Variety In Singing

There were of old four methods of singing

the Psalms:

1. Direct or Choral. 2. Antiphonal. 3. Responsorial. 4. Continuous.

1. The Direct or Choral Singing was done by the whole choir:

2. The Antiphonal by the two halves of the choir alternately:

3. The Responsorial by the Priest and choir alternately:

4. The Continuous by the Priest alone.

A careful study of the Rubrics will show that great liberty is allowed

in the Prayer Book in respect to the singing.

There is a Rubric in the Morning Service which prescribes the manner of

saying or singing Gloria Patri, viz. that it is to be Responsorial.

The order is that after the Morning and Evening Canticles As it was in

the beginning, &c. is to be an answer to Glory be to the Father, &c.

And this order may be found also after the Versicles of Mattins and

Evensong, O Lord, open thou our lips. It might be inferred from this

that the Psalms and Canticles were intended to be sung in the same way.

But it is more likely that it was designed to continue an ancient

freedom of choice which is now represented in our custom of using the

Antiphonal Method when we sing, and the Responsorial when we say them.

The division of Gloria Patri into two verses was, no doubt, intended in

any case. The Prayer Book does not recommend the fourth method; many

rubrics indicate that the congregation should take a substantial share

in the services with voice and heart.