St. Jean de Brebeuf hymnal and original chant melodies?
  • We just received our copy of the new hymnal, many thanks to JO for this great achievement! It is a treasure for sure. Just wondering, and I may be missing something completely obvious, but why are the original Latin chant melodies of the hymns not included, except for Pange Lingua? The Latin text is provided with explanation of metered tunes to choose from, but what of the original melody? Is it presumed that congregations/singers already know these, or that there be another pew missal that it be coupled with? Is it a discrepancy in the original melodies themselves, the current debacle over notation, etc? Interested to learn more on this.

    My favorite aspect of the hymnal is the Stations of the Cross at the end! VERY USEFUL! Will promote.

    Thanked by 1ElizabethBoydston
  • There are some instructions in the beginning of the book and in #6 it addresses this exact point. It says that these are chants that are already so widely available in many other books that it’s not aiming to reproduce what can very easily be found in other publications. The Brébeuf Hymnal is focused on metrical english hymns that the congregation will be able to sing well and contains hymns that are not widely available elsewhere. Here is a quote from the book:

    “For parishes wishing to incorporate Latin, as mandated by the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, §36), we include many Latin hymns. They can be sung to metrical tunes or plainsong settings. Some believe plainsong hymnody is better performed by the choir alone, since large congregations often lack the requisite fluidity. When this is done, the congregation should utilize the “Assistance in comprehension,” printed opposite the Latin. Plainsong settings do not belong in our book, since they are abundant in the Liber Usualis, Cantus Selecti, Parish Book of Chant, Liber Hymnarius, Cantus Varii, Liber Antiphonarius, and so on.”

    Hope that helps!
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    I want to get excited about SJBH, but I just can’t. Why does anyone need eight or so different metric melodies cribbed from assorted other hymns, paired with each translation, and yet no plainchant setting is provided?

    The way so many previous hymnals (A&M, EH/NEH, 1940, 1982, LBW) dealt with this was more than adequate – picking one solid and beautiful translation, then printing a version with the plainchant melody, and then another on the neighboring page with one well-chosen “modern” tune. For anyone who truly needed to pair another tune with the text, it could be done by simply finding a tune with the matching meter. So many more hymns or chants could have been fit into the SJBH on the pages now occupied by reprinting the same common-meter tunes over and over again with different texts, without a care for the associations congregations eventually make between tune and text.

    How many books is a parish supposed to buy? SJBH, plus both the Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal for readings and plainchant hymns? SJBH plus PBC plus disposable or permanent missalette?

  • I’m happy to have a copy for reference. It makes an excellent academic reference. I wouldn’t be happy to have it in the pews, personally. I also am interested in how the soft-touch finish on the cover will hold up over time. It looked a mess after my using the book for just a few min.

    Neat book, though.

  • RMSawicki
    Posts: 122
    And Gamba....

    "Regent Square" as a tune for the Pange Lingua?


    I am trying to carefully study and analyze this hymnal with the hope that I will see the wisdom behind some of these decisions.

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!
  • I've always been a fan of WESTMINSTER ABBEY for Tantum Ergo... At a nice, stately clip.

    Although in its original form, as a jubilant "Hallelujah" tag, it is perhaps most effective.
  • Gamba - I do not believe these hymns can be found in other hymnals. Some perhaps, but many are not. We sang some of these at past Sacred Music Symposiums and the melodies are absolutely sublime. Don’t think you’re going to find these in other hymnals. I simply cannot emphasize enough how inspired these melodies are.

    And Gregorian plainchant isn’t really for congregational singing anyway so there is no need for congregations to necessarily have them. However, the chant hymns that can be handled well by congregations such as Pange Lingua are, I believe, in this hymnal.

    I think you can safely trust the scholarship behind this hymnal. It’s solid. Even if you aren’t sure why some things are the way they are I can guarantee you the committee of musical experts behind it is not only solidly Catholic, they are incredibly knowledgeable about Catholic hymnody. :)
  • Gregorian plainchant isn’t really for congregational singing anyway


  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    Don’t think you’re going to find these in other hymnals. I simply cannot emphasize enough how inspired these melodies are.

    I was a proofreader for the hymnal. I know whereof I speak.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    Gregorian plainchant isn’t really for congregational singing anyway


    Adding my own ... ?
    Or perhaps ... ??
    (to the sentence in red, especially in the context of Gregorian-plainchant hymns)
  • Sure, some florid Propers might not be exceptionally suited for congregational participation, but the genre as a whole?

    If Gregorian Ordinaries aren't for congregational singing, with their straightforward syllabic lines, then what music possibly could be?
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Liam francis
  • Clarification: melismatic plainchant. It doesn’t flow well in congregational singing.

    If you proof read and have looked carefully at it, I’m sure you’ll agree the scholarship is excellent.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    In places.
  • Clarification: melismatic plainchant. It doesn’t flow well in congregational singing.

    Calling Julie Coll.…… or Stimson.....Or Jackson, for that matter.

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,033
    A melismatic Kyrie sung by the entire congregation is definitely within the ability of virtually every parish and sounds exquisite. Take Kyrie Orbis Factor, for example. Many people love it when they hear it sung, and to be part of a large assembly singing it together is a transcendent experience.

    What is lacking in many places is the will to do it.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Yes, indeed.

    My congregation sing several melismatic chants: Kyries VIII, XI, XVII A & B, Sancti VIII & XVII, and the Alleluia and its jubilus of "Alleluia: Dies sanctificatus", and they sing them quite well.

    My biggest qualm about this is (and perhaps this should be on the other thread): how long will this hymnal even stay in print before it goes the way of the Vatican II Hymnal, etc., and a completely new book comes out?
    Thanked by 2ncicero CharlesW
  • ncicero
    Posts: 38
    My biggest qualm about this is (and perhaps this should be on the other thread): how long will this hymnal even stay in print before it goes the way of the Vatican II Hymnal, etc., and a completely new book comes out?

    My thoughts exactly. I'd like to know who the entire editorial committee was as well- I can't find it anywhere in the book and that seems a little fishy to me. From my understanding, the VII Hymnal was Jeff Ostrowski's work alone, and IMO was part of the reason for its demise- it wasn't run by enough diverse opinions before being released. I'm hoping the case is different here, but some of the quirky things in the SJB hymnal seem to be very J.O. in nature as well. Not that that's a bad thing. I just think a project like this would be much better received and mainstreamed if it had more input from more people.
  • Anne
    Posts: 4
    What sort of copyright restrictions would there be if I want to take some of the texts from the SJB Hymnal and format them myself with SATB public domain hymn settings?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    "The Committee." Run for your lives!

    Clarification: melismatic plainchant. It doesn’t flow well in congregational singing.

    It can work for congregational singing, but it must be simple. Melismas are like French ornaments. They can be well done or like Chinese water torture. Both ornaments and melismas are products reflecting the tastes of other times. Sometimes an excess of ornaments can confuse a melody line and melismas carried to excess seem akin to early yodeling. Melismas were likely conceived to show the skills of the singers, not do anything particularly edifying for the congregations.

    In all fairness, I haven't seen this hymnal and will reserve judgment on it until then. I once talked with a committee member involved with producing a Protestant denominational hymnal. It sounded more like warfare than collaboration.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Yes, but early authors say it is not for the congregation but for God.
    Thus St. Jerome (In Psalm. xxxii, P.L., XXVI, 915) defines: "That is called iubilus which neither in words nor syllables nor letters nor in speech can utter or define how much man ought to praise God". Similarly St. Augustine says (Psalm xcix, P.L., XXXVII, 1272): "He who sings a iubilus, does not utter words, but the iubilus is a song of joy without words." And again (in Ps. xxxii, P.L., XXXVI, 283): "And for whom is this iubilatio more fitting than for the ineffable God?"
    Of course we have no idea how complex the iubilus was at this period. And we can contrast that comment with Jerome's condemnation of those "plaster neck and throat with ointments like stage players, churning out theatrical tunes and songs in church". And I am not sure whether this would refer to Mass or to other services.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    A sample of the harmony edition is out.

    They’re using the same obscene “print-every-verse-separately” approach as the V2 hymnal, and the partwriting is...weak.

    A real shame.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    Whoever put this hymnal together obviously didn't know about the V2 Hymnal, because they refer to their confused method of typesetting as "revolutionary" when it's been used for a few years already. Not that this could be deemed revolutionary in any good sense of the term.

    Alongside that, the awkward attempt to combine stems wherever possible and the ugly music notation means that I'll be passing on what could have been a very promising hymnal.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW CHGiffen MarkB
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Schönbergian - no, the St J de Brebeuf is from the same stable as the Vatican II Hymnal - Corpus Christi Watershed.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    I will echo the sentiments of Gamba... the voice leading is quite odd. And, yes, I do not like the every verse for a different harmony approach. Would like to see the entire hymnal in my hand if I could get a complimentary copy.

    @AndreaLeal... what is your association with the hymnal... you seem to have a lot of inside scoops?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    I'm confused about how so much of this hymnal seems to be either (generously) using an overly large amount of space for the same amount of content or (pessimistically) padding. Printing each verse separately, printing multiple tunes over and over again for chant melodies, and so on.

    If the purpose were to illustrate that hymns are not the centre of Catholic worship and should only be used as a cautious supplement to Propers (as V2 purports), then why not make a lighter, smaller volume? Alternatively, one could provide a much greater selection of high-quality hymns for a volume of the same size.

    Also, perhaps I'm the only one who cares about this, but they literally put more time into typesetting the header of the preview that reads "This is a preview - this is not an authorized release" than the music itself.

    Schönbergian - no, the St J de Brebeuf is from the same stable as the Vatican II Hymnal - Corpus Christi Watershed.

    They should really know better, in that case. I'm still wondering who was clamouring for this "feature".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I recently saw somewhere that CCW needs money and the article implied some financial difficulty. I don't know about that, but I do know they are wedded to a format in those hymnals that I certainly don't want, and wouldn't buy.
  • I don't think I would use the hymnal(s) as a barometer of whether or not to support CCW.

    It is a volunteer organization with LOTS of hard work and effort from several individuals that provide many different resources for many different situations (both OF and EF). The group works hard toward bettering Sacred Music in the performance of the Liturgy - a goal that we can all appreciate (whether or not we believe that a given approach or resource might be better aligned with our personal viewpoints).

    For that reason, I hope that others will join in contributing to them financially. I don't use the site frequently, but I certainly do use it - and have found it a valuable resource for specific things I'm looking for at various times.
  • What sort of copyright restrictions would there be if I want to take some of the texts from the SJB Hymnal and format them myself with SATB public domain hymn settings?
    None if the texts themselves are not listed as being copyright.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 975
    The PDF sample says that the "conundrum" of the standard way of notation is extremely difficult and that this new hymnal solves it with a method that "will be welcomed by organists and singers."

    On the contrary, this is one organist who finds the innovation to be merely a nuisance and a far cry from an upgrade. Taking three pages of space for Ye Sons and Daughters (not including Latin) is ridiculous. Also, now the page is WAY too busy with notes. It needs more space.

    I do appreciate CCW, however, and use the site here and there. I will also end up purchasing a copy of this hymnal because I like to have resources available (and I also just collect them).
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I don't find the "standard" way of notation difficult at all. This organist doesn't welcome the new hymnal because it is different for the sake of difference. I don't get it and don't know what they were thinking.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Yes. I saw the sample. Like I want to turn the page every other verse of O Filii et Filiae.

    And yes, the harmonies are weak. Some one at CCW who shall remain nameless seems to like picking apart everyone else's harmonizations, from Goudimel to Bach to Haydn to Wesley, to Dykes, because they don't conform to the THEORY 101 RULES OF COUNTERPOINT; and yet produces bizarre things like this. And O Filii is in Mode II on G, which means the first chord of the refrain/burden/antiphon should be the tonic, and yet it is harmonized by the mediant--I find this completely bizarre.

    I really want to like the CCW things, I really do, but I just can't. I'll take the New English Hymnal, thanks.
  • This hymnal is woefully inept. We have gone from the days of printing the music at the top of the page and the words below it (until it was determined that people were too daft to make sense of it). Then to having the text within the music, which gives no one (daft or not) any excuse to complain that he or she can't figure out what words go with what notes. Now, again having decided that people are even more daft than was originally thought, we print the music over and over again so that each stanza of the text is aligned with its own melody. One would never consider such an inept arrangement, such an unsightly layout, which, I think, would discourage rather than encourage the singing of these hymns.

    To begin with, far from making it easier to match text and music, it is more difficult because of the cluttered page in which the text gets lost. Further, it is much easier to match text and music when the text appears below the music, not above it. But, never mind that: each single line of text gets lost in the clutter of notes, slurs, and the profusion of non textual stuff.

    On the positive side, there are some very interesting new weddings of text and tune which are unusual, but for the most part really nice. To highlight only one - I was initially perplexed (as in really put off) at the eccentric pairing of the hearty Easter chorale tune Christ ist erstanden (an example of those chorales known as 'leisen' because of their 'kyrieleison' or 'kyrieleis' refrain) with the sacramental hymn, 'Come, All Ye Holy' (Sancti venite); but after singing it less 'heartily' and more slowly and thoughtfully, it is surprisingly effective. It does work. (One may, though, question the literary integrity of adding the 'kyrieleison' refrain to the VIth century text to which its attachment is a presumptuous novelty.)

    Just for the unusual pairings of text-tune from which to get ideas I might acquire a copy for reference, but I would never think once (let alone twice) about putting this hymnal in the pews or in the choir stalls. We don't need to 'dumb the people down' any more than they already have been.

    (Oh, and one also did notice the absence of tune names and their composers or sources and dates, and of hymn authors or sources and dates. And, are there indices? By now all these are surely standard in any hymnal that would be taken seriously.)
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,775
    Previous formatting discussion here. Eccentric is a kind way to put things, but MJO's not to be taken seriously is more to the point.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    There is a caution on the first page that @Gamba linked to on April 10.
    The harmony edition doesn’t make any sense without the Pew Hymnal.
    Photos here showing index, and here in which it looks as though sources etc. are provided. One can also see a much more congregation friendly layout, (assuming that nobody in the congregation is going to sing harmony). I am not sure how I would feel if I were in the choir, probably daunted by the weight of the book.
  • The views in Mr Hawkins's links are quite different from those shown in Gamba's links and don't seem like the same books. Is there some explanation for this? I may have to temper my above remarks. The books shown in Gamba's links appear to be quite nice, though one can't see all the details on the pages shown.
  • KyleM18
    Posts: 150
    [NOTE: I was a proofreader on this hymnal as well.]

    Holding a copy of the Pew Edition in my lap, I can say that they put the first three or so verses under the melody line, and then the rest as text blocks. I like the book as source material (for worship aids, possibly), but I don't see how to get copyright usage, as the book says,

    "THE TEXTS in our hymnal - all of them - have undergone editorial revision, ranging from minimal to substantial, and as such are under copyright."

    It seems that if I go to the original texts and use those, then I'm able to print those, but not the "edited" texts in the hymnal.

    I sort of understand what the creators of the book were trying to do (make a "Catholic" hymnal), but to me, the Westminster, New Westminster, St. Andrews, and other UK hymnals, as well as books like HPSC, St. Paul's, and With Angels and Archangels went about it far better. My personal opinion with some of the translations chosen is that in exchange for overt faithfulness to the Latin, they got rid of singability and poetic quality. I also agree with the sentiment that the English Hymnal/Hymnal 1940 approach is better, and at times (Conditor Alme, for example), I'd solely use the plainchant. Finally, I believe that by focusing solely on the office hymns, at the neglect of the many other theologically-sound hymns that have entered the Catholic repertoire of hymnody, a church would probably not be able to use this as their primary hymnal.

    Personally? I'd like to see some of the "faithful" hymn translations used in the hymnal, along with the more common-place translations, added to a new hymnal that covers the 2,000-year-history of church music. For me, though, this hymnal sits as a book of source material.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    "THE TEXTS in our hymnal - all of them - have undergone editorial revision, ranging from minimal to substantial, and as such are under copyright."

    I'm wondering how this is even possible, let alone necessary. I can't think of a single other hymnal on the market which does this, let alone advertises it as a feature.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,033
    So, if someone alters a public domain text then that altered, derivative text is considered private property subject to copyright protection? That can't be. Suppose it's just changing the text in a minor way like changing "thou" to "you". Nobody else is allowed to make the same alteration himself to the public domain text and use it freely? I would think that revisions to a public domain text would have to be so substantial as to constitute a new creative work instead of a derivative work in order for that revision to be protected by copyright. Seems to me that derivative works of public domain items should also be public domain, just as a copyright owner retains rights to derivative works of his copyrighted piece.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 245
    I wanted to use one of the texts (When the Foe, Laid Low, Retiring) in our Holy Week program. I emailed to request permission, since this was new text and there was no copyright or other license indicated, and received this response:
    We are happy to grant you permission (which will expire in March of 2021) to reprint the text for free, so long as you include the Brébeuf Hymnal in the copyright notice.

    So I assume this text is under a copyright held by . . . the John Paul II Liturgical Institute.

    Setting aside the question of the moral defensibility of copyright . . .

    It is true that altered public domain texts are sometimes copyrighted; I am not sure how substantial the changes need to be to justify that. But the most commonly known version of "Lift High the Cross" is under copyright, though the original text is in the public domain. It contains changes such as "brethren" being changed to "Christians," "Captain" being changed to "Master", "servant" being changed to "follower," but then more significant changes, such as:

    the original
    O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree, as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee

    O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree, thy death hath brought us life eternally.

    However, a quick perusal of the Ignatius Pew Missal reveals quite a few other old hymn texts which have been altered yet are not under copyright.

    Another questionable area: the statement KyleM18 quoted seems incorrect in implying that the grounding of the copyright lies simply in the fact of the text having been altered. The copyright protection -- if it is indeed legally defensible -- is, I believe, grounded in the intent of the creator, indicated by the [edit: first five and] last three words of the statement.
    Thanked by 2MarkB CHGiffen