Ought we repeat a line when singing the Psalms?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
I have been thinking about the practice of repeating lines when singing from the Psalter. This happens when a tune is selected that has more lines in its stanza than the Psalm arrangement has in its stanza.

Is this permissible according to the principles of EP?

Pro: how can this be a problem since it is directly from the Psalm itself?

Con: God inspired that line once, who are we to make that into twice?
 

John Lanier

Puritan Board Junior
I wouldn't necessarily say it is a problem. I think it would probably be better to choose another tune that would fit. That is what we do.

Also, I was reading in John Cotton's book on Psalmody that repeating lines of the psalm was a common practice in many churches years ago. This was not due to the tune but due to the fact that many people in the congregation could not read so a line would be sung and then the congregation would sing it. They would do this all the way through the psalm thus repeating every line.
 

Glenn Ferrell

Puritan Board Junior
I appreciate when the effort is made to sing Psalms at all. However, I tend to think such repetition imposes a man made emphasis unhelpful to understanding the inspired hymn.
 

TexanRose

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wouldn't necessarily say it is a problem. I think it would probably be better to choose another tune that would fit. That is what we do.

Also, I was reading in John Cotton's book on Psalmody that repeating lines of the psalm was a common practice in many churches years ago. This was not due to the tune but due to the fact that many people in the congregation could not read so a line would be sung and then the congregation would sing it. They would do this all the way through the psalm thus repeating every line.
"Lining out the Psalm" was common practice in many Scottish churches for generations, and is still done at Scottish FP communions as the communicants go forward to the table (because they are presumably not carrying their psalm books with them). I was just sent some beautiful recordings of this today, actually.

But repeating every line is a bit different from repeating, say, the last line of each stanza, because then that last line is emphasized above the others.

The general practice in the FP church is to avoid tunes that repeat lines in public worship, the reasoning being that if a line was meant to be repeated, it would be repeated in the Bible (e.g. Psalm 136). However, I believe the repeating-line tunes are sometimes used in family worship.

I don't personally consider this to be a matter of great importance, though it is of course still worth thinking about.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top