psalms in accapella worship

Discussions relating to performance, interpretation, score preparation, musica ficta etc.
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psalms in accapella worship

Post by wesd123 » 05 Dec 2011 22:11

I HAVE RECENTLY BECOME INTERESTED IN CONGREGATIONAL SINGING OF PSALMS. i JUST DISCOVERED THE NEW ? transliterations . Where do I go from here to introduce my home congregation to singing psalms? I am aware of plain chant as a historical concept. I am aware of meters and have noted a list in our church hymnal. We don't use instruments or choirs or soloists. I would love to hear some basic singing of psalms, on my computer. HELP Thanks

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Re: psalms in accapella worship

Post by EmqU » 04 Mar 2012 23:12

Can you do something with this: ... _Thomas%29 ?


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Re: psalms in accapella worship

Post by Cdalitz » 05 Mar 2012 10:18

There are different forms of psalm singing (alternating, antiphonal, metrical). Which form is most appropriate or your needs depends apart from practical considerations also from the religious traditions of your church.
  • In the alternating mode, odd and even verses are divided between two groups which sing them alternating on psalm tones (for a list of psalm tones, see This method requires some training and is thus less appropriate for congregational singing, but is the regular form of psalmody in monastic daily services.
  • In the antiphonal mode, a refrain verse is sung at the beginning, and end and optionally in between, while (selected) psalm verses are sung on psalm tones (see above link). The antiphone is sung first by the cantor and then repeated by the entire congregation, while the psalm verses are sung solely by the cantor. From a practical point of view, this is the most accessible form. If your congregational book does not provide appropriate antiphones (should be in the same musical mode as the psalm tone), you might need to devise your own antiphones. Which verses to choose for the antiphone depends on the occasion and can be concluded from the catholic or anglican "Graduale", depending on your church.
  • In the metrical mode, not a translation of the original bible psalm is sung, but a rhymed "song" that is based on the psalm. This tradition goes back to Calvin and the melodies are generally from the "Genevan Psalter", the song book of the "reformed" or "presbyterian" churches. Beside the Genevan Psalter, there were also other psalters in use, especially in English speaking churches (Sternhold & Hopkins, Ravenscroft). The Genevan psalter was originally in French, and there are translations into German (Lobwasser), Dutch (Datheem) or modern translations into English (D.T. Koyzis). Maybe it is the latter translation to which you refer by "I just discovered the new transliterations?". For the melodies of the Genevan psalter, see the facsimile of the 1562:
Hope this helps, Chris

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