Swapping a Communio with a Responsorium Breve
  • veromaryveromary
    Posts: 138
    I'm helping with a Missa Cantata with lots of kids for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

    The Mode 4 Communio looks a bit challenging, so thinking of swapping it out for this Responsorium Breve from the Dominican books:

    https://gregobase.selapa.net/chant.php?id=5667

    It has Alleluias, but apart from that, the text seems the same as the proper proper:

    https://gregobase.selapa.net/chant.php?id=346

    I've swapped for Vespers Antiphons before, and there is one of those too:

    https://gregobase.selapa.net/chant.php?id=2868

    But I can see teaching the Responsory being easier on the kids, and gives a bit more variety to the spectrum of chant.

    I'll focus on learning the Introit and Vexilla Regis and see how the rest goes. It would be great to sing Christus Factus, but I don't want to end up singing solo, so that will depend if anyone is game to learn it.

    Other suggestions, welcome - the main question I have is if there is any issue subbing in the responsory here for the communion antiphon.
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 484
    It is not a good idea either legally (1962-wise) or artistically.

    It is sometimes said by well-meaning commentators that Gregorian chant is the ideal setting of its text; nothing could be farther from the mark, for each Gregorian genre shows a distinctly different manner of setting the text—each Gregorian chant is an ideal adaptation of its text to its specific liturgical purpose.

    — Dr. William Mahrt, Gregorian Chant as a Paradigm of Sacred Music

    Take a look at the striking examples Dr. Mahrt's essay gives for Justus ut palma to see the diverse ways in which the same text may be set depending on different liturgical contexts.

    A short responsory is a completely different animal from a communion, thus they are not interchangeable.

    In terms of rubrics, look up no. 21 of De Musica Sacra (1958), which concludes by saying that if you can't handle a chant as it is given in the liturgical books, the only options that are allowed are recto tono, or psalm toning. This section also includes a prohibition against altering the text that is to be chanted.

    From a certain point of view, one could argue that whether something is Gregorian chant or not depends on context: psalm toned propers are not Gregorian chant; yet the same psalm sung to the same psalm tone is indeed Gregorian chant when it occurs during the office, where the psalm tone is at home.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,118
    c) But if for some reason a choir cannot sing one or another liturgical text according to the music printed in the liturgical books, the only permissible substitution is this: that it be sung either recto tono, i.e., on a straight tone, or set to one of the psalm tones. Organ accompaniment may be used. Typical reasons for permitting such a change are an insufficient number of singers, or their lack of musical training, or even, at times, the length of a particular rite or chant.

    If this is to be read in the narrowest possible sense (which I somehow doubt), so much the worse for Choralis Constantinus and Gradualia, or indeed any polyphony at all.
    Thanked by 1veromary
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 771
    I agree with Jonathan. A short responsory has another liturgical function than a communion antiphon with psalm verses.

    If the antiphon from the Graduale Romanum is too challenging, you could try the simpler melody provided by the Graduale simplex (p. 308).
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 484
    The Graduale Simplex simply does not pertain to the EF.

    For the OF, admittedly it's legally there as an option; but displacing genres as it does is a complete novelty, and the wrecking of the paradigm.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,015
    The Graduale Simplex simply does not pertain to the EF.
    True in terms of the law as it stands, but not for the intention of the VII Fathers. They mandated a simpler set of Gregorian chants for use at Mass, and did not mandate the NO as it turned out. And the paradigm of the TLM was, surely, for a chant to meditate on the celebrant's completion of the Holy Sacrifice, not for a large number of the faithful receiving at a sung Mass.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 328
    A few thoughts in relation to the legislation quoted above:
    1. Where does it leave Tozer, ‘Chants Abreges’ and a plethora of other similar editions?
    2. Would it be acceptable to find a simpler melody from another Graduale for the same text in the same place? e.g. the Cistercian, Ambrosian etc. What about an earlier source?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,015
    Another thought on GS. It was finalised in April 1965, while work on the NO was only in its first phase. And published, after obstruction from those who did not want official simplified chants, in 1967. That first edition is perfectly suited* to the EF. I acknowledge that PCED probably would not agree, despite their own instruction (my emphasis) :
    INSTRUCTION ON THE APPLICATION OF THE APOSTOLIC LETTER
    SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM 30 April 2011
    28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

    [EDIT] * that is in its own terms, to a Missa Cantata where more resources are not obtainable.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 771
    The Graduale simplex, especially its first edition, is indeed suited fo the Extraordinary Form: it was based on the 1962 rubrics and calendar.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 484
    Then he cried, but could not hear his own words,

    "Flounder, flounder in the sea,
    Come I pray thee, here to me;
    For my wife, good Ilsabil,
    Wills not as I'd have her will."

    "Well, what does she want, then?" said the Flounder. "Alas," said he, "she wants to be like unto God." "Go to her, and you will find her back again in the dirty hovel." And there they are living still at this very time.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,863
    Missa Cantata where more resources are not obtainable.


    Yes, fair enough resources may not be available... but can they be found if you look? I have known a number of professional musicians that went to Mass (O.F.) with "ear plugs" but when an EF Mass started were more than happy to help run the choir.

    It is all very well saying that the G.R. is too difficult, but it was not too difficult for the Catholics in times past, why is it to difficult now. It is not a problem to use psalm tones, Rossini or the Chants abregnes, but it is a problem if you use them because the Mass is to long with the Propers from the GR.

    I have worked with many choirs that have worked hard and are working hard to sing the GR in full. The GS is only a stepping stone if it becomes a destination we have all lost.

    N.B. I only sing with E.F. choirs!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,015
    What the OP needs is a stepping stone, as the specific GR Communion is probably unattainable by children in one jump.
    Thanked by 1veromary
  • veromaryveromary
    Posts: 138
    The Graduale Simplex tune matches one of the Vespers Antiphons in the Liber Usualis, and sounds more manageable.

    I can see the Responsory might not be so good as it repeats the text and introduces Alleluias.

    I'm wondering if there was legislation before 1958 which allowed for Chants Abreges and other alternatives - maybe a lack of legislation as chant was being rediscovered.

    Thanks a_f_hawkins - I'm working with a bunch of families I've mostly never met with an unknown amount of rehearsal time, hoping to jumpstart the process through youtube videos. They usually have daily low Masses for this homeschool camp, but me being a trouble maker suggested a sung Mass. The priest is fantastic, all looks positive, but lots of unknowns for me, so keeping it simple sounds good. I helped with another camp like this and it was fantastic - even some simple polyphony, but I knew the people better there. Though even then we psalm toned the propers.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,329
    The 1958 requirement that propers, if not sung with polyphony, be sung with the authentic chant from the GR, or on a psalm tone, or recto tono suggests a somewhat unrealistic attitude among the liturgists at the S.C.R. at the time.

    This regulation was probably imposed with the intent of pushing choirs to boost their musical skills, to sing not Chants abreges or other simplified chants, but move up to the authentic Gregorian repertoire. I'm not an expert on music pedagogy, but the idea that taking away the training wheels, as it were, would really help singers leap from psalm tones up to the full melismatic repertoire seems implausible to me.

    The same attitude of unrealistic recommendations appears in the document's suggestion (para. 25c) that in sung Mass the whole congregation might sing the proper chants; and that this should be undertaken in seminaries and religious communities. Whoever wrote that never heard 30 people try to sing a gradual together. Already the notion that ideally everybody should sing everything (that the choir does not have a distinct role from the congregation) was afoot.
    Thanked by 2Andrew Malton Jahaza