Software for Anglican chant
  • What software do you recommend for Anglican chant? I want to use some of those tones to set psalms of propers but am finding Sibelius tedious if not impossible. Thanks.
  • Would Lilypond, frontended with Frescobaldi suit you? It's free.
    Here is the sample file given in Lilypond.
  • Another way, do the tune in Finale or SIB, export.

    Paste at top of page in a text processor. (I use InDesign but any word processor would work.)

    Type verses.

    This way you may easily insert other tunes as needed as the singers become more proficient.

    This is from our set of the complete responsorial psalms, Year B, Revised Grail. Pending release. Will be available as a free download. Contact me for a download.

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,169
    My setting of the Hymn Tune Introits was done entirely in Finale. The Psalm verses and Doxology were in Anglican chant. Here's the Introits for the weekdays of Advent. You can find the complete collection for Advent, Christmas through Baptism, and Lent elsewhere on the forum.
    Thanked by 1JoAnna
  • Thank you all for your suggestions. Lilypond is beyond my current technical abilities. Seems like I've seen a lot of references to Finale on this forum so I may need to try it. Noel Jones, I will try your suggestion, thanks.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    If Sibelius is difficult, Finale will be too. Especially as each new version makes them more and more similar, as they converge on the best set of features.

    Some people like one more than the other, but switching software might not solve your problem.
  • Not a Sibelius user, but the job is not difficult in Finale. It's a little kludgy in that you'll need to hide meter signatures and use hard spaces, but not hard to do once you learn how.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • In Finale you do not need to use hard spaces, which are a pain, since you are entering the psalm text in a word processing program under the tune.

    This is done for flexibility - being able to change the chant tune by pasting!
  • I suppose the original question was less about pointing and more about underlaying everything for the untried substitute. Here's what I could do with Sibelius 7, writing the verses out Vatican II Hymnal style; there's a bit of left aligning by hand and reset note-spacing involved, and of course hard spaces in the blocks of text:

    Thanked by 1JoAnna
  • I only use Finale. It has a learning curve, but so does Sibelius, I'm sure. We church musicians probably only use a fraction of Finale's capabilities, and that small fraction isn't really that hard to learn.

    That being said, there are things it does not do so well - chant being one of them. For Anglican chant, I only put the musical notes in, then save the music as a TIF file to insert in MS Word. I prefer 'speech rhythm' to the "Anglican Thump", the latter being limited to one syllable per note in the cadences. Listen to any of David Willcocks' recordings from Kings College.

    Attached are to example of my use of Finale and Word for the Parce Domine antiphon and verses for the hymn and for Ps. 139. I use a vertical line for bars, and a small circle or degree sign for breaking notes within a measure. I also sometimes use a double vertical line signifying the double bar in the music.

    We now use Anglican chant for the verses of the Gospel Acclamations, at least at the choir Masses.
  • Here is what I have figured out to do in Sibelius. It's inserting a text box within the program and widening the space between the staves. Not ideal, but workable. I wish there were a way to put in a whole note that would allow multiple syllables and widening the measure as needed.
  • Joanna

    Your challenge, by the look of it, isn't the musical aspect of type-setting Anglican chant. (In fairness, I've never tried, so I'm impressed just with that aspect.) You're trying to do two other bad things.
    1) ....put syllables under the notes. Instead, teach the choir to read pointing.
    2) ....make two languages operate simultaneously to the same chant in the same space. Using the pointing will allow each language to take up its own space.

    Thanked by 1JoAnna
  • Yes, Chris Garton-Zavesky, you are right, that would be ideal. But in my situation we do not have a regular choir. We are all volunteers, so when there is a special Mass (English/Spanish/Latin), I have 2 rehearsals to teach them everything. This kind of setting helps maximize time. I would love to have a more regular choir so they could learn things like pointed text. We do use some pointed texts with the Meinrad psalm tones, but Anglican is much more complicated and just not doable in such a short time span with just pointed text.
  • But, if you start them with this through-composed crutch, when will you be able to ween them off of it. The pointing is quite simple, especially if you use the vertical bars rather than angled slashes, and are equal to the bar lines in the music. The most reliable way to sing Anglican chant is to memorize the chant itself. We do that here by having then sing their parts to numbers: 1/2.3/4//5/6.7./8.9.10// It's almost impossible to constantly shift one's gaze between the music and text, no matter what. The notes need to become second nature so that concentration can be on the text and pointing. It really doesn't take that much rehearsal. The only possible down-side is having to listen to 10 minutes of carping from the singers before they go ahead with this simple task!
  • P.S. Find some examples of Anglican chant on YouTube in case they have never even heard of it.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Interesting suggestion, Steve, about practicing using numbers 1-10. Another way is to sing Glory be to the Father... until the notes are interiorised. Too, there is no better way to learn than to hear it done expertly - as you suggest, there is no end to exquisitely (and unexquistiely) done Anglican chant on youtube.

    I must disagree with you about 'constantly shift[ing] one's gaze' to read music and sing. I gleefully mastered this all by myself when I was about six years old and found it great fun to 'figure it out' and sing enthusiastically. Ditto hymns with tune at top of page and text at bottom. People nowadays have become really so intellectually helpless right on cue. If the establishment doesn't 'dumb them down' they do it themselves.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • High school girl's choir at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga figured it out in 2 rehearsals and took over pointing and rehearsing on their own for each week's Mass. In four parts.

    Important: Sing the same TUNE for weeks and weeks if you want the choir...and then the participate. Use only two tunes for a year. After that you can branch out.

    Examples are English only. Updated versions of what was posted earlier above.

    Quick Lesson Sheet attached.
    Responsorial Psalms Pointed for Years ABC attached.
    Alleluias for ABC attached. Gospel Alleluias attached.

    These were created in InDesign, but could have been done in Word.

    A different tune at the top can be inserted with one key stroke. If there is interest, we will release some alternate tune versions as well.

  • By the way, those of you who do Latin psalmody - it, too, works well with Anglican chant. Felipe Gaspar did this regularly at vespers at Annunciation here in Houston before, recently, he moved to Toronto to become wedded. Anglican chant with Latin psalmody has a quite lovely and idiosyncratic effect.
  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    I agree with Jackson and others, about the need for a choir to intuit the phrasing/text placement when singing Anglican chant.

    But I also sympathize with you and your need to pull music together quickly in a rehearsal for a choir that doesn't meet regularly (having done that many a time myself).

    So I reset and tweaked your edition a bit, using Finale. Perhaps it may be to your liking, and at any rate, best wishes with your choeur occasionnel...
    Thanked by 1JoAnna
  • Thank you, CGM. I also agree with Jackson and others and keep that ultimate goal in mind. I love what you have done with this; maybe I need to buy Finale, because what you have supplied is exactly what I am trying to achieve. Does it allow you to extend the measure and left justify instead of center? Sibelius allows multiple syllables on a note but centers them until (potentially) the text runs off the page.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 426
    If you are looking for truly versatile freeware, I couldn't go past Musescore. There is an incredibly detailed help centre, and it took a very short time to get the hang of using it.

    I have attached a typesetting of my own making of Henry Walford Davies' chant for "De Profundis".
  • I would suggest some tweaking of the Beatitudes as pointed above by CGM, from a more nuanced Anglican chant perspective. This text, though, does not flow as gracefully as one more generous in syntactical endowments, such as King James or Douai-Rheims, might allow. But...

    Blessed are the | poor . in | spirit,
    For | theirs is . the | kingdom . of | heaven;
    Blessed are | they . who | mourn,
    For | they | shall . be | comforted.

    Blessed | are . the | merciful,
    For | they will . be | shown | mercy;
    Blessed are the | clean . of | heart,
    For | they . shall | see | God. (or: For | they | shall . see | God.)

    Blessed are you when they in-| sult you . and | persecute you,
    And utter every kind of evil against you | false-. ly | for . my | sake;
    Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be | great . in | heaven,
    For so they persecuted the | prophets . who | were . be-| fore you.

    Gloria | Patri . et | Filio,
    Et | Spiritu-. i | Sanc-| to;
    Sicut erat in principio, et | nunc . et | semper,
    Et in saecula saecu- | lo-. rum | A - | men.

    Glory be to the Father, and | to . the | Son,
    And | to . the | Ho-. ly | Spirit;
    As it was in the beginning, is now, and | ev-. er | shall be:
    World without | end. | A- | men.
    or: World | with-. out | end. . A-| men.

    Glory be to the | Father and . to the | Son,
    And | to . the | Ho-. ly | Spirit; (or: - | And to . the | Ho-. ly | Spirit.)
    As it was in the beginning, is | now and . ever | shall be:
    World without | end. . A- | - - | men. (or: World without end. | A - - | - - | men.)

    More skilled groups may want to experiment with some more adventurous pointing. It is customary nowadays often to push the cadence further back than was once done. This allows for some very musical but sometimes challenging results. For instance, the above line about heavenly reward could be rendered -

    Rejoice and be glad for your re-| ward will be . great in | heaven.

    One is frequently presented with tempting possibilities. Still, there are certain 'rules' as to placement of accent and verbal flow that must be adhered to lest one's result is graceless and amateurish. At all costs, as in Gregorian or any chant, sing word-speech rhythm and never never ever hammer out series of notes - lest you be guilty of...... 'Anglican Thump' (whose cousin is [yes!, some people do it] 'Gregorian Thump').

  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    Finale is endlessly adaptable, so measure lengths, text justification, and pretty much any other notation variable you can think of are all adjustable.

    But keep in mind that a tool so powerful and so flexible will also have a substantial learning curve. I put out that score pretty quickly, but I've been using Finale for 25 years(!). If you buy the program, give yourself plenty of time to go slowly learning it, and expect a lot of crummy scores until you start to figure out all the subtleties of the interface.

    Or better yet, find someone who's been at it for awhile, maybe even someone who does choral music, and have a couple of tutorial sessions. I learned the program back in the day when it always came shipped with three(!) huge manuals, which I kept at my side as I worked. Now all the documentation is online, and I just don't find it as helpful as the books were...
  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    Jackson, while I sang Anglican chant pretty regularly back in the mid-late 1990's, it's been awhile, and so I'm glad to see your pointing. But I have a question for you: it seems, based on what you've supplied, that Anglican chant puts a lot of musical emphasis on relatively unimportant words. For example, the second line:

    For | theirs is . THE | kingdom . OF | heaven

    I always think that the musical setting should complement the natural stresses of the text. So for this line, I might suggest,

    For | theirs . is the | king- . dom of | heaven

    Or the sixth line,

    For | they will . BE | shown | mercy

    Wouldn't it be more natural to sing,

    For | they . will be | shown | mercy

    As I said, I am no expert in this approach, and it's been almost 20 years since I sang Anglican chant regularly. So I'd be interested in your critique of my critique... What's the basic criteria for text underlay in Anglican chant?
  • Good points, very good ones, CGK -

    About that 'theirs is the kingdom of heaven', I think that we are both striving for the right result. I pointed it the way I did because I saw theirs is . the as a triplet and deliberately avoided putting stress on is. Of course, neither should the get a stress. My wish was to have a triplet flow with the last note sung lightly, and not a double accent in that measure. Obviously, this wish is not apparent to others. Your solution is probably equally good - maybe better. The thing is to avoid thumpiness. As for 'they will be shown mercy', my concern was similar: to avoid a thumpy double accent and to sing they will be as an agile triplet leading to shown mercy. However one accomplishes this is fine.

    The cardinal rules are always to put an accented syllable on the first note of a new bar, and, in the case of multiple syllables per note, to put a secondarily accented syllable on a new note within a bar. Syllable(s) on the second note of a bar may or may not receive a secondary accent in performance. This depends entirely on the normal speech rhythm of the text. Never begin a cadential pattern on a weak syllable. Have very good syntactical reasons for putting a relatively weak syllable on a new note within a cadential pattern. One solution for very short lines is to begin the line not on the reciting pitch, but on the first note of the cadence. Too, in the case of double chants and an odd number of verses, a certain smartly chosen verse will be sung only to the second half of the chant to even things out. Personally, I try to avoid putting single syllables on two notes unless the textual sense and poetic grace are thusly enhanced. This may mean putting the cadence further back from the end of the line - providing the result is musical (and, providing one's choir are up to it).


    Many here, of course, know of John Scott's The Anglican Psalter, which began life as the St Paul's Psalter. For those looking for an impeccable compendium of Anglican chants, both historic and very modern, this book should be a must. It is published by the Canterbury Press and may be had from, among others, Lois Fyfe Music in Atlanta Nashville. Not only does the book contain more chants than most Catholics will ever need, it constitutes an excellent tutorial on adventurous pointing, and, of course, contains the entire Coverdale psalter, pointed. Everyone should have a copy for reference. Those who can afford it might consider copies for one's entire choir. Anglican chant psalms can make useful anthems (anthems do not have to be official translations). They are also excellent for warm-ups, vocalises, and for learning blend, diction, and verbal pace.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • If one is going to avoid the "Anglican thump" as one gets when chanting directly from The Hymnal 1940, one needs to chant in a speech rhythm. That includes being aware of the rhythm of speaking the verse, but in practice one needs to make sure the flow is smooth throughout - just as in Gregorian chant.

    Finale is wonderful for putting hymn texts into hymns, but not for multiple syllables on any one note. I've heard and seen examples of work-arounds, but I prefer to select the music, close cropped, and export as a 600-1200 DPI TIF file, and do all the rest in MS Word.
  • We don't typically sing a Doxology here in the OF Mass, or even in Latin at the EF Mass. We do use Anglican chant for Gospel Acclamation verses with the choir (Gregorian tones for the solo cantors at other Masses). So singing the numbers works well for us. Singing the "sev-en" also exposes them to the triplet within a measure concept. Also, this method can be extended to double chants by counting down from 10 to 1 for the second section.
  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    Jackson, thanks for these precise guidelines. And of course, a triplet!

    One small quibble: Lois Fyfe Music is based in Nashville, TN (my hometown, though I haven't lived there in years, alas). Lois died two years ago after a long and fruitful life, but her fine music shop lives on!
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I dreamed this one up whilst having dinner at la Madeleine in the Village this evening, after my usual Thursday evening visit to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, where I viewed one of my favourite paintings, Sheerness as Seen by the Nore, by J.W.M. Turner (and Cezanne's Ravine) (And Fra Angelico's St Anthony Shunning the Mass of Gold).

    1st half of double chant - (no breath or breaks)
    Glory | be to . the | Father ||
    and to the | Son . and to the | Ho- . ly | Ghost (Spirit):||

    2nd half of double chant - break or breath as desired at commas)
    As it | was in the . be-| ginning, ||
    is now and | ever shall . be, | world without . end. A-| men.

    1st half -
    Glory be to the | Father and . to the | Son, ||
    - | and to . the | Ho-. ly | Ghost (Spirit)

    2nd half -
    As it was in the be-| ginning, is . now, and ever | shall be ||
    world with- | out . end. A- | - - | men.

    Such pointings are not for beginners.

    Slight variants could be made, depending on the contours of the particular chant. The contours of your particular chant may often suggest a certain pointing or stress.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • tsoapm
    Posts: 79
    One solution for very short lines is to begin the line not on the reciting pitch, but on the first note of the cadence.
    Which is to say, the last note (usually minim) in either bar 2 or 6 (also 8 or 13 in the case of a double)? Or from the start of the passing notes in bars 2/5?

    We tried (baby steps) a chant for the gospel acclamation at Christmas, which was well received. I was asked to look at the text for Easter day, which has a short second line.

    Cristo, nostra |Pasqua, è immo|lato:
    fac|ciamo |festa nel Si|gnore.

    I’m worried that ‘fac-cia-mo’ will be too challenging. The alternatives that seem possible to me involve stretching out the ‘gno’ of ‘Si|gno|re’, which doesn’t seem optimal. If I can skip my bar 4 instead, this would simplify things enormously (though it seems a bit of a shame too…).
    If you are looking for truly versatile freeware, I couldn't go past Musescore.
    I was thrilled to find that Musescore existed for free, after struggling with an old copy of Noteworthy Composer, but trying to underlay Anglican chant text in it made me want to pull my hair out. Perhaps a text box would be the best thing. I would avoid underlaying all together, as discussed, but I understand this is very challenging for the organist, in our choir also the director, who probably has enough to think about already.
  • JoAnna
    Posts: 29
    I have now discovered that, in Sibelius, it is easiest to move the bar lines somewhat and use a text box to put the text in. Much more flexibility than the other things I have been trying. Thank you all.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,777
    In Sibelius, use a hidden note following the reciting note for the bulk of the text with hard spaces. You'll then be fine with default spacing.