7 Kinds of "Responsive" Singing

There are 7 different kinds of responsive singing in scripture. We can use these forms to help our congregation participate in worship:

—Two companies or choirs Neh. 12:31, 40, 42; Ezra 3:11

—One singer to another 1 Sam. 18:7; 21:11; 29:5; Is. 6:3–4 It is possible that the whole Song of Solomon was set to this form

—One singer to a group Ex. 15:21 The Psalm headings of Psalms 44, 47, 99 indicate that these may have been written by the sons of korah who then responded to the chief musician.

—Leader to congregation Pss. 107; 136 where the response is written into the Psalm. Also Psalms 106 and 118 where the response is written at the beginning of the Psalm. Sometimes the singers used traditional folks songs where the melodies were known by the people.

—Singer to dancers Ex. 15:21 The dance probably interpreted the song, or even replied to the song.

—Singers to instruments Is. 38:20 Instruments accompanied singing in Old Testament times, but they might also have responded to the song. Many Psalms are also written with the word selah at the end of a section. Most likely, this means that the instruments play in response to the song while everyone else meditates on the Lord.

—One generation to another Ps. 145:4 This is a good way to teach children to participate in praise and worship.

1 Comment

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One response to “7 Kinds of "Responsive" Singing

  1. Cool article on singing. I also like the fact that Keneniah (spelling)was able to choose first from the “more accomplished” singers and musicians and then decided on their committment to God. Interesting. We do that backwards now.

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