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Psalm Responses

I have been asked to get our United Methodist congregation singing the Psalms.  On the day of our first attempt, the senior pastor gave me the opportunity to tutor the congregation prior to the beginning of worship, and the congregation did remarkably well in singing the text on a Psalm tone.  I seek advice about resources for creative and tasteful responses to the Psalms.  Also, is there any rhyme or reason in choosing which Psalm tone goes with which Psalm?  Many thanks!
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on January 16, 2012 12:20pm
Hal Hopson has just published an excellent resource that you might find helpful.  The volume "The Psalter: Psalms and Canticles for Singing" is published by Westminster John Know Press.  There are also resources available through Church Publishing Corporation (the Episcopal publishing house). The style of psalm singing you are asking the congregation to do (Anglican chant, Simplified Anglican Chant, Respoonsorial, etc.) will dictate what tunes or tones you use.  Many congregations that use Simplified Anglican Chant use the same chant every Sunday and simply provide congregations with appropriate pointing in the worship bulletin. 
Best wishes in this new adventure with your congregation
Bill McConnell
on January 16, 2012 4:48pm
Mark:  If I remember correctly, the reason for having different Psalm Tones was to make sure they would match the mode of the associated Antiphon, so you have to keep the context in mind.  Those medieval church musicians were pretty practical in setting things up so they could make easy choices when they stumbled into the chapel for the midnight and 3 a.m. services!
As to Responses, they can be anything from the Lesser Doxology to a full Antiphon, either chanted or set as part music, so the choice is pretty wide open.
All the best,
on January 17, 2012 8:05am
I would also suggest "Lectionary Psalms" by Michael Guimont.  They are very singable and the text is easy to use.  It has a different Psalm for each Sunday of the year A, B and C.
C. Musser
Union Presbyterian Church
Carneys Point, NJ
on January 25, 2012 7:03am
Dear Mark,
This year, Paraclete Press will be publishing The Psalms of David: Pointed and Edited for Chanting by Dr. George Guest.  Tunes in this Psalter were collected by Dr. George Guest, Organist and Choirmaster of St. John's College, Cambridge University, England.  They are arranged according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America and are pointed for chanting.  All the psalms are listed in this book.  This would be a wonderful way to introduce the Psalms to your congregation.  If you would like to reserve a copy when it comes out, drop me an email.
To listen to these psalms, click here
on June 11, 2012 2:48pm
on June 12, 2012 5:17am
You might see if you have any of the old Methodist hymnals sitting in the "closet" at the church; it contained a much more extensive Psalm, Canticle, Response collection than the current hymnal with explicit "rhyme and reason" for how to choose and use Psalm tones and responses.  I am so glad to hear of UMC churches learning to sing the psalms.
on June 15, 2012 9:07am
Another psalm resource I often use is "A New Metrical Psalter" by Christopher L. Webber, Church Publishing, Inc.  The psalms have been put in metric form and hymntunes are suggested for each psalm. 
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