Help me understand how to plan for the Triduum
  • Dear friends, I'm planning music for Palm Sunday and the Triduum and am struggling with knowing what to do and how these liturgies specifically differ from normal Masses/liturgies. I don't know where to look for guidance or a clear and detailed description. The extent of my knowledge is as follows:
    Holy Thursday: Ubi Caritas for the Offertory and Pange Lingua goes in there somewhere, don't know where. No organ after communion
    Good Friday: Veneration of the Cross? no organ
    Vigil: I'm pretty sure I will be chanting the Easter Proclamation at the beginning (Don't know when to start that) and the Sequence (I know where that goes.) Lots of psalms and readings.

    I really want to know what I'm doing here - where could I go to read up on this? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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  • lmassery, you'll want to take a look at the Sacramentary (the big book the priest uses during the Mass) for answers to many of your questions. There will likely be one in the sacristy. Ask your priest if you can take a look at it. Also, most worship aids like hymnals or missalettes contain summaries of the information in the Order of Mass and the rubrics (instructions written in red in the Sacramentary) for special days.

    For music, a great resource for you would be the Gregorian Missal (available for viewing on the CMAA Chant Books page). It tells you what to sing and when to sing it. It also has chant melodies from the Roman Gradual for most of the sung parts (although other melodies and choral setting may be used) along with English translations, scripture references, and additional instructions.

    This Circular Letter also has a great deal of information about the celebrations of Triduum. Avoid reading magazines, articles, and information supplied by music publishers and other unofficial sources. They offer a lot of confusing and incorrect information.

    Good luck!
  • incantu is certainly correct.

    Actually, organ music should not be played as an instrumental during Lent. It should only be played to sustain the singing.

    On Palm Sunday, I would generally plan the following:

    Entrance Procession: All Glory, Laud and Honor
    Offertory: At the Name of Jesus (from the worship III hymnal)
    Communion: Sing My Tongue the Savior's Glory
    Recessional: What Wondrous Love Is This

    Ideally, I would do the propers, but, sadly, it is rare, indeed to find someone who can do that.
  • In the case of "All Glory Laud And Honor," it is one of the propers for the procession, as it is a fairly faithful translation of Gloria, laus, et honor. Even if you've never sung Gregorian chant before, the communion for Palm Sunday is one of the easiest antiphons in the repertory. You can find the Latin chant with verses on the CMAA chant book page under Communio, or find a very singable English version in Paul Ford's By Flowing Waters. Save "Sing My Tongue" for its proper place on Holy Thursday (Pange lingua gloriosi) or Good Friday (Crux fidelis). There's a nice singing version of the latter on the ICEL site, which is perfectly licit to use this year: Faithful Cross. And as for the recessional, since it's not a part of the Mass itself it might be better to leave it out in favor of trying to sing some form of the offertory. It's also a nice transition into the Triduum to leave on Palm Sunday in silence.
  • Thank you friends, for the most helpful comments!
  • Holy Thursday: Pange lingua goes after Mass during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose. The organ is not used at all after the Gloria.
    Good Friday: during the veneration of the cross, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful chants of the year is Agios O Theos, Sanctus Deus, alternated with verses of the reproaches. It is in Greek and Latin and its melody is undoubtedly ancient; the verses are easy recitative chant. You can find an English version of it (Greek and English) in the Palmer-Burgess, English Gradual, available on our web site.
    Easter Vigil: no sequence at the Vigil, only on Sunday morning. The organ is not used until the Gloria.

    Best wishes for a wonderful Holy Week!
  • Also, when singing the Pange lingua on Holy Thursday, you repeat the first four verses as necessary to cover the procession, then sing the Tantum ergo when the priest reaches the altar of repose.