Question about Scottish Metrical Psalter

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Puritan Board Freshman
I bought a few Scottish Metrical Psalters a few months ago for our family worship and I was wondering if anybody would know where I can find which tune can be used with which psalm. I found a few site on the internet where people lists their preferred tunes for each song but they are all different tunes. My wife and I are not very talented when it comes to singing so we try to keep if to as few tunes as possible for now. We currently use the following tunes: New England, Manoa, St-Thomas and Arlington. Would anybody know where I can find a list of tunes along with the compatible psalms to go with it?


Puritan Board Doctor
In the split-leaf Psalters that have either sol-fah or the musical stave on the top section of the book, they have suggested tunes for each Psalm, or Psalm portion, at the beginning of the Psalm.


Puritan Board Freshman
The beauty of a metrical Psalter is that you can choose which tune to sing each Psalm to. The majority of Psalms in the Scottish Metrical Psalter are in the Common Metre (C.M.) which is (i.e. first line has 8 syllables, second line has 6 syllables and so on). Those that have a version in a different metre have a C.M. version as well. I generally use "Winchester Old" (While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night) and "Horsley" (There is a Green Hill Far Away). I also use "Noel" (It Came Upon the Midnight Clear), which is Double Common Metre (D.C.M) - i.e. two verses of C.M. For hymns with an odd number of verses I sing the doxology in the second half.

is a website with the complete Psalter. Under the Psalm title is the 'metre' of the Psalm (in most cases C.M.). Clicking on this will direct you to this page where there is a list of tunes with accompanying MIDI files.
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Puritan Board Senior
As others have noted, you can generally use any tune with any Psalm. The majority of psalms are put in common meter first. Those that are not have a version in common meter (i.e., "Another of the same").

The Comprehensive Psalter is a version which is laid out with a musical staff on the page of each psalm, suggesting a tune. Christ Covenant RPC has the majority of the psalms being sung by a congregation based on the comprehensive psalter. Even if you do not have this musical text, you can learn them by singing along. This has been helpful for me as someone who does not have much musical ability. See here: Christ Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church: Psalm Singing

However, you can use some tunes you know to get started. Common meter tunes include the tunes commonly used with Amazing Grace, O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, I Sing the Mighty Power of God (a double tune), and O Little Town of Bethlehem.


Puritan Board Freshman
Good to see a fellow Canadian APR'er on here!

My wife and I started using the Scottish Psalter for family worship and have been very blessed.

Other songs you might what to consider:

O God our help in ages past
Alas did my Saviour bleed
This is my Father's World
My God, how wonderful Thou art

We found that the tune for "in Christ alone" worked well for the second version of Psalm 102

Enjoy your rich worship!


Puritan Board Senior
Here are some other places you can check. However, I find I learn tunes best by hearing vocals singing the words rather than a piano or organ or something playing the tune. As for a list of tunes that go with the Psalms, or even a list of recommended tunes from various Psalters or Psalmodys, I am not aware of such a list, although I may have run across one somewhere and have forgotten. I suppose, if it isn't too much trouble, I could extract the recommended tunes from my ebook version of the 1650 and create a list that way. Or it might be quicker to generate a list from the HTML version of the CCRPC webpage, if I am allowed to do so.

Also, hymn books often have lists of tunes in the back. You can look at all the CM or CMD tunes and so have a "list" in that way.

Tune recommendations are from the Scottish Psalmody plus one other recommendation found in two of the psalms:
The Psalms in Metre

Tune recommendations from the Scottish Psalmody plus a brief audio clip with no vocals (although not all the clips work!):
Psalms - North Uist & Grimsay Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

Brief audio clips with no vocals for all the recommended tunes from the Scottish Psalmody and other tunes:

You may have seen this index, which includes tune names next to links of audio recordings of the psalms:
Texan Rose: Free Psalm Recordings, Scottish Psalter
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Jeri Tanner

Staff member
Here's one other place to hear congregational singing of some Psalm tunes (The Scottish Metrical Psalter (1650) | The Psalms of David - Sung a cappella). I like the idea of learning new tunes to accompany the Psalms—using the familiar hymn tunes seems to distract me from the words of the Psalms. Three new tunes I have down pretty well and love are Richmond, Stroudwater, and Stornoway (Stornoway is a good tune for Psalms of lament). This site and others offer free downloads, and I'm in the process of gathering as many tunes as I can find. I'd like to keep them on my ipod and listen, listen, listen and sing along, sing along, sing along until I have them learned. I think of the great value it would be if days of darkness come and many have these Psalms and tunes memorized.


Puritan Board Senior
Afterthought said:
I suppose, if it isn't too much trouble, I could extract the recommended tunes from my ebook version of the 1650 and create a list that way.
I have done this and put the list into an Excel file. Going backwards though to organize the list by tunes seems to be a bit trickier.
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