2nd Sunday of Lent C neumatic responsorial psalm for OF
  • MarkB
    Posts: 159
    Continuing the discussion that has been ongoing on this message board about composing and singing neumatic or melismatic responsorial psalms instead of using psalm tones (or paraphrased psalm songs), I have attached a setting for 2nd Sunday of Lent this year.

    I've learned much from people here who have posted about their experiences doing this, and as I and my music director have experimented with this style of responsorial psalm at the parish for the past three months the response from priests, parishioners and choir members has been highly favorable so I encourage others to try it too.

    Parishioners say such things as chanting the psalm that way makes it more prayerful and reflective, it makes you really think and pray the words instead of just getting through it, just having the human voice alone causes you focus on it more because instrumentation doesn't distract you from the words, it's more meaningful. In short, people like it a lot, and it's been an excellent way to introduce chant into Mass in a way that people appreciate, perhaps making them more amenable to singing more chant at Mass.

    This particular composition will be for a parish Mass that the diocesan bishop will celebrate, and the music director and I are keen on providing a good example for the bishop of doing the responsorial psalm differently than is common in parishes.

    PDF and gabc files attached. Please let me know what you think. I could learn from people who are more experienced with chant. Does this sound good or authentically "chanty" to you as vernacular chant? How well does the chant flow and what do you think of the melody? Anything weird about it that you would recommend changing? Is it notated correctly? Feel free to use it yourselves if you have a psalmist/cantor who can chant this sort of thing.

  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,266
    This is excellent.

    Someone recently opined: "Do we really need another collection of Responsorial Psalms?" May answer to that is: "No."--if we are talking about the usual fare. HOWEVER: if you were to put together a collection of Responsorial Psalms setting the verses in this fashion, then my answer will be a resounding "YES!!"

    I hope to use this on Lent II this year.
    Thanked by 2MarkB Heath
  • davido
    Posts: 132
    Excellent! IMHO this is the appropriate style for responsorial psalms.

    Melodic verses emphasize the text better, as Haugen et al have demonstrated. I have always felt that aside from the irreverence of the contemporary style, Haugen and Co psalms had s better grasp of the psalm as a musical institution than the pedestrian Alstott settings.

    So this one is musical and reverent. Hurrah!
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,561
    I think you should rework "do not in anger repel your servant." It doesn't have the same flow as most of the rest of the piece.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • MarkB
    Posts: 159
    Hmm... I think I agree. How's this very slight alteration?


    If anyone else prefers that, the adjustment in the gabc file I provided would be easy to make.

    Thanks to people so far who have commented. I appreciate the feedback.
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  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,266
    Having sung through this a bit, I will echo the feeling about the flow of Verse 3. Verse 3 is more syllabic than the other verses, and seems to get bogged down on the tonic, with a lot of down-ward motion. I would suggest a reworking of the entirety of verse 3, not just the phrase "do not...". Something along the lines of the attached might work, I don't know. (Obviously, its up to you.)

    Never the less, this is an excellent setting, and I would definitely like to see more of these--perhaps a whole collection of this type of Responsorial Psalm--this is certainly the direction that we need to move in.

    (c4)Your(d) pre(h)sence,(g) O(h) Lord,(ji) I(g) seek.(h.) (:) Hide(d) not(f) your(g) face(fe) from(d) me;(e.) (;) do(g) not(f) in(g) an(ixhi)ger(h) re(g)pel(ef) your(e) ser(d.)vant.(d.) (:) You(dh) are(h) my(g) help(ji)er;(h.) (;) cast(hg) me(ef) not(cd) off.(d.) (::)
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • MarkB
    Posts: 159
    Thanks. That revision has some nice elements in it. I might incorporate some of those.

    I'm still learning how to write with an artistic melismatic touch so that it has pleasant phrasing, gives meaningful expression to the words, and has an authentic feel of Gregorian chant even though it's in the vernacular. I don't want to overdo the melismas, and my music director has recommended I not to be too ornate. But from where our parish was just a few months ago (being stuck in the psalm tone rut that almost every other parish is in), this developing style is a tremendous improvement and a fresh, reverent way of singing the psalm that people are responding well to.

    If you use it let me know how it goes.
    Thanked by 1Salieri
  • Heath
    Posts: 797
    MarkB, excellent! A whole cycle's worth of these, please! : )
    Thanked by 1CCooze