Psalm Tone Changes
  • FKulash
    Posts: 14
    Can anyone recommend books or articles on how the use of psalm tones has changed over the years?

    For example: what happened to psalm tone ending 8a? The 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum gave 4 endings for tone 8, including 8a, which ended with a sol-la podatus. Whenever ending 8a was called for, the antiphon started on a high do, and antiphons that started on a high do invariably used either ending 8a or 8c. In the 1962 Liber Usualis and (all later publications that I know of) the 8a ending has disappeared; antiphons that used to call for 8a now call for 8c instead, or sometimes 8G. What happened to ending 8a? What happened to the practice that ending 8G is never used with antiphons starting on do?
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 458
    The particular instance you give concerns two different traditions:

    The LU is intended for use with the Roman secular office, and thus follows the Vatican Edition of the Antiphonale Romanum (1912). Basically, Pope Pius X got a commission together to prepare an edition of chant for the whole church, and that is where the Vatican Edition came from.

    The Antiphonale Monasticum (1934) on the other hand is for use with the Benedictine monastic office. Apparently, since it was for their own use, the monks who prepared it were not obliged to adhere to the Vatican Edition melodies, and thus were free to edit it with a slightly different perspective.

    So AM is actually more "modern" in terms of when the melodies were edited and when the scholarship was done. But at the same time the melodies in AM may be more "ancient" insofar as they tend to favor antiquated things like the use of ti rather than te or sometimes ut.

    I would caution: this does not mean that AM is better, it just means that it was edited with a different set of parameters.

    Oddly enough, the Benedictines do use the Vatican Edition of the Graduale Romanum (1908) for Mass, the same as a Roman secular parish would use. So it is really just the office where there are two differing Antiphonale's coexisting.

    While we are at it, here is one more interesting thought:

    The Vatican Edition was published without rhythmic signs (no ictus, no punctum morae, no horizontal episema). However, when Solesmes printed Vatican Edition chant books, they overlaid these rhythmic signs on their own initiative. Back in the day, it was at times quite controversial whether they were allowed to do that or not. Nowadays, a lot of people simply take the whole thing for granted, and we are tolerably at peace about it.

    The Antiphonale Monasticum on the other hand is interesting in that the melodies and the rhythmic signs must have been edited hand-in-hand: there is no "Vatican Edition" of the AM existing without rhythmic signs. So I think that it is interesting that the AM is an example of an edition prepared from the beginning with the rhythmic signs in mind.
  • Jonathan,

    I didn't ask the question, but I must thank you for your helpful, historically pregnant answers.

    If I may be provocative, I have an Offertoriale, which has no episemae, nor icti.... but it seems that the music begs to pause or emphasize in the places where the episemae would otherwise exist. Which, therefore, is closer to the truth:

    1) I've grown accustomed to singing the music with these things, and to sing without them seems un-natural in the same way that if one puts lipstick on enough pigs an un-lipsticked pig seems un-natural.

    2) Properly trained musicians singing chant might reasonably vary the kind of emphasis they placed in various places, but the performers who were singing it were trained to know where emphases fell, which made markings otherwise superfluous.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 458
    Does any of this help:

    The Offertoriale (1935) is basically meant to be compatible with the GR 1908. Most people nowadays know the chants of the GR 1908 through editions overlaid with Solesmes rhythmic markings. But back in the day, many other publishers besides Solesmes were publishing editions of those same chants, and doing so without the rhythmic signs. Some, by the way, used different schemes of rhythmic signs, because Solesmes claimed proprietory rights over their method. Whatever you did, you were supposed to reproduce the Vatican Edition faithfully. [Digression: in hindsight, it looks most faithful to have no rhythmic signs, and so hey, why not just sing off of a photographical reprint of the typical edition and be done with it? But that is not how the tradition grew up that we have received by now.] Anyhow, why Carolus OTT the editor of the Offertoriale did not include Solesmes rhythmic signs in his edition is anyone's guess, but one might suppose that he was accustomed to editions of the Graduale with with no rhythmic signs. I think it is safe to say that the Offertoriale (1935) was probably meant to be sung in the same interpretive style as you would use for the rest of the chants sung at Mass. Otherwise, the alternate approach would be to do whatever scholarly thing you want with it because they are soloistic verses.

    While we are on the subject, here are some things from Jeff Ostrowski that I have benefitted greatly from:

    Seven part video series on the rhythm of the Vatican Edition HERE - I found this very informative, and continue to this day to recite to people various general things that I learned from watching it.

    St. Jean Lalande Library of Rare Books HERE - Pottering around here you can find all the various sorts of editions that are referenced in the video series.

    Article on the 1908 Solesmes edition of the Graduale Romanum HERE - when I saw this come out recently, I was very pleased with the "conclusions" paragraphs at the bottom. It articulates why it is still reasonable to use the Solesmes method even today.
    Thanked by 3FKulash tomjaw Elmar
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,106
    Ostrowski loses me early on in that 1908 Solesmes Gradual article when he says "There can be no doubt concerning how [mensurally notated chant] was sung" and then cites a passage from Guidetti's Directorium Chori that names the note shapes and then concludes:
    "Quae nota brevis per se tempts incertum exprimit: ita ut valor ejus syllaba cui incidit definiatur. Valet ergo regula : Cantabis syllabas sicut pronuntiaveris."
    I make of this something like:
    The short breve in itself has an uncertain duration, its value being that of the syllable it coincides with. Therefore the rule applies: Sing as you speak.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    I agree; I find this paragraph by Ostrowski totally confusing -
    The Pustet/Haberl team taught singers to use “mensural” rhythm when singing plainsong. Haberl’s axiom was “sing as you speak”—that is, sing the chant as you would speak it
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    I thought it was more than clear that different parts of Europe sang Chant differently.

    The countless histories of Saints sending to Rome to correct the singing of the chant. Jarrow and Wearmouth monasteries had the senior chanter for Rome. At least one of the Northern European Kings sent to Rome for chant books and expertise.
    Thanked by 2JonathanKK CHGiffen