It is widely believed that musical creativity suffered under the control of many sixteenth-century Protestant church leaders, especially in the Reformed (as opposed to Lutheran) branch of Protestantism. Such views are generalisations, and it is more accurate to say that music in Geneva and other Reformed strongholds developed in a very different way from the music of the Lutheran Church. The very specific beliefs about the role of music in the liturgy of Jean Calvin, Genevan church leader, led to the creation and publication of the Book of Psalms in French, in metre, and set to music. The Genevan or Huguenot Psalter, completed in 1562, formed the basis for Reformed worship in Europe and throughout the world, and its impact is still felt today. Despite the importance of the Psalter, relatively little is known about the precise liturgical musical practices in Geneva at the time of the Reformation, and little research has been carried out into the aspirations of either reformers or church musicians in relation to the Psalter. This article explores the significance of Calvin's interest in the Psalms as theological material, observing how this interest manifested itself, and outlines Calvin's views on music and the ways in which his plans for psalm-singing were implemented in Geneva from the 1540s onwards. After giving a brief explanation of the process through which the psalm melodies were taught and learnt, it also asks whether Calvin's vision for congregational singing would, or could, have been fully realised, and to what extent the quality of music-making was important to him. This article suggests that in the Genevan psalm-singing of the sixteenth century, matters of spiritual significance were most important.