Rubrics for chanting the Extraordinary Form Divine Office
  • Jz00533
    Posts: 19
    In the rubrics of the Extraordinary Form Office, is there as strict of a distinction between the spoken and sung Office like there is with high and low mass? Or is one allowed to say, for example, speak the psalms, and sing the hymn? Furthermore, do specific rubrics need to be followed when chanting the hymn, or can you sing it to any tune?

    My understanding is that, in the Ordinary Form LOTH, you definitely have all these options. But is this an option in the EF?

    Disclaimer: yes, I am a layperson. But following the liturgical rubrics is very important to me
  • Jz,

    What is your purpose in singing the hymn and speaking the psalms? If you're speaking the psalms because you haven't mastered the pointing of the texts..... I suggest you learn how to read the pointing. If you're speaking the psalms because singing them will take too long.... different problem. If you're speaking the whole of the Office because you see "in choro" and think that singing should take place when the Office is prayed in common, you're probably on firm ground, but I'm willing to take correction on this point.

    I wouldn't use the options of the Ordinary form Liturgy of the Hours as indicative of much.

    Like you, I'm a layman. I'm able to sing Vespers once a month, with my parish. Most of the rest of the time, I say my Office.
  • Jz00533
    Posts: 19
    Well, I don’t sing the hymn at this time because I want to make sure it is done according to the rubrics (with the proper tune and such). But if I wanted to transition into singing the Office, I would probably start with the hymn. I like singing; as the old saying goes, he who sings prays twice.

    Plus, singing the psalms may take too long for myself as a layman. This is the reason I’m strongly considering switching to the OF Office, which has he added advantage of being chanted in the vernacular (though I’m not sure if there are rules dictating the chanting if that Office either).

    I just didn’t know if there are official rules on all this. The rubrics of the Extraordinary Form Office don’t seem to mention singing too much, if at all. I think when they wrote them, it was just assumed that everyone spoke their office during private recitation.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 185
    I pray the Divine Office at home, privately. I have always wanted to chant it, and have chanted it on occasion, but it is indeed time consuming and since I don't always have the time I mostly read instead.

    I find the most time consuming thing is the antiphons - and one easy way to get around this is to chant the antiphons in a psalm tone, and then chant that psalm in the same tone. I rotate through the psalm tones, as this way I am also practicing the different tones. The Liber Usualis has helpful guidelines for chanting the Office.

    The hymns can be sung recto tone if one doesn't know the melody. The melodies for the hymns and antiphons are mostly in the Antiphonale (I have one from 1903, downloaded from the internet). But unless you read chant easily that is time consuming, too.

    I think the Office is worth saying, if you don't have time to chant. It's spiritually rich. I used the app that has the English and Latin side by side for a few years until I was more familiar with it, and then my godson who is a seminarian showed me how to find my way through the printed breviary. I prefer praying from the breviary now, but use the app when traveling.

    I wouldn't let perfectionism get in the way of private prayer for a minute. God loves the small efforts we make, and the devil loves to keep us perpetually getting ready to start something but never being ready/good enough.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,557
    Recto tono is your friend. Most EF societies that chant the Divine Office in common, and aren't contemplative, tend to use this for all the minor hours. They use Gregorian Chant for Compline during the week and Vespers during the weekend.

    You might also consider getting the Little Office of the BVM from Baronius Press. It has the chants for the Office listed in the back. And it's the same Office every day, so you can spend more time improving the same set of psalms.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 102
    If you’re not canonically bound to recite the Divine Office, you’re not bound to the rubrics. When you recite them privately and not liturgically in a public setting you can do as you please. I wouldn’t get hung up on this sort of thing.

    I’ve had the privilege to chant Solemn Vespers in the EF at church on New Years Eve in multiple occasions. It’s probably one of my liturgical highlights of the year. In that setting, following the rubrics is required, but certain substitutions can be made for the chant as is the case at Mass.

    FWIW: The FSSP Priests labiate (move their lips to form the words, but no sound comes out) their Divine Office when they pray it individually. It takes them about 2.5 hours each day for the full office doing this.