Psalms and canticles

Link to Christian Top 1000 website

Many churches, sadly, no longer use psalms, scripture's very own songbook, as a regular, scheduled part of their worship.

Why might this be so? Often it is because the traditionally assumed musical styles and culture are at variance with those of today's churches. The article How long, O Lord? discusses this in more detail.

What is responsorial?

Responsorial singing is in verse/chorus form. Usually the congregation sing the response (chorus), and the choir, music-group or soloists the verses.

Response: Paramount is giving the congregation a melodic "sing in the bath", "stand on its own two feet" tune: it can be taught by one unaccompanied singer in less than one minute.

Verses: Usually for music-group, choir or soloist, although several (for instance 84, 95, 135 and others) are suitable for congregation. They often contain excursionary episodes of musical adventure to maintain interest for both the leading and listening sections of the worshipping community.

(The term responsorial psalm can also refer to the psalm's liturgical placement as a response to the first reading.)

So these settings, in many styles, specifically try to bridge this gap, across churches large and small, traditional and modern. Unless otherwise indicated, these psalms employ a responsorial structure to make learning and teaching as unobtrusive as possible. And, of course, they are freely available for Internet download.

Words: Usually my own adaptation. Although reasonably close to biblical sources, the metrical nature of these settings inevitably imposes some paraphrasing. Many have a trinitarian doxology appended.

Music: Styles range widely from traditional organ-based to music-group. Unless otherwise indicated they can be adapted to whatever resources are locally available. A moderate pianist and solo singer should be able to lead most of them. Some include an optional descant.

Liturgy matters: The choice of settings largely reflects the major seasons for the Common Worship (RCL) Principal Service, particularly from Advent through to Easter.



Psalm Title Score Audio OHP Comments
Psalm 1 The way of the sinful disappears to dust PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 4 Answer me, hear my plea PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 8 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 14 O that your salvation and your rescue PDF     Tune based on the Advent plainchant Rorate Caeli and in gentle 5/8 time. Paraphrase touches on Romans 3:23 "...falling short of God's glory".
Psalm 15 Who may live, O Lord, in your dwelling place? PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 17: 1-9 Hear, Lord, my cry for justice PDF MP3
MIDI
PDF A lament. Recording courtesy of Church of the Servant, Michigan.
Psalm 18: 18-26 He reached down from on high PDF MIDI   Some jazz harmony
Psalm 18: 27-38 For you, Lord, are the light above me PDF MIDI   See 18: 18-26
Psalm 19: 1-6 Throughout the universe, we see PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 19: 7-14 May the words of my mouth PDF MP3
MIDI
PDF Choral style. Recording (response and verse 1) courtesy of Church of the Servant, Michigan.
Psalm 22: 25-31 In the midst of your great congregation PDF MP3
MIDI
PDF Can be entirely congregational. Recording courtesy of Church of the Servant, Michigan.
Psalm 24 Lift up your heads, O you gates PDF MIDI PDF Published: Worship Live, Stainer & Bell, Autumn 1998
Psalm 25: 1-10 To you, O Lord, I lift up my spirit PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 27: 1-9 God is my light PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 30 Mourning into dancing (I will extol your name, O Lord)       Detailed with music group songs
Psalm 31: 9-16 Make your face to shine upon your servant PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 32 You are my hiding-place PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 34: 11-20 Come, my children, and listen to me PDF MIDI PDF Suitable for Mothering Sunday
Psalm 34 O magnify the Lord with me (I will bless the Lord)       Detailed with congregational songs
Psalm 36: 5-10 How precious is your unfailing love, O God PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 40: 1-11 He has put a new song into my mouth PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 42: 1-7 As a deer longs for the running streams PDF   PDF Unaccompanied (unison, chant-like). Words: ASB.
Psalm 47 God has gone up PDF MIDI PDF Condensed text with N.T. ideas. Published:
  • Baseline, MWF Summer 2000
  • Season by Season, RSCM 2008, ISBN 978-0-85402-167-3
Psalm 48 Great is the Lord       Detailed with congregational songs
Psalm 50: 1-6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 57 Be gracious to me, Lord via email MIDI   Words by Michael Perry, copyright Jubilate Hymns.
Psalm 62 My soul waits for God in the silence PDF MIDI    
Psalm 63 O God, you are my God PDF   PDF  
Psalm 63 O God, thou art my God       Detailed with music group songs
Psalm 66: 1-12 Make a joyful noise to God PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 67 Let the peoples praise you, O God PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 67 Let the peoples praise thee (God of mercy)       Detailed with congregational songs
Psalm 70 God, make speed to save us PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 Give to your King your judgement, O God (So may he judge) PDF MIDI PDF Published: Worship Live, Stainer & Bell, Autumn 2001
Psalm 72:1, 10-end Give to your King your judgement, O God (Kings from the east) PDF MIDI PDF Epiphany emphasis in paraphrase
Psalm 80: 1-7 Restore us again, O Lord God of hosts PDF MIDI PDF Blues. Ideal for Advent.
Psalm 84 How lovely is your dwelling place PDF MIDI   Can be entirely congregational
Psalm 91: 1-12 The Lord himself is your refuge PDF   PDF  
Psalm 93 God is King! The Lord is reigning PDF MIDI   In hymn style
Psalm 95 Come let us sing for joy to the Lord PDF MIDI PDF Can be entirely congregational
Psalm 97 You, O Lord, are most high above the earth PDF MIDI PDF Written for John Pritchard on his appointment as Archdeacon of Canterbury.
Psalm 103 Bless, 0 my soul, the living God PDF MIDI   Hymn style. Words: Isaac Watts; tune: Wharton Park. Published: In Melody and Songs.
Psalm 103 O bless the Lord, my soul PDF MIDI   Hymn style. Words: Isaac Watts; tune Kingsgate Bridge. Published: In Melody and Songs.
Psalm 104: 1-10 Bless, the Lord, O my soul PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 104: 24-34 When you send your Spirit PDF MIDI PDF Suitable for Pentecost
Psalm 111 Rejoice in God, my heart PDF MIDI   In hymn style
Psalm 115: 1-7 Not to us, Lord PDF MIDI   Verses in chant form
Psalm 116: 12-14, 17-19 What shall I render to the Lord PDF MIDI   Through-composed choral song (Lutheran offertory).
Psalm 116: 12-19 How shall I repay the Lord? PDF MIDI   For Maundy Thursday.
Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-29 This is the day that the Lord has made PDF     Congregation: ostinato chorus
Psalm 119 Your mercies fill the earth, O Lord PDF MIDI   Hymn style. Words: Isaac Watts; tune Clayport Gate. Published: In Melody and Songs.
Psalm 119: 33-38 Teach me the ways of your statutes, O Lord PDF MIDI   Written for Margaret Thrush on her ordination.
Psalm 119: 169-176 May my cry come before you, O Lord       Detailed with music group songs
Psalm 121 Unto the hills will I lift up my eyes PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 122 I was glad when they said to me PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 126 Turn again our fortunes, O Lord PDF MIDI PDF N.T. allusions: "leavening the world" (Matt 13:33) with the "bread of life" (John 6:35).
Psalm 130 From deep distress and troubled thought PDF MIDI   Hymn style. Words: Isaac Watts; tune Coniscliffe. Published: In Melody and Songs.
Psalm 130 If you should note what we do wrong (Out of the depths have I called to you) PDF MIDI PDF Published: Baseline, MWF Summer 2001
Psalm 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O God PDF MIDI   Written to tune Gresford, aka "The Miners' Hymn", and reflecting its lament and solemnity in the aftermath of pit disasters.
Psalm 134 Bless the Lord as day departs PDF MIDI   In hymn style
Psalm 134 Come bless the Lord       Detailed with anthems
Psalm 135: 1-6 Praise the Lord! Praise his name! PDF MIDI   Rock 'n' roll. Can be entirely congregational
Psalm 137 By the turbid waters of Babylon PDF MIDI PDF This psalm of lament's original text is well-known for its 'awkward' verses. In this slightly paraphrased version, I have attempted to incorporate these with Christian justice.
Psalm 138 I will give you thanks with all my heart PDF MIDI PDF  
Psalm 138 I give you thanks       Detailed with congregational songs
Psalm 139: 1-9 O Lord, thou hast searched me       Detailed with music group songs
Psalm 139: 1-18 O Lord, you have searched me out PDF MIDI   Anglican chant style
Psalm 139: 1-18 O Lord, you have searched me out PDF MIDI   Anglican chant style, based on the "Prélude Modal" by Jean Langlais
Psalm 143 Listen, Lord, to my prayer PDF MIDI PDF  
 
Canticle  
Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55) My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord PDF MIDI PDF  
Magnificat My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord       Detailed with music group songs
Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2: 29-35) My eyes have witnessed your salvation PDF MIDI    
Nunc  Dimittis Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace       Detailed with music group songs
Benedictus (Luke 1: 68-79) Blessed be the Lord God of Israel PDF MIDI PDF  
Benedictus Our God and Father bless PDF MIDI   In hymn style
Benedictus Blessed be the Lord       Chant: detailed with anthems
Great and wonderful (Revelation 15: 3-4)         Detailed with congregational songs. Published: Spring Harvest 2004 songbook.
You were in the form of God (Philippians 2: 5-11)         Detailed with congregational songs. Published: Worship Live, Stainer & Bell, Autumn 2003.
Deus Misereatur (Psalm 67)         Detailed above
Venite (Psalm 95)         Detailed above
Easter exsultet Rejoice, heavenly powers       Detailed with anthems
Bless the Lord (Song of the Three 29-34) Blest are you (Worthy to be praised) PDF     Lyrical, ostinato meditation

Acknowledgement: Many were commissioned by St. John's, Nevilles Cross, Durham, UK for use in our regular pattern of worship.

Copyright © David Lee
 
E-mail: t.d.lee@servicemusic.org.uk
WWW: http://www.servicemusic.org.uk/
Last updated: 29 May 2016