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All they that breathe now praise the Lord.  - Psalm 150

Thumbnail link to featured work - Psalm 24PSALM SETTINGS
for Church & Synagogue
- Choral Anthems
- Vocal Solo Settings


A collection of new Musical Psalms in classical style for Choir or Solo Voice.

The Psalms are the common treasure, the shared heritage, between Jews and Christians.  They bring us comfort, strength and wisdom in difficult times, inspiration and uplift, our voice of gratitude and thanksgiving in celebrations and festivals.  They also feature prominently in our various liturgies, serving as the beautiful and powerful reminder of how much our communities have in common.  They are the great songs of Scripture.

It is in this ecumenical spirit that I offer this modest group of Psalm settings of interfaith suitability, for choir and solo voice, to which I hope to add over time.  Like the Psalter itselt, they vary in mood and style, but always reflect a dignified, substantive classical sensibility.  Some set a complete text, while others cover only a few verses.  Each features singable English (by the composer) and true-to-Scripture Hebrew alternative texts.  Many may be sung a cappella  (except Psalm 23 solo, Psalms 24, 93 & 117).

See and hear any work in score form via screen-capture playback video.  About Playbacks

Purchase sheet music for any work in downloadable PDF files, ready to print in book or individual sheet format.  Price per download includes license permission to produce up to 35 copies of the work. (DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ONLY - Sorry, no sale or shipment of hard copies.)

List of Psalm Works  Link to List

About English Singing Texts

The English singing texts found in these new musical psalms, though true in meaning to the original Hebrew, are my own paraphrases, designed to coexist musically with the alternative Hebrew texts (which are true to Scripture).  As such, these psalm settings are intended to function not in a purely liturgical fashion, but rather more freely as anthems or musical offerings.

About the Psalms Themselves

PSALM - From the Greek Psalmos, a "pluck" as of strings; a song or ode to be accompanied by string instrument(s).  The Hebrew Mizmor derives from the root ZMR meaning to "prune" or "trim," indicating a beginning or separation, perhaps a song or verse of measured structure. 

It is thought that in antiquity the Psalms were sung or recited by the Levites, earlier in front of the Tabernacle, later on the steps of the completed Temple, to the accompaniment of harp or lyre-like instruments.

The complete blblical Book of Psalms is known as the Psalter, or by the Hebrew name Tehillim (Praises), of which the canonized psalms number 150.  There are two versions of numbering of the Psalms:

This numbering discrepancy has to do with differing interpretations of division for certain psalms, such as Psalms 9 and 10 in the Hebrew being taken in the Greek as a single acrostic text, for one example among others.  In this catalog and these works, the Hebrew or Masoretic numbering is used.

All but 34 of the 150 psalms have some form of title (superscription) ascribing singly or in combination, such elements as author, content/form/purpose, occasion of use and prescribed melody to be used.  Of the 116 psalms that bear titles, 16 have no ascription of authorship.

Authorship - There has been much speculation, but no clear consensus about authorship of the Psalms.  Rabbinic tradition often attributes them all to David either as author or as compiler, based on the texts of ten ancient psalmists (commonly: Adam, Moses, Asaph, Heman, Abraham, Jeduthun, David, Solomon, three sons of Korah as a group, and Ezra), but this view was not universally held even in medieval times.  In Christendom, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Philastrius all subscribe to the view of Davidic authorship.  Today, this view is widely rejected by scholars since, for example, certain of the psalms seem, by virtue of their content (notably Psalm 137), to post-date David’s lifetime by hundreds of years.  Modern scholarship views the Psalter as a collection of texts compiled from various sources and eras (probably including that of David himself).

Most of the titles (where present) do make attribution to several authors, including in the case of Ps. 90, to Moses.  Twelve are given to Solomon, seventy-three to David, others to Asaph, the sons of Korah, Heman and Ethan.   

Groupings of Psalms - The Psalter has been differentiated in various groupings classified by mood, form, content or function, including among others: 

Parallelism is the most pervasive poetic device to be found throughout the psalms, occuring in a two-line scheme, in the form of 1) opposite ideas (antithetic), 2) repetition of the same idea, or
3) synonymous parallelism.

Psalms in Jewish Worship

The Psalms hold great prominence throughout every corner of Jewish liturgy and ritual.  They are to be found there not only in their complete forms, but in many passages of the prayer book they occur in excerpts and compilations of various related or relevant verses from throughout the Psalter.

Daily Worship - The Morning service features numerous psalms including the Psalm 136 "The Great Hallel". 

The Ashrei, recited three times daily, often resposorily, is a formulation comprised of the complete Psalm 145, to which are appended two initial verses (Ps. 84:5; 144:15), and a concluding verse Ps. 115:18.

Psalms for the Days of the Week
Sunday - Psalm 24
Monday - Psalm 48
Tuesday - Psalm 82
Wednesday - Psalm 94 + Ps. 95:1-3
Thursday - Psalm 81
Friday - Psalm 93
Sabbath - Psalm 92

Welcoming the Sabbath - Includes Psalms 95-99, 29, 92, 93

Procession of the Torah Scrolls - To Psalm 24 (weekdays); or Psalm 29 (Saturday).

Hallel - Recited on most Jewish festivals.  Comprised of Psalms 113-118.

Chanukkah - Psalm 30 "A Psalm, a Song of Dedication" is apropos to the Feast of Dedication.

Psalm 27 - Recited twice daily from the month before the New Year through the seventh day of Tabernacles.

Vigil Over the Departed - Psalms are recited over the body as it is ritually washed in the vigil preceding burial.

Psalms in Christian Worship

The Psalms still figure prominently throughout the various church liturgies.  The Psalter is recited in weekly, bi-weekly or longer cycles in the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican traditions.   Weekly public worship in most church traditions generally includes a psalm reading.

The Psalms remain widely relevant and beloved as texts of personal comfort and guidance outside the realm of public communal worship.

Musical settings of the psalm texts (often in paraphrase) have long been employed as anthems or musical offerings.  This is the anticipated usage of the psalm settings in the present collection.

Wikipedia - Psalms
New Advent Catholic Encylopedia - Psalms
My Jewish Learning - The Book of Psalms by Rabbi Louis Jacobs
Jewish - Psalms