Regulative Worship, EP, and Chant

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Coram Deo, May 10, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior


    Quick question for those of us who are Epers..

    Would Chanting a line be considered singing, hence breaking regulated worship with Psalmody? or would be just be considered Rhythmic Speech and not breaking regulated worship?

    Also, how does one feel about the Gloria Patri? Chanted? Recited? Not Biblical?

    Thoughts, Opinions, and such...

  2. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We have a few chanted selections in our Psalter and I love them because they take the words straight out of the KJV without any change. I just learned how to chant them a few weeks ago and have been having fun doing it on my own at home.

    I definitely don't think there's a break in the EP with chanting since it involves pitches, rhythm, etc. We often attribute what we know as "singing" to the commands to sing we find in the bible but I'm sure it looked much different from our metrical songs. In fact, I'd even say that the chants we have may be closer to what used to be done back then.
  3. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    Why do you think this? Do you mean back when the Psalms were originally written or when the English Bible was written? Why is chanting closer to the original? Just curious... :detective:
  4. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    I guess I am refering to non psalm chant.. Would simple non musical chant of gloria patri be considered a song hence breaking the regulative worship or would it be considered more a rhythmic speech?

    How about any doxology? would it be better to recite them or chant them in a simple two tonal chant?

    Also, how would someone here regard the gloria patri? non-biblical, also breaking the regulative worship, or biblical since patterns of doxology appears through out the new testament?


  5. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I guess I don't really know. It sounded good at the time. :D

    But the Roman Catholic Church did chants for a long time so I figured that they're at least older than metrical songs. *shrug* Personally, I'm waiting for Andrew to say something.
  6. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Polyphony is a rather recent "invention" (c. 1000) -- and it's difficult to know how ancient music sounded since notation was "invented" late, too.

    I have wondered why EPers forbid instruments but allow for polyphony :think:
  7. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Well, there's a lot to address here and I'm not the most qualified person to do it but I'll try to assemble some thoughts on these issues which may hopefully be of some assistance.

    To the question of whether it is consistent with the RPW to sing or chant the Gloria Patria -- it is not consistent with the RPW. It is not commanded to be sung, and it is not part of the canon of Psalms which alone is commanded to be sung / chanted.

    It is among the liturgical parts of worship that was expunged during the Puritan era in Scotland (and reintroduced to Scotland with the Restoration of Anglican liturgy).

    George Washington Sprott, The Worship of the Church of Scotland During the Covenanting Period, 1638-1661, pp. 19-20:

    To the question of whether chanting itself is acceptable, I will cite some previous posts that I have made on the subject.



    I also came across this quote:

    Johannes Baptist Alzog, History of the Church, pp. 696-697:

    I did inquire on the PB once recently about a Scottish Prose Psalter once but got no replies -- see this thread.

    However, although I fully concur that chanting is lawful and in some cases may even desirable, as a whole, I think the Reformers were right to enable their congregations to sing in metre, which helps with memorization and congregational singing. I view the issue of chant v. metre as fundamentally a matter of circumstance not regulated element.

    But there are principles at work which lead me personally to prefer metre (WCF I, vi). As I said, I think metre is more conducive to both congregational singing and memorization. Less skill is required to sing in metre as opposed to chanting, which allows for congregational unity in song as opposed to the use of trained choirs which historically developed along with Gregorian chanting. Also, the Catholic Encyclopedia points out that metre may in fact be part of the original psalmody. (See also this link for a different historical perspective.)

    If metre is embedded in the psalms, as some argue, then there are strong grounds to employ metre. Others will argue that chanting was used in the Temple, and so chanting has historical precedence. Either way, as I mentioned, I see the question as one of circumstance, not element, and thus subject to WCF I, vi and the light of nature and of Christian prudence.

    This post has become very long, my apologies. But I hope these thoughts / resources are helpful. God bless!
    Last edited: May 10, 2007
  8. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your reply.. Though, I am unsure if it helps me and the question I posed... I am not denying the exclusive use of the Psalms for singing. I believe the Psalms are the ONLY thing that should be sung in Corporate Public Worship.

    The Question though that remains is this: Is Simple Chant Rhythmic Speech or is it Song?

    And if it is Rhythmic Speech, would it be wrong to chant the Gloria Patri since it is a doxology and prayer of praise?

    Any takers?


  9. Nse007

    Nse007 Puritan Board Freshman

    I am getting a doctorate in music from the University of Washington and I have to say that the previous post by Andrew was excellent. Kudos brother.

  10. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Let me say at the outset how much I appreciate Andrew's learned and helpful discourse.

    Thunaer raises the question Is simple chant rhythmic speech or is it song? By simple chant I presume you mean plainsong chant. I would say it is song. I can hum plainsong chant tunes. I do not think we could say that about rhythmic speech.

    Other chant forms, like Anglican chant tunes, are clearly song tunes.

    I would consider the tunes used in the Geneva Psalter a variation of chanting.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page