Author Topic: What is the psalter for?  (Read 2922 times)

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Offline icecreamsandwich

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What is the psalter for?
« on: February 26, 2013, 03:15:54 PM »
Hi all :).

I do apologize for the sheer stupidity of this question, but it's better to ask and learn than to stay silent and learn nothing haha.

Put simply, in my search for a prayer book, I've come across the blue HTM Prayer Book, and in conjunction, the HTM Psalter. Why does one need a Psalter, though? Like, I get that it's probably organized into the kathismata and probably has a numbering table of sorts to let you know which to read and when, but that could be found elsewhere, and most Bibles are going to have the Psalms in them - even the New Testament only ones sometimes have the Psalms as well. Would someone mind explaining it to me?

Thank you :).
Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm still learning as I go along.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 03:23:16 PM »
The Psalter is used as a regular service book and prayer book in the Orthodox Church, unlike the rest of the Old Testament. It would be awkward to have to flip to the Psalms in the Bible for daily prayers or church services. Moreover, as far as I know, the kathismata are not laid out in Bibles. A full Psalter also includes prayers at the end of each kathisma (not found in a regular book of Psalms), the nine canticles, and specific instructions for using the Psalter on different occasions (e.g. reading it for the departed).
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 03:23:52 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline Romaios

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 03:39:55 PM »
I guess this is not what you are asking for, but the Psalter contains everything - just like the Gospel sums up what God has to say to man, the Psalter pretty much sums up what man has to say to him. It's the book of prayer for all ages.

Here's how a Saint would use Psalms for all occasions: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/arsenios.asp

Offline icecreamsandwich

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 03:56:35 PM »
The Psalter is used as a regular service book and prayer book in the Orthodox Church, unlike the rest of the Old Testament. It would be awkward to have to flip to the Psalms in the Bible for daily prayers or church services. Moreover, as far as I know, the kathismata are not laid out in Bibles. A full Psalter also includes prayers at the end of each kathisma (not found in a regular book of Psalms), the nine canticles, and specific instructions for using the Psalter on different occasions (e.g. reading it for the departed).

Thanks - what kind of prayers? I know that at some points, there's a "Glory to the Father..." and a "Lord have mercy..." - are these what you mean? And what's a canticle? And further, how do you integrate it into your prayer rule?

I guess this is not what you are asking for, but the Psalter contains everything - just like the Gospel sums up what God has to say to man, the Psalter pretty much sums up what man has to say to him. It's the book of prayer for all ages.

Here's how a Saint would use Psalms for all occasions: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/arsenios.asp

That makes a lot of sense - thank you for linking it :).
Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm still learning as I go along.

Offline Schultz

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 04:08:20 PM »
The Psalter is used as a regular service book and prayer book in the Orthodox Church, unlike the rest of the Old Testament. It would be awkward to have to flip to the Psalms in the Bible for daily prayers or church services. Moreover, as far as I know, the kathismata are not laid out in Bibles. A full Psalter also includes prayers at the end of each kathisma (not found in a regular book of Psalms), the nine canticles, and specific instructions for using the Psalter on different occasions (e.g. reading it for the departed).

Thanks - what kind of prayers? I know that at some points, there's a "Glory to the Father..." and a "Lord have mercy..." - are these what you mean? And what's a canticle? And further, how do you integrate it into your prayer rule?

Unfortunately, I don't have my copy of the Psalter published by Wordsmith which contains these prayers on me , or I would type out an example.  Basically, though, in between each kathisma there is a small service, of sorts, containing the Trisagion prayers, a troparion and a kontakion, and then a relatively long prayer suited to a particular theme.  In addition, there's also an additional set of these prayers if one reads mulitiple kathismata in one sitting.

The Biblical canticles are particular songs from the Old and New Testament, the most famous being the Magnificat of our Lady and the Benedictus of Zechariah.  Wikipedia has a decent overview of what they are and their use in organized prayer life.
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Offline icecreamsandwich

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 01:40:56 PM »
Unfortunately, I don't have my copy of the Psalter published by Wordsmith which contains these prayers on me , or I would type out an example.  Basically, though, in between each kathisma there is a small service, of sorts, containing the Trisagion prayers, a troparion and a kontakion, and then a relatively long prayer suited to a particular theme.  In addition, there's also an additional set of these prayers if one reads mulitiple kathismata in one sitting.

The Biblical canticles are particular songs from the Old and New Testament, the most famous being the Magnificat of our Lady and the Benedictus of Zechariah.  Wikipedia has a decent overview of what they are and their use in organized prayer life.

Thank you for the answer :). Is there a set timing or method to add them to one's prayer rule, (perhaps during a Compline or something) or does that depend on the individual and their spiritual father?
Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm still learning as I go along.

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2013, 08:15:02 PM »
Unfortunately, I don't have my copy of the Psalter published by Wordsmith which contains these prayers on me , or I would type out an example.  Basically, though, in between each kathisma there is a small service, of sorts, containing the Trisagion prayers, a troparion and a kontakion, and then a relatively long prayer suited to a particular theme.  In addition, there's also an additional set of these prayers if one reads mulitiple kathismata in one sitting.

The Biblical canticles are particular songs from the Old and New Testament, the most famous being the Magnificat of our Lady and the Benedictus of Zechariah.  Wikipedia has a decent overview of what they are and their use in organized prayer life.

Thank you for the answer :). Is there a set timing or method to add them to one's prayer rule, (perhaps during a Compline or something) or does that depend on the individual and their spiritual father?

I don't really know anything about the little service that Shultz is talking about, but I'd like to see it! My recommendation (with your priests blessing) would be to get an Orthodox psalter (such as the Pocket Psalter from Holy Transfiguration Monastery) and, if you flip to the back, you will see the daily readings of the Psalter that take place during Matins and Vespers. It's two kathismata and Matins and one at Vespers. During Great Lent, it becomes three kathismata and Matins, two at Vespers, and a kathisma at each of the Hours as well. Starting to insert some of these into your prayer rule could be a nice start, with the blessing of your priest.

Another way to read more Psalms would be to take the Psalms from certain daily services that are always read and make them (or part of them) your regular morning/evening rule (or part of it). There's a lot of psaltery in the Midnight Office and Compline, of which Morning and Evening Prayers (respectively) are an abbreviation. If not that, there are the Lamp-Lighting Psalms of Vespers (i.e., "Lord, I call" and its verses) and the Six Psalms at the beginning of Matins. If you go to one of these services in the day and feel like you shouldn't read it twice (once at the church and once at home) you could replace the Six Psalms with the Midnight Office readings or The Lamp Lighting Psalms for the psalms at Compline. All of this, again, with the blessing of your priest.

You could also just read the Hours each day, which are mostly Psalms (one stasis each, outside of Great Lent).

There are tons of ways to incorporate the Psalms in an Orthodox fashion into our daily prayer rules!
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2013, 10:40:05 PM »
Elder Cleopa of Romania likened the Holy Psalter to a good cake. You cut a piece and enjoy it. And then you cut another piece. And so on.
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2013, 10:46:07 PM »
Put simply, in my search for a prayer book, I've come across the blue HTM Prayer Book, and in conjunction, the HTM Psalter. Why does one need a Psalter, though?

I use both the books you mention on a daily basis.  I also have the pocket psalter which I bring to work . . . I try to fit in some Psalms during break (it really makes the day go better).  I'm tempted to get an additional prayer book to leave at work.  If you follow a prayer rule you'll find yourself using both plenty.

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2013, 10:47:06 PM »
Elder Cleopa of Romania likened the Holy Psalter to a good cake. You cut a piece and enjoy it. And then you cut another piece. And so on.

What a wonderful analogy!!  :laugh: :laugh: And a cake that isn't fattening!
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Offline leap of faith

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2013, 11:49:13 PM »
Excellent answers, as usual.  I suppose what I would like to add, as having been received into the Church only a little over a year ago, is to encourage you to also learn the Orthodox understanding of each Psalm as you go.  When I began, I reviewed the Psalms for that day using the Orthodox Study Bible and I was amazed how the Orthodox understanding goes far, far beyond the simple moralistic approach I had been taught, even in the more simple explanations offered in the OSB.  Christ and the Church begin to literally lift off of the pages.  You are in for some great surprises!!

When discussing this with my priest, he told me that it would become a "fifth gospel."  I can see now that he was, again, so very correct.  At the time, he wrote: "For example, we read: "Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the pestilent. But his will is rather in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night." Who is that blessed man, if not our Lord Jesus Christ? What a revelation, if all one had heretofore known was a moralistic interpretation of these words!"

He is sharing with me a copy of St. John Chrysostom's writings on the Psalms and I'm very excited to begin, as I enjoy that type of reading.  As others have mentioned, I also use the HTM Psalter and find it most helpful for a "newbie" such as myself.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 11:50:08 PM by leap of faith »

Offline Hinterlander

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2013, 12:45:33 AM »
I am reading through Reardon's Christ in the Psalms as I read a psalm a day, quite helpful .

Offline Kerdy

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2013, 05:40:18 AM »
Could some of you perhaps provide a link to the psalter you use?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 05:44:30 AM by Kerdy »

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2013, 07:23:44 AM »
Could some of you perhaps provide a link to the psalter you use?

I use the HTM Pocket Psalter I linked to. They also have a full-sized version that you can look at here. It's the same translation, but it has more material, including the full text of the nine odes of the canon, with notes for how to insert verses (as used in Lenten Matins).
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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2013, 07:39:31 AM »
Could some of you perhaps provide a link to the psalter you use?

I use the newer Jordanville Psalter, which is mainly the Coverdale psalms revised to conform to the Septuagint. Unlike the HTM psalter it includes all the kathisma prayers and a bunch of other material. Unfortunately the current print edition is rather large for personal use (though you could go with a ebook version too) but they do plan on releasing a smaller version with some of the supplementary material taken out.

http://www.holytrinitypublications.com/en/Book/3/92/A_Psalter_for_Prayer.html
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Offline mersch

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2013, 07:14:13 PM »
Speaking of Psalters, are their any Psalters that are on CD or online, for times when I can't read it, listento in bed without my dork glasses on, or for my Mom, who cant read anymore? I know that there are many versions of the bible on CD, but would rather have a Psalter only....

Offline leap of faith

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2013, 07:40:29 PM »
Speaking of Psalters, are their any Psalters that are on CD or online, for times when I can't read it, listento in bed without my dork glasses on, or for my Mom, who cant read anymore? I know that there are many versions of the bible on CD, but would rather have a Psalter only....

Google is your friend.  I found this, but have no experience with it in audio form.  Hope this helps. http://www.ocrb.org/products/the-psalter-english

Offline mersch

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2013, 07:46:21 PM »
Thank You!  and yes, when I googled it, I gave up after the 1st 4 pages, it was all online written Psalters..... no audio came up in any search I did unless it was a 200 dollar audio bible -but my laptop is ancient-7 years old--maybe that has something to do with it......:(       I did try to google it-Thanks again!

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2013, 08:01:47 PM »
Could some of you perhaps provide a link to the psalter you use?

I use the newer Jordanville Psalter, which is mainly the Coverdale psalms revised to conform to the Septuagint. Unlike the HTM psalter it includes all the kathisma prayers and a bunch of other material. Unfortunately the current print edition is rather large for personal use (though you could go with a ebook version too) but they do plan on releasing a smaller version with some of the supplementary material taken out.

http://www.holytrinitypublications.com/en/Book/3/92/A_Psalter_for_Prayer.html
I've got the Kindle version of the ebook. It's not bad- fairly easy to navigate. Having it on my phone takes care of the size problem, but it feels kind of strange to be swiping at my phone screen during prayer. I usually just flip to the Psalms in the OSB and use the phone for reading all the supplemental material.
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Offline leap of faith

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2013, 08:03:16 PM »
Thank You!  and yes, when I googled it, I gave up after the 1st 4 pages, it was all online written Psalters..... no audio came up in any search I did unless it was a 200 dollar audio bible -but my laptop is ancient-7 years old--maybe that has something to do with it......:(       I did try to google it-Thanks again!

I like how they have an audio example to listen to first.  That's a very helpful thing.  It's a rather interesting site.  Thanks for giving me a reason to find it!

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2013, 09:20:21 PM »
Thank You!  and yes, when I googled it, I gave up after the 1st 4 pages, it was all online written Psalters..... no audio came up in any search I did unless it was a 200 dollar audio bible -but my laptop is ancient-7 years old--maybe that has something to do with it......:(       I did try to google it-Thanks again!

The Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia has a three-CD set of the Psalter being read in plain chant. It's $24. You can purchase it here.
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Offline icecreamsandwich

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2013, 09:21:07 PM »
Thanks for the replies! A slight update: I was lent a Psalter (it was the big blue one from HTM) and was able to read through it. I really really like it, except the only thing is the translation is different - quite different, at points, to what I'm used to. It's really cool, though, and I'm hoping to get a copy of the smaller green one...

I don't really know anything about the little service that Shultz is talking about, but I'd like to see it! My recommendation (with your priests blessing) would be to get an Orthodox psalter (such as the Pocket Psalter from Holy Transfiguration Monastery) and, if you flip to the back, you will see the daily readings of the Psalter that take place during Matins and Vespers. It's two kathismata and Matins and one at Vespers. During Great Lent, it becomes three kathismata and Matins, two at Vespers, and a kathisma at each of the Hours as well. Starting to insert some of these into your prayer rule could be a nice start, with the blessing of your priest.

Another way to read more Psalms would be to take the Psalms from certain daily services that are always read and make them (or part of them) your regular morning/evening rule (or part of it). There's a lot of psaltery in the Midnight Office and Compline, of which Morning and Evening Prayers (respectively) are an abbreviation. If not that, there are the Lamp-Lighting Psalms of Vespers (i.e., "Lord, I call" and its verses) and the Six Psalms at the beginning of Matins. If you go to one of these services in the day and feel like you shouldn't read it twice (once at the church and once at home) you could replace the Six Psalms with the Midnight Office readings or The Lamp Lighting Psalms for the psalms at Compline. All of this, again, with the blessing of your priest.

You could also just read the Hours each day, which are mostly Psalms (one stasis each, outside of Great Lent).

There are tons of ways to incorporate the Psalms in an Orthodox fashion into our daily prayer rules!

Elder Cleopa of Romania likened the Holy Psalter to a good cake. You cut a piece and enjoy it. And then you cut another piece. And so on.

I don't know why, but this saying has been stuck in my head for like a week or so lol. It really is a great saying - thanks for posting it hahaha.

I use both the books you mention on a daily basis.  I also have the pocket psalter which I bring to work . . . I try to fit in some Psalms during break (it really makes the day go better).  I'm tempted to get an additional prayer book to leave at work.  If you follow a prayer rule you'll find yourself using both plenty.

Oh, awesome!

At the moment, my prayer rule (this is just something I've worked out on my own - hoping to meet with my to-be Father-Confessor to ask for his guidance) is as follows:

(Morning)
Trisagion Prayers
Nicene Creed
"Indolence Prayer": https://yourdailyprayer.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/prayer-for-sunday-all-saints/

(Evening)
Small Compline

I'm quickly finding that the services, especially Vespers (which I've had the fortune of attending more often) are very VERY Psalm-based, as Benjamin The Red mentioned so it helps to be able to read through the Psalter, and as I'd guessed, the kathisma table and ordering helps with that.

Excellent answers, as usual.  I suppose what I would like to add, as having been received into the Church only a little over a year ago, is to encourage you to also learn the Orthodox understanding of each Psalm as you go.  When I began, I reviewed the Psalms for that day using the Orthodox Study Bible and I was amazed how the Orthodox understanding goes far, far beyond the simple moralistic approach I had been taught, even in the more simple explanations offered in the OSB.  Christ and the Church begin to literally lift off of the pages.  You are in for some great surprises!!

When discussing this with my priest, he told me that it would become a "fifth gospel."  I can see now that he was, again, so very correct.  At the time, he wrote: "For example, we read: "Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the pestilent. But his will is rather in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night." Who is that blessed man, if not our Lord Jesus Christ? What a revelation, if all one had heretofore known was a moralistic interpretation of these words!"

He is sharing with me a copy of St. John Chrysostom's writings on the Psalms and I'm very excited to begin, as I enjoy that type of reading.  As others have mentioned, I also use the HTM Psalter and find it most helpful for a "newbie" such as myself.

Congrats on your (belated) anniversary of entry into the Church haha.

Hmmm. I should probably ask my priest for an Orthodox interpretation of Psalm 89 (90)... That's probably my favorite Psalm and honestly, the Psalm by which I'm judging Bible translations lol.
Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm still learning as I go along.

Offline Hinterlander

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2013, 09:31:39 PM »
Thank You!  and yes, when I googled it, I gave up after the 1st 4 pages, it was all online written Psalters..... no audio came up in any search I did unless it was a 200 dollar audio bible -but my laptop is ancient-7 years old--maybe that has something to do with it......:(       I did try to google it-Thanks again!

The Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia has a three-CD set of the Psalter being read in plain chant. It's $24. You can purchase it here.

So I downloaded the audio version and it seems like "plain chant" is quite fast paced.  Of course, I'm an inquirer with no real experience of hearing the Pslams in an Orthodox service.

Offline leap of faith

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2013, 11:06:49 PM »
Thank You!  and yes, when I googled it, I gave up after the 1st 4 pages, it was all online written Psalters..... no audio came up in any search I did unless it was a 200 dollar audio bible -but my laptop is ancient-7 years old--maybe that has something to do with it......:(       I did try to google it-Thanks again!

The Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia has a three-CD set of the Psalter being read in plain chant. It's $24. You can purchase it here.

So I downloaded the audio version and it seems like "plain chant" is quite fast paced.  Of course, I'm an inquirer with no real experience of hearing the Pslams in an Orthodox service.

I felt the same way when I first listened to it.  For me, it was easier to become acquainted with them by simple daily reading and then learning the Orthodox understanding.  It was a slow process at first!  Now that I'm familiar with them, I can follow along...but it took a lot of patience and repetition.  I'm still learning, but it's getting MUCH better and was well worth the effort.  Hang in there and be kind to yourself.   :) 

Offline Fotina02

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2013, 12:24:19 AM »


The Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia has a three-CD set of the Psalter being read in plain chant. It's $24. You can purchase it here.

So I downloaded the audio version and it seems like "plain chant" is quite fast paced.  Of course, I'm an inquirer with no real experience of hearing the Pslams in an Orthodox service.

The recitative/monotone is for praying the psalms, also helps one to focus and the reading goes quickly. Keep prayer and study separate, just make mental note. Memorizing psalms also helps. Bishops were required to memorize the entire psalter!

Quote
The Psalms are read, not in a normal reading tone, but in a kind of "recitative" or monotone, which may most easily be executed by beginning as if to sing on one note which is convenient for one's voice, and then continuing to read on this same note. No particular expression should be given to any words or phrases, and the voice should not drop at the end of any phrase, but should remain always at about the same level, yet without any attempt to pronounce every word in an artificially uniform or featureless manner. The reading should be slow enough that the words can be understood, but not so slow that an effect of "dragging" is created. This traditional church reading, which with practice comes to seem very natural, is immediately distinct from worldly reading (as of newspapers), and helps set the proper tone in which the sacred words can enter one's heart. At the end of every section of every kathisma, the following words are read in the same tone of voice, or actually sung on one note: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia glory to Thee, O God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to Thee, O God. Alleluia, alleluia alleluia, glory to Thee, O God. Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Then the next section is begun.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/typicon_psalms.aspx

Enjoy this. The writer, an Orthodox priest, does analysis of St. Hilary of Poitiers homily on Psalm 1.
Quote
In the Orthodox Christian liturgical life (as it is practiced in the monasteries), the entire Psaltery is read every week. During Great Lent it is read twice a week. The Psalms are the foundation of our worship services — not only do we read them, but we sing them, we use them as introductions to Scripture readings and we use them as communion hymns, for example.

Unfortunately, those of us who live in the world are woefully ignorant of this wondrous part of Scripture. The First Psalm serves as an introduction to the rest of the Psaltery. Therefore, St. Hilary’s homily on the First Psalm should be a wonderful introduction to a more intimate understanding of the Psaltery as a whole.

May St. Hilary inspire all of us to become more familiar with this most beautiful section of Scripture. Amen.
http://ellampson.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/an-apology/

Offline mike

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2013, 06:15:44 AM »
I find hearing to chanting much easier than to normal reading.

Offline mersch

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2013, 04:32:57 PM »
I find hearing to chanting much easier than to normal reading.

I agree Michael- before finding the Orthodox Church- I was always drawn to the psalms, but had a hard time memorizing them- the chant is...... (hard for me to find the words to explain it)- not easier-but easier- at least for me anyway.

Offline Fotina02

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2013, 10:26:47 AM »
Found this site with recordings of all 20 Kathismas with texts in Church Slavonic (I think).

http://platoshin.ucoz.ru/index/psaltyr_video/0-55

Offline Hinterlander

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2013, 12:42:43 PM »


The Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia has a three-CD set of the Psalter being read in plain chant. It's $24. You can purchase it here.

So I downloaded the audio version and it seems like "plain chant" is quite fast paced.  Of course, I'm an inquirer with no real experience of hearing the Pslams in an Orthodox service.

The recitative/monotone is for praying the psalms, also helps one to focus and the reading goes quickly. Keep prayer and study separate, just make mental note. Memorizing psalms also helps. Bishops were required to memorize the entire psalter!

Quote
The Psalms are read, not in a normal reading tone, but in a kind of "recitative" or monotone, which may most easily be executed by beginning as if to sing on one note which is convenient for one's voice, and then continuing to read on this same note. No particular expression should be given to any words or phrases, and the voice should not drop at the end of any phrase, but should remain always at about the same level, yet without any attempt to pronounce every word in an artificially uniform or featureless manner. The reading should be slow enough that the words can be understood, but not so slow that an effect of "dragging" is created. This traditional church reading, which with practice comes to seem very natural, is immediately distinct from worldly reading (as of newspapers), and helps set the proper tone in which the sacred words can enter one's heart. At the end of every section of every kathisma, the following words are read in the same tone of voice, or actually sung on one note: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia glory to Thee, O God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to Thee, O God. Alleluia, alleluia alleluia, glory to Thee, O God. Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Then the next section is begun.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/typicon_psalms.aspx

Enjoy this. The writer, an Orthodox priest, does analysis of St. Hilary of Poitiers homily on Psalm 1.
Quote
In the Orthodox Christian liturgical life (as it is practiced in the monasteries), the entire Psaltery is read every week. During Great Lent it is read twice a week. The Psalms are the foundation of our worship services — not only do we read them, but we sing them, we use them as introductions to Scripture readings and we use them as communion hymns, for example.

Unfortunately, those of us who live in the world are woefully ignorant of this wondrous part of Scripture. The First Psalm serves as an introduction to the rest of the Psaltery. Therefore, St. Hilary’s homily on the First Psalm should be a wonderful introduction to a more intimate understanding of the Psaltery as a whole.

May St. Hilary inspire all of us to become more familiar with this most beautiful section of Scripture. Amen.
http://ellampson.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/an-apology/

This really helps me understand what it means to pray the Psalms.  Thanks for the valuable information.

Offline Kerdy

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2013, 02:35:38 PM »
Could some of you perhaps provide a link to the psalter you use?

I use the newer Jordanville Psalter, which is mainly the Coverdale psalms revised to conform to the Septuagint. Unlike the HTM psalter it includes all the kathisma prayers and a bunch of other material. Unfortunately the current print edition is rather large for personal use (though you could go with a ebook version too) but they do plan on releasing a smaller version with some of the supplementary material taken out.

http://www.holytrinitypublications.com/en/Book/3/92/A_Psalter_for_Prayer.html
Thanks

Offline Kerdy

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Re: What is the psalter for?
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2013, 02:36:30 PM »
Could some of you perhaps provide a link to the psalter you use?

I use the HTM Pocket Psalter I linked to. They also have a full-sized version that you can look at here. It's the same translation, but it has more material, including the full text of the nine odes of the canon, with notes for how to insert verses (as used in Lenten Matins).
Thank you.