As many of you know, I have been composing music to the Book of Psalms. I call it the Jazz Book of Psalms. This is a long project, possibly several years but it will be published in phases.
Writing music to a psalm begins with deep meditation, a form of Lectio Divina. Time is devoted to immersion into the words and waiting until a phrase stands out. In Darkwood Brew, we have created Pneuma Divina where we hear a scripture reading and reflect on it until a phrase stands out. Once I begin to hear something from the psalm that catches my ear, I will write it down. This process continues until I have several lines from the psalm. I then begin to listen for the rhythm of the phrase and translate it into music. From this point, style of music is considered. Maybe it’s a reggae or swing or ballad. The next step is to search for a “hook” phrase. Every piece of music that is memorable has a “hook”. This hook phrase becomes a anchor to what will be the refrain or chorus. From there, verses begin to reveal themselves from the psalm.
This process has been a true blessing to me. It has allowed me to both play and pray the Psalms, affording the gift of combining both my own spirituality with my music talents.
The best part of all of this is that I get to share it the DWB audience and musicians. Tune in this week and hear my new composition from Psalm 33, Sing Joyfully to the Lord.
Director of Music for Darkwood Brew