The Epiphany Season
Let's focus on a single verse from Sunday's Psalm lection, 95:11
So I swore in my wrath, *
"They shall not enter into my rest."
Psalm pointing is the craft of divvying up the syllables of this ancient Hebrew poetry (that has since translated into English) so that it might be sung to a chant formula.
In the Anglican choral tradition, the chant formula is often what is known as Anglican chant, but plainsong chant formula is sometimes used (especially in Purple seasons).
Yesterday, Lent 3A, was an interesting case study in Episcopal plainsong psalm pointing. Bruce Ford has pointed settings in the Eucharistic Psalter and James Litton has edited the Plainsong Psalter. The pointing for Psalm 95:11 differs in these two books.
The solution for pointing first part of the verse is simple. This part includes the mediant, which is just a single change from the reciting tone. In this case, simply move on "wrath".
So I swore in my wrath *
Both Psalters agree on this.
The second part is a bit more complicated.
The termination consists of a few more changes from the reciting tone. In this case, a minimum of three pitches. Backing up three syllables gives us the simple answer, as is found in the Eucharistic Psalter.
"They shall not enter in-to my rest."
The other approach would be to nuance this slightly (for what reason? We'll get there). The Plainsong Psalter offers:
"They shall not enter in-to my rest."
In this case, the "my" and "rest" end up being on the same pitch, the last part of the termination.
So, the question at the end of this is, why?
Why wouldn't the first approach work all the time? Is there something inherently more musical or rhetorical about moving the termination back by a syllable? Is it more faithful to the word "rest" if the termination rests on the final syllable? But the verse says that "they shall not enter into my rest". So shouldn't we go with the first one?
Do different editors point psalms differently depending on what tone or chant they have in mind? (I think they do). If so, should they? Or should the pointing be such that it can fit any musical setting?
To what degree is Psalm pointing subjective? should it be subjective?
The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the green (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.