Placement of the Sequence
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    In my Graduale Romanum, the Sequences for Pentecost and Corpus Christi are placed after the Alleluia (technically, the second Alleluia, since the GR has one Alleluia for the Gradual and one before the Gospel -- at least I assume that's how it works). The rubrics for Corpus Christi in the GR expressly say that it's sung "Post Alleluia," at least I think that's what the Latin says.

    Yet the GIRM says (at para 64) that you sing the sequence before the Alleluia.

    So that's what we'll do, but does anyone know why the GIRM and the GR differ on this point?

  • Bruce E. Ford
    Posts: 405
    The Alleluia was introduced to the Mass to herald the proclamation of the Gospel. Several centuries later sequences were introduced--built, in theory at least, upon the neuma of the Alleluia. But the interposition of the sequence between the Alleluia and the Gospel subverts the function of the Alleluia. Liturgical considerations favor the placement of the sequence before the Alleluia. Musical considerations favor its placement after the Alleluia. In the GIRM priority was given to liturgical considerations. In the Ordo Cantus Missae (and 1974 Graduale) priority was given to musical considerations. The instructions in the two documents are, indeed, contradictory.

    A reasonable resolution would be to sing the sequence after the Alleluia when both the Alleluia and the sequence are to be sung to their proper melodies, set forth in the Graduale, and otherwise to sing the sequence before the Alleluia. Unless both the Alleluia and sequence are sung to their proper chant melodies, the musical reasons for singing the sequence after the Alleluia do not apply.

    I wish that the revisers had placed the sequences after the Gospels. In the Ambrosian rite (among others) a chant follows the Gospel.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Thank you for this explanation and recommended solution. We're not singing the proper Alleluia, so we'll just follow the GIRM.

  • What about standing during the sequence?
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 998
    Ioannes, that's a whole 'nother can of worms! We didn't used to stand for the Alleluia verse, any more than for the Gradual preceding it. Unfortunately, in the New Rite, it's now the Gospel Acclamation, with instructions to stand. I guess, if you sing the Sequence after the Alleluia verse, as an expansion of the same, everyone would stand throughout. But, if you do perform it that way, be sure to add the traditional "Amen. Alleluia" at the end of it. (IMO the Sequence never sounds complete without it!) If you sing the Sequence before the Alleluia, without the "Amen. Alleluia." the congregation would remain seated, and then stand for the actual Gospel Acclamation. That is the way we do it here.
  • Bruce E. Ford
    Posts: 405
    Steve Collins wrote:

    "We didn't used to stand for the Alleluia verse, any more than for the Gradual preceding it. Unfortunately, in the New Rite, it's now the Gospel Acclamation, with instructions to stand."

    Why "unfortunately"? The Alleluia was introduced to the Roman rite as a Gospel acclamation. With the passage of time its purpose was forgotten. The novus ordo restored it to its proper function.

    In its rubrics concerning the proclamation of the Gospel the novus ordo conforms rather closely to Ordo Romanus Primus.

    Gospel ceremonial deteriorated during the late Middle ages. Reverence accorded to the Gospel book in earlier times disappeared. In earlier times a deacon carrying the Gospel book would never bow to the altar or the bishop or anything or anyone else. In late medieval usage the deacon held the book while genuflecting to receive the celebrant's blessing and also genuflected to the altar while holding the book. The novus ordo restores the earlier usage.
    In earlier times the Gospel was proclaimed from an ambo. In later times (with rare exceptions, cf. the provision for use of the ambo in the old Caeremonial Episcoporum) the Gospel was sung on the floor of the sanctuary, facing the north wall. The restoration of the old ceremonial (standing for the Alleluia, blessing the deacon before he takes the book from the altar, proclaiming the Gospel from the ambo) was not motivated by archaism but by a recovered understanding of the importance of the liturgical Gospel.

    The sequence, a late addition to the rite, is a good thing for which there is really no good place. Personally, I would have preferred that it be placed after the Gospel. Of course, some would object that nothing should stand between the Gospel and the homily. The conflicting provisions of the GIRM and the Ordo Cantus Missae reflect the difficulty that the sequence poses.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    GIRM: "64. The Sequence, which is optional except on Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Day, is sung before the Alleluia."

    I've always been confused about this, because the GRADUALE ROMANUM places the Alleluia first, and then the Sequence, and seems to say (in the rubrics at the front) that the Sequence comes after the Alleluia.

    What do they do in Rome?
  • Gilbert
    Posts: 106
    Does the new Graduale Romanum end the sequences with "Amen, Alleluia."? The Sequences in the Gregorian Missal leave out the "Amen, Alleluia." and I assume they just took it straight out of the new Graduale. It does sound somewhat odd without it. But then, if they intended them to be sung before the Alleluia Gospel Acclamation, this makes sense, even though in the Gregorian Missal they're placed between Alleluia and Gospel.
  • G
    Posts: 1,366
    Its very name indicates where it was intended to come.

    But I like the suggestion to have it follow the Gospel itself.
    And if delegated, (relegated?) to the choir, it would provide a moment of reflection to the people.

    But for now, I do as the GIRM dictates.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • godfrey
    Posts: 19
    There was an interesting flip-flop on this point between the 2000 GIRM and the 2002 GIRM as the following link (near the bottom), will highlight.

    So what are we to do in the face of the conflicting instructions? Go with the newest, which would be to place the Sequence before the Alleluia. There is a great little phrase in the Decree of Promulgation that settles this, "Anything to the contrary notwithstanding." Thus in changing the position of the Sequence to before the Alleluia in the 2002 GIRM, the intention of the Church is that is what is to be follow, the little phrase, abrogates any conflicting instructions.