Gradual Psalm Settings
Settings by Mr. James McGregor
Please clock on the title below to access the McGregor Gradual Psalm Settings
Director of Music, Emeritus
While the website is being updated, many of the responsorial psalm settings will be unavailable.
In 1971, soon after the introduction of Services for Trial Use and the three-year Eucharistic Lectionary, James McGregor began arranging psalms in responsorial style for use at Grace Church. These psalms have served the parish well for many years, and we publish them here with the hope that other congregations will find them useful.
Most of the refrains are based upon Gregorian office antiphons or centonized from the melodic stock out of which the office antiphons were composed. A few are original compositions (modal and in prose rhythm). The psalm verses are fully notated.
The psalms are held in Copyright (©) by James McGregor but he authorizes local churches to reproduce them for their own use.
Singing the Psalm Verses
The following suggestions offered by Winfred Douglas in the introduction to The Plainsong Psalter (1932) are still worth heeding:
The Intonation is sung ... at the same pace as the Recitation.
The Recitation is neither faster nor slower than any other part of the Chant. It is joined to the Cadence without any rhythmical break...
All phrases should close with a slight diminuendo; this should be more marked when the final syllable is weak.
All of the words are to be read distinctly, deliberately, smoothly, and naturally; but also evenly, not hurrying little syllables; nor delaying heavy ones, unless two accented syllables occur together, in which case the first is naturally lengthened.
Singers must not, however, protract such syllables more than they would be protracted in normal speech.
The quarter bar is used in recitations to indicate pauses for breath.
In some places it will be found necessary to accompany these psalms. We cannot provide accompaniments, but we recommend that organists who wish to learn how to devise their own accompaniments consult: J. H. Arnold, Plainsong Accompaniment (London: Oxford University Press, 1927). Photocopies of this work are available from University Microfilms International.