The most ancient Christian practice of worship was to sing the Psalms. Our Lord sang the Psalms of ascent with his disciples (Matt 26:30). The Apostles sang Psalms (1 Cor 14:26, “ἕκαστος ψαλμὸν ἔχει“). The early Christian church sang Psalms in public worship until they were displaced by Gregorian chants in the 7th century. Even as extra-canonical songs began to gain ground from the 4th and 5th centuries, the monasteries preserved Psalmody for centuries and the Psalms again became the songbook of the Reformed church in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the modern period, of course, the Psalms were again marginalized in favor non-canonical songs. The rising generations have little acquaintance with the Psalter and many people today are entirely unfamiliar with the biblical and historic Christian practice of singing God’s holy Word in public worship.
So it is very exciting to learn from my friend and colleague, the Rev. Tommy Myrick that there is now a free (iOS) app which re-prints the 1650 Split-Leaf Psalter. In its own time the split-leaf Psalter was an amazing piece of technology. It is called a “split-leaf” psalter because the pages are split horizontally with the stanzas of the Psalm on the top and the tunes on the bottom thus allowing the congregation to sing the Psalms to different tunes. All that must match is the meter. So, if a congregation has a favorite tune or sings another tune more easily, then a psalm may be sung with that one or another.
Now, with this app by Romesh Prakashpalan, we can do the same thing electronically that we used to with the print version. There are advantages with the app. The app has midi files to play the tunes of the various tunes so one need not even read music to pick a psalm tune.
Note: that there are Android and Kindle versions of the app. See the links below in the combox.