All the OF chant books
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    So I am trying to complete a reference library of all the current books of Gregorian chant, published for use in the OF (obviously one can also use various chant resources published before Vatican II in many instances, too).

    Here's what I have on my shelf at the moment:

    Graduale Simplex (1967-2007)-simplifications for small congregations,
    Graduale Triplex (1973)-hard to read
    Liber Cantualis (2015) - English-Latin reference of basic chants for the congregation to use, has not been useful so far
    Graduale Romanum (1974) - chants for the propers of the OF Mass
    Liber Hymnarius (1983) - to chant the hymns of the new Liturgy of the Hours in Latin.
    (But no one can find a complete Antiphonale - I see there is a "Sunday Vespers" tome now available, but that's it? Or monastic versions. Are they just coming out very slowly, one by one? Or were they available and are now all out of print?)
    Ordo Missae (2000) - the bits for the priest to chant - lovely book, never seen anyone use it, but I have one for reference.

    Non-OF books for general use:
    Cantus Selecti - genius selection of chants for Adoration and other occasions
    Offertoriale - many verses for the Offertory, I have seen it useful only in the EF, and with a priest willing to dawdle while you beautify the world with obscure elaborate vocal meditations.
    Liber Usualis - Still my favorite

    That's all I've got.

    Anyone else have something else I should add? Can be online or digital, too.

  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,633
    Parish Book of Chant. Now in its Second Edition!

    Communio by Richard Rice. Verses for Latin OF Communion Antiphons.

    Versus psalmorum et canticorum Verses for EF Introit and Communion Antiphons.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 325
    I use the Gregorian Missal (Solesmes 2012) when I attend OF Masses in Latin with propers chanted. It's also a convenient basic reference for OF propers and includes a comprehensive section with the traditional chants of the Mass ordinary.

    For my non-specialist, non-academic purposes that volume is all I need: easy to understand, easy to use and navigate.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 762
    Graduale Novum (2011)
    Kyriale (1973)
    Liber concelebrantium (2018?)

    Antiphonale Romanum II (2009, for the Liturgy of the Hours)
    Les Heures Grégoriennes (three volumes, 2008, for the Liturgy of the Hours)
    Antiphonale Monasticum (three volumes, 2005, 2006, 2007, for the Benedictine Liturgy of the Hours)
    Psalterium Monasticum (1981, for the Benedictine Liturgy of the Hours)
    Nocturnale ad interim (2017, for the Benedictine Liturgy of the Hours)
  • WGS
    Posts: 238
    Jubilate Deo - Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis - 1974

    I believe it was sent as a bit of encouragement to all the bishops and abbots (or religious superiors) of the world.

    It contains a basic Latin chant mass with the setting for its use in the Ordinary Form and has in addition a selection of "Cantus varii".
  • rarty
    Posts: 96
    Passio Domini nostri Iesu Christi - Liber Cantus (1989)

    It appears to be out of print and hard to find, but it is an official chant book. I don't have a copy, but it has the four Nova Vulgata passion texts set in the familiar Vatican melody, but also in a (restored?) Cistercian tone.
  • This is a most useful question. I came home from a workshop with Fr Ruff, where he had responded to a question about the L Usualis by saying “I don’t use it,” and stared forlornly at my well-used copy. However, I have the Triplex and the Hymnarius but wondered where all these other books came from at rehearsals.

    Now I know.

    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    My battered Liber Usualis is my friend, emotionally speaking, even if nowadays I usually print just the pages I need so my weary old hands don't have to hold a heavy book or read small type in a dim Church. If I were to befriend Liber Usualis all over again I would write more neatly - I mark up my music (pencil only!), but don't always do it neatly. And the paper in the LU is too delicate to tolerate much erasing. On the other hand, if the director can't remember what note we usually start on for chant XYZ, I can open the LU and say "we used to sing it down 3 semitones, but last year we sang it down 2 semitones."

    Thank you all so much for the great lists!
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 862
    I also put the Gregorian Missal to good use.
    Our church is accustomed to hearing the Gregorian communio, and not completely unaccustomed to the Gregorian introit. Whenever I am solo-canting a Mass, I try to have my GM with me, that I may throw in the Gregorian offertory, as well.
    When there are just a couple of us (those most adept at Gregorian chant) at a Holy Day or Solemnity daily Mass, we also try to use all 3 of those.
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 805
    Catherine, may I gently suggest that you mischaracterize the Graduale Simplex as "simplifications for small congregations." The chants are authentic chants from the Codex Hartker and other sources that are older than the other graduals. You might consider adding to your list of all the current books of Gregorian chant By Flowing Waters (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1999); this book faithfully reflects the Graduale Simplex, but in English, and modern notation.
  • By Flowing Waters opens door to chant through avoiding the double hex of trying to get people to accept:

    "Square Notes" (which is sort of stupid, because only people who read the intricacies of modern notation object to square notes).

    Singing in a "Foreign Language".

    By Flowing Waters and the Simplex introduce singing to people who find it easier to later master more involved chants. Jumping or being pushed in the deep waters to learn to swim is, I hope you agree, never the right nor humane thing to do.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    Thanks Paul, for the orientation about the Graduale Simplex!
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Paul do you have a Spanish version of Graduale Simplex?
    Thanked by 1Earl_Grey
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,641

    Paul do you have a Spanish version of Graduale Simplex?

    I have a PDF of someone's work on the Graduale Simplex in Spanish... it's about 50-60% of dates and only contains the Introit, Offertory, and Communion... it's quite good. However, I have no idea where I got it or who's work it is - so I'm not comfortable sharing it. Perhaps Dr. Ford will know more.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,583
    "Square Notes" (which is sort of stupid, because only people who read the intricacies of modern notation object to square notes).

    However, that does include most musicians.
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • CathetinS thank you. You inspired me to get my Offertoriale Triplex.

    As for the Graduale Triplex, the easiest way to demystify it is the realize the “chicken scratches” are conductor’s notes. The easier to intuit is the red, the St Gall. Just wave your finger around while singing—-things that look short are; a long drawn out “z” shape usually means a long drawn out cadence. Purists who demand you know all before starting will object, but you’ll get the idea quickly. If you’ve ever watched a master class by Marylyn Horne and she goes over every word, it’s like that, even if you are winging it. The Chicago Benedictines have an almost complete set of chants for the OF on YouTube that help, as long as one realizes one does not have to be quite so emphatic as Fr Funk in conducting.

    Then go to Saint Meinrad and download whatever teaching tools of dear Fr Columba Kelly, OSB, R.I.P. look promising. The most complete is the one linked here. Skip the theoretical intro and spend a little while copying the shapes of the various neumes. you’ll find a section where he takes an entire piece and discusses what the two notation systems indicate and then he asks which one gives you the more usueful musical information. The answer is “both,” no mystery there. That part starts about page 50. I don’t know how you practice or study, but if you just do his retracing exercises and wave your finger around you’ll get it.

    There are other methods for learning but I found this most useful. The whole notation system is based on the idea that the meaning and rhythms of the words are controlling.

    Now you may prefer “Old Solesmes/Ward Method,” where everything has pretty much equal weight. Many beautiful Masses and recordings have been done this way. It is not worth arguing about. Which do you prefer?

    But that should demystify the G Triplex.

    Fr Kelly studied with a scholar named Cardine and his book was at the bottom of the stair for a long while while I transitioned to a difficult new job. Since I can’t rejoin Fr Kelly this summer, I will take my now freer time and go through it. But even when it lay unused, when I saw it, some flowing phrase would pop into my head.

    Thanks for starting this discussion.


  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    Ah yes, thanks, amindthatsuits: the principal schola I sing with uses that method (Cardine, etc.), with great vigor. And there also is the only place I've ever encountered a use for the offertory verses. The director loves offertory verses and has come to an agreement with the priest about allowing enough time for them.

    The Triplex, however, has so many tiny markings crammed into such little space that I get a headache trying to read it. We usually download 'restored' versions of the chants from the internet (no idea where the director gets them) to use, rather than using a book. The downloaded pages have the lovely notations, but only ONE manuscripts' worth, not three, so then I find they are quite useful and lovely. I really enjoy singing this way, it seems very natural, but perhaps just because it's familiar.

    I sing propers occasionally in other places, and in those cases either I sing alone (rare but pleasant!) or I follow the director/group of the place where I am and just sing the way they do, which in my experience has nearly always been Old Solesmes, or - in some cases - something which probably originally was Old Solesmes but with age has been half-forgotten. In which case we are happy to gently arrive at the ends of phrases without having lost too many notes along the way. ;)

  • Liam
    Posts: 4,014
  • Ah, I misunderstood your comment. Sorry. I have a little magnifying glass, kind of like a little obelisk, and then if you’ve studied it once it’s so necessary next time round.
    . As Fr Kelly pointed out, it was just to remind the director and those studying under him, not for performance.

    If you want to read the St Gall easily, you can go here, but the melodies have been edited.

    As I said at one rehearsal, you just memorize the notes and do what the conductor wants.


    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • Thank you CatherineS. I actually came from school where I was subjected to electronic dance music during an assembly (I teach high school), then went to a hard rock show put on by a recent grad from CUA (where I used to teach), and just had a late dinner listening to a young Italian cantautore whose music I enjoy—but during dinner I had my eye on the envelope which brought me this. This is the kind of music that I wake up with and that follows me around all day. This thread inspired me to fill out my library.

    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    I ordered the Latin-French Hours that was suggested above. A desire to chant the Divine Office was what started me studying chant in the first place, though I've ended up singing with a schola instead (and we never chant the Office, just the Mass; I think I've chanted Vespers at home by myself perhaps all of half a dozen times).

    I'll let you know how it goes with these new volumes when they arrive. They seem to offer the (minor?) advantage of having everything in one book, intention being to facilitate the chanting of the Hours...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    The "Heures Grégoriennes" books arrived tonight. They are really beautiful. The quality is lovely (thicker paper that doesn't tear easily, lovely hard covers, a nice box to store them in, four good ribbons in each volume, etc.). This does mean they are quite heavy. I would not carry a volume around due to the size and weight. But given that at least Laudes, Vespers and Compline are 99% likely to be prayed at home anyway, that's fine.

    I first wanted to learn Gregorian chant for one reason: to chant the Office at home. I don't know why this particular way of praying obsessed me, but at the time (five years ago) I found the use of the books so overwhelmingly complicated that I just used a digital app (Breviarium Meum) instead, and thus never got very good at using books. I only used books when at convents or seminaries or retreats where someone would set all my ribbons for me at the start of the visit, and then I could follow along with the pagination easily enough in subsequent hours.

    At home, the idea of chanting any version was impeded by needing so many books and a keyboard (at the time I still couldn't sight-sing), and I recall the first time I made it through Vespers it took more than an hour. So it didn't happen very often, and thus remained difficult.

    This book really sorts that problem as everything - the Common Tones of the Office, the Psalm Tones, the antiphons, and the hymns are all in each volume. The Psalm Tones are even on a handy card (similar to the cards that have the Magnificat, etc.). So you can chant from one volume with a few ribbons for things found on other pages. But there's so much less complication that I was able to chant Vespers in 20 minutes right after unpacking the box, with only brief pauses to hunt around for the different parts of the book.

    I'm really quite delighted.

    This is the post-Conciliar Liturgy of the Hours, in Latin (which is remarkably difficult to find) with all the chant right there on the page (or on a reference card, etc. as described above); it also has chantable French on each opposite page which I have no need of but am happy to ignore. Instructional bits, section titles and so on are all either in Latin or French.

    So that's my review, from someone not very qualified to have an opinion on the matter.

    Here's the link:
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JonathanKK