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Antiphon and psalm melody in the IV. Tone to Psalm 1 from the Roman Catholic. Praise to God (1975)

With Psalmodie singing is psalms , canticles and other sacred (mostly Bible -) denotes texts based on certain melodic formulas, the psalm tones . The twists and turns of these adapt to the character of the respective underlying church modes .

The psalmody has its origin and model in ancient Jewish music . On the basis of the psalmody, among other things, the singing forms of the Gregorian chant developed , of which it is a main form alongside sequence and jubilee . The focus of psalmody is on properties such as text recitation and speech melody. The conductor gives signs to indicate the pitch and rhythm. The notes have been written in neumes since the 9th century . The psalmody is syllabically noted.

Historical development of the psalmody

Psalm verses were spoken or sung in turn until the 8th century. From this the antiphonal or responsorial singing style developed. Since the psalms were repeated every week according to the Rule of Benedict , a different verse seemed appropriate to illuminate the reading texts of the day theologically. From this developed the antiphon , a psalm verse that is sung at the beginning, sometimes between the psalm verses and before and after the doxology . In the course of time, the character of the antiphon has become independent, so that by the middle of the 9th century at the latest, the antiphon had taken on an independent form, both textually and melodically.

Psalm singing

Course of the psalmody

The course of the psalmody of a psalm verse is:

  • Inchoatio or Initium (beginning)
  • Tenor ( recitation tone , also called repercussa or tuba )
  • For long verses: Flexa (inflection), marked in the text by the sign † or / or +
  • tenor
  • Mediatio (middle cadence, also called mediante or pausa ) in front of the * ( asterisk )
  • tenor
  • Terminatio (final turn, final cadence, also called finalis or punctum )

Mediatio and terminatio are collectively referred to as clausulae ("degrees").

In order to enable the key connection from the psalmody to the antiphon, several differentials or final cadences were formed for each psalm tone ; these differentiae were partly regionally different, so that occasionally lists of the local differentiae were kept ready for traveling monks.

Singing in a choir

For communal psalm singing in choir prayer , a special way of singing as a form of meditation, antiphonal (alternating choir) , developed around the 8th century . A cantor group and the other prayers or the prayers seated on the right and left side of the choir stalls sing the psalm verses alternately. After the asteriscus in each psalm verse there is a pause, the singers exhale and stop for a moment; the second half of the verse is sung with fresh breath. At the end of this, the other group of singers takes over without any pause and sings the next verse. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the Trinitarian doxology "Glory to the Father and the Son (s) * and the Holy Spirit (s) -" is used after the last psalm verse. - As it was in the beginning, now and forever * and forever. Amen. ”Sung like two psalm verses. At the end of the psalm the antiphon is repeated by everyone.

Web links

Wiktionary: Psalmody  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: psalmody  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Liber Usualis Missae et Officii per Dominicis et Festis. Parisii, Tornaci, Romae 1954, p. XV.
  2. Christoph Weyer: Re 37rv in Codex Mscr. Dresden. A 199 - Paleographic and historical research . In: Markus Uhl, Christoph Weyer (Hrsg.): Sounding word: Festschrift for the 60th birthday for Stefan Klöckner . Vier Türme Verlag, Münsterschwarzach 2018, ISBN 978-3-7365-0218-5 , p. 195-200 .
  3. Liborius Olaf Lumma : Liturgy in the rhythm of the day. A brief introduction to the history and practice of the Liturgy of the Hours. Pustet, Regensburg 2011, pp. 84f.