Dom Cardine's Last Will and Testament
  • The Sacred Music archives turn up this odd piece: Cardine's will. It introduces some complicated complications on the road to perfect chant rhythm. My overall impression is that this stuff is for researchers, not singers.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Can someone answer a computer question about these archives for someone who suffers from Interneptitude?
    My connection and computer are slow and old, and it takes a great length of time to download an entire issue.
    Is there someway one can download a single article the way the files are now?
    Otherwise, I'll just wait till two in the morning :-)

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    G: save the files to disk (maybe start the download before bed) and then look at them later. Occasionally I do that, as my computer freezes up when presented with large PDFs.
  • Here is a quick cut and paste

    This is my last will and testament.
    If we consider as the subject of semiology all research which, beginning with the oldest and most differentiated neumatic signs, allows us to discover the truth about Gregorian chant, it is necessary to recognize as authentic semiologists certain Gregorian scholars who worked courageously along these lines for more than a century.

    In an interesting article, Professor Hans Lonnendonker had the happy idea of putting in contact several German specialists, as a result of the work of Michael
    Hermesdorff, organist at the Cathedral of Trier.

    In Italy the outstanding personality was without a doubt the canon of Lucca, Raffaello Baralli. More or less quickly, everyone made contact with the monks of Solesmes, who began their research under the energetic leadership of the founder of the abbey, Dom Prosper Gueranger. Along with the two successive heads of the paleographic workshop of Solesmes, let us name those whose work is of special interest to us here: working with Dom Joseph Pothier was Dom Raphael Andoyer, and with Dom Andre Mocquereau, two monks whom I was fortunate enough to know at the end of their long careers: Dom Gabriel Bessac and Dom Armand Menager. Our gratitude and faithful prayers go to these pioneers in the restoration of Gregorian chant and to all the others who
    preceded us and whose names I would not be able to mention.

    Their work constitutes the point of departure for research which was greatly developed later. In 1950, my associate Dom Jacques Hourlier recognized the "intermediary science" which was introduced little by little between Gregorian paleography, a discipline where he himself excelled, and esthetics, where Dom Gajard prefered being placed. In 1954, Dom Guy Sixdenier proposed to call this new science semiology, a name that was immediately accepted.

    Even before being called to Rome in January 1952, and to a much greater extent in the years that followed, by profession and by vocation, I dedicated myself to the study of neums, by following the path laid out by Dom Mocquereau, a path which always left me in awe. I believed in it from my first reading of his work, and I still believe in it today!

    In the scholarly introduction to his Paleographie musicale (p.13), Dom Mocquereau presented the first manuscripts with notation in Gregorian chant in this
    way: "They are not the ancient masters whose teachings we would like to hear, but the translation into writing of what those masters taught and executed; and from there, for those who know how to read and understand this writing, there is a most perfect expression of 'liturgical cantilenes.' Let us emphasize here the phrase "for those who know how to read and understand this writing." This is exactly what semiology consists of: to learn to read in order to understand what Gregorian chant is.

    Happily, I was joined in this search by Dom Luigi Agustoni who edited and published the results of the first research. A little later a courageous cohort of students presented themselves. They agreed to work on subjects that were sometimes very dry, but their efforts usually resulted in significant research papers and doctoral dissertations. That precious collaboration enlarged the field of knowledge and assured its solidity.

    At the same time and in a parallel fashion, a collection of outlines and notes was prepared for the classes at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra. Along with answers to questions and critiques of readings, these were carefully assembled in great detail by Dom Godehard Joppich and Dom Rupert Fischer into an organized course.


    This work was called Semiologia gregoriana, and was soon translated into French, Japanese, English, Spanish and German.

    This was the second layer of semiological progress. It presented in many languages the ensemble of work accomplished over some twenty years. The written symbols of various schools of notation still gravitated to signs associated with St. Gall, but they were at the point of detaching themselves and reclaiming their independence. This does not mean that comparative semiology, which studies the differences and similarities of various schools, will not always be of the greatest interest and will not be able to develop indefinitely. To all of those who helped me in this second period, I send my warmest and most cordial gratitude.

    Even before the end of this second period, when it still bore the promise of rich fruits, a third period had already begun. We had hardly explained the meaning of each of the neums in a quick fashion, when a new group of questions was already raised by the scholars: for what use were "particular" signs designated? I mean here signs whose design reveals a choice made among forms which were more or less the same. Thus one moved from the meaning of the sign to its conscious use. Here is the progress made: a step was taken toward esthetics and interpretation. In the Festschrift previously refered to (p. 443-457), Dom Godehard Joppich gave good examples of the bivirga placed at the end of a word. Similarly, Professor Heinrich Rumphorst (Etudes Gregoriennes XIX, p. 27-88) gave examples of two forms of the pes subbipuncti. Instead of being exhausted, the world of research extended farther and farther.

    Moreover, everything seems to favor this growth. The Associazione Internationale Studi de Canto Gregoriano, in its tenth year, has more than justified the happy initiative of its two founders; and the third conference currently taking place gives evidence of the zeal and competence of its members. Our secretary, so well assisted by Signora Albarosa, works generously in various scientific and practical areas, especially in the publication of the Bollettino and the organization of the courses in Cremona. In addition, the entrance into official teaching and the imminent growth in this area gives us hope of equal progress in depth. Such a balance sheet leads one to profound gratitude to those who are working so devotedly on preparing the future. I sincerely rejoice that there are people to carry on the work; those who are growing up today and those whose presence we can only guess at who will carry on tomorrow.

    Thus Gregorian semiology is alive and well. It finds its roots in the "foundation which is the least lacking," that of the first musical notations, and it develops its
    branches in the most promising milieu. The knowledge which results must bear fruit. Music is only learned in order to be performed and heard, to become pleasure and praise.

    Interpretation is necessary in this last stage of bringing the chant to life, just as semiology is necessary to furnish the raw materials. The two must be in harmony or they will fail to reach their goal. If semiology is not respected, the work is treated without dignity and it is deformed. It can even be betrayed. If interpretation is lacking, interest in it will be lacking also. Success rests in the union of these two necessities.

    I have affirmed several times that semiology alone is not enough to determine a performance of Gregorian chant. It seems to me correct to say that semiology "is not a method" in the common use of the term, but at the same time the use of this expression is sometimes interpreted too strictly. Some have used it with pleasure as if through it they were freed from a bothersome burden. "It is not a method? Then it has no practical use; let us leave to others this scientific pastime!"

    It is impossible to be more seriously mistaken! With Dom Mocquereau we have already seen that the study of the original neums is the only way to know Gregorian chant, and elsewhere we have proved that this study is indeed worthy of the name of semiology. The conclusion is evident!

    Indeed, what do most of our critics want? They pretend that they are faithful to an ideal which they have judged to be perfect once and for all without ever having made the effort to question its value. Since for them the musical world is a question of taste, they are fully satisfied with the comfortable habits they have acquired and enriched with so many memories of people, circumstances and places that they love.

    Or on the other hand, they believe that if Gregorian chant is music, it has to be this way or that. Thus they think they are dispensed from all research into what sort of music it is. It is too easy! Therefore they cultivate, to their own liking, oppositions in tempo between phrases or clauses in the same piece, using crescendos, accellerandos or their opposites, instead of respecting the variety of syllables and the diverse values of the notes, allowing the Gregorian chant to express its own true character.

    All the proposed rhythmic systems which are more or less measured, falter when compared with the first notations, whose obvious differences cannot be made to agree. The very notion of the neum is inconsistent if it is not attached to the syllables of the literary text, for the graphic signs were not conceived of as rhythmic entities. And what is there to be said about the coupures (breaks in the neums), which are evident everywhere in the manuscripts? Only that they are interpreted either more rigidly or with more elasticity, depending on the various schools of notation. All of that, along with the additions and styles of notation which vary depending on the region, constitute the "semiological givens" that can neither be denied or objected to. These are the beacons of which I have so often spoken!

    If we are asked how these well documented "givens" should be applied, it is necessary to answer: "With subtlety!" And once again it is semiology which teaches
    us. Here is an easy way to prove it. It comes from a research paper presented in 1977 to the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra (No. 33, St. Maria Luigina Pelizzoni, Festschrift, p. 494). Codex 381 from St. Gall contains a versicularium (a book of verses for the introit and the communion), written around the year 1000, which is entirely in campo aperto notation. In it there are only eight examples of the virga with an episema / : four times on the word rex and four times on cor. It is very obvious that the intention was to emphasize these two monosyllables which have a particularly lyric meaning. This is all the more evident because these eight examples always take place in unisonic recitation. However, these two monosyllables, which are sung recto tono, also are notated elsewhere with a simple virga / : three times on rex and five times on cor. All in all there are the following occurences: with virga 4 + 4 = 8 and without virga 3 + 5 = 8

    There is therefore a numerical equality. But since the use of the episema on the isolated virga is very rare in this document, it indicates the will of the author. This is in contrast with those cases when the absence of the episema can, without fearing an error, be attributed to a lack of attention. In general, the scribe preferred the virga with episema "when he thought about it!" Given these conditions, would it be indicated to sing in a heavy fashion the words that were given the episema and to allow those same words to pass unnoticed among the neighboring syllables when their notation is the simple virga? It would be rigorously exact and would conform to the notation, but would it conform to an intelligent understanding of semiology?

    It is possible to continue and elaborate on the conclusion. The possibility that we have to analyze this rich collection of psalm verses allows us to note specifically in simple examples what we remark so often in ornate compositions of the Gregorian repertoire. There are examples to be found in the first pages of the recently issued volume (No. XX) of Etudes gregoriennes in the article "Les formules centons des Alleluias anciens." In studying these superimposed notations, one sees here and there, next to very rare variants which are clearly opposed to one another, a certain number of imprecisions which cause us to question the attention of the copyists. The ensemble is quite different from a modern work, which is printed and checked several times to eliminate the smallest differences. In this case however, things that are considered as small defects give a certain kind of interest rather than being a detraction. It is like a play of light and shadow which brings out the proportions of the object admired.

    Nevertheless, comparisons of this type are extremely profitable. They help us become more intimately connected with those who wrote the notation. If the Gregorian scholar is able to establish a serious contact with similar presentations, he will abandon little by little those aspects of his way of thinking that are too modern and will be able to acquire a sensitivity and a judgment which is more adapted to the music he wishes to bring to life again.

    But then an important question is raised. Of what use are the charts of the "values of neumatic signs" that we are daring enough to publish? Let us recognize first that after having created them patiently, we sometimes hesitate to use them. We do not always know where to place a certain sign even though the value that was assigned to it originally in its context seems evident in most cases. It is the time to repeat once again that neums are not created to be put in a chart. If in spite of all this we do so, it is to facilitate explanations which are requested of us. A well-organized understanding of the most ordinary cases provides a frame which can be helpful, but we must be careful not to be caught in our own traps. Comparisons can be dangerous. The syllabic value placed between the "diminished" and "augmented" is obvious. But one must not add the two "values" on the left to make the equivalent of the "value" on the right or any other similar calculation. That would certainly be false!

    The hesitations I make reference to are an obvious proof of our most perfect submission to the manuscript tradition. Indeed it would be very simple to classify automatically in all the examples in our chart all the signs that we run across, but we do not want to give into such facility. That is why in more than one case, after having considered the relationship of values on the positive side and on the negative side, we do not want to decide one way or the other. I remember having advised a student to write her examples of a stropha with episema 2. across the vertical line separating the syllabic value and the augmented value, because I could not decide, nor could she, in favor of one attribution or the other.

    All this is to say clearly that we are here treating the limits of semiology with regard to the precise determination of values. Let us understand fully the meaning of this affirmation which does not negate the basic progress in this area made in the last few years, but which forbids all automatic classification of the signs, especially of those which are rare. Progress will no doubt be made in the future, but the very nature of a rhythm which is as free as that of Gregorian chant is associated with an elasticity and a suppleness which is opposed to rigorous precisions.

    That is why we cannot accept the new Lagal edition which was invented recently to help chanters, but which, I am convinced, offers more difficulties than advantages, in the theoretical as well as the practical areas. It solidifies values in a deadly way and it is especially unable to translate their variety, because their relationship one to the other is relative.

    Indeed, thanks to our knowledge of the neums, when it is understood that a certain note is more important than neighboring notes, or vice versa, it is easy to
    understand a certain difference, which it will be prudent to reduce rather than augment, unless there are perfectly clear indications. But how to find a precise
    dimension for that note, such as would be found in clockmaking, but not at all in Gregorian chant? A greater problem still is how to find a printed form of the sign
    which can be easily measured by the eye of the chanter? It is bringing minutiae to impractical and inexact levels. I never thought of such a thing during my halfcentury with neums! The most explicit transcription of neums is not in any way rigid; it remains supple and human. In general, if the knowledge of plus or minus in the values of notes constitutes the essential part of semiology, the dose is determined by interpretation. On the other hand, instead of paying such scrupulous attention to the signs of the manuscripts, some Gregorian scholars take too great a liberty with the neums. They clearly separate the syllabic from the melismatic value, affirming that it is impossible to do otherwise. They say that long series of notes cannot be sung syllable by syllable. These series must be clearly heard to be understood.

    Let us recognize that examples performed by a virtuoso soloist may be captivating because of the differences established between the slowing down and the hurrying of the sounds. But the beauty of a voice is not enough to be convincing, nor are certain similarities with Eastern music. One cannot manage to bend the notes to these fantasies! The most important thing is to accept this challenge: "If you think that the value of the syllable and the value of the neum can be made equal to each other, prove it!" I willingly return the package to the sender! If a proof must be given, it is through those who attribute different values to the same signs. When we consider a punctum equal to a punctum, and an uncinus equal to a uncinus, proof seems unnecessary. Here we still remain faithful to our total submission to the signs of the first manuscripts! Moreover, if there really was such opposition in the middle ages, would it not be normal to find some trace of that opposition? We are waiting for some evidence that would make us change our mind.

    In these conditions, what advice should be given to the gregorianist who knows semiology at least in its broad outlines and who truly wants to sing and have others sing? How can he make the best use of his knowledge without running the risk of running into the reefs that we just mentioned?

    Since semiology is the entrance necessary for all knowledge of Gregorian chant, semiology should be allowed to function freely without encumbrances under the
    pretext that it could stifle or hinder interpretation! Indeed, if from the beginning, before even having studied the original neums, one pronounces exclusions against a melodic reconstitution, a vocal technique, or any other musical phenomenon which would be declared contrary to good taste, to accepted practices, to ease of execution or even to the dignity of the liturgy or of prayer, by that very fact, one places an obstacle to the proper functioning of the semiological science and one establishes oneself as a pretentious judge of an art which is much beyond us. It is the duty of the person interpreting to accept all the conclusions of semiology (that is certainly obvious), even those which are surprising or seem abnormal. However, he will try to harmonize them with his own artistic imagination, for it is impossible to imagine a performance which would be judged by the person doing it as a contradiction or an obvious example of ugliness. It will always be possible to present objections which are historical, liturgical, or physiological, or still others which will allow for fruitful debate. The important thing is to arrive at a fundamental understanding which will permit one to apply to concrete cases principles verified in the rest of the repertoire.

    That is a true semiological type of reasoning which normally ought to be developed and enriched, in relationship to conscientious work, revised constantly and without end. This is a program which is too beautiful for a single researcher, but one that an association like ours can establish and carry out.

    If we have referred here exclusively to the values of notes in Gregorian chant, it is not to reduce the area of semiology to that rhythmical given. It is because the variety of values constitutes a very thorny question, in which ignorance greatly harms our performances. It goes without saying that nothing will be neglected with regard to the different schools of notation. Everything must be taken into consideration as historical witnesses; we would be guilty if we allowed them to be lost.

    It is at this point that the interpreter comes in. He uses various semiological givens in order to establish a living and harmonious whole. He organizes and places in hierarchical order the various parts of the composition and in each one organizes the subdivisions and principal points, going from one to the other down to the smallest details. In this work he will especially have to take note of breaks in the neums (graphic separations), recognizing those which are cesuras and those which, quite to the contrary, represent accents. The difference is one of size because for the most part, the accents join the preceding to the following notes, while the cesuras establish one kind of break or the other, from the tiniest hesitation to a real pause (which nevertheless will not be complete because the breaks are found within the neum and thus one must not destroy its unity). This opposition in the meaning of the breaks indicates rather well the necessity for a true interpretation. This is all the more so because between the two extremes, there are many other breaks which are less clear and which should be treated as articulations of the melody which are more or less important. The role of the interpreter is to make a choice between the various possibilities and how much they can be harmonized. In the last analysis it is his work to judge and decide. Without a doubt he will be able to draw much information from the study of contexts and from the signs used for the neums, but he will also and of necessity need to have taste which is formed by his experience with Gregorian chant. These varying talents will need to be used when it comes to the immediate preparation of chanters and even more so the actual singing. This will be the time to apply what we have analyzed previously, and even to go beyond it, as must be the case, to create a new living synthesis. If all music begins "beyond the sign," this is even more true of Gregorian chant. Its notation is as supple as its rhythm is free. After having pleaded for respect for the sign, we must beg gregorianists to surpass it!

    The danger that is lying in wait for us is too well known: it is to lose oneself in the details which are identified and learned with difficulty and to forget the whole. In particular, the notes that we pay special attention to become too long. They muddy the movement and make it heavy. Excessive attention paid to a thousand details stifles what is spontaneous and natural. One can hear a voice which is constrained by fear and thus does not produce a good sound. In paying attention to the analysis, will we miss the synthesis? To prevent this, we must so greatly assimilate the result of our work that we end up by forgetting technique so that the listener does not hear it either. This ideal will not be achieved from one day to the next and perhaps never completely, but we will have to try for it as much as possible. May good sense guide us and keep us halfway between inaccessible perfection and a routine which is too easily satisfied with anything at all!

    Let us accept this obligation willingly because it will reward greatly both those who look to Gregorian chant for pleasure for themselves, their students or their listeners, and those who consider the sung liturgy as praise of God and a source of spiritual life. For all of you, I wish the abundant fruits whose taste I know, and I hope to meet you in a harmonious progression on the path to Paradise. This is my last will and testament.

    Solesmes, April 11, 1984 DOM EUGENE CARDINE
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Thank you so much!

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,263
    G:

    Call me. I am a computer tech and can give you some straight answers. (complimentary, of course)

    four ten - too three three - too - too - three - three
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Jeffrey wrote:

    My overall impression is that this stuff is for researchers, not singers

    Discuss.

    ps try substituting 'economists' for 'researchers', and 'consumers' for 'singers. I know it's not quite the same, but consideration of the similarities and differences might be informative.
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    my english is so catastrophic, that i would like to read that in french... generaly i think that reading Cardine is for searches and singers, and after having red (readed?), the remaining has to sing. And only singing searches should stay.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Well, that certainly was a slog. Scholars can never say anything succinctly. However, the pay-off on this is at the end, beginning towards the end of the antepenultimate paragraph (OK, third from the last - but how often do I get to use that word?). It is so easy to be paralyzed by knowledge, especially in music. I spend a fair amount of time on traditional Celtic music, where everything can grind to a halt while we argue over exactly how Carolan would have played a tune. Gregorian circles face the same temptation. Bring everything you can in terms of knowledge and technique, but sooner or later, it's all about the music - or it's about nothing at all.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    What an excellent point! That is precisely it.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    I'll do something I don't often do . . . take the middle ground.

    On the one hand, I own several books (in translation) by Cardine, and have found his scholarship very dense and at times difficult to understand. I've also read parts of a book by Cardine "disciple" Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB of St. Meinrad and have had similar difficulties. But I think it comes from a lack of broader exposure to the scholarship on the subject, and therefore to the terms used and the background necessary. I hope to continue making a study of this subject because my level of understanding notwithstanding, it seems an important subject area.

    On the other hand, nothing beats digging into the literature and singing as much of it as possible. It's simply an exercise in futility to read the scholarship if one doesn't have first-hand experience of the matter at hand.

    I'll give you a parallel in my organ studies. I've played the works of Couperin and other "Old French" composers (that's the term of art now used to refer to "French Classic" organ music, btw), but found it rather dry and lifeless. I could read and play the notes on the page, and even reasonably duplicate the registrations required by the music. What I couldn't do is understand with greater depth how to interpret the ornaments with any kind of energy or life. I finally had an opportunity to go to France and study with a noted scholar in the field, and play the music according to his teaching on instruments of the period. It was an invaluable experience. I now play "Old French" music like an old French organist. I couldn't have done it, however, if I hadn't already learned the notes on the page and had overall exposure and understanding of the literature.

    What I'm getting at is, we can sing chant without the scholarship in semiology, but we can't begin to understand semiology without having sung chant first. I don't think it's an either/or, I think it needs to be complementary. For those who just want to "get the work out," that's ok, but let's not turn being familiar with or capable of reading the higher scholarship into either a source of pride or ridicule.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I guess in this sense, I'm middle ground too. However, it is good for us to remember where we are in this movement: at the beginning stages (again!). We need a performance standard.
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    Three years ago, i asked Jean-Yves Hameline: "Dom Cardine, wasn't he one of this not-singing gregorianist?" - "Oh, no," was the answer, "he was even an excellent organist accompagning gregorien chant... I never heard a better one."

    Dom Moquereau had problems with his voice, but he was able to make the monks sing what he exspected... to show.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Jeffrey,

    Yes, I agree, we need a standard. I think too that with something that on its face is already rather complex in appearance, like four-line, square note notation, it's good to let people know that they don't have to master the subtleties of the interpretive art (like semiology) all at once. I think it's useful to simply become familiar with the overall sense of the music first before getting too distracted by subtleties. Just as with other elements of the movement, "brick by brick."

    Perhaps it would be helpful to have a discussion about basic performance standards for chant? (I'm assuming here you mean standards for interpretation of rhythm, etc.)
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Right but that's just the point. This has been worked out rather well over the course of the last 100 hundred years. It is the Solesmes method. We had an interesting case here during our workshop. Singers from all over the country gathered to sing at Mass and we only had 15 mins to practice. Regardless of our views otherwise, we all intuitively adopted the classical Solesmes approach and wow it was perfectly together and beautiful. Now, we might all go off to our own scholas and do the salicus a special way or treat the melismas as glissandos or whatever but in this setting, we all knew what to do to stay together. That's what I mean by standard. This is what is taught at the Colloquium, which, for sure for sure, no one on this board should miss. Beg, borrow, steal, use CPDL, or whatever you have to do to get there.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    It's going to get crowded in the middle ground, but I'll stand there as well. I was frightened by the ictus as a young girl. When I studied chant years later, it was a pleasure to be told I didn't have to look for it. I enjoy a bit of semiology with a fine glass of wine after dinner. However, when it comes to singing, I revert unconsciously to everything I read in the front of my first copy of the Liber. And you know what, I think most people do that too, especially in a group.
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    A kind of regressive effect of the groupe? That's why new investigations are so often burdened by singles?
    Singing with a Triplex makes no sense if you don't have any look on the neumes. Singing with the methode de solesmes ("never sung in Solesmes" would say Dom Saulnier) just requires the old editions... I sometimes distinguish preconciliar gregorianik ans postconciliar gregorianik, because even if the church's praxis stopped singin gregorianik, the studies and concert-singing of it continued. The problem is now how to respect this ressearch and singing-evolution in repractising gregorianik in church. You can't honestly no longer (not againer) sing as bevore...
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Thank you for sharing this, Jeffrey. It was most instructive, and at times very moving.

    In response to the critics of semiology, Cardine writes: "They pretend that they are faithful to an ideal which they have judged to be perfect once and for all without ever having made the effort to question its value." The value, of course, is exactly for cases as Jeffrey has described: "Singers from all over the country gathered to sing at Mass and we only had 15 mins to practice. Regardless of our views otherwise, we all intuitively adopted the classical Solesmes approach and wow it was perfectly together and beautiful." True. Now, I hope that as the CMAA attendance (and faculty) expands that at least a small portion of those "six days of musical heaven" will be devoted to semiology and that at least one or two of the chants prepared for the liturgy will explore the subtleties of interpretation implied by the paleography. Let us not be pretenders! To be sure, many of the chant novices among our ranks will be intimidated by this -- that's why the CMAA is offering multiple options at the colloquium, yes? Many of us -- and we're not all researchers -- have the curiosity to study and sing a chant in more detail.

    By the time June arrives, I am hoping to be finished editing a recording of Gregorian chant that a few friends and I recorded in Vermont back in October. We used the Graduale Triplex to inform our rhythmic choices only (despite the almost irresistable urge to make some pitch changes to the square-notation suggested in the paleography). We recorded an entire OF Mass in Latin from a random Sunday in Ordinary TIme, start to finish (mostly), plus a few extra communio chants (some of the ones suggested for general use in the Gradual -- all using the Richard Rice editions, I might add!). I look forward to the input of the CMAA crowd this summer!

    Mary Jane, you'll have to corroborate my memory on this one -- but I seem to recall Fr. Larry Heiman (who studied under Cardine) teaching us that there are only three known errors in the entire Graduale Triplex. I regard this as a sign that the Holy Spirit wishes us to study the paleography in greater detail! Let us continue to be receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that Gregorian chant may indeed be "ever ancient, ever new."
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    "Singers from all over the country gathered to sing at Mass and we only had 15 mins to practice." should not result from (or become) an "egalitarism on the lowest lewel" of semiology.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I'm not sure what is being implied by this continued citing of the conditions under which we sang at this one event. This obviously isn't ideal -- of course. I cited this as a case of how it is that the classical solesmes approach serves as a universal standard, and we most certainly need this, especially now. The wonderful thing was that it was beautiful. If that group sang together all the time, it would be more beautiful still. As for the triplex, i can't sign up with the view that one must sing only from signs informed with paleographic understanding in order to sing chant properly. In fact, that sounds ridiculous to me. Nor is it the case that classical solesmes is barren of "subtleties of interpretation." True friends of semiology really should try their best to curb the offputting arrogance within their ranks.
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    What sounds beautyful (for you/me) may just sound ridiculous (for me/you). Without any arrogance please. "De gustibus..." I would prefer singing classicaly in an important group of singers than singing alone. But when i have to sing alone, in a postconciliar context, i'm responsable for my regard and respect of neumes.
    I think that we should not be arrogant against the work of Dom Cardine.

    Why should it not be ok to say: Classical Solesmes for EF (Isochronie, binarity and trinarity of rhythm for the Ritus tridentinus) and Semiology for OF (Work on triplex with a look on the neumes of Laon and St Gall for the Novo Ordo)?
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I'm find myself increasingly impatient with this classical/semiology debate, and for that I apologize. i do think it is extremely important for us all to remember where we are today in terms of chant. Perhaps 10% of parishes in North America have music that can be considered authentically liturgical. The musicians who are good recruits into the liturgical tradition find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of music that uses a language they do not know and notation they can't read -- combined with a style that is largely unfamiliar to this generation. There are huge barriers to overcome. Massive educational efforts are required. Snobbery has no place at all. This cause will succeed or fail based on its practice by regular, mostly volunteer musicians at the parish level. That must be our target. The very idea that these people should be told that they must read pre-Guido signs else they are not being true to the chant -- well, I don't know what to say about that except that it is prescription for utter and complete failure at every level. That doesn't mean that scholarship is out of place, that sems groups should not carry on. but to make semiology a cause celebre is a strategic disaster. It's like telling people that they should use a computer unless they can program, or shouldn't attempt to make bread unless they know agriculture science. It's praiseworthy to know programming and agricultural science but not necessary for surfing the web or baking. The analogy should be apparent.
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    i would agree if i had not made a strange experience: After a co(u?)ple of rehursals of half an our, a co(u)ple of children i try to introduce in church-music were able to sing for Chrismas the communion 'In splendoribus' just with the neumes of St Gall an a tableboard. The way by post"guido"ing solfège, by icti and so on would have been heavier.

    People coming from classical music -as Dom Mocquereau did- have an easier approach by classical Solesmes, of course.

    I know our gearing involvement in this questions. In France, there is not even 1 percent of respectable music in church. And the musical lewel of commun people is on the lowest. In my country men don't sing... and women sings wrong :-)
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Interesting anecdote, Jevoro. I wrote a paper suggesting that semiology be taught to children as a natural extension of the Ward Method. I even cooked up a couple of examples where the Messine notation (rather than the usual Ward dot-notation) was written above the numerical scale-degree symbols. I never got to try it out with an actual children's choir. I always suspected that children would react to the paleography much more intuitively than adults, so it is interesting to hear your experience.

    I don't quite agree with the idea of "Classical Solesmes for EF and Triplex for OF," however. I think there are plenty of good reasons to use the established method for OF Masses in many cases. Furthermore, I worry that espousing the exclusive use of the Solesmes method for the EF implies that they are both somehow quaint museum pieces. The EF is holy and living, and deserves to be sung in a manner which is fresh and alive, no matter what method is employed. Similarly, saying that the Solesmes method is antiquated and suitable only for the old rite gives more fuel to those who might accuse us of "snobbery."

    Jeffrey, I hope all this doesn't strike you as arrogance. I don't mean to say that the "classical Solesmes is barren of the subtleties of interpretation," but I would argue that it is actually *easier* for the average, untrained singer to sing in a nuanced manner by reading the paleography. To sing in a nuanced manner in the Solesmes method, one must really be well acquainted with the rules of interpretation. To sing in a nuanced manner following the paleography, one must simply sing "what the picture looks like," like those children did in their rendition of "In Splendoribus."

    Sure, one does not need to know agricultural science to bake a successful loaf of bread. But one must also have the freedom to mess around with the recipe! One must have the ability to throw in a little spelt flour, a few raisins, maybe a dash of nutmeg, and know that the bread is still authentic and nourishing. I haven't met a semiologist who claims to know what the "true chant" is, or who desires to make it a "cause celebre." To be told that they "must" learn the paleography, I would agree, is a "prescription for complete and utter failure." But I also worry that entirely excluding the interpretation of paleography from our work is also a grave mistake. In this discussion, I believe there is enough "offputting arrogance" to "curb" all around. The very idea that semiology should be exclusively the domain of researchers and highly specialized groups is evidence in itself that the CMAA needs to devote some time to demystifying the paleography. I contend that there is nothing esoteric or pretentious about the paleography -- for goodness sake, it's crude chicken scratch! -- but it has an ability to convey nuances with such ease in cases where modern notation must strain.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Interesting perspective. Thanks for that.

    I really should clarify that I in no way speak for the CMAA. I'm just an amateur musician with only limited experience, and I'm so fortunate to work for the masters that surround me. As for the journal, we are publishing many pieces in the future that look carefully at paleographic evidence and come up with renderings that depart from the Graduale. it's all a matter of keeping things in perspective. We must always be attentive to the needs of average musicians as well as scholars-- with the goal of making chant heard and lived again.
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    Aren't we here in the plenty of the resolution of the enigma the Pope (pro)posed: How both (living EF and OF) liturgical forms may influence each other and converge.
    Arrogant archeologisating (hypothetical) semiology without regards on the tradition(s) between 1050 and 1969 is some strange exotic anachronism.
    Classical Solesmes methode without semiological recours, fixed on 1913-1961 is a strange postromantic anachronism.
    I'm quite happy that in our parish, latin is/was dead before i moved in this country. So there is no "established method"... at all. Guidos solfegical "globulisation" of chant is not the only way to enter into Gregorianik.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I just happened to read this. I'm very sorry to ask naive questions? What are the major differences between the Dom Mocq's Solesmes method and Dom Cardine's semiology? They both studied old manuscripts. In Dom Cardine's semiology, is there any rhythm that is consistent? I understand that Dom Mocq' method is effective for general chant musicians. But I'm very curious to know how a group of people sing together with semiology interpretation?
    Mia
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Mia,

    I would commend to you some of the chant recordings directed by Alberto Turco. They're quite inexpensive... Naxos label, I think. You will hear in these recordings how a choir uses semiology to make interpretive choices about rhythm -- even a few judicious pitch changes here and there. Turco's recordings are breathtaking -- it's hard to go back to 2's and 3's after you listen to them.

    There IS no method for interpreting the paleography -- much of the scholarship is very new, relatively speaking, i.e. past 50 years. I liken it to the study of the molecule. For quite some time, scientists believed that the atom was the smallest indivisible structure of a molecule. More recent scholarship has revealed that we have much to learn about sub-atomic particles. The Mocquereau/Gajard line of thinking claims that chant has a basic, indivisible beat. (That is a huge oversimplification, of course, but the basic idea.) More contemporary scholarship suggests that the earliest manuscripts, particularly the Messine family of MSS, indicate subtleties that would defy the notion of an indivisible beat -- accelerations, decelerations, even dfferences in the size and pen-strokes of otherwise identical neums. Now, of course, a very good and well-rehearsed Solesmes-method choir can achieve all of these subtleties. I propose, however, that the paleography is much more intuitive than all the Solesmes rules, and allows untrained average-Joes like myself to find nuances that only a true master could find in the Solesmes method. After all, those early manuscripts were not intended to be read by highly educated people.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 338
    I am a fan of Turco's Nova Schola recordings too...thing is, there are only four voices on those recordings! I imagine that the difficulty of observing these various subtleties increases at an alarming rate with each singer added to the choir.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I would disagree. I think it's much more difficult for two voices to achieve a unison of pitch, vowel, dynamic, and rhythm than three or four. Imagine two violins playing in unison or a violin section. Of course, either example requires a certain level of skill on the part of the musicians involved.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I suppose that everyone's experience is different but when I sing with anyone on unison music, a clear method is essential. I don't know how you could do it at all without a coherent sense of what precisely you are going to do. It's not like singing di Lasso duets in which you can take cues from each other. you have to be of one mind and be precise. There are only two choices it seems to me: 1) one person dictate and the other person copy, and the first person must do the same thing every time, or 2) have a system. Listen to the new CD of Stift Heiligenkreuz. There is no way that this sound can be achieved without a clear infrastructure of rhythm. It is inaudible but you can detect it if you listen carefully.

    Let me add two points about semiology that I really like from Fr. Ruff's long discussion in his new book. First, semiology has done much to prove the unity of the text and the melodic structure, showing that there is far more "word painting" than had been known to exist before. This is a fantastic contribution and it helps to refute those scholars who once claimed that the chant music was arbitrary and formulaic. Of course here it strikes me that this contribution amounts to an extension of the old school, which made the same claim, but let's leave that aside. Second, it shows the near impossibility and undesirability of attempting to render the original Gregorian melody in English with serious changes to the melodic structure. Latin and Greg chant are one. I'm just passing on here what Ruff says.

    Let me finally add that Fr. Ruff does NOT agree that semiology makes chant easier. Quite the reverse. He says that it underscores the need to know Latin, for example, and well. The conductor and even singer needs to read three sets of notation at once. He further says that semiology makes the propers more elitist, less accessible, and less beautiful by modern standards. He goes further to say that semiology even proves that authentic performance is impossible -- and, in a turn I didn't expect, he says that semiological research suggests that the cultural context of chant is so important that it might be better to continue to sing pre-semiological styles if that is what leads to better meditation: this he says might be closer to the Carolingian precedent than attempting to attempt to recapture an original context that is permanently lost.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 338
    The point about semiological interpretations being less beautiful is an interesting one. Listen to some of the renderings of familiar propers by the Münsterschwarzach group under Joppich, available to sample at Deutsche Grammophon's website, here.

    I understand that this is the very cutting edge of research-driven performance; but is it as beautiful, as prayerful as classical Solesmes?

    (I should add that there are other semiology-based recordings that I find to be very beautiful--Turco's, for example---but I'm not sure how faithful they are to Cardine's theories)
  • Heath
    Posts: 830
    Olbash,

    If we should purchase one recording of Turco's to get the "full effect", so to speak, which would you recommend? Well, a couple recommendations wouldn't hurt, I guess . . .
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Are those two, Mocq/Cardine really contradicting each other? Can we somehow make use of the two complementary in our interpreting and singing chants? It seems obvious to me that the Solesmes is the best to use for the beginners and average schola, like me. I cannot imagine learning any kind of music without consistent rhythm, even improvisational music. But after you learn a piece of music to sing correctly together, is it possible to add some artistic touch, maybe something from semiology interpretation?
    By the way, is semiology in same line as Dom Pothier who had a different approach form Dom Mocq. when Solemes were restoring chant? I will be listening to those recordings. But can someone tell me which book is best to read to understand Cardi'ne's semiology? I believe we can learn a lot and improve our chant singing from studying the two Masters'.
    Mia
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Mia, in a word, yes.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I think the classical Solesmes method assumes that there is a some sort of rhythmic pulse which if not heard is felt, and much word was done trying to figure out where these pulses should occur for any given neume or combination of neumes. But even this system admits that a two or a three isn't always exactly a two or a three, for instance, when an episema causes a lengthening that is not metered. I cannot tell you how much more difficult it is to get "trained" singers to sing solfege than it is with total beginners. The trained musicians try to apply a sort of theory that developed from, but long after, the four-line notation and are frustrated when the chant does not conform to the artifice of later conventions. I think the same is true of this rhythmic belief. I have had the opportunity to accompany several Basque Masses. The Basque community here has a very strong and almost completely oral musical tradition. The whole assembly sings everything, and completely together, but with absolutely no regard for "beat." No attempt at articulation on the organ, clever use of harmonic rhythm, or even singing along in time will sway them. And why should I try? Their singing is completely organic and makes sense within its own aesthetic.

    Now I also sing with a professional ensemble that sings exclusively new music, much of which is in the so-called "avant-garde" style. My fellow musicians are the type who can read a tone-row at sight and make a Elliot Carter style metric modulation as if turning on a dime. But how often I hear even these master singers read a piece with perfect rhythm while almost ignoring tone color, phrasing, dynamics, and articulation! I think part of this is the result of notation, which makes it seem that fixed rhythm and pitch are the most basic elements of music. However, when we work with composers (flying them in from as far away as Estonia) I have found almost without exception that when working with us a composer is willing to change pitches and even rhythms for practical reasons, but that what they want to preserve is the mood, the feeling, the tone, the shape of a phrase, or a texture. To them, like the Basque, the basic musical expression is the sound, not the rhythm.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "Basic musical expression is the sound, not the rhythm." Isn't that the music started with rhythm first in human history, (like drum beat. People danced to the drum beat), because humans have certain basic rhythm inside? What holds music together is rhythm. Otherwise it will be too random. Does the Basque community sing the same hymn everytime differently? Or they feel certain rhythm inside (different kind of rhythm from what you expect) and sing it together in the same way? (what if some group of people want to hold some notes longer today than yesterday. Who decides? Whoever is loud?)
    Yes, if you don't internalize the rhythm, and ignore the phrasing, tone color,feeling and etc.,the music will be like Math in sounds, another words, not beautiful. Other musical concepts have to be added to music to make it beautiful, and somrtimes rhythm has to bend. But in everything, i believe there is a binding force. In music, it's rhythm. There are many different kinds of rhythm we haven't discovered yet. The rhythm of Oriental music is definitely different from the music from Africa. We are keep trying to find the ways to sing chant beautifully, not mechanically nor randomly according to certain group's taste.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    It's a pet peeve of mine when people make this mistake, and here I did it myself: I meant beat not rhythm. Of course, that is because the rhythmic system we're talking about presupposes some type of beat. And yes, I agree rhythm is a basic and fundamental element of music. I personally wasn't there when the cavemen started banging on rocks, and I don't know who might have documented this. And this rhythm might have been, say, a quarter note tied to a dotted 64th followed by two eighths and a double-dotted sixteenth. Rhythm, yes, but certainly not one bound to a two- or three-note pulse. I have a wonderful recording of Germaine Montero singing Spanish folk songs, and I find it fascinating that when the castanets (the "rhythm" instrument) come in, the rhythm has nothing to do with the beat of the piece being performed, not unlike the tintinnabulation of a Zimbelstern. Even the strumming of the guitar and the singing, while both characteristically rhythmic, do not necessarily line up with each other. And yet this yields a marvelous rustic effect that sounds nothing like da Falla being played by an orchestra. I'm not saying that chant has no rhythm. What I'm saying is if someone has trouble making sense of something that cannot be grouped into units of twos and threes, that may be a sign that the singer must acquire new skills, not that there is necessarily an inherent defect in the music. (And yes the Basque sing it the same way every time: together).
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    Etre organiquement ensemble, sans contrainte de mensuralisme, c'est du travail, mais un travail gratifiant. C'est la liberté de l'Evangile appliquée au chant. Un regard commun sur les neumes peut y contribuer. Peu importe les méthodes et les professeurs/spécialistes ou enregistrements de référence. Le texte prime, et d'un tel travail, il sortira organiquement... d'une compréhensibilité époustouflante et communicante. Vivre l'Evangile rayonne l'Evangile, la bonne nouvelle des enfants de Dieu qui chantent librement au rythme de leur coeur à coeur avec la parole de Dieu.
  • Jevoro, tres bien dit! J'espere que nous sommes tous d'accord ici!
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Interesting and indeed surprising to to learn that Fr. Ruff claims that "semiology makes the propers more elitist, less accessible, and less beautiful by modern standards." Grrrrr... I'm going to have to shell out the 95 bucks and read this thing. (BTW, Haig Mardirosian's review of Ruff's book in this months "The American Organist" is worth the read in itself.) I guess I'm hoping that my schola becomes something akin to that Basque congregation, where it is no longer simply "one person dictate and the other person copy," but where the entire group eventually learns from each other a nuanced corporate way of singing, with each individual voice submitting itself to the will of the whole. This requires flexibility, creativity, and the simple ingredient around which there is no easy shortcut: time singing together. In practical terms, since my schola only sings once a month, we essentially start with Sols/Mocq and refer to the Triplex after the chant is in our ears. But my dream is to have a group that sings together every week, several hours each week, and see - literally - where the Spirit moves us.

    P.S. Heath, my favorite Turco recording is "Salve Festa Dies" -- I'm a sucker for women singing chant.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    The other excellent Turco recording of women's chant is Ambrosian. In addition to the beautiful voices, it's a good introduction to that style and to Mass parts peculiar to the Ambrosian Rite.

    I curl up with my Triplex now and again, but I am working with singers for whom it would present another obstacle. And after the Chant Intensive, I am forced to confess that I now use a "Solesmesian" analysis when I'm working up a new chant because the method gives me a way to organize the music for teaching purposes. For me, rather than deadening the chant, it has the effect of enlivening it. And I find it easier to model the energy I'm looking for.

    I tell my singers that we perform "in the style of Aviles Street" since that's where we rehearse. :)
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    My copy of "Gregorian Semiology" arrived today, and after reading just the first few chapters, I can say it's one of few chant books I've read (Cardine's "Beginning Studies" included) that I didn't feel like I had to enter into the Land of Make Believe in order to make any sense of it.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Meow meow, what ever could you be talking about, brother incantu, meow meow?
  • Incantu, have fun with Gregorian Semiology! Dr. Mary Berry used to tell us (her students) to take it a bit at a time for fear we would soon be swimming, but it is brilliant and extremely interesting, and helps you get into the "skin of the scribes". It is amazing that even in this ancient notation that the "humming notes" or liquescents are clearly noted,the text being so important as to make sure that it was understood while singing. Also it is so interesting to see how the same two neumes can be so differently executed side by side, say a podatus, one looks like a hook the other like a heavy check mark, and of course the interpretation of each is different. I have about ten students under the age of 17 who are eating this all up, not to mention undergrads from the local universities who are teaching their professors of music about it!