Chant-Based Mass Setting
  • cmarini
    Posts: 1
    I hope you all are doing well. I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion for an easy chant-based mass setting with the following attributes?

    -A simple and predictable melody for the congregation and younger choir members
    -Option to add 3 or 4 part harmony for the more experienced choir members. Descants fine too. 
    -Something chant-based and free-meter to adhere more to sacred music guidelines than what's been used historically
    -At least mostly in English, though a Kyrie and Agnus Dei would be fine
    -Short enough to be acceptable for a Novus Ordo parish not accustomed to longer works

    For reference, the closest I’ve found to what I’m looking for is:

    -Missa Ubi Caritas (Hurd) - easy, chant based, and polyphonic, but a little bland and stagnant (sits kind of low in the vocal register and never goes up). Not a big fan of the Gloria.
    -Mass of the Immaculate Conception (Latona) – really like the Kyrie/Gloria even though there are minimal harmonies. The Agnus Dei is nice; the rest seems more modern, and again has no harmonies. 
    -Mass of the Angels (Clark) - overall is nice, but my hope is to get the choir to learn the actual unison Missa De Angelis eventually, so would likely not want to mix the two.  
    -I really like the sound of LaRocca’s EF Mass of the Americas (and several of his other arrangements). But it’s of course full Latin and very long which would not work for my parish currently. 

    It’s difficult to capture the essence of the Sacred Mystery, while adhering to the points above. I’m interested to hear your thoughts, but if you can’t think of anything, no worries - I’ll probably just settle on something (or maybe a combination of the above). Thanks in advance for your consideration!

    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JMJones
    Posts: 48
    -Mass of the Angels (Clark) - overall is nice, but my hope is to get the choir to learn the actual unison Missa De Angelis eventually, so would likely not want to mix the two.

    I'm not convinced you'd be hurting anything by learning it in English and then introducing it in Latin at a later time. It might actually be a helpful step for both the choir and the congregation.
    Thanked by 2cmarini marymezzo
  • I’m not aware of him writing multiple parts for it, but Michael Olbash’s Mass in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary is chant-like but not true chant. I think it’s a great gateway toward warming up a parish to the idea of chant and non-metered singing. Not exactly what you’re looking for, but might be worth investigating just the same.
    Thanked by 1cmarini
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,081
    IMHO, Learn it in Latin and you won’t ever find it necessary to introduce it in English.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 977
    As Francis says, there really isn't a good reason to not learn the Kyrie, Sanctus & Agnus Dei in "Latin."
    I know that people are more put off by Latin settings of the Gloria, because (I guess) it has far more words, but English settings can seem really choppy at times; what with "We praise You. We bless You. We adore You. We glorify You."

    However, since we are currently done with the Gloria for a good while, there's no reason to not just do Latin Mass-settings, and jump the Gloria hurdle when we get to it!
  • If you want something easy and chant like, you could do Missa Simplex by Richard Proux. It's not the most musically creative, but it is good if you want something that the average person could quickly learn.

    Even though the Holy, Memorial Acclamation, and Amen are metrical instead of chant, I would take another look at Mass of the Immaculate Conception. To me those parts still have a chant feel even though they are not. There aren't a whole lot of harmonies, but I think the organ accompaniment could easily be adapted for a four part choir.

    I think in general if you want chant, it is going to be hard to find choir harmonies. Chant was traditionally sung in unison, and any harmonies were played by the organ to support the voice. Most chant settings of the Ordinary (both English and Latin) I have seen are written for unison with organ accompaniment.
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  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,662
    I think in general if you want chant, it is going to be hard to find choir harmonies. Chant was traditionally sung in unison, and any harmonies were played by the organ to support the voice. Most chant settings of the Ordinary (both English and Latin) I have seen are written for unison with organ accompaniment.

    There is the possibility of 'singing upon the book', but this often requires people with some experience, though it's fairly easy to add a drone and/or a simple Organum at the fifth (singing in parallel 5ths with the melody). A simple two-part Gymel in 3rds (above or below) or 6ths (above) can work nicely with some chants, too. (Like Organum, but Gymel is parallel singing on an imperfect consonant note.)
    Thanked by 2cmarini hilluminar
  • davido
    Posts: 397
    The missal chants can be done with choir harmonies. They were sung in 4 part harmony at the CMAA donors mass broadcast this past November, I think the settings were done by Peter Carter.
    Thanked by 1cmarini
  • During the council when i was organist at St Ambrose in Houston we sang a very simple but very nice mass called Chant Mass of the Faithful. I don't remember the composer, but if one could look it up and put the current translation to it it would be very, very nice, and far better than 99.9% of what Catholics are singing today.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,176
    Jackson, I believe it's called "Chant Mass for the Faithful" and was composed by Fr. John De Deo. It was in the 1964 People's Mass Book. Does anyone have a copy? I bet @oldhymns does!
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 797
    Welcome to the forum, cmarini! Have a look at the Lumen Christi Missal. It has an English Mass setting by fr. Columba Kelly and three by Adam Bartlett. All are chant based (new melodies of course, but following common modal phrases).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,081
    I have people’s mass book in a box somewhere
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 401
    Saint Agnes (CanticaNova)
    New Plainsong (GIA)
    St. Ignatius (GIA)
    St. Cecilia (LitPress)
    All Saints (Latona)
    Belmont (OCP)
    Pope St. John Paul II (Clark)
    Simplex (GIA)
    Psalitte (LitPress)
    Thanked by 1cmarini
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,081
    update... been looking for the PMB... keep tuned
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,081
    I have a lot of English settings of the Ordinary, but because I no longer want to promote the NO, I decided long ago not to share them, however, I had a moment last year or so where I posted a lot of the various movements... I suppose if you search for all my posts you will find them.


    I always posted original compositions using a particular nomenclature which means if you search for ": by Koerber" you will list everything I have ever shared on this forum.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,447
    The Mass of the Transfiguration by Norman Gouin is lovely.
  • The Mass of St Ralph Sherwin by Jeffrey Ostrowski might work for you.

    The Gloria has an optional SATB setting. (score (see p. 4) and video)
  • rollingrj
    Posts: 275
    Missa Simplex, by Fr. Michael O’Connor, O.P. The entire Mass is based around four motifs.
    Thanked by 1cmarini