Below is an ever-growing list of resources related to Reformed worship, the United Reformed Churches in North America, and the Psalter Hymnal. Since I’ve arranged the links topically, there may be a few duplications. Items in italics refer to resources within this blog. I hope these are as helpful to others as they are to me!
(Last updated May 4, 2012)
Genevan Psalter Resources
- Introduction to the Genevan Psalter: One of my blog posts, re-published as a static page, which gives a brief introduction to the Genevan Psalter and its lasting significance.
- GenevanPsalter.com is an overflowing source of information about the Genevan Psalter. Texts and tunes are available to view, hear, and even download. In particular, Michael Owens’s Introduction to the Genevan Psalter offers a thorough look at the history of this songbook.
- The Canadian Reformed Church’s website on the Book of Praise, a new hymnbook containing the complete Genevan Psalter translated into English, is also a helpful resource.
- “The Psalm Project” is a group of musicians led by Dutch composer Eelco Vos, who has set some of the Genevan Psalter tunes to modern music. On the home page of their website, excerpts from several of their arrangements are available for listening.
- 1912 Psalter Online: A free e-book version of the 1912 Psalter from the United Presbyterian Board of Publication, available on Google Books. This is the original source for the majority of settings in the Psalter Hymnal, and an excellent resource for study and comparison. Be sure to read the Preface as well!
CRC Psalter Hymnals
- Foreword to 1934 Psalter Hymnal: A very informative essay by the CRC’s Psalter Hymnal Committee on the rationale behind the creation of the original Psalter Hymnal and its intended use.
- Buy the 1976 Psalter Hymnal: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. (publisher of The Outlook magazine) still offers copies of the 1976 Psalter Hymnal, even though the CRC has stopped publishing it. Even if you have access to the Psalter Hymnal at your church, I would highly recommend that you also get a personal copy! I hold the opinion that a good hymnal like this one shouldn’t be confined to the pew-backs at church, but should be studied and used in Christian homes as well.
- Buy the 1987 Psalter Hymnal: The CRC still publishes the 1987 Psalter Hymnal through their publishing ministry, Faith Alive Christian Resources. Whether or not you agree with some of the changes in this newer hymnbook, it is a useful reference, especially when comparing the 1976 Psalter Hymnal and the new proposed URC Psalter Hymnal.
- See the 1987 Psalter Hymnal online: At Hymnary.org, there is a wealth of free information pertaining to the 1987 Psalter Hymnal, including texts, tunes, sheet music, and MIDI files for listening to the songs. Excerpts from the Psalter Hymnal Handbook give detailed information about each song and its tune. If only such a comprehensive resource were available for the blue Psalter Hymnal as well!
URC Psalter Hymnal Resources
- Introduction to the URC Psalter Hymnal project: An article on this blog that attempts to summarize the efforts of the United Reformed Churches in North America to produce a new Psalter Hymnal. If you’ve never heard of the URC Psalter Hymnal project before, this page is a good place to start.
- “Principles and Guidelines” is an excerpt from my report on the URC Hymn Proposal. It includes the synodically-approved guidelines for selecting church music, as well as some extra principles outlined by the musicians at West Sayville URC.
- “Now That’s a Good Question,” an article in The Outlook by Mrs. Denise Marcusse, explains some frequently asked questions about the work of the URC Psalter Hymnal Committee. The article can be viewed in the online edition of The Outlook, January/February 2012, pp. 21, 22.
- The Psalter Hymnal area of the URCNA website includes several reports and regularly updated information about the work of the Psalter Hymnal Committee.
Books & Articles
- Singing and Making Music, a book by Dr. Paul Jones, is an excellent all-around “church music manual.” Dr. Jones thoroughly discusses the purpose, history and structure of church music—and some of the controversies that plague it—in a very personable and helpful manner. The book is available from Amazon.com, about $12 for the paperback and $8 for the Kindle version. Or, if you’d prefer to support Dr. Jones’s ministry directly, you can buy the book for $17 from Paul Jones Music, Inc.
- “Now That’s a Good Question,” an article in The Outlook by Mrs. Denise Marcusse, explains some frequently asked questions about the work of the URC Psalter Hymnal Committee. The article can be viewed in the online edition of The Outlook, January/February 2012, pp. 21, 22. –from ReformedFellowship.net
- “Oh Praise Ye the Name of Jehovah,” an article by Mrs. Sheila Ypma regarding the removal of the name “Jehovah” from the URC Hymn Proposal, can be viewed in the online edition of The Outlook, January/February 2012, pp. 28, 29. –from ReformedFellowship.net
- “Psalm 109: A Prayer for the Punishment of the Wicked,” an article by Bob Deffinbaugh, explores the proper Christian view of the imprecatory psalms. –from Bible.org
- “Voicing God’s Psalms,” an article from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship about the work of Calvin Seerveld, focuses on the need for solid contemporary versifications of the psalms. The sidebar on “Translation, Paraphrase, Versification: What’s the difference?” near the bottom of the article may be of special interest. –from worship.Calvin.edu
Blogs & Blog Posts
- ascribelog: Taking Thoughts Captive, a blog by Glenda Mathes, is a great source of URCNA news, book reviews, meditations on the psalms, and much more.
- Token Lines, the blog of Joel Pearce (URCNA Psalter Hymnal Committee member), includes occasional thoughts on singing the psalms and other aspects of Reformed worship.
- “Don’t Ditch the Organ,” a blog post by Kevin DeYoung on The Gospel Coalition blog, includes a quote from a member of the music faculty at Wheaton College on the importance of the organ in the worship service. Both the article and the comments that follow it offer helpful insight on popular views of worship today.
- “Aesthetics: The Study of Beauty,” a conference held at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in March 2011, teaches us how we should view the beautiful aspects of the world around us–especially music. The link is to a former blog post here on URC Psalmody; you can find more information about the conference recordings there.
- “With Joyful Reverence and Awe,” a conference on Biblical worship held at the Sioux Falls URC in October 2011, offers an extremely helpful analysis of Reformed worship and practical ideas for improvement. The conference speakers were Rev. Alan Strange, OPC pastor and Mid-America professor, and Rev. Spencer Aalsburg, pastor of the Sioux Falls URC. The recordings are free for download from the church website.
(See also the Psalter Hymnal Albums section.)
- Psalter Hymnal CD Set: Reformed Fellowship, Inc., sells a six-CD set (“Be Thou Exalted, Lord”) of about 175 recordings of the psalm settings in the 1976 Psalter Hymnal. These were recorded by the music department at Dordt College in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many of their arrangements are simply spectacular, and I know of no better way to become familiar with these psalm settings than to listen to these CD’s. (Note: Due to the layout of Reformed Fellowship’s online store, I can’t post a link directly to the CD set page. Under “Catalogs” on the left-hand side of the page, you should see a “Psalter Hymnals” category. Click this and you should find the “Be Thou Exalted, Lord” item in the list.)
- The recording library of Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI: If you ever need to hear a simple version of a Psalter Hymnal tune as used in worship, you’ll find this internet resource to be a valuable addition to your bookmarks.
- Inspirational videos accompanied by an amateur choir singing familiar 1912 Psalter selections are available from the channel of the Protestant Reformed Psalm Choir. –from YouTube.com
- These recordings from previous Reformed Youth Services conventions are evidence that traditional music is still beloved by Reformed young people. The amateur choir at RYS performed the song “Before the Throne of God Above” in 2010, and “No More Night” in 2011. On a more personal level, last year I was afforded the unbelievable privilege of playing on the huge pipe organ at Dordt College for the talent show. My choice, which I invited the audience to join in singing, was that beloved version of Psalm 103, “O Come, My Soul.” –from YouTube.com