Anything wrong with this Novus Ordo antiphon chant?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 672
    The attached recording is the vernacular offertory antiphon from this past Sunday at my parish.

    The choir had a sloppy entrance and one error later on, but other than that I think they did a really good job with this. However, I'd like your objective evaluations. What was good about it and what could be done to improve it? How was the tempo?

    The choir doesn't chant antiphons often, although for over a year I've solo chanted the Communion antiphon. I'm programming antiphons sung by the choir every so often, though, and I'd like it to become more frequent, but I have to proceed at a realistic and pastoral pace.

    I was kind of surprised how many choir members had difficulty mastering the psalm tone pattern. We spent a lot of time learning this at rehearsal and then again in the warmup before Mass. I thought with a psalm-tone it would be rather easy; not so for many in my choir. Maybe as we do this more often the psalm-tones will become internalized.

    Here's the music list from the Sunday. As you can see, I program a variety of musical genres. Chant is something new to this parish, whose music program was mostly crappy OCP and GIA songs until I took over about 1.5 years ago, just before the pandemic shutdown.

    Entrance: Gather Your People (Hurd)
    Glory to God: Mass of Renewal (Stephan)
    Psalm: R&A
    Alleluia: Mass of Renewal
    Offertory: choir chanted antiphon from The Proper of the Mass (setting iii)
    Holy: Mass of Renewal
    Mystery of Faith: ICEL
    Amen: ICEL
    Lamb of God: Mass of Renewal
    Communion: solo chanted antiphon from The Proper of the Mass (setting i)
    Communion: Adoro Te Devote (two verses)
    Communion: Ubi Caritas (Hurd)
    Recessional: In Christ There Is No East or West

    The chants are well received by many, although there are a very few who hate them. Can't please everyone. Those who like it far outnumber those who dislike it.
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  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 950
    Pretty good. Words clear.

    It's good to hear chanted English.

    It could be improved by varying lighter and heavier syllables very slightly, by speed. Just as one does when speaking or reciting: not all the syllables are the same length, and unaccented ones tend to be a fraction quicker.

    I have found it helps to practice reciting just the text, without notes, because then a more natural choral recitation rhythm emerges with practice. Afterwards, singing, the slight changes in length of the puncta happen more naturally. This also helps with the two-note neumes, which in English seen to sound more fluid when the first one gets most of the time (dee-a di di dee-a dee-a) instead of equal with the second.

    Ymmv
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,700
    The problem for a singer unfamiliar with Latin is that the sentence structure and rhythm of English and Latin are very different. I don't have time to find it, but either Fr Weber or Fr Kelly, or both, have written explanations of this. Anglican chant, for example, has no incipit, neither do the psalm tones of Murray or Bevenot nor of course Meinrad. When the LU asserts that attention must be paid to three things, the beginnining the middle and the end, it is not just mouthing platitudes.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,366
    Have to agree with Andrew; the next step is to find an organic shape for the phrases. The piano is distracting, and I wonder that you didn't have a single singer intone as far the asterisk.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 856
    The phrases need shape and the emphasis on each individual neume is distracting. This is one case where the Solesmes "grouping in 2 and 3" approach may be helpful to deliver the result you want. Overall, I think it can move more quickly than it did, which may help with the above issues.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen