The Wode Psalter

The Tenor illustration from the Wode Psalter

Thomas Wode (or Wood) was a former monk who lived and worked in St Andrews after the Protestant Reformation in Scotland (1559-60).  Over a period of about 30 years, Wode collected a variety of music into what is now called the Wode or St Andrews Psalter.   At the heart of this collection was a set of four-part harmonisations of the psalm tunes that were used in Scottish churches after the Reformation.  These settings were arranged by the Scottish composer David Peebles at the bequest of Lord James Stewart, who would later become Regent of Scotland for King James VI.   In addition to the psalm harmonisations, Wode collected other hymns, canticles, sacred works and secular works set by a variety of composers from Scotland and throughout Europe, including the Scottish Andrew Blackhall and John Angus as well as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlande de Lassus, and Thomas Tallis. 

For more information on the Wode Psalters, visit the website for the Wode Psalter

Sing the Renaissance and Reformation

Much of the music from the Wode Psalter is now freely available to musicians around the world.  The performing edition of the Wode Psalter may be browsed, downloaded and reproduced from this site free of charge.  Since we must report back to our funders that these settings are being used, all we ask is that you email us at to let us know.  Please note that we will preserve your anonymity in our reports.

Transcription notes

  • Original note values have been preserved.
  • Keys have been modified to fit the voice ranges of modern singers.
  • Texts are taken from the 1564 Scottish Forme of Prayers.
  • Spelling has been modernised.
  • The first three stanzas are provided with the music for each setting.
  • Full texts are provided separately for psalms consisting of more than three stanzas.
  • Time signatures and barlines have been added to indicate the tactus.
  • For instances of voice crossing, the upper voice precedes the lower.
  • The melody or Church Part is located in the tenor unless noted otherwise.
  • For a more ‘authentic’ performance, consider doubling the melody with a few sopranos.
  • Musica ficta indications are suggestions only, especially in the melody where such emendations remain a subject for debate.

Four-part Psalms
Hymns and Canticles
Other Sacred Songs

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