Daily Psalm Response Accompaniment
  • Hello, I am a pianist for our elementary school Masses. Our new priest wants us to use the daily readings (our previous priest used the Sunday readings). I have not been able to find an accompaniment book for daily psalm responses and all the musicians I have contacted in other parishes do not have any suggestions. I know there are many chants and other generic music I could use, but I am not the music teacher; I am a classroom teacher who just happens to be able to play the piano. I will be leading the psalm and the congregation will join, there is no choir or cantors at these Masses. If anyone can recommend an accompaniment book that I can use, please send the name and any ordering information you have (a picture of the book would be great too). Thank you for helping this fish out of water!
  • I was in the same boat you are in, so at school we used repeated Anglican chant tunes. Anglican chant was created for singing in English and after the third week, the students took over deciding what words go with each note, and practiced it themselves.

    You use the same tune week after week, switching to another one only after they can sing the first one in their sleep.

    There are some simple rules attached that explain was to work with the words.

    These are sung with the rhythm of the words...meaning, you speak the line and then sing it the same way, just change pitches.

    The choice of which words go where are a matter of taste is called "pointing". You will find different ways to fit the words. Some people get into heated arguments about which ones to choose. That appears to be normal behavior for some reason or other!

    Gregorian chant psalm tones are more difficult since they are designed to start on a note but, depending where it fits in, end on another one - since they are sung with specific chants. Also, the moving notes are written to match Latin word structure.

    Anglican chant matches English.

    This way you do not have to learn new music every day...instead you and the students can focus on getting better and better at singing.

    Feel free to contact me if you need any help. We are preparing some audio files...

  • This is a double anglican chant, meaning 4 musical phrases instead of 2 - which are the chants I suggest for beginning.

  • Here's an interesting page about hating singing the psalms, as well.

    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, out of Collegeville, MN, has set the daily Mass psalms, published by The Liturgical Press. Here's a sample of his work:

    Thanked by 1canadash
  • I doubt that "a classroom teacher who just happens to be able to play the piano." will have the energy and time to learn to play and sing a new psalm every day.

    CharlesW should have some thoughts on that aspect. I think that it's helpful to try to meet people on their own level whenever possible.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Noel,

    It sounds as if they have a weekly School Mass that used to use the Sunday readings, but now uses the readings of whatever day it falls upon. Once a week is much less to ask than once a day.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Thank you! Yes, we have school Mass only on Wednesdays. Since I am a classroom teacher, I don't have time to practice with the students either. I'll check out both your suggestions. I really appreciate you taking time to go over this with me.
  • I looked at Fr. Ruff's settings. They will be good for the special seasons of the church, but don't have psalms for Ordinary time. I'm still on the look out for something I can use during Ordinary time. If I use the chants, I will still need to write the words each week so I can sing and play them. Right now I'm taking Sunday psalms that have similar word rhythms and just changing the words. It seems like either way, I may need to be writing words under the music.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist