Tuesday, March 17, 2015

40 Days of Chant, Psalm 24

Psalm 24 uses the phrase "King of Glory" repeatedly.  I can not read that phrase without hearing the hymn of my seminary, The General Theological Seminary (GTS).  GTS has it woes and faults, but I remember my time and the people there quite fondly.  I wanted to incorporate the hymn into the chant, but I didn't want to simply copy the first ten chords and melody.  So, I decided to use the first ten notes of the melody as "tone row".  I am not a serialist by any means, but I wanted to try it and see if I could get a decent result.  I transposed it up to get a little room to keep all the parts in a decent range.  The Soprano line is the "row", the first ten notes of the melody.  The Alto is the retrograde, the row in reverse.  The Tenor is the inversion, each interval of the row going in the opposite direction.  And the Bass is the retrograde of the inversion.

The result, I think, actually works with the text.  The psalmist repeatedly asks, "Who is the King of Glory?"  This chant sounds and especially ends on a questioning note.  I doubt I'll do this method again.  However, it was interesting to try and there are still several psalms to go. So, we shall see.

1The earth is the LORD'S and all that is in it, *
    the world and all who dwell therein.
2For it is he who founded it upon the seas *
    and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
3"Who can ascend the hill of the LORD? *
    and who can stand in his holy place?"
4"Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, *
    who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
    nor sworn by what is a fraud.
5They shall receive a blessing from the LORD *
    and a just reward from the God of their salvation."
6Such is the generation of those who seek him, *
    of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

7Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
    and the King of glory shall come in.
8"Who is this King of glory?" *
    "The L
ORD, strong and mighty,
    the L
ORD, mighty in battle."
9Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
    and the King of glory shall come in.
10"Who is he, this King of glory?" *
    "The L
ORD of hosts,
    he is the King of glory."

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