Psalm 37: An Antiphonal Acrostic

A number of months ago, my mom mentioned that Psalm 37 is one of her favorite scriptures, so I thought I’d set it to music. Little did I realize what an undertaking it would turn out to be! 

You see, Psalm 37 is an acrostic with 22 four-line poems based on each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. What’s more, it is a wisdom Psalm on the theme of good things happening to wicked people. This is not the stuff of Chris Tomlin hits, but since I’m committed to setting all 150 Psalms to music I decided to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

What I composed is 22 “songlets,” each starting with a letter of the English alphabet (through V, the 22nd letter). Each of these songlets is 8 measures long; the second 4 measures of each songlet can be sung together with the first 4 measures of the next songlet, creating a musical chain of 22 links.

At this point, either your eyes are glazing over or you’re completely nerding out with scripture-song ecstasy! If you’re in the first category, just take a listen to the demo above. It will start to make sense as you hear it. If you’re in the latter category, take a look at either the musical score or the lyrics side-by-side with the NIV scripture text. You’ll find those at my main website.

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