This website is a center for resources and information relating to the Genevan Psalter, including articles, sheet music, recordings, books, websites and metrical translations based on it. The heart of the website is currently the sheet music and recordings of the entire Genevan Psalter. These, along with a growing number of other resources, are on the Music & Lyrics page.
All the music of the Genevan psalter is in the Public Domain. All the recordings posted here are also in the public domain and may be copied freely. The lyrics are copyrighted as noted, but permission has been given for their distribution as well. Material which is not to be copied is not available on this site directly, but may be purchased through the sites on the links page.
This is a work in process. What is here is complete, but many more items will be added, deo volente.
The Genevan Psalter is a collection of 126 melodies designed to be sung with metrical translations of the 150 Biblical Psalms and three other Scriptural songs. It is sometimes referred to as the French Psalter, as the tunes were designed to be sung with French metrical versions of the Psalter.
As the first and most influential music to be composed specifically by and for Reformed Christians, these tunes represent a significant element of the heritage of all Reformed or Calvinistic Christians.
The melodies were all composed between 1539 and 1562 in Geneva, Switzerland, at the request of John Calvin, for use with French metrical translations. No melodies have been added or removed since that time. Many have appeared in several forms, often rhythmically altered. They have been harmonized many times, in many ways, and have been often used without harmony. They have been sung with many different lyrics in several languages. Until the mid-1800s, they were widely used on the continent of Europe, the British Isles, and the New World. They are still used in some churches in Canada and Europe and Australia.
For more information and background on the Genevan Psalter and this project, please see my introduction. Everything on this website is free. I am receiving no financial return for any work represented here. Fan mail is almost as good.
If you are aware of any more Genevan Psalter-related resources of any kind, which are available for no charge, please let me know, and I will gladly post them.
For God’s sole glory,
Michael E. Owens