Psalms
Overview
 
The Book of Psalms commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 and the Christian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. Taken together, its 150 poems "express virtually the full range of Israel's religious faith."
The word psalms is derived from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 Ψαλμοί (Psalmoi), perhaps originally meaning "music of the lyre" or "songs sung to a harp" and then to any piece of music. From psallein "play upon a stringed instrument" and then to "make music in any fashion".
The Book of Psalms in its current, most commonly used form consists of 150 songs and prayers referred to individually as psalms and referenced by chapter and verse.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Book of Psalms commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 and the Christian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. Taken together, its 150 poems "express virtually the full range of Israel's religious faith."

Etymology

The word psalms is derived from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 Ψαλμοί (Psalmoi), perhaps originally meaning "music of the lyre" or "songs sung to a harp" and then to any piece of music. From psallein "play upon a stringed instrument" and then to "make music in any fashion".

Composition and numbering

The Book of Psalms in its current, most commonly used form consists of 150 songs and prayers referred to individually as psalms and referenced by chapter and verse. They each have a poetic character with frequent use of parallelism
Parallelism (rhetoric)
Parallelism means giving two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern.Parallelisms of various sorts are the chief rhetorical device of Biblical poetry in Hebrew. In fact, Robert Lowth coined the term "parallelismus membrorum Parallelism means giving...

. In addition to the title of the collection, which translates as "song" or "hymns" from both Hebrew and Greek, superscriptions (or headings) in many of the Psalms provide musical references and some direction, in some cases even references to melodies that would have been well known by early congregations. Songs that can be identified as such in the Psalms include songs of thanksgiving (e.g., Ps 30), hymns of praise (e.g., Ps 117) and royal psalms, which may have been used in coronations and weddings. Identification of some psalms as prayers is also seen within the text, for example in the conclusion to Psalm 72, "The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended." The largest category of Psalms, though not grouped as such in the text, is that of lament (expressions of complaint and pleas for help from God). There appears to also have been an instructional function of the psalms as seen in their references to the law (e.g., Ps 1 and 119).

Dating of individual compositions is difficult, and in some cases impossible. Many appear to have been written early in the history of ancient Israel (first millennium BC or even earlier), while others may have been written after the exile to Babylon
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

, which occurred in the sixth century BC. Biblical scholars note the early organization into five collections, paralleling the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 or Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible). However, other reasons for dividing the book in this way are unclear. Authorship is also uncertain in spite of frequent attributions to David.

Numbering

The organization and numbering of the Psalms differs slightly between the (Masoretic
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

) Hebrew and the (Septuagint) Greek manuscripts.

Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 traditions vary:
  • Catholic official liturgical
    Liturgy
    Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

     texts follow the Greek numbering, but modern Catholic translations often use the Hebrew numbering, sometimes adding, in parenthesis, the Greek numbering as well.
  • Eastern Orthodox translations are based on the Greek numbering;
  • in the Syriac Orthodox Church Peshitta tradition there are 155 Psalms.
  • Protestant
    Protestantism
    Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

     translations are based on the Hebrew numbering.


For the remainder of this article, the Hebrew numbering is used unless otherwise noted.

Other psalms

Most manuscripts of the Septuagint also include a Psalm 151
Psalm 151
Psalm 151 is the name given to a short psalm that is found in most copies of the Septuagint but not in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible. The title given to this psalm in the Septuagint indicates that it is supernumerary, and no number is affixed to it: "This Psalm is ascribed to David and...

, present in Eastern Orthodox translations; a Hebrew version of this poem was found in the Psalms Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

. The Psalms Scroll presents the Psalms in an order different from that found elsewhere, and also contains a number of non-canonical poems and hymns in the same style as the canonical Psalms, suggesting that the current collection of 150 may have been selected from a wider set.

Some versions of the Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

 also include Psalms 152–155.

Authorship and ascriptions

Jewish tradition posits that the Psalms are the work of David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 (seventy-three Psalms are with David's name), based on the writings of ten ancient psalmists (including Adam and Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

).

In the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, six of the Psalms (2, 16, 32, 69, 95, and 110) are specifically identified as the work of David (in, respectively, Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 4:25; Acts 2:31; Rom.
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

 4:6; Rom. 11:9; Heb.
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...

 4:7; and Matt.
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 22:43 and corresponding verses in the other Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

, as well as Acts 2:34).

Muslim tradition maintains that the Psalms, known as Zabur
Zabur
Zabur is, according to Islam, the holy book of Dawud , one of the holy books revealed by God before the Qur'an, alongside others such as the Tawrat of Musa and the Injil of Isa ....

 in the Quran, were revealed to David by God in the same way that the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 was revealed to Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and the Quran to Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

.

Many modern scholars see them as the product of several authors or groups of authors, many unknown. The majority of Psalms are prefixed with introductory words—"superscriptions", which are frequently different in the Masoretic
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 and Septuagint traditions, or missing in one while present in the other. In the Masoretic text, 101 bear in the headings the name of a specific person or group; 73 of these refer to David. The ascription to David usually takes the form לדוד, with the preposition "le-" attached to David's name. This can mean "of," "by," "for," or "concerning". Hence, while the traditional interpretation is that these Psalms were written by David, Michael Goulder
Michael Goulder
Michael Douglas Goulder was a British Biblical scholar who spent most of his academic life at the University of Birmingham where he retired as Professor of Biblical Studies in 1994...

 argues that the psalms were written in David's lifetime, probably by one of his sons, "in response to situations in which he found himself."

Additionally, thirteen Psalms have headings that refer to some event in the life of David. These Psalms are 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142.

Other scholars think the Psalms is a post-Exilic collection of poems, the work of several authors from differing dates. These scholars assert that many of the Psalms could have been composed as early as the Monarchy, when they honored successions of Davidic kings.Harris concurs that several Psalms seem to have written for the courts of Davidic kings. Harris, Stephen L.
Stephen L Harris
Stephen L. Harris is Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento. He served there ten years as department chair and was named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He received his MA and PhD degrees from Cornell University...

, Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "Psalms" p. 161–164
The early poems may have been used in worship at the temple.

Psalms 39, 62, and 77 are linked with Jeduthun
Jeduthun
Jeduthun - lauder; praising - the name of one or two men in the Bible.* A Levite of the family of Merari, and one of the three masters of music appointed by David. Jeduthun - lauder; praising - the name of one or two men in the Bible.* A Levite of the family of Merari, and one of the three masters...

, to be sung after his manner or in his choir. Psalms 50 and 73–83 are the Psalms of Asaph
Psalms of Asaph
The Psalms of Asaph are the twelve psalms numbered 50 and 73 – 83 of the Book of Psalms. The origin and identity of the person of Asaph is ambiguous, and it is difficult to know whether or not there was an identifiable progenitor for this family name...

, associated with Asaph
Saint Asaph
Saint Asaph was, in the second half of the 6th century, the first or second Bishop of St Asaph, i.e. bishop of the diocese of Saint Asaph, the Welsh See now of that name.-Biography:...

, as the master of his choir, to be sung in the worship of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. The ascriptions of Psalms 42, 44–49, 84, 85, 87, and 88 assert that the "sons of Korah
Korah
Korah or Kórach Some older English translations, as well as the Douay Bible), spell the name Core, and many Eastern European translations have Korak...

" were entrusted with arranging and singing them; suggests that this group formed a leading part of the Korathite singers. Hebraist Joel M. Hoffman suggests that Psalm 49 may be an anti-corruption Psalm, not "for Korah" but "against Korah."

Psalm 18 is also found, with minor variations, at , for which reason, in accordance with the naming convention used elsewhere in the historic parts of the Bible, it is known as the Song of David. Portions of Psalms 105, 96, and possibly 106 appear in under the ambiguous heading (in the Douay translation), "In that day David made Asaph the chief to give praise to the Lord with his brethren."

Benjamin Urrutia
Benjamín Urrutia
Benjamin Urrutia is an author and scholar. With Guy Davenport, Urrutia edited The Logia of Yeshua, which collected what Urrutia and Davenport consider to be Jesus' authentic sayings from a variety of canonical and non-canonical sources...

 wrote a brief article on the Egyptian religious ritual of the Opening of the Mouth
Opening of the mouth ceremony
The opening of the mouth ceremony was an ancient Egyptian ritual described in funerary texts such as the Pyramid Texts.-Funerary magic:...

. In it, he traces common themes between the Opening of the Mouth and Psalm 51
Psalm 51
Psalm 51 , traditionally referred to as the Miserere, its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential Psalms. It begins: Have mercy on me, O God....

, such as opening the mouth (or of the lips, in Psalm 51), healing of broken bones, and washing the inner organs with special cleansing spices.

Sections of the book

In Jewish usage, the Book of Psalms is divided, after the analogy of the Pentateuch, into five books, each closing with a doxology or benediction (For the Orthodox Christian division into twenty kathismata, see Eastern Orthodox usage, below):
  1. The first book comprises the first 41 Psalms. All of these are ascribed to David except Psalms 1, 2, 10, and 33, which, though untitled in the Hebrew, were also traditionally ascribed to David. While Davidic authorship cannot be confirmed, this probably is the oldest section of the Psalms.
  2. The second book consists of the next 31 Psalms (42–72). Eighteen of these are ascribed to David. Psalm 72 begins "For Solomon
    Solomon
    Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

    ", but is traditionally understood as being written by David as a prayer for his son. The rest are anonymous.
  3. The third book contains seventeen Psalms (73–89), of which Psalm 86 is ascribed to David, Psalm 88 to Heman the Ezrahite
    Heman (Bible)
    The name 'Heman' is a Jewish name, meaning 'Faithful'. It is found sixteen times in the New International Version of the Bible.Heman was one of 3 Levites assigned by King David to be ministers of music. He was a grandson of Samuel the prophet. He went on to become King David's seer, and to have...

    , and Psalm 89 to Ethan the Ezrahite.
  4. The fourth book also contains seventeen Psalms (90–106), of which Psalm 90 is ascribed to Moses
    Moses
    Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

    , and Psalms 101 and 103 to David.
  5. The fifth book contains the remaining 44 Psalms. Of these, 15 are ascribed to David, one (Psalm 127) as a charge to Solomon.


Psalm 136 is generally called "the great Hallel", but the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 also includes Psalms 120–135. Psalms 113–118 constitute the Hallel
Hallel
Hallel is a Jewish prayer—a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113–118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays.-Holy days:...

, which is recited on the three great feasts, (Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, Weeks
Shavuot
The festival of is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan ....

, and Tabernacles
Sukkot
Sukkot is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei . It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.The holiday lasts seven days...

); at the new moon
Rosh Chodesh
Rosh Chodesh or Rosh ḥodesh is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the appearance of the new moon. The new moon is marked by the day and hour that the new crescent is observed...

; and on the eight days of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Hanukkah , also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE...

. A version of Psalm 136 with slightly different wording appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

.

Psalms 120–134 are referred to as Songs of Ascents, and are thought to have been used as hymns of approach by pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s to the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

.

Psalm 119
Psalm 119
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" . It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law...

 is the longest Psalm. It is composed of 176 verses
Chapters and verses of the Bible
The Bible is a compilation of many shorter books written at different times and later assembled into the Biblical canon. All but the shortest of these books have been divided into chapters, generally a page or so in length, since the early 13th century. Since the mid-16th century, each chapter has...

, in sets of eight verses, each set beginning with one of the 22 Hebrew letters. Several other Psalms also have alphabetical arrangements
Acrostic
An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. A famous...

. These psalms are believed to be written (rather than oral) compositions from the first, and thus of a relatively late date.

Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm, containing only two verses.

Psalm forms

Hermann Gunkel
Hermann Gunkel
Hermann Gunkel was a German Protestant Old Testament scholar. He is noted for his contribution to form criticism and the study of oral tradition in biblical texts. He was an outstanding representative of the "History of Religion School."...

's pioneering form-critical work on the psalms sought to provide a new and meaningful context in which to interpret individual psalms – not by looking at their literary context within the Psalter (which he didn’t see as significant), but by bringing together psalms of the same genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 (Gattung) from throughout the Psalter. The main genres are:
  1. Hymn
    Hymn
    A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

    s
  2. Lament
    Lament
    A lament or lamentation is a song, poem, or piece of music expressing grief, regret, or mourning.-History:Many of the oldest and most lasting poems in human history have been laments. Laments are present in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and laments continued to be sung in elegiacs accompanied by...

    /complaint psalms
  3. Royal Psalms
    Royal Psalms
    Hermann Gunkel categorized ten psalms by their subject matter of kingship as the 'royal psalms'. Specifically the royal psalms deal with the spiritual role of kings in the worship of Yahweh. Aside from that single qualification, there is nothing else which specifically links the ten psalms. Each...

  4. Thanksgiving psalms
  5. Wisdom psalms
  6. Smaller genres and mixed type


Psalm forms or types also include:
  • Songs of Zion – Psalms 48, 76, 84, 87, 122, 134;
  • Historical litanies – Psalms 78, 105, 106, 135, 136;
  • Pilgrim liturgies – Psalms 81, 21;
  • Entrance liturgies – Psalms 15, 24;
  • Judgment liturgies – Psalms 50, 82;
  • Mixed types – 36, 40, 41, 68

Hymn genre

Generally these psalms consist of praise and can be subdivided into 1) Hymns of Divine Kingship (i.e. Psalm 29), 2) Creation Hymns (i.e. Psalm 104), and 3) Hymns celebrating divine action in Israel's history (i.e. Psalm 105 and 106). These psalms describe the relationship between the Israelite people and God and recognizes his power and majesty, a theme that is found in other wisdom literature. Gunkel also described a special subset of Eschatological Hymns which includes themes of future restoration (Psalm 126) or of judgment (Psalm 82).

Lament genre

The Lament/Complaint Psalms can be subdivided into two categories 1) the individual and 2) communal lament. Both types of laments typically but did not always include the following elements nor is there a systematic order in which they appear in body of the Lament Psalm; 1) an address to God, 2) A description of suffering, 3) Cursing of the party responsible for suffering, 4) Protestation of innocence or admission of guilt, 5) A petition for divine assistance, 6) Faith in God's receipt of prayer, 7) Anticipation of divine response, and 8) A song of thanksgiving. In general, the difference between the two subtypes can be distinguished by the use of the singular "I" or the plural "we". However, the "I" could also be characterizing an individual's personal experience that was reflective of the entire community.

Walter Brueggemann
Walter Brueggemann
Walter Brueggemann is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian.-Life:The son of a minister of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, he was ordained in the United Church of Christ. Brueggemann received an A.B. from Elmhurst College , a B.D. from Eden Theological...

 suggests another way of categorizing the Psalms:
Orientation, Disorientation, Reorientation.

Parallelism

The biblical poetry of Psalms uses parallelism as their primary poetic device. Parallelism is a kind of rhyme, in which an idea is developed by the use of repetition, synonyms, or opposites. Synonymous parallelism involves two lines expressing essentially the same idea. An example of synonymous parallelism:
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

Two lines expressing opposites is known as antithetic parallelism. An example of antithetic parallelism:
  • The LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1:6)

Use of the Psalms in Jewish ritual

In the Pentateuch (or Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

), Moses leads the Jews in two songs of praise: upon the splitting of the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 (Exodus 15), with his sister Miriam, and before his death (Deuteronomy 32). Also, the Jews sing upon miracles done for them with the well (Numbers 21). Other Jewish figures would sing songs to celebrate miracles, including Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 and Deborah
Deborah
Deborah was a prophetess of Yahweh the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor, warrior, and the wife of Lapidoth according to the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5....

. It is David, though, who is known as the "sweet singer of Israel".

In Jewish tradition, the Psalms were actually sung in front of the Tabernacle, and then later during the reign of King Solomon, when the Temple was completed, they were sung from the steps of the Temple. The singers all came from the tribe of Levi (Levites), and it was exclusively their privilege – no non-Levites were allowed to sing in that area of the Temple. Levites played musical accompaniment on various instruments, some mentioned within the Psalms themselves. While the Psalms are used extensively in worship and prayer, the original intent was as a vehicle to teach, explain, encourage, and communicate with the individual listener as well as the entire people, hence their public performance. Today we have some knowledge as to which Psalms were sung on specific days or occasions, but we do not know the entire schedule.

Some of the titles given to the Psalms in their ascriptions suggest their use in worship:
  • Some bear the Hebrew
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

     designation shir (שיר; Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     ode, a song). Thirteen have this title. It means the flow of speech, as it were, in a straight line or in a regular strain. This title includes secular as well as sacred song.
  • Fifty-eight Psalms bear the designation mizmor (מזמור; Greek psalmos, a Psalm), a lyric ode
    Ode
    Ode is a type of lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist...

    , or a song set to music; a sacred song accompanied with a musical instrument.
  • Psalm 145
    Psalm 145
    -Judaism:*The majority of the prayer Ashrei that is recited thrice daily is Psalm 145 .*Verse 13 is found in the repetition to the Amidah on Rosh Hashanah....

    , and many others, have the designation tehillah (תהילה; Greek hymnos, a hymn), meaning a song of praise; a song the prominent thought of which is the praise of God. Tehillah is also the singular of the name of the book in Hebrew, Tehillim.
  • Six Psalms (16, 56–60) have the title michtam (מכתם; "gold" http://www.balashon.com/2006/08/katom.html). Rashi
    Rashi
    Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

     suggests that "michtam" refers to an item that a person carries with him at all times, hence, these Psalms contain concepts or ideas that are pertinent at every stage and setting throughout life, deemed vital as part of day-to-day spiritual awareness.http://www.dailytehillim.com/PrintSummary.aspx?PerekID=16
  • Psalm 7
    Psalm 7
    Psalm 7 is the 7th psalm from the Book of Psalms. Its authorship is traditionally assigned to king David. The shiggayon is described as a type of musical instrument....

     (along with Habakkuk
    Book of Habakkuk
    The Book of Habakkuk is the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible. It is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk, and was probably composed in the late 7th century BC. A copy of chapters 1 and 2 is included in the Habakkuk Commentary, found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.Chapters 1-2...

     ch. 3) bears the title shigayon (שיגיון). There are three interpretations: http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/tehillim/36mizmor7.doc According to Rashi and others, this term stems from the root shegaga, meaning "mistake" - David committed some sin and is singing in the form of a prayer to redeem himself from it; shigayon was a type of musical instrument; Ibn Ezra
    Ibn Ezra
    Ibn Ezra was a prominent Jewish family from Spain spanning many centuries.The name ibn Ezra may refer to:* Abraham ibn Ezra , a Rabbi who lived in the eleventh and twelfth centuries...

     considers the word to mean 'longing,' as in the verse in Proverbs
    Book of Proverbs
    The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

     5:19 "tishge tamid."


Psalms are used throughout traditional Jewish worship. Many complete Psalms and verses from Psalms appear in the morning services
Shacharit
Shacharit is the the daily morning Tefillah of the Jewish people, one of the three times there is prayer each day.Shacharit is said to have been established by the patriarch Abraham when he prayed in the morning...

 ("Shacharit"). The pesukei dezimra component incorporates Psalms 30, 100 and 145 - 150. Psalm 145 (commonly referred to as "Ashrei
Ashrei
The Ashrei is a prayer that is recited at least three times daily in Jewish prayers, twice during Shacharit and once during Mincha. The prayer is composed primarily of Psalm 145 in its entirety, with a verse each from Psalms 84 and 144 added to the beginning, and a verse from Psalm 115 added to...

", which is really the first word of 2 verses appended to the beginning of the Psalm), is read three times every day: once in shacharit as part of pesukei dezimrah, as mentioned, once, along with Psalm 20, as part of the morning's concluding prayers, and once at the start of the Afternoon service
Mincha
Mincha, מנחה is the afternoon prayer service in Judaism.-Etymology:The name "Mincha" is derived from the meal offering that accompanied each sacrifice.-Origin:...

. On Festival days and Sabbaths, instead of concluding the morning service, it precedes the Mussaf
Mussaf
Mussaf is an additional service that is recited on Shabbat, Yom Tov, Chol Hamoed, and Rosh Chodesh. The service, which is traditionally combined with the Shacharit in synagogues, is considered to be additional to the regular services of Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv.During the days of the Holy...

 service. Psalms 95–99, 29, 92, and 93, along with some later readings, comprise the introduction ("Kabbalat Shabbat") to the Friday night service. Traditionally, a different "Psalm for the Day" is read after the morning service
Shacharit
Shacharit is the the daily morning Tefillah of the Jewish people, one of the three times there is prayer each day.Shacharit is said to have been established by the patriarch Abraham when he prayed in the morning...

 each day of the week (starting Sunday, Psalms: 24, 48, 82, 94, 81, 93, 92). This is described in the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (the initial codification of the Jewish oral tradition
Oral law
An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted....

) in the tractate "Tamid". According to the Talmud, these daily Psalms were originally recited on that day of the week by the Levites in the Temple in Jerusalem. From Rosh Chodesh
Rosh Chodesh
Rosh Chodesh or Rosh ḥodesh is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the appearance of the new moon. The new moon is marked by the day and hour that the new crescent is observed...

 Elul
Elul
Elul is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days...

 until Hoshanah Rabbah
Hoshanah Rabbah
The seventh day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, 21st day of Tishrei, is known as Hoshana Rabbah . This day is marked by a special synagogue service, the Hoshana Rabbah, in which seven circuits are made by the worshippers with their lulav and etrog, while the congregation recites Hoshanot...

, Psalm 27 is recited twice daily following the morning and evening services. There is a Minhag
Minhag
Minhag is an accepted tradition or group of traditions in Judaism. A related concept, Nusach , refers to the traditional order and form of the prayers...

 (custom) to say Psalm 30 each morning of Chanukkah after Shacharit: some say this “instead” of the regular "Psalm for the Day", others say this additionally.

When a Jew dies, a watch is kept over the body and Tehillim (Psalms) are recited constantly by sun or candlelight, until the burial service. Historically, this watch would be carried out by the immediate family – usually in shifts – but in contemporary practice, this service is provided by an employee of the funeral home or Chevra kadisha
Chevra Kadisha
A chevra kadisha is a loosely structured but generally closed organization of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of Jews are prepared for burial according to Halacha and are protected from desecration, willful or not, until burial...

.

Many Jews complete the Book of Psalms on a weekly or monthly basis. Each week, some also say a Psalm connected to that week's events or the Torah portion read during that week. In addition, many Jews (notably Lubavitch, and other Chasidim
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

) read the entire Book of Psalms prior to the morning service, on the Sabbath preceding the calculated appearance of the new moon
Molad
Molad is a Hebrew word meaning "birth" that also generically refers to the time at which the New Moon is "born". The word is ambiguous, however, because depending on the context it could refer to the actual or mean astronomical lunar conjunction , or the molad of the traditional Hebrew...

.

The reading of psalms is viewed in Jewish tradition as a vehicle for gaining God's favor. They are thus often specially recited in times of trouble, such as poverty, disease, or physical danger; in many synagogues, Psalms are recited after services for the security of the State of Israel. Note that Sefer ha-Chinuch
Sefer ha-Chinuch
The Sefer ha-Chinuch , often simply "the Chinuch" is a work which systematically discusses the 613 commandments of the Torah. It was published anonymously in 13th century Spain...

  states that this practice is designed not to achieve favor, as such, but rather to inculcate belief in Divine Providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

 into one's consciousness – as consistent with Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

' general view on Providence. (Relatedly, according to some people, the Hebrew verb for prayer – hitpalal התפלל – is in fact the reflexive form
Reflexive verb
In grammar, a reflexive verb is a verb whose semantic agent and patient are the same. For example, the English verb to perjure is reflexive, since one can only perjure oneself...

 of palal פלל, to judge. Thus, "to pray" conveys the notion of "judging oneself": ultimately, the purpose of prayer – tefilah תפלה – is to transform ourselves; for the relationship between prayer and psalms – "tehillah and tefillah" – see S. R. Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch was a German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism...

, Horeb §620. See also under Jewish services
Jewish services
Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

.)

Psalms may also be read by a group of people who divide up the psalms between them to allow for a complete reading of the book.

The 116 direct quotations from the Psalms in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 show that they were familiar to the Judean community in the first century of the Christian era.

Taken together, the Psalms express virtually the full range of Israel's faith.

The Psalms in Christian worship

New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 references show that the earliest Christians used the Psalms in worship, and the Psalms have remained an important part of worship in most Christian Churches. The Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Anglican Churches have always made systematic use of the Psalms, with a cycle for the recitation of all or most of them over the course of one or more weeks. In the early centuries of the Church, it was expected that any candidate for bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 would be able to recite the entire Psalter from memory, something they often learned automatically during their time as monks.

Paul the Apostle quotes psalms (specifically Psalms 14
Psalm 14
Psalm 14 is the 14th psalm from the Book of Psalms. Attributed to David, it is a prophetical reference to the destruction of the First Temple....

 and 53
Psalm 53
Psalm 53 is the 53rd psalm from the Book of Psalms. It was written by David. Nearly identical to Psalm 14, which prophetically refers to the destruction of the First Temple, this one refers to the destruction of the second....

, which are nearly identical) as the basis for his theory of original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

, and includes the scripture in the Epistle to the Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

, chapter 3.

Several conservative Protestant denominations sing only the Psalms (some churches also sing the small number of hymns found elsewhere in the Bible) in worship, and do not accept the use of any non-Biblical hymns; examples are the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America , a Christian church, is a small Presbyterian denomination with churches throughout the United States, in southeastern Canada, and in a small part of Japan. Its beliefs place it in the conservative wing of the Reformed family of Protestant churches...

, the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States
Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States
The Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States is a small Presbyterian denomination which was constituted in January 2006 in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania...

 and the Free Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

.

Some Psalms are among the best-known and best-loved passages of Scripture, with a popularity extending well beyond regular church-goers.
  • Psalm 22
    Psalm 22
    Psalm 22 is the 22nd psalm in the Book of Psalms.-Aijeleth Shahar:Aijeleth Shahar or Ayelet HaShachar is found in the title of the Psalm. It is probably the name of some song or tune to the measure of which the psalm was to be chanted...

     is of particular importance during the season of Lent
    Lent
    In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

     as a Psalm of continued faith during severe testing.
  • Psalm 23
    Psalm 23
    In the 23rd Psalm in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the writer describes God as his Shepherd. The text, beloved by Jews and Christians alike, is often alluded to in popular media and has been set to music....

    , The LORD is My Shepherd, offers an immediately appealing message of comfort and is widely chosen for church funeral
    Funeral
    A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

     services, either as a reading or in one of several popular hymn settings;
  • Psalm 51
    Psalm 51
    Psalm 51 , traditionally referred to as the Miserere, its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential Psalms. It begins: Have mercy on me, O God....

    , Have mercy on me O God, called the Miserere from the first word in its Latin version, is by far the most sung Psalm of Orthodoxy, in both Divine Liturgy
    Divine Liturgy
    Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

     and Hours, in the sacrament of repentance or confession, and in other settings;
  • Psalm 82
    Psalm 82
    Psalm 82 is the 82nd psalm in the biblical Book of Psalms.God is stationing himself in the assembly of the Divine One; in the middle of the gods he judges.-Judaism:*Is the psalm of the day in the Shir Shel Yom on Tuesday....

     is found in the Book of Common Prayer
    Book of Common Prayer
    The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

     as a funeral recitation.
  • Psalm 103
    Psalm 103
    Psalm 103 is the 103rd psalm from the Book of Psalms . The first verse attributes it to King David, the author of many Psalms. J.A...

    , Bless the Lord, O my soul, is one of the best-known prayers of praise;
  • Psalm 137
    Psalm 137
    Psalm 137 is one of the best known of the Biblical psalms. Its opening lines, "By the rivers of Babylon..." have been set to music on several occasions....

    , By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, is a moody meditation upon living in slavery
    Slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

    , and has been used in at least one spiritual
    Spiritual (music)
    Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

    , as well as one well-known reggae
    Reggae
    Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

     song; the Orthodox church often uses this hymn during Lent
    Lent
    In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

    .


New translations and settings of the Psalms continue to be produced. An individually printed volume of Psalms for use in Christian religious rituals is called a Psalter
Psalter
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

.

Byzantine usage

Orthodox Christians and Greek-Catholics (Eastern Catholics who follow the Byzantine rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

), have long made the Psalms an integral part of their corporate and private prayers. The official version of the Psalter
Psalter
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

 used by the Orthodox Church is the Septuagint. To facilitate its reading, the 150 Psalms are divided into 20 kathismata (Greek: καθισματα; Slavonic: каѳисмы, kafismy; lit. "sittings"), and each kathisma
Kathisma
A Kathisma , literally, "seat", is a division of the Psalter, used by Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics who follow the Byzantine Rite...

 (Greek: καθισμα; Slavonic: каѳисма, kafisma) is further subdivided into three stases (Greek: στασεις, staseis' lit. "standings", sing. στασις, stasis), so-called because the faithful stand at the end of each stasis for the Glory to the Father...
Glory Be to the Father
Gloria Patri, also known as Glory Be to the Father’ , is a doxology, a short hymn of praise to God in various Christian liturgies...

.

At Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 and Matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

, different kathismata are read at different times of the liturgical year
Liturgical year
The liturgical year, also known as the church year, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches which determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read. Distinct liturgical colours may appear in...

 and on different days of the week, according to the Church's calendar, so that all 150 psalms (20 kathismata) are read in the course of a week. During Great Lent
Great Lent
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha . In many ways Great Lent is similar to Lent in Western Christianity...

 the number of kathisata are increased so that the entire Psalter is read twice a week. In the twentieth century, some lay Christians have adopted a continuous reading of the Psalms on weekdays, praying the whole book in four weeks.

Aside from kathisma readings, Psalms occupy a prominent place in every other Orthodox service including the services of the Hours
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

 and the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

. In particular, the penitential Psalm 50
Psalm 51
Psalm 51 , traditionally referred to as the Miserere, its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential Psalms. It begins: Have mercy on me, O God....

 is very widely used. Fragments of Psalms and individual verses are used as Prokimena (introductions to Scriptural readings), and Stichera. The bulk of Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 would still be composed of Psalms even if the kathisma were to be disregarded; Psalm 119
Psalm 119
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" . It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law...

, "The Psalm of the Law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

", is the centerpiece of Matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

 on Saturdays, some Sundays, and the Funeral
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 service. The entire book of Psalms is traditionally read out loud or chanted at the side of the deceased during the time leading up to the funeral, mirroring Jewish tradition.

Oriental Christianity

Several branches of Oriental Orthodox and those Eastern Catholics who follow one of the Oriental Rites will chant the entire Psalter during the course of a day during the Daily Office. This practice continues to be a requirement of monastics
Christian monasticism
Christian monasticism is a practice which began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules Christian...

 in the Oriental churches.

Catholic usage

The Psalms have always been an important part of Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

. The Liturgy of the Hours
Liturgy of the hours
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings...

 is centered on chanting or recitation of the Psalms, using fixed melodic formulas known as psalm tones. Early Catholics employed the Psalms widely in their individual prayers also; however, as knowledge of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 (the language of the Latin Rite) became uncommon, this practice ceased among the unlearned. However, until the end of the Middle Ages it was not unknown for the laity to join in the singing of the Little Office of Our Lady
Little Office of Our Lady
The Little Office of Our Lady also known as Hours of the Virgin is a liturgical devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in imitation of, and usually in addition to, the Divine Office in the Roman Catholic Church...

, which was a shortened version of the Liturgy of the Hours
Liturgy of the hours
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings...

 providing a fixed daily cycle of twenty-five psalms to be recited, and nine other psalms divided across Matins.

The work of Bishop Richard Challoner
Richard Challoner
Richard Challoner was an English Roman Catholic bishop, a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the 18th century. He is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay Rheims translation of the Bible.-Early life:Challoner was born in the Protestant town of Lewes,...

 in providing devotional materials in English meant that many of the psalms were familiar to English-speaking Catholics from the eighteenth century onwards. Challoner translated the entire of the Lady Office into English, as well as Sunday Vespers and daily Compline. He also provided other individual Psalms such as 129/130 for prayer in his devotional books. Challoner is also noted for revising the Douay-Rheims Bible, and the translations he used in his devotional books are taken from this work.

Until the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 the Psalms were either recited on a one-week or, less frequently (as in the case of Ambrosian rite
Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite, also called the Milanese Rite, is a Catholic liturgical Western Rite. The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century...

), two-week cycle. Different one-week schemata were employed: all secular clergy followed the Roman distribution, while Monastic Houses almost universally followed that of St Benedict, with only a few congregations (such as the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

s of St Maur) following individualistic arrangements. The Breviary
Breviary
A breviary is a liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use, especially by bishops, priests, and deacons in the Divine Office...

 introduced in 1974 distributed the psalms over a four-week cycle. Monastic usage varies widely. Some use the four week cycle of the secular clergy, many retain a one week cycle, either following St Benedict's scheme or another of their own devising, while others opt for some other arrangement.

Official approval was also given to other arrangements (see "Short" Breviaries in the 20th and early 21st century America for an in-progress study) by which the complete Psalter is recited in a one or two-week cycle. These arrangements are used principally by Catholic contemplative religious orders, such as that of the Trappists
Trappists
The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance , or Trappists, is a Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict...

 (see for example the Divine Office schedule at New Melleray Abbey).

The General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 122 sanctions three modes of singing/recitation for the Psalms:
  • directly (all sing or recite the entire psalm);
  • antiphonally (two choirs or sections of the congregation sing or recite alternate verses or strophes); and
  • responsorially (the cantor or choir sings or recites the verses while the congregation sings or recites a given response after each verse).

Of these three the antiphonal mode is the most widely followed.

Over the centuries, the use of complete Psalms in the liturgy
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 declined. The Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 preserved only isolated verses that, in some cases, were originally refrains sung during recitation of the whole Psalm from which they were taken. After the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 (which also permitted the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy) longer psalm texts were reintroduced into the Mass, during the readings. The revision
Mass of Paul VI
The Mass of Pope Paul VI is the liturgy of the Catholic Mass of the Roman Rite promulgated by Paul VI in 1969, after the Second Vatican Council...

 of the Roman Missal
Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.-Situation before the Council of Trent:...

 after the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 reintroduced the singing or recitation of a more substantial section of a Psalm, in some cases an entire Psalm, after the first Reading from Scripture. This Psalm, called the Responsorial Psalm, is usually sung or recited responsorially, although the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 61 permits direct recitation.

Protestant usage

The Psalms are extremely popular among those who follow the Reformed tradition.

Following the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, verse paraphrases
Metrical psalter
A metrical psalter is a kind of Bible translation: a book containing a metrical translation of all or part of the Book of Psalms in vernacular poetry, meant to be sung as hymns in a church. Some metrical psalters include melodies or even harmonizations...

 of many of the Psalms were set as hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s. These were particularly popular in the Calvinist tradition, where in the past they were typically sung to the exclusion of hymns
Exclusive psalmody
Exclusive psalmody is the particular worship practice of several small Protestant denominations worldwide which use a metrical version of the Book of Psalms from the Bible as the only manual of songs that may be sung in their services...

. Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 himself made some French translations of the Psalms for church usage, but most of the psalms that were sung in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 were put to music by Claude Goudimel
Claude Goudimel
Claude Goudimel was a French composer, music editor and publisher, and music theorist of the Renaissance.-Biography:...

 (see Genevan Psalter
Genevan psalter
The Genevan Psalter is a collection of metrical psalms created under the supervision of John Calvin.-Background:Before the Protestant Reformation the singing of the Psalms was generally done by a select group of performers, not by the entire congregation. John Calvin understood that the entire...

). Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's A Mighty Fortress is Our God
A Mighty Fortress is Our God
"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" is the best known of Martin Luther's hymns. Luther wrote the words and composed the melody sometime between 1527 and 1529. It has been translated into English at least seventy times and also into many other languages...

 is based on Psalm 46. Among famous hymn settings of the Psalter were the Scottish Psalter
Metrical psalter
A metrical psalter is a kind of Bible translation: a book containing a metrical translation of all or part of the Book of Psalms in vernacular poetry, meant to be sung as hymns in a church. Some metrical psalters include melodies or even harmonizations...

 and the settings by Isaac Watts
Isaac Watts
Isaac Watts was an English hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and popular hymnwriter, he was recognised as the "Father of English Hymnody", credited with some 750 hymns...

. The first book printed in North America was a collection of Psalm settings, the Bay Psalm Book
Bay Psalm Book
The Bay Psalm Book was the first book, that is still in existence, printed in British North America.The book is a Psalter, first printed in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Psalms in it are metrical translations into English...

 (1640).

By the 20th century they were mostly replaced by hymns in church services. However, the Psalms are popular for private devotion among many Protestants and still used in many churches for traditional worship. There exists in some circles a custom of reading one Psalm and one chapter of Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 a day, corresponding to the day of the month.

Metrical Psalms are still very popular among many Reformed Churches
Reformed churches
The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin...

.

Anglican usage

The version of the Psalter in the American Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 prior to the 1979 edition is a sixteenth century Coverdale
Myles Coverdale
Myles Coverdale was a 16th-century Bible translator who produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible into English.-Life:...

 Psalter. The Psalter in the American Book of Common Prayer of 1979 is a new translation, with some attempt to keep the rhythms of the Coverdale Psalter.

In Great Britain the Coverdale psalter still lies at the heart of daily worship in Cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s and many parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

es. The new Common Worship
Common Worship
Common Worship is the name given to the series of services authorised by the General Synod of the Church of England and launched on the first Sunday of Advent in 2000. It represents the most recent stage of development of the Liturgical Movement within the Church and is the successor to the...

 service book has a companion psalter in modern English.

Anglican chant
Anglican chant
Anglican chant is a way to sing un-metrical texts, such as prose translations of the psalms, canticles, and other, similar biblical texts by matching the natural speech-rhythm of the words in each verse to a short piece of metrical music. It may be fairly described as "harmonized recitative"...

 is a method of singing prose versions of the Psalms.

In the early 17th century, when the King James Bible was introduced, the metrical arrangements by Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins were also popular and were provided with printed tunes. This version and the New Version of the Psalms of David
Tate and Brady
Tate and Brady refers to the collaboration of Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, which produced one famous work, New Version of the Psalms of David . This work was a metrical version of the Psalms, and largely ousted the old version of T. Sternhold and J. Hopkins...

 by Tate and Brady produced in the late seventeenth century (see article on Metrical Psalter
Metrical psalter
A metrical psalter is a kind of Bible translation: a book containing a metrical translation of all or part of the Book of Psalms in vernacular poetry, meant to be sung as hymns in a church. Some metrical psalters include melodies or even harmonizations...

) remained the normal congregational way of singing psalms in the Church of England until well into the nineteenth century.

Psalms used today

According to Coogan, the Psalms do not mention any of the Feast Days observed by the Israelites. As a result, they continue to attract people of all faiths as they can be applied to a variety of contexts that imply a relationship with God. As prayers that deal primarily with the state of human beings, they continue to be relevant to people today.

Psalms in the Rastafari movement

The Psalms are one of the most popular parts of the Bible among followers of the Rastafari movement
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

. Rasta singer Prince Far I
Prince Far I
Prince Far I was a Jamaican reggae deejay, producer and a Rastafarian. He was known for his gruff voice and critical assessment of the Jamaican government. His track "Heavy Manners" used lyrics against measures initiated towards violent crime.-Biography:He was born Michael James Williams in...

 released an atmospheric spoken version of the psalms, Psalms for I
Psalms For I
Psalms For I is the debut album by reggae chanter Prince Far I recorded in 1975 and released on the Carib Gems label in 1976. The album features nine tracks based on psalms and "The Lord's Prayer", over rhythms largely played by The Aggrovators and produced by Bunny Lee, notable exceptions being...

, set to a roots reggae
Roots reggae
Roots reggae is a subgenre of reggae that deals with the everyday lives and aspirations of the artists concerned, including the spiritual side of Rastafari and with the honoring of God, called Jah by rastafarians. It also is identified with the life of the ghetto sufferer, and the rural poor...

 backdrop from The Aggrovators
The Aggrovators
The Aggrovators were a dub/reggae backing band in the 1970s & 1980s, and one of the main session bands of producer, Bunny Lee. The line-up varied, with Lee using the name for whichever set of musicians he was using at any time. The band's name derived from the record shop that Lee had run in the...

.

Psalms set to music

Notable settings of multiple psalms as a single composition include:
  • Chichester Psalms
    Chichester Psalms
    Chichester Psalms is a choral work by Leonard Bernstein for boy treble or countertenor, solo quartet, choir and orchestra...

     by Leonard Bernstein
    Leonard Bernstein
    Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

  • Melodie na psałterz polski by Mikołaj Gomółka
  • Le Roi David
    Le Roi David (Honegger)
    Le roi David was composed in Mézières, Switzerland in 1921 by Arthur Honegger and is classified as an oratorio or more specifically as a dramatic psalm...

     by Arthur Honegger
    Arthur Honegger
    Arthur Honegger was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived a large part of his life in Paris. He was a member of Les six. His most frequently performed work is probably the orchestral work Pacific 231, which is interpreted as imitating the sound of a steam locomotive.-Biography:Born...

  • Tehillim
    Tehillim (Reich)
    Tehillim is a piece of music by American composer Steve Reich, written in 1981.The title comes from the Hebrew word for "psalms", and the work is the first to reflect Reich's Jewish heritage...

     by Steve Reich
    Steve Reich
    Stephen Michael "Steve" Reich is an American composer who together with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass is a pioneering composer of minimal music...

  • Symphony of Psalms
    Symphony of Psalms
    The Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky was written in 1930 and was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This piece is a three-movement choral symphony and was composed during Stravinsky's neoclassical period. The symphony derives...

     by Igor Stravinsky
    Igor Stravinsky
    Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....



The psalms also feature large in settings of Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

, including those by Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the...

, Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, who wrote such settings as part of their responsibilities as church musicians.

Psalms were inserted in Requiem compositions, such as Psalm 126 in A German Requiem of Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 and Psalms 130 and 23 in John Rutter
John Rutter
John Milford Rutter CBE is a British composer, conductor, editor, arranger and record producer, mainly of choral music.-Biography:Born in London, Rutter was educated at Highgate School, where a fellow pupil was John Tavener. He read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the...

's Requiem
Requiem (Rutter)
The Requiem by John Rutter is a musical setting of an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, completed in 1985. The setting utilises a choir with an orchestral accompaniment, along with a soprano soloist. The Requiem was first performed on 13 October 1985 at Lovers' Lane United Methodist...

.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 used lines from psalms in several of his cantata
Bach cantata
Bach cantata became a term for a cantata of the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach who was a prolific writer of the genre. Although many of his works are lost, around 200 cantatas survived....

s, often in the opening chorus:
  • Psalm 19
    Psalm 19
    Psalm 19 is the 19th psalm in the Book of Psalms . It is ascribed to David.The psalm consider the glory of God in Creation, and moves to reflect on the character and use of the Torah. A comparison is made between the Torah and the Sun, which lends a degree of unity to the psalm. C. S...

    :1,3 in Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76
    Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76
    Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes , BWV 76, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was composed in Leipzig for the second Sunday after Trinity and first performed by the composer on 6 June 1723...

  • Psalm 22
    Psalm 22
    Psalm 22 is the 22nd psalm in the Book of Psalms.-Aijeleth Shahar:Aijeleth Shahar or Ayelet HaShachar is found in the title of the Psalm. It is probably the name of some song or tune to the measure of which the psalm was to be chanted...

    :26 in Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75
    Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75
    Die Elenden sollen essen , BWV 75, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach composed the cantata for the first Sunday after Trinity and first performed it in Leipzig on 30 May 1723...

  • Psalm 29
    Psalm 29
    Psalm 29 is the 29th psalm from the Book of Psalms.-Judaism:*Is the sixth paragraph of Kabbalat Shabbat.*Is recited on Shabbat during Shacharit as when returning the Torah Scroll to the ark.*Is recited in some congregations before Maariv on Motzei Shabbat....

    :1 in Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens, BWV 148
    Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens, BWV 148
    Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens , BWV 148, is a church cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach probably in 1723 in Leipzig for the 17th Sunday after Trinity.-History and words:...

  • Psalm 38
    Psalm 38
    -Music:Johann Sebastian Bach set Psalm 38:4 in the opening chorus of his cantata Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe, BWV 25....

    :4 in Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe, BWV 25
  • Psalm 50:23 in Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich, BWV 17
  • Psalm 75
    Psalm 75
    Psalm 75 is the 75th psalm in the biblical Book of Psalms....

    :2 in Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29
  • Psalm 103
    Psalm 103
    Psalm 103 is the 103rd psalm from the Book of Psalms . The first verse attributes it to King David, the author of many Psalms. J.A...

    :2 in Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69a
    Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69a
    Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele , BWV 69a, is a church cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1723 in Leipzig for the twelfth Sunday after Trinity, first performed on 15 August 1723...

  • Psalm 104
    Psalm 104
    Psalm 104 is a poem from the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible, describing the ongoing act of God continuously bringing the world into existence. German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder remarked, "It is worth studying the Hebrew language for ten years in order to read Psalm 104 in the original"...

    :28–29 in Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187
    Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187
    Es wartet alles auf dich , BWV 187, is a church cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1726 in Leipzig for the seventh Sunday after Trinity...

  • Psalm 149
    Psalm 149
    -Christianity:It is one of the Laudate psalms and was sung as part of a trio of psalms during Lauds in the Roman rite....

    :1 in Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190
    Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190
    Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied , BWV 190, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote it in Leipzig for the New Year's Day and first performed it on 1 January 1724...

  • Psalm 150
    Psalm 150
    Psalm 150 is a psalm in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. In it, the writer urges the congregation to praise God with music and dancing. The text, beloved by Jews and Christians alike, has often been set to music...

    :4,6 in Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190
    Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190
    Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied , BWV 190, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote it in Leipzig for the New Year's Day and first performed it on 1 January 1724...



Most settings of individual psalms are indicated under the articles devoted to those particular psalms; settings for other psalms not in such articles include:
  • Psalms 100, 121, and 124 by Loys Bourgeois
    Loys Bourgeois
    Loys "Louis" Bourgeois was a French composer and music theorist of the Renaissance. He is most famous as one of the main compilers of Calvinist hymn tunes in the middle of the 16th century...

     (c. 1500–1559)
  • Psalm 38 and Levavi oculos meos (Psalm 121) by Orlando di Lasso (1532–1594)
  • Psalm 1, Psalm 29, Psalm 121, and Psalm 150 by Heinrich Schütz
    Heinrich Schütz
    Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

     (1585–1672)
  • Beatus Vir (Psalm 112) by Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

     (1678–1741)
  • Psalm 121 and many others by Johann Sebastian Bach
    Johann Sebastian Bach
    Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

     (1685–1750)
  • Psalm 100 (in Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate
    Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate
    Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate is a sacred choral composition in two parts, written by George Frideric Handel to celebrate the Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht in 1713, ending the War of the Spanish Succession. The combination of a Te Deum and Jubilate, the Psalm 100, follows...

    ) and others by George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

     (1685–1750)
  • Psalm 148 by William Billings
    William Billings
    William Billings was an American choral composer, and is widely regarded as the father of American choral music...

     (1746–1800)
  • Psalm 111 by Samuel Wesley
    Samuel Wesley
    Samuel Wesley was an English organist and composer in the late Georgian period. Wesley was a contemporary of Mozart and was called by some "the English Mozart."-Personal life:...

     (1766–1837)
  • Psalm 42 (1837) by Felix Mendelssohn
    Felix Mendelssohn
    Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

     (1809–1847)
  • Psalm 150 by César Franck
    César Franck
    César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life....

     (1822–1890)
  • Psalm 13 by Johannes Brahms
    Johannes Brahms
    Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

     (1833–1897)
  • Psalm 13 by Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

     (1811–1886)
  • Psalm 18 by Camille Saint-Saëns
    Camille Saint-Saëns
    Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist. He is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 1, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and his Symphony...

     (1835–1921)
  • Psalm 148 by Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many...

     (1872–1958)
  • Psalm 148 by Gustav Holst
    Gustav Holst
    Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

     (1874–1934)
  • Psalms 14, 24, 25, 42, 54, 67, 90, 100, 135, 150 by Charles Ives
    Charles Ives
    Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, though Ives' music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Over time, Ives came to be regarded as an "American Original"...

     (1874–1954)
  • Psalm 121 and Psalm 150 by Zoltán Kodály
    Zoltán Kodály
    Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is best known internationally as the creator of the Kodály Method.-Life:Born in Kecskemét, Kodály learned to play the violin as a child....

     (1882–1967)
  • In convertendo Dominus
    In convertendo Dominus
    In convertendo Dominus , op. 32, is the musical setting of a Latin psalm, written in 1926 by Jules Van Nuffel for a mixed choir and organ.-History:...

     (Psalm 125/126) and seven more settings by Jules Van Nuffel
    Jules Van Nuffel
    Jules Van Nuffel , was a musicologist, composer, and a renowned expert on religious music.-Biography:...

     (1883–1953)
  • Psalm 121 by Darius Milhaud
    Darius Milhaud
    Darius Milhaud was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality...

     (1892–1974)
  • Psalm 24, 129 and 130 by Lili Boulanger
    Lili Boulanger
    Lili Boulanger was a French composer, the younger sister of the noted composer and composition teacher Nadia Boulanger.-Early years:A Parisian-born child prodigy, who was good at piano...

     (1893–1918)
  • Psalm 121 and Psalm 150 by Howard Hanson
    Howard Hanson
    Howard Harold Hanson was an American composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and champion of American classical music. As director for 40 years of the Eastman School of Music, he built a high-quality school and provided opportunities for commissioning and performing American music...

     (1896–1981)
  • Praise Ye the Lord (Psalm 147, 148, and 150) by Roger Sessions
    Roger Sessions
    Roger Huntington Sessions was an American composer, critic, and teacher of music.-Life:Sessions was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family that could trace its roots back to the American revolution. His mother, Ruth Huntington Sessions, was a direct descendent of Samuel Huntington, a signer of...

     (1896–1985)
  • Psalm 121 by Henry Cowell
    Henry Cowell
    Henry Cowell was an American composer, music theorist, pianist, teacher, publisher, and impresario. His contribution to the world of music was summed up by Virgil Thomson, writing in the early 1950s:...

     (1897–1965)
  • Psalm 150 by Roy Harris
    Roy Harris
    Roy Ellsworth Harris , was an American composer. He wrote much music on American subjects, becoming best known for his Symphony No...

     (1898–1979)
  • Two Motets (including Psalm 121) by Gerald Finzi
    Gerald Finzi
    Gerald Raphael Finzi was a British composer. Finzi is best known as a song-writer, but also wrote in other genres...

     (1901–1956)
  • Psalm 28 by Alan Hovhaness
    Alan Hovhaness
    Alan Hovhaness was an Armenian-American composer.His music is accessible to the lay listener and often evokes a mood of mystery or contemplation...

     (1911–2000)
  • Psalm 29 by Hugo Weisgall
    Hugo Weisgall
    Hugo David Weisgall was an American composer and conductor, known chiefly for his opera and vocal music compositions...

     (1912–1997)
  • Psalm 150 (1962, op. 67) by Benjamin Britten
    Benjamin Britten
    Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

     (1913–1976)
  • Psalm 150 by George Rochberg
    George Rochberg
    George Rochberg was an American composer of contemporary classical music.-Life:Rochberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey. He attended the Mannes College of Music, where his teachers included George Szell and Hans Weisse, and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Rosario Scalero and...

     (1918–2005)
  • I Was Glad (Psalm 122) by Daniel Pinkham
    Daniel Pinkham
    Daniel Rogers Pinkham, Jr. was an American composer, organist, and harpsichordist. Pinkham was one of America's most active composers during his lifetime...

     (1923–2006)
  • I Was Glad (Psalm 122) by Howard Goodall
    Howard Goodall
    210px|thumb|Howard Goodall at St. John the Baptist Church in Devon, United Kingdom, May 2009Howard Lindsay Goodall CBE is a British composer of musicals, choral music and music for television...

     (b.1958)
  • A Psalm (13) and a Proverb by Ned Rorem
    Ned Rorem
    Ned Rorem is a Pulitzer prize-winning American composer and diarist. He is best known and most praised for his song settings.-Life:...

     (b. 1923)
  • A Psalm of David (Psalm 13) by Robert Starer
    Robert Starer
    Robert Starer was an Austrian-born American composer and pianist.Robert Starer began studying the piano at age 4 and continued his studies at the Vienna State Academy...

     (1924–2001)
  • Psalm 24, Psalm 40, Psalm 121, and Psalm 150 by Samuel Adler
    Samuel Adler (composer)
    Samuel Hans Adler is an American composer and conductor.-Biography:Adler was born to a Jewish family in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Hugo Chaim Adler, a cantor and composer, and Selma Adler. The family fled to the United States in 1939, where Hugo became the cantor of Temple Emanuel in...

     (b. 1928)
  • Three Settings of the 13th Psalm by Edwin London (b. 1929)
  • Psalm 143 by Yehudi Wyner
    Yehudi Wyner
    Yehudi Wyner is an American composer, pianist, conductor, and music educator.Wyner, who grew up in New York City, was raised in a musical family. His father, Lazar Weiner, was an eminent composer of Yiddish art songs. Wyner attended Juilliard, Yale, and Harvard...

     (b. 1929)
  • Psalm 4 by Alexander Goehr
    Alexander Goehr
    Alexander Goehr is an English composer and academic.Goehr was born in Berlin in 1932, the son of the conductor and Schoenberg pupil Walter Goehr. In his early twenties he emerged as a central figure in the Manchester School of post-war British composers. In 1955–56 he joined Oliver Messiaen's...

     (b. 1932)
  • Psalm 150 by William Mathias
    William Mathias
    William Mathias CBE was a Welsh composer.-Brief biography:Mathias was born in Whitland, Carmarthenshire. A child prodigy, he started playing the piano at the age of three and composing at the age of five. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music under Lennox Berkeley, where he was elected a fellow...

     (1934–1992)
  • Psalm 8 by John Corigliano
    John Corigliano
    John Corigliano is an American composer of classical music and a teacher of music. He is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College in the City University of New York.-Biography:...

     (b. 1938)
  • Psalms 1–48, 51, 55, 57, 92, 109, 110, 112, 121, 126, 137, and 144 by Mark Alburger
    Mark Alburger
    Mark Alburger is a San Francisco Bay Area composer and conductor. He is the founder and music director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, as well as the music director of the San Francisco Cabaret Opera...

     (b. 1957)
  • Psalm 73 by BarlowGirl
    BarlowGirl
    BarlowGirl is an American Christian rock–CCM all-female band from Chicago, Illinois. The band is composed of sisters Alyssa , Rebecca , and Lauren Barlow . The band has won several awards in their genre; their song "Never Alone" was the longest running No...

  • Psalm 40 and Psalm 116 by U2
    U2
    U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

  • Psalm 50 by Underoath
    Underoath
    Underoath is an American Christian metalcore band from Tampa, Florida. Founded by Dallas Taylor and Luke Morton on November 30, 1997 in Ocala, Florida, subsequently its additional members were from Tampa, Florida...

  • Psalm 63: 2–3 by Matisyahu
    Matisyahu
    Matthew Paul Miller , better known by his Hebrew name and stage name Matisyahu, is an American Hasidic Jewish reggae and alternative rock musician....



There are also multiple contemporary popular artists, such as Soul-Junk
Soul-Junk
Soul-Junk is an experimental genre-hopping Christian rock / hip hop group from San Diego, California.-Background:The roots of Soul-Junk began in 1993 when Glen Galloway began experimenting while touring in Europe with his rock band Trumans Water...

, Shane and Shane, and Enter the Worship Circle
Waterdeep (band)
Waterdeep is an independent Christian band from Kansas City, Missouri made up of husband and wife Don and Lori Chaffer.Waterdeep was formed in 1995 following the break-up of Hey Ruth...

, who have set multiple psalms to music on various albums.

See also

  • Biblical poetry
    Biblical poetry
    The ancient Hebrews perceived that there were poetical portions in their sacred texts, as shown by their entitling as songs or chants such passages as Exodus 15:1-19 and Numbers 21:17-20; and a song or chant is, according to the primary meaning of the term, poetry.- Rhyme :It is often stated that...

  • Benefit of clergy
    Benefit of clergy
    In English law, the benefit of clergy was originally a provision by which clergymen could claim that they were outside the jurisdiction of the secular courts and be tried instead in an ecclesiastical court under canon law...

     (use of Psalm 51)
  • Exclusive psalmody
    Exclusive psalmody
    Exclusive psalmody is the particular worship practice of several small Protestant denominations worldwide which use a metrical version of the Book of Psalms from the Bible as the only manual of songs that may be sung in their services...

  • Hallel
    Hallel
    Hallel is a Jewish prayer—a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113–118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays.-Holy days:...

     (Psalms 113–118)
  • Liturgy of the Hours
    Liturgy of the hours
    The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings...

  • Metrical Psalter
    Metrical psalter
    A metrical psalter is a kind of Bible translation: a book containing a metrical translation of all or part of the Book of Psalms in vernacular poetry, meant to be sung as hymns in a church. Some metrical psalters include melodies or even harmonizations...

  • Penitential Psalms
    Penitential Psalms
    The Penitential Psalms or Psalms of Confession, so named in Cassiodorus's commentary of the 6th century AD, are the Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143 . These are specially expressive of sorrow for sin. Four were known as 'penitential psalms' by St. Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th century...

  • Psalm 90 (Ives)
    Psalm 90 (Ives)
    Psalm 90 is a musical composition by the American composer and insurance executive Charles Ives, written in 1923–24.-Style:Psalm 90 is characteristic of Ives's style, rich with tone clusters, rhythmic complexities, and layers of dense harmonies and polyphonic material...

  • Psalter
    Psalter
    A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

  • Selah
    Selah
    Selah is a word used frequently in the Hebrew Bible, often in the Psalms, and is a difficult concept to translate. It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen"...

  • They have pierced my hands and my feet
    They have pierced my hands and my feet
    They have pierced my hands and my feet is a phrase that occurs in English translations of Psalm 22:16.-Text of Psalm 22:16:This verse, which is Psalm 22:17 in the Hebrew verse numbering, reads כארי ידי ורגלי in the Masoretic Text...

  • Zabur
    Zabur
    Zabur is, according to Islam, the holy book of Dawud , one of the holy books revealed by God before the Qur'an, alongside others such as the Tawrat of Musa and the Injil of Isa ....


External links


Translations


  • Jewish
    Judaism
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

     translations:
    • Tehillim – Psalms (Judaica Press) translation [with Rashi
      Rashi
      Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

      's commentary] at Chabad.org
      Chabad.org
      Chabad.org is the flagship website of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. It serves not just its own members but Jews worldwide in general. It was one of the first Jewish internet sites and the first and largest virtual congregation.-History:...

  • Christian
    Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     translations:

Commentary and other

  • Online encyclopedia
  • Jewish
    • Psalms (Judaica Press) translation [with Rashi
      Rashi
      Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

      's commentary] at Chabad.org
      Chabad.org
      Chabad.org is the flagship website of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. It serves not just its own members but Jews worldwide in general. It was one of the first Jewish internet sites and the first and largest virtual congregation.-History:...

    • Penetrating beneath the surface level of the Tehillim – Psalms
  • Christian



|-

Further reading

  • Dickson, David (1583–1662). A Commentary on The Psalms. Geneva Series of Commentaries, first published 1653–1655, First Banner of Truth edition, 1959, Banner of Truth. ISBN 0-85151-481-2.

  • Spurgeon, Charles
    Charles Spurgeon
    Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a large British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the "Prince of Preachers"...

    (June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892), The Treasury of David, 3 Volumes, Hendrickson Publishers, 2912 pages, ISBN 0-917006-25-9
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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