Sunday, March 8, 2015

40 Days of Chant Psalms 15 & 16

I'm playing a little bit of catch up.  I didn't get to write on Friday or Saturday; so I wrote two tonight.  I'm caught up now because Sundays are not part of the 40 days of lent.  My intent starting out was to do psalms 1 - 40.  I can take Sundays off, generally, and still get to psalm 40 by the end of Lent.  But alas, I needed to catch up.  Missing Friday and Saturday was indeed sinful, but the gift of missing them is that I can repent, literally return to God or in this return to writing.  It's like every time your mind wanders during centering prayer is an opportunity for repentance.

For Psalm 15 I wanted to capture both the questioning of the beginning and the resolution of the ending.  So, I started on the dominant and used a Neapolitan 6 chord for the cadence.

1LORD, who may dwell in your tabernacle? *
    who may abide upon your holy hill?
2Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, *
    who speaks the truth from his heart.
3There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend; *
    he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.
4In his sight the wicked is rejected, *
    but he honors those who fear the L
5He has sworn to do no wrong *
    and does not take back his word.
6He does not give his money in hope of gain, *
    nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
7Whoever does these things *
    shall never be overthrown.

For Psalm 16, I started at the end and worked backwards.  There is a cadence in Paul McCartney's The Long and Winding Road that I have always loved and wanted a occasion to steal.  I figured there was no time like the present.  This psalm starts out with the psalmist pleading for protection and ends with the confidence or faith in the providence of God.  So, I made it highly chromatic and used one chord built on fifths instead of thirds.  The resolution to an Eb Major chord at the end is, to me, reassuring of God's providence.

1Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you; *
    I have said to the L
ORD, "You are my Lord,
    my good above all other."

2All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, *
    upon those who are noble among the people.
3But those who run after other gods *
    shall have their troubles multiplied.
4Their libations of blood I will not offer, *
    nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
5O LORD, you are my portion and my cup; *
    it is you who uphold my lot.
6My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; *
    indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
7I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; *
    my heart teaches me, night after night.
8I have set the LORD always before me; *
    because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
9My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; *
    my body also shall rest in hope.
10For you will not abandon me to the grave, *
    nor let your holy one see the Pit.
11You will show me the path of life; *
    in your presence there is fullness of joy,
    and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

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