Singing the Psalms

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Organgrinder

Puritan Board Freshman
I put this question here because it might be more about music.

What is meant by singing the Psalms? We don't do it my church. I don't think the easy listening 70s and 80s stuff is the same thing although those kinds of tunes have partial and complete verses from the Psalms in them.

I've heard that singing the Psalms is something that can be done during one's devotional time. Anyone in here doing that?
 

Moireach

Puritan Board Freshman
I am also in a church who sing only from the book of Psalms. You can find out more about this practice by going to the sub-forum dedicated to the practice under Worship. The singing of 'hymns' - written by men - in the place of the book of Psalms in Reformed churches (Calvinist not Lutheran) only really became popular in the 19th century largely down to the efforts of a certain Mr Wesley from England. Since then there has been a very gradual move away from singing the Psalms only.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
I live alone and sing a Psalm or two every evening as part of my private worship. I use the 1650 Scottish Psalter, which is freely available on the internet. One can also purchase a bound edition from a publisher.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
What is meant by singing the Psalms? We don't do it my church. I don't think the easy listening 70s and 80s stuff is the same thing although those kinds of tunes have partial and complete verses from the Psalms in them.
I'm not an exclusive psalmody (EP) guy but I like to sing psalms and we do it as a family at home. The tunes and wordage shouldn't have to be old to "count." Nor have Reformed people always insisted that psalms have to be sung in their entirety. Generally, psalms that are arranged to be sung are translated more freely than when psalms are translated as Scripture, allowing for a more singable meter and in many cases even rhyme.

Most Reformed congregations that largely or exclusively sing psalms are very much on the "traditional" side of things in multiple ways. Some are also non-instrumental. So psalms sung to those 70s and 80s guitar tunes probably aren't the norm in most of those churches, though I'd be interested in hearing what EP folks here have to say about older vs. more contemporary tunes and translations.

Personally, I suggest you don't discount the 70s and 80s stuff, even if it's not your preferred style and even though its mostly partial psalms. It's still psalm singing, which is a good thing.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
[video=youtube;id9YCiBBqnk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id9YCiBBqnk[/video]

This is very good on the history of singing the Psalms.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
The singing of 'hymns' - written by men - in the place of the book of Psalms in Reformed churches (Calvinist not Lutheran) only really became popular in the 19th century largely down to the efforts of a certain Mr Wesley from England.
Wesley's role in moving Reformed churches away from EP is negligable. You'll find that Wesley's hymns only begin being openly used in Presbyterian hymnals in the late 19th century long after hymns were being allowed. The real culprit responsible for this departure from historic Reformed practice was Isaac Watts and his "Imitations of the Psalms." And this was in the mid-eighteenth century. These were psalm paraphrases. Watts' hymns/paraphrases gained a foothold because of their closeness to the psalms even though they were not psalms in the biblical and historical sense of the word. They were hymns masquerading a psalms.

But because they did claim to be based on the Psalms, many churches and presbyteries began allowing their use in public worship. This, I believe, marked the begining of the end of EP in the Reformed Church.
 
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