Michael Joncas’s new Simple Psalter synthesizes elements of previous styles of psalm-singing into a new pattern of engaging these sacred texts. Using the new Abbey Psalms and Canticles, Joncas sets every responsorial psalm in the three-year Lectionary in settings that work equally well a cappella or with keyboard accompaniment. The antiphon for each setting may be sung in unison or enhanced with optional voice or instrument parts, and the verses are set to a Gelineau-inspired "pulsed" psalm tone, notated in proposed speech-rhythm. Additionally, the tones of the Simple Psalter respect form-critical studies of psalms, assigning them to particular categories (e.g., different tones for hymns of praise, songs of thanksgiving, communal laments, etc.). The Simple Psalter is divided into four volumes: one for solemnities, feasts, and other celebrations, and one each for years A, B and C.
Fr. Jan Michael Joncas most recently served as a faculty member in the theology and Catholic studies departments and as artist-in-residence and research fellow in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds liturgy degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the Pontificio Istituto Liturgico of the Ateneo S. Anselmo in Rome. He has composed and arranged more than three hundred pieces of liturgical music and is the author of six books and more than 250 articles and reviews in journals such as Worship, Ecclesia Orans, and Questions Liturgiques/Studies in Liturgy.