Rubrics for Chanting the Ordinary Form Office
  • Jz00533
    Posts: 28
    Hello, I am wanting to chant the Ordinary Form Office according to the rubrics (if they exist). Do they exist?

    The only thing I can find in the General Instruction is that vernacular hymns should be approved by a conference of bishops. When it discusses chanting the psalms, it does not say anything about official approval being needed, so could I use, for example, the Clayton tones for English psalms combined with Latin antiphons from older, Pre-Vatican II books that match the text of the antiphons found in the LOTH? And would there be rules for chanting other parts of the Office (like the readings)? Does canon law say anything on this?

    I am a lay person, but following the rubrics is very important to me.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,647
    If you are chanting the Office for your own edification, you are free to do it however you find of spiritual benefit. I agree that is is good to follow the General Instruction, but excessive scrupulosity can itself be a spiritual danger. I don't think there are other guidelines than the General Instruction and the Apostolic Constitution Laudis Canticum. If you have worries, you should discuss them with a priest.
    from Laudis Canticum :-
    ... if the method and form of the celebration is chosen which most helps the persons taking part, one’s personal, living prayer must of necessity be helped.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • Jz00533
    Posts: 28
    I am doing it for personal edification, but also to join in with the prayer of the Church for the Herself and the world.

    And I will give the second document you mentioned a read. Honestly, the GI seems vague enough that I think I strong argument could be made that any common-sensical reciting tone could be used for the Office in public and to fulfill a priests obligation, without any approval being necessary. I know hymns are a different story and must be approved.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • There are monastic communities that chant some of their offices on one note (recto tono). Also, there's one here in Chicago (Canons Regular of St John Cantius) whose members pray the offices together, in the church, from the 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours books. Typically they chant all the psalms and their antiphons to Gregorian psalm tone II and the canticles to tone VIII. They have their own booklet for the hymns, which are the traditional Latin ones with their proper melodies. These could be from the Liber Hymnarius. Anyway, you could establish a pattern like they did: make decisions on tones to use, how to handle hymns, etc., and then adopt that as your personal way of chanting the Offices. Of course, to chant with others you'd either need to agree on your pattern or adopt a pattern for the group.
  • I meant to add that the Canons Regular seem to "wing" the psalms in terms of where to divide the verses. For some reason, American editions of the LotH and the Grail psalter seem allergic to pointing the verses for binary (two-line) versification. The UK Divine Office books provide both pointings...psalm texts are both set off in strophes (for tones like Gelineau, Saint Meinrad, or Conception Abbey) and provided with asterisks marking the midpoint of a two-line verse for Gregorian or simplified psalm tones. The Canons Regular read from the American LotH but have no trouble using the binary Gregorian Tone II. They either guess well on the verses that have 3 lines (and therefore need a flex, or a delay in ending the first half of the verse) or they've marked the midpoints in their books. I think they just guess well, which would work most of the time.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,520
    You might also want to try to find the Ordo Cantus Officii, which will tell you which Gregorian Antiphons to use.