On 24 November 2008 I set out to record the book of Psalms. The whole thing was originally designed as a Christmas present for Jeanette. I did not realize the amount of time it was going to take, and there were only 15 Psalms on the disk I gave her for that Christmas. After that I worked on them in spurts until completing the entire book on 12 August 2009.
I both read the text and played my own original improvisations in the background on a harp sound from a keyboard. I figured it would just take too long to set all of them to music and make a new 21st century Psalter of my own, but this method still fulfills the definition of a psalm as that which is accompanied by an instrument.
I chose to use the American Standard Version my recording. I updated many, but not all, of the archaisms. I used this version for two reasons. First, because it is in the Public Domain and I didn’t have to get any permission to record it, and second, because it actually uses the name of God in the text itself. No one knows which way it is to be pronounced, so Jehovah, which is used by the American Standard, is, in some ways, as valid as Yahweh which has come to more current usage.
Christians do not need to be bound by the non-scriptural scruples of the Jews who were afraid to pronounce the name of God lest they fall under judgment. If God didn’t want the name to be pronounced He wouldn’t have let the Psalmists inscribe it. For the Christian the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ has come, and we are able to approach God’s throne face to face through Jesus. This means we are completely at home in His presence. You call people by their name in such a context. Using the actual name of God rather than the substitution of “LORD” is important because these Psalms are personal directives to a person and not poetry dedicated to a faceless nameless idea.
Next time I will share some of the things I learned out of this nine month process.
4 years ago