Chanting the psalms, or psalmody, is an ancient practice of vital importance in the Christian spiritual tradition. Today many think of it as a discipline that belongs only in monasteries--but psalmody is a spiritual treasure that is available to anyone who prays. You don't need to be musical or a monk to do it, and it can be enjoyed in church liturgical worship, in groups, or even individually as part of a personal rule of prayer. Cynthia Bourgeault brings the practice into the twenty-first century, providing a history of Christian psalmody as well as an appreciation of its place in contemplative practice today. And she teaches you how to do it as you chant along with her on the accompanying CD in which she demonstrates the basic techniques and easy melodies that anyone can learn. "Even if you can't read music," Cynthia says, "or if somewhere along the way you've absorbed the message that your voice is no good or you can't sing on pitch, I'll still hope to show you that chanting the psalms is accessible to nearly everyone."
* Cynthia Bourgeault is a priest of the Episcopal Church. She received her Ph.D. in medieval studies/musicology from the University of Pennysylvania in 1972. She is a singer, director of medieval dramas, and editor or author of several books. She has been singing the Psalms for more than twenty years with the Camaldolese Benedictines of Big Sur, California, as well as with the monks of St Benedict's Priory in Snowmass, Colorado. She writes a regular column for Beliefnet.com and gives lectures and workshops across the United States and Canada.