Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Psalm Tones for Night Prayer: Psalm 90(91) - Tone VIII G & G*

Temptation of Christ (The Temptation on the Mo...Image via Wikipedia
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” - Mt 4:5-7
So, back on track with a psalm tone which is recommended for all the Sunday psalms (Sunday I and II can be recited on any day) as well as Tuesday and the second Psalm on Wednesday.

(N.B. According to the 1968 Enchiridion of Indulgences hosted at ourladyswarriors, the second Psalm on Wednesday - De Profundis - has an indulgence attached. If you learnt the tone it might help you to remember and recite the words. Another indulgenced psalm is the Miserere, for which the suggested psalm tone is VII, but it'll be a while before I get to that one.)

That's convenient, but also perhaps a bit boring, so I'm going to do two versions of the tone this time. I see that there are three alternative terminations, but two of them are very similar indeed. I'll do those two now and come back to look at the third termination another time. This time lets look at the tone first:

You can see for yourself that the mediant and the terminations are based on a single stress, and in both of our terminations there are two preparatory syllables. So here's the text:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most Hígh*
and abides in the shade of the Almíghty
says to the Lord: "My réfuge,*
my stronghold, my God in whom I trúst!"
[..]
Upon you no evil shall fáll,*
no plague approach where you dwéll.
For you has he commanded his ángels,*
to keep you in all your wáys.

They shall bear you upon their hánds*
lest you strike your foot against a stóne.
On the lion and the viper you will tréad*
and trample the young lion and the drágon.
It so happens that there's no flex written for Psalm 90(91), so I put one from another psalm in at the end. From Psalm 142(143) for Tuesday:
I muse on what your hand has wróught†
and to you I stretch out my hánds.*
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for yóu.
MP3 here.

Now, if you look again at the terminations:


...you'll see that only the final neume is different; instead of a one-note neume, it's two notes, returning to the note of the stress. You can hear the difference here. I think it sounds somewhat more monkish. Anyway, it gives you another option.

I think by now I shouldn't need to go into detail about the mechanics of it anymore. If I'm wrong and you'd prefer me to explain something, let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I can finally get on with learning the next one for Wednesday and Thursday!
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