Asperges me - use of the other tones "ad libitum"
  • For the Asperges, besides the commonly used mode 7 tone, the books provide for use "ad libitum" a simpler mode 7 tone, as well as a mode 4 tone.

    When [for what occasions / reasons] does anybody use these?

    Is there any particular history behind them, or anything else useful to know about them?
  • P.S. I have also not been able to find any recording of the simple mode 7 version, although the mode 4 can be found on YouTube.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,791
    I imagine that the simpler mode 7 chant is just an older, less elaborate version of the other. (I don't have my graduale with me, so I can't check if there are any dates printed.) The mode 4 is probably a version from a mediaeval source that Pothier & Co. liked when they put the new books together---IIRC, the old Medici/Ratisbon Gradual only had the one mode 7 setting. This aren't facts, they're just educated guesses.

    And like all the ad libitum chants, they are there to be used when you feel like it, there are no hard and fast rules about which chants to use when.
  • I know I've seen the simple mode VII used in the Pontificale Romanum. I believe it's used a time or two in the blessing of certain objects, but I'm not too sure about that.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,700
    Triplex gives XIII s. for the usual mode 7 tone (ed Vat I); X s. for the simpler (ed Vat II); and XII s. for the mode 4 tune (ed Vat III). The last is the only one with neumes, from Mont-Blandin.
  • John Schauble and the Holy Family Choir of Dayton, OH regularly use the simple tones for Advent and Lent, respectively. Can't remember which for which, though.
  • Occasionally (and primarily at the request of the priest celebrant) we use the simpler mode VII tone during the purple seasons.

    The mode IV tone seems especially appropriate when the Introit is in the same mode.
  • I hope this won't be treated as an off-topic question, but is there a legitimate way to lengthen the Asperges, say, by the use of a second verse?
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 383
    As a corollary, is there ever anything against adding psalm verses? Couldn't one add psalm verses to the Asperges as to the Introit or the Communion? Or is there something against that?
  • Adding psalm verses to the Asperges (or Vidi aquam): yes, this is possible. Although the Graduale Romanum doesn't mention anything about the number of psalm verses, the Graduale Simplex does:

    Et repetitur antiphona, pro opportunitate, post unumquemque versiculum psalmi 50, p. 86

    So, the antiphon can be repeated after each of the verses of Psalm 51(50). For the Easter Season this is Psalm 118(117).
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    You could also sing the Gloria Patri separately in the Sarum fashion.
    Thanked by 2Ben Yanke CCooze
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,159
    As far as extending the Asperges, one could also pick and choose which parts to have polyphonic, perhaps?
    If it is that you know you always need it lengthened, you could do just the repeated antiphon as polyphony. If you are simply getting to the Gloria Patri and realizing you are going to need extra time, you could add a polyphonic GP, and maybe also the antiphon, as well...
    Choosing a setting based on/interspersed with chant could certainly help with the necessary picking/choosing.

    For example:
  • Corinne,

    What a wonderful idea! I don't know if I'll ever get to use it, but I had no idea that it existed, so that added knowledge has enriched my love of the liturgy and the treasury of Sacred Music.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • This is my transcription and harmonization of the three "Asperges me" from Liber usualis, in case you find it useful.
    Thanked by 1Joseph Michael
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 143
    I don't know of any parishes that use anything other than the usual mode 7.

    However, Clear Creek always uses the simpler mode 7 instead of the usual; and they use the mode 4 one during Lent and Advent. I was just at the SSPX Benedictine monastery for the past 4 weeks, and they also only used the simpler mode 7 one for all 4 Sundays I was there.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 212
    In all my 31 years of being a Catholic, I have only heard the simple tone of the Asperges maybe once, and this was done when I would serve mass at a convent near where I lived. Directors never usually did anything outside of the mode 7 and the Vidi Aquam for parishes. It begs the question that has anyone performed or has a recording of the polyphonic Asperges by T.L. de Victoria?
  • We tried using Mode 4 for Lent, but then Covid happened. I get tired of the usual Asperges personally, and I wish there was an approved-by-the-Church Asperges in each mode.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,146
    We have started doing the mode 4 version in Lent, keeping the commonly used mode 7 version for the rest of the time. I would like the choir to look at the Isaac setting of the Asperges.
    I think a visiting choir has sung a setting of the Vidi Aquam, which may be another thing to look at.

    Will have to remember not to have the choir sing an Isaac setting of the Introit on the same day!