Monday, February 23, 2015

40 Days of Chant: Psalm 5, Db Maj

Today is the 5th day of Lent (Sundays don't count in the 40 days), and it is the beginning of the first full week of me writing and Anglican Chant a day.  I wrote a simple chant tonight because I am battling a cold and sore throat.  Hopefully I'll be less cloudy tomorrow.  If so, I may give Psalm 5 a re-write in addition to writing a chant for Psalm 6.  The relationship between the tone of the text and the chant is loose in this rendition, but I have too much cold medicine in me right now to think clearly.   

Nonetheless, I continue to enjoy this discipline.  I am having to dig into the scriptures and try to capture the overall emotional content of each psalm in just a few chords.  The brilliance of the psalms emerges quickly when you start trying to capture their emotional complexity in a short chord progression.  The psalms, like human-beings, connote contradictory emotions at once. Trying to articulate that in chant is a wonderful challenge.

1 Give ear to my words, O Lord; *
     consider my meditation.
2 Hearken to my cry for help, my King and my God, *
     for I make my prayer to you.

3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; *
     early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.
4 For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, *
     and evil cannot dwell with you.

5 Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; *
     you hate all those who work wickedness.
6 You destroy those who speak lies; *
     the bloodthirsty and deceitful, O Lord, you abhor.

7 But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will
               go into your house; *
     I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.
8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness,
               because of those who lie in wait for me; *
     make your way straight before me.

9 For there is no truth in their mouth; *
     there is destruction in their heart;
10 Their throat is an open grave; *
     they flatter with their tongue.

11 Declare them guilty, O God; *
     let them fall, because of their schemes.
12 Because of their many transgressions cast them out, *
     for they have rebelled against you.

13 But all who take refuge in you will be glad; *
     they will sing out their joy for ever.
14 You will shelter them, *
     so that those who love your Name may exult in you.

(Second Half of Chant) 15 For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; *
     you will defend them with your favor as with a shield.

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