Liber Usualis Republishing, New Typesetting
  • I am trying to republish a new edition of the Liber Usualis with a new, OCR typeset & Score. I did a lot of work on the republished Liber Brevior and I helped out a little on the Liber Usualis, English edition. I was not very happy with the quality of the scans though. The older typeset from the 1960s has a lot of minor blemishes. The letter "e" for example are often smudged. The Quilismas are also often fuzzy. I really would like to get the Liber digitized. And made publicly available for the traditional community. I also would hope to print this book. It is not too expensive to get a good liber published. There are 2340 pages. and the last batch that got published was not too expensive. It had reinforced binding.

    I'd like to clean up the page numbers. Removing the pages with the "*" pages and fixing the appendixes. It would be nice to make it suitable for the English speaking countries. But also easily changed to a Latin edition or a European edition. For Example, the English edition has the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Whereas I don't think a French edition would need it. (paroissien romain). There are a lot of technical aspects regarding this project that I would like some help with. Here are some of the main ones. I am an accountant by day and am a self taught indesign user. When working on the Liber Brevior, and helping with the Liber Usualis (English version) Everything was scanned from a pre 1962 liber (the last year that is typically trusted by most traditionalist) and edited in word. Each Picture of the Liber Page was skewed to fix the minor scan angle differences. This did not fix the smudges and clarity issues.

    As you can imagine, there are a lot of issues with this. None the less, I think the final product was as best as could be expected.

    Here are some questions:

    1. What is the best software to re-typeset the gregorian chant with? Any suggestions? Is there a musical plug in for indesign?

    2. I am not a rubrics expert. Are there any changes that should be added to the Liber?

    3. What are some changes and edits that should be made to a new Liber Usualis? That you would like to see?

    4. The chironomy & directions at the beginning of the Liber. Are they good? Not an expert on the different schools of thought on the timing for example. I barely know what a St. Gaul Neume comes from. (I think its some old manuscript or something. There was a professor who used to work at the FSSP seminary that tried to teach me about this)

    5. Is this a worthwhile effort? or are the scanned versions of the Liber good enough?

    6. I really like the old "turn of the century" Feel of the Liber. I bet that the 1960s liber used the old plates and type settings from the early 1900 editions. That being said, would it be sacrilegious to modernize the typeset a bit? I do not know where to find that old font. I think there's a way to get a plugin for indesign but I'm not sure. (I think it would be really cool to put some different colored font or a nice picture of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin on one of the front pages. Like an older Missale Romanum or a illuminated manuscript) I would like to preserve the early, turn of the century feel... But to make it with a little bit of color somewhere.. What are your thoughts?

    7. Please feel free to share comments, thoughts & criticisms. This is my hobby and a labor of love. So I really welcome the more technical and professional musicians out there. I think a remastered text and a musical score would be really great though. If done correctly and with a high level or expertise.





  • I have reservations about more reprints of Solesmes editions, which I expressed in a previous thread:
    https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/18647/liber-brevior-copyright-status
    The same would apply to the Liber Usualis. In my opinion, it would take a tremendous amount of work that would be much better spent on a corrected edition for the TLM incorporating the best modern scholarship rather than reproducing the 1908 Vatican edition and the outdated Solesmes rhythmic markings based on Dom Mocquereau's discredited nuance and ictus placement theories.
  • Thank you very much for your thoughts. I really would like to understand this better. I do not know the nuances of the scholarship very well. I would definitely like to know them better.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 630
    One small practical consideration for me is the size of the book. I prefer not to lug books to Mass and back. Books aren't available in any parishes I've ever been to here in Brazil, and I don't have a car, so I mostly do withour. I usually print pages of chant sent by the director and just take that. I do use the Liber at home for reference and private prayer. I do love a real book, aesthetically.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,145
    Some thoughts, The Liber Usualis, was a useful book but is it now? How many people need Vespers and the minor hours of the Office? The Liber Brevior is far more useful as it contains the just the Propers in a smaller easier to hold size.

    1. What is the best software to re-typeset the gregorian chant with? Any suggestions? Is there a musical plug in for indesign?

    Some very kind people have set the the music in GABC, so most of the work of producing a new edition is already done. The difficulty will be producing an attractive look to the chant, and will involve playing around with the code to get it fit the page size. I usually use a Font based chant (Caecilae) as I can then control the look of the chant to more easily match the look of the old books. This means setting the whole of the Liber from scratch. This is still quicker than cleaning up scans in Photoshop.

    2. I am not a rubrics expert. Are there any changes that should be added to the Liber?

    This is a good question, while we don't follow the 1962 rubrics as far as I can remember even the 1962 Liber is not clear with the rubrics and has a few problems (mainly because the changes were coming so fast that the typesetters could not keep up) At least for Holy Week both forms of the Liturgy (pre-55 and 1962) should be set.

    3. What are some changes and edits that should be made to a new Liber Usualis? That you would like to see?

    Both forms of Holy Week, removal of Vespers etc., Credo VII, and the local supplements all available at the back.

    4. The chironomy & directions
    Well this is a minefield, do you want to follow old Solesmes, really old Solesmes, Solesmes, or the latest scholarship? At least with modern typesetting on computer you should be able to keep up with the academics, through numerous updated editions.

    5. Is this a worthwhile effort? or are the scanned versions of the Liber good enough?

    The scanned pages have problems and while the new print of the Brevior is very good it is still not as clear as it should be. Also I do think that the typesetting in the Liber is to small it would be better to use the Graduale Romanum size in a new edition. Which begs the Question would a new edition of the Graduate be more useful?

    6. I really like the old "turn of the century" Feel of the Liber. I bet that the 1960s liber used the old plates and type settings from the early 1900 editions.

    The 1900's editions are very beautiful, although you will find at least 2 different settings of these books, one is better than the other (ccWatershed has blog posts about this). They made new plates in the 1930s for what we call the Liber, with various additions and changes of plates found up to the c.1950 ed. The 1962 ed. may have used new plates, but would have to check.
  • Nisi
    Posts: 101
    madorganist:
    The work of Pothier and Mocquereau brought us scholarship astonishing for its time. The monastery, under their leadership, accomplished an astounding amount of beautiful and careful work. For you to say that Mocquereau’s work is “discredited” is very unkind. If you do not care for what can now, a century and a quarter later, be called a performance practice of its own, there are many, more kind, ways to say it. If I could nominate a “father” of musicology, I would say Mocquereau!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,542
    @Nisi

    I partly agree that Mocquereau discovered a truth to the chant, but for me and perhaps others it is better a technical observation than a performance method, per se. Especially when the accent on words does not match up with ictus. It can be more confusing than practical. I have been using the Solemnes method for over a decade, and I still can't quite agree on the conducting method.
    Thanked by 2madorganist domjohnp
  • The work of Pothier and Mocquereau brought us scholarship astonishing for its time. The monastery, under their leadership, accomplished an astounding amount of beautiful and careful work.
    Yes, we are in agreement.
    For you to say that Mocquereau’s work is “discredited” is very unkind.
    But I did not say that! His work as a whole I admire, but I stand by my remark about his "discredited nuance and ictus placement theories." Although they reject the ictus placement theory, semiologists continue to adhere to the nuance theory, which contradicts every medieval writer on the subject (see Vollaerts or Murray for the pertinent quotations). There are kinder ways to disagree with someone than to misquote. If you are more interested in late Romantic performance practice than medieval performance practice, that is your right, but we already have plenty of decent performing editions at our disposal for the Solesmes method.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • Whatever your thoughts on "old Solesmes" performance practice, trying to tie it to late-Romantic practice in any country is simply absurd.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • Sorry, I don't accept one recently published PDF behind a paywall as a source.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • Suit yourself! How do you characterize the turn of the last century in terms of stylistic period? As @Nisi says, "a century and a quarter later... a performance practice of its own."
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    @Schönbergian - you can get a free account at Academia.edu, there is also a premium paid option, but the free one suits me. My free account enabled me to download that paper, or read it without downloading. I don't yet know whether it is worth downloading, @madorganist has a better based opinion than I do.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • Apparently Solesmes found it valuable enough to publish it in Études Grégoriennes, so there is that.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • How do you characterize the turn of the last century in terms of stylistic period?

    I characterize Solesmes as anti-Romantic and anti-establishment in its interpretation, compared to i.e. the Widor school of thought. It draws nothing from French Romantic influences whatsoever, regardless of the era in which the interpretation happened to be conceived. That's like putting Gregorian Semiology in the same breath as Boulez and Stockhausen.
    Thanked by 2Nisi domjohnp
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    The Liber Usualis is a huge tome, and much of it was/is never used at a typical parish with High Masses. What I would like to see is something like a Gregorian Missal for the TLM. It would encompass Sundays and major feast days, and include the Kyriale, and have a translation of all the Latin texts. That way, even the faithful in the pews could use it follow closely and even sing their parts from a more accessible book.
  • nokel81
    Posts: 9
    This sounds like a great project but a seriously massive undertaking. I am currently trying to do something very similar with the Liber Bevior (retypesetting everything, adding translations, having all the major feast days, the newer Triduum music). And it has already taken me over a year and a half to get the second full proof read. (See my comments on https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/18647/liber-brevior-copyright-status)
  • Hi nokel81. Thanks for your kind comment. I saw your work yesterday. It was really cool. To be honest, I did not know such a community existed. I understand the Liber Brevior fairly well. I worked on a scanned layout of it several years ago. Im happy when I go to various choirs and I see folks using them. What we did on ours is we just scanned and fixed a few things in photoshop. I was young back then. And I missed quite a few things. To Be honest, I don't have the theoretical background to do a very scholarly new interpretation of the music. What little formal training I had, I got from the FSSP at their seminary. There was some 50ish chant professor there who seemed to like the turn of the Semi old Solesmes Method. Your Work looks really great! I understand this is a real labor of love. I have not gotten that technical with setting the notes and I do appreciate how much work goes into this. Scanning is an easy way to go. But I think at some point, someone will have to do a good and faithful resetting of the Liber Usualis. There is a lot of scholarship above and I will have to digest it all. My knowledge of Chant is very practical and mercantile. Id be interested in conversing more in the future Nokel81.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    domjohnp - if it is repeated, there is a free online course From Ink to Sound which might be of interest.
    Thanked by 1domjohnp
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 844
    I don't have a thought on every point you raise, but here's some advice on some of them:

    1. What is the best software to re-typeset the gregorian chant with? Any suggestions? Is there a musical plug in for indesign?


    The best for me is Gregorio. It produces great looking scores, that can be manipulated later on in for example Illustrator. There's no need for a plugin for InDesign; you can just place the pdf of the scores directly in your document.

    5. Is this a worthwhile effort? or are the scanned versions of the Liber good enough?


    I'm not someone who attends the EF frequently or have any experience singing for the EF, but I like the suggestion of Ted to produce a ‘Gregorian Missal like’ edition instead of a voluminous Liber Usualis. Tomjaw has a remark in a similar direction. If you're going to take on a major project like this, you would like to attend to demand, so you know it will be used an be practical. The few will find their way to a used Liber, while the many who only need a portion of the book will be well served with a good quality EF Gregorian Missal.

    6. I really like the old "turn of the century" Feel of the Liber. What are your thoughts?


    I'm not a fan of recreating layouts in new publications that are clearly tied to a past era if there is no clear incentive to do so. That said, it's possible to create classic, timeless layouts. Look for example at the 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum by Solesmes, or any current day Solesmes edition. They're beautiful though simple, practical and very well done.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw madorganist
  • The best for me is Gregorio. It produces great looking scores, that can be manipulated later on in for example Illustrator. There's no need for a plugin for InDesign; you can just place the pdf of the scores directly in your document.


    This is generically true for any PDF or SVG. As long as you have a score in one of those two formats, any well-equipped editor will permit you to manipulate them. I edit SVGs and PDF's in Affinity Publisher all the time.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • 6. I really like the old "turn of the century" Feel of the Liber. I bet that the 1960s liber used the old plates and type settings from the early 1900 editions. That being said, would it be sacrilegious to modernize the typeset a bit? I do not know where to find that old font.


    I too love the feel and look of old books. I'd suggest a compromise: still make it look beautiful. Use drop caps, for instance. Choose fonts that are sympathetic to that style of typography (nice serif fonts, not non-serif). I wouldn't try and exactly copy an old book. Better off just scanning one in at that point and reprinting it 1:1. There are many awesome free "drop cap" fonts available online. You will want to study them to find a well-rounded and svelte one though. Some of them are done by hobbyists and the quality isn't the greatest. That said, many of them are recreations based on ancient books, so they look and feel very authentic.

    https://www.1001fonts.com/drop-caps-fonts.html
    (Goudy Italian on pg. 2 is particularly nice, for instance.)
    Just be careful that you stick with one style and choose one which will scale well to smaller sizes. (Goudy isn't the best at small sizes, however.) I know there are recreations of some of the Solesmes caps too. I believe someone on the forum has shared the link to that font and will know where to point you.

    If you don't use a dedicated drop cap font (or perhaps you only use it for special headers or at the beginnings of chants, there are other fonts with expanded ligature sets and fancy capitals that also make for a great drop-cap look. I use Yana, for instance. It's a paid font (not that expensive) but it has tonnnns of alternates for each capital. Consequently, if you use a program that permits you to select stylistic alternates or ligatures such as affinity publisher or indesign, you can access all of these natively. Or you can copy and past the ligatures in from the font book/viewer. I'm attaching an example of what Yana looks like as a forced drop cap. It's very lovely.

    In summary, by all means: create a beautiful book—whichever form it takes. But if it were me, I'd use the old texts as inspiration, but I wouldn't necessarily try and recreate them 1:1.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Schönbergian, I would consider Mocquereau's nuanced lengthenings a kind of rubato. The Solesmes "Rules for Interpretation" admit outright that the recommendation of tying repeated notes together is a departure from historic performance practice. In my opinion, it requires no stretch of the imagination to say that carrying over at quarter bars, or phrasing without a breath, also represents a late Romantic aesthetic. Consider also the following quote from Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB:
    [Mocquereau] is the figure who came the closest to advocating recovery of the original melodies as accurately as possible. His rhythmic theories have fallen into disrepute in recent decades, and it is now acknowledged that he imposed theories (and rhythmic signs) onto the chant without justification from the earliest manuscripts. But his motivation was historical: he apparently believed that his theories were historically based. (Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform, p. 128)

    As far as Solesmes being anti-establishment in its interpretation, my understanding of the established practice of the late 19th century is that two versions of chant (with many very different editions of each) were in general use: the so-called Medicean editions, sung fairly slowly and in proportional rhythm, sometimes with organ or serpent accompaniment, and cantus planus based on medieval codices, sung slowly, with equal note values. Please correct me if you have evidence to the contrary. Mocquereau's nuance and ictus placement theories were anti-establishment for sure, but the former is steeped in Romanticism and seems to have bequeathed the Catholic Church a lasting prejudice against proportional rhythm in Gregorian chant. Again, I stand by my claim that the ictus placement theory is now considered discredited. I am unaware of any research from the past 60 years that corroborates it. The onus to produce it is on those who uphold it as historical. Yes, it works for keeping the choir together if your singers know how to count, but it's made up, and there's no need to beat around the bush about it. We're adults here, and presumably serious musicians too.
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  • Schönbergian, I would consider Mocquereau's nuanced lengthenings a kind of rubato.
    Which has literally been a part of performance practice since the Renaissance. You might as well say that the theory is Baroque in character.
    The Solesmes "Rules for Interpretation" admit outright that the recommendation of tying repeated notes together is a departure from historic performance practice. In my opinion, it requires no stretch of the imagination to say that carrying over at quarter bars, or phrasing without a breath, also represents a late Romantic aesthetic.
    "Phrasing without a breath" has nothing to do with Romanticism, either. I could make the case that that kind of varied and nuanced approach to phrasing is actually steeped in Classical-era performance practice, and it would have just as much validity. Both are unhelpful though, and the theory needs to be treated in its own right - to do otherwise is akin to dismissing all concepts of historically informed performance under the notion that they were developed under the aegis of post-modern thought, and are therefore specific to that era only.
  • "Phrasing without a breath" has nothing to do with Romanticism, either.
    Nor with Medievalism. Mocquereau was not a Baroque- or Classical-era figure. What is your point?
  • That trying to associate one movement with another purely based on temporal proximity is unhelpful?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,689
    I've been wondering whether a project like this would be useful. Maybe a new Liber Brevior. One problem with making a new Liber Usualis is the impossibility of printing a book of 2000-plus pages from an on-demand printer. Also, there's the need to enlarge the page format, since the old page size makes the scores difficult to read. 2000 pages in a 6" x 9" format would be a really hefty book, even printed on thin bible-paper.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw WGS
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,145
    @Chonak

    A list of useful projects?
    A new Graduale Romanum? So Graduale size chant.
    A re-typeset Liber Brevior with the new Holy Week added as a supplement?
    A set of local Propers supplements (The LMS have published an English one here,
  • Elmar
    Posts: 370
    To be a bit pedantic, a project can only be useful if there is demand for the product, so you should find out first.
    This need not be a huge endeavor - of course asking here in the forum is an excellent starting point - just begin with your own choir and those you know (or whoever would be your target customers) and find out whether anyone would buy such a book if it existed. If you are lucky, they tell you something of the kind 'not the book you sketch, but maybe a such-and-such different one'.
    You may end up with a quite different project (like Gregorian Missal vs. Graduale Romanum) which does fit a demand. Or you end up finding out that there isn't any demand for anything resembling your pet idea.

    I experienced this on a small level a few years ago. Our new schola started in 2009 and after some time, people in the pews asked for some easily accessible congregation book(let) for their parts. So we investigated how some twelve other parishes with NO Latin Mass dealed with this. None had something we would simply copy (if anything at all), so I decided to run a test with 4-page booklets for different ordinaries, plus the dialogues, Pater Noster etc. including translations.
    We never got past that stage, our pastor didn't want to stick to a final choice among the 'options' (which was strange because he isn't a friend of the forest of options in the NO and he loves the TLM for its reverence and rubrical clarity) and also wasn't clear about which parts had to remain in the vernacular.
    A few years later the test booklets disappeared, but no one in the congregation complained (except for my wife), so I had to admit that all this probably wasn't more than my pet idea.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 525
    Some random thoughts:

    The Liber is an anthology. It is preferable not to deal in anthologies, because they are of their nature incomplete. The Liber was made to fit with what most parishes would use. For that reason it was tremendously popular. However, was this incompleteness also detrimental to the singing of the full cycle of the liturgy? I am talking daily sung Mass and daily any hour of the office: neither is truly possible using only the Liber. Both should be goals that are more frequently attempted. For this we need editions that are complete in scope, not anthologies.

    Is there currently in print an edition of the Graduale for the EF in one volume? I don't know that there is. That is something that should exist.

    Similarly, there was never published an edition of the Antiphonale Romanum to correspond to the 1962 form of the Divine Office. The closest was that Solesmes published an edition in 1949, which then had mutations added for 1955, this is what is available on the CMAA website as the 1960 Antiphonale Romanum.

    A possible first step in this regard that has occurred to me would be to reprint the 1949 Antiphonale Romanum "as is", along with an accompanying booklet containing the necessary mutations for 1962. The work that would go into this would also outline what a true 1962 Antiphonale Romanum ought to look like.

    By the way, my two cents on the Solesmes method: it is philosophical.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CHGiffen Elmar
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    Not reprinting the Solesmes markings is a non-starter for trads, whether we like this or not. The FSSP, ICRSP, SSPX, etc. won't buy the books, and they're the most consistent customers. The 800 is the base edition, up to 1954, though I suspect that the old Assumption liturgy will start to get some life soon, but in any case, you need to provide at least the old hymn doxologies that change on various feasts and throughout the respective octaves, if not the old Holy Week.

    So a 1962-only edition would be a waste of time, and it's far, far easier to cut to get to 1962 than to have to recreate pre-1955.

    @tomjaw a lot of people need at least Vespers. The missal and vesperal based on the Liber is one of the most popular items sold by Catholic booksellers in France. Compline, Christmas Matins, Tenebrae, etc. are also useful, and as Richard Hawker of the EMW Cathedral in London recently said on Facebook, the Liber Usualis's shortcomings are aggravating. Why, for example, is the chapter of the ferial day not included with the O antiphons? The Liber Brevior would be more convenient insofar as I live too far to go to Vespers, but we sing Compline on our retreats, I pray the office, at home, etc. Having two books with all of the propers is redundant; I'd rather have the Antiphonale Romanum plus a Liber Usualis.

    In fact, I'm starting to lean towards reprinting the Antiphonale Romanum (but with the actual rubrics of 1949) at least in part, to supplement the Liber Usualis and to make some things clearer that aren't so clear in either the Liber or in the original AR.

    That said, for 90% of days in the year, one can sing Mass and at least Compline, if not Vespers too, seeing that most of the year is occupied by feasts and octaves. The ferial creep in 1962 aggravates one of the shortcomings noted above, but it's solved by having at least extracts of the Antiphonale Romanum.

    On the typesetting: One thing that Arthur Connick pointed out to me a long time ago is that computer typesetting of chant, i.e. Gregorio, can't quite get the vowels like in the Solesmes books. Now, maybe it's not necessary in the end, but considering that a lot of Gregorio is used to reproduce Solesmes books, this is not unimportant. I also think that the available typefaces are either appalling for the setting of liturgical books or are woefully incomplete, so while I'm obliged to use Gregorio for the moment for want of something better, I would rather that we move towards something else, which is actually typesetting the books properly. Gregorio's best asset is its convenience for individuals, at least once you get past the initial hurdle of LaTex, which as I said elsewhere on this forum, is a huge downside that people don't really like to acknowledge.

    To the question about the typefaces, since this is my hobby: I've wondered about asking Solesmes and Desclée about the type of the classical Solesmes books, both Roman and monastic. I'm pretty sure that they melted the plates, but it's not impossible that something survived, and it's also not impossible that one can find something in their archives that talks about the design. In any case, there seem to be different typefaces for the following: capitals (the Art Nouveau letters, which I like a lot, but I get it, it's very 1920s), the chant text, and then the body.

    The best solution IMHO if aesthetics are a primary concern is to have an artisan press that actually prints the books. Digital type is routinely criticized even by its designers as looking flat, and the Solesmes books today suffer from this, so I strongly disagree with the proposal to look towards new Solesmes. No. Just, no. This is an unlikely solution even if the plates existed still, but I think that relying on most existing digital typefaces, particularly free and open-source fonts compatible with Gregorio will produce inferior results.

    The next best solution is to draw the font, either from the original metal (which is what was done for EB Garamond, a beautiful if incomplete typeface family) or from the characters found in a book of Solesmes. I'd actually lean towards the Antiphonale Monasticum and the Graduale Romanum as used in the monasteries instead of the Liber Usualis, as much as I love it. The missal and vesperal mentioned above seems to have taken this approach.

    I know that there are some initials with illustrations available from the books of Solesmes published between 1900 and 1912, but to be honest, I haven't had a chance to look at them, so I can't comment on their quality. That said, I think that the middle period of the 30s got it right: the large florid initials are also dated, in a style that completely clashes with the later books. Nevertheless, I don't quite see the objection. People digitize fonts all the time, and it's totally possible to digitally typeset something inspired by, say, Renaissance typography, Baroque typography, etc. and doing it almost entirely according to what one finds in period examples.

    Also, does anyone know how Le Barroux makes its booklets? They have their own font for the characters, but as far as I know, it's not publicly available, and license issues are why Gregorio went another way…

    So, my next suggestion is to have a long, hard thought about whether the classic Solesmes look is absolutely necessary or whether something new might be nice. There are people who have created fonts to look like the new characters; that's a non-starter, as I said, and I also think that the new books don't look nearly as pleasing as those from the 1930s.

    PAY for your fonts. Do not go the free font route, and use real capitals, small caps, etc. I think that we're in a good place with OpenType fonts, and such a project is feasible, but one needs to figure out who could do it, and it would not only be traditionally-minded Catholics. The font experts who do this stuff are often in places like Belgium and the Netherlands, which also opens up some opportunities, IMHO, given the long history of printing, especially of chant, in those places.
  • My two cents' worth:

    I would find a new EF Gradual Romanum very useful for my choir. Over the past 30 or so years I have had to print off Propers for the choir that aren't found in the Liber (such as Lenten ferial days and some saints days etc.).

    Another book that my choir would find useful would be an EF Vesperale Romanum. Not all can be found in the Liber, especially the ferial hymns and Magnificat antiphons etc. What do the EF seminaries use for daily Vespers?

    At least these days with the internet I can find this all online. Back in the 1980's and 90's we would have to hunt down old books in a Catholic libraries and do a lot of photocopying. But there is something nice about holding a book in your hands.

    Thanked by 2JonathanKK tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,145
    A timeless complaint from choir members is the weight of the Liber, and for most our choir members they are singing mass up to 4 or 5 times a week, but Vespers only once. Why carry around weight that is not needed?

    It is over a decade ago since I retired my 1952 Liber, in preference to the 1910 edition, a far smaller book with effectively only Vespers for Sundays and some feast plus Compline. For the last few years I have been using a 1924 Graduale. For Vespers I am using my Antiphonale Romanum, the rest of the choir are using Libers that have advantages and disadvantages...

    So once again I think a reprint of the following in order of need,
    1. Graduale Romanum (1924) with updates to 1962 in a supplement, as well as the newer and local Propers found in the 1962 (1957) ed.

    2. Vesperale Romanum, with the psalms set as in the Liber, a truly useful feature for those not singing Vespers a couple of times a week or more. It could also have other Offices for Feasts as the Liber?

    3. A re-typeset Liber Brevior, In the larger format (size of chant) of the G.R.

    4. The Antiphonale Romanum 1949 with updates, and the psalms as set in the Liber.

    So instead of carrying around a large Liber, (that has problems with its bindings and falling apart) we would be carrying around either a Liber Brevior for those that sing on Sundays or a G.R. for those that also sing during the week. Those that sing Vespers can also carry the Vesperale, and those that are lucky enough to sing Lauds etc. can have a A.R. So two slightly smaller books rather than one big book that is incomplete.
  • Whatever is produced, now matter how trivial, should have at least minor attempts made to make it beautiful rather than simply utilitarian. (Drop caps, manual adjustments in a program such as adobe indesign, careful font selection, etc.) This is, after all, the longest-standing tradition in catholic book making (particularly chant collections), and the only suitable thing worthy of the dignity of the divine liturgy. I don't believe myself the best person to be involved in gathering the collection of chant or even necessarily editing the errata, as I wouldn't know the material well enough. But I am willing to help with the "engraving" process if this proves useful to anyone.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 873
    Kyle Lartigue, schola director at the Regina Caeli Latin Mass community in Houston (FSSP), is (according to his website Justitias Books) working on Sunday Gradual (based on the 1961 Graduale Romanum) and a Vesperale Romanum (1962 office with chants from the 1949 Antiphonale Romanum).

    He has already produced what look to be a number of handsome new editions of chant, including a two-volume Sunday Vespers and Ad Communionem, a book of Communion verses for the EF (like Richard Rice's Communio volume but using the Vulgate; more information here).
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    To Gregorius’s question, I wonder if certain things like the chapters and the hymns of ferial days per annum aren’t copied into a booklet for the use of the house, assuming that Vespers are ordinarily chanted in full; otherwise, one would sing from a breviary. This is a question that I've meant to ask but never have, and it'd also be interesting to know about preconciliar practice too, given that the Antiphonale was a relatively rare book.