Responsorial Psalm First Chant Practice

Today is my first time to practice for my psalm chant in tomorrow's Feast Day Holy Mass. After our psalmist basic formation seminar last week, I decided to go ahead and dive-in into an actual practice. It wasn't so easy to finally go through this.

My groupmates at the seminar were actually hesitant to perform the psalmist role immediately. I was too, but I also thought that this would be a good opportunity to practice and show the little learning that I gained. I still had a time to practice and learn, anyway.

Previously, I sought help from a choir leader I know to determine which choir would be singing in my assigned slot. After a bit of wild-goose chase (pointed to wrong choir), I finally contacted the right choir leader for a meet-up.

Even before that meet-up, I searched for tips and resources on the internet regarding chanting and singing psalms. I came across the psalm tones of a chanting workshop in youtube. The tones have 4 segments. Each segment have 4 notes: a reciting note and 3 notes at the end. The instructions on the videos are quite clear and easy-to-follow.

But the psalm tones only applied to chanting the psalm verses. You would still need to find or make-up the tune for the psalm response (which the congregation also sings). Nonetheless, I liked one of the psalm tones and thought of suggesting it to the accompanist of the choir.

Meeting the Choir for Practice

When I met the guitar accompanist, Sean, I showed him the psalm tone that I found. Sean mistakenly thought it was a whole piece with the segment letters as chords. But I did explain to him. Good thing about him is that he found a way to STILL use the psalm tone i gave.

I believe he was able to make a response melody from the missalette using the chords. He has the made-up response melody down pat but he had to change the last 2 lines (or segments) of my verse tune so it could be still somehow be compatible with the response tune. The result was the response matched really well with the verse and sounded really good.

But I had trouble following him on the tune.

Recording the Psalm Response and Verse Practice

The psalm tune sounded so strangely different from my psalm tone that I was used to hearing. We had to practice it many times for an hour. I recorded our practice in my camera. I thought my cellphone wouldn't do as it could only record for one minute. I've used the camera before for recording songs and commentator parts when I was studying the weekday masses.

After an hour, Sean felt that I got it with just a few mistakes. But I wasn't satisfied with my chant. I insisted we do it many more times until we extended to half an hour more. During that additional time, I was now also recording the practice several times, with the cellphone.

Although the cellphone would record up to a minute, a response and verse combination would easily fit in that duration. Hence, I had several one-minute recordings of response and verse which I could review later.
(See the continuation in Part 2)