Some folks have expressed some difficulty in finding the promised MIDI tunes on our website. Well, our website contains many, many items of interest and sometimes it is difficult to know just exactly how to keep everything filed and available. It turns out, if you do a Google search on “MIDI Tunes Psalter” that you will see us #1 in the hit list. But that should not be necessary … it should be an intuitive thing to go to the website of a church that has been “trumpeting” the singing of Psalms since the 80s and find some tunes. It should also be easy to find the tunes on a website that sells as many Psalters as we do.
So, for those of you who were looking under “free stuff” or “Psalms” or even “Psalter,” I will now reveal the secret. It was under “downloads.” But you don’t care about the where so much as the how. I understand. So, I will now answer like the man who was asked how to get to Carnegie Hall by the young fellow with the violin case under his arm — but the answer is not “practice, son, practice.” No, the answer is point your browser to our main site, http://www.fpcr.org and click on the most obvious button, which is “Sing The Psalter in 2008.” That will take you to a page that invites you to sing through the Psalms with us. At the top of that page will be three buttons. On the left you will find a link to the most recent Psalmody Calendar (which as I write is February 2008) and on the right you will find a button linking you to numerous articles favoring the singing of the Psalms. Rat smack dab in the middle between those two buttons will be a button labeled “Psalmody Tunes.”
The middle button links you to a file called “Comprehensive Tunes.ZIP” and you will be given the option of opening or downloading should you click on that button. My choice would be to download and then figure out what to do with the files within the ZIP file later. But you may simply want to download all the MIDI files into a folder you have already prepared on your computer. The files have abbreviated names for the most part. Many of them were prepared back when a DOS file contained no more than eight letters in its name. Others are newer midi files and will contain longer names. Simply match the “most likely suspect” to the tune named in the upper left portion of any page in the Comprehensive Psalter.
Once you have downloaded and unzipped your MIDI files, you must have a midi player. This is from the days before MP3 players, but many computer programs that will play MP3s will also play MIDIs. That is not true of the little MP3 players that we love to use while jogging. These are very simple tunes with four part harmony (representing soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices). Most of them will be 30 seconds long or thereabouts, so if you want to hear them for an entire Psalm you will have to set your player to repeat the tune. If you really know what you’re doing, it is possible with a MIDI interface on your computer to pipe the tunes directly to a MIDI instrument such as a keyboard.
The February Psalmody calendar is posted at the FPCR website. By following the content of the monthly Psalmody calendars, one may sing through the Psalms in a single year. We have also now added daily readings such that one may read entirely through the Bible in a year’s time. The readings will take approximately 15 minutes per day.
The Psalmody calendar “resets” each January at Psalm 1 and the readings “reset” each May with Genesis 1.
One of the objectives the Psalmody committee had when we designed the Comprehensive Psalter [click on the link] was for it to be both durable and usable. As a result we divided the Psalms into 312 settings or selections. By doing so, an individual or family could easily sing the entirety of the book of Psalms in a single year (six days per week times 52 weeks). This year, we have been uploading our monthly Psalm calendars to the Faith Presbyterian Church (Reformed) website so that others could take part in this same practice. The practice itself can scrutinized here [click on the link].
For your convenience, below you will find the links to each month so far in 2007. Simply click on the month’s name and the calendar will open in a new window or tab. Then print it out if you wish and sing through the Psalms day by day. The reason there is no Psalter selection for the Lord’s Day is that it then becomes possible for a church that sings three Psalter selections in each worship service to sing through the same selections on the following Lord’s Day. In that case, a person who is a member of such a Psalm-singing church would sing through the entire Psalter twice each year.