Crux fidelis: alternate chant w/ PICARDY
  • Hi everyone,

    I am trying something new this year at my parish with the “Crux fidelis” hymn.

    In previous years, we have just sung the hymn straight-through, all to the PICARDY (“Let all mortal flesh...”) chorale melody.

    This year, I want to alternate between congregational (PICARDY) and choral (unison chant) singing for the hymn.

    My dilemma is this: PICADY is in the minor (“aeolian”) mode. The chant is in mode 1, the “dorian” mode.

    Should I keep the same finalis, so that the chant and chorale both have the same start/finish (e.g. C minor & C dorian) ....or, should I transpose the chant up to keep the same “key signature” (e.g. C minor, F dorian)?
  • Keep the same final! Definitely!
    Your combination of the Mode I melody and 'Picardy' is, I think, interesting and nice - sort of a muscal macaronic.
    Are you singing in English or Latin? You may know that, among other places, a fine English version of this appears
    in the Anglican Use Gradual to the chant tune, which I think is quite singable by a congregation. One could alternate
    stanzas between choir or cantor and congregation. But I like your idea with 'Picardy'.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    You could consider PICARDY to be in the Dorian mode, couldn't you? In which case both melodies would have the same "final." Making them have the same "key signature" would make the chant too high to sing comfortably (or PICARDY too low).

    Sam Schmitt
  • MJO: I don’t know the AUG’s version, but I am using the metrical translation by Caswall. (We are singing entirely in English.) And yes, alternating choir/congregation is currently the plan.

    Rich, PICARDY is in the aeolian/minor mode because it uses a flatted 6th scale degree; the defining characteristic of the dorian mode is the raised 6th scale degree (in tandem with the lowered/minor 3rd).

    The idea with keeping the same key sig would be that tenors and altos would sing an octave below the sopranos. And, the congregation will not sing the chant. I haven’t had the chance to teach it to them, and it is NOT a melody that most could pick up without being taught.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    I mean you could "consider" PICARDY to be in the Dorian for purposes of combining it with the chant - after all, the sixth degree in Dorian can be flatted (flattened?). There is no aeolian mode in Gregorian chant, though there are some pieces in the first mode where the sixth degree is consistently flatted, making them sound "aeolian." Of course, the "Crux fidelis" is not one of those pieces - still, I think it work well with PICARDY (and is anyone listening really keeping tracks of the various modes?).

    Sam Schmitt
  • Rich,

    Good point about chants where degree 6 is consistently flatted.

    I realize no one (or, very few!) will keep track actively....but as I play them through, partly it “feels” right to keep the key sig....but, that could be just me?
  • In The Hymnal 1982 the Crux fidelis (Pange lingua gloriosi proelium certaminis) is set to the chant melody of Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium.

    I suspect that in most places the latter is sung in most places on Maundy Thursday. If they can sing the melody on Thursday night, they can sing it on Friday.

    Perhaps there is some precedent for using this melody for both texts. I don't know. I suspect, however, that Winfred Douglas, who edited the Hymnal 1940, would not have paired this tune with "Crux fidelis" without such precedent.
  • Precedent or no, I have felt, for the past two years, that something integral is missing on Good Friday if the Crux chant melody is not heard. We’ve been having the congregation sing all verses; instead, I would like to try alternatim this year.

    I will probably never forget interviewing for a post in DeKalb, Illinois. The vicar/associate priest was from Africa. During my interview, it came out that the African priest was familiar with Crux. Not a big surprise, of course, just cool that someone from halfway around the world knows some of the same Good Friday music I do.
  • Every great Feast has its songs, its musics, without which the celebration would not be complete. Some are Hymns such as Adeste fideles and Easter Hymn, some are chants such as Puer nobis, Hosanna filio David, or the Golden Sequence, or it might be an anthem such as Sicut Cervus, Exsultate justi, or Like as the Hart. We could each add numbers more of musical exemplars the absence of which leaves 'something missing' in a given celebration. But, certainly Crux fidelis is such a hymn the absence of which would leave the Good Friday Liturgy literarily, musically, aesthetically impoverished - in-complete, not completely done. And to Crux one might add the Gregorian Reproaches in their Greek and Latin (or Greek-Latin-English!) It says something sad about the state of our religious culture that most people do not seem to know much about, or identify with, more than a basic repertory of Christmass & Easter music. I dare say that they dont look forward to singing the sequence on Pentecost, nor Crux and the Reproaches on Good Friday with the same anticipation which they reserve for Adeste fideles or (cough) Grosser Gott. This is truly sad because they SHOULD! So many have been remiss in communicating our Patrimony to the next generation and if this isn't remedied the culture will eventually die, or, simply, atrophy. They have been fed out-sourced pablum for forty years ("forty years have they grieved thee'!) and there is no time to lose. They must be given real food, and a vision, lest they perish. Yes, Crux fidelis should become a thing people look forward to the way Lutherans look forward to O Sacred Head Surrounded - and for the same reason: someone put it in their blood and things aren't complete without it. (This was going to be just a few words of encouragement to Felipe in his imaginative alternatim treatment in preservation of ONE of the things every Catholic ought think about when Good Friday is mentioned.) Godspeed!
  • Brad_S_2018
    Posts: 8

    Does anyone have Crux Fidelis set to Picardy or St. Thomas? I cannot seem to find one written out.

    Trying to avoid using other published versions with incorrect text, and this would work well.
  • liampmcdonough
    Posts: 291
  • opus2080
    Posts: 13
    Source and Summit allows you to change the hymn tune of you wanted it set to Picardy or St Thomas.

    We are singing it this year to Pange Lingua. It's our first time using this text after 50 years of Were You There and OCP stuff.
    Thanked by 2LauraKaz Brad_S_2018
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,372
    Speaking of Crux Fidelis and Picardy,
    for a beautiful experience try singing Mortal Flesh to Crux sometime!
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Brad_S_2018