Children and the Breviary
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    We have Solemn Vespers every Sunday at my parish, and a Childrens' Schola, so my pastor says, why not have the Schola help out singing Vespers?

    So the last 2 weeks we've ended Schola rehearsal with OF Compline, just to get the idea of the LOH. Week 1, we recited everything; week 2, we chanted the Psalm and Marian Antiphon. Next week I think we can chant everything.

    As the antiphon faded, the waiting parents were BEAMING. The kids were smiling too. Who knew?
  • details, please... I did not grow up knowing about the LOH and have been trying to educate myself in recent times... I have the publication "Christian Prayer" that has the four-week cycle for morning and evening prayers (but not the entire set of LOH books). I also have an older publication of the Liber Usualis... what exactly are you singing/reciting... and is it in English? I have also looked at the online LOH (courtesy of a link by G -thx very much) here:

    I'd like to start ending my schola rehearsal with Vespers on occasion so that they can all become familiar with it in the hope that we will have the opportunity to sing it in the future.

    Thanks for sharing this... very encouraging!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    Janet, Universalis would be really useful for this sort of thing. If I remember correctly, it is possible to print the pages you need for the "hour" you will be praying. And it's all laid out--no flipping of pages as you would have with the books.

    However, I think that the Psalms in Universalis are not "pointed" for chanting. That is to say, I don't remember if they are marked in the places of each line where the chant melody rises and falls. So you would probably need to add those symbols.

    I started with night prayer=compline because it's simpler than evening prayer = Vespers.
  • Wow, this sounds wonderful. I love the parents reaction. Please let us know when they start Vespers.
    Looking forward to meeting you at the Balt-Wash-Arl CMAA chapter meeting.
  • Several more questions come to mind:

    1. Is there someplace online where I could find the psalms already "pointed"?
    2. How do you choose which mode to use? Any rules of thumb?
    3. As for the hymn choices, in my Magnificat (monthly publication), they usually list the meter, so I can find a tune that goes along with the words... not so in the Universalis... do you change the hymns out from the recommendation? I'm not that wild about some of the recommendations in my Christian Prayer book...
    4. And, the Marian antiphon can also change, especially with the season, no?
    5. I'm assuming a nice Latin Nunc Dimittis (p. 165 PBC) would also be OK?

    Sorry that these are such basic questions...
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    I don't have a desk copy of the Mundelein Psalter, but I think that would be a good place to start for your questions 1 and 2:

    I used Universalis at one time in another situation, and sometimes we used a different hymn, either because we didn't know it or didn't especially like it.

    It's pretty easy to find the right hymn tune by counting meters off on your fingers, by the way. Alleluia, Sing to Jesus, for example, has eight syllables followed by seven, and has eight-line stanzas. So it's 87 87 87 87--usually abbreviated 87 87 D (D = Double). So Hyfrydol fits, but so do Nettleton (God, We Praise You) and the Ode to Joy hymn--I just found these by looking up 87 87 D in the Metrical Index of Tunes in the back of Worship III. The main catch to this method is that hymn tunes can have the same meters but the opposite stresses. All of those tunes I mentioned above have stresses like this: ONE two THREE four FIVE six SEVEN eight, so they are to some degree interchangeable. But you can't count on that ONE two THREE type of pattern in every hymn tune, because a lot of tunes have the opposite pattern: one TWO three FOUR.

    In any case, it's always best to sing an entire stanza of the hymn to the tune, in private, before making a final decision. Sometimes the third line just sounds wrong, or whatever, but the ear is a good judge for this.

    The Marian antiphons change with the season. I use Ave Maria and Salve Regina during OT--I'm pretty sure this is fine in OF. Technically the Lenten antiphon Ave Regina Coelorum is proper from the Feast of the Presentation until the end of Lent; we will start using it during Lent. Regina Caeli is proper during Easter--that's as far as I've looked ahead.

    Latin is great.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Kathy - is there a standard reference that identifies hymn by season? That would help a lot in our scholas' planning.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    Do you mean office hymns, in Latin? Or English?

    The current hymnal in Latin is the Liber Hymnarius, and that follows the liturgical year.

    Many English hymnals have headings or indexes that indicate uses. And for the seasons, the 4-volume breviary gives several suggestions, though some are not great.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Thanks, Kathy. I see lots of comments regarding the specific seasons for which hymns are "appropriate" but for now our Scholas just use the hymns they know! We'll gradually (inadvertent pun) work up to knowing more and can be selectivel
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    (Gradually, haha!)

    Oh I just remembered, I think that the Mundelein Psalter has a lot of hymn texts, and they are usually 88 88, and iambic. This means that all of them can be sung to a single tune, such as the one we use for Creator of the Stars of Night, or the one for All People That on Earth Do Dwell, or the tune for O Radiant Light, O Sun Divine. This makes things very easy, because if you know just one of these tunes, you can sing all of the hymns.
  • Gilbert
    Posts: 106
    I am very much in favor of chanting the Office. The psalms themselves are simply meant to be sung. I and friends frequently will chant Vespers together, when hanging out and Vespers time comes. I like the idea of the Mundelein Psalter, however, it is also true that practically no one has copies of this Breviary. Since no other edition of the LOTH in English is pointed for chanting, we had to improvise.

    We use very simplified versions of the modes I, II, and III, to sing the english Psalms/Canticles. If we're singing an odd number of lines in a strophe, then on the last line, we use the termination. So, two terminations at the end. The changes in pitch, for the mediant and termination happen on the word, rather than on the syllable. This gets rid of any uncertainties when it comes to when to change pitch. We chant the introduction and Gloria Patri at the beginning, in Latin, as well as the closing. We also sing the Pater Noster in Latin, and the Magnificat, solemn tone mode VIII on Sundays, which is usually when we'll sing it in common.

    It's easy, people catch on quick, no need for pointed texts, sounds Gregorian. Usually, the only thing we'll read is the reading.