Ornamented prefaces?
  • At a priest's first solemn Mass (EF) on Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) he sang the preface in an ornamented tone I've never heard before. It was fantastic. Just little extra ornaments on a few words, just a few unexpected twists and turns. I have never listened so attentively in my life. It was truly lovely. Does anyone know what this might have been?
    Thanked by 1GregoryWeber
  • Would these be the “more solemn tones” of the Preface?
  • Also called "Solemnior". Typically this also corresponds to a 3rd tone for the responses before the preface... 1 = Solemn; 2 = Ferial; 3 = Most Solemn.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • That makes sense. I think the responses got muddled by the schola.
  • 1 = Solemn, 2 = Ferial, 3 = Most Solemn
    , and 4 = Sarum
  • There is a special tone which appears to be roughly that which is used at the pre-55 end of the Passion. Then there's the Easter tone. I wonder which one he used.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,809
    Did Fr. Z record them? will have to look.
  • There is a special tone which appears to be roughly that which is used at the pre-55 end of the Passion. Then there's the Easter tone. I wonder which one he used.

    Chris, there is an appendix in the Missale which has the preface tones "solemniore" for most prefaces. Different regional Missales occasionally have certain special tones (there is one in France for Epiphany, particularly, for example). In other words, it isn't like a lesson tone which you mark up ad libitum.

    In the Missale, the Solemn tones are first - just before the canon. The Ferial tones are next. The prefaces "sine cantu" follow that - then the canon. But if you go to the back of the Missale, you'll find the appendix of Solemnior tones that correspond to the third tone for the responses before the Preface.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • It must have been the 'solemniore' from the back of the Missal. I sang an example just now and it sounds like what I recall. Very cool. I think the schola actually didn't muddle the responses - the congregation (including me) was confused, and tried to sing the regular responses, and then slowly realized the schola was doing something a bit different and stopped singing along.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • As others have mentioned, there are other more Solemn tones that priests use once in a blue moon. It would be helpful to communicate that usage to the choir/schola beforehand. FWIW: I’m a strong believer in communication between the celebrant and the choir/schola.
  • Through bitter experience I have learned to always have the page ready for preface responses at that part of the Mass. The bigger problem to my mind is not the solemnior responses... it is the unintentional "ad libitum" approach that some celebrants take... mixing different tones or even creating their own "special" version. I just find it easier to always have the correct options in front of me for the preface so I can help steer the responses correctly.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Ditto what Magister Incardination said. At my old community, we had a Nigerian priest who always sang the solemnior tone for every mass, no matter if it was ferial or not. Took some getting used to, but it sure was beautiful.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • What do you all normally do if/when the priest uses a random tone, the wrong tone, a mixed-up tone, or just generally goes off course? Respond to match what he actually sang? Or respond to what he should have sung?
  • Match what the priest sang, if it remotely resembles an established tone. Otherwise - sing as he thought, not as he sang, if that makes sense. (The better one gets to know his priest, the easier it is to get an idea of what he was aiming for.)
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • Our regular TLM priest is not much of a singer. We used to meet before each Mass to tell him what Gloria etc we were going to use. But he could never really catch the less common ones. Then we got him a special card with all the tones on it, but he lost it. So we just let him start however it comes out and take it from there. Same with Ite Missa Est and so on. He's a very good priest otherwise. Just not much of a musical mind.
  • My choir found itself in a similar situation for a while - you can use it to your benefit. If the only tones he uses are Gloria VIII/Credo III/Ite XV, then using polyphonic settings won't throw him off at all!
    Thanked by 1CatherineS


  • I'm pretty sure yes, or quite similar. The responses before the preface start out almost normal, then go in slightly unexpected directions, but just barely, so at first I thought the schola had just wandered off a bit, but the preface is just hypnotic. Take a phrase that mostly stays on the reciting tone, like "cujus veritas instrueret..." and it lulls me into the 'expected' melody...and then weeeeee there he goes with "virtus adjuvaret infirmos" - and I'm startled to attention and joy.
  • communication between the celebrant and the choir/schola.
    can help prevent liturgical train wrecks, but my favorite vernacular-Mass parish priest is the one for whom meetings were un-necessary because we each knew how the other thought, and nearly always came to the same conclusions.
  • meetings were un-necessary because we each knew how the other thought, and nearly always came to the same conclusions.


    That’s great. That is not at all the situation at my parish. Preface tones aren’t really a problem, but lack of communication/planning is.
  • It always seems to be a split... most choir directors are like "Please sir, may I have some more?" in regards to meetings / communication. Most pastors seem to be more of the "Communication? We don't need no stinking communication!" mindset.

    I've been in both good and bad situations as far as communication goes. :)