"With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the LORD … May the rivers clap their hands, may the mountains sing together for joy." – Psalm 98:6, 8 NASB
What does it mean to shout joyfully? To sing for joy? Much of the polyphonic style we associate with today’s music is the result of the innovative contributions of Perotinus Magnus, or simply Pérotin. Born in France late in the twelfth century, he dedicated his life to writing and arranging church music.
Pérotin was the first person known to compose music for three and four different voice combinations. He created a rich sound that transformed music. It has been said that his compositions “far surpassed in beauty and complexity” the styles usual for his day.
One of Pérotin’s most enduring works was written in 1198 for Christmas celebrations. Inspired by Psalm 98, the Latin name was Viderunt Omnes, which means All Shall See. In English, the words are simple and direct: “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” It was a call for everyone to “sing joyfully to God.” Our hearts can be filled with joy because He “has made known his salvation.” Pérotin called people to sing praise with a “deep sense of harmony.”
Like people of all generations, the music we sing today reflects the styles and forms that speak to our ears and give voice to what is in our hearts. As Pérotin helped people of his time “sing praises to the Lord,” we, too, need to give Him praise. Let your voice praise Him and sing for joy!
PrayerFather, I shout joyfully to Your name. May my life be pleasing in Your sight. I praise and worship You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Extended ReadingPsalm 98