Psalms

Martin Foster, from the Liturgy Office, asks for your opinions on a proposed core repertoire

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Psalms

Post by admin » Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:41 pm

Psalms
The psalms are the core sung texts of the liturgy: the Responsorial Psalm and the Liturgy of the Hours. They also provide the majority of texts for the antiphons (such as Entrance and Communion) at Mass and other rites. The following texts are suggested for their suitability through out the liturgy; many are, of course, common psalms from the Lectionary

  • Psalm 22 (23) The Lord is my shepherd
  • Psalm 26 (27) The Lord is my light and my help
  • Psalm 33 (34) I will bless the Lord at all times
  • Psalm 50 (51) Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness
  • Psalm 62 (63) O God, you are my God, for you I long
  • Psalm 94 (95) Come ring out your joy to the Lord
  • Psalm 97 (98) Sing a new song to the Lord
  • Psalm 102 (103) My soul give thanks to the Lord
  • Psalm 103 (104) Bless the Lord, my soul
  • Psalm 115 (116) How can I repay the Lord?
  • Psalm 117 (118) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good
  • Psalm 135 (136) O give thanks to the Lord for he is good
  • Psalm 147 O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

Examples

Psalm 22 (23)
Perhaps, through hymn paraphrases, the most familiar psalm. It occurs regularly in the Lectionary though it is not a common psalm, Frequently used at weddings and funerals it is a psalm of comfort, a psalm of anointing and leadership—some see the psalm as a commentary on Holy Week, a psalm of trust in God.

Because the Lord is my shepherd— Walker
God alone may lead — Conry
I’ll sing God’s praises — Nazareth
My shepherd is the Lord — Glynn (Psalm Songs)
O Christe Domine Jesu — Taizé
Shepherd me, O God — Haugen
The Lord is my shepherd — Ollis (Psalm Songs)

Psalm 33 (34)
Regularly used in the Liturgy of the Word Psalm 33 is also a core text for the communion procession — Taste and see that the Lord is good. A psalm of blessing, of appeal to God who answers our cry. The variety of responses suggest different uses for the psalm.

Taste and See — Dean, Moore, Richards, Walker (Psalm Songs)
Look towards the Lord — Glynn (Psalm Songs)
The Cry of the Poor — Foley

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Psalm 118/117, and other psalm text uses

Post by Dot » Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:09 pm

Rejoice and be Glad by Patrick Geary from Psalm Songs 2 is a favourite of mine.

If I trawled the resources used in our parish, I am sure I could add a list. The trouble is, there are probably more unpublished settings in our repertoire than published, and I trust that most of the published ones would already be on your list, extra to the cited examples for two psalms.

What might be worth doing is for composers to turn their mind to the use of these texts in the context of Entrance Antiphon and Communion Antiphon, rather than the Responsorial Psalm, perhaps using a particular phrase as an ostinato for the assembly to sing.

In the absence of a choir or an organist, we suffered a silent entrance this Sunday morning, which seemed interminable. There was no song to rise up with the incense, and the Entrance Antiphon was not even said until the priest had finished all that. Having a few entrance chants as part of the parish core repertoire would allow us to cater for such occasions.

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Post by SOP » Wed Aug 25, 2004 9:47 am

Could well be Merseysider that if someone offered to select hymns and start off the singing they would in the future be accused of getting above their station or having half baked ideas!

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YES!

Post by sidvicius » Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:01 am

Dot said:
...composers to turn their mind to the use of these texts in the context of Entrance Antiphon and Communion Antiphon...using a particular phrase as an ostinato for the assembly to sing.

I think that's one of the best suggestions I've seen come out of this forum; something SSG could examine more closely in future. Sort of moves us slightly away from the concept of 'hymns and songs' - nothing wrong with that per se, but would greater reference to the psalms focus us more on our biblical roots, and what we should be trying to be, as Catholics? - I think so. Discuss?

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Re: YES!

Post by mcb » Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:37 am

sidvicius wrote:Dot said:
...composers to turn their mind to the use of these texts in the context of Entrance Antiphon and Communion Antiphon.

... Sort of moves us slightly away from the concept of 'hymns and songs' - nothing wrong with that per se, but would greater reference to the psalms focus us more on our biblical roots, and what we should be trying to be, as Catholics? - I think so. Discuss?


Yes, that sounds good. Not just for connecting us more firmly with texts from scripture (enough of a good reason by itself, I'd add) but also for connecting us with the action of the liturgy. The hymn-sandwich mentality (where music comes in the gaps and needs no strong connection with the liturgical texts appropriate to the occasion) maybe perpetuates the sense of the assembly not playing a fully integrated role - like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, commenting on the action rather than joining in it. The Mass as Matthew Passion, if you like.

But it's hard to tell whether the change in the right direction - singing psalms and antiphons connected with the liturgy - sometimes has much discernible effect beyond leaving members of the assembly bewildered and less inclined to participate, since the 'community singalong' function of hymn-singing seems so deeply ingrained. It's a long term task - to break out of that mentality and have people slowly come to realise that they sing because they're involved rather than because they're not.

M.

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Post by Dot » Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:48 pm

Merseysider said:
Excuse me for being a bit thick here, but why did this stop you having a processional/gathering song? (Nice to meet you today!)


Last point first: you didn't meet Dot yesterday, you met ***. It was good to meet you too, and I recognised you and Merseysider as one and the same. Keep posting, you're an inspiration.

To your main point, which people have already reacted to in a perceptive way: we lacked song because it wasn't planned for ("The choirs are on holiday, so there's no singing"). I didn't come prepared, and any offer to lead the assembly in song would probably have been declined by the PP. The other thing is, our assembly is not accustomed to bursting into song at the behest of a lone cantor. I hope that other people felt like I did, that there was a gaping hole in the liturgy as things transpired, but I didn't conduct an exit poll!

There is much work to be done on the road to co-responsibility.....

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Post by Merseysider » Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:00 pm

Accidental post – perhaps Admin could remove
Last edited by Merseysider on Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:51 pm

In our parish, both our choirs have a summer break, one choir breaking earlier than the other, but with a period where there is no choir for 3 or 4 weeks. No-one plans anything for that period although, sometimes, the organist will turn up and provide a 4 hymn sandwich. I have a dilemma over this: I need a break, else I'd go mad, so I'm all for stopping for a few weeks in the summer. However, I do miss there being any music at Mass! So, I miss the music, but would rather not be providing any for those few weeks of respite. I guess then, that I must accept that there will be none and enjoy not having any responsibility, and just focus on the Mass. I do worry that visitors over the summer weeks don't go home with our joyful music ringing in their ears though.

Our PP would not be comfortable leading the singing and so I suppose the answer for us is to work more closely with the other choir (a lot of collaboration and communication needed here) and try and ensure there is music at at least one Mass over the entire summer. Alternatively, anyone who was willing and able could offer their services to lead some singing during that period. I shall throw all this into the melting pot when the choir next meets, I think.

Have we gone wildly off-topic with this thread? :D

TT.

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Post by Merseysider » Wed Aug 25, 2004 10:20 pm

Accidental post – perhaps Admin could remove
Last edited by Merseysider on Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Dot » Wed Aug 25, 2004 10:24 pm

But if you're involved in parish music and plan there to be none you can't then complain about it.

T'wasn't a complaint so much as an observation on two things:
i) the need for liturgical music;
ii) the difficulty of sustaining it without "the musicians"

Not a rebuke, M:- look, another covinving smile :D

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Post by Merseysider » Wed Aug 25, 2004 10:29 pm

Accidental post – perhaps Admin could remove
Last edited by Merseysider on Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:52 pm

Merseysider wrote:Excuse not accepted. We're not discussing whether or not your choirs are present – we're discussing the assembly singing a gathering hymn, a holy and an Amen.

Not an excuse!!!! Our assembly will join in with something familiar if someone starts them off. We've never tried just using a cantor to lead, without the choir being there, but I'm sure they'd join in.

Merseysider wrote:If you have TWO choirs – are there really not a couple from each who could lead a couple of simple items during the break? It's not rocket science!

I'm sure there would be some willing volunteers, but it's not occurred to us before, hence my comment about throwing it into the melting pot when we next meet! :D

TT.
(Yes, I know I was going to bed at 10 o'clock, but things kept getting in the way!)

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Post by Martin Foster » Thu Aug 26, 2004 7:14 am

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:Have we gone wildly off-topic with this thread? :D
TT.


Good Morning All

Though obviously picking up themes from other threads I think issues raised are central to some understanding of a core repertoire.

Though not listed as a specific section - parts of the Mass are 'core' core repertoire. I think a parish repertoire needs to include settings that will work when no musicians are present - they belong to the assembly.

Would people like a thread on antiphons? I would suggest that form might be more interesting than content of antiphons.

If I wished to steer this back to Psalms - I would want to tease out which psalms are core. As I read comments here and elsewhere I think the core may be Entrance Psalms; Communion Psalms - what else. I then look at the list and wonder why Ps 99 (100) is not there.

Back to being 'core'. From the opposite end I have sometimes had the impression that some hymns, even Mass settings, which I think have engaging text and good melodies can be sung ineffectively whereas something like to pick a title out of the air 'Bind us to the colours of the day' which they probably will not have sung for 15 years would be sung with gusto - (this is a presumption - I am not intending to try it out). I think I'm wondering what makes something memorable?

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Post by SOP » Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:58 am

Dot wrote::

To your main point, which people have already reacted to in a perceptive way: we lacked song because it wasn't planned for ("The choirs are on holiday, so there's no singing"). I didn't come prepared, and any offer to lead the assembly in song would probably have been declined by the PP. The other thing is, our assembly is not accustomed to bursting into song at the behest of a lone cantor. I hope that other people felt like I did, that there was a gaping hole in the liturgy as things transpired, but I didn't conduct an exit poll!

There is much work to be done on the road to co-responsibility.....

Dot


At our parish during the last 2 or 3 years in August the singing has been led from within the congregation. No cantor. No animating. Just old fashioned someone start off the tune and the rest will follow. Obviously easier when the organist is there but I have been to many services where it has been voices only.

These same people in the congregation will sing their hearts out at parties, usually unaccompanied, so they do not have a problem singing. If someone will pitch it by starting off - great. Occasionally the presiding priest would start off the singing and then we would be singing from our boots!!!! Out of the depths have I cried to thee, O Lord!

BTW: I deliberately chose my pseudonym!!

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Post by Dot » Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:05 pm

At our parish during the last 2 or 3 years in August the singing has been led from within the congregation.

Interesting. Very occasionally, you get this kind of singing in our parish, with the Stabat Mater during Stations of the Cross for example.
When this happens at your place, Sop, presumably someone has planned what will be sung - it's not completely spontaneous is it? - and, if so, who has planned it?

Our standard fill-in during the summer is to have an organist playing three or four hymns (presumably chosen by the PP) at one Sunday Mass, provoking an underwhelming response.

We have gone right off topic, but it's difficult to split off at this point, because it will fragment the discussion. Best leave it to the Mod. (Greetings, Martin!)

Dot
Last edited by Dot on Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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