An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


The traditional methods of psalmody, whether spoken or sung, are direct recitation, antiphonal recitation, and responsorial recitation. Direct recitation means the reading or singing of the entire psalm or portion of the psalm in unison. It is frequently used to recite or chant the psalm following the first lesson at the eucharist and the canticles at the Daily Offices. Antiphonal recitation is the alternation of verses of the psalm between two groups of singers or readers, e.g., the sides of the congregation, men and women, choir and congregation. An antiphon said or sung in unison may begin and conclude antiphonal recitation. It is the traditional monastic method of reciting the psalms at the Daily Offices. Responsorial recitation assigns the verses to a single voice, with the congregation responding with a refrain after each verse or group of verses. This is the traditional method of singing the invitatory psalm at Morning Prayer and the psalm between the readings, often called the responsorial psalm.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.