Liber Brevior copyright status
  • Does anyone know what the copyright status on the Liber Brevior is? A friend of mine wants to work with me to produce a retypeset new edition of the book but we don't know the copyright status of the book.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • Felicia
    Posts: 67
    The first edition was published in 1954. My copy is a 2018 reprint.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,767
    Given that the contents are all PD, you could call it "the little chant book" and be fine. It could also be improved by bringing it liturgically up to 1962, and adding a few useful feasts. It would also be a blessing if the psalm-tone Propers in back were brought into the main body of the text.

    Is this needful? Probably not. But the typography of the Liber Brevior is...problematic.
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    Hello, I have already started a full retypeset of the liber brevior. I am currently in the second full pass of my editing stages.

    I decided not to do just a retypesetting but to add a few things too.

    Namely:

    1. I added translations and biblical references to all the propers
    2. I added a few extras, just as the "More Solemn" responses
    3. I uses the 1962 LU chants for the Triduum (since the LB is 54)
    4. Added the full Pater Noster chant

    It would also be a blessing if the psalm-tone Propers in back were brought into the main body of the text.


    I hadn't thought of this. I agree that it would be a much better place for them.
  • Nokel, please let us know when the fruits of your labors are ready to be shared... I'm sure many of us will be most eager to have it as a resource.

    Whilst I work in a N.O. parish, I'm constantly trying to redirect us back to tradition and use as many of the old sources as I can. The problem I run into, almost invariably, is the fact that a.) the calendars don't line up (this weekend, The Baptism of Our Lord is a perfect example!) and b.) translations are lacking to help orient the singers. While I'm a reasonably competent linguist and able to decode much-to-most liturgical latin because of my French, my choir does not possess such knowledge. Also, some editions include incipits headers, some don't; some have indexes, some don't (and those that don't become a reallll pain to shift through; see point a.) This can make sourcing the proper chants, be they florid, simple, english, or latin difficult at times.

    All that to say, the improvements you are making to your own edition sound lovely to me.
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    I'll look into uploading a link to it here tomorrow. I still have quite some work to do before I would consider getting a hard copy (even for just myself). But I think having more eyes on it can do no harm.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,686
    I hope the new version uses a larger page size than the classic Liber Brevior. I was thinking a few days ago about how it would be useful to typeset a new edition, provided it could be made more readable.
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    I am currently rendering to 5.5"x8.5" (or half letter size) but I think it could easily be scaled up since I am using vector rendering (latex).
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    Here is the current state of what I have. I am in the middle of my second pass which includes unifying the formatting so that is why this PDF stops at Good Friday.

    Hope you guys find this useful or interesting, even in the current state.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,159
    I don't know if you want editorial comments, but the the text for the chants on the Fourth (the title of which needs corrected, after what must have been an auto-corrected error) Sunday of Advent is oddly placed below the staves.
    I think that my main critique would be that the text is not necessarily moved up or down to fit the given staff under which it sits, but for the lowest point necessary in the entirety of a particular chant.

    It's very interesting to look at, and it looks like you're doing a good job.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • I really appreciate that you have cues to "repeat antiphon" etc. When I first started chanting, I was referencing old editions that take for granted you know what you're doing, so I was always (still do, sometimes) second guessing myself on whether or not to add a Gloria Patri, or repeat an antiphon.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen domjohnp
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    I think that is my main critique would be that the text is not necessarily moved up or down to fit the given staff under which it sits, but for the lowest point necessary in the entirety of a particular chant.


    Thanks for the editorial comments. I am pretty sure that is a design decision of Gregorio (http://gregorio-project.github.io/) the software that I am using the do this work.

    Thanks for pointing it out though, that might be something that can be changed on their end (or not, it might be an embedded assumption).
  • madorganist
    Posts: 744
    I don't mean to open up a can of worms, but could someone explain why there is a need for digitized versions of Solesmes editions instead of restored editions - for either TLM or novus ordo - that are more faithful to the oldest manuscripts in light of the scholarship of the last 65 years or so? A corrected Brevior for the EF would be wonderful, but I have serious reservations about the continued promotion of the old Solesmes rhythm in a new volume, especially the treatment of the normal syllabic value as short and indivisible, the long-short form of the pes and clivis, and ignoring so many of the long markings of the tenth-century manuscripts.
  • My view is, the old editions are beautiful music, and you can perform them with more recent scholarship if you want to. I have quite a lot of Bach/Busoni and Beethoven /Schirmer, even though I also have more modern critical editions. I don't stop using them -- even using their performance annotations!

    The work involved in making a critical performing edition of the chant in the Brevior would be enormous, even if much of it is "done" already in the Graduale Novum. But lightly revised retypeset books surely have a market niche.
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    I started this project from a desire to have a better chant book to use today™ (when I started this over a year and a half ago). I am still quite a novice about the further realm of scholarship on Gregorian Chant notation and musical history.

    From my point of view, I use the Liber Brevior because I am not a religious and don't chant the daily office so I really don't need a Liber Usualis (which furthermore is a lot heavier).

    The Brevior is nice because it is smaller but it lacks a few things (such as the triduum) and sometimes the typography is hard to read (lots of spatters or fuzzy notes). I know that if I use those notations then this book is compatible with the LB, LU, and others all the while maintaining a version of the chants that I know have been broadly allowed for use.
  • I don't mean to open up a can of worms, but could someone explain why there is a need for digitized versions of Solesmes editions instead of restored editions - for either TLM or novus ordo - that are more faithful to the oldest manuscripts in light of the scholarship of the last 65 years or so? A corrected Brevior for the EF would be wonderful, but I have serious reservations about the continued promotion of the old Solesmes rhythm in a new volume, especially the treatment of the normal syllabic value as short and indivisible, the long-short form of the pes and clivis, and ignoring so many of the long markings of the tenth-century manuscripts.


    Newer editions are still in copyright and less easily accessible for most of us. As for actually mounting a grassroots scholarly edition, I don't think the market is there. How many copies do the new Solesmes editions even sell vs. the older prints?
  • madorganist
    Posts: 744
    Newer editions are still in copyright and less easily accessible for most of us.
    I don't know of one single corrected edition in print, arranged for the TLM, which includes the Proper for Sundays and holy days plus a Kyriale, let alone a collection approaching the contents of the LB. Surely there is demand! The new Solesmes edtions are arranged for the new Mass. There are several duplex and triplex editions available for free online, plus a revised rhythmic edition by one of our forum members:
    https://gregorien.info/music/rev/
    http://www.gregor-und-taube.de/Materialien/Graduale/graduale.html
    http://www.omnigreg.at/wiki/doku.php?id=gradual:faszikel
    http://gregorianik.uni-regensburg.de/gr/
    https://www.gregorianik.org/gradualeduplex.htm
    https://www.ccwatershed.org/2013/03/19/1908-graduel-neume-cardine/ (Vatican edition)
    https://www.gradualerenovatum.com/home
    as well as the introits from the Novum: https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/category/introitus/
    and the Graduale Lagal: http://www.gregoriana.nl/0216lagal.htm

    As for the copyright concerns, what exactly is copyright in an edition that claims to be a faithful reproduction of something from 1,100 years ago? The typesetting and layout are certainly under copyright; one cannot scan the book and sell pages from it, but how can the melodic corrections themselves be copyrighted if they're based on ancient sources? Plus they were published elsewhere before the Novum. The neumes themselves are much too old to be copyrighted, but someone's manuscript or digital reproduction of them may be. What can we do to grow the market for a "grassroots scholarly edition"?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw domjohnp
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,361
    It's worth bearing in mind that copyright law varies by country, so take your internet advice with a grain of salt. UK music engravers from what I understand did lobby and get protection for layout, but in the US where I live the standard is one of originality: the test case established that you may xerox a phone book. Some EU counties (Germany and Italy, I think) have varying short copyright terms for urtexte, as you will find on some IMSLP pages.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 744
    Some EU counties (Germany and Italy, I think) have varying short copyright terms for urtexte, as you will find on some IMSLP pages.
    But surely one may freely digitally re-typeset such an urtext edition, even for sale? I am NOT suggesting scanning and rearranging the Novum for the TLM then trying to sell it!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,690
    Yes UK law provides copyright in the typographical arrangement :
    The publisher's (separate) copyright, in the typographical arrangement of a printed work, lasts for 25 years from the end of the year in which publication occurred. This protects a publisher's copyright in all printed works: including books, magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals.
  • Technically I believe there can be copyright for the scholarship as well.
  • As for the copyright concerns, what exactly is copyright in an edition that claims to be a faithful reproduction of something from 1,100 years ago? The typesetting and layout are certainly under copyright; one cannot scan the book and sell pages from it, but how can the melodic corrections themselves be copyrighted if they're based on ancient sources?

    The actual scholarship necessary to produce such an edition, which is hardly trivial even in the cases of well-documented composers like Brahms. (NBA, NMA, etc. took decades to come out, were supplanting extremely solid urtext editions, and yet were still enthusiastically supported by musicians as a whole. How much support will one of these editions get)
    What can we do to grow the market for a "grassroots scholarly edition"?
    Convince people there's a need for editions beyond "old Solesmes", and advocate for it beyond "go read Gregorian Semiology". While I am not attached to a strict "old Solesmes" interpretation, I nonetheless have little idea as to what semiology actually is in practice or why I should care about melodic variants that are of such subtlety as to be practically inaudible. I prefer to let such nuances arise naturally from performance, in which case there is no purpose to the newer Solesmes editions.

    Semiological interpreters, whose artistry is not in question, are nonetheless awful advocates for a school of thought they seem to champion almost religiously.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 744
    The actual scholarship necessary to produce such an edition, which is hardly trivial...
    In the case of the Graduale Novum, the first volume of which was published in 2010, the critical apparatus was published in installments beginning in 1996. Each melodic correction is documented with regard to which of the manuscripts serve as its basis. For the most part - if not exactly - the same corrections are incorporated in the editions of Stingl, Nickel, and gregorien.info linked to above. Stingl's even include a copyright notice.

    I prefer to let such nuances arise naturally from performance, in which case there is no purpose to the newer Solesmes editions. Semiological interpreters, whose artistry is not in question, are nonetheless awful advocates for a school of thought they seem to champion almost religiously.
    The nuance theory is practically an invention of Dom Mocquereau. The authentic rhythm as demonstrated by the manuscripts themselves and the contemporary theorists is proportional, not nuanced. Vollaerts and Murray were on the right track, as are Blackley and Van Biezen. For those interested in the truth, Murray's Gregorian Chant according to the Manuscripts (particularly chapter 4 of part 1) is a better introduction than Cardine's Gregorian Semiology. And it's a free download!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • ...shots fired...
  • The authentic rhythm as demonstrated by the manuscripts themselves and the contemporary theorists is proportional, not nuanced. Vollaerts and Murray were on the right track, as are Blackley and Van Biezen. For those interested in the truth, Murray's Gregorian Chant according to the Manuscripts (particularly chapter 4) is a better introduction than Cardine's Gregorian Semiology.

    I've heard this "authentic" and "the truth" language too many times in the past to believe it any longer. In ten years, another scholar will come up, CC Watershed style, with the "only true" method of performance once longer.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 744
    I've heard this "authentic" and "the truth" language too many times in the past to believe it any longer. In ten years, another scholar will come up, CC Watershed style, with the "only true" method of performance once longer.
    That's your prerogative. Vollaerts improved on what Wagner had done before him, just as Murray improved (at least in terms of presentation) on Vollaerts, Blackley on Murray, and Van Biezen on Blackley. Indeed, let's hope another scholar in ten years will unearth something that gives us even greater clarity. How about an analogy? Van Biezen : Cardine : Mocquereau : anonymous composer :: Koopman : Dupre : Schweitzer : Bach. Anything that flatly contradicts the tenth- and eleventh-century writers would be better discarded unless one seeks to recreate the performance practice of a particular period far removed from the source.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • It's not an "improvement" if it becomes a new paradigm shift every few years.

    Though I despise Koopman as an interpreter (one might be better served by Preston as an example, among many), his performance practice is not all that far divorced from Dupré's once you eliminate the personal idiosyncracies of both. Furthermore, the overall goal of the period performance movement is to more accurately represent the conditions of the composer in the hopes that brings us closer to an accurate interpretation. (I find this inherently fallacious, but it's beyond the point.) With Baroque composers (or, say, Viennese popular music), the style is so closely wedded to the music itself that this becomes compelling; but with chant, which has remained a "living" musical language since its inception, it becomes far less interesting, and is akin to entirely recreating fourth-century liturgy. Academically and scholastically interesting? Yes. The best we can do for the modern church? Jury's still out.

    What is artistic and interesting holds up far beyond its "due date". Dupré's Bach was considered boring even in its day, compared to a contemporary like Richter who had much more of the "correct" ideas. Old Solesmes produces a result which is clearly liked and appreciated by many, albeit clearly exaggerated in most performances, and the paradigm shift desired by so many has not caught on nearly as strongly as Baroque PP has in reaction to the French Romantic school.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,159
    If one has a particular way one prefers a specific chant to sound, at least be honest and say so (to the performance group to which it matters). Don't try to make up reasons why everyone in the world must have always chanted it only this one way.

    I get surprised when people perform things with staccati that I've never seen on a sheet, but they're not necessarily changing the entire piece or phrase (as they'd be if they rewrote the actual notes), when most of the time the originals might not have had any expressive notation of any sort.

    In a way, while added expressions are helpful and inciteful, it doesn't mean anyone else in history (besides who ever added them to that specific edition) ever performed that phrase in that manner.

    I do, however, need to be able to easily read the music, itself. That is of the utmost importance.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 744
    The proportionalism of Van Biezen is more in accordance with the indications of the oldest manuscripts than the semiology of Cardine, which is more in accordance with the indications of the oldest manuscripts than Mocquereau's Solesmes method, which is more in accordance with the indications of the oldest manuscripts than strict equalism. Historically informed performance practice evolves. Too many act as though the Solesmes edition of the Vatican Gradual is the proverbial last word in how to sing chant, when there is never really a last word. The reality is that the Solesmes method is merely a representation of some of the best chant scholarship of 113 years ago. Although the corpus of Gregorian chant was probably complete by the end of the eighth century, the oldest manuscript we have is from around 920. For comparison, Bach died in 1750. We have fine Bach editions and recordings from 1993, but we would want to look much earlier to discover anything of importance - Bach's autograph manuscripts, copies made by his students, editions printed in his own lifetime, the writings of his contemporaries, and the like. Similarly, the writings of the tenth and eleventh centuries need to be taken seriously by all of us and should be considered more valuable for informing a correct understanding of chant than Dom Mocquereau's nuance and ictus theories.

    Claims based directly on the paleographic facts along with the testimony of contemporary writers are one thing. Subjective value judgments and personal preferences are quite another. The various manuscripts are usually clear about which notes are long and which are short, with considerably more agreement than disagreement between them. Where there is ambiguity, comparative analysis sheds light on reasonable solutions. This is the same work the Solesmes monks of the late 19th and early 20th century were engaged in. Unfortunately for us, they ignored what the medieval theorists had to say about the rhythmic proportions. Someone may ardently prefer a late Romantic interpretation of the Well-Tempered Clavier on the piano, another may prefer it on the harpsichord, and yet another in an orchestral arrangement, but the one seeking authenticity will consider what instruments were available to Bach, which of them he wrote the music in question for, how they were tuned, and what was considered proper technique at the time for playing them, regardless of his personal preferences in the matter. I don't think anyone here has said that chant should never, ever be performed according to the Solesmes method, or strictly equalist, or from the Medicean edition. The reservations I expressed about a new digital typesetting of a Solesmes edition are not a veiled assertion that no one should ever sing chant that way. In fact, I use the Solesmes method regularly with my schola because those are the books we have available to us, but they also know how to sing in proportional rhythm when I give them an appropriate edition for that interpretation, and I think such an edition would be much more valuable.
    Thanked by 2Elmar ServiamScores
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,159
    I'd be perfectly happy with the only expressive notation being quilismata.
    And while we're at it - I'd like to mention that I don't like when music is printed on standard white paper - it's harder to look at with black ink. So, I hope if copies are being made, they are somehow on an off-white paper, if not something more dull.

    I hope you don't think I was speaking to you personally, madorganist.
    I know that there is valid performance practice to historical music, and, especially as an instrumentalist, I appreciate being aware of that which exists as it regards my own instrument.

    I'm very happy with my own LB copies, and I'm not sure I would personally purchase a new type-setting of them, just as I've mentioned in another discussion that I chose a [n every-so-slightly blurry] scan over a gabc to insert into my score, because of aesthetics, as they do make a difference.

    Anyway. I know I'm not actually in your argument, but I added my unsolicited 2 cents.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,144
    @chonak
    I hope the new version uses a larger page size than the classic Liber Brevior. I was thinking a few days ago about how it would be useful to typeset a new edition, provided it could be made more readable.

    This is an excellent point, when I started producing various editions of chant for use by our choir, I spent a while looking at various Solesmes editions to see what would be best. Solesmes basically used 3 different page sizes with 3 different line lengths, text size and neume size. The largest is found in the Graduale 1924 and 1960 ed., Medium is found in the Liber Usualis 193x ed. onwards (The 190x / 1910 editions are similar), and the smallest in Plainsong for schools.

    I use the Graduale sizing with a slightly longer line length as A5 (½ US Letter) is an easily available paper size that can be used to produce booklets. While printing can be used to change the sizing all dimensions have to be increased equally that can cause problems, printing the Liber on US Letter (A4) does not produce as good a copy as printing the Graduale on smaller paper.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    I would actually like to see the old Holy Week; were one to survey the number of strict 1962 Holy Weeks versus pre-1955, one might find that the old one is, if not more popular, then sufficiently popular to justify including.
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    Maybe, but I actually doubt that the number of pre-55's to be more than a few (namely less than 10) given that the Holy See has only permitted a select few FSSP parishes (I believe only in the states) to say it.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    You would be very badly informed @nokel81. The FSSP got the indult for at least double that among its apostolates, in the US and Europe, and some places did it even before the indult, like Santissima Trinità in Rome. The Monastère Saint-Benoît in southern France uses it, and Dom Reid is sort of the organizer of the indult.

    I can think of at least five diocesan parishes who do it in all or in part just in the US, and I know of a sixth considering it in addition to the NO (one in the afternoon, one later in the afternoon or evening), and basically the entire ICRSP switched, although some apostolates only did so the second year, due to the relatively short period to prepare the faithful. Out of diocesan parishes in England, the Latin Mass Society's 1962-strict Triduum is a jarring contrast to the rest of Holy Week services elsewhere, which are pre-1955 and have been even before this was really a thing to talk about. Fr Finnegan did the traditional rite at Blackfen and did so at Margate, and St Bede's has done the real Roman rite for years. There are also folks in the Philippines doing it, and I'm leaving out the sedes etc. who would nevertheless be in the market for such a book were it to be made available again in a more convenient form.

    Again, the Triduum being one of the few things that really gets set out to pasture, the number is not insigificant relative to the number of EF/TLMs that offer everything but the full Holy Week as far as Sundays and holy days (at least) go, even if you exclude the SSPX (because they're 1962 but also it's hard to figure out what would be offered at a given Mass center), and making it harder to acquire the chants when you're not physically setting the type seems unreasonable.

    Anyway, who cares who has the indult? I think that it has to be acknowledged that Dom Reid was pushed on this front by people who started doing it without the indult.