PSALMODIA, "singing to the harp" or "psalm-singing," an ecclesiastical term used in two senses: a special choral service, and the choirbook containing the hymns therefor.
The service of Psalmodia is part of the little synaxis, which consists of the recital of the Psalms of the canonical hours and the singing of hymns in preparation for the great synaxis, that is, the Divine Liturgy. The Psalmodia is usually sung antiphonally, but the responsorial style—wherein the chant is performed alternately by the soloist and the congregation—is sometimes used.
Originally the Psalmodia consisted only of the recitation of Psalms, but various hymns were later incorporated into the service. The order of singing the psalms and hymns is the same throughout the year, with there being certain modifications for Lent and the major feasts (a synopsis of this service is given in Burmester, The Egyptian or Coptic Church, 1967, pp. 108ff.; see MUSIC: DESCRIPTION OF THE CORPUS).
Although technically speaking, the Psalmodia is a daily service, only in the monasteries is it performed every day. Elsewhere it is sung only when the Divine Liturgy is to be celebrated.
EMILE MAHER ISHAQ
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