Chanting the Little Office - Common tones
  • Praised be Jesus Christ!

    When chanting the Little Office, which tones are to be used for the Deus in adjutorium and Benedicamus Domino? Always the simple tones? Or determined by the liturgical celebration of the day as for the Divine Office?

    I don't see any instructions on this in the Antiphonale Romanum.

    Thank you!
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,959
    I presume you are using the Little Office of the BVM...

    Here is a full version with music...

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5jet8rmoy2cdlrz/Little Office B.V.M..pdf?dl=0
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,264
    SuscipeMeDomine - so the 1893 instruction is simple tone except at vespers, matins and lauds on doubles.
    Thanked by 1SuscipeMeDomine
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 507
    Anyone who wants to, PM me and I can email you my work-in-progress book for singing the Little Office, for your personal use and non-distribution. One of these years I will finish it...

    My theory for a long time has been that since the AR is silent about this issue, the least inventive solution is to just use the common tones in the same fashion as for the full office.

    A thing I have wondered about: how exactly did the AR foresee its music for the Little Office being used? Was the Little Office seen as a stand-alone service, or something to be inserted into the singing of the full office? Or was the music just included "lest it should perish"?
  • Thanks to all who commented.

    So if I'm understanding correctly, the 1893 instruction says:

    V. Deus in adjutorium should use the Festal or Ferial tone according to class of the day. Is the Solemn tone ever used?
    Vespers hymn Ave Maris Stella should use the Festal tone or Ferial tone according to the class of the day. I believe the Antiphonale Romanum implies that only the Ferial tone would be used.
    V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam with oration should use Solemn or Simple tone according to the class of the day for the Major Hours.
    V. Benedicamus Domino should be the Marian festal tone for the Major Hours, rather than the same tone as would be used for the Divine Office of the day. Why wouldn't the tone from the Saturday Office of Our Lady be used?

    So, it seems that the 1893 instruction is that the common tones for the Little Office are affected by the class of the day, except for the Benedicamus Domino, whereas the Antiphonale Romanum does not give clear instruction on this issue.

    Is this conclusion correct? I would also be interested to know more historically about when the Little Office of the BVM would have been publicly sung. Were any of the other Little Offices ever sung?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • The 1893 Le Petit Office is a self-contained book, published by Solesmes. If you want to discuss common tones within that context, that is as far as it goes. Anything not included in the book was not part of that particular self-contained scheme for singing the Little Office.

    The 1890's were a great heyday of publications by Solesmes. In their initial vigor, Solesmes covered a huge amount of ground. When after the turn of the century Pius X's committee began to bring forth their typical editions, the "Vatican Edition" Kyriale, Graduale, Antiphonale, etc. in general superseded the previous editions by Solesmes which covered the same material.

    For better or for worse, the Vatican Edition ended up not covering quite as much ground as the earlier editions of Solesmes. This is the reason why in the Liber Usualis you will sometimes see certain chants annotated as being "from the publications of Solesmes". Using the earlier editions from the 1890's was seen as the best way to fill the gaps in the authoritative-but-not-yet-comprehensive Vatican Edition.

    Matins for Pentecost and Corpus Christi are two examples of this. What the Liber does is take the Invitatory/Antiphons/Responsories from, say, the 1895 Liber Responsorialis; but then it gives the melodies of the Hymn, the common tones, and the Te Deum all according to the Vatican Edition.

    This same method can be followed for Matins the Little Office. Matins is the main problem with using the Vatican Edition for the Little Office, since the Invitatory/Antiphons/Responsories for the Little Office for the most part do not exist in the Vatican Edition.

    You would then be left to make heads or tails of how the common tones of the Antiphonale Romanum should be applied to the Little Office. As I stated above, the conclusion that I have reached in long thinking about this is that the least inventive solution is to just use the common tones found in AR in the same fashion as they are prescribed for the full office. Once you make that decision, there is not much of a problem in figuring out the rest.

    I really think that one should use the Vatican Edition as much as possible for singing the Little Office, because otherwise the chant for the Little Office is not anchored in its correspondence to the same chants as used in the full Roman secular office.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Baronius Press has the chants in the back of their Little Office
  • Yes, it basically follows the Vatican Edition and supplies the chants for Matins from Holger Peter Sandhofe's Nocturnale Romanum.

    Note: it is not set up as a singer's book.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,959
    As far as I understand Baronius when they made their book, did not know of the 1893 publication "Le Petit Office..." see link above! I wonder if there was an edition with Rubrics in Latin?

    Also I wonder is there a full list of Solesmes publications? I don't think that the excellent Gregorian books site has all of them.
    Thanked by 1JonathanKK
  • stulte
    Posts: 267
    The 1893 edition of the OPBMV is extremely helpful! I was searching high and low for some of these chants for my own praying of the Office and this just pops up.