Hymn Tune: St. Thomas - descants and harmonization
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    As mentioned in another thread, I had composed a descant for the traditional (Novello) harmonization of the hymn tune St. Thomas and also composed an alternate harmonization which has two descants. In preparing the score, I added a second descant to the traditional harmonization, as well.

    The attached PDF file contains the scores, with double descants, of both the traditional harmonization and my own harmonization.

    Two sound files are attached, one for each harmonization. In each case, the tune is played four times: once with no descant, once with Descant 2 only, once with Descant 1 only, and finally with both Descants 1 and 2 simultaneously.

    I plan to use these in settings of "Urbs beata Jerusalem" and "Pange lingua gloriosi" in the near future.

    Edit: As pointed out below, the melody for "St. Thomas" given here differs in the final two measures from the one found in most Catholic hymnals but is the one that is found in Anglican/Episcopal hymnals. In a posting below, I have remedied this by providing versions that employ the "Catholic" melody.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    Chuck, I have never sung St. Thomas (Wade) with the last two measures as you have them. The way I have always sung it has the melody of the last two measures the same as the melody of measures 3-4.

    I checked out the tune at hymnary.org, and all the page scans given match the tune as you have presented it. And not a single one of these page scans is from a Catholic hymnal.

    I am truly surprised that there are two versions of the melody. I will be further surprised if a number of Catholics say that they sing this tune the way you present it in your PDF's.

    Happy Sunday everyone!
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    I've also never heard it sung it in the way you write, Chuck. Interesting!
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    What he said.
    I worked at one parish that had a variation in Duguet, and one in the Stabat Mater melody. With this we could have had the trifecta at Lenten adoration....

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Coming from the Anglican side of the musical world, I'm used to the version posted above and never gave it second thought.. It has been in English hymnals for a long, long time. I haven't been able to lay my hands on Wade's "Cantus Diversi" of 1751 to check what's there. At any rate, I am going to try to work out a "Catholic" version.

    Catholics from the Anglican Use and Anglican Ordinariate will probably be happy enough with the version I posted.
  • Nice, Chuck! Good harmonisations, good descants, and good Anglican pace.
    As for that last line, it seems that here, as in a number of tunes, there is a 'Catholic version', an 'Anglican version', and (often) an 'everybody else's version'.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Ben Yanke
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Thank you, Jackson. Your assessment is much appreciated.

    The disparity over the ending of the tune reminds me of the differing Anglican and Catholic versions of "Conditor alme siderum" - on the sixth note of the chant. And, of course, there are numerous versions of the melodies of many Lutheran chorales - often several versions by the same composer (J.S. Bach, in particular).

    I haven't had a chance to revisit "St. Thomas" - a.k.a. "Holywood" - but I do wonder if Samuel Webbe might have had a hand in the Anglican version.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Here are the "Catholic" versions of the hymn tune "St. Thomas" which give the tune with the melody as found in most Catholic hymnals. The difference from the "Anglican" versions, as pointed out by Fr. Krisman above, is in the last two measures. For the traditional harmonization, the changes in the descant are minimal. But for my own harmonization, it was necessary to rewrite the last four measures of the harmonization and descants. Otherwise, the descants and harmonization are the same as before.

    The PDF score contains both the traditional and my own harmonized settings. The two MP3 sound files are for the traditional harmonization and my harmonization, as described in my original post.

    Enjoy whichever version suits your fancy!
    Thanked by 1ronkrisman
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Edit: In a post further down, I have updated this information with other sources.

    After some digging around, I found the following versions of the hymn tune St. Thomas (Wade):

    Wade, 1765, Graduale Romanum
    Webbe, 1792, Collection of Motetts and Antiphons...
    1866, Hymns Ancient and Modern
    St. Gregory Hymnal
    Tozer, 1931, Complete Benediction Manual

    See the attached PDF file for comparison.

    Of these, only Hymns Ancient and Modern (Church of England) is not from a Catholic publication. The Wade, Webbe, and Tozer versions are all more or less the same as the Anglican version, while the St. Gregory Hymnal version is essentially the same as the one found in other 20th century Catholic hymnals and features a last two measures, coinciding with meaures 3-4, that differ substantially from the other versions.

    How and just when the original shape of the tune got re-railed into the version that Catholics know is something that I have not yet discovered.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,841
    Another funny case is ST ELIZABETH, which appears twice in GIA's Catholic Community Hymnal, first as "Beautiful Savior" in a version identical to the Lutheran SCHOENSTER HERR JESU ("youuu will we honoooor, Light of our souls") and later as "God's blessing sends us forth" with what I think of as the Methodist version of the tune: "thouuuugh us the spirit reign_That Christ be known..." Will the authentic Catholic tune please stand up?

    The really funny part is that our congregation never seems confused, despite the odd expression on the cantor's face.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Update.

    I've scoured around and found a few more early instances of ST THOMAS (WADE) in Catholic hymnals. The enclosed PDF expands upon the one I posted yesterday. The plethora of versions seems to be due, largely, to Catholics themselves. All of the entries are from Catholic sources, except the one from the 1866 Hymns Ancient & Modern which is from the Church of England (Anglican).

    The plainsong version is found in Wade's Graduale Romanum of 1765 at Stonyhurst and presumably coincides with the one in his Cantus Diversi of 1751 (also notable as a source for "Adeste fideles").

    Webbe's version in his 1792 Collection of Motetts & Antiphons... is a metrical treatment of the tune that preserves the overall shape of the Wade tune, although it does embellish somewhat the melodic line at the three cadences. The exact same melody as Webbe, with a somewhat simplified harmonisation, appears in Charles Newsham's 1853 A Collection of Music Suitable for the Rite of Benedictions.

    In the 1866 Hymns Ancient & Modern of the Church of England, we find the version of the Wade tune as it is found today in Anglican and other Protestant hymnals, very close to the Wade original.

    The first example (that I've found) of a radical change from the Wade tune in the final two measures is in the 1894 Laudes Dei hymnbook, where there are also some other melodic and rhythmic embellishments. These (in)felicities aside, this seems closest to the version that Catholics are most familiar with nowadays.

    Indeed, in the 1913 De La Salle and 1920 St. Gregory hymnals, we find the "modern Catholic" version of the tune.

    However, in Tozer's 1931 Complete Benediction Manual we do still find the tune once again in essentially the form that Wade and the Anglicans present it. Evidently, the "modern Catholic" version had not yet obliterated the essential structure of the Wade original for all Catholics.
    Thanked by 2ronkrisman ZacPB189
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    @CHG: Much appreciation for all your sleuthing. I know it took you quite a bit of time plowing through the various hymnals ancient and not-modern!

    Another thing I noticed: Catholics apparently were not singing the "O Come, All Ye Faithful" version of Adeste Fideles until sometime after the publication of the 1920, 1922 St. Gregory Hymnal.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen ZacPB189
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Thank you, Fr. Krisman. It has been quite an adventure, and my hard disk now has several new digitized hymnals and other writings on the subject.

    Another thing I noticed: Catholics apparently were not singing the "O Come, All Ye Faithful" version of Adeste Fideles until sometime after the publication of the 1920, 1922 St. Gregory Hymnal.
    Yes. I recall seeing "Come hither, ye faithful" and other variants on the text as we know it.

    I should remark that Wade seems to have composed his tune explicitly for the singing of "Tantum ergo sacramentum" at Benediction, hence its being named ST THOMAS (WADE). It is a sturdy tune, beautiful in its simple but elegant solemnity, which probably explains its having been used for other texts, such as "Lo! He comes with clouds descending" at Advent.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    other texts, such as "Lo! He comes with clouds descending" at Advent.


    And it pairs so well with that. Because of the provenance of the tune, I use it at Communion during Advent. This makes me smile.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    In the 1915 A Treasury of Catholic Song, no. 115, we find "Tantum ergo sacramentum" set the same way as in the 1866 Hymns Ancient & Modern, i.e. the "old" way.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    But, CHG, the 1845 The Catholic Harp, containing the morning and evening service of the Catholic Church, embracing a choice collection of masses, litanies, psalms, sacred hymns, anthems, versicles and motetts; selected from the compositions of the first masters (how I love old titles!) from Boston has the tune in the "Catholic" way (nearly) at no. 58.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Wow, thanks. That's the earliest instance I know of for the "Catholic" way.

    As for old titles, several of the ones I've consulted are indeed quite long, and I've taken the liberty of truncating them (usually sometimes with the ellipsis ... ).
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Guess which version is in The Hymnal of St. Pius X, 1952, edited by Rev. Percy Jones, DoM of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia?

    The one that American Catholics don't seem to be very familiar with.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    CHG, are you sure, sure, sure? I thought that Australian Catholics used a tune that agrees with neither that of Anglicans/Episcopalians nor that of American Catholics.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    I'm sure, sure, sure! I have the hymnal in question downloaded on my computer and was astonished to see it. It's in the Appendix for Benediction, hymn no. 56, on p. 118 (and attributed to Webbe).
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,324
    I just found the hymnal. Please recheck m. 4, first note; m. 8, first note; m. 11, last note; m. 12, first two notes.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    Oops, you're right ... but it's the same as the version in the 1931 Tozer Complete Benediction Manual ... and as such it is a lot closer to the Anglican/Episcopal version than the American Catholic version. I had just looked at the first three notes of the penultimate measure, my bad.
    Thanked by 1ronkrisman
  • PascalPascal
    Posts: 5
    @CHGiffen I came across a descant that you wrote for "Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies". First class!!!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    @Pascal
    Thanks! I had almost forgotten about that one, written about a dozen years ago. It could probably benefit from a few tweaks, though.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Just remember, Tantum Ergo makes your hair grow - if you use it faithfully.
  • @CHGiffen It doesn't even need a fermata...lol. It is perfect.
  • @CHGiffen Now that you mention it, perhaps the 'A' natural at the end of the chorus could be an 'F#', or you could use both notes as a 1st and 2nd soprano division...but I can't see anything else that needs any work...I love it.
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  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 714
    I hate to revive an old thread, but in the Swiss Katholishes Gesangbuch (1998) I just came across a German translation of Pange lingua, set to St. Thomas (no. 219, p. 275). The same setting was also already in Gotteslob (1975), no. 541, p. 519. It's identical to the 1913, 1920 versions listed by Charles Giffen.

    The curious thing is, that both hymnals mention as the source for the melody "Luxemburg 1768", which may be the Supplementum Kyriale. I couldn't find an online copy of this edition, but it may be worthwhile to look into this and see how the melody appears there.
    4032 x 3024 - 2M
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,386
    The version I know in England is different again, in the last four notes of each 15. The only version I have heard, and ascribed to Webbe.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,113
    #a_f_hawkins : It appears that your version is the same as that in the Tozier, 1931, Complete Benediction Manual (the sixth example in my comparison of tunes, above).
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,780
    .