Cantatur ab omnibus: It is sung by everybody
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 772
    So the Alleluia of the OF Mass is sung by everybody (GIRM #62).

    It seems that this rule eliminates the use of Alleluias from Roman Gradual, since they cannot be sung by everybody. In your work or your place, for the Alleluia, do you
    * use the Roman Alleluia and everybody sings?
    * never use the Roman Alleluia?
    * ignore this rule?
    * use the Roman Alleluia but chant it it so that "everybody" gets a chance to sing something...?

    In one place I sing, we always use the Gradual Simplex By Flowing Waters: the people repeat the Alleluias (all three of them, MJO).

    At the other we sing something in parallel SATB, four Alleluias (repeated, so eight, and again after the verse, so twelve). The verse is kinda Anglican chant. We have used the same 8 bar thing every Alleluia Sunday for maybe a decade (since before I joined that choir) so by now the people know it, and I guess they sing it.

    In the OF on Sundays, the Alleluia must be sung. The requirement that It Is Sung By Everybody dates from the 2000 typical edition.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 727
    Recognize that the GIRM is descriptive, not prescriptive. It's not meant to be read as a series of isolated mandates but has to be seen in the context of the Church's larger legal and theological understanding of the liturgy. I realize that this can be a recipe or excuse to do what we want regardless of what the GIRM says. But the GIRM should not be made to be more than it was meant to be either.

    In this case of a Gregorian Alleluia sung by the schola, it would not make any sense that the Church would give us the Alleluia chant in the Graduale only prohibit its use. Similarly, the directive (GIRM 86) that "The singing [at communion] is prolonged for as long as the Sacrament is being administered to the faithful" is not to be taken absolutely - if communion is taking half an hour or even longer than expected, it seems reasonable that organ or choral music could take up some of this time, etc.

    This article is an example of applying these ideas to another issue in the GIRM, the question of the choral Sanctus.
    Thanked by 1CGM
  • We usually use the GS, but when we do use the GR, we intone the Alleluia up to the asterisk, everyone repeats it, then the schola sings the jubilus and verse. Everyone sings the Alleluia again up to the asterisk with the schola finishing it off.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 113
    When a document says that the various participants should sing the parts pertaining to them, is there a fixed meaning or flexible meaning? (flexible being as in the examples of the alleluia and sanctus just mentioned, where it depends what kind of music is being sung).
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 687
    This is a classic case of "what does the Latin really say?". Let's have a look:

    #62 "...Cantatur ab omnibus stantibus, schola vel cantore praeeunte, et si casus fert, repetitur. ..."

    The official translation reads:

    "It is sung by all while standing and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated if this is appropriate.",

    but it can also be translated as

    "It is sung, while all are standing, and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated if this is appropriate."

    Knowing that liturgical prescriptions cannot contradict each other, #7 of the Introduction to the Ordo cantus missae suggests that GIRM #62 is to be understood as

    "It is sung, while all are standing":

    #7 "...Alleluia cum suo neumate canitur totum a cantoribus et repetitur a choro. Pro opportunitte tamen cantari potetst semel tantum ab omnibus. ..."

    #7 "... The Alleluia is sung completely, with its melismatic neume, by the cantors and is
    repeated by the choir. If appropriate, it can even be sung by all. ..."

    Moreover, the Introduction to the Ordo lectionum missae is even clearer:

    #23 "...Alleluia et versus ante Evangelium cantari debent, omnibus stantibus, ita tamen ut non solus cantor qui inchoat vel etiam schola sed totus populus unanimiter concinat."

    #23 "...The Alleluia or the verse before the Gospel must be sung, and during it all stand. It is not to be sung only by the cantor who intones it or by the choir, but by the whole of the people together."

    Note that the last part of #23 only prescribes that it is desirable that the whole congregations joins in the singing of the Alleluia. In other words, it elaborates on the "pro opportunitate" and "potest" of #7 of the OCM, to which a footnote explicitly refers.
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 772
    Thank you, good exposition. I think that "ab" really makes "while all" impossible, although if it just said canitur omnibus stantibus I'd agree readily. Also, of course the OCM is "only for Gregorian". As Galles (the JDC linked above) said, specific rules (ie for Gregorian) are not overruled by general ones ( ie for the liturgy). As with the Sequence, which is before the "Gospel Acclamation" but after the neumatic Alleluia.

    In this case the OCM is mainly doing something that Galles mentioned in the context of the Sanctus, that is, removing a previous custom. In the case of the Sanctus, the point was that the priest should join in the singing of the Sanctus, rather than saying it while it was being sung, as previously. In the same way, the point of OCM #7 is that the whole (totum) neumatic Alleluia is sung once by the cantor(s) and then repeated, rather than singing only to the asterisk, as previously. This is mentioned in the rubrics of the Graduale also. And is similar to the modern practice of singing the whole antiphon before the psalm, in the Office, instead of (in simple and semidouble days) singing only the beginning of it.

    Many people (priests...) would use the English GIRM anyway, regardless of the translation issue.

    And the Instruction I have from our Bishop doesn't have an underlying Latin. It clearly insists on Alleluia from cantor(s), repeat by assembly, verse by cantors, repeat Alleluia by assembly.