Music Notes

Here is some more insight into the liturgy elements that Pacific Hills does every weekend!

The Psalmody is the singing/recitation of the Psalm text from biblical verses, similar to a Gregorian chant line. The use of the Psalmody dates back to biblical times, but was not as formal as it is currently. The Psalmody used to be sung strictly between the clergy and the choir. During the reformation, the Lutherans believed that the Psalmody should involve more than just the clergy and choir. They pushed to have it further involve the congregation, which is currently done here at Pacific Hills!

There are many different ways to approach a Psalmody. It may be alternated between the clergy and the congregation, between a cantor and the choir, or even between two antiphonal choirs. Some churches simply read the verse while the organist plays a complex chorale based of the Psalmody line. When someone leads the Psalmody, and alternates with the either the choir or congregation, they may choose to sing acapella, or without instrumentation. This can lead to some challenges for the leader, as they must not only establish a steady tempo and tonal center; they must also chose a tonal center that is neither too high nor too low. That can be especially challenging since everyone’s voice is unique. Thus, it is generally agreed that the cantor should aim to have the tuba, the repeated reciting tone, be no lower than an “F” and no higher than a “C”. With all these different possibilities, it leads to musical involvement of worship participants; whether through singing or listening.

Next month I will share about some changes to the liturgy and music that occur during Lent!

In Christ,
Zach Hastings
Director of Music