The Responsorial Psalm Dilemma
  • graduale
    Posts: 13
    Since there is no official source of music for Responsorial Psalm Antiphons (or verses, I suppose), what is your ideal music source?
    Aside from "Respond and Acclaim" style songy psalms or Graduales (which are the obvious answer!), what is the best solution?

    Rules: no "cheesy" settings, no Graduales, no English proper things...
  • JDE
    Posts: 578
    Write your own (see attached).

    We're using this for the Sacred Music Workshop at my church in a couple of weeks, and the Respond and Acclaim version was especially weak.

    Caveat: we use R&A at St Brigid, and I don't find them as objectionable as many others do. If you're willing to transpose and make other adjustments (like leaving out the lamer descants when appropriate), you can make them sound more like music.
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 60
    I have been regularly using Respond and Acclaim, but am getting tired of it.

    Since, I have purchased the three volume responsorial psalms from WLP which are nice (much less sing-songy but still easy to sing) and make use of the gregorian psalm tones (as well as some newly composed "psalm tones" that are OK).

    Richard Rice recently published this: http://www.lulu.com/shop/richard-rice/responsorial-psalms-june-2017/ebook/product-23224184.html

    It's free - very chant like refrains and clearly uses modified gregorian psalm tones throughout. Very accessible for congregation/cantor. I like. Just stumbled on this about 10 minutes ago.
    Thanked by 2chonak rich_enough
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 781
    Chabanel Psalms from CC Watershed
    Thanked by 2rich_enough Mary Ann
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,287
    JDE did a beautiful job, especially in choosing a psalm form for verses that is proven, very effective in English and is what the Church should have adopted in Vat II times...which would also check off the box for being "ecumenical".

    Very nice job, Jonathan! May you be encouraged to continue on through the cycle.
    Thanked by 1JDE
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 331
    For official, what about the Graduale Simplex ?
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 615
    +1 for Simplex, or By Flowing Waters in English.

    Have to persuade pastor that they are legit. But they are!

    And good to hear and sing the "other" (non-Gelineau, non-antiphonal) responsorial psalmody.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • graduale
    Posts: 13
    I'm suppose the GS circumvents my rules. How do we feel about metrical antiphons and non-metered verses?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,771
    We're using the WLP psalms which Settefrati mentioned above, and some are just fine, while some are not so great. They're by various composers, so you can make your own judgment about which ones you like or don't. Usually the verses are set to Gregorian psalm tones or similar modern psalm tones, so the verses are non-metered. If you have access to the WLP "Seasonal Missalette" somewhere, you can see the antiphon melodies.

    I should also mention CMAA's publication Parish Book of Psalms, with antiphon melodies by Arlene Oost-Zinner, and the verses set to Gregorian tones. It's intended for unaccompanied singing, but some organists are adding their own accompaniment. Last Sunday I heard a psalm from the PBP used at the Basilica at Notre-Dame-de-Indiana.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • JDE
    Posts: 578
    Thanks, Noel! I only write a handful every year, mostly motivated by especially weak settings in the default book. These work with cantor and organ as well, but I think they're best sung by the full choir (preferably a cappella).
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    This doesn't really help to answer graduale's question, but I can't help but observe that I recently reviewed Fr Weber's marvelous volume of Introits, Offertories, and Communions, all of which are set to his own exquisite chant compositions. This is a remarkable book which I commend highly to all who celebrate English masses. It has one fault, namely, that he didn't supply the alleluya verses as well, plus the responsorial psalmody for years A, B, & C. Thusly would it be the complete English graduale that we so desperately need. The alleluya-verse and the psalm ARE propers, and should be included in any book that purports to be The Propers.

    As for currently available responsorial psalmody, R & A has the questionable distinction of being evidence that there are even worse versions available. Its worse shortcomings are the TV jingle-styled triple alleluyas and the less than inspired tunes for many of the psalm repsonsories - not to mention the cheap descants for them. This book sqeaks by for those who absolutely can't do better.

    For something somewhat better, one might look into the annual St Ignatius Press' pew missal. This book offers, for the most part, very good hymnody and psalm responsories that feature simple chant-like responsories with verses set to the Gregorian tones.
  • Ali
    Posts: 24
    We've been using the Lumen Christi Missal since the beginning of this past advent. I like the psalms and alleluia options. Simple and beautiful. The congregation had an adjustment period after we ditched Respond and Acclaim, but I don't think they notice the difference any more.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,045
    The best Resp. Pss. I've seen are those by Richard Rice, Aristotle Esguerra, Adam Bartlett, and Fr. Samuel Weber; and probably in that order. (Incidentally, I'm not talking about the basic respond-set-as-psalm-tone settings by Fr. Weber that appear in the main body of the Ignatius Pew Missal, I mean his "antiphon" settings that appear in the back of that book.)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,440
    in my last position i used a combo of oost-zinner and my own creations until the diocese tried to claim ownership of my works at which point I had had enough.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,771
    (!)
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 781
    @francis

    the diocese tried to claim ownership of my works


    Surely, you jest!
  • Francis,

    On what grounds did some legal beagle make this claim? You don't live in Silicon Valley.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,440
    believe it or not, they saw my 6 point font copyright notice in the bulletin ("weekly worship aid"... I hate that term) it was the church finance manager (not Catholic btw) and the matter was handed over to the diocesan office. I immediately stopped composing anything for their liturgies. one thing after the other went south there. they had a wonderful tradition of bringing in the TLM, said NO ad orientum, did the Gregorian Propers. I arrived thrilled to continue the same and the proponents of the NO had the agenda to wean the parish off of Latin, GC, and the rest. No one can tell me that the proponents of the NO are not anti-Catholic. They either are ignorantly or viciously. The NO is the stranglehold of the modernists, valid or not.

    I decided long ago not to compose anything in English. I broke my own rule and took the hit for doing so. I must stick to my Latin guns.
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 60
    Also on chabanel psalms- Royce nickels psalms are very nice
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,210
    Shorten the Gregorian psalm tone. David Hughes taught us to do that when he led the Office choir at the Colloquium.
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 60
    @MatthewRoth Please explain what you mean by this
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,210
    Say it’s to be sung to 1g. (I use the older Solesmes assignments FYI). I pick that because you’ll often find people choose the Gregorian tone associated with the mode of the Gradual which it replaces (so, assume you have a Gradual in mode 1).

    Intone the antiphon with the mode 1 incipit, definitely skip the flex, probably skip the mediant, and sing the final as normal. Then intone the psalm and follow the pointing as needed, which of course means altering the verses, because the compilers of the American lectionary never really meant these to be sung… so, flex, mediant, final, everything as normal. Then repeat the antiphon at the end, or in between verses if you choose to go that route.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 60
    Ahhhh, very nice. Makes sense.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 168
    On what grounds did some legal beagle make this claim? You don't live in Silicon Valley.


    If you are an employee of someplace, then it is totally normal that anything you write during the course of your employment belongs to the employer.

    Wise church musicians make sure that their job descriptions specifically do not include composing, or even better that their contracts specifically say that they retain ownership of anything they compose / write as part of their job.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,440
    baloney.

    I have been composing my entire life and no organization ever tried to claim that they owned anything i had ever composed.

    In fact, there was no mention of composing or arranging in the job description at all.

    to claim ownership of a composition you must be hired (called work for hire) to do so under contract and then you would transfer right of ownership if it was to be official.

    In the copyright law of the United States, a work made for hire (work for hire or WFH) is a work subject to copyright that is created by an employee as part of his job, or some limited types of works for which all parties agree in writing to the WFH designation.

    That was never a part of any contract I ever entered into. It had to be a deliberate signed agreement between parties.

    It was a bogus attempt because as soon as I challenged it, it was declared not so. I STILL did not write anything after that just the same.