Monday, September 03, 2007

New Directions: The Psalm Problem

It is increasingly obvious to many Church musicians that progress in making the Psalms more beautiful begins with not singing the usual fare that has been handed to us on the OCP/GIA platter.

I've already posted about the generous and exciting effort of Jeffrey Ostrowski: The Chabanel Psalms. They come ready to print and sing, with a variety of accompaniments. The are excellent alternatives to the mainstream.

In our own parish, we sing something similar to what Fr. Jeffrey Keyes posts about here: the lectionary text set to a simple Gregorian tone. Here is what he has done so far.

And a sample here:

For the verses, we usual a simple reciting tone or, when the schola has time to work it up, we use a variety of fauxbourdon structures to make it more beautiful.

To my mind, this two approaches to dealing with the relentless problem of the Lectionary Psalm pretty well solve the issue. Seems simple in retrospect, but it our schola went through many years of frustration, confusion, trial, and error to arrive at this point.

I would think a simple Psalter for the ordinary form, using the lectionary text together with simple Gregorian tones, would be a good thing. So far as I know, nothing like this exists.

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