Some Music Principles from the Psalms

March 30, 2012

Using the Detailed Statistics facility in BibleWorks 7 to analyze the Psalms, I compiled some interesting statistics. These statistics seem to provide some helpful guidelines for our music perspectives.

In the KJV, the 150 chapters of Psalms have a total of 2461 verses and 43,738 words. The average verse length for the book is 17.77 words.

The Psalms range in length from 2 verses (Ps. 117) to 176 verses (Ps. 119). These two Psalms also have the fewest and the most total words, respectively: 33 words (Ps. 117) and 2445 words (Ps. 119).

On average, Psalm 120 has the shortest verses (13.14 words per verse) and Psalm 53 has the longest verses (27.71 words per verse). Interestingly, Psalm 119, the longest Psalm by far, has quite a low average verse length of 13.89 words (fourth shortest).

These statistics suggest the following principles for our music:

1. Having some songs that are very short (e.g., only one stanza) is in keeping with what we find in God’s perfect songbook.

2. Stanza lengths of 13 to 28 words would match the range for the average lengths of verses for the 150 chapters of Psalms.

3. Having some songs that are much longer than others also would reflect God’s practice.

Rajesh

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