of the possible effects of translations from the original Hebrew to Latin and English on the rhythm and musicality of the piece Allow them to witness how the Responsorial Psalm during Mass is composed of a refrain and verses, similar to our contemporary music.
  7. Connection to the Liturgy The Responsorial Psalm at Mass can be said in a simple manner by following the structure used there.

Many others, on the other hand, continue to employ a straightforward chant form that is included in most missalettes.

This technique is well-known, and it is also the most straightforward to learn and impart to your students in your class.

Alternatively, you may invite them to attend as a guest to lead the class.

The Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, is a wonderful introduction to Gregorian chant if you are familiar with it or know someone who is familiar with it.

There are also a number of YouTube lessons available on how to chant the Divine Office.

David Clayton, a professor at St.

He has compiled a full chant score of the psalms in English, which you may view here.

Music ministers, catechists, and DREs may find the online course on Chanting the Divine Office, which is now available through Pontifex University, to be of particular interest.

You can let the students select the psalm, have them follow the psalms as they are sung in the Liturgy, or choose one that is relevant to the theme of the lesson for the day.

Your pupils will be able to turn to the psalms in the way that they were meant to be experienced for the rest of their lives, and their lives — and yours — will be all the richer as a result.

The Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe Powerpoint Presentations for the Sancta Missa Gregorian ChantWords With WingsGregorian Chant The Liturgy of the Hours is a religious service that takes place every hour of the day.

Videos for Instructional Purposes Course at the Pontifex University David Clayton is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom.

She is also the developer of the Making Music, Praying Twiceeducation program, which she developed with her husband. More information may be found at SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO: JORISVO PHOTOGRAPHY This piece was first published in the October 2017 issue of Catechist magazine.

Chanting the Psalms: A Practical Guide with Instructional CD: Bourgeault, Cynthia: 9781590302576: Books

Review with a star. Many of our emphatic inner schoolteachers accompany their appeals to engage in and adhere with old (read: tested and proven) spiritual practices with the pointed and trembling finger of adamant determination. This is not the case with Bourgeault’s fervent call to recite the Psalms. She slowly walks readers through the “whys” and then through the “hows” of chanting, weaving a thread of Christian and Eastern mysticism throughout. She also acknowledges that learning to chant may be challenging, which she acknowledges throughout the book.

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chanting in general, but notably the Psalms in particular, according to Bourgeault, who believes that chanting the Psalms can assist to integrate the shadow and cure one’s personal unconscious while also awakening one’s intuitive imagination.

Those who are looking for a sustainable daily Christian practice may find Bourgeault’s recommendations for chanting to be a useful guide, and those who already have a daily discipline will discover that her suggestions for chanting deepen and expand their experience of God.

All intellectual property rights are retained.


If you are looking for a realistic daily Christian practice, Bourgeault’s recommendations for chanting will be a useful guide. If you currently have a daily discipline, you may discover that her suggestions for chanting deepen and expand your experience.” — Publishers Weekly gives it a starred rating “This is the greatest book I’ve found on the theology and practice of Christian contemplative psalmody,” writes the reviewer. —Thomas Keating, author of Open Mind, Open Heart, andFinding Grace at the Center, among other books “This is one of the few novels that manages to both enlighten and enchant in equal measure, and it does it admirably.

David Steindl-Rast, OSB, has shared his thoughts on gratitude.

Psalm Tones — The Way of Beauty

This set of psalm tones is modal in nature and as such functions within the same old musical framework as conventional plainchant. The natural cadence of speech serves as the beginning point for this exercise. Rather of forcing their own rhythm on the words, the tones follow the pattern of the spoken language. This means that once you grasp how the system works, which is rather straightforward, they will flow smoothly, allowing you to spend more time contemplating the text. Anyone who knows one or more of these tones may sing the whole Psalter if they know only one or two of the songs in it.

  • Because the approach is so easy, it is not necessary to have much musical expertise – if you can sing it, you can teach others to sing it.
  • In addition, because the approach of matching tone to word is so natural, it is simple to build new tones using the system.
  • You may use these tones with any off-the-shelf psalter, bible, or breviary with relative ease.
  • In other words, whichever version you or your group owns, you may now sing it as a group.
  • Pointing is the term used to describe the process of highlighting the stressed syllables.
  • An instructional video demonstrating you how to do it is provided below, followed by an explanation of how to sing the psalm in its entirety.
  • Paul Jernberg is responsible for the harmonisations, with the exception of one that was done by Thomas Tallis.

All Paul Jernberg works are available for purchase at

The only other option is to take out your pencil and point it at the words as you pronounce them!

According to my observations, even young children as young as 7 or 8 years old may accomplish it.

This is my preferred version since it contains all 150 psalms marked out and put out on a 30-day cycle, and it even includes the cursing psalms, which are not included in some current copies of the psalter.

Psalms that are commonly used for a certain Office can be substituted, and the Coverdale psalms are an accepted variant – which is used by the Anglican Ordinariate – according to the General Instruction on Psalm Substitution.

You may obtain a copy of the document here. Alternative chant arrangements are available in the St Dunstan’s Psalter, and you might want to look at it as well.

The chant tones (pdf scores)

1. Chant tones in PDF format To get you started, here’s a tiny sample of tones to choose from. There are three easy tones for novices, followed by two tones each mode that are melodically characteristic to the mode in question. All of these tones are taken from the gregorian scale. These are the tones that are taught in the online course, which can be accessed at www.Pontifex.University. Chant – pdf:2. Chant – Each of the 80 Psalm tones is represented in all modes, with possibilities for each psalm depending on how intricate you want to get – we’re talking neums and melismas here.

  1. These are becoming more difficult, but the method of singing them in accordance with the text is methodical and assures that the text is the most important thing to remember.
  2. I intend to create a better explanation to go along with these at some time in the future.
  3. According to the Sarum Psalter, this is the source of the attribution.
  4. Chant antiphons and tones in pdf format These are general, which means that you may use them with any antiphon by selecting the proper mode for each one.
  5. You have the ability to remove notes and melodic phrases.
  6. These are the characteristics of the mode.
  7. The audio files that will accompany this are still in the works.

Harmonised Tones (pdf scores)

  • Pdf:Harmonised. harmonised.standard.notations.first.tone.harmonised.standard.notations.first.tone.harmonised.standard.notations.first.tone Modality II, second tone
  • Mode III Form 1, which has been harmonised In chant notation, this is Mode III.Form2.Nunc Dimittis
  • In harmonised Mode IV, and here in chant notation, this is: The harmonised modes IV, V, and VII are standard notation for the Mode Tonus Peregrinus
  • The harmonised Mode VI is the Mode VIII
  • The harmonised Mode VI is the Mode VIII.

Mass pdf scores

  • Chant.English, unison or with organum drone for the Mass of St Thomas More We have the Credo I in Mode IV, the Credo II in Mode IV, the Credo III in Mode IV, the Our Father 4a, the Our Father TTB and the Our Father. SATB

Sundry others

  • St Michael (pdf)
  • Te Deum (pdf) – four-part harmony (traditional Anglican)
  • St Michael (pdf)
  • St Michael (pdf).

Listen to the audio files that contain footage of scrolling music scores for yourself. Using Psalm 141 as a basis, we applied several tones (unless where another is stated) to demonstrate how multiple tones may be applied to the same text. The first set of tones also includes a scrolling musical score so that you can see the link directly:

  • Mode I is an illustration. Mode II is an illustration. Mode III, as an illustration As an illustration, consider Mode IV (Creed I) As an illustration, consider Mode V. Mode VI is an illustration. Mode VII is an illustration. Mode VIII, as an illustration Gloria from the St. Thomas More’s Mass Credo II is a formalized euphemism for “I believe in you.” Magnificat in English with a harmonised Psalm Tone English version of the harmonised Psalm Tone – Nunc Dimittis Response Psalm in Unison and Harmonized
  • Harmonized – Our Father (written by Paul Jernberg)
  • St Michael Prayer (Tr. Arr Jernberg/Clayton)
  • Paul Jernberg’s composition and arrangement of the St Philip Neri Mass, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” is included here.

Unless otherwise specified, all compositions are the work of David Clayton, who retains ownership of the copyright David Clayton/The Way of Beauty. Unless otherwise specified, all harmonisations are the work of Paul Jernberg, who retains ownership of the intellectual property.

Chanting the Psalms

Tactical ecstasies, or methods and tactics for encountering the divine, are what we’re talking about here. Chanting the Psalms, a remarkable poem written by Catholic monk Thomas Merton on his experience, is available online. When the psalms take me by surprise with their melodies Antiphons are now turning to booze. The Spirit sings: “The bottom has dropped out of my soul, and the heart of my dungeon has been opened up.” Love reverberates louder than thunder. A sigh of fresh air is released. Alessandra Bellonichants sings a hymn to the Black Madonna, which she describes as “sinking into the Divine.” With permission, this image has been used.

  • The tunes “turn to rum,” intoxicating the listener in a wonderful way.
  • This means that profound excursions down into the soul are undertaken.
  • To paraphrase Eckhart, “we plunge endlessly from letting go to letting go into the One,” which means “we sink into the One.” Interestingly, this poem is highly feminist in that it celebrates our lower chakras as being the location of the divine.
  • We have reached our lowest point.
  • Love.
  • “There opens a heave of bare air” from our “basement,” the cellar of love, which we call “our cellar.” Spirit is referred to as air in certain cultures.
  • What follows is a lovely way of describing what occurs in our bodies when we pray profoundly.
  • Photo courtesy of Tempo de Florescer on Flickr.
  • Chanting psalms can help us develop this understanding.
  • On this voyage, he suggests that art should not be only ornamental or expressive, but should also have a utilitarian purpose.
  • The waking and opening of the senses as well as the body are a part of this process.

The following passage is taken from Matthew Fox’s Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations (pp. 311-313, 317). Image for the banner: In the 1950s, the Gethsemani Abbey Church was built. Unknown photographer captured this image.

Queries for Contemplation

Have you ever experienced a form of whole-body prayer in which you were able to speak from the depths of your being? What was the impact on you and your life as a result of it? What were the conditions in which you felt the bottom of your soul slip out of you? What impact did/does this have on your life and prayer?

Recommended Reading

A diverse selection of these works for modern-day searchers of all religions — or no faith — may be found in Christian Mystics, which has 365 articles in all. There are a variety of visionaries mentioned, from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., and from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry. To Fox’s point, religion has over-sold the notion of “sin” so many times that it has left us without a vocabulary or the ability to resist evil. Fox allows us to think more creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil by contrasting the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras with the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins.

Any and all responses are appreciated.

Matthew Fox

For more than 50 years, Rev. Matthew Fox, PhD, author, theologian, and activist priest, has been bringing people of spirit and conscience into the Creation Spirituality legacy of thought and action. He has sparked an international movement by writing 36 books (which have been translated into 74 languages), giving lectures, leading retreats, and developing innovative educational models. This movement has aspired to awaken people to be mystics and prophets, contemplative activists, who honor and defend the earth and work for justice.

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  1. Meg, Having heard from you and knowing that Matt’s meditations are reaching out to you is a comforting thought. Gail SOfia Ransom is a woman that lives in the United States. In the case of the DM Team
  • I have never considered reciting the Psalms before because I am not Catholic or a monk. Monks, whether they are Catholic or Buddhist, follow rituals that help them to become closer to God. Protestants tend to have a limited number of practices and rites. As a result, this concept appeals to me, and it, together with Meister Eckhart and the Hopi tradition of welcoming the light, served as inspiration for my morning poetry. It was my plan to utilize just lower-case letters in order to emphasize our unity. I sing to the cosmic christ, to the ancient of days, to “the newest thing there is” while standing in my golden circle, I chant the psalms, “oh give thanks to the Lord, for his mercy endureth forever.” I plant, I chant John’s vision, “in the beginning was God, and God was with God, and God was with God, and the word, and God, and the word, and the same was in the beginning with god.”
  1. Michele, Thank you for sharing your inter-spiritual poem that is loaded with light. The idea of singing in a circle of gold is one of my favorites. I hope you would share this frequently and that you will tell what inspired you. Start with the Creation Spirituality Communities newsletter, which may be found at [email protected] Another good resource is the Creation Spirituality Communities website. It is a bi-monthly newsletter that contains a large number of essays, artwork, and poetry related to CS. Gail SofiaRansom In the case of the DM Team
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Chanting the Psalms – by Cynthia Bourgeault

Michele, You are welcome to share your inter-spiritual poetry, which is brimming with light. A golden circle around which to sing is one of my favorite visual images. If you do, I hope you would share it frequently and include the source of inspiration. Start with the Creation Spirituality Communities newsletter, which may be found at [email protected] Another good resource is the Creation Spirituality Communities web site. It is a bi-monthly newsletter that contains a large number of essays, artwork, and poetry related to CS, as well as links to other websites.


Are you looking for further materials that include Cynthia Bourgeault and her work? Cynthia Bourgeault’s most important offers are accessible HERE.


Would you like to see a complete list of all of our materials organized by subject categories? A comprehensive list of all of our Resources organized by category may be found HERE.

Singing the Psalms: A Guide for Modern Worship

“A psalm is the blessing of the people, the praise of God, the commendation of the multitude, the applause of all, the speech of every man, the voice of the Church, the sonorous profession of faith, devotion replete with authority, the joy of liberty, the noise of good cheer, and the echo of gladness all rolled into one. It soothes wrath, provides relief from tension, and eases sadness; it provides protection at night and education during the day; it is a shield in times of dread; it is a feast of holiness; it is the picture of calm; it is a promise of peace and harmony.” -Anthony Ambrose (ca.

The book of Psalms has a crucial part in worship, serving both a Scripture reading as well as a musical expression of praise and thanksgiving.

In reality, the wordpsalm is derived from the Greek wordpsalmos, which literally translates as “song sung to harp music.” There are a variety of materials available to us today that make it easier to sing psalms in worship, including the following.

  • “psalm is the blessing of the people, the praise of God, the approval of the crowd, the acclaim of everyone, the speech of every man, the voice of the Church, the resounding statement of faith, devotion replete with authority, the joy of liberty, the sound of good cheer, and the echo of delight As a nighttime protector, it provides education throughout the day, as a daytime shield in times of danger, as an annual feast of holiness, as an image and pledge of tranquillity, as a pledge of peace and harmony, it is a blessing.” I’d want to thank Ambrose for this opportunity (ca. 339-397) * Saint Ambrose, the bishop of Milan in the fourth century, said something truly extraordinary. With its dual function as a Scripture reading and a musical praise offering, the book of Psalms is essential in worship. As it happens, many of the psalms were first penned as songs. It is true that the wordpsalm is derived from the Greek wordpsalmos, which literally means “song sung to the accompaniment of harp.” The following are some of the numerous materials available to us today that make it easier to sing psalms in church:

But isn’t the psalter meant to be used in traditional religious services? Isn’t it true that the musical replies are based on ancient chants? What role does it play in contemporary worship? It’s critical to grasp the historical context in which we find ourselves before moving on to the present. In case you’re interested, here’s an overview of the history of psalm singing in worship services: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on one of them.


Until roughly the 18th century, the practice of singing the psalms was widespread among Christian congregations. It was customary to recite Psalms in a spontaneous, speech-like way, employing psalm tones and basic melodic recitation patterns (source). During the 18th century, many Protestant churches began to replace psalms with hymns, which became more popular (source). Gradually, this practice resulted in the establishment of choirs and the increased use of solo singing in worship, with less and less participation from the congregation as a whole.

  1. The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and the subsequent renovation of Roman Catholic liturgy featured the use of psalms in between other Scripture readings, which was a part of the Second Vatican Council’s vision (source).
  2. This kind of psalmody was created in France in the early 1950s and is sometimes referred to as Gelineau psalmody, after its founder, Joseph Gelineau, who was born in the country (source).
  3. The hymnal from 1989, on the other hand, has a psalter in the rear with 100 psalms and answers (correlated with the Revised Common Lectionary).
  4. The Psalter Hymnal of the Christian Reformed Church, published in 1987, has metrical arrangements of all 150 psalms in a single volume.
  5. For daily worship, the Taizé Community in France has created a series of simple psalm arrangements, and many musicians have made songs based on psalm passages in popular or modern styles (see several exampleshere).

How to Read the Psalter

Psalms are divided into two parts: 1) the psalm text, which may be chanted or spoken, responsively or not; and 2) a melodic refrain, which is frequently based on the words of the psalm. Psalms may be opened and closed with musical refrains (orantiphons), which may be sung at the beginning and conclusion of each verse. This is frequently denoted by the presence of a red R in the text.

(source) Is it possible that you’ve always wondered what those red dots over the text mean? This is referred to as pointing. Each dot represents the point at which the chant departs from the reciting tone. More information on this may be found further down the page.

How to Sing Psalm Tones

Singing the psalms in psalm tones, which is common in Episcopal and Lutheran churches, among others, helps us (as a community of faith) to feel more connected to the early church (pre-1700s). Primary Psalm tones are divided into four groups, one for each mode of the psalms (source). It is OK to use any psalm tone with any psalm; however, if you want to utilize a communal answer, it is recommended that you use a psalm tone in the same key as the congregational response. Each psalm tone is composed of two measures or tonal patterns, for a total of eight notes in each psalm tone.

Make a natural declamation of the initial portion of the sentence while singing it on this pitch, as if you were saying the words.

On the final note of the measure, sing the remaining words of the sentence.

Take a look at the following articles for more in-depth descriptions as well as various audio, video, and graphic examples:

  • Psalm Tones
  • Psalm Chanting
  • How to Chant the Psalms Singing the Psalms is a difficult task.

Practical Resources for Modern Worship

Some music collections and resources to assist in facilitating psalm singing in contemporary worship contexts are included below:

1.The People’s Lectionary(Hal Hopson)

This collection, which has a total of 117 distinct responses, provides a setting for each and every Psalm featured in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). Included are suggestions for incorporating choirs and soloists of different ages, as well as a range of accompaniment styles and instrumental sections.

2.Taize: Songs for Prayer(Jacques BerthierTaize Community)

This spiral-bound collection contains 59 replies, canons, acclamations, and litanies, all of which are scored for SATB choir with full piano accompaniments and guitar chords to accompany them.

3.A Lectionary Psalter(John Schiavone)

An anthology of Psalms and Gospel acclamations for use with the three-year lectionary cycle. There are SATB parts, piano accompaniments, and guitar chords included in this set.

4.Lectionary Psalms(Michael Guimant)

A complete set of responsorial Psalms for use during the three-year lectionary cycle is presented here. It includes flexible part-writing, organ/piano accompaniments, and guitar chords, among other things.

Creative ways to use the psalter in modern worship

Complete set of responsorial Psalms for usage during the lectionary cycle’s three-year period Flexible part-writing, organ/piano accompaniments, and guitar chords are all included.

1. Use a contemporary chorus in place of the traditional antiphon.

Complete set of responsorial Psalms for usage over the lectionary cycle’s three-year span There are also guitar chords and a versatile part-writing system.

2. Incorporate instrumentalists.

Perhaps, instead of a sung response, you might have a brief musical reaction instead (flute, violin, saxophone, clarinet, etc.). Alternatively, you may emphasize the responsive reading of the Psalm text and then invite the congregation to join you in singing a refrain.

3. Use a handbell accompaniment.

Instead of accompanying the sung response with a piano or organ, try employing a simple handbell accompaniment to accompany the response. This PDF contains ostinati accompaniments for all eight psalm tones and 35 psalter replies, as published in the United Methodist Hymnal (up through Psalm 32).

Many of these accompaniments may be performed by a small group of ringers, or even by a single person in some cases. In the months of Advent and Lent, I believe this would be particularly useful. Handbells in Worship: 10 Ingenious Ways to Incorporate Them into Your Service

4. Introduce visuals.

Props can be used to represent symbols from the text (e.g. dove, fire, river). Bring the words to life through banners, streamers, movement, mime, and dance, among other techniques. Using a piece of lightweight blue fabric, create a representation of water. One person should hold one end in the back of the church, while another should hold an end at the front (down the middle aisle). Move the cloth from side to side and up and down to create the illusion of a river flowing through it. If you have the necessary equipment, you can project pictures.

5. Tell a story.

Adapt the Psalm text – maybe from The Message – and transform the regular Scripture reading into a theatrical tale to tell the story of Jesus’ life. Increase the impact of the reading by having a few individuals act out the text as it is read, or by using visuals. (source)

6. Make it intergenerational.

Include a variety of readers of varying ages. Participants of all ages should be invited to assist with visuals or musical accompaniment. Men, women, and children/youth should all answer at different moments throughout the responsive reading to create variety. (source)

Resources for Learning to Sing the Psalms

Written by Robin G. Jordan The Psalms were requested by one of my readers, and I was asked if I knew of any excellent instructional recordings on how to learn to recite them. This led me to look for materials on the Internet that could be useful to her and other readers who are interested in learning to sing the Psalms. I found a few that I thought might be helpful. Listed below are some of the resources that I came across and believe may be of use to you. I’ve also included a list of resources for people who are interested in learning how to sing metrical Psalms.

  • When it comes to the three techniques, only Anglican chant calls for an SATB choir.
  • All three strategies necessitate the use of an appropriate acoustical environment.
  • However, while metrical Psalms are less influenced by the acoustical context in which they are performed, they will not sound as good as they could in an unsuitable setting.
  • This page is a list of websites that may be of use to individuals who wish to learn how to recite the Psalms.
  • By just listening to them, you can pick up on the tones.
  • In this handbook, you will find the services from the English Book of Common Prayer (1662) transposed to Gregorian tones.
  • An introduction to the Psalms and the singing of the Psalms The fundamentals of reciting a Psalm.
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Some of the classes on this page devoted to reciting the Psalms in Latin, for example, may be of use to you.

On YouTube, there is a decent collection of psalms that may be heard.

Many people now believe that psalmody is a monastic discipline that exclusively belongs in monasteries, yet psalmody is a spiritual treasure that is accessible to everybody who prays.

Bringing Christian psalmody into the twenty-first century, Cynthia Bourgeault provides a history of Christian psalmody as well as an awareness of the discipline’s position in contemplative practice today.

“Even if you don’t know how to read music,” Cynthia explains, “or if you’ve internalized the message that your voice isn’t good or that you can’t sing on pitch,” she hopes to demonstrate that chanting the psalms is a skill that can be learned by almost everyone.

An introduction to Archbishop Parker’s Psalter, which is a metrical Psalter created by Elizabeth I’s first Archbishop of Canterbury, and which is available online.

The following is an article I published on the early metrical Psalters that were used in the Elizabethan Church.

The entire Psalter, which contains one hundred and fifty Psalmes, has been translated into English meter; the first quinquagene: The first edition of Archbishop Parker’s Psalter has been published.

Tate and Brady’s (Tate and Brady’s) In addition to hymns by John Newton, Isaac Watts, John Wesley, and others, The New Version was popular throughout the nineteenth century and comprised a substantial part of the repertory of the “village quires.” Psalms and Hymns written by Isaac Watts: The texts of the Psalms and hymns written by Isaac Watts are available for download.

All the Psalms in Gregorian Chant

I just went to the websites of the Sacred Music magazine and the New Liturgical Movement and found them to be quite interesting. The first specifies that Sacred Music accepts entries that are not sought. Specifically, we are looking for editorials on current topics in church music, analysis of current or historical documents, reports on parish life as it affects pastoral liturgy, scholarly research on gregorian chant and classical polyphony, practical guides to sacred music, concert reports, reviews of new and older works, news articles, and letters to the editor.

  • Simply put, it is a practical guide to managing parish life and informing the lay populace about recent innovations in sacred music directing, coping with rebellious priests, and so on.
  • The second does not provide any hint as to what it is intended to do in life or on the internet.
  • A single site contains connections to a wide range of articles on a wide range of liturgical issues as well as to conversations, conference papers, vocations, ceremonial guides, and anything else you can think of.
  • UPDATE: I’ve just received an email from the editor with the link – it’s a little way down on the left side of the homepage of the website, which isn’t particularly rational for a first-time visitor.
  • Hmmm.
  • But, hey, it’s all right!
  • Another point of interest that is unrelated to the subject: We have just finished hosting the Lay Clerks from St.

They joined the Sistine Chapel Choir in singing the Whitsun/Pentecost liturgy at St.

The prevailing judgment, which was extremely restrained, was that the Church deserved far greater choral music in its own sanctuary.

Other visiting choirs have expressed similar sentiments, which I have confirmed.

And, did you know that the singers of Cappella Giulia are paid nearly three times as much as the lay clerks at Westminster Abbey (who are among the highest paid in the United Kingdom)?

Hmmm, I wonder if I will.

Calvin University

Joel Stamoolis admits that it was difficult to assist his church in singing through the full Psalter with them. However, over the course of 171 consecutive Sundays, he accumulated a plethora of information and resources. These resources can be used to assist your congregation in increasing the number of psalms they sing during worship services. By:JoanHuyser-Honig tags: contemporary music, metrical psalms, psalms, lyric writing, songwriting, worship planning This article was published on February 25, 2019.

Psalm 1 versification from The Book of Psalms for Worship was utilized, and it was sung to a melody produced by their worship pastor, Joel Stamolis, that they were previously familiar with.

“On September 2, 2018, we concluded with Psalm 150.

Our greatest issue, according to Stamoolis, was the pressure of finding or constructing a psalm setting for each Sunday that was coming up in the near future.

I had to remind myself on several occasions that God had guided us into this undertaking and that I could put my confidence in him to see us through it.”

Criteria: Biblical faithfulness and accessibility

Having completed the Psalms Project only a few weeks prior, Stamoolis traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Sing!, the annual Getty Music Worship Conference. John D. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, delivered a lecture on John Calvin and the Genevan Psalter while he was in attendance. It dawned on Stamoolis that the World Baptist Convention’s Psalms Project had followed the same criterion Calvin used in managing theGenevan Psalter: biblical fidelity and accessibility to the whole public.

Resources, poetic substance, chant possibilities, and musical arrangements were all taken into consideration.

Resources: Books and videos

How to Make a Case for the Psalms and Why They Are Important written by N. T. Wright “This book eloquently expressed what we were doing and why we were doing it,” Stamoolis said of the publication. The insight that people sometimes view of the psalms as “important songs that we should utilize and attempt to comprehend… as though the psalms are the issue, and we should try to fit them into our society” was particularly valuable to him. Wright’s book, The Psalms, is available online. Wright argues that the most important question is “how we might find our way into their universe, into the trust and hope that shine out in one psalm after another.” “By God’s grace, we are finding our way into the world of the psalmists, so that our trust is reinforced and our hope is securely established,” adds Stamoolis.

Witvliet, is a brief introduction and guide to Christian worship.

The book describes psalm forms and genres, as well as how to apply them in intergenerational worship and how to select texts, speaking styles, and musical arrangements for intergenerational worship services.

Psalms for All Seasons (PfAS) and the ESV Study Bible are two excellent resources.

PfAS also includes one or more musical settings for each psalm, as well as the text of the New Revised Standard Version for each psalm formatted for responsive readings or psalm chanting, and a brief footnote about the psalm’s genre or type In the ESV (English Standard Version) of Psalms, the introduction shows how the psalms link to the historical story of 1 and 2 Samuel through the use of Biblecharts.

Themes, musical words, literary qualities, and structure of each psalm are described in detail in the notes for every psalm.

Both of these tools, according to Stamoolis, are “extremely useful in thinking about each psalm and its position in Christian liturgy.” N.T.

It was discovering an online video of British theologian N.

T. Wright’s plenary address at the 2012 Calvin Symposium on Worship in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to Stamoolis, that served as one of his final motivators for launching the Psalms Project. Wright is a professor at the University of Cambridge.

Lyrical content

Although you might think of a psalm as a single set of words, the layout of each psalm varies depending on which Bible version you’re reading. As an example, consider the following biblical translations of Psalm 1:1. Even in the most accurate Bible translation, it is uncommon for the words of a sung Psalm to perfectly match the psalm text in any other Bible version. This is due to the fact that music follows rhythmic or syllabic patterns. Stamoolis was on the lookout for lyrics that were accurate representations of biblical versions.

  • Nonetheless, he sought to be biblically faithful in his song selection.
  • At times, we employed settings that were, in the words of Isaac Watts, “interpreted in the language of the New Testament.” ‘Sing Psalms’ is a new metrical version of the Psalms that has been released.
  • The psalms are sung lyrically, while remaining faithful to the Hebrew text and remaining clear and easy to sing.
  • Using, you can find tunes by meter or by a specific name in a matter of seconds.
  • is a contemporary hymnal published in the United Kingdom that contains 788 psalm-based songs in contemporary language, including settings of all 150 psalms.
  • Stamoolis appreciates the metrical psalms inPraise!
  • Maintain the overall narrative flow of the psalm, but condense the words at times to make the lines more appropriate for the meter.
  • by David G.
  • Stamoolis expresses himself.
  • In addition to hymns and songs that were added after the print edition was published, the website provides access to additional material.
  • Preston that were published by Jubilate, a music and worship organization based in the United Kingdom.

Chant options

“We experimented with chanting from the beginning,” Stamoolis explains. Psalms 5 and 8 were sung usingPsalms for All Seasons, while Psalm 14 was influenced by Psalms for All Seasons. We had a lot of fun reciting psalms, but most of our members found it easier to concentrate on the words if we were singing them in a metrical setting. “For Psalm 50, we revisited the chant, alternating between a metered congregational refrain and a four-part chant by the choir.

Perhaps, now that we are more familiar with the psalms themselves, we will be able to pick up on the chant more readily. “I haven’t given up on this particular kind of psalm singing for our church,” Stamoolis explains. “

Musical settings

Joel and Naomi Stamoolis have learned to sing and pray through psalters in a devotional setting, which has assisted them in getting to know the psalms musically. They propose the Plainsong Psalter by Church Publishing, as well as the Anglican Chant Psalter by Church Publishing, as well as the New Genevan Psalter. It was important for Stamoolis to find musical settings that were both accessible to the congregation and that could be played by the scheduled worship artists each week while he searched for new musical settings.

To persuade the congregation that it is feasible for our church body to sing all four psalms, we started with recognizable tunes, which we did on purpose.

Joel Stamoolis In the popular D.

The WBC congregation was unfamiliar with any of the three PsalmsSing Psalmstunes that had been recommended for Psalm 2.

Here’s a recording of Psalm 2 as it was played at WBC.

Rhythm sections are common among our rotating worship teams, and they are often joined by other instruments, such as a string quartet or horn group.

They were set to lead us in Psalm 74 on the following Sunday.

Because Psalm 31 fell during the season of Advent, he modified the scripture to emphasize the notion of waiting.

Psalm 149 encourages individuals to express their gratitude to the Lord via dance.

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