The Modern Chantry website was created to offer Christian musicians and worship leaders an alternative resource for contemporary songs based on the Psalms in Scripture, as well as songs about Mary. The focus of each song, aside from maintaining a generally strict adherence to the verses from Scripture (instead of presenting heavily paraphrased verses), is to provide a very melodic and rhythmic setting so that the listener can come away from each song remembering the sacred verses more readily. What better way to remember anything than by setting it to music?
The songs for Psalms available on Modern Chantry are fully realized songs, unlike the much more simplistic arrangements often written and practiced at Mass during the Responsorial Psalm, which many find to be neither meditative nor engaging. A meditative piece of music need not be amorphous or nearly atonal. The Responsorial Psalm song on Modern Chantry is written in order to invoke the congregation to sing along wholeheartedly; this requires a level of skill on the part of the musician presenting the Responsorial Psalm because the song is necessarily more complex. Many of these songs are not easily executed and will provide a good challenge to even the most seasoned musicians in your group. Many songs, in addition, appear deceptively simple, but will take some practice to sound good, just as with any musical endeavour worth pursuing.
Although not all music groups will be able to take advantage of the style of music that most of the songs on Modern Chantry contain (primarily because most are very rhythmic pieces) any song can be tailored to more subdued local music customs simply by altering its tempo and playing style. In general, slowing a song down and having the instruments played less aggressively is the easiest way to transform an up beat or mid tempo song into a more balladesque or contemplative style. Keep the melody, harmonies, and verses intact, since they are very important during the Responsorial Psalm. It is with these song elements that we strive to have the churchgoer remember long after attending the Mass or service.
The team at Modern Chantry is small and nimble, making almost daily changes to the website, including adding more songs in the collection of Demetrio Navarro, principal songwriter for the collection.
Future plans for the site include flexible printing options for lead sheets as well as more in-depth search capabilities for finding individual verses. This will help music leaders to find a unique song from the site that contains the desired verse to help with music planning for worship.
By the way, "chantry" was a form of funding so that priests could sing Masses for a departed member of a wealthy family, usually in a small private chapel at the parish church or cathedral. We use it in our name because it contains the word "chant", which means a psalm with unimetrical words set to music. Usually, such chants are easily remembered and participated in, which is what the artists strive for in their music published to this site. Plus, we just felt that "modern chantry" had a nice ring to it.
We hope that you will find something (many things, actually) on our website that will be useful for your music needs. Enjoy and God bless you!
The Modern Chantry Team