Cardine's "Is Gregorian Chant Measured Music?"
  • Pardon my indiscretion if this is the wrong forum category. I am looking for Dom Eugene Cardine's 1964 Is Gregorian Chant Measured Music? which is his critique of Fr. Vollaerts' 1958 Rhythmic Proportions in Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Chant.

    This book is of immense (no pun intended) importance to me because it appears to be the bullet that shot down Vollaerts' and Murray's influence on the progress of mensural opinion versus nuanced free rhythm. I imagine Cardine's arguments in this book will be much stronger than those in his Gregorian Semiology.

    But I cannot find the book anywhere.,,, show it unavailable. Google shows e-book unavailable.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,411
    I see it listed on a site , which appears to offer epub, pdf, and other 'free' downloads. But it requires 'free' registration, and I can't find out how to register. One scam checking site reports that if you can find a registration button, you are transferred to another site, and then another, and then asked for your credit card details! I don't think I will indulge!
  • Ted
    Posts: 204
    This is a hard to find English translation of Cardine's more easily available article "Le chant grégorien est-il mesuré?" which originally appeared in Etudes grégoriennes 8 (1963) Pp 7-38.
    There was a little discussion about Vollaerts' thesis a few years back at Musicologie Médiévale:
    You need to register for the above blog site, but it is free.
    Generally, little attention has been given to Vollaerts' ideas after Cardine's response.
    Thanked by 1Arthur Connick
  • I contacted Solesmes (the publisher) bookstore through the abbey's website. They were quite accommodating to arrange a special order for me. We'll see which language it arrives in....
  • Yes, my Gregorian chant is definitely measured. It's about 5 x 7 inches.
  • The book arrived in English. If a few more of us make the same request, maybe Solesmes will put the title in its online bookstore.
    1536 x 2048 - 554K
  • madorganist
    Posts: 906
    Cardine’s critique of Rhythmic Proportions cites what he considers to be Vollaerts’ three most salient arguments. Cardine responds to the first by positing in Vollaerts’ name a relationship of musical signs with which the book just does not deal, claiming an inconsistency which is in fact of the critic’s own creation. In his replies to all three arguments, and in his critique of Murray’s book, Cardine applies an unwarranted rigidity in the interpretation of parallel melodic phrases or formulæ, drawing therefrom conclusions themselves unwarranted. Cardine ends his essay with an error: he states that equalist is a free rhythm while strongly implying that proportional rhythm is not free. In fact, proportional rhythm and what we have called “syllabic rhythm” are the only pre-1000 rhythms that are free essentially and by their very nature. Proportional rhythm’s flowing, irregularly occurring measure of longs and shorts alone is able sensitively and perfectly to shape the pitches of complex melodies to the accentuation of prose.

    In chant practice according to semiological principles, it is equal-length, non-divisible notes that are nuanced, and in this Dom Eugène continues the sort of æsthetic enunciated by Dom André Mocquereau one hundred years ago. Their chant does not naturally respect textual accents, and something approaching respect is achieved only through subtleties of singing that barely can be described or comunicated [sic] and are hardly reproducable [sic], a situation most unsuitable for liturgical song. (John Blackley, Rhythm in Western Sacred Music before the Mid-Twelfth Century and the Historical Importance of Proportional-Rhythm Chant. Lexington, VA: Schola Antiqua, 2008.)
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 253
    Having just re-read the booklet in question, I wish to add my own critique of it.

    On pp. 26–29, Dom Cardine demonstrates a deficient and immature understand of the liquescent figure called the pinnosa, which he doesn’t name as such. The pinnosa is a pes that terminates with a cephalicus. As he says correctly, it may signify augmentation of the pes, in which case it represents two notes, or diminution of the torculus, in which case, three. In the latter case, he attributes to Fr. Vollaerts the claim that the three notes are equal to four beats, but where did Vollaerts make such a claim? Cardine has created a straw man. On p. 35, Cardine mentions the torculus initio debilis, “torculus with the first note weak,” which he also calls a special torculus on p. 68 and in his Gregorian Semiology (p. 50 of the English edition, hereafter simply GS). To use Cardine’s characterization of Vollaerts’s theory, the short form of the torculus initio debilis is two beats, not three or four. (Here I follow Cardine’s description of the short or diminished value as the beat; I personally prefer to think of short notes as half a beat.) The first note is so weak that, in many instances, it was not universally notated; rather, a short clivis was written. The most sensible interpretation appears to be a short clivis preceded by a grace note, i.e., a very short (more diminished, deminutior) lower auxiliary note. This also applies to the Magnificat example of p. 37. It is the ancus, not the pinnosa, that corresponds to the torculus with a long final note, as confirmed by both Vollaerts and Cardine elsewhere.

    The short form of the pinnosa is two or three beats in the examples given by Cardine. He fails to give a concrete example of a four-beat pinnosa. As explained already, the short form of the pinnosa may represent a liquescent torculus initio debilis, equivalent to a cephalicus of two notes (liquescent clivis) with lower auxiliary. It may also represent a liquescent pes initio debilis, a cephalicus of one long note (i.e., of what Cardine elsewhere calls the normal syllabic beat, although he would certainly describe it as two beats in his critique of Vollaerts and Murray) with a lower auxiliary. Cardine mentions the pes initio debilis in endnote 10 of GS. As he demonstrates on pp. 36 and 216 of GS and argues on p. 27 of “Is Gregorian Chant Measured Music?”, the pinnosa is used interchangeably with the pes rotundus in the introit psalm tones and also in the tract for the first Sunday in Lent. Whether it be equivalent to a pes rotundus, pes initio debilis, or torculus initio debilis, the duration remains two beats. There may be contexts where the pinnosa is preceded by a short note and itself represents either one short plus one long or three shorts, both three beats, but Cardine doesn’t specifically address that possibility, so I won’t comment further on it here.

    In note 19 on p. 28, Cardine discusses the long form of the pinnosa, which he claims can take the place not only of the pes quadratus but also the long torculus! I would challenge Cardine to prove this equivalence by some example from the repertory, but like Vollaerts, he is dead and therefore in no position to answer his critics. He proceeds in accusing Vollaerts of equating 4 with 6, again without a shred of evidence that Vollaerts actually made such a claim anywhere. Cardine’s flimsy argument from the conclusion of two mode VII Communions strains credibility. Perhaps he expected his readers to take his word on the matter rather than looking at the manuscripts themselves. I see no equivalence in the two formulae whatsoever, and why ought Vollaerts to have? Cardine’s example on p. 27 is also dubious when one compares the notation of the various manuscripts. I wish to mention that Cardine and other semiologists subsequently accepted one of the principles that Cardine argued against and for which he condemned Vollaerts, namely that the porrectus regains the normal syllabic value at the end of the neume. The introduction to the 1983 edition of the Solesmes Liber Hymnarius even considered the recovered syllabic value for the last note of an otherwise short figure at the end of a neume/syllable to be the case not only for the porrectus but in general.

    Does Cardine make legitimate criticisms of the book by Vollaerts? I recognize at least three: errors in the copying of the neumes, obvious typographical errors, and a faulty transcription in the musical example on the second line of p. 149, apparently based on a manuscript source of inferior quality. All of these mistakes ought to have been caught by proofreaders and collaborators, or by Vollaerts himself before publication, but unfortunately he was already in the grave two years before the first edition of the book was appeared in print. He did not enjoy the luxury of teaching at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, with a host of graduate students to review his work and collaborate in his research. Some of Cardine’s criticism of a great scholar seems appallingly unfair, and his straw man arguments, also noted by Blackley, are shamefully deceptive. I cannot recommend this booklet as an objective response to Vollaerts or as a valuable contribution to Gregorian musicology.

    Patrick Williams -