The Scottish Prose Psalter (1909)
  • Hello, My real name is Sarah Noll

    Does anyone know why the Scottish Prose Psalter (1909) fell into disuse?
    Can anyone tell me if the pointing is good and if the tunes are good?
    If it was republished would it be up to par with contemporary Anglican chant methods of pointing and tunes used today?
    Does anyone have any idea what would be involved in resurrecting this Psalter for this generation?
    Would anyone be interested in helping resurrect this Psalter?
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • A very interesting book indeed. There were so many of these that came, saw their day, and went... a pattern that continues (does it not?). For those who are unaware, the Church of Scotland is not Anglican, but Presbyterian, hence the King James rather than the Coverdale psalter. The settings of quite a number of canticles from both the Old and New Testaments should find a ready reception. One might wish to do some editing to those examples of pointing which are rather dated and lack the grace of more modern practice. AND, one may grant in favour of Fr Krisman that the treatment in Gloria of 'glorify thee' is, indeed, most infelicitous.

    Many thanks for putting this up. It's a nice treat. Historically, the typical Scottish psalter is metrical, and many of our tune names (such as 'Old 100th', or 'Old 124th', etc.) take their names from the metrical psalms with which from of old they have been associated.
  • Interesting. I had not put the pieces together as to why the Scottish would have wanted the KJV as opposed to the Coverdale translation.

    Yes, there are a plethora of Psalters that came and went. This one is of particular interest because it is all 150 of KJV Psalms. I also really like the split leaf format!!!

    Is there information available somewhere as to the modern methods of pointing of which you speak? What is it? How is it different?

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,107
    The number of chant tunes in the Scottish Psalter is staggering ... many of them very fine indeed. There are even a number of "Gregorian" tones, harmonized.
  • The split leaf format, so far as I know, is unique to Scottish psalters, whether prose or metrical. This permits of the ready choice of most any tune to go with most any psalm, and one isn't limited by the printed page to the tune printed thereon.

    As for more recent pointing styles:
    The Hymnal 1940 is a good place to start - it isn't exactly 'up to date', but is better than most older examples of pointing.

    The Hymnal 1982 provides more recent methodologies, more interesting and musical than older ones.

    One of the best current examples is The Anglican Psalter, pointed by John Scott, which contains a large repertory of chants, both old and new. (Published by the Canterbury Press and readily had from Lois Fyfe in Atlanta.) This psalter was originally published in 1997 as The St Paul's Psalter.

    The Epsicopal church publishes two complete pointed psalters: one an Anglican chant version, the other a Gregorian tone version. I don't remember for sure, but each of these may be called The American Psalter. (There are also a similar two volumes, called The Canadian Psalter.)

    Listening to the English choirs, and American ones such as St Thomas', New York, will open your eyes and ears to a bounty of imaginative and very musical pointings which often are most delightfully clever.

    It is the studiedly dull and overly simple pointings of bygone times which rather naturally engendered that stumbly phenomenon known as Anglican thump. (Of course, if one were doing an historically informed performance of Anglican chant in the Victorian era, one would present a glaringly repetitive persistence of Anglican thump together with a rather oddly metred delivery of the reciting tone text. [Ditto XIXth century renderings of Gregorian psalm singing! Yes, there is a corresponding Gregorian thump, which still lives here and there].)

    Two constants in Anglican chant pointing are: 1) always begin a cadence or bar within it on a strong (accented) syllable. The neophyte will often put a weak syllable at such points, and the result is unfailingly clumsy and amateurish. 1a) don't put the two prinicipal notes of a cadential bar on one weak syllable. 2) Taste and musical grace.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,998
    I don't have anything to add to the discussion about this particular psalter, but on the general question of why psalters come and go, I believe that one reason is the changing liturgical needs of the ecclesial bodies that publish them. Often--and again I am not talking about any specific group--a denomination will begin with a strict rule that only Psalms may be sung at worship. Historically this rule is often mitigated and hymn singing becomes allowable and popular.