First there was Wikipedia, the global collaborative encyclopedia of virtually everything worth knowing and, admittedly, a lot we’d be better off not knowing. Then there was open-source software free, downloadable software that is also part of a collaborative effort. Now we have the Chabanel Psalms, which might be described as an open-source liturgical psalter.
The St. Noel Chabanel Responsorial Psalm Project, found at www.chabanelpsalms.org, exists as a remedy for the problematic and sometimes malignant musical settings that so often destroy the prayerful atmosphere the Church requires for her public worship. It is part of the fruit of the nonprofit organization Corpus Christi Watershed, an apostolate and institute dedicated to helping renew the arts and creative media in the Church. . . .
This website clearly lays out all three liturgical years, and for each Sunday and feast day provides numerous musical settings of the Responsorial Psalm in English. The different versions, sometimes as many as twelve per Psalm, were contributed by highly skilled Church musicians working in parishes all over the world. . . .
Everything on this website (vocalist scores, organist scores, transposed scores, alternate versions, audio mp3 examples, etc.) is provided for instant download, completely free of charge.
Although the Chabanel Psalms are composed with the liturgical standards of the Roman Catholic Church in mind, there is in principle no reason why the Reformed churches could not make good use of them. After all, we have our own share of “malignant” musical settings crying out for better-quality replacements. Furthermore, there is no canon requiring us to sing only metred psalms. Chanting the psalms would certainly suffice and might even have an advantage in that it requires no alteration of the texts. It’s worth a try. Here are four examples below:
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