The biblical Book of Psalms was written to be sung or chanted by the children of Israel. In some cases performed by sacred, public assemblies, but in others, by professional temple singers. Today, though many of the Psalms have inspired timeless hymns, a fair number of them can’t be directly translated to fit the strictures of modern congregational singing. Almost all hymns, both old and new, come without key changes, or even accidentals, within the songs. Neither are there general alterations in their time signatures.

Challenging musicality

Rick Cousins can be reached at


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