Book of Praise


During the Reformation in the 16th century music in the church took a new direction. John Calvin's Genevan Psalter has been sung by the church ever since.

Book of Praise

The Book of Praise contains all 150 Psalms in their original melodies of the Reformation. These melodies are known worldwide, translated in many languages and sung in worship services and at home.

Purchase the Book of Praise Online

What others are saying about the Genevan Tunes:

Holding Fast to the Psalms

"The book of Psalms, embodied in the Genevan Psalter, has nourished Reformed Christians for centuries. This spiritual heritage has a special place in the hearts of Hungarian Reformed believers who have survived the harsh years of Communist repression and domination. Their stories testify to the influence of the psalms in the ordinary and extraordinary details of their lives. In a recent set of interviews with Reformed believers in Hungary, I asked what the psalms meant to them. Some of those interviewed were surprised that I would even ask whether the Psalter was important for them, because the answer was obvious–of course! They had been wrapped in the tapestry of faith into which the Genevan Psalter was woven–in some places obvious and clear, in others as a deep background color–but always present."


Independent Presbyterian Church

The Reformers, especially John Calvin, sought to enable all worshipers to take an active role in corporate worship. This was accomplished by paraphrasing the Psalms into metric prose that was easily sung and remembered. The first such collection, or Psalter, was published in Geneva in 1562, and extensively used the music of Louis Bourgeois. (...) IPC is committed to the revival of robust Psalm-singing through the weekly use of Psalms at morning and evening worship,...


Genevan 42

..., but the tune is easy to pick up. Like many of its sister tunes from the famous sixteenth-century Psalter, it relies a great deal on the repetition of small motives in building its melody. There is no leap of more than a fourth; indeed, it is in stepwise motion for most of its length. The rhythms are infectious. (...)

I would encourage something that points up the dance rhythms inherent in this "Geneva jig," as Queen Elizabeth I is said to have haughtily referred to these Psalter tunes. I’ve always found this tune great fun to sing. In most hymnals, its only function has been to carry the Isaiah paraphrase "Comfort, Comfort Ye, My People" for Advent. It seems a shame to use such a grand tune only once a year.




Book of Praise

Digital version of the Book of Praise PDF-format
A digital version of the Psalms and Hymns is available with the tunes in PDF format from the website of the Canadian Reformed Churches.

CD Recording of the Book of Praise 
A Recording of all Psalms and Hymns, with preludes and interludes on a 6-CD set, to be used for sing-along purposes.

About the Psalms of John Calvin

The Genevan Tunes An Introduction
An introduction of the Genevan tunes by Rev. DENNIS W.Royall, pastor of Cornerstone URC in London, Ontario. He holds advanced degrees in both theology and music.

Introduction to the Genevan Psalter
Introduction to the Genevan Psalter by David T. Koyzis, Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada.

Anglo-Genevan Psalter 
Anglo-Genevan Psalter - A Review by Dr Alan C. Clifford, Pastor Norwich Reformed Church (UK).

History of the Genevan Psalter
History of the Genevan Psalter by Duck Shuler  

The origin of our Psalm
The origin of our Psalm melodies by Dr. K.Deddens 

Claude Goudimel was the first composer that wrote a four part harmony of the Psalms. His harmonizations are still used today.

Introduction to French Metrical Psalmody
Introduction to French Metrical Psalmody.  

Related to the Genevan Tunes

The Old Version & the related Tunes 
Most of the Old Version Psalters included more than the psalm texts. Canticles were included from the first Anglo-Genevan edition of 1556, and divided before and after the psalms from the 1561 London edition. Some editions from 1561 on contained the longer musical introduction with woodcuts of the gamut and musical notes, and some from 1569 on the shorter one. What Is called the "Middleburg Psalms," which contained not only the metrical versions but also the biblical prose texts in the margin space, appeared from 1599 to 1649. The tunes first appeared in the Anglo-Genevan editions. Some later editions from 1620 on did not have a tune, and finally from 1687 on, there was no edition which contained tunes.

Worldly tunes
Were hymn tunes borrowed from the world? Is there such a thing as sacred music?

Singing the Psalms: A Brief History of Psalmody
Singing the Psalms: A Brief History of Psalmody Richard C. Leonard.

Genevan tunes in the Netherlands
It is difficult to realize how important the Genevan psalms were in the Calvinist Netherlands; an analogy might be the Lutheran chorales, whose impact is clear in the works of Bach.

Listen to the Genevan Tunes

150 Midi files
On this page you can enjoy midi files of the Genevan psalter composed by Louis Bourgeois, Maître Pierre and Matthias Greiter in order off John Calvin.

Psalm Midi files
A great site with midi files and more information about Calvin and the reformation in German.

The daily life in the time of the Reformation
Strassburg in the 1530s was an intensely interesting and lively city, second only to Wittenberg where Luther and his disciples presided. It had become the refuge of many persecuted people, chiefly, over the last ten years, from France.

About Liturgy

Reformed Liturgy
The topic of liturgy, often talked about as "the way we do things in Church" is a thorny issue.