A few weeks ago, a friend recommended Psalms for the Common Era, a collection of 150 Psalm versifications by Adam Carlill. It is a lovely collection that strikes a fine balance between faithfulness to the Hebrew texts and singability for modern congregations.
Of course, the best way to become familiar with a hymn text is to set it to music! I began with Psalm 6, which is one I’ve never set to music before. I wrote a Celtic-style ballad, which feels to me like it’s sturdy enough to contain the harsher elements of the Psalm (“do not castigate and chide,” “Turn away from me my foes” ), but soft enough for phrases like “soothing touch and balm inside.”
I’m sure I’ll be writing more songs using Adam’s texts. In the meantime, visit his website and get the book for yourself!
Sheet music is available here.