The Salicus and that ictus.
  • If the ictus on the second note of a salicus is held: does that ictus initiate a new rhythmic group and then the neume's first note end the preceding rhythmic group? Is it held for one long pulse , or is it counted as two pulses. I have found conflicting information.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 314
    The way I understand it is that the "|" mark under the second note of the salicus is not an ictus, but an episema. Although an ictus is marked with the same typographical character (a vertical stroke), this is just a coincidence. It is the same as a horizontal episema but there is not enough room to mark this clearly on this neume. It would not necessarily initiate a new rhythmic group (though it might) and it would not be counted as two pulses, but rather one long pulse.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    My understanding is that not only does it function as an episema (as Robert says) but, in a Salicus, according to the Solesmes method, the second note of the Salicus is always "count number 1" (or, the more technical language, where a rhythmical " touch " or alighting place is found) this book is also helpful
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 940
    Take a look at the paleography for a salicus sometime (in the Triplex or in Cardine's "Gregorian Semiology") and let me know what about the second note makes it look like it should be held (or ictic for that matter). On a related note, I often asked my choir "Where next to the letter 'p' does it also say 'sing slowly'?"
  • Yes, and you might also look for dots and episemas and bar lines and word accents... and all the other editorial marks that make the chant singable for many of us. Mocquereau's theories are not all dependent on semiology (which make them spurious to some); on the other hand, he did not invent ictuses just to annoy semiologists (though I sometime think it a good enough reason).

    As for the salicus, and like-minded signs, I have found it best to learn the line without them, solidifying the rhythm. Then add them as expressive notes, prepared before and left hesitantly after. Sort of like drifting along in a boat, with your hand skimming the water, then dipping your fingers in to produce the slightest sense of drag. That's about all the expression you need -- which is certainly not doubling.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    In fact, if you look at the adiastematic neume later represented as a square-note salicus, you'll note three marks: a dot, a curve above it, and then a slash. These represent the three notes. I'm curious about that curve, because the scandicus has the sequence dot dot slash, and other early neumes appear to use curves to indicate lengthening.

    So something is going on with that second note. It's arguable what that something is.

    That said, Richard's advice is wonderful.
  • The second note of of salicus (in the adiastematic neumes) is an oriscus, which is used in various contexts but always indicates a light note over which the singer passes quickly en route to the more important note that follows it. In the case of the salicus the note that follows the oriscus is usually placed on a "structural" pitch. The third note is clearly the most important of the three.

    Mocquereau's notion that the second note of the salicus was to be emphasized finds no support in comparative study of the use of the oriscus in the manuscripts or in modal theory.

    Even if a choir chooses to adopt a more-or-less equalist style of singing chant (modo Mocquereau), it need not adhere to an interpretation of the salicus that has clearly been discredited.

    Of course, one must look at the adiastematic neumes to know what is a salicus and what is not. Not every rising neume in which the Solesmes editions place a vertical episema under the second note is a salicus. In the introit, "Gaudeamus omnes," the third neume (to which the third syllable of the word "gaudeamus" is set) consists of three notes (d-a-b or d-a-b flat), and a vertical episema is correctly placed under the second (a). This neume is not a salicus. It is composed of a pes followed by a freestanding virga. The top note of the pes receives emphasis because of a neumatic break (the graphical separation). The episema is placed correctly.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Bruce, which Manuscript are you referencing? You seem to be referring to a particular manuscript from a particular time period.

    I think Ralph was asking about the Solesmes method, as put forth by Mocquereau (I could be wrong).

    Obviously, all are free to have opinions about how to interpret individual manuscripts. For instance, in certain manuscripts, the beginning of GAUDEAMUS is c-d-d-a-c-a

    Also, modal theory is not affected one way or the other --- modal theory can embrace either interpretation of the salicus.
  • My distilled answer to Ralph is: The second note of a true salicus should not be held; it should be passed over lightly, and the note that follows it should be held; but in the old Solesmes editions not every rising group of three notes with a vertical episema under the second note is a salicus. To find out whether it is, you must look at the St. Gall and/or Laon neumes. For the mass propers, these neumes are reproduced above and below the staves in the Graduale Triplex. Such simple research should not be too much to ask of a choirmaster.

    Why do I say that the second note should not be lengthened, when Mocquereau said that it should be? In both the Laon and St. Gall neumes the second note of the salicus is an oriscus. Exhaustive comparative studies of the oriscus in myriad contexts has led researchers to the conclusion that the oriscus is a light passing note, leading to a melodically important note, usually placed on a "structural pitch."

    I know of no scholarly attempts to refute this conclusion in favor of Mocquereau's interpretation. Nor, to my knowledge, did Mocquereau present evidence to demonstrate that his interpretation of the oriscus-in-salicus was correct. The only people who cling to it tenaciously seem to be of the "Mocquereau locutus est; causa finita est" school.

    Even if you wish to sing in the Mocquereau/Solesmes style because you like it or because you think his straightforward rules are a practical necessity, you need not cling to every one of his interpretations as though it were given on Sinai. You certainly don't have to cling to his interpretation of the salicus.

    As to the "Gaudeamus" intonation--- Questions about what melodic reading to choose have no bearing on our discussion of the salicus. I cited the third neume in this intonation merely as an example of a neume that is NOT a salicus but is indistinguishable from a salicus in the old solesmes books.

    Nevertheless, since you raise the possibility of singing c-d-d-a-C-a, on the ground that this reading is found in some manuscripts, I would call to your attention Andre Gajard's introduction to Benevento VI.34. (Gajard was Mocquereau's principal disciple.) He rejected the idea that all manuscripts are equal, explaining that the advent of polyphony had led musicians in northern Europe to raise many Bs to Cs so as to forestall the incidence of the augmented fourth. He underlined the special value of Beneventan and Aquitainian manuscripts, in which these mutations were not found because polyphony had reached southern Europe late. If you compare the 1908 (?) Antiphonale Romanum with the 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum, you will see that by 1934 Solesmes had already changed hundreds of Cs back to Bs, confident that the Bs were original and the Cs were mutations.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Should I be paying for this kind of information? Sometimes this board is like a mini-course in medieval musicology.

    To me it seems the oriscus has carried the "ninth-century performance" day and we should mark our Graduales accordingly.

    Could we say that holding and warming that oriscus, in contravention of earlier practice, represents a different sensibility toward dissonance?

    If the early monks passed over the oriscus lightly, wanting to move more quickly to the "structural" tone, we, after so many years of listening habits, might be more tolerant of this dissonance and even favor (savor?) it by lengthening it. Perhaps Dom Mocquereau shared this sensibility?

    It pleases me to think that these chant melodies are durable enough qua melodies to support either approach.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, Bruce:

    In a word: it all depends on which MSS you choose. The Gajard 1934 Antiphonale is different than the Vaticana (1912) Antiphonale for the simple reason that it favors different MSS.

    The idea of a Triplex is, "scholarly" speaking, a big joke, because it puts adiastematic notation from around the 9th century underneath the NOTES of the Vatican Edition !!!!!!! This is not a responsible thing to do, as far as scholarship goes. Applying the rhythm of Einsiedeln, for instance, to the notes and melodies of the Vatican edition is ... musically absurd. In essence, it amounts to taking the rhythmic markings of a 9th century manuscript, guessing at their meaning, and then applying them to a 13th century manuscript, or a 16th century manuscript. This is not scholarly. Just for an example, many scholars think that in the 8th and 9th centuries they were singing quarter tones, which the Vaticana (of course) does not notate. Then, too, it is certain that a lot of the Vaticana chants (like the Circuibo Communion) are not even on the correct clef, as far as how they would have been sung in the 9th century.

    Again, it all depends on which manuscript one is looking at.

    Everyone is free to use or formulate his own method. The Mocquereau method is a great method that has been used by millions of Catholics.

    Regarding the salicus, it is defined differently by different people----the Vatican Edition defines it differently than the Mocquereau school. See Joseph Gogniat on this.
  • Mr Ford, a brilliant explanation of the salicus, the oriscus, and "la coupure nematique"! This neumatic break was, I believe, one of Dom Cardine's most interesting discoveries. Your example of the "Gaudeamus" is perfect to illustrate it. I am afraid I don't quite understand Jeff Ostrowski's statement that the Triplex is from the the point of view of scholarship "a big Joke" and not "responsible" and "musically absurd". I don't follow his reasoning. Though I must admit it is lovely to use words like "adiastematic", though I think "in campo aperto" has a nicer ring to it!
  • Thanks aaaa - lot!
  • And that, Ralph, is know as (using the technical musicological term) a can o' worms.
  • The “Restoration of Gregorian Chant,” begun in the nineteenth century, presupposes:

    (1) That a single corpus of Roman chants, as substantially modified by Frankish musicians, was orally transmitted—with remarkable fidelity—to various parts of Europe;

    (3) That the fidelity with which the chants were transmitted becomes evident through the comparative study of the earliest notational systems, which, although they were independently devised in various place, show an astonishing degree of congruence;

    (3) That the more the melodic reading given in a diastematic manuscript is congruent with the neumes given in the earliest “in campo aperto” manuscripts, the more dependable that melodic reading is.

    Mocquereau quite as much as Cardine would have said that both date and provenance should determine the importance we attach to a manuscript.

    The Es and Bs found in Beneventan manuscripts (as opposed to corresponding Fs and Cs found in northern European manuscripts) usually accord better with the earliest manuscripts and often accord better with verbal accents. See, for example, the second syllable of the word “tuam” in the introit, “Resurrexi.” The F to which this syllable is set in the Vaticana contradicts the St. Gall neumes. (A virga would be required to indicate a rise to F.) It also places a false musical accent on a weak syllable.

    Jeff seems to be arguing that one manuscript is as good as another, and that the because the B in the “Gaudeamus” intonation is replaced by a C in some manuscripts, we may legitimately choose either. He certainly has the right to take that position, but not without acknowledging that when he does, he rejects the guiding principle of the “Restoration.” Carried to its logical conclusion his position justifies a return to the Medicean editions by those who happen to prefer them.

    The Graduale Triplex, by the way, was never intended to be a performance edition. It was intended as a tool for study, although it was produced with the intention that such study would inform performance. Jean Claire (a college of Cardine who served as choirmaster at Solesmes for about thirty years) mocked the idea of putting the Triplex into the hands of the whole choir. The triplex lays out three systems of notation in tabular fashion, so that we can easily see where they agree and where they differ. It also helps us to identify melodic errors in the Vaticana.

    The Vatican edition was a great achievement. Mocquereau moved beyond it, however, in the Antiphonale Monasticum of 1934, in the editing of which he was informed by new-found understanding of the special value of Beneventan and Aquitainian manuscripts. Cardine was just carrying on the paleographic research that Pothier and Mocquereau had initiated. His research led him to new conclusions about note values and modality. Future research will supersede his.

    Cardine said that the “in campo aperto” manuscripts helped us to distinguish more important notes from less important, but that they left degree of augmentation or diminution unspecified. Some performances called “modo Cardine” do not sound radically different from performances “modo Mocquereau” or “modo Lucien David.” Others sound almost like performances “modo Vollaerts and Murray.” I don’t know why the mere mention of his name should raise hackles with devotées of Mocquereau, or why any lover of chant would refer to semiology as “the ‘s’ word.”
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Jeff seems to be arguing that one manuscript is as good as another," --- no, this is not true at all, and I never said that.

    I was merely pointing out that to place 9th century or 8th century neumes over the notes of the Vatican Edition (such as, for example, the Triplex does) doesn't make any sense at all.

    People are free to do it, but they need to realize what they are doing.

    With regards to the principles of the "Restoration," these have been discredited. They presuppose two things:

    (1) There is a "perfect" manuscript of Gregorian chant that was sung everywhere by everyone (and in the same manner). [in other words, they don't admit that local variations arose]

    (2) That we can simply line up all the ancient fragments we currently possess and (through a scientific method of comparison) we will be able to, in essence, come up with the melody that St. Gregory wrote. [we do not have adequate MSS to do this, although it is true that the earliest MSS have an amazing amount of similarity]

    When I say, "It depends what manuscript you are considering," the reason is because chant underwent many developments over the centuries --- it is necessary to specify which manuscript one is talking about (i.e. which time period and which geographical LOCATION --- both affect the manuscript).
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I am afraid I don't quite understand Jeff Ostrowski's statement that the Triplex is from the the point of view of scholarship "a big Joke" and not "responsible" and "musically absurd". I don't follow his reasoning.

    The Triplex places early adiastematic neumes (i.e. neumes that don't specify pitch) on top of the notes of the Vatican Edition, which was, in essence, a private edition done by Pothier (with help from Jausions) --- this edition was actually finished (according the Solesmes librarian) in 1868 ---- finally, it was published in 1883 ---- it changed very little when it was promulgated in 1908 (I have compared both, at length).

    The rhythm of those ancient manuscripts only applies to the notes that would have been sung at that time. Applying that rhythm to the Vatican Edition is .... troubling, to say the least.

    Incidentally, Cardine did not "discover" the "la coupure nematique," and, upon examining his actual words on the subject, we find that he is quite liberal (i.e. leaves great freedom) as regards the implication of these breaks, which both Mocquereau and Pothier (among others) wrestled with.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    You know, maybe I am approaching this from the wrong angle.

    Let me ask this (I really want to know):

    Anyone who uses the Triplex: Why do you put the ancient neumes over the Vatican Edition?

    Why not use Mocquereau's 1903 Liber? (the NOTES are different than the Vatican Graduale)

    Or why not use the notes from Pothier's 1883 or 1895 Graduale? (the NOTES are slightly different than the Vatican Graduale)

    Or why not use Hermesdorff's Graduale? I have both of his editions: they are very interesting. In ONE of his editions, he even puts the ancient adiastematic neumes above the square notes (100 years before Cardine was doing this). (the NOTES are different than the Vatican Graduale)

    Or why not find the different editions Dr. Peter Wagner made of the Graduale by hand? (the NOTES are different than the Vatican Graduale)

    (you can instantly see all these editions on my site, by the way)

    Or why not get together your own manuscripts (and you will probably start with the Montpellier H. 159, by the way, just like everyone else) and make your own edition from ancient MSS? I promise you the notes will be different than the ones listed above.

    Why do you use a book that puts the ancient neumes over the Vatican edition (as the Triplex does)?

    Mocquereau's Liber Usualis of 1903 used 40 more year's worth of MSS comparisons (40 more year's worth of scholarship that the Vatican Edition did not use!). Why not put the neumes over Mocquereau's 1903 edition? Why use the Vatican edition?
  • Jeff:

    Mocquereau's 1903 edition is, of course, better than the Vatican edition because it "used 40 more years' worth of MSS comparisons." And the 1934 antiphonal is better still, because it used another 30 years' worth. The 2005 antiphonal is better still.

    I don't know why Cardine and his cronies used the Vatican edition as the basis for the Triplex. Vatican II had called for further revision of the Vatican edition of the chant. Probably they saw little advantage in resurrecting the 1903 Liber Gradualis because they hoped to produce something superior to IT as well as to the Vatican edition within a few decades. Columba Kelly said that Solesmes has, in fact, completed a revision that has been sitting for ages on some Vatican bureaucrat's desk. I don't understand why Solesmes doesn't simply publish it privately.

    I would not use the Triplex for performance. Although it is commonly so used, it was not intended to be. Jean Claire said so, unambiguously.

    More than 90 per cent of the time (I would estimate) the notes of the Vatican edition DO match the St. Gall and Laon neumes, and the St. Gall neumes provide guidance for their rhythmic interpretation. In other cases the St. Gall and Laon neumes alert us to errors in the Vatican edition and send us to MSS sources for clarification.

    I don't have the time, the resources, or the expertise to do my own complete revision of the Graduale Romanum. I can, however, correct most of the B-to-C and E-to-F mutations by referring to Beneventan sources. I don't have the 1903 Liber Gradualis and was not aware that it was accessible on your site. Anthony Ruff told me about the Gregor-und-Taube site, which posts revisions made by a group of German scholars (with St. Gall neumes above the staves). Since then I have been consulting them.

    Now that I know about the resources on your site, I am eager to consult them. Does the Peter Wagner Graduale include the Kyriale? When John Boe was writing his dissertation in 1969, he was unable to obtain a copy of Wagner's Kyriale. I assumed that it was impossible to get. Wagner, of course, preferred the Fs and Cs of northern manuscripts to the Es and Bs of southern. So my interest in that particular resource is borne mostly of curiosity; but this curiosity is intense.

    This discussion started with the salicus. The Triplex is useful to letting us know whether a particular three-note neume bearing a vertical episema under the second note is in fact a salicus--because not all are. Surely you will concede that is serves THIS purpose.

    I have no animus toward Mocquereau. He was right about many things, but wrong about others. The same will be said of Cardine, I am sure. And I dislike the majority of performances purportedly based upon Cardine's teaching. They abound in what he would have considered gross exaggerations of the differences in note values.

    I detect in many postings on this site a puzzling animus toward Cardine. Many seem to be suggesting that advances in chant scholarship up to his time were praiseworthy but that those to which his work gave rise are suspect.

    I will admit that figuring out how to take advantage of his discoveries and incorporate the fruits of semiology into performance by a "real world" church choir is extremely difficult. (So did he.) But the difficulty does not give us ground to reject his findings per se. And certainly adopting his very reasonable interpretation of the salicus is not hard.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, Bruce. I thank you for your response very much.

    THIS SITE has excerpts of the editions I mentioned. Although the site needs much revision, I think the Hermesdorff editions, as well as the 1903 Mocquereau (and other neat editions) will be of interest.

    I do have Peter Wagner's Kyriale (the version in modern notation, I believe), but all my books are packed away currently, because we just moved.

    I have some excerpts of Peter Wagner's Kyriale (for example, under the Panorama with Kyrie IV).

    I am working on putting up (among other things) my copies the Mocquereau 1903 Liber (as well as other editions he did around that time, like one called "Manuale" which is unique, and very beautiful). I also want to put up both Hermesdorff editions, even though Hermesdorff died before he finished the second one. (I had to pay a pretty penny to get that Hermesdorff edition from Germany about 5 years ago)

    Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to do this yet. A dear friend sent me a scanner to use, but we can't get it to work yet.

    So, right now, all I have posted is some excerpts.

    I was able to assist my dear friend Jeffrey Tucker in posting the book by Molitor, which gives a lot of German chant comparisons at the end. Also, the book by Cagin and Mocquereau (mentioned in my article that is coming out in Winter CMAA Magazine) is very apropos to what we are talking about, even though it was published in 1905. When I get my scanner, I want to put that one up as well.

    But all this pales in comparison to what would happen if I were allowed to go into the Solesmes archives for 6-7 hours with my digital camera!

    (incidentally, I don't think Columba Kelly is correct, or, at least, his words are contradicted by something I know but am not at liberty to mention here from a very good source at Solesmes ---- but, again, who knows?)

    I hear Cardine was a very nice man (my friend used to work closely with him), but, as far as I can tell, his disciples have not always represented him accurately.

    By the way, I have Peter Wagner's Kyriale, but not (of course) his hand-written Graduale ---- to my knowledge, no one has that, although I am sure he made his own editions of pieces from the Graduale.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Jeff

    Here are some candid answers:

    1. I sing from the Triplex because I was led to understand it would at least make possible (were I to follow its lead) a performance more faithful to the best manuscript sources. Of course, it's difficult to get around to finessing the Vatican melody when it's often enough of a task to master the Vatican melody itself, so singing "from the Triplex" in my case is a bit of a misnomer. It's more accurate to say I sing from the Vatican edition printed in the Triplex.

    2. I don't use Mocquereau's 1903 Liber (this is different from the Liber Usualis?) because I don't have it and wouldn't know where to find it. I'd be delighted to see you post it in full.

    3. Never heard of Hermesdorff. He sounds like an alternative to the Vatican edition, but I have no idea why his own work is preferable, and I don't have the time to answer that question.

    4. Similarly, why should I prefer Dr. Wagner's handwritten scores to those of the Liber Usualis or Graduale from 74? This would require a massive comparative effort that I can't afford.

    5. Compiling my own melodies from mss sources? Right now, who has the time? Who would know, in advance, that it would be worth the effort? Sounds like a nice project for retirement.

    6. Why use the Vatican edition? Because what I've read to date suggests that it's an excellent piece of scholarship, supported by Solesmes, and is handy.

    Bottom line: there aren't any accessible rivals yet to the Liber Usualis or Graduale. When someone comes out with a performance edition that represents the best chant scholarship to date (decades since Mocquereau), I'll be happy to use it.

    Right now, my understanding is that this edition does not yet exist, and the challenges we face right now are, to speak gently, rather more exigent.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    The site I mentioned above is BACK UP --- sorry, it went down temporarily.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, Pes.

    Again, for myself, I don't think it is a matter of "best chant scholarship" ----- I think it is a matter of choosing which MSS you want to sing from.

    Do you want to sing from early MSS that you know for absolute certain what the notes were? Probably, you would go with Montpellier H. 159 in Finn Hansen's transcription.

    Do you want to sing from a beautiful edition, based on reliable MSS, honoring the ancient traditions as well as the legitimate development of chant? I think you would sing from the Vatican Edition, possibly with Mocquereau's markings.

    Do you want to try to imagine how they sang chant in Einsiedeln in the 9th century? The closest you would come would be to use Mocquereau's 1903 Liber Usualis, because that is the closest thing we have. However, we know one thing for sure: although the 1903 Liber is the closest thing we have to the "notes" of the St. Gall MSS, we know for a fact that it is NOT the notes they were singing. That is why I have such little patience for people (and I have met them) who scream about following interpretations of St. Gall rhythm that are guesswork at best. I want to scream back at them: "You find me the exact pitches they were singing in those MSS and then I'll worry about your attempt at rhythmic recreation." A lot of the guesses at rhythm from those earliest MSS are based on philology, and I promise you, that will never give you certainty with regard to how things would have been sung. It will never give you certainty. They may or may not be interesting to read and worthy of consideration. But those conclusions are certainly not worthy of ramming down people's throat (and I am not saying that anyone on THIS forum would do that, let's be clear)
    Re: the 1903 Liber: before too long, I will make that book available --- i have already posted excerts on this site

    Mocquereau was a great scholar who studied the MSS with great care ---- there is absolutely nothing wrong with using his method. Others are free to make their own editions, and their own methods --- but to dogmatically issue decrees about the "right" way of doing chant, like it is the 11th Commandment --- this is irresponsible.
  • Jeff:

    You score a point when you say that we have no concrete evidence of what pitches were sung before the development of diastematic manuscripts.

    Nevertheless, Mocquereau himself would not have agreed with your assertion that Montpelier H. 159 is the most reliable key we have to what these notes were. His introduction to v. 15 of Paleographie Musicale attributes special value to Beneventan manuscripts for reasons that I have discussed in previous posts within this string.

    I have not seen the Liber Gradualis of 1903, but I read somewhere [How's that for accountability?] that it was better than the Vaticana because it adopted more Beneventan readings. I can say confidently that where melodies in 20th and 21st century Solesmes publications differ from those in the Vatican edition, the later publications most of the time follow Beneventan and/or Aquitainian manuscripts.

    The St. Gall and Laon neumes provide some of the evidence that has led to special confidence in Beneventan readings, inasmuch as they show direction of melodic movement, and in most cases where the pitches given in Montpelier H. 159 (and other sources) contradict the testimony of the St. Gall/Laon neumes, those given in the Beneventan manuscripts accord with them.

    You wrote, "Mocquereau was a great scholar who studied the MSS with great care ---- there is absolutely nothing wrong with using his method." Non sequitur. Scholarly findings in any field are always superseded or at least refined by later scholarly work. In the development of his rhythmic theories Mocquereau attached great importance to the adiastematic manuscripts. His interpretation of them was not, however, undergirded by the same exhaustive, comparative analysis carried out by those who came after them. Furthermore, since his successors did not attempt to formulate a "method" of chant performance, they did not have to engage in as much unsupported speculation as he did.

    The only solid teachings that Cardine and his cohorts have confidently advanced concern the comparative value of notes. They have asserted that the MSS evidence shows that some notes have more "value" than others, and they have supported their assertions with good evidence. But they have also said that the degree of augmentation and diminution involved must be left to interpretation. They have also left open the possibility of expressing "value" through increased intensity rather than duration. (See Goeschl and Agustoni.)

    Heeding the semiologists' conclusions about the relative importance of particular notes does not necessarily entail singing in a style that is radically different from the inherited Solesmes style. It certainly does not require singing in the style of the Gloria Dei Cantores. Cardine, in fact, condemned the "exaggerations" of almost all choirs that claimed to base their performances on his findings.

    The "rhetoric of continuity" that some have called for in the realm of liturgy is needed in the realm of chant. Change should not be perceived as total repudiation of what is familiar.

    Practical constraints may preclude the possibility of a church choir's incorporating all the nuance conveyed in the manuscripts into a chant performance. It may be preferable to ignore some rather than to risk exaggerating them. (I, for one, think that it is.) But clinging to Mocquereau's interpretation of certain neumes such as the salicus, when compelling evidence challenges it, is hard to defend.

    Since semiology does not constitute a "method," and performance without hours of rehearsal requires "rules" that it does not provide, it must, in fact be integrated into some existing "method." Although I prefer Lucien David's accentualist variation of the "Solesmes Method" because it is less counter-intuitive than the method devised by Mocquereau, I will gladly concede that Mocquereau's method can work equally well for those who are accustomed to it. Some, however, seem to feel that they must either adhere to its every rule or lose all its advantages. (By way of analogy-- Some people seem to feel that the only alternative to mass in the style of the Ed Sullivan Show is a return to the silent canon and the last gospel.)

    Using Mocquereau's system is not WRONG if it works for you, and if you use it with reasoned flexibility. Taking Mocquereau as the LAST WORD is irrational. Even with respect to melodic readings (where he probably did his best work), the Liber Gradualis of 1903 is certainly not the last word. Throughout the decades since then improved renderings of many pieces have appeared in books and journal articles. A huge collection of recent improved renderings by a committee of German scholars appears on the Gregor-und-Taube site (under "Materielen")

    Incidentally, the head of one of the antecedents of CMAA, Msgr. Schmitt, was not a Mocquereauvian. He was, apparently, a Pothier accentualist. (See Gary Francis Rayburn's "Gregorian Chant: a history of the controversy concerning its rhythm")

    You quoted yourself as having said: "You find me the exact pitches they were singing in those MSS and then I'll worry about your attempt at rhythmic recreation." That is rather akin to saying "Show me a cure for AIDS, and then I'll worry about taking penicillin for a streptococcus infection." The fact that we don't know everything does not discredit what we do know (or are coming closer to knowing).

    Finally, let me make a confession-- I, too, like what I like; and I have often found semiology to be more of a burden than a help. I've felt constrained to wrestle with it, however, and in many cases my feelings have changed.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Nevertheless, Mocquereau himself would not have agreed with your assertion that Montpelier H. 159 is the most reliable key we have to what these notes were."

    Bruce, I did not say that (or at least I did not MEAN to).

    I merely said that this is one of the earliest Manuscripts that we have that we know for sure what notes were sung (but, of course, it has other problems and mysteries about it --- the notes MAY have been added later, and some say it was a school Manuscript).

    As Mocquereau and Pothier have pointed out, the Montpellier is not necessarily an accurate guide to what notes the St. Gall school would have been singing.

    Schmitt hated Solesmes, as evidenced by his many articles in Caecilia.

    I must go for now. Cheers! I want to read the rest of your post ASAP.
  • 1) This is so informative! How much of it will I personally apply to my current performance? Probably not much. But I want to consider many of these aspects as I continue to chant, and some day teach a small schola.

    2) Any schola is required by definition to follow its master. Any single schola member needs to be enough of a good follower to instantly adjust to chanting under a different schola master. This is exactly the same as any professional instrumentalist under multiple conductors, or performing in a variety of groups. Many of them have their personal preferences also, and audiences certainly distinguish one ensemble's style from another - largely on the conductor.

    3) As I approach the end of my third year chanting various Mass parts using Nova Organi Harmonia, and making notations from Solesmes sources, I do have an opinion: Within any particular parish setting, under one schola leader, a continuity should exist. It would be similar to a "style" of playing hymns on the organ - wildly changing performance practices make singing/chanting in the worship of God that much more difficult. Whoever was responsible for the Vatican Edition, the Solesmes markings, and the NOH harmonies matters not that much to me. I see (hear in my mind) similarities from one chant to another - to the extent that I suspect what the Solesmes markings are that I need to add to the NOH - in order for my interpretations to be consistent from one Mass to the next.

    I think these are performance "bottom lines".
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    This is very interesting.
    Bruce, you said 'In the case of the salicus the note that follows the oriscus is usually placed on a "structural" pitch. The third note is clearly the most important of the three."


    Could you tell me how do you, or Dom Cardine define the 'Structural note.' Is it structural because it defines the mode of the chant? If you can explain a bit more on this it will be helpful to follow. When we anlayze modern music (I meant tonal music), of course we have other elements to look, harmony, rhythm and beat ... to find out structural notes.

    Also, is it possible that not all the salicus emphasize the second note, but Dom Mocq. wanted to be more consistant with his theory to make it simpler for the chanters? So another words that sometimes it's the second and sometimes it's the third note to be emphasized and the chanters have to look into more carefully to decide which one to emphasize? (how about the first one as in the group with quilslisma? I guess it's not called Salicus any more.) This seems to be very hard to figure out especially when it happens in a long mellisma.

    I'd like to know more about the theory behind all this different interpretations before I make my own performance decisions, so they are not toatally random and personal. ( which is very prevalent in pop style music, personal and random... too much rubato which I want to avoid in my singing chants)
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, Bruce.

    "Non sequitur. Scholarly findings in any field are always superseded or at least refined by later scholarly work."

    Without question, they are. But the Triplex doesn't do that. The Triplex uses the NOTES of an 1868 edition!!!! Does it really matter all that much which notes one is holding a bit longer if you aren't even singing the correct notes?

    That's not refinement. That's laziness, sloppiness, and arrogance. It would be like refining the way one reads the Aeneid even though one KNOWS that he is using a faulty version.

    By the way, Bruce, I am not accusing you of any of this, because you have already made clear that you understand (better than most!) the drawbacks and limits of the Triplex.

    And it also does not take into consideration tradition. How many total Catholics sang from those St. Gall MSS? 40? 80? 120? Not all that many. How many Catholics have used the Mocquereau method (whether or not it is a "perfect" method)? Millions. It has become traditional. Why start nitpicking here and there? I don't know that this is necessary.

    "Throughout the decades since then improved [melodic] renderings of many pieces have appeared in books and journal articles."

    I don't think they are going in the right direction. They still seem to believe that they can line up certain MSS, scientifically take this note from this manuscript, that note from that manuscript, change a B-flat to a B-natural, and by doing all this come up with "the" authentic Gregorian reading.

    Peter Wagner decried this over 100 years ago, and I have never seen his argument answered. In essence, what he said was this: If you just line up a bunch of manuscripts and try to find "the" authentic melody (for instance, the one that would have been sung at Einsiedeln in the 9th century) there is a MAJOR chance that you will come up with a melody that has never been sung anywhere by anyone. That is a real problem, musically speaking.

    The 1903 is not the final word: can there ever BE a final word if this is the method?

    I think it is much wiser to go off manuscripts that we know for certain what they are (even if one manuscript does not have all the chants we currently sing: I think it would be OK to take from different sources, as long as we sing WITHOUT FAIL a melody that we know was actually sung somewhere by someone).

    Or, if one insists on "meshing" together several manuscripts, I think it ought to be done artistically (like Pothier did) rather than scientifically (as Mocquereau wanted the older he got).

    With regard to the whole "values" issue, I get a little irritated when people pretend like this is a discovery. (especially the idea that if you have a bunch of syllables with only a few notes, and then a syllable with a melisma, that the melisma should go "faster" --- this is a very old idea, held by numerous [discredited] 19th century musicians.)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    Jeff, I'm not trying ot upset you, but I read from your website that your accompaniment style doesn't follow the Solesmes method; changing chords according to texts accents not by the ictus of Solesmes method. How does that work with the chant singing with ictus of Solesmes method and different style of accompaniment? If I'm confused, please forgive me.
  • Accompaniment to chant is "organic". It needs to support, but not overpower. It needs to flow but not really lead. I need to find the short pamphlet by Dom Gregory Murray in which he speaks of his conversion of harmonic changes ONLY with the text, to a freer expression of the flow of the piece. (BTW, he never mentions any chant NOT being accompanied, only which rhythmic methods are better.) So, there are schools of thought on the subject. The accompaniment is not like leading the entire congregation in a hymn - that's "leading". I have had occasion to miss an inner voice change by a beat in NOH, and it doesn't seem to change the flow of the melody at all. (Although I'm sure there are some instances where it might!) When I find this document, I will share it ASAP.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, miacoyne.

    I am not upset at all! I am honored to even receive such a question.

    Have you downloaded the Nova Organi Harmonia ?

    If you do that, and read the article at the beginning about the rhythm of the Vatican Edition (and also read this article I wrote) I think it will become more clear.

    In a nutshell, The Nova Organi Harmonia was my model.

    Flor Peeters and Van Nuffel (according their preface) made it clear that their accompaniments "have the requisite flexibility to fit the different schools."

    In other words, even though the Nova Organi Harmonia is a bit different rhythmically (in some parts) than the Mocquereau Solesmes method (dubbed by Schmitt as "neo-Solesmes"), it is not too hard to adapt. The NOH is done according to "Old Solesmes" (i.e. Pothier's conception of rhythm).

    Man, this thread sure has changed course (I've noticed that all threads do)!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    Sorry I got you off the track, but I do appreciate your reponse. I was wondering whether it's necessary to play all the notes of the melody in organ accomp. I heard beautiful accomp. that plays just the main chords (and sustain them, of course) and changes them only occasionally when it's necessary. (and very very quietry. It was beautiful.) Sorry again, I won't ask this in this thread any more.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, miacoyne.

    Please don't apologize: as I noted, this is very natural in a forum.

    Flor Peeters addresses the question you have at the very end of his method. Also, I treat it in this essay. In that article, I also include the following comment by Dom Mocquereau:

    "I am dreaming of an accompaniment sustained by a sequence of gentle, linked, light chords, exactly in the mode, the melody being left to voices alone." —Dom André Mocquereau

    Also in that article, I give audio examples of what such an accompaniment sounds like, and I praise it as being the best way to accompany chant, if one's schola is up to it.

    In Christ, JMO
  • Jeff:

    Your idea of basing a performance edition upon a single manuscript has merit. Nevertheless, I don't think its adoption would ensure that a modern schola would be singing something as it had been sung somewhere in the past. For if the manuscript chosen were a diastematic manuscript, it would show what NOTES had been sung but would not reveal enough about rhythm to obviate the need for some guesswork; and if it were an adiastematic manuscript, it would show details about rhythm and direction of melodic movement but would not show what pitches were sung.

    Suppose we take the notes from one diastematic manuscript, we must compare that manuscript with an adiastematic manuscript to get some indication of HOW the notes had been sung.

    Pothier himself compared diastematic manuscripts with adiastematic manuscripts. In fact, he incorporated some elements of the St. Gall notation into his system of four-line notation. (Why he incorporated some, such as the quilisma, and not others, such as the salicus, is hard to fathom.)

    You are right to say that finding a single "original" version of every chant would be impossible, and that even if it were possible, the results would not justify the effort required. With respect to a certain part of the chant corpus, however, there may well be something approximating an original version that is work finding for "artistic" reasons.

    The earliest "Romano-Frankish" chants were, in fact, disseminated over a wide area through oral transmission with astonishing fidelity. The degree of agreement between the adiastematic manuscripts written in various types of notation is mind-boggling. Furthermore, certain diastematic manuscripts agree with (earlier) adiastematic manuscripts to a greater degree than others. The results we can achieve by taking the diastematic manuscripts that accord best with the adiastematic manuscripts and using them together as the basis for a performance edition can be splendid--"artistically" far superior to those produced in other ways.

    When I say that they are "artistically superior," I do not mean simply that I like them better. Ferretti has shown how perfect concordance between text and music evident in the approximately original versions reconstructed by comparison of (let us say) Benevento VI.34 with Laon 239 has been destroyed by later redactors. Among the examples he cites is the Introit, "Reminiscere," in which the raising of Es to Fs have obliterated musical accents or placed false accents in the words "reminiscere," "Domine," and "tuae." I can cite many other similar cases.

    I agree with Peter Wagner (and Winfred Douglas) that the earliest form of a melody is not ALWAYS the best. I would say, however, that the earliest
    forms (reconstructed in the manner I have described) of the earliest Romano-Frankish chants are ALMOST always the best.

    Your theory about "living tradition," carried to its logical conclusion, would be justified retention of the Medicean editions in use before the Solesmes "Restoration." I am also skeptical about the extent to which the singing of "Gregorian Chant According to the Solesmes Method" is a living tradition. In the forty years since the post-Vatican II liturgical reform little chant has been sung in Roman Catholic parish churches--according to any method. And even before the council little was sung, at least on the east coast. (I'm told that R.C. music was better in the Middle West, where Germans predominated.) I grew up in a prosperous suburb at 50 miles from New York. In the local Roman church the "high mass" on Sundays was a Missa Cantata--with two servers and without incense. The choir was composed of a few nuns and a few aging lay women. The propers were sung to psalm tones or, in some cases, monotoned. I first heard the Gregorian propers sung in a Roman Church during my first visit to Westminster Cathedral in 1974. I am told that there were places (such as Corpus Christi, New York, and St. Paul's, Cambridge) where chant was sung; but these were few and far between. And although they probably sang in a more-or-less equalist style, I doubt that they all followed the "Solesmes Method" in all its particulars. In introducing chant to the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. you are largely breaking new ground.

    Although, neither of us is likely to win the other over to all his positions, I have found this exhange helpful because it has compelled me to organize and articulate my own thoughts. While we may be boring other readers of the list, we may also be encouraging them to sort out their own positions on the matters we have been debating. If so, this is all to the good.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "For if the manuscript chosen were a diastematic manuscript, it would show what NOTES had been sung but would not reveal enough about rhythm to obviate the need for some guesswork; and if it were an adiastematic manuscript, it would show details about rhythm and direction of melodic movement but would not show what pitches were sung."

    Hi, Bruce. I have to ask: are you saying that we do know how the rhythm of chant was sung with regards to adiastematic manuscripts, but we do not know how the diastematic manuscripts were sung?

    My understanding is that we do not know either with certainty.

    As a matter of fact, with regard to, for example, the Romanian "letters" in the St. Gall MSS, I have never even seen real proof as to what these mean. I think "c" is generally admitted to mean "celeriter" (faster), "t" is generally thought to be a mora vocis, and the others, like "l" for levatur (higher?), are ignored. It is weird that, for example, Mocquereau gave great weight to some, but not others.

    But, again, the main thing I want to ask is this, Bruce: are you saying that you DO know with certainty the rhythm of adiastematic manuscripts, but you do NOT know with certainty the rhythm of the diastematic notations?

    This is a crucial point to know. I argue that we really know neither with certainty, and (if anything) we know more about the diastematic notations than we do about the adiastematic notations.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Your theory about "living tradition," carried to its logical conclusion, would be justified retention of the Medicean editions in use before the Solesmes "Restoration." I am also skeptical about the extent to which the singing of "Gregorian Chant According to the Solesmes Method" is a living tradition."

    I don't think there can be any doubt that the Solesmes recordings have been sung by many, many Catholics. There are literally thousands upon thousands of recorded instances of this.

    The Medicean editions were not sung all that often until the famous "privilege" was granted. Even so, although I don't like those editions, I don't think we can deny that they were, indeed, sung by the Church for a period of time.

    The advantage the Solesmes chant has over the Medicean is that it is based on (in my view) a more beautiful and musically authentic period of Gregorian composition.

    But, both were sung by the Church for a period of time: I don't know that we can deny this fact.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Bruce, by the way, what do you think of Ferretti's arguments for the "primacy of the tonic accent" in Gregorian composition.

    For myself, I find that . . . there are simply too many exceptions to his "rules"
  • Jeff:

    I think that Ferretti's claims for the "primacy of the tonic accent" are reinforced by what Cardine, Goeschl, and Agustoni have taught about structural pitches. Many of the apparent violations of Ferretti's rule involve unstressed syllables placed on "decorative" high notes.

    I avoid referring to word accents in medieval Latin as "tonic," because by the fourth century the Latin accent had become a stress accent rather than a pitch accent. I notice,however, that many writers who are fully aware of this fact continue to apply the terminology of classical Latin to medieval Latin. This point is surely unimportant.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Cool. Thank you.

    Bruce, also: are you saying that you DO know with certainty the rhythm of adiastematic manuscripts, but you do NOT know with certainty the rhythm of the diastematic notations? (please see above)
  • Jeff:

    How could I or anyone know the rhythm of the diastematic manuscripts? They contain no indications of rhythm, so far as I know. That's why editors of modern chant books from Pothier on have always looked at them together with adiastematic manuscripts.

    Do I know FOR CERTAIN what the adiastematic notations signify? Of course not. But I think that those who have carried out exhaustive comparative studies of these notations-- both separately from and in conjunction with the diastematic manuscripts-- have brought us closer to knowing than we have ever been before. Since the manuscripts are 1000+ years old, absolute certainty about what they signify will probably always elude us.

    What the early notation signifies and how we ought to sing the chant are two different matters. Do you dispute what Cardine et al. have told us about what the adiastematic manuscripts signify, or are you merely asserting that we are not bound to follow what they signify when we are singing chant? In the first case you would need to write a book to prove your point. In the second case, you are probably right.

    But SOME of Mocquereau's rules (e.g., his rules for interpreting the salicus, the pes quadratus, the episema over a clivis) are based upon his interpretation of what the adiastematic manuscripts signify. Given his scholarly predilections, I suspect that if he were alive today, he would modify these interpretations in light of what subsequent analytic and comparative studies have revealed. So I don't see any reason for clinging to every one of Mocquereau's dicta. And I don't think the only alternative is singing in the style of Cantores Dei.

    Semiology does not provide a "method" of performance. The signs leave much to interpretation. They provide insufficient guidance for performance. They must be used in connection with a "method" of some sort--established or new. (I happen to prefer the Lucien David accentualist "method." It is easier for modern musicians to grasp than Mocquereau's. But Mocquereau's will serve, with certain adjustments.) Recent Solesmes recordings do not sound like Gloria Dei Cantores.

    There are many organists who cannot or do not wish to follow all the theories about baroque articulation that are being advanced in some quarters today but also do not play Bach as Albert Schweitzer did. Nor are they necessarily dismissive of the theories they choose not to follow.

    Your positions are well considered, and I am not accusing you of this fault. Nevertheless, a lot of contemporary "Mocquereauvians" seem intent on teaching every jot and tittle of the "Solesmes Method" as it was taught in 1930, as if Gajard's book weremore hallowed than sacred scripture, and in dismissing the insights of semiology as heresy. Mocquereau = Good // Semiology = Bad. I think that's insane.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 314
    - There's an article about the salicus by Dom Laurence Bevenot OSB in Sacred Music volume 115 no 4, Winter 1988 that's very a propos much of this interesting discussion. Check the archives of Sacred Music on musicasacra.com to find it.

    - I am almost persuaded by this whole "structural pitch" argument, but wouldn't adopting a more "correct" interpretation of the salicus while retaining the rest of the old Solesmes method (as Bruce Ford seems to be suggesting for those of us who are cautious about this whole business) necessitate a lot of reorganization of the placement of the ictus? This seems like a lot of bother just to fix something that doesn't sound all that broken to most ears. What I like about Mocquereau's method is the way it keeps the music moving along steadily. The episemas balance out this tendency and prevent the music from becoming too rigid. But they are carefully placed, and I fear that moving them around will throw the whole thing off...

    - This summer I had the opportunity to hear the choir of the monks of St-Benoit-du-lac Abbey in Quebec who are directed by Dom Richard Gagne. (btw, I had the pleasure of meeting there the organist from your church, Mr. Ford, who said he ended up there at your suggestion.) Dom Gagne studied closely with Dom Jean Claire and was his assistant and successor as choirmaster at Solesmes. No rigid Mocquereauvian he. I attended Mass triplex in hand and was watching for (among other things) how the choir would handle the salicus. Without exception, they lengthened the second note of each salicus. They must have their reasons.
  • Robert:

    I wouldn't have the choir sing from the old Solesmes editions if I were making changes. I'd either do my own typesetting or photocopy pages from the plain Vatican edition with my own marks added.

    Secondly, I would change neumatic elements other than the salicus. I would place the episema over both notes of the episematic clivis, and place episemata both above and below the pes quadratus, and (if I were not doing my own typesetting), place an episema over the top note of the pes quassus.

    I would probably not transcribe all the indications of augmentation from the MSS because without endless rehearsal, choirs inevitably exaggerate them, and if all are included, the chant loses its fluency.

    Personally, I would also place the ictus marks to make them coincide with the verbal accents, modo Lucien David.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Hi, Bruce:

    I assume you mean Lucien David, Dom Pothier's Secretary. Where can I find specifics on his method?

    "How could I or anyone know the rhythm of the diastematic manuscripts? They contain no indications of rhythm, so far as I know. That's why editors of modern chant books from Pothier on have always looked at them together with adiastematic manuscripts."

    To this, I have two answers, a short and a long:

    SHORT: I believe we can know a lot about the rhythm of diastematic notation.

    LONG: "They contain no indications of rhythm, so far as I know." Sure they do! The punctums! Two in a row is longer than one. Three in a row is even longer than two in a row. Four in a row is even longer than three in a row, and so on. It is true that they don't have Romanian letters, but I have never seen a SHRED of evidence as to what the Romanian letters mean. There is conjecture, OH YES. But never about the harder ones (like the "l"), only about the (seemingly) easier ones (like "c" for celeriter). We have no method book that tells us clearly which notes these letters applied to, how they relate to the rest of the notes, what they mean, how to perform them, or how widespread and uniform the letters were, etc.. We have none of this. It is all based on conjecture. And this conjecture is much more certain (with regards to rhythm) a bit later, with the diastematic neumes. In other words, we have even less certainty as regards rhythm with the adiastematic than we do with the diastematic.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Do you dispute what Cardine et al. have told us about what the adiastematic manuscripts signify?"

    This is too broad a question for this forum. In general, I don't dispute anything Cardine said, because he left INCREDIBLE freedom as to what anything means and what we know with certainty. He had a lot of guesses about the Einsiedeln MSS based on comparative studies of philology, but the best we can say about any of them are, "It certainly is possible that your guess may be correct. That is to say, it is at least in the realm of possibility." That is all we can really say.

    If you give me direct statements from Cardine that he asserted with certainty (there are very few!) we can discuss them.

    Again, with regards the salicus (the origin of this conversation), it seems of little importance how likely Cardine's interpretation of the salicus in the St. Gall manuscripts is, because we know for a fact that the notes in the Vaticana were not what the monks in Einsiedeln were singing in the 9th century.

    If Cardine wanted his guesses taken more seriously, he should not have placed his markings over an 1868 edition: that was a huge mistake on his part.

    (Then again, I have Cardine's original markings over the 1908 Graduale --- I am not sure he even MEANT for the Triplex to have ever be created --- if someone knows his thoughts on this, chime in, please --- his original intent seems merely to have been an exercise to help himself get more familiar with the neumes)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    Bruce,
    you said "I think that Ferretti's claims for the "primacy of the tonic accent" are reinforced by what Cardine, Goeschl, and Agustoni have taught about structural pitches."
    How do you determine the structural notes in a long mellisma. (I don't think the pitch is the right term, because I might be singing the same note on a different pitch from yours. But I do not want to go into details here.) There are many instances where you have lots of salicus in a long mallismas where Tonic accent (or Stressed syllable) theory cannot apply. In that case, do the structural notes mean the notes that define the modes, or the notes structures the scales of the modes (like modern Shankerian theory)? I'm very interested in learning more about semiology even if they used less quailified manuscipts. As a musician, I feel that there are something worth learning to enrich our singing chants.
    Mia
  • Here's the deal:
    "Vi-di-mus * stell-am e-jus in O-ri-ent-e." Communion for Epiphany. I will not be singing this in the ninth century, in 1868, 1903, 1930, or 1974. And I would like to present sensible rhythmic structures or we will not be singing this in 2009.
    I have marked the following phrases:
    "- jus in O-" = 1,2,3; -

    from the second note of the neume "-O-ri-" = 1(held),2 3

    "-en" = 1,2

    advice is welcome.
  • Miacoyne,

    I know you posed the question to Bruce, but I thought I'd chime in for a minute: In Cardine's "Gregorian Semiology" structural pitches are determined in various ways, all of which are based upon the neume designs of the adiastematic manuscripts. Much of it has to do with "graphic separation" which identifies breaks in long melismatic passages and, thus, breaks them down into smaller groups of neumatic elements that tend to act like they do in more quasi-syllabic passages. The methods for finding structural pitches are not easy to summarize (although a project of mine has been to create a distilled reference guide for the basic principles of Semiology. Maybe I can post it to share with others once it is completed.) You mentioned Shenkerian analysis--Fr. Columba Kelly actually (loosely) uses this in his chant seminars at St. Meinrad. It is helpful to see the underlying skeleton of the chant. Using these methods, a chant as ornate as the "Haec dies" can be distilled down to something that looks like a quasi-syllabic chant, and then when the ornamentation is sung, it all hinges off of the structural pitches of the melody. If you haven't gotten into the Semiology text yet, don't be timid, it's actually not that big of a book and it is really quite concise.

    Thank you, Jeff and Bruce for the fantastic conversation above--although I'm thinking that the category should be changed to something other than "For Newcomers: Read First"! I also have to say to directors of chant who may be intimidated by the detail of this conversation: Please don't think that you have to be able to completely follow this thread in order to incorporate elements of semiology into your chant direction--There are semiological methods (such as the one taught by Fr. Columba Kelly in his week long chant courses, offered every summer) that are well within the reach of the average choirmaster or schola director.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    Thank you for chiming in, Adam. I hope you post your porject or publish it. It will be a big help for many. I do have the book, but it will make much more sense if someone explains it to me. After I read a chapter, I end up saying to myself "then what?" I think I should take a class. Thanks again for help.
    Mia
  • Mia,

    I suppose I did have a "big picture" explanation of semiology before I started getting into Cardine's text and I can see how it can be confusing without an overview. Interestingly the "Beginning Studies in Gregorian Chant" book by Cardine, tranlsated by Tortolano, is seen as part 1 of a two part series, of which Gregorian Semiology is part 2. If you haven't read this, it also may be helpful. I think, though, that the fundamental premise that differs from, say, the Mocquereau method, is summed up in a paragraph in the preface of the Liber Hymnarius of 1983:

    The principles of this proem flow out of the polished matching of a sacred text with a Gregorian melody. For that reason whoever gives attentive effort to Latin diction in singing, by that very fact already possesses very many of the requisites for executing Gregorian chant properly.


    What this is saying seems to be what I have heard reiterated over and over: Gregorian chant is sung speech. Its rhythm should follow the rhythm of good public speaking. In speaking we have no concept of a "basic pulse", but we proceed intuitively expressing the nuance of the words expressively based upon their content. From what I have come to know of chant interpretation, this should be the foundation. Dealing with larger neume groupings and finding structural pitches, etc., will come from reading the semiology text. But the distillation of Cardine's findings, I would propose, is that the rhythm of chant mirrors the rhythm of good public oration.

    I've attached Fr. Columba Kelly's translation of the preface of the Liber Hymnarius. This may also be helpful as a foundation to build upon.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Its rhythm should follow the rhythm of good public speaking." This was proposed by Franz X. Haberl in MAGISTER CHORALIS, and he emphasized it his whole life.

    How does this work when one has a melisma on 1 syllable that goes for 153 notes?
  • "How does this work when one has a melisma on 1 syllable that goes for 153 notes?"

    Firstly, I'd love to see a melisma that goes for 153 notes!

    According to the principle of graphic separation, I understand a melisma to be large string of quasi-syllabic groupings of neumatic elements. These smaller groupings mirror, in their composition, the composition of quasi-syllabic chant. I other words, the melisma could be seen as a string of "syllabic" groupings that are being sung on one syllable. Therefore, the principles of "sung speech" carry over to the treatment of these groupings within a melisma.

    This is perhaps an over-simplification, but I think that it demonstrates my fundamental understanding of melismas.