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[sah-muh-dee, sal-muh-] /ˈsɑ mə di, ˈsæl mə-/
noun, plural psalmodies.
the act, practice, or art of setting psalms to music.
psalms or hymns collectively.
the act, practice, or art of singing psalms.
1300-50; Middle English < Late Latin psalmōdia < Greek psalmōidía singing to the harp. See psalm, ode, -y3
Related forms
[sah-mod-ik, sal-] /sɑˈmɒd ɪk, sæl-/ (Show IPA),
psalmodical, psalmodial
[sah-moh-dee-uh l, sal-] /sɑˈmoʊ di əl, sæl-/ (Show IPA),
psalmodist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for psalmody


/ˈsɑːmədɪ; ˈsæl-/
noun (pl) -dies
the act of singing psalms or hymns
the art or practice of the setting to music or singing of psalms
Derived Forms
psalmodist, noun
psalmodic (sɑːˈmɒdɪk; sæl-) adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Late Latin from Greek psalmōdia singing accompanied by a harp, from psalmos (see psalm) + ōidēode
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for psalmody

singing of psalms in worship. In biblical times professional singers chanted psalms during Jewish religious services. Occasionally, the congregation interpolated a short refrain between the chanted verses. The alternation of soloist and chorus was called responsorial psalmody (see responsory). Another method, antiphonal psalmody, was the alternation by two half choirs in the singing of psalm lines or half lines (see antiphon). Psalms were also sung without either refrain or alternating singers (direct psalmody). These methods of psalmody were adopted by the early Christian Church in the East and West. Early Christian psalmody was the germ from which evolved both the classical Gregorian chant and also the Byzantine, Ambrosian, and other Christian chants (see also psalm tone).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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