Introducing Metrical Psalms

Introducing Metrical Psalms January 26, 2017

For the first time since I’ve been teaching, I brought a guitar with me to class and sang to/with my students.

Teaching a course on the Bible and music does strange things to one’s pedagogy. I decided to record the class, mainly so that I could see what it was like. Not nearly as bad as I feared it might be. I was grateful that a colleague sat in, so that at least someone there knew classic rock songs that the teenage students did not…

The class focused on metrical psalms, and so I was delighted to have an opportunity to mention and make use of the recent book Singing God’s Psalms by Fred Anderson. Metrical psalms are not a thing from a bygone era, but an element of contemporary worship – especially when you combine the words with some of the tunes that I did!


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  • Bryan Link Manning Hunt

    Although it may not be ready for Coursera or EdX, I enjoyed this lecture immensely.
    You put a lot of things already familiar to me into a context that caused me to see them very differently than before. And, it was fun.

    Two things that I would find helpful would be (1) having access to the texts referenced in the student’s homework assignment, and (2) your following up by sharing post-1980s tunes/songs that your students enjoy and shared, which have some of the meters in question.

    • Thanks for your comment – I really do appreciate it! For homework, I had students comparing Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress” with the Psalm that it is based on, and Isaac Watts’ paraphrase as well as the classic metrical setting of Psalm 100 with a more standard English translation. All of that made use of materials in the public domain online.

      I definitely plan to follow up with more about what students have indicated, as well as some recordings of either Amazing Grace or Psalms to some classic popular music…