Upper case or lower case?
  • Being responsible for creating the weekly program leaflet for one of my parish’s Sunday masses as well as the program booklets for our school’s concerts, I am often confronted with decisions on written usage. For example, this week the choir is singing Gregor Aichinger’s "Regina Caeli." Or is it "Regina caeli"?

    If you read the MusicaSacra style sheet you get this advice on capitalization: “Latin titles of ancient and medieval works receive a capital letter only on their first word: 'Summa theologiae.' Latin titles of modern works are capitalized as in English: 'Sacrosanctum Concilium.'”

    But when does “modern” begin in regard to titles of liturgical compositions? Other style manuals recommend that all nouns in Latin titles be capitalized. To make the matter more confusing, some music publishers capitalize “caeli” and others don’t.

    For those of you who prepare written programs, what capitalization rule do you follow for music with Latin titles?
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    In the case of simple Latin incipits, I would agree that only the first word be capitalized. But "Regina Caeli" is also a title of the BVM, i.e. another "name" for her. Therefore I would capitalize both.
  • Thanks Steve. Your answer makes sense. I'm going with the upper case "C" despite the "Regina caeli" on our score cover.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 985
    Gosh, never even knew to question this! I've just used a quasi-English form of capitalization, or copied it from my reference material.

    I guess I figure that if someone complains about it, they can tell me what rules make sense. Never got a complaint though.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    Well, I believe part of the problem in the original question has to do with the publishers. Many of them, as with many people in the pews, are so out of sync with an/all Marian devotion, they wouldn't recognize one of the Blessed Mother's alternate name if it actually jumped off the page at them! I wouldn't even be surprised if the don't know where we get "Notre Dame" from!
  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    It's considered more up-to-date not to capitalize Latin words after the first word except when it's an important theological concept or references to Christ or the Blessed Virgin Mary (e.g., Ave verum Corpus, Maria Mater gratiae, O Crux ave). The Liber Usualis is a great resource on how to render titles.