Singing the Psalms
“The Psalms are among the oldest poems in the world, and they still rank with any poetry in any culture, ancient or modern, from anywhere in the world. They are full of power and passion, horrendous misery and unrestrained jubilation, tender sensitivity and powerful hope. Anyone at all whose heart is open to new dimensions of human experience, anyone who loves good writing, anyone who wants a window into the bright lights and dark corners of the human soul—anyone open to the beautiful expression of a larger vision of reality should react to these poems like someone who hasn’t had a good meal for a week or two. It’s all here. And astonishingly, it doesn’t get lost in translation. Most poetry suffers when translated into other languages because it relies for its effect on the sound and rhythm of the original words. It’s true that the Hebrew of these poems is beautiful in itself for those who can experience it. But the Psalms rely for their effect on the way they set out the main themes. They say something from one angle and then repeat it from a slightly different one...
The Psalms offer us a way of joining in a chorus of praise and prayer that has been going on for millennia and across all cultures. Not to try to inhabit them, while continuing to invent nonpsalmic 'worship' based on our own feelings of the moment, risks being like a spoiled child who, taken to the summit of Table Mountain with the city and the ocean spread out before him, refuses to gaze at the view because he is playing with his Game Boy.”
― Wright, N. T., The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential
The Psalms give voice to a far wider range of human experience and emotion than we know what to do with. I'm becoming more and more convinced that attending to them (all of them) regularly in corporate worship would give us alternatives to our default postures of hiding, posturing, shaming, and running from God and from each other.
I made playlists of singable versions of the psalms using a platform called Playmoss, which allows me to make playlists from Bandcamp, YouTube, and Soundcloud. Where there are Bandcamp links, I would encourage you to click through to the artists' Bandcamp pages and buy their music to support them.
Many Psalms are missing from these lists, which I take as a challenge to write singable settings for those psalms.